Sunday, September 30, 2007

Recovered from Nuit Blanche.

Last night all the big kids were out and about for Nuit Blanche, and we were no exception. There was a ton of people everywhere until about, say, 4am. And then there were still people about all over. We saw some cool stuff, and lots of less cool stuff. Saw a bunch of people I knew. The highlight for four of us was the vampire film we saw at Cinematheque. We caught episode 9 of "Les Vampires," a series of 1916 French silent films. A live piano score at the theatre was a great touch.

And that's all I think I want to say about that. It was a good time, but not stellar.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Friday.

I had yet another session to go to on Friday at school. This time a group of professors who will help students on the (academic) job market held a meeting for PhD students. Although I won't be on the job market for at least a year (if not longer), I figured it was good to hear what they had to say. And it was. Some useful information was given out. The most interesting part of the two hours wasn't what the profs and the grad students were saying; rather, it was funny to see a young female professor who, frankly, in this setting is super hot, and a young male professor who came across as a complete wanker. Entertaining times as usual in the Department of History. (I shouldn't gossip, but seriously: the dude needs to behave himself better.)

After the session I walked over to the north east side of campus and found the Emmanuel College library. What a beautiful place! A handful of useful books for my first chapter were there, and although I had put off the trip---this is a part of campus I rarely venture to---it was totally worth it. Once I was done checking things out, I noticed that the Victoria College book sale was on right next door. I've never done any of the well-known fall book sales on campus, so decided to see what was what. There were a ton of good history books (and lots of other stuff, I'm sure, though I didn't pay any attention to it). Twelve dollars later I had few new (used) things to add to my collection. Awesome.

Not long after I got home FN and I went off to celebrate SA's 30th! Good times, lots of laughter, etc. And by 1am FN, MB, and I had arrived at Sneaky Dee's to hit up the dance floor. Unfortunately, this was terrible timing on our part: a dreadful DJ was doing his thing for nearly another hour, and we only had 20 or so minutes at the end to party the right way to tunes chosen by the DJ we came to see/hear. But we made the best of things and when we couldn't take it anymore we reposed to the back and people-watched. There were some interesting characters about that evening.

On the way home we went to see a garden SA told us about . . . the bushes/flowers are, erm, rather erotic. Bizarre.

So when will I write my dissertation? This is unclear at the moment. The popular answer amongst advanced PhD students seems to be, "in fifteen minutes a day!" Hahaha.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fulltime non-dissertator (it seems)

I can't believe the week is nearly over. I've done a lot and yet very little of it is related to my dissertation! Wow. So many meetings and errands and extra-curricular commitments . . . and I haven't even hit up an indie show yet.

This morning started off inauspiciously. I woke up really early and did some work---good!---and then headed off to school for tutorial. I entered the classroom early and waited. And waited some more. No students came. At twenty minutes past the hour (ten minutes after the class is meant to start) I wrote a note on the board and went to check my e-mail. Figured it was possible I missed something. But no, there was nothing. So I went back and waited another ten minutes before giving up completely.

The next tutorial at noon was well attended and went really smoothly. The students had a very interesting debate, and I think I'll really like tutorials this year. Yay! Afterwards I went to Massey for lunch, and then crossed the street to the Munk Centre for an interesting talk. There really is great stuff there. It's just key not to go there too often, or else I'd never get ANY work done. In all my travels thus far I'd managed to run into all kinds of good people I know.

After the talk I ran some more errands, and chatted with one of my supervisors about where we both are with work. Unplanned meetings are good!

But then I checked my e-mail and found out that a bunch of students had been waiting for me at 11am . . . in another classroom! What the hell. A few e-mails later it turns out the room had been changed and the professor sent the students an e-mail telling them this, but I wasn't sent the message. Oh well. Not my fault for missing the class, but I feel badly for the students.

More errands and conversations, and then it was time for dinner at Massey (yes, again). I went so I could meet with the other lecture series coordinators, so it was a bit of a working dinner. The food was decent, if expectedly bland. I can't imagine eating there regularly after having lived with FN. It would be such a letdown for my tastebuds. I had to hang around after dinner to chair the lecture happening in the evening. Did that. And I was home by 10pm. LONG DAY.

So, the day wasn't chock full of stuff, but it was pretty tiring, as you can imagine. I didn't get a lot done; this was unavoidable because of the timing of everything. I did talk with a whole slew of good people, so I can't complain about that. But, seriously: if I'm ever going to get going on my dissertation, I need to stay home and force myself to do it. Monday. Yes, for sure.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indie Music 2

There's again lots on this week---for cheap, I don't do expensive!---and then there's Nuit Blanche on Saturday night. If you are keen on checking anything out, let me know and we can meet up or look out for each other.


I'm staying in, but if you're itching for something to do, I'd check out what's happening at Supermarket (Kensington Market). Ten dollars will get you in to hear Small Sins w/ The I Spies. Otherwise, if folk is more your things, you can go for Pitter Patter Nights #292, $5, at the Boat, just down the street. Playing are Bellevue w/ Sarah Gates, and Jordan Fine.


I'm busy until 9:30pm or so, but I might hit up College St. after that. Two options. First is a show at Sneaky Dee's, $5, doors at 9pm: The Sourkeys' final Toronto show w/ DD/MM/YYYY, Video Hippos, and Numbers & Figures. The Second one is the No Shame show at Tiger Bar, another of my favourite venues. Same time and cover. From the facebook event description:

Europe in Colour: (CD Release)
Cure-esque synth pop, dark and danceable (featuring members of The Ghost is Dancing)

Green Go:
Guelph-ites play deep, punishing synth pulses and a pounding rhythm section that commands a bouncing dance floor.

Lil Pip:
Montreal Teeny Tiny Femme C spits out rhymes with scrappy intensity
(With beats by Tyler Rauman of Montreal's Telefauna)

Tiger Bar is in the basement of the College St. Diner (College at Lippincott). Thursday is also the first night of Ladyfest Toronto 2007, which runs Thursday through Sunday at various venues. More details here.


*** I'm sure there are other things happening, but my pick is definitely DJ Shit la Merde's 3rd Anniversary Party at Sneaky Dee's. Doors 10pm, no cover before 11pm. I will almost certainly go, but probably not until after midnight. SLM is currently one of my favourite DJs.




I am keen to check out Wavelength #382 at Sneaky Dee's. As always, this is pay what you can. Tonight's lineup includes Nathan Lawr w/ Elbow Beach Surf Club, and Ladyfingers. The show set to start at 10pm.

More ideas here and the usual spots.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Teaching is tiring.

As usual, my week so far hasn't proved to be very productive. But not a total waste, work-wise.

My tutorials went well today, I think. I mean, they weren't fabulous, but they went well enough for the first ones of the year. These tutorials should prove themselves to be relatively stress free, though of course I will have to keep up with class readings and get myself to lecture regularly.

JDS just gave me a talking to on the phone about my needing to write my first chapter. And she's right. I just need to do it, and I do actually feel comfortable starting that process now. (I absolutely was in no position to a few weeks ago; now I have a general sense of what my dissertation is about.)

I am hungry.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Partied out.

After pretty much sleeping and lazing about all day Saturday, we went out again, this time to the Boat in Kensington Market. We all love this venue, and wanted to check out the monthly French pop dance party, Zoi Zoi. And so we did. But first FN, JH, and I went to CB's lovely new apartment for a glass of wine, and then a quick bite at Massimo's to gear up for dancing. (The wine was excellent, and so was the pizza. Should do that again!)

Zoi Zoi is a cultural mainstay of Toronto's indie scene, and it mostly lived up to the hype. FN had a great time, and the rest of us had a good to great time ourselves. I found some of the DJing a bit off, which awkward pauses between songs in the beginning, and beats that didn't match up. This, combined with some undanceable music, made for a less-than-stellar dancing experience. Good thing the crowd was enthusiastic and dressed for the occasion---a veritable indie fashion show, with all kinds of interesting retro elements---and we were surrounded by port-hole mirrors and people were know and like a lot. I recommend checking it out if you're interested, but I wouldn't necessarily go again. I'm certainly glad I did go this one time, though.

On Sunday we had to get up and go for dim sum, which was great fun. Some of the same people came out, in addition to other friends of ours. The food was yummy and surprisingly cheap! We crammed 12 people at our table and most of us seemed to be having a blast. I must admit to bad behaviour on my part, though. I was invited to a birthday party at a friend's house this coming Friday, and of course I am looking forward to celebrating with all and sundry. But I also want to go dancing later that night, after midnight. First of all, I think it was uncool of me to make plans to go out later, even though the party gets started early. Second of all, I started talking about my dancing plans to the friend who's having the party, having completely forgotten about it at that point. So I feel like an ass, and I think I am one for what I've done. What's done it done. Sigh.

Our bellies full, a bunch of us went to Moonbean cafe after dim sum to drink and chat some more, and suddenly it was after 4pm! So FN and I ran off to buy groceries in the market before the stores closed.

After a late afternoon nap and a fabulous salmon and couscous dinner, I'm feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the week. There was definitely too much partying this weekend, but I think without the all-nighter after Friday things would have been better. I'll try to avoid that in future.

Tomorrow I get to meet Ursula Franklin. And Tuesday I hold my first tutorial session in two and a half years. Eek!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Up all night.

I had a frustrating afternoon yesterday. Here's to hoping things like that won't happen again. Annoying.

But anyways, I danced away my frustration at the Silver Dollar Room last night. That venue is actually much less dive-y that I thought it would be. It's actually fairly decent inside. (Granted, I did not check out the washrooms.) A whole lot of people I knew were there, which was great! I went with FN, JH, YT, and MB in tow, and then saw CB, CG2, the Woodhands' men, a small handful of Masseyites, two people I went to high school with (!!), AG and her crew, CS's b/f, and a few other people. Crazy. Talk about worlds coming together! It was great. Pretty much everyone who wasn't already in love with the band, fell in love with it.

We skipped out during the second band's set---sorry, BoyBallz---to grab something to eat to ward off starvation. JH and I, despite our thinness, must eat to survive a night out. We picked New Ho King this time around, a much better choice than the place next door. Afterwards, we (FN, MB, and JH) stayed up all night gossiping and gawking in my apartment.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So I'm going to be busy now.

I've recently come to the conclusion that in order for me to be productive and get things done, I need to be busy and have lots of my plate. Although having a bunch of non-dissertation things to do means I have less time to spend on said dissertation, the reality is that when I am not under a time-crunch, I don't get much done. This week I had a bunch of meetings and such, and felt good about my productivity. Yesterday I didn't have any meetings during the day and spent too much time lazing about, checking the internet, etc. So last night, after a great history pub night at the Pour House, I went out for some indie music instead of coming home and doing work right away.

Yes, more indie music! (I hadn't been out to a show since last Friday, so it's not like I'm going crazy with it.) Last night was the No Shame show at Tiger Bar, one of my favourite venues. I went by myself and although I'd met a guy in one of the bands before, I didn't expect to see anyone else there I knew. And I didn't, but I made friends! The evening was great fun. It was nice to see Llions again---they are lovely, and I chatted with the twins after their set. And Oh No! Forest Fires was awesome! The bass player from Five Blank Pages, who looks a little out of place in that band, now has a band where the other members are rocking out nearly as hard as him! Very lively bunch. I'm glad I went, though my ears are still ringing . . . .

In a few hours I'm off to school for a meeting of our student society. There's a new president this year---as there always is in September---so we'll see what we'll see. I love meetings, and have high hopes for this one! ;-)

But the most exciting news of the day is the Woodhands/BoyBallz show tonight!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Indie Music 1

I am going to post weekly event listings---i.e. shows I may go see in the indie(ish) scene. Here's the first edition.

Toronto's indie music scene is my new hobby, so I'm just getting to know my way around. And I don't like paying more than $5 for a show. Here are my plans for the next few days. Call or e-mail me if you'd like to meet up.


A few history profs will be in attendance at this show in Kensington Market: Bill Colgate, Cam MacInnes and Joe Gaitanis at Graffiti's (170 Baldwin), 7-9pm. Pay what you can. I may check it out.

Bill Colgate & The Urbane Guerillas is Bill Colgate, Cam MacInnes, Shiraz Tayyeb, and Joe Gaitanis.


I have to spend some time at the Pour House with history people (fun!), but will likely head down to Tiger Bar later on for No Shame. This is the weekly Thursday $5-cover indie music night in the basement of the College Street Diner (College at Lippincott). This week's lineup includes LLions, Nich Worby, Oh No! Forest Fires, and The People of Canada. I've seen LLions
before. They are young and pleasant. And I'm curious about Oh No! Forest Fires, a new band with Rajiv, the entertaining bass player from Five Blank Pages. From the event description:

The People of Canada: tongue in cheek ukelele boogalooist

LLions: Toronto's young newcommers play New Pornographer's style harmony ladden pop... sweet as pie

Nich Worby: Dimple-cheeked Kingston songster writes melodies to make girls' swoon

Oh No! Forest Fires:
Members of The Primordials, Five Blank Pages INAUGURAL show! indie rock at it's finest and freshest

Doors open at 9pm, but the music will probably start later than that. (The last band's set time is 12:45am.) Did I mention that I love Tiger Bar? For more on this great venue, including instructions on how to find it, see this article.

Or, if you aren't a historian . . . head over to the Drake Underground for Foxfire Forest---fun, danceable, definitely recommended---with Europe In Colour and Great Bloomers. This is the Breast Bash benefit show. $5, 9pm.


***Woodhands and BoyBallz at the Silver Dollar Room, which is on Spadina just north of College. I've been looking forward to this show since the last time I saw Woodhands perform . . . which was last Tuesday at the Drake Underground. This duo (plus vocalist Maylee Todd from the Adorables) is AMAZING live; you can get a sense of their sound by listening to a few of their tracks online. Come ready to dance! Everyone I've taken to see Woodhands has been blown away by them. BoyBallz is loud, wild, and crazy fun. AND, there's a history department connection to one of the band members. Cover is $6, doors open at 10pm, but the music probably won't start until 11pm or so.

If you want something less intense, go see Hunter Valentine at the Rivoli, $6. Better yet, go dancing at the Boat in Kensington Market (Step Ball Hustle, free before 11, presumably $5 after). This is what I'd be doing but for my love of Woodhands. I've had a blast dancing to one of the featured DJs on two separate occasions, and the Boat is a great venue. It's upstairs at 158 Augusta. In fact, maybe you'll see me there after the Silver Dollar show . . . .


Tonight I'll probably head over to the Boat. $5 will get you in to Zoi Zoi, the monthly French dance party. I've never been. More here.

If dancing's not your thing (yet!) go to the Horseshoe Tavern (Queen at Spadina) to see These Electric Lives w/ Everything All the Time, Fighter/Lover, and Love Machine. $8, "Indie Brit Pop." See this interview for more on Everything All the Time.

Or, historian JRS suggests Basia Bulat's CD release at the Music Gallery. JRS says she is "folksy and great." More details, including ticket information, here. And also see this article.


I'm staying in, but if you're into loud music and $5 covers, check out Laughstock at the Boat, or Wavelength at Sneaky Dee's (College at Bathurst), another great indie venue. See here and here for more details about these series and the bands performing.


Musicologist -- and other music-related postings on Torontoist, a useful blog
blogTO -- has regular music postings
Now Weekly listings -- scroll down to "Live Music at the Clubs," and go back later in the week to see listings for the coming weekend

Am I missing something indie, fun, and cheap? Let me know!

Busy day.

Meetings and lectures and talking to people was mostly what I did today. I came home pretty tired after more than 8 hours away. Everything I did was important, but none of it was dissertation-related. So now, after a bit of a break, I'm back taking notes.

Today's work hard, play hard rating: Very good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cold with a cold.

It's been pretty chilly in the past few days here in TO. Monday wasn't so bad, but the couple days previously: brrr! The worst part is that the house is freezing because we don't get enough sunlight to warm the place during the day, and the heat isn't on yet. I've been wearing tons of layers and shivering. It's terrible. I also think that the cold is keeping me sick. I haven't been able to shake this cold yet, which is exceedingly annoying.

This morning I went to go deal with things and ran errands pretty much all afternoon. I got a blood test at the health clinic, and, oh my, I did not expect to be an invalid for hours after. My arm was sore, and it's still not completely better. Ouch!

My new plan of working hard and playing hard is getting off to a rocky start. Errands take up so much time! But I have been working away for the past few hours, so I'm feeling good about that.

Phlegm, go a-way! Ick.

P.S. I got over my feelings of being a loser Sunday night. Granted, I may still be a loser, but it's good that I no longer feel like one.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Feeling lame.

That pretty much sums it up. Not sure what's up with me, but I'm less than thrilled with my existence at the moment. Hopefully I'll be more cheerful tomorrow. Dissertating is hard. And it's very, very cold in my apartment. I'll have to leave it to warm up.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Today I discovered that my dissertation will be about policy. I'd never thought of it in this way before. Huh. But, yeah, organizational and personal policy. Which is cool. And this can tie in with my interest in motivations quite nicely, I should think. It will also leave room for some cultural discussion, though given my narrative tendencies and educational background, this won't predominate. All good things to know.

You might find it strange that I come up with such thoughts now, but there you have it. It comes out of the process of me writing up brief rationales for my chapters. Instead of me organizing them around individual relief and social workers like I imagined I would, I ended up writing about policies, what they were and how they changed over time and differed among the various locales of work. It really will be a work grounded in US-Russian relations. This makes me happy, but also makes it unfortunate that I am not at all trained or versed in US history.

Otherwise, life continues. And by life I mostly mean sickness and socializing. I spent much of the past several days at home. I did get a whole lot of things done, but only little things. There's a lot on my plate this year, which I think is good for me. It will hopefully give me structure to my time, which is certainly something I've lacked. It doesn't seem that I'm good about forcing structure upon myself. But the necessity to dissertate between meetings and social engagements and teaching and general living of life might work well. Let's hope, anyway!

Last Friday night I had fish and chips from a place on Harbord with AR in the Massey common room. Then we went off with JH and a couple Masseyites to the Rivoli, where we met up with CG2 (dancer extraordinaire), FN, MB, LT, and TF for a reggae-inspired show. We had a good time, but a better time once we arrived at Tiger Bar and danced the night away.

Tuesday night saw a bunch of us at the Drake Underground for a filmCAN party. One of my favourite bands, woodhands, was definitely the highlight of the night. My friends who hadn't seen them before were awed, and want to see them again. Yay! It was a super fun evening, and FN and I snagged rides both to and from the venue. (This is why it's good to have friends with cars, and then make new friends who have cars.)

Last night pretty much the whole crew was out once again, this time at Steamwhistle Brewery for Unsigned 3. The RAA was awesome, helped out by the best damn group of dancing supporters a band could ever want. Loads of fun. FN, MB, PB and I (among other people) ended things up by running through the streets of downtown Toronto toward Second City, where we took in some late-night karaoke (for free) before cabbing it home. Odd. I do need to spend less time out---clearly---but I'm glad for all the entertainment these people have brought into my life recently.

Next Friday I'm hoping to bring all my worlds together at the next woodhands show. Until then I will probably be found doing school-related activities.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Back on Blogger.

I haven't felt like blogging in a while. A lot's been going on . . . very little of it having to do with dissertating, unfortunately. I've been seeing more shows, meeting new people---at various orientation events---getting started on new projects and tasks, and generally filling my time with errands (important!) and hanging out (fun!) and being unproductive (it happens!). School is now back on, and soon I will know my TA schedule and will be able to plan my life better. For the past several days I've been ill (ugh! blech!), which has sapped any energy I had for working on anything difficult.

My next manoeuvre will definitely be to write myself a to-do list, and start getting on it. I think I'm mentally prepared to tackle my chapter outline and get it done and off to my committee. I'm eager to start organizing my first chapter!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Quick update.

Been busy with partying and orientation and work for the past several days. More later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I don't have much motivation at the moment to do work. I'm feeling tired and lethargic and uninspired. But I'm also actively avoiding brain work by doing busy-work. Necessary busy-work, but still. I'm really not happy about the school term getting started. Sigh. A few things are up in the air at the moment, which is adding to my unease. I've been whining all day; can you tell? My day started a bit annoyingly, with a request that I don't feel was fair of the requester to request. It's just a bit off-putting, even if it's not a huge deal, and things should be sorted out without any real problem for anyone, I hope.

Went for tea yesterday---yummy, I must say---and then to the Cloak & Dagger for a magic show. My friend's performed better (who hasn't?) but I had a good time, and had a fun time chatting with the assorted crowd before and after the show.

Today was/is cloudy, chilly, and slightly ominous. Fall is certainly in the air.

At the moment I'm listening to assorted indie music and putting together a preliminary bibliography of non-archival sources for my dissertation.

After dinner I'm planning on dragging myself out of the house to meet up with Massey people at a nearby pub. I don't really want to go, but I think it's important to make an effort to show my face at orientation events. I don't want to be one of those people who is never around. They suck. Plus, I'm sure I'll have a good time once I'm there. Also, and somewhat related, I'm starting to realize why most people enjoy drinking on occasion. Huh. I never felt this way before. I guess I'm just in an ugh mood right now.

Monday, September 03, 2007

So long summer.

I skipped out on brunch today to stay home and get some work done. Woke up this morning thinking about my dissertation, so figured it was good to go with that theme. But of course although I have managed to get some things done, I've also spent a lot of time chatting with people (online), running school errands (on e-mail) and reading the internet. But this is just how it goes, so I should get over it. And, if I had gone out, I'd still have work and errands. [End self-justification of not going out and staying in to work but not working as hard as I might have now.]

Later today I am off to HD's for tea and then to a magic show. Very much looking forward to the show. It should be a blast!

I got a bit of work done Saturday and Sunday, but mostly lazed about. Last night I went downtown and met up with PB and CG2 for Sunday Night Live. I'd never been before, and figured I should go take in this particular part of the Toronto cultural scene. It was fun---moderately to pretty funny most of the time---and then we three and the gorgeous other half of PB's band we're scared went to Sneaky Dee's for beer and nachos. It was an early night, and though I made an attempt at work afterwards, I think I only managed to read 20 pages in an hour and a half. Either the Vietnam War is incredibly boring, or 1am is not the best time to read for school. I really need to get myself a routine that works, especially if I want to keep going out. Which I do. Because it's fun.

At the moment I am somewhat unimpressed with myself. But soon I won't have time to think about such things. School---Massey responsibilities, conference organizing, various regular meetings, TAing, and producing things for my dissertation committee---starts up this week.

Farewell summer 2007. It's been fun!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Historians go dancing.

What did I tell you last? I can't remember, and can't be bothered to check my last blog posting. Do you know that Thursday night MB and EH came over to watch "The Virgin Suicides" with FN and I? FN baked a cake (mmmm) and we had a fun evening. Plus, having a party at home meant I didn't have to get dressed up (read: put on jeans). Which is always a good thing.

Friday I slept in late, ran a bunch of errands in the afternoon, took a nap---I think I am now finally recovered from my research trip, sleep-wise---had a gourmet dinner with FN (baked salmon with avocado and mango salad), then went dancing! A handful of us gathered at Sneaky Dee's and had an awesome time. Very fun. It was exactly the kind of music and type of crowd that makes dancing fun. We all had a good time, and danced up a storm. When the music stopped at 2:30am, we realized we were hungry, so we walked over to Chinatown for some late-night eats. The food was good, but the service was slow, and we didn't make it home until 5am. Ouch. But it's ok.

No plans at the moment for tonight. But I don't particularly feel like working. Maybe I should do something school-related today, though.

Speaking of school-related things, I'd like to point out that it can sometimes be a good thing to get involved in things that one isn't involved with. Because sometimes things just aren't happening, as much as one would like to believe that other people have it under control. In conclusion, I like being the boss, or at least like knowing that someone else is the boss. And in this case there wasn't a boss, and the only way to find this out was to ask. So I did. And, good.

I think there should be much more dancing with historians.