Ah, Fuck It

I don't have time to be messing around with XML right now, and I couldn't get the commenting and ads working the way I wanted to quickly enough, so I'm just going back to a classic template for now.

There are things I like about the new template, though, so next time I have a week or so to spare I'll see about switching. For now, the main advantage to the classic template is that the XML is composed mostly of tags I recognize, whereas with the new template it's almost entirely custom blogger tags that I've never seen before and don't have time to spend learning.

So, yeah, back to the beginning for now.


Café Scientifique cet après-midi

The template upgrade isn't going as smoothly as I could have hoped, but it's going. TY to the Lingering Poof for all his advice.

In the mean time, however, I have an afternoon and evening of excitement planned. I will be going to my first ever Café Scientifique. Apparently they're once a month in Toronto. That's exciting. This month's topic is "Love in the time of science… Is romance just the right mix of genes and chemicals?" which could take a very Jared Diamond-like view and therefore be interesting, or could be all postmodern and dreadful. You can find the poster here(pdf). If I'm inspired, I might blog about it tomorrow, but in the mean time any Torontonians who are free this afternoon should come out. It's at the Rivoli Tavern at 334 Queen St. W in Toronto.


Something Smells Like...

As you may have noticed, there are some changes going on here. I've upgraded to the new template and chose a slightly different template, because I felt like there was too much wasted space on the left side of the page before.

Right now I'm in the process of putting back the various elements that were lost in the switch, so bear with me for a bit.


And So It Goes

When I was in middle school and highschool I had an English teacher named Mary Ann Duffy. She was an articulate, no-nonsense shit disturber. She was also the only English teacher I have met who had any brains at all.

I remember one of my first classes with her in grade 7. I was at a new school, hadn't really made friends yet and was nervous as hell, and she laughed at my joke when I answered her question "what kind of clauses are there other than a subordinate clause?" with, "an INsubordinate clause...?"

I remember laughing when we were reading Midsummernight's Dream and came to the line where Lysander says:

You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him
(This is when Hermia's father is trying to convince her to marry Demetrius, but she and Lysander want to marry each other). And I remember Mary Ann appreciating that I laughed, and agreeing that it was funny (to the bafflement of my classmates who, I think, all thought Lysander was asking a question).

Mary Ann fertilised the writing seed Mr. Eckler had planted in me in elementary school, and she encouraged me in all the things I needed to be encouraged in. She thought it was important that we all speak our minds, and I think she saw it as a part of her job as English teacher to give us the tools we needed to speak our minds as effectively as possible. She taught us that it was possible to be diplomatic without compromising our message. She also taught us that sometimes diplomacy was not what was called for.

Some years after she had left the school, I learned that she had died of a brain tumor. I was very sad, not so much for myself, since it had been years since I'd seen her, but because the world needs as many Mary Anns as possible.

Then, just recently, I discovered Molly Ivins. When I saw her speaking in the Dildo Diaries, I realised that she was channelling Mary Ann (or maybe Mary Ann had been channelling Ivins). Mary Ann was exactly the type of person who would have had zero patience with the "dipshit stuff" that Ivins talks about in the video. Reading Ivins' columns, I heard them in Mary Ann's voice.

The more I read Ivins' work, the more I realised that, while Mary Ann was gone, and that was sad, we still had Ivins, and that made it just a little more okay. Watching this video that P.Z. Myers is promoting, I realised just how much Molly Ivins was standing in for Mary Ann in my mind.

At this point, the only thing I can think of to do is to make sure that when I grow old I'm as crusty and witty and articulate and funny as Mary Ann and Ivins were. When I grow old I will say precisely what I think, and I will never be too afraid.

I just hope they can forgive me if I can't do it with a Texas accent.