Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Essay

My Essay on Lyse Doucet
By Claire Brownell

Lyse Doucet is a presenter for BBC World News. She is from Acadia. Her accent is funny because she is from Acadia and also hangs around with British people a lot because she works for the BBC so her accent is British and Acadian. This makes a lot of people say that she is annoying when they comment on YouTube. Acadia means "On account of the beauty of hte trees." in 1604 many people in Acadia died of scurvy. Sometimes Lyse Doucet is a host for The Current. The Current is a CBC radio show where they interview important people. One day I would like to work for The Current too.

I went to the National Archives and they said they had a video with Lyse Doucet in it but I wasn't allowed to watch it because I might reck it and they onely had 1. So I wastched a video on YouTube and Lyse Doucet said that people in Sweden watned to use the Euro in their country. The Euro is the kind of money that people in Europe use. I thought Lyse doucet did a really good job talking about this important issue.

In conclusion i think Lyse Doucet is an important Canadian war correspondent and I also think that I would be a good Canadian war correspondent and that you should let me go to Rwanda to learn more about this important issue.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Medieval torture devices: Part II

Are you there, God?
It's me, Claire.
Please stop picking on me.

Remember, dear readers, when I told you about how I had to get the same tooth filled for the third time in two years, and how this was just the latest in a lifetime of bad dental luck that started when I was seven years old and the only kid on the playground with braces and granny glasses? I didn't even TELL you about the ordeal I went through trying to get a toothache looked at in Laos, when I was taken to a corrugated shack a half hour on a dirt road out of town that housed some stained mattresses, several chickens, and a rusted out dentist chair. "I am dentist," a man in a surgical mask greeted me as he emerged from behind the pile of mattresses. "Please have seat." 

Knowing that my options were to A) Run, and live with an increasingly painful toothache since this was likely the most modern dental institution I would find in northern Laos, or B) Stay, grip the edge of my seat, and get ready to bolt if I heard the sound of a drill, I chose B. Turned out all he did was look in my mouth with a mirror and give me some antibiotics.

You would think that would be the craziest dentist-related story that anyone would ever hope to experience in one lifetime. You would be wrong.

Yesterday I returned to the Carleton dentist to get my cavities filled. He froze my face, told some jokes, and proceeded to drill my teeth open. Partway through the procedure, a nervous-looking woman came in and informed him that there was a patient who had been waiting for hours and there was no one to look after them. 

"Sorry," he said. "We're short staffed today. This will just take a moment."

I was left to bite a cotton ball, watch tennis on mute, and try not to gnaw at my frozen cheeks or tongue. For half an hour.

This happened at least three times. It's a bit of a blur. I can feel my brain trying to block out the memory already.

Finally we were nearing the end of the ordeal. The dentist went to pull out a wedge that was lodged between my molars. His hand slipped. He sliced my upper lip open.

"Oh gosh! Oh, gee! Oh, goodness, I am so sorry! Um. Um. Well, I can freeze that now and put a stitch right in it."

A stitch??? I thought, as I could not talk, my face being frozen and my jaw being held open by a doorstop-like piece of plastic. What have you done to my FACE???

"Or maybe I can just put a band-aid on it..."


"I know. I'll just put the band-aid on and... hey, hey Bill, come over here a second, will you?"

The dentist disappears to have a brief consultation with some other dude in a white coat, who comes into the room, stands over me, and points.

Just stands there, pointing, about six inches away from my face.

After this has been going on for a few minutes, the dentist seems to remember that this may not be something I would expect. "We practice certain forms of traditional medicine at this clinic," he said. "He's transferring his energy to you to help heal your lip faster. Are you open to this?"

"I gueth tho," I said. What else could I say?

Anyway, finally it was over and I went to the counter to pay, traumatized and feeling sorry for myself.

"That will be $375," the woman at the desk said.

I handed her my insurance card from my mom's health plan.

"Actually, $375 is the amount your insurance declined to cover," she said. "Will that be cash or credit?"

So yesterday I paid $375 to spend three hours having my teeth drilled open and cemented shut, wait for other patients to get taken care of, and disfigure my face.

I give up. I am never going to the dentist again.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So radio is kind of cool, I guess.

Last night I was listening to As It Happens and one of the interviews had this intro:

"Psychiatrist Karen Norberg knit an anatomically correct brain. Naturally, we had some questions."

This was immediately followed by the first question: "Dr. Norberg, why did you knit an anatomically correct brain?"

I like it. It's witty. It gets right to the point. It's exactly the first thing you want to know when you hear someone knit an anatomically correct brain: "Why the hell would someone do that?" (The answer is, basically, "Because I could.")

Of course, the second thing I wanted to know was "What does a knitted anatomically correct brain look like?" Which, of course, As It Happens could not answer.

The Telegraph online could. It looks like this:

So I get it. I get how radio can do some things that print can't, and I get how print can do some things that radio can't, and I'm starting to get into the CBC and NPR, and I can actually see how my gay rights in Kuala Lumpur idea might actually work really well on radio.

What I really wish, though, is that I could hire my own personal audio tech and just tell her or him what I want done with my interviews and scripts. So far, I totally hate audio editing. It's picky. It's boring. It takes forever. Maybe it's just because I'm new and I'll like it when I'm better at it. I hope so.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I hope you're having a good laugh up there.

Last week, after hours on the phone with the women's studies department, I received the good news that I would be a TA for Women's Studies 2801: Activism, Feminism, and Social Justice.

Amazing! I had been hoping to TA a women's studies class since the summer. The idea of discussing feminism with a group of wide-eyed, idealistic, and rabble rousing ladies warmed my cynical journalistic heart of steel. Right before the prospect of pounding the pavement for interviews in -35 weather with no buses flash-froze it back into ice.

I met Mega for coffee at Rooster's, and what happened next can ONLY be explained by God mistaking me for ThePeach. This is exactly the kind of hilarious cosmic joke that would get played on her. Maybe her bangs threw him off and he deflected his Hilarity Ray onto the nearest brunette.

Mega: I finally picked my winter term classes. I'm done all my psych courses, so they're all electives.
GinBucket: Ooo, what are you taking?
Mega: Intro to Spanish...
GinBucket: Oh, cool!
Mega: Some poli sci class...
GinBucket: Sounds good!
Mega: Oh, and you're going to love this one: Activism, Feminism, and Social Justice.
GinBucket: *Screams*
Mega: The Tuesday tutorials conflict with the poli sci class, so I have to switch to a Wednesday one.
GinBucket: *Screams*

This proves it. God hates feminists. The Sarah Palin set was right all along. Tomorrow I am moving to Texas, getting knocked up, and spending the rest of my life changing diapers and reading the bible.

Right after I teach my first tutorials. Which, to add to the cosmic conspiracy theory, are apparently not a problem since the other TA for the class also has a student she knows in her tutorial and was going to ask me to swap marking with her anyway.

I am going to look at this as a practical experiment in non-hierarchical teaching methods. Together, Michelle and I will challenge the patriarchal paradigm that sees the teacher as superiour to student. Barriers will be broken down. Structures will be subverted. It's activism in practice, really.

In fact, it will be so non-hilarious that the Lord in his infinite wisdom will get bored and go back to torturing ThePeach. Knock on wood.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Getting older

Last year, I celebrated my birthday on Don Det, one of the 4,000 islands on the Mekong river in the south of Laos. It involved a cake fight, mustard, buckets, and being banned from buying a monkey. You can read about it here.

I said it would be hard to top. I was right, but my friends sure put up a valiant effort. Last night involved a cake fight, guacamole, buckets, and making cleavage out of balloons. If the host of the party had a monkey for sale, I think he would still let me buy it.

Mega and her roommates wrote me a series of poems for my birthday. Here are some choice samples:

C is for Claire
L is for Large Brain
A is for Awesome
I is for I like you
R is for Righteous
E is for your nice epidermis
- The Ginger

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Gingy was nappin
I wish I was too.
- Diver

Overall, I call it a great success. Here's to my mid-twenties.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Medieval torture devices

I'm reading a collection of Hunter S. Thompson's articles. In one about the superbowl, he quotes a football player describing the ritual of being interviewed every day by the same reporters on the same topics as being "like going to the dentist every day to have the same tooth filled."

Know what else is like going to the dentist over and over to have the same tooth filled?

Going to the dentist over and over to have the same tooth filled.

I have a broken filling between my last two left bottom molars. This is the second time it has broken and the third time I have to have it filled. The Carleton dentist says it's because I clench my teeth in my sleep and that I have to wear a mouth guard at night. 

I have a horror of dental devices since going through the miserable ordeal of braces and night headgear from the ages of seven to 10.

If the filling breaks again, I give up. I would rather let my tooth slowly rot out of my face than have it filled for a fourth time. And I would definitely rather be a superbowl football player doing press conferences every day. Quit yer whining, Manny Fernandez.

Also, I just realized that it's been three weeks since I last updated my blog. Sorry, folks. Now that I'm back in school and have other things I should be doing, I'm sure I will be more on top of things.