Sunday, October 31, 2004

On travelling...

I was so preoccupied this afternoon making a mental list of things that I couldn't forget to bring with me back to Hamilton that I forgot about 5 things that I thought were too obvious to forget. Never underestimate the memory of Jennifer Van Breda. Or should I maybe say, never overestimate. As the cliche goes, I'd forget my head half the time if it wasn't screwed on so tightly....

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

From the producers of "Reality TV: A contradiction in terms?"....

...comes A Degree of Degradation. This hot new reality TV show made it's debut last night at 8pm, to critical acclaim and much applause from viewers.
A Degree of Degradation was filmed on the campus of Redeemer University College throughout this past week. The aim of this programme is to point out the uniformity of Reality Shows, ranging from the casting bias to editing-room bias to, of course, the bias of entertainment.
Co-director and producer Rebecca Barnhoorn commented, "Blood, sweat and tears went into this production: I pricked myself while we were casting and I started bleeding, both Jenn and I were sweating buckets when we presented it, and Jenn was (more or less) crying when it seemed as if the final product had been deleted."
There has been reports of national syndication for A Degree of Degradation, but they have yet to be confirmed. For scheduled viewing times, please call The Shack or leave a comment on this site.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

My Inadvertant Career as a Model

While touring Britain for three weeks this past April, one of my dear companions took photo after photo of Sam, me, and the English/Welsh/Scottish countryside and cityscape. If he had his camera in his hand, chances are that he was taking pictures- even if the camera was behind his back. In May, he sent an email informing us that he was going to be putting on an art show in the Gallery at Redeemer, and would we give him permission to use pictures with us in them?
There's one of Jenn in the cloisters at Durham or Salisbury, I think, with the face being pretty much the focus of the picture. Oh, and one on the castle mound with Jenn way off to the left side and too tiny to really recognize.
I'm not quite so sure what I think of this yet, but of course I gave permission, I think he's a great photographer. However. The picture of me in the cloisters...sketchy. I don't think that I've ever seen myself look more confused in any other picture, and he's making it the focus of the picture? huh. Goes to show I'm not an artist.
Anyhow, the point of all of this is: The opening for Joel's show, British Isles Through The Digital Eye, is on Oct 22, this Friday evening at 7:30. I can't go, because I'll be enroute to Toronto to hear the Ely Cathedral Choir sing, but I encourage people to go and check it out- I've seen what he can do with his camera, and there's some beautiful shots!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Like, totally!

Last Christmas as I was getting a ride back to Belleville with a friend of mine, I heard something that struck me as odd. We were conversing about marks or something that's not significant at the time, and my friend said, "I definitely almost failed that exam." It was strange, I had never heard the word definitely used in a context such as that. In high school I was constandly hearing phrases such as "that was some definite spillage," but this was new. I thought nothing else of it until I returned to Redeemer in January, and Rach said "I definitely got that movie for Christmas two years ago!" You either get something for Christmas or you don't, how can you definitely get something for Christmas?
I heard the word used several more times before I went to England, and upon my return, it seemed as if everyone had jumped on the definitely bandwagon.

"We definitely have to go to the drive in this summer!"
"He definitely just ingored me!"
"I definitely had strawberries in my lunch."

When I was just starting to tire of the over-usage of it, I definitely started to use it myself. The more I heard it, the more I said it: it's a viscious cycle.
"Definitely" can be defined as without question and beyond doubt. Using that definition, the sentances above still make sense, but it seems like an unnecessary qualifier: "I without question and beyond all doubt had strawberries in my lunch." Really. I'm happy for you. I wasn't really questionning or doubting that you did.
Do you remember the days of "seriously" and "totally," and even "like"? Definitely perhaps sounds a bit more "refined" than seriously and totally, but it is employed exaclty the same way. "We seriously have to go to the drive-in this summer!" "He totally just ignored me!" We use these three words exactly the same way, even though they have quite different definitions: Really intending what is said; being in earnest, not jesting or deceiving; In a total manner; wholly; entirely.
Even the placement of the word as moved with the new usage of it: "we should definitley keep that recipe" to "we definitely should keep that recipe." Why the change?
Why do we feel so much that we have to qualify everything that we say? Can I not be trusted that when I say "I had strawberries in my lunch," I actually had strawberries in my lunch? Is it actually possible for our conversational language to exist without words such as that popping up all the time?
I definitely hope so, I'm seriously getting tired of saying and hearing these words, and I totally think that we need to think about the words that we use and the significance of each word to what we're saying.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Silent night, holy night
and I open my thin curtains and expect
to see snow; white and piled high on grey tree branches
and so detailed that if I reach out to catch a frozen
white crystal on my warm fleshy
finger I couldn't begin to draw the sharp
complex edges before it melts into a little puddle
on my finger.

Do you hear what I hear
and I want to open my window
and rest my elbows on the cracked vinyl
sticking my head out the window so I can see the frozen breath
pour out of my mouth and red nose and taste
the woodstove smoke in the air. The quiet tinkling
of the snow landing, like soft raindrops on crystal
will form a melody with the icy wind
that sneaks around the corners.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
and I see the rain snaking
down the window, dis-
torting my view of muddy
grass and the weatherman
says a balmy
sixteen degress

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Messiah

December 3 (at Redeemer University College) and 4 (Downtown Hamilton), Redeemer Concert Choir will be performing the complete Handel's Messiah. This is the first time that the choir has been able to sing a programme twice at Christmas, and it's very exciting to look forward to! Although there are twice as many tickets (becasue of the extra performance), they are selling quite quickly. There are still some tickets for students available for $7, but once they are gone the price for students will be $14. Just a reminder: if you want to come hear the choir sing (which you all should), get your tickets pronto or you'll be sitting under the balcony, which are honestly the worst possible seats in the house. Call the Redeemer box office or stop by the office!

So how do you *know*?

I think that most people who know me can attest to the fact that I like to have quite a say in what happens in my life. Granted, I don't always shine when making decisions, however if you want to see me pissed off, don't let me give any input.
Whether it is in friendships, relationships, classes, trip planning, or even making dinner, I like to feel some measure of control of what happens: I like an ordered world. (you wouldn't be able to guess that by looking at my room, though.) Things have to make sense to me, and if they don't, I think about them until they do. Some might call this obsession, I prefer to label it as "Over analyzation."
Over the past year, Kenny and I have made the decision to go to Japan, or some other Asian country for a year following graduation. When asked what we're doing after grad, the usual reply is "Well, we're going to go to Japan for a year to teach English as a second language so that we can have a new experience and make lots of money to pay off our OSAP." Sounds logical to me.
However. More than once in the past three months, I've opened my Bible to the book of James and a little passage catches my eye every time:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't to it, sins. 4:13-17

Let me tell you, that is a very intimidating section to read when it mirrors exactly what you have just been telling everyone. So let me amend that: If it is the Lord's will, Laura and I will go to Japan. But how do we know that it's the Lord's will, one way or another? I struggle very hard with the issue of hearing God. I very much have come to believe that God has given us common sense, a more "general" revelation of himself, if you will. If I waited to do something until I knew that God was telling me "It's ok," I have a feeling that I would never do anything! Is that just a lack of faith on my part, though? Or is there truly something that I'm just not getting when praying?

You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not recieve, because you ask with wrong motives... 4:2-3

Does that mean that when I ask about Japan and don't get any response, that that is a response in itself, because my motive for going to Japan is to pay off my debt? Or am I asking completely the wrong questions?
There are so many things in this life that I don't understand. I don't understand why I, at 21, have to go home for Thanksgiving and see my father suffer as much as he does, to the point of having to move into a nursing home shortly. I don't understand why some people have trouble keeping job offers from cluttering their desk and why my brother, who has a family to support, isn't offered one job. So basically, I don't understand a plethora of issues, and this one just seems to be cropping up right now: can we know God's will when he doesn't tell us?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

What's in a name?

At long last, we the girls of 1043 Upper Wellington have named our house. I'm sorry to say, Andy, that the chosen name is not "Smellington Wellington," I hope you can get over that. Anyhow. My dear housemate and the future Mrs Snoek thought long and hard, and fittingly came to the conclusion of The Sugar Shack. Good times will be had at the Shack, this I promise.

Sugar, Oh honey honey:
You are my candy girl,
and you've got me wantin you!


Saturday, October 09, 2004

To be completely honest,

I love talking to people, but I really don't enjoy spending large portions of time in academic debates or discussions. Many a time and oft have I argued with RobJ about the differences between him and me academically, but it has only been within the past few weeks that I have been able to put my finger on why the differences exist. Rob is (along with a host of my other friends), in my opinion, an intellectual. Why do I consider him an intellectual?

Well, let me describe what I consider the intellectual students. They can frequently be heard in the hallway, classroom, livingroom or cafeteria pondering the accuracy and role of history, debating the validity of philosophies, and arguing the docterines of theology. They make a hobby out of their courses: they read books of philosophy and history during the summer for fun and never seem to tire of it in the least. They can pull something completely arbitrary out of a reading and make it the thesis of the article. They are the students that walk into class and ask important questions and make references to two different philosophers and a historian when answering a question in an English class. I'm not in any way trying to criticise them: I'm just proposing my view of the "intellectuals."

Suffice it to say, then, that I'm not an intellectual on any level. Yes, I like learning- that's why I'm at Redeemer. However much I'm intimidated by my courses, I enjoy them and I love my profs. But. (there's always a "but.") When I step out of my classes, sometimes I'll chat with my friends about my courses, the implications of what we just learned, and sometimes I'll just catch up with them and what's been going on in their lives. I dn't have a burning desire to spend an hour arguing about liturgical worship. When I read an article, I'm afraid to say that, despite being an English major, I basically just read the article and can't seem to find the gift of "reading between the lines." I love reading my novels, and could probably spend weeks on end reading Atwood, Munroe and Wodehouse, but I really hate disecting books. I always have.

This is not to say that I don't have any academic ambition: I promise you, I'm not simply a lazy student. I'm just not an intellectual. I love words, and I love talking about words. I have been lamenting for the past two years that Redeemer has managed not to have a Latin programme. I would love to sit down with Dr Loney for as long as it takes and learn everything he knows about etimology. This fascinates me, and granted, this is the one area of academia that I could chat about for hours outside of class. Except that I don't have the knowledge base required to do that. Anyhow.

I don't want to disappoint anyone with the information that I'm sharing here, I just want to make it clear that although a huge amount of my friends are intellectuals and I love them for it, I'm not one. If you've put me in that box, I'm sorry to do this once more, but please take me out of there. (I hope that's not another one of your first impressions gone out the window....)
The trees in Hamilton are rapidly exchanging their various greens for the bright hues of yellow, red and orange. There is one yellow branch in the middle of the oak tree in our front yard that glows through the rest, as if it's on fire. A burning bush.
The drive along the 403 was magnificent at 9am this morning, the foliage along the road showing off brilliant colours while RobJ blasted his favourite Gloria.
East of Toronto, however, there is only a brownish-yellow and a green. I was rather looking forward to coming home and visiting the Frink Centre or the Presque'ille boarwalk with my family, trudging through the fallen leaves and admiring the leaves still clinging to the branches. It gives me hope, however, that come reading break, the leaves will most deifinitely be cashing in their chips in Gilmour. (I think that the perfect opportunity for Martin-crashing would be about that time.) Imagine, the whole of Gunter Lake reflecting those colours. Gliding a canoe across the still surface in the early morning, the fog lifting to reveal entire forests on fire with change. Forget Reading break, I want to go now!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Love's Labours Found

A friend of mine from Atlantic Baptist University has just informed me that the ABU Administrator of the Oxford Programme will be at Redeemer on Friday, and that he will be bringing along recordings of our award-winning production of "Love's Labours Lost." It should be interesting, considering the fact that I believe that it's a copy of our dress rehersal, not the actual performance. But I could be wrong. In addition, it also apparently contains a recording of our Valentine's day variety show. I think I'll have to watch this tape before I show anyone else....

I just recently received an email from Rich's aunt Susan, with whom Sam and Joel and I stayed for a few nights in Ely, just outside of Cambridge, England. Her husband Ron is in the Cathedral Choir in Ely, and that choir will be coming to Canada for a tour this month. They'll be singing in Toronto on Oct 22, mark your calendars! I'm not sure of the cost, but I know that it will be worth it. I went to a large number of Evensongs throughout England and Scotland, and this choir was one of the better ones, as far as I'm concerned. It could be that I was biased, actually *knowing* someone in the choir, but still, I thought they were fantastic. Definitely not the sort of choral music that you'll have regular access to here in Canada. Let me know if you want more information, I'll see what I can find and pass it on from there.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Here and there

"I hate going to readings. I try to avoid them if I can help it: I think it's so boring, listening to someone else read!"

Interestingly enough, the above quotation came from Joy Kogawa last night at a reading of hers that I attended. I wasn't sure if she was trying to tell us that we were boring people for coming to listen to her, or if she really didn't want to read to us, but whatever the case, it was an enjoyable reading. Obasan, her most recognised book, was on my reading list for Canadian Literature in my second year. To be quite honest, I don't quite remember the book very well, as I dedicated most of my attention that semester to The Handmaid's Tale. However, I went with Diana, and enjoyed myself. Joy is a very petit little lady, with a great talent and a resolute mind. She began her reading by giving a little spiel about her opinion of war: in essence, there is no such thing as a Just War, nor will there ever be. Following, she read quite a striking few chapters from the end of Obasan, detailing the immediate effects of the bomb dropping on Japan, imagery that I think will be forever ingrained into my mind. It's at readings like this that I wisht that I had a small audio recorder: my mind needs things written down immediately so as to not forget everything entirely.

This evening, I attended Craig Bartholomew's Inauguration Ceremony. The choir was, at one point, supposed to sing Beati for this, but we were squeezed out of programming. Shame. Seeing some people on stage made me remember something that my mom told me: when she took her philosophy course at Trinity Christian College, Justin Cooper and Jacob Ellens were both in her class, and her professor was Calvin Seerveld. Now that's a fun class, eh? Apparently the former two were the eager participants in the class....
Anyhow, I learned a new word tonight: Putative. I'm not sure if I know exaclty what it means, yet, as I have no dictionary. I'll check it out tomorrow. Fascinating speech by Craig, though I'm afraid a large portion of it went quite over my head (surprise). I was quite impressed that I could recognise several names that he threw out, and even that I could have a bit of back ground info on them. I'm not a complete lost cause, I think. Once again, I could've used an audio recorder. Anywho. I've exhausted my brain for the day.