Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Students in my program

...are idiots. Control freak idiots who like to look a gift horse in the mouth. To wit: last night was the first class in my Public Sector Finance and Accounting course. I think it will be pretty interesting, if only because it will hopefully arm me with the tools to figure out HOW THE NDP PROPOSED TO PAY FOR ANY OF THE PROMISES IN THEIR PARTY PLATFORM! Don't get me wrong, I voted NDP (even if I told the nosey parker kids on my street that who I vote for was none of their business), but I found the general lack of critical discourse during this election discouraging. I heard tidbits like, "My whole family votes Conservative and I want to tell them why it's wrong, but I don't know why" - QUE?!? You don't have to look very hard to find plentiful information on why the Conservative Party is kind of the worst, but I would rather an informed vote (even if it's a vote for a party I don't support) than an uninformed adherence to dogma any day. Scary.

I feel like the Liberals and the NDP pushed their luck. Guess what? 99% of people DON'T CARE if the government is found in contempt of Parliament because Parliamentary protocol and Constitutional conventions don't mean jack shiz to your average Joe! Also, the hyper-capitalist state in which we find ourselves is not conducive to people being able to rationalize away their fear of increased taxes. I blame Apple and the clever way they disguise rampant consumerism. Of course people are going to vote Conservative because they believe the story (however erroneously) that the Conservatives are going to put more money in their pockets at the end of the day so that they can do what? BUY MORE STUFF THEY DON'T NEED! People just want increased disposable income so that they can continue to go away on expensive vacations and buy loads of crap and they are willing to sacrifice the gradual erosion of reproductive rights, government transparency, and social programs they think (however erroneously) they don't use/need. It's sickening. This coming from someone who spent a good chunk of yesterday working on an Excel spreadsheet to do some economic forecasting in the Dotytron Lagerfeld household for next year, on the assumption of full time salaries for us both, that resulted in a monthly spending money allowance for myself of $250 (the Dotytron got $270.) LOL!

That amount DOESN'T include such essential money-eaters like: clothes for me, clothes for the Big Yam, diapers, home renos etc. Ah well, we've been making do with a lot less this year so far and we've been doing okay.

Anyway, back to the original story - the prof for the course had set up the marks so that we have 3 small in-class assignments and 1 final 20 page term research paper, that's to be done in a TEAM. When you tell me that, my internal monologue/calculations go something likes this: "15-20 pages / 4 people per team = 3-5 pages per person : 3-4 hours of work MAXIMUM!" That to me, is a pretty good cost-benefit analysis especially once you factor in that this is a SUMMER COURSE. WHO WANTS TO DO WORK DURING THE SUMMER?!? Well, apparently these chuckleheads do. No sooner had the prof outlined the expectations then hands shot up with people worrying that the work distribution wouldn't be equitable and they were concerned about how to manage working collaboratively and blah blah blah. I was like, "GUESS WHAT? WORKING IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR MEANS THAT 99% OF THE TIME YOU HAVE TO PRODUCE REPORTS/BUDGETS/SUMMARIES/BRIEFINGS AS PART OF A GROUP!" "P.S. DON'T YOU REALIZE THIS IS WAY LESS WORK, YOU IDIOTS?!?"

Finally it was decided that they would make the group work optional. So I got myself a group of people who are pretty blandsville and have NO concept of thinking creatively/critically. So it's going to be tough. They're kind of dummies who probably write the most boring papers of all time (case in point, out of the long list of potential topics - they wanted to research either public sector pensions or Ontario toll highways. *shoots a bowl of pudding*

There's a presentation component to this group paper, that was originally slated to be 15-20 minutes long per group. Then the class was in a tizzy because it turns out that our last class is actually a half class, followed by a cohort wide bbq up on York campus ("cohort wide bbq on York campus" is actually an anagram for "Lagerfeld dipsetting while shouting 'DEUCES!') so then the class of idiots is freaking out going, "but there won't be time for us to present wah wah wah!" and I'm like, "why don't we do an information sharing session, where each group informally talks about their research and findings for like, 5 minutes each?" and the prof liked my idea but you could tell the class was skeptical. I'm like, guys, you are way too committed to your boring, uninteresting, Power Point presentations on your boring, uninteresting, unoriginal research topics. SHEESH.

The Hollywood Complex was also a really good documentary. The premise is that every year, during the 12 or 16 weeks when television studios are shooting pilots ("pilot season"), hundreds of kids come from all across the U.S. and stay at the Oakwood short term apartments to try to audition and get cast. The Oakwood has established itself as a home-base for these displaced families (often supported by a parent at home, while another parent - usually the mother - uproots her life and accompanies the children), with classes and workshops on how to cry on cue, or meetings with Dakota Fanning's agent, etc. The film followed a few kids staying at the Oakwood during 1 pilot season and it was that perfect mix of funny, illuminating, and sad - some of these kids just had no chance in hell and it was kind of weirdly fascinating/abhorrent to watch (in the same way watching exposés on child pageant queens are). It's considered a miracle if you get a call back and like winning the lottery if you actually get a job - none of the kids did. You also saw one little girl who with her mom, is an Oakwood anomaly in that they live there year-round and have for the past 3 years been supported by a father in Missouri. It was heart-breaking when they would get rejection after rejection and finally the mom said, "what am I supposed to do? I'm going to stay because it's still better than taking her back to that 1 stoplight town in Missouri," - the American dream in all its perverse, celluloid glory in action.

Last night for dinner I made us eggplant bharta, green beans thoren and brown rice. Leftover brown rice is getting recycled tonight into a steak burrito bowl (I'm all about my rice bowls lately).

Here's a shot of Monday's black bean and spelt burgers (on our favorite bread product, Pita Break One Buns) and Baked brownie sundae (toffee bourbon sauce, vanilla ice cream) that we had while watching HBO's Game of Thrones.

Bonus photo of the Big Yam BLW himself some green beans. BLW is a messy, messy process that tries my anal-retentive cleanly soul.

Dodgeball tonight!


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