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October 28

October 28

     Until a moment ago, I was suffering withdrawal symptoms. Now, I am munching on the Pepperidge Farm chocolate cookies which I was intending to save for Pam. I have to keep her at least a couple. I’ve had times that I feel vaguely agitated, and I wander around looking for something which I can’t quite identify. But sooner or later, I realize that my goal was chocolate. Sometimes, that realization comes as the sensation goes away and I see that I’ve just eaten two cookies. Sometimes I recognize that agitation after a while, without alleviating it, since it is the only thing which agitates me in that particular way. There are only two cookies left now.

     I’ve been having fun recently, administering exams to students who missed (for whatever creative reasons) their exams in the classes for which I am teaching assistant. You would think that these students would be eager to get in touch with me to arrange writing times, since it is their marks on the line. But no.

     I’ve finally received my inter-library loan item. I’ve never before had to pay a fee to borrow something from the library. In fact, until I came to Edmonton, I’d never had to pay for a library membership either. Since this item was so hard to find, they had to charge me for its attainment. It comes from the esteemed library at Simon Fraser University. Published in 1956, it is a rather odd little tome; only the first section is in English. The rest is in Anguish. The Anguish Languish. What is that, you say?

     I’ll give you a couple of phrases in English, and the same phrases in Anguish, and you’ll get the idea.

     “Gracious! What a lot of words sound like each other! If it wasn’t for the different situations in which we hear ‘em, we’d have a terrible time saying which was which.”

     “Crashes! Water larders warts sunned lack itch udder! Effervescent further deferent saturations and witch way harem, wade heifer haliver tam sang witch worse witch!”

     So, the idea is to use completely different words in the sentence, but to maintain the phonetic structure, so that the original meaning remains. My small manual of the Anguish Languish includes such tales as “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut” (which has gained some fame), “Guilty Looks enter Tree Beers” and “Center Alley”. There are a few songs and nursery rhymes included as well.

Here is an old favorite: (much easier to figure out if you read it out loud)

Hormone Derange

O gummier hum warder buffer-lore rum
Enter dare enter envelopes ply,
Ware soiled’em assured adage cur-itching ward
An disguise earn it clotty oil die.

Harm, hormone derange,
Warder dare enter envelopes ply,
Ware soiled’em assured adage cur-itching ward
An disguise earn it clotty oil die.

     Well, now to move onto other things. A few of weeks ago, Pam and I and graduate student friend of ours named Trudy made a visit to the Muttart Botanical Gardens, here in Edmonton. (Isn’t “botanical garden” a little redundant? I suppose you could have a rock garden.) Anyway, Muttart is housed in four 20-foot tall pyramids, which are basically huge green-houses. Each pyramid is climate controlled to mimic a certain temporal region. (Is that the correct way to say it? I am all confused after watching so much Star Trek, because all I can think of when I say “temporal region” is a rift in the space-time continuum.) So we visited a jungle, a desert, a boring pyramid much like the climate outside, and a “special” pyramid which gets changed monthly. “Special” turned out to mean a colorful flower-garden. Between the jungle and the desert, however, I was able to spot a large number of the houseplants which we normally see quite isolated from their natural cohabitants.

     And finally, on the weekend of October 17 (we left Thursday, and returned Sunday), I accompanied my large lab group from the U of A to a mountain abode in Jasper National Park. No spouses were allowed on this trip, so Pam will have to return with me at some later date. The purpose of the weekend retreat was, roughly, to allow a very relaxed and isolated atmosphere to discuss research ideas and interpretations. To that end, each of us gave a talk about the projects we have accomplished in the last year, and where we intend to go in the next. And before you start to think, “Ya right! Like you did any work while you were frolicking in the mountains!”, let me point out that our talks started at about 8:30 each morning, and we were routinely still hearing speakers at 10pm. That is not to say that we didn’t get a chance to do a little hiking, but just that the hiking was done while our bodies were protesting that they needed sleep.

     I had a great time. This was my first chance to really interact with my fellow graduate students, not to mention my supervisor, for a prolonged period of time, and to get to know them a bit. (although I found out some things which may have been better left unknown) And, it was my first time in the mountains. Spectacular!

     But now, I’m back in flat old Edmonton, mucking with statistics, and trying STILL to edit my thesis for publication.

 There are still two cookies left. I am surprised.
 

Any comments? 

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