August 25, 2006

Today I said goodbye to my best friend and constant companion of the past eight years – my beautiful dog Isis. I couldn’t have asked for a better dog. I’m going to miss her warm body curled up beside me at night, her big brown eyes (and their impossibly long white eyelashes) looking up to mine, her soft white head peeking around the corner, her giddy galumphing down the hall when I returned home. She loved playing tug-of-war with her leash, car rides, making snow angels in the winter, chasing tennis balls and never bringing them back, resting her head on your lap, disciplining her array of stuffed animals, and snausages. Isis won over cat people and dog-phobes in minutes with her big dopey grin and calm affection. She made getting out of bed every morning a pleasure, her smile broke my heart, and I can’t begin to imagine my life without her. I love her more than I knew I knew how, and I’m going to miss her in ways I can’t even predict. May she finally be in a place to catch the rabbits she’s been dreaming about for so many years.


Excuses, excuses

August 16, 2006

I’d like to claim that blogging’s been sidetracked by tweaking the blog’s appearance, but I can’t take credit for its newish veneer (with the exception of actually taking the photo at the top). Those props go out to the boy that lives down the hall (his blog is much swankier, I aspire to a swanky one myself someday), who’s about to depart for a teaching gig in Spain and leave me to fend for myself against a house full of white pets for the next four months. Other things have been keeping me busy lately, namely revising, revising, revising. I’ve got a workable draft now, excepting a methods section that I still haven’t figured out how to write. Part of me wants to adopt an air of snooty defiance (“I don’t have to explain my methods to you!”) but then I’d never pass. Pragmatism. My birthday is this weekend, which is both exciting and sad. Not sad age-wise, since I am eternally young and vivacious, but because my birthday’s always meant that summer is almost over. Even though I’m not teaching this semester it’s still a return to school, or at least the feeling that the school year has started and I can’t get away with nearly as much slacking. At least in the interim I will have presents to console me, and a ceremonial birthday pie – strawberry rhubarb (my favourite). Mmm… pie…

best store name yet

August 10, 2006

(spotted while walking to a meeting this afternoon)


August 4, 2006

One of the courses I’m teaching this coming year is an introduction to Canadian film and television. I taught a similar course at Brock in 2005, but focused specifically on Canadian television. I love teaching, so it goes without saying that I had a great time and am really looking forward to throwing some Canadian film into the mix this time around (if nothing else, I’ll be able to expose more people to Ham and Cheese). Canada’s cultural policies, not surprisingly, play a huge role in the course just as they have in our cultural production, for better or worse. My background and interest in television means I’m more knowledgeable about broadcasting policy than film production, which has a fairly obvious patriarchal and pedagogical bent – a propensity for proclaiming what’s best for Canadian audiences that often results in embarrassingly unpopular programming. Don’t misinterpret that, I love and will passionately defend some Canadian television (KITH, DaVinci’s Inquest, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein – which Space is going to start airing again in the fall to my immense delight, Degrassi, Prisoners of Gravity, This Hour Has Seven Days, and Straight Up, to name only a very small handful), but others really shouldn’t have ever made it past the programming directors. Canadian television production and broadcasting policies are intimately bound up in nationalism, the idea that our cultural products are capable of expressing a uniquely Canadian identity in the face of an overwhelming American presence in our popular culture. We’re not the only nation-state to adopt this strategy – Australia and New Zealand are also battling to retain public broadcasting as a form of citizen glue – but as Graeme Turner points out in an article I read this afternoon, our proximity to the U.S. makes our situation significantly different. He says, “This is a geopolitical context in which a national television regulatory system has very limited possibilities, but in which the representation national difference is fundamentally important for cultural and political reasons. So, what do you do if you want Canadian television to do more for the Canadian community than it does at present?” It’s a good question. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, both in terms of how to teach Canadian cultural policy in a way that acknowledges both its positive and negative impact, and from the perspective of someone who’s got a sitcom script at the back of her head. The increasing transnational movement of media means that there is no longer an easy equivalence between television consumption and national identity, yet it still persists in policy and in commentary. This makes it hard to get students to look past seeing television texts as simple reflections of Canadian identity that magically build a cohesive citizenry. With no other framework readily available, Canadian film and television remain tricky political and cultural texts, and I mean that as a compliment. It’s why Bon Cop Bad Cop is on my must-see list.
You might also want to check out Dead Things On Sticks, and the Museum of Broadcast Communications entry on Canadian television.