Monday, January 30, 2006

A Feist to DIE For

Here are some pictures!

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William , or "Big Bill" (aka Dan) and Dorothy, or "Dotty" (aka Eva) . She was the crazy sister and he was her husband.

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Chris Lester, the playboy good-for-nothing son (aka Sean), Eleanore the secretary (aka Caroline), Robert, the business associate (aka Robin), and Candy the slu--fashionable next door neighbor (me!).

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Candy, her daughter Desiree (aka Katie), and Robert. Candy appears to be accusing Robert of something at this point.

We seem to be missing pictures of Mark Lester, our gracious host! I didn't have my camera that night, so I have to wait for others to upload their pictures...

PS: Please let me know if this makes my blog look funny again...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Last night, Victoria Lester was murdered with sodium cyanide when she was dining with her 8 closest friends.
Who did it? Was it... her husband? ...his business associate?... the secretary?... the rich divorcee next door?... her son?... her sister?

All have motives... all are suspects!

The game consists in debunking the murderer. There are four scenes: in each scene some new incriminating evidence is revealed about every character. Only the murderer is allowed to lie.

The potluck dinner was amazing; pasta salads and meatloaf and scalloped potatoes (oh my!), topped with pie and well accompanied by wine the whole night through.

The characters, too, were amazing: the husband was looking quite dignified in a black suit and bowler hat (mine), the playboy good-for-nothing son was lurching 'round in tight purple pants, his shirt collar popped. The sister was wrapped in, at the very least, 6 different scarves (I'm going to have to post pictures, her costume was so good that it's indescribable), and her husband was in full cowboy attired-- hat an all.

I was cast as Candice Minter-- but
you can call my Candy-- the rich divorcee next door with an amazingly body and looks to kill. So what if the plastic surgery cost millions? I'm not afraid to show it! Dressing for the part, I wore a very borrowed, very short skirt, and a tight black top. I covered myself in dollar store jewelry, including a tiara worn upside-down as a choker (one word of advice: don't do this. It hurts).
Ahh, what an amazing night. On serious drawback was that-- creepily-- the murdered woman's name was Victoria (hearing my friends saying "I loved Victoria... she will be dearly missed" was something, let me tell you). On top of that, her sister's name was Dorothy. Even weirder: Dorothy's husband's name was William.
Eww! Ew!
If there had been characters named James and Christine, I would have felt stalked.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Some conversations I had yesterday, which still make me giggle today:

Nick: Man, Sam has the worst sense of direction of anyone I know.
Me: I got lost in a depaneur* with Sam last night, actually.
Nick: What? Please tell me it was the Simmons** of deps.
Me: It wasn't so much the size that did me in, rather than the fact that I kept on going in circles.

*Depaneurs are really tiny food stores full of all of the essentials for the lazy student
**Simmons is a gargantuan clothing store here, like J.C. Pennys

Dan: Yeah, my iPod broke a few weeks ago. (sighs)
Dan: Want to see my new one though?
Me: You got another one? Let's see it!
Dan pulls out a walkman
Wow, I haven't seen of those in years.
Dan: Yeah, I've got some really good tapes.
We start drawing the Apple logo on the walkman and writing "iPod" on it
Hey, I can lend you an Ace of Base tape, if you want. That's pretty much the only one I own, though.

Carlo: Hey guys! Did you know that they created a pig whose every cell contains the jellyfish gene for fluorescence? It's a green, glow in the dark pig!
Jason, Jon, and I: That's so cool!
Sarah and Dan (i.e. non biologists) roll their eyes

Cookie Potluck

Last night I celebrated being "an adult" (or, rather, an adult wanna-be, seeing as how I'm 19 and not 21) by hosting a cookie potluck.
Vegetables? Not allowed.
Fruit? Out of the question.
Meat? Get out of my apartment!

We only accept cookies here.

The spread was amazing; soft chocolate chip cookies, petit sables, peanut butter reeses cookies, plain peanut butter cookies, and the elusive (but truly delicious) zuchini cookies! Dining in style, we even had a nice bottle of "Chateau Bessie, cru 2006" and candles.
Okay, so it seemed like a really good idea at the time.
Trouble is, 10 or so cookies later, none of us could really stand the taste of sugar any longer! Today, I have heaps of cookies littered around the apartment, and I don't even have the stomach to eat them...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Verglas et souris, entre autres

Wow, what an eventful and exhausting day. The weather has been completely insane here in Montreal. Last night it was "raining" ice pellets the size of skittles. It's just warm enough for the rain to be liquid, but the actual pavement was below freezing, so the rain freezes on impact. The result? About half an inch of rock solid ice covering everything this morning. It was horrific. Also, hilarious. I regret not having had my camera on me (some memorable shots: people walking bow-legged on the sidewalk attempting not to fall, the crooked lamp-post where a car had crashed the night before, the hordes of police and firemen who were posted at every intersection to help people cross...). Some pictures can be found here. It's a good thing my camera wasn't in my bag though, as I wiped out really badly quite a few times (a friend thinks she saw me wiping out on the news... she's taping it for me!), and the camera would undoubtedly be broken. I already had to take my phone apart and let the components dry separately!
So the sheets of ice were not appreciated when I climbed UP des Pins and DOWN Peel street (or, rather, slipped), only to discover that my class had been cancelled.
I did find out that I was still expected at work, so off I went, laboriously climbing back up the mountain! Work was exhausting today, but amazing. I finally finished running my gel! I feel like such a big girl, even though my adorable lab partners held my hand the whole way through. The results were pretty poor as far as results go, but I'll cut myself some slack as it was my first time.
I also met the mice today. And killed them. It was so much harder than I'd expected. My friend Heather just stood there uncomfortably and told me that I'd get used to it eventually, but you've really got to ask yourself if what you're accomplishing is important to justify animal sacrifice. It's pretty tough on the morale, but at least we gas them now, as opposed to breaking their necks. I can't even envision myself doing that.
As for dissecting their ovaries! Ha! That's finally something I did last summer that's paying off. It's comforting to know that I'm not completly inept in a lab!

In other news, I dyed my hair blue (I changed my profile picture), managed to get a bank card (finally), and went to a Feist concert last night. It was amazing! What a voice!

Monday, January 16, 2006


I got pick-pocketed!

I can't beleive this!

It was on the bus on my way down to campus. I still can't believe the audacity of the pick-pocket-- he unzipped one of my back pack pockets and fished the wallet out. It wasn't a full bus and I didn't notice anyone particularly fishy, so I must have let my guard down.
What annoys me the most about all of this is that it was the most useless theft ever: I didn't even have a loony in my wallet (I'd done laundry the day before). Come on. At least pick someone who looks as though they'd have to money on them. I am a student.
Actually, what annoys me the most is all of the stupid "demarches" (not sure how to say that in english... steps, maybe?) I need to take now: call and cancel the credit card (check), stop by the bank to cancel and obtain a replacement debit card, get a new student card, try and get a replacement driver's license (nigh impossible), etc. etc.
Argh. Aaaargh!

PS: I've been told to remain hopeful. Perhaps the card just fell out of my back pack (yeah, right). Perhaps someone found the discarded wallet and is handing it over to McGill's lost and found. The credit card hasn't been used since I lost the wallet... but it's cancelled now anyways.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

25 degrees?!

On friday it was ten degrees and raining. Today this sun is shinning and it's -15 degrees.

Yeah, I don't understand it either.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

First day at work

Tuesday was my first day working in Dr. Clarke's lab. It was exciting, and also very nerve-racking. First days are always the worst: you're scurrying about being generally useless but nevertheless attempting to make a good impression. I had no idea where anything was, or how to do anything for that matter. I started off easy, making solutions (everyone hates it, but at least all it requires is for me to mix various ingredients together... if I mess up, no one has to know), but today I began learning how to make and run gels. Tomorrow, my lab partner France will be ordering some mice for me, and on Friday I should be learning how to collect the oocytes and extract the proteins.
It would really help if any of my previous lab experiences were relevant to the tasks being set out for me, but, unfortunately, they aren't.
Thank goodness for my friend Heather: she's the one who told me about the job in the first place. She came in today and lead me through everything: showing me where things go, giving me protocols (something else that drives me nuts: everyone has "their own way" of doing things, which just leaves me confused), etc. I feel so stupid though, hopeful I'll learn something eventaully and stop being a nuissance.
My schedule is rather brutal. Extracting the oocytes, making and running the gels, and all that jazz are lengthy procedures. I should be in the lab from noon to 11PM, and from 6PM to 9AM, depending on the days. I get to chose what day I come in on, and how often, but considering my class schedule (9AM to 5PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and how much I want to get accomplished before the end of the semester, I don't really have that much of an option...
I'm beginning to freak out a little bit. Why do I always bite off more than I can swallow? It must be a family thing.

In other news, it's raining here. In mid-January. In Canada. Who says global warming doesn't exist? I'm reading Oryx and Crake at the moment, and the protagonist mentions how it hasn't snowed in his lifetime. What if, by the time I'm old and wrinkled, snow will really be obsolete?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a Happy 2006!
Funny, I still think of the 2000s as space agey... the sci fi stories of my childhood promised me hover crafts, time machines and universal spikey hairdos by now. What a let down!
As for resolutions, mine are to call my family more often (the weeks of no news are a thing of the past), and at least attempt to read some books during the school year. As soon as my classes pick up, my reading drops pathetically. But not this year! What are yours?
My vacation was absolutely amazing, if not entirely restful. My father's side of the family was having a big reunion in South Africa, so I finally got to see them again (ten years later!) or, in some cases, meet them. Family is amazing. Here are people I hardly know, by normal standards, and yet feel so much for. I discover that some of my quirky mannerisms aren't that quirky after all-- that it all runs in the family. What a wonderful feeling. I just hope that I won't have to wait ten more years to see them again...
I also stopped by Madagascar as well. It's really shocking to have to travel from Madagascar to South Africa: the two countries are so close geographically, but development-wise could be seperated by decades. Antananarivo is as it always is: a sensory overload. A jumble of shacks, children with dirty mouths, pousse-pousses, tire sellers, darting chikens, crumbling colonial houses, busy streets... there's just too much to take in all at once. Every moment I spent there was tinged with the vague feeling that this might be the last time I will get to experience this; I most likely won't be going back this summer...
Now I'm back in Montreal, and the weather is actually warmer than I expected! I really shouldn't jinx it though. Ironically enough, when I went to South Africa I missed my friends and Montreal, but now that I'm here I miss the amazing beaches and my family! I guess you just can't have it all.

PS: Does my blog still look strange? When I check it on my laptop it looks fine, but when I was in Madagascar the posts were displayed at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Traveling Blues

Hates planes. Hate airports. Hate lost luggage.

Hate travelling in general.

I'm home. Now I go sleep.