Sunday, October 3, 2010

The System is Down



My mother is very good at accommodating her three children who are in school, saving money, and on tight budgets. She is also good at making people's lives simpler, especially when it comes to her own birthday.

This year she was even more organized than usual and went to Wal-Mart the week before to look at what she wanted within a student budget. While out with my sister and I, she casually mentioned this excursion and it's discoveries to us, and suggested we may want to pass the information on to our brother.

We were so organized. We made assignments, we had great present ideas (courtesy of Mom), and we even had a week to get around to it. We are awesome.

Fast forward to this Friday. Janine goes to Wal-Mart to buy her present. She also offers to buy Peter's for him; a glass pitcher. While there, she remembers that Mom wanted two in case one breaks. Peter has the budget for one. She changes her present to the additional pitcher, and tells Peter he can pay her back.

Fast forward to Saturday night. Elena is going shopping. The present she had planned is not working out, so she looks around for a quick improvise that her mother will like. Remembering the assignments, she decides to get the extra glass pitcher so she doesn't tread on anyone else's territory. Remembering that Peter has been on the go all day and will not have time to get his present that night, and routinely forgets birthdays, she grabs an extra one for him and figures he'll pay her back.

Sunday morning our flawless system proves full of flaws. We have four identical glass pitchers to provide our mother and nothing else. Thankfully, she has a good sense of humour and laughs it off; saying she will exchange the surplus for what else she wants.

Has anyone else ever had such a disastrous gift-giving?

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Homework is D.O.A.

I love research in any way, shape or form. I love reading, I love libraries, Wikipedia is incredibly addictive; I just love learning random tidbits of knowledge. This is a possible reason for why I am so in love with post-secondary education.

Since starting paralegal school, that is what I have missed the most. The bulk of my marks come from quizzes, exams, and projects where I practice drafting legal documents for cartoon characters. While creating Mickey Mouse's last will and testament and divorcing Ken and Barbie is almost as fun as walking though the art history aisle at the Mount Royal library, I still felt like I was missing something. I love writing essays. I love putting together powerpoints and teachings my classes why Van Gogh was so fascinated with Millet's The Sower. This is of course essential knowledge I like to share with anyone who mentions impressionism or 19th century painting while I am in ear shot.

You can imagine my delight this past Monday when I walked into my first day of Criminal Law. What was that I saw on my outline? An ESSAY?! Life is beautiful.

Wait, what's the subject again? Serial killers? Oh. I think I prefer Van Gogh.

My assignment was to choose a convicted serial killer, write a profile and present it to my class on Friday. I decided this assignment would be manageable if I chose a killer who fit the following criteria:

1. Their biography did not make me want to vomit.
2. I could complete my research without losing my faith in humanity or feeling jaded.
3. I didn't feel like crying when learning about their victims.
4. I could leave class without checking over my shoulder every three minutes on the journey home.
5. I didn't get the creeps reading about them.

After looking up several killers, I came to the realization that no multiple murderer is going to pass this criteria, so I looked for a non-body mutilator and chose the Ken and Barbie Killers. With normal research, I would discuss my subject, but believe me, if you don't know, you don't want to.

On Monday night, I went to a bonfire in a city park for my church group. Here is some advice: when you have been researching kidnappers, rapists, and murderers all day, it is not a good idea to go walking through a park after the sun has gone down. In fact, it is probably best to not walk anywhere. Sensing that I was jumpy, a friend of mine pulled out his pocket knife and spent a part of his evening teaching me self-defense. Another insisted on walking me to my car. To think I thought I was consumed by my research before.

The rest of the week followed a pattern of me grumpily doing research, jumping at any sudden movements, and completing my project with a new appreciation for my parents, my friends, and generally the fact that I am alive, happy, and incredibly sheltered. Today I presented my findings to the class, and got into the swing of showing off my not-so-eagerly-acquired knowledge. Now I am celebrating the end of the project and the discovery that I never want to work in criminal law. I think I prefer taxes.

Tonight, I think I'll go home and watch Disney movies.