Archive for October, 2003

the zoo, amazing place

i went to the zoo saturday morning with my uncle (who came to visit canada) and sanjeyan

every time i go to the zoo, i love it just as much as the last time — it never grows old for me
the zoo is a splendiferous place

i saw this bugger grow right in front of my eyes! he was fairly small the last time i saw him (nearly two months ago), and he used to do a lot more sitting around
he moves a lot more now, and he’s grown rather large

this is aisha, she also grew in front of my eyes. she was much shorter — if that’s anything to say — the last time i saw her she was towering over me anyway
she’s grown less shy, at any rate

now here, these two were just playing with the ropes, the one on the bottom got interested in playing only after the one on top started playing

two of the three famed just-born tiger cubs playing with their mother, brytne

the third one is sitting way off to the left

these animals are awesome

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women, hijab, oppression

a comment i made on degrouchyowl’s web site a while ago was brought into question by someone
so let me now explain it

someone stated:
How patently strange that you people think a western woman exercising her right to choose is oppressed and a muslim woman under a dress code is free–very odd � very pathetic.

and to it i replied:
multi-culturalism is the way to go

diversity vs. assimilation

the non-muslims bring up some important points (though not all are valid) especially this last one
when a western woman chooses, she’s oppressed by the media
when a muslim woman chooses, she’s choosing (choosing not to choose)

multi-culturalism

go canada

what i mean is this, a common muslim argument to defend an islamic state where hijab would be mandatory is “but western women are oppressed by the popular culture and media to conform to rigid standards”
i don’t deny that pop culture has an immense influence upon the standards of dressing of women
however, it is not law
a girl who dons the hijab in canada or america is, by defintion, a western woman
but she has not been forced by the culture or the law to throw away the hijab and adopt the ‘western’ way of dress
on the contrary, her choice is (more often than not) respected by law
[this is not taking into account states like turkey, or france or the province of quebec, where hijab is in many cases not allowed -- i'm talking about canada, as my post says -- and even in france and quebec, the hijabi can take her case to court]

on the other hand, if we go to this ‘islamic state,’ women would be forced to wear the hijab, by law (e.g., taliban’s afghanistan)
they would not have the choice to remove it if they willed, and they would not be able to take their case to court

there are, here, two types of oppression, if that is a proper word to use
in the west, its media influence
in the case of the ‘islamic state,’ it’s a binding law that makes it illegal to choose or refuse the hijab

that’s the point i’m making

but let’s say you have a patriarchical family who’s moved to the west
and the father makes his daughters or wife wear the hijab
here, once again, is oppression

say you have a western family who move to pakistan or something
and the father disallows his daughters or wife from wearing the hijab
then yes, that, too is oppression

but the latter doesn’t happen much too often

of course, there are families where the parents disallow their daughters from wearing the hijab, for whatever reason
that, too, is oppression

i use the word broadly, there’s much to the issue of oppression

anyway, that was my point

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what if…? shakespeare doth spider-man

spider-man, spider-man! doth such all as a spider can.
webs he spins of any size;
robbers and ruffians he therein traps like sweet summer’s flies.
look out, look out! ye wanderers of afar!
for here doth the spider-man come-eth.

what of his strength? do lend me thine ear, bud.
for he doth have that fateful radioactivity flowing hither-thither throughout his blood.
canst he swing from a single, solitary strand of silky thread?
my dear, do turn thine eyes to espy all such as is overhead.
hey there, hey there! ye wanders of afar!
for there doth the spider-man go-eth.

in the chill of dark, dank and dready night,
wherewith hath been committed a most foul and rancid crime,
like the parting of black clouds doth impart a ray of heavenly light,
he arriveth indeed within the very labour of time.

spider-man, spider-man! the well amicable, the good neighbourly spider-man;
the temporal blessings of fame and fortune he is, as such, ignored,
for the virtue and nobility of his deeds are, indeed, his reward.
in his noble, pointed eyes, the very fibre of life is a grand large bang-up,
whithersoever there shall be a reprehensible hang-up,
thou shalt, in very deed, there find the spider-man!

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i like chinese

today, i saw five chinese people who i know
that’s not an all-time high, but i find it significantly banal enough to post here

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the book has arrived

irshad manji’s book — the trouble with islam — arrived in the mail today, along with a media package containing several articles about irshad manji (and one by her)

manji, whose site was last updated october 7, hasn’t yet responded to my request for an interview — but at least i got the book

i’ve started reading it, i already found a spelling mistake (boo hoo)

the complete review will be in the varsity newspaper … eventually

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you read it here first

if genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration
i must be really smart

alternatively

if genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration
why the hell didn’t edison just invent anti-perspirant?
better yet, air conditioning?

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prank polished

i did my research the night before, there was a math tutorial in MP118 that began immediately after my lecture ended in MP203 on friday
i asked adam if he wanted to play a prank — on who? a whole class
so we made our way to MP118
there were several students waiting outside, including a girl from agincourt — who i nodded at (though it took her a while to recognize me)
i decided to open the door, and seeing that no one was in there, walked in
as i did so the girl from agincourt gave an expression that said “that works” and followed and asked “you’re not noaman are you?”
in a hushed voice i said, “indeed i am, but sshhh and watch”
the students entered the class and i went to the teacher’s table
i put my bag on it and proceeded to extract the math textbook and solutions manual (i don’t usually carry it around, but did so specifically for this purpose)
putting on my british accent i asked if this was the math tutorial class, students said yes, i said — i’m your TA
“this class is supposed to start ten minutes after the hour, but we’re here now on the hour — and that’s good, it’s good to be early, but we’ll start ten minutes after the hour from now on”
and before i even wrote anything a girl came up to me and said “i have a question for you — i know we have a quiz next friday, but that day is also my commencement, so do you know what i can do about that”
i simply said “you know what, i’ll get to your question in a few minutes, why don’t you take a seat”
then i turned to the class at large and said “my name is captain nomes” and wrote it on the board
“don’t ask why i have such an odd name, i have odd parents and i am odd myself”
then i wrote my ‘e-mail address’ under it — captain.nomes@math.utoronto.ca
i noticed several students copy down the information from the board
i then turned to the class and said “basically, this tutorial is me answering questions from the book, from your homework — the problem sets. i’m not going to be teaching anything from the course… so … are there any questions?”
a youth put his hand up and asked “yeah, i have a question about a problem in — i think it’s section 2.6 –”
i interrupted him and said “oh, i have a class plan and i’ll be going according to that — i was saying does anyone have any questions about the course in general?”
no one said anything
so for a few seconds i waited there, kept glancing at the door to make sure the real TA didn’t come in
then i asked the class, “how many of you have seen catch me if you can?”
and quite a few of them put their hands up
so i said “well you know the scene where he walks into the class and pretends to be the teacher, but he’s not really there teacher? well i’m not really your TA” and as i switched back to my normal accent smiles sprung up on many faces and i said “i’m actually a first year student in life sciences, and i’ve just played a joke on all of you” and erased “captain nomes” off the board
i then asked “how many of you believed me?” and none of them put their hands up “oh yeah, right, you miss came up and asked me a question about your commencement — btw, i think the answer is that you go and talk to mr. professor lam about it”
a student asked me why i didn’t use the real TA’s name — “i don’t think mr. roberto-gonzalez would be too happy” i said
i then started packing up and said “i’m not even in this tutorial, you’ll find them pretty useless, i skipped mine” and started walking out, adam walked out before me
and before i actually left i turned around, did a semi-bow and put my hand up
all the students were looking at me, some smiling
the agincourt girl was smiling throughout the joke and it was all adam could do to stop from bursting out in laughter

basically a repeat of the prank i pulled on tuesday, but this time better done

unfortunately i don’t think i’ll be able to do a repeat any time this year
because these were the first time the math tutorials took place

perhaps for the CHM138 and CHM139 tutorials as they start later this academic year

lots of fun, more fun than a barrel of monkeys

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boo hoo, mr. eves, boo hoo

music of the moment:
pixies – where is my mind
save ferris – come on, eileen
sam roberts – don’t walk away, eileen

so the liberals got an overwhelming majority government
let’s hope they don’t mess it up

good to know the conservatives lost

however, it is disappointing to see that the NDP gained 5% of the popular vote, but lost two seats — losing official party status

that really sucks

the liberals are essentially conservatives in red coats
the lesser of two evils, so to speak

toora loora toora loorayaaaay

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book

random house canada replied and said i should be getting the book soon

hoorah

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ttc, wherefore art thou?

going back a few days, i was going home with linda and sanjeyan
we — i, actually — decided to take the subway from museum station
i entered using a ttc token, but sanjeyan and linda flashed their student cards (from high school) and submitted student tickets
the ticket collector stopped them and asked “how’s university going for you?”
they said “oh it’s all right”
he confiscated their student cards … telling them they’re supposed to forfeit usage after graduation from high school

whoops!

let this be a lesson to all who still use student cards despite having graduated — perhaps it’s time to switch to the metropass

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