Monday, July 21, 2008

My Plea

The following is an email I sent to various Profs. at Memorial University of Newfoundland in hopes that they will consider my plea and allow my life to progress:

Good day.  My name is Brad Squires and am looking for a Prof. to take me on as

an independent student doing an independent study.  I will keep this brief as I

am sure you all are busy.  I am one course away from obtaining that piece of

paper that will allow me to further myself professionally.  Currently I am

living in Calgary and am doing distance courses via MUN.  I need one more

English 4XXX level course to graduate in January '09 and am hoping beyond hope

that someone will be willing, and adventurous enough, to accept this plea.  I

am willing to do whatever I can to make this as smooth and beneficial as

possible.  I realize that this is an odd request but I have exhausted all other

avenues, i.e. 4XXX courses from other institutions are not transferable and the

only 4XXX level course offered this fall is the one I am currently doing

(English 4261).  I cannot stress my desire and need in words so I will not. 

All I want is a chance to finish something that I have worked so long and hard

for and apply what I have learned to the "outside" world.  Some of you may

remember me, some not.  Regardless, my aim is to offer you a chance to do

something different for someone who desperately needs it.  Give it some thought

and let me know how you feel.  I shall be testing the virtue of patience in the



Brad D. Squires.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Turning 30 and the rest.

Today, I turn 30.  I am quite excited about this for I see it as an opportunity to make up for lost time in my twenties.  As I sit here drinking a Heineken and listening to Damien Rice, I realize that I am beginning to feel a tad tipsy and am looking forward to making a cd for those who wish to listen.  It is about time that things begin to develop on my terms, or at the very least the illusion of that.  I wish I could be where you are, whoever you are reading this.  I would like to publicly state my love for the letter D.  I would like to be home and have the illusion of friends.  I would like to have a chance to prove what I know I can do.  I would like, and shall, to a lot of things.  Are you with me?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mr. McAsh and His Family Secrets/My better .5. Part 1.

Today began a little different than most.  Our cat, whose name has been changed for identity protection purposes, "Salamander," or "Sal," decided to produce an abscess on her ass sometime ago, not tell us about it and, in some odd way, break it.  I noticed the excretion on the floor and alerted my better .5 to the issue.  So, we jumped into 6th gear and got tough ol' "Sal" to the V.E.T.  There she was taken care of very well and is home now with a necklace of sorts and some medicine for her trouble.  In the midst of all this I had to find time to study for a Sociology mid-term this coming Monday.  However, circumstances yet again dictate the amount of knowledge I allow into my head.  The owners of the house, of which we rent the basement "suite," decided to do a little yard work.  So out comes the pressure washer, on goes the vacuum cleaner, Yap Yap Yap go the 2 Pugs and there went my relatively quite afternoon to study "Mr. McAsh and his family secrets."  I did try and recover by venturing out "Into the Wild" to sit beneath a tree, but alas, the mosque-itos saw lunch and bullied me off their lot.  So, book and notes in hand I tele'd my better .5 and informed her that I will be making my way to her place of part-time employment to try and salvage whatever I could of this rather complex afternoon. 
On my jolly trot to her area I began to notice the lush green grass, the porch/veranda dwellings, the two car garage, the tools belonging to those who, at the very least, look like they know what they are doing, the modern vehicle occupying a drive-way or spot on the side of the road, and realized something.  I have none of those "things."  I have nothing that I can "fix," nothing that I can "mow," nothing that I truly need any type of tool for.  And in my realizing what I do not have I also realized that in order for me to attain these "things" I need to get a better, more secure, J-O-B; a career to be more accurate.  Now I am sure that the few that actually take the time to read this will condemn me for wanting "things" but it is not "things" in a material sense but more of "things" in a established-putting roots down-starting a family-kind of sense.  I could care less what I wear, or if my hair is of a current style or if I even know what the current style/trend is.  What I do care about is having a place for my better. 5 and I to call our own.  To finally see something for our effort(s).  Is there anything wrong with that? I did not think so.  Can you believe all of this took place in a 5 minute span? Yeah, I knew you could.
So, on my walk and intense thought-capade, I saw all these "things" and passed a gated area where children were playing in a sprinkler style area, their parents close by to monitor consent, calmly participating in idle chit-chat with other parents and realized, yet again, that this is NOT what I want to happen to my better .5 and I.  I thought segregation was over with.  I honestly felt like I was on the outside of a very prestigious party.  "It's like she's lost her invitation to the party on earth" Ed Vedder sings in "Breakerfall," and I felt like I lost my invite at that moment.  I know, I know, I cannot and should not compare my situation or status with others, but a moment of weakness found me and decided to pounce.  Although my desire has subsided, for now, and I did get to study a little, I cannot seem to shake the fact that I am a little behind in the game of life and desperately want to keep up.  Now to add insult to my already selfish injury, the "owners" have their fire pit blazing outside while I sit and write about all the things I wish I had to practically no one.  For no one, or at least very few, will ever read these words.  I hope I will be proven wrong by you.
Ultimately, I hope for "things" to improve and my better .5 and I will enjoy some sort of comfort in the years to follow.  "Edjication, you got ta git yer edjication," I was told over and over, and I am.  Close to my degree in English, I hope that a piece of paper will grant me access to a greener lawn, forget pastures. And to all those who say that "things" only temporarily fill a much more deeper void, well, perhaps you are right.  But it is the American & Canadian way to want and temporarily fill voids with "things."  For we a culture of "things" and we allow ourselves to be defined by the "things" that we own, or at least wish to.
As for "Sal," well, she'll be just fine.  Odd, she's the one with an abscess on her ass and I'm the one whining about, as the late and great George Carlin said, "stuff."           

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A prof. has many faces.

I enjoy University and the life that comes with that.  I like learning from people who are passionate about what they are teaching.  It helps the material sink in.  During my years at MUN I have been fortunate enough to be taught by some interesting and intelligent people.  And for that I am grateful.  However, as appreciative as I am I must admit that the many faces of a professor are what interests me most.
I am sure that there are many students who can relate to one prof. in particular, a mentor of some kind.  Unfortunately I cannot narrow my influence to one person.  There are however, those who have caused me wonder in how they direct their insight unto their pupils.  
It is understandable that there are various methods imposed when it comes to teaching.  This has been evident since I was a boy.  The difference is, one would think, that as the student progresses into University life, s/he would be granted some type of leniency for their own thought process.  For it is a Universities place to allow and stimulate a person's growth intellectually and socially, this is what I believe.  During this growth it should be understood that an institution must recognize said person's development and adjust that accordingly.  However, it is in this "adjusting" where a problem lies.  Do you believe it proper practice to publicly condemn a students efforts when they are clearly showing initiative? Do you believe it acceptable to undermine a students confidence by stifling their development in order to align their thoughts in accordance with your own? I do not believe all profs. do, but I have been witness to some.  I am aware that they feel the need to direct a person's thoughts and answers into a constructive message, and for that I am grateful.  But what I do not agree with is the occasional time a Professor decides to profess that a student's interpretation is wrong.  For how can an "interpretation" be wrong? Perhaps if they read The Grapes of Wrath and thought that the purpose of the novel was to show how the Joad family were solely responsible for nature's devastation.  However, if one was to read an article and suggest something that the prof. never thought of or saw in one way, then it seems that they prefer to "correct" something that need not be corrected.  A form of Hyper-correction in the most extreme case, in my opinion.
That said, and as I have mentioned previous, I understand the methods of the prof. and have benefited from them.  For if it were not for the mistakes I have made and the correction they suggest then the meaning of this piece would be pointless.  Ultimately, I think that professors need to respect the ideas of the students and nurture them into a more well-rounded, positive manner instead of treating them like they have just committed manslaughter.  

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Consideration" has 5 syllables

As I sat, read and ate my lunch like a good little employee today I was subjected to the rather unthoughtful ramblings of a young co-worker.  This person, for lack of a better word, took it upon herself to inform me, and another co-worker, about the sexual habits of yet another co-worker.  Now this is where it, and I, get quite ire.  Whomsoever believes that it is their right or business to exploit or generate rumors about anyone deserves to have their busy mouth weld shut.  This person had no cause to divulge the information that was told to her in confidence, as most of these admissions are, and for her to callously spew another person's preference to anyone is a crime that should hold serious consequences.  After all, have we nothing more important to speak of besides those who decide to live their life the way they choose? Is this, or any of you who do this type of thing, a way of gaining some interest into your life? Is this a pathetic shot at maintaing your hard fought foothold in an atmosphere of back-stabbing and manipulating? If so, I hope the air in your atmosphere chokes you into submission and you feel the wrath of words rein down upon you.  To those who desire more, find it by living your own life the best you can.  In the meantime KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT about things, especially people, whom you know nothing of.  We have too many politicians and "reality" shows to do that work for you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cruise Control

Oh so sorry for the title here but it has me wondering just as to why we are concerned for Mr. Cruise and his current status? "Entertainment" shows are littered with his explanation of the couch jumping incident that happened so many years ago, that it has me wondering about the way in which we view control over our own lives and perhaps even those whom we live vicariously through. What is it about the celebrity lifestyle that consumes us so? Is it that we find control over the building up and tearing down of someone's career while in our own personal pursuit we fall short or feel unable or ill equipped to muster the strength to change? I have had discussions with friends and have heard many people's opinions on this matter but it still has me wondering just what is it about our culture and/or society that we have this incessant need to create and destroy at our own desire? Granted, the person in question has done certain things that has left us scratching our heads and generated much in the water cooler conversation area, but why is, years later, that we are still talking about it and judging his person from his actions on one particular day or section of his life? It seems that we relate this person's actions to those of a deviant. He has acted in such a way that the society in which he has participated has set up boundaries in order to deem what is and is not acceptable, in terms of behavior, and in doing so have "marked" or "asterisked" him, and many others as being "weird" or "different" or "strange." Words that are not only dismissive and misleading but also attach themselves to that person(s) and haunt them throughout the rest of their career, creating a halo effect. It appears the only recourse to their actions is to either admit outright that they were wrong, or go into hiding for a period of time only to emerge as a recovering drug or alcohol abuser who is suffering from depression, probably brought on by the stress of the "words/labels" mentioned earlier. Apparently, this then evokes pity or sympathy for that person in question, and we tend to rebuild what we had torn down.
So, I ask again, is it the act of control that drives us to be so consumed by the celebrity lifestyle or is it the lack of control in our own lives? To recap, my main concern is not Mr. Cruise or his previous or current "actions" but more of our reactions to his actions. I have only used Mr. Cruise as a guide, for he seems to be the "topic of the day," to demonstrate what I believe to be a more pressing issue. That being our infatuation/obsession with status and the lengths, either real or imaginary, we go to in order to achieve or even taste what we perceive to be a more sweeter life then the one we are living. By all means comment, destroy, rant or muse about this.