a hedge around the law

If there are two things that BYU's Honor Code is missing it's the prohibition of kissing in public and financial incentives for obeying. Thank goodness that Southern Virginia University has rectified these oversights. Their honor code, according to the official rhetoric "uplifts an individual not only when classes are in session, but on weekends, during breaks, and throughout any period of absence from the university". I guess it could do that. Or it could crush you.

So, here's the link.

Let's break some things down, shall we?

  • no gossip? even if it's all in good fun? who gets to determine if a rumor is "harmful"?
  • election-tampering is specifically named. Why? was there some political boss of SVU who had to be taken down?
  • "Pay your debts on time." Odd? yes. Necessary? Only when speaking about student loans that are coming due
  • PDAs are out. But so is sleeping in the same room as someone of the opposite gender? Guess those trannes-to-be will have awkward times explaining why they have to sleep with the girls.
  • only make out if you're married? I thought PDA-restrictions were Puritanical, now they're even robbing us of our dark corners.
  • what if a boy is married to a boy in MA? Can they "lie down with each other"?
  • since when are cds R-rated?
  • Do not, if you have any scrap of respect left for this school, read the residential living standards. There's a rule about three people at all times during a visit. Ugh.
  • "Do not consume more of a prescription drug than was prescribed to you." Moms and doctors everywhere are cheering this bold stance. Plus, it's obviously a matter of virtue to not double-up when you miss a dose.
  • Where's the thinly veiled homophobia?

Now, let's think about the dress and grooming standards. First of all, I love how most of these are written as statements of fact (e.g. "Men wear swim trunks that are not form-fitting") and not rules. I mean, they may be true in some cases, but I feel they do not always hold (I know a lot of men who wear make-up).
  • They say "Hair in a naturally-occurring color" and then, just to avoid the argument that the rainforest produces some awsome neons clarify with: black, brown, auburn, natural red, blonde, grey.
  • "Clothing that covers from the shoulders to the knees" Why not just go the route of the burka. It'd save a lot of hassle.
  • "Pre-existing tattoos must be kept covered as much as possible, including during participation in athletic activities." Sure they believe in repentance, but only if the sins are hidden very, very well.
  • "Consequently, these standards are to be followed, not challenged." This is one of the scariest, vaguely evil ideas in all of this.

You can read more about penalties, including fines, here.

They close the appendices with a quote from the 13th Article of Faith. Though, in their case it should probably read like this:

“We believe in agreeing to being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, well-groomed circa 1950 and in doing good to all men (including informing on them so they can repent). We might, if pushed, say that we follow the admonition of Paul (as far as it is translated correctly). We believe all correlated things, we hope all things, we have endured many things (including an world ever increasing in sin) and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. Unless it's found near things that are profane, lewd, R-rated, gossipy, drug/alcohol/coffee-related, or insulting. Then we avoid it.”

Note: there's a librarian position open at SVU? Do I hate myself enough to go for it? I think I might.

Boring scandals

On Sunday, I went hometeaching. My companion, on the way back from the appointment, somehow turned the topic to missions. I think we were talking about marriage or something. I distinctly remember sharing the story of my cousin who returned from Brazil in July and was married in December. But, at any rate, he's talking about his time in Russia (if I understood his mumbled reply about where he served correctly), and says something along the lines: "This one guy in my mission, if even half the rumours about him and his girlfriend were true...man...I don't know how he could be out with some of the stuff going around"

Secretly, I'm hoping he'll go on, but he lapses into silence for a bit. Then, he does continue. "The best known one was that, when they met, it was right before finals and so, to prove their love to each other," he pauses at this point to make a left-hand turn. I'm thinking, yes? details, please.

"to prove their love, they decided to fail their finals." Oh. That's not interesting. That's just stupid. And it doesn't really suggest that he shouldn't have been a missionary. My thrist for gossip was not quenched. It's too bad because in this case, I'd get the juiciness but not have the guilt of even knowing who the person is. Alas, no such luck.

Reasons to hate Edmonton

For about the last two weeks I have been strangely sad about the prospect of leaving Edmonton. I'm not sure if this means I'm actually starting to like it here or if I'm just scared spitless about moving again and having to learn a whole new city (or extrapolating from my current employment options, a whole new hamlet). The sadness isn't constant, like it was when I was leaving SLC in January. Instead, it comes and goes at random points. I'll be stopped in the train over the frozen river and bam! it comes. Then it'll disappear once I step outside into the frigid air but sneak back in when my prof uses the term "Canadian content". Or sometimes it'll just be something as simple as riffling through the four pounds of coins I always seem to have on me to find a dollar. That used to piss me off. Now, it sort of makes me nostalgic, if one can use that word to refer to the present.

So, I need remind myself of things I won't have to worry about once I leave this cit (and Canada). Therefore, a list of things I'm not going to miss:

  • Walking to the store when it's below zero degrees out and then schlepping home ten pounds of potatoes because all five pound bags are gone
  • Constantly having to convert from metric to imperial. If I never have to times by nine, divide by five and add 32, I'll be just fine. Or trying to figure out how many grams of limeade is equal to six ounces
  • Living in the 1985 house: no caller id, no Internet connection, dark wood paneling, very few overhead lights, and a tub with decorative butterflies that are peeling from the floor
  • Being convinced, through an evil process, that 41°F makes a day "beautiful", "warm", and "near perfect"
  • Doing stupid assignments that are completely fake and totally useless. e.g. the proposal for a process for a plan for an imaginary library
  • Filling out income tax returns for two national and three local governments (as I'm doing this year) or just two and two like I did last year
  • Paying for a library card (ok, ok, it is only twelve bucks and I more than get my money's worth, but it's the principle, really)
  • Not being able to go to Wal-mart for all my cheapskate needs (typically the "speciality" stores, like Staples, are cheaper than Wal-mart)
  • Being in possession of no fewer than four bank accounts to deal with my money
  • Feeling the compulsion to convert all prices into "real" dollars
  • The utter lack of cinnamon bears
  • Being terrified of needing anything medical-related, as I haven't the foggiest how the system here works and I'm too lazy to find out
  • Not understanding, even fleetingly, how the political system I live under works
  • Answering the question, over and over again, "why on earth did you move to Edmonton?"
  • The relentless, debilitating physical torture

Ok, that last one's a lie. But replace physical with psychological and you may not be too far from the mark. But then, it's mostly self-inflicting, so moving won't really solve that one.

A little piece of hell

The other day, Wednesday to be precise, I had to go pick up some bagels. Part of my duties as secretary to the Student Association is to set up "bagel days", the healthier descendant of doughnut days. These are lunch-hour session where a professional organization or other group come and tell students a little about themselves. I advertise, introduce and provide bagels. Providing bagels can be tricky here in Edmonton since bagels don't seem to be as popular as they are elsewhere. Which means that I had to do a whole lot of calling around while keeping in mind that I would have to actually get these bagels without the aid of a car. That tossed out the really cheap place on the southside, but tentatively kept in the place on the west end. This place, Bon Ton Bakery, would give me a discount if I bought 10 or more "units", which means 10 or more dozens in bagelry. After vainly trying to find a more convenient location, I gave in and ordered from them. However, the cost difference wasn't great enough without the discount. So, I ordered 10 dozen bagels. Two shy of a gross.

Now, the hard part came in the transportation. I had only 1.5 hours between classes on Wednesday to pick them up. Given the bus situation, I had to leave school at 12.15, arrive around 12.30 and be back to the bus stop by 12.45 in order to make it back in time for class. I'll say upfront: that was accomplished. It was a bit dicey, given the huge puddles I had to wade through on the sidewalk because Edmontonians apparently don't understand effecitive use of gradients. And, to make it more pleasant, the puddles had ice on the bottom since it was just above freezing. I bought the bagels and crammed them into a shallow box that was probably four feet long.

In case you're wondering, 120 bagels isn't very light. It's not opppresively heavy, either but I wouldn't want to carry it far. Looking every bit the fool, I schlepped these bagels back to the bus stop. Now, here's where it gets very, very painful. I'm fasting for Lent. I also, as it turns out, adore bagels. So, here I was starving holding 120 bagels (of which a grand total of about 80 would be needed), and waiting for a bus. To make matters worse, the bagels smelled even more delicious than typical. I set them down on a bench and stop apart from them so as to not be tempted. But I had to endure the bus ride back with them on my lap.

I told Petra the idea of carrying 120 bagels on the bus made me weep. It did not, as it turns out. The logistics were smooth. However, having "bagels, bagels everywhere and not a one to eat" was (almost) tear-worthy. I have, in some small degree, learned the pain of Tantalus.

Cross-border distinctions

I was on the phone yesterday with my mother and I mentioned needing to call someone in the States. She asked if I had enough time left on my calling card and I replied, "yeah, it's got about 85 minutes." She then, without a hint of irony, asked, "is that Canadian minutes?" I realized what she meant: minutes calling from Canada to the US and not domestic minutes. However, for a brief moment, I imagined that those sixty divisions of an hour were like the Canadian dollar. They'd be a little more colourful, a little shorter, and worth just a little bit less.