High School Boys are PC


Da na na, na na na, Neeeeooooo.

Kou lays out his pencil crayons with precision, the laws of the colour wheel observed (beginning with indigo, as is his preference), before laying out the other contents of his pencil case. It is a new semester and the first day of cultural class in 1-01. He brushes nigh-invisible specks of dust from his new sketchbook.

Yves, Hiroki, and Rob look on with eyebrows climbing up their foreheads. And Yves, realizing that for once he has the chance to make a jab, tries to make one that the other two might appreciate.

Yves: “Kou,” faint laugh, “Kou, what the heck? You’re being prissy, like a girl or something.”

Rob sniggers – Yves waits for the rejoinder. But Kou just frowns. He doesn’t even look at Yves, he stares at his sketchbook and frowns mightily. He selects a pencil. Then he doesn’t speak to any of them for the rest of the day. He stays bent over his sketchbook, even through science in last period, and heads out on his own as soon as the bell goes.

The next day Kou comes to school wearing a purple shirt.

Yves feels a wriggle of discomfort. Kou only wears blues and greys and black and white. Yves’ comment of yesterday simmers and bubbles. Then Kou pauses in his work and takes out a tupperware, which has a pink lid, and he begins eating carrot sticks out of it.

They huddle up two desks over from Kou, all whispers.

Yves: “Isn’t Kou acting kinda girly, all of a sudden? And he’s not even talking to us.”

Rob: “Yeah, like since you said that stuff yesterday.”

Yves: under his breath, “What? You thought it was funny!”

Rob: “Well you said it.”

Terrence: “What’d he say?”

Rob tells Terrence and Eshwar.

Eshwar: snort, “And then it came true!”

Terrence: “Well, if you hit a sore spot…” and his mouth broadens into a smirk, “it’s probably your fault, right?”

Yves: “My fault?”

Rob and Eshwar see what Terrence is about and chime in on the same note. Hiroki also sees what Terrence is about, but chooses to remain bemused.

Rob: “You can’t just say that stuff to people.”

Eshwar: “Way to be an asshole, Yves.”

Terrence: “Go and apologize.”

They have Yves cowed faster than you can say social-justice-warriors. Hesitant, he goes to hover near Kou’s desk. When he glances back, Rob and Terrence and Eshwar are making chivvying motions, and of course it’s when he turns back to Kou that they revert to shit-eating grins.

Yves: “Kou…” Kou doesn’t look up. “Kou, you know about yesterday… I’m sorry I said that, I mean, just because you had things so, um, particular. It’s not like that makes you a girl – unless you want to be, of course! And that would be fine! Totally cool! Organizing things by rainbow is cool too!”

Closer to the front of the classroom, Lana’s head snaps up as she hears this.

Kou makes an annoyed grunt. He stops drawing, leans back in his chair, and finally looks up at Yves. “Did you say something yesterday? I didn’t notice.”

Yves: “Yeah – wait, what?”

Kou picks up his pencil crayon again. Before Yves can process this, Lana comes in like a freight train, leveling a finger. “Hey! He’s not girly for being organized! You can’t be a decent human being in the first place if you’re not organized!”

The others have been listening in, and at this Rob gives a long snort and throws his eraser (which he has not been using anyway) at Lana.

Lana locks onto the eraser and catches it one-handed, a declaration of war. She and Rob glare at each other like stray cats.

Into the mounting tension Kou finishes a stroke of colour, and there is a click of finality as he puts his last pencil back down on the desk. It and all the other pencil crayons are laid perfectly parallel to the edge of his paper. He declares that he has finished his pachycephalosaurus.

His non sequitur fizzles the lightning bolts flashing. Lana carelessly tosses the eraser in the vicinity of Rob’s desk and goes to look at Kou’s drawing.

The next day Kou is wearing his conventional blue shirt. When Hiroki asks him about the purple shirt, and the pink Tupperware, and the vegetables, Kou sweeps his expectant audience with a sneer.

Kou: “That was indigo, you morons. And I don’t pack my own lunch.”

A flip through Kou’s sketchbook would reveal drawings of considerable taste and technical execution.

What I Learned From Wrestling with Confidential MicroData in a Pseudo-Bunker


https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/AHHIY.gif

127 pages, dozens of hectic emails, millions of observations, 4 Censuses of Population and 1 National Household Survey (NHS) later, and still I could give you the findings of my paper in a few points. Consequently, I somewhat resent this culmination of my degree, which ran to more than twice its recommended length.

In 1986, 36.9% of Canadian women did not have a high school diploma.

By 2011 only 8.9% of Canadian women did not have a high school diploma.

At least there are some interesting insights into how some things in Canada have changed between 1986 and 2011. I examined the individual files of women from these censuses and the NHS, and on their files, the number of children in their census family.

  1. Among the total sample of women aged 25-50, higher education had a negative effect on the number of children present. This lessened over time.
  2. Among women aged 35-50, after 1986 higher education had a positive effect on the number of children.
  3. Lesser-educated women may have children earlier than well-educated women, but completed family sizes are turning out to be very similar.
  4. Women aged 35-50 show higher mean numbers of children, an indicator of how women are having children later in life. But this is not true of immigrants. Foreign-born women are probably having their children earlier.
  5. Women’s wages have a clear negative correlation with the number of children.
  6. If a woman is in a common law union, this has a large negative effect on the average number of children in the family.

From 1986 to 2011, the portion of women with college degrees rose from 27.5% to 38.7%.

I’m going to spend some time on voodoo rituals to gain the goodwill of my unknown grader, who will suddenly receive 127 pages (a good 77 more pages than he/she would have likely anticipated) of unfamiliar tosh which simply works toward articulating those 6 points. And although those points form my Conclusion, I found the little facts in italics to be more interesting than the meat and potatoes of my work. It’s the small things, right?

Between 1986 and 2011 the portion of women with degrees above the Bachelor’s level rose from 3.5% to 10.6%.

I hope this essay chokes on my dust as I fly to Japan.

Bubbles


Clubs were a thing of my 20th  year, horribly outmoded now that I am a whole 3 years older. But last night I did something irresponsible.

Instead of continuing to write I went to a skeezy student bar with some friends “just to watch the hockey game”. As fortune had it, I was halfway through a beer when the game ended, and as often happens when people try to coordinate finishing up a pint, it took one or two more pints to get it right.

The skeezy bar had been chosen by one of my acquaintances, whose amazing self-centredness and inability to read social cues makes him the butt monkey who does not realize he is a monkey. He recently got a girlfriend, and said girlfriend had been planning to go a FOAM PARTY at a nearby club after the hockey game, with her friends in tow.

I had been in Kingston 5 years without going to that club. Earlier I had said quite adamantly that I would never go to that club (a sentiment shared by my more socially erudite friends).

As you can probably tell, I was about to eat those words and discover what a foam party actually was. Continue reading “Bubbles”

The Continental Ladies’ Academy


Since Lavender left, school has not been the same.

It was unseasonably warm last week, and though we had noticed her restlessness we were quite shocked when she walked into the classroom without her many layers of undergarments and petticoats, of satin and lace. She wore (now infamous) leather breeches and a linen shirt that looked marvellously breezy. Sister Mary Tortella, not to be confused with the thinner Sister Mary Margaret, immediately cracked her stick on the lectern and told Lavender to make herself proper.

Lavender’s chin went up and she took her seat by the open window. We could tell that if one were allowed to cane royal flesh Sister Mary Tortella would have gladly done so at that moment. Instead she called for Our Lady the Duchess, under whose auspicious guidance our schooling takes place. Continue reading “The Continental Ladies’ Academy”