Sunday, August 23, 2009

University Days

Darius is to blame for getting this post going about a week earlier than I thought I would be doing it. I wanted to get some things together but what the hell. I write about what motivates me at the moment so enjoy.

The same thing happens to me every year about this time. While everyone is ready to go back to a new school year, I take my pilgrimage to the University of Alberta in Edmonton to just walk around the campus and sit in the Rutherford Library and just soak up the atmosphere while its still quiet. I just couldn't go there in early September since I would never be able to leave. That vibe of students rushing to class and buying books and researching papers is one of the best feelings I can imagine. I loved my time at University. I got to take classes in things I was fiercely interested in. I once was in a seminar with 5 people in senior Classics studying the state of the Roman Empire at various times in its history strictly from the gold content in its COINAGE. How freakin esoteric can you get? My senior essay in Classics was on Greek influences on Roman imperial administration (I KNOW..WTF?). Sitting in that office with Professor Time (not his name but he was ancient also) as he nods his head repeatedly as I go off on things I had found in the bowels of the Rutherford Library - books that had not been signed out in 80 years - was thrilling beyond measure. I have touched the University's Mummy. I have worn ancient battle armour and wielded weaponry that has been bathed in blood. Can a person die from SIGHING too much because I am on a serious sighing role right now? Here are some great pictures from the campus.

Below is Hub Mall. One of the most unique structures on the campus. You can see its a narrow mall with great food, book, clothing and record stores (when those were around). You could get the best hot chocolate and my personal favorite - Pineapple Dream Squares. Those doors you see up above were actually for student housing. People who lives there could look down on the mall and the cacophony of sounds and life going on below them. Us down below could smell the exotic dishes of the international students that often found themselves living there. My dad once met me there for lunch in his military uniform since he was doing things with the Edmonton Garrison. Within a half hour we had several long haired, sandal wearing, anti-war debaters engaging him in civil discussion about the role of Canada's military in the world. That got him so charged (and the man loved to learn despite originally have only a grade nine education - he got his grade 12 the same year I graduated) that he went home and took several classes at Red Deer College in law and history. We were all really proud of him for that.

I remember that I was always the "movie guy" of the group. I thought I knew everything. Took several film study classes and it was great to get an education in the total history of film for the Lumiere Brothers to today. Tuesday and Thursday afternoon labs in the big movie theatre were the best. So many people not even taking classes would pile in to watch old films like 'Birth of a Nation', The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, Nosferatu, City Lights and the great old dramas and gangster pictures of the 30 and 40s. I wrote my first paper on how movies Like 'Rambo' by Stallone and 'Missing in Action' by Chuck Norris (among others) were attempting to RE-WIN the war in Vietnam through the cinema. I thought it was brilliant. I got a '5' (out of a '9' point scale) I was devastated. I remember going home where my roomie had also gotten beaten up by grading and we both smoked some weed and drank some whiskey and watched this documentary about the imminent extinction of the California Condor. I swear, we were THIS close to packing up and making our way to California to save these noble birds. "FUCK University" was the phrase of the night. I am glad that a good night's sleep and some fruit loops in the morning changed both our minds. And the Condors have seemed to do okay without us.

In my final years I represented the Education faculty on student government and ran for President of the Student Union - albeit on what was essentially a 'joke' slate. They gave us 13 hundred dollars to basically produce our own election posters and flyers. It was alot of fun. I didn't run as myself. It was tradition for several of these slates to take on other identities like the Star Trek Slate. I was Dr. Henk Raoule, pro bowler and plastic surgeon. I need to find those old pics and posters to share with my blog. It was basically buddies that I lived with forming our own imaginary world and having fun. I got over 700 votes (again - WTF?) but of course didn't win. We called ourselves YAMADACHOOMIE '78 - play on words that had us laughing uncontrollably one night when someone had said to someone else - "Yeh, but you can chew me." and someone else went "What the hell does YAMADACHOOMIE mean?" I had to be there. Our biggest scandal happened when we put our cartoony one page info sheets within the stalls of bathrooms all over campus. I guess the toilet was a no campaign zone. But they WERE entertaining. I can tell that this is gonna be one of those weeks when I go through my paperwork trunk and find alot of these things. Get used to some melancholy remembrances.

1 comment:

Wings1295 said...

Sounds like a really great time in your life Cal. I am glad you have such fond (and fun) memories of it all! Hope you still get to make your trip, with your wonky foot and all! :)