Pope Frank Goes There

Oh, shit! What a not exactly ready moment, you guys! Papa Francesco just put the world on notice. Today he announced that even the newest and humblest and lowest of his minions–ahem, the average parish priests–can hear and absolve confessions of abortion this coming year.

Much in line with what Pope Francis has been trying to make his mission of serving the people, December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016 is to be the Holy Year of Mercy.

This gives some members of the Catholic Church a chance to seek forgiveness for something they truly feel to be a sin. As a regular rule, someone who wishes to seek absolution from an abortion must go to a higher member of the church, who then sends a trained priest to her to act as judge and jury as to her abortion story and if she really deserves forgiveness. Why? Are they worried about absolving too many women? Do they want to shame their parishioners? I call bullshit on the whole thing.
One, it’s the Church’s belief to ask for forgiveness and it shall be granted. Now, I understand, there are people who confess without any feeling behind it. But I think that’s probably less common now, because less people go to church, and definitely don’t hit the confessional on Saturday night. As a buffet-style Catholic, I choose to believe God forgives plenty and ultimately it’s between you and him. Besides the point.
Two, I think it’s awful to assign certain priests, undoubtedly one who fits nicely in the Bishop’s pocket anyway, to be the judges. I think it’s awful to make the woman plea to the Bishop in the first place. If she is willing to ask for forgiveness, she is already harboring a lot of guilt. Now she’s got to go to her local hardass (who might not be local at all which requires time to reach his bishopness in the first place) to seek repentance through a different man who has to learn of her plight and judge her. And what if to go-to man is unavailable, does she have to wait for however long until Fr Abortion Absolve-r is ready? Or is there another different man who has to learn about her? And what if he says no? Can she try again? What about a man who is party to an abortion? I bet he can just tell Fr Local Church and it’s all pardoned. Ugh.
Three, I just don’t see this spiraling out of control this year, or ever. Are all the women who’ve ever had an abortion going to come out of the woodwork and tax these parish Catholic priests in the confessionals? Is there going to be an influx of women asking for forgiveness with the same monotone and lack of feeling that I said, “I took the Lord’s name in vain and I was mean to my cat” every confession during my parochial school years? No. I just believe, if you had an abortion and truly want to be forgiven because you feel saddened and guilty because of your faith, then you will go. And only then. Because I never go to confession for having had plenty of hot, dirty sex when I wasn’t married, when I wasn’t even in a relationship, hell, when I was having sex with someone who was in a different relationship. Nope. No confession. I don’t feel guilty, because I’m not close enough to that religion anymore. But the women who are going to be heard during this Holy Year of Mercy… they deserve it.

He’s really been putting the church and its doctrine on blast, and I think this is one great step. Sure, it’s not calling for the legalization of abortion. But the Catholic church is never going to say that’s a good idea, the same way they will never allow gay marriage. At least Frank is openly talking about these issue, without simply condemning them, but instead he is showing compassion towards all people and supporting them the best way the Catholic doctrine allows him.

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James Bond Tourism: Amsterdam

Despite all my adventures these past few years, I really haven’t dedicated any of it to James Bond fanatic tourist attractions. Well, OK, except the time I planned a trip to London entirely because of the Bond in Motion exhibit.

Anyhoo, this Spring’s Euro-trip with my parentals provided an opportunity for me to do exactly that. One Bond film I’ve seen more than the others–or, at least, I remember better than others–is Diamonds Are Forever. “Oh providing the collars and cuffs match…” and “Quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing,” and “Goede Avond” (which I butcher attempting to say it) are phrases I use regularly. At least when I’m talking to myself. And while those quotes are all from DAF, they’re also all from one particular location in the film: Tiffany Case’s Amsterdam apartment.

And that’s exactly where my parents and I first went after disembarking our cruise. The exterior apartment shown in the film is at Reguliersgracht 36. I admit that I’m bad at directions and even more so without my hand navigation apps, so it was a little tricky getting there. But, we got there, and I was fucking stoked.

Just a hop, skimp, and jump away is another DAF hot spot, but one that’s also on the regular tourist route as well: The Skinny Bridge. This where we See Mr Kidd and Mr Wint as a dead body is pulled from the canal.

Watch the video below to see the Diamonds Are Forever clip of the Skinny Bridge and Bond’s arrival at Tiffany’s apartment.

Although it’s not the most iconic Bond film or location, it’s easy to get to and in a prime tourist destination. I highly suggest making the pilgrimage.

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Hot Man Reading Things

It’s Sir Sean Connery’s 85th Birthday today!

As I speed toward library school starting in a hot second (next week), I think these images of the man, the myth, the legend–in various stances and states of undress and usage of reading materials–is just the right way to celebrate.

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My First 10 Days in Canada

I’m not even sure what, or how, to tell you about it. It had it’s highs and lows. Mostly lows and lowers, thanks to my pisspoor attitude when it comes to this stuff. Nothing is easy or quick on the moving-in front: furniture (OMG IKEA I CAN’T EVEN), paying bills, applying for a cell phone, opening bank accounts–and more importantly getting the money–have taken far more effort/require more things than I anticipate, every. single. time. But isn’t the how it goes anyway? Then toss in a new country and you really got some learning to do.

The weather is amazing. Perfect all day, e’ry day. I mean the wet winter will suck, but this place is g-damn glorious right now.

My house is nice, but it’s loaded with spiders and surrounded by mosquitoes (I’m not polkadot, not white). The homeowners are eco-friendly fiends so I feel a lot of pressure when it comes to water consumption, using electricity, recycling, killing insects, eating meat/gluten/dairy… really just existing. My washing machine is broken but if I shove a small tool in at the right angle it will run, so we’re just going with that. I’m sure that won’t be annoying for the next year.

On the flip side, the homeowners are a delightful family of four. The two young sons are sweet and it’s nice to have them prancing around to put an unexpected smile on your face. An older Irish couple who live in the homeowner’s basement completes our hippie commune. They all hosted a welcome BBQ last night and I’m really glad they’re such welcoming, fun, and interesting people. And they love coffee and red wine. It’s brilliant. I will definitely be comfortable here, once I get used to it.

School is defeating me. Hard. And it hasn’t even started yet.
-They expect you to have a background in information systems already. I don’t, and I can’t learn it on my own, and I can’t even actually download the appropriate software, and it’s the most frustrating experience. I feel dumb, and helpless, and I hate it.
-They tell you it’s OK to have a Mac, but when you get into course work you find out that Apple products actually aren’t supported (so much for the $2k you just spent on a new computer/software/hardware).
-There are no books to buy. It’s just all these downloads or something, I don’t even know, and I’m trying to find the website where they supposedly live, but there’s nothing there so I can’t find them to prepare before school starts.
-I’ve applied for five or six on-campus jobs, but not a single job wants to interview me. And it sucks because there are some amazing jobs and I’d love, love, love to have them. But also, I’m so broke it’s terrifying, and I can’t imagine living another month, god forbid another five years, without a paycheck. And I didn’t get any great scholarships, and I didn’t get the sorority scholarship, and I’m just hemorrhaging money for something I’m not even sure I’m qualified for, but something I’m definitely sure is currently making me feel pretty shitty.

I’m also in the midst of a personal crisis of faith in myself, what with the not knowing anything about what I’m getting into at school, the having a car I don’t want and can’t take care of because I literally will never be able to park it back in it’s tiny spot if I ever move it, and the finally acknowledging that I’ve put on a lot of weight and feeling very ugly. And being this down on yourself is not great time to meet new people and start new things, and I know that, so that just keeps the stress cycle rolling. #cantstopwontstop?

I’ve fit in plenty of ME time, though. I watched the latest three (available on Netflix) seasons of Archer. I watched both seasons of The Hour. (Delightful! Wish it hadn’t been cancelled.) I picked like a billion other shows and movies to watch.

Oh! And I’m not sleeping well: Partly due to the super expensive/uncomfortable bed I bought, and partly because I have a lot of stress. Also I had a dream that John Stamos wanted to sleep with me, and I said no. That was actually really stressful, too. :P

And these, folks, are my new first world problems. Orientation starts next week, cross your fingers I don’t embarrass myself too much!

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The Canadians Know

Today when I finally ventured out of my house, I learned that the Canadians know about the Iowa State Fair. (Side note: My neighbors are awesome. They said, Throw a raging party in there. We won’t tell. Just invite us.)

Yep. Trump. They commented on Trump.

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Spinster Agenda

A friend sent me a delightful link, and I can’t help but say, hell yes! The Spinster Agenda is thriving in this single girl about to start library school. My favorite parts of the Agenda include “better television adaptations of the Brontë sisters’ work, further research into cloning Benedict Cumberbatch, the immediate green-lighting of an Emma Thompson and Colin Firth movie with lots of clothed sex that’s set in the eighteen hundreds…”

Where’s my political nominee?!?!

Read about the Spinster Agenda from The New Yorker

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Everything about moving to Canada sucks

I’ve tried so hard to prepare for this move. But now, 18 hours left before starting the trek, and I give up.

I moved out of my old apartment and I moved in with my friend because I wanted to keep working. That would have been a fine plan if my part-time job had seen fit to keep scheduling me. Alas, they apparently thought it would be fun to hire someone else to work my shifts, so I made no money. Moving to Canada after not really working for a paycheck for three months feels really secure. Thank god I got laid off and got severance, but screw both companies at this point.

I tried so hard to get an apartment ahead of time, which, thus far, hasn’t fallen to pieces. But I did manage to overpay all of my rent and fees in American currency, going about $900 over what I should have paid. Great. That part-time job would have been real helpful, there.

The apartment hunting process did prove to me that I had NO IDEA what to do in order to actually move (seeing as I had no visa, no proof that I could even live in Canada), and it was far too late that I realize no one from the University offered any information ahead of time. [Sure, you can argue that I should have known better, and I tried, but simply reading the internet to find answers to questions I don’t know to ask, isn’t realistic. There are three administrations related ot my acceptance at this school: grad school society, the actual library school, and the international student society. Not one of them could have provided pre-emptive support? A graduate student to-do list? Jesus.]  As a result, I almost totally messed up the study permit situation, and I’ll really only know it’s “a go” when I get to the border and they approve me.
Plus, let me just tell you that the border stuff is a nightmare and there’s nothing but conflicting information about what you need to do as an international student. The confusion is greatly enhanced by the fact that I’m an American and some rules don’t apply to me (supposedly I don’t need my health records) and others do (I do need to have a list of all my belongings ). What else do they need? My letter of introduction, my proof of income, my acceptance letter from the U, and quite possibly confirmation that I’ll name my first child Columbia.

I did spend my two weeks in Des Moines researching renter’s insurance (confusing as hell when you’re asked questions like “What is the main construction of your home?” A, B, or C, and I’ve only spent two minutes in the place and can’t even remember if there is storage under the vanity), picking a new bank (AKA using Google Maps to decide which bank I can walk to from my new place), looking for a cell phone provider (this shit is the worst!), fighting to get an internet plan and provider (should be in the bag my first day), and arguing my way through phone conversations with the water/electric people after they shut my account down when I didn’t move in right away. I also did some research about bringing your car to Canada, found out that I’d be covered by my US insurance, and decided it would be fine to bring Nicki with me.

I spent my two weeks in Sioux City packing, labeling, typing up a list, guesstimating how much my belongings are worth (in my opinion, jack shit, but I had to round up because they want that amount in Canadian Dollars, not USD). I did include in which vehicle all of those items are located, and I did add serial numbers and UPCs for all my fanciest gear. I did request prescriptions and vaccinations, incase that stuff about me not needing them was a bunch of hooey.

I saw friends, I said bye. I tried to get excited about school, even though it was August before I had any information about what happens the first weeks of school and orientation. Even though the University president stepped down under shady circumstances. Even though some of my classes still don’t have professors, or keep changing professors. Even though I didn’t get a scholarship from the sorority I’ve donated ALL of my free time to over the last year.

I signed for an extremely large loan.

I applied to on-campus jobs the week they were posted. And a week before getting to CA I found out that I actually have to get a version of a social security number to get a job, and made plans to visit that office, too.

Then, there’s like 18 hours until I’m leaving and my car battery dies.

Then, in the same hour, we learn that my car insurance decides it won’t cover me in the great North. The only reason I had to chose to bring my car was because of my insurance. Now I have to plan to jump through a ton of hoops to keep the car I didn’t want in the first place. I could entirely repack so we’re only taking one car. I could book a flight and make my parents drive. I could plan to ship stuff.

But I can’t. I’m defeated. I’m tired of preparing. I’m tired of packing. I’m tired of learning more and more things that I didn’t know and can’t prepare for. And I still have to drive across the country, get through the border, move in, buy furniture (and food, and toilet paper), secure all the services and utilities I have to have, deal with my parents for the next 10 days, and then show up on campus with something more than an overly exhausted and incredibly irritable disposition come Sept 1.

I really mean it when I say everything about moving to Canada sucks.

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