Category Archives: Academia

A Brief Sojourn in Madison, Wisconsin


I meant to write this post about Madison, Wisconsin as soon as I returned home so my thoughts wouldn’t become a banal, nebulous ramble, but unfortunately I got back two weeks ago. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Food and Cooking, On Agriculture & the Environment, Politicking, Travel

Running Thoughts: the Sourdough Edition

Photo courtesy of Francis Storr via Flickr.com

I would call this post ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,’ but Haruki Murakami already wrote that book and if you’ve read anything by him at all you’ll know mere mortals hardly compare.  Yet I do think about things while running, thank goodness, because otherwise laziness would surely prevail.  The meditative place some runners can reach eludes me.  Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Food and Cooking, History, On Agriculture & the Environment

McMaster…Y U No Drop Fees?

While upwards of 40,000 Quebec students are walking off campuses in Quebec to protest tuition increases, our tuition fee rally at McMaster a few weeks ago consisted of about fifty.  I don’t mean to slag those organizing the event, for they do wonderful work, and I’m told that this year’s showing was an improvement on the last.  But I can’t help being disappointed in the wider McMaster community – both undergraduate and graduate, not to mention the faculty – for their lacklustre support.  It’s all the more disconcerting when one considers that Ontario undergraduate students pay the highest tuition in the country (and receive the lowest per capita support from the government).

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Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, Politicking

That was a year; this is another (in Hamilton)

I took a vacation over New Years, and in British Columbia I set my sights on flora.  There’s a lot of moss.  I was enamoured by the hardy winter crops in rows on folks’ front lawns, gardens that have bunkered down for winter but hold onto some fierce kinda life force.  Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, On Agriculture & the Environment, On Human Connections, Politicking, Travel

Homecoming?

True to my word, I’ve had little to no time to write since I got back.  That a month’s transpired so quickly seems like a sneaky temporal trick on somebody’s part.

I feel like I could get on my lovely little motorbike (although the term causes some consternation here) and take all the right turns until I find myself somewhere near Hoàng Hoa Thám, or Đội Cấn, or following the edge of West Lake.  But I’ll just end up where I started.  Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, History

So what you’re saying is, you study the history of…cheese…?

I often struggle to explain what it is I study.  Most terms don’t capture it adequately, it being something rather interdisciplinary, thematic, and transnational.  Cheese, I tell people, if I want to get a smirk out of them.  Labour, agriculture, and the natural world, if I want to be a little more accurate.  The industrialization of the Ontario dairy industry, if I want to sound obnoxious.  Capitalism and the exploitation of nature and people, if I want to sound incendiary. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, History, On Agriculture & the Environment

Chop it all off!

“Our limbs, indeed, have enough room, but it is our souls that rust in a corner.”  — Henry David Thoreau

There’s nothing like a new haircut to inspire one to action!  I said, chop it all off, do what you will with this mop.

Maybe it wasn’t just the haircut.  Maybe it’s also the fact that I’m on the move again, living out of a bag for the sixth time in as many months. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Life in Vietnam, On Human Connections, Politicking

On account of the weather

It rained.  It rained and rained and my eyes stung and it felt a bit like crying because the tears were there against my will and made me think I should feel melancholy, but I don’t.  Or maybe I do and nature’s response was appropriate.  I pulled over a few yards past the local Indian restaurant when I could no longer see and decided to get some vindaloo.  “Look at that rain.  Do you live here?” asked the woman at the table across from me, as she twisted in her chair to look out the wide open windows.  And thus began my evening with Meg.

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Filed under Academia, Life in Vietnam, On Human Connections, Politicking