Dan's Mass E-Mail

The Originals (1-7)

This is how it all got started. In these first 7 instalments of Dan's mass e-mail, you can read about my adventures in Bio labs with the Queen of the Harpies. So sit back and get ready to laugh at my misfortune:

Instalment 1: October 17th, 2000

Hey all,

Well everyone else is doing it so I figured I may as well join the lattest craze and start sending off mass e-mails. So anyways, here goes.

Well as most of you know, I'm at the good 'ol U of C in the faculty of 'can't make up my mind'. Among my wide variety of courses is Biology. Now simply forcing myself to join the Bio geeks and take Biology was bad enough and Matt has already chewed me out for joining the dark science and going against my Physics roots. But to make matters worse, I have to do Bio labs which, in themselves aren't bad, but are marked in the most arbitrary and downright stupid of manners. Based on my TA's marking system, the only conclusion I can come up with to explain the way she marked my lab was that she is Mr.Nixon's long lost daughter. But even Nixon wasn't this bad.

So the lab in question had something to do with membranes and all she wanted was a 'results' section and a graph of the data. That's it. So I took all I had learned in my 3 years of writting IB labs and handed in a beautiful results section and a flawless graph. I got 2 on 7. I got 2 on 4 for the graph and 0 on 3 for the results. For the graph, I lost half marks for the following:

1) Labeling my 'x' and 'y' axis: 'x' and 'y'. Apparently I am not supposed to do this. I put down the variables and everything else I was supposed to do but apparently this little extra tid bit of info warranted me losing 1/8th of the marks for the graph. It should also be noted that someone at my bench who plotted the variables on the wrong axis' also lost half a mark since both of these mistakes are obviously equal.

2) When I was putting in a few temperatures on the bottom of the 'x' axis (even though it's not really the x axis apparently), I put them in every 10 degrees up to 80 degrees. Now, apparently, it was wrong to put the 80 degree one on my graph since my highest data point is at 70 degrees. Bear in mind, I did not graph this point, I just marked it off on my axis.

3) For my title, I wrote "How the concentration of Betacyanin is effected by the temperature". Next to this, the TA wrote, and I quote: "This is not what we were looking at. Rather: 'The effect of temperature on the concentration of Betacyanin.'". What the? It should also be noted that if you forgot to put a title on the graph, you also lost half a mark so I could have written, "The effect of cheese on mexico" as the title to my graph and I would have lost just as many marks.

4) And finally, my line of best fit was not up to her high standards.

Now, for the results, I put down the results we had found in two nice little charts and included qualitative results as well since this is what we were taught to do in IB. Next to each of my result boxes she wrote "not neccesary" and then at the bottom of the sheet she said I was supposed to summarize my results in this section. Now maybe it was wrong of me to assume that we were supposed to show our results in the 'results' section but surely my effort was worth at least 1 or 2 pitty marks. I could have handed in a blank piece of paper which said "Fuck Biology" and I would have gotten as many marks.

I would have gotten a better mark on this lab if I:
-had handed in a piece of used toilet paper with 'results' written on it for my results section
-Had plotted my variables on the wrong axis
-Had titled my graph "The effect of food eaten on a chicken's cluckiness"
-Had not put any numbers on my scale
-But had made a line of best fit which lived up to my TA's standards.

Well, glad to see that all those years of writting labs paid off. Anyways, I hope this hasn't wasted too much of your time. On the bright side, all those IB classes have at least made Math and Physics a breeze but Bio labs are quickly turning into the scurge of my existence. Oh well, hope everyone else is doing fine.


Instalment 2: October 24th, 2000

Well it's that time of the week again. The time of the week when 24 unlucky biology students are forced to endure psycho TA from hell. Yes, that's right, it's Tuesday and thus it is time for the second installment of Dan's mass e-mail.

Now I'm sure there are some of you out there who would like to hear about what is going on in my life rather than my mis-advertures in Biology and for those of you...I had a sandwich today, a meat sandwich. It was very tasty. Now, for the rest of you...

Today's lab composed of two parts:
1. Doing a lovely photosynthesis lab
2. Getting our lab reports back from last week and all the horror associated with them

Let's start off with part 1,

Basically our photosynthesis lab dealt with various valves and tubes and all sorts of other things far too complex for some of you like Matt to understand. Regardless, my lab partner and I were hard at work on our lab and everything was going well when the she-bitch came by and asked us how we were doing. "Good, good." I said, "Of course, I would be doing better if you were dead." Well, I didn't say that second part but I came very close to saying it. Anyways, she then leans over and starts "checking" our apparatus which is evil TA lingo for "opening up valves and random and letting all the air out of our pressurized tubes, thereby ruining all the hard work I'd done on my experiment up until that point." Luckily, since I had to restart after this I didn't mind it so much when she made the whole class restart the lab 3 minutes latter because she had told us the wrong procedure at the start of the class.

On to part 2,

So we get our marks back and I must say that I was very pleased to see my mark shoot way up to a mightily impressive 57% on this lab. And let's just say that I was WELL above class average on this lab. I feel like I'm in Math 30 IB again except without the gratuitous 30-40% standardizing they give everyone. Anyways, here are a few areas where I lost marks this week:

1) I didn't include enough in my discussion. The same discussion which has the following restrictions on it:
A) maximum of two pages double spaced
B) size 12 font
C) 1 inch margins on all sides
D) Time New Roman font

Now, my TA didn't say what I had too much of but apparently, I was supposed to include 4 other major points in my report which was already edited down to the skin in bones.

2) When you number your sources in your "sources cited" section, you are supposed to circle the numbers, not write them as "1." or "1)". I assume the report is ruined if the numbers aren't circled since this makes absolute sense to me.

3) Some of my sentences are "ambiguous". I have re-read these sentences time and time again and there is nothing ambiguous about them in the least bit. I guess next time I will have to write "My TA is the queen of the harpies" since at least then I won't be ambiguous in the least bit.

As it can be imagined, a lot of other people were upset about their marks so when they complained to her, she literally laughed at them. I am not making this up. On the positive side, I noticed that she got really upset when I misspelled her name on my lab report and she circled it in huge red ink and wrote the correct spelling in huge capital letters next to it. My goal for the rest of the semester is to spell her name differently on each report I hand in. Let the mind games begin!

Now, other subjects such as computer science (where I have a very nice TA who tells us the answers to all of our assignments before we do them and gives us hints at how to cheat on them) standardize each TA's marks so that you don't get penalized for having a she-bitch as your TA. Of course, this approach makes far too much sense for Biology to use it so as a result, I am pretty much screwed as far as my mark goes. You know, I almost feel as if Matt was justified in calling me worse than Engineers for taking Biology because it truly is a messed up science. Mind you, I said "almost". There are some insults so bad that they should just not be mentioned. (no offense to Ema and all the other engineers reading this by the way)

Oh well, that's been this week's instatement of the mass e-mail. Thank you for your time


Installment 3: October 31th, 2000

Well fasten your seat belts and put your trays into the upright position because it's time for another installment of what is being called "The best mass e-mail on the internet" by many (or few, or no one really...) - Dan's mass e-mail.

Now I know what you're all thinking: "What did that silly TA of Dan's do this week?". Well not a whole lot. Basically, this week we only got back our lab quizzes which I must humbly tell everyone I aced although it should be noted that this was only because the she-demon didn't mark it. I did however hand in a lab this week so perfect I could display it in the Louvre as a work of art so be sure to read my e-mail next week when I discuss how she failed me on it.

But really, I do need some stories from Biology to share with you all since I don't have fun things like dead fish popping up in my room every week. So, let me just say that I was very concerned about this lab since it dealt with:
1) E. Coli (fresh from an Ontario tap)
2) Various carcinogenics
3) Evil TA walking around and randomly touching various apparatus things
Luckily no one was hurt (or unluckily depending on who could have gotten hurt if you get my drift) so I guess I don't really have anything to complain about except for my "slight delay" on the C-Train today. (I love how these "slight delays" can last for quite some time)

Anyways, I also had my Computer Science mid-term today and let me just say: ouch! Our instructor came to class dressed as the Grim Reaper and I'll just say it was a very appropriate costume. It didn't help that she was pacing up and down the isle with her sickle while I was rushing through the test either. Very unnerving.

I'm really not sure if there's anything else worthy of being included in my mass e-mail this week. For those of you in Calgary, I checked the school's web site and the Dinos game is listed as this Friday at 7 so be sure to come out and cheer them on. Hope everyone 'did/will do' well on their mid-terms. Talk to you all later,


Installment 4: November 7th, 2000

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time to be mesmerized and bedazzled by what I am sure is quickly becoming the highlight of your week. So grab a bottle of the strongest stuff in the house and sit back to enjoy Dan's mass e-mail, installment 4. Live from Calgary, it's Tuesday night!

Now I know you'll all be as crushed as I was to find out that the she-demon has yet to mark the lab I handed in last week so you will have to put off laughing at my misfortune for another 7 days. I do have some good Bio stories nevertheless which I'll get to in good time but first, let's take a look at some of the other things going on in Dan's life…

So mid-terms are done and this means that I get new professors in some of my classes. Among these classes is Anthropology. Now, don't get me wrong, I think the new guy we got there is great since he loves telling stories about bubble gum companies giving away monkeys (that's how you can get your monkey butler Jeremy) and showing us movies but every now and then, he's just asking for a good mocking with what he says. Flash back to last week when he showed us a discovery channel show (or one of those other misguided channels which believe education has a place on TV instead of sex and violence) which he appeared in. I now quote word for word, his opening voice over for the clip he was in:

"If you're traveling in the African jungle, you could get lucky…like I did a month ago… (long pause) when I saw the (some fancy name) monkey."

There are places where you should leave a dramatic pause and there are places where you shouldn't. That's all I'll say.

During this same class, he was determined to show us how gorillas walk. Now, some teachers would be content to put up an overheard or show a video, but no, he decided this was not enough for us. So he got up on his desk in front of 400 students and began walking around on his desk on his hands and feet. It was the funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time.

OK, I know what you're thinking at this point. "What about the mandatory TA story? Surely Dan will not let me down by not sharing a funny anecdote about his TA with me." Well never fear because I am ready to fill you in on the latest about that toad licking, blood sucking, little kid eating, pepsi drinking, broom stick flying, Dodger cheering (well maybe that insult was a bit over the line), wart infested, devil worshipping, country music listening, bitchy, ugly, evil, demonic, scurge of the under world. So anyways, the aforementioned one has create quite a few enemies in my lab, not surprisingly. The guy who sits across from me even seems to hate her more than I do, if that is at all possible. He spends the whole class swearing at her behind her back and somehow managed to write "TA mutt" on her lab coat. It's not surprising that everyone has turned against her. For example, today's lab featured more fun experiments with things which can kill you. Now, seeing as how we're not expert biologists, every now and then people spilled things on themselves and every time someone did this, she would laugh at them like it was the funniest thing in the world. "Ha! Ha! Accidentally injected yourself with E. Coli. That's the funniest thing I've seen all week. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Now I know some of you tire of these TA stories so I'll share a nice little story from today's Bio lab which has nothing to do with my TA whatsoever. Now, last week we were supposed to make bacterial cultures from our fingerprints, or saliva, or skin or something like that so demonstrate how infested with bacteria we are. So, we all checked them back this week and saw the small little bacterial cultures on our trays. However, the girl further down my lab bench had one nasty bacterial culture in her's and she was looking at it with a very perplexed frown on her face. Anyways, after some time she asks out loud (and I swear I am not making this up): "Does anyone know what clymidia looks like?". I hope she was joking…

Well this has been the world according to Dan. Here's hoping that Western wins the city finals this weekend and that my TA forgets to wash her hands after handling the E. Coli cultures.


Installment 5: November 21st, 2000

Allllllllllllllrighty then! It's time for some in your face, no holds barred, mass e-mail. Your one and only weekly source of TA bashing goodness. Now, I know I took last week off and I hope none of you went into mass depression because of that but we had reading days at the old U of C (Let's see a show of hands from everyone who did work... Yup, just what I thought) so that meant I could spend my Tuesday not doing Biology and my TA could spend her Tuesday flying around Calgary and sucking the blood of innocent children. Annnnnnnnnyways, let's get on with the mass e-mail.

Let's get things rolling with another fun anecdote about my Anthropology professor. If you were sober when you read the last mass e-mail you'll remember that this is the guy who was quoted last time as saying: "When you're walking through the jungle you might get lucky...like I did a few months ago...when I say the urglu burglu money" (or whatever the monkey was). So anyways, this week he was showing us some slides and talking about the rain forests in south America. He starts talking about all the animal activity in the jungle and then says (and I quote): "All the action happens upstairs....Unlike at my house." Either he's got a really good, warped sense of humour or he just has no clue...

Now we come to the customary story about the scourge of my existence, the whale to my Nemo, the Moriarty to my Holmes, the Vader to my Skywalker, that satanic beast of the underworld herself, yes, I'm of course talking about the TA everyone loves to hate: evil Bio TA bitch. Now, I'm sure you'll all be very disappointed to find out that I actually did fairly well on the lab I got back this week. In fact, I kicked ass if I do say so myself. I haven't seen such an overpowering victory since the Dodgers spent all of y2k getting bitch slapped around by MLB. Nevertheless, I do have to raise a few points about her marking system which I still find kind of Nixon-ish. First of all, last time in my literature cited section she took off marks because I had numbered my references like such:
1) Eating cheese is good for you, etc
2) Killing TAs, etc
3) You're a bitch, etc.
instead of circling the numbers like I should have. (Well, obviously, I didn't set my references up like that since you have to put it in alphabetical order based on the author and not the title but you get the idea)

So this time, I went to extra effort to circle the numbers only to find out that, *gasp*, I'm not supposed to put numbers next to the titles at all. Why she hadn't told me this last week, I don't know. Maybe she was thinking of what poor creature she would torture that night when she marked my lab but I do intend to complain about this. What really has me worried though is that next week we have to do our oral presentations and she announced this by saying: "Next week you'll present your oral presentations which I'll get to mark. BWA HA HA HA!" I really hate it when she laughs like that while she's talking about marking me. For some reason, it gets me kind of nervous.

By the way, I have to say I love those things making fun of the US election floating around. Now that's good, clean humour (unlike my Bio "summary" for those who have seen it. For those who haven't, that's likely for the best). And on a serious note, speaking of politics, I hope those of your who are 18 will get out there and vote next Monday. And please think a bit about who you want running this country for the next 4 (OK, 3 and a half) years. As much fun as it would be to try and start up a referendum of my own ("We the people of Canada demand that all references to Leon Trotsky be removed from school textbooks"), take a close look at the kind of society Doris is offering and think twice if you're leaning towards voting alliance. Hell, the marijuana party is probably a better choice. Oh well, enough of that. I promise to avoid all seriousness from now on in these mass e-mails.

And finally, congrats to Western on winning the city football finals. It's nice to see that at least one Redmen team will win something this year unlike the Fighting Redmen who, let's face it, will be down in the cellar with K-Penn soon enough. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, use your imaginations and be creative (Mud wrestling league, drunken skeet shooting conference...).

Oh well, that's it for this week. So until next Tuesday, don't run with scissors and lay off the E. Coli.


Installment 6: November 28th, 2000

It's time for your weekly dose of rock 'em, sock 'em, high sticking, slashes to the side of your head, mass e-mail. Yes, that's right, the only e-mail which all of the Florida electorates can agree upon as being the best there is. You guessed it, it's time for another fun, action packed instalment of: Dan's Mass E-mail.

Let's all be honest here, no one really cares about anything else other than my weekly stories about the Queen of the Harpies so let's start right there. Today was without a doubt my most enjoyable Bio class ever. I would go so far as to say that it was more enjoyable than writing a happy story or (dare we say it?) kicking Matt's ass at, well, anything (Damn that Sergei Fedorov and K-Penn!!! But I digress). Now, I know what all of you are thinking right now. Half of you are thinking "Who is Sergei Fedorov?" (answer: Russian hockey player getting Matt a ton of points in our hockey pool and lucky enough to be dating Anna Kournikova. Of course that could be one of a dozen Russian hockey players...) and the other half of you are thinking "Where is this talk of Russian hockey players going?". Well to answer that question, I'll simply tell you why this was such an enjoyable Bio class: WE GOT TO FILL OUT THE TA REVIEW FORM! Now, for those of you who don't know, the TA review forms were created on the off-chance that the lord of the underworld would ever sign up to TA a class at the U of C and, as a result, students could make it known to the proper authorities that they would rather slide naked down a banister of razor blades than have her teach a class again.

Now, when we're filling out these forms, they require the TA to leave the room so that she may not use any unholy mind control techniques on us and the lab co-ordinator comes into the room. She told us that these forms were useful to find out which TAs would be rehired next year and which would be recommended for teaching awards. Now upon mention of teaching awards, the entire class burst into spontaneous laughter (I kid you not). We then proceeded to get huge smiles on our face as we checked off "poor" and "extremely poor" in most of the review boxes while writing such witty comments as "the TAs marking scheme was more chaotic than a Florida vote recount" or "I wish my TA was dead". Knowing that our comments would, at the very least, make it impossible for our TA to teach ever again, we got to present our oral presentations with a clear mind. Although I was disappointed that my group was not allowed to present on E. Coli, we got a bacteria with lots of interesting facts behind it (none of which I can remember). Nevertheless, people seemed to enjoy our presentation and you'd be surprised at how much mileage you can get out of the words "urinary tract infection" as far as jokes go.

Speaking of painful and unpleasant things, I had to have some cavities put in this afternoon. My dentist is very cool and one of her cool things is that she puts TVs in the ceiling so you can watch things other than her trying to break the record for "most drill-like objects shoved in one person's mouth at a time". Unfortunately, she had the station set to the Country Music Channel so I was forced to listen to and read (since they had nice sub-titles at the bottom of the channel. Why they think people who like country music can read is beyond me...) some of the most terrible music I have ever heard in my life. Most of the songs had extremely contrived rhymes and were based on heart-break and tragedy sort of along the lines of:

My dog died last night,
My achy-breaky heart has never had such a fright,
I buried his brave soul in a ditch,
Dan's TA is a blood-sucking bitch.

Well, except for that last line, but you get the drift...

Just thought I'd mention that my Anthro proff said the following sentence this past week: "They pissed and pooped all over us and that made my day". And he was not being sarcastic in the least bit. This guy was truly happy that this group of monkeys, well, "pissed and pooped" on him. That's all I'd like to say about this.

I guess that's it for this week. I hoped you all know a bit more about Russian hockey players than you did yesterday. As always, lay off the E. Coli and remember that "Erin gets seems to get great joy by failing her students and crushing their dreams and ambitions" is a perfectly legitimate comment to put on your TA review form...

Until next week,


Installment 7: December 5th, 2000

Hey there, hi there, ho there, it's time to strap yourselves in because this is gonna be one wild ride. That's right my fine cohorts. From the home office in Calgary, Alberta it's time for another action packed, gun blasting, head smashing, ass kicking edition of: Dan's mass e-mail.

Now I know this is a very sad day for most of you since, as you no doubt already realize, (except for you slow ones in the back row) today was my last lab with the princess of darkness. So this may very well be the last time you get to read about my mis-adventures in Biology. As a result, this e-mail will be 100% TA bashing to get it out of my system. That's right! For one night only, it's all TA bashing, all the time! Every insult I've ever thought up of must go!

So today we had our lab exam. She who cannot be named announced this to us in a nice cheery voice and then said "Good luck" to which the guy across the bench from me responded "that sounded awfully sarcastic to me". That guy really has as much of a vendetta against the wicked bitch from the west as I do and before the class today he told me he was worried that they might not take his TA review form we filled out last week seriously because it was extremely negative and he mentioned in three places that she should be fired.

Which brings us to the question I was pondering on the train this morning: how exactly the demon was hired as a TA in the first place. Far be it from me to question how the U of C is running their University (I'll leave that up to MacLeans) but I suggest that when they interview people for TA jobs they should maybe ask them questions such as, oh I don't know: "Do you enjoy torturing small animals?" or "Can you see your reflection in a mirror?" or "Have you ever tied anyone up to a railroad track and laughed maniacally as the train sped down on them?" instead of whatever lame questions they ask now.

I also got my one page summary back today which I didn't do too badly on considering it was probably marked by that useless, inadequate, skank rotting sack of spit who disguises herself as a human. Nevertheless, the whole point of the summary was that it couldn't go over a page and then in the comments section she goes on and on about all these other things I could have added to my report. Of course it's not always hard to summarize something; I'm sure I could summarize my lovely TA's personality in one concise word which I will not share with you here for fear that it will offend some of the younger readers. Sometimes I really wonder about my TA. Doesn't she realize that there are so many people in the world for us to hate without her giving us another one? Oh well, I hope her magic mirror gives her a piece of it's mind tonight.

So I finally got a CD burner. Now I know you're wondering what an object of such beauty has to do with the one of pure evil but let me get to that. You see, the best thing about the CD burner is that you can download songs and create certain themed CDs. So, for your entertainment, I now present a list of TA related songs (and all these are real songs):

-Kyle's mom is a big fat bitch
-Project bitch
-Bitch (I like it. Simple and to the point)
-Wonder why they call you bitch?

All I can say is I'm glad there are so many quality songs out there on Napster.

Well I guess that's it for this week. As I said before, I won't be able to do much more TA bashing in the future since with Christmas around the corner she has to crawl up to her mountain lair and plot to steal all the Who's presents but I'll still try to get another mass e-mail out sometime during the break. So I guess this is the end of that wonderful Tuesday tradition of me suffering through Darth Bitch in Bio and re-telling my experiences to all of you. If wasn't for the fact that she was the embodiment of evil, I'd almost be sad. My only regret is that I didn't fit a flying monkey reference into this e-mail. Oh well, on the bright side, my mystery organism in the Bio exam today was E. Coli so that kind of makes me happy.

Anyways, until next time, lay off the E. Coli and remember that a taste test is not one of the recommended tests for your mystery organism in the Bio lab exam.



P.S. Just in case I didn't make myself clear over the past 7 e-mails, I really don't like my Bio TA.

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