Saturday, March 31, 2007

checking in

Hello everyone,

it's that lovely time of year when the pale, sickly denizens of the university begin to peer through the windows of their cold, dark apartments and notice a change. The snow is fading, the sun is beginning to shine with confidence, the middle school students begin to smoke in the graveyard and run into pedestrians with skateboards instead of huddling in the doorways of the school or, heavens forbid, attend class. To the university dwellers, though, this thawing and rebirth is a cruel and ironic joke, as their workload first doubles, then triples, and they must bend their soft and squodgy frames to work throughout all daylight hours (and most non-daylight hours, too). Deliverance, such as it is, must wait until Last Class.
(Of course, this year is particularly confusing, because St. Thomas and UNB had very different holiday seasons this year, and the UNB calendar has a misprint in it that has made all professors plan for a semester that is a week short, but I digress.)
This week will be, simply put, hell. I have a massive group project meeting tomorrow to prepare for a massive group presentation in front of professional archaeologists on Monday; I have a meeting on Monday to go over my draft proposal with Christiane prior to my presentation Wednesday; and the translation of the Aeneid limps on. Don't even speak to me of my Augustus paper until after Last Class. My book for the book report for Christiane's class is embarrassingly overdue at the library.
All I want to do is walk around in the sunlight. I suppose there will be lots of time for that later, though. The upshot of all of this is that my posting will probably continue to be intermittent until at least a week from now, and maybe even longer while the last few things get worked out. I don't work constantly, but every moment I'm not ploughing through survey strategies or mock masters thesis proposal drafts I'll probably be sucking up sunlight. I'll post as possible, though.

Postscript: Michelle tells me that not all students are hard at work today.

mick says: its pail and shovel day
mick says: ewwwy
Stephanie says: ?
mick says: stupid TNT, they came by this morning and sprayed our hallways with shaving cream
mick says: screaming the whole way
mick says: they do it in every dorm
mick says: i don't know why, then they sit outside their rez and drink all day
mick says: out of plastic pails
Stephanie says: ...

Postpostscript: this dress is hilarious.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

March marches on

1. So much to write about. Sorry for not writing more often; Mom tells me I have avid readers (really?) who wonder where I go when I don't write for a bit. These days, I'm usually doing homework or pretending I have no homework.

2. Where to start? I left off Saturday night; Michelle, Scott, Sean, and myself went to the Back Nine, a rather posh sports bar a block from my house. It's expensive, and they keep switching head chefs so the menu keeps changing, but it has a few points in its favour.
  • it's very pretty and spacious.
  • they have a free pool table and a free shuffleboard table (court? what?) that almost never get used.
  • you can get a booth with a TV and the waitstaff will usually tune it to whatever you want if you know the channel, which is how we watch So You Think You Can Dance in the summer.
  • the drinks menu is extensive and fun.
So we headed over to play some pool, and spent a while waiting for the upstairs to be free, as there was a birthday party. We passed the time with a fairly odd Far East platter and appropriately sports-oriented conversation, then played a few games of pool. Luckily, we are more or less equally bad at pool, and no one tends to go upstairs unless they have the whole thing reserved, so no one was embarassed (except Michelle, who almost fell down the stairs on the way out, thanks to new heels).

3. Sunday morning I got the kids up early and we went to Read's for bagels and coffee (they get their bagels from the Great Canadian Bagel, so it's well worth it) before packing them away to the bus. They didn't even forget anything when they packed!
The rest of the day was supposed to be a homework day, but instead I ended up napping and then going out for coffee with Sean before his math tutorial and evening D&D session. The evening was spent re-reading Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who books, which is a pleasant way to pass a Sunday evening, though not what you'd call productive.

4. Monday was an early morning, so that I could slog through a large chunk of the introduction of the Aeneid for Latin. There were a few other little errands, as well, but they escape me now; mornings are bad times for my memory. Latin went pretty well; we all stumbled through the poetry, but we also got back our tests.
I got an A. I'm pretty excited. :)
Anyway, the afternoon was another Maritime Archaeology class. It was actually fairly frustrating, as the parameters for the end of semester project got switched around again, but after a followup meeting with some classmates today, I feel alright about the class.
Last night was another failed attempt at limping through some homework; I read for a while, and had a nap, and when the finale of Galactica finished downloading, we sat down with some popcorn and watched it. It was, I must say, a little disappointing after the OMG!!fest of the finale for season 2, but definitely good nonetheless. Probably part of the problem is that we called all of the plot twists this time.

5. Today was supposed to be a busy, busy day. I had planned to skip my Augustus seminar to work in the lab (I don't actually need to attend right now) but slept in too late to much work done, so I went to class for something to do. It was, as usual, interesting, but the best part was asking Professor Kerr for my marks on the presentation and critique I did a few weeks ago; my presentation was 18.5/20, and the critique was 13.5/15 - both A+'s.
This semester has been a pretty stressful and tiring one, and I'll be glad to see the other side of it, and I don't ever want a schedule like this again, but at least I'm not really suffering in marks. Yet. That I can see. It ain't over til the fat lady sings, as they say - the fat lady here taking the meaning of final papers and exams - but things look up.
Anyway, I had the aforementioned archaeology project meeting, which was pretty good, and then came home for lunch/supper and a quick nap before heading back up and invigilating the last midterm for Grant's Anth 1002 class. Depending on what sort of month April is, I might sign up to invigilate some finals, but my god invigilating is boring.
On the way home I ran into Scott, one of my old roommates; we talked about classes and plans, and also that he and Kellie have just gotten a kitten, a little girl named Clover. It seems as though Tonks won him over more than I thought; he really hated her as a kitten (he's not much for the cuddly, needy stage of kittens) but liked her best of the Brunswick St cats, after she'd grown up and gotten less playful. He's hoping Clover will also chill out after a bit.

6. Tonight: finally getting around to all this stupid homework. Also, unless the computer decides at the last minute to be a brat, the season/series finale of Rome ought to be finished, so we'll probably take some time out of papers and reports to watch two hours of awesome Roman antics.

7. Tomorrow: the office, to throw a link onto the website; the doctor, for a checkup; honours seminar, to go over our mock masters thesis proposal drafts; meeting for the Mexico fieldschool even though I'm not sure if student loans is going to come through for me or not; supper, homework (Maritime archaeology survey strategies WOO HOO), and hopefully coffee with Erica.
Busy, busy, busy days.

8. Links:
9. Pictures from this weekend:

"I'm not sure I like you very much. *sniff sniff*"

"I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be holding this cat."

And just to round it out, a picture of my lovely sister.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

sunny and warm

1. My god, it's almost like it's not winter anymore. It's warm (above freezing!) and sunny; the snow is melting. The grocery store clerks were flirting with each other, people are walking around downtown looking dazed, wearing spring coats. Tonks and Parallax are chirping in the windowsills; Tonks seemed to think she could take on a squirrel, even though the squirrels here are the Ontario-style behemoths and probably bigger than she is.
I broke out the Birks yesterday.

2. Michelle and Scott are here! I'll go chronologically, though.
On Thursday, I got up sickeningly early to get picked up by Sue. Because it's a business trip, some funding somewhere pays for rental cars for these trips, so she pulled up in a shiny red PT Cruiser. She also brought her ten-year-old son, Cameron, because he's home sort of sick from school and she had promised to bring him up because he actually helped with the dig that I'm cataloguing. It's a two hour drive, and we spent a long time talking about the archaeology seminar and also the politics of academia and the way things work these days in universities. I really like these conversations with professors; the view from inside the system is quite a bit different than as a product-in-production within the system.
We got up there for a 9:00 meeting, which no one had told us had been pushed up to 10:00; so we walked around the construction site and relaxed a bit. The meeting itself was an organizational sort of thing and so I stayed behind to inventory some bags of dirt in the basement which we're going to have to screen later this spring; Cameron looked bored so I asked him to come help me. It turned out to be a good choice, because there were a lot of bags, and he was really helpful. I would never have gotten done without his help.
We had a quick and deliciously greasy lunch at a little place called Burke's, then headed back. By the time we got into cellphone reception zones, Michelle and Scott were already in Fredericton. When I got to the house, they were sitting around with Sean, playing with the kitties, who are quite pleased about having new friends to play with and bug at night.
We took off up to the mall with a few missions, and had a grand time shopping. I got a shiny new pair of shoes at Payless for my office wardrobe; Scott found a couple pairs of badly needed new jeans. After more windowshopping and deciding to come back later on in the weekend, we went home, and Sean made us some amazing (as usual) pasta. It was a quiet sort of night in; we listened to music and just generally had a good time.

Friday, I got up earlier than everyone else - earlier than I would want to - and went in to the office to get together some letters and so on for the student loans people. When I came back, everyone was getting showered and so on, and then we went out to the Snooty Fox for lunch. Scott catalogued the meal on his blog, but let me just say - awesome, awesome food. After lunch they went off to Botinicals and the yarn store to do some shopping while I went up to campus and continued the running around. That part was fairly boring, I must say, but at least the weather was lovely.
When I came home, Sean fixed us another excellent supper - maple curry - and Michelle discovered she likes curry just fine after all. We digested for a bit and then went out for coffee with Erica, and then she came back here to hang out. Eventually we all went over to Nick's for a visit, as he had some people over, and we finally met Corey's rabbit, Tyco, and Morgan's ball python (his name escapes me, but it ought to be Monty).

Today was another earlier-than-appropriate morning, but for a much better reason: the market! Scott and Michelle came with me to the market and got some fresh squeezed orange juice and my personal favourite, chicken souvlaki, for breakfast. We also ran into a high school friend of theirs, pretty randomly, which was really nice; he's leaving the city soon, so it was lucky.
This afternoon was another shoppingfest, starting at the mall and ending at Winners. It was exhausting, but I have a pretty cotton dress (only $25, too) and Michelle found some treasures. I tried to get in to get my eyebrows waxed by Erica but she was booked solid all day, which is good news for her, I suppose. We ate supper at Wendy's, by special request, and then went home to relax and blog. I also had to come to the rescue of the Botinicals site, which was deleted by accident by a friend of John's; it's been restored from my backup, happily. Michelle and Scott are watching a movie, but we're going to go out soon, I think.

3. Whew. A couple of links and then I'm done writing for the night:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

a good news, bad mood sort of day

1. Things are just generally going well today. I wish I were in a better mood, but I imagine that will improve shortly. It could hardly help it; good news in many directions.
  • The Financial Aid Angel sent me an email that was very encouraging about my prospects for getting the loan, so I'm cautiously optimistic again.
  • Will's coming to Mexico!! He just let me know that he's sent in his deposit. I was despairing, because I hadn't heard from him.
  • My Latin test went well. Of course, I thought the last one went well and it was a B-, but this one felt pretty solid - more solid than the last. My translation has gotten so much better this semester.
  • Michelle and Scott are coming tomorrow! I'll be in Miramichi for work until probably suppertime, but Sean's meeting them at the bus and making the buttery white wine shrimp for them for supper (which I sincerely hope I'm home in time for - we are leaving at 7 am after all!).
  • I've been officially accepted into the Honours program in Anthropology, finally. Now just to get the Dean of Arts office all straightened away with what I'm doing. Geyssen told me they've email him to confirm that they got his email, but they didn't tell him anything about what they're doing and didn't send a word to me, so who knows.
All in all, a good news sort of day.

2. Christiane told us some great stories about her fieldwork in Peru today - the basics where and when, and some of the people in the villages, and some sad stories about the hard life there (one community is at roughly 4300 m above sea level, well above the treeline), and also fun stories about bluffing her way out of getting arrested more than a couple of times, mainly by bullying the soldiers, who are accustomed to bullying the peasants without any trouble. Ethnography can be quite an adventure, because one has to intrude so much into a culture, instead of staying on the outside like a tourist.

3. Some random and very cool, completely natural snow phenomena for you:
4. Tomorrow: Miramichi with Sue, and then Michelle and Scott are here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

money :)

1. So, to get it out of the way, the big happy news of the day: I finally heard from the International Relations Office about my Summer Abroad Bursary: I get $1000! This makes it marginally possible for me to get this whole Mexico thing together. *knock on wood*

Let's hope Student Loans are done being ridiculous at me.

2. I apparently have a letter waiting for me at the Anth office, and people seem to have gotten notice of acceptance into the Honours program for Anth today, so that will be interesting to check tomorrow.

3. Today was mainly spent at the NBCC, filling out grant forms, fixing Shasta's computer, and putting up pictures of the donated goblets. In case you want to see - and they're quite pretty - they're here. Just click on the link in the italics bit to see them.

4. This evening... several metric tonnes of Latin, and also the Ninja is coming to visit to borrow Sean's scanner, and the season finale (part one) of Galactica and maybe an episode of Rome. A good night.

5. Tomorrow: studying, Anth meeting, Latin test, Honours seminar, Latin homework, Anth homework.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nova Scotia Student Loans, you are dead to me.

1. My morning began with an unexpected phone call from UNB's resident angel, Kelly Waugh.
Let me tell you something about Ms. Waugh. Despite my inability to pronounce her last name, she has saved my butt more than a couple of times, and judging by how much more together even I have it than a lot of my fellow students, she must save an awful lot of butts in the run of a day. She's the Financial Aid officer, not to be confused with the smiley knee-breakers at Financial Services; she nursemaids loan applications, bursaries, and work-study financial assessments, apparently tirelessly. Really, really late with your student loan forms? She'll fax them direct to her contact in whatever province you're from and get them checked out to make sure they're ready to go. Confused about the foibles and caveats of student loans? She'll guide you through. Really, really late receiving your student loan? She'll call the knee-breakers off with a single phone call. Basically, she rocks, and when I graduate, no matter how poor I am, I'm sending her a big pretty bouquet of flowers.
Last time I saw Ms. Waugh was last week, sending out what I was assured was the last form NSSL needed to get my loan assessment together. She checked it over and faxed it for me.
So this morning she rang up at about 9:30 and I'll admit I was still a little bit asleep. The gist of the story, though, is this: despite all rational reading of regulations, Nova Scotia, lone amongst the provinces and territories of Canada, does not grant full time student loans for a single session of school in the summer; you have to attend both intersession and summer session, even if you're taking a full course loan in that session. This means it will cover, at most, maybe $1600 for tuition and $400 for books - no travel or living accommodations. Fine, whatever. That sucks, but maybe my bursary will cover the remainder. Problem: I have to fill out a completely separate part-time loan form, restarting the process again.
Nova Scotia Student Loans: stomping on dreams to serve you better since 19--.

2. So I'm going to carry on filling out forms and dancing a hopeful dance, but this puts the trip in a certain amount of jeopardy. To that end, I'm also sending out applications to dig for money in a few places for the end of April and all of May. Worst comes to worst, I'll work my few hours a week at the NBCC in May helping Shasta and start fulltime in June.
I don't even want to think what would happen if my SEEDS application was also Trogdor'd by the government.

3. Other than that - socks, class, socks. The Quill Lace gauge is messing with my head. Work goes so much faster on 3.25mm needles than on 2.5mm needles. Imagine.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

slowly going crazy

1. In case you aren't aware, I really, really hate the winter. You can call it SAD or school or being mopey, it all comes out as "most days I don't want to get out of bed". I've gotten pretty good at fighting on through and I even get to class, etc, but I still hate feeling snappish and bored and tired all the time.
The bit I always forget about, though, is where I wait with bated breath for the snows to go and school to wind down, and am actually thrown more out of whack by the up-and-down weather of March than by the relentless snow and cold of, say, January. The prospect of slushpuddling around Fredericton in leaky boots trying to do all of my assignmentish things is daunting from here (which is, coincidentally, that late Sunday afternoon wasteland that Douglas Adams named a whole book after, the Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul).

Assignmentish things this week:
  • While it's not actually due yet, I have to do my book report for my honours seminar sometime last weekend, because the stupid book is overdue, and thanks to the nature of document delivery, there are no renewals.
  • LATIN TEST PARTY!! Minus, of course, the party bit.
  • Thinking about writing my paper on Augustus-era moral reforms for Kerr's class.
  • Somehow summoning a friendly NB Power hydro engineer to answer dumb arts-student questions about dams.
  • Ten hours of cataloguing.
  • Probably two hours of filling out government forms at the NBCC offices for a grant I don't really qualify for, and then hopefully throwing some pictures into that nice gallery script I found (it still shocks me that that seems to be going okay - knock on wood).
  • My honours seminar thesis proposal thing is due, um, next week I think. Maybe I ought to get on that.
Not so bad for this time of year, actually, but considering I'd rather hide in my Megatokyo blanket and knit socks...

2. A weird side effect of taking the cats to the vet:
Parallax now equates the cat carrier with visits to the outside world, where people will pet her and be nice to her, instead of being shuttled from her familiar and happy home to a new and scary place. She's been sleeping in it for the past two days, and doesn't even protest when I zip it up and carry her around. Maybe the time will come in the summer when I can put the leash on her and we can go to the park in the cat carrier... I always wanted to do that with Tonks, but sadly, my poor little paranoid princess is anything but friendly towards the carrier, the door, or the outdoors.

3. I bought my new nailpolish! I've been getting one new OPI shade every six months, since they tend to start to die by then, and I wear them constantly in the interim.
Why yes, I am pretty pale and spidery these days. It's a shade called Suzy Love Sydney, from the new Australia line from OPI. I'm thinking it looks good already, but will look much better when I am brown with the Cancun sun instead of pale from the Fredericton winter.

4. Oh yes, the Cancun sun. I said it.
I've put in my deposit on the Mexico ethnography field school, so as far as my reality is concerned I'M GOING TO MEXICO IN A MONTH AND A BIT. Take that, icky slushpuddles. The details are a little sketchy on exactly where and when everything happens, but very basically (and sorry if I've outlined this before), it's May 1-24, just over three weeks, a weeks of which will be traveling to see things in the area. We fly into Cancun and bus to Merida, in the Yucatan area (just north of the bit of Belize I was in last year), to do ethnographic fieldwork among the mostly Yucatec Maya people in the area. The week of traveling is rumoured to include Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun (say that three times fast) and some sort of riverboat excursion.

5. Anyway, tonight I fully intend to ignore my aforementioned assignmenty things and read more of this blog (I love it), start over on the Quill Lace socks, and hopefully have coffee with Erica. Ciao.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

vets, Latin, slushpuddles, and an ode to Cookie

1. This week has been ridiculous. When did I last write? Tuesday night?

2. Wednesday: up early, with almost no sleep, to continue working on my Latin. I plowed through as much as I could, found that I finished early, and caught another hour of sleep before I headed up to Latin. The day is mostly a blur of classes and homework.

3. Thursday: up early, to get some work done in the lab. I reported in by 8:20 and stayed until 10:30, when I had to go to NB Power to photocopy files. The records manager, Sandra Allen, was a huge help, but I was still there for two hours while photocopying and reading typewritten correspondence and archaeological reports.
I hurried home, where Sean made me some lunch, then threw Parallax unceremoniously into the cat carrier and took her off to the vet. She hates, with an all consuming passion, leaving the house, but once we got there and she calmed down a bit, she was very nice to the lady vet. The vet commented on her beautiful electric green eyes and laughed at her toes before checking her out, giving her a couple of shots, and clipping (with her assistant's help) all of her many claws, including the one that was beginning to grow into her paw, which wasn't too bad, just probably uncomfortable.
Then back home to drop off the cat, and to the NBCC office, which is becoming overcrowded with goblets and large pieces of art (two different events). Things have been fairly slow there lately, compared to summer, but Shasta has been handling it all by herself, which makes for hectic times. I'll be glad to be back there fulltime if only to give her a bit of help, and also someone to keep her company and to vent to.
Then home and... more Latin! The only good thing I can say is that the piece of Cicero we've been working on is now completely finished. Unfortunately, that means a test (on Wednesday; no class Monday) and then... Virgil's Aeneid, which is a long epic poem. Poetry, as you might imagine, is horrid to translate.

4. Friday: I meant to go to the lab before Latin, but I couldn't pull myself out of bed on five hours of sleep again. I settled for seven and headed up to class, where we finished reading the Pro Archia and Geyssen informed me that the school seems to think I'm graduating, and with a degree that isn't what I'm taking, and that I ought to speak to them about it because they don't seem to listen to him. I handled my various correspondence (Marina, the Dean's office, Mexico, etc) and headed down to the lab after lunch at Doreen's new cafe.
At four, I headed home to grab Tonks and bring her to the vet. If Parallax hates leaving the house, Tonks... my power of metaphor fails me, but it's so much worse. The bag rocked the entire way to the vet as she growled and tried to get out. In the vet office, she scooted to the corner of the room, curled her tail around a chair leg like a monkey, and shook like a leaf while we waited. She wouldn't even look at me; it's hard to say if she was shaking in fear, or with the cold of the floor, or with sheer rage that I'd brought her to the vet (the only times she's been there were to get spayed, to get her jaw set, and to get the wire removed from her jaw after it healed - all overnight stays that left her sore and groggy). The usual vet, who is very fond of Tonks, was in the middle of surgery, so the other vet came in. She looked over Tonks' jaw, teeth, etc and had nothing but good things to say. We had to hold her down to get her shots, though, and her tail was tucked so far between her legs you couldn't even see it.
The worst, thought, was when the vet left and I had to get her back into the carrier. She stuck her legs out and growled and absolutely refused to stay in while I zipped it up. She got away no fewer than four times; the last time, she made a mad dash to the filing cabinet, flipped onto her back, and jammed her little face into the crack that, when she was a tiny kitten, she actually wormed through and into the cabinet. That time, we'd had to take it apart to get her out; this time, she was too big to do anything but stick her face in and wiggle.
But even after getting her home, my day wasn't over; I had to go up to the school and have a two hour meeting about the Mactequac project. I can't really say much about it, except that it was long and involved lots of maps.

5. Last night, I was feeling sleepy and run down, having slept very little this week, and laid down to read quietly in bed at about ten... and didn't wake up until 11:30 this morning. Yikes. I had a lot of really awful dreams, too. At least I'm well rested today.
Today, it's cold and miserable out; it's drizzling freezing rain, and the streets are filled with icy slushpuddles. We went to Cora's for breakfast, and now it's a quiet, warm afternoon being comfortable indoors. The cats were leaping around for a bit, but now everyone's settled down. Good times.

6. I love sock patterns. There's a lot of little points about socks that people miss; details of cuffs and toes, for example, but most of all heels, are usually custom-fit in a good pattern. I know at least six ways to knit a heel, and most of the more exotic varieties are thanks to a certain sock pattern designer named Cookie A, who designs poems of socks. She's responsible for the design of my Hedera socks (which I will have to photograph soon) and Baudelaire socks, otherwise known as the One Sock (who will carry on as a single sock, I think, and I will transform the rest into two shorter, reasonable Quill Lace socks, which aren't Cookie socks). She's also the author of the Pomatomus socks, which I want to knit, and the BFF socks, which are rather nice.
So imagine, if you can, my delight when I find out that she has a whole new store of sock patterns. Eight of them, including this guy, the Thelonius Sock:
Just plain awesome. Go on, click on it. You can see every stitch. Beautiful.
Anyway, that's all. I like her socks :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

to frog or not to frog

1. Well, you seem to agree that I ought to frog the sock... heartbreaking. I want to at least show the yarn store lady before that step.

2. Busy, busy day today. I went to class and then spent a lot of time shuttling paperwork around campus, printing and faxing and mailing and talking to offices. It feels like an exhausting day - a few hours in the lab felt like a break by comparison - but it's not over yet; I have to do rather a lot of Latin for tomorrow, and my honours seminar assignment. Even so, the break must have done me more good than I thought; I feel far less burnt out than I did. It actually seems possible to make it through the next month.

3. Hurray for Ikea:

It's Official. As we posted last week, we now have confirmation that IKEA USA will be following its European stores and will begin charging for their "throw away" plastic bags. We stopped by our local IKEA (Costa Mesa) last night and saw the signage, which others have stated in the comments is also up in other stores across the nation. Starting March 15,2007 Ikea will charge 5¢ per bag, and are offering their blue reusable bag at a reduced price for 59¢. The signage reads "Next time you see a bag caught in a tree, it won't be ours. That's our goal." (via Apartment Therapy)
4. I've been seriously stressing about my archaeology seminar; I called and called NB Power last week, to no avail. As it turns out, they were all on vacation for March Break, because I'm getting replies now. Far from stonewalling, as we thought they might, the records manager is being kind enough as to let me look around in their files, and there's apparently far more information there than we thought there would be. I love it when these stressful things pay off. I hope it will be useful.

5. Latin time! If you haven't yet, do offer an opinion on what to do about the One Sock, either in this post's comments or the actual post's comments.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I have a problem

...and not just that I'm clearly insane for thinking these socks were a good idea. Nor that I'm a horrible photographer. No:

This sock, while insane and silly in scale and colour, is still awesome, except that it doesn't. quite. fit. right.
I can't tell you how much this bothers me. You see, knitting socks is a pretty long process, and I would have liked to have been smart enough to not mess up something that I've put so much time into.
And, of course, my choice of colourway/pattern was not very inspired. Both awesome, but this pattern is supposed to look like this:See the nice pronounced pattern, the delicate eyelets? Not so much on my silly sock.
So. The dilemma is this: do I throw all remaining sanity to the wind and actually knit the mate, or do I salvage the remaining awesome yarn and knit something more appropriate, like a standard sock with a kicky picot edging to it, or a simple lace pattern like this that will stand out regardless of the rainbow silly? Frogging the first one and knitting a perfect pair is beyond my abilities. If I make a mate, do I make it fit or do I make two matching but slightly offkilter socks?
Decisions, decisions.
Meanwhile, I have this one and this one taunting me, and more than a couple others I wouldn't mind tackling.
I'll try to take better pictures of the One Sock, but... guidance? opinion? advice?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I could be violet sky

1. Back in the F-dot. The bus ride back was, if possible, longer and more fun than the ride up, particularly the Truro-Moncton leg, in which I had a woman in front of me who had her seat all the way back, a guy beside me spilling over onto me, and a guy behind me who not only had his knees against my back, but was so important that his text message alarm is a loud SOS beep, and went off at least six times between Truro and Moncton.
The kitties are alive; they didn't even break very much.

2. So, what to do now that I'm back. Suddenly I have all this work to do - four chapters of Cicero, more work on the Mactequac thing, and other things I can't even recall - and lab work. On the happier side of things that eat up my time, my student loan came in (cue angel trumpets, etc) and my work at the Craft Council was less stressful than it's been in ages. I got the things done that I needed to - maintenance from not working on the site for a few weeks on account of that stupid poster - and even got a start on what will be a busy little project in another week or two: putting together a gallery of the goblets submitted by members for the fundraiser. The information page I've put up looks like this, except that the italicized bit at the top isn't there in the current one, because the link in it leads to the totally sweet popup javascript gallery I rigged up this evening, and there's no goblet pictures to put in it yet. Still, very very cool. Do check it out.

3. I'll update the sock pictures tomorrow; I'll tell you, though, this humble little wish for bright colors in grey boring pre-spring has turned into a monster of a pair of lacy, crazy, rainbow salad knee socks. Hurrah for silly knitting projects. I'm probably going to knit a boring pair (something solid, or almost solid, and possibly even stodgy black or brown), much shorter, when I'm done these, so I'll have a pair where you can actually see the lace.

4. George Takei deserves a cake:

5. For some reason I'm all excited about weird cutout curtains today, like these ultramodern ones and these steel ones (steel curtains?).

6. That's all for now.

Monday, March 05, 2007

(the system... is down) x ?

1. Third day home. Grandpa, as you can see on my mother's blog, is doing much better; my other grandfather, in Ottawa, has been having a lot of really less than fun adventures in the hospital, but is doing well.

2. It's been really quiet, basically. I'm halfway up the leg of my sock, and will knit until I run out of yarn. I've been building some shoes on Second Life:
but the grid was down for sudden repairs, and now I'm waiting for everyone to log back in before I go (the lag for logins is incredible when this sort of thing happens). The panic when the grid goes down is way more than entertaining enough to compensate for not getting to play with shoes.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lane 3 is always good news

1. Home in the Valley, after more bus than... any metaphor will do. Too much bus. The day went like this:
  • 10 am: got up, went to bus station an hour early to get a bus ticket to beat the worst of the lines of students.
  • 10:45: went to Tim's with Sean for a coffee; won a Please Play Again. Damn.
  • 11:15: got in line for the boarding, and then was promptly assaulted by a grouchy girl with too much luggage, who whacked me with a bookbag for being in front of her, and then kept swinging it around as she shuffled her bags around, whacking me in a way that she really ought to have noticed at least twice.
  • 11:20: got onto the bus, which was full to capacity, and then sat for forty-five minutes, knitting my sock, while Acadian Lines came to the realization that it is March Break and there are way too many students, and then shuffled people and buses for a while.
    • reason #133 why my iPod is awesome: the "Notes" section can be used to store knitting patterns in text format.
  • 12:15 pm: got underway; the bus driver told us we would be switching onto Halifax and Truro express buses in Moncton. Kept knitting.
  • 2ish pm: arrived in Moncton. Was informed that this was now the express bus to Truro, where we would be switched to a Halifax express bus, and also that no one but the driver was allowed off the bus because the terminal was swamped. Kept knitting.
  • 2:15ish: the bus driver was replaced and the new guy took the next set of tickets, while an official fellow came aboard and appeared to do a head count; despite the protest of frosh who didn't want to use the icky bus bathroom, we departed Moncton without a break and left town. As we were pulling away, the driver came back on the loudspeaker to say the extra guy had been a narcotics agent, "And I'm pleased to inform you that you all passed." There were cheers. I kept knitting.
  • 3:30ish: frantic stop in Amherst. Got some coffee, and then kept knitting.
  • 4:00ish: as we pulled into Truro, the driver came on to inform us that those passengers going East were to collect their things and wait for the bus, and gave them directions to the nearest Tim's, then told us we were going to stop for fifteen minutes. He crackled off, then came back to tell us (probably unnecessarily, because we were the only bus there) that we had been assigned Lane 3. Someone in the back yelled "YES! Lane 3!". Laughter, knitting.
  • 5:00: pulled into Hali, early. I sighted the first snowflakes at the Dartmouth stop, though it was already snowing in both Freddy and the Valley. I put away the knitting and went to the nearest Tim's for some chili and another Please Play Again. Damn.
    • fun fact: the nearer you get to Kentville, the closer the bus station is to Tim's. At Truro it's two blocks; at Hali, it's just about one. In Kentville, the epicenter of bus Tim Horton's, you can see two Tim's from from the bus station, each less than a block away. Kingston, it's more like three blocks, if you can measure Kingston in something so urban as blocks.
  • 6:45: reported back to the bus. It was too dark to knit, so I listened to two CDs of Feist instead.
  • 7:00ish: pulled up to the Dartmouth stop to rendezvous with the other Valley bus and shuffle some students.
  • 8:00ish: pulled away from the Dartmouth stop. Why did it take so long? I don't know. I fell asleep.
  • 10:30ish: pulled up to Kingston, late, with snow covering the highway and about twenty students left on the bus, most having bailed at Acadia. Dad picked me up, and then we picked up a pizza and went home.
In summary: at least two cumulative hours of sitting in a motionless bus, three different seat partners, two albums of Feist, one of the Arctic Monkeys, one of Steve MacDougall, the rest of a foot and half a heel of a sock, and two Please Play Agains. A long day.

2. I've been pretty lucky in the grandparent department; though my grandmother died when I was little, my other grandparents have been pretty healthy, despite diabetes and what have you. Until this week, when both my grandfathers have fallen ill. I won't go into detail, mainly because I don't really know the details well enough to relate, but Papa Frank in Ottawa is in the hospital with a virus and chemo, and Papa Ernie is in the hospital here with an infection in his knee. I'm told everything will be fine.

3. In more cheerful news, despite years of applications and tests and dumb recruiters that seemed they would never end, Darci got the call to get sworn in to the military and go to Basic on the 11th. Then, unrelated, from a different recruiter, Julia got called too! So they're both headed to Basic in just over a week. I'm excited for them; they've been waiting for so long.

4. Right. I'm going to sleep, this time without my face pressed up against a bus window, and tomorrow... I'm on vacation, yo. Who cares what the plan is. All I know is that there's pizza for breakfast.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

solidarity forever

1. MARCH BREAK. I've decided (with Michelle's help) that March Break starts tonight; tomorrow is bus bus bus bus bus HOME.

2. Today, as predicted, was a lot of lab time. I've been zipping through the flakes; when I started work, the count was roughly 850. I worked all fall and January and got about to 1400. Today, when I finished up, I was at about 2240. This pace is a lot more fun.
To break up the day, I had lunch at Doreen's new little cafe in Tilley, and also participated in Brian Campbell's masters thesis project, which involves two volunteers, one looking at imagery depicting Native Americans on one side of a screen, describing the images to the other, who has to decide what kind of archetype it represents. It was interesting, and I'll be interested to see what sort of conclusions he draws from it.

3. There's trouble abrewing on campus. This was sent out last night:
re: Aitken Status
Aitken House, a 95-bed men's residence on the UNB Fredericton campus, may close at the end of this academic year.

This proposal has not been made lightly. UNB Fredericton has a 20 per cent vacancy rate in its traditional undergraduate residences. This reflects a decline in enrolment and a trend among students to opt for non-traditional residence accommodation.

The proposal is part of the UNB Fredericton budgeting process and a final decision is expected by the end of the term.

Keeping one more residence open than is necessary to meet demand would require an estimated expenditure of $90,000 over the next academic year.

If the house does not reopen as a residence, possibilities for using the building for other purposes will be explored.

A decision to close Jones House, another men's residence, was made last spring in response to the same trends.
This morning when I walked down through campus from the SUB to the lab, I noticed that someone had spraypainted the snowbanks with big, red SAVE AITKEN graffiti. By lunchtime when I walked back, most residence rooms windows had a big red A painted in the window, and the doors had For Sale signs in the windows. There are flyers, there are posters. I'm sure there will be protests and angry op-eds in the student newspaper.
I wonder if it will matter?

4. I love our wacky politicians.

5. It is a long running joke around here that Battlestar Galactica likes to alternate between fuzzy-kitten episodes and bag-of-nails episodes. The last two were so fuzzy-kitten (this week's culminated in a childhood dream getting fulfilled despite class barriers, all thanks to a union that has learned to believe in itself), it's got to be almost time to build up to a season finale or something. Goodness knows they built up to the last season finale for two episodes before the two part, million hour actual finale. I'm looking forward to it. Not that I really disapprove of the fuzzy kittens, of course, but it's hard to get into feel-good when you know there's a bag of nail lurking around the corner.

6. Pictures!
Why yes, that's most of the foot of a sock. Yes, the colours are pretty riotous for that pattern, what of it?I swear you can almost make out the lace if you squint really, really hard.

Of course, sometimes squinting just makes you look really sinister. Kind of like a murderous seal.

7. The comic with the scurvy orange (previous entry? one before that) is by a woman who also authors this comic with her husband: 8. Someone else has also decided it's March Break. I distinctly hear the call of the nocturnal Woo birds, who flock to downtown in the night, calling out to potential mates and frightening off rivals with their trademark calls of "WOOOOOOO!!"