Monday, April 30, 2007

pre-boarding call

My plane takes off in eight hours, and I ought to be asleep, but I tend to get last minute attacks of nerves with these trips. I remember barely being able to choke down some iced tea before I got on the plane to Japan when I was 14, and last year, going to Belize, I was so scared I threw up all morning waiting for Jess and Katie to come pick me up to go to Bangor. It'll pass once I'm on the road, but right now, looking around at my apartment and watching the cats chase each other around, I'm beginning to doubt that I'll be able to sleep.
Tomorrow morning Sam will pick me up with her boyfriend Mitch at around 4:30, and we'll drive up to the Fredericton airport, which is tiny. For some reason, even though everyone in the world has flights at ungodly hours, I've been in a lot of airports at times when they're completely deserted. Last year Bangor was completely empty both times I was there; for all I know, those shops never open. This time, at least, the Fredericton airport will be full of excited and nervous field school students - Mary and Anne, at least, as well as Christiane.
We leave at 6:30, and arrive at 6:52 in Boston (mind the time difference); then back up again at 8:30 and touch down in Atlanta at 11:18. The last hop is the 12:56 to Cancun, arriving at 2:25. Poor Will will already have been there since 12:50, so he'll be waiting for us at the gate.
From there, since we have a few latecomers in the evening, Christiane is planning to drop us somewhere warm and sunny while we wait, and then we will move on to Valladolid for the overnight stay at Hotel San Clemente.
Wednesday, we travel by bus from Valladolid to Merida, with a day trip in the middle - Chichen Itza! I can't wait to see Chichen Itza, it's one of the most famous Maya sites and I only hope we have enough time to see the best bits.
Wednesday night we move into the Hotel Flamingo, which will be "home" for most of the trip. I'm hopeful that there will be internet access at the hotel (our hotel in Guatemala last year had a computer in the lobby, though it was awkward to use) but if there isn't, I ought to be able to get to a computer at the university on Thursday, when we have our first lecture.
What else..? The only people I have pictures of are Sam, Will and Anne.
Here is Will, doing his best impression of the wonderful diorama at the Museum of Civ in Ottawa, with a line level tied to a stick. This is from Belize. He's sitting on a Maya building.

This is Sam. I couldn't find many good pictures of just her, so here's one from her Facebook.

Anne and her son... isn't he cute? I've only met him once. She's also a weaver, as well as mother, student and new home owner.

Anyway I'm going to attempt to sleep for a bit. See you in a few days...


1. People always ask if you feel older on your birthday, which is kind of a silly question on the face of it, but I do feel older. Looking back over the past year, it's been so busy - Belize, the Crafts Council, moving in here with Sean, getting an academic sort of job, all kinds of shenanigans in the fall, turning my best friend into my boyfriend, and a really ridiculously successful year at school... yeah, I feel older.

2. As for the plans to take lots of pictures yesterday... not so much, as it turns out. It turned really cold as it started to rain, and huddling under a blanket on the couch wasn't really enough to fight off the cold, so I ended up curling up in bed to read Robertson Davies and drink hot chocolate. And then, of course, I couldn't get up to take pictures of chili-in-progress, because Tonks came to attack my feet under the blankets and then passed out on top of them. The chili was amazing, though.

3. Today is going to be an odd sort of birthday. I'm going to be packing and doing all manner of little last minute chores, and then going to bed early (I hope I can sleep) so I can get up and take a cab at 5 (my flight is at 6:30). If it doesn't actually pour, I may try to convince Sean to walk to the Diplomat (probably a half hour's saunter away) for birthday cheesecake, but the weather remains wet and cold.
Hot chocolate and packing! Happy Birthday to Me!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

score one for the Bard

1. I'm pretty sure Tonks has figured out, in her bizarre catly way, that I'm leaving for a little while. She's been putting all her energy into being unbelievably cute. For example - and this is one example among many - the other night I woke up to the sound of her beating the daylights out of some tissue paper in the living room. I rolled over far enough to look at her through the doorway, and she spotted me, then galloped over, reared up on her hind legs and started waving her paws in the air at me. It was, for all the world, like a kid at summer camp running over to their parents and yelling about how much fun they are having.
Parallax, on the other hand, has been glaring at me.

2. The packing is going well enough, I think. For some reason I'm having difficulty finding sunscreen, but I'm going to go to Shopper's and sort that out tomorrow. I'm going to field test the camera some more today; if the rain holds off, which honestly doesn't seem likely, I'll go take the pictures Mom requested, but regardless, we're making chili this afternoon and I will put up lots of pictures of that.

3. Last night we watched the Rules of Attraction. It's a good movie, but suffers from a few problems, mostly related to the same problems all college movies have.
  • The actors playing "college kids" are always about thirty.
  • The writers, writing the dialogue for "college kids", have not been in university for twenty years.
  • The antics that "seniors" get up to because they're apparently graduating soon have the ring of frosh, which I just can't really take seriously anymore.
That having been said, the antics of Paul, the Gay Dude, were probably the best thing about the movie, even though they were, like the rest of the film, pretty depressing. One of the little gay frosh dudes "attempts suicide", which should not be funny, but Paul completely sums up the cry-for-help-and-attention attitude inherent in these sort of dorm dramas: "With what? Wine coolers and Sudafed?"
It's a rare and tragic movie where pathetic suicide attempts by cold remedies are the comic relief, not once, but twice.
In order to counteract the cynical depression brought on by Rules of Attraction, we then watched Amelie.

4. Two scenes over the past week that were terrific:
  • Sean and I were waiting to catch a bus uptown at the campus stop, and witnessed an exchange that was right out of an after school special from the early nineties. I can't even explain why I found it so funny.
    • Girl 1: So, that guy you're crushing on, are you really going with him to that party?
    • Girl 2: Teehee, yup!
    • Girl 1: So, are you gonna, you know... *nudge nudge, wink wink*
    • Girl 2: No way, Cynthia! I don't want to get an STD!
  • We decided to go to Mexi's for some nachos, and were seated next to a table of eight - two couples and four boys probably all between the ages of 10 and 14. Ew, I thought. This is going to be really annoying. As the meal went on, the parents got drunk and loud, telling obnoxious stories about annoying coworkers, but the kids were closer to us, and so we could hear their conversation:
    • Kid 1: ... yeah, I think I'd like to be in Much Ado about Nothing.
    • Kid 2: No way, Othello is much better. His monologues are awesome!

Friday, April 27, 2007

my best mark is a B

Just a quick morning post.
The reason I had things due yesterday is that yesterday was the last day of exams; Kerr tends to accept everything without penalty or snark right up til the last minute, and so just made the deadlines yesterday.
UNB has a fun sort of policy where even if your marks have been submitted, they don't release any until all the school's exams are over, so that you don't ditch your remaining exams or commit suicide on school grounds. Good thinking, UNB. Anyway, this morning I got up early to check and see if the Grade Fairy had left anything in my account, and there they were!
  • A+ in Sue's Archaeology of Atlantic Canada
  • A- in Christiane's honours seminar
  • B in Latin
A B IN LATIN! I've only ever gotten C's in that horrible language, which is the bare minimum required to continue. Of all my grades, though I had to work for all of them, the Latin represents the biggest achievement. Any former teachers of mine out there (ahem) might recall that I am a deadline, last minute kind of chick, and sustained effort, especially in languages, is not my cup of tea at all. In fact, it was going to keep me from pursuing the most prestigious variety of Classics degree, because it require so many language classes, until I decided to do it anyway, and here I am.
Just, you know, six more credit hours of that and six credit hours of Greek left. Woo.
The only mark I'm waiting on now is Kerr's Augustus seminar, and I can forgive him for taking more than 12 hours to mark my essay and exam (and in all likelihood, twelve or so other students' essays and exams). I fully expect that to be reasonably good too.
Take that, 2006-2007.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

well, now I feel silly

Deadlines are always a lot less traumatic from the other side, no?

1. Yup, got that essay and exam done. It's a good sort of feeling, to really and truly be done for the year. I'm not really responsible for anything now except for packing and getting to the airport on time.

2. Tonight was my last night of work at the NBCC before I take off to Mexico, so I got to do a few fun things, like formatting the Spring newsletter. I think this was the quickest our newsletter has ever come together, though of course there were a few things missing (usually it takes us about three weeks to get all the write ups and so on from all the people involved).

3. Pictures!
Why yes, that's Sean, and yes, that's a $2000 silver tie he's wearing.

Standing in my driveway last night, looking left: HYDRANT ASPLODE! Our water pressure had been really annoying Sean all evening, so I went out to investigate and discovered why.

Standing in my driveway last night, looking slightly to the right: the historic Loyalist graveyard across the street. It's a park, which I think really confuses people from out of town, seeing people having picnics and throwing frisbees for dogs amongst the stones.
The aforementioned Yuppie Scum [sic] condos, all finished. It's kind of a crummy area, as you can see by my next picture.
Turn 180 degrees from the Yuppie Scum picture, and you get... a historic train station, falling into decrepitude, and also some rather disgusting parking lots and scrub. I have photographed it with the sun behind it trying to be artsy, but have failed miserably as you can see. I'll try and take better pictures of the train station another day. I'm hopeful that someone will fix it up; there are all sorts of rumours about what may someday happen to it, but I fear the likeliest is that it will just plain fall down, allowing the Irvings (who own it) to sell the land for more condos.

Oh yes, and the camera is the Samsung Digimax S600, with 6 mp of fun!


I'll put up some more pictures tonight, I think. I've been limping through the last little bit of my work - a paper I have all the research for - and am passing it in today. I really could have had it done before now, but today is the due date, and on any given day I'd rather be in the sunshine than working on this stuff still.
This year took a lot out of me. It's the fifth year of my undergraduate degree, which is kind of stupid on the face of it, and it has been a long, long year. Unfortunately, next year looks about the same. Sure, I don't have to take as many classes, but I have to take upper year Greek and upper year Latin, and I'll probably still have to work, and as I don't think one can keep a work study position more than one year, I'll either have to find another work study or a "real job", which would be approximately a million times more stressful. I can hope and pray for a scholarship, but that really just isn't that likely, given that my cumulative GPA is kind of weak, though I can still be hopeful and apply (which I have) on the grounds that my last two years of school have been pretty awesome scholastically. The things that might really get me through next year are my living situation and the fact that I get to graduate at the end of it, which is key. I see now why people do things like "taking a year off" and "doing a gap year", though honestly I don't think it's the best sort of solution for me. Summer "vacation" is enough to recharge me, for the time being.
So here I am, pounding my jellified brain into saying something relevant about Augustus, again, and looking at the sunlight through the blinds.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

hold still, Parallax!

So this morning I was woken by a knock on the door - a new camera by courier! Obviously it will take a couple of days of intense photography to really get used to it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


1. Last week, it was winter. There was snow and coats and brring.
This week, it is uncomfortable to wear more than one layer. Ah, Canada.

2. So I would apologize for not updating my blog this weekend, but at least I have an excuse; I was was away at Sean's parents' house, where there is only dialup. For the rest of you - I'm looking at you, Mom and Michelle - there are no excuses.
It was a pretty quiet weekend, featuring lots of tea, lots of ridiculously good Chinese food, and a few really hideously funny bad movies (Spice World? Super Troopers? Jewel of the Nile? Sweet) but the star attraction was Lucy, the extremely wiggly puppy. She has a sort of shepherd face, or maybe collie-rottweiler... she's a mysterious mix, but 100% adorable. She torments Bailey, the older dog, because Bailey is too sweet to really put her in her place, but has learned to respect Oliver, the cat. She seemed to appreciate having an extra two bodies to chase around, stealing my knitting and chasing Sean as he practiced on a unicycle.

3. We got back yesterday on the noon bus, and spent most of the rest of the day wandering around Fredericton in the hot, hot sun. We went up to campus so I could drop some more paperwork off at CEL, and then caught the bus uptown and visited lots of stores, though we didn't buy very much. One of the highlights of the trip was the walk back; we stopped at Superstore and managed to find boxes of farfalle (bow tie pasta), which Sobeys refuses to carry anymore, and rented some movies at Jumbo, which will provide us with entertainment for a week, I think.

4. Later on in the evening the Ninja stopped by for a quick visit; she gave me a Classics textbook for my collection, and stayed for a Sprite float and conversation. She's leaving today for her summer quarters in Montreal, which is too bad... at least I'll see her online, and of course back at school next year.

5. So today I'm working on the last dregs of schoolwork, and Sean is at his first real day of work in over a year, training at Bejewel. He was terribly nervous, but I think he'll calm down when he gets there.
One week until Mexico... I have a new camera (birthday present from Mom thank you thank you!!) coming by courier tomorrow and a lot of packing, laundry, shopping, and last minute stuff to handle, as well as this schoolwork and probably, though at this point not definitely, a trip to Miramichi. I've emailed Sue a couple times about it, but if she doesn't let me know today or tomorrow I'll have to assume we're not going. Though I wouldn't mind going, I do sort of want as much time to pull everything together as possible before I go.

6. Linkage!
  • I'm thinking about these removable wall decals as a good solution to my decorating issues with 20' ceilings. One set will make for a good accent to take them away from boring white box syndrome (the plague of all rental apartments)... I don't really want to paint 20' ceilings even though it would be very, very cool in the end.
  • This is a really interesting slideshow about the phenomenon of incredibly racist product spokescharacters.
  • The governor of Oregon is a cool dude, and I applaud him (and his wife).

Friday, April 20, 2007

don't be hating the Aquitani

1. What a busy day.
First thing on the agenda this morning was putting our deposit down on the new apartment - so we are set to get in July 1! It's very exciting. I can't wait to see the place lit and clean.
Second - running around like mad on campus passing things in and studying for my Latin exam, which was a lot earlier in the day than I had really thought. Still, though, it wasn't as bad as I had feared; lots of Cicero (which I'm quite good with at this point), a little Vergil (which was alright; I caught the gist of it anyway), some sightreading....
Yeah, random sightreading. Luckily, it was Caesar, so it was all "Gaul is divided into three parts, and here is a long discussion of which parts have what rivers between them, and how barbaric they are", so I did well with that too. The syntax section is turning into my bane, but I struggled through that as well. The final section (more?) was a two page essay discussing Cicero's argument; it was interesting to write, but honestly I'm not sure what he wanted from us. Perhaps it's free points, or as free as Geyssen gives them. Anyway, I'm hopeful.
When we were finished, by popular vote, half the class went to the Cellar (the pub in the SUB basement) and had celebratory drinks and discussed classes and the Civilization series.

2. Upon arriving home, I met Sean on his way home from his third interview at Bejewel - and he got the job! He's pretty excited; it's a beautiful store, and sounds like a lot of fun to work it - lots of interesting side work as well as the actual selling of shiny things.

3. So here we are, celebrating by... staying home and reading and playing games. For tonight, anyway. Seeing as Sean doesn't start work until Tuesday, we will be going to visit his parents over the weekend, and seeing their new puppy, which should be an adventure.

4. Oh, and in the continuing saga of the dudes upstairs, they've been hysterically laughing all night. Constantly. Presumably life is going better for them, too.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

charles, you have a licking problem

1. This absolutely slays me. Michelle and I both enjoy Natalie Dee bunches, and this is her dog, Charles, and her husband Drew singing about Charles. It was pointed out to me by Megan, which shames me, because I should have watched it just from loving her comics without having to have it pointed out to me as awesome. Without further ado: Charles Has A Licking Problem.

2. Well, it's been a quiet couple of days with intermittent work. I slept altogether too much yesterday, but Megan had been over the night before for a really, really long time, so I needed the rest.
Today is cleaning and homework and studying; also, we're going to see that apartment, so I will try to take pictures for you, but if there are people living in it (which is possible) then that might be a little uncouth so I'll just have to take notes and draw MSPaint diagrams.
So we went to see the apartment! It isn't the one that Sean thought it was, but it is really, really cool regardless. It has 20' ceilings and is HUGE compared to this place. The windows are interesting, because they're really big, but look directly at a white wall five feet away, so it's more of a light well effect in that there's lots of light but no one looking into the windows.
(Incidentally, the slob who currently lives there has stapled sleeping bags over them, which is incomprehensible to me because the heat is included in the rent and copious. Weird.)
So, the promised MSPaint diagram:Other interesting points: This is all pretty big. The bedroom looks bigger than our current apartment. Also, it's built like a fortress. You can't hear anything inside it. We share no walls with neighbours, there being just halls on both sides, and below is a men's clothing store, and there's a four foot airspace between us and the apartment upstairs. The building hallways are creepily wide, like a high school (a proper one, not West Kings halls). The cupboards and bathtub are new, the linoleum is old, and there are outlets everywhere, even one ten feet up the wall for a clock. There's laundry in the building next door, there's a garbage hutch outside, there's no parking but we don't have a car, and they don't mind cats.

3. Linkage:
  • a drowned town from a dam project fifty years ago that had been forcefully evacuated? You don't say.
  • Murphy Dining Room!
  • I had no idea miniature dishwashers were so inexpensive.
  • These toilet things are actually really awesome. Everyone should have them. They're pretty common in Japan and other places where water is at a premium.
  • This picture is pretty awesome. I found it randomly on an antique knitting pattern site and was shocked to recognize the Harmony sock knitter. They're knitting socks for WWII soldiers at an institute for the blind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

cockle spats in gunny sacks

1. Here, some flowers. (click on the black, enjoy.)

2. I had a whale of a time trying to accomplish much yesterday after about 11. I finished two of the three things I had intended to do, and passed them in successfully, and I went to a study meeting for Latin, but aside from that... ugh.
The really great part, though, was the invigilating. I had a nap at about 4 and set an alarm - it's hard enough not falling asleep invigilating when I haven't been up since the wee hours of the morning - but unfortunately the alarm didn't go off, and I woke up at 6:10, just late enough to miss the bus. So I bustled out the door, discovered that the world was covered in four or five inches of slush, and went to get a cab at King's Place, only to find none there, which is really weird. So I called a cab and stood around in the sleet watching people fishtail... until 7:10. Seriously. The cabby even though it was funny that I was late to invigilate an exam.
Once there, it wasn't too bad - Professor Hutton didn't mind much that I was late, the weather being what it was. The exam was brutal on the students, though. It's bad when no one in a two hundred person class has left after the first hour - even worse when more than half the class is still hanging in there at the two hour mark. People started leaving in droves at about 9:30 and Professor Hutton let two of us go; since I had work to do, they let me leave. Or try to. The last bus had gone at 9:25, so I had to call a cab again, and waited twenty minutes in the slush for it... and then some little bratty girl stole it. So I had to call another, and waited another half hour for it. By the time I got home I was pretty much done for the day.

3. A cockle spat seems to be an endangered form of shellfish, but you wouldn't be able to tell from this news story (via Fark):

RANTAU PANJANG: About RM67,200 worth of cockle spats in 84 gunny sacks, which were bound for Thailand, were seized by the authorities at Lalang Pepuyu here yesterday.

State anti-smuggling unit head Supt Mazlan Che Hamid said they stopped the lorry at a roadblock at 12.30am and, on inspection, found the gunny sacks.

The 26-year-old lorry driver, from Terengganu, was detained after he failed to produce any documents for the consignment, he said.

Mazlan said if the spats were smuggled into Thailand or China, they could fetch twice the market price compared with that in Malaysia. [...] Under the Fisheries Act 1985, it is an offence to import or export cockle spats.
Wikipedia didn't know what they were (except that they might have something to do with fashion), but Google had links pertaining to them:
  • "Cockle spat are collected from natural spatfall areas..."
  • "Infected specimens of juvenile cockles were also examined histologically..."
  • "The previous year's cockle spat was excluded from the calculation of mean cockle size because cockle spat is generally too small to be eaten..."
The things that keep us entertained.

4. On the serious business side of things, I've got a line on what sounds like the perfect apartment for next year. It reportedly has high, old-fashioned ceilings and access to a laundry room, it's a one bedroom, it's $55 cheaper per month with heat included, it's practically on top of our favourite cafe, the main bus hub, the current NBCC offices, and the yarn store, and the address is awesome: 76 1/2 York. We tried to get it last year but missed out by half a hour; this year it's up for grabs as of July but we may be able to claim it by the end of this week. Here's hoping it's everything they say it is.

5. In other serious business areas, Sean has decided not to do the school thing this summer like he did last summer; after a while you just need a break from the class thing, and they aren't offering anything he wants or needs to take. So he's been applying around, and has interviewed in two places: Read's, our favourite cafe, and Bejewel, the upscale jewelry boutique owned and operated by the NBCC president of the board, Trudy - the position hadn't even been advertised yet, but Shasta gave us the tip and even called the floor manager (who does the interviewing) to talk up Sean a bit.
While the cafe is what one might consider an ideal student sort of job, the hours would be evenings and every weekend, which is the opposite of my schedule, the pay is minimum wage, and a large part of the job is kicking out the street punks, which isn't something he really wants to have to do. Bejewel, on the other hand, pays slightly more, offers sales training, is part of the family industry so to speak, is far more prestigious, opens high end retail doors... and it's a fabulous little shop. He actually has experience selling handcrafted jewelry at craft shows with his brother, too. And there's the possibility of getting to do grunt work in the studio, polishing silver and doing very basic jewelry making things, which he's pretty excited about. The only real drawback for him is that he'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe... and you just know he hates buying new clothes. ;)
Both jobs have been interviewed for, and there's hope for both; the Reads job is finishing interviewing and so on today, and Bejewel called him this morning for a second interview tomorrow. Nothing can really happen today, because he has two exams... right up to 10 pm. But that's the last of it, so he could be working as early as Thursday in a new job that absolutely, positively does not involve dishpits.

Monday, April 16, 2007

sad girls in snow

1. It's snowing. WHY GOD WHY.

2. As you can see by yesterday's entry, I am in fact a procrastination ninja, but there comes a time even for ninjas when you can't put things off much longer and still feel good about it - and really, feeling good is what procrastination is all about.
Note that I'm still writing blog entries. I can't really explain that.
But blog entries or no, it's 8:30 and I've already crossed one large headache off my list. I have two more large annoyances to get through - one much larger than the other - before heading up to campus at noonish to get on with some Latin, as the exam is on Friday. While there, I can deal with between one and four of my other to-do items; I think I will aim for as many as possible, which will probably be two, depending on business hours and how much Latin we do. The others can be dealt with tomorrow.

3. The curry was tasty, but like everything I cook, had some serious flaws. Flaw #1, in this case, was too much curry, which is unusual for me; generally I err in the tasteless direction (ha ha ha). In any case it was nothing that couldn't be fixed with mango chutney. The more basic and grievous errors were probably to do with using the wrong kind of curry - red curry paste instead of yellow curry powder - and no coconut milk. All that aside, we didn't have to throw it out, so it's enough of a success to make me happy.

4. As you can see in my webcomic links, I admit to enjoying Megatokyo. It's an older webcomic, going back for probably seven years or more now, and based loosely on manga principles, though it started with more of a gamer angle. The art has improved greatly, and the storyline gets more and more tangled as time goes on. Some people think it's overly dramatic and wimpy, but I'm the proud owner of a fuzzy Sad Girl In Snow blanket (in which I am bundled right now) and I have desperately wanted the companion piece featuring Miho since it came out.
Today's comic, here, confused me when I first read it at 7 am, then delighted me when I woke up a bit. It's the first nerdy sort of joke they've had in a bit - at least the kind of nerd I am, as opposed to their more customary anime nerd jokes - and it speaks volumes about the characters and our generation in general. The two main characters have just had a very eventful sort of night and Largo is angry and threatened - hence the attempts at yelling. The punchline, such as it is, is so true it hurts a little, like all good comics; a lot of people, especially people like Largo - gamers or people who live the better part of their life online - prefer to weep and rail over instant messages, face to face making the encounter more awkward and the sentiments harder to express.
Overthinking webcomics isn't even really procrastination at this point, as my honours seminar proposal is about just this sort of thing.

5. I think that whatever is bothering the upstairs dudes enough to slaughter our lamps is definitely crazy-girlfriend-related. They left early this morning, and all morning the phone has been ringing until the machine picks up, pausing, and then ringing again. Someone is not very happy.

6. The blogger's life is a hard one (click for larger viewing):

Sunday, April 15, 2007

advanced procrastination techniques

1. Here it is Sunday, and all over my MSN window people are saying things like "SO MANY PAPERS OMG" or "Nothing gets my room cleaner faster than papers!" or "Procrastinating, distract me PLZ". Some of these people are upper year students and should know better, but I'm willing to give people in the first two or three years of their degrees the benefit of the doubt. Just for you, guys, the art of procrastinating at this very special time in your school year:
  • Don't advertise that you're procrastinating. This is for people who aren't really committed to procrastinating and are just being all emo so someone will tell them to get on with it, or else people who don't actually have anything overdue or immanently due, but want to look like they're living on the edge like all their friends. Losers.
  • You should try to move beyond the "cleaning my room so I don't have to study" realm of procrastination. It's alright for rank beginners, but replacing work with work isn't really what we're going for here. It's certainly nothing to brag about.
  • What kind of activities you bring into procrastination says a lot about who you are, and what you stand for (aside from being lazy). While keeping away from the replacing-work-with-work strategy mentioned above, you should try to tailor the experience to fit your tastes.
    • Like sports? You could go for a jog... but for more points, you should spend the evening/afternoon/month playing Wii Bowling or some sort of crappy hockey game on your couch.
    • Social? You could go for coffee with friends, but ideally you should spend the day on Facebook, joining or even creating arcane groups like "Fredericton Drivers Make Me Violent", or "I Will Go Slightly Out Of My Way To Step On That Crunchy-Looking Leaf" (both of these, in fact, exist).
    • Musical? You could practice an instrument or go to a show, but real procrastinators spend their time organizing their iTunes into exciting categories and rating every song they have in the name of an efficient shuffle playlist.
You get the general idea.
But Sensei, you ask - what do you do to avoid work? The answers are many and varied:
  • playing with my cats. Cats make excellent co-conspirators in this kind of endeavour; we should all hold up the laziness of cats as an example to guide us.
  • napping. I incorporated this from years of keen observation of my cats, and it has served me well.
  • reading unnecessarily long books. Several weeks ago I went on a The Cat Who binge, but having worked through about twenty of them, I have started on the Lord of the Rings, and happily ensconced in the Two Towers.
  • playing unnecessarily long games of Civilization, or in my case, FreeCiv, which is an awesome little open source networky sort of variant.
  • cooking, which I usually avoid like the plague, except when it involves researching for hours to really define the true spirit of a vegetarian curry, and then modifying it for a slowcooker.
  • writing long and silly blog posts.
2. The neighbours, clearly angsting about something either school-related or crazy-girlfriend-related, stomped across the floor this morning with enough force to knock down our Ikea lamp.


I meant to take pictures of this a while ago, but the graffiti was painted over, and then replaced in large letters with "AFFORDABLE HOUSING NOW". The housing situation in Fredericton is pretty brutal if you don't want to pay at least $500/month in rent and basic heating/electricity. It's taken a few years and quite a few apartments for us to learn the finer points of not getting screwed by landlords, and not paying rent that compels you to sell kidneys on the black market.
The billboard itself was for a condo complex that was built quite close to here, on my walk home from work; it was designed to mimic historic buildings nearby, but it's actually pretty hideous, with fake towers and faux adobe siding. It's finished and occupied now, as is the condo complex on the other side of York. I wonder when the old "luxury" apartments will have their rent lowered?

4. Procrastination Curry:

This is a pretty hippyish curry, being veg and mostly made from organic things, as our Sobeys has gotten better and better about stocking organic goods.

1 largish carrot, sliced into coins
1 medium parsnip, sliced into coins
2 small yellow onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 or 3 tbsp Patak's curry paste, depending on how hot you like your curry
olive oil

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 small zucchini, cubed
1 14 oz can of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, as they are known now), drained and rinsed
1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne

Cook the first five ingredients in as much olive oil as you feel prudent, until the carrot and parsnip are softened; I threw them in on low while I chopped the rest. Throw everything else but the stock into the slow cooker, then the cooked carrotty curry goodness; use the stock to rinse the bits of curry and olive oil left into the slow cooker from the pan. Give it a good stir and turn the cooker on high. Leave alone for 6-8 hours, serves approximately four over basmati rice.

I can't actually vouch for this curry yet, as it's still cooking, but I thought I'd write it down before I forgot everything. Here's hoping, no?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

7:45 am is a bad time to be awake on a Saturday

1. Today started way too early for a Saturday; I was invigilating a 9 am exam for Grant, so of course I had to get up at 7:45. Ew.
What to say about invigilating? We had a guy show up half an hour late, and a guy stay fifteen minutes after everyone else in his 200-person class had finished and left - and they weren't even the same guy.

2. When I got back, Sean gave me a bunch of lilies and irises and we went out for breakfast at the Fox; I love anniversaries :)

3. The rest of today was a bit of a blur. There was a bit of homework, there was arranging a study thing for Latin on Monday, there was a rather long nap, there was coffee with Megan and Cal. I wish I could be more descriptive, but what more can I really say? My days are fairly simple at the moment.

4. Parallax is a weird, weird cat. She was murring at me in her sleep yesterday, so I threw my beige fishnet sarong/scarf over her, and she didn't even really wake up. Later, she woke, noticed the net, then stood up and turned around in circles a few times so it was twisted up under her and tightening into a little net bag - then she fell over and went back to sleep. Eventually I had to rescue her from it because she woke up and panicked, almost falling on the floor.

5. Well, flowers and wacky cat stories aside... here's a cute video of a penguin shopping for fish:

Friday, April 13, 2007


1. First: if you get a message on MSN suggesting that there's a picture of you on - don't follow the link! don't download the file! It's a virus. Granted, it's a clever ploy. It's one of those viruses that sends the message, when infected, to everyone on your MSN list, making everyone you know suddenly start remembering their salacious past and wondering who was taking pictures.

2. Well, not much to report today. Yesterday was pretty quiet - avoiding homework, going to the NBCC, the usual for a Thursday. The only really notable thing is that Erica stopped by, probably for the last time before she leaves tomorrow morning - leaves for Brampton, a new job, and a fresh start. I'm going to miss that crazy chick, but you know, if I get to go to the U of Toronto for grad school like I hope, we should be able to see each other all the time up there.

3. And thus begins exam season. Sean has his first exam, Math, tonight; tomorrow morning I invigilate Grant's exam. I only have one exam, myself - Latin, on the 20th - and I'm making arrangements to meet with my classmates to study.

4. Links:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

last class bash

1. Except, of course, read "bash" as "sitting around the apartment drinking ginger ale with Sean and working on more homework". It didn't actually occur to me until today that this was, in point of fact, my last day of class, Professor Kerr having canceled class tomorrow because there isn't any more class to be had.

2. Monday's trip was long and arduous, but I got have to souvlaki at Fahda's in Moncton, and got home on time to rescue Sean from his paper, which was eating his soul (seriously). We had a pleasant, nonpapery evening of watching House and Boondock Saints and eating Easter chocolate.

3. Yesterday was a busy, busy day, at least in the morning. I went to class, booked a flight (MEXICO!), got my hair trimmed so that it looks less like a ratnest (apologies to Binnie), and, um, did something else. I can't even remember what, at this point. I went home and slept all afternoon - I think I'm sleeping off the badness of the winter, the amount I've been sleeping and dreaming lately - and then went to coffee with Sean and Megan, who is a lot of fun.
Last night was one of those nights when I planned to do a lot of terribly important things and then just sort of didn't.

4. Today was more in the way of busy busy - mostly to do with rushing to catch up with the work that I was supposed to do last night, and also beginning the processing of my student loan. Just when I had the process of Nova Scotia student loans down, I get to learn a whole new secret handshake to get my money; instead of processing it at the school and then the Royal Bank, now I get to fill out some extra forms and process it at the post office. The more you know.
I also had my last honours seminar class today, which I find really kind of depressing. I've grown to really look forward to that class, as much work as it can be, because I really like my classmates, and the conversations we have about our class work are just so interesting. Luckily, half the class is going to Mexico - possibly more now, because Mary and I were talking about it and Jill finally broke and said she'd try and sign up at the last minute (which, of course, Christiane is more than happy to allow).
I also got my information package for Merida... so much travel! So many hotels! I'll write it out later, but the best part of today was talking to Christiane about the plane reservations; apparently there are basically two groups of us, with the lion's share of the class flying out of Fredericton sickeningly early and arriving in Cancun in the afternoon, and then a few more arriving in the evening. Christiane told me today that instead of sitting around the airport, she's going to drop us off at the beach for the afternoon - "so pack your swimsuit in your carry on, yes?"
Have better words ever been spoken?

Sunday, April 08, 2007


1. Have I mentioned that my house is the Greenwood Residence for Geriatric Pets? We currently have an eighteen-year-old cat named Sonny:
Sonny has recently earned the name "Howie", for developing a compulsive paw-washing habit, especially but not limited to when people touch his paws. He's also deaf, and just generally eccentric, as seen above, when he decided Scott's head was a better place to sleep than his customary spot on the couch. (picture via Scott)

2. Easter Egg Hunt Pictures:

(Picture via our first stop on the road rally, Jill, but posted by my mom)

(Picture via our last stop, Chantal, who had our big basket o' prizes! Also posted by Mom.)

The past several years of Easter egg hunts have been community affairs; rather than wimp out and not do hunts because we're too old or something (we're still in school! come on) they've just gotten more complex. Two years ago we had a very involved road rally involving clues like roosters on silos and distances on the meter on which we got horribly lost more than once; last year, we went on a geocaching, handheld GPS excursion on foot all over Greenwood. This year we went around the Valley (Middleton - Berwick - Cambridge - Middleton - Kingston - Greenwood) meeting old teachers and friends along the way, and also a very wiggly puppy named Lucia (probably misspelled) who wanted to jump in the car and join us. Mom swears this is the last year, but I'm hoping to drag Sean on one of these bunny ear adventures yet.

3. Tomorrow: bus bus bus. And then probably homework. *sigh*
But I get to see Sean and the kitties, so it will be good anyway :)

whisky tango foxtrot, there, Easter Bunny?

Well, just a quick post to point to my mom's blog, and borrow her picture (more on her blog):

And from our webcam (in case you're unfamiliar with my family: yes, we do in fact have two webcams, one on the driveway and the other on the deck in the backyard):

Saturday, April 07, 2007

embarrassed tulips

1. Mom bought some closed up tulips a few days ago, not knowing what colour they were, and that they've opened we've discovered they're basically white, but with a sort of pink blush to some of them as though embarrassed. I'll post a picture if anyone takes one - I didn't bring my camera, you see.

2. What have I done since yesterday? After finishing up my template, we played dice and I won the first two games neatly. I usually have pretty bad luck, so it was a nice change. I've also turned the heel on the ribbed socks I'm knitting to use up the rest of the bamboo yarn; the ones with the simple lace pattern were still not simple enough to not get lost in the crazy hypnotic colours.

3. So I'm still stupidly proud of my new template, but the transparency is sort of annoying when it's applied to pictures inside my posts. I wonder if there's a graceful way of dealing with that? In any case, you can still click on the pictures to get a larger and non-transparent version.

4. Some links:
  • I've been listening to Feist's two albums a lot over the past year, and so I'm pretty happy that she's getting popular in that indy sort of way. Even better: she's coming out with an new album!
  • I'm a huge fan of Google Labs; even though they're almost on the point of becoming big and rich enough to be evil by default, the Googleplex and the Google philosophy are pretty great. A real relic of the insane dotcom days. If you enjoy little widgety bits of programs, and haven't been to Google Labs, you're really missing out; the latest that I'm playing with is the Google Browser Sync for Firefox, my browser of choice; it allows you to track your histories, bookmarks, and open windows across various windows and even different machines as part of your Google profile (which for me includes Gmail, Google Desktop, Google Notebook, Google Calendar...). Yes, I'm a Google fangirl, in low intensity sort of way. (By the way... they also own this Blogger service. Surprise!)
  • I want to make one of these. I have no idea how, but it looks like a hoot.

Friday, April 06, 2007

something borrowed, something blue

No wedding here - just a new template. I borrowed this background a long, long time ago from a friend on a message board called CleverNothing, and have been using it for a while for my desktop. Rather nice, no? The template is a reworked, mutilated version of what I had before; transparency (if you can see it - can you?) thanks to some scripting bits Angus pointed me to; graphicky bits constructed by me and hosted on Flickr.

How do you like it? Do you see transparency? Is it pretty?

edit: okay mom, text is darker now :)

I love the whooshing noise they make when they go by

Weeks, that is, not deadlines (the original quote, of course, is Douglas Adams on the subject of publishing deadlines). It was Tuesday, and now it's suddenly Friday in a different province and I'm utterly confused. Let's take a stab, anyway.

1. Wednesday was another dash to the finish line day; I have such a block about presentations I tend to put off the preparation as much as possible. In the end, though, I got there on time and gave the best presentation I've done all year - best feeling, anyway. It was the sort of presentation that ended up more like a group discussion, because everyone had questions about my thesis proposal. And, of course, I'm very comfortable with the class. We spend about half of every three hour class just chatting about things - usually topical things, but we have educated Christiane on more than a couple areas of knowledge that she just doesn't get exposed to.

2. When I got home, riding high on the feeling of having finished THE LAST PRESENTATION OF THE YEAR, I checked my mail and got possibly the only news that could make the day better - the Financial Aid Angel emailed me to say I have the loan and I can go to Mexico!!
Less than a month until Merida! I can't even believe it. Really. I hadn't expected to get it at this point.
People going on the trip include:
  • Sam, who is in my honours seminar and went to Belize with me.
  • Will, who goes to Carleton, but came to Belize and was just awesome the whole time. He doesn't really need the credit, but he's coming for the fun of it, and the experience of the ethnography side of anth (apparently lacking at Carleton).
  • Mary, of my honours seminar. She's a mature student whose husband is Venezuelan; she's in International Development Studies, so she has a unique perspective on a lot of our work.
  • Steve, the only guy in my Maritime archaeology seminar, and the one who did all the map stuff for the project.
  • Anne, who is in my maritime archaeology seminar as well, and I'm surprised she's not dead from all the stress of the past few weeks. She's a full time student, a mom of a 13 month old boy, and last week bought a house. Mexico will be a vacation, courses or no courses.
The program info is here... I just can't wait! I don't know yet if it's possible, but with any luck I'll be blogging from Merida, so this will get a whole lot more interesting for you, the readers, too.

3. Yesterday was a travel day. I got up early to pack and offer what support I could to Sean, who is suffering terribly from economics papers. There wasn't much I could do, being hopeless at anything that involved numbers, so I took off early for the bus.
The bus has been getting worse and worse every time I take it. Last time was epic in its own right, but this was just awful; every bus I was on was packed, late, and going on every detour and rural route possible. This meant no stopover for lunch in Moncton, which is usually one of the best parts of traveling (Fahdi's souvlaki, mmmm), so I didn't get anything to eat until Amherst. The only thing that really made the trip fun at all this time was texting back and forth with Michelle and Sean throughout the day - Sean with updates on the paper, and Michelle with updates on what she and Scott were up to in Halifax (they had taken an early bus so as to have some fun in the city before my bus got in). Because we ran through every kind of bad weather I know (snow, rain, freezing rain, drizzle, hail...) the bus ended up being over an hour late into Halifax.
Home sweet home :)

4. Today has been a quiet day so far; even Mom doesn't wash windows when it's snowing out, so I've been knitting and watching the kids playing Atari.

5. Links:
6. Pictures (not mine, but pretty):

I love the idea of having shutters inside the apartment with plants - maybe just half shutters for the top bit of the window so the cats can have their windowsill? Ideally it'd be for kitchen herbs that wouldn't drape like those plants, because the cats would rip them down or chew them to bits inside a week. They don't look hard to build, either, especially if you use watertight tubes horizontally instead of diagonally like that. (via pan-dan)

Very nice modular thing. It's more of a screen or room divider than a shelf system per se, but still nice. (via pan-dan)

A revolving fish tank! It has weird white sculpture in it so the scenery is always changing for the fish (presumably it rotates slowly). The water only fills up half way. (via pan-dan; more pics there)

Pretty, pretty phyllo breadsticks. Recipe here (via Apartment Therapy Kitchen blog).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

tulips, tuesday, tonks

1. Well, that project is over with. Yesterday was a very, very stressful day, and when I eventually got home I ate supper and then fell asleep for a six hour "nap". I feel much better now, though I have another presentation tomorrow. At least it's only me, and it's my honours seminar class - I do not fear my honours seminar class. At least not very much.

2. Random image from SomethingAwful:

3. Pictures!

The socks I knit from recycled cotton in the jungle. Aren't they pretty? Yes, they are a Cookie pattern - Hedera.
Our friend Stu has been slowly metamorphing into a hippy; here you can just barely see his dreads. Parallax is fascinated with them.

Our parking lot this morning. We were not amused. Luckily it mostly melted this afternoon.

Our tulips! They were leftovers from the Goblet Grab on Friday. I love fresh flowers in the house.

Writing economics papers does not look like much fun.

My cat remains less than photogenic. I swear, sometimes she actually looks cute.

4. Some links:
5. And finally, a rather great little video. Yes, that is her. Yes, those are the lyrics and basic gist of the video. My question is: are those Nelly Furtado bangs?

Monday, April 02, 2007

my state of mind

me: good evening
Angus: And you, how goes?
12:29 AM me: screaming hyperventilating panic attacky goodness
I hate groupwork
Angus: Not too bad at the moment. I also hate groupwork but I've found a good partner so we just do all of our groupwork together.
12:30 AM me: lucky
someone in my project did my work herself and now I have to rewrite my section using her numbers
which isn't a bad thing, because my math was wrong
12:31 AM but I'm pretty frustrated with it
12:32 AM Angus: Ugh, terrible.
12:33 AM me: the problem with my math was actually fairly entertaining
by bending the laws slightly I made it possible to complete the survey in the allotted time and at only five times the original budget
12:34 AM except I dropped out a zero in calculating the number of test pits involved
12:35 AM so really, by doing 10m intervals instead of 5m, quintupling the budget, and fudging the definition of a high potential area, I made it possible to survey one tenth of the area we need to cover.
the project is quite literally impossible
12:36 AM Angus: That's horrifying.
12:37 AM me: it's kind of staggering to think about the strictly legal way of carrying out the survey. By the letter of the law, all 65.2 km2 of the area is considered high potential, and must be sampled at 5 m intervals, making for a total of 2.6 million test pits
12:38 AM each test pit is 1x1m with a .5x.5m in the middle, which takes two people a day to dig and screen
5.2 million days of manpower
12:39 AM if we could enlist all of Canada, we could have it done in a morning
12:41 AM Angus: Planning surveys must be a royal pain.
12:42 AM me: yes.
we've already crawled through every archive, private collection, corporate memo and archaeological survey on the area
and all the maps, from the past few centuries
12:43 AM nickel and dimed the budget

But don't take my word for it alone! Here's a baby Malaysian tapir, born two days ago in Scotland, who also says that this project is just plain impossible:

Come on. You'd trust a baby tapir, wouldn't you?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

slothfully good

So, of course, when I write a little explanatory note apologizing in advance for not writing much this week, that's when I feel like writing randomly.
Yup, that time stamp isn't lying (at least I assume so - sometimes it's very wrong). It's 7:20 am on a Sunday and I'm trying my best to stumble through my Maritime Archaeology work. I'd had serious problems focusing on assignments and papers in the past - something about the last minute really helps me zero in on what I have to do - but this year has been just awful. I've spent the past few days here, at home, with my laptop in front of me and nine Word documents open, spacing out and staring at the wall. Walks, coffee, naps, talking papers out, even going and being stressed out about non-school things - nothing helps.The problem, of course, is the same problem I run into every year. I focus best when I'm at the last minute possible, and all the prep work and research I've been assembling suddenly gels. This is fine at most points in the year, but this is NOT a good time to be leaving things until they suddenly work. I have too much to do.
Hence the early morning. And you know, I even have more done now than I did yesterday. And I know that no matter how bad this week is, it will pass, and I'll probably do just fine. It's easier stuff, in a way, than the Augustus presentations that were stressing me out last month; this is a group presentation, and then a presentation to the five people I've been brainstorming with for months on the topic. Not so bad.
Just insert your own joke here about being lazy, and also baby sloths, okay?


Oh, the non-school stress? Friday was the Goblet Grab, the reason for the angry posters of doom. Shasta asked me to give her a hand with the setup and last minute things, and then the actual event.
It went very well, all things considered. We had exactly the right amount of wine. The event was exactly long enough, the venue was lovely, no one broke any of the goblets. Everyone had a good time, and aside from making a good chunk of cash for the council, we really raised the profile of the NBCC; nothing makes the local arts community warm and fuzzy quite like a well-executed fund raiser, especially one involving silly amounts of wine and the opportunity to riot and elbow each other to swarm tables of handcrafted pottery and glass.
But of course, it didn't look like that at 4:00 Friday afternoon when the wine order was screwed up, the brownies from the Blue Door weren't even out of the oven, the tulips had to be forced to bloom in a sink of warm water, and suddenly some people had done some unreported ticket selling and we had more tickets than goblets. Absolutely nothing can happen without a few hiccups, I know. At the end of the day, the important thing is that people walked away feeling good about the event in general and there were no deaths - hey, we even made money.

Now just for these stupid projects.