Saturday, 31 January 2009

Who Is Ruining My Life Now

Today, in the middle of an assignment, my trial edition of the new Microsoft Office expired. I knew that would happen, I had calculated it to end around the end of January. This is why I asked for it for Christmas and my parents got it for me. Since the trial version was still trucking I just tossed it on a shelf and forgot about it. Well today, at the worst possible time (I'm hungover, the assignment is late, I need to type something and send it to a friend right away, I'm tired, I'm depressed, I feel horrible as it is about school and school work) it tells me I have to enter a product key. I go and get the box, I don't know who has seen this box, but it is a retarded box. I swear I stare at it for a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how to open the damn thing. I end up having to look up step by step how-to instructions on the web, for opening the box. I had to follow photographic instructions how to cut stickers, pull tabs, work hinges, and open the box. A box that I can't figure out how to open without a Google search is a hugely pathetic failure in design. (Don't get me started on what happened after I got the box open and couldn't just enter the product key into the trail version but had to fully install my CD version.) Oh, how I hate Microsoft!!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

On Day 51

It sounds like the strike it over. After spending the last couple of days thinking that OC Transpo was systematically trying to ruin my life, it looks like the end is in sight. The City of Ottawa and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 have both agreed to send their dispute to binding arbitration with no conditions on all outstanding issues, namely scheduling, we have heard so much about the damn scheduling. This is a huge deal. This is progress. This means an agreement will happen and the buses will start again, at some point. The strike will officially end once city council and the union's membership both ratify the deal. They are meeting again tomorrow. But even after the official end, it maybe up to 14 weeks (over 3 months) before full service resumes. It looks like they are making the 7 one of the priority bus routes and also getting the 4 and 1 running mid-day and evenings. Those are all the ones that I really care about, so hopefully I should be able to get downtown soon!!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Throwing Up

I hate throwing up. I think it is pretty much the worse thing in the world. During and after, I always feel so alone, someone could be with me, stroking my hair and cleaning me up but I still feel so alone. I also always cry, it is just so horrible I cry afterwards. I would never be the type of person who could make themselves throw up. I know people who do, not for bulimic purposes but just because they know when they are sick they will feel better after they have. I don't feel better afterwards, I may actually feel worse. Last night I was sick, I believe I have the flu. I haven't been sick and throwing up in a very long time. I never throw up from drinking and I don't usually get the flu, just really bad colds. I didn't make it out to get the flu shot this year and that might be why I got it. I really wanted to, I'm a huge advocate for the flu shot to protect the vulnerable in our society but now I realise it is good to get to protect myself from throwing up.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Politics Geek?

I have started to be a lot more interested in politics than I ever was before. As long as I have been legally able to, I have always voted, and I have always voted responsibly by doing a decent enough job researching candidates and issues to feel confident in my choice. I have followed some elections, and I enjoy the political comedy shows. Today, at work, I joined my colleagues to watch the budget speech by the Minister of Finance. Admittedly I was being paid to watch TV, so would have done it no matter what was on there, but I was actually really excited to hear about the budget. I'm reserving judgement on it for a couple more days, until I hear and read more about it. Still, Happy Budget Day everyone!!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Media Photography - #3

A Winter Walk
Anna, Erin and puppy Sophie
By Christine Sweeton

Not my best work. But getting a 'Nature Shot' in winter, in -24, in the middle of the city, in a bus strike, which includes people of course, is all a bit more of a challenge than I was really up for. I also think that the super cold temperatures were really hard on my camera. It drained the battery really fast. I'm going to look at the manual to see what it says of those types of extremes.


This weekend was Kristen's 22nd birthday. (So young!!) Taylor and Heather tend to call her Fristen, it was actually the name that was on her cake this year. They also sometimes call Heather - Feather but draw the line at calling Taylor - Faylor for obvious reasons. A big group of us went out drinking and dancing. It was so much fun, as was her party last year. I think January is actually a pretty good month to have a birthday when you're in university. Best wishes to her for a great 22nd year. She is now a palindrome!! Happy Birthday Kristen!!

Friday, 23 January 2009


I do love the flowchart humour, maybe it is a small leftover from my engineering days. There are tons of them. The Boy House used to have one on the fridge detailing, if you were Catholic, whether you could have sex. I wanted to have a huge post and just put as many good ones up as I could find, but four will do. Click on them to get a bigger picture. The first two are from xkcd and the later two are from an e-mail Ter sent me today at work. They both should have the title of 'What Goes Through Your Mind When The Opposite Sex Asks You To Have A Drink' (The last one is so horribly true. How do we all get so crazy? I'm definitely included in that.)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Sliced Bread

There was once a time that Mr.Knife wanted to make household swords, to cut bread. So he went to get his finest sword. Then he got his sharpest sword and he cut his finest sword in half. (Because swords are used to cut other swords.) Now he had two little swords. So he sharpened up those two little swords into the perfect shape. (Phallic.) "These would be the perfect things to cut bread with," Mr Knife said, "I should market this." But what should he name it. "I know!" He said. "I`ll name it a knife." And so begins the worlds greatest love with a piece of cutlery. All because Mr. Knife wanted to cut perfectly symmetrical pieces of bread. - Kristen

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Feeling Inspired

I watched Barack Obama's inauguration speech today at work and was just blow away. He is an amazing speaker. I really hope that he can live up to everything that is expected of him and has been promised. I wonder if we will really see great change and I'm hoping that we do. The most powerful parts of the speech for me were:

"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. "

"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West -- know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

I think the last one is the quote that should go down in history - judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy - is almost poetic. It is true and beautiful.

Most Depressing Day

A no-so accredited academic source, a former part-time tutor at an UK university, has calculated the most depressing day of the year to be the Monday of the last full week in January. Called 'Blue Monday', the date was calculated using many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. Mind you the 'calculations' fail to make any sense. This year, it was yesterday. My day yesterday was pretty long, but fairly enjoyable. I have definitely been more depressed. I hope January 19th went well for everyone else.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Today's Quotes

"It is such a great progression:
What Drunk Chris thinks is going to happen...
Then in the morning, sober but alone so still not really dealing with it...
And finally what happens when actually faced with the reality of the situation."

"The Honest Lawyer is the place that guys go when they are too old to go to The Cabin any more. Yes, guys with no necks."

"Calvinist Argument, a.k.a. Tertullian's Argument
1- If God exists, then he will let me watch you be tortured forever
2- I rather like that idea
3- Therefore, God exists."
-xkcd Forum

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Media Photography - #2

By Christine Sweeton
I am very thankful to have friends who are willing to sit through strange and long photo sessions to help me with this course. I actually had to do two photo shoots for this assignment, after the shots from my first one were deemed incorrect when I showed them to the professor. Luckily I asked for his opinion before the due date, though was not happy hear that I had to do it over.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Boardgame Night

Last night I went with Anna and Wes to one of Anna's friends house to play a new boardgame. Anna had got Apples To Apples for Christmas, a game I had never heard off. Language based (nouns and adjectives) but before you dismiss it, trust me it's awesome. We also played another one called Last Word which I really enjoyed as well. I love boardgames!!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Window Photo Shoot

Taylor, Kristen, Heather
Photo By Me

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Where's That Brass Monkey?

It is so cold outside. Ottawa can get insane in the winter. I thought last winter was bad but now that I think about it, it was never really that cold, just a lot of snow. My first winter here I went snowboarding in -45 weather. There was actually supposed to be a whole bunch of bus trips on the hill that night but they all cancelled except for us. Check out this forecast, it doesn't have the wind chill 'feels like' temperatures, you don't even want to know what those are! Today it is -25 but feels like -34. I don't really understand this 'feels like -34' thing. After about -15 everything feels the same; completely numb and terrible.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Violinist in the Metro

From an e-mail forward:
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100. This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Media Photography - #1

An Ottawa Workout
By Christine Sweeton
Guidelines of Composition Assignment.
My photo does or does not keep the following guidelines:
---Content that produces a strong or subliminal emotional response.
Yes – The viewer is able to relate to the exhausting and often frustrating act of shoveling snow yet at the same time appreciate the quiet beauty of snow on a quiet street. A peaceful response to the winter scene is desired though with some feelings of confliction.
---Uses the photo’s entire space effectively.
Yes – While the lower part of the photo could be considered dead space, the expanse of snow and already shoveled walkway is a much needed part of the story.
---Keeps the rule of thirds.
Yes – The figure and main point of interest is at the top-left intersection of the ‘grid.’
---Uses leading lines.
Yes – The telephone pole leads the eye down to the man’s elbow and the shovel’s handle brings the eye across the body of the figure. The shoveled sidewalk also leads the eye towards the main point of interest with the line created between the snow piles and smooth snow acting as a leading line.
---Uses one, two or more vanishing point perspective.
Yes – This photo demonstrates one-point perspective with the shoveled walkway. The sidewalk starts very wide at the bottom of the photo and gradually converges as it leads to the figure. The road at the top right of the image also uses one-point perspective as it leads to another single vanishing point.
---Uses larger-to-smaller perspective (Zero vanishing point).
Yes –The snow piles that start on the bottom right of the photo are an example of zero vanishing point as they would all be approximately the same size in reality but appear to be getting smaller towards and beyond the figure. The cars at the top right also use larger to smaller perspective.
---Features a prominent foreground object to exaggerate zero vanishing point perspective
Yes – While a weak example of this guideline, the large snow pile at the bottom right of the photo is the object in the foreground. Its large size and prominent shadow is meant to dwarf the figure emphasizing his challenging task.
---Uses an internal frame that completely or partially surrounds a point of interest.
Yes –The tree lined street covers the entire top of the image. The arching trees above the figure create a partial frame.
---Uses available light indoor or out.
Yes – Taken outside, in the morning with a bright clear sky. The photo also makes use of the light reflected by the white snow.
---Uses contrast and brightness effectively.
Yes – The figure’s hair, clothing, and shovel are dark, creating a contrast to the bright snow. The bright snow piles also cast long shadows giving depth and interest to the image. In comparison to the smooth. white snow, the trees at the top of the photo provide a contrast in both texture and brightness.
---Uses colour effectively to re-create a desired mood.
No – This is a black and white photograph and therefore does not use colour. This decision was made because of the unattractive brown tones present in the slightly dirty city snow and the fact the figure was wearing dull coloured clothing causing him to blend with the trees behind him. Black and white as a color choice makes the image more peaceful. The figure appears frozen in time, in a special and important moment.
---Uses black and white grey-scales and contrast effectively to re-create a desired mood.
Yes – The black and white image emphasizes the figures isolation. The grey scales created in the shadows add depth and texture to the shot while the bright snow looks clean and cold.

Drinking Again

I have 'gone dry' a number of times. The first time was my very first summer in Ottawa and since then there have been a few others for varying amounts of time. This latest one was my longest, six months, from Canada Day until New Years Eve. Obviously I have started again. Tonight I did some good predrinking and then went out in the market looking to dance, now I'm home again. Very drunk. I know there were reasons why I stopped for so long, right now I can think of many. But it is such good times, such very very good times!!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Weekend Spree

I haven't really taken any photo's for my new course. Every Sunday I have a photo due and I have none done yet this week. I should be forcing myself to take a couple every day so when the end of the week comes I have a selection to choose from. I had planned this week just to do a big spree on the weekend and take a whole bunch, but now the weekend is here, I'm really busy, and I'm feeling fairly uninspired. There is a blue sky though, so I should just get out there, but I don't feel like it!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Packed Thursdays

It is a good thing that I don't have cable. It seems like all of the shows that I watch are now going to be aired on Thursdays. I watch everything online away, so it really doesn't matter when it airs. However, I was catching Private Practice with the girls on Wednesdays after ANTM. Well, ANTM is over and the next one isn't starting until March and the Canadian one is starting until the summer, also Private Practice moved days. Now on Wednesday we watch Jeopardy and I'm guessing will end up playing alot of Boogle and Rummy.

Check out my TV line up this semester:
House - Mondays
The Office - Thursdays
Grey's Anatomy - Thursdays
Private Practice - Thursdays
Saturday Night Live - Saturdays
The Daily Show - Monday to Thursday
The Colbert Report - Monday to Thursday

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

No Cure

I can't believe that there is still no cure for the common cold. I'm lying in bed today with a sore throat and cold. My nose is both runny and stuffed up. When ever I see those two listed on medicine containers I laugh. How can someone have both? How can something relieve both? Then when ever I get a cold I remember how it feels, how absolutely horrible it all feels, and how having both is so very possible. Medicine doesn't help though, it just hides and masks the symptoms, which means you can work your body harder then you should. All yesterday I popped the pills, pain killers, cold meds, etc. But that is just going to prolong it all, and eventually it stopped really working. I'm resting today, just resting, made myself some chicken soup....and am going to sleep....a lot.

Monday, 5 January 2009

My Best Digital Photo Ever Taken

I start a new class tonight, Media Photography, obviously connected to Mass Communications. We have an assignment due the very first class, we are to bring in 'the best digital photograph you have ever taken.' I think that the wording of the request creates more than a little pressure. I have no idea what that photo would be, under what criteria, or whether is will be deemed good at all. I have chosen the one I took in Paris of the Eiffel Tower, seen above. I contemplated colour or Black and White but have finally settled on the B&W since I think it simplifies the image. I will probably take a few for back-up as well. I have a lot of expectations for this course but at the same time have no idea what it will be like. I'm excited though, if not super nervous.

Fashion Eccentricity

Elvis used to wear his belt buckle to the side but I actually got the trend from Kristen. I just bought the belt over the holidays and it is such an improvement on the weird blue elastic one I have been using for the last 8 years or so. (That is also a pretty new sweater I got from my Aunt and Uncle. I asked for red sweaters for Christmas so that I would have something to wear for work on Red Fridays to show that I support the troops.) Picture of Me by Jerrica.

Thursday, 1 January 2009


When visiting Teri at her new apartment, we watched the film, Into The Wild. It is based on the true story about Christopher McCandless, a 24-year old American who hiked into the Alaskan wilderness to live a more basic existence but ended up starving to death. I didn't find the story very sad as I thought that the guy was very stupid, cocky, and a bit of a tool. He didn't really know enough about hunting and living off the land, also didn't take a map or compass, basically there are a lot of things about his story that make it look like a suicide. Still, the idea of his death and idealism is very haunting, disturbing, strange, and really interesting. You can read the first article published about it, which was later expanded into a book, which was made into the movie.

2009 - Fresh Start For All

This year there will be no resolutions. I want to do lots of new things but I don't want to force myself to change too quickly or give myself any added pressure. The new year was rung in with close family friends and my parents. Not too wild, not too tame. The perfect start to what will be my 25th year.