Friday, 30 April 2010

BMO Contest

There is a cool contest being held by the Bank of Montreal for a trip to the Calgary Stampede! I have always wanted to go (and it corresponds perfectly with the time I am already planning to be out there visiting Anne, ERin, and my brother before my big trip.) I have always used BMO, they were awesome in Paris and my only complaint about them in Ottawa is that there aren't enough branches, if you use them too go check out the contest and enter. It is the type that every time you use your debit or credit card then you get put in a draw. (This is how my Dad won a car in the 1980's - I forget what bank it was with though.) Good luck!!

A Pull For Comments

I am about to put Always Standing through some serious renovations! I wanted your opinion before I do so that I can incorporate some suggestions into my changes. Please comment and answer the following:
1 - What is your favourite part/aspect/feature of Always Standing?
2 - What is your least favourite part/aspect/feature?
3 - Are there any parts/aspects/features you wish it had?
4 - What has been the most memorable/favourite post?
Thanks for your help and look for changes in the coming weeks!!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Extraordinary Canadians

Penguin’s Extraordinary Canadians. John Ralston Saul, Executive Editor of the series and newly elected president of PEN International leads the discussion on three Canadian titans on the world stage: Adrienne Clarkson on Norman Bethune, Mark Kingwell on Glenn Gould, and Douglas Coupland on Marshall McLuhan.

So the Ottawa's Writers Festival event schedule said the above. I jumped on the chance to go as a student for only $15. The event was last night and the two Jenns came along too. Thank goodness I got our tickets weeks ago because the event was sold out, packed, and had a group of people outside trying to buy people's tickets. Now, it is a sad day as a Canadian when I, a fairly well educated English major, only knew 3 of the above 7 names. (That is a fail in fact.) However, a quick google/wiki search and I figured out who the rest were. It was so not what I was expecting! For one, Extraordinary Canadians is a book series, I didn't really figure that out from the above blurb. The authors were talking about books they had written for the series, biographies about famous Canadians written by famous Canadians. It really was an amazing event, I was much entertained and very glad to have seen these people speak.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Despite what I previously figured out, it turns out that I am actually a 'geek' and not a 'dork'. I am not social inept and I would love to just be 'intelligent' however I have way too many obsessions.

Crazy amounts of credits:
(Maybe, like photography, people are very protective of their Venn Diagrams...) Thanks to James who showed me this on Geekologie who took it from Great White Shark

Monday, 26 April 2010

Not True!

Overheard from my cubical:
"Yes, sometimes a change is as good as a rest."
Besides that I just find the wording just so inspirational-speech cheesy, I don't think the statement is true. Yes, a change can charge you up again, get you excited, force you into action but rest is rest. Actually, I think rest before a change is most beneficial, to avoid burn out.

Reformatted Again

I had to get My New Pet reformatted again. I somehow got a whole bunch of viruses, despite paying an insane amount of money for McAfee software a few months ago. My poor laptop didn't totally crash, and I was able to run out to buy an external hard drive so as to back up my files right away. However, there was something definitely wrong with it. I hoped it could get fixed, and not completely wiped. Unfortunately the people at Future Shop said that it was the only option. This is particularly frustrating because I know how to do it myself and could have wiped it clean for free! Oh well, a fresh start is always nice. Like I did before, I changed my background picture for good luck. Instead of a cool texture, I now have this interesting glass rose. Also, it is the first time I have ever used something for my desktop background that wasn't right from the Windows options, I found this one online.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Muddled In My Mind

Understandably, because of their names I guess, I always confuse these guys:
H. G. Wells - Turn of the century Science Fiction author. Wrote War of the Worlds published in 1898.
Orson Welles - 1940's & 50's movie actor and director. Preformed a radio play of H. G. Wells War of the Worlds in 1938. Directed and stared in Citizen Kane in 1941.
Oscar Wilde - A Victorian era, late 1800's, writer. Wrote the novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in 1890. Wrote the satirical play, The Importance of Being Earnest, in 1895. Was gay and imprisoned for it.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I Am Not Alone

I am afraid of tulips...
For as long as I can remember, I have really hated tulips. It isn't that I find them ugly (though I do) it is more that they make me very uncomfortable, scared even. To be near them upsets me. I try to leave the city during The Tulip Festival and hate walking along the canal when there are lots of them around. I don't know what it really is that bothers me, the stamen inside (and once the leaves fall off it is all that is left) mainly, or the thick waxy petals... This is so crazy. I would be more embarrassed except I have a friend who is scared of loose strands of wet hair, which also seems strange. My mother is afraid of spiders, actually I know a lot of people who are but I don't really have any problem with them. Most fears are strange. Mine is just particularly peculiar and rare, until today I had never heard of anyone else with it.

A quick google search turned up the following on blogs, articles, and forums...
"I have an irrational fear of tulips. When I was a young child I naively peered up at these seemingly beautiful flowers and sniffed them, only to be confronted with these hideous black things which I thought were a giant bugs. Yeh, so have been scared of tulips since the age of 4 although the fear is dying now, which has to be a good thing, it's a very hard phobia to explain."
"I had a terrible and sickening fear of tulips that began when I was five. I am mostly over it now."
"Something about the black stamens in the middle is just wrong... My mom had big yellow ones when I was a kid - taller than I was - and I thought they were a cross between tigers and bees and would sting me and bite me and kidnap me. I wasn't scared they would kill me, though - didn't know about death yet. I'm not as terrified of them as I was then - I think to be a proper, official phobia it has to be mind-bogglingly awful and interfere with one's daily life. Not that I don't avoid tulips - nothing could induce me to plant one. And walking past a bed of them is creepy as anything - thinking about it makes my skin crawl."
"I had a tulip phobia when I was very small. I remember it very well, and what caused it. I was strongly attracted to the brilliant red of the tulip, but when I reached out to look inside that cup-like flower, I saw the black pistils and stamens in the center of the 'cup'. They resembled hairy insects and I was surprised and afraid they would crawl out onto my hand."
This great post by Peter Harlaub on The Poop: The Chronicle Baby Blog

So I am not alone! I think the scientific name for it would be tulipaphobia, seeing that Tulipa is the genus (which has 109 species, Oh God!!).

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Daaa DaDa DaDa Daaa

"665, ladies and gentlemen: a papier-mache musical box, in the shape of a barrel-organ. Attached, the figure of a monkey in Persian robes playing the cymbals. This item, discovered in the vaults of the theatre, still in working order. Showing here. My I start at twenty francs? Fifteen, then? Fifteen I am bid. Sold, for thirty francs to the Vicomte de Chagny. Thank you, sir. A collector's piece indeed . . . Lot 666, then: a chandelier in pieces. Some of you may recall the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera: a mystery never fully explained. We are told ladies and gentlemen, that this is the very chandelier which figures in the famous disaster. Our workshops have restored it and fitted up parts of it with wiring for the new electric light, so that we may get a hint of what it may look like when re-assembled. Perhaps we may frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little illumination, gentlemen!"
-Phantom of the Opera, by Andrew Lloyd Webber & Charles Hart

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Small Words Are Still Hard

I called home from work today because I needed Jerrica to read something off a sheet of paper I had left behind. I needed everything spelt correctly, so when I didn't know how to spell a word I would check with her that I had it right. She was very encouraging...

Me: Policy? P-O-L-I-C-Y?
Jerrica: Yes! See, there you go! Good for you!
She is genuinely proud of me. I am not impressed, as it is a tiny word.
Me: Jer, it is a 5 letter word.
Jerrica: Chris, it is a 6 letter word.

Kick It Up A Notch

The Collision of Death & Life, Dark, & Light
Gros Mourne National Park, Newfoundland
By Christine Sweeton
Taken on a walk up Barry Hill, looking across Bonne Bay with the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the right. It was decided that Newfoundland looks like Northern Ontario, only kicked up a notch (or many notches.)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Why I'm Not Running

Ottawa has started to have great weather, but I haven't started to run again yet. I'm a little less motivated because there is no real guarantee that I will come back to the city to do the Army Run again in September, also Curves is going really well. I might need new shoes but I won't know that until I run a few times in the old ones. I also want to wait for JennB to move in so that I can start running with her dog, Oliver, I don't want to get too far ahead of the little guy in terms of my training. However, the real reason is ... I'm waiting for the canal to get filled up. (Actually a few days after since it smells pretty bad right after they do it.)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Rejected Twice

I came home today to two letters from the University of Toronto, both rejecting me from the grad program I had applied for. I'm ok with it since I have already decided on Ryerson, and paid a deposit to them. (There was also a Ryerson letter waiting for me too, explaining that they are giving me $3000 more in funding which is great news.) The main letter from UofT went as follows:
It is with regret that I write to inform you that you have not been accepted for the MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing. The admissions process proved intensely competitive. Of the ninety applicants, we only accepted sever students this year. All of the applications were of high quality. We appreciate your interest in the program and wish you good luck with your writing.
The other letter basically explained what factors they had considered, thanked me for applying, and explained again that they couldn't offer me a place in the program. How nice of them to tell me twice.

It Almost Happened

Today's XKCD is a fun coincidence with the trip that JennB and I just returned from. Spending 4 days in Newfoundland with Jer was incredible and I promise that stories and pictures will follow.

Quick story now, connected to the comic: The flight on Wednesday night from Ottawa to Toronto was delayed. Once we saw this on the board Jenn quickly went to the gate to ask about catching our connection in Toronto for our flight to Deer Lake. They told her, "Yes, there are 5 of you with that connection. Since it is the last flight to Deer Lake for the night, we will hold the plane for you." I thought this was very strange since my experience with connections before (see my trip posts from Spain) were so bad.

Sure enough, we land in Toronto and as soon as Jenn turns on her iPhone there is a text from Air Canada saying that we have been cancelled off our Deer Lake flight. There is a man at the gate asking for passengers with connections, we rush over to him and give our names. He informs us that he have been taken of our original flight because our bags won't have time to switch over, we frantically tell him that we have no checked luggage and he tells us to run to the next gate over, where the plane will be leaving from, and see what they can do. We book it over there, I believe Jenn's pants nearly fell down while we were running. Once there, one flight attendant said boarding was closed and there was no way, the other said that the plane was still at the gate and she would take us through all the doors, which needed pass codes at this point.

We get to the plane, whose first class is mostly full and economy class appears to be completely full. Hundreds of eyes stare back at us, predominately belonging to large burly Newfie men on their way home from what I can only assume was Fort McMurray, Alberta. The flight attendant on board asks rudely, "Where did you come from?" I point out the window to the plane beside us and tell her that we just got in from Ottawa on a flight that had been delayed. She looks at our boarding passes and while glaring at us, says, "Your seats have been given away." I look at the first class section, where there are a couple of pairs of unoccupied seats, point to one and ask, "Well, could we sit there?" She fires back a curt, "No!" and tells us that she will go find something, storming down the aisle to the back of the plane. The pilot laughs and says through the open door, "You girls can sit in here." Both of us excitedly jump at the chance and agree, they call us into the cockpit, and Jenn heads in to start chatting them up. Somewhere in the shuffle of it all, getting off the Ottawa plane, I am carrying all of our luggage, so can't follow her in. While I don't personally know this part of the story, except to say that I was still standing at the front of the plane while people glared and grumbled, trying to catch people's eye and smile, Jenn got to hang out for a few minutes with the pilots. They chatted her up, asking about our trip and as true Newfies do, asked who we were staying with, 'cause they might know 'em. She was given two 'pilot's wings' stickers, one of which they put on her jacket for her. The younger of the pilots, who was behind the door and not visible to me at the time, was exceptionally cute (this I can vouch for since we saw him later while getting off the plane.)

Finally the rude flight attendant returns and tells me that there are two seats at the back. I struggle to drag all the luggage to the back, hitting many of the burly men on my way, of course I said "Sorry" and "Excuse me" a lot. When I finally got to the back, the seats were not really together. A very nice lady beside one said that she would move so that Jenn and I could sit beside each other. I dumped all the luggage in the aisle and negotiated moving seat positions with the lady and flight attendants. Jenn came quickly trotting up the aisle and negotiated our luggage into the overhead compartments, a real challenge in a full plane when you're the last passengers to do so.

We got settled in what were definitely the worst seats in the aircraft. Right by the bathrooms, no foot room, unable to recline, behind people who could and did, beside a man who shut the window for the entire trip only to open it occasionally, peer out, then close it again, and I had to type up an article for work on my laptop. Which I did, Jenn helped edit it, and we got to Deer Lake as planned and on schedule. The End!!

I see now that it didn't end up being a very quick story. Which doesn't bode well seeing that there are many many many others, which are more exciting and super hilarious. I guess I will just have to post highlights from the trip and you will have to contact/ask me for the full details.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Newfoundland Facts - Politics

Going on a little trip to see Newfoundland from April 7th to 11th. It will be my final province, after this I have visited all 10 in Canada. JennB and I are going to be staying with Jerrica and her family. Looking forward to seeing the sites on the west side of The Rock!!

Newfoundland and Labrador have 7 House Seats in Canadian Parliament and 6 Senate Seats. They were the last province to join Canada, not becoming part of the nation until March of 1949. During its history Newfoundland and Labrador have had many forms of government, including a time as the Dominion of Newfoundland (1907–1949), equivalent in status to Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The current provincial Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is Danny Williams. He is quite a character, has very high approval ratings, and always seems to be involved in some controversy or another - look him up.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Newfoundland Facts - Provincial Things

Going on a little trip to see Newfoundland from April 7th to 11th. It will be my final province, after this I have visited all 10 in Canada. JennB and I are going to be staying with Jerrica and her family. Looking forward to seeing the sites on the west side of The Rock!!

The provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador is the Purple Pitcher Plant. I think this is super cool as the Pitcher Plant is one of my favourite flowers, it is carnivorous!! Their official tree is the Black Spruce, official bird the Atlantic Puffin, and official animal the Caribou. What I find most interesting is that Newfoundland and Labrador have a Patron Saint, St. John the Baptist. I don't know who officially dictates saint's patronage but I don't think that all provinces have one. It is fitting when you look at their official provincial motto which is the the very religious, "Quaerite primum regnum Dei." (This is Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God".)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Newfoundland Facts - Population

Going on a little trip to see Newfoundland from April 7th to 11th. It will be my final province, after this I have visited all 10 in Canada. JennB and I are going to be staying with Jerrica and her family. Looking forward to seeing the sites on the west side of The Rock!!

Newfoundland and Labrador have a population of 373,872 (as of April 1, 2007) which is 1.5% of Canada's total population and gives the province a population density of 1.36 /km squared. In Canada, only P.E.I. and the territories have less people. More than half the population identify their ethnocultural ancestry as Canadian, while two-fifths identify English ancestry, and one fifth identify as having Irish ancestry. St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador's capital city, obviously has the most people, with a population of 181,113 in 2006. However, Corner Brook which is 30km away from Jerrica's hometown of Pasadena, is the second largest urban area in the province with 26,623 people. Pasidenia is really small, 3,180 people.


I have decided that M.A. should not stand for Master of Arts but instead Master of Awesome.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

An Afternoon With Mike - Part 3

There was also some math, which really hasn't changed much either. By this point though, I have moved over to share his sofa with him and have been helping him with fractions.
Me: Ok, so to divide a fraction you multiply the inverse.
Mike: I don't get it.
The Screen: 4/5 ÷ 3
Me: Well, write it down.
He pulls out his notebook and writes it down.
Me: And 3, as a whole number, is the same as 3/1. Write it down.
He does.
Me: So to divide a fraction you multiply the inverse.
Mike: I don't get it.
Even as he is saying this he is writing the correct equation of 4/5 x 1/3, so he obviously gets it.
Me: Yes like that, so to divide a fraction you multiply by its inverse.
Mike: Yeah, I don't get it.
He totally got it. He did the multiplication in the notebook in 2 seconds, getting 4/15. Which was one of the multiple choice answers on the screen. He clicked it and got the answer correct.
Me: See? To divide a fraction you just multiply the inverse.
Mike: I still don't get it. Why? How does that work?
Yes, I should not be a teacher.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

An Afternoon With Mike - Part 2

Mike is doing online training modules as part of some type of explosives training. He is on a course at the moment. Still lying on respective sofas I was still reading while he was studying.
Mike: Chris, I may need your help with the next module thing, the guys on course said the questions are hard. Like, it is really tough science stuff. "It's Tuesday and you have a proton but the nucleus is 3", kind of thing.
Me: What?
I did help him and all my high school (and some of my university) math, physics, and chemistry came rushing back. I guess there hasn't really been many changes in those areas; X-rays and Gamma rays still move as waves, electrons are still orbiting the nucleus, there are negative and positively charged things in vacuum, that whole deal.

Friday, 2 April 2010

An Afternoon With Mike - Part 1

Little Brother Mike and I are lying on respective sofas in the living room. I having arrived a few hours earlier and him the day before. He is playing on his new iPhone and I am reading.
Mom: Can one of you go upstairs and grab a pillow for your dad?
Me: Shot not.
Mike: Nope, TI.
Me: Huh? What?
Mike: T.I.
Me: Yea, I have no idea what that means.
Mike: TI - Time In.
Me: I still don't get it.
Mike: Means I have been here longer.
Me: Moooom, Mike is acronyming me again.
Don't worry, one of us went up and got it, though at the moment I can't remember which. Also, "Time In" is some sort of military seniority thing, as in they have had more "Time In" the army than someone else so don't have to listen to them, or they get to boss them around, or something.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

One Of My Favourite Paintings

Le pont d'Argenteuil
By Claude Monet

I painted a reproduction of this for a high school art class in Grade 10. Of all the things I have painted, it is one of the ones I am most proud of as it looks pretty close to the original. I saw the real painting at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France. I just turned a corner and it was there, I didn't know beforehand that they had it. It was a beautiful surprise.