Sunday, June 26, 2005

Tales from the field!

Well, here I am, almost a month later. Bad blogger, bad! Ah well, not like anyone reads this anyways.

So I'm home in beautiful Nova Scotia again. The weather was awful for a while, but the sun has finally decided to come out and produce heat again, so that's a good thing. I'm well into the swing of my new job now. It's been pretty cool, I'm getting to do a bit of everything. We've dug some archaeological test pits (all empty so far :( ), done some geologic sampling (I'm learning tons about glacial deposition features that I didn't know before...and yes, that's a fine and interesting thing, at least to a geek like me!), and if they ever get me the program I need, I'll be doing some GIS work and mapping as well. I'm really enjoying myself, and I'm very happy I took the job here.

In other happy news, I'm going to New York City in August with my boyfriend and best friend. I'm really looking forward to it. We're going to see the Broadway show The Producers, and we're going to see Blue Man Group. I'm really excited about that, I've wanted to see them again pretty much since the show ended the first time I saw them. And even better, we're in the splatter zone this time! Yes, their show has a splatter zone. I'm giddy with delight that we're going to be in it. If you've never seen Blue Man Group, you should. No arguments, just do it.

In the happiest news of all, the boyfriend and I can finally see the end of the long distance. In December he's coming here to go to school in Halifax, and we're finally going to get a place together. We're very happy about this, and I'm definitely counting the days. Yeah, I know it's still several months away, but we've been doing the long distance thing for over two years now, and it's getting old. I'm so glad to be able to put a date on it ending.

So there's my life for the past month in short! I'll be updating a bit more regularly now, I promise.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I'm taking the plunge!

I accepted the dream job today, and told the company in Vermont that I was very sorry, but an opportunity I couldn't pass up was offered to me. Telling them was relatively quick and painless. They wished me well and I thanked them for offering me the job.

So I move home on the holiday weekend. My boyfriend is picking me up Friday, and we should be back in Dartmouth Saturday. I'm looking forward to being home again.

And Jacki, yes, he's going to go to school in Halifax. He actually wants to speak with you about the math department at SMU while he's there. I'll be in touch :)

Linda, are you back in res yet? I tried to clean it up as best I could, ask Norma Jean how much of our deposits we're getting back. You should have seen the small bathroom, it was disgusting :P

Monday, May 09, 2005

Hello again!

Greetings all, sorry for the absence. I have moved out of residence since the year ended, and been living with my aunt and uncle in Kingston for a while, so have been unable to update. I'm still at said uncle's, but stealing a bit of internet time.

I had my live interview at Vermont last week. It went so well that they offered me a position higher than the one I had applied for. This is a good thing.

Then on Friday, I got a job offer from an archaeological firm back home. Essentially, they're offering me my dream job. The catch? It's a temporary position. However, there is the potential for other contracts with them after, as they have funding for the next year, and I can't even begin to tell you the contacts I could make here, and the potential research for my masters that could be done.

So tomorrow I'm calling the universities back home to see if my boyfriend's credits from his American program will transfer over, as I really want to do this job. I've told them that I'll let them know by Wednesday if I'm going to take it.

I'm really excited about this, and I hope it works out. I'll keep you posted as I can!

Friday, April 22, 2005

So far so good!

So I had my phone interview yesterday. I think it went really well. I felt really comfortable talking to them (two guys on a conference call), and they seemed really pleased with the skills I already have. They said the job is aimed towards students just out of school, so my lack of practical experience doesn't bother them. They were really happy to find out that I know ArcView 3.3 and Visual Basic too. For all the trouble that VB was to learn, I'm glad that it seems to be paying off now. At the end of the interview, they told me I should hear within a week whether or not they wanted to do an in-person interview with me, and I thanked them.

My phone rang at 9:10 this morning. It was the company, asking if I wanted to come in for the in-person interview. So much for having to wait a week to hear, hehe. Of course I said yes. I have to figure out how I'm getting to Vermont of course, but right now the tentative plan is that my interview will be May 4th at 10am. That's the Wednesday of the week after classes are done, when I'm supposed to be staying with my uncle in Kingston. I think what I'm going to do is rent a car, drive up Tuesday, stay the night (they said they'd pay for the hotel), do the interview Wednesday, and head back to Kingston that day or Thursday.

So that's my big news! I'm really happy about this, I was so pleased after the interview yesterday because I could tell that it had gone really well. To get the phone call this morning just made me feel even better. They wanted me to come in next week, but I can't do that because of school, so I'm glad they were ok with waiting another week. I really hope this works out :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Finally!

So Monday I got an email back about a job I applied for the week before. They wanted to learn more about me, and sent me a Word document containing a "Virtual Interview". So I filled that out, and faxed it back to them this morning. When I got home from school today, there was a message on my machine from the company, asking if I wanted to do a phone interview tomorrow at 2pm.

So I have my first real interview!

I am very excited. The company does 911 GIS applications, which is something I wouldn't mind working in, and is a good, marketable background to have. It's located in Vermont, which is a beautiful state, at least the bit of it that I've seen. It's also close enough to home that I could still get back for vacations and Christmas and such, so I'm happy about that. It's definitely a place I could handle living. It's a very small town, less than 8000 people, but I'm getting used to that lol.

Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted about how it goes :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Thank you

Both today and yesterday, I came home to find a package waiting for me. Yesterday it was a care package from my best friend back home, with a note saying she knows I'm stressed, and she hopes this makes me smile. Today it was a book from my sister, with a note about how the book was about sisters, so who better to share it with. Thank you to both of you, you've both made my week happier.

These random acts of kindness have made me think about how very lucky I am. I have a boyfriend who loves me enough to have spent weeks of his life driving to see me, and to put up with the horrid distance without a word of complaint. I have a mother who welcomes me back home, even at the age of 26, because I don't have another place to go. I have a father who will drive halfway across the country to pick me up and take me home. I have an aunt and uncle who are happy to let me stay with them for a week while I wait for my father. I have a sister who has sent me care packages and little gifts just because she can, and thinks I'll like them. I have generous and loving grandparents. I have an aunt who has always been like a fun, close friend, even when I was a kid.

I adore my family, and I have always felt that I have been given the best of all worlds with them. I have always been proud of the family names I bear, and to be a part of the bloodlines I share, no matter how humble my grandmother may tell me our beginnings are. I have laughter and fun, I have generosity and support. I have had a kick in the butt when I needed it, and a shoulder to cry on when I needed that.

I have wonderful friends, as well as family. They have always been a source of support, laughter, wisdom and advice. They have always forgiven me my often poor communication. Our differing philosophies do not prevent our friendships, only spark interesting conversation. My friends have gotten me through more hard times than I can ever tell them. My Epic Mess, no matter whether your initials made it into the name.

I am truly blessed, and I am so thankful for the people in my life. I thank you all for everything, and I love you all dearly.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Being a geek is fun

My level of geekiness went up a few points today I think. In one of my classes today, we started learning Linux. It is my understanding that only nerds really know any Linux.

I am pleased about this.

I spent many years trying not to be a geek. I really did. I tried to hang out with the cool kids, do the cool stuff, say the cool things. I failed miserably. In high school I finally came to terms with my geekdom. Being a geek is fun. It means I get to know things that others don't, and they need me to fix their computer. It means that not only can I play video games, watch Star Trek reruns, program HTML for fun, read comic books and all sorts of other geeky things, but it means I'm allowed to admit it! My boyfriend thinks my geekiness makes me the coolest girlfriend ever.

Being a geek also means I get most of the jokes on Think Geek. That is the greatest site ever, it truly is. Check out the motivational posters in the Cubicle Goodies category. The one about meetings is my favorite. Sweet, sweet Think Geek. Learning Linux means I'm one step closer to getting every joke on that site.

Another thing about Linux - the different shells crack me up. The normal shell is the "Bourne" shell...a later version is the "Bourne Again" shell. I love that...I love it even more that it's abbreviation is "bash". There's also the C Shell. My prof said that the shells talk to the kernel...and one of the shells is actually the "Korn" shell. So the Korn is talking to the kernel. lol. The people that write Linux are obviously having fun. I like that.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Going Home

Much has changed since I last posted. I apologize for the lack of updates...school has been stupid busy, and the boy was up this weekend :)

Returning to New York is a complete bust. I'm welcome to go back if I want, but they've gone from 6 month terms at almost $12/hour to 3 months at $8.50/hour. Yay for budget cuts. As much as I'd like to go back and do some field work, I can't move to NY for 3 months at those wages. The chance of having my visa rejected, and the $500 US that I'd have to put up front to get my apartment is just not worth it for $8.50/hour. For $12 I'm willing to take the visa risk, but I can make more than $8.50 at home.

Then there was the generous offer of my boss here. It was really good of him to offer, but for retail wages, I could go home and not have to pay $350 rent, plus groceries and utilities. Lindsay also isn't the most happening of towns, and I'd be bored out of my skull. All my friends from back home would be elsewhere, and all my friends here from school will have moved.

So, given all that, I'm returning home at the end of my course. Dad can't get me right away, so I'm going to Kingston to stay with my aunt and uncle, and visit the friends I have living there. I'll be home on May 10. I'll be out of residence on May 1. I'm going to find temporary work at home, and live with mom again, while I continue the hunt for permanent work. This is all assuming I don't find a real job before the semester ends, of course.

I can't wait to get out of residence. The morons set off the fire alarm at 12:30 last night. I had class at 8 this morning. That was not fun. Oh, and by "the morons", I mean everyone in this building except for my suitemates (and one of them is a moron too). Anyone who is too stupid to know to keep their door shut when they cook in the middle of the night so as not to make EVERYONE in the building have to go outside, doesn't deserve to breed. Most of the people in this building are good arguments for mandatory sterilization.

3 weeks to go.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The search continues

As the title implies, I have not yet found a permanent job. However, my current boss is trying to entice me to stay here until I do (for those who don't know, I presently work for a cell phone dealership, just something to make a bit of money while I'm in school). He's offering me a cheap apartment on a month to month basis, and told me to do some number crunching to figure out how much of a raise and how many hours I'd need to pull it off. He said he understands I'd be looking for permanent work and may leave anytime. He just wants me to stay and work for him until then, rather than let me go home to Nova Scotia and work a crap job there.

It's quite the generous offer, and it's very nice to know I have a back up plan. That said, I really don't fancy the idea of staying in Lindsay. There's not really anything to do here, and all my friends are far away. If I went home and worked in retail there, I could at least live with mom and save a lot of money that way (and by save, I mean make extra payments on my line of credit). I'd also be closer to some of my friends and family. The downside is that I'd be far, far away from my boyfriend, which is very bad. I also like the idea of having my own apartment (no offense mom! I love you lots, but I'm kind of getting antsy to not live at home anymore).

The alternative I really want, if I must take a temporary job while I seek real employment, is to return to the field crew I've worked on before in New York. Watertown is a yucky place to live, but I'd be close to the boy, still semi-close to Toronto (that's where my best friend will be this summer), close to Kingston where some of my other good friends are, and I would have my own place. Most importantly, I'd be working on archaeology, which is my real love. Work related to the field I want to be in is infinitely greater than a retail job.

So, in an effort to arrange this, I emailed my old boss from NY today. I explained the situation to her, and hopefully she'll get back to me in a day or two telling me they'd love for me to come back. I also called my old land lord tonight, to see if he had any apartments available. He was a good landlord when I was there before, his apartments were a great price, and he rents on a month to month basis, which is a must. From what he told me about the housing situation in Watertown right now, it's a good thing I called. It's apparently a mess there right now. But anyways, he thinks he could have one ready for me. He told me to call him when I know for sure if I'm coming back, and we can work out the details then. So that looks promising anyways, just need to wait and see what my old boss says.

That's the highlights of the job hunt right now. I can't even seem to get an interview with anything I've applied to. It's getting depressing. All the jobs in Canada require qualifications I don't have, and all the jobs in the US don't seem to want to consider hiring a foreigner. I'm really hoping that if I can go back to NY, the fact that I'm already working in the US will help me get some interviews there. Time will tell. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Seismic Disco!

So I was job hunting today, as per normal. One of the sites I check is GISjobs.com, and they had an interesting posting today. The job title is "Disco Seismic Processing Development."

That job title makes sense if you leave out the disco part. All I can picture is a bunch of geologists with expensive monitoring equipment hanging around a dance floor measuring vibrations from the bass. It makes me giggle.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

/sigh

Greetings all, sorry I've been neglecting you. Life has been lacking in inspiration these days. School is hectic, and I'm beginning to feel a bit burned out. On top of that, residence is making me want to kill people. It's been hard to think of something to write about.

In the few creative spurts I've had, I've managed to get a bit more work done on the story in my head. It's building up nicely in my brain, but it still doesn't seem quite ready to come to paper yet. I've written the opening scene, but I didn't get very far when I tried to go beyond that point last night. As far as writing goes, I usually have to let things stew in my brain for quite some time before I can actually write it. It will come when it's ready.

In other news, my job hunt continues. This is week 11 of 16 in my course. I've been applying for jobs since January, and I have yet to get an interview. It's getting a little depressing, and a bit scary too. Home for me is Nova Scotia...if I don't have a job lined up when I graduate here in Ontario, I'm going to have to return home. Now don't get me wrong, I love my home and wouldn't mind going back. That said, the job market there is less than stellar, and chances are I'd end up having to move somewhere else when I do find a job. This is inconvenient anyways, but the expense of having to do that is what gets me. It would be much easier, and cheaper, if I could just move to a job site directly from school at the end of April. My bank account would definitely like cheaper right now.

I've decided to give it to the end of this week. If I don't have anything by then, I'm going to speak to my old boss, Meg, in New York. I worked on an archaeological field crew there for two summers, and I'm in good standing with them. They're pretty flexible and easy going, so I'm hoping that if they still have room on the crew, they'd be willing to take me back even though it might be temporary (i.e. if I find a permanent job, it's just summer work there). They've always been understanding, and I think they'd be ok with that as long as I'm up front about it. I like the crew there, they've been good to me. I wouldn't want to mislead them and commit to a 6 month stay, and then quit in the middle because I found something else.

On the off chance that there are any appropriate employers reading this, I'm an archaeologist and geographer, with a background in prehistoric archaeology and geographic information systems (GIS). I'm more than happy to work in either of those fields, and to combine the two would be my dream job. Please feel free to leave a comment here with contact information if you think you have a position I could fill, or send me an email to the address in my profile.

Hey, it can't hurt, right?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Happy day!

I'm just posting a slightly early happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone! I'm posting it early because Saint Patty's day is also my birthday, and I will be out with my friends and roomates :)

I hope everyone enjoys their green beer (though that thought of that makes me gag, lol), and kiss lots of Irish people. Have fun!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

My story continues

The story I mentioned a few posts back has grown again. Tonight I wrote what I believe is the opening scene for it. I'm nervous and excited. Excited because I feel like I'm writing something significant, for the first time in a long time. Nervous because I'm afraid that after talking about it so much, I'll end up abandoning it, and looking silly. Ah well, I've already talked about it here twice, so I might as well continue, eh?

I find writing to be an amazing, but often frustrating endeavour. I have no idea what it's like for other people, of course, but I find that an idea will sit in my head and gnaw at me until I get it out. However, it doesn't care how I go about getting it out. If I tell a friend what the plot I'm thinking of is, I will never write it, because the idea has already been expressed, just vocally. It's like the ideas are trapped in my mind, and as soon as they become free, they are gone forever. I have to be careful how I release them, so that they aren't lost permanently. For this reason you'll never see me discuss the actual plot of my story here. Until it is written, I must keep it trapped in my brain.

I'm finding myself wishing that I had taken creative writing classes at some point too. I feel that while my ideas are often good, my execution is often lacking, at least in my mind. I think I'm particularly bad at scene description, which is ironic considering the landscapes of my imagination are detailed to the blades of grass and the cracks in the stone walls. I just never convey my mental pictures well.

I'm still considering starting an actual website as well. Its main purpose would be to publish my writings, once I get a bit more done, to get some feedback and constructive critcism. However, I am completely unfamiliar with the complexities of internet copyrights. If I publish a story, or even part of it, does it become public domain because it's on the web? Or can I just write at the bottom that everything is "Copyright me, 2005, blah, blah", and that makes it so? Is there a copyright process I must engage in before I can write the copyright bit on the bottom of my page? I should probably look into that kind of thing. If anyone knows a good site with an outline or summary of internet copyrights, I'd be appreciative.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Biodiesel!

I think this is awesome. As a girl who has quite strongly desired to have a hybrid car when possible, for environmental reasons, this is a very welcome discovery. In this age of incredible science, there is no excuse for the slow movement forward in finding alternative energy sources. Kudos to this company for creating an alternative, and to Willie Nelson for offering what publicity his name holds. I found this link on the blog of the Practical Hippie, and thought I should repost it to offer what small publicity my blog affords.

This has also served to remind me of the music of my childhood. My parents listened to nothing but country, and I grew up on some of the older stuff. I recall some Willie Nelson songs I liked...I should find some copies of them. And maybe some of the old Statler Brothers. I loved the Statler Brothers. I hate new country, but some of the older stuff was wonderful. I've got some Johnny Cash, but that's it right now. I should work on expanding that area of my music collection.

I am much amused and pleased by the title of "Practical Hippie". My boyfriend jokes and calls me a hippy sometimes. I definitely have hippy leanings, but if I had thought of the phrase first, I think I would have liked to have been considered a practical hippy. I did not think of the phrase first though, so I won't try to claim it ;) I still think the best title I've ever been given was "Queen of the Harpies". I was called this by a guy who didn't really like me much, and he certainly didn't mean it as a compliment. However, it appealed to my imagination, and I was very entertained with the idea of having an army of harpies at my bidding. That would be kind of cool. So I took the title with pleasure, which I think only annoyed that guy more.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sad events

A little while ago I made a post about why I don't drink or do drugs. I also said in it that I don't generally have a problem with other people doing them, as I feel everyone is free to make their own choices.

I still believe that, but a recent event has been troubling me. This article has the details. While my moral issues with marijuana are less than those with other drugs, I think this shows that a serious price may have been paid for the joint you're smoking.

Some people have said that this tragedy is an argument in favor of legalization. I won't say it isn't. Fight for legalization to your heart's content, but until it is legal, you should stop and think about what your purchase of weed has supported, and possibly contributed to.

I'm sorry to preach, I usually try to avoid that, but this horrid event has touched me and I could not ignore it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I am very impressed

The story I posted about yesterday is continuing to grow. Last night I was inspired to write a legend for the world I am creating. The thing I am very impressed with is that I finished it. That's the first story I've finished in years. So now my world has a legend, and is a little closer to being complete. I am pleased.

Monday, March 07, 2005

There is a story in my head

It has been there for a few weeks now. I'm impressed by it's tenacity, and its slow but steady growth.

I used to write a lot when I was younger. I wrote a lot of short stories, most of them bad, though I didn't realize that at the time. I love to read, and love to write, and I used to think to myself that maybe I would be a writer someday. As I've gotten older though, the stories in my head have been few and far between. I am also tormented by being able to start stories, but never being able to finish them. They always start out so well, but just kind of taper off as I lose where I thought I was going with them. The great literary visions in my head never seem to translate well to actual writing.

I have, recently, had a bit more inspiration than I have in a while. I haven't actually finished any stories, but I've started more of them in the last few months than I had in the last few years previously. I'm pleased with this, as I enjoy writing. This blog is at least partly a reflection of my desire to write, and have people read what I write.

The story in my head right now is bigger than most of the little inspirations that come to me. At random times in the day a new idea will come to me. My subconscious is thinking up a world, putting people in it and writing its history and mythology. It is still very sketchy and there are huge gaps in it, but I'm liking it so far. I hope this story continues to grow in my head, and I hope even more that it eventually makes it to paper.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I have returned

Spring break is over (*sob*) and tomorrow I go back to the grind. I'm back in res, my boy having driven me home again. It was snowing and really yucky for a while there. Thankfully, my boyfriend is a wonderful driver, and we got home safe, with my internal panicking kept to a minimum.

In case anyone was wondering "But did she get to drive??", no, I did not. My boy was feeling well enough to make the whole trip. I'm ok with that though, because he's a much better driver than me, and the more I thought about it, the more I was nervous about doing it. I'm never comfortable with the thought of driving other people's cars (which is ironic, because I've never had my own car, and have only driven other people's cars).

We went snowboarding yesterday, and the peasants rejoiced. I haven't been boarding for years, and I missed it. I am very sore today, but it's a good kind of sore. My boyfriend had never been snowboarding before. He sprained his thumb, but he says he'd go again anyways, so that's something.

It was good to have a week off. I'm not really sad to be back here with class imminent, but I can't say I really missed it either. Ah well, the semester is almost over. Maybe real life will start someday soon. I look forward to that.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Finally

So midterms are done, spring break is here (though it hardly feels like spring). I have to work tomorrow, but my boyfriend is coming up from NY to get me, and we're going back to his place on Sunday. I will be gone for a week, and I will be happy to say goodbye to residence for a while. I will be even happier to have a week with the boy. Such extended periods of being together are rare, and I love it when they happen.

His car is a standard, which I can't drive (yes, I know, how gimp of me). He's driving his parents Jeep up here though, because it's automatic. He hasn't been feeling well, and this will mean I can drive for a while if he's tired or not feeling well. I'm a bit nervous about this. I have my license, but I've never owned a car, or had regular access to one. I don't drive very often at all, and do highway driving even less. I love to drive though, so I'm excited. I just don't have the comfort level of someone who drives frequently.

We will also be stopping in Kingston on the way to NY to visit a friend of mine from back home. He's in Kingston for school. I haven't seen him since Christmas, so that will be fun. We're just meeting for lunch, but it will be good to see him, and good to have a break in the drive. It's about 6 hours from here to my boy's place, and Kingston is roughly in the middle (though it's closer to here).

I am so happy about being on break. Not that I don't have work to do over the break, but at least I'll be somewhere other than residence or the computer lab. Res is driving me mad lately. There's too many stupid people here, the kind that shouldn't be allowed to breed. I'm usually a pretty tolerant person, and a pretty happy one, but the people in res have been causing me to be in a constant bad mood when I'm here. I'm not pleased about that at all, and getting away for a week will be wonderful, and much needed.

I'll probably still get in a post or two over the break, but I will be away. So, for the few people who read this, have a great week, and I promise I'll be back and posting when I can :)

Monday, February 21, 2005

I am extremely amused...

...by the fact that I wrote a post about why I *don't* drink or do drugs, and now my Google ads are showing addiction support centers.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

An explanation of my behaviour

So I actually got to go out last night and pretend I have a life. Me and one of my roomates were going to go bowling with some friends from school. The bowling alley turned out to be packed (you know you're living in a small town when all the kids are bowling on a Saturday night), so we ended up going to a pub instead, and just hanging out and chatting, telling wild stories of our youth.

Now, I don't drink, or do any drugs. I never have. So, when we're sitting around telling stories of what happened while we were drunk or stoned, I don't have much more to contribute than what I've seen my friends do. I'm perfectly fine with that, but there are invariably the questions of why I don't partake in these things, and comments about how sure everyone is that I'd love it if I did.

You'd be surprised at how subtley socially unacceptable it is not to drink. I'm pretty sure people who don't know me well assume I refuse alcohol because I'm a recovering alcoholic. My mother asked me before if I had had some kind of traumatic experience with it and that's why I won't touch it. I think my sister just thinks I'm weird (kidding Jacki, love you!). People have a hard time with the idea that I just don't want to. So, I figured I'd post a bit about why I don't drink, and why I'm happy with that, and why I don't ever intend to be drunk or stoned.

Back in junior high, when all my friends were starting to experiment with alcohol and drugs, I didn't have any moral/philosophical reason for not joining in. I didn't because I was pretty sure mom and dad would kill me if they caught me. I was a very paranoid kid, with a worst-case scenario imagination. I was convinced that if I did get experiment, I would certainly get caught. And I usually figured it wouldn't be by my parents, but by the cops, and I'd get a criminal record and I'd never get a job and my life would be ruined. That was how I thought back then (and still do, sometimes, but I've gotten it a bit more under control).

So I get to high school. I've relaxed a bit now, and realized that getting caught drunk underage/stoned is not the life destroying thing I thought it was in junior high. However, by this point all my friends know that I've made a point not to ever touch the stuff. Through high school and most of university, it was more a point of pride, than anything. I had told everyone up to this point that I just didn't want to do it, and I felt incredibly self conscious that if I went back on that now, I'd look like I gave in to peer pressure, and that would be devastating in my mind. I had the self esteem issues most teenage girls suffer from, and I couldn't bear the thought that I'd look weak, that my principles were so flimsy as to succumb to peer pressure. Honestly, it was sort of a reverse peer pressure.

Then we come to my last 2 years of university up to the present. There were some major changes in my life then, some traumatic, some just life-altering. I spent a lot of that time in deep thought and self-analysis, and more than a bit of it in depression. Something I became very, very aware of during this time were the choices I made. Every little thing I did, I felt the possibilities and the resulting consequences of, and how they could echo through every subsequent thing I did, and every life I touch. I was hyper-aware of what went on around me, and how it was ultimately me that decided how my life went, not all the things I blamed and considered out of my control.

It was at this point that I made a conscious decision about drinking and drugs. Having realized how important my decisions are, I decided that I wanted to be able to look back at my life 10, 25, 50 years from now and be able to say "Maybe I didn't always do the right thing, but every choice I made was my own." I never want to look back and say "That was the alcohol talking" or "I only did that because I was high at the time". I am responsible for my life, and I want to take that seriously. My choices are my own, and the consequences are mine too.

I am not perfect by any means. I have been tempted to just give in. I blame other people for things that are ultimately my fault sometimes. I don't always think before I act, and I make stupid choices. I'm not always aware anymore of the consequences of what I do. That hyper-awareness I had is not usually with me anymore.

I want to make it clear that I do not mean to preach here. My friends, family and my boyfriend all drink occasionally. Some of my friends smoke a joint from time to time. I am ok with this. I don't think anyone is less of a good person for doing so. I have had many a good time and a good laugh with my friends when they've been drinking, and I'm fine with that. Much as I've made a choice, they have made choices too. They are content with the way the do things, and I am happy to accept that the choice that is right for me is not the choice for them. Everyone is different in how they think and live, and that is a beautiful thing that makes life worthwhile. It's just something I know a lot of people close to me, and some not so close, have wondered, and I felt it was time I gave a clear, complete explanation.

And that is why I don't drink or do any drugs.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Good bye Visual Basic!

The project is done! Victory is mine!

I am a very happy girl, obviously. That project was hell on wheels. I can honestly say I know a whole lot more VB though, which is a good thing. I now feel confident in my ability to pass the practical exam, and probably pass it with very good marks.

In other news, my hunt for a job after graduation continues. For any out of work archaeologists out there, I found another nice job site, Archaeologyfieldwork.com. It's a message board where the webmaster just posts every job she finds or is sent to her. There's also a forum to post your resume for potential employers. I'm listed on there now, yay :)

And for you non-archaeologists, here's a fun site for you to check out: the Politcal Compass. I am a leftist libertarian. This was not surprising to me in any way. My boyfriend likes to call me a hippie sometimes to tease me, but I just remind him I don't do any drugs, and I bathe regularly (disclaimer: this is a joke! I don't really think that hippies are all dirty pot-heads). But yeah, that site is fun. There are a lot of really thought provoking questions on it really. Good site overall.

And finally, happy Friday everyone! Yay for that happiest of days, when work is done, and the whole weekend is still yet to come. I hope everyone has many wonderful adventures in their time off.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Glorious freedom!

Ok, so I'm not totally free of VB yet. However, I did finish questions 4 and 5 of 6, today, so I feel that I'm ahead of schedule. I've been trying to do one question a day. Seeing as I'm ahead of that, I'm not going to the lab tonight. Yay!

Now to figure out what I'm going to do with my freedom...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Now I can put VB away for a while

I now have 2.5 of 6 questions done on my Visual Basic assignment. I am happy. Not only that, but I think I have the third question totally figured out. We'll see when I actually try to code it tomorrow. I'm sure that will be an adventure.

I think that if not for yoga, I wouldn't have gotten much done tonight. Yoga is quickly becoming the highlight of my week. I'm so busy with school work, and tired and stressed from it, that I never go to the gym or go swimming lately. I'm either in the lab, or at home being too tired and stressed to want to do anything. Yoga is nice because since it's a scheduled class that I'm paying for, I'll go no matter how I feel. So it's nice just to get out for a bit, but yoga is also just good for destressing and relaxing a bit. It gave me a great little refresher so I could go back to the lab tonight and focus enough to get work done. This is a very good thing. For anyone reading this that is feeling tired and stressed all the time, I really recommend looking into a yoga class. It's not at all what I expected it to be when I started, and it's wonderful.

I think that if my third question works out as well as I have it planned in my head, I should get home relatively early. If I do, I think I will make some phone calls home and to friends. I've been really out of touch the last couple weeks. If any of you guys are reading this, I promise I'll be in touch soon, I'm just swamped right now.

If it's not VB, I can't think about it

There is no room for anything in my head right now but Visual Basic. I have a huge assignment due on Monday, and I have 1.5 of 6 questions done. I wake up in the morning thinking about VB. I spend all day thinking about and/or typing out VB. I go to sleep thinking about VB. One of my classmates is literally having nightmares about VB. I haven't reached that point yet, and for this I am thankful. I think it might not be far off though. Hopefully yoga this afternoon will let me clear my head of VB for a little while at least.

Two more weeks til spring break. I can't wait! I get to go to New York and stay with my boyfriend for a week. That will be nice, and relaxing. He's still in class, so I can veg during the day, and see my boy the rest of the time. We're going to play some raquetball and try to go snowboarding too! I'm very excited about that. It's been like 4 years since I've been snowboarding, and every winter I pine for it. I love it so much, but it's pretty much impossible to go when you have no car and the hills are far away. If you've never tried snowboarding, I highly recommend it, it's a blast.

Just wanted to post a little update for now. Hopefully something interesting will happen later tonight and I can make a better post. Later!

Friday, February 11, 2005

And the dragon comes in the niiiiiiiiight!

If you haven't checked out my link to Homestarrunner to see StrongBad's emails, you really should. I just checked the site to see a new video, the Peasant's Quest Trailer. That's comedy gold (but only if you've seen the StrongBad email about Trogdor, and the Peasant's Quest game...so do that!). As much as I love Trogdor though, the guitar email is my favorite one, by far. I fall out of my chair at much the same time StrongBad does. Man I love the emails.

Another good site is True Porn Clerk Stories. It's not what it sounds like. It's the blog of a woman who was a clerk in a video store, and her experiences there, mostly in regards to people renting porn. It's really funny, and anyone who's worked in any kind of retail can really sympathize with it, even if you've never done that particular line of work. Definitely good reading.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

arg!

School is killing me right now. I go in early to work, I go back in the evening to work. When I was going back in a couple days ago, I passed one of my classmates in the hall. His greeting was "Welcome home". It's certainly starting to feel that way. Residence is just where I come to sleep and shower, and occaisionally eat. So, my apologies for the lack of updates this week.

The constant school work certainly makes life dull. I don't have much of a life. And joy of joys, I don't have to go to the lab tomorrow, but that's because I'm working all day. Even better, after my 8 hour shift I have a 2 hour staff meeting from 7-9pm. That's a fun way to spend a Friday night. I can't even imagine what we have to talk about for 2 hours that is so important it had to happen Friday. I can't imagine what we have to talk about for 2 hours at all, important or not.

So in the bit of spare time I do have, I've still been thinking about getting a proper website of my own. Can anyone recommend a good, free place to get webspace? I know that anywhere free is going to require I have ads on my page, but is there anywhere that the ads are relatively unobtrusive (i.e. especially no popups...banners I can deal with, popups are the devil). Recommendations are appreciated :)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Back to the grind

My boy went home this morning, so it's back to the lab for me. Ah well, it was wonderful to see him. I seem to have jinxed him with my last post though, as the border guards did give him trouble. Next time I'll be sure not to mention anything. They made him pay duty on a late Christmas present, which sucks.

The present in question is a beautiful stone inlaid globe, which he bought for me in Grand Cayman on our cruise. I've wanted one forever, and they were a steal there. It took a few weeks to get shipped to him, that's why he was only bringing it now. It looks like this, only the stand on mine is silver. The stone types vary of course too. I think it's gorgeous.

I adore maps and globes. I suppose this makes sense considering I have a degree in geography and I'm doing GIS now. My dorm room has two big maps on the walls, and now I have my globe. I also have one of those wonderful books of pictures of the earth from space (this one). That was another present from my boyfriend, he spoils me rotten.

I love satellite photos of the earth, they're so beautiful. They remind me of what a treasure we have in this planet. At the same time, they serve as a reminder of the impact of what we do. It's incredible to see an aerial view of things like the perfect geometry of farmer's fields, or the spiderwebs of roads and highways. The planet is so large, and our viewpoint so limited, that it's easy to think that what we do doesn't affect much, but the satellite imagery shows just how much land we've affected, and how few untouched areas there are. I find it very humbling, and it reminds me that we have to be careful because our planet's resources are not unlimited, nor is her capacity for recovery.

Friday, February 04, 2005

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

It really is. Lovely weather out today, you could almost believe that spring isn't that far away. However, I live in Canada, and I know that's impossible. Spring comes in April, if we're lucky. Ah well, today is still beautiful, and that's a good thing.

I am very happy today. My boy is on his way to see me. He should be here in roughly four hours. Yay :) I have to say, if a long distance relationship is good for no other reason, it sure makes the time you do get to have together special. I haven't seen him since he brought me back from Christmas to start class again...January 10, not that I'm counting :P Ah well, he'll be here soon.

Of course, this means I have to get my room cleaned up. I don't mind that however. Being in a good mood makes cleaning fun. I'm not generally a neat freak, and I'm pretty lazy, but if I get in a good mood with some upbeat music, I'll dance around and sing and clean, and it doesn't bother me a bit. It's pretty fun really, and with the dancing around, it can be a pretty good cardio workout.

I hope the border guards don't give him a hard time today. They once made him pull over and have the car completely searched because he was bringing me a bookcase. Apparently the fact that he was leaving it here made it completely suspicious. It was a $20 pressed-wood bookcase from Walmart. The back of it is cardboard, for goodness sake. But they apparently thought he was trying to smuggle drugs or something in it, and searched it and his car. They also made him pay duty on it, which is ridiculous considering you get like $50 duty free or something. They basically told him to ignore that fact, and pay the $2.50. What can you do? It's the border guards. You do what they say, or you don't get in.

Ah well, even if they do search his car, he'll still be here in a couple hours. The sun is shining, it's nice and warm. Life is good. Time to put on some music and clean.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Time flies....

I just realized that I've had my blog for a week now. I'm quite pleased by this. While I recognize that this is hardly indicative of a long term commitment to my blog, it means I do not have one of those blogs that has one little post that says "This is the first post of my blog, hope you like it", or somesuch, and was posted months ago and never touched again.

I feel sorry for those blogs. Poor things, they had so much potential, but it was never to be realized. Not that mine is probably being used to it's greatest capacity. But hey, at least I'm not ignoring it. Maybe my blog will be like my bonsai...just a little sprout now, cute but not mature. Give it a while to grow, and maybe it will look like something.

I can only hope.

I can't think of a good title

Titles are always the hardest part. Although I have to admit I'm hard pressed to find something to post about at the moment. All I've done the last couple days is work in the lab at school, and then come home and play video games or read. Exciting times.

I did have my second yoga class yesterday. Yoga is fun, but it hurts the next day. My hamstrings are not very flexible or stretchy, I've learned. One would hope that yoga will fix that. My boyfriend assures me that that is the case. I trust him, he knows stuff (and has been taking yoga for a few months now).

Speaking of boy, I'm hoping to see him this weekend. We had been planning on last weekend, but it didn't work out because of the weather. It's looking more promising for this weekend, though I did have to entice him with promises that he'd be allowed to watch the Superbowl. Aah, the Superbowl. The day that girlfriends and wives everywhere become football widows. My boyfriend is in a whole other world when football is on. It's kind of cute, and it means I can play video games guilt free (I'm an addict). So really, everyone wins. And that's always good.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Fun with lectures!

So I just got out of class. As I mentioned in my first post, I'm taking a program in GIS. In the class I had today we were talking about networking, which is looking at things like traffic flow, figuring out shortest routes between points, that kind of stuff. Now, something to keep in mind here is that I'm a complete simpleton. I'm very easily amused and laugh at just about anything.

So my prof is talking about networking, and mentions that one application creates a file with a ".sec" extension. And then she says that yes, if you make an index of that file, the index extension is ".sex". I find this amusing. But then, my brain takes it a step further. What if you were doing a network of traffic, and the file was called "car"? You'd index it and get "car.sex". Or even better, what if it was a network of telephone lines, called "phone"? The index would be "phone.sex"!

It was all I could do not to crack up in the middle of lecture. I had to cover my mouth to stifle the giggling. I can never, ever work in networking, because I'd be manipulating file names on purpose.

Then, she starts talking about the kind of data you need to have to do a network. One of things needed is a table showing what kind of turn can be made at a given intersection (like right on red, whether or not there's a flashing green, that kind of stuff). This table is, of course, called the turntable. So now she's talking about turntables and I get "Where It's At" by Beck stuck in my head ("I've got two turntables and a microphone").

The end result is me thinking about "Where It's At" combined with "phone.sex". It was too much, I barely made it out of class alive. Yes, I'm a geek, and yes, I have too much imagination and not enough to do. It was fun :)

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Whatever your feelings...

....on how things have been handled in Iraq, I think we should all send our hopes out that the results of their first election in 50 years prove to be fair, and spare a thought for those who were killed trying to vote. They may not be soldiers, but they were killed for freedom, and are no less heros. I truly hope some good can come of the pain endured by everyone involved there.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I have been blessed!

By none other than God himself. I love his blog, it just proves my long-held opinion that God is a lot more fun than the Bible would have you believe ;)

All in all, it's been a pretty good day. It was relatively warm again today, which is always happy. I also got an increase in my hours at work (which is good considering that my income was going to be in the negative otherwise). And, joy of joys, when I came home I found that the Japanese black pine seed I had planted has sprouted! Someday, it's going to grow up into a beautiful bonsai (assuming I learn to do it properly. This site has some lovely pictures that have made me want to pursue learning how to do bonsai, so I bought a kit to start with, and we'll see how it turns out. It will take several years apparently, which is understandable, but I love plants, so I'm sure it will be worth it. Even if the bonsai doesn't work out, I'll have a pretty little tree to plant in my yard.

I am also quite pleased that it is day 5 of the blog, and I have posted daily. And I still love to post. Now I just need an audience to appreciate my havering. 2 points to anyone who knows what havering means without looking it up! Not that I can prove whether you looked it up or not, but 2 points anyways! In the immortal words of The Proclaimers, as interpreted by Less Than Jake, "And if I haver, whatever the fuck that means, I'm gonna be the [wo]man who havers next to you!"

I love that song.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Yay it's Friday!

Happy Friday everyone. I'm not sure why I like Friday so much, because sure, class is done, but I have to go to my job tomorrow, and I'll end up in the lab doing assignments Sunday, if not tomorrow night as well. Ah well, I like it anyways. Probably because I can do whatever I want tonight. 4 out of my 5 roomates will be gone, everyone else in residence will be drunk or stoned, so I can have my music blasting for once (I generally don't out of consideration of my roomates, but I love having my music loud so I can sing and not notice how bad I sound). Blasting my music is a rare treat, and I intend to take advantage of it.

The weather finally warmed a little here. For the last two weeks, most days have been at least -20 celcius. Today is a balmy -9. I miss Halifax. Sure, we get really cold days too, and right now they've got about 60cm of snow, but snow I can deal with. Temperatures of -20 and lower are the devil.

It would help if it would at least be warm inside, but they don't seem to allow heat in residence. We have this thing that has a temperature gauge and blows air around, but no matter what temperature you set it to, the temperature of the air it blows around never changes. I feel very strongly that if I'm inside, fully dressed, with a sweater, that I should not be shivering. That has been the case way too many days in the last two weeks. I guess they figure that if they aren't going to charge us for electricity, they aren't going to let us crank the heat. /sigh

I can't wait for spring.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

If you post it, they will come

Or so it seems.

The third day of my much-loved blog has produced my first email. I posted an email address in my profile and said if you ask me stuff, I'll post about it. I suppose that was kind of a general thing to do, and probably asking for trouble if I'm not careful, but hey, I'm a big girl, and can pick and choose what I talk about.

So I got my first such email today. It was from a person from Pakistan, and the question was very general: "What do I think of people from Pakistan?" I was surprised by this question, but then when I thought about it, I was very general in asking for questions and topics, so I tried to think of an answer. I like to consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and was upset to find that I really don't know a thing about Pakistan at all.

So, I went to one of my new favorite info sites, Wikipedia,and read what they knew about it. From my readings, it seems to me that Pakistan has had a troubled past, but are making steps in the right direction, and that is a good thing. I particularly like how the nation got it's name (this link will tell you more).

While I learned a bit today (and that is always a fantastic thing!), I can't say that article really does anything to give me an impression of the people themselves. As far as that goes, I think people are people, no matter where they are from. I try not to say that I like or dislike any specific group of people, as I think that sells individuality short. A person may be from Pakistan, Canada, England, China, wherever, but that is only a facet of who that person is. An opinion of that person should be based on more than that.

So what do I think of people from Pakistan? I think they are human beings, and as such are entitled to the rights and opportunities of every human. I thank that particular writer for the incentive to learn a little more, and think about an interesting question :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ok, now that I have an answer...

My thanks for the response to my last post! It's good to know it's ok to post links.

So now that I know that, I think every should go here and write comments to support this guy. And thanks for the return comment, Mick! The anonymous poster before you is actually one of my roomates here in residence. She didn't bother registering because I knew it was her. Oh, and I have no problem with you imitating my blog, it's not like I came up with the template or idea myself ;) And if you do write about other things, you should still keep us posted on the quitting.

Quick question

Ok, so I'm becoming addicted to clicking the little "Next Blog" button up in the right hand corner, and seeing what's out there. I'm still pretty new to this blogging thing, and my question is this: Is it ok to link to other people's blogs?

Like, if I see something I enjoy, is it ok to put a little post saying "hey, you should check this blog out" and link it? Or do I need to ask permission of the site owner first? Sorry for being a newbie.

I love getting groceries

I really do. Getting groceries has always been one of my favorite things, even when I was a kid. I just got back from getting groceries, and it makes me happy.

I lived in New York for a while (I had a job there), and my boyfriend would come over on the weekends. I'd always get him to take me grocery shopping. It would be one of the first things we'd do when he got there. The only thing that makes grocery shopping better, is grocery shopping with my boy. I think it maybe because it's such a cute little domestic thing to do. I hate cooking, but walking through the grocery store with him, I can think of nothing but how fun it will be to go home and put the groceries away and then make dinner, either together, or just me cooking for him. I am not usually the domestic type, but grocery shopping makes me silly.

................................

I am having a lot of fun with this blog so far. I spent all last night figuring out how to add things to it. Now I've got my little quote at the top, my current favorite word at the bottom, and my list of links on the side. I'm so pleased. I keep checking my email to see if anyone has emailed me something to talk about yet too, which is silly because this is only day two. It's highly unlikely I have a fanbase yet (if ever). Ah well, it's amusing me, and I love to be amused.

I should tell you some more stuff about me, as nothing really interesting happened today to speak of. I'm a vegetarian, bet you didn't know that. I don't have any moral problem with eating animals, and I don't freak out if my food was cooked in the same pan as meat, or if someone with me is eating meat. That said, I do have some problems with how animals are often treated, but I'm not here to preach about that. I just don't want all the chemicals, antibiotics and hormones they pump into the animals these days. If I could get organic meat at reasonable prices, I'd eat it. And yes, I realize there's a lot of chemicals and such that vegetables get sprayed with too. It's mostly a case of extent, and I have to draw a line somewhere. I feel like not eating meat is the lesser evil. It's a personal choice though, I promise I'm not judging anyone who eats meat. Your body, your choice, that's how I feel about it.

I feel that way about most things. I think that as long as you're not hurting anyone else, you're free to do as you wish. My sister used to say the Golden Rule is "Don't be dumb." I feel like that's a good philosophy. Don't hurt anyone else, don't be dumb. Words to live by.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

And so it begins...

I've never been good at keeping a journal.

I've tried many times, and it always looks so good at first. I'll write every day, maybe every other day if I'm really busy, but it always starts tapering off after a month or so, and by the end of two months I'm not even trying to fool myself into thinking that I'll write in it tomorrow. But, like everyone who has big plans but are inherently lazy, I keep trying every time I get a fit of inspiration. So here I am (and hopefully, here you are to read) starting another journal-type thing.

My present urge to write and create comes from the fact that I am learning HTML in one of my classes, and felt it would be fun to have my own website. However, I know that I don't know enough HTML (or any other programming language) to make anything worth looking at. It also probably wouldn't amount to anything more than me thinking out loud. So I decided to try a blog, where it seems thinking out loud is encouraged.

As the title of this blog probably implies, I don't really have a set subject that I intend to expound upon. I figured I'd start blogging first, and see where it takes me. My sister had one of these for a while, and it looked fun. She seems to be like me though, and has since abandoned it.

I guess I should start out by telling you a bit about me. My name's Erin, I'm 25. I live in Ontario, but I'm from Nova Scotia. I'm here going to school, and I live in residence. I'm in a post-grad program in GIS Applications Specialist (I linked GIS because no one ever seems to know what it is). I have a bachelor's in Honors Anthropology and Geography. Ultimately, I want to do GIS within archaeology.

As I mentioned, I have a sister. My parents are divorced. My dad has remarried, and mom is living with her boyfriend. I am not so lucky, and my boyfriend lives far away. He's American, and lives in upstate New York. Border guards have a hard time with the idea that a Canadian is dating an American. They always like to ask us how we met when he brings me to his place. Non-border guards have less of a hard time with this concept, but they always ask "Isn't long distance hard?" Yes, it is. It's worth it though. My boy is great and I wouldn't trade him for anyone.

Well, that's me in a nutshell (I can never say that without thinking of Mike Myers as Wayne and being amused...which is probably exactly why I say it). We'll know in two months whether I can keep this up or not.