Sunday, 29 March 2009

I hate to say it, good readers, but I think I'm using you. I use blogging as an excuse to procrastinate. I only seem to want to blog when I have something more urgent to do. This is the second time this week that I've written a blog instead of doing work. It's a bad sign. There seems to be a pall of apathy that has enveloped my life. It means that I'm not getting anything done, but I'm not feeling panicky about it either. I'm not working and it seems that I'm ok with that. It's a problem.

I have done some work though. The SAN banquet was last night. I spent most of Saturday afternoon running around doing errands like cooking and picking up decorations, money, and unsold tickets. I had to be at Meah Hall (where the banquet was going to happen) at 6:15 to start setting up. It was a bit awkward because I was all dressed up and wandering around sorting stuff out while Meal Hall was mostly-full of people still eating. They started to leave once saw that something was going on. Andrew, Nathan, Rhiana, and Cameron showed up at 6:45ish to help me set up which was good of them. I think there were about 8 or 10 of us in all setting up. We had to clear the tables, putting tablecloths down, and then make sure that every seat had a program, water, and appetizers near by. We were done just after 7:30 at which point we started letting people in. The timing was great and we started just after 8:00. I think the banquet went really well, overall. I was a bit stressed out through the whole thing but it seemed like everyone had a good time. The food was good, the performances were good, and we ended at 10:00 which was perfect. Cleaning up took a lot less time than setting up did, and we were done by 10:30. Nakita, Leah, Sally (the SAN exec) and I and a couple other people hung around till about 11:00 just sitting and talking and de-stressing. I think we were all really pleased with how things went.

I came home and stayed up late talking to my parents and my brother on Skype. I can't believe I'm going to be home in just over three weeks.

And there's so much to do still ...

I also worked on one of my papers a bit today. I wrote an outline and I think I can start writing tomorrow. It's not a very difficult class and the assignment isn't very challening - it just has to be done. And I have another, somewhat more important paper due the day after this one. Technically this is only a draft so I'm going to see what I can get done tomorrow and day-after and then I have to stop and be satisfied with what I have by then. I have a little bit of time to work on it later. It's not due till the 16th. The other paper I have to do, however, is due this Friday and I am nowhere close to finishing it. And by that I mean I've barely started. SIGH.

But, there are good things happening these days too. I saw two crocuses today. The first I've seen this spring. I literally leapt around in joy. I hate the winter. I really, really do. It's not that I'm miserable all winter long, but it's cold and suffocating and it just doesn't compare to the absolute glory of summer. Maybe the spring seems that much more wonderful in comparsion to the winter. Either way, spring is here. I saw a girl celebrating over the same two crocuses that I had seen. She screamed a little. I can certainly share the sentiment.

Anyway. That is the state of life right now. I think I'm going to go to bed now and hope that tomorrow I can get things done.

One of my favourite songs: Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

I wait in 4/4 time ...

It's that time of year again. What time, you ask? The crazy time. You know ... when the days don't seem quite long enough, your agenda is full of lists of things to do and people to meet, you have a vague air of panic about you, and it takes you hours to fall asleep at night because your head is full of plans and worries. And don't you hate it when a week looks a lot longer on a calendar than it actually proves to be in real time? That seems to be happening a lot, too. It's not a particularly fun time, really. And the logical solution to all this chaos? Well, to blog of course.

I feel like I can justify wasting a little time. Firstly, it's a gorgeous day. My window is wide open, I'm wearing short sleeves, and it legitimately feels like spring outside. Secondly, I just came from a meeting with my program advisor and it seems like I'll be able to graduate next year without any problems! I was a bit worried and this stupid school has a bunch of secret degree requirements that they make it really difficult to keep track of and I was worried I was going to have a hard time getting all my credits. The thing about lots of transfer credits is that you don't really get time to goof off and take silly classes. I was forced to do that last term because (yet another annoying thing about this school) scheduling is a nightmare here and I could only take three classes (out of five) that were actually relevant to my degree. But it looks like all will be well. I have to over-load (i.e. take six courses instead of five) in my last term, but that'll be ok. I'm sure it won't kill me. It's quite a relief to have this all sorted out, though.

The SAN banquet is on Saturday. I'm getting a bit stressed out about it. I guess I have to spend all of Saturday running around and tying up loose ends. Hopefully it'll go well. I have to spend the next little while cutting out flags that we printed so that we can make little decorations for the tables. I hope everything falls into place. It'll be nice to see this go off without a hitch.

I also have two papers due next week. I'm starting to get a bit anxious about them. I haven't really made any serious progress on either and time is dribbling away at an uncomfortably rapid pace. I guess I'll just have to get my butt in gear and pull a few all-nighters or something.

And there are only 20 days before I go home! I'm starting to get excited.

The concert last weekend went alright. It turned out to be a bit of a let-down because it started late and I had class the next day, and I ended up leaving before the end of the show. I really wanted to stay but it seemed unreasonable to be up till 2:30 on a Sunday night. Starting the week on a sleep deficit is a terrible idea. And, despite leaving early, I still skipped my first class the next morning at slept till 10:00. I think that's only the 4th class I've skipped all term. I skipped two earlier in the term to study for a midterm, and then two others. No harm done.

I guess that's it for now. I have flags to cut out.

Till later. And here's a song for the road: The Weakerthans (live) - Left and Leaving
The video is pretty bad, the sound isn't fantastic, but that's ok.

And here are the lyrics, in case you can't hear them.

My city's still breathing (but barely it's true)
Through buildings gone missing like teeth.
T
he sidewalks are watching me think about you,
Sparkled with broken glass.
I'm back with scars to show.
Back with the streets I know.
Will never take me anywhere but here.
The stain in the carpet, this drink in my hand,
The strangers whose faces I know.
We meet here for our dress-rehearsal to say "I wanted it this way"
Wait for the year to drown.
Spring forward, fall back down.
I'm trying not to wonder where you are.
All this time lingers, undefined.
Someone choose who's left and who's leaving.
Memory will rust and erode into lists of all that you gave me:
A blanket, some matches, this pain in my chest,
The best parts of Lonely, duct-tape and soldered wires,
New words for old desires,
And every birthday card I threw away.
I wait in 4/4 time.
Count yellow highway lines that you're relying on to lead you home.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

I'm taking a study break to write a blog. It's sort of an enforced study break because a friend has my notes and I can't do any more studying until he brings them back. I'm mildly concerned about getting through all the studying I need to do, but for now, I'll ignore it. The only reason there's a little bit of urgency is because I didn't get any work done yesterday and I need to make up for it.

Why didn't I get any work done yesterday? For a number of excellent reasons:

A) I was drinking at the Thornton 'floor crawl' on Friday night and, although I didn't drink too much, it definitely left me feeling pretty out of it on Saturday morning. Let's not forget that alcohol is a toxin. That, combined with staying up late, makes for rough mornings and unproductive days.

B) My trouble with late mornings is that it means I don't get my absolutely essential hit of coffee until later in the day and usually my withdrawal symptoms are already kicking in by then. I usually drink my first (and only) mug of coffee during my first class every morning (that's 9:30 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 8:30 on Tuesday and Thursday). If my coffee is delayed past 11:30, I'm looking at a rough day. Sometimes the only thing that happens is that I can't stay awake and I become dysfunctional. On bad days I get a headache. Yesterday was a bad day. It was 11:30 when I got out of bed and for whatever absolutely stupid reason, I didn't make coffee until 3:00. Two Advils and a mug of coffee later and I still had a headache. I was not impressed.

C) I had to meet Nathan, Noah, Rhiana and Cate (my roommates for next year) to go down and see our house, pick rooms, and sort out our plans for the end of the term. Picking rooms was a bit awkward. I wanted to avoid conflict at all costs and so I got a room that I didn't really want. But that's ok. I'm sure it'll be fine. The room I have is apparently the biggest with a massive cupboard, but we were told that the floor is really ugly and that the window is really narrow. Sadly, the person who lives in that room currently wasn't there and the room was locked. Hopefully I won't have to live in semi-darkness for a year. I've gotten very, very used to two years of a South-facing window that gives me sunshine all day (when the weather is kind).

D) I had to go straight from looking at the house to a meeting with two other people on the SAN (Society of All Nations) exec to paint banners to adverstise for our banquet that's coming up soon. SAN, for the benefit of those that don't know, is the student group on campus that tries to actively facilitate International-Canadian student interaction on campus. Every year SAN holds a banquet that aims to showcase International food and performances (song, dance, etc). This year I'm the secretary of SAN and I'm helping to organize it. That took over two hours.

E) I spent the early part of Friday night in the Mac computer lab on campus. This room is not heated. At all. Two and a half (ish) hours in there and my feet and hands were freezing, and I was starting to feel sick. This evolved over night (through the drinking and staying up late) into a rather uncomfortable cough/sick feeling.

F) I was in the Mac lab because I was trying to book a ticket back to India for the summer. This turned out to be a fruitless, frustrating endeavour. I spent a lot of yesterday looking for tickets. I almost booked one but when I looked at how expensive it was, I chickened out and decided I needed to call my parents and double-check dates and such with them first.

Those are the reasons why I didn't get any work last night. Instead, I wasted time, watched Bambi, drugged myself with Neocitran, and went to bed. Yesterday was generally a bad day.

I woke up this morning feeling better. My cough hasn't gone away (and it feels like it's here to stay for a little while), but I'm feeling a lot better in all other respects.

I spent a couple of hours on skype this morning/afternoon with my parents which was nice. I talked through dates and options with them and got all that sorted out. And then we just talked about random stuff. It was good. I don't get to talk to them all that much.

I then booked my ticket. Well, first I had to call Visa and get them to increase the credit limit on my card (because my ticket cost more than my $1,000 limit). They did that no problem. I even got wished an early happy birthday by the nice young man I talked to. So, I now have a ticket home. Yay! 23rd April to the 16th of August. : ) There's only the minor issue of an expired visa that I need to sort out. But hopefully that won't be too much trouble.

It's Monday tomorrow. It seems like it came too soon. I'm already looking forward to next weekend. The big thing next weekend is the Weakerthans concert. I bought my ticket for this concert some time in January. I've been excited since then. It's going to be awesome. It's on Sunday night which is a bit of a pain, but maybe I can sacrifice any other shenanigins that I might want to get up to earlier in the weekend and save it all for Sunday.

Ok. My notes have been returned and it's almost 9:00. I think I need to get in at least another hour of studying and then maybe I can quit for the night.

p.s. Please note new slideshow of pictures of Kodai on the right, below the clock.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Hi folks. It's been a while. It's also been a busy while, so I hope I can be forgiven. I guess I'll just recap on the last couple of weeks since they've been eventful.

Before I start, here's someone's version of the theme song from Forrest Gump composed by Alan Silvestri. I've been listening to the scores from motion pictures on the radio as my study music and this is probably my favorite. So yea, here you go:



From February 21st to March 1st we were on our 'Reading Week' (= Spring Break). Lots of people took off to lots of different places but, as is my tendency, I holed up in Sackville and enjoyed the quiet that descended on the campus. I took the weekend off and went out, watched movies, and generally wasted time. But, come Monday of that week, I realized that I actually had to get stuff done and so I did. I set rules for myself, though. I decided that I would work until I dinner time, and after that I would go home and not come back till the next day. I also said that I would go to sleep whenever I felt like, and wake up whenever I felt like. That made for a fairly laid back week, but it also given all the relaxing I was also planning to do, this was a fairly tight schedule. It took me till Wednesday to get my paper done. I was having trouble getting my thoughts in order, and all that procrastination I was doing was also seriously decreasing the numbers of work-hours I had in the day. But, I got paper done, and then I moved on to the presentation. That took me two days and so I was already at Friday and I hadn't done my paper proposal yet. I was planning of taking that weekend off too, but I ended up working on my presentation on Saturday too, and my proposal on Sunday, and on Monday we were back in classes.

I didn't work all week, though. I read 500-odd pages of 'His Dark Materials' (Philip Pullman) that I've read before but so long ago that I hardly remembered a thing. That was fun. I also cooked a lot. I didn't go to meal hall a single time that whole week. I like cooking. I find that it's meditative.

So yea. I took care of my work, and I took care of my soul, and I thought it was a pretty perfect break, really. I was happy with how it went.

In our first week back I had my presentation on Tuesday, the paper due on Wednesday, and my paper proposal due on Thursday. I spent Monday and Tuesday in the computer lab at night being frustrated and not being able to get anything done for my proposal. I just hit a dead end with my research and my thoughts were stuck in a really small box and I wasn't getting anywhere and I was getting increasingly agitated. I also had that presentation on Tuesday to be worried about. (I think it went well but presentations on one's own are always fairly stressful.) Anyway, inspiration struck for my proposal late Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday, and by 9:30 on Wednesday, I was done with it and my stressful week was over. I think I goofed off a bit the rest of the week.

Aside from being a busy time with school work, this is also a busy time for me as far as 'extracurriculars' go. I'm part of EcoAction (Mt A's student group that lobbies for green initiatives on campus and in the community around us) and we're doing a big campaign about the Tar Sands in Alberta. If you don't about it, go here: http://www.tarsandswatch.org/ Anyway. I had to go and work on what we were doing for that. That took up much of Thursday evening and most of Saturday. I think we calculated that the five of us that worked on it put about 30 man-hours into it. I'm also part of the 'Society of All Nations' (SAN) and we're having our annual banquet on the 28th of March. It takes a LOT of work to organize and we're trying to get that done at the same time. But, between those two, I didn't get any studying done on Saturday for the midterm that I had this morning. I had all of Sunday and what little bit of Monday I had after class, but that wasn't really enough. I was up till 1:30 ish last night (not my general habit since I try to get work and studying done by a reasonable hour) and it was moderately painful, but that's ok. I think that was the general consensus, and our prof will mark accordingly, I'm sure.

And the week to come: I have more EcoAction and SAN stuff to do. I'm going to look at my apartment with my roommates-t0-be this weekend. We have a ton of stuff to sort out and I'm glad we're getting that done. And that'll leave me with: two papers (fleshing out that proposal I wrote, and a research paper for the class that I had the midterm in today - Ecological Genetics), a lab exam, a test, and finals to do. That's not too bad, I guess ... ? We shall see.

Anyway. This is why I didn't write, although I wanted to. And on that note, I'm going to stop. It's 11:00 and time for bed, I think.

Till later.