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 I've been working on my homework today, mainly that four way book review for a class I'm taking with my honour's research supervisor. It's not as terrible as it sounds: you pick four books on the same topic and compare and contrast how they're addressed. I picked American Women's roles in the Second World War, and I've finished reading the books and I'm working on an outline now. I really just have to sit down and write it... and finish it, of course, two days before it's due because some twit has recalled one of the four books and it's due back several days before the paper is due... and I would hate to suddenly need to look up something in a book that's in someone else's hands and isn't available online anywhere.

But that's not what I'm feeling panicky about: several other things are making my stomach get all knotted up. 

What prompted this? I quickly checked my school e-mail after my break for lunch (I have Fridays off... to do homework!), and I had received an e-mail whose subject like was "spring convocation". "Huzzah!", thought I, thinking that my application to graduate had gone through.

...Not quite. I'm apparently missing one course's worth of credit in something called "Group 3". I have everything else covered: my artsy-fartsy credits, my science credits, my second-language credits, more history credits than you can shake a stick at... but not enough in "group 3". The only hint as to what else I could take was that the half of the credits I needed for that were in a Political Science course from my time in France.

In big bold red letters, the e-mail told me that as it was I was not good to graduate in Spring.

This was me, inside:


Luckily, there was a toll-free number at the bottom of the e-mail so I called up a nice (if bored-sounding) lady to ask what I could possibly take. I'm waiting to hear back from her at the moment: she's promised to e-mail me the huge list of courses I can take to complete the credit in something called "breadth of diversity". Apparently poli sci, anthropology, economics, and a bunch of other things are on that list. I'm still trying not to panic. I mean, I'm only registered in three scheduled courses next semester (plus my thesis, which isn't a scheduled class), so I shall hopefully have space. I'm just feeling anxious. It could be for nothing. Maybe I can take Anthropology 101 and be fine. I think I can easily fit another course into my schedule, especially on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Hopefully.

This panic is related to the horror I felt at getting a poor mark on a big assignment in my introduction to translation class (9/15, or a C-, on a deceptively easy assignment worth FIFTEEN PERCENT of my final course mark). See, I'm in the honour's programme, so if my GPA dips below a certain average, or any one mark is below a certain point (I think that it's the equivalent of a B or B+), I will fail out of the programme. I don't have enough credits to complete a French minor, so I'd have to take at least another semester to complete my degree. I don't think that it has come to that, but... yeah. ANXIETY. (Most history profs know who the honours history students are, and unless you get a ridiculously low mark in their class they don't want to be the dick that kicks you out of the programme, but the translation professor is in a completely different faculty and may have no such compunctions.)

It's also related to the fact that I'm terrified of my future. I don't have anything planned for next year. Nothing confirmed. What I really need to do is go about and apply for a bunch of jobs, hopefully abroad. I'm right now tossing around the idea of applying for this paid internship at the Smithsonian Institution in the states, or possibly this tour guide job at the Vimy Ridge memorial in France. I want to improve my French, you see, and get out in the world before I leap into another degree. Next week I plan to visit the "study abroad" office in HUB to see what they have on offer for work abroad programmes. 

I also feel anxious because my original plan was to take a year off and go on the JET programme to get teaching experience and then go into education, but I'm not sure if that's what I want anymore. Maybe the latter. My twin sister just applied for JET, and asked me why I wasn't - I had totally forgotten about it. Maybe I was discouraged because I've heard so much about how difficult it is to get into the programme without any teaching experience... which my sister has. If she doesn't get in, then I had no chance. 

Right now, I'm planning on taking a year off after getting this degree (PLEASE LET ME GRADUATE) before deciding if Grad school is really what I want to do. My current thought processes/options are as follows, after my year off:
-apply for grad school, get a masters in history, become a professor (which would be cool, but jobs will be thin on the ground until more and more profs retire in five years or so)
-apply for a translation school in Ottawa, become a French-English translator (hinges on me becoming more comfortable in my French language skills)
-look into things like diplomacy, and what you need for that. Probably more political science courses.
-maybe go and get a two-year after degree in education and just work as a teacher? They get summers off, at least?
-WHO KNOWS MAYBE I SHOULD JUST JOIN THE ARMY THEY HAVE GUARANTEED JOBS POSSIBLY.

Also, somewhere in there I need to become a famous author and live off of royalties from my books for the rest of my life.

*flaily hands*

*MUST GO AND MAKE TEA*
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 It was about -17C when I woke up this morning. We'll see that as pretty warm in a few weeks. :P We've survived the storm; it snowed steadily for nearly two days. Not fast and thick, but small little snowflakes more like a mist that just wouldn't dissipate. 

I've already had to drive into Edmonton, to an appointment about half an hour away. It only took me an extra ten minutes to get there, but I also borrowed my mum's car, which has the snow tires on already. Still, some of the roads had been plowed but not all. The backroads were I had to drive through to park were really slippery. It was lucky it was past rush hour because I slid into several small intersections while trying to stop for stop signs. D:

Tip: leave plenty early, and drive as slowly as you have to. I've been re-acquiring all of my good habits from when I was a learner: leaving huge stopping distances, going five under the speed limit at all times... And hey, I didn't crash or even fishtail like I saw some trucks doing! ;) 

The other task I had to do this morning was drop off my car to get snow tires installed. $1000 gone: luckily, my mum paid for them. It's only so expensive because we were buying entirely new tires, plus the installation fee for the shop. Now that we have them dad can switch them out in a few hours in the springtime for free. My mum is of the opinion that this is a safety thing and anyways we need to use it for six months of the year... Those "all season" tires that they plug were designed in the States and are pretty useless on winter roads. :P 

I am also of the opinion that if it's going to be cold, you may as well have some lovely snow and frost to offset the ugliness of brown trees and dead grass. Here is the view from a top-floor window in Albertan suburbia, so you can get a look at the frosted trees that some Christmas ornaments try to replicate. 



Now that the cold weather has arrived, I've also brought out my famous warm knitted scarf, as seen in previous years here
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 My pirate days are over once the river starts to freeze...!

Here is a truly Canadian blog post. >_> 

Yesterday was the first day that it really began to feel like winter, and today it's confirmed. Blizzard. There's supposed to be like 15cm of snow happening this evening, and it's been snowing all day already. We've had snow already, in October, but it melted. This is unusually late in the season for a first snow to be sticking - sometimes we get "winter" beginning in September, before all of the leaves have properly fallen off of the trees. We've gotten snow in every month except August here in Alberta (not that it normally stays in the typical "summer" months).

They say that Canada has two seasons: winter and construction. They are totally on the ball on this one. 

At the moment, despite the snow, it's about -8C. That's not bad. Generally we average around -23C, I'd say, in the winter months around here (it's a dry cold), but with windchill it can get nasty. A year or two ago a weather station at the airport actually registered something like -50C, for an instant, at 4 in the morning one blustery day. 

It's normally not as bad as all that, and you get used to it (hint: dress in layers and don't go outside if you can't help it), and it certainly gives us bragging rights. I've heard somewhere that because bitching about winter weather is a national pastime in Canada (it's the safest topic of conversation at the bus stop, for instance), we apparently have a very small number of people freezing to death each year, considering our population and Canadian winters. It's because we're not taken by surprise very often. I think they even set up winter shelters for the homeless, too. 

I am so glad that I had my practical driving lessons in the middle of the wintertime, though, because it made driving in the summer a breeze. Here are a few things I've noticed that are unique to Canada because of our winters... 

We have pretty tall traffic lights and signs. I noticed this in France, which sometimes has traffic lights only a head or so taller than a person would be. Those would be obscured by snowdrifts in Canada. We also frequently have a sign with an arrow that says "stop line" at intersections, because you can't always see the lines painted on the road. There's a lot of "driving in the ruts" going on in the wintertime...

We also really, really like pedways here (AKA "pedestrian walkways"). Essentially, to get from building to building, you don't have to go outside, but can walk through a tunnel, sometimes above ground, sometimes under it. In Montreal, their Metro system is actually attached to a massive underground mall. They're like reverse skyscrapers. It's intense. 

In Quebec, where it's much more humid, there's a lot more snow. In many places in Quebec City, they actually set up little temporary tents overtop of driveways and some sidewalks so the snow just lands on top and slides off, so they don't have to shovel their driveways all of the time. They have a ridiculous amount of snow. Example: 


This bike was just abandoned in Quebec because a particularly heavy snowfall trapped it. 

Anyway, quick tips! Remember, nobody knows how to drive in snow for at least a few days after the first snowfall. They forget that they can't stop on a dime, so don't leap out in front of cars. Seriously, pedestrians may have right of way, but you can't wine about it in court if you're dead. Also, drivers, don't rush up to stop signs or try to rush through yellow lights. Leave yourself long stopping distances. Trust me on this. 

Also, wear practical shoes, and fashion styles. This thing for tights that's oh so popular in the states? You won't last five minutes if the bus is late. Same goes for high heels. If you need to wear them, change at your destination and leave the clunky boots with your scarf and jacket at the coat check. Practicality trumps fashion this time of year, guys!

Hot drinks are in: tea, hot chocolate, coffee, hot toddies... 
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So my father is having his ten minutes of fame, as they say. 

Some of you may have heard of the problems that the Commonwealth Games are having at this point in time. There are stories about a collapsed pedestrian bridge, unfinished Athletes' Village accommodations, terrorist threats, etc. 

My father is going to be attending the games in Delhi as a rapid-fire pistol shooter, among other pistol-related competitions. This morning, a few hours before he was going to head off to the airport, he got a call: they're putting off sending any athletes in until Sunday. My father: sad face. 

He had already had an interview with CTV scheduled for that morning: a "look, local man off to compete for king and country in the commonwealth games!" kind of thing. Well, it was a bit of a different story when they got there, but my dad went with it. They took some shots of him zipping and unzipping his luggage, and some shots of his "Canada" hat (the one that he was debating with me this morning over bringing) and he actually spoke in a calm and reasonable manner about the whole thing. Mostly how the organizers know best, and the sporting facilities themselves were pretty high quality when he went to compete in Delhi three years ago at a separate competition. He refused to diss India on screen, and I believe he really does think that some of these concerns are overblown. Still. Woo. 

He also did a phone interview with the Edmonton Journal, a newspaper we subscribe to, and another video interview for Global news. They shook it up a bit; one filmed in the front room, the other on our back porch. Whatevs. Each one focussed on slightly different things, and dad thinks that they were fair in their 30-second selection of the five or ten minute interviews he did for each. Sometimes they can completely misrepresent what the interviewee said in the editing process. Not so this time, so that's good, at least...?

Now it's after supper and the CBC called. (That's the national channel - the Canadian version of the BBC - for those not in the know.) They're sending someone over in less than half an hour to interview him. Mum and I have been frantically cleaning up our living room.

I wonder why they haven't been going to that lovely runner and the swim guy for these other interviews? Maybe my father is just reasonable and logical in the interviews, and isn't just nattering on about all of the illnesses you have to get inoculated against to visit India...? He's mostly like "calm down, guys, the Indians probably have like a bajillion guys working on fixing this," only phrased in a way that sounds more like my dad.

The news sources keep emphasizing that "oh noez, the games start in X number of days!" It's actually WORSE than what they're representing, for once (normally the news talks like the world is ending, to the point of exaggeration). You see, the athletes like to do some training in the week before the games actually open in the actual venue that they'll be using, so they won't be thrown by the strange location, and will have time to get over jet lag and such. So this delay could cost the athletes in terms of performance. 

Anyway, word is that some of the athletes have cancelled their trips to India and won't be competing. Dad doesn't want to cancel, and probably won't.  If he does well in this competition, as well as one in October in Rio De Janeiro, then he could qualify to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

You can do it, dad! I believe in you!


EDIT:

"Can we get a shot of you doing up those last two latches again? I'm thinking, 'And he's packed up and ready to go.'"

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"All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick."
- Peter's Evil Overlord List, #31

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOTHER!

Yes, today IS Valentines day, but it's a more important day to me than that - it's also my wonderful mum's birthday. :) So Happy Birthday to her! :D

"It's a very nice day to have a birthday, unlike Remembrance Day."
-My Mum


Macro Rose 2 by ~Beboots on deviantART

Incidentally, I'm flying out late this evening (at 10:30 at night, if you can believe it), to arrive in Québec City tomorrow morning at about 8am. We transfer three times, which means I'll get like no sleep tonight. D: So... I'll take a nap later on. Yes.

Who is "We"? The other half of "we" is my friend Maialen, who is Parisian and awesome. :) She says that I'm to be translating for her, because she finds the Québecois accent inpenetrable. D: (Did you know that the French (from across the water) consider "Québecois" to be a separate and distinct language from Standard French? Of course, they think that American English ("Américane") is a different language from British English, when we generally consider them mutually intelligible... to an extent... and thus, dialects. ;) )

I'm a little worried that my accent has changed too much to be understood easily by the Québecois. I spent a month in France this summer, so my accent isn't really Québecois, like it was in my last visit in grade nine...

Anyway, we're to visit Québec City (during the Winter Festival! :D ), then take a bus to Montreal. I've been to each city once before, on a four day trip in grade nine, but I only spent one day in Montreal... if any of you who are reading this have ever been, please reccomend places for us to go! I mean, I'm sure we'll find stuff to occupy ourselves (we're staying in the old parts of each town, which always means beautiful buildings and shopping, plus museums and other more cultural things ;) ), but I love to hear about other points of interest that people have run across before. :)

I'll be flying out a bare twelve hours from now, so I probably won't be in contact for a week or so after this, but I promise a long post detailing the high points of the trip. :) I wish you all a wonderful Reading Week! :D

"Scar"

Jul. 20th, 2007 10:44 am
beboots: (Harry Potter Face)
Supposedly the last word in Deathly Hallows, J.K.Rowling

Anyway, it's about mid-day now - I still have thirteen hours until I can crack open my own copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. :( However, I thought I'd just give a quick update.

Last night, I had a long, winding dream (you know, the kind that switches focus/scenes like fifteen times?). Anyway, one of the things that I remember clearly was that someone yelled out "Spoiler! Snape lives!" So... now I want to see if it was a prophetic dream or not. If Snape survives the book, then I'm psychic! XD

Also, on that note, I spent the last three days madly knitting a two-toned green "armband" with "TRUST SNAPE" on it. :) I don't think he's evil.

Now, it's about 10:50am as I write this. I had a shift at Superstore this morning, from 8am until noon. So how am I typing this, you might ask? I was biking to work, and was hit by a car. >_<; I was biking past this one intersection, and saw a car waiting to pull into traffic. I didn't see a gap, so I thought it was safe to ride in front of him. I was going downhill, so I braked a little as I approached. As soon as I pulled in front of him, though, he shot forward and hit me, bruising my leg and throwing me about a meter or two. Luckily, I was wearing my helmet. He hit me with the front of his car, I didn't hit the side of it. Anyway, he stayed and called an ambulance, and several other people stopped to see if I was okay. Even a doctor, on her way to work, stopped and used her stethoscope on me (my heart beat was going crazy; I think I was in mild shock). I didn't loose consciousness, or break anything, but I did get a scraped elbow, bruised hip and a twingy ankle. We were both going pretty slowly I just hope I'm not miserable and in pain at the midnight release this evening.

However, I'm really grateful for my luck, though - that would have absolutely sucked had I broken something or been killed today of all days. It reminds me of our own mortality - someday, I'm going to die, and there's so many things that I won't be able to do. I mean, there will be awesome books published after my death that I'll never be able to read.

So my only vehicle (my beautiful bike), has a front wheel totally bent up. I called my dad, and had him drive me home (luckily, he had an eye appointment at ten, so he wasn't at work). The man who ran me over actually only lives a few blocks away from me, and he offerred to pay for bike repairs. He was a nice guy, and I think the accident was at least partially my fault. I should have stopped, to be cautious, even though I had right of way. Still, it was almost bound to happen eventually, as I often bike to work during rush hour, next to the busy highway to Edmonton.

I wonder how big the bruise on my hip will be.

(I was tempted to put "crushed" as my mood, in reference to my accident, but decided against it ;P ).

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