beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 I try to make mental lists of things that make me happy every so often, just in case I have a bad day.

What am I anxious about? Jobs, papers, group projects... )

Things to make me happy: visas, interviews, shopping wins, and free dinner & drinks. )
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 Donc je pense que j'ai déjà indiquer que ma nouvelle ordinateure a quelquechose de différent, en comparaison avec l'ancienne: ce qu'on appelle un "number pad" en anglais. (J'ai toujours du misère à trouver la vocabulaire pour les choses éléctronique en français. Beaucoup du temps c'est seulement le mot en anglais avec "le" ou "la" en avant.) Bien, maintenant je trouve que les accents (é, à, ï, etc.) sont beaucoup plus facile à ecrire à cause des "shortcuts". Je voudrais seulement faire une post en français car je n'ai pas beaucoup d'opportunités à la faire. 

Je n'ai pas encore entendu des positions en France ou Québec, mais il y a encore du temps. Je pense qu'ils nous contactent par poste et non pas par courriel ou téléphone aussi. Néanmoins, je suis encore très anxieuse. 

J'ai besoin de penser au sujet des choses plus positives, (Bien, j'ai besoin de penser au sujet de mes devoirs, papiers et dissertations, mais... ;) ) donc à ce but je voudrais vous introduire à une filme excellent, "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis". Je l'ai vu quand j'étudiais en France, et je la trouvai très amusante. :3 C'est tout au sujet des cultures différentes en France... et les difficultés qu'on trouve quand ils se rencontrent. 

Les soustitres anglais ne sont pas la meilleure, mais je sais que les dialectes sont très difficiles à traduire. 

(J'espère aussi que mon français est passable.)
beboots: (Default)
 Update on the whole France-job-application thing. 

I checked my e-mail this morning, at 9:20am Ottawa time (that's 7:20am here). I had an e-mail back from the Madame at the French embassy in Ottawa about that piece of paper. She had e-mailed me back probably within the first ten minutes of her shift. :)

She couldn't read the file (the scanned version of the sheet that needed to be signed). BUT she requested another version. Which said to me: hey, not all hope is lost! If my application was that bad, she would have probably just gotten fed up and said not to bother, right? Right. So I sent her several more versions in different kinds of image files. Still, no dice: the image was "flou" (a French word that means roughly "blurred, fuzzy, vague"). I sent her a different scan of it in the hope that the quality of that one would be better... but no. I found out later that while my handwriting was nice and clear, because the sheet itself is PINK (cursed colour-coded bureaucracy!) the rest of the text just wasn't showing up. As other people have to actually sign this form, this is no good. My scanner is very, very old, and not the best quality. I got no response to my last e-mail. For like an hour.

Checking the time, I realized that maybe she had gone to a meeting or to lunch. I mean, I couldn't expect her to hang at her desk for hours on end paying attention to me and my troubles, right? Anyway, I had to get to class, so as a last-ditch effort, I used the fax machine in the family's office room for the first time. I'd noticed that the Madame had had a fax number in the signature of her e-mail, and I didn't know what else to do. I sent the woman an e-mail explaining that I'd sent her a fax... but I got no response. 

For hours. 

I'd brought my laptop to school, but I just got more and more anxious at the lack of reply. (Last night I couldn't get to sleep for nearly two or three hours, I was so anxious about all of this). I couldn't have done anything more than what I'd already done, though. :( 

Then, after my last class ended just before 3pm (AKA just before 5pm, or home-time in Ottawa), I thought "screw it!" and phoned the long-distance number to the French embassy on my cell. The madame I'd been e-mailing picked up on the third ring. I politely explained who I was in French (I amazed myself at how calm, collected, and FLUENT I sounded, hellz yes) and she explained that the fax HAD worked! :D And that she was sending off my application to France this week! :D (I think she'd just forgotten to send an e-mail explaining this fact. BUT ANYWAY...!)

So, in summation: IT WORKED! EVERYTHING IS ALL RIGHT! I MAY STILL BE IN THE RUNNING FOR THIS JOB! I didn't ruin my application because I forgot one measly signature! The hours of stress and attention to my e-mail inbox over the past day have paid off!

But man, this application is giving me mood whiplash. Elated/excited to deep panic and fear and then excitement again! D: I'll still be really amazed if I get an interview... though I still hold out hope! We'll see how they like me in France.

On a completely different note, I spent some time this afternoon going over baby pictures of my twin sister and I with my mother. :) It gave me a good, well-needed dose of the warm-fuzzies.

Anyway, on that subject, here are a few things to cheer you (and me) up: 

Tutorial for how to make a cupcake fondue! 

Red pandas playing the snow in a Japanese zoo!

High definition video of a kitten jumping and playing in snow motion, with beautiful inspiring African music in the background!

Heartwarming story of a pseudo-tame lion released into the wild. LION HUGS!

beboots: (Default)
 Okay, guys, so remember all of that brouhaha last week? About the job application to France? And how I had originally thought that it was due in March 15th, not March 1st, and then I had to rush to get it all put together and sent off but ultimately I got it in and everything was all right? 

Apparently not. :( 

Dad walked into the study about half an hour ago - this is just before 6pm my time, or just before 8pm Ottawa time - to tell me about a phone call he had received DURING THE DAY yesterday from the French Embassy in Ottawa. Apparently I'd forgotten to sign ONE PIECE OF PAPER. But it's all right! Because I can just sign it and scan it in and I'm good to go! The lady at the other end said that she'd send me an e-mail with the document and everything would be fine as long as I got it in that day.

Dad only told me this NOW. I hadn't seen him all yesterday, because he'd been out at the range for supper so I didn't see him in the evening... and it completely slipped his mind.

I rushed to check my e-mail. Nothing. 

And then I remember that I have a third e-mail for other stuff - I created it so when my university e-mail address is no good anymore, probably sometime this may, I'd still be able to have a professional-looking e-mail address to give to employers. I'd thought that I'd set it to forward e-mails to my university one. Apparently I forgot to click ONE button to activate it.

I rush to check THAT e-mail address, and there the message sat. 

Vous m'avez envoyé votre candidature, mais vous n'avez pas signé la fiche rose "demande de contrat de travail simplifié!"
Pouvez-vous me faire parvenir le document rempli par scan aujourd'hui sinon je ne pourrai pas accepter votre dossier.
 Le document est en pièce jointe avec les instructions .

AKA - I've send in my application, but didn't sign the pink piece of paper for the government application. If I didn't scan it  and send it TODAY (AKA... YESTERDAY) then they can't accept my application. :( :( :(

I scanned it and signed it and struggled with the beast of a computer downstairs that froze halfway through the scanning process and then the internet explorer froze and shut down and then I FINALLY sent it off... probably a day and a half too late. ;_; 

I feel like a complete and utter idiot. I feel sick. ONE STUPID SIGNATURE, guys. Fuck. I need a hug. 

Emoticons can't express the devastation I feel right now. I'm normally an optimistic person, and I really hope that they'll accept it and send it off separately anyway, but I've probably made the worst impression ever on them. I can't get anything organized. Fuck. I'm an idiot. 
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Oh man, you guys. I really should be working on my thesis right now because I have to hand in the next draft to my supervisor tomorrow... but I have to get this off my chest, because holy crap. >:(

So for the last few days I've been compiling everything for the job application for the English Second Language teaching assistant position in France, right? (The job title is so cute - "Assistante de langue vivante" - Living Languages Assistant) I had everything organized, with the due date for the application - March 15th - circled in highlighter in my agenda. 

So two days ago, on February 28th, I went off to see my old French professor to get a reference, essentially a piece of paper the provided with questions that essentially amount to - how is their spoken French? Written French? How strong is their regional English accent? (Canadian English is considered more "neutral" than, say, Highland Scottish.) There's also a comment box. So I got a good review from him. 

Yesterday, I went to see Professor Selina Stewart, who teaches me MLCS 400, or History of Translation. It's technically a "Modern Languages and Cultural Studies" course, in the same vein as the other translation theory class and other language classes, I think, but it's taught like a history class by a classicist who does translation on the side. No problem; she speaks French, she likes me and my work (and knows who I am) so yesterday I made an appointment for today so that we could like talk in French for fifteen minutes or so, so that she can evaluate my French level (having never actually taught me French) and voilà! Done. (Then I just have to print off second copies of everything, sign everything, get a few passport-style photographs to staple to them (times SIX, guys), send an enveloppe within an enveloppe with my return address so they can get back to me without wasting their own stationary...)
Cut for the dramatic bits... )
beboots: (Default)
I honestly am not sure if this was a bad day or not. I think, although it started off rough, it ended off half-decently. Let's break it down...

Bad stuff:
-woke up with a headache. Haven't had alcohol in weeks, so this wasn't a good sign.

-woke up tired, had to get out of bed.

-started sneezing, sometimes so violently my tummy hurts when I suddenly bend over double. :P

-I've gone all sniffly, and my cough hasn't gone away. Verdict? I have a cold. :( WHY, BODY?? THIS MONTH IS THE HOME STRETCH! DON'T GIVE IN NOW!

-It's cold again. -20C or so for most of the day, overcast, with lots of wind and snow. It's rumoured on facebook that factoring in the windchill, tonight it's going to reach -47C (!!)

-I didn't realize until I'd already gotten on the bus this morning that I'd forgotten my bus pass. :( That never happens to me.

-One of the girls in the group project that I'm working on for Women's Studies didn't show up to our brainstorming session. I'm worried that she'll be dead weight and ride on our coattails for a good mark. 

-Met an old friend of mine at the bus stop (an old bus buddy! We used to take the same bus all the time!) and ended up debating feminist theory for the hour-long bus ride. Epic. I love it when you can have smart, rational conversations with people. Very entertaining, and a good mental workout. Woke me up. 

-Although I forgot my bus pass, the first bus driver recognized me and let me on for free anyway, even giving me a transfer ticket so I could get onto the commuter bus for Edmonton for free! :) Of course, when I went to take the bus home at 3:00 after class, it was a grumpy elderly gentlemen driver that I didn't know, so I coughed up one of my commuter bus tickets from the summertime, which I still happened to have in my wallet. It's a good thing I'm a packrat and I avoid opportunities to clean out old stuff. >_> 

-I visited the Special Collections room in the Health Sciences library and spent some time with my favourite giant tomes, working on my thesis. Also, STAY TUNED FOR ANOTHER BLOG POST ON THAT, now with photographs! You are all very excited, I know

-Despite missing one person, the other two members of my assigned group seemed to have their act together. One girl was a science student and didn't really know how to research arts faculty papers, but me and the other guy gave her some pointers, and anyway she offered to create the powerpoint with our input because she has lots of practice with that. Less work for me! At the very  least I'm not carrying the whole group on my back, which has happened before. :P These other two seem all right! 

-Although I was very anxious about trying to chase down a French professor from last year to fill in a short piece of paper that says that I can speak French and English competently so I can apply for this job in France, and I had resigned myself to waiting on campus until 4:00pm for his office hours... I went to his office just to see if he had his hours posted on the door (hoping that they were earlier so I could go home and sleep), he walked up just as I was checking! And then he signed the paper and gave me a lovely paragraph-long review. :) I wasn't even expecting him to remember me very well, although I did take two French translation classes with him, but he remembered my name and the classes without prompting! :) He also asked me many questions about what I was going hoping to do in France, and I answered him fluently. The entire conversation took place in French. I felt strong. :) (I still have to chase down one more prof, though.) 

-In my History of Translation class, I got my first paper back! That was the one on the Métis translator who wouldn't take shit from anyone. I got an A+! :) She really liked it. Her comments were all like "fascinating!" and such. :) This makes me feel a bit better, although I'm still anxious for my midterm mark, which we will get back on Wednesday. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, so I'm now back at home and although I still feel sickly, I've had some honeyed tea and my little brother made me supper. (Kraft Dinner AKA Canadian macaroni & cheese, but hey, little steps.)

Stay tuned for a blog post that I've been wanting to make for a long long while...

beboots: (confusion)
Winter 2011 Semester Checklist

MLCS 400: History of Translation (technically a language course and not a history course, though taught by a historian/classicist who also happens to be a translator)
Women’s Studies 201: needed for that “breadth and diversity” credit. :P
Hist 450: History of Slavery & Emancipation (seminar)
Hist 488: The Health Consequences of War (History of Medicine seminar)
Hist 502: Unscheduled Honour’s Thesis project (independent research)

Ongoing projects with uncertain due dates/due dates of my choice:
-Write honour’s thesis! (11/50 pages so far, but what there is still needs a crapload of editing)
-Write three short (3 page?) reading response papers to articles of my choice discussed in Hist 488
-Write one (4-5 page) reading response paper to article of my choice discussed in Hist 450
-Write blog entry (& a reply or two) at least once a week for Women’s Studies on e-class website.

Due dates/ stuff that needs to happen (so I can get it straight in my head) )

Pros & cons )

So it’s not all bad. The problem is just that there’s a LOT of it. Plus my thesis.
beboots: (Default)
 So [ profile] beckyh2112  got me thinking about lists, and organizing my thoughts and goals, etc., in time for the new year. :) 

Awesome things that happened to me in 2010:
-For the first time in my life, I managed to actually KEEP a new year's resolution! This bodes well for the future. I vowed to take up push-ups: I began in January barely able to do one set of five knee push-ups at a time, and now I tend to do sets of thirty or thirty-five in a day. I think that I'll keep going with this, working my way up to fifty at a time by the end of school this April. :3
-I figured out a topic for my thesis! (Now, to actually WORK on it...) I've kept up with the honour's programme, which means that I have consistently kept a ridiculously high GPA... through lots of hard work. I just have to keep it up for one more semester... 
-Everyone in my immediate family has remained healthy and happy, more or less. No deaths! We're all going strong. :)
-I went on an amazing trip to the British Isles. The experiences I had there will stick with me for my entire life. :) I had fun, learned history, became independent, and realized that I can always work my way through the troubles life throws me. Keep calm & carry on, right?
-Despite setbacks, I was hired at Fort Edmonton in the funnest job I have yet to have. Where else would you be able to dress in costume and talk to people all day about fascinating subjects? Learn to light fires with flint and steel, and cook meals with wild game in cauldrons on fireplaces? I learned valuable skills that will serve me well in the case of civilization-destroying apocalypses in 2012. ;)

Things I am anxious about for the coming new year:
-Jobs jobs jobs. I have an almost guaranteed job at Fort Ed for the summer, but what am I to do for a career? I'm going to apply for grad school for the year afterwards, but in what program? Decisions, decisions... 
-I do feel a bit lonely at times. I mean, I have a very loving family and some very good friends, but I have to say I wouldn't mind meeting a special someone. Until last year, I never really understood that old adage: "all the good men are gay or taken." This year I found out that damn, that is so true! D: Still, I hold out hope. :)

Things to look forward to in the new year:
-During the second week of January, I get to be an extra in the short film "Northern Lights"! It's a ten minute movie that they're filming for the new Capitol Theatre they're constructing at Fort Edmonton which will serve as an introduction to the park and to Edmonton's history: it's to tell 10,000 years of the history of the area in 10 minutes. I'm going to be one of the extras in the background of the fur trade era scenes. :) I'll have to skip a class to do it, and there's apparently going to be a ridiculously early start time (like 7:30 in the morning at a place that's nearly an hour a way from my home during rush hour), but it will be entirely worth it. :)
-As of sometime in the next year, my little brother would have been in remission for five years straight, which means that he will be effectively "cured" of cancer! :D Huzzah and well-wishes for my brother dearest!
-While this could (and is) also placed up above under the "anxieties" list, this year will also be the year that I figure out what I'm doing with my life. Probably. :) So that's something.
-I have two very good novel ideas floating around in my brain right now. I'm not going to wait for November: I'm going to actually write them, I've vowed to myself. I'll work on them in between working on my thesis and doing other things. :) Which brings me to...

New Year's Resolutions. As I did so well on last year's resolution, I will have several this year:
-Keep up the exercise! I'll keep doing push-ups, and I will endeavour to do at least three days of intense exercise a week: that's swimming sessions, jogs, etc. I may join the fencing club or take up Tai Chi with Cassidy dearest. :)
-Stop chewing my nails. It's a horrible habit I've had for as long as I can remember. It's not as bad as some people, but I'm self-conscious about it and I want it to stop. Must resist...
-Be more confident in myself. Be more personable. Stay positive. I generally am an optimist, and I hope to stay that way. 
-WRITING WRITING WRITING. I'm going to try to be a more prolific writer. I've got my thesis to work on, but also those novel ideas as well as several fanfic in the works. I endeavour to FINISH some of these stories floating around on my hard drive. Also, schoolwork. 

Hopefully, these aren't unreasonable resolutions! ;) I love you all! Happy New Year!
beboots: (Default)
... Incidentally, I wrote my translation exam this morning. Despite my nervousness, my day wasn't made terrible by that exam, which went rather well! The 60 multiple choice/true or false/fill in the blanks ended up being harder than expected, but the essay question and ad analysis weren't anywhere near as difficult as anticipated! Anyway, we got a huge dump of snow yesterday and last night, so the roads were terrible, but I left at like 7am for my 9am exam and managed to make it with plenty of time to procrastinate studying. ;) 

Anyway, I got home, studied a bit for the women's history exam I have tomorrow afternoon, then watched an episode of the Walking Dead, comfortable that my day was going well. 

Then I got a message from [ profile] avocado_love . Normally I love getting messages from one of my favourite fanfic authors and all-around awesome person, but today she was helpfully giving me a heads-up that one of my favourite web tools in the whole wide world, which I used innumerable times each day to collect and organize and retrieve the huge numbers of websites I visit,, is going to cease to exist. ;_;

Cue panic moment. Take a moment to take in the glory that is my Delicious account, nay, archive. As of writing this (and probably not much longer), I have 9,529 bookmarks, with 1918 tags. I've been using it since May 2008, and I have ceased to use "regular" bookmarks. I have no idea how to survive without tags anymore. 

Here is the link that Avocado sent to me, the news article that ruined my day

Here is a list of ways to backup your Delicious bookmarks (I've done so already, and so should you). 

Here is a list of 10 alternatives to Delicious. I was debating between Diigo and Pinboard, and was favouring the latter for its close similarity to Delicious (apparently it was created by people who formerly worked for Delicious back when it was loved?), but it's a paid feature and I am a poor starving student. At the moment, I've created a Diigo account and I've imported my delicious bookmarks. We'll see how it works. Maybe it'll grow on me. 

Visit me on Diigo here if you want to keep following my movements on the internet (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, MY STALKER FRIENDS...)

In conclusion: I'm sorry, Yahoo!, but I will never look at your excitable logo the same way ever again. I am overcome by an uncontrollable fury. If I had a yahoo e-mail account I would stop using it immediately. You have forever lost my business; if I can any way help it, I will avoid your company and its affiliates as much as possible. >:( 

EDIT: I have also managed to sync my Delicious account with my Diigo account, so theoretically I can keep playing with Diigo while continuing to update my Delicious. Delicious could still be with us for months, I suppose, or it could disappear next week (just in time for Christmas! :P ), so I'm keeping my fingers in as many pies as possible. 
beboots: (Default)
 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?

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*

beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 My facebook status this morning read "in contemplating the pile of books sitting next to my desk, ready to be poured over for three separate papers including a 50 page thesis, I have had the sudden urge to flee the house. >_> Instead, I remain here, trapped and weighed down by several large hardcover books. Besides, they're in between me and the door. D: "

Almost all yesterday and today (granted, it's only 2:30 in the afternoon as I write this, but I began working both days before 9 o'clock in the morning), I've been chugging steadily away at my homework. Mostly readings. This is the first chance I've really had to start working my way through the research for my papers. 

I took out a whole whack of books about a month ago from the Rutherford library (taking full advantage of my extended library privileges now that I'm in my fourth year in the honour's programme), but they've just been sitting in my room as I've been distracted by things like midterms and Spooktacular volunteering. To be fair, there may be a connection between zombies and gangrene and thus Civil War medicine, but whatever. 

Anyway, a few days ago, I stacked the books I have out by category (AKA which paper they're to be skimmed through for), and as I got an e-mail reminding me that half a dozen of them are due within a handful of days, I began working on them first. I have a growing pile of books next to my school bag that are ready to be returned to the library. I feel like I'm getting stuff done! ... At least in my scholastic life. :P

I'm actually writing this because I just finished writing a rough, 2,000 word outline for my honour's thesis on innovations in medicine made during the American Civil War. Hopefully my research supervisor will like it and have lots of helpful suggestions (but not enough of them for me to feel like this isn't a solid base), so I can then use it as a template for my 50 page thesis. I'm getting excited about my topic again! ... But also slightly intimidated by the amount of readings I have to do, because I also spent an hour and a half trolling through the library databases adding things to my bibliography and my "to read" list. Lots of short documents have been digitized and are available for free online, though, which is a plus!

In other news... I'm doing National Novel Writing Month again this year! I'm not nearly as happy with it, though, as I was at this point in the last three years I've done it. My characters seem flat, and I'm having a lot of trouble writing action. Not like fight scenes, but just ACTION, like moving from one space to another. Told from the first person POV, my main character just seems to want to THINK all of the time. She's too perceptive! Stop it! D: 

I think that I bit off more than I can chew, and didn't do nearly enough planning, despite the fact that this is the first year I've even tried to create character profiles for everyone. I think that I should have thought of an entirely different novel set during the Civil War era so that I can use a lot of the research I've been doing for university. :P I may actually have to drop this plotline and make up my wordcount by writing out some fanfic I've been meaning to write for a while... Probably a Temeraire piece, so I actually have fun writing this month, possibly an Avatar: the Last Airbender one. Right now, I don't think that my novel will be going anywhere without significant overhaul, and while I'll cast my eyes upon what I've written so far again throughout the month, and I WILL try to add to it, I don't think that it's conducive to my stress levels (or my writing ability) to grit my teeth and type out something that clearly isn't working... 

Yeah, so that's the decision that I've made, for now, I think. I still need reassurance that I've made the right decision, though. :(

Also, here, see how I'm doing! 

beboots: (Default)
 So I had a lovely day today! ... Until I finished up my day's activities to learn that I'd gotten a $50 parking ticket for parking in front of a friend's house downtown. :P I didn't want to pay the $10 for three hours it would cost to park in the official parking lots on campus, and assumed that it was fine because I knew the person (and her parents!)... but no. :P The cops patrol the area frequently, apparently. 

But otherwise I had a decent day! I had to drive downtown for a meeting with Edmonton Immigration Services Association (EISA) with whom I volunteer, and a friend of mine who also volunteers for them came with me back to campus so we could go to this super-awesome peachy keen anthropology lecture on excavating vampire graves in Greece. You know, how rural folk would "desecrate" bodies of suspected vampires by doing things like driving metal stakes through the skull, chest and pelvis? Anyway, it was a fascinating lecture to attend... and also included free Hallowe'en candy! :D The room was packed.

I then took the Metro downtown to meet with Maria, the Peruvian woman who needs help improving her oral English (my EISA client). We had tea on Churchill Square at a café called the Three Bananas, and had loads of fun talking. She also gave me some chocolate as a thank-you gift. :) I left with a warm fuzzy feeling

...And then I when back to my car near campus and it all went crashing down when I saw that parking ticket under my windshield wiper. :/ Thanks, City of Edmonton! 

I mean, I realize that I was in the wrong, and I gambled, but... I'm unemployed, man! And I had been having a wonderful day until this really brought my down. :( I loved that lecture, but it wasn't worth $50, you know? And now I feel angry with EISA of all things for insisting upon a meeting every three weeks to discuss problems that I don't actually have (it's an awesome program), forcing me to drive there and then to campus when I would normally take the bus for free with my student transit pass. :P One bit of negativity begets more negativity.

Meh. I'm going to head off in 15 minutes to twitch, groan and be creepy. Maybe that will help me feel better.
beboots: (confusion)
 I can't decide if today was a good day or a bad day. Let's see, what happened?

To begin with, I have an 8am class to which I have to commute from another city. That means that I get up at 6:15, to catch a bus at 6:54 from my house... only I missed it. So I had to leap in my car to drive frantically to the transit station to catch the right bus. But I did end up catching it! So: not late for the last class before the midterm. Also, I didn't forget my lunch. Bonus?

Anyway, I then I had a three hour break. :/ I got some reading done, but never enough. A Temeraire/Harry Potter fanfic that I've been following was updated, so I got to read that on my little iPod, so it wasn't all boring. Also, lunch! And snacks! (Salted nuts, cheese slices, homemade yogurt parfait, etc.) So that was fine. I then had my class from 12:30 until 2:00, and the lecture was almost directly relevant to my thesis and thus topic of interest. Sounds fine, right? 

I was pretty tired, though, and I was debating if I wanted to stick around for the three extra hours I'd told myself I was going to so that I could attend a little talk at 5:00 on what one can do with a history degree. I hesitated, really, REALLY tempted to just get on the bus and head home, but I thought, "nah, this is my career! I'd better go". So I stuck around for three hours, getting some reading done, but nowhere near what I would have had I gone home and made some tea and worked on it in a comfy chair with lots of light. 

And then I went to the room, and it turned out that the meeting was cancelled. I didn't get the e-mail because I hadn't RSVPed. >_<; I felt like an idiot, and like I'd wasted my day. I was tired, had a headache, and wanted to go home. 

But I still had a meeting at Fort Edmonton - a dress rehearsal for Spooktacular (more on that in a week or two), and a friend of mine that I carpool with was going to pick me up at university at 6:30. There was no sense in me going home - during rush hour - only to turn around and drive back into Edmonton. 

SO I went to go swimming! (I'd brought exercise stuff just in case, as I had that six hour break.) It was the first time I'd actually used the fitness centre at the university - you know, the one I pay like $160/year to keep running? And I felt really refreshed and energized and healthy after swimming laps for half an hour. 

And then I went back to the Honour's room, where I'd dumped my stuff (my phone, my purse, my study notes)... and I couldn't find my key. Correction: keys. My housekey, my car keys, my two university keys (one of which I need to give back sometime next week). Also, I have several keychains from around the world, bought my myself and by friends, that I'm kind of emotionally attached to. I ran back to the gym (no-one answered my frantic knocks on the honour's room door - surprise surprise, it was past 6pm), and they weren't in the Lost & Found there. I ran back to the room, and this time someone was there to let me in... but no dice, my keys weren't there either. 

I still haven't found them. I'll ask again at the lost & found tomorrow, and I hope for the best. I really, really don't want to have to replace these... :( 

On the plus side, I still have my bus pass and I had a ride home? And I got to pretend to be a zombie (and got to "devour" someone) at the rehearsal?

Verdict? Good day or bad day?
beboots: (lithograph)
Also, LJ just ate my post. Curses! But maybe I'll write this next version in a less negative light.

In short, I feel crappy. ... Or, at least, like a horrible daughter/sister/whatever. Okay, here's how it goes:

My father made it safely to Delhi to compete in the Commonwealth Games. Huzzah! No complaints there. He happens to be flying back home on the same day that my mother and brother, Ian, are leaving for a trip to England. They're going to be visiting my mum's mum and doing some sightseeing in London and in Scotland. My sister and I aren't going because we're poor miserable fourth year university students and will be in the middle of midterm exams and embroiled in research papers. We've mostly gotten over it; this will be a mother-son trip. No real complaints there.

So dad will be arriving at the Edmonton airport around the same time that Ian and mum's flight leaves. They may or may not see each other actually at the airport. Now, what's the most logical thing to do? Have either Danielle (my sister) or I drive Ian and mum down there and stick around for an hour or so while dad clears customs and then drive him back home.

Now, on any other day - or even later in that same day - I would be totally up for this. It's a bit of a hike down to the airport, what with construction, but it would only take about an hour, maybe an hour and a half of driving (one way). So what with hanging around the airport waiting for dad this would be about a four hour endeavour, door-to-door. Again, I would normally have no problem being the dutiful daughter/chauffeur.

Danielle can't do it; she's moved out, and needs the money this scheduled eight hour shift she has will bring her. I totally respect that. She can't change her shift, although she's willing, as she's already changed her schedule twice recently with a cranky boss. Then there's her coworkers on vacation, short-staffed-ness, etc.,etc., I understand. I should be the one to do this.

BUT this is the date of the Bellerose anime festival, our local convention. It's one of the most comfortable and amicable conventions that I've ever been to. I've invited folks to come out, and I want to make things up to my good friend with whom I'm doing a group cosplay for not being there for her at animethon when her skirt malfunctioned. We only got a single group shot at a three day convention in August.

But in the grand scheme of things, what's more important? Myself attending an anime festival, or all of this? I feel completely selfish. Mum was talking about taking a taxi, and they're ridiculously expensive.

Right now the plan is for me to drop mum & Ian off at a hotel in downtown Edmonton for the shuttle bus to the airport, which is about a quarter of the price of a taxi. This means that I'll arrive a few hours late for the festival, but I see no problem with that. I just feel like a dick because dad will have to take a taxi home after a really long flight. Mum's other plan was to drive herself and Ian to the airport and either chase down dad before they board somehow to toss him the keys, or leave the keys at the info desk. So many things could go wrong with that scenario.

I still feel selfish. But it'll probably be my last day of fun before exams finish in December, guys. I'll have too many midterms and readings and papers and things to do to have a full day of actual fun. And if I do end up missing out on this festival I feel like I'll be terrible company and bitter for weeks on top of not being about to go on this trip. Piss.
beboots: (Default)
Ack, I'm upset - this notepad option totally just ate my post. I'll retype that bit about William if Orange, the park, and his horse later. Wait, that's like the whole story; there's a small triangle of grass (each side is like seven metres long) about a block away from my hostel in Belfas that has been preserved because apparently the Protestant William of Orange grazed his horse there on the way south, where he went on to defeat the catholic King James II atthe Battle of the Boyne, still remembered either with fondness or with loathing, depending on who you are.

I'm uncertain of my Internet access for the next few days, so I thought I'd explain my itinerary here. I should have helped Erin plan a bit more, I think, because honestly I'm not that fussed about the schedule for the next five days, with a few exceptions. I'd rathe spend a few extra days in Belfast or Inverness or something, but with hostels so busy, and bookigs being what they are, we're kind of locked in.

Tomorrow, we're flying to Stornoway in the Isle of Harris. We cancelled our tour of the countryside because it was so expensive, so it's essentially a long stopover so we can get up at six am the next day to catch a ferry from the tiny town of Tarbert to get to the Isle of Skye.

I'm actually looking forward to Skye. We'll be having a really long personal day tour with Ian Fellows, who has been of a huge help to Erin in planning things... Plus, there's biking and maybe even kayaking to be had.

I just don't want to spend FOUR days there. Two, maybe. But with the stopover in stornoway it becomes five... Which is a long time. It's a lot of hassle to get there, and... yeah. I suspect that the schedule is like that because of ferry/bus schedules? 

I guess it'll be a few days of zen relaxation in the countryside before the final stretch, composed of all big cities? :P 

We're not meeting up with Kelsey and Erin until Inverness, after we leave Skye.

Blah, at least I like nature. And I'm sure I'll have fun, but I just can't help but feel that while "wasting" time going someplace I never would have considered going to on my own that I'm missing out on something else somewhere else.
beboots: (Default)
Oh man oh man - departure date is coming up quickly! Something inside me is panicking very quietly...

I'm trying not to stress too much about packing. I mean, I'm going to the British Isles, not Uganda; as long as I have my money(cash/debit/credit/whatever), my passport, and my camera (& its charger), I can acquire everything else. So if I forget to pack socks or toiletry-X or whatever, it's not THAT big a deal. I can acquire it with little difficulty. Right? Right. Okay.

Maybe I feel stressed and anxious because a certain Icelandic volcano has shot my confidence in the airline system. I mean, I was AROUND for the September 11th attacks. I lived in Kingston, which houses a sizable Canadian military base just north of New York State, so there were several days of panicked "OMG WE COULD BE NEXT!!!" which may have been puffing up our own self-importance, but maybe not... Canadians are like Americans in disguise, amirite? :P Anyway, but I was in grade SEVEN at the time, and I hardly ever flew anywhere except in the summertime, and school had just started, so I wasn't affected like, at all, by the groundings and panic about planes and so on.

Now, though? This is too close for comfort. Before April, I lived in a world in which I'd book a flight, and I'd fly out on the date that was on my ticket. Maybe there'd be a few hours delay, especially in the wintertime with snowstorms, but the point is? Only rarely were flights outright cancelled, in my world.

Now, I'm not so sure. I gave up an amazing summer job to go on this trip. I will actually cry if it gets cancelled or delayed in any way. I don't think I'll completely relax until I'm at my hostel in Dublin, meeting my friends. Until then? Stress! D:
beboots: (Default)
(I realize that most of the people who watch this journal will have no idea what I am saying, but sometimes I need to let things out in a language other than English. I don’t want to offend anybody.)

Il y a des temps dont j’ai de la difficulté à comprendre les personnes qui parlent mon lange natal. Je suis anglophone, mais parfois… :(

Peut-être c’est parce que je n’ai pas été confronté par beaucoup de francophones méchantes, probablement parce ce que je ne parle pas avec trop de francophones quotidiennement. Tandis que j’ai besoin de parler avec les anglophones chaque journée, il semble parfois que les anglophones sont beaucoup plus maladroites.

Ils ne pensent plus quand ils parlent ou écrivent, car ils n’ont pas besoin de la faire.

La majorité des personnes avec qui je parle sur l’internet sont des personnes qui parlent l’anglais. Je sais qu’il il y a beaucoup de personnes parmi eux qui ne sont PAS anglophone et je trouve que ces allophones (les personnes qui sont ni anglophone ni francophone) sont les plus gentilles personnes. Les finnoises, les argentines, et beaucoup d’autres… Ils utilisent la grammaire avec beaucoup plus d’attention que les anglophones, et ils choisissent leurs mots avec soin.

Mais les anglophones…? Ils pensent rapidement, et ils écrivent dans la même manière : sans penser.

Premièrement, je veux dire que je ne veux pas critiquer seulement les américains, car je suis certaine qu’il y a les canadiens tant que les britanniques qui comprissent cette groupe.

J’ai eu plusieurs incidents pendant cette dernière semaine ou j’ai sentis… le malaise. J’ai lu ce que cette personne (un anglophone) a décidé de typer et partager avec la monde, et je me poser la question : « pourquoi n’as-tu pas PENSÉ comment les autres personnes interprétera tes mots avant que tu as cliqué le bouton send? » Cette personne critiquait les choses qui sont très insignifiantes, mais dans une manière que j’ai interpréter comme brusque, impolie, et manquant de la respecte. J’ai pensé un mot anglais qui est très similaire au mot français pour un cerf femelle.

Sur l’internet, on a souvent seulement les mots écrites (et peut-être les émoticons) pour communiquer nos messages. On n’a pas l’opportunité d’utiliser ni nos voix, ni le langage de nos corps… Donc le « ton » du message peut être interpréter comme impoli BEAUCOUP plus facilement. Je ne peux pas vous juger sauf en utilisant vos mos écrits. La leçon que vous avez besoin de tirer de mes mots-ci? Relire ce que vous avez écrit. Je comprends que nous sommes tous anonymes ici sur l’internet, mais les personnes qui lisent vos mots ont des émotions aussi. Souvenez-vous de ce fait. Soyez respectueux, s’il vous plait.

J’apprécie le criticisme constructif. Je veux améliorer mon écriture, et moi-même; je sais que j’ai aussi dit les choses avant penser. Mais on peut faire les suggestions sans devenir impolis.

S’il vous plait : respectez les autres. Pensez avant que vous typez.

Je suis fière d’être canadienne, et je suis fière de mon bilinguisme : mon écriture et ma diction en anglais et en français. Je choisis mes mots avec soins, car je ne veux pas que les personnes sentissent mal à l’aise.

Je suis aussi fière de mon habilité d’être discrète avec mes émotions négatives, de choisir mes mots avec soins (consciente de leur réception), et d’être une force positive dans le monde.

C’est une indication de mes buts ainsi-décris que j’ai écris cette note en français et non pas anglais; même après que cette personne m’a blessé, je ne veux pas la blesser de retours. Je la respecte encore, mais si cette personne sans nom continue à faire ces commentaires sans tact, je ne sais pas si je continuerai à la respecter. Je sais que cette personne lit mon blog, donc j’ai écrit ce message dans une langue que je ne pense pas qu’elle comprenne.

Peut-être je manque de courage.

(Et si cette personne me critique parce que je n’ai pas mis cette note au-dessous d’un LJ cut, je pense que je pleurai.)

An English translation may follow.
beboots: (Default)
An update on the job situation, everyone! I've done the typical Canadian thing, when faced with a difficult choice - compromise.

(I should mention that the Hotel Selkirk interview was a bust - very short, because they can't acommodate my vacation schedule. But I anticipated that, and I hadn't gotten my hopes up. BUT I send my sister their way, so they may hire her instead! So yay, silver lining?)

I have yet to hear back from Professor Muir re: the research assistant position. I still needed to get back really fast re: the Antique Photo Parlour, or I would perhaps face the possibility of having NO job over the summer.

It came down to: the Antique Photo Parlour is a sure thing. I will enjoy my summer with them. I will learn new skills (portrait-taking), and I will have job security (AKA I can have a job over the school year as well, and won't be jobless and anxious like this past year).

THEN I thought: well, what's stopping me from holding down both jobs? Answer: the week-long archival research trip. Which is only a possibility - it may not even be necessary, what with the huge numbers of digitized documents and the fact that the University of Alberta is plugged into one of the largest library networks in North America. Plus, our own archives aren't too shabby either. Coupled with the fact that the research assistant position has extremely flexible hours... I could theoretically work both. Like, not working 9am-5pm shifts in the library, but four hours here, six hours there, and more time on my "days off" from the Antique Photo Parlour.

And that's IF I get the research assistant position, which isn't a surety.

So I went with the safe (and fun!) option: the Antique Photo Parlour (while keeping my options open for the other position).

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of your advice. I'm not going to lie: this was a really difficult decision to make. I think that you all made very good points... nd I myself was torn, a bit, because someone would convince me very nicely, and then I'd read the next person's comment only to be completely convinced of the OPPOSITE opinion. ;) Still, it's what I needed.

So... yeah. Bottom line is I have a summer job! Maybe two! We'll see how this pans out. :) Than you once again, guys!

(Man, do I feel so much better after having made an actual DECISION... That's a weight off of my chest. Maybe now I can actually enjoy my summer?)
beboots: (Default)
Hello, friends list people! You're all quite smart (or so it appears to me) and I need some outsiders opinions to help me figure out what I'm doing this summer. (People who know me in real life can answer, too - I need to be convinced one way or the other.) 

Maybe I just need to write down everything, pro-con, so I can figure out what I'm doing.

So last week I had no job, now I have too many to choose from... )


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