2007 accomplishments

A friend on LJ reminded me that I should post my 2007 accomplishments. I’m having a day (week? month?) of very low self-esteem, so it’s good to take a moment and reflect on what I’ve managed to achieve this year:

  1. Got my admissions corrected at University of Toronto from the M.Ed. program to the Ph.D. program. (2008 is the year of getting going on that again.)
  2. Became a certified Project Management Professional. That’s right, now I’m a certified P(i)MP. Donations of purple crushed velvet or felt hats now being accepted.
  3. Managed to stay at my job for another year. Despite being frustrated at corporate life, and how mega-corporations seem to stifle (then destroy) your creativity, they do pay well. And, when I’m not traveling to a project site, there’s about a 10 foot commute from my bedroom to my home office. Can’t beat that! (Seriously, I accomplished a lot for my employer, and they seem pleased with my performance. I should count my blessings.)
  4. Found the patience to spend more time with children, and helped when I could with my friend’s 18-month old. (No, I’m still not having kids.)
  5. Took the plunge and started work with $boy on the big workshop out back. I didn’t do as much on it as he did, or some of the people who have come by to help, but I did learn a lot about building design, the Toronto planning office, concrete foundations, and excavators.
  6. Visited both Brazil and Argentina for work, and made some good friends down there. If all else fails with my life, I can probably relocate to Mercosur and find happiness.
  7. Visited Japan for 3 weeks with $boy and $girl, seeing old friends and haunts alike. Had a great time.
  8. Climbed Mt. Fuji (from the 5th-station to the top, not from the very base. Still, about a 1km vertical climb.)
  9. Converted my US pilot’s license to Canadian. I can now rent and fly Canadian planes! Yay. Also completed some additional training I needed to do that.
  10. Attended no less than 4 weddings of some great people I’m pleased to know. (No, I’m still not getting married.)
  11. Helped a lot of friends (mainly on IRC) with their work/school/projects/music. I may not have been very creative on my own in 2007, but I think I deserve some brownie points for helping others.
  12. Acquired an exercise bike last month and started working on losing the 20 pounds or so Canada has put on my body (5-7 of those are “winter only” pounds.)
  13. Cooked big meals for lots of friends. Cooking remains one of my core joys.
  14. As much as I love OSS OSes…I learned to suck it up and actually be productive in Windows for work. I can now say I know more about XP & Vista than I have ever done; “at least it pays.”
  15. Strengthened my friendships with a lot of great people.
  16. Settled into home living. I think I am finally done with living in apartments (until I become too old to handle living in a home without assistance.)
  17. Visited my grandfather in New Orleans, at the home he’s moved into. Difficult but touching moment for me.

thanksgiving 07

So I didn’t get into the studio. A pity. Instead I was helping to tear up the backyard for the new workshop/garage (photos shortly), and cooking Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Thanks to everyone who came over to help work in the backyard, or to eat food!

That means, instead of making music, I turned this:

Raw turkey 2007

Into this:

Cooked turkey 2007

The full menu was as follows:

  • Roast turkey (hormone and antibiotic free, from Rowe Farm Meats; brined and cooked Alton Brown style)
  • Turkey gravy, made purely from the pan drippings and giblets
  • Sweet corn bread stuffing (Alton Brown style)
  • Halved boiled sweet potatoes (sometimes, simple is best)
  • Whole-berry orange/cranberry sauce (C. brought this – delicious!)
  • Halved, steamed fresh organic Ontario Brussel Sprouts in Mustard Butter (don’t knock ’em if you’ve never had ’em fresh from the farm, steamed properly!)
  • Cherry cream cheese streudel (bought at the St. Lawrence Market)
  • Peach Chiffon Pie (recipe below the fold)
  • Apple Ricotta Coffee Cake (tip: don’t use a food processor, just cut the lard in. And use animal shortening!)
  • Fresh vanilla tea, fresh whipped cream

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musique for fall 2007

Catching up on Futurama I missed, before the new ones come out. Some of these are really, really good.

Seems there’s renewed interest in some of the music I’ve engineered/produced or written recently. Makes me want to get back into the studio.

Well, this weekend is a long one, so sure, why not! Any suggestions on what to do? I have one work in progress, 70s jazz fusion, so something contrasting would be nice. Something I can do without purchasing more gear would be perfect ;) And something that I can achievably manage in 3 days would be essential.

Long week ahead of me next week. Thanksgiving on Monday (if you’re in town and need a place to eat, email me and we’ll talk), then a team meeting in Chicago, and then over the following weekend to New Orleans to see my ailing grandfather. He had another heart attack. For some reason he’s not answering his phone. :( I should call the home to ensure everything is OK tomorrow…

insomnolence

Do you ever find yourself up all night, reliving mistakes you’ve made 5, 10, even 20 years ago? Tonight’s one of those nights for me. I’m alternately thinking about social faux pas & mistakes at work, white lies that’ve gotten me into troubles and hearts I’ve broken over the years.

Unlike the grieving widow who blames herself, I think these particular memories haunt me because they were all reasonably preventable. “If I’d just…” I think. But I didn’t. And I don’t have a holiday for atonement, nor a confessional booth. I don’t feel any of that would give me peace of mind; it hasn’t in the past, anyway. But I still aim for perfection, even if I’ll never achieve it.

Maybe I’m upset because I know I haven’t corrected my ways? At least I feel remorse.

Scrawled on an SH-6.

new photos online (w/RSS)

I’ve finally cleaned off my cameraphone and uploaded about 75 new photos to the gallery:

Or enjoy the RSS feed.

making my pile bigger

cap and diplomaIt’s official. I am now a Ph.D. student candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Big thanks to my advisor, Prof. Clare Brett, Curriculum Teaching & Learning (CTL) Associate Chair Doug McDougall, Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) Director Gale Moore and everyone else in the CTL and KMDI programs. I’ll now be taking the courses I’ve completed the past couple of years and applying them towards a thesis instead of a second masters’ degree.

/me gets her research on

an atypical manifesto

il manifesto, by http://www.flickr.com/photos/hedrok/

I’ve been a bad blogger. I haven’t been giving back to “the community,” nor have I even found time to read what “the community” is writing. engtech says:

“…blogging is a 10 to 50 hour a week commitment when you include reading and commenting on other blogs. Blogging takes away from other aspects of your life. Are you prepared to make that kind of commitment? Is anyone?

I’ve realized I don’t blog here. I journal. I’m leaving a trace. It’s time to explain my motivation:

An Atypical Manifesto
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simon pegg explains british irony

Back at my last home, Waynemanor, perhaps the best thing about living there was sitting on the back porch with my 4 (or 5 or 6 or 7) housemates, drinking and/or smoking, and talking about whatever came into our heads. It was so much more fresh and immediate than IRC, where I generally “hang out” to catch water-cooler type gossip. It forced me to think differently than I usually do.

One of the best conversations we had was about humour, sarcasm and irony. When they first started joking with me, I used to cringe a bit. I sometimes would assume their jokes were personal attacks on me. They never were. My low-self-esteem and American-humour training just kept me from even considering the option that they were jokes. They argued that the Canadian sense of irony and sarcasm was used to hide deeper, stronger emotions. It allowed them a way to compliment me without being sappy, without having to be totally open about how they felt. Eventually I not only started to understand it, I started to use it. That’s roughly when I started to fit in with Canadians. (It’s also about when I started to spell colour with a u.)

Simon Pegg, one of my favourite comedians (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Big Train, bit parts in Look Around You, Black Books and Doctor Who), writes about this very topic in this week’s Guardian. Interestingly, even though my sense of comedy has changed since I moved in at Waynemanor (in no small part due to my good housemates-cum-friends), I still held many of the British senses of comedy prior to coming to Canada. I give thanks in no small part to WTTW (PBS, Chicago) airing so many different ones for so many years before Doctor Who. For instance, Pegg states: “The british aren’t against [heartfelt, emotional expression in comedy]; we just believe it comes at a price.” How true – I understood it when I withheld my emotions from others, but I didn’t understand it when others withheld theirs from me. Part social blindness, part low self esteem generally led me down a path of darkness and despair. Instead, now I look first for people to simply be scared to speak their minds, either from social pressure or intimidation; it’s made a big difference in my demeanour.

Oh, in case you’re wondering about Pegg’s description about outtakes from Happy Days in which Mrs. Cunningham and Fonzie are sexually frisky with each other being real or not…it is. “Ross and Winkler talk briefly about their characters’ relationship and how Marion called Fonzie “Arthur.” A never-before-seen outtake is shown where Fonzie and Marion are very affectionate with each other.

Cat watch: My kitty is a lot better, thank you. She’s back mostly to normal, and the vet said this week that the tube will probably come out next week. She’s still not quite eating enough orally, but she at least is back to a minimally healthy weight (3.2kg, they are targetting 4kg for her) and is active again. Now that the jaundice is gone, it’s more important that she get back to normal and start eating, than for her to be force-fed. I’ll post updated pictures once I have a working digital camera again.