December 28, 2005

It's back to work now after a nice three days off for the Christmas holidays. The night before Christmas Eve I finished my shopping with a present for my dad. While at the mall, I ran into a three people from my high school that I haven't seen in a few years. The embarrassing thing is that they all recognized me, and it took me a few seconds to place them.
On Christmas Eve we went to church, where I ran into another friend from high school that I hadn't seen in a while (she had been working as an au-pair in the Eastern US). I made a Thai noodle dish, which was pretty good if I say so myself, before we went into Vancouver for our traditional Christmas Eve get-together. My dad has been going to the same house since he was in high school!
Christmas Day didn't come too early, luckily! It was nice to sleep in and have cinnamon buns and coffee for breakfast. In the evening we went to my cousin's place for the traditional turkey dinner, which was followed by an impromptu paper fight. Even my grandmother got into it by throwing a paper ball at my oldest cousin!
On Boxing Day we had a bunch of people over in the evening for dinner, dessert, and some games, which was a lot of fun.
But now it's back to work.

December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2005

Daytrip to Vancouver...
I went into Vancouver on Wednesday with my family. They dropped me off at Sophia's for tea (we met while working in France a couple years back), while they went to an appointment. We had lunch at Café de Paris, a French bistro with few French-speaking waiters (there was only one). The food was amazingly good. I had the mussels, and I've never seen them so big in my life.
After shopping on Robson for a bit, we went to the Canada Place IMAX to see Polar Express 3D. I wasn't really sure what to expect, as I hadn't seen the movie before, but it was pretty good. Especially on the big screen in 3D. Then it was out for tea/coffe (I had a maté), before heading home.

December 19, 2005

The Night Before Christmas
-A little something for the Canadian federal election, written by my supervisor from the summer, Graeme.

’T was the night before the election when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The pamphlets were thrown in the recycling without care
In hopes that my family could be spared the hot air.
The candidates were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of free chicken dinners danced in their heads.
And my wife in her lingerie and I in the nude,
Had just settled down for something a little lewd,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I left my poor wife,
Who then spoke a comment as sharp as a knife.
The gleam that sparkled in my loving eye
Left a luster of concern, though I don’t like to lie.
When, what to my wandering eye should appear,
But a new SUV and eight tiny volunteers,
With a little old leader so eager to ingratiate,
I knew in a moment it must be my local candidate.
More rabid than wild dogs his volunteers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now, Student, now Senior! Now, Token Minority and Attractive Young Vixen!
On, Publicist, on Stylist! On, Wealthy Yet Anonymous Financial Benefactor!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now leave a sign, get a donation, and shake a hand, all!"
As dry heaves before a political speech,
Where they rehash gay rights, the Constitution and Meech,
So up past my throat my dinner it rose,
And left a great stain all over my clothes.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on my door,
The rapping and tapping of some vote-hungry bore.
As I left my room to bolt and dead-lock,
Down the chimney the candidate fell like a rock.
He wore buttons and stickers, from his head to his foot,
And I wished the fire had been left on….ah, zut.
A bundle of promises flowed from his tongue,
Of tax cuts and child care for the young.
To the right wing and left wing, how he did vary! His principles, how merry!
And besides, he said, the other guy is scary!
His droll little head was not very hairy,
And his beady little eyes never left his BlackBerry.
The stump of a speech he recited with glee,
The same he’d been speaking since 1993.
He had a nice suit and seemed well-heeled,
As he spoke of Canadians and agendas concealed.
"I’m right, I’m right, I’m right!" he would reiterate,
And I laughed when I saw him self-congratulate.
I clenched my fist and raised my arm,
Which gave him to know he could soon come to harm.
He spoke not a word, but ran right away,
Not even his volunteers seemed eager to stay.
And raising a certain finger, I waved him goodbye,
Without so much as a tear in my eye.
"Isn’t it right for me to be elected?"
He cried as he left my lawn, and to his team gave a sob,
But he heard me exclaim, as he left all dejected,
"Who cares what happens? I’ll still have my job!"

December 18, 2005

EuroRadio Christmas Broadcast...
Every year on the Sunday before Christmas, the EBU (European Broadcaster's Union) has its Christmas Music Special (being broadcast in Canada by the CBC). It features one hour segments of Christmas music from mainly European countries. This year the countries include Ljubljana (Slovenia), Tallinn (Estonia), Moscow (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Reykjavík (Island), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dresden (Germany), Czestochowa (Poland), Stockholm (Sweden), Lisbon (Portugal), and Washington (USA). It's always one of my favourite Christmas traditions, although I've never been able to wake up at 6:00 A.M. when the first country starts to broadcast.

December 16, 2005

I'm Done...!
That's it, no more exams. I had my last 1.5 exams last night (and oral and a written exam). It feels like I should have more, but I'm glad I don't. Finally, a chance to relax.

December 14, 2005

Almost Done...
I'm almost done! I've only got one exam left, and that'll be it until next semester. The past few days have been nothing but studying and exams, but I guess that's what being a student is about. I'm still working at Elections Canada, which is entertaining, and a good challenge at the same time. I went in today, just to take a break from studying!

December 10, 2005

Oh Christmas Tree...
Oh Christmas tree, how Pseudotsuga menziesii are your branches.
Last night we put up our IKEA Christmas tree (who knew IKEA sells Christmas trees!). It's really starting to look like Christmas, with all of the decorations in the house, and at work. Now we just need another dusting of snow.
And the ability to survive exam week. Four to go -I can do it, I can do it...

December 07, 2005

2 down, 4 to go...
I had my second final exam today (Verts lab final), and I've only got four left next week. It went OK, all things considered.
Work is going well, and we've had some great applicants come in. We've also had some "you're skills don't seem to be what we're looking for" candidates.

December 02, 2005

Still Snowing...
I'm surprised to report that it's still snowing. Not that we actually have a lot of snow, maybe only a couple of centimeters, but it actually snowed again last night. What snow there is usually melts during the day, then it snows again over night.
I'm sure the novelty of snow will wear off soon enough.