Happy New Year (and technology is awesome!)

So as December draws to a close, I realise that I've spent most of the month acquiring technology. Christmas and Boxing week was no exception! I now have a nifty smart phone, an awesome netbook, a fabulous Wii and Wii Fit Plus with extra controller and nunchuk and rechargeable battery pack thingies, and have installed Windows 7 on both new machines (thanks J.D.).

Yeah, as the year draws to a close I get closer to actually living in the proper decade in terms of technology! No complaints there. This vacation has been one awesome vacation as of yet anyhow. I'm truly pleased with how I've been spending my luxurious spare time. I truly thank my friends and many others for this.

Regardless, here's hoping that 2010 is even BETTER than 2009. Mind you I'm sure that the first day or two will be pretty awesome if the rest of my vacation is any indication. *smirks*

Getting spoiled!

Beth and I exchanged gifts tonight, because I don't know what my schedule will be like in the next few days (nor hers) leading up to Christmas. I got an Arrogant Worms CD (Russell's Shorts) and The Essential Weird Al Yankovic! I'm so very spoiled! 🙂

In other news, tonight was a wonderful Kiwanis social evening. I had a great time! That said, I'm extremely exhausted, so will probably wrap the rest of my Christmas gifts and head to bed.

Maybe I should be more academically productive, but…

… heck it's the holidays. And I'm having one damn good time.

In other news, yesterday I volunteered the CKI Bissell Centre Gift Wrap from 10:30am-9pm. It was good, but could have been much much better. Regardless I met some great fellow volunteers and had some great company.

I'm not getting much sleep lately, but I'm honestly not sure I care. It's the holidays, afterall. Now to go finish wrapping my Christmas gifts!

Really tired… but it's been a darn great weekend.

I sit here struggling against utter exhaustion, awaiting the next board meeting I need to attend. So, knowing that I haven't posted since last week, I thought I'd type a little bit about one of the more busy weeks and weekends I've had a chance to enjoy.

Last weekend was the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton Young Professionals' 2nd annual Holiday potluck, which also doubled as a send off for one of our members who is spending 5 weeks in New Zealand/Australia. Given that she departed early Saturday morning, she missed much of the ridiculously cold weather that we were treated to that weekend. And I braved the weather twice: first to attend the Edmonton Journal Book Fair, and second to attend my work Christmas party. At the Christmas party we had a lot of fun with Name that Tune and associated activities, AND I won a 42 TV. It made the venturing out into the cold worthwhile!

Monday the 14th was the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton's annual Christmas Luncheon where I got to sing some carols, eat good food, listen to some great music, and spend time with awesome Kiwanians.

The rest of the week consisted of final obligations for the school term, and a bunch of research meetings, in addition to finishing my Christmas shopping and taking the time to relax and just take in the holiday season (and continue ripping my CDs to my computer, as I still hadn't done this until now.

I got to see Heather and Jason late in the week — it was fabulous catching up and Heather gave me the most excellent of Christmas gifts: a crocheted hat that matches my scarf, and a book keeper. We had some great discussions (and she helped me figure out some aspects of my phone).

Saturday (yesterday) I met up with friends to see a film at the Stanley Milner Main Branch of the Edmonton Public Library. It was an odd film — not one of my favorites, but entertaining none the less. We stopped for gelato afterward at Caffe Sorentino in the mall, before heading over to the Bissell Centre Gift Wrap to see how they were doing.

I headed home next to tend to my stomach (I'm doing a very good job of forgetting to eat regularly now that school's over for the semester, oups!) and catch up on some internet stuff before heading out again: this time to Slepp and Vicky's Ecksmas party. And I've gotta say that that was one great holiday party: lots of yummy food, excellent guests, and a rousing game of Things among other things. We even played Rock Band for a bit near the end of the night. Regardless, I'm so very happy to have met the great people that I met at this gathering, and to see those I already knew so close to Christmas. I had a splendid evening.

Waking up this morning however was another story… suffice to say I had not gotten anywheres close to enough sleep. Which didn't bother me until now really… and I might just be tired from my trek outdoors (though I doubt it). You see, I volunteered the last day of the South Edmonton Kiwanis Christmas Tree Lot, but my Google Transit application on my phone gave me crappy walking directions to the site, and I began having breathing problems. It had been at least 6 months since I had run into this much difficulty breathing. Fortunately I got to the lot, had a blast helping sell the last of the trees and got back home long before my shift was scheduled to end.

And now, I'm caught up on my online hobbies for the time being. I'm probably a bit too tired to do effective research work by this point, but it's been a marvelous day regardless. Thank goodness for good experiences! It's been an excellent pre-Christmas weekend.

Yes, it's true, I got a smart phone!

After handing in my paper, I headed to Edmonton City Centre and chatted with Telus, Bell and Rogers (in that order) before returning to Bell to make my purchase. I asked a lot of questions and got (the expected) funny looks when people heard that I was getting a smart phone after NEVER having owned a phone before, let alone a smart one. Telus was mediocre, Rogers was overly pushy and Bell had the perfect phone for my needs (well particularly with my long nails). It felt a bit like I was Goldilocks, looking for the perfect fit!

And while I really do not intend to use it much for voice calling, I do have it. Which in my books is pretty cool. I think I spent 3-4 hours today playing with the features (and doing a good job of screwing some stuff up temporarily — plus there's at least one icon accidently duplicated and that I want to make disappear (well the duplicate anyway) but can't somehow). Regardless, I like it, it works with my nails (or the stylus, but I'm not huge on styluses), and it has MORE than the number of features I really currently need. I learned how to do a bit of text messaging too — I have unlimited texting on the plan I signed up for, so texting is a good plan in general. Note that I will be likely still turning the phone off on a semi-regular basis, and that I still like the use of my home phone (limited minutes after all) but yeah, I do now have a cell phone so that ought to make me safer or something. Plus, I like how I can take advantage of my home WiFi network etc. now.

Regardless, I know there are a fair number of you who will be wanting my number. I do not post phone numbers (never have) publicly, but if you shoot me an email, or call my home number, or send me a message or something of the like, I'll certainly pass you my INCREDIBLY easy to remember (I've already memorized it) phone number. In fact, I would love YOUR number too, seeing as I don't think I have the majority of people's cell numbers.

But yeah if you're interested I got me a Samsung Omnia II phone. It came with some NHL content that I don't actually need, but find entertaining. It has a pretty darn good digital camera too. And it runs on a Windows 6.5 operating system. I do rather like the multitasking property, and I've already changed SOME settings (they're not to my satisfaction, but whatever). I also like the fact that it was a whole $50 cheaper than the flyer advertised it to be, and that the plan I'm currently on has appropriate features.

Coming from someone who has never used a cell phone let along a smart phone before, be prepared for me to screw up occasionally, and whatnot — but the learning curve isn't impossible, and I rather do like the selection of what they call 'widgets' on my phone — what's the harm in playing solitaire anyway?

In other, less related news: I started my Christmas shopping. Gosh I like to take advantage of opportunities.

Snow, Snow and more Snow (and also fun!)

So Friday morning, I headed to campus in the blizzardy weather and attended the Butterdome Craft Sale. It was awesome as usual — I picked up a few gifts, tried some good samples, saw lots of neat things, and purchased a few things for myself. I'm pretty darn pleased with my personal purchases, though they weren't exactly cheap! 😉 I got a nice wrap to curl up in while working on the computer, a couple interchangeable belts and a unique belt buckle (it has butterflies on it if you want to know), the hat that I think I eye and try on every single time I go to the craft sale — it's warm and fashionable which is exactly what I was needing in a hat, and a much larger pitpack (which is great for my aching back — plus doesn't smell like the wheat or flax filled ones, and is machine washable, and microwave and freezer friendly. Yeah it was pretty awesome!

After attending a pretty excellent SLIS talk (this time from Dr. Ross J. Todd from Rutgers, and I don't think I'll write up a blurb on it at the moment), I headed home to get stuff done.

Or at least I attempted to head home: I took a bus that got stopped by police (to take a passenger off), and then got stuck in the snow TWICE during the 5 block trip. It was still faster than maneuvering the sidewalk drifts though.

Last night, I attended a most excellent party at Nancy and Graham's. Great times overall! I didn't get much sleep last night however. We had a most excellent gift exchange, and I ended up with a bobblehead doll of Carol from the film Where the Wild Things Are. I really need to see the film now! 😉

This morning bussing adventures continued. I knew that taking the 130 would be the most direct route to the Edmonton Petroleum Club. That said, I didn't know that I would be waiting for 30 minutes more than expected! A woman that I waited with had been waiting since 10 am when the bus finally arrived at 11am (note that I had planned to be AT the Edmonton Petroleum Club for the GELA Brunch AT 11am), and she had even noted that the bus hadn't appeared at 9:10 when it was supposed to either. Regardless, we did end up arriving and wading through some more snow. And it WAS worth it: it was one of the very best brunches I have ever devoured. I had an omlet, turkey, gravy potatoes, eggs florentine, salad, salmon, etc. The desserts were even amazing, and I'm not one to rave about desserts! Such yumminess! Plus the speaker they had for the luncheon was excellent too! (no I will not blog about her talk, but she was a great table conversationalist too!) I met some excellent librarians — was sad that more students weren't able to attend, however I'm not surprised that some couldn't make it at the last minute, the snow is pretty close to impassable at times, particularly given that no one has plowed Jasper Ave and other arterial roads yet.

Overall it's been a pretty excellent day. While I should be writing papers, I'm catching up on other internet goodies for the time being. And will get back to the papers with more vigor when I'm better rested. Tomorrow, I hope!

All I want for Christmas…

… realistically involves a number of things. And yes, this is the annual Christmas list. No, I'm not at home to consult my handy dandy list of items I've written down over the years that I actually might want/need. Instead I'll go from memory and update it if I feel it needs it when I get home.

Anywho, this past semester's been a semester full of change: I became a grad student in TWO masters programs; I began working as a research assistant; I became a chair or co-chair for a few conferences coming up in 2010; I began training someone else in Health and Safety at work so I will no longer be entirely alone for the now one shift a week that I do work; I fell on some stairs and have had to mind my back as a result; I became semi-involved with a bunch of new initiatives in Edmonton etc.; and so on. So while much hasn't changed, a whole bunch has, and I've not been terribly descriptive in my recounting of it online.

But what do I want for Christmas? Well in no particular order:
— To do well in all of my courses (not that that's unusual or anything)
— To complete the papers I'm working on for publication (and do it well)
— A Wii with Wii fit. (Honestly I'm like the worst couch potato lately, and this would really help up my physical fitness, plus be fun — this would honestly be a perfect gift as it's something I'm unlikely to purchase for myself, but something I really truly would enjoy. AND I now have an AWESOME TV for use with this!!)
— A netbook (I may just have to buy one at some point, just like I need to remember to get Windows 7 before the end of December to take advantage of the really awesome deal)
— A headset of sorts for my computer (for the sole purpose of using Skype in meetings and whatnot)
— Experiences (these are valuable)
— Time spent with friends and family (I never do enough of this)
— Good food (particularly since as a grad student I'm finding less and less time to go cook for myself)
— Free time (lots and lots of stuff in my to-do list, not enough time to do it!)
— Nice Girls Don't Explode (1987) <-- yeah I still haven't gotten around to getting this somehow. It's a movie, but it's not out on DVD in our region. VHS is fine though. -- That '70s Show Season 8 (it's the only season I'm lacking!) -- The Muppet Show Seasons 1-3 (4 and 5 have not come out on DVD to my knowledge) -- Angels in America (on DVD, as I happen to really like this miniseries) -- Star Trek (the 2009 movie on DVD!) -- Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede (a good YA fantasy tie-in) -- Three by Joel Plaskett (3 CD release) -- To have my back stop limiting me. -- To learn the affordances of new technologies at my disposal -- To get more quality sleep -- And I want success in the many many endeavors that people I know are involved in as of late. Honestly. That, plus the usual wishes for the world to be better in general constitutes my list at the moment. I will add to it if I think of other things -- as I know that there are a few who might actually use this list as an aid for Christmas planning [my brothers for example]. (edited to add book/movie/tv etc. specifics on December 5, 2009)
(edited to add headset for computer on December 6, 2009)
(edited to subtract the smart phone on December 15, 2009)
(edited to add Star Trek and edit my TV comments on December 16, 2009)

Change of template :)

For the first time in all the years that I've been posting to this blog, I'm experimenting a little by changing the template. It's just that little bit more informative/customizeable, so that's definitely a plus.

Christmas posts to follow, as I've been inevitably too busy to concern myself with the trappings of this holiday, that is until now. Slowly I'm putting tunes on my computer though — so it's becoming a much better workstation: more distractions!