Birthday fun! :)

So, yesterday was my birthday. It started (as usual) as a pretty casual day, I suppose, online. Essentially I was playing with my new toys (a keyboard, mouse, cables, RAM, webcam, video card etc.) that I had received for my birthday (thanks JD).

And then Beth and I went to Red Robin for lunch (and some good conversation). We stopped by the City Centre Market afterward for some party snacks, before heading back home. The party wasn't until the late afternoon/early evening and it had pretty good attendance. I had been emotional that morning — thinking of Leslie Gore's song It's My Party (I consider it a birthday theme song, even if the content's not 100% awesome-happy fun stuff), but was looking forward to some birthday board games and whatnot. A great number of awesome people attended, and I even got a call from Brendan and a Skype call from Richard (I hadn't seen this Richard in 5+ years so it was pretty significant! — he even said that I hadn't changed in all of this time, which was kind of a surprising compliment, I think).

The night was pretty low key — we looked at pictures on my TV (playing from my computer), talked, and played: Chez Geek, Munchkin, and Partini. It was a pretty good evening all in all.

So yeah, I'm apparently another year older. It's been a remarkably good year, too. Lots of change. Before this year I wouldn't have thought that I would do many of the things that I did end up doing. And I probably feel older and wiser for many of the things that I have done. I guess I also feel more tech savvy too, but I could probably blame that on particular individuals more than anything else.

Vague plans for the next year:
– Get noticeably more physically fit (visible and activity related change).
– Organize my finances more logically
– Get more organized in general
– Get thesis off the ground (really do this)
– Continue to work on personal development and life balance
– Work to foster/develop better interpersonal relationships with those who matter to me
– Take time for me.

I am very thankful for many of the people who have entered my life this year. Regardless of what happens in the future, they have made an impact. So thank you to everyone. I like to think that I'm wiser for what I have done, seen and whatnot in the past year. Life is not easy, but it sure is worthwhile.

Out at the Ex…

Lately, I've been trying to post to this here online journal more regularly. And in general, I've been doing a pretty decent job: sure it's just the journal I've written in for a bunch of years, but it's also crossposted to venues where people actually read it on occasion. Today, if all goes as planned, I'll be writing a few posts. Why? Because I've been a bit emotional lately, a bit busy lately, and yes I just want to write.

So on Friday, I got a sunburn.

I was out at Capital Ex, volunteering (as per the usual) at the Kiwanis Giant Slide. It was four hours, out in the hot sun, with apparently not enough sunscreen. It was fun though — I got to spend time with some of the most awesome Kiwanians, a few CKIers, and met lots of kids. I always enjoy Capital Ex's Kiwanis Giant Slide.

Afterward, I went to the new Edmonton Expo Centre, took in some exhibits (buying a new better purse hook to replace my old one, got a massage and generally looked around. It was a pretty good day though exhausting. I really liked Sip! where I watched some cooking demos, had some good food, and relaxed.

Writer's Block: Good Morning Heartache

The future (there is no point worrying about the past, or the present as it has already happened, or is in progress, but the future is something so full of opportunities for change and possibility, so full of things that you can alter that it is an unknown). So I worry about what the future might hold.

Ever since I was a young child I worried about being alone forever. I realize that I likely won't be: I'll have friends, family (and hopefully someday a family and long-term significant other of my own), and others along with me for the ride. But so often I long for that which I do not have. So often I wish for companionship. So often I long to not be alone. And I'm not alone, but I feel that I am. Which is realistically less of an issue than I make it out to be, but I worry. And perhaps I always will.

Writer's Block: Casting couch

This is a fun question! And a difficult one of course. I think that Natalie Portman, or Anna Paquin could play me (actually I'm probably the worse judge of who should play me, really!). Topher Grace could play JD. Beth would be played by someone awesome like Laura Prepon or I dunno… someone. (I'm not very good at this!) Maybe I should stop while I'm ahead!

From food to entertainment and quite a bit in between

This has been perhaps the most leisurely week I've had since school has been out. If I didn't wake up with a tense jaw on a semi-regular basis, I would assume that my stress level were actually reduced to zilch. As it is, I think I'm doing rather well!

For one, I've been feeling physically much better for having exercised semi-regularly as well: I've been playing the Wii Fit at least every other day (with Wii Sports as well on occasion). I've also been walking a LOT: no need for public transit when I can walk everywhere! I'm feeling much more energetic and less stressed for having the joy of exercise — as much as I really wish I could do more. I kind of miss using an elliptical machine and have actually been wanting to bike on occasion — I really ought to do something about that too!

But regardless, I've been walking, and been out and about to festivals, to eat, and to spend time with friends. I've been enjoying birthday gift certificates to restaurants (yay for mailing lists!), and I've been seeing movies. Indeed I almost saw Inception twice (I would have but for the fact that Inception was sold out last night). Inception is such a thought-provoking movie! Instead of Inception, I saw Repo: the Genetic Opera, which was pretty interesting: the acting and singing was mediocre, but the visuals were pretty stunning, and the lighting and setting was pretty eye catching too. I also saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the very first time ever (so I think I can somewhat understand the cult following better). I actually rather enjoyed the randomness of Rocky Horror. Certainly it doesn't follow any particular logic that I'm aware of, when it comes to plot, but it somehow works. It's a fun movie anyway!

But yeah, that's been my life this past week. That and awaiting packages to arrive that seem to be refusing to do so. I currently am waiting for at least two packages from Purolator and one from DHL and have a delivery notice for Canada Post sitting here as well. Generally these packages have consisted of my getting spoiled with awesome new toys for my birthday… but some are purchases and contest wins too, so not entirely predictable. I just wish the packages would all show up before I depart for Vancouver on Monday with my brother!

Okay I'm not much for rowdy partying…

… and if you know me, you probably already know that.

This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a good pub, or great music, or fun dancing or a good DJ, but getting ridiculously drunk and making a fool of myself is something I doubt you'll ever see. I'm perfectly good at making a fool of myself without the addition of any extra substances! πŸ˜‰

But I do find the fact that people use the Tent party by the Bank on Jasper Ave as an excuse to be idiots — even in the grocery store — as rather annoying (speaking as an employee of said grocery store). Fortunately I won't be working during the next Tent parties — it's just not worth the stress.

On the bright side, at least *I* was not making a fool of myself! πŸ™‚

In other news, there is no way that I would ever want to be a Loss Prevention Officer. A shoplifter could be carrying anything on their person including a sawed off shotgun… *yikes!*

On the topic of Old Spice Commercials…

a.k.a. one of the best ad campaigns ever!

I loved how Isaiah Mustafa responded to tweets and other comments online to make it a better viral marketing campaign but back on the topic of the original video, here's the making of video (which is really nifty to watch):

And the 15 second video that they refer to is:

You can find more of these excellent videos at: http://www.youtube.com/user/OldSpice along with the many response videos that were filmed.

A good viral video often gets parodies and well this library related New Spice video is just plain awesome in my opinion — It's clearly my favorite non-Old Spice video that has been made in this series!:

Well done marketing campaign, eh?

Writer's Block: Fear

It has always really been being alone forever. Which I think is less likely now than it would have been at certain other points in my lifetime.

When I was younger I always used to think that burning to death in a fire, unable to save all those I loved was a significant fear, however unlikely that would be.

Is it grown up of me to LIKE my job?

… or is it just that my job suits me rather well? Lately I've been remarkably productive with relation to my research work. I mean, sure it's highly linked to my academic career, but whatever — I do get paid after all, and if I were traveling any less, there would be far more weeks of my working full time on it this summer. I do like the pay cheques (they mean I need not really worry about the expenses of a heavy travel schedule as much as I would otherwise) particularly as they make me feel like I'm actually part of the workforce more than just the few hours of the week that I'm at the supermarket.

Today I finished another draft. This time for submission to a conference. And I spoke to another of my fellow research assistants (well we spoke more about the conference we're organizing for this coming school year than we did about our research, but research talk was good too). I feel rather productive! πŸ™‚

But yeah, I like my work. One of these days (probably August) I'll get around to discussing my thesis more closely (after all if all goes as planned, I have less than two years to complete it), but for the moment I feel so much more stress-free just for having accomplished so much in the past few weeks in the research-work-sphere!

Now if only I didn't carry all of my tension in my shoulders, neck and jaw! I know that I must have been grinding my teeth again at least a little recently. Perhaps it's time to go back for a massage, as that does seem to help a lot.