So tired lately…

As winter turns to spring (April showers anyway), I'm itching to get out there and be more active. But lately (yesterday in particular) I've been so so tired. No particular reason — I've been semi-active (I could do more than walk a bunch, run after busses, lift my very light weights (I need heavier ones, really), and do the occasional wall sit or crunches or dance or other sport of my choosing [I really should start biking again], but I'm not as sedentary I guess as I could be), and have been eating okay (perhaps I need more fruits and veggies, but it's not like I don't eat them quite frequently as it is!).

My wrists act up a lot lately, partially due to the large amount of transcription I'm attempting to be doing. It's less than ideal, to put it mildly. But whatever. I don't see any reason why that should be what is making me so exhausted all the time.

I may not be sleeping well, but I'm sleeping soundly. I'm dreaming a lot. Strange dreams. Last night I was dreaming of a pseudo Dutch (no idea why my brain said Dutch in the dream) cooking adventure with chocolate and eggs… it was weird, to put it mildly, but then again what dreams aren't?

So I wonder at my exhaustion, perhaps mental, perhaps physical. I slept from about 10pm last night through until morning so maybe this will help?

Is this going to be my third Alberta Election themed post in as many days?

Well, maybe. But I'm not going to type about what a lot of folks are. I'm not going to really focus on the outcome. Because, like any other election some folks that I wanted to get elected were, and some weren't. The election didn't perform to my highest hopes nor did it follow my worst set of expectations. It came, it went, and I'm glad it's over.

Instead I'm going to type about my experiences with the election and watching the results etc.

On the way to my somewhat usual Pub Monday social gathering at the Metro I ran into some campaign volunteers for the NDP. This interested me because they asked if I had voted and when I said yes they turned to talk to the next person who said he hadn't. Then one of these volunteers actually said out loud that he didn't look like an NDP supporter. How does that help the NDP get votes anyway, I wondered as I walked along, noticing the almost worn off sidewalk chalkings supporting the local PC candidate.

At the bar we talked politics. We weren't the only group watching the election results on CBC and CTV, so it was nice when we all cheered for the same things. It was much more fun watching things unfold with the Internet to follow along with. I had already spent far too much of the day on Twitter as it was, but it was good to see the actual vote totals etc. show up both on screen (some candidates had HORRIBLE photos, yikes!) as well as more comprehensive (often times) statistics on the Internet.

I left the bar once most of the results were known and few polls were changing (there were still further changes as the night went on of course). On my walk home I noticed a bunch of Liberal (Laurie Blakeman) supporters walking down the sidewalk with huge grins and even larger campaign signs blocking most of the sidewalk as they walked. It was a bizarre scene.

And then after people had predicted 45% voter turnouts, it seems that as I watched the results update over the course of the rest of the evening (and read Twitter) that we had, at somewhere around 57%, the highest voter turnout since 1993's 60%. This pleases me though it could have been better, of course.

Watching the results come in is SO MUCH more fun with friends to talk to, regardless of the outcome (though living in Edmonton means that the group was pretty much on a similar page, though not all of us voted the same way or supported the same folks). So I guess that pretty much concludes my election musings for this round. 🙂

The voting begins…

As I've said on my Facebook status, I voted this morning (about an hour ago or so). It was the first time I've voted at a continuing care facility (but that's where my polling station was). This made me think of two things: how happy I am to be able bodied (even if I have my share of complaints (mostly wrist pain these days)), and that I know where my polling station is.

Today has gotten me thinking about both things, partially because I saw so many folks with reduced mobility voting (yay!), along with so many younger and/or more able bodied folks at the polling station (yay!), and partially because I had a conversation with a neighbour (he's lived here for nearly 9 years now and this is the longest conversation I've ever had with him). Turns out that the problem that I feared really is a problem in this building. He doesn't own a computer or have the Internet or a smart phone or really any of those things that would have informed him about where to vote. The only way he knew where our polling station was is through word of mouth in our building (and I know for a fact that while some of us converse, this isn't frequent nor is this universal). As he delivered me my Yellow Pages (why I am getting the yellow pages is beyond me… but this is what led to our conversation, so all is well), he also talked about some of the other aspects of the building (the fact that we think that no one lives in the bachelors suite next to me (or if they do they're darn quiet), the fact that when another tenant died water leaked into his suite, etc. Anyway WHY ON EARTH did we not (it's a 12 unit apartment building) get any information sent to us about where to vote?!? We're all registered to vote, and went out of our way to do so, but I'm somehow doubting that everyone in our building knew to do that!

I mean, sure I have other complaints about this election (and if you want to know elections rules or something will give you all the info you want about the Alberta Election… thanks to Jason for posting that on Twitter (gotta love librarian friends!)), but I don't want there to be more excuses for not voting than necessary. And it's nice to see folks with limited mobility, or limited information exercising their rights to vote… but it also makes me really wonder at what else about the process is broken or could use some tweaks.

Vote tomorrow, ALBERTA, please!

So there's this thing going on called an election in this province of mine, and while you may already be aware of it if you follow me on Twitter (I'm not a hugely prolific person when it comes to tweeting about the election, but I've retweeted a bunch of things that seem pertinent or which frustrate me) or I guess on Facebook a bit too.

And there are a few things I'd like to see come out of this election. Firstly, I'd like members of all 5 major parties to be elected (nothing against the other ones, but, realistically these are the parties that are most likely to be elected). I'd like there to be a strong opposition. I want to see the awesome candidates from the various parties win (yes I have political views, but all the parties do have some awesome candidates), and some of the less awesome folks to NOT win (inevitably this will happen to an extent — in an ideal world the candidates who have spouted really horrible things wouldn't get elected, but that's up to the will of the electorate). I really want our voter turnout to increase from 2008 (SO PLEASE VOTE IF YOU'RE ABLE!) — indeed SO MANY other jurisdictions have better voter turnouts than we do, and this is disappointing, particularly when so many educated young folks do not even bother to educate themselves due to voter apathy (this isn't limited to young or educated folks, of course, but I HATE to see this in people who should hypothetically know better!). Citizen engagement starts with YOU!!

Things that have disappointed me about this election: a lack of talk about the environment, the oil royalty system, realistic solutions to health care system problems, post secondary education, education in general or more broadly the issues that might affect us on a more day to day basis. I personally don't believe that government handouts of cash, free tuition, lawsuits, name calling, personal issues, religious debates, discrimination, multiple referenda, delisting of certain services, or conscience rights should have taken up all of our attentions this election, nor do I believe that these are the right answers (but that's another story entirely), and this aspect of the election really has left a bad taste in my (and many others') mouth.

I'm disappointed not to get a voter card in the mail. In fact I'm sad not to get anything in the mail or any candidates door knocking (then again I do live in an apartment, but I know that some candidates at least try). I'm sad to have to listen to so many robocalls (all political parties running in my constituency other than the Liberal candidate as of yet), so many broken opinion surveys, and to hear about violence and hurt on the campaign trail. I hope the signs get cleared up soon after the vote itself, and that people work in a positive fashion to actually make this province a better place as we move forward.

It's too bad that information re: the senate race is few and far between. I didn't appreciate getting told via robocall by a federal politician who to vote for in that race (or to hear the implied endorsement for a provincial party in that call… nor did I like the endorsements and party bashing I got from other media sources, though that's perhaps more expected). I really didn't like getting accosted after a night of a beautiful lecture and reception by a woman trying to spread leaflets regarding strategic voting. I didn't like seeing so much money spent on targeted advertising for certain groups.

That said, I'm happy that this election included talk of change (both bad and good). I was happy to see some more engagement by some party folks and many who weren't before. And I have hope that we'll have a decent voter turnout in the end. So make me proud, Alberta, please vote!

Booked for one last conference…

Waking up this morning I got the email notifying me that I did indeed receive one of the Student Assistantship Bursaries for DH 2012 in Hamburg, Germany. I've never been to Germany, so it should be a nice trip to take, even if I'll be very busy. While this money (800 Euros) will certainly not cover all my expenses going to yet another conference, I'm super excited to go, and figure that this conference which will involve my volunteering in many capacities, will be a great last conference for my degree. Sure, it means I'm going to have to be a lot more efficient with regards to getting thesis and whatnot work done before and after the conference, but hey, it's an opportunity to be in Germany for just short of a week. I booked a flight and a hotel on Expedia today (best and least confusing process of the bunch and by far cheaper than the hotels I could have chosen through the conference website, though mildly more expensive than some of the hostel choices, I get my own room/bathroom, and the walk (I checked it out on Google maps) to the conference seems reasonably pleasant.

I don't understand the transportation from the airport to my hotel/the conference location just yet, but I'm not worried as this conference isn't until July… and I'm sure I'll get my questions answered before then. I don't understand German at all though, so we'll see how well I get by! Fortunately I'm sure that once at the conference things will be straight forward enough. I'm not planning any extra time on this trip (I planned extra time on trips to Vancouver, and New Orleans already), and given that I promised myself a trip once I finished the degree, there'll still be that to plan for at some point, but for now, my travel bookings are done! 🙂

In other news, I had a most splendid time last night at the Library School's Year End Party. Got to talk to many folks, get some good dancing in and eat some good food. Also, they did joke awards and I got one for the longest nails (amusing, really!).

Gotta love good theatre…

… and April seems to be the month to see a bit of it. In fact, had I not just moved my ticket for The Sound of Music at the Citadel, I would be seeing three shows this month (now it's just the two that I have seen). And both shows were really fun!

At GATC, as I mentioned before, we saw The Music Man. I really enjoyed this performance, partially because of the singing and the enthusiasm of the acting. I think highlights for me included the entrance of the train at the beginning (where they walked down through the audience for the whole song), the barbershop quartet, and the appearance of the band at the end of the show (kids from the audience in costumes and with instruments!

Last night I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream (for the first time ever!) at the Citadel Theatre. I was definitely wowed by the stage itself, even before the cast came in: I really liked the vines that dropped from the ceiling, the vegetation, and the climbing area among other aspects that really seemed to work well with the performance. The costumes were also really well done, and I thought that the acting quite suited the play itself. I wasn't familiar with this play (outside of reading The Sandman issue where the play is performed), so I was quite pleased with how well the story carried on stage, and how the actors managed to make scenes not overly dramatic, but instead to make them come alive for our amusement.

Perhaps I don't always watch enough media (tv/movies etc.) but I do adore theatre and performances in general. Lately it's been mainly YouTube and the occasional event outside the home, but that may change.

I sit too much…

… or at least my body is telling me this today. I sit for an awful long time in front of my ol' computer. And while getting up and moving around is a useful tactic, I kind of wonder what (other than a standing desk, which I honestly don't want) I could do to sit less… *shrugs*

In other news, I'm pretty excited that I might actually be able to apply for a few more grants than otherwise expected for summer travel. We'll see how this pans out!

On the CLC's Author Cabaret and other fundraising galas

I attend a lot of events where I don't exactly fit into the average age demographic. Kiwanis is of course no exception. And today, I watched a YouTube video that reminded me of this fact (I'm not going to link the video here, but I'm pretty sure that it's not that hard to figure out what I'm referring to in general, as I have many many friends who are more than twice my age). I honestly don't care that I spend time with folks who are either much younger or older than I am, but every so often it really becomes self-evident. Last night was, of course, no exception.

I was attending the third annual Canadian Literature Centre fundraising Gala (and the first one which had a student price to attend — and my pocketbook really really thanks the board of the CLC for this fact, as my finances are much much tighter this year than in the past… darn rules and regulations about being in one's third year of a Masters program, even if my Masters is a three year program!), and it certainly felt like I was one of the youngest folks in the room. I didn't mind of course, as I had some good conversations with some of my profs (people I know from the digital humanities community this time) and an ol' friend with whom I all too rarely stay in touch (partially as she's not on social media).

The food, was as always at the Art Gallery of Alberta, delicious. I really enjoyed the bite-sized desserts as they were neither too sweet nor to large. I also loved the lox (normally I dislike it, but it was so well prepared and balanced out with something sweet and salty), the other appetizers were great too, particularly the cheese in phyllo pastry item. I guess I wasn't completely wowed, but it was a very delicious spread just the same. While I don't drink alcohol in general (and it was darn free-flowing!), I really enjoyed drinking pineapple juice and the service at the venue was great too!

Then there were the readings! Todd Babiak made a great MC! I really loved Marty Chan's story (behind the inspiration for the play: Mom, Dad, I'm Living with a White Girl). Claudine Potvin's story was good too, though I missed a bit because of her voice, I guess. My French is good, but I can't say that it wasn't hard to hear her. Richard Van Camp did indeed bring the sexy (which was great! I have to read some of his work sometime, wow!). Marina Endicott's story excerpt really came alive for me too! And then Lawrence Hill's vignette from a new yet to be published (or finished) book was really neat!

Like any fundraising gala, some of the speeches went on a bit too long (though really, I'd only complain about one, but I'm not saying which!). I also noticed that at least one person on stage (not anyone I already mentioned) needs to work on public speaking skills, as ums, ahs, and other stumbling blocks interfered with appreciation of what was said.

While I don't tend to know many at this event, it's an enjoyable one for an organization I feel very strongly about supporting, and I did have a fine time chatting with folks, listening and eating. Perhaps in 30 years I'll be closer to the average age of the people in the room, but this doesn't mean that I don't appreciate and enjoy attending these types of events, particularly when there's an awesome student rate to attend and listen, eat and enjoy!

Travels, sessions, Kiwanis-Family friends, theatre and more!

So, as you would have noticed from the last blog post, I went to Indianapolis yet again this past weekend (note that due to the location of the Kiwanis International Office in Indanapolis, IN, I have been there more than any other American location).

The trip started out on a splendid note. I had a wonderful sushi-filled evening with mall walking and talking before getting a ride to the airport. When I had checked in earlier on Thursday I had redeemed my eUpgrade credits for an upgrade to Executive class for my flight from Edmonton to Toronto, not thinking that I'd actually get that upgrade, but, perhaps because I flew on Friday the 13th (just after midnight), I did get upgraded and sat in the front row of the entire plane! This was my first time truly flying in Executive class and it was quite enjoyable. The seats are larger and have lots of space, there is a spot to put small loose items, they served us juice or water as people boarded the plane and then we were off! Warm gooey cookies and delicious vanilla gelato was our evening snack, and I watched the movie New Year's Eve (it was on the caliber of the movie Valentine's Day from last year). About an hour and a half before we landed they served us breakfast which consisted of hot rolls (cinnamon or wheat), yogurt, and a huge fruit plate (and we got hot towels before breakfast!) along with our choice of either pancakes or an omlette (I chose the omlette which came with creamcheese, potatoes, chicken sausage and a red pepper relish). Suffice to say that while I didn't take advantage of the unlimited alcohol (as I don't drink, I had water and gingerale, and orange juice at various times), I really enjoyed the service, the washroom for the executive cabin, the ACTUAL dishes and cutlery, and the extra legroom.

Once we arrived in Toronto, however my next flight was cancelled and airport staff kept telling me to go from one counter to the next to talk with folks and I finally got my ticket for my flight (which didn't depart for 8 hours) and then I dosed in chairs. Not ideal, but given the reason (pilots not showing up to work as an illegal job action thing), I was mighty glad that I got a plane to take me to Indianapolis that day at all!

GATC itself was pretty great. We were at the Embassy Suites again, and I got to spend time with the awesome administrators, help with training and meet up with all the new and excited governors. Our 'fun' activity was at the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre and we saw The Music Man. I rather enjoyed the performance, and was, once again, entertained by Daniel's appetite at dinner. While the food wasn't amazing, my ice cream sundae at intermission totally pleased me.

CLE training also went well — I enjoyed facilitating with Rob, though I was not impressed by the lateness of various CKIers to arrive (or to arrive back after our break). This was followed by a leisurely lunch at McAllister's Deli (yum!) and eventually a trip to the airport where we spent time with CKIers as we awaited flights (ours was on time leaving). Our plane had to circle for quite a while before we arrived in Chicago (weather). Our final flight was late departing the airport (though the screens said it was on schedule up until the time that we actually boarded) due to lightning closing the airport for a bit. Nonetheless, we arrived at the Edmonton International Airport in reasonable time (we must have made up time in the air) and were less than an hour late in arriving. I had an enjoyable ride home and ended up in bed around 2am and slept in leisurely (my body needed it, after around 5 hours of sleep a night on two nights of the weekend, with the third night's sleep only having been in doses at the airport or on the plane.

Tonight I head to a gala for the Canadian Literature Centre (CLC) at the Art Gallery. It will be my 3rd year attending and it's the first time I was contemplating not going due to price (but they had a student rate for the first time ever and I took advantage of that). So I'm looking forward to that!

Off to GATC I will go…

This will be my 6th trip to GATC in Indianapolis. And I'm looking forward to it. It definitely won't be the same ol' thing from past years, partially because the curriculum will be taught in a different way, but also because I'll have a hand in presenting it — I'm rather looking forward (now that I'm not stressing over logistics or anything) to presenting on the few topics that I'm helping with and providing some Club Leadership Education Instructor training on Sunday. I think that the 'fun' or interactive activities we have planned for CLE Instructor training will be well received and shouldn't be duplicated from other aspects of GATC.

I'm happy that we're returning to the Embassy Suites Hotel (it was great last year!), and also that our 'fun' activity will be dinner theatre (The Music Man) — I totally love dinner theatre! Past 'fun' activities at GATC have been pretty varied in the years that I have attended, but I distinctly remember when I was a governor and attended an arena football game, and when I was an International Trustee and got a mild concussion on a waterslide before playing arcade games to win stuffed animals (but no DDR as the concussion was problematic for head movement, obviously) to donate to children. I'm not sure I really remember the 'fun' activities from other years: maybe they were less significant or maybe the conference was structured differently, but I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend!

Also, this is the first trip where the fact that I have status with Aeroplan may actually come in handy! I'm on eupgrade to Executive class on standby for the flight tonight to Toronto, which is neat! Perhaps that will actually mean something (though I doubt it). I also like the fact that I could technically check a couple of bags (though I won't take advantage of this this time) for free. Those little perks are the ones that make me happy to have finally gotten such status!

Now back to packing, and being frustrated at the person who hasn't taken his/her laundry out of the machine yet.