Tag Archives: rant

Bah Humbug?

To be honest, I really haven’t been feeling terribly Christmas-y yet despite the snow on the ground and it being Advent and all. Mr. Bean can attest to how annoyed I was that my favourite radio station started playing Christmas music on American Thanksgiving. (It’s not even advent yet! Why are they playing Christmas music already!??! Why can’t they wait until Advent starts or until it’s December?!!?)

When I was growing up, we didn’t really start celebrating Christmas itself until basically Christmas Eve. I especially loved that some of the first Christmas Carols we’d sing were at the Lessons and Carols service at Church as well as on Christmas Eve instead of at the end of November. It made it seem so much more special! My family celebrated Advent and would do the Advent wreath/calendar things in December but we wouldn’t really put up any decorations, including our Christmas tree, until the 20th – 23rd (depending on how organized we were! haha. For what it’s worth, my family is usually one of the families whose Christmas cards arrive after Christmas.) Some of you probably think we’re crazy, which is fine, but we’ve always believed that the 12 days of Christmas start at Christmas and so that’s when we’d really celebrate Christmas and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. So, I guess one of the reasons why I’m not terribly enthused for Christmas at the moment is that I’m afraid that I’ll be tired of it by the time it actually comes around – do you ever feel this way? Plus, from being in university, I learned quickly that as much as I might have wanted to get into the Christmas Spirit, I couldn’t if I wanted to do well on my finals! Old habits die-hard I guess!

View of the Rocky Mountains on Saturday Morning

That being said, given that it’s now actually December and we’re now in the second week of Advent, Mr. Bean and I have put up our mini Christmas tree, our Christmas lights and our door wreath and that helps make me feel a bit more in the Christmas spirit. I have been listening to the Christmas songs on the radio occasionally while I drive to tutoring because I like the DJ in the afternoon, they give good traffic updates and sometimes secular music annoys me more that 24/7 Christmas music. (I’m really picky, aren’t I? I guess that’s what happens when you enjoy listening to Christian music and then it’s taken away from you – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! haha.) Despite that, I’m still trying the “dip your toe in first” method instead of the “just jump right in!” method when it comes to enjoying Christmas in hopes that when Christmas finally gets here, I still want to celebrate it! Maybe like Scrooge I’m not so Bah Humbug-y after all; I just take a bit of time to get into the Christmas spirit! :)

When do you start celebrating Christmas? Are you sick of the Christmas atmosphere by the time it actually comes around?

These photos are Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC) and are my submission for this week’s Christmas/Holiday themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit over on Jill’s Blog.

 

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River Edits and Random Brain Dump

1. Mr. Bean and I went and saw Harry Potter tonight and it was great! Two things: Neville Longbottom is all kinds of epic and Snape’s flashbacks make me cry. I guess a third thing too: Snape is one of my favourite characters because he can be so hilarious and I somehow always end up liking the characters who are good the whole time without people realizing it and who make sacrifices for other people.

Motion for the Crazy Days of Summer

2. I planned a nice date night for us last night and it included ordering pizza from a new pizza joint that supposedly had gluten free pizza available. (I was quite excited to get the little brochure guy in the mail and see that they had GF stuff!) Naive me assumed that since they had GF pizza crusts that the ingredients that they put on them would be GF as well. WRONG. I ate the pizza and it didn’t taste good, but silly me completely ignored the symptoms. I wondered why I felt terrible and tetchy (and poor Mr. Bean had to deal with me!) I finally called the place this afternoon to ask whether the meat they put on the pizza was GF or not and it turns out it wasn’t. (Unsurprise!) I kindly explained that I had a reaction to it and that I wanted them to know as some people react more severely to gluten and they could get extremely ill and/or potentially die so could you please do something about it. At least she was very apologetic!

I guess it shows that while people are jumping on the GF wagon, they still have no idea why people are GF and what’s involved. It’s not just a fad! Please learn from me and ask about everything that goes into your food so that the legions of the brain dead won’t make you sick!

If you live in Calgary, don’t order GF pizza from Olive Grove pizzeria in Stadium shopping centre in the NW as they apparently have no idea what they are doing. According to Mr. Bean the gluten-tastic pizza wasn’t that great either.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli3. I’m really glad that Mr. Bean and I went out swimming earlier this week as it was a balmy 12C here yesterday. Needless to say I didn’t do much outside.

4. My mom left to go work in the field for a few weeks and now my dad has been calling me to chat more frequently. I think it’s kind of cute. Apparently their dog is a mountain dog – she went on a 15km hike with a very large elevation gain with my dad. I’m hoping to get some of the pictures of her on the ridge as they are probably quite awesome!

What’s on your mind?

The above photos are my edits from this week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit Summer theme. You can see my SOOCs here and the rest of the edits over on Ashley’s blog.

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Of Emerald Lake and Avalanches

Emerald Lake - Click to Enlarge

We’re back! We had a really good trip in Field – thank you for all the good wishes. We got back safely and didn’t get in any avalanches (thankfully!) while skiing.

I mention avalanches as this year has been an incredible year for them in the Canadian Rockies given the amount of snow they have received in the past few months – including numerous fatalities. I’m really grateful that we didn’t have to use the avalanche safety gear we borrowed from my parents! If you’re planning on going skiing/snowmobiling/some activity in the mountains, PLEASE be safe, have the necessary gear and listen to the warnings given by the authorities! Then we all can avoid needless fatalities caused by adrenaline and stupidity.

In one of the video games Mr. Bean plays, the main characters get caught in an avalanche and are knocked out. One character saw this and went and got someone else to come rescue them. Once they became conscious, the saving character commented “Well, if it wasn’t for me, you’d still be eating snow!” to which I replied “No, they’d be dead!” (I have such a way with cunning retorts, don’t I?) I’m by no means an expert on avalanches, but I do know that if someone is caught in one, they have 3 – 5 minutes to be rescued and that once the avalanche has stopped moving, it sets up like concrete, which is incredibly difficult to move or shovel through, so you really can’t take your sweet time!

I bring all this up as there was an avalanche just over a week ago at one of the places we skied to – Emerald Lake. According to some reports, the avalanche caused the ice to break all the way to the bridge (the thing in front of the cabin on the right) and completely wiped out part of the ski trail around the lake. Thankfully this one was at night so no one was injured! When we arrived, this is what it looked like:

Click for Larger Photo

It’s pretty impressive as it wiped out all the trees on the way down – I guess you can’t expect anything less when the avalanche is going to the end of its run!

Now that I’ve said what I want to – go out, be safe, have fun and enjoy God’s beautiful creation! I’m getting off my soap box now. ;)

I’ll have more pictures from our trip up later this week! I’m just REALLY happy with the photo I took of Emerald Lake – I almost want to make it into a postcard or something!

What was the most exciting thing that happened to you this weekend?

If you’re interested in learning more about avalanches, you can take this online avalanche course.

This photo has been submitted to Give me your best shot, Photo Story Friday and Skywatch Fridays.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

 

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Disappointment

This past week I had a second job interview at company X. It was quite intense – the night before the six candidates including myself had a practise round and were taken out for dinner. The next morning, we had to go through a technical interview, a case study where we had 1 hour to read 22 documents and had to come up with the main issues, stakeholders, short and long-term plans and a strategic decision, and a group discussion where we represented various groups in the community and had to come up with a recommendation on how we thought company X should spend its social and charity donation money.

Anyways, I knew that I screwed up on the case study – one hour is not enough to process that much info let alone make a decision – and I may not have gone into the depth that they wanted in the interview. I knew that I could have done better, but once it was done, I was content to see what happened. In all honesty, I didn’t want the job 100% (I don’t know if I really want a job at the moment anyways) as company X is the same company my dad works for and a few other reasons, but I thought it would be nice to have the security of knowing that I have a job and company X is really a good company to work for in terms of opportunities, work environment, people and benefits.

So last night after dinner, I received this email from company X:

Dear Christine,

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a career with company X and taking the time to attend the company X Recruitment Day. We hope you found the experience to be informative and rewarding.

After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a suitable position at this time. As you are most likely making important career decisions at this time, we wanted to share our decision with you as soon as possible.

Kind Regards,

Company X

I was really disappointed. I know, I didn’t really want the job, so I should be happy that I wasn’t in a position that I didn’t really want. (We all know how well my internship went.) BUT it all had to come down as personal failure.

I know “we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a suitable position at this time” could mean what it says – they had no positions in the areas I was interested in. However, I do know that they said that they would send out a similar email if you didn’t score high enough on the company X Recruitment Day activities. So does that mean I failed it? If I didn’t pass this one, what’s to say that I would pass another company’s rounds of interviewing? I’d like to think that I am a fairly smart person as I did very well in school and that I’m personable and overall a desirable employee, but apparently not. So, I’m more disappointed in myself than in not getting the job.

Of course, for me, this leads to all types of catastrophic thinking – what if I’m not supposed to be an engineer? What if I’m supposed to do something else?  But then I ask myself and God: “Why the heck did you make me so smart and able to do this engineering thing if I’m never going to use it?!” Don’t get me wrong, I know that you have to be intelligent and generally with it to do well in things like photography or baking, but it’s a different kind of smartness than getting a 3.8/4.0 GPA in your final year of engineering.

I know logically just because I didn’t get the job in my first go at interviewing since I started looking for jobs mid September, but I feel like I should have gotten it even just to prove to myself that I’m worthwhile and desirable. I know that God is most likely using this situation so that I can become aware of and work on changing my poor attitudes towards getting a job. I know this is a case where I should define my identity based on what God thinks of me and not on my behaviour or performance. I know I should be glad that I’m not getting into anything that I may not like in the end. I know that it means that when I get a job people will know me for me, not my dad. I know that in this market I should be happy that I’ve had a job interview especially since I really haven’t been looking that hard. But why do I feel like I’m a personal failure because of this?

I guess on the bright side I don’t have to worry about not being able to go to counselling or my next photography class because of work.

How do you deal with personal disappointments?

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I Hate Sticky Situations

I feel like I want to cry because I don’t know what to do.

We’re having issues with one member of my design group. He hasn’t been pulling his weight, has missed many meetings and seems to want to ride out on our good work while doing as little as possible. The proverbial “icing on the cake” was this past week – I better add some fondant as well because that’s how good it is. So what happened?

We were supposed to have a really important strategy meeting last Thursday to decide how we’re going to proceed after our midterm report and presentation that he didn’t show up to. We had one of our midterms the night before, so we thought “maybe couldn’t deal with it or something” despite how our meeting was at 3pm. He didn’t show up to our regular team meeting on Friday or to our lab. I had phoned, texted and emailed him to no reply. So here we were thinking he had H1N1 or was dying as he’s always attached to his phone.

Last night I texted him to ask him if was alright and if he was planning to be at school today so that we could finally decide how to move ahead in our project. He answered that he had a very hectic weekend and that he was stuck in Edmonton on Thursday and Friday. We later found out that the car he had with him in Edmonton blew its radiator, which is really unfortunate, but that was on Thursday evening. In addition, he said that his phone died right after he received the phone message I sent him on Friday. This really bothers me because his car died in Edmonton after we were supposed to have our meeting and his phoned died the day after the important meeting. The snarky part of me wants to ask “what on earth were you doing in Edmonton, a three hour drive away, the day after an evening midterm when you had a meeting at three!?”

Reading between the lines, I do understand that he was probably having some personal angst, which is perfectly excusable. Heck, one of our group members has a kid and I have frequent bouts of emotional upheaval, so we understand that life can get in the way and the need to take a break from school. However, generally when something comes up it is expected that you give someone warning that you won’t be there. If you didn’t show up to work for two days without telling anyone, chances are you might not have a job when you finally get back. Right now, our job is school and one of our main tasks is to work on this design project.

So, when we had our meeting this morning, we confronted him about the whole situation and how we expect better behaviour in the future – to at least tell us when you’re not going to show up. I really hate confronting people as I would love to give them chance after chance to let them show their personal integrity but this situation warranted it. He did apologize for his behaviour and we got on with our meeting.

Late this afternoon, two of us went to talk to our supervisor about what power we have to deal with the situation if it gets worse. He said that once all three of us feel that we have exhausted peace talks amongst us, it would be time to start a paper trail by writing a letter to him outlining our concerns. He explained that depending on the severity of concerns, he and the course coordinator would discuss what to do with the worst penalty being kicked out of the course.

We started writing our letter highlighting our main concerns: missing meetings, not giving us warning for missing meetings and not putting in enough effort. I’m quite proud of this letter as it is very objective, professional and states the facts without making any accusations. We would really like to be able to work out our issues with him, however he hasn’t really stepped up to the plate yet. You’d think that by fourth year of engineering one would be used to working really hard and giving your best but I guess not in this case. Maybe he has been having issues, but we would be so much more understanding if he told us and asked for help!

Now it’s time we get to the fondant on our”cake of joy:” plagiarism. I know, that is a very scary word that is very, very accusational and has many bad connotations including being expelled from university. We unfortunately have too many good reasons to use this word.

It first started with our lab proposal for a different course – he had just put the lab procedure from bullets into sentences without changing much. We gave him the benefit of the doubt, edited it out and let it slide. Then for our design midterm progress report, a lot of what he had written sounded very much like a promotional piece companies publish about their various processes. We edited it out and confronted him about rephrasing instead of copying in future reports, which he apologized for and promised to be better in the future. However, while writing the complaint letter, one of our points was that he wasn’t putting in enough effort: aka. “his prepared sections of the report followed very closely to the documents they were taken from.”

We wanted to give some examples as evidence and I really almost wish that we didn’t. Looking at what he had originally written for two processes – not the summarized version that was submitted in the midterm report – we found 14 sentences out of the two pages that were directly copied word-for-word from documents without reference. Not just a couple like we originally expected – Fourteen. That is not acceptable!

Now comes the part where I feel really terrible because I know that when we submit the letter with the examples, we are good as pointing our fingers and crying “plagiarism!” at our design group member. For you who are not quite up to speed with the whole plagiarism thing, the worst outcome in expulsion from university. I would feel terrible for having him kicked out of the course let alone having him expelled. I guess I’m conflicted because I don’t think it is fair to the three of us who have put in a ton of time and effort to get the marks that we have and will get in this project to have to share those grades with someone who isn’t pulling their weight. On the other hand, if he is kicked out of the course, it means that he will have no chance of graduating this year. But it also comes down to the ethical issue at hand: if we are going to be professional engineers, we have to act with integrity and honesty and using someone else’s work, even if it is just a sentence, without being properly referenced goes against all that.

So I haven’t been able to do any studying this evening because all I can think about is how this situation might play out. I want to work it out with him and prevent the worst case scenarios of either being kicked out of the class or university entirely. But at the same time, I don’t want him to be getting credit for work he hasn’t done as it’s not fair to us. I really don’t know what to do, but at the same time, I do. We’re going to hand in our letter and see how things pan out from there. I hope I can handle the emotional stress either way.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do? How do you deal with confrontation?

 

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