Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Drama Vortex

Kerri described me best on the Gaspé field trip a few weeks ago when she called me a drama vortex. I'm not just a drama queen, but drama swirls around me, encircling my body and encompassing my life.

Trying to coexist peacefully has not worked, so Andrew has decided to take a valiant stance and kick me to the curb like so many pizza boxes and broken doll arms. Or himself.

Basically, I've got "some time" to either find an apartment and leave, or find a roommate and Andrew will leave. As a student, this apartment is very affordable, and I don't really think I'd care to leave, especially since I moved in 30 days ago. I would really prefer to live alone, but doing that in a respectable bachelor apartment [does that exist in Ottawa?] for a respectable student's price would be just about impossible. Respectably.

So if anyone out there in Ottawa needs a roommate or an apartment, let me know RIGHT NOW and I'll judge you harshly in order to see if I could live with you. I'm a tough one when it comes to that.

Side note: You're thinking "Hey Michael, why did you post 3 posts within the last hour of September?". Well you're in luck, because I've got an answer for you! You should recall that I like to post at least 10 times in a month to keep my readers entertained. Yesterday, I resigned to the fact that I would fail that mission for the first time ever this month. But then, at literally the 11th hour, I had three topics to cover. Can we get a Mission Accomplished banner up in here?

The Gravel Pit

Today's field trip was to the South Gloucester Sand and Gravel Pit. It was as fun as it sounds.

This was the most breathtaking view of the day. Awful.

This was everyone trying to clamour up the little hill, seeing how many pounds of dirt they could work into their shoes. I threw out my socks when I got home. Brand new socks in the garbage. Damn dirt.

John was getting rained on. He shared my hatred of the trip.

Kerri tried to make the best of it.

Christina just loves pretending to be a geologist. For us geographers, these trips are a little hard to stomach. We hate geologists so damn much! lol

I met Nathan on the bus. Over the past few weeks, he has been sitting beside me in class, but we've never spoken. He also sits behind us on the bus trips. The other day he seemed dejected that the empty seat beside me was broken. Today I decided to talk to him. He was a welcome addition to our small group of geographers in a sea of geologists. That's a bad picture. He's better looking than that. Welcome, Nathan!

That's REAL professor-like. Psh.

There's my fat ass, professing my love for my favourite boulder of the bunch.

Then a craplaod of birds came.

And it was the perfect time for Helen to make an 'oh my god, birds!' face.

Never, under any circumstances, visit the South Gloucester Sand and Gravel Pit.

The Murse

And now, mainly for Bomber, here are the contents of my murse. I used to carry all these things in my packpack, so its not a crazy stretch that I have them in a different bag now.

The murse itself. It was even on secret sale. Woo!

My USB has its own little pocket.

So does my gum. This isn't my normal brand, but its all they had.

I carry my keys.

And my sexy wallet.

There is a union jack strap holding in my pen.

A pocket for my change [which there is little of currently].

Some room for a good bus reading book. I'm currently working on One Red Paperclip by Kyle McLaughlin. You know, the One Red Paperclip guy. It's very good!

I also take a notebook to school to document those precious classroom memories.

My Spiderman pencil case goes under used, but I feel it likes to travel.

I've also got an ever-important lock.

And no one should go anywhere without matches.

Umbrellas are nice on these awful days that we've been having. Even though I never use it. But I've got it!

And finally, you never know when you're gonna need these.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of my murse. Please come again!

The Front Row

Would the student who sits in the front row of the class, with whom I was talking after class and who is from Hamilton, please email me or call my office when you get this message.

-Philip Firestone

What a creepy message to mass email to your students. This is the type of thing I came home to tonight. Why is this person being contacted? What did they talk about? Who was it? Why didn't I go to this class tonight?

Well, I know the answer to why I didn't go to the class. It is boring. And Philip Firestone himself said that we didn't have to go to the class since everything is online anyway, and you listen to a person with a name as powerful as Philip Firestone. Say it with me: Philip Firestone.

Did you enjoy that?

So why didn't I go to class? Well, I was instead writing my Sandstone lab for my Quaternary Geology class. There were sadly no pictures of that field trip, since my camera batteries were not charged. Hopefully I'll get some good pics on tomorrow's trip to yet another quarry. Look forward to those, my friends!

Also tonight, I ate supper, watched Heroes with Andrew and Brandon [lets all welcome Brandon to my blog. "Hi, Brandon!"], ate a McFlurry, watched more TV, then went for a long drive [also with Brandon]. It was a good night. And school is overrated.

Alas, I am now drunk with fatigue, and I shall go off to my nicely made bed.

Also of note, I have purchased a fantastic Ben Sherman murse [my first] and it makes me feel like a better person. Yay, retail therapy LOL.

I'm getting gayer every day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The World Traveller

That's my mom on the right, and her coworker/friend Susan on the left. It is not a fantastic picture, but they are in Florence, Italy, and I'm super jealous. Not pictured: the other three people on the trip. LOL

Last night I got the following postcard from my mom [the picture was emailed the other day].

Sept. 21/08

Dear Michael,

Hi there. Having a great time. The weather, people, food & sites are awesome. We spent 2 days in Rome and are off to Florence today. We've met some nice people in our tour group. The flight was good and on time. Lots of walking & eating. Hope all is well there. Hope school is going well. I'll call when I get home. See you at Thanksgiving.

Love, Mom

Does everyone else miss her as much as I do? Cuz I sure do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Business

See what I did there? You thought this post was going to be about that brand new multi-billion dollar business enterprise I opened up on Thursday, thus causing me to refrain from posting. You were wrong though. This is about more than that. Busy-ness.

School started off with a bang, and they're making me dance cuz the gun is loaded to the max and they don't stop firing.

It is late and you shall now pretend I didn't just ramble on about school being a gun.

Also, it is 11:35pm. That's my new late. I'm growing up!

ANYWAY... I have not stopped standing in lines, buying books, seeing friends, having drinks, going to class, trying to stay awake in class, taking multivitamins to stay awake in class, sampling sediments [mmm, dirt!] walking places, busing places, buying things, trying things [i've officially picked some Starbucks faves and have become one of THOSE people]. And the readings they want me to have down by now? When the hell am I supposed to sleep and eat and wash myself?

On another note, I'm hungry, sleep deprived, and I smell bad.

Tomorrow I hand in my first assignment of the year. Friday I hand in an essay outline, Monday I hand in two labs, Tuesday I hand in another lab... this is how things are going for me. And now they start a new TV season as if I have time for that!? The nerve of these people! Go back on strike!

But things are going relatively well. Andrew and I haven't slaughtered each other, and my room is finally a lovely place to be, not complete chaos.

In summary, $50 bucks to the first person who writes one of my papers for me, or succinctly summarizes my textbooks. I swear.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Quarry

School has started off pretty well, and since I'm now taking a good multivitamin, I am staying awake in all my classes except for Biogeography which is exceptionally boring. So boring that spell check doesn't even recognize its existence.

This afternoon, my Quaternary Geology class went to [abandoned] Cantley Quarry [in, you guessed it, Cantley!] which is in Quebec. I learned today that while the class for me is considered a 3rd year geography class [which I'm taking with 6 of my fellow 4th year friends] but it is also considered a 2nd year geology class, which is why it is packed to the brim with the wee childrens. Well, since it is mainly a geology class, the geology students [see: childrens] actually knew what was going on, and us older [see: awesome] geography students were totally clueless. But what we did have on our side was a previous trip to Cantley Quarry in the 2nd year geography class Geomorphology. Take that, childrens.

We looked at a large hunk of marble which is covered with striations thanks to glacial erosion. With our trusty compasses, we measured the orientation of them. Like 3 of them. And the numbers were a little more varied than they probably should be. Oh well.

This is the quarry itself. Can I get an ooo and/or ahh? Remember, I've been to this pathetic hole TWICE now.

This is Kerri thinking "What the hell are we supposed to do, and why do the childrens know but we don't?"

This friendly fellow is an example of glacial quarrying. Quarrying in a quarry! Oh my! But the ice did it! Oh my again!

This object is a rat and tail, and is totally iconic in the uOttawa geography department since we see pictures of it constantly in classes, and we have now visited it twice. TWICE.

This is a lovely feature, no?

This is me because I bring out the true awesomeness of Cantley Quarry.

Yay geography!

The Post With No Title

Sorry I've been away for a while... I've been very busy with getting back into school. I've got some bad news to deal with in an appropriate manner and then move on, so here we go.

On Saturday, I broke up with Andrew. I feel absolutely awful about it, but I felt that it was right for me for various reasons. That's really all I'm going to say about it.

I know that Andrew reads this, so I'm going to make sure that he knows that everyone out there knows that I love him very much and that he is the best friend I could have. He treats me far better than I've ever deserved and I'm very grateful. I want to apologize to him for hurting him, but I thank him for understanding, for letting me continue to live with him peacefully, and for the fact that he is still looking out for me and my well being even now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Peninsula

Ladies and gentlemen, I have finally returned from my trip to The Gaspé Peninsula, in very eastern Québec. We occupied 11/12 rooms at a seaside motel [see: Hotel-Motel, whatever that means. Silly French people.] in the lovely town of Mont Saint Pierre. The town of 243 was rocked to its very core... our group increased its population by over 1% for 6 days. Go us!

I'm about to go all Geography on your ass, but there will be a slideshow at the bottom. You can choose how fast the pictures move. There are some really nice pictures, and some silly ones. But the landscape was BEAUTIFUL. Now, Mont Saint Pierre is basically in the shape of a U with the main road along the water, and two side roads sticking out from each side. It is tucked lovingly between two mountains. One is Mont Saint Pierre [the mountain, not the town] and the other is unimportant. The town is settled in an ancient fjord. I tell you this, because Geographers love to say things like fjord and archipelego. Try it. I know you'll like it. When stepping outside the hotel-motel room door, you got an amazing view of the "sea" which I don't really know if its considered the sea or still the St. Lawrence River, but you couldn't see across it so who knows.

Day 1
- In my infinite wisdom at 7:30am I tried to pry a closing bus door open. It continue to close, and I bent back 3 fingernails. Ouch. For good measure, I gave the bus the finger. That'll teach it!
- 13 hour drive from Ottawa to Gaspé with a break at McDonalds before Montreal, lunch at Subway in Lévis, and break at OH MY GOD THIS TOWN HAS A TIM HORTONS PLEASE PULL OVER.
- The ride ultimately went quicker than expected. That was nice. We were all forced to document in our field notebooks the landscape we were seeing and the distances we'd traveled when we saw said landscapes. Later, we learned that this was to make us look out the window, and nothing more. Bastard!
- When we arrived at the hotel-motel, we had a wonderful dinner that was some sort of potatoes and salmon in a pie shell. We also learned that while the meals of the trip were free, the drinks were not. My Pepsi cost $2.53. Megan's iced tea cost $4.25. Yikes.

Day 2
- No one learned from the previous night's drink fiasco, and those who ordered orange juice were charged basically a buck a shot for it. Insane! From that point on, everyone stuck to water. I stuck it to the owners by using my best French at every meal to order pitchers of water for everyone. Ya, taht's right. We don't want your pay drinks! Breakfast every day was eggs and bacon and homefries and toast. Delicious!
- We drove to Mont Jacques-Cartier. We climbed for about 2 hours, 450m altitude [we started at 825m, so the summit was at about 1273m]. I was about 8th last to the top, even though I was last for most of the way up. I'm not a hiker. But when some people stopped to look at the beauty, I kept going so I wouldn't be last. At the summit, we watched a herd of caribu which was totally awesome. I was too tired to get out my camera. Sorry. On the way down the hill, we recorded the vegetation and how it changes.

Day 3
- Same deal. Climb to the top of Mont Jacques-Cartier. Didn't we JUST do this? The hike was different. It was much cooler out so I didn't add to my flaming sunburn from the day before. I took less breaks, but I hiked at a slower pace. I arrived at the top Along with the TA who is paid to stay behind with the slow loser, and a girl named Lynn who was the female slow loser [me being the male, if there's any confusion here]. At the top, we broke into groups to study periglacial landforms. Measurements of distance, slope angle, orientation of rocks forming stripes, polygons and a massive block field. GPSes, measuring tapes and compasses everywhere. What fun! My group was me and two French kids [its a bilingual trip/course] and they are fluently English as well, but I chose to work in French to practice a bit. The trip was good for that! We measured transects of the massive block field. Much fun. After abotu an hour, The clouds rolled over the mountain and enveloped us, and it was amazing.
- That night, all 21 people backed into a short bus and we were subjected to a treacherous, lengthy, steep-sloped drive up to the top of Mont Saint Pierre. We got to the top and got to watch the sun set on the St. Lawrence from high above the town. It was beautiful. Then we packed into the bus for the treacherous drive down. Scary stuff.

Day 4
-We drove to the bottom of another mountain. Well, more like a forrested slope. We took some dirt samples from the ground which we will later have to run through an expensive machine which is really boring. I've done it once. I'd like to never do it again. Then, we had the joy of bushwhacking vertically for about 30 minutes. I was 2nd last, because the TA was behind me flagging our path.
- When we got to the top of the vegetation, we were at the bottom of a scree slope. A lovely 35° incline that is basically a loosely sorted rocky beach. The rocks are jagged and loose, the slope is steep, the distance is about 200m altitude. Let's climb it! [Michael cries, no, actually it was fun]. we went up in 60m intervals and periodically recorded the change in slope [it ranged from 29°-35°] and recorded the number of boulders in our vicinity at each stop. I took pictures at each level just to see if they were any different. Who knows lol. We ate our hotel-motel-provided bagged lunches [which were delicious and full of variety] at the top, and then it was back down we went. You could jump down the rocks and it was only dangerous if you fell or sent boulders flying at people below. We all survived.
- We then got in our vans and drove to a WIND FARM! YAY! It was so fucking awesome. I spent my summer reading about GE wind turbines and I finally got to go to see one. I drove through a wind farm once in Nebraska or something, but its not awesome until you've been inside a windmill. We also saw the most primitive laptop every which rocked.
- That night, supper was at a great seafood restaurant in Saint-Anne-des-Monts. I had a lobster club sandwich was was so amazingly good. Mmm.

Day 5
- The horror. Welcome to the very bottom of Mont Albert, the highest mountain in the area! You need to hike 6km to get to the top. Also, the climb is 850m into the air. Go!
- I hiked at the back with the TA, slow Lynn, and sore-lung Kerri. I was still last. But I did it, and I'll probably never do something so intensive in my life. Also, I beat small boy up the hill by like 20 minutes. Take THAT small boy! 7 year olds have nothing on me! lol At the top, it started to rain. To pour. With wind. And fog. Being geographers, we trudged around a plateau for TWO HOURS in this condition, taking measurements and comparing it to the other mountain. Finally we got to go back down, which took over an hour in the pouring rain, with our boots full of water, our toes jamming into the front of the boots, and a river building up on the path. It sucked. In the cold warmth of the van, we had an hour for our feet to rot in the boots. We dried a little bit, but with the heat cranked to dry our bodies, the foot stench cranked as well. What an awful day LOL.
- Supper was spaghetti, and then we all got drunk. It was wonderful. We also played the game 'tour everyone's bedrooms' because every room at the motel was different, and they all had their own creepiness. Our room has a small child's bed near the sink. One room had curtains with bleeding-eye angels. One room had PORN WALLPAPER. One room had a purple toilet. It was crazy, y'all!

Day 6
-The drive home was long. By this point, bickering had set in between even the best of friends. I had been without technology greater than a measuring tape for 6 days, since cell phones were rendered useless. You should have seen us on the first night when we fell out of the vans. 21 cell phones held to the sky like a team of "can you hear me now?" guys... 21 people praying to the Bars Of Reception Gods. Unanswered calls. Literally!
- We got back to Ottawa at 8:15 instead of 7:30. Then like 6 of us helped to carry all the equipment inside while the rest of the assholes stood around like assholes in the parking lot. Then we had a final chat, then we all left.
- On the bus ride home, a ceiling panel fell down and caused a large noise. There weren't many people, so no one was hurt. The driver was not getting anywhere with fixing it with a very large fork handle. Eventually, I stepped up since I had a pocket knife with me [thanks trip!] and i screwed the panel back in place in no time so we didn't have to wait for a repairman to arrive. I'm awesome.

Now, enjoy the pictures!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Takeoff

The move went well. I've been in Ottawa since Friday night. Good weekend. Good fun. Good drinks.

Last night I looked out the window, and remembered that the Hot Air Balloon Festival was in full swing. There were even more than this, but I couldn't fit them all into the shot!

Like these balloons, I'll be taking off... tomorrow morning I leave for Gaspé, Quebec for a 6 day research trip to kick off the school year. It's about 13 hours in a car. Thank god I'll be with Phil and Kerri... good people MAY make the trip there and back a little more bearable. I'll be sure to tell you all about it with LOTS OF PICTURES next week! Take care!