Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Man, my work life has changed

I'm having one of those technologically schizophrenic days where I'm feeling both up to date in what I need to do and massively old. I had a phone call from a teacher wondering about an installation that I think is probably the City's, and I told him the easiest way to find out would be to tweet them. Since we follow the City we'd see the answer and know for ourselves as well.

Simple enough, right? Well, first consider that I've been at this job for over twenty years (sigh). Then add in the fact that it was natural for me to tell the teacher to tweet them rather than call or write a letter or even e-mail, for pity's sake. It's the kind of natural, though, that has me sitting back after the phone call's ended and thinking what the hell was that, exactly.

My work life has changed a lot over the last two decades (sigh). For example, I have a desk full of reference books and I still use them, but my number one resource these days when I'm answering questions is knowing how to use a good search engine. Incidentally, I've said this before but if people knew how often their questions were answered by a good bout of the google they'd probably stop calling us.

I sit at a desk with a large flat screen monitor and use a high speed internet connection. No biggie, right? Except when you think about the system that we had when I started here. Two computers, dot matrix printer, and dial-up internet that no one used because it was only on one computer and it was faster just to take out a book. Cut and paste for documents was literally cut and paste. You wanted colour printing? No, you printed on coloured paper.

I'm not that old. It's just that things have changed that much.

Interestingly, things at home haven't changed for me. Only if you count digital television, I suppose, but seeing as I'm running it on a fourteen-year-old analogue CRT via cable box I'm not sure it does. I have no computer. I don't even have a smart phone (yet) because I'm off-contract and I haven't decided if I want to switch carriers. Do I miss the technology? Not really. I get enough of it at work. Oh, there'll be a time when I'll have more technology, of course, but it's possible to have a life without it.

No, really. It is.

Now excuse me as I stop (electronically) blogging and go back to (electronically) tweeting.

When exactly did my life become this?

Monday, 19 May 2014

I wonder what this post will be?

Any suggestions? I don't seem to have any, which is a shame because this may be yet another week of indifferent posting, depending on how busy I get with programs.

Our pointless photo of the day looks fuzzy, by the way, because the subject is fuzzy. That's a flower bud of Pasqueflower or Prairie Crocus (Pulsatilla patens... sometimes Anemone patens, but that's the old classification). The link is to some Google Image pictures of what the flower looks like when it opens. It's pretty. And, of course, I'll probably miss all the ones in Dad's yard if I go by the schedule of not showing up for a few weeks at a time that I have been. That started over the winter through a combination of bad weather and laziness. Now it's mostly laziness with a little bit of working thrown in. I've got to kick that habit.

Well, maybe not the working part.

I'm so seriously in need of flowers, though. The grass is starting to green up, finally, but there are still barely any leaves on the trees. I'm desperate for green, but I'm really jonesing for flowers. And spiders. Especially with that lens to put through its paces. I want me some close focus with good bokeh, boys and girls.

No one would have guessed that from the photos you usually see on the blog. Trust me to pick one today that has a largely in-focus background.

Anyway, I still haven't come up with a topic so I'm not going to stretch it. I'll try to be around during the week, but if I'm not you'll know why.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Things that I do sometimes

I'll admit that I have a few weird internet habits. Everybody does, really, but I at least admit it. One of my weirder ones -- and I've mentioned it before -- is playing with recommendations on Amazon. You see, I've ordered a variety of things form them over the years, and the variety of things doesn't make much sense to the recommendations algorithm. It can't seem to find a pattern for me, and I find that sort of unreasonably amusing. If I have nothing pressing going on and I've visited Amazon for whatever reason, I'll often spend a few minutes (ok, more than a few minutes) on the recommendations page clicking the Not Interested button for things that are way off-base, just wanting to see what the poor stupid thing will try next. My aim is to get the first page of recs to be entirely things that I might actually want, but I've never managed it yet. Maybe if I spent all morning trying it would happen, but even I'm not that much of a time waster.

Today the algorithm's decided that I want art supplies, philosophy, and ancient Greek plays. It's been entertaining.

All this is, of course, by way of saying that I haven't thought of a blather, but never fear. I do have a photoessay.

I spent a while in the yard yesterday taking pictures, and I sat down for a bit by the fish pond (not yet operational for the season, what with this late spring and all) watching the chickadees. These photos aren't the greatest since I didn't have a long lens on the camera, but there's enough here to give the idea. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present: the Bathing of the Birds.

The approach.

I did mention that the pond isn't "going" yet. It needs a good clean-out before the pump is started and the fish are brought outside from their indoor tank.

The bird's using a little shelf that Dad meant for holding semi-aquatic plants. We haven't bothered buying any of those for a while, though, because they tend to be expensive and in this climate they just die when it starts getting cold.

 It's a look, I guess.

Getting ready for take-off.

Action shot...

No, not drowning. Just having a drink mid-bath.

That's one bedraggled-looking bird, I think you'll agree. Or two, since the bottom two photos were of a different bird. As I said, not the greatest shots. Next time I'll try to remember to bring my other lens in and not just the one on the camera. It'll be weird using the zoom again, though. I've got used to the 50mm prime after the last few months. And I'm looking forward to taking flowers pictures with it for sure.

Come onnnnn flowers...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The medical me... and a hat

One of the reasons that I've been even more lax than usual about blogging is that I had to stay home for a few days. Um, that was last week. This week it was because we've been busy at work.

For those new to the program, staying home = no blogging because I don't have a computer YES I DON'T HAVE A COMPUTER. I don't really need a computer at home since I work at a place that allows personal computer time on breaks. It probably helps keep us semi-sane. Anyway, no computer at home, so I disappear from the internet for a while if I have to hang around there. I recommend it, actually. It's a good way to remind yourself just how completely unnecessary a lot of our computerage is these days. No computer, and you remember that you used to have hobbies that didn't involve farmville or whatever.

I did get a bit stir crazy at one point, though, but that was more from wanting to not be stuck at home than from electronics withdrawal. In my case it meant taking random photos of things in the apartment, 99% of which have been deleted. This one? Little bit of a story behind it, so what the hell.

This is my mom's Tilley hat. Tilley's a Canadian company that makes... well, hats. And travel wear and things like that. They've got a somewhat overblown air of adventure, but the fact is that they do make good hats. Not generally in teal, though.

Way back in the dark ages (or the early 90s. Whichever) when I started out as an interpreter, I thought about getting a Tilley. My dad had one, and I was outdoors a lot so a good hat seemed pretty necessary. At work at the time we had fake safari hats we could wear if we wanted, but no one wanted. Bad enough the khaki Ranger Rick shirts; add a pseudosafari to that and you're in full costume. A Tilley was a very much preferable option, but they're fairly expensive. Well, not as far as quality hats go, but for someone who had recently convocated and was working a couple of part time jobs? Yeah, money was an issue.

I'd gone to Klondike Days in Edmonton with my parents (now officially K-Days, I guess, after a misguided stint as Capital Ex) that summer, and as we wandered through the commercial exhibits I noticed that Tilley had a booth. It was the early 90s, as I said, and they'd apparently tried to appeal to a different demographic besides retired seniors cruising the Mediterranean by taking some of their old standards (this is a T3, I think?) and dying them more interesting colours than khaki, brown,  and navy. I can't remember how many there were, but I do remember getting excited that there was a purple one.

Purple? Yep, I admit to a love of purple. I don't wear as much of it as I used to because I seem to look better in red or blue, but I'm still drawn to purple. A purple Tilley looked like the answer to everything at the time. I lingered a little too long at the booth before admitting to myself that the colour didn't change the price and reluctantly moved on.

In the meantime my parents must have been having a conference or something, because before we left the commercial section I was told that they'd decided to buy me a Tilley for work. Yay parents, especially since they can't have been planning to plunk down for an expensive hat. I got the purple one, and my mother decided to get a teal one for herself. Free braided shoelace headband with purchase, in case you wondered.

So why aren't you seeing a purple hat up there? Because mine got used. And used and used and used to the point where it's a beat-up greasy (in spite of anything I've done to try to clean it) mess that now lives in the back of my car in case I find myself in sudden need of a hat. Mom's hat is a lot more presentable, so even though it's slightly too big for me (guess who has the smallest head in the family? And is that something to be proud of? Not sure there) it's the one I use these days.

But not at work. We have uniform ball caps now instead of the safaris. Not a fan, myself. I mean, I'm not against ball caps per se, but if you're out in the sun for any length of time they're massively unprotective to a large part of you. There's a reason for the term redneck, after all.

And so, the reason that I was stuck at home for a while? This is the part that many if not most of you may want to skip, because I've got a picture. I don't usually use jump breaks, but I will today for any of my two fans who would like to say goodbye now. And I'm not judging.

For the rest of you...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Fairly late pointless photo and you know that means no real post of the day:

The ball is for Arthur, you see, for when he gets older. He could consider it a gift from the late great Rikki aka Dogbreath, since she's the one who brought it into Dad's yard in the first place.

Ok, really? I just need to take some new photos this weekend. I have one on the camera that I'm debating on whether to post (you'll know why the debate if I do actually post it), but I'm hoping to find at least something in the yard that's worth a photo tomorrow.

This spring has been sooo slooow...

Anyway. It's late, this old computer is being stupid, and as the title says I don't even have a real post, so goodnight moon.

Goodnight ball.

Goodnight people who are already working on their three-day drunkfest in honour of May Two-Four.

Which, confusingly, is on May 19th this year.

I'm not sure that Queen Victoria would be amused.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Pointless puppy of the day:

Ok, so the puppy's not really pointless. Maybe it's the photo that's pointless instead. That'd be more usual.

No real time to post today, but at least now you'll have a reference image for The Dog. No doubt he'll be referred to frequently.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


This isn't a picture of the dog. I'm too lazy -- and, frankly, too tired -- to get out the camera.

I am dogsitting at the moment, though. Arthur (who seems to be defaulting to Doofus for me. I'm physically incapable of calling a pet by its name, I'm thinking) and I are hanging out while Wheat's doing some programming.

It's a funny thing, the way this dog reacts to me compared to Wheat. He's a puppy so obviously there's the whole puppy energy thing going on, but when he and I are alone in the office nine times out of ten he'll just go to sleep. Wheat says they've noticed it with other people too. Apparently in Arthur's world men are for playing with and women are for curling up next to.

It's a bit of an oddity, but he and I are perfectly happy with it until someone comes in and riles things up. I personally don't see the sense in taking a calm dog and getting him all worked up, but plenty of people seem to think that's what you have to do with puppies.

I'm not one of them, I guess.

Arthur's currently trying to bite the squeaky head off of his toy raccoon, if anyone wondered. So much for nap time, then. Time for lunch for me anyway.

And yeah, eventually I'll get out and take some new pictures.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Crud. Sorry.

I've been too busy/unable to blog for long enough that I forgot I had time for it today.

Now I don't have time.

So here's a picture of a conch.

We talked a lot about this conch yesterday with the new summer staffers. I used it as a prop as part of training. Probably not the most respectful thing to do to a piece of family history, but everyone seemed to like it. You can find the history here, and that's great because I really don't have time to type it out again anyway.

Wasn't this a fantastic post to wait a week for? I'll try to do better tomorrow.

But don't get your hopes up.
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