Well, all of you are probably preparing to throw out yet another calendar. I look forward to celebrating my first leap year in almost a decade. Over the holidays, I was asked by my mother to go through all the paper I'd accumulated over the years. My room is no longer my own, it would seem. But this nostalgic view into my past had both good and bad moments. I found quite a few letters from old friends. Some I'm still in touch with. Some I'm not (Hi Wendy!). The worst of it, was stumbling across poetry I had written in high school. Wow. It was pretty bad. Very teen-angsty.
Okay, so keeping up with the Joneses is not really an issue anymore. I've been outclassed by my own parents, who for Christmas, treated themselves to a brand new iBook and 17" iMac with an Airport Extreme network and all the goodies.
I spent a large chunk of my holidays helping to set things up with my sister and her husband, and we're all pretty envious.
May all your Holidays be as merry.
Just now, I finished my Christmas shopping. A whole two days early. I think that's a record for me. I've even sent out Christmas cards.
I've noticed though, that since moving to my new place, which happens to be tiny, that I've really been... not discouraged perhaps, but I've been trying to find gifts that either will be meaningful to the person I'm buying for, or be something that has takes up little (or no space).
To that end, I've been rather unsuccessful.
Not to say that I haven't found something for everyone, but I feel more and more that my decisions should be motivated by a more global, sustainable view. It's probably ecogrrl's fault. Recently, she found a brand of canned tuna that is entirely guilt free. (Insofar as eating meat is guilt free.) The tuna is line caught, not net caught, and is something like species targeted or something like that. Basically it means only tuna was harmed in the making of this can of tuna. The downside of this, is that it's rather expensive. But that's the whole problem, really. People don't make choices based on if a purchase is good for the world. They buy a particular thing usually because it's more affordable or of a better quality than the other thing.
I discovered just recently, that my parents are getting on a similar bandwagon of late. My dad, who has been driving a GM Suburban, for about twenty-five years or so, has in the last year or so, downsized to a diesel Jetta. Shortly after he did this, my mom commented to me that she never realised how much they were spending on gas before. Even more to my surprise, I discovered today that my mom is buying "Seventh Generation" brand facial tissues, with a quote right on the box:
In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.
Wow. They, like, get it.
Maybe next year, I'll have this all figured out, and have world-friendly gifts for everyone.
And life is waaay better for it. Actually, it's not completely that I'm not at work. It's more that I'm not insanely stressed about work, which is much easier to do, when work isn't right in front of you, making funny faces, and trying to make you spew milk out of your nose.
Okay, so the previous week was a particularly nasty one for me. The good news is that I got all the work done I was supposed to, and everyone is fairly happy about it. This past week (not the stressful one, but the one after that) was much better, and everyone was in a pretty good mood to boot. It's probably largely due to the Return of the King opening, is my guess.
I'm actually sitting in the train station in London, waiting for my sister to arrive from Toronto at the moment, though I'm not connected to the internet (wouldn't that be sweet). I get a few days of family fun, then a few days of seeing old friends fun, then a few days of hopefully non-stressful work, then another long weekend for the New Years. Things should be good from here on in.
I missed my Tai Chi class. I stayed up late Friday working. I worked most of Saturday, and I work a bit of Sunday. Then I went home and slept. I'm tired. I'm sick. I'm at work again.
On the other hand, I'm very glad for a few things. I'm glad for my kitties. They spent all weekend with me that I wasn't at work, laying on my chest, purring as they listened to my laboured, raspy breathing. I'm glad that ecogrrl made enough dinner for an extra person on Friday, and I'm glad for Joss Wheadon, who seems to know what I like to watch. A different friend altogether lent me the Firefly series on DVD, which I watched the pilot of with ecogrrl and clvrmnky. It's quite good.
Things are going on that are making my life difficult at the moment. There are two critical projects at work which have imminent deadlines (which may have prompted the last post). My adorable and energetic little three-month-old kitten is choosing to be energetic mostly when I am trying to sleep, and chooses to be energetic mostly on my head. And to top it off, I found out recently that I may not be able to use the version of Blosxom that I recently spent so much time configuring to look all pretty, and revert to the "accepted" version provided by my ISP.
Well, that last thing isn't so bad, but the XML feed will go away, as well as some of the nicer small features, like categories, and some of the user template functionality.
I'll likely be working all weekend. I gave up a trip to Ottawa to see my Grandparents and most of my immediate family due to an excessive workload. On the plus side, I'll be damned if anything is going to prevent me from going to my Tai Chi class tomorrow morning. I missed two classes in the last couple of weeks for various reasons, and I was pretty certain that that was going to be it for this session.
My company threw us wage slaves a catered Christmas Lunch today. And of course, we got our seasonal gift of meat: A Pillar's gift box, featuring some cheese, a box of crackers and cookies, but largely, meat.
This is mostly all well and good. The meat will find itself a good home though perhaps very little of it will be my home. The ham will probably go to ecogrrl and clvrmnky who will almost certainly prepare it for some sort of holiday meal which I will attend, for example. The Christmas gift of meat symbolises a lot of the negative feelings I get from my company. Not that I am in general a disgruntled and unhappy employee, but here ya go.
In my mind, there is a very conformist atmosphere about my workplace. It is in no way mentioned, but I always get the feeling that you must fit in, at my place of employ. Which is really bizarre, because I know of no larger collection of free spirits, misfits and generally speaking perpendicular people then where I work. Nevertheless, it seems that the aphorism "A family that plays together, stays together" has been taken to heart a little too strongly. There is some pressure to attend (all) corporate events, and to have a good time with your work mates.
The problem with this is that, sure there are work mates that I like to spend time with. These people have become my friends. But I spend time with them, whether or not Work mandates it. I don't want to be forced (even if not explicitly so) to spend time with people I have at best a casual acquaintance with.
So how does this all come back to the box of meat? Well, simply, giving meat to someone feels like a very aggressive way of pushing one's own views on the recipient. Most specifically, it feels like my Work is telling me "Vegetarianism is bad. Non-Christian points of view are bad. Here, you should eat Christmas meat." On a more general level, I can't escape almost a similar quality from Work, that in a lot of ways, I should think what they want me to think, and not worry about it.
I think that my view probably comes across as a little extreme in this medium. I do appreciate my company, and I believe they treat me rather well, on the whole. I'm not a vegetarian, and I do celebrate Christmas. So why do I react so strongly? I don't know.
Alright, so I've been really bad about updating my blog in any shape or form. I noticed last night that the fine folks at pair.com now have a bunch of new services, including a blogging script. So, why not?
We'll see how this goes. No art just yet. I may get back into that too, but for now, I'm just as happy to just have some outlet for typing random things that stroll across my brain from time to time.
Blosxom's newer incarnations seem to make that relatively easy, to boot. So, here goes nothing.
Update: It looks like it's fairly easy to incorporate my old entries. I'm going to spend a bit of time and get that done tonight.
For those of you unaware of such matters, a new version of NetHack was released this week. I spent probably more time than I should have of late downloading and rebuilding the source to this fine game, and of course far too much time actually playing it.
To my credit, I have an excellent chance at my first Archeologist ascension. I have almost everything I need to take on the quest nemesis and feel reasonably secure about my chance for success.
The only other time I got an Archeologist as far as the quest nemesis, he summoned a succubus that lured me into inaction while he continued to pound rather heavily on my character.
Like any thing one spends far to much time doing, staring at all the little s dancing in front of my eyes, my brain eventually starts generating similar images for me, in some deluded effort to satisfy my subconcious mind. The result: mono-spaced, 80x25, ASCII action. It was reasonably vivid. Heck, maybe there's a movie script in there somewhere.
In the role of the @ symbol, I see Brandon Fraser.
This has been a less than stellar week. Mostly, it involved work not going as well as it could have.
Come to think of it, it was downright nasty.
In the process of doing some work for a rather large client, I made a minor oversight.
In the process of fixing the minor problem, I caused a very large problem.
For the most part, everything has since been resolved. However I was pretty worried about job security for a while there. As it is, I'm pretty much in the dog house with the client service people responsible for that client but life goes on.
At this point, I'm just working on things for a different client. We'll see how things progress
I was never really able to take full advantage of all that my tablet had to offer with the Gimp. My biggest issue was the pressure sensitivity was simply just going to waste. On a whim, I downloaded WinGIMP and plugged my Wacom into my windows box to see what it looked like, and while support for the pressure sensitivity was there, it was really buggy.
Finally, I broke down and downloaded the 300+ meg demo of Photoshop from Adobe's website. What a difference it made. True, my art still sucks, but I can now draw very natural looking sketchy lines with a variety of brush effects. For sketching, having the size of the brush shape directly linked to pressure makes for a beautiful looking stroke.
Someday, I'll have to break down and buy a version of Photoshop for my own personal use. I imagine that I'll end up using Elements or some other scaled down version. In the meantime, I'm putting Photoshop on my wish list in case there are any among you feeling particularly philanthropic.