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These are things that I must learn to practice while I live - MrPutter: doing things the hard way, because it is there.
March 25th, 2014
06:37 pm
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These are things that I must learn to practice while I live
+Will be giving a talk at a GIS conference in late May, on some of the things we’re using GIS for in the environmental / NGO sector. Exciting! I’m now, of course, stressing out (in a minor way) about what kind of audience I should be aiming my talk at. Me being who I am, and having the background that I do, I of course tend to approach ArcGIS as if it’s yet another nail for me to bash my metaphorical programming hammer upon. But not having ever really been to a GIS conference before I don’t know how much programming knowledge I can expect from the attendees. I almost certainly won’t be able to expect people to come in with functional programming background, to my patented you-can-write-Haskell-in-any-language! (™) approach might not fly so well.

I mean, this is a minor problem, of course, and easily surmounted. So yes! Excitement!
+Back on the bike! Oh gods yes finally back on the bike. Because 164 days without was long enough.

It finally finally started warming up a couple of weeks ago; a chinook blew through town and true to the etymology of that phenomenon, performed a neat vanishing act on this winter’s piles of snow. So then the Sunday before last, I went down to MEC to get some replacement parts for the bike (which was actually in much better shape than me after England — even still had air in the tyres! A true testament to MEC quality. However when packing it up to put it back on the airplane I noticed those tyres had some bits of gravel embedded impressively deep within them, so figured “better safe than sorry” and replaced ’em wholesale).

And I got back on the bike for the first time since the accident.

Very unsteady and nervous at first: taking every corner super slowly and freaking out at every little patch of gravel. But it came back to me quick enough — by day 4 (after our Chinook was over and winter returned) I was riding through snowstorms and on icy roads. So, uhhh... yeah.
+Anyhow. It’s dinner time pretty quick and for the second time in as many days I am SO going to DaDeO — hands-down my new favourite restaurant in Edmonton! Sweet s’uthern cajun food done right, om nom nom nom. And the best sweet potato fries I’ve had anywhere.

Ok I’ll stop advertising now.
+One of the reasons I’m in Edmonton is to attend a Gov’t of Alberta “Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan Workshop”. It’s... occasionally frustrating, but often fun, as strange as that sounds. I realized recently that I’m beginning to — not just recognize, but actually know — most of the people who come to these things (and as I realized at another event the other week, my reputation in these circles is beginning to precede me... all the way to Ottawa! (!!)). But more to the point, I feel more secure in my knowledge, more comfortable talking to people at these events, than I ever did at, say, the math or CS conferences I used to go to in grad school.

(Of course, I’ve also now been doing this job for longer than I was at university but SHHHHH!!!!)

I never fail to be amazed at the unexpected places that life sometimes takes us.
+I am just as amused that at this workshop, held at a swanky downtown hotel, and attended mostly by business suits, there are also a half-dozen cowboy hats. Of the non-ironic variety, to be sure. Oh, Alberta.
+I do like Edmonton. In general. Always have. I say this in full recognition that I will have to hand in my Calgary Resident’s Card at the border. That’s fine :-D.

I’ve been coming up here a lot more frequently in the last 16 or so months (this is at least my 25th or so trip in that time) and... Edmonton makes me happy. I’ve mused about moving up here before (notably when I was finishing my undergrad and thinking about doing my MSc at the UofA). Still considering the move at some point.

But not right away.
-Russia. Oh gods, Russia. What to do?

I have no idea what recent political developments will mean in terms of my planned 2016 trip across that country. Reading the various ЖЖ blogs is getting downright scary. And, of course, it’s all about me. (Well no — duh — but this blog post is. A larger discussion re: Russia qua Russia is out of scope and can wait for another time.)

To be sure, 2016 is still over two years away, which is of course a long time — plenty of time for who knows what to happen — so I’m not too worried yet. But just starting to consider what kind of alternate plans I may want to think about. After all, I will have to actively start setting some of those plans in motion in not too long if I do want to go in 2016 as intended.

I just realized with a start the other week that my Gantt chart is telling me to start Russian classes at the U this September, and so I will need to kick off that application process in a couple of months at the latest.


So anyway. If I don’t “do Russia” (because that border into the Ukraine right now? Is just No) I will have to figure out what to do instead. Whatever it is, it needs be Epic. Because I’m not throwing away 19 years of planning on just any ol’ thang.

Other things... are going... the way they are going. Sorry to be opaque but trying to make less a mess of myself than previously.


Current Location: T5J 3N8
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Current Music: The Killers -- From Here On Out
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(2 comments , Leave a comment)

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Date:March 26th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
If you want to give your GIS talk over skype/google hangout, I'd be more than happy to take notes and give you feedback on the accessibility of various parts of it. :)

So what's so scary in Russia right now that would affect your cycling trip? I'm not seeing what what's happening in Ukraine affecting a Russian trip...
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Date:April 2nd, 2014 05:59 am (UTC)
> more than happy to take

Thanks. While I know what the talk will be about, what general topics I want to hit, etc. the details are still very much to be hashed out. So depending on where I end up taking it, I may take you up on this offer. Will keep it in mind and let you know

> not seeing what what’s happening in Ukraine affecting a

A couple of things here.

First, the plan is not just to stick to Russia. As a part of that planned trip, I intend to cross over into Ukraine, visit some of the areas my family is from, etc. For obvious reasons, getting across the border is not going to happen in current conditions.

The other thing, which is less of an immediate issue but may be a bigger deal in the long run, is the anti-western, anti-European, anti-Ukrainian, anti-everything xenophobic atmosphere in Russia right now. The propaganda has been running strong for the last couple of months, and as we are seeing at the political level, the country is becoming a bit ostracized from the “international community” -- not likely to help things. A lot of what I’m seeing in the blogs I follow is pretty scary, and more to the point, very widespread. I’m not too worried about running into one or two idiots; that can happen anywhere, and the possibility has always been factored into my travel plans. When that attitude becomes more common and widespread, however, it’s significantly more of a concern.

As I wrote above, this is all in the context of the trip being still over 2 years away. So I’m not changing plans yet. But the whole nature of this endeavour involving such long-term plans means that as far as the plans go, 2 years is not very much time at all. It’s becoming, in my mind, something quite immediate.

Having said that, the bigger issue is quickly becoming my memory (significantly affected, as I’m slowly coming to understand, by my accident in England). Still trying to figure out how to begin dealing with that.
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