March 25th, 2014

not just for breakfast

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.