Sunday, January 16, 2011


For those you who follow me on Facebook you know that I have stated that I have agree to take a job. The job will be doing what I have done lots of, looking at rock. It is not the perfect job. I find the specific actions of that work boring. I had to take it.

My motivation and progress in getting work an other field was terrible. My funds will start being very low by late next month and well I did not have other leads. The best lead I did have fell through when I got out competed.

As I said before I intend to keep the process of moving forward to different career options moving. I know this will not satisfy as is. The mistakes made a few years ago are learned from. I know better not to focus less on the later. That was some thing I did too much of when I was with Tyhee. This time I have short term material goals. Yes I am using stuff as a motivation for work you need something to push you through the days. I also have more friends and I will miss seeing them as often as I like but I also know I will have people to come back to.

It may not be my favorite world but its a living. I will try to have good photos and stories to share when I come back.

Bad Movie Night


You know its the 21 first century when, not having access to Facebook on your phone is a bigger issue then not having their number. Yesterday over Facebook I was invited over to a bad movie afternoon. This was a far better alternative to an afternoon spent playing uninspired Minecraft, which was where I was headed on my own. I google the street address find it close by and hop onto Viking 1 and ride over.

Soon after I leave the thought crosses my mind that I don't know, how to reach the suite once I get there. I know from experience that suite number and door buzz codes at apartment buildings are not always the same. I did not have the phone numbers for any of the friends I knew there, they are on my friends list. This lead me to make the opening observation. This was a non problem on this occasion thanks to a 20th or earlier century technology, a note taped to the door containing the need to know info.

The bad movie showings included, Howard the Duck, a film along with the Farside might have affected my world view of ducks. If those slices of media were not enough to cement ducks in your mind as odd animals then go and read this dead duck day.

The movie event was also a cleverly hidden craft circle, with the host alternating between making a piece of scale mail arm and the kitchen with the two people I knew working tamer beading projects. It was suggested that I try to make something creative out of a bunch of colourfull aluminum chits and some metal rings. Being asked to be creative has about as much of an effect as running up to some one and saying "Quick be witty Now!" I decided that I was going to make a frame close to the size of a piece of paper, that way I could have a reference point for any thing more creative I might try.

Try would be the operative term. In the binary speak of Yoda, this was a definite "Do Not". The notion was that I could with the aid of pliers twist open the steel rings pop on the aluminum chit and close the ring. Steps one and two no problem. Step three, which after my first batch of chits fell off their rings was demonstrated for me was an other matter entirely. It turned out that the bits I was trying to link together were thin enough that any meaningful gap in the steel ring would be exploited and squeezed through. A proper fitting therefore needed the steel ring to a closed ring.

I tried I really did. Brow furrowed like a 5 year old might trying to colour between the lines (apologies to any 5 years olds). Sweat on my furrowed brow. For my troubles I had no more then three aluminum chits strung together, and a few bent and twisted steel rings that despite my best efforts still had the better part of a milli meter gap in them. I had given up before the end of Howard the Duck.

The next movie was Dead Living, a Zombie comedy directed by Peter Jackson. The movie climaxed with a nearly operatic finally involving a lawn mower. Some where during the evening I tried on his home made chain mail vest. This vest was made with a heavier steel wire then what I was playing with and was created using the same method as I had failed to grasp. I felt that one must try on chain mail if one has the chance.

The mail was comfortable, no chafing.

The final movie was a Lovecraft story, something Dagon. It was an odd anachronism to watch a movie stored on VHS on 42ish inch LCD TV. Part way through the movie some one showed up at the house. I did not hear what she said as to why she was there. It became clear that she was there to employ the hosts dwarfen skills in metal work.
As I was awaiting the gory death of the protagonist, and anticipating the appearance of a tentacled elder god, I could hear the goings on in the back room.

The when some thing like this
Ting, ting ting.
Wurrr wurr wurr.
ting ting ting.

A few tings and wurrs later the host came out of the back room and was seen entering the hallway with a hammer. The end result was that I was able to see a woman ware a chain mail and leather top, which does not happen everyday. Nerds I thank thee.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A possible plan


Non of this is certain and it is not the best of out comes but I might have to face not taking the best in favor of not ending up with the worst. On Thursday I have a meeting with a geologist for a company that might see me working in the Yukon and or Northern BC. I know 2010 saw me have some seriously negative reactions to some field work but There is a need for money. I have extra motivations these days.

On several fronts I am needing work more then the ideal job, firstly I am bored, I see too little of other people on the day today. Yes I have a good social life, the quality of the interactions is high the frequency is low. The low quality of work chatter, might help me form going bat shit crazy. Other motivations, I need a new computer. My Mac book's age is now no longer in doubt, the battery did a balloon impression and has started to be more of a chemical weapon then a power cell. A new battery may be much cheaper then replacing this computer in full, it is also throwing money into old hardware that I feel is not money well spent. At 4 years old its had a longer then average run for a lap top and might still find life as a extra computer. To round of the crass materialism is the desire for a new higher performance bike a new camera and a smart phone.

So on thursday I am going to do what I can to land that job. Hopefully land rotations short enough to not ware out my person, and with even more luck not miss the Jonathan Coulton concert on Feb 18. One of the things I am aiming to do different is to simply ask, what can I do or get involved in to go beyond core logging.
If there is no help offered in changing the content of the work, then I top up my coffers and do as few contracts as I can while focusing more energy on other lines of work. If the answer is yes well I don't know what happens then.

One thing that will remain constant, I will keep my eyes open for other work. I will continue to work the contact to sex up my resume. I still feel a little trapped working in exploration, a field I stumbled into and can't seem to stumble out of.

I have to admit I saw some value to the work as I sat in a pub telling folks of my first job out of school with a giant helicopter warming up in Yellow Knife. But Damn I am also a home body who dislikes overly long periods away form things, and misses his own cooking and the freedoms of the outside world.

An Mi 26, A flying machine that I saw on my first day ever in Yellow Knife. Its the one flying, the one hanging from the string is a Boeing Chinook.

Monday, January 10, 2011



This is one of my thought processes pieces if you do not want to read about the workings of my mind or my origin story leave now. I will try not to let this become a whining entry like I wrote last fall.

I am currently following a lead from a former coworker. It is a lead that has a reasonable chance of getting me a contract. That is the good news, the devil is in the details. It would be the same old, same old. Another job looking at rocks in some nowhere place working too many days in a row to be good for the head. I am following the lead because I can not afford to not take a contract. A trip to the Yukon will only be cool for the first few days and then the drudgery and the cold will sink in.

So its clear that I want to do some thing other then exploration geology. Hell I never planned on getting into that industry, I had class mates who did that field was a very deliberate choice. I stumbled into it. I took a job in my second year in my program it paid good. Then at the end of my program too tired of school to want to take on grad school I took a lead from my economic geology prof and landed myself a job in the Territories.

The job lasted two and a half years, it did me well, and got me out of being poor for a while. I was insecure and did not make any effort at looking for another job. I was also young and thought that loyalty to a firm mattered. This was not a path most people I knew or even me self expected from me.

The default position or opinion held by the people around me was that I would go in to grad school. Class mates that had worked in more cooperate settings commented that my temperament did not fit what they had seen, I chose research projects out of curiosity not practicality and I would have had the full support of the people I knew on faculty. Hell I had more grad school contacts in my last years then I did in industry.
I sat baffled as friends talked about having competing job offers, while I throw my resume in to the black hole of the internet for nothing.

So great was my ignorance when I over heard someone in my class talk about the salary he was negotiating, I was surprised by the notion you could negotiate a salary.
The situation now is somewhat better. I am more diversified, I have experience, but I don't feel as optimistic as I would like. The upgrading I did at BCIT so far has only landed me a very small number of ultimately unsuccessful interviews, the jobs I am getting reenforce the old trends its not the happiest of things.

This is not about me being globally unhappy, which is not the case. The one thing that was gained from BCIT with certainty was, in the absence of very strong personal ties to the interior, Vancouver is where I want to be. A shout out to the Skeptics in the pub people and the folks in East Van that I run into regularly for reenforcing that choice. Nor is the situation hopeless or stagnant. My resume is being sent to a professional should produce more polished document. Taking a different friends advice I have engaged in dialog with a recruitment agency.

At the end of the day, the easy jobs are the ones I don't but end up taking because at some point the money gets too low. Now I know I don't need to work non stop in that field to support my current standard of living but I want to be able to think beyond the basement suite.

The question I ask me self daily, is what can a person of average intellect, a generalist science education and moderate tech literacy do. I am confident that living in Vancouver is the out come I want to have after that I am less and less certain as time goes on.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to have tea.

Greetings Bloggies.

And so it came to pass that I was walking along Commercial drive on Friday. A day of comfortable temperatures but unpredictable weather. I was approaching the northern end of the street, I had a mission, to get a pin. The pin reads,

I will not
I will not
I will not

It may not be as awesome as Lars's Campus Crusade For Cthulhu, but its cool non the less. I was just out side a bike shop, saying one or two words with one of the staff who was on the side walk as I was passing. At this time I was not going for walk out of the need for that, I had already filled that walking back from the tailors on Hastings earlier that day, I was off to get out of the house perhaps say Hi to people I know.

I got distracted by the passage of a Tom Holt book. Thanks to the slightly sane nature of my personality I decided to start a conversation about the book or at least the author not having read that book specifically. For those who do not know Tom Holt is a english comic writer, I once described him as methadone for Pratchett addicts. If you enjoy Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore you should like Tom Holt.

So, a conversation was started. The specifics do not matter but generally nerdy. Our collective direction of travel was the same for that moment. I picked up my pin and ran out of plans for the afternoon.

I accepted an invitation for tea, which resulted in the day having about twice and eventually three times as much walking as usual. Tea involved a long walk to a location recall being close to the Adanac bike route and very close to the freight terminal. The tea was had in a very lived in apartment with a pile of books on the hall way floor, including, at least three of the trilogy in 6 parts, other wise known as the Hitch Hikers Guild to the Galaxy, Making Money Terry Pratchett, and some scifi story collections. Facing the books was a large collection of teas. Greeting any human entering were basement cat and fluffy basement cat. Two pretty black cats of social and vocal characters.

Now it should be noted that this is a post about how to have tea not how to make tea. For all of the interesting talk, I can not accept the method tea brewing that was employed. One does not make tea by inserting a cup of water with the bag in it into the micro wave. This failure was allowed to pass after my host's cats decided I was a favorable piece of furniture. Also any one who claims, though I lack an proof, to have a friend who head of Security at CERN is cool.

The tea ran out the cats got bored and other things needed done. So an other Kilometer or two was added to my marching that day as the path was retraced thought apocalyptic skies and gusts of wind.

Later on I walked 75% of that distance to see Sunday's Best play. Their show at the Prophouse Cafe rocked. I had missed 4 or 5 of there last shows and hated my self for it. I did not have tea at the Prophouse but did approve of the brewing method. The loose leaf tea was steeped in a conical vessel which when placed on teapot drained into the pot, no mess, and no need for overly bitter overly steeped tea.

Anti Pope


Because I have this stuck in my head I think you should too.

I like how the antelope is in fact a zebra.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Fancy Stuff Why I Cook It


This post has been simmering in my head since friday morning. I can no say why a brief chat on the street with a friend I did not expect to see in my neighborhood precipitated this but here it is.

If you know me on Facebook and you do if your any one you will know that I get both compliments and flack from food. Compliments from the few items I share with a lucky few friends and flack from the rest of the times when I was the only person to eat it but enough of a bastard to share it on Facebook. Though I would not call my food gourmet I do try to stretch my boundaries and have fun at it.
So the why of it. Firstly I just do like food and enjoy the experimentation and the act of both the cooking and the eating. I got raised in a home where improvised meals and variations on themes dominated over fixed recipes. This provided the seed for the try any thing as long as its not too complicated attitude I practice.

Secondly I spent a long time being functionally homeless. I was not a bumm, but from June 2006 to August 2010 I did not have a place of my own. From June 2006 to October 2008 the majority of my time was spent in the exploration camp at Discovery NWT. I certainly had the means to keep a place but with 6 out of 8 week spent in a camp there was no sense in it. After my a lay of I spent the tail half 2008 and much of 2009 on a cabin at the folks place. The cabin had minimal facilities but the absence of well plumbed sink turned me off cooking in there. I did some cooking during this time but it was not my space and its never easy cooking in some else's kitchen. This is where my first really sucky breads were made, the failures that lead to successes I have made more recently.

It was not until BCIT residence that I felt my cooking take off. Here at least the small slice cupboards was mine and the house had a good cooking culture. It was also under the pressure of the GIS program that I really started to value cooking as stress management function.

That brings us to now. Now I have my own place, simple basement suite in east van near lots of good shop. The unit was attractive to me the moment I walked in, it had a large kitchen, to be frank the main room is almost all kitchen. This was a pleasant contrast to the kitchen as after thought I had seen in other places. So now at last I can. But why do I and why the fancy stuff. Simply put I get bored.

Since completing the GIS program at bcit I have had an off again on a search for full time work. I have head my finances together with the fruits of two contracts, neither of which represent a direction I want to move in. The lack of steady work and a desire to feel I have done something leads me to cook and develop fancier dishes. The satisfaction of making a new bread or pasta work provides some of the satisfaction. Its a form of problem solving and creative expression.

Something I learned last year is something I enjoy. The one job, an unpaid practicum, that I enjoyed most of all was working for ESSA technologies on some software solutions. I did spend a great deal of time over my head and had to pick the brains (BRAINS!) of the team a fair bit, but I had fun. It was hard work often with my head banging against a mental wall but when I got things and managed to write some code and test , and eventually make it work it felt good. Cooking is easier then that but there is a similar satisfaction in making things work and building from scratch.