free page hit counter

Monday, June 19, 2006

An epiphany on the Bloor-Danforth line

Normally, I bring my iPod along for the subway ride back from Kipling because I find the music helps drown out the sounds of the train and puts me to sleep. But I forgot to bring my iPod this Saturday, and left to its own devices, free of muzak marinade, my mind started to wander and I began a process of self evaluation. Somewhere between Keele and Landsdowne I had an epiphany. I realized that the fatigue I wrote about in my last post had started building up around the time of my move. It was around the end of May that I started feeling tired--tired of pleading, waiting, adjusting, and conceding. My pleading, it seemed, always fell on deaf ears, and I was left to wait, adjust, and eventually concede. The latter three, being silent, were rarely acknowledged; but the former, the pleading, was always received, discarded and filed away under the "demanding" heading. In the end, all parties involved became tired and guilt-ridden.

The solution is simple: it is easier to wear slippers than it is to carpet the whole world. It begins with me. From now on, I will not plead for changes to plans that are inmutable and fixed, and I will not make quiet sacrifices that were never asked of me in the first place.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Screw it

This is where I scream into a bag about all the little things that get me really annoyed and go to bed. I'm tired in more ways than one.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Weekend at UWO

I spent the weekend at UWO to attend a conference for Let's Talk Science, the program that sent me to judge a science fair last year. This year I am the new coordinator for the biotechnology program at the UofT, and the objective of this conference was to give me a clearer idea of challenges and goals of the program. For three days, representatives from almost all the big Canadian universities got together to talk about science outreach and to design activities to get kids excited about science. And it is without any hint of sarcasm or irony that I tell you that I had an absolute blast!

Quite often, the long hours I spend in front my computer crunching numbers and writing reports take the fun out of the science I do. Some days my work feels no different than any other boring desk job, and that is quite truly a terribly draining and depressing feeling. But spending time with other grad students, building model rockets and assaying for amylase activity by spitting into vials of colourful liquids is an excellent reminder that science really is a lot of fun. I've been quite blessed to be able to do something I love--late nights churning out committee meeting reports not withstanding--and I'm glad I've been given this opportunity to spark an interest in science among kids. But if I see another "Three States of Water" exhibit, like the one I saw last year, I will mock the child who made it--mockery is a part of the scientific process, just ask any grad student after his/her re-class or qualifying exam.

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, June 05, 2006


I went down to the waterfront yesterday to have a little quiet time to myself. Back in Vancouver, I used to sit under "my" tree on Burnaby Mountain when I wanted to think and reflect. Sitting under that tree, I could tune out the rest of the world and simply get lost in my own place. I haven't found a place quite like that here in Toronto yet; this city has far too many people with precious few trees. The closest place I've found so far is the thin strip of green lining the waterfront where the Harbour Cruises operate.

It has been a while since I last visited the waterfront, and I had hoped that it would be the same as last summer. But alas, the place is overrun with all species of rag weed, and not very much like last summer at all. The whole trip was rather anticlimactic, hardly worth the hour long round-trip walk, which itself seemed longer than last summer. In fact, these past few weeks have all been rather anticlimactic. With all the stress buildup before the re-class exam, I focused too much on the all the fun I thought I would be having after the exam. I should have realized this earlier and toned down the wishful thinking and pining. As a matter of fact, I should tone down these things as a rule anyways.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Baby steps

I spent the last week settling in to my new place. The transition from dorm living to apartment living has so far proved more challenging than a mere change of address. The logistics of starting a "household", though a welcome challenge, can at times be rather taxing. Everyday I add to the list of domestic tools and necessities that I never knew I needed before. In fact, half of the items on that list are descriptions of the item for lack of a name--for example: Item (6) That thing you use to poke a hole in a can...with a bent triangular pointy thing on one end and a rounded-cornered semi-rectangular thing on the other. Try asking for that in Chinatown; like I said, sometimes the challenge can be taxing.

But despite the small bumps and hurdles on the road to independence, I have been making progress. This past Thursday I cooked my own meal, a three course affair with eggs, vegetables, and (this one I'm not so proud of) pam-seared SPAM. A small baby step perhaps, but a step nonetheless.

I'll keep you updated on the status of my metamorphosis from incompetent "child" to master housekeeper. But don't hold your breath; this could take a while.

Your Favorite Jerk