Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Ottawa

An exhausting day with a meeting that went from 9am-6:45pm. They brought lunch in. But I went out for dinner and a beer afterwards with former classmates and now colleagues from Ontario and Alberta. It felt invigorating; it reminded me of what I love about being an archivist; it reminded me that I am not alone.

I met these two in September of 1996 as part of the incoming class of UBC's archival studies program. I hated it. I wondered why the hell I moved 4500km to get into this profession. I remember talking to Anne in a hallway and thinking she was okay. Raymond seemed smart and, hell, I seem to recall an MA thesis related to labour unions in BC. I would be okay. I promised to try.

I cannot believe I have known them for 15 years! I did graduate with my MA in 1998 and holy cow....I still work as an archivist. These two are - for sure - part of the reason why I keep coming back to Ottawa for these meetings.

Of all national assets, archives are the most precious: they are the gift of one generation to another, and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilization.

Arthur Doughty, Dominion Archivist 1904-1935.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It takes some time to get from Whitehorse to Ottawa. I mean, I've made the trip before but for some reason today seemed to take forever. Could be that I had a 6:40am flight out of Whitehorse and then had to stop in both Vancouver and Toronto before finally getting in to the capital city.

The good bits: sunrise was pretty and all of my flights went smoothly and Air Canada staff were all pleasant! I met Amanda from way back wardrobe_remix days and we ate Thai for dinner. Yum! She is indeed as lovely in person as you imagine her to be.

The bad bits: I have a 8:30am meeting tomorrow which will feel like 5:30am due to the time change and yet I am still up past midnight (local).

The hopeful: If we finish our meetings at a reasonable hour tomorrow I hope to get to the National Gallery for an hour or two. That, and I want to try and buy some mustard coloured tights. It's an adventure getting out of the 'horse dontcha know!

Friday, March 25, 2011

No Confidence

7:47 sunrise
20:25 sunset

Well, it's Friday and Ben will be home in 2 hours for the weekend, yay!

Also on today's news roll is the fact that we can expect a non-confidence vote to be taken in the House of Commons later this morning. What does that mean? It means the government will be defeated and we're headed for a federal election. I'm upset, angry and embarrassed by our current government who has been found in contempt of Parliament (a first ever!), and the fact that several members of the Conservative caucus have been charged with electoral fraud. And don't even get me started about the majority of our current government's philosophy and pieces of legislation. I am late for work but I will just quickly mention their anti-crime bill (build more jails and incarcerate more people) and the Climate Change Accountability Act which they killed in the Senate even though it was passed by the House of Commons. It's pathetic, really.

I am not confident that we will have a new PM come May (or whenever the election is) but I can hope.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fish Lake Ride

8:03 sunrise
20:13 sunset

It was -25C when I woke up yesterday morning but Environment Canada was calling for a high of -4C. You can't trust weather forecasts up here but I was hopeful that it would indeed warm up to something resembling spring. My friend Julie was organizing a snowshoeing outing and I was just getting ready for that when Tony and Sierra called to say they were going to go for a ride out at Fish Lake and did I want to come? Heck yeah! I had never ridden my bike out at Fish Lake (in the winter at least) and although I was told that the route was very straightforward (stay on the left side of the lake once you leave the parking lot) I wanted to go with someone in the know for my first time.

By the time we started turning the pedals it was just after 1pm and it had warmed up to -11C. It actually felt balmy. Sierra insisted that I leave my puffy vest in the car as she knew (and she was right) that I would overheat in a nano-second. One of our TransRockies rules (well, one of herTR rules) was that she got final say on what I was wearing. I think this started for fashion-first reasons (ie: how much pink can I make Jenn wear) but it ended up as a functional necessity since I often over-dress and have to take off layer after layer to be comfortable.

Three dog teams passed us on our way out. I still think encounters like this are a really cool aspect of living here.

The trail was in excellent condition - like a snow-covered highway - and we pedaled off into the sunshine. The pace was perfect for me (Sierra isn't feeling well and Tony was just out for a tour) and it took us just over an hour to get to the end of the lake. We then climbed up into the alpine for some lovely views including this one of Fish Lake. I don't think I have ever seen it from this direction.
Tony brought peanut butter cups for snacks and I think I have decided they will be my new go-to winter activity food. Mine tasted extra delicious after our efforts.
We made it back to the parking lot around 5pm and I was more tired than I had anticipated I would be. The ride wasn't difficult but something about being on a bike in the snow just tires me out. I do wish I had brought a GPS or something to track how far we went as I really have no idea and I am curious about the feasibility of going out further into the alpine on a day trip. Tony mentioned a cabin and that has piqued my curiosity....

Last shot of the day - this beauty is thanks to Tony. That's Starbuck the wonder dog leading us along the lake. I had such a great day yesterday that it almost (almost) makes me want winter to last just a little bit longer...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Like Mother Like Daughter

7:28 sunrise
18:52 sunset

I'ts funny, the ways in which we turn into our mothers.
We are both fond of white wine.
And a little bit sweeter is a little bit better.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

5 things to end my weekend

7:46 sunrise
18:37 sunset

It was a good weekend but oh! too short. Random things in a list of 5:

1. My new glasses arrived! It's always a bit hard to tell if I like a new pair of glasses or not for the first few days, but I am pretty in love with the teal inside colour of this pair. They remind me a bit too much of something I would have worn in high school (the striped shirt probably isn't helping that) but overall I am quite happy with these. I'm especially happy with the price ($68 including my lenses!).
2. It was sunny most of the weekend! Still cold overnight (like -25C) but today was absolutely beautiful.

3. Ben was here after his first 3 weeks of pltc in Vancouver. Yay! We caught up on important tv watching (last 3 episodes of 30 Rock, last 2 episodes of Glee), went for a bike ride with Mingus, ate breakfasts with friends, and napped on the couch in the sun (see #2).

4. Have you heard of the band Mumford & Sons? I'm probably the last person on the planet to not be familiar with them (although I had heard the song "The Cave" on CBC radio 2 drive) since they were nominated for a Grammy and they won a Brit award for best album this year. Oops, where have I been?! If you're as out of the loop as I am, listen up. I am loving their Sigh No More album.

5. The jeans I ordered from Old Navy arrived. I am in shock and awe but both pairs (the "Flirt" style at $8.99 and the "Sweetheart" style at $20.99) fit fairly well. The waist is indeed too big but they fit my legs halfway decently and I think they look pretty good! I have *never* ordered a pair of pants online and thought it was kind of crazy to do so with jeans but with return shipping being free and the actual price of the jeans being so low I figured why the hell not. It was a good gamble.
(Weird shot this one - my legs look skinnier than they are but it's a better shot of the jeans)

That's all folks. Hope you had a fantastic weekend too!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Representation of Memory

7:55 sunrise
18:29 sunset

Last year for my birthday I was given a copy of Photoshop Elements. For the most part I enjoy using it to play around with some of my photographs and who doesn't appreciate the ability to digitally delete a zit if necessary? But part of the reason I like taking photographs is that I like to document plain ol' everyday activity. I'm not necessarily looking to see if I can make myself look better or skinnier or whatever. I just want to reflect what is.

So when I went out for a ride yesterday and took a few photos at Ice Lake I hoped to get a shot that represented how the early evening looked and felt. And there's the rub - representing 'feel' in a photo doesn't always mean the image looks like it did straight out of the camera. For that matter, how I saw the evening out of my eyes isn't necessarily how it was transmitted to my heart and my brain. I suppose that a photograph is never really a representation of reality and it always presents a single point of view. But, especially as time passes, an image can come to represent something beyond what was actually in front of the camera. With that in mind, I can't decide how I feel about the three below images. If you click on them you will get a larger photo and you can see some of the differences a bit more clearly.

The first was has not been modified in any way (aside from cropping).

The second one has been cropped in the same way, I adjusted the contrast and colours and, if I recall, I then used an effect in Photoshop that makes your image look like a saturated film slide.

The third photo has been cropped like the others and I adjusted the contrast and colours again. Then, I ran an action on it that emphasizes certain colours and plays with the lighting. Since it's an action and I didn't write it, I can't actually explain exactly what happened here. I just played around with buttons.

I guess my point is: when I am out and about in the world and my goal is to capture a moment in my day, how important is it to alter the image as little as possible? Or is it not important at all? Is it more about aesthetic and 'feel?'

I'll probably post one of these to flickr eventually but I can't decide which one. Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I am your butterfly...

7:58 sunrise
18:27 sunset

I cannot get this song out of my head. At first, I hated it. Now, I somehow can't get enough of it and I'm digging around on the interwebs to read more about Zef and Die Antwoord. Seriously - I just keep playing this over and over....