Thursday, July 30, 2009

Portfolio Away!

I shipped the Third Year Final Portfolio this morning!

Portfolios are so much work to put together. Sure, you generate all the paperwork as part of the ordinary protocols of conservation, but it's the compiling that is time consuming. And fretting over the details, like the order and the table of contents.

It is four inches thick and 12.7 pounds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Canada Monies

So colourful!

Yes. They are playing hockey on the verso of the five dollar bill.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"The Sounds of a Vanishing Era"

I recently received this as a gift from a fellow conservation intern. A whole LP of Railroad Sounds: Steam and Diesel. To commemorate our tour of the Science & Tech storage facilities, where I was like, "They have trains in here!"

Steam and diesel. In stereo. Don't be jealous.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Strawberry Preservation Workshop

As an intern at the ThinkTank, I'm involved in a bunch of workshops, either as a participant or as an instructor. Workshops in which all of the CCI interns are participants (these workshops are put on for our edification, actually) are pretty common, so it is not unusual to get a series of emails with titles like, "Mannequin Making Workshop," or "Disaster Workshop," or "Packing Workshop."

So when I got one with the title, "Strawberry Preservation Workshop," it took me a moment to realize that the word strawberry was included, and that that wasn't very conservation-y.

Strawberries are very much in season right now, and the vendors down at the Byward Market are selling them practically by the bushel-load. As part of encouraging everyone to buy fresh, buy local, the Sandy Hill Community Centre offered a two-hour workshop on Strawberry Preservation. Also known as making strawberry jam.

So we all attended the workshop and learned how to make strawberry jam. Then, a week later, it was time to put our book-learnin' to the test. We had originally planned to do it old-school-style, picking our strawberries ourselves, but the weather has been really uncooperative. Meeting at Marie-Catherine's house - we mashed and boiled sixteen cups of fresh Canada strawberries into jam. Actually, a whole lot of boiling happened. We boiled the strawberries, the jars, the lids, the jam in the jars, everything.

My portion of the jam. There was a great deal of high-fives in the kitchen after the jam thickened and the lids were sucked down into place, making a distinctive popping sound.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

America's Birthday: It Just Won't Stop

So much fun was had, the weekend of America's Birthday!

The night before the actual birthday, we had a campfire and made campfire foods and set off small fireworks.

The Little Brother and Linda.

Crouching David, Standing Timmy.

David always makes spoons in these situations. They're always very nice spoons, considering the circumstances in which they are made. I got one for Christmas last year. It's now one of my conservation tools.

America's Birthday: Gun Range

Hye-Sung specifically but jokingly requested, during her time in the Wilds of Pennsylvania, to shoot a gun.

She was astounded when I responded, "Oh yeah. Can do. No problem."

Luckily for her, my family has permanent ties to the NRA, so we were able to head off to the local gun range for a nice quiet Pennsylvania afternoon.

Human-shaped targets. (I like their jaunty poses.)

A poster hanging in the picnic shelter at the gun range: "Make Shooting A Family Affair."

The Dads (the Timmy and Tank, and I suppose Michael can now be added to this category as well) gave the regular safety lecture. Safety glasses and ear protection were passed around.

The Little Brother gives instructions to Hye-Sung.

She's a Real American now.

This spent bullet wouldn't come out of the gun, and so the Little Brother just whips this crazy knife out of his pocket and pries it out. Hye-Sung and I were both like, "What just happened?" and I was like, "Who are you?" and then we made him put the bullet back into the gun and reenact the knife-prying so that we could photograph it.

Crazy Little Brother, shooting all serious-like and whatnot.

Me - not so serious.

Hye-Sung had a great time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

America's Birthday: Map

In the basement of the public library.

Please compare to the dimensions of the actual United States.

Friday, July 10, 2009

America's Birthday: Art Objects

The highlight of the Brockway Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration is without a doubt the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Art (and Occasionally Quilt) Show. Michael and I always enter at least one piece in the art show (my entries tend to confuse them, as they are often uncertain which categories the works belong in...) and we frequently win prizes. We're both exceedingly modest as well.

This means that we have an excellent notion of what pleases the judges. This year, Michael was sure to win best of show: he was entering a photograph of the babies. They love babies. (For my entries, please follow this link.)

But this year we were appalled at the results! Usually you can tell that the judges have some sort of artistic background. But this year prizes were apparently awarded not based upon any sort of artistic-merit system, but upon whether or not they would look good in the judge's living room. And the whole exhibition was hung terribly. My brother's mentally challenged puppy dog could hang a better show.

Any ribbons on this? Or any of mine? No!

Let's take a look at some things that did win prizes...

Second place, photography division. This is a photograph of a crab. I could take this picture with my eyes closed. And let's not get started on the framing. You can see my legs reflected on the glazing, because it was hung so low to the ground that it was at knee-level.

Honorable mention, photography division. A lopsided portrait of a beagle. The crooked hanging kills me. You also literally needed to crouch on the floor to look at it, that is how low it was hung. Also - it is a beagle. WTF?

This was in the 'Other' category - someplace my pieces frequently end up. It is some sort of dream-catcher meets coonskin cap. Fortunately the artist has put a handwritten manifesto of sorts next to it identifying it as a 'mandella'. (If you look up 'mandella' on the OED I'm certain that it will define the term as a misspelling of 'mandala'.)

This was my favorite piece, something worthy of Napoleon Dynamite himself. I really hope you can all get a good look at it. The title, I think, is 'Dragons'.

I'm all for Michael and I doing the judging next year. We'll have to exhibit our own work just as exhibition pieces, which is fine. Just as long as we could hang the show ourselves.

America's Birthday: Parade

My little hometown of Brockway really does up the Fourth of July... and since Hye-Sung has never experienced this most American of festivals, I invited her back to Pennsylvania with me for, as she termed it, America's Birthday. To add awesome to awesome (which, to those who remember their Algebra 1 lessons, is possible), Liang and her Michael (as opposed to Colin& Gillie's Michael) also came up from Pittsburgh to partake of the festivities. And brought fabulous baked goods with them!

The parade is mostly firetrucks. So imagine this times nine and you've pretty much experienced most of the event. Minus the sirens.

St. Tobais' own Deacon Bob, leading a herd of tractors (all John Deeres).

These people dress like the Ingalls Family and shoot muskets into the air.

This portapotty is a float.

Liang and I, during one of the pauses between firetrucks.

This was some crazy hellfire-and-brimstone truck. Note the awesome homemade paint job that it is sporting.

Yes. This is for real.

This was unanimously the absolute favorite. The text says, "Do not get drunk on wine for this leads to dabacery [sic] / Wars are a punishment from God for sins / I'm afraid of what the scientists carry with them (knowledge) / Those who will not remember their history lessons are doomed to repeat them / And now I have become death." From the misspellings to the misquotings, I'm not sure which part is my favorite.

Bird is like, "Did that thing really just drive by or was there something funny in those popsicles they just passed out to the crowd?"

Waiting for the fireworks to begin.

The Timmy and Bird. The Timmy always looks like this (ie plotting Mr. Burns).

Liang and Michael.

Fried dough!

It's not Canada Day, but since I had to stand in a jam-packed crowd to see the Canada Day fireworks, whatever!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


So the annual Ottawa Bluesfest is a big two-week concertpalooza: multiple stages with several simultaneous concerts. And despite the name, not all the musicians play the blues. For example, I believe that 'Ice Cube' is playing sometime during the next few days, and I'm willing to bet that he doesn't play the blues.

I've had a ticket to tonight's Bluesfest since tickets went on sale way back when... because Iron & Wine was playing. (I'll probably pick up one or two more tickets before the end. We'll see.)

Iron & Wine is a guy and an acoustic guitar and is really fantastic. Going to the show was totally worth it. Even with the muddy flip-flopped feet it was totally worth it. I have no idea where the giant Hawaiian shirt came from: it had nothing to do with Iron & Wine. I have the feeling that a previous act just left it there, or something. Won't they be sorry when they get to where they're going and they go to hang that sucker up and it's not there anymore.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day!

Today is Canada Day! Or, if you're a Francophone, today is the Fete du Canada! This is Canada's national day, celebrating the July 1st, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act. This united Canada as a single country: at the time, this Canada had only four provinces.

Even is celebrating! That friendly Mountie will help you find the answers to your questions, eh?

The day was really hot and the city was full of tourists, so I really didn't partake of the festivities during the day. It also rained during the middle of the afternoon. By the time the evening rolled around, a few hours before the fireworks, the weather was absolutely perfect.

It was also the perfect opportunity to break out the Canada temporary tattoos. Hungarians Benjamin and Andrea display their Canada-pride.

I had a larger maple leaf of my other arm, but felt that these little ones made me look strong.

Walking to Parliament Hill to catch the fireworks, looking down the Rideau Canal.

The three of us met up with Valentine, yet another Central European (Romanian this time).

This is a much more accurate representation of the three of them. Valentine talking and trying to push everyone around, Andrea telling Valentine that he's being stupid, and Benjamin looking at Valentine like he is crazy.

The War Memorial in Confederation Square.

Up along Wellington Street across from Parliament Hill, waiting for the fireworks to start.

An enormous stage was set up in front of Parliament and various musicians and dancers were performing all day. I had no idea who most of the performers were, but when we arrived, Sarah McLaughlin was singing. That was great, but it was difficult to hear her over the noise of the gathered Canadians. Some drunk college kid behind us periodically kept yelling, "I love Canada! I'm so glad I'm Canadian! Canada is the best country ever!"

Fireworks! (Interesting note: the Canada-themed umbrella was actually one of those umbrella-hats).

Most of the fireworks were red and white. Go Canada! After the fireworks, all of the people on Parliament Hill spontaneously started singing "O Canada".