Monday, June 29, 2009

Halifax: What I'm Looking Forward To

On September 2, 2009, I will be packing up my things and shipping out to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I will be spending my next three years. It just struck me the other day that I have a high school diploma. This is where some people stop- as far as they go. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to continue learning and recieve recognition for it, because quite frankly, I don't feel prepared at this point to survive off of all the knowledge I've accumulated thus far.

When I get to Halifax, I will be staying with the "A" family. They have three children, and the wife was a math major from Dalhousie. I'm looking forward to getting to know their family and that sense of community. I've really weighed the decision of residence life vs. boarding, and I think I would miss a home too much. I want to be able to cook and sit in a living room to read. Granted, I will be spending a lot of time on campus anyways, but I like the idea of returning home, rather than living at school. Plus, it will get me off campus more. I'll be forced to master the bus system, so I will not put off exploring the city.

Next, I'm looking forward to my classes. Right now, it looks like I'll be taking waaay too many math classes this year, so I'm glad I enjoy it! Hopefully I won't become overwhelmed, and thanfully they're all in different areas (calculus, statistics, computer science, etc). However, once I get these basic classes done, I will be ready for the more advanced and interesting options next year (game theory, number theory, cosmology, etc). I'll also be taking a class on Arthurian legends in the winter.

I'm looking forward to having access to the Dalplex, the gym on campus. They have a large indoor pool that I anticipate using a great deal. I've been looking for a regular fitness program, and I think this year may be the start of it. There's a nice gap in my schedule Monday afternoon, and available spaces on Tuesday and Thursday.

Likewise, I plan on joining the Dalhousie Swing Dance Society. They give lessons at different levels each semester, and host dance events. This will be another great way to exercize, and meet new people.

I'm also looking into the campus's chapter of Habitat for Humanity. They do trips each year on reading week, and HH is always something that I've been interested in getting involved with, but felt too young to participate in. Now, I can!

So that's what I'll probably be doing starting September!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Jon and Kate Debacle

Well, since every tabloid is getting nosy, I'm going to take advantage of this somewhat unsurprising event to give my opinion on "Jon and Kate Plus 8." I have watched the show twice. I know one of my readers is (or was, not sure what her opinion is now) a die hard fan.

Let me preface by saying that when I was babysitting several months ago, a young girl wanted to watch "Jon and Kate" and her parents always let her, etc etc. I said no. You can watch it with your parents when they get back, but I didn't feel it was appropriate for her to be watching at her age. First off, from the, maybe forty minutes I have seen of the show, I was very disappointed. The family is advertised as being a Christian family (If you'd like to argue that, then why is their biography in Christian bookstores and the Christian aisles of secular bookstores?), but I do not have a sense of peace when watching them. Sure, they have eight kids. Sure, that causes stress and tension. My family is a perfect example of faulty relationships. However, if you know your family needs to work on its character traits of patience and peace, then why invite a camera crew in to broadcast every dramatic scene? It appeared to me, quite frankly, to be a family that wanted to be in the spotlight and was willing to foster drama to get there.

Now, on the topic of their separation, I think the reasons given are beautiful goals, but the execution is wrong. They both stated in video interviews that they were getting separated because they wanted to give their children a peaceful environment. Separation does not create a peaceful environment. It creates a void in the children's life. Sure, they still have a mom and dad, but they do not have parents. They don't get to witness the interaction between two grown adults on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, bitter feelings eventually create resentment. Just because the two parents aren't there to bicker in front of their children does not mean there will not be bickering. Bitterness seeks out common areas to take a stance, and for them, this will be their children. Even if they say they won't, they will try to gain the preference of their children at the cost of the other. My parents said they wouldn't (and I can tell they tried not to for a long time) but after being separated for five years, the jabs just get worse.

Next, the arrangements that they have made for their children seem to shine the spotlight on their weakness of placing their children before their marriage. They have decided to keep the children at one house, and each live their on their separate days. They referred to it as the "children's house". Whoa. Does anyone see the world these children are being raised in? They are being taught that they are the center of their world.

This show (both before and after the announced separation) has turned me completely against reality TV (not that I was a fan before this show appeared). I find it absolutely revolting what people will do for fame and money. Apparently, Jon mentioned that he was annoyed with paparazzi following the family's every move, but both have agreed that the show will go on... through the divorce. Hopefully people will watch it long enough to see what a messy and depressing solution divorce is to their problems.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Michael and Evie Get Hitched

Last weekend, I was in Portland, Oregon attending the wedding of my best friend's cousin. It was the second wedding I've been to (that I can remember) and I learned lots about the chaos of wedding activities.

The rehersal luncheon was Friday on Mt. Hood. There was still snow around, which was exciting. Everything tasted lovely and there were some really great toasts. There was family from Alaska, California, Texas, and Alabama present.

There was a little bit of an issue with the flower orders and florist arrangements, so Saturday afternoon, seven other girls and myself learned how to make boutonnieres, corsages, wreaths, bouquets, and table decorations. I must say, they looked awesome. The flowers were daisies (yay!), roses, and lavender.

I got to meet the famous Anna B who I had heard so much about (don't worry, you lived up to your reputation). I roomed with her and the lovely Katie M for the weekend, and we had some great times, involving "legal U-turns," target shopping carts, and late night shopping expititions.

Finally, the day arrived and we rushed off to the church. After a couple detours around downtown, the whole party was there, the men looking handsome in their suits and ladies in their silver dresses. The ceremony was beautiful, and the message was well prepared. Then we went on to the reception and had a great time. I met Alex and Brett Harris, and Alex gave Alex P and Anna B a nice Viennese waltz lesson with his sister (those boys are amazing dancers). There was also a little "Cha-cha Slide" and "Sweet Home Alabama" thrown into the mix.

Overall, the weekend was a success. The happy couple was married, and the families got to spend a lot of time blending and meeting new people. Us girls had a fun time touring and helping with the flowers, and the boys had a fun time getting into trouble. ;) Weddings are fun.

My favorite "Brian" in the world
Daniel getting in touch with his feminine side

Michael and Evie rehearsing

Alex and Anna at the rehearsal luncheon
All Pictures by Daniel Campbell's Camera (so... Daniel and Katie)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Would of Thunk?

Well, you learn something new every day...

I'm reading The Know-It-All, the memoir of a A.J. Jacobs who read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. It's such a lofty goal... though I must say it sounds more entertaining than the complete Oxford English Dictionary, which was read by Ammon Shea, though it is just over 10,000 pages longer (EB: 33,000 pgs, OED: 21,730 pgs).

Anyways, today he's talking about Mr. Daniel Fahrenheit, creator of the Fahrenheit system of measurment. Students always wonder what Daniel Fahrenheit was thinking when he set his temperature up. According to The Know-It-All, here's what happened:

First he set the freesing point of a 1 NaCl: 1 H2O solution at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This would then make the freezing point of H2O 30 and the body temperature 90. Only he botched it, leaving us with funky numbers (32 and 98.6 respectively). Crazier things have happened...

I'm contemplating taking on this challenge myself. The first problem is I don't have an encyclopedia, nor the space to keep one if I did get one now. I think the first two things I'm going to buy/ask for when I move into my "own" house is a Encyclopaedia Britannica set and a Britannica Great Books set. I would get them now, but I'd have to pack them all around the continent before I settled back in Texas.

Warning for those who are considering reading this book: It's got language sprinkled throughout it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oh Dear

It seems my blog has suffered an untimely death, just at the start of summer. Poor blog. Nevertheless, it the words of the miracle worker in Princess Bride, "It's only mostly dead." There is still room for rejuvenation. Keep an eye out, and I do apologize for those of you who check back here. I recommend an RSS feed.