Music, Here I Come

I attended the University of Waterloo orchestra concert held at Hagey Hall. It was lovely to hear some live music again and more importantly, it reminded me how it felt to play in a band and how much I miss it. Waterloo’s hardly the most exciting town in the world, but being close to the university for my upcoming work term does have its benefits. I’ll be able to take a course on campus at Wilfred Laurier and now, I’ll be auditioning and hopefully becoming a part of the orchestra. ‘Instrument’ of choice will be percussion.

I spent 6 years in the band program through junior and senior high school, 5 of them as a percussionist. Needless to say, music and the various bands I was a part of held a very central role in my daily routine. It was painful as hell to have rehearsals 3 or 4 mornings a week, but in the end, it was very fruitful. Not only did I enjoy making music, I also met and became friends with many members of the bands. As Microsoft says, music is social. Throughout those years, I also played the piano quite seriously, receiving my Grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music certificate.

So it was with quite a shock that I entered the University of Waterloo, with music no where to be found in my daily routine for over two years. I had the opportunity to join a jazz group, but never took the initiative. After attending the orchestra concert, I will be taking that next step. I’ve been without music for far too long – I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high, but I do feel like I shouldn’t have much difficulty in making the orchestra. I’ll have to dust off the drum sticks and get some snare rudiment practicing in over the Christmas break.

Classic Line

I heard this today at the office – “What was cheating in school is now collaboration in business.”

Fall of Summer

I think I’ve nailed down the date for some upcoming computer parts purchases. October 17th. That’s the date (rumoured) that ATI will be launching their X1950 Pro and it looks to be THE card for me to tide me over until the second generation Direct3D 10 parts arrive. I’ve put off this purchase for far too long already and at this rate, I’ll be getting my computer next year… RAM prices have been skyrocketing over the past few weeks so I’m going out tomorrow to grab the last pack of RAM that I could find at the low prices still. I definitely didn’t see this coming when I budgeted the computer a couple months ago.

It’s already officially fall and I can definitely feel it in the air. It was actually decently warm here today, but the past week has been relatively freezing. The nights and early mornings have dropped down to 7-10C and I think it’ll soon be time to upgrade the jacket. I’m definitely not looking forward to the snow that bound to come in a couple months. It seems like so recently that I was braving absolutely frigid temperatures during my co-op term in Waterloo.

I recently got my class ranking for the past semester. My goal was top 10 after I got my 16th rank last semester, but as the semester progressed, I had a feeling that wasn’t to be. As luck would have it, I just sneaked in at good ol’ number 10 out of 123. Seems like we lost about 20 people this semester. As well, I found out today that I’m actually on the Dean’s Honours list. That was quite surprising, considering my absolute mark wasn’t that good. Overall I’m a happy camper. Now, how shall I reward myself? πŸ˜› Not too bad for an Islander eh? /end bragging mode…

Just prior to writing this post, I watched the season premier of The Office (US version). Phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. The only bad thing about it is that I have to wait until next week to watch it… There’s something good about having multiple seasons saved up and watching it all in a row. It’s that instant gratification to know that you can watch episode after episode all in a row. It does prove to be detrimental to a person’s sleep regime though…

Okay, that’s all I’ll write for now. For some odd reason, Firefox has been acting up all day today, crashing all over the place and I’m a little scared it’s going to crash and erase everything I’ve written…

Familiar Faces

I just realized that I never got around to actually publishing this post. I wrote up a rough draft of it, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to say at the time, but I think it’s time that I got around to completing it.

I guess there’s one good thing about not knowing anyone back home. I was home for 2 weeks over the Christmas break in Niagara Falls. I had plenty of extra time on my hands and I spent it thinking. A lot. I even called (somewhat randomly) some friends who are now, literally all over the world. And maybe that’s what changed something in me. It was the first time I had actually heard those people who I consider my best friends with my own ears. Sure there’s sending emails and talking on MSN or whatever, but nothing can beat just chatting it up like old times. I was surprised just how I missed sitting with the phone just hearing them on the other end of it. I really didn’t want to hang up and I did eventually talk quite a long while those couple days.

Well, I was talking with one person about university choices since they’re currently on a Rotary exchange (lucky). Anyways this person expressed interest in coming to the University of Waterloo. Now, at the time I think I may have sounded like I was discouraging that thought, but I really was thinking the exact opposite. Now I tried to keep friends off my list of priorities when picking a university to attend. However, just the mention of the possibility had me choking on my stomach. I don’t think I could imagine anything better than to have a good friend here. Yes, I’m being selfish right now, but I tried to push my own bias out of my mind when talking about it with that person. Perhaps I unbiased myself a little too much and sounded like I was pushing elsewhere away. I definitely didn’t mean it. Not like UWaterloo’s not a good school. πŸ˜‰

Sure I’ve made friends, quite a few of them in fact. But I always have this nagging feeling that I’m putting on some mask that just isn’t me. Around my friends from PEI, I could act just about any way I wanted and know that they’d be okay with it. But here, I’m wary of trying that. Friendships aren’t exactly concrete as hell and doing something stupid could turn out rather poorly. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to shut myself in that hole I call my room and come out only for the necessities. At least I wouldn’t have to fake me in there. You don’t understand just how tiring it is to be “Charlie” here. I wish I could just not care, but some bit of pride or something prevents me from it.

But whatever. I’ll be (more than likely) going to visit the Island this coming summer. You can’t imagine how much I’m looking forward to that. To once more be among friends will be a great feeling.

There’s Always A Way Around It

Nah, I don’t mean there’s a way around doing the work that is necessary. I mean just look at me right now. I’ve spend the good portion of this evening at the library slaving away. What could I possibly have to do after work you say? Well, I have a weekly work update due tomorrow morning and there’s this course, PDEng, we actually have to take on ethics, morals, and professionalism during our work terms. Basically I get to write a lot of… *cough*bs*cough* and get a passing grade that essentially says I’m competent. But apparently not, since I managed to fail a few of the assignments that we had to do before the end of last semester. According to the evaluators, my supporting examples are too ‘vague’ or somesuch. Well, hello, of course they’re vague. The questions are unclear as hell. “State a personal strength and why.” Isn’t that like the most vague question you can ask short of “Tell me about yourself”…? But to please the university gods (program heads) I’ll resubmit them and put down some small itty bitty example that I’ll be very specific with and have absolutely no reflection of my actual person. Of course, I’m here to please.

How am I writing all this with my nastily constrained connection? (Let me tell you, using dial-up after that constraint would be like blazing speeds relatively. I’ve taken a measurement of the actual speeds I get in the slow queue. It’s in the range of 500 bytes per second.) Well, as the title would imply, there’s always a way around the chains society (university ResNet in this case) puts around you. I’m in the library siphoning the wireless of course. Yes, the joys of wireless. And to smite them all, I’m listening to the music that forced me to play this hand. Yes, I’ve saved the files that Pandora cached on my hard drive and stuffed them on the iPod. So as I write this, I’m happily listening to, hmm… Kieth Jarrett’s rendition of “In Front”, introduced to me after I searched up Bill Evans I believe it was. Actually, this stuff reminds me more of Vince Guaraldi than anyone else… When I get my connection back (like this Friday, maybe, when I got home that is:)) I’ll be sure to look up old buddy Vince. I’ll just jot that down on my Rainlendar todo list. By the way, if you don’t know what Rainlendar is, I suggest you look it up on Google or something. As the name may imply, it’s a calendar or sorts that allows you to set events (alarms) and todo lists in a neat little package that sites as a widget-like tool on your desktop. And if you’re as obsessed with computers as I am, you’ll be staring at your computer desktop a lot more than some little day planner. πŸ˜‰

In totally separate news, I’ve become slightly addicted to French Vanilla cappuccino. As any employee of a tech company should, I have at my disposal free pop, coffee, hot chocolate and cappuccino at work. All that caffeine is good for a kick start of the brain at the beginning of the day and then the continual rush is required for proper functioning throughout the rest of the work day. Of course, by the time you get back home, you’re just so tired you could pass out instantly in all your clothes in the most awkward position on the ground. Not that I’ve done that, I swear… Only for a little bit. Really. 😐 I’ve got a finished large cup of Timmy’s French Vanilla here beside me keeping me company while I slug through these assignments and this post. Ahem.

But oh! It’s 10:00pm and I really should get going back to res. I usually try to get to bed slightly earlier these days as getting up at 6:30/7:00am isn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world. One thing I’ve noticed about getting up early, before everyone else, is that the showers take forever to get warm. Since I’m usually the first in the whole building to take a shower, I’ve got to like start the furnace up or something in the mornings. I’m glad I’m making that second person’s shower more enjoyable… (not)

[tags]university of waterloo, Rainlendar, Pandora[/tags]