Sunday, April 12, 2009

A year of Graduate school behind me

Wow, does time fly or what?  I just finished another semester of school.  If I was only doing an MSc I would be completely finished with course work.  Since I would like to go directly into a PhD though, I will still have a couple of courses to do.  This was an intense semester.  I have spent 100's and 100's of hours on the computer putting together presentations and writing papers.  I had to write 3 different papers ranging from about 10 to 30 pages.  Each paper had to have many figures and photos, but it all came together in the end.  If you told me about a month ago that I would get everything finished by my deadlines I wouldn't have believed it.  The amazing thing is that it seems to always get finished.  Yeah, there is always more you could have done to make it better, and yeah it is never enough, but it is complete (you have to draw the curtain somewhere).  The learning curve this semester was extremely steep.  I basically had to learn how to do all the 1 atmosphere high temperature experiments and be able to do my own research and still keep up with a course that demanded presentations bi-weekly, and teach my course work to my first year students.  I feel that I weathered the storms, and I am happy with what I accomplished.

Just some photos of me snapped throughout the semester.  Offering a very small window into a typical day in the life of me. The top photo was taken at the UBC electron microprobe lab in Vancouver (The microprobe allows me to analyze elements in PPMs in a spot slightly larger than a red blood cell, an amazing micro-cosm).  The lower photo is 'my office'  (a nice top floor window in the experimental petrology lab with a view over the campus and into the Georgia Straight). I seldom use my graduate student space, it does not offer the same brightness and view as the lab does.

I also was able to go on a field excursion looking at the geology of southern Vancouver Island. What a fantastic trip.  Doing geology in BC is absolutely thrilling.  I have done geology in a lot of fantastic places in the west, and also South America.  Looking at the rocks on the western shore of V.I. while the waves are crashing on the rocks, bald eagles are swooping down to snag fish, herons are perched overhead, and the gorgeous Olympic Range in Wa is on the horizon, is about as good as geology gets.  The geology was fantastic and I learned a ton about the processes that were occuring durring the formation of the west coast of N.A.  I found some gold as well which is always a plus in my book.  It was a superb way to end such a busy semester.  I couldn't have asked for better weather.  We drove past mountain streams, rivers and lakes that look to compete with any of the best fishing waters in the States, but the shocking thing was there was absolutely no fisherman.  I commented about this to my advisor and he just laughed and said "if there would be 100 fisherman on a river like this in the states, divide that number by 100 to indicate how many people will be fishing a similar river in Canada".  For this example there would be 1.  It is just amazing to see such pristine wilderness without a million 4 wheelers, 5th wheels, jeeps, dogs etc.  I love the solitude and remoteness that exist just an hour from Victoria. I will be teaching a field school in Central Vancouver Island at the end of April, and I think it will be a phenomenal experience.  It will focus aroung Strathcona park and will offer amazing opportunites for seeing the most rugged and elevated portions of the island.  I will be definately trail running in the evening, while the students are "enjoying themselves", if you catch my drift.  I Look forward to mapping, it is so nice to teach this stuff and keep it fresh on my mind, but also to obtain more experience and knowledge to draw from as well.  We will be staying in nice lodging and the advisors, myself included, will be inside of some fantastic rooms that are around 250 a night durring the Summer.  

It is so nice to be done with another semester.  I am running again, but my fitness level has suffered.  The last couple of runs were a bit painful.  I will be back to where I left off in no time though (I hope to blog on my other blog about my last few runs soon).

I am sad to not be able to go to the Depeche Mode concert in August.  It just would have been a bit too much money.  I decided to spend the money on photo shop for Vye instead and I am much happier with that choice.  She really loves it and has come a long way with a relatively complex program.  It helps she has me for a teacher though (Only kidding!).  She is so talented and I only wish I could get her a nicer camera and so she could take her photography more serious.  All in due time I suppose.  It will be extremely sad when the day of the concert is here and I know I won't be seeing DM for the first time in over a decade.  They put on such a spectacular show that is hard to think of missing it.  I absolutely love their song "Wrong" and from the few other snipetts I have heard from other songs it is shaping up to be a great album.  I am excited that they decided to incorporate a lot of older vintage synths into this new album, and I think it should be a nice marriage between the old and the new DM.  I think that their music is keeping with their ongoing theme of singing about important issues that are facing the world at the moment.  I look forward to hearing the entire album, I will definately at least buy a copy.  Another album I am looking forward to is the new album, with a May release, by IAMX .  This album sounds like a bigger IAMX, and I will even use the word epic,  (which I don't throw around lightly amongst musicians).  I was sad to see that they are currently touring no closer than San Francisico, but who knows maybe they will head to Vancouver or Seattle in the fall.  I love the song 'Running'.  I have only heard it as a backdrop for an interview but it was haunting and just amazing sounding, and is bound to be my favourite.  I love new music coming out in the spring in time for Summer concerts.  I must admit I am one of those geezers who claimed they would never stop listening to the "trendy new pop" you hear on the radio, but I find little if any of the 'bubble gum pop' coming out today is pertinent to me and my life, and all of it falls short on one or multiple levels.  That being said, I do listen to new music still, I just listen to new stuff from the artists I have come to adore.  That reminds me that Placebo will be releasing a new album in May as well.  This will be their first album without their drummer (they split on artistic differences).  I am interested to see where this album goes.  I have really come to enjoy most, if not all of their songs and feel this new album may offer a new direction or redefinition for the band, but I hope the general feel and mood of the band remains (I don't think this will be a concern at all).  I am anxious to hear their new stuff, maybe even catch them in Seattle or Vancouver. 

These four pictures were taken on my trip to the north.  All of the photos are in the vicinity of Port Renfrew and don't do the beauty of the area justice at all.  I hope the photos illustrate, even slightly, the little peice of heaven on Earth that this area represents.  

All for now!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I have not had much time for blogging but will blog more come the middle of May.  I started a new blog completely dedicated to running.  I decided to start a running blog to keep track of my training regime and to journal my thoughts about training and running in endurance events, but also to keep my personal blog free of too many running posts.  I am sure this blog will get a few running posts still, I will try to seperate the two.  I have only had time for one post on my running blog but it to will see more posts come May.