Blog Archives: April, 2003


Pining away

While some residents of Unit 304 are pining away for me, I cannot say the same of myself for them. Reason: hair in my socks.

To recap, for those who don’t know what I’m talking about: The unnamed residents of 304 are long-haired redheads, while I am a short-haired blonde. I’ve found long strands of red hair in my binder, my bed, and my underwear. And just today, all the way across the continent in California, I found red hair in my socks.

Aarrgghh.

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Eloquence in politics

I found the following at The Toronto Star, by outgoing Québec premier Bernard Landry. Although I know little about M. Landry’s politics, I can’t help but be impressed by the humility and eloquence of his departure:

Earlier today, Landry appeared gracious when asked whether he was saddened by the PQ’s return to the opposition benches after its defeat at the polls.

“No,” replied Landry, 66, who has announced he will not run in the next election.

“Because in a democracy – I said this to the lieutenant-governor – the people are never wrong. They put us where we belong.

“They put us in government, they put us in opposition. We must welcome these two events in the spirit of public service and do our work with ardour.”

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A life without Star Wars

I arrived last night in sunny California and have started settling in. Although a change in US immigration procedures made me take longer getting my visa, after an otherwise uneventful flight from Pearson, I arrived at SFO.

My car rental is a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier LS Sedan, 2.2 L engine. It’s okay from an environmental perspective (pretty good on greenhouse-gas emissions, average (LEV) on air pollution and mileage). I have to bring it in every so often for maintenance, and they give me a new car then. I might ask for a Ford Focus which has minimal (SULEV) air pollution.

My place in Santa Clara is nice. The facility is modern and clean. The apartment has two bedrooms, each with private bath, and a well-equiped kitchen area. We have satellite TV and high-speed internet (wired, not wireless :( ) included.

My roommate Puneet (a 1B comp eng student working on the SunFlight project) arrived today. This afternoon we watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, which brings me to the subject of today’s post. Today was the first time he saw any of the old Star Wars. In fact, he’d only ever seen Episode I. How could one have gone through life without having seen the Star Wars movies? Are they not a staple of western civilization? Fear not, faithful readers, it shall be my enduring mission over the next four months to ensure that my disadvantaged roommate receive a training in the Jedi arts.

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1,776 steps of pain

CN Tower climb logoCN Tower climb logo At a way-too-early hour this morning, the residents of unit 304 (1, 2) and a regular guest made a mad dash up the CN Tower to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. It was brutal.

Last October, we made a similar climb to the top of the CN Tower, but by all accounts we were in much better shape then. My time today decreased the least (from 14:51 in October to 16:01 today), but was royally kicked by that of Chris (who conquered the behemoth in just 12:25). At least we get cool t-shirts. (Pictures to come when Cecilia posts them online.)

The climb also marked the last official house event for the residents of Unit 304, officially the best housemates ever. And now I’m heading off to California, currently writing this blog entry using free high-speed wireless access from outside the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Terminal 2 of Pearson International Airport. How great is free wireless?

More to come (including details on the car situation) when I arrive in California.

Update 2003/04/27: Read more about the climb at heathermurray.net.

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Status: packing

Sometimes (like right now) I feel my life can be defined by my current state of packing. This past weekend was “packing”, yesterday was “unpacking”, today will be “organizing”, and Thursday will be “repacking”.

Now that I’ve completed my undergrad degree (pending, of course, successful completion of ECON 102), it only seems fit to tally up the packing slip over the past 5 years (with apologies to Cecilia). My parents and I have packed the van 18 times, making trips to Waterloo, Toronto, Windsor, and Ottawa, and I’ve packed for California flights 4 times, about to start my fifth. Hip-hip hooray for co-op!

The days since the end of my exams have been very full. It seemed like Friday through Sunday were spent alternately playing clarinet at St. Jerome’s (my mouth hurts) (behave – this is a family-oriented blog!) and packing the van with my folks. Said goodbye to Connie and Bill (respectively the flautist and guitarist in the St. Jerome’s 9:30 choir). Spent a fun Sunday afternoon / evening illin’ and chillin’ with Scott. We made the dock in Mac OS X do crazy things (read more if you really care). We also came across a great puzzle program called Polyominoes, which is highly addictive.

Monday was my last Senate meeting, although the provost forgot to mention that at the beginning when he was announcing everyone else’s names (grrrr…). The most interesting thing we talked about were class grade changing policies. This meeting, there were debates, motions, and votes, oh my! One of the faculties had a policy that allowed the Dean to be the final authority on class grade changes and in another the committee structure wasn’t well-defined; a motion by my colleague Stephen Skrzydlo (the other half of SSSDSSS Consulting) sent the latter back the committee and the former was downright rejected. Yay students!

And now I’m in Windsor, typing away late one Tuesday night. Spent the evening with my friends Katie and Allison. (For the Waterloo readers, Katie has been my enemy and friend since grade 1, and Allison has been a good friend since high school.) We stalked a guy that Katie likes; it was fun. Both recently came across their pictures on this website and were amazed – they’re not geeks like the rest of us.

Well that’s enough mindless dribble for tonight. Live, from Windsor, Ontario, this is Tuesday night!
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Cars are evil

Stupid Santa Clara, forcing me to compromise my ideals.

So here’s the deal. This summer, as you may know, I’ll be working (sorry, I should say training to make US immigrations happy) at Sun Labs in Mountain View, California, a place at which diligent readers will know I’ve worked before.

The first time I was there, I lived right in Mountain View next to a trail and could rollerblade to work. The second time I was there, I lived in Palo Alto but could bike to work. But now I’m going to be living in Santa Clara (for those unfamiliar with Silicon Valley geography, it goes (west to east) Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara).

So I’ll be quite a ways from work and won’t be able to bike. Sun will give me a rental car, but that’s not quite the same. I was proud to be able to say that I lived in Silicon Valley and got around without a car. Now I won’t be able to say that. Well, technically, I could take the light rail transit from the housing in Santa Clara and get off at the exact same facility that I lived in in Mountain View and then bike from there, but that’s an extra 20 minutes onto the commute.

What do you think? Should I give in and become a faceless evil member of the driving polluting masses or take one for the team, have a longer commute, but save the world?

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Low down

Through a link in a fairly random email I received today, I made my way to Retrospectiv, an online photography site. Every photo on the site has the property that it was taken from not more than 30cm above the ground. It’s a pretty cool concept; it forces you to look at a subject from an angle you may not have seen since you were crawling around at age 3. Certainly worthy of a few experimental photos.

Rollerblading on Stevens Creek Trail, Mountain View, CaliforniaRollerblading on Stevens Creek Trail, Mountain View, California I scoured my sad photo archives and the best I could come across was the photo at right, that my digital camera took of me on the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View, California, in October 2001, just before I left the US. Technically, the camera is sitting on a bench and not on the ground, but I think that’s close enough.

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Sonnet 116

“Let me speak of a man with a true mind
Amid impediments, Doug is not Doug
That alters when he alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh no! He is an ever-fixed mark
Who looks upon tempests and is never shaken
He is a star to ev’ry wandering barque
Who’s worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Doug’s not time’s fool, though deadlines and exams
Within his bending sickle’s compass come.
Doug alters not within brief hours and weeks
But beats out even till the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved
I never writ, not ever knew Doug.

Heather Murray (see Sonnet 116)

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