Lo, but the big day fast approacheth. 


Of course, I applied for graduation in December as required, and got myself into the system. Since then I’ve been getting little reminders on this and that and I’ve been quietly paying attention. But schoolwork first, and my primary focus has certainly been there. 

But today, even as I was starting to finalize my last ever paper, my mind started to bend toward graduation. 

I’ve finally made up my mind to take part in the ceremony. This is big. After my first degree in 1990 I was so tired, so utterly, wretchedly, tired in so many different areas of my life that I did not take part – I just picked up my silly piece of paper, handed my silly photos to my Mom with an injunction never to show them to me again, and rode off into the sunset. 

This time though, I think I owe it to myself to attend, and I’m going for it. 

So I’ve ordered and paid for my cap and gown, I’ve gone over the checklist, and on Monday before class I’ll stop by the Faculty office to make sure I’m still on target.

I don’t know who’s going to join me since for my family attendance does involve some sacrifices, but let’s face it I’m not some dewey-eyed 23 year old just setting out in the world. Still, I’m going to invest in it for my own sake at least.

It’s been a tough slog for many different reasons, but now the end is most definitely in sight. 

I can’t deny it, it’s exciting.


3 down

Well, I’m relieved and content. The excitement is over, the presentation done, and yes it seemed to go very well. We regaled ’em for over an hour on our chosen topic, and everyone seemed very much engaged. Well, almost everyone – there are always those who prop open their eyelids or hide behind a book. 

I must say, since this whole adventure began I haven’t been that guy very often. I can think of a couple of time in the first semester of year one when I was sick and just didn’t have the strength to participate. But other than that, it’s been pretty hard to shut me up. 

I think that’s the better way. I’m old enough to know that being wrong isn’t always a bad thing, so I’m not afraid to stick up my hand. I set realistic expectations for myself that maybe the juniors do not. I also allow my poor old brain time to rest occasionally – a very necessary habit. 

So that’s three of thirteen assignments done, for approximately 23 percent. I have a paper done and ready for submission tomorrow, an exam in eight days, and another in thirteen. I’ve changed my routine a bit: starting today I go in on my off days to do research and start those bigger projects. In return, I give myself the weekends off with a very clear conscience. 

Would you believe there are only seven weeks to go until the Christmas break?

Halls of Learning


WPC: G’mornin

As my schoolhardy response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, here’s one of the University of Calgary concrete mountains taken  last March on my way to an 8am class. I don’t have any of those early starts this term, and I won’t next term either, so for me this view is a thing of the past – unless I decide to go in for a research marathon.

There has been a lot of work involved with getting this degree, and now that I’m getting down to the ‘short strokes’ I’m feeling very much like I want to get it over with. But this is where I must be at my most disciplined. The work must still be done. The assignments this term, and next, deserve the same level of attention and focus as I gave the last ones, even if there are fewer of them. In fact, because there are fewer assignments there really should be no reason for me to not give this term’s work extra attention. Thg first round of deadlines is boiling up now. Fingers crossed.

I will say one thing (what, only one?): I’m much more up to date with my reading this term. 

Good morning



Click here for a good read.  


Do I feel like an old fart, or what? 

Today I actually had to shush a couple of students who just would not stop talking in class. And it wasn’t one of those friendly, grandfatherly “now-now-children-pipe-down” shushes either – it was a full-blown, steam escaping from the train, air-brakes bleeding, angry dragon fire breathing, horse snorting on a foggy morning kind of shush. 

To use the parlance, I gave it to them good. I flashed them the grampa glare.

What do you think? Was I grumpy? Was I rude? Or was I right?

So Classy




Fire it up

I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to fire this up again with schoolboy tales of what I did this summer, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least touch on the subject. After all, from April to now is four months, and my plan at least was for four months of quiet, peace and joy and plenty, hibernation, recreation, relaxation, recharging, and whatever other R words you might be inclined to conjure up.

Sadly though, the bare truth is a little darker. Truth is, related to a lifetime of baggage which I would gladly and gratefully shed at the drop of the proverbial hat, I had a – what shall I call it? – an episode at the end of May from which it has taken most of the summer to recover.

Since the episode I’ve been thinking a lot, naturally. You know, how does school play into this? Was school responsible? Was it a factor, even, or was it merely incidental? Was school the bad guy, or did it just happen to pass by the scene of an already-unfolding disaster? As comforting as it can be to lay blame, if I’m honest I will aver that school was only a bit-player in my little melodrama. That’s all, and nothing more. It added a little tension, but my problems had the vice-grip bought and paid for years ago. It’s a long, long story of which Tolkien would be proud.

School will play a role in my recovery, however. It’s an incredibly optimistic thing to do.

I’ve already chosen my classes and bought my books, and I’ve started sending my mind into expansion mode, following a long, hot summer of retraction – yes, another R word. I’m looking forward to it, truly, but I already know that this semester will be a walk in the park – at least organizationally – compared to my last two. Why? First, I’m taking three courses, not four. This will allow me to keep up with reading and assignments and still have a semblance of a life away from school; less bullshit, less blather, less guilt, less tired. Second, I have carefully crafted my schedule this time around to ensure that I have no early classes – in fact, my earliest classes this time are at 1230pm, leaving me plenty of time to enjoy all my R words, and perhaps develop a few more. Recall that last year, all year, I had to be on campus for 8am three days a week! I didn’t skip a class, but this will be a definite improvement.

Anyway, I’m lucky. I have a very nice office at home where I can work without the distractions of the student body – chatter, Facebook, Twitter and so on – where my outcomes will depend on nothing but my own level of concentration, so why wouldn’t I want to use it? Last time it didn’t seem like an option because of all the early starts, but this time it’s an absolute must.

Anyway, it’s firing up again. I hope I haven’t lost anyone over the summer. Not to deliberately mix my metaphors, but the kids at school are able to shine on their youth alone – an old fart requires a lot of polishing. Stick with me, and let’s see where this thing goes.