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Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Show and Tell

Hey guys,
I have two things to share with you!

Number one:
I'm sporting a huge bruise that's just started to turn the most beautiful shades of peacock green and blue. Actually, I think it's two bruises that have taken up residency fairly close together.

I'm not quite sure where I got this battle wound from. It was already starting to form yesterday afternoon so it didn't have anything to do with my Halloween festivities. I think it's from ultimate frisbee, because our last game was on Thursday and it was really frosty. I did collide with a couple of players while I was trying to stop... I just didn't think I hit anyone that hard!

Mystery bruise aside...
Number two:
I've gotten my hands on the new Coldplay album! 
I've only listened to it once so far, but I like it already. Some songs I can already tell are going to be on repeat are Up With The Birds, Princess of China, and Hurts Like Heaven

I get so goofy and excited when I have new music to listen to

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fembot

Each passing year it seems that my Halloween costumes take on a more and more makeup oriented design. This year I might have upped the stakes higher than I thought possible...I'm starting to get a little worried that this idea won't work. Might as well go all out seeing it could be my last time to dress up, right?

I plan on being a fembot for Halloween this year. Not your typical Austin Powers fembot either. I'm going to be building off of the woman robot design of Micheal Oswald, who is a great photo-manipulator/photographer that I have been inspired by for awhile. I should also blame Robyn, who's album I would listen to on repeat while painting the fence this summer. I'm sure her song Fembot also subconsciously affected my costume idea.


Fembot by Robyn

Micheal Oswald's female robots are sleek, human-like...and intricately edited on photoshop to look as realistic as possible. I'm armed with paints, moisturizers and bronzer, all with the hopes of being able to contour and create semi-realistic looking robot segments on my body. Wish me luck!

Here are pieces from Micheal O's AmalgaMATE series; half for my own reference, but also so you guys know what I'm talking about. He's got a wonderful gallery on deviantART, I highly recommend checking it out if you're interested.


AmalgaMATE 2 by *MichaelO on deviantART



AmalgaMATE 3 by *MichaelO on deviantART



AmalgaMATE 5 by *MichaelO on deviantART


No worries family, I'm planning on wearing a black dress. No bras and panties for me!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Guaranteed Smile



I do love The Bird and The Bee, and I certainly love adorable dogs. Put the two together and I can't help but feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys...














...Regardless of how old they are.

My favorite picture has to be Dave on the toddler swing with the most disappointed expression on his face. Then you have Kevin who's somehow managed to defy gravity.


When the internet was dead and I was bored out of my mind I realized how many wonderful old pictures I have. I'll probably continue to post more from time to time. These in particular were taken at the end of April 2010.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paradise by Coldplay


Paradise by Coldplay
And dreamed of para-para-paradise,
Para-para-paradise,
Para-para-paradise, 
Every time she closed her eyes.

I swear, I must have contributed at least 50 views to this video by now.
I love it.
I can't wait to hear the rest of the new album.

Retaliation








Here are a sequence of pictures from my family vacation in Cuba. I discovered that my new long hair makes an excellent weapon when it's wet and I whip it around. The result is a drenched family member, but I'm also left pretty dizzy afterwards. Here my father took the opportunity to retaliate by picking me up and dunking me into the ocean several times. 

My sisters stood by and took pictures of the whole thing. You can see in the fourth picture I'm giving Pamela a disapproving "don't you dare film this" expression.

Note: My dad is wearing my little sister's gangster hat to protect his sensitive bald head. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rain, Rain

So it's been raining almost every day for the past two weeks here in Guelph. After looking at the forecast for the next few days I realized that there will still be a lot of rain in the upcoming week.

What is it with Guelph and rainy autumn weather? I assume it's going to be spring that's wet and rainy, but fall always seems to catch me off guard when I don't have a raincoat or an umbrella. Thankfully, I'm armed right now with all my springtime rain gear... it just seems that I'm missing out on all the wonderful colors of fall when the leaves are so wet, brown and soggy. Whatever happened to colorful and crisp?

For those of you who are feeling like me right now, here's a gorgeous and inspirational video on the rain. Watching this makes me feel much more optimistic... a new perspective can make dreary and rainy weather a lot more bearable.




Speaking of rain - me and the boys had our grad photos taken this Wednesday! We booked this date a month in advanced, and of course is had to be raining throughout the day. What's worse is that some of these photos are taken outside. With the scenery and the trees the professional grad photos usually look gorgeous...but I didn't realize we'd be taking them in the rain! Surely enough, we went out for the photoshoot armed with umbrellas. I'm hoping my hair didn't frizz up into a mess with all the water and wind.

We took an adorable picture before we went to the professionals though:

Here are all five of us in the University Center, looking all fancy for our expensive photoshoot. Don't we look so cute and charming? I love it when guys get dressed up and wear ties. 

The current plan is that this cellphone picture is going on the mantelpiece if my hair turns out to look like a shag carpet in all the grad photos. Actually... I love this picture so much I might just print it and stick it on my wall regardless.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update

Hey everyone!

So the internet has been back and functioning for a few days now, and I'm finally done the two midterms I had this week. Life feels so much more organized when I can check my email regularly and download class notes without a trip to the library.

Which reminds me! I have to tell some of you what happened to my beloved laptop...

It happened last Friday night; the internet had been out since 4 in the afternoon and I decided to pack up my bag and bring my laptop to the library. I had turned down a night of Oktoberfest festivities in Kitchener, so I was determined to get a lot of studying done so I could make turning down the fun a productive and smart decision.

It was raining outside, but I still wanted to take my shortcut through campus by cutting through The Green (a large and beloved field in the middle of campus). I usually pride myself on never slipping while walking on The Green despite the elements - but that night was the night. I slipped on some wet and muddy grass and ended up falling backwards onto my backpack. I remember hearing a crack.

Once I got to the library I saw the source of the crack: the side casing of my laptop had popped open. I wasn't too concerned at first. My Dell Studio came in the cheapest looking shell in the world, so I just snapped it back in place. But then I realized that my screen wasn't working. With the ceiling light directly pointed at my screen I could just barely make out the normal start-up menu; I must have broken whatever provides the backlight for the screen.

That's when I panicked. Midterms were just starting, and I really couldn't afford to lose my laptop for several weeks for repairs. Leaving it as it was was unquestionable...unless I wanted to hold up a flashlight to see my screen. My solution?


Meet my new external monitor! At least my laptop was still functioning. I was able to make the quick decision to just convert it to a desktop computer for now and worry about repairing it later. In the end my battery life was so bad that the laptop was pretty much a desktop anyways. The only problem is now it's not mobile, so I can't bring it to the library or to class.

There are some good things about this situation though! Kevin was kind and helped me pick the monitor, and I ended up justifying buying with a small HD tv. At least this way if I do end up fixing my laptop I'll still have a functioning tv, and not just an expensive monitor that'll go in storage. So now I get some HD quality laptop browsing, and I can also watch tv whenever I feel like it.

Even with the new monitor my weekend without internet or cable was terrible. I got a lot of studying done, but during breaks I was stuck playing the games on my ipod and browsing old photos on my computer. It got to the point where I got pathetically good at my Robot Unicorn Attack game...so glad I paid the $1.99 for the app.


I challenge everyone reading this to try to beat my high score. You can play the game for free right...here.
It's amazing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Internet Died

Hey everyone!

I'm so sorry for my lack of posting. The internet has been down at my house since Friday and it likely won't be back until at least tomorrow night. Of course this had to happen at the worst of times - midterm season is just starting, and I also can't bring my laptop to the library anymore (something I'll have to catch you up on later). Let's just say there's a lot of stress in my life right now.

For now I'm writing this in the basement of the library on one of their desktop computers. This post will have to be short, but I just figured I'd update some of you.

I've gotten some really cute text messages in the last couple of days from concerned friends who hadn't heard from me all weekend. Thanks for caring guys! I'm fine, just a little unorganized with school work and emails right now. 

I'll be back soon with some new posts and pretty pictures... I promise!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby Hermit Crab

Baby Hermit Crab by amandaschroeder
Baby Hermit Crab, a photo by amandaschroeder on Flickr.
Wild baby hermit crab from Cuba. They were all over the place. This little guy in particular was very bold and not afraid to be filmed. He was so tiny my camera had a hard time focusing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Holguin, Cuba

At the end of summer this year I was fortunate enough to be treated to a family vacation in Cuba. It was such a relaxing holiday and the weather was absolutely fantastic. I was happy to find a nature reserve across the street from our resort because I'm the sort of person who gets bored just lounging on the beach day after day.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the vacation...

Cuba


Gazebo
I love this photo. My family was walking to dinner when we discovered a romantic little gazebo that's used for weddings. Naturally, my mom wanted us to take a picture of her and my dad posing under it.
Note: How my mother has to bend down to kiss my father. They're so adorable.

Cuba


Cuba
Meet Pamela, my youngest sister. Here she's enjoying the view of one or two studs while they play beach volleyball with a couple of older gents. 

Camouflage



Baby Crab
I found a very tiny baby crab crawling along the sand of the beach one day. Pamela picked it up and it sat still on her hand for a moment. It was too cute to pass up a chance of taking a picture. 
I highly recommend you click on this photo and take the opportunity to see it in a larger size. It's just so cute, especially when you can see the crab's eyes and mouth.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Three Years Ago - Thanksgiving Friday

As I was working my usual shift at the Alumni House today I couldn't help but let my mind wander. I started thinking about how excited I was for the Thanksgiving weekend to finally be here (in Canada anyways). I can definitely use the break, and I am so excited to see my family again. However, I couldn't help but recall a certain Friday of the Thanksgiving long weekend three years ago... Just the thought of it made me smile.



It was my first year at the University of Guelph, and I was living in the Townhouse residences where I made friends with some amazing neighbors. I wasn't planning on leaving for my long journey back to Ottawa until Saturday afternoon of the long weekend because I was offered a drive with my cousin. For whatever reason, my good friends Kevin, Dave and Drung also weren't leaving until Saturday and so we inevitably ended up hanging out that Friday night. 

The evening started out as most Fridays usually did; we sat around watching tv, playing video games, and drinking some well deserved alcohol. Then around midnight we suddenly realized that we were hungry. Fortunately, the long weekend gave us the perfect excuse to cook all the things that could possibly go bad in our fridge. This led to us making the most amazing midnight breakfast I've ever had.


Yup. I told you it was amazing. We found as many frying pans as possible and grilled up some scrambled eggs, breakfast sausages, and an insane amount of bacon. I think there might have even been toast!

Looking at this picture makes me smile. We haven't changed at all...Drung with his cute corduroy pants and burgundy polos and Kevin with his vast collection of green shirts.
After eating what was possibly the best drunken meal I've ever made, we started plotting our next prank (pranks had become a huge theme throughout that year). Alexey was the final roommate living in the boy's townhouse, but he had been foolish enough to leave his door slightly ajar and unlocked before going back home. Thus began the plans to mess up his room for when he got back to school on monday night.

I can't take any credit for the prank really - I did none of the hard work, but it was an amazing prank regardless. Me and Dave (who had a broken ankle at the time) sat aside and watched as Drung and Kevin moved all the furniture in Alexey's room so that it was completely surrounding the door. We made sure that the door could open fully so that Alexey could get a full view of the barricade when he stepped inside his room. We also ensured that all the furniture was placed in the worst possible position, just to make sure Alexey would have a hard time moving his furniture back without anything toppling over.


We were so proud of our prank. We made sure we locked the door so that Alexey wouldn't suspect anything when he got home. That's when we suddenly realized that we had forgotten to turn off his lights. Alexey's room faced the front of the house, and if he got home at night he might be able to see into the second floor window and see that his furniture had been displaced. Being drunk at the time, we reasoned that this would mean our prank had been completely ruined.


We went outside to investigate and to our horror we could see all of the furniture we had carefully moved stacked to one side of the wall. Our minds quickly raced to find a solution...Alexey always left his window unlocked. If we could just get to his window we might be able to pry it open and climb in, thus being able to turn off the lights. 

Dave and I once again stood back and let the able-bodied boys handle things. I took it as an opportunity to take pictures as Drung gave Kevin a lift to try to reach the windowsill. Despite being tall, they just weren't tall enough. Not easily phased and still intoxicated we decided to up the stakes.


We moved the bench that was in the backyard to the front of the townhouse and proceeded to use it as a ladder. Drung held the bench steady while Kevin just managed to reach the window. Dave stood by while I hid in the bushes to keep an eye out to make sure no RA caught us behaving so suspiciously. 

The one flaw to this plan was that I had no idea what the RA for the area looked like. Kevin was still fumbling with the window when I saw a small, frail girl come out of the main residence hall with laundry. She then proceeded to ask the guys what they were doing; I figured she was just curious about how stupid her fellow neighbors were behaving. Then to my horror the guys started acting very awkwardly, and I realized that this was their RA.

Kevin immediately jumped down from the bench and managed to invent a story about how they had noticed their housemate had left his light on, and how they were chivalrously trying to turn it off to save energy. For some reason she bought it. I'm sure she was skeptical and very concerned, but she bought it nonetheless. Maybe she felt sympathy for Dave who was in a cast and crutches? To this day I'm still surprised she didn't notice Alexey's disheveled furniture in the window.

As pathetic as it sounds, I was still hiding in the bushes at this point so I wasn't subjected the the RA's disapproval. She told the boys to head inside and forget about Alexey's lightbulb. The guys quickly moved the bench back to their backyard and retreated to their townhouse. I had to wait until the RA left the area before I crawled out from under the bushes to join them - if anything would have made her more suspicious...it would have been the fact that I was hiding in a juniper. Once inside we had a good laugh about the whole situation and detoxed for half an hour before I headed home for my bed. 

What makes me laugh the most is that this adventure occurred three years ago on the Friday before Thanksgiving...and probably also took place at the same time I'm posting this blog now. Three years ago I was with some very great people - who I'm fortunate enough to still have as my friends today. 

Another thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

To the Guys Who Ruined My Saturday Night

Last Saturday I had a bit of a scare walking home late at night. I'll go into detail about what happened later in this post, but for now I just wanted to express my feelings about the evening.

To the guys who ruined my Saturday night...

Thanks for causing me to doubt my safety in the place that I call home. I love Guelph, and I've always felt completely secure when walking home alone - even late at night. In fact, I would consider Guelph to be one of the safest places to live in Ontario. But trust me, dear boys, I won't let your actions tarnish my incredibly optimistic opinion of this city...and I certainly won't let this experience scare me away from the sense of freedom I have here.

In fact, I'm more so mad at you all. I'm upset that you've allowed yourselves to be one of the reasons that my friend's neighborhood has such a bad reputation. I'm upset that you all lacked the morality and intelligence to question your own actions. I'm upset that you guys managed to ruin what was a fun and enjoyable evening - and I'm incredibly angry that one of you hurt my friend and threatened the rest of us.

I suppose I should also thank you  guys for helping me to realize that I have become strong and brave enough person to stand up for myself and my friends. At least now I realize that I am courageous enough to risk getting hurt in order to break up a fight. At least you have the moral sense enough to not hit a girl.

So thank you boys for weighing the city down with your indiscriminate acts of aggression. I honestly hope it was a one time occurrence.

Sincerely,

Amanda



For those who have not yet heard the story of what happened to my friends and I last Saturday, I will try to summarize the story as well as possible...


The evening started innocently enough; I had been visiting an acquaintance in downtown Guelph to see his new apartment with three good friends of mine. After a night of conversation, a couple of brews and some wonderful Cuban cigars it was time to head home. Two of the friends that I was with, Devan and Kevin, live in a more industrial area close to downtown, whereas I live closer to the university. The last friend that I was with, Matt, lives in Brampton and hadn't been drinking because he had the intention of driving back that night.

It was two in the morning when we left, and I was debating about walking through downtown by myself to catch a late-night "drunk" bus home. Before I could make up my mind about how to get home, Matt offered me a drive back to my house if I just walked to Devan and Kevin's house where he had parked his car. This sounded to me at the time like the safest option. I would be staying with a group of 3 guys, and getting a drive back home without having to be crammed into a bus full of intoxicated students.

So we walked to Devan and Kevin's house, which is in an area with a bit of a bad reputation. The walk was only 20 minutes and was actually quite enjoyable until we were about 6 houses away from our destination. That's when things just started to feel wrong.

I think I was the first to notice the group of guys staring at us. There were three guys standing around on the other side of the street, one fairly intoxicated looking guy standing in the middle of the road, and another dazed individual leaning against a light post on our side of the sidewalk. As we walked by, the man who had been standing against the pole started walking with us.

We were minding our own business and talking amongst ourselves, but the dazed man following after us felt the need to join in. In hindsight he was most likely stoned, and was replying, "cool" "sure" "whatever". I don't think he really had any clear idea of what we were talking about, because when we turned to tell him that we weren't talking to him he still continued to follow us. After a couple of moments he suddenly got offended as we continued talking to one another. I suppose he thought we were talking to him because then he started shouting, "Hey. Wait...what did you say to me? What did you say to me?"

The next thing we knew he broke into a sprint straight towards Devan - right past me and Matt - and punched him in the face. It looked like a very weak punch from all angles, so none of us took immediate action. Devan was very controlled and pushed the aggressor off of him and told him off. We weren't causing any problems and we definitely weren't looking to start a fight.

That's when I noticed from the corner of my eye the guy standing in the street start to rush toward Devan. In response, I jumped in front of Devan and stood there as a human shield. I remember my legs were shaking, and I tried to shout at the guys to go away and leave us alone. Embarrassingly my voice was shaking too. I hope they couldn't hear it in their intoxicated stupor, but I was clearly intimidated.

The two aggressors just stared at me for a moment before turning away. They even backed off aggressively, being sure to turn around and scowl at us threateningly a couple of times before rejoining their friends on the other side of the street. We took the opportunity and quickly got out of there, walking the last 6 houses to Devan and Kevin's house. Matt and I jumped in the car immediately and left Devan and Kevin without saying goodbye. We were all so riled up on adrenaline that goodbyes didn't matter.

Poor Devan didn't escape unscathed. He did suffer a bit of a black eye and had a cut on his face from a ring. Thankfully that was as bad as it got that night. I'm so glad that things didn't get out of hand and that they ended where they did.

This whole experience has made me so happy that I have such great friends. They handled the situation so well, and didn't even retaliate when threatened and attacked. I am completely certain that if I hadn't trusted my friends completely, I wouldn't have put myself at risk like that. I knew they had my back and would do everything they could to keep me safe.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Sand County Almanac

So after over a year of procrastination I'm finally writing my first blog post... It's about time! While this first post might be a little disappointing, hopefully this blog will become my little corner of the internet for reflection and inspiration.



I spent a lot of time this past week reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. I had to read it for an essay that's due this Friday, but I gotta say...I loved this book. It's a shame I had to rush reading it, because I would have really liked to savor it over a longer period.

For those who've never heard of it, it's a collection of short essays on wilderness and nature preservation written during the 30's and 40's. It's interesting to see what's changed in the past 70 years, but it's also shocking to see how little has been resolved. 


This past Tuesday I took advantage of the lovely weather to go down and read by the Speed River. I parked myself on a bench in front of the water and spent a couple of hours there. It felt appropriate to be reading about Leopold's love for ducks and geese while flocks of them swam by, charming and noisy as ever.

It was looking so nice that I took a couple of pictures, but I forgot my real camera at home...so phone pictures will have to do for now. 
With the rest of this post I'll include a couple of quotes from the book that I liked. Hopefully it will help inspire me enough to get started on this essay!


"But all conservation of wilderness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish." (Leopold, 108).


"The men who are destroying our wildlife are alienating one of these rights, and doing a thorough job of it. More than that, they are doing a permanent job of it." (Leopold, 227).



"My notes tell me I have seen a thousand geese this fall. Every one of these in the course of their epic journey from the arctic to the gulf has on one occasion or another probably served man in some equivalent of paid entertainment. One flock perhaps has thrilled a score of schoolboys, and sent them scurrying home with tales of high adventure. Another, passing overhead of a dark night, has serenaded the whole city with goose music, and awakened who knows what questionings and memories and hopes." (Leopold, 229).

I can't help but love Leopold's writing. For him to take something I usually don't think much about (Canadian geese is a good example), and to write so passionately about it that I suddenly share his passion...this to me is a sign of a very skilled and sentimental writer. 

Hopefully I can do him justice in my essay!