Archive for September, 2010

The Beginning Of The End

Well, I knew this day would come eventually. I hoped that it never would, but here it is:

Microsoft has announced that they’re giving up on Windows Live Spaces. In just a few short months, everything that I’ve done here – all the work that I’ve put in over the last five years – will be gone. Some guy at Microsoft will push a button, and just like that, poof. Five years, gone.

As of January, I’ll no longer be able to update this space. As of March, this space will no longer exist.

It had to happen eventually. I mean, I’m one of about five people in the world that use Windows Live Spaces anymore. There’s no way that Microsoft is making any money from these things. From a business standpoint, it doesn’t make sense that they’ve kept them up as long as they have. But even though I saw this coming, I’m still sad. It’s hard to explain what this place means to me. Objectively, it’s just an insignificant dot on the edge of the Internet that all of three people know about, but to me it means a lot more than that. In a world that’s constantly changing, it’s been a constant. No matter what crap is going on out there, I’ve always been able to talk about it here. It’s been with me in Woodbridge, and Kingston, and Toronto. Frankly, I can’t imagine what life was like before I had this space. Soon, I’m going to find out.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. On the positive side, I’ve been given five months notice. I was afraid that when Microsoft decided to pull the plug on Spaces, they would do it without letting anyone know. This way I have enough time to archive everything so that it survives in some form.

And also I hear that Microsoft is partnering with to allow certain things from this space to transfer across to that site. If it allows me to preserve most of what I’ve done here, I’ll be content to switch over to that site when the time comes.

It’s a sad day, but life goes on. I’m just going to try to enjoy the three months that I have left here.

Strange And Wonderful Things

Man, what a weird week. Let me break it down for you:

First off, fencing tryouts. Honestly, I should have automatically made the team just for being able to find the damn place. Getting to the athletic centre was easy enough, but once you’re inside the building you need to follow like 50 different signs just to get halfway to the fencing salle. After that, the signs end and you have to guess which door leads to the salle. Not fun.

Once inside, I suited up and prepared to take on some combatants. To be honest, Queen’s had way better facilities for fencing. The salle there was bigger, there was more equipment, there was better quality equipment, etc. I think I miss that just a little bit.

Anyhow, the first guy I faced owned me. 10-5 was the final score. But I felt fortunate to have scored 5 points on this guy. I could tell that he was a lot better than me, so I was just happy to escape without being embarrassed by a 10-2 scoreline or worse.

And then something happened. I don’t know what it was, but somehow I completely turned it on for my second match. This person was also clearly better than me, but somehow I managed to win rather convincingly, by a score of 10-5.

That was it for my tryout. Just two matches. But I received an email today telling me to show up for practice tomorrow, so I guess I’ve survived the first cut! That means that unless I fuck up and get myself cut within the next month, I’ll be heading back to Queen’s for a tournament next month. I’m excited for that.

Second, Spanish class. At the end of Wednesday’s Spanish class, the professor wrote the names of the TAs on the blackboard. Mine was named Raquel.

"What a coincidence," I thought to myself. "My Spanish TA last year was also named Raquel."

After class I decided to ask the professor what this Raquel’s last name was. I mean, how many Raquels are there in Ontario, right? And whaddaya know, it ends up being the same Raquel!

Even within the same university, having the same TA two years in a row is rare. But having the same TA after transferring? Unheard of. What are the odds that both me and Raquel would have made the Queen’s to U of T switch at the same time, and even then, what are the odds that she would end up as my TA? Unbelievably slim. And yet somehow it happened.

Whatever the odds, I’m very happy that things turned out the way that they did. Raquel was my favourite TA back at Queen’s, and I’m glad to have that little slice of familiarity in this strange new world. It feels good to know someone that nobody else does, you know?

Third, the people on my floor. Where do I even begin with this one?

Back at Queen’s, my floor was full of people that I had very little in common with. As a result, I was unable to act like myself while living there. You guys know how I act, right? That quirky way that I tend to talk? There was none of that at Queen’s. Even though I’m usually known for talking too much, at Queen’s I was known for talking too little. I was never able to loosen up and be myself there. Throughout the year I thought that it would happen once I got to know everyone better, but I just never got it going.

But it’s different here. I have even less in common with the people on my floor this year. And yet somehow I’m doing a lot better already. I think it’s because I’ve managed to find a group of people that share a similar level of quirkiness. It’s become a nightly tradition that we all sit outside in the hallway and chat for a couple of hours. Then once quiet hours commence, we move into someone’s room. Often mine, since I have the biggest room and no roommate who might be disturbed by our conversations.

And boy are those conversations disturbing. I dare not repeat what’s been said, suffice to say that we talk about things that I wouldn’t discuss with my closest friends. And yet everyone is really open with each other, despite the fact that we haven’t even known each other for a month yet. It’s very strange and very wonderful at the same time.

Lastly, the dog.

And here’s a real strange one. Today we all piled into the family vehicle, drove to Hamilton, and returned home a few hours later with a dog. Strange stuff.

It wasn’t completely out of nowhere. We’d been talking about possible breeds and names for the past week or so, but we’ve done that dozens of times over the past decade or so, and nothing has ever come of it. I have no idea what was different about this time, but for whatever reason we’ve now got a dog.

We named him Max. He’s a cockapoo. But a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So…


He’s the tan coloured thing in the background, not the green and yellow thing in the foreground.

Pretty sweet, eh?

(As an aside, I feel like I should use more photos here, for illustrative purposes. It’s something to consider.)

Anyhow, that was my week. Like I said: strange and wonderful. If this is a sign of things to come, I say bring it on.

229 To Go

Another new adventure begins tomorrow morning at 11:00. It’s hard to believe, but in 229 days (give or take a few), school will be over, and summer ’11 will commence.

But in between now and then there’s a whole lot of work to be done and hopefully some fun to be had as well. With three history courses this year, I’m well aware that I’m going to be writing essays pretty much non-stop this year. There’s nothing that I can do about that. But there are a couple of things that I can do to try and enjoy myself amidst the hellish workload.

The first such opportunity will come three days hence, on Wednesday. That’s when fencing tryouts are being held. Will I make the team? Doubtful. But what the hey, right? If I somehow fence twice as good as I normally do, I might at least survive the first round of cuts. Maybe. There are a few social events coming up shortly thereafter, and a day for joining clubs and activities soon after that.

So all in all, there’s a lot to fear, but a lot to look forward to as well. The future is partly cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers.

Audience Unknown

One of the first things I noticed upon moving into my new room here at U of T was that the previous tenant had left behind a journal in one of the desk drawers.

At first I thought that it was a diary, but it ended up being a dream journal. Still, what struck me was that it had just been left behind. Normally when you move out of a dorm, you triple check every nook and cranny to make sure that you haven’t left anything behind. But somehow, the previous tenant (whose name is Sam) left behind this journal.

So the question is, did he forget it, or did he just leave it behind on purpose? I can’t imagine how he could have forgotten to check for personal belongings in this drawer. It’s the top drawer of the only desk in the room, and he cleared out the two lower drawers. Surely he couldn’t have emptied every other drawer in the room and glossed over one of the most obvious ones.

That leaves two options. Either Sam saw the journal on move out day, and decided not to make the effort to throw it into the garbage can resting two feet away, hoping the cleaning staff would do it for him, or he left it intending for me to read it. I don’t know.

Anyhow, it gave me a brilliant (or so I think) idea: What if I write a journal while I’m here, and leave it behind at the the end of the year for the next person who inhabits this room to read?

It’s an interesting concept, because it’ll be the first time that I’m writing for an unknown audience. Generally when I write, I have at least some idea of who my audience is. And since my audience is usually limited to a single person or a small group of people, I often know exactly who my audience is.

But I don’t know much about the person I’m writing for this time. They could be male or female. They could be 18 years old, or 25. They could be from just about any country in the world. It’s not even a guarantee that this person will be a U of T student, since my residence also houses students from Ryerson and OCAD.

It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of this, if anything. What do you guys think? Good idea? Bad idea? Am I just plain stupid? I want some opinions on this.

Where Did The Summer Go?

The first thought that hit me when I walked out of work today was "Sweet! I’m done work! Summer vacation time!"

And then I remembered that it’s September now and that I’m moving out again in three days. Fuck.

I’m definitely not as nervous as I was last year. It’s still a new experience, with new people and places, but the fear of failure that I had last year isn’t here. I know what I’m up against this time, and I’m better prepared to face it. I have no regrets about my decision to transfer.

But like I’ve said before, there are certainly elements of Queen’s that I’ll miss. It’s unlikely that I’ll make the U of T fencing team, and the ball hockey program at U of T looks a lot move competitive than the one at Queen’s was, so that sucks. I’ll miss Kingston, too. It’s a really nice town. I love Toronto and all, but there’s definitely more scum in downtown Toronto than there is in Kingston.

There’s not much else I can say right now. I’ve got a lot of thoughts buzzing around my head, but I can’t grab hold of any of them and put them into words. I have a lot of ideas about what the next year is going to be like, but I won’t know for sure until I’m there.

It’s all a great mystery, isn’t it?