Thank-you Stranger

To the man or woman that found and returned my iPod touch today, I hope someone else returns the favor because You are a wonderful person.

I think it happened when I decided to jump up the stairs six at a time. I was feeling in a particularly good mood this morning and (if you can believe it) was even on time for my last class on “Evaluation”. The instructor continued making the day great by telling the class how much she enjoyed teaching us this semester and that she would miss being our teacher. I assumed I must have left my iPod in the car because I was certain I brought it with me this morning. I refused to think about the chance that it may have fallen out of my pocket because I was afraid of what that might mean.

I called security and found out that a modern day hero turned it in. THANK-YOU!

When I got home this afternoon I flipped my room upside down looking for some paperwork that I forgot to deal with before. It’s a form for my student loan that needs to be taken to the post office before they will “release” the loan to the school. Pretty dicey that I’ve taken this long since the semester is almost over. Oh well, I’m pretty sure things will work out just fine.

I’m glad I live in a place where University is just a student loan away and that people turn things in when they find them. Life is good.

education life

From Extinct to Just Feeling Like I’m Dying

I’m slowly finishing off each of the classes for my PS1 semester. We had a terrific class this morning in my Communications and Technology class. Our sessional instructor hooked us up with a video conference “experience” with the Tyrrell Museum.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, in fact, I was pretty sure I was going to study for my psychology test during it, hence I sat in the back, but it didn’t take long to realize this was something I would really enjoy.

Some students in the hallway outside were making a huge racket. I felt a bit odd going out to tell them to be quiet, because, while it seems like you’re just watching a talking head when the man on the screen is giving his lesson, it’s pretty jarring when he asks what’s going on with you walking out of the room.

As the video conference continued we learned about some of the different types of activities and lessons that take place during a typical video-conference with the museum and an individual classroom. We had a short virtual tour of the museum and learned about different dinosaur facts. I loved that I was able to answer a lot of the questions — I guess I remembered a lot of what I learned about dinosaurs from when I was a kid. Here’s one for you:

Q. What the name of the dinosaur in this picture I took a few years ago?

(Hint: It’s Alberta’s most famous dinosaur)

A. The Albertosaurus.

The Tyrell Museum is not the only place that offers video conferencing presentations, in fact, there is a huge list at the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration. I’m going to remember this for when I’ve got a class of my own.

Because we went in early for the video conference, we also got to leave an hour or so earlier than normal. I took the opportunity to go for a swim at the pool and did the usual 1km workout. I have to say that skipping out on it so much lately makes it hard to get back in the water. As I floated at the edge, I decided to put in 2 more lengths and really go all out — to see if I’ve still got it.

28 seconds for a 50 meter free, I guess you can say I’ve still got it, but I think I left “it” in the water because when I got out, I felt sick! Oh my, I had pushed myself too hard. I left myself with no choice but to sit it out for the next 15 or so minutes and even had the lifeguard a bit worried about me because my face was completely white and I must have looked like I was just about dead. I certainly felt that way.

If school doesn’t kill me, maybe the pool will.

education life

Jeff Milner Autobiography

A very short summary of my life:

Jeff Milner’s 2 minute autobiography.

(Made for one of my education classes).

Autobiographical writing and representation
By Jeff Milner
Due September 29, 2010
(to be played simultaneously with the audio)

Transcript of the audio:

I began my school life in the autumn of my sixth year. Over the next 12 years as I finished elementary, jr. and sr. high I felt that I would never complete school. I spent winter evenings playing basketball at the gym and my summers in the pool. I developed a passion for travel. My family would often take road trips to the United States. At age 15 I took part in an international art camp in Japan.

I learned the value (and grind) of manual labor working on a huge vegetable farm packing corn and carrots. In the eleventh grade I decided not to rejoin the basketball team and instead took a job with a local computer shop fixing PCs and eliminating lemons by checking new computers before they left the store. It wasn’t glamorous work, but it sure beat packing corn.

At 19, I moved to Salt Lake City volunteering a year of service to my church. This remains one of the most memorable years of my life.

After returning, I got a job working for the City of Medicine Hat in their GIS department. Using an air photo covering the city limit I traced the outline of every building within the municipal boundary. It was during this time that I began to kayak.

The job only lasted for about a year and then I began work as a pre-press assistant at the Medicine Hat News. Working nights didn’t suit me, so I found a new job working for a local engineering company that did defense research at the nearby army base. My job was to bury electronic landmines for research purposes.

Moving from job to job and living at home, while building an interesting set of skills and experiences, did not give me the same satisfaction as the more stable and independent life I would find when I moved to Lethbridge to start university in 2002. I found a great source of friendship on the university swim team.

I completed a degree in New Media 4 years later with a work experience placement in Malaysia helping create channel identity clips for Southeast Asia’s music channel, Channel V. Although it was a wonderful opportunity I didn’t take full advantage of my time there because I was distracted with heartache due to the break-up with my university sweet-heart.

After convocation I went into web design and photography full tilt. My skills in kayaking improved and I also took a couple of teaching jobs in the summer at the University. I alternated between teaching the Movie Making, animation, and swim camps. I found a love for teaching there that in part inspired me to return to school and get a second degree in formal education. Sometimes I still feel like I will never finish school but now I look at the journey itself as my destination and it doesn’t bother me that I’m still not done. I’ll always keep growing.

Reflection on the process of creation:
I wanted to fit in as much as possible in just two minutes. This restraint left me with the arduous chore of deciding what to include and what to cut. I’m not sure I made the best choices as many very interesting things about myself didn’t make it. (I do have about 10 years more than most of the students, so perhaps if I had an extra minute I could have fit it all in there).

Some of the images fit perfectly with the story, while at times other images that I wish I had, just don’t exist.

The music that goes with the story ads a level of interest that I personally really like. Creating a podcast is something that I’ve been interested in for a long time and I’m glad this assignment pushed me into creating one.

life Music

J’taime comme un fou – lipdub

During my “Music of Quebec” workshop at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres in the Explore program, together with almost 100 students, we created this “lipdub” music video. Students from the Summer 2010 session of the workshop participated in the video singing along to the song “J’taime comme un fou” [I love you like a fool] by Robert Charlebois.

education life Politics travel

Bomb Blast in Trois-Rivières

Yesterday at 3am, a bomb went off at the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre in Centre Ville, Trois-Rivières. Nobody was hurt. Catch the CBC’s coverage here.

I am in Trois-Rivières this month studying French.

CSI: Trois-Rivières

life nature travel

Trans Canada Highway Shut Down

On Friday I took a little trip to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. When we noticed the sign warning us of a police barricade ahead, we thought we might have to wait for an accident to be cleared.

It turns out that due to all the rain, the highway was “washed out”. It ended up not really affecting our trip, we just turned north sooner than we had planned, but I understand the flood waters have been very terrible for the people in Maple Creek and Irvine (among other places).

Here’s some footage of the “wash out” on the highway. I had no idea.

(Thx, Kim)

life Sport

Three River Rendezvous 2010

Over the long weekend my friend, Andy, and I went to the Castle River Rodeo Grounds to take part in the biggest whitewater festival in Canada, the Three River Rendezvous. My decision to go wavered when I read that the weather forecast predicted cool temperatures, variable cloudiness, and sprinkled showers. Luckily we pressed on and, as it turns out, the weather wasn’t actually that bad, and for most of the time, it was actually sunny — I even got a little burned on my face.

Unfortunately tragedy struck on Sunday night. After we had returned from our trip running the Five-Alive feature on Carbondale River a couple of times, Chuck Lee, the organiser of the event broke the news that one of the participants had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He explained that a group of kayakers were going over Lundbreck Falls and that on this particular run the boater was held under the falls for several minutes. He was revived once or twice but that’s all he let us know at the time. He emphasized again the need to always be vigilant and to remember that these kinds of things don’t just happen in other places, they can happen here too. We held a moment of silence in respect for the victim.

It was a sobering thought because I had never heard of anyone getting caught in the flow of water under the falls, and to think I, myself, have braved the 12 meter drop and walked away without so much as a scratch.

Kayaking Lundbreck Falls

Jeff Milner going over Lundbreck Falls in June 2008.

I found out later that night who was involved in the accident. I had hoped that it would be someone that I didn’t know but that’s not how it turned out. His name is Jaron and I had bumped into him just the morning before at the put-in for the Upper Castle run. I have paddled with him and his twin brother Dave a couple of times over the last two years.

I looked up some old paddling footage and found some with him in it:

He’s the one in the yellow and orange boat, yellow jacket, and blue helmet. His twin brother is also in the video.

I didn’t know him that well, but it was obvious that he had a passion for kayaking. Both he and Dave are the kind of enthusiastic friendly people that you want to spend a sunny day with floating down the river and enjoying nature. I remember talking to Dave for a long time about his decision to become a teacher and although I have many other influences for my decision to go back to school, it was that conversation that tipped me over the edge.

Kayaking isn’t always considered an extreme sport where you expect to hear about someone dying but every year there are a few news stories where someone drowns in a river. Almost always they are inexperienced or not wearing PFDs, or there is alcohol involved somehow so Jaron’s death comes as a great shock to the paddling community.


Last Week of School

I’ve only got one more week of school before the summer. I hate to talk about how posting has been rare lately, but I have been feeling guilty about it — hopefully I’ll get back to regular blogging when I finish up my final projects.

This summer looks to be very exciting for me, I’m headed back to Quebec in July to learn more French.


And I’m Back…

I had a great birthday weekend but things really went downhill yesterday. I always think it’s pretty silly when people get thrown off by the time change, however, it turns out I’m now one of those people. My iTouch had the correct time on it, but the alarm clock beside my bed was an hour slow. When I figured things out I had less than a half hour to get ready for school and make it to class. Lately I’ve been doing my part for the environment (not to mention saving money on gas) by taking the bus to the University, but since I was late, I had to drive. Since I don’t drive regularly, I parked on the street, and since I was late, there were no close parking spaces — oh except that one with the “no parking” sign. What are the chances they’d give me a ticket? It turns out, the chances are pretty good.

A ticket for parking without a pass at the University works out to about $8. That’s less than some people pay for parking at regular price. A ticket for parking beside a no parking sign? Sixty @#^^ing dollars! (With a reduction of $19 if paid within a week). Argh.

It also turns out that I forgot to renew the domain name when I paid to renew the hosting plan. The stress caused by the fact that I might not be able to get my web site back easily made me pretty mad and I found myself racing home from reffing water polo with the pedal to the metal. Knowing full well that if I wasn’t careful I’d end up with a speeding ticket too, I calmed down and slowed down. No sooner than I slowed down to the speed limit, someone’s cat darted out in front of my vehicle and if I hadn’t taken a moment to simmer down, I would’ve taken that cat’s nine lives with nothing more than a bump.

I thought, this might make for an interesting story to post on my blog. Oh… right.

Luckily, LUCKILY, I was able to renew it when I got home last night and once again all is well in my universe — oh except for that nasty parking ticket. What was I thinking?


Year in Review 2009

With another year coming to a close, I decided to take a look back and recall some of my highlights for the year.

Happy New Year!