ASET breakfast soon

Morning is here.  I was awake at 5am and tried to sleep a little more but finally got up at 6am.  It’s now 7:15am, and we are to meet at 8am downstairs for breakfast.

T and C were supposed to take an taxi (Uber) to his family’s house to see a newborn baby and to give gifts.  However, plans have changed as there is a baby shower in the mix now, so they’re now staying for breakfast, and we’ll leave shortly after that for him to meet with his parents at the airport who will take the gift from him in his stead.

In the mean time, we (except S who left last night back to Red Deer to work this morning) will have breakfast and hobnob with more people.  Who knows – I might even meet others who would have job offers for me!  I’m excited, a little scared, and … getting hungry.  I guess I’ll pack up my stuff and get ready.  I’ll put on a tie for breakfast this morning as well.

Oh – a few more things – about the new van.  Not new, but new to me!  It’s a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country, red, 4.0-litre, and loaded to the hilt with luxury.  It has everything except rear DVD players, which I truly did not want anyway.  It seats 7 passengers and has 2nd and 3rd row Stow-N-Go seats; they fold into the floor to create a perfectly flat area.  I stowed the 3rd row seating for us to put all of our stuff in – suit bags, suitcases (or backpacks or duffle bags, in our case), and various other stuff.  It’s really a good thing I have this van instead of the Kia Soul.  I think we would never have fit all the stuff in and still be comfortable.

The day before, I wiped down with Windex the smooth surfaces of the van to get rid of the sticky Armor All coasting, the cigarette smell, and the smell of those sickeningly sweet smelling little scented pellets they put in there.  Near the end, I spread baking soda all over the carpeting, put a container of vinegar in it, and stuck a few dryer sheets in it to help with the smell.  This seemed to work.  More work has to be done though.

In the morning, I packed up the van and headed to the carwash.  I wanted to make a good impression with the new, used, smelly van.  I even Windexed the chrome a little.  When I picked up R yesterday morning and then T, I was a little in a hurry so as to not be late – unjustifiably, as we kind of lingered anyway while they packed their stuff in.  It was a good drive to Edmonton.  The van has a navigation screen, so I followed its and T’s directions.  During the drive, I looked at the fuel economy – 18.8 litres / 100km!  Ah!  I bought a lemon!  It sucks fuel back!  Tyson assured me that this was just an average and that that will change as we drive further on the highway.  I got it down to 8.9 litres per hundred (31.7 MPG).  Wow.  Much better.  And it has power to spare – and a cool sound when the engine takes off.  Haha.

Time to go down for breakfast.

ASET Awards evening

The event is done.  At 4:30, I went down to meet T, C (T’s “old lady”), R, & S (R’s sister).  No one was there.  I wandered back and forth for a while and, eventually, received a text from Tyson.  “on my way”  I said, “I’ll message Randy, see if he needs help with his tie or something.”  Turns out I messaged T instead.  I called R.  “Yup, yup, we’re on our way.”  Everyone was in suits and gowns.

We stood in a parlour with several dozen (hundred?) other people with wine glasses and talked and met other ASET members.  Finally, T said, “Let’s go sit down.”

The room filled up, 9-10 people per table – knees squeezed in – and 24 tables – and the speeches began.  The keynote speaker started.  Aboriginal drummers and singers did a welcome performance in their own language as a show of ASET’s recognition of their ancestral land.  One boy, doing traditional chanting and singing, apparently started when he was 2 years old!  There was an invocation (blessing) & toast to Canada.

Then the dinner was served.  It started with buns and a salad with nuts & berries.  Brisket beef, mashed potatoes, a few vegetables were the main course.  Really good.

Then the awards came.  They recognized and gave award pins for 50, 40, 30, and 20 years of service to ASET.  The trend to clap after every recipient was started, so it went that way to the end.  There were 3 recipients of 50, I think 8 of 40, and many more for 30 and 20.

Then, the moment we three were waiting for – the ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award.  Our pictures flashed up on the giant screens, one on each side of the stage.  They called our names, we went up, and they handed us all framed plaques with our names, achievement, and where we were representing (Lethbridge College) and shook our hands.  The speaker read a description of our project and, in the middle, turned to us and said, “This is complicated stuff, you guys!”  We all laughed.  Then Randy made a speech.  He had it written down but also added to it.  He’s a good speaker.  The announcer then turned to me and T, and T pulled us out of the fire saying, “He speaks for all of us.”  We lined up on stage.  Tyson had to cram in there with R at the end and scooted me over.  I nudged the announcer, who happened to be the President-Elect for the next coming term, and he stumbled.  “Sorry!”  We all had our pictures taken by various photographers, then we left the stage.  I guess I should have used the stairs, but I saw one other guy stumble and various others eyeing the steps cautiously while going down, so I just leapt to the floor (one big step).

Then there were the other awards to Technologist of the Year (Patty Podoborozny, C.E.T., PWSIII), First Principle Award (Enbridge Pipelines Inc.), Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion (Calgary Catholic Immigration Society), President’s Award for Vounteer of the Year (Negar Machie, P.Tech.(Eng.)), President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring (Sabrina Pelley, C.E.T.), and President’s Award (Peter Portlock, CD, MHSA).  There was also a surprise award to the current President’s mentor – cannot recall his name now.  Then, a closing speech shortly after 9:00pm.

Various people came by to congratulate and chat with us, the most notable for me being KL from MPE Engineering in Lethbridge.  He’s in materials testing.  He congratulated us all and asked if we had found work.  Tyson stated that I had not.  I stuck out my hand – “Allan Johnston!”  After smiles and more handshakes, he asked, “Are you interested in a position at MPE Engineering?”  He wrote his email address on T’s card (as I didn’t really want to hand out or show cards that says “Allan Johnston – Children’s English Teacher” on it.  He asked me to email him when I got back to Lethbridge for an interview.

a good measure

My students have been improving considerably.  Two in particular, M & F (no, not Mom & Floyd, but another M & another F!), have caught the I-want-to-learn bug.

M has improved his mathematics skills considerably (among other skills).  It’s not easy to do ‘mental math’ without guidance and practise.  We’re using the practices of 1) using fingers to count, 2) memorization (as in the multiplication table), 3) writing out problems long-hand, and 4) using a calculator for complex calculations or to check one’s work.  Because M is in a Montessori program (and, no, it isn’t just for playschool, preschool, and kindergarten – it’s valid all throughout elementary school and beyond), it involves practical life (understanding everyday activities), sensorial (tactility, sound, vision, etc.), academic (mathematics, language arts, histories, the sciences), and societal (creativity, games, group work, social activity).  It’s not just reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic anymore, folks.  So, part of yesterday’s homework is fractions and their uses.  What’s the good in knowing fractions unless you can use them?  He’s a creative fellow, so he could go on to use this skill in everyday life.

No, he’s not helping me build the trailer.  He’s reading the tape measure in the pictures.

F has improved his reading skills. It started with not knowing the phonics of letters and combinations of letters of the alphabet, having difficulty writing letters in patterns, and knowing sight words.  Now he’s sounding out words he doesn’t know and breezing through those he does.  It’s about not being intimidated by the written word, I think, and he’s come a long way in this.  He says he enjoys writing, so hopefully this will pull him along in the reading thing, too.  Plus, I promised him a prize (a notebook from Korea) if he reads really well – something to shoot for.

upon inspection

Upon inspection, I see some pitting on one of the lengths of iron for this Freedom Utility Trailer.

See the difference in finishes?  Is this poor machining?  A result of welding of the end bracket?  “What a heck?”  I’m hoping this won’t be a concern later on, as in rust.  This is not Galvanized or aluminium – it’s powder coated steel.

Actually, it used to be red.

What is that?  Undercoating?  Rustproofing?  Proof of being a used trailer?  My imagination?

Freedom Utility Trailer arrival

My trailer arrived!  Its label says, FREEDOM UTILITY TRAILER.  It came in three boxes on top of the tiniest pallet I have ever seen.  So now I’m getting busy with Revit with its Structural Template (as opposed to Construction, Architectural, or Mechanical) to piece together a more accurate trailer in my model.  I am guessing it is very similar to the Harbor Freight ones sold in the States, but there may be some variance for the Canadian market.  I stuffed it all into a corner of the garage.  I’ll pull one piece out at a time to take measurements.


intro to mentor

D.F. is my Mentor, set up by ASET.  We emailed a few times and spoke today by phone.  What an interesting conversation!  He’s in the architectural world, and I’m his 4th mentee.  The first 3 were all young people.  I’m his first old guy.

We talked about marketing one’s self, the industry(s), expectations of employers, personal backgrounds … lots of things.  I’ll sit and think about what he said for a while before embarking on any more comments.

He did give me homework though.  Yes, homework again!  Not easy homework, either.  I am to create an “elevator speech” for our next conversation in a few weeks from now.  …  I had this ages ago in the ESL world, although I didn’t know it was a thing, per se.