Monday, December 20, 2010

Farewell, Happy Holidays, and All the Best in 2011

Well everyone, this is it: the final entry. I cannot believe how fast time as passed. It feels as if eight months has turned into two. For those who are unfamiliar with my situation, I am an eight month co-op student, which means I am working as an intern at IASTED to gain real-life work experience. I entered IASTED at the beginning of May not sure what to expect, nervous, and slightly clueless as to what was expected of me. I believe that I have learned a lot since working at IASTED, not just about how the company runs, but also about myself and what I prefer in my future working situation. Above all, I am going to miss my fellow co-workers. Thank you all for the memorable moments, laughs, and lunch-time talks. I will not forget them.

Alright, let me update all of you. Well, last week was busier than usual. I’m not quite sure why, but it might have something to do with me leaving and also the holiday break coming up soon. Among making a myriad of newsletters, proofing a handful of things left and right, and uploading new conferences, there was one task that I was assigned that stood out above the rest. Earlier in my work term, one of my co-workers suggested that I create a new banner for the top of IASTED. I took her suggestion and made a few “mock” banners for the website. To my surprise and delight, one of those banners was picked to be the new main entry banner for IASTED. Please check it out by going to IASTED or clicking here!

In other office related news, the cookie exchange went well and was very delicious. It was interesting to see all the different cookies brought and finding out who made what cookie. The gift exchange was fun and produced a lot of laughs and excitement. Of course, Christmas lunch was absolutely fabulous. I think I might have overeaten, but I think I can get away with spoiling myself just this one time ;)

Lastly, I just want to wish everybody a Happy Holiday and the brightest wishes for 2011!

Workplace Survival 101 Tip: Go on a co-op term. Yes, it might be a bit of work to apply and find a job. Yes, it is hard to do 9-to-5. Yes, it might take you a bit longer to finish your degree. But, you will have gained very valuable experience and insight. These eight months have been a roller-coaster ride, but I’m glad I completed this work term, and in doing so, I was able to step-back for a moment and assess myself and my future goals.

Well, for the last time: Over and out.
Yours, as always,


Monday, December 6, 2010

Winding Down through the Wintry Weather

Hello all and how is everybody? I hope everyone is enjoying their December so far and is getting ahead in their Christmas shopping. From past experience, I think everybody will agree with me when I say that all shopping malls should be avoided at all costs come December. I have managed to get half of my shopping done this year, but alas, there is still the other half. C’est la vie, I suppose.

As for the office, work has been steady. As I mentioned before, most of the conference work will start-up again probably mid-January, so right now, I have been tying up loose ends here and there while completing a few small tasks. Currently, I am taking a break between answering an email and writing up Meta tag descriptions for IASTED’s website. In other office news, I think there is a bit of a cold going around. Two of my co-workers are currently sick, and they were both sitting in the same section. I hope they get better soon, and that I do not catch anything before the holiday season.

Upcoming events around the office are (as you can probably guess) holiday themed. We have a planned cookie exchange being held today where each person bakes 3-5 cookies (depending on the size) for each person. I am planning on making a simple (yet yummy) type of cookie called Cream Cheese cookies. Some other rumoured types of cookies making an appearance are melting moments, dim sum cookies, and ginger snaps among many others. Furthermore, we are also going to have a gift exchange on December 20th. I’m very excited for both of these events!

Workplace Survival 101 Tip: Participate in office events. It gets everybody in a communal spirit and it makes for a great opportunity to get to know co-workers better. Just remember to keep such events light and enjoyable for everybody and not to get too caught up in them.

Well, that’s about it.

Thinking about delicious sweets,


Monday, November 15, 2010

November, November

Hello my fellow readers. To start off this entry, I must convey an observation to all of you. I must say that it is probably one of the oddest things to be working away at an office in the late-afternoon, typing and clicking simultaneously to the tune of roaring computers and small chatter, and suddenly see a big, chocolate coloured animal wagging its tail playfully at your acknowledgement of their presence. Well followers, that is exactly what happened last Wednesday. I was typing away when suddenly I heard some sort of commotion coming from the front end of the office. My co-worker (who is ironically afraid of dogs) rushed over and explained how there was a dog in the office. It took me a few moments to realize that I had not misheard her before I went towards the front end and saw, sure enough, a big brown Labrador wagging its tail surrounded by many members of the office stroking and petting it. It was such an adorable dog and very well-behaved. We discovered that the dog belonged to someone from one of the upstairs offices, and we escorted it back to its rightful owner.

That eventful episode was just one of the many things that have happened since my last entry. Regarding work, I have finally managed to have time to breathe. Since last time I blogged, I have had to make newsletters, proof several different items relating to IASTED’s Conferences being held in Phuket, Thailand, and make a full-page ad for Robotics and Applications (RA 2011) to be featured in IEEE among other things. Since the material for the Phuket conferences have been shipped out and the newsletters and ads are completed, I have finally found some time to update all of you.

Regarding office life, the biggest highlight must have been the Friday before Halloween. Our office had a variety of different personalities which included a sorceress, a gypsy, a pirate, Juno, and a hula dancer among many others. We held a costume contest where prizes were handed out for best-dressed, and had a lunch party with food provided from Lazy Loaf. Also, many people brought in candy and baked cookies and a honey cake (featured to the right) which were truly delicious. The only bad part was that it was difficult to concentrate on work that day since everybody was in such a festive mood!

Workplace Survival Tip 101: Do not try to concentrate too hard after eating tons of yummy goods. This leads to indigestion =(

Feeling languid,


Monday, October 25, 2010


Hello everyone, so I see that it has been almost over a month since I last posted. My apologies for not posting more frequently and also for having to cut this entry short.

Well, plenty has happened in the last month or so, but a lot of what happened has come and gone in a whirlwind blur since it has been so busy recently. I find myself darting out emails while at the same time uploading new conferences onto the website one after another. I have also been kept busy with making newsletters and sorting out last minute details of journal papers in a rush to get Issue 4 of Control and Intelligent Systems published. On top of all that, the conferences taking place in Cambridge, USA, and Marina del Rey, USA, are approaching very quickly which means helping the conference planners compile conference folders and proofing, proofing, proofing.

Phew, October has been a busy month.

There have been non-work related office events that happened as well. We held a surprise baby shower for my co-worker who is expected to have a beautiful baby girl at the beginning of next year. There have been suggestions of baby names thrown throughout the office, but nothing has been made official yet ;). Furthermore, there has been quite a bit of cake and ice cream passed around due to many birthday celebrations. Also, one of my closest co-workers has left IASTED in order to pursue studies (and adventures) abroad. I want to wish her the best of luck in everything she does!

Workplace Survival 101 Tip: Do not become overwhelmed by work. Always, always remember to take a breather and remind yourself that no matter what, it is NOT the end of the world.

Well, that is about it. For all those celebrating Halloween next Sunday: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Battling Sickness and the Heat

Well, it is that time of the year: where the weather is frequently erratic. One day there is rain all day with a high of 4 degrees, and the next day it is sunny with a high of 23 degrees. During this period (whether it is due to the weather, summer ending, or a pile-up of many things that were neglected earlier), the cold bug runs around, passing from one person to the next, in a feverish frenzy.

If you have not already guessed from the title of this entry or the first paragraph above, I have caught a cold. Thankfully, it is only a mild one, but a cold is still a cold. I am much better now (only remnants of a runny nose and cough remain), but earlier last week, I felt light-headed, congested, and all the other “lovely” symptoms of the common cold.

Other than my brush with sickness, work has overall been light, yet steady. The next wave of conference work will most likely come sometime in mid- to late-October, so I am currently trying to tie up loose ends here and there in anticipation of heavier loads of work to come. My most notable tasks for the past two weeks have been to make newsletters for ASM 2011 and ASC 2011 and upload new conference information on the upcoming conferences taking place in Calgary next year. Check both out here! When uploading, I came across an absolutely stunning photo of Calgary’s downtown skyline (see right side), which I used for the MS 2011 banner.

Another interesting development that has occurred in the office is the odd heating. Outside, it is somewhat chilly, but inside, it is almost unbearably warm. I find myself (especially after lunch) getting uncomfortably sleepy as I try and concentrate on editing a photo. In order to combat this problem, we have opened windows and turned on fans. Presently, there are two fans blowing from opposite directions and a nearby window pushed open as wide as it can go.

Workplace Survival 101 Tip: When you are sick, no matter what, it is sometimes much better to stay at home. For starters, going to work can spread the cold to other people in the office and, at the same time, can make your cold worse instead of better. At times like those, staying cuddled up in a warm blanket, propped up by a fluffy pillow with a hot bowl of soup in one hand and a good book in the other is the best medicine for a speedy recovery.

Well, that’s about it for now.

Reaching for yet another tissue,


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So, as the title suggests, I am back from vacation, and let me tell everyone who has never had this experience before that it is very hard to get back to work after a long vacation. So, I invented a formula to determine the aptly named “Get Back from Vacation Difficulty Level” (GBFVDL):

[(#of days you are on vacation) X (the average # of hours worked per day)] / 2 = GBFVDL

The higher the number, the more difficult it is to get back to work. Please, if, like me, you are depressed that your vacation is over, calculate and post your GBVDL. I would like to know. Technically speaking my number is 30.

Please do not believe the above formula, I am just kidding around. Truthfully though, I feel that the longer you have time off, the more difficult it is to get back to work. You usually build a routine around you when you are working, but once you go on vacation, that routine goes right out the window. Thus, when you return to work, you find that you have to build that routine once again.

Enough about that though, how has everyone been doing? I see the September sun has finally rolled around, and fall has made its presence with the leaves already turning from green to yellow.

At IASTED, I have been busy making newsletters for all the upcoming conferences taking place in Innsbruck. For more information about the conference, click here! I am particularly fond of one of the newsletter banners I created (as seen to the right). Other than that, I have been answering a myriad of emails, proofing a few paragraphs here and there, and creating an ad for a journal.

Workplace Survival 101 Tip: Enjoy the time you have, because time goes by so quickly not to do so.

Just a quick shout-out to all University of Calgary students starting/returning to school this week: Good luck with the semester!

Blogging as usual,


Monday, August 16, 2010

Lazy Mondays – New Beginnings, Goodbyes, and Small Worlds

Hi everyone. It is currently Monday in the late afternoon, and I finally have a moment to breathe and take a break. All my work projects have been completed, leaving me waiting for the next piece of work to come my way.

Right now (other than writing to all of you), I’m leaning back in my chair while listening to the sounds of the office. I can hear the roar of computers, some typing away in the next section, the clicking of a mouse nearby, and the sound of a passing car by the window. I noticed that you never really observe these small subtleties until you take the time to put Life on pause and do so.

Well, in the past two weeks, I have been busy proofing the majority of the time (see previous entry), and when I wasn’t, I was flipping back between answering emails, making newsletters, and sending out official Acceptance and Thank You letters. Let’s just say, it was a very busy week. One highlight, however, in all the craziness, was my supervisor bought me a cake (Black Forest Cake to be precise) in celebration of my birthday. It was very sweet of her, and I found myself taking two slices ;). Also, her birthday was very close to mine, so the entire office celebrated with cake and ice cream. It was a very tasty and eventful afternoon.

Now, comes the “small world” part of this entry. I was scrolling through old emails and organizing them, when I noticed a familiar name in one of the emails. Funnily enough, this “familiar name” belonged to one of my old childhood friends from elementary school. I asked around the office, and sure enough, I found out my old friend had worked here a couple years before me in a very similar position. I laughed at the coincidence and learned that many coincidences in this office has happened (eg. a past employee’s sister was another employee’s friend). This world of 6 billion people can be very small indeed.

Before I forget, I want to wish one of my co-workers a big “Congratulations!” on finding out she is going to have a beautiful baby girl. Furthermore, I want to wish a warm welcome to IASTED’s two new employees who have just joined the team. I also want to say “Good luck” to four of my co-workers who have left/are leaving IASTED Calgary to pursue other studies and careers. The four of you have made me feel welcome at IASTED, and I have had such a great time with all of you. I will remember the laughs, memories, and conversations. Thanks and best wishes for things to come!

Just a quick note, this might be my last entry for quite a bit of time. I am taking some time off to enjoy the summer sun I have been (as most of you know) yearning for.

Workplace Survival 101 Tip: If you need time off, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Just approach your supervisor/boss/higher being in the workplace, and even though you might be a bit timid asking for it, you should express that you need time to yourself sometimes as well.

For the pictures, I give all credit to the generous photographers at stock.xchng. Truly beautiful pictures, thank you!

Well, that’s about it, over and out,