Mar 24, 2009

Proposals and other papers

Have I mentioned that my return to SF for the summer is official? I've written a proposal for a weed mapping project for the Natural Areas Program. I'm excited and intimidated by the thought of using ArcGIS again. I have another paper for this course that will require Arc so I have another chance to push my skills before I set out on my own. It's surprising that I chose a project that will inevitably involve many bouts of me yelling at a computer ...

Just thinking about it makes me want a new computer. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. My powerbook has been super flakey. You might remember that I bartered for this machine about 3 years ago, when I finished my undergrad. It's powerful, but at least 5 or 6 years old now. When I think about my future in conservation, I really want some new software too. In my dreams, I'd have a new (to me, but used) macbook with windows for mac, canoco, stella, ArcGIS, and the newest version of photoshop. In my dreams.

Most likely I'll stick with this machine a bit longer. The Natural Areas Program has ArcGIS, so I'll plan on working in their office or on WTS, which is this weird thing (I don't even know if it's software) that allows me to sign into UCL computers from my computer. WTS is annoying and slow, but it means I'll be able to work from home. And I like working from home.

In fact, I want to be able to set up a consultancy after the GIS project. That might require a new computer and some software. It sounds like there's no money in the City budget to hire someone like me. And since I know that Cali has flat out canceled 4,000 conservation projects, I'm prepared to go it alone, again. I've had 3 successful small businesses in SF. I'll be reviving at least one of those, but damn it would be nice to focus entirely on conservation, at least while I'm still paying for the degree! The idea of returning to my hectic, 3 job lifestyle is really not appealing. But I'm not the only one and I'm going to be lucky to have one job in this economy, really.

I'm still writing my exam, which is 4,000 words on protected areas versus landscape scale conservation. We've got a bit more flexibility in this essay than we've had in the other coursework. I've gotten a chance to write a teeny bit about theory and values for the first time. If I weren't so distracted by other life events, I'd probably rock this paper because it's kinda interesting. I've 'read' (meaning scanned) about 12 books and 30 papers on the topic and those things that I think are related - like theory on the existence of nature, capitalism in conservation, and sense of place. Right now I should be writing the boring part of the essay. The actual comparisons of landscape scale and protected areas conservation. Though I have some mildly inspiring language maps on my wall to drive my clever phrasing, the facts are boring! But I must get back to them.

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