First Post (27FEB2005)
Most Recent Post
ramblings of an information troubleshooter
his hands froze to the reins
well, the power's gone out a couple of times tonight - does this
portend an inauspicious beginning to this blog ? we had a
blizzard roll thru wednesday afternoon and most of thursday, so
today's is probably just an aftershock.
i've been sitting on the sidelines while this whole blog thing
has slowly gone all mainstream and even corporatized. par for
the course. i didn't register my first domain name until 2001
and didn't design any web pages until 1996 and even that was
merely an export of my netscape bookmarks file. i don't relish
acquiring a reputation as a slow adopter, but it does fit into
my philosophy that technologies are not value-neutral and that
sometimes caution is called for until more consequences have
so, as i was hunting around online for blogging-related
software this week, i thought about what kind of blog i should
have. should it be a brain bucket where all sorts of random
ephemera get tossed at in the hopes that future-me digging thru
the detritus will be able to spot some kind of underlying
connective tissue that current-me is unaware of ? should it
be nicely structured by topic so that i can see the changing
development of my thoughts on various issues ? should it help
me build up a community of online buddies so that i have more
places to crash on my travels south ?
after examining all of the available options, i downloaded the
cgi scripts for blosxom,
but this didn't end up being feasible as my ISP requires the cgi
scripts to be run from a separate server. in the end, i decided
to stick with what i know best - hardcoding html with my own
navigational quirks thrown in - just a control freak at heart,
i guess. had a discussion with malcolm and agreed with him that
comments are half the fun of the best blogging software, but i
don't expect this to be a high-traffic site. given my feeble
history of maintaining correspondence, if i can put up a new post
once a week, i'll be satisfied.
anyway, for an introductory post, this is fairly sedate. future
posts will hopefully be a bit more weighty and / or provocative.
in the works are diatribes about how copyright law is stifling
innovation, why i moved to the arctic, the joys of making mix cd's,
dramatic events, why i quit my lucrative job in the oilpatch,
political rants, comic book picks, interesting technology tidbits,
movie discussions, investing philosophies, updated
photo collections, etc.
highlights of the week:
accomplishments of the week:
- music spins:
mary jane lamond - seinn o (1997),
treble charger - detox (2002),
brown-eyed susans - afternoon tea (1996),
brown-eyed susans - afraid of heights (2000),
sarah harmer - you were here (2000)
- mixes: working on birthday ones for molly and karrie
- events attended: cyndi's birthday party at the storehouse on friday,
qaggiq theatre session at the inuksuk high school on saturday
- book reading: douglas adams - hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy
(4 parts of the trilogy down, 1 to go), joseph mccabe - hanging out
with the dream king
- movies viewed: ong-bak
- t.v. watched: quantum leap season 2 (on dvd), oscar ceremony
(first half hour until tonite's blackout)
very kewl flash:
- 22: sold my shares of
in my RRSP account for a gain of 53% in 21 days, or 921%
annualized - won't get me out of dogfood range during retirement,
but a nice little tweak nonetheless
- 26: finished my tax return for 2004
- 26: digitally recorded malcolm & sara's radio show,
audio missile defence
- 27: started working on my own blog / transition of current website
where the candy floss meets the air
the flip someone gave me on saturday at broomball surfaced today
in my back. so, i decided to step outside tonight for a break
after sitting for too many hours jockeying the keyboard.
snowflakes were lightly being blown towards me thru a beam of
light such that it seemed i was getting my own little fireworks
show. it made me very happy.
i pondered possible alternate explanations for this vision - a
meteor shower, a bonfire sparking off embers, a starfield trail
abandoned by a hyperspace jump, a residual schmengie from a
laser eye surgery gone wretched ... i told malcolm earlier today
that i had considered
radial keratotomy way
back in the late '80's, but there was a chance the procedure could
actually worsen vision or introduce visual artefacts. more recent
keratomileusis technologies have reduced this risk, but the
slightest chance of ending up blind still persuades me to
regretfully give the idea a pass. now, if someone would invent
geordi-type goggles that combine infrared night-vision,
polarization and that auto-focusing feature that digital cameras
have, i would definitely invest in those !
supper tonite was a chicken poutine (hold the onions) from le
snack, the local francophone diner where all the taxi drivers
hang out. needless to say, with my cooking talents and constant
busybusiness, i'm a regular client.
got home tonite to a message on my answering machine advising me
that i had won an mp3 player in a draw held by the nunavut arctic
college student council. thanks to joe for selling me the ticket !
i also won a couple of cd's in january's tsunami relief benefit at
the parish hall, haven't gone into the red in poker matchups this
year, and my stocks are sluggishly climbing. hope this streak
continues thru the rest of this year of the rooster !
i'm currently downloading 7:35
in the a.m., one of the shorts that was nominated for an
oscar. on my dial-up connection, it will have taken over 2
hours to download the 17.8 meg file. :(
- music spins: Brave Combo - Mood Swing Music (1996)
- IP idiocy link of the day:
so many theories, so many prophesies
today is friend karrie's birthday. alas, she is many miles away,
so i can't give her a birthday hug in person. will hope to make
up for this in may when i swing by her neighbourhood while
reunioning with the rest of my family.
attended the semi-monthly meeting of First Draft, the iqaluit
writers' group (meetings 1st tuesday of each month at l'école
des trois soleils and the 3rd thursday of each month at the
storehouse at 19:00). i riffed on why one might think about getting
into the blogosphere with carolyn and stephen, before we settled
down to help carolyn re-work a series of her poems.
when i mentioned that i was considering adding a fourth piece of
parchment to my collection, they quite reasonably asked me why i
would want to do such a thing. as a librarian, i'm fundamentally
against the ownership proposition enshrined under the umbrella of
intellectual property, the most egregious wing being copyright.
i see providing info to people when they need it, in the form that
they can use, as my professional obligation, and the IP idiocy that
i encounter daily just boggles me.
carolyn related a situation where one of her patrons had donated
a photocopy of an article and she wasn't sure whether to add it to
her collection or destroy it, knowing that the library might be
accused of copyright infringement. another ludicrous case is the
amount of second-guessing that people are forced to do before
forwarding pdf copies of documents. james boyle
how the difference in treatment of copyright in databases of
government-funded weather info between europe (stronger protection
/ higher cost) and the u.s. (lesser protection / lower cost) has
affected public access to the data. while the economic argument
that he raises might sway some, the fact that the info is more
widely available to the general public in the u.s. is enough to
information policy in canada takes very little notice of those
who have been the caretakers of information for over a century,
namely librarians, archivists, and educators. instead, it is
technology-focused MBA's and lawyers representing behemoth
corporations like micro$oft, $ue-ny and fine warn-er who manage
to get the attention of legislators and set policies that
undermine the cultural protection philosophies espoused by the
department of canadian heritage.
in the past, publication and distribution required greater efforts
and more infrastructure, and these intermediaries served a
desirable purpose in society by making works available. with
the rise of the internet and the increasing capacity for
self-publishing, these intermediaries are no longer critical to
that process, yet the bureaucracy at canadian heritage continues
to bend to their expert lobbyists to uphold their interests over
the interests of those who actually do the creating. if you want
to promote culture you need to directly fund those who are
creating the culture, not those who profess to facilitate the
process, yet can't seem to manage to find and promote work by new
creators better than those individuals can do themselves using
the nhl strike has increased public sympathy for the idea of a
salary cap per team to ensure sustainability on a league-wide basis,
and yet none of this enlightenment ever spills over into the creative
realm. why shouldn't canadian creators be limited at the compensation
they get from rights collectives (if such evils need to continue to
exist) ? yes, our most famous celebrities will be out a few bucks, but
then they have the leverage to negotiate future deals in their favour
- it's the struggling up-and-comers who most need the funds.
from the consumer side, you want to be able to go about your day
without having to worry about whether you are breaking the law.
strict enforcement of copyright, just like strict enforcement of
marijuana possession, only serves to increase public disdain for
unlike malcolm, i have no problem with the levy applied to all
blank media including cd-r's and hard drives - like the t.v. tax
in the u.k., the 'tax' follows where the consumer goes. like
t.v. before it, the levy makes it easy for consumers to
compensate creators for the copying of their works without having
to scrutinize and monetize every individual transaction. my concern
with collectives is that the sampling methods used to allocate the
proceeds merely reflect pro-rata use, thus rewarding those who have
already won the lottery rather than ensuring that struggling creators
have a shot at surviving.
so, the question that i have to ask myself is: would sitting thru
another 3 to 4 years of academic lectures to get the credentials to
be taken seriously in information policy discussions be worth the
salary hit and stepping away from the frontlines ? if i decide to
go to law school in the fall of 2006, i'll have to have my ducks
lined up by this fall.
- movies viewed: nacho vigalondo's oscar-nominated 6.5 minute
short, 7:35 de la manana - very kewl, but if you're on a slow
dialup like me, you can
to your HD before viewing
- IP idiocy link of the day:
song is my song
every power lunch has a gold card lining
had to skip broomball tonite as my back was still twinging sensitively
when i got up this morning. decided to head back to the office in the
evening after a haircut to get some long-delayed volunteer tasks off
my plate. as the interim chair over the last year, of nuluaq, the
local public internet access society, i'm now in the process of
supervising the closure of the site. so, to distract my mind from that
unappetizing duty, i treated myself to a supper of cantonese chow mein
from the navigator restaurant.
lunched earlier at the legion with malcolm, olivia, sue and sara.
ordered meself a steak sandwich and was so eager that i almost took
someone else's - what are the chances that out of less than 30 people
in the joint, that there would be 2 guys with the same name, both
ordering a steak, medium-well ?
odile's planning a potluck for this weekend to gather up all of the
part-time players to decide what new theatrical event we should
consider for a proposed arts festival around toonik tyme in april.
i had the idea of contributing shepherd's pie, so when i went
grocery-shopping, i picked up some ground beef and powdered mashed
potato mix. of course, i've never made shepherd's pie before, but how
hard can it be ? (i know, famous last words). i do find it amusing
that the store-bought ones are labelled as 'pâtés chinois'
in french, since
(maize) was indigenous to america until the european invasion and
i don't think that china and mexico had implemented any kind of
technology-transfer agreement. or maybe it's just a warning to me
that i will become chinese pâté if i eat so much GMO
on every trip to the south, i can't help indulging my yen for sushi.
now, as an environmentally conscientious fellow, i've been searching for
a site that would indicate whether the morsels i sampled were a
sustainable resource, but was unsuccessful until this week when i came
Bay Aqauarium Seafood Watch. now i can look up each item on my sushi
hitlist to avoid succumbing to any guilty pangs.
that out of the way, here's a list of my favourite sushi restaurants
send me any recommendations for succulent sushi sites in vancouver
or st. john's as i will be heading to those cities in may.
- victoria, BC: ebizo,
604 broughton street, 250.383.4811
- calgary, AB: sushi hiro, 727
5th ave. sw., 403.233.0605
- niagara falls, ON: yukiguni, 5980 buchanan ave., 905.354.4440
- ottawa, ON:
wasabi, 41 clarence st.,
- montreal, PQ:
soto, 500 mcgill, 514.864.5115
- québec city, PQ:
kimono, 1034 avenue Cartier,
- music spins: combustible edison - i, swinger (1994)
- movies viewed: elf - rented for the evening so i could rip
the duet where zooey deschanel
and will ferrel sing 'baby it's cold outside'
- IP idiocy link of the day:
the future of food
discussion is my addiction
began the day at the public library where i hashed out patron info
privacy and service issues with the public librarian. we're looking
to host our library cataloguing system on a vendor's server in the
u.s. and have been trying for months to figure out how to implement
this without exposing library users and their personal info to the
US PATRIOT ACT. in the afternoon, i sat in on a conference call to
comment on document managment and internet and data transfer security
had a busy evening of scurrying around town after work. first stop
was at the red fed building where the iqaluit organizing committee
for hosting the
Mountain Film Festival World Tour divvied up tasks for our shows
on March 19th and 20th. i volunteered to reprise my 2003 role as
technical supervisor, arranging to book the technician from ICSL and
confirm the setup at the theatre.
in january, we selected the films for our local program to include
mountain biking, skiing, base jumping, paragliding, culture of sherpa
women, whitewater rafting, ski hill pickup lines, dog sledding, etc..
the tickets for the shows ($40 for saturday gala, $30 for sunday show)
will go on sale to the public at 10:00 this saturday at the northmart,
and we expect to be sold out fairly quickly. for those can't make the
lineup, we will also be selling raffle tickets where there will be 2
early bird prize draws for pairs of tickets to the shows.
next, i was off to subway to pickup a seafood sandwich supper before
moseying on to the arctic college to take in this year's orientation
session for the
Volunteer Income Tax Program. we reviewed the new tax software
provided, which seems a bit simpler and manages to match the look of
the actual forms better than what we used last year.
however, i'm still piqued that people are forced to dole out money
every year for tax software, when revenue canada could easily just
send out spreadsheets with pre-filled info based on data that employers
have already sent in. over the years, i have developed my own
spreadsheet setup with all of the forms and schedules that i use
regularly and this works well enough for me. the one thing that it
did miss this time around was the fact that 2004 was a leap year of
366 days which means i missed out on a few dollars of northern
residency deductions. *shrug*
after that meeting, i headed up to the
astro theatre to chat with
bryan about the technical details for the BMFF and then sat down to
watch 'hitch' for the second time. eva mendes was captivating as
the sassy but jaded gossip columnist (i also enjoyed her performance
in 'once upon a time in mexico' , tho johnny depp pretty much stole
that show). quotable: "begin each day as if it were on purpose".
rounded off the evening / early a.m. by executing my monthly visa
reconcilliation while wincing at how many times i ate out in
february. my only excuse was that the high school musical
production of 'grease' left me with meagre time to cook, much less
stock my fridge.
you can bounce me once and i'll ricochet
well, there was talk of a blizzard this morning, enough that the taxis were
called off the road and most offices announced that they were closed until
after lunch. however, i could still see my workplace from my living room
window, and as i was already awake anyway, i slithered thru the snow drifts
to my office to take care of some BMFF and nuluaq stuff. once other people
started arriving at the office, i managed to pawn a booklet of BMFF raffle
hunger pangs drove malcolm and i to le snack for a mid-afternoon lunch.
after 5, i headed up to the frob to check out the press club, a group of
media and communications folks from various organizations who meet the
first friday of each month to hobnob and listen to a guest speaker.
i decided to become a member with the idea of getting a better feel for
some of the things happening in the territory that i presently don't know
after that function wrapped up, i sauntered down to the legion to hang out
with malcolm, robert, sara, brent, pascale, sue, chris and kevin. got
tired of the d.j. and wandered over to the games room to shoot a few rounds
of pool. i sucked hard early on, but as i loosened up a bit, my game
improved. played 3 matches with gibbons - lost the first 2 fairly badly,
and only won the 3d one after he didn't make his call on the black.
went on to play against levi a couple of times. he beat me handily the
1st round, but our final match was a real beaut. nothing went down after
my break. levi sunk one solid, but missed the second. on my turn, i ran
down all 7 high balls in turn, but couldn't leave myself with any shape
on the black. calling for just a shot, i hit too hard and the black combo'd
another solid into the corner. levi proceeded to sink all 6 remaining balls
without breaking a sweat. classic.
radio is a sad salvation
what a treat to sleep in until 13:00 !
went to northmart to work a shift at the BMFF table with janice. suprisingly,
the tix were not already sold out, but with only 40 tix left for the gala,
they will go pretty quickly once word gets out that they are still kicking
around. the remaining unsold tix will be dropped off monday at tittaq for
laggards to purchase.
today's broomball game seemed to match the energy of the impending blizzard
outside as both teams blew around the ice chasing the ball hard. martha, jf,
jacques, gavin, kevin, bobby and greg faced off against carine, tom, chad,
denis, brock, mark and myself. twinkletoes gavin breezed in to score the
first goal for the dark team and things looked bleak when jf snapped the ball
out of the air right in front of the net handily beating the hapless goalie
(um, me). the bright side managed to show their pluck when denis streaked
down the wing and willed the ball into the net. we then pressured the dark
side for the rest of the game, but were unable to even things up before the
buzzer sounded to let the hockey players take over the ice.
had planned on taking in the music society's coffee house featuring molly
and jamal, but after a nap, shower and starting supper, the wind had picked
up outside. remembering my trudge up the hill to the last coffee house to
find the event cancelled, i decided to finish my meal and catch up with my
email. was just finishing the last bites when i glanced over at the clock
and realized that i was missing the latest edition of 'audio missile defence'
hosted by malcolm and sara on KPFT 107.3 (my stereo tuner's memory function
hasn't worked since i left the states, so i had to use google to lookup the
station callsign). i quickly got the cable from the stereo to plug into the
back of my pc and hit the record button.
heard a dedication to myself, so i decided to call them up. to do so, i had
to cut off my dial-up to give my phone the right-of-way, but when i realized
that i didn't have the piece of paper with the request number anywhere in
sight, my first thought was to check google again. errrrr. what to do ?
oh, right, lo-tech ! flipped open the phone book and voila. requested
sinead o'connor's 'drink before the war' which M+S didn't have, but they
consoled me with 'emperor's new clothes' which had me singing along and
bopping away in my chair.
when sara introduced neko case as a canadian, i called again to correct her.
neko should be one of ours, but sadly isn't. the story i heard was that she
was in b.c attending some kind of art school, but when she finished her
academic program, she was forced to return to the u.s. i'm sure i'm not
alone in thinking neko should be given honourary canadian citizenship.
after the show, it was a toss-up between editing the audio file or heading up
to brent's place for his going-away party (he's leaving town next week). the
weather outside was still crappy and paipa taxi wasn't answering its phone so
i decided to give up on swimming thru half an hour of snowdrifts to ascend
the hill (sorry brent). of course, half an hour after i made that decision,
the wind died down and i could see the streetlights clearly again.
Most Recent Post