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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

in a book or a face, you will look for your place

Sunday, 27MAR2005:

attended the customary easter supper at charlene's with jean, michelle, mildred, joe and dennis. the food was fantastic as usual, with a broccoli-trail mix salad from michelle, a delicious ham and a turnip-apple dish from mildred, turkey and stuffing from charlene and cake by joe. i thought about having seconds, but only for a few seconds, as i quickly realized that i was completely stuffed.

we then played a few rounds of 'horse races' where joe took us to the cleaners before running off with his cash to the cinema. the rest of us soldiered on, flipping cards and rolling dice until we had digested enough of the meal to move ourselves away from the table.

i've told people that i am surprised at how my writing output for this journal has well exceeded my original expectations. it helps that i don't have a t.v. to distract me, and that my pc is still a bit flaky and won't allow me to install any new computer games beyond what is already installed. since i've mostly covered day2day stuff over the last month, i figured that it might be appropriate, on the 1-month anniversary of this blog, to delve a bit into how i ended up in the arctic.

my first library position, after graduating with an MLIS from FIMS in the fall of 2000, was in calgary. while it was a great learning experience, my supervisor and i just didn't see eye to eye on a variety of issues and i felt that i would be happier with something different.

i took the summer of 2001 off to examine my options since i had the luxury of a flush bankroll from my adventures in the oilpatch. when i saw the posting for nunavut, i recalled with fondness, my seismic field training in the nwt, and decided that a return to the north might be appropriate. the position seemed to offer a great deal of responsibility, independence and flexibility as well as the chance to contribute to the development of canada's newest territory.

i was selected for a phone interview and while it went well, i did not hear back about my application status for some time. i continued to apply for other openings, receiving a few interviews for academic positions. however, when i got the call from nunavut, i was happy to pull out of those competitions and started making plans to head north.

while dropping by to say farewell to my former co-workers in calgary, i found out that they had recently hired a new librarian. guess who ? rhonda - the librarian who had vacated the position in nunavut that i had just been hired for. so, basically, we ended up swapping positions, which worked out well for both of us and allowed us to benefit from sharing 'inside info' on our respective organizational challenges.

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haven't you always wanted a monkey ?

Monday, 28MAR2005:

spent the early hours of the morning updating my seismic photo world tour. this set of pages had originally been done as a class assignment during my MLIS studies to demonstrate my proficiency with HTML coding, but most of the links had busted long ago.

then, i took a nice LONG nap. i regained consciousness a few times during the day, enough to note that i was missing out on a brilliant sunny day with fabulous-looking blue skies, but i just didn't have the energy to care.

that is probably the one thing that i miss most about working in the field during my seismic days. with a 5 week on / 5 week off schedule, the first week off would be spent like today, where i would veg out completely and not feel any guilt whatsoever. the next 3 weeks would be spent doing fun stuff, whether taking a road trip from houston to calgary and back, attending movie marathons at the local dollar and rep theatres, trying out every kind of ethnic restaurant, and wandering into the office in shorts and t-shirts to check email and snicker at the suit and tie shmoes. the final week would involve hitting the cd stores to fill up a new cd binder to take out to the field and drown out all of the classic rock crap that filled the commercial airwaves.

the paychecks were nice, but after pulling a few 70+ hour shifts or doing 70+ day tours in the field, you definitely worked for every penny. the independence was great, tho. i arranged to start my workday around 21:00 and then work thru the wee hours of the morning until around noon the next day. this gave me lots of quiet uninterrupted hours to surf the internet in between tape runs and deal with any office hassles after i had already accomplished something during my shift. as well, it meant that any issues encountered in the previous day's data could be fixed or re-shot before the spread had been picked up and moved. i got to work to my cicadian strengths and increased crew efficiency at the same time. good on me !

back to the present, i spent the rest of the evening browsing thru poker magazines that jean had kindly (?) lent to me while he heads south for a week. poker is a seductive game in that it appears to reward smart people who can figure out the odds. however, it actually rewards those who understand the psychology of their opponents and who have the ability to twist it to work in their favour. since the gambling yen runs in my family, i am wary of succumbing to an addiction to the rush of the game. it's not like i need the money, and having worked in theatre, i know that the 'glamour' of casino life is all about misdirection and facades. so, while i am happy to play friendlies around a dinner table, i think i'll avoid the temptation to visit the poker tables on my travels to the south.

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normally i'd be into it, but i need to get some sleep

Tuesday, 29MAR2005:

went for lunch at the legion with chris, malcolm and olivia and ordered the 'swiss steak' special. the mystery meat concoction refreshed my memory of the dish from my days in residence. yep, dump some more ketchup on top ...

chris asked me about the note that i scribbled on my hand. i told him that i was just keeping tabs on my expenses. he was a little bit amazed that i tried to track it all, but considering i was able to save a good five figures last year thanks to my diligence (with the help of a tracking spreadsheet i designed), i think i'll keep it up.

was asked to evaluate a new web design for a librarian organization site. first problem was the designer didn't bother to ask what the issues were with the existing site. second, colourful background graphics and funky fonts were simply overlaid over the existing site layout with no correspondence to any site functionality. finally, those graphics emphasized a book motif, exactly the portrayal the organization is striving to move away from, given the growing influence of its membership over areas such as knowledge management and electronic resources. disappointing.

got home and crashed. fell asleep with the lights on. dunno if it was the changeover from the long weekend schedule, the lovely lunch, or my immune system kicking in after i gave my finger a cut making sandwiches the night before.

  • today's soundtrack: the 'creative commons'-licensed wired cd
  • reading: 'the biggest game in town' by a. alvarez
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the judges will decide

Wednesday, 30MAR2005:

broomball chronicles:

team white: jane, christian, kevin, anna, denis, marco, julian, colette, mark
team black: JF, greg, alastair, carine, martha, bobby, jacques, tom, me

with so many subs, both teams came out slugging. even the normally mild-mannered pair of greg and julian got themselves worked up into a tizzy. it was a goalie's nightmare as each team performed admirably on offence, but scrambled to cover-up on defence. the final tally was around 3-3, and then we adjourned the on-ice portion of the evening to head up to the storehouse to present the first annual iqaluit broomball awards.

AWARDS: (all nominees listed, winners in CAPS)

  • 'beckham' award - ALASTAIR
  • 'my kingdom for a goal' award - LUC
  • 'i only play if my boyfriend plays' award - CARINE
  • best shot blocking award - BOBBY

  • hardest shot award - jerry, bobby, marco, MARK
  • 'northern standard time' award - greg, GAVIN
  • best goalie award - julian, chad, bobby, mark, me, KEVIN

  • cherry-picker award - todd, christian, JACQUES
  • sharpshooter award (goal posts on breakaways, over glass) - JF, marco, gavin, denis, GREG
  • most improved player award - julian, alastair, me, anna, tom, spencer, JANE

  • most injured award - jacques, marco, DENIS
  • 'drama queen' award - kevin, todd, JF
  • 'ben johnson' award (winner will be tested for steroids) - greg, mark, marco, GAVIN

  • best uniform / equipment award - anna, julian, spencer, ALASTAIR
  • best locker room demeanor award - anna, me, COLETTE
  • best defensive player award - mark, bobby, marco, kevin, ME

  • best secret weapon award (body function, liquor) - denis, JF
  • most sportsmanlike award - tom, me, MARTHA
  • best offensive player award - gavin, JF, denis, MARK

  • hall of fame award (left or leaving) - CARINE, TOM, JF, LUC, JERRY, JIM, DENIS

taxes are a bitch these days

Thursday, 31MAR2005:

got my bank statement yesterday and then my VISA statement today, so i've been busy reconciling everything on my budgeting / expense tracking spreadsheet. i really detest being charged bank fees for letting them hang onto my money and i'm a bit annoyed with myself for losing track of my balance and going under the minimum required for fee-less operation.

continuing in that financial vein, tonight was my first shift this year as an income tax volunteer, assisting people with simpler tax situations (low incomes, students, seniors, etc.) to file their tax returns. we usually have a laptop with a tax filing program pre-installed and all we need to do take the T4's and other info slips provided by the client, type in the figures, and print off the completed forms.

unfortunately for me, my volunteer partner forgot about tonight's shift and didn't bring his laptop, leaving me to face the eager filers with only pen, paper and a borrowed calculator. what would have taken mere minutes on the computer ended up taking over half an hour as i manually scribbled out the paper forms. next time i'll at least bring a copy of my own customized tax spreadsheet so that i don't have to futz with tiny calculator buttons.

  • IP idiocy: the canadian government responds to the interim report on copyright reform and apologetically explains why they didn't do everything the copyright fascists demanded. commentary by professor geist.
  • update on the GMO menace - be careful of what you feed yourself
  • article about how the grokster case is really about the future of the internet
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at any other game i never lose

Friday, 01APR2005:

got snookered by one of robert's practical jokes for april fool's day. credit it to not being awake yet on a friday morning. after thinking about it for a bit, tho, i realized that if i was going to fall for it, i should have went into the deep end and started organizing a huge farewell party for him and cc'd a whole bunch of folks. i'm sure he would have had lots of fun correcting that misunderstanding :)

after work, i attended my second monthly meeting of the nunavut press club at the frob. this shindig doubled as an agm where the club executive for the coming year was elected. we also talked about the kinds of activities / events / speakers we would be interested in hosting for future sessions, including a possible barbeque at sylvia grinnell and professional development seminars.

the highlight for me was hanging around after the official business portion and hearing kenn harper relate how polar man pitched his story idea to kevin spacey. let's just say that a burst of hot air ended that potential hollywood blockbuster.

from there, i wandered a bit up the hill past the hospital to JF's place for his farewell house party bash. the joint was hopping with anime on the big screen, donkey kong on the atari and a dog staking out the stairwell, who did impressive tricks with a flattened soccer ball. i successfully wrapped the old school version of 'time pilot', but the cartridge version ended in the 1985 era, rather than with the futuristic ufo's in the arcade game that i remember so fondly.

  • today's soundtrack: everclear - so much for the afterglow
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life could be so great

Saturday, 02APR2005:

got out of bed *way* earlier than i wanted to on a saturday morning but it was for a good cause. met up with heather, odile and jen at fantasy palace to hash out a possible arts festival for toonik tyme in april. since taima will be in town on the same evening as we had pencilled in as a tentative date, we didn't want to force our audience to have to make such a difficult choice. after much discussion, the consensus was that delaying our event until may would also be better creatively.

this gets me off the hook for the technical management duties as i will be in the south at the time, so i'll be making some notes to give to anton and simon to run the show. the teriyaki chicken wrap that i had for lunch was fabulous as usual.

intended to drop by the leg. to check out liz and gwen's painting and pottery exhibition, but decided that with a long evening ahead of me, catching a few more winks would be prudent. so, i slept until broomball, but still woke up groggy and had my worst game of the season. i played better offensively than defensively for once - bloody useless at both !

broomball chronicles:

black: gavin, kevin, greg, bobby, peter (1st half)
white: denis, tom, mark, me, peter (2d half)

team black completely routed team white with a final tally of 7 to nil (i quit keeping track after that). even after peter switched sides halfway thru to give team white the man advantage, they could not overcome their weariness, built up from being shorthanded for 30 minutes, to break thru the defensive fortress thrown up by the dark side, especially with goalie of the year tending net for team black.

turns out that this was tom's last game with us as well, as he is heading down to newfoundland. denis graciously suggested that all of those who have left our ranks this year should be inducted along with him into the broomball hall of fame, so we decided to retroactively add tom, JF, luc, jerry and jim to the HoF roster. of course, should they happen to return, we'll have to strip them of these honours ;)

went home to shower and then play thru a quick offline poker tournament on my computer before heading on to todd's for some real-life action. the poker software that i used must have helped because i ended up collecting at the end of the evening. for the software, remember that uninstalling and then reinstalling will get around the limited trial period.

so, the table started with the three john's (d., w. and m.), vinnie, todd, odile, patrick and me. i started agressively and became chip leader very quickly, but then lost the lead just as fast to john m. however, i kept my cool (and my headphones on) until the no-limit round started around 9. from there, my agressive betting took out vinnie and john w. in quick succession, while patrick called john d. out. john m. failed to prevail and then it was a final four of todd, patrick, odile and me.

for some reason, everytime i actually had cards tonite, the other players assumed that i was bluffing. even tho i was shaking while shoving $500 in chips 'all-in' into the kitty against todd, he was still willing to call me out. his miscalculation put him just out of the money, leaving 3 of is at the table who would split the takings 70-20-10.

while odile played very tight, patrick and i faced off over and over. there was one memorable pot where i was so busy worrying about patrick that odile managed to sneak in with the victory and come up nearly to patrick's level in chips. even so, it was just a matter of using my big stack to effectively bully their shorter stacks to wear down patrick and then odile to get my first overall tournament win at todd's (on my 7th try !!).

not satisfied with ending the evening so early, todd suggested a second round, with the winner taking the entire pot. odile, vinnie, john m., patrick and me answered his call. almost mirroring the first round, vinnie went out first, followed by john m. and then todd, leaving me to face off against patrick and odile once again.

again, i was allowed to bet agressively and build up to chip leadership. patrick successfully stared me down until he caught the low side of a straight when i had the high side covered. then it was heads up action with odile and with the blinds increased, she was forced to go all. the community cards didn't help either of us, so my higher hole card delivered me my 2d table win of the evening.

mark *had* suggested earlier after broomball that i was about due for a strike, but i think it's safer to credit my secret money-coloured hair gel that i applied to the tip of my pony-tail. i'm sure that no one else noticed, but it's enough that i did ... :)

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