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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

misplaced creativity ?

permalink Sunday, 07MAY2006:

got up to another round of meetings this morning. the best part was when we got a chance to ask each other questions about what was happening in each of our jurisdictions. it was very refreshing to see how many new ideas and strategies were being incorporated across the country - if each of these ideas were implemented by all of the libraries, any worries about the relevancy of our services would fall quickly by the wayside.

after a quick bite at the shaw convention centre, it was back to the hotel for a special interest group (SIG) meeting. when i mentioned how i had disposed of the books that wouldn't fit in my new location, i was a little bit astonished at the positive comments that i received for being so creative. talk about adding to my already sizable guilt trip. i can justify my decision logically, but i still feel like guy montag.

in the afternoon, i skipped the vendor demos since most of them required broadband internet access that we still can't rely on in the north, and just browsed the exhibitor hall. in the evening, i enjoyed stuffing myself with roast beef buns at the winspear centre to-do. after all that hob-nobbing, i needed to get grounded again, so i accompanied louise over to the baccarat casino again to play a few more hands. i had doubled my buyin after 10 minutes, but hung around for another 80 minutes, long enough to bleed myself back to break even. louise, on the other hand, walked out with me $120 to the good. some people just have all the luck !

after i returned to my hotel, i stayed up way too late watching the first half of the football game between arsenal and wigan. i'm going to be toast for my 7:30 meeting tomorrow !

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CIF, copyright, space considerations and casinos

permalink Monday, 08MAY2006:

the conference sessions today were very interesting. after i showed up late to my too-early business meeting, i snagged some cold caffeine and managed to rouse myself for the CIF session. the speaker was very good and made some valid points about how the executive government should not be flouting the will of parliament. he also raised the example of the war measures act as a statute that had remained on the books unacknowledged, that was suddenly brought into force in a situation that its provisions had not necessarily been intended to address. the philosophical principle is very worthy and his suggestion that the government should review all of its statutes for unexecuted provisions is hard to argue against, except that it would not necessarily end at the RSC 1985 and might involve more resources and staff time than could be justified by any resulting 'on the ground' benefits.

after a riveting lunch speech about the life cycle of the bison, i dropped in on the copyright session. given the uncertain standing of the minority government, the WIPO ratification legislation may not be the most pressing priority, so we will all have to wait to see what is actually listed in any new legislation before we can determine what their take on copyright will be. from a user rights perspective, the best thing that can happen is nothing, with canada continuing to observe the developments in the u.s., eu, france and australia to see if their recent copyright legislation has made the intended impacts. from the perspective of one of the panelists, the best approach would be to strengthen fair dealing so that user rights could be identified and broadly applied to the general population rather than tied to any specific institution.

also a bit of a surprise was hearing some reasonable comments from the counsel for access copyright. she emphasized that they recognize the need for a strong and robust public domain and that an implied usage license exists for freely available materials on the internet. the real challenge is to ensure that content providers who still choose to collect a fee for their content, do not block users from exercising their fair dealing rights, but also that users who go beyond fair dealing are culpable and should be penalized. it appears that access copyright is realizing that it can only survive if it can successfully play a middleman role between users rights groups and rightsholders. their move away from supporting a strict rightsholders viewpoint is very much a welcome development and corresponds nicely with the CMCC volcano in the music arena.

the next session was about what one should consider when moving a library. some of the valuable tips were:
  • review the plans early and prepare yourself to ask lots of questions by learning how all of the elements of lighting, communications, electrical, HVAC and ceiling heights will interact with the library ops in a 3-d fashion
  • weed on an ongoing basis so that you don't have to move anything that is just going to get thrown out later anyway - only keep what you can justify keeping
  • get stakeholder support for collection and service assumptions - make sure they recognize and acknowledge the services the library provides and are willing to speak up and champion your cause
  • take the opportunity to step back from how your current operation works and try to see how you might be able to achieve efficiencies and pursue new service opportunities
  • be prepared to fight, but have plan B in mind
  • sometimes you just have to live with what you get
in the evening, we were bussed out to the west edmonton mall and enjoyed a meal at red's. i skipped out on the arranged game night to visit a watch shop to see if i could pick up a pocket watch. i had stopped in at a rolex store earlier in the day and had examined a $3300 gold watch. the first store i tried to get to had already closed for the night, but the other one, hidden away in a far corner of the mall was still operating. clocks lined every wall and the jewel cases were packed with all sorts of wristwatches, but it wasn't until i had almost given up to leave that i noticed the display case of pocket watches right beside the entrance.

i got to chatting with walter, the polish proprietor of the europa watch and jewellery shop. he's been in the business of fixing up watches for 28 years - 3 years of training and 25 years of practice. he's tried to convince his son to learn the business, but hasn't been successful as yet. he sold a pocket watch to me at half-price, so i felt rich enough to stop in at the palace casino. i spent about $90 in 40 minutes at the 3/6 limit hold'em table. the crappy hands that i busted down on ? J-J, K-K, A-A. i had the J's in first position, so i raised. however, an A3 showed up on the flop and then a suited 4 on the turn, so i gave up before the river. i learned later that my strategy should have been to check-raise to drive out the drawers after they had already bet.

the worst beat was the pocket K's. the winner of the previous hand had taken down a huge pot with his pocket K's, so when i got a peek at mine, i excitedly re-raised. when an A-10 came on the flop, i went all-in and got a caller. he had a K-Q and my heart fell when a J came on the turn, leaving me with only 3 Q's that could improve my hand. but the river was a blank and i was forced to reload. a few hands later, the rockets appeared and again, i failed to check-raise and followed all the way down before getting punted out by a mid-level straight made on the turn. i *hate* pockets.

imagine my surprise when, on my sad descent down to the felt, in walk two other iqalungmiut gamblers ready to take on the casino crowd. after getting rid of my last 7 chips on a K-Q, i hung around chatting with them until their numbers were called for open seats. i'll have plenty of opportunity to play against them back home :)

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cultural clashes

permalink Tuesday, 09MAY2006:

one of the vendors provided each conference attendee with a gift. the vendor rep was so proud to tell the story of how it was created that i couldn't bear to be ungracious. so, i just smiled and accepted the gift - an inukshuk made by a métis from winnipeg. given the sensitivities in the north regarding cultural appropriation, i thought it was best to hand it off to a CALLeague.

the first conference session that i attended today was one about the challenge of staffing libraries in the future. given the iminent retirement of many baby boomer librarians, library supervisors will need to ensure that the necessary skills and knowledge are passed on to younger successors. one caveat was that incoming librarians appeared to be more interested in leadership roles, rather than in management or supervisory roles.

at lunch, i was joined by claire germain, the president of the AALL. she was very pleased to be able to learn more about nunavut and find out that there is a strong francophone community up north.

i skipped out as planned on the first round of afternoon sessions in order to do a bit of work on my blog. i've learned to incorporate some 'time-out' time in the schedule just to allow my thoughts to settle and restore some mental energy. it's also why i prefer to stay at a location other than the conference hotel. that way, i don't have to be 'on' all of the time. in any case, the conference network wouldn't let me connect to my isp, so i couldn't upload my updated blog postings. i ended up emailing the file to myself via my yahoo account and also sent it via yousendit as a backup. the time was not just spent indulgently, tho, as i was able to assist a couple of the other delegates who encountered email and web issues.

for the second round of sessions, i attended the one on 'games students play'. the first speaker explained how she uses the Beloit College mindset list to purge all inappropriate pop culture references from her instruction sessions. she also provided examples of search problems that her students had to undertake which reinforced that you need to search for what is in the document, not what the document is about.

the second presenter indicated that the main lesson of their firm's legal research bootcamp is to let the incoming students know that "they don't know much and neither does the kid next to you". free stuff is always welcome and don't be surprised if they're willing to prance about the office to show off their awards.

the final presenter outlined how she incorporated her legal research lessons into a 'who wants to be a millionaire' template. twists allowed were a '50/50' option where 2 answers were removed (emulating an 'ask the librarian' behaviour), 'ask the audience' where the other students could be consulted to get a consensus view, and a 'lifeline' to one of the firm's lawyers, who may or may not be an expert in that particular field.

in the evening, we were bussed out to a country hoe-down banquet at fort edmonton and were handed cowboy hats and kerchiefs. the festivities started off with a demo of country dancing. then it was time to feast! i had multiple helpings of delicious ribs and roast beef, topped off with a portion of cheesecake. after that fine stuffing, it took me a bit of time to join the crowd on the dance floor. the cover band started off country, but quickly picked up on the boomer dynamic in the crowd and settled in to serenade us with standards from the 60's, 70's and early 80's.

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cynics of the world, go back to bed !

permalink Wednesday, 10MAY2006:

after staying up late the nite before, i was on autopilot for much of this morning's conference session on residential school litigation. however, given that i have over 2 pages of notes, it seems that my university-acquired skill at acting as a medium between speaker and page are still surprisingly sharp. the speaker delved into the history and rationale for residential schools, the funding and cultural sensititivity problems in the modern era and the attempts to shut them down. the physical and sexual abuses were not disclosed until more recently and the floodgates of litigation were not opened until after church officials issued statements apologizing for the existence of the schools themselves. currently, some 15,000 survivors have participated in litigation in some way.

after the final round of AGM business, i joined connie and michel-adrien across the street at the japanese garden restaurant for a sushi lunch. unfortunately, the gyoza were not up to par and the sushi was adequate at best. i know that they're just trying to satisfy the lunch rush, but i've had better meals at a strip mall sushi joint.

on my way to the auto rental storefront, i was accosted by someone hawking a monthly donation plan for greepeace. while i didn't bite, i did stay to chat for a bit as erin (the hawker) was young, perky, passionate and nice to talk to. ah, the possibilities of city living. i spent the rest of the afternoon at the baccarat casino, where being tired seemed to help my game rather than hurt it. i ended up doubling my stake before stumbling back to the hotel for a quick nap before jim swung around to pick me up.

we went to a cheap student eating joint called the sugarbowl on whyte avenue and respectively had a lamb and salmon burger. the salmon burger wasn't as good as char, but was drenched in some kind of sweet sauce which was a nice treat. after stopping off for some gelatto / sorbet, we headed down to the cinema at the southern end of town to catch 'thank you for smoking'. we killed a few more minutes playing the racing game in the lobby of theatre before the show started.

the movie was a riot, poking fun at both sides of the tobacco struggle. the magic of the spin, where you frame the argument in a fashion that you can't be wrong, was on full display. the father-son subplot wasn't hokey and ended up having an impact on the congressional hearings that closed the movie. i was ready to hear the sob story finale, "i will never get to spend that moment with my son, where we can share his first cigarette together". it's too bad that more people in the world aren't trained to recognize the bullsh*t that they are being fed every day, but this flick is worth watching for those in the know.

after jim dropped me off downtown, i snuck back to the baccarat where i lost nearly everything that i had won in the afternoon. while i was impressed that the houseman remembered my name, it shouldn't have been a surprise, seeing as i had been there nearly every night this week :)

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pressing my luck

permalink Thursday, 11MAY2006:

after a week of conferencing, today i gratefully slept in until noon before picking up my car rental at avis. my prize ? a pt cruiser, all decked out in fine styling. twas a very fun car to drive around for a day. jim and i went for a late dim sum lunch and afterwards i visited with jim and vicki at their house.

from there, i drove over to check out casino edmonton on argyll. russell, one of the baccarat regulars, wandered in while i was there, but busted out quickly. me, i doubled up by the time it came to choose between staying or seeing a couple more movies. i am happy to prove that my gambling addiction still doesn't trump my movie addiction. anyway, after winning a grand total of 3 hands over 90 minutes, i just didn't have the patience to wait for the next hit, even tho one of those hits was quad 3's. i did find it interesting to note that my sniffling symptoms magically disappeared at the table :)

'wu ji (the promise)' was as beautiful as promised, with cecilia cheung providing her enigmatic smile and hiroyuki sanada reprising his gruff military presence from 'the last samurai'. the story was not the greatest, but some of the imagery was magical. definitely a flick to pick up on dvd so you can freeze-frame and screencap your favourite scenes. i had intended to see 'american dreamz' right afterwards at the same cineplex, but it was pre-empted by a preview of 'poseidon', so i drove to another cineplex to catch 'friends with money' instead. this was a very 'adult' film, full of adult conflicts and relationships. the movie exposes how money can become a barrier between those who have it and those who don't, the roles we are expected to live up to in a consumer society and how the grass is not always greener on the other side. the 4 female friends even question why they are friends, and the possibility is raised that if they had met under their current circumstances, that they wouldn't have.

to close out the day, i visited the baccarat for one last kick at the cat. the hand that paid off best for me was when i had 4-5 in the big blind. the flop came A 2 3 and another 3 came on the turn. i capped the betting then and got 2 callers. with a blank on the river, only 1 of the callers was willing to go all the way with me and my hands were shaking with excitement as i turned my cards over for the win. my only other big hand was catching a nut flush on the river. russell sat down and made up for his argyll performance by winning 4 of the next 5 hands.

however, walking away with more money than i had started wasn't the only compensation, as the baccarat poker room provides food to its denizens at 2 in the morning including dumplings, fruit, and veggies. this is on top of the free non-alcoholic beverages that i had been imbibing all week. all-in-all, i played a week of poker and basically broke even. (well, if you *have* to know, i finished a buck fifty to the good).

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lightened loads

permalink Friday, 12MAY2006:

after staying up past 4 in the morning, i was glad to have 2 alarms and a wake up call to rouse me. even so, i still managed to waste a bunch of time getting turned around in traffic until i finally reached the outskirts of town. once there, i put pedal to metal and surged my pt cruiser down the fast lane. however, in my hurry to vacate the vehicle, i neglected to snap a pic of the kewl gear shifter that was so elegantly designed. if i had, i probably would've also remembered to grab the pepsi that i had bought only minutes before :(

on the flight up to yellowknife, i chatted a bit with my seatmate. turns out that she was in edmonton for 'the horseback riding' and was flying back to yellowknife to visit with her father. she spoke spritely with the older fellow across the aisle and i was pretty impressed with her moxie. imagine my surprise when she turned out to only be in her final year of high school! i wish i had been that confident at her age. she later mentioned that she had competed in the biathlon at the arctic winter games in greenland, so i suspect that experience had helped her poise.

it was still light when i got back to iqaluit and i was impressed at how much snow had melted during my week away. less impressive was the fact that 1 of my 2 pieces of checked-in baggage was awol. luckily, it was only clothing, but i was still glad that i got it back over the weekend.

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if it's in the dayplanner, it must be done

permalink Saturday, 13MAY2006:

woke up in a funk, tired and feeling a potential cold coming on. i did make it to both of the events listed in my dayplanner. first, i stopped in at the AFN flea market where i picked up a few cd's and then hit the library for the final tax clinic of the year where i completed my first tax return of the season for a client. the client walked away happy and i was happy to head back home to bed.

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