Tuesday, November 28, 2006

a belgian secret

Okay, so, after showing Court the other day my buttonhole book, and to very little praise, might I add, I've decided to post pictures of the second type of binding that I learned a few weekends ago. Above are two examples of "Secret Belgian Binding" that I've made at home the past week. I've pretty much created a monster, and if you ask, I will not admit the total monetary investment that I have made in my new hobby.

Now, the story behind the name is much less elusive than the name suggests (some librarian at some large library found an example of this type of binding in some basement box and, realizing it was from Belgium, said something along the lines of 'oh, you know those Belgians and their secrets,' as if this is some kind of known fact), this binding produces a simple and sturdy little book. I used chiogami paper for the cover of the smaller book and Japanese tissue paper for the cover of the larger. Both are bound with waxed linen thread. Each has eight leaves, are blank, and would be good for writing. Well, that's just my opinion.

I'm pretty proud of these little mofos. Please act surprised on Christmas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Amazing Race 11? Best Season Ever?

Okay, okay, I'll admit it. I watch Reality TV. I watch Survivor. In residence, I watched Temptation Island. With a dedication that was much greater than that turned towards my education. I even like The Apprentice, well, the first couple of seasons anyway.

But the show I really like is Amazing Race. Last season, I gave my heart to the Hippies. I love love love them. And I was so glad that they won $1 million. But, they aren't my favourite team. My favourite team was...ready?...Rob and Amber. Damn, they were awesome. Rob was just so good at the game. And Amber, well, she's pretty. But the thing is: they actually communicated like a couple. They never fought, they encouraged each other, they were partners. Unlike some teams that made me cringe in my comfy sofa chair when watching.

What is the point of this? That there's going to be an All Star edition of Amazing Race. Next Spring. And Rob and Amber are confirmed. No word on my hippies yet, but I have not given up hope. I promise you, I will be watching every single second.

Also, I just watched the preview for the next episode of Veronica Mars. (Thanks a lot Alex, you tease!) Better than Christmas.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Talent, Lifer or Mandarin?

I'm a Mandarin!

You're an intellectual, and you've worked hard to get where you are now. You're a strong believer in education, and you think many of the world's problems could be solved if people were more informed and more rational. You have no tolerance for sloppy or lazy thinking. It frustrates you when people who are ignorant or dishonest rise to positions of power. You believe that people can make a difference in the world, and you're determined to try.

Talent: 46%
Lifer: 44%
Mandarin: 54%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

of course, the problem with all of this is the simple fact that I still don't really know what a Mandarin is. The orange? The language? Some juicy language drink?

Al Schmore

I think we might be getting suckered. By Al Gore. Whom everyone seems to think is some kind of hero because he's the star of the supposedly eco-friendly documentary "An Inconvienient Truth." I hate this movie. Not because its boring (which it is) or because it lacks flashing editing (which it does), but because it just doesn't make sense.

Al Gore drives around in an SUV. He jetsets across the world. Talk about two polluting forms of travel. Heck, his family money comes tabacco and cattle farming, two of the most environmentally invasive crops (well, if cattle are grown) known to the world. hello methane! Although he talks the talk, he does very little walking. What I would have loved to see is him jumping in his hybrid, or, heaven forbid, taking public transit. If he's going to set an example, he could at least do so for the span of the movie. Now, I know you are going to say that's he's been involved with this cause (cause?) for decades. I don't care. It means even less to me if someone preaches and then keeps on sinning.

Also, dude, what's with those graphs? They don't even have axis labels! It means nothing without values! Please. I've taken intro to statistics. I know my shit. Also, its lovely to present temperature graphs for the last millenium (which is, I know, all we've got) but seriously. The world is what? Billions of years old? Its a little difficult to conclusively prove anything with such limited scale. I get it, its the best we can do. But still. I know, I am making myself sound like a sceptic. I am not. I truly believe that human beings are doing terrible things to the planet. I really do think that we need to lessen the impact of our foot prints. I do think that we are going to end up killing our species and probably take along a lot of other species with us. Deep down, I'm even terrified that this is going to happen within the next couple of generations. Or our generation. Or tomorrow. What I dislike are silly graphs that don't really reflect anything. Graphs are just too easy to manipulate.

But I am really sick that Al Gore gets all the credit for being some kind of environmental advocacy genius when there's tonnes of hardworking Americans/Canadians who have spent lifetimes dedicated to actually living what they believe. They are the examples. Not the man who "used to be the next president of the United States." Which is a line that should have been absolutely hilarious and which he couldn't even pull off. I know I was supposed to laugh, but I just couldn't.

Now, all that being said, at least this movie has gotten people talking. Which is so much better than nothing at all, especially if it leads to greater awareness and to more action towards reduction. Even more so if it leads to cleaner energy sources. I mean, we aren't all bad. Life expectancy is high, diseases are being cured, technology is rampant...we just need to work on creating more balance. And no, I have no idea how that will actually happen.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My faculty is having an auction for charity this year. I actually think its a great idea. We are all asked to donate things to be auctionned off. for myself, having just learned to bind books (okay, only two styles), I am going to donate one of those. They are homemade, yes, but they look great. My room mate is donating view master slides of the Library of Congress. She bought them on ebay. After hearing about the auction, our book binding session leader offered us a spot in one of her workshops. I really love the idea, especially at Christmas, of giving a little something to people who do not have so much.

But what I do not like is the choice of charity that the faculty made. We are donating the profits to Sick Kids. I get it: no one likes a sick child. i know. but. they are a huge corporation with a huge budget for fundraising and for raising public awareness of the funds they need. And, they often pay their fundraisers. what, you think those people with the binders on every street corner are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? I think not. My point is this. They have fundraisers. Could we not have chosen a charity that perhaps needed the assistance a little more? A local charity? Perhaps even one related to libraries? I would even feel better if we were donating a collection of books to the Sick Kids library. Or, we could subscribe to an electronic database on behalf of one of the public libraries. Or we could donate to Librarians Without Borders, a venture launched by students at the Western. We could have done something that was a little more in tune with, well, us. It would be nice to see library students raising awareness , and advocating for, library needs and library users. who knew I was so keen, hey?

That being said, Sick Kids is a better charity than no charity, and I am happy to help out.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

we lost our semi-finals volleyball game last night. we got beat pretty bad. they were so good, it was like not only were they hitting the ball back to us, hard, they were placing it as well. see, you can be okay volleyball (me), very good at volleyball (half our team), and excellent at volleyball (michelle and chris). I just pray the ball goes back over to the other side. Michelle and Chris make it look very very easy. and pretty. I am so so jealous. the other team, last night, was of this caliber. meh, maybe not. they had this one guy who spiked it so hard, I had to be impressed. and one guy, you in the red shirt I am looking at you...he could just see it and place it wherever. that kind of skill requires admiration. it was funny too, cause he wasn't tall or super athletic. he was just smart. which, really, is the most dangerous kind of athlete of all.

Tonight, Jarrod and I are meeting my parents for Korean Barbecue. It is perhaps the most delicious experience on the planet. well, other than gorging one's self at mandarin, but my recent clothes shopping experience has pretty much kiboshed that for the near future. basically, you sit at a table with a grill in the middle of it. and then you proceed to cook your own meat. its all you can eat, its delicious, and its fresh. now, you can upgrade to lamb and shrimp, however, really, all you want is the chicken and beef. so don't do it. you'll be stuffed. and somehow, since it isn't carbs, you don't feel to stuffed. just that heavy kind of full that isn't all that bad.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We recieved in our inbox today an email about a new decision: the admissions committee for the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto is debating whether or not to add a student to the "deciding who gets in" mix. We were asked to, informally, choose whethe we were yay or nay on having a student representative on the committee.

I do not think that there should be a student on the admissions committee. At first glance, there seems to many reasons why a student should be on the committee. They are the ones who are experiencing the process--they are fresh out of school, they are living the challenges of applications, they know how difficult it is to attain a certain academic schedule while maintaining other aspects of life. Having been there, and quite recently, it seems to make sense that a student would be a welcome addition to the admissions committee.

Unfortunately, it is for precisely those reasons that a student would be a terrible idea. My fellow students are no more qualified to choose who enters our program than I am. I am quite happy to leave it to professors (who are interested in being on the committee, but that's a whole other can of worms) with experience, both in life and in education, to choose who enters the program. I have to think they might know a little something more than us.

Also, the point was suggested that perhaps we should get used to peer to peer evaluation. Which is absolutely true. If we were evaluating professional articles set to paper with the intention of being reviewed. This is personal character that we are talking about, private things that need not be made public and that need not be known by peers. There is a difference between personal scholarship and private reference letters, private appeals for acceptance, and of course, personal grade transcripts (especially from that year in res where no school work was done!). The committee is not around for Pub Nights, or study groups, the committee is a professional group, not of peers, but of superiors.

Someone suggested that the acceptance process was akin to the hiring process and that this would be good experience for one's future professional life. However, there are a few major differences. 1) You are not hired by your fellow level one employees. You are hired by someone who is ahead of you, who's been through it before. 2) The manager who does the hiring, or the department, is trained to do so. Plus, they have their own professional reputation to maintain. Their employees are a reflection of themselves and they could be putting their own reputation on the line when hiring. This is also exactly why I hate group work as students. There is no chain of command, no "boss," no "project manager," there is no one to ensure someone stays on track because it will be their butt if someone does not. If we want to talk about the real world, let's talk about professional reputation, being called on bullshit, and being fired. Okay, I can't talk about group work anymore without, oh, still wanting to kill members of previous groups for being so unbelievably selfish. Christmas, this year, you will be enjoyed.

The word 'authority' is extremely important in these situations. This whole situation is about authority and responsibility. A student does not have the right qualifications or the right distance or the right standing in the hierarchy of education to make these decisions. And everyone in the room will know it: Do we honestly think that student's voice is going to outweigh a professor's? A long time administrator's? It will not. Now, that's the real world for you. What are we imagining: sending in some charismatic twenty something to defend our rights to personality? Seriously.

What could be more powerful in this situation is a statement prepared by students that details what exactly they are looking for in fellow students. Bright, dynamic personalities, whose heads filled with practical know how and dedication to studies. But, also, someone who will make a trustworthy and informed information professional. How do you tell all of that from paper? You can't. And that is the real issue here. Not who does the choosing, but how we apply. Why not have an interview process? Why not submit something a little bit more creative? Why don't we get to show ourselves a little bit more?

Isn't this the root of the problem? That we want the people in power to know that there is more to us than transcripts or job experience. If we want change, we need it where it matters. Not a superficial band aid that causes more controversy than any one program needs.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hallowe'en, Part Deux

These pictures, of course, should have been added a week ago. However, it never seemed to work out that I had my memory card and a lap top at the same time. now though, sitting at my parents place, doing laundry and waiting for them to get back from their walk, i not only have the card, access to a computer, but, and get this, i actually have the time to write a little something. i know, its crazy shocking.

see, now, when I first saw Heather in her costume, I got it totally wrong. Well, I mean, I got the fifties prim and proper housewife part right, but see, I thought she cut off her own hand and just proceeded to bake it, because, well, baking is what good wives do. But, in truth, it was a slightly more sinister. See, she had cut off someone else's hand and baked it. This is obviously a much better story. She won for the best costume, which, of course, is excellent.

This is robin being entirely unimpressed with her boyfriend, kirk, who's resting a glass on her head. She's dressed as Dorothy, which is entirely appropriate for her cute little self. Of course, she had to compete with another Dorothy, who was called, rather appropriately "Whore-thy" for the evening due to the shortness of the skirt and the prescence of garters. At a library party. I am not sure I will ever understand the notion of "sexy" hallowe'en costumes. The whole point is to dress up as something other than one's self, and well, if you dress up as a whore, I think it might be because, and this is a shocker, you're a whore. Just because its Hallowe'en, you aren't tricking anyone else into thinking anything other, so, really, you little slutty girls, you're just a treat and no trick at all. Which is just so terribly boring. I think that's why it bugs me so much. You have this opprotunity to do something funny or clever or different...and so many people just march to the beat of average.

This is, of course, Jarrod as a "space banker." The pictures of this costume really turn out excellently, even if no one else knew what he was. As far as costumes go, his was certainly unique. Thank heavens. If Jarrod had pulled "sexy space banker" I am not really sure what I would have done.

This is me as a zombie prom queen. I'm clearly attaching two people, who, instead of looking frightening, just look like they are humouring. Do they not understand that I'm a zombie? That I suck the life out of people and spit them out just wandering shells of their previous selves? That's some scary shit and they just aren't feeling it.

Hallowe'en was actually a pretty good time this year. As always, I left the costumes till the last minute. And I spent more money than I had expected to. (So if you see me with a plastic cup and coffee from home, you now know why.) But, we got two nights out of our costumes, which seems to make it a better bargain. I do not have any pictures from the second night, at The Sean Ward Show, because, although I brought my camera, I forgot the memory card. Story of my life.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

okay, i am considering something. that something is more school. are you shocked? you know, seeing as how i'm twenty five and haven't really not been in school yet. but, for a while there, i really thought that this year was it.

but, well, i've decided that i want to be a "digital services librarian." this means that i'll be taking on the responsibility of maintaining and developing the technologies that my library uses, everything from webpages to learning sessions to implementing new services and products. I want to be "that guy" who knows what she's doing. and to get there, to be self-sufficient, i am simply going to need more skills. its like i'm a skills junkie: i got my first taste with cataloguing, then with SQL, now...its all about the web. so, this is what i am thinking: Humber College, six months, $5900, Web Development Certificate.

Is this ridiculous? Can't I learn the skills on my own? and the answer, sadly, is no, i cannot. sure, i can do the basics, case in point, the header on this blog. but, i don't really 'get it.' and i want to. i'd like to. and i think that might be my real motivation. i would like to do it. it would make me feel pleased and proud of myself.

plus, i have all of these dreams of freelancing and pulling in some extra moola. and learning how to use a mac. for the real reasons: graphic design.

i am weighing ups and downs, worrying about job prospects, wondering what it is that i actually want to do with that whole thing called life.

pretty much, i have no idea.