Friday, January 30, 2009

Jenn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

1) I'm sick.
ii) I'm very tired because coughing kept me up half the night.
c) I fell on some ice this morning on my way to the bus stop to go to work. My left side, especially my shoulder, is very sore.
IV) The internet went down at work not long after I made it in, totally invalidating most of my reasons for going to the office in the firstplace.
E) David came across the first book in a nine book YA series that he said looked like the kind of thing I'd enjoy. I really got into it and read it in a couple days. Just as I was finishing it, I discovered that the library only has the first book and none of the others currently in print.
6) I banged my elbow so hard that my pinky and ring fingers were in a lot of pain, then tingly, then numb. It took nearly an hour before I could make a fist with that hand.

Boo-urns to today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Story of my life...

Your results:
You are An Expendable Character (Redshirt)

An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Jean-Luc Picard
Deanna Troi
Will Riker
Beverly Crusher
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Geordi LaForge
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Mr. Scott
Mr. Sulu
Since your accomplishments are seldom noticed,
and you are rarely thought of, you are expendable.
That doesn't mean your job isn't important but if you
were in Star Trek you would be killed off in the first
episode you appeared in.

Click here to take the "Which Star Trek character are you?" quiz...


David took me to see Stomp on Friday night. It was a really good show. The performers did a great job and David and I both liked how each one of them very much had their own personality. That's hard to do in a show with no real plot and no dialogue at all. Overall, a good show that I'm glad I saw. That said:

The audience was obnoxious. There were a lot of parts to the show that really required a quiet audience, and all of the shuffling, whispering, candy wrappers, and vibrating phones drowned out the sound from the stage several times. The theatre also stupidly let in a huge number of latecomers right at the start of one of the quieter routines. We could only sporadically see and hear what was happening on stage.

Even at only 90 minutes it felt too long and I was getting antsy. An intermission would have helped, but those aren't very common in shows that are less than two hours. I think when each scene/routine of Stomp is looked at individually, there was only one that I would say went on for too long (the newspaper comic relief) and one I could have done without (Zippo lighters).

It's a tough line for productions to walk. You don't want people to get antsy but you also don't want them to feel like they got short changed. I get schools making a bit of noise at the cost for our 45 minute production, but they have to notice how squirmy the kids get after sitting on the gym floor for more than a half hour. Once we lose the attention of the audience (which is easy with little kids sitting next to each other on a hardwood floor) the schools aren't getting their money's worth. It also costs us just as much to run a 30 minute show as it does a 60 minute show.

The only other hitch to the evening was the cold. Holy Jebus on a pogo stick, it was cold. We parked downtown in David's spot then took the LRT to Health Sciences which is right next to the Jub, but because of the stupid construction we had to walk all the way to the end of the block. After the show we went to University station to wait. Health Sciences might have been a bit closer, but it was also outside which was no good for a wait of up to fifteen minutes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who you callin' a ho?!

One of the best parts of my job are the letters from kids. Some of them are sweet, most are just nice to read, and some really stand out. Last year I had a stack of drawings from a class assigned to draw their favorite part of the play (Cinderella). One of the drawings was a very hastily scrawled castle on one side, with meticulous drawings of dinosaurs and Batman symbols on the other. It was my favorite of the year.

This year's favorite is painful to read because of the spelling errors, but when you make it to the end you'll see why it's the favorite. It should be noted that all periods are little scribbled circles that frequently resemble the letter e:

"I like the way you acted, the way you were conected with your cariter the theng I really liked was sang your part and how you and Red Little Riding Hood and you had a fite the you guys became firends. And I liked the costume you whor."

The laughter in the office is getting out of hand. "You whore" and "You ignorant slut" are the new office taglines.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I think they're organizing an army...

I really need to do something about all of the beverage bottles, travel mugs, and take-out cups on my desk. Seriously. This is getting out of hand.

Of libraries and career paths

Yesterday I took the first baby step back towards a library career. I graduated in 2003 with a diploma in information management and library technology. I didn't want to work in a school or public library; my intent was to work for a special library (ie. law, government, corporate). I had two jobs in special libraries. One was a few months working for the city Waste Management Department library and the other was a few months working for a law firm. Turns out I hated pretty much everything about working in a special library. I enjoyed shopping for new clothes to wear to work, but the dress code was unfortunately contrary to the nature of the work. Once that contract ended I spent some time unemployed during the summer of 2003, surfing job ads and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. In August I went on a road trip to Vernon with Steph and that's when I went down a different career path.

Stephanie was having a lot of problems with the board of directors and executive director at her artsy non-profit and spent a good chunk of time on the way back to Edmonton complaining about her job. We were on the Yellowhead approaching the city when I commented that even with the complaints the job itself sounded fun. She replied that the job itself was indeed good, and that I should apply because she was moving to Europe and just gave her notice. I did, I got the job, and it worked out well enough for me there for a little over two years. I left, took some time off, and became a paid part-time contracted employee of the website I'd volunteered for.

In the summer of 2007, I started working for another artsy non-profit, this time a Theatre for Young Audiences organization. I'm still there and it's still mostly good, but I'm noticing the signs that I'm getting antsy. I've also noticed the economic downturn's effect on performing arts companies which have been leading to some major players laying off staff and filing for bankruptcy. My company's economic health appears to be stable (grants and school budgets seem to be in a holding pattern if not increasing), my position is essential to our operations, and I'm relatively uniquely qualified and experienced. I'm not overly worried, but I have been wisely warned by David to not get complacent. Just in case.

I started thinking that maybe I might want to go back to libraries. The problem, of course, is that it's been more than five years since I've had any library experience and the experience from back then was very short term. While my education proved to be extremely transferable to other industries, I don't think my experience is necessarily all that transferable to libraries. More accurately, I've started thinking that it might be a good idea to take steps towards getting some current library experience should I find myself in need of a new job. While hard on many industries, recessions actually have a positive effect on library. When money is tight, libraries get more popular. People who want to or are forced to tighten their belts increasingly turn to the library for books, magazines, newspapers, movies, internet, and (now) video games. Many people go to libraries to research new job opportunities, print resumes, apply for jobs online, and engage in self-study to increase their employability.

When the older boy came home from school with a note asking for volunteers for the school library I heard opportunity knocking. Resource-wise, it's a very good library. Manpower-wise, there's one part-time library technician who needs to maintain library service for nearly 500 students and a couple dozen teachers. She has parent volunteers and a student library club who come to scan returned books and shelve items, but she needs help with things like organizing teacher resources and cataloguing. I thought she was going to hug me on the spot when I introduced myself and told her that I'm a trained library tech who is willing to work for free.

I had to get stuff sorted out at work first, but I'm now going to take a Thursday every two or three weeks to volunteer for the morning to do whatever is needed. Yesterday was my first day. I shelved books, crossed-checked some new acquisitions for accuracy in the catalogue, and made signs and labels for the reference section. Next time I will be cataloguing. I really enjoyed it and I think down the road I could handle working in a school library (though perhaps not running one). I think I'd still prefer to be a room somewhere cataloguing all day for a public library, never seeing the light of day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Super Video Game Super Party

An article on how to host a video game party inspired David to get one going for this weekend. The invites have gone out, the budget has been set, and arrangements are being made for the 'rens and the 'rents to be elsewhere. The 'rents are skeptical about having our weirdo friends invade the house and would like us to stay confined to the basement, but we'll see if we can't convince them to vacate for a few hours. They're making noises about the mess, but we can attest to the fact that the house was much cleaner before and after the Super Birthday Super Party back in November than it was when they left the house. 

We're very well stocked for consoles and games and by Sunday afternoon I hope to also have a good spread of food on the go. Some of my usual skills may be challenged by the lack of a reliable oven. I often do things like cranberry cinnamon scones, cookies, and pizza for parties. However, the oven is having some issues in that it won't always stay on. It quite randomly decides to turn itself off, sometimes after an hour, sometimes after five minutes. I'll have to lean towards no-bake stuff.

My goal for the Super Video Game Super Party is to take more pictures. I only ended up with three or four pictures on my camera of the Super Birthday Super Party.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've watched inaugurations on television whenever I have the chance to, and thanks to streaming video online Obama's was no exception. Michelle is a very well dressed woman. I liked Hilary's coat. She's aging well. Bill is not. George H. W. Bush's scarf was distracting.

The speech was eloquent, but definitely tempered compared to the election night speech which I believe was wise. He's trying to make people's expectations a little more reasonable, bringing them down from idealistically thinking of him as a magic unicorn who is going to instantly fix everything. It took a lot of years to get into this mess, and it may take many more to clean it up.

I went over to the mall that houses CBC to run some errands and get lunch. They had a large television set up with the inauguration coverage and there was quite a crowd gathered, complete with cheers and applause. It's sad that Canadians don't seem to have anyone in our own government to inspire that kind of reaction from the masses. We get more excited about someone else's national leader than our own.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rockin' Out

I'm really digging Rock Band. I tried drums when we got the game last Sunday, but since then I've mostly been sticking to guitar and bass. Yesterday I decided to go back to drums for another try. It's a lot trickier than guitar/bass since there's footwork, too. I also find the chords more difficult; on the guitar, there's usually a moment to get the fingers fretted correctly before hitting the strum bar, but on the drums both pads need to be struck simultaneously with better timing than I've usually got for the note to count.

Joey came over to start a new band with us which was so much fun we went an hour past when we were supposed to pack it in. First there was Jenny Mac and the Band Guys, and then Fish Your Wish (the flagship band for David and I), and the band that Joey co-founded with is us Avid D and his BFFs. David also ventured into doing vocals, which wasn't nearly as easy as his mom made it look when she sang with Jenny Mac and the Band Guys (or was it with The Michael Moores?). I have not yet mustered up what I need to step out of my comfort zone enough to try vocals. I'm very self conscious.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Enjoyably racist

Last weekend we had some time without the kiddos, so David and I had a Sunday Funday with Kevin, aka The Klondike Kid. We went to see Clint Eastwood's latest, Grand Torino. It's about an old, crotchety, racist Korea War veteran whose once All-American neighbourhood is now full of immigrants. While this was meant to be a serious and powerful film, it also managed to be the most unintentionally funny movie I've seen in a long time. The racism and intolerance was so smooth, blatant, and uncloseted (that is, the character isn't just racist, he also doesn't hesitate to express it to people of those races) it became ridiculously entertaining.

Curiously, the rest of the audience wasn't that comfortable expressing their amusement when it was primarily racism towards Asians. Once there were some epithets thrown out about black people that seemed to break the ice for them to start laughing.

Really good film overall. Highly recommended. 

Torture Porn

David happily found and recorded the first three films in the Saw franchise on the PVR. I was dubious that I would like them, but he convinced me to give them a try. I thought it was just going to be full of gratuitous gore; I don't generally mind violence, but certain kinds of gore really bother me. From what I recalled of the trailers, these torture porn films really wouldn't be my thing.

I made it through half of the first Saw film last night. Boy, were my expectations wrong. I would have stayed up to watch the whole thing but I was just too tired. The story is quite good and compelling, and more intelligent than the typical slasher flick. Halfway through it hadn't even been terribly gory -- there was only one scene for which I had to look away. Looking into it a bit, I realize now that I was suffering from some faulty memory; I wasn't thinking of the Saw trailer, I was thinking of Hostel.

Despite having grown up watching a variety of horror films, I lost my backbone for them after several years of not watching any at all because there was no one to watch them with. I think mayhaps I'm ready to get back into them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down!

I have started a new blog. Why? It seemed the thing to. The previous blog can be seen at, but I will be moving posts over so I can have them all in one place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lazy cheating blogger

We have Rock Band 2. You can read about it on David's blog.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Strawberry Nerds are much better than their Grape cousins.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vidya Games at the Lieberry

The Edmonton Public Library has started carrying video games for the Wii, XBox 360, and Playstation 3 consoles. As far as I can find out, this wasn't advertised except through the EPL blogs. I found out from the signs posted on the hold shelves stating that video games were being held at the information desk. They have about 150 game titles, fairly evenly split between the three consoles. At this time, they're limiting the collection to games rated Teen and younger.

My immediate knee-jerk reaction is "oh noes! lie-berries are for books!!11!eleventyone!!". But my snobbery is beaten out by what an interesting idea this is. It's been more and more common for public libraries in the UK and other parts of Europe to have video game collections and it's working well for them. I'm sure there will be squawking as there was when they introduced theatrical films (as opposed to only documentary, educational, and culturally important films) and then more recently graphic novels (as opposed to "real" books) into the collection. There's an archaic but still sometimes present line of thinking that libraries ought to be stocking only what people "should" be reading or viewing, things that will make them better, smarter, more moral members of society. Boo-urns to that, I say.

It's mostly common now for public libraries to subscribe to the Freedom of Information side of things. Libraries stock what patrons want and pass no judgement upon them for it. As I understand it, the library is taking the position that video games can be considered forms of art (both visually and musically) and recognizes that games are increasingly heavy on storytelling. Really, why not branch further away from more traditional forms of art, storytelling, and education? The only caveat I would add is that money shouldn't be taken away from the book budget to buy video games.

This knee-jerk reaction was also tempered by how this benefits me. I was never much of a gamer until recently, but I'm still wary of trying new games. Now I can try same games for free to see if I want to take the plunge to buy them. I don't know how much I'll take advantage of the collection, but I like that the potential is there.

The second reaction was wondering how they're going to combat theft. Video stores frequently won't let customers rent video games without a valid credit card on file. If you don't have a valid credit card, they won't rent games to you without enough information to send you to collections should you make off with their stuff. Sure, I can steal two bestseller novels from the library which would cost as much as a new video game brand new, but the resale value on used books versus used video games is quite different.

I don't think there's much need to be concerned about existing cardholders who know if they want to keep borrowing stuff from the library they have to return things and can't rack up their fines beyond $15. No, I think the people who check them out are fairly likely to return them. The problem is the people who steal items without checking them out. I asked at the information desk about the games since David and I couldn't find them in the AV section. The librarian told me that the first day when they put ten games out at this branch, all ten were stolen. They're now switching to holds only, so the games remain behind the counter and a hold must be placed and processed as normal. There's a limit of one game at a time per account, they may be checked out for one week, and the overdue fee is $2 per day.

I'm interested to see how this works out.