Thursday, June 30, 2005

Book rant

I have far too many books. Many of you reading this will, at this point, gasp and clutch your hearts at my saying that, but when you have to move all your boxes of books upstairs, unpack them all on the floor and then re-pack them according to genre/period/etc. there's a problem.

It doesn't help that I'm incredibly anal about the ordering of my books, right down to sorting them by hardcover, softcover/trade and then alphabetically. Then I further sub-divided them by: 20th Century, Humanist, Renaissance, Victorian, Poetry & Plays, Classical, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Academic & Reference & Miscellaneous. Oh, and signed and first-edition hardcovers are separated out from the other hardcovers, too. But what if an author has written fiction, but also philosophy (ref. Camus, Satre, Huxley, Kafka sorta, etc)? Do they go by genre, or by author? If I only have 3 novels by an author, and two are trade and one is hardcover, should they stay grouped together? Is it cool to put Stephen King (Dark Tower series only) next to Philip K. Dick and Robert A. Heinlein?? What about collections of short stories??? Is that fiction, or should it go in with plays & poetry???? Dear god, help me!!

... I'm okay now.

I need me an on-site, always-on-hand librarian. Maybe someone with experience at the Library of Congress...

DAoC trailer vid

Rogerio, something you might find kinda neat from an amateur video editing perspective. Dave, get yer arse back into DAoC! WoW is for cartoon-lovin' dorks.

Sodred Trailer

Inspired by a buddy of mine in-game who's made a vid, I think I'm gunna try something like this once I get my vid card fixed, and download FRAPS (video capture software). Might even invest in a decent editor, though I've been advised to just go with Microsoft Movie-Maker for the near-term to get used to editing.

Anyhoo, I just thought it was a cool little trailer. Great angles, and music/video sync. Lookin' forward to the guy's full vid (he's got like 3 to date).

That's it for now. Off to build my final bookshelf and listen to my cat scream in drama-queen agony at the tragedy of my having made her move... again.

Go go gadget job opp #1!

Okay, I'm at that stage in my moving where I'm breaking my back moving my 600+ books. I should never have been allowed to work in a bookstore. That's like letting a junky do prescription refills at Shopper's: "One for you, and one for me!"

But the good news is that I am in the process of building my last bookshelf (see, Mom & Dad, there is a god!) and there are two nice shelving units already built into the place. So far I'm loving this new pad. Lots of room for all my geeky/obsessive stuff: computers, books, gaming compendiums, and assorted nik-naks that I ought to have tossed in grade 8.

But the news of the day: I've applied for a job at FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) in the position of Communications Officer. Check out the responsibilities:

- Monitor news media daily and prepare reports for FCM staff;
- Provide ongoing analysis of media coverage and identify opportunities to communicate FCM’s messages;
- Respond to routine media enquiries and arrange interviews with FCM spokespersons;
- Help coordinate media coverage of FCM meetings, events and news conferences;
- Write news releases, backgrounders, articles, speeches and opinion pieces;
- Assist with the management of Forum magazine;
- Contribute to the development of FCM communication strategies and messaging

Ummm... can you spell "built for me" ? I just about fell outta me chair when Suzanne sent this to me. Da-amn! So I faxed my new resumé out to them this morning, and will do follow-up soon, possibly in person since they're in the Market. I also know someone who works there, so need to ask John if he'll toss in a good word. (Just hope he still doesn't begrudge me saying at his wedding that he tormented me unmercifully in high-school...)

I can't express how absolutely liberating it felt to fax that coverletter + resumé, and how utterly phenomenal a sensation it was to read through the responsibilities and duties and not think "there's no freakin' way I'd get this". Instead of I thought "This job is built for me, and I'm going to ensure that they realize that".

Do you think I should have left out "Oh gods of FCM, please hire me! I am PERFECT for this job!" on my coverletter? Hmmm...

That's it for now. (the other tacit good news being that I have internet again)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Man be catchin' up wit' me...

They're on to me. I just received a notice that my bank is investigating my account because "according to their records" I may not be a full-time student anymore. O noes! Now I face the stupid normal fees for account usage. Bastards! Another ruse bites the dust.

This follows on the heels of Greyhound/Voyageur buslines. Last year, they started carding me and they've gotten wise to my "oh, I just got that card replaced and they forgot to put the right sticker on it" sham. Now I have to pay the damn adult fares. However, the subterfuge works if I go return trip from Kingston, as they are very student heavy and I guess I look stupid enough to be taken for a Queen's student. *ZING!*

The irony, of course, is that I still get carded for cigarettes and beer.

Just scan my retina or analyze a pound of flesh already fa chris'sake and have done with it.

Thank you for holding, how may I confuse you today?

Ah, the wonderful world of customer service. I'm calling today to transfer all my junk from this address to a new one... by 'new' I mean it has ONE DIGIT that is different (different apartment, same building).

The horror... the horror... [of customer service.] Funny how at one company you can go from a can-do-you-got-it-sir! person to someone who sounds like a slightly more spry Stephen Hawking, or the old slug woman from Monsters, Inc.

Actually, I shouldn't complain too much. The process has been relatively painless (excempting having been paying into a dead account and accruing hundreds of dollars in credit... yay credit!). So far, Bell is down, Bell Mobility is down, and I need to now hit Hydro Ottawa where no doubt their automated voice service goes something like this: "MmmmwahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA! ... Thank you for calling, sucker".

Should be fine, and it looks like I'll have phone service and Internet by Thursday. I told them that they can cancel everything, take all my stuff, but make sure Internet is up and running. (how predictable)

A weird (quel surprise) thought I had. You know how you are always put on hold? Now consider this: what if they partnered with a local sex chat service? When you go on hold, you're given the option for the transfer, and then given the option of male or female. So instead of shite music or the blackness of the Void That Binds, you get flirted with and otherwise "occupied". On hold for 15 minutes? No problem! Hell, people would call to be put on hold. And custom service metrics would shoot through the roof. Hmmm... *ponder*

Or... they could simply give you the option of choosing the kind of music to have to listen to while on hold. I guess that would work, too, though you gotta admit that it's not half as bold a business move as the sex chat line idea.

On another note... Vacation feels frickin' weird. Like I'm playing hookie, or I've been fired. The sensation is one of floating between uncertainties: am I supposed to be at work? or Should I be enjoying this? etc. I've decided to simply punt my vacation-based emotions out the window to fry on the pavement and am in blissful who-gives-a-damn mode.

I'm currently building the last of my bookshelves for my new place, and getting a few other things organized. A buddy is helping me move the big stuff (ie, 3 or 4 things) around 5. Then for the next 2 days I'll slowly migrate my detritus upstairs. By Thursday night, I want to be totally set up, and the place air-condition-cooled for Friday morn. Oh, that reminds... Dad, the air-conditioner didn't fit so I had to knock the entire window out with a sledgehammer. I'm sure my super won't mind. (... Just kiddin'.)

Well, off I go to sweat me arse off building bookshelves and humping a few things upstairs.

Friday, June 24, 2005


On a bit of a happier note than the other one from today... EVILGASM! I just about burst a gut. I'm a devotee of OOTS (Order of the Stick), an online comic. I just had to share this:


For you gamers out there, check out the whole series -- you'll laugh, you'll cry (because you were laughing a wee bit much). I highly endorse it!

Hinges of History, Take 1

Another series of disorganized brain-farts, a bit on the dark side.

History. Ever noticed how history often hinges on but the actions of a single individual, as opposed to some over-arching, macro view typically associated with orthodox historiography?

Pol Pot. Here's the world's second-most infamous perpetrator of genecide in history (or at least in the 20th Century), yet who even knows about this guy? His dictatorship led to the killing of 1-3 million Cambodians (1/4 - 1/3 of the entire Cambodian population!) in the '70s. Check it out:

1974 - In March, the Khmer Rouge capture the old capital of Odongk, north of Phnom Penh. In a foretaste of what is to come, the city is destroyed, its 20,000 inhabitants are dispersed into the countryside, and teachers and public servants are executed.

1975 - Now in control of most the Cambodian countryside, the Khmer Rouge surround and isolate the capital Phnom Penh, which has swollen with refugees fleeing the Khmer Rouge and the US bombers. The noose steadily tightens. On April 17 Phnom Penh falls. Within days the city's entire population of over two million is marched into the countryside at gunpoint.

Pol Pot declares 'Year Zero' and directs a ruthless program to "purify" Cambodian society of capitalism, Western culture, religion and all foreign influences in favour of an isolated and totally self-sufficient Maoist agrarian state. No opposition is tolerated.

Foreigners are expelled, embassies closed, and the currency abolished. Markets, schools, newspapers, religious practices and private property are outlawed.

Members of the Lon Nol government, public servants, police, military officers, teachers, ethnic Vietnamese, Christian clergy, Muslim leaders, members of the Cham Muslim minority, members of the middle-class and the educated are identified and executed.

... and how many reading this even remember this guy's name? He died a few years ago in transport to be tried. Heart-attack, I believe was the reported cause of death. Guess it goes to show that if you aren't #1 with a bullet, history can safely ignore you. So that leads to...

Hitler. It's believed, based on some descriptions in Mein Kampf, that Hitler's hatred of Jews started with but a single schoolmate: Ludwig Wittgenstein, a child a bit older than Hitler who was smarter, faster and bullied Hitler unmercifully. In his later years, he became well known for solving with the Private Language Argument the 'mental zombies' philosophical dilemma, among a hundred other things.

Can you imagine that 1 person may have been indirectly responsible for the wholesale destruction of 9 million of his own race?

History hinges on but a few, most of whom are in power. If Dubya is any indication, they ain't all that bright. Comforting, no?


So I was thinking today, today being wondrous Friday and having just partaken of CWC (Coffee With Colleagues), about the ideal work-week. Thomas Moore had it right like 300 years ago, when he wrote "Utopia" (which, by the way, means "No Place"), and no one has gotten it right since.

Some highlights of his sociological philosophy:

6-hour work days. He recognized that people are no more productive in 10-12 hour days than they are in 6 hour days. So make the working day but 6 hours long, and use the rest of the time for community and family involvement.

Cycle duties periodically. Work in one area (say farming) for 6-12 months, and then cycle through into carpentry, logging, administration, governance, art or architecture. This expands the knowledge-base of all members of society, and allows them to gain a heightened understanding of the efforts required in all tasks. This in turn allows societies to make informed decisions concerning the administration/governing of those roles.

Anyway, lots of great ideas in that short book (120 pages, methinks), most of which I can't remember since it's been 5 years since I read it. I might have to dig it up again after I move.

There have been a number of "utopian" books written, academic as well as novels: The Republic (Plato), The Prince (Machiavelli), Utopia (Moore), We (Zamyatin), etc. But the only one to really come across as common-sensical (to me, anyway) was Utopia. Of the distopian novels, the only one worth reading is "We". In 1954 (I think) George Orwell flagrantly plagerized that entire novel and re-named it "1984". Then Huxley (don't ever touch "Doors of Perception" with a 10-foot pole, by the way) just knocked off another version, and after him, the world of distopian literature more or less died as readers grew weary with the lowly hero rising rising... oh, he's gunna make it!! ....dead (or otherwise shut down).

Just some random thoughts for the moment as I look forward to having a week off. Huzzah!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

First shot

So here I am. Got interested in this idea after a friend of mine created a blog here to record her upcoming trip to Europe, and I thought the idea of her being able to write to everyone without actually having to do so (and to give her friends/family the opportunity to comment/respond) was fantastic!

Now to the name of this blog... I've always thought it pretentious, despite having a background in philosophy, to call someone or be called by someone a philosopher. So 'quasi' makes light of that. 'Philosophical' because all thoughts set down with even a pretense at rhyme or reason could be, if abstractly, considered philosophical. 'Ruminations', well...

ru·mi·na·tion, n.
1. The act of pondering; meditation. 2. The act or process of chewing cud.

Hrrmm... (no comment) 'Wayward'... 1) I like the word itself and 2) I like to think my mind often wanders from the orthodox, beaten track. 'Mind' because I'd like this forum to act as a free-form outlet for whatever I happen to be thinking of, or am curious about.

(wow... how anal is it to defend one's blog title? aw well... it's a start at least.)

That about describes it. I'll make more of a go of this once I'm not at work. *whoopsie*