Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

wmtc: whither wmtc

I feel so disconnected from this blog, and from writing in general. I hate it. I love having this blog. I love that when I do want to write, and have the energy to do so, and have something to say, I have a place to do it. But writing occupies such a small space in my life now.  I’m finding tremendous satisfaction from my job. Meaningful work from which I can actually earn a living! What a concept. I’ve also gotten very active in my union. The need to protect good jobs and the public sector has never (Read more…)

Terahertz: You can’t get experience if you don’t have a job…

There was a PSA on TV in Canada in the 90s, which looped “you can’t get a job if you don’t have experience… you can’t get experience if you don’t have a job.”

That about sums up what’s been flipping through my head for the past six months living in England.

I’ve sent out countless résumés and applications (Brits are very fond of ignoring your CV in favour of annoying pre-formatted application forms to fill in), from which I’ve managed to land half a dozen interviews. Unfortunately, each has inevitably been followed up with “we went with a candidate (Read more…)

wmtc: help me buy a tablet

I think I’m finally up for buying a tablet.

I bought a little Lenovo IdeaPad netbook for school. I loved it, and I thought if it made it through four years of grad school, I’d consider it a good buy. It did, and it was. By non-tablet standards, it’s light and portable, and I love the keyboard, which is 90% of full-sized.

I never wanted a tablet before. I always saw them as toys. Sleek, good-looking, fun, but non-essential, more for play than work, and lacking the crucial component: the keyboard.

Now my netbook is getting cranky, and nearing the (Read more…)

wmtc: happy new year from wmtc

On January 1, 2013, I was still in library school, and working as a library page. Allan’s book proposal was still sitting on a publisher’s desk. We were living at G’s Court, and had no thought of moving.In 2013, in order of appearance:- Allan got a book contract,- I got a promotion from page to circulation clerk,- I finished my Master’s degree,- We went to Spain (plus London and Paris),- I got my first librarian position, part-time,- I broke my foot,- Our basement, Allan’s office, was destroyed by a sewage flood,- (Read more…)

wmtc: wmtc winter break goes low-tech

Every year I seem to break the holiest commandment of the holiday season: I’m not busy. I always hear how “everyone is so busy this time of year” and “this is such a crazy time of year, you can’t get anything done,” but that never reflects my experience.

We don’t travel to see family, we have no extra social events, and we don’t do Christmas shopping. Many years ago, we used to send a huge pile of winter-holiday cards, but we’ve gone digital with that, and we don’t do it every year.

So Christmas is an extra day off, and (Read more…)

A Novelist's Eye: Lilian Nattel Online: Richness

I was trying on a jacket at The Bay. It cost twice as much as I’d normally spend, but there was a 50% off sale.

H said, “You look like a rich lady, Mommy.”

I was out for the day with my two daughters. I didn’t need the jacket. I left the store with my richness on either side of me, and the jacket on the bench. Tonight we light the first candle of Hanukkah. We bring back the sun.

Filed under: Personal Tagged: family life

wmtc: thank you, 2013 red sox! thank you, david ortiz!

This was a magical season, and the most exciting postseason I’ve seen in a very long time.

David Ortiz – the only man to play on the 2004, 2007, and 2013 Red Sox teams – will be a hero to the city of Boston and to every Red Sox fan forever and ever, amen. A big man with a huge bat, an enormous heart, and more brains than he gets credit for.

In the world of my personal fandom, sometime during the middle of the summer, between the foot and the flood and the move and the new job, I (Read more…)

Terahertz: Blog Updates

As you can maybe tell (if you aren’t reading this from RSS), I updated the theme a few weeks ago when I started blogging more consistently again.

I tried to go for a cleaner theme and I’m open to suggestions or criticisms.

Additionally, I’ve added some commenting options. People have had trouble with my CAPTCH code in the past, so it’s a bit cleaner now. Alternatively there are options to comment through Facebook or Google+.

Finally, I deactivated a few old plugins that are pretty redundant now and re-added Google Adsense to the posts (just a text banner here or (Read more…)

wmtc: how to pursue something you don’t really want

Since the day I decided to go to graduate school and change my career(s), my mind has reeled with questions about the future. When will I be able to quit my horrible law-firm job? When will I get a professional position at the library? When I get it, will I succeed, and will I enjoy my new work? What place will writing still have in my life? Will my health suffer? Will I have enough energy for these new demands? And on and on. It didn’t feel worried or anxious, but I was incredibly impatient for my new future to (Read more…)

Terahertz: Skeptic with an Eh?

Seeing a gap in the Leed’s Skeptics in the Pub event for September, I volunteer to give a talk on the skeptical movement in Canada.

Here are the details if you want to come stalk me in person:

Monday, 23 September 2013 19:00 at the Victoria Hotel (28 Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3DL)

While I haven’t written down the exact notes for what I want to cover (I have all weekend), I’m basically going to discuss the 6 years I spent organizing freethought groups in Edmonton and Vancouver, and what I learned about the broader skeptical/Humanist movement in Canada (Read more…)

Terahertz: Moves and News

I think it’s far past time for me to drop fully back into blogging.

I’ve posted a few updates over the past couple weeks but I want to aim to really start building this forum again. So where am I now? Nearly four weeks ago, Sonia and I left the often cloudy and rainy Vancouver for the often cloudy and rainy UK. Specifically, she’s working in a town south of Leeds while I’m currently seeking work in Leeds (feel free to pass along my LinkedIn if you have a job for me). You can read a bit about my travels (Read more…)

wmtc: personal update, our new (rental) house, and why we’ll never own a home

We’ve moved! We’re renting a much larger, newer, and more comfortable house in central Mississauga. We’ve lost the huge backyard of our old rental home, but the backyard here is still a decent size, the largest of any house we saw that we’d want to live in. (The choices were huge backyards with old, un-maintained, falling-apart houses, beautiful new townhouses with either no backyard or a tiny square of cement, or this place!)

We have more space – way more space – in this house on two floors than we had in the old place on three floors. And (Read more…)

wmtc: joni, my idol, redux, plus personal update

A few months ago, I wrote about my idol, Joni Mitchell, and posted a number of links to in-depth, lengthy interviews with her. I wasn’t able to listen to them at the time. Today I am relaxing on the patio, drinking iced coffee, listening to Joni talk about her life, her art, and life, and art.

Podcast of Jian Gomeshi (CBC) one hour in Joni’s home. Around 17:30 she talks about what it was like to be a pregnant, destitute teenager in 1965, and the erroneous claim that she surrendered her child for adoption in order to further her (Read more…)

Terahertz: A note on “Skepticism and Gypsy Stereotypes”

Hopefully you took the time to read the article I just posted entitled “Skepticism and Gypsy Stereotypes.” I want to give some backstory to this piece, separate from the article itself.

After attending Imagine No Religion 3 this past spring, I had wanted to challenge the trope of Gypsy Fortune-Tellers that was tangentially brought up on a couple occasions by conference speakers. I don’t suspect and malice or intentional racism on the part of the speakers but the myths should be debunked and consciousness should be raised.

Looking a bit into it, I discovered a 1999 article by (Read more…)

wmtc: a quieter life, plus photos

Finally, some peace and quiet. This is the first time since the sewage flood on July 8 that our home is quiet. This lovely state of affairs exists because we filed a complaint with the Landlord Tenant Board, requesting our Landlord be ordered to stop renovations on the basement until after we move out. The complaint has not even been processed yet, but the Landlord backed down. Another lesson in Know Your Rights! (I would like to create a new tag/category for wmtc called “know your rights,” but I feel like it would apply to half my posts.)

With (Read more…)

wmtc: when it rains, it pours, or, welcome to my roller coaster

Tala is not doing well.

You may recall, she has a chronic and degenerative spine condition. After a long rest and rehab process, she has been doing wonderfully – truly better than I ever expected. But this week she took a downturn. She was suddenly not able to sit. She can only stand or lie down. When she tries to sit, she is in obvious pain. She tries repeatedly, then gives up and lies down.

We are taking her to the vet tomorrow, but my heart is already breaking.

* * * *

This spring, everything was going our way. (Read more…)

wmtc: know your rights, rental edition

After a week of looking at houses for rent, we found something we love and put down a deposit. My dread of moving has been mostly replaced with a mixture of resignation and excitement, as this will be a definite upgrade in our standard of living. Life is full of the unexpected. We’re very fortunate in many ways – it could be way worse – and I don’t want to lose that perspective.

This experience continues to be educational! In addition to the rental scams I saw on Craigslist, the basement disaster and our impending move have provided a (Read more…)

wmtc: the incredible shrinking life: a flood, a hotel room, a library

I’m always amazed how when personal upheaval strikes, whether tragedy or happy Big Life Change – your world shrinks down to a tiny little circle. We moved to Canada the day Hurricane Katrina struck, and days later, we were struggling to take in all we had missed. Since the flood four nights ago, the outside world has barely registered on my radar.

So, what has happened to the Laura and Allan Family since I posted those lovely sewage-filled photos?

The aftermath

The flood was Monday night. The Greater Toronto Area received a month’s worth of rainfall in the span of (Read more…)

wmtc: in which a storm reaches our basement. through the toilet.

Our basement. Last night.

Looks like some Stephen King floating around. That wood was once a piece of floorboard. Now a raft. Toilet opening and shutting itself.

Last night more than a foot of water and sewage came gushing through the basement toilet. The basement is Allan’s office. And I was useless with my broken foot. And the basement was completely dark from power outage.

After our first flood in 2008, our landlord put in a completely new basement and washroom. That mess was trifling compared to this.

Today Allan has been moving all his books to the spare bedroom (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: wmtc: in which a storm reaches our basement. through the toilet.

wmtc: wmtc rebooted

I was in the middle of writing a post about my plan to get back into an exercise routine… when I broke my foot. Doing almost nothing. Walking along in the mall, on my way to get my hair cut and then go to work, my ankle turned over sharply. I was horrified, thinking it was yet another ankle sprain. But no… turns out it’s a three-part fracture in my foot.

I was worried at first: if I could break a bone just by walking, is there a problem with my bone density? Are my bones becoming fragile? But I’ve (Read more…)

wmtc: my role model, joni mitchell

Next week, Toronto’s Luminato arts festival will present “Joni: a Portrait in Song,” various musicians performing and celebrating the work of Joni Mitchell. For months, speculation flew about whether or not Mitchell herself would attend, and if she did, whether she would perform. Finally, a few weeks ago, it was announced: Joni will appear at the Massey Hall event; she will recite a new poem with musical accompaniment.

In the lead-up to this rare public appearance, Mitchell – who, of course, is Canadian, and who turns 70 this year – gave a few interviews to Canadian media. Mitchell (Read more…)

wmtc: my life at the children’s library so far (plus happy birthday to me)

What a difference it makes when you enjoy going to work. What a difference when you don’t dread your job. Wow!

This is what I’ve done in my new position so far.

- I participated in the finale of Grade 4 Read To Succeed, in which the winning classes – the classes that read the most books in each branch library’s catchment area – attended an event at Mississauga City Hall. There were songs, games, prizes, and readings by two children’s authors. It was a bit weird for me, as I hadn’t been involved in the program, but great fun (Read more…)

wmtc: in which i remember what big life change feels like

Even though I’m following several important news stories – from the revelations about the massive NSA domestic spying campaign to the slow-motion implosion of the Conservative Party of Canada to the show-trial of Bradley Manning - I seem unable to blog about anything but my own life. I remember two other times when this happened: just before and just after we moved to Canada, and when I started grad school. Big Life Change has a way of swamping everything else.

Career changes are huge transitions, but librarianship is even more than a career change for me: it’s an entire change of (Read more…)

wmtc: in which i officially become a librarian

We interrupt this travelogue to bring you an important announcement. I got my first librarian job!!

This is a part-time, temporary position in the children’s department of the Central Library, where I was a page for 14 months. I am thrilled.

But wait, there’s more!

I also interviewed in a competition for eight part-time positions, not librarians, but great experience doing reference and programming. I was one of the top scorers and was offered my choice of four of these positions, including two that are permanent.

So what does this mean? It means I can be a part-time librarian until (Read more…)

Terahertz: Terahertz Atheist Video Blog

I always have a number of long-term projects in my head. Reaching out via different mediums is one of them, and practice speaking and editing is always important for me.

To accomplish this I’ve started an intermittent video blog/podcast supplement to this blog. Only two episodes are up so far – the first on Fusion: Hot and Cold and the second on GMO Labelling – and it’s only available through YouTube for now (I may look into the technical aspects of how to iTunes it next week). You can subscribe to the RSS feed here or follow the YouTube playlist (Read more…)