Thursday, February 23, 2006


Well, I have just finished the staff workshop. I had to do FOUR presentations on searching online databases for the librarians. The past week has been exhausting. First of all, the workshop was moved up two weeks due to a grant deadline. Then I was sick all of last week. So I was scrambling to get my presentations ready. I worked on Friday, which was supposed to be a holiday. I worked twelve hours on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday, the first day of the workshop, I had to go back to work in between presentations to work on stuff for today.

And now I have an interview to go to on Monday.

Here is what I have to do for it: "A short presentation (approximately 10 to 15 minutes) on the development of possible children’s programs."

I am too tired to think of anything. Can any of my smart library friends help me out?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Aaaahh... Finally someone with some backbone

The Strand, a student newspaper from the University of Toronto, has jumped into the whole "Muhammad Cartoon" debate. However, they have not attempted to re-publish the original cartoons (which the student newspaper at the University of PEI already tried, only to have their newspapers yanked from the stands before they could be distributed), but have published a new cartoon featuring Jesus and Muhammad kissing in the "Tunnel of Tolerance". Awwwww. Isn't that sweet? And what nobler sentiment could we choose to portray than that of love and tolerance despite our differences? In a Yahoo News Article, The Strand's managing editor Nick Ragaz is quoted as saying "the cartoon was intended to provoke debate, dialogue, and thought, and should not be understood to promote violence or hate". Thank you. Exactly.

To view the cartoon and the accompanying editorial, you can visit The Strand online. Select the Editorial, "To print or not to print?". Definitely some food for thought.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I've been tagged by librarychik!

Four jobs I've had in my life:
  • Mapping a cemetery and transferring the records to computer (actually one of my favourite jobs ever... cemeteries are really nice places to spend a summer afternoon)
  • Pumping gas and manning the till at a gas station/hardware store (my least favorite job ever)
  • harvesting cut flowers for export in New Zealand
  • library assistant at a medical research foundation
Four places I've lived:
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec (on a three-month exchange; my twin and her family were really nice)
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Tauranga, New Zealand (this was only for three months, but I had a job, so it wasn't just a vacation)
  • Edmonton, Alberta
Four websites I visit daily:
Four places I have been on vacation:
  • Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands
  • The Cook Islands
  • Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria, Vancouver Island (that was a marathon week, and I took the bus there from Saskatchewan. Longest car ride ever)
  • Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec (this was for a 1.5 month French Immersion program, so technically I was supposed to be going to school and doing work, but considering the amount of goofing off that was accomplished, I think this counts as a vacation)

Four of my favorite foods:
  • Thai Food, yum!
  • Calamari at Alexander's in Saskabush
  • Lemon Meringue Pie

Four places I'd rather be:
  • France
  • The UK comes a close second to France
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Four albums/artists I can't live without:
This is a tough one for me since I listen to such a wide range of music. I also tend to have a "flavour of the month", but these are the albums/artists that stick out in my mind as being the most influential over the years.
  • The Mamas and the Papas, Greatest Hits (Dream a little Dream of Me)
  • Classical Music (Beethoven (love Moonlight Sonata), Gustav Holst (The Planets Suite: Jupiter), Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, and various others too numerous to mention)
  • Aerosmith (I really like Pink, Jaded, Amazing, and Blind Man)
  • New Kids on the Block (Yes, yes I know. But they were really important to me when I was eleven. My friends and I were kind of obsessed with them. I had all of their albums, my bedroom walls were papered in posters of them, I had t-shirts, books, videos, keychains, earrings, slippers, and the pièce de résistance: a Joe doll. Joe and Barbie actually made a very nice couple. Besides, whether you admit it or not, I think some of their songs were kind of catchy.)

Four Vehicles I've Owned:
  • La bête bleue: The beast himself, a 1991 sky blue GMC Tracker
  • A Honda Prelude, sun roof and CD player, it was Sooooo nice (it's what I drove in New Zealand, so the steering wheel was on the right and everything, and it handled so nicely on those curvy Kiwi roads...)
  • That's it! I've never owned any other cars. Though I do enjoy driving my mom's Dodge Ram 2500 when I'm at home. That thing is a tank.

Four people I'm tagging:
  • I'm only tagging one person: Puddleglum. Maybe she'll get off her ass and write something. But I suppose she is writing her thesis. I am minorly sympathetic.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Religious fundamentalists have no sense of humour...

Well, I'm sure everybody has heard by now about the cartoons of Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper that has caused Muslims to freak around the world. Normally, I'm not one to wade into these sorts of issues, and I know that others who are probably much more knowledgeable than me have already blogged about it here and here. However, I think this is getting out of hand, and as a librarian - who by definition should stand up for the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press - I feel I must have my say.

First of all, I know that the outrageous actions (i.e. burning of buildings) of a few Muslims do not represent the majority. But for those few I have these words: Get a sense of humour people!!! No one should take themselves or their religion that seriously. I understand that Muhammad is sacred and that it is against Muslim law to depict him at all, much less depict him as the cartoons did. However, if we want to continue to live in a free and democratic society, we must open ourselves to criticism, including any religious beliefs we might hold. And I'm not just talking about Muslims. Christians and Hindus and other religions must also be willing have open discussion about their religions take place. Sometimes, these discussions may be in questionable taste, sometimes people will get offended. But political correctness should never take precedence over freedom of speech. We must not let ourselves be intimidated. If we start tip-toeing around because we're afraid that we might OFFEND some psychopath who will subsequently blow us up, then what are we left with? Where do we draw the line? The truth is, we will always be offending someone.

Having said that, it is perfectly okay to be offended. But instead of trying to shut down discussion and dialogue through intimidation, a better thing to do would be to provide more information. Provide an alternate viewpoint, explain why these images offend you, draw a cartoon of Jesus, anything, but keep the dialogue going. Trying to stifle opposition through violence is totally wrong.

A University Professor (I believe he is from St. Mary's University in Newfoundland, but I can't really remember for sure) had the cartoons up on his office door. The university made him take them down. This to me says that the university was intimidated by the actions taken by some Muslims and simply caved in because they wanted to avoid the issue. I understand their caution, but I personally think they were being chicken shits. A University should set an example to us all as an open forum for the discussion of ideas: ALL ideas no matter who it offends or how politically incorrect it is. If we refuse to examine something because it is going to be a little uncomfortable, then maybe we should just give up. Let a dictator take over, we'll all move back into caves and cease thinking critically at all. Seriously that is how discouraged this whole thing has made me.

Personally, I support that Danish newspaper, and every other newspaper and blogger who have continued to publish those cartoons in the face of such violent opposition.

To those Muslims out there who thought it would be a good idea to burn down an embassy, and to all nuts, regardless of faith, who take their religion too seriously:
You're offended by something I say? Fine. Be offended. Tell me all about it. Tell the whole world about it. But don't try and tell me what I can and can't say.