Sunday, November 30, 2008

Favourite Loud Noises

Random post alert.

I curled today (really, really, really poorly), and was reminded of one of my favourite sounds. So without further a-do (how do you spell that?) I present to you:

Lisa's Top 5 Favourite Loud/Low/Rumbling/Explosion Type Sounds

5. The echoing bang the internal door of the stairwell at the law courts makes when it shuts. Think of a metal door slamming in a concrete bunker.

4. In LOTR: Return of the King, when the the Witch King of Angmar sends out his army from Minas Morgul, and there's a silent pause and then the green light shoots up. Know what I mean? No? Turn up the volume at the 2 minute mark of this:

3. Curling rocks rolling down a sheet of ice (more rocks = better sound). They sound pretty good when they hit too.

2. The bass from the Broken Arrow soundtrack

1. The Mythbusters exploding cement truck. Once again, turn up your volume:

Honourable mention goes to the first minute of this.

And that completes today's strange trip into Lisa's head (or ears?). I think I need to get more sleep...

Or maybe I should start a sound series?

What are your favourite loud/low/rumbling/explosion type sounds?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cool Google Search Tricks

Welcome back to the continuing saga of the Googlization of the world.
Anyways, today I've found some links for cool Google search tricks.
Lifehacker's post demonstrates these 10 obscure Google search uses:
- get local time anywhere
- track flight status
- convert currency, metrics, etc.
- compare things
- use it as a free proxy
- remove affiliate links from product searches
- find related terms and documents
- find music and comic books
- ID people, objects and foreign languages by image
- recognize face
Seriously, there's some really cool ideas in that article. Read it!
Also check out these search strategies for tips for doing anything from using Google as a calculator to sophisticated site searches.
Oh dear. I've just exposed a librarian secret. So much for job security!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stop Buying Crap You Don't Need

Saturday is International Buy Nothing Day. What is BND?? The point is to stop spending money on crap for one day, and think about what and how much we buy, and why. It's meant to draw attention to the social, economic, environmental and psychological effects of overconsumption. The whole point is to promote ecological and other responsible alternatives by making a statement:
- a personal life should not be just about making and spending money.
- a public culture should be diverse and open for many ideas and concerns, not dominated by pro-shopping messages.
- politics should be based on global peace and fairness, and true cost economics.
Check out their FAQs.
Coincidently, the journal ran an article titled "Lessons learned from a year long no-shopping experiment". It talked about a family from Calgary who bought nothing (except for food and essentials) for one year. They saved $16,000! You can read more about them on their blog, which is really well done. The article also mentions this blog, based out of San Francisco, which promotes compact living.
If you're local, there's a documentary being shown at the Metro Cinema (Citadel Theatre) called "What Would Jesus Buy?"which deals with the commercialization of Christmas - a religious holiday. Included is a Canadian short film titled Worker's of the World Relax, about slowing down, working less, and consuming less to create a more sustainable society). It's produced by Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame. It's playing Dec. 4 at 7 and 9pm (details are here). I'm going at 9pm, so feel free to come keep us company.
And stop buying crap.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Library School Links

Well, our first term of library school is coming to a close. We've got a final tomorrow, a big paper due next week, and then a group project due shortly after.
Am I enjoying it yet? No. Do I learn more from working than going to class? Yes. After one term though, can I see the connection and the necessity of the insanity that is two years of grad school? Yeah, ok. I suppose it's a necessary means to and end.
Since I should be studying for that final (?!) I'll leave you with two library school links by Char Booth:
kickstart (Library School reflections + First Job thoughts)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good Things Come in 3s

I was going to write a post about 3 good things that have been announced in the news these past couple days, but then the world exploded again. I guess we could all use a boost though so here are my good news nuggets for the week:
Girl Guide Cookies: Starting this spring, they will retain the same great taste, but will contain 90% less trans fat!
Roar of the Rings: Kevin Martin and Jennifer Jones were in town to promote the Olympic Curling Trials, which will be held in Edmonton from December 6-13, 2009. Edmonton is a fantastic place to hold the trials, considering it's likely 4 of the 16 teams competing are Edmonton-based (Martin for sure, probably Ferby and Koe too on the men's side and Cathy King on the women's). I really want to volunteer but they're not accepting new applicants until February. Event passes go on sale Saturday.
The Rankin Family: They're coming back to Edmonton for a concert February 13, 2009!! How exciting, I haven't seen them since before they retired!
Looking for more good news? Check out this site.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

onecard + eplGO = more books that need to be read!

It's official: eplGO is finally up and running at the UofA. eplGo is a small satellite branch of the Edmonton Public Library, operating out of Cameron Library at the University of Alberta. They'll only be lending out bestsellers and popular fiction, but will also act as a holds pickup point for material from other EPL branches.
The best part: membership is free with a onecard!! All you need to do is register your UofA onecard and you're good to go.
This is just one more perk of being in grade 18, except I've already got 40 books piled up on my floor to read...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is Google Evil?

I'm a Google whore (definition: one who excessively uses Google software and services), that's a fact. I didn't mean for that to happen but it did, and really, Google makes my life easier so it makes me no never mind. Apparently not every thinks like me though.
Thus I present to you "Why Google Must Die" and two responses from the library world: Stephen Abram and the Lone Wolf Librarian.
Hmm. Google does some good things (it keeps junk mail out of my gmail account for starters, and I couldn't function without iGoogle) but I can see why Stephen Abram would take issue with it. I agree Google bombing is bad. And yes, it does worry me that Google saves and tailors my searches (geographically for instance, but maybe that's because I'm paranoid from watching too many crime dramas) but come on, it's dead easy to use. If library catalogues were that easy to use I reckon stats would go through the roof. Library catalogues are crap. Yes I said it, and I'm a librarian-wanna-be. The catalogues suck, they could use a little Google-izing. But we don't need to go all the way like Google does. There's always a happy medium (moderation is the key to maturity after all).
It's hard not to be hypocritical about this. Anyways, it will be interesting to see how Google's campaign for world domination plays out.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Type of Blogger are You?

I tried out Typealyzer, a tool that 'tells' you want type of blogger you are. Here's my make-it-known profile:
The analysis indicates that the author of is of the type:
ESTP - The Doers
The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.
This was followed by this cutesy picture of a girly basketball player (?!) and a picture of a brain which showed I use the THINKING, PRACTICAL, and SENSING part of my brain. That I'll buy, the picture - not so much. The profile might be half right. I'm certainly not full of energy, nor am I impulsive (except when emotional or angry). The rest is possibly true.
I then plugged in my travel blog and got the same thing.
Challenge: plug your blog into Typealyzer and see what type of blogger you are. I'm curious to know if there are any other profiles...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Perfect Patrons

If you're a librarian, you need to read "Top 20 Things Librarians Wish Patrons Knew" because it's 100% true and thus very funny.
If you're a library patron, you need to read "Top 20 Things Librarians Wish Patrons Knew" because it's 100% true and thus presents 20 things you should know!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Does Windchill = Winter?

It finally happened. I broke down and wore my winter coat today. It's understandable since, with windchill, it went down to -17C this morning.
I'm not bringing out the mitts or toque yet though. I've still got hope I wont need them until January...
Last January in Toronto - showing off the fabulous mitts I bought from Kensington Market to a random flock of geese in the park.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Grade Are You In?

Someone asked me not too long ago what I was doing back in school. That got me thinking and I came up with a brilliant conclusion: I'm in grade 18. Yes folks, that's 12 years of regular grades (not counting pre-school or kindergarten, those only complicate the math and don't count anyways because there's minimal skill involved in playing house or finger painting), 4 years as an undergraduate, 1 year at college, and 1 year currently in grad school. That's two-thirds of my life. Which is a bit pathetic...
Anyways, I then got to thinking about other professions and how many grades of formal education they require and here's what I came up with (disclaimer - education standards are for Alberta only):
Baker - 9+ grades
Welder - 9+ grades
Firefighter - 10+ grades
Hair Stylist - 10+ grades
Mechanic - 10+ grades
Boilermaker - 11+ grades
Premier of Alberta - 12 grades
Plumber - 12+ grades
Electrician - 12+ grades
Police Officer - 12+ grades
Web Designer - 14 grades
Social Worker - 14 grades
Reporter - 14 grades
Accountant - 16 grades
Pilot - 16 grades
Forester - 16 grades
Meteorologist - 16 grades
Teacher - 16 grades
Nurse - 16 grades
Engineer - 16 grades
Film Director - 16 grades
Archaeologist - 16 grades
Pharmacist - 17 grades
Librarian - 18 grades
Archivist - 18 grades
Lawyer - 18 grades
Dentist - 18 grades
Veterinarian - 18 grades
Psychologist - 18 grades
Architect - 19 grades
Optometrist - 19 grades
Doctor - 20+ grades
University Professor - 20+ grades
Brain Surgeon - 20+ grades
Astronaut - 21+ grades
This list is by no means exhaustive and really only consists of the jobs I could think of that required formal schooling. Of course there are a million more professions out there, and the educational requirements vary accordingly. King Ralph is a prime example of how someone can reach the top without spending dozens of years hoop jumping through government/society red tape.
 This was an interesting exercise. Mostly it made me a bit depressed that I'll have completed 19 grades by the time I'm finished. If only I was smart enough for med school...

Please Obey The Signs...

So. Today I learned that the road in front of the club where I curl is a playground zone. Honestly officer, I didn't know that. I also learned that in Sherwood Park the photo radar guys drive black SUV's. Unfortunately, I've trained myself to look for white vans because that's what the Edmonton photo radar guys drive. Oops.
Yay me, I learned two new things today. I'll learn more in two weeks when I receive an early Christmas gift in the mail. Should be three figures. My dad reckons fines are doubled or tripled in playground zones but I couldn't find anything about that online. I did learn though that passing in a playground zone is worse that speeding in a playground zone, so I guess it coulda been worse. And my teammate also got flashed, which I find somewhat consoling.
I guess I learned 3 things today. Four if you count the ultimate lesson about obeying the law. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Un/happy and TV vs. Reading.

Apparently unhappy people watch TV and happy people read/socialize (so say sociologists at the University of Maryland). The 30 years study doesn't take into account computer time-wasting, which would have been comparatively interesting.
Honestly, yeah, I agree. TV is a good mindless escape. The characters keep you company. You can sit in your pj's and veg out. Reading is also a good escape, but does require some attention. And socializing requires actual effort and confidence. They argue TV is a good short term solution, while reading/socializing benefit people in the long term. The findings are interesting anyways.
So what am I doing today? Watching curling on TV...

Friday, November 14, 2008


Tomorrow marks the beginning of one of my favourite seasons: curling-on-tv. I love curling, watching it, playing it etc. It's a Canadian thing.
So I need to do this because it would be so cool...
And buy this because, well, it's kinda the same...
Also, we need a spare for our game Sunday if anyone is free...
Oh, and check out CBC at 1pm (local) Saturday and 11am (local) Sunday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Finding and Organizing Old Stuff

Good ol' National Geographic comes through again with an interesting article:
"What may be the oldest known Hebrew text, found on a hilltop above the valley where David is said to have battled Goliath, could lend historical support to some Bible stories, archaeologists say. The 3,000-year-old pottery shard with five lines of text was found during excavations of the Elah Fortress, the oldest known biblical-period fortress, which dates to the tenth century B.C. It is the most important archaeological discovery in Israel since the Dead Sea Scrolls, according to lead researcher Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology. His team believes the text may provide evidence for a real-life King David and his vast kingdom, the existence of which has been long doubted by scholars."
(and so on...)
This seems fairly appropriate since we had an archivist give a guest lecture today about archival work. The job is slightly different from working in libraries, but interesting nonetheless. 
And speaking of finding old stuff, apparently they've discovered a new pyramid in Egypt. So I'll leave you with one of my favourite pyramid memories...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Day:
I took a tour of Flander's Fields in Belgium a few years ago - it was amazing, and so moving. You can read about it and look at my pictures here. The whole time was there, John McCrae's famous poem kept running through my head:
" In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields." — John McCrae

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Homelessness Facts

Here's a link from Ian's Messy Desk titled "6 Lessons to Learn About Homelessness". He's absolutely right. Edmonton is experiencing unseasonable weather, but it wont last. Winter is coming and since homelessness in our city (I bet yours too) is on the rise, well, we should all try to do something.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Want to Own an Opossum?

I was asked an interesting reference question today at the university library (keep in mind, university, not public). 
A girl walked up to the desk and asked (seriously) if it was legal to own an opossum in Alberta. I dug around in the Alberta Wildlife Act and Alberta Wildlife Regulations (which was no walk in the park, as these are both legal/government documents and are thus written in gibberish). Opossum's are controlled animals in Alberta (banned in Ontario by the way, found that on google), and can only be possessed by those who are 'authorized'. To get authorized, you have to have an import permit. To obtain an import permit you have to write to the Minister of Sustainable Resources (Fish and Wildlife division) for approval. 
So we told the girl this and she very earnestly said she would apply to the Minister to try get an import permit. She real-ly wanted one for a pet (remember, this isn't some Joe Public, this is a university student). My colleague (who had done her own wiki-research) mentioned opossum's carry typhoid so it would be unlikely the Minister would give just anyone permits, likely those were reserved for zoos or research purposes. The girl, very seriously, said she would try to get a permit anyways.
We told her to bring it in when she got it. Crazy.
(And did you notice I picked a picture with snow? That's to honour the flakes that are falling outside right now.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Better Things To Do

procrastination - a type of behavior which is characterized by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite procrastination as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Creative Commons + Picnik

A coworker was showing us a great website for finding 'stuff' on the internet. Creative Commons brings together content that is copyright free, and thus available for anyone to use. From the search page, you can choose to do searches of Google, Yahoo, Flickr,, OWL Music, or spinxpress. We were looking for wallpapers for the computer desktops at work, and chose to search flickr. The really great thing is that people who choose to license their work under Creative Commons generally upload a variety of picture sizes, so you can download high resolution images to set as wallpapers. This would've saved me tons of work this weekend!
Another neat photo tool I've been using is picnik, an online photo editing site. I like it because you can do a whole range of edits to pictures (size, colour, effect and on and on) but you don't have to download any programs or software or sign up. All you do is upload a picture, edit it, and then save it. The site will store your photos, but that involves signing up. It's a really cute site too, pay attention to what it says when it's loading, so cute!
So after hunting down a pic on Creative Commons/Flickr, and editing the colours etc with picnik, here's my new wallpaper:
Bonus points if you know what it is...