Happy 10th Birthday Pace!

Hard to believe this guy is in double digits!

Throwback Thursday – #tbt – Some Strategic Advice for @ryanmeili As He Runs For #skndpldr For The Third Time #skpoli

Ryan Meili announced today that he will once again run for the leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP.

He ran in 2009 and essentially came out of nowhere to finish second, taking 45% of the final vote.  His slogan was “Our Future Together”.

He ran again in 2013 and lost by less than a single percentage point – 44 votes out of over 8000 cast.  His slogan was “Better Together”.

Now, I’m no political strategic genius but I think it’s clear that the key to Ryan’s success this time around is dropping to a single word slogan “Together”.  Then the leadership is clearly his for the taking! 😉

In all seriousness, this is very exciting news and I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks and months may bring in terms of other news and developments.

If you think Saskatchewan needs honest and trustworthy leadership from someone who genuinely cares for all the people of this province, not just the rich and powerful, why not sign up on Ryan’s web site?

No @ChickfilA For You Thanks To @TD_Canada Text Alerts!

About a year and a half ago, my credit card got compromised.  I don’t think I blogged about it but I posted this on Facebook at the time in response to a post by someone else who said their card got compromised:

I just had my first encounter with credit card fraud too. 

Early the first morning after we got back from Cuba, Shea and my phones buzzed a few times. I just thought it was our phones catching up after a week without Internet or something and didn’t look at the texts until I woke up a couple hours later.

When I did look, I saw it was purchases for some online EA games (our credit card is set so we get an automated text every time a purchase is made.) Our son knows not to buy anything online without our permission and these were for games he doesn’t own or play. Plus the charges were in Norwegian Kroner which was the dead giveaway that something fishy was going on.

I called EA and they said the purchases were still “open” so they could cancel them plus suspend the account of the Norwegian who had attached my credit card number to his account (small consolation but I’ll take it!) They said they couldn’t disclose anything else about the perpetrator (I was thinking that if I was ever in Norway and could look the punk up, I might want to pop him in the nose!)

I then called Visa to explain what happened and to order a replacement card. The funniest thing was that their Loss Prevention Expert had no record of anyone contacting me and they were surprised that I’d caught the fraud before they did!

I said I’d only used my card once in Cuba at the airport on the way home but they said fraudsters usually get numbers via card readers or online hacks or other methods then hold off using them for 6-12 months. Then, like for you, they often try to sneak through some smaller purchases to see if they’re caught. (My guy made three small purchases for less than $100 CAD total.)

Makes you wonder if our cards were compromised at the same place? Very coincidental to both have had no issues ever then have our cards compromised so closely together.

Anyhow, I’m glad I have that auto-text option enabled. It turned out to handy for more than alerting my wife that I’ve stopped at the liquor store on the way home from work!

I thought this would be a rare occurrence but lo and behold, the other day my phone buzzed with a text that it had been used at a gas station in Arlington, Texas.

Ah, crap.

I immediately got on the phone to TD Bank and by the time they turned off my card, I was getting texts that my card was now being declined at a Chick-a-Fil in Arlington.

It occurred to me that modern technology is a wonderful thing and I could maybe have some fun with this.  I quickly Googled “Chick-a-Fil Arlington Texas” and saw they had a few locations.

I called the first one but the employee clearly thought I was doing the world’s worst prank phone call.  I smartened up on my second call to a different location and asked for a manager who was quickly put on the line.

“Hi.  This is going to sound really weird but I’m calling from Canada.  I just got notified that my credit card has been compromised and it was declined at your store.  Did you happen to know if someone at your front counter just had their credit card declined a few times?”

“Yes, I just did!  How did you know?”

I explained again how I knew then asked if the person was still in the store.  “No, he left,” she replied.

I said “Do you have security cameras?” and she explained that they do but only certain employees could look at footage.

I asked if she’d be willing to call the police and file a report since, even though the guy only got away with a tank of gas, once my card was cancelled, he’d probably keep doing this with fraudulent cards.

She said she’d talk to a higher level manager and promised to call me back.  I thought that was the end of it but lo and behold, I got a call back today from someone else who explained that their restaurant would file a police report if there was a crime committed but since this technically wasn’t a crime committed against them,, it would have to be me calling the Arlington Police Department to file the report.  Then, if the police requested video footage, they would cooperate.

I don’t know if I’ll go that far (though TD’s Fraud Department indicated they would start an investigation so maybe they will?) but I’m just disappointed the guy wasn’t still there by the time I had the idea to call the restaurant.

Wouldn’t it have been something to have them hand the phone to him after the third or fourth time his (er, MY!) card got declined? 😉

Canada Gains Library Talent From Trump’s America

I did a post a while back about the debate many Canadians are having about whether to travel to Trump’s America or not.

The reverse is true too – in libraries and other sectors, Americans are looking to move to Canada to raise their families and live in a more fair, equitable and understanding society.

Another concern is a pervasive state of fear as made apparent by Texas’s open-carry law with respect to firearms, the presence of armed security and guard dogs at supermarkets and the fact that San Antonio Public Library staff received training in battlefield medicine.

Music Monday – “There are places I’ll remember/All my life, though some have changed/Some forever, not for better/Some have gone and some remain” (4000th Post Milestone!)

It’s pretty hard to believe but today marks the 4000th post this blog since I started it over a decade ago on February 25, 2006, a couple months after starting the Masters of Library Science program at the University of Western Ontario.

I had always been into computers and technology from banging out programs in BASIC on a Commodore 64 in grade six to our family buying its first 386 computer back in the mid-1980’s sometime to my first job after graduating from University with an English degree (not always in evidence on this blog, I know!) which was designing a “Virtual Book Festival” web site for the Sask Publishers group (this was my “day job” but since, in those early Internet days, if you could get some text and a picture to show up on the web, you were a “webmaster”, I stuck the tag “Designed by Jason Hammond, Head Tale Productions” on that page.  This was maybe my first use of the “Head Tale” moniker but not my last as I had as short-lived web design company specializing in cultural non-profits and book publishers and continue to use Head Tale as my internet handle on a variety of sites to this day.)

Creating this blog was a natural extension of my ongoing desire to learn about and try new technologies.

I knew the MLIS program was already going to have a strong focus on various aspects of technology and I also knew I would be structuring my program in that direction even more – taking classes about technology and web design and writing papers in my other classes where I could find a way to give assignments a techno-focus – Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, etc.

Creating a blog, which at the time was a free service provided by the company that was hosting my personal web site (the precursor of this blog) gave me a way to play around with another newish technology, it (unintentionally) raised my profile within the school, it created an archive of information that still (!) gets used by potential MLIS students to this day and of course, it allowed family and friends back in Saskatchewan to follow our Ontario (and beyond) adventures.

Inspired by a former co-worker who had her own blog, early on, I made a decision to try to do daily (or close to daily) posts – even if only to a YouTube video or a picture – to force myself to keep writing on a regular basis.  (That former co-worker also freaked me out when she posted a comment after I linked to her in my initial post.  I didn’t know about Trackbacks and Pingbacks where blogs know when they’re linked to externally.  So she posted a comment on my first blog post before I’d even publicized it anywhere!)

The analogy I use to describe how my blog fits into the wider world wide web is that, unlike Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and other similar sites which are like busy cities with big crowds, lots of noise and even more blinking ads, this blog is my little acreage, far off in the country, where I can sit on my porch and observe the world going by, mostly quietly and without too much fuss.

Here’s to 4000 more!


Saturday Snap – New Fence Part III

A couple years ago, we did a major project with a few neighbours to redo the backyard fence that connected all of our yards (one neighbour on a pie-shaped lot behind us actually touches on something like six other yards if you include the other side of his yard.  We only did our side but that still meant he was working with the owners of three of the four properties that touch the east side of his property!)

Last year we re-did the fence on the south side of our yard and this year, we finished the fence along the north side of our house which runs along our driveway between our house and a neighbour’s (who happens to be a carpenter luckily enough!)

It’s been a long time coming and three big jobs by themselves, not to mention when you add them together.  But also super nice to have them done!

Friday Fun Link – First Black Male President?

Mixing Libraries and Politics Old School

One interesting thing I learned at the Sask Library Association conference this past weekend was that Carlyle King, who was influential in a number of areas including academia, the arts and also in libraries as a long-time Board Chair of Saskatoon Public Library and as President of the Saskatchewan Library Association (and who has an SPL branch named in his honour), was also very active politically.

King’s second life was politics. He was elected to the provincial executive of the CCF in 1939. He ran against George Williams for leadership of the party at the 1940 convention and lost, but gained about a third of the vote. He was elected president of the party in 1945 and remained until 1960, meeting every second Sunday with T.C. Douglas. He ran a number of election campaigns and wrote CCF pamphlets including “What is Democratic Socialism?” King was also chair of the major pacifist organization in Canada, the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Diagramming How 52 Ninth Graders Spell “Camouflage”

(via r/dataisbeautiful)

Music Monday – “I’m on my way to nowhere/I been runnin’ from my past/Runnin’ from the things I used to be”

Sometimes it pays to be a blogger.

Last week’s “Music Monday” post about Colter Wall was seen by a friend who happened to have an extra ticket to see Wall’s album release show at The Exchange last night.

It was a good show but a strange night – seeing a bunch of Sask Party MLAs (including someone I’m pretty sure was Colter’s dad in a black leather jacket…which is a very *dad* thing to do!) 😉 at a show that’s also populated by hipsters and old tyme country music fans.  Seeing the singer Belle Plaine do a duet with Colter when the last time I saw her on stage, she was doing a duet with Ryan Meili.  Getting a notification on my phone about more Sask Party waste at literally the same time as Colter was singing a song called “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie”.  Or when he sang his other song which a line about “don’t trust no politicians” (I thought it might get a cheer from the crowd but people were too polite for that).  Getting there early and getting to see Colter hanging out with some friends outside the venue’s side entrance.  Wondering if there’d be any protesters during the show.  Wondering if I’d bump into any MLAs at the urinals.  Drinking a beer by a local craft brewery and wondering if it was true that local craft beers were exempted from the new 6% PST charge on restaurant meals as someone had recently told me.

Anyhow, I just posted a Colter Wall song last week so instead, I thought I’d post a song that his drummer sang when he came out as the opening act buy a guy who apparently used to run with some of the more famous Texas singer-songwriters back in the day but only released a single album of his own.

Ballad of Spider John” – Willis Alan Ramsey