Randomness (Happy New Year!)

Early in this blog's history, I came up with a little gimmick where I cover a bunch of miscellaneous things I've come across or want to talk about in conjunction with a holiday (search for “randomness” to see previous entries).  I don't think I've done a “random” entry like this in awhile but the New Year provides a good excuse to clear up a few things I've had hanging around for the past few days.

CutePDF Writer
This is a very useful little utility that allows you to easily create PDF documents as easily as selecting the “Print” option in any of your applications.

Saskatchewan: TV Hotbed
CBC is getting a lot of publicity out of their controversial new series “Little Mosque on the Prairies” which, like Corner Gas, is set in a fictional Saskatchewan town. (In a semi-related point, I just watched Keith Ellison, the United State's first elected Muslim Congressman, being sworn in.  There was controversy among the haters about him choosing to use the Quran instead of a Bible for his oath so he arranged to use a Quran that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson to make a point that people who have an issue with him using the Quran are morons.  (I don't think those were his exact words.)  I'd strongly suggest reading the article I linked to – all kinds of goodness including the fact that one of the main haters is a Congressman in what was once Thomas Jefferson's riding and also that the Library of Congress played a big role in making this happen.  “The chief of the Library of Congress' rare book and special collections
division, Mark Dimunation, will walk the Quran across the street to the
Capitol and bring it back after the ceremony.”


Minnow Trap – Worst of the Year
Recent MLIS graduate and soon-to-be-published novelist Corey Redekop, posted a list of his Best and Worst literature of the year out of the nearly 100 novels he read in 2006.  You should take his recommendations seriously – Corey was also a long-time book reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press.  I'm a bit embarrassed that “Minnow Trap”, a book I gave him as a thank-you gift after he did a Lunch Bucket presentation in the summer, comes in as one of the worst.  I have to admit – I didn't put a lot of thought into the gift – I just picked one out of the pile of free books I got at BookExpo (hey, the Lunch Bucket had a budget of zero – what was I supposed to do?).  I apologized to Corey on multiple occasions but he claimed to be quite happy to have discovered the book and he's had a lot of fun writing about it on his blog since then.

It Doesn't Get Any More “Saskatchewan” Than This
I love how the Wheatland Library Region identifies the locations of their branches – instead of using street addresses for most of them, you have things like “in the old school”, “Main Street”, “Across from RCMP office” and the absolute best for the town of Plenty, “back of village”!  This seems quaint but is a real issue in rural Saskatchewan.  Our 911 service was moved to centralized dispatch a couple years ago so if you call up and say that your neighbours house is on fire, the dispatcher will want to know the street address and you'll (probably) only know “well, it's across from the Legion building” or whatever then the dispatcher will be unable to call for help and the house will burn down.  (I'm not exaggerating – this happened in Fillmore soon after the change to the 911 policy.)

Sriracha Hot Sauce
I love this hot sauce.  They had it out as one of the condiments at the Grad Club so I got in the habit of using it instead of ketchup with my fries.  Mmmmm! 

Our Roots/Nos Racines
This web site has digitized every local history book in Canada.  Unbelievable resource.  Plus check out the handsome young devil on this page (oops, not sure how to direct link to the page – follow that link then manually select page 425.)

SLIS Capping Exercise
I may have linked to this before but I rediscovered it and am totally impressed.  The library school at the U of A requires every student to do a capping exercise which is a web publication of their most outstanding work in the program.  I wish FIMS would add this requirement – what an excellent resource for other students, both at the school and beyond, providing student-centered essays and projects that are otherwise all but impossible to find. 

My Parents' “Christmas” Tree
What else can you say about this…


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