2009 “End of the Year Questions” Meme: Ryan’s Run, I’m An Emerging Library Technology Expert, “Break A Leg” Only Works in Theatres, Not Hockey Rinks

I did this in 2006, 2007 and 2008 so once again, here’s a quick summary of my 2009 in meme form:

    1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
      always being an armchair observer, I got really involved in politics
      via the Ryan Meili campaign for the leadership of the provincial NDP.
      There were a few things that triggered this – obviously seeing the
      engagement and excitement of the Obama campaign in the US the previous
      year and wanting to be a part of something similar was a big part of why I finally made the leap.  Having always considered myself an NDP’er even without holding a
      party membership (except for a brief period during the last leadership race in 2001) was another part of the reason I got involved.  Meeting a few of the
      other people involved in the campaign and thinking “these are my
      people” was part of what sustained my involvement. 


  • Did anyone close to you give birth?
    can’t think of anyone super-close but lots of people I used to be
    closer to (high school friends, etc.) or know in passing gave birth.
    That’s one of the great things about Facebook actually – such a quick
    and easy way to keep up with these types of momentous occasions.  (Just last week, I saw a Facebook update
    that a high school acquaintance that was a couple years younger than me
    and who I didn’t know very well had a baby on Christmas Day for example.) 



  • Did anyone close to you die?
    I said last year, I’ll feel like a tool if I forget someone but no
    deaths really jump out, at least of people who I’d consider close to
    me.  The biggest death of the year was Michael Jackson and though we weren’t especially close, that one caught me by surprise, even with all of his troubles and torments. 



  • What countries places did you visit?
    got to Montreal for CLA (Emerging Technologies Interest Group invited
    me to present to their pre-conference event which was very cool!),
    Saskatoon for the Saskatchewan Library Association conference and other than that, not too much.  Shea’s and my
    “winter holiday” was an order for a new rubber paving patio which was installed in June.  Our summer
    holidays tended to be spent close to home as well – at Nickel Lake near
    Weyburn where her folks have a seasonal camp site or Katepwa Lake where
    my dad’s family has a cottage.  Hopefully we get to do a bit more traveling in the year ahead.  [Edit: I totally forgot our four-day Vegas trip from last March when I first typed this!  It was a fun, memorable trip but managed to slip my mind – I think that was partly because most trips are weeks or even months in the planning but this one came up quite fast.  Plus it was short (only four days instead of a week or more) and quite spontaneous as well.  Shea and I had booked a week off to do some spring cleaning but my folks ended up winning a free trip to Vegas which happened to be the same week as we had booked off.  So we decided to join them.]



  • What would you like to have in the next year that you lacked this year?
    that Pace is a bit older, I wonder if our house will feel a little less
    like a tornado zone and we can go back to things like leaving doors
    open into all rooms or using the bottoms of cupboards again?    




  • What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory?
    June 6 – Ryan Meili loses his bid for the leadership of the NDP in a nail-biter against Dwain Lingenfelter at the Sask NDP convention.
    October 15 – break my leg playing rec hockey after confusing myself with a real athlete.



  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    of my big responsibilities at work is to chair our staff conference
    committee and this was my first year being fully in charge (last year,
    I came in when much of the planning and organizing was already underway
    or completed.)  Having broken my leg the week before (which ironically, made me less stressed out.  I realised I could only get things lined up and then, the day of, rely on volunteers to (literally) do all the heavy lifting and running), the feedback we
    received was very good and I was especially gratified to hear from one
    long-term staff member who said it was “the best staff conference I’ve ever attended.” 



  • What was your biggest failure?
    know I wasn’t a main cog in the machine but I still feel a big
    responsibility for not doing more to get Ryan Meili elected, especially
    when the margin of victory ended up being something like 500 votes out of 11 000
    eligible voters.  I had one idea I threw out at one of the first
    volunteer meetings I attended that I never followed up on but which I
    think had a chance to be a difference maker if I’d done so.  Of course, it’s
    impossible to know but the thought that I didn’t push it harder so we could at least try it kills



  • What was your biggest surprise?
    Breaking my leg was a pretty big surprise! 



  • Did you suffer illness or injury?
    some ways, I feel like this is the year my body started to move into
    “early middle age” and break down on me a lot more – I’ve been sick
    quite a bit (probably to do with Pace being in daycare as much as
    anything – at least according to results of an informal poll of parents
    I did on Facebook).  As I mentioned I broke my leg.  Then, in the middle of
    that, I went down with H1N1 for a couple weeks.  I broke a toe
    (self-diagnosed but pretty sure) doing a little stumble step in our
    basement while first trying to get used to my crutches.  I also got a bruised bone in my elbow when I
    banged it on the side of our tub just a couple weeks before getting my
    cast off (and having been so careful getting in and out of the tub up
    that point).  And as I type this, I’m battling a sore throat and chest cold – which is getting to be a Christmas/New Year’s tradition for me.  Man, I think that’s enough – I’m depressing myself! 



  • What was the best thing you bought?
    being a “techie”, I tend to be a late adopter much of the time.  I
    started this blog long after they were an established part of the
    Internet.  We only bought our first digital camera in 2006.  And we
    never owned a cell phone other than a pay-as-you-go model we kept in
    the car for emergencies – at least until this year.  With some pushing
    from Shea’s folks (they gave me cash towards the purchase for a
    birthday gift), I bought an iPhone this summer and it might not be just
    the best thing I bought this year but maybe ever.  Seriously – sounds
    like high praise but I love that little thing for all it can do (using
    it as a flashlight at night is one of my favourite non-conventional
    uses!) and how, everytime I use it, I feel like I’m really living in
    the future that Star Trek and Star Wars and all the other shows I
    watched as a kid promised.   



  • Whose behaviour merited celebration?
    Meili just continually impressed me throughout his whole campaign –
    with how he ran it, how he dealt with tough issues, with the people he
    surrounded himself with and attracted to his campaign (slightly biased
    on that note!) and just learning his whole biography which makes me feel like a BIG underachiever!   



  • Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
    sure there are lots of candidates but I always feel like I want to skip
    this question – so hard to pick one example out of a world full of
    people doing appalling and depressing things on big and small levels.



  • Where did most of your money go?
    monthly bill for my iPhone – ouch!  Just kidding (mostly).  As I think
    I mentioned, our biggest touch this year by far was for a new rubber
    paving patio for our home.  Very nice and hopefully we have better
    weather next summer than we did this year so we can take better
    advantage of it.




  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    my excitement about the Ryan Meili campaign didn’t come through in the
    answers I’ve already given, the amount of writing I did during the
    campaign – real posts with actual thought in them instead of cop-out
    single link YouTube posts – should.  I mean, I was in Montreal for CLA
    and instead of taking in the city after each day’s sessions were over, most evenings would see me writing
    another post in my ten part series on why I was supporting Ryan Meili – some of my favourite writing on this blog ever.  On a more local level, it’s the same answer as last year –
    seeing Pace’s constant growth and development is so damn amazing.  I
    wonder – do you as a parent ever reach a point where you stop thinking
    “I thought it couldn’t get any better – but it does!”  I mean, will it
    be equally amazing to watch him when he’s five?  Or ten?  Or fifteen?
    I can’t imagine that it will be.  But so far, every day/week/month
    that’s passed has only escalated how much I enjoy him and seeing the
    world through his eyes. 



  • What song/album will always remind you of this year?
    Hmmm, continuing the theme of the day, “Past in Present
    which was Ryan’s theme song at the convention was an awesome choice –
    great lyrics, great beat, great at capturing the essence of who he is
    and what his campaign was about.  I know the campaign’s long over but
    I’d still love to do a list of my Top 10 Favourite Memories from Ryan
    Meili’s leadership campaign.  I think hearing this song and seeing the
    video start up at the convention would place #1 on that list.  I was a
    bit dejected at the convention – there seemed to be so many Link
    supporters around, they were all wearing those bright orange t-shirts which made them even more visible and I
    just felt badly out-numbered.  “Ryan’s base is in Saskatoon.  Ryan’s base is
    younger people who probably can’t afford to be here.  Ryan’s base isn’t the party establishment who *are* here” I
    rationalized for what seemed to be the lack of supporters in evidence.  Then,
    it was Ryan’s turn to speak and it just seemed like supporters
    materialized out of thin air to line the entrance way to the stage.  I
    remember thinking, “Holy shit – where did all these people come from?”
    as the first percussive beats of the song started up.  Such a cool cool moment.  




  • Compared to this time last year, are you:




  • Happier
    or sadder?  Happier.  Life is good in so many ways – career, family, personal.      
  • Thinner or fatter?
    Thinner – I know you lose muscle mass when you’re in a cast but I don’t think that can fully account for the 15 lbs I lost when I had my cast on.  You’d think it’d
    be the opposite when you’re less mobile and you’d gain weight.  But I tried to clean up my
    eating a bit when it happened, we didn’t eat out nearly as much and
    it’s less tempting to go to the cupboard for a snack when you have to
    hop there to get there! 
  • Richer or poorer?
    Probably a bit richer.  I think we’re on a pretty good trajectory right now that
    barring major disaster (getting caught up in a ponzi scheme, developing a cocaine addiction) should continue for the foreseeable future. 



  • What do you wish you’d done more of?
    recently re-connected with a writer I hung out with quite a bit in
    Calgary and he asked if I was doing any writing.  I was embarrassed to
    tell him I wasn’t doing any.  I don’t know if I’ll ever publish a book
    but that was the path I was on while working in that area and it’s sort
    of slipped away now that I’m not in that world – participating in
    writing groups, setting up workshops and retreats and so on.  I should
    really try to get back to doing some creative writing – whether I end
    up with anything publishable or not – as it’s a great release and good
    for the brain.



  • What do you wish you’d done less of?
    really can’t think of anything that I wish I’d done less of.  Hmmm…I
    hate to totally cop-out by not giving even a superficial answer but
    nothing comes to mind.  




  • How will you be spending did you spend Christmas?
    Christmas” at my parents’ the weekend before Christmas then with Shea’s folks on the
    actual day.  The big shift this year was Shea and I agreeing not to buy
    each other *any* presents and that was a major stress reliever.  We
    figure that if we need something in the $20-$50 range that would’ve
    normally been a Christmas present, we’ll just go buy it for ourselves.
    It was fun to just sit and watch Pace opening his presents instead



  • Who did you spend the most time on the phone communicating with?
    Shea in the most literal sense but when I think about it,
    this year feels like I’ve really been able to truly communicate with
    Pace in a real, tangible way that wasn’t the same when he was younger.
    When we read stories, he sometimes finishes the lines.  Or interacts
    with the books when I ask him to.  Or he’ll even “read” a story to me
  • What was your favourite TV program?
    still watch “The Daily Show” religiously, “Colbert Report” less-so.
    Other than that, probably NHL and CFL are the two things I watch quite
    a bit of.  Oh, and I’m actually becoming a fan of “Dora the Explorer”
    and “Diego” if you can believe it!   




  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    really trying to make an effort to like everyone, even people that many
    years ago would’ve pissed me off to no end.  Life’s too short for one
    thing, for the other, if you often take the time to talk to people you
    might otherwise dismiss, you often gain insight into why they’re doing
    the things that frustrate you that you otherwise wouldn’t have.  




  • What was the best book(s) you read?
    read a lot of books that I really enjoyed but looking back at my list,
    I can’t pick one that jumps out as being head and shoulders above the
    rest so I’ll throw out a few: “Little Brother” – Cory Doctorow
    (fittingly, the first full e-book I read on my iPhone) and the very
    similarly themed “Extras” by Scott Westerfeld, “The Audacity to Win” –
    David Plouffe, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” – Chris Anderson,
    “Super Crunchers: Why Thinking By Numbers Is the New Way To Be Smart” –
    Ian Ayres and “Taking on the System: Radical Rules for Radical Change
    in the Digital Era” – Markos Moulitsas Zuniga.   Okay, I’ll pick one because I’m waffling:  “Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow. 



  • What was your greatest musical discovery?
    Instead of a song or an album, discovering that the major labels which are so bombastic about “music piracy” have been doing the same thing for years!
    Like a conservative politician getting caught in a sex scandal, this is
    not surprising – just a great “musical” discovery in that it confirms the
    hypocrisy inherent in their entire argument about piracy, copyright and fair use.



  • What did you want and get?
    Probably the iPhone which as I already mentioned is the greatest invention in the history of inventions.



  • What did you want and not get?
    A winning lottery ticket worth more than $10. 



  • What were your favourite films of this year?
    “Up” was pretty good as was “The Hangover”.  I went stag to “Inglorious
    Basterds” and loved it.  “500 Days of Summer” was fun.  “Tyson” was an
    awesome documentary.  I know I’m all over the map with this list so
    I’ll leave off by saying that I didn’t get to “The Road” but that makes
    it the best film I never saw this year. 




  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    Hosted the Regina version of the MetaFilter 10th Anniversary meet-up then went for supper and dessert with Shea.  Great day.   



  • What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    it’s been a pretty satisfying year.  Ryan winning.  Me not breaking my
    leg.  A trip to somewhere warm.  All things that would’ve made the year
    even better but all-in-all not that big of a deal in the grand scheme
    of things.   




  • How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
    Same as last year.  Pretty boring. 



  • What kept you sane?
    One personal philosophy I have is that “everything you do
    matters yet nothing you do matters” if that makes sense.  I mean, we all
    have a role to play and important work to do.  But at the same time, just as an example, I think
    back to some of the things that I was extremely stressed out about five
    or ten years ago and how insignificant they seem now then I try to keep
    that thought in mind while I’m “in the moment” with whatever stress or
    obligation is getting me anxious.  As I think I already mentioned, Pace
    is a great stress reliever too.



  • What political issue stirred you the most?
    Broken record says: Ryan Meili’s leadership campaign.



  • Who did you miss?
    I often miss my friends from FIMS and regret that I don’t do a better job of keeping up with everyone.   




  • Who was the best new person you met?
    Broken record says: Anyone and everyone involved in the Ryan Meili campaign.  Again, it felt like finding my people.   




  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year.
    See #32.




  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
    And for the final time, broken record (appropriately) says:

    The scarlet letter isn’t black

    Gotta know who’s got your back

    Because they’re right in front of you

    Because they’re telling you the truth

    Feeling it from dark to bright

    When a wrong becomes a right

    When a mountain fills with light

    Inside my present
    Inside my present
    So, so much past…


  • What do you hope the next year brings?
    World peas.  I think that would end the issue of hunger anyhow.



First lines of my blog posts for each month of the past year…

You know you are
a nerd when you spend your New Year’s Day eve classifying all of your
Facebook friends into sub-groups using the site’s new(ish?) “Friend
List” option.

Amy was good
enough to a) admit no one tagged her but she was doing it anyhow then
b) tag me for the “Seven Things You May Not Know About Me”
meme that’s going around

I’ve mentioned one of the all-time most popular Ask Metafilter threads on this blog before – “What childhood experience most shaped who you are today?” 

One of the
things I do in my position with RPL is work with a couple of my
colleagues to write content for our internal staff e-newsletter. 

You’ve heard of TinyURL, now try Dickens Link which converts long URL’s to Charles Dickens quotes.

This is where myself and two colleagues from Saskatchewan had supper tonight after the end of the CLA conference…

Happy Canada Day! (or should I say: “Joyeux fête du Canada!” )

I recently came across two articles that propose radically different visions of the future of newspapers.


After years of planning and preparation, today was a pretty momentous day for Regina Public Library.


I was talking to
a non-librarian who was in doing some training for a couple library
staff members this morning.  We kept talking about our “Circ”
department and she finally admitted, “Everytime you say that, I keep
thinking of Cirque du Soleil!” 

From the “How Dumb Am I?” files:

I attended the
Saskatchewan Book Awards last Saturday night and since it was the
Saskatchewan Publishers Group that first got me involved with that
organization, I thought this would be a good time to post the third
part of a series I’m doing on the main things I learned from the
various jobs I’ve held in my life.

Comments 4

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Don't think for a second that your contribution to the Meili campaign wasn't both valuable and appreciated. But I also suspect you aren't the only one who spent sometime considering what else could have been done or what could have been done differently. My big regret was not pushing Ryan in Moose Jaw earlier as the “other Moose Jaw candidate.” That could have cut into the second ballot votes from Deb Higgins that went to Link.
    Our joint work on the convention “show,” including the “CCF to Victory – Past in Present” medley, stands out as one of the highlights of my entire communications / PR career – and you played a vital role in bringing that together.

    Posted 31 Dec 2009 at 6:39 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi friend from FIMS! …I can echo sentiment about losing touch, I haven't been entirely on top of things in that area either…
    I'm still a regular blog reader! 🙂
    I would love an iphone and I've yet to hear anyone who is upset with theirs..maybe at the end of my bell contract I'll splurge and go for it.
    I'm totally copying you and doing this up on my blog too..(which I may have done before)
    PS “everything you do matters yet nothing you do matters” sounds like a really good philosophy, esp for those of us in the library game, I might have to adopt this one myself 😉

    Posted 02 Jan 2010 at 5:27 am
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I didn't mention it in my post but my idea was this – get the *real* youth involved.
    I mean, our campaign was definitely the youth campaign with lots of people in their 20's and 30's involved (including you – you're 39, right?).
    But I thought if we could do a really concentrated effort to sign-up a bunch of even younger people – kids in high school and in their early 20's – the Milennials who are supposedly a lot more aware and active than my own apathetic, slacker generation and who are also way more plugged in – who knows what could've happened?
    I hate to keep going back to the Obama stuff but that's exactly what gave his campaign such energy and momentum, especially early on.
    Another thing that inspired this idea for me was that someone pointed out that a lot of Link's volunteers were retired boomers who had a lot of time to give to his campaign whereas a lot of Ryan's volunteers were people who were just entering the “adult” phase of their life – getting married, having babies, living with young children (heck, our candidate was getting married a couple months after the leadership race himself!).
    My thought was that if we could energize teenagers – they might have more time to give with maybe less of the work/personal commitments that other Meili volunteers had? Plus they all have these huge social networks they can reach even quicker and more efficiently than we could.
    Of course, when I suggested it, it was very early and I had no idea things would turn out as close as they did. So I threw the idea out, nobody really knew any high schoolers to approach (and we thought approaching teachers we knew to suggest kids to contact might be bad form) so it sort of slipped away.
    Anyhow, that CCF to Victory/Past in Present montage was a highlight for me and if we weren't going to win, provided a beautiful endnote for all the work we'd been doing.
    I can't wait to see what Ryan does for an encore the next time he runs for leader! 😉

    Posted 02 Jan 2010 at 9:06 pm
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    I have to admit I've been had trouble keeping up with the blogs I used to read regularly – whereas I used to check in every day or two, now it's become a once on weekends (if that) quick scan.
    Anyhow, one of these days Pace will be a bit more independent and I'll feel like I have my life back. But then we'll probably have another one and it will all start over again! :-0
    Anyhow, I look forward to reading your end of year summary. Happy New Year!

    Posted 02 Jan 2010 at 9:09 pm

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