<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Monday, January 16, 2006

I was polled this evening. It was ... entertaining, in an interesting sense, and stressful, and made me break out in a cold sweat.

In addition to the general "Which party do you support?", "What party would be your second choice?" and "How has your opinion changed during the election campaign" type questions, I kept being asked things such as "What party do you feel most represents people like you?"

People like me? What do they mean by people like me? Young people? Women? People living in an urban centre? Children of immigrants? People of European descent? University-educated people? SF-writer girls? New arrivals in the IT sector? What? It took me a long time to answer the question for just that reason; because asking about who best represents "people like me" isn't the same as saying "the majority of Canadians" or "the best interest of the Canadian people" or any such thing, even if the answer would be the same.

Another one that I found interesting were all the questions worded to the effect of "What party do you feel is best looking out for your financial situation?" I actually replied, "I don't care about my financial situation" -- which, of course, isn't true in the most literal sense. I do need to pay my bills. But it is true that I do not, will not, could not base my vote on my impression of which party will make or save me more money in a year. Because, frankly, there are things that are much, much, much more important to me than taxes or tax cuts. Human rights, for example, and a strong commitment to social support and programs, the Kyoto accord, a strong stance against the war in Iraq, and an absolute refusal to participate in the Missile Defense plan, to name just a few. You want my money to do those things? Please, take it.

It's quite simple, really: I'm willing to do a lot, including pay more money, to make sure that Canada is and will remain the country that I know, love, and proudly call myself a citizen of.

I'm not a big fan of the Liberals right now, I'll say that freely. Generally speaking, I support the NDP but Jack Layton comes off in public as a reactionary twit (not that there's any hope in hell that he'd ever be the next Prime Minister anyway). And Stephen Harper ... I cannot tell you how frightened I am of the prospect that he might be the next leader of this country. Please, no. Please, please, no.

Sarah has more to say on why she's not voting Conservative here. I quite agree.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:28 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Recommendations, Please

Have I mentioned that I now work for an I.T. firm? Uh-huh. And I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not exactly an I.T. girl. Oh, I love technology, can chat about blog theory and online marketing and Cluetrain stuff until it's dark, but it's clear that I.T. is a whole other world, a whole other language, and one of which I've barely scratched the surface. (I keep typing FTL instead of ETL; when it comes to defining BI, I'm SOL -- which is very different from SQL; and when I someone tells me that an individual "has B.O." my first thought is "I'm sorry to hear that.") I am, quite simply, feeling clueless.

And while some people learn best by doing, I learn best by reading massive piles of info before attempting anything. Problem is, no one seems to have written an all-purpose I.T. for Dummies book, and while I know that there are countless websites and books and resources that I could read, I don't even know where to start. So: does anyone have any recommendations? Books, websites, blogs, magazines, you name it, I want to hear it. Please? I don't even care if it's way over my head at this point, I just need to totally immerse myself.

(I just remind myself of those two weeks of solid reading where I immersed myself in anything and everything related to ePortfolios: I was confused as hell most of the time but absorbing like a sponge, and at the end of it all something in my brain went "ding!" and the information sorted itself into a pattern that made sense and I was ready to go. Interested in ePortfolios? Ask me anything.)

And, in the mean time, I'll continue clambering up this steep learning curve. I'm starting to see the pattern of the Administrative Assistant / Office Manager / Accounts Payable/Receivable aspects of my role; now it's time to tackle the Consultant / Recruiter / Sales and Marketing Assistant / Technical Writer aspects.

(Also, if you are or know an IT professional in the Toronto area looking for work, feel free to drop me a line. In fact, please do -- especially if you're a Java expert.)

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:27 PM (2) comments

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Not a Morning Person

The phone went at 7:00 AM this morning. I was most definitely asleep. Somehow, I usually tend to find myself up and stumbling for the phone before my brain has yet comprehended that there is something going on; but this time I found myself staring at the ceiling in confusion first. Noise. There is a noise. It is loud. What is this noise? Stop, noise. Stop it!

I have answered enough bizarre phone calls for Carly at odd hours that I almost didn't get up at all, but no, the last phone call I received at 7 AM was Sarah needing me to drive her to the hospital, so ... I get up, I stumble, I answer the phone only to hear ... damn, I don't know what I hear. I am confused. It is a man, either drunk or half-asleep or something, asking for someone, but damn if I can understand him. I finally shout, "I can't hear you!!" in frustration, and he hangs up. But the combination of being woken up when I was absolutely dead asleep, the strange voice at the end of the phone and the almost-nightmares I'd been having while asleep had left me rattled, and it took some puttering about the house before I felt comfortable going back to bed.

11 AM, the phone rings again. I am, again, dead asleep (have I mentioned that I've been slightly exhausted of late?). Again, I stumble to the phone only to have a nice old lady ask me if Olive is there. Sadly for her, the answer was no -- which is when my brain suddenly re-interpreted the morning phone call, substituting "old" for "drunk," and "Olive" for "Murmuf!!" and suddenly my scary phone call made more sense. Slightly.

I think.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 7:26 PM (0) comments

Friday, January 06, 2006
YAAY!! Also: eep! And: oh my, that's fast.

February's also when MYTHSPRING is supposed to be released in Canada. Shaping up to be a big month.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 6:44 PM (0) comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My second full, official day at my new job and I pulled a 12 hour shift. Whew. I must say, though my eyes are noticeably strained from a full day of peering at my (poorly placed) monitor, and though I spent much of the time feeling as if I was making it all up as I went along (and desperately googling various IT terms all the while), I still came home feeling good. I like this place, I like these people, I like this job. Even if I still don't exactly know what the job is.

I was meaning to come home and write a rather belated year-end book and writing post, but it will have to wait a little while more; I'm getting some pie, I'm getting some tea, I'm reading my Miles Vorkosigan book and I'm going to bed. Very probably in that order.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 11:31 PM (0) comments

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