Out With the Old, In With the New. . .

Last year, I created a post of Ideas for the New Year as a way to mark my progress over the year.   Overall, I don’t think I did too bad in completing them.  Here are the ideas, and how well I’ve done in completing them.

  •  New Website for the library.   

Check.  It happened, go look.

  • Contribute to or Create an Open Source product.

Sort of. I did learn a lot more coding this year over last and some of that code could be applied to an open source product.   For instance, I was playing a bit with PHPList, and learned how to create a component for Joomla.    Our website does use a custom component for the Programs section, which may be shared for other libraries in the future. 

  •  Have visible abs.

It did happen, and then I lost them.   My biceps certainly bulged a bit, but the spare tire is still a worthwhile nemesis for me.   Add that to the next list!

  • Learning 2.0 for work.

Check.   We’re half-way through a 6 month program.

  • Reduce my consumption of meat.

Perhaps, but not sufficiently enough if I’m going to be honest with myself.

  • Public something scientific in a journal.

Nope, but I did get approved to present at two big conferences and I had a couple of blog posts added to trade journals as well.

  • Go to a good tech-related conference

Yup!   Computers in Libraries last year was great.   Steven Cohen calls it his favorite.

  •  Be a once-a-month Second Lifer.

You know?  You make these promises to yourself that, in retrospect make no sense.   This is one.   I am glad I did not become a once-a-month Second Lifer.   Although I did try it probably about 12 times last year.

  • Go to One or More of the Following Places: Cuba, Quebec City, London UK, Killarney IR, Savannah GA, Chicago IL or San Francisco CA.

New baby nixed this one.    That said, my 4 year old took up an interest in flags, one of which was Virginia — which I did go to for CIL, and my mother moved to Montreal, passing Quebec City, and came back to visit for the Holidays so I’m accepting this as resolved.

  • Go Out with a Friend once Every Two Months min

Total failure.   I blame LSW and Uncontrolled Vocabulary.


Kids Help Phone Cyberbullying Report

There have been lots of exciting things happening in my life these days, which means I have backlog of the things I would most like to write about.    Expect January to be busier with my blog than December was.

But, to tide you over until then, I think these Kids Help Phone reports are invaluable to any public librarian.   In particular, I was interested in the one on cyberbullying.   I don’t know about other librarians out there, but I always find it hard to find the balance the messages out there about Internet Safety.   Some want to block/filter everything, others want to abdicate all responsibility to the parents.  This report was an interesting reality check on what the real risks are and how teens/young people feel about them.   I think it has alot of insight on how parents, teachers and librarians can ensure that the Internet remain a positive short and long-term experience for kids.

I also felt that their discussion group is excellent for gathering perspective on what concerns teens and how they experience the world around them (also what they think of adults).

Hi, I’m Canada?

I’m sorry if this is a change of pace from all my professional writing, but it has to be said in public.   Maybe there are more CBC-watching parents out there as well.

I love the CBC.   So does my son.   My son grew up on CBC Kids and has been enjoying for four years.   He still enjoys it. The only difference between now and about 2 months ago though, is that my son watches the CBC more for the line-up of shows than he does for the personalities that introduce them.

Patty Stewart, the lovely “Princess Patty” and “P.I. Patty” and a whole slew of other great characters beloved by both myself and my son is now reduced to a “straight” for a bunch of stupid puppets.   These puppets represent just about every stereotype you can find in Canada.   There is “Captain Claw” — a lobster with what appears to be a Cape Breton accent.    There’s a painter-puppet with a ridiculously fake French accent, who is the brunt of stupid French jokes (ie. he asks for “une pomme” and Sid (the other character — more about him later) brings him a “palm” tree.   Get it?  “Pomme?”  “Palm?” — a plum pun groaner if there ever was one!)    And then there’s this insane cooking lady puppet.

Gone are the tall geeky Mark, the lanky Kush, the lovely Holly and the jumpy Joyce.    Sure, there were some acting deficiencies among this group (especially compared to Patty), but there was enthusiasm, personality and maybe a little love for the education of pre-school children involved.

The new kid on the block, replacing the lot of these folks is Sid.   It’s hard to give Sid a fair shake.   He’s stuck in a show with horrid writing, bad set design and zero energy.   The most he or Patty can do is stand there with a stupid look on their faces while some lame puppet cracks some stupid joke.   It’s embarrassing.   Honestly.   Take a look for yourself.

Hi, I’m Canada?But if all this really sounds bad to you, it gets worse.   They have a pile of green puke to represent Canada.   Just look at her.   If you don’t believe that this is for real, just click on her.  For added reference I have added a *real* Canada so you can compare the two.

Maybe some of my United States readers can advise me on how easily a state-sponsored television program could get away with using green puke to represent your country?   Truly, this is an embarrassing outrage.

Hello, I’m Canada! I just don’t know how anyone could have approved this character for release, honestly.

The problem is, CBC Kids still hosts some great shows, including my favs Pinky Dinky Doo and Poko (the latter  is produced by Bowling for Columbine producer, Michael Donovan by the way).    Thank god for the private sector film industry — the CBC may survive this year yet.   But I’ll have to keep from throwing up in front of my son while this tripe of a bland — much like Treehouse bland — format for my kids daily cartoon insults the intelligence of our four-year-old kids.

Maybe people want bland and the CBC is tired of differentiating itself from other kids formats.   I guess that sucks for me.   Looks like I’ll be moving my kid to the internet for his learning sooner than I thought.