Monday, July 31, 2006 


Guardian Angels Come to Ottawa and Vancouver and Calgary

An Angel earns his wings

Can Harper be tough on rural crime, too? (It would've been nice if this writer had bothered to inform her opinion about gun control laws by actually talking to legitimate gun owners.)

Onus lies with centres [Youth crime]

Welcome to my fortress

Vandalism may be eco-terrorism

Friday, July 28, 2006 

"Mann may be one of the only American moviemakers for whom style is a matter of substance"

Miami Vice.

Can't wait.


Headlines, again

Grand Manan riot shows Canadians want crackdown on crime: Harper

Youth Justice Committees doubling in Ont.

Mayerthorpe gets youth justice grant

Abbotsford still safe despite crime statistics

Iqaluit crack bust sparks questions for RCMP

Following the trail

New officers set to patrol city streets

Crime? Who cares, forget it.

Threats against judges are on the rise

Police take a close look at late-night cyclists

Thursday, July 27, 2006 

Fucking blogger

Kyle (or anybody else who might know),

Blogger is fucking up my posts. It seems to chop everything off right before the end tag on the third link. 'Recover post' doesn't fix it.

Any ideas what's going on?


Headlines (Updated)

Politics is getting in the way of crime prevention

Lethal injection worries stir death penalty debate

Thank goodness cops are back on beat

Riot shows desire to fight crime: PM

Update: The following (if they work) are in no particular order.

Police to launch unified attack on gangs, guns

Regional police get funding to hire 41 recruits

Victoria urges welfare changes

Meth crossing lines

No charges yet in mob attack on drug house

Staffing shortage closes detox centre

Car thieves shift gears

Up in smoke (National Post article on decriminalizing pot)

Making our communities safer day by day

Que. bar fined after denying black men service

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 

Karla/Media Watch

I was going to link to every news site with a story on her, but there's just too damn many. Instead, I'll link to my google news search page.

That's just from the last day. Yes, a lot of those are smaller outlets getting the story off a wire. All the Sun Media ones seem to be the Cairns story. (I interviewed him for the article I wrote about Karla coverage last year. Nice guy. Very bright.)

Update: I'm happy that there seems to be less of her in the news today, which is why if you go to the above link it'll only pull you back a few.


Even More Justice Headlines

I'll need a new title tomorrow...

Take back the 'hood from dealers and hookers (from Monday)

For Dave, who didn't live to see the clean-up

Vigilante violence shakes serene N.B. tourist town

More Prisons? Dumb Idea

Giving in to the urge to cheat

B.C. grow ops creeping east

Less crime in Surrey

A ‘raspberry’ to our latest distinction

Saviours Of The Street (a tad long, but good)

Man who left woman in coma in dangerous offender hearing

Entrepreneur rolls pro-pot ideas

B.C. parole board to be disbanded by 2007

Of chief concern

New technology will save court time and money

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 

Lights, camera...


They found her. Here we go again.



Fucking blogger. I added a half dozen more headlines than are in the previous post, but there was an error and it cut everything in the post after "It's catch and release". Like, right before the end link tag for that link.


More Justice Headlines (Updated)

City ponders forum to curb petty crime

Let's declare a war on wars

Dad upset over cop response to mugging

Edmonton resurrects auto-theft unit

Judge demands action

Alan Dershowitz's speciousness

Down to final four

Ugly truth, but no crime

Haven for rodents and trash


Map: Legal firearms in Ontario

It's catch and release

Monday, July 24, 2006 

Justice Headlines

Well, some aren't headlines, but the title stands anyway.

Welfare mothers given chance to break the cycle

Drug addiction experts: Better jail treatment programs can cut crime costs

What lies behind the drop in crime?

Crystal meth being added to pot, dealer says

What to do with pedophiles?

Adrienne McLennan, the first female civilian public affairs director for the Toronto police.

Editorial calling for the death penalty for cop killers.

Crime panel fails to draw its target: Teenagers

Angels look for feared serial killers

Prince of pot ties the knot

Voices: Crime rate drop

Coalition asks PM to tackle gun violence

One way to keep HIV at bay

Good effort, but the job's not over

Crime rate high, despite decrease


Holy shit dept.

A gent from Waterloo in his mid-fifties and his dog were attacked by a bear while on a canoe trip.

He killed it with his knife.

Friday, July 21, 2006 

"If you think you could run a lucrative assassination business but are put off by the whole problem of it being illegal..."

I want to play this game. Too bad I don't have a system that will run it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 

Memory killing pill

I'm linking to this so I can check the article out tomorrow. When I'm awake and not just barely conscious. Stupid insomnia.

Monday, July 17, 2006 

Long live the lizard brain

I like this Clive Thompson guy.

I definitely agree about first-person shooters; while I enjoy the narrative and puzzle elements of games like Resident Evil 4 or Metroid Prime, I don't play them for that. If I want good narrative, I'll pick up a book or a movie or a good television series. I play these games for the short periods where there's nothing between me and an unknown number of (usually supernatural or at least alien) enemies but a loaded weapon.

If that sounds disturbing you probably have let your lizard brain atrophy.


Game criticism

Here's an article by the same writer about a topic that came up on Ian's blog a few weeks back (Why no Lester Bangs of gaming?).


It's not what you think

"The joy of sucking."

(It's actually about sucking at video games.)

Sunday, July 16, 2006 

Writing about science

There's an interesting post up on Poynter's Writing Tools blog about writing about complicated concepts that takes an example from FHM magazine.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 


Excellent article at New York magazine about happiness (linked to by k-punk who was then linked to by Ian). The entire thing was interesting, but the most interesting point for me was the entirety of the final page of the article, which is the one I link to here. The quote that starts the page is something I tend to agree with.

I would link to k-punk and to Ian, but my computer is having the same problem it had the other night. To get the link working, I had to type in the url and canibalize backslashes from extra "a href" tags I had Blogger paste in. The computer has been on for many, many hours. I think that is when it happens.


Stay the fuck off the island

I know I take a slightly different stance on most types criminals than a lot of people, but some people should just stay exiled from the tribe of humanity.

Friday, July 14, 2006 

Saving tabs

There's an article up on Designorati about saving tabloid design.

The paper I helm is a tab. (Look at the shit you have to type when you want to keep a blog mostly sanitized of searchable key words. I can't just write "the ____ is a tab." No, I have to use a word like 'helm'. Yeck.)

I think she has some interesting ideas which seem a little unfeasible to me. I agree with her about using a well designed table of contents though. We've been experimenting with ours all summer for the same reason.


Little Napoleon

I think I have a new favourite site.

As a designer, I want Napoleon on the assigning desk. When I see a budgeted length for a story, I want that story to fit that length. Don t give me a story at 10 p.m. that s twice as long. I ll likely have to cut it in half and let the copy desk sort out the mess.

On an unrelated note, my computer is having an issue. It is not letting me use a bunch of keys. Like the apostrophe or backslash keys or the cut and past function. As a result, I cannot cut and paste the above quote (typed it out), type anything with an apostrophe, cut and paste the link into the hyperlink tag, or type the url into that tag by hand. I will fix this link tomorrow when everything is running smoothly. In the meantime, if you are desparate to read that article, the url is there, but with a space where the backslashes will have to be inserted.

Edit: And for some reason it is showing the url of my blog before the one without the backslashes. Odd.

Second edit: There, that should fix things. I'm not putting the apostrophes in though.


New blog to read

I love finding new things to read.

This article from a design blog called Designorati is about Google ads, ad revenue and editorial independence. It's not long or terribly indepth, but there are things in it that dovetail very nicely with issues I've been thinking about for a while.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 

I do like my job

It would be easy to read my post 'Why?' and think I don't like or don't enjoy my job.

I do like it and I enjoy 90 per cent of it. But there are parts that aren't natural for me and that I'm still getting used to.



Ian linked to the Zidane interview on BBC. Anyone who is at all interested in issues of culpability, responsibility and the like should check it out. Zidane makes some excellent points.



We finished the Frosh Guide tonight.

We blew the deadline by about three hours. I'm surprised we didn't take longer. Most of why we were late was that it was a 48-page paper when we've only done 16-pagers. The rest was because advertisers who build ads and send them in don't get why you have to build ads in very specific ways; we had to fix them while our own content waited.

It's frustrating, mostly because my staff is really good at what they do. It's not their fault that we got caught up in the fixes we had to do to limp toward putting the paper to bed. But they're the ones who have to finish the job and I'm the one who has to say, 'No, we don't have time to make that page look as good as we can. We have to finish now.'

It's made terribly hard by the fact that the ad manager, the layout director and myself all want things to be perfect; we are the three who have to decide when something is good enough. And I have final say over everyone and I'm nothing if not meticulous. It got to the point where my layout director - a gifted designer - was begging for more time so he could add photos to a contents page. I had to refuse it in favour of finishing the paper. I know it was the right choice given the role I've been hired to fulfill. That didn't make it any easier.

We finished today and I didn't feel relief. I wanted to find a toilet to throw up in. This isn't me. This is a role I have to learn so I can move on to the next phase in my mission. And every phase just gets harder.

But instead of throwing up in a toilet, I doled out the (very much deserved) praise to my staff, smiled, small talked about short-term plans and said my good-byes for the summer.

Then I came home to call my parents.

I had to find out how my sister is doing. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital this morning for a kidney infection. She's still in the emergency room waiting for a room.

My great uncle is in the same hosptial, but it's because he's dying of cancer.

It galls me to know that they were where they were while I laboured away at something with comparatively (as far as I'm concerned) little value.

Sometimes I wonder why life is worth it. Then I see Christa and remember.


New addition

Now, I know that if Brian checks in here before he returns from China he is looking for things to be the same. Comforting. My apologies.

Christa and I have a cat.

She had wanted a cat since she was little, but now was the first time she was able. For the last month or so we had visited the Humane Society looking for the right one. Last week we found her.

She's a year old. She's mostly white, with 'dilute calico' colouring. This means she has washed out orange and grey colouring around her head and tail. She's also got a grey smudge across her nose.

We'd seen her before, but last week was when we knew she was the one.

Christa put in her application and within a day we had word back that she was ours as soon as we could pick her up.

We did that Monday. Even in the midst of Frosh Guide production. It might take a former editor in chief to understand the significance of that.

She was originally a stray and has been in the shelter a few months ago. Her name is Hannah and they said they were happy we wanted her since few people had actually looked at her. She was very affectionate in her 'cage' at the shelter, but very shy outside of it. When we brought her home, she stayed under our bed for the first several hours.

I'm convinced she thought of it as her new cage - safe inside, uncertain outside.

Within a few hours her cage boundaries had extended out to include the whole bedroom. An hour later she made it as far as the kitchen door before retreating under the bed. By bedtime she had explored the entire apartment. She now seems completely comfortable - though the odd noise scares her and sends her into the bedroom.

Right now she's curled sleeping on the big chair.

Friday, July 07, 2006 

jkl; fsd jkl;f

That translates loosely to: I'm too tired to be of any use to anybody right now.

I'm in the middle of Frosh Guide production. The Frosh Guide isn't a regular newspaper, it's a publication sent to incoming students to the University. It's the fifth issue my staff and I put together before breaking for the summer. The previous four are a warm-up for this one.

I should explain a little more about my job so far this summer. I am the only editor here. I had to train my (excellent and quick learning) production staff. I have to find and edit all of the editorial copy. Then when all the ads have been sold (there's a deadline for those), I take the list of ads (& their specs), the list of stories (& their sizes and images), crunch numbers, move mental puzzle pieces and draw a mock-up of the paper.

That means I figure out how many pages of content I have, trim or add until I get a multiple of four (each sheet of newsprint is four pages), decide where colour needs to go and can go, and then draw a diagram showing where every ad and ever article goes in the paper.

The four warm-up issues were all 12 pages. There weren't many ads or articles and colour placement was simple (cover, back page and centre). Easy as pie.

The Frosh Guide will be 48 pages of content. Several ads were full colour (CMYK), about the same number were spot colour (black and one other selected colour) and the rest were all black. Colour (full colour or spot) can only go on certain combinations of pages based on where any particular page goes through the press.

It all seems very straight forward now, but a few days ago I didn't know the first thing about what those combinations were. Chris (a former holder of my current job and the current pre press manager at our printer) came in a few mornings ago to give me the crash course.

I finished the mock-up yesterday. It took many hours. Roughly eight. I actually enjoyed it.

Mocking up a paper is a big part of why I wanted this job. They didn't teach us how to do it at Humber, not really. Sure, we had to muck around with laying out our sections, but as valuable as that was it never involved any kind of colour placement considerations.

Anyway, I've still got a lot of copy editing to do, so I'm going to drink my coffee like a good corporate soldier (though this is a non-profit corporation) and get to it.

It'll actually be a good experiment. I'm still new to the whole coffee thing and I'm curious to see what it'll do to an adled brain.


Management myth

Ian, I forgot the issue with this article in it at my parents'. I'll grab it next time I'm there and loan it to you.


This is my 500th post

Last Friday was dad's birthday.

On the way to my parents' house, Christa and I drove over a turtle.

I thought it was a rock in the middle of the road until the last moment. That's when I saw its little head sticking up.

It was in the middle of our lane, so we drove right over top of it. We were on a relatively quiet little patch of paved road in the middle of countryside.

At about the time it was passing under our feet, Christa said, "Oh my god! That was a turtle!"

I was already looking for a place to turn around when she said we had to go back. We did have to go back. It was trying to cross the road. There were a few cars behind us. It would probably get hit at some point.

We pulled into a driveway, waited for two cars to pass (the same direction we were going) and then drove back the way we came. As we did, a white SUV passed us going the opposite direction. It was slowing down.

I fretted that we'd find an ugly sight when we found it, but when we got back the turtle was still in the middle of the lane. Only now all you could see was the shell. Four cars driving over top of it had frightened the little thing into drawing its head and legs into the shell.

As we pulled over, the SUV performed a three-point-turn.

Christa hopped out as the big gas guzzler started back our way.

She picked up the turtle and placed it in the ditch on the side of the road it had been travelling to. The SUV had stopped by this point. They waved at us, turned around again and drove off the way they were originally going.

Christa later commented how amazingly warm and fuzzy it made her feel that somebody else had actually come back with the same intentions we had. I agreed.

I believe she said that it was a painted turtle (though if I'm remembering wrong, I'll hear about it and this will be edited tomorrow). She also said it was likely a female since they tend to travel more than males.

On top of that, it is one of the two species of turtle in Ontario that aren't severely threatened. The other six species are.

The reason you put a turtle on the side of the road it's travelling to is that it wants to go there. If you put it on the side it came from, it's just going to go out into traffic again to get where it's going.

The reason you stop is because if you save one turtle from getting pancaked by rubber and steel, you could be saving potentially hundreds of baby turtles that the turtle will lay over the course of its life.