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Busy and bored - Essay Round Three

This has got to be the last time that essays will stand between me and my life. Though I value the knowledge gained through interpretation and study, essays suck. I prefer the data collection and evaluation sort over the "Tell us your feelings on issue A" essay. I live my life by processing input to derive an output, and every time I am issued an assignment based on superstition or unquantifiable information the output feels... moist and... its a bad way to operate.

Hopefully this micropost is sufficient enough to keep the three entities that visit this site and don't physically communicate with me from believing I had died. (Miss you Googlebot, Wayback Engine, and CSIS/RCMP monitoring agency) I am still alive and looking for a better snow shovel.

This may be off-topic but does anyone know where to find an invincible snow shovel that is lightweight and doesn't get chewed up at the end by banging into the failure of a sidewalk I live next to?

Hair Donated, Wind is Still Cold

Kurt Winter 2008 For those that did not believe that my hair was going to be gone I present my new Avatar Image. While the hair length was well above 14 inches there was about an inch worth of wiggle room after attaching the elastics. I have kept the beard on the recommendation of members of my family and Alie. It always feels a little silly to post about things like this - but it is important for people to know that being a living donor goes well beyond money and blood - everybody wants a slice of my style.

It is cold outside now... But don't worry this is an excellent opportunity to experiment with hats. Big hats, wet hats, Green hats, - I don't like hats. Hats suck.

Obama and Worldwide Development

ObamaCongratulations to all of the groups interested in Obama attaining the Presidency. Now that the campaign period is over and the votes have been counted I can express my excitement regarding this slice of win.

Biden has commuted by train regularily for decades, which gives me hope for a North American Rail Network. Establishing the standards for transportation can guide development toward a safer form of transportation that is both faster and less expensive.

Obama and his visits to Google have revealed his interest in a free and open society, with an interest in pure research. Without market imposed restrictions on scientific and cultural proliferation and development a new and beautiful era of creativity can begin. With a focus on easing the difficulties of human life, to allow more people to enjoy each other, rather than commerce for the sake of advertising and collecting wealth through fraudulent means.

Believe that your actions hold consequences, and understand that the price may be paid decades after the original action. In the case of Western culture that debt is being paid internally for the time being, though true credit for making creative dreams into reality should be attributed to the people around the world that continue to build. Building the framework for their own global liberation. Liberation from the inequity they have experienced by being locked out of the industrial and information revolutions for too long.

Given the tools, what would you build for your people?

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The Cruelest Month

it was this time last year that I was in the deepest funk since returning from Windsor. It had a negative effect on my classes, relationships, and success rate. I call it the Cruelest Month as an homage to a book I read at the time as part of my coursework. This book followed a detective around a small Quebec town, and was definitely not my kind of book. Turns out it wasn't the professors either as i had neglected to check the addition to the syllabus that included a list of which books were to be used. "Book by Canadian Author" apparently means "Book by Canadian Author that focuses on the struggles of small town minorities integrating into an increasingly urban society". I probably wouldn't have like the Joy Luck Club either - but that was what would have lead to success.

This month followed the death of my Grandfather Leo Gratton, a lifelong member of the francophone community in Welland. During this time I made it a priority to seek out satisfaction, and in the process failed to accomplish the things that I used to enjoy. This was the fail train of ultimate failure. Fail to attend, fail to respond, fail to apply, fail to comprehend, fail to compute, fail until I failed to fail.

The last failure came in March of 2008 when I failed in the BUSU elections, but realized that my non-chalant and satisfaction oriented approach to life made a community form around me. Multiple communities looking for more from life, with a willingness to work on small projects to accomplish one large goal.

Welland students focused on transportation, Anime club members developed a stronger voice on campus, Computer Science students realized that their success was not quantifiable by people that don't understand their work - which developed an interest in pure research. It was like a renaissance for my mind to see these people being more productive and strong.

The Fail Train Stops Here - this became my motto at that time. Since then I have become more knowledgeable about my community, my actual interests, my body and my people. My people are artists, and even if their canvas is an LCD monitor or a vegetable garden they will produce something human. Sights, Sounds, Smells, and anything else that requires the user to interact and become involved instead of just watching and listening. What I couldn't determine was what I made as an artist.

I spent the summer of 2008 planning what was supposed to happen next. This meant riding Faster and Faster(my bicycle, yes it is named) daily to eliminate the years of excess on my body. It included creating a 100 things list to eliminate the years of excess in my living space. Finally cleaning up my technological footprint, going from using 430Gb for everything down to 11Gb - for EVERYTHING. All of my family photos, videos, essays from as far back as high school only add up to less than 11 gigabytes. My music is an additional eight, which may as well remain separate and has been shaved down to fit on a four gigabyte solid state device. Movies are gone, and Alie has been pleased since this means more trips to the Theatre.

My art is destruction, or more eloquently minimalism. I hope to cultivate a more human experience through convergence. The application of these principles on my life is the best proof of concept that I can think of for now.

The month of November will be the anniversary of my deconstruction.

Portal to Platform - My Experience with the new iGoogle

iGoogle iGoogle was a personalized start page that originally was a great way to pull information from my gMail, Calendar and RSS Reader into one page. Google opened the portal to allow third party objects to be put onto the iGoogle page of a specific user. Now they have gone a step farther making the iGoogle page a 'desktop alternative', with expandable windows and interaction rather than just a read-through.

Given a news readout from my home town to the European underground, anything I want can go into this new web application. Come to think of it, you can enjoy it too - as sharing of modules or tabs is one of the promising new features.

Don't consider this to be an article - this is an endorsement. If you want better access to information and library style aggregation tools, use the new iGoogle @ www.google.com/ig

Fall Events Intermission

Kurtis McCartney Circle-KOk, I will be taking an intermission from the Apathy Series in order to address some other important fall events. I've already overlooked Thanksgiving, as it is a family holiday event, though I cannot pass up the opportunity to point out upcoming fall events.

Halloween: Filled with win and glory, this holiday is great in so many ways. Plenty of freebies all around, including chocolate, candies, gummies, crisps, pastries, caramelized fruits, and the occasional soda - thats the kind of 'free' that I could get behind. Also it is great to wear costumes in public, and it is no longer the subject of awkward silences.
I will likely be paraded around as a pirate by Alie this Halloween - so you might as well check these videos out:

American Thanksgiving: Though I have experimented with going meat-free, Thanksgiving is what always brings me back. This seems to be as good an excuse as any to turn down the furnace, turn on the oven and enjoy some delicious turkey.
I'm still waiting for one of my Veg friends that can properly prepare tofurkey to send me an invite. Meh...

November 5th: To some it will be Guy Fawkes day, and others will be preparing for arguably the worst month for University students. Some notable events going on during this day include a Jam Making event hosted by local environmental and Greentech advocate Ken Thompson, otherwise known as ChopS. The event is sponsored by OPIRG of Brock University, more information about when and where can be found on their website.
Check it out: http://www.OPIRGBrock.org

I will likely be having my own event in Welland, including a bonfire and some anime - depending on the weather.

Hope to see you out there this fall.

Apathy: Referendum and Election policies of BUSU

Brock University Students UnionDouble Standard - Elections and referenda are two different entities, since 2007 when the bylaws regulating elections and referendum were separated. This separation affords BUSU greater control over a referendum, their only effective method to change the constitution.

Another problem involves rejecting "NO" campaigns in acclamation elections, or in some cases no elections at all for acclaimed members - individually or as a slate taken to the entire student population. Though this would stretch the elections budget it does not mean it will break the budget. Every nomination period is planned to be funded for a full scale election, and these funds remain unused as unelected members form the student government.

Referenda - Often criticized by opponents of these motions, the BUSU referenda almost always passes. This precedent has generated a lot of criticism regarding mis-communication between BUSU and the students and . The BUSU bylaw on 'Referendums' also limits how students outside of BUSU elected and staff members can use this tool. Referenda cannot be used to pass new mandates, propose

Executive Elections - Many students will only see these elections as the candidates receive considerable coverage in the local media and plaster every unpainted wall in the university with posters. BUSU execs are the only paid and elected representatives of the organization, though the pay is kept to subsidize travel and living expenditures while the execs leave their other jobs during their term. Though I appreciate every candidate that says they will decline the money, as it should not be a luxury.

Council Elections - These elections are rarely held, if students do not follow the nomination process in numbers that call for an election then all of the applicants are acclaimed. This means that any student, radical or not, can effect change within the union. These changes can be lasting and damaging, but the twenty-five to one hundred random people that signed their nomination form should think that they are capable. Student apathy has damaged the BUSAC to the point where it has become a joke, most of the work goes to paid staffers in the BUSU office and the executives themselves. An increase in student involvement, separating the executive from the council, and creating a comprehensive elections/referenda bylaw could curb this trend and restore confidence in the institution.

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