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Casey McKinnon - 2013, August 20 - 17:37
Above: Blowing out the candles on my 14th birthday. It was a good year and a bad year.
I’ve never done theater before. I’ve seen my friends’ high school plays, but I never even knew when auditions were held because I was too busy being a competitive synchronized swimmer, a bullied teen, and a depressed Kurt Cobain fan. I also had a wicked case of stage fright from the bullying, and I once tried out for a fashion show when I was 13 and, thanks to my signature spin-and-pose move, I never heard the end of it. So why would I ever go into theater?
Someone told me about a theater school last year and I bookmarked it for later because I didn’t have any interest in theater at the time. I love acting, but I never saw myself working on the stage. That said, plant an idea in my head and it will most certainly grow.
And grow it most certainly did.
Over the past year, my brain generated a list of reasons why I should study theater:
- A lot of casting directors I’ve talked to are looking for theater experience;
- I’ve always wanted to play a queen, and I believe theater can help me develop the gravitas necessary for the role;
- Many Star Trek TV actors studied Shakespeare, and I wonder if it helped them act through heavy special effects makeup;
- I have a feeling studying Shakespeare will make TV and film scripts look like a walk in the park;
- My voice is an instrument that I would like to further develop.
So, last week I auditioned for a class at the school.
And, let me tell you, it wasn’t easy to audition for theater when you have no classical training.
So, in preparation I Google’d and Google’d and Google’d again.
I chose Titania’s “These are the forgeries of jealousy” monologue from A Midsummer Night’s Dream because I loved that play when I was 14 and I thought it would be an interesting character for me. Not only is she a queen, but she is also a fairy. And given my desire to someday act in the role of a strong alien female on a sci-fi project, I thought it was perfect.
I also chose that monologue because of my 8th grade English teacher.
Mrs. Isler could have been anywhere from 5’8″ to 8’5″. She was very thin and walked with a stiff, straight back. She lit candles in her class and read Shakespeare with such vigor and mystery that everyone in the class was convinced she was a witch. Her eyes were sharp daggers that would stab fear deep into the heart of any student who misbehaved in class, and I loved her for it.
Reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in her class exposed me to a wonderful, magical world that I was excited to escape to. So, when I was required to write a speech that year, I chose fairies as my subject. Mrs. Isler was delighted by my speech and submitted me to a provincial speech competition! I was terrified, so I looked down at my papers the whole time I did my speech, but I was touched that she believed in me.
That belief was a big deal to me because that year I was bullied so badly that my amazing mother had me transferred to a new school.
So, last week I chose the Titania monologue in Mrs. Isler’s honor.
Since I didn’t remember much about the play and hadn’t done any theater before, I prepared harder than any exam I had taken in college. In the six days leading up to my audition, I memorized the monologue in segments, re-read the entire play, watched two movie adaptations (1996 and 1999), read a number of online study guides, and worked my ass off to figure out what it all meant and how I would portray it.
I also spent some time fretting over what accent is acceptable in American Shakespearean theater, how much one should move around in a monologue, and if you should mime your words to help the audience understand.
I spent a night on YouTube looking at (mostly high school) performances of the monologue and I learned a lot about what I didn’t want to do. I saw some actors who obviously didn’t know what they were talking about, so it showed in their performance, and I saw other actors who mimed the entire monologue to prove they knew what they were talking about. Neither of these types of performances was what I was going for.
But then a magical thing happened. I came across this YouTube clip of Dame Helen Mirren performing the monologue in a 1981 TV movie adaptation that I had never heard of on this side of the pond. FINALLY someone was performing the scene as I had envisioned it… and then some! She surprised me with the actions she took vocally and emotionally in her performance, and she couldn’t mime anything in the scene because she spent the whole time coddling the Indian boy in her arms. Genius.
After seeing Mirren’s portrayal of Titania, I finally felt like I could pull this off. I’m nothing like her, but acting is about portraying a character in the unique way that only you can. So I felt confident that I could learn from her performance above all others and be the Titania I was born to be.
All that was left was my audition.
I got there an hour early out of paranoia and when it was my turn to go in I chose to go right into the monologue. I did the best I could while my hands shook uncontrollably from nerves. Things went well enough and the three teachers in the room seemed pretty impressed that I had never auditioned for theater before. I was a little bashful about it, but it was nice to hear.
And what happened next changed everything.
I had been told when I audited a class at the school that the auditions were a lot like the class; you do the scene and the teacher will redirect you to bring out your performance in the best way possible. So in the audition, one of the teachers had me get up on his shoulders and perform the scene again, this time on my “trusty steed.” And, wow, what a difference! Suddenly, being on that stage atop what seemed to be my 6’5″ horse, I felt power. And when I performed the scene I felt like a queen. At last.
It was like nothing I had ever experienced before and I was elated. For the first time since I can remember, I believed in myself.
I left the audition verklempt with joy, talked Rudy‘s ear off when I got home, and couldn’t fall asleep because I was so excited about the future.
It was life changing.
All those years I spent being a bullied pessimist seemed to fade away. For the past week I’ve been completely optimistic about the future and believe in my potential as an actor. It’s as if theater saw the chip on my shoulder and stripped it away. I’ve never been so happy, and all I could think about for the rest of the week was “you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be” – a quote from my friend Brea Grant‘s recent film Best Friends Forever.
And to top it all off? I’ve been accepted to the class.
Now if only I could tell Mrs. Isler…
Fighting the Dragons - 2013, August 20 - 14:14
We had our second visit to the pediatric ophthalmologist last week. We went two months ago and he checked Eleanor out, waved some things around her face and told us she needed glasses but they probably wouldn't work. I left his office feeling thoroughly confused and slightly perplexed. What was the point if they wouldn't work? I phoned my GP to go over the notes from this visit, but I never got a clearer answer. So I didn't get her glasses and waited til her next visit.
I came armed with questions and he was much more forthcoming. He thinks she needs surgery to correct her right eye. It creeps into a cross eyed position pretty frequently and if they adjusted the muscle on the outside, it will most likely look normal. He suggested we try patching her good eye for *gulp* two hours a day and get her glasses. He reiterated that she won't tolerate either, but if we leave it untreated it will likely become wandering or will permanently cross. Apparently with this condition the brain tells the wonky eye to stop working. Yikes.
So we've been stocking up on supplies! We picked up some pirate patches along with her surgical-bandaid-esque patches so we could all be pirates together. We will see how that goes! - and we got her glasses. We are waiting for them to be ready and I'm kind of excited about it. She was really good about trying them on, and a bunch of adult frames which looked hilarious.
Looks an awful lot like this:
She's even trying to wear her sunglasses.
So I'm optimistic about her ophthalmology. Surgery wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to her, but I think she's going to need a couple of teeth pulled next month, so if we can avoid more anesthetic and knives, we will do whatever it takes!
Belmont - 2013, August 20 - 12:00
Is the chemistry genius Walter White really all he is cracked up to be? Veronica Belmont gets a chance to sit down with chemistry PhD Jovana Grbic and find the truth behind Breaking Bad’s chemistry! Is Walter’s RV jump starting trick actually possible? What’s the deal behind exploding fulminated mercury? Watch and find out!
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Cory Doctorow - 2013, August 19 - 13:11
I did an interview with the Circulating Ideas library podcast (MP3) at the American Library Association conference this year. We talked about information politics, DRM and libraries, my own history with reading and books, and the future of librarianship.
Green City Acres - 2013, August 2 - 00:42
- 1 large glass jar
- 1 lemon
- A handful of mint leaves (about 1/4 cup)
- 3 tea bags of your choice (green tea, chamomile, or black tea)
- 2 tbs Honey
Green City Acres - 2013, August 2 - 00:40Fernando’s Pub’s famous avocado margarita.
- 1 tray Ice Cubes (about 2 cups) crushed
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1 cup fresh Cucumbers peeled
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1/4 cup juice from fresh Lime
- 2 tablespoons fresh Cilantro
- 4 ounces Tequila, Vodka or Rum (choose one!)
XKCDblog - 2013, July 29 - 10:46
On Friday, xkcd #1190—Time—came to an end.
It was a huge project, but since it was all concealed within a single comic panel, I thought I’d end with this short post to explain what was going on. If you want to see the story yourself before I spoil anything, you can use one of the many excellent third-party Time explorers, like the Geekwagon viewer, or one of the others listed here.
When the comic first went up, it just showed two people sitting on a beach. Every half hour (and later every hour), a new version of the comic appeared, showing the figures in different positions. Eventually, the pair started building a sand castle.
There was a flurry of attention early on, as people caught on to the gimmick. Readers watched for a while, and then, when nothing seemed to be happening, many wandered away—perhaps confused, or perhaps satisfied that they’d found a nice easter-egg story about castles.
But Time kept going, and hints started appearing that there was more to the story than just sand castles. A few dedicated readers obsessively cataloged every detail, watching every frame for clues and every changing pixel for new information. The xkcd forum thread on Time grew terrifyingly fast, developing a subculture with its own vocabulary, songs, inside jokes, and even a religion or two.
And as Time unfolded, readers gradually figured out that it was a story, set far in the future, about one of the strangest phenomena in our world: The Mediterranean Sea sometimes evaporates, leaving dry land miles below the old sea level … and then fills back up in a single massive flood.
(A special thank you to Phil Plait for his advice on the far-future night sky sequence, and to Dan, Emad, and everyone else for your help on various details of the Time world.)
Time was a bigger project than I planned. All told, I drew 3,099 panels. I animated a starfield, pored over maps and research papers, talked with biologists and botanists, and created a plausible future language for readers to try to decode.
I wrote the whole story before I drew the first frame, and had almost a thousand panels already drawn before I posted the first one. But as the story progressed, the later panels took longer to draw than I expected, and Time began—ironically—eating more and more of my time. Frames that went up every hour were sometimes taking more than an hour to make, and I spent the final months doing practically nothing but drawing.
To the intrepid, clever, sometimes crazy readers who followed it the whole way through, watching every pixel change and catching every detail: Thank you. This was for you. It’s been quite a journey; I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did!
P.S. A lot of people have asked if I can sell some kind of Time print collection (or a series of 3,099 t-shirts, where you run to the bathroom and change into a new one every hour). I’m afraid I don’t have anything like that in the works right now. I just made this because I thought it would be neat, and now that it’s done, my only plan is to spend the next eleven thousand years catching up on sleep. If you liked the project, you’re always welcome to donate via PayPal ([email protected]) or buy something from the xkcd store. Thank you.
DVD Jon - 2013, July 2 - 00:40
MagicPlay is an open cross-platform audio streaming standard (think “HTTP for music”) that supports synchronized streaming to multiple speakers (like Sonos). For more details, see this Verge story. In the near future you’ll be able to buy WiFi speakers, TVs and other products that come with MagicPlay support out of the box. If you want to try MagicPlay right now, you can turn an existing device such as the Raspberry Pi into a MagicPlay device and stream music to it using doubleTwist Player for Android.
- Raspberry Pi ($43) running Raspbian Linux
- Optional: USB sound card for better quality (the integrated sound card on the Raspberry Pi has an annoying crackle bug)
- Android phone or tablet running Android 4.1 or higher
If you would like to skip building the source code, you can download a binary package instead.
1. Download the AllJoyn source code (AllJoyn is a P2P framework developed by Qualcomm to power the Internet of Things).
2. Unzip the AllJoyn code: tar -zxvf alljoyn-3.3.0-src.tgz; cd alljoyn-3.3.0-src
3. Clone the following two repositories:
- git clone https://github.com/alljoyn/audio services/audio
- git clone https://github.com/alljoyn/about_config services/about_config
4. Apply this patch: zcat magicplayd.diff.gz | patch -p0
5. Build AllJoyn library: make OS=linux CPU=armhf VARIANT=release
6. Build and install audio service: cd services/audio; make CPU=armhf; sudo make CPU=armhf install
The MagicPlay service (/etc/init.d/magicplayd) has now been installed and will automatically start on boot.
Note that if you want to use a USB sound card with MagicPlay on the Raspberry Pi, you will need to modify services/audio/src/posix/ALSADevice.cc prior to step #7 and replace “plughw:0,0″ with “plughw:1,0″ and “hw:0″ with “hw:1″ (since the USB sound card would be sound card #2).
To get beta builds of doubleTwist Player for Android, make sure to join the doubleTwist Google Plus community.
slyck - 2013, June 12 - 22:09
Pharmaceuticals suffer patent setback.
MegaUpload.com And First Amendment in the Digital Age: How Copyright Enforcement Is Threatening Free Speech And How The Constitution Can Win
slyck - 2013, June 11 - 05:29
Cyber lockers, MegaUpload, and Free Speech.
Gregular - 2013, February 18 - 08:45
How I have any sort of readership on this blog is beyond me. It peaked a loooooong time ago, as you will see by the following:
On my never ending quest to find enlightenment, there have been some leaps forward, and there have been some fingernails-digging-in drags back.
To clarify, enlightenment means to me the final achievement of seamlessly meshing something I love doing with my obsessive need to "make a difference". Enlightenment to many has a more spiritual meaning. I can dig this as well, which is probably something I should study and pursue more. However, for the purpose of this particular rant I will focus on my physical-world.
That's not to say this doesn't hold a spiritual aspect for me...
I'm getting off topic.
Some major barriers to realizing my end game in the past and present (and probably future) are:
- My insecurities- Financial dependancy on a slightly materialistic quality of life- Fear
Putting that aside for the moment, last week I returned home from a 3 week deployment in the US. New Jersey, to be exact. I was there on behalf of the Canadian branch of a worldwide agency which, among many other things, provides disaster relief assistance (just like old times, I'm keeping actual names out of it to prevent any backlash).
I was sent to help my American cousins deal with the horrendous aftermath of Superstorm Sandy (that's what they are calling it, rather than Hurricane. I guess they believe it warrants the upgraded name, and I can't argue with that).
It became apparent that after only a few days on site, it was a god damned shit show.
I won't get into the specifics, but it was extremely frustrating.
What started as a 3 week deployment, ended up completely changing the direction of my life.
Working on the rigs sucks a big fat one. Anybody you ask will tell the same. Those who do not are lying. It's that simple. To be surrounded by ignorant, crude, womanizing men 24/7 changes anybody.
I was mentally and ethically dying a slow death working up there. No amount of money is worth that.
This taste of the world in which I love and dream and aspire to live was the catalyst to what has been brewing in my mind the last 8 months. I was not meant to work in Canada's oil patch.
I wonder if any of you quietly saw this coming, or were just waiting for the day. Well, here it is. I admit defeat. I don't like to, and it hurts my pride, but fuck this!
Conversely, the experience also shattered me in a different way. It actually made me want to leave the world of non-profit for good. It was THAT frustrating and demoralizing.
That was a first for me.
After a week of decompression and return to normalcy, that feeling still lingers.
I have some friends that would welcome this, and I know they do so out of a concern for my financial well being. Almost like a parent who grudgingly accepts their child's life decisions for now, but will only be happy when they finally "settle down" and "get a decent paying job". That sentiment is only a reflection of the care and worry they have for their child, and is not at all malicious.
My parents feel that way I believe, but more and more accept I am not a typical Calgarian (or so I think they do).
Periodically in my life, I have breakdowns. More often than not they are fuelled by culture shock, reverse culture shock, and jetlag. This one, however, was a shitstorm of the following:
8 months of sparse physical contact with partner, friends, and family8 months of keeping my mouth shut and not picking intellectual fights8 months of volatile pay and shift work8 months of kidding myself that one day this will all be worth it8 months suppressing the need and want to do good2 years of my fruitless efforts to gain any sort of employment in a field I am extremely well trained, versed, and skilled at in any respectable capacity for any respectable amount of payDaddy issues (just kidding, my parents fucking rock)18 months living with a pipe dream that I can create a company linking Kashmir to Canada3 weeks of what seems like wasted time and (with a few exceptions) a crew of people that really should not have been there
Complete and utter destruction.
Like, snotty-nosed disgusting. Hard to breathe, I'm not afraid to admit it. Kathleen had to deal with it, and she did so like a champ.
I could not help but make a connection between those I was sent to "help", and my own fucked up life that has been in constant motion for the last 8 months with no real semblance of substance.
I have this feeling in my bones that I am on some sort of cusp of some sort of enlightenment. For real, I have this funny feeling.
That being said, I've had this stupid feeling for quite a while now, and look at where that has gotten me.
So really, maybe I should just stop fucking whining and act on it already, eh? #bitchslapme
The Green Team...better known as the Dream Team!
Sand brought back to the beach. It was spread far inland, covering property for blocks.
I don't have any crazy photos of destruction, but I will try and get some from other volunteers and post them here.
...this post was a lot less funny than I originally planned. Next one will be a riot. I promise.
Corree&Daren - 2013, January 7 - 23:59
We are now nearing the end of Day 7. Yesterday we went to Daren’s parents for dinner. His family (and especially his sister) kindly supported us in our D-tox and we had a full spread of yummy detox friendly food that we helped cook. Salmon, quinoa salad with sweet potatoes, green onions & pecans, carrot/kohlrabi slaw, green salad with avocado dressing and beans with smoked paprika & brown rice.
This morning we had a smoothie (green tea, wheatgrass, blueberries, raspberries, lemon juice, camelina oil, protein powder). Tonight’s dinner was spaghetti with kelp noodles! Kelp noodles are great (http://www.kelpnoodles.com/). They are made with seaweed (as the name suggests). They are quite firm but soften up when in contact with acidic food (like tomato sauce).
I don’t feel too horrible. I didn’t think about cookies and chocolate that much today. Daren is feeling a bit weak and a little photosensitive (???). Apparently headlights seemed brighter than usual tonight. Maybe his eyes are functioning better now than before!
Salmon with dill, lemon and garlic
Green salad and smoked paprika beans with brown rice
Corree&Daren - 2013, January 5 - 15:50
Day 4 is done and we are now on Day 5. Our smoothie yesterday was sweeter (green tea, wheatgrass, strawberries, cherries, camelina oil, protein powder) – we left out the spinach. For lunch I had scrambled egg with chives and kale which I ate wrapped up in iceberg lettuce. Later on I made a slaw like thing with the new shredder attachment I got on boxing day for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It worked great! Ingredients included shredded carrots and kolhrabi, chopped red pepper, grape tomatoes and chives, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Daren brought home falafel chips and hummus, which was an awesome surprise. Today we made zucchini/potato pancakes (shredded zucchini & potatoes, chopped red pepper, garlic, onions, quinoa flakes, eggs). They were pretty tasty.
I won’t lie. I want sugar. I dream of ketchup. And chocolate. I definitely miss sugar more than I miss dairy or wheat. Apparently, after a while, the sadness and craving is supposed to pass. I’m waiting for that to happen.
Carrot & Kohlrabi slaw.
Zucchini & potato pancakes frying
Zucchini & potato pancakes ready for eating.
Corree&Daren - 2013, January 4 - 01:11
Sorry the font and formatting below is weird. I don’t know how to fix it…
Well, Day 3 of our detox is done. Right now I feel ok, but this morning I didn’t feel good at all! My tummy was rumbling a lot and….well….the toilet was my friend! I wasn’t super hungry today, but Daren was. Yesterday I had a super bad sugar craving and made a crisp with cherries, strawberries, peaches, quinoa flakes, cinnamon and nutmeg. It turned out great!
Post-baking for 40minutes at 375oC
For dinner tonight we made some tasty salmon with lemons/limes, garlic, dill, chives and olive oil.Post-baking
Dinner with gai-lan!
Corree&Daren - 2013, January 4 - 00:57
To celebrate the first 12 days of 2013 we have decided to do the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox. Basically it involves cutting out sugar, dairy and wheat for 12 days and taking some herbal supplements. Other than that you can pretty much eat whatever, with a few exceptions. Today is Day 1. So far we’ve had a smoothie (green tea, wheatgrass, soy protein powder, camelina oil, carrots, spinach, raspberries), rice cakes with almond butter and a whole bunch of popcorn with spicy camelina oil. If you haven’t heard of camelina oil, you should try it (http://threefarmers.ca/). It’s awesome. It’s high in omega-3, omega-6 and vitamin E, has a long shelf life and is heat tolerant to high temperatures, which makes it perfect for cooking (unlike flax oil). And it’s from Saskatchewan, which makes it even more awesome!
So, it’s been about 16 hours since midnight and we seem to have discovered something. We may be addicted to sugar. We both feel tired and one of us has a headache. Apparently “sugar-withdrawal” may happen, but I didn’t think it would happen this fast! We don’t eat a ton of sugar normally, but December was filled with more cookies and sweets than normal. Sugar also hides in all kinds of things – we were grocery shopping yesterday and I was surprised to find sugar in fish balls at T&T!
A few hours later…
Tonight we made a Moroccan chickpea and millet soup/stew thing and some indian quinoa. It was really tasty and filling. The stew had onions, garlic, chives, celery, kale, potatoes, millet, chickpeas, cumin, tumeric, star anise, nutmeg, salt, pepper, lemon slices and cilantro. The quinoa had cardamon pods, a bay leaf, carrots, cinnamon and salt. Normally we would put thai sweet chili sauce on a meal like this, but that’s out because of the sugar. Instead we put some chili carmelina oil on the quinoa, which was surprisingly good.
One day down, 11 to go! We’ll see how Daren does at work tomorrow surrounded by leftover christmas cookies and chocolates.
CSI - 2012, December 14 - 03:43
Author Mark Wagner, Director Strategic Partnerships
This was the eighth RSNA event for Calgary Scientific but my fourth experience at the show billed as the place where the finest breakthroughs in medical imaging emerge each year. It was a chance for our team to spend time with our partners, observe competitors and talk to end users about shifting needs in healthcare informatics technologies.
After a couple days to rest up from a non-stop demo and discussion frenzy, here are 5 highlights of RSNA 2012 that stand out to me:
- Value is understood – Users are now serious about buying solutions to extend image access outside of DI reading room. At previous RSNAs they were thinking about extended image access and looking at it as an option. The value of accessing images outside the DI reading room is now understood and there is commitment to move forward. Meaningful Use, expanded circles of care and demand for efficiencies require delivery of images to all stakeholders: radiologists, referring physicians / specialists, all healthcare professionals, payors and even patients themselves!
- Multi-source image access is now critical – Efficient workflow integration will deliver this value and will make mobile and web access to images critical components in an efficient healthcare environment. Users are looking for image access from a number of different interfaces and points in the healthcare continuum: from the patient record in the EMR / EHR, from the patient portal on the web, from the RIS, directly from the local archive with recent images in ER, from cloud based universal archives, from direct access on their mobile devices…solution flexibility will be a critical factor for any image viewing solution in this environment.
- Collaboration for superior care – Radiologists are not operating in isolation from other stakeholders in healthcare. Efficiency and superior care are delivered when quick and convenient and reliable mechanisms for closing communication loops and ensuring absolute clarity are in place. Reaching and connecting with others to review and share image information is critical.
- Security of patient data is paramount –Security continues as a table stake requirement. BYOD, enabling access for users outside the institution firewall and continued concern about losing patient healthcare information are causing users to carefully evaluate their technology options. Vendors are making the effort to address security concerns, but there remain some key differences in how data is being safeguarded and accredited within different solutions. It still pays for users to ask hard questions about how data is at risk of theft and whether a solution is FDA cleared for diagnosis or for review only.
- Convenience and productivity demand mobility – Mobile devices continue to proliferate and users will be looking at expanding where / how they use those devices based on the convenience and significantly enhanced quality that they now deliver. Users will want to do be able to do everything on their mobile devices that they do on their wired devices, but more simply and more conveniently. Mobile devices are driving the evolution, but efficiency, productivity and a higher standard of care are the resulting benefits.
I called these highlights of RSNA, not insights, as the themes here are not substantial new discoveries. These points do, however, reinforce our determination to lead with ResolutionMD in secure mobile healthcare, and support our focus on secure data exchange. We will continue to deliver a viewer which provides users with access to a complete and accurate patient record, with data from any source, and pair it with the industry’s most convenient collaboration. This focus is a vital way in which Calgary Scientific will advance the quality of global healthcare.
Gregular - 2012, December 12 - 08:56
What does "being badass" really mean?
It depends on the context and the audience, I guess.
Dude getting sweet tattoos?
Chick stomping a sick landing?
Those are some superficial examples. Two really good examples of what I think of as badass (and are clearly biased) are the two sides of my family:
The Doudican side of my family? Well, the important parts are as follows:
Gramma Doudican: Husband abandoned the family with three children all under the age of 14 (if I remember correctly). Raised them all to be respectful, successful, and decent human beings.
Gramma Hamilton. Persevered in the face of scarce monetary resources, and the premature loss of a child, and husband... X 2. Celebrated her 85th birthday this month, and has no inclination to stop.
My grandparents, and parents, have overcome obstacles that I will never have to even moderately experience.
I am forever grateful for this, and it makes me want to go forth and pay it forward.
My profesional and personal endeavours to date sometimes frustrate and baffle my parents...or so I feel. They want the best for me, which I can totally understand. Job security and pay are what constitute "making it" in their generation's eye.
And I can also completely understand that.
However, the luxury of being raised a privileged child in Canada has granted me the extravagance and/or ability to pursue humanitarian (read: low pay) endeavours.
The double edged sword.
The majority of parents want their children to experience increased financial freedom. However, greater financial freedom often means those offspring have the wherewithal (and means) to chase more philanthropic dreams.
My father is the shit. My mother is also the shit, but this post is more about me and my relationship with my father.
Terry Doudican is my personal hero. This wasn't always so, mainly because I used to be young and stupid. As I age, my respect for my father grows.
Do I tell him this regularly? No. We don't have that kind of relationship. BUT, it's ok, because we both know what's up.
He is the embodiment of a man's man. You know when you think of the people you want to surround yourself with should the zombie apocalypse come to pass? Sorry, when the zombie apocalypse comes to pass? Well, my pops is the number one choice on my list.
This is a result of many factors, which I will list here:
- grew up in the 70's without a father, and helped raised his siblings
- built a log cabin in remote northern Alberta by hand...seriously
- has spent his life as a carpenter/plumber/mechanic/hunter/wilderness survivor
- redefines the term "old man strength"
A lot to live up to, especially considering we don't share a lot of the same passions.
Lately, working in the Alberta oil patch has been quite the learning experience for me.
I came into this with quite a few preconceived notions. A lot have been justified. Actually, a majority of them have been justified. However, I find that a curious result has arisen in this environment:
I feel like a real badass. Not unlike my father.
True, I am currently in the industry that a lot of people worldwide shun and discredit. Not least of all former colleagues and humanitarian friends I have met along my life's journey.
But putting that aside (i have a whole new view on that, fyi), my day to day life is:
a) WAY different than anything I have done to date, and
b) pretty manly
I hate using sexist stereotypes, but I have a hard time explaining my current situation otherwise.
I am working on an oil rig in the deep wilderness of Alberta.
I am relied upon by others on site to perform my job. I am respected. I am recognized by my superiors and make a wage that reflects my sacrifice (time away from home, friends, and family).
This makes me feel valued.
My previous work lacks a certain "employee appreciation". International aid, public service, and general non-profit has a habit of doing that. This is really too bad, but that is another rant altogether.
I feel like I am fulfilling some strange dream my Albertan forefathers wished upon future generations of Albertans. It's kinda nice to take a break from my preachy, hippy, peace-loving, social-work-esque lifestyle to enjoy a simpler, self-satisfying job that I make a decent wage at.
It is selfish, but at this point, and for the next year or two, I am ok with this.
All that drabble being said, want to know what I really like about this new path my life has taken?
The badass personal protective equipment I get to wear.
I mean, how kick ass are these boots? Surriously.
P.S. WTF am I doing working in the Northern Alberta oil patch? Jesus
CSI - 2012, December 10 - 01:15
Written by Byron Osing , Chair and CEO.
In 2011, more than 136,000 Calgarians received food from the Emergency Food Hamper Program delivered by the Calgary Food Bank. Every year more than 7 million kilograms of food gets distributed to Calgarians in need. And it takes more than 100 people volunteering every day at the food bank to make all that happen.
Calgary Scientific is a passionate supporter of the Calgary Food Bank. This year we are lending muscle, some money and a bounty of food donations to help those in need in our community. On December 5th, a crew of our staff volunteered for a shift at the food bank building hampers. It took teamwork, an eye on the conveyor belt and compliance to rigorous warehouse safety but we did our jobs well!
Back at our office, our team of almost 80 is building a tower of food that we’ll donate. We’ve also donated $5,000 to support YYC Tech Gives – a Calgary Tech Community initiative to rally giving. Last year YYC Tech Gives raised about $65,000 for the Calgary Food Bank. This year the aim is $100,000.
My special thanks to our team for giving time and food donations so generously in support of the Calgary Food Bank. Here’s wishing all of us a holiday where we cherish our good fortunes of family, friends and plentiful meals together.
CSI - 2012, December 3 - 08:48
Written by Randy Rountree, EVP of Global IT & Strategic Alliances
When Calgary Scientific was still just a nugget of thought in our founder’s mind, a doctor friend took our founder on a field trip that helped turn that thought into reality.
The expedition was to a radiology department of a Calgary hospital. Instead of watching doctors busily screen films and run off to diagnose patients, Byron Osing watched them wait around the way cranky office workers do at Starbucks every morning.
This was back in 2005, the early days of radiological digitization, when doctors would send each other patient images on CD-ROM. Now there’s a blast from the past that still continues in many markets today. Different hospitals used different software, so often times doctors had to reformat the image to see it. There were only so many reformatting machines, hence the waiting around. Beyond that, doctors could spend hours, yes hours, just logging in and out of different hospitals’ PACS in order to compare images of a patient that happened to be stored at two sites.
We’ve come a long way since then but it doesn’t mean the issues of interoperability and scalability have all been solved. In fact, much of the existing medical imaging technology is designed to avoid multi-system cooperation. Just like Apple, companies are designing products that only talk to other products they design. It works for a computer company, but it’s a nightmare in healthcare.
We admire the leadership companies such as Fujifilm, Dell and AT&T are taking on this front. Their commitment to finding the best solution for the end users is easing the frustration healthcare system providers feel when faced with the daunting task of making medical images readily available to doctors who aren’t on site.
After all, the mobility mountain is a tough one to climb in this industry. It represents issues of security, storage space, patient engagement and hospital autonomy. In a recent report for the National Patient Safety Foundation in the US, co-author Dr. David M. Lawrence suggests better coordinated IT systems are the key to success in the ever more complex world of medicine.
In an article written by InformationWeek.com, Lawrence suggests medical data and images are often still being sent to territorial silos that only serve to make the efficient practice of medicine more complicated. It makes the images harder to retrieve, manipulate and share at a time when cooperative medicine (ie. medicine that involves the diagnostic conclusions of a team not just an individual) is becoming more the norm.
The issue is so prevalent, some organizations have dedicated themselves to helping healthcare providers figure out how to best integrate their patient data across different IT systems. This kind of third-party oversight and guidance is a key component to establishing true interoperability.
The goal of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), for example, is to “to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of clinical care by making relevant health information conveniently accessible to patients and authorized care providers.”
It sounds like a simple, respectable goal but still, the path to success has yet to be cleared. Perhaps they, too, started their journey with the same question as our CEO: Why can’t we all just get along… technically?
This post is the last in a series on the Top 5 Trends Changing the Game in Global Healthcare IT. We encourage you to check out others in the series:
- Top 5 Trends Changing the Game in Global Healthcare IT
- Mobile Medicine Tests the bounds of Regulation and Security: Hello Optimized Mobility
- Not all Solutions are Accredited Equal
Radiologists rank in the top 5 for mobile technology usage now that telemedicine fits in our pockets
CSI - 2012, November 20 - 14:15
Written by Randy Rountree, EVP of Global IT & Strategic Alliances.
As Dr. Shrestha, the Vice President of Medical Information Technology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, points out in his article Mobility in healthcare and imaging: Challenges and Opportunities, “Imagers are often earlier adopters of newer technologies, and radiologists have been quick to adopt mobile devices, for both personal and professional use.”
Case and point – among American physicians, radiologists rank in the top five for rapid adoption of mobile technology for medical practice according to a recent Jackson and Coker Associates study.
So beyond an ever present love of new imaging technologies, why are radiologists at the forefront among physicians pushing for mobile technologies? Smartphones can provide two critical benefits to radiologists – mobility and speed of access to do diagnostic work wherever they choose.
In October 2012, The Mayo Clinic confirmed the impact of Calgary Scientific’s mobile medical technology in a study titled: “Smartphone Teleradiology Application Is Successfully Incorporated Into a Telestroke Network Environment”
Profiled in Stroke magazine, the study drew the conclusion:
CT head interpretations of telestroke network patients by vascular neurologists using Calgary Scientific’s mobile diagnostics tool, ResolutionMD, on Smartphones were in excellent agreement with interpretations by stroke radiologists using a Picture Archiving and Communications System and those of independent telestroke adjudicators using a desktop viewer.
“Essentially what this means is that telemedicine can fit in our pockets,” Dr. Bart Demaerschalk, professor of neurology and medical director of Mayo Clinic Telestroke, said in a statement. Click here to see a video of Dr. Demaerschalk talking about the study.
Beyond reliability for diagnosis and patient impact, research with our luminary partners Mayo Clinic, Yale University and SUNY reveals that ResolutionMD on mobile devices is making life on-call livable for radiologists – decreasing drive time to hospitals, time away from families and lessening the grind of long shifts.
Watch our upcoming blog for use cases that are impacting radiologists:
• closing the distance to rural locations, and
• enabling specialists to collaborate from any location.
Visit Calgary Scientific at RSNA at Booth 6244, South Hall A and we’ll show you how ResolutionMD changes the way radiologists and other healthcare professionals can access, view and analyze information from anywhere.