(More) Letter to Canadians

Work on the Confederation Country Cabinet pieces continues in the press room. After the delay waiting for capital Ks to be freshly cast, there was another pause of a few days waiting for a batch of paper to arrive from Papeterie Saint-Armand in Montreal.

After consulting with Brenda Whiteway (the artist overseeing the project), and visiting the cabinet itself, I ordered some Canal Paper, Saint-Armand’s machine-made paper in both cream and white and it arrived early this week.

There are three pleasant aspects to using this Saint-Armand paper: first, David and his crew at Saint-Armand as simply lovely people, a pleasure to deal with, and a company to be treasured by anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and pride-in-product; second, it was David who connected Brenda and I in the first place (we live only a few miles apart, but it took our paper man to connect artist with printer) and, finally, back in 2010 I got to visit Saint-Armand and see the machine that makes the Canal paper right up close.

With K and paper in hand, I was ready to head back to the print shop. This work is a challenge for reasons beyond simply naivety: I’m using a newly-case 14 pt. Bodini and a decades old 12 pt. Bodini on the same job, which makes the process of “makeready” (the subtle adjustments, with bits of tissue paper and other magic, to make sure everything is evenly inked) more complicated that usual (amplified by my naivety). But, with the wise counsel-by-Facebook from my friend Fred the Printer in Sweden (best piece of advice was to go and buy some cigarette paper, which is perfect for makeready), I’ve made my way, and yesterday I completed two of the six panels.

Here’s a detail from the panel that includes a quote from Jack Layton’s Letter to Canadians and another from Adrienne Clarkson:

Jack Layton quote.

It’s not perfect, but then printing can only approach perfection from a distance and never achieve it; but I’m happy with the result, and the Saint-Armand paper was a joy to print on. Today I’m back to the composing room to set passages from J. J. Steinfeld and Milton Acorn.

"All those in favour, signify by saying aye; contrary minded, nay"

I am chairing my first PEI Home and School Federation meeting tonight. We have a full agenda, and I’m equal parts daunted and excited.

I stand on the shoulders of giants in this new role: both the presidents who have come before me in the 61 years of PEIHSF history, and those Islanders I’ve looked to as mentors in the ways of Roberts Rules of Order over my time on PEI: people like Leonard Russell, Sterling Stratton, Marion Murphy and Hon. Marion Reid, each of whom has taught me so much about how to conduct meetings efficiently and earnestly, and how paying attention to process, even if it might feel like acting in an Edwardian play, is important.

I will never forget Leonard’s stentorian voice when he was chair of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust putting motions to a vote:

“All those in favour, signify by saying aye,” he would say, and then “contrary-minded, nay.”

So much better than “those in favour, those against.”

And so that will be my clarion call in his honour. Even if it does feel like 1877 all over again.

Wish us luck.

Epilogue: I couldn’t say “signify by saying aye” to save my life and eventually resorted to “those in favour”; and in my drive to keep things moving along smoothly, I ended up speaking about 4x faster than the secretary could reasonably be expected to keep up with. But we had a good turnout and some good discussion and learned some lessons for the next meeting.

The One Where the Dogs Get Together

Our great benefactors – indeed, the great benefactors of the entire dog guide community – the Lions Clubs across Canada each year organize local Purina Walk for Dog Guides events in their local communities on this weekend in May. There are a lot of Lions Clubs in PEI – 22 in total – and a number of those are in the Charlottetown area. We knew we wanted to participate in a walk – but with which club?

Fortunately Easter interceded and answered the question for us: Catherine and Oliver were out at the Charlottetown Mall the weekend before Easter and were flagged down by a couple from the Winsloe Lions Club who saw Ethan. They were operating a “have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny” booth in the mall, fundraising for Dog Guides, and offered to take Oliver and Ethan’s picture. Catherine struck up a conversation with them, and they invited us to walk in the Winsloe walk.

Which is how the Ethan’s eye view this afternoon looked something like this:

Purina Walk for Dog Guides in Winsloe

There were 9 dogs in total who turned out. Ethan was the only service dog in the bunch: the rest were just regular everyday dogs doing their part to raise money for Dog Guides Canada.

For Ethan it was a little bit more than a challenge to be in the midst of a bunch of interesting-smelling dogs while “on the clock” for Oliver, and therefore unable to dive in for some dog-on-dog smelling action (we did give him a little break halfway through to make the acquaintance of his fellow dogs).

We all walked out of the Winsloe Lions Club building (just of Rte. #2 in the heart of Winsloe) and up the handy-by Confederation Trail toward Royalty Junction; halfway out we stopped for a rest (and the aforementioned smelling), and then headed back for a hot dog BBQ.

Ethan got a chance to meet some other dogs; we got a chance to meet some other people, and to talk about Ethan and Oliver and Dog Guides Canada.  It was a good way to spend the afternoon, and we came away with an even warmer feeling about the Lions’ involvement in the dog guides program. The club raised over $2000 for Dog Guides Canada through this event.

We’re back out to Winsloe on June 7th to take the club up on its kind invitation to their “Charter Dinner” where we’ll get another chance to talk about Ethan, this time to the whole club.

Not the New Name of ROW142

It’s an open secret that my colleagues at ROW142 are decamping thirty-nine steps down Richmond Street to occupy the space formerly occupied by Ristorante (and before that, Café) Diem. Which brings to an end the ROW142 coffee brand and the coffee bags I’ve been printing since it started.

During this transitionary period, while the coffee’s still roasting and brewing at 142 Richmond Street and the renovations are proceeding down the street at 128 Richmond Street, there was a need for a transitionary coffee bag, and I was left to my own devices to conjure something up.

After some orienteering work on Friday afternoon, this is what I came up with:

Walk Thirty Nine Steps South West (piles of printed coffee bags)

Walk Thirty Nine Steps South West (type inked and in chase ready for printing)

I should caution that this isn’t the new name of the coffee shop or the coffee – it’s just an catalyst to tell a story about whatever is to come.

Tracking my Moves

For six months, between October 2013 and April 2014, I walked around Charlottetown with my iPad in my pack running the Moves location-tracking application in the background. It was, and remains, an elegant app, and a great, simple way to track “moving around,” whether by foot, bicycle or otherwise. Alas Moves was acquired by Facebook at the end of April, and I just couldn’t conscience the idea of constantly telling Facebook my whereabouts, so I uninstalled the app and cancelled my account.

Before I did so, however, I requested an archive of my data, and, to the credit of Moves’ developers, what I received in return was an elegantly-structured data dump of everything in formats ranging from iCal to GeoJSON. I took one of the GeoJSON files provided – a record of all of my Moves “activities” over that six months, and loaded into Quantum GIS and the result was a rather accurate (and beautiful) picture of my day to day life in Charlottetown:

MOVES map from October 2013 to April 2014

Between Moves and Foursquare and Plazes and Twitter and Flickr and the late Google Latitude and all of the other applications I run that leave a geotrace, I have almost a decade’s worth of my geolocation archived away in various formats; one of the items on my Hacker in Residence to-do list is to develop a unified visualization tool for all that data so that I can fly through time and explore my whens and wheres.