Sunday, September 27, 2009

New blog in town

Given this blog has been inactive for so long, I can't imagine there are many followers left.

For those dedicated enough to continue checking this blog, you should know I've started a new project called The Warehouse District.

I'll still keep the Blogorama around for achieving purposes, but all my new writing will be found at the District. Things are going much better in my life than they were two years ago, so I expect I will be writing with more frequency.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

Happy holidays.

Satan Shoots, Satan SCORES!

NHL forward and fallen angel Miroslav Satan registered his 666th point during last night's contest between the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals.

Satan scored at the 10:03 mark of the first period, which helped New York to a 3-2 victory. Satan also received a, hooking penalty in that same period.

While the dark lord has no desire to pass Wayne Gretzky's records, he has been quoted as saying he will not retire until he bests Dave Christian's total of 773 points.

It should be noted Miroslav Satan has now outscored Jesus Christ (aka Jerzy Christ, last seen playing for Iserholm EC of the German 1st division) 666 to 0 at the NHL level. Should Jesus manage to make the NHL and surpass Satan's totals, one would have to consider that accomplishment as the biggest comeback since the Resurrection.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Job Interview Double-Feature

This afternoon I interviewed for position of writer/researcher with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Public Safety Division. If I were to rate my performance on the traditional ten (10) point scale, I would assign myself a 6.5; a woefully average performance that in no way reflects my true competencies (or personality, for that matter). For some reason I had difficulty with the question "how would you author issue management correspondence to the Minister?" The only answer I could suggest was that I would "research the issues, formulate my opinion, and pass my correspondence onto the Minister." It was obvious to me they would have preferred a more in-depth answer.

"Why couldn't I...THINK!"

After the formal interview I was led into a small room where I was asked to sit down and draft correspondence on behalf of the Minister. The question posed to me was, and I paraphrase, "I've been reading about the raging wildfires in the newspaper - what is the government going to do about it?" Oddly enough I printed the Ministry's role in emergency services earlier that day, so I was able to refer to that as I composed the letter. I am fairly confident my letter was of high quality; hopefully the Ministry feels the same way.

I did manage to provide them with several other writing examples, including:
  • A fund raising proposal addressed to the Wild Rose Foundation (a 20 page document that resulted in a $50 000 donation to the ICCP),
  • policy and procedure for two different programs,
  • an official EPS brochure;
  • a 30 minute CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) PowerPoint presentation I designed for the EPS, and
  • a business plan that resulted in the EPS approving a new hire for the crime prevention unit.
Even if the quality of my writing meets their standards, I do not believe I will be the successful candidate. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't terrible - but my performance certainly could have benefited from some more confidence on my part. Or maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Most likely the answer lies somewhere in between.

There were several questions I wanted to ask after the process but had forgotten. Next time I shall write the questions down before hand and bring them with me to the interview. As it stands I am going to e-mail my list of questions to the persons involved. If nothing else, that act could potentially keep my name in their minds.

This interview this led me to reminisce about another interview experience I had a few months ago. I originally posted my thoughts on my Facebook page, but for some reason did not include them here.

Without futher ado I present "So I walked out of an interview today..." (originally composed on 2007 June 29):

...yes, it's true. I had mixed feelings the entire week preceding the interview (that is, is this a job that I would enjoy), but decided to attend anyway so I could see what they had to offer.

The longer I sat in the boardroom searching for answers to the interview questions, the more I realized that I wouldn't want to write online content for a legal document company as a full-time job. After a long pause following the question "What's the difference b/w online content and technical content," I basically said that I hadn't prepared myself well for this interview (which was true), and that I couldn't see myself doing this type of job full-time.

They looked at me like I was crazy, which I can understand, and tried to get me to continue with the interview. I declined, apologized for wasting their time, and left without much grace. The entire interview was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my adult life, especially the final 30 seconds as my interviewers didn't say much of anything.

I feel a bit conflicted about my decision. On one hand, I'm glad I had the sense to leave, but on the other, the act of leaving was somewhat of a humbling experience. Especially when they asked me if the job looked to be too hard (ok, that was more of a 'insult Sean's pride' moment), which wasn't the case.

Or maybe I'm just a bit upset with myself b/c I didn't trust my gut and went to the interview anyway.

If nothing else, this experience taught me that I couldn't just 'write' for any type of company; I think it would have to have more of a humanitarian purpose. Social services, emergency services, community programming, the government, etcetera. Something where I could develop programming to assist the community at large.

I still feel embarrassed, though. Hmm.
And here are the comments from my "Facebook followers." I omitted one person's name b/c I'm not sure if she would want it published here. Cliff R. also posted his thoughts at one time, but it has been lost as he deleted his Facebook profile.

She who shall not be named wrote:
at 1:15pm on June 29th, 2007
Cool experience of self! Good story. You learned some great lessons about yourself. My thoughts? What value is there in the 'crappy' feelings that are associated with this experience? I'm willing to bet there is potentially lots. You could alternatively focus on the cool things you learned and the pride that's associated with overcoming an extremely uncomfortable experience! Neat...

Sean Woods wrote
at 3:51pm on June 29th, 2007
Thanks She who shall not be named, your comments are quite helpful.

Value from the crappy feelings? Hmmm. I suppose the lesson learned there is to trust my gut more than I should when it comes to this sort of thing.

But by GOD, was it uncomfortable. I can't recall the last time I felt so out of my element. I don't mean over my head, but I never felt settled at all.

Liam Johnstone wrote
at 4:33pm on June 29th, 2007
I think that interviews aren't just for the company to find out about you. They're also an opportunity for you to hear what they can do for you. Sure, you want to put your best foot forward and come across as a can't-miss candidate. However, if they're not saying the things that you want to hear, you're well within your rights to say "This isn't what I want."

It's not for them to determine the length of the interview alone. If you want it to end, that's your right. I congratulate you on making what had to be a difficult decision instead of staying in a place where you were unhappy. To me, that says you learned something (both about the company and yourself) during the interview. Good for you.

Sean Woods wrote at 5:56pm on June 29th, 2007
Those are very good points Cliff (and Liam). Perhaps that perceived loss of control was partially responsible for the flabbergasted look on their faces.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes...

Last night I discovered that one of my favourite films has been re-relased to theatres: Blade Runner. The remastered and uncut edition (the "Final Cut"), no less. Given that I am "only" 31 years old, I didn't get the chance to see this film during its original 1982 release. This is probably for the best as I don't think a 6 year old could truly appreciate the film.

For those interested, the film is playing at the City Centre Mall (10200-102nd Ave) until next Thursday. Do yourselves a favour and see this film once or twice. Even you non-geeks out there should enjoy it. I will spare you my attempt to provide a synopsis of this film, as I'm still trying to recapture my creative mojo.

So, please enjoy the trailer instead (edit 2007 Dec 17: Jeremiah and I went to see the film yesterday. It is still awesome).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's Good to be Bald

A few weeks ago I had decided to pull a long shift (0800 to 2030, to be precise) in order to assist in the facilitation of an EPS course. My route home is along 97th street, which is not the best-lit area in the town. On this night I decided to walk south of the courthouse instead of walking west along 103 A avenue.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a young male running toward a female of the same age. He appeared to nudge/poke her in the back, which caused her to scream hysterically. At first I thought it was a scream of the "OhmyfuckinggodyousacredmeGOD!" variety, so I smirked and continued on my way home. A few moments later I heard her scream

Please don't hit me!

from behind me. I turned around just in time to see the female fall and be kicked either in the torso or head. Without thinking I yelled "HEY!" and ran at the male, phone in hand (but not cognisant enough to call 911). He looked at me, said "What are you gonna do, call the cops?" and left the female to confront me. Thankfully as I approached he seemed to realize that I was bigger and balder, so he took off in the opposite direction.

I asked the girl if I could walk her to the police station, or at the very least call her a taxi, but she claimed that "would get me (her) into even more trouble" and sprinted in the direction opposite the male had.

Needless to say my body was in 'fight' mode the remainder of the evening, so there wasn't a lot of sleep to be had.

After debriefing with some colleagues the next day I had the following questions posed to me:

What if he was her pimp?
What if he had a knife?
What if he had a gun?

This led me to doubt my actions somewhat - what IF he had a knife (or something more lethal)? Would I have been able to leave the conflict unscathed? Opinions were tossed at me from all sides, including the peanut gallery; that is, people whose opinion I did not solicit. Eventually I realized the doubt crept into my head because I was not trusting my gut; I was letting the opinions of others affect my thinking in a negative fashion.

I am confident that I did the right thing, however I most definitely should have called 911 first and THEN made the assailant aware of my presence. Call first, make sure help is on the way.

Sadly, I am fairly certain that the incident in question was a relationship dispute of some sort. I would not be surprised if the female sought out the male later on that week. Or day.


As you can well see, I haven't been posting with anything even approaching regularity. It hasn't been a case of me not having anything to say, but more so my inability to separate work from home.

Well, that's not quite right. Work has been incredibly exhausting of the past few months, both emotionally and mentally. I invest a lot into work (most likely too much) and as a result it seems that I don't have the creative mojo to post anything on my blog.

A while ago I was talking to Earl about this, and he remarked that it is very important to put words to paper (text to screen?), even if I don't feel like I have anything worthwhile to say. I agree with his comment. first goal is to modify my blog so it fits into the new blogger format. Once that is complete I shall endeavour to post more often.

PS: The attached picture doesn't have any relevance, other than I thought it was cool.