Duck with a mohawk!

Posted in Random thoughts at 12:29 pm by ducky

Two of my favorite colleages at Google had mohawks, and they decided that I needed a mohawk, too. So on the last day of my internship, one gave me a buzz. The results:

Ducky with a mohawk!

That’s Dave on the right!



Posted in Art at 10:51 am by ducky

I am working on painting a jacket; I painted several tshirts along the way this summer. Mostly they were just vehicles for me to experiment on, but I gave one to a friend:

The picture above is of the front. It looks slightly odd because the shoulder is flattened so you can see the two glyphs on the top of the shoulder.

Reading left-to-right, top to bottom, the shirt has Mayan, Dulkw’ahke (southwestern Canadian First Nations), Latin, Arabic, Cuneiform (Akkadian, IIRC). At the bottom is a symbol that might mean “sheep” in what might have been the precursor to writing.

On the back, you can see Cyrillic, a tiny little Vai (Liberian) symbol, Telugu or Kannada (Indian scripts), Mongolian, and Chinese.

NB: Updated on 15 Oct 2006, on request, to note the characters. If you are interested in writing systems, I highly recomment omniglot.com and ancientscripts.com.

contract status

Posted in Canadian life, University life at 9:55 am by ducky

I’ve been negligent in telling what ultimately happened with the Green College residence contract conflict.

The University came back with a new contract. There are still some egregious clasuses regulating (perfectly legal) behavior, but during the meeting, the administrators repeated over and over again that they had no intention of enforcing the rules to ridiculous extremes. They said that those clauses were intended for egregious behavior. For example, the prohibition against rules against any noise audible outside the room is not intended to be used to keep me from saying, “Who’s there?”, but to keep people from blaring 200 decibal opera at 3 AM.

I suspect that it is hard to write contracts to clearly prohibit egregious behavior while also allowing reasonable behavior, and they didn’t want to work that hard.

Jim and I had to think really hard about whether we wanted to sign or not. We ultimately did, attaching a statement that said (basically) that we were signing in reliance upon the statements of the administrators that the rules would be enforced reasonably. The fundamental reason we felt okay signing was that people closer to the negotiations than us said that the administration recognized that we were quite capable of causing pain (in the form of bad publicity) for them if they were unreasonable about the contract.

Most of the residents who were holding out also signed. I know of two students and one spouse who could not bring themselves to sign, and will be moving out in a few days. At least 57 residents attached the “in reliance” clause to their contracts. This includes people who did so retroactively — people who were not part of “the holdouts”. I don’t know if their statements will have any legal weight, but it sure was a nice show of support.

One postscript: a professor I spoke to seemed to be under the impression that the police were present at some point. I think he must be a child of the sixties, where police were everywhere and disputes were violent. Or perhaps he was thinking of the APEC97 protests. I was only here for a few days during the contract dispute, but I have not heard *anything* about police. While I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some raised voices in the town hall meeting with the Principal about the contract, but I also have the impression that the negotiations with other university administrators were entirely calm and civil.