Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Name game

So I was browsing the Society for Creative Anachronism's pages on historically accurate names, and got to thinking...what would I have gone by in days of yore?

Theoretically, I suppose I might have the same name, since my given name is Biblical and my surname is at least early modern (see here). This is how British my last name is: my ancestors immigrated to Scotland...from Ireland.

Other appropriately venerable family names are Katherine, Mary, Elizabeth, and Martha, any of which meet the SCA's circa 1600 cut-off.

"Laura", of which my middle name is a variant, is old enough that Petrarch was writing poetry to a Laura in the 1300s.

And apparently the Gaelic given name "Mòr" is equivalent to mine. Or Sorcha or Saoirse.

Other surnames which could have been my lot:

  • Bryant (from my father's name, Brian)
  • Ní Bhriain (like "O'Brian", but with the feminine prefix and Gaelic spelling)
  • Dalton (a male family name)
  • Clarke (for the occupation association, Clarke = clerk = any job to do with writing = literate person)

Interestingly, my mother's mother, mother's father, and father's mother all also come from Britain for centuries back. I mean, British-from-the-dawn-of-time, with maybe a dusting of conquest Norman thrown in.

Good lord, small wonder I'm so terribly pale.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reflections on watching the TRANSFORMERS movie

It's really nice to see the feet-on-the-ground American military portrayed as the righteous fountain of ass-kicking and protectors of freedom that we used to know and love.

Also, I enjoy that the "secret weapon" was a bigger, better, hotter gun. Hells yeah.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SickCity, the social network for hypochondriacs

Check out http://sickcity.org/, which uses Twitter to track tweets about illness and categorizes them by city. Apparently Toronto is 7th sickest. Colour me not surprised.

On a related note, my not-shingles still haven’t decided what they are.

Arar Commission Website

So, Annette Demers over at Slaw asks What Happened to the Arar Commission website?

Since I just happen to know, having had to look it up about 30 million times, I dropped her the link…and for posterity, and my future reference, here it is:


Thursday, March 05, 2009

CSIS: Disregarding International Law Since (at least) 2003

So this is horrifying, although I suppose not really surprising:

globeandmail.com: CSIS asked Sudan to arrest Canadian, files reveal

Mr. Abdelrazik is a political refugee who became a Canadian citizen in 1995. In 2003 he was arrested by the Sudanese authorities on the advice of CSIS. In prison for 11 months, he was tortured, and was interrogated by CSIS agents as well as US intelligence operatives. Finally released—because even the Sudanese authorities, well known for their disregard of human rights, could not justify holding him. He was rearrested in October 2005, and held for a further 10 months. At least one of those arrests was at the request of the Canadian government.

Throughout, the Canadian government not only denied Mr. Abdelrazik his rights under international law, including consular protection, they actively obstructed his return to Canada by refusing to issue him emergency travel documents, even after promising to do so as soon as he had arranged a ticket to fly home. They have seized his assets and stated that anyone who gives him money to pay for the ticket is committing a crime and will be charged under terrorist legislation.

The RCMP investigated Mr. Abdelrazik and exonerated him in NOVEMBER 2007. He still can’t come home.

Think Maher Arar was a one-time mistake? Think again.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

25 Random Bits of Misanthropy, Part I

So the “25 random things about me” meme seems to be circulating again. I’ve decided to put a bit of negative spin on it, because hey, I’m in that kind of mood. I therefore present “25 things that make me mutter obscenities under my breath”:

  1. Small, shrill children, especially on the TTC
    People always laugh when I say I transferred out of teachers college ‘cause I realized I hate kids … it’s not a joke. If I’m engaging with the kid I’m fine, but if they’re in the background it’s worse than nails on a chalkboard.
  2. People who stop at the very top/bottom of stairs and stand there
    I’m looking at you, 1Ls.
  3. The total lack of stability on TTC vehicles
    I can only assume a perfect storm of bad roads, lousy shocks, and freakishly reckless driving, but it’s unusual for me to be on a bus these days and not think I’m going to be thrown to the ground.
  4. People who lie to obscure the fact that they’re not doing their job
    Pretty much anytime I hear “But I told you to do that” or “I never told you that” I assume the speaker is lying
  5. Medication where the side effect is as bad as the condition
    What the hell, people. I only want to be able to breathe through my nose, is that so much to ask?
  6. Legal questions that no one understands, but no one ever resolves, like certiorari versus declaratory relief
    Thank you, authors of four different books on administrative law, for those fascinating chapters on how no one knows what which remedy is for
  7. People who go out of their way to screw with an immigration application because the applicant won a court case
    I don’t know who these people are, but it says something about the world we live in when a court decision in your favour will probably lead to even more problems for you
  8. Updates that freak out my computer
    What is the point of that, Microsoft?!?! How hard is it for you to patch my security without making my IE schizophrenic?
  9. Technological improvements that aren’t backwards compatible
    Yay high-speed internet, boo my wireless network rejecting high-speed internet
  10. USB ports at the back of a CPU
    I spend an inordinate amount of time at my office on my knees inhaling dustbunnies, reading the ports like braille
  11. My office window
    It’s stuck open and has been all winter.
  12. Coffee going cold immediately
    The pot seems hot, and it’s not like I use milk ice cubes, but I can barely through it back before it’s frigid, and I need the warmth (see #11)
  13. My desk blotter calendar
    Mocking me with its January-ness. Because my desk hasn’t been totally clear since January, so I haven’t ripped off the old months

Part II tomorrow…

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Blogging from Lilliput

Well no, not exactly. But I am blogging from my gorgeous tiny netbook. All 8.9” of it. Takes a little getting used to… nevertheless, I predict it will rock when taking notes at trials and hearings, and I can actually toss it in my purse…hell, I think I have pockets this would fit in.