Fighting Oppression with Pigeons

As I move up the professional ladder I seek out examples of defiance to soothe that rabble-rousing impulse I have to keep in check. Today’s moment of “F@#% You” came from the pigeons on the ledge above the library’s entrance. Building Services installed pigeon spikes to keep pigeons (and other birds) from settling on window ledges and turning them into pigeon pooping stations. As I write this — and pity it’s too dark to get a good photo — two rather plump and content pigeons have figured out there’s enough space on the other side of the spikes, closest to the window, to take shelter from the weather.

Fight the power.

When Grawlix Won’t Do: A Life Update

Education and trivia make me happy. There are few things I enjoy more than learning something new and recalling a worthless piece of information at some perfect future moment.

This week I learned the word Grawlix, which are those series of typographical symbols that stand in for profanity.


According to a 2013 Slate article, cartoonist Mort Walker coined the term grawlix in an article he wrote for the National Cartoonist Society. The act of using typographical symbols to represent swear words dates even earlier than that when it was first spotted in a 1902 Katzenjammer Kids comic strip.

If you, like me, are blessed with an extensive swearing vocabulary, Grawlix can be your friends. After all, swearing in polite company is frowned upon: I wouldn’t do it in correspondence to Queen Elizabeth II or Michelle Obama, but I’d totally let ‘er rip in a ribald birthday card to Justin Trudeau. Sometimes, however, only a good old fashioned cuss word will do. After the health news I received this week, I think this is one such time.

First, a little story: I had a total knee replacement back in early September. I suffer from severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and the surgery on my right knee corrected my posture and gait and gave me relief from years of pain. I was just learning to walk normally again when I noticed late last week that my left ankle was quite swollen. There was even some bruising. After walking around on it for nearly a week, I finally went to the doctor and — SURPRISE — was diagnosed with a fractured ankle. A medial malleolus fracture along the talus dome, to be exact.

Say it with me, friends:

graphic has the word fuck in orange block text on a white background.

What does this mean for me? While this fracture is sometimes treated non-surgically, it’s unlikely that I’m a good candidate for this kind of treatment. I meet with an orthopaedic surgeon next week to talk about next steps. Until then, I’ll be bargaining with whatever higher power is listening1 and making graphics and sketch notes of swear words when nothing else makes sense.

  1. Including my cat. 

How I Work: Creating Project Plans for Small Projects

image shows paper hanging on a line with various shapes. text reads creating project plans.

At some point during the project’s life cycle, you’ll need to keep track of tasks, resources (staff) and costs. A project plan is a document that allows you to guide both project control and project execution. In plain English, that means a project plan helps you keep track of the work, and the resources (staff, funding) you’ll need to complete the work.

If you’re in a hurry, skip the rest of this entry and download the Sample Project Plan template. However, the template may make more sense after you’ve read through this entry.
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How I Work: Getting Started with Managing Small Projects

a photo of crumpled pieces of paper on a peach background. text on image reads how I work: managing small projects.

I recently moved into a project management role at the library, and while project management has been a large part of my previous job, this is the first time this work has been my only responsibility.

Over the years, I picked up a few tips about project management by taking courses through the City of Vancouver or on my own. Many project management procedures were too complicated for the simple, small projects I’m responsible for, so you won’t see a discussion of Gantt charts, the Critical Path method, or managing dependencies here. Over the next several posts, I’ll tell you how I manage small projects, and I’ll throw in some free templates you can use in your projects.
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