September 29, 2005

Bulk view

Synchronicity

Life happens when you open yourself to unexpected things.

Today I talked to James, Greenpeace volunteer in front of Graduate
House. I mentioned Greenpeace’s initiatives to publicize the
staggering volumes of E-waste each year. James told me about
http://www.rebootcanada.ca , a non-profit foundation that provides
hardware, training and support to charities and people with needs.

I like what they’re doing. Pity they’re Microsoft-sponsored, though; I
don’t suppose they’ll let me get away with volunteering to teach open
source software…

Today I also chatted with Mike Chi. See, I was reading the paper in
the 5th floor common area when he asked me if he could read the
sections I finished. I couldn’t help but overhear and get drawn into a
conversation he had with someone who was visiting Grad House. After
the conversation, we swapped names and courses. I told him I’m taking
my master’s in HCI, and he was, like, “No way.” Turned out that he’s
also from HCI, but part of a different lab. We chatted about memory
aids and PIM, del.icious and flickr, lots of other cool things…

Anyway, he told me he’s taking this awesome course on
computer-supportive collaborative work, which sounds exactly like what
I should be getting into. It conflicts with the MIE class I’m taking,
though. Tough decisions! Really tough decisions! I want to take it up.
I need to make sure I’m not past the deadline yet, and I need to run
it by Mark tomorrow morning to see what he thinks.

I like this. Meeting totally random strangers is like opening a
treasure box…

Not joining the Rotary Club

Frank Adamo suggested joining the Rotary Club or the Rotaract Club, so
I filled out the online application form for the Rotary Club of
Toronto.

They politely suggested that I check out the Rotaract Club at the
University of Toronto because I’m still young and unaccomplished (that
is, I haven’t yet completed my education and I’m not working
full-time). I wrote them asking if I could attend as a guest anyway,
and they said they don’t allow guests because then there would be no
reason to pay membership. They also pointed out that I probably won’t
be able to afford the rates unless I have a full-time job.

I can’t afford their rates, and I’m not going to make joining them one
of my financial goals. $175 per quarter + $30 per week is a whole lot
of water systems for villages, hot meals for the homeless, books for
kids… I’ll focus on making the most of Toastmasters (I’d like to
participate at higher levels). I’m also looking for a foundation that
helps the homeless get back on track. Does anyone have a favorite
Toronto-based charity that does that kind of work?

More about lectures

Today’s class in Engineering Psychology and Human Performance was a
lot more engaging. Prof. Milgram walked us through a typical problem,
and there were plenty of opportunities for class interaction.

I talked to Prof. Milgram after the class, thanking him for the
exercise. I told him about my difficulties with lectures, and he knows
that I’m tring all sorts of tricks to keep myself tuned in. I told him
how I need to be writing, doing things, explaining things, trying
things out…

Today’s new trick: mentally repeating, “I love lectures. I love
lectures.” Didn’t really work. Ah well.