stevenmansour's blog

Here we go again... again? | Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

An outdated Drupal install, a pool of spam comments, and not a peep in months. Lots has happened between then and now. I'll do some sweeping and start posting again soon, I think. 

Bike for sale | Monday, April 15th, 2013

(I hereby promise that this will be the last automotive/motorcycle-related post for a while)... 

So, I'm selling my wicked touring bike. This is the motorcycle I rode on my 24000+KM trip through Canada and the U.S. last fall; a 2005 Victory Kingpin.

Details copy-pasted from my Kijiji ad after the jump.

Great Big Rocks | Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Late last night, as I was driving back to my new apartment from yet another boardgame nerdfest, there was a large foreign object jus' chillin' rite thurr, in the middle of my lane. At first I thought it was just a snowball, but as I got closer, I soon realized that it was actually a near-bowling-ball-sized chunk of rock. I couldn't maneuver around it into the next lane because there was a white Mazda 3 with an "ARMENIAN PRIDE" sticker on the bumper, windows down, playing loud Armenian music, with two young, cute but overly made-up (make-upped?) dark haired girls - presumably Armenian - talking on their cell phones, completely oblivious to my plight. So, I decided to slow down as much as I could, and swerve away from it as far as possible without careening headfirst into the Armenian rave party happening in the next vehicle.

A Third Saab | Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

My dad was, in most ways, a creature of habit. In his later years he took some chances and let himself explore outside of his comfort zone a little more, taking up swing dancing, travelling more, making new friends, and trying new foods. It was only later in life that he'd let me start taking him for lunch, settling on an amazing little Indian restaurant in Laval as our go-to lunch place. Growing up, on the rare occasions we'd head out to restaurants, I always knew what the choices were: Bill Wong's [RIP], Harvey's or, on a really special occasion, Le Biftèque. On Sundays, after church, we'd all head over to the Montreal Pool Room on St-Laurent - comfortably nestled between a shady army surplus shop with blacked-out windows and a busy all-day strip club [sans blacked-out windows] - and impatiently wait in the car while my dad went inside to purchase hot dogs, fries and soda. He'd return with a big carton of the stuff, and my sisters, parents and I would sit in the Chevy Impala / Buick Century / Buick Century / Buick Century, parked right there on St-Laurent in the sweltering Sunday afternoon sun, eating greasy fries and steamed hotdogs, doing our best not to squirt ketchup or drop onion chunks onto the brown / burgundy / grey velour seats. After stuffing our faces with unredeemingly unhealthy junk food, we'd head up to St-Viateur Bagel to get a dozen (or two) freshly-baked bagels. Today, fresh Montreal bagels are at the top of my favourite foods list, but back in those days, the combination of the aforementioned greasy fast food and the raging sea-sickness induced by the yacht-like ride in my dad's car left me with a distaste for those fresh, warm, delicious bagels. Of course, the next morning, I would beg for them for breakfast.

Really home | Thursday, February 7th, 2013

"Hey, Chris, isn't that your dog?" asked the scruffy-looking guy to his even scruffier-looking friend.
His friends' gaze turned away from his grilling chicken breasts and towards me and Ryu. "No, wait... well, one second now... hey hold up man, where'd you get that dog? Is that my dog?"
"Nah man," I replied, gripping Ryu's leash tighter as I sensed him sensing my apprehension, "this ain't your dog."
"Chris, I think that's your dog, man." The less-scruffy dude started to approach us.
"Listen, guys, I can assure you that this is not your dog," I replied, my tone growing deeper. "He will be more than happy to convince you himself if you get any closer." That, of course, was an outright lie. Ryu would sooner roll over onto his back and offer up his tummy for rubs than defend me from brigands.
"Nah nah, that's not my dog, let'em go Bryce." He turned to me as I continued to walk away; "Sorry man, it's just that I've got a dog just like that."

Of course you do. Two mean looking brothers dressed in parkas and running shoes, grilling their dinner at 8pm in the parking lot of the Extended Stay Hotel here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, have a dog that looks exactly like mine. I was tired after a good 10 hours of winter driving from Steven's Point, Wisconsin - 8 hours of meandering around the Great Lakes, through Chicago Traffic, and getting hoplessly lost in Fort Wayne in that Hemi Dodge Charger with nothing but quick pit-stops. I was exhausted, impatient, and my tolerance for bullshit was near its all-time low - and I was certainly not going to get jumped, scammed or mugged.

A cold city | Monday, December 10th, 2012

The weather in Saskatoon has been rather cold over the past few days, even by Saskatoon standards. Cycling to work is getting more challenging due not only to the drop in temperatures but also the lack of any snow-clearing infrastructure in the city. This morning, Ryu and I stumbled upon an unfortunate casualty of the city and its freezing temperatures: Frozen Coyote

This poor coyote was found behind a building in Kinsmen park, peacefully curled up for warmth but frozen solid. I called animal services and they said they didn't do that sort of thing, so I was referred to Saskatoon sanitation services instead, who said they were on their way to take care of it. I don't think Ryu knew what the dead coyote was; I hope he didn't. He likely assumed it was just like all the other stuffed animals / inanimate objects that bear an uncanny resemblance to his own kind but don't move. To him it was just an artifact. To me, it was beautiful, tragic, and very real. Scores of animals die all the time, especially here in the national parks, but here's one, tangible, immediate, unavoidable, apparent, flawless, right in front of me. Somehow, it mattered more because it was here and now and in my face. At any rate, it was an odd way to start a Monday morning.

Biking to work, I also saw a taxi blow a red light and T-Bone a car into a lamp post. After making sure everyone was OK, I got to the office, where I was the only person there because everyone's away on meetings or vacation. This has been a strange day in a strange month in a very strange year. "May you live in interesting times", though not a real Chinese curse, definitely carries weight with me these days.

Career search | Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

I'm a tech, new media and web person with 10+ years of development and project management experience. I'm in pursuit of new opportunities in web content development, social media marketing strategy or interactive project management, in the Montreal, QC area or elsewhere (I'm currently based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan).

Things I know:

  • Web content development, writing for the web, technical writing
  • HTML5, CSS, mobile web development, some other programming languages
  • Content management systems (Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, SiteCore)
  • Social media strategy, crisis management, community gardening
  • Linux, Windows & Apple hardware, servers and software, Office Suites, Photoshop, InDesign, Gimp, Premiere
  • Wired & wireless networking, network security, penetration testing, system hardening
  • Photography
  • Bartending

Things I am:

  • Fully bilingual French/English (Federal Gov't testing level "E"), conversant in Spanish.
  • Punctual
  • Hardworking
  • A strong leader
  • Creative
  • Adept at finding solutions to complex content and media issues
  • Autonomous and independent
  • Skilled at explaining technical concepts in layman's terms

People & places I've worked for / at:

  • Parks Canada Agency (Saskatoon, SK)
  • My own consulting firm (Montreal, QC)
  • MeasurementLab / New America Foundation (Google, Inc. -supported project) (Washington, DC)
  • World Association of Young Scientists (UNESCO - supported project) (Paris, FR & Budapest, HU)
  • Acorn Active Media Foundation (Urbana, IL)
  • McGill University Health Centre (Montreal, QC)
  • Hôpital Ste-Justine (Montreal, QC)
  • Groupe Uni-Spec (Saguenay, QC)
  • Colubris Networks (Laval, QC)

Things I've learned:

  • Park & Historic Site interpretation, Web & PDF Accessibility (Parks Canada workshops)
  • Navigating the murky N.G.O, funding and non-profit waters (various)
  • Working in the medical field (MUHC / Ste-Justine)
  • Dealing with strict governmental standards and policies on web and social media (Parks Canada Agency)
  • Some engineering, marketing, accounting & management (Concordia University)
  • Pure & Applied Science (CÉGEP Vanier College)

Ways to get in touch with me:

  1. My View Steven Mansour's profile on LinkedIn
  2. Email at myfirstname [at] thisdomain [dot] com
  3. Skype at stevenmansour
  4. Gtalk at firstname.lastname [at] gmail [dot] com
  5. MSN Mess at steven350 [at] hotmail