Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Like a blur...

...The holiday time with the family is over. It really has been great to be together with everyone. I am definitely reminded of how lucky I am to have such a great family to spend time with. It has formed my world-view and sometimes my luck requires me to remember that not everyone has developed their world-view based on the same experiences. Good thing too. It's weird enough having one of me wandering around. That's me, still lucky.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I am lucky

How could I not be with family like this?

The heart of the holiday time has passed. My brother and uncle left today. It was sad to see them go as we don't all get together too often. That will only get worse with my brother leaving for France on the weekend and not planning to come back 'til mid-August. Can you believe that that guy up there ^ gets to go to France and travel all over the place. Those who know me will know that's a hollow complaint because I have had a few chances to travel. That doesn't mean I don't want to keep exploring the world though. Soon, soon.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Could I be more tired, and more full?

The answer to that rhetorical question: Probably not. Ah holidays. Friends, family, food and so many excesses. I should post an image of the massive pile of paper used to wrap our plentiful gifts. But, while it tells a story (many perhaps), it is not immediately available.

I just erased some thoughts on the anniversary of the South-East Asian Tsunami. While it bothers me that we need anniversaries to remind us of the passage of time and to bring the original events into sharp relief I think it is worthwhile if we use them as opportunities to revisit our role and what we can do (even while we fall victim to our own excesses). I don't think we should feel constantly guilty, just that we should be conscious and not take things in our lives for granted. In light of that, some seasonal beauty to enjoy.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's Chrismakkuh!

Ok, I'm jumping the gun a little. It may be 5:30pm here but it's already Chrismakkuh in many other beautiful parts of the world. There are more than enough people who don't give Christmas or Hanukkah all that much consideration. More power to them. I just hope that this is a good time of year for everyone, however they spend it. I'm lucky enough to be spending it with family and that is hard to beat.

Some poor sod buried in a mountain in Montana is spending his Christmas pretending to track Santa while fiddling with her/his missle defence shield. The more I think about it, I'd rather they spend their time tracking imaginary icons like Santa than imaginary missles. So, in honour of that check out NORAD's Santa Tracker.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Escapism 2

This time, I'm escaping from posting anything of real value. Goin' to bed instead. Entertain yourself with something tasteless, yet entertaining if you're in the right state of mind, In case your disturbed by the title (particularly if you're preparing to have or have had babies of your own) the disclaimer is as follows: " does not endorse the act of eating babies." So, nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Any of you who have reached the point of being able to read this post likely understand the benefits and pitfalls of escapism. You can't have been excessively fond of the practice because if you were, I can't imagine you'd be in a position to be reading this. Having said that, you may well be escaping something right now to be able to read this post. The important thing that you have likely figured out and I clearly have to work on is that escapism is a fine pass-time but it is no way to live in the long-term. It has to have an end to it. You can't escape forever. It is an inherently short-term thing. Granted, the longer it continues the harder it is to escape. I know, I know, escaping the escape. It has to happen though. I've been avoiding an assignment for my course so completely that I didn't even read the instructions, let alone complete the readings. Even though the assignment is already overdue and I made the unequivocal statement that I wouldn't sleep tonight until I had completed it I still manged to spend the whole evening trying to escape it. Rather short-sighted on my part knowing that I wouldn't be sleeping 'til it was done. Then again, finding ways to push yourself through these challenges prepares you for these and more complicated challenges in the future. Ya. That's it. Alright, back to work.

For you, a reminder that we can't escape some of the longer-term effects we're having on our world: Tree Canada has gotten together with Terra Pass, a company that allows you to calculate your carbon usage and then offset it by purchasing a pass whose cost goes towards investment in renewable energy sources. Check out how much carbon you produce and how you can offset it. While that runs through my head, I will also get my ass going on this assignment. These stern fellows from the U.S. Marine Corps will make sure I keep at it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Holiday Messages

As holiday cards fly furiously around the country (and help keep Canada Post in business) I consider the many many ways we have to send messages. In fact, my last two postings have highlighted two different methods. First, you had snowflake messages. Second, e-mails to THE FUTURE. Well, I've found yet another method. This one fits in with the season (Winter in our beautiful Northern Hemisphere does begin tomorrow). Have you ever sent a message with Yellow Snow? Maybe you have in real life. I assure you, this way is easier. It is also not nearly as gross or unacceptable in family activities. Whatever method you choose, make good use of it. I think we all have things to say, even if we figure people don't care (or want to hear it). I mean, really... You're reading this aren't you? That says to me people want to hear what you, what everyone, has to say.

I'm clean out of yellow snow photos. Make do with this one.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Past, Present and Future

I would venture to say that most people have things in their past that they regret or are not too proud of (even if the optimists in the crowd recognize that everything that has happened before has brought us to where we are--and I, for one, am happy to be where I am). But did you imagine where you would be now? Could you have imagined? If you did, were you close? What about now? Do you have any insights into your future self? Anything you might need reminding of in a few months (or years)? I've used this activity. I remember doing it in my Canada World Youth exchange. There were meant to be about 3.5 months in between writing and reading. I happened across the letter just recently (now 10 years since it was written). Though I can't say it was the most insightful prose, I still see the value and enjoyed the exercise. And what about those positive affirmations, reminding yourself how great you are? Well, enter FutureMe. A website designed so that you can send yourself an e-mail message...IN THE FUTURE! Dude! Have they mastered time travel?! I wish. Instead, they just sit on your message until the date that you select. It could be a day or a decade from now. I might just have to bookmark this. Not only can you directly re-connect with your current life...IN THE FUTURE, but you can use it for more mundane tasks. How do I know this? You have the choice of seeing those messages that people have asked remain public (though you can also keep them private). I've seen people reminding themselves that by the time they get the message they should've dumped their current partner but I've also seen people reminding themselves of someone's birthday. I mean... that seems a little more complicated than writing it in their calendar but chacun son gout. Go ahead. Send yourself a message.

I talked about how hard the snow was coming down in an earlier post but I shied away from providing a picture. As you can see, I was not pulling your chain. (I should've sent myself a message IN THE FUTURE to remind me to do this)

Sunday, December 18, 2005


This evening my car's odometer hit 50,000kms. This post is not to share with you the wonders of having a '98 civic with low mileage. Rather, it frames different ways of looking at milestones. It seems easier and easier to be moving towards recognizing our "things" as milestones rather than ourselves and our experiences. Maybe that's a little pessimistic. Maybe everyone else limits their milestones to turning points in their lives (that don't have to do with having bought something or paid something off). It does strike me though as a little ridiculous that we can get excited about things so easily. I hope that isn't proof or our devaluing of personal experiences. Maybe the next time I have another "thing" milestone, I'll think a little more about what I consider milestones and what deserves my attention.

Here's a milestone, the first moose you've seen on the internet today:

Here's a little seasonal activity, gone high-tech. Remember folding paper and cutting out snowflakes? Hey, you may have even done it this year. Well, Snowdays lets you make them online and attach a message. People can even respond to your snowflake if they want. Happy cutting!

Saturday, December 17, 2005


A quick note, should anyone be trying to check things out right now. Flickr, where all the photos I have posted are stored, is resting for the next couple hours. That's why, from 11:00am to around 1:00pm today (Saturday), you won't see any photos. Oh no! You might actually have to read! Speaking of which, I'll give you more to read later.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Go White!

It is absolutely CHUCKING down snow. This is no kind of driving weather. In the short drive I made tonight I had to stop multiple times to get the ice off my wipers. Snow was falling in drifts instead of flakes. I'm glad I'm out of the car and can appreciate it for its beauty because it has got a whole lot of that. I almost feel like a kid on Christmas Eve excited about what I'll find when I wake up tomorrow.

This is a totally different approach to winter.

I came across this story today and was completely floored. Might be somewhere that the term "miracle" would be fitting. Don't forget the links to Care and Medecins Sans Frontiers on the right (in case it puts you in the giving mood).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Go Green!

That's not me cheering for the end of winter and the return of the green of the plants and trees. Just because it is wickedly cold outside doesn't mean that winter isn't great. In fact, I'm looking forward to making the most of this winter. I'm hoping skiing plays a big part in that. But there is something green that will happen this winter. January 23rd in fact. That is the federal election. Without getting too deep into politics I want to highlight something that was sent my way today. As you may or may not know, the debates are coming up very soon and there is one national party that is not included. That is the Green Party. I'm not going to tell you that you should vote for them but I do feel that they have as much right to be in the debates as any other party. Just because they haven't been elected historically doesn't mean they don't have things of value to say. So, if you're so inclined you can learn more about this issue and maybe even sign the petition calling for the Green Party to be included in the debate at

In honour of their efforts, here's a little more green.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


That is not a general complaint about the temperature. Going for a walk today was fine. I didn't even feel like I needed a toque. But tonight a few of us went shooting (with cameras). I was not the tough winter lover that I thought. Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed myself but DAMN it was chilly. It's supposedly -20C right now. You may or may not be surprised with how little dexterity you have with snowboard gloves on. Particularly when you're working with a camera that has small buttons and controls at the best of times. Still, a fine ol' time. I won't lie, when I figured out that I'll be in Mexico for the next full moon (best time to do the night shooting we were doing) I was a happy guy.

Following on what seems like it may be a theme, another time waster. While 5ives (over in the links list provides regularly updated lists of five generally silly things, Timothy McSweeny's Internet Tendency Lists are submitted by readers, could have as many things as you want but are also generally silly. Why do you think I like them? I was going to highlight a particular list but there are too many good ones. Find your own.

It's -20C. I need this picture.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Shop. Don't shop. Shop. Don't shop.

How does a date "sneak up" on you? What about Christmas? It's not like you've known when it is FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. Having said that, it is hard to believe that it is less than two weeks away. I felt like I was thinking about it in advance this year. Clearly not. What with my course and all, I doubt I'll be giving it much consideration until... oh, Christmas Eve. Keeps the shopping short and painless (I've already explained that Buy Nothing Christmas is not on for me this year). Ah well. It always gets done, just like everything else.

In honour of the short time left for shopping here's an interesting on-line shopping site, if you just can't make your way out into the madness. Check that, forget shopping. Have fun with Homestarrunner.

Here's another splash of colours that you won't see much of outside around these parts for the next few months.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Chrismakkuh is coming

The snow continues to fall fluffily. And yes, before you ask, fluffily is a word. I'd personally be happy if it kept up like this 'til the end of March. I have a feeling I'd make enemies of many of you if I made that wish come true. At least most people would be happy if we have a white Chrismakkuh. Sure, most of you might not worry too much about menorahs and gelt (I would be amongst you), but the fact remains that Hannukah starts on the evening of Dec. 25 this year. That makes it a Merry Chrismakkuh for everyone. We'll be doing our best to celebrate in style with both my mom's and dad's sides of the famly. That might sound pretty normal to both of you but when they've been divorced for almost 20 years it adds a new flavour. Don't get me wrong, we get together a lot and I know that I personally love it. Just not your regular family Christmas.

My brother brought his travelling talent show to town this weekend. It may have been little more than a 24 hour visit but we're all about quality, not quantity. He gave me new ideas, insights and furniture. Hard to go wrong with that. While we stuck with the theme of snowflakes with the cookies we made, I thought a picture that is a little removed from the snow would be in order. What with this black background, I don't want things to get too monotone. This is from Lake Superior Provincial Park this past summer.

Whoa, that was close. I almost forgot to include today's link. All this talk of dates of holidays remind me how important it is to stay on top of the date and time. Enter the human clock. Not only will it help you keep track of the time with the help of people from all over the world. They also have a human calendar (lower left side). You'll never miss an appointment again! Unless of course, you're waiting to see what comes up on the clock next.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I made it out of clay...

The snow came down nice and fluffy again last night. The picture is from the weekend but I found grates like that one looking just the same on my way into work this morning. Friday has come and gone (the work part anyway). It wasn't long after arriving at work that I knew I was a little loopy. Monkey impressions, complete with screeching and full-body movements are not necessarily an office staple. I have to say that I think they should be. They certainly helped guide me through my day. If nothing else, other people seem to enjoy it. It's kinda like halloween. That day, I dressed in regular work clothes but wore a red foam clown nose everywhere I went. It was great! I saw a lot of smiles develop on the faces of people who hadn't been smiling before. How can you beat that? The important part was that it was halloween and they recognized that I was having fun and not some strange man that they should be scared of. Sadly, that limits me from doing it everyday.

Even though I've already broken the precepts of it, I thought I might make today's link a new approach to the up-coming holiday season. You can probably guess what Buy Nothing Christmas is advocating. There are definitely some connections between this and the Adbusters Buy Nothing Day/Christmas efforts. I do have to note that there is no "Buy Nothing Hannukah", or Kwaanza but I will let it slide since I still like the concept (even if I won't be sticking to it this year).

p.s. Again, with the silly title that has nothing to do with the post. Deal.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel...

You can see Jamie standing there in the bottom left corner doing his damndest to stay dry. Ok, he knew staying dry wasn't in the cards. He was mugging for the camera 'cause I wanted him to. What a good friend. The picture is from my recent visit to Vancouver Island and is on Mystic Beach along the west coast of the island north of Sooke. I love seeing new things. Speaking of which, I have two links today. Both offer new ways to "see" the news. They are visual representations of the frequency that news stories are reported around the world. Newsmap splits stories into subject areas with purty colours and the size of each story is representative of how many times the story has been reported. Buzztraker shows geographical locations of news stories with the size of the dot describing how many stories are out there relating to that area. Check 'em out.

p.s. No explanation for the Dreidel title, except that it was in my head.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December 7

I know, I know. The titles of the past couple posts are pretty dull. But, both dates stand out for their own reasons. In the case of today, it is another tragic anniversary (and no, I'm not talking about my dad and stepmom's 14th wedding anniversary... that is far from tragic), rather, it is also the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour. You probably knew that already. But I bet you didn't know that on this day in 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. Maybe you knew that Noam Chomsky was born on this day in 1928. I'm not a walking history textbook. Today's link, Wikipedia, told me. You might all be quite familiar. If not, it is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Their goal is to be the "largest encyclopedia in history, in terms of both breadth and depth." Good luck with that. Remember, if you've been really dying to share your intimate knowledge of faberge eggs with the world, this may be your chance.

In light of all the terrible things that have happened and continue to happen in the world. This is not to be lost.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

December 6

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. I believe that these ribbons have appeared around campus to comemorate that day and the "sad anniversary of the death of fourteen young women who were tragically killed on December 6, 1989 at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal because of their gender."

This is not something to be forgotten. Nor is it a case where apathy should get the better of us. As a reminder of what is being done and what has yet to be done today's link is for the White Ribbon Campaign.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Not procrastinating... really.

I am going to get a bad name for myself if I keep on talking about my procrastination. Good thing is, I'm not procrastinating. I'm also not done my assignment yet. I am most of the way there though. Therefore, I consider this time well spent.

I talked in a previous post about iTunes and how some people react when other people can see their playlist. Well, I think (linked over on the right) can have a similar effect. It allows you to access your favourites/bookmarks from any computer with web access. It also allows you to share your faves/marks with friends and family. You can even "tag" them with a subject for easier searching. What this means is that anyone can see your list and, like with iTunes, might start to jump to conclusions about who you are. I just started an account and it is no coincidence that I chose my first addition carefully (with all you judgemental people out there) ;) There is plenty out there to be found. Who needs their own favourites when you can have someone elses?

Today's photo is actually yesterday's. I mean, I took it yesterday in the snow storm. On a clear day, you can see Wolfe Island across the water. Not yesterday. With the snow deadening sounds and the water totally still (save for the odd duck), it was as though I was no longer in Kingston.

Staying on the topic of photography... Today's link. As a little background, my camera is 8 megapixels. With that, I could print substantially bigger than 16x20 inches. In case your internal ruler isn't working, that is pretty large. Well, check out Gigapixl. Think 8 megapixels is good? How about 1000? Or 4000? The detail in the pictures is unreal. Make sure you check out the gallery.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Walking in a Winter Wonderland (could I be any more cheesy?)

I know, I know. It has to be cold for snow to "work". But it really is beautiful to wake up and see a thick fluffy layer of some of the softest stuff imaginable outside. In case you're wondering, that isn't coming out of the blue. It actually happened today and I couldn't help but go wandering in it. You might want to check out my flickr site in the links list over there ------> to see more of the sights. As for sounds, that is one of the wonders of the snow. It totally changes how you relate to the world around you (and that's not just the skier in me talking).

I found these just a few days ago and wanted to see the difference between snow and no snow. That may be the one thing about winter, sometimes it is hard to find colour. I'm glad I found these.

While I think that this is the perfect day to be outside enjoying yourself (at least here in Kingston), I know that it is important to have other activities and that not everyone digs on the white stuff as much as I do. As such, today's link is a solid time-waster for the indoor set. Thank you to Nic for turning me on to Odd Todd. It's been much too long since I've enjoyed some of the sillyness on it's pages. Be prepared to waste some time. There's even a book. Mep.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I am clearly hungry. Maybe not hungry enough to post a picture of real food but the name of food is pretty close. I found it along a trail in Victoria and I liked it. As for what a "Sand Squatch" is... I figure it is a yeti that hangs out on the beaches of northern B.C. and Vancouver Island. Can you imagine being covered in hair and getting sand in it? You'd never get it out! Then all the "cool" yetis would start making fun of you. Seems totally plausible to me.

Discussion turned to pets in costumes today. Pet lovers will really do anything for/to their pets.

I tend to come across some pretty weird/wonderful/interesting/informative websites in my web travels. Since my SS/RFTD (Strange Sight/Remark For The Day) hasn't really panned out and my FPP (Flickr Purgatory Photos) are being posted elsewhere I think I might have to start adding links that catch my eye. So, today, I bring you It outlines tips and rationales for eating for free. Otherwise known as "dumpster diving" you can eat pretty well if you know what you're doing (and not get sick).

P.S. While the site existed just a day ago, I've removed the link 'cause I can't find it anymore. Hmmm.

Instead, an old favourite of mine (even if it's either a couple of months late or 10 months early). The Talk Like A Pirate Day website. September 19th will never be the same.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Not procrastinating... sorta.

Brooklyn was a long way off last night. Thankfully, I got there. It made socializing tonight feel good, not like I was doing something I shouldn't be. Of course I still have responses to do, other people's assignments to read and next week's assignment to begin on. Ah, it'll happen.

As for pics, I have been posting pics that are near the end of my flickr photostream (that means they will be the first to disappear when I add new ones). Now that I started another blog specifically to host photos I can start adding pictures here that I just want to add. In this case, I thought a little colour would be useful as we head into December and winter.