Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

A quick note wishing those of you who have already celebrated it, and those who have yet to (and those who go on different calendars who celebrate it at an entirely different time), a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006


No, I am not knocking at your door so that I can come in and clean. That would be "Housekeeping!" Instead, just letting you know that due to some new functions with my blog host I am able to add tags to each post. As such, you'll see tags at the end of each post. By following one you can find other similarly themed posts. Just a note, I've just started adding these tags and I have 190 posts to go through. Hopefully the holiday spirit will encourage you to give me some slack if not everyone of my posts has tags immediately. If slack is too much to ask, then you can... do whatever you want, it's your life. I'll get to them in my own sweet time.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Want it? Can't have it!

It's the strangest thing. While I am really enjoying my holiday and time spent with friends and family, I feel as though everywhere I am, I want to be somewhere else. Everyone that I see, makes me want to see someone else.

I have been truly lucky to spend my holiday in great places with great people but I still find myself longing for other experiences. That being said, I am not doing anything in particular to make the "other experiences" a reality. I can only believe that that is due in part to the fact that I am enjoying myself and what I'm doing.

It may be part of a larger personality trait that I carry with me, the fear of committing to any one thing. I feel like I worry about missing out on some other experience or connection and that keeps me from making the most of those things that I choose to do and getting the most out of the time I spend with those who are important to me.

Maybe I need to be able to compartmentalize better, to see the present experience as the whole experience. "Live in the now." I do like the essence of that quote. It may be a life-long goal to bring myself more in line with it's advice. Still, I recognize that I wouldn't be me if I were to completely shift away from my tendency to (over)analyze. I guess this is where balance comes in. Time then, for me to go test the balance beam.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

To those, I've seen over the holiday: It has been a pleasure. To those that I won't get to see: I am sorry we have missed each other but am thankful for our connection (I mean, you wouldn't be reading this if we weren't connected).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Happy Christmas!

Warm wishes to all of you. Joyeux Noël! En God Jul!

Now that you've read that, stop ignoring your family, get away from the computer and get back to eating!

Friday, December 22, 2006

In light of the season, this may be a timely quote:

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

-Bertrand Russell

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Your life is going to improve. Your days are going to seem brighter. Wait... Your days will be brighter. In fact, you've got about 182 days that will continue to brighten. Hopefully, in doing so, your days will brighten too.

Oh ya, it's also time for the holiday that many folk have likely been looking for (unless you're stuck in retail or a hospital or some other such thing). A holiday may just be the light at the end of the tunnel that you were looking for. I know I'm not complaining.

Happy Holidaying!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Human Nature

First of all, I'm wary of a term like "Human Nature" because it makes a broad assumption that humans share particular thought processes. It's kinda like "common sense", besides the assumption that people share a broad belief it also implies that the majority belief (the "common" part of "common sense") is the way to go.

I will cop to the fact that these terms do serve us. If we could not paint aspects of our world with a wide brush we might be quickly overwhelmed by the minutiae and detail associated with it all. It does serve a purpose. There, I said it. Still, I think it is important that we approach things consciously and remain prepared to ask questions.

Ok, that tirade out of the way. Now to the reason that I was posting, Global Warming. Clearly this is going to be an uplifting post. ;)

I've been lucky enough to start my holiday early and am in the big city. Sunday was almost 13 degrees! That's WAY over the "normal" temperature for this time of year. The problem lies in the fact that at this time of year, plenty of people think "if this is global warming, then give me a double-helping." Of course, "this" isn't global warming and no, we don't want "seconds". Maybe the name is part of the problem. If it had been called Global Cooling then when the weather gets particularly bitter, people might support the fight against it. That would only be a half-answer as the weather 6 months from now might make people ask for it rather than fight it. The fact is: it's not Global Cooling. The changing weather patterns with more and more intense storms and "weather events" are more representative of the effects of Global Warming than just mere changes in temperature.

It seems to, all too often, come down to if and how it affects us. Perhaps that is why it so often takes disasters to spur us to respond rather than forward planning. I wish that were not the case, particularly when it is something that affects everyone who lives on this planet.

Until we do recognize it, I'll be wandering in this "unseasonably" warm weather. I wonder how long we'll be able to call anything "unseasonable"?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ads, ads everywhere!

Consider this an incomplete tirade as I'm not going to take the time to target our crass consumerism around the holiday period. Instead, I'm focussing on the "viral" nature of advertising and what may or may not be considered effective. Dove has effectively used Youtube, as have many others. At least in many cases you can watch or look at something and know immediately it is an ad. Sometimes though, they are a little sneakier. Take "Will it blend?" for example. This is a site where a guy regularly puts things in the blender to answer the age-old question "Will it blend?". While it might have been simply entertainment, and it can be entertaining, there are enough links to information about the brand of blender for me to feel pretty comfortable that this is all meant to drum-up business. Still, if you make something interesting/entertaining/stupid enough that people feel the need to blog about it, watch it, or whatever then maybe you're just an advertising genius and we should bow down before you and buy six copies of your latest product (one for all of our friends) and get all excited about the new model coming out in '07. ;) That, or maybe we should just watch it, enjoy it, but take it (like everything) with a grain of salt.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's that time of year again

While it is the holiday season, that's not what I'm talking about. As we get near the end of the calendar year, lists start appearing. Best music, worst movies, longest fingernails, whatever. I actually find it kinda fun. Sure, it's arbitrary but it's an interesting way to revisit a year. It can serve as a reminder of many other goings-on. It is also one last chance for things that wouldn't otherwise warrant further recognition to see the light of day. Thus, the BBC brings you: 100 things we didn't know this time last year. Interesting, entertaining, and stuff that wouldn't have necessarily made the news here in Canada or beyond the UK. Enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

I am a multitude

I love that I can consider myself a socially-responsible person and can still find this article funny.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I may have already shared with you my love for Postsecret. I have had a link to it along the side --> for about as long as this blog has existed but I don't know whether it has received any introduction.

It began as an art project by Frank Warren, of Germantown, Maryland, USA. He distributed 3000 blank postcards to people in all manner of ways. Each invited the person to share their deepest secrets anonymously on the back of the postcard. A simple, yet hugely effective project. I seem to recall hearing about it through the BBC. As of the time of writing, the site (which posts a new collection of postcards each Sunday) has received 54574779 hits. In case you have trouble figuging it out without some commas in there, that is OVER 54 MILLION hits. Needless to say, that's more than my blog by a few orders of magnitude. Postcards arrive from around the world. This though, was not some effort at fame. Frank has conciously chosen not to allow advertising on the site, which surely would bring in quite a sum of money. Still, money is important, though in this case, not specifically for Frank and his family. Instead, any requests for support have been in support of Hopeline, a US-based suicide prevention call centre. It is obvious through both the postcards and responses that this endeavour has benefited many people and likely helped them choose to avoid such an end.

Even when it is not touching on issues of such import, Postsecret serves as an outlet for thousands and for those that choose not to send their secrets, an opportunity to realize that their secret does not make them an outsider. Instead, they can see through the secrets of others, that they are part of a large international community.

Speaking of community, a secret was posted last week by someone who found solace going alone to movie theatres but held out hope and the belief that they would connect with another person sharing their experience. An e-mail response was posted not long after from someone who said that they would be at the movies that night and would love to meet. As neither knew which city (or even country) the other was in, the e-mailer signed their message "waiting with a white hat". This inspired others to attend movies with a white hat to represent their openness to connecting with others there. It even inspired the development of a blog White Hat Stories. In just over a week it has garnered responses from around the world and already seems to have inspired many. While so many sad things happen in this world, efforts like this are a wonderful reminder of the caring that exists in so many people's hearts.

Also note that there are two (with a third on the way) Postsecret books. A poigniant holiday gift, perhaps? Everyone has or has had secrets. Maybe something like this might be just the inspiration necessary to let it go.


To those of you who are directionally deficient, assistance with navigation could be really helpful. Now imagine you're trying to find your way through the byzantine maze that is the Canadian medical system. What about when dealing with a potentially deadly disease like cancer? While I don't have any particular plans to leave my current vocation, I was genuinely interested in the positions of "patient navigators" mentioned in this article. I enjoy the work I do, in large part, because I get to help people. I feel like the support that these "patient navigators" provide is indispensable to those who find themselves in need of their services. It seems that problem-solving is only part of the process. Recognition as a human being, sadly, is also an area of service that they provide. I am amazed at how easily such an integral part of someone's well-being can be overlooked. There are enough studies out there that point to people's mental state directly influences their health and well-being that treating someone as a number just doesn't seem to cut it. Everybody wants the people they interact with to be invested in them. What about when your life is at stake? What happens if the person leading you on the journey doesn't (seem to) care about who you are? I don't think that would be good for my journey back to good health and so I can't imagine it would be good for others (I'm clearly very self-centered). So cheers, to "patient navigators" who can advocate on behalf of people at the time when they can probably most use such support.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Equality and Human Rights

Sounds like a no-brainer, eh? Especially in a developed country like Canada, right? Well, it's not quite that rosy. This Sunday, December 10, is International Human Rights Day. This is truly a day that should be recognized across the planet but here in our own backyard, the government's decisions to take funding away from Status of Women offices throughout the country, as well as the decision not to support a National Childcare system are prime examples of less than equitable treatment. So, on Sunday, there will be a march in support of Women's rights, Equality and Justice at our Supreme Court. In case you won't be in our Nation's Capital this weekend, find out what you can do through the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action. It's a shame that such events and efforts are even required. I'd love to imagine a day when the world would be equitable without the constant efforts of many. Love to, but you won't find me holding my breath.

Thanks to "Chipy" for drawing my attention to what's going on.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Status of Women

Our Conservative government has just ended funding for Status of Women offices throughout the country. It is a sad step, and one who's idiocy is highlighted by today's anniversary. Since 1991, December 6 has been known as the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I believe there is still a great need for the efforts of an office like the Status of Women. I hope that those who govern our country, regardless of their political stripes will recognize that and act.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


If today were International Talk Like a Ninja Day then the title of this post would be the extent you would hear. Luckily, it's actually International Creep Like a Ninja Day which means you can make all the noise you want as long as you move around stealthily. To some, it is merely Day of the Ninja. While this kind of day is just my thing, I am saddened that it comes to blows with another day that is close to my heart, none other than International Talk Like a Pirate Day. It appears that there's some bad blood between the Ninjas and the Pirates. Can't we all just get along? Imagine if the two groups could work together. What a world we would live in. I'll leave you to picture the utopia.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Is Red turning Green?

So who amongst you is going to give me my cricket primer? One measly response from a librarian that finds cricket too boring to figure out. Sad. This is a chance to expand your bubble immeasurably. ;)

In the world outside of cricket, some of you may know that Stéphane Dion was chosen to be the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was a "dark horse" in that he wasn't really expected to win going into this weekend's convention. While he may not have been my personal first choice, there are some good reasons why he was chosen. One area of particular interest to me is his environmental credentials. Well, who am I to speak about credentials? Having said that, he was the Minister of the Environment. He and his family also have a husky named "Kyoto". In this case it is in reference to the Environmental Accord of the same name and not the city itself. I can only hope that he will represent a clear alternative to many of the Harper government's misguided efforts (in my opinion, of course) especially with relation to the environment. Maybe, just maybe, the Liberal Red will turn an Environmental Green. Just in time for Christmas too. :)

I probably shouldn't be wading into politics and should keep my pedantic, self-centred mumblings to myself. Then again, this would be a damn boring blog if I did.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Going to the GTA

Chew on this while I'm gone.

I expect you to know all about cricket by the time I get back.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Not looking good to me

Today I saw something that fills me with fear. It is not related to what has been going on in my life recently. Rather, it was an article in today's Globe, "Water is the new oil: CIBC". When the business section of the paper starts telling people to invest in privatized water schemes because they are bringing in lots more money and are in-line for unprecedented investment (which the public sector won't be able or willing to make), I worry. When they make the point of ensuring people know that the world isn't running out of water, just that a small minority of us have access to it, I worry. When they don't highlight the fact that the very privatization that they are encouraging is likely to worsen the inequalities of access, I worry. One point, that is bound to set others to worry, is the note that the cost of water in the "industrialized world" has been increasing to bring it more in line with the actual costs. This has the capability of lessening the access gap. Still, shouldn't safe access be a right? Is the "free market" in the business for providing for people's rights? I'll let you answer that question yourself.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A childhood friend died this weekend.

We had not maintained close contact but had crossed-paths in the past couple of months. It is almost impossible for me to imagine though, the grief that his family and close friends are confronting. My thoughts are with them.

It is in times of tragedy that I am all too often reminded of the importance of living life to it's fullest. I feel an inherent guilt in tying someone's intense loss to my approach to day-to-day life. That being said, it was wisely pointed-out to me that many of us want to have a positive impact on the lives of those around us. I know that is very clearly the case for me. While I have failed miserably at it at points in the past (and even quite recently), I know that I still want it to be true. So, if I knew that even in my dying I could help others revisit their approach to living, I would be happy knowing that. I'd like to think that my friend would think that too.

It has certainly reminded me of the importance to express to those around me the important role that they play in my life. I don't think that is ever a bad idea. Still, I have taken much for granted and want to try to continue to live consciously. Conscious of myself and of those around me. Except consciousness is not enough. Maybe "active consciousness" is more important. Being conscious of things sometimes just make me over-analyze. Even having thought things through, I have failed in their application. To those who have been on the receiving end, I apologize. To the rest of you, I hope that my muddled thinking provides you with a moment of clarity on your own approach to living.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's Friday

There was a time when my week was framed by Tuesday (the day that new music comes out) and Friday (new movie day-usually). Okay, it probably wasn't that long ago. Okay, it was last week. Okay, it's right now.

While I haven't been watching too many movies of late I still like to keep up-to-date on what is hip, happening and cool (or so the director's mother says). That doesn't apply just to movies. I try and stay up-to-date on plenty. That's why I find myself reading lots of different sources for news. Maybe I'm expanding my bubble.

Whether I am trying to burst my bubble or procrastinate from, well... just about anything, I do touch in to different things. Don't worry, this is where it comes back to movies. While a quick look at Rotten Tomatoes is good to get the overall feel of a movie based in the reviews of plenty of critics, some people do better with finding a critic with whom they share an affinity (for David Hasselhoff, perhaps) and listening to them. Well, I can't say that I've necessarily found that "perfect critic". Seems like an oxymoron anyway. What I have found is the most interesting approach to reviews I've seen in a long time. No, they haven't replaced the tried-and-true "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". Instead they go into greater detail than I've seen before. Now maybe I should've seen this coming based on the source but I have a tendency not to see obvious things coming sometimes. In this case, the source is the Christian Science Monitor. Not considering myself particularly Christian, I could have immediately considered such a publication out of my area of interest. But the CS Monitor is widely read and widely respected. While I have read a number of their articles, I had not ever seen their movie reviews, that is, until today. This is where it falls more in line with what I might have expected from a publication called the Christian Science Monitor (this is not a judgment, just recognition). Listing the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating isn't enough in the case of many of their reviews. They go all out:

Sex/Nudity: 18 scenes, including frank talk about sex, graphic depiction of sexual activity, and full-frontal male nudity. Violence: 3 comic scenes. Profanity: 42 harsh profanities. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 4 scenes with drinking.

Think you can figure out that one? What about:

Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes. Profanity: 24 mild expressions. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 2 instances of drinking.

I dunno, I might be inclined to watch the movies just to try to add them all up. Not tonight though. Good luck figuring it out.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

More days

I mentioned it last year and, remarkably, it has come around again. "What?!" you ask. Why Buy Nothing Day, of course. It is both Friday and Saturday this year, depending on your locale. Really, it could be any day of the year. You could declare every Thursday to be Buy Nothing Day. This is not necessarily a money-saving event but rather a planet saving one. At least that is the intent of many. Why now? Well, tomorrow is known as "Black Friday" in the 'States. Unlike the many other associations with Black that are negative (Black Tuesday, the Black Plague, Conrad Black etc.), this is supposed to represent a positive. It is the supposed day where businesses go from being in debt (in the Red) to making a profit (in the Black). And in a country where nobody needs an excuse for a sale

(case in point, what is recognized in Canada as Remembrance Day in Canada and Armistice Day in many other parts of the world is Veteran's Day in the U.S. and darn if you weren't going to find yourself some great deals at Macy's or Walmart or some such place if you honoured the fallen by dropping some coin)

"Black Friday" is another occasion to shop. So it is, that "Buy Nothing Day" was moved from it's original September home to counter some of the energy around this shop-stravaganza. I'll do my damndest to follow the tennets of BND but I question my own dedication to the cause. How could I not as the owner of my very own auto-car, computadora and host of other toys? Still, awareness is always a start. One just has to avoid the scourge of indifference if they want to create change. Indifference is a truly dangerous reaction to evil and sadness in the world. This was the theme of a speech last night by Elie Wiesel. While he spoke from his experience in the holocaust I do not find it any great stretch to see the dangers we still find ourselves in to which we react with indifference. Global warming seems to me to be the big one since nobody can escape it. Still, I, and infinite others, go about the day's business with scarcely a thought. Maybe we should all think conciously about our mantra

(mantra |ˈmantrə; ˈmän-| noun (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. • a Vedic hymn. • a statement or slogan repeated frequently : the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap.).

We seem to meditate on the repetition of "convenience, convenience, convenience". What sort of mantra suits me better? Sadly, I feel like "silly, silly, silly" fits the bill at the moment but I know with some time and concious thought I can come up with something better.

In terms of awareness building, here is some press BND 2006 has received.

Further to awareness, or lack thereof, it turns out that I missed my 1 year blogging anniversary. We are one! With 180-some-odd posts and plenty of useless links. It actually happened on the 17th but better late than never. In fact, our family motto, not mantra, is "Late, but in earnest."

I must admit that I am surprised at myself for continuing this blogging adventure as regularly as I have for the past year. Often journaling has trailed-off with me in the past. Probably because I'm "just" writing it for me. I don't have the responsibility to others that I have here. So, I guess it's time to thank you for figuratively holding a whip to my... fingers and keeping me on task. Maybe a little more of that might help me get rid of the first part of the motto and just be "in earnest". As long as it's not Ernest Goes to Camp. Shudder.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Any Day

Sadly, World Toilet day has flowed by but it is not the only day worth celebrating. I am amazed at the range of momentous events that fall on any given day. We all have our "bubble". Within it we are keenly aware of the goings-on. Birthdays, anniversaries, news-making events. The question is: How big is our bubble? I imagine that many of our bubbles include just a small fraction of moments of note for any given day. Take tomorrow (November 22) for example. There are those (much older than I) who might have an immediate reaction to that day. Why? John F. Kennedy was assassinated on that day in 1963. But, on that same day, just last year, Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany. It seems that narrowing our scope can very tangibly effect how we perceive any moment. Does that mean that we should always look at the "big picture"? Maybe we'd feel more balanced. Maybe, we'd just be overwhelmed trying to process so many things. I think we all find our own balance. I'm still working on finding mine. I try to see the "big picture" but risk losing some of the focus on the more immediate. Where do you fit in?

By the way, for those of you trying to look "big picture", the 22nd is also Lebanese Independence Day and the anniversary of the death of Blackbeard the pirate (a good day for law abiding sailors in the Caribbean in the early 1700's but a bad day for Global Warming).

Today's post was brought to you by the letters a-z, the numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 0, a handful of punctuation and Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day of Days

Of all the things that we celebrate, this should be the most important. It is something that touches our lives every day. In fact, if it doesn't we usually start to worry. As something we probably don't want to live without, we still don't like to see too much of it. It is known as "The Great Equalizer". You'll likely spend three years of your life with it. Avoiding it can make you sick. You may be surprised to know that it is considered musical and that most "sing" in the tone of E flat. It is a space where people look for solace, while others share intimate experiences. It shouldn't be but once a year, but yet today is World Toilet Day.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

There is humour out there, in spite of everything... and I just found some

I know, hours have barely passed since I posted about a devastating disease that has touched too many lives and acknowledged the effects it can have on it's victims and their family and friends. But to consider such things is not to give up on the life we lead (as was so effectively highlighted in the Globe).

Maybe, just maybe, if there is any truth to the old adage "laughter is the best medicine" then this might be a good treatment for all of us (at least those who have high speed internet). Having posted a previous video of his I couldn't help but share a few laughs. "Jump in my Car" is an Aussie tour de force by the one and only "Hoff". It starts a little slower than "Hooked on a Feeling" but it's still worth a view. My brother may have done a great job in spoofing the dove "Evolution" ad but the Hoff seems to parody himself. It takes a strong person to do that. Strong, or downright stupid.

Lives (Being) Lived

Earlier this week a friend was mentioning how they enjoy reading the "Lives Lived" section of the Globe and Mail. Morbid curiosity was not the inspiration. Rather, it was the recognition that everyone has lived a life. Some are long and fulfilling. Others we, all too often, feel should have lasted longer.

It was that discussion that came to mind today as I checked the Globe online to find a report about Cancer. In particular, they follow a day in the life of those "dying from and living with cancer". That day was June 15, 2006, almost one year to the day that my grandfather fell victim to cancer. My day has been spent on the mundane tasks of cleaning-up after renovations which can be seen in a positive or negative light. Sure, it is a rare fool that looks kindly on cleaning but it can be seen as a sign of a life of following the path that we had in mind (minus the maid). So it was, that I spent my day cleaning, thinking of my grandfather and reading the stories of June 15.

The introduction explains things well and is an important preview:

"What you are about to read may sadden and disturb you. It may galvanize and inspire you. It is a window into the all-too-common reality of cancer that cries out for understanding."

There is a deep sadness that is inevitably associated with such a topic. But more importantly, it is a frank sharing of lives lived and those still being lived. It too reminds us of all those lives that are associated with the 70,000+ people who die of cancer each year.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Back... And Still Tired

Still back and still tired. Luckily, I'm not still without a kitchen sink. It seemed like I could start cleaning and not risk everything getting dusty again. The good news is that my house will not have been this clean in a long time. Will write more soon. G'night.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Back... And Tired

Quebec is great! The conference went very well. The weather did not. Nor did the renovations on my apartment. As such, it was not a particularly restful return. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Photos and further stories are forthcoming.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


No, I did not do particularly well on a pop quiz. Instead, I am saying "A plus tard" or "until later". Why the French? Because I'm heading to Quebec City for a conference in less than 10 hours. No more posting 'til I get back (most likely anyway). In the meantime, you should know that the coming week is International Education Week so educate yourself... Internationally to celebrate.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Guiness World Records Day

How was your day? Do anything interesting? Exciting? Did you join the thousands in Paris who were trying to kiss their way into the Guiness Book of World Records? What about the 1715 who "can-can-ed" outside the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto? Zorbing in NZ? Putting rattlesnakes in your mouth in NYC? Perhaps it was joining the undead in the largest "Thriller" dance. I wish I could say that anything I did would put me in a record book, Guiness or otherwise. Not today.

If you're going to do something silly, and we all do silly things, why not get recognized for it? I wonder if I can get recognized for my monkey impressions?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

:) :(

In light of my brother's new-found celebrity (their video has now been viewed 5196 times and discussed on MTV Canada) I am sad to say that my most recent brush with worldwide recognition is a no-go. Some of you might remember about a month ago I mentioned that a nameless magazine (with the name of the New Yorker) had contacted me about publishing one of my photos from Zipolite, Mexico. Well, I was patient, but after a month with no further word I sent an e-mail asking where things stood. Sadly, they went ahead without my photo. It seems they had two from the same area and had to cut one. Mine. In the good column, it was a cool experience and the art director said he'd keep an eye on my work because he found me "so easy to work with." :) Now I just need to get out taking pictures that might be of interest. Clearly I need to go on a trip. ;)

Monday, November 06, 2006


I have dabbled with promoting things to you and I have dabbled with video (Oh Hoff, how you entertain me). Well, now I am going to bring the two together.

As altruistic as the ad may be (and sorry to those without high-speed internet and flash-player downloaded that can't see it, that's you gramma), I am not trying to sell you on anything that Dove does. I do consider this an effective ad, but wouldn't have thought twice about including it in my blog if it weren't for my wonderful and talented brother. You see, he and his friends have adapted that ad to fit their view. I think they've done an AMAZING job which is highlighted by having seen the original. Technically outstanding and thought-provoking to boot.

Sadly, it's not online yet so you'll have to start with the original. The spoof is posted so here it is:

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What Month is This?

Before you ask, I didn't fall victim to a horrible cheese accident that left me in a coma, where upon waking I didn't know who I was or what month it is. In fact, nothing terrible has befallen me at all, unless you include the continued lack of carpet in my living room and tile in my kitchen.

So, back to the month. I know, I know, it's November, right? Wrong! It's Movember. I have The Walrus (not Paul) to thank for drawing my attention to this misunderstanding about our calendar. Movember is the month of the Moustache. Supposedly, we have Australia to thank for the month of Movember. Sure, there's plenty of reason just to celebrate the "lip caterpillar" but they are also using the month as a way to draw attention to male health issues like prostate and testicular cancers and male depression. Movember isn't just a month though, it's also a challenge. Participants have to shave clean at the beginning of the month and "go mo" for the rest of the month. On top of that, they can get donations to support the cause. Awareness. Fundraising. Moustaches. Seems like a great combination. It's not just happening in the rest of the Commonwealth, the Canadian Movember site is focusing their fundraising on the Princess Margaret Hospital (a renowned cancer treatment centre in Toronto).

Now I know I've opened myself to something vaguely troubling. I get the feeling like I may receive a response from my faithful readership asking why I am not asking for sponsorship. Do I consider my work done by drawing attention to this through my blog? Maybe. Could I be convinced to "go mo"? Perhaps. You can be sure that any votes for my participation would have to come along with donations. You know, put your money where my mouth is. I'll mull it over. You do the same.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The wind blows as the light fades from the Halloween sky. I scury home to beat the ghosts and goblins that are sure to invade and terrorize. I put the key in my door and turn, thankful to have reached the safety and comfort of my home. "No zombies or alien creatures are going to terrorize me." Yet, as I open the door, my senses are assaulted. "This is not the home I left this morning!" Oh no! Worse than the undead, my house had been visited by.... PLUMBERS! The smell was not the pungent nectar of the pipe-fitter. Rather, it was the smell of the mysterious "stuff" that had blocked my drain pipe allowing only the few and the lucky to escape. The unlucky were banished from the drain pipe to my floor, throughout the kitchen and into the living room. So, it seems, the descent of the plumbers onto my unsuspecting home may have saved me, and that unlucky water in my drain, from meeting again (likely in the form of me stepping in a puddle in my house). I may just have to revisit my feelings about plumbers. I mean, when was the last time that a zombie did any home repair for you? Still, say no to crack.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Best thing ever!

No, I'm not going to write about the coolest car, camera or Mr. T bobblehead. Instead, I want you to think about how when you are completely "dying" for something, it can be the best thing ever. What immediately jumps to mind for me is a sandwich. Yes, a sandwich. It was the summer of '93 and I was in the midst of Educo, an outdoor leadership camp similar to, the more widely-known, Outward Bound. Details of the journey (both personal and physical) aside, we spent a number of days in the mountains near Lillooet, BC. An amazing experience, that didn't necessarily leave me wanting for anything. That being said, on the afternoon we got out of the mountains we went into town and got a bunch of veggies, cheese and bread and we made sandwiches. I swear, they were the best sandwiches I can remember (and that was 13 years ago!). That brings us to today. I played ultimate in what could politely be described as heinous conditions. The rain started last night so the fields were already completely soaked. The rain and win continued throughout the day. Still, we soldiered on. Well, when it was all over and I got home, I found what may have been, the best clothes ever! Super-thick fleece pants and a warm, cozy red-hooded-sweatshirt. Really, you can't go wrong with a red-hooded sweatshirt. Sadly, it is time to figure out some Halloween-type get-up for the evening's festivities. Oh how I'll miss my cozy clothes. Thankfully, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, they'll be waiting for me when I come back. They must really love me. ;)

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Joys of Celebrity

Yes, I can turn on a dime. I can go from discussing the fate of the world to the cult of celebrity in one quick post. In this case, I'm not going to rail against our attraction to the rich and the famous. Just highlight a headline (from CNN of all places) that made me smile. You know you've made it big when you get this sort of media coverage.

Brad Pitt gives wedgies to himself

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam. Thanks to those of you who have voiced your acceptance of that. I sometimes wish that I could accept it myself as easily as those around me.

As Dave pointed out, even without a car it is easy to outstrip the resources of the planet. It seems sad that our ability to live the way we do, car or no car, is predicated on the majority of the world NOT living the same way.

China's rapid development is something that I've seen change drastically in my lifetime. A truly remarkable change and one that will have profound future effects on the world. As I watch, I am inclined to have a modicum of fear about what will happen as the world's most populous nation develops. Having said that, I know that I am in no position to make any judgments. "Pot to kettle, pot to kettle. You're black." Easy for me from my life of comfort to tell others that their efforts to do the same will bring about the end of the planet as we know it. What I'm doing obviously doesn't have any effect. ;)

On an unrelated note, it's shocking to think that I'm old enough to have seen such changes in the world. Many momentous changes have come on my watch. The fall of the Berlin Wall (and the Soviet Bloc), wars in the Middle East. The list goes on, especially since "momentous" is in the eyes of the beholder. Many other things have been momentous in the past three decades but it is as easy to ignore them as it is to skip some of the small changes that could make the world a (slightly) better place. Of course all those changes are inconsequential when put in the context of the whole world. I mean, if everyone on the planet walked instead of drove then, yes, that would likely improve things. But, if everyone owned cars, just so they could walk instead of drive, then we'd be in much worse shape overall. Oh what a tangled, yet comfortable, web we weave.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I am Bad for Biodiversity

The World Wildlife Fund just released it's Living Planet Report for 2006. Unsurprising to me, and perhaps to you, it doesn't look good. Canada ranks 4th in the per capita impact we have on the planet. This is not a list that we want to be at the top of. It appears that we need a few more planet earth's to fulfill our insatiable taste for stuff. Yes, I am personally a cause as I type this on my home computer (chock full of toxic metally goodness), after taking photos on my camera, driving my car and generally living beyond the means of the planet. I acknowledge my role and have a lot I should continue to change. Of related interest to me was how biodiversity has dropped over the past 30 years. I suddenly realized that I am personally a problem. Not because of my penchant for hunting endangered species or using too many resources but by the simple rules of math.

If the past 30 years were bad for biodiversity and I have been alive for the past 30 years then I must be bad for biodiversity. It saddens me to think I am destroying the planet, but who am I to argue with math? ;)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sesquicenpostial (+4)

And the blogging continues. I let my 150th postiversery slide by in obscurity. Something didn't feel right about that so I'm having a belated Sesquicenpostial party. Ok, not so much party. Maybe I'll actually eat dinner. That sounds like a genuine celebration to me. For those of you who don't find that funny because you're worried I'm not eating enough, I'm just messing with you. I won't really be having dinner. ;)

Life continues on it's merry way. Still no word back on the photo (though I'm not getting discouraged, just waiting). It seems like winter is doing its best to supplant fall as the season that follows summer. Really, I might have to support it's claim. If it weren't for those great colours that fall keeps coming out with each year I might have to bench it. Maybe making it "ride the pine" (pun intended) for a year would make it get its act together. I shouldn't be so hard on autumn though. After all, I have been silently wishing for winter's arrival. At least since Saturday when I got snow tires put on my car. It would be a shame to have them and not use them. ;) While winter and snow are pretty cool (no pun intended there, I swear) I could at least handle them waiting until next week. This weekend is an ultimate tournament here in town. Goosebowl is a lot of fun. Being around Halloween, the costume theme really flies on the field and off. I had a great time last year but am a big enough person to admit that part of why I enjoyed it was that the weather was beautiful and warm. I don't think the field needs to be the site of two face-offs. One, my team against the other. Two, autumn v. winter, no holds barred. I'll let them save their cage match for a little later in the year.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Who's to say what the power of thought is? What is prayer if not thought? I don't really want to get into the details of it right now. Suffice it to say, I think that thought has some currency, even if it seems like a tenuous connection to what is going on in the lives of others. It is based on that belief that my thoughts are with those around me who have all too recently lost beloved members of their families.

Accidentally posted this in my photoblog. Incidentally, this is not a photo (but I bet your keen deduction skills helped you figure that one out).

Monday, October 16, 2006


Is it:

a) The number of cars Ford Motor Company built between their inception and Tuesday, November 18, 2003?
b) The population of the United States as of some time on Tuesday, October 17, 2006?
c) Approximate number of anti-depressant medication prescriptions issued in the United States each year?
d) The approximate exhaust velocity of a photonic rocket in meters per second?
e) All of the above?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Is it:

a) The number of people who die due to sun-related illnesses each year according to the World Health Organization (WHO)?
b) The number of movie titles at Blockbuster?
c) The number of kilometers on my car?
d) The value in GBP (£) of the Dylan Thomas Award, the World's largest literary prize?
e) All of the above?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sunrise over Zipolite

Sunrise over Zipolite
Originally uploaded by jukerr.
You may have seen this photo before. I took it while in Mexico in January. As I commented with the photo, not a bad sight to wake up to on my first morning in Mexico.

Well, it seems the view is getting even better. I got a message yesterday from an Art Director at an unnamed magazine who found the photo on flickr. They are considering using it in an "advertorial" about the region of Mexico that I was in. It seems that as long as their clients like the layout then it's a "go". I'm well-chuffed about the whole thing. I guess this whole, "you should sell your photos" thing that some people have told me has something to it after all. I can see it now... travelling for a living. Mmmm. Or maybe more people need to invite me to their weddings in far-off places. Either way, I'll be happy.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Not only have I found "it" (in this case, what to do with my weekend), so too have many others. While I will be rewarded with an enjoyable weekend with family and friends, many others who found "it" were recently rewarded with Ig Nobel Prizes. Not to be confused with "The" Nobel Prizes for various research or great deeds, the Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded to people whose research "first make people laugh, and then make them think." This year awards were given for research into:

- "How many photos must be taken to almost ensure no-one in a group shot has their eyes closed" and;
- Why putting a finger in your bum can stop the hiccups, though more scientifically titled as: "The Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage"

Previous winners include:

- the inventor of karaoke
- the inventor of an alarm clock that repeatedly goes off and then runs away to ensure people do actually get up
- research into how herrings communicate through farting

I assure you, the list goes on, and on, and on. Great stuff! Just don't confuse either type of Nobel Prize with the Darwin Awards whose mottos include "Chlorinating the Gene Pool" and "Culling the Herd". These awards are often given posthumously to those who have done things of magnificent stupidity to bring about their own deaths. Surprisingly, some live to tell the tale (and likely receive good-natured ribbing from their friends until they actually do kick-off).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What to do?

This weekend is a long weekend. I will be sure to give thanks for Thanksgiving. The question is: How do I spend it? I feel as though it should be an easy decision. Clearly, the fact that I've chosen to blog about it is evidence that it's not that straight-forward. I'm not so keen on this indecision. Maybe if this were the only case I wouldn't care so much. Again, the fact that I am discussing it can serve as evidence that this too, is not the way it is. I love trying to think things through from all sides but that can be debilitating if you're not careful. Thankfully, I have one thing I don't need to be unsure about. I'm exhausted and I've decided clearly, completely and without reservation, to go to sleep. Good night.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Diversity, awareness and paper clips

It is perhaps fitting that I just finished watching Paper Clips. This afternoon was spent in a diversity training session. I find such sessions great opportunities to see the world a little differently than I had before. Today was no different in that respect. I had the chance to conciously consider and discuss matters that are too often left undiscussed. To then wrap-up my day with a film dedicated to a project undertaken by a middle school in rural Tennessee specifically targeting awareness of a diversity of experience felt right. The Paper Clip Project saw the children of an 8th grade class begin to collect paper clips. This ubiquitous office tool was chosen for a significance assigned it by Norwegians during the second World War. Paper clips were worn by some to represent resistance to Nazism. Over the past 6-7 years, the students at Whitwell Middle School have received over 30 million paper clips from around the world. Many come with stories relating the enclosed clips to the lives of those who were lost during the Holocaust. As a memorial and educational tool, a rail car used to transport jews, homosexuals, romas, jehovah's witnesses and other "undesireables" was found and shipped to the school to serve as a memorial. Not only did a WASPy town see beyond it's borders and experience through this endeavour. It is now the children of the community that are raising the awareness of others who visit regularly.

Discussion today came up of our earliest messages about different populations and ethnic or racial groups. While we are all likely to move beyond what we originally are shown and taught (hopefully with the goal of improving ourselves and the world around us), those messages can still act on us if we revert to them unconciously. I feel like anyone who receives early messages about the horrors that hate and ignorance can cause is much less likely to propagate those things or accept them in the world around them. One can only hope that learning about such opportunities after childhood can still serve the same purpose.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm a lucky guy. I'm not referring to my success stopping a thief. Instead, I'm lucky to have an interesting, enjoyable and fulfilling job. I have tended to avoid discussing work in this context. There are too many people who consider their blogs an opportunity to sound off about anything and everything (I might be one of them) and some who may ignore the potential consequences (I hope not to be one of them). People have been fired over their blog content. I don't want that to be me. More to the point, I feel people deserve their privacy. As such, I limit how much detail I provide about anyone (besides myself).

While still respecting people's privacy I can say that today was a day where I felt particularly good about my work. Thanks to my work I was asked to be a witness at a wedding. This was not in the least way elaborate (that will follow in the future). But to be asked by someone to share in such a special moment is quite moving. More so when your connection is through work rather than years of friendship. What can I say? I'm a lucky guy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Good Part of the Weekend

Yesterday was a final reunion for past residents and friends of King View Farm. I will unapologetically steal the wise move of my friends Holly and William by explaining that King View was an Intentional Community that has just been sold.

Someone who I was talking to there related it to a family reunion. Apt, but incomplete. Most family I saw much less of than many of these people who lived in the same community. Basically my entire life prior to university was related to this experience and there were many people there who knew me when I was "this" tall (visualize people holding their hands anywhere from knee to belly height).

There were too many people to completely connect with all of them and I don't have time to write extensively about it now, but I was glad to have had the opportunity to be there.

Maureen and Ryan

The "Bad Luck Trifecta" is in play

To start, I had a very nice weekend with family and friends (some of whom, I hadn't seen in a decade or more). This post is not about that.

This post begins when my mother wisely reminded me as I left her house today: "I think you should put as much of your stuff as possible in the trunk. Theives can be a problem in downtown Toronto." For those of you that are not familiar, this plot device is known as foreshadowing.

I headed down to a camera shop for a little window shopping. I get out of the car and head straight in knowing I'll only be about 20 minutes (also foreshadowing).

After a surprisingly successful time in the store I headed out the door and back to the car. As I approach, I notice someone looking through a car. Wait! Not A car, MY car. There is a man rummaging through the extensive collection of things I had in the car (I put as much as I could in the trunk, I really did). Foolhardy guy that I am (emphasis on the fool), I came up behind him and grabbed one of my bags that was in his hand and kindly asked him not to steal from me. ;) After he realized that I wasn't going to do anything to him he seemed to give me back everything that he had. I can't say for sure but I haven't recognized that anything is missing. He had been so methodical that he had gone into my backpack, found my shaving kit, gone in there and specifically chosen items he wanted and placed them in one of my bags. He had even gone into the trunk. It was as though he thought he was getting a loot bag at a birthday party. Or maybe he was a hollywood star down-on-his-luck who was used to the swag they all get at awards shows. Either way, his patience was my saving grace (as well as the fact that he didn't have a knife or gun or something).

Somehow, while this was all going on, I also managed to notice the second part of the "Bad Luck Trifecta", I had a parking ticket. That ol' "I'll only be 20 minutes" bit came back to bite me.

In an optimistic nutshell: I had a great weekend. I won the "Bad Luck Lottery"... Twice! Getting the parking ticket may have limited the amount of time the theif had to collect my stuff (meaning that I got there while he was still at it). Nothing is gone. Maybe the cost of the ticket saved me the cost of everything else.

In a pessimistic nutshell: I had a great weekend. I lost the "Good Luck Lottery"... Twice! I got a bloody parking ticket and had my car and things rummaged through by someone looking for money for their next fix.

I'm inclined to go for the optimistic nuts. They tend to be much tastier. That being said, the trifecta is in play so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the third misfortune. My hope is that nobody collects on the trifecta this time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More Scurvy Stuff

BTW (By the way for the less acronym-savvy), in case you've been having difficulty coming up with something suitably piratey to say today there is an english-to-pirate translator to assist you.

Today has been a long and tiring day. I enjoyed it, but am ready for a rest (and some dinner). I'm also looking forward to a day where I can hang out with friends at 4:30 rather than work 'til 9:00.

Now read it in pirate: Today be a long an' tirin' tide. I enjoyed 't, but be ready fer a rest (an' some dinner). I be also lookin' fore t' a tide 'ere I can hang ou' wi' shipmates at 4:30 rather than work `til 9:00.


Avast! Ahoy! Yaarrr!

No, I don't have something stuck in my throat. Rather, I'm celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Another celebration to add to No Pants Day on your annual calendar of fun.

However you spend the day, make sure you give at least one person a good "Avast!" Or at least call someone "me hearty!" Who knows, you could even help save the world. If you believe the folks behind Flying Spaghetti Monsterism then you know that Global Warming is not due to carbon dioxide and other goodies in the air (like Al Gore tells us in An Inconvenient Truth). Instead, you know that Global Warming is proportionally related to the number of pirates in the world. As pirate numbers have decreased, the temperatures have increased. Coincidence. I think not. So, make sure that you spread the "gospel". The more converts to Piratanity, the further we are in our fight against Global Warming.

Keep your poop-decks clean you scurvy dogs! (Doing my bit for humanity)

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Hate Spam

Sure, canned meat isn't my favourite but Junk Mail is particularly insidious. Call me naive but I am inclined to think that people are, in their hearts, good. The world would be a better place if this were true. Sadly, it is not. I know there are many reasons why this may be the case and that it's not just a choice when people get up in the morning: "Today... I think I'll be bad." Spam just makes me crazy because it is specifically out to fleece people. Not only that, but it assumes that people are stupid. I wish that the web-going, e-mail-sending public could collectively prove spammers wrong (and in doing so, put them out of business) but alas, that is not the case. Your bank is not e-mailing you. Nobody is ever going to ask you to e-mail your credit card information. If they do, take a looooooooong hard look at them. Shifty, shifty.

Why do we have to live within our species just as we live with all the other species? Survival of the fittest results in preying on the weak. I'm Canadian, it's going to be a hard fight to convince me that this strengthens the herd and is better for the whole. I'm not naive enough to believe that convincing the "baddies" out there to be good will be as easy as making sure they wake up on the right side of the bed. I guess that leaves being the change we want to see in the world. And not sending junk.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

All Hail the Weekend!

I imagined that my perfect career would be one where I didn't need to look forward to the weekend. I was naive. I have a great job (which may be a career) but I am also learning that there is nothing wrong with looking forward to the weekend. Unless, I spend Monday and Tuesday lamenting the passing of the weekend and Thursday and Friday dreaming of the next. That would leave me one entire day to get things done and I don't think that is conducive to turning a job into a career. Either way, the weather has been nice so far this weekend and it seems likely to stay that way. It's felt like a last little blast of summer after a month of business that had me barely even noticing what was going on outside. A welcome change.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Justin and Da - Continued

T plus 2 (days).

It is true, we are both one year older (how that can happen over the course of a couple of days still amazes me). We are also connected in many ways. Ways which make us both lucky to have a shared experience, even if we're separated by nearly 30 years. That being said, I'm glad he doesn't have to share my current exhaustion. This (older) boy needs to rest.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Rest of the World

T plus 5 (years).

Sure, the world is always changing. But it is seldom that so much change can be traced back to one day, one occurence. September 11, 2001 will be memorialized many times today. It is truly a tragedy, what happened that day. So too, what has followed. I mourn a world that may have stood a much better chance of defeating some of the long-standing tragedies of our time. AIDS, poverty, global warming... Some may argue (justly) that advances have been made in those battles over the past half-decade but I have no doubt that successes would be far greater had much of the world not turned it's thinking and it's budgets over to "defense".

Justin and Da

T Minus 1 (day).

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fill Yer' Brain!

Sure there's more information out there than any of us can handle. Sure I have trouble handling the information I am already exposed to (ie. I looked for my keys yesterday on my, admitedly messy, desk while actually holding them in my mouth). Still, I do enjoy learning new (and often useless) things. Here's a new way: Set your homepage to It will bring up a random page (thus the Randompage bit) from Wikipedia which has become my source of all sorts of information. I acknowledge that it's not perfect. When anyone and their dog can submit changes to an article there's the possibility for abuse. Still, I'm inclined to think more of the web-going public. I've already learned about rapper-sweated jeans, a character on a cheesy tv show and a pint-sized british rocket. What might you find? Go ahead, edumacate yourself.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Picton Castle is in town. In case you are not inclined to follow web links, it is not a real castle, but rather a sailing ship, a Barque to be specific. No, today I won't be giving you an incomplete lesson in Marine and Maritime lore (though I know you're all studying ferverishly for your upcoming seamanship exams). Instead the surprise appearance of the Picton Castle brought back some memories so you're going to get navel-gazing, instead of naval-gazing.

The year: 2002. It was the "International Year of Ecotourism and Mountains". On January 13, George W. Bush fainted after choking on a pretzel and the Picton Castle was the subject of a t.v. show called Tallship Chronicles. The host, and his intrepid cameraman, signed-on for a true adventure that by June of that year would see them having covered 37,000 nautical miles and over 22 countries before ending the voyage back in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. I, on the other hand, had some time on my hands. I had just finished a couple of contracts and was looking for something to do. Having seen this adventure, I was definitely attracted. It was about time for the final leg of the voyage: from South Africa back to Lunenberg. I contacted the offices. There were a couple of berths still available. Then the other shoe dropped: It was going to cost over $10,000 USD to participate. That would've been a little steep and I realized that I would be joining a crew where many of whom had been together for a year or so. Only to be with them for the final leg didn't fit for me. So, the Picton Castle was not to be. Granted, in lieu of that, I spent 3 months in Europe seeing much and generally enjoying myself. That led to S.E. Asia, New Zealand and Australia the next year, and the work I find myself doing now in the year after that. With the docking of the Picton Castle things may be coming full circle. Or maybe I need to sign on for a voyage for it truly to come full circle. As nice as it would be to learn many seamanship skills over 6 months in the Caribbean, the $24,150 CAD they're asking for is a little steep. Maybe I'll start by going and checking out their Cargo Sale.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ernie, Ernie. Silly Storm.

You've done your damage Ernold. Thankfully we're a reslient bunch and your dour complexion didn't keep us down. Not to say you're not having an effect. I have no interest in going wandering in your rainy goodness (which, I might add, is fine by me). Time for a wee rest.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ernesto, Ernesto, go away!

Amazing how much energy we put into controlling things that are out of our control. I, for example, am trying to personally will a Tropical Storm to go away (or at least slow down). As Ernesto hits the Carolinas, I find myself hoping that it at least waits until Saturday night or Sunday to arrive here. Sure, it would be great if it didn't come this way at all as I'm sure everyone has great outdoor long-weekend plans but if it's going to it could at least skip Saturday. With a trip for as many as 120 people planned to a park with no rain protection it would be nice to avoid. I'm sure the same energy goes into avoiding rain on your wedding day. Ironic? No.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Balance is Restored

The universe is a remarkable place. Sure, no matter how many silly things we do, the planets (and dwarf planets) seem to continue revolving around the inumerable stars out there but that's not what I'm talking about. Rather it is the balance that the universe seeks and always seems to find. We're not talking about "The Force" here or Yin and Yang. In this case, I have "A" to thank for drawing my attention to this, and in doing so, helping restore the balance. It turns out that within days of learning that I had lost Pluto, I gained the Pluot. A relatively recent genetic creation (eeek!). The joys of the apricot and juicyness of a plum are now one. As creeped-out as I may be at the genetic engineering that created this little bundle of... well, something, it is hard to go wrong when there are varieties named: "Flavor Grenade", "Dapple Dandy" and the ever-popular "Flavorosa".

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Our neighbourhood shrank just a little today. Little in celestial terms anyway. Pluto is no longer considered a planet. Yes, it's almost as ridiculous as a good ol' Robin Williams bit from Good Morning Vietnam where he jokes about a country being "recognized" like it was at a party. Are you going to consider Pluto a planet next time you see it? If you listen to the troublemakers at the International Astronomical Union, you might introduce yourself politely as though you'd never met, or worse... You might ignore it, as it's part of the socially acceptable yet less well recognized "dwarf planet" group. Shame!

I realized that this may be a dividing line in my life as well. Not just mine... this could be a generation gap (those that consider Pluto a planet v. those that don't). Sure there have been plenty of changes that I've witnessed in my nigh' on 30 years like video games shifting from Pong to Oregon Trail, to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. But at least there have been video games of one sort or another as long as I can remember. What about kids who are just about to start learning about the planets? They're going to think there isn't some planet-like thing out at the far reaches of our solar system. What a loss. Not only that, but now we don't get to use the odd, if entertaining mnemonic: "Mark's Very Extravagant Mother Just Sent Us Ninety Parakeets" to remember the order of the planets. I guess we can take solace in the fact that we can revert to "Mary's Violet Eyes Make John Stay Up Nights" which was used before the discovery of the wee planet way out there/dopey Disney dog.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


It is sleepy time. Last night, I was asleep around 9:30. I have not been so consistently busy/wound-up in quite a while. Though there is certainly stress that goes along with it, I am enjoying myself. It's a time of growth and newness. Those sorts of times can be exceedingly painful when you're in the midst of them but can often be the most rewarding (at least in hindsight). Why should hindsight have all the fun?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beavers Redux

Yes William (and all of you), beavers do have/tell tasty "tales". Tails are not nearly as much fun, or entertaining. Clearly busy isn't my only problem. Tired and stupid also play a part. ;)

Monday, August 21, 2006


How busy are beavers? Really. Do they have to respond to e-mails? Make phone calls? Besides the "Bell Beavers" I don't see them doing much multi-tasking.

Clearly I have reached a new low. ;) I am comparing myself to a rodent and being proud of coming out on the winning end. I'll admit that they are industrious. And their tales are oh, so tasty. For those who think I am some sick man dining on a Canadian Icon check this out. Even International Trade Canada supports me in my fondness for the tasty, tasty doughy treat. Yes, dough. Not beaver. Flat, like a beaver tail. Sweet, like something sweet. Mmmm. Check out the article. First Disney World, then the Real World.

Oh yes, the reason I posted this meandering rant, things are very busy at work. Apologies if I'm not on top of my posting. I'll come back, I swear.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Thanks to all of you who passed along the "this too shall pass" and "this too shall pass - only more quickly with alcohol" notes. ;) While stress is by no means gone from my life, the stress concentrate seems like it has been adequately diluted by 3-4 containers of water making it easily consumable stress juice. It is also the weekend, something which seldom adds to the stress (unless you're doing it wrong). Even if I will find myself in the office at some time today, I feel generally better about things (as I knew I would).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Sure, most things I/we may stress about generally come and go proving that the stress wasn't necessarily worthwhile. Not to say that stress doesn't work as a motivator for some. I wish it was a better motivator for me. Whatever it is for me, I'm feeling it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I came home from work yesterday to no tv, no phone and no internet. No, the tv, phone and... internet were not stolen (I think you'd have noticed if the internet was stolen). My service for each one just no longer existed. The tv was coming for a long time. It had been a year since I moved in, attached the cable only to find that it still worked. There were enough times too that I wished it would just go away and leave me in peace to waste my time with more productive pursuits. The phone and internet were another story though. I pay for those. On time. I think the cable dude managed to mess up my phone while messing up my cable. Awfully messy, that. Luckily enough, with a little help, things got unmessed. Kinda goes without saying as I am sending this over the web and not merely with the (albeit impressive) power of my mind. It may be a sign of a weak connection with my community that losing this trio of communication tools left me feeling rather cut-off. Then again, not having a working phone will be a challenge no matter how connected you are with those around you. It turns out playing "broken telephone" isn't as much fun as it used to be.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!

Today is a special day. No I'm not talking about it being National Day in Singapore (which it is) or the International Day of the World's Indigenous People (which it also is). Rather, it's a double birthday extravaganza. Today, is my stepmother's 60th birthday. Turns out she won't kill me for mentioning it, so I thought I would. It is also my aunt's birthday. While she doesn't read this blog, I don't need to run the risk of her finding out I blabbed her age and sending the hounds after me. So, raise a glass to them today. I'll try to raise a few. :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Good, the Not-as-Good, and the Great

After a few (overly-expensive) tanks of gas, lots of restaurant food, many friends and family and plenty of great sights, I'm back from vacation.

It was a great chance to get away and experience many new things and to see people along the way. I liked the idea of a road-trip, I think I always have. In part it was because I knew it would be a chance to get out of my normal "gotta get where I'm goin'" mould. I did a good job of shaking that neurosis off but there were others lingering (just ask C). We both more than survived my various neuroses which is a good start.

Vacation time was not just a great opportunity to connect with friends but to spend time with family especially as a rather important birthday is in the offing. For fear of imminent death by broadcasting it to the world via the wonders of the interweb I think it'll suffice to say that "you know who you are". That meant me, C and Mr. T explored the Outaouais, Laurentides, Montreal et les Cantons de l'est and the 1000 Island Parkway before Mr. T and I struck out on our own for the GTA (a hint to the birthday-celebrator). A fine time was had together getting to see much of my close family at some point over the weekend. There was even a visit to King View Farm, the farm upon which I did a lot of growing up. Word came through that the place has been sold which made a visit definitely in order. While I had popped-by since leaving 10 years ago this was the most thorough visit and was much enjoyed. It's like visiting not just your childhood home but your whole childhood neighbourhood to see that it has changed but not enough that it is not recognizable.

All in all, a good 10 days or so. Not-so-good was the stress that manifested itself when the thought of work came up. It'll be good to go back tomorrow to get back into the flow there. That being said, I always hate it when people talk about not taking their vacation time because they have too much work to do. Am I becoming one of the people I hate?

Photos of the adventures will be forthcoming on my flickr page but there are quite a few to go through so it may take a while before you get a more complete "picture" of things. In the meantime, use your imagination. I know you can do it. If you can't find your imagination, it's likely under the TV remote (at least that's usually where I leave it).

Monday, July 31, 2006

On the Road Again

All is well out here on the open highway. Ok, it's not like this is any sort of cross-country odyssey. In fact, Ottawa isn't particularly far away at all. Still, all is well. As hoped, it has been a good opportunity so far to visit with friends. I can only hope the rest of the time goes as well (I'm sure it will). Bon week to y'all.

Friday, July 28, 2006

How happy are you?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Canada is the 10th happiest country in the world. At least according to a researcher at the University of Leicester. It does make for an interesting discussion piece. They seemed to find that health, wealth and education were the main areas of concern. But that doesn't mean that those with the most toys win. I was happy to see that Bhutan was 8th on the list. A country that is not necessarily the wealthiest is doing something (or many things) right. Money doesn't always buy happiness, I guess. Maybe it just rents it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Around and About with Follow-Up

After having missed some quality posting time due to a quick adventure to Peterborough, I am about to miss a bunch more. Tomorrow will see me head to Ottawa in the evening as the start of my holiday. I'm looking forward to the chance to see friends and family and to see some new places/people/things with good company. I trust I'll have plenty to blog about on my return (and definitely plenty of photos). I may even post something in the midst of it all. Stranger things.

In the meantime, is Wal-Mart's effort to "Green" itself likely to change the average consumer's approach to "being Green"? Discuss.

FOLLOW-UP: The Duffelupagus wins the un-prize for sharing the first thoughts on the matter. I just have to make mention of the concept of bias in the media for a moment. Everybody is biased. That is all. No, not really. It's to be expected that everybody will write with a bias (I know I certainly do). That being said, some media-consumers (don't kid yourself, you are a consumer of the media) don't recognize that bias applies to our sources of information and "news". Whether it is another take on the reasons behind the current terrible conflict in Lebanon and Israel or just the general daily decisions about what to say and what to leave out in the news, we must be savvy consumers. It seems that sometimes these memebers of the media try to paint themselves as being beyond reproach. Well, I would venture that the author of the Wal-Mart article I linked to chose to wear his allegiances on his sleeve. My feeling is that if you feel it important to use the term "left-wing elites" in an article, then you do not consider yourself a part of that group. Interesting way to share your beliefs. Staying with Wal-Mart, Chicago has joined Santa Fe and Albuquerque in New Mexico; San Francisco, California; and Washington in demanding that "big-box stores" pay their employees a living wage. Sounds interesting to me. Not such a bad idea, though as seems to have been done in the past, Wal-Mart appears ready to set-up shop right outside of city limits. So, this adds more to your discussion topic: Are self-directed corporate efforts more effective than government policy-making?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Still Here

I know it's been a little while since I wrote anything. Just wanted to let you know I'm still here. I headed back to Peterborough last week to visit some old haunts and spend some time at the camp I used to work at. If it taught me anything, that's that "real" jobs are for losers. I had a summer where I took time off from my "real" job to work at camp. Nothing like being paid to play. :) This doesn't mean I have retirement in my future, but it sure was nice to touch in to that experience and my memories of being there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Living Conveniently

It wasn't all that long ago that I wrote about having had the great opportunity to see David Suzuki speak about his life. It's amazing how easy it is to fall back into one's old ways of living and thinking. Thankfully, I had another opportunity to shake my complacency. Tonight I saw An Inconvenient Truth.

Al Gore's lament for the state and future of the planet is easily dismissed (or at least weakened) by the perception amongst some that it is purely an exercise in political gamesmanship. I feel that such an approach doesn't give the film it's due. That, and the likelihood of Al running against his former running-mate's wife for the Democratic nomination seems about as good as getting George W. to fully endorse the film. It's a shame that Al's history (and potential future) stands in the way of people experiencing this film.

Sure, he falls victim to some over-simplification but he also manages to pretty starkly outline where we stand, where we've come from and what the possible outcomes of our continued life of convenience may be. It reminded me of the blissful ignorance that I have let envelop me from time to time. It reminded me how thankful I am to be currently making my way in the world at a career that (hopefully) has a greater likelihood of helping than hindering the state of the world and those on it. Most importantly it reminded me to be aware and not to default to taking the easy way.

As a start, see the movie or gather information in some other way. Consider some of the efforts that are recommended on the film's website. Join David Suzuki's Nature Challenge. Do something. Just don't do as we've always done: be outraged, then promptly forget about it (as I have done with Harper backing out of Kyoto and so many other things). What's the quote? "If we keep doing what we've always done, we'll keep getting what we've always got." That's not good enough. For us, and whoever comes next.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Let your fingers do the talking

I was considering this weekend the wonders that electronic communications provide. It is truly a marvel, the things that we can accomplish with the help of our phones, computers and the like. I can see images of my brother's experience in Europe, hear stories of friend's travels across one of the many "'Stans" of Central Asia and can talk with my grandmother who I don't get to see often enough. All great and wonderful things. That being said, this technology can also serve as an excuse not to connect more directly. This opportunity was not lost on corporations as the self-checkout at the grocery store and the ATM at the bank will attest. Suddenly we can avoid personal contact. Employers can avoid employing (as many as they would otherwise). More and more, technology seems to be about us doing more for ourselves. In and of itself, that's not such a bad thing. But, when it undermines our social interactions, I'm not so keen. I love that I can know all about the brand new addition to some friend's family (a baby, not a motorcycle) through their blog but saddened to a point that "catching-up" means reading through the archives rather than chatting over a nice cool drink on a patio. Mmmm, cool drink. Mmmm, patio.

P.S. The Kingston Buskers Rendezvous was this weekend. I posted some of my pics to my Flickr site. If you're in town, Ottawa's Buskerfest 2006 is on the first weekend of August.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ooga Chakka!

You've probably heard the original of "Hooked on a Feeling". It figures prominently in the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack. You have also probably experienced the joy of David Hasselhoff's acting in Baywatch or maybe even Knight Rider (Oh, those were the days). Well, this is your chance to experience the two together.

It also saves you from having to listen to something every time you load the page like the last time I included a video. Again, sorry Gramma, you won't get to see this. You might just consider yourself lucky. This is one of the strangest things I've seen in a while but I've been talking about it/showing it to people so much I thought it necessary to share it more broadly. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I don't know about where you are but summer here in Kingston is a fine thing. The weather has been nice. Warm, but not unbearable. Sunny but not drying us out. And having water down the street, an entire Great Lake at that, is not too bad. I even had my first drive on the 1000 Islands Parkway tonight (east of Kingston along the St. Lawrence River for those of you who are wondering what it is I'm talking about). Gotta love a nice road along the water. Made even better by the fact that it has a paved trail along beside it for 50 something kms. It almost makes me want to live in Gananoque or Brockville. Emphasis on the almost. Even there though, summer is good.

This weekend is the 18th annual Kingston Buskers Rendezvous. I'm glad it's a "Rendezvous". That's much better than a conference, get-together, or even a festival. My camera will be keeping me company this weekend. Did I mention I enjoy summer?

Monday, July 10, 2006


I find it patently impossible to believe that you have access to the internet to read this but don't already know that Italy won the World Cup. Working from that definitive, it is at least possible that you don't know that the retiring captain of the French side, Zinedene Zidane, head-butted an Italian player in the chest and was sent off in his last international game. What a shame. I wanted France to win because I wanted him to go out on top. The trusty fairytale ending, but sweatier and with soccer balls. Once he was out, I couldn't bring myself to care quite so much. I don't think there is any real justification for what happened but I cannot believe that he would do that without some provocation. Again, that is not an excuse but what on earth could have been said for him to react that way?! I've heard rumours that he was called a "terrorist". Again, no matter what is said on the field it cannot warrant such a response. But, if true, what has sport come to? Where is "Fair Play", the motto by which FIFA (who runs the World Cup) operates? Really, it is just a damn shame.

All that being said, I have previously mused about how our energy would be much better spent in many areas that are not related to sport. Now that the tournament is over, we can go back to focussing ourselves on truly pressing matters. There are plenty of them out there. Take your pick.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What is that? -->

For those of you with Macromedia Flash Player, there has appeared a little slide show of sorts on the right side of the screen. Even though the link to my Flickr page is first on the list of links, sometimes it slips by unnoticed. Nothing like a little visual reminder. The slide show is of actual photos in my collection. I hope you enjoy. If not, keep it to yourself. ;)

Friday, July 07, 2006

You're not cool

How good are you at hearing things you don't want to hear? I bet your first reaction to the title of this post was to say: "he's an idiot and doesn't know what he's talking about". Sounds to me like thou doth protest too much, even if you may be right. ;) It's all fine and dandy when it's something stupid like that which usually comes from my mouth. How about when you and your significant other "need to talk"? Nobody wants to hear that, though in that situation they may be more inclined to resign themselves to whatever is coming, even if that means reacting explosively.

What then when they are things that effect the world in a much more tangible way (understanding that relationship-related stuff feels like it effects your whole world)? In my experience, the most common reaction is to get defensive. To close your ears to what you are hearing. Believe it or not, this came up in a conversation over a relaxed outdoor dinner. Donating blood (as a subject of conversation) moved to donating organs to organ harvesting particularly as it relates to Falun Gong/Dafa followers in China. A report by two "prominent Canadian lawyers" was released this week about the (alleged) practice of harvesting some 40,000+ organs for transplant from unwilling Falun Gong/Dafa followers leading to their deaths. Who wants to hear that? Really? Nobody. But there are those that don't want to hear it such that they will automatically denounce it (ie. get defensive). Others are likely "only" to be sickened by the thought. I'd personally like to be amongst the latter group. I want my mind to be open. I like to think that's why I often play the "devil's advocate" coming back with a "yes, but what about...?" That could just be me candy-coating my unwillingness to hear and believe something. Avoiding the knee-jerk response to those things is still something I need to work on. Maybe, just maybe, we'll all work on it and become a little more understanding in the process.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Deutschland v. Italia

0 - 2.

Most of you probably know that Saturday, July 1 was Canada Day. I spent the day in Ottawa. Just like with Pride Weekend in Toronto, everyone should experience it. Canada Day in downtown Ottawa is worth experiencing, especially during the day, before the drunkeness takes over. Just be prepared for more red and white and less three-way kissing (at Canada Day, that is).

For those of you who thought you were really smart knowing that July 1 was Canada Day, I bet you don't know what Sweden's National Day is. I didn't even know until this year, and I still managed to get it wrong (damn multi-cultural calendar!). From now on you will know that June 6 is Sweden's National Day. Go on, impress your Swedish friends, or at least eat some Swedish Berries. Mmmmm, Swedish Berries.

Speaking of National Holidays, today, July 4, is Independance Day in the US and if you want to celebrate with the Soca Warriors, Trinidad & Tobago celebrate their Independance Day on August 31.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Is it "working for the Man" if "the Man" is trying to make positive change?

A while back I posted about a film I'd seen named Scared Sacred, a film about the power of hope even in some of the most challenging places and circumstances. Turns out that the distributors found my post and wondered whether I'd be a "blogcaster" for them. That means promoting the film using video in my blog. Well, tech-savvy as I like to think of myself, I'm not sure how well this is going to work but I'm going to give it a go anyway. If this works, you can have your speakers on... It's Flash-based, that means you'll need Macromedia's Flash Player on your computer. Gramma, that means I think you're out of luck. :( Sorry. Definitely an interesting film, even if I am "selling out" to the folks that made the movie (and The Corporation).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Be Proud!

Everybody should be proud of themselves. Everyone should feel attractive. Everyone should be in Toronto for Pride weekend in hopes they can feel the same way. Of course, not everyone who "feels" attractive will necessarily seem that way to say... Me. Still, I applaud the hairy man in the banana-hanger for trying. Shudder.

While I think there is nothing more important than being proud of oneself and finding oneself attractive, most people would likely agree that it's not so bad to hear it from other people. I know that I don't mind it. But I have realized that who it comes from does control how much it means to me. I'm touched at the thought either way. That being said, the sixty-something man who was telling me how gorgeous I was this weekend (extremely suggestively) didn't make me feel as good as... well, most anyone else telling me. Still, awfully thoughtful (except for the roaming hands).

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy Day

Turns out yesterday was the happiest day of the year. Personally, I think it would've been a better day if I didn't need to get out of bed and go to work. Still, it wasn't a bad day at all.

Now you might be thinking: it's a Friday, in the summer, sunny... that makes it a happy day. Seems to be a little more complicated than that. How about: "O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He"? Crazy Welsh academics! Then again, who am I to argue?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Aren't we just soooo organized? + Updatedness

Do you find it annoying when you're given a "tag" to describe you? I guess if the tag was "Coolest, good-looking, smart guy in the world" I could probably handle it. Tags by their nature seem to boil things down to much more bite-sized pieces. So, funnily enough, I don't get that tag very often. I'm more likely to get "nice" or "sweet". Don't get me wrong. They're not bad, in and of themselves, just incomplete.

I'm noticing more and more that "tags" are being used to mediate our interaction with the web. Flickr, where I host photos uses a tagging system. I myself am guilty of being incomplete in my tags. Where, when, sometimes not even what. I am trying so hard to be organized that I am missing out on some of the great details of life. And what's life without the details?

Thankfully, with Flickr still as a guide there are some people that are on top of their tagging (scroll down, the tags are on the right side) with nothing very little being lost. Hopefully we can be more genuine and just a little less organized (this coming from a Virgo).

UPDATE: Funny to be looking back at this as I am labeling all of my previous posts thanks to google's new technology. Funny too that I am still being incomplete in my "tagging". It feels like fewer different tags rather than specificity with hundreds of different tags is the way to go. Maybe I am being "more genuine". :)

Monday, June 19, 2006


I had hope. Even down a goal I thought they could do it. With 55 seconds left in the third, that hope evaporated. But who am I? I didn't care what Edmonton did all season. I cared because they were the Canadian team in it. Can you imagine how the Oilers must've felt? What a major disappointment. With their goal within reach, they watched it disappear. Lots of emotion, lots of energy. Now, just imagine that we were putting that energy to good use. You know, pushing our government to make positive social and environmental changes rather than cheering on a team of people who get paid an ungodly amount of money to play. Just a thought. Maybe hope doesn't have to end with 55 seconds left on the clock. Maybe it can start now that hockey's over. Oh wait, World Cup. Drat! Saving the world might have to wait 'til next month.