Friday, February 24, 2006


I just had dinner with an 80-year-old man.

That is not something I can say everyday. It was a pleasant reminder of the wealth of experience that someone who had been around for nearly three-times my lifespan can have to share. I have tried (and continue to try) to remember that. I am genuinely appreciative of the connection I have with my elder relatives but I find it easy to settle on the moment, on what is going right now. Doing that overlooks the experiences that have made them what they are, on what brought them to the moment. We do so many things unconciously, just going through the motions. Sure, there are cases where that is the best approach but a little more conciousness around these connections feels like it would enrich everyone's experience.

Today's sermon was brought to you by... ;)


It is something I've talked about and expected but hasn't been as much of a reality as it is about to become. I just hung out at the bar with three friends I've met through ultimate. The get-together coincided with each of their departure from Kingston. Most of the people I meet through ultimate seem to be grad students and unless they're not very good at it or have a real knack for getting extensions, there will come a time when they complete their degrees. That time usually means leaving town. Like this image, it is not a complicated puzzle but it somehow remains surprising when you put it all together.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Good People

Though I have very few run-ins with Bad People, I am still pleasantly surprised when I deal with Good People. Today, I dealt with government employees who I expected to be real hard-asses. Instead, they were genuine in their desire to help. It is sad that I was surprised by it. I don't think it's that uncommon but I was surprised nonetheless. Here's hoping being pleasantly surprised becomes a regular occurence (without setting unreasonably low expectations in the first place).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brain Damage

I had a great idea to comment on discussions I had this weekend with family and friends. Having discussed some potentially down-heartening social and environmental difficulties some of the folks I was talking with weren't aware of the number of things that can be done (like buying carbon credits to offset the carbon used in your driving/flying/etc. While not always "solutions" they are remedies of a sort and valuable when people are making decisions about how to live their lives. For that reason, I thought a "did you know?" post was in order. Sadly, I "don't know". I've managed to lose track of some of the things that I was going to post about. So "did you know?" will have to wait 'til I fix my brain.

Instead, I spent my day off yesterday at the Ontario Science Centre checking-out Body Worlds 2. If you aren't familiar and are too lazy to click on the link I've so kindly provided you, the exhibit is made up of bodies and parts donated, "plastinated" and used to inform visitors. Perhaps a weak description but I'm tired so sod off. That being said, I imagine it would be difficult to walk in there and not think "that was someone who lived a life, who had friends and family". As I said, people willingly donated their bodies for this purpose but it is a challenge to the treatment of death that I am more accustomed to. I wasn't aware until I looked back at the experience that I gradually stopped considering the objects exhibited as former humans. What I didn't stop considering was the intricacies of the human body (so too with other creatures like the Camel). There are undoubtedly many people whose bodies don't operate as they were designed but it is still a wonder that the innumerable interactions that are required, even just for me to type, take place at all. Next time someone tells you they're complicated, believe them.

By the way, I felt the exhibit was also trying to influence people to live healthier lives. There were a few tar-blackened lungs of smokers. They did a good job of cutting through some of the crap with which we wrap our bad habits. In this case, rather than just give the total number of millilitres of tar that would end up in your lungs if you smoked 20 cigarettes a day for one year they made it more accessible. Instead they describe it as a coffee cup full of tar. Think about that. Sitting down for a chat with a friend at a local café and downing a cup of tar while they swill their double tall caramel macchiato or some such thing. Nice mental picture, eh?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Seems a fitting day to be thinking about passion. In this case I'm not talking about the passion one might most often associate with Valentine's Day. Rather, it's the passion for a sport, a job or a person. My friend Amy just posted about the importance of someone trying to effect change being passionate about the subject, not just feeling guilty about things. I think there is truth to that under any circumstance, not just when trying to effect social change. Maybe that is like me following one with two, being so obvious that your only reaction is "duh!", but to me, at this moment, it is a realization. There are many things in our lives that we instinctively "know". Nonetheless, I think many of those things require honest, conscious consideration every once-in-a-while. I think my passions need some conscious consideration right about now. This is not some public cry for meaning in my life. Rather, it is a moment of self-reflection considering the meaning that I feel already. A little plumbing of the depths of our souls can't be a bad thing, can it? I wonder what I might find? Probably a caramel filling. Mmmm, caramel.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy VD!

I hope everyone has a great VD! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Photos v. Words

Sometimes I forget.... Ha, ha, ha! I just forgot what I was going to say. That's funny, and ironic. Oh well, I still remember what I wanted to post about (thanks to the title).

Some friends and family visit this site regularly. I'd like to think they enjoy it. Whatever they feel about it, they do visit. Some friends and family visit my Flickr site. The link is up on the right -->. What I'm not clear about it how many people visit both. I like the process and activity of writing. Like most activities, the more I do and the more I am exposed to, the more I improve. I am particularly inspired by many of the other blogs that I read. If you haven't noticed, there are a number linked over here --> The thing is, I am not always able to or interested in expressing myself this way. That's why I have my photos. Even if they are not necessarily always expressive of my thoughts or feelings, they are representative of me in the choices I make (what to take a picture of, what to post, etc.) I find I'm more likely to invest time in my photography than I am in writing posts. There could be many reasons for this but what's important is that a more complete picture of me (pun intended) involves both the written word and the captured image. I do find it funny though that even with my passion for photography, when asked by my brother whether he should spend his time writing for his blog or uploading pictures (the technical aspects of this decision might cause your eyes to cross, roll back in your head and your brain to shrivel and dry-- then again, you could do a mean George W. Bush impression) I told him to "write, write, write!" Photos can be incredibly expressive, and I'm dying to see more of his European experience but his words give me a greater scope of what is going on in his life. If I have to choose, his words are it (at least until I can see all of his pics). As for your choice, my words or photos, I hope you won't ever have to choose one or the other.

This picture is one of my favourites from yesterday's trip to Ottawa. Sure, there were other shots I was happy with but this may just be the best warning sign I've ever seen. It put a big smile on my face when I saw it and it continues to do so. I can only hope that other pictures I take have the same effect.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Happy Friday!

Things seem to be going pretty well this Friday evening. People are happier and healthier than they were just days ago and I just came back from a hockey game that brought plenty of laughs to both the players and the fans. On top of that, I'm heading to Ottawa tomorrow. Apologies to everyone that I haven't contacted but I'll be spending most of my time "working" and didn't want to tempt myself (or you). I gave working quotation marks because it doesn't really feel like work. Makes me a lucky guy, doing something that I enjoy.

This image from the hockey game (hopefully) conveys the action and the fine line between control and tumbling to the ice.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Take a long walk

This evening I attended A Million Steps: Stories, Images and Music from the Camino Santiago, a photo exhibit of Peter Coffan's pilgrimage along Camino de Santiago de Compostela. What an adventure. Peter, his wife and two of their friends walked a total of about 1000kms over the course of two months in 2004. Not only is he an extremely talented photographer (as evidenced by the fact it was a photo exhibit), but he is also an accomplished writer and storyteller who involved me and many others in the packed room in their adventure.

It puts a fine point on the wonders of the world and the benefits of not always looking at the "big picture". It also adds to the ever-growing desire to get out and experience some of the opportunities that the world holds. So much to do.

I haven't forgotten how lucky I have been to explore and travel as I have. This picture from Santa Maria de Huatulco in Mexico is a reference to that fact.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

The story of Chicken Little tells of a little chicken (strange, I know) that has something fall on it's head and immediately jumps to the conclusion that the sky is falling. Being sure of this, Chicken Little convinces all his friends and everybody gets into a tizzy. Depending on your version of the story they may well get eaten as a result (they are tasty, tasty chickens after all). Consider George W. Bush as Chicken Little. He has told everyone the sky is falling since September 11, 2001. There is no doubt that the world is a different place than it was before that day but I know full well that much of that is of our (North Americans) doing. I just read an article/interview that scared the bejesus out of me for a few reasons. One is how much is spent worldwide on "defence" each year: $975 Billion. The idea that some call it "defence" spending I find somewhat ironic but I'll rail against that some other time. The other scary parts revovle around some predictions for the future based on current economic growth patterns in China. Check this out (as quoted from that article):

"China now consumes more grain, meat, coal and steel than the United States. If China's income grows as projected, in 2031 its income per person will match incomes in the United States today. At that point, it will be consuming the equivalent of two-thirds of the current world grain harvest, driving 1.1 billion cars (versus 800 million in the world today) and using 99 million barrels of oil per day, well above current world production of 84 million barrels."

The article, and interview, refer to research that states if $161 Billion were spent per year (a huge chunk of change to be sure but less than 20% of annual military expenditures) we might be able to direct our global economy somewhere that won't mean the end of civilization as we know it. As scary as it is, positives come to light. Like the fact that all the changes that might move the world in a more positive direction already are implemented somewhere in the world. If we look back at Chicken W. Bush and look at the support he has marshalled for his "efforts", just imagine what could happen if he actually looked beyond the next election, beyond the attacks and considered what they could do to battle not only environmental degradation but some of the global inequalities that are doing nothing to ease the many tensions between citizens of the world. Good things can happen, but will the sky actually have to fall for us to figure it out?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The end of an era

Today may be the end of an era. That means, of course, that tomorrow would be the start of another. "The era?" you ask. The era of free cable television. I had almost forgotten the first 18 months I spent here in Kingston with only two channels. I managed ok. Hell, I didn't even have the internet. For those of you, like my grandmother, who might be concerned that I have been doing something naughty like climbing utility posts and running a cable to my apartment needn't worry. The cable just happened to work when I connected it upon my arrival here. When I got back from Mexico there was a message from the cable guy telling me to call ASAP. In case you're wondering, I didn't call. No need to hurry the process. Friday saw a note in my mailbox telling me I had 48 hours before cut-off. Sure, they tried to sell me on cheap "installation" (it already seems installed to me) but the truth is: I am a victim of my television. A willing victim, yes. But the fact is that I waste way too much time on my couch in front of my tv. It's not something I'm happy about and for that reason, I'll be happy to see the cable go. I should still be able to pick up CBC which means I won't miss the Olympics. The one bummer is that I'll miss the cliffhanger of Grey's Anatomy from tonight. The good thing is, I'll have more time to read and work on my photos (yes, I know I always had the time but chose how to use it poorly).
And by the way, I did do my dishes.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I really need to do my dishes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm a simple boy

I love being reminded of the beauty and wonder that exists in everyday life. All too often I find myself trying to think "big picture". While that can be a good thing and has a beauty of its own, it often means overlooking the simple things. Today, I walked under a flock of pigeons as they turned and wheeled in the sky (no they didn't do anything else while I was underneath them). I saw a simple beauty that brought a smile to my face. At that moment, based on the "big picture", I knew that my ability to appreciate that beauty was because of the context of my life. I feel good enough about things in my life that I can focus on that simple beauty instead of mulling the challenges I might be facing. For that, I am lucky. For those times that I'm not in the headspace to see or appreciate that beauty I can count on the photography of my friend Amy Allcock to remind me of the wonders that exist around the corner or between our feet. For that I am thankful. I work hard to remind myself of the wonders of the world around us. Some times I have to work harder than others. In fact, and probably not surprisingly, I have to work hardest at the times when I need to remember the most. There are cases when the reminder is a useful counterpoint to my awareness of the challenges and tragedies our world faces. The greatest challenge, I think, is to understand that the beauty and tragedy exist together. In fact, one can't exist without the other but to focus on one or the other and ignore its "sister" does no one any favours. Ok, let's be fair, focussing on one at a time is fine (nobody needs to rain on their own parade in the middle of the marching band) but to ignore one or the other leaves a hole. As for this moment, here's what I consider to be a bit of simple beauty. Don't think about Wal-Mart. Don't.