Saturday, December 29, 2007


Fear of the number 666.

I bet you didn't know that already. I sure didn't.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas with the family is over, but the holiday continues. I'm sure you can understand my lack of activity here since my brother and I already got enough grief for spending time online over the holiday. Nothing too bad, mind you.

It was wonderful to be together with family and to visit with friends around home. Though I was only gone for a week, I almost forgot what K-town looked like. ;)

I managed to join the shopping hordes on Boxing day. I found myself at a store at 6am on the 26th. If that isn't scary enough, then hearing that some people showed up 6 HOURS EARLIER! That is a little bit much for me. Still, it was good to give it all a try.

Since it's me, I'm happy about my purchases but can't help but be a little uncomfortable with my consumption. I have difficulty with the imbalances in the world, but then I contribute to them. It is a difficulty inconsistency for me to swallow. Yet, I manage to put it out of my mind when necessary. I feel as though that makes me, if not a bad person, then at least not as good a person as I would like. I know that it isn't a helpful perspective for my own personal well-being so I have to watch out. I guess acceptance tempered with an on-going consciousness will have to suffice.

I hope that you enjoyed any holiday time that you might've had and that you have a great year ahead. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays! Of course my holiday wishes go out to all but I guess I'm spreading the joy now because I started my holiday yesterday afternoon. So, instead of blogging on office time I'm cozy at home pondering the holiday that is laid out before me. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The storm has passed. It left plenty of snow in it's wake. I've shoveled four times since the storm started and I expect that my driveway is soon to be plowed-in again. Ah, the joys of home ownership.

The holiday begins tomorrow. The trick is figuring-out how to use it. I thought I was going to be busy, busy but it looks as though I may have a little more free-time than I thought. I guess there are worse things than free-time.

I hope you've got some free time coming up and that you're looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It has begun in earnest. The snow has started to fall here in Kingston. I'm heading to bed and looking forward to waking up to a full-on blizzard in the morning. It's nice having a grocery store in my backyard. I may even walk the few blocks to the heart of downtown to do some shopping since I'm hoping anyone who needs a car to get where they're going will just forget about it. Unfortunately, I know some people that won't/can't. To them I, I send warm, safe thoughts.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here comes the silly

After grapling with whether to be silly or smart in my last post I have returned to my silly ways. Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch gave awards for the most obvious warning labels in their Wacky Warning Label Contest.

This year's winner (on a tractor) "Danger: Avoid Death."

Another winner (on an iron-on transfer for t-shirts) "Do not iron while wearing shirt."

It highlights the stupidity of a legal system that encourages such over-the-top messaging, but it's funny too. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Silly or Smart?

No, I'm not trying to better understand my most influential character traits (we all know the former is much more applicable than the latter). Rather, it was my decision about what to post. I know, I know. I go so long without posting and then I have two possible posts at the same time. It's CRAZY. Not really, but I'm trying to add a little zest. ANYWAY...

I have chosen to stick to the "smart" theme and share with you a site that was brought to my attention through the wonders of Facebook and a fellow former Trentite. The site is The Story of Stuff. Through the effective use of video and low-fi animation, the creators effectively break-down our system of production and consumption into an easily-digestible 20 minute show. In less than the time it takes to watch a sitcom (and likely a silly one at that), you can consider yourself informed about aspects of our consumer lifestyle that may be new to you. Quite timely considering the season, I would say. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sorry for my extended departure. I know, it sounds like a broken record, broken record. It's not as though nothing is happening in my life. Rather there are some things I will write about and some I won't. For those I will write about there are also times when I will and times when I won't.

I will say that the holiday moves ever-closer. A good thing, to be sure, but I can't help but get nervous as the deadline to take care of pre-holiday responsibilities comes closer along with the holiday itself. It'll all be fine and, knowing me, I should be able to largely put it out of mind once the holiday begins. It's just getting to that point. Ah well... It'll come.

I hope you're looking to the holiday with more excitement than trepidation. :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Well the weather outside is frightful, but the... furnace is so delightful. I expected to be spending my Friday night in Toronto but when the weather gives you snow, and closed highways, it's probably best to take the opportunity to slow life down. Luckily, as far as the forecasters are concerned, Toronto will still be there tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hi again. I just got back from a conference in Ottawa that kept me away from updating but still pushed thoughts through my head that might well be worth posting. I still need to distill them in my head. That, and have dinner. So nothing further of an update for now but thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you wanted to touch in. I definitely appreciate it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Heading out of town for a few days. I hope all are happy in the face of snow, cold, sun, strikes and whatever else befalls you (or at least plays a part in your life).

Monday, November 19, 2007

The past is a memory,
the future a fantasy.
It is only in the present that we truly live.

-- Quote from "Snowcake"

I had wanted to see this movie for a while. Who wouldn't want to see a movie filmed in Wawa, Ontario? I quite enjoyed it and recommend it. Stellar cast, moving story. I laughed, I cried, I... Okay, that's a little bit of a stretch. Still, I definitely recommend it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quoting Megan Griffith-Greene from "Let's Get Lost" in The Walrus:

Do you believe that the universe is a labyrinth or a maze? A labyrinth traces a single winding path to a centre or exit; you may not know where you are, but you are where you are supposed to be. The way through a maze is interrupted by false paths and dead ends. It is chaos. You have doubt. You have lost faith.

I find it an interesting way of considering things. It seems that life can feel like a maze all too often. Still, I'm inclined to believe it is more like a labyrinth. Does that mean I think fate governs my life (our yours)? Nah, I'd just rather be inclined towards comfort and happiness than doubt and chaos. I hope that's not a bad thing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Life is a minefield. No, I haven't stepped on a proverbial mine, I'm just acknowledging the point. I'm probably not stating anything new to you but I was noting today how, despite the best efforts, our interactions with others are politically charged (not Liberal, NDP, Conservative, Green, Rhino, etc. political) or at the very least open to misinterpretation and misperception. That's not even getting directly into emotions. It can sure make conscious living daunting at times. Of course it doesn't excuse us from living consciously either.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sorry intrepid readers, I've been neglecting my postly duties. Even as I type these sentences, I ask myself "what am I writing this post about?" Unfortunately, I don't have an answer which makes this a less than stellar start to a post. Recalling a recent conversation with a friend about blogs I was told that as trivial as what is written may be, it's better than not writing at all. So, call me Mr. Trivial.

Work's going alright. I'm preparing for a conference in a week and a half. It should be good. I'm also trying to ensure that everything that needs to be done between now and then is taken care of. I'm sure it'll all be fine. In other trivial news:

Got $320M+ kicking around? Unsure how to spend it? Try this.

Wanna get really annoyed? If you're like me, you will after reading this.

Man marries bitch to beat curse. No comment. (FOLLOW-UP: That link was the exact title of the story. BBC has kindly changed it. Please don't take it as some misogynistic comment on my part.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Law and Order

Most of us are law-abiding citizens that try and avoid getting into trouble. Still, there are cases now-and-then when we question whether the laws make sense. Thankfully, the laws we concern ourselves with don't tend to be much like these.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Whether we notice it or not, we are continually moving forward. Each day sees us growing and changing. Sometimes in ways that we understand as good, somtimes not. Regardless of how we perceive them, those changes make us the people that we are that day and for the days that follow.

Still, it can be nice to create change that you see as positive. Change that truly feels like forward movement. I hope I am making that change.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Physical and Emotional Workouts

This weekend was Goosebowl, a Hallowe'en Ultimate Frisbee tournament. It was an opportunity to see friends I hadn't seen in a while, to meet others and to generally have a good time. While the weather didn't entirely cooperate, it wasn't too bad. It was also a chance to work out my body a little. I have found opportunities to have other workouts too as I have been attempting to come to terms with things in my personal life. Somewhat challenging, but entirely worthwhile. Sounds kinda like life. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"..Much more moderate temperatures..." That statement on CBC radio a moment ago likely marks the end of the unseasonably warm weather that we've been getting accustomed to. I knew it was too good to be true so I took a vacation half-day to make sure I could get out and enjoy it. That and get out on a bike (see last post). It served those purposes and even calmed a racing mind. Is that like soothing a savage beast? I guess it can be sometimes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bike Crazy

It's finally happened. I've snapped. I have officially gone... Bike crazy. If I'm going to have mental health issues, I could have done a lot worse.

Having been effectively bikeless since last fall it was high time to undo that sad state. Consider it undone... TO THE MAX. Let's just say that I now own more than... 2 bikes. Still, they all have a home with me. In fact, my new home is part of the whole thing. Living healthier (and generally happier) has been a goal that I am having some success with. It certainly doesn't hurt that we are having unseasonably warm weather here. I walked along the beach in shorts today. Comfortably. Crazy! Nice too.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My disappointment in Ontarians weak election turn-out is waning, slightly. Well I think that there were many opportunities lost, at least the Green Party tripled it's percentage of the popular vote. Of course, it is not lost on me that this won them exactly zero seats in our provincial legislature and that had a multi-member proportional (MMP) system been in place, that 8% of the popular vote would have resulted in some actual representation. Yet MMP was soundly defeated. I felt like the attacks on that electoral model didn't hold water. It seemed that one of the main problems was that people didn't know what it was. Without an understanding of the options, people seem likely to avoid the unknown. Oh well. Hopefully the lessons learned from this referendum will ensure better education campaigns in the future (even if it doesn't mean a change in our electoral system).

In other news, a report on land requirements of various diets has determined that an entirely vegetarian diet may not be quite as efficient (production-wise) than one that is largely vegetarian but also includes some meat. The difference seems to be that meat can be produced using somewhat marginal and plentiful pasture-land while fruits, grains and vegetables require high-quality farmland. Interesting. Don't take my word for it though, read the article about it here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Proportional Politics

If I can't convince you that the referendum being held in Ontario this week (along with our election) is important, maybe John Cleese can.

So, find out more before you go and vote on Wednesday

Referendum Ontario

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I was talking with my dad and stepmom yesterday. They mentioned a friend who has recently had her second child and enjoys motherhood so much that she'd like to have five. To me, that's a lot. But not to these people. In fact, they probably think five kids is for suckas. Get this: Michelle, the mom, has been pregnant for 135 months of her life. They've got 15 kids! They have 4 washers and 4 dryers! They just bought a bus from a defunct minor hockey team so that they could go on vacation! Two kids and a dog, this is not.

Friday, October 05, 2007

As my first weekend of home-ownership approaches (as does my first mortgage payment) I can look back and marvel at the fact that I've only had 4 nights-sleep there but it does feel like home. Home with lots of boxes everywhere. I do enjoy getting the place set-up so I am enjoying this process while trying not to let it rule my life. I think it has helped that I don't have cable television at my new place. I hope that I can continue to make good use of the time otherwise sent killing brain cells in front of the tv.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's Wednesday and I don't live in the same place that I did last Wednesday. I have joined the ranks of the mortgage-payers... er, home-owners. I'm still surrounded by boxes but it's coming together. Unfortunately, it has kept me occupied and not posting. I'll be back. I swear.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Yawn. First post from my new digs. Big thanks to those who were able to personally be a part of the adventure. To those that couldn't, I know you were here in your thoughts. You know you were.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Monday, monday, monday! Moving madness! Everything must go!

I guess I should start packing, eh? ;)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some of the most important "learning moments" can often come as part of extremely trying times. While the challenges in our lives can often leave us, with the benefit of hindsight, better people, I am thankful that not all "learning moments" need to be challenging. In fact, some can be quite tasty.

Just look what my chicken/avocado sandwich taught me today:

Fall in love or fall in hate. Get inspired or be depressed. Ace a test or flunk a class. Speak the truth or lie and cheat. Dance on tables or sit in the corner. Life is divine chaos. Embrace it. Forgive yourself. Breathe. And enjoy the ride..."


Thursday, September 20, 2007

As I continue to consider people's sage advice about babies I focus more and more on a more immediate issue: moving. Just 1.5 weeks 'til I move into my new digs. Not only are they new digs but they're MY new digs. I hope and trust that home ownership will suit me well. There are many things to consider and an equally large number of things to buy.

Thankfully, I'm using my tendency to procrastinate well. Yesterday afternoon I went to the International Plowing Match taking place just less than an hour outside of Kingston. It was quite the event. Thousands of people visiting a city of vendors, campers, quilters and of course, plowers set up in fields in what could reasonably be described as: the middle of nowhere. It was a great event. I'm glad to have gone. We even saw some plowing. Having lived on farms when I was younger, it was nice to stay in touch with that side of life after living in cities and towns for such a long time. That, and they also had some tasty, tasty treats.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


It seems that babies are the new black (cool, for those of you who were confused by that statement). Besides those that are already roaming around on their own two feet (or hands and knees), I just came back from a baby shower and found out that two other friends are pregnant.

Not having a "biological clock", I am not necessarily feeling the "tick, tick, tick". Still, it's a relative thing... As those with whom you've shared many life experiences start going through such a transition it's hard not to consider when or if you'll share a similar experience. I certainly don't have an answer to that questions. At least it's a question that I'm willing to keep open. There have been times when I've come out against the idea of bringing a child into the world. I'm not going to lie, I fear what the state of the world will be 30 years from now. Hell, I fear the state of the world 10 years from now. But that is not reason enough not to raise a child. Then again, maybe I need to play the devil's advocate and ask myself what is reason enough TO raise a child. I'm not going to hum-and-haw over it while I type but it's worth considering as part of this growth process. I'l be sure to let you know what I come up with.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It makes me happy that these are some of today's news stories:

"Jogging your way to saggy breasts" (Especially the part about when a woman runs a mile her breasts actually have gone 135m).
"Russian 'sex day' to boost births" (What a great day to choose).
"Led Zeppelin to confirm reunion" ('Nuff said).

Monday, September 10, 2007

There are lots of acronyms out there. Find yourself interacting with the same people in the same environment all the time and you're likely to create and/or learn acronyms to try and make your communication more "efficient". Find yourself in a university environment and watch out! My work reminds me regularly how such efforts to simplify communication and make things more "efficient" can have the exact opposite result for new members of the community. So, why then am I going to refer to another one? Because I can.


Momma makes pie? No. Mail more peanuts? Nay. How about Mixed Member Proportional? Ding, ding, ding!

What am I going on about? Well, as Ontario's provincial politicians officially started their campaigns today with our provincial election just one month away (October 10) I think it important to remind people of the fact that this isn't just any provincial election. There will also be a referendum in this election. The referendum is on whether to keep our exisiting electoral system (known as first-past-the-post) or to adopt a new system (Mixed Member Proportional). Mostly, I'm writing about it because I want people to know, and maybe even care about it. For general information on the referendum see the Referendum Ontario site. Basically, the new system would see us vote twice in future elections. One would be the standard vote for your local representative. The second though would be for a political party in general. Seats in the provincial legislature would be set aside for this "party" vote. They would be distributed to pre-selected representatives of each party proportionally to the number of votes each party received.

As for my personal opinion. Any system that will allow for representation that is more in line with the proportion of votes actually received by a party sounds like a good thing. Some have complained that it might lead to more minority governments. I say "bring it on". Politics should be about working together, not working against one another. I for one would like to see our political representatives working together to fulfill our needs as citizens and not trying regularly to either undermine the other parties and their efforts.

P.S. Who'd have thought? This is my 300th post. How'd that happen?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I am going to be well pleased when my schedule returns to "normal". Weekend and evening work is fine every once-in-a-while but I'm ready to stop. Thankfully, I'll be able to very soon.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Facebook, the social networking site, is good for a number of things. Wasting time is among them. Still, good things can come from it. Besides catching up with long lost friends you can find out about new and interesting events that your friends are participating in. Enter "Free Hugs Day". While I couldn't find any worldwide reference to Monday, September 10 being Free Hugs Day, there are a fair few people (hundreds of thousands at last glance) that are intending to consider it so. The concept is a great one as we can all use hugs and seldom get enough of them. Want to know more?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I should be making up for lost time but I would rather be eating. I can say that I'm starting to feel some of the excitement associated with being a new homeowner. It has yet to come to fruition but it is just over three weeks away. I'm looking forward to the part I like the most: setting it up the way I want it. The rest of it: not so much.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hi. My name is Justin. I think we might've met before. You might not remember me though. I'm the person who usually writes here. It has been an extended hiatus. I've been hiding. Not in the bushes. Not behind a tree. Mainly hiding from responsibilities (including posting).

I share parts of myself through this blog but it is never going to be a complete picture of who I am. Really, only being me provides a complete picture of who I am (and even then, I'm not too sure). I guess the past while has been a time of things that I wasn't interested in sharing. It has also been a time of preoccupation. I have made it through the core of my busiest time at work which is definitely a relief. Perhaps that alone has been enough to shake me from my avoidance and get me posting. Either way, here I am. And here you are. I'm glad we're together.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I know, I know

Yes, yes, it has been forever and a day since I've posted anything. Being busy, buying a house, being stressed and active avoidance all seem to have played a part. Without getting into it or promising to be all that much better in the immediate future, I thought I'd post an article that may explain a lot about me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


While I excused myself before my south-western adventure I returned a few days ago and seem to have pointedly avoided posting anything. Unfortunately, I can't post much as I have an assignment to do. Speaking of the assignment, it is for a course on intercultural communication through UBC's Centre for Intercultural Communication that is certainly stirring my thoughts. Needless to say, the tools, theories and models mentioned in the course apply to all sorts of communication which I'm finding quite interesting and will likely lead to future posts of greater depth.

In the meantime, "Congratulations Mom!" She has been selected to perform in a play that will be taking place next spring. The play will be put on by a renowned Canadian playright with the involvment of a major company. She worked hard and I'm proud of and happy for her.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Full Mind or Mindful?

I've been in a training program this past week looking at intercultural competency. Without really picking my wording apart let me say that cultures need not specifically be related to countries or regions of heritage. It need only represent a group with which we identify. Still, I couldn't help but go into things with the mindset that intercultural theory would be specifically applied in such circumstances. Imagine my surprise then when I identified communication models that I felt could be applicable with those who I believe to share my culture. I guess it comes down to being mindful. I hope I'm working in the right direction on that.

I'm heading on a wee work adventure so if I'm not around for the next week, at least I have an excuse.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Less Gas, More Ass!"

It seems that the World Naked Bike Ride has passed us by. Here I am with a broken bike, missing the opportunity to bare it all to draw attention to the fact that the world is changing and our reliance on fossil fuels is part of the problem. As silly as it is, it gets the point across and may just inspire me to get my bike fixed, but not necessarily join in the fun.

Remember me?

It's been another long dry-spell where you may have come looking for Justin's perspective on those things around him but found nothing new. Well, finally I come to you with something new.

This week, the Globe and Mail newspaper had an article entitled: Welcome to Green U. It highlighted the interest in environmentally-themed employment and how universities are developing programs to suit that interest. That, is fine by me. What isn't fine, is the response of some parents. It appears that the "income model" is at the heart of it all and that maybe everyone should be growing up to be lawyers or doctors (no disrepsect meant to any lawyers or doctors reading my missive).

I feel as though the changes that are happening around us are going to necessitate the future revolving around an environmental conciousness. Businesses who disregard their influence on the environment will do so at their own peril. As such, employees will be dedicated to efforts to ameliorate their influence (even the lawyers and doctors).

Why is it that ostensibly-successful parents cannot have the vision of their kids? Why do they have to undermine their children's goals by blaming it on their unbridled optimisim? I hope that the necessary support will be there for those whose optimisim drives them to opportunities to save us all, rather than just save money.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saving the world in... er, with your underwear

My former home-town is having a most-ridiculous debate. Aurora is at odds with laundry lines. Thankfully, it appears that the municipal government is pushing the issue. If advertisers use laundry lines to make people feel all summery and clean, why are people worried about laundry messing-up their view... Of other houses? It saddens me that this needs to be an issue and that as more and more people recognize that the world is changing we still forgo small things that could have a benefit (even if it is just hanging your undies out to dry).

I apologize for having been AWOL recently. A combination of busyness and not knowing what to write made this a dull place to be. I'll try to be better. Really.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And time continues to fly. The weekend was a great opportunity to be with friends and family. It turns out Monday was the same as my dad was in town for work-related stuff. It was like the weekend extended (except for the having to work all day part).

Life is busy. Good busy. Projects at work, ultimate and being social are making life feel like it is going quickly. Thankfully it is all good. It may mean more spotty posts (as has obviously been the case recently) but you've got better things to be doing than reading my musings anyway. The warm weather is (supposed to be) coming. I wish someone would tell tonight's forecast low of 4 degrees that.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another apology. Few posts. Not because I don't care. Just plenty of things to do. I hope this finds you well as I head off to the GTA again. Treat K-town well in my absence. No getting into trouble, y'hear?!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sorry it's been a while since I posted. I am going to cheat and keep this short but if you've ever thought "I have too much money", take a look at the most expensive wedding I've ever heard of. Here I thought it was crazy when people were spending tens of thousands of dollars on weddings. What about $55 Million US?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Not to be forgotten

Unfortunately, I am not being a great global citizen and drawing your attention to the fact that today is Remembrance Day in The Netherlands (though I guess I have done that now). Instead, I am adding to the e-detritus that continues to circle the globe in the "tubes" that make up this, the interweb. It turns out that today is a day that, disappointingly for all around me, I am not adequately celebrating (though it is early yet). Today is: No Pants Day!. Celebrate it as best you can, just remember: "people are encouraged to revel in the absence of pants, and not replace pants with other clothing."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Where does the week go?

It seems like the weekend has just ended and it is already Thursday morning. I must admit, I'm not too worried about where the time has gone. I was nervous heading into this week but it is progressing along fine. The most challenging thing I've faced is getting about 200 copies of the same e-mail message over the course of the past 24 hours. You know if the most challenging thing you face can be solved by hitting the delete button, you're not doing too bad. :)

Monday, April 30, 2007

It takes so little. One sunny and warm day in downtown Toronto hanging out with friends suddenly made summer a reality. No longer just an idea, it spurred thoughts of summer plans and holidays and of spending more time with friends. It also me inspired to petition for another day to the weekend. I think "Second Sunday" would be a good addition. Maybe we'd make room for it by getting rid of Monday altogether. I mean, a Tuesday morning meeting is much better than one on Monday. I don't think anyone would miss Monday at all. I certainly wouldn't be posting it's face on milk cartons.

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's hard to believe, but it's Friday. I know, nobody told me either. It's like it just got slipped under the door while I was sleeping. The week has been both exceedingly long and shockingly short. Either way, I'll be heading to the GTA after work for some visiting with friends and family. I hope your weekend is looking as enjoyable.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Unfortunately, I was so focused on Venezuela's Independence Day that I completely neglected the fact that last Thursday, April 10 was also (Inter)National High Five Day. I don't think I high-fived anyone. I'll have to really make up for it next year. Then again, why wait? Someone's going to get a high-five today.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ahhh, sun. A reasonably warm weekend with lots of sunshine. Throw in some friends and some ultimate. Seems like the perfect recipe. Well, it might not be perfect but not too bad. Here's hoping that perfect continues to stay within reach.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I think it is time for a vacation. A fresh start in the office would do me well, I think. Still, I haven't got anything planned. I had best get on that, and soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


For anyone who saw my last post and worried about me, you needn't. My concerns were mainly with things going on in the lives of those around me. I'm not about to talk about other people's problems in my blog so I left it general but wanted to be clear that that things were on my mind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Brain... Spinning... So many things... Some good... Some terrible... I hope that wherever you are reading this, you are well.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Snow, snow, go away come again another... Season.

I guess it could be worse, my toilet could be on fire.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Is it:

a) The number of pounds of sugar the average American consumes each year?
b) One greater than the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything?
c) The number of things talked about on the site 43 Things?
d) The School District that "serves the cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody (Tri-Cities) and the villages of Anmore and Belcarra"?
e) All of the above?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Technology for Good

There are innumerable examples of technology being used to serve the planet and those who live on it, just as there are many cases of the opposite. In this case, I want to highlight the use of a free program to draw attention to injustices taking place half a world from here. Google Earth takes their ever-popular and useful map technology and expands it to include a navigable globe where information can be highlighted as you see fit. Well, in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Google Earth is providing high resolution images as well as stories from the Darfur region of Sudan. For a background on the Darfur conflict, click here.

If you use Google Earth, start the program and search for "Sudan". It should show some icons and by clicking on them, will allow you to download more extensive information. It highlights villages, both damaged and destroyed, as well as refugee and internally displaced person's camps. Along with some of this are photos and videos. They can be quite graphic, but serve the purpose of allowing us to understand the horrors that are taking place. It has been much too easy for us to ignore the "plight of Africans" in the past. This is evident as the ongoing war-crimes trial of Rwandan, Désiré Munyaneza, calls witnesses to the atrocities of the Rwandan Genocide. While we still can ignore what is happening if we choose, at least we have the opportunity to gather information and to avoid making our decisions for lack of knowledge.
IPCC says we're in a SNAFU and that we may be FUBAR. :(

Monday, April 09, 2007

Always Improving

Discussion over dinner touched on any range of subjects, though our un-ending search for new ways to improve ourselves and our lives came up and technology was at the heart of it. It wasn't automatically agreed that technology is the solution to the world's ills. Perhaps it could be if human nature didn't keep getting in the way. Well, the never-ending march for improvement continues but it is comforting to know that concious decisions can be made and allowances can be made for the way we have lived our lives and the way we want to continue to do so. This article highlights decisions made in certain areas of China to tie employment success with continued care for parents and other members of the family. It seems that "filial piety" isn't going to fall completely by the wayside in the face of economic development. I think that our government coddles us just a little too much. I don't think they're willing to actively promote more socially or environmentally sustainable activities in a genuine manner. Just imagine, dropping a tax bracket for planting trees. What would you like to see the government mandate to improve our lot?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Chocolate Weekend

Mmmm, Easter (and all it's tasty chocolate treats). Not being particularly religious, holidays are more a chance for me to get together with family than to consider my beliefs. Then again, usually discussions with my family bring out my beliefs, just not necessarily religious ones. I've been the "straight and narrow" to my parents conspiracy theories in the past. I then become the conspiracy theorist in other social circumstances. It's all relative. It's always good to have heart-felt conversations. More to the point, it's good to have a heart-felt life. For us as a family, that can often involve some real sillyness. You should have seen our dinner last night. Without getting into detail, I'll just say that it was totally friendly and fun but I don't think any children's network would want to broadcast it (even if some of the humour was pretty childish). I am amazed at how much fun we can have together, and saddened when I know that's not necessarily the case for others around me. Postsecret reminded me of such walls between people in a rather odd way through the following postcard:

My family's sense of humour aside, it is impossible for me to imagine. I hope that your holiday has been more about fun (and chocolate), and less about secrets and barriers.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

As many of us lick our lips, not so much at the prospect of a delicious Easter meal but rather at the prospect of a long weekend, I can't help but think of the fouforah (I've always used that word but never typed it... imagine bally-hoo but with more "f's"), that came of a Canadian-born artist attempting to display a chocolate likeness of Jesus at a gallery in New York this week. I'm not going to tell the faithful how to feel but I have to give the artist credit for bringing together the two most recognized symbols of Easter: chocolate and Jesus. I have trouble believing that any of those who put up such a vehement protest to it's display aren't going to go home and give their kids chocolate bunnies and eggs on Easter weekend. Well, whether you're faithful to religion or chocolate (or whether your religion IS chocolate), I hope you have a great weekend ahead.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I found myself looking through an old journal of mine this weekend. Though it was only a quick look, it provided something interesting: A note, written with a friend, near the end of high school. The note highlighted my "needs" when it came to finding a partner. As this is not a blog of the truest soul-bearing sort, I'm not actually going to list them for you but rest assured that I seemed to have a good idea what I was looking for. I'd venture to say that time has allowed me to recognize that they are "wants" rather than "needs" but still, I think the content holds.

Okay, I will give you one:

- must love pirates

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I have a question: I'm working on a genetics project. I'm trying to create an unstoppable super-being to help bring the world safely forward but need DNA from just the right specimens. Do any of you have tips on getting George W. Bush and Stephen Harper's DNA?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Earth Hour

It's just hours away (in this part of the world) but from our friends down-under comes an opportunity to participate in an activity to draw attention to our use of resources and how it relates to Global Warming. Earth Hour was organized by the WWF in Sydney. From 7:30 to 8:30pm on Saturday, March 31, Sydneysiders were encouraged to turn off their lights, appliances and other electric what-have-yous. As the hour has actually come in Sydney you can see images of the skyline before and after. This, like any effort, is part of a larger goal of sustainably and consistently lowering our use of resources and, therefore, the strain we put on the planet that keeps us alive. Don't expect to see major cities beyond Sydney darken noticeably on the appointed hour, but don't discount the importance of wide public interest and participation. This just might be the start of something big.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Silly Canadians

You'd think we were cave-bound in an arctic wasteland for the last few months. Our surprisingly short winter seems to be giving way to the warmth of spring and the people 'round here can't seem to wait any longer. The park was full of people on my way home. Lying down, reading, playing guitar, football, baseball... Now it's one thing when there's a remarkable 18 degree day. Today though, was 7 degrees. Clearly it doesn't take much to get our imaginations working on our summer hopes and plans. Not wanting to get a late start, we seem to give anything that barely resembles summer the full treatment. I just hope that as the warm weather becomes the norm, we keep giving it the treatment and attention it deserves. Wait, maybe it's giving ourselves the treatment and attention we deserve.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Considering the amount of time I waste with it, this is probably a good time to talk about Facebook. For those of you who aren't keeping track, Facebook is a social networking site designed so that existing social networks could stay connected virtually. It started with colleges/universities and has, in the past little while, expanded to whoever wants to have a go. Case in point: my dad has an account. ;)

I've been a little wary of virtual social networks in the past. Friendster, Myspace, and the like bothered me because it felt like they were trying to take the place of true social interactions. I guess it's really all in how you use them. The same could be said of Facebook. I though, am finding Facebook quite interesting because all sorts of people who I've known in my life but haven't been in touch with in a while are popping-up. It's quite a trip to be seeing what people have been up to over the past.... Oh, TWELVE Years! Lots of weddings, a number of kids, all kinds of different jobs and a few dogs. Sure, these might be fleeting contacts but it's better than no contact at all. On top of the benefit of just plain and simple contact, I'm finding out all about the various connections that exist in this small, small world. So besides entertainment I get some "how the crap do you know so-and-so?!" moments. I find those much better than the "what are you doing going through my stuff?!" moments.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I just finished my last post with mention of how tired I am. That hasn't changed but I needed to make note of more pressing matters before drifting off. I watched Man of the Year this evening. Robin Williams as a political comedian is elected as the President of the United States. It spoke to discontent with the status quo (and was good for a few laughs too). I promise I'm getting to something more "pressing". Today is election day in Quebec. It appears that discontent with the status quo (both the leading party and the traditional opposition) has brought about something entirely new. Quebec is looking like it will have its first minority government in almost 130 years! European parliaments handle minority governments awfully well. I can only hope that the province down the road can see this opportunity for change as a positive challenge.

Technology Redux

I've been thinking about it more. I'll buy that if it gets too much I can either walk away or turn it into a career. It seems though that technology becomes increasingly challenging the more you try to leverage it to work for you. You want to check e-mail? Meh, no big deal. You want to filter your messages into specific folders? That's a little more work. What about making your e-mail talk to other programs? Now you're making it interesting. Still, we have to believe that the initial investment of time and energy is, in the end, more than balanced by the savings.

At the moment, all that can save me is sleep. I wonder if technology can help me with that. Is a pillow considered technology?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Technology - Making Life Easier or Not?

I am a nerd. I spent much of today trying to get various pieces of technology to play nicely. It was a better use of time than being in front of the tv and the weather was largely rainy but it was a big investment of time that was only partially successful. Technology has been seen as a panacea by many. A means of increasing our productivity, of saving time for relaxation. So why am I spending my relaxation time working on my technology? I have spent lots of time getting my entire music collection onto my computer and organized. It has borne fruit already, but will I ever get enough enjoyment out of the work I've done to justify the time invested? I guess it's a good thing I'm a little bit compulsive. I felt it important to get things just so. I also get a certain level of enjoyment and sense of accomplishment having just done the work (regardless of whether I make "adequate" use of it).

In theory, as more technology comes down the pipe (like the new AppleTV), I will be able to make full use of my 6000+ songs with album covers and lyrics. 'Til then, it is largely trapped at my desk. Maybe it's all self-perpetuating: I spend all this time at my desk improving things that are largely at my desk, leading me to spend more time at my desk appreciating them. Enough desks for ya?

Is technology giving you time or taking it from you?

Time for me to take time away from the computer.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I promise to stop being so damn effusive but I just have to acknowledge that Richard Takata is pretty awesome. I already marvelled at the fact that he sent me an e-mail but this week I even received a postcard written following his final marathon in Cyprus. I have never met him but I am definitely impressed.

While his fundraising journey may be over the fundraising itself isn't, so consider donating through his site.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring has Sprung

I think the arrival of Spring (as well as the Persian New Year) is post-worthy. I'm not going to say much about either but Happy New Year to any of you who celebrate Norouz and to those of you who don't this may be a bit like the start of a new year anyway. At least that's how the arrival of spring feels to me. People, plants and just about everything come out of their winter slumber and the whole world grows anew. Maybe there should be Persian New Year Resolutions because at the change of the seasons people may be more likely to take on those new challenges. That, or maybe just enjoy the warmth. Either way, fine by me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Equations UPDATED

I wasn't sure whether this would get any curious readers wondering. Probably not.

Believe it or not, these equations are said to calculate how attractive women's and men's behinds are.

(S+C) x (B+F)/T - V

The calculation above is supposed to be for women. It represents: shape, circularity of buttocks, "bounce factor," firmness, texture of skin, and vertical ratio. The below calculation is for men representing: shape, muscularity, leanness, firmness, texture of skin, and overall symmetry.

(S+M) x (L+F)/T - O

Science is crazy. Can attraction be calculated? Some scientists, including David Holmes who developed these calculations, would imply it can. I've also heard that the symmetry of people's faces correlates with their "attractiveness". Hmmm, I say. Hmmm. I don't want to be anti-science but, c'mon... Then again, I haven't tried the equations. Maybe I should find out more.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cheering Success

Blogs are great soap-boxes. You can rail against injustice, go on uncontrolled tirades or you can draw attention to issues that are important to you (maybe hoping that those reading will agree, or at least consider your points). Over the past while I've been touching-in to Richard Takata's efforts. They are something that I thought deserved whatever attention I could turn their way. Again today, you see me standing on my soapbox, drawing attention to the herculean efforts of a young boy. Dakota Russ, a boy of just 9, who has taken on his town and he has won. A truly inspiring moment for all of us. Take a look at what his local paper had to say.

Thanks go to Rob, for drawing my attention to such and inspirational story.

We are all here for a spell, get all the good laughs you can.

--Will Rogers

St. Paddy's +1

Directly following the day that everyone tries to be green and Irish is the day the everyone tries NOT to be green and Irish but often only succeeds with not being Irish. Oh what a festive time!

Now if only people would get equally excited about Nooruz which follows a few days later. Just imagine it. Everyone pretends to be Persian in honour of the Persian New Year. Granted, it might not be a big night at the bars but who can argue with a holiday that coincides with the time that those of us in the Northern Hemsiphere consider to be the start of Spring? That feels like it's worth a celebration.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Top o' the afternoon!

It is here. The day that people in nooks and crannies all over the world forget their cultural background and consider themselves Irish.

The ubiquitous Irish Pubs throughout the world have a chance to empty their dusty Guinness kegs and shifty guys get to pull out their "Kiss me, I'm Irish" shirts in one last-ditch hope that it will work. The lilt of "top o' the mornin' to ya!" will be heard from in the streets of some otherwise lilt-free city or town. Why, I wonder, is it always the mornin'? No afternoons? No evenings? Time of day aside, it's a chance to get a group together for a good time and I can't argue with that.

So, in honour of one of the most popular Saints around (second to Nicholas, I imagine), I'm going to work on my Gaelic.

Lá 'le Phádraig faoi mhaise duit!

If you got the last line and you're my type then this is for you: Póg mé! Is sort Éireannach mé!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sero sed serio

Whenever I miss deadlines (which is never), I figure it must have to do with my family heritage. No, my family are not shiftless layabouts that don't get things done. Rather, we are Kerrs. The family motto is the title of this post. For those who haven't been keeping on top of your latin, it means: "late, but in earnest". Which brings us to the next paragraph (which is a day late but still "in earnest".

Happy Pi Day! No, not pie. Mmmm, pie. Pi day celebrates Albert Einstein's Birthday. Why pi? For the non-mathematically-inclined of you, pi is equal to approximately 3.14. March 14th is represented as 3/14 in North America. See the tenuous connection? The 14th is not the only time that people celebrate this. Be prepared for a geek-stravaganza when you delve into the link and find out all the associated possibilities. That, or have a piece of pie.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


It took me a while, but I saw it. I expected to cringe as I sometimes find myself doing that when people get into uncomfortable situations (of which there are plenty in Borat). So imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing all the way through. Maybe I'd been desensitized by all the coverage of it when it came out. Maybe it was just SO over-the-top that I couldn't help but laugh. Either way: a well-spent, if not necessarily a constructive, evening. People should have more of those.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Congratulations go out to the only World Record Holder who has ever sent me an e-mail.

Richard Takata finished his plethora of marathons by competing in the Cyprus Marathon. In all he ran 379.755 kms (give or take). He had already set the World Record when he completed the "Fin del Mundo" Marathon in Ushuaia, Argentina a few days ago but probably figured one more couldn't hurt. What's 42.195 kms here or there anyway?

While this effort is certainly worthy of congratulations, I feel like this is a small part of his larger goal. I don't think he'd have done all of this purely to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Cancer and it's eradication seems to me to have driven this super-human effort. The battle against it will continue. Richard has done a great thing in raising both awareness and funds for Cancer research. I wish him well with all his future endeavours. To get more on his journey or to donate to Cancer research, visit

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Lament for a Sunday

You started late (at least for me) but you made up for it by sharing your sunny demeanor with all of us. Your warmth brought us out of our caves like cheese brings the proverbial mouse. Unlike our rodent friends, we were trapped only by the sun and the lingering thoughts of spring.

We knew it was inevitable but your end is near. Your light is being traded for the ink of night, though mercifully late. Your greatness is emphasized by that which follows... Sigh. Monday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thank you media!

The media taught me about myself today. CBC taught me that I have a clock in my head and it's set to 3 minutes. Before any of you filthy folk start thinking, I don't know... Something filthy, you should know that they are talking about our willingness to stand in lines.

BBC taught me that I have high levels of testosterone because my ring finger is longer than my index finger. I didn't see that one coming. I mean, I'm a hairy dude but I very seldom go into uncontrolable rages, throwing parts of my Royal Doulton china figurine collection at passers-by or knocking holes in my textured walls with the power of my mind (which, coincidentally, controls my fists). By the way, in case there was any question, in this case "very seldom" = "china figurines?! You have GOT to be kidding!"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Who me, bitter?

Here I find myself sitting in my apartment, if you must know. In a broader sense I find myself in a beautiful city with a job that has me interacting with the world in one way or another every day. Okay, we all interact with the world, but I mean the World. I'm lucky enough to see people from around the world each day. I've been lucky enough to see a few parts of it too. Still, I come back to being right here while my brother is in Amsterdam and my dad and step-mom are just arriving at the airport for their flight to Rome! I've got friends heading to Spain in the coming days too. And here I sit.

Sure, I'm not really bitter. I'm thrilled for them actually. What I need to do is get myself back into travel mode and actually do it, rather than lament that other people are and I'm not. So, to the travellers: Goede reis! Buono viaggio! ¡Buen viaje!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I was listening to an interview last night with the creator of Monocle, a new "monthly magazine delivering the most original coverage in global affairs, business, culture and design." At least that's what they say.

They issued a "no celebrities" edict, meaning that their magazine will not be reporting on Robbie Williams getting out of rehab or Britney Spears going in and out. They referred to the recent, and admittedly untimely, death of Anna Nicole Smith. Without targeting her, he questioned whether her death should've warranted a Breaking News moment on BBC. I think that's a fair question.

I'll cop to the fact that many people can't think about the state of the world every moment of every day but is the media stretching our escapism by serving up such a smorgasboard of star sillyness? I would like to able to blame the media but a recent check of showed me that both their most read and most e-mailed story was not about Darfur, the West Bank or Iran. Instead it was about how supermodel Naomi Campbell will be spending her court-ordered community service time for throwing a phone at her housekeeper.

We are all a bunch of fickle puddin'-heads.

By the way, Ms. Campbell will be cleaning floors (though I'm sure you don't care). ;)

Monday, March 05, 2007


I recently blogged about an amazing effort. Richard Takata, from beautiful Northern Ontario, has been taking on a huge challenge. It began as an attempt to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 weeks to raise money for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. "Stunning!" you say. "Yes!" I agree with gusto. "A world record?" you question. "Yes!" I return.

It turns out that that sort of record wasn't quite Richard's style. His new goal: 9 marathons on 7 continents (sorry, no new continents were added to the planet since my original post) with the 7 continents being covered in 31 days! "Blimey!" you blurt. "Ditto." says I. Remarkable. More so to know that there are only 2 marathons left of the 9 (with one just hours from now).

Visit to be truly amazed by this stunning undertaking.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Today is a beautiful day. Sometimes the outwardly bad has a silver lining. A Saskatchewan referee got clocked by an irate player but when he was checked-out at the hospital, doctors found a brain tumour that may have otherwise gone undetected. In this case, it is much less serious and at least somewhat less life-affirming. The crap-condition of the dryer in my building sent me out in search of a more suitable means of drying my clothes. After deciding against a wood-fire (nobody needs smokey sheets) and the hand dryer in the men's room at work (no clean clothes should ever be exposed to that), I settled on the dryer at the local laundromat (seems like a terribly easy choice in hindsight). I always feel like the grinch or some traditional cat-burglar when I go over to the laundromat. The full-to-bursting laundry bag on my shoulder could be the Grinch's distended gift-taking bag after slipping into a who-ville home. I always wonder what folks must be thinking as I sneak by. But I digress. It was the necessity of visiting the laundromat that brought to my attention the beauty of the day. It doesn't just seem like a particularly nice day. It seemed almost like a chink in winter's armour. I know, we've had a reasonably gentle and short winter and there's still probably plenty to come, but today is pregnant with the pent-up energy of spring and all that comes with it. I find it hard not to smile on a day like that.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious.

- Brendan Gill

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy International Polar Year

Most of you (who, like me, haven't had the luck of visiting the planet's polar regions) may wonder about the importance of the International Polar Year. Well, these regions are likely the "canaries in the mineshaft" when it comes to Climate Change and this planet. Many major changes have been witnessed in the make-up of these regions. What better time to focus some of our energy there? It all makes sense to me, save for one thing: Why does the year start in March and actually go for 2 years (it ends in March 2009)?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spammers seem to think I'm letting myself go

A quote from an e-mail I received today:

Hey, I hate to be the one but when people continueto talk about your weight issue, we'll it just disgustsme. Whether you know it by now, people are always chattering about one another at work but you come up morethan enough.

Do I disgust YOU? Do I come up in conversation THAT MUCH? If people who send crap e-mails for a living think I'm getting portly, maybe I should sit up and take notice. ;)

UPDATE: It seems like a lot of spammers are thinking that way. This message is all over the internet. How do they all know about me and my problems?! ;)
You filled the world with mirth, but are no longer on the earth.
Today is the anniversary of your birth, it would be easier to rhyme with cat.

Did you know that Dr. Seuss "was not particularly fond of spending time with" children? Be that as it may, he certainly helped inspire and entertain the child in many of us.

Monday, February 26, 2007

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.

- Galileo

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shutdown Day

I think I'm posting this more for myself than anyone who reads this. There are definitely those who think I "click-click-click" too much. Sometimes I even agree. To be clear: "click-click-click" refers to typing on the computer not taking photos or trying to light firecrackers with a broken lighter. I allow myself to fall victim to my television more than I would like. It is my company when I have no other. The computer seems a step-up, albeit small, from the inactive intake of tv. I enjoy posting, working on my photos and the like but while some people seem to use the computer as an intentional wall between themselves and other people, I like to think I use it to bridge the gap with the people who are important in my life. Still, there are better ways to spend one's time than in front of the click-machine.

A reminder of this is Shutdown Day. While it's a full month away: March 24, it may take a little forward-thinking to make it happen. Then again, maybe that defeats the purpose. It's just like going out and doing a bunch of shopping before Buy Nothing Day just so you can avoid the shops on that day. Maybe a little organic non-computing is the better approach. Then again, participation seems to always be better than non-participation, regardless of the intention or preparation. So put it in your calendars. Prepare for it, or don't. Maybe you'd have stayed away from your computer on the 24th anyway. Then it can just be a reminder of the value of life beyond the computer.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I just watched The Last King of Scotland, a film highlighting some of the life of Idi Amin, former leader of Uganda. What kind of world is this? I am sadly sickened by what horrors we as people can perpetrate on others, our planet and ourselves. It seems that stories of such intensity and saddness can also serve as opportunities for people to show the strength of their character when acting in the face of such evil. Of course, it is difficult to say how many people find the opportunity to express their strength in such circumstances. Movies might make us want to believe that there is always at least one person who's efforts bring about change, but for every such person there are innumerable others who are complicit. This is understandable when one considers how easy it is to "join the crowd" regardless of the severity of the circumstances. Or perhaps it is better but that it is more difficult to step out of the crowd since we are already in it.

And then there's me. Someone who has never faced such trying circumstances. While I am truly thankful for the life that I have had and my luck at having avoided such tragedy, I find that life is relative. So instead of needing to be sickened by such horrors going on immedieately around me, I can instead be sickened by the fact that Britney Spears takes so much of our attention (my own included). Maybe this visit to rehab (supposedly her 3rd in a week) along with her hair-free head and new tattoos will adequately prove that the girl has stuff to work out. Now if only we could figure ourselves out and why that guilty part of us cares. Maybe it is just a great place to shift our brains and emotions into neutral in the face of the true horrors that befal the planet and those on it every day. While I could complain that our relative wealth here in North America affords us that opportunity, one which others may not have, I know that people facing the most difficult hardships need diversions. Everyone deserves to be happy, whether affluent or destitute. This is by no means an attack on the excesses of our culture (since I partake in many), just some meandering thought on the different contexts from which we come. Essentially, a lot of hot air that clearly needed to escape.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.

- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Close to Home

When most things hit "close to home" they are usually touching us personally. In this case, I use the term literally. It's not even my home. Rather, it's my grandmother's home. She lives on the border with Minnesota. Specifically International Falls, the "Icebox of the Nation". They even have a giant thermometer to prove it. Well, it just goes to show that history isn't always enough in the face of changes in laws. It turns out the good folks of International Falls forgot to renew their trademark. In steps Fraser, Colorado trying to scoop up the title. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

Speaking of weaves: Britney is still without her hair and the salon is attempting to sell it directly along with, get this, the clippers used for the job and a crappy lighter and can of Red Bull that she left there. Minimum bid: $1,000,000. Please accept my previous closing and add: Shudder.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Unfortunately for you, the folks at Ebay are a scrupulous bunch. In some of the biggest-breaking non-news of the weekend, Britney Spears seems to be taking shore leave from the S.S. Sanity and in doing so has shaved her head. For all of 15 minutes this morning I had a link up to an Ebay auction for the hair she had cut off (it was up to $30,000US!). I can't quite say "the" hair because there were probably at least 10 auctions all touting the same person's hair. It didn't take the Ebayers long to cut off the auction (pun intended). What the hell kind of world are we living in anyway? Can't buy organic, but can bid 30 grand on hair?!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I have lamented the state of the environment before. Enter the Globe and Mail's New Climate Almanac, an interesting and lengthy (for online newspaper content) "compendium of curious facts, dire warnings and inspirations." From new technologies, to the terms used to describe it (Climate change? Global warming? Climate chaos?), it is an engaging read. Some parts that stood out to me: Acidification of the world's oceans as Climate chaos continues, solar technology designed to capture infrared instead of visible light and to be painted-onto surfaces and projects/communities like Drake Landing in Okotoks, Alberta that have adopted solar energy on a large scale. While there's lots of scary stuff happening, it's good to know that there are some new approaches that could help us lessen the effect we have on the world. Hopefully, in doing so, we'll lessen the effects the changes have on us.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Doin' some visitin'.

Be back soon.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


The business world has all sorts of shady folk. I trust it has even more respectable and responsible folk but this is not an example of the good that hopefully resides in even the worst people's hearts. Vulture Funds (named after the scavengers that circle the weak) are organizations that purchase debts in "distressed environments". Distressed environments may mean companies nearing bankruptcy or countries with large public debts. A small percentage of the paper value of a debt may be paid to take it over. The vulture fund then is responsible for trying to collect the entire debt (to both get their investment back and to make a profit). It's one thing when it is a company about to go bankrupt but something entirely different when it is a developing country in crisis. I feel like, in whichever case, the most vulnerable are the losers. In a business context this could be employees who would be less likely to receive compensation because the vulture fund is able to claim first. In the case of countries it is much more insidious. Vulture funds have sued countries and won payment of the debts owed. Zambia and its people are the most recent losers. In the face of widespread debt forgiveness, vulture funds have come in and won the right to be paid a portion of their outstanding debt. The money would otherwise be spent on badly-needed infrastructure, education and health services. How do we expect to eradicate debt and speed development when we have a financial system that facilitates taking resources from those who desperately need it? Grrrr...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Say it like you mean it

You know what's upon us. It's VD. You know, Valentine's Day, a crassly-commercialized opportunity to show the love for one another that we should show every day. Crassly-commercialized or not, it is an opportunity that is going to get acknowlegement and if you're going to celebrate it then you may as well do it right. In light of all of this a reminder of ways to be more in tune with the planet when showering your sweetheart with gifts.

Gifts are great, but what's better than spending time with the important people in your life? Don't waste your time working.

I hope that you all have the kind of VD you've always dreamed of. If you don't, then try just having the kind of day you've always dreamed of.

Monday, February 12, 2007

So, what'll it be? Postmarks from Love or Fidelity in advance of Valentines Day? Stories about the value of midday naps or a Kenyan school that sent students home because they weren't circumcised? Maybe the inevitability of failure (on some level anyway) when trying to figure out what someone else is thinking?

It's all got a place. Problem is: right now food has a place... In my stomach (in case you were wondering). I'm going to make sure it gets there.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Growing Old(er), Not Growing Up

I have always liked the quote:

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

- Chili Davis

I'd like to think that I live that in my daily life. I know that there are parts of me that fit with that quote and parts that don't. Still, I think it is a great goal in many ways.

The quote and the idea came to mind when I saw a short documentary about a game I remember from my childhood. This was not a film to remind people of their childhood but rather to show people who have taken that game and changed it to fit their current urban lives. The game is "Manhunt", a cross between hide-and-seek and tag. I used to play it a while back and most often in the woods or some other natural environment. Fast-forward to 2007: People are playing it many urban environments. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and even Perth, Australia. These are young adults (of which I consider myself one-even if it has the word "adult" in it), using their urban surroundings entirely differently from the way most people do. I think it's great for so many reasons. Maybe I should start a regular game in Kingston.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Elizabeth May spoke at Queen's today. In case you don't know, she is the leader of the Green Party of Canada. Perhaps not surprisingly, she is very well spoken, passionate and knowledgeable. She spoke with a focus on the environment and climate change, again, not surprisingly. She also highlighted the fact that they are the only global political party in Canada with Green Party's existing in over 70 countries and that they are a complete party with platforms stretching beyond the environment. I personally have voted for them for a number of years. I mean, it's sad that I have known in each election that they will not win the seat they are contesting but if my vote doesn't count for anything then what's our democratic system good for? Speaking of democracy, the Green Party has created a site called Demand Democratic Debates with the goal of getting the Green Party into the Leader's Debates in advance of the next election (which may be coming soon... eeek!). Having seen her speak today, I think she would be a great addition to the debates and I have added my name to the petition. While I intend to continue to vote Green, it was comforting to hear that she believes Stephane Dion, the leader of the Liberal Party to be quite genuine in his support for environmental initiatives. I say that because they are the only party that has a chance of beating the Conservatives in the next election (whenever it happens). Hopefully that'll change someday and we'll see the Greens and the NDP battling it out to see who has the next majority government. I know, I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hey Gramma! It's your Birthday!

For those of you wondering why I would share my Grandmother's birthday: She reads this blog just like you do. Yes, a real card is in the mail which will hopefully arrive today. See. I'm a good grandson. But this is one of those "0" birthdays and I thought it deserved a little extra attention. So, if you've got any extra birthday wishes floating around send them towards northwestern Ontario. I know they're always welcome.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Whoever said that math was a waste of time was wrong

What are you looking at? Not sure? Does this help?

- An = number of units of alcohol consumed
- S = smokiness of the room (graded from 0-10, where 0 clear air; 10 extremely smoky)
- L = luminance of 'person of interest' (candelas per square metre; typically 1 pitch black; 150 as seen in normal room lighting)
- Vo = Snellen visual acuity (6/6 normal; 6/12 just meets driving standard)
- d = distance from 'person of interest' (metres; 0.5 to 3 metres)

Still don't know what you're looking at? You are looking at the equation used to calculate the "beer goggle" effect. STILL don't know what I'm talking about? While I'm sure none of you have experienced it and I'm entirely sure that I haven't, I can explain this mysterious phenomenon to you (but not in the detail given above). Rather, the "beer goggle" effect is used to explain why someone who would not attract you when you are sober becomes more attractive after a few drinks. Thank goodness that someone finally got around to doing this research! Thank goodness that the BBC for sharing this important breakthrough with the rest of the world. I know I will sleep better knowing this.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Life, in Quotes

Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.

- Julius Charles Hare

I could throw quotes at you forever. There are plenty that have touched me in one way or another over the years. I don't want to just toss someone elses words at you though. Of course it's not just tossing someone elses words since the insightful readers will know that the quotes I choose resonate with me. That may or may not mean that they apply to my current experience or betray my immediate thoughts. I guess you'll have to guess when you see quotes come up.

This particular quote I find deep in its simplicity. Whether it means more to me than that is your call. ;)

Monday, February 05, 2007

The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

And so the weekend ends. I guess that makes this moment the true "weekend". My place is cleaner, I feel a little more organized and a little wiser. The wisdom comes from my (over) thinking and a little bit of the idiot box.

While tv is a nice companion sometimes, it's role as a companion means I waste too much time with it. Thankfully, there is the odd gem that makes me feel like my tv-watching was at least somewhat worthwhile. Last night, it was catching The Greatest Canadian Inventions. Run like The Greatest Canadian, candidates were shown and viewers had a chance to choose their favourites. For me, the best part was learning new things (as with the original). Who knew that there was a Canadian connection to everything from the light bulb to the Wonderbra, to plexiglass? I sure didn't. But now I do. All thanks to tv.

Now that I've been able to praise tv, I can return to the regularly scheduled programming of complaining about it's role in my life. Must. Stay. Away.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Justy Homemaker

The sky coughed up plenty of snow on our fine town today. Happy not to be driving, I spent my day cleaning. Yes, ladies and gents, I have reached the pinacle of blogging. I am talking about how I spent my day cleaning. Before you turn off your computer with a disappointed shake of your head, let me justify the boring subject matter. While it may seem like a lame justification, this clean-up has been healthy. No, I do not have fungus growing on my walls (that I know of). Instead, it was healthy because it made me do something that I don't have much experience with: purge. I'm talking about stuff, not lunch. I have long been in the habit of holding onto things that I may not really use but "I'm sure someone else could use, if only I could find the right person." Most people find "the right person" by donating things to charity. I have held tight. You know, just in case I suddenly am overcome with a need to where something that I haven't touched in YEARS. So, I've got stuff that's goin' out the door. That feels good, and if it feels good, do it.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I know you all come here for your fill of late-breaking news. That's why without delay I had to tell you that spring is coming early! At least according to my good friends Shubenacadie Sam, Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie. Ok, good friends might be a bit of a stretch... They are, after all, groundhogs (or woodchucks to some). Still 3 out of 3 dentists agree... er, groundhogs agree, spring is set to come early.

Turns out they have a few friends I didn't know about (I don't know what they had to say about the arrival of spring):

- Brandon Bob in Manitoba
- Staten Island Chuck in New York
- Balzac Billy in Alberta
- Gary the Groundhog in Kleinburg, Ont.

Seems to me that the folks in Staten Island didn't get the memo. "Groundhogs/woodchucks must have alliterative names." Which one of the names is not like the other ones?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

From a day calendar/piece of note paper (Thursday June 29, 2006 - to be exact).

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.

- The Buddha Siddhartha Gautama (560-480 BC)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


For all: A website created to draw attention to an amazing effort. "Power 2 Cure" is meant to raise funds for cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital (a hospital that is dedicated to treating those with cancer and searching for a cure). What are you doing for the next 7 weeks? Working? Sleeping? Playing? Richard Takata plans to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 weeks! Doing so would be a world record and will hopefully help him reach his goal of raising $120,000 for PMH. I consider it an amazing effort and worthy of any attention I can draw to it.

For those with munchkins: A website for you and your little ones. "Sho, Mo and the Monkey Bunch" are a collection of artists that wanted to create music and entertainment for kids AND their parents. The website alone is... well, a barrel of monkeys. I'm sure their albums and concerts are very much the same.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Get a (virtual) Life!

We eat. We sleep. We work (if we're lucky). This could/does make Justin a dull boy. That's where escapes and diversions come in. For me it's... well, ultimate... photography... I'm inclined to spend some time click-click-clicking on the computer too (in case reading this blog wasn't a dead giveaway). Still, I like to think that my time on-line doesn't get in the way of my time in-life. Messenger and other on-line chat programs. Facebook, MySpace and the other social networking sites. While I pursue some of them, I consider them ways to maintain or develop the relationships I have with people I know in real life. For that, I am thankful.

There are so many diversions that seem to be relationships in-and-of-themselves. That is not to say some don't provide the opportunity to meet someone in person. I had a conversation with a friend about on-line dating sites such as Lavalife and how effective they can be at pulling people who are interested in similar things together in real life. While it wasn't exactly my point of view I understand. It's the things that create or at least maintain distance between people that I don't think are so great. Case in point: Second Life. This is a virtual world where people can be who/what they want (probably an interesting opportunity). Real money is even exchanged in this virtual world. In fact, the equivalent of over $1 Million USD has been exchanged IN THE LAST 24 HOURS! Real money, used to buy virtual money, used to buy virtual things to create a virtual life. The business side of it is certainly promising with over 3 million users and clearly plenty of money moving around. Real stores have opened up. Reuters has a Second Life news outlet and now, Sweden has an embassy. No real visas but real information. I hope that those who populate this world find it adds to there experience outside of it. As someone who is trying to add to their experience outside of the computer, I have trouble imagining the resources invested in something that is, at it's heart, another diversion. Then again, maybe the "real" activities and diversions that I pursue end up being very much the same. I guess I can't help but feel/trust/hope that investing in life outside of the computer I am investing in something more long-lasting and real. Maybe it's all virtual too (ahh the Matrix).

I know this is an incomplete musing leaving many spaces for well constructed comments critiquing my view. I'm cool with that. Comments are always welcome, even if you disagree with where I'm coming from (making you very clearly misguided and wrong). ;)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Nut v. McDonalds

Prepare yourself of a tale of woe. Jimmy, our plucky, though sometimes odd hero taking on the mega-corporation... Wait! Wait! Wait!

Wrong story, this story is about the Brazil Nut and the Brazilian economy. It is not in competition with a clown-faced corporate foe (and for all I know, Raunchy Ron's doesn't even use meat from that region anymore, though they probably do). Rather, it is the cutting of the Brazilian rainforests for ranching purposes that is endangering the Brazil Nut. This little nut, that goes around minding it's own business, could serve as a financial opportunity for many rural communities and a way to inspire protection rather than destruction of the rainforest. I must admit, I learned lots from that article. That's me, always learning. Bettering myself for the benefit of the world around me... Oh wait, that's not it... Procrastinating. Now that's a better description. Still, did you know that there are trace amounts of a carcinogenic toxin on the shells of Brazil Nuts? I sure didn't. Still, I'm not going to let it keep me from nuts that could be a key to a sustainable source of revenue in the Amazon Basin. Maybe it's all a ploy by the cattle-lobby. ;) More nuts, less meat.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Getting Lucky

No, this isn't going to be THAT kind of blog post. You have such a dirty mind. Instead, for those of you who feel that luck passes you by, an article that talks about some tricks to help you catch the good luck before it moves on to someone else.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beautiful Day

-16 degrees is not considered warm by many people. I'm not sure I'd like the people who do. Thankfully, cold doesn't necessarily have to mean bad. Today was a prime example. I couldn't help but take advantage of my proximity to Lake Ontario to stalk the mythical "Ghost Ferry". It was a successful hunt.

Ghost Ferry 1

It was nice to be out snapping again. It had been too long and any reminder to find beauty where you might not have expected it is good as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I know that I do, well... Stuff. Things to be proud of. Things not to be proud of. One thing I don't do, is ride 8000kms from the capital of Mongolia, Ulan Bator, to Calcutta, India on my bicycle. Thanks to the Banff Mountain Film Festival for reminding me that these opportunities are out there and some people take advantage of them.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Funny... Not Funny


From a junk e-mail I received today:

Hi. I am tatyana, 25 y.o., I am single

Are you looking for relations?

Don't get me wrong, I know the English language is a difficult one. Still, I don't think there's anything wrong with finding some amusement in it.

Not Funny:

There is a legal battle that has been taking place in France regarding the distribution of free soup to the homeless. First reaction: Food for the homeless? Great idea! But then you find out that those distributing the soup are intentionally distributing pork-based soup to fight the "Islamicization" of France. While the French government has deemed it illegal because it discriminates against Muslims and Jews, the nationalist organization has vowed to continue distributing the soup from private property to avoid the ruling. It is just such a bloody shame to see those in need of support being used to make a political statement. Nobody wins. Least of all: the homeless.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Feeling more joyous than sorrowful (but recognizing the place for both), I like this Swedish proverb (I know... Swedish proverb?!)

Shared joy is double-joy, and shared sorrow is half-sorrow.

And now in it's native Swedish (thanks Phil!)

Delad glädje är dubbel glädje

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy "Tell Them Day"!

Tell Them Day? Inspired by a Postsecret card, Tell Them Day is supposed to provide the added inspiration to share something with someone important to you that you haven't otherwise been able to tell them.

You know that thing you have been dying to tell someone? That thing you haven't been able to find the courage or the excuse to bring up? Well, now there's a day for it! tellthemday !

Who will you tell and what will you tell them?

Friday, January 19, 2007

We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.

- Anaïs Nin

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Give us this day, our daily bread...

I've mentioned my love for the Walrus before. And no, I am not talking about Paul or anything with tusks. My appreciation for this great Canadian magazine increased when last month's issue included a number of images and information from a book called Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. A wife and husband team (they're always husband and wife) visited 30 families around the world and photographed and listed all of the items each family consumed over the course of a week. Included were some calculations of the value of each of those food items. The value, quantity and quality differences are astounding. Find more information from the photographer/husband's website or from this article from U.S National Public Radio (which includes a few of the images). To see every food item consumed by each family every week is eye-opening in and of itself but the comparisions that can be made are shocking. If the old adage "you are what you eat" holds true, then I have fears for all of us.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The End of the World

Chicago is home to a rather peculiar clock. It is the warm-and-fuzzy-named "Doomsday Clock". Developed by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the end of World War II, it was designed to represent how close we as a planet were to Armageddon. Sad to think that the clock has never been more than 17 minutes from midnight (ie. The end of us all). Sadder yet that the clock was just moved to 11:55. That's just 5 minutes from... well, something bad. What's interesting is that the Atomic Scientists that maintain this scary timepiece included Climate Change in their calculations. No longer is nuclear annhialation the only way which we might conceivably bring about the end of the world, we've now added to the list. Aren't we imaginative? ;) Hopefully, we are in the midst of a sea change where Climate Change is being widely recognized as a threat to all of our well-being. Not to give the Canadian government any more credit than they deserve, there at least appears to be some understanding that what is happening is not good and doing something about it might not be such a bad idea (even if it's only to get votes).

Okay, that is enough conciousness-raising or being a downer (however you look at it). Now for something happy (literaly):


the absence of mental stress or anxiety [syn: peace]

Makes for a much nicer way to end a post, don't you think? ;)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

(More) Things that have made me smile so far today

- dry snow blowing off the roof of a house on the way to work, floating gently down towards the ground

- a student giving me a cheesy souvenir

- messenger

- the crunch and squeak of snow underfoot

- the irony that I give (really good) advice that I do not apply to my own circumstances

- a cheeky comment asking whether the cheesy souvenir was, in fact, cheese (It was actually a tiny clip-on Koala, holding a tiny boomerang and wearing an equally tiny "I love Australia" vest. They are clearly from the Netherlands ;) )

Monday, January 15, 2007

There you go. I've managed to get around to completing the tagging/labeling of all 206 posts. It was a bit of an interesting trip down memory lane. As a reader it would have it's own meaning. Having written it, there are the other parts, the background that returns. As much as I've said, you would have a hard time figuring out certain details of my life based on what I have written. That is the part that lets me be the mysterious of tall, dark and mysterious (was that supposed to be handsome?). Uh oh, I guess that means it makes me the mysterious of mysterious stranger (we all know I've got the stranger part down). I've got enough foibles (some coming to the fore) that I don't want to appear silly. I guess there's always more to anyone and I want to make sure that, good or bad, people around me know that.

I must admit, I'm somewhat embarassed at how many posts I labeled with "me". Then again, what is a blog besides a little useless navel-gazing? Thankfully, I've had plenty else. Lots of musings and plenty of links (I do like those links). I will declare my biases: based on my writing, every post could've probably had a "silly" label. Instead, I chose only to give those that stood-out that treatment.

Here's the breakdown so far:

factoids (23)
holiday (20)
links (92)
me (85)
musings (68)
photos (53)
quotes (5)
silly (30)
video (4)

P.S. Here's another post to add to the "me" pile. Sheesh! When will I get over myself? ;)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Earlier in the week I threw a quote at you as a way of avoiding sharing my thoughts directly. I recognize, though, that my selection of quotes belies my inner thoughts. Sure, I'm not baring my soul directly but I guess I am communicating a little more about myself than may be obvious at first glance. I promise not to communicate only in quotes but I am not going to stop sharing some now and then since they wouldn't be quotes if they didn't do a bang-up job of communicating someone's thoughts. If I happen to share those thoughts, then all the better. And feel free to add a (Wo) to the beginning of the quote. I don't think Gandhi would mind.

"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning"

-Mahatma Gandhi

The weekend

"I dare you to milk an elephant."

Tequila shots with kiwi chasers.


Corkless wine miracles.


Friday, January 12, 2007

State of the World

Enough of the state of me. I want to draw attention to the State of the World. Rather than mulling over the wonderful and terrible things going on around the planet I am actually drawing your attention to State of the World 2007 - An Urban Planet. Published by the Worldwatch Institute, this year's version of the annual volume "will show what is needed to foster sustainable cities." That would usually be reason enough to be posting about it but this time there's more. Yes more! Not only will you get a book that "presents a view of our changing world that we, and our leaders, cannot afford to ignore." You'll also receive, at no extra charge, a chapter written (in PART) by my very good friend Lena. Don't be the last on your block to get this life-changing book. Order yours... slowly... today.

To Lena: Way to go superstar!

Note: Sections in bold are not as straight-forward as they may appear. Think Rebus.