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.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Slow Down You Move Too Fast,...

... You gotta make the morning last!

You might be feelin' groovy but that doesn't mean that things aren't flying by at a pace that you can't sustain (or just don't want to). Enter International Slow Down Week (January 14-20, 2007):

For one week, instead of running to catch the bus or zipping in and out of traffic, try walking to work. Instead of grabbing take-out on the way home, cook a meal with your family. Leave the TV and computer off, and play an old-fashioned board game, or just sit and catch up with family and friends. If possible, take a day off work -- and then while it away with a long walk and an afternoon nap.

Thanks to Adbusters for the reminder. I don't know if slow is necessarily the answer for me. Not to devalue the Slow Food, Slow Cities, Slow E-mail or Slow Sex Movements (Find more about these in Carl Honoré's In Praise of Slow(ness), or at the book's website and blog. By the way, the (ness) is for the American market. I feel like the important part is being deliberate, whatever your speed. I could use a good dose of deliberate in many aspects of my life at the moment. Maybe this, along with Goethe's Commitment will be a useful inspiration.

The question is: Do I deliberately stop clickity-clicking and head for bed, or do I rush out to by the book?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ever wondered what was making news in, say, Slovenia? What about the Northern Mariana Islands? Maybe Guinea-Bissau? Wonder no longer. Mondo Times will help you find media from those countries and more. Go ahead, expand your bubble (just don't burst mine).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Another artificial milestone. Two hundred posts. It's hard to believe that I've had that much to say and share in the past year-and-a-bit.

As at many points on this journey, I'm at a transitionary point. Exciting? Sure. Challenging? Somewhat. Still, it's all part of the adventure. Perhaps this should be my "New Year's". This could be a point to make a resolution for the posts/year ahead. I guess I could come up with something to share with you but I'm resolutionless at the moment (and yes, I am aware of the irony of that situation in light of the content of what follows). Instead, I'm going to leave you with a great quote that was kindly sent my way after the last Goethe quote I posted. Maybe it will resonate with you as it has with me.


Until one is committed,
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.

Concerning acts of initiative (and creation)
There is one elementary truth
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas
And splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits oneself
Then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one's favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material assistance
Which no man could have dreamt
Would come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now.


Monday, January 08, 2007

... of the year

Who gets to choose the ... of the year? I bet we could all get together and choose something. Holiday card of the year? Most embarrassing photo?

It seems there's some disagreement about who gets to choose the word of the year. In December, "Truthiness" was named the word of 2006 by the good folks at Merriam-Webster (dictionary publishers). But just today, "Plutoed" was chosen by the American Dialect Society as their word of 2006. While I'm entertained by "Truthiness" (a creation of Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report), I think I'm more inclined to use "Plutoed" in a sentence. "To pluto" is:

"to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet."

I imagine we've all been "plutoed" at one time or another. I know I have.

Who's to say that dictionary publishers or professional word geeks should have the final say on the word of 2006? What's yours?

UPDATE: It turns out that the folks at Merriam-Webster may not be as good as I thought. The American Dialect Society selected "Truthiness" as their word of 2005, a full 11 months before M-W chose it. Hmmm, there's some word wackiness afoot here.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

In order to avoid delving into my own psyche I am going to provide you with another quote to chew on.

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

A quote for all of us (politicians especially)

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

-R. Buckminster Fuller

Friday, January 05, 2007

Leave it to... UPDATED

- Vanity Fair to tell me that Russians drink, on average, 4 GALLONS of vodka per year.

- The Globe and Mail to tell me that Algeria is Canada's largest trading partner in Africa and the Middle East.

- Columnist Dave Barry to tell me that the United States has a "strategic helium reserve" in case they ever have a sudden need for a fleet of dirigibles.

- The Cornwall Standard Freeholder to tell me that the average income of the 100 top-paid Canadian corporate executives by 6pm on January 2nd is $70,000.

- My mother to tell me I'm cool, and my brother to kindly echo the sentiment in the comments.

- TV to tell me that I'm not cool.

- Me to tell me that this is silly (and the internet can be bad for your brain).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"It's the most wonderful time of the year."

No. Stop. This is not a Christmas song! Sure, Christmas was a wonderful time with friends and family but it is not the focus of my attention at the moment. Rather, I'm talking about this being a busy time at work. Lots of late nights this week but well worth it (remind me of this statement if I fall ill). The busy times tend to be the most fulfilling for me, even as I embrace my ability to waste time. Thankfully, busy for me often means knowing I've helped people out and who doesn't feel good about that? Yes, I know. Scrooge and Mr. Burns, that's who. Quit answering my rhetorical questions! ;)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Would you like to find out more about... well, everything? If you think I come up with links, check out Arts and Letters Daily. Updated six times a week, there's something for most inquiring minds. If you can't find something that interests you, you're either not trying hard enough or you're sleeping.


Just letting you know I'm back in Kingston working away (was in 'til 11 last night). I'll type more at you soon.