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)