Saturday, December 06, 2008

Perhaps a momentary hiatus from Canadian political intrigue is in order. I bet you never thought someone would mention the phrase "Canadian political intrigue" and mean it. In any case, this video made me smile. I had heard about Matt and even seen some of his dancing in the past. Still, it made me happy and maybe it'll work for you (even if you doubt that Stephen Harper will learn how to play well with others, despite what's gone on over the past couple of weeks).

You can find out more about Matt at: http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/

Friday, December 05, 2008

With Parliament suspended for the next 7 weeks I honestly don't think the coalition is going to stand a chance. Stephen Harper may have made some serious tactical blunders to get into this situation but you can be sure he's not going to continue his school-yard bullying tactics when he announces their budget on January 27. I have every expectation that there will be a number of things previously requested by the opposition parties which will undermine their argument that he's not interested in making Parliament work. I also have every expectation that it won't be long before he's back to his "my way or the highway" mentality. I am disappointed that things did not continue to allow the coalition a chance to govern as I am more confident in their abilities to represent Canadians than the Conservatives.

Perhaps most disturbing though is the inclination of people providing commentary online to go to the extreme. With so much activity on news sites and the individual commentary running fast and furious, I saw a lot of comments that were unequivocally black or white, 1 or 0. In light of this I found an interesting article discussing the concept of crime occuring where there are signs of neglect, and extending it to online spaces. I think that there are so many unmoderated avenues for people to provide commentary on anything and everything (my blog is a prime example) that people feel they can say anything. Including things that they might never say in a conversation with a "real" person. That also comes with a cloak of anonymity and both seem to make consensus-building difficult. That saddens me. One might hope that democracy relies on the voice of people being heard but I'm not sure that this method is a constructive step towards true democracy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The fun continues. As the Green's express their support, the Liberal/NDP coalition now has the support of parties that got 62% of the votes cast in Canada's 40th general election. It didn't take long for this to be a rallying point.

Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion both had time on national television this evening to share their perspective on how this process should play out. Stephen Harper didn't do much to change my perspective. I'm excited and hopeful about what the coming days will bring.

Monday, December 01, 2008

All is wild and wooly down Ottawa-way. A coalition of opposition parties is forming (a cabal if you're a Conservative-fan) and it looks like they're fixin' to knock the Conservative party out of power. I've always thought this was how minority governments were supposed to run. You know, finding middle-ground instead of bullying the smaller kids on the playground.

I've heard opinions that the Conservatives have the mandate to lead. I personally don't think that 37.6% of the popular vote gives one party the voice to speak for all Canadians. If the parties that represent 54.4% of the popular vote are working together that seems more democratic. Having said that I a) have never been a big fan of the "first-past-the-post" model and b) I can't honestly say what the likely response is going to be from the majority of Canadians. My hope is that they see it as a burden being lifted and that the parliament can function and represent the view of more Canadians and not the view of how the Conservative party sees us. Having said that, I can also see people reacting with disdain for political gamesmanship in the midst of economically trying times. Sure the (current) opposition parties can argue that they're doing this because the Conservatives aren't acting quickly enough on the economy but even I see that reason sliding by the way-side. Still, I find this an exciting time. Especially after a disappointing campaign and election. Maybe the first Canadian coalition government will surprise us all. It may be just the change we need/want/are going to get.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Howdy friends! (Though I venture that number is getting smaller and smaller, not due to anything particularly offensive I may have done, but rather the one month breaks between posts).

I'm in front of a new computer and it seemed a good occasion to take the time to touch in. It also doesn't hurt that I, ridiculously, set my alarm this fine Saturday morning. It took me a little thinking when the alarm went off to realize that it's the weekend. Of course I was awake by that point so up I got to start making the most of my day. It's just as well as I've got lots of work to be doing. I'll certainly be happy when these major special projects for work are out of the way.

December is right around the corner. That amazes me. Time does fly, and it seems to do so without the necessary planning and preparation. I know, I know, there is a great joy and value to living in the moment. It is something that I need to continue to develop. But I also feel that preparation and planning has a place in ensuring that we are our best selves and do the best job possible (instead of doing things the way we've always done them).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stars sparkle, but what about the light on your house? It seems that whether you are looking up or looking down, there's always something sparkling. Sure, a city or town looks beautiful from overhead but I find the lights of residential neighbourhoods specifically pretty as all the little things in between my eyes and those lights make for a sparkle of beauty that adds a little magic to the world.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Canada ♥'s Asbestos

Continual apologies for my spotty updates might get old but what can ya do? There's plenty on in my life and the life of others but my reason for posting today revolves around the Canadian government and the unsavoury negotiating positions it can take. Seeing Canada's "Environment Minister" (quotes represent irony) be a voice against Kyoto was quite frustrating. Remarkably, I find that less frustrating than the role Canada has played in ensuring that asbestos continues to be shipped around the world.

While climate change is (thankfully) being recognized as a huge potential risk to all of us, it is largely theoretical (particularly for those who doubted its existence in the past). Even those who have not questioned climate change and its risks have likely seldom seen damage done as its direct result.

Asbestos (in particular forms) on the other hand, is universally recognized as a carcinogenic hazard. Within Canada, extensive efforts have been made to protect people from exposure yet in 2006 Canada stood as the sole Western country trying to ensure the continued free movement of the product around the world. Remarkably, Canada looked to... Iran and Zimbabwe for support. That is would appear to be an "about-face" from most policy efforts undertaken by our government. Perhaps that's just my optimism speaking. Chances are there are more of these unsavoury stances being taken than I am aware of.

Again this week, countries are meeting to discuss a number of hazardous materials (including asbestos). I can only hope that Canada doesn't remain a voice against reason and that we might finally see the value in ending the production and distribution of such a dangerous product.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm not going to lie, the Canadian election results disappointed me. I envy many in the U.S. who are looking forward to change (and seem more and more likely to get it). As Canadians, we got what we wanted. I may not have wanted it, but even if we had proportional representation, the conservatives won the popular vote and would/will form the government. I was hoping we'd all be a little more forward-looking. It is interesting that many in the U.S. are craving change while the Canadian response to many similar issues was to stick-tight. I just wish that politics was less about tearing-down others and more about building us all up together. I feel that there is a distinct lack of that in politics.

Oh yeah, I jumped out of a plane today. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

While it's not a sign of my worldly nature, I've come across two things on other people's blogs and I want to share them with you. The first, a site dedicated to strategic voting in the upcoming Canadian election to ensure that the environment is protected. Vote for Environment is asking you to do just that. In ridings that polls consider to be close races, they advise voters not to split their vote between the Liberals, NDP and Greens but rather to rally behind a single candidate. I see nothing that describes a specific party affiliation, rather they just want to see the environment protected and don't see the Conservative party doing it. Funnily enough, neither do I. My riding seems likely to remain Liberal, both from my experience and according to their site. What about yours?

The second ill-gotten link is a Youtube video from Canada's own Feist. This time she's adapted her song 1,2,3,4 for the Sesame Street crowd. Cute!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blogging about blogs

I listened to some commentary this evening about how many political candidates have had to withdraw from the race (Canada will be holding a Federal Election on October 14) due to their blogs. More specifically their perspectives, posted for the world to see and saved in perpetuity thanks to the endless servers of google and their caching of webpages.

My mind moved immediately to my own (imaginary) political future and what my opponents would latch onto to bring me down. Any of you who have been reading my blog as regularly as I have posted may have your own ideas. Me, I honestly don't have a specific instance that comes to mind. I haven't railed against too much or made rash statements that I'm no longer willing to support. I wonder if the disgraced political candidates feel the same way. Maybe that speaks to the strength of their convictions or to their inability to understand that not everyone shares their views. Maybe it speaks to the harsh light that shines when the nation's media focuses on any one thing or maybe they deserved it because their views were not palatable to a large percentage of the voting public.

As for me, it'll probably be "No Pants Day" that brings me down.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Things seem hopeful. That shouldn't be noteworthy but, when it is... it is. Challenging times of the recent past seem like distant memories. This is a good thing but I'm working hard to remember what was hard about them and considering lessons that I may learn to carry me safely into the future.

Additionally, projects at work have a good feeling around them. It makes for a nice context in which to approach things.

Sorry for the lack of action of late. Pre-occupied and all that.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

At what point does optimism become unreasonable? Is the loss of optimism necessary in a pragmatic world or is it just a sad moment when hope is lost? As with any true conundrum, the truth takes aspects of both and as a result, neither is entirely true. I'm not optimistic about the current state of the world, and especially the type of world any children I might have would live in. But to choose not to have children would, in and of itself, represent a loss of optimism. I do not believe I am alone in my concerns about the state of the world, but does that stop others from becoming parents? Of course not. "Pragmatism" and optimism must live in harmony. Does that help me figure out where I stand. Perhaps. I guess I'll just have to be optimistic that I'll get it figured out.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kerr

Maybe I should live in New Zealand. It turns out I might be in pretty good company. I know New Zealand is great and running off and doing something new is certainly appealing, but this is actually more about a name. I was reading about a World Names Profiler this morning and thought I'd pop in my surname and see what it had to say. Well, it turns out that my surname comes up more than a 1000 times for every million people in NZ. That's more than any other country (if Scotland is considered part of Great Britain). Scotland itself has the largest concentrations of Kerrs, according to their research, which comes as no surprise considering the heritage of the name. But if Scotland isn't my speed, numerous regions of NZ follow closely, with Australia not far behind. No wonder I felt so comfortable when I visited those parts of the world.

Interestingly, Antrim in Northern Ireland is the city with the largest concentration, followed by some Scottish cities and then Bartlesville, Oklahoma of all places. Maybe a road trip is in order.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

-- Harriet Van Horne

Seen at the very tasty Milford Bistro in beautiful Prince Edward County.

The quote was both inspiring and challenging though I'm not sure whether more for cooking or love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm working on my magical goal. I have tried to be the change that I want to see and I feel good about that. Of course, it may not bring magic to me in the ways that I envisioned but I trust that it is taking me in the right direction. Now if only I could feel that way about all aspects of my life. Having said that, the goal that I have set out for myself speaks to all aspects of my life even if I'm not enacting it throughout. I hope that makes sense.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I had a moment of clarity last night in the midst of a cloud of flu/cold-iness. No, I'm not talking about decongesting. Rather, I feel like I had a epiphany about what I want more of in life. It's just one word. That doesn't mean it's simple, but it's a good target:

Magic.

Friday, August 08, 2008

And it keeps getting weirder...

Turns out the woman who loves boogers so much has quite the history.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pet cloning service bears five baby Boogers

(Im)Maturity wins the day! I couldn't help but post a link to an article with that kind of by-line.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Etiquette lessons from an up-and-comer

It is one week to the beginning of the 2008 Summer Olympics in beautiful (and somewhat less polluted) Beijing. The auspicious 08/08/08 will arrive and with it, many thousands of people for China's "coming-out party". Without digging deeply into my conflicted thoughts and feelings about China's selection as the host country I would like to highlight an article I just read. It references the efforts of the government to change the populace in very direct ways. I find it culturally very interesting as many of the concerns never seemed to be considered a problem before. More than teaching etiquette, they seem to be promoting (largely) western ideals. Who wins? Who loses? I wonder.

Back from the... Well, back anyway.

Apologies to anyone who may still find their way here. My blogging has fallen off severely in recent months and I'm not completely clear on why. Plenty to process has been part of it, I guess. But considering how many things I do to escape my thoughts and responsibilities, I'd have thought the blogging could've served such a purpose (even if there was nothing juicily personal). And so, I'm back. Regularly? We'll see. In any case, you're here, I'm here and that's a good start.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hi, my name is Justin.

You may remember me from such blog posts as "No Pants Day - Not just for men anymore" and "Your mother is a snowblower".  I'm just stopping by to wish you a happy "Happiest Day of the Year".

Hopefully, I'll be back soon.  Who knows, maybe we can celebrate this happy day together.  Just not now.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Aloha friends.  Sad that a month has passed since I last shared something with you in this forum.  Note that I can't even claim that it was something of interest.  For those of you who have been visiting regularly in hopes of updating I apologize.  That, and maybe it's time to learn more about RSS feeds. ;)

Life has continued, as it is inclined to do (thankfully).  I welcome the arrival of spring/summer though I still find myself spending unreasonable amounts of time indoors.  I can only hope that will change, though my posts may not become any more regular as a result (I know it would be hard for them to become any less regular).

I find myself taking a bit of wisdom from here, some clarity from there.  Perhaps it's the route to happiness and wholeness but I manage to let myself just see it as indecision or indifference.  Sigh. 

Saturday, April 12, 2008

You may or may not know that to go with this randomly-updated blog I have an even-more-randomly-updated photoblog. Not to be confused with my flickr account (who's photos are likely cycling to the right ->), my photoblog allows me to make sure that none of the photos I post truly disappear.

Neither this blog or my photoblog are particularly popular. That's fine, I'm not in it for fame. The photoblog in particular gets very few visits. I have found something peculiar about many of those visits that it does get though. You see, I have a "statcounter" on my blogs so I can find out how many visits there have been while also learning a little more about each visit. One thing that I can find out is what page the visitor came in from. If that was a "search" page like google, I can also see what their search-term was. Well, you could certainly have painted me surprised when I found out the most common search term that was leading people to my photoblog. I was surprised at the frequency combined with the content. Most visits were targeting a specific page (and the photo that was on it). This is where I have to take some responsibility. You see, I thought I was being witty when I named the photo. I thought it was entirely fitting, if a little irreverent. Perhaps I should show you the image that is drawing the attention.

Syphilis

I imagine you're asking yourself what has drawn all these visitors. To be fair, I don't think this is exactly what most visitors had in mind. To those who searched for and found this photo, I hope it provided a smile or maybe even a little laugh.

The name? Syphilis.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Improving efficiency and other environmental efforts are commonly thought of as expensive and more "window dressing" than tangible change. Thanks then go to Randall Knox of Adobe Systems Inc. (and innumerable others) for showing the concrete financial and environmental benefits of improving efficiency. Now if only our elected leaders could provide some leadership in this respect.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Man tells police 'I've been raped by a wombat'

I'm sure glad I read news from around the world. Otherwise I might never have found this.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maybe if I turned my "tightwad" nature towards spending more on others, I'd feel less pain and more happiness around money.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hello. My name is Justin, and I'm a tightwad.

To be fair, I'm hoping I'm only a quasi-tightwad. Still, I understand the pain they refer to when spending money. One would hope that spending money would be an easier and more pleasant activity as there is little to be gained by just sitting on it. I guess I'm just giving myself room to improve.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Two things I learned today.

1) A bear can be convicted of a crime.
2) There is a genre of music known as "turbo-folk".

Who says keeping up with the "News" is a waste?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Understanding my contradictory nature, I lament that people don't care what's going on in the world and then promptly click on the link to get more juicy details on Heath Ledger's will while bypassing the link about multiple suicide-bombings in Lahore.

As if that weren't bad enough, my ongoing concern about the future of our planet has been eclipsed by my disappointment with CBC for the decision to cancel JPod.

In better news, snow pickles have been captured on film.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hello. My name is Justin, and I'm a photo-holic.

I got tickets to see Hawksley Workman last night (Thanks E!). While I absolutely loved the show, I couldn't help but take photos. In fact, I can't think of many activities that I have been a part of where I haven't thought about how I could capture it on film. Concerts, trips, walks around the neigbourhood. I always find myself wanting to take pictures (you can see the latest on my Flickr page, by the way) (or on the right-side of the page). There's nothing inherently wrong with pictures (in my cultural experience anyway), but I worry that it gets in the way of merely living and enjoying the experience.

Damn brain! Why won't you mind your own business?!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bigger. Better. Best. Perfect.

Ugh.

I feel like I can be ruled by those four opening words. I try to avoid "keeping up with the Jones'" but I covet all too often. It is not a pleasant place to be as it implies that the status quo isn't good enough. I think that's the biggest problem for me.

Interestingly, I can those four words out of my life in some circumstances. Sports are usually something where competitiveness comes a distant second to playing well and enjoying myself. Clearly I need to start taking lessons from myself and apply that constructive context to the rest of my life.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Uhhh... Somebody left their air conditioner on and their door open. It's -20 degrees celcius outside. That is one mean air conditioner.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another one for the "Duh!" files

Botox linked to severe side effects, deaths: FDA.

While the most severe cases seem to focus on a less common use of the drug, why should it come as a surprise that a form of the botulism toxin would result in side effects?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Things that have caught my eye

- Two articles about a Canadian inventor who has developed something as yet unexplained by the laws of physics. Perpetual motion?

- Exxon wins freeze on Venezuela assets. In response to the "nationalization" of oil production in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, Exxon went to court and got a hold put on $12US Billion worth of assets in hopes of getting more of their investment back from the government. A part of me thinks that's good as Hugo has made a mess of things by being heavy-handed with these dealings. Still, it reminds me of the immense power of multinational corporations. Canada could face it's own similar challenges as it increases the cost to oil companies to exploit the oil sands in Alberta. And this, when Canada (and Alberta in particular) doesn't seem to be truly looking toward the future. Norway seems to be looking toward the future while taking care of itself and it's citizens today (at least with respect to oil).

- While deemed "accidental", I find it sad that Heath Ledger had prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. Sadder still, is the amount of time and attention dedicated to this admittedly sad situation in the face of the truly horrible things going on in the world (as was highlighted well by a friend of mine).

- It's the Year of the Rat.

Monday, February 04, 2008

3,100,000,000,000

That's a whole 'lot o' zeros! It's also the proposed U.S. Budget (in US dollars) for the fiscal year ahead. By the way, that represents 3.1 trillion. Split amongst every citizen of the United States, everyone would get $10,000! Instead, increases are inline with defence concerns: 7.5% for the Defence Department, 11% for Homeland Security and 17% for customs and immigration. Yow! All this while trying to cut $200 billion dollars (over 5 years) from Medicare and Medicaid. I think you can pick up that I am not a big fan of U.S. government priorities. Then again, I'm not a big fan of Canadian government priorities for the most part either. Thankfully they're not throwing the same amount of money around.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Again with the apologies... I find that I can spend ridiculous amounts of time in front of the computer but can't always bring myself to stick around when it comes time to write in here. Maybe it's 'cause it's cold around my computer. Maybe it's 'cause I'm lazy. Meh.

The world presents us with only what we can process. No. The world presents us with everything. We choose what to process and how to process it. Whether we wear rose-coloured glasses or walk a mile in someone elses shoes, how we perceive the world is entirely dependent on our state of mind and the capability of that mind to interpret what it senses. I believe that the world is much more than we perceive in our little human pea-brains. I also think that every once-in-a-while we get a glimpse into a part of the world that we haven't experienced before but are usually so set in our own reality to understand it. It is this belief that brings me to the snow pickle. I mean, what other explanation is there for a pickle, pleasantly iced, presumably crunchy and definitely green, sitting on the sidewalk in the midst of my walk to work? I, for one, believe that Bicks Canada was trying to do us all a service by educating us and sharing with us a different reality through their recent series of ads. I believe that the poor frozen creature that I saw on the sidewalk was a pickle that yearned for freedom, for a life outside of its jar. Success was in its grasp. Its inability to check weather reports and lack of understanding of Canadian winters alas, were its downfall. And so the pickle ended its short life on the sidewalk with its last crunch not being between our teeth, but rather underfoot on a blustery January day.

It didn't need to be that way. The world presented another glimpse into other life. This glimpse leads me to believe that the snow pickle may have had support. You see, I had occasion to witness the common fire hydrant in its natural environment. While ostensibly a tool for our protection, this particular hydrant inadvertently shared a secret. As the light shone with the rising sun, my walk allowed me to witness the hydrant wearing a hat. Knit, and not unlike a toque (commonly worn by Canadian humans in winter - save for those of us too vain to mess up our hair), this hydrant's headgear let me know that it too felt the cold of winter. I realized that it too was in the process of escaping. Unlike its crunchy green friend, the hydrant had a good chance of surviving as it knew the conditions to expect and dressed appropriately. I can only believe that it is far from Kingston now. Perhaps it has joined the ranks of the few, the proud, the train-travelling hobos. It may be far from here now, but I will always remember it, and thank it, for helping me see outside of my life and my experience (and for reminding me that if I don't want to be green and crunchy, I had better not forget my hat).

Monday, January 21, 2008

1/8W+(D-d)3/8xTQMxNA = Blue Monday

You're probably not reading this until at least January 22. If that's the case, start smiling. Why? Because you've made it through the most depressing day of the year. For some (like those with money in stock-related investments) you don't need the calculation above to understand why. But, the equation didn't count on the stock markets. It considers how far after Christmas (and how close to holiday bills coming due) amongst other things.

I knew I felt "off" today. I guess I've got an excuse.

The Snow Pickle is still out there...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stay tuned for the Snow-Pickle Chronicles. Coming soon.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm a big fan of the CBC. Maybe it's a patriotic part of my soul. Maybe it's wanting to be aware of the goings-on of the world. I listen to their radio stations, get excited at the prospects of their tv shows finding success and I read their news on the web. I generally enjoy their approach to news but I must admit I was somewhat disappointed in how they presented a recent story. With sections for news stories covering Canadian News, World News, Business News, Technology, Sports, etc., I was disappointed to see a story about French President Nicolas Sarkozy considering the concept of including happiness in measures of national well-being being shown in the "Diversions" section. This is the same section where they talk about a guy finding a pearl in his oyster meal at a restaurant.

I personally think that considering people's overall well-being and happiness rather than just their financial well-being should be a central effort of a government. Only when these stories are the mainstream stories will we really see governments change their approach.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I have an admission to make about the last post. I do not actually know how long donkeys live. Therefore, I am only guessing at how long three donkeys ages would be. I hope you can forgive me.

Also, for any of you with Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, you're safe for a while. But if you were a victim of half-Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia you'd have a problem as the last post was my 333rd.

Aren't you glad I've been keeping you in stupid posts since 2006?
I've managed to slide into 2008 largely avoiding the tendency for reflection on 2007 or planning what I see happening in 2008. There is a part of me that is happy about that as those activities are somewhat clich├ęd and arbitrary (just because our calendar year changes does not make January 1 any better than any other day for reflection). Of course, there is also a part of me that considers it an opportunity lost. As I regularly feel my life would benefit from review and planning, I should probably jump at every chance. Alas... I don't think I've started a sentence with "Alas" in three donkeys ages. Alas, while one chance to reflect and plan has passed, each new day brings with it another opportunity. Now, if I could just get around to it, I'd be set.