All Hallows E’en

30 10 2012

So here’s my ever-so-slightly geeky entry for my office pumpkin carving competition tomorrow…

Pumpkin Pi

Self Respect

30 10 2012

I came upon this here.

I was using StumbleUpon, my new best friend. (I was no longer sufficiently serving my previous best friends, so they walked away. 🙂 )

It got me thinking… as trivial things often will. On the face of it, it seems sensible enough. Respect yourself enough to avoid harm from others or situations that are belittling to who you are. But then I re-read it a few times. “No longer serve you”. Hm. “… or makes you happy”. Hmm, hmm.

I actually think it goes way beyond suggesting self-respect, and actually encourages self-love.

I know, I know, it’s just some cheap throw-away “daily dose” kind of thing, but it hints at a wider malaise, I think. The more we think of ourselves and our own well-being, the less we think of others. The less we think of others, the greater the distance we place between ourselves and our community. The more isolated we become. In the end there is nobody who CAN respect, or love us, because nobody even knows us! We interact via “social media” rather than by being truly social. We find personal connections via websites rather than conversations.

Does our family serve us? Should we then walk away?

Should we abandon our angst-ridden teenager because they’re most definitely not making us happy right now?

Of course we should respect ourselves, as we should respect others. (I remember that from “The Scout Law” I learned as an 11 year old!) But that falls far short of being self-centred. Sometimes we have the greatest respect for ourselves when we put ourselves out there. Doing things that are personally uncomfortable in order to bring someone else relief, or ease their pain in some way.

Or just smile at a stranger. No reason. Just because they looked like they could use one.

Will Rogers

30 10 2012

There are three kinds of men:
The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

— Will Rogers (1879-1935)

That’s one very wet road…

28 10 2012

It rains a lot in BC. But not THIS much.

OK, so it’s PhotoShop… but don’t under-rate the skill of execution and most importantly THE IDEA in the first place.

Kudos, I say.

Art and Photography.

I will remember … via Redamancy Lit

28 10 2012

Yegods – Oh, to be able to write like that!
28 words. A kick in the chest and a long-simmering effect.

Redamancy Lit

I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love,
and how you gave me everything you had
and how I offered you what was left of me.

– Charles Bukowski


damn it, bukowski.

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That time of year again…

28 10 2012

Autumn is an odd time of year for me.

The scents can be warm and heady – spices, mulled wine, bonfires, burning leaves, weed (this is BC and there’s a lot of teenager-infested parks around here! 🙂 )

The colours are stunning of course. Back in the UK they were predominantly yellow/brown, but here the large-leafed North American oaks and of course the many maple varieties bring a wider gamut including some astounding reds and peach/orange hues.

I sometimes still feel unaccountably melancholy, and enjoy time alone, walking in the rain, splashing in puddles, and thinking my thoughts without the judgement or influence of others.

Yesterday treated us to steady rain – oh and a Tsunami warning late in the evening (why should the East Coast have all the drama?) I particularly enjoy steady rain. I am well equipped for it, being originally from Yorkshire, and most people are far more sensible and stay indoors. This leaves the entire neighbourhood exclusively to me and my camera. The hood on my waterproof is ample to protect my camera with its 50mm lens, and off we go…

Soooo cool!

27 10 2012

Now this hotel is such a brilliant concept! Next to no maintenance needed, the rooms self-clean, and the guests self-select to not be unduly picky!

The Minimalist Hotel: Spend The Night In A Portaledge : TreeHugger.

Not great if you’re a somnambulist (though it may provide a ahem permanent cure) or have a small bladder.


Options are  TreeHotel in Sweden or Waldseilgarten in Bavaria.

The White Deer

27 10 2012

Hong Kong-based artist Peony Yip goes by the name of The White Deer.

I really like this style of using two different techniques in the same image. It echoes the differences between the genders, but the beauty of the whole when a meaningful connection is made.

As Burt once said…

27 10 2012

Albert Einstein is remembered for his genius in mathematics and physics. A great thinker by pretty much any measure.

But he also had strong views on religion, love and more human things.

There appear to be no source references, but this site claims quite a diverse range of quotes from Big Al. Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein.

A couple of my own favourites:

  • “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
  • “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
  • “Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.”
  • “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
  • “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
  • “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

I can’t help thinking he was “real” and not hung up on his own brilliance. In my own life, I have met maybe 2 or 3 truly brilliant people. Only one – the first – was able to relate effectively with the real world and not need to exist in the rarefied atmosphere that some clever people think they deserve.

Whether it’s through sharing knowledge, perspectives, emotions, a “perfect” greeting card, or even a “special leaf” – there are a handful of people we will interact with in our time on this spinning rock who will truly make a difference to who we are, and how we live our lives. We may not recognise it at the time. We may not be able to keep them close. But the change is made, and the effect is strong and long-lasting.

Someone once told me we are only capable of changing “who we are” a total of 5% in our lifetime. I’m not so sure (I also heard we were 99% the same as chimps and pretty similar to mushrooms, so 5% seems a lot), but I accept that our inner core is pretty unshakable, and that it is non-trivial to change our core behaviours. But it is possible, and it does happen.

What interactions have helped make you who you are today?

  • A teacher?
  • An author of an amazing book you once read?
  • The creator of a great art piece you felt moved by?
  • A blender of fine teas?
  • A lover?

Oh come on!

26 10 2012



Feeling a bit peckish, the owner of “Mike” the chicken went to convert him into meat, lost his nerve as the axe swung and only chopped off  “most” of his head.

Mike lived 18 months (allegedly!) being fed through the neck by a pipette.

Mike the Headless Chicken | The Green Box. (It’s in French)