Showing off the Family Silver

28 03 2013

Today I was most honoured when kalyrical offered me a blogging award. The Sunshine Award, no less. And here it is, all shiny and freshly polished.

The Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award

I’d be interested to trace where this one originated. Looks like a marigold (not the rubber gloves).

When I first began blogging back in 2011, I was a bit non-plussed when I started to get these things. To the point where I actually stopped displaying them on my blog. It’s not why I wrote my pieces and lobbed them into the ether. Not for “rewards” or recognition. I’m not even sure now why I do it.

Certainly to begin with it was to get things off my chest. Occasionally it still serves that purpose. More often though it’s simply to share cool stuff I’ve stumbled across one way or another. I do like to share things I’ve learned though, so it’s a particular pleasure when I get comments indicating that a reader has found something of interest to them on these pages, or has perhaps even been inpired (presumably by stimulation of the “I could do better than that rubbish” gene). It’s also fun writing inflammatory things occasionally, just to see if anyone’s awake and paying enough attention to notice. ūüėÄ

So – thanks kalyrical, and what do I have to do to keep this lovely trinket? Ah – the usual “10 questions” plus “pass it on”.

Here goes then…

1. Who is your favourite philosopher?

Hm – start with the easy ones then, I see!

I did consider Lennon. He’s definitely up there with the deep thinkers: “Woman, I know you understand the little child inside your man.” A little more tangible I think you’d agree than “I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.¬†I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob“.

In the end though, I settled on Charles M. Schulz. If you don’t know who he is… all I can say is “good grief”.

2. What is your favourite number?

Oo – now this one is more fun. I almost said ŌÄ, but in the end I settled on¬†Avogadro’s¬†number. He didn’t seem to mind sharing it though, so it’s not really just his any more. I remember learning about it in Chemistry class when I was about 14. I loved the way his name ran over the tongue (leaving tyre tracks if you weren’t careful).¬†6.022√ó1023. The number of¬†something-or-others in a thingy. Very important stuff at the time, I can tell you! I didn’t get where I am today¬†by not knowing how many thingies in a doodah.

I also vaguely remember it had something to do with moles…Talpa europaea MHNT.jpg

3. What is your favourite animal?

Obviously human beings! They’re so much fun to watch rushing around their little cages trying to get somewhere.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter  identities?

Don’t have Facebook, and I’m not telling you my Twitter. So there! ūüėõ

5. What is your favourite time of day?

Now. It is informed by all the times before it, and the ones to come might not. Come that is. (It’s a more common problem than you think.)

6. What is your favourite holiday?

Public holiday? None of them really. I do like Pancake Day, but it’s not a holiday really.

7. What is your favourite physical activity?

I was going to say “sex”, but that’s more of a mental activity these days. Recently, I’d have to say snowshoeing, though hiking generally is lots of fun.

8. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Tea of course. I’m from Yorkshire!

9. What is your favourite flower?

The White Rose of Yorkshire. These questions are getting too easy. Actually, I’m quite fond of the heady scent from freesias and daffodils. I find them very intoxicating.

10. What is your passion?

Depends. I’m a very obsessive person, so I tend to have a passion du jour. There are a few constants/frequent returns though.

Scouting is one. Reading is another. Making people laugh. Correcting English people who say sked-yule instead of shed-u-al for schedule. Americans may be excused – as a country they’re still in short pants at a mere 400+ years old – but English people have no valid reason to be so lazy… ¬†ūüėČ

It’s almost as bad as cutting your food with a knife and fork, putting the knife down and swapping your fork into the other hand to eat it. I mean… come on! How can that make sense in anyone’s book?!

OK then, that wasn’t too bad. I’m supposed to “pass it on” now. Like an STD or something, I suppose. So – who have I been reading a lot recently?

  1. Sheriji, of course, at Just Sayin’¬†and more recently at¬†A Day in the Life of Really Not a Guru¬†Always supportive and with a sly humour that comes out occasionally. She also turns a blind eye to my many gentle digs at Americania.
  2. samferdafolk Some amazing sketches from the Maritimes and Iceland.
  3. the zero vector A newcomer to the blogosphere. lea im netz is from Spain and/or Germany via Norway to study in Vancouver. Nothing unusual there really.
  4. Questionable Evolution Erin Zimmerman is studying in Montréal and tells us about some of the weirder results of evolution. weirder than us, even!
  5. Lance’s Travels¬†Ah, now I always enjoy reading about Lance’s travels. He’s been around the block, and tells a good yarn about the journey to-boot.

So… that’s it then. Job done. With a disturbing sound of the snap of rubber gloves, I get to keep the¬†coveted¬†marigold: The Sunshine Award.

Just for old times sake, I’ve dusted off the the other awards I’ve been offered over the last couple of years, just to remind myself…

The Versatile Blogger: offered by Sarah Alice on The Adventures of an English Student

Reader Appreciation Award: offered by sheriji

The HUG Award: offered by kianys who sadly seems to have left our giddy little party

The following were a bit more vague… I didn’t actually do anything to get them, since the rules had been lost in the mist of time. Or packets on the interwebs. Or soup. Or something.

7×7 Links Award: offered by Kianys

Kreativ Blogger: offered by Kianys

Tell me about yourself: offered by Kianys

ABC Award: offered by Kianys





Unaccustomed as I am…

2 10 2012

So I first got into this blogging lark at the tail end of 2011. I was in Belo Horizonte, Brazil at the time on business, and feeling a bit “meh”. A colleague suggested I start a blog to exorcise my demons, or maybe it was to exercise my¬†deviance, I forget now. So here I am, almost a year later looking at things a little differently.

The planet’s spun itself around about 300 times since then. The music hasn’t stopped yet, thankfully. To my knowledge nobody’s been reported as having been thrown off or floated away, despite the fact that if they lived at the equator, they’ve been for a roundabout ride at roughly 1,600km/h! The third rock itself has almost done a complete lap of our little sun, travelling at around¬†107,300 km/h. Quite astonishing really… and we take it all for granted.

Lots of water has flowed under the bridge in that time. I’ve changed jobs, travelled to Europe, visited Salt Lake City and Phoenix, drunk an¬†immeasurable¬†quantity of Russian Caravan tea, experienced some incredible friendship, hiked both the Grouse and the Stawamus Chief every way imaginable, been eaten alive (by mosquitoes… what were you thinking?), discovered some new World Music, learned an awful lot about myself – some of it pretty uncomfortable, some of it surprising.

Where was I before I got distracted? Oh yes – Brazil. So anyway, as well as having travelled untold miles/kilometres* (*delete as applicable in your locale) going nowhere in galactic terms, I have also typed in and posted 490 blog entries, and had a few hundred comments on them in return. Feeling quite smug with myself really – despite still¬†having¬†just as many demons and¬†deviances¬†as before. At least they’re all neatly¬†alphabetised¬†and cross-indexed now. Well – the ones I’ve found so far.

So today I got a comment telling me I was now the recipient of a blogging award! Not had one of those for a while. Was a little taken aback really. Always nice to feel noticed, especially when you’re not particularly expecting it. Unless you’re a bank robber I suppose.

Anyway, sheriji¬†over on Just Sayin’ offered me The Reader Appreciation Award. Aw shucks – thanks!! If you’ve not visited her blog yet, you’d best be working on a good excuse! She was kind enough to describe these humble pages as “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, but all about life and our reactions to it. Plus I always want to know, quieter than what?” The answer to that of course is quite¬†irrelevant. (Please don’t make me explain…)

Inevitably there’s some “rules” (self-imposed. Aren’t they always?) to follow.

1.¬† When I pass it on, I provide a link to¬†the giver’s post, and thank the blogger who nominated me.

So thank-you sheriji – really. I’m glad you found a few crumbs of entertainment here.

2.  Answer 10 questions within my own blog.

My favourite colour

Hm… when I was a kid, it used to be red. I remember being over the moon when I was 8 and being in “red team” on sports day, and getting to wear a red sash for the egg and spoon race. Then as I got older this became associated in my mind with politics, so I decided I¬†should like blue. These days, it depends what mood I’m in. I like ambiguity. Except when I crave certainty. Greenish-bluish makes me smile. Especially when it’s really grey with attitude, but nobody dare argue.

My favourite animal to include in a story?

Though I have yet to write the story, it’d have to be the echidna. Not an echidna, THE echidna. I did once write a story about a goldfish. But it wasn’t my favourite.

My favourite non-alcoholic drink while writing?

While doing anything: tea! Writing, talking, philosophising, or just floating in the moment.

Printed books or e-books?

Printed. I’m old-school with words. I write with an ink pen (which I refill every Friday to make sure I don’t run out of ink at a crucial moment). I love the texture of a well-made book – even if I can’t read its words. I also like the musty smell of old browning paperbacks. Weird? Who? Me?! I did win a Kobo eReader last Christmas, and I have used it. But, it’s just NOT the same… Like a text-message conversation is not the same as looking into the eyes of the person you’re sharing ideas with. It’s more than a means of representing the words. It’s part of the experience.

My favourite writer(s) now?

Terry Pratchett is always “up there” – he has such wit and breadth. I am sad for his failing health with Alzheimer’s – I liked the old him, and business and books being what they are, I’ll never know the new him.

I like Giles Milton too, for non-fiction.

As I turn to look at my bookcase for anyone else I might especially like, I am struck by the wide diversity of what I see there!

Jasper Fforde I guess should be there. The Eyre Affair was such a great concept.

My favourite writer(s) ten years ago?

Well Pratchett was still churning them out faster than I could read them back then, so he’s still on the list.

Philip K Dick. He couldn’t write for toffee, but boy did he have some great story ideas!

I read a lot of Ranulph Fiennes back then. What a life that guy has lived!

John Wyndham. What Dick could have been. Each book a great central idea, but much more well delivered with richer characters and human depth.

My favourite poet – Classic & Current?

I’m not really that well read in poetry.

I remember having to read a poem by e e cummings¬†with my class when I was in Primary School, and being awestruck that he dared to break the rules of English, even when I barely knew them myself. Of course, now I’m more cynical and think his typewriter was just broken. I believe it was “hist whist“, if you’re interested. Yup – that’s right: I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I remember what poem I had to read in front of assembled parents 40 years ago!

I think of songs as poetry (some listen to the tune, I like the words). I love Fiona Apple‘s imagery, but John Lennon will always be the master for me, with Roger Waters a close second.

My favourite time of day to write?

When I have something to say! I think we make time to do the things that matter to us. We take risks and break rules to do what we think is “right” or “important”… whatever those words mean to us at any given moment. We justify not doing things by claiming there was no time or some rule prevented us. Really it was because we didn’t think it was important enough right there, right then.

What is your passion when it comes to your writing?

Passion is a strong word!

I like to be entertaining. Witty if possible. Educational possibly. Sometimes sneaky or wriggly.

[That’s only 9!! It’s the engineer in me… I notice things like that. Or maybe I’m just anally retentive.]

LATE EDIT: I traced the daisy chain back and found where the 10th question went. I was asked to offer a substitution, so here it is…

Which of the five senses do you value the most?

I think they’re all important obviously. We’ve evolved them as a “necessary and sufficient” set. However, we’re really good with this brain thing too, so we can adapt. I think I’d have the toughest time losing my sight. If I’d never seen at all, it might be different, but now, I think I’d struggle to not have those glimpses of other people living their lives. The changes of the colours in the trees. Glint of sun on water. I think the other senses would heighten, but I’d always mourn the loss of seeing a child smile when they see their parent. A lover’s glance over a dinner table. A raised eyebrow in signalled mischief.

3.  Nominate other blogs that I find a joy to read. (Ten is recommended)

I don’t think I regularly read that many, but let’s see how we do…

Photo . Lord Content – a daily photo competition that has some unbelievable images posted

Misfits’ Miscellany – Fostering poetry and writing that others might not. A good virtual friend to-boot. And believe me, if we ever meet, I’ll boot him!

Breathtaking Portraits – Wha’? It’s art… honest!

Scout Magazine – For what’s happening in Vancouver, my adopted home.

Howtodateboys – An insight into how women think. (I’m none the wiser, but it’s heart-felt and honest)

illustration & calligraphy – You’re joking right? What do you THINK it’s about?!

4.  Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.

Photo . Lord Content

Misfits’ Miscellany

Breathtaking Portraits

Scout Magazine

Howtodateboys

illustration & calligraphy

5.  Include the award logo within your own blog post.

I can do that… thanks again sheriji!