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…

Eastern mole or common mole (Scalopus aquaticus)

Eastern mole or common mole (Scalopus aquaticus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

The Tyee ‚Äď Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary

16 03 2013

It has been said that I am sometimes self-destructive in my honesty. (My boss recently advised me to remove a description of only a partial achievement of a goal from my annual review.) I do think honesty and transparency are important. However, I am quite sure I still harbour as many dark secrets as most.

That said, I do believe there is benefit in¬†admitting¬†when you’re wrong, or at least admitting you’re no longer quite so sure you’re right. Especially when you take a stance in a public forum such as Twitter or a blog. In a comment recently, I made reference to Doug Christie, a lawyer who recently died in BC. At the time, I’d only just recently heard of him (I’m still learning to be a proper Canadian), and my information was based solely on an interview he gave to the CBC that I’d heard shortly before his demise. In the interview he stated¬†¬†“Free speech is the one thing you have to give to your worst enemy if you want to keep it for yourself.”

Source: The Tyee – Doug Christie (deceased)

This struck a chord, and my “support the under-dog” genes kicked in. I am often prepared to support a stance I don’t personally agree with merely to ensure a fair airing of all views and a level playing field for discussion. However, since then, I came across this article in The Tyee:¬†The Tyee ‚Äď Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary. In it a case is made by¬†Tom Hawthorn¬†that Mr Christie was actually quite adept at suppressing free speech when it didn’t suit his own goals, and that perhaps his personal views were more aligned with the extremists he’d defended than he’d indicated in the CBC interview. The article basically says that many (self included obviously) had taken this “free speech” element from the CBC interview and spread it to the 4 internet winds… without knowing the background and¬†alleged¬†hypocrisy of Mr Christie.

So, not wishing to be seen to only share half a story, I offer you the above link to the Tyee to at least obtain another perspective. As I mentioned – I’d never heard of the guy prior to the CBC interview, so claim no information or personal agenda beyond those two data points. I merely meant to use the reference as an example of supporting a principle not always being personally beneficial, and that its ramifications could include supporting someone whose view you fervently do not support.

However,¬†hypocrisy¬†(though I’m quite sure I entertain it in myself) is never worthy of support. I leave it to you to make your own decisions regarding Mr Christie… and perhaps lend me some better examples of a principled stance in support of another person that is perhaps self-harming.

Ford Escape

14 12 2012

I had a ride in a new Ford Escape the other day. Pretty nice actually. Larger than I expected. Anyway, all that just to say that while visiting Craig Hill’s blog entry about Hawaiian Kings, I came across a new Ford Escape ad that had a pretty funny zombie theme. They were obviously pleased with it because they did a short “echo piece” too. Made by Canadian film-maker Patrick Boivin.

If you like Shaun of the Dead or The Walking Dead, perhaps this is the car for you.


UPDATE (later on the 14th December 2012): Curiouser, and curiouser! The links above are now dead. Or perhaps undead. They are gone from the Ford site and everywhere else I’ve looked. The odd other blog that referenced them has the same “this video is private” message now when you click on their links. Sorry about that. Just take it from me – they were witty. Perhaps someone up high in Ford thought the tragic shootings in the US today could somehow be linked to a car commercial. Tenuous at best.

In other news today: The NRA twitter site continues to tweet it’s followers about its rising popularity on Facebook and remind them of its free giveaways. No mention of Newton, Connecticut. Or Ford Escapes.

NRA on Twitter, 14th Dec. 2012

Patricia Piccinini

2 12 2012

I’ve been thinking about “social networking” recently. I went to a marketing seminar on Tuesday, and that was much of the focus. But it bothers me. The more social media we use, it seems the less truly social we become.

We share inane minutiae about ourselves on Twitter, Facebook (or Twitbook as I once heard them collectively called) to a world that couldn’t care less. Because we can, we do. Yawn. But I think it’s worse than just irrelevant. I actually think it’s negative.

A relationship, be it romantic or¬†friendship (or both, or somewhere in the middle, or neither, or…), waxes and wanes over its lifespan. It gets little pulses of renewal when some new facet is uncovered. “I never knew you had six toes!” It’s not that these little things are secrets per se – they just weren’t worthy of explicit mention. When they do pop up in a conversation, they’re surprising and renewing to the bond that was formed. You realise then that no matter how well you thought you knew the person, there’s an infinite number of layers and facets within them. They’re interesting.

Real people are fascinating.

Online people – less so.

It’s a manufactured persona. A marketing effort. Usually we ourselves are the marketing department and typically suck at it, but “celebrities” really do have other people paid to manage their online “social” persona. I am under no illusions whatsoever that Obama is REALLY checking his LinkedIn connection to humble ol’ Quieter Elephant… especially as I can’t vote in the US! Lloyd Cole on the other hand is (and I¬†say¬†this respectfully) past his creative prime, and I’m a little more confident that he himself creates the tweets I read from @Lloyd_Cole. Especially as he is looking to fund his next album¬†through¬†pre-orders.

So, having said all that – it’s not without its uses either. As with a hammer – it’s a tool that can’t be used for solving every problem, but it does have a place when used appropriately. A big one for me is learning. We never stop learning. If we do – we die. Maybe not physically, but practically. Young people think old people are worthless because they find it harder to learn and adapt. Kids, eh? I think “getting old” is just another way of saying “full!”. The elderly have learned so much in their lives. The young could benefit from tapping into that hard won knowledge and¬†experience. Then the old could learn how to mentor. Win-win!

So I enjoy the opportunities the interwebs (as Bunbury would call them) offer to access new-to-me ideas, opinions and stuff generally. I enjoy StumbleUpon because of its randomness within the scope of my selected interests. (Though “Babes” does seem to come up more often than most. Just sayin’…)

And this very morning my computer, via software written after I arrogantly left the profession claiming “there are no new interesting problems to solve”, delivered to me the work of Patricia Piccinini.

Wikipedia: The Young Family; Patricia Piccinini

Wikipedia: The Young Family; Patricia Piccinini

Born in Sierra Leone, she’s an Australian artist, specialising in “hyper-realistic” sculptures. Typically fibre-glass, silicone, human hair, real clothes. Though her work is varied, a common theme is “what if?” Particularly that emotional space where we question what it is to be human.

I encourage you to check out her website. There’s some amazing work. Thought-provoking as well as technically brilliant. I suspect some readers will be repulsed, others fascinated.


Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? –

30 11 2012

Discovered this NYT article thanks to a Tweet from David Usher (@davidusher), after his session at the Art of Marketing on Tuesday. I thought he was pretty cool most of the week, what with musical heartbeats and whatnot.

Heartbeat Experiment – David Usher from David Usher on Vimeo. [Similar to what he did in Vancouver.]


Now I read from his Tweets that he follows UFC, I’m a lot less impressed. I know,I know,¬†prejudice¬†is my middle name… or would be, if I had one!

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? –

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? -

Source: NY Times

UK High Court overturns conviction for Twitter joke | Ars Technica

30 07 2012

Yegods – and I hitherto thought the US had a poorly developed sense of humour!! (I learned very early after 9/11 that US border officials have their sense of humour extracted via their left nostril, apparently leaving permanent brain damage).

What a complete and utter waste of police and court time: UK High Court overturns conviction for Twitter joke | Ars Technica.

(I’ll ignore the fact it was the police in Doncaster who, frankly, should have known better.)

Kudos however that when all the money and time had unfortunately already been wasted, sanity ultimately prevailed at the High Court…