For those of you who don't already know...Kirstin and I got married on December 11th! It was a great celebration with about 50 people attending, at Fantasy Farm. You want to see proof, don't you? Well, wander over to www.danalee.ca/wedding to see the pictures (warning, there's well over 150 of them...). I'm having some problems digitizing the video, but hopefully that situation will be resolved soon enough. While you're on the site, don't forget to sign the guest book!
Have a great holiday (whichever one you celebrate), and keep on bloggin'!
Three Ages of Living
Perspectives do change as you age. When I was 20-something and fairly new to living on my own in the big city, I was amazed by things being built all around me in what was a prosperous time in Toronto - the Eaton Centre, the CN Tower. Yes, there was a time that these buildings didn't exist. I have photos of the CN Tower under construction, which look very weird. (I should post one someday...) I couldn't get enough of the city, and I soaked it all up like a sponge. Same thing with RTA - took it all in, and more. After all, it was all about me...right? (And I don't say that facetiously, either - it really was about me, and my universe, as it should be at that time in one's life.)
These days, things are different, as well might be expected. I was walking down Dundas Street at Bay, where they are building the new Ryerson Business building. First, though, they have to tear down the parking garage that was there. I looked over at the jackhammer vehicle thing parked on the top of the half-remaining arcade, poking suggestively into a leftover pillar, and thought "I remember when they were constructing that parking garage." Okay, now I feel old. I think you realise this when buildings that you remember going up, are now being torn down to make way for new ones.
As I thought this, I realised it's still about me. With a bit broader view of the world thrown in for good measure. And an understanding that everything is relative - it isn't worth sweating the small stuff, and, actually, it's all small stuff anyway. Not to say we don't stress out, but somehow I have an understanding that all of us, like those buildings, will eventually be torn down anyway. We commonly call this "death", and the last time I checked, none of us are getting out of here alive. So stop worrying about every little thing so much, and enjoy the ride.
My parents' generation is dealing with this in their own ways. They've already seen their bricks and mortar buildings fall down or be torn down, so that concept is hardly news to them. But they feel that they, too, are slowly being eroded away by the simple accumulation of years. My parents often ask me where I get my energy from, my youth - as if they didn't have it when they were my age. Actually, it's funny - I remember they were in their mid-40s when they started protesting about how they didn't have any energy anymore, and how lucky I was to be a teenager with boundless energy, and wait until I get to be their age, yada yada. Well, here I am - their age when they started on about this.
But something's different. If anything I feel I have more energy than when I was, say, in my 30s. But I think that's primarily because I'm channeling it into things that are moving me forward, learning, teaching, experiencing. I'm not using it up in fruitless and energy-zapping emotional turmoil, arguing, angst-ridden relating, and so on.
I'm not trying to accuse my parents of anything, but more speak to what society expected of them in their day. They and I have talked about this, too - the "what will the neighbours think" paradigm, which drove them to incredible excesses of following astoundingly arbitrary rules for no reason other than their 1950's society's belief that there was only one way to do things. This upbringing has led them to be incredibly narrow in terms of what our new millennium has to offer them, because, quite simply, it's not what they know and they would have to learn quite a few new paradigms to take full benefit of how far we've come in the last half century. All they seem to see is how much work it all is, not that it could give them some of that long-lost energy, back. And try as I might to convince them that they should, to use the phrase, "get out more" it's not forthcoming.
Which I guess begs the question, can you re-build an eroding building? And if not, then perhaps we should start paying attention more to how we are eroding ourselves over time, consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or accidentally.
Maybe all of this has been triggered by my hearing Pet Shop Boys' "Being Boring" for the umpteenth time on my MiniDisc: And we were never holding back or worried that/Time would come to an end
I have to admit...these two maps do look awfully similar...
Town pardons executed "witches"
Dozens of "witches" executed in a Scottish town more than 400 years ago are to be pardoned to mark Halloween. Prestonpans, in East Lothian, will grant the pardons under ancient feudal powers which are about to disappear. Descendants and namesakes of the 81 people executed are expected to attend Sunday's ceremony. More than 3,500 Scots, mainly women, were executed during the Reformation, for crimes such as owning a black cat and brewing up home-made remedies.
Local historian Roy Pugh said "It's too late to apologise but it's a sort of symbolic recognition that these people were put to death for hysterical ignorance and paranoia."
Full story on BBC News Online here.
It's about time...
Blogger grounded by her airline - disturbing
"A US airline attendant is fighting for her job after she was suspended over postings on her blog. Queen of the Sky, otherwise known as Ellen Simonetti, evolved into an anonymous semi-fictional account of life in the sky. But after she posted pictures of herself in uniform, Delta Airlines suspended her indefinitely without pay."
You can read the full story at BBC News here, but I do find this a bit disturbing. I mean, if she was slagging Delta Airlines all over the place, well maybe. But this was just a semi-true but nonetheless fictional blog about a flight attendant's (mis)adventures.
Apparently, Delta's pissed that she had a picture of herself in a clearly identifiable Delta uniform, in a supposed compromising position (click on the pic for a bigger view of one of these so-called problematic poses.) Apparently these sorts of piccies are done from time to time (I mean wouldn't you have a bit of fun if your job was a flight attendant?) as a bit of a laugh. I think Delta's 'way off the mark on this one.
Queen of the Sky's blog can be found at http://queenofsky.journalspace.com/ but good luck trying to get in, as you can understand the server's fighting for air (no pun intended) these days as the hits just keep on comin'.
Don't They Check Their Email Lists?
This is weirdly funny. For reasons which I won't get into right now, I have an email address whose alias is "Goth" (doesn't everybody?) Anyway, this junk mail showed up the other day - click on the picture for a bigger view, and check the Subject header - "Goth, Meet Real Christian Singles".
Ooo, what a great idea. I hear they're very tasty on Melba toast, and only half the calories of regular Kraft Singles!
(PS: this isn't a slam on the Christians in the crowd, but a poke at bulk junk email systems who clearly have no idea of the meaning of the words "targeted demographic.")
It's been a month since the last entry. Shameful. Bad, bad blogger.
I find that when I get busy (some might say "when I have a life") the writing tends to go downhill, which is why I haven't done an entry for a while. For example, I used to journal constantly (23+ volumes of material over the last ten years); I think I've written, oh, three entries in the last year. Usually, those entries were fuelled by angst of some kind, so I suppose this is a good sign. Solid relationship, forthcoming marriage, full time job at a finally respected University, funky house in a good neighbourhood, two cats and a dog.
There's a lot of 20-somethings reading this, and I wonder if that's what going to University and doing all that learning stuff is eventually about - living the good life. I expect it is, but I also hope it's more. It should at the very least be fulfilling to your inner self, otherwise you'll just be writing decades worth of angst-ridden journals about how your job sucks, how you can't find a decent relationship, and how your apartment has cockroaches, which the cat eats. Which makes for an interesting comic book storyline, so by all means write about it, but it gets a little stale after awhile, doesn't it.
I think the true answer is someplace in the middle - surprise, surprise. If we go all cocoon-ish and live Surburbia, it's really not all that stimulating, although it is quiet, safe and all that. Personally, I can't fathom how people can come home every night, eat dinner and plop down in front of the TV for three hours. Yes, three hours - the average Canadian watches TV 21 hours a week apparently, so somebody's got to be living their life like this otherwise StatsCan's full of misleading information.
Living in the core is fine for a while (even a long while), but sometimes when I was downtown I got tired of watching my ass as I walked home every night, and peering down every dark alleyway en route to see if there was some weirdo hidden in the shadows.
I don't know exactly where I'm going with this. On the one hand I like living on a quiet street where I can chill out in the evening, that's really only a ten-minute subway ride away from Bloor and Yonge. But at the same time, when I walk through the Church Wellesley area where I lived for almost ten years, I kind of wistfully think back to those activity-filled days and nights. But again, those days were filled with their own kind of driven animal instinct and ultimate despair, even though I enjoyed the single life.
I have a poster in my life which is a self-quote from the summer of 2000 (astute readers will recall that this is when I started my world trip):
"The most interesting life is inherently unsafe."
The poster's still up there, because I still believe it. Notice I didn't write "dangerous", but "unsafe". I think we all need to have a little "unsafety" (is that a word?) in our life, to keep us just enough on the edge so our brains don't atrophy. Nothing wrong with that. To quote that stupid radio station slogan, everybody needs some edge.
Quote of the Day
Overheard at the pub last night:
"You ever notice that if you have 17 pens on your desk, no matter which one you pick up, that's the one that doesn't work?"
No More George W. Bush
Here is a nice picture of some anti-Bush buttons for you to download and share with friends. I saw these the other night at my local pub (a regular there is an American Democrat and she was giving these away to many interested Canadians.)
A Book of Dreams, A Quick Review
Finished Peter Reich�s book, A Book of Dreams, about which I�ve been obsessing all summer. Quite a good read, actually. The title is pretty descriptive. Peter Reich�s father, Wilhelm, died when he was 13, and it took Peter another 13 years to try and understand some of the fantasmagorical principles behind his dad�s work with Orgone energy (googled here, and Wilhelm Reich, there�s lots of info out there.) The book is written as some present tense happenings, and some very dreamlike past memories (I won�t reveal you how he gets to recall these memories - that would be telling.) If you want a fairly short (172pp) interesting read on a very interesting man, as seen through his son�s eyes, try and find a copy and give it a read.
As I mentioned before, this book has been in my mind for almost 20 years. It was written in 1973, while Kate Bush�s video, Cloudbusting (audio clip here) was released to Canadian audiences on November 25, 1985, about 12 years later. Now, back in those days, the Ryerson library stamped the �date due� on a little sheet on the inside flyleaf of the book you were taking out. That little slip of paper is still there in the book, and it�s clear that the popularity of A Book of Dreams soared just after the video was released. Click on the picture on the left to see the Date Due slip.
Fun With Webstats
Got bored, so checked out June and July's webstats. The usual la-de-da, but a couple of interesting things...
Apparently, I've been searched by one of those organisations that does automated listings of search results. You know the ones - the ones that you find when you're googling something, and you get these stupid, usually useless, lists with no context whatsoever to what you're looking for? I found it through technorati.com, which is a blog webbot. This, in turn, takes me to this site (check it out) and I'm apparently a "useful" link if you are looking for "nelly nude pictures" because, apparently, I wrote in one blog entry about searches of "nelly furtado" and "nude flight attendants" (remember those?)
The other interesting stat is that since I put my textbook online on this web domain, I've had 587 (!) visits to it, many of them referred from the old URLs at Ryerson's Rogers Centre server (thank Goddess for those jump links I put in there.) This textbook is, apparently, very popular out there. Who knew? A most interesting reference from a chat page whose topic is PAL video and Betamax (!) stuff. Okay, now that's different.
And now, to bed...
This animation has been getting a huge amount of press lately (FOX News, CNN, Jay Leno, etc.) and its these two guys' 15 minutes of fame. Talk about doing the right film at the right time. Best of all, it's well done and funny as all heck. With elections like these, it's no wonder we Canadians get so smug. Click on the picture to go to their site and watch the movie.
A Book of Dreams - Use The Library!
So, I've given up trying to find A Book of Dreams, by Peter Reich at any reasonable cost for my own personal copy. However, the good ol' Ryerson University library has a copy, so I'll be taking that out today to read at the cottage in a couple of weeks. I'll give you a book review later on...
I joined the new millennium this past weekend and bought one of them newfangled MiniDisc machines. This one takes the new 1 GB (yes, gigabyte) discs. Even with the regular old discs, you can now get about 13 hours using this machine. With the 1 GB, you can get an amazing 45 hours one disc. And, unlike an mp3 player, if you want another 45 hours of music, you don't have to download it, overwriting your old material - just swap discs. It's really cool, and yes, in the highest compressed mode you can kinda tell you're doing a 20:1 compression versus say, a CD or .wav file, but it still sounds really quite amazing. I mean, let's be honest, how discerning am I going to be about my music on the road as I try to hear it over the squeal of the subway car wheels, or the background music and racket at the gym?
For me, it's great - finally, all my Kylie music on one great disc...!
You think you're in shape? Okay, try this. I checked out this firefighter's competition at Yonge and Eglinton on Saturday during the street fair this past weekend. These folks, in full firefighting gear (the suit, oxygen mask, hat, etc.) climb up three flights of stairs carrying a fire hose; then pull up another coiled firehose three flights high; then run back down the stairs; bash a huge steel girder down a rail using only a mallet; do an obstacle course run; pull a fully charged firehose down to the other end of the course again; spray a target; then finally drag a 175 lb. dead weight dummy to the far end finish line.
Check out the composite picture. Looks easy huh? It'd be one hell of a course if you were in really good shape and weren't weighed down with a firesuit. These people did the course in anywhere from 1:45 (that's a minute forty-five) to 2:45. The women tended to take a little longer than the men, but not by too much! Impressive!
Television Technical Theory: Unplugged is now online!
It's taken weeks to do, but the entire textbook, version 5.0 is finally now online. The paper copy is 350 pages, so you can imagine how big the website is. It also has a new web address, and can be found at www.danalee.ca/ttt which is a lot shorter URL than the last one.
The final thing I have to do is put "jump pages" on the old version's site, so people surfing there will be forwarded to the new book. And who, you may ask, would actually be surfing from a link? I wanted to know the same thing, so I could see what pages I'd have to modify on the old site. So I did the ultimate vanity google: I tried to find every URL I could that mentioned the old website address or the phrase "television technical theory". I came up with an astounding variety of hits. If you want to see the list, just click here (I won't bore you with reprinting the whole thing here.)
But anyway...it's finally up and running!
Another Tom Forsythe Victory - The Barbie Parody Guy
Just found out (thanks, H., for the email!) that Tom Forsythe has won yet another victory, this time in a federal court in the United States. Who's Tom Forsythe? He's the guy who's been taken to courts by Mattel, Inc. over copyright infringement in the use of Barbie dolls in his photographic artwork (I've written about him before here.) Anyway, Tom won, Mattel's going to appeal, blah blah, but the signal was very clearly sent to the giant toymaker that you can't just decide to sue the pants off some artist because he's using a doll you make millions of dollars from.
This probably means that Wiccan Barbie is still safe for awhile...!
You can read the full story here (BBC) or here (NY Times). And of course, don't forget to visit Tom Forsythe's site here.
Do you ever go off on a tangent and then just have to have something?
It all started with my reading about Michael Eavis digging out of his barn his old cloudbusting machine to keep the rainclouds away for this past Glastonbury Festival (which just finished last weekend.) Then, I remembered the "Cloudbusting" song that Kate Bush did, the one with Donald Sutherland in the video. Then I remembered the paperback book in that video, the one in the pocket. I start searching for orgone accumulator in google and recall that this was a device invented by Wilhelm Reich, and it was his son, Peter Reich, who wrote A Book of Dreams, which is the story of Wilhelm through his son's eyes and all that the elder went through with his persecution at the hands of the FDA in the 1950s. Meanwhile, I hit on an interesting blog like this one referring to the whole story, and this site which tells you "Which Kate Bush Album Are You?"
So, now I'm trying to get a hold of a copy of that book. It's out of print, of course (original in 1973, with a reprint in the '80s at some point), and there are copies for sale on the Internet, starting around $45 US which is a bit steep, even if it is a hardcover. I'd rather get a dog-eared paperback version to read and keep. So now I'm a man obsessed. I've also tried the used bookstores on Yonge between Dundas and Bloor, to no avail.
What to do?
What Kate Bush Album are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
New record for text messaging
From The Globe and Mail. Full article here.
[Associated Press] Technology-obsessed Singapore may have claimed a fresh world record Monday for punching in the fastest mobile phone text message after a competition that demanded a flair for dexterity, and considerable geekiness. Student Kimberly Yeo, 23, managed to type a fiendishly complicated 26-word message on her phone in 43.66 seconds, organizer Singapore Telecommunications said in a statement Monday.
Contestants had to type:
"The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."
Using the phone's predictive text function � that guesses words as letters are typed in � was not allowed, and the target phrase's punctuation needed to be spot on, too. Like many of her compatriots, Ms. Yeo is an avid sender of text messages, sending about 50 a day, or 1,500 a month, Singapore Telecommunications said.
Singapore Telecommunications, which runs Singapore's most extensive phone network, said its system now handles nine million text messages a day [my emphasis], up from 3.5 million to four million in 2001-02.
* * * * *
Okay, I just typed that same phrase here in 29 seconds, using a full computer keyboard. How the heck did she do that??? How fast can you type it? How about texting it? Try it and comment back if you like...
Let's see...Kimberly Yeo sends about 50 text messages a day, which is about two an hour, if she never sleeps, or about one every 20 minutes if she sleeps eight hours a day...
Barbie Couture Collection for Adult Women
Excerpted from, and full article at, CNNMoney
The Barbie couture clothing collection for adult women, which debuted last spring in Japan, will hit stores in the U.S. stores as early as this fall, said Richard Dickson, senior vice president of Mattel worldwide brands consumer products.
"We have about 16 stand-alone stores in Japan selling the Barbie clothes that are geared towards adults and we hope to expand to 20 stores by the end of the year...It will be a limited debut of the line with a few select pieces, " Dickson said. "The heritage of the Barbie brand in the United States is very sensitive and whatever we do with it, we want to do it right. We want to reposition the Barbie brand as a fashion icon and not just as a kitsch concept."
"Barbie herself has always been a fashion icon and so creating her own label seemed extremely logical," he added.
And there is also a Barbie fragrance called "Barbie Eau de Toilette" expected to launch in late August and a Barbie cosmetics line for adults in the works.
"Mattel is looking for ways to strategically extend the brand and the beauty category has tremendous opportunities," Dickson noted.
(Click on the picture for a bigger version...)
You Can Never Be Too Rich, or Too Thin
It seems to be an appropriate blog entry title for this week, what with the announcement of Mary Kate's admission to a clinic for treatment for what some are speculating as anorexia.
Who said that line first? It was Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, actually. It's not in my Bartlett's Familiar Quotations [why not? I wonder], so I had to do a few minutes of online googling to narrow that one down. If you type "you can never be too rich, or too thin" into google, many of the results you will get will be related to eating disorder websites, or anecdotes, or whatever.
But back to Mary Kate. I must admit, she does seem to be looking a little peckish lately - click on the picture for a closer look.
I'm all for being healthy and fit - try as I might, despite my unhealthy bad habits which offset somewhat my physical fitness regimen - but I don't think that being this thin is terribly good for you. I see all kinds of men and women at the gym, and there are some women who could be classically described as unhealthy thin. But there they are, 45 minutes a day on the elliptical machine, then over to the stationary bike for another half hour, then some time on the treadmill. They are so thin their bones clearly show through their bodies - ribs and all - yet they feel they just have to go back, day after day, to keep their bodies under control.
As Mary Kate recently shouted on Saturday Night Live:
"You're too skinny! Eat a sandwich!"
Which Way Should You Vote On June 28th?
No, this isn't a political rant (although regular readers of this blog will probably figure out in which relative direction I'm voting - hint: It's not for the New Conservatives!)
If you want to find a quick answer of which major party you support, take this little quiz at Politics Watch. Nineteen multiple choice questions, click "submit" and bingo, you know which party you're voting for next Monday.
I really should do some work today, but before I got started on the online textbook, I thought I'd add the 'title' option to the 'blog, and a hit counter. I had to go back to the webstat archives to get a previous hit number that was relatively accurate.
Arrgh, it's a sunny day and I really don't want to work on the textbook today. Tell you what - I'll do some laundry, that way I'll be productive in some fashion, and then with a second cup of coffee, maybe sit down at FrontPage with a new chapter. Damn, actually I have to finish the old chapter first.
Maybe I can take the dog for a walk. Orbit always likes to go for a walk...
That's not so bad...two loads of laundry, three chapters HTML'd and online (only a few more to go!) Now I'm feeling the carpal tunnel (i.e., fish tube) syndrome - time to call it a day.
Enough! No more. 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before!
Well, this looks a little different!
Hope you like the new appearance of things. This is a blogger template, but I had to hack a bit of the code to eliminate the weekly blog archives listings, and to put the previous years' full archives down the right side at the end, but at least they're there.
There seems to be a little bit of a break-up in the right side when I use my scroll mouse too quickly or something. This is due to the way those recent postings are listed. In the code there's something the author refers to as an "I.E. 5 hack" which probably means the whole thing is a bit of a cheat. If it bugs you, just click 'refresh' and it'll reset.
...that I've been meaning to upload. Nothing terribly awesome, but they're kinda cute...click on the pic, or the link...
Hey C.E.: You know that picture I was trying to take of those twisted girders when you saw me the other night? Well, it didn't really look that good when I brought it home. I needed to get a lot closer. Ah well, you can't win 'em all...
Bleah, I'd screwed up the new comment-ability of the blog (thanks Maggie for pointing it out!) but it should be okay now. When you want to post a comment, click on the comments thingmie at the end of my posting. It'll take you to a new page where you can either sign up to Blogger or "post anonymously" - most of you will want to choose the latter, unless you're a Blogger member or want to be one. But leave your name in your comment posting, okay?
When you leave a posting, I get an email about it, so if a not-so-innocent surfer wanders through here and tries to trash the place, I can kill the comments later on. (You'll see two killed comments in the duct tape posting, I was trying to see how this thing worked...)
I'm looking at changing the template look and feel of this blog in the next little while, in the meantime we'll have to live with this one for a bit yet. I gotta go to Ikea (which as we all know is Swedish for "allen key") this morning to get some picture frames to frame my degrees, so they'll look nice and purty in my new office, which I'm also trying to move into today (I'm taking Dr. Matthew Fraser's office over for the year while he's away at the National Post.)
Speaking of degrees, CONGRATULATIONS to all of you RTA grads of 2004! It was a wonderful experience reading out your names (with hopefully correct pronunciation) to a theatre of 1500 or so of your closest friends. You guys all looked so happy! Not a dry eye in the house. We laughed, we cried, we partied, it became a part of us. And other cliches I won't write here.
Ok, gotta run. L8tr...
The Wonderful World of Duck(t) Tape
Just came across this site for The Duck Tape Club (one maker of duct tape.) It's, uhm, amazingly thorough. Of particular interest is the "make your prom dress out of duck tape" contest - there are some very original entries this year. And don't forget the Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival on June 18-20 in Avon, Ohio.
CD copy protection
On a completely different topic, CD copy protection is beginning to piss me off. Not because I'm a big fan of ripping miles of CD tracks and burning and sharing them with my friends. Truth is, if I want some music, I take the old fashioned route and actually buy the CD - how novel.
No, the reason I'm getting annoyed with copy protection is the labelling and consequences you see on the left (click on the picture for a bigger view.) That line "Playback problems may be encountered on some equipment" is, in real life, about half a millimetre high or about 1/32nd of an inch. What's that, about 3 point type? Pretty much impossible to read in the CD shop, unless you're really looking for it.
I found this on my new Kylie Minogue CD, Body Language. The CD has a little 'jump' on all tracks at the 10 second mark when I play it in my very popular Sony Discman, and if you know Kylie's music, you know that this can be at the very least disturbing and at worst really frustrating and aggravating.
The CD doesn't skip on other machines, or even my computer so I said "To hell with it, I'm making a copy." Which, for some reason, the copy protection system let me do with no problem at all (thank you, RealPlayer and Nero.) The copy, of course, plays flawlessly in my portable CD Discman.
So, let me get this straight. The good folks at Capitol EMI put copy protection on my CD, thus destroying the musical listening pleasure and forcing me to take other actions (for example copying the CD, like they don't want me to do in the first place) to make the CD listenable. And then, the copy protection doesn't work anyway?
Today, the nation lost a good man. Brian Linehan passed away this morning from non-Hodgkin�s lymphoma (read the story and catch the streaming video clip on Pulse24.com here). This story is a little close to home for me, as I worked with Brian for quite a few years at Citytv during the CityLights days. He was always a professional and I don't remember a time when he and the crew didn't get along well. He was a perfectionist and all that went with that (but, aren't we all, in this biz?) but it was that meticulousness that got him 2,000 interviews with the best stars in the entertainment world. Even after I stopped working with him, I'd see him in the hallways of Chum Television or on the street in the years after I'd left the station, and he always had a friendly "Hello, how are you Dana?", always taking a moment to chat.
He will be missed by a lot of people...
Bored, and just surfing around...
...so I decided to check the webstats for the last month. About 100 hits for the Monitors and Television Sets chapter of the textbook, the entirety of the book which isn't completed yet. Soon, really soon, I promise I'll finish the whole enchilada, probably in the next couple of weeks, now that I have a life again. And when I do, the old site will be removed with a bunch of jump links to the new site. But, back to this weird surf thing - who knew? And more, why? Strange, this Internet thing...
They're a collection of 'behind the scenes' shots of my Advanced Standing group doing their final productions last week. Oh, and a few of the 'wrap party', too. What a great bunch! This past month was totally exhausting, but a lot of fun.
In other news, one of the two rumours can now be revealed: I was officially hired as a tenure track faculty member last week! Yay! I have new courses, research, and a bunch of other interesting things coming my way in the next few months. More news as it becomes available. But, at last...no more contract work, I'm a full time dude. Neat.
Second year and advanced standing first year students have been wondering if I'll be teaching them this fall. The news is...pause here...it doesn't look like it, folks. I'll be teaching first, second and fourth years, at least that's the way my course loading looks as of this blog entry. Sorry...thought you should know, though.
It was a nice day yesterday...
...so I decided to head over to a library which shall remain nameless (Ryerson University's) to renew a couple of books. I go up to the Circulation Desk (note that name, a desk that's in charge of circulation, i.e., the bringing in and taking out of books, one assumes.) I present my University card, and I even brought the chit from the last renewal. They don't need that, as it turns out, but I always come prepared.
The chap at the desk scans my library card, and while he's doing that, this conversation ensues:
"You know, you can do this online."
"I know, but I decided to walk over here for a stroll."
"Well, you can do it on any of those computers over there, too."
"Actually, we'd prefer if you do it online with a computer rather than coming to this desk."
By this time, I'm beginning to feel like I've sort of inconvenienced the guy at the Circulation desk by asking them to do what seems to me to be a circulation task, i.e., book renewal. I feel as if they prefer us to be all anonymous lendees instead of students, staff and faculty who are bright, intelligent people digging into the rich soil of learning resources available at their facility.
But maybe that's just me...
Yep, comments are enabled again
...except this time they're done courtesy of blogger, so there's no chance that they'll get messed up in the future...I hope. Feel free to add yours on all new postings, but no sicko stuff, because I have the ability to delete them at will.
Blogger is now lots of fun to use and the interface is totally re-designed. If you haven't tried it, and want to start one, check 'em out!
Stairway to Heaven - The Satanic Verses
You just *have* to check this out...! Hilarious and great fun!
Oh dear, this has everybody in a flap
It appears that Swatch had a Times Square billboard for their new BunnySutra watch (click on the picture for a bigger view) and people are all offended that little cutesy wootsy bunny rabbits could be portrayed "doing it" like...er...rabbits, actually. Get a life, people...they're illustrations, remember? Not real rabbits, certainly not real people.
If you want to play with Swatch's flash interactive BunnySutra watch, go here. Fun for the whole family!
Meanwhile, I'm totally swamped with May workshop. Teaching starting at nine, finishing at 7 or 8, then going home to prep the next day until about midnight. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's over soon, but in the meantime, I can hardly wait to see how their final productions turn out next week. You go, guys!!!
You can create a person (male or female) and then dress them up and weird stuff like that. If you create the model to actually be you, you can use this model at various clothing stores (in the U.S.). Even if that doesn't work for Canadians, it's a neat place to play around with different body types and stuff.
The marking is done
Everybody should know their mid-term project results now, online. I'm not allowed to post final results, but this should give you an idea as to how you've done this semester. Fourth year practicum folks, you'll be emailed shortly with some feedback on your projects.
Wasted almost an hour on this addictive Flash game - The Crimson Room (thanks Sara, for turning me on to it.) Yes, there are solutions on the Web, but try it out and see how far you get before cracking!
No rest for the wicca'd - I'm doing new student interviews this week, and on Monday I begin working with the final Advanced Standing May workshop folks. Zoom... The weather's so nice today, I sooo don't feel like doing work.
But I guess I'd better...l8tr...
Just a quick update on school and marking...
...for all the students reading this...
Marking is going well, but there's still a few left. Very soon, you will find your Advanced Standing Practicum and Personal Production marks online (maybe Saturday). EFP lab class will have their second 'group' of marks online then, too. If you're in Practicum, you'll be informed on a group by group basis via email how your team did on your project and EPK. And, for you second year TV Tech guys, with all this other stuff I haven't finished marking those final online papers yet, so you're next. Hopefully I'll be finished with those by the end of the weekend so look for your marks from that paper in the beginning of next week.
There, I think that's everybody.
BTW, I would like to take this moment to publicly thank those of you who have presented me with cards and little tokens of your appreciation for the past year. Gosh, I never knew I had quite that kind of an effect on people! I'm really glad that you've enjoyed the courses and that I can be some kind of an influence to you all - that's why I like the job, after all. I'm truly deeply touched (but then, the psychologists have been saying that about me for years...)
If I don't see you around the 'hood, have a great summer and, for those to whom it applies, a great graduation. Normally I would be producing and directing the video coverage of the Convocations, but this year I may have another freelance opportunity that conflicts with it, so I won't be in town to celebrate with you. :-( Keep reading the 'blog even after you graduate, you never know what's coming next.
There's a couple of summer rumours brewing, but I can't tell you about those yet...so stay tuned!
Alyona Pisklova - The Russian "Anti-Barbie"
Seems that Alyona got entered as a contestant in the online voting for the Russian representative to be sent to Ecuador for the Miss Universe pageant - it was a friend's prank. But then something interesting began to happen - more people were voting for her than any other contestant, as a sort of vote against "Not naturally looking beauties, who cannot be distinguished from each other; Fake emotions, smiles and gazes reflected in the lenses of professional photographers; Imposed standards 35"-23"-35" (in inches)/90-60-90 (in centimeters); Mass-media standards and the models it imposes;...Popular music, which is imposed on us and which becomes popular for this reason only; Cigarettes without nicotine and coffee without caffeine." (from the stopbarbie.org.ru website)
Alyona was disqualified, however, because she's only 15 years old - too young to enter the pageant. The official pageant website has, however, declared that she has been awarded the "Viewer's Choice Award"
More pictures of Alyona here, and if you can read Russian, have a look around StopBarbie and Rambler. And, for all the RTA students reading this, there's even a video clip!
So that's it?
I only get one TARAs picture submission from you guys???
Well, I think a pleasant time was had by all! The show went relatively smoothly, with only a couple of hiccups, so a big thanks to the TARAs group who have worked so hard all year to bring this event to us. Congratulations also, of course, to all the award recipients and nominated parties.
Speaking of parties, the afterparty was definitely a good time. It was so great to talk to so many of you and it wasn't even about "So, why did I do so badly on your last quiz?" One thing I really like about teaching is that I get to hang out with the next great minds of our industry, and, actually, learn a few things or ideas myself in the process. And, thank you for all the compliments last night (and over the last few days on email and so on) - it is so nice to know that I'm making an impact on the best and the brightest!
Now, somewhere in that blurry evening, after having way too many digital camera flashes go off in my face, I made the pronouncement that, if you sent me TARAs pictures I would post them. What I meant was, seeing as so many of you took shots of me, that I would put those up. But, what the heck, if you have pictures of anybody you want to share, send them to me at the usual address, and I'll put them up on this website. I won't leave them up forever, but they'll probably get left there all summer so you have some time to download them before next September. How does that sound? To keep the file size reasonable, I'll resize them to "800 x whatever" which is still plenty big enough to view without compression garbage, and even make a snapshot sized print of, if you want to go that route.
PS to second years, on the last day of their online paper deadline: as of noon today, I have 51 papers, out of 106...!
Can apeing around resolve workplace conflicts?
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is calling for volunteers to take part in a major new study into human and chimpanzee behaviours. Chimps are our closest living relatives, and as such share a variety of similarities, not only in genetic make-up but also in expression and behaviour.
Animal behaviour experts at ZSL are asking volunteers to 'talk chimp' in everyday life and see how primate patter can resolve workplace conflicts, express emotions and strengthen human bonds. The results of this major study will be published later in the year to see just how 'talking chimp' can help in everyday life.
Click on the picture, and start using those expressions *today!*
Sicilian Blazes Put Science to the Test
By Shasta Darlington of Reuters
(full text of this news item is here)
CANNETO DI CARONIA, Sicily - Spontaneous fires started in mid-January in the town of Canneto di Caronia, in about 20 houses. After a brief respite last month, the almost daily fires have flared up again � even though electricity to the village was cut off.
An endless flow of scientists, engineers, police and even a few self-styled �ghostbusters� have descended on the town, searching for clues to the recent spontaneous combustion of everything from fuse boxes to microwave ovens to a car.
The blazes, originally blamed on the devil, have not hurt anyone. �I�ve seen an air conditioner burst into flames and burn down in 30 seconds� said Antonio Pezzino, whose house was first hit.
From the start, Gabriele Amorth, one of the Catholic Church�s exorcists, suspected the devil was at work. �I�ve seen things like this before,� he told the daily Il Messaggero. �Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods.�
Canneto looks increasingly like a set for the TV hit �The X-Files.� Three-legged instruments to monitor geomagnetic, meteorological, electromagnetic and electrostatic indicators sit in apartments and next to lemon trees in the gardens. Colored markings on the street indicate the presence of volcano experts. The hypotheses now range from a buildup of electrical energy caused by grounding wires running off the railway to a rare �natural phenomenon� in which surges of electricity rise from the earth�s core.
The fires have even consumed unplugged lamps and an entire apartment. Italy�s big utility, Enel, cut off electricity to the town and hooked it up to a generator � but that caught fire as well. More recently, cellular phones and cars have also been acting up, with lock and alarm systems being set off without any apparent reason.
Spinnato, the mayor, sounds just as desperate. �Someone wrote to us saying the solution was to sacrifice a black goat and collect its blood. At some point, that�s going to start looking like a good idea.�
Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Not printed with permission...but I'm hoping to turn enough people onto the Reuters website that they'll consider it good advertising....
Still busy, but still alive
I've been checking out loads of absolutely great Personal Productions and Advanced Standing Practicum shows over the last couple of days. Today is our Four Year Practicum screening gala, and I know I'll see even more of the same this afternoon. This is the coolest time of the year, because we all get to see, in a big long stream, all this amazing production and the students get to look over each other's shoulders and say "So, what have you been up to the last three months / eight months / whatever?" Sure, I have to mark all of this, but this is the week I get to sit back and watch, hear, and experience all this neat stuff. It's like going to a three-day film fest...for free. Congrats to everybody who's put in so much work this year!
Sounds like getting Glastonbury Festival tickets is a total nightmare this year. Check out this BBC News article (not sure how long that link will stay valid in their archives, if not type in "glastonbury tickets" in their search engine to see if you can find it.) While 2003 was a great year as I understand it, I think that 2002 (when I went) was one of the last generally accessible 'Fests. A shame, it's an experience that's totally worth flying all the way over there to take in. From the sound of it, there would be no way I'd be able to get a ticket this year, so I'm glad I went when I did. As of yesterday, Michael Eavis says on their site that they are totally sold out, and apologises profusely for the mess regarding the ticket sales.
Busy as usual
But I've had a little time to myself to work on catching up with my life, so the Cancun pictures are online. Oh, you didn't know? That's where KK and I went for Reading Week. *Sigh*, that seems like so long ago already.
School's winding down ("I know, I know, stop bugging me, I'll get the assignments done, really I will", say all the students who are reading this...). I'm hoping to finish the new textbook, online edition, in the next little while (probably working on it at the end of April) - when it's completed, I'll let you all know here. Then by the end of May (after I teach the last year of Advanced Standing May workshop) I'll be officially unemployed once again until the end of the summer. This hopefully will be the summer I work on the novel (instead of write the textbook like I did last summer.)
Aussie publican bars regulars he said were casting spells in hotel
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - A Sydney bar owner has expelled a group of drinkers after accusing them of casting spells in his pub.
"People found their behaviour strange and threatening...casting spells on bars in the hotel or clearing bars with certain spells," Tony Green, owner of the Greenwood Hotel, told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. "They talk about casting spells and they brought with them, I believe, a small cauldron. I think they behaved as though they are witches," Green added.
Green was referring to PaganPages, a group that met at his pub each month to discuss rituals, mythology and other pagan-related topics until he asked them to leave in January.
Suzanne Maxim, PaganPages co-ordinator, denies the group was using magic at the bar.
"As far as I know, people don't cast spells but I can't vouch for everyone," she told the Herald.
"It's not a very sacred space."
What's With All The Interest In Cockfights?
Just flipping through the February stats because I have an hour to kill. This month so far I've had 21 hits for either "cockfight" or "dominican cockfight." What's with all the interest? Oh, if you're wondering...they're probably ending up on the Dominican Republic photographs page from last year's Reading Week vacation - there's a couple of pictures of a cockfight there.
Nine hits this month for "urinals" which is probably taking them to this Glastonbury Festival page.
I never fail to be surprised at what people are looking for on the Internet...and what's stranger, they're finding it on my sites!
Barbie and Ken Go Their Separate Ways
Full story here at www.mattel.com
After more than 43 years together, Hollywood's quintessential "doll" of a couple, Barbie� and Ken�, have decided to spend some time apart. Their relationship was so revered that other successful celebrity pairings were often dubbed "Barbie� and Ken�."
"Barbie� and Ken� have always been an extraordinary couple with so much on- and off-screen chemistry," said the pair's business manager, Russell Arons, Vice President Marketing, Mattel. "In fact, they just finished wrapping their fourth movie together, 'Barbie� as The Princess and the Pauper,' which debuts this fall. And now they feel it's time to spend some quality time -- apart."
Now that she's newly single, Mattel is marking the major transition with a whole new carefree and independent look reminiscent of her California roots. Sure to turn Barbie� doll's world upside down, her sassy and fun "Cali Girl� doll" look debuts this Spring with engaging storylines, trendy accessories and great fashions that extend beyond swimsuits.
Just a quick -*swat*- 'blog entry
...to mention that I'm really getting annoyed -!smack!- at all of these worm-infested *slap* e-mails. I seem to get several a day *wham!* and what's really unfortunate, is that a number of them are coming from my friends' *bash* e-mail addresses, which probably means that some of my friends are actually opening the damned attachments! *stomp*.
Guys, don't open the files on anything that looks suspicious or you don't know who it's from! Bloody 'ell! *whack!*
Damn! There's another worm, crawling out from under the mouse...
...which is a really cool place to see high resolution photographs of the stuff that Spirit is sending back to us - it really is almost like being there.
The point is, why would we want to be? It looks like some of the most desolate deserts I've ever been to on Earth (like these pictures from Coober Pedy, Australia):
An Australian Sense of Humour
Except a lot hotter, of course. And now we know for certain that Mars really is red. Think you might like to live there? Check out this picture. Doesn't that look like fun?
(slightly edited Jan. 22, 2004)
...or perhaps you might say, visited for the first time. Kirstin and I went to Canada's Bridal Show (actually one of a handful that are happening these first few weeks in January). What a hoot. There is a serious amount of money to be made off of unsuspecting (or even, suspecting) couples. I�d always realised this, but when you�re actually presented with tier after tier of wedding cake (which can easily cost more than $1000), video coverage (some artistic, some excruciatingly cheesy, easily costing $2000), still photography (again $2000 and more), venues (after booze and food, about $100 a person), and more, it all adds up.
Why is this such a big surprise to me? I mean, I�ve been married before. But back in the ancient history of the early 1980s, I was just starting my career, and my future wife was about to start law school, so money was pretty tight. We did a lot of it ourselves, and friends were very generous about giving us, as a wedding present, things like the invitations (hand made by our graphic artist friend), big outdoor tent (courtesy the Boy Scouts), food (cooked courtesy the church ladies), that sort of thing. The other amenities like booze came retail from places like the LCBO, The Beer Store, Chair-Man Mills, that sort of thing. So the whole bash was pretty inexpensive. Oh, and we got our minister out of the Yellow Pages, and he already had a church we could do the ceremony out of. Anyway, you get the idea - it was cheap.
So, what are Kirstin and I going to do this time around for both of us? (yes, she�s been married before, too.) We don�t actually know, yet. But attending the show was an eye-opener. I had at least as much fun as Kirstin did, checking out the video production places, the wedding dress companies, the tux companies (almost all of that stuff for the guys looks dreadful, as if the poor schmucks didn�t have any dress sense, and got put into what somebody else wanted them to wear, alas), the big wedding cakes, the limousine services (anybody need to rent a tour bus to get everybody to the venue?) And the stuff they give away - we got two of those big inch-thick wedding magazines (Today's Bride, Wedding Bells), a big planner book (mostly glossy colour ads, but some useful lists), and tons of brochures - all in all I think we came out of the show with, literally, about 30 pounds of literature. It took three carry-all bags just to get it home.
So once we�ve finished wading through all that paper, we�ll have some idea of what we want (and what we definitely do not want.)
Let the games begin...
More (definitely more) l8tr...
Okay, so I feel like I've been living completely under a rock
I didn't know that jennicam was no longer, as of Dec. 31, 2003. As many of you know, she was a bit of an inspiration for me during the DanaCam years (2000-2002), and, in fact, we even briefly corresponded (she was having trouble with an infestation in her backyard, and I had a solution to the bugs that were bugging her plants...)
It's very strange to type www.jennicam.org and nothing comes back...I know, a bunch of people are saying "end of an era" blah blah blah. I suppose so - the Internet has become a lot more mature with its age in terms of what now "wows" us, and even Reality TV in all its incarnations seems so, well, blase anymore. ("Paris Hilton? The Simple LIfe? Oh, puleese...") It's probably why I haven't fired up the DanaCam in so long - it's more than a little passe. And everyone's got one who wants one.
Even more interesting (at least, to me), my 'cam provider, SpotLife, is also no longer in service, after four years of dedicated cam hosting. Maybe things really are changing...
R.I.P. Jennicam 1996-2003. You will be missed...
Happy New Year, everyone!
I bought myself a nice Yule present - a new computer ("the better to mark your term papers with, my dear - mwha ha ha ha!!!"). So, it involved, once again, backing up the whole hard drive to the outboard drive, then hauling in my nice new MDG CPU (I just bought the main box, I have everything else, why pay more?) It's a 2.6 GHz screamer with a gig of RAM, 160 gig hard drive, and a DVD-R drive (I want to start fooling around with burning DVDs this year.) Wow, does it ever work faster on graphics and paint programs and goodies like that. I swear the Internet works faster downloading, but that's probably just because the graphics overhead on web pages is easier to handle now.
Of course the process of converting over the machine means I found all kinds of loose ends I've been meaning to tidy up, not the least of which are a couple of Pictures of the Week that I've been meaning to post since last fall - enjoy.
And I've tidied up the 'blog for the New Year - as usual, only the last month's entries are here now, and if you want to read earlier on, I encourage you to use the link at the top of the page to access the DanaLife 2003 Archives area.
That's it, back to school on Monday, gee that was a short holiday.
Hope you and yours had a nice break, too.
Oh, I suppose there is one more thing I should mention...
Kirstin and I got engaged on the trip!
I proposed to her somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on the way over to England.
And, in case you were wondering...
She said yes! :-)
Happy Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, whatever turns you on!
We got back from England last week, and had a marvellous time. It's been a whirlwind since then, but I've finally managed to get the pictures into the computer and cleaned up. There's a whole new page here from the trip, so click over and have a peek at the pics! Especially check out the "typical English signs" at the bottom of the page :-)
Thanks so much to Sara and Joe for putting up with two very weary travellers who basically crashed at their place the first night. We weren't the most sparkling of guests, because we didn't get any sleep on the plane on the way over. Before we finally slept, it had been more than 30 hours non-stop for our bodies, which basically gave out around 8:30 p.m. that night. The next day the New Forest was wonderful (walked for five hours, see the pics), and then we finally made it out to Bristol around 9 p.m. to have a couple of quick pints with Chris. Then the next day, Glastonbury, one of my favourite spots. Kirstin hadn't been there before, so I showed her around town. Then up to see her cousins in Yarm and spend a couple of days with her relatives there. We took a side trip to Whitby (where I hadn't been before, beautiful town) and to York (where we had both been, but we just love the place - we even looked at real estate prices in the realtor's shop windows - expensive, but nice places). Finally, back to London where we crashed at a minimal but adequate St. Christopher's Inn room. A whirlwind, as I mentioned in a previous blog entry, but a lot of fun.
And so now we're back and revving up to Yule and Christmas.
Lots of news lately, so here goes...
First, and the saddest, is that Storm, our older dog, is no longer with us. He was freed of his mortal bonds a week ago after he had a small seizure (the second, he'd had a grand mal about a year ago.) It's been a quieter house since then, and Orbit (the other, younger dog) is a little confused about missing his older uncle and friend these days. He's coming around a bit, but it's just a different place, that's for sure. He'll be missed by everyone.
On a brighter note, though, the semester is over (except for exams, but I don't have any!).
And, Kirstin and I are booked to go on vacation in England for a week, starting next week. We'll be back in time for Yule in Canada, though. On our BritRail passes, we're going to head to Southampton to take a stroll through the New Forest (and visit Sara!), then over to Bristol and Bath to visit Chris and take a day in Glastonbury (can't resist the place). Next leg of the journey takes us North to Yorkshire to visit some relatives of Kirstin's, then finally back to London, finishing our last night in a St. Christopher's Inn hostel in beautiful downtown London to party with the other backpackers. And then home again. Whew. Bit of a whirlwind, really, but it should be a lot of fun! We're both really excited about it. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures when I get back. I might even get a moment to write something in the 'blog while we're on the road, just like the old days - we'll see about that, though.
And, I walked into a Toys 'R' Us today to pick up a little Yule present for my 3-year-old nephew, and of course I couldn't resist, I had to stroll into the Barbie section. There she was, Secret Spells Barbie. Interestingly, in Canada, we are still selling her as Secret Spells Barbie ($22.99, if you're curious.) There were also a couple of boxes of the very same doll, same accessories, but she was called Charm Barbie. This was clearly the U.S. packaging (English and Spanish labels and instructions), apparently changed after a ruckus from the Christian right that Secret Spells Barbie was advocating not only paganism and witchcraft, but even Satanism (*sigh*, pagans don't even believe in Satan, let alone worship the deity!) Oh, and the other change in the packaging was that Charm Barbie is standing in the box during the day (sun and clouds outside the window printed on the inside display back of the box) while Secret Spells Barbie is standing in the box late at night (moon and stars and deep blue sky, oh my!) - how very sinister!
Well, what a crap week that was, last week...
I have no desire to repeat it anytime soon.
A little over a week ago, I got a minor twist in my lower back, while...wait for it...moving a table fork from the countertop into the dishwasher. Boy, did I feel like a putz. That was bad enough, but hey, these things happen and I figured I'd get over it in a few days. But nooo...then I got a fever of 100.5 F on Tuesday which made attending my second year studio lab a real interesting experience, and basically knocked me on my ass for about 18 hours (I went to bed at four in the afternoon Tuesday and got up at 9 a.m. Wednesday.) So, of course, on Wednesday I was totally wiped and went to bed early that night, too. By Thursday things were looking up - my back wasn't killing me anymore, and I'd got so much sleep by that point that I had no choice but to be bright eyed and bushy-tailed. This past weekend was better, fortunately.
So, for all you students reading this, sorry, but I'm criminally behind in my marking. I'll try to make it up this week as the days progress. But at least now you know why.
I've stopped posting the webstats page because nobody was really caring about it enough to bother surfing to it. But, each month I'll write up highlights if they look interesting. Like this month's.
These days, I'm used to getting a few thousand visits to the domain, and maybe even a hundred visits in a busy day. But one day I had 233 visits, which seems excessive. So, I looked down and found I had 110 hits for "wiccan barbie". What's goin' on, it's just a simple one page parody. Then I found out the culprits, because I can see where people are coming from. Apparently, I've made a bit of a stir at ChristianForums.com at this particular forum page.. Guys, guys...it's a bit of fun, no need to get upset about little girls turning into Satanists. Actually, if you read down a few pages into this forum, they're mostly a pretty decent bunch of people, not scarily paranoid about Wiccan Barbie or Secret Spells Barbie (the real source of the forum conversation) at all!
Okay, I'm really serious about this. What I want for Yule is a Secret Spells Barbie! I think she's going to be a collector's item! And as I gather from the various discussions, she doesn't appear to be on the Mattel website. So the search is on...