where did everyone go?

Well, no one’s posted here in a while. My parents have retired and moved to Kemptville, ON, where they own a beautiful property on which they are both working vigorously to turn into a welcoming home. In fact, they’ve put in a lot of work on it in the past couple of years and it’s really come a long way from a vast, empty house on ex-farmland. It’s now a very warm, welcoming home in which they hold many parties, and they’re loving it. I wish they’d post more about all the projects they’ve taken on… the renovations are fun to look at… *poke poke, mum and dad!!*

In any case, I’ve opened up a new blog over at Knitravel. The word is a combination of “knitting” and “travel”, and “ravel” – for what yarn does 😛 I’ve since begun other crafts now, but I suppose the main focus will still be knitting and travel. And also, I’m not really traveling at the moment, though I suppose short weekend trips to Kemptville sort of count as travels, so I do post about that as well. I also post about stuff going on in Toronto, although really, that’s not all that interesting – you get the best updates on my Facebook page with the photos, I think.

I’m also still posting, about my client work and school studies in interactive multimedia, at the envy creative blog. So head over there if you wanna see what I’ve been up to in my career.

Anyway, hope you’ll still follow us. Cheers!

a musing (are you bemused?)

Who cares what you have to say? comes the voice from within every time I begin to write. You’re nobody important. Why bother, when there’s already a million people clamouring for attention, with both far more, and far less, important things to say? and so I pepper my blogging platform with half-written entries, this voice quelling my initial excitement at the thought of publishing something – anything – that might garner me an audience, folding the desire back into itself, slowly stemming the passion to put my fingers to the keys and tell people what I’ve been up to with my own observations, in my own voice. Why would anyone bother to read that stuff anyway?

This is probably why I turned to design. So I can still create works to be seen, published, even more – interacted with, without having to come up against possible failure at my greater passion for writing (have no doubt, I do love design). Without having to hear words of discourging criticism of my limited, mostly squandered, once-potential for talent that just never blossomed and probably never will.

This way, I can slowly turtle on, writing in bursts, when my need to express myself genuinely becomes too great and I can no longer hold in my voice, when I can finally take my vocal croak and turn it into eloquent hieroglyphs perhaps destined to be digitally burned eternally into the minds of humankind as the Internet Archive and biotechnology evolve, morph together into some new species that will overcome all environmental disaster, oxygen depletion and animal extinction.

Well, it’s nice to have a less scary dream amidst all the constant prophecies of our self-induced, imminent doom, anyway.

Super free day!

Today is super-free day! At work, we Had “haircuts and hot dogs” day in celebration of getting placed as one of the 2010 Best Workplaces in Canada.

And Starbucks was giving away free coffee to anyone who brought in a mug. I gotta say though, it was really watery compared to usual…

Still a good day. Being beautifully sunny as well, I rode in on my bike, saving a couple of tokens too! What a great day!

Celebrity-spotting: if only this made me more important

I’ve been complaining a bit that I’ve been in downtown Toronto for two years, and haven’t seen any celebrities yet. Well, it appears the summer-fall 2007 was meant to change all that. In the past month I’ve seen:

  • Ross Hull
    You’d know him from Are You Afraid of the Dark and Student Bodies, if anything.
  • Peter Stormare
    You’d know him from The Big Lebowski, if anything. He’s more of a cult celebrity

  • Jonathon Torrens
    Trailer Park Boys, anyone

Yeah. And I’m proud to say I kept my cool in all instances. If only because I couldn’t place who the heck they were at the time. Anyway, I think my cool points have just increased by 350%. *firm nod*

October 10, 2007 Edit: I actually saw Mike Myers on my street near my house the day I left for Japan (September 30th). I was totally surprised and didn’t even realise it until he’d passed by. It was funny, because he stared at me with a “Yeah, that’s right. I’m famous.” sort of look that I imagine only celebrities could possibly muster.

A real spy-gal

So I just jumped out of a plane… ahhh, yep, that’s right. Pulled meself out onto the plane’s wheel, 3,000 feet in the air, then hung onto its wing for a few seconds and… let go… I’m a convert.

canada day geekout

Canada Day 2007

Happy Canada Day! I had loads of fun making the graphic above (click to view the full-size version). I first did a few Google image searches to find photos of land and landmarks from all across Canada. My search took me from Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, and onward to the Prairies, a bit north into the Yukon, and finally over to Vancouver. I just wanted to cover the areas, not necessarily each province. The images I found were all beautiful, inspiring and made me appreciate the land that is my country even more. The little search was a lovely surrogate to the cross-Canada road trip I have yet to take.

Andrew Muir's Canada Day MSN AvatarLet’s geek out a little more about Canada. The poem featured in the web-postcard above is from the Canadian Poetry Archive over at Library & Archives Canada.

Lastly, celebrate in style with a cute lil Canada Day MSN avatar. This was originally from Andrew Muir’s blog, which for some reason is down right now. I’m posting it here but please give full credit for the graphic to Andrew Muir, who created it.

I’m out!

commenting fixed

Just a quick note to say that I finally realised commenting has been broken on my blog since I installed the new template for it. Sorry about that! Anyway, it’s back up now, so if there was anything you were burning to respond to – please do. Although I know it’s probably “too late” now.

Thanks to Hasan for letting me know!

the problem with commercialism today

Andy Budd has written a blog post outlining precisely what is wrong with companies that deal with consumers on any level these days. It’s one of many similar stories I’ve run into lately, across various blogs. It’s true, I’ve seen all of this kind of treatment in my own life, and it’s frustrating. It makes me want to not spend money, makes me suspicious when I do, and certainly does not engender trust in any of the institutions that are set up to help me.

Face it. Customer service is rarely effective. The best times I have on the phone with customer service are when I am calling to ask to add or change a service to my phone plan. When it comes to asking for advice on how to save money with a company’s service bills, or calling tech support to get something fixed, or sometimes even calling a store to get the hours they are open, I am faced with an attitude of hostility and often downright incompetence. Tech support calls are the worst for this.

how much are you willing to pay for you?

My computer died the other day. Over the weekend it had had some problems accessing one of my hard drives, and Windows was running very slowly. I attempted surgery on it Monday night, but to no avail. Indeed, I believe I may have mucked it up further by attempting (and failing spectacularly) to re-install Windows.

I took it into a computer repair company yesterday that came highly recommended by Melissa Munroe. It appears that most likely the hard drives will have to be sent to a data recovery company and I will have to pay within the range of $500-700 to get my precious, precious data back. Which I’ve never backed up. Because this never, ever happens to me. Of all people. I am the literate one! I am a computer geek! I don’t mistreat anything! I travelled to bloody England and back with this Alienware laptop and had no issues!

$500-700 irks me. It’s a lot of money. But the value in the data on that hard drive I can no longer access… is incalculable. It is (almost) everything I’ve ever written – silly childhood stories, awful teenage poetry, fierce journal entries; it is all the photographs I have taken of those I (have) love(d) in the past six years, since I went fully digital; it is everything I’ve ever designed (that wasn’t lost in my previous zip drive failure); it is even a few musical compositions from back in the day.

I’m a creative person and while my work is hardly masterpiece nor genius, it is my own, and I value it highly: to know where I came from, to be able to reflect on that and move forward and compare myself to myself, to know I am constantly improving; these things are important to me, and that is why I will fork over the better part of my spending money in a month to get this data back.

I hope it is, indeed, retrievable. I do hope $700 is the max I have to pay, but that is simply looking at it from a pocketbook perspective. I’m unsure how much I would be willing to pay in the end. How far would I let the numbers climb before I decide no, okay, that’s enough; I’m willing to give it all up if it’s going to cost that much?

How much would you pay for the things you feel define you? The things you’ve created and value (not necessarily the crappy crafts you created back in the day that look like scribbles on used computer paper)? How much is the stuff you’ve made worth to you?

Further, it’s almost criminal what these data recovery companies can get away with charging for such a service. It was described to me what they do and it doesn’t sound like $700 worth of work to me. But they can get away with charging so much because a) people have no idea about anything when it comes to computers, so they’re easy to rip off, but b) even if they do know, they probably don’t have the bit of extra knowledge or the tools necessary to do the extraction, and desperately want their stuff back and c) all the competitors charge too much as well. There’s no real price competition to beat. People will pay to get their stuff back. And that’s that.

not a wakeup call you want every day

This morning I dreamt that a man, deep in the midst of feeling sorry for himself, attempted to commit suicide on the driveway of my house. He shot himself through the mouth into the back of his head and it was incredibly messy (think Fight Club). He didn’t die, however, and wandered about moaning pitifully and painfully, all the while still seeking attention. He came towards me, and so disgusted was I that I ran to my backyard, desperately fiddling with the latch so I could get in and shut it on him. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it in time and he came closer, all the while continuing to moan. At this point, so repulsed was I by the scene taking place, I forced myself awake.

When I came to, I saw that my cat, who was lying right next to my head, was emitting this pitiful moan. Amused, I leaned in for a closer look and to catch her slight whimpers. She must have been dreaming, for this movement not only awakened her, but frightened her so badly that she was instantly in the air, flying backwards while still lying on her side. She crashed into my small bedside table and landed sideways on the floor! All this within seconds of her having opened her eyes!

Can you imagine such a wakeup call? I was shocked for a moment, thinking oh, the poor thing! But being the wonderful cat she is, she instantly recovered and went off for a midnight snack. She’s perfectly fine.

It appears we fed each other’s nightmares.

It might seem cruel, but a while afterwards I recalled the image and it threw me into a fit of giggles. In fact, it still does…