SXSW panel – Beyond Aggregation: Finding the web’s best content

This was the panel I was on in March with Marshall Kirkpatrick, Micah Baldwin, Louis Gray, and Gabe Rivera. No video, but you’re not missing much. 🙂


Amazingly, no cigarettes were harmed in the making of the charming voice I’ve got going there. Just several days of talking, yelling in bars, and lack of sleep. w00t!

This is a picture of me that a nice man named Joel Housman took after the panel. I’d forgotten all about it until I found it yesterday whilst trying to find a picture of me on the panel to show my parents.

Me with cowboy hat, SXSW panel, 2009

Blessedly, Mom’s usually in charge…

The new iMac has been set up, all files transferred, all new software installed. Explaining some things to Mom about iTunes when Dad wanders over to check things out…

Dad: Oh, I need you to find this for me some time. [pointing at a URL written on a scrap of paper]

Me: Find it? Find what? Something on the site?

Dad: No, find that. [tapping the URL]

Me: It’s a URL, an address… There’s nothing to “find”. You mean open the website on the computer?

Dad: Yeah, find it.

Me: Oh for shit’s sake. No, I will not “find” it for you. In fact. YOU are going to find it. All by yourself. Right now. You sit here, and type that address into this white box.

[Extremely slow typing with regular Delete key use ensues.]

Me: Ok, now press Return.

Dad: That’s it!

Me: Yes, it’s “found”.

Dad: [mumbling as he reads the homepage] How do I get down there? [pointing at the bottom of the screen]

Me: Click and drag the scroll bar. Or press the down arrow on the keyboard.

Dad: Click and drag?

Me: Move the arrow over the blue scroll bar. Press the left mouse button and hold it down, then pull it down — towards you.

[scrolling ensues]

Dad: [more reading and mumbling] How do I get there? [pointing at a blurb for another section of the site]

Me: Click on it.

Dad: Click how?

Me: Oh, right. Move the arrow over the text about the stuff you want to go to until the text becomes underlined and the arrow changes to the little hand. Then click the left mouse button.

Dad: Good! [more mumbling and reading]

Me: I’ll come back in a bit and show you how to bookmark the site…

Mom: How do you do that again? [pen poised to add Command + D to her cheat sheet of keyboard shortcuts]

The End

I’m not sure if I’d have better patience levels or not if I did more entry-level support, rather than spending my days immersed in geekdom. However, I’ve been home for four hours and only one Copilot session required so far. 🙂

Of course, Dad still doesn’t know how to find the power button…

What’s in your basket?

Recently Andrew installed a clothesline in his backyard, and last weekend I took advantage of his environmental friendliness, the sunshine, and the breeze to hang out some towels and bedding.

Now, I’ve hung out many a load of laundry in my time (my parents have two washlines at their place), but I had a helluva time doing it right at Andrew’s. It’s attached a bit high for me, and the height isn’t adjustable like the ones I’m used to. But that wasn’t really it. Then it occurred to me why — I was working backwards.

For so many years I’ve hung laundry in the same place, in the same direction, in the same way… It’s all muscle memory at this point. But at Andrew’s I was facing the opposite direction, and using the wrong hands to perform the wrong tasks. Surprisingly awkward, and a weird feeling of incompetence doing something that, as noted, I’ve done a million times.

Equally interesting was when Andrew starting using the line the first time — hanging laundry out had never been one of his chores as a kid — so I offered my advice on usinge spacers, how to best hang shirts, etc. I thought it was adorable that he was excited about using the line, but didn’t quite know how to do it most efficiently. (That said, if anyone can overthink getting something done, it’s him.) 🙂

A couple of women I mentioned it to thought it was adorable, too. Like me, they’ve spent many years on laundry duty, to the point where one mostly just zones out and hangs, pins, pushes line out… hangs, pins, pushes line out…

I love moments like that when things that have become so familiar you’ve forgotten them get refreshed and brought to the forefront of your mind and provide you with all kinds of new things to think about. Kind of the reverse of saying a word over and over til it loses meaning.

Victoria Day walkabout

Glorious weather, coffee in one hand, camera in the other. Colour me happy. 🙂

Photos here.

Also… Dear teenage mom I passed on the sidewalk: While it is, indeed, very pleasant to feel the sun on your skin after a long winter, the presumably intended effect of the rather bountiful amount of cleavage you had on display was, perhaps, somewhat diminished by the baby carriage you were pushing…

Spring ’round the old homestead

Went home the other weekend to get my snow tires off. The weather was lovely, so in the morning I had a wander around and took a few pictures. (Haven’t done much of that lately, felt good.)

And after having a wander around, Dad and I sat down around a crackling bonfire for a beer and a cigar. It was the perfect way to greet spring. 🙂

(Picture links to the set.)

not goin' anywhere


This is a picture I did not take of a middle-aged man in a yellow wind suit, standing on the sidewalk, politely listening to the spiel from a cute, 20-something Greenpeace volunteer, whilst cradling a 26er of cheap rye behind his back.

(For those of you not Canadian or rural in origins, a 26er is a 26oz bottle of liquor — often called a fifth in the US — and rye is a type of whiskey made partially from rye grain, with many of the better known brands made by Canadian distillers.)

100-Mile Feast

Last evening Sherry, Andrew, and I partook of a foodie special event put on by the KW Chamber of Commerce — the 100-Mile Feast hosted by chef Michael Stadtländer. (Thank goodness for free tickets, which Sherry won from work.)

Stadtländer has been doing the fresh/natural/local thing for decades, well before it became the latest trend, and Eigensinn Farm, the working farm, restaurant, and cooking school he runs with his wife, Nobuyo, has been a world-class example of this for 16 years. (Apparently it’s been awarded 9th best restaurant in the world, and people make reservations a year in advance.)

The Stadtländers will shortly be opening a new restaurant — Heisei — in the village of Singhampton, for which they are building pretty much everything (tables, chairs, decor). It will seat about 30, I believe, and will replace their entertaining at the Farm, which will remain largely a school. (At any given time several apprentices live on site.)

He talked a bit before dinner, and between courses, about his various projects and passions, and the food somewhat, of course (though I gather he was more inspiration and brand name for the dinner, as opposed to having done the heavy lifting).

He’s got a number of interesting plans that will combine tourism, food, and culture in the area, from a pumpkin regatta this fall, to dinners with tables hosted by luminaries in art, music, science, etc., the idea being roundtable discussions while folks eat. Apparently they’ll also have dim sum. 🙂

Anyway, the menu (this is a basic overview, since I don’t remember the exact details of every course):

  • Amuse bouche of rabbit with apple butter, paired with ice wine.
  • Sunchoke bisque.
  • Pickerel on beetroot risotto with a smoked fish skin crisp, paired with Riesling.
  • Palate cleanser of frozen minced cucumber, carrot, and cabernet sauvignon (layered).
  • Pork belly, short ribs, and beef tenderloin with wild leek, golden beetroot, and fiddlehead, paired with Meritage.
  • Salad with field greens, flaxseed cracker thingy, prosciutto, and Niagara Gold cheese.
  • Honey cheesecake (made with chevre or some other fairly strong soft cheese) with honey, jam, and caramelized apple chips (with maple syrup), paired with another ice wine.

To try and remain faithful to the 100-mile idea, coffee wasn’t “served”, per se, but you could go out to the foyer and get it yourself and bring it back in to your table. A bit silly, but there you go.

The food was delicious, and I didn’t dislike anything we were served, though the cheesecake was not traditional in flavour, and I noticed that about half of the people didn’t eat it, or ate only part of it. However, they were more focused on getting the food out in a timely manner, so the wines, except for the first one, which was on the table when we got there, were always late. Like, “I’m already done eating” late. So either you ate without the pairing, or you sat and waited for it to arrive while your food cooled.

The other thing that pissed me off was the attendees. Stadtländer spoke between courses about the food and some of his projects, etc., and people talked through it. Like, loud enough at times that it was hard to hear him — and he was holding a microphone and only two tables away from us. Unbelievably rude, especially given that everyone was ostensibly there because of him. And even worse when the noise level actually went down after he finished speaking. A lot of those people may have been KW “society”, but they have a lot to learn about manners. Asshats.

All in all, a lovely evening, and now I am left terribly curious about the farm, the new restaurant, and some of the events being planned. Might have to go for a short road trip east next time I’m up at Mom and Dad’s and check out the groovy metropolis of Singhampton. 🙂