Category: Beautiful

Maybe there will be pineapples…

I’ve been online nearly 20 years, and internet culture being what it is, I’ve seen a lot of cats. And yet, only one has stuck with me for years. Not pictures or video, but a blog with fairly creative “spelling”, belonging to a cat named Abbie.

I no longer remember how or by whom I was introduced to the blog, and Abbie never posted all that often, but it always made my day when he did (with a bit of help from his owner, Rob). Abbie was a cat with poor spelling and grammar before those lolcat types made it mainstream. And Abbie was far more philosophical, insightful, and dry of wit. (While still maintaining a healthy appreciation of naps and seafood.)

Abbie has also provided two important phrases. Abbie’s sister Martha was a pirate, and she died several years ago. (Warning: tear-jerker.) From that post came the phrase “good pirate”, which is a very high compliment to pay someone, and all that need be said if someone is worthy of being a friend.

The other is “Maybe there will be pineapples”, from this post. Not sure why that struck me so much, but it seems to nicely sum up the potential in the unknown, and how adventures can be found in so many places. That one may end up as a tattoo one day.

Abbie survived much of cat life, including getting sick, losing his companion, and even being lost for a couple of weeks. His posts were funny and poignant, and of great credit to Rob.

Abbie died this week at 16 of pancreatic cancer. A decent run for a cat, but as any pet owner can tell you, far too soon. I cried unabashedly reading this, which was okay β€” I knew a number of my friends were doing the same. Funny how the internets can do that to do, leave you so invested in a pet you’ve never met, and a guy who shares many wonders of life through a semi-literate feline de plume.

With any luck Abbie and Martha are sailing the seven seas, with all the tuna they can eat and clean laundry they can recline on. And maybe there will be pineapples.

what do you think of That

A Calendar of Tales

One of the initiatives for the BlackBerry 10 launch (I started working there in May, as you’ll recall) was bringing on board three celebrity ambassadors to do various things with their crafts, involving a Z10 phone. While I am interested to see what Alicia Keys and Robert Rodriguez do, they are not my primary interest. However, my love of Neil Gaiman and his works is well known.

That love increased exponentially when he announced his project, A Calendar of Tales. He asked 12 questions on Twitter, one relating to each month of the year, and then wrote stories based on 12 selected tweeted responses. Alas, none of my responses were selected, but he did retweet my January response, which pretty much gave me an all-day nerdgasm.

That was part one, and the stories were published yesterday. Download the PDF for your reading pleasure.

The next part is art. Those who’ve been participating via Twitter, or anyone who reads the Tales, really, is invited to make art relating to one or some or all of the stories. Medium is up to you. Then 12 pieces — one per month — will be selected, and A Thing will be made. A calendar, a book… something.

Can’t wait. πŸ™‚ Gotta say, this has been cool enough and community-creating enough to suspend my cynicism about (anyone’s) corporate marketing… for a bit.

Unphotographable

This is a picture I did not take of driving down Albert Street at dusk, through drizzle and thickening fog, watching the seemingly endless arrivals of the local murder of crows coming in to roost in the black, skeletal branches of the big maple trees along the street.

A perfect night for murder mystery. πŸ™‚

My favourite part of the opening ceremonies

k.d. lang performs Hallelujah

at about 2:30:30. (If I find a direct link, I’ll update.)

k.d. lang’s cover of Cohen’s Hallelujah is my favourite, and she did it proud at the opening ceremonies.

As someone on Twitter noted last night: “That’s Canada for you. A vegan lesbian from Alberta singing a song written by a Quebec Jew.”

Indeed. πŸ™‚

Not that all that other stuff — the satanic canoe fiddling match with Batman, the Prairie Peter Pan, the erectile dysfunction of the Olympic flame lighting, etc. — wasn’t fun, too…

If anyone’s inclined to become my sugarperson…

Sherry and I took a spin through the new Paula White Diamond Gallery location at the Bauer complex yesterday. Typically my taste in art, especially modern/non-representational stuff, is fairly picky. But I honestly really liked just about everything they had displayed.

David Bartholomew‘s photos are gorgeous, and I could hang them everywhere, but it was Tim Packer‘s paintings that really got me. How sun looks shining through branches and leaves is always a favourite visual of mine, but create different pieces reflecting different seasons and I am totally sold. If I had a spare $2000 the autumn one would be filling that big space on my bedroom wall across from my bed right now. πŸ™‚ Ahh, one day…

Technology and storytelling: not mutually exclusive entertainments

We went to see Avatar last weekend. If you’ve been anywhere near media over the past few months, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty. We didn’t have terribly high hopes — the preview we’d seen months ago really was nothing special, and the animation actually looked less sophisticated than some of what we’ve already seen.

But we went, and had the full 3D experience (which I highly recommend). The movie was gorgeous. Some of the most beautiful visuals I’ve seen — in any format of film. The 3D was used carefully, so wasn’t just missiles blasting out of the screen and whatnot. More often it was subtle touches like floating pollen grains wafting among us. Lovely. And they’ve begun achieving things with textures that are spectacular. I’ve no doubt this movie will be the starting point for amazing things.

And, as they note in this post (humorous intentions aside), James Cameron does know how to put a scene together. Orchestration as opposed to mayhem.

However, the story was another matter. Now, yes, it’s James Cameron. You’re not there for stellar dialogue, intricate storytelling, or nuance. And you’re not going to get any. This was written with a club. Capitalism and environmental destruction bad. Living as one with nature good. Metal-clad bad guys do horrible things, but can be defeated by plucky natives and animals… at great personal cost. When you let go of your indoctrination, you can become eloquent, enlightened, and find love. Check your brain at the door: it’s paint by numbers; it’s not Rembrandt.

But what if it could be?

I couldn’t help but be disappointed by what could have been. The combination of those rich, intricate, beautiful visuals with a story that matched it. A story with nuance and textured mythology and 3-dimensional characters and moral dilemmas and bad guys you kind of liked and good guys you kind of didn’t.

Wholesale slaughter turns people off — we’ve seen too much of it. I don’t just mean emotionally, though that’s true, too. I mean mentally as well. There’s nothing to it but fast movement, loud noises, and carnage. Sure, big battles are exciting and move the story along… somewhat. But talk to Joss Whedon about the shock and power of a well-placed and well-timed single death. He can do more with offing a bit character than Avatar could do with one of the leads.

I understand the whole lowest common denominator idea in movies, books, TV, etc. And I get that it’s the intersection of investment and revenue potential. But I still prefer more of a long tail idea. I don’t think the NASCAR set is incapable of enjoying something that includes both explosions and thought. And I don’t think the Mensa set can’t appreciate a well choreographed action sequence.

Some day in the future I imagine someone will weave together that stunning technology with a story that makes both my brain and heart contort til it hurts. I can’t wait. Though I suspect I’ll probably have to see it at the Princess because the Galaxy will deem it incapable of raking in enough bucks.

My windshield the other morning

My windshield the other morning

It was so pretty, looked like regular frost until you got up close, and saw that some flakes were lying flat, some were standing up, and there were all kinds of cool shapes. Like a million tiny ninjas had battled with miniature throwing stars in the night. πŸ™‚

Assorted interestingness

2007 Tokyo International Quilt Festival — truly stunning art, and Mennonites don’t have the market cornered on gorgeous quilts. (Though it was cool to see a couple patterns I recognize from the family collections.) (Courtesy of HΓ©lΓ¨ne.)

Quinoa is pronounced “KEEN-wah” or “KEE-no-ah”. Why it took me so long to finally look that up, I’ve no idea. Because over-pronouncing words amuses me, however, (German thing?) it will probably still be “kwin-OH-ah” in my head. πŸ™‚

How to Be a Woman — solid advice. (Courtesy of Violet.)

Hatsuyume — I love when other languages have words for stuff that English doesn’t (which is often). The first one I remember from this year is that I was shopping and trying on jeans (which I did recently). And was surprised to notice I was rawkin’ a kickass six-pack. Why it was buried under a sweater I have no idea, cuz if I had such abs they’d be out all the time. πŸ™‚ (Courtesy of Violet.)

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God — This led to an excellent discussion between Sherry and myself, through which our personal experiences shone through very clearly, I’m sure. (Courtesy of Sherry.)

Sockmonkeys taken to another level — makes me wish I could really sew.

Emily Oster: What do we really know about the spread of AIDS? — Fascinating holistic view of how part of the world and people tick.

Nicholas Negroponte: Bringing One Laptop per Child to Colombia: TED in the Field — Maybe cuz I’m a web geek, maybe cuz I’m a reading and learning junkie, but this inspired the hell out of me. I will help.