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 Hélène.)

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. 🙂

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. 🙂 (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.

Maybe I am kind of a big thing in Uzbekistan…

*The subject line refers to a Twitter joke from earlier today. To my knowledge I am not a thing of any import in Uzbekistan.

Anyway, Sherry alerted me to our nominations for Best Personal Blog at the Canadian Blog Awards. (We’re about halfway down the list.)

I don’t know who nominated me/us (‘fess up for smoochies!), but it’s very cool to be in the company of awesome folks like our daughter (first on the list — makes a mamma proud…)

Kudos to everyone on the list — you have friends and fans who think you rock, and what’s better than that? 🙂

Brain food, body food

Two recent reads that I heartily enjoyed and recommend:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life: I believe I found this one via the WPL‘s website recommendations. It’s by Barbara Kingsolver, but is not fiction like her usual efforts. It also seemed a good complement to The 100-Mile Diet, which I have on the hold list.

Having grown up in the country, many things in this book made me smile, and it made me jones for a garden something fierce… which kinda sucks when you live in an apartment. 🙂 It did, however, make me grateful for my most excellent local farmers’ market (well, we have two, but I almost exclusively go to St. Jacobs). It was also nice to read such an evocative, positive, personal level book — books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma are excellent and everyone should read them, but the scale addressed can be a bit overwhelming.

1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina: This was a recommendation by Violet. Chris Rose is a journalist in New Orleans, and this is a compilation of his columns for the Times-Picayune after Hurricane Katrina. They illustrate what the city and the people have gone through and continue to go through, but there is also his personal story interwoven, which contains plenty of demons. He is post-hurricane New Orleans in microcosm.

I’ve never been to the city, but one of my first thoughts post-Katrina was an acute regret that I hadn’t been “before”. And I don’t think it’ll ever be the same, but despite the upheaval and despair inherent in the stories, there is still the inkling that one day it will still be okay to go. Bruised and battered though the city and its remaining or returned inhabitants are, they are still New Orleans, and there is only one.

And on screen…

SharkWater: I saw this documentary recommended online somewhere, though the source escapes me (of, course, it is currently the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week). The description was something like, “Like An Inconvenient Truth, but for sharks”. And it’s very true.

The filmmaker, Rob Stewart, is the narrator, and honestly, he shouldn’t be (though at the same time he kind of has to be…) His voice and modulation aren’t right, and are distracting, though eventually you kind of get used to it. The visuals are stunning, however, with plenty of amazing underwater footage.

A lot of the out of water footage, however, is utterly disgusting. Globally, shark populations are estimated to have declined 90% (yes, NINETY) in recent years, and the documentary illustrates why, focusing a lot on the shark fin industry (they’re a delicacy in soup in Asia). I knew what shark finning was prior to watching this, but watching hooked sharks yanked from the water, have all their fins sliced off and tossed in buckets, then get the sharks get thrown back overboard to sink to the bottom and die of asphyxiation and blood loss is enraging and pretty much makes you want to throw up.

At a number of points they explain the differences between land-based and ocean conservation — how it’s so much easier to “sell” for cute and cuddly mammals than for sharks, which we’ve been trained to fear. (Sharks kill, on average, five (yes, FIVE) people a year globally, less than… oh, just about everything else.) All in all, an excellent piece, and certainly worthy of the many awards it’s won so far.

And switching gears to food for the tummy, Andrew and I tried out S.O.S. BBQ last evening, which is a welcome addition to the local victuals scene. It’s located on Lobsinger Line, which is the road jutting left off Wagner’s Corners at King St. between the St. Jacobs Farmers Market and St. Jacobs. (It takes you to Heidelberg.)

The place is a trailer with attached BBQ equipment, and is located off to the side of the parking lot at Bast Tire (you have to turn right onto Bast’s side street and then go around the front of their parking lot). The place is open 11am to 7pm, and I’m sure he’ll do a brisk lunch business. If weekend Market-goers hear about him, he’s money.

Though we were there quite close to closing, the meals were still quite good. We had piled brisket and pulled pork, and Andrew and I agree we want to try the ribs. (They need eight hours’ notice for orders.) I quite like the tangy Carolina-style sauce, which I’ve never had before. (Though overall, sweet-ish rib sauce is my favourite.)

The sides are typical — corn, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, etc. — and nothing special, really, but honestly, who’s there for anything but the meat? I look forward to going back during the meatier (hah!) part of business hours and sampling more of the menu. Will also have to take my parents. Recommended — give him a try, have some delicious BBQ, and support local business!


Apologies for those subjected to a big list of crap spam links if you’re reading this in RSS. Looks like I got hacked again. Lovely.

Many thanks to Dana for bringing it to my attention. Password changed, and upgrade to WordPress imminent. (Of course, I suspect that’ll bring a whole ‘nother world of pain…)


Selling out

I learned about Red Canary last summer when I was job hunting. The property is an effort by The Laudi Group, a recruiting firm out of Toronto. I liked the material, the writing, and was particularly impressed that a Toronto firm had such a solid grasp on tech business and culture here in KW. (The relationship between the two cities is often more antagonistic.)

Anyway, for a number of reasons, once of my New Year’s goals was to write more. And hey, if you can get paid to do it, why not? So I pinged the editor of Red Canary to inquire about freelancing.

And from there, an idea I pitched morphed into a paid blogging gig. Cool. 🙂

My first piece went up today: Three degrees of separation – Waterloo edition

(The title was the editor’s idea, not mine.)

I’m pretty jazzed. If you click my name you can see the picture I took at lunch time today. I had to create a profile so they could attribute the article, and they like to have a mugshot. I might have 7 or 8000 pictures in iPhoto, but of course that doesn’t mean there are any suitable ones of me in there…

(And yeah, I realize I just kinda “outed” myself, since I rarely use my full first name and have never used my last name on this site, but far as I know, plenty of the folks who read already know who I am. And, really, you still can’t find this site via googling my name, so ’tis all good.)


So a few folks were all, like, “Dude, your site’s not working!” Plus I noticed my template was broken — if you actually come here and don’t just do RSS you would have seen a gap at the top of the “paper” part.

Turns out I done got hacked and some spam shit was inserted in my template. The magnificent Dana who hosts, troubleshoots, and makes julienne fries said it was an injection attack. Then she showed me a big string of gibberish, so I sagely stroked my goatee and went, “Huh?”

Anyway, all fixed now, but holla if anything’s acting fuXX0r3d still. And, yes, password has been changed and a fresh backup done.

Plus I checked random archive posts and everything seems to be there, unlike when another site I work on got hacked and I had to manually replace everything from RSS. Blech.

I want Time Machine for my blog! 🙂

A free Neil Gaiman book… which one will it be?

To celebrate his blog’s 7th birthday, Mr. Gaiman has plans to make one of his books available for free (presumably via the website).

The Birthday Thing

Head on over and cast your vote. Everyone could use more Gaiman.

As the gentleman notes:

What I want you to do is think — not about which of the books below is your favourite, but if you were giving one away to a friend who had never read anything of mine, what would it be? Where would you want them to start?

I have been asked this very question by Gaiman virgins. 🙂

(I bet American Gods will win.)

Blog year in review

Stolen from Sherry because I am savouring my remaining day of laziness.

Instructions: Look back at your blog – take the first sentence or two from the first post for each month of 2007 and see what you get.

And so…

January: So I won’t be homeless.

February: I am so tired, and so sore, but I am moved.

March: Inmates at no-smoking prison trade hostage for cigarettes (headline link to a news article)

April: I don’t know what that means, but if I show ID, d’ya think they’d give me free stuff? 🙂

May: I spent last evening at my brother’s place, setting up his printer/scanner/copier/thingy and wireless router.

June: Still funny? Oh hellz yeah: LOLBOTS.

July: To celebrate the splendiferousness that is us, you may now go forth and picnic, bbq, set off fireworks, drink beer, and find something about the weather to complain about. 🙂

August: Forgot to mention this one. Andrew, Dan, and I went to the KW Ribfest and Craft Beer Show back on July 21st.

September: The Bauman’s Smoke fresh sheep’s milk cheese? Divine.

October: The post was a haiku, so here’s the whole thing:

Today, great hair day
But it’s raining, so no hope
Time for a ponytail.


November: So I was up at 6am yesterday, worked a full day, left for a bit, then was back at work shortly after 8pm to do some final prep for some testing that started shortly after 9:30pm. Was at work til a bit after 12:30am, got to bed around 1am, and was up again at 5am this morning.

December: They’re clearly dedicated to carrying the finest in contemporary literature. (re. the library stocking Slash’s autobiography)