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? 🙂

It’s an honour just to be nominated…

So I have been nominated as one of Canada’s Most Influential Women in Social Media.

I barely qualify, but it was nice of Tamera to add me to the nominations. I know some of the other ladies on the list, and they’re all very cool and very smart. (I could totally take some of them in arm wrestling, and maybe even Trivial Pursuit…)

Also thinkin’ I need a less bitchy looking picture on our company About page. Heh.

Oh, and yes, I am on the list, and yes, the company I work for is providing some of the analysis, but fear not! I didn’t do the engagement processing! That was done by one of our co-ops, so it’s all on the up and up. 🙂

A Timely Raven

The lovely and talented Amber at Technical Poet has published a story: A Timely Raven, inspired by Hallowe’en (she’s as big a fan as my brother and Mark). An excellent tale in general (and I’m not just saying that cuz I like her and am a raven fan), but I also really like the interactive and web-sourced story elements — blogs, tweets, Google Maps, etc.

It’s something I’ve thought a lot about since starting my own blog, how the addition of these other media sources and interactive elements change education, sharing, and storytelling. For the better, I think. And how the assorted media of the web can better enable us to weave magic and blur the lines of our world and a story’s world.

We got into a really interesting discussion, too, about the nature and needs of storytelling, and how that relates to the web’s ongoing obsession with transparency and conversation. For example, when it’s been revealed/leaked that this blog or that Facebook profile isn’t for a real person, but rather a character as part of some game or campaign, the outcry has generally been pretty viciously negative. And fair enough, if your reasons for being in that venue are only to interact with real people or find out factual information.

However, at the same time, the storytelling would lose something if you went into it with full transparency — knowing the blog or profile or tweets weren’t “real”. Kind of along the same lines as how memoirs that have been revealed to be not 100% factual events have been raked repeatedly over the coals.

But at the same time, it’s a very real truth that real life? Is BORING. If you want a good story, odds are it’s going to require a bit of embroidery, or at least leaving out a lot of stuff. There are good reasons why cultures invent mythologies, why vampires come in and out of fashion, and why as kids we pretend to be princesses and superheroes and ninjas and not Bob the accountant or Sue the software tester.

Even if the stories are of people who have those amazing, insane lives — their stories can sound as dull as a grocery list, depending on how the telling is approached.

It’s all in the telling, and you can have a cracking good yarn, or full disclosure, but not both.


I dunno if it’s a fall thing, or just a thing that regularly comes around with me, but the last while I’ve been wanting a dog, and feeling more acutely that I don’t have one (and can’t, really, for the time being).

I have also particularly been missing Thumper (no, I didn’t name him). He was my boy, and our family’s last dog. And so, since I’ve been thinking of him, I put up my favourite picture of the two of us as my Twitter avatar. (Plus, look at my ridiculously long hair! And Haliburton dinner jacket! And kick ass Big Bird watch!)

Only problem is, people keep complimenting me on what a beautiful dog he is (thank you), and sometimes they ask about him. So then, in addition to answering the questions, I have to mention that he died a number of years ago. Then they feel bad, and I feel bad, and I think I should just change the picture.

But I’ve had some fun conversations with other dog lovers thanks to the picture, and I’m sure all the people who’ve asked have lost favourite pets, too, so I think I’ll leave it for now.

And if I ever find out where they breed 65lb springer spaniels with a passion for retrieving rocks, swimming in circles, and with a whine that sounds like a bird tweeting, I’m getting one, landlord be damned. 🙂

Thumper and Melle, Thanksgiving, 2000

Interesting tidbits from the internets

Multicolr – from Idée‘s Lab. Be warned: you will be unable to stop playing with this. SO PRETTY.

Upside down wiener dog. Heh.

A good post about racism.

For my peeps who enjoy a Canadian accent: Melle, YouTube star! (They won’t be terribly interesting to you unless you want to learn how to use our new site. Which you should. At one point I recorded a most egregious “aboot”, but am not sure where now. Might even have gotten edited out.)

Go Behind Interesting – Series of delightful videos for those who’re fans of Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign. And who isn’t? 🙂

Jared Diamond’s TED presentation on why societies collapse – Interesting stuff, plus he has the most awesome accent.

And not exactly internet-centric, but nevertheless worth a look: Waterloo Potters’ Workshop Fall Sale – Amazing wares, great holiday gifts, guaranteed to be thronged. (Recommend going as early as possible any day, and Friday at lunch overall.) Note the venue change to RIM Park this time around.

Should have a teeny bit more spare time now, thanks to a few things being checked off the calendar, so hoping to get back to posting more. Planning to do NaBloPoMo again to force that. Need to upgrade WordPress and fix the mess I made last time, too…

Got a light?

I don’t understand smoking. Yeah, I know how it works, both mechanically and physically. I’ve done it (I used to waitress in a small town diner, it’s practically a requirement…) But I am one of a few lucky people for whom it doesn’t “work”. I can’t get addicted, and I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m bloody grateful for it. And now I’m allergic, or whatever you’d like to call it when smoking gives you a pounding headache and makes you throw up. Doesn’t help that usually I’m drinking a fair bit while smoking…

I know plenty of smokers, both regular ones and social ones — at least one of whom just IS a smoker. To his DNA. A cigarette is like an extension of his hand; nicotine is a “natural” ingredient in his blood composition. I once saw him “ash” a cheesie. It was hysterical (and kinda sad).

It’s always puzzled me when smokers have expressed how much they enjoy that first, dizzy head rush from a smoke. I always hated that part, and was careful to control the first couple drags so it never hit me too hard. A bit of a control thing. A rush of dizziness and nausea is not being under control to me. What’s that? Repeatedly doing something you don’t need to do that makes you feel sick is dumb? Yeah, no kidding.

I guess part of it is that, unlike my brother, I don’t have an addictive personality. At all. Which is odd, because I’m certainly obsessive often enough. Never really lasts more than about 48 hours, though. (Stupid Bejeweled…)

My lack of fealty to smoking is also odd because when I get into pattern ruts, they be deep. Being fat, unworkable relationships, not dusting… take your pick. 🙂 I have a hard time relating to recommended ways of changing habits. Consistently starting and maintaining small changes, shaking up what you’re used to, and sticking with it sticking with it sticking with it until new patterns take over. Hypnosis, acupuncture, yoga, gum, patches, pills, oral fixation replacements, cold turkey…

Of course, thanks to my high school drama teacher (hi, Nancy!) I have long understood that we only change when we’re ready to. If you’re not in it to win it, so to speak, quitting smoking, losing weight, leaving a dead-end job — it ain’t gonna work out.

The example she used was the body, which, for me, was probably the best example she could have chosen. The idea that being overweight, for example, was about so much more than just not eating right or getting enough exercise. I remember mentally chewing for days on the idea that people can look how they do because they need to. For a woman, for example, to need to be a bit more invisible. To need a barrier between herself and the world. I guess I’m not a smoker because whatever need it fills for other people isn’t one I have. (And I know a few people who are mostly social smokers, but for whom it is also invariably a stress crutch.)

And it’s true. I’ve lost considerable amounts of weight, and it’s the strangest feeling to inhabit an altered space. I don’t mean how cool it is to see that your clothes don’t fit anymore. I mean literally the space in the world that is taken up by your body, how you move, how it feels when things touch you.

In addition to the change in how your body interacts with your world, how you fit inside your own space changes, too. It’s strange to be in it, and nearly impossible to accurately describe, but has been expressed by everyone I know who has experienced it. Sometimes it’s tactile, like rolling over in bed, and there’s no longer much of a fat pad between your hip and the mattress. Makes you think it must be very uncomfortable to be a supermodel…

I wonder if things like quitting smoking are the same. I can’t see how they wouldn’t be. Removing both that very ingrained habit, which is a significant part of how you interact socially, respond to stress, etc., and its effect on your body would cause significant changes. Fortunately, all good ones (though pretty gross for the first little while).

I guess the real barrier to scrabble over is the time between that first decision to change (i.e. quit) and the time until you reap the real, noticeable benefits (hey, I just ran 5K!) We animals don’t do well without positive reinforcement, and it’s really hard to plan for how something is going to change until it changes. (I wonder how many people who quit smoking try to plan in advance how they’ll handle an unexpected stress without lighting up before they actually quit.)

I am also not sure you can pre-plan who you’re going to be in the long run, either. Something like smoking is very defining. You’re part of a tribe, albeit a much less “cool” one than in the past. However, even when you’re shivering in the snow outside your office in February, you’re probably not doing it alone, and it’s still an environment in which you’re privy to all sorts of valuable gossip and the like (though, again, less so than in the past).

After you quit, who do you gossip with? What do you do when you don’t get those little breaks every hour? Sounds trite, but stuff like that is what makes up the day. After you lose weight, how do you react to attracting more attention, to shopping in different stores. To getting used to wearing tighter clothes (since that’s usually what fashion offers up).

So, yeah. I don’t understand smoking. Or the mechanics of change. Of course, I’ve (hopefully) got plenty of years left, which will require plenty of changes, so I’m relying on my pretty decent ability to think, to be self-aware, and, interestingly enough, my insatiable curiosity. I have a feeling that for me, that’s where the “in” is.

Many thanks to always charming and brilliant Havi for the inspiration for this one.