12.16.2011

Does This Thing Go Past 11?

Right, so do we all remember how excited we were about The Expendables when we first saw that Sly, Arnie, Willis, Li, et al. were going to be in a movie together?

Now add Chuck Norris and JCVD (and probably more Arnie and Willis).

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Now watch the trailer:

12.15.2011

Probably One Of The Strangest Mashups You Will Ever Hear

And yet somehow it is totally fitting in a way that makes you ask, HOW HAS NO ONE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE??!

Ahem.



11.13.2011

Yeah, We Live There

Kick back, hit the HD, mute the sound (audio is a little grating, but hey, nothing is perfect) and replace it with your favourite aethereal tunes, and go full screen. This is why we developed space travel.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

10.11.2011

Trailer Frenzy: The Avengers

So here is how my day has gone so far:

I saw this,



And then I went like this,


RDJ's snarky Tony Stark paired up with Whedonisms galore? Forget the action, I'd watch the movie just for that!

9.28.2011

So Bad It's (Almost) Good

Right. So I saw Abducted last night.

Poke my eyeballs out with a hot skewer.

I'll be honest, the movie did kind of drift into so-bad-it's-good territory, but still. The entire audience was pretty much in stitches for all of gooey romantic scenes, not to mention the (surprisingly) few scenes that featured Taylor Lautner shirtless for whatever reason. And Sigourney Weaver! I don't think I've ever seen her directed so badly.

*Spoiler* My favourite plot hole in the movie has to do with the fact that, contrary to the title of the film, no one is actually abducted. Seriously!

Oddly enough, Taylor Lautner's acting isn't one of the problems I had with the film, though I'm not sure if that isn't due to low expectations. No, the thing that killed this movie was an awful script and some very ham-fisted directing.

On the whole, probably the worst movie I've seen all year.

8.12.2011

Now For Some Politicking: Lawful Access

It isn't often that I wade into political discussion - online at least. I'm a fairly politically minded person, and do like to talk politics with my friends, but it can be really difficult to have a... rational discussion on the internets. This, however, is an exception.

Over the last couple of years the Harper Government has attempted to introduce legislation that would give police more, and freer, access to the information stored by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) on their customers. Now that the Conservatives have a majority mandate, they plan to roll together their previous attempts into one, great big omnibus bill that they have promised to pass within the first hundred days they are in power. Given that a fair bit of that time thus far has been spent out of session, that is not going to leave a lot of time for debate before the hundred days are up.

So why am I making a big deal about this? After all, giving the police the equipment they need to catch the bad guys can't possibly be a bad thing, especially since I have nothing to hide, right?

Maybe. But consider what the bill entails:

In a nutshell, lawful access has to do with how law enforcement can access your communications. That includes activities like wiretapping, and obtaining access to your email or your web surfing history.

Of course, right now, police can get access to any of that stuff, but it requires legal authority (like a warrant) and reasonable grounds to believe you've done something wrong. But proposed new lawful access legislation could change things, making it easier for police to get detailed information about you from your internet service provider, your social networking accounts, or from your cellphone company (in some cases, without a warrant or without reasonable grounds to believe you've done something wrong).

- Dan Misener, CBC

As with most other Canadians, and a fair portion of the world with access to the internet, my life is increasingly integrated with the internet. So much of my public and private information and discussions are held in realms covered by this new legislation, and would thus be available to law enforcement officials with few limits and no real checks and balances (so far). I may not have anything to hide, but do I really want a stranger to have access to things that I wouldn't necessarily share with my friends? Not to mention that so rich a treasure trove of information is sure to be a nice target for the kinds of nefarious people this legislation is meant to target.

In the great tradition of trying to get things done on the internet OpenMedia.ca has created a petition protesting this legislation. I've signed it, and embedded it below. Do a little research and then think about signing it yourself.

Great places to start:

8.05.2011

A Message To The Future: Bertrand Russell

Philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell on the two things he would like to say to the people of the future, from 1959.

Sage words.

7.25.2011

Some Things Just Need To Be Reblogged

From Feminist Fatale

I was excited for the panel, considering I am frequently frustrated by the media’s exploitative use of women (whether it be the host of a show, such as Olivia Munn, or booth babes at E3) to appeal to a market that they treat as exclusively male.  However, my expectations were quickly dashed when discussion of media literacy was tossed aside in favor of accusations of jealousy.  Bonnie Burton and Adrianne Curry mused that women who were critical of sexy geek culture in any way were just jealous, had no confidence, and were projecting their issues with self-esteem onto the women who felt empowered by walking the Comic-Con floor in a Slave Leia costume.

When Jennifer Stuller (one of the creators of the upcoming Geek Girl Con) suggested that women who criticized “sexiness” were more than likely deconstructing the media, and by extension a society that tells women their worth lies in their ability to appeal aesthetically to men, she was rebuffed by the other members of the panel.  Later, Stuller attempted to turn the discussion towards media literacy, to which Clare Grant responded that she doesn’t read magazines, therefore the media has no influence on her whatsoever.  Adrianne Curry added that women criticize one another “because we’re all a bunch of bitches.”

Read the whole thing here, its good stuff. Media literacy always gets a +1 in my books. Also contains awesome Seth Green.

6.18.2011

Weekend Wrap-Up: Neil And Hugh Sing A Tune, And It Was Good

Its safe to say that I come across a lot of things I think are cool in my meanderings about the internet. Here is where I get to close some tabs and share my findings!

This week we have the Tony's, lionesses trying to eat babies and the internet as a basic human right. Onward ho!





So Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Tony's recently. Have I ever mentioned how much I love NPH? The promise of more NPH almost - almost - convinced me that going to see the new Smurfs movie wouldn't be such a bad thing. Almost. I've gone through pretty much all the clips from the show, but this has got to be my favourite of the bunch. Also, if the Oscar people are listening, this is how you put on an award show. Tony > Oscar any day.



This is actually old news by now, but I cleaning out my bookmarks and came across this gem: Born fighter - The five-year-old boy who has sold 3,000 of his own monster drawings to pay for the cancer treatment that could save his life.



Not overly surprised to hear this, but given the increased attention the internet has been getting with its use as a tool in the unrest in the Middle East and Africa, the United Nations Human Rights Council has recently declared internet access to be a human right. Given the (mostly failed) attempts to stifle access in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia, and given the importance of the internet as a tool for mobilization and communication, this declaration certainly will have some interesting policy implications. CBC's The Current takes a good look at the issue.



Six seasons of American Gods on HBO as well as a potential sequel? Be still my beating heart.



Apparently the line between tragedy and comedy is only a few inches of plexiglass.

6.11.2011

Weekend Wrap-Up: Videos Galore!

Its safe to say that I come across a lot of things I think are cool in my meanderings about the internet. Here is where I get to close some tabs and share my findings!

Right then, on offer this evening we have a hilarious misadventure with the Dalai Lama, a steampunk laptop and the future of Windows! Also, a very adorable Doctor Who monologue.





Watch - and cringe - as an Australian morning show host tries to tell the Dalai Lama a joke.



YOU MUST WATCH THE AWESOMENESS OF THIS CHILD MONOLOGUING DOCTOR WHO. (Best started at the same time as this music)




Steampunk laptop. 'Nuff said.



Actually old news by now, but Microsoft recently unveiled Windows 8, the first real touch-friendly version of its operating system. It looks pretty slick, and I can't wait to see it in action on some fancy devices - sooner rather than later please! Engadget has the unveiling here and a demo video here.

5.14.2011

The (Not So) Return Of The 30 Day Challenge

Confession time.

I haven't really started yet. The sudden freedom of summer kinda came back to bite me and I have taken on more projects than I can apparently chew at the moment with an (almost) full time job. So for now I'm putting my crazy project on hold, though I certainly still intend to complete it before the summer is out.

On the good news front, the project which has been demanding a fair bit of my time is coming along swimmingly. I may or may not have mentioned before that I am building a new web-site for Seana's karate school, and I should have all the design work done by the end of the month; still have to work out some hosting details and such before I can commit to an official launch date. So! In lieu of exciting commentary I'm sure would have arisen from my breakneck read-through of the Bible, I shall instead offer up some screen caps and such of the site design for you to lay into and express dissatisfaction with the design!

(Seriously though, I'll probably need some testers and such to break the site before I put it up all the way. There shouldn't be much to break, but if it can be broken, or if it is just borked in its design, I'd like to know before I put it up for the rest of the world to see)

With that out of the way, please allow me to leave you with something I think you will enjoy:


There are more over at The Shiznit

5.01.2011

Blogging The Bible: 30DC Redux

Right, so it is now May, and we have another 31 day month. Time for the return of the 30 Day Challenge! School is over and summer has begun, so this time around I'm shooting for something highly ambitious: to read the entire Bible by the end of May.

Given the scope of this project, I'm not planning on blogging about what I read every day; I do need some time to do other things, like work and socialize. I will, however, periodically give updates on how far I have read and share some of the interesting things that I stumble across/occur to me as I wind my way through the month. I might work out a schedule as I go along, just to give the project some structure, but I will at least commit to once a week posting.

Also, I do realize that this is not the best way to read the Bible, and in the interest of honesty I want to make it clear that this is a stunt. The best way to read the Bible is to take your time and reflect on the passages that you read, something I will not have the luxury of doing when I am trying to burn through 40+ chapters a day. That does not mean that there is no value in this project; I will be the first to admit that I don't engage with this text nearly as much as I should and this could be a way to get back into the habit, albeit at a slower pace once I finish.

So, wish me luck and happy reading!

4.17.2011

Go Free, Willy!

I had a similar experience in Zanzibar. We had just finished snorkelling off of some reef and were getting ready to head back to land when a guy on our boat dives back into the water. He had spotted a pod of dolphins who had just decided to drop by and say hello. Sadly, I had accidentally taken my camera for a swim earlier that day and the salt water disagreed with it, thus the lack of pictures. It was still really cool though.

4.16.2011

Winter Is Coming (Or Is It Summer?)

The weather suggests that it is indeed summer that is coming, but on the other hand A Game of Thrones starts up on Sunday. Best of both worlds! I'll admit, as someone who has only recently been exposed to the series (which is a little odd considering the amount of epic fantasy I read and how long it has been around) and is making my way through the books, I'm fairly excited to see what HBO does in its adaptation and whether or not it will be able to live up to the significant hype it has managed to build up. My only reservation will be the nudity: I fully expect it to be there - this is HBO after all - but it needs to be... tasteful, and not gratuitous. I'm a little conflicted when it comes to depictions of nudity in media. On the one hand there is the acknowledgement that nudity is a normal part of life (it is after all, ahem, aur naturel state of being) and is nothing to be ashamed of, and yet on the other hand there are the problems in the glamourization of titillation so prevalent in films like the American Pie series where nudity is played to get a rise with little or no purpose beyond getting the audience to associate what they are seeing with sex.

Anyway, we'll see what happens and how much of the series I actually end up watching.

In related GoT news, the internetz got all up and indignant today with the continuing ignorance of NY Times writer Ginia Bellafante. That may seem a bit harsh, but having read a few of her tv "reviews" I find it difficult to even imagine the dark arts she must employ to keep her job. Seriously, I wonder if she is just playing us all for fools or if she really is that incompetent.

The article in question is, naturally, a review of A Game of Thrones. While the main thrust of her argument may seem valid to anyone new to the the Song of Ice and Fire series, anyone familiar with the texts or Martin can spot the fairly obvious problems with her statements. We'll leave her insistence that AGoT is a metaphor for global warming alone - though she is fairly adamant about it - and focus in on her insistence that girls would never, ever watch this show. Bellafante suggests that AGoT is "boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half." The basis for this argument is that the show is set in a medieval period with horses, swords, honour, and fighting and that the illicitness (sex) was inserted "out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise." After all:

While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first.

What?

Perhaps we should cut Bellafante some slack; after all, how can we expect her to invest time in the characters - especially of the female variety - if she can barely handle the dramaticus personae of the tv show? It is unfortunate indeed: Martin has packed his books with strong female characters - no Mary Sues allowed. If the allure of interesting and complicated female characters wasn't enough, the series involves much more gossip and politicking than it does actual fighting, the nobility preferring to work out its aggression through subversion and alliances than outright fighting. Sounds like a certain male/female dichotomy to me.

I'm not the first, and certainly won't be the last to point out the problems in this "review", so I won't flog it any further. Ultimately, it seems more like Bellafante reinforcing the mainstream bias against genre fiction than it is an actual critical piece. She concludes by contrasting AGoT with more "real" shows like The Sopranos and The Wire:
When the network ventures away from its instincts for real-world sociology, as it has with the vampire saga “True Blood,” things start to feel cheap, and we feel as though we have been placed in the hands of cheaters. “Game of Thrones” serves up a lot of confusion in the name of no larger or really relevant idea beyond sketchily fleshed-out notions that war is ugly, families are insidious and power is hot. If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary. 

4.12.2011

Who Doesn't Love Renaissance Sci-Fi?

Here we go again: another version of The Three Musketeers for our viewing pleasure. I'll give this one props for its look and feel, and the fact that it appears to be clockpunk, which seriously needs more attention. The cast looks pretty good too: Milla Jovovich as M'lady de Winter; Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham; Logan Lerman as D'Artagnan; and Juno Temple as Queen Anne. The 3D makes me kind of leery, but who knows.



Also, found on cute patrol:

4.05.2011

Essays, Web Style

I find myself at the end of the school year working late to put the finishing touches on last-minute assignments and wondering to myself if I will ever have a professor who will embrace a new style of essay writing. One not constrained to the limited capabilities of a traditional “paper”, bound by the sensibilities that come from working in a single medium for millennia. With all the new abilities afforded us by our interconnectedness to the world through the internet, why is it still unacceptable to incorporate these freedoms into academic pursuits?

The short answer is ease of use: that paper represents a sense of mobility and portability (not to mention disposability) which comes at a much lower cost than owning a laptop or a portable device capable of reading and making full use of “’net” benefits afforded by such things as video embedding in word processing documents and that cornerstone of the internet, hyperlinking. But as more and more people carry around iDevices and other increasingly sophisticated technologies – more importantly, as the price of these things drop – will we see a shift towards incorporating more fancy tech into academic writing? That is not to suggest that there is no-one doing such things, but rather that the mainstream is missing out by not adopting these kinds of changes.

Imagine if you will that you are writing a paper. For a long time you have been able to incorporate images into the text of your essays, but now you find that it is less images that bear relevance to your areas of interest and it is more short films. Or that you are, as I am now, writing about a film or a sequence and would like to make visual reference to it in your essay. Paper does not allow you to do this, but with a digital file, you could. You could even go the wiki rout with your citations: rather than leave them as ambiguous references to books or websites, you could link directly to the sections you used in your writing. The current MLA bibliography rules are perfectly situated to support this addition to the link economy.

You would still need rules to govern the appropriate use of  these extended abilities. As much as I love it, you don’t want your academic papers to be so hyperlinked to explanatory articles that it comes out looking like TV Tropes (sorry). And beware Rick Rolling! But on a whole, there is a place for the inclusion of new technology in academic settings. Who knows how long it will be before we see it?

3.30.2011

Brain. Splodey. Joy. Goodness.

I'd say I could die happy now, but then I wouldn't be able to watch it when it comes out...

3.09.2011

+9000 Internets, AKA I'm Going To Need A Bigger Screen



By Ward Shelly


The only real way to appreciate the awesome work that went into creating this amazingly detailed "map" of science fiction is to embiggen it: go ahead, bask in its geeky wonder.

3.05.2011

What Apple Really Thinks About The iPad 2

This is part of the reason why Coco is Full of Win:

2.27.2011

Last Minute Picks

 In the categories I may know something about:


BEST PICTURE
The King's Speech
Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Colin Firth
The King's Speech

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Christian Bale
The Fighter

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Natalie Portman
Black Swan

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams
The Fighter

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Toy Story 3
Lee Unkrich

ART DIRECTION
Inception
Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design); Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Inception
Wally Pfister

COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland
Colleen Atwood

DIRECTING
The Social Network
David Fincher

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Exit through the Gift Shop
Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz

FILM EDITING
The Social Network
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Incendies
Canada

MAKEUP
The Wolfman
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
The Social Network
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Toy Story 3
"We Belong Together"
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
The Lost Thing
Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

VISUAL EFFECTS
Iron Man 2
Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
True Grit
Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Inception
Written by Christopher Nolan

2.24.2011

The Heat Of Battle, The Neon Green Of War

Presenting an awesome fan-made trailer of "Modern Warfare" for the equally awesome show Community

Three Things For A Thursday

Three new things today:
  1. The complete James Bond collection of books is 74% off at Chapters
    Not really new since the sale started on Monday (not sure when it ends), but I just received confirmation of my copy shipping, so I thought I would pass this along anyway. All fourteen of Ian Flemming's Bond books in retro paperback - I dare you to pass it up.
  2. The Geek A Week Challenge
    This project came to my attention recently when Think Geek announced that it would begin selling physical sets of these cards and selling various items from the people featured in the sets. Take the time to check out the write ups for each of the cards - they're pretty funny and have some interesting titbits squirrelled away in them. Heh, "Evets Kainzow."
  3. Foleys
    I will never claim to have mastery of film credits, but I am getting closer to a fuller understanding of their complex code. Added to the arcane pantheon of Key Grips and Gaffers (my confusion over this term stemming from early exposure to British colloquialism) is the Foley, whose very cool job I learned about while browsing around Vimeo

2.19.2011

Look At Your Blog, Now Back At Mine

Hello Ladies,

Guess who's back? I'll attribute it to not really watching TV on TV any more, but somehow I managed to miss the return of Isaiah Mustafa ("Old Spice Guy") to the internets. And he has brought gifts! No, not two tickets to that thing you love, but new commercials. Oh, and they returned on my birthday. Awesome.








Obligatory: probably the best parody of the commercials, done by no less than Grover!


2.12.2011

Forget SFX, Real Life Is Way Crazier

Sure, special effects have their place. But compared to the awesomeness of 1080p slowmo, there are some things I think can be better left to conventional cinematography. Also, someone get Ok Go one of these cameras.


Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

2.10.2011

An Advanced Guide To M. Night Shyamalan


While I may never forgive him for The Last Airbender Mr. Shyamalan has managed to make third-act twists interesting and sometimes (sometimes) even shocking. I'm fond of twists, and apparently so is Aaron Diaz - author of the awesome webcomic Dresden Codak from whence this guide comes.

1.31.2011

Day 30 – Goals For The Next 30 Days

Its the last day! One last list (for this challenge anyway):

  • Keep on blogging. This has been fun and I want to try and keep it up, if not a quite the same break-neck rate. I'm going to aim for at least a twice a week schedule, but we shall see how it goes.
    • On that note, perhaps I'll start another one? Not in February, but since the next 30 days includes March I may give that a shot. Topic suggestions are welcome!
  • Stay on top of my school-work. I've actually being doing pretty good thus far this semester and hopefully I can keep on tackling my work as it comes up instead of waiting till the last minute to start it.
  • Creative writing. This one kind of scares me - because of the time commitment it could take - but also because if I start tackling the kind of short-story/poetry writing that I want to, part of my plan involves putting it up for critiquing. Maybe. I'm not entirely sure yet, but either way I need to start writing again.
  • Tackle my TBR list. My To Be Read list is actually a little longer than what I have posted in the sidebar. This is probably the longest I have ever let my TBR list grow - aside from the Christmas my parents gave me pretty much the entire Wheel of Time series, which doesn't count because they wouldn't let me read them all right away - and I am actually itching to finish them all.
Yes, I do realize that all of my goals are going to have some serious price tags attached to them in regards to monopolizing my time, not to mention that I have other commitments as well. So, How about I just report back in 30 days and let y'all know how I did?

[Update] As a point of interest, I have updated the original post with links to each topic - just in case anyone wants to go back and read the others. That post itself is linked under the "projects" tab.

Day 29 – Your Highs And Lows Of This Month

Late, and in brief:

Highs:
  • Blogging: this has been a seriously cool experiment and while occasionally inconvenient (ahem, the late nights which are entirely my fault), it has helped me to sharpen my mind and practice some of the skills that I'm going to need if I'm going to survive the rest of this (and next, and next...) school year.
  • Developing For The Web: speaking of school, I picked up a new course this semester on web design and application building. It is really awesome and I have been enjoying it quite a bit. Here's hoping it continues.
  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Getting plugged in at church: after spending a fair amount of time not really plugged in to anything, I am now (back) to running projection for services at my new church! It is exciting.
Lows:
  • N/A: surprisingly this has been a really good month with nothing I would particularly characterize as being a low. Unless of course you want to count hours being slashed at work, which does suck. But other than that, I really can't complain :-/

1.29.2011

Day 28 – Your Current Relationship

Today's topic is more a broad statement than it is a question. This is Seana and me in one of those photo-booth pictures that we did a while ago. There are other pictures of us, but I happen to like this one a lot. It is no coincidence that I decided to tackle this subject today, being that it is our four year anniversary.

It is a little funny to think about our relationship because we have been in it for quite a while. Seana and I were friends for several years before we started dating, and our relationship has seen us through some major periods of life. What with the end of high school, beginning of post-secondary and all the additional challenges and changes that come with that transition, it has been nice to have someone to walk with through it all - someone I can trust completely and unequivocally. Have we had our problems? Yes, and I fully expect them to continue - that is just the way life works. But the important thing is that we have managed to work through them and address them as they come up, some things probably more than once. Again, that's life.

I find it difficult to imagine what my life would be like without Seana in it. Different for sure. She sees a side of me not everyone does - a side effect of not always being the most open person. I love her, and I appreciate every moment that we have together.

With all my heart.


<3

1.28.2011

How To Perform Song-writing Alchemy

This is apparently how you create a hit pop song. Who knew it was this simple?

Note: There is some brief profanity at the beginning and end of the video.

Day 27 - What Kind Of Person Attracts You?

This is kind of a tricky one, in that the title immediately lends itself to a romantic interpretation, which may not be the kind of angle I am aiming for. On the other hand, speaking generally about the kind of attributes which attract me to someone in a more general sense can be challenging as well since they aren't really that clearly defined. Well, neither is the other, since I tend to be attracted to those of the female variety on a case-by-case basis - not that I have to concern myself with that (more tomorrow).

The key, I suppose, is that everything is fairly arbitrary. There are things that I admire in one person which I do not in others. I like to see people more as the sum of their parts rather than just settling for a few "positive" attributes and calling it a day. 

Sitting here and re-reading what I have so far has made me reflect on the friends I have and, in particular, the people I am closest to, and I suppose that there are a few commonalities that I can pick out:
  • Intelligent: not that I need to surround myself with people who have super-high IQs or anything, just people who don't take the world at face value and are willing to verbally spar about things like politics, culture, media, science, theology and the like.
  • Curious
  • Geeky: how do you know if you are a geek? Step one - complete two of the following quotes, and you are off to a good start (thank you #observationdeck)
    • "I am your ______" 
    • "Damn it, Jim. I'm a _____ not a brick layer" 
    • "I’m sorry, ____. I’m afraid I can’t do that." 
    • "I must not fear. Fear is the ______." 
    • "My name is ______. You killed my father. Prepare to die!" 
    • "End Of ____" 
    • "Kneel before ___." 
    • "Shop Smart. Shop ____" 
  • Honest about your quirks: born from my general geekyness, I can't stand it when people try to hide the things that make them interesting because they want to be "mainstream." Normal is overrated: come to the Darkseid, we have cookies.

1.27.2011

Day 26 - Your Favourite Books

Oooh boy, I have been looking forward to today for quite a while. As I may or may not have mentioned, I love books. The shape, the smell, the feel of them in my hands; there is not many things in this world that give me as much pleasure as reading a good book. So to share some of my favourites is a pleasure, especially since for one I know which I’m going to recommend. Also, this calls for another list!

The Recent – Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

I picked up Little Brother shortly after Christmas, mostly because I had received a fancy new e-reader and Cory has a tendency to give his writings away for free on his website. I had read some other stories by him in class before and already purchased one of his other books, Eastern Standard Tribe, but given all the buzz I had heard about LB I figured it would be the perfect book to start my e-book reading experience with. Boy was that a good choice.

Doctorow has constructed an eerily believable future in which the technology we trust and rely on often unthinkingly is turned against the population of San Francisco following a terrorist attack, leading to a level of surveillance usually associated with police states. The book’s teenage protagonists use all the tricks they know to stay one step ahead of the government hounds in an attempt to preserve the rule of law, due process, and human rights in the face of fear-mongering and power abuse. It forces the reader to question what freedoms they are willing to give up in the name of security. It is smart and (bonus) educational, though not overbearing when it is trying to teach the reader how something works in the story. It is the kind of book that is really hard to put down once you pick it up.

The Comedy – Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

My parents gave me this book for Christmas one year, likely because of the ties the legends of Anansi the Spider to Jamaica. My Dearma had told us some Anansi stories, and this book serves as a very interesting take on the West African/ Caribbean tales of the trickster god. This was also my first exposure to Neil Gaiman, who is now one of my absolute favourite authors.

The book centres around Fat Charlie and Spider, the sons of “Mr. Nancy” who meet for the first time following their father’s death. Fat Charlie, who never though of himself as anything special, is shocked to discover that his brother seems to have magical powers, though not as shocked as when he discovers that his father is a god. Trying to reconnect the two brothers is a daunting undertaking, and naturally hilarity ensues. Gaiman is always good for a laugh in that ironic, British way, and Anansi Boys has him at the top of his game.

The Time Consumer – The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Totalling up to about eleven thousand pages over fourteen books (with one more on the way), the Wheel of Time series is an epic of epic proportions. To attempt to sum the complex and layered stories would be madness, so I’ll point you to the Wikipedia entry to sate that thirst. What I can say is that the usual fantasy tropes are there: magic, swords, dragons (kind of), the reluctant hero, an epic struggle of good vs evil.  It is a long book series, but perfect for anyone looking for something to dig into that isn’t going to be over before the enjoyment kicks in. I picked the first book up at a book fair at my elementary school. Little did I know what I was getting into. A few years and a shelf on my book case dedicated to the series later, tWoT has fostered in me a huge appreciation for serialized storytelling of the sort that makes waiting for the latest manga chapters to come out bearable. It can take a lot of patience to slog through the series, especially as more and more characters are introduced, but it is worth it.

I linked to the fourth book in the series because it is my favourite, and though I own all the books in either paperback or hardcover the books are also available as e-books, for those not willing to carry around the tomes eating up space on my bookshelf. Strongly recommended.

Runners up:

  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
  • The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkein
  • The Saga of the Seven Suns – Kevin J. Anderson
  • The Song of Albion – Stephen R. Lawhead
  • The Space Trilogy – C.S Lewis
  • Ysabel – Guy Gavriel Kay

1.26.2011

Day 25 - Somewhere You'd Like To Move Or Visit

The whole world.

I love travelling, and have been blessed with the opportunity to do a fair bit of it. From spending time living in France to travelling half-way around the world to visit some family in Tanzania, I have the travel bug, and the only prescription is more cowbell travelling. I really enjoy getting to go out and experience different cultures, learn the way other people live. Having exposure to different ideas about life and how to live it can be a transformative experience, if you let it be. The key to enjoying your travels, as far as my experience goes, is to be open to trying new things, especially food since that seems to be the second way people best express their culture (the first being language of course).

And again, because apparently I love lists, the top ten places I would like to visit:

  • France
  • Australia
  • The UK and Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Iceland
  • Japan
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands

Day 24 - A Moment You Felt Most Satisfied About Your Life

Again with the introspective topics. And again with the topics I'm not sure how to answer. Also, again with the late night post. Meh.

 I can't pinpoint a single moment and say "that was quantitatively the time I was most satisfied" for two reasons: 1) my brain doesn't file things away like that and 2) who really talks like that? Especially to themselves. What I do have, however, is a fairly consistent set of experiences which do the same job, ie make me feel satisfied about life. Those moments are the quality time I get to spend with my friends, especially my good friends. I often have trouble opening up, and so I have a very small set of friends I trust explicitly. The walks, the hanging out, the coffee shops, they all add up to a jumble of experiences I like to file away under the post's heading.

So thank you, my friends, for being constant reminders of how great my life is, in spite of all the challenges I face.

1.24.2011

Day 23 - Your Favourite Movie And What It's About

This is actually a rather difficult question for me. I love film and watch a LOT of movies, most of which I enjoy. But to narrow it down to just one favourite? That is quite the challenge. If I were to look at all the films I have in my collection right now, either digitally or physically, I would have a couple that I could watch over and over and never got bored, though no clear winner. Time for another list!

The Comedy - Monty Python and the Holy Grail



Come on, you had to see that one coming. I will watch this movie endlessly, if for no other reason that to quote it. Too. Many. Quotable. Moments! And it doesn't help that the version that I own comes with the screenplay, just to help me along that much further in my quoting frenzy. It isn't necessarily the greatest film ever, but it is absolutely hilarious.

The Classic - Star Wars



Like most things sci-fi, I was introduced to Star Wars by my dad, who was really more of a Trekkie (or Trekker, I'm not sure which side of that fence he falls on). I fell in love with it instantly, and how could I not? Epic space battles, drama, close calls and narrow escapes, swords made out of freakin' light. What is not ta love about all that? Not to mention being one of the most - if not the most - influential pop culture films even  today. Constantly quoted, often parodied, never replaced (or better than the original trilogy), Star Wars holds a special place in my movie favourites. Also, I love the old-school trailers.



Ok, so in all honesty if I had to pick a movie right now it would probably be this one. Action! Adventure! Intrigue! Swordplay! And yes... some kissing. I can't remember the first time I saw this movie, but the simple letters R.O.U.S stuck in my mind for forever. I love this movie more every time I see it, and it features some fantastic acting. Also, its a book! That said, this isprobably the only case where you will ever find me saying the the movie was better than the book. If you haven't see this film yet RUN AND GET IT, RIGHT NOW. You won't regret it.

Runners Up:

Day 22 - How Important You Think Education Is

Another late one, but this time I have a valid excuse: celebrating my birthday with my friends. Hopefully I'll get back to posting on the actual day starting, well, with today. Now that I've got that out of the way, on with the post!

Education is very important to me, so much so that I started my post-secondary schooling training to be a teacher. I love learning, and education - institutionalized education - plays a vital role in instilling into children that love and equipping them with the ability to succeed in their learning and life challenges. Sometimes it isn't quite as good at that job as it should be and needs to be, after all who doesn't have a story about a teacher who just doesn't seem to care about the materials they are teaching. It is the challenge any institution faces when trying to provide top-notch service to a very broad base of users from different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds, especially with users as fickle as grade-schoolers. While I can say for sure that I have met some teachers, and teacher candidates, who should not be anywhere near a classroom, teachers on a whole should be applauded for the difficult work they do.

It is a job not made any easier by the internet. There are many fantastic and quality learning resources out there on the world wide web, such as TED, that you have to wonder how far away we are from a major paradigm shift in regards to how we teach many of the topics we cover  in school and what role technology and the internet will play in creating that future. Hopefully schoolboards and the Ministry of Education will be able to keep better pace with the breakneck speed at which education technologies and aids evolve  in the future.

1.23.2011

Day 21 - How Have You Changed In The Past Two Years?

This is late, I'm tired, and there is no way I'm going to be able to answer this question with level of introspection I would like. I may come back to it later, but for now I'll leaver you with the few thoughts I have banging around the top of my head right now.

Mostly when I look at my "growth" over the last two years, it is with a little bit of regret. It has involved a lot of backwards steps for me in regards to my mental and spiritual well-being. There are some things I wish I could take back and some opportunities I wish I would have chased after more. Probably one of the biggest areas of growth came with the realization that there is no sense in regretting the past - difficult as that may be to put into practice. The other would be that sometimes the only way forward is to go back and find another rout.

In terms of specific changes I have undergone in the last while, the one that stands out the most is my entry into the working world, or part-time working world. Oddly, many of the things I have regrets about lead back in some way or another to my work, which is telling in and of itself. But again, there are lessons to be learned here, and that is what is important.

And now I'm falling asleep as I type, so how about I leave things here for now.

1.21.2011

Day 20 - One Of Your Favourite Shows

I originally only had one show in mind here, as per the subject of the day, but then I received a rather exciting email from a fan group I belong to so I have now decided that I will talk about two shows. Also, because I can, I'm going to avoid talking about specific plot developments as best I can. No spoilers here!



First, and also the original, is what I personally consider to be the best show on television right now - genre or otherwise. My interest in Fringe was piqued after seeing all the posts and positive recommendations it received on io9, and so I proceeded to... acquire all the episodes that had aired by that point (I think that they were just finishing season two). Best. Decision. Ever. I will admit, there are some problems with the first season that can make you wonder why you are even bothering to watch this somewhat amusing if not entirely there X-Files clone. Then you get to season two and they smack you over the head with a frying pan. And suddenly the first season makes a lot more sense. And then they go and out do themselves with season three and you go from X-Files clone to "X-Files wha?"

Fringe is great because it is smart. They don't have to dumb down the plot line so that you can follow along. They give you enough of a mystery so that you have something to create wild and crazy theories about between without dragging them out overly long ala Lost. It is a tensely written thriller with enough of a procedural feel to satisfy the Bones/CSI/NCIS crowd, and yet wears its genre colours very openly.

Easily the best part about Fringe is its characters. They are engaging and complex. It isn't very often you see characters as multi-dimensional (ha!) as Olivia, Walter, Peter and the rest of the gang. Their background and the stories about who they are and what they have gone through are deep and the changes that the characters face as the story goes on feels like they are actually centred around the multitude of tiny details that make the characters work. John Noble certainly deserves recognition for his role as Walter Bishop, the somewhat mad-scientist with a penchant for hallucinogens who kicked off the entire chain of events the series covers. I mean, this guy gives depth and some absolutely amazing character moments to someone who is literally missing parts of his brain and who can swing from serious scientist to taking his pants off in front of a group of his employees in the blink of an eye. And then you have Anna Torv, who was criticised early in the series for her wooden acting. Then the end of season two happened, people saw how much of an acting genius she really is, and now she has been juggling the equivalent of four different character roles at the same time. Kudos for that.

I could go on for much longer about how much I love Fringe, and often will if you let me, but I want to leave some things for discovery. I will leave you with a whole-hearted recommendation to check this show out though.



Now for the exciting news. One of my favourite shows when I was little was ReBoot, a show from Canadian animation studio Mainframe Entertainment. IT was a great show and the first of its kind: fully 3D computer animation. I loved watching it and my dad still says that is was one of the better kid's television shows. Anyway, apparently they are going to be re-releasing the entire series on DVD and I received the email today saying that it was up for pre-order. Naturally I was very excited, and here we are. Awsome tv, here I come!

1.20.2011

Day 19 - Something You Miss

Probably one of the things I miss the most is camp. I spent three summers as a team leader at Hope Valley Day Camp, and they were fabulous. Not all the time – there were some… interesting things that happened occasionally – but for the most part I loved it. There is something I should make clear about myself: if I could, I would spend all of my time volunteering in some capacity – especially with kids if possible. So having the opportunity to spend pretty much my entire summer living at Hope Valley with a great community of other Christians who were (often) just as passionate about giving up their time was fantastic, and some of my greatest friends –  including my girlfriend – are people I met there. And the kids! They came from so many different backgrounds with so many different personalities and struggles and stories. You always get campers who cause trouble, and it can be difficult to help them through the issues that cause them to act out. Sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do, but we always took the view that there is no such thing as problem campers, just campers with problems.

Camp helped me grow, both personally and as a Christian. Maybe that is what I miss the most.

1.19.2011

Day 18 - Disrespecting Your Parents

Less of a concrete question and more of a general topic. What does it mean to disrespect one’s parents? Much in the same way that we often struggle with the meaning of “honour thy father and mother”, the people who suggest that it is bad to disrespect your parents often have very different ideas of what exactly that entails.

Disrespect is literally the antithesis of respect, that much is inherent in its very structure and is a bit of a no-brainer. If respect is a positive feeling towards someone or something, in the sense of being honourable, then to disrespect someone is to feel that their actions are worthy only of distain and rudeness. By that definition, it is incredibly easy to disrespect our parents.

I can say for sure that at one point or another I have disrespected my parents. It is inevitable to do so at one point or another just because of those awful teen years where you are so cocky and self assured that your parents Must Be Wrong About Everything. It isn’t just the teen years unfortunately, but they do bear a fair amount of the blame for kicking everything off. That said, there is no excuse for such behaviour. Our parents often do wonderful things for us, and often times it can take years to truly understand the sacrifices and lessons that they try to equip us with for life outside of the sheltered nest of our homes. Does this apply to every parent? No, not necessarily - I do recognize that I have been blessed with an amazing family and that is the only perspective I can really write from. But I do believe that respect is a two-way street and that there is a lot of value to be had in recognizing and celebrating our parents, even if that isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.

Again, do I have the greatest relationship with my parents? Not as much as I would like. But I’m taking my own advice and I’m working on it. Life is a journey, what else can you do?

1.18.2011

An Epic of Epic Epicness

Step One: Play video
Step Two: Fall off chair
Step Three: Repeat


Oh internetz, when will you quit?

Day 17 - Your Beliefs

I am a Christian. That is what I've grown up in and what I have decided to be. It frames the way in which I see the world and is the starting place from which I form all of my opinions about everything else. I believe in a knowable, personal God who is not distant from the world, but is active in His creation. I believe that Jesus existed as a real person who walked on Earth in human flesh, and yet was also God. I believe that He died on a cross for my sins and the sins of everyone else throughout time, the perfect sacrifice for an imperfect world. And I believe that, more importantly, He rose again. I believe that that we are impure and imperfect in God's eyes, but if we accept the gift He has given us through Christ's sacrifice he will forgive us and cleanse us and that we can enter into a personal relationship with Him. I do not believe that becoming a Christian is an instant solution to all my problems: those will continue to exist by the very nature of the world we live in. I do, however, believe that becoming a Christian can give you hope and strength to get through the tough times. I also believe that God is active in the world through the Holy Spirit, a guide to speak to us and enable us who dwells within everyone who follows Christ's teachings.

This is the core of my beliefs, and should be in line with the core beliefs of every Christian. They are the only beliefs I have which are not up for debate. Everything else that follows, everything not central to my salvation, reflects the decisions I have made through my exposure to different faiths and denominations. I won't write about all those because the list would be too long and to changing to be of any real use to anyone, so I'll just leave it at this.

1.17.2011

Day 16 - Someone Who Fascinates You And Why

This question is more complicated than it first appears. I'm not really all that great about picking things, and picking people is even more of a challenge. And then you have to write about who they are and what they've done to garner your attention and why the fascinate you so much... gah. Too much decision-making.

Pulling a name from a hat.

So Bill Gates then. Founder of Microsoft, one of the masters of Silicon Valley along with Steve Jobs, philanthropist. Love him or hate him, Bill Gates is a pretty cool guy - digs at personal hygiene aside.  Honestly, it wasn't enough for him to help revolutionize the computer world (if some of the actions Miscrosoft were, well, questionable), he had to go ahead a become this great charity-guy as well.

On the Things That Interest Me side of the Bill Gates equation, I recently read his book The Road Ahead in which he muses on the future of technology. It is a little lopsided in its portrayal of the tech world (if you were to read this in a tech vacuum you could almost believe that Microsoft was the only computer company out there), however a lot of what he has to say is both eye-opening and largely applicable today. Jobs gets a lot of credit for being a visionary, but I think that Gates deserves some recognition on that front as well.

One of the things that impresses me the most about Gates is his commitment to charity and philanthropy. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the worlds largest private foundation and is involved in relieving poverty, enhancing healthcare, and improving access to information technologies and education. One of the most interesting projects that they have started as a kind of sidebar to the Foundation is The Giving Pledge: an attempt to get the world's billionaires to pledge to give away the majority of their fortunes away either in life or in death. This is a project which they started with Warren Buffet, who has pledged to give away an astounding 99% of his fortune. Even if they can get a few of those wealthy who have committed to giving away their fortunes to actually do so, the potential impact of all those dollars is phenomenal. Forbes has a really interesting, if long, article on the whole shindig if you want more information, and I sincerely recommend reading it.

1.16.2011

Day 15 - Your Favourite Blogs

It is actually kind of bad how many blogs I read: as of this moment I have something like 620 unread posts in my Google Reader stream. There are just so many people out there blogging who have interesting perspectives on the world and lots of interesting things to say. That is, after all, the purpose of a blog - to get fresh ideas and perspectives out to whoever is interested in listening. Here are some of my top blogs:

The Personal - Broken, In Repair
Just a guy being healed by Grace
It may embarrass Hansen to be mentioned - again. But I actually appreciate and read his blog quite a bit. He writes with brutal honesty about personal issues and struggles, as well as successes and joys. He approaches his blog with the same kind of openness which he helped me foster when he was my leader at camp, and that I appreciate.

The Tech - GizmodoEngadget

These two rivals share space as my favourite tech blogs. I read Engadget for the long list of new and shiny tech invading the world, as well as for their excellent coverage of the Windows Phone 7 plateform, aka the phone I own, which Giz has more or less annoyed much to my annoyance. The only thing that really annoys me about Engadget is the commenting community which more resembles YouTube than anything particularly useful. Flame wars abound and there are often more admin-deleted comments then not. That is where Gizmodo steps in. Like any tech blog, they have their fair share of trolls and fanboys; that said, they do a better job then most at keeping them in line. Giz is also my source for tech news that falls outside of the realm of personal gadgetry: it collects the gamut of gadgets as well as essays on gadget culture and the science behind the tech. Note: as much as I love Gizmodo, it is best viewed with the t/not:NSFW tag appended to the end, unless of course you are in to reviews about sex toys. In which case, fill your boots!

The Awesome - io9
My favourite blog of the lot and the one I follow the most, io9 is a must have for any geek's reading list. They bring together sci-fi and fantasy fandoms into a crazy mix of books, comics, tv shows and movies as well as covering cool scientific breakthroughs and just keeping you well informed of the things geeks love to know. Add to that probably the best community online for respectful and engaging discussion and you have one of the absolute best blogs on the web.

1.15.2011

Day 14 - Your Earliest Memory

To be honest, I'm not all that good at reminding time frames to begin with. Ask me a question about something that happened in a book I read or a show I watched years ago and I can probably answer that; ask me a question about myself... chances are not as great. That said, I do have some hazy memories from when I was younger, albeit with no particular concept of a timeline and the only marker distinguishing them as the earliest being my place of residence at the time.

Is it strange that all of my early memories are tied to relatively unimportant events? No birthdays or Christmases; maybe Thanksgiving - but those have a serious tendency to blend together. No, I can remember playing Lego in my bedroom closet, my brother bloodying his lips rubbing them on his crib, losing my boomerang on the playground, and playing Pluto in a class play on the planets (back when Pluto still was one). I suppose on the important side you could count my Kindergarten graduation, though it really doesn't count as my earliest memory. If you asked me to order the others, however, I couldn't do it in a million years.

I guess it just speaks to the enigma that is our brain. By what arcane methods and arbitrary criteria does it chose to store and remove certain memories?

1.14.2011

Day 13 – Give Pictures Of 5 Girls Who Are Famous Who You Find Attractive

Figures this would be on Friday the Thirteenth (day). I have no idea really how to properly gauge the fame-level of people these days, especially since my interests fall just a little bit outside of the mainstream. So regardless of how famous the following five may or may not be, they make the list in my eyes. And hopefully I don't get into trouble ;D

... please?

In no particular order:

1.13.2011

Day 12 - Bullet Your Day

Maybe I should have tweeted this as I went along and then collected them here: I don’t use Twitter as much as I might like.
Then again, lets take this one thing at a time.
  • 8:45 – Woke up and showered
  • 9:00 – Morning routine: eat breakfast, check email and RSS, survey Ogame empire
  • 10:00 – Counselling appointment
  • 11:30 – Had lunch with Emily and chatted about life, the universe, and youth work
  • 14:00 – Class! The Wenjack makes me sleepy
  • Apparently Freudian Psychoanalysis is a plague (says Freud himself)
  • 15:30 – Ghosting the corridors of the OC, my old haunt. Check up on my fleets, again.
  • 17:00 – Class! Again! Developing for the Web though, much more interesting
  • 19:00 – Walk out to my truck to discover that my headlights had been on since I got there. Hooray for dead batteries! Now to find someone to boost me.
  • 20:07 – …aaaand no such luck yet. Call Seana to see if she will come and rescue me :D
  • 20:40 – Help arrives, and my dead battery adventure is over.
  • 21:20 – Home, and dinner. Chat with my mom about the day
  • 22:10 – Call Seana and catch up on the rest of the day
  • 22:30 – Dad get home and we rock the freezer, getting it loaded in the van.
  • 23:10 – Bed time! No, wait. Blogging time!

1.12.2011

Day 11 – Put Your Zune on Shuffle

 And Write 10 Songs That Pop Up

Yes, that says Zune - its what comes on my phone. And I suppose I should have specified the first ten, but here we go!

  • Everything - Michael Bublé
  • Black Sheep - Metric
  • Kara Remembers - Bear McCreary
  • Wake the Dead - Family Force Five
  • Fire Fall Down - Hillsong United
  • The Jitterbug - Harry Connick Jr.
  • If I Had $1000000 - The Bearnaked Ladies
  • No One Likes Superman Anymore - I Fight Dragons
  • What Have We Become? - dc Talk
  • Your Hand In Mine - Explosions in the Sky

1.11.2011

Day 10 - Discuss Your First Love

Ah love, you come in so many forms. You take us to heights and depths, always an adventure. The subject of poetry and song, tv shows and movies, and everything in between. We seem to live in a culture that loves to love (thankfully) more than it loves to hate. I myself have fallen prey to Cupid's arrows, and have been the better man for it. However, much as I would like to wax eloquent about my romantic love, she is not in fact my first love (sorry dear). No, that title has been reserved for a love affair which has continued since childhood: my love of books.

As far back as I can remember, my life has been immersed with books. I can remember my dad reading The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit to my siblings and I before bed. And any time we would spend time with my Poppa and Dearma I would always have tonnes of books at my disposal. I must have read through every Hardy Boys adventure during those summers, not to mention my Dearma providing me with the Arthurian legends to spark my imagination and have a huge impact on the way I live.

I love books. I love to read them and explore the fantastic worlds that authors have put so much time into creating. Science Fiction and Fantasy are my particular genres of choice, though I enjoy a great mystery, thriller, or whatever-the-heck you want to label Douglas Coupland's books as. I enjoy reading the classics, not just because they are great stories, but also because of the rich heritage they lend to the full breadth of literature. I only really read Homer because of Dante, and only read Virgil because it tied the two together (though I just looked over to my bookshelf and noticed that my copy of Il Commedia is missing, and now I shall have to go on the hunt to find it). My parents recently acquired a bookshelf for me because they were sick and tired of seeing them on the floor, and it is already filled to overflowing. I love the feel of a book in my hand, the weight of it, and the smell of paper - whether it be the fresh scent of a new book or the slightly must smell of an older one - is one of my absolute favourites. I love walking into a room and just seeing stacks of books; it makes me happy.

My (current) bookcase:

1.10.2011

How High is the Rent?

Not a new video, but I just. Can't. Stop. Watching it.



That is some impressive facial hair, I'm just sayin'.

Day 09 - How You Hope Your Future Will Be

Much like trying to say where I want to be in 10 years, trying to say how I hope my future will be is somewhat difficult. I want it to be good. I want it to be great even - really, who hopes for a bad future? The only problem is that questions like this make me reflect on where I am right now, because any question about the future requires some reflection on present circumstances. It is one thing to say "I hope to be an astronaut in the future"; it is quite another thing to see that become a reality when nothing you are participating in or plan on participating in leads down that road. I just don't know what is in the cards for me, and generally speaking I don't really take a rosy view on my future. I worry too much: about grades, about work, about relationships. And when things get down, I seem to get really down too. It is hard to hope for a happy future when you're worried about being placed on academic suspension from your school for crappy grades. But hey, that is why I have people around me to support me. And really, should I be worrying about things that are out of my hands? The past is dead and gone and there is nothing I can do to change it. The challenge is owning up to my mistakes and moving past them.

Maybe that is really what I hope to have in my future: the strength to stop worrying about things I can't change and the will to move past my mistakes.

1.09.2011

Day 08 - Your Views on Mainstream Music

I listen to it occasionally.

Seriously, I really don't listen to that much music on the radio, and when I do it is either oldies or whatever the CBC has decided to play on Bandwidth or Vinyl Tap. When I get bored of either of those, I turn on country (which is new, ask any of my friends from high school and they'll tell you how much I hated country) or flip to one of my CD's. See, I hang out online quite a bit, and since I've become somewhat more selective in the kind of music that I listen to, I often only check out bands based on word of mouth (such as I Fight Dragons or Explosions in the Sky) or just random browsing through PureVolume, Grooveshark, or Slacker Radio. Of course you will occasionally come across more mainstream music as you got through these sites, and it is impossible to avoid in stores, on pop radio stations and hanging out with friends, and it isn't that I have a problem with mainstream music; my musical tastes just don't lend themselves well to mainstream music. I like instrumental music - in fact a custom mix of songs from the Battle Star Galactica soundtracks is my current driving poison - as well as electronica and chiptunes. Sadly there is not much of a market out there for these in the mainstream world. So again, I don't dislike mainstream music as a rule - though Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Nickleback drive me bonkers - I'm just not overly exposed to it as part of my listening habits.

1.08.2011

Day 07 - Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

And if you think it fits your personality.

INTP
IntrovertedIntuitiveThinkingPerceiving
Strength of the Preference %
22501222

The Architect

Architects need not be thought of as only interested in drawing blueprints for buildings or roads or bridges. They are the master designers of all kinds of theoretical systems, including school curricula, corporate strategies, and new technologies. For Architects, the world exists primarily to be analyzed, understood, explained - and re-designed. External reality in itself is unimportant, little more than raw material to be organized into structural models. What is important for Architects is that they grasp fundamental principles and natural laws, and that their designs are elegant, that is, efficient and coherent.

Architects are rare - maybe one percent of the population - and show the greatest precision in thought and speech of all the types. They tend to see distinctions and inconsistencies instantaneously, and can detect contradictions no matter when or where they were made. It is difficult for an Architect to listen to nonsense, even in a casual conversation, without pointing out the speaker's error. And in any serious discussion or debate Architects are devastating, their skill in framing arguments giving them an enormous advantage. Architects regard all discussions as a search for understanding, and believe their function is to eliminate inconsistencies, which can make communication with them an uncomfortable experience for many.

Ruthless pragmatists about ideas, and insatiably curious, Architects are driven to find the most efficient means to their ends, and they will learn in any manner and degree they can. They will listen to amateurs if their ideas are useful, and will ignore the experts if theirs are not. Authority derived from office, credential, or celebrity does not impress them. Architects are interested only in what make sense, and thus only statements that are consistent and coherent carry any weight with them.

Architects often seem difficult to know. They are inclined to be shy except with close friends, and their reserve is difficult to penetrate. Able to concentrate better than any other type, they prefer to work quietly at their computers or drafting tables, and often alone. Architects also become obsessed with analysis, and this can seem to shut others out. Once caught up in a thought process, Architects close off and persevere until they comprehend the issue in all its complexity. Architects prize intelligence, and with their grand desire to grasp the structure of the universe, they can seem arrogant and may show impatience with others who have less ability, or who are less driven. [Keirsey.com]
o.0

Not a bad assessment at all. Typelogic's breakdown is also pretty spot on. I think I can safely say that I agree with this.

1.07.2011

Day 06 - Write 30 Interesting Facts About Yourself

So apparently the blogging app on my phone has been posting my stuff as drafts, which is why my posts for the previous two days are only appearing now.

Now, in no particular order, 30 interesting things about myself:

  • I love to travel. I've been to France, Jamaica, England and Tanzania, and I plan on going to more
  • I play clarinet.
  • I L-O-V-E books. This was really the reason I started this iteration of my blogging life, to write about books and graphic novels and comics and stuff, but I haven't really got to that yet.
  • I have been in a relationship with my wonderful girlfriend for almost four years. She told me to put stuff like how handsome and dashing I am on my list, but I figured that would be a little too much ;)
  • I used to write poetry. Some of it is still up on my old blog, but I haven't really written anything new in a while. Got out of the habit I guess.
  • I'm a huge geek, especially when it comes to sci-fi. I'm not a Trekkie (or a Trekker, though I know that there is a difference) but I do circle around some of the fandoms.
  • Firefly is one of my absolute favourite tv shows, and it was through that show that I've discovered much of the programmes that I watch today.
  • When I was little I had a stuffed dog named Doggie (or Falkor, cuz he kinda looked like the luck dragon) and a stuffed bunny named Bunny. I was really imaginative.
  • My dad's side of the family is from Jamaica. And yes, I am white.
  • I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, though I'm still banking on dragonrider.
  • I love instrumental music. Movie, tv and video game soundtracks are absolutely phenomenal.
  • I am increasingly aware of how great things were when I was a kid. Power Rangers, Sesame Street, Art Attack... kids tv these days sucks in comparison
  • Doctor Who is pretty much my all-time favourite tv show and almost without fail I manage to get my friends addicted to it.
  • I think British tv is far superior to American. Same with comedy and humour.
  • My best time for reading the entire Lord of the Rings is 36 hours. That is 6 hours per book. Hmmm... I wonder if I could beat that now?
  • I love exotic food, especially sushi and Indian food.
  • Also, spicy foods. cf. Jamaican-ness.
  • I had a pet fish named Seaking (I was really into Pokémon at the time) that I kept for three years.
  • Silver > gold
  • Not only was I in chess club in elementary school, I started my school's chess club.
  • I also sang in my elementary school choir at a Toronto Blue Jays game.
  • I'm not much for sports in general, but I love volleyball and soccer (or football if you prefer)
  • I don't cry very often, but there are only three movie which have even got me close: Bridge to Terebithia (and I even knew what was coming!), Up, and Toy Story 3. Darn Pixar and its ability to tell such great stories.
  • I laugh out loud when I read really funny books. Sometimes embarrassingly so. Good Omens, I'm looking at you.
  • I have weird man-crushes on Nathan Fillion and Matt Damon. There, I said it.
  • I love the stars and space. There is just something so romantic about them, not just in a lovey romantic way (though they are that), but also in the way they catch our imagination. 
  • On that note, Pluto is my favourite planet (I'm still in denial). I played Pluto in a kindergarten play, and my mom recently found my costume.
  • My favourite colours are green and blue, though I also really like black. Coincidentally, those are the colours of Seana's eyes.
  • I have a lot of mannerisms which resemble those of a cat, especially when I am relaxing. Probably because I learned from one.
  • I love the Arthurian legends, and ever since I was exposed to them as a kid I have tried to live my life as much to the Knight's Code as possible. Chivalry is not dead yet.

1.06.2011

Day 05 - A Problem You Have Had

@#!

In the category of Most Vague Questions Ever.

Probably the biggest thing that tends to be a problem for me is my time management. I may have mentioned this already, in my celebration of procrastination. But it isn't all rosy and nice. Time management is a serious problem. I failed two courses last year at school as a result of poor time management and it is taking quite a bit not to go down the same road this year. For whatever reason I tend to prioritize less important things in order to leave off on the things that I really need to get done. This is why this challenge is important to me: it forces me to do something I have traditionally put off and forced me to get into the habit of writing, which is a Very Good Thing. It is something which I am going to really have to challenge myself with, especially since my poor time management has also had a very detrimental impact on my spiritual life. So, if I were to be making a New Years resolution it would be to better my time management.

1.05.2011

Day 04 - Your Views on Religion

So this is a big topic. Everybody has their own opinions on religion and what it means to be religious, which means that I am most certainly not alone in the opinions I have and that there are just as many people who would agree with me as would disagree.

Beating around the bush, whoo!

My views on religion are primarily informed by the fact that I am a Christian. What that means exactly for me is the subject of another day (Day 17 actually), but it is useful for now to serve as a starting foundation to understand where some of my ideas come from and what I believe religion's place is in the world.

I believe that everyone subscribes to some kind of religion or another. Atheists would probably like to bite my head off at that statement, but I believe that the term religion can be applied beyond the systems of faith - such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam - that it is traditionally associated with. Science has rapidly evolved into a kind of religion, a central hub for explaining the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, with the greats in their fields evoked much in the same fashion as the Catholic saints. Whereas people once reached for the supernatural to give them hope and direction for their lives, people adhere to the tennants of Science. It even has its own zealots; people like Dawkins who evangelize the virtues of Science. I don't want to come across as a science hater - in fact I love science and try to get beyond the false barrier put up between science and faith - but it does provide a very good example of a modern, non-spiritual religion.

Religions can be tricky things. Much of what we find wrong with religion happens when it is separated from its core set of beliefs, when the practices and the rules become more important than the heart of the practice. This is the case in Christianity anyway. We often get a really bad rap because of some crazies in the States who are trying to prove a point by being as controversial as possible. Honestly, I get a little disgusted and ashamed when the news reports on groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. Much like the Pharisees of old,  these groups miss the point - that we are all imperfect beings in need of love and grace - and fill the void with legality and hate. This is religion without faith, religion gone wrong.

I believe that religions can be a powerful force for good in the world, just as long as they are on the right path.

1.04.2011

Day 03 - Your Views on Drugs and Alchohol

The nice thing about this challenge is that some of these questions are good and open ended, meaning that I can interpret them any way I want. In this case, I can assume that this question is more in regards to the use of, or abuse of, drugs and alchohol.

The short version of the story is that I am straight up against the overuse of drugs and alchohol. End of story. I don't believe in getting plastered, smashed, pixilated, crunked, or wasted. I don't see the pleasure in spending time with my head in the toilet or forgetting my weekend entire (though if I spent said weekend with my head in the aforementioned toilet I might). That just isn't my idea of fun. I'll enjoy an alchoholic beverage or two with a meal or with friends, but that is it. That said, if you like to imbibe I won't say anything as long as you're smart about it. No drinking and driving on my watch.

Drugs get a similar ruling. Recreational drugs are out. No question there. I don't need anything entering my body to alter my state of mind. Medication on the other hand is a bit more tricky. If a doctor prescribes it, I'll take it; I tend to trust the judgement of medical professionals. But honestly, for the most part I try to avoid things like Tylenol and Advil. If I've got a cold (which doesn't happen too often) I'll take the minimum medication recommended, as I also do when my seasonal allergies hit. But for the most part I figure that we were created with an immune system for a reason, and if I am proactive in keeping myself healthy by eating right, getting sleep, not stressing out (ha! yeah right) too much and engaging in physical activity (which I've been working on), I should come out all right. Plus, all that talk about superbugs kind of freaks me out.

So there you have it. Pretty simple from my end: too much booze is bad, and drugs can be too.

1.03.2011

Day 02 – Where you’d like to be in 10 years

This one's a tricky one. I don't know where I want to be in a single year, let alone ten. Honestly, there is just way too much in flux in my life right now to give a definite answer as to where I would like to be. That said, there are a few things I would like to see in my future self. I would hope that I would be married by that point, maybe with little spawnlings running around. Maybe not. Whatever I'm doing for work (no specific aspirations for that that at the moment) I hope that I am involved in some way working with kids; if its as a part of my actual career then that would be cool, but so would be just having volunteer opportunities that I could capitalize on.

More important to me is being where God wants me to be in that time period. We may not have the best of relationships at times, but I'm sticking to Him and seeing where He is going to lead me. Hopefully I follow. In the mean time, I just have to try to live my life to the best of my ability and to the fullest. Whatever the Future has for me is in the future, and there's not much I can do about it right this moment. All I can really do is trust God to show me the ways that will bring me in line with His plan, and try to do so by getting as many different experiences as I can. Hopefully, ten-years-older me will be able to look back on this and say "yeah dude, plan worked" and not just "man, did I ever cop out on this topic."