Thursday, December 29, 2005

More on cell phones

From an interesting article on cellphone mis-use:
"You wouldn't anticipate being on an escalator and expecting somebody behind you to have a camera phone or [a camera] in their shoe or in their bag and placing it under your skirt, then placing the picture on the Internet," says state Rep. Mary Ann R. Dailey, R-Montgomery, the state bill's sponsor. "That's unconscionable behavior. It's an unfortunate thing that in this society we have to create laws to prevent this type of bad behavior."
Reminded me of what a professor once pointed out in a class, on the difference between Confucianism and Taoism. Essentially, Confucianism is for the young, seeking guidance in life. Taoism is for the old, seeking meaning. But both disciplines grew up under the same culture, and Taoism was critical of Confucianism's rules for life (from the Tao Te Ching):

When the great Tao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.
When the body's intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.
When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.
When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.
[translator, S. Mitchell]

Every time I hear of someone recommending a rule, by-law, or law to cover some aspect of human behaviour, I think of this, the political closing of the gate once the cows have already gone.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

"My tattoo means WHAT?!?"

Just found a new blog...and it is the funniest, most relevant one I've seen to-date (sorry Metro, Nag, Cold Desert, Media Addict, Terminal City chick -- you folks are great, and good friends, but this Tian is a guy who appreciates the absurd!).

Of course, 'relevant' to me means that his blog is
  1. absurd
  2. language-related
  3. something I've often wondered about
What are people thinking when they get a tattoo with Chinese characters?!?

Or even a trendy lower back tattoo (follow the link, watch the video!): "Oh, look at me! A sexy individualist with a tattoo like everyone else!" Definitely one of my pet peeves...How glad am I that the fashion trend when I was young was ultra-tight jeans and leg warmers -- No laser treatment necessary to leave my fashion mistakes behind.

I'm going to go back and read some more on tattooing foolishness!

Merry Christmas (if it is relevant to you!)


Friday, December 23, 2005

A cellphone rant

In the past, cellphones have annoyed me, irked me, enraged me...but in March of this year I was in a terrible rush of the last week before a festival I was producing, and I had to get a cellphone -- it was either that or sit next to a pay phone with a pile of quarters while I was away from my home phone, and I had to be out, doing things for the festival. So I bought a pay-as-you-go phone, and spent hours on it that week.

Then, I discovered the slippery slope [isn't it crazy that someone's found the time to write a Wikipedia article on just about everything?!?] that is cellphone usage. "Okay," I thought to myself, "I'll hang on to this phone, and we'll keep it in the car to use in emergencies."

Then I called Metro one day at work (his job gave him a cellphone to stay in touch while at work), and we arranged something rather important. Then I went tutoring, and called him to come pick me up on his way home from work. Then...I put more money on the phone.

Then, in May, I was recruited as a friend's campaign manager for the recent provincial election, and I racked up more hours (and money) on the phone.

So, I've recently bitten the bullet, and bought into a plan...a plan! Gads.

And while I may be a cellphone newbie, my friend, who I will call Ann, is newer still. Today, I'm going to give her my 'old' pay-as-you-go phone, for her and her husband to use just between them, so that one of them has a phone when they are meeting up. He is far more leery of it than she is...I'd say he's the smart one on this. [Actually, he's the smart one of the pair, he saw the wisdom in marrying this woman, in not letting her get away!]

They're in trouble.

But, then, so is all of society.

Cellphone usage has made us all ruder, lazier, more dangerous, and more obnoxious. We talk on the phone when we are with someone else. We don't make precise arrangements to meet, and don't worry about being late, because: "Oh, I'll just call you on your cell." We drive with them stuck to our ears (my Japanese friend was shocked that it wasn't illegal), although I'm still at the stage (luckily) where I'll answer the phone to say "I'm driving, I'll call you back." And we talk on the phone in public places about not-so-public things, and annoy others with our blather.

And now I've started to IM with my colleague about projects we're working on, sometimes, albeit jokingly, when we're in the same office. Is this another place to be wary?

Check out this quicktime video on that subject.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Word Geek x 2

I'm not alone....I'm currently on the phone with a friend and he and I are totally geeking out on the Color Code: a color portrait of the English Language. Go there, and enjoy it. (Thanks to anonymous who left the link in my comment section!)


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Word Geek

Why does stuff like this excite me? It doesn't do anything...there's no real practical application for it...

Reminds me of the Visual Thesaurus. It's been around for years, and is so popular that one can't spend time just being in it without paying (but you can still browse briefly). It has a more obvious application, but there's the danger of going to it to look for a word, but getting lost in the patterns, in the search. Would make a great gift for the word-junkies on your list (hint, hint!)

Bought a new notebook yesterday, to investigate poetry a bit more deeply. I want to write out the bits that intrigue me, and maybe even work on some of my own. A line that has held my interest for awhile is from a poem by Seamus Heaney (not to be missed: It's available online with an audio file of him reading):
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives--
According to Wordcount, the overall use of the word fluent is ranked at 13919, dipping at 15457, and knives at 9339. We write about sharp edges more than we talk about the flowing nature of speech.

I'll leave you with a line (utterly out of context) from "To the Days" by Adrienne Rich:
A typewriter's torrent, suddenly still.
Blue soaking through fog, two dragonflies wheeling.
Acceptable levels of cruelty, steadily rising.
Whatever you bring in your hands, I need to see.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Fog, and a walk

Metro and I went for a drive and a walk yesterday -- and I got him to stop and drive back a block or two so that I could catch this picture.

And the park we went to in the late afternoon (about 4 p.m. here in frigid Canada), had some beautiful light.

And the river was glorious (the posts in the water are from an old log dump...not in use for the last 40 or 50 years).

I do have a photo site, but to be honest, I don't like the utter blackness of the background. I'm going to establish a page on Flickr: here's the URL, but there's no pictures there yet!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

But some of them seem useful!

This is the Grandiloquent Dictionary, the:
...result of an ongoing project to collect and distribute the most obscure and rare words in the English language.
But, really, even on the first page ('A' words), there are some useful ones.

Haven't we all met an:
A pompous windy bore who pretends to have inspiration
or aren't we often guilty of:
Excessive spending on food and drink
I don't dare go on, my friends think me pompous enough already!


Saturday, December 03, 2005


I like photography (if you've been to my not-often-updated photo site, you'll know that), but what I really like is repetitive patterns.

In humour, repetition is funny. In nature, repetition is fascinating. In art, repetition can be beautiful (as in this painting by my friend, Won Seok Lim).

And in writing, repetition is rhetorical...

So, imagine my delight when I found this site. "Exactitudes" -- collections of people in more or less the same pose.


Speaking of photography, and beauty, also check out Their Circular Life....and watch the movement of light (and people) over the course of a day.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Okay -- this is a useful thing!

Those of you who are using antiquated programs...

or who don't want to spend the hundreds on MS Office (to get Excel & PowerPoint)...

or Adobe (but you want the option to pdf your files once in awhile)....

Let me hear you, if you fit that description, yell "Yeah!"


Okay folks...have you heard of the ThinkFree Corporation? "A revolutionary free service that lets you create, access, and edit...within a web browser."

Two words I like: free and web. I've tried it -- and it lives up to the hype.

So far.

Check it out, and tell me what the catch is....'cause, as always, I think it's too good to be true.