Thursday, October 09, 2003
So, what's up with all this "vicster-dot-net" and "thinking out loud" and "visual cues" stuff? Why all this? Why now?
Well...I've had the "vicster.net" domain for a few years now and was always planning to "do something" with it. When I was laid off of my job in 2002, I suddenly had more time on my hands to figure out exactly what I was going to do with my domain/site. I had the design planned and had the first set of articles written and...
...and then had an attack of "this will suck and everyone will laugh at me and think I'm an idiot" and I pulled the whole thing (and put up the "maintenance" page that sat there for 15 months).
Since my ambition is to be a professional photographer/photojournalist, there was a motivation (and to a certain extent, a deadline) to at least get my portfolio online. I took that opportunity to also stretch myself in web layout and design as well in production. While Thinking Out Loud is primarily laid out in tables, Visual Cues is all CSS positioning (if you're a web geek, you'll get this...if you're not, I'm not sure I can really explain CSSP other than comparing it to drawing an image on graph paper by drawing elements of the image inside individual graph cells, vs. the CSSP where you have a completely blank, clean sheet of sketch paper and you put the elements of the drawing where you want them to be, without regard to placing bits of it within squares).
So as I put the finishing touches on the production of Visual Cues, I decided to dust off some of the "old" copy, write some new stuff and just suck it up and launch Visual Cues and Thinking Out Loud at the same time.
The vision for Visual Cues is pretty clear: It's dedicated to my online photography portfolio.
But what about Thinking Out Loud?
Thinking Out Loud is going to be just that...the place where I come and put some of the thoughts that are rattling round in my head out there. It'll be a bit less intimate than my "morning pages" that I write as part of The Artist's Way's program...and likely a bit less raw (though, if I get into a particularly soul-baring mood, some of those pages might wander in here). And, if this week is any indication, Thinking Out Loud will be a place for me to come to avoid doing homework (heh.). Alternatively, some of my homework assignments and papers just might end up here.
I reserve the right to butcher the English language as I see fit. And I also reserve the right to change my mind on any subject, provided I've been give sufficient (good) reason--backed by solid, verifiable evidence--to do so.
Now, speaking of homework avoidance...I've got a fair bit of math homework to get through before class tomorrow.
Monday, October 06, 2003
The Grand Experiment (is there life after the DirecTV is disconnected?)
There have been a lot of "firsts" in my life in the past 18 months. One of the most significant is the fact that for the first time--as far as I can remember--in my LIFE, I have no television. Zip, zilch, nada. None.
As a part of my cost-cutting plan, I decided to switch off my DirecTV. I had (and still have) no desire to switch to cable, mostly because I think Comcast is an evil empire, and also because when I looked on their website, I couldn't find the most basic information like what channels do I get and how much will they cost. So, this makes the first time in over 20 years that I'm living without cable/satellite TV.
The world being what it is, I didn't think I'd miss DirecTV too terribly. I really only watched a few channels (BBCAmerica, Newsworld International, Bravo, TLC, with some Cartoon Network tossed in here and there), and in winter, of course, there is hockey.
I'll grant you that I do miss Newsworld (it's presented by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and is easily the best news source on television)...especially Peter Mansbridge, Evan Solomon and Jian Ghomeshi. And I'm a little weepy now that a new season of "The Office" is about to crank up on BBCAmerica (I had gotten a bit weary of "EastEnders," though, but I hear BBCAmerica has stopped showing it altogether).
And I do get an occasional pang knowing I'll miss hockey season. Especially "Hockey Night In Canada." Somehow, I'll have to cope without "Coach's Corner" with Don Cherry, but it'll be hard. But, at the same time, I remember feeling such relief at the end of last hockey season that it was finally over. Additionally, the CBA talks are just not really happening and the CBA expires at the end of the season. Both sides are gearing up for a significantly long work stoppage (either through a strike or a lockout)...some reports say the owners are preparing for a shut-down of up to two years. So, it's likely I'm going to have to get used to life without hockey, anyway. At least I don't have to quit cold-turkey (I'm going to attend three Sharks games this season). But I digress.
Now, living on "Curfew Island," I can't really get good TV reception without an antenna. My very nice neighbour has lent me her antenna, but I have yet to hook it up to my set (it's been nearly three months).
To be honest, I have really enjoyed not having TV! I've got plenty of CDs to listen to, or I listen to the radio. Or I just enjoy the peace and quiet or listening to the children playing over in the school yard across the street.
I'm amazed at how much better I feel, at how I don't feel such a "weight" on me from being bombarded with words and pictures all day/all night. And, frankly, between homework, job-hunting, and trying to get this bloody website (and Visual Cues) up and running, there's not much more I could absorb.
Oh, the TV still gets used...I've kept the Netflix subscription, so I take the occasional "DVD break," between, school, art, and job-hunting.
I didn't think it possible, but thus far I just don't miss TV much...in fact I don't really miss it at all.update 10 October, 2003
I just got a call from someone with some "research" outfit wanting to know about my TV viewing habits. This is how the rest of the conversation went:me:
I don't watch TV.researcher:
Your TV's not working?me:
The TV works, I just don't have access to channels.researcher:
So your TV doesn't work...me:
The TV works. I just choose not to hook up any devices so it can receive channels.researcher:
...(didn't say anything but I think I heard her blink a couple of times)me:
The TV works and I use it to watch DVDs, but I haven't "watched TV" for about three months now.researcher:
OK. Bye then!
That'll give her something to talk about in the break room.
In just a few seconds...
A Ferrarri traveling at 80 mph through a neighbourhood, driven by a 22-year-old male slams into an iron and brick wall, ejecting him and his 25-year-old friend. The 22-year-old suffers a broken jaw and a knee with all ligaments torn eight ways from Sunday.
The 25-year-old suffers massive head injuries after being ejected from the car in the wreck. After surgery to repair a depressed fracture of his skull, he dies six days later, having never regained consciousness.
In just a few seconds, 22-year-old Dany Heatley's promising NHL career is most likely over. Even if he's able to recover and rehabilitate after having his knee knitted back together, there's the psychological trauma of the wreck itself, and being responsible for the death of his teammate and friend. And that's not even taking into account the possible jail time for vehicular homicide (as prosecutors are pushing for).
And in just a few seconds, the life of Dan Snyder came to an end. It is my sincerest hope that Dan Snyder's last moments of life were filled with singing loudly and happily along with the car stereo, talking about hockey and girls, and that he didn't know what hit him.
In just a few seconds, the lives of two families were smashed into chaos and grief. In just a few seconds, a team that was looking forward to the beginning of a new season now has to cope with the loss of two teammates...one who they'll never see again and one who will never be the same.
I pray for Dany Heatley's physical recovery and wish for him a lot of emotional strength to get past this tragedy. He's going to need all the strength he can muster.
I pray for Dany Heatley's and Dan Snyder's teammates on the Atlanta Thrashers, that they can find the strength--both within themselves and by relying on each other--to play through this tragedy. It's always difficult to lose two teammates...to lose them so tragically and senselessly just one week before the season starts just defies description.
I pray, most of all, for Dan Snyder and his family. I pray that Dan is now playing shinny on that great skating pond in the heavens. And I pray that his family will eventually heal from such a devastating loss, especially considering they'll (we'll) never be able to make sense of what happened.update 10 October, 2003
Well, the team doctors for the Atlanta Thrashers seem to think Dany Heatley could play again this year. Evidently, his knee surgery was very successful...I suppose the question will be his emotions. It's one thing to knit someone's knee ligaments back together...healing the soul is quite another trick.
After their first game of the season, the Thrashers--including Heatley--travelled to Elmira, Ontario to bury Dan Snyder. Dan Snyder's parents not only welcomed Heatley to their son's funeral, they are being very supportive of him. Hopefully, that support can and will continue, because it will go a long way toward healing Heatley's spirit.
I ran across a commentary by Kevin Allen from USA Today and agree with him that Heatley should serve some punishment, but vehicular homicide just doesn't fit what happened.
I had a hard time reading the articles about Snyder's funeral once I read the part where young hockey players were tapping their sticks in the street to honour Dan Snyder. And I think we all can learn a lesson from Graham Snyder in being compassionate, forgiving, humans. He's able to find it within himself to forgive Dany Heatley for making a mistake that cost him his son's life. When I look back on my day today and think of all the times I lost patience with people, Mr. Snyder's comments just absolutely humble me.
Saturday, October 04, 2003
Simon has a girrrrrrlll-friend!
Well, romance is in the air!
It seems that Simon has a girlfriend. Her name is Samantha and she lives in the same apartment complex that we do, just a few doors down. She's a very lovely Orange Tabby. She's very sweet, she usually hangs out in the entryway to my apartment and greets me whenever I leave or come home.
Lately, though, I've heard her and Simon (who's an indoor kitty and will remain so, despite his rather loud protests) "talking" to each other through the door and Samantha has gently scratched the door to get me to open it to her. And, when Simon's missing her, he'll sit by the front door and howl at me to open the door for him (I did open it twice, but thought better of opening THAT can of worms and no longer open it on his "command").
When I do open the front door to go somewhere and Samantha is close-by, she'll run right up to my door. Now, any other cat in the neighbourhood will be summarily dismissed by Simon with a hiss and a (rather non-intimidating) growl. When Samantha's at the door, he gallops over and chats her up with all this "meeewww, MeOW!, MEEEWww!" He tries to get out to see her, she tries to come inside...it's all pretty funny to watch.
So, today, as I was heading out to buy a printer cartridge, Samantha was at the door and Simon came running over, chattering all the way. So I kept him just inside the door, but let the two of them check each other out. Samantha eventually made her way to the threshold and planted a kitty-nose-kiss on Simon's nose! To which he let out a sound somewhere between a gasp and a hiss, and poor Samantha retreated to the nearby shrubs.
As I nudged Simon back into the house, I sighed, "you're such a typical guy...you freak out at the first sign of seriousness in a relationship!" I think Simon still doesn't know what hit him! But, if I know Samantha, she'll be back...she doesn't back down easily.
Stay tuned...I'll add more to this story as it unfolds.update 8 October, 2003
Ah, Miss Samantha is now playing hard-to-get. She and Simon had an encounter at the front door yesterday. Simon tried chatting Samantha up, but she was coy, choosing to slowly, teasingly make her way to the door. When she got close to Simon, he leaned over to nose-kiss her but she took off. Now, every time I go near the front door, Simon is right THERE, want to see if Samantha is at the door waiting for him.
I like Samantha's style...make your move, then leave them wanting more!
Friday, October 03, 2003
Instant Recall (please tell me we WON'T have a "governator"!)
OK, so as I'm writing this, the California Recall Election is just four days off. Thank goodness. (Of course, the bad news is, we've still got another four days of this BS...)
I already know I'm voting no on the recall because it's the best way I have to tell the California Republican Assembly to go f*** themselves...but I am still trying to work out who to vote for for governor. Now that Arianna Huffington has dropped out of the race, there isn't anyone I can really support, even half-heartedly. If I take the two extremes: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Larry Flynt, I think I'd have to be leaning toward Larry. I mean, Flynt's run a very successful publishing empire...but how many of Arnold & Co.'s Planet Hollywoods are still around (well, by that I mean open for business...I still see the sign outside the long-vacated Planet Hollywood whenever I wander into San Francisco)? Which of those two candidates sounds like someone who can get California out of the fiscal hole its in?
Of course, this has made California a laughing stock, and this time "we" (and by "we" I really mean Darryl Issa) deserve all the shit the rest of the world wants to fling at us for this debacle. California is, what $35 BILLION in the hole, everybody's bickering over how to get out of the hole and the very last thing the state needed was to spend another $20+ million on this stupid recall election. And, if California's budget crisis is all Gray Davis' fault, as the Republicans insist, then why don't they extend their own logic and demand that George W. Bush be removed from office, given the enormous debt and grim economy that has happened under his watch?
I have a cost-saving solution, though. Re-jig the computerized voting machines so that right after you touch the screen to select your choice for governor, you can immediately hit "undo" (ctrl-z...or for us MacHeads apple-z) if you so choose, and INSTANTLY RECALL who you've just voted for. No need for people shoving petitions in your face when you go grocery shopping, no more "special elections," it's all done in one trip!
Clearly, I can't wait until this recall is over. But I'm betting that people on "both sides" of the recall have their piles of petitions, clipboards and pens at the ready so that whatever the outcome of this election, there'll be a group back in front of the supermarkets this time next week trying to recall the recall...
Sigh...update 7 October, 2003
Oh boy! Looks like we do have a "Governator"...bleh.update 8 October, 2003
Why does the word "governator" sound like something GW Bush would say? I mean, he'd mean to say "governor," but it would come out "governator"...
At any rate...done is done. I'll try to reserve judgement on (I can't believe I'm about to type this) Governor Schwarzenegger, at least for now.