25 May 2008

Cell Phones Are Evil

I'm not a huge fan of cell phones. I own one because the conveniences outweigh the drawbacks of expense and constant connectedness.

I like the idea of being unavailable. Each time you give someone your cell phone number - regardless of the fact that you consciously give that information to people you know, like, and trust - you become more available at all times.

Because I don't value my cell phone enough to let a bill get out of control, I'm on a pay-and-talk plan. Obviously the guy who designed the video below wasn't as sensible with his phone:

22 May 2008

Are you a vegetarian yet?

I have to admit that I still eat meat, but I am reaching a point where my diet is becoming more veggie-oriented for both health and moral reasons.

From fish farms to poultry pens, those of us paying attention are becoming increasingly disturbed by the treatment and conditions of food animals. If you're not bothered morally, just Google "sea lice" or "avian flu" before your next meat meal.

Mystery Meat

I can't imagine anyone would remember, but I've blogged on this kind of thing before:

What is The Meatrix?

What's in your food?

16 May 2008

Camosun award

Congratulations to my future husband Jeff Thomson on winning the 2008 Camosun College Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Award!

He's the top student in his year and was invited to Montreal for a national apprentice competition. Jeff also won the award for the Sheet Metal Entry Level Trades Training (ELTT) program in 2006.

Jeff's letter from the Camosun Dean of Trades and Technology

In a sad twist, the presentation for his award is May 30th, at about exactly the same time as the launch for my novel. He has very sweetly promised to skip his award to be at the launch, so if you'll be stopping by, please give him your best wishes and congratulations!

13 May 2008

Dreary skies and dystopias

Reading yesterday's MediaScout memo "The Burmese Junta’s Cold Calculation", I felt compelled to put down the H. P. Lovecraft collection I've been devouring and get back to the last section of The Shock Doctrine. To me, realizing that military dictatorships don't form in a vacuum is an important step in interpreting their actions.

Since beginning Naomi Klein's latest book, I'm not surprised to look around and see growing potential for major dystopian governments like the ones depicted in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men or Alan Moore's V for Vendetta.

As two of those references go back to the early 80's, I'm wondering how much of their fictional futures those writers (and other past authors of dystopian settings) expected could come to pass. Are today's US and UK governments capable of crossing the line to bring home a selection of frightening policies and procedures into the daily lives of it's citizens - to the point where it can no longer be ignored by turning off the nightly news? Would Canada be immune?

Food for thought on a rainy, dreary Tuesday.

05 May 2008

Finding my way around Facebook

I held out for a long time - a very long time in Facebook milliseconds. Some of you might remember my posting a general notice that I had no plans to join. But I've finally signed on to the still exploding social network that is Facebook. And I'm having fun.

Although I do plan to keep blogging (particularly because Facebook seems more conducive to photo comments, byte-size memos and cartoon-illustrated gestures) I'm becoming fascinated by "the book" - especially now that I'm on the inside. The etiquette (or lack thereof in some cases), the addictive quality, the risqué images and slogans slotted neatly in between kittens and roses on individual profile pages.

Not only are Facebookers giving up their blogs, some seem to be forgoing external email almost entirely. When a notice from Facebook in your inbox is just an added step, why not cut out the middle man? I'm not judging, really. I find it very interesting from a professional point of view.

What will business look like for web-based email providers? What loyalty would users have to a tool that was free in the first place and for which they're a faceless web banner receptacle? Of course, that's true of Facebook too. Will we ever reach a point where one hegemonic social network trumps all others functioning as everything to everyone? Those are the kind of thoughts going through my mind as I navigate Facebook.

Then, this afternoon as I surfed the site of a savvy blogger I read regularly, I remembered why I began a blog in the first place. Conversation. It's different than connection - and it's still important.