Tag Archives: musings

Campus House and Other Buildings

On a recent visit to Toronto,

I strolled through the University of Toronto’s sprawling campus, which actually IS in the middle of downtown Toronto. The university grounds have lead to the preservation of a large swath of urban parkland as well as to the preservation of many of its original buildings. They are still going strong at an average age of about 130 years old, but have been re-purposed and refreshed with additions.

In this country, I still find it a little surprising to find excellently preserved old homes and other buildings living well in the centre of a big city, continuing to be useful and healthy. North America hasn’t been particularly good at this, but it’s getting better, I think.

Honouring age doesn’t just apply to buildings, it applies to people too, of course. The tendency to write people off because they’re “older” (whatever that means) is sad.

What do you think?

Let’s Get Personal?

Salted Caramel is asking readers to get personal. Here are her questions:

1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

3. How much of your personality shows through your writing?

4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

I am not big on telling lots of personal details on my blog because I have a narcissist in my background who still likes to check up on me, and I would really rather that he not find any extra tidbits on how to contact or find me.

An airplane photo, similar to my gravatar.

So, as a result of that, I do use a pseudonym – my actual first name and my grandmother’s surname. I have never bothered to specifically share my race, gender, or faith, although if you’ve read enough of my stuff, you likely will have figured these things out. To me, these things are incidentals.

I definitely share personal experiences, but I try to remove or alter any features that might definitively identify me, so there’s a smudging of the lines.

My blog is me. I don’t try to blur or change who I am, so yes, I believe my personality is here. But the thought that comes up for me when considering these questions is around how much of ourselves we should be sharing.

The online world is funny that way. It encourages people to share, but then, how much is too much? Many people drop off lots of personal information, far too much, I think. They feel safe in doing so. They feel that there’s nothing about themselves that they should hide or keep private. That there’s no need.

Unknowably deep waters.

Until it’s too late and they need to keep themselves private for a very private reason. How do you turn that off? Is it even possible to turn that off?

It’s almost expected that we give up our privacy now, for work, for pleasure, for being able to just operate. And privacy is one of those things that’s precious; it’s been fought for and died over, many, many countless times. Shouldn’t we be a little more protective and respectful of this great costly gift that we have?

I know of people who, through WP, have met and become friends. That’s pretty great. People who otherwise would have never met, especially across oceans and continents, become lifelong chums.

But it bothers me when I’m told that I “should” be using such social media as Facebook and Twitter. For starters that would probably unleash the narcissist. And apart from that, I don’t want to. How much updating and tweeting can one person do? How do people find the time? Frankly, I find a lot of it boring.

I know that information is not only power, it’s money. And lots of companies want us to spill our guts so that they can make money from a raw material that costs them nothing but has the potential to be very costly to us.

They want us to use invasive devices such as Siri and Alexa.  They get into our homes and cars and are inside our heads, mining for gold.

Is there gold in these waters?

I don’t want to live in a society that more or less requires us to have one of these in our homes. Ten years from now, here’s the instruction on the side of a box: You will “need” Siri in order to complete the following task … 

No.

I don’t care if you want to have lots of Siris and Alexas all over your life. However, I want that to be a choice, not a pseudo-requirement that gradually eases its thin edge into our lives and over time evolves into a necessity.

Because of that, I think that these companies should be regulated. I think that AI should be regulated. And sooner rather than later.

What do you think? How personal are you with your blog? How far do you think technology should be allowed to go?

 

Flowers of Republica Dominicana Part II

Dominican Republic is home to many types of orchids, something I hadn’t realized until my last visit.

I had been there a number of times before, but somehow I had missed how plentiful they are.

It’s lovely to see them just growing where they like, these beautiful splashes of ostentatious and frilly colour.

The freedom to take root in the ground of choice is one we should all be able to enjoy. 🙂

Blog Sell-by Date

Salted Caramel has created more questions for her series on blogging insights. Please pop by and take a look at her blog. 🙂

Her questions this time are:

How old is your current blog/website? 

Do you ever look back at your site i.e. read through your old posts?

How long ago did you update your about page ?

If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?

These questions got me thinking about the general concept of updating, of keeping things neat and orderly. Updating, going back and cleaning up things, sorting though things is something we all have to do, although some of us are much better at it than others. I think if you’re not much of a cleaning up person, then your blog might be untidy too (or creatively messy 🙂 ).

I’ve moved a fair bit in the last 13 years. There was a lot of upheaval. I was getting a divorce and had purchased another house. It was empty and very new and I started with pretty much a blank slate except for four boxes of papers and things that I needed to sort. Of course, I didn’t sort them. The boxes just followed me around, ignored and helpless hangers-on, but I couldn’t just throw them out either. If I did, especially without looking at them, I would be irrevocably throwing out an older chapter of me. That’s what it felt like, anyway.

So these four boxes moved with me again, and then again, and then again. They are now in a storage locker awaiting final deposition.

A couple of years ago, I started examining these boxes, and eliminated some of the stuff in them. The garbage bags containing some of the discarded stuff are still sitting in the storage locker though. So, all I did was shift the contents from one storage container to another.

I got called away, actually to start this job here in the Northwest Territories, and now when I go to my southern home, I don’t want to spend time in a storage locker sorting through stuff.

But the time is coming. My M may be returning to British Columbia to sell the place that we presently have and to purchase another in a neighbourhood that will be more conducive as we get older and become decrepit. It’s a very walkable location with shops and restaurants and the market close by.

Eventually, and sooner than it feels, I will be finally dealing with those boxes.

So why has it taken me so long? Why does it take anyone so long … to sort through a box? Clean a closet? Write a will? Finish an assignment? Organise a blog site?

Procrastination is usually for a reason, and I’ve certainly been procrastinating. I dug in my heels because I needed to. When I’m ready to clean up, I’ll clean up.

I’m not sure yet why I haven’t completely dealt with these boxes. It’s boring? It’s painful? I’m feeling a need to exert control over when I do it? It’s probably all of these.

What about you? Is your blog (or life) all orderly and up to date?

Flowers of Republica Dominicana – Part I

Orchids are a marvellous part of the Dominican landscape.

There are many kinds, including the vanilla orchid that is native to the island. They weren’t blooming when we visited, but here’s a beautiful white one that was.

New World Orchid

And one more.

Miltoniopsis

There are many magnificent things in the world; in this 20/20 year, we need to see that.

Greetings from the lovely orchids of Dominican Republic. 🙂

Sliding on a Slippery Icy Road

Here is a northern take on Winter Wonderland (my apologies and salutations to Felix Bernard).

Doorbells ring, are you listening?

In the lane, snowplows glistening

A breathtaking sight

We’re trying tonight

To stand up on a slippery icy road

Gone away is the sand truck

Here to stay is a cold front

It screams a north gale

As we plod along

Sliding on a slippery icy road

In the meadow we will build a shelter

And crawl inside to get out of the wind

You’ll say are you freezing

I’ll say not now

But that’s a possibility later on

In a bit, we’ll perspire

As we sit in the fire

We’ll thaw and we’ll stretch

Sam McGee at his best

Sliding on a slippery icy road

In the meadow we can build a shelter

And pretend that winter is all done

That’s quite a feat of self-deluded nonsense

But that’s what happens when you’re freezing cold

When it snows, watch for frostbite

When it blows, get a tissue

We’ll frolic and play, the northern way

Sliding on a slippery icy road.

A little northern humour. 🙂

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