Entries from December 2002

Mouth camera

I'm teaching digital photography next term, which I'm really looking forward to. Not only do I get my own, as the French would say, hyper-cool Canon Powershot G2 for the whole term, I also get to play with the beast that is the Canon EOS-D60.

Mouth CatGear-geekiness aside, it's also going to be fun to spend three months with the students shooting like crazy and doing something with such an immediate and creative focus (pardon the pun). My photography skills are bound to improve.

I wonder if the college will let me get away with doing something like this: Pinhole photography and A Day in the life of my mouth.

Somehow I don't think so. Pity, that.

Link and Think


It's rare to see anything 468×60 on the BeatnikPad. In fact, this is the first time I've ever posted anything ad banner-esque. But, it's an important day.

World AIDS day is upon us again. With the situation in Africa, China, and India becoming more and more grave, it's even more urgent than ever that we try to keep issues such as these in the forefront of our minds. Yet again, the best resource online today for HIV and AIDs information is the group-blog at Metafilter. (Also, Metafilter's Link and Think page from last year is just as informative. Thanks to Anil for the link.)

Be safe, stay informed, and stay involved.


I'm not quite sure what advent calendars are; they have something to do originally with Roman Catholic church, right? Darn non-religious upbringing. I still don't understand what Lent is all about, either.

Anyway, I've really been enjoying the online advent calendars I've found. Specifically:

Any others that ya'll have found?

(Oh. I learned a little about Advent calendars from this site, which also has a bunch of nice "historical" examples. Still, I'm not sure I understand the religious connection...)

Whereabouts. Another damn Weblog.

Yes, I'm still around. No, I haven't forgotten about you, and I definitely haven't forgotten about putting some effort into my posts, instead of pooping out these rather dry, miniscule turds.

My main group of students (affectionately known as the "DMTers" - the course is awkwardly called Digital Multimedia Technology) had their last day of classes for the first term today, which was a relief. It's been a very busy first term, with both the instructors and the students getting used to the new course, the new campus, the workload, and each other.

Everyone has really worked hard, and I think we should all go out and raise a glass to surviving our first term together. I'm writing this more as a mental note to myself - I really don't want to forget to get the group together before everyone takes off for the holidays.

On a related note, I finally started posting to a Weblog I set up ages ago for my students and co-workers. It's your old-school linkage Weblog, which is more a quick dumping ground for Web and design stuff that folks at the college might find interesting, so there might not be anything new there that heavy Weblog travellers haven't seen elsewhere - your mileage will most definitely vary.

I'm going to be up to my earlobes in marking for the next eight days or so...

Rivers of Text

I'm knee-deep in marking right now. In a lot of ways this is such a strange place for me to be, considering I barely graduated from high school, and was never a good university student. I'm sure if I could go back even a mere five years ago to tell my past self about what I do, the five-years-ago me wouldn't believe it.

I've never had a good relationship with school.

» Rivers of Text continues...

A sigh of relief

The marks were entered in the computer today, and after tomorrow I am finished teaching until 2003. God, I am bone-weary, but incredibly fulfilled.

This, of course, means that I can actually spend some time doing stuff that I've pushed aside for the last few months... like actually completing the redesign for this site. Maybe.

Posting from NetNewsWire

I'm just beta-testing Ranchero Software's newest release: the long-awaited NetNewsWire Pro. If you're reading this, it's working.

Edit: Hm. I just realized that NNW doesn't support Movable Type categories yet. Pity, that.


I can't believe that it's that time again. I know I've been quite busy this year, but that still doesn't explain why, as I get older, Christmas becomes less and less of an eagerly awaited day.

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy the festive season (wild, all-consuming hordes of shoppers aside), and I definitely sync with the whole "peace and goodwill to all" vibe that the holidays bring. Any day that gets us a-lovin' each other is a good day to me. But where did my Christmas spirit go?

A Chinese-Canadian Christmas

When I was a kid, we used to almost explode from pre-Christmas excitement. My family has always celebrated a straight up, religion-free Christmas: artifical tree, turkey in the oven, family gatherings, and lots of photographs were the annual touchstones of the season. We'd hang fake-fur stockings by the front door mantle (my oldest brother Chris somehow getting the biggest one), and my dad would blast the excruciatingly saccharine A James Last Christmas over and over again until cotton candy popped out of my ears.

My mom would slowly add to a burgeoning pile of wrapped presents under our Eaton's special Christmas tree, until the anticipation of the 25th was almost too much to bear. I think my younger sister and I, being much younger than my older brothers, would start shimmying with excitement around the 14th or so. Our vibrations would get increasingly kinetic until Christmas Eve, where we would be almost humming with eagerness.

Where coal starts to appear everywhere

Of course, looking back I realize that a large portion of my "holiday spirit" was actually just the anticipation of wildly rending wrapping paper (and that truly was it; I seem to remember my parents wrapping a few extra boxes with nothing in them just to appease our insatiable urge to unwrap things). As I got older and moved away from the city, the holidays became more about reuniting with the family and the warming glow of friends and festivities.

Christmas WindowIn the last few years, though, Christmas has just stopped... being. It's stopped being the gigantic pink elephant behind the door that we can't wait to see, and instead become just another holiday. The clincher this year was my brothers' decision (made by them without any consultation with the rest of us) that they wouldn't exchange gifts with the rest of us; just for my parents, and for my nephew. Bah humbug, indeed.

The truth of the matter is, even with the joy that the holidays bring, Christmas makes me feel a little sad. I look back on the innocence and the wide-eyed enthusiasm that I used to have for the season and wonder where that kid has gone. With the increasingly frequent excursions that work undertakes on almost everything else in my life, I haven't had much time this year to luxuriate in the warmth of the season.

The Yule, they are a-changin'

I'm deeply thankful for many things, though, and I suppose that's what the holidays bring to me more and more each year: appreciation. I'm thankful that I have a wonderful and loving girlfriend and cat family. I thankful for the continuing health and happiness of my parents and the rest of my family, and for the friendships that I've made over the years that continue to bring surprise, laughter, and delight. And I'm thankful that I'm gainfully employed, and that I enjoy working in a place where I can make a difference.

Now that I've written these things, I realize that it's not that Christmas has changed; I have. It's no longer about a two-week buzz of anticipation, and it's no longer about the gifts or the ripping of wrapping paper. It's a continuing cycle of happiness, fraternity, and warmth that weaves its way through the entire year, and Christmas is just a day that we allow ourselves to appreciate what we have.

In that sense, I am truly lucky.

Happy Holidays to all of the Hoovillians

Happy holidays to everyone that visits here and sends me e-mails or comments - you know who you are, and you make all of this fun, interesting, and fulfilling.

In Search of Famous Women

WomenRenée and I were talking last night about famous artistic women. Actually, we were talking about how we were having problems remembering the names of famous artistic women.

It all started because I was trying to think up the names of any famous female classical composers. The problem is I couldn't think of any. Sure, I could recall the names of famous classic performers who were women, but I was a bit surprised that I couldn't think of any women who actually created classical works.

This then spread to directors, poets, writers, and painters, and we both had problems naming more than a handful of famous women in each category.

Has the cultured history been so dominated by men that women's expression was never allowed to reach a wide audience?

Even now, I'm trying to think of famous present day women, and besides a smattering of so-called "independent" artists, the big names elude me.

Can anyone who's less of a philistine than me help? Are women getting a fairer chance of having their work reach a wide audience in the arts, or is it still the same male-dominated business as usual?

CBC Archives

An acquaintance of mine mentioned that she was one of the many people working on this project, which is rather cool: a gigantic archive of everything the CBC has ever broadcast, all available online.

At least, that's the lofty goal. I have no idea how close they are to moving everything online, but there is a lot of good ol' Canadian content here. Unfortunately they chose the rather crapulent Windows Media format for their clips, which of course is a P.O.S., especially when running on a Mac. Ah well.

I'm constantly surprised by the hidden, woefully under-marketed sites that the CBC has scattered around, like the flash-tastic 120seconds.com, or the clip collections at the stupidly named ZeD.

The CBC is amazing at marketing their news stuff (having Peter Mansbridge and all of the other anchors mention the site during every newscast helps), but suck at marketing the rest of their sprawling properties. It's too bad - they've got some interesting gems here and there.

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