fighting jet lag via blogging

Posted: February 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: deardiary, travel | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

My apologies if this blog post is incoherent – my body think’s I’ve just stayed up all night and is yelling at me – but it’s all to be expected when you do a 12 hour time-zone shift. I am posting this from the _future_ (queue spooky music).

It’s 8:20 pm and I figure if I can stay up for another 40 minutes I  might just sleep through the night. My recipe for fighting jet-lag includes:

  • Forcing myself to sleep as much as possible near the end of my flight (required chemical assistance, and even so all I managed was 6 hours of fitful sleep, waking up at 4:30am bangkok time).
  • No napping!
  • As much time outdoors as possible to convince my body that yes, the sun really is up and I should be awake.

For the most part I think it’s working, it’ll be a few days before I’m properly in this timezone but at least I’m generally awake during the right hours.


I won’t be blogging again until Tuesday I think, I leave tomorrow for a 3 day, 3 night liveaboard dive trip. I’ve got this neat camera that can shoot underwater, so hopefully I’ll get some good video to post (though given the quality of the internet connections here it’ll have to be ultra low quality for now). We’ll be doing 10 dives in 3 days, in some of the worlds best diving areas, I’ll post more details when I’m back (and hopefully less tired and brain-dead).

Oh yeah, the flight

I feel like I should say something about the 18 hour business class flight from LAX to BKK – but there really isn’t much to say. For the most part the best thing about business class is that there’s nothing to say about it, it’s nice enough to forget you’re on a plane and just concentrate on sleeping or watching a movie or something. The food is better, but it’s still airplane food and I wouldn’t go to a restaurant serving it, but it’s good enough.

The one bit to note is that on my flight from Bangkok to Phuket I ended up getting upgraded into a first class seat – it’s only an hour long flight so it’s not much to get excited about – but it was very nice… here’s a pic of what the first class seating is like.

first class seat
Ok – I’m going to pass out now.

prorogation and participation

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: politics | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

i’ve been keeping my eye on the prorogation kerfuffle, in particular the discussion happening in blog posts by people like remarkk and the members of the extended changecamp community, trying to get my mind around this “moment” as Mark likes to call it, and i’m left with a vague unease.

of course i’m uneasy over what’s happening in ottawa, we have a minority prime minister actively subverting the democratic institution with seemingly great effect. it may sound like hyperbole to say that having government answerable to parliament (no matter how screeching and ineffectual the house may and often be) is one of the fundamental principles of democracy in canada, but it’s bloody true. yes we have other pillars holding up our system here in Canada*, but i can’t help but feel that this prorogation is just the latest sign of a system crumbling under it’s weight. AB, a commenter on remarkks post decrying complacency, would disagree (as would others) but just because something is technically legal doesn’t make it right or good for democracy or society.

we’re really lucky in canada, so lucky that most people don’t bother to become involved in politics at all. i don’t really blame them. unlike Mark, i’m not particularly angry at people who don’t bother to vote (although i do try to convince them to do so, even if only to spoil their ballot), politics is a game with weird rules filled with unlikeable players who often make terrible decisions while acting like spoiled children who won’t share their toys. i wouldn’t care either, if i wasn’t obsessed with trying to figure out why our world is so eff’d up and looking for ways to make it better.

Mark has made a call for people to get up, do something. connect with their communities, and somehow, we’ll forge a new world and come up with “something better”. i believe this is possible, but i worry. we may come up with “something just as bad” or “something worse”. in an effort to both act on his call and satisfy my own worries, i think it’s important for us to talk concretely about what it is we’re doing. what is this new present we’re trying to make?

i don’t know what it is, but i think i can try to describe some of it’s attributes.

  • it’s definitely more connected. individuals matter more but some individuals matter more than others. we can talk about how the internet allows for anyone to hop on their digital soapbox but the fact remains that building a strong network you can influence is work. if you have the time and resources to do that work good for you, but recognize that there are lots of people who don’t (or don’t want to) and who are only perhiperally connected. these people still matter.
  • it’s definitely global. sure in canada we’ve got a prime minister who has gone prorogue, but democracy is under threat everywhere. it’s not a question of having good versus bad people in power, democracy pretty much guarantees that we’ll always (at some different points in time) have stupid/mean/corrupt/evil people in power at some point or other, the problem is that our democratic processes aren’t resilient enough in our new global/technical/connected context when the inevitable dumbass comes around.
  • it’s definitely more equal (for some). among my group of friends, and my wider network of connected individuals it doesn’t really matter if you’re black, white, aboriginal, asian, indian, gay, bi, straight, baptist, atheist, or muslim. yes we all bring our own point of view, but your cultural identity doesn’t exclude you. that said, you’re not excluded by virtue of race, religion or sexual orientation, but there aren’t really very many people in the wider networked group i’m observing who aren’t university educated or working in a professional capacity.

i think that the change we’re (and i say we, but i can only of course speak for myself) all actively participating in has those attributes. it’s still too vague for my liking though, and i don’t agree that simply re-establishing community is enough. we need to change institutions and the rules of democracy to update them for our new context. we need to get into the difficult details. i think we need to stop fiddling with the symptoms, and start thinking about tackling the very real, and very tough problems with foundational code underlying our society. in canada that means the constitution, but what we’re going through is (i think, hunch really, but i trust my hunches and maybe one day i’ll try to write out a justification for it) symptomatic of a wider global difficulty with trying to come up with a governance system that fits the new reality.

*namely an independent judicary enforcing a strong set of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, a fundamental lack of corruption amongst our public bureaucracies (this is not to say our bureaucracy isn’t without it’s faults, but i have yet to be asked for a bribe by any public official. try getting through a routine traffic stop in many parts of the world without paying i a bribe) and a democratic process (read: elections) that is generally not open to cheating

wherein i grudgingly submit to an internet meme

Posted: January 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: deardiary | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

normally i am the last person to propagate an internet meme, especially one of those do this and get _x_ number of people to do this also type memes, but today i will relent. mostly because Sameer is the one asking, but also because my word for 2009 is open and really, if i can’t think of 7 things to tell you then i’m not really being very open am i?

here’s the meme, with a slight edit:

the rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post. (see above)
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post. (see below)
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged.

i’ll share my facts, but a) i don’t like to peer pressure anyone into a meme and b) honestly (and perhaps most importantly), i don’t really think i have seven friends with blogs (many acquaintences, but really my friends are generally not bloggers).

1) the first concert i ever went to was a grimskunk show, i was fourteen and my good friend Matt (no blog, no internet at home, hardcore anarchist punk social worker) bought me this shirt. i wore it for years until finally letting it go in a purge a couple years ago. also, i can’t believe that grimskunk is still kicking and still selling the same shirt.

2) i have read and re-read the entire chronicles of narnia more times than i can count. i was given the set when i was a child, and ever since i read them when i’m especially tired or sick. my favourite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

3) i dropped out of high-school missing one OAC credit, but graduated university magna cum laude. i think some of the most important lessons in my life were learned between those two events.

4) i managed to make it through four solid years at york university without a strike. phew.

5) i have an older brother who alternately amuses, aggravates, and challenges me. i love him for all of it (except maybe the aggravating part). assuming he passes the physical, it looks like he’s going to be joining the canadian military soon. i wonder if this will bring out a conservative streak in me?

6) i was the first ever high school co-op student at northern telecom (back when it was still northern telecom). i passed up the chance to work there the summer after my co-op term, instead deciding to work at summer camp (why? short answer: girls). while i don’t waste time on regret i sometimes wonder how my life would gone have had i decided to stick with northern telecom.

7) i am an n-generational north american, meaning i have no idea when my ancestors came to north america. on my mothers side we’re french canadian with deep roots (apparently i’m related fairly closely to the bloc MP for Gatineau) and American going back to early settlement. on my fathers side i’m less sure, but i’m pretty sure it’s all quebecois and franco-ontarian. that makes me decidely a minority in toronto, where almost all of my friends are from one to three generations away from immigration to canada. given the franco roots, it’s a crying shame i can barely speak french.

so that’s it, no tagging of people for me. although if i could i’d tag my best friend Geoff who really should have a blog but i think he’s holding out just to piss me off =P

thoughts for the year to come

Posted: January 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: deardiary | Tags: | 1 Comment »

for most, new years day marks an annual beginning, a time for resolutions and looking ahead. for me, new years day marks the end of a year past, and january second marks the beginning of a new year in my life. as of today, i have successfully completed 31 full levels in this MMRLRPG (massively-multiplayer-real-life-role-playing-game).

yes i’m a geek, i make no apologies for horribly bad geek jokes.

while i’m not generally superstitious, i like to think that how i spend my birthday sets the tone for the year to come.  last year, for my 30th, i spent my birthday traveling, en-route between koh tao and chiang mai in thailand as part of a commitment to myself to explore new places and ideas for that year.

today, i intend to spend my day thinking, writing, and being with people who are dear to me. Sameer, always an inspiration, challenged everyone he knows to come up with a word for 2009 to guide them. it’s a good exercise, thinking of a single word to act as a guiding light for a year, i encourage you to give it a try (and let Sameer know in the comments what you choose, it’ll make him smile).

my word for 2009 is open.

open is a good word. if you know me professionally you know that openness is something i’m advocate for in large faceless bureaucracies, and i think this year i’m going to try very hard to push an open agenda.

looking beyond the professional open is a good word to guide me personally. for 2009 i hope to be more open to my friends, family, and myself.

open is both an ethic and a goal for me this year, i hope i can do it justice.