Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Work Weary

As I trudged home tonight, a cold and biting west wind blew full into my face. The gusts were mixed with enough sleet to make my face sting and it reminded me that the last few days of wonderful warming weather were just a tease.


The weather forecast this evening is for a either snow flurries or snow showers. Hmm, seems to me that is not an often used term. Wiki says a snow shower is a snow system leading to an accumulation of snow between 1-3 inches. Unlike flurries, which are significantly less, a snow shower can bring a decent amount of snow, be it less though than a snow storm or a blizzard. So, it sounds like we are in for some snow.


Welcome back winter… We have been basking in the glow of 2 days of wonderful spring temperatures well above zero. The walk to and from work has been pleasant and although it has not been sunny it felt like spring was here. Snow is just about all gone. Birds were singing and things seemed to be looking up. The smell of bread was in the air! Don’t laugh, my condo is near the Canada Bread company and when they open the plant windows (not during sub zero freezeups!)the waft of bread baking fills the air.


I was looking forward to resuming my habit of long walks. But no, not yet.
Not only that, but it seems I have a bit of a cold coming on. No, I am not a happy camper.
BUT – having said that, I am so glad Friday has finally rolled around. It has been a vicious week of long days and lots of work. Don’t really mind the long days and lots of work, but it does make me appreciate my weekends even more.







So I sit here in front of my nice fireplace (ok fake electric, but doesn’t it look nice?), feet up and Rickard’s White beer + slice of orange in hand. Life is good. Of course it would be better without the snow showers, but what can you do?

I am also trying to improve the quality of my blogs. So I will be posting at least one picture a day – promise! My blogs have certainly not had sufficient visual features lately and I do have a bunch of pictures which I would like to share.

This gets me to the sad news that for the next 3 weekends I will have very little time for fun. I am scheduled to write the PMP (Project Manager Professional) exam which will provide me with the professional credentials for the job I do. Not that I need it to do the job, as I have been doing his sort of work for (I hate to say, decades). The certification has only lately become de rigueur. It seems now that times are getting tough, and I may be job hunting soon, I need to have the “badge of honour”, the certificate, which says I have been certified by the governing body for my profession.







It is a 4 hour exam and there is a tremendous amount of material to be memorized, because they don’t want to know that you can do the job, they want to know if you can use the words they use to describe the 41 processes involved in project management, what activities are involved with each of them and the inputs and outputs of each of the processes. It is simply a memory test and I need to study in order to pass.


This brings me to the next point (aside from getting a bit of sympathy for the work I have to do) which is to explain to my readers how, sadly, this will affect my blogging. Truth is, I am not going to be able to write much in the way of blogs for the next number of weeks. I will write daily as promised, but I have the notion that most days I will just tell you (briefly so as not to bore) how I am making out in my studies. Promise not to recite any of the stuff I am learning for sure 99.9% of my readers would glaze over and stop reading immediately if I did.


In any event, today being Friday I plan to spend only 1 hour to put together an overall study plan for the next 3 weeks. Don’t laugh – I am a project manager after all! The first thing we PMs do is put together a plan for whatever we have to do!

BTW, you will only find the following amusing if you are a PM or have used the scheduling tool Microsoft Project. Sorry, that probably isn't many of you out there. I was looking for a picture to post and found this which grabbed my interest.

But tomorrow I must put in a full 8 hours of effort! Well, at least 6… got a date tomorrow night and I don’t want to be too brain dead!




Enjoy your Friday Night all!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exploring Peru and the Land of the Incas


My son Jeff has gone on an adventure trip to Peru. He left on Friday to fly to Lima and from there on to the town of Cuzco in the interior of Peru. Sunday was spent exploring the Inca ruins in that area. Monday he started his three day hike through the Sacred Valley and the Condor Pass in the mountains of Peru. It is called the Lares Trek, because it starts near the village of Lares.

Wiki says:
The Lares Trek is a two or three day high altitude hike in Peru starting near the village of Lares. Lares is approximately 40 miles north of Cusco and 35 miles east of Machu Picchu. To get to the start of the trek requires a bus or van trip of approximately 5 hours. The Lares trek route transverses typical beautiful, pristine Peruvian Andean mountain areas.

In the last 3 days my thoughts frequently went in his direction, wondering how he was making out. Today he was able to break his “radio silence” and we all were glad to receive an email. I quote from his email: The trek was by far the most physically challenging feat I've ever accomplished. I took a group photo at the highest point during our trek - 4,500 Meters above sea level, it's a great shot. At that altitude every step you take makes you out of breath.

He spent today exploring Machu Picchu, which is referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas",
From Wiki:

Machu Picchu is one of the most familiar symbols of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu was constructed around 1460, at the height of the Inca Empire. It was abandoned less than 100 years later.

It is likely that most of its inhabitants were wiped out by smallpox before the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the area, and there is no record of their having known of the remote city. Hiram Bingham, the credited discoverer of the site, along with several others, originally hypothesized that the citadel was the traditional birthplace of the Inca of the "Virgins of the Suns". Although the citadel is located only about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Cusco, the Inca capital, it was never found by the Spanish and consequently not plundered and destroyed, as was the case with many other Inca sites.


Machu Picchu was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1983 when it was described as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization".

On July 7, 2007, Machu Picchu was voted as one of New Open World Corporation's New Seven Wonders of the World. Machu PicchuSince one of my “Bucket List” items is to see the 7 wonders of the world, I am very curious and anxious to hear the stories of the trip my son will tell when he comes back. I am sure it is a wonderful sight to see.

Jeff next goes to the Amazon Rain forest to explore until Monday and then on to Lima for a day and then home again on Wednesday. We will all be glad when he is home and we can see what I am sure will be some breathtakingly beautiful scenery pictures.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"There will be Blood"

That is the headline on the article that jumped out at me in today’s Globe and Mail Business Section. Harvard financial guru and author Niall Ferguson is predicting dire circumstances in our future for years to come and even used the term “Great Recession” to describe today’s economic reality. Frightening stuff! He is in Ottawa to participate in the public-policy think tank, Canada 2020 and is featured in a major interview published in the Globe today.

Life today is a little like being in a war zone – but an economic war zone. Bad news abounds and every authoritative voice covers the latest skirmish, the days end tally of market woes and sad predictions for continuing waves of job losses, recession and investment value freefall. We keep hearing that Canada is not going to have it as bad as the US, but also we hear that we cannot recover until they recover since we are joined at our economic hips.

Us Canadians are also are facing a double dose of depression (no, not the economic kind). This damned winter seems never to end and we are yet again enduring a temperature plunge into the -20 degrees, with wind chill. Makes you want to stay home and hibernate – with the news turned off! But I digress…

This morning I heard that with this latest wave of market freefall, which started on Friday, the Dow Jones had reached its lowest level in 11 years and the TSE was at a 5 year low. We will see if the market continues its downward slide today. Hard to be up when all we hear is down.

I like to fancy myself as a savvy investor. OK – that might be exaggerating, but I have my little RRSP and I have a few stocks in my nest egg and I look after it myself. In the last month I have been looking at the current stock market decline as an opportunity. I have a bit of unused contribution room and it seemed to me if I borrowed and topped it up I could get a big tax deduction and at the same time buy into the market at bargain basement prices. Optimism comes from the thought that I can take advantage of the current situation to vault myself into a better place retirement wise, in 2-3 years when we come out of this slump.

Last week I executed my plan. The market was having a small bit of a rally and ever the optimist, I was thinking that maybe the worst was over and I should jump in. I had borrowed the cash to top up my RRSP from my LOC (at the extraordinary rate of only 3.0%!) and it was sitting there not earning any interest. I had researched and earmarked some preferred and common shares to buy which would bring in 6.5% interest. Seems like a good deal to me and if in the coming years the market recovers, and the stock prices go back to where they were even before the start of this mess – I could double my money! No sense waiting, I thought.

I bought an equal measure of some RBC common shares for $30.35 and RBC Preferred at 25.30. I checked today. The RBC shares are trading at $25.80 – victim of this last major drop which started immediately after I bought them. Murphy’s Law! The series P RBC Preferred I bought had not lost any ground. These shares should stay relatively close to the purchase price because they are more affected by interest rates than anything else – like a bond. When rates go back up the price of these shares will go down – before which I would try and sell them or wait until after the shares go through a rate “reset” (they are pegged to the T Bill rate) when the price should go back near the $25.00 mark.

I am hoping by then the price of the common stock will be rising and I can sell the preferred and buy into the slow rising market to come.. In the meantime I am pretty assured of having a portion of my money in a more liquid asset in case I need the money out of my RRSP. I am hedging my bets.

Now, job done, I am best to just forget about my RRSP and just let it be. Watching it won’t help and will just add to the belief that I am feeling a real pinch – or rather blow - from this recession. I am down about 30% in value – pretty typical, I think. Almost all of my stocks and mutual funds are invested in companies which will no doubt weather this economic storm and in the end recover. Maybe that will be 2-3 years or maybe, God forbid, that will be a decade. The only thing certain is that my retirement is now looking as distant as that moon out in the sky.

If I Were The Internet

I wanted to find something a bit entertaining for today’s blog because it is Friday and we are all tired.  At least I am.  I came across a very funny video on the TED talks which makes fun of the internet. 

In this video, storyteller and poet Rives recites his poem “If I controlled the internet”. Rives is the star of the new Bravo special “Ironic Ironic America”.  He is a regular on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and he was one of the co-hosts of the 2009 TED@PalmSprings conference.

Rive’s Poem:  If I Controlled the Internet


 I found the first part of the lyrics and cut and pasted them here for your convenience:

(Source: http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/datasets/rives-if-i-controlled-the-internet/versions/1.txt) 

If I controlled the internet?
You could auction your broken heart on Ebay
Take the money, go to Amazon,
Buy a phonebook for a country you%u2019ve never been to
Call folks at random until you find someone
who flirts really well in a foreign language

If I were in charge of the internet
You could Mapquest your lover%u2019s moodswings
Hang left at cranky
Right at preoccupied
U turn on silent treatment
All the way back to tongue kissing and good lovin%u2019
You could navigate and understand every emotional intersection
Some days I%u2019m as shallow as a backing pan
But I still stretch miles in all directions

If I own the internet
Napster Monster and Friendster-dot-com would be one big website
That way you could listen to cool music while you pretend to look for a job
and you%u2019re really just chatting with your palls,

Heck if I ran the web
You could email dead people
They would not email you back
But you%u2019d get an automated reply
Their name in your inbox
It%u2019s all you wanted anyway
And a message saying: %u2018Hey, it%u2019s me. I miss you.%u2019
Listen you%u2019ll see, being dead is dandy.

Now you go back to raising kids
And waging peace
And craving candy

If I designed the internet
Childhood-dot-com would be a loop
Of a boy
In an orchard
With a ski pole for a sword
Trashcan lid for a shield, shouting
‘I am the emperor of oranges’
‘I am the emperor of oranges’
‘I am the emperor of oranges’
Now follow me OK

Grandma-dot-com would be a recipe for biscuits and spit bath instructions 1-2-3
That links with hot-diggity-dog-dot-com, that is my grandfather
They take you to gruff-ex-cop-on-his-fourth-marriage-dot-dad
He forms an attachment to kind-a-ditsy-but-still-sends-ginger-snatch-for-Christmas-dot-mom who
Downloads the boy in the orchard, the emperor of oranges who grows up to be

Me,
The guy who usually goes too far, so

If I were the emperor of the internet
I guess I’d still be mortal, huh?
But at that point I would probably already have
The lowest possible mortgage and the most enlarged possible penis, so
I would outlaw spam on my first day in office
I wouldn’t need it.
I’d be like some kind of internet genius.
And me,
I’d like to upgrade to deity and maybe
Just like that

(p-o-p)

I’d go wireless.

Huh.

Maybe google would hire this
So I could zip through your servers and firewalls like a virus
Until the worldwideweb is as wise as wild and as organised
As I think a modern day miracle-slash-oracle can get, but
Oooooooooo, you wanna bet just how whack and un-p.c. your Mac or PC's gonna be when I'm rockin'

hot-shit-hotshot-God-dot-net?

I guess it’s just like life

It’s not a question of if you can
Its, ‘Do ya?’
We can interfere with the interface
We can make you god hallelujah the national anthem of cyberspace every lucky time we logon
You don’t say a prayer
You don’t write a song
You don’t chant an ooooohm

You send one blessed email to
Whoever you’re thinking of
At
Dadeladatatatatatatadadeladedadeladedatatam-dot-com


Rives also has a number of other funny videos where he explores some humourous ideas through poetry and stories.  One is titled “The story of mixed emoticons”.   To Learn more about Rives and to see some of these other videos:

Full bio and more links

 

Monday, February 23, 2009

He is Just Not that Into You

Had a nice evening tonight with my daughters Tegan and Laura and my almost daughter, Amanda, We had a girlie movie night and went to see “He is just not that into you”. It was an adaptation of the book by the same name by the Sex in the City Authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo.


The theme of the movie is that dating and romance is a minefield filled with misunderstood clues from the interacting characters. It is one of those movies with small interconnected stories with parallel themes and 20 something characters many of which evolve from their shallow selves to ones which are more in keeping with what we women would like to see in real life. Yes it is a full throttle chick flick.

It has a star studded cast – Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore to name just a few. Lots of other famous folk in cameos and more.
It is a humourous look at how we can obsess about the opposite sex when in a romantic situation. We all have gone through the hell of waiting for his phone call, trying and incorrectly interpreting “clues” and wanting the one who is “just not that into us”. There are lots of situations that we women can relate too. I think that there are also just as many similar situations that the men in the crowd would appreciate as well. Only if any would venture in to see it.


There is a pretty funny web site set up to support this film. In particular, there is a really funny video in which 3 of the guy stars explain that it is not a typical chick flick and why guys should go see this movie.

Go to the following url and choose Videos and then choose Top Ten Cliches http://www.hesjustnotthatintoyoumovie.com/
There is quite a few funny things on this website, for instance, it has a “date decoder” to allow you to interpret what a date really means. You choose the comment and the decoder generates the intended meaning – often far from what you might expect, which was one of the themes of the movie.


Anyway, I had a fun night with the girls and now have entirely run out of steam.
Good Night!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Second Life - An Alternate Reality?





I watched a TED talk last night by Philip Rosedale, who is one of the founding fathers of the Internet Virtual Reality called Second Life.  

Firstly, let me say that I could easily write a 20,000 word essay on what Second Life is, rather than this 1600 word one the topic so interests me.  I am fully expecting that over the next decade or so these virtual realities will become a place where we go – much like the weekend cottagers – for a change of pace away from our day to day concerns and for a dose of wonder and delight.  But I will not.  Let me just whet your appetite to know more and maybe experience SL yourself.

What is Second Life?

The simple answer is that it is a virtual reality internet game which you can download and play on your computer.  It isn't a game in the true sense of the word - there is no end and no winners or losers.  It is more just a place to entertain, like a visit to a foreign country.  It is really though, just a game.  But that is like saying that a month in Tuscany is a holiday.  It doesn’t nearly describe the experience that awaits those that travel to that destination.
From the SL website:

http://secondlife.com/whatis/

Second Life is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its Residents. From the moment you enter Second Life, you'll discover a fast-growing digital world filled with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity.

The owners of the SL site make available empty grid space.  It is up to the purchasers of that grid space to build (by buying or writing themselves) computer instructions which brings their imaginings into being – at least virtual being.  So, SL becomes what its residents want it to become.  Not to say it is without rules and an economy – it has both, but it is more like the Wild West of the 1800s than a developed society.

My Visits to SL

I have visited Second Life a few times and created an avatar who can travel about in that world and went to the area they have for folks to use as a training area.  An avatar is a visual representation of yourself that is only limited by what you can imagine.  In the few times I visited SL I guess I clocked about 4-8 hours there.  When you are a newbie you start at a place called Orientation Island and here you learn the basics about how to move and how to interact with both other avatars and objects.  You even learn to drive cars and to fly!  From here you can choose to go out and explore or you can go to another place to practice and learn stuff first.  The nice thing about SL is that you can teletransport to anywhere
in SL – as long as you know the SLURL (Second Life Uniform Resource Locator) – it is like a url but for SL locations.

I just went again this morning to visit Second Life and to remind myself about it before writing this blog.  On the sign in screen it said that there has been 1,444,530 logins in the last 60 days.  That is a lot of visitors.  There were, on this Sunday morning at 8:16 a.m., 56,592 real people present in this alternate reality.  WOW!  

What do you find when you go to SL?

Second Life is an amazing place.  If you could take the most incredible imaginings you might have about a place  you might go and remove normal limits about what you can do – but still maintain the concept of a land which is organized as a society with rules and economy and people to interact with – you have this place.   It is a place without limits of what you can physically do, be or experience.  It is a place for explorers and adventurers.  

It is like a board game taken to the maximum extent of imagination – like the game of Life, Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders all rolled into one and turned into an actual world you can live in.   If you think about a Star Wars movie you could actually experience, you might have something close to SL.

There is a currency – the Linden Dollar – and you can both run businesses for profit , on land you have purchased, or be employed to earn money and spend this money – buy items other people have for sale – for instance –on the things you might want to have.  You can even “cash out” and take your money out of the virtual reality, via the LindeX.

This is the currency exchange market operated in SL and as of today 1 US dollar was worth 260 LD.  The LindeX™ is a free market Linden dollar exchange offering residents of Second Life the ability to either buy or sell Linden dollars. Charges are for purchasing Linden dollars and are placed on the same form of payment you have setup in your account settings for your Second Life account.  Prices at this site are set by the market price - I.E. the best price offered by the different sellers of Linden dollars.  This of course means that if the bottom fell out of the LindeX market your Linden Dollars would be worthless.

There are museums (created and maintained by real life ones) and public buildings to explore, concerts to attend (presented by real life bands) and even classes to take (either affiliated with known institutions such as Harvard or Princeton or informal classes organized by SL entrepreneurs as a way to make a living).  CNN has a presence there!    There are even a few real life country embassies there – I guess as a PR exercise, because I can’t see that they could actually help your avatar escape if civil war erupted in that part of SL – not that it could.  

Information from Philip Rosedale's TED Talk

From Philip’s TED talk I learned that the area of land which is included in SL is about 10x the size of the Greater San Francisco area and growing at about 5% per month.  There are 20,000 CPUs joined together to support this virtual world.  There are 250,000 visitors per day and there is 100 million objects of content stored on 100 million terabytes of storage space.  To give some context to this, one might think about a computer game you can buy which might take 4 CDs.  SL is 25,000 times larger than that.  

From what I gather, the demographic is a pretty standard curve from age 18 (the minimum age for residents allowed in SL – there is a teen version available for the younger set) peaking at age 32 and tapering off at age 60.  The hours of use per week actually peak with age 60 and these residents spend 40% more time online than the 32 year olds.   There are 55% of residents which live in Great Britian and Europe, 35% from the US and almost all countries are represented.  45% of the residents are women, but women spend 35% more time in SL.

Is SL for nerds?  Not at all.  According to Philip, the folks who are on SL are early adopters of technology for sure, but they are the most creative, innovative, intelligent and entrepreneurial folks around.   The sort of folks who were the first to buy on EBAY.

Why I want to find time for SL

I spent enough time in SL to know that it is a place I would really like to explore and spend a good long time visiting – just like Tuscany.  However, unlike Tuscany I can visit SL any time I want and it does not cost a cent to visit – I can come home after each visit and sleep in my own bed, so I don’t need to rent any living quarters there.  So why do I not spend more time there?  It is simple – I don’t have enough time as it stands.  There are too many things which need attention in my real life.  

I think that what you get out of SL is as much as you have time to spend there.  The more time you spend there the more you will get out of it.  Being totally immersed in a new culture requires time.  You need to spend enough time at SL to become proficient with the things there to get the most out of the experience.  I do have wanderlust and would like to explore - but there are only so many hours.  Sadly, I have no time, so I am adding it to my life list – to spend a month or more in SL exploring and getting to know the place.

I am hoping that at some point in my real life I will have a period of boredom, a time when other life goals are not so all consuming.  That would be the time to devote to SL. 

How will this virtual reality affect our society?  
Is it a viable alternate reality?
Is it a bona fide reality?

I want to leave you today with something which is both a peculiar thing and also provides food for thought – and perhaps comment (gee, it would be nice if this evolved into a little bit of a dialog – Note to Self: got to figure out how to display comments for all to see under the day’s blog)

Some time ago, there was a news item which I heard which presented the mock worthy item that there was a person on SL who was being sued for divorce.  Yes, you can marry – have a “partner” on SL and even have a baby.  The reason was that he, that is his avatar, started fooling around with another avatar.  At the time, I remember thinking God, people, “get a life” – no “get a real life” and dismissed this as a ridiculous item because I had imagined it within the context of a game which had as its objective an “end game” – something that SL does not.   If you imagine SL as a real vacation spot where you interact with real people, participate in a real economy and social life you then view this divorce as a different animal.  

It is a unnerving  that this virtual world could be so real as to bring together people who actually develop feelings toward one another in this environment and even feel hurt when they were cheated upon. Some folks might even come to prefer their digital doppelganger!  Philip Rosedale’s talk touches upon this theme, if you want more thoughts on the topic.

It may be as our society evolves more of these virtual realities and even relationships become “real” to those we are acquainted with.   I can’t imagine a love relationship physically unconsummated, but perhaps for some the physical aspect of a relationship is less important.   Makes our reaction to the virtual reality divorce a little bit different than it otherwise might be.    What would you say to your friend if she/he confided in you that she/he had a SL Partner?

Where is this is all heading?  It is a bit frightening isn’t it?


Want to find out more?:

http://secondlife.com/showcase//>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life/>

Want to try SL?
Go here: it covers “How do I begin?”

Philip Rosedale's TED Talk covers much more than I have touched upon above.   If you are at all intrigued with SL, virtual realities and the notions I have discussed above, I would recommend listening to his talk.  




Saturday, February 21, 2009

Which iPhone App to use?

I just came in the door from a nice walk with Bella.  The day is sunny and there is no wind.  The “weather bug” app on my iPhone tells me that here in Toronto, at the Rogers Centre, the temperature is -5 and the wind is from the north west at 3 mph, which gives a windhcill of -7.  Didn’t seem that cold to me.   Funny thing about the iPhone is that there are many applications available which do the same thing.  I have 3 weather applications – all which were downloaded for free.  You might wonder why I need 3.   Read on and you will discover why.

The weather bug's current assessment seems to be at odds with mine.  Windchill?  I don't think so.  I need to check another source.
Describe Pic here
The Weather Network app says it is -7 with a wind of 6KM/h but it doesn’t give the windchill.  Hmm, no it seemed warmer than that.  The Weather network app is not as functionally complete as the weather bug, but sometimes there are accuracy issues in my mind.  Today is a case in point.

This app also gives me current, short term and long term outlooks (so more than provided by the weather bug).  This app  predicts a bit of snow (~1 cm) this afternoon.  The weather bug only gives me a forecast for each of the next 3 days and it does not forecast any snow.  Weather bug is clearly wrong here.  Weather bug also gives me a satellite map showing cloudcover (this same app shows radar instead on my friend T.’s iPhone – but I haven’t quite figured out to configure this) – anyway it has a map – so I need the  2 apps since they give me different functionality, both of which I need to properly assess the weather situation. 

Since the first 2 weather apps contradict one another in temp and precip. I decide to consult my 3rd weather app – the one that comes with the native iPhone.  I had originally decided that this app was deficient and had sought out the others at that point.  But it might break a tie, when the 2 other apps disagree in current temp.  Amazingly, it says the temp is -7 and predicts snow.  That seems a bit odd (and also strikes me as totally wrong having just come in from outside) since it says today’s high is to be -2 and low is to be -4 today.  -7 in my book is not between those two numbers.   I now remember why I don’t use this one.
Describe Pic here
 So it seems I need a 4th weather app and remember reading about the Weather Channel one being superior.  I download it and prepare for the final round of the competition of the weather apps, determined to delete the others once I finally decide which one is good enough.

I am impressed with the weather channel app as it seems to offer all the functionality and more compared to weather bug and the weather network.  There are tabs for current, hourly, 36 hour and 10 day forecasts.  I go to the current forecast first.  Wonderfully, the temperature agrees with what I think is closer to my observations when outside -4 wind from the S at 5 km/hr and mostly cloudly (I look out and see that the sun is now slipping under the clouds) with windhill -4!  Exactly as I had observed.  Reassured regarding the accuracy of information, I skim over the other tabs.  

Moving to the hourly forecast I see that they anticipate a change at 3pm to light snow along with a change in wind speed and direction.     Hmm, matches up with the CBC Radio forecast of this morning.  Good sign.  

Next I move to the 36 hour tab.  This gives me 3 summaries – today, tonight and tomorrow.  Looks like we are going to have occasional snow all night and that will turn into “snow showers” tomorrow.  New word for me, but tells me what I need to know.  They also hedge their bet by giving the odds for precip (80% tonight, 40% tomorrow).  

Skipping the 10 day tab (good enough to know they have this), I touch the map icon to see what that Describe Pic herehas in store.  WOW, a configurable google map which you can overlay either cloud, radar and a number of other weather measures to allow you to more closely observe the current situation in a particular location.     I pull up Las Vegas and see there is cloud cover from the west right over to Lake Mead, where there is none.  No precip – as I would expect.  Currently 7 degrees, they expect to reach 18 today under clouds.  I like this app.  I make Las Vegas a favourite and then add Phoenix and Titusville.

I see  2 more icons at the bottom: Video, which immediately pulls up a weather person doing the local weather. It is keyed to the location being displayed so I  decide to skip the detailed forecast offered for the west coast and change the display location Toronto to see what is offered.  It is a “Canada Forecast” covering the major cities across the country.  Good enough.   The last tab of significance gives an immediate view of any severe weather alerts which might apply to the location you are set to.  

I am convinced: the Weather Channel app is the one to use from now on!

I guess the iPhone makes up for a lack of precision and quality of the apps by having lots of them available so the law of natural selection will let those of merit float to the top.  I decide to delete all my weather app except the Weather Channel.  No more need for more than this one!
 
The Be Good Tanyas – An update


On another note of interest, I just heard the Be Good Tanya’s sing their Little Bird song on CBC radio.  They were featured on Molly Johnson’s morning show.  This is the 2nd time I have heard this group’s music played on CBC.  For those of you who have not heard them, perhaps didn’t read my earlier blog which provided a You Tube link to this “feel good” song” I have a widget with it on the lower left sidebar.  It is a great song – one I always go to if I need a “perk me up”.  The Be Good Tanyas have a CD out but I am not sure if it is hard to find or not – I suspect it might be.    They are a Canadian group from Vancouver, discovered playing outside of a Lilith Fair Concert.

Molly revealed today on the Morning Show, that there is a rumour circulating - The Be Good Tanya’s have disbanded!  I feel saddened if this is true.  They have such a sunny set of voices which make me feel good every time I listen to them.  I shall have to find their CD.  Maybe the issue is lack of sales which makes them disband.  

I have just now listened to a bunch more of their tunes on You Tube and selected this one to share with you.  It is not a feel good song but is a really nice tune none the less.

The Junkie Song:



If you like them you might want to check out another couple of other favourites of mine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZKFoMq3GaA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKcQigkBnU4

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Comfort

A neighbour of mine from years ago grew up in South Africa. There were a lot of things interesting about this lady and her family which maybe I will get to in a future blog, however the one thing I remember about her this morning was a word she used when she was feeling just not 100%. She used the term “feeling tender”. I guess this term could be applied to a lot of physical or emotional states, but she used it particularly to describe the times when one is feeling just a bit down. She used the word to mean that one needed to be treated with tenderness and it was a lovely idea. I thought it was an excellent expression and I can’t think of a more appropriate word.


You can feel “tender” because you are suffering from some setback, some disappointment or perhaps for us in the northern climate, just because of the lack of warm weather.
When you are feeling a bit “tender” what you need is comfort. One comfort that first comes to mind is food. There are a whole category of foods termed “comfort food”. Sadly, comfort food, at least for me, equals pounds of weight to later lose, so I try not to resort to comfort food.


Comfort best comes from the care and concern expressed by family and friends. Yesterday, my daughter Tegan called me at work to say that she was still feeling unwell and in fact feeling a bit worse. The best I could do for her was offer her motherly comfort, along with some advice on what to do to help her sore throat get better. I think the “comfort” I offered helped as much as the advice I gave.


Another example of comfort given by friends, was a note I received last week from a regular blog reader of mine. He was wondering if I was OK since my blog was late and it was the weekend when I am usually prompt. Just knowing that someone cares in itself gives comfort.


The comfort that came to me this morning, is perhaps not what you would view as conventional “comfort”. I get great comfort in waking in the early hours before the alarm goes off. If I have gone to sleep at a decent hour, I often wake before the alarm goes off, maybe around 5 a.m.. This represents wonderful “found time”, with no obligations for that time. It always makes me feel good.


When the kids were all at home, I would wake and make coffee and sit in the quiet house and just enjoy some me time. With 5 kids at home you can imagine it was the only time that I had some piece and quiet. Now that they are not at home, this early morning waking serves an entirely different purpose.


Some days I might just stretch and smile and then go back to sleep to grab another bit of shut eye. In days gone by when I shared my bed, I would often just roll over and tuck in with my partner, feeling the warmth of his body next to mine and feeling good for the physical connection. These days I might just cuddle with Bella who is always a ready companion.


More often, I will just lie there in the darkness, swaddled in the warm bed covers, in the quite pre dawn hours, letting my mind wander through and around half formed thoughts, seeking the kernel which it wants to examine further.


Often, that might be work related items, something I didn't get to in my work day which needs the attention of a rested and uncluttered mind. Other days, when I might have a personal issue at the forefront of my mind, it gives me an opportunity to sort through my feelings, giving equal time to logic and emotion to come to an understanding of how I want to proceed. With a clear mind I am able to see clearly and to feel confident about any course of action I might decide on or decision I might make.


In either case, this early morning hour is gold to me and worth at least 10 of the usual hours with distractions, tiredness and all the while multi tasking the days activities.
So I start my day today having had my “comfort”.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love and Creative Genius

Elizabeth Glbert is an interesting lady. I first made acquaintance with her through her book Eat, Pray, Love. The book is an autobiography – subtitled “One Woman’s Search for Everything, Across Italy, India and Indonesia”. It is a wonderful account – in some ways so wonderful I really wonder if all the facts haven’t been stretched.

It is the story recounting a year of her life when she travelled and spent 4 months in each of Italy, to learn Italian, to India, to spend time on an Ashram and pray and to Indonesia where she fell in love.

It is rather clever in its construction, arranged as a series of 108 stories, which symbolize the 109 beads on a string of Indian prayer beads called japa malas. On the bead necklace is 108 white beads and 1 black one. The number 108 represents supreme balance as the number is a perfect three digit multiple of three and its components add up to nine which is three threes. Three is a very auspicious number in quite a few religions. The last chapter, a thank you "story" makes the total 109 as in the necklace.

The stories are further divided into 3 sections, one for each country she lived in. Each section contains 36 tales of adventure, learnings and just plain good story telling.

I enjoyed the book immensely when I read it in the summer. It was what really got me started in believing that I could happily travel alone throughout the world in the coming years. Reading her story has fueled my wanderlust.

She is a compelling writer, with self depreciating humour and an easy, casual style. If I had any criticism of the book is that the wonderful tale seems not believable as it ends with such a positive outcome. That, and the fact that someone actually paid her to travel for a year and write this book. Some people have all the luck!

I liked the book so much I had to go out and buy my own copy (I had borrowed the first from a friend). I don't often re-read books, but I have a feeling that I will visit this one a few times in the years to come.

So it was with great glee that I saw that Elizabeth Gilbert was a speaker in the 2009 TED Talks. Her talk was released just a few days ago and it is no disappointment. In it she explores creative genius and how we expect the impossible from creative geniuses. She shares an idea borrowed from ancient Greece, that genius is not something we are, but something we have… Like an invisible partner who is responsible for how good (or not) the creative work turns out.

An interesting concept, which she builds upon in her second message: work hard and if you don’t succeed, you at least did your part. If you fail to produce a great creative work – it is not your fault and not a reflection on you – it is a reflection on your invisible partner who just didn’t do his job to supply the creative genius. A nice thought for those instances where you worked really hard on something and still, somehow it didn't measure up.

I am now in my 2nd month of writing these blogs. Some days it is easy and some days not so much. If my “muse” fails me and I end up writing something less than creatively wonderful – remember, it is not my fault. I guess my creative genius had gone out drinking that night.

Elizabeth is an exciting speaker who conveys her message with both humour and confidence. I enjoyed her talk and I hope you will too.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This and That

Movie Time: The Duchess

Yesterday, my daughter Tegan came over to visit me and we ordered in pizza and rented a DVD to watch. We rented the movie, The Duchess starring Kia Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Chorlotte Rampling and directed by Saul Dibb. It was rated 3 ½ stars on Flickster.

The movie tells the story of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, who was born Georgiana Spencer and through marriage to the Duke, became the Duchess of Devonshire. She was an ancestor of Princess Diana.

The movie is based on the biography titled Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman. The biography was crafted from an extensive set of personal letters which she left to her estate so it reflects very closely the actual opinions and emotions which was felt by this tragic love figure. I am going to put that book on my "want to read" list.

She was a sought after London socialite who had a large entourage of literary and political friends and was renowned for her beauty and sense of style. The Duchess was also known not only for her political campaigning and her love of gambling but also for her unconventional marriage arrangement with the 5th Duke of Devonshire, William of Cavendish.

Her marriage was not one of love and it was said that her husband was the only one in London who did not love her. Like Princess Diana’s marriage, it was not a happy one and it was very unconventional as there were openly 3 people in involved.

She introduced her husband to her friend, xxx, who came to stay with them for a time. Her friend became her husband’s mistress – and not a secret one. Times were different then and the women of those times had no rights and could legally beat their wife and take their children from them and leave them with nothing.

She eventually had a passionate love affair with Lord Grey (who later became Prime Minister) however at the threat that her husband would take her children and also have her lover’s political aspirations ruined she gave him up along with their love child Eliza Courtney. Sarah, Duchess of York is a descendant from this line.

She continued to live with her husband and his mistress, until her death.

It was a sad tale and perfect for a “girlie movie”. Tegan and I appreciated it for the wonderful dresses and beautiful hats. We felt outrage when her husband took her girlfriend for a lover and when she had to give up her true love in order to ensure his future as Prime Minister would be assured. I was in the mood for a sad movie and it fit the bill perfectly.

To see the Trailer on You Tube:

It has been 6 weeks!

Well today marks the end of 6 weeks since my eye surgery. As promised I have taken new photos and present them now for a verdict. What do you think about the result? I have had lots of positive reaction - but the most important reaction is the one that I have. My eyes are not heavy any more and at the end of the day I don't strain to keep myself looking awake! Eyes wide open is the operative word. I think I should be able to include them as a business expense because I look more alive and not sleepy! Anyway, I am pleased.

Not to mention at this point they are only 80% healed and they will improve yet. I chose to show 2 pictures with makeup on. My eyes are still a bit swollen and red, but it is easy to hide this with makeup at this point.

Comments anyone?


Can you tell the before and after?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day Long Weekend!

I certainly enjoy our 3 day weekends and would gladly sign up for a 4 day week job anytime.    None the less, there never seems to be the time to do everything I want to do, so I am sure 3 days off would soon seem insufficient as well.  I guess I need to wait until I can afford to retire, which in these lean economic times may be a few years more distant than I had thought this time last year.

Yesterday was a wonderful day – reasonably warm and sunny.  I went skating at the “Natrel Rink” at Harbourfront.  
Describe Pic here

Our Federal Member of Parliament, Olivia Chow, was there.   She had advertised that she was holding a “Family Day Skating Event”.  It is also the preferred location for the "Meet Up" Skating Group I belong to.  The rink was fairly crowded but it was so nice to get out and stretch my legs and get some exercise on a sunny day.  

Describe Pic here
I decided that I have to work on my skating skills.  I bought new skates this winter and they are a bit different than the standard issue white leather figure skates I had been using since I was 15 (yes, the very same pair all that time!) These skates, available at your local CTC store, are strung with wire which is tightened by a dial.









This makes them easy on/off as lacing them up rinkside, in the cold, is done in a zip!    Unlike the old leather skates, they have a comfortable padded boot which fits like a glove and is really warm.  Some things in life make me really happy.  My skates are in that category.
Describe Pic here
However, they are as we girls say “boys skates”.  That is they are not figure skates and the change in skate style takes a bit of getting used to.  A bit higher centre of gravity and it seems to me, a bit higher off the ice.  

I was never a strong skater, but I can make my way around the rink quite competently.  I just don’t have the finesse of a good skater.  I am thinking I might take a couple of lessons.   Probably just regular practice would do a lot.  It would be nice to know how to stop properly and how to go backwards.  Maybe one of these days when I get some time I will take a couple of lessons. LOL

As I walked over to Harbourfront from my place I passed Pier 6 which had still a lot of boats in Harbour.  The ships looked very bizarre, which plastic outer “coats” installed.  I guess the owners were living in the boats over the winter and the plastic provides some additDescribe Pic hereional weather protection.  However, it gave the impression of some weird science fiction scene with all  being cocooned in some sort of strange membrane.











Another point of interest was the inner harbour.Describe Pic here  There were engaging textures and the fading evening light made for a compelling scene.  I took a few photos to share with you all.

Describe Pic here










I have such a lot to get done today, as much as I enjoy my blogging activity I must get on with things.  I am however expecting to have a much less busy week this week – Winterlicious is over and my restaurant budget has been blown for several months! 
      I will have more time to blog during the week and have all sorts of ideas about things to blog about.  Stay tuned!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mixed Thoughts ...

I have a few different things for today’s blog, so bear with me if this seems like an odd stew of mixed metaphors and ill joined topics.  My excuse is mid winter blues and a touch of desire for things out of reach – sun and the joy of lying on the hot beach sand, perhaps or maybe I am wistful of something else which eludes me.  No matter, I am a bit scattered today.
 The Movie Defiance,  Director: Edward Zwick
 Last night I saw a riveting film, Defiance.  It starred Daniel Craig, Live Schreiber and Jamie Bell.    It is set in the Belarusian Luboshowski  Forest during the Nazi occupation of Poland during the 2nd world war.  It is a true story about the Bielski brothers – 4 men whose families had been murdered by Nazis who led a group of several thousands of Jewish Partisans into the forest to hide and to try and survive.  Unlike other Partisan groups their focus was not to fight the Germans but to save Jewish lives by forming a hidden commune in the forest and together working to survive.   Food and cold were real issues as much as the constant threat of discovery by Germans.   They had to flee encampments several times and rebuild after discovery.    They remained in the forest for over 2 years.    1200 survived but many more died.
 For more info on the Bielski Partisans:

The movie reminds us that our troubles are trivial and our lives are so easy even though we might think otherwise.

 Valentine's Day Thoughts

They announced this morning on CBC radio that this was "Valentine's Weekend".  I am not sure when the thing became a whole weekend, but I want to lodge a protest.  I am as much for receiving a card, flower and chocolates as much as the next person, but I would like to point out that we need to make the effort to show love the other 364 days of the year.  OK, so I don't have a sweetie to shower me with love and affection at the moment, but if I did you can bet that I would advocate for random acts of affection, romance and general raunchiness 364 days of the year - not just this one day.

OK, enough serious thoughts: I found a wonderful blogging resource and among other things it has silly little quizzes, the results of which can make you laugh.  So you will be seeing some more light and silly side of me a bit more often, now that I have some comedic props.  

The first one is in honour of St Valentine's Day, which I think is a wonderful invention for those that need a little push to get into a romantic mood.  To help everybody along, and in keeping with the theme of the weekend, perhaps a little though  about aphrodisiacs are in order. 

You can go to here What Aphrodisiac Are You? and do the quiz and find out what aphrodisiac you are.

My result?  Of course I will share it with you!   Only fair though if you readers take the quiz also and share with everyone what you are?  Just look at the bottom of today's blog entry and click on "Comment" to add your result.  It will be fun!  I wonder how many folks I can get results from?



You Are Chili Peppers




You are smokin' hot, and you can't help heat up everyone else around you.

It's not unusual for you to make people flushed and excited. You flaunt your sexuality.



You awaken primal urges that people didn't know they had. You bring out the inner wild animal.

When it comes to seduction, you just go for it. You have no fear.



Breakup or Makeup?

OK, so not everyone has a sweetie to enjoy the Valentine's Weekend with.  In fact some folks out there (the one's with the long faces and teary eyes) may well be feeling rage since they are in the middle of a breakup or realizing "he is just not that into you".   And it seems for those of us who don't have a sweetie the day is designed to rub that fact in.

For you guys I have the next section.  For the rest of you - you can go for another dose of aphrodisiac - go get your love to fill out the questionnaire and come back and comment about what aphrodisiac your love mate is.  

The rest?  read on:

OK, for the ones out there who are in breakup land but really are wanting to dig in your heels and not let this happen, there are a number of web sites which may help.  You would not believe the number of ideas people have about how to get him or her back in the folds again.    One trip to
and you will feel new hope! The creator of this web site is a man who managed to get back his lady friend and is willing to help everyone else with this little task if they just order his kit for only $39. Well, call me a doubting Tom, but I wouldn't hit send just yet.  If his kit doesn't work there are at least another hundred more, including one that provides a little voodoo doll that you can use to get his/her cooperation.

However, my experience is that reconciliations are at best a crap shoot, so I would leave that to fate and instead check out one of the many sites and blogs which help you to survive that breakup.  You could try:  

which has lots of advice and suggestions.

I can give you a bit of free advice, if you like.  For the full story on this you will need to wait until I am ready to blog about one of my breakups (yes my younger friends there may be many breakups in your future if you are a restless soul as I am ) I will get around to blogging about those things,  however at this point those stories are not yet ready for prime time.

A few tips I have:  
Revenge, while not advised, does help you feel better if you have been wronged;
Rebounding, with someone who reminds you that you are an attractive person who is desirable, does have in my book some merit;
Girlfriends or BroFriends are definitely the biggest help;
For women - lay in the Kleenex and you might as well watch all those sad movies so you will feel justified in bawling your eyes out;
For men - go out and go on that bender but try not to go for that one night stand who leaves you something to remember her by;
Use the "found time" to catch up on all the stuff you wanted to get done but didn't because life was to busy when xxx was on the scene.

What if you don't have a sweetie but  are not in either category?  Well the short answer is to get out and about and meet new and interesting people by doing things you want to do that involve other people.  No, sitting home and facebooking, lava life lurking and blogging just don't cut it in my experience, unless you actually can get some face time with the people you are interacting with over the net.  

And that gets me to the reason I have to finish this off for today - I am going out to join my ice skating meet up group and must run and get ready.



Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Pilgrim's Walk Along the El Camino in Spain

I had a wonderful evening last night.    My friend Yvonne (one of the ladies I went on a cruise with) kindly offered to set up a night so I could meet another friend of hers, Brigitte, who had completed the Pilgrim’s Walk – the El Camino Trail - through Spain in 2002.   Barb, my Collingwood friend, was able to come down to the Big Smoke and join us.  Barb and I are talking about – no, let me rephrase that – planning to do the Camino sometime in the next 3 years.

 You might be wondering, what is the Camino Pilgrim’s Walk? 

El Camino de Santiago or St. James’ Way is a pilgrimage  route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north western Spain, where tradition states that the remains of the apostle Saint James, are buried.  In ancient days people made religious pilgrimages on many different routes throughout Great Britain and Europe.  While the custom of a Christian pilgrimage has been well documented, there is some evidence that the Camino has been travelled even in pagan times.  There has been some claims made that the route was a Celtic death journey, westwards towards the setting sun and terminating at the “End of the World” (Finistera) an the “Coast of Death” (Costa da Morte) and the “Sea of Darkness.”

 Today, there are tens of thousands of people from all parts of the globe who do the Camino walk each year for various reasons.  Of course there are a large group of Christian Pilgrims who do the walk as in penance or just plain devotion.  A good number of pilgrims are not there for religious reasons, some just want to experience a different sort of travel, others  are there for the challenge of a major hike and some do it as their own a spiritual quest, removing themselves from modern convenience and comforts to gain some perspective on life.

 There are many different originating points and they converge at various points along the route.  There are starting points throughout Britain and Europe, although most would consider to have done the entire walk one must begin at least no closer to the end point than the Pyrenees mountains at the Spanish/French border. 

 The trails are sometimes very difficult but the Pilgrim’s walks are well serviced and reasonably safe for travellers, with water, cheap food and lodging at frequent enough intervals.   There are hostels available at the end of every long day and they charge only about 3-7 Euros a day (about $5-16 CAD)  for a dorm style bed for the night.  Pilgrims are only allowed to stay one night at each location and so you need to press on to the next destination every morning with all you need on your back.  No lingering over coffee and cake and “what will we do today” discussions.

 According to Brigitte they have not extended the servicing of Pilgrim’s needs to toilets, so it is not for those who want to be pampered.  It is an all terrain hike which is very demanding and not without inconvenience.

 Pilgrims need to obtain a passport (of sorts) which identify them as a Pilgrim and provide the credential to access the “refugios” (hostels) and obtain a “Pilgrim’s Meal” at restaurants.  Brigitte said that the meals were good and cheap and included either a bottle of wine or a bottle of water.  After a few days most Pilgrims would opt for the water.  The passport is also a record of the places you stayed at and is necessary to obtain a Compostela, which is a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage.  According to Wiki, you need to walk at least 100 km to obtain the certificate.  Interestingly, the certificate is considered by the church as an "Act of Indulgence", which means that it can get you to heaven if you did something big on the "no, no" category.  

 The route Brigitte took brought her along 800 km  of trail and this required 30 days of hard walking.  She is Spanish and she did the walk because of her Spanish heritage.  She did it alone, but said she soon met up with people to walk with and had constant travelling companions.   Speaking both English and Spanish she had an advantage, but she said many people did not speak Spanish and just English would not cause us any difficulty.  It was obvious in talking to her how difficult and challenging the route is.  She almost gave up once.   However the other thing that came through clearly is that she was glad to have done it and counted it as a wonderful life experience.  She also said she met a tremendous number of wonderful people who were from all over.  Some of which she still keeps in touch with.

Maybe 2010 is the year I should do it.  When July 25th falls on a Sunday it is said to be a Holy Compostellan Year.   July 25th is said to be the day that Saint James, the patron saint of Spain died.   The next Holy Compostellan Year is in 2010.  Hmm, next year?  A bit soon – I have another adventure I want to do first and that will likely be in 2010 and I need 7 weeks off work to do that adventure.  Will tell you about that one in a future blog! 

To continue with the account of last night’s fun, we 3 women had a great couple of hours chatting with Brigitte over dinner.  We were at to Quotes Bar (at King and Front St)  where I had a reasonably passable steak.  Yvonne’s sister works at the bar and she joined us at 8:00 when she finished.  Once the conversation ran out we decided to carry the party over to the Crocodile Rock Bar. 

The Crocodile rock is very much a ladies bar, and on any one night there are at least 6 women to every man.  It is decidedly heterosexual, and I have heard it called a “cougar bar”.  No matter, women go there to have fun.   Often the dance floor is just women.   While we were there we saw at least  2 limos pull up and deposit a bunch of ladies who were doing a send off for a lady friend bride to be.   The music is great, drinks flow and I am sure there are more than a few ladies who get lucky.   The rest are happy just to get out and dance and have fun with their girl friends.  Such as the case with us 5. 

After a few drinks and a fair bit of dancing my friend Barb and I left – enough fun was had and we older ladies need our sleep!     The evening was  such fun from start to end and I now have a renewed enthusiasm for my  future adventure, my long walk through Spain.  


For More Info on the Camino:

 If you want to hear one account written by a couple of ladies who did the walk:

http://www.travelwithachallenge.com/Spain-Camino-de-Santiago.html

 

For all sorts of other information you can go to these sights:

http://www.pilgrimage-to-santiago.com/camino-wiki/index.php/Main_Page

http://www.santiago-compostela.net/

http://www.caminodesantiago.me.uk/

http://onthecamino.squarespace.com/what-to-bring/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James

 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bossa Nova Tunes Playing in my Brain

Today is blog #31! Some days it is difficult to find the time to blog and it is always a battle to find shorter topics for the days I don't have a lot of time (more often I make the time and go with the longer blog), but on the whole I am getting this done! Getting in lots of writing practice and this will help in November when I do the Write a Novel in a Month Contest.

Last night I went to sleep to the sounds of music by João Gilberto, one of the fathers of this musical genre. The music has Brazilian origins with a bit of Samba and a jazz sensibility. Although the bossa nova movement only lasted six years (1958–63), it contributed a number of songs to the music scene by Jazz greats. Recordings by Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz led to a worldwide boom with 1963's album "Getz/Gilberto", . There are very popular bossa nova recordings by famous performers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

I have 3 bossa nova CDs, one of which contains Gilberto's famous "The Girl from Ipanema".

From Wikipedia:
The first bossa nova single was perhaps the most successful of all time: The Getz/Gilberto recording "The Girl From Ipanema" edited to include only the singing of Astrud Gilberto(Gilberto's then-wife). The resulting fad was not unlike the disco craze of the 1970s. The genre would withstand substantial "watering down" by popular artists throughout the next four decades.

When I woke up this morning this wonderful music was still playing in my brain and consequently, I am in a mellow, happy mood.

So a short topic today for I cannot be late to work! I have an 8:30 conference call I must prepare for! So much for the mellow, happy mood - on to busy, stressed and on the go!
Related Posts with Thumbnails