Monday, 30 September 2013

On Changing Careers

Just because one reaches a certain age it doesn't mean they can't change directions and have a great and meaningful career.

(Former actor/current teacher Crispin Bonham-Carter)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

On Roses

A rose, perceived by the pessimist, may seem no different than a common cactus.

(A solitary rose at Kew Gardens in London)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

On Poetry

Knowing different types of poems can significantly help in creating interesting and unique pieces of writing. 
  1. Ballad: A poem or song which tells a story in a simple way. Often associated with anonymous folk tales.
  2. Sonnet: A poem with 14 lines usually written in iambic pentameter.
  3. Ode: Long poem dedicated to a (generally deceased) person or object.
  4. Limerick: A five line comic verse which follows A, A, B, B, A syllable patterns and rhyming schemes.
  5. Clerihew: A four line comic verse composed of two rhyming couplets. The first line generally refers to the name of the person about whom the poem is about.
  6. Elegy: A poem of mourning or lamentation usually sad and reflective in nature.
(A "book rose" at a recycled book fair in Bath, England)

Friday, 27 September 2013

On Values

Wearing a hijab, turban, kippah, or any other "religious" headgear does not impede one from performing public sector jobs just as well as everyone else.

(Buddhist heads at the V&A museum in London) 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

On Old Books

Aside from donating or discarding them, there is a lot more than can be done with old books.

(Porcupine at the Recycled Book Fair in Bath, England)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

On Fear and Love

"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life."
-John Lennon

(Love locks on a bridge over the Rideau Canal in Ottawa)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

On Arguments

Just because the majority of people believe an argument/issue to be true, that doesn't necessarily make it so.

(Hitler's car in WWII at the War Museum in Ottawa)

Monday, 23 September 2013

On Jane Austen

Just because 200 years may have passed it doesn't mean the enthusiasm over a book and/or author should diminish.

(Dressing up at the Jane Austen festival in Bath, England)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

On Syria

Before making quick judgements on the fate of a country you have never visited, learn a little about the culture and history of its people.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

On the Meaning of Life

It's as random as the number 42 and defined as frequently as there are people, but constantly searching for a meaning tends to prevent one from actually living.

(Sign outside my neighborhood church in Montreal)

Friday, 20 September 2013

On Thinking Outside the Box

Some people behind the greatest business ideas, designs, and/or structures don't just think outside the box, they forget it completely.

(Unique terrace concept at Hyde Park in London)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

On Movies

Although their primary purpose is to entertain the masses, it's nice to see a film every now and then that actually delivers a worthy message.

Personal Favourites:

  1. Children of a Lesser God
  2. Kiss of the Spider-woman
  3. V for Vendetta
  4. City of Joy
  5. The Sound of Music
  6. Slumdog Millionaire 
  7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  8. The Count of Monte Cristo
  9. Dead Poets Society
  10. Educating Rita

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

On Being Outdoors

Enjoy eating and spending as much time as possible outdoors while still possible in the late summer season.

(A table presentation at Kew Gardens in London)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

On London Roads

It takes a lot longer getting used to looking in the right road direction than one would think.

(Cautionary sign found on many streets in London)

Monday, 16 September 2013

On Rational Thought

"Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you."
 -Christopher Hitchens

(Sleeping royalty at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London)

Sunday, 15 September 2013

On Moving

Having someone to help in even the smallest ways is far better than trying to do everything by yourself.

(My Ottawa apartment being emptied last month)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

On Collecting £$%@

Although collecting should be mandatory in all neighborhoods, some take the offence much more seriously than others.

(A sign near Kew Gardens in London, England)

Friday, 13 September 2013

On Art Material

Not all successful artwork is necessarily created using traditional materials like paint, charcoal, or watercolours.

(Vik Muniz art done with chocolate)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

On English Problems

Finding a friendly group of people with similar linguistic goals is a great way to master any language.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

On Shrines

Placing a quasi-memorial to a beloved icon in a large shopping center is sure to attract more visitors but not necessarily more shoppers.

(Shrine to D&D at the Harrods' store in London)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

On Dangling Participles

They are grammatically ambiguous phrases that occur as the result of a writer modifying the wrong part (i.e. object, subject) of a sentence. 

  • After performing in the dance hall for years, the policeman finally asked the ballerina out.
  • Having arrived late to school, a note was required.
  • The audition was a failure, not having practiced their lines enough.
  • After performing in the dance hall for years, the ballerina was finally asked out by the policeman.
  • Having arrived late to school, the student required a note.
  • They failed the audition, not having practiced their lines enough.

(After changing colours in the fall, the leaves looked beautiful)

Monday, 9 September 2013

On Transportation

Not all metropolitan cities charge a flat fee for train, bus, and/or subway transportation services.

(London underground system charges by distance)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

On Smartphones

Although they provide more functions, convenience, and pixelation the high price and short battery life can become a nuisance. 

(My old and new phone who share little in common)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

On English

"The English Language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are mingled at every turn. The French language, like Paris, has attempted, through its Academy, to retain its purity, to fight the advancing tides of Franglais and international prefabrication. English, by comparison, is a shameless whore."

-Stephen Fry, actor and comedian.

(Tower Bridge in London, England this summer)

Friday, 6 September 2013

On Freezers

Biannual freezer defrosting and cleaning is recommended in order to avoid major frost buildup.

(Ice buildup in my England freezer)

Thursday, 5 September 2013

On Pet Food

There are some parts of the world where cats and dogs eat better than many human beings.

(Raw meat made for dogs in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

On Babies

Not everyone with babies and/or children feels the need to plaster their face(s) onto social media websites.

(A friend's baby whose face remains a mystery)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

On Diana Nyad

If a 60+ year-old woman can relentlessly pursue a dream as wild as swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, surely anyone can strive to achieve something small/great in their lifetime.

Monday, 2 September 2013

On Vandalism

Not everyone who thinks they have artistic talent should be given free reign to display their "skills" on public property.

(A defaced poster at a glasses shop in Ottawa)

Sunday, 1 September 2013

On World Populations

Knowing the distribution of people in each continent can provide insight into understanding many of the world's problems.
  1. Asia: 61%
  2. Africa: 14%
  3. Europe: 11%
  4. South/Central America: 8%
  5. North America: 5%
  6. Australia: 1%
(Map at Mosaicultures Internationale, Montreal Botanical Garden)