Thursday, 31 October 2013

On Vertigo

"Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves."

-Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being

(View of London Tower from below)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

On Mosques

Questioning authority and/or being critical can extend to religious leaders of any place of worship.

(A beautiful, large mosque in East London)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

On Being Active

Having a simple list of typical exercises and warm-ups in a local park can encourage people to get out and be more active.

(A list of exercises/warmups in Valentine Park, Ilford)

Monday, 28 October 2013

On Self-Confidence

There are enough people and institutions around that will put you down in life without you needing to add your own voice.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

On Reading

Although reading online does improve literacy skills it is nice to spend a few moments each day reading something not from a computer/mobile device.

(Recent exciting book purchases I made in England)

Saturday, 26 October 2013

On Halloween Celebrations

Not every country celebrates Halloween or does so with as much enthusiasm as North America.

(A carved pumpkin in an East London restaurant)

Friday, 25 October 2013

On Who vs. Whom

It is a common point of confusion in the English language but remains quite important, especially in formal writing.

Who: Pronoun referring to the subject (he/she) in a sentence; person doing the action. eg: Who is doing the dishes tonight? "He" is. 

Whom: Pronoun referring to the object (him/her) in a sentence; person having action done to them. eg: Whom does he love? He loves "her".

(To whom does this body belong to? A statue in Bath, England)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

On Hockey Fans

Just because people relocate to other parts of the world it doesn't mean they can't continue supporting their home team.

(Hockey painting on Bank st. in downtown Ottawa)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

On Surveillance

Some cities have incorporated audio surveillance in addition to having cameras at every corner to keep close track of its population.

(An audio surveillance sign in Shoreditch, London)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

On Stories

"A story is not like a road to follow... it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you."

-Alice Munro

(A well-lit room I visited in East London, England)

Monday, 21 October 2013

On Slang

Some schools are so desperate to see improvements that they will go as far as banning slang words and improper English.

(Warning sign outside the Harris school in Croydon)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

On Advertising

Feeding into the ego of a whole generation can be an effective way to engage them into making purchases they can't afford.

(A unique easyJet advert in a London tube station)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

On Sustainable Solutions

Instead of focusing on creating and buying more stuff, it would be better for peope and corporations to start thinking of ways to improve overall quality.

Friday, 18 October 2013

On Adult Fun

Just because one has reached a certain age it doesn't mean that they are too old to start/continue enjoying themselves.

(Ball pit at Regression Session in London, UK)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

On Trains

Living near train stations/tracks is convenient but the persistent noise and air pollution can become a major nuisance.

(Train tracks heading to downtown Montreal)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

On Haikus

They are short forms of poetry from Japan that are characterised by a unique division of syllables (5-7-5) and generally used to express natural beauty and tranquility. 

At the age old pond (5)
A frog leaps into water (7)
A deep resonance (5)

(A pond of large lilies at Kew Gardens in London)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

On Exercise

As long as the will is there even the busiest people are able to fit a little exercise into their daily routines. 

(People cycling on their lunch break in London)

Monday, 14 October 2013

On Canadian Thanksgiving

Although it is a lesser known holiday around the world it still brings joy to millions north of the American border.

(Birds crossing a path near Hyde Park, London)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

On Fear

"I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you."
-Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi

(Scarecrow at Mosaicultures at the Botanical Gardens, Montreal)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

On Henna

Many people prefer this natural plant-based dye agent that can be used for colouring skin, nails, hair, and fabric.

(Henna design done by a former student in Ottawa)

Friday, 11 October 2013

On Lego

It can be used not just by children and in a lot more creative and educational ways than one might expect.

(Large Lego trains at a friends' house in Montreal)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

On Malala Yousafzai

A young teenage girl with a thirst for education cannot be silenced by mere bullets from ignorant militants. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

On History

Learning about the history of the country/culture where you are living is just as important as knowing your own history. 

(Engraving by the Thames in Greenwich, London)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

On Markets

They are an exciting alternative to the supermarket/grocery store franchises and usually include an abundance of delicious, fresh, and local produce.

(Bustling Greenwich market in Southeast London)

Monday, 7 October 2013

On Toothpaste

There is absolutely NO special meaning behind the different colour codes on the bottom of each tube.
  • Green: Natural
  • Blue: Natural + Medicine
  • Red: Natural + Chemical composition
  • Black: Pure Chemical
(My tube of toothpaste that is NOT natural/chemical)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

On Academic Research

Being skilled in the increasingly popular field of academic research in education does not guarantee that one will be any good at teaching.

(Figures in the V&A museum courtyard in London)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

On Food Poisoning

In general introducing a series of unhealthy foods into a relatively clean diet can cause immediate unpleasant consequences.

(A big plate of food I ate somewhere in Montreal)

Friday, 4 October 2013

On Doing the Right Thing

"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."
-Mahatma Ghandi
(Pretty flowers blooming in St. Anne-de-Bellevue, Montreal)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

On Camping

Getting away for a few days is greatly beneficial to one's health especially if one spends most of their time living and/or working in a polluted city. 

(Tents near a campfire outside of London, England)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

On Solar Compactors

It is good to know that there are still companies interested in finding innovative ways to adapt our lifestyles to suit the environment.

(Solar compactor in downtown Montreal)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

On Slam Poetry

It is the unique blending of poetry and rap that can bring awareness to a number of social issues around the world.