Archive - 2011

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Mean advice to prospective writers from an unprofessional writer

A friend shared this link covering the dubious financial prospects for professional writers (in Quebec, but I'd bet the prospects look about the same in the rest of Canada, and indeed in the rest of the first world). My response to her seemed to amuse others, so now I'll share it more widely:

Published authorship is a star system, and it sounds like cynical craziness, but widespread literacy means a lot of people have the basic tools to become a writer, which means supply swamps demand at the non-superstar end of the market (think of pro sports, in terms of the rewards at the top, the relative lack of depth in the middle, and the total lack of demand for mediocre athletes) except with a less-clear system for detecting and recruiting superstar talent.

Alex Pope for Maple Ridge Council: an Endorsement

Philosophically, I avoid meddling in the affairs of political jurisdictions where I don't have a franchise, but I'm making an exception here to endorse my friend and club-mate, Alex Pope, who has put himself forward as a candidate for the town council in Maple Ridge.

So here's Alex running for a job as a public servant, and where the decisions are important and have deep consequences*, in a community where transportation is a major civic issue.

I assure you, he's the right man for the job.

Alex Gives Back

Ever since I've known Alex, he's been helping out with things he wants to make better. We met as fellow members of a cycling club that requires members to volunteer in support of races. And Alex did, putting in as needed, at every level of the sport from laying out traffic cones before a race to sitting on the board of Cycling BC.

October 5, returning from Serifos.

Rebecca gave me an adventure for my birthday. Just after midnight, she gave me an envelope with tickets to Serifos, a very small island. We went for a day trip on my birthday, and rented a scooter. It was also a great chance to use my other present, a pancake lens for the Pentax. All-manual, it was the only lens I brought. I needed noting else.
We saw the island's lovely chora, another hilltop town with house upon house and only narrow pedestrian walkways and stairs between them, high upon a hill, overlooking but quite far from the contemporary port. Typical pirate-resistant town planning.

A Gentleman's Race, or We are Beat by Girls

A local group who prefers to remain somewhat anonymous (let's just call them the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) decided to put on a very low-key Gentleman's Race, based onthe idea promulgated by Rapha.

I put together a team. The last member joined up, literally, the day before the race, but in the end I had a full team of 5:

Doug Brons
Aidan "Mocha" Mouellic
Cam "maillot pois"
Dan "Buttercup" Spry

We had our share of excuses (interrupted training, new to pacelines, fat, underfed...), but we were game.

Level Playing Fields and Beer Leagues: Sports are Unfair

I've been ranting online meditating about level and non-level playing fields in sports lately.

Item: Oscar Pistorius, the fastest man on no legs, is in the news again because he is on the verge of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in the 400-metre event. I see this as being parallel to the previous stories of Caster Semenya and Michelle Dumaresq: in the latter two cases, the question was "who gets to compete in women's events?" (and implicitly, it was "what is the purpose of a separate women's category?") In the former case, it's "who gets to compete in men's events?"

Level Playing Fields

Wherein I make fun of TV News

Claude Adams, an excellent writer, tells the sad, funny story of the day he lost his job because the dog didn't die. (And let me just say up front that I feel sad for Claude, but his mistake totally sounds like a firing offense to me).

Regarding his larger points about the decline of TV news, I don't think the arrow of causality points the way Claude thinks it does.

TV news does a very good job at displaying visually compelling news. Not surprisingly, most TV News shows focus on the visually compelling.

An Essay In Favour of Implausible Events

Ever felt that there should be a greater embrace of the absurd in life? Ever found yourself thinking this was a decent plan, only to be repelled by the fact that the actual absurdist movements of the last 100 years (notably Surrealism, Dadaism, and even (to some extent) Absurdism itself are enrobed in political clothing?

These things normally start with a Manifesto. But if one is attempting to disavow political trappings, a manifesto is a bad place to start. Also, it does not suit the aesthetic of Wired Cola. Therefore, this thing will start with a Mission Statement:

We Enjoy Implausible Events, and Strive to Create Them

Canucks-Bruins Game 5 Tag Cloud

The Room explained. Again, a bit salty.

Tag cloud courtesy TagCrowd

Wait, Wordle may be a better tool...
Wordle: Vancouver-Boston Game 5

Vancouver-Boston Game 4 Room tagcloud

Vancouver-Boston Game four tag cloud, courtesy TagCrowd. Note that the language got...salty. This is only a partial transcript (the last two periods):

I really wish TagCrowd's export options worked properly.

Cycling 301: more commuting advice

I just wrote something for Douglas College [teaser here] about riding your bicycle to work. The article offers an introduction to cycling I'm fairly proud of, but there were a few odds and ends that didn't deserve mention in an introductory guide, but which make for a nice appendix, which you get here.

Electric-assist Bikes