Say What?


A moue of anger or irritation? Not a spoken one: Too hard to pronounce.


An expression of disdain? Not a written one: Too hard to get past spelling check.


A password? Not a useful one: Too hard to remember, much less execute, the arbitrary capitals.


A spam answer to my recent rhetorical question? Not an effective one: Too easy for an automated algorithm to flag as obvious gibberish.

Well, TudpxlcXoarfUtKk. Or as a human might say, dagnab it. There appears to be no use whatsoever for TudpxlcXoarfUtKk.


Posted in Language and Communication, Laughing Frequently, Wired | Tagged | 9 Comments

Garage-Door-Opener Face

It turns out that garage-door-opener springs do not last forever. Who knew?

When they go the way of all mechanical things, the garage-door-opener motor hums and its lights come on, but the door fails to lift. In this case, two outta three *is* bad.

On the other hand, failing that failure, I would never have looked carefully at the garage-door-opener apparatus and discovered not just another face . . .

Shark overhead!

. . . but a g’raj-door shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.



Posted in Laughing Frequently, Photos of Faces | Tagged | 6 Comments

More Space

What’s this file?
Oh, a document I was editing for someone.
I don’t need that any longer.

One of the unexpected benefits of firing up my new computer — The universe offsetting the unanticipated costs, perhaps? — is that my desktop screen is gradually becoming tidier.

Continue reading

Posted in New Perspectives, Thinking Broadly, Wired | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Can We Hold on Through the Night?

Why must there be a morning after?

That was the original title of the song we now know by a different name.

It debuted in The Poseidon Adventure (sung by one woman and lip-synched by another) and then, when they realized they had a hit and decided to release it as a single, it was covered by a secretary and part-time folk singer who had never recorded anything before.

And I wouldn’t have known any of that except for there being a morning after my laptop marathon.

In the old days, five years ago, the software and cable to transfer files from one computer to another were included in the package when you bought a new computer. Not no more.

So forth I go to my local office-supply store to buy the software and presumed cable, pictured online in a box, only to discover that it’s a download-only format. No cable. No box. So back I go and order the software, confident that I will soon be transferring files.

Not so fast. The “shipping” date for this download is the next day.

Now, I have no idea why it takes a day for a national office-supply chain to send me a link for software when I can get a download link for anything else in less time than it takes to say so. But so it is.  There being no choice, I settle down to wait.

The morning after, I check my inbox and there it is: My email with the download link. Hurray!

Not so fast. The email, yes, but the link, no. Sigh.

For what seems like the 17th time in two days, I dial a customer-service [sic] number.

As I wait on hold, my call being very important to them, I realize that it’s a good question: *Why* must there be a morning after?

I don’t know, but it appears there’s got to be.

Posted in Another Thing, Laughing Frequently, Wired | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Never Say Die

I recite both my order numbers. For the third time. I explain why I have two.

I recite both my customer numbers. For the third time. I admit that I have no idea why I have two.

I verify both my first and last name. For the third time.

I explain my problem, but only for the second time. I was cut off once.

Oh, that’s a technical problem. I’ll transfer you.
– Customer Care Agent

Continue reading

Posted in Laughing Frequently, Wired | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Oh, bother

I hate working in confined spaces.

I look up in irritation. The knuckles on my mouse-hand have just brushed against a pile of paper on my desk. I push the paper away impatiently, muttering under my breath.

Who put it there, anyway?

Truly confined spaces like tight tunnels are out of the question, of course. I had to let the International Space Station folks down easy.

I clench my teeth in aggravation. This is my umpteenth flip through this pile of paper, looking for the one piece I need this time. With no horizontal space, I pile the rejects atop the printer as I go, and try to ignore the occasional sheet making an unauthorized break for the floor.

Why has no one better organized my office?

Even spaces that require me to restrain my natural gestures are not my happy place.

I frown in frustration. The cutting board is jammed against the roasting pan jammed against the knife block jammed into the counter’s corner, leaving me no room to change my angle of slightly-dull-carving-knife attack on this slightly undercooked turkey.

Who put all this stupid stuff on my counter?

My shoulders hunch, my breathing shallows, my patience dims (and it never glows what you’d call brightly).

I roll my eyes in exasperation. My quick elliptical beating with a fork is slopping egg onto the counter. Somehow the soup/cereal bowl that is perfect for breaking up two or three eggs is proving miserably inadequate for four.

Why didn’t someone give me a just-slightly bigger bowl to use?

In truth, my working conditions are entirely under my control. I can place piles of paper out of the way of my mouse-hand to avoid inadvertent contact. I can sort my piles of paper into folders to minimize searching time. I can think ahead all of 10 seconds to the inevitable next steps when I take a dagnabbed turkey out of the oven. I can choose the bowl in which I break up eggs based on the number of those eggs.

I hiss in annoyance. My shoulders are high and tight as I tentatively roll out the pie pastry. The counter’s backsplash won’t accommodate the sweeping stroke needed to obtain an even result with minimal handling: not working front to back, and not working sideways from the end of the kitchen island.

Why haven’t I learned to roll out pastry on the floor?

Oh, bother. Not *all* my working conditions are *entirely* under my control. All the more reason to do what I can, where I can, to avoid the botheration of confined spaces, saving that precious store of patience for when it’s really needed.


Posted in Laughing Frequently, New Perspectives | Tagged , | 6 Comments

For Again

For the beauty Earth displays

Mountains, valleys, lakes, and skies

For the life which all our days

6-photo collage of plants

Over and around us lies

Collage for Thanksgiving post

God of all, to you I raise
This my song of grateful praise


For the beauty of the hours
Of the day and of the night

6-photo collage for Thanksgiving post

Vistas large and tiny flowers

Lowering skies and morning light

6-photo collage for Thanksgiving post

God of all, to you I raise
This my song of grateful praise


For the joy of loving bonds
Partners, siblings, parents, friends

Friends on Earth and friends above
Those on whom we still depend

God of all, to you I raise
This my song of grateful praise


For the joy of dazzled eyes

6-photo collage of extraordinary birds

For both grown and built delights

6-photo collage for Thanksgiving post

For construction wizardry

3-photo collage for Thanksgiving post

Faces seen in passing sights

God of all, to you I raise
This my song of grateful praise


For each lovely gift from you

Lightening each passing mile

For the joys of solemn hue

For all silly thoughts and smiles

God of all, to you I raise
This my song of grateful praise


With thanks to Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835 – 1917) for the original words.

See last year’s post here.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Faces, Photos of Fauna, Photos of Flora, Photos of Landscapes, Photos of People | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Doom Loop?

I don’t comment in writing on American politics. It’s not my business, it’s not under my control (or influence even), and fussing about it does nothing to make my life better.

Today, though, I’m posting a link to an article about American politics because I think it offers an interesting perspective for Canadian politics even though we don’t have the two-party system that Drutman would like to see changed in the USA.

My take-aways for Canada?

First, if we invest more power in provincial and local governments (as opposed to federal), we can simultaneously achieve three things:

  • Lowering the scope of any given decision, thereby lowering the value of lobbying and the potential for corruption
  • Responding better to regional differences
  • Increasing our own leverage over our elected representatives

Second, we can limit intense take-no-prisoners partisanship if we do these things:

  • Refuse to demonize people with whom we disagree (even strongly)
  • Accept intra-party differences of opinion rather than suppressing them in the name of party discipline
  • Expect the same or better from our representatives

To give you an idea of the article, here’s an excerpt:

Take what happened in the presidential debate last week. President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden did little to conceal their disdain of one another. And although the debate marked a low point in our national discourse, it was a crystallization of a long-developing trend: loathing the opposing party. . . .

So how did we get to this point?

Broadly speaking, there are three trends that we can point to. The first is the steady nationalization of American politics. The second is the sorting of Democrats and Republicans along urban/rural and culturally liberal/culturally conservative lines, and the third is the increasingly narrow margins in national elections.

The combination of these three trends has turned Washington, D.C., into a high-stakes battle where cross-party compromise is difficult, and both sides are increasingly holding out for complete control.

How Hatred Came to Dominate American Politics

Posted in Politics and Policy, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , | 8 Comments


You’d think they could come up with a better acronym, yes?

This week, Andrew Roman posted his three-part analysis of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It’s in his usual vein: informed, analytical, and unemotional. I recommend it for when you have a few minutes. Here’s the lead-in.

In these three posts I will make three points:

      1. Contrary to popular misconception, UNDRIP does not give Canadian indigenous peoples a veto over government approval of pipeline or other resource projects;
      2. The BC government’s claim to be the first province to have enshrined UNDRIP into BC law is premature, as it has not done that; and
      3. UNDRIP should not be enshrined into Canadian federal or provincial law because that would do more harm than good to First Nations (FNs) and to Canadians generally.
Posted in Politics and Policy, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , | 2 Comments