November 1, 2007

Morning Reverie



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

All is quiet here. Last night was Halloween, All Hallows Eve. To date we have not had children come to our door nor have any of our neighbours. I think the families around here who have young children transport them by car to the lucrative streets of the local villages. The weather held for them, the rain and high winds came well after dark when all good little ghouls should be home and tucked into bed.

The temperatures thus far have been mild, but by the end of the week the overnight temperatures will start to dip below freezing. The coloured leaves are all but gone, although bright yellow poplar leaves still cling to the topmost branches of the largest trees. Winter is on its way.

We have been fighting a cold for the last few weeks. Attila has taken to popping cloves of raw garlic into his mouth frequently throughout the day and night. Virtually unaffected until last night, I woke in the night with stuffed sinuses and a runny nose. This particular bug has infiltrated the private lives of almost the entire local population, and it hangs on for weeks. Luckily the symptoms are relatively mild, keeping misery levels low.

Earlier in the week I arranged to use the car for the day and made a run to the nearest Family History Center. This time I took a USB zip drive with me and saved copies of original documents for later entry. One tidbit of information I found was a brief note in the birth registration for my Grandfather’s old brother – “not born in wedlock”. This is not a story that has been handed down through the generations.

The sourdough is a success. The instructions state that one should “throw out” half the volume of the starter and add more flour and water. After pouring half the starter into a measuring cup, I added the required flour and water to the mason jar. What I didn’t do was throw out the mixture in the measuring cup. Water was added to make up the required amount of liquid for my bread recipe. I proceeded to prepare my bread dough as usual, using the starter/water mixture for liquid and reducing the amount of added dry yeast to half the usual amount. The loaf did not rise as much as usual during the second rise. However, once in the preheated oven the loaf went to town. It rose significantly higher than my usual loaves, and the crust split along the side as a result of the expansion. The taste is now “sour”, but the flavour is greatly enhanced by the starter. Attila gave the project a thumbs up.

I have a love/hate relationship with language. I love words, how they hang rich with history, mystery and meaning. As a tool to communicate they are magical. I hate words, how they are used to classify, categorize and constrain thought and perception. They are a prison when misused in the quest to dominate meaning.

I am thinking about words this morning as I wonder through my plans to structure reference resources for my genealogical research. I will use the computer. I will backup files. I will link images of primary documents to their respective entries in my database. Words work well for these simplistic generalizations of my plans.

However, when it comes to deciding where to store what, where and how to create and use backup materials and the truly detailed technical aspects of the project, language merely serves to slow me down and make plans far more complicated than they need to be. Technical details are mere means to an end, and as such unworthy of an exalted place in the world of language.

For instance, I doubt that Wayne Gretzky can thank his talent on the ice to learning the complex terminology and classification systems of the science of ice, wood, artificial lighting, human anatomy,.. the list could go on. Talent lies in the organic knowledge of the parameters of hockey, an understanding so sophisticated that language cannot describe or emulate it effectively. Nor should it try, in my opinion.

My understanding of technical things, facts, figures, statistics, maps, codes, language, theories, philosophies, and such like, is organic. I experience a relationship with knowledge. Language can provide information helpful in leading one towards the light of knowledge, but it can only lead you to the door. If one acquires a technical expertise with information, but fails to perceive the door to knowledge, the door remains closed. Few humans perceive the door; fewer still seek to open the door. Throughout my formal education I found it necessary to abandon most of my teachers at the threshold of the door. They didn’t notice; I was careful to continually provide them with information commensurate with language, as was required. I always regarded this concession on my part as a fair exchange for the technical information they willingly shared.

Top of Page

Worldly Distractions

Sunrise through the window with interior reflecctions.

"Much learning does not teach understanding."
On the Universe
Greek philosopher (540 BC - 480 BC)

Temp 5.9°C
Press 102.0 kPa / rising
Visibility 15 km
Humidity 55%
Dew Point -2.51°C
Wind WNW 21 km/h gust 35 km/h

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

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