December 19, 2007

Slow But Sure



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]

This morning a wet and steady snow is falling. Heavy flakes fall like white rain. This past weekend we experienced a major winter storm, and some areas to the south of us received 30 cm or more of the white stuff. Attila worked on snow removal all of his half day Saturday and all of Sunday. Tonight he will be back at it. It is very fortunate that we own a snow blower to assist with the task.

Life has been very quiet here, behind the veil of falling snow. Mist and I watch the snow, listen to Christmas music and happily spend our time together.

Mist has been somewhat busy trying to train her humans. Apparently, according to feline intelligence, they lack a sense of propriety in relation to home heating. When Mist deems the interior of the house below standard temperature, she will sit beside me, yowl loudly, staring at me until I rise and follow her over the fireplace. There she will sit in front of the fireplace and stare meaningfully at the glass door, willing me to understand that a fire would be appropriate NOW. We usually build a fire twice a day, so that Mist is almost always disappointed in her midday mission. The training of humans is a painfully slow task, requiring skill and lots of patience. Mist believes in our ability to learn though, of this she is quite certain.

Attila managed to find time on Saturday afternoon to hike into the bush, choose a Christmas tree, fell it and bring it in from the cold. Our trees are real “Charlie Brown” trees, spindly with a little bit of green at the ends of the branches. I have grown to love these trees, even though they fall far short of the ideal presented in the media, magazines and ads. This weekend we will decorate the tree with a few of our favorite ornaments and maybe even some lights.

I have been working on converting “A Christmas Story”, sung by Bing Crosby, from analog to digital. The record is old, 1957 and not in the best condition. After converting the sound track I have been working on sound quality using Click Repair and it has done a wonderful job. This album doesn’t really hold much in the way of magic for me personally, but for many people around my age it elicits warm Christmas memories. The sound of Bing Crosby’s voice does bring back some of the magic moments of my childhood though, so it has been worth the time spent restoring the recording. And, oh horrors, the song “An Axe, An Apple and a Buckskin Jacket” keeps running through my mind, over and over and over again. There are worse things.

Simultaneously, the conversion of “Family Christmas Favorites” is going very well. This album includes some carols sung by the Columbus Boychoir. The pieces performed by the choir bring tears to my eyes, as the essence of my childhood innocence is preserved perfectly in those sound waves from the past. Much in psychology describes the sense of smell as a medium able to transport us instantly to our former selves. Although aroma can carry me to other places and times, sound and vision are much more evocative. Each book in my bookcases holds a chapter of my former self, I can feel the person I was when I suspended disbelief to enter each world of the written word. Similarly, sound can change the context of my emotional existence instantaneously.

I did manage to get out to the library this week to select a few books for holiday reading. While there I took advantage of the high-speed connection to update the operating system and some of the software on my iBook. What took an hour with a high-speed connection would take two or more days to accomplish at home with the dialup connection. I doubt that high-speed access will ever be available in our neighbourhood.

It is a tortoise’s life we lead here.

Top of Page

Worldly Distractions

Bing Crosby Family Christmas Favorites with the Columbus Boychoir and the Andrews Sisters
Analog Now Digital

By the Easy Chair
Anil's Ghost
by Michael Ondaatje
(This book is a hard place to be, a new landscape of pain that I have chosen to visit. A choice based on trust, a trust of Mr. Ondaatje's integrity and respect for the pair of eyes on the other side of his page.)

"Politics is the pastime of empty souls."
Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Light Snow
Temp -1.9°C
Visibility 2 km
Humidity 94%
WindChill -6
Dew Point -2.7°C
Wind Speed SE 13 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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