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Smart phone drives home message

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Yesterday I upgraded my iPhone to version 11.0.3, and today it is suggesting I might be a liar. I kinda like this. 📱

The new version gives me the ability to delay all notifications to the phone while driving, say, to Jasper, say, today. Before driving off this morning, I wondered for a second if I should enable the feature. My instinct when given an option by a phone (tell us where you are? tell us where you're going? and so on) is to say no. Privacy and all. But, invariably, I then remember Dave Mowat's take in this regard on Molly Bloom's final words by saying yes yes yes yes when his phone ask permission of him. I've started saying yes all the time, Dave says, to see what I can learn.

What I learned from this simple little feature is an effective little way to keep me from using my phone while driving. Effective in a different way than the law tries to be effective (threatening punishment), and effective in a different way than advertising tries to be effective (d…

Late night thoughts on what I don't like

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This afternoon, as I sat in a darkened theatre watching a movie I never would have chosen to watch had I known how sad this scene I was watching Amy Madigan in was, I remembered something Alexander Prior said.

Prior is the Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He is young, like 24, I think, which means I have two neckties and one suit older than he is. Anyways, there he was above us on stage a couple of weeks ago during an ESO Late Night gig at the Winspear. He was introducing Jalons, a work by Iannis Xenakis. Right. I'd never heard of him either.

Before he poked his players to life with his baton, Prior said something remarkable to the audience. He said we probably wouldn't like the music. He said we didn't have to like it. Just listen to it and we could talk about it later, he said. And then they played it. The work was unfamiliar, grating in parts, coming apart in other parts, and soaring. I liked parts, but, overall, he was right. I didn't particular…

Vegas

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I sometimes but not often enough and not deeply enough think about what to do next when bad and strange and heartbreaking things happen. This is the residue of a work life spent in newsrooms monetized in part by bad and strange and heartbreaking things happening.

In a newsroom, you have to know what to do, and quickly, when disaster reveals its face. I am thinking now about the recent massacre in Las Vegas where a sniper transformed a tower from an illuminated landmark into a bristling gun nest. He killed 59 people on the Strip below. They had been listening to music.

In a TV newsroom there is no time to stare and wonder. Facts have to be chased, rumours abandoned, tweets tweeted, video reviewed for suitability, anchors called in, production lineups built, stories debated, angles checked off. Find a way to localize the story, bring it home. Were there any Canadians there? Albertans? Edmontonians? Among the dead, the same questions. Think about breaking into regular programming with u…

Len Thuesen #7

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Unreal red light inked itself onto a light standard on 142 St last night as I waited to cross the road. The temporary red on the pole was cast from the overhead traffic signal. I was on my bicycle, headed downtown for a newspaper.

Memory tugged.

We had a radio when I was a boy. It sat in a small, black cabinet about a foot and half high and as much wide and it had a black handle on the top. The dial glided across the numbers under the illuminated glass display as I wheeled the knob back and forth. That tiny stick of light glowed like a match. Or a lure in the water. For hours, I sat transfixed in the dark in my basement room listening to voices from afar. At night, stations from Seattle and even California pulsed in. It was eerie, that crackle, those voices that came from out there. Augusta La Paix brought Billy Bragg in. Len Thuesen brought Mark Knopfler in. I loved it.

These memories swirled up last night as I rode the multi-use path in Glenora. It was black, chilly, windy. I was a…

What I learned from Lana Stewart

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I recorded on Strava my bicycle ride to the post office at Shopper's Drug Mart this afternoon, and sent a quiet thank you out to Lana Stewart for the prescription. 
This is Lana in de pecha (kucha) mode earlier this year in Montréal: 

She was making a point that has stuck. Here goes: riding a bicycle to work is a lot of work. For the newcomer, there's a lot of obstacles. Safety in traffic, changes of clothes, storage, sweating, matted hair, risk of bike theft, mild ridicule, change of weather, and so on. Why the fascination with getting people interested in riding a bicycle to go from zero to workplace? Why not instead encourage people to make the simple rides, the neighbourhood trips to the grocery store, the bakery, the liquor store, or the post office? Better to build local and solid by encouraging wanna-be-again bicycle riders to make trips to the locations that, if they're fortunate, sit within one or two kilometres from home. 


That's how I started. For childhood…

A fish in Facebrook

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I am reading Ted Bishop's Ink: Culture, Wonder, And Our Relationship with the Written Word. I am trying not to read it too quickly. I don't think there's a sequel to dive into next. So, I use my computer as a kind of teacher's internet assistant. When Hongwu is mentioned, I check out the emperor's Wikipedia page. When a willow tree in the wind is likened to a writing brush, I head for Google Images to look at a willow tree.

But I don't always get where I am going. I get lured this way and that. On the way to the willow I fell into Facebrook. In rough order of encounter, I:

saw that my friend Rosa gave a clown face to my Facebook post last night on the changing colours of traffic lights, looked at Keith's nature photography from the Upper Peninsula, monitored a debate about the mixture of musicians at Folk Fest workshops, learned that my friend Michelle went to Ikea on Thursday, a trip immortalized by a Facebook-generated video, learned my friend John needs …

I packed my pannier, and in it I put...

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When I pedal my bike through the city, I carry some things with me. Some other things I pick up along the way. Here are the contents of my red Arkel bike bags (Red Bike, Cliff), in no particular order of weight, after this morning's ride.

Ziploc large freezer bag, transparent, containing orange bandana from murder mystery dinner night in Chelem, México, where Shelagh was a reporter and Sheryl was the sheriff, eyeglasses (right lens chipped, prescription: -1.00, -1.25, not bad), 3x pencils (2 Blackwing 530 special edition California Gold Rush series from Stylus, closed on Saturdays in the summer, 1 with Chinese charactering, gift), eye drops, pencil sharpener containing shavings that remind me of a dancing woman's hemmed dress, City of Edmonton red reflector and blue reflective bracelet courtesy bike grid street team because Edmonton now has a bike grid street team because Edmonton now has a downtown bike grid, iPhone 6ring of keys: Honda Accord, not driven in a month, unknown …