BETTER DAYS AND A BIG PROJECT

So far, this has been a pretty good month for me. I’ve had some better, hopeful things happen recently and I’m feeling a hell of a lot better than I was.

One lynchpin of this sudden change has to be my new workout routine. I’m really trying to make this a daily ritual, including heading towards volleyball again and going for long walks. It’s been pretty good thus far. I’ve got a bit of a way to go in terms of reaching my goals, but still, it’s worth the challenge.

Another aspect of my personal progress has been my re-discovery, as it were, of some of my older interests, such as ancient history and science. It’s kind of quaint, perhaps even ridiculous, to consider these long abandoned interests of mine (I did start at Queen’s as a history major, after all). But still, it’s inspired to me to commit to a project this year.

While I was at King’s, I was very impressed with the Foundation Year Program there. I honestly wished I had had the opportunity to take it (although I suspect I was far, far too undisciplined and reckless back then at age 19 to handle the workload).

So, here’s the deal: I’m going to take the FYP reading list and read all the texts in chronological order. Everything from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Dante to Fanon – the heart of Western civilization’s intellectual foundations.

So first up is the Epic of Gilgamesh. You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking – this is crazy. Well, I’d love to give this a go and hopefully find all the books in some form online or used.

FACING UP TO THE FUTURE

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One of the hardest things in life is learning how to change. I’m not talking changing your espresso blend at Second Cup or a new Internet Service Provider, but real, difficult, painful change. The kind of stuff that makes you re-evaluate your life, wondering how your decisions all ended you up in the place you’re in now. This kind of change has happened in my life several times, but none is as painful and hard as it is now.

I used to be honestly afraid of putting too much out here on the Web. The truth is that I’m learning, one day at a time now, how to cope with a lot of things I never had to cope with before. I’m trying to discover new sides to myself, evolve in a way that will allow me to be happy again.

One thing that everyone, myself especially, has a hard time with is letting go of the past and learning to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. In this vein, I’m working away at this goal, one day at a time.

Time to stay positive and face up to the future. A better tomorrow, as it were.

GOOGLE SKY

I’ve gotten excited over Google’s product announcements before, but this is extremely cool stuff: Google Sky is now available as a stand-alone browser service just like Google Maps. It’s not the smoothest experience online, but it’s pretty awesome. Here’s a video on the service from Google’s channel on YouTube:

It’s not as if you’re going to travel to galaxy M31 anytime soon, but this is still pretty damn cool. Astronomy fans like me can’t help but absolutely love it.

Much thanks to Techcrunch for the link.

COSMO CELEBRATES MEDIOCRITY… AGAIN!

I don’t have outright loathing for many magazines. Most of time, even the suckiest magazines have some redeeming quality, like Ellen Page or stylized photo sets featuring Eurotrash decked out in fashionable duds you and I will never wear.

Still, I attach a certain vitriol for, *cough*, pubs like InTouch and the godmother of crap, Cosmo. They’re almost laughably stupid, written to pander and infantile women into believing that the best way to appreciate and understand men is to have women write about them. Right, because that’s how Esquire and GQ works… *cough*

Hat-tip goes to Kissing Suzy Kolber about this, but Cosmo released their outright hilariously moronic Fun Fearless Males 2008 issue today online.  I can’t tell if this is a brutal in-joke among Cosmo staffers or actually what they think. It’s borderline tragi-comedy.

The rag says it is celebrating men who “grabbed our attention with their amazing performances and risk-taking choices onstage, onscreen, and on the field.”

Yes, because when we think risk-taking, we think of Dane Cook and John Mayer!

Aside from world-class douche Cook on this list, there’s Captain Bland Mayer and Tony “Chokehold” Romo. As Kissing wisely points out, Jessica Simpson’s slept with all of them. Ick. We all know she’s career poison and can’t act to save her life (see: Blonde Ambition), but man… does Simpson have some kind of magic power over men that turns them dumb and irrelevant? What is it?

And Tom Anderson of MySpace? Please, MySpace was cool in 2005. And Zac Efron? What? I thought he was the runner-up to A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila.

This magazine’s choices are about as “risk-taking” as me running down to the Gap and buying some overpriced cargo pants.

Oh Cosmo. You’ve turned many, many women into superficial, uninformed dolts and instilling the lesson to women that nothing good ever comes out of being yourself.

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Now let’s all have a big bowl of strawberry ice cream!

(hat tip to Sager, KSK and Malibu Stacey for their always-insightful ways…)

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Here’s a collection of some cool graphics that came out today that are worth checking out.

Digg has a link today to the evolution of Nintendo’s prize characters – Mario, Donkey Kong, et al – over the years from their original NES to today’s Wii. It’s actually kind of neat to see this, what with going from eight-bit pixels to sweet, sweet 3D rendering over a period of twenty years.

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Here’s a link to a really cool technique with Adobe Photoshop CS3 – the use of explosions.

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Finally, in a test of my own vanity, here’s a shot of my book collection. I’m really trying out some new settings on my camera and trying to find an excuse here.

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MORE POLITICKING… AND MORE SETH ROGEN

Alright, time to set the record straight about my last post.

I don’t think it’s fair to generalize about Canadian politics and the people who go into it. I don’t think everyone who gets involved is deluded or self-interested to the point of using the whole enterprise as a vehicle for their own personal gain. That’s simply not true.

That being said, I do think that it’s important to go into any political party in Canada, Liberal, Conservative, NDP, what have you, with your eyes wide open and not be naive to the amount of back-biting and dirty tricks that happen in party politics (not just in Canada). This Chuck Cadman issue, even if the tape that has surfaced is legitimate, is still a very nasty move. The man’s dead for God’s sake! What possible benefit will this bring except to make the Tories look bad (and not in a good way for the Liberals – the Grits best hope this doesn’t blow up in their faces).

But all that aside, let’s use a case in point: the Paul Martin era. I think Paul Martin is a good guy. But the lead-up to his victory in the party leadership “race” back in 2003 did an unbelievable amount of damage to Liberal party unity. I witnessed first-hand how the Queen’s Liberals faced this. It was part of the reason I quit the party. To be fair, it wasn’t just him and his leadership team that did some nasty things, but the message became pretty clear – this multi-generational, factional war between Liberals wasn’t worth it to me.

There are good people in politics. But it’s best to never trust a politician of any stripe. And I question whether the antics on Parliament Hill is about preserving democracy or merely an expression of the growing insularity of the parties.

Alright, now that’s out of the way…

Here’s a clip that’s part of the I’m F***cking Matt Damon phenomenon that’s circulating around – it’s definitely NSFW, but man, I love you Seth Rogen.