Here are some ideas for what to get me for Christmas, for my birthday — if you can remember what it is, because I probably didn't tell you — or for any other reason.
Leading up to Mother's Day, 2011, I had a couple small seizures, but no one noticed or witnessed them, so I didn't really realize what was happening. On Mother's Day, I was helping make brunch for my mom (of course), and had another seizure. This time, people noticed. I went on to have all sorts of tests to see what was triggering them.
Once, in round-table discussion with several people from various walks of life, we were discussing some large problem with society. (I don't remember which, but it's not important.) Knowing that, in that circle of friends, I tend to not have very popular views, I was quiet and just observed the discussion. After each person had shared their points of view, which were all similar and did not have a good chance of success, I was asked what my opinion was. I said, "Maybe what we need is some sort of end-of-world scenario, like a full-scale local war, major natural disaster, or some type of apocalyptic event. Then society could rebuild itself, learn from the mistakes of the past, and prevent them from happening."
…that's not in person, is email. Here's why:
Email isn't based on a central system. If Facebook was to go down, or get hacked, no one using Facebook's messages as their main way to communicate could talk. Sure, Microsoft and Google (combined) run more than half of the active individual accounts (citation needed), but they don't have to be functional for one person to send a message to another.
Last Sunday, the season finale of the new TV series UnREAL aired. As a dark comedy written as a behind-the-scenes look at the sculpted realities of a fictional "reality" show similar to The Bachelor, it is a worthy watch on many levels and for many audiences.
Here's three types of person that should watch UnREAL:
Growing up, my dad (a born-and-raised Dutchman) said that the main cause of car accidents was the fact that people get distracted, and that the roads are too boring. To build on that, one of my cousins from the Netherlands came to Alberta last year, and drove a few thousand kilometres while here. At the end of his trip, he said, "The roads here are so straight and uninteresting, I nearly had to check my phone to keep things interesting!"
Mr. Robot looks like it could be a great show. Episode 1 introduced the main character, Elliot, a socially-isolated nerd who struggles with how society is controlled by corporations. One of the cool things about Elliot's character is that he's not socially isolated because he's a nerd, rather, it's because he prefers that — or at least it seems that way. The videography does a good job of showing enough of computer screens for one to see that it's legitimate, current technology, and so that people who actually understand what's going on know that it's accurate information and not just made up.
Every couple months, the topic of the "Welcome to Edmonton" signs comes up. Do we need one? I don't mind the old ones. This time, CBC asked if anyone had suggestions for a new sign design, so we came up with one at work.
The idea is to portray the strength of character and resilience of the kinds of people who live in a city situated so far North (with a little pop culture humour thrown in). The sign would be made out of concrete to depict the sturdiness of our city and our people. The sloping top is meant to convey the river valley which is one of our main attractions with several key landmarks depicted on top (from left to right: Muttart, Legislature, Hotel MacDonald, Manulife, and Enbridge Tower). The glass swoop is meant to emanate the river itself.
One of the nice things about cars from the last five years is that they keep track of fuel usage and time that the engine runs, and they let the user easily access the information. Based on my last two months of driving, I've driven at an average of 64 km/h, which surprises me. I thought that the amount of idling to warm the car would have brought this down somewhat.