Thursday, October 27, 2005

complimentary code

A funny thing happened at work today. One of our web programmers called me over to his desk claiming he had something I should see. He had written a script that afternoon and after he ran it, it returned an interesting result. I got over to his computer, he ran the script and one line of code resulted:


HAHAHahahahahahaha. If you dig deep enough there is a little logic behind the unusual return.

Several years ago I was asked to write an article about the perception of beauty. "In Search of a Beautiful Woman" was published on one of our sites and later translated into French. The French translator, a friend of mine, renamed the translated version of the file as claireisbeautiful.html as a joke. I had forgotten about that until the filename showed up in the script today.

Who knew that code could be so complimentary?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

needful things (how using the internet changes the internet)

On Friday Mandy was showing me the new Magic 8 ball-inspired Google game. Type your name and needs into Google to see what the internet has to say about you. Of course I had to take a shot at it.

According to Google "Claire needs":

Claire Needs a Visit to the Bunny Planet
Claire needs her own forum.
Claire needs to be inspired.
Claire needs a wider circle of friends.
Claire needs some cops on horses.
Claire needs to hire a part time admin worker.
Claire needs a dual personality as the theater's founder and director.
Claire needs to be somewhere else.
Claire needs to shear all her sheep in a matter of days.

What I find intriguing however is how many other people named Claire have already done this search and are thereby totally messing up MY Claire needs results. I had to go several pages into Google to get results that weren't merely lists belonging to other Claires. (I'm sure the other Claires are lovely, I'd just rather make a list of my own.)

Which begs the question though, will there come a time when the game can no longer be played because the lists already made have taken up all the space for the results needed to make lists? We do change the internet every time we use it (every time you view a page you alter the stats for the page, which in turn eventually will alter the search ranking etc etc.) I wonder if we'll ever manage to use up the internet? Will there ever be so many reports of answers that the answers themselves will become totally obscured?

dreaming the dawn

There has been a lot of talk in my world lately about dreams. Several friends are taking steps towards dreams of books and babies from far off places, dreams of a workday that looks completely different. Interesting times. I took a step toward a smaller dream today.

Ever since I moved to White Rock, four years ago now, I have dreamt of going down to watch the dawn come up over the water. I couldn't remember the last dawn that I saw with my own eyes. This morning I finally did it.

It's the perfect time of year to stalk the dawn. Daylight savings time starts next week so this week is the latest you can get up and still see the show. I set my alarm (sacriledge on a Saturday morning, but sacrifices must be made for dreams). I packed a peanut butter sandwich and a travel mug of tea and headed out just as the sky was starting to turn indigo.

I found an east-facing bench out on the pier and just sat and waited. It surprised me to see how many people are actually out at that hour. One man walking down the pier stopped and asked "Just waiting for that sun?" That's exactly what I was doing.

Dawn comes quicker than I remember. The horizon turns red and pink, orange and a yellow that somehow turns blue without turning green. It's light long before the sun is truly up. It was so peaceful out there just waiting. I was so peaceful.

To the west of the dawn the whole world is pink. The sea and the sky, even the trees are edged in it -- a cotton candy dream of the day to come. I sat there until the sun hit the top of Mount Baker and set it glowing. Then the world was fully awake, and then, so was I.

Monday, October 17, 2005

all you know

"light a fire burn up all you know"

The has been a change in the wind the past few weeks, a not unpleasant restlessness. I've been listening to a CD Ceone leant to me and several lines have been running through my head. The line above comes from Peter Mulvey's Shirt. I guess you could say that I've been asking questions.

I'm in the middle of reading Steven Levitt's Freakonomics and I am intrigued. In the intro to the book he says something along the lines of "all you really need to do is ask a good question and then answer it." Indeed. In the book he asks the reader to take a closer look at what we think we know about certain situations -- falling crime rates, the wages of your average crack dealer -- and see if the numbers back up the claim.

He quotes economist John Kenneth Galbraith who, apparently, was the first to coin the term "conventional wisdom". Galbraith defines conventional wisdom as 'that which is most easily understood and contributes to self esteem.' I was thinking about this as I read Gerry McGovern's New Thinking newsletter for this week. Gerry is arguably one of the leading experts in the strategic use of online content. In his newsletter this week he was talking about the problem of too much information. He drew an example of the FUD occurring in the news surrounding hurricane Katrina:

Hurricane Katrina exposed a serious and ongoing problem with misinformation. It was widely reported that more than 10,000 were dead, when the actual figure was a little over 1,000. It was estimated that it would take three months to drain the city. Within six weeks, it was largely dry.

He went on to say that "Human beings are much better at dealing with scarcity than with glut. This is particularly true when it comes to information." In this age of information what you don't say can be every bit as important as what you do say.

My Dad is fond of reminding me not to take information at face value. There's certainly a time and a place for that but I think it's interesting that we are as a group an interesting of cynical true believers. For an independent, free thinking, post modern society we are surprisingly quick to believe without question that which we have not seen with our own eyes, or reasoned through with our own logic.

I don't know that lighting a fire to every I know is the way to go, maybe for now I just need to keep asking questions.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

chocolate nirvana

I have a new favourite chocolaterie. Today at the Westcoast Chocolate Festival I had opportunity to sample ChocolaTas. I think I might be ruined for life. Maitre Chocolatier Wim Tas started his business "looking for something that was more than 'good', something excellent". I think it's fair to say that he has succeeded.

The chocolates are infused with everything you can imagine and a few things you might not have thought of yet -- lavender, rooibos tea, pepper. Sampling them was more like a wine tasting than anything else. "Take a small bite" Tim suggested "and then take a moment to smell the chocolate." I did, and the man knows what he's talking about. The chocolates are works of art. When I purchased a box I was asked if I have a wine cellar as it is better suited to proper storage than a fridge (which is apparently too cold.) Somehow I doubt I that storage is going to be a problem :)

These are undoubtedly top drawer confections, but surprisingly they work out to about the same price as Purdy's. Check out the site and treat yourself. Believe me, it's worth it. Chocolate nirvana is just a mouthful away.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I love Autumn. I love the way it looks, I love the way it smells. I love the colours and the leaves and the fact that I have an excuse to light the fire in the fireplace. There's something about this time of year. It's as if the world takes a deep breathe and settles in. There will be winter to get through, but not quite yet. Now is the time to gather, to get comfortable and settle in. It's time to put the kettle on.
A couple of years ago I started decorating the mantel in the livingroom for Fall. I saw this thing on Martha Stewart once where she strung fall leaves on a string to make a garland and I had to try it. It's the one Martha thing I do. There's something incredible about the colours of those leaves and the way they dry curled as if still in flight. Add a few gourds and some corn and it's all set. All set for Thanksgiving. It's been up for a few weeks already and it's a good reminder. It reminds be of bounty and my life is bountiful.
This week-end there will be a houseful of people eating turkey and pie and I am thankful that there will be more guests than I have chairs. I am thankful that no one minds pinicing on the floor. I am thankful for the laughter and for these people who have chosen to hold me in their hearts. I am thankful that although they are not my blood family, there are still *my* family and that is an incredible gift.

I am thankful for health and I am thankful that God promises hope to those whose health has been taken away. I am thankful for the things I forget to count sometimes -- for food in the cupboards in the kitchen, for a car that starts faithfully, for shoes without holes and a warm coat when I need one. I am thankful that my family is safe, and extra thankful that my family has increased by two this year. I am thankful that the God of the universe who could do whatever He needs to without me chooses to invite me along anyway because He enjoys my company. I am thankful for grace even though I can't fully understand it. I am thankful, consciously, actively, every day.