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Showing posts from October, 2017

See you at home!

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"I'm gonna stop for some groceries," Shelagh said. "See you at home."

We were leaving, she in her little car, me on my bike, after having coffee at Iconoclast by the graveyard this morning.

I got home first. To a locked house. Unless I have to, I don't carry keys anymore. I still can lose keys if I don't actually have them on me, I have proven that. But it is more difficult. I took my phone out of my pocket to text Shelagh and get her ETA. Dead phone.

Locked out of house and phone, what do I do?

For whatever random reason, my first thought was to pedal to Meadowlark Mall and go to Tokyo Express for a double chicken rice bowl, with skin. Why this came to mind I have no idea. Then I saw the orange plastic ball by the stump of weeping birch in the middle of the back lawn. I keep the ball there on purpose. It's a reminder of boyhood. We used those iconic balls to play road hockey and indoor ball hockey and we also used them to play baseball at this tim…

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…

Things 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 had said.

Prior is the Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He is young, like 24, I think, which means I have two neckties, one suit and an old Trek 750 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 …

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…