Weekly Musings

Thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days

Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

The last seven days have been ... well, they haven't been trying or plain bad, but those days haven't been the all that great either. A combination of a lot to do and generally feeling blah (yes, that's the medical term) were a double whammy that slowed me down a bit.

That, in turn, resulted in an essay I'm not entirely sure about. I'm not sure if the ideas in it are as well formed as they could or should be, or as I want them to be. But here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

With that out of the way, let's get to this week's essay.

On Going Home Again

You can't go home again.

That's the oft-quoted, and often mis-quoted, title of a novel by Thomas Wolfe. Maybe, though, the idea that some people have mistakenly ascribed to the title of Wolfe's last novel has merit. Home, wherever or whatever it may be, is never as you remember it. It might not be home any longer.

I've been living in New Zealand since 2012. In my first few years there, I took regular trips to the U.S. for various events. I never, though, went back to my native Canada. Until 2017. October. Autumn, when I was used to it being spring. Maybe that was a bit of an omen.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

As promised, this week you get a new, fresh, and I hope thought-provoking essay. If you don't enjoy it, please feel free to complain to the management. Yes, that's me!

With that out of the way, let's get on to this week's essay.

On Traveling In Your Own Country

Travel.

It's a word that packs a multitude of possibilities. It's a word that encapsulates so many dreams. It's a word that stirs the imagination. Travel is something many of us want to do — it's on so many bucket lists for a reason ...

Seriously, though, travel is something many of us try or hope to do. It's not always possible, though, because of time and budget. Yes, traveling can be expensive — especially if you live at the bottom of the world.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

Ever have one of those weeks where you have so many ideas at your fingertips that you have a hard time deciding which one to tackle first? That's been the last seven days for me. It's a great problem to have, to be honest. At least until that choice paralyzes you.

And that's what happened to me this week. I started three different essays, but was unable to finish any of them. So, I dipped into my files and dug up an old essay that I believe still stand up in the few years since I wrote it. I hope you enjoy it. You'll get a fresh essay next week. Promise!

On The Difference Between Movie and Film

British actor Tom Baker, best know for his portrayal of the fourth incarnation of Doctor Who, once told an interviewer that watching a movie starts off as a communal activity. But, Baker added, once the lights go out and the curtain comes up, watching a movie suddenly becomes an intensely personal experience.

I can vouch for that. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, I embraced the personal experience of watching and discovering both movies and film. At 8 p.m. each Saturday night, when my parents were hunkered down watching Hockey Night in Canada in winter or whatever else the rest of the year, my gaze would be fixed on the 13-inch screen of the often-balky colour TV I inherited from my sister.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

This week's musing looks at something that we should all be worried about. Something that's being eroded and clawed away from us. Our privacy.

On Privacy as a Right

Privacy.

It's a word that been on everyone's lips and everyone's minds over the last year. Not just the idea of privacy, but how our privacy has been, and is being, eroded.

The idea of privacy has been nagging me since the early 1990s, when I started using the web. I never expected the situation on that front to get as bad as it has.

What got me thinking about this subject again is something that Steven Ovadia posted to his blog:

[O]ur right to privacy isn’t given to us by companies. We need to proactively grant ourselves the right. That could mean by not engaging with companies that don’t respect our privacy. That could mean by only contracting with companies that respect our privacy. The point is, we can’t count on anyone but ourselves to protect our rights. Facebook won’t save us from Facebook.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

This week's musing looks at something I used to do a lot of. Something that some loudmouths say is dead. Or, at the very least, dying. I disagree.

Let's get going, shall we?

On Blogging

Blogging is dead. It was put into the ground by social media. At least, that's what the pundits will have us believe.

That's one of those narratives that seems to be woven into the fabric of the online world — a new technology comes along and makes an older one rapidly extinct. Except in this case, to quote Jules Winnfield, That s**t ain't the truth.

Blogging is alive. It's well. While we don't hear as much about it as we did, say, eight or 10 years ago, blogging continues to survive. I'd even go so far as to say that blogging continues to thrive.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

Last week, I was out walking with my daughter and she did something she hasn't done in a while: dragged me into a CD store, this one in a local shopping arcade. The half hour or so that we spent browsing sparked the idea for this week's musing, which I hope you enjoy.

On Discovering New Music

When I was a teenager in Toronto back in the early 1980s (yes, I am that old!), a friend and had a particular monthly ritual. The second Saturday of every month, we'd gather up what cash we'd been able to scrape together, meet at the nearest streetcar stop, and hop on the 505 car.

A 20 minute or so ride later and we were at the corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets. A short walk north found us outside 347 Yonge Street: the home of Sam the Record Man.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest recently.

Like many of you, I've entered into something of a new year's rush when it comes to work. So much so that I'm getting a bit worried that I'm going to fall back into some detrimental work habits. Which is the basis for this musing.

On Living Life at 1,000 mph

I mention British writer Warren Ellis quite often. Partly because I enjoy much of what he pens. Partly because many of his ideas about certain subjects mesh with my my own ideas on those subjects.

In a recent post on his blog MORNING, COMPUTER, Ellis discussed how his planned start to 2019 got derailed. By what? By work.

In that post, Ellis noted something that his manager told him:

it’s 1000mph or nothing at all

When I read that, I felt a chill. Not of excitement, but of dread.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest recently.

This musing was sparked by a friend's recent experience on a trip to Japan. In regaling me his tales, he brought back memories of my own sojourn to that country in the early 1990s. It just goes to show you that ideas are everywhere.

Let's get going, shall we?

On the Paper and Japan

A few weeks ago, a friend returned from his long-dreamed-of trip to Japan. For days, he was constantly raving about what many first-time visitors to the Land of the Rising Sun rave about: the crowds, the neon lights, the food, the proliferation of vending machines, the frequency and punctuality of the trains. All of that sort of thing, which I'm sure you've read and heard any number of times.

Yeah, I'm tired of hearing it too ...

He also noticed something else: the proliferation of stationery stores and the number of people using pen and paper. It was that observation that got me thinking about the seeming anachronism of paper and Japan.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest recently.

This musing is related to what you're doing now. You'll understand in a moment ...

Let's get going, shall we?

On Slow Reading

So much to read. So little time in which to read it.

That’s how it feels, doesn’t it? There’s so much writing out there pulling at our limited attention from so many directions. Books, articles, long-form essays, blog posts. Consciously or not, we often skim through all that material. Consciously or not, we don’t engage as deeply as we should or need to with what we’re reading.

Maybe it’s time to consider the connection we have, or should have, with what we’re reading.

Maybe it’s time to slow down.

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Welcome to the first edition of Weekly Musings, where I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest recently. The idea behind this space is to create something that's like a blog, but more influenced by the late Harlan Ellison's An Edge in My Voice essays.

If you haven't figured it out already, this is the mirror of my email newsletter, but without the some of the extras that subscribers occasionally receive. And if you want to read these essays before they hit the web, please consider subscribing.

I hope you enjoy what you read here.

Let's get going, shall we?

On New (Old) Ways of Communicating

Social media is dead to me.

It's not just that social media is a cesspool. It's not just because many of the major platforms are privacy and misinformation nightmares. Those are problems, and two that I don't want have to deal with.

Equally as important was that I wasn't as engaged as I once was (if I ever really was engaged) with social media. I wasn't getting much, if anything, out of it.

So, in December 2018 it was bye-bye Twitter. Now, I only have an account with Mastodon, but I don't interact with it much. I'm not sure if I'll keep it.

When I told a few people that I was planning to dump social media, a few asked me (in all seriousness) How are you going to stay informed? and How will you keep in touch with people?

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