General Talk

Staying Active

If I’m not careful, my daily activity can easily fall into the pattern of waking up in the morning, becoming focused on the days tasks, and before I realize, it is 5 PM and I have hardly moved away from the computer screen all day.

Last summer I started using a stand up desk which has reduced my anxiety of that uncomfortable feeling from sitting all day. That slight movement that occurs while standing can feel so much better at the end of a long day at the computer. But it is still not enough.

I believe the theory of 10,000 daily steps required to be healthy is more motivation than scientific but what exactly is 10,000 steps? It sounds like a really big number.

About a week ago, I purchased a Fitbit to track movement. The device loosely measures daily steps, stairs climbed and overall distance. Not only does it record and report my shameful daily activity, but it also reports these numbers to my friends, coworkers and clients. A competition that I’m losing. Measuring activity and seeing real numbers is scary but I have learned that 10,000 steps is actually not very many. It’s roughly 7.5 kilometres but that can still be a surprisingly hard goal to achieve — depending on your daily routines — and my daily routine is far from that of a letter carrier.

But the dog’s walking schedule is increasing and I’m sure the grass will be cut much more frequently this summer. As I write this, it has me thinking about the days when I collected shopping carts across a parking lot for 7 hour shifts — every day of the week. What were those numbers like?

Staying physically active within a career focused around screen time is challenging but landscape and nature photography is a big part of my solution. It creates a nice compliment to staying artistic but also away from a desk. It keeps me outside, moving, and exploring. Although I admit — cold winter mornings makes it a bit harder.

PEI Winter Beach

Today’s Image – Winter on the Beach

A small half day snowshoe expedition along the north coastline of PEI was an easy way to reach 10,000 steps.

The Gift of Art

Several months ago, I received an email asking kindly if I would participate in “The U.S./Canada Project”. The concept was simple. Massachusetts artist Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord wanted to send a copy of her new book to each of the 50 States and 10 Provinces. I was selected via Google and asked to be the PEI recipient.

A little while later, and I received Art Lessons – Reflections From An Artist’s Life in the mail. A small 30-page pocket sized self-published book.

Being an artist is not about fame or fortune, where you show or how much you sell. Being an artist is a full-time life, not just a full-time job or a career. - Art Lessons

My assigned tasks were also simple:

  1. You are sent a copy of Art Lessons.
  2. You log onto BookCrossing and note that you have it.
  3. You read it, if you want.
  4. You release it, either controlled—give/send it to someone—or wild—leave it in a public place.

Every time I moved out of the self-imposed lines I was honouring, it took bursts of both determination and desperation. Every transition grew out of months filled with tears. Each time I needed to stop making rules for myself and dig down to the next layer of making art—to take what I knew and step into the unknown. Our work is what leads us in new directions. We need to let it be our guide and have the belief and the confidence to follow it.

And now it’s time for me to release it. Who would be interested and preferably local to PEI?

Is Subscribing by RSS Dead?

If actions speak louder than words, the concept of subscribing to your favourite websites by RSS would appear to be spiraling down a dead end path. A long list of companies abandoning the technology that could be headlined by Apple discontinuing support for RSS in it’s mail client and a few months later, Google announcing the closure of Reader. With two major companies dropping support, what are users to do with all those little orange icons we see on most websites?

How do you subscribe to your favourite websites?

Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, etc, etc can all be fun, but I really do not want to depend on social networks for content subscribing. I also do not want to bookmark and visit sites daily looking for possible updates.

Email subscriptions would seem like the obvious choice (we check that daily anyway) but unfortunately, not all websites offer email subscription support.

But they could using a third party service and maybe Blogtrottr is the strong contender to fill this replacement need. With a basic account, you provide all the websites you’re interested in, and Blogtrottr will email you when new content becomes available (or on a schedule of your choosing). With the combination of email filters, this service has the potential to be great for all those lost and left out in the cold by Google. I’m still kicking the tires but will let you know how it goes. So far, so good.

Abraham Lake Bubbles

Today’s Image – Ice Space Bubbles

To infinity and beyond… plus all those other deep space references. The common images coming from Abraham Lake deep in the Canadian Rockies along the North Saskatchewan River are bubbles caused by methane frozen in a crystal clear man-made lake. The prime time is January and February but as spring draws near, and the ice begins to melt and refreeze, the ice will crystallize and crack. If not covered in snow, the effect can be equally interesting.

Time-Lapse Photography as Wall Art?

Daydreaming.

I was recently watching an incredible time-lapse film but while admiring how perfect it may be – the film still struggled to keep my attention. How can something so beautifully done lose my interest so quickly? Perhaps it’s related to my lack of interest for video slideshows. In a slideshow, some images will surely be amazing and you’ll want to spend more time with them. Others will be less interesting that you wish to skip over. The problem I have with slideshows is that all images are weighted the same and the editor decides how quickly you should view them. With this variety, you may not willing to move forward to the next image presented in front of you because your mind is still focused on trying to process that image 4 slides ago.

But the imagery in this film spaning over multiple season got me thinking. With the advancements of digital picture frames, how cool would it be to have a single time-lapse image hanging on the wall that would simulate a full year of a single well composed scene?

Consider a 365-day time-lapse image that is shortened into playing over a 7 day loop. It would be fast enough for the constant movement of weather but for every day on the wall, the image would play 52 days worth of activity equalling a sunset every 27 minutes. This image in your living room would display a new season 4 times a week giving you a winter image every Monday and summer every Thursday.