Archive for September, 2007

Q1

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

In both the business world and in government, recent years have seen an increased emphasis on accountability. Part of that emphasis includes the setting of goals and objectives, the development of work plans, and quarterly assessment of actual progress vs. targets.

Considering that I’ve now been blogging for slightly more than a quarter of a year, I believe that it’s time for an assessment of the 1st quarter (Q1) performance of Philgrim’s Blogress.

Goals:

#1: … Well, I guess I never really stated a goal. I just found a website hosting service (HostPapa), registered a domain (philloseth.ca), installed the blogging software (WordPress), and jumped in.

Results:

  • 51 posts (not counting this one) since kicking off on 2007-06-22;
  • 61 comments (several of them by me in response to other people’s comments);
  • 133 spam comments caught by the Akismet Spam Filter, and several more slipped through and removed by me;
  • Webalizer Usage Statistics show the number of “visits” increasing from a daily average of 3 in June (159 “hits”/day) to 91 in September (575 “hits”/day);
  • Times I’ve asked myself, “what have I gotten into?” – Too many to count;
  • Times the above question has been answered – Zero;
  • Biggest mystery – How many of the 91 visits per day are real people, and how many are robots?;
  • Second biggest mystery – If real people are reading my blog, what do they think of it, and why do only a couple of people comment?; and
  • High point – A private email from a co-worker who stumbled across Philgrim’s Blogress. I’m still feeling good about her sincere compliment.

Looking ahead to Q2, I am setting some goals that I believe are realistic and attainable while still stretching me:

  • Aim for at least 20 posts per month;
  • Do something about the bland physical aesthetics of the site (I’m still using the default template since installation);
  • Express my opinion about some “unsafe” issues;
  • Don’t get discouraged when my posts generate zero comments; and
  • Let people know that they are welcome to express other views (politely).

Bug Zappers and Boxcar Willie with a Ginzu Knife

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

This summer while on vacation at Pigeon Lake, I had my first hands-on experience with an electronic bug zapper. Not those things that sit in your back yard and attract insects by using light, but a plastic tennis racket-like gadget that gave a satisfying zap to any wasp or fly that contacted the metal grid.

It was so much fun that I just needed to buy one for myself, so upon returning to P.A. I checked at least three or four stores, to no avail.

Then I tried a Google search, and found lots of references to Bug Zappers. Among the hits was a list of “The top ten stupidest as seen on TV Products“. Reading through the list made me realize how little I watch TV, because I don’t remember seeing any of the commercials.

However it did make me think of Steve Goodman’s song Vegematic:

Fell asleep last night with the TV on
Oh what a dream I had
I dreamed I answered every single one
of those late night mail order ads
And four to six weeks later
Much to my surprise
The mailman came to my front door
And I couldn’t believe my eyes
When he brought the Vegematic
And the Pocket Fisherman too
Illuminated illustrated history of life
And Boxcar Willie with a Ginzu knife
A bamboo steamer
And a Garden Weasel too
And a tie-dyed dayglow souvenir shirt
From Six Flags Over Burbank

… etc.

I’m afraid it betrays my age, but I must admit that I remember more of the TV ads in that 1970s song than the ones mentioned in the top 10 list above.

And I don’t think a wonderful product like the Bug Zapper belongs on the list.

(By the way, I eventually bought a Bug Zapper on Ebay)

Pants are optional

Monday, September 24th, 2007

While leafing through the latest issue of Outdoor Edge magazine, this headline caught my eye…

Notice To All 2007 Big Game Hunters!

PANTS ARE NOW OPTIONAL!!

In response to resolutions from the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, the dress code regulations for the 2007 big game rifle season have been changed from requiring a complete outer suit of scarlet, bright yellow, blaze orange, or white, to only needing these colors from the waist up. The 2007 Hunting & Trapping Guide was printed in advance of the regulation change and therefore lists the requirements incorrectly.

Being the kind of guy who wears both a belt and suspenders, I moseyed over to the Saskatchewan Environment – Fish & Wildlife website, and confirmed the news.

I’m as safety conscious as the next guy, but I’ve always thought Saskatchewan’s requirement of head-to-toe high-visibility colours was a bit extreme. This revision to the dress code is a far cry from Alberta’s lack of any safety colour requirement, but I think it strikes a reasonable balance between the nanny state and complete laissez-faire.

She’s gone

Monday, September 24th, 2007

As I write this post between getting kids ready for school and getting myself ready for the office, Janet’s plane should be disembarking at Gatwick Airport, London.  Now she’ll need to get herself through Customs (easier with her British passport than for a Canadian like me),  and hurry to another terminal where she’ll catch a flight to the south coast of Cornwall, and then still another flight for the jump across to the Isles of Scilly.

She was already tired when we spoke last night, after a full day of visiting friends & family in Winnipeg, and not looking forward to her midnight flight.

Prayers for a safe day, good health, and a great three weeks with her parents, siblings, nephews and nieces, and sundry others that she hasn’t seen in a decade.

UPDATE: Received an email from Janet, who is at her sister’s place in south Cornwall.  The flight across to St. Mary’s will be tomorrow (not today).  My error.

Post-Post-Postmodernism

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

If Modernism was followed by Postmodernism, which in turn has been followed by Post-Postmodernism, will it in turn be followed by Post-Post-Postmodernism?

(Something never changes)

Excellent thoughts

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 (New Living Translation)

Charlotte on the Churchill River

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Charlotte and her classmates from “Outdoor School” departed yesterday for their 8-day canoe trip on the Churchill River. She’ll be back a week from tonight.

She has her polypropylene underwear, fleece jacket, and rain gear, but September can be a cold time to be playing on the water in northern Saskatchewan. If you are a person of faith, please pray for clear weather and that her canoe won’t tip/swamp/get wrapped around a rock.

18 years old

Monday, September 17th, 2007

It was 18 years ago that our eldest child appeared.

Luke's 18th birthday

I’ll refrain from posting a naked baby picture of Luke from 18 years ago.

Flattened fauna

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Today while out walking I saw two dead muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), victims of P.A.’s vehicular traffic. That makes four of the water-loving rodents that I’ve seen on city streets this this summer. In 19 years of living in Prince Albert, I don’t recall seeing a muskrat within city limits until this year. What would make the muskrats leave their natural habitat to go wandering the mean streets? From my rudimentary knowledge of the species, I would expect them to be on the move when their sloughs dry up. However we’ve had an unusually wet year locally, and the sloughs are at or above normal levelsl, so I doubt that’s the reason. Maybe the population is just unusually high this year and some members are being driven out of their communities? I suspect the fact that trapping is out of favour (and fur prices are low), combined with lack of natural predators, may have something to do with it. On the other hand, maybe there have been as many in previous years and I just haven’t noticed.

So many questions, and of such importance.

The above is a sample of the thoughts meandering through my mind on today’s walk. And what a glorious day for a walk it was, after all those cold, wet weeks..

It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t see any living wildlife.

Posting 2007-09-13

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

This is my plug for use of the International Date Format ISO 8601 when presenting dates in numeric-only format.

YYYY-MM-DD

No it’s not just a matter of personal preference, similar to preferring Folk/Roots vs. Screamo music or the colour blue vs. red. The reason I like the International Date Format is because, unlike the American date format MM-DD-YYYY (or MM-DD-YY), or the European format DD-MM-YYYY (or DD-MM-YY), which at least is hierarchical, the International Date Format is unambiguous.

And we should avoid ambiguity because it just makes the terrorists madder.