Thursday, 28 February 2013

Is social media really social?

With all the hype about social media I feel the need to ask the question. How social is social media? What is gained, what is lost and what has changed in the last few years since all this took over?

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I am in an authentic social situation trying to actually engage someone the old fashioned way and I get sidelined by a beeping cell phone. Do I have to explain that actual engagement involves eye contact, face to face conversation and perhaps a good old handshake?

There is an entire generation of people now who actually think staring into a screen and taping their thumbs around is social! Sure it is nice to share pictures and be connected with people all around the world. But how about being connected with the people around you?

I realize that I am turning to a form of social media to write all this. So in defense of blogging I have to say that there is a time and a limit to social media. I don’t want to attempt to quantify this limit; suffice it to say that a mature mind should be able to recognize their personal limit. Be mindful of how much time you spend on Facebook and Twitter and weigh it against how much time you spend really socializing.

Which brings me to my next point. Kids aren’t mature enough and emotionally developed enough to handle social media. Heck most adults aren’t either and that is obvious by the amount of people who insist on texting while driving. But kids are especially vulnerable.

Someone bought my 8-year-old daughter an iPod for Christmas and now she is able to text/vox whomever she pleases. Sounds like a great idea right? I think not. She can’t put that thing down. She has serious panic attacks if she misplaces it or leaves it at home. She drops everything she is doing if that thing beeps. She zones out of family games so she can send texts to grandma. She sneaks it outside and sits alone while other kids are playing. She lays in bed and sends texts and holds on to it waiting for a reply to come back. She hides in the bathroom at the babysitters and sends texts asking for mommy to come and get her.

What am I to do? Should I take the iPod away from her? It is only a few more years until she has her own phone and then what? I could use this opportunity to teach her good habits. I feel overwhelmed.

I will start with myself. From now on I will leave my phone in the car when I go for supper with friends. I will put it down when I am in a group of people I could be talking to. I will NEVER text and drive again! I will lead by example.

Don’t get me wrong. I think G+, Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook are great! I use them all and enjoy making new connections. The world is never going back to the days of smoke signals. Society will have to evolve and adapt and catch up to technology. New norms for politeness will have to form. I embrace all this but I will not forget how to actually be social. My friends and family come first. The people around me get attention before G+ and Twitter. I will get off my ass and be active instead of sitting around being sedentary with my phone in hand.

One last thing; think about how social media is contributing to inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. When I was a kid I had to walk to my friends house and knock on the door to see if they can play. Now my daughter sends a text from the couch.

The other day I saw a mom at the park with her small children. She was laying on the bottom of the slide and all I saw were her hands and her iPhone held in front of her face. She was completely ignoring her kids.

As the owner of City Motion Fitness Studio I encourage everyone to be more active. Make your kids go out and play. Or better yet put your phone away and play with your kids!


BTW here is a shameless plug. If you want to find me I prefer G+ and Twitter but here is Facebook and Foursquare and LinkedIn as well. But I have to say the days of Facebook for me are nearing an end. 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Right! Its Time To Write

I read a lot of books. But I don’t write anything. I filter all that knowledge through my feeble perception and imagination and for what? Well now that I am aware of this I am going to strive to change that. I am going to write more. Starting with the book that I am reading right now. I am going to write down my paltry musings.

‘Grand Pursuit’ by Sylvia Nasar, The story of economic genius; is what I am currently reading. Well sort of. There are at least a dozen books that I have on the go. But I started this book yesterday and have made it through chapter 1. I think I will actually finish this one! It has piqued my interest!

I don’t intend to write a formal essay or a profound critique or anything of the sort. Merely what will follow will be a humble commentary; the content of which, I shall strive to make the summit of all my mindfulness.

The subject of economics interests me and so far my survey of the book has sustained my affection. Naser is well informed and is clearly well read. She starts off by quoting Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens borrowing their impressions of Victorian society to set the tone.

I am taken aback by how bad life was for people in almost all of human history but specifically in London, circa 1850. Naser explains the Victorian view of “God’s condemnation of the mass of humanity to poverty and “painful toil”. She posits that to an “unsophisticated observer” “the means to relieve [the misery and suffering is] at hand … visible in the form of elegant mansions, elaborate gowns, handsome carriages and lavish entertainments”; but that that “letting the poor eat cake for a day or two would hardly solve the problem of producing enough bread”.

I am grateful that I live in a period of human history and in a location when misery and suffering are at all time lows. For all the problems that exist today in the world; never before have we had it so good. I know someone is going retort that all the suffering in Africa negates my claim. Perhaps. But here in Red Deer life is awesome!

"For a dozen centuries, as empires rose and fell and wealth of nations waxed and waned, the earths thin and scattered population had grown by tiny increments. What remained essentially unchanged were man’s material circumstances, circumstances that guaranteed that life would remain miserable for the vast majority. Within two or three generations, the industrial revolution demonstrated that the wealth of a nation could grow by multiples rather than percentages. It challenged the most basic premise of human existence: man’s subservience to nature and its harsh dictates."

The question arises; why? Why have things been getting better for us? Its simple. Technology has changed everything for us. It has enabled civilization to rise from a dark and dismal state. Albeit who am I to argue with Marx and Engles who I am sure would disagree with me. The philosophers of the mid 1800s had other ideas. 

I look forward to reading this book. I recommend it to people who are casually interested in history and philosophy. Read this book if you want to gain an appreciation for how modern economics has arisen.

Also, there are lots of new words to look up and learn. I will start keeping a list of such words. Apparently I have learned none of them so far. Although I know there were a few that I didn’t know; I didn’t note them and can’t find them. By the way; I seriously regret not noting the words in the last book I read; ‘Jerusalem’ by Simon Sebag, also a very good book that I highly recommend. I will not repeat that mistake. I will refuse to read unless I have a pen near so I can underline and write comments in the margins.


Saturday, 16 February 2013

The First NHL Game of my Adult Life!

Hey Everyone,

I recently attended my first NHL hockey game in my adult life. I have only been to one other NHL game and that was when I was way back in 1990 when I went to a flames game with my hockey team.

The game I went to was the Blackhawks at the Wild in Minneapolis Minnesota a few weeks ago. A friend and I decided to make the drive down there pretty much on a whim.
The drive was long and boring but we had lots of good conversations so it wasn’t that bad. We stayed at a hotel across from the Mall of America. In the morning we went shopping. I bought myself a nice pair of shoes, Lucky jeans and a bunch of shirts.

If you ever get a chance to go to the Mall of America it is a neat place to see. There are 3 levels and the whole place circles around an indoor amusement park. It is easy to navigate; unlike the West Edmonton Mall which is just a sprawling maze of confusion.

The top floor is where all the food stores are. We had some hot wings at hooters. Some notable stores are Lego land, Apple and Windows stores adjacent to each other and about 4 lingerie stores! One store notably not present is LuLu Lemon. Is LuLu a Canadian thing? So I got new jeans and Krystal got nothing. He he he.

Across from the Mall of America is the Water Park of America. Which you would think would be this huge grandiose place with 100+ slides. Nope. It was closed or we would have gone for a few hours. They close it during school hours. So we just looked through the window. It is still pretty cool but the water park in Edmonton is way better.

After a few hours of shopping we headed over to St. Paul where the stadium is. We parked and walked over to a pub that was nearby (Patrick McGoverns). The food was nothing noteworthy. I don’t drink so there was really no other reason for me to be there except to drive my friend home afterwards.  

It was around -10C and all the Americans were dressed for a blizzard. I got some strange looks in my light jacket. But I was stylish and that is quite important when you are going to a hockey game.

Originally I was going to cheer for the Blackhawks. My rationale was that they had the cooler name and logo. I still think the Wild is a bland name for a hockey team. I could have done better. ‘Wild’ isn’t even a noun and that is probably my biggest beef with name. I think it’s dumb. For the record I think ‘Oilers’ is also a dumb name. So take that Edmonton!

When we walked into the stadium and I saw everyone wearing Wild jerseys I decided, in a hurry, that I better cheer for the home team! So I went to the gift shop and bought this brown hat. I actually like the hat. It isn’t the proper colors for the team and unless you are a hockey fan I doubt you would even realize it was a hockey hat. It fits me nicely and looks all right.

Turns out that I cheered for the right team. They won the game 3-2 in a shootout. I came away actually liking hockey more. I had lots of fun and now have a budding interest in following the sport. It was fun cheering for Wild goals and booing Blackhawks.

I don’t like the experience of going to the bathroom between periods. I am not much for being in crowds and waiting in long lineups. It is especially bad when I have to hold it in and be patient because there are several hundred other guys doing the same.

I also though about how many bottles and cans get thrown in the garbage at the game! It was upsetting. I should have taken a picture of it. Often there is a recycle bin right beside the garbage and people still throw garbage in the recycle and cans in the garbage! I want to punch those dummies! But that is a future rant/blog!

I wish I could have taken my family. I doubt Krystal would have liked it. In fact she went to a Rebel game a few weeks earlier and said she never wanted to go to a game again. But I know the kids would have enjoyed it.

So now that I follow hockey more and am more informed I have to ask. What do you think of Carlson and Cook and the skate on the ankle incident? The next game between Ottawa and Pittsburg should be interesting if you like fights. My opinion on hockey fights is also another future rant/blog!


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Liebster Award

So I was recently awarded the Liebster Award for having such an awesome blog. Thankyou Becky from for thinking of me. I am amazed that someone actually reads my blog! 

Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:
·       When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
·       Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions.
·       You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!
·       Make sure the blogs you choose have 200 or less followers.
·       Include a link to the person who nominated you & let them know about your post
Made apparent in the rules listed above, this blog award is designed for small blogs with the intention of giving them more exposure, upping their popularity, and assuring the authors that, “Yes indeedy!” someone out there DOES read your blog! I thought it was a fantastic idea!  So, without further ado, here are my contributions to the Liebster Blog Award!
11 Random Facts:

1.    My favorite genre of books is History.
2.    I am a mac user.
3.    I have scuba dived 35m deep.
4.    I once was a garbage man.
5.    I’ve held the Stanley Cup.
6.    I have 7 fake teeth. Broke them after falling off my mountain bike.
7.    I like zombie movies.
8.    My favorite power tool is my farm boy chain saw.
9.    I don’t like using a dishwasher. I prefer washing by hand.
10.I am an avid tea drinker.
11.Sometimes I write Shakespearian Sonnets.

Questions I Was Asked:

1)     What shows are you watching right now?

Anaheim At Dallas, I don’t watch tv but my friend wants to watch the hockey game.

2) What is your guilty pleasure music?

When I run I listen to Aqua. The song, “Candyman” has a really good running beat.

3) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Tortilla wraps made with chicken breast, tomatoes, rice, avocado, cucumber, celery, peppers, tobacco & cheese.

4) What was the first thing you learned to cook?

Scrambled eggs.

5) If you could go anywhere in the world to volunteer, where would you go and what would you do?

I am planning someday to go to Kenya, Zanzibar, Mt. Kilimanjaro and I would like to donate some cash and help build a school for girls. Or somehow make a school better. Educating girls is the solution to many of the worlds problems.

6) What was your first concert?

If Weird Al at Klondike Days doesn’t count then I have never been to a concert.

7) What household chore do you hate doing the most?

Putting laundry away. I always get in trouble because it isn’t folded properly and I don’t know where anything goes.

8) Beer, wine or cocktail?

Beer. But I don’t drink so none of the above.

9) Have you ever been sky diving or bungee jumping?

No. I will go sky diving some day but never bungee jumping; I don’t like the neck snap at the bottom.

10) What is your favorite restaurant?

For fast food it is tied between Jugo Juice and Extreme Pita. For fancier food I’ll have to go with The Ranch House.

11) What would your perfect day consist of?

            Warmpth, energy, friendship, love, sex, excitement and good food. Wining the lottery would be perfect!

Questions I Ask You:

1.     Who is the most famous person you have met?
2.     What is your favorite food to cook yourself?
3.     Where is the farthest place from Red Deer you have been?
4.     If you could go back in time to any place where would you go and when?
5.     What’s the biggest animal you have personally killed?
6.     What’s the weirdest most exotic food you have ever eaten?
7.     What’s the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
8.     What was your favorite subject in school?
9.     What is your favorite breakfast food?
10.   If you were ruler of the world what would be your first act of business?
11.   If you had a genie in a bottle and 3 wishes what would they be?

Who I Am Awarding:

Justin from slv2all.
Dan from ow-a-hand.
Jules from Vivid Intellect.
Carlin from CoffeeWithCarlin.
Lani from LaniLedingham.
Diane from Di-Mentions.