New Links and Big Changes for 2008

I’ve been doing some blog juggling recently. I am slowly moving everything off of the WordPress.com platform and onto my own server. I am still using WordPress software, but I am free to tinker with extras and plugins, and design if I wish.

I have also decided to separate some of the things that I do, instead of aggregate. JasonTheodor.com will be my place for online rambling, thoughts, experiments, announcements, and information about me.

The work on my book, my workshops, lectures, and the like will eventually be moved to ThereIsNoBox.ca.

The LifeFocus™ System will come to life on it’s own website sometime in the new year.

1percent.wordpress.com, my communal link blog, has been moved to 1over100.com (1/100).

Just thought you should know.

Socialstream of Consciousness

If you’re like me, you use too many social networking sites and applications. At the moment I’m using Facebook, Flickr, Delicious, Netvibes, Spock, LinkedIn, Digg, Plaxo, Twitter, Jaiku (which dondy describes as “thinking outloud”), Pownce, Mashable, Ning and probably a few others that I can’t even remember [update: VIRB*, my.9rules]. All this status maintenance and friend tracking is hard work. Enter a Google backed experiment in the Master’s program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute called Socialstream. It can’t be released too soon.

The Angel Who Hunted Rabbits

Oma and Me

My Oma died today. She was 84. I told my five year old daughter that Oma had ‘let go’, because she wanted to be with Opa, her husband. M was saddened by this, asking why Oma would pick Opa over her. I explained we would be going to a funeral, where we would celebrate her life. There would be a lot of people there to remember her and tell stories about her. Like how she used to hide bags of candy around the house for her Grandchildren at Easter time. M looked perplexed. “Is that because the Easter Bunny couldn’t make it to Winnipeg?” she asked. “Probably,” I hedged. I think we covered enough reality for one day.

Excerpt from The Mythography of J, a chapbook of short autobiographical stories:

J’s family travelled to Winnipeg every four weeks or so to stay with their Oma and Opa. During the 2 hour drive J and K anticipated the luxury of colour cable television on Saturday mornings. They always rose at six o’clock to get their quota of cartoons for the month: Rocket Robin Hood, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo… the list was endless. By noon they were hyper and crash-testing the furniture.

When the cartoons were over, J liked to play with Oma’s bucket of cars. She had an old white honey pail filled with large painted metal cars, medium coloured plastic cars, and small dinky Hot Wheels! J’s favourite was the retro-futuristic Batmobile. As you pushed it along, an orange flame would poke in and out of the exhaust. It could also shoot small plastic missiles, but they were all lost long before J was born. One day, while Oma was sitting on the couch knitting a wool jacket for one of her many grandchildren, J was in the midst of crashing cars into a wooden block pyramid. One of the larger cars careened into Oma’s leg, but she did not look up. She was still knitting intently. To test her, J bumped the car lightly into the heel of her shoe. Still no reaction. Eventually J asked her what was wrong with her leg. “It is false,” she said, and proceeded to tell him a true story.

- – – – -

Many, many years ago, when she was eighteen, her family lived in Russia. They were not very wealthy, so Oma worked in a town nearby to make extra money for the family. One winter as Christ’s birthday drew near, she let her family know that she had much to do and might not make it home until Christmas Day. She worked very hard and by Christmas Eve she had finished early. She hitched a ride on a horse-drawn cart heading towards her home, but the driver stopped to let her out a few miles before her village. From there he was heading in a different direction, he told her. She thanked him for the ride and began trudging through the rolling white mounds. She could very faintly make out the church steeple of her town if she squinted her eyes.

Then it began to snow — just a few soft heavy crystals at first, but then more and more until the sky was a swirling mass of white. The wind picked up and bit her with frost, churning the flakes into a flurry of blindness. Oma lost sight of the steeple. She lost site of her own hands. She walked in useless circles as it grew dark, listening to the dogs bark in the village but unable to find them. As she continuted to stumble through the storm she began to think of her family. They did not know she was coming so soon. They would not be looking for her. They would be happy and warm, sitting around the fire laughing and telling stories. After hours of desperate searching, Oma began to feel sleepy and warm. She lay down in the snow and drifted off.

Very, very early on Christmas morn, just after the storm had settled into a soft blanket of calm white, a Russian villager went out rabbit hunting. As he ventured further and further from the sleepy houses, he came upon a young woman lying stiff and half-buried in the snow. She was still alive.

The villager carried her to the hospital, where she was revived. She had suffered severe frostbite and the doctor eventually removed her right leg just below the knee, along with the toes and heel of her left. All that time she thanked God for sparing her life. But she couldn’t help wondering why any man would go hunting for rabbits on Christmas Day.
- – – – -

“Can you take it off?” J asked earnestly.
“Yes,” Oma replied, bemused. “But I’m not going to do it now.”
J returned to his cars slightly disappointed but took great care not to crash into her feet a second time.

Rest in peace, Oma.

Around the Globe and Mail in 80 Words (or less)

A few words of mine were published in Canada’s premier national newspaper today: The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business section. Thanks to Keith McArthur, marketing reporter of The Hard Sell (a weekly ad review and blog) for soliciting my 2¢.

Baz Takes The Cake

Dayna, over at Flickerbug, just posted a hilarious video of our son sneaking chocolate icing off of a fresh cake. He couldn’t quite reach it, so he came up with his own clever way to get his fix. I know these are my own kids, but damn if I don’t laugh every time I watch it.

Poor Waifs: Sponsor These Children Today

We’re in the throws of an extensive kitchen renovation, which my Dad his helping out with. Well, actually my Dad is pretty much doing the whole thing. And we’re paying him, so don’t get your knickers in a knot. A few days ago he sent me an email entitled, “Poor Waifs: Sponsor These Children Today”. I thought perhaps he had actually sponsored a family for New Years, and was letting me know how I could help out. Or more likely, this was spam. I checked the file, and immediately burst out laughing. Dad (also known as Bappa to the kids) had taken a hilarious picture of Mad and Baz, comforting each other, Mad sheltering him from the harsh realities of renovating during the holidays. I felt compelled to create a spoof sponsorship poster to use as wallpaper on my computer, and, after the laughter died down, I felt a bit guilty. If anyone wishes to find out more about helping real children in need, you can at Unicef’s official website (not Unecif’s). If anyone is insane and would rather help us with our renovations, they can make a donation to the Baz Maddy Fund here.

Actionable Happiness & Productivity: My 2007 New Year’s Resolution(s)

This year I intend to take “Happy New Year” literally. I wish this to be my happiest year on record. This isn’t a vague promise and I have specific actionable steps to achieve it. Self analysis has shown that I am happiest when I am creating “Wonderful Objects”. I also stay uplifted when I stick to a healthy routine. For this reason I have created Mundane LifeFocus™ Cards, using the patent-pending method of Routinizational-Imprinting™.

Cards are printed in accordion batches of 7, so that an entire week can be folded and placed in a wallet or Moleskine™. In my time-off during the X-mas season I wrote down a few things I wanted to habitualize. They fell into three basic categories: hygene, health, and fitness. I am no longer in my twenties, so I need to take care of myself better. This should give me more energy to create wonderful objects. Amount of sleep is recorded as well.

I will track my enjoyment of the new year with the Happinessness™ rating: 1=Wost Day Ever, 2=Bad Day, 3=Mundane Day, 4=Good Day, 5=Best Day Ever. Hopefully 2007 will net out in the 4.something range.

Here is a sample of today’s card:
Mundane LifeFocus™ Card 070101

I have included my blogging Editorial Calendar, an idea borrowed from Andy Wibbels, to keep me focused. I can write down ideas as they come to me. I have a few other things I want to remember to do weekly, like spending time with Dayna, cataloging my Moleskine™ notes, and researching investment possibilities.

I will by tracking my progress with the Mundane LifeFocus™ Card System throughout the happy new year.

UPDATE 1: Special thanks to neatorama for linking to this post. The Mundane LifeFocus™ Cards project will be an ongoing experiment and discussion on this blog will continue. As I mentioned on planet pooks, I will make it available as an editable PDF soon, and probably add an excel doc for recording and presenting the statistics over time (because I’m a bit crazy about numbers). The part that needs more explanation (and is also coming) is implementation, maintenance, and of course, how to come up with the right things to put on your list…

UPDATE 2: A new section has been added to this site to work on the Mundane LifeFocus™ Card System, including explanations of use and downloadable pdfs. Go check it out, and please make comments or suggestions.

Blog Tag: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Me And Didn’t Even Ask

Vanessa of Fridgebuzz blog-tagged me, which means (according to Jeff Pulver) I must reveal 5 things most people don’t know about me. Here goes:

1) I published an original short story by Carol Shields in a Chapbook called Dropout. It was a compilation of writings from a University of Manitoba creative writing course, and self-published by Rhinocerotic Press on my Mac Classic in 1993. I should really scan the book and add it to my Flickr account.

2. A) I love putting together IKEA furniture. No, seriously. I would consider a full-time job assembling this stuff if there was any money in it. I enjoy finding the anomalies, the mistakes in the instructions. Basically I enjoy assembling prefab anything: from garages to Lego sets.

Basic Dungeons and Dragons box set2. B) The same part of my brain that loves instructions also loves reading complicated rules: Shogun, Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon, Carcassonne, and others. I have about 20 different RPGs, and have read the rules for each of them. I don’t actually play these games, just collect and read them. Each game gives me a specific and tangible feeling or emotion, like a signature. GURPS, MERPS, Palladium, TMNT, D&D, AD&D, Car Wars, Mechanoids, Vampire: The Masquerade, etc.

3) I have been writing a novel for over 10 years, and getting nowhere. I love the title and the characters, but the act of writing is sheer torture. It started out as a stream of consciousness exercise when I was in high-school. At first many of the characters were shallow because I didn’t have the life-experience or perspective to pull them off. As I get older, I think about them often, and wonder if they will emerge soon or continue to haunt me. Stay tuned.

4) I’ve had 2 or 3 lucid dreams and one out of body experience. I have probably read every book published about OOBEs, lucid dreaming, and sleeping disorders. I wanted to study neurology and psychology after high-school to research why humans dream. Instead I went into Arts.

5) I have many names. My birth name is Jason Theodor Wiebe. I dropped my last name in high-school art class, and started signing my work Jason Theodor. I got married in my 20s, took my ex-wife’s name, and called myself Jason Kelly for a few years. I thought it sounded more “Hollywood”. When I was a kid, I created a billionaire super-hero alter-ego named Jason Stryke. So I’ve been AKA Jason Wiebe, Jason Stryke, Jason Kelly, and Jason Theodor. I’ll be sticking with the latter— for now.

I tag Jeff Cressman, Dayna McIsaac, Carol Wiebe, Dave Stubbs, and Collin Douma. You’re it— spread the unknown info.

Jason Theodor [Pretends] To Sue Google For $1B For Blatant Copyright Infringement

Google in a Box
I made this weird little puffball creature with the ‘googly’ eyes when I was about 8 years old. I wrote his name in pencil on a small scrap of newspaper and placed it inside his house: a plastic box covered in red-and-green wool. Since I can now prove prior use, does this mean I can send a cease and desist letter to Google?

Dear Google:

It has come to my attention that you have made an unauthorized use of my copyrighted work entitled Google (the “Work”) in the preparation of a work derived therefrom. I have reserved all rights in the Work, first published in 1980. Your work entitled Google is essentially identical to the Work and clearly used the Work as its basis. For instance, your work contains a fuzzy brown creature, googley eyes, white puffball ears, and even a red nose. Clearly this is more than a coincidence.

As you neither asked for nor received permission to use the Work as the basis for Google nor to make or distribute copies, including electronic copies, of same, I believe you have willfully infringed my rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages as high as $1,000,000,000 as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein.

I demand that you immediately cease the use and distribution of all infringing works derived from the Work, and all copies, including electronic copies, of same, that you deliver to me, if applicable, all unused, undistributed copies of same, or destroy such copies immediately and that you desist from this or any other infringement of my rights in the future. If I have not received an affirmative response from you by January 1, 2007 indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, I shall take further action against you.

Very truly yours,

Jason Theodor

I [Heart] NY Part One – Verge

SW Corner of Central Park from the Lincoln Center
I spent the middle part of last week in New York City attending the OgilvyOne Digital Summit called Verge. Polly LaBarre (former senior editor of Fast Company) sums up the day wonderfully in her post Control is So 20th Century. After meeting her at the conference I went out and bought her book entitled Mavericks at Work. I also met Michael Tchao, GM of the Nike Techlab Group, and his partner, who were up from Portland. We discussed geeky things like the old Apple Newton and how to gut a Mac Classic and pop an LCD and Mac Mini inside. I talked briefly with Shawn Gold, former Publisher with Weblogs Inc. and now the SVP of Marketing and Content at myspace. I wish I could have stopped to chat with Chris Anderson or ZeFrank as well, but my entourage was heading to SoHo for dinner. Don’t feel too sorry for me.
This summit got me thinking. Not about the topics of video on the web, or blogging, or the long tail, but rather about creating and networking, creating and networking, creating and networking. Everyone I met, and just about everyone I saw, was churning out books, articles, speeches, performances, blogs, art, products, mashes, mergers, content. I agree that nobody calls a good song “content”, but it’s not a bad label for everything all together now. I always feel envious in situations like that, and I always have excuses for why I don’t have as much crap out there for other people to consume. Here are a few of my own personal (literally) favourites:

I have too much work to do.
I have kids. When they’re a bit older, I’ll have more free time.
I don’t have enough time in the day.
I don’t have enough energy because I never get any sleep.

Sensing a common theme? I just need to consume less and create more by using my time more efficiently. Make choices. It’s not hard, it just takes commitment: something I’ve always been so-so at. Just ask my fiancé of 10 years… It’s so easy to blame it on the kids, isn’t it? I kinda like the idea of being the crazy dad who’s always making things, writing things, doing things, meeting people, filled with stories and spark. Or I could be the dad who spends the entire day watching people hurt themselves on YouTube while eating a bowl of chips and spitting crumbs on the keyboard as I laugh at other idiots. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that I don’t want to do it.

As I walked around Manhattan after the summit, listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s album Plans on my iPod Nano, I thought a lot about nothing. It felt so good to just wander and appreciate. Appreciate the architecture and the character of this amazing city that I had never visited before, but felt like I already knew. I felt like a comfortable alien. I got my shoes shined. I went into Trump Tower, and Tiffany’s, and Central Park, and the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler Building, and the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Station, and a few Starbucks along the way (consuming and creating liquids). It was so good for me. A giant three hour walking reboot of the old parameter random access memory (PRAM). Thank you New York City. I’ll be back, but next time with more to show you too.Sheeps Meadow Central Park

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