New Links and Big Changes for 2008

I’ve been doing some blog juggling recently. I am slowly moving everything off of the 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. 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

The LifeFocus™ System will come to life on it’s own website sometime in the new year., my communal link blog, has been moved to (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.