Category Archives: News and views

Social abstinence the experiment

How’s that saying go again? “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? so let’s run with it, I’ve started a bit of a social experiment today. I’m going to go off the social radar for a while, just as a cleansing of sorts, but also to see how many people notice. Why am I doing this? A friend of mine recently posted something in a social network that he was feeling rather neglected, so I thought, hmm… how about if I try and see what happens if for a moment I drop off the proverbial radar and figure out if anyone misses me. I did this a while ago, but never really took note of the results. I’ll use this time to do some productive things, perhaps blog a bit more, get back to some of my hobbies and little side projects, or maybe just pick up a good book.

I really enjoy my social network interactions, and I really do feel connected with my virtual friends, but I wonder sometimes if we all take each other for granted at times and instead of realizing that there is flesh, blood and emotions behind those few hundred pixels in a name on a screen, we forget that, and the names, those tiny few letters, actually become the individuals with whom we are interacting? I feel rather childish doing this, figuratively cowering in the corner, feeling sorry for myself and wondering if there is anybody out there who cares. But am I really any different than anyone else on social networks? Don’t we all wait in anticipation for a comment or a reply to what we think might be a witty repartee? I often will type out some deep philosophical query or prose, a sort of, standing-on-a-soapbox-in-the-middle-of-the-park-type post, wanting to express myself, but also perhaps yelling, screaming silently for attention.

Then I catch myself wondering sometimes about the depth of my social network friendships and relationships and of the amount of time and effort I’ve invested in their cure and contemplation, and dare I say it, what real friendships and relationships may have suffered, if at all, in my pursuit of the virtual. I suppose it’s this latter thought that is driving my urge to take a social network hiatus, taking a proverbial boat across the river and take care of my flesh and blood friend and family members for a while.

Will this be easy, no, as I’m almost constantly checking my phone or my computer for any signs of my social network smoke signals, perhaps then it’s time to get back to some simpler means of communication, or as this blog is an example, perhaps some deeper, more contemplative approaches to communication, something a bit more involved then clicking a little thumbs up icon or grabbing a virtual branch and poking someone with it. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I won’t be posting about it on Social Networks. 🙂

The most detailed map of our Universe

We live in a very very very big Universe and this past week my sister sent me a link to a Youtube video featuring the most detailed map every created of our Universe, it is stunning. The video is actually on Laniakea, the name given to the supercluster or huge group of galaxies in which our own Milky way lies. The video has started doing the rounds in social network circles and I’ve already seen it on Facebook and Twitter.

As you watch this video remember that what is pictured here is so immense as to be almost incomprehensible, the distances mentioned so vast that crossing them could be akin to traveling forever to our puny little lifetimes. What boggles me even more is that scientists and cosmologists have postulated that there may actually be an infinite number of multi-universes. So as you ponder what this video describes, wrap your head around the idea that there could be in fact an infinite number of other indescribably large universes, an infinite amount of them… that’s just like forever.

So as I sit here watching Winter storm Wally, what I’ve decided to baptize what I hope is the last storm of the Winter of 2016/2017, slam into the city of Montreal I realize how small my little problems are when put against the immensity of the Universe. Some people I know don’t like to talk about, what shows or ponder about the Universe and its size, they say it makes them feel small, insignificant. I see it quite differently, I find that looking at these videos and pondering how immense and overwhelming our Universe is makes me feel that there are potentials out there for everything and anything to happen. Whenever I doubt any kind of spiritual side or wonder about life after death, I simply look at videos like this and realize there is sooooo much we don’t know, so much we just can’t imagine. It re-assures me to some extent and I realize that the sheer fact that I can think about the Universe and ponder the distances makes me more significant and not less.

Montreal Auto Show

It was an extremely emotional day today, a bit on that in another post, perhaps tomorrow.

I attended the Montreal Auto Show today with a friend, his son and my daughter. We decided to go in early, as soon as the show opened its doors in hopes of beating the crowds and apparently some 300 to 400 people decided they would do the same thing and we were stuck in a pretty long line-up for tickets. Thankfully the line went relatively quickly, we got our tickets and made our way into the show. We were greeted at the bottom of the escalator by a trio of Nissan Nismo cars, basically these are regular Nissan cars that have been given a performance and aesthetic make over by Nissan themselves.

Nissan GT-R NisMo

Then we made our way up to the first of what would be three different ascensions to different levels of the exhibit hall with different car companies on each level. There was the usually array of sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, sports cars from each of the major car companies. Conspicuously absent was Tesla, even though they were featured in the show’s small magazine, which prominently featured a Swedish supercar from Koenigsegg, that apparently was also a no-show at this year’s show, much to the dismay of my friend’s son who was hoping to get a glimpse of the Swedish mechanical marvel, and you thought they only had ABBA and IKEA, shame on you.

Koenigsegg CCX supercar

In any case, as if the missing cars weren’t enough, I, and this is just personal opinion, thought the line up of cars somewhat resembled each other, so much so that my friend even commented that one of the Hyundai’s from the back resembled a BMW, much to the chagrin of many luxurious Bavarian car owners I’m sure. Over all, as I walked among the many, so called mere mortal car offerings from the likes of Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Dodge, et al, I couldn’t help but take a peak at the small podiums prominently displaying the various features, specifications,  models, and prices, oh and what prices they were. My neck hurts this evening from all the head-shaking I was doing due to the sticker shock I sustained in the three+ hours we walked around the show. Now BMW, Mercedes, Porche, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Rolls Royce podiums of course never fail to make me wonder how mortals can ever afford these cars, oh wait… they can’t. However, I was starting to question if everyone around me must make a king’s salary to be able to afford the prices I was seeing on cars that apparently I should, in theory, be able to buy. In many cases the prices were inflated due to the “as shown at the show” price, often 10-12% higher than the suggested retail price of the base model due to all the added goodies.

As often happens at these shows, I’m drawn to some of the prototypes, and this show only had a handful of offerings if that, with perhaps only a few even getting my attention.

Lamborghini Countach

I’m very practical when it comes to automobiles, I wasn’t always like this mind you. I did go through my supercar phase just like my friend’s son, where I had posters of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Corvettes, right next to my obligatory poster of Farrah Fawcett in her red swim suit.

Not a Lamborghini Countach, kidding Farrah Fawcett, who unfortunately is no longer with us. RIP.

I see cars completely different now, first of all I’m of the opinion that I should be able to eat, pay my mortgage and perhaps spend some quality entertainment time with my family, AND purchase a car, from what I saw today, this might no longer be possible with the average price of new cars, so I’m relegated to buying used cars in my short to long-term future.

One car that particularly got my attention was a couple of cute little Toyota prototype electric runabout commuter vehicles. One was outfitted with a small compartment and was being touted as a small delivery vehicle, whereas the other one would be perfect for simply going to work. Get me some doors guys, it’s cold on Montreal mornings, but kidding aside, in my case this would make perfect sense as my commute is about 25 km one way and I can take secondary streets, so it could actually be feasible.

Another car that I thought might peak my curiosity was the Chevrolet BOLT, cousin to the now well established Volt. This car, I thought, was to compete against the upcoming mid-2017, early-2018 release of the more affordable Tesla Model 3 at 32,000 US.

Tesla Model 3

I couldn’t have been more wrong, now unless Tesla’s pricing here in Canada is substantially more than that in the US, then the BOLT is priced waaaay to high at $47,000 CDN. Now, I realize that early adopters often pay for the research and development put into these cars and that eventually, much like computers did in the 90’s, prices will come down, however the BOLT is too expensive for what constitutes a car a bit larger than a Honda FIT.

Chevrolet BOLT 2017

I for one would welcome a long-range electric vehicle to compete in pricing with a small to mid-size compact car, think Toyota Yaris or Corolla, somewhere around the $16, 000 range, but until battery technology and volume production ramp up, it’s just not going to happen. I did take a good look at the Volt, well as close I could get and still like it, but not the newer generation model, I much prefer the older one with the squared off rear end, I just find it looked more like the original concept vehicle and has a more futuristic slant to it, instead of just looking like every other car.

Chevrolet Volt 2014

So, were does that leave me with the car show this year? It was alright, nothing overly exciting and I no longer buy into the whole keeping up with the Jones’ hype, not that I ever really did, but other than the aforementioned Yaris and maybe some of the other sub-compact cars offered by the major constructors, at prices I can somewhat swallow and digest, there wasn’t a car that I could easily afford, and continue feeding my family. So, although it was enjoyable to see and hear my friend’s son looking at and talking about all the cars that excited him, it was rather lackluster for me.

Next month is the Montreal Motorcycle Show, NOW THAT might be a different story, stay tuned…


Goodbye 2016, hello 2017, what’s next?

A new start?

As tradition would have it I’m starting a new blog this year, will I continue it and add relevant, exciting, poignant content? I have no friggen clue, all I do know is that I’ve been chompin’ at the bit to do something new, perhaps something exciting and to be more creative this year. If 2016 has taught me anything, it was that time is fleeting and fate can take it away in a heartbeat. Back in December I vowed I would get off Facebook, if not permanently, at least for some time so I could regroup my psyche so to speak and use my FB time for more artistic/productive endeavours, what those are still remains to be seen. I have noticed that I’m spending a little more time thinking about my new workshop, how to set it up and what I will eventually do there. My daughter took up the guitar and started taking serious lessons several months ago, so I promised myself I would finally finish the sound insulation of my office/studio that we now share, details are coming on this and several other projects as time permits. Our poor home has also be begging me for much needed renovations and last Summer I finally fixed a few things that needed repair and hope to continue that this coming Spring. Meanwhile


I started thinking about music production again, or at least just playing around with my various old synth gear I have lying around. Exactly one year ago almost to the day I put the finishing touches on my new studio/office desk setup, my original idea was to create a functional area I could use for my regular computer work and also a place where all my synth, effects and music production equipment could live and be close at hand. Although not shown here as I had not received yet, my desk also houses a new Behringer multi-input USB interface, the heart of the new studio setup or so I thought. It’s a long story, but I never did get around to doing anything and mid-Summer my daughter took over the space teaching herself keyboard and then picking up the electric guitar. I’m certainly hoping on getting back into the swing of things so to speak as I also purchased a new Alesis electronic drum set with which I semi-regularly practice, again, when time permits.


As I look out my window at the Wintry weather, the last thing on my mind really is motorcycling, but I sure do miss riding and look forward to April when I can once again get back on the two-wheeler, in the meantime early last year I launched a new motorcycle blogging site and I’m hoping on updating the content a bit more in 2017.


Last but not least, last October 2016 I decided to trade in my little Scion iQ, which I loved for a more practical family vehicle, especially since my wife and I wanted to perhaps buy a pop-up tent and maybe do a bit more weekend camping from time to time. For some reason, this 2009 Hyundai Tucson really caught my eye and a few days later I brought it home. I do need to do some maintenance work on it as it is due for a timing belt change and there seems to be a slight exhaust leak, all normal things for an almost 8 year old vehicle. For those interested I plan on posting some pictures and updates on what I’m doing to the little truck. Here is Izzy below as it sat in the dealer showroom.

Closing remarks

In closing let’s hope 2017 is a better overall year for all of us, we are facing all sorts of challenges this year and as the Chinese curse says, “We are in for interesting times.”