All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

Google Sucks Me Tighter into its Borg

Google Calendar is shutting down its free personal sync with Outlook. I was informed that I should uninstall the software by the end of the month.

So I thought about how I’m using calendars and have decided to stop using Outlook and go 100% Google. Why? I never used Outlook for email, I’ve used Thunderbird for ages on my Windows 7 boxen, and Eudora before that on older Windows versions in days of old. On the road I use Gmail.

In fact I have my email accounts (personal and business) set up to hit a web hosting server at Pair Networks, which then forwards to Gmail, which then forwards to my local Shaw account. Between the Pair and Gmail anti-spam filters, I get very little unwanted mail.

Google Calendar has enough functionality for my needs — calendaring and a to-do list is all I want. And it syncs with my Android phone, and iCalendar on my Mac Mini and iPod.

As you can see, I am hardware and OS agnostic. I use Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kobo, Kindle. . . I even have an old tower running Ubuntu Linux. Don’t use Linux much, but like to play with it occasionally.

So the cloud appears to be the way to go.

TV Japan Reminds Me of Lovely, Hot/Cold Traditional Japanese Houses

Caught a few minutes of an NHK Japan TV drama that my wife was watching tonight. Sigh.

I really love the look of traditional Japanese houses. I can imagine the scent of the tatami and old wood. The gentle rumbling of the screen doors moving. The gorgeous little rock-moss-and-water gardens. . .

I’d love to live in one, in Japan, for the three or four months of the year that they are comfortable to live in — at least in central Honshu — with my metabolism.

My 14 years in Japan I mostly lived in concrete “mansions”, aside from 6 months in an old, traditional “student house” and about a year in an old wooden apartment building, with teeny rooms, a shared toilet, and bathing facilities a block up the street at the local sento, or public bath.

And I’ll tell you that when I earned enough to move into an apartment of about 300 square feet in a brand-spanking-new concrete “mansion” with my own bath and an air conditioner, I thought I was king of the hill .

From memory of Japanese seasonal patterns, I’d say a traditional Japanese house without modern cooling/heating appurtenances would be comfy, at least for me, for around April-May, and October-November, in the  greater Tokyo area .

Cleaning the Closet, Taking Photos for the Memories

I’ve got amazing junk hanging around. Today I am tossing several Ts and sweats into the rag basket, but I’m shooting them for the memories.

carleton_1984-85First up, my sweatshirt from the Carleton University Bachelor of Journalism program from 1984-85.

Goodtimers_T_frontA Goodtimers T-shirt dating to the late 1980s in Tokyo, Japan. The Goodtimers were an English-speaking jogging club. I met my wife, Yumi, through this group.

Goodtimers_T_logoCloseup of the logo.

Goodtimers_T_backAnd the back.

Goodtimers_sweatshirt_backGoodtimers sweatshirt

Goodtimers_Noble_T_backA special event Goodtimers T, date June 26, 1994. We were aiming for a cumulative 750km in one day around the Imperial Palace moat in Tokyo.

honolulu_marathon_1987_front1987 Honolulu Marathon T. My one and only full marathon. As I recall, I finished in around 4:50, with a muscle tear in my thigh. Shoulda stopped, but. . . didn’t see myself doing more marathons so I really wanted to get this one done. Was limping for weeks.

honolulu_marathon_1987_back

portland_1990A five-miler done in Portland in 1990.

yevshan_frontYevshan Ukrainian Dancers T circa late 1970s? I wasn’t a dancer, but I played bass guitar in their Sweden tour orchestra.

yevshan_back

cymk_1970sCanadian Ukrainian Youth Association, circa 1970s. I was president of the Saskatoon chapter, and the Saskatchewan Provincial Council way back when…

tc_1970sNo, I never attended Columbia, but my Mom did from around 1969-71. My sister and I attended elementary classes at a “free school” associated with Teacher’s College. We ended up mostly home-schooling with textbooks sent from Canada.

I really need to get rid of stuff like this. Stuff that’s been sitting untouched for decades, but I’m a sentimental softy. So now it’s preserved, somewhat, digitally, and yet my wife can be happy that I’m tossing it : -).

Used Book Steal of a Deal

Used books

 

My steal of a deal of the week. Used books from a seniors’ society thrift store on Whidbey Island, WA, a few days ago. Try around $5 for the stack.

I don’t buy many new “paper” books any more, just used ones. New books tend to go to either my Kindle or my Kobo these days.

Birds’ Breakfast Buffet at Birch Bay State Park

Here’s a set of photos I took this morning at Birch Bay State Park in WA. It was a veritable breakfast buffet on the beach for various birds. Herons were chowing down on several kinds of fish, and what appeared to be lamprey. Gulls were rooting out clams, carrying them up and then dropping them to break them open. An eagle sat overlooking the breakfast scene while being harassed by a crow. Stimulating morning on the beach!

Flickr Album here.

heron in flight at birch bay

Cute Deer at Fort Ebey State Park, WA

There are lots of deer in state parks on Whidbey Island that are fairly accustomed to people. The ones we’ve seen have been wary, and not overly tame, but confident enough to get good photos.

I think we’ve seen the following one twice in about as many weeks at Fort Ebey State Park. Same area, same size, same behavior.

deer_1_fort_ebey_state_park_wa_20140707

Out in the open above, and nearly concealed between the tree at bottom right below.

deer fort ebey, wa

Looking Forward to Burnaby Blues & Roots Fest in August

Looking forward to the Burnaby Blues and Roots Fest in August. This is steadily developing into a major music extravaganza. I’m particularly anticipating Imelda May — as I recall, she broke an ankle (?) at her last BB&R appearance a few years ago, and soldiered on like the trouper she is. Gorgeous voice and great band, eh?

I’m also eagerly awaiting the performance by Miss Quincy. I have gone head over heels for this Canadian band recently. Top of my play list!

A Fave Hawk Photo from 2009

I “shot” this hawk couple on their nest on a rural road in southern Alberta back in 2009.

Hawks on nest in southern AlbertaI

I’ve been asked several times over the years if this is a photo of a diorama in some museum. It’s definitely a live shot.

I saw the nest as I was slowly cruising down a rural road. It was likely the Red Coat Trail, or a parallel road nearby.

I spotted the nest, drove past it in an attempt to allay suspicions, and slowly wandered back toward it, hiding any equipment, as hawks are very shy of anything that looks like a “projection” or rifle.

I slowly angled into the ditch and eventually snapped several shots, but the parents were getting agitated, so I backed off.

Just in time. The male swooped me seconds later as I was backing away, but seeing that I was already retreating, he stayed 5-10 meters above me.

An exhilarating experience, but one that also respected the birds. As soon as I knew I was intruding, I backed off.

If you try this, please give them their space, too. Thanks!