Sunday, November 13, 2011

Worlds collide! No, really.

I mainly use Twitter as a news reader, ok, well also as a time waster, but only SOMETIMES.
I stumbled across a really neat feed that tweets the events of World War II in real time. The flow in as if the events were occurring today, as current news stories. The dates and times correspond, and they include pics, quotes and links.
I'm only a little bit of a history buff, but I really liked the idea and presentation of this.
Check out : @realtimeWWII on Twitter. You'll join the other 101,315 followers in this unique use of modern technology.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sleepiness doesn't stop creativity - #CMC11

..but insane schedules sometimes push things way way off course.


I find that over the last year or so, I've been enjoying podcasts and news / spoken word stations on my iPod far more than I listen to music. One silly time waster of a podcast that I listen to regularly is the horribly-titled "Professor Blastoff".

The show is hosted by three friends who are comedians, and the premise they started with is they found a small hatch in the basement under one of their houses, opened it, and found a large abandoned lab. Poking around, they found a radio with which they began communicating with this "Professor" who seems to be floating around in another dimension.

Here's the little blurb from their website :

Professor R.L. Blastoff initally created a weekly radio show in the early 1940′s, shortly after he had begun preliminary work on a prototype time machine. His research over the course of his distinguished career in fields such as applied physics, molecular biology, and chemical engineering earned him numerous prestigious awards – including two nobel prizes. Sadly, before his radio show reached the air, his time machine reached completion and he was transported not only to a different time – but a completely different dimension. Since then, he has been helplessly trying to navigate his way home. Until he returns, his radio show is guest-hosted by three people who mistakenly wandered into his office.


So this sounds absolutely terrible. Believe me, I know. I knew and enjoyed two-thirds of the cast prior to them starting the podcast, and despite the hokey premise I decided to check it out.

The bizarre setup is a way to lead into the three hosts to discuss their interests in science, theology and anything that grabs them. It is silly, but enjoyable to pass the time and they often have guests to lend a hand in explaining some of the tougher topics.

The most recent one featured the comedian and sketch actor Paul F. Tompkins and was about creativity, and I thought I'd share it in case anyone is interested. It is definitely fluff, and not a deep, thought-provoking show, but it's silly and enjoyable and there are definitely some topics that spark SOME thoughts. The hosts keep it clean, but there is some (very occasional - in fact I can only recall a few instances over the 28 episodes) language, so the kids MAY need to be out of earshot, but it's never vulgar or inappropriate.

Here's a link to the latest show on creativity :

Here's a link to the show's website :

Hopefully it'll make someone smile or laugh!



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Coffee maker! Drip! Drip! Drip! #CMC11

A few quickies this morning. I've had them sitting but forgot to add them...

I LOVE this thing!

The Inkling is so, so sweet.

And I just thought this was pretty neat.

More soon!



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Am I way off base here?

I found the following article online while poking around, looking to spark a little something' somethin'. I understand the ideas behind this, and I like the basic message involved, but this just seems so, dry? I don't think I have the words for it, and can't quite explain it.
It seems as if someone is trying to really motivate you, and pump you up, but is speaking in the saddest, droopiest monotone and expecting it to help.
Like I said, I like the main message but it is sorely lacking emotion.
Sometimes you need to see the way NOT to do things to really make you appreciate the good stuff.
Kudos to all of you who are pushing, stretching, reaching and creating.
Students, presenters, faculty, curious onlookers.

According to cognitive psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, creativity can be broadly defined as "...the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile." Creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and approaching situations. This isn't a skill restricted to artists, musicians or writers; it is a useful skill for people from all walks of life. If you've ever wanted to boost your creativity, these tips can help.

1. Commit Yourself to Developing Your Creativity

The first step is to fully devote yourself to developing your creative abilities. Do not put off your efforts. Set goals, enlist the help of others and put time aside each day to develop your skills.

2. Become an Expert

One of the best ways to develop creativity is to become an expert in that area. By having a rich understanding of the topic, you will be better able to think of novel or innovative solutions to problems.

3. Reward Your Curiosity

©iStockPhoto/David H. Lewis
One common roadblock to developing creativity is the sense that curiosity is an indulgence. Rather than reprimanding yourself, reward yourself when you are curious about something. Give yourself the opportunity to explore new topics.

4. Realize that Creativity is Sometimes Its Own Reward

While rewarding yourself is important, it is also important to develop intrinsic motivation. Sometimes, the true reward of creativity is the process itself, not the product.

5. Be Willing to Take Risks

Photo courtesy Marja Flick-Buijs
When it comes to building your creative skills, you need to be willing to take risks in order to advance your abilities. While your efforts may not lead to success every time, you will still be boosting your creative talents and building skills that will serve you well in the future.

6. Build Your Confidence

Insecurity in your abilities can suppress creativity, which is why it is important to build confidence. Make note of the progress you have made, commend your efforts and always be on the lookout for ways to reward your creativity.

7. Make Time for Creativity

Photo courtesy Luis Alves
You won't be able to develop your creative talents if you don't make time for them. Schedule some time each week to concentrate on some type of creative project.

8. Overcome Negative Attitudes that Block Creativity

According to a 2006 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, positive moods can increase your ability to think creatively. According to Dr. Adam Anderson, senior author of the study, "If you are doing something that requires you be creative or be in a think tank, you want to be in a place with good mood." Focus on eliminating negative thoughts or self-criticisms that may impair your ability to develop strong creative skills.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quickie - Blog title explained.

Our wonderful guide, mentor and CMC11 facilitator asked a fair question yesterday.

"What the heck does the title of your blog mean?"

It's a silly hockey slang term about a short snapper, half-slapshot where the puck is shot high into the net. It rarely fails to make me laugh, and one of the current players on the team I grew up loving has adopted it and has even worked it into a charity.

Here's a bit of an article from this spring in the National Post.....

Armstrong, who has also done work with the rival Rogers Sportsnet, is trying to turn one of the lines he used on the panel into a charitable endeavour. The 28-year-old caused a bit of a stir online when he described a play as being “half-clapper, top-cheddar.”

The definition?

“Aw, it’s a beauty hockey saying,” he said, explaining it is when a player pulls the stick back halfway, before releasing a shot that beats the goaltender high.

The saying has spurred a T-shirt (available at, with $5 from each sale going to Camp Trillium, a getaway providing recreational activities for children with cancer.

“It’s kind of stupid to say, but I’ve always enjoyed kind of being in front of the camera,” Armstrong said. “Maybe that’s just my personality, but I kind of like it, and I’ve always had a good time with interviews and had some fun stuff with that.”

There's a little creativity, right? An athlete who is out a bit due to an injury, starts to do short bits of on-camera interviews and helps out a good cause.

Back in a bit...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bubble...bubble...stir #cmc11

My daughter is one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. It has been eleven plus years of turning her nose up at nearly everything that shows up on a plate. It took her nine years to eat pizza, and she still won't eat a hot dog. What kid doesn't eat hot dogs???

I began cooking with her at a very young age, and it helps to show her the she can be empowered and creative as she learns. It took her ages to realize that all red sauce isn't super spicy, and if she made it herself, she can control the outcome.

We spent this morning making a big pot of sauce before she went shopping with my wife and her Mimi. It has been simmering all day, making the house smell heavenly as I bang out some more homework on this grey October day.

I hope she hangs onto her curiosity about cooking, and stays leery of alcohol. As I asked her to add a splash of Malbec to the sauce, she hesitated, thinking the wine isn't for kids.

I like that.

Keep that up, so you don't drink your face off at a party as a teenager.

I love you, Cenzi, and thank you for cooking with me this morning.

Here's what we did :

Heat a few splashes of olive oil, along with some salt and pepper in a large (!) sauce pot.

Finely chop two vidalia onions and toss them in, stirring and reducing them halfway.

Mince a full bulb of garlic, and stir it into the onion.

Continue the reduction over medium-high heat.

Add a 28 oz can of each : crushed tomatoes, stewed (& drained) tomatoes, tomato puree.

Stir 'em up.

Add to taste : fresh basil, oregano, crushed red pepper (not too much - it leeches out easily) a sprinkle of paprika, a cup or so of good red wine (Do NOT skimp), fresh black pepper, thyme, a healthy palmful of sea salt, and a teaspoonful of granulated sugar.

Heat to full rumbling boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to a minimum, stirring frequently for 30 minutes, then reduce to a simmer.

Allow it to simmer and blend for a minimum of three hours, longer if possible.

Tweak and add spices to taste as it changes and melds.

I also cheated and bought some meatballs from the butcher. Just brown them over medium-high heat with some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, ensuring they're cooked through, then drop them gently into the sauce.

Cannot WAIT until dinner!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

TSMITW podcast isn't over yet!

How great is this?

I mean, honestly...