15 June 2008

June's West End Stories & how we amuse ourselves

I missed May's West End Stories because I had to work that weekend, but I made it to June's. They were last night, and a good time was had by all. Once again there was sort of a hive-mind "DJing" of stories going on. Pat, who went last, did a great job of telling a short-and-sweet Aesop's fable that tied together three previously-told stories from earlier in the evening. Entertainment doesn't get any more interactive than this.

Last weekend I got together with some friends near Kensington Market. We sat on a blanket in the park and talked. We admired the ever-creative Tara's watercolours from her recent trip to Ireland. I took photos (some of them have been added to my photo stream), and we tried to help the ever-sensible Nichole decide what kind of bicycle to buy. The ever-effervescent Fiona had some great advice about what bikes were on sale in which stores.

Later, Tara and I walked downtown. There was some sort of event going on at Yonge-Dundas Square, for Luminato, I think. There were tents where you could get makeovers, crowds (and crowds and crowds) of people, a swing band, and giant LED billboards everywhere. We marvelled that less than half an hour's walk away we had been sitting in a blanket in a quiet park, watching retro-hippies do yoga and tai chi moves.

This is not some Luddite comment on how much better blanket-sitting and story-telling are than big urban cultural events. But I will say that I think variety makes you appreciate each event better. It certainly keeps one from being bored.

07 June 2008

Books in Camouflage

Okay, I hate gushy cross-posts as much as the next person, but this site is really cool, promise promise promise...

The New Zealand Book Council has gone to a lot of time and trouble to create a web site that lets you read novels at work on your computer screen, but make it look as if you're working. From the phony Windows XP login to the phony Windows XP desktop (hint: you have to double-click to launch stuff, just like in real Windows), the site looks like a regular office screen. All of the novels are formatted to look like PowerPoint business presentations — someone walking by would think you were reviewing a service or product by a third party.

I think it's freaking brilliant, so long as you don't work somewhere that (ahem) tracks IP addresses.

Cross-post disclaimer: I found out about this from Beatty's Book Blog.

01 June 2008

Wii found a better mousetrap

I almost feel like putting this on my DIY blog, because it's all about building your own tools to extend your power. I didn't do the building in this case, though.

I found out about the Wiisniper blog, the owner of which has built a variety of Google widgets that let you search for specific Wii products. I put the Wii Fit widget on my iGoogle home page, and found a shop that had it in stock tonight. Actually, they don't have it in stock — they're allowing back orders — but that's fine by me. And it's not even either of the shops that annoyed me so much yesterday.

What I learned from this: Revenge is sweet. Also a reminder that the power of the internet comes from both the wide range of information available and the ability to compile and synthesise information.