Jeneral findings of the week: 2014-11-30

Good/interesting/provoking finds I’ve stumbled across this week: 2014-11-30.

  • Last week I posted a find about Mattel’s illformed attempt to have Barbie demonstrate being a computer engineer in their book Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer. Thankfully someone has remixed the book to make it truly fantastic.
  • The grand jury ruled on Nov 24 that there was insufficient evidence to indict and send to trial the police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, in Ferguson, Mo. back in Aug 9, 2014. There is considerable outrage across America, and protests (and some rioting) have been renewed. David Butt in the Globe and Mail outlines “Ten key legal points of the Ferguson verdict” to keep in mind while coming to your own conclusion about the verdict. Whatever the legal rulings on this one particular case, it underscores that the deep underlying issues of prejudice and racial tensions remain stubbornly the same as in 30 years ago.  Jon Stewart is spot on in this segment of the Daily Show from Aug 29.
  • Author P.D. James passed away at the age of 94. While I am late to enjoy her writing, I have thoroughly enjoyed the books I have read.
  • Much has been made about work-life balance in all sorts of think pieces in traditional and social media. I have even published a thought or two. But we collectively haven’t start talking about the situation where we need to care for family who are dying. Rebecca Greenfield starts the conversation here. My parents are baby boomers, and I have to acknowledge that they are getting older so this will be a concern of ours soon enough.


<–Previous week’s finds

Hot yoga

Ah Groupon, you with your siren songs of cheap deals. Because of you I finally tried this hot yoga thing. Or as real yogis call it, Bikram Yoga.

I must admit I was very tentative at first. Sweating profusely isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But so many friends and acquaintances claim to enjoy it so I took the mantra I give to my daughters and applied it to myself: just try it at least once and give it a chance. Or try it 8 times, since I have this newbie pass for the month for unlimited visits. Continue reading Hot yoga

Wise words from Amy Poehler? Yes Please!

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

Lately I’ve been on a reading kick, and particularly autobiographical books from funny women. Amy Poehler’s contribution to the collection is one of the best. Part memoir (from her “middle-years”), part words-of-wisdom, part collection of funny stories, it was a real treat to read.

You can tell that this was a book written as snatches of stories in stolen snippets of time, but masterfully edited together. Seriously, kudos to her editors. The 3 sections/themes of the book likely weren’t planned on the outset, and yet it works.

Not only is she very funny, Poehler is thoroughly quotable with some very wise words regarding working and career that really resonated with me.  Continue reading Wise words from Amy Poehler? Yes Please!

Jeneral findings of the week: 2014-11-23

Good/interesting/provoking finds I’ve stumbled across this week. 2014-11-23.

  • Barbie F*cks It Up Again – A brilliant deconstruction of why this book about how Barbie wants to become a computer engineer is a big fail and demonstrates yet again the underlying sexist attitudes towards women in IT. Hilarious and provokes outrage at the same time, it’s not something you’d want to expose to your daughters without careful context.
  • Helen Jane’s Mom 2.0 Presentation: Solutions for a painful internet – Originally created as a presentation deck, it nevertheless has impact and suggested prescription for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by the changes social media has brought to our lives.
  • A teacher and administrator from Calgary writing a story about encounters with parents about THAT kid, and the teacher’s follow up on the reaction. A message underlying the empathy we all need for each others’ children, and each other as parents and teachers. I can only hope that the majority of teachers that my kids will encounter will be like this teacher.


Next week’s findings–>

National Ballet of Canada review: Manon

I have a terrible memory, especially when it comes to recalling details and opinions about shows, concerts, ballets, books, movies, etc that I’ve seen. So to start doing something about it, here goes my inaugural ballet review post so I’ll have it for posterity, and for notes to compare future productions against.

Manon is the first show of the 2014-2015 season. This production has now earned it’s place as one of my favourites of the National Ballet of Canada (NBOC). It’s funny to think that this did not have a successful run the previous time that the National Ballet mounted this ballet in 1999. And to be honest I didn’t know about this ballet either when it was announced, but then when NBOC featured the rehearsal of the pas de deux on World Ballet Day, I got excited. After seeing the show last week, it was for good reason. Continue reading National Ballet of Canada review: Manon

Book review: Death Comes to Pemberley

Jacket cover for

I do love a good mystery. I thoroughly enjoy Jane Austen’s novels as well. P.D. James has gone and put the two together in Death Comes to Pemberley, and does an astounding job of it. This really is a murder mystery done in the tone and style of Jane Austen, using the familiar characters from Pride and Prejudice. It would totally be believable as a shocking sequel to Pride and Prejudice if Jane Austen a)were to write any sequels and b)were to write something as gory and ugly as a murder.

I admit that I didn’t remember all the characters that had already been introduced in Pride and Prejudice (ahem, Captain Denny, the poor victim), but it was kind of delightful “catching up” with these characters six years after the events of P&P transpired. Indulgent, sure, but it definitely enables James to easily establish our sympathies for these characters, their actions and their motivations without having to spend a lot of time with backstory. Continue reading Book review: Death Comes to Pemberley

What happens when you don’t “Respect the Knife”

One of the near-mandatory experiences when going to Disney World with two young daughters is to do some sort of meet-and-greet with the Disney princesses. However, one would think that this wouldn’t also entail a trip to the hospital for the dad.   Yet that is exactly what happened to T, and the girls witnessed a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t “Respect the Knife”.

Continue reading What happens when you don’t “Respect the Knife”