Weekly blogging challenge #5. Mike’s top 5 nerd links.

Today’s blogging challenge was found online @ The house that Lara built.

For today’s post I’ve decided to share my top 5 favorite nerd sites on the Internet. Why??? Because being a nerd is awesome no matter how much the “cool” people say otherwise.

1) NASA
I selected the NASA homepage as the first in this list as what’s more symbolic of what nerds can accomplish then Space exploration. Plus the Hubble space telescope makes for the most epic hi-res wall papers.

2) It’s not news it’s Fark

Drew Curtis and the gang at Fark get my second spot in this list. A news link site that allows users to post links to various news from around the world. From funny and stupid to serious and world events. Fark has been a must read daily for me for the past 10 years.

3) South Park Studio’s

Ok a bit of geek fandom here but Cartman and gang at South Park get spot #3. With free streaming of episodes , games, trivia and a character maker what foul mouthed geek wouldn’t love this site?

4) Least I could do

One of my all time favorite web comic’s Ryan and Lars have given me plenty of laughs and groans with this comic about a charming, sexually charged,
nerdy, ladies man Rayne Summers. His escapades always have me laughing.

5) This is why I’m broke

Any true need has likely seen this site already. Filled with an inventory of items on every nerds wish list, ranging from ridiculous and useless to just plain fucking Awesome. Trust me spend 20 mins searching through its products and tell me there isn’t one thing you just gotta have. Can’t be done. Your bank account will be lighter but your inner nerd will be bursting with excitement.

So hopefully you’ve taken some time to check out the links shared. I’d love to know how you all like them or if you have any other sites you can recommend I check out, so please leave me a comment if you like.

Sometimes I struggle to understand my gender.

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(Comic courtesy of http://www.leasticoulddo.com)

I recently started a new warehouse job at the local Italian market now that school is finished. While it’s not overly interesting, its decent money and more hours than my last job. My experience at this new job has been ok so far. The work is hard, people are friendly and I get free lunch everyday from the deli (which is a pretty sweet deal).  But I find myself surrounded by a bunch of men, most of which are old Italian men.  

Throughout most of my adult life, the majority of my work experience has been in call centers or other office type jobs. So I’m used to being in an environment that’s a higher ratio of females than males. It’s like that with my friendships as well. I have a pretty female oriented friendship base with only a small handful of male friends. In fact its been almost 10 years since I worked around so many guys. In my first week at this new job so far I have had at least 3 instances where I was completely baffled by my gender. 

During my second day there, one of the guys at lunch was sharing a porno he likes on his phone and passing it around between the guys all proud of it like it was some great accomplishment. Later that same day a different delivery driver exclaimed proudly that he regularly cheats on his wife, and that he doesn’t give a shit if his wife knows, much to the delight of his fellow coworkers. And then today I had an Italian man (also named Mike) show me and two other coworkers a dirty photo he took of some girl he was fooling around with in the back of his delivery truck. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude, I’m quite comfortable in my sexuality and have no difficulties talking about sex in front of other people. But this whole macho, alpha male, bragging about sexual conquests type bonding men do I just don’t understand. Maybe its because I’m surrounded by fresh outta high school boys and dirty old men, but I felt completely awkward when faced with each of these situations. Especially because 95% of their discussions are demeaning and objectifying women, which I just have no respect for. Honestly its outdated and pathetic to witness. 

So I’m not sure how long I’ll last at this job. I mean it’s good for now and its an upgrade from my previous employment. But I can’t see myself staying there long. I no longer desire to join in on this male need to stroke my sexual ego when around other men. I wonder if other guys feel the same way I do? I’m sure I’m not the only one who could do without this type of male bonding. 

Anyway thanks for reading folks. I’ll have this weeks writing challenge up by the end of the day Wednesday for those of you who care. 

20 Historic Black and White Photos Colorized

Awesome work by some amazingly talented colorists. Love it!

TwistedSifter

 

One of the greatest facets of reddit are the thriving subreddits, niche communities of people who share a passion for a specific topic. One of the Sifter’s personal favourites is r/ColorizedHistory. The major contributors are a mix of professional and amateur colorizers that bring historic photos to life through color. All of them are highly skilled digital artists that use a combination of historical reference material and a natural eye for colour.

When we see old photos in black and white, we sometimes forget that life back then was experienced in the same vibrant colours that surround us today. This gallery of talented artists helps us remember that 🙂

Below you will find a collection of some of the highest rated colorized images to date on r/ColorizedHistory.

I’ve also provide a list of some of the top contributors (in no particular order):

zuzahin aka Mads…

View original post 752 more words

Weekly blogging challenge #4: Write a list post

I attempted to complete this challenge late last night but due to WordPress being stupid it was deleted along with my draft. So I went to bed instead of writing it again.

Today’s post was inspired by 30 days to build a better blog by Darren Rowse as well as from reading other blogs. Lists seem like a common theme.

I’m not normally one to write lists. In fact I tease my list crazy gf often about her penchant for creating uncountable lists about everything. Although as much as I tease her about it, I understand the practicality of using a list, as I see first hand how it makes her organized and efficient in her life.

In creating my post I figured why not share a list of things that have helped shape who I am.

1) Person: George Carlin. My favorite comedian and modern philosopher. His love for language and his unwavering honesty about humanity makes him one of my personal heroes.

2) Video Game: Mass Effect 1,2 & 3. Bioware is based out of my home town and had made another game I enjoyed calle MDK II. My best friend even worked for them on Mass Effect, so my expectations for the game were pretty high. But I never could have expected just how awesome this game series is. Commander Shepard is now my all time favorite Science Fiction hero. Bioware really set the bar high. I was so emotionally invested in the story, the characters and the mission I truly felt I was Shepard. By far one of the greatest games ever made.

3) Book: Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. A gripping tale of a young boy genius, destined to be earths last hope in a war with an Alien threat and his emotional struggle to save earth as well as his humanity in the face of genocide. It’s sister novel Enders Shadow together combine for one of the best science fiction stories I’ve ever read despite the religious undertones. Soon to be released on film this year starting Harrison Ford.

4) Music: Strung Out. Southern California punk rockers have a heavy blend of Punk/Metal. My all time favorite artist. I’ve seen them 13 times, traveled multiple cities to see them, own too many T-shirts/merch to count and sport a tattoo of their logo the Astrolux. Love them. Check out http://www.strungout.com

5) Artist: Vincent van Gough. Creator of The Starry Night. His blending of color and use of dark/light contrast, added with his unique painting style has always left me fascinated with this painting. A crazy yet wonderful painter.

6) Website: Strong Bad and the gang at www.homestarrunner.com.
Created by The Brothers Chap. This flash cartoon was all the rage a few years back. From its wacky characters, interactive website and it’s classic cartoons like Teen Girl Squad. This website is already awesome to begin with. Add in the epically hilarious Sbemails and it’s like 100000 times more awesome. As an aspiring cartoonist I can’t help but be inspired by the world created by those talented brothers.

7) Historical Figure: Carl Sagan.
I know not overly historical as he only passed away in the 90’s. But as I’ve gotten older and learned more about him the more his words, his hope and his never ending quest to understand the universe have inspired me to view the world more openly. He did so much for us in regards to the space program and put forth some of the most historical accomplishments in humanities quest to understand the universe.

8) Place: I’ve mentioned Fiji before (which I love) but the most important place on earth for me is the Rocky Mountains. The raw beauty and sheer magnitude of these natural wonders have played an important part in my life. Some of my most humbling moments have been in the Rockies. I’ve seen them from afar, in the heart of them and from high above and no matter how I see them, I’m reminded just how big our planet is despite how small we are in the universe. Makes me curious about what other wonders are there to see, visit or discover on this planet and beyond.

9) Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A emotional tale of love and memory starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as a recently split couple, struggling with the emotional turmoil of losing each other over their failed relationship. I saw this movie as I just ended a long term relationship and never has a film touched so close to home.

10) Food: Fondue, I’m a horribly picky eater. To the point it’s made things quite frustrating for my foodie Gf. But a few years ago we did Fondue for my birthday and had a blast. Cheesy, fried, or chocolate I love it all. I put this in the list because of how much my willingness to try new foods has changed. I’m still picky but I’ve eaten some pretty crazy stuff I never would have before if it hasn’t been for Fondue.

Thanks for reading today’s post and I apologize for the sporadic posting recently. Things will become more normal next week.

Mike

Argh!!! Damn you WordPress.

(Insert foul expletive here)
I just spent an hour writing today’s blogging challenge and WordPress just deleted the entire thing and didn’t save my draft.
God damn what a piss off.
So just a quick note that it will have to be posted tomorrow afternoon as its too late to rewrite.

My apologies folks. Hope you can understand.

In the meantime here’s a link to a cute bunny in need of love.

I love that video by the way. So clever, catchy and well you have to be one cold douche to not feel bad for the bunny.

Night all.

Back to regular scheduled programming.

Hey folks,

As I’m sure you know based off my last post, I’ve been away a bit focusing on my schooling in preparation for final exams. So I haven’t had much time to write. It feels like it’s been a while since I sat down and spent some time writing. I know it’s only been a week but I must admit I missed my blogging time.

I wrote my final this morning. I’m confident I did well and will pass my course. This marks the finish of the first part of my educational journey. As well today was my final day at my previous job, as I start at my new one tomorrow. So today was a reason to celebrate, completing my upgrading is quite an accomplishment for me. When I first decided to go back to school, I was fearful and full of doubt as to whether I could go back and succeed. It had been 10 years since high school so naturally I was frightened. Having been in the workforce for 10 years and facing a huge task of making up for my mistakes I made as a teenage student, I was left with many doubts that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.

So today is a milestone for me. I’m proud of what I have accomplished over these 2 years. I’ve overcome the doubts and fear of failure. As well I’ve built a solid foundation for my educational future and learned a lot about myself as a student and as an individual. I’ve proved to myself that success comes with a bit of hard work and a little personal sacrifice. I’ve also discovered I have an interest in writing as well as reinvigorated my love of reading.

As well today, my GF (who has been my biggest supporter) surprised me with a pretty wicked gift when I got home after my exam. On the table were flowers, a lovely card and a pretty bad ass painting of the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy Boba Fett (as seen below). I can’t wait to hang it up

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(Totally Awesome!! Admit it your jealous)

So starting tomorrow with this weeks blogging challenge I’ll be back to posting more regularly. I have a few fun things planned to write about over the next few weeks so keep following if your interested.

Mike

(Note: painting was made by a local artist in my city. You can view her work @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/Kaytlyne)

Exam’s = head explode! *BOOOM*

Just a quick note folks. This week’s blogging challenge will have to be put on hold till next week. I’ve been studying all night in prep for my exam tomorrow and have my finals next week, so I’ve been pretty occupied.

So tonight’s post is simply a link to a clip from one of my favorite comedians sharing his vision of our future. A beautiful idea from a brilliant man. Bill Hicks – The Vision

Back to the books, and a late night cramming session before bed. Wish me luck folks.

A minuscule spec on a fraction of a pale blue dot.

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Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. ~ Carl Sagan

This weekend was the Perseid Meteor shower. Being a city slicker I normally don’t get the opportunity to enjoy the amazing light shows they put on. I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of this amazing celestial event, as I was out at my mothers in the country for our annual summer family BBQ. We were fortunate enough to have a clear skies, so I was able to fully enjoy what turned out to be a beautiful light show.

It’s events like the meteor shower, which leave me feeling incredibly small in comparison to the rest of universe. No matter what challenges I face in life, or how big my insecurities feel, its an awfully humbling feeling to realize just how small and unimportant they are in the general scheme of things. Yet in spite of being faced with such a humbling experience, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems I face in my life. I have some big decisions to make regarding my future, many of which scare me.

We all can’t help but view ourselves as the center of our own universe. Not because we are inherently a selfish species, but more so because our understanding of the world around us is shaped by our own individual experiences. Every so often we are presented with a situation, problem or moment in life where we are faced with the truth, that despite how important our world seems, we are nothing more than a tiny spec, on a fraction of a dot in the ever expanding universe.

In my everyday life I feel tiny in comparison to the problems I’m facing and that’s what scares me. Yet I know that it only scares me because of the unknown factors that can turn my world upside down. I wonder if its this fear that has prevented me from actually being able to make a solid decision regarding my future and who I wanna be. I also wonder if that’s part of the reason why I’m struggling so much to define where I fit in.

All I know is that even though my problems in life are insignificant in comparison to the universe as a whole, they aren’t insignificant to the world that is my existence. And while my time on this pale blue dot we inhabit is limited, if I wish to achieve my maximum potential, that I must face each problem head on no matter how enormous they may seem.

(NOTE: The image above is the “Pale Blue Dot” photograph of the Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on July 6, 1990. The Earth is the relatively bright speck of light about halfway across the uppermost sunbeam. Image is owned by NASA and was found on the wikipedia article for the image)

Weekly Blogging Challenge #3: Far From Home

Since I’ve started this weekly blogging challenge I’ve been seeking out inspiration for topics to write about. Today’s challenge was inspired by the Daily Prompt: Far from home, that I found on the blog “The Daily Post“. I know I’m a bit late as this prompt was posted back on July 15th but it’s still an interesting challenge.

Anyway for this challenge I have decided to write about my October 2009 trip to Fiji. For me it was an unforgettable, life altering experience that left me wanting to travel more. It was a first for me for many various reasons.

When I turned 25, I went through a mid-midlife crisis. Upset that in the first 25 years of my life I had achieved so little for myself, I created a bucket list of things to accomplish before I turned 30. First thing on the list was to finally travel somewhere amazing. It was important to me to prove to myself that I could achieve any goal I set before me. Until taking this trip, I had never traveled anywhere outside of Canada, had never been on an airplane and the majority of my vacation’s meant camping with the family. My family being of low income couldn’t afford exotic vacation’s, so most of my traveling experience has been between Alberta and British Columbia. Many summers were spent camping in the Rockies (which are breathtakingly beautiful), but as I got older I desired to see more of the world.

I don’t remember exactly when I decided that Fiji was where I wanted to travel first. I do remember that I chose the destination with the idea in mind that it was one of the farthest places in the world I could travel. I spent days, learning all about the country, the people and the sites to see. Each day getting more and more excited at the prospect that I could actually visit there someday. It was during my research into finding the perfect island to visit that I came across this photo.  (Seen below) 

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It was after seeing this beautiful image that I swore to myself that one day I would be standing on that exact tree and get my photo taken.  So I set in motion a plan to spend my 27th birthday at Nanuya Island Resort.

Now I wasn’t too interested in going on this vacation by myself. I initially invited my GF at the time to come with me (we ended up splitting up before any reservations were made because she was cheating on me), so I eventually ended up going with my best friend John, which was pretty awesome. Both of us had never traveled anywhere this exciting, and who better to celebrate your birthday with abroad then your best friend right? We left on Thanksgiving in October ( Canadian Thanksgiving being on the 14th and my birthday on the 21st) for our 10 day trip. Our trip would take us 3 hours from Edmonton to Los Angeles, (where we were initially supposed to have a 12hr layover that ended up being over night due to flight cancellation), then a 10 hour 45 min flight from LA to Nadi ,Fiji. We stayed over night in Nadi as it was still another 5 hour boat ride to Nanuya Island. I must say that’s quite an accomplishment for a first time flyer and I am proud of how well I handled such a long flight/travel time.

The boat we took from the mainland to the island was pretty nice. Called the Yasawa flyer it took us on a trip through the Yasawa islands stopping along the way to drop off and pick up travelers. Totally with the extra $$ to stay in the Air Conditioned cabin where we enjoyed the views and the company of the staff on board who were always smiling and full of interesting facts about each island. When we arrived to the island and were immediately greeted by the resorts staff, who presented us with some hand made seashell necklaces and a tasty cool, fruity drink. Jioji, who was the resident bartender gave us a briefing session about the island and what to expect. We then settled in for 8 days of true relaxation.

After 2 years planning and many hours of travel, finally I had made it. Nanuya Island Resort, FijiImage

(Can you believe how blue that water is?)

We spent the first day just relaxing, eating some good food, smoking some Cuban’s and just soaking in the experience. I couldn’t believe I was actually there, yet there I was watching the sunset behind the island across the way. I snapped the photographs (below) to capture the moment and the beauty of what I was seeing.

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(The pictures truly don’t do that view justice. So beautiful I’ll never forget it.)

Now I booked this vacation with the plan in mind to do absolutely nothing for most of the time. I wanted to get away from all the noise, crowds, stress and responsibilities of my environment back home. So I pretty much spent the majority of my time there sleeping, reading, listening to music, sleeping, and exploring the island and enjoying the delicious eats provided by the resort. We even took an hour long walk around the island during low tide in which John was burnt to a crisp (Such a pasty white fucker lol). We did end up taking a trip to the Sawa-I-Lau underwater caves on my birthday, where we took a underwater dive through a very small 5 meter long opening to access the caves which was a bit scary, If you are brave enough like me you can take a cliff dive off a 30 foot high cliff into the clear waters below. (I didn’t get any pictures of the caves as I didn’t bring a water proof camera so see the link provided to check the caves out).

My time on the island was going pretty well, we met lots of people from different places around the world despite how remote a location we were at, including this Swedish guy and his girlfriend who talked hockey with us the whole time we were there. I spent a lot of time taking photographs of various things on the island from the animals, flowers, the beautiful ocean view and just silly things. During one such photo op I came across a can sitting on a tree. All rusted and gross I decided to pick it up to go and toss it in the garbage as it seemed wrong to have it sitting there. When I picked it up a lizard popped out of the can and scared the shit outta me. I managed to snap a few photos of him as he certainly wasn’t overly afraid of me. Image

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He obviously had made the can his home so I returned it to where I found it and let him be. But he was by far the largest lizard I saw my entire time there. The place was crawling with little lizards of varying colors.

I took lots of photos of the flowers on the island because it was littered with them. The flowers I loved the most I snapped this photo of. It’s one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Perfect composition in my books.

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( I love the deep yellow colour with the white edges. I keep meaning to sketch this photo.)

So eventually it was time to say goodbye and go home. My final night there I started getting sick so I didn’t get to take part in the traditional Kava drinking ceremony they were holding. I was disappointed but I didn’t want to get anyone else sick. We said our thanks and good byes to the staff and the people we met. John gave Jioji his LED flashlight as a going away gift as Jioji had never seen one before.

Before we left I made sure that one more photo was taken. I swore to myself I would make it to that tree and get my photo taken of me standing on it. Image

( I made it. I totally made it)

This is my favorite photo of the entire trip.  What was initially a daydream inspired by a random photo I found online, became a reality for me. It’s proof that if I want something bad enough and am willing to put in the work to accomplish it that I can do it. This trip was certainly a life altering experience for me, it left me with memories to last a life time, a taste of the culture the world has to offer and it left me with a burning desire to explore the rest of the world. But most of all it was a truly humbling experience. Before I left all my life’s problems seemed so big because my world was so small. Now my life seems so small because the world is so big.

Thanks for reading tonight’s challenge, I truly enjoyed writing it. I know its a bit late in posting but it took me a few hours to write this out as I struggled deciding which photos to share. Please feel free to share comments, questions etc if you have any.

(NOTE: All photos except the first one were taken by me. I own them. The photographer of the first photo is unknown to me)

(NOTE#2. I didn’t include pics of the resort itself on purpose. It was more important to share my story then upsell the hotel, but I want it to be known they were amazing, affordable, courteous and well maintained. If you’re considering a trip to Fiji please consider Nanuya Island. You can find more info on them at http://www.nanuyafiji.com )

How music has left its permanent mark on me.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but music has always been an important and defining part of my life. I find it quite interesting how most people define themselves by the music they listen too. Each of us influenced by a song or an artist in a profound way, leaving a lasting impact on who we are as individuals.

 As I’ve mentioned in past posts, for as long as I can remember I have defined myself by Punk music and the subculture associated with it. Now I enjoy various types of music genres ranging from Ska, Rockabilly, and Metal to Classic Rock and Jazz. But Punk Music has always been my one true love. 

To give you an idea I’ve been to 300+ concerts (lost count years ago), traveled across 2 provinces to make it for the traveling punk festival Warped Tour on a few occasions, I’ve seen my favorite band 13 times and counting, own multiple cd’s, vinyl, stickers, posters, t-shirts and other merch in support of the artists I listen to. I’ve likely invested as much money into supporting my favorites artists as one would put into buying a car over the years. 

So as you can see music has been a huge part of my life. Despite the fact I’m not overly musical myself (Oh man, I was a terrible bass player) I am who I am today because of the music I hold dear.  In fact when I was turning 25, for my birthday I got a tattoo of the logo my favorite band (Strung Out) uses. (see photo below) Image

I got that tattoo to celebrate turning 25 as well as to serve as a reminder of my punk and nerd roots. While I love my tattoo I’ve been itching to add to it since the day I got it. But have been struggling with when, how and what to get to add to the existing ink. Well now that school is ending in a few weeks and the fact I am celebrating a major accomplishment in my life, the idea of getting a new tattoo to celebrate has been on my mind often. 

So I’ve come up with a concept I am happy with, as well have saved up $150 so far for the work. With music being so important to me and already having a musical inspired tattoo, I’ve decided to get a select score of music from a song by my favorite artist that’s very important to me. I hope to have it turned into a sleeve on the same arm as my existing ink. Below is a concept photo I found using Google Image search (Artist unknown)

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Now this is only just a concept of the tattoo I want inked. I’m hoping to find an artist who is willing to take this picture along with the music I provide and personalize it a bit more to me and have some colour added.  But I definitely love this tattoo. Now I’m not exactly sure when I will be getting the work done, but I’ve definitely made the decision this is what I am going with.

So what do you think? I’d love to get an opinion from readers about this tattoo idea? Do you like or hate it? Do you have an idea to improve upon the design. Or are you like me and have musically inspired ink and just want to share your story/pics. Whatever your opinion is I’d love to hear it. 

I’ve included a link I found on youtube to the song that inspired my next tattoo. The guitar solo in the final minute of the song is the part of the score I want inked.  I picked it because it’s one of the few songs that no matter when I hear it, my emotional attachment to it still leaves me with chills. 

Thank you again to all who read this. Enjoy the music. 

The Misanthropic Principle – Strung Out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z2ioOKKGiE