Online Recalibration

Like I need another blog…. but really there wasn’t much choice. I had to start Oh! Canada to keep politics from swamping in the wind. Which is supposed to be my personal blog darn it!   This is supposed to be for fun.   Politics is hard work. Oh! Canada will be primarily for political musings, which at the very least should provide in the wind with its own prorogation vacation. The kick-off post for Oh! Canada is, coincidentally enough, called Prorogation Vacation.

I will also be posting photographs I took at both the Waterloo and Guelph January 23rd CAPP (Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament) rallies in Oh! Canada in the next few days. After I’ve had a chance to get some work in on my novel.

adventures in micro-blogging

When I began in the wind, my first blog, I was advised to set up an account and then to start a Twitter account, which could be linked with the account. Since the two accounts talk to one another, if I write something on my account, it will also go out over my Twitter account, so I only need to say things once. At that point I’d been resistant to the idea of Twitter, largely due to the fact that I have no desire to type anything on a phone beyond a phone number. The fact that I can use these things online makes all the difference. And as it turned out the advice was good as and Twitter have proven useful not only for me to announce my new blog posts, but also for finding all kinds of useful information.

Of course nothing is perfect, and it seems that everything I see on one account does not show up on the other. Re-Tweets and Re-Dents don’t seem to cross over at all, so if it’s something one of my Twitter friends has said that I think my friends would benefit from, I’ll sometimes cut and paste. I’ve also discovered that shortened URLs from Twitter don’t always come out correctly in, so if I’m including a URL, I’ll usually post from

twitter logoOn Twitter you can “find people” so that you can follow them. Sometimes they will decide to follow you back. In this way we build communities. Twitter offers #tags, so you can find out what other people are saying by searching for the #tagged word in the “find a person” tab. came after, and so has an additional capability that I find handy: !groups. When you join a group, you will have the group conversation appear in your timeline, but you also have the option of going into the group area where all the group conversation is.

On, you don’t “follow” people, you “subscribe” to them. If you have an area of particular interest, you can either join a !group, or start your own !group. That was actually where I first began figuring how to connect with people. Signing up for the !quote group was the best thing I could have done; you can tell stuff about people based on who and what they quote. Sometimes I just look at the public timeline, or search for something I’m interested in. Twiiter seems more about sharing info and links, and that’s where I get a great deal of my political info. seems to be more about conversation. When someone you’ve subscribed to is having a conversation with others you may not be subscribed to, you can select to see the comment “in context” so you will be able to join in if you chose.

TypePad logoI decided to try out TypePad.   Although they offer a blogging service, you have to pay for it, which I am not inclined to do, particularlyt since I am very happy here with WordPress. But TypePad. offers free micro-blogging.   Now, what they call micro-blogging is different than what and Twitter do. Both Twitter and describe themselves as “micro-blogging” sites, and the TypePad. micro-blogging layout actually looks very similar, but the key difference is that there is no 140 character limit. I thought I’d try it out, so I’ve written a couple of micro-blog posts starting with sharing a book can be a struggle over there just to see how it goes.

I guess ordinarily I could have made those posts here on WordPress. After all I’m quite happy with WordPress blogging, and in fact keep suggesting it to people who are considering starting a blog. But I’ve been pretty busy housecleaning… er– recalibrating– over here. However, I’m experiencing some problems in TypePad. For instance, I have yet to figure out how to “follow” people other than the ones they indicate are stars. So at the moment I am following Bill Cosby. I haven’t quite figured out what that gets me 🙂

Also, although it gives me the option to “preview” it doesn’t actually work, so the only way I have to preview is to publish. Fortunately I don’t have any readers there yet so I can change things with impunity. It’s probably some java script thing. My operating system is currently Windows XP, and there are a zillion things wrong, one being that “NoScript” doesn’t work properly. I’m working up to switching over to an open source OS instead.

down to a dull roar…er meow

I’ll try to reign in the blogs some so I can get my novel finished. Maybe while I’m doing that I can let my computer guy lose on my main computer to get things sorted out and working properly, with a GNU Linux operating system up and running. Just to keep life interesting, I came back from my accountant friend Paul’s place with a rocking bonus:

Nick the Kitten Murray

These little brothers needed a home together, and we’ve been sadly without a pet since last summer… needless to say, thanks Paul.   (And they did finally come out from behind the furniture!)

So I kind of think there is a very good possibility that my life will be undergoing even more recalibration than my blogs…


No-ProRogue Rally Etiquette

As I write this, the Facebook page Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament stands at 210,316 members. Tomorrow Canadians from all across Canada will be standing out in the Canadian cold to protest Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ill advised decision to prorogue parliament and thumb his nose at democracy.

On Saturday I’ll be out with my family in Waterloo Square rallying for democracy. If you aren’t sure where to go in your neighborhood, check out the Google Map of Rally locations… not just across Canada, but around the world. Anywhere where Canadians are, really. Whether 1 or 1,000 we will be out there tomorrow.

Waterloo Region’s Rally for Democracy
Saturday January 23rd,
11:00am to 1:00pm
Waterloo Square

Just thought I’d pass along the pointers I got from Katie at No Prorogue! Waterloo. I would pretty much assume that many of these hints would be helpful for most any peaceful political gathering.

kids in winter wear

  1. Come, and bring a friend!
  2. Please dress warmly!
    There is a kids figure skating show at 2:00, after our rally.
    The salt on your boots melts the ice, making it dangerous for the skaters.
  4. Bring your Canada-Pride! Wear Red and White (if possible).Bring Canada flags, or make a sign to hold up!
  5. This is a PEACEFUL PROTEST.
    Any violent or disruptive action of any sort is not permitted.
    There will be police on site. If you see anyone doing anything dangerous to disrupt the rally, please practice the “Separation” method:
    Step away from the person and isolate them from the crowd, thus allowing the police to easily locate the disruption – do not attempt to stop the disrupter yourselves.

    I don’t anticipate any violence, but this should be mentioned regardless.

  6. Please respect and obey all requests made by the police. They’re here to help ensure our safety.
  7. All event volunteers will have yellow ribbons tied to their arms. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask one of them.

A Different Drummer

Maybe it’s because I was a little kid in the sixties, or even that I’ve watched too many movies, or something, but I think political protests make great family outings. My sister and I took our toddlers to a protest in Ontario’s bad old Mike Harris days. I have no idea what became of the darling little protest buttons we got for the kids that day that read:
“Toddlers Against Mike Harris”.

Sadly the damage done to Ontario’s education system just keeps on keeping on. That doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for electoral reform. It just means we have to fight harder.

For families who rally together

If you’re going to be out waving flags with small children, or elderly family members, it is especially important that you check out the location to make sure you know where important things like public washrooms and escape routes are. With small kids, anyone with health concerns or any difficulty getting around, it is good to have a relatively easy time of it getting to a warm place, or just a quiet spot when you can feed the baby or give Grandma a chance to rest her weary bones. With older kids it’s a really good idea to establish a meet-up place if, say, the pre-teens get separated from the parents. Rallying for democracy is one thing, but being seen in public with your parents is something else again.

It’s always good to pack portable kid snacks, but remember it is winter and keep an eye on the temperature, particularly because the need to warm up is greatest for the youngest and oldest of us.

On the fun side, this is a great time to use all those flags all those politicians hand out on Canada Day. If you don’t have one, the dollar store will. If you’ve a full sized version, It’ll make a great “Captain Canada” cape for the mid sized kid.

Just as on Canada day face painting can be fun; If you want to make your own Maple Leaf clothing, a bit of red acrylic paint can put maple leaves on a white shirt. Just print out a maple leaf shape at the size you like, cut it out and trace around the outside on the shirt or any fablic or carboard. You can trace around the edges with a red Sharpie marker (warning: do NOT try to colour it in with the Sharpie unless you have excellent ventilation for the bad fumes. Then paint the leaf. Or flag.

Acrylic paint adheres beautifully to fabric. Don’t put it on thick and it will pretty much dry within an hour. If you let your shirt (or whatever) set for a day or two after
painting, turn it inside our before laundering ant it will last you for years. This is a great fun thing to do with the kids.

Democracy NOW!

I think we badly need electoral reform, so I tell everyone to check out Fair Vote Canada. I expect that Fair Vote Waterloo Region folk will be out at the Waterloo Rally tomorrow. I suspect it might be a pretty big turnout, as Waterloo is awash in bastions of post secondary education.

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