Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Energy Efficiency Is Possible

Despite opposing opinions on global warming, I think that we can agree on at least one thing: saving energy is better for everyone - plus it saves money. Whether or not the ice caps are melting due to human activity or whether the earth is just entering another life-phase, developing green-solutions to everyday functions is a brilliant move for the consumer and also for the general environment. Admit it, the movers and shakers of today are more corporate than political and if we can get corporations behind being genuinely environmentally friendly we will have developed more sustainable resources, decrease pollution, increase general health, create new jobs, decrease the cost of living, increase the quality of life, and hopefully convert the old "American Dream" to become possible, affordable, accessible and more sustainable dream.

Exhibit A: In Brazil there is an engineer who harnessed the energy of the sun through water during a blackout period. He put clean water into water bottles, 2 caps of detergent, made a few minor adjustments and put them into his roof where they captured the sun's light and created free, solar energy that produced a stronger and more natural light than the conventional lights found in homes. Now everyone in his neighbourhood is using this technology and saving on their energy bills. Take a look.


Use a 2-Liter Bottle as a 50 Watt Light Bulb lightbulb


Image captions from the video:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Book & Stumbleupon.com

Recently, I've had the privilege of achieving enlightenment through an amazing online tool called Stumbleupon.com. It's a neat search engine that produces random websites that might interest you. With a click of a button (literally, the button says "stumble") you discover things you've would never expect. It's a 100% free adventure. Everything is random and unexpected. Call it the embodiment of spontaneity :) How stumble works is that when you sign up for sutmbleupon, you check off what topics you're interested in such as: photography, art, drawing, books, cooking, news etc. When you access your stumble account, click on your stumble button and stumbleupon will display page after page of interesting and unique websites that one may never have come across solely due to that fact of an unawareness to it's existence - it's kinda like shaking an Eight-ball and seeing what comes up next, minus the whole future prediction part. While exploring and stumbling, Stumbleupon allows you to catalogue and keep track of sites you liked and organizes them in categories so you can refer back to them later. Personally, I selected a lot of photography and art related interest categories and the types of websites that I've stumbled upon have been phenomenal. Many of them are personal websites of artists displaying their work. Others are blogs or other official websites that are related. There's some really amazing stuff you can find.

Today, I Stumbled across this really interesting site. It's called "Book". This excerpt is straight from the web page. I couldn't figure out a better way to describe it as the original text so here it is:

For 36 weeks, a sketch book was sent in random order between 4 artists: 2 in Brooklyn and 2 in Belfast. Every Wednesday one participant would receive book and the following Monday it was sent out, giving each artist 5 days to complete a spread in response to the one that proceeded it. A small portion of each entry extends on to the following page. Beyond this, there was no communication between the artists concerning the content of book during it's making. Book's first trip across the Atlantic was on 2 June 2003. It's final trip was on 2 February 2004. By the time it was completed, book had travelled over 60,000 miles.
On the web page you can see some of the images inside the book. Checkout http://www.lookatbook.com/
It's really cool.

Another cool idea for a web service is Book Mooch. It's a book listing network where you can post up books you want to give away and in return you can get books that other people are giving away as well. The only catch is the for every 2 books to take, you must put up 1. There is no cost to use the site. Your only responsibility is postage to the recipient. You can search for books by title, genre or country. It's a neat idea and perhaps you can create a mini book club through it. It's an idea :) Check out http://bookmooch.com/

Other photos and thoughts to brighten the day:

It's a pirate cat!!!! ARRRRRR!!!

Kanye has gained control of Google search...

Even Darth Vador can be eco-conscious and environmentally sustainable. If it wasn't space, I'm sure he'd ride a bike.

It really is funnier...I mean more fun.


Try it! I highly recommend it. Although, with a word of caution - it's highly distracting. Once you start stumbling, it's hard to stop.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's interesting. This time away from home I'm more frequently reminiscing about home, friends family...old friends, newer friends...the people who I consider to be my truest friends. I'm not sure what it is but all I can do is be grateful. Homesickness sucks, but I feel perhaps I miss home because this time around I left "home" as a place I finally moulded to be my own. The friends I've made over the last year have been the most incredible people whom I've come to love and really care about. And especially recently, I've had the chance to catch up with 3 of my best friends who I hadn't seen for over 2 years. It taught me, that no matter time or distance real friendships last forever. And the really beautiful thing about it all is that perhaps it's the one thing in life that is the most real and tangible thing. We don't ask or choose our best friends or family. We meet random people in life and through the randomness we find the most valuable treasures and relationships which will be the most honest in nature, most real and most fulfilling things in life.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I got a feelin'...ooh oooh....

For all those who've continued to read this post without being pissed that I've now got the Black Eyed Peas song stuck in your head - I thank you :)

It's Wednesday, December 2nd. And it's cold outside. It's 23 days away from Christmas and I've been officially away from home for 1 month and 1 day. Happy anniversay to me. And I have the urge to write.

I'm excited. Christmas is coming up. Though I won't be home for the holidays with the fam-jam I'm looking forward to another new Christmas experience - one with the Mackay family in Edinburgh. Apparently in Edinburgh Christmas and New Years (also known as Hogmanay in Scotland) the celebrations are huge!!! It's a massive 4-day celebration and everyone hits the streets for music shows, dances, food and fireworks (http://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/) I'm a little torn because the Gordon-Smith family has invited Louis and I for Christmas and New Years at the chalupa. I'd love to go for at least New Years, but we'll figure it out soon enough. Also, I'm excited to do my Christmas shopping. I love making/buying gifts for people. It's the best to see your gift made someone happy or excited. But in the more immediate future, I'm the MOST excited to see Gintare Stankevicuite - one of my bestest friends in the whole world (literally)

She's my beautiful best friend from Lithuania who I met my first year of Uni. We had loads of class together the first semester but the class we really got talking in was our English Composition course. There I also met the rest of my "family" - Tony Jakubse and Danny Lostak. Later Sandra Issa would be added onto our atomic family.

A couple of weeks ago, on our road trip to the UK we also got to catch up with Laura. It was amazing and I can't imagine what it's going to be like to catch up with Ginte after 2 years!

Another exciting event is the return of Sister Angela Backeberg from her mission in Halifax on Dec. 5!!!!! I cannot wait. Unfortunately, since I won't be in Vancouver when she arrives, I can only do the next best thing and skype date her! It's been 1.5 years already and I miss her. Her sister Jenny became one of my best friends and amazing support to me in my life and I am so grateful for the months we lived together. Now to catch up with Ange. It'll be amazing.

Anyways. What I've learned. Your true friends will be your friend no matter time or distance. Some friends are forever. And whoever said diamonds are a girl's best-friend obviously had no best-friends.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Dear All,

It's been 2 years and WE'RE BACK!

Although most people probably aren't following this blog, since I am out and about (said in a Canadian accent) again around Europe I thought I'd start blogging again! This time I'm off on an adventure with my love Louis. For those who don't know him - he's pretty amazing and goooood lookin' *see picture below.

Right now I'm in Luxembourg "not" working and "not" living here. It's complicated. And there might be a few problems in 3 months because I don't have a visa. I'll go into this in detail a little later, but for right now I'm having an amazing time. We have a little apartment just a 15 minute walk from the centre where the office is and where the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg sleeps. It's a small city with the feel of a small town. It's actually kind of frustrating sometimes, like the fact that on the weekend shops are all closed on Sundays and only opened until 1:30 pm on Saturdays. Plus during the weekdays shops close at 6:30 when people only get off work at 6. Good luck getting your groceries here! But I think it's mainly due to the fact half the people who work in Luxembourg don't even live in the city...so essentially Luxembourg is a small town pretending to be a big city Mon-Fri. Oh well. It's cute. And there are some really great bike paths that take you out into the countryside.

This past weekend Louis and I went on a 30 km cycle through the countryside. It was amazing. We got lucky and on Sunday had a partially sunny day, which is a nice change from the 7-day a week rain-fest. This is the only place so far that I've seen more rain than Van-city. Hard to believe? It's fact! Trust me. It was beautiful. Rolling hills, farms, cows, forests, rivers...very cool.

But a couple of weeks ago we took a road trip to the UK. We stayed in London a couple nights with Louis' best mate Myles. First night we met up with Chris Furness, another one of his best mates and hung out. Chris brought along a couple of his flat mates - Evart from Holland and Rupert from England who are all musicians. And they don't just live in a flat. They live in a converted warehouse which is literally a warehouse split in half, with an inserted 2nd floor with 7 bedrooms and a massive area to jam and hang out. They had loads of guitars hanging about, a drum set and an organ. It was really awesome.

On the way back from Edinburgh we spent the night in London at Chris's place and sat around listening to them jam. So cool. After London, Louis and I took a trip over to Bangor in North Wales to visit the lovely Laura Bliedung! Wales is GORGEOUS! Also, if you get a chance to go speak to someone who speaks Welsh and you'll just be blown away. The Welsh language is unlike any other and absolutely no relation to English. It's pretty cool. Bangor is a small town that is 60% students who attend the University of Bangor. Laura's just completed her masters in Psych there! It was so much fun catching up with her. She showed us her special pier that looked out towards the ocean and Ireland which you could barely see just in the distance. Then we went on a bit of an adventure across the bridge into a place called Anglaise. There we found this gorgeous beach. We walked along it to this little peninsula that had some old ruins on it and a couple of light houses. Wandering along the peninsula were wild cows and horses. I wanted to go see the horses and cows up close so we crept our way towards them. We got about 4-5 feet away from the horses before the horses felt we were too close and galloped a ways away to keep their distance. However, it took the cows a little longer to realize were there. Louis had a bit of fun and chased them around. However when the 2 cows had been split up we happened to be stand in between them - right in the middle. The cows pretty much looked like this...

Tongue and nostril included.

I wasn't too comfortable considering the fact we'd just chased them around and they were suddenly on either side of us. Pretty much terrified from my life, I instructed Laura and Louis that it was time to go and to move slowly away from the cows and to be careful not to make eye contact...you know...just in case. We ended up getting out alive. Once we were a distance away the cows galloped to join each other. Turns out the cows weren't blood thirsty creatures planning on taking their revenge. That was reassuring. Meanwhile, the horses were on the other side of the hills just watching - wise horsies.

After Wales? EDINBURGH! Now that was fun. There I met loads of Louis old friends and his mom Cecile and his lovely sister Hannah. Cecile threw a little bit of a Welcome (back) party for Louis and I. I'm pretty sure we met ALL of Cecile's friends and their spouses. There were almost 40 people there in her little flat for the party. Cecile though KNOWS how to throw a party. Very classy and very beautifully done. One of her guests told her, "You are the embodiment of good taste". So true.

Anyways, all in all we drove 3500 km to and from the UK. But after 8 days of traveling, it was nice to be back in our little apartment in Luxembourg.

Keep on tuckin'!!!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Recap of last 5 months...

Hi everyone,

Sorry i've been MIA...I don't even know if people even read my blog. It's pretty boring...I don't eve have photos posted. But that's because I have yet to take the time to figure out how to do that...

Ok, so a quick recap of what's been happening here in Prague.

Since my last posting back in October, having seen the Dalai Lama I have had a few adventures.
1) I took a trip to Chemnitz and visited the Bliedung family and saw the Dresden Christmas market.
2) I had a wonderful Christmas out at the chalupa with the Gordon-Smiths which included Rostya, Simon, Liba, Richard and Alejandro.
3) Fall semester ended.
4) I had a two week holiday in Lithuania with Ginte. We had a great time and made new friends! I hope to return in June.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dalai Lama

Today I saw the Dalai Lama. Not in a magazine, but in person - in real life!!! It was so cool! Here in Prague, the city was hosting Forum 2000 which was an open discussion that involved prominant political figures such as Vaclav Havel (former President of Czech Republic), Kim Campbell (former Prime Minister of Canada), His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Boutros Boutros-Ghali - former UN Secretary General; Bronislaw Geremek - former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ghassan Salamé - former Minister of Culture of Lebanon; Mary Robinson - former President of Ireland; Elie Wiesel - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Vartan Gregorian - President of Carnegie Corporation of New York; and Vaira Vike-Freiberg - President of Latvia. The forum ran from October 8 - Tuesday, October 10 and they discussed Dilemmas of Global Co-Existance with multiple panels.

So unfortunately, I was not able to see any of the other panel discussions due to the minor detail that they did not put my name on the list of guests, although it was SUPPOSED to be. I had emailed the forum requesting to be able to be able to observe the discussions and was reassured that I was invited and that they would add me to the list. On Monday morning, when the forum opened to the public audience I went and lined up to watch the first day of discussions. Once I arrived I stood in line for 45 minutes, just to be told that the conference was full. Well, I stayed in line anyways because it still seemed as if they were letting people in despite the recent announcement. However, once I finally got inside to the checklist people I was told my name was not on the list and that they could not let me in. Sadly, I left disappointed, annoyed and slightly ticked off! Thankfully, I have good friends like Laura who encouraged me to return anyways on Tuesday with my email backup confirming that I was indeed promised a space in the discussion. Sure enough, when we returned on Tuesday, I showed them my papers and informed them of the complications and the situation. They let us both in with no troubles whatsoever! :)))) IT WAS AWESOME! The Dalai Lama is super cool. He spoke about how religion brings a peace of mind, where it otherwise would not be found through weath and posessions. He also addressed the current global conflicts between world religions and how we must learn to deal with our differences and live in a harmoneous environment. At the end of his lecture, he held a 10 minute meditation session where everyone in the church closed their eyes and meditated about something. He told a story about a man who lived in the mountains of Barcelona for 5 years and only meditated on one thing - love. He said, "If this man can meditate on one topic - love - for five years, than we can meditate on something for 10 minutes." It was a really neat experience. It was interesting to feel the energy in the church because during the five minutes I felt a calm that I haven't exprienced many times when gathered in such a large group of such different people from such various walks of life and religion. It was a neat experience. I have a lot of respect for the Dalai Lama!

If you'd like to see photos, email me or post a comment and i'll send you the kodakgallery.com link to see them.