Total Pageviews

Monday, January 31, 2011

Barbies or barbells for our bird's birthday?

I've come to realize recently that my girlfriend and I may have incorrectly identified the sex of our bird.

I recently did some deeper research while writing an article about Cockatiel speech, and I think our happy baby girl may actually be a boy.

Let me just start by saying: It's not our fault.

I mean, it's not easy to tell if a Cockatiel is a male – it's not like it Googles images of Snooki from Jersey Shore as a tell-tale sign. But even if it did, that still wouldn't be enough to go on as Snooki seems to like girls, and girls seem to like Snooki too.

Not that there's anything at all wrong with that, even if it's just for ratings.

So here's The Situation we're dealing with (like how I did that? Yes you do.)

We bought our bird from a lovely little pet store in Bloor West Village in Toronto, but the staff wasn't 100 per cent certain if it was a male or female – to be fair, she/he was only a handful of weeks old at the time.

In the following days we decided, in ways I don't fully recall, that our Cockatiel is a female. Maybe it was her rosy cheeks, her love of Jennifer Hudson's singing, or her favouritism of mommy (which continues).

I believe we ended up judging the gender of Beaker (yes, we were smart enough to give the bird an asexual name) by the stripes on her tail feathers, which is apparently a female trait. But I have learned from several sources now that male and female Cockatiels have tail stripes until they molt. (Has our bird already molted? That's another mystery to uncover. Stay tuned.)

I have also learned that male birds are more likely to vocalize words, with females being more shy. Our Beaker has learned how to say 'Beaker' and the more complicated 'Mommy Loves Beaker'. Beaker's mom makes sure she says that phrase 50 to 60 times a day to ensure the bird remembers it.

Will I feel awkward if we determine Beaker is actually male?

No siree. As they say in the parenting world, it doesn't matter if it's a girl or a boy, as long as it's healthy. 

-- Know anything about Cockatiels and can set the record straight by looking at the photo of Beaker? Drop me a line. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Photography for Dummies, written by a dummy

I wrote a very quick and simple guide to help you decide when to use flash or natural light when taking photos.

I have nothing else interesting going on in my head at the moment, so this is the best I can offer for now.

Flash tutorial

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photos, photos, on the wall...

So here I go again shamelessly promoting myself.

(Deep breath.)

I have a series of photographs hanging at a local cafe – if you're in the Parkdale-High Park-Bloor West Village area, and you're hungry for some food and some art, pay a visit.

For the lazy and/or far-away, here's one of the photos you'd see:

The pictures have actually been hanging since the beginning of January, but seeing how I just created this blog two days ago, I couldn't very well talk about it here before then.

I had about a year to put together the gallery (that's when the space was booked), but in true slacker style I scrambled the last two weeks (maybe it was the last week) before the show to put together something worth looking at.

Did I succeed? You be the judge.

And hey, if you don't care for the photos, go for the food. Mitzi's Cafe makes really, really good food.


While you were texting...

So, the Toronto Transit Commission - the ol' TTC - has put itself in hot water again because now, one of its drivers was apparently texting while carrying a busload of people.

As the old saying goes, it's only wrong if you get caught. That seems to be the case for this unlucky fellow -- the driver can be seen here committing the alleged infraction.

OK, so right off the bat, you're probably thinking, "How could he be so irresponsible?"

But hold on, slow down a second. Especially if you're reading this blog on your phone while driving. (In fact, pull right over.)

I'm not condoning what the bus driver allegedly did (remember we're pretty much going by one rider's account of the incident and photo at this point).

I mean, I can't imagine what the bus driver would need to be texting about while knowing there are a number of human lives on board he could have been putting in danger (maybe his wife really needed him to pick up milk on the way home and it couldn't wait? And he was simply clarifying if she wanted one or two per cent?)

Silliness aside, this incident could serve as a wake-up call. Not just for the TTC, but for you. Yes, you. OK, and me, too.

Don't try to tell me you haven't texted while driving. Even after the law came into effect October 2009 banning you from doing so.

This is a small example of a much larger problem. People are increasingly becoming tied to their electronic devices, they have almost become a sixth (seventh?) sense.

I've seen many people in recent past using their phones in SUVs, trucks, cars, on bikes... the list goes on.

This particular guy happened to be driving a busload of people at the time of the incident. And he works (worked?) for a public service. So the spotlight is shining brightly on him.

Should he lose his job? That's not a call I want to make. Should we not point fingers and instead revise our own bad behaviour behind the wheel?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Welcome to my tiny corner of Cyberspace.

Hello, and thank you for reading the first post of what I hope will be an interesting blog.

In late December, my employment situation changed (it was a contract position, I wasn't fired) and I found myself with a bit more time... OK, a lot more time on my hands.

Since then, I have started to explore (exploit?) the world of online photo-sharing and freelance online writing.

What I have discovered so far is there is a massive sea of talent waiting to be discovered online, and it's mostly a game of how to get noticed among the thousands of writers and photographers who are all trying to seduce you with their words and images.

I have realized I dislike trying to promote myself. Really dislike it. But I'm the best... really. Just ask me. Or my girlfriend. Or my mom.

Shy of dressing up as a chicken or streaking across your screen naked, I elected to create a blog to catch your attention. If you're still reading this, then I'm not doing so badly.

So. Here's the deal. I will shamelessly post links to my own writing/photography, as well as pointing you to interesting (IMHO) photos and articles of others I come across while browsing the net. That should keep me fairly busy between coffees. And Netflix movies.

Feel free to comment on anything you see in my blog, good or bad. I am also open to story ideas, so if there's a subject you'd like me to write about, pass it along!

Until next time (probably later today when I'm bored and back in front of the computer) happy surfing!