I’m excited

Yeah yeah, I know. It’s been over two months since I wrote anything. For whatever reason, I’m just never motivated to post on Scatterthought in August, and September has been extremely busy.

The quick summary is that my job is going great. The people with whom I work are fantastic, and the work is plentiful. Thumbs up.

On the volunteering front, CFAX Santas Anonymous Society is ramping up for the Christmas Hamper program. Last year, I joined the organization when the program was already underway, so I was learning as I went along. Now, I’m in a position to provide more input and help shape the way we do things. I’m really happy to be part of a team that delivers an important and meaningful service.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to expand upon all of that–and we all know that I’m perfectly capable of doing so–because I’ve got a lot to do tonight.

So, let’s just cut to the chase and talk about why I’m excited.

If you know me well, you know that I rarely get excited about anything until pretty much the moment it happens. I’ve probably written about that before, so I won’t bore you with it again. Suffice to say that that’s just the way I am. Moreover, it really means something when I do get excited in advance. And tonight, I’m excited.

Tomorrow, I’m flying back to Waterloo to attend a wedding on Saturday. It’s a quick trip, from Thursday to Sunday, and I won’t have time to do much other than attend the wedding and visit with a few people. I did the same thing two weeks ago when I flew back for another wedding (which was also great, and went just about perfectly).

The difference is that this will represent a new “first” in my life, because this time I’m officiating the wedding. And yes, the entertainer/emcee/herald/loud person in me is very excited about this. Not just because I get to officiate a wedding, but because I get to officiate the wedding of two of my closest friends.

Also, after this I can legitimately say, “I’m available for weddings.”

I started working on the ceremony script about two months ago, and at first I overwhelmed myself. More accurately, Google overwhelmed me. Man, there are a lot of wedding scripts out there. After clearing my head, I thought about what my friends were asking of me. And it wasn’t just to be a person officiating their wedding, but to be “Russ” officiating their wedding. So, I took the basic structure common to many weddings, abandoned the various texts I had reviewed, and crafted a wedding ceremony that reflects what I’d like to say about love, weddings, and my two friends.

Then I sent them a draft and we cut about half the jokes. But don’t worry…I’ll sneak a few of them back in.

I’ve been excited every time I worked on the script, and about half an hour ago I started to get the “OMG I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait” feeling that typically eludes me. We’re finally finished the script, and after reading it out loud a few times, I’m really, really happy with it. So, I’m excited to share it with my two friends–who will know that it was created just for them–and everyone at their wedding.

I’m calmer now. I thought that writing about it would help, and it has. Now, all that’s left is to pack my bags, hop on a plane, and get myself to Waterloo.

Oh, there’s one more thing I should mention, which is that I can’t legally marry people. Don’t worry, though…we’ll have a minister in attendance who will witness the event and sign the marriage certificate. I’m not supposed to make a big deal out of that at the wedding, even though the jokes write themselves, so I’m saying it now to get it off my chest.

So there.

Glad to be proven wrong

Less than three days after it launched, the Bistro cat feeder has cleared its US$100,000 goal. Congrats to them!

I’m still concerned about the potential shortcomings of the feeder, but clearly there are enough backers out there who think it’ll work for their cats, and that’s all that matters. Like I said before, we need more innovative projects like this, and fewer projects that are the same thing over and over again. Continue Reading

Another post about crowdfunding, but…

…this time it’s something interesting: the Bistro cat feeder with facial recognition.

Many of my friends know that I have an automatic cat feeder, because my cats were constantly waking me up at night to be fed. As well, the autofeeder was great for when I travelled, enabling the cats to live on their own (with people checking in every other day or so).

My cat feeder is a decent piece of engineering that I had shipped from Texas, and it’s worked pretty well over the years. However, it’s nothing compared to the Bistro, which monitors your cat’s eating habits and weight, comes with a mobile app, and looks pretty cool. Oh, and that whole thing about it identifying different cats via facial recognition. Yikes.

In contrast, my feeder is basically a large hopper with a motorized dispenser that relies on a plug-in 24hr timer. It’s attached to a 2×4 post mounted on half-inch-thick particle board.

Continue Reading

Kickstarter’s road to irrelevance

At first, I was amused. Some guy created a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of making a potato salad. It’s the kind of thing you do when you’re bored and just want to see what it’s like to start a crowdfunding campaign. It’s a joke, everyone knows it, and no one’s going to support it. Frankly, that’s a better intent than a lot of things you see on Kickstarter and other websites, because a lot of people think that their truly terrible ideas are the best thing since sliced bread.

Notice that I used the cliche you expected there: sliced bread. I could have changed it up, just to be creative, but why would I? Sliced bread was clearly a major advance over un-sliced bread, and everyone knows it. The cliche is universally recognized, and there’s no need for me to try and improve upon it. In fact, that should be the acid test for a crowd-funding campaign: are the benefits of your “idea” comparable to the benefits of sliced bread? Continue Reading

Did you miss me?

Yep, it’s the same old story. I go back to work, and immediately stop posting on Scatterthought.

So, here’s where we’re at.

First off, the job is great. It’s been about three and a half weeks, and the first two were mostly spent absorbing information and trying to set up meetings with people. Now I’m getting into a groove, and I’m starting to feel productive. Just as importantly, I really like the people and the office environment. It’s a really, really easy commute, and the UVic campus is pretty much always beautiful. Even after a year in Victoria, I’m still not used to being surrounded by so much greenery.

Without realizing it, I hit a milestone this past weekend: on June 28, 2013, I left my job at the University of Waterloo. Even though I’m now working at UVic, it’s a bit strange to think that it’s been a year.

Moreover, it’s strange that I’ll be hitting a lot of one-year anniversaries over the next month. July 3 is the day I flew my cats out to Victoria. And July 12 is the day I left my house and began my epic, 17-day road trip across the continent.

I admit that there are times I wish I was still there, particularly when I think about my friends. Since 2004, my Canada Days were typically spent with the Robin in the Hood core group, and I’ll be sorry to miss out on both the Columbia Lake fireworks and Sarah’s always-awesome trivia contest. I’m not one to worry about tradition for the sake of tradition, but it’s different when those traditions have meaning.

Not that I’m complaining about being where I am. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people in Victoria, from my softball teammates to my sister’s friends. I feel comfortable, and like I’m making progress. And that’s what’s important.

Normally at this point I’d go all philosophical, but not today. Instead, some updates from the past few weeks.

My softball team won three games out of eight. We had a couple of really bad games, but overall we made progress. We’re now entering another eight-week season, and this time we’ve gone in as a team (rather than individual registrants). I’m really looking forward to it.

On the flip side, I never made it back to dodgeball after the first week. It was interesting to try out, and I admit that  I didn’t give it enough of a look. Mostly, life just conspired to keep me from attending on Thursdays, and on the two Thursdays where I could have gone, I just didn’t feel like it. That says enough to me.

I got a treat yesterday, when I saw my good friend John Milne for the first time in years. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because John was the creator of Battle of the Bards. After I took over the show from him, I made a point of referencing him heavily…the way I saw it, it was John’s show and I was just keeping his seat warm until he returned.

John and his wife lived in Victoria for awhile, but have been in Calgary for the past three years or so. Now, they’re moving back to Ontario. I’m excited for them, because they’re entering a similar phase to the one I just left behind, with tons of freedom and no major responsibilities. I wish them all the best in their journey.

And that’s pretty much June. Oh, except for that I saw a Martin Short comedy act (the second time I’ve seen him live), attended a friend’s choir concert (and am considering joining in the fall), booked two separate flights to attend weddings in KW in September, and saw Edge of Tomorrow (and thoroughly enjoyed it).

Yeah, all that.