Fighting The Good Fight
We Love Escape Pod
Free The Grapes
The other day I remarked on Facebook that I was marking another holiday season where Wal-Mart and I would not encounter each other. I think that this is my 11th year not shopping at Wal-Mart. Some people asked why I avoided Wal-Mart, and how could I resist the bargains? It’s not a short answer, so I decided to offer it here.
I grew up in Atikokan, Ontario well before Wal-Mart made its way into Canada. More importantly, a lot of what I think about business was informed by the experience of my family in running a local business. We had a building supply and we did some contracting.
We also had a Laundromat where I was tasked with maintaining the machinery. It was mostly Maytag equipment. My folks sent me off to Winnipeg one summer to be trained in the repair of said machinery. I guess in some fashion that makes me officially a lonely guy, but that’s another story entirely.
It’s been almost nine months since we brought Gwen into our household. Our early estimates of her age turned out to be higher than reality. We had initially been told that she was 12-16 months old when in fact she was less than a year. It may not seem like a big difference, but it explained some of her puppy-like behavior.
In July we sought out a trainer to work with Gwen and ourselves. Stella eventually settled upon Stephanie Bennett at Peace Love Dogs, a new facility that was in process of opening in the Spring Branch area of West Houston. Stephanie came to the house for an initial session, then had two further two-hour sessions working with us and Gwen.
In the month or more that it took to find and coordinate the training we had actually worked through many of the issues that we had with Gwen. As she was maturing she was better able to focus and stay on task.
When we went through the formal training we found, much as we expected, that Gwen’s a smart and able little Labrador. Her only issue is that she’s young and full of energy. Stephanie had her handling all the basic obedience work in just one session.
Watch the video. Visit the web site. Contact your elected officials. Please.
Although our recent trip to Canada delayed things a week or so, we’re now fully engaged in preparations for Halloween 2011. The most obvious sign is that the spider web was built in the front yard over the weekend.
We also went on our annual pumpkin hunt, this time choosing the local farmer’s market over a more distant source in the countryside. We found our Great Pumpkin for the year, a 125 pound monster (!) that I simply cannot lift on my own. It’s the largest that we’ve ever found.
More pics to follow as things progress.
Weird Al just gets things is such a deep and thoughtful manner. His latest single fits life as I know it in so many ways. There are so many people who deserve to get sent a link to this, but who would fail to appreciate it fully.
While some might think his humor is low, I think that this song proves not only his comic genius, but also his strength as a performer. Heck, I even find the video an impressive piece of work. Nicely done, Al!
OK, so I’m in the Google+ beta and I’m playing around with it. I’m not yet certain that I completely “get it,” but then I’ve never been the biggest fan of Facebook. That said, Gary V is right on the money when he highlights the “hangouts” feature. I think that real-time communications using audio & video is going to be huge. It’ll be everywhere, and soon. With the talent & IP from GIPS Google is well positioned to dominate.
Grape Radio has been a favorite listen for some time. This 2010 video on the French region of Cahors was just awarded the James Beard Prize. It details the areas as a center for truffle production with reference in passing to it as the home of Malbec wine.
Over the past couple of years I’ve taken quite an interest in wine. It started out just to satisfy my curiosity, but then, as is my way, I’ve gone into more depth than was originally intended.
Last summer Stella and I took a week of vacation to visit the Napa Valley in California. We traveled with another couple, also newfound wine enthusiasts. Not only was this our first real vacation in a long time, but we found the choice of topic and location immensely enjoyable.
In truth, we found ourselves starting down what may well be the very long path that is the exploration wine.