May 25, 2016

Reflecting on ten years of blogging

It’s hard to believe I’ve been chronicling my life and interests online for a decade now. I started with a brief Blogger blog before moving to Movable Type where it stayed until today, the tenth anniversary. So with that, here’s my relaunch on WordPress (“about damn time!” you’re probably thinking, and yes) and a little recap of where the last ten years have taken me.

  • I graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design University, had four jobs (2 design studios, a non-profit and a mobile tech start-up), and started a business
  • I’ve lived in three municipalities; in my current one I live a stone’s throw from the hospital where I was born!
  • I haven’t aged one bit since entering my thirties (yeah right)
  • There are 9 unfinished blog posts and 367 published
  • I developed connections with several local bloggers
  • My blog was noticed by Natural Health magazine, which published some of my zero waste tips and a brief profile in 2015
  • I continue to get traffic to posts about monoculture and biodiversity and why bikes are good for Vancouver (updated for an upcoming article in my local paper’s cycling column)
  • I learned a second content management system and a third programming language
  • iPhones and iPads came on the scene, changing my design process and making things more fun and more complex at the same time
  • Since starting my business a little over three years ago, I’ve worked with more than 30 non-profit and small business clients, for which I’m grateful, and I probably need to blog more often about the amazing work they’re doing
  • I took up cycling (and became addicted), stand-up paddling, knitting, gardening and hiking. Also protesting!

My blog has been chronically neglected for a long time, and to be frank that’s probably not going to change. Facebook tends to absorb ideas into short blurbs rather than researched exploration or an illustrated story. I do enjoy writing, however, and I’m hoping that this new content management system will facilitate more of it.

If you’ve been here before, thanks for coming back. If this is your first time, take a gander. There’s a decade’s worth of reading material!

March 16, 2011

With my fundraising goal reached, some reflection on daily blogging

When I decided to do a “green” blog challenge as my fundraising pledge, I figured a daily commitment would be easier to stick to than a weekly one because I can’t procrastinate. It has its downsides from a content perspective — lack of time to fully develop arguments with good sources, or to edit properly (I also don’t use spellcheck). But generating a daily post means I get it done without getting caught up in perfectionism or letting ideas become stale. I hope ultimately that, among unexpected duds, my content is better.

It might seem at first like writing about the environment is a constrained topic. I discovered as I branched out, however, that I can write about the environment in the context of design, art, health, technology and film. It goes to show that there are multiple ways of relating to environmental issues, and that the environment really does touch, affect and inspire all aspects of our life, especially culture. When you look at it that way, you can begin to understand how when natural systems are unhealthy and disrupted, we are affected, even if the effects are subtle or appear slowly over the long term. As David Suzuki puts it, “What we do to the environment, we do to ourselves.”

Continue reading With my fundraising goal reached, some reflection on daily blogging »

January 28, 2011

I’m celebrating David Suzuki’s 75th birthday with a daily(!) green blog post

75th graphicDavid Suzuki is turning 75 on March 24. To celebrate this momentous occasion and honour his life’s work, the David Suzuki Foundation invites you to make a gift or fundraise online to support the Foundation’s work, and send a personal message to David. There are prizes involved, and those coaxed me into signing up.

But I was at a loss for what pledge to make in return for my friends’ generosity. Jenny has pledged to bike the 60+ km round trip to work and back. Siri has promised to avoid shopping sprees until the big day. It got me thinking about what change for the greener I could make, and it wasn’t easy coming up with something — not because I’m unwilling to make lifestyle changes, but because I’ve made so many that I was struggling to find something new. I know my showers could be shorter and I really ought to shut down my old iMac hog at night. I’ll come around to a permanent commitment to those eventually. I eat four or five bananas a week, my cheese comes wrapped in plastic (I eat a lot of cheese) and I’m kind of addicted to the internet. (Just kind of.) I could change one of those for a little while, no big loss for a little bit of gain. But this isn’t about guilt, it’s about inspiring people and doing something meaningful. First, though, I have to inspire myself.

So I’m going to write a blog post about the environment every day until I reach my fundraising goal of $300. Just look at my sporadic track record: I’m going to need all the moral support I can get!

I may get carpal tunnel, avoid social occasions and frequently skip flossing in order to keep this up — but it’s David’s 75th and I believe very strongly in the work he and his Foundation does.

Will you celebrate with me? Here’s how:

1) Sponsor me online. (Two donors have pledged to match the first $15,000 raised in the campaign, so you’ll essentially be doubling your donation.)

2) Write a birthday message to David.*

3) Look for your personal message to be displayed at within a couple business days of your submission.

I invite you to join me and write your own blog post or comment here about what you’re doing for the environment and why. Or conversely, if you’re not doing anything, why not? I won’t guilt trip you; I’m seeking to understand. Also, if you’d like to request an eco topic about which you’re yearning to know more, leave a comment and I’ll consider it for a future post.

Thank you in advance for supporting the cause that is so very dear to my heart, and valuable to the majority of Canadians.

* It’s easy to donate online at To send David a message without donating, write to

May 25, 2009

New design launched as thirteen cent pinball turns 3

Three years ago today, I started a blog at Blogger and didn’t really have a name for this new “thing,” didn’t know where it was going, and didn’t know precisely what to write about. I’m still writing about topics almost as broad as my own interests, and frankly, I don’t think I know much better where it’s going but at least it has a name: thirteen cent pinball.

About eight months ago I decided to upgrade my blog from Movable Type version 3 to the much improved 4. In the process, I wanted a wider page with larger font, bigger images, a cleaner and easier commenting section, and better typography. I wanted to eliminate extra steps and hurdles for users, and streamline my own process for updating content across the blog and eventually my portfolio as well.

Regular visitors will recall the blog originally looked like this:

Previous blog design

Continue reading New design launched as thirteen cent pinball turns 3 »

March 19, 2009

Events for sustainability and social media lovers

Last night I finally attended my first Philosopher’s Cafe, on the topic “Sustainability—is it compatible with free markets?” It was a good discussion and, despite us all being pro-sustainability, we still differed on enough views to promote some argument. I’m an idealist but used my realist friends’ perspectives to offer some critique. (Sorry that you weren’t there!) I won’t make it to the next one at that location, because there is one that interests me even more in New Westminster: “The ethics of the hundred mile diet” is on April 15 at Heritage Grill, 7pm. A discussion on “GMOs: The complex difficulties of Frankenfood” happens there June 17… but that’s a ways off!

Here are a couple upcoming FREE events for folks interested in sustainability and social media.

Audacious Visions for Vancouver

Friday, March 20 (tomorrow!)

Pacifica Photography Studio, 821 Powell St, Vancouver

“A World Cafe style dialogue to discuss the future of Vancouver. How do we make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020? Come and contribute your thoughts in an afternoon of creativity and audacious thinking. A collaboration of the SFU Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue and the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Team.” Details:

Register online for the first portion beginning at 1pm, or come down at 6pm for some casual conversation.

Vancouver Net Tuesdays – Remixing the Web for Social Change!

Net Tuesday is a regular gathering of bloggers, social media folks, designers, non-profits and other folks interested in the role of the web for social and environmental change. It’s been going on in Vancouver for about a year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5:30pm – 7:30pm

WorkSpace, #400-21 Water St, Vancouver

Presenters (confirmed thus far):

Raul Pacheco – Social Media in Sustainability and Public Policy

Grace Carter – (BC Children’s Hospital Social Media Case Study)

Doug van Spronsen –

Steve Williams – Data for Good

Joe Solomon – The future of the Green Web — Joe is the Net Tuesday organizer

Host/MC is Darren Barefoot. Yay!

More details on Facebook or

February 22, 2009

How do you use (navigate) blogs?

I’ve been working for awhile on giving my blog design a facelift. As tends to happen with design projects that are drawn out at length (as is the case when it’s not my full-time work), I know more at the end than I did at the beginning. I mean, yeah, that’s supposed to happen, naturally, with any project, but these ones that would otherwise be condensed into a short time frame take place over the course of months that are packed with learning that occurs outside their context. That learning tends to fall into either design (look at how much better I’ve become!) or programming (look at what I’ve learned how to do!). Sometimes it’s outside influences like new technology that didn’t exist before, or of which I did not know. Well, this time around, it’s not so much my visual skills or my technological skills, but my thinking that has changed and grown since I embarked on this miniature quest. And it’s quite, quite recent.

Blogs and websites are constantly evolving. As a result one can probably expect users to be evolving too — in fact, with the presence of RSS readers, we hardly need spend time on people’s blogs in our web browsers save to comment. User behaviour changes with technology. This is clear. So when I have a model for my blog that is almost 3 years old, I have to wonder… what is still relevant? What features do users actually use and how do they find information?

I googled this already but Google help me I didn’t find an answer. That, therefore, is where you come in. The question I pose you is: how do you use blogs? When you arrive at a post, what helps you move on to another post (assuming you enjoyed the content or found it helpful)? How do you navigate the information — through tag clouds, categories, recent comments? Are lists overwhelming or redundant?

Your feedback will help me determine what features are of most use to you when you read my blog. Thanks in advance for helping me out.

A side note: in its next incarnation, I expect comments to appear immediately on thirteen cent pinball. Hooray! The facelift is a modernization, rather than a redesign, so the overall visual “flavour” of the blog, if you will, shall remain the same.

May 23, 2008

350 Challenge!

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

A new blogger action initiative just launched this week. Brighter Planet, “a Vermont start-up committed to fighting climate change and building a clean-energy future,” will offset 350 pounds of carbon for every blogger who puts the badge on their blog (let them know you’ve done it, via the form on the campaign website in order to make it count). Their goal is to get 350 bloggers on board, to offset 122,500 pounds of carbon! “That’s like flicking off 100 lightbulbs for a day. Or going two full weeks without your car!”

I encourage you to sign up to put the nifty, fun badge on your blog, too.