I rode my bicycle to Port Colborne again today and on my way came across “Derek’s Point”.

I’m going to let Derek’s words speak for themselves….

image

image

The Moai
by Derek Zavitz
10/2/96, aboard ship…

The sun sank below a distant mountain on the horizon and the cold air filled our campsite. The Concordia crew gathered around a campfire to share stories about our eventful trek through Rapa Nui (Easter Island). We were all fatigued and all ready for a hearty meal to fill out empty stomachs. The food arrived and it was devoured instantly. The hunger pains we were all feeling vanished with the nutritious meal supplied by Vicki and her generous family. The moon and the stars were shining bright, enabling us to easily find our sleeping gear. I tied my sleeping bag to my back pack and headed towards some nearby moai that awaited me in the mountains. The moon reflected on the island’s surface, leaving a narrow path of bright light. I followed this path up the mountain and to a cluster of moai. I chose my sleeping location in front of two stone structures that towered over me. Their expression was plain, but inviting.

When my sleeping bag was ready, I crawled into it with one layer of clothing on to keep myself warm from the cold air. The two moai were directly behind me and their facial features formed a shadow over my body. I knew my two friends would protect me from the rain, wind and any rocks that might break lose and fall down the mountain. For some reason I felt secure sleeping on a mountain surrounded by massive stone sculptures on the most isolated land in the world.

That day I had learned many different things about the moai. Enough information for my imagination to run wild. I realized I was sleeping among objects that are still a mystery to the world, no one is certain where, when, why and how these structures where built.

I was high enough on the mountain to see the Pacific Ocean, the rugged Rapa Nui terrain and a clear view of the moon and stars, the same scenery the moai have been staring at for hundreds of years. I felt a part of history, a part of a creation, a part of something spectacular. At some point during this fantastic experience I fell asleep.

I was awakened by a falcon crying for its prey. The sun had not yet risen, so I decided to climb further up the mountain for a better view. Just as I reached the peak the sun appeared over the clouds, making the sky brilliantly red. The heat of the sun dried up the morning dew that rested on the scattered vegetation. I sat on the cliff two hundred feet above the ground, thinking about how thankful I am to be able to have experiences such as these.

Lifetime achievement – check

Well not quite lifetime but …

For the past 30 years I’ve been a fan of Formula One racing and two weeks ago I finally attended my first race – in Montreal.

circuit-map-gilles-villeneuve-canadian-formula-1-grand-prix-1024x318

The weather co-operated immensely and thanks to some Christmas mad-money I was able to procure a three day ‘trio’ from gootickets.com. This package included seats at three different grandstands for Friday practice, Saturday Qualifying and finally the Sunday race.

In order I sat at Grandstand 31, Grandstand 15 (the hairpin) and Grandstand 1. Each one of these offered a unique view of the action and overall I am exceedingly pleased with the entire experience.

If you would like to explore the best of the roughly 1,000 pictures I took please have a look at the following four albums on Flickr:

Friday F1:
20140606_094637

Friday non-F1:

Saturday F1:

Sunday Race (F1):

And if that isn’t your cup-o-tea then maybe I can interest you in an album of Montreal landmarks and scenery?
20140607_161430

Canadian Gem – Stuart McLean

If I were asked to introduce someone to the best that my beloved country has to offer .. I would give them just one URL:

http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/home.php

I’ve listened to my fair share of stories from the Vinyl Cafe over the years. Stuart is a unique and talented storyteller that to me embodies the best that we have to offer.

And now I come to find that Stuart and his team offer up podcasts for the last 26 weeks. My drive to and from work will be time well spent for the next month or so :)

Why NBC, CBS, ABC and even FOX should be afraid of the internet.

Video

My daughter led me to this bit of theatrical brilliance – which with 4 million viewers per episode highlights the power of the internet to release peoples creative abilities and engage a perhaps ‘niche’ audience :)

Nintendo ??? You should be THROWING money at these people and BEGGING them to work with you.

Women in Formula One (F1)

I’ve mentioned earlier (on more than a few occasions) my belief in the support of women as agents of change in the world.

I’ve also spoken about my years-old following of F1 racing and so it seems a good idea mash these two ideas together and so highlight some of my most recent female heroes in the uber competitive and demanding world that IS Formula One racing 2014.

(and to put it straight out there – I will NOT be talking about the pit girls or the drivers wives and girlfriends …. You can find plenty of content on those particular topics elsewhere)

1) Lets start with ‘new to me’ pundit Suzi Perry on the BBC and not so new to me BBC’r Lee Mckenzie.

I have enjoyed Lee’s pit lane reporting for a few years now and similar to ‘new to me’ Suzi Perry she does an excellent job of providing technical details as well as insight into some of the ‘thinking’ that goes on behind the scenes. Both of these women come to the field with backgrounds in autosports and both do their jobs with finesse and professionalism. You NEVER get the impression that their job has ANY sort of ‘eye-candy’ requirement. Something that I can’t say for other sports / broadcasters over here on THIS side of the pond.

I can’t say a single negative thing about how the BBC and before it ITV curate and deliver their content and it is an attestation to the skills and underlying vision of these organizations and these two women that they are woven into the production(s) in a seamless fashion. If it were not for their voices (which are quite pleasant by the way) their gender would never come to mind.

Lee McKenzie and ‘the ice man’ Kimi Raikkonen

Suzi Perry and David Coultard

You can read a nice article from Lee regarding the ‘now upon us’ 2014 season and what to expect from it here and I would encourage you to follow her on twitter as well @LeeMcKenzieF1

 

2) Second up, allow me to introduce you to  … Claire Williams:

I hesitate to start with this sentence because it seems loaded with prejudice but it is factual and may just induce you to read on … Daughter of the great Sir Frank Williams, you can read a wonderfully insightful article on Clair over at the telegraph.co.uk here.

For me, my admiration starts and ends with her role in the world class organization that is Williams F1 and the turnaround that team has enjoyed in just one year.

 

3) Next up is Suzie Wolff:

There have been women drivers in F1 before (in various roles) but I get the impression that Suzie is going to be a game changer rather than a novelty. The proof will be in the pudding as it were later this year but I have high hopes for Suzie AND for Williams F1.

To be clear she is already an accomplished driver and having her succeed in F1 would be a fantastic (continued) step in the right direction.  I’m not sure nor do I care if having Claire Williams on the team in any way influenced the decisions that lead to Suzie’s opportunity but since I am sure that somebody out there will be thinking that there IS a connection I will simply say that we shall see what we shall see – and I am hopeful of great things from Williams.

4) And finally Monisha Kaltenborn of Sauber.

with team founder Peter Sauber

Monisha has taken on the top-job (Team Principle = CEO in common speak)  at Sauber since 2010 and over that timeframe the team has been progressing nicely under her guidance. I am hopeful that in the very near future they will become a ‘team to beat’.

You can read a nice interview with Monesha over at formula1.com here.

 

One of the things that occurs to me is that for all of these women; each one skilled, influential and exceedingly successful in their own fields, it is their achievements and skills that draws me to them. Yes I provided some pictures of each one of them in this post and yes they are in fact all quite attractive. But the truth is that this was done just to draw (visually that is) some attention to these most tallented of people.

If you would like more professionally curated info on any of these women over on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_McKenzie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzi_Perry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susie_Wolff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Williams_(motorsport)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monisha_Kaltenborn

The 2014 season is looking VERY VERY interesting so far this year and I wish the best of luck to all of the teams and in particular all of these women. I hope that my daughters can be afforded the same opportunities for success as they have enjoyed.

Child of Light – a playable poem by Ubisoft

What a wonderfully apropos find came my way today when my youngest daughter suggested that I have a look into this as something my oldest daughter might find of interest.

Fortuitous as my oldest one just got accepted into college in a program titled “GRAPHIC DESIGN PRODUCTION – INTEGRATED ANIMATION”. Dana has dreams of being a video game designer or builder and knowing her as I do I always had a concern that there would be no room in the ‘hack and slash’ video game world for a soul such as hers.

Check out this ‘making of’ video.

And finally here is a behind the scenes article on the ubi-art framework that was utilized.

This game is scheduled to be available on April 30th on all major platforms (PS3, PS4, Xbox360, XboxONE, Wii and PC (no mention of Steam)).

Keep up the good fight Mary Willingham

I came across a great episode on the Bob Edwards broadcast on NPR just now. In this hourlong segment Bob interviews Mary with respect to her battle with UNC (University of North Carolina) over her research on academia failings of athletic students. I’ll see if I can find a link to the audio because it was an enlightening inteview but in the interim here is a description of the interview….

Bob talks to Mary Willingham, a former learning specialist who worked with athletes at the University of North Carolina, and UNC history professor Jay Smith, about the continuing controversy around the university’s big money sports programs. Willingham says that some of the football and basketball players at Carolina she tutored or evaluated were reading between a 4th grade and 8th grade level, and a that a handful were functionally illiterate. She said one of the Tar Heels’ basketball players she tutored couldn’t read at all. UNC officials demoted her. She has also received death threats from fans. Willingham and professor Jay Smith are writing a book about the scandal, and the university’s reaction.