For all that this year had some serious, serious highs, the integral of goodness was so-so-ish.

It was a bad year for animals, although I guess my cat technically died in 2010, between Christmas and New Years. My ex-wife's dog died mid-year, which wasn't any fun at all as my son and I helped her get it to the vet and stayed with her 'til the end.

"Work" continued apace and things got better, but I am so not one of Nature's employees. Looking forward to being out on my own again, sometime in the next year or two.

Logistics for the next stages of my life proceeded as far as they can. But I have a feeling that a lot of my life is on hold now, waiting for pieces to line up. I'm good--really good--at waiting. But I don't especially enjoy it, and that tends to colour everything else.

Not the best year I've ever had, but a long, long way from the worst. Although animals I cared about died, the same number of people I care about are above ground at the end as were at the beginning. No major relationships ended. So that meets my minimum standard for goodness, and it exceeded it in certain really important respects.

So over all: not a bad year.

On Canada

Spent the morning fixing the self-bailer fitting in the Laser I bought last month.

Spent the afternoon sailing it.

Walked about 15 km in the hot sun on the process, back and forth between home, Yacht Club and hardware store. Gorgeous, gorgeous day. Some fluffy cumulus around mid-afternoon, but otherwise a clear blue sky with a light south-west wind. Lake was full of boats, including a school of Opti's near the club full of little kids squirreling around the world's smallest race course. Also a few radio-controlled boats, a bunch of kayakers, a couple of those surf-boards you stand on with a long paddle, which looks like fun, and the inevitable jerks on jet skis, although they were fortunately mostly in the distance, and no more annoying than strictly required by law.

The boat still leaks some, as these boats tend to do, but a lot less than it did and with one more minor tweak I think it'll be pretty much dry.

I've got a Shark signed out from the Club tomorrow for my first sail in a bigger boat this year. June was pretty much a washout between Carrie being here and bad weather. There are worse problems to have.

While wandering back and forth through town saw lots of happy people and wrote a poem about the nature of this country: http://www.tjradcliffe.com/?p=352

Now sitting on my back porch beneath an evening sky where only the contrail of a distant jet on the Toronto-London route breaks the uniform pale blue. The day is cooling off, and I'm starting to experience that feeling of chill that comes from spending a lot of time in the hot sun. I'll be a bit red in spots tomorrow, I think, despite healthy application of sun-screen.

I'm not going to see the fireworks tonight. I only do every couple of years, and this is not one of those years. I will next year, if I'm still here. It'll almost certainly be the last time I see them in Kingston.

On the other hand, the following year will almost certainly be the first time I see them in Vancouver.

Atheistic Aside

Facebook is sometimes useful. Sydney Carten recently contributed this to a discussion on "agnosticism" vs "atheism": Asking them the question, "Is god necessary to explain anything that exists in the universe?" should sort out the dissemblers from the straight talkers.

Nothing like a crisp operational test to put an end to nonsensical debate.

World Population

I swear there are only 5000 people in the world.

I had fun today hanging out at TCAF with David Malki! and Ryan North, and mentioned to Ryan that--as my Scottish relatives would say--"I kent yer father", quite independently of the connection he and I have via "Machine of Death". (I also had fun hanging out with other afterward!)

One of the Queen's mentors on the robotics team is the grandson of one my mother's oldest friends, whom she has known since they were in grade three.

And today I learned that I am three degrees away from Osama bin Laden: one of my oldest friends trained briefly with Osama's judo coach--Jimmy Wu--in Taiwan.

I am also, for what it's worth, two degrees away from Brian Mulroney, George Bush I, and the Queen. What are the odds of that if there are really 7 billion people in the world?

The pretense of anything

At some point the Internet became all about cashing in.

I'm not entirely sure when this happened. 1997? 2001? 2005?

But it did. Some people did. Cash in.

The question is: how did they do it? Can it be replicated? Is there a formula?

I've been active on the 'Net since about 1993. I've made about $490 based on my network presence, and been involved in multiple failures. Failed companies, failed websites, failed you-name-it.

Today, the modus operandi seems to be: create a site that appeals to the lowest common denominator, promote the hell out of it, and do a book deal. The thing I have to wonder about is: to what extent does this modality infect everything we see on the Web? It makes me wonder about every single site I visit: "Does this exist purely as a shill for something?"

That's poison to the 'Net as it once was, and will never be again.