Archive for the ‘other’ Category

I feel a food truck debate coming on. I can see both sides. Calgarians are hungry for some food culture. Everyone’s excited about the food trucks, but what about the restaurants they may or may not be parking in front of? Are they stealing customers? Or bringing more awareness to the businesses in the direct vicinity?

There was a quick article on CBC’s website about how many neighbourhoods are turning away the food trucks, and yet, the end of the article says Marda Loop’s considering allowing the trucks to visit twice a week. Who’s thinking synergistically here? The answer’s pretty obvious.

I get that restaurants might feel threatened by this new mobile food revolution. But, everything’s going mobile these days… so why the Debbie Downer ‘tude on something many city folk are excited to finally see hit Calgary? Learn from the social media craze folks. Mobile, whether app or food, isn’t going anywhere. I see an opportunity here for some lucky business. A lucky business who’s got private property, and wants to be the official parking spot for food trucks in their neighbourhood.

I walked into Barbecues Galore for the first time when I was heading in hunt of Jojo’s truck parked in the lot of their NE store. Sure, you might lose a couple of customers to a quick food truck lunch, but how many more will discover you as they’re following their favourite meal on wheels around town?



Posted: December 10, 2010 in other

100 days ago I set out on a challenge to not use an exclamation point. I’m happy to report I’ve made it.

The first 10 days or so I think were the toughest. As soon as I stopped using exclamation points, I noticed just how much of an exclamation mark abuser I was. It seemed I wanted to put one in every other sentence. Or a few just to punch up the excitement. I had become sloppy and unrefined in the way I write. I took the easy way out. My day to day communications were the beer bellied couch potato of the written world.

Without my pointy crutch, I had to be more creative in the ways I expressed enthusiasm and excitement and added emphasis. This didn’t prove to be that difficult when I had no limit to the amount of words or characters at my disposal, like in a blog post. Notes, text messages and tweets proved the real challenge. Emoticons became one of my staples. A friend even made me a cheat sheet of emoticons to use with a corresponding legend of how many exclamation points each one stood for.

I discovered using an *asterisk* to emphasize a particular word, continuously expanding my vocabulary and artfully arranging my sentence with well placed punctuation. It most definitely took more time to craft, and not all of my notes/texts/tweets saw this benefit–but not once did I use an exclamation mark.

And so I finish this challenge with a new appreciation for taking just a brief moment to review and polish what I put out there. Exclamation points have their place, but from here on in, they’ll remain in a healthy balance.

I think maybe ellipses will be next.


Lately, I’ve been thinking about just how much reading I do in a day because of the internet.  And just how much I take that for granted.  I began to wonder just how many people out there don’t or can’t slurp up knowledge like many of us do online simply because of the fact that their reading skills don’t allow them to do so.  Was there some way I could influence more people to use the web to their advantage?  Helping out with adult literacy seemed like a good place to start.

Being that today is the 1st of September and many kids are headed back to school (along with my teacher friends), I wanted to do something to join in the fun.  I decided that I would attempt to go an entire month without using an exclamation point.

100 days without using an exclamation point

No exclamation points for 100 days

It didn’t take long for other Twitterati to respond with some heckling.  @jonincalgary didn’t think I could go for 10 minutes, other people gave me a week.  @jkitte asked if there was a pool going yet as to how long I would last.  Within a few moments, my little challenge linked itself with my desire to do something for adult literacy.

Twitter literacyAnd so my challenge was born.  Not only would I go the entire month of September without using an exclamation mark, but I would go 100 days without using one in any personal form of communication.  This includes any non-work related, text-based piece including emails, Facebook or MSN chats, tweets, blog posts, text messages, comments on other blog posts, status updates on any social networks, etc. from today until December 9th.

If I make it to December 10th at 12:00 am without using an exclamation mark, I will donate $100.00 to the ABC Life Literacy Canada.  If I slip up, I’ll double the donation.  Your job – see if you can catch me slipping up.  The more I write, the more I talk, the more I tweet, the more likely it is that I will accidentally slip an exclamation mark in there somewhere.

Now, for those of you without the time to heckle me and trip me up on my punctuation, I’ve created a Giving Page should you feel the desire to support the cause as well.  You can find that page here.  Any donations made through this page go straight to ABC Life Literacy Canada.  I’ve set the goal at $100.00 to match what I’ll be donating on December 10th.

After setting up the Giving Page, I figured that was it.  I’d go on my merry way not using exclamation points.  But when I googled ABC Life Literacy Canada and came up with their website, I also discovered that September is literacy month.  Could my timing be any better?  I don’t think so.

Here I am, giving up my favourite piece of punctuation in hopes of making a small dent on those who can’t make as easy and efficient use of the internet as I do.  Goodbye exclamation point.  Goodbye.

The eye of an asian elephant at Elephant Natur...
Image via Wikipedia

The internet is always on.  Somewhere, somebody is reading something that may or may not be about you.  While you’re sleeping, friends are looking at your pictures on Facebook.  While you’re working, a stranger has found your name attached to a blog post or mentioned in an article and searches Google to see what more he/she can find out about you.

The home-based business industry has boomed thanks to the internet.  The ease at which anyone can publish materials, create an e-commerce store, etc. is astonishing.  The internet works for them because even while they sleep, customers in their niche are buying products on their website without the need for another human being to be there.

The internet is the biggest collaborative product the world has ever known.  No one dreamed up a plan for what it would become, no one person is leading the vision for where it will go.  It can work for us, or it can work against us.  The internet won’t discriminate, because it’s simply an archive of our collective knowledge and a tool for processing our conversations and transactions.

Recently, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google was quoted as saying:

I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time.

I don’t believe we do.  But it’s high time we at least tried wrap our minds around this.

The internet is our elephant.  This elephant never sleeps and never forgets. And somebody, somewhere is always watching.  ALWAYS.  So watch the trail you leave as you conduct yourself online.  There’s no shredder for the internet.

I never fully chomped on the Foursquare bait that some of my Calgary online counterparts have so fondly adopted.  The idea is good, but it only seemed partially developed.  With not much more than check ins to entice me to participate, and no solid crew of friends who were using it as well, I pretty much left location based apps like Foursquare for others to explore for now.

About three weeks ago, I was formally introduced to Yelp.  The site was on my radar of things to check out, I just hadn’t gotten that far down my list yet.  I’m thankful it was bumped up my priority pole.  Yelp is a service I’ve really been able to sink my teeth into.  Those missing pieces from Foursquare I mentioned? Yelp is my cake with extra frosting.

What is it about this site that I like so much?  Well, the first is the reviews.  The writer in me loves the fact that I can put my creativity to work in the places I choose to review on the site.  The socializer in me enjoys being able to connect with other ‘Yelpers’ on the site to compliment each other’s reviews, share and discuss various topics on the conversation boards and find new and interesting people to befriend.  And my inner explorer is already making notes on places to try next (Thai Nong Khai, Lloyds Roller Rink, John’s Breakfast and Lunch to name a few).

There’s also the fact that Yelp seems to draw out the type of people who always know where the good spots are in town.  Most of us probably have one or two people in our networks that we could ask questions like ‘where’s the best Italian food in town?’ or ‘what cool places are there to take my out of town guests?’  Yelp is giving me even more sources to answer those questions.  It’s much easier to be ‘in the know’.

Yelp also has good activity in a lot of major centres all over North America, so whether I’m looking to keep things fresh in my own backyard or want to guarantee a good experience while I’m visiting another city, this site has the community component that earns my trust on what its users are recommending.

My vote is we’ll see more models like Yelp this year and next as the line between online and offline continues to blur.  So until Foursquare, Gowalla, or any of the likes can find a way to cover all of the bases that Yelp does, or do something even better, I shall Yelp on!