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Finally recovered from the crazy that was CupcakeCampTO! If you missed it – details and recaps here, here and here!  For more, including videos and links to tons of photos, check out the official site cupcakecamp.ca.

awesomesauce-cupcakecamp-organizers

Michelle, Andre and Monica (above) did an absolutely amazing job in getting this up and running – the first CupcakeCamp in Canada!

I made a few different cupcakes for the event, including meatball cupcakes (not an official entry, maybe next year!).  I think they might have helped a few folks prevent a serious case of carb coma or diabetic shock from all the sweet stuff that was flying about that day.

I think they went over quite well, but not as well as my Vanilla Cheesecake Crunch, a wee bit of tastiness that wasn’t super fancy in the decoration department but managed to nab first place for best dessert-inspired cupcake – thanks so much to the FoodTV folks for taste testing over 40 different cupcakes!

For those interested in trying them out – here’s the recipe. I tweaked it a bit, so tried to note those edits where I made them. Mostly I just wing it as I go… which is somewhat funny since I tweaked this recipe the morning of CupcakeCamp and never actually had a chance to taste the final version of these until after the judging happened! I’m glad they turned out delish. 🙂

Enough chatter – on to the recipe!

Vanilla Cheesecake Crunch (original recipe by Elinor Klivans, from the book cupcakes!)

Batter

2 1/2 cups AP flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt get sifted together, then set aside.

Mix 3 large eggs with 2 cups of sugar until thickened and light cream colour. I used a handheld mixer and it took about 2 minutes. Probably quicker with a stand mixer.

eggies

Mix in 1 cup canola or corn oil along with 2 tsp vanilla. I tend to add a bit more vanilla. Yum.  Mix those in and then add 1 cup sour cream. Beat that all together on a low/med speed until no streaks and then incorporate the dry ingredients until just mixed.  Batter is thick and a lovely pale yellow.

batter

You are ready for step 2, the filling!

Filling

Grab your trusty mixer and get cracking – beat the cream cheese (1 pkg) with 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.  Beat in 1 large egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla. I added more vanilla.  The original recipe called for the addition of 1 tbsp of lemon juice plus 1 tsp zest but I tried that the first time and it was too lemony for my taste. I was interested in vanilla – not lemon – cheesecake! Additionally – I made 2x this amount because I wanted more cheesecake per cupcake!

beaters1

Topping

Easy peasy. Melt yourself 2 tbsp of unsalted butter (okay, I might have used 3…mmm….butter) and then pour it over a mixture of 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup light brown sugar and 1/8 tsp salt that you stirred together in advance. Stir quickly to mix or you’ll end up with a big ol’ lump in the middle.  Break up larger pieces with your fork to ensure a fairly even size for your crumble.

Fire up the oven – apparently you are supposed to cook these babies at 325 for 25 minutes but I think I had them in at 350 for less… and they baked much faster with the convection oven on too – probably about 15 min.

Make the Cupcakes!

Toss liners in the muffin pans, this recipe says it makes 24 regular, 12 extra large or 72 mini.

Fill 1/2 the liner up with batter, fill to just below the top of the liner with filling, or whatever ratio you like. The original recipe called for 3 generous tbsp of batter to 1 1/2 tbsp of filling.  Sprinkle crumb topping over each.  I started pressing it down just ever so slightly so it wouldn’t fall off after baking.

Take a peek (don’t open the oven if you don’t have to though!) often, to make sure they aren’t getting brown. You can test with a toothpick but I think that they are past-done when the toothpick comes out clean.  They need to be a little bit crumby and moist still to ensure the cheesecake is nice and soft.

cheesecake-cupcakes

The only thing left to do at this point is enjoy!! 🙂  If you try these out, do let me know what you think.  I *highly* recommend Elinor’s book cupcakes! as I tried a bunch of recipes from it and they were all superdelishfantastico!

(More CupcakeCampTO pics to follow)

My City, Rewound

I was skulking about on the City of Toronto‘s website the other day looking for some information about our house and I came across their scanned image archives that have been made available online.

Queen West, looking East from James St. - Toronto - 1924

Queen West, looking East from James – Toronto – 1924

Now, it’s quite the hassle to view the images – so prepare yourself ahead of time.  Each link must be clicked, each image viewed on its own. It’d be great if these images would be added to Flickr’s The Commons or somehow made more readily available and easy to surf through.

Building the Subway and Streetcar system - Downtown Toronto

Building the TTC – Toronto

However, all that aside, the images (and there are a ton of them) are lovely to explore and I had a few little thrills when I spied some from just down the street that were taken near to the time our house was built. At least you can search by date and keywords.

If you live in Toronto and have an interest in how your neighbourhood looked many years ago, check out the Toronto image archives.

Here are a few I found interesting, all from around the time my house was built (1924).

Slum Lodging House - Toronto - 1924
Slum Lodging House – Toronto – 1924
The Beach - Toronto - 1924
The Beach in Winter, frozen – Toronto – 1924
Ladies at Woodbine Racetrack - Toronto - 1924
Ladies in furs at Woodbine Racetrack – Toronto – 1924
Looking East from the Royal York - Toronto - 1929

Looking East from the Royal York - Toronto - 1929

The Danforth lavatory - Toronto (corner of Broadview/Danforth) - 1924

The Danforth lavatory - Toronto (corner of Broadview/Danforth) - 1924

TTC Bus - Toronto - 1923

TTC Bus - Toronto - 1923

Building the Bloor Viaduct - Toronto - 1916

Building the Bloor viaduct - Toronto - 1916

Startups + failing economy – VCs = layoffs.

Many friends and acquaintances have already faced the dreaded “we’re sorry but we have to let you go” lately… and today I joined the club.

Yep, still feels weird to say it but I was laid off today. My first layoff.

I am unemployed. Sounds a little tragic, no? Don’t get me wrong, I AM excited about what’s next. I know it will be great.  It’s just a real kick in the gut to realize that the marketing session you thought you were going to is actually your dismissal meeting. This has never happened to me before.

Not to suggest that I was blindsided. It wasn’t so much of a surprise given the market conditions, the industry (software/web) and the type of product we were working on (image search, mobile search apps).

So, what’s next? Some soul searching, some researching and the rest I’m not quite sure about yet. What I do know is that I am very lucky to have the amazing group of friends I have.  It’s been just a few hours since I started letting people know and already my phone has been ringing and my blackberry has been buzzing with leads and tips, along with lots of humorous “keep your chin up” messages. You guys rock. Really.

To Leila and Paul… thank you for bringing me on board and letting me share your vision for the last six months. It’s been such a learning experience and the team, well, you know how to pick’em Leila – what a bunch! From the long nights and hectic scheduling required to launch a product my first week on the job to the fun and stress-free Friday night get togethers, it’s been quite a ride. And the technology is pretty incredible, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on how things go. I’m proud to have been a part of launching the world’s first image search engine out into the world.

And while I know I am in good company (hey Seesmic folks, a shout out to Accordion Guy, to name a few), it still really kinda sucks. As Seesmic‘s Le Meur noted about their recent layoffs: “We cut everything that wasn’t outsourceable, core or absolutely necessary for the company.”  Ouch. But it’s true. Unfortunately for me, community and marketing manager doesn’t fall into core when your product is software, and doubly so when you have products still in beta.

Marketing and community = important, but… Developer = core.

So there you have it.

I recommend to those folks who have also just joined Club Sacked that they head on over to read Joey deVilla‘s post about getting terminated. Believe me, you will feel better afterward, I know I did.  In the software and web industry things are looking pretty grim, as Joey points out, “people who follow the industry are writing articles warning us that it’s not if you’ll get laid off, but when.”

Well, it looks like I just stepped in a big steaming heap of when.

So, buck up, as they say. It’s time to buff up the resume and hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to new adventures.

I’m going places.

Image: Don Solo

Explosive Photo

Well this doesn’t look very safe, does it? Firecrackers burst around celebrants at the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand…

Image: Chumsak Kanoknan / Getty

See more of Time’s Pictures of the Week and visit Boston.com’s The Big Picture too. TBP has the most stunning images each and every time I visit, I’m never disappointed. Check out Worker resting on bales of cotton by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, one of my favourites in the set from his Earth from Above series.

This video is brilliant.

Kudos to JewsVote.org for their bold move, calling on young Jewish folks to “schlep” to Florida to get their grandparents to vote for Obama. And Sarah Silverman? A perfect choice.

It’s daring, to be sure…

Check out The Great Schlep for all the details. Happy schleping!

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. It’s not getting better, is it?

Well, yesterday Roger Ebert kept at it with a scathing review of Palin as the VP candidate for the Republican party. It’s worth a read. Here are a few lines from his post:

Although Palin gets laughs when she mentions the “elite” Ivy League, she sure did attend the heck out of college. Five different schools in six years. What was that about?

Sarah Palin’s travel record is that of a provincial, not someone who is equipped to deal with global issues.

I want a vice president who is better, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn’t repeat bald- faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere.

You go, Roger! Thinking of making the switch from movies to politics?

Here are a few of my favourite posts from the folks at Tiny Gigantic (the blog from the team at Language in Common).

I happened upon their blog when they posted a little comment about Idée and TinEye (they like us…whew!). Digging in a little deeper I found a number of posts that really spun the wheels in my head.

From “the elevator pitch is for people who don’t really care” to “generosity as strategy” and “personal branding is nonsense“, I think you’ll find plenty to noodle on over at TG.

Check out “How to Have a Conversation, or Tell Me About Me” as well; this isn’t new stuff really, but it’s well put and got me to thinking about my day to day interactions.

Tiny Gigantic – check’em out. The PDFs in the antics section are superbly done and worth a read too.

No dummies hanging around those halls.

Michael Wesch’s insightful video “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” from his recent Library of Congress presentation is worth a look if you haven’t had the chance yet. (A long look, it’s just under an hour so set aside some time, you won’t want to turn it off).

Wesch is the Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University and he takes us on a journey, a little peek, inside the phenomenon that is YouTube. Why we post, what we are posting, the amazing ability to collaborate across time and space, the impact YouTube is having within our society.

Wesch and his students are developing deep insights into human relationships and the impacts of today’s technology innovations. New ways of working with media, in all forms, are dramatically changing how we see and interact with the world.

There’s this really interesting, integrated mediascape that we now live in, and at the center of this mediascape is us, and that makes things especially interesting. And as an anthropologist, I think of media maybe slightly differently than most people. I don’t think of it as content, and I don’t even think of it as tools of communication. I think of media as mediating human relationships. And that’s important because when media change, then human relationships change.

Wesch’s Web. 2.0 video, referenced in the video, has had over 6 million hits since it first launched on YouTube. He also produced A vision of students today.

How big is the net?

Although you might guess that I’m talking about the internet, I was actually thinking about Guy Kawasaki’s recent post about golf, hockey and how imagination affects perception.

How big is the ‘net’ for your product or service? Entrepreneurship requires unscientific leaps of reasoning, Kawasaki suggests. So imagine the best possible outcome, the biggest market share, the community you want to see growing and adopting your awesome brand. Expand your success ‘net’ mentally and see where it leads you.

Game on!

Banksy Rocks

Whee!

I’m reading…

Joe McNally‘s blog. Amazing photographer.

Have you seen Matt dance? Matt only has one dance, but it’s taken him to almost 50 countries in the last five years and now he’s putting his dancing feet to a new cause – raising funds to put computers into the hands of disadvantaged youth in Africa.

In 2004 Matt Harding, then an unemployed video game maker, set off to travel the world and figured he would throw his little jig (the only dance he does) into the mix as he journeyed from country to country. His sister insisted he share his dancing with friends and family via the web, and wherethehellismatt.com was born.

Matt danced in 2005 and then, with help from generous corporate sponsorship, he made a second trip in ’06 and again this year. His 2008 video has been viewed more than 19 million times.

So what’s next for Matt?

He met United Nations officials this month and talked to the sponsor of his video, Stride, about raising money to buy and donate laptops to the poor in Rwanda where he danced with locals and plans to go to teach them himself.

“Laptops and access to the Internet can broaden horizons tremendously. I want to do it personally, so it won’t just be a care package,” said Harding.

I’m a geek and spend every day on my computer and online. I think kids should have access to information and learning and educational tools such as computers and Matt’s doing something awesome to help make this a reality for children in Rwanda.

If dancing has the power to put technology in the hands of youth around the world, imagine what we’re all capable of if we just go out and have some fun and try to be good to each other.

Catch out-takes from Matt’s dancing here. I might like them even more than the ‘offical’ video!

Listen

It’s good. Found this in Thomas Hawk‘s feed the other day. Great photography and interesting posts so worth a visit even if the music ain’t your thang. I like his $2/portrait idea too.

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington chats with Evan Williams about the Twitter API, revenue models and the summize aquisition. If you are a Twitter fan it’s worth a listen (or a read, there’s both video and a transcript).

My pal Mark Kuznicki is riding in the 10th Annual Friends For Life Bike Rally July 27-August 1st. He’s biking from Toronto to Montreal (600km)! I am in awe of that number, 600km!

Because he is awesome and this is a great cause I think you should donate.

Yep, go on, do it. Right away, the event is almost here! He is soooo close to his goal of $5000.

Get going and Donate!

Want to know more?

My colleague Ryan mentioned worldwidefred.com to me and *gasp* I’d never heard of it!

Imagine my pleasure in spying such gems as the Calf & Half creamer jug and the FingerFood ring.  *chuckle*

This stuff is ridiculous in a way that makes me want to run out and do some shopping.

But lest you think Fred is all about food stuffs, they also have fun items like the snazzy “crime scene” scarf (I know a teenager that would kill for this, coincidentally), the cheeky “how to” tie and the defiant “I am not your doormat” uhm… doormat.

There is happiness in my heart this lovely Tuesday afternoon, thanks Fred & Friends!

My colleague Ryan mentioned worldwidefred.com to me and *gasp* I’d never heard of it!

Imagine my pleasure in spying such gems as the Calf & Half creamer jug and the FingerFood ring.  *chuckle*

This stuff is ridiculous in a way that makes me want to run out and do some shopping.

But lest you think Fred is all about food stuffs, they also have fun items like the snazzy “crime scene” scarf (I know a teenager that would kill for this, coincidentally), the cheeky “how to” tie and the defiant “I am not your doormat” uhm… doormat.

There is happiness in my heart this lovely Tuesday afternoon, thanks Fred & Friends!

Semi-Veg

This one’s for Ben!

I love the guys from Flight of the Conchords.

MattBites!

Well, Matt doesn’t bite, Matt rocks!

Check out these humorous snaps from his recent trip to the Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market. I greatly enjoyed “foreclosure” and, of course “Jesus on a pelt”.

Such good times!

Foreclosure
I didn’t have the heart to tell this doll family that they will probably be defaulting on their mortgage and moving into a Barbie Camper shortly. It’s happening all over California really. Besides, that’s the most haunted San Francisco Victorian Dollhouse I’ve ever seen. I bet Karen Black and Bette Davis are in the attic. Watch yourself.

I give you Jesus On A Pelt.

I’ll let you absorb that for a minute.

So yes, there is he, the redeemer, the liberator, the savior, artfully painted on racoon? Fox? Squirrel? And whyyyyyyyyy? Surely there’s a story behind this and when you walk the aisles you realize that there are always a million stories behind these objects. But this really takes the cake. I’ve seen him on cars, stickers, bodegas, t-shirts and even tortillas, but animal fur is completely new to me. He really does work in mysterious ways.

I love it!!

Head over to Matt Armendariz to see his professional portfolio (he shoots awesome, awesome, awesome images of food…yum).

BTW, Matt, congrats on your wedding!

** all images Matt Armendariz

The folks over at digital Photography School have a great list. Not that these are crazy, new ideas – but getting a reminder now and then never hurt and they are well laid out, with examples too.

Make your shots better by keeping these 10 pointers in mind. If those aren’t enough, there’s a follow up 10.

(do these rules apply to snaps of doggies too?)

Your daily TED

I love TED, don’t you? Which one is your favourite?

So far both Jill Bolte Taylor‘s story and Ken Robinson‘s presentation have been particularly interesting to me.

Today I watched Lawrence Lessig’s talk on creativity and copyright. If it’s interesting to you I’d recommend also listening to Jim Goldstein’s podcast, his interview with Lessig is great.

I also had a chance to catch Gever Tulley’s “five dangerous things you should let your children do”, which (as a parent) I found quite amusing and enchanting.

David Gallo’s trip down to the depths of the ocean and exploration of what these ocean creatures can do is also pretty darn cool…

Last September I stayed at the Hotel Diva in San Francisco. Not a bad space but the room had a weird smell. Thumbs down. Anyway, not the point.

Unrelated story (but relevant later on!), I keep getting emails from people who are looking for a different Heather. Not one or two a year, I’m talking weekly. I have been invited to weddings and parties, had house listings in Nevada forwarded on by a real estate agent, been sent inquiries about my babysitting service, received mortgage applications (with all financial information) and more – all for other Heathers. I have been a part of marriages (me and Phil, apparently) and divorces (ah, Steve…). I continue to receive emails about my US Sprint phone account, no matter how many times I call and say that my email address is the wrong one.

One of the interesting ones was the list of questions I received about my “reign as Miss Southern University“, apparently I would be speaking at some event for the newly queened Miss Southern. Good times!

My favourite, though, had to be the emails with Holly and Michael (my family! ta-da!). Here’s a snippet:

From: Holly To: Heather, Michael

fedex just delivered heather’s meds -3 advair, 90 singulair, 1 prevental inhaler (?) – exp. 8/09

I reply back with:

Well that’s not right! I asked for 3 Krispy Kremes, 90 cheetos and 1 happy meal. Sheesh.

Quite convinced I was that this would spark some sort of “ohh… hmmm! Who did we email by accident?!” But no! Next email reply zips in shortly thereafter from my bro, Mikey:

3 Blizzards
90 creme brulees
I carrot

Oh, he’s a funny one! Since they haven’t figured out what’s happening I figure I might as well keep chatting!

Uhm…vacuum sealed and well labelled please. Will be taking them on “the trip” with me. *nudge*nudge*

Okay, this has to set off some alarm bells. No? Geez! Mike sends me back the helpful message of:

Heather
See if you can find a Washigton Post
Starbucks have a card for free cofee every wed now through 5/28

Mike’s a nice fellow, no? ( The spelling mistakes are all his, btw)

I figure he’d want in on the joke so I send him back:

Nice. Are they valid in Canada? I’m not making a special trip down just for java, Mikey. Unless you are paying for the flight, that is. = )

Alas, Mike figures out that he’s got the wrong sister!

Obviously wrong person. Apologies for error.

And that’s that. Here I thought we were making friends!

Anyway… it’s all very amusing to me.

Why does it keep happening? I guess the senders just make assumptions about the email address? What’s amazing is when I find out that sometimes the ‘other’ Heather has put down the wrong address! Either gmail screwed up and let two (or more) of us have the same one (mon dieu!) or some people are just don’t pay enough attention when filling out forms. I have called some of them (when a number is available) and it’s been pretty funny.

So, the other day I get it in my head to google my email address, hoping to find some of these ‘faux’ Heathers that are causing me such a headache. To my surprise I come across just a couple hits, one of while seems very odd. I click on the link and it takes me directly to a .csv file with my name, IP address, email and responses to an online questionnaire for a contest held by the SF hotel I stayed at last year! (See, at some point the story was going to come full circle…and you doubted me!)

Not only is my information there, but it seems that every single person that completed the questionnaire also has their information readily available online. Bad, this is just bad.

So I call Personality Hotels SF and speak to a nice fellow who informs me that there is no one available to handle this issue since it’s the weekend. His manager will call me back Monday.

It’s anti-climatic, no? Here I’m all fired up and nothing to be done about it until business hours Monday. Well, hopefully I’ll receive some other emails for other Heathers to keep my mind off it until then.

Check back next week for the second installment of “when .csv files get leaked”.

I don’t believe in God. Take it or leave it, that’s my view. I do, however, think this is a very interesting video.

In the words of Ricky Ricardo: Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.

[via Chris Brogan]

Also for your listening pleasure, Thou Shalt Always Kill. I like these guys (though I hate the fact that they use a myspace page…myspace pages are, well, geez you know).

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, you rock!

So gas is expensive in the city. Well, yeah, but it could be worse. Check out Gas Buddy’s “temperature” gauge of prices across Canada. They also have one for the US.  All things considered, we’re lucky here in the GTA.

Gas Buddy also has a whack of other information, from lowest to highest prices in your area to statistics and historical information to gas related news items.

My goodness, the shenanigans going on with the news media these days! Did you hear about Fox & Friends and their doctored photos of New York Times reporters? Mon Dieu!  This kind of behaviour is appropriate in high school (just barely), not at national news organizations.

To sum up: Some guys at the NYT (Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe) were responsible for an article that was printed on June 28th that said there was an “ominous trend” in Fox News’ ratings. Yes, the New York Times is not a huge fan of Fox, they haven’t kept that a secret. Anyway, some guys at Fox (Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade) went live with a bit of a rant about the issue and called Steinberg and Reddicliffe “attack dogs” while featuring photos of the NYT staff with some interesting digital alterations.

To catch yourself up on everything head over to Media Matters. They have the video too.

On to Vanity Fair, they jumped on the chance to get involved with a little creative editing of their own with Photoshop of Horrors: The Frightful Faces of Fox News. *chuckle*

So I am smirking my way through their edited images and then start wondering exactly what edits were made.  VF skipped the before and after and just queued up a slideshow of the dreadful after photos.  What to do? Googling everyone’s names would just be a hassle. Oh, if there was just a search engine that could identify the images even with the edits and uses pictures as the query instead of text! Hmm.

Here are some of the VF article images along with the originals that I easily found with just a few right clicks.

Bill O’Reilly

William Kristol

Geraldo Rivera

Neil Cavuto

Shepard Smith

Chris Wallace

Tweet

Iranian state media folks get a bit heavy handed with the photoshop maybe? Interesting article from the Lede: http://tinyurl.com/onetoomany

Confession: I never go anywhere. Well, I do leave Toronto now and then, but as far as vacations? Never. Happens. Enter a former business colleague who has decided to get married in Mexico! Huzzah!  It’s a good excuse to finally put aside the ‘too busy’ and ‘too costly’ excuses and just GO.

The wedding is in February ’09, so there’s plenty of time to plan – and do I love to plan! (It’s somewhat of an obsession, no joke…)

PlanetEye logo

Enter PlanetEye. One of Toronto’s most well known tech folks, Mark Evans, is part of the great team behind the site. PlanetEye.com is a one-stop destination for all the travel planning needs I (or you!) might have.

PlanetEye is still in beta but it’s already shaping up to be a fantastically easy-to-use planning tool with geotagged photography, some very cool mapping technology and a growing cache of travel content from a team of in-house writers and professional sources. Snazzy!

PlanetEye has a neat “Travel Pack”  feature that lets you “clip” the interesting photographs, attractions, hotels and restaurants discovered on PlanetEye when planning a trip or simply putting together travel ideas.

Congrats to Mark and the team on the launch of PlanetEye – if all goes well I’ll be off to Mexico in February for my very well planned trip!

Magic Salad Plate

Listen up boys! It’s Four‘N Twenty’s brilliant little “Magic Salad Plate“.

Slogan? “Have a lunch that’s edible on a plate that’s credible”.  *smirk*

[via TrendHunter]

An interview by Robert Scoble with Idee CTO Paul Bloore about the awesomeness that is TinEye, the image search engine.

Scobleizer interviews Idee CTO about TinEye - the image search engine

Scobleizer interviews Idee's CTO about TinEye

Properly Tanned

Properly Tanned! Image by Xirannisx via Flickr

Image Xirannisx

I come from the period where people get properly tanned.”

Best. Line.

Check out the secret diary of Mario Testino, globe-trotting photographer. He’s famous. And well tanned. And speaks of how he “likes Prince Charles as much as the street cleaner” which sounds like a dig but is really a compliment to all British folk!

Thx to The Independent for this one, just a little light reading and a bit of humour. Ta-ra!

“Boring subjects still make for boring pictures no matter what camera you’re using” — Crappy Old Cameras on A Photo Editor

(Great site, go visit. Scoot!)

Thanks to Josh Chandler for pointing this one out. Tres amusant!

Our CEO mentioned the Press Photo Awards to me and I was absolutely entranced watching the photographers discuss their award-winning images.

Stunning photos, amazing stories. I can’t wait to hear them all.

Listening to the photographer Platon discussing his Time photo shoot of President Vladimir Putin was emotionally moving. From how he finds photography to be so intertwined with psychology to the exhausting week that built up to him finally getting approval (with less than 10 minutes to take the shot) – his story changed the way I view the image.

Anyway, go, listen. Platon’s story is just one of a series of incredible tales.

The World Press Photo Award Interviews

Wordle is neat. Very neat.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text (keep this in mind).

I heard about it this morning and have played around with it just a bit during lunch today. Then it hit me – I wonder what would happen if I put in all of Obama’s June speeches and all of McCain’s June speeches (as posted on their websites)?

The results are *quite* interesting!

Obama:

Obama Wordle Mashup - June Speeches

McCain:

McCain Wordle Mashup - all text from speeches in June

Hmph. What do you think?

Culling the Herd

So I’m moving the blog to my name domain (heatherwilliams.ca) hopefully this weekend but perhaps in the next week or two at some point before I’m dead.

I’ve removed a lot of the previous posts (sorry if you came by and the post you were looking for is no longer here!).

(And how are you today anyway by the way? Good? Yes? Great!)

It’s a little odd to take these moments in time, my random snippets of thought and just *click* them into oblivion, but no regrets here.

Clean, new and fresh – it’s time to start again.

Photo of the Day

Flower

I’m lucky. Our house has the most beautiful flowers, all planted by the previous owner!

Photo of the Day

Snapped in our front garden on Sunday, April 13th.

My Twitter Cloud

What am I talking about on twitter? Check out my Twitter Cloud!

Photo of the Day…

Taken on the drive from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam… *grin* Love the sign.

Photo of the Day…

Ben entered a photo contest and the theme for this month is ice.  Ever the creative fellow, he thought up a neat idea, a hamburger made of ice! Check out his blog for more and to share your thoughts!

Photo of the Day…

Late evening, an hour long snow storm was over and everything was covered in a perfect layer of white snow. It’s so great to be at the cottage when it’s snowed, everything is so quiet and clean and fresh.

I need to learn how to take photos at dusk, this is too dark and needs more definition.

Photo of the Day…

While visiting with my brother and his family I figured I would snap a few photos of some of the kids toys they had around the house. This one made me shake my head a bit, it’s kinda creepy, no?

If I was a little kid I wouldn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and see this fellow sitting on my toy shelf!

I think I needed a bit more light for this photo, it was shot in the basement with no flash. I should have taken a bit more time and switched up the exposure perhaps.

Photo of the Day…

Firstly, yes, it’s a bad photo – technically. However, I had to share it because it’s just so damn cute!

The dog, a lovely old labrador, was a bit excited and was jumping up and barking a bit and his owner told him to sit down. Like a good dog he did just as he was asked, completely ignoring the fact that Alana was already laying on the floor right behind him. Did he care? Did he move at all? Nope! He just plunked himself down right on top of her and sat there with a smug look on his face, as if to say “aren’t I a good dog?”.

Too cute.

Photo of the Day…

I call this one “Something Fishy”.

I came across this ‘thing’ while on a day trip to the Kincardine area with Ben. I have no idea what it used to be (maybe a catfish?) but it made for a startling discovery on the beach. I wish I’d taken a photo of it with something to show scale, it’s actually quite big, more than a foot long. If you have any thoughts on what it might be, do share.

A couple of boys and their parents were walking along the beach towards me as I was finishing up shooting the skeleton, I didn’t get to see their expressions when they finally reached it as I’d already moved on, but I bet they thought it was ‘super cool’.

I know it’s a little washed out… I just wasn’t thinking about the lighting or final result of the photos, I was too fascinated by the subject matter!

This photo was taken mid-day in late fall ’07, with a Canon 30D.

Photo of the Day…

Comments, tips, thoughts appreciated.  Taken in Kinkardine, Ontario.  Late fall.  Canon 30D.