Working To Move The Empire Forward

As some of you have noticed, and in some cases, commented on, things have not all been sweetness and light over the last few months for me.

Thankfully Kim has been my rock, especially the times she had to put up with the grumpy old fart persona.

Hopefully though there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as long as some nasty bugger doesn’t lengthen the tunnel again.

This past Wednesday I was finally able to get out of the house and went for coffee with my friend Jacqueline. In amongst all her talents, she is a motivator, and I can attest that having a motivator for a friend is excellent. I try to be a motivator, with some success, however it seems that I’m totally ineffective when dealing with myself.

I mentioned Jacqueline in my podcast today which can be heard here. I also created a YouTube video of my podcast. It is available here on my YouTube channel. She has agreed to do a podcast with me in the near future, perhaps more as she has much to share.

I have also been adding to my Flickr channel, now having more that 3000 photos (some only available for family/friends). Today I added photos I took in 2011 during a tour in Annecy, France. Here is a small slideshow sample.

Slowly, but surely, I will be catching up and posting more of the thousands of photos I have, many yet to be digitized. I often say, what good are all these photos if people can’t see them.

I remind people that the best way to keep in touch with Wee Internet Empire activity is to subscribe to my newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks. When changes, updates, or other interesting things, become available they will all be noted in the next issue of the newsletter.

I am on a number of different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TicTok, Twitter, Matador, LinkedIn and others. All the necessary links are available on my website. I invite you to visit, and feel free to connect if you so desire.

Now I have come to the conclusion of today’s self promotion. However if I don’t work to spread the word how will you know what great stuff you will be missing. So thanks for your attention, your comments are always welcome, and hope to see you soon.

I try to wrap up most things by saying take care of yourself, and, if you can, help take care of those around you.

Stop And Hear The Music

To preface… I did not write this. Eleven years ago, a friend of mine sent me this most interesting story.  Upon checking further, I was able to find the story behind the story.


This is a true happening, orchestrated by a writer for the Washington Post.  Read it through and then follow the link at the end to find out the rest of the story.

PERCEPTION

Something to think about . . .

THE SITUATION

In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

image

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. 

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. 

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was…

Joshua Bell

One of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $200 each to sit and listen to him play the same music. This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities

This experiment raised several questions: 

* In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? 

* If so, do we stop to appreciate it? 

* Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: 

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Here is the link to the Washington Post article, including a video.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 


I hope you took the time to read the article, as it’s quite interesting.

So… the question once again is, how many things are we missing as we rush through life?

Definitely a question worth thinking about at any time, but particularly at this time of year.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support and feedback.

Be well. Take care of yourself and take care of others.

Itchy Boots Visits Haida Gwaii

During my military career, I had a tour in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, from 1977 to 1981. On June 3, 2010, the group of nearly 400 islands was renamed Haida Gwaii by the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act as part of the Kunst’aa guu – Kunst’aaa Reconciliation Protocol between British Columbia and the Haida people.

I very much enjoyed my time in “the Charlottes”, as we knew it then, and as well, son Colin was born there.

Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to return since, although it is on my hope to do list.

As I develop my “Wee Internet Empire” I try to follow quite a few different people as they do different things on social media.

One of those people is a lady named Noraly, from the Netherlands, who goes by the online handle of Itchy Boots. She is a real adventurer and travels around the globe, solo on her motorcycle, documenting her journey on her website, blog and YouTube channel.

Recently her travels had her traveling through Canada, and this took her to Haida Gwaii, making me even more interested in her adventures.

I really liked the four videos which make up this section of her journey. They brought back many memories and, as well, provided information that I was not aware of. In my opinion they can provide people with a really good idea of what Haida Gwaii is like.

Here, in order, are the links to the four videos.

I thought these videos were very interesting, in addition to being well done. I hope you found them to be as well.

Itchy Boots is just one of many folks I follow online. Here I will provide for you her website, and YouTube channel should you like to know more about her.

As well, I invite you to have a look at my “Wee Internet Empire” and check out the different platforms like my blog, podcast, videos and photos. You can also subscribe to my newsletter to be kept up to date on what is being posted and where.

Thanks much for reading. If you like what I do, please share it.

I always appreciate any feedback. Should you have comments, like something, don’t like something, please do let me know.

Once More A WINGMAN For WINGS

A local organization here in Edmonton has, since 1986, provided a second stage shelter for women and their children escaping domestic abuse.

This organization is known as WINGS – Women In Need Growing Stronger.

I have been an involved supporter of WINGS for over ten years in a number of different capacities.

Last year, WINGS developed a campaign, primarily social media based, to encourage men to become more involved, to become a WINGMAN.

Today on my podcast channel, Anchor, I released a discussion with Rhonda Janzen from WINGS, talking about what the organization does and what it has accomplished over the years. I invite you to give it a listen. Here is the link.

Next week I will be doing another podcast with Rhonda specifically about the WINGMAN campaign so watch for that one as well.

As I’m a WINGMAN again this year, my photo will be popping up fairly soon and of course I will be sharing it. Actually, I’m sharing pretty much everything from WINGS as they do their fundraising. If you wish, you can donate using this link. Be sure and enter my name as the WINGMAN you are sponsoring. As well EPCOR’s Heart+Soul Fund will match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000, so there is great benefit possible from this campaign.

You can find out more about WINGS on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

By all means stay in touch with my social media for further updates. One way to do that is you can subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

Now some hashtags. #WomenInNeedGrowingStronger #yeg #WINGMAN4WINGS #DomesticViolence #HeartandSoulFund

NASCAR From A Different Perspective

Today, a person you probably never heard of, I certainly hadn’t, inspired me to write this blog post.

Her name is Kolby Garrison and to say she is an avid NASCAR fan would be an understatement.

She is such a unique fan that NASCAR did a set of videos about her. You see, Kobly has been blind since birth, and through these videos we can watch her experience the racing that she loves.

The series is called Vivid. It consists of four episodes along with some promos and shorts.

Having viewed the series I was touched by Kolby, her approach and attitude. As a result I felt the need to share this experience. Here are the four episodes so that you can watch them.

Episode 1 – The Perspective of a Blind NASCAR Fan

Episode 2 – Pit Crew Member for a Day

Episode 3 – The Ride Along

Episode 4 – Experiencing NASCAR

I found the videos to be fascinating, as Kolby demonstrates that being blind does not preclude her from a full experience at the track, or anywhere for that matter.

Thank you Kobly and NASCAR for doing this video series. It is well worth watching.

If you want, the full package of videos and shorts can be found on YouTube here.

Motley Mixture of Matters

Recently I’ve had a real mixture of thoughts bouncing around in my aging brain.

Now, this has both positive and negative aspects to it.

The positive aspect is that I actually have thoughts (note that is plural) in my brain. This indicates to me that to some degree it’s still working. The fact that I can remember at least some of the thoughts is quite positive as well.

A negative aspect is that I have thoughts (still plural) but have not completed the process needed to develop any of them properly.

Hence today’s blog post. Today you will get a smattering of a few thoughts, a motley mixture of matters.

Lately in the news, even on CTV, has been the separation of Lisa LaFlamme and CTV (Bell Media). I say separation as there seems to be much discussion as to what it really was. Perhaps she was terminated for being popular and having high ratings, maybe because CTV (Bell) was downsizing, or she was let go because she was a woman with grey hair. Regardless of why, the process used can be described by the letter “D”. It was a despicable, deplorable, demeaning dismissal. Not the way to part company with an individual who was an extremely well known, respected, public face of your organization.

Another recent, highly publicized, event was the verbal abuse directed towards the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. As heinous as this act was, it is yet another example of the growing verbal assaults or abuse, and at times physical threats, directed towards politicians and journalists, mainly women or persons of colour. In my last blog post I spoke about Finger Pointers, those who declare that a situation is always somebody else’s fault. To me, this seems to often be the type of attitude or behaviour which grows from that, growing more extreme. If that is the case, it’s a sad commentary on what we’re becoming.

On a more positive note, one month ago I rode with Michael Terry, on part of his solo Dispatches Adventure Ride, which goes from coast to coast to coast, across Canada and return. Then two weeks ago Kim and I rode with The Rolling Barrage, which is a Canada coast to coast group ride. Both of these rides are in support of, and to raise awareness for, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a military veteran I know how much an issue PTSD is to some of my comrades, as well as first responders, so it is important to me to support these annual rides every year. Some videos from this year and previous years is available on my YouTube channel. In the future there will be at least one podcast and more blog posts dealing with this issue and these events.

My last item today is about respect. The respect that I have for health care workers. Over the last few months I have been under the care or treatment of a number of nurses, doctors and other medical people for a variety of reasons. In my dealings with them I have been treated with compassion and dignity. Knowing much of the crap (yes crap) that they have gone through over the past couple of years, I have great respect for their attitude and professionalism. Thank you very much.

Well, that’s it for this blog post, something a little different. I decided early in the process not to have specific directions or timing for my blog, and podcast, but rather just talk about whatever strikes me at the time. This blog post actually came together over a few days.

I would really like to hear from you. Like what I post? Look at other parts of my Wee Internet Empire? Want to do a podcast with me? Like to be involved in a live YouTube event? Have something you think I should perhaps address? Let me know.

Take care. Be well.

Wonderful Things Do Happen

I just finished watching a YouTube video from The Voice – Australia, which I found to be quite touching.

It started with a contestant named Jordan Fuller who had entered with his family as support. During the pre-performance introduction, that these shows provide, he mentioned that Sian, his younger sister, was even better than he was. At that point she was asked if she had ever considered applying to compete and indicated that she had not, at least until she was older (she is 16). Host Sonia Kruger then asked the producers if they could fit her in if she agreed. They said yes, she agreed, and was scheduled to be the blind audition after her brother.

And so it happened. Jordan got a four chair turn and so did Sian. And then wonderfully, they both made it to the semi-finals on their respective teams.

With some of the crap happening in today’s world, this event was to me, quite uplifting. So much so that here you are, reading about it.

You can watch the video here. I know that many of you will enjoy it.

Is It Really Worth It?

What to write, what to do, how to proceed, these are the questions I’m dealing with at this time. The blog post title says it all.

I had this grand vision to share my thoughts, words, photos, videos and experiences, and, to have fun doing it, by creating what I called my “Wee Internet Empire”.

I started out fine, was excited, and began putting things together. My blog, this blog, had been in place sporadically for a good many years, with this being the 68th blog post. I have posted about half a dozen stories on this blog as well.

My YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr were in place for a number of years, however were not connected to each other nor was there any inclination of a theme.

My Facebook originated about fifteen years ago, as did my Twitter. I don’t use my Twitter all that much these days, one reason being the platform content has changed so much. As for Facebook, the constantly changing Facebook Algorithm really causes a kerfuffle there. Imagine Frank Sinatra trying to “start spreading the news” on Facebook today.

I have been on LinkedIn for a very long time, using it to maintain contact with a great number of people, even though I am now retired.

In August, after talking with our son, and my friend Rob, I figured I would enter the podcast arena and have twelve podcasts published up to this point. Rob and my sister have provided some suggestions for the podcast moving forward.

I had been on, and off, Snapchat a number of times and have started a new account recently, however this time I am trying to use it as part of my entire program.

It seems that half the world is on Tik Tok. I joined Tik Tok primarily so that I could support our son who uses it to promote his business. One of our daughters is also on Tik Tok, however just for the cat videos. I have had a bit of fun posting so am still going to continue with it.

I got a Discord account so that I would have another avenue to communicate with a youth group I’m an advisor for. Then I thought, I could maybe do something here as well, so I created my own Discord server, which now has other members.

My latest addition was a newsletter. I came across a newsletter on Substack from a friend and saw that there was a good possibility I could use my own newsletter to tie everything together for my “Wee Internet Empire”.

So now we get to the crux of the issue. Is it really worth it?

I don’t have any expectations of going viral, becoming world famous, having thousands of subscribers. That, of course, is totally unrealistic.

Currently I am retired, staying at home for the most part as I am a bit mobility challenged awaiting hip replacement surgery and being very careful going out anywhere due to the potential risk of Covid.

As a result my primary daily focus is this “Wee Internet Empire” thing, and feeding Otis the cat.

That all being said, there are times, more often recently, when I find myself in a vacuum. Some of you may have heard some version of the expression “my get up and go has got up and went”, although there are times I feel my get up and go decided not to visit me in the first place.

I have long been able to successfully support and motivate others when they had times of disappointment, frustration, or were feeling down, however am very unsuccessful at doing the same for myself. As many of us are aware, there is nobody who can beat us up more effectively than ourselves.

While I am typing this all out, I am talking to you, my readers. At the same time, I am also talking to myself, something that is medically proven to be a good thing (Talking To Myself).

Even so, something I feel is lacking a bit, is feedback from others. It is for this reason that I always ask people to take a moment and visit one or more of the platforms that I use. Visit my website, read my blog, listen to the podcast, look at some photos, watch a video, read the newsletter, whatever. And then, perhaps take a moment, like it , maybe make a comment, share it with a friend, and best of all, recommend it to a friend.

I have been thinking through, working on, Googling thoughts, for this blog, for a couple of hours now. Then reviewing, checking for typos, or other errors. As I do so, I am feeling a little better, being active always has that effect, so my target is to be as active with this as possible. I really hope my get up and go will visit more often.

Once again, thank you for reading this blog post. I invite you to check out my “Wee Internet Empire” by visiting my website, LeSueur.ca. Any comments, recommendations or criticisms that you may have are always welcome.

Mayhaps An Olympic Like Endeavour

Most likely because the Winter Olympics are starting in Beijing next week, the movie “Eddie The Eagle” was on television today. I didn’t get to see the entire movie, however I did catch the end. Also, I had the experience of attending some aspects of the 1988 Calgary Olympics, but unfortunately not the ski jumping.

What caught my eye at the end of the movie was a quote from Pierre de Coubertin, considered to be the father of the modern Olympic games, as given in the paragraph below.

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. To spread these principles is to build up a strong and more valiant and, above all, more scrupulous and more generous humanity.”

― Pierre de Coubertin

His quote of course applies to the Olympic Games, however I feel it can be applied to most any endeavor that a person undertakes. This got me thinking about this “Wee Internet Empire” that I aspire to, and have undertaken. Will it be massive, viral, hugely successful, thousands of subscribers, and widely recognized? Highly unlikely one would suppose. But I am working at it, I am learning and applying myself, and I am doing it to the best of my ability. As such, I would like to think that de Coubertin’s quote can, in some way, apply to this project.

My efforts at my “Wee Internet Empire” may not be ‘higher, faster, stronger’ than others have done, however it is a challenge that I have not before undertaken and I am venturing into areas I have heretofore not experienced.

With these thoughts in mind, I will press on, appreciative of the support extended to me by some of the folks who indicate their interest in what I’m producing, and who have offered their thoughts to help me make it better.

I do know that my wife Kim has been very supportive and understanding as I work on this endeavour, putting up with me puttering along, while talking to my computer (and at times, the cat), and not always being as patient as perhaps I could be while learning new aspects of various application software. This Pickles comic strip, done by Brian Crane could, but hopefully doesn’t, apply in our case.

Regardless, thank you, once again for reading this blog post.

You are more than welcome to share your thoughts in the comments.

If you would like to join me on my journey, please visit my website “LeSueur.ca” or you can subscribe to my newsletter, “Old Guy, New Ideas”, if you have not already.

Thank you.

Internet Empire – The Back Story

Firstly, for clarification, I am using the term “Internet Empire” in a fun way.

As I have indicated in a previous post, I have been doing things on the world wide web for well over 40 years. I have been doing blogs, in various forms, as well as Facebook and Twitter, since 2008, for work, volunteer organizations, and myself.

As we all are quite aware, life has changed, some would say drastically, over the past couple of years. For me, it goes a bit further back.

I retired from my final job at the end of 2018 with the plan that I would spend some of my winter time in Malaysia and my summer time enjoying my motorcycle here in sunny Alberta. That worked to a degree for a couple of years, but, as often happens, life got in the way.

The pain I had been experiencing in my hip got worse and was eventually diagnosed as arthritis, to be remedied at some time by a hip replacement. This impacted a number of things, one being my overall mobility, and another my motorcycle riding. It’s hard to ride when one cannot swing one’s leg over the bike. For a biker, not being able to ride creates an unhappy place to be. Over the course of the next two summers I went through two more motorcycles, eventually coming to the one I have now. It is a trike that I am able to mount properly and now I don’t have to worry about my leg strength for stability.

Then, along came COVID-19 (followed by how many variants we have yet to find out). Now traveling to Malaysia is out, for who knows how long. It has also put a severe crimp on social and family gatherings, motorcycle events, volunteer group activities and activities with my local veterans group. As well, it has created another factor into the potential scheduling of my hip replacement surgery.

As a result, I’m literally sitting like a bump on a log at home, retired, mobility challenged, Covid restricted, and in the middle of a -30C (at times) Alberta winter.

Quite honestly, it was depressing, and I found myself imitating Jerry Seinfeld and doing nothing, although it seemed to work way better for him than for me.

I would like to say, then came an epiphany, however that was not the case. It was more like a gradual thought process. It started with the thought that, as an amateur photographer for many years, I might have some photos or even some videos that folks might like to see. Obviously, they are not doing much good just stored on my computer or in a trunk in the garage. Then came the thought that I like to write, and I do have some good stories to tell from the last 70+ years. After working with different youth groups over the last 15-20 years I have become familiar with various smartphone apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, SnapChat and so on, so that I could stay in touch with them. They were impressed that the Old Guy could actually do that.

After pondering these thoughts for a while, I figured, maybe I can put all these things together (and perhaps some others as well), give myself something to do, and have fun doing it. Maybe even provide a commodity others may find interesting as well.

Hence came into being, the concept of an Internet Empire. It may not be grand in scope, however it is meaningful to me, and in the end, maybe that’s the most important thing.

This Internet Empire is moving along. I now have a website, LeSueur.ca, with links to my various internet platforms. Just recently I have have created a newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, where I can notify folks when I update any of my platforms (like this blog) or share other information. I invite you to subscribe.

As this process has moved forward, I find I am contacting with more people from all over. Now I subscribe to a good number of blogs (as you can see off to the right), quite a few YouTube channels, Flickr sites, and such. In addition to being very interesting, I have been able to learn many new online techniques as well.

So, this is a bit of the back story for my Internet Empire. You are welcome to have a look around, comment on things and share with your friends. All are welcome.