Seat 21a

September 8, 2014


Sometimes it can be really hard to see the human being next to you.

Next to me, in seat 21A, was a human. A person with real relationships and problems and desires and duties and fears. She wasn’t so different from me. Or from anyone else on the plane, really.

Thanks to my daughter for passing this along. A good reminder about what we should be doing in life.


Life is Difficult

September 5, 2014



I Get Mail

September 5, 2014

Always nice to be offered a great job. And I satisfy e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g that they are l00king 4. I can even spoke the local language g00d.



True Grit

September 4, 2014


Grit is an attitude — a personal creed that you can conquer anything if you just put your mind and body to it. It is the unwavering purpose and the resilience to stick to that purpose whatever the outcome.

I spent some time today with a person that showed true grit.

She has been my hair stylist for most of the time that I have lived in Kingston. Until May of this year. Then she went away.

She had been dealing with a brain tumour and it was growing at an accelerated rate. It had impacted her hearing and her fine motor control on one side of her face. Her medical team decided that major surgery was required immediately and she went to a hospital in Toronto for treatment.

I received the call from the shop a few days before she was scheduled to leave. They wanted to let me know about her situation and that she had requested me to come in to the shop that week so that she could see me before she left. The shop wasn’t sure if she would be back.

I made a booking for the next day. When I met with her, she told me that she would be back to work in August. And she was close. She came back to work this week. I had my appointment with her today. It was wonderful to see her again.

She shared her experience of getting through the surgery and her determination to relearn how to stand, how to walk, how to use her face and how to use her eyes. She had set her goal to regain her mobility and her health, to get back to work and to regain her life. And she never wavered.

I truly hope that this is all behind her now. And she did a great job with my hair. As she always has.

True grit.


Ice Bucket Challenge

September 3, 2014


My oldest son was challenged and took an ice bucket for the cause. He made this note about the experience:

Terrifying disease if you look into it. This awareness campaign is rather brilliant, but I hope significant amounts of the money raised goes to research, rather than campaigns and admin fees.

The breakdown of the funds ALS Canada received for 2013 are:

  • 29% research – grants (21%), program support – national ALS Canada Research Conference, travel grants for ALS researchers, etc. (8%)
  • 21% client services
  • 6% public awareness
  • 4% federation – national support
  • 4% volunteer program development
  • Admin (9%)
  • Governance (2%)
  • Fundraising (25%)

Fundraising costs are on the high side however the work that they do in Ontario makes a difference to those families impacted by ALS. Like many people, I wasn’t too familiar with the disease prior to the ice bucket challenge.

Here is an overview from the ALS Canada website:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. People living with the disease become progressively paralyzed due to degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Eighty per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis– unable to breathe or swallow. Ten per cent of those affected may live for 10 years or longer.

Other neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. According to the World Health Organization, neurodegenerative diseases are predicted to surpass cancer as the second leading cause of death in Canada by 2040.

ALS has no known cure or effective treatment yet. For every person diagnosed with ALS, a person living with ALS dies. Approximately 2,500 – 3,000 Canadians currently live with this fatal disease.

Yesterday, I learned about the death of a good friend. A person that I have known for about 25 years. He was younger than me, early fifties, with a wife and children. He was a wonderful man, very successful in life and business. And he died from this awful disease.

I haven’t been challenged to do the ice bucket. And it really doesn’t matter. Today I gave to ALS Canada to remember my friend and to try to make a difference to the people in my province that are being impacted by this disease. You can do so here.


New World Signed Off

September 2, 2014

New World

Yesterday the team reviewed the final round of mixes for the New World project at my home studio. And, after several hundred hours of dedicated effort, we have a project that is now ready for mastering.

There is still a bit more work left to do on the project. I will need to prepare the final mixes for the mastering engineer and to ensure that we master the project to suit the different delivery environments including online delivery. A bit new for some projects is the Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) workflow. Apple provides a comprehensive overview and tools for the workflow here. Justmastering has a more detailed technical overview on MFiT here.

Bob Ludwig provides his perspective:

Apple has begun a new initiative called “Mastered for iTunes” which greatly improves the sound of iTunes AAC encodes without changing a single piece of hardware on the 250,000,000 players in the field. It can be so dramatic you can easily hear the difference between the new and old technology on your little laptop speakers.

Instead of ingesting the music from a CD rip or 16-bit file, the new system uses 24-bit master files for the encode. The AAC encoder can make use of bits 17-24. An important addition is the realization that the act of AAC encoding can cause clipping where there was none on the original PCM .wav or .aiff file. In classical music this encoder induced clipping can occur at the occasional climaxes or in a typical over-compressed pop/rock recording, many times a second. Apple has created tools to log the number, severity and time of each clip so the mastering engineer can lower the level of the 24-bit master by fractions of a dB and the clips and resulting distortion from them is eliminated.

It is a complicated answer, but a 24-bit AAC encoded file can thus sound better and measure better in certain cases than a normal 16-bit Compact Disc, which unfortunately has been regarded as the gold standard for sound in these comparisons.

The days of consuming music on physical media are pretty much over and it makes sense to ensure that the final masters are well prepared for digital delivery over services like iTunes. Also another reason to track and mix in high resolution audio. This project was tracked and mixed at 24-bit/96kHz. We will master at 24/96 for iTunes.

Well, regardless of the final few steps, yesterday was a major milestone for the project. Bittersweet in one respect as I deeply care for each member of the team. They are all amazing players and we created a wonderful work of art. I am looking forward to the final release over the next few months.


How To Wash and Wax A Car

August 29, 2014

There is this way. And there is my way.

Getting the car ready for the fall means a thorough wash and wax. I had today off work and what better way to spend a morning than getting the automobile all nice and clean.

I use a two bucket system to wash the car: one bucket for the soap and one bucket to rinse the wash mitt. I work with two genuine sheepskin wash mitts: one mitt for the top half of the car and one mitt for the bottom half. I use several waffle weave microfiber cloths to dry the car. And I use Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash.

The car gets washed in the shade. Both 10L buckets are filled halfway with water. To the first bucket I add the appropriate amount of car wash and then I use the hose to fill that bucket up a bit more to add some foam.

The car receives a good rinse to clear off any loose material.

I work the top half of the vehicle first washing a major panel at a time. After each panel is washed, I rinse off the soap from the car and I take the wash mitt to the second bucket and rinse it off as well.

Once the top half of the vehicle is clean, I switch to my second wash mitt. I also clean out both buckets and refill them. One with water and one with the car soap.

Again, I work a panel at a time on the bottom half of the vehicle following the same process I used for the top half.

After the car is washed and rinsed, I use the waffle weave microfiber cloths to dry the vehicle.

The car is then brought into the garage for the wax treatment. This part of the process takes a few hours as I apply the wax by hand and I buff the wax by hand.

I prefer the look of a carnauba wax and I use Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Liquid Wax.

The wax is quite easy to apply and I tend to do the car in four stages: top and front, passenger side, rear deck and back, and finally driver side. I use wax and shine towels. There is a textured side to remove the wax haze and a plush side to buff the wax to a perfect finish. I use four towels using only one towel per stage.

Then, once the entire car is finished, I step back and admire the result.

Everything I learned about detailing a car came from Mike Phillips. You can find his e-book here.



August 27, 2014

The late, great Maya Angelou once said that, “When you know better, you do better.” Once you have made a mistake and learned from it, you are put in a position to act out your lessons learned. There’s a reason we’re told to keep a budget to fix financial woes, or to keep a food diary when trying to eat right: self-knowledge is power.

Self-awareness is defined as conscious knowledge of oneself; it’s a stepping stone to reinventing oneself, learning to make wiser decisions, and helps you tune into your thoughts and feelings. So often we place blame on externalities because it’s the easiest excuse, when in fact we should be thinking about our thinking, reflecting, trying on different perspectives, and learning from our mistakes.

Why Self-Awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change