Canadian Bloggers: Young, Male, Educated, Anglo - and Conservative?
Some time ago I wrote a post partly in response to a comment from a fellow YULBlogger, who noted how 'anglo' the group listing seemed to be. Where were the Francophone bloggers, she wondered? Was this some sort of vindication of the theory that Montreal was not really "Québecois?"
My answer was more about the latter, but on re-examining the issue, the question remains; are there actually fewer French bloggers than English in Quebec?
Friedman: Green is the new Red, White and Blue
The NYT columnist and author of puts forth the shocking notion that energy conservation is both patriotic and helps starve corrupt, "petrolist" regimes of cash. Would turning off the oil taps in Russia, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia transform them into innovative, Singapore-esque economic tigers, with jobs for their currently disaffected youth? Maybe. I wonder in a world without cheap energy, if Friedman's vaunted "flat playing field" will stay flat for very long. We're at the top of the cheap-oil peak right now, according to geologists, and the ride down isn't going to be a smooth curve or straight line. There's going to be some discontinuity involved in switching to sustainable energy solutions, and the biggest problem isn't the technology, but getting towns, cities and states to wake up and address the problem before it becomes impossible to handle.
They're running out of good car names
The US is sometimes described as an "empire" these days, and it's often noted that there's an increasing class divide in that country. Two prototype cars unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show don't help dispel that notion.
Buick (warning: Flash) unveiled a concept SUV called the Enclave; the usual PR flacks stated the name was all about safety. This, on the heels of reports stating that SUVs are actually less safe for children to ride in, due to their propensity to roll over. Or maybe they were trying to go for an air of exclusivity - in which case, may I suggest the Buick Gated Community?
The last time I heard 'enclave' in any common currency, it was discussing pockets of Serbian or Croat villages during the Yugoslavia conflict...bad choice, Buick.
Chrysler unveiled its new hautebourgemobile, the Imperial. It's a nicely retro-futuristic design that blends a bit of Rolls Royce into the current Mercedes/Maybach-lite look. That said, with the country involved in a costly, bloody war over
oil, er, WMD, er, securing democracy in the Middle East, is that really the best name for something that's probably not gonna be a gas-sipper?
Goals for 2006
- Write more. Blog more often. I've really fallen off on keeping this blog updated, because I have a tendency to write longer pieces and be a bit too perfectionist about it. The appeal of blogs is that they are semi-permanent records of transient thoughts, so this part of the goal is basically to jot down thoughts, get them up and edit later, not get hung up over their fitness to be committed to the Pantheon of classic texts. On the other side of the equation, I wrote a few articles for TheCreativeForum.com last year that were fairly well-received, and I'm committed to writing one a month now.
- Become a better designer. As with writing, it's all too easy for me to get hung up over doing that elusive 'one perfect design' when doing faster, rougher, iterative work often serves our clients' needs better.That said, I didn't really stretch my design skills last year - working methods, inspirations, techniques - and building those "design muscles" is something I'm going to invest serious time in.
- Grow the business(es). KMA+C is the core business right now, but our goal was always to spin that out as a resource for a string of interesting new business opportunities. We've launched version 0.0001 of Enablr.com, and you'll see quite a few more interesting, and hopefully surprising, things coming from us this year. (And watch for our expanded portfolio section soon.)
- Get in better shape. Anyone who spends upwards of 10+ hours a day in front of a screen needs to get outside more. My poor bike sat on the rack all year in 2005, and while some dietary changes helped me lose some weight, I want to get better core strength, lower my cholesterol, and build some upper-body tone (clicking the mouse doesn't count)
- Save money. 2005 was the year of unforeseen expenses which didn't help - funerals, airfare etc - but on a personal level, I could have been much more frugal. I'm aiming to simplify my life considerably this year anyway, so I'm really going to consider whether I need something or not before the wallet comes out.
- Read more fiction. I read a little too much non-fiction - probably an ongoing reaction to the aftermath of 9/11 and how it polarized the world and North American politics - I think I need a good dose of high imagination now.
- Make better friends of the friends I have. I've met many fantastic people in the past few years, particularly in the Montreal blogging community, that I see regularly in social contexts, but that I haven't spent a lot of one-on-one time with; I hope 2006 means doing more fun stuff together, and me talking less, listening more.
- Relax and recharge regularly. I think we all found 2005 to be a hectic, stressful free-for-all where it was hard to balance work and life. I'm now going to make balance in my life by better organizing, and in a sense reclaiming, my time. When you work from a home office, it's far too easy to blur the lines between work and home time until they become meaningless, and it affects both your productivity and your ability to have a real life. Getting physical office space this year is one part of it, and instituting positive uses of time is another. For example, my friend Christina Hagopian of hagopian ink created "de-plug Fridays," where she shuts off the computer at noon and gets out, taking time to recharge creatively: Taking a walk, spending the afternoon with friends and colleagues, going to a play, a concert, the museum. It's something that focuses, contrasts, and ultimately gets more productivity out of the hours you work the rest of the week, in my view.
What are your goals for 2006?