Just my stuff

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Hard work, perseverance pays off

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Recently I’ve been putting more effort into publishing entries at earthpages.ca. At the beginning, I’d written a book and just wanted to get it out there. A nice soul suggested that if I wanted anyone to read it, I’d better illustrate it and add more paragraphs. I followed his advice and, over the years, am finally striking a good balance among readability, layout and detail.

Nowadays I tend to take more time writing for earthpages.ca. It’s been gratifying to see my stories hit the news headlines. If you click on this image you’ll see that I’m up there with Harvard and UCLA Law stories!


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what’s your ism?

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr – Click for larger size

Having more fun goofing around with fonts. I’m not sure this one is quite up to Earthpages’ standards. I originally wanted a smart looking woman with a slightly confused, bewildered or exasperated expression. But I couldn’t find a good image along those lines.

This one is okay. Places on a map, as it were…

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Makin’ the drop

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

Traffic is crazy in Toronto these days so I often use the overnight drop box at the public library. I didn’t watch this DVD but mananged to skim the instructional book that came with it. Something about dialects vs. languages, and how arbitrary the definition of each is.

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Old Word Friday: Jobler

Prophecy Six Blog

Hello World Out There World!

This weeks old word Friday is jobler. Jobler is a noun believed to have been created around 1662 and didn’t grow in popularity after that. This weeks word means ‘someone who works small jobs’.

Pronunciation of this word is:


Examples of using this word in a sentence are:

If you can’t find full-time work than become a jobler.


I met a nice gentleman the other day who’s a wonderful jobler.

I like the word jobler. It is easy and fun to say, which is usually the reasons behind why I want certain words to come back into common use – like nibling. If used in common conversation jobler may confuse some people but the word has job in it… so it is possible that those you say the word to will pick up on what it could mean. I would love to…

View original post 12 more words

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21st Century Signs and Urban Changes

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Now that I’ve finally got a good mobile phone that takes nice pics, I’m beginning a new venture, one that has been percolating for some time now. Actually two ventures. One is a photo series called “21st Century Signs.” The other is a series called “Urban Changes.”

21C Signs will chronicle signs that catch my eye as I go about my daily business. I won’t crop or filter the images. It’s just a quick historical snapshot. The series might seem unexceptional today, but in the future I think folks will be interested.

Urban Changes is about how my city, Toronto Canada, is changing soooo fast. Old buildings are disappearing by the truckload. New buildings are coming up and altering our skyline like never before. So this series will outline abandoned, soon to be trashed, and glittering new structures.

You can keep up by simply coming here because it’ll all be on Twitter. And my personal Twitter feed is at top right of this page. I was lucky to grab the name “@MikeClark” at Twitter early in the game, when Twitter was just taking off. If you want to see the whole thing, here’s the link:

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The Northern European gods and goddesses come alive!

I’ve owned this book for some time but it’s been sitting in my basement, highly respected and largely ignored. I hoped I’d get to it some day. Finally, after years of letting it just sit there, I cracked the cover. Amazing book. Really good. At least, right for me… right now.

The author mentions other luminaries in the field yet resists the temptation, which many bigger names did not, of spelling out some grand mythological theory. So in this sense she’s incredibly contemporary for 1964 (the publication date).

Grand theory is generally “out” these days, I think it’s safe to say. H. R. Ellis Davidson seems quite content to just discuss the evidence without overlaying her own imaginative framework. And that’s what makes this charming and informed work a true classic.

Highly recommended for anyone wanting to go a little deeper into the topic.

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My latest find – a great free scanner app


OCR-A was a font developed to be easily recogn...

OCR-A was a font developed to be easily recognized by early Optical Character Recognition programs, as well as humans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ve probably heard me raving about our library. It really is great. However, over the years some of my material wasn’t checked in after I’d put it in the overnight drop box. That can be stressful because, the last time I looked, the library policy said the user must pay the replacement cost for disputed returns. And libraries pay a lot more for stuff than do regular folk.

It’s a questionable policy.

Fortunately most library employees can sense when you are telling the truth. Yes, I returned it..! And all of my reported returns eventually surfaced within the library. Sadly, however, some employees just don’t have those essential people skills. And running up against them makes you feel cold, cold, cold.

I’m a realist. I know the library is a busy place and to err is human. But still, if a movie-rental chain failed to check in materials three times (that’s how often it happened to me) and said I had to pay, I’d be tempted to notify the authorities that watch over shady business practices.

So being a realist, I’m using a free scanner app to “scan” (it doesn’t scan like conventional scanners) all the bar codes of material placed in the overnight box. This evening I put 6 items in. If they are all checked in Monday morning, that would be best. But if not, at least I have this as backup.

The iPad scanner used for this is CamScanner HD Pro. It apparently works with phones too. (I use an old phone so wouldn’t know for sure). After familiarizing myself with it today, I can say that it far surpasses other free portable scanner apps. This app not only saves to JPG, PDF or to a Cloud, but also has optical character recognition (OCR).

So, say you come across a great printed quote or passage that you ‘d like to blog later. With this app you

1 – take a picture

2 – crop and touch up the passage

3 – convert it to standard text

4 – and email it—all from a handheld device!

The app also has a standard version that works well. But the Pro version is now free. I suggest grabbing it while you can!