Doughnuts Galore!

Well, it was finally doughnut day. After literally years of waiting the time was declared and the materials were gathered. It was Doughnut Day!

So what did we learn?

  1. Convincing people to make doughnuts is hard work.
  2. Waiting for doughnuts is hard work.
  3. Making doughnuts is hard work.
  4. Getting doughnuts just right is hard work.
  5. Eating doughnuts is hard work.

Would I do it again? Huh, I don’t seem to be doing anything else right now so…

You go Abe… You go!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
—Abraham Lincoln

If there was some philosophy I could say I truly believe in then this would be it. Likely a lot of it is that I am an inveterate tinkerer and like to take the opportunity to learn new things, but mostly I think I am a bit addicted to efficiency. A process that runs smoothy and without hiccups is one that makes me smile and if I can spend 3 hours doing something interesting and learning a new skill that will carve 4 hours off a mundane and boring task ,then the outcome is guaranteed to make me grin like an idiot.

Case in point: my boating quiz. As I had mentioned previously I felt the interface for the Slick Quiz plugin sucked, and was full of redundant entry and irrelevant info that had to be entered regardless of my opinion. Since I could build a customized entry system in Filemaker in a matter of moments, it just made sense to do it my way.

That left the issue of how to get my info from Filemaker to WordPress’s quiz plugin. A quick check revealed that Slick Quiz had made a couple of tables in the WordPress MySQL database. I exported the existing data to get a sample of the table structure and then went in to Filemaker and with (a lot of) trial and error managed to create an export file that I could dump via phpMyAdmin into the correct tables. Voila!

The Point

It took me several days of playing with variables, learning software and figuring out that special characters like ampersands and curly quotes were giving me grief, before I could get the system running. I probably could have done a whole lot of data entry the hard way in those few days, but…

  • I learned new software and new systems
  • I learned about the nature of ‘special’ characters in a text import/export situation
  • I practiced and polished my Filemaker skills, making the next project that much easier (this is the process that had led to my ability to make a better interface in the first place)
  • And last, but not least, I now have a customizable system that will allow quick and efficient entry of data form weeks and months, potentially saving me hundreds of hours over the long haul.

I’m not such a big Lincoln fan generally — I tend to feel politicians are generally less altruistic than history portrays them — but I am totally on board with this little quote. Spend some time sharpening your axe people; it is almost always the right choice.

War Huh! What is it good for…

Attending Gwynne Dyers’s lecture “What the First World War Taught Us” at the Matrix Hotel. Mssr Dyer has been a hero of mine for decades now. He is the author of War (and a shit-ton of others) and host of the mini series of the same name.



There is a growing understanding that warfare, at least between developed countries, is simply not a useful policy tool anymore.

“Hope we get there before the war’s over!” wasn’t as bloodthirsty as generally assumed; it often signaled the hope for a free European holiday. Huh.

“The air was filled with hot metal. The trenches were dug because you could not live on the surface.” Hmmmm

Because the war was so horrific, so total, it had to be a moral war. It could not conceivably be about political readjustment as all previous world encompassing wars…

And because this was a moral war, the losers must have been evil and must therefore pay for ‘plotting’ their evil ways. Thereby setting up another war to readjust the scales again.

The UN wasn’t created to stop wars. It was created to stop the great powers for going to war. What we learned from these 2 wars is that a technological war kills too efficiently.

“In essence the creation of the UN made war illegal and gave the great powers a way to save face and back away from another great — and now nuclear — war.”

That makes the whole thing about illegal wars etc. make sense now…

Summer Fun


Well we’ve managed to commit to a bit of summer fun in the Broughtons. Leslie and I have booked the Shearwater, a 33′ Bavaria, to join Cooper Boating’s planned flotilla to the Broughtons off the north-east side of Vancouver Island. The flotilla will be headed by the Yeadon Jones, authors of the Dreamspeaker guidebooks. It’s 14 days in June, leaving from Powell River and truly a magnificent opportunity.

The flotilla format — a group of boats travelling together under the guidance of a ‘lead’ boat — will allow us to to head further afield than L and I would otherwise be comfortable doing. We’ll have the benefit of others’ knowledge of conditions and anchorages while still enjoying our own boat and able to be as social (or not) as we want. Now I just have to keep from going crazy for the next 3 months.

Today we are off to the Edmonton Boat & Sportsman show to look for even more adventures… or maybe just dream a little 😉

The planned itinerary is below. but who knows if it will change or not.

View Broughtons 2014 in a larger map