My Week Ending 2022-11-19

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week. They’re posted to the blog daily under the title OTR Links.


  • We can all use a few bucks more in our wallet; here’s how to save money on your electric bill
  • For Wordle fans, word is that there are changes ahead


  • I know that it’s in US dollars, but I was curious to see what $99 would get you in a Windows laptop
  • Apparently, there is a move to get an national urban park in Windows – here are the details – I think it’s a good idea and shut down Matchette Road for good while at it


  • Even more ways to slow down the line at Tim Horton’s. Are my wife and I the only two in Canada that like just black coffee?
  • Thinking of switching to Linux; here’s a list of applications that do the job there with references to your current computer system and what you’re likely using


  • All of our technology needs cleaning every now and again. If you have AirPods, here are the instructions
  • I never was a fan of Clippy on my computer and I don’t see me buying one of these sweaters


  • Heavy Rescue 401 is headed to London maybe?
  • I thought that this was a fascinating insight into why we do or don’t change our minds. Convince me I’m wrong


  • It wouldn’t help me because I was always an early morning person but I think we all know many teachers who drag it in in the morning. This might help
  • Comparing Twitter and Mastodon in case you’re thinking of switching or at least having options


  • I’m quite happy with my current keyboard but am intrigued. I did have a couple of the ergonomics ones that are featured in the post. I think I still have the Microsoft one around here somewhere
  • I was interested in this article about reading; I’ll admit to using some of the ideas for some of the things that I do when recording video. I just fumble my way through the rest

Blog Posts on
doug — off the record

My daily contributions to this blog are linked below. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.

#FollowFriday – November 18, 2022

voicEd Radio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is a blog post/show/podcast that features great writing from Ontario Edubloggers. Stephen Hurley and I use their writing as the basis for a conversation.

Featured Bloggers:

  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • TESLOntario – @TESLOntario
  • Melanie White – @WhiteRoomRadio
  • Diane Kim
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Laura Wheeler – @wheeler_laura

This week’s voicEd Radio show:

A playlist of the songs of Peace that we open and close the show with.

Technology Troubleshooting

It was a rough week for my audio on the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show. Apparently, my microphone kept cutting in and out during the show. It got so bad that Stephen actually stopped the show and we did some troubleshooting and eventually just went with the built-in microphone to limp through to the end.

I also split a gut laughing because I had no idea where the actual microphone is on this computer. So, I talked at the screen and hoped that I was close. After the show was over, I took a deeper look and I think it’s right at the top of the screen frame next to the camera.

Anyway, I believe that it had nothing to do with my camera but rather my internet connection. I went to watch some television after the show and it was flaky as well.

I’m hoping for better things next week.

Video of the Week

I think I’m like everyone. I sit around and think “if I could only do this and I’d be more productive”. Could this be it?

Photo of the Week

After a week of pretty grey days, it was a beautiful Saturday morning when I took this shot. A friend of mine said that it looked like a painting. How’s that for a compliment?

Thanks for reading.

Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting for you. I honestly and truthfully appreciate your few moments reading my thoughts. Time willing, this summary appears every Sunday afternoon.

Be safe.


This blog post was originally posted at:


Whatever happened to …

… Christmas traditions?

Yesterday was “Christmas setting up time” around here. I need to get it done before Monday. As I was setting things up, I had all kinds of Christmas memories and I’m going to go out on a limb and call them traditions – at least in our little world.

As they say, your mileage may vary. And I totally appreciate that there are other celebrations at this time and I’ve always said “Happy Holidays”. It was only later in life that I fully appreciated the significance of that phrase to all.

Growing up, we always had a real Christmas tree. The local grocery store would import them by the truckload and we’d be down there to get ours. As a kid, I would have been good with the first one we saw. But, my Mom had to ensure that we picked the best of the best which meant a whole lot of looking. Truthfully, you couldn’t really tell the very best because they were wrapped in a cord for shipping anyway. A few years later, she wanted to give her grandkids the whole Christmas experience and so we went to Sloan’s in Bothwell and walked for miles dragging a sled to find the perfect tree to cut. We didn’t have a truck so all our trees got home tied to the roof of our car.

Being home in Clinton at Christmas was always a tradition and so my family here has never had a real tree. It’s always been artificial so that we could travel back to our family’s homes for the week and not have to worry about watering it. We still have a skirt under the tree because it certainly doesn’t shed needles any less than a natural tree.

The smoke detector is functional but really doesn’t add much to the photo …

The tree goes up in the same spot every year in front of the patio door (actually everything Christmas does) and it sits there. We’re not allowed to decorate; that’s the traditional job of our youngest and she’ll be out tomorrow afternoon. I got a chance to use another traditional thing this morning – my friend Colleen wanted me to stay warm. I let her know that Santa and I are doing fine.

If you look carefully in the background, you’ll see the traditional Christmas books are ready to go when we have young guests.

Even decorating the house and the tree is steeped in tradition. Yes, we have some things that we’ve bought but there are also a few decorations that come from our parents, including the musical ball that hangs from the ceiling but doesn’t work anymore. Oh, and the penguin and Santa on the front lawn with poles strategically placed but still get blown over with strong winds like we had last night.

Similarly, the tree will have some decorations that have become traditions and handed down. My grandparents had a string of Danish flags that legend says came with them to Canada. Upon their passing, the strings were cut up for each of their kids and Mom and Dad proudly displayed them on the tree. With their passing, they’re now an important part of ours.

As is Mom’s ceramic Christmas tree that we have in the living room. This year, we stopped at the Crazy 8 Barn and bought the lantern with Cardinals – my wife’s favourite bird.

Another important tradition in my parent’s home was to reach out to distant family and childhood friends that haven’t been seen in a long time, or even years. I try to do that and have been somewhat successful as of late. Social media makes it easier to renew those connections. Sometimes it works; other times – well, it’s sad when it doesn’t.

One annoying tradition that we stopped and I’m so glad we did was plastering the Christmas tree with tinsel. There’s a lot of upkeep to a tree; why make even more? Another tradition from my Mom that we don’t do is pinning Christmas cards (if you get them, see below) to the curtains in the living room. We just put them on open spaces around the house.

How about carolling? When I was young and a soprano, our Anglican choir would visit seniors’ homes to sing some Christmas songs. These days, I’m afraid that I’d sound like a truck with a flat tire going by.

I could go on and on but this post is about you and your Christmas traditions. You might be able to inspire others by sharing them in the comments. If nothing else, I’ll enjoy reading them.

  • Are you a natural tree or artificial tree user?
  • Does your tree get placed in the same spot every year?
  • Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? We took a family vote and decided it was too creepy
  • Do you use tinsel?
  • Have you ever sung in a choir? Did you do something special at Christmas time?
  • Do you have decorations that have been passed down from generation to generation?
  • What do you do with any Christmas cards that you might get?
  • What have you added to your Christmas collection this year?
  • When do you traditionally set things up; when do you traditionally take things down?
  • I recognize that this is very much about Christmas which is my world. If your world is different, do you have traditions for this time of year?

This isn’t the first Whatever happened to Christmas-themed post. You might want to check out a few others.

C’mon! Get in the spirit and leave me a comment.

This is a regular Sunday morning post around here. You can check them all out here.

I appreciate inspiration. If you have one for a future post, please reach out or add it to this Padlet.

OTR Links 11/20/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.