11 December 2009


Have you ever tried to use your iPhone while wearing gloves? It won't work, unless of course you stitch some conductive thread into your mitten!

This remarkable insight, and many more of an equally Canadian perspective, are the fodder of Spark, a weekly radio show cum podcast cum blog produced by the CBC. It deals with technology and trends that impact the way we live, work and communicate. The hour-long show is entertaining and evocative, trendy and thorough, interactive and insightful, and it has quickly become one of my favorite pieces of "distinctively Canadian content".

The way I consume Spark, as can you, is in itself a sign of how much technology has changed the way we live. Although Spark is still broadcast at a specific time, on a specific frequency, on FM, I just listen to it whenever I feel like it. I have subscribed to its podcast through my Logitech Squeezebox, an amazingly powerful small device linked on one end to my stereo, and on the other into my home WiFi. Thanks to Squeezebox, I can listen to any streaming or podcast content in the world, and easily keep in touch with Swiss news, Argentinian tango and San Francisco Big Band swing. Yes, sometimes technology is magic!

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09 December 2009


It was an unexpected sight, and yet one that was instantly attractive. Shortly after having bought a pass to the vast CEPSUM sports complex I use for swimming, I decided to explore the available facilities a bit. Walking through endless corridors, filled with a sweaty odors emanating from young sporty students, I came past a variety of torture chambers with assorted instruments (treadmills, free weights, climbing walls, Jane Fonda-esque drill sergeants…) before I spotted them: Two full-size, professional trampolines, of the very same kind that I used to compete on, way back in my teenage years as a member of the TV Wislig team. In the long time since then, however, I had not set a foot on any such trampoline, as they are almost impossible to find in regular gyms or open-air sports courts. Seeing them there at CEPSUM, I knew that this would change at last.

As it turned out, you have to attend a trampoline course in order to be accredited as a certified athlete, which then enables you to use the facility at your leisure. Learning that the instructor in that particular course was actually a friend of a friend, I could no longer restrain myself and enrolled for the winter session. And so, one day in September, there I was at that gym, surrounded by nine – decidedly more athletic – students eager to try out this outer-fringe discipline. Cautiously making my first few shy jumps under the auspices of this group, I kept repeating to myself that it was merely a coincidence that most of the other participants were high board divers, ballet dancers or gymnasts…

Typing this post now, three months later, I have survived nine of the ten sessions without injury, and am already a proud holder of an “accreditation aux activités specialisées”. After a rough start, at which my body painfully reminded me of the 11 year hiatus in jumping, I have gradually been achieving my overall objective, which unlike the one of my course mates, consisted mainly of having fun re-learning the basic skills I once posessed. And as a pleasant side effect, I can now name many more body parts and postures in French! Although of course I prefer not to comprehend that “double salto” thing in any language…

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