Category Archives: awards

Let the Sun Shine In

Many, many thanks to Sean, the travelingenglishteacher for passing on to me the “Sunshine Award”.  The squirrel is very grateful.  Of late, this blog’s trophy and award cupboard has been as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s.  I mean, give a dog a bone or rather the squirrel some nuts.   So thanks, Sean.

Sean is a modern day adventurer out exploring the world. Currently, he’s in Korea but he has a list of 100 things to do and places to visit; including backpacking through South East Asia (my part of the world!).  Drop by and learn more of the adventures of an American let loose on the world.

Now the Sunshine Award is awarded to blogs “which contribute to the blogging community in a positive or inspirational way.”   Wow.  I am humbled but grinning like a sun-stroked idiot.

The Award comes with the following curse responsibilities.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and write a post about it.
  2. Answer ten questions about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 10 bloggers you enjoy, link to their blogs, and let them know you nominated them.

Without further ado, here are the questions………..

  1. Favorite color: Aquamarine (a blue-green hue)
  2. Favorite animal: Otter (was this a surprise? Squirrel is second)
  3. Favorite number: 13
  4. Favorite drink: Soya milk (this is my all time favorite but my current favorite can change with time)
  5. Favorite website: Bible Gateway  ( a great site to read and study the Word of God)
  6. Passion: nature and the environment, photography, canals, travel, culture and history. Oh and writing. Oh, yes, also food ……..etc.
  7. Prefer getting or giving presents: Neither.
  8. Favorite pattern:  Black Watch Tartan (just like the colors, really)
  9. Favorite day of the week: Saturday
  10. Favorite flower: Carnations
Shades of Aquamarine
The Black Watch or Campbell Tartan


And now…..(drum-roll)…… I pass the award on to ……..

  1. Magic Lantern Show – Owen captures in photos and prose, much of the beauty of nature, architecture, town and countryside, culture and history from his base in France but also helps bloggers connect with each other.
  2. VioletSky – I always find sunshine in her posts, even though she is a taphophile but then so am I.
  3. The HeSo Project – Tracy and her Heart and Soul Project is all about regaining sunshine into one’s life and is well illustrated with pictures of many interesting places she has visited.
  4. Windy Skies – Anil finds sunshine in the faces, places and lives of the people around him.  Poet and photographer and people watcher, I always feel elated after visiting his blog.
  5. Grey and Red, A Squirrel Journal – I just have to give a shout out to my friend, Caryn, who not only writes and educates us all about squirrels but is SquirrelMama, bringing sunshine to many orphaned squirrels and smiles to many readers’ faces.
  6. Please….forgive…..can’t …..think ….any….more……small….rodent …..brain…….overheated.

Making History and the Stylish Blogger

Well, all of us have witnessed a pivotal moment in history this week with the popular overthrow of President Mubarak by the people of Egypt.  This is mind-boggling BIG!  It is world changing.  I celebrate with the Egyptian people the peaceful end of the protests and am relieved that all parties did not resort to more violence.  Even Mr. Mubarak should be commended for finally giving way to the will of the people and not escalating the violence any further.  But for now, it is the Egyptian people who are to be feted as heroes; remembering too those who gave their lives to the cause of freedom.

Of equal historical significance in the small and sad little world of the Lone Grey Squirrel is that I got an award. Moi.  (Squirrel does acrobatic backflips – not a pretty sight).

Pauline, my Canadian animal loving blogger friend was kind enough to bestow the Stylish Blogger Award to this mangy squirrel.  Being a Canadian already makes her an animal lover so she is doubly a defender of animals.  And so she gave me this award.  Did I tell you that she had a soft spot for cute, defenceless animals?  Thank you, Pauline.

According to the rules: “By accepting this award I’m to tell five of my favourite things and then pick five people to pass the award on to.” Here goes:

1. Spending time with my wife. The last time I filled a similar meme about favorite things, I made the mistake of putting this at number 3.  I still remember the pain I felt when my wife found out.  She apparently did not appreciate my explanation that the list was written in “no particular order”. So honey, hi! You’re number one, of course.
2. Walking in the rain. A habit I picked up during my dark angst ridden teenage years when I enjoyed a good funk while going for a long walk in the rain.  I love the smell and sound of the rain and I feel hidden, cocooned, shrouded and safe when in the rain.  It is also a great time for solitude and meditation as you seldom meet another weirdo mad enough to walk in the rain.
3.  Swimming in a jungle stream. I have had the opportunity to swim in a few streams in the equatorial jungle and I love it; especially if the stream is remote and far from human settlements.  As I soak in the stream, I like to imagine myself to be Tarzan surveying my realm or an explorer discovering some new wonderful, serene place in the jungle.
4. Dinner with friends. I like to eat.  I occasionally enjoy the challenge of trying to cook something new.  Finally nothing better than laughter and deep conversations with friends.  So dinner with friends fits the bill in so many ways.
5. Laughter of Children. I have no kids of my own but I get on well with children.  So I  tend to borrow them from friends, have fun and then return them before any serious parenting is needed (like changing diapers).  I enjoy hearing their laughter when we really connect.  When my god-daughter was just two, I invented a game where I would put a small plastic pail over the head of a Winnie the Pooh so that Winnie’s eyes were just visible.  It somehow amused her and she would laugh and chuckle.  It became our personal insider  joke.  Later she would always laugh when I did this but she wouldn’t respond if someone else did it.  Ah, very satisfying.

Finally, it is my responsibility to pass the award to 5 others.  Of course, I enjoy reading all the blogs on my blog roll and a few others that I have been a bit negligent in adding to the blog roll.  They each have their own quirks and strengths.  But for the Stylish Blogger Award,  I will nominate;

1.  Owen of the Magic Lantern Show is a great photographer and classy dude from the city of fashion and style, Paris.

2. Sweet Cheeks of Sweet Cheeks has an idea and what great and funny ideas they are.

3.Graham of OneStonedCrow is a great spokesperson for his beloved Namibia.  He’s incommunicado in the northern part for at least another two weeks but I hope he will post on this after his return.

4. Carol from Ahhh….The Cottage Life! makes me wish for the cottage life in rural Ontario.

5. Susan of Guilty With An Explanation is one classy lady in this squirrel’s humble opinion.  This San Francisco gal handles life with style.

Lost and Refound 2

This is the follow-up to the post “Lost and Refound 1‘.  Basically, I was disappointed to find some of the videos that I had embedded in my posts were no longer available due to the Grinch like nature of  one of the music companies.  So here,  I have recollected three of the  “lost” videos.

Physics for Adolescent Males

In this post, I craftily used the discussion of the physics principle of  Simple Harmonic Motion as an excuse for a Shakira hip-swaying video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Schmoozers Recognized and Flagpole Sitta Lip Synch’ed

This post was really about a Schmoozers’ award but in celebration, I included this amateur video which remains one of my all time favorite discoveries from the internet.  It was the collaborative effort of members of one office.  Man, that looks like a fun place to work.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Music of the Sun God, Inti Illimani

This post was dedicated to Inti Illimani – what started as a group of Chilean  engineering students who found themselves in exile after General Pinochet took power in their homeland, became a band of musical scholars who were cultural ambassadors for their country and a voice of hope for the return of democracy for Chile.  I had the privilege to see them in concert and I chose my words carefully when I call them “musical scholars” for their knowledge and use of musical instruments is beyond that of mere performers.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Interesting……Very Interesting

Hi guys,

My intentions was to post my second installment on Barcelona, Spain but the masterly crafted MTV style video featuring scantily clad squirrels dancing around on the old cobbled streets of Barcelona will have to wait at least another week before it can be unleashed to the unsuspecting public. Unfortunately the computer in the laboratory from which I plot world conquest has been infected!!!! (and I wonder if I picked it up from any of you????)

Yes, now whenever I switch it on and attempt to retrieve said video, something strange happens which I can only describe as “groovy”; i.e. it looks like Windows that is tripping on LSD. I fear that I may have to send said computer to rehabilitation and who knows how long that will take.

So here I was, with no means to plot world domination when suddenly, sweet Marja of Dutchcorner, gives me this wonderful award for “Interesting Blog 2009” which originated from BlueDreamer . Thank you Marja. Without knowing it, you have given me much appreciated encouragement and have averted world conquest………if only the free world knew how much it owed you.

As always, it now falls on me to spread the good mojo. It goes without saying that I like all the blogs on my blogroll and invite you to visit all of them but I would like to highlight the following with this “Interesting Blog 2009” award (in no particular order);

1. Guilty with an Explanation – What isn’t interesting about the way Hearts sees life in San Francisco. Why even the title is interesting, don’t cha tink?

2. The Unmitigated Word – I generally do not dally long on blogs that pontificate on politics and other heavy issues. So the fact that Andre’s blog talks politics and deals with some deep social issues and I find it so interesting, makes this blog real special in my books. Andre covers the issue with real passion and with a great deal of thought and does it very objectively. Two thumbs up, bro.

3. For the Love of Women – This is a work of love by Eastcoastdweller and a small team that he has cobbled together (of which LGS is fortunate to be part of). This is a tribute to women. And aren’t women interesting? If you want to learn more about women and their contributions to life on this world then do visit FLOW as we affectionately call it.

4. Gledwood Vol 2 Main Blog – Gledwood’s blog has great recipes (for batchlors), has lots of cool videos, has wonderful posts about his Roborovski hamsters and he writes with frankness about his struggles with addiction. In his own words, his blog is about, “HAMSTERS & HEROIN: Not all junkies are purse-snatching grandmother-killing psychos. I’m keeping this blog to bear witness to that fact.” Interesting, no?

5. The Molly Bawn Chronicles – Hmmm. So similar to the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”. Coincidence? I think not! I am sure Molly Bawn is equally unsinkable! From the very first time I visited her blog, I have enjoyed her stories and her reflections. She’s Irish which explains a lot. She does quilting and blogs about it too. Once I made a derogatory remark about quilting and Molly saved me from the lynch mob of her other readers by making me plead insanity so I am indebtted to her. But seriously, her tales of here and now and of yesteryear and of the Ol’ Sod are very interesting.

Thanks again Marja and I hope all of you will visit the awardees.

Real Life Award

Reception after the Ceremony (Photo by LGS)

Monday the 24th of November 2008 was a very special night for me. Although I have generally avoided talking about my work on this blog, I feel the need to mark this occasion.

At a very special function, which was held at the base of the famous KLCC Twin Towers and which was attended and presided over by the Prime Minister of my country, awards were given out under several categories for outstanding contributions to the country. This was a new national award that was launched last year in conjunction with the 50th year of Independence. The very first inaugural award recipients were named at this function.

There were 5 categories. The first for Community and Education was won by a well known scholar who studied poverty and influenced the development of the country’s education system. Another category was for Science and Technology and that was jointly won by a) the medical research team that risked their lives during a fatal disease outbreak which led to them discovering a new disease and b) to a doctor,researcher and lecturer who has greatly influenced diabetes research and treatment in the country. The award for Economic Contributions was given to a gentleman who discovered the way to greatly increase the yield and profitability of the oil palm crop which became a major source of income for the country. There was no award winner this year for the category for Scholastic Achievement.

The final category was for the Environment and it was awarded to the organisation that I work for. I was one of 10 representatives and supporters that were invited to receive the award on behalf of the organisation. It was a great experience. The award recognised the persistent effort of the organisation for more than 14 years which eventually led to the protection of a very large tract of wilderness forest. The award clearly belongs also to all the volunteers and partners that helped along the way.

Standing with all the other award recipients was very memorable as I have a deep respect for all of them (and especially for the medical research team) and therefore felt incredibly blessed to be counted amongst them. The award comes with a RM500,000 cash prize which will be a great help to us as we continue to try to get adjacent forests protected as well. But for me, it has been by far a most welcome encouragement to myself and to all the staff and volunteers that have given their hearts to the cause of conservation of our country’s natural heritage.

I had a ball. I am now a little hung-over from the post-adrenaline rush. But the work must now go on. Nose back on the grindstone!

Jedi Squirrel

Has it been two weeks? I am so sorry. I meant to put this up earlier but it has been a hectic two weeks. However, I really appreciated it when my friend the Urban Animal gave me this “Kick Ass Blogger” award, coming as it did around the time of the big showdown in my own life. It was indeed a very good and welcome encouragement. I like this award. It makes small tree rodent mammals feel big.

Here are the rules (because there are always rules):

* Choose 5 bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
* Let ‘em know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they’ve received an award
* Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to Mamma Dawg
* Hop on back to the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky then pass it on!

Okay for my 5 “Kick Ass Blogger” Inductees (which urban animal would have been one if she hadn’t already got the award).

  1. A Little Off Kilter. A single parent building a happy home for her kids and herself. She’s come a long way and with much grace in the last year. A kick ass inspiration for us all wrapped up with a blog of wonderfully eclectic content and great pictures.
  2. Trying to Fill the Unforgiving Minute. She’s scared of squirrels (can you believe that?!?!), amongst other things but she doesn’t let them small matters interfere with her living a sparkling, giving and humor filled life. Another kick ass inspiration with interesting posts on her blog.
  3. The Walking Man. If I met Mark in person, I think I would be definitely intimidated by this man who has seen and done so much with his life, both good and not so good. Such a full experience of life is wonderfully captured in his poems and reflected in the character of the man who has also bravely endured much physical pain over the years. I think he deserves to be called a kick ass salt of the earth character.
  4. Odat’s Mumblings. Odat’s taking a break from blogging but like many of her readers, I hope she’ll be back soon cause there is no denying her inspirational character and her kick ass blog.
  5. A Majority of Two. One blogger, in my opinion, has maintained an incredibly kick ass blog from the days of my first forays into bloggerworld till now and so I’ll have her end this list. One of the most personable and humble persons with the most interesting things to say in what she calls “her boring little blog”. Well, it’s her boring little kick ass blog really!

Well, many thanks for the award again. Here’s the best kick ass squirrel picture I could find.

Blinded by the Brilliance

Recently, VioletSky got her first blog award and she was kind enough to share it with seven others including moi. Well, okay it was a full week ago and I am only just acknowledging it. My excuse? Well, between being blinded and mesmerised by the award and my long shifts at the nut mines, time has just whizzed past. Yes, I was blinded by the brilliance and mesmerised by the pretty colours of the “Brillante Weblog Premio -2008” Award.

This award came with only one instruction; pass it on to seven others. Wow, that’s a lot. That is more than the digits on one grubby paw. I have decided to make up all the rest of the rules.

And so, the Brillante Weblog Premio- 2008 goes to…………

  1. Terry’s Timeout for Brilliance in Visual Excellence (i.e. visually wonderful experience).
  2. Odat’s Mumblings for Brilliance in living life with joy or in her own words, Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.”
  3. Notes from a WildCat Fan for Brilliance with children, her own and others.
  4. Doing the Best with What I have for Brilliance in spirit and soul, for integrity under stress and for the bravery to go white-water rafting and the audacity to not just survive but enjoy it!
  5. Grey and Red, A Squirrel Journal for Brilliance in the service of squirrels. How could she not get this award!
  6. Dr. John’s Fortress for Brilliance in spirit and the willingness to share the wisdom of the wise with the rest of us.
  7. The Thoughts and Sayings of Baba Doodlius for Brilliance in living in an alternate universe and explaining the “truths” about Life to all of us.

There! I have done my duty. Though there are so many more worthy of recognition, I am sure there will be a next time. For now, I am crash on my stash of nuts and catch some Zeee’s.

Smashing Thoughts

It is clear from her blog, DutchCorner, that Marja is a brave and passionate woman, especially in her concern for children welfare in general and for those with learning difficulties specifically. She is also a very good promoter of the blogging community, so do go visit and learn about what is happening in her corner. Just to confuse matters, her corner of the world is actually New Zealand. Intrigued? Confused? Drop in on her blog and all will be clear.

Recently, Marja celebrated her 10,000th visitor and she was also given the “Brilliant Weblog Premio 2008” Award. All the denizens of this Realm send their congratulations to Marja on her twin achievements.

On that special occasion, in typically generous fashion, she celebrated by giving out some awards of her own, which is how the Lone Grey Squirrel came to get his grubby paws on the “Smashing Blog” Award. Many thanks, Marja.

This squirrel was mesmerised by the pretty award for most of the day. You might be familiar with this look…….it is the same when a squirrel’s eyes are caught in a car’s headlights. When I was finally able to stop staring at the bright light, I did what comes naturally to inquisitive squirrels; I asked, “What does ‘Smashing’ mean?”

According to the Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, smashing can either mean 1. crushing (as in, smashing defeat) or 2. extraordinarily impressive (as in, smashing performance). Squirrels are more familiar with the first meaning as in the case of “smashing nuts” to get to the goodies inside but I am hoping that the award refers to the second meaning. Here it is again, this schizophrenic nature of the English language where either the same word can mean completely different things or different and opposite words can mean the same thing.

So we find that when something is good, it is “cool” but it could also be “hot”. It is cool to be driving a hot car but the hot chick can still give you the cold shoulder which just isn’t cool, dude.

I heard this recently and I thought it also illustrates this point well; “How can you tell that you have grown old? You tell you best friend that you are having an affair and he asks who is the caterer.”

Then there is the use of the same or similar word twice to reverse the meaning. Actually this is apparently true of many languages, where a double negative gives a positive. For example, “He would not disagree.” means “He agreed”. A professor of English is said to have given a class on this very topic recently and he said that many languages have this “double negative equals positive rule” but though some languages also have the reverse which is that “double positive equals negative”, that is not the case in the English language. There was silence initially as his students scribbled down their notes but then a voice from the back of the lecture hall said, “Yeah, right!”

Ah, English…….she is always evolving. Isn’t it simply smashing? (and I mean both meanings of the word).

Blogging Mentor Award

My good friend, Josie of C’est la Vie, recently and very graciously bestowed on me this rather flattering award, “The Blogging Mentor Award”. It appears that the award is in general for mentors, inspirations or people who have been encouraging to fellow bloggers to continue blogging or who are such characters that they are forces of nature in the blogosphere.

Wow! I am certainly pleased to be thought so highly by Josie as to get this award. The strange thing is that I would immediately name Josie as one of my blog mentors too. Before this degenerates into a meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society, if Josie thought that I was her mentor and I thought of Josie as my mentor, …….is this a case of the blind leading the blind?

Being a mentor is both a great responsibility and a great privilege. It implies both a certain stature and status but in the humble service of others. The originator of this award has used the imagery of a Greek philosopher mentoring his student or disciple. It is an imagery that captures the essence of mentoring. However, I hope that Josie does not expect me to follow in the footsteps of such greats as Plato who was forced to end his life by drinking poison because of what he taught.

But enough of this senseless chatter. I have appreciated everybody’s input and encouragement since I started blogging. All of you, including some who have left the blogging scene, have been all part of my wonderful learning experience here. However, it is now my duty to pass this award on to 5 of my mentors. They are…..

1. Claudia. I have always felt that Claudia kind of “adopted” me and has made it her role to challenge me and probably all her other readers to expand our minds, our experience and our experimenting with this blogging media. She gets me in a lot of trouble but its all fun.

2. Meggie . I am always encouraged by Meggie’s blog. Her stories are awesome and her characters really come to life. This have given me a desire to aspire to be as good a story teller too. I also remember her gracious defence of my complete ignorance and lack of appreciation of quilting. Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll quilt! Don’t hold your breath though.

3. Jocelyn. Jocelyn’s blog has just always been an inspiration for me. From her choice of name which is “O Mighty Crisis” to her posts on her work, family and travels, I am inspired by her humor, joy and positiveness in the face of the chaos that is life. She reminds me to have fun blogging.

4. Dave. Dave was probably one of my earliest blogging buddies and over time, I found that we had very similar interests and outlooks of life. We even had very similar ideas for blogging posts. This was, of course very encouraging to find someone who shared do much a common interest in the same things. However, Dave was more than that. He was very pro-active in giving encouragement in his comments and he was particularly supportive of my posts about my Christian faith.

5. Marja. Marja is a relatively recent acquaintance on the blogosphere but she is the essence of encouragement. I think she is a natural mentor and qualifies to be a force of nature in the blogosphere.

You Make My Day, Bloggers of the World

Clearly, low on brain energy and imagination, the title of this post is actually derived from combining the words of two awards. To my surprise, it actually makes some sense and also happens to be true. Checking up on what’s going on in the blogosphere is definitely a daily necessity which I fail to do only when extremely pressed for time. Anyway, these awards very pleasantly came my way a little while back and it is time for me to pass it on.

My good friend, “this is another fine mess that you have got me into” Claudia, gave me this award saying, “Squirrelly and I share a mutual horror for the tragedies of the world. Kenya, Burma, Malaysia… He’s one of the few people I know who can write as eloquently about the tragedy of ethnic cleansing and his love for great food. And through it all, he works to create peace in his life.”

I award this to some of the blogs that I visit almost daily and have often made my day.

  1. Josie at C’est la Vie cause visiting her is like spending time in a warm kitchen with fresh baked apple pie. Josie’s always got the coffee brewing and there’s always pleasant company gathered there. Great way to start the day.
  2. Jessica at daysgoby cause it always feels like playtime at her blog as she welcomes us to the loving chaos that is her family.
  3. MedStudentWife at Another Day in Paradise cause her crazy humor never fails to hit the spot and brush the cobwebs from my mind.
  4. Becky at Words of a Wolfe cause her thoughts and almost daily meditations from God’s word is like nourishing chicken soup for my soul.
  5. Dave at In My Head cause when I drop in, it feels like we are off beachcombing the shores of life and finding treasures and curiosities along the way.

Marja, very much a blogger of the world herself, gave me and others this award saying, ” The following people from all over the world are not only very nice they all have some deeper understanding about life.”

I award this to some of the bloggers that I visit that make the world a smaller and better place by sharing their cultures and perspectives from their corners of the world and who are keen to learn from others too.

  1. Meggie at Life’s Free Treats cause she widens my mind with tales from a wide traverse of time and space with an Antipodean flavor.
  2. Claudia at On a Limb With, Claudia cause there are no spectators at her blog. It won’t be long before you are participating in something that will make you a better person and this world, a better world.
  3. Evalinn at Stock City Girl cause she’s a great ambassador for Stockholm and she’s always exploring the world. Even now I am waiting for her to return from her South American adventures and to enlighten us about it.
  4. Proxima at The Echo Tree cause she’s a multi-cultural festival, a spiritual experience and an intellectual feast all in one.
  5. Tom at Patterns of Ink cause he is both looking deep within his roots and is also expanding his view of the world today and we get to come along for the vivid experience.

But to all of you, thank you for making my daily blogging experience a wonderful and fulfilling one. Thank you for contributing to my daily addiction. (I am not above receiving donations for my rehab treatment).