Interesting and Odd Wildflowers of British Columbia

There are very many different types of wildflowers along the west coast of British Columbia (also including farther north and south). Some are just interesting to look at because they are unique and beautiful. Others have medicinal properties and/or are edible. They have long-standing uses by the native aboriginal peoples, and it is estimated that literally thousands of traditional medicines are derived from plants present along the west coast region. This is why the pristine beauty and hidden treasures of this area are definitely worth conserving, and should be left as undisturbed as possible.

Below is a sampling of some of my favourite kinds, just because they are beautiful, intriguing, interesting and/or unique.

Star-flowered False Solomon’s Seal

Smilacina racemosa

False Solomon's Seal

Perennial with star-like flowers. The fruit is a round, greenish-yellow berry with 3 or 6 blue-purple stripes, changing to dark blue or reddish-black at maturity. Berries are edible but not especially tasty.





Clasping Twistedstalk

Clasping Twistedstalk

Streptopus amplexifolius

Perennial with greenish-white, bell-shaped flowers that have flaring tips. The fruit is an oval-oblong berry (yellow to red, sometimes turning dark purple). According to Pojar and MacKinnon, most aboriginal people regard the plants and berries as poisonous. Continue reading

Self-Employment Idea – Information Gathering Survey!

I am now venturing into the unknown abyss of being a self-employed technical writer and web content consultant and editor. In addition to working for clients as a technical writer, web content editor and offering audio transcription services, I will also be offering a whole suite of Web and SEO / Social Media products and services.

Please take the following survey to let me know which products and/or services are of interest to you! Thanks for taking the time to read this posting and please also consider filling out the survey.

The Puppy Dog Close

Puppy DogEarlier this year, I was reading a book called “The 4-hour Workweek” (by Timothy Ferriss), and I came across an interesting sales technique called “The Puppy Dog Close”.

Basically, this sales technique is used if someone wants to buy something, but they are hesitant.  An example of this would be when the salesperson at a pet store offers to let the customer take a puppy home with them, and just bring it back if they don’t want it.  Of course, in most cases the customer will want to keep the puppy!

The characteristics of this technique appear to be that the deal is a reversible trial (the customer can always bring the puppy back), and the product should be something that can easily sell itself.


Timothy Ferriss speaks of this example in terms of convincing your boss to agree to let you skip meetings at work, by demonstrating that you can complete more work as a result.  In this situation, he is adapting the puppy dog close technique slightly.  What he is suggesting is that you can convince people to accept a situation by offering them a one-time “let’s just try this once” type deal.  And of course, by offering some sort of of benefit that would result from the situation, and would be hard to refuse.

I’m sure there are many more situations where this technique is being used.  For example, free trial gym memberships, sample foods at the grocery store, new car test drives at the dealership, free makeovers at the cosmetics counter, etc.  In all of these examples, it is products that are being offered to a customer.  However, instead of products, you could be offering an idea that you want someone to accept, or a lifestyle change, or any other type of situation.

The trick is, that once the customer tries out the product (or idea, or activity etc.), that they become hooked and as a result, they buy into that product or situation.  A little bit manipulative sounding?  But then again, it’s probably a good way to get people to try out new things that they would otherwise be too trepid to try.  What are your thoughts on this technique?


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Fun with Google Insights!

I enjoy statistics, and so I thought I would try putting some search terms into Google Insights to see if any interesting trends popped up.  Keep in mind that Google Insights only has data from 2004 onwards.

You can check out Google Insights here:

Dancing with the Stars:

I thought shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance would increase interest in dancing in general.  But maybe that’s not the case?

swing dancing – loss of interest since 2004

salsa dancing – also a general fall in this search term


swine flu – went from nothing to a staggering jump in March 2009, with media frenzy starting around August 2009.  The region with the most interest appears to be the UK, while the region with the least interest is Canada?  Come on Canada, get with it!


chocolate – of course, our good friend chocolate gives a nice steady state graph since 2004.


technical writing – Uh oh!  An absolute plummet in technical writing interest since 2004.  What about eLearning Developer, is that doing better?  Oh, I’m saved!  A staggering jump in April 2005, and interest appears to have stayed steady since.

video editing – with the invention of easy editing tools like Camtasia Studio and Adobe Captivate, has interest risen?  This one is hard to gauge, but with Uganada leading the regional interest.


recycling – was there a surge in interest since the 2006 Al Gore Movie – An Inconvenient Truth?  There does appear to be a mild increase in interest since 2006, with the UK leading the pack for regional interest.  At least Canada isn’t last this time!

electric cars – and what about electric cars?  I see a spike in interest in February 2008, does anyone out there know why that is?  Interesting, since the movie Who Killed the Electric Car came out in 2006.


lottery – has the 2008 / 2009 recession caused an increase in the national lottery?  Let’s find out!  Nope, interest in this term appears to have stayed at a steady state.


Britpop – and what about my favourite genre of music?  A bit of a decline actually, with Chile and Indonesia leading the regional interest list.

alternative piano – and what about the genre of music that I can actually play?  It appears to be at a steady state with only the UK and the US showing any real interest.