Friday, February 28, 2003

Thought for the Day:

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

- Terry Jones, in his letter to the editor of the London Observer

Leave it to an ex-Monty Python member to sum it up nicely.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Yesterday, I was invited on a "guys" skiing weekend. I know, I know, it sounds really chauvinist, but I'm warming up to the idea. Jenn is even OK with the idea (that in itself floored me as she'll have to ferry Banana and McMonk around all weekend by herself). I found out some of the drier wits from the office are going along and I can imagine the whole experience (especially the drive there and back) being very entertaining.

The skiing will be secondary.
Long and hard have I thought about a nickname for my swim coach. The fact that she needed a nickname was something that really didn’t make itself apparent until I had spent some time hanging out with my swim buddies and talking about her. Jenn, my wife, or Jen, the swim coach? Too much room for confusion. Definitely, the time had come.

Most of the obvious nicknames were just that - too obvious. Jenster or Jenmeister lacked the originality that I like to think is the hallmark of my work. Also, basing her nickname on some of the more apparent physical traits would have been so last week. Carrot Top (her red hair), Spot (for her freckles), Legs (her height), … way too pedestrian. I wanted some sort of moniker that would alert people to the inner Jen, the secret, untapped Jen that I’ve come to know and appreciate. Finally, on Monday, it came to me during a workout. We were invited to bring music and, being my turn and having not had time to prepare anything, I grabbed an old heavy metal workout tape from the ‘90s. Well, the more the tape played, the more Jen perked right up. “Hey, I this one’s a great song, too,” she’d say, time and time again.

All of the other women in my life (the ones that I’ll admit to knowing, anyway) have never really warmed up to the likes of ZZ Top, Golden Earring, The Tragically Hip; but she seemed to like this stuff. That and her long, attention-getting hair has sealed the deal.

Welcome to the show, Jay.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Object of my desireCommon sense tells me I don't really *need* these pedals, but, but ....

Aren't they lovely?

Banana's on a roll. Her ringette team is kicking ass and takin' names at the city finals. Tonight is the second last game, so I and several of her relatives are going to watch the big matchup. Success at this game would mean the team is off to the provincial playoffs in Fort Saskatchewan in mid-March.

The team experience for Banana has been top-notch this year. Her coach has given fair allotments of ice time to all players - even the less-talented ones; everyone that has wanted to has been able to play goal; the team manager has acquired team hoodies, a team banner and even matching toques for all the kids; the team has only lost 2 of the 20 or so games they have played; they have won both tournaments that they have played in, including the prestigious Esso Golden Ring tournament - everything is just perfect. I've even commemorated the good year by patching together a video from some of my (and other parents) home videos.

This has been a good experience for Banana, who was on a team last year that was friendly and fair enough, but couldn't buy a win in any of their games. I have a feeling that next year's team won't be quite so successful and that her character will be tested more completely. If she's on a team that isn't so hot, she will need to play a little more aggressively in order to get that winning feeling again.
My Megabytes for TimBits program took another step forward. I was able to swap an old, usable SCSI hard drive for some freshly-baked, calorie-laden tastiness today. I set the 60 pack right next to a vegetable tray that had been left over from a meeting last night.

Guess which got eaten first?

Monday, February 24, 2003

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Think of all the roles that you have in life - child, spouse, employee, friend, volunteer, sibling, student, ... that sort of role.

Now, what do you work hardest at?

Now, what are you best at? And don't say everything, 'cause that's crap.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Bingo Night in Canada - Last night was another experience at the Golden Wings Bingo Hall, one of our community league's main source of funding for the kid's sports teams. Having weathered many of these second-hand-smoke sessions, I have more than a few pearls of wisdom to pass on to you. Here, collected and presented in one easy read, are some Bingo Worker's Tips.
  • Arrive early. You'll get a chance to be assigned to one of the better jobs. Working behind the counter is the best place to be. You're less likely to be emptying ashtrays if you're in the cash counting room.
  • Dress wisely. Wear comfy walking shoes and clothing that will help you fit into the blue collar crowd you'll be mingling with. Expect that the clothing will still smell like smoke after many washings, so don't wear your favorite stuff.
  • Mouth shut, eyes open. Don't ask too many questions of players or staff. They'll tell you everything that you need to know.
  • Pick your day carefully. Saturdays and Sundays are busiest. Mondays are Senior's Day so it's also busy. The 20th of the month is the day that Family Allowance cheques come out. If you want to be busy and have the time go quickly, pick one of these days. If you prefer a slower pace, stay away from these days.
  • Don't wish the players 'Good Luck.' For some reason, they hate that.
  • Dress warm. You'd think a room full of old smokers would have the heat cranked right up, but for some reason, they like it cold in there. Make sure you at least have long sleeves.
  • Order 'cooked' food on your break. As the volunteer shifts start right after work (and over the dinner hour), you are allowed to have a dinner break with dinner paid for, courtesy of the community association. Make sure that whatever you order is cooked long before it reaches the short order kitchen. Just warming stuff up is their specialty.
  • Wash your hands before eating. Obvious, but critical to your health in this situation.
  • Have eyedrops waiting at home.
I was dismayed as I watched people come in and plop down sizable chunks of money (sometimes $50 or more) to buy a dismal hope of winning it back. I thought, it must be a hopeless feeling, handing in money and knowing in your heart of hearts that you realistically aren't ever going to see it again. Most of the players even came 'round to my booth to buy 'Early Bird' and 'Baseball' bingo cards, tossing more money at slim chances. I guess it was an evening's entertainment, an indoor place to go through a pack of cigarettes and a socially acceptable method for a blue collar Joe (or Jill) to rid throw away some money.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on these folks - after all, I buy mutual funds.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Hey, don't worry. I've found the entire month of July, just in case you were looking for it. Due to some wonky HTML, It was hiding from my archive index.

There's some epic posts there - go and enjoy if you have some time on your hands. I must have had some spare time myself back then.
All relationships are entered for the personal gain of those in the relationship. When there ceases to be benefit to both parties, the relationship will disintegrate. This holds true for business transactions, friendships, jobs, volunteer work, romantic relationships, even marriages. The benefits that we derive can be financial, emotional, intellectual, physical, social or spiritual. I’m not passing judgement on any relationships – I’m merely stating my observations.

This may sound callous, but if you can prove me wrong, I’ll buy you a beer.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Mr. G., a dear, sweet old man who happens to be our neighbor, has been declared legally blind and is not allowed to drive any more. His eyesight has been deteriorating for the past two years. He's had laser surgery on both eyes, but they've just been getting worse. It is a shame, as he is living on his own (his wife passed away almost three years ago) and does lots of volunteer work for his church and Scouts Canada.

Now, legally blind isn't the same as being profoundly blind - he can still see big things (and some small things with the help of magnifying glasses). Still, it must be very discouraging for him. Think of what losing your sight would mean - the things you couldn't do.

One thing that might happen is we might see more of his ladyfriend that he thinks we don't know about.

Heh heh heh.

Monday, February 17, 2003

What the heck am I doing at the office today? It's sort of a holdiay and no one but the sales staff are here.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Tonight, almost by chance, I watched a movie with Banana and McMonk called "Little Secrets". Definitely a 'tweener movie - the main character was a fourteen-year-old girl that had (successfully) appointed herself as the official secret-keeper of the neighborhood. When any of the kids in the neighborhood did something or knew something that they couldn't ell anyone but HAD to tell someone, they went to Emily to tell her, usually getting some advice along with the promise of a trusted confidant. The plot thickens as Emily's advice to the owners of the secrets starts to backfire and she has to deal with learning some secrets that she doesn't want to know.

An interesting premise, in the same way that childhood fables are interesting. There are some interesting twists and surprises in the story, but the morality play becomes somewhat transparent to the older, jaded story-viewer. Still, I would recommend this movie to any 'tweener or adult who has to entertain one for two hours. There is potential for some good discussion afterwards.

One of the main lessons was "you can't keep secrets if you want to live a genuine life." This adage rings true, even if it is one that I, after all these years, struggle with. I've always been uncomfortable confronting people, but my job and my role as parent (and now son) are forcing me to learn and practice this skill of forthright-ness. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Family pressure has just ruined what could have been a nice evening. Poop.
The servers, this week, they just weren't behaving. I am glad to have the day off. I maybe, probably, hopefully won't have to go into the office today.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Commiserating is a good thing.
When you die, remember to close your eyes as your last conscious effort. Finding a dead body with the eyes still open would be too creepy.
I’m standing firmly on two feet. I’m now beginning to consciously shift the weight onto my right foot. As I do so, I can feel the friction of my shoe against the carpet lessening. I’m now using my quadriceps and gastrocnemius muscles to unlock and flex my knee, lifting my foot into the air. I'm conscious ofo how high I lift my foot off the ground and the path that it is taking. I’m now relaxing my gastrocnemius muscles and using my hip flexors to move my left leg forward, adjusting balance on my right foot so that my center of gravity begins to move forward. As my center of gravity passes the ball of my right foot, I flex the quadriceps and ankle dorsiflexors in my left leg, which straightens my knee and brings my foot in contact with the ground. Once I have tactile feedback from my left foot that it has touched the ground and has good traction, I evenly transfer my weight from my right leg onto my left leg.

In order to clear up some problems, I’m doing things very deliberately right now.

Monday, February 10, 2003

There is a problem with doing serious thinking and not writing it down. When you start thinking again, it is often difficult remembering where you left off.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

There's nothing like watching a production server go down in flames to get the ol' heart racing. Yessir.

Then, giving up a Friday night's worth of sleep to spend six hours on the telephone with a Microsoft third level technician - yep, that's the perfect way to end a workweek.

That is what my week has been like, and why my favorite aunt didn't get a birthday phone call this week.

Mea Culpa. I hope she had a great day.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Something is calling to me.

Something smooth, something slippery, something shiny with long elegant lines, something low to the ground that has the low hum of near-frictionless moving parts. It reaches forward and stretches with taut, beautifully-formed sinewy muscles, winking at me, dissuading an old friend from doing practical things today. It wants me to hear the whistle of wind in my ears; to see the scenery flying past me into unimportance; to gulp lung-fulls of cold, necessary air. It wants me to push and pull, grunt and strain, burn and ache ... it knows that I bask in the warmth that showers me with.

As I lay in bed tonight, I dreamt of being seduced by the playful maiden of acceleration.

With you, dear, I willingly go.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Mary-Lou was none too happy with me tonight at swim practice. During a rough-housing water polo game, I grabbed her by the knees, flipped her and she got water up her nose.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

OK, time to throw in my opinion.

Two tragedies have exposed themselves lately in Calgary - seven highschool kids were buried in an avalanche and seven astronauts died during a space shuttle re-entry. Both of these event were indeed tragic. I don't want to get all preachy, but I have to say that the lesson to be learned is Mother Nature is still a force to be reckoned with.
My job as Electrical Gadget Handler has a great range of duties, both defined and undefined. Today, one of those duties had me driving to Ikea to pick up some new shelves for the office. As I stood in line at the checkout, a woman and a little girl stood behind behind me with efficiently-packed cardboard boxes on their flatbed cart. The little girl seemed pleasantly agreeable and uncharacteristically patient, singing a little song to herself. The tune was familiar, but it wasn't until I paid close attention to the words the girl was singing that I realized why she was so joyful. The tune was the first few bars of O Tannebaum. Here's the words she was singing:

I lo-ove them, I lo-ove them,
I'm ge-tting a new bunk-bed.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Want to get a woman's heckles up?

On her birthday, tell her she's "young-ish".
Parties are a gathering that allow for conversation and interaction. Mingling in a controlled environment with the basic necessities (warmth, physical safety, food) and hopefully a little alcohol thrown in to loosen tongues and inhibitions is very satisfying. Such a setting, at it’s best, will encourage people to meet, exchange ideas, expunge their views and beliefs and do their best to persuade others to follow their convictions.

Imagine that you are throwing a party and that you can invite 11 people that you have as acquaintances, friends or family (I picked eleven so that you don’t have people pair off – that’s no fun). The whole goal of this party is to provoke heated discussions, even arguments. Whom would you invite? Can I come and observe?

Even if you don’t send me your guest list, take a few minutes and write one down for yourself. You wouldn’t believe how much fun it is to try and pick the top shit-disturbers in your life. The more I think about it, the more I feel like I need to throw (or be invited to) one of these parties with a no-holds-barred, any-topic-goes, no-comments-to-leave-this-room stipulation.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

I’m feeling really old today and so I’m in a blue funk. Jenn reminded me that I am trading youth for wisdom. That helped, but it didn’t clear things up completely.

I still have lots of work to do.