2005-10-31

 

Haunted memories

Seeing as today is Halloween, I thought I'd share an early childhood memory. I have a quite a few memories from before the time I was 4 years old - perhaps they are easier for me to remember because I emigrated (along with my parents) from Great Britain to Canada - so it serves as a sort of demarcation point.

This one goes back to when I was around two years old or so. I don't remember my sister (who was born a few months after I was two), so that is why I think I was two, but hey! I could have been three years old for all I know. Anyhow ...

I remember waking up and going to one of the bedrooms in the house. Seated on the edge of a bed was a young women with long raven hair. Her face was buried in her hands, crying plaintively. I approached, seeking to see what was the matter. When I got close, she looked up at me. Her face was old and twisted, her eyes burned with fire, long taloned fingers shot forward grabbing my pajama top , while she screamed, "I'm going to kill you! I'm going to kill you!"

I screamed. I tried to run ran. She held tight to my pajama. By some miracle I was able to break free and run downstairs to my mother in the kitchen.

It is a very strong memory. Sometimes I want to believe it was a dream or an illusion. I remember talking with my mother about this event years later and she said that she never liked the house, she always thought it was haunted.

Image was grabbed from here.

2005-10-29

 

Beautiful Life

A friend sent me this on 07-July-2005. I thought it would be nice to share.

Beautiful Life

You need Power Point to view it. Windows Version here or MacIntosh version here.

The file is hosted on www.sharemation.com. You get 5Mb of storage and 5Mb per 3 hours bandwidth. It is free.

2005-10-28

 

If I could just run away or hide out for a month ....

Yes, a long title, but here I am 3 days before November slowly filling with anticipatory dread.

Why?

Because like some foolish child whose eyes were bright with wonder, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

I was partially inspired by Ingrid who apparently survived last years NaNoWriMo. And partly because of an over inflated sense of my own grandeur and the desire to write something outstanding.

Now, I just stand (sit, actually) here and wonder what in the world am I going to write 50,000 words about, during the month of November. sigh.

I have no ideas (well, not practical ones, anyway), no plot, no focus, no direction, no plan - sort of the way I live my life.

Will the Muses not take pity on me?
Calliope. Erato. Melpomene. Polyhymnia. Thalia.
Will none of you fly to my aid?

I have ruled out doing something Doctor Who themed - even if the new series was fantastic!

Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Participant

2005-10-27

 

International Club

I first came across the International Club as I was heading to a different campus club with clear intent to argue (I had been earlier taken aside by one of the leaders and told I “would not fit in” – so I foolishly intended to go and be disruptive).

Anyway, I passed a poorly scrawled sign (I’m not sure I was even able to make out what it said) hanging on a door, with some bored looking people inside (at least they weren’t hostile). I asked what it was about and was told a social club for international students, but anyone was welcome to join. Ok, I was game, definitely sounded more interesting than engaging in stupid arguments.

In the end, I wound up being in charge of PR - which was kind of cool. I like exercising my offbeat creativity.

My first ad campaign ran the the following two posters (these are recreations and far more sexy than the originals, since the originals used line graphics instead of a cool picture):







I thought it was very successful. We got a number of really interesting people to sign up. The VP took me to task for running a vague campaign. He wanted something that more clearly explained what the club was about and wasn’t weird. Well, he never got it. I did try more conventional posters for some activities, but they never generated as much interest as the more off beat ones.

It was a great time. Sometimes, I would love to run an International Club as my living – but I’m not sure I could actually live off it.

There were others cultural clubs at the university, Spanish Club (although, I don’t think I met one Spanish person, they we all from Latin America), Chinese Club, Italian Club, Lebanese Club, Israeli Club, etc …

But they were all narrowly focussed. There was the United Nations Club, but it was … hmmm … boring.

We were the only club that focussed on getting together and having fun. Leaving the politics outside and just enjoying the company of some really cool people!

2005-10-26

 

Personality

HASH(0x8bf690c)
schizoid

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

SCHIZOID: Believe it or not, but people are likely quite scared of you. You are the classic Crazy Old Hermit in the Woods type. But it's not because you’re actually crazy; you just prefer to be alone. People take you the wrong way, anyhow, because of your distant, emotionless persona. I think you’re pretty cool. Others, however may whip out their crucifix’s/revolvers whenever they see you emerge from hiding … you know, just in case.

HASH(0x8b8cd40)
Protector


The ULTIMATE personality test
brought to you by Quizilla

PROTECTOR: You are the rock, the keystone of your friends and family. They look to you for support and leadership. You don’t push for devotion or attention, but when the situation is dire, even the Idols and Exhibitionists will turn to you. You are the trusted, the loved. You have the capacity to love more deeply than any other type, and are fiercely devoted to your friends and lovers. Highly idealistic, you would sacrifice everything for a person or cause you believe in. But you trust so deeply and compassionately that a betrayal could shatter you. Jealousy is your downfall, and sometimes you need to give people more space and not be so enamoured. Be careful who you place your trust in for a Protector’s broken heart will never fully heal. The world needs more of you but you are few. And sometimes it seems like you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

[edited 27-October-2005 to provide text versions of the graphics, since at 1600x1200 they were hard to read]

2005-10-25

 

The Computer Programmer as Artist

I have always harboured a secret desire to be more artistic - a quiet, private secret that I usually don't share. Perhaps out of embarrassment about wanting to pursue something impractical.

Three months ago, or so, I borrowed a book from the library called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. Happenstance? Destiny? Who knows?

I have picked up, over the years, various books on drawing. None have ever made me believe I was capable of doing more than simple scrawls on a piece of paper.

This book is different. Within 30 minutes of getting home with it, I started a drawing exercise - copying Pablo Picassos' 'Portrait of Igor Stravinsky'.

About an hour later, I looked at what my hand had wrought and saw that, while not perfect, there was more resemblance than I could have ever imagined.

Sadly, I didn't have time to do any more exercises and returned the book. I did, however, buy my own personal copy of the book.

This past weekend, I chose another line drawing to do (rider on a horse) and, again, I am buoyed by the results. My daughter was also impressed she now wants me to teach her how to draw horses (ha ha, I wish I knew).

Below, you can find both sets of drawings I did (and the originals I copied).

The "trick" in doing these drawings was to turn the original upside down; focus only on copying the lines and spaces. If you find yourself recognizing something - a hand, an eye, whatever - try to get it out of focus, forget what you are drawing and copy only the lines.

At the end of the exercise, turn your drawing upside down and you should have a decent facsimile of the original.









2005-10-24

 

Aqua vita


Development and Peace is currently running a campaign against the privatization of a fundamental and essential resource - water.

While I believe that everyone has a right to private property and space. I also strongly believe that fundamental human needs and requirements must not be denied or taken away from people. Water is definitely one of those. No one person, no one organization has a right to exclusively monopolize a fundamental resource so essential for life.

Water must be available to all. No one must be denied their right to it. No one has the right to monopolize it. No one has the right to make it unfit for others (pollution). No one has the right to deny it to others (diversion, damming).

I have no problem with people offering a service and charging for it, but I do have a problem with someone taking and controlling something that should be freely available to all.

2005-10-23

 

A Walk in the Dark

I like walking. I used to walk a lot – more than 10Km per day. Now, I’m lucky to get 2 or 3Km in.

The night was cool, crisp and refreshing, without bite or bitterness. I wore a long sleeved shirt, a vest and a light jacket. I really didn’t need the jacket because I don’t think it was below 10C last night, but, since I had it on, I just left it open.

There was a soft undulating breeze, gently teasing me with the fragrant aromas of hardwood fires burning in fireplaces. Smells stimulating comforting and reassuring memories of home and family, of happiness and joy – not unlike the aroma of fresh baked bread in the morning, gently teasing you from a restful slumber with the reassurance that life is a glorious celebration of love, peace and harmony.

The gentle breezes tickled the leaves, caressing them, exciting them, filling the air with cheerful rusting. There is something different about rustling leaves in the Fall. The sound is filled with the mature confidence of a full and well led life – unlike the sounds of Spring which are filled with nervous tittering. Maybe it is the cool crisp air. Maybe it is the dryness of the leaves shedding their vibrant youth for opulent golds, oranges, yellows, and reds - a final burst of majesty before falling and returning to the earth which nourished them through the summer.

It was a short walk – only 4Km, but it was satisfying.

a crispy leaf on the ground
there are leaves all around

‘October Song’, Bif Naked

[edited on 23-October-2005 to provide links to lyrics for 'October Song' and to Bif Naked's page]

2005-10-21

 

Rogers indicator of multiple intelligences

Shamelessly copying a quiz I found on My Imperfect Offering. Pretty much what I would expect, high on the internal characteristics, low on external interfaces.

You scored as Intrapersonal. You prefer your own inner world, you like to be alone, and you are aware of your own strengths, weaknesses, and feelings. You learn best by engaging in independent study projects rather than working on group projects. People like you include entrepreneurs, philosophers and psychologists.

Intrapersonal

100%

Logical/Mathematical

89%

Verbal/Linguistic

79%

Visual/Spatial

79%

Bodily/Kinesthetic

39%

Musical/Rhythmic

39%

Interpersonal

29%

The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with QuizFarm.com


Commentary:

Intrapersonal: 100% - sure, I am highly self-reflective and constantly analyze myself, life, the universe and everything.

Logical/Mathematical 89% - I like to think so.

Verbal/Linguistic: 79% - I can read and occasionally cobble together some words in a semi-articulate manner.

Visual/Spatial: 79% - I can read a map.

Bodily/Kinesthetic: 39% - I'm not really any good at sports. I can run around without falling down, but not much else.

Musical/Rhythmic: 39% - yep, I ain't got no rhythm. Fortunately, my kid's have inherited from my wife (a Latina), who has lots of rhythm. She must really love me because she still likes to go dancing with me.

Interpersonal: 29% - my wife says I should smile more.

2005-10-20

 

I will not conform


I am a non-conformist.

It has been that way since I was a child.

Some examples from kindergarten:

(1) I talked back to my teacher (says so on my report card)
(2) I argued over the need for nap time. I was not tired, I did not want to nap.
(3) I would not follow directions because I saw no point to them.

I constantly questioned why I had to follow prescribed patterns. You know the exercise, there will be a string of shapes: circle, square, triangle, and star which repeated. Then you would be told to colour it in a particular way: yellow star, green square, blue triangle, red star. Why? I want to colour it my way. I followed the pattern for the first four, now I want to explore my own pattern. Same with copying patterns of stars, circles, squares, and triangles (and why couldn’t I throw in rectangles and squiggly shapes?)

This is not to say I was a troublemaker. I was (and am) not. I simply don’t follow instructions and fall into line like a good citizen should.

A former boss of mine (the best boss I ever had) was an ex-Navy man. We got along because he left me alone and I excelled in my work. However, this did not stop him from offering me this bit of advice: “Rich, never join the military. You’ll be charged with insubordination before you know it.” Okay, I wasn’t planning a career in the military, anyway. Similar advice has been given to me a number of times by other military – always along the lines of, “Don’t join the military, you won’t fit in.”

I don’t feel the need to adapt to others and fit in. I don’t understand why people exert so much effort on trying to fit in. On the contrary, I expect (yes, expect!) people to be individuals who assert their right to be individual (opposed to their right to be like everyone else). I find it strange how hard people fight to be like everyone else (keeping up with the Jones’), and reject the notion of individuality.

In my mind, most cases of being ‘individual’ and ‘going my own way’ are really specialized instances of conformity (punk, Goth, tattoos, body piercing, etc) – which society despises anyway, because it does not conform to the general norm.

Part of my non-conformist outlook is simply shaped by the fact that I ask questions. Lot’s of questions. In fact, it is rare for me to be in a conversation without questioning presented or stated facts. Ha! I even will question my own statements, “But, on the other hand ….”

Sometimes, I think it is a wonder I have any friends at all, but, on the other hand, I accept people as they are. I do not try to mold them to conform to me. I accept their differences. I do not control them. On the other hand (I am beginning to look like Nataraja here), it can be successfully argued that I do try to get people to think more deeply, to examine themselves more deeply, to be more individual.

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.”The Prisoner, “Arrival”

“Cowards walk in crowds, the brave in single file.” – apparently an Ojibwa saying, but I am unable to find an authoritative reference to it. First read it more than 20 years ago. It has always stayed with me.

2005-10-19

 

"You would earn more money."


Is the way a philosophy professor in college tried to entice me away from electronics to philosophy.

My answer was that I didn’t really care about money (hah! Can you say young, idealistic, fool? Actually, I’m not any different these days, just older - though, I'm still waiting for the wisdom that comes with years).

Sometimes I think I should have studied philosophy instead. I’m not sure how hard or easy it is to be a philosopher, but at least I could spend my day asking questions and being paid for it.

There are two things I crave: stability and change.

I need to have a secure quiet place alone where I can recharge – it is the one reason I never did roommates.

On the other hand, I am insatiably curious and need new and constant stimulation to keep me from being bored.

My ideal job would be a jack-of-all-trades (that pays really well). If you have seen the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (a wonderful children’s movie that my kids love), I can identify with Professor Potts, living in a broken down windmill on top of a hill, inventing. My wife does not share my enthusiasm for this type of life.

A great job I see on TV is MythBusters. That is a cool job. I could do that, I could be a MythBuster.

Part of my problem is that I am not a salesman. Maybe no one is a natural born salesman, but some people seem to make it look so easy and natural. I have thought, that I should just quit my job and get a job as a salesman somewhere, anywhere – just to get the experience.

Vila: "I'm entitled to my opinion."
Avon: "It is your assumption that we are entitled to it as well that is irritating."

from Blake’s Seven (a mediocore show – but with some witty dialog)

2005-10-17

 

Fall


It has been another blustery, cold gray, rainy day. The clouds break for periods, then the rain comes again. It is nice to watch the clouds being pushed across the sky.

I like the view from my cubicle. I have the best view in the whole building. I have a corner, with two windows, overlooking a small watershed, with two nice sized ponds. In the spring and summer, I see Canada geese making their home and nurturing their young.

The geese are gone. All that’s left are the trees, shrubs, reeds and the cold dark gray ponds.

On very windy days – especially in the spring, I love to watch the surface of the ponds for the fantastic trails which skate and scoot and whirl across the surface - signs of unseen fairies dancing with euphoric abandon across the surface. They dance best in the Spring, jubilant at being freed of their icy bonds.

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus


Taken in Gatineau Park about 12 years ago.

 

Communication

The missus and I are currently enrolled in a program call “The Marriage Course” offered by Alpha International (don’t worry, everything is fine in the married bliss department – we have wanted for years to take such a course to help us refocus on our marriage, no point in waiting until the boat has hit the rocks).

Lesson 2 is on communication. Apparently, the five bad habits of communication are:

(1) jumping in and reassuring
(2) giving advice
(3) intellectualizing / spiritualising
(4) interrupting
(5) going off on a tangent

I am guilty of all five. No questions asked, no argument.

Apparently, the proper way to communicate is to:

(1) pay attention and do not interrupt: let your partner finish what he or she is saying
(2) put yourself in your partners shoes: put aside your own feelings and views. Do not ask a lot of questions.
(3) acknowledge their feelings: reflect back what has been said.
(4) find out what is important: ask “What is the most important part of what you have been saying?”
(5) help determine what he or she might do: ask “Is there anything you would like me/us to do about what you have said.?”

Okay, my take. I think the bad habits of communications are good habits. And here is my reason: it shows that I am actively listening and participating in what is being said. I expect my partner to do the same – otherwise, I can just go and talk to the plant! (In the communications example we were shown, I really thought the husband was nothing more than a glorified piece of vegetation endowed with the ability to nod and smile.)

Criticisms of the good habits:

(1) paying attention and not interrupting. I can’t take in a fifteen or twenty minute speech. Too much information!
(2) Putting yourself in your partners shoes. I can try to empathize, but without asking questions I am going to be really bad at it.
(3) Acknowledge their feelings. I agree, reflecting back is vital (that is why I interrupt to ensure I understand what is going on).
(4) Find out what is important. Hmmm … after 20 minutes of talking to me, if I ask Sofia, “So what are you really trying to say?” Is likely to get me a “Haven’t you been listening?” response, “Yes, but I zoned out 15 minutes ago” This is another reason I think interrupting is important, it allows me to repeat and reinforce the discussion so I don’t need to ask for an executive summary at the end.
(5) Help determine what can be done. Has this been a discussion or a polemic with a list of demands at the end?

Fortunately, Sofia seems to more or less agrees with me. I think we have good communication in our marriage. But, my disagreement over communication at the last session probably did not endear me to anyone. Sigh.

I suppose there are people who just talk past each other, mouthing words, never listening, and changing the subject. I am blessed that neither Sofia nor I are like that – we do try to understand one another.

2005-10-16

 

Award winning chili

Given that today is a blustery cold Autumn day, I figured I'd drag out my award winning chili recipe (it was in a three way tie for first place in my company chili cookoff) - but, a good thick French Canadian Pea Soup is good too (the kind you can stand your spoon up in or cut with a knife.).

My chili recipe is something like this (I never know exactly because I
always use approximate measures - my hand) - feeds a bunch of people:

2 medium/large onions
1 tbls garlic paste
500g (1 lb)ground lean pork
500g (1 lb) ground lean beef
500g (1 lb) ground lean turkey
2 tbls paprika (sweet not hot paprika)
1 tbls ground cumin (more or less, depending on taste)
½ tsp turmeric (it wouldn't hurt to add upto 1 tsp)
¼ tsp chili powder (this depends on how hot your chili powder is and how hot
you like your chili)
1 tbls salt
½ tbls ground pepper
1 bottle (650 ml) Presidents Choice Mild Chunky Salsa
1 can (540 ml, 19 fl oz) red beans
1 can (540 ml, 19 fl oz) white beans
1 can (540 ml, 19 fl oz) black beans
4 Medium bay leaves
fresh cilantro (coriander) - the leaves, not the root

1. Peel and chop the onions. Place in pot
2. Add garlic paste (or chopped up garlic). I use about 1 tbls. But you can add more or less according to taste
3. Throw in the ground meat.
4. Add the spices: paprika, cumin, turmeric, chili, salt, and pepper.
5. Use a spoon to break up the meat and sort of mix things together (no need to over do it)
6. Cook over low heat until meat it cooked. Mixing occasionally to move cooked meat from the bottom up and push uncooked meat down, also to break up big lumps of meat. I cook with a cover on the pot. There is no need to add oil, plenty of liquid will come from the meats and onions.
7. Once the meat is cooked, add the Salsa. Stir.
8. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
9. Open and drain the beans. Rinse the beans. Add the beans to the mix. Stir till things are nicely blended.
10. Add bay leaves. Let them sit on top for a few moments to soften, then mix them into the chili.
11. Wash and chop cilantro (coriander). I added about 2 tbls - but this will depend on how coarsely or finely you chopped the cilantro. I had the long cilantro with the root attached. I selected one plant and used that. But it all depends on your taste.
12. Cover and cook for a while. You will need to stir occasionally - probably every 10 -15 minutes (because the chili is very thick).
13. I think I simmered it for about 1 hour (because I remember stirring about 5 or 6 times).
14. After it is cooked, remove the bay leaves.

You should be able to substitute a can of diced tomatoes for the Salsa.

I think the key to taste is different meats. You could substitute horse, veal, venison, or bison for the beef. Ostrich or emu for the turkey. Boar for the pork. I would not recommend ground chicken - yechhh!

Prepare at least 48 hours before serving (for optimal flavour mixing).

You can add more chili, you can use a spicier salsa, but most people are wimps and if it's too hot, they won't eat it - so that's why this is pretty tame.

Personally, I love spicy food - Thai and Indian are high on my list of favourite ethnic foods.

The funny thing is that in Peru, they eat spicy food, but Sofia doesn't. So, there we were on our honeymoon. me, the Gringo, eating Rocoto Relleno - a stuffed hot pepper about the size of a sweet bell pepper and Cuy Chactado - tenderized Guinea Pig (follow the link for a picture).

While I'm off on another tangent ... the worst thing I had in Peru was a vegetable cocktail (I rather like them), but this cocktail ... erm ... I don't think anyone had ever ordered it before (even though it was on the menu). I think it was only made of raw beets - ick! It had a cold, raw, earthy taste that was not at all refreshing.

"Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." - Mark Twain


If I lived by the coast, this is the kind of day it was.
You can get more Autumn photos from here.

2005-10-15

 

Exultation

Yesterday was a day filled with pleasantness.

While we should hold dear and cherish our blessings each day, the truth is that most days are like the others in their sameness - so blessing counting can at times be uninspiring at best.

Yesterday, was one of those days when an abundance of happiness seemed to flood in.

It started with me receiving a photo by e-mail of a dear friend whom I have not seen in 8 years. The joy of recognition was very strong because this is the only friend of whom I have never had a picture. Somehow, we never got around to taking pictures of ourselves and one another when we were together.

Later, I managed to leaver work (in Ottawa) at 15:00, so I was able to pick up Jason and Tania from daycare (in Montreal). The children were overjoyed to see me - since the only day I pick them up is on Mondays when I am still here.

Finally, coming home, there was a message on the answering machine from another dear friend I had given up for lost these past two years. He suffered very serious injuries in a car accident almost 3 years ago (broken neck and back - but, thanks to God, no paralysis, but recovery was long and slow). After he recovered, he returned to his home country and we lost contact with him. So, it was wonderful to hear he has returned.

"The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished." - George Bernard Shaw


(The sixth Doctor. While not me, there is more than a passing resemblance - though, my sartorial tastes are not so cheerful, but, my wife claims, no less gaudy - at least when it comes to choice in sweaters.)

2005-10-14

 

"Do you love me?"

"Father? Mother?" Jonas asked tentatively after the evening meal. "I have a question I want to ask you."

"What is it, Jonas?" his father asked.

He made himself say the words, though he felt flushed with embarrassment. He had rehearsed them in his mind all the way home from the Annex.

"Do you love me?"

There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!"

"What do you mean?" Jonas asked. Amusement was not at all what he had anticipated.

"Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it's become almost obsolete," his mother explained carefully.

Jonas stared at them. Meaningless? He had never before felt anything as meaningful as the memory.

"And of course our community can't function smoothly if people don't use precise language. You could ask, 'Do you enjoy me?' The answer is 'Yes,'" his mother said.

"Or," his father suggested, "Do you take pride in my accomplishments?' And the answer is wholeheartedly 'Yes.'"

Do you understand why it's inappropriate to use a word like 'love'?" Mother asked.

Jonas nodded. "Yes, thank you, I do," he replied slowly.

It was his first lie to his parents.


From "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. A juvenile book, probably aimed at the 10-14 year old crowd. I read it last night and enjoyed it - though maybe more so if I was 10.

Got to love the jacket cover (or maybe it is just because I like beards):

Labels:


2005-10-12

 

Tu me manques, hier soir


I missed you last night
I woke up
It was dark

I did not hear the furnace fan
I turned to see the time
But it was dark

I assumed a power failure
I reached out to touch you
But you were not there

Maybe I had been snoring
So you left me, to sleep with the children
I fell asleep

Alone

I woke up again
I reached out for you again
Once more, you were not there

I remembered ...
I was in Ottawa
You were in Montreal

I was lonely


For those who don't know (which is probably everyone - since this blog is not known by anyone I know - except Ingrid whose example inspired me to try my hand at it), Sofia and I work (and live most days) in different cities.

I work in Ottawa (which is were I have held my latest job for the last 5 years). Sofia has been working in Montreal the past year. Distance between homes (yes,we have two houses) is 170Km. Travel to my job adds another 30Km. I work a 4 day week, so I can spend more time at home.

The reason we are in this situation is because for the past few years I had been really down and totally lost and out of it (not that an outside observer would notice since I can easily be described as emotionless). Since I wanted to leave my job, Sofia felt pressure to find a job, which she did in Montreal.

I took 6 months leave of absence earlier this year. The intent was to see if we can survive on Sofia's salary. We can. And for me to pursue some of my own projects. I couldn't. It just was not possible with Jason around the house.

I had hopes that when JJ would go to school, I would have more free time to sort out my life. Unfortunately, in Quebec (the province Montreal is situated in) you have to be 4 years old on September 30 in order to go to pre-kindergarten. Jason turned 4 on October 2. Sadly, there is no exception to the rule.

Consequently, this meant either (1) I stay at home and watch over JJ - this means we are treading water financially and I will not be able to work on any of my ideas. Or, we can send him to daycare ($7 a day), but, then what is the point? As well, not financially viable.

So, here I am back at work. It is a good job, with a good salary and benefits (not to mention a pension worth 45% of my salary if I stay here until I'm 65).

I've looked at jobs in Montreal, for my level and experience, they pay at least 15-25% less than I get right now. As well, they require better French proficiency than I possess (yeah, I'm playing French language CDs in my car as I drive - to brush up). Jobs I know I can easily get are advertising at 30% to less than 50% of my current salary.

All I want is to be independently wealthy. With a house on the side of a mountain overlooking a private lake. Is that too much to ask for?


2005-10-11

 

Psychedelic psydetrack



Interesting pictures of "motion" can be found here. They are all static images, but their construction forces the eye to perceive motion.

Gaze deeply ....

(It probably wouldn't hurt to listen to "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock, either).

2005-10-10

 

Somebody to Love


When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joy within you dies
don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love


A few months ago, when my emotional state was bouncing around between low and very low, I was listening a lot to Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love". I would have preferred to be listening to Bif Naked's "I Love Myself Today", but I was too apathetic to go find the CD.

One of my problems over the past little (long?) while, is that I have been feeling acutely lonely. People do not understand. After all, how can I be lonely if I have a wife, kids, family and friends?

It is a loneliness that longs for a kindred spirit. Unfortunately, I am not a typical person. There is no question that my vision of reality, my view of the world is unique to me. The problem is that I cannot find anyone who even closely resembles me. I can find people who share facets, but there is no wholeness.

If you imagine life as a journey, where we all begin at the same place. Over time we begin to choose different paths. The path I have chosen is definitely the path less traveled (to coin Robert Frost's 'The Road not Taken'). I remember looking up from where I was and not seeing anyone, not hearing any voices and not knowing where I was.

Sometimes, I wonder if the path I have chosen was the right path. I am human. I enjoy, I need, the companionship of others ... but my path leads me far from the company of others. There is beauty were I am, but I have no one to share it with.

I remember, many years ago, a friend told me, "Your world is too beautiful. I cannot accept it."

P.S.
My emotional and mental states continue to be excellent. I write this as a dispassionate observer of the past (and to clean out some of my pending posts)

[edited 12-Oct-2005 to remove repeated word. sheesh! you would think I never proof these things before I publish.]

2005-10-09

 

Will you be having some wine?

Today is Thanksgiving ... or maybe it is tomorrow. Anyway, we went over to my parents' place for Thanksgiving dinner.

My dad asks me this question every time, despite the fact that I don't drink. Never have. Maybe he is hoping one day I will have changed.

This is not to say that alcohol has never touched my lips. I do occasionally sample, but, all the alcohol I've consumed in my life probably would not fill two glasses.

I have no idea why I never started drinking. Growing up, I expected that at some point I would be an adult and drink, smoke, womanize and gamble (or maybe I watched too many James Bond films). But ... somehow, I never felt the need or urge. Perhaps it was because peers who experimented with alcohol only consumed to become intoxicated. Maybe it is because I don't like the taste (although, I do remember once sampling a very sweet wine - probably it would be described as sugary - dry wines are absolutely the worst). Maybe it is because I never felt the need to be in a hurry to grow up and attain adulthood.

One factor that prevents me from consuming any intoxicants is intoxication. I don't want to risk damaging my brain. So, perhaps it is my fear of reduced mental functioning that prevents me from indulging and enjoying life.

I find the smell of alcohol on the breath a very big turn-off.

I do cook with alcohol, sometimes. Duck breasts prepared with a nice dry wed wine are very savoury. I also like rum soaked Christmas fruitcake (ok, so maybe this means I've consumed more than two glasses in my life - but, I still don't drink, so my 7 year old Cuban rum is now 14 years old).

Even my wedding was dry. There was only enough champagne for one toast (with sparking grape juice for my Muslim and Seventh Day Adventist friends). Fruit juices and pop were the beverages for the rest of the evening. I had some stiff opposition from my wife to be, who claimed you couldn't have a wedding without alcohol - but since we were short on money, economics swayed the decision in my favour.

So how did a 'dry' wedding turn out? Excellent. It was the best wedding I've ever attended (not withstanding that it was my own). I received numerous comments afterwards how much people enjoyed themselves - so I don't think it was just me.

However, I must confess that I do take the Sacramental wine (Blood of Christ) along with the bread (Body of Christ) at my church on Sundays - so yet again, my consumption tally is probably higher than I originally estimated.

Note: Spell checking this document with blogger's spell checker resulted in some weird suggestions for fruitcake: 'britches' or 'proteases'.

2005-10-06

 

Thank you for writing ...

One of my favorite quotes from Seneca (the Stoic philosopher) is:

Thank you for writing so often. I never get a letter from you without instantly feeling that we are together. If pictures of absent friends bring us joy, relieving our emptiness with a solace however insubstantial, how much more so are letters that bear the marks and signs of the absent friend, affording us what is so delightful about seeing him again – the sense of recognition.

When I was younger (ok, ok, I wasn't that young, it was between the ages of 26 and 29) and had penpals, I would include this quote after the third or fourth exchange with someone.

I thought it captured wonderfully my sentiment in establishing a correspondence with someone.

The first time I ever used it was business related. I was dealing with a supplier trying to get shipping information on some parts I had ordered. After many unanswered faxes, I included this quote (out of irony) and lo! and behold!, I got a very sweet answer back in a few minutes.

2005-10-02

 

Happy Birthday!!


My son is 4 years old today!

If he were a horse, he would be full grown, but, since he is not, he is still my little boy and I can hug him, kiss him, and tell him I love him to my heart’s content.

He is crazy about dinosaurs and can identify more than 20 of them. An interesting side note is that many children’s books which feature the fearsome T. Rex, actually draw it wrong. The T. Rex has only two fingers on each forelimb (not 3 or 4 or 5) – this is something Jason catches all the time (if it has 3 fingers it is probably an Allosaurus).

We will just have a small family celebration. Jason didn’t want other children because, as he put it, “They will eat my cake!”


[edited 08-Oct-2005. Added image of Jason with unspecified baby sauropod (I think it is a diplodocus)]

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