Of retirement and death

All I long for, all I have longed for for years is to retire (prior to wanting to retire, my ambition was to play). Given a chance not to work, I would take it. However, this is not because of laziness or some inherent trait of sloth. Rather it is because I want to pursue my own interests and ideas; I want to do my own thing.

One of the saddest things I find in talking with people about not working (aside from obvious disapproval) is that they like working, they would get bored not working, after all, there is only so much TV one can watch. Hmmm ... a pretty sad comment I think.

I have a mind full of ideas. There are lots of things which grab my interest, which distract me as I journey through life. Finding what I want to do is hard., because every week I can have a new thing I want to pursue. Some might argue that I am not disciplined. Definitely, I am a poor finisher - great starter, but lousy finisher.

I believe I have found what my ideal job would be: owning and running an incubator company. A company whose sole purpose is the production of ideas, of concepts, of working out the tricky details and then passing it off to someone else for finishing. The only problem is that I have no idea how to go about persuading people to buy my ideas. I certainly know I have commercially viable ideas because over the past 20 years I have seen ideas I had thought up by other people and brought to market (usually the lag is 2-4 years from the time I had the idea, the longest (so far) was about 15 years from the time I had the idea until I saw something similar appear).

A few weeks back I was thinking about dying. Not in the literal sense, but in the figurative sense. I am where I am because of who I am, because of the way I approach things and do things. However, this also impedes me from moving forward. After all, if I continue to do things the way I have always done them, I will always get the same results (not that they are necessarily bad results). I think I can get better results. I believe I can achieve more. But, this cannot be done with the old me. The old me has to somehow die and be replaced with a new me.

My goal for 2007 is to die and be reborn.



Chicken Seller

While on holiday in Peru this past summer, I observed a young girl who sold chickens across the street. I think she was around 16, but don't hold me to that since I am lousy at estimating people's ages.

She would be there every morning from around 09:00 until she sold all her chickens (usually no later than 14:00).

Photo Credit: Richard (me) of Forbidden Planet

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Goosey, goosey, gander

About two weeks ago (17-December-2006), I saw Canada Geese not flying in traditional V formation, but more swarm like. This was on the 417 around the Maxville / St. Isidore area (exit 51).

Photo Credits: Richard of Forbidden Planet



Grey Squirrel, Black Squirrel

I grew up in the Montreal area from 1971 until 1986 (ages 4 to 20) and only knew grey squirrels. It was a surprise moving to Toronto and discovering black squirrels.

In fact, black squirrels predominate in the Toronto, Cornwall, and Ottawa regions.

I don't particularly like the black squirrels, I think they look like black rats and am much more partial to the grey ones.

Judge for yourself:

Photo credits:
Grey squirrel - me
Black Squirrel - here



Let it snow

While it had snowed in Ottawa and Montreal earlier in December (starting with freezing rain December 1st), it had all melted due to rather warm weather later in the month. Consequently we had a green Christmas. However, today it is snowing and things are getting pretty nice and white.

Backyard and apple tree in Montreal Christmas day
Boxing day morning, same tree and backyard
The same scene with a bit more snow
Close up of snowy branches on the apple tree
Snow covered main street, near the house in Montreal
Some icicles hanging on a ceder hedge at the home in Ottawa

Photo credits: Richard (me) of Forbidden Planet.

[Updated 13:18, 26-December-2006 to add a few more photos]



Merry Christmas!

Image nabbed from here.



Street price of pate fois gras

In Montreal, the lowest street price I could find for pate-fois-gras was $130 per kilogram.



10 Christmas Commandments

  1. You shall not leave ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, making it ‘Xmas.’ To some, ‘X’ is unknown.

  2. You shall prepare your soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that your soul is forgotten.

  3. You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality.

  4. You shall not burden the shop girl, the mailman, and the merchant with complaints and demands.

  5. You shall give yourself with your gift. This will increase its value a hundred fold, and the one who receives it shall treasure it forever.

  6. You shall not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold.

  7. You shall not neglect the needy. Share your blessings with many who will go hungry and cold if you are generous.

  8. You shall not neglect your church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season.

  9. You shall be as a little child. Not until you become in spirit as a little one are you ready to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

  10. You shall give your heart to Christ. Let Him be at the top of your Christmas list.

Anyone keeping these commandments is sure to have a blessed Christmas. - Anonymous.

Grabbed from here



Blogger Bloke Blocked

They have blocked access to blogger and blogspot at work, so I have been unable to update this blog and visit other blogs (aside form a brief visit to the library on Wednesday).

This started two weeks ago, but I wasn't sure if it was temporary (since it seems to dynamically block sites based on content - sometimes a seemingly innocuous search on Google will have its results blocked). However, since it has persisted this whole week, I presume it is a permanent block.

I suppose a benefit is that I might do more work, another benefit is that I might go to the library some more.



To Appreciate

According to wiktionary it has the following definitions:

1) To set a price or value on; to estimate justly; to value.
To appreciate the motives of their enemies. --Gibbon.
2 ) (U.S.) To raise the value of; to increase the market price of
Lest a sudden peace should appreciate the money. --Ramsay.
3) To be sensible of; to distinguish.
To test the power of bees to appreciate color. --Lubbock.
4) To view as valuable.
I appreciate your help

I think #2 is interesting. When we appreciate something, when we show appreciation for something, do we through our appreciation increase its value and worth?

I think the act of appreciation is more than simply a good feeling, it is an action (after all this is a verb) that increases the value and worth of what we are appreciating.

When I appreciate someone, I increase their worth. When I appreciate what I have, I increase its value to me.



Why is it always salty?

Occasionally I will buy pre-seasoned meat from the store. Invariably, the predominant taste that comes through is salt. I am not talking about a little salt to enhance flavour, I am talking salt with hints of other flavours.

This most recently happened a few days ago when I bought some Tandoori seasoned chicken legs (save me the trouble of buying, or better still, mixing up, some Tandoori seasoning). As is my habit, I washed the meat. Yes, I wash my meat from the store (a little hard with ground meat, so I prefer to avoid it for the most part) - even seasoned meats. While the aroma during cooking was pleasant, the promise of tantalizing flavours was crushed with the reality of salt.




Damn the torpor and full speed ahead!

Ah, if only it was so easy.

I give in far too often to bouts of listlessness and unproductivity. Other times, I am able to rouse myself and do things. Funny thing is that I always feel better when I am doing things, but even so, I still let sloth drown me in its viscousness.

A corollary to this is knowledge acquisition without putting it to use. I am really, really good at gobbling up books and information, but then letting hesitancy stop me from applying it.

Maybe I will go and wash the dishes and see how that helps - seemed to work yesterday. I followed up the dishes with preparing turkey soup, some chicken Tandoori and spaghetti with meat sauce.

For the curious, I am in Montreal watching over the kids while Sofia is in Quito, Ecuador on business.

I also enabled word verification for comments because I was getting too many spam comments (personally, I hate it. Unless blogger allows me to delete comments after they have been posted, I have no choice. Comment moderation is even less appealing to me).

Image nabbed from here.



Into the Twilight Zone

As I drove home to Montreal last night, there was a moment when I felt I had entered into "The Twilight Zone".

It was a dark overcast night, no stars, no moonlight. There was a thin fog. You really didn't experience while driving. The headlights did not diffuse in it, but you could see it in diffuse lights of distant farm houses.

At one point, while driving, everything was black, all I could see was the road in front of me and the lines on the road, beyond that I was just driving into darkness. At that moment, my mind thought, "Where am I going?" (a silly question since the 417 heads straight from Ottawa to Montreal - it changes into the 40 at the Quebec-Ontario border).

Sometimes, it does not take a lot to make one question where one is going - just darkness, the road and white lines.

Image copyright by me.



Borrowing a meme

Found this on ms. q's blog, so I thought, I would give it a whirl.



"Revolution is rarely in itself a pleasant thing.

Even without violence some nice people and nice things tend to get upset."

Greece and the Hellenistic World (1986), John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray

(Actually, it is George Forrest in the chapter Greece: The History of the Archaic Period)




"A revolution is not a social dinner,

a literary event, a drawing on an embroidery; it cannot be done with elegance and courtesy. The revolution is an act of violence..."

- Mao Tse-tung




Going! Going!

Ever have your brain seize up on you such that you can't recognize a word?

I was reading something and the word going came up. My brain wasn't going anywhere, rather it was going, "Goy-ng? Goy-ng? What is goy-ng?"



Mundane Monday's Motivation Moment

Got to love alliteration, just string together a few adjectives and adverbs, sprinkle in the odd noun or verb (ensure they all start with the same sound) and you get a smug "aren't I clever" feeling deep inside.

One of my problems - aside from starting things, finishing things, or just doing things - is remembering things. There are lots of things I do remember - like people’s birthdays (women's birthdays at any rate). However, I find that ideas pop into my head and I think, “Gee, that's a good one, I'll have to remember it for later." Of course, I never do. Of late, I have taken to sending myself e-mails to record my ideas - which works great … if I have access to a computer with e-mail privileges.

Since I was young, I always remember reading that I should keep a log book where I write things down. I don't do that - it never felt right (as an aside, I have a log book at work. I have had it for 6 years - it is about 3/4 full. A snail's pace when compared to the prodigious use of log books by a coworker of mine, who had compiled 30 log books in the 7 years she worked here).

But, as mentioned, I feel it is time to start having something to record thoughts on. I sit far to often, zombie like trying to recall post ideas. It took me a while to recall that one of the positive experiences I had yesterday was playing checkers and tic-tac-toe with Tania. There are so many things I have forgotten about my kids that I promised I would never forget.

So, I am resolved to find some discreet notebook in which to record fleeting thoughts and ideas - something small, yet durable which can be unobtrusively carried with me.

I am leaning towards a small spiral notebook that flips upwards - but only because I don't know any better. I recall them being fairly fragile. I will head off to Staples later and have a look around at what supplies they have.

Suggestions are welcome.



The Cold Within

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In dark and bitter cold
Each possessed a stick of wood--
Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
But the first one held hers back,
For, of the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.

The next one looked cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And could not bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of wealth he had in store,
And keeping all that he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For he saw in his stick of wood
A chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain,
Giving just to those who gave
Was how he played the game,

Their sticks held tight in death's stilled hands
Was proof enough of sin;
They did not die from cold without--
They died from cold within.

-- James Patrick Kinney

Image nabbed from here.




"It could be worse."

I wonder how that is supposed to help console a person.

Imagine: You lose your job, your home burns down, your spouse leaves and your kids get eaten by alligators.

"It could be worse."

Great! So I could go even lower.

[Note: none of these things have happened to me. I am just musing.]

Image nabbed from here.



Random photo blog

Shot of a field outside my work place – just across the parking lot and street.
Experimental night shot. The shutter stayed open three seconds. Yes, I had the camera perched so it would not move.
Sight I see a few kilometers into the Quebec border after entering from Ontario.
A field about half way between Montreal and Ottawa. This and the previous picture do nothing to dispel the myth that Canada is a vast wilderness. Actually it is. Traveling between Montreal and Ottawa it is about 140Km of forest and farmland.
A foggy morning outside my home in Ottawa.

All images are copyright by me.

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