2006-01-30

 

Justice

Plato’s Republic, begins with a discourse between Socrates, Glaucon, Lysias, Euthydemus, Thrasymachus, Charmantides, Clitophon, and Cephalus. I think this discourse is the best part of the book.

Here is my abridged retelling of the dialog (I am not going to research who said what – otherwise, I would just post the whole discourse here. Socrates is the principal actor here, the others are just there to keep the discourse going, so they have been lumped together as Friend):

Socrates: “What is justice?”

Friend:“It is doing good to ones friends and harm to ones enemies.”

Socrates: “Sounds sensible. But what if your friend was really your enemy and your enemy was really your friend? Then you would have harmed your friend and done good to your enemy.”

Friend:“Well, we should amend that to say, ‘Do good to true friends and harm to true enemies’”.

Socrates: “Ah! That is much better. But how do we distinguish between true friend and true enemy?”

Friend:“That is not easy.”

Socrates: “So it would require some sort of skill to know who is your friend and who is your enemy?”

Friend:“Yes.”

Socrates: “We would call a person with such a skill a just man. Just as we would call a man who is skilled in the making of music a musician or a man skilled in the art of healing a doctor?”

Friend:“It would seem so.”

Socrates: “When a musician applies his skill, it is to do good - to produce a melodious sound as opposed to a cacophonous noise?”

Friend:“Yes.”

Socrates: “When a doctor applies his skill it is to help a man and not to harm him?”

Friend:“That is the nature of the doctor.”

Socrates: “We could say that the product of the skill of the musician and of the doctor is excellence in music and in health, respectively?”

Friend:“That is correct.”

Socrates: “So the application of the skill of justice should too produce excellence in man as its outcome.”

Friend:“That is correct, he produces excellence by doing good to his friend and harm to his enemy.”

Socrates: “If we harm a dog, do we make it a better dog or worse dog – by the standards by which we judge dogs and not horses?”

Friend:“A worse dog.”

Socrates: “If we harm a horse, do we make it a better horse or worse horse – by the standards we judge horses and not dogs?”

Friend:“A worse horse.”

Socrates: “If we harm a man, do we make him a better man or a worse man – by the standards we judge men and not horses or dogs.”

Friend:“A worse man.”

Socrates: “We earlier agreed that excellence is the result of the actions of a just man. Yet, by your admission, if a just man harms a man he makes him worse. This clearly seems at odds with the principle of excellence.”

Friend:“Fine, Socrates, if you’re such a smart ass, how about you tell us what justice is then?”


At this point, Socrates launches into ‘The Republic’

When teaching children at my church and trying to explain how to determine if our actions towards others are Christian (obviously, by definition, good), I would often use the “If we harm a …” question / response format. It was always neat to see the kids expressions when I got to the last question, “If we harm a person …” It is one of the few times you can see the light bulb turn on in people’s minds.

Sound bite: Justice is human excellence.

Executive summary: The outcome of just actions is always excellence. If our actions do not improve people, if they do not raise and uplift causing the person to excel as a human, to be the best that they can be, then we have failed at justice.

Image nabbed from here.

[NOTE: the original discourse is more detailed, longer, and nuanced in its use of language. So, if you have problems with the technical accuracy of my version … toooooo bad ;-)

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2006-01-29

 

A ... hmmm ... moment

"Falling in love is a lot like dying. You never get to do it enough to become good at it." unattributed - found on the Internet in various places

2006-01-28

 

Not yet immune to diddling my time away

Sigh. Mental state is going down - if it continues, it will eventually affect my emotional state.

I've been off work for a week so far as Sofia works in Spain. The kids are out of the house for several hours each day, so I had hopes of actually accomplishing stuff. The problem is that ... nada. If I am reincarnated, I'm afraid I might come back as an apple fritter.

The house is a little bit messier than when I got here. I manage to occupy my time with things non-productive - internet is a big time killer, so is playing with various development tools (no games or TV have sapped my time).

Joi had a post on how she managed to accomplish some things. The problem is that there is no manage formula for doing things. In the end, you just have to do it.

Currently mulling over why I find it hard to start things (or finish them when I start). I know one problem I have is lack of sense of urgency. Maybe it is rooted in my educational experience where I had very little work (or maybe found it too easy) that good study habits were never ingrained (I use to do my assignments minutes before class - during recess, etc).

Hopefully, I'll get of my as and actually start doing stuff. Bleh. Maybe, it will all pass.

On the other hand, some achievements have been made. I've managed to get the kids to help with picking up things. They are eating more variety of food without too much coercion. And I am getting them to bed by 20:00. As well, I've started reading a novel in French (Le Secret de Whilhelm Storitz) - need to strengthen my French, I am a very slow reader in French - a bit frustrating at times considering how quickly I chew through things in English (unless there are a lot of equations on the page).

Things I've discovered on the Internet this week:

Star Trek: The New Voyages - fan made episodes based on the original series.

A humourous video mix for "At the Gay Bar" by Electric Six. The melody is catchy and the melody fits my criteria of being sufficiently absurd to make it funny (WARNING: may disturb the extreme right ;-)

If you are a fan of "The Matrix", then you might find ping-pong matrix style amusing.

And, finally, for cat lovers, there is always this.

Image nabbed from here.

2006-01-26

 

Article 8(j)


Who wouldn't be proud to see their spouse sitting on a panel at a UN conference?

Sofia is in Spain for 2 weeks attending 2 conferences. Conference 1 comes to an end this week and conference 2 starts next week.

Image nabbed from here.

2006-01-25

 

Working too hard?



I have no idea what they are selling. And this marks the first time I've done two posts in one day.

If you disable ActiveX controls and such, then you can see it at this link.

If you see nothing, then you need to go and get Shockwave installed.

If all you hear is that space wind in the background then you need to either (1) wait until it finishes playing 2'26", or (2) scroll down the page until you get to the media bar on the left side and hit stop.

You need to press play to start the video (at least I do).

[Updated 30-January-2006 to provide external link for those who do not run ActiveX controls from my blog.]

 

Substitute for real content

In lieu of real content, I'll just post a pic of my kid's from June-2005.

Copyright of the image is mine.

2006-01-23

 

False sincerity

Just got my MasterCard statement.

It is a little bit higher than usual because it contains some additional expenses related to Christmas.

Anyhow, I have a look at the minimum payment due and see that it is $0.00, which is odd, since it should be around $43.00.

Look at the last page and see that MasterCard is trying to be nice to me:

Need a bit of breathing space? Go ahead and skip this month's President's Choice Financial MasterCard payment! The usual interest will apply, but your account remains in good standing. So don't bother to pay this statement, and breathe a little easier this month!

How nice and thoughtful of them! I guess they are not the bloodsucking money vampires I thought they were.

I wonder how many people are going to be fooled by this deceptive gesture of kindness? Sure, maybe, in my case, it is only $43, but it's peanuts to MasterCard which is charging me 18.97% per annum on outstanding balances. They stand to make at least an extra $22.55 by my not paying.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to be able to skip paying the balance, but I can't because I know the interest paid to MasterCard is $22.55 out of my pocket. That is $22.55 less for me to spend somewhere else - some fruits, maybe a book, some knick-knacks from the dollar store for my kids, half a tank of gas.

Maybe it doesn't seem like much. Maybe I am just a penny pinching miser. On the other hand, handing it over to MasterCard would give me less pleasure than spending it on something more personal.

I use the MasterCard because I get reward points with it and extended warranty on purchases. I do not use it to give them money.

So, if you have a credit card or 2 or 10 and you carry a balance on them, I want you to think of this: add up all the interest you pay each month. Now ask yourself, are you tight on money? Could you make do with a little bit extra each month? Of course you could. How much are you paying in interest? Would that much extra cash be useful to you? Or do you prefer spend your money by giving Visa or MasterCard $50 or $100 or $200 each and every month. Or would you rather have that money to spend on yourself?

Most people are richer than they think, they just opt to give their money away to the credit card companies, loan companies, etc.

Image nabbed from here.

Now that the thrill of the massacre is over
Isn't it sweet when she sucks on your veins

Babylon by the Tea Party

2006-01-22

 

Language changes

It is interesting to see how language changes, whether in the way words are pronounced or their meanings.

As far as meanings go, I can't really say things like this anymore (and probably not for more than 50 years past):

"I'm feeling quite gay today!"
"I'm feeling quite happy today!"

"Phew! I am fagged out."
"Phew! I am exhausted."

"I'm just going outside to fetch a faggot."
"I'm just going outside to fetch a bundle of sticks."

"We wish to conduct this meeting in an orderly manner, so please refrain from any ejaculations - spontaneous or otherwise."
"We wish to conduct this meeting in an orderly manner, so please refrain from any outbursts - spontaneous or otherwise."

You can often see how pronunciation has changed over the years by looking at nursery rhymes:

Goosey, goosey, gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs, and downstairs,
And in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn't say his prayers!
I took him by the left leg
And threw him down the stairs.


In the 16th century, it is very likely the words gander, wander, and chamber rhymed. I think the words all rhymed with gander - based on nothing more than 5 seconds of reflection.

Try it yourself, it goes much more trippingly over the tongue when you rhyme those three words (if not sounding a bit odd).

In my enunciation of English prayers and stairs rhyme.

2006-01-20

 

Are you a statistic?

Of course you are.

So am I.

It is so impersonal.

Die of leukemia at 20 - a statistic.

Robbed at gunpoint – another statistic.

Have a pulmonary embolism – yet another statistic.

Just … this time round, I might be that statistic.

Suddenly it becomes personal.

CT scan at 13:45.

Details at eleven.

Note: my emotional state is fine. I am probably far too dispassionate for my own good. On the other hand, I find it hard to get worked up on speculation. The probability is that I have a viral infection of the lung lining. It hurts on my right side when I take deep breaths. But … there is just the threat of a possibility that it might be something else that I have to have all this extra testing done. Sigh. Had X-rays and an ECG last night.




[Update: 21-January-2006. The results of the CT scan show that my lungs are perfectly healthy and I have no blood clot, pneumonia, collapsed lung, cancer or anything that might explain the pain. So it is being put down to a viral infection of the lung lining.]

2006-01-19

 

The 50% solution

People often talk about relationships being 50-50.

I disagree, if your contribution to a relationship is only 50%, then that relationship will soon be over.

Why? Because there are days when one partner or the other, simply is not going to be able to give their 50%. On these days, there is a gap / gulf between the two. Once you get enough days with a gulf between the two, the relationship falls apart.

Relationships are 100-100. Each member of the relationship gives 100%. This way, on days when one or the other or both are unable to give 100%, they are covered. And hopefully, the number of days when there is a gap between the two is either zero or very few.

2006-01-18

 

Anthem

Finally got around to reading Ayn Rand's novella Anthem. Considering that many consider a must read, a life changing book (at least those on the extreme libertarian and right sides of the political / social spectrum), I must confess to being less than impressed. It is a fairly typical story about a dystopian society.

Although, it is not so much a story as a polemic against collectivism dressed in the form of narrative prose. Certainly I would not go as far as the dust jacket in claiming "ANTHEM is one of the most beautiful prose poems ever written."

There are many such stories:

Metropolis by Thea von Harbou
Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson
1984 by George Orwell
The Giver by Lois Lowry

and many others I've read and can't remember off the top of my head.

A good excerpt from the book - our protagonist has presented something (electric light) before a council and is rebuked. In this society individualism has been forbidden, all personal pronouns are plural collective ones (which makes for awkward reading).

"So you think that you have found a new power," said Collective 0-0009. "Do you think all your brothers think that?"

"No," we answered.

"What is not thought by all men cannot be true," said Collective 0-0009.

"You have worked on this alone?" asked International 1-5537.

"Yes," we answered.

"What is not done collectively cannot be good," said International 1-5537.

"Many men in the Homes of the Scholars have had strange new ideas in the past," said Solidarity 8-1164, "but when the majority of their brother Scholars voted against them, they abandoned their ideas, as all men must."

"This box is useless," said Alliance 6-4349.

"Should it be what they claim of it," said Harmony 9-2642, "then it would bring ruin to the Department of Candles. The Candle is a great boon to mankind, as approved by all men. Therefore it cannot be destroyed by the whim of one."

"This would wreck the plans of the World Council," said Unanimity 2-9913, "and without the Plans of the World Council the sun cannot rise. It took fifty years to secure the approval of all the Councils for the Candle, and to decide upon the number needed, and to re-fit the Plans so as to make candles instead of torches. This touched upon thousands and thousands of men working in scores of States. We cannot alter the Plans again so soon."

"And if this should lighten the toil of men," said Similarity 5-0306, "then it is a great evil, for men have no cause to exist save in toiling for other men."

Then Collective 0-0009 rose and pointed at our box.

"This thing," they said, "must be destroyed."

And all the others cried as one:

"It must be destroyed!"


You can find an on line copy of the book here.

I suppose I shall now have to go and read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (another "must read, life changing book") to balance the left and right influences in my life.

Oddly enough, I have never read or watched or heard anything that I would say was life transforming for me. At best, my reaction is "Hmmm ... that was good food for thought."

2006-01-13

 

Triskaidekaphobia


Just realized that today is Friday the 13th. A day of bad luck. Technically, the fear of Friday the 13th is called Paraskavedekatriaphobia.Fortunately, there is help. If that doesn’t work, you can try here.

Personally, I don’t believe in superstitions (although, others might argue that my religious faith is one big superstition).

Scouring the internet for ways of weaseling myself out of having to come up with anything original to say, I’ve decided to post these superstitions about love for all the romantics.

For a girl to meet her sweetheart or to kiss him for the first time under the light of a new moon is considered to be exceptionally lucky, for it means that she will soon become his bride, that their marriage will be blessed with undying love, and that neither of them will know the pinch of poverty.

The meeting-place of lovers should be upon a hillside, especially where there is heather, near a stream or river, on the seashore, or in the heart of a wood, for then, it is said, neither will deceive the other but will for ever remain constant. Poplar trees should always be avoided.

When writing a letter to a sweetheart it is lucky to complete it just as the clock strikes the hour of midnight, and to post the missive while the full moon is shedding its soft light over the housetops.

A broken sixpence, of which the man and the girl each keep a piece, ensures that they will never part

Possessing of a lock of the other's hair, tied to form a lovers' knot, is an assurance of lasting affection.

Betrothed persons should not be photographed together, else they will soon be doomed to part, or their marriage will be an unhappy one.

Quarrels and inconstancy are near at hand if sweethearts should look together through glass at the new moon.

Those who wish their love affairs to run smoothly should avoid meeting each other on the stairs, and should on no account kiss or embrace there.

Discord is predicted if sweethearts write love letters in ink of any colour other than blue, or in pencil.

Kisses, in the form of crosses, at the end of the letter, their number should not be four, seven, or thirteen; three is the luckiest number.

It is unlucky for love letters to be posted either on Christmas Day or on February 29.

Great care should be taken not to drop a letter to your sweetheart when you are taking it to the post, for, if you do, the next time you meet you will quarrel.

Remember that it is unlucky to receive a pair of gloves as a gift from your lover, for it means a parting; the same applies to a brooch or a knife, but it is said that the ill luck may be warded off if a small coin is given in exchange.

It is very unlucky for a girl to try on her wedding-ring before the ceremony, for it often results in a sudden termination of the engagement or in an unhappy marriage.


Superstions (slightly editted) were grabbed from here, where you can find more love related superstitions.

Image grabbed from here.

2006-01-10

 

Bagged or bagless?

About six months ago, our vacuum cleaner broke (well, it had been gradually falling apart over the years, but the main floor sweeping / rug beating attachment finally gave out).

It was a rather expensive canister type bagged vacuum cleaner we had bought at Sears. It served us well.

When looking for a replacement, we decided to go with an upright bagless type. It is much easier to use and vacuuming is much less a chore than with the other. However, we have discovered two major problems. The first is that an upright vacuum does not fit under the furniture (whereas the business end of the old vacuum cleaner fit under no problem) – consequently this necessitates much more furniture moving.

The second problem, which for me is extremely significant, is that bagless vacuum cleaners suck! Sure, there may be no messy bag to replace, but the vacuum cleaner has an air filter that needs to be periodically cleaned. In our case, every time we decide to use the vacuum cleaner (sometimes we can skip a cleaning). Cleaning the filter is extremely messy. The filter probably doesn’t need to be cleaned tha toften if all you are vacuuming up is cereal and rice. But, most of what we pick up is dust and dust clogs the filter terribly.

Next time I buy a vacuum, it will definitely be a bagged one.

What looks like our current vacuum cleaner is here.

Something similar to old faithful can be found here this (except it is green).

2006-01-09

 

Successful Christmas gifts

Sure, the Christmas season may be over and we have all turned back into pre-festive pumpkins, but ... it is always interesting to see what gifts we ached over ended up being a hit with the kids.

For Jason it's really a no brainer. His favourite gift, bar none is a $1 plastic sword and sheath I bought for him. He carries it with him at all times, stuck in his pants ready to do battle with foreboding enemies at the slightest provocation. He was so enamoured with it that the night he got it (we open gifts on the 24th after dinner) that he refused to be bathed without his sword. Sofia had to fasten it to his nakedness before he consented to being bathed.

With Tania, it is a bit more difficult, but I think she really enjoys her Princess Monopoly gift. We've played it a number of times and so far she is not tiring of it. The game is actually a bit more fun than real Monopoly since it is a little faster paced and not so complicated.

Images were found here and here.

Hmmm ... Blogger is stil not forwarding comments to my e-mail - I wonder why? Anyone else experiencing this problem?

2006-01-08

 

In search of a Haruspex

One thing I am not very good at is reading between the lines - all I see is white space. Although, given sufficient information, I am perfectly capable of reaching logical conclusions - after all, all roads lead to Rome and facts lead to undeniable conclusions.

I suspect my work situation is not very good. Not because of anything I've done or failed to do. I think I am still in good standing. The problem is that the project I work on is running out of money - actually, the budget was extremely tight last year before I took my 6 month unpaid leave of absence (which I think was a welcome relief on the budget).

Coming back, they were optimistic about getting additional funding, but that has not materialized - maybe later this year. The industry I work in, we are contracted to do work, which means that funds are allocated to specific projects - diverting funds for other projects is a big no-no.

When I came back, I requested to work a compressed workweek (37-1/2 hours in 4 days). This went well for a month until funding didn't materialize and I was taken aside and told that upper management had decided that they did not want to set a precedent with me (ignoring that (1) the company has a quite extensive list of alternate work options - including compressed work week, and (2) that others in the past have worked compressed weeks). I saw it as a diplomatic way to get me to accede to a short workweek, since I believe their ulterior motives where to reduce capital burn.

A month ago, I was told that I would be temporarily loaned to another project (this one has recently acquired lots of funding - at least 2 years worth). The project manager named of a bunch of people who have in past been loaned over - most of them have been laid off over the years.

Last week, the fellow in charge of funding for the project I work on and asked if I had moved to the other project (he doesn't want me charging to the current project). I told him no. This is not likely to happen until this coming week, since decision makers on the other project were on holidays until the 9th.

Further, I was not invited to a project meeting last week. When I checked to see who was invited, I discovered that another fellow worker is no longer with the company (e-mail is gone). Silent departures are always a sign that the person has been dismissed rather than voluntarily left - since then we usually take them out ot lunch. I know he was there before Christmas.

I can't deny that being laid off has some appeal - certainly if I could be as lucky as a friend of mine. She had worked for IBM for more than 10 years and left them 11 years ago when IBM was trying to reduce its workforce through early severance packages. Later, at another job, she wanted to leave so she could spend more time with her kids (she has 3) and was prepared to quit when she was called in and laid off - with almost 1 years salary! Wow! That would be sweet! Personally, I think I would be lucky to get 6 weeks.

I'll see what happens next week.

In other news ...

1 - I discovered that comments were not being forwarded to my e-mail address. Somehow, blogger had blanked my e-mail address. So if I missed commenting on your comments, or missed reading them altogether, then I apologize.

2- Sofia will be going to Spain for two weeks at the end of this month. So we have to scramble to find someone to be with the kids. I am going to try and take two weeks unpaid - but generally, you need to give more notice (although, given the current environment, I doubt they will protest).

Image was grabbed from here.

2006-01-06

 

Epiphany

Today is the Epiphany – the Twelfth Day of Christmas. I always remember it as the day the 3 Magi finished their journey Bethlehem and presented gifts or gold, myrrh, and frankincense to the infant Jesus (not that my traditional of cultural memory is necessarily any good).

What sort of gifts are truly valuable gifts? For me it is time. Not quality time, but time given freely without bounds and constraints.

Anyone can mail out a Christmas card, or birthday card, or a thinking of you card. Typically we call this sort of action thoughful. But there is more to being thoughtful, there is the time required to pen a few personal sentences.

As our lives get busier, there is a tendency to believe in the myth of quality time. Granted, the way time is spent should always be of the utmost quality, but, still quantity is an important aspect. While I may only interact with my kids for a limited period of time (quality time, so to speak), I try to be around and available, because that is what they want. They want to know I am there and about. They want to know that I any moment I am available for them to give them my time.

If you tally the time spent in a day, maybe it amounts to 2 hours or less of quality time, but it is spread over the whole day: 2 minutes to praise them for a picture they have made, 7 minutes wrestling, etc … It is not possible to squeeze that time into a convenient 2 hour block, say from 16:00 – 18:00. It requires me to be there and share my time with them when they need it. And for them to share their time with me when I need it.

Image was grabbed from here.

2006-01-05

 

To know

The word science comes to English from the Latin scientia – meaning knowledge or skill. Which in turn is likely derived from the latin verb scio – to know, to understand (undoubtedly, this is the origin of the English “see” as in “See!? See!?” ;-)

While I love science and knowledge, I often find science and scientists irritating in their lack of imagination and slavery to orthodoxy. Of course, any large body or institution exists only to serve orthodoxy – nothing else. That anything else ever gets accomplished or advanced is a testament to the ingenuity of bright and tireless individuals.

Not that preserving orthodoxy is bad in itself. After all, you want a stable body of knowledge that is generally regarded as accurate and correct.

On the other hand, you want people to challenge the orthodoxy. Regardless of what science news story comes out, I always analyze it in the context of what I know and whether or not it makes sense. I just don’t accept somebody’s say-so.

Another irritating thing about science is that potential sources of bias are not revealed. So a Seventh Day Adventist or a Hindu doing research showing a Vegetarian diet is healthier should alert you to possible bias.

Another problem I have is the way research is done. I often find control groups to be suspect. If you are studying the health effects of a vegetarian diet, you first need to find some vegetarians. Then you need to weed out those vegetarians who eat fish and chicken (I have heard people describe themselves as vegetarian, “but I also eat fish and chicken”), those who cut out meat, but fail to replace it.

So what you end up with is a group that (1) consciously monitors what they eat, and (2) ensures that what they eat is balanced. These people, interestingly enough, may have other characteristics that are not being monitored, but may affect results. There choice to be vegetarian may be part of a much larger lifestyle choice – not smoking, no excessive alcohol consumption, regular exercise. There may be other factors –education level, income levels, ethnicity (oops! Doing research that considers ethnicity is generally considered really bad form). Unfortunately, these generally don’t get factored in because it would be too complicated to track too many variables. Track one variable and see what the results are.

On the other hand, the non-control group is the general population. Which include people who think that a Snickers bar, a coffee and a cigarette is a well balanced breakfast, a bag of Doritos and a diet Coke makes a good lunch and pineapple chicken balls, fried rice and a few glasses of wine in front of the TV is a good way to end the day.

But, interestingly enough, while we get research on vegetarian lifestyle, I don’t recall any studies on people who eat a balanced omnivorous diet using a control group that would be similar to the vegetarian control group (aside for the fact that they include flesh in their diet).

So, is it any wonder that research is constantly contradicting itself? One week coffee is good for you the next week it is a toxic sludge.

I am not ranting against vegetarians – but I did have to pick some example. I thought this one was pretty easy to write about. As for my own biases: I am an omnivore (meat is definitely a part of my diet), while I try to eat a reasonably balanced diet, I must confess to eating too much and generally including more carbohydrates than I should (think cakes, cookies and chocolates). I also exercise way less than I should. I still think back to my glory days when I actually walked at least 8-10 Km or biked +20 Km per day.

2006-01-04

 

Metallic bitters

It has been 10 days since I came down with strep throat. At least I'm able to swallow without fear (actually swallowing was pretty much back to normal after 5 days of being on antibiotics).

The main gripe I have now is that things still taste and feel funny in the mouth and throat. There seems to be a perpetual bitter metallic taste which seems to start deep in my throat and extend all the way up into my nose.

Food hasn't tasted right in over a week! (ok, ok, a week if you ignore the fact I didn't eat the first 3 days of the infection). A mandarin should be sweet and juicy leaving me with a "ah, that was refreshing" sensation. But instead it is a one-dimensional, metallic taste sensation. Food has lost its pleasure - ok, maybe that is a good thing, but I can hardly wait until I can pop something in my mouth and say "Yum!"

Aside from that, I've got extremely dry and cracked lips. Frilly little painful fjords are breaking out. Not sure if this is par for the course with strep, a side effect of the antibiotic (novamoxin), or just too little humidity in the house (but Sofia and Tania sleep fine, only JJ and I - the two sickos - find the house too dry, waking up frequently to get a sip of water to soothe our arid throats and moisten our parched lips)

Images nabbed from here.

2006-01-03

 

Happy Birthday!


Today Sofia celebrates an indeterminate age (as she has for the last many years ;-)

There are things I'd like to say
to you my love on your special day:

I am forever thankful God sent you my way.

Like a gift from up above,
you showed me how it is to feel real love.

I know many mountains we've had to climb
and sometimes forever has seemed like a very long time.

Yes, we've endured our share of pain,
but together we have so much to gain.

Bigger mountains may lie ahead,
but together there is no hill we can not tread.

So always remember my love for you,
and there is nothing together we can not do.

I'll be here forever - my love is true.
The person beside me, that would be you.


Poem was nabbed from here.

Picture is an original of us at the Colca Canyon in Peru (1996) - hence copyright is mine.

2006-01-02

 

Irish Blessing


May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Image taken from here.

2006-01-01

 

Enter the new year

(yes, a dull and unimaginative title)

Looking back at 2005 I have:

- enjoyed a 6 month leave of unpaid absence from work

this was a wonderful time of bonding between me and JJ. I also discovered that I am not really able to accomplish a whole lot with a kid running around the house. So the dream of jump starting a new career during that time fizzled. On the other hand, my sense of desperation at leaving my job for anything else faded.

- stepped out of despondency

I can't claim this is a result of any effort on my part, but it is nice to no longer have dark shadows crossing my soul. I may not have found my path yet, but at least I am enjoying the sunshine.

- started blogging

while the first few months were slow and uninspired. For some reason I started acquiring new friends through my blog beginning at the end of September. People who presence and comments have added colour, sounds, aromas and textures to my journey.

- not yet done my 2004 taxes

Well, not everything is perfect, I hope to get it done before the revenue department sends me friendly reminder letter (like they did for my 2003 taxes - actually, they sent me two).

- registered a number of domain names and set up a personal web site

I Registered my surname and set up a web site for it. Not that it has had anything more interesting than

Welcome to my web page.

Over time, I will gradually fill this in with links and articles on my interests, background, etc


for the last 7 months or so.

I also registered about a dozen other domain names. For those who are curious, I used 10 Dollar.ca since they had the lowest cost for domain registration - $10.45 per year (US or CDN depending on the domain suffix).

So what is coming up for 2006?

I haven't got a clue. We certainly cannot continue living and working in two different cities. Over this Christmas break, I seriously considered quitting my job ... but held back since there are still unknowns I need to quantify. It is not because I hate my job, but rather because I want to move forward and do something more fulfilling and meaningful with my life.

I have a gut feeling that something interesting is going to happen this year. No facts, no reasons, just a feeling. Maybe it is nothing more than a wishful illusion.

I want to expand further on my anemic web site. I did start writing more detailed pages, but I haven't gotten around to uploading them yet.

For those who believe in fortune telling / destiny or other you might want to check out what kind of pie you should be :-)

You Are Apple Pie

You're the perfect combo of comforting and traditional
Those who like you crave security
What Kind of Pie Are You?


Image is an original and consequently, copyright belongs to me.

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