Friday, June 29, 2007

I've started a new summer pastime. It's called reading.

For the past two weeks I've taken an evening and gone down to the Silver Bean Cafe, book in hand, and read. It's a great time. Both times, I've sat with a friend of mine who is, ironically, writing a book. He spends his time writing, I spend my time reading. It works.

The book that I'm reading right now is 'Slaughterhouse-five', by Kurt Vonnegut. I am thoroughly enjoying the book. He was in WWII, one of the few who survived the Dresden firebombing which is referenced in this book. He lived a long life after that, having children, adopting children and writing. According to Wikipedia, Vonnegut died at the age of 84 on April 11, 2007, in Manhattan, New York after a fall at his Manhattan home several weeks prior resulted in irreversible brain injuries. So it goes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hydro One/OPG

Apparently, if you want to work for a company that pays its employees extremely well, go work for OPG/Hydro One. See if you know anyone on this list. Actually, don't waste your time. It's 147 pages long. That's 147 pages of people making over 100k. I'm really happy that we're paying their salaries. Shit.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I saw this chart today in a blog post. The author was pointing out that the housing industry and the supporting retail industry in the States are somewhat overinflated, compared with the rest of the world. Given several other factors it appears as though these industries are on the verge of a major collapse. There are huge implications to this.

Our economy is closely tied to our southern neighbors. Our economy is similar to theirs as well. We are a resource rich nation, which aids our economy, but what are those resources being used for? Lumber for construction. Minerals for fabrication and processes. Energy to power these exercises. So, if there's a slowdown in the housing market (building oversized North American homes), or the retail market (filling our oversized homes and three-car garages and closets with things and toys), there is certainly a trickle effect. Our wood is not needed. Our resources remain in the ground. We make no money, and our employment suffers.

Am I seeing this wrong? Is there a different angle I should be looking at this from?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I need a stress ball on my desk that I can destroy from time to time.

I've never been this busy at work before. It seems that every time I sit down to get going on a project the phone rings with something even more urgent. I know there is room for improvement in my time management skills, and in my productivity - but everyone else in my office, and in my line of work that I know, is swamped. I guess it's a good sign - People are building stuff, the economy is rolling along. But, why does it all have to happen at once? Every day feels like one of those days in university where you had 4 lab reports, and two assignments due, and a couple of midterms bookending it all.

I had a conversation yesterday with a lady from my church about being busy. Being too busy. Is it a societal thing? What drives it? Most families at our church are like most families in the city - running constantly. Dropping off kids at different places. Trying to fit in grocery shopping, and grass cutting (my grass is several inches too tall!), soccer games, music practice, a birthday party, etc. I guess I'm asking why. Why do we take on so much? Are we all a bunch of sadists - getting off on stress? What is it that drives us? Are we unable to say no to something, so that we appear strong in our ability to carry so much? If that's the case, I'd argue that we're really weak - not knowing our limits, not knowing how to look after ourselves.

In that same conversation yesterday with the lady from my church, she mentioned that the year before her oldest daughter graduated from highschool they took a family sabbatical. Whenever they were asked to be on a committee at their kids school, or at church, or wherever, they said 'No, we're taking a year off.' They got used to saying no, and realized that the world didn't end when they did. They had an awesome year as a family, a year of refreshment and looking after each other. It inspired me.

The danger, though, is escapism. Right now, I'd love to just walk out of my office, down the stairs, hop on my bike, and go somewhere for a couple weeks. Everything would still be here when I get back (if I still had a job at that point). Yah, a couple of clients and a few architects would want to kill me (and probably my coworkers who would have to finish my work for me), but would that really do it?

I don't think it would. It wouldn't be wise. It would be temporary. What I'll do is just keep on plugging away, hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter because I'm getting closer to it, and not just because I'm getting used to the darkness.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Politicians are People Too

Some of the worlds most 'powerful' folks enjoying a laugh and a beer at the G8 summit. I think W's must be the non-alcoholic variety. Near-beer.

Monday, June 04, 2007

From today's PostSecret:

Saw this on a forum today, where an American made a comment that Canadians are useless shits that never do anything. It made me proud.

"Just a few things that you may have heard of, or used that were invented in Canada...

Insulin, Treatment for Diabetes [1921, Frederick Banting, Charles Best]
Telephone [1876, Alexander Graham Bell]
Light Bulb [1874, Henry Woodward, Mathew Evans]
Five Pin Bowling [1908, Thomas F. Ryan]
Wonderbra [1964, Louise Poirier]
Pacemaker [1950, John Hopps, Wilfred Bigelow, John Callaghan]
Robertson Screw, 1908 [Peter Robertson]
Zipper [1913, Gideon Sundback]
Electric Wheelchair [1952, George Klein]
Poutine [1957, Fernand Lachance]
Cobalt-60 “Bomb” Cancer Treatment [1951, Harold Johns]
Java Programming Language [1994, James Arthur Gosling]
Bloody Caesar [1969, Walter Chell]
Canadarm [1975, Spar Aerospace/NRC]
Standard time [1878, Sir Sandford Fleming]
Electron Microscope [1939, James Hillier, Albert Prebus]
Ski-Doo [1922, Armand Bombardier]
BlackBerry [1999, Mike Lazaridis]
Radio Voice Transmission [1900, Reginald Fessenden]
Birchbark Canoe [First Peoples]
Basketball [1892, James Naismith]
Retractable Beer Carton Handle [1957, Steve Pasjack]
UV Degradable Plastics [1971, James Guillet]
Instant Replay [1955, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada]
Goalie Mask [1959, Jacques Plante]
Marquis Wheat [1908, Sir Charles Saunders]
Pablum [1930, Alan Brown, Theodore Drake, Frederick Tisdall]
Lacrosse [First Peoples]
Electric Oven [1892, Thomas Ahearn]
Steam Fog Horn [1853, Robert Foulis]
Walkie-Talkie [1942, Donald L. Hings]
Alkaline Long-Lasting Battery [1959, Lewis Urry]
Paint roller [1940, Norman Breakey]
Electronic Music Synthesizer [1945, Hugh Le Caine]
WeeVac 6 [1990, Wendy Murphy]
Green Garbage Bag [1950, Harry Wasylyk, Larry Hansen, Frank Plomp]
Snowblower [1925, Arthur Sicard]
Self-propelled Combine Harvester [1937, Thomas Carroll]
Instant Mashed Potatoes [1962, Edward Asselbergs]
Explosives Vapour Detector [1985, Lorne Elias]
Marine Screw Propeller [1833, John Patch]
Plexiglas [1931, William Chalmers]
Key Frame Animation [1969, Nestor Burtnyk, Marcelli Wein]
CPR Mannequin: “ACTAR 911” [1989, Dianne Croteau, Richard Brault]
G-Suit [1941, Wilbur Rounding Franks]
Ardox Spiral Nail [1954, Allan Dove]
Automatic Lubricating Cup [1872, Elijah McCoy]
Crash-Position Indicator-CPI [1957, Harry Stevinson]
Caulking Gun [1894, Theodore Witte]
Separable Baggage Check [1882, John Mitchell Lyons]