Friday, November 30, 2007

A government rant

I'm probably out of line here, and am probably speaking about things from a professional perspective that I should not comment on, but I'm frustrated and need to vent.

I am sick and tired of wasted time and money because of government bureaucracy.

I see this day after day in my job when I work on government contracts. I see this day after day when reading the newspaper, or listening to the news.

This morning, I woke to the news on the radio highlighting two local stories. One is the 'Wall of honour', which is to be built downtown across from city hall to honour war veterans. The other was highlighting the 'Gainey Foundation', a fund raiser in honour of Bob Gainey's wife and daughter, who have both passed away. Both involve paying respect to people who have passed on, and honouring their memory. Both are great ideas. One is a public venture, one is private. Which do you think is going smoothly?

I'm not sure how long this wall of honour thing has been going on, but it now looks like it won't even happen. The bureaucracy of the city government has slowed it down to a grinding halt, frustrating those involved, polarizing the community, to the point where the primary people behind the project are throwing their arms up in disgust and walking away.

The Gainey foundation is a huge success. Everyone who has been asked is helping out. Things are happening; it's moving forward.

What a contrast.

I appreciate that we need our government. We need order and structure in our society. We don't need waste though.

I recently sat in a meeting for a government project where there were 12-15 different people in attendance, in addition to myself, the builder, the other engineers and the architect. The project was finished, already designed. People were showing up saying "Am I in the right meeting", and "what's this one all about?" They were 12-15 professional government meeting attenders wasting my time and my tax payer dollars. I was disgusted.

I recently designed a small AC system for a government building. The total cost of the project, for our design and the contractors fees and equipment costs was triple (THREE TIMES) the cost of what the same project would be if done for a local private business. The thing that gets me is that we weren't taking advantage of the government, and inflating our fees. We knew it would take three times as long, and involve three times the headache, and three times the meetings, and three times the travel, etc.

As I write this, I've got two stacks of forms to fill out for the MOE for a couple of other projects. I am not looking forward to it. If I had my way, I'd streamline the process and make it more efficient. However, I don't, so I will jump through the hoops - knowing that if I fill in one box on one form improperly, my client may be at risk of having to shut down their plant. It seems there is no common sense used by our public servants. I suspect that it's not because they don't have any. It's because their hands are tied.

Well, there's my rant. Is there anything that can be done? Anyone got any suggestions?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

100 Greatest Guitar Solos of all Time

Today I'm working my way through the list of '100 Greatest Guitar Solos of all Time', as voted on by Guitar World's readers. I downloaded them last night.

I had started at the top and made it as far as number 7 when Brent suggested I do the countdown.
Today will rock. I'm working on the plumbing layout for a condominium and listening to the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time. Can it get any better?

I say no.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This is an awesome story.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

About a month ago on a Saturday morning, after breakfast with the boys, a few of us went for a hike. We went to a secret spot that Carlo found, near the Ganaraska Forrest area. About halfway up the hill we were climbing was an apple orchard. Some of them were tasty, but most of them were better suited for throwing at each other:

At the top of the hill, the terrain levelled off into a a field, with a lone tree. It was odd, and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bocce Ball

I love playing bocce ball, and it's variations (like rock golf in Jackson's park). This weekend, I was up at Graphite Bible Camp with the guys from church for our annual Men's weekend up there. On sunny Saturday afternoon, we set out, balls in hand, to prove who was the most skilled in the art of bocce.
The field was very unforgiving. There were rough patches of grass to slow down the roll. There were uneven terrain, mounds and holes, to redirect a well tossed ball. It was proving that luck was also a part of the game. But it was also proved that those with great skill seem to generate great luck.
Case in point. In addition to having a large field to play in, there were some strategically placed playground equipment, complete with wooden posts, sand traps, swingsets, fences and old tires to deal with.
This picture shows one of the more challenging 'holes'.
I think it was Brent's turn to toss the palino, and he tossed it at the tire ladder. It bounced off the top tire, and landed in the second one from the top. We cheered at his accomplishment, and with glee looked forward to the possible outcome. My first toss bounced off the structure and careened off to the left. If you look closely you can see a yellow ball a good 20 or 30 feet from the target. My second toss resulted in this, a shot that shall never be repeated:If you look closely (click the picture to enlarge), you can see the palino inside the top tire. It's a small white ball. Inside the tire below it, on the left, you can see a thin sliver of yellow. Somehow, my ball had come to rest halfway up the tire, and not rolled down to the base. It was incredible.

I'm currently considering my options. The pro Bocce circuit is enticing, but I'm not sure if I'm up for physical demands of the training requirements. For now, I'll sit at my desk and daydream about the perfect spin, the correct lob, the exact angle of approach, and the thrill of victory.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My good friends, Michael and Andrea Vanderherberg, are on an adventure in Africa. Michael has been surprisingly frequent in updating their blog with stories and pictures. You should check it out.
Do it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I recently got a new camera. I bought it from my dad, since he had just upgraded. Well, I finally entered the digital SLR world. I've probably taken 5 or 6 hundred pictures since thanksgiving weekend. It's fun. I borrowed a 500mm mirror lens from my dad and was testing it out the other night. I took this picture of the moon from my back deck. I used a tripod. I believe the exposure was 1/45s, or 1/60s.

I don't like posting pictures of myself on the internet, but I'll make an exception. If anyone wants to steal this identity, it's all yours.