The link below shows a wide variety of world statistics that have been compiled since 1988. Some are just neat, but in greater quantity are the ones that are at least a little disturbing.
It's a bit of a strange experience when you can stop, look at yourself, and come to the unavoidable realisation that you fit quite nicely into a stereotype. If only for a moment. I had that experience last night.
My wife brought up some pork chops for dinner from the deep freeze and I threw myself wholeheartedly into dinner preparation while she and our boy watched Chris Rock and the opening of the Oscars last night. I began with some garlic mashed potatoes while the BBQ was heating up. I then tromped outside to slap some pork on the grill.
Returning inside through the back door, I was suddenly struck by the image of myself: given the unseasonably warm temperatures for the end of February (about 5 above freezing at 6.30 PM), I was outside in just a pair of shorts and a tank top, wielding a pair of barbeque tongs, squinting at the meat on the grill that was illuminated only by the flame underneath and the poor glow of the patio light (more the former than latter), trying to see the BBQ sauce as it poured from the Bullseye bottle, and my two bare feet planted firmly in a pair of calf-high Sorel winter boots.
Truly a Canadian barbeque, eh?
Last day of the week,
Will work tomorrow morning.
Man, that really sucks.
Two cups of coffee.
Not yet even eight o'clock.
Bumblebees buzz too.
Change phone message each
And every day of the week.
Don't get many calls.
Yesterday went to
Seminar on 'geo grids'.
Lunch was pretty good.
Pic of wife on desk.
Sultry look in hazel eyes.
Distracting hot chick.
Watched a flick last night.
Anchorman: Ron Burgundy.
Damn, that's funny shit.
Coat has 'Sigh' on sleeve.
Nickname from my college days.
'Big Sigh', then lost weight.
I hit snooze three times.
Then brushed my teeth and showered.
Muffin for breakfast.
Vacation in May.
Will head east with family.
Much to see and do.
Son almost walking.
Pulls himself up on sofa.
I stamped a paper.
Stuck up with a pin,
Rubber cockroach on my wall.
End this with Yoda:
"No! Try not. Do, or do not.
There is no try." Fin.
This weekend past, my mother-in-law came to visit, up from Lethbridge. It was a long weekend here in Alberta, so she could countenance the 5-hour drive.
My wife regularly exhibits a certain amount of glee when her mother comes. A large part of this, I'm sure, is a result of the distance involved and the fact that they don't see each other more than a few times a year. The larger part of the equation, I'm even more sure, is the fact that my wife and her mother will spend an inordinate amount of time out. Shopping.
This allows me to spend some alone time with my son which, in itself, is a good thing. I then play the part of dutiful husband as a duet of grinning gals comes tromping back in through the front door of the house, kicking off their shoes since all four arms to which they can lay claim are encumbered by plastic bags sporting various store logos. I ensure my son and I are comfortably ensconced in the living room as I wait, expectantly, for the inevitable question: "You wanna see what we got!" (It's actually not a question. Merely an opening gambit.)
With eyes open wide and face properly expressive, I exude all the appropriate responses as shirts, pants, knick-knacks and other sundries are paraded before me. "Won't these look just adorable on him, Si?!" "Yes they sure will." (They look just like most of the rest of his pants save perhaps a slight difference in colour.) "And I just can't wait for you to see him in this!" (It's a sweatshirt. I have sweatshirts.) "Oooohh, and just look at these! They're little booties! And they have dog ears!" (My son doesn't yet walk and has almost as many pairs of footwear as I do. I exaggerate; slightly.)
Secretly, I'm glad that my wife delights so in these sorts of purchases. I would be so much more utilitarian in my spending. "Hmmm, my son seems to have gone and split his pants. I'd best go and get another pair. Next week probably; they'll last at least until then." (Again, I exaggerate, but the balance that has been established between the two extremes that are me and my wife has our son living in a very happy medium.)
But this past weekend, she hit gold. I'm impressed. Amongst the other items my wife came home with was a replacement for his crib mobile that he could reach, and so had to be taken down before he pulled it down. This new device straps to the bars of his crib, plays soothing music, glows softly and, best of all, throws a rotating circle of light on the ceiling. The past two nights, my son has lain there, sucking on his bottle of water, completely mesmerised by the teddy bears, rainbows and stars that have recently comprised his night sky. This is not the best part though.
The BEST part is the Super Ultra Secret Feature of this magical device that operates on a couple of 'C' batteries. At any time of night, when our baby awakes - which he is not now wont to do, but still sometimes does - the contraption will sense the crib moving or the baby fussing and will start right back up! This feature kicked in for the first time the night before last, sometime after midnight. My wife and I lay in bed, tensed up at hearing our son complaining. Ten seconds later, a soothing lullaby came drifting through our door from his room. We continued listening. His complaints turned to coos and shortly to silence. YES!!
Goodnight, sweet son.
Oh what a find I found today!
Though a daily reader of both Dilbert and Foxtrot, I sorely miss losing myself in the existentialism of Calvin and Hobbes. A little boy and his stuffed tiger and an imagination as boundless as the universe he was woefully confined to.
The website linked just below has every single Calvin and Hobbes strip. EVER! From 1985 through '95.
Via Sam's site, here are 25 ways to be a man. There's obviously an English bent to these. Very nice though:
I'll bet that I know what you're thinking right now:
You're thinking, "Geez, I have always wondered what would happen if our galaxy were to collide with another galaxy."
Well, wonder no more. It's going to happen. The Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way. And this collision ain't gonna have no creamy nougat filling. These two galaxies are racing together at the mind-boggling speed of 500,000 km/hr. That only gives us about 3 billion years to get ready for the most rocking-est roller coaster ride ever. That may seem like a long time, but folks are starting to live longer these days, so your great to the nth power grandkids may be around to see it. They'll be hairless, wing-ed, three-fingered waifs with the ability to disassemble their corporeal selves out of harm's way when the time comes, but they'll still ultimately have you to thank (indirectly) for their life.
Apparently, it'll take about a billion years for the collision to run its course and to have the heretofore separate galaxies form one 'elliptical' galaxy. For a computer simulation of what the whole she-bang could look like, head over yonder. Dancing on a cosmic scale.
In honour of the soon-to-be-released movie version of Douglas Adams' trilogy in five parts, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, here are a number of methods that have been postulated if you really wanted to go ahead and blow up the Earth. They're really quite humourous and, I guess, sort of possible, if not exactly entirely plausible.
(This whole Earth blowing up thing happens in the first chapter of the book and the whole rest of the story rather hinges on this event happening, so don't get all huffy if you've never read it and might be thinking that I just ruined something important for you since, you know, the Earth blowing up is a rather significant event. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn't. Get over yourself.)
After nearly six years working for the same company, I've become irrevocably convinced that the level of incompetence that has somehow inculcated itself into the corporate culture of this, and most, organisations would be staggeringly appalling were it in some way possible to make it glaringly obvious. The unfortunate fact of the matter seems to be that the individuals of which this monstrous entity of inability is comprised are, themselves, not incompetent. This can be compared to the axiom that 'people are stupid'. I believe this to be true. Mob mentality and all that. I also firmly believe that the individual persons that make up 'people' are themselves not stupid. Most of them.
They, and by 'they' I also mean 'I', demonstrate a level of proficiency in a given field that has, so far, kept them successfully employed. Since this ability is subsequently met with remuneration for its contribution, the individuals are therefore uninspired to venture too far, if at all, outside their own sphere of influence. This can be stereotyped by the 'Not My Job' state of mind.
Unfortunately for them, and by 'them' I also mean 'me', today's workplace is demanding an increasingly higher level of proficiency within one's own area of expertise as well as the inherent flexibility to make greater contributions outside of that expertise. It is no longer as acceptable to pigeon-hole oneself and then coast through to retirement. (My grandfather was a factory worker that supported a family of eight on a single income for over thirty years; this, today, would be nearly impossible.)
Now, I pride myself on having a better-than-average ability to learn new things and rapidly incorporate that learning into my repertoire of skills that I keep in my toolbelt such that I can do what Needs To Get Done. A lot of this, I think, is due in large part to an education in engineering, wherefrom the greatest benefit I garnered was the ability to learn how to learn. I've lost 95% of the facts that were drilled into me, but the process trained my brain. Plus I know I have a relatively insatiable curiosity about the world around, which is a primary reason of my having gone into engineering in the first place.
My major complaint, going back to the first sentence of this post, is that a lot of people, when faced with an unexpected challenge, will stare blankly in the face of that challenge, not knowing what to do about it and, more importantly, absolutely terrified to admit to their own ignorance on the matter. It is THIS sheer volume of wasted time that would be so horrifying were someone able, somehow, to quantify it.
(I'm not too sure what sort of hypocrite that then makes me since I feel I have enough time to take twenty minutes while at work to post this sort of complaint.)
A question asked, once in ignorance, is infinitely better than days, weeks or months of time wasted struggling incoherently through a series of tasks that would be made so much simpler by a request for assistance and, so much more importantly, a willingness to embrace new learning. If that willingness can be transformed one step further into a yearning, then so much the better.
Ah yes, that would sum up a solution to what I see as being a terrible paucity of proficiency: Yearn to Learn.
While I may be demonstrating a certain level of hubris in thinking that I am better than most of my peers in my ability to perform (and I do, in a very general sense), I find the greater offense to be that of those who think they know enough to the degree that they have placed well-defined boundaries on their contributions; and subsequently struggle when forced temporarily outside. I work with so very many of them. An offense not so much of hubris, though that was my first thought, but of fear. Capital 'F', Fear.
It'll suck the life out of you. I know.
In an idea-theft from Jaquandor (though to be fair to myself, he also got it from elsewhere), here are ten things I've done that I'd be willing to bet a million Monopoly dollars that you haven't: