Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nuttier Than Ever Net

I originally started this blog on Myspace, and moved it over to Blogger because Myspace sucks. It really does – most people that have the time to really participate in the online community, have no lives.

I remember when I was on Myspace, there were a few people that would change their comment to indicate everything – EVERYTHING – they were doing. “Eating Dinner, Available for Chat” “Taking the Kids to Soccer, Back Soon” “Gone to the Bathroom, Be Right Back.”

Sheesh – I don’t want everyone online to know when I’m taking a crap.

I’ve noticed a few people on MSN are like this too – the second they “do” something, they have to tell the world. Makes me wonder if they actually are doing what they claim, or they just changed it to pretend they have a life.

If you’re going to the bathroom, just go already!

The latest trend isn’t Myspace – it is Facebook.

So many people I know now have a Facebook account it is sickening. Facebook is just another online world of nut balls with no lives.

I bet there are people on Facebook that publish everything they are supposedly doing too.

“Gone to the bar, back soon.”

“Back from the bar.”

Yeah, right. If I went to a bar, the last place I’d be afterwards would be online. I’d probably be too tired or too drunk, or both, to bother reading my computer screen.

I spend way too much time on my computer. When I’m working, I sit in front of a computer all day. When I come home, I often check my emails and look things up.

But I control my use of the computer. I limit my “life” online so that my real life in the real world takes priority.

I don’t tell everyone what I’m doing. I don’t change my MSN comment to indicate what I have done, will be doing, or anything else.

I’m too busy living in the real world for that bull.

And that is sadly what the online world has become – a lot of bull.

Anyone can say or do anything online. So the geeks, losers, psychologically unbalanced predators, and other low-life’s can appear to have normal, healthy social lives online.

Think about it – if you’re so busy living in the real world, why would you even bother telling everyone else online about your activities?

People who change their online comment every time they do something aren’t living in the real world. They THINK they are, and that is even scarier.

When the real world blends so closely with the fictitious anything goes Internet world, those geeks, losers and psychologically unbalanced predators become even more of a threat to society. They can’t separate real from online, and soon they can draw others into their online realms and wreak havoc with the real lives of those living in the real world.

Online communities such as Myspace and Facebook have a good intent and they are based on a technology over twenty-years old. Bulletin Board Systems or BBSes – back in the 1980’s allowed people from all over to share their thoughts and ideas.

But BBSes were moderated. There were specific discussion groups where people could share ideas about specific things. And they were dial-up – so most people read and responded to messages offline, or for a short period of time. They didn’t spend every waking hour online going through the message boards.

These days, as almost everyone has a high-speed connection to the online world, people who don’t have lives create their lives online. They literally eat, sleep and “live” their lives in front of a computer screen.

They probably don’t do half the things they claim they are doing. But they “think” they did these things – so much so they can tell you vivid details, describing what it was like.

I think these online communities need to be better moderated, and time limits on user accounts be initiated. Otherwise, we’ll all end up mindless zombies, living in front of a computer screen and monitor.

And that’s not living at all.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What? You Think THIS is YOUR Home?

Sunday was laundry day for me. I did a lot of chores on Sunday and it felt good. There is something very satisfying about a job well done. And it is nice to not have to think – just to do something which let’s my brain have some down time.

But when I got to the laundry room – what a freakin’ mess!

There were stuffed animals lining the floor, toys, used magazines, and lots of other junk lying about.

People who move out often place things they don’t want to take with them in the laundry room. I suppose they figure maybe someone else will want it, so I’ll just leave it here.

Personally, I wouldn’t want someone else’s junk. Most of the stuff left behind is junk – torn, ripped, pretty used looking.

Usually people only leave behind a few things. But on Sunday it was as if I had walked into a giant junk yard.

I can understand leaving behind a few things. But a whole life’s worth of junk is unacceptable.

If I saw the person leaving all that stuff there, I’d ask them – do you think THIS is your HOME? Do you really think anyone wants your crap?

It really makes me mad when people who are leaving this place leave it in a worse state than when they first arrived. I talk to the building supers all the time, and they tell me horror stories.

People put their fists through walls, they don’t clean their stove – ever. They write on the walls, take all the light bulbs and do other horrible things – like leaving all their junk in the laundry room.

The supers have to clean up other people’s messes all the time. I really feel sorry for them, and angry at those who made the mess in the first place.

I know these people may never come back here. And they may have had their issues with the building management. But the building management tries their best to accommodate everyone, and they do an incredible job keeping this place clean, safe and secure.

This is one of the best managed buildings I have been in and I’ve been in a few places over the years. They always keep it in top shape, and they fix things almost right away when they break.

Most other places, it can take weeks for them to even consider fixing something, and they rarely, if ever, clean.

So, out of respect for those that do an amazing job at maintaining this place, it really pisses me off when I see others take advantage of it.

I think they should install security cameras in the laundry room to catch those idiots that drop off their used crap – and then send those people a bill for the clean up.

That’s what I’ll suggest to the building management. Maybe it’ll save them some work, and make them some money too

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lazy Hazy Dog Days of Summer

July is almost over and we’re moving into the fall. But I don’t want to think about that.

Right now the temperature is 27C with a humidex making it feel more like 30C – so it is hot, hot, hot.

And the summer’s sun is shinning – and the sky is an awesome blue and . . .


Time to just sit back on my balcony, BBQ some burgers, and sip my Heineken. No emails, voice mails, or other distractions. . .

Except maybe those naked chicks in the pool. . .

Oh wait!

Those are guys!


Good thing for dark summer sun glasses too.

Pass me another beer.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

D’oh – Widescreen Version

Beer – the cause and solution to many of life’s problems – so says Homer Simpson.

The Simpson’s Movie opened July 27 – and I saw it opening day!


It’s a great movie, based on the risqué cartoon television sit-com which has been airing on FOX for 18-years.

There’s the usual cast of characters – and a few new ones too – all up to their armpits in pink donuts, Duff beer, and Krusty Burgers.

Without spoiling the plot for those who haven’t seen it – the movie involves a typical mess caused by Homer, which forces him to re-evaluate his life, to save his family and hometown – and no, he doesn’t cause a nuclear meltdown at the power plant.

There are some very funny bits, and there are some very sad bits too. I almost cried during one scene – not bad seeing as it is only a cartoon.

And, because this is a movie, not for television, there is actually some nudity too – probably the first time we’ve seen this level of nudity in the 18-years that the show has been on the air.

The movie has familiar themes from the television show – family values which aren’t very common, there is even a side love story with romance, and a rather large environmental theme throughout – all of which are filled with falling off the chair humor.

The animation and sound effects are probably better than on television. Big screen, big sound all that sort of stuff.

I really enjoyed the movie and look forward to seeing it out on DVD when it comes out later in the year.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Best Gig I Never Had

I work with a lot of clock watchers. You know the type – always watching the clock to see how much longer they have to be here.

Clock watchers are annoying, because they are always struggling to get home, from the very second they walk into the office. It could be just after nine in the morning, but already they are complaining.

“I want to go home,” one of them will say.

“Is it time to go” another will wish for.

Then there are those that not only watch the clock, they intentionally make it work in their favor.

“I have to leave early today, at 3pm,” one of the notorious clock watchers in my office will always say, especially on a Friday.

They never a valid reason for leaving early. I could and probably would understand if someone had a medical appointment, a rare special occasion, or some other legitimate reason. But the experienced clock watcher knows better than to give an excuse – if they make something up and it isn’t good enough, you could call them on it.

“I have to go water my pool,” would be a pretty pathetic attempt at leaving early.

So, instead of risking their all important departure time, they just say they have to leave early – without any reason.

This is especially nerve racking when you have a project or some other important deliverable due, and you depend on those on your team to pull their weight and do the work.

Often, I have been stuck with someone else’s work, simply because no they had to leave early – without any reason.

It can be 3pm on the button, and that person that told you they had to leave at 3pm is already long gone. They left even earlier, because they know the system and how to work it. They know and expect a big pile of work to come falling from the sky right around the time they said they had to leave.

To avoid that sudden work project, they leave early – even if they know and are all too aware of the importance of the work still needing their attention.

“I have to go home, now,” is all they mumble, as they scurry off, like a scared animal.

Truth is, once they are outside and away from the office, they are all smiles. They made it! They are free.

Meanwhile, back in hell – I mean the office – I am usually the one stuck doing their job.

Then there are those that suddenly and without reason decide to work from home.

Working from home had its advantages. You don’t have to get all fancy in your work clothes. You don’t have to pack a lunch. And you don’t have to work, if you don’t want too.

That’s right – working from home is just like being on vacation, only you get paid to goof off.

People often “work from home” but never have anything to show for all their supposed hard efforts. Funny, when I work in the office, I produce lots of things – completed documents, emails, voice mails . . .

That’s the trick from working from home – faking it.

We have some who “work from home” often. They call into the office every so often, to pretend to be working. They call in to chit-chat, ask who’s here, and just so happen to mention what they are “working on” today.

But whatever it is they are “working” on never really gets worked on. They may even send out an email or two, to show they are “working” but again, its just for show.

I’m always amazed anything gets done around here.

Oh yeah, that’s because I don’t usually leave early and I never work from home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Time – What Time?

I’ve been meaning to write a blog for so very long – but just haven’t had enough time.

I’ve been meaning to do a lot of things, but haven’t had the time to do them. Though I promise that yearly bath is coming up . . . maybe . . .

Work is always very busy. They don’t plan anything at all – but they do have a great strategy in place whenever someone asks about it – they pass the buck.

I had breakfast with the President and CEO last week and mentioned to him some ideas surrounding project management. I didn’t propose rocket science or anything – just the usual project life cycles and stages of development most companies use.

His response was amazingly the exact same as everyone else I’ve approached about this.

He told me they do project management – and he listed a bunch of departments that have some form or another of managing their time, resources and workflow.

I asked him if any of those departments he just rambled on ever work with those departments he didn’t mention – like mine.

He said, “sure, all the time.”

Then there lies the problem – when you have some well thought out plans, and someone goes and sticks you into a group where chaos rules, watch out for the falling debris.

Even the most well thought out plans will fall apart instantly when you introduce elements – and by elements here I mean people – that don’t plan.

When deadlines don’t exist, project plans fail.

So, what happens when you combine a group of planners, with strict deadlines and workflows with people that don’t respect those deadlines and workflows?

Rubble, messy, clumsy, poorly executed projects that are late – or worse, not complete.

The poor marketing department – I pick on them a lot in this blog. But then, if they weren’t so inept, I guess I’d have to search somewhere else for the problem child to write about.

The marketing department is supposed to give my team content once a month for the weekly corporate newsletter we produce. A monthly deadline shouldn’t pose a problem for anyone out of kindergarten.

Last month, they were so late, I told them to forget it, we’ll put them in the next month. That gave ‘em two months – TWO WHOLE FREAKING MONTHS – to get their stuff together. I figured they’d have it in early. Hell with that much time, they should have been able to supply me with a year’s worth of copy.

Nope. Two months to do the job, and they tell me they are still running late (after the deadline no doubt) and ask for an extension. I tell them if it’s in within the next hour that’s fine.

It took ‘em three hours more to get me something they had two months to work on.

Now I know what you’re thinking – but don’t they have other things to do as well, besides working on my needs?

Yes they do. But so do I. So does everyone else in the office. Yet marketing is the only team that is constantly late, or no showing.

That’s partly because of poor project management – or more likely none at all. Marketing doesn’t have a game plan. They don’t have a blue print. The closest I’ve seen anyone in marketing come to actually planning anything involved reservations for lunch – and they couldn’t do it themselves, they had to get one of the admin assistants to actually make the booking.

So, as I’m munching on my muffin at my breakfast with the president, I listen to his response to my question about the lack of project management.

He tells me they have a PMO office, and it’s just been the projects I’ve worked on haven’t gone through that office.

I suggest that maybe all projects should go through that office – that way everything will run more efficiently.

I think I saw a spark in his eyes. Now whether or not that spark ignites into a fire which he uses to fuel my idea, or fizzles – that remains to be seen.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Own Personal Spa

I was down at the pool today and was having an incredibly relaxing wonderful time.

The sun was shining, the sky was the brightest blue, dotted with specks of white fluffy clouds. It was hot enough to go for a dip in the pool and the water was cool and refreshing.

I’d spend some time diving into the pool, doing a few lengths back and forth, and just lying on my towel, soaking up some sun.

I was at peace.

As I lay on my towel, just relaxing, I thought to myself, that many will pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to enjoy the same benefits at some luxury spa.


I don’t have a personal masseuse, and I didn’t put cucumbers on my eyes and green mud on my face, but who needs all that? Besides, I never could figure out what cucumbers on the eyes were for – cucumbers make great pickles, but don’t make the best glasses.

My pool is part of my building’s complex – open to all 276 units. But it is oddly never busy. There is a pool down the street for all the townhouses in the area – that pool is always packed. There are so many little kids in that pool.

Not in my pool – when I was there were only about five people in the pool area and all were adults except the lifeguard.

Because the pool is never busy, I can do as I please without worrying about interfering in or around others. I can dive as many times as I want, without having to wait for a lot of clearance. I can do lengths, without having to worry about someone getting in my way. And I can just be lazy, lounging around the side of the pool, without having some kid splash me.

I have my own private resort, and I don’t have to drive for hours on the highway to some hick town, pay an outrageous fee, and do oddball things – like wearing cucumbers on my eyes.

Ah the good life.

Now, if only I could figure out what to do with those cucumbers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Refreshed from the Burn

Working out is hard work and I work out hard. Very hard.

Just back from my usual two-hour stint at the gym. Did a hard workout starting with a warm-up on the exercise bike, then a stretch, and then PAIN.

Yeppers, PAIN.

Well, not pain in a bad way. Some pains can be good.

Like the feeling you get when your muscles are burning because they are working so hard. That’s a good pain – it means you’re actually exercising instead of just flopping about like most people at the gym.

Then there’s the pain of sweat in one’s eyes. Sweat is salty, and when it gets into your eyes, it burns.

But this is a good burn too, as it means you’re working up a sweat and burning off calories.

Then comes the pain of first beginnings. This is the pain you get about 15 minutes into a cardio routine on a treadmill, eclipse machine, or other type of cardio machine. It comes from your body getting over the “hump” of going from a normal heart beat, to an exercise heartbeat.

Many people fail the pain of first beginnings. They think it is too much pain. But if they only kept at whatever it was they were doing, eventually, the pain subsides and you get into a rhythm and begin to enjoy the workout. The pain of first beginnings only lasts about 15-20 minutes, but often people give up well before it goes.

Or, they constantly switch exercise machines to try and stop the pain. I see a lot of women at the gym do this. They get on a treadmill and run at full tilt for five minutes. The pain of first beginnings kicks in and they walk briskly for a few minutes. The pain subsides, but it hasn’t completed because they slowed their workout down.

Thinking the pain is gone, they get back up to a running pace, only to give up in a couple of minutes when the pain of first beginnings comes again. Then they do the exact same stupid thing, on another cardio machine, only to go to yet another cardio machine.

You don’t get a great exercise by constantly jumping ship every time you start to work your muscles. Actually, you can pull a muscle that way, because just as your body starts to limber up, you stop, cool down and then get back into an intense workout pace – all while being cooled down.

But not all is pain at the gym. One of the best feelings comes after a good long workout – the success of satisfaction.

The feeling of actually lifting more weight, doing more repetitions, doing more sets, running further or faster, or at a higher inclination – all of these are great rewards to the PAIN.

But I still find the best reward, is the steam room afterwards. There’s more pain, as the heat builds up in and around you until you can’t stand it anymore and you just have to escape.

But until that moment comes, the steam fills and surrounds you making you feel so relaxed, and soothed.

And of course, there is a burst of satisfaction upon leaving the steam room, hitting the showers, knowing you have completed a good workout.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Marketing Follies

Those bozos in marketing have done it again. The marketing management team – I just look away, shake my head and wonder in bewildered awe how they got to where they are today.

It can’t be looks, they aren’t sex vixens. It sure as hell isn’t brains – they aren’t that bright. And talent – takes someone with the gift to recognize it in others.

That might be the problem – maybe those in the hiring side of marketing just don’t have that special gift to know what real talent is in the marketing field. Though you don’t have to be in marketing to figure it out – we’re bombarded with ads, posters, slogans, jingles and other forms of marketing constantly.

So, what have the marketing management tag team done now?

Not really all that much – other than convey an opinion which I found entertaining coming from them.

The other day, a few of the managers left around 4:30pm – instead of after 5pm like they usually do. As they passed by the marketing director’s office, she said “leaving so soon?”

She said it rather ironically, in a matter-of-fact tone. It was probably meant as a put down – no wait – it came from marketing management so it was definitely a put down.

The managers just said yes, and continued on their way.

This offended me – for one thing the managers don’t report to the marketing management. And the other big thing – the marketing management team is notorious for coming in late and leaving early.

You’d be lucky to find a marketing management person in the office well before noon. Yet everyone else seems to make it in well before 9:30am. And often the marketing management team is gone before 3pm, sometimes even before 2pm.

I suck at math, but even I can figure out who isn’t doing their fair share of hours in the office. So when a marketing management member questions someone else about their office hours, I get really peeved.

Actually, what really bugs me about the marketing management team is the lack of responsibility the executive team has in doing something to “correct” the problems stemming from these bozos.

The very same bozos that blew their entire budget last year before the first quarter did the exact same thing this year. If history has a way of repeating itself – and we all know that it does – the bozos are STILL in the exact same position to blow their budget next year too.

Money might not grow on trees, but if you’re a marketing manager looking to spend recklessly and without consequence, come work where I am. You’ll not only be able to blow your budget, you won’t lose your job, and you won’t even take any heat from your gaffe. Nope – you can do whatever you want and everyone turns a blind eye.

Well, almost everyone. Most people that care about their work can’t stand the bozos running the marketing team. Even some people on the marketing team can’t stand those bozos running their own show – which is even worse than just others outside of the team.

When you don’t like another team’s management style, you work around it as best as you can. But when it is your own team’s management which bugs you, you can’t work around it, you have to work within it.

How anyone can work with the bozos in the marketing management offices I haven’t a clue. But I’m glad it isn’t me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dish Pan Hands

I’ve started many a blog on here with “I love BBQing.”

I still do – it is something I really enjoy. But I’m learning the my love comes at a cost.

Dishes. Dirty dishes pile up quickly during a BBQ.

Having separate plates for the raw meat and the cooked meat, needing dishes to combine ingredients to mix things up before tossing on the grill, bowls to make marinades, knives, forks and spoons used to cook with and as serving utensils. . .

And it all increases if I have company over to enjoy my BBQ home cookin.

I love having company over, especially for a good BBQ. It is awesome to be able to share, and even better watching people’s reactions to my cooking.

But the DISHES!


They pile up so high after a BBQ.

And cleaning out the BBQ is a big task. I get covered in layers of greasy black goo so thick, you can literally peel it off.

But the joy of BBQing shines over the dirty dishes – piled high in my sink.

I’ll do those dishes later.

Time to BBQ.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fresh Raw Meat

I’ve always loved to cook. I find it somewhat therapeutic chopping up the bits and pieces, playing with spices, and having an amazingly tasty finished product which I can enjoy.

Now that I have my own snazzy BBQ, I’m starting to experiment in ways I never have before. Last time, I made my own garlic bread on the BBQ – it was awesome!

Today, I bought some ground beef and ground turkey and I made my own beef burgers and my own turkey burgers. Haven’t tried them yet, as I have the BBQ this evening for dinner, but I bet they will be a hit.

I’ve made my own burgers in the past – a distant past. When I was a kid growing up, my mom didn’t like to handle the raw meat. So, she taught my brother and I how to make our own burgers.

We’d go out with my dad to the butcher and get our meat. Then we’d come home and make beef patties.

Back in those days, we baked most of our burgers in the oven. I still bake them in the oven – it tastes great but takes about an hour.

I’m really lovin’ this BBQ – it allows me the freedom to try new recipes, and to enjoy the results quickly.

BBQing is a lot messier than cooking in the oven. Cleaning the grill and the grit that builds up within the BBQ takes a lot of time and energy. Most people only clean their grills every BBQ, and their actual BBQs every couple of months.

I clean my whole BBQ after every second use – though I also clean the grill after every use so it is ready for the next time I get grillin’.

I find, if you really take care of your things, they last a whole lot longer. And, I’ve seen how much grit builds up after just a couple of BBQs – I can’t imagine cleaning out a whole season’s worth of grit. That would be quite the mess. Quite a huge mess judging by the amount of stuff I have to scrape out of my BBQ after just two uses.

But I suppose I’m so in love with BBQing, that I may do it more than most. Even though I’m single, I’ll still BBQ even if it is just for me. Seems like a lot of work for one person’s meal – especially as we live in the era of microwavable TV dinners and instant meals, just add water.

But I really do love to cook. Even if it means taking out the BBQ for just little ‘ol me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Women With Issues

Stress is a normal part of being alive. Everyone experiences stress in some form or another, and anything and everything can cause it.

From being cut off in traffic, to simply not having enough time at the end of the day to do what you want to do – we all go through stress.

But why is it, some women seem to never get beyond their stresses?

We had a stress reduction day at the office today. Everyone got free fruit smoothies, and a free anti-stress seminar. The seminar leader, a supposedly “expert” on stress and becoming stress free was a very entertaining speaker.

That’s exactly what I commented when others asked what I thought of her seminar.

“Oh, she was entertaining,” I said to all those who asked about the seminar.

I never said entertaining was good, or bad. In this case – I don’t know for sure yet, but I think it was bad.

The seminar leader – this so-called “expert” essentially went on about how she knows how to deal with stress, because of all the problems in her life.

And boy, does she have a lot of problems.

She went on, and on and on about all her problems.

I learned she is 45, a single mom, living at home with her mother and her two teen age daughters. Oh and she has an old dog with bad breath. She was left by her first husband – he just got up one day, and never came home. Her next relationship wasn’t any better, she says she dated one of the FBI’s most notorious con men – and was taken for a ride.

Although her stories were interesting, I didn’t really come to listen to yet another woman with “issues” drone on about them.

We all have problems, that’s just part of life. If life we perfect, we’d have nothing to work towards to grow, learn and develop from.

Still, many women I have encountered throughout my short time on this planet seem to be the ones with all the problems. Or at least, they are the ones that just can’t get on with their petty lives. They appear to enjoy wallowing in their own problems, and put up gigantic emotional fences, never letting anyone close – for fear of being burned again.

Odd how you never hear about men doing this. I’ve never met another man that can’t go out on a date, because his ex took all his backbone. I hear horror stories from men about the awful things women do – and they can be just as ruthless as men.

But I never hear a man go on and on and on about it like women. I don’t know any men that block out others emotionally because they were burned by a woman. And I have never seen a man stand up in front of a professional corporate crowd, as a paid expert, and instead of speaking about what everyone thought the topic was, go on and on and on about their “issues.”

Only women seem to have issues.

And WOW – those that do have issues sure are f**ked in the head.

Now, I can already see the hate emails piling up, so let me just say right now that not all women have issues. Not every woman I’ve met has issues – in fact most I know don’t. Those few that do have issues are rare – thankfully.

However, the reality remains, you never see a man with “issues.”

I don’t know much about the sexual revolution, the battle of the sexes, or anything to do with bra burning – I don’t wear one so I can’t burn it.

But I do know those with issues are f**cked in the head. And none of those that are f**cked in the head are men. Therefore, the sex with the most f**cked in the head members are those of the female variety.

Now, men and women and dating and marriage and all the things that stem from a relationship of some form or another are never simple, easy or pain free. We all have had great relationships with those of the opposite sex, and we have all had terrible, horrible, awful relationships with the opposite sex as well.

That’s just part of the process. Live and learn from your good and bad experiences.

But those with “issues” don’t know how to let go and live – so they will never experience the bad again. Problem is, you can’t have the good without the bad. And, if you really learned from an experience, instead of simply bitching and moaning about it the rest of your life, then – and only then – would you learn how to avoid or reduce the chances of going through that exact same bad experience again.

But what do I know? I’m a man – and I don’t have issues.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Grillin in the Rain

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I love my BBQ. It is fast, fun and tasty. And it is a great social activity too – I often have friends and family over for BBQs.

Today after a good long workout at the gym, I was starving. I hadn’t eaten much all day, and had a pretty strenuous workout consisting of my usual weight lifting and cardio routines.

The sun was out, it was getting hot – perfect weather to pop open the BBQ and grill up some dinner.

After I had already begun heating up the BBQ, the clouds suddenly rolled in and it began to rain. It was a fairly heavy and consistent downpour. But I could see the sun peaking through the clouds, so I knew it was just going to be one of those light, freakish summer storms.

You know the type – in and out as quick as a one night stand.

This rainstorm was good for me. The rain wasn’t coming in on my covered balcony, so I was able to BBQ all while listening to the rain fall, and watching the world get soaked.

It was amazing!

Very peaceful, and the air was fresh and clear from the rain falling from above. Not to mention the burgers and sausages I had on the grill added some mesquite aromas too – which was really cool.

I’ve BBQed in the rain before, at friend’s places. Usually we have to grab everything and carry it into the garage, and BBQ in there. Not at my place – the rains didn’t come in – I was lucky.

It’s quite an incredible thing – being high atop the city, BBQing in the rain. I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to the next rainstorm – I’ll grab my tongs and grill away!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Yawn – The Mental Sleep In

I just got up – about 20 minutes ago. I woke up today around 11:45am – and I loved it!

I usually wake up around 6am, sometimes 6:30am on a good day, and get ready for work. But this week I am off so I can do whatever the hell I want. And it felt gooood!

When I was in the army, we got up around 5am, sometimes we were even woken in the middle of our sleep for surprise drills. There were more than I care to have times when I was woken up around 2 or 3am.

Sleeping in until half the day is done might sound strange, and like a waste of a day. And it is usually, unless you’re a college or university kid. But once in a while – a long while – for us adults, it is okay.

I think we ought to do this at least three times per year. It helps rejuvenate the mind and body. Though I imagine I may have trouble sleeping tonight, because I’ve already done so much of it.

Scientists say you can’t catch up on missed sleep. If you don’t get a good eight hours per day, you can never catch up on the ill effects. But, if you do get a good eight hours after being burned out for a while, you feel better.

Good sleep patterns are important to a healthy lifestyle. Your body needs down time to rebuild muscles, and rest joints and bones. Your mind uses the Random Eye Movement (REM) deep sleep cycle to clean and sort your day’s events. When you dream, that is your mind actually sorting the events that you had that day into your memories.

REM sleep is really a cool thing to study. We don’t know much about how our brains work. We learn more all the time. But scientists still aren’t able to construct a new brain, should you go out and brake yours.

But scientists have found that when you dream, that is a side-effect of your mind sifting through all the experiences you went through that day. Your mind is tossing out needless thoughts, while packing away into your memories (your subconscious) all those thoughts and experiences which it feels are necessary to store for reflection later.

How your mind decides what goes and what stays remains a mystery. It’s one of those things that if they ever do figure out, then those who need a therapist would soon but their therapist out of a job in favor of a mind cleansing of the experience.

We seem to store traumatic events, horrible events, and tragic events deep within our minds. That’s why, after a major event – like a car crash, the death of a close family member or friend, or the loss of a limb – we often have nightmares, fears, anxiety and depression.

But we also store a lot of the good stuff too. Happy memories of things like your first kiss, getting what you always wanted at a birthday party, or a wedding or anniversary.

Still, how does your mind know what to keep and what to throw out?

No one knows and that is the key. If we could figure out how our minds worked – then we may solve many problems in society.

Imagine being able to cure the mentally challenged, the depressed, or even prevent or stop the mind from wandering as we get older? Might even be able to bring people out of comas, and other mind numbing states.

Of course, being able to figure out how the mind sorts information means those who can do this would know what you were thinking.

All those random thoughts you have about killing your boss, having sex with the girl next door, or playing a practical joke on your best friend would be revealed.

Maybe it is best that no one knows how the mind works?

A society of mind readers could be a dangerous one – where no one’s thoughts are truly their own. We’d be in fear of who could read our thoughts, and what they’d do with that information.

Your boss could know before you went in to quit, that you were going to quit. Or, the girl next door might just want to come over before you were ready. . .

I think I’d like that. Back to sleep!

Good night.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Why American’s Have it So Good

This week is filled with North American birthdays. America’s birthday is July 4, and Canada’s birthday was July 1.

Being a Canadian, I’m always proud to honor and celebrate Canada Day – July 1. But upon further reflections, I’m wondering if being American isn’t slightly better. . .

When I was a kid, everyone – EVERYONE – celebrated Canada Day in some form. There were fireworks, people wearing red and white, people proudly boasting maple leafs drawn on their faces, and Canadian flags everywhere – on cars, apartment balconies, houses, even little ones in cute kids hands.

This past Canada Day, as in previous ones, there have been considerably fewer and fewer symbols of celebration for our nation’s birth.

There were fewer people decked out in our national colors, virtually no one painted on maple leafs, and the Canadian flag is outnumbered by various other national flags in this country.

And that is where our nation’s greatest problem lies.

Canada has always welcomed those from other lands. We are proud to open up our arms, and warmly greet those any nation. We have a lot of freedoms which other countries just don’t have. We have clean air, and water, and we provide free universal health care to all our citizens. Clearly, we are a nation which takes care of each other.

So, for as long as I can remember, people from other countries come here to get a better life. A life away from a dictatorship, society, where nothing is free – not even one’s own freedom. A life away from poverty and disease. Even just a life where the air and water are safe, clean and clear.

It used to be, the few immigrants that managed to come here from their great journeys instantly fell in love with Canada. They would become great citizens, role models even for those who already called this place home. They would go on and on about how wonderful this country is, proudly fly our nation’s flag, and wear our nation’s red and white colors during Canada Day.

Not any more.

I suppose all good things, come to an end. And the age of innocence of our growth as a nation has come to an end. Now, immigrants take for granted the freedoms, liberties and rights which we give them upon arrival.

We never stop anyone from practicing their beliefs, their culture, their way of being. But we certainly never expected to have our own values, our own uniquely Canadian beliefs, culture and way of being tossed back in our faces either.

And that is exactly what has and is happening.

Those from other lands are starting to outstrip and over populate those who were born here. Far worse, those who are now born here often are immediately tossed into a world from which their parents came – never even learning our official languages of English and French.

What other nation on earth can you survive in, without speaking the language of the people there?

Only in Canada.

And that is wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Where else in the world can you go, leave your home country, and settle down in some other distant land, but never participate in the new land’s way of life?

Only in Canada.

And that is wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Over time, we’ve seen the error of our ways. Crime is way up, murder is up, poverty in the poor is increasing and the rich are getting richer. We are seeing less Canadian-like values prevail over our once highly valued and respected ones.

Even the Mounties are now allowing changes in uniform, to accommodate those whose culture incorporates specific dress items. The Mountie is a truly noble, heroic, and highly visible Canadian image – to allow any change of this image is a black mark on the mirror that is Canadian society.

When I go out to buy some milk from the corner store, I hear many languages, none are English or French.

I hear others talking about how wonderful their homeland is, and how they miss it. But they never mention how wonderful Canada is, not like they used to. They just complain about our weather, our taxes, our this and that . . . but back home . . .

But America – ah – that place rocks. When you move to America, you become American. No questions as to what you are, what language you will speak, or what culture you will participate in. You are American. In the States, on the Fourth of July, everyone flies American flags, red, white and blue is worn by most, and stars and stripes are painted on many a face – even those not originally from America.

Why can’t we be like the American’s and be a nation united for nationhood? Why do we let those into this once great land of Canada desecrate it so? Why indeed?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Red & White Day

I love Canada Day – people wearing red and white, cars with mini Canadian flags on their antennas, Canadian flags hanging from balconies and on flag poles outside people’s homes.

We Canadians are a lucky lot. We live in the best country on earth. We really do.

We have a free, democratic society. Free access to a great health care system. And unlike our neighbors to the south that blow-up every country they just don’t like, we are liked by all countries and all people across the globe.

We worship the beaver, the moose, and Don Cherry’s ramblings on Hockey Night in Canada.

We love to bitch and moan about the lack of Canadian content on television, but then we boast about going to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

The language police clamp down on all things Canadian in Quebec – unless they are in French. Then we laugh and joke about how it is typically Canadian to even have people policing language in this country.

Our cities and towns are clean, safe and we are always friendly and courteous.

We still haven’t found our unique Canadian identity, but that’s uniquely part of being Canadian. We are always searching for what it means to be Canadian, in the shadow of the giant the US of Eh, eh?

We are known worldwide for having among the best beers and wines in the world – some of the world’s best wines come from Niagara Falls, ON.

And some of the most famous celebs came out of Canada – Pamela Anderson, Jim Carrey, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Ed the Sock . . .

Uh er. . . well. . . where else but Canada can a man stick his hand up a sock puppet’s ass, and become famous?

However you celebrate Canada’s 140th birthday today – be proud – you’re Canadian.

Happy Canada Day!