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Why did I sit through the Academy awards? Maybe it is to see the beautiful women in the fabulous clothes. It is like they are royalty. It doesn't really matter what they do or say, as long as they look great. Humour is important in entertainment, so it makes sense to have a comedic MC. A little like a wedding in that sense. I enjoyed being an MC for some weddings. It's easier than being the main focus. Other people do their bits and you provide continuity. How come the women get to wear much more interesting clothes than men?
Volunteer organizations are tricky things. I agreed to be the head while I had more time working on my own. Then I took a full-time job, so it's more of a struggle. I have people getting sick, married and other things so it's hard to get things done. Hopefully, we can find some more recruits. People are so complacent. How do you get people to get involved and contribute rather than just take? This will be my ongoing challenge. I am hoping to test ideas about ideas. I need to think about how to be more effective and creative too.
Maybe what gets me about most novels is they involve people doing stupid things. Maybe lots of people like reading them because they feel superior. I don't know. But when I read about a character doing something that makes things worse, it just irritates me. I am looking for examples of how to be better, not illustrations of how doing stupid things makes your life worse. This might also be why I have trouble writing fiction, of fabricating difficulties that seem significant enough to write about. I like stories that are difficult situations requiring exceptional behaviour. Like James Bond movies.
Lately, I've been doing a Grand Tour of Europe and its great works of art. On my bus home, I'm reading a book by the buck- toothed nun, Sister Wendy. She has a lively way of writing about the places and pieces so I feel like I have a personal guide. The background she provides and her interpretations make the paintings much more interesting than they would be had I simply looked at them on my own. Sometimes she highlights little details I would not even have noticed, like a little man on horseback in the clouds behind a bleeding martyr.
Our perception of time depends on the general increase of entropy or disorder. I was hoping that I would be able to have greater sense of order as I get older, but I am still having to deal with uncertain futures. I guess it shows I am still alive. So, do I stick with the teaching full-time or return to my plan of consulting? Are these the only options? Is it feasible to work say four days a week? That would give me more time to try other things and stay in touch with people. Is that asking too much?
The watch salesman did just what I hoped. They had a display of maybe a hundred watches. My first batch of criteria — stopwatch, light and so on are now standard so they did not distinguish them. But wanting to go snorkeling with it, narrowed the field down somewhat. Then I decided to go for clarity and the size of the display. My eyes are still relatively stable, but I suspect that things will start falling apart. My previous watch was falling apart, the casing breaking away, bit by bit. I might have shopped around more, but I was satisfied.
Sometimes I wish more things were self-organizing. I have these boxes sitting in my office for over three years and they haven't moved. They are collecting dust. I guess if I haven't needed them in that long, I should get rid of them. But even that takes some effort. I let myself get sidetracked with computer games. At least I mostly indulge myself only on weekends. I need to put more energy into the system. But that requires thinking and decision making. Anyway, if they were self- organizing, it might not turn out so well, like yogurt left in the fridge.
At lunch we caught up on trips planned and potential flings. Reality shows and the decline of society. The morality of violence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Are corporations the problem or the sociopaths who run them? The irrationality of left- wing agendas undermining their credibility. Is it better to have a sweet or savoury pannekok? How your behaviour shapes how people respond to you and hence your perception of the world. How obnoxious people can poison an environment. The role of government in the old days. The sogginess of the weather. How experience shapes expectation. Good times, admiring our cleverness.
When I wake up in the morning, the radio runs a business report show. Business people must be up early. It's not what I would necessarily choose to listen to. But this morning they talked about creating mission statements. They mentioned that it should be something that gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Embedded in it was the idea that business should be good for society. If all companies thought about these things, then maybe the world wouldn't be so bad. Maybe I need a personal mission, to use as a touchstone when making big decisions.
Today we played science pictionary, mixed corn starch and water to show something that crossed between a fluid and a solid, collected some pond water with a plankton net made with a nylon stocking and a coat hanger, attached wires from a battery to their tongue and tested lung capacity with a milk jug and a shower hose. I don't know if this will help their tests, but I hope they develop a positive attitude about doing science. We still have the assigned lessons to cover and I don't always have time to think of new things, but I try.
How could I be so stupid as to forget to pay for my last Visa bill? I don't know how that happens. Maybe it was lost in my transitional To Do list. Idiot. It's not the first time. I had this feeling it had been a long time since I had paid it off. And then I have to transfer this money to deal with it. I don't really want to worry about money, but it would be reasonable not to be so careless about it. That is why I need a job, so that I will get paid regularly.
My thinking is that if they develop a positive attitude about the subject, they will work on it out of interest. I don't really want to badger them or have them do it to avoid punishment. Especially since these kids didn't like regular school anyway. I am trying to keep organized so that they are at least aware of what they should be doing. I am trying to encourage them to think of questions and see where it takes them. To give them some open-ended challenges they do for their own sake. Also should beware of making things only competitive.
Some of my goalie equipment is more than twenty years old. I think I might need some new stuff. I don't really want to think about the reason for the smell. The thing is that I keep getting a puck right on the outer part of my elbow. I have a lump there now. Fortunately it doesn't hurt when I move it, but it is a bad bruise. I don't need that. Of course I could just stop playing hockey, but that's not much of a solution. I should get some new equipment. Used stuff might be kind of gross.
As concerned as I am about corporatism, I realized today that they all began as the result of someone's vision, based on creativity and effort. It seems like a shame to quell that. I was thinking in particular of Nike. I bought the waffle shoes when they first came out. I hear he actually modified a waffle maker. So now it is this gigantic corporation that exploits workers in Third World countries. Maybe it is the disconnect between personal responsibility and consequences. When you become a part of a bigger whole. I becomes like a mob mentality. What to do?
Judging things can be tricky. That's why I don't like marking. In my writing group, I'm glad to give comments about stuff, but I wouldn't be comfortable marking a thing. When it is something that is subjective, it is really up to individual whether the piece does what he wants. I avoided being a regular teacher because of the marking. Right now I am judging some science writing articles. I wasn't sure about doing it, but was relieved that some of my top picks corresponded to another judges. He was picky about some things I did not dwell on much.
This morning as I woke up, my nose started bleeding. I've had this happen inexplicable before. My mother used to say it was because I was allergic to my own hair, when it got too long. It still seems kind of short. Maybe the change in humidity. It had been nice the last few days and was raining this morning. Maybe the dryness. But we have radiant heating in the floors which is not supposed to be so drying. Maybe it was something I ate. Fried chicken. I eat fatty things at other times with no problem. Kind of annoying.
I played some hackey sack with students after lunch. I was not very good, but I have done it a little before, so I know what's supposed to happen. Some students were impressed I would play at all. I was waiting for the scene to be set up so I could do my spotlight job. I didn't have very good shoes. They had too many round surfaces, making it not so good for control. I should have told them to do their homework. I did mention it. They all claimed they expected to be going on any minute. Likely story.
Howard Gardner has written about different types of intelligence. I'm reading something by him now about a different approach to education. The focus on the good, the true and the beautiful. Interesting idea. I haven't finished it yet. I wonder if he expects this to come out of each lesson. This corresponds to my earlier thoughts on types of thinking and the importance of science. He mentions studying the Holocaust, Evolution and Mozart to cover these subjects. They are only examples. Maybe I could look at Japanese-Canadian internment, sand dollars and Britney Spears. Maybe I should finish the book first.
We had our monthly Mokuyokai gathering at a new venue and more than sixty people came. I haven't quite figured out what I should be doing other than greeting people as they come and making sure we have enough tables and things run smoothly, so I don't really talk with new people that much. I realized that if I got to know people better, I could introduce them to each other. A previous president told me about the importance of finding Japanese women who have chosen to come here. They have much more initiative than men sent by their companies.
At hockey, I let some soft goals in through the five hole. I wasn't in a good position. I'm still getting used to my skates maybe. I could butterfly, but my lateral flexibility isn't what it used to be so I don't cover so much ground. I bought an extra pad for five bucks instead of a new set of arm protectors for five hundred. Still, maybe it would be worth upgrading. I've had them for twenty years now. I must remember I'm supposed to be having fun. Even if the defense are incompetent I shouldn't criticize them. Think amusement.
Haven't been out for a walk in a long time. I got knocked off my routine. Doesn't take much. But I managed to get out today. I've been using a pedometer lately. The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom. Looked like some race is being set up along the beach. People and their dogs which are supposed to be on a leash. The dogs, that is. In the distance the snowy mountains look spectacular behind the calm waters of English Bay. Giant freighters sit as grim reminders of the complicated infrastructure that supports the conveniences of our lives. 8000 steps.
I awoke with a sharp pain in my forearm. I think it was from mousing too much playing Age of Mythology. I was afraid I had developed carpal tunnel syndrome and then I would have to explain the idiotic reason. I must have an addictive personality. That's why I don't drink. Abstention is easier than moderation. I was still kind of dozy and maybe that exaggerated the pain perception. I massaged it for a bit and the pain went away. Working on my wife's back is good practice for my own ailments, although sometimes I have difficulty getting enough leverage.
I am reading bits and pieces of things. I'm reading Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera. It focusses on an irritating guy who thinks he's a poet. It's supposed to be a critique of artists like him. I'm reading Salt. I didn't realize that it is the key to understanding civilization. And a little bit of Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul. I remember I liked On Equilibrium although at the moment, I can't remember much of the details, except that Memory was supposed to be important. I'm working through this self-help coaching book that suggests I'm a peaceful phlegmatic.
Once I get into something, then things continue to cruise along nicely for a while. I do try to keep looking ahead however, to see if I am going to have to paddle harder, change direction or get out and portage. Looks like I'm coming up to a decision point. Laying out of alternatives can be important because if you don't see them, it's hard to choose them. Some things might depend on negotiation. One book I am reading says goals should be hypotheses to test. To stretch the metaphor, moving waters might be deep or shallow, empty or abundant.
The interconnectedness of things can be good or a nuisance. I was thinking it would be interesting to write a novel. Not that I have anything worth saying, but as an artistic exercise. It also seemed like it would be good to have software that would let me keep track of all the different bits. I found one that looked useful, but it would require me to upgrade my operating software as well as buying the thing I want. Maybe I don't want to do it enough. Maybe I can be slightly more clever and use what I already have.
What would my office look like in a perfect world? I would have enough shelving to put everything. I wouldn't have boxes piled up and scraps here and there. I would have a plan for where things go so when i got something new in that category I would know what to do with it. I would have a good amount of light and access to the things I need. Maybe I would have a desk for drawing and a desk for the computer. I would have floor space to walk around without tripping. I would be a different person.
Now I understand what it feels like to have the rug pulled out from under you. The head of the organization yesterday called the staff together. We were cleaning up the equipment from a very successful run of a show involving the students, thinking ahead to the extended weekend to compensate for the long hours we'd put in. And then she said, "The Board has decided that their funds would be better spent helping poor people in Mexico. So our operation would be dismantled as of June." At least I no longer have to decide whether or not to return.
The idea was students should have rules for conduct and high expectations for performance. To train them in performing arts to develop a sense of accomplishment. That seemed plausible. Now that I think about it, my reservations were in the paternalistic, top-down process. The rich woman knows best. Wealthy people seem to think they earn it because they work hard. But they get lots of help and were probably lucky. What I hope for these disadvantaged kids is a belief in themselves. I would prefer they improve their circumstances and become thoughtful individuals, not slaves to society, corporations or peers.
Having some days off was a little like being able to work on my own where I could have lunch with my favourite people. I realize that I really enjoy hanging out with friends and catching up. I might not have so much to say if we did it all the time, but it is quite pleasant on occasion. This time around, I must plan to have lunch more often. I think that once a week, I will meet somebody for lunch. Of course the rest of the time, I should be working hard so I can afford to eat.
Now that I am getting old, I seem to be concerned about odd feelings in my chest. It is probably just muscle pains from moving boxes. Or it might be ulcers. Or it might be a heart problem. So I'm getting it checked out. Actually, I feel fine in general. We are hoping to have a child some day. Yet recently I have this odd awareness of my potential mortality. Kind of creepy. Maybe it will urge me to get on with my life and do the things I'm wanting to do. I've never been a hypochondriac before. Keep breathing.
When the grilled mackerel came, I said, "I wish I had some rice." L told me," You should be happy with what you have. You're always wanting other things." I don't know if that's actually true, me always wanting other things, but it is something I could be more conscious of. A balance between getting what you want and wanting what you have. I think that's a book already. I like to swing between the tao of accepting and the vigor of goal-setting. In general, I am content at the moment. But I'd like to improve one or two things.
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