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04/01 Direct Link
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.
04/02 Direct Link
School of Rock was entertaining. It seemed especially poignant to me, as I consider how to make my own living and having worked with students who have been discovering their talents. I've been thinking about the purpose of school. I think students need to find both self-discipline and personal vision. Maybe that is unrealistic for all people. Some schools get too caught up in the mechanics. Others don't provide sufficient tools to get things done. I see myself as a coach. Students may be working to please me. I hope they can find their own reasons for doing things well.
04/03 Direct Link
My latest tactic is to be conscious of things that I am just tolerating. Supposedly this can weigh you down. I suppose that if a place or situation doesn't make you feel better, then that is not a good thing. As long as the prospect of fixing all these things doesn't weight you down. Riding a bus can be useful for thinking about these things. Writing my ideas in my PDA is neater than it would be if I just used pen and paper, even if it is a little slower. I enjoy imagining little scenarios for my ideal life.
04/04 Direct Link
The cemetery was hopping. A steady stream of Chinese working their way through the maze of one way roads. Flowers in most of the graves. Some people burning paper money and offering oranges and chicken. This is the time to acknowledge the deceased according to the Chinese calendar. We cleaned the headstone, trimmed the grass and added fresh flowers, then bowed three times to L's grandma, grandpa and uncle. They have quite an impressive view of the mountains from this hill. No one said much at lunch. Maybe they were lost in thought. Actually I am getting used to this.
04/05 Direct Link
Seems I need some work on my self-discipline. I knew that eating all that prime rib was going to leave me feeling stuffed. But it was good. No getting around that. Whatever concerns I might have for sustainability or the treatment of cows, melted away with each mouthful. On top of that they had a dessert buffet. All the fat and sugar you can handle. That primitive part of my brain still living in a land of scarcity, took over. Then I lay awake as my innards churned, doing their best to cope with the glut. Better get some exercise.
04/06 Direct Link
My brother has an MBA and is now applying it to his own little business of selling pictures that he makes. Somehow it seems to me that he is spending more time on the marketing than the art. I suppose that is a typical business mentality. But he has an interesting point that as a business, it is important to focus. So he is focussing on dentist offices. Most people might look down their noses at such an approach. What can I say? Maybe he will make more money that way. Maybe he should apply for that Donald Trump show.
04/07 Direct Link
On Good Friday, we thought it would be amusing to see Hellboy. Even better, the marquee posted it next to the Passion of Christ. Inside this complex is a nightmare of crass, commercial sensory overload. I enjoyed the demon trying to be good and impressing the combustible girl. But what disturbs me are all these people who are unable to distinguish fantasy from reality. Like thinking parthenogenesis can take place in people or that they can be resurrected from the dead. Maybe it makes them happy. It's a good thing to keep cows calm before the bolt to the head.
04/08 Direct Link
Volunteer organizations can be delicate things. Nobody has to be there. So it's important to be able to keep them motivated to be involved. I am trying to build on the strengths of the individuals. I don't want to overwhelm them and I don't want to put them in difficult situations. They should be doing it because it is fulfilling, not so much out of obligation. But it is annoying if they say they will do something and then they don't. That is not very useful. I myself need to make sure that I find ways to keep myself amused.
04/09 Direct Link
How much good does it do to have a to do list? Are you actually more productive. I'm sure I would forget some things otherwise. But what do you do about the things you want to do every day like this? Is it useful to have it on a list to check off? I don't know. I will just make a list of things that need to be done once, or things I am heading for. i can work on them if I feel like it. I could schedule them into the day, but that is probably just fooling myself.
04/10 Direct Link
My search for the ultimate chest protector continues. Maybe I will have to adjust my price range. On the one hand, it seems they are very similar. I am wondering if the different fits have to do with the way the straps are done up. Some of them are a little complicated to put on. That's a bad sign. Also I want to be sure that the buckles are going to be good for a long time. The one I have is falling apart but I've had it for twenty years. I want protection, comfort and value. A tricky decision.
04/11 Direct Link
On my morning walk, I saw an woman in a pink sweat suit. Or maybe I should call it a leisure outfit. I don't think she would sweat in it. It was the same colour as the cherry blossoms in full bloom all down the street. The woman had curly blond hair which could have been a wig or dyed, for the rest of her suggested she should have grey hair. Her neatly groomed grey poodle squatted in front of her making a deposit as though squeezing toothpaste from a tube. The woman smiled at me, "Lovely morning, isn't it?"
04/12 Direct Link
I have been looking ahead to when I won't be going to work. When I was working on my own, I would think about going to work. Need to work on enjoying what I have. Even so, I was thinking I could dedicate each day to some sort of role. Mondays I would be a writer, Tuesdays a cartoonist, Wednesdays a consultant, Thursdays an entrepreneur, and Fridays an adventurer. I would be a husband and friend and relative on weekends. I wonder how feasible that would be. The variety depends on the time scale, it could be hours or months.
04/13 Direct Link
What is it about feeling energetic or feeling tired? It's not just a physical thing, of getting enough rest of having done a lot of physical effort. Something about attitude and having something to look forward to in each day. I need to choose my attitude. Today I am looking forward to dropping more chocolate eggs with students. I am looking forward to trying out my new chest protector at hockey. I am looking forward to working on my taxes. Somehow I can't make the last one feel true. Lingering obligations drain energy like a slow leak in a tire.
04/14 Direct Link
My new chest protector felt pretty good. A knight in shining armor. I didn't really feel anything on the shots to the chest, though one to the arm hurt a bit. I realize that if superheroes do not actually feel pain, how brave is that? I am not about being brave, I just like stealing the hopes and dreams of people trying to score on me. I also have this pettiness of comparing myself to the other goalie. Generally I think I am better. But if they are really bad or the teams are lop-sided I feel sorry for them.
04/15 Direct Link
A friend of mine is doing a thesis on education in Japan. She is looking at the role of textbooks and guidelines on Social Studies. Evidently, the Japanese government has a pretty strong agenda of conformity. She is looking at the understanding of the indigenous people as depicted in the educational system. That is fine as far as it goes, but then she starts to justify this as a superior way to live in harmony with the world. This seems like an overly romantic view of the world. Entertaining ideas I do not agree with is a good mental exercise.
04/16 Direct Link
Isaac Asimov was an extraordinary person in terms of productivity. I was reading one of his pieces on plotting. His stories revolve around ideas being the key. So maybe even if I don't know so much about the inner lives of people, I might be able to write a story of ideas. Of course, I would still need to have some ideas. He said you have to think a lot. Part of my problem might be trying to do too many little things. Or, as he points out, not every one is cut out for this kind of thing .
04/17 Direct Link
The framing store and gallery I go to sent me a letter that offered Toni Onley watercolours for sale. Having recently died in an airplane accident, he has been in the news. A friend had done a documentary on him and my father was interested in his work. So all this came together. L and I looked at the three pieces available. One was of a tornado in Georgian Bay. Another was of the location where he first crashed his plane. And the third was of a location in Japan. It seemed the most enduring in beauty. So we splurged.
04/18 Direct Link
Some things that came to mind as I walked down to Jericho this morning. Not so many people or dogs this morning. They must be at the Sun Run. A book about sand dollars and the meaning of life. I think I'm more suited to non-fiction. The episodes with the crazy guy Phil who lived by selling sand dollars could be interspersed with what I know of them and how this links to biology, science and how the world works. Something related to the world in an oyster thing of Blake. And some kind of database system to track submissions.
04/19 Direct Link
We helped a friend move. She is forty and finally getting out of living with her parents. Her mother was crying. What's with that? The mother needs some kind of life. Chinese people often seem to be that way. Anyway, the move went well. The boxes were all labelled and each was not too heavy. We had half a dozen people, a couple of vans and two dollies so it was done so quickly, she wasn't sure what to do with us after. So we walked around the newly fabricated neighbourhood, with a little mall and a little park nearby.
04/20 Direct Link
What is personality all about? If genes have something to do with it, what is it? The genes can set up the framework, but you have different experiences, these must have some effect. And yet people can have similar experiences and respond differently to them. What is the "you" who makes your choices? Will people recognize you as being the same or with differences over time. Maybe a high school reunion will be interesting if you haven't seen people in a while to see how they turn out. I believe I choose my behaviour but maybe that is an illusion.
04/21 Direct Link
What if people had their heads where their butts are? A students showed me a poem by Shel Silverstein describing people from Mars like that. I started thinking about the different wiring required. If our rear body parts were where are heads were, we would make toilets high and sinks low. If we were closer to the ground we might not pollute as much because we would have to smell and see it more. Maybe we might be more considerate of children because we wouldn't be so much taller than them. And having our genitals up high might be safer.
04/22 Direct Link
Just saw Down with Love on DVD. It tried too hard to be clever. It was done as a sixties kind of thing. I liked the look. But maybe it just seemed too trivial. These days, men and women still have a lot of issues, certainly, but I think they are much more complicated now and different people have different ways of dealing with them. My mother always expected we boys to do our share. I am happy to do this. At the same time, some people like to do certain things or have different expectations for doing the job.
04/23 Direct Link
Right now I am in one of those eddies in the course of my life, where I swirl around, feeling vaguely dissatisfied with things. So I re-read one of my self-help books dealing with goal setting. I swing back and forth between eagerly setting up goals to realize and being content with what I have. Maybe I will even include the spiritual, if I can find a way to define it that does not rely on the supernatural. Maybe it has to do with clarifying values. Something about taking the time to appreciate my circumstances. Also maybe drop the consulting.
04/24 Direct Link
What if every living space had to have a proportion of it allocated to growing food? No more decorative plants and less tiling except on public grounds. Part-time gardners hired to tend other people's gardens might increase. Or people themselves might work less and garden more. Maybe you could go back to bartering for stuff. But then you'd have to have food that was decent enough for bartering. I wonder if it is possible to shrink corporations and their control of behaviour for profit. Reducing environmental impact is a difficult thing to measure and hard to sell as a priority.
04/25 Direct Link
L has been getting into photography again. It is great to see her so enthusiastic, looking at things differently. She has inspired me to do some painting. I was thinking I might make use of learning technique a bit more so that I can do what i want to do. That's thing is having the techniques first so you can express what you want. Some people are full of sound and fury signifying nothing. This might require some time management and not playing computer games so much. Also, I must admit my messiness makes it difficult to get things done.
04/26 Direct Link
I have a bunch of these little programs and some of them overlap. I think it will probably be better to fewer programs and consolidate the way I deal with them. Yet sometimes it seems that one thing does some particular task better than others. I guess that's like the golf club idea. But then in hockey, you just have one stick and have to learn to it in different situations. I think it has to do with pace. So if I take a more leisurely pace to planning, I might be able to do each thing a little better.
04/27 Direct Link
Met up with a cousin visiting from Japan with his Japanese mate who is quite pregnant. They are young and energetic. She is going to set up a hair salon in Toronto and he is going to start a dojo for some kind of fighting technique. I haven't seen him in a few years. He's a big guy, at least for a Japanese. i wonder how it will be with some guys who are going to be even bigger. Presumably they have to learn some techniques. He's had a few broken parts. He seems like such a gentle, friendly fellow.
04/28 Direct Link
Someone was talking about how Google counts up the links from a web page as a measure of credibility. That used to be a reasonable indicator. But now, some are buying up web pages for the purpose of linking them up. It is an evolutionary arms race. Things constantly evolve. Finding principles is important as directional indicators because the actual methods will keep changing, or should. People, however, are creatures of habit and prefer to do what was done before, regardless of its applicability. I try to reevaluate what I am doing on an ongoing basis. Habits are like hypotheses.
04/29 Direct Link
The government is legislating workers back to work with a pay cut. That seems quite harsh. Even though I tend to despise the union mentality of rights to job security and the priority of seniority over competence, I can understand their situation. And certainly administrations would otherwise tend to be less considerate if they weren't forced to be. But all this confrontation doesn't seem very productive. I don't know if a system exists for working out differences, if they lack good will and ongoing communication. I guess if each sees its only tool as power, then conflict is probably inevitable.
04/30 Direct Link
Fromm was talking about things he didn't like about society. One of them was everything being for sale. This is interesting. It seems to be connected to this corporate cancer thing. It also leads to what he says about not being able to trust anyone. If everything is for sale, then whatever you are depending on might be sold off. And also that people are bored and do not seem to enjoy themselves. Too many are doing things for money and for involvement with unliving things. A little creepy to realize he used the term necrophilia for love of objects.