Thursday, April 17, 2014

When any substance is constrained, there will be leakage if enough pressure is applied to the container. Sometimes it ain't pretty....

I am the container, the pressure is stressing me and I feel the 'crap' leaking out.

I was sitting at my desk wondering how I got where I am and remembered this thing that I used to do in order to vent...

I read my old posts and a few things came to me.

One, I think I used to be more clever. There were a few moments of clarity there... I suppose pain and trials will do that to you.

Two, I thought I had written more. Though the span of this blog stretches years, there certainly is a lack of substance.

So where am I now?

I'm still living in Sherwood Park.
I'm still married to Catherine.
I have two boys Jacob 8 (almost 9), Nathan 6. Jacob is in grade 3 now. Nathan is in kindergarten.

Like my earlier posts I have a 'half-finished' house. Also, I will never finish the renovations... :(
I fix one thing and several more popup. I've come to believe that it's better just to leave it alone.

My job atmosphere is a little toxic these days. The company is growing into a much larger, more unfriendly company. The latest truth is "Until Moral improves around here, the beatings will continue!".
The company core values state: "We want to maintain an environment of mutual respect, trust and having fun at work". I can attest that this is not the case. When it comes right down to it, the reality is an environment where the most important skill is how to cover your ass and point the finger of blame at the next person.

Molehills indeed grow into mountains. Trust no-one.

In fact I wonder if this post will remain ever private because who knows who is listening. Geez I shouldn't be writing this during my work hours, but man I'm trying to keep from going postal! Venting helps.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Performance Reviews

Seriously, who makes up these processes?

At my work you have to evaluate yourself and then rate yourself 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) in specific categories. You can't give yourself a 5 because 'noone' gets a 5 or you'd be perfect and conversely 1 is also out of bounds because well you'd be asking your boss to fire you. So the real range is 2-4. If you do give yourself a 4 you'd better be exceptional in that area because.... right after you rate yourself and then justify it with a paragraph or two (or more I can never figure out how much I should write), the supervisor then rates you and justifies his ratings.

It's usually an ambush...

An annual ceremony of humiliation designed to put you in your place perhaps? Maybe it's just my supervisor and it's more 'fair' elsewhere. Because the scale is so small, each increment is a world of difference. If your supervisor is kind of a dick, then you look out to lunch just by having a different rating. And really does your opinion matter that much? Doubtful.

Regardless, the person you approves your pay raise is the same person evaluating you so just tell me already how you think I did and leave it at that. Don't ambush me...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

First World Problems

So it's been a while and I suppose a few things have happened in the meantime.
Nathan is 4 and in preschool, Jacob is 7 and in Grade 2.
I still work at Interpipeline Fund..... maybe not that much has happened after all? 

I think I'm caught in doldrums of sorts. Brain not functioning like it should.

I go to work, I get home, I play with my kids, I spend time with my wife, I watch TV, I go to sleep, rinse and repeat.
Throw in a smattering of church, video games, date nights and Friday Night Magic (look it up) and there you have it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm particularly unhappy, angry, or anything, it's just that I feel like I'm missing .... something.

I crave something, anything that could be construed as creative. I've always been able to better express myself with written words as opposed to verbal skills which for the most part elude me. I like to ruminate over the sentence before committing to the 'publish'. Not something that is easily done in realtime. The pauses are the nonverbal cue's that get me in trouble over imagined slights.

Every once in a while I come back to my blog, it makes for interesting reading. The passion that I felt during those moments was both dreadful, stressful and at the same time exhilarating.

It could simply be that I've reached the pinnacle of my life summit and should be content to enjoy the view.

Geez this sounds mediocre at best. Depressing at worst.

My 'other' First World problems :)
- The water that comes out of my tap is sometimes too Hot... then I have to adjust the Cold water in order to be comfortable.
- I ate frozen pizza last night when I really wanted fresh pizza.... or sushi... but I didn't feel like making anything or getting into my vehicle and driving somewhere.
- The autocorrect on my iphone 5 sometimes makes silly corrections
- My IT department at work asked me to stop streaming media at work so I had to turn on my radio instead or use the data plan on my iphone.
- The LTE coverage in Sherwood Park is spotty and sometimes I have to settle for 3G

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

When I get home, it's hard to maintain the love...

For computers that is.

I work with computers, I sit at one all day.

There is a massive shift happening in our world and it has to do with computers. All forms of media are jockeying for position in this new paradigm. The dot com boom of a few years ago was like an attack that got swatted down. People could see the future but just couldnt quite grasp ahold of it and shake off the chains of tradition.


The way we shop, the way we talk, the way we are entertained, the way we meet and connect to others, it's all changed.

Once mighty record companies are clinging madly to their 'traditional rights' and vestiges of power. Sowing fear uncertainty and doubt is the order of the day. They still have money and power but it is dwindling rapidly and if they continue to resist, they will be swept away to join bygone historical institutions. They used to control the only connections to the market, making and breaking artists at their whim. Those with the foresight to change and adapt will survive... those who dont.... well.

Television networks will be next. On demand delivery over the internet is growing, once a novely it is gaining speed. More and more companies startup and jockey for position to try and gain an advantage over their rivals.

These are just examples of traditional forms of media that we think will always be there. Shopping, dating, working, communicating.. all these things can be done in non-traditional ways.

I'm shifting my thinking in order to even slightly grasp it. Software products and services offered for free? How? Why? I've always had to pay for things... I go to work, earn a paycheck and go to a store and buy things.

Now the payment is coming indirectly. Google Ads are everywhere! The money is domestic and international and it's BIG! A highly valued company one day, an obsolete technology literally the next.... and it's happening faster and faster because one technological breakthrough breeds multiple others and each one has it's own offspring and so on.

It's a wild ride and quite something to see. Will it stop? And what will happen to the world when/if it does?

I believe there are services that will always be needed. Though if I am to survive, I have to accept that my world, no matter how solid it seems can be changed in an instant... begging the question: is it all real?

Maybe it's the race itself that is virtual.

I definately feel a tangible 'disconnect' from the rush when I can just go home and enjoy time with my family... I can feel joy and peace there and for a while I am grounded... until I have to leave.

I would have to say family is real... and though the world will try and change the meaing of 'family' (or destroy it all together) ... there is only one true definition in my mind.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Everybody talks about Britney Spears too much.

Who really gives a crap about what some over-rich immature celebrity is doing right this second? ........... A lot of people apparently.

I just feel like talking about something close to my inner geek.

The amount of 'free' software that is being released so far makes me wonder. What's really 'free' ? I like free stuff, but in my experience there is always a cost. Whether the gain is monetary or serving a specific purpose. Nobody does anything for 'free'. Everyone needs money to live.

There might be one or two people 'living' off the land, sequestering themselves away from society. However even these people need money because governments will eventually find them and take away whatever they can if they dont have money to pay taxes (one of only two sure things in life).

So what free applications do I like?
A few pieces of software that I enjoy.

I just discovered this one...For an online photo editor it's pretty amazing. Too many features to list, but just the ability to 'remove' someone from a photo easily is worth checking out. Also, the fact that every feature seems to have a demo video so anyone can do amazing things almost immediately.

Im not sure why OpenOffice is free, but it's pretty good. Considered by many as THE alternative to MS Office, if you dont want to shell out hundreds of dollars and dont need the fanciest office bells and whistles... it is pretty impressive. I use it at home and havent got/heard any complaints.

Google Applications
Specifically Reader, GMail, Picasa... Blogger. If you dont mind the ads, the amount of applications that keep piling up under the Google umbrella is pretty astounding. All you have to do is click on the 'More' link on the google homepage to see em all. Sometimes they're in the Labs section if they're not quite ready for an official release.

I use Google Reader everyday... any of my favorite websites that have an RSS feed gets a subscription and it saves an amazing amount of 'surfing' time. It just brings everything to you in one place and you can get a summary of what's new without having to visit all your favorite destinations. When you first install it as part of your 'google' account, you can select 'packages' of subscriptions in categories you might be interested in. I was introduced to quite a lot of pretty cool content that way.

Anyways, Im not a tech blogger (or much of a blogger at all lately) and there are a lot of other cool 'free' applications out there... In my experience, NOTHING that is good will stay free so take advantage of this stuff while you can.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Love to Read

It's definately about the escape for me... not exclusively of course. I don't get lost in the story of 'Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too' when Im reading to my son... though there was that one time Tigger got stuck in tree... priceless... There's just something about spending some time with a book that holds such a great appeal to me. It helped me through my teenage years (and beyond), taking me on adventures, teaching me about the world, introducing me to new ideas, comforting me in hard times and introducing me to friends that I'll remember fondly (even if they are only figments of my imagination). To this day, even though I have video games, movies and toys galore, I feel incomplete when I go through literary droughts where I don't have a good book to read.

From a very young age I had a love of reading. The adventures are what really caught me up. Particularily JRR Tolkein, CS Lewis and pretty much any author that could spin a tale about exciting journeys in fantastic lands or future times. Good books would keep me up all night reading and frequently caused me to miss my first couple classes in the morning in high school because I had been lost in another world.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a series that really blew me away. The depth and scope of the world this author created captivated me like no other story before it or since. The characters were believable (notwithstanding the typical suspension of disbelief required to enjoy a fantasy world in the first place), the action exciting, the writing colorful and engaging. To me it is perfection in print and a standard to be held against all other writers and sagas in any genre that cross my literary path.

The Wheel of Time has been going on since the early 90's and the main series is 11 (very large) books with a few spinoff stories. It's been going on for so long that I never really felt it was going to end..... Until now.

I never personally knew the author, in fact I only found out upon his demise that his real name is James Rigney. Last year I was wondering what was taking the 'final' 12th book so long and in my searching found myself at his official blog where I found out that he was afflicted with a serious blood disease and was literally fighting for his life. He sounded positive in his last few posts which gave me reason to hope he would be all right and perhaps one day the series would be finished. This week however upon perusing my daily news one story stopped me short and gave me great pause.

Robert Jordan is dead.

All I can really grieve for is the story and how he will never finish it and I wonder if that's selfish on my part. I think though that a writer connects with his readers through his works and on a certain level the reader gets to know the author... a certain level being the key.

In general, people only get to know the personalities that we allow them to see. Personally I have had the experience where people have said to me that I am nothing like my first impression and it's only upon spending time with me that they understand who I am. The Robert Jordan personality that I know may not be the James Rigney that his family knew, but I connected with Robert Jordan, I laughed and cried as he told me stories and kept me company at times in my life when I felt I had no one else....

I mourn for the loss of that friend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Inner Child Has Special Needs

Some people say that I havent fully grown up yet , so whether or not the inner child in me is taking over might be a moot point.

Lately there's been a lot of 'elements' affecting the peaceful maelstrom that is usually the norm. Im trying to get a garage in place before the winter hits, Im waiting for a car to be delivered from the states (which is a topic in and of itself), Im trying to get a workout schedule going, eating right, my wifey is preggo (which has all kinds of radiant energy).... not to mention just plain life... work, sleep, fatherhood, church calling..... each day seems to ascend to a 'whole nuvva levaa'.

Im back in the world of contractors with this whole garage thing. I understand the job juggling thing and why they do it. Trying to be multitaskers and all that. However, why do I generally run into those who do it badly? Probably because most contractors are guys and guys generally dont juggle things very well.... unless you're one of those cirque du soleil guys and Im pretty sure they're gay.

I got pretty worked up yesterday about the guy who was pouring the concrete pad (at $10 a square foot). He had mismanaged his time, only coming to work on my yard about an hour a day and therefore wasnt ready when the concrete truck came to deliver the concrete. I was at work and unable to watch what was going on, but from my wife's description they were scrambling.... which never bodes well for quality.... EVER! I went home at lunch and saw that he'd ripped the stairs off my deck for starters also I didnt see gravel under the concrete pad. After work when I posed the gravel question (Did you put a layer of gravel there?) He said he had put gravel under there.... but Im pretty sure he's F***ING LYING! No way to prove it though, unless I want to rip up the pad to prove a point. His excuse for rippin up the stairs? 'I wanted to save you money because it costs extra to get the cement poured and I couldnt get past the pad to pick up the piles of dirt and stuff'. Really? Oh thats ok then.......... NOT!! If he hadnt squandered the days before, there would've been plenty of time to get things prepared properly! Not to mention, I'm paying $10 a square foot for CONCRETE! I hate contractors... they're criminals these days and they all have the attitude: 'you should feel privelaged to be 'fiscally raped' by a guy like me because (obviously) if you called me to do the work it means you're incompetent and cant handle real work'. It couldnt possibly be just because Im working full time in an atmosphere where education is a prerequisite and I just dont have the time and tools to do it myself! I was under the impression that $10 a square foot meant just that! It includes the concrete no matter if it's poured from a truck or dumped by the President of the United States helicopter! (silly I know, I'm sure it's not equipped for that.... though when you think about it, at a cost of $50000 per hour to fly you think it would be able to do pretty much anything).

Well... I feel a little better now.....

Apparently my inner child needed to throw a tantrum.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer is for slackers

I have sinned... It's been almost 2 months since my last confession.

I was chastised yesterday by my relationship boss... She reminded me that I haven't updated this thing in like forever and it was pissing her off. I wouldnt normally respond to such criticism but it was delivered in tones of such grandiose mocking 'Reason is one letter away from Season....' nyah nyah nyah.

THAT I couldnt ignore.

So what to talk about...

I've established a morning routine. I go through my 'favorite' list of webcomics and then check Google Reader to check on the stories of the day. Most of my subscriptions are very geeky in nature. Lifehacker, Digg (which all by itself is a festering time quagmire), PC World, TechAmok, etc, etc are among the regular courses I digest during my extended intellectual breakfast.

Digg is by far the funniest. People from all over post stories that they see elsewhere (with links to the original stories/articles) and then discuss. It's a pretty cutthroat discussion because comments are 'rated' good or bad (thumbs up or down) and nobody's very tolerant of ignorance or stupidity. There are people firmly entrenched in 'camps' (Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Nintendo, etc), these are generally branded fanboys and they get into the most wicked verbal warfare. Language aside, humor wins in these battles and logic is pretty much ignored. Good times indeed.
Not all conversations end up this way, some are serious. In a way Digg is a club in the vein of book clubs, but where anything and everything goes.

So with that said is my Summer Slacker Destination of the Day... enjoy!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Reason... it's only one letter away from season.

As the electronic media invades our lives, it's easy to get lost.

I see my son and wonder how the TV he watches (Dora the Explorer, Little Einsteins, Go Diego Go, Veggie Tales) is really affecting him. There are so many studies by 'experts' that the water is murky and clouded. I know that he loves watching anything with Fun characters and music. He dances and jumps around and it's entertaining to watch him. At the same time, I wonder if it's too much too soon. Too much stimulation ...

I'm sure my parents said the same thing about whatever advancements there were when I was a kid.

I know that there's always gotta be a scapegoat for things. Some kind of explanation for why kids behave the way they do. It's the way adults think. It's comforting to be able to explain something and if you cant explain it... well thats just unacceptable because everything has an explanation. Kids these days are into video games so that must be the problem. When I was a kid, it was TV or Role Playing Games like D&D. My parents? I believe the problem was Rock and Roll music. Their parents? Big band music I suppose. Too sexy by far...

Dont get me wrong , these days there's more access to ideas and materials to act on ideas than ever before. There's the constant! Kids can be trusted to pretty much do one thing.... Experiment! Without reason, they will try something because it is there. Thats it, the only reason... its there right in front of them. In the back of their heads are the echos of their parents (if they have them) mumbling something, but curiousity will win most of the time. Actually, personality will win. Not all kids are the same. There are a million books out there on how to raise your kids, and there can be a million more written because there are millions of kids and they're all different. One will act badly because of TV, one will act good because of TV, one will be shy, one outgoing, etc etc.

There are few 'truths' that I've heard out there that can be applied to all children. One is that they are little people and the very idea of growing up is that they do indeed grow up. As a parent I have the responsibility to try and instill values and teach that there are consequences to actions because there are... The value teaching has to be done early while they'll still listen, after they reach sentience (probably between 8 and 12) it's nothing but action = consequence. As they learn I transfer responsibilities for their own lives onto them and hopefully they do alright.

I've certainly made a lot of mistakes and I'm sure my kid(s) will learn from some and repeat others no matter what I say or do. I learned the same way and though some were painfull... thats life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Universe is Expanding

... and yet my world is getting smaller everyday.

I thought that the more experience that I had in my field the more options that I would have in the work field. Not so, instead I have the feeling that I'm being 'funneled'... typecast perhaps. The more responsibilities that are piled on, the less options that I appear to have.

In my latest move, a few things were made clear.
One, I have a lot of 'stuff'. Probably too much stuff. I'm contemplating a garage sale to get rid of some of the stuff we've been packing around from place to place. Or maybe I should just chuck it. A friend who was helping made the comment that we hadnt moved enough if I was still hanging onto the back issues of 'Mens Health'.

I dont subscribe to that magazine anymore. Part of me gave that idea up a long time ago. There's a idiot inside though that still recognizes the value of the information contained in the pages and the mizer (packrat) part of me says hey maybe I'll need it again one day and I wouldnt want to be without it.

I hate taking steps backwards... to me it feels like I'm losing if I do. I've taken a few gambles in my life and for the most part have come out ahead. At the times that I've rolled the dice though I cant say that I had that much to lose. Now? It's a different story.

I find myself treading carefully here... a misstep and I'm not the only one who suffers.

I dont long for my single days, I had different problems then ... but I really like the song 'Consequence Free' by Great Big Sea.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I like it rough....

I'm hurting.... and not in a good way.

We're 95% moved out of our old house and into the new. There's still a piano in the basement, a few things in the garage, and some odds and ends here and there. If there's one thing this move reminded me of, is that hiring movers is a good thing. You get to sit back and watch the work. When you get friends to help, you still have to work your ass off! It was good that we had some help, but Im in pain!

The process has been bloody long. From the moment I accepted this assignment, to the preparation to come up here, to the month up here by myself, the attempt to build a house, the rental, the first move, the months and months of f&$%ing renovations, the sale of the old house, the buying of the new house, and now the latest move.... what the hell was I thinking!?!

You would think that financially the whole thing probably paid off..... nope! Once I factor in all the costs, the moves, the renos, the trips back and forth, the insane marketplace, and all the excrement I described above.... it puts me back to where I started and maybe even a little further behind than that.

Was it good for my family? The jury's still deliberating. Im closer to work, though I've had to work 10 hour days pretty much from the start, so thats a wash. We havent had a chance to relax and enjoy anything, so that's been a big stress. I'd like to say that things will change and hopefully they will.

We're almost down to one house.... almost. Of course now as we focus our attention on the house we see all the crap that needs to be done on this one......

Friday, May 11, 2007

Condiments make things tasty!!

I started this blog with a chip on my shoulder and serious need for an outlet (one that wouldn't wind up with me incarcerated) all you have to do is go back to the beginning of my posts to see how enormous the wood was (even if only in my mind).

Now as the fog begins to lift, so does my disposition. I still have plenty that I could humorously gripe about... though as I purvey the smorgasbord of options, I wonder to what purpose?

I suppose that's why I haven't written in a while. Unsure of what to write, I was caught in a doldrums-like state with no winds of inspiration to drive me. That and I got lazy... really lazy. After 9 months of hard work I kicked back and said f(*& it!

I decided to visit my blog today however and saw that there were new comments! Oh joy of joys my life has meaning again! Pffffft! ............Seriously though, it sparked enough of a desire to break the inertia of mental purgatory that I've been in..... at least for a bit anyhow.

So what to talk about? video games? tech crap? news? politics? sports? family life? I suppose I can do a little of 'all of the above'. There's certainly a lot of griping left to do! I still have to move yet again! One more voice of 'reason' amongst all the crazy people mumbling to themselves will most likely be indistinguishable from white noise

There's also one thing for sure. I'm not dedicated enough to have multiple blogs..... so a mishmash it will stay!

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Good Weekend

Not being able to recall a previous weekend where I was actually able to enjoy it with my family, I would have to say this was a very good weekend indeed.

We started by buying a house. Yes indeed, the deal is done. Well, unless the house inspection finds something, but thats (knock on wood) highly unlikely. Crap, maybe I just jinxed it.

The rest of the weekend was spent mostly playing and relaxing and was capped off by a great sunday. After church, my wife made a Ham. I capitalize Ham because this was the God of all Hams. Truly an amazing feat! It was her first ham which is even more amazing. A bone-in hickory smoked ham to start off with, she cooked it to perfection, basting it regularily with a glaze that will haunt my memory for time and all eternity. It was comprised of maple syrup, brown sugar, dijon mustard, love, and a little apple orange banana juice to add a little more moisture. My words really dont do it justice....

After that fantastic Ham, we took Jacob out for his first Easter Egg Hunt.

Pure. Joy.

For the first time in a loooong time, we felt normal again.

The day was beautiful.

Jacobs Web Album

I comprised an album of some of my favorite pictures of Jacob's life so far.

Jacobs Web Page

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Happy Happy Joy Joy ...

The longer you go without doing something, the easier it is to put it off even longer.

Blogging, taxes... you name it... I'm hard pressed to think of something that is easier to do the longer you put it off. So why do I do it?

The House is closed. That angry chapter in my life is almost over...... bring on the next angry one!

Actually, Im kind of enjoying the homeless limbo I find myself in. It would be better if house prices werent so crazy here which cause us to panic-buy a new house.... and there's still the interim expenses till the possession date kicks in.... and the fact that we have to get serious about getting another house... and there's work... oh and bills ... .... and taxes ...... ... ..... .... .... .. crap.

You never fully appreciate the lack of responsibility when you have it (or dont have it?). I suppose that's part of that particular state of joy. Not that it was true joy... more like ignorant bliss. When I was there, I never thought too much about the future. I wasnt thinking "How great this lack of anything pressing is!". There wasn't any balance to it. I lacked the things that would truly make me happy. The opposition is there so that when I finally get a break it really means something. Of course, Im still waiting for the break....... hopefully when it comes it will be the good kind of break....