Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hustle Bustle

I had a very weird experience last night. Jo-Ann and my Daughter Sara and Husband went to see the movie 300 at a local big box, 20 theater movie place. Mike and Carol had seen it and we thought it would be worth seeing. It was. Lot's of killing and maiming. The experience evolved as we tried to find a parking spot. Heavy rain had flooded the basement parking so everyone was trying to find spots in the outside parking lots. Everyone. An absolute crush of people. We managed to get our tickets, find some seats and then I went for popcorn and junk food. That's when it hit me.

lines of people. queues. Hoards. Everyone in a hurry. Rushing to relax. The sales girl serving our writhing snake of a line moving like a high speed automaton, shuffling through inches of spilled popcorn on the floor. I wanted a large popcorn, large coke, and some Reeses peanuts. That's when I realized I was on a different planet. The girl, young, hair tight under a cap, eyes glazed did not speak the same language as me. I could understand some of the words. It appeared she wasn't sure what I wanted but suggested instead:

"pkgonelrgpopcornandpopndchzoftwizlersorglossets.??"

Her words all run together and delivered with machine gun staccato. Robotized. I repeated my request and she hers. Then I realized: She was speaking Macdonaldeze. I suppose in order to speed up consumption they don't have time to actually take peoples orders. They want, practically force, certainly coerce, us into ordering packages. Meals. Number one, some type of named consumer package, the " full meal deal ". Something they can save nanoseconds of the consuming process by only having to punch one symbol on the cash register. The point of the exercise.

I remember having vague misgivings when they started calling a hamburger a sandwich.
Burger and fries a meal. That was a long time ago. Now they have managed to change our culture. Jeez just shoot us up with RFID chips so we don't even have to talk. They could just tell us what to buy and electronically debit our accounts. It could save many consumoseconds. Now, that's a word I just coined. Feel free to use it. It is one hundredth of a nano-second. I hope you don't have need to use it often.

I wonder how real all this rush is. Are we any more productive because we are encouraged, cajoled, expected to be available 24/7. No one got upset because they didn't get an answer to a letter in less than a week. You better have a good excuse if your a week late in getting back to someones email. Our very lives are being robbed nano-second by nano-second, our Souls, scorched. Think of the expression " Burn-out". What exactly are we burning? Every business on the planet in one form or other says something to the effect of: " our people are our most important assets". From who's point of view? Because they are people or consumables?

Our "Leisure time" must be fast, zoom zoom, multi-tasking
hyper speed adventures. There is no lazy in relax, but we have been convinced, trained, that there is.

Go faster. Slow down. Hug your dog. Now. Only kidding, whenever.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Logging In




Endako Style. This is the log shell I have been helping my Brother with. It's just about ready to ship. Another day or two for the purlins, the logs that support the roof, and some fancy arch work at the front and it will be ready to ship. Actually if the customer has made up his mind, my nephew Conrad will cut the doors and windows before we ship it. Conrad will do the site construction. He poured the foundation yesterday. Today were off to Burns to do some business stuff and pick up some exhaust pipe for our Toyota.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Big Gun

With the snow melting so fast it's time to move the drifts back. My brother, Tiny, brought the Cat excavator to park it here after it's sojourn at the now closed Fraser Lake Dump. He cleaned out the driveway on the way up. Hopefully the water won't wash out the driveway this year. A kilometer of driveway is a lot to clear out with a shovel. Got lots of work for this bad boy excavator this summer. The new pond. Fireplace pit. Burn pit. Insulate and waterproof the basement foundation. Water and power Line to the new shop. New septic tank at Grandma's. And of course, my favorite: just generally having fun and making big holes in dirt. Every guys dream come true. And it's Son in law friendly...

This is Tiny operating it. I'm just not that smooth. Yet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Slip Sliding Away

It has been above zero with a wind blowing. Makes for some interesting driveway conditions. This is a picture of the lower driveway, just before the place where the sun don't shine.



I don't know how well the picture shows it, but the glistening on top of the ice is water. Really a slippery combination. When we came back up I put the chains on the rear wheels just to make sure.

Some of the Locals are saying winter is over. I think that's wishful thinking. It's snowed plenty here in March. I guess their theory is that we've had so much snow this year that Mother Nature is snowed out. Some one should tell her that.

Today is Database work. I'm in the middle of supporting some old legacy code and writing a whole new application. Now here's a thought how about an application that is centered around the ease of the user. What a concept. The main problem is, as always, educating the user. Or making the application so strong that users can't put numbers in text fields. We've been experimenting with remote help systems. Of course the good ones are expensive. But it's vital so that I can keep customers serviced from here. And they don't want to have to reconfigure Firewalls or worry about IP settings. Who does.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Off to town

After Breakfast we are going to be going to Burns Lake. It's not a big place but they have a lot more variety than Fraser Lake. The have a Canadian Wholesale club which has the best prices around. Time to stock up. One of the more challenging parts of living a bit out in the boonies is changing our shopping habits. We can't just drop by the Safeway on the way home from work and pick up something for supper. Well we could but the gas money would be atrocious. So we try and do a big shop once a month for staples and stuff we can freeze. Jo has discovered that pancakes are made from flour.




You don't need bisquick, or other premixed (read expensive)convenience packs. Who'd a thought. It's like the magic of garden fresh vegetables. I don't know about "Organic" food. I think it has something to do with the fact that it has dirt on it and I get to process it and cook it. Not someone else in a factory. Doing a job.

Which brings me to my next thought. I read a wonderful book called: "In Praise of Slow", by Carl Honore which got me to thinking about the cost of moving at a thousand miles an hour in our daily lives. We purchase anything that will "save" us a few minutes. We're in a big hurry so we can relax. Live at lightening speed so we can retire.. It's like we are conditioned to be happy later, after we get that new thing or overcome a current difficulty. I know I sound kinda like a "Hippy" on a rant, but sometimes it just overtakes me. All this rushing to foster consumerism has a vast cost that isn't just measured in dollars.

When I get up in the morning and take some time to read some spiritual literature and make an attempt at some meditation I find that my day is inexplicably longer. When I go to some spiritual meetings through out the week, my week lasts longer. It's counter intuitive but it is my experience. When I don't do what the T.V. says I should be doing I have a richer life.

What's the cost of having a classical 9 to 5 job? Have you ever sat down and costed it out. I bet you would be surprised. I was. Having a j.o.b costs a lot of money. And more times than not - a chunk of our soul.

You have a wonderful day ( if you want ) and do it. S-l-o-w-e-l-y....