I had no Idea?

Today sure started off the same as any other average day. I woke up, performed my ablutions, hopped in the vehicle and did the commute to work. Opened up the building, turned on the lights, fired up the Dell, watched Bill Gate’s operating system slowly sputter up to greet me on the login page, and then I checked for incoming emails. In all, a very average start to a average day.

The only real plan for today was a meeting with the some of the top bosses for late in the afternoon. They were scheduled to pop in for a visit so we could brain-storm on setting up a series of changes that would streamline our operation. I decided that when the day started to slow down I would clean up a little more than I would normally. I also prepared a table and some chairs out in the warehouse so everyone could see from my vantage point what the the warehouse and the rest of the building looked like so the brain-storming process would stay on track. The conference call over the phone would not work when describing physical problems that would hinder a new system of operations; only the face to face meeting would work to keep all on board.

Roughly 2:00pm rolled around and my guests arrived. I was actually excited because this was the first time of having all the major players in one room at one time, as this has never taken place since my time at the company, and to have them all at the Surrey operation was, well, a bonus. I was the star of the show. As we talked about what would be the ideal direction to go in, the topic of emails came up.

I restrain myself to the extreme when I type out emails to my co-workers. I always read, think, then ponder before I hit the “enter” button. I have a rule when greeting everyone – always say something positive, and end with a positive note – even when I am writing a letter of complaint. I really try and make a huge effort of making sure my emails are simple, unambiguous, and grammatically correct. I try not to be verbose in my replies, nor do I type out three word cryptic answers that are meaningless and have no bearing on the topic from the email’s header when replying. I also try to sum up in one email rather than fifteen, unlike some members from my group of co-workers who have being given the nick-name, “Email Nazi,” associating to them to the endless email-threads that exceed twenty to thirty emails per topic and giving orders like a drill Sargent. Yeah, following those emails is like reading a harlequin romance novel written by Charles Manson during a parole hearing.

Well, the highest honour that I could possible receive was presented to me today. Apparently my emails are the stuff of legends. My emails have been circulated from one end of the country to other, and have been posted on lunch room bulletin boards, and have appeared in power point presentations; they have being read aloud during meetings, and recorded into minutes from our board members; accounts have been won because of the framing of content of the queries in them, and phrases and content copied and reproduced into other emails as fact. My humour and semantics have garnered me much respect, and a wide audience. If reproduction is the highest form of flattery, then I have a huge cult following of plagiarists.

I wish I had known about this fame long before. No one told me this until today. One side of me feels embarrassed, but the other side of me is honoured, and this proves that the pen, or keyboard, is mightier than the sword. Sure, I can answer the phone, but I prefer the email because it stays, and speaks for itself, where as talk is cheap and is easily dismissed.

Now We Are Getting A Little Nippy Out

OK, maybe not as cold as what those poor saps in Alberta are getting, but for us “less seasoned” people, any time the mercury sinks below the freezing mark, we whine about it. So I am throwing this lovely photo I took today to mark the kind of day it was – nice and sunny with a touch of frost. You can not ask for a better winter’s day than this, eh?

The weird thing about the weather today has being how close it reaches the two to three degree Celsius mark, then drops to minus two or three, but never a huge difference.

Book Review – The Gift I read! Two Thumbs Up!

A very good friend of mine, Diane from DianeOutLoud.ca, gave me a book for the holidays called, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar…, Understanding Philosophy through Jokes.  In my undergraduate days, though technically I am still one today, I had done five Philosophy classes in the past. So reading this book was a very good refresher. But the book’s best quality are the hundreds of jokes that the authors tell to illustrate their point to reinforce the point of Philosophy in all of its complexities.

In my first year university, my very first Philosophy class, I had the privilege of being taught by one my favourite professors, Dr. Wayne Fenske, who is a seasoned veteran in the art of Philosophy at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia. He used his own version of humour and satire for getting his point across about all aspects of Philosophy, and reading this book brought back lots of very good memories of those first classes. There is no doubt a point in which you need a little joke to get you through a day when teaching some very heavy mental subject material like Ethics and Logic.

Perhaps the best moment I had was when Dr. Fenske was lecturing on Metaphilosophy, and he used his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation to make the point that asks “are we the same person from one moment of time to the next.” I still snicker out loud when I think of that day. He did the Arnold routine for twenty minutes, answering all the questions with the thick Austrian ascent, and calling anyone who did not get it, a “little girly man.” Sometimes he drives the point home by throwing a piece of chock at the back of the classroom to wake everyone up. Some would call the chock throwing a violent act, but he does use it as a means to teach his point to the class. However, when I looked him up on “Rate Your Professor,” he does have some bad reviews, which I thought were a little unfair, but then I realised that the complainers were the ones failing his course in the first place.

I thank you Diane for the lovely gift. I read it on Christmas day, and it was a good read becuase it made me laugh over and over and over. It brought back a lot of fond memories too, and I got to refamiliarize myself on some of my past classes of Philosophy too!

To Cast the Net Beyond the Fringe and Say the Hell With it!

I got mad at my ISP last night. Every time I tried to upload a movie file to my website, it either timed out, or it took two hours to go through the upload process. I gave up. I heard that the University Library was open until 10:30pm week days, and 10:00pm during the weekends, so I hopped in the truck and drove to the Surrey campus. The Langley campus was closed.

In the mean time I was having troubles with some other web sites also – so naturally I assumed that it was the fault of my ISP. When I tried to download a web page, it would time-out. It was not a good night to go surfing on the net.

When I got to the University Library, the first thing I did was fired up my lap top and connected through Wi-Fi. Once connected, things seemed a little faster, but when I tried to connect to my web site, the same things happened–hardly any connectivity. This told me that it was not my IPS, but my web provider!

Some other students in the computer lab old me that most of the kids are off from school as of Friday, and that it might be possible that most of them are on-line textting each other, clogging up the net. I thought about that, and figured that this might be the cause. The only thing that didn’t add up was I only had a few web sites that I went to which were slow or not working, so I doubted that it could be the on-line kids? I managed to up load everything I needed to, and then I went home.

This morning I checked to see if the connection rate was still slow, or shut down, and when I logged on, there was a notice posted on the server page. It said that they had service interruptions over the last 24 hours, and that now every was back to normal. I then went to the server’s blog and read that they had some vandalism on their server-farm, and that someone tried to take some equipment. They said that their local law enforcement officials caught the person and they noted that none of the equipment was taken. Cost in damages, however, was about $5,000.00 US.

I started thinking about this today, about how fragile our network really is. I remembered in my class on terrorism from last summer, studying about how important our information network is in today’s world, and asking the question would we be crippled from having no network? Although it would not indirectly harm us if the entire Intranet collapsed becuase of terrorists, but it would certainly hurt us over a longer period. By collapse, I mean no web browsing, email and VIOP, possibly cell-phone and land-line phone service too. I know most Banking and some forms of commerce would stop, but most businesses would manage to keep on operating.

On a humorous note, I wondered how many people would go through Intranet withdraw, if the idea of Internet Addiction really exists? Would I be one of those people? After all, I do spend a hideous amount of time sitting in front my keyboard and monitor, and hlaf that time connected to the internet. I treat emails like they were phone calls for goodness sakes. Does this mean I’m sick–I have an addiction that affects my social life, if their is such a thing as a social life?

Nope-things are all good. I have network connection and life goes on. My ISP are doing their job and I can sympathise with my web provider about their misfortune. Once again I am happy.

A Day to do Nothing: Sounds so Good

I meant to make today a day to do nothing, but that never happened becuase somehow word got out, and I did everything but doing nothing. Cries of help from friends with their broken computers-I have a strict policy that I no longer work on systems with Microsoft installed on them. They hate me now. My favourite coffee grinder died–it went up in smoke. I miss my dark roasted freshly ground beans cup of coffee. A next-door neighbour asked me for fifty dollars. I don’t loan out cash to people who want to buy booze or cigarettes with. Without even trying I woke up at 7:45am sharp. under normal circumstances that is sleeping in for me, but far too early for a Saturday.

Outside looks so bleak and barren with frost covering everything, and a coating of white ice crystals on the ground. I would not call it real snow, but we are close to having a dump of it according to what the weather service is saying on their web site. Having this last week of cold weather sure put “winter is coming” back into perspective. It is cold and dry–and almost everyone I know has chapped lips. I’ve managed to avoid the pealing lips syndrome becuase I think the trick is not to lick them. That reminds me of a very old joke I heard.

This lawyer wanted to go to a remote farm to visit a client of his, but he got to town during a major snow storm. The roads were impassable and none of the taxis would even consider taking him in these conditions. He found an guy driving a one horse open sleigh, and the lawyer asked him if he could take him to his client way out in the forest. The driver with his heavy, thick, French ascent said, “sure, no problems. I’m going that way also!” he said.

They both headed off on the sleigh.

About twenty minutes into the trip, while the lawyer was telling the driver about all of his adventures of being a lawyer, he saw the driver reach up to the horse and stick his finger into the horse’s butt. Then he started rubbing that finger around on his lips. It happened so fast, so the lawyer didn’t say anything, so he kept on talking about his adventures. Then ten minutes later, the driver did it again. The Lawyer just looked him with a puzzled face as the driver rubbed his finger around his lips. The Lawyer was polite, so he kept on talking, without making a fuss about what he saw.

They could now see the farm where the Lawyer wanted to go. The Lawyer started to thank the driver for driving him, and right at the moment the driver reach up to the horse and stuck his finger in the horse’s butt, pulled it out, and then started rubbing his finger around his lips. The Lawyer lost it. “Sir, what are you doing! Do you know how disgusting that looks!” he burst out with a loud voice.

The driver replied, “Hey do you see me with chapped lips!”

Yes I know, don’t give up my day job.

It is weird that now it is only 4:00pm and it looks so dark out. Summer is still fresh in my mind. The winter Solstice is only a couple of weeks away, then winter really starts. I hate the cold. Oh well–four more months of this to look forward to then we are back to goodness again!

Counting Madness – Self-Righteous Resistors

Human nature seems to be built upon some very basic principles like survival for food and shelter, natural selection and achieving the most for less under any circumstances, to mention a few. You will have those who by chance stumbled upon great wealth, or managed to screw enough people so that they are now the dominate forces in their societies. On the other hand you will have those who tried but never found their American Dream, and could never have had the “luck” to reach their dreams. To add some theory to this, I turn to the work of Email Durkheim and Robert K. Merton, who came up with the idea that when you have a breakdown of social norms, and when your personal control and environment breaks down, people then go into a state of “normlessness,” where they exhibit anyone of the following categories called modes of adaptation: conforming, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion (Williams & McShane: 2004).

When I first heard that we were going to start our annual inventory early this year, I was not the least bit worried because we now have the smaller work force (since the recession started), and our inventories  are so little compared to this time 2008 that counting on our part would take less than an afternoon. We were given about one weeks notice to prepare and start out counts. I had posted the information and started personally telling each worker as they came in what was going to be required of them for this year’s inventory count. A series of emails were sent, and some of the higher volume technicians were given phone calls to aid them with there procedures. With a lot less to count and fewer categories of inventory as compared to last year, I figured that this was going to be a flawless count.

As the numbers started roll in on Friday, I started making calls to the employees who I had already foreseen as being problematic and assisted them – like a mother wiping a child’s bib, holding their hands, reiterating what was needed from them, reassure them – just to get the job done. But no matter how much one tries, or prepares, there are going to be those who just can’t get it on the right track, and they continually fall by the wayside.

The majority of the employees are in the category of conforming. They know that these events take place and they offer their full unquestioned obedience to get the job done. Next are the innovation people who see this as an opportunity to do maintenance and clean-ups, while they sort out their equipment and inventory. They see that they have time offered to them for this and they take on a multitasking approach to it. Then we have a couple of workers who are the ritualist’s, who see this as a another job routine, and they blindly go through the motion of counting and sorting, but only putting in the minimum effort and time to get through it. Lastly, there are the dreaded rebellious types who, although they only represent less than two percent of the workforce, they cause ninety percent of the headaches.

Make no mistake that I am comparing criminological theory to the workplace. There are just too many similarities among these two groups to let this go unnoticed.

The inventory was completed, and done on time, but I ended up spending an eleven hour day trying to keep everything together, but still, I had to do some of it from home due to some stragglers being so late, and one not submitting until midnight. The last four hour stretch of Friday was spent talking on the phone, endlessly going over the inventory procedure until I notice that I was loosing my voice.

Source:

Williams & McShane (2004). Criminological theory. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Funny Thing About Water…,

I am at my saturation point with water, or rain, over here on the “Wet Coast.” We have had three pacific storms in the last week hitting the Fraser Valley, and there are rumours that we may see a bunch more for next week. When I compare daily entries in my journal from this time last year, we are shovelling snow, setting records for snow falls and low temperature, and here we are this year with weather that makes me want to wear shorts – but is still too cool for that.

The other side effect with these fall and winter storms are the winds. Last Monday I woke up with no power, and had to really watch the road when I drove into work becuase most of the traffic lights were out. People here still have  a hard time with the 4-way stop procedure at intersections. The pattern for wind-storms seems to be occurring mostly at night and early mornings, but fairly calm during the early afternoons.

Flooding locally is now an issue. I noticed that some of the little creeks and ponds along the countryside have swollen to little rivers and lakes. It is amazing to see a golf course completely submerged in water, and yet people are still golfing on them? Tards? I have seen it rain here before but not like this; however, what is different is that the flooding this time is caused from all the fallen leaves blocking ditches and storm drains. We are getting our usual 100mm to 200mm of rain, so nothing new there. But what happens when all those little rains drops have no where to go? Funny thing about water… .

The World is One Big Blob of Light

Back on Friday I completed the second half of my eye exam. This was the part of the examination where the Optometrist puts a couple of eye drops in my eyes that causes the pupils to dilate and then seeing becomes much more difficult, especially from object that emit light. My pupils looked like the size of loonies, they looked all black – a very freakish look I might add. They do this to your eyes so they can look at the back, inside of the eye, at the retina, to look for damage or irregularities. Fortunately my eyes checked out good for that part of the exam.

The weird thing was, when my vision start to change, it made me realizes what would happen if all of a sudden my eyes gave out. Even with the reduced vision my eyes stung when I went out side, and was even with the sunglasses on; light was going to hurt, the kind eye doctor warned me about before she applied the drops. She wasn’t kidding either. As I waited until later that night when it was dark out to take a walk, even the streets light hurt. Yes, I was wearing my sunglasses at night too when I went into the shopping market!

The whole eye thing is making me depressed. Mainly it is the huge cost of the glasses themselves. I have never used glasses before so the whole notion of getting tested and buying your first pair was never something I had to deal with before. The first thing that got me was the price, or cost of the lenses and frames. When I went in for the second test, I had asked several friends to tell me what I should do. They all said that I should seriously shop around for glasses at other shops and do price comparisons. The lady that spoke to me after I completed the eye exam, while I was half blind, started showing me the different brand names that they carry in the store. The break down of prices for what they recommended was $223.00 for the frames, and $242.00 for the lenses (including anti-glare and scratch treatment) which works out to a total of  $465.00 with a $100.00 “cash back.”

However I did see, pardon the pun, something that was remarkable while I was sitting and experiencing my eyes going through the pupil dilation phase. I witnessed a young girl who also had just got her first pair of glasses, and she could see for the time objects far away. It was sad, and yet funny at the same time because she did not want to wear them, but was amazed, even shocked, when she had them on. The doctor took her outside in the parking-lot where she could see up at the buildings and the tops of the trees, things that she could not see before. But it was wearing them that really bugged her. I laughed when the doctor said that they really made her look beautiful. I think the little girl was then convinced that she should wear them after that endorsement.

When will I buy my first pair? I don’t yet. Time and cost are my deciding factors. I have to pay for next semester’s course, and already I four assignment due for next week. I may have to wait a few more weeks before I can release my hard earned money out. I will shop around though—that is for sure!

Another Rip-Snorter of a Breeze Coming Through

I was going to write about the sorry state of our environment, particularly from the perspective of where I work, but instead I’m going to dedicate this post to “bitching about the weather” because we have a lovely storm currently on top of use in the Fraser Valley. It’s ugly outside.

I’m in class right now, waiting for it start, so I figure I might as well use this time to scribe some stuff on the old blog, and crying about how crappy the weather is one of my favorite rants.

So, how bad is it right now? On a scale of one to five, this one is only a two on my scale. It is blowing in gusts, and giving off a little bit of rain, but not enough to knock out the power or anything. Actually, this morning at my work the power was only out for about an hour, then flickered on and off for the rest of the day.

The drive in to class was interesting. With the poor visibility, debris across the roads, people were still driving like it was a hot sunny day. One person in a very large black pick-up truck hit the curb and ran over a “no parking” sign when he swerved to avoid a tree branch laying across the road. The poor sign.

It will be interesting to see if the power goes during class. That would fun. I heard a rumour that the university has generators, so if the power goes out it would only go out for a few seconds. But this is only a rumour.

Well, class starts is a couple of minutes. See ya on the flip-side!

Yes, It’s the Big Day: Halloween Is Here!

It’s going to be a great night for the night of the dead, and all those kiddies, and big kids too, dressed up in costumes who are going to go out on the annual candy feast, the dead better watch out! And don’t let me forget that for the older kids, this is the night when the trick is worth more than the the treat. heh heh heh. The night will be almost perfect. Halloween this year is on a Saturday, so staying up late, parting with no regrets, is almost a certainty.  Also, the moon phase will be almost full, at 95 percent waxing gibbous, at 13 days old. The temperature for tonight in the Fraser Valley will be up to  a warm 12C, which is quite comfortable when wearing a heavy costume.

Added Around 7:30pm:

I walked around town for a few hours mainly to watch the various fireworks shows that were going on, but there was nothing big. There were lots of people walking around though. Only a few were dressed in costumes but mostly the average age group that I saw were the thirty somethings walking to the various house parties. A least they are not driving.

Interestingly I did not see one C.O.P. on the roads? Could it be that we are a well behaved society, or is it the silence before the storm? Stay tuned.

Arrrrrr, Lookie at the all Ye Window$ Pirates Out There Maties!

As a 100 percent Linux user myself, I get great amusement out of these numbers of pirated downloads of the latest Wondiw$ El número siete. Firing up my open-source bit-torrent tracker program, I decided to search the P2P (peer to peer) world and to see for myself just what activity lurks out there among the file sharing population; you know, the group of people who every right-wing government, corporation and self-centred capitalist all hate, aka as the “Free World,” by some, cheap by others. And before you think that the open-source community fits this definition, then I need to remind you of all the licence agreements that you are breaking before you give me the spiel. I can hear Mr Gates groaning in his office just across the border as the 78,000 leechers, and the 55,000 seeders (that is just on PiratesBay alone) making copies of the closed source money making software, sharing it all—for free.

What is interesting is that so many people are hoping that this will be the version to take MS Window$ from the most hated OS, to the best because of the last reincarnation called Vista was so bad. Even the word “Vista” has negative connotations now among the less fortunate who are stuck with it because they bought a pre-loaded lap-top or PC with it. I cannot tell you how many machines I have wiped it off with Linux just to correct some basic problems like the user being able to use to it? And I highly doubt it that the Spam and Virus problem will be fixed either, in fact, I predict that it will get worse now.

But before I leave my soup-box I want to say one last thing about what is happening with all the illegal copies of Window$ being sent across cybor space. You are reason why governments, like Canada, want to take control of the Internet. The criminals, and terrorist are just an excuses for the push to legislate laws to control the Intranet. It is the file sharing of copy-right and licensed protected marital that is at the root of this drive for ultimate control by governments. In Canada, we have the oligopoly of ISPs who serve the majority of the online users, mainly the broad-band connections, while only a small fraction are still using private, ghost and dial-up server providers. The new legislation will make it law to open these service providers up to the authorities and demand all records of your online activities. This legislation will catch anyone using their broadband connection for illegal uses, and will greatly increase the likelihood of prosecution.

Did I make you feel guilty? For more reading about Canada’s policies and possible future on the Internet and file sharing, please read some of these links: