Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Great Escape

I'm moving today and tomorrow. I finished school for the year and now I'm moving to Guelph, where I'll be working on swing-stages doing restoration for the apartment buildings.

It felt like I survived something incredible after my last presentation was done, which, by the way, my teacher was impressed with, especially the literature review for our research on Public Relations as a career option considered by high school children and their parents.

I will have to set up the Internet and my living space with just enough things to make it through the week, while the old tenant will be in and out. I'll have a barbeque which definitely rocks, use my bike as transportation, and live, yes, in the city (something that is a novelty for a farm boy).

I hate moving but I love the moment when everything is set up, and you are just house warming. That is the good part. Settling in.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Different Day, Different Desk

Now I'm sitting at my father's desk, at his computer, in his chair, which seats me high above the desk, like a king, commanding from the mountains. I even have an atlas stretched in front of me, perched, in a manner purely discomfortable and unfamiliar, until I press the button, and the chair slowly floats down, adjusting its height. I no longer feel so powerful.

I'm using this computer because my computer died.

The fan was not up to snuff. It made noises, changed patterns. It seemed as if a gerbel lived in there, sometimes sleeping, sometimes squeaking. The other day though, it sang its last song.

I tried not to pay attention to it. I had been warned. Of course there was that time when my computer just shut off in the night. That should have given me an indication or five. And I would have never turned it off, except for the screen. The screen that was the second replacement from that pitiful place that sold me the thing. Well, this was that time that I fired it up and it explained, in its own, unemotional, straight-forward, artificially comprehensive computery way, that the CPU had gotten too hot, and to ease the energy tax of the inherently flawed fan which was struggling to keep up its pulse to maintain thermal equilibrium within the unit, its sensors calculated the risk of going on with the show, and decided that it was safer to shut her down.

So now my computer has gone to the doctor.

The doctor will open up the computer to see what we have here. There could be festering dust-balls. Luckily I have no cats, so that lessens the risk of long term damage. It is surely not a fatal condition, but something that requires a kind of induced coma, at least until we have things sorted out a bit more.

The computer will be under tonight and be woken up sometime tomorrow. I will greet the man who has agree to put the computer in his protection. Even though I don't have the papers to back up the purchase of the computer, he assured me they would look into their system to make sure the computer's viability is covered by the best warranty there is out there. This will be the second time that computer has had surgery, and now it will need another serial number and sticker to patch it up once the worst is over. I hope that once it has a new fan and gets cleaned out a bit more, it will purr quietly when it runs, and lead a semi-normal life for a computer.

It's not too late for this computer to reform its habits. You can help by sending thoughts of hope.
I know I will miss the eccentric hum that my computer gave off, quieting down once I'd tilt it over to one side or the other, shifting balance.
I will happily adopt the new quietness however when the CPU is supplyed by an unblocked aorta. There's nothing quite so sexy as a smooth running machine.

Friday, April 22, 2005

What the Pita Sign Says

The first two words of the caption on the sign I agree with, but so far, I haven't felt the pain. I've had one multimedia exam, so basically all I had to do is talk about lighting, texture, copyrighting, and the kind of stuff I could sing about while I was sleeping.

A couple days ago, in between my first and second exam (which I still haven't had) and while I was waiting for the oil change on the vanimal, aka "the beast" I had a lovely time photographing random people's reactions to the warm weather. It was 28 degrees Celcius, and everyone and their dog was out. This included joggers, children, police officers, beer drinkers, and communists. Well, I'm not sure about the communists, but there was sure to be one of them.

It is 13 degrees Celcius today but they are predicting rain later this evening, which will unfortunately, ultimately, surprisingly, not miraculously change into...snow. It will be a proverbial and literal slap in the face to be walking in that again. And here we're talking like 5 inches!!! Oh well. The spring will return. Let's just hope the ground hog has gone back in the hole to get his keys, not to go back to sleep. The sun makes me very happy. It makes everyone happy, and when everyone is happy, I'm even more happy, which makes others happy again, and so on. So come back warm weather. I'm counting on you. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Nursing the Blog

Howard called me to tell me about my blog looking "shabby". I asked him if he knew anything about template codes and he started going on about C++ and Qbasic and all these programs with codes that were around in the eighties and I said "that doesn't help Howard" and then he said "well, every good programmer has to know about the history of the language and the symbols and how they've evolved." I didn't want to get into it so I quickly said goodbye and asked Lioness to help me out.

She is an aspiring nerd. She gets so nerdy it's awesome. It's not like she has a degree in programming. She's just decided she'd like to be a good programmer and a fix-it-yourselfer. This is all handy news to me. It is also nice that she's naturally helpful. She's gone through the code, has realigned the offending placement of texts, she's scanning the letters and numbers and symbols and now has her mind set on getting my text down to normal size. Even though I told her I didn't change any of the numbers on the fonts, she is convinced that I blew the whole thing to smithereens. She gave me a few pieces of advice to say that you can't just insert the drop down menu code wherever you want. That mucks up the whole operation.

At this moment we are arguing about where to place blame. I had sent her some variations of templates that I had done in the past but she declares that these are old templates, far too obsolete to use. She asked me how the hell I could mess up something so well. Then I started going into the explanation of the fact that I had copied and saved the old template right before I started messing it, knowing I'd need the backup. She didn't want to hear it. But, to continue: then, I put the drop down menu code at the very bottom. That put the drop down menu right at the bottom of my blog. No good. Then I put it in the middle, that made it overlap some of the text. No good. Then I put it right at the top. Too high. Then I put it right under some other code. Ok, it's still not on the side where I want it and now my whole profile has disappeared to the bottom, time to bring back the original template.

OH, somehow a mutation has occured and now the original template is doing the same thing as the other and putting it's carpets on the ceiling. WHY?

I don't know.

Why did I change the font size? I didn't. A ghost did. She just fixed it but now it's too small. Sometimes I think we need to just get over our hang-up with sizes. Some people think they're too big, too small. Whatever.

But Lioness prevailed!!

The blog is back to health. I don't see her stipulation that the font still isn't the right size. I think she's just being a perfectionist. She wants to make my blog look really nice. Well, ok, maybe. At least now the drop down menu is in the right place as is the portfolio. Thanks L!

As the blog changes each time I refresh my screen. Then it stops perceptibly changing and I begin to wonder what she's doing. We're communicating through the narrow wire that is msn. Then I look over to my menu. THAT's the font that has changed. So apparently she went all the way back and edited my choice of font from the code of my menu. Such a Lioness. She'll find problems that aren't even there, because she can always see how to make the mediocre better. [Here's my false accusation]

Oh, no. I interprete her wrong again. Even though I see the drop down menu change, she says she's criticizing all other fonts, not the dd one. Oh, ok well, why did my dd font change?
"bcs i had to delete that monstruosity code u somehow created"

See, it's about the frankenstein I've put together in MY basement. That will never change. And my name isn't good enough. It's "confusing." I liked the idea of "navigating towards" a given topic. You readers didn't find that clever? Oh, ok. See, this is all part of the peer editing process. Great peer editors help writers a lot. I don't mind getting false accusations as long as the thing works at the end of the day. Today it does.

It is strange but I think there are referrals in code. When you change one thing, it manifests itself in other places. This might explain why when she claimed to be fixing one problem, I'd see another one emerge.

And, since I wrote this post originally, I've had more than a handful of spelling mistakes pointed out by the peer editor.

Monday, April 18, 2005


I don't know what I did but I can't get my profile and everything on my right side up to the top. It always does this and somehow I find a way to fix it but this time I used old saved templates and they still didn't work. I don't know what it is. Well, it's frustrating that's what. Maybe someone out there has a trick up their sleeve that I could take from them. My blog is injured. At least now it has part of a drop-down menu. See it up there? Pretty eh? Yeah I know that not all the links work yet but they will. Now I'm more concerned about nurturing my blog back to the state it was in before I opened up its skulls and started messing around with its brain. I should have known this would happen, but curiousity caught the cat.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Passing Through

"If you're going through hell, keep going" -Winston Churchill

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I lost faith but I found it again. The world is not so hopeless as it is easy to think. School is almost over. I got accepted to Fanshawe college. I managed to complete 5 major projects this week. I have a job and a house for the summer, in a city I love, away from parents. People aren't all stupid. The ones that are are often amusing, or they may have a good heart. I haven't lost a game of chess for over two years. This week I had a tie. The forest is a welcoming place. The sky tells a different story each day. I may be lonely but I'm never alone. Someone is waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. There is a silent usher, watching for me to pass.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Terry, Our Hero

Two days ago Douglas Coupland got together with the Fox family and put out a book called simply "Terry" about the life of Terry Fox, a bone cancer victim with an amputated leg, who ran across the country on a marathon of hope for cancer and managed to raise $24.17 million in research money.

On CBC radio 1, Coupland talked of the kid from British Columbia that was "so average" who inspired him. Terry's good leg was about twice the size of most people, and he was just a person who wanted to make a difference. Apparently the sock that he wore on his artificial leg for the duration of the marathon was found tucked away in the back of a drawer. A woman had told him repeatedly to throw the raggedy thing out but then realized its importance to Terry at this moment. It was worn and caked with rust.

Coupland is my favorite Canadian author and the fact that he wrote this is just one more reason to buy it. All money will go to cancer research.

Filed under Heros

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Lonely Spring

It is spring, but I am lonely all over again,
Not even the bird’s chirping can faze my lugubrious mind.
And all the flowers bloom for Algernon.

Ah! How time advances with its nagging agenda,
Whether or not we are pleased by its fruits.
Seasons burst over each other in desperate hastiness,
Burying yesterday’s withered victory.

Liveliness is an irksome noise that racks my thickened skull,
And hardens my anger against the smiling sun.
The trees will soon conspire to hold hands,
And youths will be seen professing love between their boughs.

Love, that folly that never boasts,
It is like a branch that is said to never break.
Its ridiculous attire already bleeds for attention.
And no one can convince it otherwise.

Love, with its droopy, shameless brow,
Lures those with aimless inklings.
It fills baskets full of bounty, and provides a seemingly tranquilizing innocence,
For mutts to fornicate in its name.

I remember watching to see if she’d kiss him,
Almost dizzy with vicarious lust.
She played and pulled him hither and yonder,
Never did they think it could last long,
Yet even sooner did it end.

The winds blow over the lovers locks,
Bedewed with virgin tear.
Cast as an afterthought to willful indulgence,
On a precariously delicate spark.

Breathing heavily over burden,
Through the passionate letters,
The breeze mauls the obsolete artifact
That lies for the author’s heart.
@Copyright 2005 SirBarrett

Update on my Life Contingency Plan

I haven't quite started exams yet, but I'm working on my last 5 assignments this week. I'm tired and drained. It's funny how apathy hits you in these times, just when you're almost touching the finish line. I just got accepted to another school for next year, the one I applied to because I felt like I might need an escape route from where I am now. I have been calling them for weeks and getting lost in the maze of extensions and voicemails, leaving my irritable message that I would like to find out what is going on, and why do I still have a pending status? Finally they called me back and told me yes! You've been accepted, after they made me search for my id number until they conveniently recalled it first. With a sensation of battle fatigue and a stomach whose gears have stopped churning, a pile of documents waiting for me to sort on my desk, and a dull razor that I can't even shave myself with, it's hard to care.

None of it seems to make a difference: whether I finish a two-year college diploma in PR vs. one year of a two-year college diploma and a one year post-grad certificate in corporate comm and PR. Do I increase current spending or diversify my bonds? I might build more contacts one way, but lose grip on the ones I have at the same time. They would both take up the same amount of time. I could continue living with my parents in this comfortable little dungeon or live on my own and have some autonomy in a city I've never really been before. I could flip a coin but now I'm thinking I might just base my decision on how well I do this semester, and only take the opportunity if I really need it. I have been feeling more resilient lately since the numbness set in. Somehow I run around completing interviews, mailing surveys and queuing up people to delegate who gets done what when and I'm surprised to think I can do it. Anyway, I'll have until mid July to decide for sure, but this just gives me an extra cushion of possibility.


Lately all I think of is songs that jump into my head. My brain has no mental boundaries to music. I was thinking of the Beatles song that goes: "fixing a hole where the rains gets in, to stop my mind from wandering..." Kill me for not knowing the name and moreso for not looking it up but I think we all know who the Beatles are. All summer I fix cracks with caulking and sand down metal, and paint panels. It is actually a motivating reason for my mind to wander. It is intense wandering. I travel to the moon and back several times as I am working with tools. Rolling out and watching paint dry can be the most gripping experience ever as long as you have something to mentally mull over. I've been thinking about personal privacy lately and how we are sensitive creatures, with a need for privacy. This got me thinking of walls.

Does a wall stop the wind or hold up the roof? Does it muffle the noise of the outdoors? Does it hide the indoors? Walls are a kind of fence, in that they are meant to separate but they can also be a place to meet. Windows are in walls. Robert Frost wrote "Mending wall" about the diversity of reactions to a wall, and what keeps them erect. Here:

Mending Wall -by Robert Frost

SOMETHING there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing: 5
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made, 10
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go. 15
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them. 20
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across 25
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it 30
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, 35
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. 40
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.” 45

Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936). The New Poetry: An Anthology. 1917.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Troubled Waters

Water is a body that is less stable than earth. Water cleanses, baptizes and envelopes, but water can be polluted. The fish in the great lakes of Ontario have up to seven times the normal size of thyroid gland because they have mutated as the result of high exposure to methylmercury, which is a result of burning fossil fuels and acid rain. Canada has lots of fresh water, more than many countries in the world. It has been said that the next world war will be over water. We put fluoride in our water here because dental associations have told us this will be good for our teeth. Some people think we are crazy to drink it. Water is my horoscope. Walkerton had bad water because the purification site was monitored by people who falsified reports and didn't have chlorinators that were functional. A friend of mine lived there and got about $4000 in compensation. They got in deep trouble. In countries like Africa that have water shortages, women and children can spend the greater part of their day hauling it for miles. Part of a UN campaign, waterforlife that was launched on March 22 was to set and meet new standards in using water efficiently and sanitizing it for use.

Thinking about Israel and the Jordan river, I was reminded of a song that I would sing when I went to camp at Silver Lake. It is a song about the Israelites, chased by an angry Pharoah and many chariots, and the crossing of Red Sea when it was parted by Him. They walked on dry ground. This is followed by the song of Moses(Exodus 14-15). When the army pursued them, God told Moses to put out his hand, and he troubled the water and the sea closed back up on the Egyptians. "Not so much as one of them remained." (Exodus 14:28) This song was also sung (and created?) by American slaves in relation to them escaping across the Mississippi if I remember correctly. Afro-American music tends to be very soulful and moving. I like this song because it's powerfully minor and actually sounds like trouble. I had forgotten most of the words, but Joseph was resourceful and kind enough to provide me with them:

Hymn: Wade in the Water

Chorus (all): Wade in the water, wade in the water children.
Wade in the water. God's gonna trouble the water.

(Soloist) Who are those children all dressed in Red?
God's gonna trouble the water.
Must be the ones that Moses led.
God's gonna trouble the water.

Chorus (all)

(Soloist) Who are those children all dressed in White?
God's gonna trouble the water.
Must be the ones of the Israelites.
God's gonna trouble the water.

Chorus (all)

(Soloist) Who are those children all dressed in Blue?
God's gonna trouble the water.
Must be the ones that made it through.
God's gonna trouble the water.

Filed under Environment

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Gomery Inquiry Details Come Out

Canada now has a tarnished reputation because of this. While the Liberal government hasn't been strong since Jean Chretien, now this issue will force even more instability as the Conservatives laugh and get disgusted at the Liberals for portraying themselves as victims of spin-doctory, and most others accuse them of being the spin-doctors themselves who have recklessly lied, manipulated and wasted people's money.

Even before Canadians were legally enabled to view the information about the details of the case brought against the Paul Martin and his crew, Other parties had grown cynical, and suggested the cache 22 that if the information wasn't scandalous, there wouldn't be a publication ban, and that if there was a publication ban, there would be scandal.

This is a story about how tax dollars were used to try to keep separatists sovereignty in the rest of Canada. But was it all a bunch of bribes? Was it money laundering?

Although the information leaked early to the United States, on internet websites, the politicians weren't technically allowed to publicly talk about it until today. The news is still fresh but the issue is complicated. It may even cause us to go back to the polls. Then what will happen to Canada? Please pray for Ottawa.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Working on my PR campaign assignment

So as you might know by now, I generally sleep more than I do most other things. That is, when I sleep. I think it's a managing strategy. In Freudian defense mechanisms, I sublimate productive activity into sleep. I recharge my body to cut costs to my mind. When things just aren't working, I hit the sack. Usually I have too much stuff that I want to do, and I end up staying up a few hours into the am, until I wake up and kick myself so hard for not sleeping at a reasonable time that I'm in the pm again.

Last night was different though. I think it was the first time since the 9pm compulsury bedtime I had imposed by my parents in grade 8 that I went to bed before 10pm. I was going to work on my tactics for Mennonite Central Committee, and I did. However, after an afternoon of going over the strategic planning textbook, and starting to get stressed because the examples seemed so simple that they certainly couldn't be, and becoming increasingly stressed, based on the history of me thinking that the assignments in the past would be easy, but then finding comments such as "either you were confused about the assignment or you didn't understand how to execute it" on my returned assignments, which reinforced real anxiety, I thought I couldn't possibly sit myself at the computer and simply type out my plan in this state of mind. It would surely interfere and implant its negativity into the assignment. I couldn't have that. No, so I went to sleep at 8:30pm.

Since my body wasn't used to this kind of thing, I woke up several times with a fever, shivering. My bed is so short that I can't stretch out on it unless my pillows are scrunched right to the very top. When I'm trying to get to sleep, I usually fold my hands over my chest and lay Tutankamon-style. When I woke up at 4:30am the dim wasn't very welcoming, but then as the sun began to rise and I was already dressed and drinking coffee, I had so much freshness and ability. I finished my assignement! I even made it to my first class which is where I am now!

I'm proud of my assignment. Since MCC is an organization owned by a conglomeration of churches, I thought it best to increase the interpersonal tactics between MCC, the pastors, and the congregations. I decided on all low-cost materials because the organization is non-profit. So, of the communication materials, I included a media kit, proposed reprinted speeches, Audio News Releases or soundbites of leaders and MCC advocates, special events, FAQ sheets, homilies and a presentation of what would be drafted as a set of 24 presentations called "Around the World in 24 days" that would be delivered over 24 consecutive weeks in church.

The purpose of these vicarious travels would be to give people a sense of the real situation where people are suffering from AIDS/HIV. Of course it wouldn't be like a tourist vacation, but I think people would still be interested. For some people, AIDS is a difficult issue to bring up in church because it's associated to sex, and as we all know, the forbidden fruit looks a lot like it.

Taking the legacy that Pope Jean Paul left behind (not that he was that influencial to me personally), and his calling of people to take up the "kingly mission" which is reflected by the "Dogmatic Constitution on the church" pg 34-6 or the need to physically build a world that corresponds to faith, I would like to see the same thing being done to treat AIDS worldwide. It's one thing to say that we are all children of God, but it's another to physically help people in need. I am in no way a hallmark of religious goodness, although I hope to contribute something to this mission. My teacher may not like my plan, but in that case I will second Muhammad Ali's sentiments: "I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want" and try to be happy. Ok, maybe I don't know the truth either. However, if my tactics can increase the visibility of the organization and send its message, then maybe there can be more action done.

If anyone wants to find out about MCC or Generations at Risk, you may visit here

Monday, April 04, 2005

"Parasol Bases"

This is an interesting gathering that I spotted in Costa, Portugal on a beautiful Thursday in March. They look kind of cute but they don't do much. I can relate to them today. Can't get my block out of bed. The daylight savings time and my abhorrent schedule are my excuses for staying home in the sun and making today a write-off monday. I should be either working on tactics, burning my winter fat off or putting up my drop-down menu (yup! It's coming!). Let's start with baby-steps: perhaps a game of chess?

The lioness had disappeared into a store somewhere and I watched the pigeons and took randomn pictures while Papoila wailed for her master. The good thing about travelling is that it keeps you moving. Even when you stop it's because your eyes need to have a lookaround. Sidenote, it's funny that Lioness, with her Commonwealth leanings calls umbrellas parasols.  Posted by Hello
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