Friday, May 26, 2006

Highlights of the Week, Including: How Not to Load a Quadruped

Time to recap. It's been a whole week!

I came back from the long weekend at the close of the Queen's Birthday (a national excuse not to go to work), heading back from the big city where I got to meet Jimmy, Madamerouge and Toobusyliving -some hospitable gents. They advised me to change my profile picture because Toobusyliving said it was too much of "this," putting his fingers in the sign of a camera lens, framing the centre of his face. It was too much of a close-up? He is also xanthophobic, apparently. I went there to visit my friend Le Joueur, who has been teaching Shakespeare at an acting camp for children and cooking part time but I was too busy crying because I didn't get to meet Mitzzee. He took me to see some live jazz one night, then the next day we walked in the park and through the zoo, where I got to see some real live Bison.

Seeing those majestic beasts in captivity unleashed a happy/sadness in my breast that we had to kill them all off in the wild -chasing off of the cliffs and wasting their carcasses, unlike our native inhabitants, who we were busy killing with guns, influenza and alcohol, who used their entire bodies for a purpose. Now none of these animals are roaming the plaines. No, they are standing in a zoo for me to look at on my afternoon walk.

Tuesday I went back to the think tank where just last week, our fellow Paul Heinbecker got several interviews talking about Canada's fading role as an international peace keeper, which aired on CBC and CPAC. I ordered DVD's of these programs and continued along with my own research. It is a shame that our Prime Minister this week announced we would not be sending any troops to Darfur to help alleviate the genocide. We will send $40 million dollars instead for humanitarian projects like water sanitation. Apparently we can back out of our peace-keeping missions and we can back out of the Kyoto Protocol, but we'll never back out of sending our troops to slaughter in Afghanistan, or supporting the US while it drops bombs on civilians in Azizi, Afghanistan, the deadliest attack since 2001.

Anyway, so then on Wednesday I took the day off to help my father sort cattle. It is that special time when they are required to get vaccinations and have their horns burnt off. You must burn a ring around their horns to kill the cells and ensure that they don't grow back. It's smoky and smelly and very unpleasant, especially since the cows are screaming, but in an effort to be humanitarian, we would jab the calves with a needle in the little indentations behind their eyes with anesthetic and this freezing would go a long way. The whole process is still quite a pain because then they need to be run through the chute twice each -once to freeze, then about ten minutes later after the drugs have kicked in.

So, think of it like a hospital for cattle, with me as the nurse ushering (chasing) cattle in from the waiting room, and my father and sister acting as the doctor, while another young veterinarian checked the adult cattle for pregnancy. This involves a glove large enough to go up to the shoulder and a sense of investigation.

These calves can be quite rambunctious. The chute is just wide enough so that the cattle can line up in it but not turn around. When they get to the front of the line, their head is clamped in between bars and the medical business begins. They may struggle, hence the bars. For calves, things are a little more complicated. Sorting them and ushering them is a fine art which requires the usher (me) to dance and dodge in such a way that the calves run up in the chute. Sometimes, however, they get spooked and run straight into the wall, or do silly things like turn around in the chute (because they are small enough) so that they must be turned around again, manually. My father usually slips a bar between the bars of the chute to prevent the cattle from backing back out of the chute, giving them the sole choice of advancing to the head-clasp.

Interestingly, my father was standing on the outside of the chute with the bar still through while I was chasing a calf into the chute at an unsafe speed. The calf went crashing into the bar with its legs and broke it out of its hold. Like a teeter-todder, the dynamics of the one end of the metal bar going forward forced it to go backward on the fulcrum, swiping my father in the knee and knocking him over on his arse.

You may fondly recall my bad luck with limbs. Well, like son, like father. The old man now walks with a cane and has a knee that looks proportionately like a beach ball. I apologized for not knowing that the bar was still in the chute. "No problem," he said. "I just have to walk on it a bit." Apparently another trait that runs in families is the stubborness to admit that you are badly injured.

Yesterday I had two interviews for various positions. The one was supposed to be a writing position, however, before I got there they informed me that they were already in the process of second interviews for that and so instead wanted to interview me for something else. Great! I thought. It's one of those surprise interviews! Was I interested in another position? I would bear it. The organization is a good one but we were both equally confused as to how my skills would match up with a position because we were both winging the thing. The role didn't have a title because it's so ad hoc. I think I got the hint when he said: "Best of luck in your future endeavours." He might as well have added: "because I'll never have to see your face again!" Anyway...

The other interview has led to more testing, which will happen next week. This surprised me since it was conducted on my cell phone. I had extreme technical difficulties due to the fact that I was wedged between thick concrete walls. Thankfully, I answered the questions appropriately and came through clearly and articulately on their end, because on my end, I was just guessing what they were saying. The speaker's words came through as: "XXX XXXXXX XX XXXXXXX XXX!! XXX XXXXX? x. xxXX?????"

Last night I went to a BBQ with the think tank staff commemorating the work of an employee about to go on leave. We ate hamburgers, talked baseball, watched the children play on mechanical toy cars and joked about work. I went off to Andy's to watch the huge loss of Edmonton against The Mighty Ducks. There was a great goal by Laraque, who was excited enough by it to jump into the glass but the Oiler's lost. Well, the Sharks drowned in oil, the ducks will too!

Today I had the pleasure of another Food for Thought lecture at the think tank. Dr. Leslie Pal led an interesting discussion about the Internet and how it's governed. It got me thinking about the Internet as a place where new laws will need to be created to control it, to make it like property. I wonder: in twenty years will their be a tax on your Internet property? Did you know that ICANN, the non-profit group responsible for assigning every domain name -the .net's and .com's, including this one was thinking of creating a new domain: .xxx? Take a wild guess what kind of content would be hosted by this tag. I'll give you a clue: the Internet is rife with it, and it makes things very hard for some people. Unfortunately because of Christian fundamentalist pressure, the government imposed and the .xxx's domain ascription will not be created.

So it was an interesting week. All afternoon I studied the benefits and features of a Smart car. I've heard people complain that they wouldn't want to drive one because if it crashed, it would be demolished, but actually, the shape, and the fact that the thing has a protective "tridion" which absorbs shock and relegates it to the tires. They are quite economical little cuties that will fit into any parking space -as long as it's at least 2.5 metres wide.

When I went home from work I turned on my phone and was happy to find messages for me. All the interviews and no results was getting me down. I thought all the things people say at the end of interviews like "it was great to get a chance to talk to you" were hollow, polite attempts to let me down easy. However, my faith in humanity was renewed by one of the messages being from an interviewer explaining simply that a decision about the position wasn't yet made but that they'll keep me updated. That was impressive business communications courtesy.

I thought more about the importance of innovation and creativity in life. When you are creating something, you feel like you have a sense of direction. I went to an IABC event yesterday on creativity and the lady who led the session had some great tips. Her keys to creativity were to simply start -once you start something, you get the ball rolling. That's the hardest part. The other key has to do with seeing -seeing the world in new ways and approaching problems from every angle, never taking anything for granted. She highlighted that it's important to make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes end up being strokes of genius. I impressed myself by recording a song I wrote about half a year ago. The song was starting to get stal but after I transposed it from guitar to accordion and played it with soul, adding digital delay to my drum track, it became a completely new song! All it took was the curiosity to try it in a new medium and not taking the song as is for granted. Sometimes even just asking the question "why am I doing this?" can have a huge impact on the outcome.

So going into the next week, I encourage you to make and break connections. Learn by unlearning the things you take for granted and look at things in new ways. And keep busy!

Personal Diegesis


Blogger Prmod Bafna said...

Hey! dropped by to say hi! you sure had quite the week!! wish i was doing so many things too :p i'm almost jobless now.. what with the exams getting over.. heh!

9:06 a.m.  
Blogger Maddy said...

mistake truly can be strokes
of genius in disguise of course -

and i just love smart cars-
toooo cute!!!


10:03 a.m.  
Blogger mistipurple said...

hope your dad's knees' better now.

and "learn by unlearning.. and looking at things in a new way" sounds like a plan to me. thanks.

12:47 p.m.  
Blogger iamnasra said...

Well you seem very bussy upthere..With you dad and all.Well I was hoping you will get the writing job...Oh well better luck in your other interview

2:06 p.m.  
Blogger Jason said...

I will need as many tricks as possible to understand the crap I'm studying for. My exam is on Tuesday.

10:39 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

prmod bafna -Jobless? That makes two of us. Well study hard and do well young man. The key to a good job is good education and ambition.

maddy -I know nothing of cars but those get me excited, especially the hybrids. They are also insanely affordable compared to new cars. The fortwo starts at just $17,900!!! (Not that I could ever afford one)

mistipurple -The knee is not so good. He's walking with a cane but it's a bit of a nuissance considering his livelihood is remaining on his feet. He'll get better though. In the meantime, I'm the one who gets to carry the feedbags and maintain order.

iamnasra -Thanks. I can always use luck...and perhaps to know someone who knows someone.

jason -Yes, tricks are important. When I studied if it was conceptual material I would read a chapter than do a stream of consciousness on paper of everything that I remembered as it came to mind. Also: make up acronymns for EVERYTHING. If you need to remember chronology or lists of things that is key. We will get you rocking that exam yet.

11:10 p.m.  
Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

De-horning became a public health law in 1976 in the US. The reason is so that if the animals fight or bump into each other, blood won't be shed. Apparently, the horns are quite stiff. When did Canada begin de-horning?

I am always intrigued by agricultural and public health laws and how each country addresses them.


10:15 a.m.  
Blogger Vesper said...

your life is very fucking interesting!

good luck with getting a rad position!

9:53 p.m.  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

All the best of luck.

Making mistakes is part of what makes us grow.

I love the idea of learning to unlearn.

Have a good week.

7:17 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope your dad gets better soon!

i like the way you think.
hopefully i'll get to meet u sooner rather than later.

12:31 p.m.  
Blogger J said...

You left us hanging on the chef job. Post an update. Or did you already, and perhaps I missed it?

12:54 p.m.  

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