Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Longer Hours” Writes Paul Luke from The Province

If fifty-five to sixty hours per week at work is becoming the norm as Mr. Luke suggests in his article “Longer hours, more stress:  The New Reality in the Canadian Workplace”, it’s time to really examine how this has come about.  There has been no time in history where we’ve had such tremendous access to new affordable technological tools to aid in productivity and efficiency – yet the work week grows.  I ask whose fault is it? Is it a fault?  Perhaps you prefer 60 hours over 40 and absenteeism from your cruise vacation, kid’s concert, second language development, ski trip to Panorama, child school tutoring, reading club commitment, pursuit in volunteerism, guitar class, Seahawks run for the Super Bowl (so excited this year),  is totally okay when making lifestyle compromises for the boss you love so much. 

I suggest if these are the hours you are working it’s because you are operating inefficiently at work or you have not learned to go home for dinner because of a sense of paranoia about what the boss will think.  I was lucky enough to learn in my mid twenties that no matter how much you give, they will ask for more and that “loyalty” in the work place is never reciprocated in a recession when suddenly the pink slips start to circulate.  All’s you can do is all you can do and this means offering helpful suggestions to management on how to work more effectively.  When advice from the production goes unheeded, there are consequences.  Should those consequences be your daughter on stage at recital without daddy in the audience? 

Your employer expects you to respond to a text at 7pm because you did it once before.  Now they know they can get away with disturbing your private time.  Your boss came to learn that you jump when that phone beep goes off at whatever time of the day.  Now in fact you even jump when walking through a cross walk.  It’s hard to blame the employer when folks have so readily compromised their personal autonomy.  Not you though, right?  

U.S Possibly Extends Unemployment Benefits Yet Again

USA Today reports that there are now three job seekers for every job opening but with this moderately competitive market and very realistic opportunity to find work within 26 weeks for the unemployed, apparently some still think 26 weeks is not enough.  Since the recession of 2008 particular states offered workers up to 99 weeks to find a job.  If the unemployed cannot find a job, can they not find someone’s windows to wash?  Can the unemployed not find someone’s house to clean?  Can the unemployed not sell the house and take work serving coffee?  Can the unemployed not pick cotton, shovel snow, sell Avon, or perform a temporary project?  Can the unemployed not deliver flyers, drive a school bus or paint the neighbors kitchen?  If unemployed, somewhere along the line somebody did not want you, need you, or you did not want them.  Can you not go out and prove to a community you are deserving of work by working?  The American dream is premised by individual liberty and the rights of the individual to contract for services so why is it that this right is left open ended in lost opportunity? Perhaps your idiotic school system forgot to teach capitalism. 

Could Mitt Romney have been right during the election campaign of 2012 when stating “there are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”  At the time I didn’t subscribe to Romney’s cynicism but I’m having second thoughts.  This endless bantering about extending unemployment benefits is just one more reason why responsible people are left frustrated by the madness in Washington and the climate which continues to perpetuate dependence at a time when debts and deficits are gargantuan, the financial system is in peril, and creditor nations loom like hawks awaiting America’s default.     

Urban X Country Skiing Better Than The Gym

My loving parents bought me skis when in 8th grade.  The brand name was Torino and couldn’t wait to try them out on the new snow at the side of our modest duplex on the Sahali hill in Kamloops.  Just to feel gravity work on this new equipment was thrill in itself never mind the absence of a lift or adequate stopping distance before traffic.  It was silly but fun on the most moderate of gradient amidst the ambience of a new winter, low cloud cover and dusk which had Christmas lights starting to glimmer in the background.

It was this memory that I’ve taken an “embrace winter” attitude coming into this ski season.  Throughout the fall, I’ve schemed about purchasing X Country skis, acquiring waxing tips on youtube while gradually acquiring the necessary tools via educational shopping trips to the local mountaineering shop to ensure that the glide and grip match snow conditions.  Tonight it really all came together on my third venture out to my back yard.  Yes….my back yard similar to my venture as a budding teen.  My current back yard has a school ground and very large uninhabited park where nobody goes – not even dogs.  When the snows not great, I can head over to the rink and skate which the city already at this early stage in winter has flooded.  The timing for the “embrace winter” attitude could not have come at a better time with snowfall really outperforming accumulations of past years.  Laying down the tracks simply requires some patience and voila the path is set.  Bring a friend and put on the head lamp for some night time cardio on your home made trails in the fresh air and limit those pesky germs in gyms.         Image

A Remembrance Day Thought

World War II was the deadliest of all wars and the statistics are incomprehensible.  These men and women had you and I buried in their subconscious minds as they marched along the front day and night side by side in surveillance and in battle.  If echoes of their voices chime in your soul as you go about your life fully cognizant that you and I have a life full of choices with access to success, we will be harnessed with strength in our pursuit.  We cannot begin to imagine the enormity of their sacrifice but we can in fact take our God given talents and express them to the world with pride, with conviction, and with the power of freedom bestowed upon us by generations of ancestors honour bound and humble with a cause having us as the corner stone of purpose.

“If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow, In Flanders Fields”

– John McCrae –

Why Run?

There are so many benefits to running and it’s peculiar that more people aren’t doing it for the simple sake of good health.  It may have to do with certain fallacies that work on the mind.  Perhaps, it’s much to do with the “no time” excuse that plagues the rational mind.  Maybe it’s the broken commitments of yesteryear working as a stymie for stepping forward.  Whatever the case, today is a great time to make a start just by starting.  A doctor’s okay is an errand away.  

Weight bearing stress on joint, tendons, ligaments, and bones is good for the body.  Yes, I said stress.  The body requires stress as an inciter of the life force.  Your body was built to move and thrive under eustress (positive stress).  If you are over weight, this is an issue because excessive stress on the knees can cause harm to the menisci (cartilage) floating between the tibia and femur.  Non weight bearing aerobic exercise will be a better option until normal weight is restored.  

Blood moves rapidly throughout the body including your heart.  Oxygenation at the capillaries is increased.  Imagine a washing of arterial walls at your heart as blood races through the pulmonary and coronary arteries.  With increased demand on the heart muscle, the coronary artery is asked to perform more powerfully.

Adrenaline is a hormone of which the secretion is increased during exercise and gets you feeling good.  What a way to start the day!  If you are one who can jump right out of bed and hit the streets, I tip my hat to you.  However; by 9:30 am you’ve digested a nutritious breakfast with caffeine perhaps inspiring your strength.

Running burns calories and enhances the motility of the digestive tract.  You’re life style is improved with better energy utilization and mental acuity.

Most municipalities have running clubs and welcome new members.  Make new friends and access recreational races through these clubs which often times have a component associated with fund raising for good causes.  

 

These Things Really Are Happening

Panhandlers walk between traffic lanes at stop signals begging for coins and find success.

Texting while driving.

Building homes on flood plains believing taxpayers should provide bail out after flooding.

Politicians snub the free press yet stride confidently believing reelection is purely academic.

Government leaders have been firing bullets on their law abiding citizens.

Some have been disliking their job but go back day after day.

Road rage.

Disturbing headphone volume on public transit.

Tire technicians recommending all season radials in snow zones.

People play slot machines.

Gossips inclined to think parties not intuitively privy.

Businesses expecting success on merits void of marketing.

Drivers expecting courtesy while failing to accelerate and merge effectively.

Guy calls in sick, goes to softball tournament, gets fired and sues to get his job back.

Auto dealerships posting ads on private buy and sell internet sites expecting it’ll be a boon for business.

A general malaise in personal responsibility.

Motorcyclists with apparent death wishes via speed and aggression.

Sports apparel manufacturers believing we’ll be proud to sport their logos without an advertising contract.

Sporting empires correct in their notion that shutting down for a half a season will be inconsequential because fans are fickle, and oftentimes subscribe to a life of idolatry.

 

 

Let’s Play Ball

I see the slow pitch soft ballers are out in force.  There is a brief moment every spring when I contemplate heading back to the diamond…and then the flighty urge passes.  The image of a bunch of has been beer swigging wannabes comes up and I discount the notion with a quick head shake.  Upon stereotyping unfairly of course I conclude that 98 per cent have no commercial means of competing in capitalism because of their dead end jobs and hence this becomes their vicarious outlet.  I envision the blankest of stares should they be confronted with a business proposal of merit and wouldn’t be able to process opportunity unless cash first fell from the sky.  

Our mothers and fathers rightfully introduced us to sport as children partly as a medium whereby we would learn cooperation and competition.  Parents intuitively understand that equipping a child for competition is a healthy endeavor in the context of also teaching sportsmanship, respect, leadership, solidarity, positivity, and so many other intangible elements associated with sport and competition. 

Perhaps, as adults we can expand our interests and hobbies in ways that tax the mind, broaden our perspectives, contribute to the community, and teach the children while ensuring that our time for fitness is spent working up a sweat instead of standing in the outfield. 

 

On A Whim At Fleetwood Mac

On a whim, day of concert – found Ticket Master on the web and did a search for Fleetwood Mac.  Figured there may just be one solo seat somewhere in Calgary’s Saddledome.  Voila.  Second row of first balcony next to the aisle with a clear stage view.  Click.

Ambience was quiet and friendly in eager anticipation.  Folks next to me found tickets, same way.  We all beamed in delight over our luck.  Wouldn’t you know it – new friend in next seat has a mutual acquaintance and we share a passion for squash.

Lights go down and up comes Second Hand News.  Good opening number that immediately had me feeling that these guys are still hitting their notes.  Looked to my new friend and exclaimed, it’s like a time warp.  Stevie’s long blond locks still flowing softly with features that defy her age.  Yes, monitors gave us the close ups while a digital backdrop added color and imagery.

Next comes The Chain which has always been a favorite.  The moment seems surreal.  I can’t believe I’m sitting listening to these songs that I spun over and over again on my turn table in my bedroom as a teenager listening attentively distracted from homework.  Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be listening to a favorite rock group going hard and strong 34 years later.

Stevie takes the wheel and demonstrates her unique vocal prowess with Dreams. This sentimental favorite has everyone settling in now.  It’s becoming apparent that we’re going to get all the big hits and there’s going to be no holding back.  Incidentally, Stand Back was featured later on in the evening.

Lindsey speaks about Tusk and this creative foray in which he bemuses that Warner Brothers may not have actually expected this tangent on the heels of such a string of classic rock hits.  In the spirit of Tusk’s place in FM’s ensemble, Lindsey offers up Not That Funny and only he with his guitar greatness could pull something off with this song lacking in melody.

Lindsey referenced creative forces still at work at this late stage in their career with a couple of tracks for EP release.  Sad Angel was profiled along with Without You.  Not gripping but an admiral effort.

The biggest surprises of the night were Lindsey’s Big Love  and I’m So Afraid guitar solos.  Simply stellar performances.  Lindsey Buckingham at 64 showcased lead guitar in such fashion that rivaled anything ever produced in a studio.

No Fleetwood Mac performance would be complete without Landslide.  Stevie and Lindsey teased us with their chemistry with their glance and thought of one more chorus line on wrap.

A particular pleasure was the intros.  They kept us guessing as to what was being led.  Support musicians chimed in with rhythm and chord work whenever Lindsay wasn’t standing alone.  It would have taken the hundred plus plays of the classics from the past to appreciate the play on the rudiment riffs.   Gold Dust Woman exemplified simplicity flavored with timely marks of musical magic in a calmness that the audience felt as Stevie’s aura faded from the backdrop in a golden haze.

The climactic pulse of the event unfolded with and exhilarating version of Go Your Own Way.  This enchanting rhythmic delight abounded in fun and fervor.  The whole band came together and unleashed an energy only achieved by the harmonious inputs of a musical force aged to perfection.

Admittedly, Mick Fleetwood has lost some acumen with the drumsticks but with a boyish enthusiasm in his 65 year old body –he gave us his best drum solo with World Turning.  Everyone was pulling for him and he came through in style.

I gave my new friend to the right a tap in my gesture of departure and walked the corridors alone.  I discovered the back stage along concourse and caught a glimpse of Stevie Nicks and gave her a wave.  Don’t Stop has lyrics of positivity making for a fitting close.

You And The Market

As an entrepreneur and someone who has no boss, no job, no set hours, and no limits on income – I marvel at the anxiety that those with jobs go through to keep themselves relevant in the work place.  I learned quite a while back the “life is not fair”….and consequently are we not sometimes picking fights where the best course of action might be simply to veer off the conflict and find greener pastures along the detour?  The pension plan and golden hand shake appear to still operate vexingly in spite of sapping creativity and self-initiative from the inner purpose of an individual.  What good is a pension if it comes at the price of sacrificing our most precious asset, “time”, for the good of a padded dividend to some high net worth benefactor alien to our existence?  You can embark upon entrepreneurship while holding your job!  Yes, you can!  There is no law against moonlighting!  If your company frowns upon it – how much does it really care about you and your financial autonomy?  Where is the loyalty of an employer during the downturns and pink slips?  Does your employer deserve to have it both ways?  Are there interests at work that encourage you to believe that you cannot achieve?

Lance Armstrong Debacle

Since he keeps showing up in the news, let’s pontificate the Lance Armstrong debacle.  This man lied consistently for years and apparently would never have come clean had he not been caught.  He can apologize all he wants but this was not a misstep.  It was the ultimate in a calculated effort to cheat himself, his competitors, his sport, and his country.  He had children stricken with cancer believing he was a hero and a model member of society worthy of emulation.  Most want to forgive transgressions but I’d leave bicycling and competitive sport to those who have trained clean all their lives in pursuit of an athletic dream free from performance enhancing drugs and / or treatments.  Armstrong will be in a much better position to receive redemption in a contribution to society that no longer involves sport.