March 31, 2008

I Have No Idea What's Coming Up.

Category: Life — Cranky @

Something seems different, lately. I can’t quite put my finger on it, though… it’s as if something is about to change for me, in a fundamental way. Things have been going my way for a long time, and somehow I don’t think what’s coming will change that. Whatever it is, it’s positive.

It may herald a change in my goals, my desires, my wishes… or it may have nothing to do with any of that. It might come through the side door instead of the front, and catch me napping. I might have a choice in the matter, I might not.

I’m not new to these kinds of anticipatory feelings. I’m not claiming to be psychic… I’m just aware of what is going on around me. There are cues happening within my own behaviour and outside of my control. I just don’t know what they mean.

The only thing I’m sure of is that it has nothing to do with work. Everything is going well there, and there are unlikely to be any surprises. Of course, I’m sure the Enron employees thought the same thing… but then I think I work for a better company than that.

I’m excited. It’s like the curtain is going up for the fourth act of my life, and I have no idea what plot twists are in store for me.

Let the show begin!


March 25, 2008

Please Hold Your Applause Until The End

Category: Life — Cranky @

There are many problems facing mankind. There are three that stand out for me, personally.

First, there is the problem of western governments, and the increasing power they wield over the populace, even as they maintain the public perception that they are for freedom, democracy, and the value of the individual.

Second, there is the problem of economic uncertainty worldwide. The Americans aren’t alone. Food prices are skyrocketing around the globe, and the idiotic idea of ethanol has turned the United States into an importer of wheat. Unbelievable.

Finally, though, there is a problem that is nearly universal, and yet it gets no media attention at all.

How does one prevent yolks from breaking when putting eggs into a frying pan?

Now, I can do very little about problems one and two, but I can say that I have perfected the solution to number three. I, Cranky Weasel, have solved a problem that billions have faced over the centuries.

The solution, like all truly great insights, is elegantly simple. Crack the eggs into a highball glass. The landing of the first yolk in the glass is cushioned by the egg white that precedes it, and all subsequent eggs drop into a perfect viscous bed, with virtually no chance of breakage.

From there, you simply pour the eggs into the pan. I’m ten for ten – no yolks broken.

I’m not saying I’m up there with Einstein and Newton, but at the very least I should have earned a place beside Bohr, Curie and Bach. I don’t need to have my name spoken in reverence, but a statue might be nice, or a commemorative stamp.

I’ll turn my attention to the other matters soon enough. For now I’ll bask in my success.


March 13, 2008

It's Not Much, But It's Something…

Category: Social — Cranky @

About two weeks ago I encountered a situation that immediately restructured my world, if only for a day. I was walking home from work, and my head was swimming with thoughts of economics, social interactions, and technology. Occasionally the thoughts would be short-circuited as a girl walked by, but otherwise they were what they were – mostly impersonal.

As I crossed Jasper Avenue, I saw a woman on a cell phone. A man lay at her feet on the sidewalk. From the state of his clothes, his hair, and his gaunt frame, it was easy to tell that he was homeless. He was lying there because that was the spot where his resources had completely failed him. His eyes were slightly open, and he was breathing, but he wasn’t really seeing anything. It was cold out, but there was no effort to warm his hands – they were splayed out where he had fallen.

I walked over, and heard the woman talking to a 911 operator. She was requesting an ambulance. I looked around, and saw a shoe shop in the office building, so I went inside and asked if the clerk had a blanket or a towel. He said he had nothing. I went outside again, and spoke with the woman, and she told me that an ambulance was enroute.

I felt utterly, completely helpless. My jacket wasn’t any warmer than the one he had on, so it was no use giving it to him. Only later would I realize that I could have at least placed it under his head and stayed in the door of the building until help arrived. As it was I couldn’t do anything, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to leave.

I spoke to the woman and said, “I feel like there’s nothing I can do. That’s not pleasant.” She replied, “Well, at least you stopped. Everybody else just kept walking.”

When I heard the siren, I knelt down, and told him that help was coming. He jerked a bit, but didn’t acknowledge the statement. I don’t know if he really heard me. So I stood up and approached the ambulance.

I left a note with one of the responders containing my phone number. I asked that it not be given to the patient, but if the attending doctor would call me and tell me where he was, I’d drop off a good coat, gloves, and hat. Unfortunately I haven’t heard from anybody.

I realized that I’m very fortunate to be concerned on a regular basis with things like social structures, sciences and economics. Many people in the world can’t afford to be concerned with anything not directly involved in keeping them alive from one day to the next.

Donating food and clothing is something most people overlook. I’m not saying this man would have been saved with better clothing. His problems are likely far too deep to be fixed with a little altruism. The thing is, I’m not an outreach worker, psychiatrist, doctor, or drug counsellor. What I can do, though, is donate food to the food bank more regularly, and I think I’m going to be a little more diligent about doing so from time to time.

At least that’s something.