Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Time stands still... for a second or two.

Time rarely gets a second chance.  The clock ticks forward, and it does so at a pretty consistent speed.  Though we use our own version of time largely dependent on where we live... CST, PST, MT, GMT, there is only one true time.  The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is actually a time scale based on the mean solar time and earths real time spin.  In 1999, for some unknown reason, the earth's spin actually increased.  I blame Prince.  If only he hadn't declared the year a party, we might not have been living life in the fast lane.

UTC is counted by using the atomic clock, but is kept in sinc with the actual mean solar time by adjusting the time on the atomic clock twice a year if needed.  This day is on June 30th.  This Leap Second Time Adjustment Day however, there is no adjustment needed.  It seems we do not need to either slow down the atomic clock...  repeat a second, or speed it up and skip a second in time.  So it's not much of a leap at all this year.  Maybe in we'll need to on Leap Second Time Adjustment Day 2.0 (December 31). There is a movement afoot in the scientific community to abolish the Leap Second. Sure.. it might not seem like that big a deal now... but in a million years or so... we could have lost 1 week 4 days 13 hours 46 minutes and 40 seconds. 

The atomic clock, and the fact that I'm staying with my watch addicted mate this week, has me wondering how accurate a timepiece can be if not adjusted likewise as is the UTC. Is a Rolex more likely to keep accurate time and slow down for just a second every now and again, and only if announced that an adjustment is needed?  Can a Patek Phillipe? I don't know if my Android can or that my solar powered Citizen can do it either, and it only runs if it gets to see the light of day.  Could an atomic watch be too far away? After all, how big does an oscillating atom have to be? I'm sure in time, this is time piece we will all be wearing. 

At 0 hours 13 minutes 35 seconds GMT on this date in 1908 a Meteor struck Russia, causing an explosion above the earth.  Although the meteor is thought to have burst above ground, it is still considered an impact, and in written history, still the largest of it's kind.  There are estimates that the blast was the equivalent of anywhere from 5-30 megatons of TNT.  The 'event' is called the Tunguska Explosion, and thus today is Meteor Day.  I'm not sure if this a day we should celebrate.  Scientific estimations at what the impact of a meteor hitting earth today show mass destruction not unlike the movies.  A large meteor could be an extinction causing event.  Our planet would be left to the cockroaches and Twinkies, bringing on a whole new time... Blattapastryzoic period.  Now there is a time we could leap over.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Need a hug? Phone a friend.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010 - Telephones have changed the world.  Cellular telephones... the mobile, the cell... have changed my world.  Once we were happy enough with a great big long cord on the wall mounted phone in the kitchen that you could drag around from room to room while painting your toe nails and getting the latest gossip about Susan's friend Linda's best friend's sister's boyfriends buddy Paul.  Then I remember getting a second phone and another phone jack.  Then I got a phone in my room.  Then I got my own phone number.  Would it ever get any better than that? It was hard to imagine anyone having it better.  I had my own phone, in my own room, and now when I was talking to Susan's friend Linda's best friend's sister's boyfriends buddy Paul I could do so without any fear that there was someone on the extension.

Then along came the mobile telephone.  I of course got one. It was the size of a brick and had an antenna that would make NASA proud. Fortunately, it was at the beginning of the whole cell phone craze, and it wasn't long before Motorola came out with a flip phone.  Of course it was now the size of half a brick - unless you put on the extended life battery. Like magic, the phone would now last 12 hours, but was back to being the size of a brick. Time marched on, and the phones got progressively smaller.  Then came games, and calculators.  Ringtones... could it get any better?  Individual ringtones... very cool.  I got my first I-Paq phone and it was my palm pilot, phone, and camera all in one. I thought I'd hit the big time, but alas, there was more to come still.

On this day in 2007 Apple put the first iPhone out for sale.  There was a line around every Apple Store, AT&T re-seller for the masses to finally get their hands on the phone that was going to change things again.. It really did change the way we thought of phones, and yet another race was on. Who could pack the most uses in to a single phone? We now have instant access to phones no matter our location.

There is no longer a phone in my house.  No phone jacks, no extensions, no phone bills.  I have my iPhone, as any self respecting geek should. I now have with me at any time of day or night a map of the world, an ongoing game of Scrabble with Hiro, Wikipedia, weather updates, all my contacts, my pictures and my calendar. I have become so attached to my phone that should I leave the house without it, I feel naked.  It's worse than that public speaking nightmare.  What if I need to look something up?  What if someone is texting me? What if I'm supposed to be somewhere and I don't know where? 

I am attached to my phone, that I had to seperate work from play. Just incase I don't have enough ways to stay in touch, I also carry around a Blackberry... but that one is only for work.  I have become so very attached to my phones, that I keep them very close.  They are in my breast pockets, a.k.a. my bra. In fact, I keep my iPhone in the left side, and the BlackBerry in the right.  The former is personal, the latter is work.  It's easy to keep track.  The personal phone is full of people I adore, and so it lives close to my heart.  It's like a digital hug. The work phone... well it's in the other "breast pocket".  Speaking of digital hugs... today is Hug Day.  Go ahead and hug your mates, hug your friends, and hug your kids. Me... I'll make a few phone calls from whereever I happen to be.

OOH.... never mind, I'm getting a hug myself.  My left breast is ringing.  Did I mention I keep it on vibrate?  Hugs.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Paul, Babe, Rex and Tyson

Monday, 28 June 2010 - The 49th parallel is really the ultimate line in the sand. If you are above it... Canadian. If you are below it... American. Yet centuries ago that line really didn't have secured border crossings.  It is why so many things that are Canadian are touted or revered as American. Let's be honest, the marketing machine has always been larger on the south side of the line. Of course there is basketball, which was really a Canadian PE teacher's way of getting some tallish boys to get a bit of exercise. But it became an American classic.  Indeed we have only one NBA team in Canada (well, two once... but let's not draw too much attention to the Grizzlies).

Let's talk folklore. Paul Bunyan... now there was a tall boy. Like all good folklore, it is passed from generation to generation over camp fires, sleepovers, and boyscout camp. The tales of Paul Bunyan originated in Quebec during the Papineau Rebellion. In the original lore, Paul Bonjean (sounds "Bonyenne") was a great, bearded lumberjack that helped the lumberjacks of the Two Mountains area of Quebec fight against the British. He was hailed as the great defender of the people. The stories got told over and over and with each telling of the tale, a little embellished. I suspect that after a couple of cross-border camping trips, the tales just fell under the spell of that same US marketing machine... and so grew Paul Bunyan's stature as American folklore.  Tales of Paul Bunyan make it into the written literature in 1910, by an American journalist named James MacGillvary.  In time, Mr. Bunyan has become responsible for scooping out the Great Lakes in order to give his ginormous ox a beverage.  His footprints are responsible for the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota.  He dug out the Grand Canyon by dragging his big ass axe behind him, and built Mount Hood by piling rocks on to a campfire to put it out. I'm sure his trusty blue ox - the larger than normal "Babe" was a sidekick, and companion in all his adventures and hard work.

With the wonders of all Mr. Bunyan's work, and his sheer size, I'm surprised that there is only one day to celebrate the man.  Given to day is Paul Bunyan Day, you might want to celebrate with a Keg Size. Infact, everything you do today, you should go large. Maybe that is why when Tyson and Hollyfield took to the ring on this day in 1997, Mikey bit off a chunk of Evander's ear. If you are going to have a meal, a heavyweight champion is as good as super sizing the fries.

PS... Happy Birthday Rex.  You might not be blue, and you probably couldn't dig out a channel of earth the size of the grand canyon, but you carried home the croissants this morning and that makes you my trusty side kick.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

If you've a date in Dubrovnik.... She'll be wearing Oakley shades

Sunday, 27 June 2010 -  The globe is an ever changing, living breathing thing.  We can call it Mother Nature, call it the power of the tides, you can blame it on the moon, hell, you can even call it god... but whatever you call it there is no denying the unmeasurable power of the planet. Over the centuries and thousands and thousands of years, geologists, biologists, paleontologists, physicists and backyard astronomers have shown the amazing changes our planet has undergone.  From the Ice Age to the Pleistocene, from Lucy to Uncle Bob... change is the only thing we can without a doubt say is constant.  Think string theory and you would think that those changes and random collisions are actually predictable. Maybe.

I watched a documentary tonight detailing our reliance on the one celestial orb in to which we have managed to hammer in a flag.  The moon, though slowly moving away from us at a rate of about 2.5 inches a year, is largely responsible for keeping the earth spinning on the right axis.  Should our moon decide to bugger off (and really, with the way we treat our planet who could blame it if it did), the earth would continue to roam around the oft worshiped ball of flames. However, it would no longer do so on an axis that allows for semi-predictable weather patterns.  Instead, the earth would waggle and wiggle.  The poles would be in direct sun for days, maybe months.  Imagine penguins in sunglasses?  I can't see it.  Foster Grant would have to start with a whole new pattern.  After all, penguins have no ears to sit sunglasses upon. I can actually picture the Emperor penguins wearing Maui Jim's. Go figure, today is Sunglasses Day.  I hope that Foster Grant and Ray Ban are out celebrating.  Maybe you can find Foster in a pub, Ray out riding his bike and Jim hanging on the beaches of the South Pole.

The continents have shifted, moved, grown and contracted over the last several million years.  What was likely once a large singular land mass became a bunch of continents that required airlines to overcome. It is fairly difficult to catch a train from Mozambique to Honolulu.  Even in our recorded history, the continents have changed.  Borders are redefined regularly.  Countries come in to being, and countries cease to exist.  Towns get absorbed by larger urban centres, and farms become condo developments.  There was once a place called Constantinople, which was once Byzantium.  Now it's Istanbul.  I hate to channel a song, but
Even old New York, was once New Amsterdam.
Why'd they change it... I can't say.
People just liked it better that way........ 1.
On today's date in 1358, the Republic of Dubrovnik was founded. Historians suggest that Dubrovnik, once Ragusa, was originally founded by the Greeks, but later came under Byzantine protection.  After the crusades, it came under the control of Venice.  The Rupublic of Dubrovnik stood until the late 1660's, when a decline in shipping and an earthquake nearly wiped it out (over 5000 people died and the buildings were essentially leveled), the republic sold off two areas to the Ottomans to avoid the advances of the Venetians (conflict, not a first date gone horribly wrong).   There is hundreds of years of history after that, but lets skip to present day. Today, Dubrovnik is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea.  So if you've a date in the Republic of Dubrovnik... she'll be waiting in Croatia.

1.  "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" by They Might be Giants.... I thank you for this.  The once song that has been stuck in my head since college and alas...  there it remains.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Forgive, get high, and forget.

Saturday, 26 June 2010 - So it's Saturday night, and you are out with a few mates.  You start at a pub, have a few, work your way to the local rib joint, inhale half a pig slow roasted and coated in bbq sauce, and then hit the local watering hole for a few more. Sounds like a pretty decent Saturday night really.  What if during that night you get in to a battle over, oh I don't know, the next round of football matches.  You pit country against country, and your battle gets deep.  Perhaps it isn't even about football, but world security and the role sport plays in developing a world wide peace.  I have to wonder how many politico's it took in that local watering hole on this day in 1945 to sign the first ever United Nations Charter.  Do you think they knew that really, all you need is football and ribs? Every good argument with mates over a pint or two usually ends with a few slaps on the back, a story to tell next time about that time when one buddy tried to kick another buddy but fell and broke his arm up high... broke the humerous and it wasn't really that funny, but you tell it over and over again anyway.

The United Nations may have missed it's mark.  The charter was simple enough:
To maintain international peace and security, to take collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights, achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.1.
What could be more difficult than that right?  Seems "simples" enough. Just bring together a few political animals, cage them up in a room, and let them talk about how they are going to solve the world's largest issues just be getting together. I would like to suggest that FIFA is probably doing a better job.

I suspect that there is probably a greater global impact on peace and security if we could put an end to the drug trafficking trade.  Take a look at the wars and battles that have been going on in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Afghanistan, China, Malaysia, Russia, and so much more.  The drug trafficking industry leads to civil wars, gorilla wars, death, decay, child abuse, and mafia bosses with a penchant for cannoli.  The drug trade also leads to smaller threats to peace on a personal level.  Drug use and abuse can lead to petty crime, broken car windows, street walkers, broken families, violence, death, overdoses and more. The results of the drug wars world wide have a staggering effect on those living right in our own backyards. 

Today is International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.  I somehow doubt one day against such a global black spot will be nearly enough. Any illicit trafficking of drugs on home soil likely started with the farming of poppies in Afghanistan, the harvesting of Cocoa leaves in Colombia, the wars on the streets in Mexico and the politics and death that thrive on the same. There are governments who benefit from the trade, and maffia and cartels that depend on trafficking to hold strong. Drug abuse is rampant world wide, not just at home, on the east side or in the projects.  I suspect that there is alot more to this industry than the junkies on the receiving end.  There is too much to gain for countries who have little, and too much invested to give up without a war.  The UN wants peace. However, this is a pretty enormous challenge. They might have to pull out the peace pipe because putting a few old stogies in a room a few times a year to discuss the need for world peace sounds to me like they've all smoked a little weed. The intentions are good, and for that reason, I can forgive them for it as today is also Forgiveness Day

1. The 'Readers Digest' version of the UN Charter found on the UN website

Friday, June 25, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow... MJ dyes

Friday, 25 June 2010 - Do you ever wonder what really drives a person to do the things they do largely because they are things you just couldn't see yourself doing? Can you not picture yourself doing them from a lack of bravery, common sense, or the reality checks that keep your behaviors in check? There are great men, odd men, and men of conviction that give us a rich and colourful history because they maybe just did the things they thought made sense to them and no one else.

George Armstrong Custer was an interesting man, who is probably remembered most for his utterly disastrous battle in the black hills of Montana.  The Battle at Little Big Horn was likely not his best move, but certainly his most memorable.  During and leading up to this battle, the Colonel refused help, left behind the guns that may have come in handy, and divided up his troops - all 600 of them - even though he had advanced information on the sheer number of Sioux that would be faced.  But...this Colonel - even dead, had the benefit of great press. A truly skillful media man, from the great beyond, somehow managed to find himself an esteemed place in US history.  He worked the press before the battle, and his wife worked the press after.  Proving again that behind every great man is a great woman (thank you Annie Lenox).

Good Ol' George died on this day in 1876 on that battlefield.  Not but moments after praising his troops and asking them to finish up so they could hit the saloon and pillage a few buxom Sioux women and a few hottie Cheyennes no doubt.  Custer did not make it to the bar that night.  I have a few other suspicions about that night.  I say he did make it to the bar, made a few indecent proposals, and had the bejesus knocked out of him by a woman. Indeed at a public meeting of the Northern Cheyenne in June of 2005 at a public meeting, a 100 year silence was broken and the traditional storytellers told another version of the days events on June 25, 1876.  They tell a story that has been passed down according to their oral tradition that "Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a Northern Cheyenne heroine of the Battle of the Rosebud, struck the final blow against Custer, which knocked him off his horse before he died."1Chalk another one up to a scorned woman.

Give the Colonel cudos though, he did stick to his guns and he lead his troops into something.  I don't know if I could do the same.  But, people have great strength when it comes to standing up for what they believe.  On June 25th in 1978, Gilbert Baker and his boyfriend Jomar Teng tye-dyed a flag and flew it with pride at the first ever Gay Pride Parade in San Fransisco.  Not only did it take great skill and probably a shit load of pot to make a flag out of tye-dye...  but they had to dress up in there Sunday best spats and thongs and fly the flag in a time when we couldn't really joke about the spats without implying a negative.  Honestly, in today's world, the Pride Parades have the Macy's Day Parades beat hands (and tops) down for entertainment, music, dancing, and body paint.  Gilbert really did need to go out on a limp.  But in honour of Gilbert, and Jomar, and all the other friends they made that day, today is GLBT Flag Day.  Yes... I said Flag, but that reminds me of a side story.

Once while working for the City, I and my conservative bordering on uptight boss, were looking online for the flags of the world for our multilingual website.  While typing in I missed the "L".  Not sure which was more entertaining... the website, or my blushing boss.

Ok, back to Flag Day.  This is the start of Pride Week in cities around the world.  No matter what your lifestyle, the colour, sex, gender, or preferences of your partners or yourself, be proud.  Be proud to live in a time when acceptance and possibility is possible.  We may not be there yet, but I think we are getting there. Its 32 years later... lets hope we've grown as a society and as human beings. Let the waxing begin.f

Oh yeah... MJ.  Well, it is also the anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson.  Speaking of doing things you sometimes don't understand...  MJ was born black.  He was born in a time when great strides were being made for the Black rights movements. He had an opportunity to change the way the world saw people who are black.  Instead, MJ died white.  These are certainly "colours" of some kind, but as a human being I think I am more proud of the rainbow of colours in the GLBT Flag than I am of the greyscale of MJ.  I am neither black nor GLBT, but I believe with conviction that all people, no matter your leanings, biological drive or melatonin is any different than the rest. Perhaps if George Custer had stood up for the same then, there would have been no Little Big Horn, but rather a peaceful meeting over a pipe, and the breaking of bannock.

1.  Wikipedia

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Your senses could deceive you...

Thursday, June 24, 2010 - The sights and sounds all around us make for a rich tapestry.  Some tapestries are richer than others.  In the city in which I live, there are very distinct tapestries - let's call them neighbourhoods - that draw certain people and repel others. There is the so called "creme de la creme" neighbourhood of Kerrisdale and Shaugnessy... attracts me for the coffee and cheap pedicures. There is the Downtown Eastside which repels because of the public urination and the unattractive hookers. It does attract ugly hookers and people who need to pee.  Yaletown is a great neighbourhood.  Attracts me for the nightlife and convenience of the tube station (the hookers here are much better looking as well).  Kitsilano has shopping, a dog beach, a people beach, and lots of coffee. Again, appeals to me, but repels those who find yuppies and puppies a bit too much.

Strangely, each of these neighbourhoods have their own smells. Of course the DTES smells of roses and sage. (Well, of a street walker named Rose, and burning sage bush and crack cocaine).  Kerrisdale on the other hand, has an aroma of Oil of Olay.  Yaletown smells a little of a meat packing district.  What was once old warehouses is now a thriving neighbourhood of younger and single people.  Perhaps meat market would be a more apt descriptor.

I work in public transit.  My senses should really go on strike.  They should just pack it in and call it quits.  My eyes experience great burning images of girls in belts for skirts, tube tops and baby tees on what you can only hope is covering the correct roll. These images can be burned on to the retinas of your mind for days. Some of them are permanent.  I beg that my senses are deceiving me, but alas, I am often not the only one who notices these vision.  No mirages on the line but there is apparently a full length mirror shortage crisis. Might need a telethon for this one.

Then there is the sounds of public transit.  How about the drunk 20-somethings who think they are "the next American Idol".  It's like the auditions round every weekend. My ears would bleed if not for the desensitization they've had from my own singing.

Have I mentioned the smells?  As the weather heats up outside, the smells seem to concentrate. There is the over perfumed, the over beverage'd, the over sun-screen'd, the over garlic'd, the under bathed, the under-deodorized, the under-diaper'd, the should have worn a diaper'd and so much more.  There are those special gifts that get left behind after a night of hyper-imbibing where you also get to experience the dinner that was had along with the beverages.

Well, today is Celebration of the Senses Day. Regardless of where you live, what you do, and where you will find yourself today, take notice of the things your senses are telling you which we don't often hear.  Look around and find one thing you hadn't noticed before with your eyes. Sniff around and find one thing you have been ignoring that your nose is saying. Touch something soft, rough, smooth, hard, cold and hot but do be careful. Taste something new - just read the label first. We probably miss 60% of our worlds for not paying attention.  Our senses truly are amazing and make our own tapestry a fascinating place to be.

If you work in public transit however... you may just want to give your senses a day off in celebration.  A little like making pancakes for dad on Father's Day. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Children and dogs go together

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 -  As the school year comes to an end, and the summer begins in earnest, there is one thing that is very hard to miss... all the children hanging about.  There are kids at the park, at the pool, and even at the gym.  There are kids hanging off their parents in malls, and hanging in malls to avoid their parents. There are kids outside of 7-11's and even the local Starbucks is being overrun with underlings. So what I find fascinating is that it is Children's Awareness Month.  Of all the months for this, it has to be the one month that you can't help but run into children everywhere.  Trust me... I am very aware.  I am aware of how little kids have to do all day. I am aware of the big words and the short four-letter ones that children are familiar with, and have a penchant for using. I am well aware of the size of the soccer pitch behind the house and just how many kids can take it over for uses that rarely involve a football. 

June is Children's Awareness Month.  Is there anything in particular that this can hope to accomplish more than they are doing all on their own? Perhaps what could come of this is a better selection of entertainments that are not only 'appropriate' for community centres and schools, but appealing to the kids themselves.  I don't know that I've seen too many 15 year old kids these days who are interested in taking in a swimming camp.  How about a music writing/production/rap camp? How about a class in making your own bling or speed texting? How to hack your iPhone and mess with your parents camp? (I would like to attend that one.)

I do not have children.  I am sure that that is not obvious in my writing, huh?  I guess that gene failed to turn on, or maybe it's self preservation for a road not traveled. I do have a dog. I have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who himself likes to play on that soccer pitch with a football when we can actually get on the field. I work long days on the days I work.  Because my child is a dog, I don't need babysitting, but I do utilize a dog walker. He used to come to work with me every day.  Now I work in operations on a railway and that just isn't an option anymore.  Yesterday, I had meetings in the office all day, and for the first time in two years, I took my dog to work.  He spent half the day under the desk of the customer care guru'ess, and the other half under the board room table. It was a flashback to how good a life he used to have. Now if I could just figure a way to bring him to work on my operations days... he would have it made.  If I was paying closer attention I would have known yesterday that TODAY is Bring Your Dog to Work Day.  I would say I missed the boat on this one, but it turns out Rex and I are just trailblazers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stupidity is fuel for fodder.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - People can make all kinds of mistakes in their lives.  Mistakes are made at work, that ultimately make you a stronger employee, supervisor or boss. Some mistakes get made with our partners and loved ones.  These mistakes can make a relationship stronger, or break a relationship. More often than not, mistakes are just stupid errors that happen because people have a momentary lapse in judgment or a few too many judgment lapsing beverages. Waking up with a hangover and a feeling that there are holes in the evenings events time line...  truly sets the stage for a perfect storm of stupid mistakes. Ultimately, if you don't wake up with a tiger in the bathroom and a chicken on the piano you should be alright eventually.

The perfect storm for stupid mistakes involves a group of guys, way too much stupid lubricant (shots), good weather, and a reason to celebrate. The reasons to celebrate can range from life changing events to the reasons found on these pages. The reason isn't as critical to the perfect storm as is the rest of the requirements. The shots on the other hand, can range from tequila to Jaggermeister, and can be delivered by a hot bar wench or a homely hairy barkeep. All this and voila, the stupid meter begins to creep up the scale.

Guys really do have the market cornered often on doing stupid things.  So much so that there are many things that by default fall in to the "Stupid Guy Thing" category.  Even when the girls do the same, it is still considered a stupid guy thing.  If  a girl leaves the toilet seat up (from cleaning perhaps??)... stupid guy thing.  Forget a birthday... stupid guy thing.  Not answering the phone... stupid guy thing.  Refuse to ask for directions... stupid guy thing.  These things don't even require stupid lubricant. Women can attempt to fight them, but at some point you have to give in, and just accept that the stupid things that guys do is just part and parcel of the maleness of that half of the species.

It would be in the human race's best interest to accept these behaviours.  Maybe by accepting it, we can then compact all the stupid things in to a short period of time. Give all guys carte blanche to get all their stupid out. Surprise surprise, today is Stupid Guy Thing Day. Get your stupid out boys.  Leave the toilet seat up today, for tomorrow it shall get you in trouble.  Go ahead and get lost, do not ask for directions, and drive the car dry trying to get there... but tomorrow, you better have a map, a Tom Tom, GPS on your phone, and have memorized the phrase "Excuse me, but I'm lost.  Do you know how to get to..."  Today you can change the channel randomly as many times as you want, but touch the remote tomorrow during a re-run of House that you've already sat through twice, and removing the remote will require surgery and a week of you lying on your stomach.

Go ahead and celebrate.  Poke fun at yourself and scratch random bits in public all day long. If you need a little lubricant (and not for remote extraction), do that too.  Heck, hang out with your buddies and do stupid guy things together. It will give me something to write about tomorrow, and probably provide fodder for many more columns.  Today is also Columnist Day.  I'm no Ann Landers (trust me, my relationship advise is NOT worth taking), but I am always game to write about as little as possible in as many words as I feel like typing. Come on guys, I'm counting on you.

Longest day you say??

Monday, June 21, 2010 - Alas, it is the longest day of the year.  No that does not mean it is the longest day at work... but it is Monday.  It does not mean it is the day that will drag on more than any other.  It means the sun is over the tropic farthest north and as for summer.... this could be as good as it gets.

So tonight was also the opening home game for the Oakland A's farm team, and the stands were full.  They were full of cheering, beveraging (I did partake), and boys in white pants. We won, and in a pretty good game.  Pitcher changes about 4 times in the night, and the fireworks were alright.  We did watch them from my patio with a bottle of pinot grigio.  Hey, there has to be some perks from livin across the soccer pitch from the ball park.

Home team... 1.... Longest day of the year... full count.  It is the summer solstice... the longest day of the year. The day when the boys of summer on the field, and the most sunshine should meet head to head, but alas... this year.. not so much.  There was rain, cloud, and sun. There was no great cheer for the longest day of the year. I did cheer for the 'boys' of summer, but not in a tank top, or a tee.. but in a sweater and jeans.  Thankfully, after the beer guy sorted out his order to meet my needs, it was apparent that he too knew that "beer guy" tee required a sweater.

Celebrating Daylight Appreciation Day should make a ton of sense.  It is the longest day. Supposedly, it is the hottest day.  And ultimately, should be the largest celebration of summer. So... if this is the longest Monday on record or is the hottest Monday on record... Congratulations.  The sun is over the tropics.  We are officially experiencing the longest and hottest day... and this is it.. the start of summer.  Did you miss something?  Me too.. I missed the start of summer, the longest day, and the start of days warmer than those of late fall and early spring.

Wonder what the fall will bring.....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Carpenters and Fathers

Sunday, June 20, 2010 - It's the third Sunday in June and that means by default, it is Father's Day.  But for those who no longer have their father, never had a father, lost touch with their father, or have deleted their father's contact info... today is the third Sunday in June. But all is not lost for those folks, for today is the start of Carpenter Ant Awareness Week.   I'm sure somewhere in there is a logical segue but I'm not quite there yet.  Give me a few paragraphs.

Relationships with your father a relationship that molds you. I read on a friends Facebook posting today that his relationship with his father continues to make him a better father. And in turn, he will no doubt play that role for his son. For girls, the relationships with their father can help mold their choices in the men in their lives. So what about the girls who don't have a father in thier life? What type of men do they choose?  Do they continue to emulate exactly what they know and not choose one at all? Is there a void that they continue to fill with that same void?

A friend has told me on many occassions that not only did she adore her dad, but she married a man who is just like her dad. The question that I must then ask is... is what makes a great father make a great partner? I'm thinking that there are qualities there that may make a man like your father a not so great partner.  As a girl, you look up to your dad for guidance, acceptance, a round of golf, and a chance to hold the hammer and work the sander. ( I told you I'd find a connection at some point.)  As a husband, you may want some of those things, but hold your own hammer, and the sander is all yours babe. A round of golf is not a bad idea, but having golfed with many married couples, let me tell you as the single outsider... it is NOT really that great an idea  Golf with your mates mate.

Now I have other friends who's fathers were excellent role models and have grown to be men of good character.  Sadly, several of them are good with keyboards, good with a pen... but tools of any other kind are just not on their list of strengths.  These are the men you have in your lives that will 'call a guy' when things need fixing. Not a carpenter among them. I have an aunt who is pretty handy, but I don't suspect that is what is meant by Carpenter Ant.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lazy hazy days of summer

Saturday, June 19, 2010 - There are few things as pleasant and self indulgent as sitting in the warm summer sun, reading a book and warming the skeletal frame that takes a beating the rest of the time.  It is a moment that will happen twice a year if I'm lucky, and it will be one of the few times where I will feel that warmth given I live north of the 49th parallel. But it happens so rarely not only because of the northern location my patio is geographically located. It is also due to a complete inability to find enough time to laze.  Instead, I have come up with a new motto in life...  take everything you do, and slow it down just enough so that the feeling of rush leaves you.  Saunter. Take more time to get there.  Late?  Who cares. You got there didn't you?

Today is Sauntering Day.  Seems fitting for a Saturday, but how many of us actually use the weekends to decompress anymore?  Between shopping, sports, family gatherings (now that's relaxing), weddings, parties, bbqs, left over work, dog parks, kids...  what can be more compressed than trying to get an entire weeks worth of life in to two days?  I think to my family to the south.  The weekends are when there is less help to assist with two beautiful but oh so young babies that require much help. On top of which are the social engagements and other family needs.  Weekends in that home are busier than the week days. Sauntering is so very out of the question on most Saturdays, and I'm certain that today will be no different than the other 51.

For me, I work every second Saturday. There are only 26 weekends for me to utilize so I have to fit in two weeks worth of life outside of work in to a single weekend.  Thankfully, I have a 3-day weekend to make up for it, but seriously?  This makes for a busy weekend.  Good thing I stopped worrying about the clock. I'll get there.  I'm sure of that much, I just won't be able to tell you when.

There was a king of laze... Mr. Garfield (the cat).  Seemed this was a feline that had the whole sauntering thing figured out.  A good scratching post is only made better by having it brought to your claws. And if you need to get somewhere... relax.  Take your time.  Either you will get there, or there will be brought nearer to you. Suppose there is a good reason today is also Garfield the Cat Day.  Celebrate your inner Garfield.  Wait for the scratching post to come to you. As the saying goes... Good things come to those who wait.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Titleless Men in our Lives

Friday, June 18, 2010 - There are many reasons to hold a month in celebration of Men.  After all, if there wasn't an International Men's Month, how would you know it's time to stroke egos and praise the crooked curtain rods? Seriously, International Men's Month is a good time to send a card to the chairman of BP and tell him how we are so happy a man is in charge of stopping the spewing oil and the cleanup of the gulf after all, the "small people"1 will be thankful when they see the great work BP will do to clean up their screw ups.

So tell me, in a world that has been, and likely will be for many more generations to come, focused on the success of men, why do we need a month dedicated to men?  Do we need a month dedicated to ignorance - Bliss Month?  How about a month dedicated to stupidity - What the Hell Month Is It? Or we can skip the bull and go straight to Screw Up Royally Month.  Oh wait, BP has already done that.

There are thousands upon thousands of oil pouring in to the Gulf of Mexico, and there are fish, reptile and fowl washing up dead, dying or in serious distress.  The men of BP are spouting off bad crap as fast and furious as their well is spouting crude in to the waters of the gulf. I don't mind celebrating men as a month, but can we be selective of which men we will celebrate?  Cause the BaPhoons are not on my list.

How about we celebrate the fathers and brothers that have helped shape the world. There are the men we rely on - husbands, boyfriends, friends - that will never truly understand how much they are appreciated and needed.  We could celebrate them.  We could call June a month of treating those men in our lives who provide deep meaning and valu with honestly and understanding. I am a fortunate girl indeed.  There are two men in my life who fill very special places in my life. One is my best friend.  He provides me a family to which I go home and married a woman who has become the sister I never had.  Together they have given me two beautiful girls that fill the role of my nieces and give me the chance to be an aunt.   The other is a relationship that to my, defies description. Hi is my brother.  A best friend and a confidant from whom I have nothing to hide.  He is the one person in my life to whom I will openly admit my faults, mistakes, and all the bullshit that I keep solidly bottled up from everyone else.  He sees me cry, pout, shine, laugh and admit defeat.  As a unit, the three of us are joking the "id" the "ego" and the "superego."  A cohesive unit of three very different people.  These are the men in my life that I choose to celebrate for International Men's Month.  Perhaps there is much more to the concept of International Men's Month.  There is Father's Day.... self descriptive.  But what about the other men in your life?  Is there anyone who has helped shape you, or is there for you when you are certain there really isn't anyone there at all? Not your husbands or boyfriends, not the great philosophers or inventors, and not your fathers - but the other men who are sometimes left on the periphery.  These are the guys in our lives who don't have a special day, because they are there all the time.  They get a month.

Today is also Go Fishing Day.  This year I don't recommend casting a line - god knows how many crude oil balls you might catch. Instead, think long and hard before complaining about the rise in the cost of fresh seafood and the lives that will be affected by this spill and find.  I caught a fish once, and I didn't know what to do once it started flopping about on the dock in a panic.  My cousin threw a rock at it until it ceased to panic - and live.  Now the BP Chair and CEO... they should not get a month, or a day, or even an hour.  What they should get is tied to a pole out in the surf of the Gulf, and for every fish, fowl, plankton, or living thing harmed by their lack of concern for the "little people" those same little people should get to throw a rock at them. It's a little like fishing. Perhaps the Muslim extremists were on to something after all.

1.  BP Chairman - gafaw

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Celibate with a new Mate...

Wow... I know I don't write much any more, but looking back at how long it's been, I can understand if there isn't a soul left reading this blog.  I mean seriously, why bother?  It's been what?....   17 months (since I wrote)? Ok, maybe not that long but it might as well be.

I was working the other night with my team - who I have to say is the greatest team to work with.  We got to talking about it being Celibacy Month and the question was... why a month?  I mean seriously? Even virgin teenagers don't last an entire month once the hormones kick in - unless they've signed a celibacy contract and event then, they will be doing well if they push 2 months.  Admit it... we were all (or are) teenagers once and who the heck could concentrate on subjugation or convergence?  Well, unless you were subjucating someone worth converging with that is.  So...  ultimately, I starting thinking about this blog and how much I miss writing even if only for myself.

So... June, or what is left of it, is Celibacy Awareness Month.  There are many people who choose celibacy, if only to appease the parental units.  There are those who do not choose celibacy, but are living proof that sex is the cause of life, but not required for life. There are those who choose to be celibate in spurts... the Serial Celibater (The Dry Cereal Aisle?)  There are those who are celibate in spurts not by choice but by circumstances (single in the Pacific Northwest), and those who are celibate by marriage (still married after 6.8 years).

The need to call it Celibacy AWARENESS month seems a little redundant.  Trust me, if you have been celibate for any lenght of time, either by choice or by circumstance, you are well aware of the fact that you are celibate.  Now celibate by definition is one who abstains from sex1.  There is nothing in the definition to state the cause of such an absention, nor is there any implication of the motivations for celibacy.  So can celibacy be an affliction that is caught like a disease? And other than divorce, is there a vaccine for that?

June is the time of the year when the days are longest and the Vitamin D absorption is at a yearly high. June is a time of  warmer weather and smaller clothes, the start of summer vacation and the end of the school year.  It's a season ripe for meeting up with new people and meeting new mates. Hormones are at an all-year high. So tell me... why is it that June also plays host to Meet a Mate Week (June 14 - 21). Seriously? When you meet a new mate, are you really going to want to tell them over a cocktail in a loud bar, where you run the risk of a quiet moment in the music, to yell that you have committed to celibacy?  There will be plenty of time for celibacy later.  Hit the 7 year itch mark, and you'll be lucky to not be celibate (and not by choice).  Sadly, there is not yet a vaccine for that.   There is a little blue pill.......

1. definition

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