Sunday, March 26, 2006

Incendiary Interventions

On Saturday morning I started off in the car and drove to a camping store because I knew the company was having a rental-equipment sell-off. But when I got there, the annoying looking car-salesman-looking owner guy told me that this was not the right store, it was another location.

Ah well, I thought - I'll just browse about to see what I can see. After a little while of random poking around, I settled on a magnesium-steel firestarter stick. This was a small one, made in Germany. Perfect for lighting my new naptha-powered lantern and stove on my next camping trip, along with my campfire.

I then slowly made my way to the front of the store - searching about in the Alladin's Cave of a Camping Store - and placed the small package on the counter as my eyes darted about the various impulse purchase product racks assembled about on the counter. Then I pulled out my debit card. And as the owner guy swiped my card, he astonishingly - and without a smile - asked me if I was an arsonist.

Still looking about at the impulse-purchase racks, I casually replied "Do you think I'd tell you if I was?" and dryly met his eyes. He quickly went back to ringing in my purchase, without saying anything else, and moments later I left the store.

Earlier this evening I put a stuffed chicken - sprinkled with pepper and salt - into the oven. The oven was hot inside - I'd turned a plastic ring earlier to make it so.

For the next hour and a bit this made the chicken hot on the inside and the outside. That made the really small chickeny molecules dance differently than the way they had grown accustomed to during the life and the brief unheated post-mortem period of the chicken's body, and turn into different molecules and bind together and split apart - and this caused it to smell nice and look like a roasted chicken.

I gently dissected it into the right parts after it had cooled for a little, and then Spring and I ate it.

I dissected a cat in grade 13 biology. I worked as a butcher during university. I have substantial dissection training, after all.

Today I put Monty into his harness and put him and myself outside in the Music Garden - as it is called - and put ourselves down the path for a while and eventually I put ourselves at a location near some scratchy looking dried weeds.

I put a handful of this stuff into my hands, and rolled it all up and together until I had a nice tidy tinder bundle - all in breathless anticipation of testing out my new magensium-steel firestarter stick.

But then the atmosphere put a large volume of itself into the space Monty and I were occupying in a very short time span and I decided that it was too windy to try to start a small fire in the park. So I resolved to start a fire on a day when the atmosphere was not feeling so shifty.

It is worth noting - however - that I am not an arsonist.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Tree Fish

Make Fire with Sparks and Wood Shavings

I went to work today.
At one point I played serious project manager on the phone for effect.
At one point I reflected that the Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar from England tasted good.
At one point I wrote a limerick.
At one point Matt dropped by after having a meeting describing the core architecture of the software product he is leading up for a top-secret project he wouldn't even tell me about even though I have known him for 18 years or more and been through numerous life changing movie moments with him and in fact I seem to recall him looking around nervously in the pizza joint as though the top secret project authorities were watching him or maybe I'm just making that up but then we plotted to take over the economy.

At one point my information architure diagram was minimally successful.

  • At one point I ate a can of Walmart Baked Beans.
  • At one point I taught someone behavioural interview techniques.
  • At one point I discussed versioning control software with someone.
  • At one point I pondered about karma.
  • At one point I pondered about camping.
  • At one point I pondered about my shoes.
  • At one point I polished my shoes.
  • At one point I drank a chocolate milk.
  • At one point I drank a coke.
  • At one point I drank a coffee.
  • At one point I drank a pepsi.
  • At one point I sneezed.
  • At one point I stretched.
  • At one point I yawned.
  • At one point I couldn't think of any at all of much interest to say about my day and wondered why I couldn't think of anything at all and thought maybe it was because I used up all my brain cells today managing the crap out of a panoply, a host, nay verily I say a plethora of software and non-software projects.

Earlier this week I pulled my camping gear out of the storage space and began to sort everything out so that I could reduce the load, pack my new expedition backpack and ensure I had no matches at all packed for my next trip.

I intend to make a firebow and make my fire that way.

But first I wanted to see if I could at least make a fire out of a sparking piece of metal, some wood shavings and my new drop-point rose-wood handle hunting knife. I gingerly trimmed some dry wood shavings from a twig I had laying about into the a large cast iron frying pan. I turned on the oven range-hood extraction fan. Then I scraped the back of my knife against the metal bar and after a while made a few sparks. After about a minute or two I had a couple of sparks catch on the finely shaved wood chips and then I got fire! I watched it in fascination. First time I'd ever made fire like that.

So next trip I make I will have no matches or lighters or any crap like that. I shall make fire with sticks.

And catch a fish.

And cook it and eat it.

Go now and do something else.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My Experiment

My experiment is doing very well. Thanks to Px for his invaluable test subject referral, final results are beginning to trickle in. I suspect my hypothesis will be validated.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Old Speckled Hen and Scarface

Matt dropped by last night while Spring was at the Hilton in Manhattan putting her sore feet up and relaxing and Matt and I watched Scarface and discussed camping and bushcraft and requirements analysis and how this differs so importantly from functional specifications and statement of work development and Monty was quite pleased with the extra company and threw his toys about a lot hoping that we would take the bait and play with his toys and though we did I had to warn Matt not to throw Monty's toys about too much because of Monty's sore knee so then Scarface got to the chainsaw scene which was quite gross but at the same time an amazing exploration of Tony Montana's drive to power and then we drank Speckled Hen English Ale and so when 2:40 in the morning came around my eyelids caused me to suspect I needed to sleep but not before Tony Montana rained death upon his adversaries so I then slept and then this morning I learned from Matt how to create animated power point slides to build out a process and I used a flowchart in Visio I had made a year or so ago to illustrate production processes at a company I worked at and I was thoroughly impressed not so much with the silly slide transitions but mainly with how a story could be told with just one slide and I think I will use this at work for a sales presentation I have been asked to make and then Matt went home and then Spring called me from Atlantic City and told me she was gambling and having a great time and that was the funniest thing I'd heard so I had a good chuckle and then made hamburgers using quick cook oatmeal honestly that's true and there were eggs in the mix too and I miss Spring who now is a gambler.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I Filled a Hole

This morning I filled a hole Monty my dog keeps almost falling into with 2 winter jacket pocketfuls of gravel what some might call rocks and now the hole is full of rocks and I thought maybe I should lay a piece of turf (that had been cut off by a snow shovel a few months back and is now exposed) on top of the mound of gravel filling the hole because it would look nicer but then I thought it wasn't all that important and as I thought that then Monty my dog put a piece of poop in his mouth he'd scraped off the asphalt and I had to wrestle it out of his mouth and he was happy and I was grossed out.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Polite and Nice Graffiti

At my work, in the men's bathroom, in once of the cubicles, between the tiles, written in small well-spaced precise letters on the tan grout in blue ballpoint pen:


One tile over, the response is written in black pen, in nice legible characters:


Monday, March 13, 2006

Sniffle Cough

I feel

Sniffle Groan Cough


(I falafel I feelawful I feel awful)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Things I've Done For Money.

I built fences one summer but it really sucked. It was always hot, the guys I worked with were high all of the time and the boss was drunk all of the time. I got the job as a result of a foray at the youth unemployment center. I got paid minimum wage and left after a week.

My first paying job was stuffing envelopes with direct mail for my Mum's company. I think my sister and I got paid per envelope. That was fun. No benefits but the hours were good.

I had a job working at a grocery store called 'The Grocery'. That was a lot of fun. Once I drank a yoghurt drink without paying for it. I still feel bad about that. It tasted nice.

I worked at Pier One in Grade 10. After the boss we all liked was fired, I resented the new boss and I didn't stock shelves fast enough because I resented her. I was 15. She called me in to her office one afternoon and asked me to sign a document. I did. Only then did she inform me that I'd quit - having signed the document. I was shocked. I didn't tell my parents because I was confused.

I was hired as the head of the project mangement team at a company. And then they told me I was to be the operations manager (the day I came on board). Well, that didn't work out. Stupid executives and their management style.

When I was 7 or 8 my brother and I set up a table and chair on the front lawn and sold comic books that we'd accumulated - my Gran sent us montly bundles of English comics. Mike, a friend of mine, wanted to buy some comics. He said he had only dollar bills, and asked if he could get some change once he paid. Change was a concept I was not familiar with, and I grew suspicious of his motives. I thought if I gave him change, I was effectively paying him to buy something from me. He left, disgusted. My brother arrived. I explained to him what had transpired. He was angry and disgusted with me. But hey, could you really expect a kid of my age to understand the finer points of economics and trade? Honestly. Several years later Mike showed up at school one morning with a big plaster on his nose. He'd cut the tip of his nose off with a pair of scissors.

The neighbour across the road from my parent's house is the sales manager at a GM dealership in Oakville. To this day, he is a slimy salesman. His friends are slimy. My friend John and I offered to shovel some newly delivered gravel off of his driveway - we were 11 and it should have been quite obvious we were expecting a few bucks for the work. It was dreadfully hot in the sun. Once we were done, we stood expectantly before him. He asked us if we'd like a Pepsi. He noticed the disappointed looks on our faces and responded that since we had not arranged a verbal contract with him regarding payment he would not pay us anything. Nice, huh?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ague Begone

I am presently afflicted with something like the flu - an ague.

Weakness, fatigue, nausea, lack of motivation, crawling sensation on the skin of my back, dulled perceptions, dulled intellect, dulled motor reflexes.

I've got to be up at 6:30 tomorrow morning to make it to a project event taking place at work - but after that I guess I can crawl home, and fall asleep again. Let's hope the satellite truck is able to locate the bird in the sky and send the signal through to us.

I know I'm sick. I struggled just now to open a can of coke. I haven't got the strength to drink from it.


I have a revenue tracking chart to create.

I need to integrate some changes into a statement of work document.

I need to integrate some marketing materials across a portal I manage.

I need to work on a World Trade Organization thing.

I need to create 11 work orders for upcoming projects.

I need to open 10 docket tickets for upcoming projects.


I cannot let this ague take me over. Ague, begone.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

The Greatest Things You May Be Wondering About

The greatest thing about the bathroom at work is the hot water faucet - turn it on full blast and it only gets warm and so you don't need to fiddle with the cold faucet to get the temperature right - it just works at the optimum temperature.

The greatest thing about Monty's trip to the vet was the deranged and happy look he had when he was delivered back to me after being restrained so he could have an x-ray.

The greatest thing about dinner tonight was the chicken pot pie.

The greatest thing about work today was getting a big fat document out the door and delivered to the big fat client.

The greatest thing about waking up today was that it was 5:40 am and I knew I had another hour and a half to sleep.

The greatest thing about now is that I can do a little reading before I go to bed.

If you are wondering about the Harvard Business School Press article I devoured at lunch that I'd read it 5 times before, then wonder no more. (PDF file)

If you are wondering why meditate, then watch this and wonder no more.

If you are wondering what the current weather conditions on Toronto Island are - we overlook the airport - then wonder no more.

If you are wondering what Microsoft's latest releases are, then wonder no more.

If you are wondering about Vipassana meditation techniques, then wonder no more.

If you are wondering about 14 Key Principles for Project Management Success, then wonder no more.

If you are wondering about an easy way to improve your status and reputation at work, then wonder no more.


Kilgore Trout's unwritten reply to the question "What is the purpose of life?" was:

To be
the eyes
and ears
and conscience
of the Creator of the Universe,
you fool.

So it goes.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Camping Task List

I can't wait to make sure I tie up the canoe, set up the tent, put up the tarpaulin, gather the firewood, make a tinderbundle, carve a firebow, baseplate, fireshaft, blocking plate, make a fire, set up the lantern for later in the evening, set up the rest of the camp, go fishing, catch a fish, clean the fish, cook the fish, share the fish with the beagle, sit on my chair, have a beer and a cigar, watch the sun go down, watch the stars come out, and go to sleep beside a lake lit up only by the sound of loons in the blackness.

Watch some from the last time I went camping...