Sunday, November 22, 2009


Has everybody in this country lost their cotton picking minds? I was looking at the tobacco legislation which is supposed to protect you poor, clean lunged people from us dastardly smokers. It's pretty draconian, and like prohibition, will serve to make it more attractive to some. If you think it through you'll realise it's really a nuisance act, designed to frustrate you into becoming a reformed smoker. As a reformed smoker myself I applaud anything that gets people to stop smoking. It's a vile habit that adds nothing to your life except to make you dependent on a nasty tasting thing which stinks up your hair, clothing and everything else. KInd of like those food fairs where the evacuator hoods don't work and you smell like stale chinese food for hours after.

So while the politicos bask in the glow of goodness from having saved us poor schumucks from our unthinking selves we must be grateful. I hear their next task is to cut down sugar consumption...that's going to be interesting.

And isn't it somewhat hilarious that sixty percent of the world's leaders are FLYING here to talk about climate change. How cool and eco-friendly is that! Wonder what the carbon footprint is going to be like after this shindig.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And now, for something completely worthless

Perhaps not, but I figured if I was ripping off Monty Python then at least some modesty should prevail, after all, am nowhere in the same category as John Cleese et al. The cable was disconnected during the week, I forgot to pay the bill, repeatedly. It's turning out to be the best thing in a weird sort of way. Not sitting there rotting the old brain on countless episodes of Law and Order, in all its incarnations, Criminal Minds and, wait, what the hell do I watch? Ah yes, E! News and the Food Network, now you can see why this is scary; it's junk at best.

The lack of cable is not really much of an issue, I'm not around enough to watch large amounts of television, most days I just fall asleep in front of the idiot box anyway. The dog probably misses it more than me because at least he could corral me into one spot and irritate the life out of me to throw his dumb ball at him. Yes, we sometimes play ball in the house when mommy can't be bothered to get up, make sure the neighbours are inside, gates locked to prevent dog from getting out and intruders from getting in. Needless to say, it is a recipe for disaster if only for the spitty state of the ball, the prospect of a large animal bounding heedless all over the place in direct proportion to the number of breakable things in the living room and the newly painted state of the walls. Did I mention that having spent several days slaving with a roller brush, various cleaning implements and on a shoestring budget the living room is now a zen oasis, welcoming, yet calm. Ah, it was worth the three day pain in the arm and knees that needed to be wrapped after balancing on the ladder.

But I digress, it was the lack of cable tv that started this. Really, it was sort of inevitable, freudian even, for reasons not to be shared here but let's just say they feature the Xman and a remote. However, lately I've been buying books the way some women, okay I, buy shoes. At lunch time, even though I rarely eat lunch at the designated time most days, I find myself in the bookstore around the corner. In the last couple months there has been a real danger of being overrun by cream coloured plastic bags with the logo on the front. Novels, magazines, other kinds of books, there is no real pattern, just words printed on pages. In the last month I think I bought about thirty books, well there was a sale so it made sense. But, I also had book exchange with two friends, got another FOUR boxes of books from a friend who is migrating and passed through both Readers Bookshop and the second hand bookstore and snapped up some more. Does this not signal that something might be up?

It only occurred to me that this is not normal when a friend nicely pointed out that since: I almost never have vacation, work twelve hour days and then spend another two hours a day getting to and from work that there was precious little time left to read all these books. Now I do read fast, and yes, with comprehension and retention thank you very much, but still, this was a little excessive. After all, as my mother would remind me if she were around, you cannot spend your life with your nose in a book, get up and exercise, so something! But you know, I'm starting to suspect that this is the real thing because you see...I LIKE to read. It takes me away to that special place...okay that's Christopher Cross' Sailing, sue me.

Here's the thing though, the Christmas tree went up today. Now this is a FIRST. The Christmas tree, when it does go up, goes up, grudgingly (except for that one year I completely lost my mind and bought the damn tree and $600(!) worth of decorations), the week before Christmas. The living room now looks charming with an artful collection of paintings, plants and other stuff and of course, the tree. Trimmed with brown and green bulbs and some red berries it is restrained, relatively tasteful and unobtrusive. Totally unnatural given that Christmas is an opportunity to decorate mostly in an excessive, unrestrained, somewhat gaudy, definitely tacky way as possible. All that gold and sparkly dust stuff! But the living room has prevailed so none of that, but it's up. This lack of cable thing might be dangerous.

Next thing you know I'll be shampooing the carpet, stripping and sealing the tiles and whatever other rituals women subjugate themselves to in the name of house proud Christmas. And here's the kicker...I don't give a crap, I never understand what the fuss is about and truthfully, would happily read away the two days we get off. Now you see the confusion.

Anyday now, the men in the white shirts come to cart me away, or perhaps sanity will prevail and a return to shoes will obtain....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So what?

As per usual, it's Sunday evening and I'm dreading having to go to work tomorrow. Actually, that's a mild understatement, I'm hopping around the living room trying to pretend that it isn't so close to the end. Having to face the morning drive to work is enough to set me off. I hate sitting in traffic and even worse, I can't stand what passes for driving around here....

And so what?

Is it going to change anything? I doubt it.

Am I going to wake up tomorrow morning and find out that we all suddenly got efficient, grew a brain/conscience/spine? Again, probably not.

And so what.

Imagine, we put a flag that cost two million dollars. Unbelievable right? Perhaps not, because it's up there and having gone up, we break all manner of protocol which says that it should fly between 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and then come down. This is the practice all over the first world, but not HERE. Because you see, it takes all manner of things to put it up and take it down, so up it stays.

And so what?

In the scheme of things don't you think we should be more worried about the $10 million spent on ANOTHER performance area at the Diplomatic Centre? Nah, that's just peachy. Because we all know that the hospitals are all equipped and adequately staffed. You tell me okay.

And so what?

You see, one of the first lessons you learn in monitoring and evaluation is that "so what" question. Have we fulfilled our objectives, have we added value, have we promoted sustainable change?

Several years ago a worthy citizen mobilised hundreds to protest something or other. One Saturday people turned out to march around the place and then congregated in Woodford Square to make their voices heard about....something! I can't remember what now even though I was around when it was happening. Can't take the old journalist out of me I'm afraid. And what changed? Nothing. Because once all the folks had dispersed so did all the fervour and passion. Because you see, for most people, the march was the end, not the beginning. They could say, look, I marched against someone else go do something about it. And that's the truth about most things. We complain, we write a few letters to the editor but mostly, we're content to be armchair commentators and wait for someone else to do the do.

Look in the mirror. See the person staring back at you. Get to know them well, because that's the person who is going to initiate change.

And so what?

Well, you be the judge of that.

And by the way, if you haven't been to see it yet, Michael Jackson's "This Is It" is worth the trip. Go see it for yourself.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Going global

Luckily for me someone decided not to go to a work related function and I snagged their ticket otherwise my evening would have been spent watching Cold Case with the hound. It was an $800.00 dinner and the speaker, Peter Kageyama. Well it was an evening well spent if only for the twenty minute talk, because ladies and gentlemen, pardon my language, the brain f*** was amazing. He talked about creativity being a catalyst for transformation, for accepting failure because of of the opportunity to grow and learn. In an evening of somewhat pedestrian delivery, he was witty, interesting and most of all, he spoke a language I'd not heard in a long time.

Creativity, innovation, two concepts that people talk about but which it would seem, we have but passing acquaintance. That's because most people don't think of themselves as being creative; creativity is something that is ascribed to, well, creative people. You know, artists, writers, performers, people of that ilk, but we all have it in us to be creative and innovative, it's just more latent in some personality types. That however, should not be a a deterrent, until you get out there and try, you'll never know what you could accomplish and being creative is not limited to only artistic type pursuits. You can apply it to many situations that are a part of your life.

Mostly these days there is little room in my professional life for creativity, which is more than passing strange given my profession and my employer. We are actually responsible for promoting transformation, innovation and finding solutions but alas, all we seem to do is turn over.

Tonight's little outing was get another slap upside the head, a sign of things really. Thanks Peter.