The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pr0n recked this post


It was 3am I had this great blog post all though up. It had all the makings: good idea, great delivery and a wicked picture. So good, in fact, that I got out of bed to write it down before I forgot my the flowing prose running through my head. How good, you ask. You all would have loved it and even given me a digg.

Heading into the kitchen where the computer was, I opted to keep the lights off so I wouldn’t be sidetracked from my task. I also didn’t want to distract any neighbors that may have wondered what I was typing on the computer at 3am while dressed in my best pair of white underwear. After booting up the computer I started to type, but the reflection in the computer screen of a naked woman, arched in ecstasy threw me off.

Yes, my neighbor forgot to close his blinds again and he was watching his nightly dose of pornography, which was reflecting into my kitchen and onto my computer screen. Now, this isn't the first time he's been busted. The first time I was on my roof cleaning the gutters and, knowing the old man lives there, couldn't for the life of me figure out where the groaning sound was coming from. He’s at least at least 90 years old, maybe 80 looking on a good day, so every time he does this, it totally catches me off guard. It’s like seeing Miss Teen USA drinking in a bar, even though you know she’s underage and the spokesman for MADD.
Watching Chinese pornography in either fast-forward, or fast-reverse, or on ultra-slow (both directions), he just sits there. Maybe he’s busy reading the sub-titles to do anything else. Well, he does chain smoke, but that’s as much activity as he gets into, thank goodness.
My great idea of a post wrecked, I sighed, and headed back upstairs to bed. I nudged my wife, the images fresh in my mind, and whispered breathlessly into her ear, “Did you know Chinese pornography is sub-titled?”

She didn’t move. Not even a twitch. Darn, I was looking forward to explaining that one to her. Or would I explain it in reverse?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Break a leg

I recently found out that if you break your child's leg and it needs a full cast, you'll not only get much better service at Starbucks, but also meet many more cute girls than if you are by yourself. It's like going to the park with a cute puppy and your newly born niece - TIMES TEN!

First, I give this disclaimer: I was NOT the designated Most Responsible Parent (MRP) the day of "the breakage". In fact, I was not even in the same part of town when it happened. I will, however, enjoy the benefits that it came with...
Arriving home, my wife and youngest daughter were cuddled on the couch. It was a strange sight, not so much that they were cuddling, but that my daughter was actually sitting still long enough during the day to get (and give) a cuddle. That meant one thing: sickness.

"I think she sprained her ankle" I heard my wife say, with little LP punctuating it with an "OWIE ANKE", like only a two year old learning to talk can. For the next week it was a parents dream - we could put our two year old down - out of reach things - and for once she would just sit there, not wanting to move because of her ankle. No spilled water, broken cracker crumbs through the house or bits of toys hidden in our bed. It was almost like we didn't have any kids living with us again! After a week went by we had done a few visits to ER to get her ankle checked out because she still wouldn't put weight on it. On the third visit they finally X-Ray'd the entire leg to find out it was fractured, not at the ankle, but on the tibia. After bribery with M&M's, we finally got her into a little red, full leg, fiberglass cast. I was hoping for hot pink, but fire engine red was the closest they had. Going from her toes to the top of her thigh, it probably added 50% body weight to her so it took a good week before she could move with it, even if it was crawling and dragging it all around the house.

The next 4 weeks saw us walking to the park, pushing her in the jogging stroller through the mall, and having a break at Starbucks. Here are my observations of life with a 2 year old and a broken leg:
  • Once you get sand inside a toddler's cast, trying to extricate the mess with a vacuum isn't the best way to do things. And trying to blow the dirt out with an air compressor also doesn't work...
  • When a 2 year old swings her cast at you because she's not ready to leave the park, it really does hurt when contact is made on your shin. Likewise, a smart toddler will quickly learn how to use their cast as a weapon against older siblings that take their blankets and toys because they think they can't chase them.
  • The Starbucks barista will offer free kids hot chocolate if a toddler can point to her leg and say with wide, doe like eyes "Owie!"
  • When walking with a toddler, who is semi-dragging a leg in a full cast, cars will actually screech to a stop at the crosswalks. Too tired to push them with that heavy cast? Well, I also found out that getting on a bus with the University crowd with an injured toddler will dramatically increase your chances of the hot undergrads gravitating towards you to strike up a conversation. It must have been the bus that didn't come from the Engineering Students Society...
  • A sleeping toddler, when flailing about in bed between two parents at 3am, can leave bruises on both parents the next morning.
Behold the power of a full leg cast on a cute two year old with curls. I wonder what I would have gotten if I made a trip to the hardware store with her this time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How a Rogue Tree Almost Killed Hockey Season

“A tree fell through my roof”

“What?!” I exclaimed. It had been windy this week, so a few downed branches would be normal, but an entire tree? I thought.

“A tree, you know those tall 80 foot things in our backyard. The windstorm this morning pushed one over and it hit our roof above the family room. I’ve called M to come home from work to have a look at it.”

That was the conversation this morning when I called one of my friends to order some nut free hand made chocolates (I highly recommend the truffles). I assumed the damage wasn’t too catastrophic, not because she didn’t sound worried but because she still took my order of dark chocolate truffles. Mmmmm.

Later this evening M called me to complain that because it nicked a truss, he had to get an engineer to come and declare the truss still fit to support the rest of his remaining roof. I’m not sure if he was complaining because he actually had to go to the effort to get an engineer out to look at his roof, or because, being a Professional Engineer myself, he was seeing if I would show up and stamp his house safe from imminent collapse with my fancy Engineering seal.

“Hey, I got some firewood for you. I just need to remove it from my roof first.”

“What happened?” I asked.

He then started to laugh, recounting his conversation from work.

“So S calls me at work to tell me I need to come home and look at the tree that just hit our roof. I was talking with Counsel at the time so had to excuse myself from our meeting. Being the perceptive lawyer she was picked up on my side of the phone call and gathered what the emergency was, but seemed quiet perplexed by my response.”

“Didn’t your wife just call to tell you a tree fell onto your house?” she queried.

“Yes, so I’ve got to head back home to check it out, then I’ll be back to finish working on the file.”

“But the next question I heard you ask her was ‘Is the TV ok?’”

“Yes,” M admitted, but then started to laugh as he finished up, “and I’m worried about the BBQ as well as it was on the deck by the TV!”

With hockey season starting up I could see his point.

He then continued on with the rest of his story. “The damage wasn’t that bad so I called the arborist to remove the tree and headed back to work. Upon arriving one of my co-workers asked me ‘How my tree-house was’, thinking it was the funniest line of the day.”

Man, try explaining that one to the boys at work.
I’ve got some good news and bad news. The good news is that I have a real tree-house for us to congregate and male-bond in now. The bad news is that the tree-house part of the tree I had installed hit the big-screen TV on the way in and no hockey for the rest of the season.

I am sure you would have heard the screams of anguish and gnashing of teeth, regardless your location was this morning. Whew. Crisis averted.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Shower with a buddy

“Hey Trevor, want to head into the shower together and conserve some water?”

”Sure LP, just let me grab my towel.”

Hold up. Let’s rewind that.

I was listening to KEXP this week while I was researching a forthcoming article. Steaming real time online but located in Seattle, KEXP.org is billed as commercial free public, programming a wide variety of music spanning multiple genres, including alternative rock, electronic, world, roots, jazz, hip hop and blues. If you happen to get one of the genres you like, it's a nice mix of independent music you probably don't have at home.

At least I thought it was commercial free – until today when a public service announcement that was given by the mayor of Seattle himself came online. After introducing himself Mr. Nickles gave a short announcement on the water conservation efforts. He shared several tips, such as not letting taps run when you brush your teeth, collecting and using rain water for your garden, and installing efficient shower heads, faucets and toilets.

He finished his list with “One more tip, shower with a buddy.”

Excuse me? That caught me off guard. I can think of showering with my spouse, young children if necessary, but my buddy? I can just see that discussion going down next time one of my buddies comes over and looks a little dirty.

“Hey Trevor, want to head into the shower together and conserve some water?”
”Sure LP, just let me grab my towel.” pause “NOT!” (Those of you that have seen Borat know what the NOT! I am talking about.)

I may be into public radio, be liberal and open minded in my attitude towards society, but I am pretty sure I’ll draw water conversation line to just showering with my “buddy” called my wife.

I’m sure my biking buddies will be quite relieved.

And now back to our regular programming.. I hope.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What parents do when you are asleep

"She's checking us out." my wife said to me.

"What?"

I turned and looked over my shoulder, and sure enough, little LP had appeared at her bedroom door, blanket in one hand and soother in the other. She plodded out, looking suspiciously around the room, finally eyeing us with a "what are you doing up at this hour?" look.

I checked my watch and it was, as I guessed, around 11 pm. It is as if she has an internal clock for getting up at 11pm - but only on the evenings when there is sound or movement somewhere in the house.

"Back to bed honey, we're not doing anything you're missing out on" my wife soothed, trying to coax her back to bed without any fuss.

"UnnnnH!" she retorted, spinning around and heading back into her bedroom. After a moment we heard the squeak of her bed as she climbed up into it, followed by a long sigh.

I swear she gets up every night, probably just to check to see if we are doing something fun. I always imagined my parents staying up to do fun things like play my video games, eat copious amounts of ice-cream and watch movies while sitting close to the TV. Emancipation from all things that feel like work? Unfortunatly not. As a parent I now know what us parents actually do when the kids are in bed. For those of you who don't have kids, or have grown ones and want a walk down memory lane, I present to you a short list, representative of the evening tasks:

  • Washing and folding laundry, most of it is pink. Between checking every piece of your clothing for diapers you may have wadded up and hidden in a pair of little pants, and Spray 'n Washing almost everything you wear, it takes much longer to do your laundry than ours does. And yes, we have to check everything now because trust me, it takes considerably longer to clean up the mess that a diaper makes if you put it through the wash without knowing about it.
  • Cleaning the kitchen floor. Remnants of breakfast, lunch and dinner are still stuck to the underside of the chair, and on parts of the ceiling. How on earth you managed to get your vegetables to that height on the wall, and stick there, defies physics.
  • Fixing the computer. You are four years old and already know how to get the computer started and rename all my desktop folders to random, nonsensical names. I swear if you could actually delete the Recycle Box you would try to figure it out. And just how does a two year old actually manage to get the Blue Screen of Death to show up?!?
  • Resorting puzzle pieces. No, mixing six different puzzle boxes together does not allow you to make one "really really big puzzle you could see from space". It also makes it harder to do finish the puzzles at a later date when you take random pieces, chew off some of the tabs and hide them under the floor mats. How do I know this? Because after sorting the puzzles I am forced to do them to see if there still is enough pieces left to warrant keeping the puzzle so you won't scream with frustration tomorrow when you can't figure out how to finish a 50 piece puzzle with only 37 1/2 pieces.
If a parent has screams of laughter when no one is there to hear it, are they actually having fun?

Now don't get me wrong, there are the occasional evening when we do have fun, like when we decide to leave the mess for tomorrow and head right to bed. Of course we go right to sleep because we need our rest - we never know if we'll be woken up to have a threesome again.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Social Insights of The Tipping Point

For those too busy to read, I present to you my visual book review of The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Here's my summary, ready to print on 8.5x11 paper:


While the book was more focused on Gladwell's social insights on how change happens (and understanding why it does), there was a subtle business connection in the book that should not be overlooked: how to move your new product from the Innovators & Early Adopters, across the Chasm to the rest of the market.

Email or drop a comment if you want the PDF file and I'll send it over. All I ask is that if you use it on your site, please reference back to me.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kids have made me lazy

"You should call."

"No, you should call, you're closer."

"But you're the better talker."

"You're just saying that because I'm closer to the phone, and you don't want to get up."

It was after 9pm, and the kids were finally in bed, asleep. Exhausted after a day of playing them out the snow, we both sat on the couch with our feet up and our bodies soaking in the heat of the wood stove.

I don't think we realize how much the kids tire us out until they are asleep for the evening and we can do things for ourselves.

Likewise I don't think we realize how much we get the kids to play fetch for us until they are asleep for the evening and we have to get things ourselves.


"I wish the kids were up."

"What! It took an hour to get them down!"

"Yeah, but if at least one was up, we could be lazy and get them to fetch the phone for us. Instead I'm just going to pretend whoever we had to call wasn't an important call, thus convincing myself that I don't really have to get up and get the phone."

Yet again the Pandora's Box of parenthood rears its ugly head...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Accidentally Outed

Today's post has been brought to you by my guest writer Sandritia. I don't have a Blogging Intern yet, but she's as close as I'm going to get right now...

It's been awhile since my last guest post (also my first guest post). Since that time I have had my office invaded and my favourite pastimes exploited with what can only be described as cavalier opportunism on the part of LP. I have however, been assigned my own blogger category and that is coooool. Or so I thought.

I must confess: having been in on LP's double life for some time, I became somewhat careless. I couldn't help but share his story about the Office Gatekeepers with the actual Office Gatekeepers. There are, afterall, so few that share their pain. These women are perpetually perky and pleasant at all times while also being real and sincere. In my opinion, they are the greatest reception staff on the planet. So I knew they would appreciate LP's humorous snapshot of something they deal with every day and I sent them the link. I didn't even think about it. The result was predictable. I could hear the laughter from down the hall and Head Office Gatekeeper made a point of telling me that the post totally made her day and more than that, she was going to stick it in her "funny file" for a pick me up whenever the mood strikes (at least now I know how they maintain the perpetual pleasantness). HOG (sorry for the acronym!) also mentioned how much she enjoyed LP's writing and that she had started reading some of the other posts.

Thinking I should pass along the accolades, I told LP later that night and his reaction was not quite what I expected and went something like this:

LP: You know, you have to be really careful about making the connection between a real person and the blog for outsiders.

Me: My code name is "Sandrita"… how careful have you been here?

LP: I'm just saying…. Think about how much you reveal about yourself once you lose the anonymity.

And then I did start to think about it. I went back to the site and examined the entries under my buzz word that I thought was so cool and my blog record revealed an entirely different snapshot of my existence:

I'm a procrastinator, upwardly mobile, ice-cream eating sexually experimental partier, who likes to write, and has colorful pastimes and colorful friends. And all this you can derive without even reading my many many comments littered throughout the blog.
Indeed, a portrait of Sandrita as viewed through the lens of LP paints a much more colorful character than I actually am. Remember people - he takes liberties with the writing. Of the snapshot painted above, I confess only to being an ice-cream eating procrastinator... he got that part right. Though I could be a little more careful about accidentally outing LP or anyone else referenced on his blog, perhaps I should just embrace the potential notoriety.

Mental note: must tell HOG about this post - she'll love it! .... oops, I did it again!

Editors Note: When Sandritia called to "discuss" with me that she felt she had been outed on my blog, and that she wrote a post about it, I felt she was bringing herself full circle to my first post: another quagmire. I, for sure, didn't out her on my own; I can only assume the visions of fame from being blogged about lead her to passing my blog name around. But if that's what it takes to bump up my readership, then look out Eduardo and JT, you're next.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Irony

Did you ever have one of those days filled with ironic happenings?

An older lady struggled to get on the bus behind me today, weighed down by her shopping cart full of empty bottles. Her shirt was stained beyond any sort of sanitary redemption. Her shirt had a large Tide logo stretched across the front of of it.

After getting off the bus I walked past a vacuum store where one of the store's employee was outside sweeping the doormat clean.

I arrived at Starbucks and the young, semi-fit man in front of me ordered a Venti Maple Frappuccino blended crème (640 calories), a piece of coffee cake (890 calories) and, "for a treat because it was friday", a chocolate mint brownie (620 calories). By 10:00 he had consumed his daily suggested caloric intake, just "because it was friday". I would have hated to see him really go on a binge "just because it was a Saturday"...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Time Brings Clarity

This week I ran into one of my old high school teachers. He was a great math teacher, but I always thought he was kind of strange. You know the type, not really in sync with the rest of society, yet put there to teach the next generation.

"Hello Mr. H, how are you?" I asked.

He turned to see me with a shocked look, and wasted no time in getting around any salutations that others may have started into. "Oh my goodness. Logical P! You are looking more like your brother every day!"

"Um, well..." I started, vaguely remembering that he also taught my older brother four years before me.

He continued on, "And that's not a good thing, nor a bad thing, it's just to say there is something to be said for genetics after all!"

He rambled on for a little while that he was glad both he and I were alive "because, remember old Mr. O? He's six feet under, yet here you and I stand! How marvelous!"

As we parted he genuinely wished me well, but walking away I thought to myself, On second thought, I wasn't imaging any sort of social disconnect when he taught me twelve years earlier, it was 100% real.

Friday, November 17, 2006

An Inefficient Haloween

He was buzzing with excitement, the mere smell of the candy in the air enough to give him a sugar buzz.

"I am dressing as BATMAN!" Little LP exclaimed to anyone that would listen, throwing his cape over his eyes and darting is hand up to punctuate his words. All week, we heard nothing but 'batman' and 'candy'. Last year at Halloween, little LP dressed up and after being coaxed out into the cold, was elated when he discovered people would simply give him candy for free for simply yelling "Trick or Treating!" at the door. This year was different - he knew the drill - or so he thought.

At dusk we set out, Batman leading the way and dad keeping a close eye out for the good candy that needed "put aside" for mom and dad "just in case".

Knock knock! I heard as he arrived at the first door. "Trick or treat!" he screamed. "I'm Batman and I'm here for some CANDY!" I don't know if it was the excitement, or his realization that people were giving him sugar for free, but he started to chat. "I'm four you know, but my sister is two and still at home."

"Oh, that's too bad little Batman, here's some for your sister" I heard, as he collected another handful of loot. I could almost hear him thinking Hmmm, more talking is more candy???

A full EIGHT minutes later he departed the first house, having collected his booty. He repeated his performance for each house on our street, going no faster than three minutes at one house, but staying at another for twelve. To be fair the twelve-minute house visit had a talking and singing pumpkin, but the Return on Investment of the Talking to Candy Ratio still didn't pay.

I kept thinking of the Pretty Woman line, when Vivian is talking to Edward about not having to woo her with Champagne and Strawberries when they get to the hotel room.

"I appreciate this whole seduction thing you've got going on here, but let me give you a tip: I'm a sure thing."
Yes, a sure thing for candy yet he was taking the time to chat with each person. Later, I though of the math behind little LP's first real Halloween outing:

1 new trick or treater
+ 12 houses
+ 1 hour
= 1/4 bag of candy


Considering the adults ate most of the candy the following week, all I can say is I hope he is more efficient with his Halloween collection next year. If not, it may need to put in some father-son bonding time to teach him about the economics of seduction on Halloween night - it just doesn't pay!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am the keymaster. Are you the gatekeeper?

"We're early," he noted. "Do you think she'd let us drop our stuff off?"

I paused, thought about it, then responded "Yeah, of course! Sandritia would love to have us drop 3 big bags of luggage in her uptown office while we run around town and she continues to toil for her clients!" And so off we went.

We arrived at her building and made the trek to the 21st floor. Stepping off the elevator we saw a long hall to our left, the path to the partners and associates offices. To our right was the receptionist, who looked up at the two of us with a "this way please" look.

"May I help you?" she inquired, looking us up and down. Travelling into town after a week of holiday Eduardo came with two bags of luggage. Travelling just for an overnight I came with one. Combined we probably looked like we were ready to check into the Hilton, but missed the building and showed up at her reception desk instead.

"Yes, we're here to see Sandritia" I said helpfully to the receptionist.
"She's expecting us." Eduardo chimed in, hoping to expedite the process.

She made a call, glancing up at us as she spoke into the phone in low murmurs. A few moments later Santritia appeared. "Hey guys!" she exclaimed, giving us each a hug. "Long time no see, come on down and see my office." Escorting us back down the left hallway, the receptionist disappeared from our sight. After dropping our luggage off for storage on top of a pile of briefs (legal, not fashion), we agreed we would return in a few hours when she was done working.

Soon, 5 o'clock came so we trekked back to Sandritia's building, once again heading for the 21st floor.

Ping! sounded the elevator as we arrived. Stepping out we looked to our left - towards Sandritia's office, and to the right, to the receptionist. Unspoken, but in unison, we turned to our left and quickly headed down the mini maze of assistant cubicles to Sandritia's office. Seeing us, she turned and gave us the 'just finishing up on the phone' sign, which gave Eduardo the opportunity to flirt with her assistant. "My friend is a writer," I heard him start with. It never fails, I thought, that LP can be used as the lead-in for getting a girls phone number. We shall see if it successful this time...

A few moments later Eduardo was interrupted mid sentence by a stern "A-hem!" Turning we saw the receptionist, having tracked our corporate B&E down. The gatekeeper had come, and we were without our Proton Pack.

We stood and faced her, a showdown of sorts, but only for a brief moment. Sandritia, oblivious to what was going had finished up on her call and popped her head out of the office. "Hey guys - come on in!"

I turned, flashed a smile at the receptionist, and then headed in. I think I hear her scowl back, which I confirmed when Sandritia quizzically asked "What was that about?"

Eduardo paused and thoughtfully noted. "She saw our weakness in the slight pause."

"What?" Sandritia looked back and forth at us, slightly confused.

"We hesitated...." I translated to her.

"... yeah, next time, exit and a quick step to the left." he finished with.

Our lesson today is that to get around the gatekeeper, it's the hesitation that will kill you, not the actual B&E... Louis Tully from Ghostbusters knows exactly what I am talking about...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I need a blogging intern

It's not the lack of stories - just being around people and experiencing any waking moment gives me ample blogging fodder. And that happens even without using any artistic licence to decontextualize things! As proof in the past week I have had 3 or 4 blogging stories ready to go:

  • My recap of the Toronto trip - the city of high on customer service and low on the homeless
  • How a child's broken leg will influence customer service, both from professionals and casual observers
  • The Accession of Knowledge (the unwritten part II) has also been rumbling around and is looking to get out for blogging review
  • The drunk bus passenger, who apparently was on his way to school for an exam

But nothing seems to have been written. I have been working on another writing project, which has sucked all of my blogging time up. With these stories already outlined in my head I couldn't help but think it would be nice to just have some blogging intern that I can give the verbal point form outlines to and have them crafted into true prose for the readership. Think guest posts with a crib sheet!

Even though I hadn't posted this week, somehow the interns haven't magically come calling. Maybe I'm not famous after all...

I guess it's back to the literary trenches myself. At least I can take solace that as a one man show, I don't have anyone to boss me around and I don't have to do performance reviews for my underlings. There is always a bright side to things when you look really really hard.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Logical Philosopher Secrets

Like having a birthday in a room full of strangers, it passed without notice. In fact, I didn't almost notice. One year, 118 posts later, Logical Philosopher tuned one.

Coke, Culture and Crazy People - my weekly topics were sure to hit at least one of those categories. Writing inspirations came from my yearnings to reenter academia, to contemplative thoughts on life that came to mind during a bike ride, to humorous conversations heard in passing on my bus rides. After overhearing the three goths on the bus discussing that kissing isn't cheating when your boyfriend is in jail, who would have ever thought I would get 3 or 4 google hits a week on "what is considered cheating?".

Of course, having good friends such as Sandritia also provided great posting material. Again, who would have thought Sandritia's insights on the gay hanky code would also bring people to the blog via google hits on a daily basis.

Along the way I have (hopefully) improved my writing through osmosis while being entertained by blogs such as Opinionistas, Dooce and Laid Off Dad. At the very least the last two make me want to redesign my masthead every month.

I have used blogging as a reason to do research on Roger Martin's Integrative Thinking, the amount of calories in a Cinnamon Bun (and where best to buy them), and Social Networking and its technology adoption curve. With the Logical Philosopher nom de plume I have been able to write on topics I wouldn't normally get away with in the unwired world. Like all good writers I do claim artistic liberty, because we all know that the occasional shameless decontextualization is what brings the readers back!

And as for my secrets, apart from the 'elephant in the room' of anonymity, some have made it into a posting or two, and some still sit in draft mode. But does it really matter? To those who are reading in between the lines to find them I leave you with a quote from René Magritte, who said about his painting "The Son of Man"

Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible. Humans hide their secrets too well...

Here's hoping my second year of posting is as much fun, and secretive, as the first.

Monday, October 23, 2006

One drink is one too many

To get a feeling of my trip so far, here's a recap of this evenings events. For bonus points, try to guess the following 3 sentences in the correct order:

"I need my lemon soap to make this smell better."

"Excuse me while I change my pants!"

"I shouldn't drink and go into the pantry..."

And no, it wasn't me that said any of them. Oh what a trip. The story of "low on homeless, high on service" is bound to be a great post...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Big Smoke

I'm off to Toronto for awhile to get some more blogging material. Being in a place where everyone thinks they are the center of the country should give me a few gems to work with. If I can find an Internet connection, you'll see a posting, otherwise I'll be back in a week.

After my last experience flying, I have decided not to be as polite in the gate area to the other passengers, or else I may get asked the infamous security guard question “Would you like this done in a private room, or is this public space ok?”

I will also ensure my iPod doesn't fall into the toilet, thus diverting the flight to Ottawa.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Overheard in Passing

"When you cook and follow the recipe, things actually turn out good!"
She was honestly surprised by the outcome.

"Hey, why isn't he calling me? Does this cell phone have to be on for it to ring?"
I got a dirty look for doubling over with laughter at that one.

"I don't like cheese, but I'll have some of that fromage instead."
I guess he is an undercover Frenchman.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Four Blonds and a Playboy

Following up on my last post, another blond story, but this time it actually happened in front of me.

After picking up little LP from school today we decided, given the sunny weather, that there was time for a coke slurpee before heading home. As we walked into the 7-11 I asked him what he learned at preschool today. "You know, numbers and letters and stuff. The usual." he said nonchantly, waving his hand into the air as if he knew it all. Oh to be four...

His amusing comment, combined with the fact I was looking through my pockets to find some change for our drinks, had me momentarily distracted. Once inside little LP bolted to the left, hoping to get a head start towards what he thought was the candy section. Instead he headed down the row full of magazines, stopping directly behind four 18 year old blonds that were looking through the pages of a few adult magazines - Hustler, Swank and Playboy magazines to be exact.


"Oh, I think he'll like this one!" I heard the first one say.

"No way, not busty enough - check out the Hustler instead!" another retorted.

A third, not to be left out, chimed in on the pricing. "Man, these are expensive! I could get, like, three Homes & Gardens for one of these!"

The fourth one just stood and flipped the pages. By the look in her eyes I got the impression she was learning a few things. Yes, at that exact moment, I think she realized that she wasn't hanging with the Apple Dumpling Gang after all.

I steered him away from the (ahem) ladies, because given the options I was sure the right parental thing to do was to give my child candy, not a full view 7-11's available porn selection. I was waiting for the "what's that daddy?" line to come, but fortunately I didn't have to go there.

We collected our slurpees, paid and left, the four still arguing over which girly magazine to get for one of their guy friends.

As we got outside two things went through my mind:

1) When I was 18, what did my girl friends argue over getting me? I hope I was worthy of at least one Playboy argument. I'm no Tucker Max, but I can hope.

2) Given the choice between three Homes & Gardens, and one Playboy magazine, I hope they eventually went for quality, not quantity. Because sometimes it's nicer to see one quality bush than three overgrown ones.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Three blonds and a puppy

No matter how hard I try, there is no way I could make this stuff up.

Over lunch last week I told a blond joke to one of my blond friends, because I thought she'd like it. The result was not what I expected.

"Hey D," I said. "I've got a blond joke for you - do you want to hear it?"

"Sure! I'm always up for a joke on my own!" she said, leaning forward in anticipation.

Here's the joke I told:

Three newly pregnant blonds were sitting and having coffee one day. The first blond, excited to share her new news with the other two, exclaimed "I'm going to have a baby boy!".
The other two, glanced at each other and then asked "how do you know?".
"Well, I was on top."
"Ohh," says the second blond. "Then I'm going to have a baby girl because I was on the bottom!".
At hearing this the third blond bursts into tears. "What is it?" the other two asked in unison.
"Then I'm going to have a puppy!" she wailed.

A quizzical look crossed D's face, followed by a moment of silence. I closed my eyes, hoping this wasn't really happening, but it was. "A puppy?" I heard her ask in wonderment. "I don't get it."

With my eyes still closed my head sunk to my chest in defeat. The only reply I could think of was to say, "Go ask your husband, he'll fill you in."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Brain candy for inquiring minds


Last week I had an academic epiphany - free knowledge for the masses, all thanks to Google and YouTube. Google Video has a vast list of videos to expand your knowledge base - academic lectures, Google Authors and Google Tech Talks. Some are great talks: Ron Avitzur's story of how he snuck into Apple for 6 months and worked for free on a then cancelled secret project that was later released into 20 million computers. Or Warren Buffett's talk to MBA graduates at the University of Florida.

My favorite Buffett quote "[when you graduate] work in a job that you like, not that looks good on your resume. Because isn't that like waiting for sex until your old age?"
My goal is to post the links to expand ones knowledge base. It's like going back to school, but from the comfort of your computer chair! And, if you don't like the professor, they won't notice if you skip ahead with the forward button.

I hope to post something you all will enjoy. Check it out:

http://googleuniversity.blogspot.com

Like I said, brain candy for inquiring minds.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Something exciting is coming...

... and it's going to be a knowledge revolution!

I'm working on another exciting blog idea - LP posts may be light this week as I working to get it ready to launch next week!

In the mean time check out Freewill Tastes Like Chicken! It's pretty funny stuff, like Grumpy Teacher meets a philosopher.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Social Neworking: Digg and Blogger Beta Users Are Still Early Adopters

Social Networkers Beware: Anecdotal proof that Diggers and Beta Bloggers are still the geeky Innovators and Early Adopters that we think we aren't.

If you Digg, Reddit, Furl, Delicious, Blog, or generally do more online social networking than offline, you probably think everyone else does it. You are vaguely aware of people that don't know what Social Networking is, and wonder where those people have been living. It's mainstream, you think. However we really are still in the Early Adopter phase of the internet's social networking boom.

Microsoft claims they own over 80% of the global browser market share - but that takes into account the market as a whole. This view is skewed because when you dig deeper you find all technology marketing managers actually split the market up using Diffusion of Innovation Theory. This split is seen as five technology adopter categories - innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. If you look at each market individually, the claimed 80% market share is probably split very differently; my guess the IE market share being weighted greater than 90% for the Early/Late Majority, and less than 40% to the Innovators/Early Adopters.

I recently deviated from my usual posts and went technical, posting a piece entitled Getting Haloscan to work in Beta Blogger. After switching to Beta Blogger and spending many hours of struggling with this specific technology issue before getting it working, I thought it would be nice to give back to others. Almost immediately my web hit counter went up by about 200, most of them directly going to this post either from a search engine (mainly Google), digg link or another blogger referral. Considering the combination of Blogger Beta and Haloscan users is probably not that large, I found it interesting that over the next 2 weeks I had at least two thousand more hits on this single post. What I found even more interesting was about the browser usage, which I pulled from my Google Analytics account:

  • 64% Firefox
  • 27% Explorer
  • 9% Other (Netscape, Opera, etc.)
Ironically this also lined up remarkably well with AUInteractive's recent post 64% of You Use Firefox. Regardless of where they came from - Digg, external blogger link or a search engine, the numbers still were overwhelming leaning towards Firefox.
Doesn't this data fly in the face of Microsoft's claim of dominat market share? Firefox even agrees they only have a small portion, 10-15%. If so, why?
Look at Firefox's initial market when the launched their first browser: they started by luring the Innovators and Early Adopters away from IE. Are they still doing that? If not explicitly I would suggest they are at least building on their base of Innovators/Early Adopters. Now considering my Google Analytics results I would think there probably is some statistical correlation between browser usage and Digg/Blogger users. This means that there is also a correlation between Digg/Blogger users and the adopter categories of Innovators & Early Adopters.

While the connection is loose, it still gives some general observations:

  • If you are reading this with Firefox you probably are a geek: Social Networking is still in it's infancy. Innovators and Early Adopters still rule, and they rule loudly with Firefox. (Remember, being a geek isn't a bad thing - look how Bill Gates turned out, even if he doesn't use Firefox)
  • Marketing folks take note: Blog & market your technology accordingly! Even this informal data helps define the target market for Diggers, Reddit and Blogger Beta folks.
  • Internet CEO's beware: There is an upcoming "chasm" Social Networking companies need to worry about.

What can we do with these observations? I've been thinking about starting some focused social networking sites, but always had the feeling that the market was getting too crowded. The Paradigm Shift posted a blog last week entitled 300+ social network startups in less than 2 years. Historically, technology companies have had a difficult time "Crossing the Chasm" from wooing customers in the Early Adopters market to getting new ones in the Early Majority market.

Just for the record, I use Blogger Beta, post Del.icio.us items, Digg things, all while surfing with Firefox. I am also an Early Adopter.

Current and future CEO's of the Social Networking sites need to take note - there is probably a virtual Chasm for your technology as well and only time will tell how many of those 300+ will actually make the leap. As for me it will mean more market research and technology development before you see the launch of my next site.

Now if you use Firefox, prove me right and go digg me.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't pick your nose

I found irony again today, this time presented in the form of boogers.

While getting on the bus filled with University Students, many were reading the local independent paper, the Martlet. On the front page was a collage of people, picking their noses. Apparently this month's big front page article was entitled "No-finger zone".

You should read it. Really. It's independent paper at it's best.

Here's the irony: of the 8 or 9 students I saw reading the paper, 2 were also picking their nose.

I don't know about you but I'm suddenly feeling hungry.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Starbucks Social Gap Theory


I sat, and unknowing observed. Tazo Brambelberry over crushed ice will do that, if you are not paying attention. After some time the patrons became a blur. Then, slowly, the blur crystallized into two clear groups.

The first group passed me as they entered the store to order their morning drinks. Businessmen dressed in Hugo Boss shoes, Armani silk ties and other Italian named suits. With their cell phones and Blackberry in one hand, they shifted the papers under the other arm to accommodate their freshly brewed coffee. I didn't get the impression any of them would be impacted by the upcoming price increases for their latte next month. The women, also dressed for success, mostly opted for espresso - low fat milk with no whip of course. The standard attire for the day started with the eyes hidden behind large designer sunglasses. For dress it was either black skirts and top, or black pinstripe pant suits, both options contained between dyed blond hair in a bun and stiletto heels. Many sat together, nobody alone for more than a moment, their animated gestures and laughter open for everyone to see and hear.

The second group straggled in slowly, clutching McDonalds coffee in one hand, the other busy searching out discarded cigarette buts. They each sat at the outdoor tables, alone, with their Zig-Zag paper, making a new cancer stick of out of the discarded few. There is less to write about them because they moved as such. No designer clothes. No laughter. No discussion. Just survival.

As I sat I realized that something and somewhere as simple as a Starbucks visit can exemplify the social gap that is prevalent in any city. I'm sure they don't advertise that in the franchise materials.

The Starbucks Social Gap Theory: only the wealthy need apply.
When I was leaving two young business men strolled in, one grabbing a seat while the other headed into the coffee shop. "Hey, Mike, want a latte?" the first called out over his shoulder.

His business partner cocked his head to one side and thought for a moment. "Nope. Caffeine is bad for you, grab me a juice instead please." Then, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes and proceeded to light up.

An addendum to my Starbucks Social Gap Theory - A prerequisite for being in the first social tier is not intelligence.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm famous (I think)

Today someone asked me if I was famous or infamous.

I was stumped. Why? Because there really were two things I had to consider - which one was I, and which one did I want to be? I'm sure you could see what the conundrum.

Spectemur agendo I thought, right before I told him I'd get back to him, if I felt like it. I guess with that flippant answer I acted like a famous person.

Problem solved: I'm famous.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Sublime Birthday

It must have been Opinionistas' birthday too, given her recent post. While she seemed more cynical than I, on our day of celebration, I'm sure our parties were much different. She didn't have a special guest join in.

The Cast:

  • JJ: Brother in law. Loves to play with the kids, probably because he doesn't have any yet, and thus still has the energy. Next time he is in town I'm going to teach all the kids the meaning of dogpile.
  • Older Brother: Title says it all - and thus he thinks he's the wiser one. Yes, the one who, when he saw the FedEx commercial about MBA students, promptly called me up and laughed at me. Well, just so you know I laughed when I saw Clops too.
  • Little Sister: JJ's wife, and my sister. She loves that I have kids, because it means she doesn't have to yet.
  • The Matriarch: Our mom. Although she says she loves us all, when you really get down to it I swear she's in it for the grandkids. At least that was the theory I set out to prove.
With JJ, Older Brother, and me all celebrating our birthdays in September, the Matriarch conspired with Little Sister and cooked up a birthday plan: cake, games and a surprise guest. So the word went out, family party at a local park, complete with guests and party games. As you can imagine, when I got the email, I could not contain my excitement...

After hearing the news I called Older Brother:
"Did you hear about the party?" I asked.
"Yep... got the news yesterday." I couldn't tell his tone - it was either whoo, kids & cake tone, or I'm game if there is Starbucks involved.
I probed a little further into his thoughts. "All I wanted to do on my birthday was go for a bike ride. What about you?"
"Well, I wanted to go for a long drive with the kids, maybe take them to the beach up island."
Hmm, the plot thickens, I though.

The next day I called JJ:
"Hey JJ, how's it going?"
"Pretty good. Pretty good. Hey, did you hear about the party? We're coming into town for it."
"Yep, that's why I called - just wondering what you wanted to do for your birthday."
"Well, I was hoping to go play tennis, or at least have the party at Older Brother's house because he's got the cool games in the basement."
"Hmm, can you put Little Sister on?"
"Yeah, here she is..." he trailed off as he passed the phone over.
"Hey LP! You ready for the party this weekend! We've got a special guest coming!"
"Yeah... just wondering if..." I started before being cut off.
"Ohhh!" she exclaimed. "We've got games planned! I hope you're ready for some three legged races!"

At this point I paused and quickly summed the situation up:
For my birthday all I wanted to do was go for a bike ride.
For JJ's birthday all he wanted to do was go play tennis.
For Older Brother's birthday all he wanted to do was go for a drive with the kids to the beach.
So what did we do instead? We all had cake at a park with the special guest, which turned out to be Bubbles the Clown. Yes, with an aggregate age of 92 between the 3 of us, The Matriarch and Little Sister had a clown come and blow us up balloon animal party hats.

The fact that I had a clown come to my birthday isn't the point - what is important is what I uncovered about my family. The clown got me thinking two important things: First, maybe if Opinionistas had a clown come to her party she won't be so down on getting older. Second, it provides proof that Little Sister and The Matriarch are 100% in it for the grandkids. Now that I have discovered their Modus Operandi, I hold the equivalent of a "get anything I want" card. Based on that, here's my plan: next year I will convince them that the grandkids really want to go on a vacation to Hawaii for my birthday.

So look for it this time next year, blogging from Hawaii. Because it's what the grandkids want, right?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Upsell

Much like taking the bus, eating out provides a feast of stories to blog about. This is particularly true if I sit contemplatively while drinking some coke on a sunny afternoon, reliving the recent events.

Not to disappoint, a dinner out last night provided one of the better upsells I had seen in long time:

“Excuse me waiter, which of the pasta dishes you recommend?” queried one dinner guest. She had been perusing the menu for quite some time, unable to make a decision.

Rubbing his hands together, as if he was savoring the meal itself within his palms, he offered up his recommendation. “I would suggest the Seafood Lasagna. It is chalk full of marinated fish, prawns and steamed clams. An excellent choice.” It was also the most expensive item on the pasta menu. Good choice waiter!

“Hmm, I don't really feel like seafood this evening,” she slowly replied with an air of uncertainty.

Seeing this uncertainty as a weakness he opted for the second high price menu item, this time downplaying it was actually seafood. “Well then I would try the Fettuccine with Seared Scallops. Lovely pasta, and the sauce is wonderful.”

“Sounds tempting. I’ll have the fettuccine then please.”

“Wonderful!” he beamed. Another upsell through the magic of the waiter.

That made me thinkthe upsell – it really is all about presentation. For example, I successfully use the upsell method with our kids all the time. Broccoli for dessert is actually a treat in our house some days, it’s just in the lead up and presentation where we can get them excited enough to want to eat it, then ask for more.

As for this blog, I don’t really have an upsell in mind when I craft each post. It’s not that I don’t have something to sell – I do – this blog itself, these posts, these stories, all culminating to selling the Logical Philosopher brand. Regardless if your currency of exchange is shown in the form of comments, silently loyal readership, or helping me bump my traffic through some viral marketing program, I appreciate it all. But a tangible upsell? Maybe I should. If after reading you get the urge to buy me something tangible, or pass my posts to all your friends, family or other social networking sites, then my logical philosopher upsell has covertly been successful.

And with that note I have put the Del.icio.us and Digg hotlinks on my posts.
Apart from the storm of social networking you may want to enter into, let me know if you need my address for shipping more tangible goods.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

An Ironman and his Boobies

"Did you do it?" she asked, her eyes tracing across my chest.

I took a second but I manged to pull myself out of my iPod daze, "Uh, pardon?"

"The race," she said as she motioned to my t-shirt, "did you actually do it?". Clothed with one of my "Ironman Finisher" shirts, I had ventured out to the bank to cash a cheque and was being chatted up in line. Too bad I didn't race when I was single, I thought...

I guess I don't look in the best of shape because people are always surprised to find I actually can finish an Ironman distance triathlon, and post a respectable time as well. Another query happened last week too, while at the beach (different finisher T-shirt though). That particular time it came from a Coast Guard Diver who was suiting up to catch some sea life to show to the kids on the beach. Being a strong swimmer himself he looked surprised I could even make the 2.4 mile swim, let alone do a 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run right after it.

When those sort of things happen, I usually feel pretty good about my ability to accomplish things people say or assume I can't do. After all, like Roger Martin I aspire to beat, not just to satisfy the world. So what if I am not the fittest person out there? At least I start the race and ultimately finish strong. Who cares if I have 15 pounds on the rest of my racing field? Drinking slushees and going to the Olive Garden for double pasta dinners three times the week before my races probably doesn't help, but it makes all the training pain worth it.

However, today I paused to rethink my "feeling good despite what you think" theory. Here's how my 1 year old put it all in perspective:

Yesterday my 1 year old climbed up on my knee, pulled up my shirt and, as she punched her chubby finger into my soft belly, shouted "Boobie! Boobie! Big boobie!"

Yes, I may be an Ironman, but like any child she called it like it really was, all while using 2 of the 13 words she actually knows. That means it is probably time to stop drinking coke and go for a run instead. Caloric output replaces caloric input. I should probably run nowhere in particular, and see if I can loose the boobie.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Getting Haloscan to work in Beta Blogger

For all you Beta Bloggers: Haloscan comments & trackback do work in Beta!
For all you non-technical, loyal LP readers: All regular comments are back up!

Finally, after (ironically) using google and not finding the answer I searched elsewhere on the Haloscan forum. Between some guessing and the comments of Wiiiai's and Now That's Amateur , I got them up and running.

Here's how to work it, which was posted on the forum as well:

Step 1:
Turn on the widgets and find the following 3 lines of code:

<span class='post-comment-link' >
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType != "item" '>
<b:if cond='data:post.allowComments'>

Step 2: (which Wiiiai didn't include and it took me forever to figure it out)
DELETE the code that is in between the code above and the "<'/b:if'>" that comes next. If you don't do this you'll see both the blogger comments AND the haloscan comments come up. I saved them in a text file in case I need them back.


Step 3:
Insert the following (the XXXX being your haloscan user name):

<script src='http://www.haloscan.com/load/XXX' type='text/javascript'> </script>
<a expr:href='"javascript:HaloScan(" + "\"" + data:post.id + "\"" + ");"' target='_self'>
<script type='text/javascript'>postCount('<data:post.id/>');</script>
</a>



That's it.


UPDATE: it seems the footer code also needs ported into the spot when a post shows up on it's own page. Once I get it working, I will repost where to add that in also. Right now I have Haloscan to turn on in place of Blogger comments, but it may be easier to recode the text to work the opposite using the else/if statements - Haloscan turns on when Blogger turns off.

UPDATE 2: to add the code in the single post footer you need to drop in the SAME code as above, this time after the following code:

< id="'comments'" var="'post'">
< id="'comments'">
< name="'comments'/">
< 'h4' >

Note that both the blogger AND Haloscan comments will come up unless you delete the blogger code that comes under the < 'h4' >(which may be different in other templates).

UPDATE 3: Code in main section was updated - there was a missing portion of code the disappeared when blogger beta posted it! Arrg!

UPDATE 4: I've gotten a few hundered hits to this post, meaning there is a need for beta workarounds. If you are looking for other beta hacks check out Hackosphere, it's got a few gems in it.

UPDATE 5: If you came here just looking for the code using and are using Firefox, you may be interested in the follow-up article I did on Social Networking & Innovators/Early Adopters and their use of Firefox.

UPDATE 6: Peter at Utter Muttering got the trackback working. In the comment on this post he says "I just got trackback working (I think) by adding identical code and changing "HaloScan(...)" to "HaloScanTB(...)" and "postCount(...)" to "postCountTB(...)". It appears to be working correctly." Note that you need to add this new feature as a second set of code to your template.

UPDATE 7: I had a few emails about adding another update to clarify some things. Apparently for some templates you need to delete to the SECOND <b:if ... to get rid of the Blogger comments and the "invalid XML" error.

If you were able to use the hack, go digg it for me! Thanks.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I've moved!

I've moved over to the new Blogger Beta!

The one big change you will notice is my Labels categories on the sidebar, which was the main reason I switched over (I have Wordpress tagging evny).


For those already on Blogger wanting to do it: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL BLOGS THAT ARE HOLY - WAIT!!!

While it offers considerable behind the scenes advantages (tags, drag & drop templates, etc.), the drawbacks of not being able to edit your raw HTML caused some serious issues for me. I also had my comments in Haloscan and I can't seem to relink them. If anyone knows how, please let me know!

It may be a few days before new posts as I'm spending all my online time getting the new template tweaked to work, and I've got a year of posts to label for your categorized enjoyment!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Culture of Expectation

I stood, waiting patiently for my turn. I am, after all, a polite and patient man.

She stood at the front of the line, talking at another customer in the store. She was, after all, a young professional Know It All that felt she was entitled to hold up the line.

"No, you're doing it wrong. You need to find your niche, then you can sell your work," she instructed with an exasperated tone. Looking young enough that she would get id'd in any bar, it appeared she was dispensing advice to a grey haired man on how to sell his photographs. I caught a glimpse of his camera and lenses poking out of his case, which pegged him as either a pro, or high-end amateur photographer. Either way, by his equipment it looked like he knew his stuff and had probably forgotten more about photography than she had even learned. She continued on as he looked at her with a blank 'why are you talking to me expression', "And you do know of all the places to send to, right? I'm having a gallery showing next week, and you should come and see my work to compare."

The clerk behind the counter looked up as he finished printing a receipt on the computer. Sliding it across the counter to her, he leaned to the side and made eye contact with me - one of those "your turn, can I help you" motions.

Ms. Know It All must have heard my muscles twitch, readying to relay my polite request for service, because before I could even part my lips to emit any sort of sound she held up her right hand between me and the clerk. Then, with a long finger extending upwards towards the ceiling she said in a louder tone than her current conversation, "I'm not done with my transaction yet." The amazing part was she didn't even bother to break eye contact with her main target of her verbal directions. Do you want more amazing? Well, I have it - she then continued on talking to him.

I quizzically looked at the clerk with a "did what just happened really happen" look on my face, only to be rewarded with a sympathetic eye roll. A second clerk that was stocking the shelves turned and looked at all of us, her mouth slightly agape at what was unfolding in front of her.

"The showing will be on the 12th at 8:00," she chattered on, reaching into her purse with her left hand to pull out one of her cards. I know it was her left hand because her right was still busy holding up a line of people with her single finger pointing up towards the ceiling. "Take this, it has my contact information so I can give you more detail on what your next steps should be."

I had time on my hands so was happy to be polite and wait, but then thought for a moment:

Old lady that can't find her wallet?
I would wait patiently.

Young parent trying to finish her transaction while balancing a crying child?
I would wait patiently.

Confused spouse attempting to pick just the right gift for their significant other?
I would wait patiently.

Arrogant young professional with the expectation of privilege?
I am not waiting patiently.

As I stepped up to the counter Ms. Know It All's finger straightened up like she was going to climax, all while she continued to talk at her victim. Sensing all hell was going to break loose two of the other clerks that had been near enough to see what was happening jumped behind the counter and loudly announced in unison "I can serve whoever is next!"

I left about 1 minute later, after paying for my photographs (which I probably couldn't sell because I haven't found my niche market). When I looked back at the first clerk behind the counter he was still holding the transaction paperwork for Ms. Know It All, while she continued to hold her right hand high, almost daring him to serve someone else in line.

The older man still had that Charlie Brown look on his face, like all he could hear from the teacher was "Whah wah, wah wah wah...".

An editorial I read a few months back said today's iGeneration and Generation Y, which I just missed out on by a few years, is developing into a "Culture of Entitlement".

Instant access to information, instant intellectual and markatable skills when they graduate (which ports directly into a high level position at a large firm), and the tendency to blog now & regret it later.

Unfortunately these traits come with a price: they think they run the show.

I wonder how long this will go on until the older generations start to turn them into a "Culture of Just Got Wacked Up Side The Head". I think this video of an old granny giving a wack to the Mercedes Benz of Mr. Know It All illustrates exactly what I am getting at.

I don't think "iGeneration Wacking" has caught on yet, but I was pretty close to starting the trend on my own today.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My first threesome


She had her eyes closed, pretending to sleep, but after nine years I knew her too well for that. Just to check, I kissed her softly on the lips to see if she was really asleep, but the slight response told me no. Her eyes stayed closed as we continued to kiss, but her arms moved up to pull me in.

There was a crash in the background, followed by the squeaking as the door at the bottom of the stairs slowly opened. We stopped, mid kiss, as from past experiences we knew the slightest sound would give our location away.

A few moments later the stairs began to squeak as we heard our newly awake guest ascending towards our room. We pulled the covers over our head, hoping she would pass us over. No luck. As the pitter patter sound of feet grew nearer a small blond mop of tossled hair popped up above the mound of pillows on the mattress and squealed with delight "Mommee! Daddeee! Uppie! Uppie!"

With that, we froze, hoping if we appeared asleep she would go back downstairs to see if her brother was up to play yet. Unfortunately that was not the case this morning...

Next we heard the sounds of a 1 year old struggling to mount the bed, which she did swiftly considering it was at chin height for her. Once mounted she quickly climbed over my wife, briefly looked at both of us and then planted a wet, open mouth kiss, complete with a smack sound, on each of our cheeks. Satisfied she had bought her entry into our bed with her cuteness she slid under the covers, directly between the two, of us and let out a big satisfying sigh.

I rolled back over to my side of the bed and slowly spoke to the two girls in my bed: "Somehow I imagined my first threesome to be..." I paused to think before I continued on, "What's the word I'm looking for? More fulfilling? Less indifferent to the company? I'm not sure of the word, but this just isn't the feeling I thought it would be."

My wife looked over at the two of us and quipped, "well, look on the bright side - at least it happened with a cute blond and hot brunette."

As if on cue our youngest lifted the covers back from the 3 of us and let out a gargantuan giggle.

Parenting: the reason we don't need cable TV for entertainment.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Accession of Knowledge: Part II

It has been over a year, but I finally have posted part II. See here for Part I.

If you recall I postulated, in the context of our knowledge economy in the information age, why we are too busy working to get any work done. Why? With RSS aggregators email and other technologies to pass us information the instant is it written, there is becoming too much information to filter out. We can spend all day working, filtering information and passing it to others, but in the end we have not moved forward to our end goals. No closer to finishing that business proposal, strategic planning article or personnel reviews.

So I asked: What is the balance between knowledge & forward progress?
To answer this we consider the Urgent vs. Important 2x2 matrix. I suggest a third dimension of Growth is what we need to introduce in order to understand the balance of forward progress and "just getting things done". I refer to this as the "Opportunity Cost Matrix" (see figure below)

In order to determine how we can get more done, and what to focus our priorities on, we need to understand that with this 3D matrix, as we move from working on High Urgency, High Important tasks that will offer our company (or project) high growth rates, there exists a problem when we move to working on other tasks. What is the second more important task? Something that is high urgency and low importance but offers high growth? Or something that is high urgency and high importance, but won't offer much long term growth to the project.
That problem is what I want to consider here.


Research Question:

How does our firms Growth Rate impact our priortization of tasks?

What is the opportunity cost of doing movment based activities over progressive activities?

When should we focus on “Low Urgency” progressive tasks over “High Urgency” movement tasks?




Defining:
Movement = nominal firm growth; target existing sales, general business tasks; status quo.
Progressive = agressive firm growth; target increasing sales, business development & implementation.
Progress factor = opportunity cost (or growth rate) of doing ‘movement’ activities over ‘progressive’ activities.

Now we need to break this down into how we should prioritize things - and I will do so as an example. I will use “progressive” tasks give a 50% firm growth rate over donig “movement” oritented tasks (10 points allocated across matrix). This gives:


This shows the priority of getting work done is as follows:
1) Progressive based High Urgency, High Importance tasks
2) Movement based High Urgency, High Importance tasks
3) Progressive based Low Urgency, High Importance tasks etc...

Plotting this we see:
  • If (Progressive Growth Factor) Less Than 67%, focus on movement of high urgency items over progress of low urgency items.
  • If (Progressive Growth Factor) Greater Than 67%, focus on progress of low urgency items over movement of high urgency items
What does this mean? The Key Success Factor for high growth startups or projects is to focus on the “Progressive” tasks. In other words if you work for a mature company, your time is actually well spent by doing the boring monthly report for your CEO instead of the more fun, blue sky strategy planning that you do in a startup.

Next steps:
How does a different task point allocation alter the model?
How do we actually calculate the progress factor?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Day I Ran to the Middle of Nowhere

Today I found the Middle of Nowhere.

Last week Jason Kottke referenced enRoute Magazine's August issue. Jason said he found his "Middle of Nowhere" during a recent trip to Minneapolis at the Mill City Museum.

Middle of Nowhere isn't a physical location. not anymore. In this era, when we have Google Mapped every corner of the earth (and some other planets), almost no place is so remote it's truly nowhere.

No, we think the Middle of Nowhere is a state of mind. It's the satisfied pleasure-tinged-with-insider's-delight that you feel when you discover something pretty great in a place where you didn't know it thrived. So that when you experience this thing, whether it's in the middle of a major city or a cornfield, you think, This? Is here? I had no idea!
Today I found my Middle of Nowhere.

thump thump. Out for a run I reached my usual return marker, but my body kept moving.
thump thump thump. Pushing up the hill, across the road and down the path.
thump thump. Bursting through the trees and onto the trail I increased my pace.
thump thump thump. Flying around the bird watchers and over the rooted path.
thump thump. Cresting a hill and plunging back down into a valley.
thump thump thump. Accelerating past another marker, plunging deeper into the forest.
thump thump. Reaching my lactic acid threshold, I approached a small clearing and then, a slowing of the pace.

thump. Stopping at the fork in the path, I stood, sheltered from the mid-day sun under the canopy of trees.

thump. I rested and listened, my heart beating loudly. The silence screamed, only shattered by the occasional sound of nature. Birds calling to each other; Soft wind whistling through the tree branches; Scotch Broom plants popping in concert with it all.

I feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere, I thought. I've grown up around here, traveled through these park trails thousands of times but never to this spot. For a moment in time I had that satisfied pleasure-tinged-with-insider's-delight that as I rediscovered a new place I always new existed, but never visited.

thump. With my heart rate lowered I reset my watch and stood for my return trip. Once I got home I checked to see if I could find the distance I went, but the trail wasn't even on Google Maps. My route is safe from the spying eyes of the internet.

I shall run there again somtime soon. And when that time comes, and I have my shoes laced up to head out the door if my anyone asks where I'm going running I'll probably say "Nowhere", because it will be true.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Nice Coccyx

Did you ever have one of those moments you never thought would happen to you, until it happened? And then you agonized if you should tell anyone? Well, this was one of those moments and thank goodness I have the anonymity of a blog to share the story...

"So how does it feel?" I inquired to my physiotherapist as he probed my lower back around my painful areas. Pings of pain, feelings of strain and inability to bike too far - all in a days feeling for me.

Ever since I lived to experience the Difference of a Second, I've been working with my Physiotherapist to get back into Ironman worthy shape. I still have a long way to go...
"Hmm, just a second," he replied as he moved down and started to adjust my tailbone with the palms of his hands. It's a funny feeling, having ones tailbone adjusted that is. Usually there are creaks and pops as he pokes and pushes down on my butt with the palms of his hands. From a pure observers view I'm sure it looks like one guy massaging another guys ass. However, when medical necessity is involved, I would hope more latitude is given... at least that's what I'll tell myself if anyone walks in on us. I could just see all the Brokeback Physiotherapist comments coming out of that.

"Ahhhhh, ok" I heard him exhale as he finished and moved his hands slightly outwards to check the rest of my muscle reflexes on my buttocks and hips. "You know, all considering you're feeling pretty good to me." At that exact moment he had his hands on my ass. Not just on my ass, but rubbing my ass.
Mental note: Must see a sexy lady physiotherapist for next time I feel the need to ask that question.
What is my lesson for the post? Never say never, because when medical visits are involved, never really means it will happen - probably when you least expect it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

*@#(! Computer

Arrrgg! No posts this week, a virus ate my computer, along with the 2 draft posts I had typed up. I think I got most of my data off before it went down in flames, but not sure... And my backup laptop went down with a different virus at the same time.

I guess that teaches me my lesson - don't piggypack off my neighbours WiFi when my router happens to be turned off because I'm too lazy to go upstairs and reset it.

See you in a few days, pending a new Windows install.

LP.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The day a Pride Parade saved my blog post

The clock was blinking after midnight. It was well past the time I should have gone to bed yet I was up, blogging. With my brain trying to focus and my fingers barely typing another coherent post, I was trying desperately not to disappoint. It had been four days since my last post and with my blog hits rising, it was time for another new, riveting post.

Have I become a slave to the blog? Or is it still being created for it's original purpose, I thought. At that moment it felt like I was the slave.

Inspiration. You never know when it will hit, or in what form.
Then, I got my MSN nudge. Ping Ping! Ping Ping! And with the last ping, a dancing cow popped up. It was Sandritia, of guest post fame. With a flurry of fingers we both proceeded to play the instant message conversation game - one of us 3 or 4 lines ahead in the conversation, with the other trying to catchup in their responses.

With the time going well into the early morning, Sandritia readied to sign off. With one last ping of a dancing cow, she did add another line to her signoff... and thus I was hit wit my blogging inspiration. Pride Parade. Rainbow Speedo. Breakfast. Like a fat kid on a smartie, I was all over this for a posting.

I honestly tried to rewrite the conversation, but after many tries I kept coming back to the original text. After reading I am sure you will understand why. Like fine literature, some text is best appreciated in it's original form.

Sandritia says: ok gotta go get me some sleep...
Sandritia says: as should you
Sandritia says: i'm at the pride parade tomorrow

Logical Philo says: Ok. Was up doing a blog post, so need to get back to it.

Sandritia says: always fun

Logical Philo says: Woah, what? Pride parade? Did you switch teams when I wasn't looking?

Sandritia says: we'll play the count the bare breasts game
Sandritia says: always good for a free frapuccino

I sat and looked at that last line thinking, hmmm, last time I counted bare breasts I didn't get a free frapuccino. In fact, I had to pay for the round of beers. Maybe she has some tips I should get from her...

Logical Philo says: I'm sensing blogging material... ready up a guest post for me!

Sandritia says: ah yes... will bring a notebook just in case

Logical Philo says: Ok. later.

At this point I was ready to go, but Sandritia was apparently not. She started to type so fast, her messages were coming out in small, rapid fire portions. I was, in response to her lines of text on the floor laughing.

Sandritia says: too bad you weren't here
Sandritia says: i remember last year
Sandritia says: having breakfast on davie street the morning after pride

Logical Philo says: too bad I wasn't there because you miss me in general, or because you'd miss me at the pride parade?
Logical Philo says: I'm copying this text for the blog...

Sandritia says: and there was a guy outside the window in a rainbow speedo
Sandritia says: and nothing else
Sandritia says: and I felt compelled to yell from
Sandritia says: my table inside the restaurant....
Sandritia says: pride is OVER!!!
Sandritia says: you just can't get away with that the day after pride
Sandritia says: i think you would enjoy the parade

Logical Philo says: let me know how the yelling turns out this year.

Sandritia says: 10-4

Logical Philo says: Oh, that was yelling at breakfast, not the breast counting game.

Freed from the slavery of having to write without inspiration, I rewrote my post. This post. Now I am content.

Inspiration. Coming from the most unlikely sources, it reminds me of why I started blogging. Thank goodness for library visits, bus rides, family and friends, otherwise I really wouldn't have much to write about. Funny things happen in all of our lives, I just happen to write them down...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More tourists

Another unexpected part 2...but in a different direction this time.

I sat in solace. Beautiful view and although sunny it was cold. The tourists huddled inside, away from the salty spray that was misting into the wind.

Then it happened all over again - the mad rush, as a result of an announcement: "Attention passengers, this is the first officer speaking. A pod of killer whales is surfacing on the port side."

Within seconds my solo view of the water from the port side of the boat was obscured by about 80 tourists, chattering excitedly and pointing to whales, not 50 meters from where I sat.

An old, sun wrinkled man plunked down next to me and pulled out his cell phone. He squinted at the number pad, looked up at the pod of killer whales, then looked back down as if he was making a decision to call somebody or not. Slowly punching in the numbers I heard the dial tone turn to a ringing. That seems loud, I thought to myself.... until I realized he was calling using his speaker phone function.

"Hey sunshine, it's grandpa!" he yelled into the phone.

"Hey grandpa, where are you?" a young sounding girl shouted into the phone, or out of the speaker for all of us to hear.

"I'm on a ferry, in Canada. Isn't that exciting?" he exclaimed, with a slowness which could have been either him, or for his granddaughter.

"Yes..."

"And there are whales up here! Isn't that exciting!"

"Oh, whales!" she shrieked.

Right about now I was hoping a pause in the conversation would come up for me to jump in. Oh, excuse me sir, I'm going to throw your phone to the whales, isn't that exciting for all of us around you?

"Yes, lots of whales. I think it is so exciting, don't you!"

"For sure grandpa!"

"Yes, I'm glad the cell phone works up here. I wasn't sure if it would or not. Now I know I can call you anytime! Isn't that exciting!"

The conversation went back and forth for another 10 minutes, with another 8 or 9 "Isn't that exciting!"

Tourists. Speaker phones. Excitable grandparents. I think they need to split the ferry routes into tourist and non-tourist... now wouldn't that be exciting?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Curse of Being Polite

I flew down to Seattle last weekend with some friends and, being the polite blogger I am, I let my friends go through first when we all reached the boarding gate. Big mistake.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think being polite would require me to unbuckle my belt for a man wearing a fake badge and, even worse, with rubber gloves sticking out of his pocket ready for action.
“Have your boarding passes ready please,” the customs agent announced to us all as we filed through into the metal detector line. He droned on, waving everyone in front of me into the screening machine. “Thank you, pass through. Thank you, pass through. Thank you, pass through”

“Hold up sir.” I heard directed towards me as I tried to step past. “Random screening check, step this way please.” He pointed towards an area beside an empty table, calling out to his workmates “Doing a random! Doing a random!”, like it was some sort of reality show prank. Damn, I’ve been Random’d, I thought. It’s like being Punk’d, only they have the legal authority to use rubber gloves.

He then asked a most disturbing question: “Would you like this done in a private room, or is this public space ok?”

“I guess this is ok.” I replied, hoping that if I chose public, the rubber gloves would stay safely stowed away. After a few attempts of incorrectly following his next set of instructions I finally seemed to “assume the correct screening position”, my arms out to the side, and legs slightly apart. He turned on is portable metal detector and proceeded to run his wand over me, finally stopping as it continued to beep at my belt buckle.

“Open your belt please,” he ordered. I got the impression this was going to be the highlight of his day so I went with it. Looking around I saw my friends had all stopped to watch, as if viewing some horrific traffic accident unfolding in slow motion. I now know it is possible to have ones mouth agape and snicker at the same time.

After his wand cleanly passed over me I took it as a sign to buckle back up. Unfortunatly I was wrong - “No sir, I asked you to open your belt buckle. Wide open please.” He continued wanding my pelvic area for contraband and then made the motion for me to spin around. Arms still outstretched I pivoted, like a ballet dancer, only with hiker boots and an unbuckled belt. At this point my friends snickers became auitory. What a start to the trip. I was determined to be graceful to the end, so I reached down to do my belt back up, not so much for my fashion sense of an open belt buckle, but more so to prevent my shorts dropping right then and there.

“No sir, wait until I tell you to buckle it back up.” I heard from behind. Now stop and re-read that line. I decided right then and there that I didn’t ever want to be in a position to hear that line again. I started to sweat, and my friends started to add facial expressions to their noises.

Apparently growing bored of telling me what I could do with my belt, he moved into my carry-on luggage. Unzipping my bag he started pulling out my clothes, inspecting them as he went. At this point it was at least 5 or 6 minutes into my search and all I could think of was next time I’m going to pack dirty underwear at the top, regardless of my trip starting or finishing.

A thin smile appeared on his face as he rummaged around in the bottom of my bag. I started to think maybe he had watched the French Connection recently and saw me as his next big bust? Sensing he was getting warm, he triumphantly pulled out my tube of Crest toothpaste and, more strangely, like he was caressing a beautiful vase, gently held it up to the light for a closer inspection. Except in the actual toothpaste aisle at the local pharmacy I’ve never seen anyone look at a toothpaste tube with such reverence. Time seemed to slow as he stood in awe, gazing at my toothpaste tube.

Finally, after he let a sign of satisfaction quietly escape from his lips, he placed the toothpaste back into my bag, stuffed my now unfolded clothes back on top and zipped my bag up. “Thank you sir. Going to the US means tighter security, I hope you understand.”

“Yeah, no problem,” I muttered as I grabbed the rest of my items from the inspection table, turning towards my friends.

“Oh, and you can do your belt up now.” I hear him say from behind. Damn. Twice in one day. I headed over to my group of friends, who still stood watching the event come to a close. I’m sure they all secretly hoped I would get busted for something, just so they could say they were there when it happened.

“Whew,” I breathed, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve used up my quota of unbuckling my pants for the weekend.”

One of them shook his head slowly, looked me up and down and said with a slow, contemplative tone, “You know LP, all these years I’ve known you and I figured you for a Colgate man. You disappoint.”

I guess you never really know somebody until you see them get pulled for a random search at the airport.