The Logical Philosopher

Friday, May 26, 2006

Go be a tourist, but without disturbing me please.

With the smell of saltwater in the air, I sat on the upper deck, enjoying a quiet moment to myself in the sun. As we neared Active Pass we passed a cluster of fishing boats bobbing in a cove, the multitude of lines giving them the appearance of some inverse puppet show being put on for our boating pleasure.

My zen like state was shattered by the an announcement by the Captain. It was shortly followed by a stampede of passengers rushing excitedly out of the cabin onto my deck.

"Attention please, this is your Captain speaking. We've just been informed that there is a pod of killer whales on the far side of the Pass. You should be able to get a good look at them in about four minutes."

A woman, frenzied by the announcement ran up to me. "Did you hear that?" she breathlessly exclaimed as she pulled out her camera. "Killer whales! I'm soooo excited. I've never seen anything like this before!"

"Yep." I slowly replied. I was more enthralled by the fact that it would be over soon and everyone would go back inside so I could have the deck back to myself. Whales or no whales, I was already having a zen moment before they showed up to blow their holes for us.

Sure enough, as we exited the Pass there was a small pod, about 4 whales frolicking in the currents. The woman next to me just about when nuts. "My friends are going to be so jealous that I saw some killer whales!"

"Mmmm, I bet. Where are you from?" I inquired, thinking somewhere like Saskatchewan or Montana.

"Oh, just Vancouver."

I paused... "Recently moved here?" I added.

"No, lived here about 13 years. Why do you ask?"

"No reason." I replied, wondering how that was possible. For those who were sleeping in Geography class, Vancouver is one of Canada's bigger cities - and it is located right on the water. I don't know how the heck you could live in Vancouver and not see a killer whale at some point. It would be like living in San Francisco and not seeing the Golden Gate Bridge if you were out for a stroll on the beach. If you're around long enough, you will see them. But 13 years?

I sighed. I live in a beautiful part of the world; people travel from far and wide to see the sights and enjoy the natural beauty I get to see every day.

So I ask: What's in your town that you haven't seen yet?

Life is short. Go be a tourist. Put please, just don't disturb the zen like passengers next to you, for they may have already seen the sights and are there just to relax.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Little pink houses

Pink - a whole mountain of it... with me in the middle ... and without a map.

Pink - had I come this far, or just gone far away to some distant land? I stopped and pondered the signifiance of this situation. Did you ever have one of those moments where you stop and realize you are doing something at a point in your life you never thought possible? And no, I'm not talking about that realization after you've had several drinks. "Party 'till she's cute" doesn't apply in this context.

I do my fair share of work around the house (in my opinion of course). Dirty dishes. Soiled laundry. Fouled floors. Bring it on! I'm an equal opportunity spouse, as long as she does her share of construction and renovation duties.
This week I was doing a large load of laundry. I sorted into lights, darks, towels and colored. As usual it wasn't that simple as I had too much for a single load of colored. Undeterred from the task I opted split that into two sub-groups - colored and pink. There seemed, after all, a large amount of pink. But enough to warrat a separate load? Why yes! I not only had enough not just for a small pink load, but an entirely full tub of pink. I recall the start of our marriage when there was one or two pink things - mostly not in need of frequent washing because they didn't stay on long enough to get dirty. Now, between my wife of 8 years and 18 month old daughter I had enough for an entire pink load - pink socks, pink pj's, pink shirts - and I was doing it.

I'm still trying to decide if I have come far, or just gone far. A subtle difference in language but enormous distance apart. I'll send you a postcard when I figure out where I'm at.

It will be a pink postcard.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lighten my load

"How long have we been out here?" I vaguely heard her ask the group. I looked up into the darkness of the night, not really sure myself. We had departed the restaurant for the evening, but several had remained in the parking lot to swap some additional storied stories about each others now infamous lives. Those that had once been our servers and cooks were now exiting the restaurant, passing us by as they headed home from their shifts.

I had that woozy feeling - like I either had too much of the epicurean delights or servings of coke at the restaurant. As such I stood there, disassociated to the conversation at hand, not really caring who asked the question, nor the answer. I was thinking of something more important, more purposeful for me. I was pondering if I really could have enough coke to feel woozy. Nope, I thought after a brief yet meaningful introspective moment, It must have been too much food.

"Hey, LP," she nudged, "You've got that dazed look. Everything ok?"

"Yeah," I sighed, my shoulders dropping slightly as I let out a woosh from deep down. "I was just thinking that these leftovers are getting too heavy to hold." As usual I was contemplative, yet realistic about my situation at hand ... both figuratively and literally. It was, after all, two whole slice of pizza that I was holding.

"Hmmm," I heard her say with mock empathy. Then, pausing to add amidst the laughter, "But really it should be more like: You know you're out of shape when you're standing in the middle of the parking lot after a meal chatting with your friends, leftovers in hands and you say 'Damn, this pizza is getting too heavy to hold. I should just eat it to lighten my load."

Ahh, nothing like a group of friends to call it like it really is.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nice Helmet

It never ceases to amaze me that seemingly bright people can be so dense.
In my city the donning of bicycle helmets is actually mandatory due to some local laws. Yes, you can actually get a ticket for riding your bike without a helmet around here. Being polite Canadians we of course follow all the laws and wear helmets.

What I do not understand is that if you are going to all the effort of wearing a helmet how can seemingly smart people be so stupid about how you actually wear the helmet. Regardless of your choice to wear it - because of the law or for your own personal safety – you’d think reading the instruction manual would be useful for something that is protecting your brains.
Just this week I noted on the cycling path the following helmet infractions, if you can call them that:

1) Those that wear them, but don’t bother to strap them on. With the wind whipping the chinstrap behind your ears as you fly along, the only thing your helmet will do is provide some physical location for the coroner to stop looking for your scattered brains after impact with the pavement. This assumes that the brains will stop traveling along the pavement before your helmet comes to a stop at the base of some tree. I say if you’re going to have a bad hair day because of wearing a helmet, you may as well strap it on.

2) Those that wear them but choose, for some unknown reason, to use a helmet that is at least 10 years old. These are the ‘old school’ style which are now yellowed by the sun’s UV derogation on the plastic and foam. I’m sure wearing something so brittle will cause more head puncture injury than without wearing anything. Ouch. Again I’d rather take my chances with the pavement.

And my personal favorite:

3) Those that wear them backwards. Yep, at least once a day on the cycle trail some rider goes by with the pointy end of the helmet sticking up front. It takes all my might not to stop them and say “Pointy end forward is for sailing boats! Turn your helmet around!

On the flip side if these people can’t master a simple bike helmet, maybe it’s a good thing they aren’t on the road driving…

Monday, May 08, 2006


My vantage point was envious. I rode on top of the double decker bus home earlier this week, in the front row no less, which gave me yet another different perspective from the usual ride. I was able to see over the neatly trimmed hedges which, from the top view, gave way to scattered tools, discarded lawn toys, semi-abandoned car parts and other unkempt furniture.

It made me wonder: What do we hide behind our trendy URL's, slick business cards and fancy blogger templates? Scattered thoughts, discarded ideas, semi-abandoned dreams and other unkempt html code... and that's just from my perspective.

I recently was with a group of individuals on the road back to recovery after a traumatic accident, most of them from MVA's. Apart they all seemed 'normal', whatever our societal norms define that as; well kept, good jobs, eloquent speech. Together it was a different story. With a relative understanding of each others injuries they were all in a unique place to filter through each others facades and see what really was behind the hedge - even at their first time meeting each other... and everybody was cool with that. All that time and energy wasted putting up a front was would have been just that in any other setting - wasted time.

After some thought I came to an understanding why. The real tipping point between this and other interactions was the commonality and awareness of each other from primal base of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The end result was refreshing - discussions were vibrant, fuelled by real interest without the regular distortions or worrying about image. "How are you?" was asked, and meant. It did, unfortunately, make for some long winded responses...

So fellow bloggers, it made me wonder - what's hiding behind your template? Or is it all hanging out there for us to see? How many of our long rooted societal theories will need a third dimension added for digital facades? With our digital personality easily googled where would Maslow say it all fits?

I'm not sure but I suspect blogging is the in-between of publishing things you tell your co-workers and thoughts you wouldn't even tell your best friend. With pseudo anonymity we can craft text and expose inner feelings and thoughts, all while doing it under the pretext of building a digital community we know we will never have to meet if we don't want to.

Maybe blogging is as good as it gets? is the random thought that keeps coming back to me.
I say that as I, ironically, write aononmously. I guess that makes me a social experiment in the making.

So, now I formally ask: What is behind your template?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bus Pickup Lines

Just when I thought I had nothing to write about I took the bus again:

As I sat in the back of the bus watching a man, about 45 years old, trying to pickup some younger girls I thought to myself: “If I was a 25 year old woman on the bus and was being hit on by an older man I would have some guiding principles to lean on when deciding to accept or reject his advances. The main standard to apply is that I would probably want him, or any man, to be hitting on me at the bus stop as he leaned out of his Ferrari to ask directions, not leaning across from me on the bus asking me “Don’t you work at X? I think I’ve seen you there…”.

Can’t you just see it - you know, that Pretty Woman moment where Vivian spies Edward for the first time on Hollywood Boulevard: She stares at the Ferrari, loathing it and all it represents. And then it's as if Vivian turns a switch. She fluffs her mane of hair, throws her shoulders back, thrusting her breasts out and sashays towards the car, a sexy, friendly smile on her face saying “Hey Sugar, you lookin’ for a date?

Discounting the Pretty Woman / hooker thing, and the fact that I’ve never been a 25 year old woman, I’m still pretty sure if I was on the bus today that would have been my thought pattern. Additionally, watching the man do the same thing to multiple other women on the bus would further solidify my standards of Ferrari vs. Public Transportation.

Now I know what you’re all thinking: “Man, this post corners like it’s on rails!”

Monday, May 01, 2006

Grumpy Old Men

It's amazing what you can get for free when you have a cute 18 month old in tow.

Out for a stroll with my smallest one I decided to turn it into a true daddy-daughter bonding trip. What else does that mean, but a trip to the hardware store! It was mid-day, which is usually prime time for retired grumpy old men to be shopping. This particular day I was not disappointed.

There were two of them in the paint aisle - gruff, with both tone and edge on every word spoken to the store staff and other customers. As I entered the long corridor stocked with painting supplies, they all stood stoicly, but the happy babbling of my 18 month old punctuated right through the gruffness they had left in the air. It started subtly, with one of them glancing over when he thougth the other wasn't. A silent peek-a-boo here, a wiggle of a paint-brush there while I chose the right hue for my application. On the other side the rough-and-tumble employee behind the paint counter silently sanded some stir-sticks.

"A doo doo!" my daughter said to all of them at once. "DOO!" Her words for 'check out the cool tools' I gathered by her wild hand gestures towards the paint scrapers.

The older employee behind the counter looked over at us. "Here you go princess, no slivers for you" he softly said as he leaned over the edge of the counter and into the stroller, a newly sanded paint stick offered as a toy. One one end was an old hand, roughened by years of manual labor and paint permantly embedded deep into the cuticles. On the other end a young tender hand reached out, not yet callosed from daily explorations of the world and not really caring where her latest toy came from. 'I guess drool does act like a tenderizor' I thought.

As I left I heard a new customer come up and ask where the primer was. Over there, he said gruffly. The tone was there but the edge was gone.

I know some of you may be thinking what power my child must in melting grumpy old men but all I kept thinking was: Free paint stir sticks! If she's getting free sticks at 18 months I wonder how long it will take to get her to work up to free Dewalt power tools. I think I'm going to keep working this angle...