The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, April 27, 2006

No book deal if you blog

Hey all you bloggers out there that are secretly aspiring for a book deal... Check out Sara Hepola's recent article on why she shut her blog down, entitled "Why I killed my blog".

Something to ponder... I haven't decided if I should follow suit or not ... but if I do need to publish my book and can't get the actual text written like Sara, I'm looking forward to Blurb coming out of beta - coming to a bookstand near you: Logical Philosopher year in review - best posts of the first year in hardcover.

Sweet.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Solidarity

Hey NY Hack - this post's for you.

Traffic was terrible. They were doing construction and the backlog of traffic stretched back at least 3 lights. Three lanes merged into two then into one which meant not a long wait, maybe 7-10 minutes by the look of things, but I hadn't allowed that for my schedule. I looked down at my palm pilot, punching the button for the clock. I was going to be late - there was no question about it. Damn. I thought. But I can't just jump this traffic. I was wrong.

The cab I was in was driven by a quiet fellow - he had just nodded when I got in, silently pushing the fare button as I gave my destination. As we slowed to a stop he kept looking at his computer, the beeping indicating new fares coming up that he was missing out on due to the traffic. I don't think he wanted to wait either so after he seemed to focus on something ahead, he eased out into the far empty lane, quickly accelerating past the line of waiting cars. His eyes must have been good because he must have saw it before me - the taxi light of the car near the front of the vehicle queue. A few other cars must have thought the same thing, each of them pulling out to bypass the waiting traffic. A green smart car which was dwarfed by cherry red SUV, both right on our tail. I saw my cab driver look in his rear view mirror and give a thin smile.

The flagperson started traffic again, the front of the line starting to move, but the other taxi seemed to hold back slightly. My driver expertly slid in front of him, his coworker instantaneously closing the gap so no other vehicle could get in. No words were exchanged, signals crosses or eyes met. It was just understood. It was almost as if they had their own mental telepathy code.

I looked back at the traffic lineup I saw the smart car and SUV still stopped. A few honks but nobody was letting them in after cutting the huge line. I joined my driver and added a thin smile to my face. I made my meeting on time thanks to the quiet fellow.

Sometimes it pays to take a cab... literally.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

That thumping is thumping

Last weekend I headed into Vancouver to enjoy the festivities of Easter. A weekend of Church, chocolate and re-confirming the results of my 1st annual cinnamon bun tour; All I can say is that their was much rejoicing... (some of it happened at Church too).

But Easter can wait! I heard the little voices on my shoulder say. At lunch I had surreptitiously loaded the kids up with chocolate, known full well they were staying at their grandparents place that evening. Payback time! I thought, Our turn to wind them up and leave!

With the kids staying at their grandparents I mentally readied for a monumental night of partying out on the town. After a great dinner out somewhere on famed Robson Street I headed to bed to sleep, or so I thought. Unfortunately my sleep was nowhere near the childless tranquility I had envisioned - I was constantly jolted awake from the incessant noise of a party downstairs from us. Crying, sootherless wails had been replaced that evening with thumping music and laughter interspersed with screams of joy, all echoing up into the courtyard. I finally dozed off around 1am, sleeping lightly as I subconsiously tossed and turned to the thumping beat. Around 3am my wife came into the room.

"You asleep?" she whispered.

"Mmmmn...what time is it?" I croaked, keeping my eyes closed but sticking my head out from underneath the multitude of pillows.

"Three eighteen...we've been up chatting." she replied, referring to Sandritia, our host for the evening. "You get any sleep?"

"Not really, the thumping music is too loud."

As if on cue Sandritia stuck her head in "Nope, that's not music...that on and off thumping is...well..thumping, if you get my drift?"

"Until 3am? It's been going on since 10pm!" I'm not sure if I was jealous or upset they kept me from my slumber.

"Maybe we should go down and join the party?" one of the girls suggested. I'm pretty sure it wasn't my wife...but I was in a dazed and dreamy state.

"Mmmm, only 50/50 chance it's actually thumping." I noted, sitting up and straining to hear the sounds more clearly.

"Well, those are still pretty good odds!" my wife quipped, turning to our host.

"You're right, I'll go get the ice-cream and some spoons to go!" our host quickly replied, the words trailing her into the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Naked interviews

Was away this Easter weekend and have a few stories ready to type out. In the mean time I highly recommend reading today's post by on Waiter Rant entitled Missing Each Other. It is his latest post of a young couple on their first date. Things seem to be going well, but it all goes awry when the cheque arrives...

Here's a quote that made me fall of my chair laughing: "Dating’s like going on a job interview. You don’t know if you’ll get the job, but if you do, you get to see the interviewee naked."
I guess for us married guys that would make it: "Marriage is like being well past the job interview. You know you got the job, and on brief occasions the interviewee shows up naked to meetings but the rest of the time you're busy keeping the boss happy to ensure those meetings are still called."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Scratch me a single malt please

This week was an exciting one - some cool smell tests at the hospital. Smelly hospitals... Oh yeah baby. My blogging notebook came with me and I did not leave disappointed.

"Why the tests?" you ask. I've been smelling weird things, such as:

  • Freshly laundered clothes --> smells like burnt coffee
  • Dirty dishes --> smells like burnt coffee
  • Coffee --> smells like burnt garbage

I'd go on but I'm sure you get the burning picture.

This causes great problems during cooking at times: "Hey LP, how come you didn't smell the dinner burning?" my family says as they run to the stove and turn off the burner, smoke billowing out of the kitchen. "Sorry," I lamely reply. "I thought it was just, well, that normal fresh smell."

The Smell Identification Test I took was incomparable to anything else I had done for any medical test before. I had to scratch and sniff on 40 pads, with strict instructions to "pull a huge whiff of each as I scratched", then matching them to one of four options given. It brought me back to my childhood, only no pictures of strawberry shortcake to go with the sultry smells of artificial strawberry, mints and other citrus fruits.

Scratch...sniff...dill pickle. Scratch...sniff...banana. After a few minutes of scratching the room was awash with luscious fragrances of fake lavender, grape, bubble gum and cracked pepper. Yes, one of the options was cracked pepper. Then it got weird.

I started scratching ones with choices like:
a) bacon; b) natural gas; c) bleach; d) cheese.

Next I had choices like:
a) dill pickle; b) pain thinner; c) chocolate; d) whisky.

Yes - you read it right, a scratch-and-sniff whisky.

The tester looked over as I kept sniffing the whisky pad. "What are you doing?" she inquired, peering over her clipboard.

"Just following the instructions...you know, scratching and sniffing" I said, burying my nose in the pad deeper with each word.

"You've been on that one for a few minutes. You're only supposed to scratch it once!"

"But it smells good!" I exclaimed. I'm here in the hospital getting tested, can't I have any fun? I thought.

She shot me an evil glare as I took another deep breath of the artificial Jonnie Walker. "mmmmm, Whisky" I said in my best Homer Simpson voice. "Do you have any samples I can take home?"

"No," she deadpanned. "Now pass it over, you're obviously done." Her voice and body language had the 'all business no pleasure' look, yet I decided to press on.

"I could hand them out to the wino's on the street! I'd make an absolute fortune marketing these to binge drinking college students! My slogan would be something like Scratch and sniff in class to take the edge off! I'd be rich!"

She snatched the booklet away and tilting her head she flatly stated: "You're done I take it?"

"Yeah, just getting my last hit before I head back home. Cheaper than the bar you know."

Whew, good thing I ended up taking the bus home. I would not have wanted to explain that one to the police. I could just envision the headline: Local intellect busted for Sniffing and Driving!

I'd never live that one down.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How to rob a bank

While eating lunch this week in the window seat of a restaurant that overlooked the courtyard of a rather large bank, I came across my get rich scheme for the day month. I serendipitously discovered how to ensure total avoidance of the security guards and, potentially, rob the bank without their interference.

In fact, if I had have been fast enough to get down to the bank and try my theory out, I could have been writing this post from some far off land without extradition rights, but I digress...

For those who rob banks I'm sure the rent-a-cops guarding them are their greatest fear. However, with this new patentable process I have totally eliminated this point of concern. Bring on the royalties...
Step 1: Locate bank that has large courtyard in high tourist traffic area.

Step 2: Have rhythmic rastafarian buskers play transfixing tribal drum and xylophone music in the courtyard. Dancing hippies are not necessary, but will add to the ambiance.

Step 3: Ensure bank hires lackluster security and before you know it they will all gravitate to the music, each dancing slightly to the beat in their own concealed way. Once their butts are wiggling and toes are awkwardly tapping you know you're set.

Step 4: Rob bank and run away.

While I concede the point that there may be a few details to smooth out in this, I am sure you will agree I have nailed the general theme. Perhaps there is something missing between Step 3 and 4, but regardless I just can't picture it not working. I can, however, totally see Quentin Tarantino doing a Reservoir Dogs II scene on this for the bank robbery. I'll be Mr. Pink!

Any other takers? We need a Mr. White to run the show.

And last, but not least, I think this is worthy of an Instructables post. Collaboration at it's finest hour.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

What a difference a second makes

I seem to have fallen into the rhythm of a social commentary or introspective thoughts every 5 or 6 posts.... I suspect that makes it time for one of them.

One second earlier and I would be around to write this post.
One second later
and I wouldn't even think to write this post.

All I remember is the grill of the car seemed HUGE as I was catapulted over my bars and onto the ground... I vaguely, through a cloud of pain and cognitive disorientation, recall an off duty fireman and doctor stopping to help. As the sounds of the ambulance siren grew nearer, I heard them both agreeing I seemed to be pretty lucky.

"A second here, a second there..." I heard them say to each other, referring to the difference in timing of the car nicking me and taking me completely out.

This weekend is Ironman Arizona - meaning this time last year I was swimming my way through 2000 other racers in 2.4 miles of murky, windswept waters; biking 112 miles through 30mph headwinds, tailwinds and sidewinds (while avoiding the odd tumbleweed); and running my way over 26.2 miles of hot, cactus sprinkled desert. While I didn't set a personal best or hit my race plan of a 12.5 hour finish time, I still held my own and was able to walk back to the hotel with my gear in had and pack for my flight the next day. A relative success in my books.

As I wrote a few months ago, I am still hanging out with physiotherapists and other rehab specialists a few times a week. However, last week an informal milestone came - they gave me the OK to try and ride my bike again. To say I was totally stoked was an understatement. I unpacked my dust covered gear and headed out the next day for a 25 minute ride on the sunny, scenic roads. With wind sweeping over my body and the ground passing under me with a sub-sonic speed averaging 10kph below my accustomed race pace, I finished completely exhausted, in pain and in need of serious physical therapy ... but for those 25 minutes the worries of life melted away, making it all worthwhile.

The culmination of Ironman happening this weekend and my first ride since my accident made me ponder both what a difference a second makes, and what an impact it makes in the direction of one's year. I think if I had have know what was in store at that last Ironman I would have savored the moment a little more. I would have thanked a few extra volunteers. I would have chalked a few extra signs onto the roadways. I would have taken more time to enjoy the SPAM that my friend Chris put in my special needs bag. You know, the little things.

In fact, one year later the SPAM is still sitting in my gear bag.

A second here, a second there.

I think I'll dig the SPAM out and have a celebratory dinner for being on the right side of that second. Then I'm going to go tune up my Cervelo P3 for the coming summer days... Biking and SPAM, who'd ever thought.

Bon App├ętit!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Random thoughts for today

Random thought #1:
When the guy on the bus next to you pulls out a guitar and starts to play, it is a good idea to move...because when the bus comes to an abrupt stop somewhere, a guitar to the rib really really hurts.

Random thought #2:
If I am crossing the street because the cars have stopped due to traffic congestion, what is the purpose of gunning it and trying to hit me when you just have to stop 20 feet down the road anyhow? Maybe he was related to the guy on the bus with the guitar who didn't like it when I shoved his guitar back at him. Apparently a guitar to the chin hurts "like crazy hell buddy!"

Random thought #3:
When you're on the top of a double decker bus and look down at the passengers waiting at the stop, cleavage can look much bigger than it really is. But for every one of those, there are ten really scary things you will see. That makes it bad odds, meaning I probably won't look down next time.

Random thought #4:
When you are at the library typing a post about random thoughts, if the space key is sticky and you have to slam it with your fist every time you need a space, it won't be long before the librarian comes over and tells you to leave. Come to think about it I think she was the one driving the car in random thought #2.

Gotta go, security is on their way...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The day I almost got schooled by old ladies

This week I almost got schooled by a group of walking ladies. Similar to "almost pregnant" I say because I was poised and ready but managed to pull away and avoid crisis at the last moment. Whew. It was that close.

I was heading downtown and encountered a group of ladies, each one gripping two long walking sticks in each hand. They were all elderly, but nonetheless were buzzing with excitement around a younger, very fit blond who was fully outfitted with workout gear. Most of her outerwear was embroidered with "North Shore Walking Club". As I stood waiting for the light to change I heard her instructing all of the group on the necessity of "firm, yet controlled pole strikes" on each portion of the stride.

"Great," I thought. "Multiple Ironman triathlete finisher stuck behind a bunch of old walking ladies." I sat there wondering that although one may be engrossed with the hobby of power walking, what's up with the sticks? Do they use carbon for lightness or stiffness? Do they all talk about stick components? Do they have a weight restriction for Olympic walking sticks? I could almost hear them saying "Ohh, this one walks like it's on rails."

I looked across the street and out of the corner of my eye saw a yellow light and braced with anticipation at our turn to walk. I decided there was no way I was going to get behind this group or I'd never get past them once they started. Besides, I have found old people with pointy sticks on the roadway are not a good combination when I'm involved.

Suddenly, this particular crosswalk in the westcoast of Canada was transformed into my own little Serengeti. As the light turned green and I was off like a gazelle, being chased by some really old lions. Old lions with pointy sticks that is. BUT, about half way across the road the blond blew by me. Phewwwww! I was momentarily stunned as she, with her workout top complete with the bold lettering "MASTER WALKER" embroidered on the back of her outfit, pulled away with ease. Damn she was fast. She was chanting her mantra loudly to the group behind her "Plant pole. Heel, toe. Push pole. Repeat!"

I reached the other side of the road and took an immediate turn, hoping not to get schooled by the rest of the old walking group. I stopped to look, the Master Walker's mantra slowly fading into the next block, yet her students were not even half way across the intersection. With sticks not as so much planting as clacking back and forth against each other, they all chattered with confusion. "Plant? Pole? Toe? Push? Heel? Pole?" "Am I planting the pole or toe?" "Did we leave Mary behind?" "Where'd she go?"

As they finally reached the other side of the street, the light had already changed yet the threatening clang of the pointy sticks seeming to calm, or scare, the drivers from honking. Their Master Walker gone, they stopped and chatted amongst themselves, ultimately deciding "Let's just go for tea!"

After thinking about it I should have started to chant "Plant pole. Heel toe. Push pole. Repeat!" Like lost ducklings that latch onto a new mothers quack, I could have made it home with a sord of old lady ducklings in tow. Although the kids would have liked the new batch of grandmothers, my wife probably wouldn’t have been as happy. "Great news honey, eight new mother-in-laws to help out at home!" All in all, perhaps a good thing I didn’t do my chant.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Kissing is considered cheating

Three teenagers got on the bus today, all fully outfitted in their goth attire. Black, metal and fishnet stocking adorned both the women, with the man choosing to express himself using more body modification than I had seen in awhile.

I wholeheartedly agree the 1" hole in his ear looks dangerously cool now, but what the hell is that going to look like when he's 50? You'll be able to drive a small moped through it I suspect.
Lucky for me two of them sat across from me. Judging by the pet names of bitch, prick, asshole and other assorted playful comments, I assumed the two were doing some goth flirting ritual. I was about to wonder if they were going to start swapping studs next when I overheard the following:

"Kissing is so fucking cheating, I don't care what you say." said the guy. He was peering at her out from under his dark glasses while fingering the studs in his brow. He looked agitated, like he was going to go postal. And I had a front row seat. How cool is that.

"No it's not," the girl shot back. "And besides, I didn't know we were dating you dick, so I only did once."

From behind them the other girl chimed in "And besides Dwane, it doesn't count when you're in jail." Oh what a cheery goth she was.

Yes, you heard it right...Dwane the goth. I don't know about you but if I was trying for the goth look, I'd at least try for a nickname like Spike or Bruno. I guess he had other things on his mind in jail, his woman cheating on him an that...