The Logical Philosopher

Monday, February 26, 2007

Heading Home

Sorry for not posting this week but I was out of town unexpectedly for a funeral.

Temporally stepping out of the rainy west-coast and experiencing the sunny big sky of Alberta was a nice change of pace. However, after 10 minutes of standing in the snow to take in the views of the Rocky Mountains, I was ready for some warm west-coast rain. You could tell the locals because they only needed to wear one overcoat, whereas I was only wearing one because it was all I had brought - I would have worn three if they were around.

During my trip I needed a break from writing, so took some time to work on the layout for my latest piece of artwork. I've spent the last few days getting it drawn in the computer and finalizing the colors.

"Heading Home"

I'm still not sure it is the finished product - I was envisioning more detail in the water and mountains, but I like the simple layout of lines that came out in my draft. Very Ted Harrison-esque. The blogger picture doesn't do justice to some of the detail that the original will have when printed, which should be 12x18. I will most likely run it as a limited edition Giclee´ of 50 prints on watercolor paper; Let me know in advance if you would like one set aside.

Comments are welcome before I finish it up!

Regular posting will return shortly.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sweet Senses

"Hey mom, the sky is crying!" I heard the preschooler say to his mom.

Like toddler on Christmas Eve as he accidentally discovered Santa wasn't real, the sky was starting to let loose on the pedestrians below. And not wanting to walk home in the tears I lined up behind the child and waited for the next available stop. Time marched on, the rain becoming more of a torrential downpour, drenching all of us. Fortunately the rush hour meant that busses were frequent. Unfortunately that meant busses were packed.

Moving onto the bus I stepped from the rain into the thing I hate the most about riding the bus - the nauseating smell of wet people, pressed together in a moving vehicle. I tried to position myself near a window, anything at least get the impression of some fresh air. It wasn't until I sat down, while trying how to plan not to breath for the next 10 minutes, that I noticed a blind man across from me. He was mumbling to himself, caressing the scratches and scars on his white cane with his finger tips. Head tilted slightly to the side he jerked subtly with each clank and honk of the traffic. It seemed that he was quite tense, perhaps derived from the unpalatable sounds and smells bombarding us from the surrounding environment

At the next stop the driver stopped and picked up several more passengers, the final one, a young woman, stopping and taking a seat next to the blind man. For a moment I couldn't see why his posture changed - his sway slowed and he seemed to breath a little deeper. His fidgeting stopped. His shoulders dropped. It was only once her subtle smell of perfume wafted across the bus aisle, I understood why. Then, gravitating back into a gentle sway I could see his remaining senses pickup the subtle changes in the chi of the bus with the woman next to him.

I sat and tried to imagine the bus without the visual cues. The clacking, beeping & bumping of the bus. The smell of wet clothes and their owners. The bitter taste of smog in the air. I was tense within twenty seconds.

The bus slowed at another stop. “Your stop sir.” the driver said towards the man. As he got up he turned towards her and gave her a small head nod. "Thank you madam." With that he was gone, the tapping of his cane fading away as the bus door closed us remaining passengers in.

Five senses.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Double Dipping

Little LP and I decided to go to the grandparents today to hang out and watch cartoons. Since we don’t have a TV that gets any channels apart from the DVD input, a visit to the grandparents means nothing but zoning to Treehouse.

On the way there I asked him if he wanted to stop for a slurpee.

He tilted his head and though for a moment before answering. "Sure, but can you go to the gas station that is by the highway?" I figured that the multiple stops I have made in his 4 year old life were finally embedded into his head as to which slurpee stores we stop at depending on which direction we are heading.

Pulling into the store I heard from the backseat “Actually dad, I don’t want a Slurpee, I want some Scooby Doo candy.”

Not wanting to disappoint I tried the parental ‘let-down technique’ in case they didn’t have exactly what the four year old mind was dead set on having. “Well, if they have any, but I’m not sure they do.”

Entering the store he ran ahead of me, down the second aisle and stopped right at the spot where some Scooby Doo gummy candy was hanging. Pulling it off the rack he looked at me with a huge grin and squealed. “See dad, look. Can I get these?”

As I was paying the cashier peered down at him and said “You got a nice haircut buddy! You look much better than before.”

Oblivious to the comment he was focused on his new candy. “Thanks, and more treats too!”

“More treats?” I asked. “What’s that about?”

“Well mom and I came in this morning to get money from the money machine, and I got some Scooby Doo treats for when I was going to get my hair cut.”

I looked over at the cashier and he nodded to me. “He’s been double dipping dad. Looks like you got played!”

Sure enough when we got back into the car I noticed an empty Scooby Doo candy wrapper on the floor by his car seat. I looked over at him and asked “How come you didn’t tell me you already came here?”

“Well dad, you didn’t ask.”

So true. I think when he gets older he's going to be one of those kids that doesn't give you the change from the store unless you ask for it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

That HOG is a secret weapon (part III)

To get the back story on my poor attempt at a covert entry into an urban legal fortress, see here for part I and part II.

Finally, after several visits I was sure I could enter undetected. I felt like a veteran cat burglar with my partner in crime, Eduardo.

Having schemed in the elevator, we both checked, making sure to get off at the 21st floor. During a previous visit my undetected entry was foiled by innocently getting off at the wrong floor. This time I would not repeat that sophomore mistake.

With one bag each we tried to look casual by slinging our backpacks over our shoulder and partaking in small talk as we exited. Bypassing the Head Office Gatekeeper (HOG) unnoticed was our goal. If we could make it through her and into the back, we were set.

As we rose up in the elevator we had one final pep talk, all focused on the mantra no stairs, no hesitation. "Ok, we need to exit and make a quick left, making a beeline for Sandritia's office" I said to Eduardo.

"And whatever happens, do NOT look back. Just keep going" he added with a curt nod.

Ping went the elevator doors, and we were out like a shot. We arrived in what I am sure was a record time from the elevator lobby to Sandritia's office... Breathing easier I turned to Eduardo. "I think we're safe. Good work." Not three seconds after I spoke Santritia's phone rang.

"Wait, I need to get this" our host said, turning to pickup her phone. "Hello?"

Turning back to me she nodded her head up and down, and broke out laughing. "It's HOG and she wants to know 'are they yours?'".

All I can say is, Man, she's good. I can see they don't dispense the HOG designation freely in this office. She has earned her title that keeps us all in our place.

With this particular HOG on duty, I'm starting to think this building is
I'm scheduled to visit again next month. I'll see if I can put these latest lessons into a plan and get back to you on how it works.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Canadian Peso

I apologize for the lack of posts this week but I've been in San Diego and LA, and surprisingly, it was nearly impossible to find an Internet connection that didn't cost me more than my flight for the time I would need to type out a post...

Needing respite from the sunny sky I headed into a 7-11 for a iced beverage. Having just arrived in town, I was high on $20's and low on $1's so when I approached the counter I pulled out a $20 from my pocket to pay for my drink.

"Excuse me sir," Alice the cashier said, "do you have anything smaller than a twenty?". Alice's name tag said "Certified Assistant Manager" on it. Sit and reflect upon that title for a moment. That should give you some indication of how badly this interaction of money-for-slurpee is going to be.

"uumm, yeah." I replied, digging into my pocket for my change. I dutiful sorted through my American and Canadian change, and managed to find $1.60 in US, which put me $0.02 shy of my total. Fortunately for me I also had some Canadian change which I pulled two pennies from. I dropped my $1.62 onto the counter, and started to walk away.

"Excuse me sir!" I heard Alice call from behind me "You are short two cents!"

I stopped, turned around, and went back with the assumption I had mis-counted my change. Nope. I had counted right, but just not in her mind.

"You see," she said, pushing the two Canadian pennies back to me, "these ain't real money."

Ain't real money? I thought. I guess the "Certified Assistant Manager" has a counterfeiting program in the curriculum. That class was probably entitled "Make sure your customers don't pass of fake Canadian money."

I stared at her for a moment, then took my change back and dropped the twenty on the counter.

You know what she said to me?

"Do you have anything smaller than a twenty?"

I was so speechless I still don't know how to finish this post.