The Logical Philosopher

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Logical Philosopher Becomes a Blogging Preschooler

For the past few months Little LP has been taking drum lessons. Our goal was not to find him the noisiest instrument possible, but rather to channel his energy from banging on all the good furniture into drumming on a set of rubber drum practice pads.

Now, with a 4/4 beat down on the high-hat, kick-drum and snare, he has been progressing onto triplets and paradiddles to the beats of Tom Cochrane and Stevie Ray Vaughn. After seeing him play one of the 12 year olds having lessons exclaimed “Man, he’s going to be sooo cool when he gets to be in grade 6!” While he is far from banging out some Neil Pert solos, he can keep tempo with AC/DC’s For those about to Rock. Not bad for a 5 year old.

Another year of blogging has come up me - I am entering year 3 - the preschool years! While my posts have slowed down I have been working on more quality than quantity. Like Little LP, I’ve been working on the literary equivalent of triplets and paradidles, instead of just bashing the tom-toms all over the page and hoping some semblance of beat shows up in the form of well crafted prose.

In early January I started back to work, which shifted me towards writing more “Crazy Me” stories, instead of the historic “Crazy People” posts. To be honest I have missed being downtown watching the crazy homeless people and animated Starbucks yuppies providing me with stories. But I now revel in being at work where I can watch the crazy telemarketers from the building next door and animated Facebook Addicts updating their status between meetings. Blogging fodder – take it where I can get it.

You may be asking, what does this mean for the next year of blogging? I should be back to work full time, but plan to keep up with my posts, because I am hoping with all this writing practice I will become “soooo cool” when I get to the blogging equivalent of grade 6.

And when we all get there you’ll be able to say you knew me when I was still fumbling with the differences between a prepositional phrase and when to use an indefinite article.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Principal's Office

Little LP was sent to the Principal's office today for punching another boy.

Not so surprising, except keeping in mind he is five and only in kindergarten. The other side of the story is that he swung back at the other boy, after he hit him first.

As a parent I am struggling between having my child hit someone elses child, and having my child not back down to the bully that hit him first.


Now that I think about it, I'm proud of little LP for taking the swing back! All those days of watching Star Wars with him paid off. He's taking after Han Solo - the revised edition where Greedo shot first

I worked it out: Only 2500 days of school left between now and grade 12. That's a lot of days to shoot first.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

50 cups of coffee

“I need 3 large totes of your of coffee. To go.”

A look of panic crossed the barista’s face. She turned to her coworker and said “Start making coffee. Now.”

“Well sir, it will take ½ hour to brew that. We can’t use up all the store’s coffee in case people that come in want something as well.”

I looked down at my watch, mentally working out the commute time as compared to my meeting time. “Hmm. What can you do in 20 minutes?” I countered, seeing how far the Starbucks-Say-Yes policy would take me.

“We can do 2 totes for sure. I can do 3 but it will take another 10." I looked at my watch again, balancing off the need for being on time for my meeting, or being late but bringing coffee for everyone.

“Hmmm. Do two. It may be enough.” I added an extra bottle of San Pellegrino to my tab and sat down at the nearest table, settling in for my wait. With no laptop or work with me, I was forced to relax, just like the old days of 2005.

“Hey Coffee Guy!” one barista yelled over the counter at me. “How many people are there? I will have cups and lids ready to go for you as well.”

“50” I called back, realizing I was probably going to screw most of the people at the end of the line out of their drink, or at least make them wait longer. I felt like that big fat guy at the front of the buffet line that takes all the shrimp and doesn’t leave enough for the rest of the line. There were pangs of guilt, but they passed quickly. Very quickly.

She stopped and came around the counter waving her hands. “You can’t serve 50 people with two totes! You need four!”

I looked at her and shrugged my shoulders. Lack of planning on my part was not going to make it an emergency on my part because it was, after all, just coffee. Besides, she seemed to be taking care of being wound up for me. I sat there looking at her, wondering if when I came in and placed my order they all freaked out and had a shot of espresso before tackling the job.

22 minutes later the head barista came up to me. “Ok, here’s the scoop. It’s your lucky day as we’ve brewed a lot of extra coffee and everyone in the past 20 minutes only ordered bar drinks. So I have enough coffee for the four totes. That’s 50 people, easy. And do you need milk, cream, soy or ½ and ½? I can also give you decaf, dark roast or our light roast blend to choose from.”

“Well, I’ll take the three. I think that should be enough. And I’m not sure about the milk thing. Just give me what you think we need. For the coffee type, just surprise me.”

“Are you sure? Don’t you know what people want in their drinks, let alone what type of coffee they want?” Her voice was somewhat accusatory towards me, like somehow she was going to be blamed for me bringing coffee without the right mixes to make it like people want.

I decided at that point I should make my confession. “Look, here’s the deal. I don’t drink coffee. I have no idea how long it takes to brew coffee, or how many cups people drink in a morning. Nor do I know how much milk people need, or if they prefer cream. I just happened to be the guy from the team that was driving by Starbucks on his way to work and was asked to ‘pickup coffee for everyone’. I just made the assumption that when I needed coffee for 50 people, I could stop at a coffee shop and order some, and be on my way, even if I had to wait. And really, I don’t mind the wait and will just grab what I can before having to head out.” As her eyebrows rose at me I could almost hear her thinking How can you not drink coffee? I continued on “In fact, the only think I do know is that when I make coffee ice-cream for my wife at home, I need a free cup of coffee from Starbucks, and a cup is 12 ounces.”

A few minutes later she came out with my 3 full totes of coffee, and 4 venti cups full of cream, milk, ½ and ½ and soy. “I just gave you lots of everything. And just so you know, next time you can call ahead and we can have it ready.” With that I loaded up the car and headed making meeting on time with 2 minutes to spare.

Moral of the story: don’t send the non-coffee guy to pickup coffee for everyone. He may be late, will probably get the wrong type of coffee, and not bring the right mixers. The only reason I was saved was because of the barista, who must have felt the pain of my coworkers and ensured I had enough of everything.

Epilogue: I get to my meeting and put the coffee out for everyone. At the end of our presentation, everyone filed out of the room, having only drank the equivalent of one tote of coffee. That left two full ones there, standing beside 4 full venti cups of milk mixers. So now I know, people at my office drink it black, if they opt to drink at all. Lesson learned.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thank goodness for romantic comedy

I have a confession to make.

I'm not proud of it, but she tricked me into it.

Honest. I thought it was a comedy. I was blindsided by Jack Black. And i'm sure she knew it.

In the last week I have watched not one, but two romantic comedy movies.

  • The Holiday where "Two women troubled with guy-problems (Diaz, Winslet) swap homes in each other's countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love."
  • Unhitched , where "A guy tries to help his best friend win the attention of the girl of his dreams."

    Watching them gave me time to think about why it was I willingly sat through them. Tranlsted into academic-speak - it gave me time to develop a theorm for why I was sitting though the movies.
    Spousal Movie Rental Theorem: A man's willingness to watch a movie his better half has brought home from the movie store is directly proportional to the amount of "Chick Flick" content, as measured against the length of the relationship.
    It really comes down to the type of movie and how long you have been seeing the person that picked the movie for you. At the beginning of the relationship, it is anything goes! Not sure if you are there? A good check is consider if you would willingly sit though The English Patient. Over time the willingness drops, with fluctuations for events such as Marriage (going up), or having children (going down, because that's what started it after all!). Of course regardless of a relationship status certain types of movies will be a sure fire hit, namely any action movie. The comedy is usually a sure fire hit, with only small fluctuations dependant on the current state of the relationship.

    In my case, both movies had more "comedy" than "romance" to outweigh and keep it below the relative threshold of "chick-ness" required for theatrical enjoyment. Having Seth Greene or Jack Black do their comedic routine of one liners and facial expressions was that "more comedy than romance" for me.

    So there you have it. I was bamboozled. And I'm sure she knew it when she picked the movie. Now, armed with this knowledge, I can pass on some tips to all women who are about to venture to the movie store in hopes of finding a movie that will be measured a success when returning home:

    1) Get all your chick flicks in during the early dating and marriage phase
    2) Ensure there is enough comedic talent in the Romantic Comedy category of movies to spin them as a Comedy.
    3) Ignore everything and say the immortal words "Why don't we snuggle and watch Star Wars together. I'll even wear my Golden Bikini."

  • Saturday, October 06, 2007

    This post has been recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists

    I spent part of my weekend with JT, who is our resident dentist in our group of friends. Apart from feeling self conscious about not flossing enough for the weekend, I learned something very value we can all draw from. Something we can all apply to about 80% of our lives.

    Upon entering JT's bathroom I noticed not one, but two tubes of toothpaste sitting upright on his bathroom counter. One Crest and the other Colgate.

    I peered around the corner and yelled out to my host. "Hey JT. I noticed you have two kinds of toothpaste. Which one do you use? I all of a sudden feel inferior with my tube of Aquafresh here."

    "As long as it doesn't include diethylene glycol, you'll be fine. But for the record I use both. Or whatever I bring home from the office." I must have looked perplexed because he offhandedly finished his professional opinion with a "No preference really."

    It was then I realized that about 95% of the statistics I hear in the form of advertising seem made up. Years of overexposure to corporate advertising turned into a statistical epiphany. "You mean to say, you're that 5th dentist we keep hearing about?"


    So now you know - when 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Colgate, that 5th dentist? Well, it's not that he doesn't recommend it, but rather he uses them all, or has no preference. Suddenly that 2nd doctor's opinion has greater statistical weight of being different.