The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Medical School for 4 year olds

“Dad, what’s a scull?”

“A what?” I asked, slightly perplexed. Only four and he was already into asking me questions that were probably leading somewhere I didn’t want to explain.

At least this time he didn’t ask me why his younger sister didn’t have a ‘dangly bit between her legs’.

“A skull. Yeah. What's a skull?"

I thought for a moment, trying to decide how to describe anatomy to a four year old. “It’s a bone, but in your head. Like your arm bone, your skull is like your head bone.” To demonstrate I made a hollow tapping noise as I gave my head a few taps, which gave way to a few giggles.

He thought for a moment, then cocked his head and squished his eyes together. “Like an eye bone?”

“Eyes don’t have bones. They are just flesh, made out of an anterior segment with the cornea and iris, and a posterior segment where the retina and optic nerve lie.”

After another rather long pause he asked “Ant mints? You mean beads, right?”


“Aren’t eyes made of beads?” he inquired.

I turned to look, seeing if he was serious. “Where did you ever get that idea?”

“Well,” he stated, “someone told me I had beady eyes.”

Next thing I know he’ll be yelling “Oh no, not the gumdrop buttons!” when I try to wash his belly button out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Digital to Analog

I emailed a one of my older relatives a question the other day. After getting no reply I called her up to ask if she had received my email.

"No dearie, I haven't gotten your email. I'll do it next time I turn on that computer."

A few days later she called and left a message on my voicemail, telling me she had replied to my "mail message". After checking my email, and getting no reply, I gave her a call back.

"No dearie. I printed your email out and wrote the answer on the printout. But don't worry, I posted it this morning so you should have it by the end of the week."

Sure enough, a few days later Canada Post delivered my reply.

So that's what it was like in the old days...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Choose your own Adventure

“So tell me, will I get sleep? People say I won’t, but I need it. They also tell me that I need more time away from the office, but I just made partner. How do I balance that?”

A friend I met during my ever so brief stint in law school just made partner this month in a large firm. Quite an accomplishment, because after working only a full 7 years of evenings, weekends and holidays, she’s are pretty much sure to be doing it for another 7 years. I’m sure Opinionistas would have something to say about that. When I spoke to her she sounded very excited about it, but was very worried about appearances as she was just about to take 4 months off for maternity leave for her first child that was due shortly.

I thought for a moment, and then laid it out for her. “You have to take your finger out” I said with conviction.

“Huh?” I heard, after a moment of silence.

“You know, your finger.”

“Is this somehow related to a piece of birthing advice? Because the way I’m feeling right now, even a well placed finger won’t be stopping this baby.”

“With the added baby and partner track at your firm, you’ve all of a sudden got too many bookmarks to manage.”

When I was younger my favorite novels were the Choose your own Adventure series. In fact, as a preamble to Logical Philosopher, one summer I even wrote my own Choose your own Adventure book – the summer of grade 5. Armed with a circa 1975 typewriter and a ream of yellow paper, I decided to become a writer. I don’t know what became of my first masterpiece, but I hope it was archived by my version of a Google cache back in the mid 1980’s – my mom’s baby boxes in the storage locker.

Without fail I would try to read these books in one sitting, trying to find the adventure ending I liked the best. A well honed process of small scraps of paper and fingers at certain junctions kept track of my choices – with the freedom of knowing I could undo a choice and path by flipping back a page or two. Inevitably I would find 3 or 4 paths and ending I liked, but I would have to try them all before I settled on how I wanted the story line to go.

This month I was questioned under oath about some of my previous choices in my academic life (details not forthcoming upon the advice of my attorney). What schools I went to. Why? How long? Why did I choose X University over Y University? When did I research my choices, and how much of the correspondence did I still have? On reflection of my day it made me think back to my life choices as my own Choose your own Adventure. It had explored many paths, researched results of choices, and made the best decision at that point in time. But, for some reason, I have always kept my finger in those older pages – just in case I get to a point I don’t like in my life, I can pickup where I want to restart it.

Unfortunately I realized my life book is getting so long, I am running out of fingers to keep tabs on the old decisions. A combination of age, children, school, work and lifestyle have spun into an ever growing, complex web of my life. The requirement of being a responsible husband and father also has a major impact on my bookmarks of life. The fallout is that as time marches on, going back to certain pages is becoming less of a reality. Like cement hardening, it has been a slow process, and over time I’ve reach a point where I can’t repour or reshape some of the steps, the bookmarks have been permanently removed.

It is not: I can’t do it all anymore
It is: I don’t have the luxury of time to do it all anymore

So after explaining my Choose your own Adventure theory to my friend, I continued on with my remove your finger advice.

“Move on. A kid is a whole Choose your own Adventure book in itself. Pick your chapters wisely, because now it’s really about to become more complex.”

There was another moment of silence on the other end of the phone. Then I heard her say, the words trailing off at the end “But I just made partner…”

She’ll figure it out, hopefully for her sake, sooner than later.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Web 2.0 - the video version

From Blogger to Digg, Facebook to Delicious - the knowlege management aspect of social networking is becoming another research interest for me.

On that topic, here's an interesting video I found on Martin Dugage's blog about Web 2.0

When you think about it, it makes web 2.0 like a happy version of the Matrix. Pass me over some of those red pills so I can see for sure.

Facebook has it's bonuses...

"Hey, that's J's new little baby" I said to my wife. We were at the airport having a Starbucks and J's husband, who I have never met, was walking by with the newborn. Only 10 days old and already at the airport for an outing.

"How do you know that??" she exclaimed. "We haven't seen J for 15 years - at our grade 12 graduation to be exact. And I am sure you have never met her husband so how would you even know what HE looks like."

"Actually I recognize the newborn, not him."


"I'm on facebook and she's my friend now." I tried to explain.

She turned to me, looking quite perplexed. "So you don't see her for 15 years, then all of a sudden know her life details, like that she had a baby only 10 days ago."

"I also know the name if you'd like to know." I added, trying to be helpful in my maven like distribution of knowledge.

"Some days I can't even get you to remember to take out the recycling, yet you seem to recall things like this. Amazing... simply amazing."

"When we get home I can show you more pictures of him."


I have a feeling this won't be the last time Facebook will provide me with completely useless information that I can pull out at a party when I recognize someone from their profile...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Those are Killer Flats

Sorry I haven't posted this week - I've had a rough week and my blogging mind has been elsewhere. I did, however, have it turned on when I was in the elevator yesterday at a downtown office building.

A business woman to one of her coworkers: "AhhhH! I'm going back to 4" heels! I try to put on sensible, flat shoes and my back has been killing me all day. Tomorrow the stiletto's are coming back out. I don't care if the Secretary complains that I'm dressing to slutty."

As the elevator doors opened and they got off, heading down the hall, the other male from the elevator turned to me and nodded up and down and went "Oh yeah...back to the stiletto's... Office morale, going up!"

The next day I think I could hear the ping of the ascending morale from the outside of the building.