Monday, April 30, 2012


In the past, whenever I've driven over a pothole, I've thought "Oh, the CITY's gonna PAY if that made something bad happen to my car." After all, they didn't fix it soon enough, and now it's a hazard, right? My taxes have to be for something. 

This image was floating around Facebook, and it has made me re-think that stance:

My taxes are there for something - they're there to pay for the people to do the stuff that keeps our system moving.  However flawed the system is, you gotta give it some credit - the system is there.  That's a monumental achievement. I'm not saying that the system doesn't need change, it totally does, but while affecting that change, we need to acknowledge the accomplishments of others that have gone before, even if they're flawed.  We're seriously standing on the shoulders of giants over here.

Whaddaya think? 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Having kids is making me a better person

The other night I had a dream where I was being very selfish. I didn’t have a reason, I just wanted to act out, and I wanted everyone around me to notice that I was unhappy. I was just about to unleash my master plan (walking in the rain until I was soaked so people had to see me and help me) when my toddler brought me back to reality by doing the unimaginable - waking up.

The transition was jarring to say the least. One minute I'm scheming about ways to spend the minimum amount of time to get the maximum pity, and the next I'm brushing aside any tired feelings to re-assure my offspring that playing with the black flashlight with the black button is DEFINITELY going to happen. For the record, I had no idea what he's talking about.

Something which constantly passed in one ear and out the other while my better half was pregnant was that your life becomes about your kids when you're a parent.  You become their role model. I didn't understand what that meant until recently - well into my first child's life. I kinda thought I could just do stuff that I always did, but I'd have to do it while not around them. Reality check - they're always around, and when they're not physically around, the things you do still absolutely affect them. Selfishly, this kinda sucks, as it means I have to be a role model 24x7, which is super tiring. Also selfishly, it's cool to see the good stuff I do echoed in another human being.  It's humbling and depressing to see the bad stuff echoed, so it's an excellent behaviour modification process. I was never a super bad dude, I was always kinda boring, and I liked it that way.  Now I'm like bland... bland stuff.  See, even my imagination is bland!

Overall, I'm better off now psychologically than I have ever been to my memory. With less time for introspection (and sleeping), I feel like I know myself better now than I ever have. Weird and backwards sounding, eh? My wife is amazing, and is keeping the house together completely. I'm just along for the ride, and helping when I can.  I want to do more, but we're in a place where if I do more, I'll be an awful person (sleep deprivation makes me into Mr. Hyde).

Here are three positive (I think) things that have changed in my life since becoming a parent:

  • I'm less of a risk taker. That makes it sound like a daredevil, but in reality, When offered insurance in the past, I literally said "why gamble on something like that?".  Now, I'm clambering to sign on the dotted line if it means an iota of security and well-being.  Chalk it up to self-worth, or knowing that I'm worth something - either way = awesome.
  • I don't need as much to get me to sleep.  I used to require that I go to bed, think about the day, process it, zone out for a bit, and then I'd sleep.  If I got up in the middle of the night, I had to start the whole process over again.  Now I just go to sleep.  If I'm up for 5 minutes, and can go back to sleep, I do. My dad has the same ability, and my jealousness of it is over.
  • I'm less of a gossip. I used to kinda thrive on the trials and tribulations of other peoples' lives, both thinking and talking about them. I'm glad to not do this one anymore.  Wasted energy.
Here are two negative things that have changed, but they might flip back into my parenting life:
  • I don't watch many movies anymore - they're too long. I feel old, but I worry about falling asleep, and I'll miss all the awesomeness that is film.  Very sad.
  • I don't play video games anymore, as they require too much attention - mental and physical attention.  Based on past experience this will change, but I'm ok with it now - an acceptable tactical loss. 
Lastly, here are some things that haven't changed in my life, but might at the drop of a hat:
  • Television viewing - the times have changed, but we still watch what we used to watch, just after bedtime. 
  • When driving, I still speed, but when my kids are old enough to read the speedometer this habit's gotta go.
Overall, we all win.  Thank you kids, you're shaping me into a better adult, while I strive to shape you into good people!  Yay!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Privacy's (d)evolution

So, I talked about privacy here, and was backed up extremely nicely (thank you Colleen), but privacy concerns are still out there.

A little over a year ago, friends and I were discussing what you should share on the internet, and what you shouldn't.  I made the case that in today's society, I didn't see a reason to keep anything secret, since everything was out there anyway - the only thing keeping anyone from something they want to know is time. The amount of time to find stuff out has decreased dramatically (remember when going to the library was the only option?), but my naive brain believes that it's always been the case - there is paper tied to your every moment, from birth to death and everything in between. My friend's question to me was if I would put up signs on my lawn declaring what I was up to, if I would be considered weird.  I think I would be the weirdo of the neighbourhood (every neighbourhood has to have one, right?), but his point was well taken.  Just because we can share, doesn't mean we should share.

When I was thinking of coming back to the blogosphere (is that a word?), privacy was on my mind a lot.  My worry was that I wanted to be honest with my opinions, and those opinions might not be accepted happily by my friends, family, and even loved ones.  I have thoughts that I express to these people, but frame them up so that they seem less... crazy. Here, I don't really have that opportunity, so I'm going to try and let my freak flag fly, and just express myself openly.  It won't be easy, and it may not be entertaining. For that I sincerely apologize, more-so for the not entertaining part, as I like to be the guy who people laugh with (or at, it's hard for me to distinguish).

My first topic I'd like to talk about is the news article describing potential employers demanding people's facebook usernames and passwords. It's been out of the news for awhile, but it's hot on my radar, since I've got the opposite view that most people seem to have.  They're outraged, at the distinct lack of privacy that this draconian world seems to have. I'm actually ok with it.

"Say it ain't so!", I hear you say, while others might be clambering to correct me or make me change my mind.  You're totally able to attempt it, and you might even succeed, but I think I've got a firm grasp on why I feel the way I do, and that's not likely to change.

Here's my nickel's worth (upgraded due to the lack of penny in Canada, which I think is awesome), and I'm not trying to sway you to my way of thinking at all - just putting my view out there. Having recently gone through a spell of unemployment, I would've gladly forked over my goodies in order to secure successful employment. The employers using this tactic are not asking for sexual favours, or for money, or anything tangible, they're seeking information. Information that you're volunteering.  If you're worried about anyone, ANYONE, in the world not knowing what you're talking about, what you like, who your friends are, what your private messages contain, or anything, I have three words of caution - don't share it.  

Another reaction I personally had to this story was, "What if the schmuck interviewing me uses my username and password to login and destroy my social life?". They could do stuff like spread gossip, or spread spam messages through my friend list or even *GASP* unfriend people! Then I remembered what other information we give to employers, specifically if we want to get paid. We trust these organizations with our bank account information, our Social Insurance Number (which I'm told is dangerous, although I don't know why), and all the rest of our emergency contact information in case of an emergency.  

Giving an employer access to your Facebook account, is not giving them the keys to your head, unless you share willy-nilly without a filter. It's only giving them access to the stuff you volunteer without even being coerced.  When discussing my view with a friend, they expressed that they were worried about employers gaining access to your browser history, since some of us might not browse to the most savoury of sites all the time.  To my knowledge, that's not something anyone shares, and not something visible on Facebook (except potentially to your Internet Service Provider). If I'm wrong about that, or I'm missing something, feel free to let me know.

Speaking of that - what do you think?  Am I out of my gourd?  Is there something I missed?  I'm anxious to see.

Take care!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome (back?)!

Hi everyone!

For the last few weeks, I've been mulling a lot about things, and remembering how therapeutic it was to write stuff down. In the past, I was all about writing stuff down, but just for my purposes. Now, even if no one is reading it, I like the idea that someone could read it, and either it helps them out, or they help me out.

Enter Blog #2, where I'm going to keep things theme-less for now, and despite excellent advice, I'm not going to set an expectation for when new posts will happen.

Here are the two things I want to accomplish with this blog:

1 - I'd like to be completely honest, so posts might be boring or surprising, depending on nothing at all.

2 - Potentially in conflict with #1, I'd like to keep a generally positive tone. I consider myself a fairly positive person, so I hope this will be easy, but we'll see. Similar to Asimov's rules of Robotics, I'll defer to #1 when I gotta vent.

I warn in advance about potentially boring content, but if it's too boring for you, either don't read, or let me know how I can service you better :)

Thank you, and welcome back!