Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tiny Flies...

Many years ago, I had a job working as a seamstress... Perhaps I should back up a little though...

So I graduated from High School in New Zealand with really high grades, thanks to grading on a curve. At the time I didn't want to want to waste my time at University, not having a clue what I wanted to get into, and I only had a student visa, so work was out of the question as well. Actually now that I think about it, I could have just hung out at home for 6 months, but that didn't cross my mind at the time.

Anyway, so I decided to repeat my final year of school. I may have to go into this more in future blogs, but the key thing here is that I took all the fun subjects. One of those was fashion and design. I was one of a class of 6, and I was the only guy. They then combined that class with one from a younger class, and I ended up being one of 2 guys in a class of 30+ lovely young ladies - That was pretty much the reason for my taking the class, although I did become quite accomplished with a sewing machine.

OK, so back to the job... I was desperate to get out of my old job, and the seamstress one was the first that came up after a year of more of looking. It was an underwear manufacturing facility, and I worked on both the men's bottoms area and the ladies tops area for 9 months before being able to finally get my "Man Card" back and transfer into the cutting area. My wife loved it. Nothing like... "So, my husbands a seamstress" to get the upper hand in a conversation.

So while working in the area piecing together mens bottoms, my part of the line was sewing on the fly and putting a panel on the back. We had specifications on the size of gap allowed on the fly. I always tried to get mine on the upper end of the scale. One day however I heard a quality checker tell another lady that she didn't care if the fly was too small, as long as it wasn't too big. I had to make a comment... "I CARE!" I exclaimed loudly. Both then went bright red, and the conversation ended.

I was reminded of this the other day, as I went to take care of a personal matter in the restroom. It was casual Friday, and I wore a pair of jeans which my wife got me for Christmas. They're low rise jeans. I'll spare you a discourse on specific part of my anatomy involved in this story, but the end of the matter is, certain things are the size they should be. Not too big, and not too small. The fly on the jeans however is not one of those things. I like the lower waist line, but if only there was some way to get that, without the teeny weeny little zipper.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hey Politicians!

On YouTube there is a video of Green Day singing Holiday live from the United Kingdom. Billie Joe Armstrong begins by describing this song as a big F**k you to all the politicians. He then states that this song in not Anti-American, it's Anti-War. I would like to echo those thoughts at the beginning of this posting. I love this country, I love the constitution and all the principles upon which this nation was founded. I have tremendous respect for the military and the loyalty and sense of duty that these men and woman show, but...

Over the weekend, the death toll amongst US Military personnel in Iraq, passed the 4,000 mark. That is 4,000 lives which have ended to fight this war. In addition (and I could be wrong here...) the number of military personnel injured is well over 130,000. I would suspect that would only include those that have sustained significant life altering injuries.

On the other side, the casualties are up in the hundreds of thousands.

Forget that this war has cost over half a trillion dollars to date, which in and of itself is a great travesty, especially when the US is headed into a recession. The loss of sacred human life is inexcusable.

The stubbornness of certain leaders who stand up in front of the world and talk about the necessity of this war and how we must stay the course just pisses me off no end. The blood of many, many innocent lives is on the hands of that man, and everyone who has profited off this tragedy in human history. And yes, many have profited. This is a war which has benefited the perpetrators of it significantly.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ready to Go....

We're launching a big application at work over the weekend. The plan is to get it done by early this morning (It is currently just after 1am) Thus allowing some of the team to take care of some Easter Weekend vacation plans. I have no such plans, but would still like to enjoy a weekend off.

As we discussed coming in at midnight tonight, 2 thoughts ran through my mind...

The first is that I will need some help to stay conscious. I was able to get about 2 hours of sleep in the afternoon, however one of the young ladies in the household needed some help with some basic bodily functions, and I was the only parent home at the time. That kind of ended all sleep at that point. Sleep didn't come when I hopped into bed at 9pm either, partly because of the afternoon nap, but there were other reasons to that should probably not be discussed in this forum...

Second was a song that was included in the movie - Black Hawk Down. I think that was the movie when I first got the impression that war is bad - before that I liked heroic stories. From Black Hawk Down, I saw the terrible destructive nature of war. I also grew to appreciate the ideals of the character played by Josh Hartnett. But that is the topic for another blog. As the Rangers are preparing to go into Mogadishu, a song is played loudly throughout the hanger. That song came to mind as I sat in the meeting today. Some research revealed that it is a song by Faith No More, called Falling to Pieces. Comments on YouTube about the video suggest that there may have been some illicit drug usage in making this video. It's a little on the strange side, but I still like the song.

I think I've listened to it 8 times tonight already. All while sipping RockStar Juiced with Pomegranate, on the rocks. I can already feel the caffeine kicking in. This will be a fun night!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sudden Turn of Events

I had a funny post planned for today, involving the size of the zipper on low rise jeans. I then learned from a friend on mine that another mutual friend had been arrested last week.

This friend is one of the most patient, kind and gentle people you will ever meet. She was arrested on first degree murder charges. I'm still in shock. Even if she is guilty of what they are accusing her of, I'm not sure it rises to the level of first degree murder.

I suspect that there may be another side to the story that the media has not been given, or is willing to share. I wish there was something I could do for her.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Move your Freakin' Dog!!!

So there I was Saturday, running around the park. It was starting to get cold and the wind was picking up. At first I thought I was hallucinating, since in the distance the appeared to be a small polar bear walking the path. As I got closer, I realized it was a big fluffy white dog, and a nice older gentleman. Perhaps I should add that at this point, I had been running for well over an hour and a half, and was up around 10 miles. I wasn't loving life, but I wasn't hating it either - at this point it was just keeping things going.

So I have my pace down, the mp3 player had just finished Def Leppards' greatest hits, and was starting Linkin Park, and here comes the nice old man and his fluffy dog.

As I get closer the dog see's me, I move to the other side of the path, the dog moves, I cross back, the dog crosses back. The old man smiles. The dog then walks right in front of me. I try to move her aside, but she's a big dog, and she manages to get her butt right in front on me. I stop, push her aside with my legs and hands, and then try to start running again. I look up at the old man, expecting a kind apology.

The bastard laughs, and then roars - "Ha Ha!! She ran right into you". Stupid Jackass. I'm not sure if it was that, the icy wind which had started or the fact that I was listening to Linkin Park, but either way I got pretty worked up. The next mile I did in 8 minutes, all the time thinking of how best to handle it if I ran by them on my final lap.

I think I would probably have yelled at him to "Move your Freakin' dog" but I was consider other phrases to try and communicate my disgust for him and his mutt. I also considered picking up a rock, and threatening the dog with it, before lobbing it it at the owner, or running right into the owner, and saying "Ha Ha!! I ran right into you!!". Fortunately for all involved, he took a different path. The path right by the all dogs must be leashed sign.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Leno or Letterman

The debate as to whether Jay Leno or Dave Letterman is the best late night host seems to be a pretty popular one. I usually wake up pretty early, so late night TV hasn't gotten much of my attention, although with the recent addition of a TV to the bedroom, I have been seeing more of it.

I watched Letterman a few weeks ago, and while the popular consensus seems to be that he is the better of the two comedians, I just didn't think he was funny. I did however see an interview he did with Paris Hilton some months ago, and it gets my vote for one of the best interviews of all time.

Now Jay Leno is not the worlds best interviewer, but his interviews are fun to watch. The piece I really like about his show is the opening monologue and then some of the little segments he has, like headlines and things like that. Letterman has the Top 10 list, but I'm not sure if he has anything else.

Another plus on the Leno show, is Kevin Eubanks. I don't even know the name of Dave's music guy, but I haven't thought he was that funny when I've seen him. Kevin Eubanks is hilarious, and not a bad musician either.

Last night on Leno's show, he had Bill Cosby as a guest. Bill started off with a brief comedy bit about Chubby Kids. The final solution he gave was that beatings were the key... Kids running from mom, mom chasing the kids, everyone's heart rate up nicely, blood going to the brain. No more chubby kids, no more ADD, no more lots of things. He prefaced it by saying it was a Com-e-dy bit, but there was definitely some truth to it.

All things aside, my vote goes to Bill Cosby. That man is a one of a kind.

This one is an oldie but a goodie!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should know better...

Sometimes I just need to take myself aside and smack some sense into me...

I feel a lot like I did a few weeks ago after seeing a story on the news late at night that pissed me off. Why do I let this stuff get to me?

The lesson I learned back then, but failed to apply this time (At least up until now...) is:


I'll see if I can't get some more humorous material on here tonight, like perhaps my concerns with my 18 month old son, who I came home to find asleep in my bed the other day, wearing his sister's swimsuit and with a bow in his hair - Sounds just like something a mischevious older sister would do to him, but it wasn't... His mother was the culprit.

Should I be concerned? Again I shouldn't care what people think about me, and I think my opinions on Gay Marriage and stuff are fairly well know.... but all the same.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Filling in the details from yesterday

I've been trying to think of a way of summarizing what an amazing experience it was to read "His Dark Material" by Philip Pullman. I don't think I can... I tried reading a passage to my wife last night, but without the background it just lacked something.

I finished the book with some incredibly passionate feelings about it. Never has any fictional work hit me with quite the same force as this one. This may be due to the subject matter and the current state of my life, but all that aside, I think it is still an excellent literary work.

I went online this morning to look up a little more on the Author - Mr Pullman. I tried his website - He had some links on their to interviews and so I looked at those. I was hoping to get a little more insight into some of the idea's in the book, but instead I found a couple of gems of wisdom.

These quotes are from the Guardian Unlimited Website, and were part of an online Q&A he did.

I'll give you the pieces of the questions, and his answers which impressed me:

Q - What influenced your courageous and refreshing view of the church and religion?

A - My view of the church and religion was shaped simply by a reading of history. The original impulses of the great religious geniuses - in whom I include Jesus - were, as often as not, something that all of us would benefit from studying and living by. The churches and priesthoods would benefit more than most, but they dare not.

Q - Do you believe that there is no value at all in organised religion?

A - No, I wouldn't say that, because it would be silly; obviously many congregations, of many different religions, do good things such as raising money for charity. No-one could argue with that. But whenever you get a political structure, with ranks and hierarchies, you get corruption; you get people who are more interested in progressing through those ranks than in doing good. Power corrupts.

That last answer really got to me this morning. Maybe I should summarize where I used to be... In the Church with which I affiliate, my father was a pretty big deal - Most of my childhood, when he wasn't at work, he was taking care of Church business. My parents are both die hard members of this Church, so much so in fact, that if I were ever to leave it (Which based on some recent experiences, is not outside the realm of possibility) would likely cause me to be disowned, or at the very least become a great cause of shame to my extended family.

My dad has been appointed as both a bishop and a stake president at various times, the latter generally oversees about 10 congregations in a geographical area. I was pretty much headed on the same track as a kid. I kept all the commandments, obeyed all the rules, and was thouroughly versed in all the policies and whatnot. I spent some time as a missionary as well, and for a long time was labeled as the "Golden Child", of course that was until I screwed a wee something up, and then I was shunned for the remainder of my term, as a border-line apostate, but that's a whole other story, and wasn't really my fault anyway, just a wrong place at the wrong time type of thing.

I then moved over to the US and actually started working for the administration of the Church. I'll spare you the details, but after 6 years of abuse (and finally getting some sense knocked into me) I quit and got a real job. I may share the details of this my other blog... I could entitle it, "How to destroy employee morale and crush any form of achievement"

I think I'm just tired of it. The manipulation, the guilt of not being good enough, the appearances, the judgemental attitude. I made a wee mistake yesterday. On the scale of evil things I could have done, 10 being full on blasphemy, this was probably a 2, maybe not even that high. I got called on it, and apologized and carried on as best I could. The person who called me on it apologized, which I didn't think was necessary, but appreciated. An hour later, I thought everything was fine. Apparentely after I then left, it was discussed in great detail, on exactly how I had screwed up and why they had to call me on it. The person then phoned me to talk about it, and apologized again. I'm not sure why they did this - the apologizing bit. Personally I think they were following the protocol, but deep down could tell something was wrong with it. I was mildly pissed at this point. I then got another phone call later in the day from someone else, saying how the person who called me on my wee mistake, and subsequently initiated a 10 minute discussion on it with all the men attending services that day, "Had my back" and was defending me. What?!?

I'm not sure what to think - 10 years ago I would have known that I shouldn't have done what I did. I was just trying to share a wee thought that meant something to me. One thing is for certain... If I am ever invited to speak again, the response will be a polite, "No Thanks!"

So what might you be asking yourself was the great sin? I could keep you in suspense, but I'm not in the mood for games.

My topic was faith. I wanted to point out that faith is a precursor to other things. Like when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he had to think about it, and then take the thought and create the light bulb. He didn't just create the light bulb one day. And he didn't have the idea and do nothing about it. I had a couple of other pieces to the analogy as well. Apparently they liked the analogy. My mistake was pulling a wee incandescent bulb from my pocket to illustrate the point. Apparently "props" are of the devil.

Better go say a couple of Hail Mary's and then beat myself senseless with a whip, so perhaps God will forgive me for this unspeakable act. Of course now that I have critisized the powers that be as well, Salvation may be beyond my grasp.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll have plenty of company in hell!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Relating to Lyra

It's been an interesting day... I'm also dead tired. A couple of things occurred to me today:

There was a wee incident during my speech at the Church. Not a big deal, but it made me realize I'm not who I used to be, and I think that's a good thing. It did make me feel pretty depressed and crappy for the remainder of the day (The incident did), but the realization was almost sweet in comparison.

I finished reading the final book in the Golden Compass series. The Dancing Mouse made mention that I might not like the ending - I think I know what she meant. It just ended differently from what I expected - not bad, but perhaps not as good as the remainder of the story. I do feel a connection to the story though, and I can see why organized Church's would not want people to read it. It points out all the problems with today's major religions. Personally if a person or organization feels threatened by the book, the problem lies with them and not the book. It might be time for a little introspection.

I am planning a much more in depth report on today, for now I retire to bed, feeling a little lost and lonely, not unlike Lyra does at the end of the book, but I feel a great sense of promise as well.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings

It's been a rough week, a couple of the kids have been sick, so sleep has been hard to find at best. With that in mind, I present today's post. If you like it, then I guess that's cool. If you don't then the lack of sleep is my excuse...

1. The local dairy delivered an ad with the milk this morning. Sugar Frosted Flakes were the first item. USDA Certified Organic. Do parents that buy their kids sugar frosted flakes really care is they are organic?

2. The house at the end of the street still has their Christmas Tree up. Granted, it's a really pretty tree, one of the white ones, with Red and Green globes on it, but it's also March.

3. Almost at the end of the Amber Spyglass... Fascinating stuff!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Selling Point?

If you've been looking at my other blog Koda Fit then you probably already know that I purchased a new bike a few weeks ago. It's a racing bike and I am hoping to use it to improve my speed on triathlons which I'll be competing in over the next few years.

Along with the bike I also purchased a pair of Pearl Izumo cycling shoes. One of the selling point of these shoes is the vented toe which will keep you feet cool and dry.

Let me set the scene for those of you not currently residing in Northern Utah. We had snow over the weekend. Spring is approaching, but is definitely not here. As I left the house over lunch to put a couple of miles in on the bike, it was a balmy 30 degrees. For those whose nations have advanced ahead of the US, that is in Farenheit, and not that warm, no, not that warm at all. In fact it is 1 degree below zero if you are used to celcius. There was a slight breeze as well, but nothing too bad.

Anyway, so I did a hair over 10 miles (I think thats about 16km). The vented toe is definitely not a selling feature for rides like this. I returned home and urgently removed the shoes to ensure that 4 of my 10 toes were still there, since I could not feel them.

I also confirmed the fact that I will need to get a hell of a lot more practice in before the first race at the end of the month.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Faith, a topic and Summer

Wow, can't believe I haven't written anything in a whole week... It's not that I haven't been online, I think I just let life slip by.

Interesting weekend, that's for sure. It almost looked like we were heading into Spring pretty quickly, and then mother nature through in an inch of snow just for good measure. She was nice enough to wait until after my long Saturday run, but right now anytime is not a good time for snow. I have faith that Summer will be hear soon, mostly just because I'm sick of running in gloves and a sweatshirt.

On a different part of my life, the wife and I have been asked to speak in the main meeting of our Church this coming Sunday. The good gentleman who extended the invitation has asked us to cover the topic of faith. He then added, somewhat jokingly that he would like us to keep it within the doctrines taught by the Church. He laughed, as did my wife and I, but I think we were laughing for a different reason.

This could be an interesting task. I think faith is a pretty important thing, but I think religion uses it in a way contrary to how it was intended. I'm of the opinion that faith should increase your knowledge of self and your relationship to God and the universe around you. The doctrine uses faith as the process by which you become blindly obedient to men who may or may not have your best interests at heart. Of course they don't phrase it that way, but that's the end result.

I have a couple of interesting idea's I want to explore about how I can share something meaningful, without them deciding that I should probably never attend services with them again. Of course then I am posed with the question as to whether that might or might not be a bad thing?!?

I'll keep you posted as to how it goes...