Hello Mr. Back

One sign of the onslaught of middle age is the surprise realization that you have a back and it causes you pain. I didn’t know this before. It seems that this back needs constant care and attention. It needs to be stretched and exercised. The back doesn’t like sitting in a sub-par chair all day in contorted positions looking at a computer screen. We learn these lessons the hard way as I eye the bag of pain medications which I don’t want to take but since I am still at my keyboard I know I will ultimately succumb to.
Another sign of the onslaught of middle age (I still have time to go) is that despite the fact that I eat very little my belly keeps growing and growing. But I have been noticing that for months now.

666 – Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with the understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred and sixty-six.

Revelation 13:16-18
Prayer vigil targets Devil’s Day.
On June 6 2006 (6/6/6), the evangelical Ambassadors Ministries from Holland held a 24 hour prayer vigil to ward off ‘evil spirits.’ The prayer marathon began in Jerusalem.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is a fear found in the Western Christian world, which originates in the belief that the Biblical verse, Revelation 13:18, indicates that the number 666 is linked to Satan or the Anti-Christ. Outside the Christian faith, the phobia has been further popularized as a leitmotif in various horror films.
Courtesy Wikipedia.

No Good News

I had an insane idea Sunday. Why not start a site dedicated to reporting only good news. A web site with content similar to what you find in those “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books but injected with a bit more humor. Their are seemingly endless web logs and general news sites dedicated to nothing but sarcasm and negativity. Surely there must be some demand, an audience, people who want some balance in the stories they read. I was sure there was.
So I designed it.
But as I was working on it I was also “sourcing sources” for content. It was hard. Very hard. I didn’t intend for this to be a full time research project and it shouldn’t be. It’s probably pretty telling about the current state of our media and society when someone has to actually work hard at finding something positive and enlightening to read. Is the world that dark a place or is just not profitable to write something that is positive or enlightening?
Here are a couple sites that have managed to find something positive to say: Good News Network and Good News Blog


I’ve been back from my mini-break but somehow managed to catch a terrible infection in my chest. Ugly stuff coming up. I thought I had left these kind of colds back in Canada years ago. Visiting a doctor here is always a cheap and relatively quick experience. Doctors here love to prescribe drugs and the visit I had this week was no different. I left with a cocktail of drugs which only last a few days thereby guaranteeing that I will return if I am not cured. Luckily each visit to the doctor, including medication, only costs about $4.50US.
One of the downsides of working independently is how much more inconvenient being sick is – no one can cover for you and you don’t really have “sick days”. It’s times like these that I miss working in a large company.

Merry Christmas!

My bags aren’t packed and I still have a desk of work to clear (notice how I am writing this instead of doing it) but tomorrow I say good bye to the cold and head for the warmth of a sandy beach. Though a short break it beats eating what they pass for turkey here.

Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honour to this Day,
That sees December turned to May. -Robert Pinskey

Hope you have a safe and happy holiday.

Not Enough Seconds in a Day

I watched television last night and it inspired me (gasp!). Not real TV since I don’t have cable nor do I have a real TV by Canadian standards, just one snagged from the dust bin. It was a show tapped to vhs then digitized to vcd. I hate television generally but watching this sweet slice of life from the hallmark channel made me realise something. It seems I am always busy but never get anything done. I have an aunt like this but the key difference between us is that I do stuff. The days are too short for me. I would work all night if I could.
The slice of life I was watching from the Hallmark channel was illuminating. Here was an old couple driving place to place actually doing things in the real world – you know that place not formed from pixels and bits but that lives outside of your screen. However simple there life was they were getting things done. This was circa 1980 so no distractions from a blackberry, no mobile phone, no email, no weblogs you have to check every hour, no flickr, and no chat IM. Go here go there, do this do that.
Computing and IT suck at allowing you to get things done.I’m doing so much more, and getting so much less done.
In the grand to do list of life I got more things done in a day driving a tractor cutting grass for the City of Charlottetown (back in 1985) than I did at a job where I “think” for a living. I’m getting tired of thinking – I just want to do.
Todd Levin says: “If I were to make a list of things I am “doing” right now, it would be long and impressive and possibly even make you wonder how a man of my size living in a universe of such constricted physical laws – 60 seconds in a minute, 24 hours in a day, etc. – can get it all done.” You can read more on his site.
Perhaps at the least it is time to unplug the wireless router or just unplug.

How to Become an Early Riser

“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.
– Aristotle
Are morning people born or made? In my case it was definitely made. In my early 20s, I rarely went to bed before midnight, and I’d almost always sleep in late. I usually didn’t start hitting my stride each day until late afternoon.

The solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.”

How to Become an Early Riser » Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog
(Via http://del.icio.us/popular/.)

Stress and Relaxation: Ten Ways to Relax and Reduce Stress

Dr. Weil offers 10 tips on relaxation.
“The following are some wonderful ways to reduce anxiety, agitation and stress and promote relaxation, calm and peace within yourself. Some techniques take practice, and most require some commitment on your part to achieve results. However, the results are well worth any effort, as a calm and relaxed body and mind are less prone to health issues than an agitated body and mind.”

Common Misconceptions About Hearing

Any musician who has had to work with sound reinforcement will appreciate this article. Here is an excerpt:
“In the range of safe sound levels (let’s say up to 85 dBA for a 8 hour exposure) adjustment should not be restricted. However,levels above 85 dBA are dangerous and can cause permanent hearing damage. Given the choice, most sensible people would not knowingly choose to put themselves in an environment that was considered hazardous to their health. However, many patrons are unaware of the potential danger of sustaining permanent hearing loss and are also unaware of the fact that noise levels over 85 dBA are dangerous.
An informed public, coupled with rational behavior, are key ingredients in the protection of individuals from both hearing lossand extra health costs. Unfortunately, existing legislation does not require informing patrons of potential health hazards that could harm them, thereby eliminating the concept of “informed consent”. Enforcement of existing work place laws should protectnightclub employees, patrons, teachers, musicians, D.J’s or any other individual who may be exposed to dangerous noise levelsthat could pose a potential health hazard. Regretfully, such laws are very seldom implemented or enforced.”
In my youth I was exposed to far too many lousy sound engineers who hadn’t a clue about proper reinforcements levels. The sound levels I had to endure were excruciating. As well, an old Austrian trumpet teacher of mine used to instruct me to practice with the bell of my trumpet facing a wall where I could get a better idea if I was “playing in the slots”. Well it worked, I was playing in the slots but that coupled with the noisy bands contributed to the tinnitus I have today. A factor in ending my performing career (the most mitigating factor was the simple fact that I wasn’t that good).
Read the full article

What a wonderful … life.

Louis Armstrong’s song made famous by “Good Morning Vietnam” is now stuck in my head but Seth Godins article “Time to take action” offers some common sense inspiration. The following quote strikes a chord:

The thing is, we still live in a world that’s filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity — we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing. (found via Good Experience)

Read the article

Things that annoy me

Every once in a while I feel the need to scream. Chronic fustration rears it’s ugly head.

Things that annoy me

  • The absolute lack of speed in OS 10.2.
  • Font management in OS 10.2.
  • How editing on line of text in Flash has apparently caused the audio and visuals of the whole piece to be totally out of sync which will undoubtedly result in another days work.
  • How politics rule product development to the detriment of quality and everyones sanity.
  • 3 1/2 days at work last week of which 1 /1/2 days were spent in meetings. Most of which were poiltical.
  • The phrase “I must insist you change this text because I am the author”. 200 pages of mediocre writing for a corporate website, 1 line of text set in bold to enhance usability and this is what we will meet for hours to argue over changing. Forget about the multitude of other issues that need to be addressed.
  • The fact that I am sure there is a person responsible for the variations in the amount of hot water we have in our apartment but I don’t know who it is.
  • The fact that I forgot to bring a URL home from work and now I must drive my motorcycle in the rain, on Sunday, in Hsinchu traffic, in order to retrieve it from my workstation.
  • My increasing apathy.