Sunday, November 28, 2004

Has anyone seen the hilarious gouda ads????

To my Canadian friends (or those who watch Canadian TV):

Has anyone seen the new ad from Canadian Dairy Farmers for gouda cheese? The one that looks like a perfume commercial with a young beautiful couple in sensual poses? It's hilarious!!!! I've looked for a link online but unfortunately have not found one.

Brilliant Points re. "Values"

Via Maha I found this great editorial re. the "values" debate ... (free registration required)

It's been less than a month since the gods decreed that because of the election results American political life henceforth must be all about something called "values." And I gave it my best. Honest. But values won. I'm sick of talking about values, sick of pretending I have them or care more about them than I really do. Sick of bending and twisting the political causes I do care about to make them qualify as "values." News stories about values-mongers caught with their values down used to make my day. Now the tale of Bill O'Reilly and phone sex induces barely a flicker of schadenfreude.

Why does an ideological position become sacrosanct when it gets labeled has a "value"? There are serious arguments and sincere passions on both sides of the gay-marriage debate. For some reason, the views of those who feel that marriage requires a man and a woman are considered to be a "value," while the views of those who believe that gay relationships deserve the same legal standing as straight ones barely qualify as an opinion.

Those labels don't confer any logical advantage. But they confer two big advantages in the propaganda war. First, a value just seems inherently more compelling than a mere opinion. That's a big head start. Second, the holder of a value is held to be more sensitive to slights than the holder of an opinion. An opinion can't just slug away at a value. It must be solicitous and understanding. A value may tackle an opinion, meanwhile, with no such constraint.

Why do you care, or care so much, whether the people running the government have good values? Wouldn't you prefer a bit of competence, if forced to choose? For example, suppose we had a government that was capable of ensuring enough flu vaccine to go around, like the governments of every other developed country in the world. Wouldn't that be nice? And if you could have that kind of government, would you really mind if a few more of its leaders secretly enjoyed Janet Jackson's halftime show at the Super Bowl?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I highly recommend ...

... a news program called "The Passionate Eye" on CBC Newsworld. Very well-done and balanced hour-long investigation into single topics. Tonight's show is about a community in New York state that is being pulled apart over the issue of illegal immigration (especially Mexican immigrants). Amazing program. Frustrating topic, the depth of hate and fear is shameful, but very balanced presentation of the issue. I wish we had more journalism like this.

I LOVE this!!!!

For those who are interested in the future of the Democratic Party in the U.S.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Americans apologize

It started the day after the US presidential election with one student posting a picture of himself on the internet holding up a sign reading: "Sorry world (we tried) - half of America".

Within just a few days, the website, set up by James Zetlen, had 27 million hits, he said.

For more, click here.

Latest update!

Hello there!

It's been a while since I've posted a general update, and I've been really bad at returning e-mails and phone calls - so I just wanted to explain what I've been up to. The problem is that last night I worked until 4:00 AM, and I've had about 3 hours of sleep. So here's a point-form update:

  • My job is going great, but very very busy:
    • Major project relocating - in 4 weekends - over 200 servers to a new data centre (reason I worked until 4:30 this morning)
    • Leading a major portion of a data retention project, which will generate reports on all types of data currently existing within the firm, and will also implement processes and technologies to manage this data going forward
    • Leading portions of two projects for office moves (the one in London is ~80 people; the one in Toronto is ~450 people. Both offices are moving in February/March.)
    • Managing the process of replacing lease-end servers (about 150 servers to be replaced between now and July 1st)
    • Working on developing business process improvements re. how my team is engaged to perform server builds
    • Managing my team's workload, and handling new requests for resources/services (They seem to never end - make them stop!!!!!)
    • Escalating support issues to my manager and director as required
    • Participating with my manager in interviewing candidates for an open position on our team
    • Do you think I'm busy enough? LOL
    • Also organizing a stress-buster “Steak Night” for my co-workers (I thought of using a slogan like “Dig into a steak rather than carving up your colleagues!” but decided against it.) Seriously, they’re a great bunch, so it should be a lot of fun.
    • Even though it is insanely busy, it's a great job. I get to use my creativity to make things better, there's infinite variety, it's always challenging, the people are great, I have a lot of support from my manager and his boss (the director), and I love the leadership responsibility. Like I keep saying, I feel like I've won the job lottery. :->
  • Roommate saga on pause
    • As most of you know, I’ve been looking for a roommate to share my wonderful 2-bedroom apartment
    • I’d found a great candidate, Mahsa, who is a University of Toronto student (Masters in Fine Arts, Music – she plays the cello), and we finally got through all the red tape of applications, etc. so she could get a card to my secure building – and then she didn’t move in. ????
    • She stopped by today and filled me in on some of the issues she is facing. There are a couple of health crises in her family, so she is planning to return to Iran for up to three months. Also, while she is currently separated from her husband, he wants a reconciliation, so when Mahsa returns to Canada, she might decide to return to her marriage as well. We have agreed to wait until mid-December and then make a decision about the roommate decision. I am too busy to go looking for a roommate again before Christmas anyway. And if possible, I’d really like to wait for Mahsa because I think she’s great. (Although of course if her marriage works out, I'll be very happy for her.) We’ll see how it works out.
    • By the way, she did pay me for November's rent, even though she'd never moved in. At first I felt bad about taking it, but she was determined, and I saw it as a gesture of good faith. I'll use it to get my apartment painted and buy a bed for her if she decides to move in.
  • Not much else happening these days!
  • Even though I’m really terrible at responding to e-mails or calling people up, I love hearing about what’s going on in the lives of my friends and family! Tell me what’s going on with you!!!! :->

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I don't know whether to smile or cry ...

Ahmed Tharwat explains in Slate why most Muslims don't own dogs, but then describes the incredible difference in how he is treated in public when he is with his dog.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Just wondering ...

Have you ever looked at yourself at the end of the day and found a big chocolate smudge at the corner of your mouth, but the last time you remembered eating chocolate (perhaps a delicious milk chocolate truffle from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) was at work early in the afternoon? Not that that's ever happened to me - I was just wondering ... ;->

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I'm ba-ack!

Hi everybody!

I took a bit of a blogger vacation, in part because I've been working so much overtime, but also because the results of the American election were so damned depressing ...

But lately I've had little random amusing thoughts pass through my brain, followed by "Wouldn't it be cool if I had a blog to share them with people without actually inflicting my dorky sense of humour on anybody? Wait a minute, I DO have a blog!!!" :->

So hopefully I'll be better with my posts. It's good to be back!!!