Saturday, 31 October 2009

Attack of the Syringes

Here is the link to another article I wrote for the Gauntlet. It pertains to the swine flu vaccine which just hit the city.

I don't have much else to say on the subject, except that the list of people "most at risk" seems to be growing bigger every time I stumble across it. Also, I have the afternoon off to do some homework because one of the kids I usually nanny on Saturdays is sick. Her mom thinks it's the swine flu. Actually, I had four swine flu symptoms myself for a couple days this week - cough, sore throat, runny nose, and body aches. I wonder if that works as well as the vaccine does to inoculate me from getting it "again". Of course, that's assuming the mutated flu versions don't soon reign supreme.

It's incredible how frantic people are to get vaccinated. A customer at Timmy's today told me that by 6:45 am, the line-up at a clinic was well over a block long. The clinic doesn't open until 8:30.

Yeesh.

“The most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed.” C. S. Lewis

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Lost Treasure

I lost my purse. I had it with me, and then halfway through my second uni class, I realized I didn't have it with me. It wasn't on the table, it wasn't by my feet, it wasn't under my friends' feet, it wasn't under my chair, it wasn't hanging off my chair. It wasn't at the front of the room where I had checked my grades...

So I got up and left. It wasn't in the hall where I had been sitting, so I "walked" to Scurvy Hall, where my earlier class had been, praying that no one had taken it. It wasn't in the bathroom I had utilized there. That's it. It had to be in one of those places, because I distinctly remembered taking it into the washroom, and now it wasn't there. It wasn't anywhere. It was officially gone.

I contemplated calling dad to inquire after credit card canceling, but my phone, also, was in the purse. Growing more distraught, I walked back to class. I doubled checked - it still wasn't under the table, under someone's feet, etc. etc. so I packed up and left again (of course I had to be sitting near the front of the class so everyone could see my in-out-in-out-ness). Thinking I was going to be in tears shortly, I looked down the hall, heart thudding, and what should strike me but a sudden spark of hopefulness? Maybe someone turned it in at the Psych Head Office, which is just down the hall from where I probably lost it! I walked to the front desk and asked the man there if someone had turned in a brown purse.

He said yes. And so it was. THANK HEAVENS! And thank God! A small bit of my faith in humanity has been restored. As the guy at the desk said, "You got lucky." Don't I know it. It took me forty-five minutes to realize I had lost a full purse - at a busy university full of crazy undergrads.

It appears that nothing was taken - cash, credit card, cell phone, and camera are all still there (plus other things that don't all start with "c") ...I shall be writing a note in the Gauntlet to thank whoever it was that was kind and honest enough to prevent me from suffering for my carelessness.

What a relief!

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 26 October 2009

Crastination

I've been having some trouble managing my time this semester. I have officially destroyed the "pro" in "procrastination" (hence the title). It's not really an issue of having too much to do - it's an issue of having too much to do when I finally get around to not procrastinating and of keeping track of what I have to do. It seems there are assignments due soon that I'm barely aware of. I'm usually better at keeping track. I handed in my first late paper ever just this morning. Ironically, it was on time management and procrastination. It won't cost me grade-wise, but I feel kind of... dirty... regardless.

Yesterday and this morning I slept through my alarm clock. Then, when I got on the C-train today I realized I had left my cell phone at home. That means no texts, no calls, and no portable clock, and the uni doesn't hang clocks except in the classrooms. Plus, I shan't be able to easily call home for a pick up from the station tonight.

I figure there's a lesson in this. Maybe it's God's way of telling me that if I won't manage my time properly, then I won't even be given the privilege of keeping track of the time. Sigh.

This public self-lecture is posted in hopes that Mom won't feel the need to chide me herself...

"The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up." Anonymous

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

USEFUL(semantics class)

~WRITE(i, proper post) --> (VERY LIMITED(predicate logic) V ~∀x(PREDICATE LOGIC(x) --> LEARNED(i, x))).

~WRITE(i, proper post).

[More x: PREDICATE LOGIC(x)]~KNOW(i,x) -->DISAPPOINTED(i).

[More x: PREDICATE LOGIC(x)]~KNOW(i,x). Sigh.

UNDERSTAND(you) --> LEAVE(you, comment). ~UNDERSTAND(you) --> LEAVE REGARDLESS(you, comment)

"If you can't convince, confuse!" Anonymous

P.S. Happy fifteenth, J-man!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Cowboys and VeggieTales

So that you have an approximate idea of what I did over the Thanksgiving holiday, I present you with this, the Schedule for an Average Day with the Cousins in Saskatchewan (Icky Weather Version, times are estimated):

9:30 - Wake up. Roll out of bed. Put on my clothes.

10:00 - Meet with Fligg family and Schroeder family in the Fliggs' condo for brunch.

11:00 - Have an informal family church service. That is, sing songs while Randal plays guitar, listen as Aunt Gloria reads a passage from scripture, listen as we put Uncle Ray on the spot for an impromptu sermon (topic of "guard your conscience"), discuss whether it would be better to be lucky or to be good (decided on lucky. I may write a post on this sometime), sing a few more songs, gawk as the Schroeders display their incredible musical talent.

12:00 - Try to juggle. Watch brother try to juggle. Fail.

12:15 - Eat way too much lunch. Discuss personality types with cousins. Lie on the ground contentedly because there is no room left on the couches.

1:00 - Leave warm condo to chase down brother who is playing in a snowy field with cousins. Pack up to leave condo.

1:30 - Hug Fligg family goodbye, oust Schroeder parents from the Schroeder van. Celebrate because all the kids fit into the Schroeder van (parents celebrate because the Heinrichs van will not have any children). Claim passenger seat. Begin the drive to the Schroeder house. Discuss cowboy hats, how to hide fugitives despite satellite imaging and heat sensors, and sing along to Junkyard Poets. Notice that Randal has taken the impromptu sermon to heart - he shakes his head at people who ruin their consciences by speeding.

3:30 - Realize that parents have been trying to call all our phones. Learn that we are not going to the Schroeder farm, but to Grandma's house. Arrive at Grandma's. Apologize for missing Uncle Ray's call(s). Give Uncle Ray hug to boost his crushed sense of self-esteem.

3:45 - Team up with Jared and beat Aunt Ang and Thomas at pool. Do victory dance with Jared. Try to make pool balls jump over other pool balls. Contemplate trigonometry with Jared.

5:3o - Eat pizza. Teach baby cousin Gabriella to draw. Watch America's Funniest Home Videos (which aren't that funny)

6:45 - Pile kids into the van. Strut around because Uncle Ray grants me override power on all decisions (I am the oldest, after all). Sing along to KJ-52. Arrive at movie theatre. Make Logan sing rap song by himself. Make Thomas do beat-box by himself. Try to make them do it at the same time. Fail.

7:10 - Buy tickets to movie. Apologize to woman sitting behind us because her kid can't see over Randal's cowboy hat. Move Randal into another seat and make him slouch. Meet sister's friend Sam. Watch Up!

9:00 - Go back to Grandma's while singing along to more KJ-52. Randal purposely takes us on a detour to go by Grandma's old house. Who says cowboys aren't sentimental? Play pool with cousins and siblings and Sam. End up on the failing team, despite practice earlier in the day. Snack. Play noisy game of "THIS IS A PEN!"

10:30 - Pile back into the van, drive to the town of Balgonie while singing along to Family Force 5 and Relient K. Drop Sam off. Drive to the Schroeder farm.

11:00 - Arrive at Schroeder house. Play ditty on the piano. Watch as Jared listens once then adds flourishes and plays ditty much better than I. Actually, it's no longer a ditty. It's a blues concerto movement. Have dance/karaoke party to VeggieTales music with brother, Logan, and Thomas.

11:30 - Have dance party shut down by Aunt Ang. Bring suitcases in from van. Veg on couch, reading, while cousins play some sort of video game. Try to stay awake.

12:30 - Go upstairs and discuss theology with dad, sister, uncle, and aunt. Learn why Uncle Ray had to take a lie detector test. Vow to never leave keys in vehicle ignition while at work. Tease Aunt Ang for having boyfriends before Uncle Ray. Listen to Aunt Ang maintain that she didn't like boys, just free movies.

1:45 - Have cousins join the conversation. Discuss the dipsticks that tried to frame Jared in a theft.

3:00 - Break up conversation and go to bed.

3:30 - Fall asleep while wondering what on earth brother is doing with the cousins upstairs that makes so much noise...

“There's no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there's no excuse for boredom, ever.” Viggo Mortensen

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

She's Still Sleeping

My brother and his friend are attempting to cook supper. I was, until recently, curled up on the couch, sleeping. The following is an account - perhaps slightly embellished - of some of the conversation I overheard in my sleep (apparently I was only in stage 1 of the sleep cycle):

Justin: So we put this in the blender?
Caleb: Yeah.
J: How do we do that? We have to put the lid on, right? How do we put the lid on? Is it supposed to be sealed in some way so that the contents don't come flying out? What are we supposed to do?
C: Uh...
J: Let's ask my sister.
C: No! Don't do that, she's sleeping.
J: Well then, here. It's in the blender. How do we turn it off?
C: Let's turn it on, first.
J: Ok. Should I hold the lid on?
C: Sure. We'll just unplug it if we have to.
J: (over blender noise) IS IT DONE?!
C: (also over blender noise) I DON'T KNOW!
J: HOW DO WE TURN IT OFF?!
C: I THINK WE PUSH THE BUTTON AGAIN!
(blender noise continues)
J: THAT DIDN'T WORK! PLAN B?!
C: SHOULD WE UNPLUG IT?!
J: LET'S ASK MY SISTER!
C: NO, SHE'S SLEEPING! ON THE COUCH RIGHT BESIDE THE KITCHEN!
J: THEN WHAT DO WE DO?!
C: LOOK, THERE'S AN "OFF" BUTTON!
(blender noise stops)
J: Is it done?
C: I think so.
J: Want to taste it?
C: No.
J: Let's cut the chicken.
C: Ok.
J: How small are we supposed to cut the pieces?
C: Uh... it says 1 to 2 inches.
J: How wide? How thick? How long? Into how many pieces? I don't know the proper proportions. What are we supposed to make out of these instructions?
C: The recipe doesn't even tell us how many servings this thing makes!
J: Let's ask my sister.
C: No, look - she's sleeping!

I did contemplate groaning out a response to them, but I figured they'd manage. At any rate, it's good that they're getting some experience in the kitchen. Though it's a little odd that they're so confused over why it's taking them so much longer to make the food than mom estimated it would...

Now that dinner is over, I'd like to share with you a couple jokes told as part of the dinner conversation. They shall be my quotes for today:

What's the difference between avian flu and swine flu?
For one you use tweetment and the other you use oinkment.

People can't use the expression "When pigs fly" anymore. Because, you know, swine flu.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Evasive Question

“The Answer to the Ultimate Question Of.....Life, the Universe and Everything.....(is) Forty-two.” Douglas Adams

Yes, you saw that right. Today's quote is placed at the beginning, and not the end, of the post. Aren't I being unpredictable today?

There is a reason for this madness. You see, the rest of this post deals with that quote. I was sitting in my adolescent psychology class and was hit with a revelation. Douglas Adams has it right! The answer IS forty-two. Whoever said that we couldn't know both the answer and the question simultaneously was dead wrong, and I can prove it!

All we need is this simple equation:

ANSWER(life) Ʌ ANSWER(universe) Ʌ ∀x ANSWER(x)

which is easily solvable when we have the value of x, which is

[(Hod)/(32 ft/sec2)] log {(k log 16,000words/human/day)*[6,789,000,000(1+pct*Nd*∞dy/dx)]π}

Where

k = Aristotle's Golden Mean of Plato's Divided Line, and
Nd is the percentage of people who have an out-of-body near-death experience.

When we plug in these variables and take into consideration the truth-functional conjunction, we can see that the answer comes out to be a neat 42.

For those of you who didn't quite follow the reasoning:

To find the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, we must take the logarithm of Fechner's Law of Psychological Sensation (which is Ψ = k log S) multiply it by the growing human population of earth (which is approximately 6.789 billion multiplied by (1+pct*Nd*∞dy/dx)) and because the earth is almost spherical, we must also multiply it by pi, which is approximately
3.14159265358979323846
264338327950288419716
939937510582097494459
230781640628620899862
80348253421170679.

S, of course, equals the average number of words spoken daily by a person (about 16000 - I congratulate the discourse analysts for discovering this), and naturally ∞dy/dx is the number of angels that can dance on the head of pin. We must then multiply all this by Hubble's expanding universe constant divided by the free-fall acceleration on earth.

It gives my life a lot more clarity, actually. I may have to rename this blog something other than "The Wanderer".

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Gauntlet Publication

Yeah yeah yeah! Woo! *pumps fist*

I was published in the U of C's weekly paper, the Gauntlet. If you are a person who does not happen to be around the U of C much, you can click this link to my article.

Oh! And I finally finished reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison. I hope to write a few posts on some of his thoughts, but I'll save that for another day. I have to be awake far too early tomorrow to attempt anything tonight.

I shall, however, leave you the final words of the book, which were part of Bonhoeffer's last letter to his fiancée before he was executed. It is probably my favourite quote from the whole thing.

"You must not think that I am unhappy. What is happiness and unhappiness? It depends so little on the circumstances; it depends really only on that which happens inside a person. I am grateful every day that I have you, and that makes me happy." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

P.S. Happy late birthday, Mom!