Thanks, Doc!

Today, I got an email from Dr. Willy Stretcher.




We are, each of us, the hero of our own story.


Pimp My Bride

I find that all of my friends have suddenly hit peak marrying age. If we consider the number of weddings per year histogrammed by year, this must surely be the peak of the gaussian. I've been invited to nine weddings this year. I had two this weekend.

On Friday in Ottawa, my old roommate from my Nortel days, Rob, got married. Highlights: Ceremony that lasted less than five minutes, truck dumping stuff and reversing (beep beep beep) throughout the ceremony, my wife being called Robot by a six-year old and staying at the Chateau Laurier (swanky!).

On Sunday in Montreal, my old buddy from high school, Mark, got married. Highlights: Sean mistaking two players for three in beach volleyball, a ceremony that lasted a full hour in three languages (all chanted), watching Mark dance, getting seated next to one of the most tireless mouths I've ever met.

Next step: kid birthdays...

Final step: funerals.



I haven't drunk that much in a while. My digestive system is concerned but not in full revolt.

Fact of the Day: While watching a stripper give the bachelor party treatment to a friend, you will get funny looks if you yell out, "Ask her if she liked Spiderman 2!"

Aside: I only go to strip clubs for the articles.


I Gotta Wear Shades

There is a fight going on to equalise. Gender, ethnicity, sexuality. The fight for an equal opportunity. Minority representation, pluralism, cultural openness.

I am certain that all of these equalities will be realised one day. We're on the right track here in Canada at least. Things are getting better from where I sit (I admit that my chair is quite nice). Sure there's work to do around the world but the idea of equality is, I feel, unstoppable. Since the US constitution put those words in writing and gave people a living, evolving example, it has become a given worldwide that all men are indeed created equal. Those words instilled in people a sense that they, too, deserve a fair shake. Time has only given us a growing number of examples of the concept of equality become the reality of equality. Certainly the execution of that reality is imperfect. The journey is definitely incomplete, work remains.

But I cannot help but feel that one day, people will all have an equal opportunity. One day we will all be elbow-to-elbow at the trough, fighting one another for the chance to get rich off the back of someone else. All of this without regard to skin colour, heritage, gender, or religion.

It's a beautiful, human future.


More Dollars Than Sense

Any economic system that does not take into account human greed is doomed to failure. People not only want more than they currently have, they also want more than their neighbours. Capitalism addresses these issues with a system that closely matches human nature and a Darwinism that resembles nature in general.

When capital is being invested, people want to make interest off of it. It needs to outstrip the rate of inflation or you aren't actually increasing your wealth. However, the problem inherent in the system is that profit alone is not enough. While most people would be satisfied with a profit that doubled the rate of inflation or so, capital is always happiest when it is maximised. So not only is profit measured but the growth of that profit over time. If a company had revenues of one trillion and expenses of ten dollars, that would be a pretty good investment, right? But if that profit stagnated (ie: stayed the same) investment would probably flee. There's no growth. Ok, that's exaggerating but not by a lot.

Companies need to understand that growth cannot possibly be indefinite but the expectation that drives companies to bloat beyond their means clearly exists. This pressure to continuously grow often forces succesful companies, companies that usually grow to success through a good value to price ratio, to mess with their formula by either cutting the value (remember when Snapple was made with real juice?) or blow prices through the roof (bank service charges are reaching ludicrous proportions and competition is not on the way).

The problem is that people in general are never satsifed with what they do have and that mentality is visited upon us all through capitalism. However, as a reflection of human selfishness and short-sightedness, well, it's damn near perfect.



As a child I was always one step ahead of the curve because my parents encouraged me to learn things on my own. I was frequently abandoned at the local library for hours and left to wander the books. I devoured anything that piqued my interest. Dinosaurs, space, chess, machines, animals, comic books, whatever. Thus, in school, I felt I was smarter than others and I got a pretty big head about it. In fact, the school denied me skipping a grade because they thought my ego was big enough as it was.

Eventually school catches up to you. Well, it did for me around high school where there a bunch of people way smarter than me and I had to work to keep my good grades. I never worked hard enough to be near the top but always enough to stay ahead of the curve. My motto was the definition of efficiency: minimum in, maximum out. It's one I still live by today.

In CEGEP, I let school slide by as I developed a social life and learned a rough approximation of how to behave in public (with much tutoring from my wife-to-be). I was in the middle of the curve, perhaps a step ahead but falling to dead center.

In University, I did enough to stay near the top. I was interested but never able/willing to excel. What I found easy, I put aside. What I found difficult, I wrestled with. I find to this day that I will ace difficult challenges but fail miserably at simple tasks because I don't put in any effort at all.

For grad school, I sank. Fast. I squeaked by. I did manage to get a recommendation to the Dean's List for my thesis. How? I have no clue. I don't think I deserved it. I grabbed the diploma, ran for the door and hoped no one tackled me on the way out.

When I entered the job market, I worked fairly hard. I wanted to do well and I applied myself. I did very well and for my first 18 months I was one of the best workers. Once I realised how crappy the product was, how terribly the business was being run and how little effect one way or another I was personally having on the company, I just started coasting. They noticed and when it came time for the axe to fall, I wasn't first on the list but I was far from last.

I've been doing improv for years now. I've gotten a lot better and I have my own ideas of good and bad improv. I feel I'm a lot better than the average but by no means very strong. I have a lot of weaknesses and I see other people do things I wish I could do.

I'm now trying to write a novel. I can string together the occasional sentence and bon mot but I don't even show up on my own radar of good writing with the draft I have now. I can't imagine how much further I have to go before I dare show this to a professional. It's a long way.

I can play video games, draw, photograph, play soccer or hockey or Magic:tG. These are things I feel I can do with some confidence. However, I know deep down that I'm really not very good at them. At best, I'm mediocre and at worst, I'm awful.

I dabble. I understand that. Jack of all trades, Master of none. I desperately want to be very good at something but I fear I don't have it in me. I don't possess that obsession/drive to focus intensely on a single aspect of my life and hone it to pure perfection. I keep hoping to find a natural talent that I can just automatically be good at. Life doesn't work that way. Skill comes from use, practice, mistakes, all of these things mixed with a natural facility will lead someone to excel. I just don't have the patience for it. I want to divide my time to taste everything that comes my way. I guess I decided long ago to spend little bit of time in a lot of places instead of the inverse.

I'm learning to be comfortable with it. I will not abandon my pleasures because I'm not the best or even near the best. I need to understand that better than average is actually pretty good and that if I really do want to excel that badly, it's attainable if I'm willing to earn it.

I'm not great, but that's ok.