September 2000

Cup of Soup

Fri, Sep 1, 2000

Today I had a West Wittering.
As well as being a town in southern England, a West Wittering has been defined by Douglas Adams as "The uncontrollable twitching which breaks out when you're trying to get away from the most boring person at a party."
I wasn't at a party, but the definition is close enough. This unfortunate condition was caused by the incredibly monotonic, and slow speech of the professor teaching my distance education course. When I started the tape, I thought it was an electronic voice identifying the course and lecture, but then the voice begain to introduce itself, and I realized it wasn't electronic, but just very very boring. This is, of course a downer to what seems to be an otherwise interesting course.

I performed an extraordinary feat last night: I bowled a 131, with 1 pin short of a turkey in the tenth frame, and then followed it in the next game with a 49. Now that's irony.

Sat, Sep 2, 2000

When we were in elementary school, fire drills were taken incredibly seriously. When that alarm sounded, everybody got out quick -- not necessarily due to the risk of injury caused by fire, but because your teacher would kick your ass (figuratively speaking, of course) if you didn't. But now when we're at work, if the fire alarm starts blaring, the only thing people do is complain of the awful noise and reach for their headphones. The fire alarm has lost its effectiveness. It's supposed to shout "EMERGENCY! Your life is in danger! Get out quick!", but nowadays it just says "This is only a test!" The same is true for car alarms, and the like. When a car alarm goes off, the only reaction is "Not again...Shut that damn thing off!" The audible alarm paradigm has lost its effectiveness, mainly due to the number of false alarms. So, a great way to get rich is to design a new theft-prevention and emergency-notification system that rarely has "false alarms". If any of you readers go ahead and do it, I expect some of the royalties . . .

Sun, Sep 3, 2000

Parents say a lot of corny and cliche things, and a lot of it is crap, but one bit -- though overused -- is very true: "Be yourself". Many people have the temptation to act unnaturally or do things they don't particularly enjoy just to feel accepted, and hang out with a select group. The alternative, of course, is to be with the smaller, less popular group, or be on your own. The people that don't act like themselves claim that they have more fun, and feel secure. I think they're fooling themselves.

Here's my opinion: A person, let's call him George, is afraid of being an outsider, and wants to be part of the "in" crowd. So, George changes the way he acts, and takes part in activites that he doesn't particularly enjoy. But, he now feels accepted, and so is happy. It's human nature to eventually disregard the needs that are consistently satisfied, and start to concentrate on the unsatisfied ones. So, George will eventually become accustomed to being accepted, and start to realize that he isn't actually having much fun, and starts to become disappointed with his situation. He continues unhappily, which is obviously no way to live. Now, this doesn't always happen, so what keeps people craving these groups is the reminder that they were once an outsider, and are afraid of it happening again. So, something happens within the group that threatens George's status, and he fears becoming an outsider once again, thus continuing to crave acceptance. George's social life revolves around an unending cycle of fear. That's something I know too well, and trust me, there's no happiness in that.

So, the best route is to be yourself. You enjoy your activites, you enjoy your company, you enjoy the acceptance by them, and you eventually realize that you don't need the acceptance of the others. The "in" crowd becomes a group of obnoxious phonies, and you begin to wonder why you ever wanted to be a part of them in the first place.

Mon, Sep 4, 2000

Advice from drunk people should be taken with great care, for they aren't always the best thought-out suggestions possible. I was at a nightclub last night, and one friend -- in an attempt to rid me of my shyness -- suggested I try to pickup a young lady I had noticed, despite the suspicion that she was there with someone. I didn't think this was the best course of action, and the discourse that followed it showed why:
SPU : I shouldn't take your advice.
pOrk: Why not?
SPU : See the girl over there with the red top?
pOrk: Uh huh.
SPU : Now, see the very very large man attached to her?
pOrk: . . . Ah.

Wed, Sep 6, 2000

Apparently, last night The Corrs had an invitation-only unplugged concert in Toronto. Invitations could be acquired by calling into a local radio station whenever "Breathless" was played. I did not learn of this event until the concert was pretty much in progress. How I entirely missed this is beyond me. I think the world should make a better effort at keeping me informed. :)

Thurs, Sep 7, 2000

Today was a very very bad day. I don't even want to talk about it.

Sat, Sep 9, 2000

Today is my half-birthday. <singing>Happy half-birthday to me</singing>. At least the weather's nice.

Tues, Sep 12, 2000

In my distance course, I learned about the sequence of Roman Emperors, and how they rose and fell from power. Claudius, one of the better Emperors, was poisoned by his last wife so that her son (from another marriage) would sieze power. I think the modern equivalent of this kind of woman is the Soccer Mom. You don't want to mess with one of those.

Thurs, Sep 14, 2000

Being an Olympic fanatic has its downsides. The biggest for this year's Games is the time difference. The fifteen hours of time zones lying between Mississauga and Sydney mean that everything cool is going to be happening while I should be fast asleep. The opening ceremonies will begin at 03h45 Eastern time. I plan to go to sleep as soon as I get home from work tonight, wake up in time to watch it, and then go to work afterwards. It can be the Pyjama Olympics. Anyone care to join me?

I told my manager I would be placing a blow-up doll at my desk to take over my duties at the office while I skip work and watch the Games. I'm still waiting for his reply . . . :)

Sat, Sep 16, 2000

Well, the pyjama games have begun, and I must say that the opening ceremonies were spectacular. I loved that "tin" piece -- very powerful. We're still awaiting the first Canadian medal, but it was quite a big day at the pool, with 4 world records broken. I was watching Australia's Ian Thorpe -- the Thorpedo, who took one of the individual golds and anchored the relay. This man is massive! SIZE 17 SHOES!! That's the same as his age! He finished a race and didn't look the slightest bit tired. The Americans said they would "smash the Aussies like guitars", but while the Aussies were breaking records, the Yanks were gasping for air...

OK, so I figured I'd try it. It doesn't cost me anything. Everyone click this banner, please, so I get a free set of rings, then I'll let you know if they're any good.

Mon, Sep 18, 2000

This weekend, I learned that the Olympics are not a suitable substitute for sleep . . . Zzzzz . . . Perhaps it will make a better substitute for work . . . That sounds much better.

I've only got 10 hits, so I need 30 more people click the banner in Saturdsay's Cup of Soup.

Wed, Sep 20, 2000

The past two days have been pretty upsetting in Olympicland. Despite many personal bests and Canadian records, our numerous swimmers came up with only one bronze, a number of our rowers are out, many individual competitors in cycling, boxing, kayaking, and others had disappointing results, and defending 100m Olympic Champion Donovan Bailey is bedridden with the flu. It's going to take quite an effort from our remaining hopefuls and some surprising victories from a few unknowns to get back to pace with our past few Olympic totals.

Only 9 hits to go! So, if you haven't clicked the banner in Saturday's message yet, or you can click it again from a different machine, please do so!

Thurs, Sep 21, 2000

Today was a much better day in Sydney. A silver medal in Judo, and various advancements in rowing, swimming, tennis, boxing, and a win in basketball. Much nicer. Keep it up!

Why are people obsessed with trendy words? Everyone just keeps using words and phrases like b2b, c2b, paradigm, killer app, multi-tier, enterprise solutions, and many incomprehensible words that start with "e-". The whole e-Trend should have stopped after email and e-commerce. Now, companies just throw these words at you attempting to sound intelligent, when they're really not saying anything at all. Who really knows what e-business is, anyway? Considering no e-Companies are making any money, I take it nobody does. In some places, it's gotten so bad that you can't even tell what they're trying to sell anymore...

New quote: Never get into an argument with a schizophrenic person and say, "Who do you think you are?"

Fri, Sep 22, 2000

It's decided. I'm going to quit my job and join The Cause.

Mon, Sep 25, 2000

Some people should think long and hard about why they follow sports. Being a true sports fan requires devotion, loyalty, hope, and often a strong pair of lungs. You cheer your team to victory, bask in their success, take pain in their loss, and support their efforts through slump and streak. What is not required in a sports fan is hatred of other teams, and especially of other teams' fans. Rivalries are good and fun, and can increase the excitement of a tournament or series, but the focus should be on your team. I visited a friend in London this weekend, and we went to Western's football game against York. The stands were full of obnoxiously loud screaming fans. What troubled me was what they were screaming -- no cheers like "Go Western", or "Go Stangs Go", but only jeers like "York Sucks", and "They're Big, They're Red, They Give Each Other Head". While I'll give them some credit for an amount of humour and creativity ("York Bad! Beer Good!"), it appalled me that their school spirit seems to lie not in school pride, but in contempt and hatred of others. What's much worse is when the other team's fans are the ones being jeered, something of which I find Toronto fans become victim. Check website forums, and you find many jeers against Toronto fans from people that have never been to T.O. Granted, website forums tend not to be gathering points for the most intelligent of sports fans, but what kind of a creep do you need to be to invent prejudice about people whose main difference is sporting loyalty? It makes me sick that some people base their sporting devotion on the mockery of people whose opinions differ. Cheer your own team, and leave it at that. Quit being a whiney baby.

Tues, Sep 26, 2000

I learned a new trendy word. While I may be quite sick of trendy words, this one doesn't have anything to do with technology:
Phenom: noun A person of phenomenal ability or promise.
I've been hearing it all over the Olympics. Apparently, cyclist Genevieve Jeanson is a phenom. It's probably one of those words a commentator used to exhibit his/her refined vocabulary, and now everyone is just copying it.

I got my eternal life rings. I'll let you know in a couple of weeks if they seem to have any effect. First impression: They're not very comfortable. I need to take a nile file to them . . .

Wed, Sep 27, 2000

It's a painful thing to see good friends dispute. For that period of time, compassion is lost, anger reigns, and memories of fondness and joy shared are forgotten while rage and betrayal slowly tear apart a picturesque friendship. Being on the outside, it's hard to see how small disagreements or mistakes can escalate to such destructive proportions. Why can't they see that something so small isn't worth jeopardizing something so big? Pride gets in the way; it masks reason and rationale, in fear of vulnerability. Pride must be swallowed; collaboration and compromise must stand tall. One must face the fear of feeling weak and imperfect, and understand that all can be forgiven and become good again.

That's just one of the things about friends -- it's a lot easier to hurt their feelings. A stranger could do many poor things, and I couldn't care less, but a friend holds a very delicate trust and security, which can't be kept untarnished forever. It happens, and will continue to happen with everyone -- there aren't any exceptions.

Friendship is a very delicate brush that must be wielded carefully; Tolerance and forgiveness are the thinners that let us fix our mistakes and make our picture better than it was before. Friends can remain friends, and most issues aren't worth ruining that. I'd rather not throw out a perfectly good canvas -- especially since it's such a beautiful picture being painted.

Thurs, Sep 28, 2000

Today, Canada suffered the loss our longest serving, most loved, and most hated Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. A man of such incredible personality and image, he is Canada's greatest political icon. Every Canadian knows the term "Trudeaumania". His attitude, his devotion to his goals, the admiration from his people, and his love for his country influenced Canada's development and made it what it is today. Trudeau is the reason we have our own constitution. He is one of the reasons the first separatist referendum was defeated. He is the reason we have French on our cereal boxes. No man in Canadian political history has captivated the attention of Canadians and of the world like Trudeau did. Although there was much that he did wrong, no one can help but admire his determination.

Trudeau is most remembered for his energetic personality and ambition; he was afraid of nothing, and he displayed it all through some of Canada's brightest and darkest moments. He is the man that never hesitated to criticize Ronald Reagan in public. He paraded his middle finger to a group of protestors. He cursed "Fuddle duddle" to a disagreeing MP. During one of Canada's most frightful moments, the enabling of the War Measures Act during the FLQ crisis, a reporter asked him how far would he go. His response: "Well, just watch me."

Many people loved him, many people hated him. Everybody respected him, and nobody will forget him.

Archive Index
(C) 2000-2003 David Faria