Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weird Dreams Part 2

Just a couple of weird dreams I've had lately. I don't know if dreams are some way your mind is trying to tell you something important, or just the way the mind flushes out old garbage it's not using anymore. If there's any meaning in this stuff, I'll be surprised.

One night I dreamt I received a bundle of official papers. The papers came from the United States, and claimed that I had purchased, through a web-site, a used Russian hover-craft. I remember looking through the papers thinking "did I really do this? Was I drunk or something?".

The papers themselves were kind of weird. One page featured a group of bikini models pointing out important facts such as "it's better to tow it home" and "this hover-craft can be broken down into three smaller hover-crafts with snow-scoops!". Apparently I was able to pay by Visa, MasterCard or "Saskatchewan dollars". I'll keep checking my mailbox over the next couple of days.

I don't know if another dream I experienced had meaning, but it certainly had sweaters. I remember being in an open room, I think it was a food court in a shopping mall. There were people in chairs all watching a speaker, and we were all wearing those funky 80's-style sweaters that Bill Cosby used to wear. I couldn't hear what the speaker was saying, but I was really upset over the content. I thought they were lying to the listeners. In the dream I (very uncharacteristically) stood up and shouted "no, don't listen to him", and started to run around the shopping mall grabbing people saying inspirational stuff like "you only have one life, this is your shot!" Apparently we only have one life, but many sweaters, as I always seemed to be dressed in a different "Dr Huxtable" look. Man, I miss those sweaters.

Whatever you think about stuff like this, it's never boring.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you veterans!!

It's Remembrance Day again. I've just watched the national ceremony from the Cenotaph in Ottawa, and again I found myself shedding tears for the thousands of strangers who lived through horrible experiences so I could live my convenient life. A few things really stood out for me this year.

-In London, the Canadian Embassy (Canada House) in Trafalgar Square projected the names of every Canadian soldier who died in the First World War, in a continuing cycle for eight days, leading up to Remembrance Day. The same thing was timed for sites in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The tribute was designed by a Canadian actor. Well done-it looked like a beautiful and moving tribute.

-This year for the first time, an Aboriginal veteran offered a tribute in Ojibway. I didn't understand the words, but his tone and expression said it all, and the Ojibway sounded like a mysterious song.

-I used to question the value of ceremony, but it struck me how quickly and thoroughly animosity melts away when people join together for a common purpose; in this case, to honour veterans. People who normally resent each other for their language, race and beliefs immediately forget all that and honour each other the way they should all year round. I wonder how else we can keep reminding ourselves of how great this felt?

-The Chaplain who led the prayers began by saying "I ask you to pray to God in the way you understand Him, as I pray through my savior Jesus Christ". I thought that was a wonderfully inclusive statement, " the way you understand Him". Nothing about "I'm right and you're wrong", just an accceptance that we all have our way of understanding the "big mystery".

-It's apparently becoming a tradition, after the offical wreaths are laid at the Cenotaph in Ottawa, for visitors to leave their poppies (small poppy pins Canadians wear as a tribute, offered by Veterans groups, for people reading this from outside Canada) on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and at the grave marker on display at the National War Museum. No-one told the public to do this, they just started doing it spontaneously. I think that's the greatest tribute of all-nothing orchestrated, just a little tribute from the heart. It reminds me of the Jewish tradition of leaving a small stone at a grave side to mark that someone had come to visit. Beautiful stuff.

-So there you go, it's 11:17am as I'm finishing this up; the tributes are ending with parades and celebrations. I don't know how many people actually read this stuff I write, but today I'm glad I had the opportunity to write it down. Thanks for everything, veterans.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Random Thoughts and Observations

Random Observation 1: work weirdness

Here's an example of the weirdness of my workplace, which is an international survey company of, I'm guessing, middling-to-no-respect in the industry. Recently one of our clients had a meeting with the Project Manager who handles their account and the Field Supervisors who actually run the day-to-day gathering of opinions. The client, who seemed to have no idea as to how their own survey was being run, listened to some of our interviewers call their customers to take the survey. This is a survey where, for several years, we have been instructed to only call people during business hours, to avoid bothering people in the evenings, during the dinner hour, etc. When one person asked to be called in the evening, the interviewer, correctly, explained they are not allowed to do that, and asked for a more convenient time during the day.

The client asked "why didn't the interviewer accept the evening call-back?". the Project Manager asked the Field Supervisors "yeah, why DIDN'T the interviewer arrange an evening call-back?" The Field Supervisors explained that, for several years, evening callbacks were contrary to instructions, that that the computerized settings had a variable that simply wouldn't allow an evening appointment to be set. The Project Manager, puffing themselves up in from of the client said "well, why dont you just change the variable?" The Field Supervisors asked "Can we do that now?"

The Project Manager answered: "No".

Corporate management at it's finest, no?

Random observation 2: Sports broadcasters

I was watching a football game the other day, when a colour commentator tried to describe the speed of one of the players. He said (I kid you not)" He's like a cannon, shot out of a gun" This is almost as good as my all-time favorite sports broadcaster comments which went: "He runs with his feet and catches with his hands!"

Random Observation # 3: What if....?

What if the Borg (from Star Trek) dressed like Earth, Wind and Fire? Wouldn't they be more accepted throughout the universe? If you heard the EW&F Borg command "Let's Groove....resistance is futile" woudl you resist? I think not. The Borg just needed a make-over.

I was watching TV when a commercial for Rub-A535 came on. I weasn't very alert at that moment, so I thought the name of the product was "Rub-Ass" creame. Personally, I would think this name would do better in the marketplace, and inspire MUCH more creative commercials.

In a conversation with AGF (awesome girl-friend) last week, she was commenting on something being "not very good". Trying to sound profound, I offered "well, not very good is better than bad!" Profundity is something that comes easily to some people, but obviously not me! :)

Mr. Furley (Don Knotts) from Three's Company was the best dresser on TV, bar none.