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Finally

Most of my attention over the last couple of months was directed at completing the recording of our second CD – In the Clouds by the Big Sky Gliders. There is nothing like a deadline to focus your attention and when the fellow who records us announced he was moving to the coast, it was all hands on deck to finish all the recording and mixing. It all seems a little anti-climatic now, but we had a couple of weeks of long sessions to complete everything. But it is done – over a year from to start to finish and around 100 hours of actual studio time to get the finished product.

The new recording by the Big Sky Gliders

The new recording by the Big Sky Gliders

We don’t have the physical copies yet as I am still working to complete the artwork, but you can listen to the new recording at www.bigskygliders.bandcamp.com.

Have a listen and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labours.

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Design Flaw

There is an informal bocce league at my workplace. Teams play most lunch hours. The shot below is two of my colleagues carrying their bocce set. It has wheels but they fell off with such regularity, it was easier for two people to just carry the entire rig. Not exactly the intended use.

Carrying the bocce balls so the wheels don't fall off.

Carrying the bocce balls so the wheels on the cart don’t fall off.

Intuitive … not

One of the interesting things about working in a large organization – be it industry, government or academia – is the absurdities you run across from time to time.

I have had to go into my benefits plan to change one of the categories and halfway through the process was greeted by this screen:

Cancel

 

It took me a second to read the screen and realize what it said. Since obviously the process was not going well, I phoned our benefits people for help. We walked through the screens together and when we got to the ‘cancel’ screen, I asked about it. The reply was, “oh yes, you are not the first person to comment”. However, it would appear the magic number of people commenting has not been reached, so the screen shall remain. Cue the face palm.

The scariest thought … this makes sense to someone!

Complements

I try to offer a positive response when I receive good service. It’s funny how sometimes even a complement can be misconstrued.

A couple of years ago, my daughter’s laptop developed an issue and had to be sent away for a warranty repair. The computer company (starts with H, ends with P) was very accommodating. There was no argument about the issue. They sent us a prepaid box to pack the laptop in and gave us instructions on mailing through UPS. I took the box to our nearest UPS depot around noon on a Monday. The repair shop was in North Bay, Ontario (pretty well across the country) and I expected to see the computer back in a week or so.

Much to our surprise, the repaired computer arrived back at the house on Wednesday morning – it hadn’t been gone more than 48 hours! I was impressed with the level of service so I went on to the company website to look for a feedback form. I found something that said, “Talk to the President”, so I filled out the form and thanked them for the great service.

A couple of days later I got a phone call from HP Customer Service. They were following up on my feedback – the first thing the person on the phone asked; “was your concern dealt with appropriately?” I told the person that I didn’t have a problem – I just wanted to tell them that I really appreciated the prompt service and they should be congratulated. There was a silence and then the person said, “Oh sorry, we don’t get many complements – we just wanted to be sure there wasn’t a problem”. Hmmm.

Last month, we went out to a family restaurant for breakfast since we had managed to get some of the far flung members of the family together. The food was good and when the server came by to remove the plates, she asked how everything was.  I replied that I thought the meal was great and the omelette was particularly good. She looked at me and in a surprised voice said “Really!?!”

This was not exactly the response I had anticipated and I said that she sounded surprised. She replied that she had never had an omelette and then went about packing up the rest of our dishes. After she left, that was worthy of a face palm. She should probably never consider a career in marketing.

Maybe this world would be a little better off if people showed appreciation for the extraordinary instead of expecting that as the norm.

Aging

As in the previous post, I seem to be reflecting on aging a bit these days. I was watching the documentary, “Monty Python – Almost the Truth”, and Terry Gilliam had a wonderful observation about aging and Monty Python getting back together again. I tried to search for the quote but having failed in my quest, I did find another that I particularly liked. In part, because I have noticed that people my age, especially males, seem to be getting less tolerant as we put on the years. I find it offensive when people share material they find on the internet that is either racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or just plain gross. And it seems to be from people who, in the past, were much more open. It is sad in many ways.

This little recipe for aging is, in my opinion, is something to aspire to as we grow older.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen”
Margot Benary-Isbert

Age Perception

One of my co-workers celebrated his 30th birthday today. Some of our colleagues decided to highlight the achievement on his whiteboard with the diagram below. It was nice they included me in their calculations – I am on the yellow sticky below the board.

Celebrating my co-worker's birthday ... I am referenced on the yellow sticky below - click to enlarge.

Celebrating my co-worker’s birthday … I am referenced on the yellow sticky below – click to enlarge.

Actually, I thought it was quite funny. Well played.

Close Encounter

The law of averages doesn’t look good for me. The last time I was in a vehicle crash was over 30 years ago. But I came close a couple of days ago.

I was stopped at a light at a downtown intersection. It was a three lane road and I was sitting in the far right lane. There was a semi on my left so I really couldn’t see in that direction. The light turned green for us and I started out. I just caught it in the corner of my eye but from the left a van was running the red. I hit the brakes as hard as I could and stopped. On recollection, the next instant was very calm. There was no fear, no panic – I just remember thinking, “I am going to get hit”. At that point, the van swerved around me and kept going. Even though it probably about 2 seconds, I could tell you that it was a later model, grey Chevy mini-van with a blue handicapped sticker hanging from the mirror. It was a very surreal experience – one that I don’t particularly want to repeat. I guess I just have to keep defying the odds.

As George Carlin used to point out; “Here’s a phrase that apparently the airlines simply made up: near miss. They say that if 2 planes almost collide, it’s a near miss. Bullshit, my friend. It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss. [WHAM! CRUNCH!] “Look, they nearly missed!” “Yes, but not quite.”

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