Years

April 29, 2011

Tick… tick… tick… counting down the last few letters in the A-Z Blogging Challenge, with just “Y” today and “Z” (and that’s pronounced “zed” around here, OK?) tomorrow.

Tick… tick… tick… counting up the years – there have been a few elapse since I first took a breath, although it doesn’t feel like as many have passed by as the calendar seems to tell me.  Perhaps age is just a state of mind.

And things go in cycles through the years – for example, my birth being followed some years later by the birth of my two sons, and now No. 2 son (who will turn 27 in a couple of months – just realized that I was about a year older than that when he was born) has in turn had his own new baby boy arrive in his life yesterday.

No. 2 son's new baby boy: Gryphon, born April 28, 2011.

Well, I guess the years do eventually start to add up, no matter whether we ignore them or not.  So we may as well make the best of them and not have too many regrets when looking back.


Friendship

April 7, 2011

Friendship not only
Is just another word but
A kind of magic

 


Edjamacayshun

April 6, 2011

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance

- Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University

Education is something I am starting to see being, if not undervalued, then perhaps inappropriately valued.  It’s been a slow, insidious erosion and so has flown under the radar for many people.  What I mean is that education as an end has all but lost any currency (pun intended) and the expectation is that education must train you for a job.

Now, to be fair, certain kinds of education are intended to prepare you for a specific profession – not necessarily to train you for it, mind, but to give you the basic skills required to enter the profession and practice it successfully (and for long enough without inadvertently causing irremediable damage to life, limb and property) to obtain the experience needed to truly become a professional.

I am the product of just such an education – I studied engineering in university, and along the way to obtaining my degree I learned more about how to learn rather than just sponging up specific job skills by rote.  There are lots of professions where your education prepares you to enter your chosen profession without guaranteeing that you will leave skule school knowing everything you will ever need to know to have a successful career.

Learning is a journey, not a destination.  Training, on the other hand, takes you to a specific destination, and that’s not a bad thing either, but it’s useful to differentiate one from the other.

But it appears (to me, at least) there’s a new mindset about education, which seems to manifest itself as a self-centred focus on having the right combination of letters on your résumé/CV, whether they be degrees or the ever proliferating certifications (often fueled, I feel, by a country-club exclusionist/job proctecting mentality and pushed by an industry of well-paid consultants and gurus who specialize in offering courses to obtain these sought after certifications – having to pay for that ticket is seen as the cost of entry into that field’s job-market) to match with the laundry-list of letters HR has been given along with the job requirements for a position.

Now there are valid reasons for certifications – when I’m having a diagnostic medical test done on me, I’d really like it if the technician or practitioner has been certified as competent to use the required equipment or perform the necessary procedure. But many certifications these days seem to be inventions, designed solely to give gravitas to what would otherwise be a low-value-add activity and consequently artificially inflate the price.

Hmm… didn’t start out to rant. How did that happen? I guess it comes from being passionate about education – the day I stop learning, you can put the pennies on my eyes.

Footnotery:

I had been mulling over a variety of topics for today’s post on a word beginning with “E” for the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and education was one of them. The tipping point came while I listened earlier in the day to episode 291 of my friend Ken’s The Scarborough Dude’s ***NSFW (don’t say I didn’t warn you)*** Dicksnjanes Podcast, and by chance he talked about education – it was a sign, I thought, and the deal was sealed.

OK, now that I’ve got today’s writing out of the way and put to bed, I’m off to read today’s missives from my friends Moe (Maureen) and Mark Blaseckie, who blog at A Sudden Alarm of Donkeys and see[sic] respectively.  Always worth a read, they are.  Oh, and worth listening to as well – you must (don’t make me come after you!) check out their Baba’s Beach podcast.


The Best Job In The World

March 4, 2009

OK, this is kind of cool.  When I got home from work today, K asked me to fix up some links on the latest post over at her 42.1 blog (one of several she writes, check in the sidebar for others).

It turned out that the links she had added were fine, it must just have been some internet gremlins messing with them earlier, so I didn’t have to actually fix anything.

But then I watched the video she had embedded in the post, the one produced by a local University of Guelph student named Mitchell as his entry to land The Best Job In The World.

And I realized that I had actually seen them on the street the day they were doing the video — they weren’t actually singing and videoing at the time, so I just thought “Wonder what cause they’re out marching for?  Australia or Bust?  What’s that all about?

Anyway, he’s a really talented guy — it’s a way cool video he’s produced, check it out below — and he deserves a shot at this job.  You can help out by going and voting for him.

Go.  Now.  Do it, and keep your fingers crossed for him.


Because a meme is a terrible thing to waste – Six Random Things About Me

August 24, 2008

Been tagged for the “Six Random Things About Me” meme by the lovely and talented Daryl Cognito of the curiously entertaining Atomic Suburbia podcast. See down below for The Rules Of The Meme.

  1. Many years ago, I was young and foolish. Now, I’m no longer young.
  2. Despite no longer being young, people often think I’m much younger than I actually am, although they seldom think I am less foolish.
  3. I believe that beer is nature’s most nearly perfect food, with pizza a very close second.
  4. Approximately 9% of my life to date was spent living and working in France.
  5. Sports that I have engaged in moderately seriously during my life include alpine skiing, bicycling, archery and windsurfing; of these I still bicycle occasionally and practice archery a bit.
  6. I saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” presented in 70 mm Cinerama on a curved screen at the Glendale Cinerama (reserved seating no less, like a stage show) when it was in first-run theatrical release.

And, as promised, The Rules Of The Meme:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Check)
2. Post the rules on the blog. (Check)
3. Write six random things about yourself. (Check)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post. (Check)
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. (To be done when this is posted)
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.  (Idem)

I’ve linked to my tagger, Daryl Cognito, at the top of the post. My taggees are:

  1. Maureen Blaseckie, of the most excellent Baba’s Beach Podcast
  2. Cat, who puts out the wonderful CatFish Show podcast with her husband Bob Goyetche
  3. Bruce Murray (nicest guy in podcasting), of the Zedcast podcast
  4. The Scarborough Dude, of the one-and-only DiscksnJanes podcast
  5. John Meadows, of the quietly brilliant On The Log podcast
  6. Sage Tyrtle, of the awesome QN Podcast (formerly Quirky Nomads)

Phew!  Done…  now to post and notify the victims, er, 6 people I would like to know 6 random things about.


Required Read… er, Listening

April 30, 2008

If you do nothing else this week, go listen to these two podcasts:

Oh, and if you still happen to have an hour left over, go listen to the DicksnJanes podcast episode #149 wherein K, I and some friends and acquaintances from podcasting help The Scarborough Dude celebrate his 60th birthday this past weekend.  Happy birthday, Dude!

And while you’re at it why not go read Bob Goyetche‘s excellent rant over the morphing/rebranding of Podshow into Mevio (WTF???  Just what kind of drugs were they on when they came up with that name?) – the comments are particularly worth reading.


Unexpected

January 26, 2008

You know how we’ve become accustomed, in North America at least (where working in a retail service position is generally viewed as something you do until you get a real job — more about this below), to being served at “big box” stores by mindless drones with no real product knowledge or experience…

And yet… the unexpected sometimes happens. Twice now we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the knowledge and hands-on experience of the staff of the Michaels® crafts store in Waterloo.

Once was when K (aside: the link is to her new blog “42.1“; wabi sabi has been retired from active blogging duty, although it’s still on-line if you’re looking for her earlier knitting posts — she’s consolidated her on-line knitting presence at the shownotes blog of her Purl Diving podcast) and I were shopping for a stamp-pad to make Christmas cards. To make a long story short, the woman working there had been doing stamping for a good decade or two and provided us with very helpful guidance on which brand and type of stamp-pad would work best for the cards we were using — a heavy, textured stock in a dark red. She explained the pros and cons of the different ones they carry and said which one she preferred, and why — longevity, quality of the impression and so on.

Then, today, K was in search of some Japanese seed beads, size 6 and 8, which are on the requirements list for a beaded knitting workshop she’s attending next weekend. First, we tried the specialty bead store in Waterloo — no luck. They did have some seed beads, but much smaller than the sizes K needs.

The clerk was pleasant enough, but wasn’t experienced enough to suggest alternatives they might have other than to point out the section where there might be something that would work. Now, they do have a lot of beads… which is admittedly A Good Thing for a bead store, but makes finding just the right one a bit like the proverbial needle in a haystack endeavour.

The best she could suggest was to call back Monday and speak to the owner, who knows about beads and might be able to help. Riiight.

So, off to Michaels… but K didn’t hold out much hope of finding anything remotely like what she needed at a big box store. Still, it turned out they had some seed beads, and what’s more — they had, once again, a staff member who actually knew about beads and beading. She was able to at least find us some that should be suitable for one of the projects on the agenda for the workshop.

On top of that, she recommended a couple of bead stores in the area — well, actually, three, including the one in Waterloo that we had just come from, which we mentioned — that might be able to help us out with the other, slightly smaller size bead. We will likely try out at least one of them to see if anything suitable can be found in time.

Now, perhaps the store management at Michaels might not be too keen about staff referring customers to a competitor (albeit a small one), but in this case, we did buy some beads from them, and based on our experiences there with staff that actually know something about the products they sell, we’ll definitely be back for other purchases. In my mind, that’s a pretty good payoff for them.

Now, of course, Your Mileage May Vary and I can’t say that every Michaels will have the same quality of staff, but it’s at least encouraging to know that big box does not always equal the death of decent service.

Oh, and about the earlier observation about service jobs being looked down upon in North America (and with some justification… can you say “D’ya want fries with that?”), it’s in contrast with what we experienced when we lived in France for several years (and had the opportunity to travel a bit throughout Europe, as well). There, service jobs, at least the ones where you don’t ask “Voulez-vous des frites avec ça ?“, are still respected and reasonably well compensated. As a result, you get people doing these jobs who enjoy it, who are knowledgeable about the field and are proud to serve you professionally.

Miss that, a lot. Ah, well — small finds like the staff at Michaels keep the flame alive…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.