Thursday, December 20, 2012

Try Harder

My friend Kevin posted this link online.

Ok so Kevin and I aren't friends, but we're Facebook friends and we had a real conversation once so I choose to refer to him as that. Hopefully he doesn't track this down later and get creeped out. Kevin if you're reading this I think you're a really great person. But this isn't really about you, it's about this article.

So while I was writing that you went and read the article right? Here's the short version. The world generates a value for you that is based on what you can do for other people, whether it's making money or providing services for people or loving your wife/girlfriend/fiancee/partner/whatever. You loathe yourself when you don't produce anything because you recognize this value, and there's no way to show it except doing things. You will struggle immensely with this though because you will want to avoid changing and doing things. Therefore put on your big boy pants and get down to the business of fighting with your reactionary nature that doesn't want to change so that you can get some real good stuff done.

The guy is an excellent writer and he uses some excellent examples. I will never look at a man with a jackknife the same way again. This article inspired me and makes me want to get back into writing and back into a more concentrated effort to work on music. It also reminds me of my theme of the year. This is my theme of the year.

I think about my Grandpa. My grandpa grew up as the child of immigrants from Poland in Canada. He had to leave high school to work and help provide for his family. Yet he possessed an incredible work ethic and attention to quality. He worked his way up through General Motors and build a better future for him and his family. I also think about my dad. He got through Dental School in the 60's and the 70's with a lot of work and has been able to lead a good life and support his family through hard work.

What do I do? I waste lots of time. I fart around on the internet. I play video games. I watch TV. What does this even have to do with anything important? I should be able to work a lot harder than I do.

I'm trying to put this into practice. I'm working full time and attending school full time. I'm trying to pay down my student loans early so that when I graduate, I'm not walking into marriage with a crippling debt. I'm trying to help support my fiancee through a difficult transition.

Even in all this, there's still room to improve. I'm still playing video games. I'm still wasting time. I could be writing. I could be learning. I could be doing better. And I should. I'm standing on the shoulders of my father and grandfather. I should be able to at least follow their example.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

God-Things

I've had a blog that I've tried to use to cover topics relating to Christianity for a while. I've elected to start posting things about Church, God, and other things related to Christianity to that blog. I've also given it a Greek title to make use of that one class in Greek that I took. You can find that blog here.

I will likely continue to post personal reflections and other things I feel like sharing here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music of The Apocalypse!

So the year is almost over. That usually means it's time to talk about what was good this year in culture.
Music happens to be the area that I feel most qualified to comment on, but after a few attempts at musical criticism, I don't want to try and explain my preferences. Instead I've come up with the next best thing. I have listed all of the albums I spent significant time with this year in order from most to least favourite.

It should be noted that just because an album is low on the list doesn't mean I didn't like it. It just means that there were other albums that I liked more. Without further adieu here's the list.

Celebration Rock-Japandroids
Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun - The Wooden Sky
Locked Down-Dr. John
Four-Bloc Party
Synthetica-Metric
Channel ORANGE-Frank Ocean
Barchords-Bahamas
Adventures in Your Own Backyard-Patrick Watson
Port of Morrow-The Shins
Royalty-Childish Gambino
I Bet on Sky-Dinosaur Jr.
As The Crow Flies (EP)-Amos Lee
Babel-Mumford & Sons
Silver & Gold-Sufjan Stevens
Yellow & Green-Baronness
Gossamer-Passion Pit

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Who is my Neighbour?

We live in a strange time. The communities we develop are no longer delimited by geographical space. They expand across provinces, countries, and continents. This has some really interesting impacts on how churches work and how people interact with each other, but in order to understand why, I have to talk about something else first.

I got introduced to biblical conflict resolution while working at a camp. One day somebody got up and said "If you are offering your gift at the altar..." which is from Matthew 5. They went on to talk about the principle of going to your brother and dealing with the situation quickly. This approach (along with further teaching about conflict resolution from Matthew 18) led me to discover the elegant simplicity and the surprising effectiveness of biblical conflict resolution and biblical principles for community living.

Matthew 18 in particular talks about what to do if your brother in the church sins. The method works extremely well (you would be surprised at how much more smoothly conflict is resolved when the first person you talk to is the person you are in conflict with) but it deals with people in your church. As I just finished saying, our communities are spread out across vast geographical spaces. We are part of a church, but we are also part of any number of other communities and we are also part of "The Church" at large.

This makes people wonder "when does Matthew 18 apply, and when do I resort to alternative methods of conflict resolution?" I think this question represents a misunderstanding of the concept though. You're asking "who is my brother". If Jesus' story about the good Samaritan gives us any indication, we may find that God invites us into a much larger definition of "brother" or "sister" and "church" then we might first believe.

It may seem weird to begin resolving conflict with people who we don't consider to be part of our community, but aren't we all believers? Doesn't that already mean that we're going to be spending the rest of eternity together? Shouldn't we start working on how to live together instead of sticking with the spaces were we are comfortable or familiar?

As always, the size of God's plans do not match our expectations or our desires.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Achievement Get!

I wish that real life had achievements. This might not make sense to you...let me explain.

In the old days of video games, there were some games called role-playing games where you would possess a set of statistics that dictated your skill in certain areas. You had an attack statistic, a defence statistic, a magic statistic (early games had a pretty narrow focus...) and these would tell the average observer how successful you would be at attacking, defending, and magic within the context of the game. It's a brilliantly simple system for describing skills. However, it really only applied to Role-playing games. Sports games, driving games, and shooters had no way of describing how good you were in these kinds of simple terms.

Then Microsoft popularized "achievements". I don't know if they were the first ones to come up with this idea, but when their inclusion of them in most early Xbox 360 games definitely popularized the idea. Achievements were a brilliant extension of the "skill statistics" concept from early role playing games. You can't easily use statistics to describe a given person's skill at a shooter, but you can provide them with goals of varying difficulties for them to attain. For example, completing a certain level or performing some arbitrary but difficult task (finishing the game in an hour for example). Once completed, you would earn an achievement which is permanently displayed in your profile. Now anyone who looks at your profile can get a sense of how good you are by how many achievements you have completed and which achievements you have completed. It provides a very objective measure of a person's performance.

What does all this have to do with real life? In North America we sort of have achievements. It's called post-secondary education and it attaches letters to the end of your name to signify your achievements. This works well enough because it does standardize some forms of learning but what about all the stuff that happens outside of university. How do you explain to an employer or a writer's guild that you've written fifty screenplays and have learned a lot about the process of writing a screenplay? Or how do you describe your skill with bicycle repair in an objective and easily understandable way? It's difficult. There are certainly ways, but they take time and employers seem increasingly unwilling to take an interest in assessing the non-certified skills of an employee.

Thus I propose we develop achievements for real life. Learned to make pastry crust? Achievement! Preached fifty sermons for your youth group? Achievement! Learned to play "Stairway to Heaven" note for note? Achievement! Suddenly people's hobbies become potentially useful employable skills that people can easily recognize. Think of the possibilities.

So there's my hope. That the world starts to include some achievements. It sure would make my current job search easier.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Someone Else"

Now that summer's over I'm getting all nostalgic about finishing work, moving out of my parents house, and going off to school again. It feels a bit like my first year of undergrad again, except now I have less hair and a much longer resume.


Today I was helping to clean out rooms that had been used all summer long. When people move out of a room after several months, there's a lot of crap left over. See, people pick up all their stuff and then there's ten random things left on the floor so they leave it for "someone else". Today I got to help be the "someone else".

I got into this thought cycle where I was mad at people for leaving all their crap behind. Then I remembered what it feels like to leave camp at the end of the summer and how exhausted you are and how you just want to get out of there. Then I felt like I shouldn't be mad anymore. Then I thought about something else until the cycle repeated. Which just got me on to thinking about how people with a lot of empathy usually end up being servants of others or just feeling guilty about not working all the time. If you can see that others are having a hard time and empathize with them, but you can also see that others are not helping because they are tired and you empathize with them, the only conclusion you end up with is that you should do something. You should be the "someone else" that people leave things to deal with.

I ended up being "someone else" a lot this summer. I'm ok with this, but I wish people would leave less stuff for "someone else".

Postscript: Someone is going to send me a snarky message after I post this about how they've been "someone else" for me, so to be proactive let me say thank you to all the people who have been "someone else" for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Wednesday Evening Post

When I write a blog post, I have to click on this little link. When I click on the link, there's a graph next to it that shows my traffic over the last few weeks. I know it's been a little while when I can't see the spike that usually accompanies a new post.

So I feel obligated to write, but things are so busy these days that there is not much time to think about what to write. I wake up, I head to the gym to play music, I go back up to the dining hall to be available, I eat lunch, I take a nap, I watch the kids play the game, I put staff to bed, and then I crash into my own bunk before repeating the process the next day. There's not a whole lot of variation or space at the moment. I'm starting to regret my choice to not take any time off, but the money from work is needed for school, and my schedule come September is currently so lax that I know I can rest more thoroughly once summer is done.

It's amazing how much things heat up once you hit the hot month of July.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

BBQ Blog

I'm riding to a barbecue that my seminary is putting on for students who are starting in the fall. I'm dressed quite casually, and as I head out there I am wondering where I will fit on the appearance spectrum. I would expect that there has to be at least someone in my age bracket, and surely I'm not the only pseudo-hippie heading off to seminary.

I am super self-aware of how cliche ministry can be at times. There's a book called Stuff Christians Like (which is a pretty shameless ripoff of stuff white people like) that talks about all of the cliches and stereotypes of Christian ministry and when I read it I wonder if people realize that they fit some of the things in the book.

It may be a byproduct of my generation, but I'm extremely wary of taking myself too seriously. It's easy to treat everything like a very serious affair, but I think it's important to recognize the humor in some of the things we do so often. I am silly more often than I realize

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Power Out

Yesterday they were doing some electrical work at work. They started shutting off the power to each service area so they could test voltage. We have a rich history as a camp which is a nice way of saying that all of our electrical work has been scabbed together over the last 55 years and isn't currently up to code.

Anyways, I digress. They shut off the power in our dorms unexpectedly. In thirty seconds we lost power and internet. We were back to 1900 just like that. "Power's Out" I said to Ben (one of my many coworkers) and after I said that, we looked at each other for a moment and then began a serious conversation about a mutual friend. With no power, there was no rush to go do anything else so the conversation continued for a while. Nicki and Jessie (two other coworkers) came downstairs and joined us. When the power turned off, we immediately turned to each other.

I was disappointed when the power came back on. When the lights flicked back on and the refrigerator began to hum, I was scared that everyone would leave in mid-conversation and go back to their private world. No one did, but there was a brief moment where I was very sad that we had electricity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Old Habits

You know how sometimes you try and change, so you gather up all your willpower and determination and you charge forward in some new and bold direction? It goes pretty well for a while. You get about a week into it, then you start to slip in little ways. You catch yourself remembering old things with fondness. Pretty soon you start to pick parts of your old ways back up, saying to yourself "this really wasn't so bad". Before you realize what's happening, you have gone straight back to the way things used to be and you find yourself having the same struggles you had before you tried to change. Just like that you're back where you started.

I have my beliefs about how you get out of this cycle. My perspective as a Christian is that we don't have capacity to produce true and lasting change apart from God which is why humans get stuck in these kinds of endless loops. Our own willpower and determination have limits if we don't experience real internal change.

 However regardless of your belief system, the cycle seems to persist apart from some kind of intervention. We go back to the familiar when we're uncomfortable regardless of how bad it is for us. We order the drink, we put on the Disney movie, we look at pornography. Somewhere in that cycle you have to realize what you're doing and snap yourself out of it. I'm trying to learn that process now. "Was it really that bad?" has become a serious checkpoint for me. I try to set up signposts that remind me of the way things were. With a little bit of that and a lot of help, I think I'll get there.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Alone in a Crowded Room

Right now I'm sitting in a room. On my left, a bunch of my coworkers are watching "Big Bang Theory". Behind me two other coworkers are browsing the internet. The room isn't that big and there's probably 9 of us in here and yet we're all sort of doing our own thing.

It struck me the other day while sitting in the same room with just one co-worker that it's easy to be alone when there are other people around. I'm sitting here engaged in my thing and you're over there engaged in your thing and other than incidental contact (a sneeze followed by "bless you" because I'm old fashioned like that), we're essentially alone.

Except when there's someone else in the room, it feels different than when I'm alone in my room at night. Sometimes its less lonely. The fact that there's another body in the room puts me at ease and makes me feel like there's the possibility of interaction. Sometimes it's more lonely, like when there's something preventing me from talking to the person even if I wanted to ("I'm awkward" or "We have conflict").

I really spend too much time thinking about this kind of stuff.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ping Pong Table

I could have sworn I wrote about this before. Did I? Google tells me that I didn't, and I've written enough posts at this point that I don't want to argue. Let's pretend that I didn't. Here's how it would go.

I was watching this video and after it was over, I thought about how I wanted to work in a place with a Ping-Pong table. I don't know what it was about that idea that got me so excited (and still gets me excited) but something about a job being a place of play as well as work made me excited. That ping-pong table shapes the way I think about work and about church structure (because I think of church as work now...).

Today I read the book described on this page and it has me thinking back to that ping-pong table. Let me summarize for those of you who don't want to read the fifty pages I just linked to. The book is an employee handbook for a software company known as Valve. The things about it that interested me are its core values (lack of hierarchy, lack of permanent structure, importance of hiring process, self direction), and its implementation of these core values (no titles, desks with wheels, temporary working groups). If you're really impatient, you can read a summary of some of the points in the book here. I summarize most of what I learned in the book in the statement "I want to work in a place where the desks have wheels".

I know that I can't accurately predict what my work situation will look like, because God has a tendency to throw curve balls in the path of people who think they can predict the future. But while I wait to find a vocation, I'll be dreaming. Dreaming of a workplace with a ping-pong table and desks with wheels.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vision

My friend Joe read the book "Onward" recently. It's a book about Howard Shultz, the man who founded Starbuck's Coffee, and the man who is largely responsible for its success. Joe was telling me that the book talks a lot about mission and vision statements. These are guiding principles behind a company or organization that are supposed to shape the day to day actions of employees. Joe has started to ask businesses if they have vision and mission statements now. He's been through Subway, Boston Pizza, and a few others. He speaks enthusiastically about the journey so far.

Meanwhile, my dad has been reading another book called "Renovation of the Heart" by Dallas Willard. It talks a lot about spiritual development and personal growth, but it seems that the essence of the book is about an approach to life. Willard uses a framework called Vision-Intention-Means for spiritual growth. I don't totally understand how it works yet, but I mention it because of the "vision" part of the framework. Willard seems to believe that a vision of what kind of person you believe you should be in the Kingdom of Heaven is essential to any spiritual formation. Vision is essential in personal development.

So I started thinking about vision. If corporations, what some would call the supreme evil of our time, have visions, and Willard thinks people wishing to become a part of the Kingdom of Heaven should have visions, I figure it might be a good idea to have a vision. I mean those two examples really show that it doesn't matter where you fall on the morality spectrum, you should probably have vision.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Crash Helmets

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of the conditions. Does any-one have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake some day and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.-Annie Dillard

So I decided to become a pastor. After years of uncertainty and confusion, I have ended up in a place where I assumed I would end up the whole time. I am going to seminary. It occurred to me recently that I really ought to take this more seriously. People take time to practice at becoming a musician or an athlete, and it would make sense for me to at least start thinking about being a pastor.

My first thought is that being a pastor involves reading a lot of books, so I am attempting to read more intentionally. It is difficult at times because my time on the internet has really messed with my ability to focus on things for long periods of time. I find that reading is getting easier though, and often I read things like the above quote.

I like the quote because of how extreme it sounds. When I read it the first time, I imagined a woman of eighty walking into the sanctuary and removing her rain hat, only to be handed a candy apple red helmet which she straps on as she sits down in the pew and prepares for the morning.

I know church is not always "exciting" in the traditional sense of the word, but exciting things do happen. Exciting things like friendship, forgiveness, restoration, and love. Maybe not requiring crash helmets, but they are certainly things that people should take more seriously. These are not small things.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Am Back In Quinte West

When I was in High School I was deathly afraid of engaging people. I didn't want to start conversations because I felt like that meant I was being annoying. I didn't want to approach people and ask questions because I felt like they would just want me to go away.

I still wanted friends though. I wanted to talk to people, learn things, the usual stuff you do in relationships with other people.

I tried to get around this by doing things that begged attention. I participated in lots of activities, I wrote a blog and filled it with stuff for people to comment on. One time at camp, I wore the same shirt for 3 weeks (the entire length of my program) and shaved my head in an attempt to stick out enough to get people to come and talk to me so I could make friends.

That was years ago though right? I would still do that stuff today right?

Today I woke up and realized that I still do that. The things I do are different, and in most cases less extreme, but they still beg for relationships without actually asking.

Even this blog seems to be about trying to get comments from people. I get sad when people don't say anything about a post. "Curses" I say "No one wants to comment on my carefully formulated post which was designed to get people to talk to me". Then I get all moody when these backdoor approaches to friendship fall flat. I woke up today and realized I'm still in High School. The more things change, the more they stay the same I guess.

I've talked with Jason about this a hundred times. He's much more capable with starting conversations with people he's interested in, and he's less afraid than I am. He always finds helpful suggestions, and I am always paralyzed with fear. I need to learn how not to be afraid.

Thoughts on Endings

"The things of this world do not satisfy"

Is that a real quote? It sounds like a bible verse but I can't remember if it actually is. I keep discovering things I thought were bible verses really aren't because I wasn't paying attention.  I should be paying attention.

I finished playing a game recently. I devoted close to 80 hours of my life to the games in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed the first and the second games. I did not enjoy the third game. I slogged through it, desperately trying to finish it and figure out what happens. I wanted "the good ending".
Turns out there is no good ending. I am disappointed with all the endings. I don't like how things turned out. This takes me back to the "quote".

"The things of this world do not satisfy"

I just blew 80 hours, only to be left with a lingering feeling of disappointment. I went through all that time of leisure, hoping for some kind of immense catharsis at the end only to be met with a dissatisfaction.

80 hours translates into 10 nights of sleep, or 2 full work weeks, or $800 in wages. 80 hours translates into 30 hockey games, 40 extended conversations, or the time it would take to eat 80 meals. I get to the end of the 80 hours and all I am reminded of is...

"The things of this world do not satisfy"

I'll remember that next time I pick up a videogame.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All Done

I finished it!

It's a week later than I said it would be, but the 5 song EP that I've produced of very rough songs is now available. You can get it from my Bandcamp page which is HERE. It is free if you want it to be or it is as much as you want. I hope you enjoy this little musical sliver.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Failure (sort of)

I tried to do the RPM challenge this year which is where you attempt to write and record an album in one month (remember when I completed it in 2008?). I failed, sort of. I did not complete the ten song album in February. I went on a trip to New York City and got engaged in the middle there so that cut into my productivity time. I still managed to start on six songs though.

The reason why I say I sort of failed is that I'm still planning on finishing those six songs. I have today and tomorrow off from work, so I'll be packing in those songs over the next two days. When it's all done, I'll post the finished 6 song EP on my Bandcamp page (see the sidebar). It will be ROUGH (so you've been warned) but I'm really excited about some of the songs.

I'll give an update tomorrow with how far I manage to get once I get started on the 6 songs. I think I can finish it in time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Social Reduction

So I got rid of Facebook. It's been a month and a half now. I don't idly type "face..." into my browser bar anymore so I think that's an improvement.

It's really hard for me to tell if my life is any different because I'm not on Facebook. I know that most of the time I just read my news feed, stared at other people's pictures, and often felt that everyone else was having a better social life than I was. I don't miss any of those parts.

I got rid of my cell phone a little bit before I got rid of Facebook, and this is where I think it might have actually made a difference. I used to try and make spontaneous plans with people that would happen within 24 hours, but I always did these things over Facebook or via text messages. With no phone and no Facebook wall, any spontaneous plans I do make get made over Twitter (which not everyone has) and they happen less frequently.

Since it's February, I'm not feeling the greatest and so I've been reflecting over these things a lot lately. I tend to do better when I get to hang out with people, but that hasn't been happening as much lately and I don't know if it's because I dropped off the face of the virtual world (no pun intended).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pretty Girls

I think some people are having a perfect life. It's true. I know that there's no way it can be true but still I think some people are having a perfect life. Sometimes I meet pretty girls either through school, or work, or through other friends and I think they're having perfect lives. I used to think this about my girlfriend. When we first met I didn't talk to her for a long time because I got all nervous around her because she is a pretty girl. I also thought she had a perfect life because of all the stories she told and because of stuff that generally happened. I think this about other people too, but pretty girls are the most common group that I think this about.

Periodically I learn that this is a stupid thing to think because it's so wildly untrue. I learned it in the weeks before I started dating Amanda, and another girl teaches me that it's a stupid thing to think every couple of months. I'm hoping I stop having to learn this lesson soon because watching people struggle with loneliness and suffer in life sucks. It makes me wish that my projections on people could actually be true.

Though I don't like seeing people suffer, it is comforting in a "we're all in this together" kind of way to know that everyone experiences suffering. It makes me feel less lonely when shit happens, and it makes it easier to connect with people when I know that we at least have suffering and loneliness in common, if nothing else.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stick With This One Til The End


I have a girlfriend now.

I want to slap myself in the face when I realize that’s the first thing that I want to say. I feel like this girls total lack of interest in me is just her way of avoiding me because I was interested in her at one point. I feel like if I push that motivation out of the way then we can just go ahead and be friends again. I don’t think about all the other stuff that has happened besides that; the last of communication from her end or the lack of any interaction whatsoever in the last 3 years. I think I should probably get the hint by now.

At some point I realized that people (myself included) hate the idea of not being able to talk to someone again. People say “see you later” instead of “goodbye” even when there’s no chance of ever seeing this person again. We don’t want to give up on what seems like a decent friendship even if we haven’t put any effort into trying to keep in touch with the person. This is why people add friends from High School on Facebook and then stalk their profile while they think about sending something beyond the initial message that contains something to the effect of “Hey I haven’t seen you in forever!”

I’m just as guilty of this as everyone else. I have a finite amount of time to interact with people so I have to pick and choose which friends I spend time with regularly. Usually that means people get displaced because of geography. I don’t like that this happens and I wish I was better able to keep in touch with my friends in other cities, but I feel like they’re doing the same things. With three exceptions, I’ve received no attempt from any friends from outside the Westport area to spend time together and reconnect.

I like to think that this is one of the things that will make the Kingdom of God awesome. Eternity totally eliminated the scarcity of time that occurs in life right now. With unlimited time, you can spend a lot of time getting to know everyone and fellowshipping with them. A world where people don’t feel like they’re not someone else’s priority? That sounds like heaven to me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

...Much Love

I decided that's how I want to end my emails.

Much Love
Ben

It still feels scandalous. It feels like I'm saying too much when I end an email but I really mean it. I really think hard about what I'm saying when I end an email like that. I just hope people understand that I'm being sincere.

Long Drives

I drive a lot late at night.

You know that you are driving late when CBC radio 1 changes its feed to the BBC world service. It's so late that even the CBC is taking a break. Most recently I experienced this on Sunday. Jason had invited me to a Leafs game and I got away late. Normally I would have just stayed over in Toronto or driven and slept in the next morning but on this particular night I had to work at 7 the next morning so I elected to press onward.

Somewhere around 2 AM just outside of Toronto I pulled over to grab a coffee and take a nap. I find it helpful that the Tim Horton's in every rest stop in Ontario is open 24/7. Thanks Tim Horton's! I laid down and was awoken 30 minutes later by my iPod only to realize that I had another 2 hours to go. Sigh... The woes of a compressed schedule.

I arrived home around 4 and set my alarm. The display which tells me how long before I have to wake up said 1:51. Sleep came quickly.

I think my alarm went off but I was clearly too tired to get up when it did because the next thing I remember was hearing the phone ring and knowing that it was someone from work calling.

"Hello"

"Hey Ben it's Joe"

"Hey Joe. I'll be there in 20 minutes"

*Jim the head cook yells indiscriminately in the background*

It was at this moment that I decided to stop driving late at night.

Last night my dad and I got to Detroit at Midnight only to get up and leave the next day at 6 AM. I wish I could actually stick to my decisions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Better

Every year that I've been running this blog, I've written more posts. Last year I wrote 80 posts. That amazes me because it's not really like I set out to write 80 posts. I also intended to leave my blog alone when I went to California which makes it a little more amazing.

I usually make a list of all the things I want to do when a new year comes along. This year I decided not to though. I realized that every year I look back on my list from the previous year and discover that I did one or two items on the list by accident but made no progress on other things. Instead of making pointless lists at the beginning of the year, I've decided to work on making each year better than the previous one. If I do that successfully, then somewhere around 40, my life will be so amazing I won't even need lists. I hope you caught some of the irony there...not that I don't think that my life could be awesome at 40, but that's not really something I would think about. Short term goals are what I focus on now. What can I do today. Tomorrow can worry about itself.

Making each year better than the last seems like a fairly easily attainable goal. I look back at this year and identify all the bad things about it, and then just don't do those. I even get a whole year to do it in. That's so exciting. I could do that without stressing about it too much.

Here's to this year being better than the last. That sounds like something I can aspire to.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Leisure

I haven't had much room to breathe. The last week or so has led me on a whirlwind tour of Southern Ontario and the Detroit Area so aside from work, I've mostly been trying to take it easy. Taking it easy is harder than it sounds though. I often feel anxious even as I'm doing something that should be relaxing, like playing video games.

Because of this, I've been thinking about leisure a bit lately. I used to think that all leisure was restful but after thinking about it a bunch, I'm thinking that leisure and rest are two different things. Leisure seems to be things that you choose to participate in (as opposed to work which is where there is a requirement to do something). You could choose to play hockey in your leisure time and find that you're quite worn out at the end of it all. Rest seems to have more to do with lowering your activity level.

I don't really know if this is particularly useful for anyone except me, but I thought it was interesting.