Why not worship money?
At least its rewards are obvious and immediate. But no, that was simplistic. [Their] worship was more subtle, its ethics bound to those traits and habits that well served the acquisition of wealth. Diligence, discipline, hard work, optimism, the personalization of glory.
And the corresponding evils: sloth, despair and the anonymity of failure. The world was brutal enough to winnow one from the other and leave no room for doubt or mealy equivocation.
In this way, worship could become pragmatism, and pragmatism was a cold god.
Apr 25, 2012
Mar 22, 2012
I lead a rather sedentary lifestyle, being glued to a computer for most of the day (and night!) while not really changing my eating habits. Neither of those facts about my life have helped my body in any way.
I decided to shake it up a bit in March: I signed up for the YMCA, I vowed to swim every morning that I could, and I would change my eating habits. At the end of the day, I wanted to get back into better shape, have more energy throughout the day, and just feel good about myself in general.
One of the short term goals I wanted to hit was to be able to swim 30 lengths in the pool by the end of March, and it seemed really far off especially considering I started with 10 on March 5th. However, I decided to set as blistering of a pace as possible and increase that number by two lengths every day, as well as changing the number of consecutive lengths I would swim before stopping to rest.
I am proud to say that I hit 30x25m lengths today, March 22, 2012, well ahead of my goal by 9 days. I think I’d love to hit at least 40 by the end of March, but I may also stick with 30 and just increase the number of lengths I swim consecutively to build my endurance.
As a result, I feel lighter on my feet, I (usually) get better rest, and I am absolutely pumped as soon as I finish exercising.
It can only get better from here.
Below the log of my swimming activity up to today, if you are so inclined.
Number of Lengths
Weight Change (lbs)
Mar 6, 2012
Imagine this: you’re driving in your car and you drive right past the street you were supposed to turn on. Many people, myself included, have probably panicked and attempted to haphazardly correct their error without any regard to safety or proper driving techniques.
Just today, I watched a man in the passenger seat of a car yelling at the (rather young looking) driver for being in the right turn lane when he should have been going straight. He almost caused a severe accident in the middle of a very busy intersection.
As I stood there, mouth agape from almost witnessing an accident, I thought to myself: the potential price of immediately correcting an error doesn’t seem to justify the time saved by having to take the detour. In this particular case, would saving two minutes making a few left turns to get back to the correct direction be worth taking a rather damaging impact to the driver side of your car?
That thought caused an entirely different tangential line of thought to bloom: why should I push so hard to be right all the time, the first time?
You see, I absolutely hate when I miss goals and/or expected performances. I can’t take it. I need to meet and/or exceed damned near everything that is asked of me, especially from myself. I get sick in the stomach and disappointed should that not be the case.
And yet here I am, thinking about how trivial it would be to take a detour. To not feel like you must correct an error at the point where it occurs. Pot, kettle, black, etc.
I am pretty sure it stems from a lack of patience. “If I can’t have it now, it’s completely ruined!” is what my brain is thinking, and that has been the case for as long as I know.
Well, no more, silly brain.
I am determined to fix this weird behaviour (starting with myself) that we need to be on the right path from the start. We all want to end up somewhere in particular, but does it really matter that you have to take a different route to get there? Does it really matter that you’re going to get there a little later than you had intended?
Don’t be silly. It will still be there when you do arrive.
(Unless it’s a limited edition Pokemon card.)
Feb 12, 2012
I’m not good at expressing how I feel about people. I love many people, and I hate when any are gone for a long period of time. That’s about as far as I go with expressing myself.
Imagine my dismay upon learning that one of my favourite people in the world, Andrea Liew, was going to be spending a year in Guyana. Seriously, a whole year.
I am not a patient man. A year is forever.
My own selfish feelings (and silly post intros) aside, Andrea is going away for a year to help indigenous women in Guyana improve their agriculture and craft-making businesses with accounting, finance, marketing and product development. In other words, she’s making the world a better place.
Andrea is going as a volunteer of Cuso International, and we should all show her our support: Donate to Andrea & Cuso International!
She’ll be gone for a while, and my blog will be counting the days that she has spent making the world a better place.
Safe travels, Andrea. I love you, I’ll miss you, and I am tremendously proud of what you are doing.
So long (for now), and thanks for all the fish.
Jan 24, 2012
Apart from being a fine game, Tetris is also a perfect mirror of the human condition. For a while the game is entertaining, and we seem to have mastered it and are having fun. Then, something goes wrong. A rash mistake, or an unfulfilled wish, and we’re fighting to repair the damage, but we’ve been thrown off-balance, and the cancer is spreading. Blocks that were once orderly and harmonious are jumbled and filled with holes, and our cup is on the verge of running over. There’s always a point at which we stop planning for the future, and realise that we don’t have one – all we can do is cling to the present and concentrate, focus our minds on what it’s like to be alive, to play the game, before it’s all over.
You were waiting for a four-by-one block that never came.
Eventually we stare death in the face, and death will not spare us because we would warn the others to stay away and not play the game. Sometimes we resist to the bitter end, moving blocks left and right without thought or care, just to hang on, and sometimes we accept the inevitable and pull the blocks down to us, smiling inwardly at the great joke. The rest is silence. We admire the fox as it escapes from the hounds, but when the hunt is over we turn away, and go off and drink and be merry, and somewhere else someone or something is watching us as we watch the fox. But the fox knows it is being chased.
Jan 7, 2012
Last night, I piloted the first iteration of an interactive story game I created for my friends. The idea that sparked it all was that I wanted to play a group game where we would have a common goal to work toward together, and have fun while we’re at it.
The first scenario was simple: three masked gunmen have invaded a home and taken a woman and her two children hostage. They are heavily armed and will be making their demands soon. You (as a group) are the police special forces unit, and it is up to you as a group to save the woman and two children.
I even made a floor plan of the house!
As a group, they were given the following rules:
- The game progresses in turns. You can make as many movements in an area that you like, but the minute you go to another area, you are moving onto the next turn. Certain milestones happen on certain turns.
- Actions with an ambiguous certainty in completion are determined with a dice roll (using two dice). For example, picking the lock on a door would have a dice roll for success or failure, the range of which is determined by the game master.
- Combat requires two rolls: a roll to determine the winner of the first exchange, and the loser must roll to determine what part of the body takes damage. 1-2 is in the legs, 3-7 is the torso, 8-9 is the arms, 10-12 is the head.
- The only limitation to actions is if it is completely infeasible or unrealistic. For example, you cannot curve a bullet around anything, or suddenly gain magic powers and blast the bad guys.
We got rolling and I think it turned out alright. Well, for me anyway.
As a group, they immediately decided to storm the house. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and they waited for the gunmen to make demands before doing anything, and THEN they decided to split up into two teams and break in through the back and lock pick the front.
Unfortunately, it all went awry when they were discovered inside the house (each action inside the house required a roll for discovery, as in, whether or not they made enough noise to be discovered) and a firefight broke out. During the firefight, two of the team were shot in the vest and taken out for the turn (wind knocked out of them) and a third managed to take down a gunman while getting shot in the limbs repeatedly. The other teams managed to storm into the living room, where the hostages were being held, and taking down the last remaining gunman. However, they were not quick enough and he managed to take out the mother and one of the children before he could be taken down.
I received plenty of feedback on how to improve the game and its mechanics, and the suggestions are definitely going into the next story that I craft for this. A really fun experience, and a wonderful excuse to flex my creative thinking while spending time with friends!
Dec 10, 2011
Today is the big day: I celebrate one year of flying The Working Group banner!
(Pictured above: my first day. Seriously.)
It has been an incredible year for me at TWG. I’ve grown a lot as a person, learned a hell of a lot, and made many, many friends. I love The Working Group, I love the brilliant people I work with, and I love what I do.
Thanks for an awesome year guys (and gal!) Let’s keep kicking ass and taking names.
Dec 6, 2011
As some of you may have noticed with my Christmas countdown page, I am a Calvin & Hobbes fan. That said, how awesome is this lawn decoration?!
I would love this.
Nov 15, 2011
I attended an event today as a panelist at the University of Toronto Scarborough for soon-to-be graduates, separated by industry/stream.
I was lucky to have a very outgoing panel who had plenty of knowledge to drop all over the students. During the discussion, several points kept coming up that I feel I should share:
- Work hard. Your entry level job isn’t going to be your dream job, but you’re going to have to be persistent and tough it out until you have the skills and knowledge necessary to get there.
- Take small steps. You can’t go from student to super-star CEO of a company immediately, you have take a look at where you want to go and create a strategy on the steps you need to take.
- Don’t be afraid to look dumb and take risks. You’re going to have a lot of naysayers if you’re not following a traditional path. Ignore the haters and carry on.
- Have something to say. You need to have the knowledge to speak with your peers in your industry, and what better way to show that you have that knowledge by having opinions on important matters for that industry?
- Network, network, network. It’s easier said than done, but you have to hustle hard and create meaningful relationships with people and create that repor that establishes credibility.
The session had many more gems from the super intelligent people I was sitting next to, and in my opinion, these are the important ones.
I would love to hear any tips they would give to soon-to-be graduates from university. Leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to my list!
Here are some of the additional tips I have received:
- Know what you want? Chase it and be aggressive. If you have an idea of exactly what you want, you should actively chase it and aggressively ask for related responsibilities. (by Wendy Kwan)
- Learn to think outside the box, and be proactive. It shows that a person is analytically inclined, and capable of solving problems in new and innovative ways. (by Slxia1215)