December 28, 2010

Chapter 42: 21St Century Technology & the De-Evolution of the Human Species

I sit here writing this on my 1st laptop. It is used and 2 years old and I have had to plug it in to charge once already. And it's nearly 1 AM.


The world has gone insane, that is why. I would be much better off sleeping right now. I would have a much more productive day tomorrow. Alas, here I am. To send a message to you. No, not a text message. Unless you are reading this on your bbm, then maybe your pants just vibrated a minute ago - then you got this "notification" as a message alert.

Fucking terminology. 21st Century technology has not only changed the way we think and do things, but also the way we think to do things. We think in terms of "notifications", "apps", "alerts", "events", "posts", "tweets", and the lord knows about how many of my "friends" I dream about "poking". Fine, deal with the mental double-meanings and such. But dammit! Don't forget how to spell! I know teachers are stressed - and the American system/media/teachers/youth collectively likely have a large influence on our misgivings here in Canada. But nevertheless. Uda punk dat neva learn'd how 2 spell and its making us all look retarded as a nation. Or else you are just lazy.

Bus rides used to be pretty entertaining. In my early years of uni I would watch kids giggle as they "texted?" back and forth for the duration of the commute. Heads 2 inches from the screen and both thumbs going like mad on the keypad, it reminded me of some crazed mouse devouring its first piece of cheese in a year! Bug-eyed and wily-haired, these kids would seldom even look up to see if they missed there stop. "Hey buddy, it's your stop!" So he would bumble his way off the bus not realizing til after the bus pulled away that his stop wasn't for another 6 blocks. Fun times.

But now us kids drive. And by "drive" I mean straddling dotted lines, weaving through traffic in school zones, coasting through red lights & stop signs, and rounding those near-miss-lefts. All with 1 hand permanently attached to that little plastic device. And then we complain that our insurance is so high.

I have a relative that is additcted to his bbm. He is essentially a cyborg, with the device as good as fused to his wrist. I would hazard a guess that he is staring into the thing or punching that little lcd qwerty keyboard on average 8-12 minutes every hour. Personally, I find it rude when relatives come over and they are this distracted by the things they would rather be doing, but whatcha gonna do?! It's acceptable. It's the new norm. Forget real people. They are just in the way.

The internet is where it all began. Being connected. Integrated and devastated. The internet first arrived in Alberta in 1993. (Same time as that tyrrant named Ralph, I think). It is incredible to think that in 90 years society went from horse & carriage to instantaneous mobile technology. Instantaneous debauchery. Is that a bit of a stretch? Then why is there a thing called "sexting". Or a better question might be "Why am I so good at it?!" But aside from mobile devices, the internet opened the floodgates to a new wild world of everybody wanting to know everything about everyone. Pervs! MYOB!!! So when a person isn't busy drooling over the latest installment of World of WarCraft, then they are likely looking to connect with someone, in some way, shape, or form (even if it's Matilda the Troll).

When a person isn't "gaming" or "creeping" they could very well still be looking at material that is inappropriate. or something, might be inappropriate. And as a result, these people have a new (lower) level of what they consider respectable in today's day & age.

Myself? I like to connect. I try to stay out of trouble from those things in the interweb that have made bad as I already am today... Instead, I link interesting articles, post satirical comments, or import blogs for those of you who might know me, and might be interested in reading what I have to say. I love the fact that the 1 for me might be only a few keystrokes away. But it is also frustrating to me that she can be sooooo effing far away when she doesn't keep in as good as contact as I would like her to, especially when it's as easy as it is. But I don't let it get to me. I can only do so much after all. And I have blogged extensively about this as it is already. It is only because I want to get better connected with those that I care about that I even got this laptop. My pal down in New Zealand? I don't even know if he survived the earthquake on Boxing Day... I have a friend in Ethiopia who I would love to talk to on Skype one day and another in Mizzourah. All around the world there are people out there that I care about, and it would be good to stay in better contact than I have done thus far... Then the amount of mobile device usage for txting and msging explodes when a person has a hope in hell of building a relationship that might lead to something with the least bit of passion or intensity. Wall posts, then texts, then "sexts", then skype --- all technological mediums in which today's society has become so fucking dependent on to simply connect with people.

Even though I now have a laptop, I am going to be sure to not abuse this technology. Since Brad Paisley came out with his Time Well Wasted record, I have thought that to be a pretty reasonable attitude. But very recently I have decided that more and more of my time is not worth wasting. I want to be with real people and do real things and prioritize my time better as I head into the new year. Let's see how we do...

A few last thoughts:

1. I am somewhat convinced that there is a good probability that electro-magnetic radiation coming off of these 21st Century devices may lead to more cancers

2. I have another post like this that's different but same. It talks more about how we allow ourselves to be portrayed to others in how we use technology and language.

3. I am concerned for the standards and morals of the bulk of the world's populations, if the proportions of populations making poor decisions with their technology outweighs those that make good ones.

4. I understand that communication is key in the developing world economies, but if a person must choose between a new cellphone to get the market prices of a crop and a treadle pump so that he may provide water for his crops, then how can he choose?!?!

5. A blog called iMe is in the preliminary stages. Expect it in another 2 years.

My time was better well spent before the onset of the internet.

My time was better well spent when I was 6.

Chapter 52.1: 2008 - A Year in Review and a Few Thoughts About My Future

Sure, this blog is 2 years late, but I say: "Let It Be Written" nevertheless. After all, not tooo many of my thoughts about life have changed since then. Just the bad thoughts might have got a little bit better and my good thoughts have probably been a little bit tainted.

Maktub. It has been written. Destiny. Just follow the path & pay attention to the omens. I recently read The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. I read it at a somewhat significant time in my life as I was nearing the end of my degree and finally ready to get my life going - complete with living it with my own ideals and convictions that I felt are most important to me in this world. So in late 2008 I was asking myself where I really wanted to see my future heading. What do I want to accomplish in life, what do I really want to do for a living etc.

I considered the things I might like to do: go back to school for a MSc or MEng, travel the globe, settle on the east coast where life has a slower pace, or flee to BC where good environmental jobs might be more readily available? I am pretty certain I will never work in Fort MacMurray. If I was to ever venture that direction it would likely be to cause a slowdown of development until the world came to realize what a more appropriate way to energize this world might be. Then there is Water Treatment. It would be terrific to get that same gig that I had while I was in school. I did so many amazing things! Not to mention those few weeks when I got to work with the most amazing brunette ever. Then again, the privatization of the world's water is something that I strongly disagree with as water is the one resource that needs to be made readily available for everyone. But for the salaries that the private sector offers? Sign me up, please! I can be bought. After all, there are much worse humungous multi-national corporations out there that are simply at the mercy of the stockholder and would sell their own mothers for the interest of making another dollar without the blink of an eye.

Oh, speaking of "mother", what role does family have to play in all this? Did the values your parents raised you with rub off so that you make the same conscientious decisions that they have made? Is it okay to abandon your family that you have been with all your life for the sake of wishing to start your own life in, say, New Zealand or Scotland or Brazil? A fresh start sounds intriguing. But what about reasonable? I wish I wasn't so reasonable...

Do I really want to work for a government that I don't believe in? I don't want to be just some stooge that can be easily bought, and go to work for the rest of my life working for "the man". The idea of it just never sounded appealing. And that goes for any level of government too. I would probably feel different if I believed in some of the policies of the Alberta or Canadian conservative parties, or if the city council would have the balls to make some decisions that would actually have an impact on the perception of Edmonton (this cold desolate wasteland). But no. Noone does fuck all. And for that reason, I don't really want to be a pawn playing the part in it. True. It is possible that I could play the "mole" in any one of these bureaucracies and work towards their eventual, inevitable downfall. But I don't think I am quite that jaded. Yet. Ask me again in 2010.

As an engineer, I want to truly work for the good of the people. Not for the good of the economy or the good of the state. Fuck that. The masses of humanity do not always have to suffer. Dr. Graffin was wrong. But he was a kid when he wrote that, so we will forgive him. But you would think that if a guy had at least some idea of what he might be interested in doing in his life, then opportunities might present themselves, as long as they heed the message conveyed in Coelho's book. I am trying to follow the omens and all that philosophical whimsy, and I do understand that having to really - i mean really - work towards something develops character. (God knows I am not enough of a character already). So either I have totally missed the boat on this one, or the answer I am seeking is right in front of my eyes and I am just not seeing it, or else I am just not working hard enough to get what I want out of this world...

December 22, 2010

The Best (and worst) of 2009.

Yes. This blog is just about a year old now since I originally planned on popping it out. But since I have had a whole year to put things in perspective, let's hope that some of the best things I refer to below are even better than some of the things that happened in twenty ten and let's hope that some of the worst things aren't nearly as bad! (after all, how could they?!)

Here goes...

Since I am really trying to be more positive these days, let's start with something GOOD. 2009 was the year I finally graduated from university. God knows this achievement has been a long time coming! And what a degree it is too! A Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Cooperative Program. Sure, having a Master's by now would be nice, but FRICK it's good to be done with school for now! Even if there are loads of hot girls on campus always .Staying with the good, in August I took my dog Cosmo to the mountains. He had a pretty great time. As much as me? Probably. I think that my love of the mountains - and Jasper in particular - had somewhat of an influence on what my new PUPPY was going to be calledt him home for the first time a few months later. Jasper. Oiii, puppies are so. much. trouble. AND SO WORTH IT!!!!!

Alright, time to jump ship. 2009 saw some pretty shitty things too. For example, for people that value the value of making an honest earning, then a dismal economy would might be a sad, sad continuity - especially if you are trying to work your way up the pay scale. Especially if you are trying to cling to your existing job for dear life! Lucky for me, I - I nothing. Life sucks. Maybe the economy will look better in 2010. I mean 2011.

I saw some tough stuff go on next door with my neighbor through all of 2009. Tough times all 'round. It was really pretty sad to watch. It's hard to even write about. It's real fucking life, that's what it is. Even though it's the kind of stuff that shouldn't exist at all. Nuff said.

2009 saw yet another year of dismal failure of the world to act on more critical issues regarding the environment, war, and extreme poverty. World leaders, national leaders, provincial leaders, and city leaders complacently stood by to watch things remain the way they are with no real steps toward the necessary change. Civil disobedience is getting to a point where these "leaders" will soon have to pay attention to the sadness & devastation that their inaction has caused or else they will have to pay through their teeth. When might this happen? My guess? 10 years, tops. I should be sure to include the Industrial Powers in this too, as many of them say that they strive to be accountable in all of their extraction and processing of the planet's resources for consumer consumption. And we all know that these guys could do better too.

One of my highlights from 2009 was getting to my very first Edmonton Folk Music Festival. It was an incredible experience. The person who I got to hang out with all weekend was pretty effing amazing too. So hooray for me. In addition to this great weekend, I saw Death By Stereo and Strung Out TWICE, Propagandhi TWICE, Justin Rutledge, Melissa McLelland, & Great Lake Swimmers at McDougall United, and last but not least: Matthew Barber at Haven Social Club! A solid concert year.

I also traveled a bit in the early part of the year. Rather, I pirateered. Well, that's the word I use for ocean-liner patrons who crash random tropical islands, trample the shit out of it, leave a buck or 2 behind for the locals who so desperately depend on this form of tourism so they can simply get by, perhaps pay for the power to air conditioner or put their kids into school... Anyways, of Dominican Republic, UKVI, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Lucia, I think I like Antigua the best. But if I was to go back to do water/sanitation work as an engineer, I wouldn't really care one bit where I got to go. As long as I was there!

The Oilers finished in in 11th place in the Western conference (with an even worse showing the following year). The Eskimos? 9W and 9L and went out first round of the playoffs. Ohhh, local sports teams...Can't hate ya even if you make it as hard as possible for us to! Is it the latitude? The tarsand emissions getting to you? What gives, boys?!?! You are not only embarassing yourselves, but also the fans who have stuck by you (and continue to do so) through times like these.

My grandma didn't have the easiest year, what with being in hospital on 3 seperate occasions, weeks at a time with poor health. At one time, a team of doctors were even telling the family that if they operate then things still don't look promising. Since being discharged, she has celebrated her 90th birthday with a large gathering of friends and family and then after that: a 91st birthday this past November. Healthcare is just insane. What I have learned from my experience in dealing with Healthcare is you better damned well take care of your OWN health as best as you damn well can! And that includes being pro-active and conscious of every decision you make (blog #90 on the way)

So be fit and have fun. 2009 was the first year I did not get to the mountains to go skiing since I learned how to ski when I was ~6. Very regrettable, especially when you otherwise try and have fun by buying Oilers mini-packs where the money could have been spent on much much better things that are fun and beneficial to your health. Then again. Funds were running thin.

In July my Mom and I were in France. That was a pretty amazing trip. First trip to Europe and all in all a very memorable time. It was certainly more fun than searching for jobs in a non-existant job market OR cutting boxes. It was also a pretty amazing year for my Mom cuz in December, she one a car in the Caritas Hospital Lottery! Little did either of us know how much we would be depending on the service Caritas provides only 9 months later.

So yes indeed, 2009 was a much better year than a person should really even hope for. Anything better than having a year like this should be considered a true blessing. Having your health is a large factor towards having some happiness, not to mention being able to see Propagandhi. And when the disappointment in your local sports team even makes it onto this list, you know that things couldn't be all that bad after all.

Ch. 77