Took delivery of several litres of beer from a local brewer today. Looking forward to digging into my growler of “Tom Waits for No One” stout. 🍻

Time flies when you are having fun!
This quarantine period has really demonstrated this proverb in a strange way since it feels like it has been 9 years since the beginning of March.
On a more fun note, 9 actual years ago today my friends and I performed this sketch in Wolfville.

Balance 📷
Today was the annual Acadia Robot Programming competition that I Referee. I arrived to find someone thoughtfully labelled my “standing chair” where I survey the competition.

recently I spent a friday night with some good friends in a lovely pub type restaurant in halifax. the thing that really set this evening apart from other pub type adventures I have had would be the accessories that my friends brought along. on the large table that we occupied there were at least 3 coloring books (with large numbers of crayons), a buddha board on which you paint with water and finally a chess board one which at least one epic game of chess was played. I did not partake in the game of chess myself as I do not have the attention span for such endeavors but that is the item that I want to focus on.

on my last post a friend commented about the nature of understanding people through the stereotypes that we form about people and the way that people will change to become like the way they are perceived. this is the same friend who is responsible for delivering the chess board to our night out and from whom I have learned a lot about chess and other things interesting. while I don’t disagree with what he had to say about people in his comment I am going to take it in a bit of a different direction.

people are like chess pieces.

also people do not know they are chess pieces.

the second point is the part where confusion and problems stem from, a clear understanding of the first point would improve the lives of people at large significantly. the problem is one that runs deep in people, to their very cores. culturally there is an attitude that anyone can do anything that they put their mind to if they have enough focus and determination. I will flatly suggest this is a lie. like pieces on a chess board people are different, not entirely unique, and in some cases different people can accomplish the same task albeit with varying degrees of success. I am in no way insinuating that there are classes of people and that some are better than others by suggesting people are like chess pieces. any good chess player, as my friend has taught me, knows that all pieces are valuable. I am also not saying that there is never a case where someone drastically changes their lot in life to become something else, in chess terms a pawn that reaches the opposite side of the board becomes a queen, one of the most dynamic pieces in chess.

the US army really had it right for a while with their slogan “be all that you can be.” this is a slogan that suggests that every person is already something and they should be that and nothing else. the most obvious case of this in my life is teaching. I have had a number of conversations with people about the state of education and education training and heard a number of complaints about how the program doesn’t do x, y, or z to get you ready to be a teacher. having been through the ed program and with some, albeit not much, teaching experience I have come to a simple conclusion. when you enter an education program you either already are a teacher or you aren’t. the one or two years that you spend in that program are not going to magically make you become a teacher because you learned the right things. if you already are a teacher it is a program that will make you a better teacher, much like putting cookie dough in an oven will make delicious cookies but putting applesauce in an oven will just make a mess. there is nothing wrong with applesauce, or in this case people who aren’t naturally teachers, but they don’t belong in a teaching program.

it has taken me almost 25 years to figure out that at heart I am a teacher, even still when I look back over the past ten years I can see that I had an understanding of that at some subconscious level as many decisions were impacted by my passions for teaching. deep down we all know whether or not we are a bishop that can move infinitely in a finite number of directions or if we are a knight or is never quite going in a straight line. until we really take the time to own what we are we cannot truly be happy in all aspects of our lives. the pursuit of joy and happiness requires us to know who we are, and knowing who we are requires us to understand what we are.

I am a huge fan of crazy theories and doing the unexpected.

So one day I got to thinking about promises. Those I make and that I see made. The ones that people believe are implied and those that people need outlined in every single detail.

As I thought more about just how quick people are to promise things – I swear on my <insert important person>‘s grace, etc – and how in the long run most promises aren’t honored I realized something. What I realized was that, like a contract, a promise is generally required by party A from party B simply so that if/when party B fails to carry through with the agreement then party A will have justification for their anger/lack of forgiveness/guilt trip.

This is of course not the general idea that people think of when considering the concept of promises. What is the big deal about this and why should this be something we are aware of? What the cultural perception of a promise is has huge ramifications on how people go about their day. If you need people to give you a promise every time you ask them to do something it reflects that you have little faith in the people you live/work with and clearly don&rsquo;t trust them overly.

Promises are the Opposite of Trust.

When it comes to matters of faith this becomes a big deal again. Christians everywhere look to “The Promises of God.” Of course how this effects your life comes down to your understanding of what a promise is. For example if we look at the Promise God gave to Abraham that he would father a great nation, blah blah blah, we see something that doesn’t at all reflect our cultural understanding of promises. If Abraham had our understanding of a promise I think the exchange would have gone something like:

God: “Sacrifice the only son I just gave you”

Abraham: “You realize you have made me a promise already, AND he is kind of neccesary for you to carry through on your word.”

God: “I know I know, trust me I have it all under control”

Abraham: “Really? Doesn’t seem like you really do, I am getting kind of old and I don’t see a second child coming any too soon. Just don’t forget that you promised. Or Else”

Now this of course isn’t how it went. Instead Abraham TRUSTED God and went along with it and is later praised for his great faith.

I would suggest that genuine promises can be fulfilled while respecting trust, but you don’t even know that it was a “promise” until you look back and reflect on it.

I have seen too many people require promises of others instead of trusting. Too many christians judging others and requiring promises. Things likes promise rings or purity contracts are exactly the wrong thing for Churches and Christian groups to be pushing. They create environments of mistrust, judgement, and score keeping. All things that aren’t healthy or a part of showing love to someone else.

A promise is not something to be made or requested. A promise is something that is done.

Last night I was uploading some videos to youtube for just the second time ever. In the process though I was reminded of the first time I used it. That is the story I will share today.

Last year the gentleman who is now my roommate lived up the street in another apartment. During the month of February he decided to take a vacation to California for two weeks and he needed someone to look after his plants while he was gone. Now these are no ordinary plants, in fact they all have names and personalities, and the pain from the loss of these plants could be related to the pain that any average person would feel at losing a child.

Of course this alignment of feelings and responsibilities lead to just one thing. You can watch that below. Unfortunately this video has disappeared from youtube. Likely due to music?

So the last time I crossed the boarder from Canada into the USA the only question that seemed to be of any importance was the question about whether our group of weary travelers were transporting the most illegal of substances…

… Apples!…

But not just any kind of apple, specifically Red or Green apples. As we didn&rsquo;t have any (although an hour into Maine we remembered that there were three red apples behind the driver seat) they let us through and left us wondering just what would happen if we had possessed a collection of elusive golden delicious apples.

The point of bringing this up is mostly just to link to an awesome story of a Fruit Checkpoint and a religion founded on the principles of a fruit-bat. Click here!

So a month ago my brother and I were locked in the grips of serious discussion for several hours, without warning the conversation broke into the realm of pure absurdity. It started with a simple question about closed systems and broke into Astrology and possibilities that it could be based in something that isn&rsquo;t completely absurd. I suggested we look at the law of gravitational force that exists between two objects. So in reality the fact that planets and stars are moving in relation to us means that there is a different force being applied to us from each one. Maybe there is something to this Astrology stuff!!!

Now in practice the fact that the strength of the force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the objects means that the tiny force is less than trivial in the grand scheme of things and really provides no impact on the human body. Also who says gravity affects our mood. Full moons seem to have some affect on mood so I guess there could be something to it. Given that there are probably close to an infinite number of bodies in the universe that we are having some tiny interaction with we can probably use a limit of some sort to show that there may just be some impact on our outlooks and attitudes based on the position of everything in the universe.

Some may simply dismiss this as the ranting of a mad man and I would probably encourage thinking along those lines this was in an interesting thought experiment. Also it was a dare on my brother&rsquo;s part at the end of the conversation. He insisted I write it up and post it on the internet. And it only took me almost a month to do it. I hope people fully appreciate the humor of the photo that accompanies this post, it is compliments of my friend Ross (and in turn via the internet).

So here&rsquo;s to more frequent and less crazy posts in the future!

I started today engaging a friend in a conversation about the fact that it is his birthday and today he turned Old&trade;. Thus the train of discussion moved on to the the difference between turning Old&trade; and the point in our lives at which we start being Grown Up&trade;. As I approach the end of my university years I have quickly realized that it is time to become Grown Up&trade; or I will miss the boat entirely. Well that isn&rsquo;t exactly what I have realized, I have come to the realization that it is far more efficient to pretend to be Grown Up&trade;, it has all the benefits with none of the negative connotations that come along with it.

The first act of being grown up that I have discovered over the last six months is following the news of the world around us. Once again I found a way to cheat and pretend to be grown up, and this is by getting my news through avenues like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Rick Mercer Report, etc. Shows that present me with the world news through a comedic filter. While it could be seen as cheating at being Grown Up&trade; I see it more as a survival technique. It is no wonder that being Grown Up&trade; is generally seen as a bad thing with the general negativity that surrounds news and the things of the world as presented by the media.

Even through a filter of comedy it has been made very clear to me that America and Canada are in dire straights when it comes to employment situations. Finishing my Ed degree I see it a lot in my classmates, people taking jobs across the country, and general anxiety over job prospects or lack there of. During this past summer I was told to take an online personality test, and being that it was a summer in Wolfville there wasn&rsquo;t a whole lot else to do. In the end I was shocked at the description it gave of me and just how accurate it could be. One specific part that struck me as just another odd fact about me at the time was &ldquo;This type of personality wants to experience the whole of life and may change careers more often than many other types.&rdquo; (From Here) It seems that this is the way the world is going, that the idea of a life long career is going to be far from the norm. I am okay with this, mostly because I don&rsquo;t have that kind of attention span, but I know that a lot of people aren&rsquo;t comfortable with the idea, what with it being change and all.

Has anyone else made similar observations?