Monday, November 16, 2009

What Peter says about Paul....

People get aggravated because the mega-corps based in North America who sell them their computers, telephones, etc. are outsourcing the service contracts for those products to companies with offices in countries where the hourly wages are lower -- India being a prime example. What I don't understand (aside from why so many of us have such problems understanding people who don't speak English exactly the same way we do) is why the complainers seem to blame the people at the other end of the line--most of whom actually do have the answers they need, and are doing their best to help. They are not the ones who engineered this system.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to make yourself feel great!

Invite everyone you know in a certain city to a farewell party. (I'm not sure whether you actually have to be leaving town to do this or not.) The ones who cannot attend will write lovely notes to you telling you how much you mean to them and how much they will miss you. They will not necessarily mean what they say, but they will make you feel great. (I'm not sure how often you can do this in one calendar year--at least once, I am sure.)

(For more information, see my Moving To Toronto blog)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spin Dry -- and the Wasp Sucker revisited

Someone should invent a big salad-spinner-type contraption for the change rooms of public swimming pools into which you could drop your bathing suit and then crank the handle to spin the water out of the suit before you put it in your pack and take it home.

UPDATE: My FaceBook friends inform me that these things do exist--just not at the pool I go to. So... I still haven't seen my idea for a wasp sucker on sale anywhere (like a Dustbuster only with a long, narrow neck with a baffle in it, so that you can suck wasps off your steak at barbeques and dispose of them later). It's such a simple idea. I want one of those. I even sent the idea to Black and Decker -- nothing. Drawing available on request. The fat end where the wasps would accumulate during dinner could later be emptied into the bushes or sprayed full of Raid, depending on your views about wasps' right to life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From the "technology that baffles me" department....

One of my many goals in life is to get an envelope to come out of the printer with the address the right way up on it AND with the address not printed on the back flap.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I need a search engine for life

As I was looking for cinnamon in my cupboards just now, I realized that a part of my brain was wondering where the search engine for the kitchen had gone.

Monday, February 16, 2009

On being irreplaceable

In times of economic crisis, people worry a lot about being replaceable. Everywhere in the media these days--in blogs and business columns, in opinion pieces and video interviews--corporate pundits and pop psychologists are struggling to explain how we can stand out from the crowd (in a good way) so that our employers will see the need to keep us on.

When Steve Jobs had to take some time off work, the words "No one is indispensable" became both reassuring and terrifying to millions of cogs in a host of corporate machines.

In good times and bad, the only business with a really, truly indispensable and irreplaceable person at its core is the one that runs off an individual creative vision. John Updike was irreplaceable. Picasso was irreplaceable. Eartha Kitt was irreplaceable. So was Yves St. Laurent.

Artists often undervalue their own contributions--probably because for most of us it takes so long to attract the only meaningful measure of our worth, which is money. We should not be discouraged. Some of us may not make a living from our art just yet (in that regard, for us there is no difference between the good times and the bad!), but we cannot be replaced, and we will always be "employed."

We have what everybody wants. We should be happy (and even a bit snooty) about that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Got the driving-around-the-hospital-parking-lot blues again

Are there, in any North American cities, any hospitals that have adequate parking facilities?

How many stress-related medical conditions have actually begun in hospital parking lots?

And shouldn't someone do some research about this?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Skimming around Web 2.0

One of the main reasons why I love the Internet is that it is text-based.

TV news and information shows have always felt too slow to me. Can you skim a video for the info you want or need and ignore the rest? Nope.

I avoid information-based videos on the Internet for the same reason. I’d rather read a transcript of a news or information video any day than take the time to watch it. And I would always prefer a succinct and well written news item over the transcript.

With the increasing proliferation of online news sources, blogs and social-media exchanges, the ability to write well is again becoming a distinguishing feature that allows the best to rise to the top. As a reader, not to mention as a writer/editor with 30 years of experience, I find that situation very appealing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Branta canadensis

I would like to propose that the bird species known as "Canada goose" be renamed. They are being blamed for a lot of crap (literally) in a lot of places, and most recently for the emergency landing of an entire airplane in the Hudson River. They are giving my country a bad reputation. They are not our fault.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tracking the Transit System

I am looking forward to the day when they put computer chips in city buses so I can use my GPS to see the buses on my route, figure out how far behind or ahead of schedule they are, and plan accordingly.

Update: Readers of this Notion have informed me that the computer-chip system already exists in certain cities in North America. Very good. I will wait to see how long it takes for the technology to reach Saskatoon, SK.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Diet Tip #1 (aka Notes to Self)

It is of no benefit to wash and dry your jeans during the first week of a diet. The scale may tell you you've dropped a few pounds and are doing really well, but the clean jeans will dispute that. If you want to keep your spirits up, wait a while to do the denim laundry.