Knowing the Difference

I remember seeing a long time ago an attempt at humour, where someone mockingly referred to the ” Department of Redundancy Department” or something along those lines. And I remember thinking back then, “That’s not a redundancy; that’s a repetition.” Certainly a needless repetition since it doesn’t dramatically emphasize a point, but a repetition nonetheless.

A few minutes ago, I was thinking out loud to myself about a part of the program I’m writing when I heard myself say, “It would have to revert back to …” Of course, unrelated to my programming problem, my next thought was, “Now THAT’S a redundancy!” After all, there’s no such thing as reverting forward.

Sometimes I scare myself. Who else’s mind wanders off to such stupid and trivial digressions while writing a program? Or at ANY time, for that matter!

Canadians Just Don’t Let Up

You might remember how a senior communications advisor to Jean Chrétien had to resign last year for being overheard calling G.W. Bush “a moron.” Well, it seems there’s no end to Canadians expressing what they think of the U.S. president. Another case in point came on last night’s episode of CBC TV’s wildly popular Royal Canadian Air Farce. As part of their mock newscast, they showed what’s already becoming a widely distrubuted photo of Bush holding a perfectly roasted turkey, commenting, “It’s hard to tell which is the turkey.”

As for Bush’s surprise Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad… Courageous and gutsy? I don’t think so! Opportunistic at best. A truer display of “courage” would be to see him attend the funerals of American soldiers being sent back daily. Maybe not all the funerals, because the way things are going, he’d be doing nothing but. However, I guess a picture of him holding a perfectly roasted turkey — as confusing as that image might be to some — looks infinitely better than a picture of him attending yet another funeral, now doesn’t it!

Breaking Down, Take 2

The plan WAS that I was going to leave Halifax for 8 days on Wednesday in order to drive Indiana Jones to Montreal, and spend a bit of time up there myself. The optimist in me made the offer in late-September, when I thought I would have put out enough fires by this time. But for the last few days, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to cancelling this trip so that I could continue on the roll I’ve been on with work. And come yesterday, I realized I still had too much to do and couldn’t justify to my clients, let alone myself, taking 8 days off plus 5 days later in the month for Xmas.

One problem, though: I couldn’t let Indiana down, so I checked with the discount airlines and got him a ticket. To my surprise, even though he’s now set to leave by plane in less than a week, the ticket didn’t cost me more than if I had booked it weeks ago. And, for what it’s worth, it actually cost me less than what I would have paid in gas to go there and back.

Of course, Cleopatrick, the Queen of Denial as well as my sister will be disappointed that I had to cancel. I was really looking forward to seeing them. And I know Indiana would have liked to see me take some down time. Plus Junior was sad to hear the news of the cancellation. But I hope to reschedule sometime in mid- to late-winter.

Breaking Down, Take 1

I decided to finally give Spam Assassin a try. I’m up to 150-160 messages a day now, so if I leave for 9 days and can’t gain access to my e-mail account, I’d be looking at 1350 messages. It would take me the better part of an afternoon to weed out the spam from the legitimate messages. My concern until now has been that S.A. might tag legitimate messages as spam, but with so many messages coming in and manually deleting them, I stand an equal or greater chance of deleting a legitimate message due to lack of attention. If this experiment works out, then I’ll be more inclined to recommend it for all my clients’ domains.

I Couldn’t Handle That

I truly dislike the so-called “Holiday Season.” It’s not that I have some horrible memories of seasons past; it’s just that I can’t get into it. For me, it’s as if someone picked a date on the calendar and declared we all had to gush about how we love each other and how wonderful we think everyone else is.

Today’s American Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, it’s just another weekday. Our Thanksgiving is long behind us, and it’s not nearly as big a deal as Thanksgiving in the U.S. seems to have become. In fact, as I was thinking a few minutes ago about how I can’t stand the “Holidays,” I found some comfort: if I were American or living in the States, the horror of widespread “phonyism” would have begun. I really couldn’t handle having TWO Christmas-like events within a month of each other! And as if Christmas hasn’t already become a farce of unbridled consumerism, its duration seems to have crept backwards in the U.S. to include the last days of November, the entire month of December, and the first few days of January.

I will be going to Moncton for a few days over Christmas. While I’m not looking forward to it, I think I finally put my finger on why I’m dreading it so. For I really am divided: It’s not that I dislike spending time with my parents. In fact, as they’re getting older, I want to spend MORE time with them.

The “thing” about Christmas within my family is that it’s a kind of obligation. We have no problem with getting together to celebrate milestones in our family’s life, or just for the sake of getting together for no particular occasion or crisis. But, precisely, Christmas is not a milestone for our family; it’s an occasion everybody else observes and that we observe just to be like everyone else. We also tend to be doers, even if that means “doing” something trivial just to pass the time as long as we’re doing it together. But from 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 to the morning of Dec. 27, there’s not a heck of a lot for us to do. So it’s not that we get on each others’ nerves over Christmas as much as we’re forced to do things we don’t consider particularly constructive.

I remember how horrified I was as a kid when a friend of the family used to call Christmas “just another day.” But now that I’m in my late 30s, I’d desperately love to have a just-another-day Christmas. I’d probably take the day off work, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to fill every minute of the day with something “exciting,” or “loving” or “heart-warming.”