Sunday, October 30, 2005

Corporal Caddell

I received some sad news yesterday. James Caddell, a Corporal who served with my current unit for several years, passed away just a few weeks ago. He died of a heart attack brought on by altitude sickness in a remote mountain town in Bolivia, shortly after he and his wife left Ottawa to travel the world for a year. He was 32 years old.

I didn't know James very well, but he was the first supervisor I had when I first transferred to Kingston. I remember him as being intelligent and professional. He was a good soldier, and a strong analyst. He'd served in Bosnia, and the other troops really respected him.

I think it's kind of hit me hard considering how much we had in common. Like James, I am a former Armoured Crewman who decided to abandon my armoured assault vehicle for the maps and markers of an Intelligence Analyst. We shared a passion for foreign affairs and international travel.

Beyond the sadness of losing a comrade, it has been a very sharp reminder of my own mortality.

We live in a society where a death from anything other than old age is viewed as the exception, rather than the rule. We're brought up to plan for the future, and to work for ourselves in the long term. We're brought up on fables like the Ant and the Grasshopper and the Three Little Pigs to remind us what happens when we focus on our immediate gratification. Today's desires should be placed on the backburner so that we can prepare for the future.

There's nothing wrong with putting yourself in a good position for the future. But I think I'm going to try and spend more of my time living in the present. It's just far too easy to forget how fleeting and precious our lives really are.

Beyond his character and his accomplishments, James Caddell passed on while in the midst of pursuing his dreams. That alone carries with it an inherent nobility, and deserves a great deal of respect.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I don't think this is going to surprise many of you.

Stolen from Erin and Jason:

The Gentleman
Deliberate Gentle Love Master (DGLMm)

Steady & mature. You are The Gentleman.

For anyone looking for an even-keeled, considerate lover, you're their man. You're sophisticated. You know what you want both in a relationship and outside of it. You have a substantial romantic side, and you're experienced enough sexually to handle yourself in that arena, too. Your future relationships will be long-lasting; you're classic "marrying material," a prize in the eyes of many.

It's possible that behind it all, you're a bit of a male slut. Your best friends know that in relationships you're fundamentally sex-driven. You're a safe, reliable guy, who does get laid. In a lot of ways, you're like a well-worn, comfortable pair of socks. Did you ever jack off into one of those? All the time.

Your ideal mate is NOT a nut-job. She is giving and loving, like you, but also experienced. Avoid the The Battleaxe at all fucking costs.

CONSIDER: The Maid of Honor, someone just like you.

Link: The 32-Type Dating Test

Sunday, October 23, 2005


What is it that separates a good blog from a not-very-good blog? I think a good blogger writes with passion about issues that are important to them. I think that they open themselves up, and share things that they wouldn't ordinarily share with the rest of the world. I think that they experiment with different posts and different means of expression. And finally, I think that they abandon a never-ending flow of "day in the life of..." posts to explore central ideas in depth.

That is to say, good blogs use some kind of theme. These blogs allow the author to articulate a primary focus, introduce subordinate premises, and arrive at some sort of final conclusion. That conclusion can then be challenged or supported through the comments section.

I've been trying to come up with themes for this blog, and it hasn't been easy. I think that the themes that bloggers have the most to say about are ones that they would never consider writing about. They are things that, to them, are common sense and a matter of course, while to the reader the theme may be a complete mystery.

This is why I'm going to focus on three different themes for my next three blog posts before I resume describing my evening dinner, or the quality of my time at the cottage. I think I'm going to pick one theme that's very broad, another that's very narrow, and yet another that's very personal.

And no, writing a post with the theme of using themes doesn't count.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Question

What would you do if you didn't have to work? That is to say, if there was no such thing as money (or you had an unlimited amount of it)?

This is a pretty broad question, so feel free to be as general or specific as you'd like. You can describe a trip you'd like to take, or something you've wanted to own. Or you can talk about what your life would be like if you could pursue your own projects, or just do what you feel like doing. You can describe anything from the many nuclear-powered submarines you would own, or the way you would spend every weekend staring into a campfire. You can talk about one small aspect of this dream, or the whole shabaam. It's up to you.


I'm starting to settle back a little. I no longer feel like I need to send out resumes every ten minutes. It doesn't matter if I'm hired right now, a month from now, or two months from now. I'm making enough money to get by, and there's no rush to enter the rat race. It'll all happen soon enough. Hence, if I start whining about not having a job in your proximity, I give you full licence to slap me around a little.

More work has come up lately, but I'm strongly resisting moving away from my 2.5 days a week, unless something truly earth shattering comes up. The way I figure it, I'm professionally unemployed, and need to act accordingly. The big thing is to avoid the siren song of my current employer. I've seen too many people go that way for the wrong reasons - going from short term contract to short term contract not because it was what they wanted to do with their life, but because it was really, really easy to do.

Cottaging this past weekend was a great success, and thanks to all of you who made it out. Despite the rain on Saturday morning, we had some really good weather for it. I think the days of swimming have left us for the year, but the drive up is really something now that all the leaves are changing.

I'm not sure if it's still in theatres, but I highly recommend the movie Lord of War, with Nicholas Cage. It's the story of an arms dealer's rise to power. Very involved, and I believe they're fairly accurate with the surrounding historical events, even if the movie itself is fiction.

Not much is on the docket for today. I have to make a few phone calls, and take care of a few things. Other than that, I think it's time that I caught up on my literary fiction.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Kindness of Strangers

I've had a pretty good couple of days. While still basking in the comfort of knowing that my boat was rescued by my neighbours, my most recent shipment of cigars was being delivered to my PO box. Vegas de Santiago may not make the world's finest cigars, but they make a reasonable fascimile, and for significantly less than your average Cuban.

That's enough to make them a good cigar company. They are, in fact, an excellent cigar company. An excellent cigar company is all in the details. For instance, when I ordered my first batch of cigars, they came with a free cutter. As for the most recent batch... well, you know how a lot of companies use bubble wrap or packing peanuts to prevent product from rattling around when it's being shipped? Vegas de Santiago uses extra cigars. FREE cigars.

The job hunt is progressing well enough, even if it is at a rather sluggish pace. For each batch I send out, I seem to get one or two people who express an interest. One gentleman has actually been so kind as to forward on my resume to someone who he thinks might be interested. No interviews yet, but we'll see how things go later this week. This should be around the time that the job I'm most interested in calls back regarding my final interview, so finger's crossed on that one.

Other than that, I've been spending a lot of time with my good buddy, the Prince of Persia. He's changed a bit since the last time we hung out, but it's always good to spend some time with an old friend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


My boat went under over the weekend. The cover that was tied to it, apparently, didn't do the job. It slowly filled with rain then sunk while it was still tied to the dock. Thankfully, I have wonderful neighbours who proceeded to not only bail the boat, but also get it put safely onto dry land. I owe them a large debt, and hope I have the chance to pay them back at some point.

The weekend was a lot of fun. I went to Andrea's place for Thanksgiving, and ate way too much pumpkin pie.

Still no word in the great job-hunt, but I think I can wait a few more months before things get critical. I had an epiphany the other day, when people were talking about what they would do if they were retired, and they didn't have to work for money. I realized that I would probably do exactly what I'm doing right now. I would work for a few days during the week, then spend the rest of my time at the cottage, relaxing and working on projects that I want to see through out of personal interest.

The only problem is that there's no way I could handle a mortgage and a family with the kind of money I'm earning these days. So, who knows? Perhaps I do the whole "career and family" thing only to end up right back where I started. There's something fitting about that, I think.

I'd like to finish this post off with something witty and insightful. Instead, I'm going to point you towards a story about a smoking chimpanzee.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Gobble Gobble.

I proved worthy of the family name today, when I managed to call my Dad on the day before his birthday, rather on his actual birthday. This is after last year, when he appologized for calling me on the 11th, which he thought was the day after my birthday (when in fact it was two days after). In conclusion: if I ever forget your birthday, I really don't mean anything by it. It's just the way I am.

The past few days have been absolutely beautiful. It makes me wish that the rest of fall could be this way but, alas, I realize that there isn't much time left before the temperature starts to dip. I may be able to barbeque in December, but tube floating is something else altogether.

Job-wise, pounding the electronic pavement seems to be paying off. It's too soon to say, but I may be getting interviews based on the e-mails that I sent out earlier. I have another 10-15 places to contact, but I'm going to wait until a day or two after Thanksgiving before I send out the next batch.

I'm out of town for the next couple of days, but I do have a question that I'm curious about: what's your favorite part of Thanksgiving, and why?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fantasy Hockey

So, a friend of mine invited me to his Fantasy Hockey league, and I decided to go for it. Despite having an uncle who played in the NHL for several years, I have to admit that I know relatively little about hockey. I do like watching Olympic hockey, and I really enjoy going to see a live game from time to time, but that's about the extent of it.

Oh, and I know that I bear a striking resemblance to Leaf's centre Mats Sundin, as seen below:

Mats Sundin


Striking, isn't it?

Not knowing anything about hockey, I picked my team based on how amusing their names are. I decided to name my team "The Polish Sausages", and my line-up looks something like this:

M. Sundin (Tor - C)
S. Yzerman (Det - C)
V. Prospal (TB - LW)
F. Modin (TB - LW)
R. Zednik (Mon - RW)
M. Gaborik (Min - RW)
P. Kubina (TB - D)
D. Tarnstrom (Pit - D)
J. Niinimaa (NYI - D)
R. Hamrlik (Cgy - D)
J. Nieuwendyk (Fla - C)
O. Kvasha (NYI - LW)
M. Czerkawski (Tor - RW)
F. Kaberle (Car - D)
J. Slegr (Bos - D)
R. Brind'Amour (Car - C)

I'm particularly proud of Roman Hamrlik and Rod Brind'Amour.

I don't think this is going to be a particularly serious league. Most of the draft time was spent discussing my friend's sister, and who would like to draft her.

So, if anyone does have any advice for how to best manage my Fantasy Hockey team, I'm all ears. Just don't expect me to trade anyone with a really cool last name, is all.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I started the job hunt today in earnest. I went to the Strategis webpage and started punching in keywords related to the kind of job I'd like into their search function. The good part of this is that it finds you a list of every company that matches your search in Canada. The bad part is that not many of them are actually hiring.

Still, I'm a little surprised by the outcome. Usually, if you put in an application and they're not interested, you don't hear from the company at all. I mailed in eight resumes, and I've already received three personalized refusals. That's pretty good, as far as I'm concerned. If only I could find a way to tranform rejection letters into rent money, I'd be all set.

I think the reason I get the personalized treatment is because Strategis is geared towards selling a product for these companies. Hence, the contact information tends to be a little bit more personalized. Basically, it means that you can directly e-mail you resume to the company's president. Hey, works for me.

I still haven't given up hope on the other jobs that I've applied to, but I don't think I'd be very happy with myself if I didn't pound on every door that I could before giving up the ghost. Next step may be taking day-trips to Ottawa. If it comes right down to it, I will stand on a street corner in a suit and hand out resumes.

In the mean time, I'm very much enjoying having the chance to relax, take it easy, and putter away at the things that interest me. At this time, that's playing XBox, reading, blogging, and writing. Speaking of which, I've been approached by someone from the Independent Voice to see if I might be interested in writing a few articles. Based on my razor-sharp deductive skills, I'm guessing that it was 'Nee who pointed them my way. But, however they found me, it's nice to have another venue where I can express myself.

I don't even really know if I can say that I'm unemployed at this point, considering that I'm working an average of 2.5 - 4 days a week. The scary thing about my job is that I'm probably making more money this way than I would if I found other full-time work to keep me busy during the job hunt.

It's still beautiful out at the cottage. Tomorrow's supposed to be even nicer than today, and today was absolutely beautiful. I think I may even like the fall out here better than the summer, at least when it's nice and warm. There's not nearly as much boat traffic on the lake, the bugs aren't nearly as bad, and a lot of the trees have started to change colour. I actually went for a swim yesterday. Without falling in, this time.


Okay, time to get back to it. That giant robot isn't going to shoot lasers at the other giant robots all by itself, after all.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I heard back regarding the job again, and it's going to be one more interview and likely another three weeks of waiting. It's still my first choice, but I think I'm going to start cold-calling companies that interest me to see if they're hiring. Another week, and I'll likely look at contacting a head-hunting agency to see what they can offer me. It's expensive, but it's time to put my heart into this job search.

I'm working this weekend. The cottage is beckoning, but I think we should have another couple of weekends of nice weather before we start looking at the first snow. That's what I'm hoping, at least. Compared to other weekends, this weekend has been unusually - nay, tragically - low in terms of its Heineken and nicotine content.

I tried to put a cover on my boat just before I went in to work, and I was so immersed in what I was doing that I didn't notice that the bag for the cover had blown out to the middle of the lake. By the time I noticed, the cover was on and that boat was going nowhere. I dragged the kayak down to the lake, but got about three paddles from the dock before it flipped, promptly dunking me in the water. In Closing: The water's still pretty warm, and I can swim in boots.

Questions: Do you know of any good head-hunting or staffing agencies in Ottawa? Have you ever had to swim in boots? Does paying the local laundromat to wash and fold my laundry make me decadent, or merely lazy?