Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moving Forward; Looking Back.

I leave in little more than 36 hours. It can't come fast enough. The more I've reminded myself about the luxuries of home, the more I've longed for it. That's not what this is about though.

* * *

The other day I caught myself crossing a one-way street. And I immediately knew I was familiar in my surroundings. I've always nurtured the idea that one-way streets are a barometer of sorts. Gauging how acclimatized one is to the particular locale. It's like this: If you watch someone cross a one-way street and they look both ways, they're not that comfortable in their surroundings. It's when your strides have become precipitous, when the sleet and wind inflame your desire to get home and your foot boldly leaves the curb, as you glance to the right, and only to the right, that you know you're at home in the neighborhood. My shoulders shrugged, as I tried my hardest to make my pea coat hide the exposed skin on my cheeks. I strode brazenly into the roadway without a thought of turning to the left. It was a one-way street and I knew it, I didn't consciously think about looking both ways, I just wanted to get home as fast as possible and I knew it. The moment of self-realization came a few steps into the road.

In the 8 months that I've been here, a lot has changed and a lot has remained the same. It has been a lot of fun, and a lot of things I can best describe as the exact opposite of fun. To say I’m more able to get around than when I first arrived is an under statement of the highest order. Upon my delivery to this backwards-ass land some 32 weeks ago I was paraplegic-style immobile. I couldn’t get anywhere without all kinds of help. If I did arrive somewhere, I didn’t know how to get what I wanted. Now I’m a ninja of the public transport system and have explored the city in its near entirety on foot. I have always liked walking and exploring and I think that will remain constant wherever I end up.

I was naïve and optimistic, in the extreme. I was giving out benefit of the doubt like it was candy and I was Willy Wonka himself, on Halloween, no less. I’ve since learned that not everyone in the world deserves my immediate trust. There are a lot of blatant imbeciles, or gypsies, as the case may be, who are ready to take advantage of anyone at the next turn. I look over my shoulder now more than ever, even though this city seems incredibly safe.

The lesson has been cemented that people are products of their environment. Nobody smiles here, but when I read about the history and culture I begin to understand why. It’s not up to me to judge anyone; I should be more understanding of where they have come from and what they have gone through.

I started a job at which I had no clue. I was afraid to talk on the phone, I would pray for voicemails to pick up, and when I did talk to someone my voice shook and stuttered in embarrassing ways. Now I’m willing to talk to anyone about anything any where in the world. And I’m getting pretty good at it. Good enough in fact that I left the job I came here for and started my own company.

I couldn’t ask people for anything. I was afraid to speak out for fear of sounding stupid. Then I got hungry and needed to order food. It was one small failure after another but I made progress and tried to keep smiling throughout. One day I went to McDonalds and managed to complete the whole transaction in one smooth exchange of Slovak phrases. Victory. At last.

I’m not sure what the next 8 months will hold. Probably more of the same risk taking. My role can only be to calculate the odds as best as possible. I’m pumped about work. I want it to succeed like any other project I’ve undertaken. I reject the notion of failure and embrace the challenge. Victory earned is the only kind worthy of celebration, if you ask me. I’ve thought a lot about priorities and hopefully I can continue to apply that knowledge. I want to do more traveling in 2010, although I’ve been lucky enough to explore Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria already. I am remiss I haven’t yet made it to the Eastern mystery that is Ukraine. I'm excited for Western Europe, the Balkans and Turkey.

At the end of it all, no matter what happens, and regardless of what has already happened, this whole stupid foray into Eastern Europe has been an incredible learning experience. For that reason I’m happy to say that I would be stupid to
regret any of it. I’m glad I wasn’t sitting at home doing the same thing. I really am giving it a shot, so to speak.

In the immediate future, which I'm currently enamored with, I excitedly await the amenities of the developed world, not to mention my family and friends, both of which are amazing and whom I struggle on the daily, to get by without.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting It Done

I'm still not blogging as regularly as I'd like to be. In fact this post has marinated as a draft a few times, before I have now finally managed to hammer it out. It's like this: I have all this great prose, bottled up in my brain. Unlucky for you, loyal reader, I don't have the hours in the day to put it down on this here web-log. I've been busy as hell, working ungodly hours, to the neglect of my sleep cycle and my diet. It's all in the interest of what my boy "Bloggeries" calls passive income. I think that makes it worth it. I'm enjoying myself too, which is important and makes the whole experience much more bearable.

Anywho, I've finally thrown on some Vince Guaraldi Trio and plunked myself down with a glass (read: bottle) of cheap Merlot (all liquor is cheap here, by the way) and taken some time to reflect on the last few months. On one hand, I feel like I've climbed a mountain; on the other, I think I just arrived at base camp of a much bigger mountain.

Allow me to elaborate, please. We started to plot our business, Kakushin Group, almost two months ago. As I mentioned, it was conceived over pints of draught on the back of bar room napkins. The very conception of the project could be subject of another post, so I’ll table it for now. Suffice it to say, the upside looked very promising, while the downside looked negligible. In short, I had very little to lose. I think that a good risk to reward ratio is something that should underscore every decision I make, be it a stock trade or a night at the bar. “I don’t believe in luck, I believe in odds.” Said Seth Davis at the beginning of Boiler Room.

So we set out, hell bent on starting a business, all the while not really having an idea how to start a business, -let alone in Slovakia. Yet, for reasons of which I’m unaware, I maintained an optimistic demeanor and an irrational belief that we could accomplish anything. I think this has also been paramount to making it as far as we have. I don’t know how to make a website, produce a business information event, or deal with the slow as molasses Slovak bureaucracy. Somehow, 8 short weeks later, we have all of the above and are on our way to new challenges, specifically selling, something I do know how to do.

The point I’m trying to distill here is this, we could have gawked, worried and procrastinated at the formidable task ahead of us. Instead, we thought about what we needed to do and found ways to do it. There have been innumerable twists along the path we've bushwhacked so far, we’ve had to come up with some unorthodox solutions but up to this point, we’ve managed to get shit done.

And so, it is the base camp analogy that rings true. It has been excruciatingly difficult, lugging our shit this far, throwing up our metaphorical tents and canvassing for the best available Sherpas. But it has already been extremely rewarding. And tomorrow, we push for the summit, where the majestic view will no doubt be worth the ascent.

On a completely unrelated note:

I’m going home in a week for the holidays. Words cannot describe my excitement. I have nightmares that I’m going to catch swine flu and be barred from boarding the aircraft.

Next I will post an 8 month recap of my life in Slovakia and try to throw some darts at the wall to pin down where I think it might be going – at which point I encourage you to stay tuned reading along, to see how I’ll inevitably be hilariously wrong. I've always sucked at darts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Note About Dress

Ahhh to be free. Once again able to blog about whatever I please.

I went out last night, for the first time in a month. I understand once again the notion of tolerance. Or my lack thereof. I awoke after a very brief sleep feeling quite well, to my surprise and delight. I drank some coffee, put on sweat pants and waded through the streets to the office, taking my usual route. I hate sitting all day so I try to walk to and from work, as the weather has made it quite bearable. It also gives me time to think.

I was struck by insight not far from my office. Although I had showered and brushed my teeth, I was still clad in extra baggy gray sweatpants and my hair fairly matted. Aside from the odd glare of contempt, I went largely unnoticed on my way to the office, ducking and weaving between giant concrete blocks. I try to catch peoples eyes, but today was, generally speaking, one unmet glance after another.

During the week, I try to look sharp. I think I catch more glances. I think I go more noticed. Maybe people are daydreaming on the weekend, window shopping for watches with egregious price tags. Not interested in a rogue passerby. I'm willing to say though that the more raggedy said passerby looks, the more likely he or she is to get glossed over.

Be conspicuous.

Off to press my pants and shine my shoes.

Casual Fridays are bullshit, if you ask me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Kakushin Story

Trusted readers, I've been lying to you for the last 8 weeks. This has been a long time coming.

The beginning:

It was about two months ago, a warm October afternoon: I flicked my wrist, releasing the metaphorical white towel into the air, before it flopped down on the canvas floor. My job wasn't going the direction I had hoped. I had learned a lot and it was a positive experience, overall. I just wanted something else. I closed the door on my days slanging pharmaceutical knowledge solutions. I didn't know exactly what I was doing, but it felt right.

I hadn't given much thought to what I wanted to do. It's just not my style, I guess. I needed some time to think. I had a few options on the table but they all proved far from what the truth would end up being. Looking back, I had jumped on an Air France flight to Slovakia, right after graduating, with much less rational thought than the average person might have thought necessary. And yet, no regrets. But 6 months later, I needed a change. I've always had something of a short attention span. I'm easily amused, but easily distracted.

Unemployment was awesome, for the first week. My phone broke and I started getting really bored, really fast. Raoul, the guy who was previously my direct boss had also recently quit. He sent me an e-mail. We met up when he was in town. A few beers later, pipe dreams were beginning to materialize on bar room napkins. One thing led to another, and we sort of ran with an idea. Having nothing on my plate, I immersed myself in the project, half-believing it wasn't actually happening.

Two months later, and with the full support of my fantastic family, I find myself in my own office with two of the people I most enjoyed working with - we recruited another former colleague who ended up quitting shortly after we did. The whole thing was serendipitous in the extreme and I am enthusiastic about the upcoming challenges and what is destined to be the tireless pursuit of success. I'm not sure where it will take me but I know if I do my best to make it a success I will be making forward progress.

We reached a tipping point today. Our first program is coming together and our website is up and running. Now that I have something to show for my time. I'm finally willing to say...


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Normal City?

The original idea from this post comes from a comment by a friend of mine, @tburts. It was one of those sound bites that blindsides you in any idle conversation you might be having. It catches you off guard. It sticks, like gum on your left converse. I remember the conversation, there's a photo of it burned into my brain. This blog then is that metaphorical stick with which I'll release myself of this stage 5 clinger.

So it was like this, posted up, the corner in site, when Tyler blurted it out. Why does Kingston make so much noise about wanting to be a normal city. There was no such thing as a normal city, our good friend declared.

I immediately liked what I heard. It was refreshing in a few ways. Just having finished orchestrating the entirety of Orientation week, including some verbose and harsh disputes with Kingston city council members I had been feeling fairly disenchanted with the town in which we resided, which I had come to call home. More importantly though, the brief audio-blurb resonated with me at a frequency that seemed fundamentally more sound.

When I think about it, it makes sense. Ottawa is different from Toronto, for reasons that are glaringly obvious to me (make up you're own local example. I'm sure if you are even only a little bit objective you'll see it to be true, I don't feel like explaining). And both Ontario cities are far diverged from Montreal, let alone Vancouver. The evolutions of our cities and their populations are complex, and not easily remedied with a few teaspoons of your favourite elixir. Moving to Bratislava has further atrophied the proposed notion that Kingston's desire to be neatly arranged in the "normal city" category is completely asinine. If Kingston considers itself atypical then I honestly don't know what to call this post communist hilarity I now occupy. Life's all about the angles.

Allow me to be bold and extrapolate for my boy TBURTS. In thinking about his statement I have more or less reached that a city is like any other organism. It's made up of it's composite parts, for better or for worse. Sure, the city has activities analogous to eating well and exercising, but it's still a product of it's past and a reflection of it's composite parts. It might be matured, young or somewhere in between. Whether or not that's what Tyler had in mind remains untold, he probably thought of something more clever.

Also, can you believe this guy??

Also, there's a stranger sleeping on my couch...More to come on that

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ode to the Frizz

Well friends, the low frequency blogging continues. All the blogs I'm following have slowed down their rate of posting as well. Everyones busy with other stuff. I'm just lazy, I guess. Draped on my couch like the thick fog that has embraced my apartment building for the last few days.

I have thought a lot about Miss Frizzle in the last 36 hours. I don't know why. It must have something to do with that motto of hers: Make mistakes, take chances, get messy!

As I approach my departure date, I get excited about going home. But I also reflect more and more on my time here.

While I haven't been surfing on a sine wave, or riding a river of lava, I can't help but feel like I've been on something of a wild ride.

A few things have effected me pretty blatantly, not to say that I'm a new person or anything crazy. I'll give you an example. That should help. I ask a lot more questions now. This trip has been good for my curiosity. I am always trying to figure out my world. Without this renewed sense of wonder I would have taken much longer to get acclimatized to my new spot.

Getting sales experience has also helped. I'm harder to lie to now. I'll pinpoint your objection, with a volley of questions so thick that if they were arrows they would blot out the midday sun, prominently held high in the hand of the sky. I would have also lit the arrows on fire and soaked the grounds under your soles with petrol. Needless to say, mess with me and you'll find yourself in a pickle. A HOT pickle, no less. I can still be coy and charming as hell though. I would say that I'm maybe even more charming. Travel has given me some great talking points. Everyone should travel.

The thing about learning first hand, is that you're learning by doing. Which means you probably suck at the start. That's uncomfortable. But it's this lack of comfort, the one where your stomach is turning and your head spinning as you falter in embarrassing ways, that is so important. I've learned a lot from it. My head spins in a lot less situations now.

For that, I thank Miss Frizzle's school of hands-on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Stark Realization

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of blogging. This unemployment gig has left me with so much time to fill, and no sense of urgency to fuel me to do anything meaningful.

Today I realized that I would be home in a little more than 3 weeks. Pretty crazy. How things have changed.

I spent a good part of today remembering my arrival, not even 6 short months ago. For example, right now I just got back from the grocery store, I remember when I didn't know where that was. I've since learned the whereabouts of many supermarkets, not to mention the exact locations of all of my most preferred foodstuffs. I can have small conversations with the cashiers.

I took the tram today. Actually, I took a few trams today. Come to think of it, I actually played the tramschedule like a jazz flute on the way to and from work. I caught a number of short routes, rather than waiting like a chump for the easiest tram to show up.

At the start, everything was serious. I was on edge. My senses were in overdrive, trying to intercept every stimuli no matter how small, while the switchboard that is my brain, scrambled like it was being operated by a gorilla on roller-skates. Moreover,I couldn't interact with anyone or rely on myself to get anywhere. Except for that one time on the first night when I was pissed drunk and got lost, then conveyed to a taxi driver I lived by the (now torn down) hockey arena by making slapshot motions and shouting player names.

I remember was listening to this. Seems a lot funnier now.

I take a lot of stuff for granted. I should work on that. Entitlement is a dangerous thing.


I am not taking going home for granted. Far too excited.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ode to Roger

I mentioned Roger Martin in a post a few days ago. A friend later directed me to an article he had written regarding the state of Canadian Education. From there I perused a few more articles and interviews he had written for The Walrus. Finally I came across one about the future of the Canadian Economy. It was a great read with some great lines that reminded me why I like so much what Mr. Martin has to say. Here is the article in it's entirety and below are a few of my favourite excerpts.

"So when I talk about how we should tax corporations, I am not making an argument about the size and involvement of government. I am making an argument about the intelligence with which governments in Canada tax corporations. Currently our taxation IQ is double digit — in a word, pathetic. "

"Our only choice is whether we want to be ahead of the curve or behind it. I can’t and won’t stop arguing this point because whiny people say that it would be hard to change. The truly hard thing is living with the consequences of profoundly bad decisions. "

"Second, keep pressing forward. There is greater danger from standing still and hoping the status quo will prevail than from innovating and being wrong. "

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Language Fail in Progress

Can I tell you how bad is it, my English?

I don’t mean to harp on these ESL folk. They are doing a great job learning the language of innovation. In 90% of cases their English is LEAPS AND BOUNDS ahead of my Slovak (or Turkish, as it may be). So kudos. And besides, when girls struggle to properly engineer phrases, it makes me smile. The backwards grammar they employ is more often than not, hilariously attractive, for a reason that still eludes me.

HOWEVER, it’s not all good. Between my (former) colleagues and my flatmate, I hear a lot of people speaking English as their second language. It’s not a bad thing either though, just another observation. I appreciate their efforts. Without them, I would have zero friends. FURTHERMORE, I am able to appreciate that mastery of spoken and written English is a tricky task. Unfortunately for me though, I’m something of a language copycat. I don’t know how else to describe it. Maybe it’s my extreme empathy, or desire to mitigate conflict, but I often find myself absorbing and repeating the catch phrases of the people around me. My dad says he does something similar, so maybe I can blame genetics. It is a phenomenon that has been with me as long as I can remember, and one that I constantly, try to consciously subvert. The symptoms now are worse than ever, having progressed from acute to chronic in the last few months. Despite my persistent efforts to catch myself, my language has become subject to follies. No longer am I mimicking buzzwords or slogans, but the language structure spewed by the ESL majority.

“I’ll catch you up tomorrow” I shout to a parting friend. “What the hell does that even mean?” I immediately ponder. Self-loathing follows. The most common case is the mixing up of noun-subject agreements in sentences. To list the flurry of examples that come to mind would be downright shameful.

In drafts of these blog posts, not to mention my every day interactions, I find myself composing sentences with structure so off it’s as though they’re afflicted with some unique literary strain of scoliosis. I have to read every word, sure that I won’t embarrass myself with grammatical slip up, after grammatical slip up. Actually, had it not been for this blogging experiment I think it’s safe to say that the erosion of my language skills would be far, far worse. All thanks and praise to the mighty Google for allowing me this pulpit from which to practice my prose.

And of course thanks to you, conscientious reader, for your patience and understanding as I try to keep my purposeful command of the English word from atrophying or disappearing altogether.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why I Hate the SIC

Ok ok, I don't actually hate the Social Issues Commission of your favourite organization. I just wanted your attention. I realize the importance and value these groups bring to the table, and I do not mean to undermine it whatsoever. But I think such said commissions are guilty of simplifying the issues at hand in their honourable crusades to eradicate "isms" everywhere, which unfortunately, ultimately negate from the goals they are trying to accomplish. I read a life changing book that I reference a lot "The Opposable Mind." In it, Roger Martin talks about how issues and situations are usually much more complex than we are willing to admit. We simplify things because it's easier to get our points across if we don't take all of the overwhelming details and complex interactions of these details into account. Sometimes we don't have the resources to thoroughly analyze the relationships between all of the factors at play, or sometimes we just want to be right, so we generalize, glossing over things that might be important. Unfortunately, this is destined to lead to sub-standard decision making.

Due to the complex nature of social issues I think this happens a lot in this particular arena.

In my experience, (my name comes up in paragraph 6...I also realize that now even the term "Sensitivity Training" is insensitive...) in working with Social Issues Commissions, they try, but generally fail to do much in the ways of educating people. At the end of anti-oppression training sessions, majority groups are left quivering in fear that they might accidentally step on toes; or worse, they feel as though they are being lectured and tune out. I've been out of the establishment for almost 8 months now and I sincerely hope things are changing for the better through the encouragement of dialogue and discussion by all parties. Though I maintain a healthy skepticism.

In my short time away from Kingston, I've come across some extremely overt and systemic acts of racism. The most prolific example is the engrained hate in Eastern Europe directed at the Roma people (colloquially referred to as Gypsies).

I was shocked when I heard my new Slovak friends talk about these people as second class citizens. They referenced their low standards of education, and their exploitation of children and child welfare laws. Coming from a left-leaning, uber-inclusive environment I was astounded at the blatant disregard for the rights of another group of people. The racism was overt and systemic and unlike anything I had been privy to. But rather than judge and condemn my new-compatriots, I tried to understand where they were coming from. After all, earlier in the week I had had a Roma man spit in my face when I refused to give him a cigarette (I don't smoke, so I didn't have cigarettes) and I had seen many children begging for money as their parents stood around the corner egging them on.

So I did a little research. In true Dr. House fashion, I figured that their must be a reason behind such behaviour. It wasn't until I saw a BBC Documentary, "The Lost World of Communism" that I began to understand. To continue with this Roma example, which hits particularly close to my new home, we must go back to Romania in the 1960s. Particularly, we must examine the reforms instituted by the man who I believe, is quite obviously one of the primary culprits, Nicolae Ceausescu. As the leader of Communist Romania in the late 60's, old boy Nicolae was in quite the position of power (I've learned in my time in my own new home/post-communist country that things were not NEARLY as egalitarian as the propaganda would have you believe. Orwell's Animal Farm paints a surprisingly accurate picture of the corruption and greed by those in power, but that's a story for another day). Ceausescu had great dreams for his society but lacked execution, you might say. To build his palaces and optimally exploit the natural resources of the land thereby maximizing his countries economic output he came to the logical conclusion that he would need a massive labour force. He demolished rural dwellings and communities, removing people from their homes all over the country side and built giant panelak housing units (lit: concrete panel houses) on the outskirts of Bucharest, not unlike the one I live in today (ok, way more decrepit and derelict than my current abode in Bratislava, but the same idea) in which to house the new and centralized work force in. He made physical labour the new national priority, forget education. Let me say that one more time so you can grasp the magnitude of it: He destroyed homes and forced the majority of the population to do physical work for low wages (sounds like little more than slavery, if you ask me). He then figured that to optimize national output he would need the largest workforce possible. So he outlawed abortion. This was even more significant than you might think because he had already made all methods of contraception illegal. So now if you are a Romanian in the late 60s you have in all likelihood been forced to do physical labour at low wages and are forbidden by the federal government from having safe sex. But that wasn't enough for Nicolae, he went on to hail mothers of 10 or more children as state heroes and instituted income taxes of up to 50% on married couples above the age of 25 who had no children. A myriad of terrible side effects ensued but the most obvious are that the education of the Roma people declined and a culture of child-bearing was established.

So the crazy racist ramblings of my new neighbours suddenly seem a lot more understandable. I don't think it's justified, but I can clearly understand why these attitudes exist.

Now maybe this is an isolated experience and all other attitudes and isms are not based in such obvious fact. However we are all able to speak only from our own practical experiences, and my most recent ones have been extremely eye opening for someone who considered himself at least somewhat educated vis a vis social issues, and which I had to travel half way around the world to attain. So I would love to see those campaigning for social issues (which include some really great people, I don't mean to cast broad brush strokes) seek to educate as to why these attitudes exist. It did a lot for me to understand that some of the stereotypes I had heard about Roma were quasi-truths, or at least had some foundation in fact. From there, it was much easier for me to understand where the racist attitudes of my colleagues and friends were coming from. So rather than explain to frosh leaders and students-at-large that racism, sexism and all other kinds of oppression are wrong, I am beginning to believe we must strive to explain why these attitudes exist before we go on to debunk them, challenge them and/or examine ways to change them. Rather than the current practice of throwing terminology and best practice at everybody enrolled in a post-secondary institution and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done (I'm guilty of this part too)!

Anyways, my point here, and the big angle I'm trying to play is not to hate on people championing human rights, (I reiterate that I think the work is critical despite what the title of this post might suggest) but that we can always do things better and we must not be afraid to objectively analyze and critique our methods lest we remain blindfolded to better solutions that we may not have yet imagined, even when the subject matter is sensitive.

As always, comments, questions and discussion are welcome and encouraged.
Thanks for stopping by.

Public Displays of Affection

Being unemployed, I often feel cooped up inside my house all day. Probably because that's what I do. As a result I spend a lot of my free time (which conveniently makes up all my time) at malls, cafes and bars, in search of humans to interact with and observe. Not a bad life, right? It’s a necessary attempt at breaking the monotonous cycle though. I also just realized there are a lot of “o”s in monotonous. I ALSO, just realized I’m the best-dressed person at this particular coffee shop, by a long shot.

In the last week that I’ve been frequenting these places, burning money I don’t have, I’ve noticed that no matter where I end up, there seems to be pair of young teens in the middle of a heavy-petting session. Simply put, it’s quite lewd.
Now I’ve been to a lot of coffee shops in Canada, malls and bars too. Especially bars. And yet I have never seen such frequent and obnoxious displays of affection in public places. It got me thinking. Maybe there isn’t the associated stigma here, as there is in North America. I think that has to be true.

I’ve begun to dig a little deeper though (being unemployed allows me ample time to dream about why pre-pubescent teenagers escape to public places to get all up on each other). And I think that’s the secret, escape.

You see just like me, most of the people in this post communist wonderland I now call home live in giant concrete panel housing blocks. Our flat is quite nice, but it’s not THAT big. It’s a living room, a kitchen and a few bedrooms. Sure, a family could live there, and many do. But short of closing your door and keeping your voices low, there would be little method to escape from mom and dad, were you forced to share one of these places with your elder family members. As a result, if you want to have any chance of getting past hugs and handholding you’ve got to “amscray” (whoa, haven’t used pig-Latin in awhile, -But it feels right given the juvenile subject matter of this post) from watchful parental eyes. Considering the respective prices of movies, beer and coffee, of course this is where the youngin’s end up. Furthermore, I’m willing to bet that winter is especially bad as parks and secluded benches become less accessible and more clothes hamper flesh-on-flesh contact.

I think the take home lesson for me, not that any of this has been particularly insightful, is that everyones actions and attitudes reflect their circumstances, and not always in ways that are incredibly obvious. Now, time to get back to some reading, while fighting the urge to stare at the guy feeling up his girlfriend, right beside me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fever Pitch Frustration

I was at my friend Adele's house in grade 3, when it first happened. Somebody proposed a game of charades. Ever since that moment at the base of his cream coloured carpeted stair case I have despised the game, and all variations on the stupid theme, drama classes included. I'm someone who appreciates language, obviously. Why would anyone waste their time, let alone find amusement in, trying to act out a dumb phrase. It doesn't make sense to me. We developed speech for a reason.

Now, in some ironic twist of fate my whole life has become a game of charades. In 95% of instances, I can't talk with anyone around me I am constantly forced to try and convey my needs and desires by elaborate hand motions and facial expressions. It got old, fast. But Slovak has been a whore of a language to grasp, despite my quasi-tenacious efforts. So here I am, victim of circumstance in this cruel, cruel world of ours: Hating myself every time I'm obliged to give a thumbs up.

Case in point: I tried to buy a new phone today, because the piece of shit I've been using -Previously employed by my flatmate Sarp circa 2004- finally bit the dust. After an hour of such said acting game I thought, at last, I was set to walk away with a fresh handset. Then, all of a sudden, my new friend Lucia said she had to make a phone call. Then she made another. Immediately thereafter, she informed me that unfortunately, because my residence visa is only one year (that's all you can get, by the way) and all the phone contracts are 2 years, there was absolutely no way she would be able to help me. Despite my pleading and attempts at reasoning with her I walked home, in the sleet, spiting T-Mobile.

I would start drinking but I have about 45 other things to do. Who knew being unemployed could be so much work? Oh yeah, I might have forgot to mention I quit my job. More to come regarding that when my blood temperature drops from a boil to a mere simmer.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Lonely Planet On Communism

I just got back from the grocery store, where I was met with incredibly long lines. I was head to head with the post-church rush.

During my family travels, I obviously spent some time leafing through the Lonely Planet. Allow me to quote a few passages about my new surroundings.

"The communist era basically dotted the landscape and cities with eyesores. The building material of choice was concrete. Vast, truly ugly panelak (concrete apartment buildings made with prefabricated panels) popped up on the outskirts of cities in both nations [Czech Republic and Slovakia], especially during the 1960s and 70s. Slovakia was particularly hard hit. The communist era left some monumentally odd structures..."
Pg. 41

"Forty-five years of communist rule was bound to leave a mark. An obsession with modern functionalism resulted in many odd, sometimes depressing structures... The entire Petrzalka concrete jungle housing estate is a good example of the communist egalitarian ethics of old. These ugly buildings all look identical."
Pg. 347

Basically this was just a cop-out from doing any creative writing of my own! More of that to come soon. I promise.

Enjoy your extra hour of sleep, loyal North American reader.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The best party holiday by far. Now young ladies everywhere, go dress up like skanks and don't be judged for it.

On My Own

The family left early this morning. Very early. It was a fun visit though and I am more excited to go home in about 5 weeks. For now though I'm all on my own.

Time to get down to business.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Family Time

My parents and sister came to visit me a few days ago. We've spent the lat few days getting them acquainted with B'lava. They are here for another week so my internet presence will diminish considerably as I spend my time doing tourist like things, for once. I'm sure there will be plenty of fun updates to tell you about once they leave and I have a little time.

For now, suffice it say it's awesome having the fam around.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn Blogging

Before we get started: There's a car driving around my neighbourhood with a megaphone on top of it. This guy is speaking adamantly about something. I wish I knew what it was about. Instead I just close my window, hope it's not important and forget about it.

Down to business: I know I've been neglectful. I'm sorry. The truth is, while I have been incredibly busy as of late, my time is expensed on rather dull activities. I'd rather not muse on the mundane. I think that's the best course of action for everyone involved in this blogging experience.

I'm still not really doing anything particularly BLOGWORTHY. And yet, here I am, tapping key upon key after we just agreed I'd stop writing about doing nothing. But wait, you're forgetting how selfless I am. This blog post isn't even about me. One of the best dudes I know, my main man @Senortardez has just himself embarked on a worthy journey. He's off to Japan to teach English and generally strengthen his international pimp hand. I'm sure he'll be a part of this blogging game soon enough, able to recount his story for you with his own poignant prose.

After seeing a tweet this morning announcing his arrival in Tokyo, it wasn't long until I was thinking about my own arrival here. The mix of uncertainty, anxiety and excitement was intoxicating. Traveling alone is an unreal experience. I'm excited to hear about his adventure and the opportunities it has provided me to reflect on my own.

As I predicted earlier, October was bound by the laws of nature to be a bountifully productive month. Indeed it has been, the Jworthy Almanac of Productivity logs another victory. I have put my head down and I'm starting to hit my stride. I like the idea of being in school, or a similar routine. Being productive feels awesome. The weather here is more familiar to me than it's ever been: As overcast rolls in permanently and the temperature plummets. The time to conquer the world is now.

I also have some visitors coming in a few days, which I'm pretty excited about.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shark Tank

I'm watching this hilarious ABC version of a BBC show called Dragon's Den. It's great.

Without getting into the nature of the show, the American version has much more outlandish characters and way more production value. I don't know if it's as good or not.

I like to think about how that reflects on our societies.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Just stopping by really quick. Nothing to see here.

On the ESPN website I just saw something that confirmed Steve Jobs will indeed rule the world. Their was an aesthetically pleasing, gigantic, half-screen banner that was advertising the iPod Touch as a gaming device. The ad showed 4 or 5 awesome looking sports games.

I don't know why I thought this was clever. Maybe because I feverishly believe in the awesomeness of the iPod Touch. Thoughts?

Dr.'s Orders

I have a Moleskine notebook that I use to write in. I just use it to jot down ideas that I have that are not fully developed but that I think are intelligent. I also write down quotes that at the time I think are relevant to my life.

I was leafing through it today, this one made me smile today:

"If you want to catch beasts you don't see everyday,
You have to go places quite out of the way.
You have to go paces no other can get to
You have to get cold and you have to get wet too."

Dr. Seuss, obviously.

Ok, one more:

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished...
That will be the beginning."

-Louis L'Amour.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Quick Round-Up

Things hvae been hectic as of late. I know I've been saying that alot.

Just a quick run down of my open stock positions. I'll legit blog when my head stops hurting so much.

XPH 36.10 +47.83%
UEC 3.84 +131.60%
FTK 2.18 +18.73%
ENTR 2.90 +12.63%
SLW 14.50 +46.87%
TGB 2.77 +11.58%
CAEI 1.67 +2.39%
GLW 15.84+3.82%
SQM 38.21 +1.17%
AAPL191.17 +2.26
TEVA 50.67 -0.50%
ANAD 4.65 +0.72%
ONXX 26.72 -4.47%
EJ 22.56+1.14%
SIM 8.53 0.00%

30% CASH

Earlier today I sold out of PKX and XXIA for 6 and 11% wins respectively.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Enter: Autumn

I can't sleep, surely a sign I am getting healthy. I thought I'd blog. Half-hoping it would put me to sleep. Hopefully not you though.

The last few weeks, despite it being October, the temperature has managed to maintain a spot somewhere in the high 20's (approx 80F). In short, it's been awesome. The wet June aside, the weather has been fantastic the last 5-6 months. Until Friday, when the temperature plummeted closer to the fall climate to which I am more accustomed. Cloud, fog and rain rolled in over the mountains, obscuring the TV tower on the hilltop.

The last two days have been cold, dreary and reminiscent of Newfoundland. I've had to wear sweaters. Or, would that be jumper? Sorry. I'm still adjusting to the intricacies of dialect, I suppose.

But the cold air feels good to inhale. I realize I have a lot more garb for this kind of weather than summer. It's obvious, everywhere I've ever lived has been wet, cold and windy for many months of the year. Kingston should be of notable distinction in this regard. This is now exactly the same as that. It's like I'm at home in a terrible way. Still comforting.

Wet leaves stick to my shoes, which now squeak on tile floors. My pocket is stuffed with Kleenex, obviously I have a cold. I'm tearing through my stores of tea with voracity, idly watching, as the sun darts faster and faster for it's home behind the hills. But I feel a renewed sense of vigor. In a depressing way, this is what I'm used to. Over the last four years these have been the days where I hit Stauffer library with the most tenacity and ambition.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Headaches and Such

Ok, now I'm complaining. I could mask it as astonished goes for tea with negative but I don't think it's necessary to beat around the bush any longer.

I've seriously never gotten headaches before. I woke up this morning and it felt like I shot 40oz of Jack Daniel's and then passed out immediately, without water or bread. Beside a jackhammer and under an elephant.

A steady infusion of the usual OTC options pushed the pulsing pain back to the shadows where it lingered all day.

I thought I had this thing routed two days ago. Now my body temperature oscillates between goose bumps and sweat like a sine wave halfway through a two-week amphetamine bender. More tea and then bed.

As I write about it, it gets worse. So I'm going to wrap this up. Thanks for bearing with me. Cures? Anybody?

Maybe it's all the pooches in town.

UPDATE: My "nasal discharge" as This NYT article describes it, has varied but is now back to the clear. Gross. So either I am mad short T-cells, or I'm chillin' and on my way to recovery. The final flush, if you will! TMI? Sorry.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Moment?

It's not like I'm pining to whine. I just had a headache today that was wildly painful. I never get headaches so it was interesting, I guess. I haven't felt 100% the last few days. Even with the uber lame and tame weekend I had.

That was more remark than complaint, really.

Here's another bitter remark disguised by an observation. My Facebook newsfeed has been inundated with all of this Farmville and Mafia Wars noise. I don't care about how many cyber-hits you have or what kind of internet-corn you can plant. I'm an equal opportunity hater when it comes to this shit. Anyways, it's not that I value the integrity of my newsfeed -you should see the rubbish that pours through that thing- but it's the principle I'm getting at here.

**"Ah, another principle argument, those are always fun." The audience sarcastically laments**

A particular incident irked one of my more sensitive nerves, just a moment ago. "Kendra," the obnoxious, poly-coloured announcement would have it, had helped out 5 neighbouring farms by lending them lentils or some other agro-dodgery ploy. The point is, if it were real life would this Kendra character be out helping her neighbours? No. She'd be procrastinating on dumb shit like social-farm-working, whatever that is.

It's like when I briefly explored "The Sims." My Sim never played computer games. Instead, he worked out, read books, took cooking classes and got with the hoes in his neighbourhood. I had to invest a lot of my time at the computer. The equivalent to the one my awesome Sim never touched.

When I started to feel that real-life me, was paling in comparison to the geniality of my virtual pet project, I decided to reduce my screen time.

UPDATE: Kendra just hit the big time by upgrading to a Big Family Farm in FarmVille!


"The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less."

From an article that came out of the freakonomics blog.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Initially, it was hard for me to accept the distinct signs that the fall equinox had come and gone. I clung to warm forecasts on my computer screen, rather than pay attention to the thick layer of deciduous leaves layering the ground outside. I ignored the fresh but crisp sting, that cool air makes when it's inhaled.

I think of BBQ season wrapping up. I think of pumpkins. I think of school and I think of change. This isn't something I've reflected on until now, but more changes than the colour of leaves when the tenth month of the year ambles along.

I'm an idea man. I like thinking about absurd and outrageous things that might or might not be feasible. That's usually what summer is for. Traditionally, during the last handful of years I've been exceedingly busy from the months of October to April. The warm months have allowed me free time to ponder my goals and debate my next sequence of moves in the carefully orchestrated chess match, that is my life. I try my best to be confident.

September has rolled by easier than I expected. Facebook status updates and Twitter announcements pulled at strings of nostalgia within me; but, the effect was minimal. I'm too involved with my own reality. I'm caught up in the rat race.

Not really though.

September has always been a party. In undergraduate life, it was not until the post-homecoming haze wore off, that you realized halloween was a long ways off and midterms loomed. October has always been the time to get serious. The fake deadlines you set for yourself, -and failed to meet- have come and gone. The feeling is amplified: The sun shines bright but it's intensity perpetually wanes off. It sprints for the horizon, in stark contrast to the careless amble that marks the summer months. My urge to make the most of daylight grows stronger. A sense of urgency fills me. I want to make the the most of it. For soon enough, I will be hibernating; hunkering down and grinding.

As winter continues it's eminent march towards us, I feel compelled to act now, more than ever. As the seasons change, so does my mindset.

A new cycle is upon us, filled with "Octobertunity." You've had time to think, you've had a month to get acclimatized. Now class is in session.

The Haircut

I'll get straight to the point here. Friday afternoon: I needed a haircut in a bad way. My jewfro was beginning to more and more resemble steel wool. Patrick, a colleague, suggested we go get our mops cleaned up.

The work day ran out and we were on our way. It was en route, when he told me that no English was spoken at this place. He had a note in Slovak describing the haircut he wanted. After briefly entertaining the ridiculous notion of having the exact same haircut as Patrick I decided, albeit quite hesitantly, to freestyle it.

She looked 17. Her own hair, hung in a simple long ponytail, did not inspire much in the way of confidence. I forced a smile and took a seat. The butterflies flew in quasi-formation. She talked, I smiled and shrugged, apologized. The 4 female teams of hairdressers and customers all tried to suppress laughter. I think they talked about me for the next 30 minutes. Not in that flattering kind of way. My stylist, clad in black, picked up the electric things and I managed to convey I was a scissors only kind of guy. My fears of resembling the hairless 30% of the male population, resided.

I tried to maintain my optimism. Her first few snips were swift and significant. The audacity. She continued unabated. It was as if she saw my hair as an overgrown shrub, and she was the chainsaw yielding gardner just back from a month long vacation. I was excited. I felt triumphant.

I got distracted. I caught sight of her work in the mirror. The butterflies were vomited on one another. I faked some smiles and analyzed the job closely.

She evened things out and it began coming together.

In the end it turned out solid. It was like my emotions were riding a sine wave though.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Disclosure Revisited

Once again, here are all my positions and how they've changed during the week. I know this isn't that interesting to read but it's been helpful for me I think. After all, 9 times out of 10 I care more about making money than you reading my blog, no offense.

I promise if it starts to get out of control I will find a way to post it somewhere else. It's just that I'm feeling more analytical than creative, at present.

More real content to come soon.

XPH from 24.42 now @ 34.64 - Putting in a stop @32 to protect gains.
UEC from 1.66 now @ 2.73 - Sold 20% of original already at 3.11, holding for a while.
FTK from 1.83 now @ 2.14 - Bough 20% @1.85
4/5 ENTR from 2.57 now @ 2.24 - Cancelled stop @ 2.56, Bought 20% @2.41, bought 20% @2.32
TGB from 2.46 now @ 2.47 - Hold, sell on a channel break with volume.
1/3 MOS from 47.43 now @ 46 Bought 20% @ 48.07, Bought 40% at 45.51
CAEI from 1.63 now @ 1.56 - Hold. Doubled down at 1.51
GLW from 15.26 now @14.84 - Added 25% @ 14.56, 25%@ 14.54 watching volume at current resistance.
GOOG from 496.08 now @ 484.58 -long term
SQM from 37.77 now @ 36.96- accumulating. Doubled down at 36.40
IBM from 119.20 now @119.02 Holding until 1st quarter 2010.

20% CASH

When I'm talking about fraction or percentage points I'm talking about how much of the original position or the amount of capital I am willing to allocate relative to the position I'm maintaining. I know that is about as clear as mud. Basically it is just feeble position sizing practice.

The best example this week is MOS. I know it's dangerous to chase a stock. I maintain that I am not. I have a plan and rather than try and pick the exact lowest price it makes sense to average in. In this instance I think the stock can go mucho higher. Had I not sold while the stock was running last week (around 53). I would have dropped the whole position. However, I sold and had cash sitting on the sidelines. When the stock dipped I grabbed. Instead of a cost basis of 51, I have a price of 47.5. It's still a loser and I have 20% more of the position I'm willing to throw at it. Same goes for SQM.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Neglect Story

I've been what you might call, "busy as hell" lately. To the neglect of this blog, amongst other things.

I had the initial inkling that I was lacking in the posting department earlier in the week. Thanks to DJ Ra for remixing that shit back into my brain today. Awareness is the first step, right?

In sync with this powerful theme, and for the same reasons as originally stated, I'm going to cut this short. This guy has stuff to do.

I need to read some Slovak and shower, amongst other things. I'll catch you up on the happenings in my hysterical attempt at a life, over the weekend.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Blogging

Sat 9:20am: Not enough sleep, so awake.
Reading lots of hilarity about Queen's Homecoming wannabes. That was unbelievably fun shit. I am reading the news, as usual, and there is talk of climate change. My thoughts on it have been discussed here before. Sorry for the relapse. Anyways, the theme is still centered around cap and trade. I remember hearing an interview on CBC with one of these so called gurus. He was different though. He said one of two things would happen: Either humans would have to very soon start thinking about the carbon footprint of their every action and live extremely strategically, or it would start to become a very significant problem with real consequences, when an incredibly innovative solution (how to cool down the sun a bit, or at least block some of it's power, for example) would appropriately mitigate the disaster.

(I wish I could name the dude, I think it was on the program "Ideas," though.

Given humanity, I'm putting my money on the latter. Focus on science and not the misguided feeling to chain yourself to a Red Wood.

Sat 11:58pm: The Story of Buda & Pest.

Before reading the Eastern Europe Lonely Planet I had no idea Budapest was originally two cities, now separated by 9 Bridges. Being in Vienna yesterday and Hungary today reminded me that while B'lava has it's charm, it also still has a long way to go. I forgot, customer service is awesome.

I daydreamed most of the way there. A hilarious parking lot technology fail. We spent the day strolling the streets. Then grabbed lunch. The rest of the day unrolled amidst Saint Steven caliber, luxurious relaxation at a giant thermal bath and spa facility. Based on Sarp's frequent attendance at this particular place, and the 2 hour drive, it's not hard to fathom this might be one of his favourite places in Europe. I have a few inclinations as to why this might be. Namely the sheer awesome of the place. Not bad, for an impromptu foray.

Hopefully I can sleep!

Sun 9:27am:

Just drinking some tea, about to watch the new episode of The Office. Nothing to see here. Plans for the day include homemaker-esque activities to make the week ahead as simple as possible.

Sat 11:36am: About to Clean, but first...Full Disclosure:

XPH from 24.42 now @ 34.60 - Putting in a stop @32 to protect gains.
UEC from 1.66 now @ 2.66 - Sold 20% of original already at 3.11, holding for a while.
FTK from 1.83 now @ 2.07 - Sold 20% holding to 2.50 and 3 to sell more.
ENTR from 2.78 now @ 2.77 - Sold 40% around 2.94 hold until 3.50, stop @ 2.56
TGB from 2.46 now @ 2.47 - Hold, sell on a channel break with volume.
MOS from 51.12 now @ 49.21 Sold 30% at 53.45 and 30% at 54.14, remaining sell target @ 55.33
CAEI from 1.80 now @ 1.73 - Hold. Accumulate down to 1.50.
GLW from 15.64 now @14.84 - Looking to add, watching volume at current resistance.
GOOG from 496.08 now @ 296.08 -long term
SQM from 39.13 now @ 38.62- accumulating.

%5% CASH

I locked in some gains but deployed a little capital on long term holds like GOOG and SQM. The market sold off towards the end of the week. That's fine with me, it can't be green every day. We'll see what this week brings, hopefully some buying opportunities.

Mon 7:35am: I know it's not the weekend but...

Just trying to get stoked about work. I watched a movie last night called The Obama Deception. It was interesting, if not a little one-sided. It focused on the influence of a few uber-wealthy individuals and their plans for the world. Interesting, if nothing else. Time to get back to my oatmeal.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Get Ready Pollsters

It's time to vote!!

It looks like my little rant yesterday inspired a little poll over at my fave news site.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Greenovations, a $ustainable Future

Making Money off of Tree-Hugger Trends.

I'm sure this is a common thought train for a lot of people. Here's my rendition of it:

I was reading the Economist. The typical stories. Politicians espousing big green promises. The economy shits the bed.

The obvious is answer is that for green technology and a real fight against climate change, to gain any traction, it has to be financially stable. There must be a way to make renewable financially sustainable energy. It just hasn't been thought of, or developed enough yet. Science is the answer, I maintain.

I would add that there is a bonus, hidden in a convenient corollary of the above stated. While I believe it true that for a green energy source to be sustainable in the long term it must be financially viable, I also assert that if someone can solve this elaborate puzzle, the rewards will be bountiful. After all, politicians still have promises to uphold. While they rarely have expected to succeed in carrying out their word, they will be greedy to encourage your proliferation, as an energy provider in order to appear so godly.

I don't know too much about how Oligarchies in Russia work but I think this might be a stepping stone on the path to a modern day equivalent.

Today, walking home form work, I saw three of the most beautiful females I've ever seen in my life. That happens to me every day.

Day 2 of the iPod sleep cycle app was equally excellent. Here's hopin' 3's a charm.

UPDATE Sept 23: MOS dipped to 50.12 so I took advantage of the Sale and doubled my position. It's back up to over 51 now so I am happy with the purchase. I also bought a small position of SQM @39.47 I will keep accumulating this. Finally I copped a small amount of GOOG @ 496.27, now @503ish. The GOOG is for the long term. I see great things in the future.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday is the Worst Day

Here's a medley of thoughts and ideas hopefully of at least a little insight.

Hands-Down, Tuesday is the worst day of the week, according to me. Who likes to be between 20 and 40% done anything? Please forward me your tricks for feeling motivated after the initial excitement has died down and the light at the end of the tunnel is still well beyond outstretched fingertips. Seriously, I would love them.

Over the weekend I was vacuuming and cooking at the same time. I was waiting for water to boil and needed to pass the Hoover. In second year Organic Chemistry, Professor David Zechel finally made the lesson stick "Always ask, 'what's the rate determining step?'" With that in mind, I took care of the living room in short order and added my pasta promptly thereafter.

I acquired the iPhone Sleep Cycle app. Based on your movements while you sleep it wakes you up at the lightest point of your snooze within a half-hour window. Today was good but I'll report back after a more legitimate number of sample wakes.

Unfortunately as I munched my fresh dish (while the pot soaked d'uh) my appetite was lost. Bear Grills Ultimate Survivor bug meals that were airing on the Discovery Channel quelled my desire to consume immediately. He mentioned though that bugs provided, pound for pound, by far the best source of protein. It got me thinking, there must be a way to eat bugs that are delicious and not gross. The closer to chicken in every way, the better. I think the biggest thing, for me, would be that they didn't look like bugs. I would want them prepared in burritos, spreads, dips, stir fry and curry.

Aside from upscale bug cuisine making a mockery of global food shortages and world hunger, I don't have too much to say. I mean, there is some really annoying construction that significantly perturbs my commute to work, but that shit is everywhere when you think about it.

I'm going to read a book.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Full Disclosure

In addition to whatever ramblings I've dreamt about this weekend past, I'll post at the bottom, my trading portfolio and my plans for each position. My trading has been successful lately and so naturally, I'm more interested in it. I'm much more invested in things at which I am succeeding, when compared to those at which I am pulling a "Special Jack". Anyways, this is more of an abstract and lame attempt at self-management. But maybe, if I do this now, it will save me some worrying during the week, is how my train of thought rolls. In an ideal world I might even see a meagre improvement in how productive I am, ha.

Sorry about my shoddy job of creative writing this week, by the way. I have approximately 92,461 half-written blog posts. Maybe I'll do some rapid-fire blogging at a later point. Pumping about blog post after blog post. I'm vividly reminded of a female friend in high school who "dated," like that. Much more likely though, they will turn stale on my dashboard.

I was walking around town looking for English books yesterday. Not very successful. I'm not sure what I'll do when I finish my book.

I have always hated milk, chocolate exempt. Obviously. With that in mind, there are three things I like about this country: Girls, liquor prices, and Acidko. Apparently it's "Acid Milk." I don't know what that means, so I call it too delicious to name. Well, allow me to try in vain anyways: It's a hybrd milk-yogurt with a proper twang, (I loathe the word twang). It comes in all kinds of flavours. Today I accidentally bought pineapple instead of vanilla. It's blowing my mind. Another slight positive of being here, is my confidence that the winter will be a relative delight, compared to Ontario. I'm such an optimist.

Sorry for wasting your time by not saying anything of value. Full Disclosure is in progress...

In addition, this week I sold SLW and HERO. Lightning up a little here.

XPH from 24.42 now @ 34.59 - Putting in a stop @32 to protect gains.
UEC from 1.66 now @ 2.94 - Sold 20% of original already at 3.11, holding for a while.
FTK from 1.83 now @ 2.12 - Sold 20% holding to 2.50 and 3 to sell more.
ENTR from 2.78 now @ 2.85 - Sold 40% around 2.94 hold until 3.50, stop @ 2.56
TGB from 2.46 now @ 2.72 - Hold, sell on a channel break with volume.
MOS from 51.44 now @ 54.25 Sold 30% at 53.45 and 30% at 54.14, remaining sell target @ 55.33
CAEI from 1.80 now @ 1.86 - Hold. Accumulate down to 1.50.

65% CASH

UPDATE Sept 23: MOS dipped to 50.12 so I took advantage of the Sale and doubled my position. It's back up to over 51 now so I am happy with the purchase. I also bought a small position of SQM @39.47 I will keep accumulating this. Finally I copped a small amount of GOOG @ 496.27, now @503ish. The GOOG is for the long term. I see great things in the future.

Credit is due to the "Godly Folks of iBC," obviously.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Engineering Victorry

Check the bottles.

I'm feeling a small tinge of nostalgia with my hangover, or maybe last night was almost "one of those nights" (I have no idea what that means). Either way, I'm too tired to list all of my recent exploits. I'd rather reflect on past hilarity. It's my blog, remember, I'll do what I please.

My experiences with Queen's Model Parliament (QMP) were lewd, yet distinguished. A bender peppered with appearances in the House of Commons. Drunk, at three in the afternoon giving a speech about proposed political "nonsensery." That's neither here, nor there. The QMP diaries could make a book of their own. I have a particular, beautifully orchestrated victory in mind.

This particular tale occurred in a giant dining room somewhere on the first floor of the Chateau Laurier. An extravagant banquet of a dinner, complete with a keystone speaker and ice bar. The only problem, the lack of moderation hallmarking my friend group was at odds with the outrageously priced drink list. To be expected at such a formal and classy affair. Luckily, we came prepared. We innovated.

Being the capstone event, after a dramatic and drawn-out week, there were of course people bringing presents. Erik mentioned how we could exploit that. QMP is the epitome of a chach festival. It is an aggregation of self-obsessed, narcissistic, clowns, from one of Canada's finest academic institutions, who pine for the time when they can stand in front of their equally proud, suit-clad peer group and announce their views. Of course there were gifts. What better way to help each other feel important.

I'd got my hands on some wine bottle gift bags, courtesy of my lovely mother. The next step was important, which wine would we choose? It needed to be white and screw top. As two criteria critical for selection by the underaged girl demographic, there was a plethora of variety from which to choose. We returned to our hotel room a few hours later and made short work of the carefully selected bottle. Leaning forward in my chair, I held the empty wine bottle in front of me. Someone passed me a fresh bottle of Finlandia vodka. My pour was artful, spilling not a drop. I rapidly twisted the cap back on before sliding it into the slim green bag.

A few drinks later we made the short jaunt to the Chateau Laurier. Security frisked us and smiled. Presumably at my thoughtful gift bag. I walked to the bar and immediately ordered a Sprite and a glass of Orange Juice. An unusual change from my normal juiced-up swagger. Heads turned. I saw a myriad of confused looks. Undeterred, I found our table and ordered a bottle of white, which was promptly delivered in an ice bucket. From under the table I grabbed my bottle and put it into the gleaming, silver, ice repository. I spiked my drinks and smiled. Victory.

Look at your surroundings and see where you can use them to your advantage. Or just smuggle liquor everywhere you go.

It's a national holiday here, that's why I'm able to do this on a Tuesday.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I just discovered Iceberg Slim. I'm going to read about him voraciously for the next hour. He has grabbed my attention with phrases such as:

"You can't learn con by memorizing words. Every mark and every play of any con game is different. You have to memorize the elements of con." A sucker wants formulas he can memorize and plug into situations. He has no flow because he is so rigid in his mind. The hustler has flow because he plays for the overall game, knows the elements, can improvise and make angles where no one else sees them.

All this inspired by a post over at the Robert Greene Blog.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which Picture?

I guess it's both. Sorry to ruin it for you.

I knew a guy, he was pretty successful. I once had the rare privilege of sharing a few beers in his company. A few turned into a few too many. As seems to be the theme lately. I don't recall what prompted it, but he said "I worry about the small things, and the big things sort of take care of themselves."

The cognitive dissonance I experienced was impressive, given the light buzz I had going on.

I'd always thought the opposite. That when the big picture is well-maintained the details fill themselves in. Hire good people; don't micromanage. If a girl is beautiful, funny and smart she's probably a catch.

And then I got to thinking about this guys behaviour. He consistently, consistent being the operative word, did the little things. He had a car and a sweet crib.

It's important, I guess, to always look at situation in a few ways. Being able to step back to see where things are going is important. A strategic plan, with direction and achievable goals is a must, to successfully negotiate one challenge after another. When it comes to executing plans and reaching those goals, technical perfection, patience and persistence are critical to each victory. More importantly, recovering from each loss. I'm digging the idea that failure is critical to success. That seems to be pretty blatantly laid out in sales.

Basically, I'm obsessed with this website.

If you don't know who Joe Wilson is, or what he did, you read less news than me. Consider yourself, benchmarked.

UPDATE: My fave Joe Wlson website got shut down, it seems. Too libelous I guess.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Get Konected!!

If you haven't already, check it out!!

It's a project a few of my friends, with the help of a government grant have done an incredible job promoting and putting together. I'm very interested to see what it becomes.

Ultimate thanks to my main man, the editor in chief, @matthewlombardi, himself an incredibly apt wordsmith, for soliciting me an article spot. With him at the helm it's hard to imagine things getting anything but better.

The theme of the publication is "Inspiration for an Enlightened Generation." I kept the theme in mind (feeling more hungover than inspired or enlightened during most of my writing) while actively reflecting upon the recent fairly drastic changes in my way of life.

The only creative scrawling I've ever done has been more or less confined to this blog. So this foray into the world of print and PDF is a daunting leap that I was very self-conscious about making.

I'll quit stalling so you can check it out, now!!

Concluding our Case Study

I'm out!

Incase you are incredibly lazy and didn't bother to read the above link: I exited the trade that I executed on the above mentioned blog post, dated August 25. With the long weekend, there have been 9 trading sessions since that play.

Aided along with a little patience/ignorance the sum result of my wild selection criteria produced a winner. All with minimal effort. The stock in question was PETS, which I started a small position in at a price of 18.10/share. When I say small, I mean 10% of the total amount of my portfolio I was willing to a lot. No more than 10% of my total portfolio is the limit I'm personally comfortable with and would have been willing to pursue. Unfortunately, because of a crazy schedule and distractions in general I left the position somewhat neglected. Had I been more vigilant I probably could have added to the position at a good price. I had a stop in place to buy 20% at 18.03 but it never hit that low after I bought the initial entry. More careful attention to the account would have allowed me to sell portions of the shares at a time, at a few prices, to try and maximize potential while protecting downside. On the other hand I certainly didn't stress about losing money!

Today I exited the trade at $19.10/share for a cool 5.5% gain. Again, if the position had been larger I could have sold a % today and let the rest ride. The good news is, my system gets a win. I use the term system quite loosely. I have some ideas to make things better but I'm happy with the outcome, especially for the amount of work I put in. Efficiency can be a lifestyle, you see.

More on position sizing from the best of the best.

KONEKT is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned for this incredibly exciting event!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Jworthy Photostream

Check it out!

I will add more as I find them. All of the pictures are stolen from my friends because I'm having some serious technical issues with the USB aspect of my memory card. Therefore my own photography skills remain privy only to me.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Serendipity Deconstructed

It's funny how things happen. I'm pretty weird in some ways. Self-conscious about strange things. People judging the food that I'm buying at the grocery store is one such thing. Probably because I'm pretty quick to check out what other people are consuming. And not always for culinary inspiration.

It happened today. A vehement exposure to the phobia. There was potential for disaster, but everything sort of worked out. It's not quite that simple though, I'm afraid.

The usual Saturday sees me clinging to the bed, couch, kitchen table or some combination of all three. Depending on the variable degree of debauchery that occurred in the 12 hours prior, my behaviour is undeniably affected. This morning I awoke in a haze; a little lighter of a fog than usual. To my surprise. I had no food in my house save a bag of almonds. They're smaller and more chewy than in Canada. If in this instance, my cupboards had been stocked, I likely would have gorged on the most substandard foods in my pantry (I don't really have a pantry). Alternatively, I would have limped and lugged myself to the grocery store, where I would have bought frozen foods and microwavable shit. Just another day in the life. These are the times when my fears really get amplified. When I'm a hypocrisy.

I was about to head to the store to fill a cart with caloric garbage. I say cart because baskets are difficult to come by. I remembered about a bag of oatmeal. At this pivotal point, I decided that because I felt relatively well, I would eat the oatmeal instead of running for pre-packaged sandwiches. I'm glad I did. I threw in a mammoth glass of tea for good measure. I decided to go to the "supermarket" anyways. I was in the mood. Furthermore, the prospect of lunch and Sunday loomed.

A moment of fear. I didn't have the right coin to get a cart. By divine intervention, I managed to snipe one of the only baskets in the place. My ability to carry goods, and my trip itself, would have been crippled had I not found this conveniently placed plastic rectangular food-hold. Examining my list, I navigated from the bananas, -To the milk, to the chicken breasts and frozen vegetables. All with ruthless efficiency. A rapidly diminishing hangover, and original healthy choices catalyzed a zest about me that helped spawn further healthy choices. My basket brimming of foodstuffs was closer to that of an athlete than a couch potato. I think that's the way I should try and appear, regardless of what's the truth.

I found a short line. Then rested my basket of low-carb options, on the ground. As I admiringly and narcissistically placed my soon-to-be purchases on the conveyor belt, someone was asking me a question. I spun around. A supermodel pointed at my basket. She said a string of words I couldn't interpret. I understood the gist of what she was saying though. I told her I didn't understand and offered her the coveted-basket. She spoke English. We chatted briefly about how lucky I was to have the only basket in the store.

I looked at my food and smiled. I don't care if she saw it; the principle provides me an odd vindication. Because of one positive choice an experience seemingly completely unrelated went much better than it originally might have. The implications are everywhere. Or maybe I'm overanalyzing mundane stuff to fish for theories. I guess that's the scientific method though.

Anyways, just another piece of fodder in the war of attrition that is this blogging game. Nothing to see here. Just trying to wrack up my 10,00 hours. Thanks for enduring.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Unfamiliar Potraviny

This post is about critically and quickly exploring your ideas and random thoughts.

I was on a walk, you see. I made a left turn onto the bumpy sidewalk of a main thoroughfare. In my experience, Slovak pavement work has a long way to go. Anyways, it's a street I've walked many times, always in one direction. It was weird when I saw a Potraviny that looked unfamiliar. It was petty big too. It's good to know where these things are in your neighborhood.

I thought about it, why hadn't I seen this before? I've been here a thousand times? What's different?

Then it clicked, today was the first time I walked the street in the opposite direction. I always get off the tram at this stop. Since I don't buy tickets for the tram, I always peer out one window, watching vigilantly for ticket inspectors. It gives me something to do. And distracts me from the paranoia of people looking at you and speaking in a foreign language.

The end result is that I only look out one side of the tram, studying only one side of the street. But wait, I go to and from work so I look out both windows equally. Except, this Potraviny is nearby my final tram stop. I disembark the tram, take a right turn off the bumpy sidewalk, and I'm on my way. In the morning, I go to the next stop on the line. It's a few minutes further but not much. A slightly obtuse triangle can be drawn between my house and the two stops. The reason for the foray, is because an additional tram swings by my penultimate stop. And in the morning, I'm always paranoid of being late for work so the more chances to hook a street-car the better.

I finally discovered that ignored patch of city, an obscure manifestation of my habits.

Oh yeah, Potraviny is the Depenneur of Slovakia.

Asinine argument or mildly interesting case study? You decide.

The Betty Story

I was having trouble with a personal assistant (PA). In America, they don't mess around. It was this girl named Betty, alright? The gatekeeper. The line between me and a hot lead, and Euros. With Betty manning the receiver I was banging my head on a wall of "I can offer you her voicemail." Which Betty repeated with metronomic consistency in the most robotic, least engaging tone I've ever heard. No matter what I could think to say. Enter Raoul.

After 3 minutes Betty was apologizing to him.

I'm exposing myself much more than I'm comfortable with, when I bestow praise on this guy. As the only other person in the office sharing a Canadian passport we had a mutual and natural affinity, maybe because of our tolerance of extreme climate following life in Ontario, or more likely our proximate arrival dates. The near-constant exposure, has resulted in my becoming somewhat inured, or desensitized, to the numbers he puts up and perpetual trash he talks. All that said, he pulled out some Jedi mind tricks shit.

It didn't go well at first. Betty came out hard with her usual battery of "I can offer you her voicemail." I smiled sadistically to myself -But then, a fast flurry of questions were exchanged. Each posed with increasing intolerance for inefficiency. After what I thought was a losing battle, our friend Raoul had the PA unroll a red carpet on his way to the office of the decision maker. It took him five or six pointed questions in a query fueled quarrel that lasted a full few minutes. I expect to take heat, for such blatant praise. It's a testament to how legit the performance was, I guess.

Next time he offers his immediate assistance, or need to prove self-worth, I'll remember to tape it.

I guess the lesson is persistence prevails at every encounter, no matter how small. I would also probably be well-served to remain more astute

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Wikipedia Tour of Rural Slovakia

Due to some technical beef between my memory card and USB ports I am going to have to chill on the pictures for now. Unlucky for you, really. It's a lot of boring scenery mixed in with some drunken hilarity.

As an overall trip, the whole thing worked out perfectly. It was a near 10/10 with regards to logistical perfection and exceeding expectations. Caveat: I generally have low expectations these days. Seriously, when Jozef picked us up at the Poprad train station, somewhere around Friday midnight it all just felt right. He threw open his trunk to reveal an idle machete. Quickly, he brushed it aside. Then obscured it under our backpacks and duffel bags. We saw bear cubs on the way to the cottage. Thoughts of which would haunt me on hikes to follow. Our Slovak fluent friend Erika, lined-up a sweet crib in the small mountain town of Zdiar. Truth be told, homeboy Jozef was an ideal host and the perfect personification of my experiences in the 2 days that followed. Without a native Slovak though we would have been knee deep in shit creek, no doubt. Paddle-less, of course.

The trip changed my perceptions of Slovakia, seriously. A rural mountain village nestled adjacent the Polish border contrasts, much more than it compares with Bratislava. Upon arriving, it was immediately apparent the place we rented was awesome. Outside, the milky way glimmered above. At 896m elevation the big dipper shone directly ahead on the horizon. I had sort of forgotten what stars looked like, or maybe more accurately what stars feel like.

The next days Vancouver-esque climate deflated our motivation to hike. We found a cool cave to explore, which, by nature, was out of the rain. The 70 minute tour was eerie and alien. A cool experience no doubt. The 866 steps would prove as a mere warm-up for the hiking to come. A night around a kitchen table without music or a screen is a great way to explore the lost art of conversation. A fat bottle of Hruska is a helpful story-telling lubricant to have around. Convenient that it is ubiquitous in these parts.

The following day had us adventuring around Zakopone in search of a mysterious lake. The detour into town though was astonishing. Being from uber-expansive Canada it's odd to stroll across a pedestrian bridge and land in another country, complete with it's own currency and public transportation system. A bungee jump mishap -in which the girl tried to grab onto the platform too late after jumping- kept us entertained. I've never seen so many intricately decorated pieces of cheese.

Again, the scenery was absolutely astounding, epitomized when we finally arrived to Morskie Oko. Incredibly pristine.

Jozef picked us up somewhere around the border a few hours later. It didn't take us long to grab a crateful of beers and bag of sausages, and head to the fire pit. It was nice to get out of the city. The air was not nearly as refreshing as the people. That's saying a lot. The night flew by.

As close as I've come in awhile to a grueling climb, ensued the following day. 2 hours, about a third of which is best described as: scrambling up a 45 degree cliff face. Getting up the mountain was exhausting; getting down was mentally taxing. The view at the top was awe-inspiring. The peak altitude was just around 1825m. Meaning, we climbed a vertical kilometer in just over an hour. Not bad, given the hangovers and sleep-deprivation. I have lots of pictures, maybe they'll make it to the internet one of these days. I just need a technological epiphany.

On the train home it didn't take us long to find the dining car. A handful of hours later the only person with a higher bar tab than us was an old, heavily moustached, 9 fingered man, from the Kosice area. He yelled for vodka shots. Stood up with a fist in the air declaring the glory of Russia. Swore and shoved our shoulders when we laughed, before being told to sit down. One of the funnier things I've seen.


I traveled over the course of the long weekend. Since then I've been "busy as hell," with a variety of things. I'll blog about what I've been up to, as soon as I get a chance. Check back in a day or two. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Verbosity 2009

Sarp is back, and the fridge is ripe with 2L Coca-Cola bottles once again. Everything feels right. In his absence, The Discovery Channel has more or less become the background noise of my life, whenever I'm at home. It's just nice to hear English discourse. This show "Snake Master" is on right now. The guy is a modern day Steve Irwin (RIP) focused exclusively on serpents. They are interviewing him and the funny thing is, although a total smooth operator with our legless and cold-blooded friends he had to overcome wicked claustrophobia. Everyone has hurdles to deal with.

I made two trips to the grocery store last weekend. On neither of them was I able to buy chicken breast. My fridge is therefore a little emptier than usual so I returned to the place of reckoning for a quick stock-up. I was feeling particularly observant on my journey.

It's worth noting that my house is undergoing something of a facelift. In an attempt to differentiate it from the other faded and gray buildings that pollute the skyline, it's getting a new colour. Rather than paint the concrete, they seem to be covering the building in blocks of foam, whose physical properties provide the impression of a fiberglass-styrofoam hybrid. It is this mysterious material that they will paint a "McDonald's Pickle" shade of green. Lovely. To make matters worse, the building is completely encapsulated by a giant exoskeleton of scaffold. There is always a construction worker outside one of the windows. Hammering or shouting. The impact statement of all this, is that there has been an increase in gypsies in the area. This might be a result of small sample sizes but I'm about 80% confident in the statement, with a 7.5% interval. My personal hypothesis is that the Roma are a resourceful bunch, and the shit-storm of construction material strewn about is too intriguing to turn down.

Oh yeah, I was returning from work earlier in the week. I walked in on a building wide meeting. From what I could gather from my neighbourly monoglots was that I am going to have to endure this "nonsery" for a period of 3 months.

I alluded to the skyline earlier. The view isn't terrible actually. In the area immediately around my building the greenery is lush and extremely overgrown. From a distance it looks nice. Which brings me to my next point. I'm already making note of places that look "extra communist" in preparation for my first ever flickerphoto foray. With the arrival of winter, the strictly deciduous tree population shall succumb to the perils of seasonality. The grey and barren result will be a landscape describable only as "bleak as hell." I think it will be funny. Or misery loves company.

Have I mentioned pedestrian rights? Probably not because I don't remember what they are. The attitude of drivers almost makes me believe that I should be jealous of their cars. As though they are better than me, for having a car. And sure, maybe that's true to an extent, for now. My timeframe is longer than yours, bitches. I digress. It's important as ever to look both ways around here.

Obviously the month is just about over, hopefully paralleling: The end of this blog post. This month hasn't been as good as July. It's going to suck to get less money, that's for certain. I've reflected though. At the beginning, I was complacent. I had just cashed in big and I was caught on my heels. Never again. Winning feels too good.

The weekend, a long one, promises to be crazy, one way or the other. Check back Monday for hilarity.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Outsourcing, A Case Study

DISCLAIMER: I don't know exactly how this may or may not apply to the real world. Any meaning you derive has been reached by your own conclusions. Or you can read mine. You should probably do both.

I'm obsessed with the stock market. Once again, science wins. Maybe I have found a way to harness my binge behaviour; with a pursuit society excepts as reasonable -Potentially most destructive of all.

Allocating appropriate attention to global financial markets has been difficult and demanding in the months most recent. For obvious reasons. As addictions go: It's pretty consuming. I don't have time right now to constantly be refreshing select tickers. No matter how good the dopamine squirts feel, with every uptick. Ergo, I've had to find ways to streamline. I'm going to test one. Right here. Right now. You see sir, If I blog about it, then I am more accountable. Haters can call me out for sucking if I fail. A valuable opportunity for reflection?

ASIDE: Generally I will try to avoid making you read my mental logic map mid-post. This entry is cleared labeled as a case study though, so you knew it was going to be rough around the edges. Bare with me through this thought experiment.

In this particular example I am looking to buy a stock. I saw the stock PETS mentioned in the Stocktwits Recommended Stream. I ran it through an analytical screener or two that I've come to like. I like what I see so I am going to buy 10% of the total position I am willing to a lot. The decision didn't take that much time. Hopefully it will be money.

ASIDE II: I wouldn't usually put so many links in a row. But this is science. I can't be as verbose as usual. Ironic how I keep throwing in all these extra notes.

CONCLUSION: The point of this post isn't buying stock, d'uh. It's about maximizing the use of the time. If the hot pick works out, I'll get some more confidence in my methodology. I'll know where my system needs tweaking. I can still a lot time to it but I take out legwork by checking out legit sources. Of course finding the sources is the tricky part and essentially what we are testing. It's about doing this as effectively and efficiently as possible so I have more time to do other random happenings.

I'll update you when I exit the trade.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Maybe it's the Counting Crows music, or the fact that Sarp isn't around. I've been in a more reflective mood as of late. It's getting to be that time of year. People in and around my age cohort are on the move. Not me.

Not returning to school in September is an odd feeling, bordering on eerie. Something I haven't experienced in 18 or so years. I'm not that in touch with my 4 year old self, so the whole experience feels relatively new. The comfort of annual routine eludes me now, and seasonality suddenly feels less significant than ever.

I look at my peers. Internships are wrapping up. Camp is almost finished. Graduate and professional programs are beginning. Unemployment and uncertainty looms for some. And others are set to return to their institutions of choice, to seal up their scholarly pursuit in whatever undergraduate discipline they've chosen to pursue.

You only need something of a roadmap. Nimble is clutch. 6 months ago I hadn't a clue I would end up in Slovakia. The opportunity was available though, I guess that's just how things go. My moves are no longer tied to a sinusoidal pattern of exams, reading weeks or summer holidays. The only world I have really known, the one I have spent the majority of my life trying to dominate, is no longer relevant. The lessons and skills I acquired though are more transferable than I might have originally thought. If I want to keep moving forward I need to remain organized and focussed. I definitely need to keep moving forward.

The real point of this blog post isn't about what I'm doing or where I'm going. I am sure that is something the month of September alone, will not determine. It's about how lucky I am. I'm incredibly fortunate to be in touch with so many amazing people who are doing so many fantastic things. I am blessed to have friends that are pursuing their own amazing endeavors all around the world. It's incredible to see people tepidly explore and adapt to the realities in which they now find themselves. Just as I want success for myself, I am incredibly interested in what you are doing and want you desperately to work hard enough to accomplish your goals. Everyone is an inspiration in their own right and if I am lucky enough to have you in my network of friends and family, thank you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hey Fish

I'm reading an article about beef jerky business cards. Interesting...

There have been some developments at the office. Loyal readers (thanks for being so loyal, by the way!) know that over the past 3 months numerous of my colleagues have quit, or been axed. Finally the ebb of workers out of the firm has reached it's short term maximum. The flow in of new "International Business Development Executives," has begun.

I'm no longer the new guy. Not to be a dramatist, but it's a paradigm shift. It really sets a benchmark for how far I've come and provides more than ample opportunity to reflect. It gives me a chance to peer into a looking glass, or some crazy time machine. In these new recruits, I can see myself a few months ago. Before experiencing the demoralizing effects of thousands of failures and the euphoria that accompanies a few victories.

It reminds me that change isn't a magical thing that happens while we're asleep. It is a series of small and systematic victories that occur over time. A significant net positive outcome only occurs if you stick with it. I've seen enough people falter already. I wonder how these new kids on the block will fare.

It also reminds me that I still have a long way to go. That I must keep persisting. This upcoming week, will be a real test of that.

While this blog is a great forum for me to discuss my ridiculous exploits and weekend alcoholism, it's also become a tool for managing myself and a place for reflection on the mistakes I've made. I think it's really helped me understand where I am and where I need to go.

Music for your Sunday morning: What I'm hearing. Reminds me of mornings after at Mr. Wu's cottage

In other news:

Finally somebody is saying something: The notion that Canada is a mosaic while the United States is a melting pot does not survive scrutiny

At least this has happened to you today!