Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Snow pants, for sure, with a side of AMA

What an odd night. Many people say that, or worse, as the effects of alcohol poisoning take hold during many New Year's Eve celebrations. I had no inkling it was going to be odd. We had a really nice dinner and a bit of a nice evening. I was working on my book, hot on the trail of finishing a first draft. Then I was in bed by 9am, then up again at 1am. Lots of traffic outside. I think many of my neighbours were having parties.

I had got to the point I could compile the work to date into a text document, and started reading that. Holy cow, is there a difference between reading it in Scrivener, and reading it in a text doc with the text all blown up. I fixed lots of things, mostly little. There are a few more things to smooth over tomorrow. There are 85.2 K words now.

I went back to be about 4, then woke up about dawn. Here's the dawn of a new year, and some other photos as well. Some of you may have seen one or the other of these shots, but I was watching the dawn, and felt so serene. There's something so soothing and restful about dawns and sunsets. Days like this make me wish I had a better camera and tripod, to say nothing of the knowledge of how to use them properly.

Here's a couple from the other end of the day.

During the day it was so beautiful I had to get out. I was initially thinking about going for a run, but it was so nice with all the fresh snow I thought I'd get out on my snowshoes. I just went around the green space across the road for 30 minutes and was pretty tired at the end. Some of the snow is several feet deep.

This bench for the ball players. I'm not sure how high that bench is, I'm guessing a foot and a half or so. This is a lot of snow for Calgary.

Looking back at our house from near the tennis courts.

Last, while I was taking the sunset shots, I couldn't resist this one of Curtis. He had just noticed and whipped his head around so fast.

The problem with snowshoeing is that even with nearly knee high Sorel boots, I was still getting snow kicked up on the back of my pants. I'm going to have to get some proper snow pants if I'm going to do this more. That means another trip to MEC. Oh, the Humanity!

After the snowshoeing I was downstairs for some core and stretching.

Before the snowshoeing I had a very nice FaceTime conversation with a sick friend.

AMA The last one from Michelle

What qualities do you admire / dislike most in other people / in yourself? 
Is there a correlation among your likes and dislikes in others and yourself?

In Others
In Myself
Qualities Admired
  • Punctuality.
  • Consideration for others.
  • Ability to state clearly and concisely what they mean or want.
  • To go where the facts and data lead, as opposed to where you think you'd like them to go.
  • Being able to figure out a solution to a wide variety of problems.
  • Determination to achieve goals.
  • Open to learning new things.
  • Self-starter.
Qualities Disliked
  • Shambling around like a half slaughtered water buffalo trying to figure out what they are about.
  • Being disorganized when it affects me.
  • An inability to shut up and listen to others (not just me.)
  • Sometimes forgetful.
  • Sometimes I get wrapped up in my way of doing things, and don't see there are other valid ways.
  • Sometimes impatient with others.

This is just a sampling of course. Being the crusty old curmudgeon that I am, there are many more qualities I dislike in other people than what I've listed here. Walking slowly for example, for most people, and not signaling your turns.

It's funny, I'd always thought that figuring out problems was a good thing, but in one case it lost me a job. I was going to a third interview at a particular company. THIRD! The first was with the technical team evaluating skills. They loved me. The second was a senior vice president evaluating overall fit. He had some reservations, and called in the company psychologist for the last interview. She harped on teamwork, and when I would call in others if I couldn't solve a problem. Since almost all of my experience has been in jobs where I'm the only one doing it, I don't have a lot of experience in being able to call in others to solve my problems for me. She did not like that at all. I think she saw me as being a bit of a loose cannon. I did not get a job offer, and reading between the lines it was clear there was no point in applying for any other jobs with them.

Of course there is a correlation. One can hardly like a quality in others, and not like the same quality in oneself, if you have it, or deplore not having it if you don't. One example is that I don't talk much at work. As soon as someone talks over me, almost all the time, I'm done. At that point I wouldn't tell them where the fire exit was. Or more likely, the washroom. One of my huge peeves is people that simply cannot ask a question and shut up to hear the answer. The CBC hosts are bad for that. I once sat silent for a full half hour meeting, listening to someone babble away trying to ask a question. I was pretty sure I knew what they were asking, and I knew an answer that was the start to more discussion at the very least. But he kept on trying to rephrase, and provide illustration and examples, that he took up the entire meeting time. At the end I said "I have another meeting," and walked out. Then I refused all further meeting requests till my boss got on my case about it, and then we did THE WHOLE THING AGAIN. If they're paying me by the hour, and I have no investment in the outcome, I'll sit and listen to someone babble.

The other alternative is that rather than shut down, I'll cut them off at the balls, bite their heads off and spit out the remains, or do whatever it takes to be able to finish answering the question. That doesn't happen very much, and it's very startling to people when it happens for the first time.

And that's it for the AMA feature. Thanks very much for playing along and sending in your questions. Maybe I'll do it again next year.


  1. Lovely pics, Keith, and congrats on finishing the draft! Hey, did you answer my AMA question? If so, I missed it somehow.

    1. Whoopsie! My bad. I did the two other questions from that day, and missed yours. Look for it later today. It's a gooder.

    2. Excellent! I'll look forward to it.

  2. Fabulous pics, Keith!! And, holy moley, that's a lot of snow - gonna take a couple of Chinooks to get rid of that!

    I read somewhere once (one of my many self-help forays) that the trait you deplore in someone else is most likely a trait within yourself that you should be aware of (and, most likely, are not). That's always stayed with me, so when I rankle over a person's actions, I stop and wonder, 'hmmm, do I do that?'!! FWIW, I, too, have issues when someone talks over me - or totally ignores what I'm saying!!

    Happy New Year!

    1. I admit to shambling around some days trying to get it together, but that usually doesn't last long. Anyone can have a bad day. I'm referring to the ones where it's a constant state of being.

  3. Thanks for answering all my AMAs Keith! It has been wonderful to get to know you better over the past little while. Interestingly, things that drive us crazy in others are also things that we dislike about ourselves. I find it helps to forgive and forget the annoying things in others when we recognize them in ourselves. (points at self). ;) We could run to MEC this weekend. It's only 10K from GL! Take the train back home.


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