Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A sublime moment

During my swim today I was trying out some new goggles. The main result was seeing the crud on the floor of the pool much more clearly. A band aid. A hair scrunchy. What looked like some note paper. Assorted bits of plastic that look like they escaped the lane ropes. A metal S hook. Stuff. I think they installed new lights in the competition pool, and things still look a bit different to me.

The swim was fine, 500 m 9:15 with a slow start. 5x100 slowing from 97 seconds to 105. I tried 100 m hard, and thought I was doing good, till I saw 91 seconds on the clock. Oh well. Cool down.

The other pool had cleared out then so I did 20 minutes of pool yoga. That felt pretty good. I got a random assortment of minor clicks and creaks from my knees and ankles, but although my low back was feeling THAT close a major crack, nothing happened.

Some of you know the hot tub at Talisman. The 20 person one in the new building. There is a wide lip on it, maybe 2 feet or so, made of small white tiles. There were lots of little puddles of water on the tiles of the lip. The pool has lots of lights, and they were reflecting off the little puddles.

I was in the tub, thinking of nothing in particular, when some ideas for my book struck me, comparing and contrasting two world views. I was staring out towards the pool in what probably looked like a really vacant gaze. As you might know I'm really really short-sighted. At 25 m I'm barely able to tell male from female without my glasses, unless the suit is really bright and makes it really plain.

Suddenly I was seeing this independently through each eye. The tile grid lines were at a bit of an angle to one another, with one tilted up a bit. Many lights, many puddles, all reflecting through each eye. There was a bit of a curved lens effect so I could see much of the roof and part of the walls reflected in the puddles. Each puddle had a tiny rainbow effect around the edges and each light. I could see each version of the view independently. Listening to the sounds of swimming and splashing water. The warmth of the hot tub on my body. Smelling swimming pool. It was lovely and peaceful. A happy place.

I was just thinking about all those rays of light, created, bouncing off layers of water and tile and into my eyes, through my optic nerve, to be comprehended by my brain. Thinking of the uncountable number of light rays that bounce off other surfaces and are absorbed and dissipated, without entering a human eye. Did they really exist? Were both visions, the straight one, and the tilted one, equally real? Which was the tilted one? Could I choose which one I got out of the pool into? Thinking of the world duality I'm trying to express in my books, wondering where they're going to end up.

Let's see. The Monday swim was kind of blah. Good easy spin on Sunday, with some stretching and core. Tuesday I'm calling a rest day, though it was anything but restful. More people left Penn West, and not willingly. That put a real damper on the day.

Once upon a time I had thought of becoming a journalist. I'd read of the intrepid reporters chasing stories and the various hijinks they got up to. I see it as once being a bit of a romantic profession, knowing what's going on even if it's not published, contacts with (depending on your beat) politicians, police, criminals, what have you.

Once. That time is now long past. Postmedia, a form of corporate zombie bloated on the carcasses of previous media companies has laid off many staff and amalgamated newsrooms.It's a futile effort, I suspect. They are trying to make an outdated and broken funding model work. There are better ways of exchanging information now. One journalist had been at the Herald 34 years. If I'd entered that world, and stuck with it, that might have been me. I hope they still have a pension and it hasn't been pillaged.

Once upon a time I'd walk over to the 7-11 and buy the papers. We'd have a coffee, read the papers, and slowly wake up to a Saturday morning. I'm not sure when we stopped. The delivery of the actual mounds of paper became erratic, and the internet got faster and easier. Not better though. I still miss in depth stories, pulling together many sources into a coherent story. I miss editors, believe it or not. Anyone that reads the comment sections of just about anything now misses editors.

I'm minded of a saying. If the rich and powerful don't mind it being public, it's advertising, but if they try to suppress it, it's almost certainly news.With very few sources of newspapers now, which do you think is being published by them?

I'd like to think there is still a place for community news, for exposes of what the rich and powerful are trying to keep hidden from us, for a community voice speaking out on topical issues. It's just that nobody has really figured out how to deliver it and not lose money. As an iPad app, Zite was good, but it's gone. Flipboard was horridly painful to use. I've tried a couple others, but none stuck. Inform News app is sort of working ok, but I'm not in love with it.

There's a quote from Yes Prime Minister:
Hacker: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.

Here, the Globe and Mail is read by the people that run the country, or think they do or should. The Calgary Herald is ready by people that see themselves as the right thinking majority. And the Calgary Sun readers don't care as long she's got big tits.

Now the Herald and the Sun are going to be run from the same office, which isn't going to work. Not at least in terms of delivering two different products. Another swirl around the toilet bowl, getting closer and closer to that final swoop out of sight.

I feel for the people who have been spat out of their jobs like used chewing gum onto the frozen sidewalks, whether they be newspapers, or oil and gas companies, or any other industry. I tell young people I work with that their choices in life are either that, or they take control of their working lives and decide themselves when it's time to leave a job. Very few people now leave a job through retirement on their own timing, and it's going to be fewer every year.

Now that you're all thoroughly depressed, here's a photo of Curtis cheering me up last night. Nothing like a purring kitty tummy rub to make you feel better.

As a bonus, a closeup of the paw of domination.


  1. This talk about eyes and light refraction, I bet you and my hubby could talk all day about it. I'm liking how you're describing it but some of it is sadly going over my head.

  2. So much goodness in this one, Keith. Loved your meditation on the light, and the rant about media today, and advice on taking control of your working life. And the cat photos of course. Have a good weekend!


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