Sunday, March 30, 2008

Going to Ground

I've got the Flu. I feel awful - even too awful to save Vegas.

Sleep tight Tangos, I'm going to bed.

PS. Is there really a YouTube reference for everything in my life?

PPS. "Owww, my all of me!"

What difference does one hour make?

My family and I observed Earth Hour yesterday evening, in a community that was also similarly darkened (including the business across the street). We ate our dinner by candle light and the played UNO together as we talked and caught up on each other's lives. We had so much fun we kept going - long after most of the lights in the neighbourhood had turned back on.

Critics, naysayers and unbelievers will claim we all wasted our time and that the collective efforts of millions of people around the globe mean nothing – they are wrong. It is true that only one hour is not enough to make a difference in the climate change issues facing us today, but 30 million individual people (up to 70% of Canadians according to a recent poll) across 25 countries coming together for one united cause can have an impact on anything.

Earth Hour – that saw many of the worlds famous landmarks go dark – was a gesture that was almost completely symbolic in its very nature… but symbolic of what?

The power of people to come together - the power to rally and organize those people to a common cause and raise awareness about a problem that is unique in the sense that we all face it (not equally, though, of course). One hour is the first and most simple step towards having an individual positive impact on our energy consumption and climate change issue. San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom said it best, "Energy efficiency is low-hanging fruit. Energy efficiency is the easiest thing we can do." One hour is just where it starts.

Buildings (homes/businesses/public) account for about one-third of the carbon emissions that could boost global average temperatures by as much as 4° Celsius - this century.

4° Celsius doesn't sound like much but it's more complicated than that. We live in, and depend on, a closed and complex eco-system for life. We don’t like to think of this interdependence, but the inescapable fact remains that a 4° rise in temperatures could be devastating to life on Earth.

The unbelievers should take a moment to consider how much energy they consume in their current lifestyle and how much of an impact rising demand and prices will have on them (I don’t just mean gas in the tank either, but housing costs, heating costs, food and transportation for commodities, for starters). Even if global warming is not an issue for you, I’m sure you’ll find conservation makes sense to your pocketbook and continued enjoyment of life.

Seriously though, whatever you believe the causes to be (or not be), every crop that is ruined because of weather, every water source that is depleted, every species (no matter how small) that becomes endangered, every country that is impacted negatively by climate change events will ultimately have a detrimental effect on all of us - on our ability to adapt and survive. After all we all live on the same planet.

And for those who would continue to question the value or impact of only one hour – ask yourself what a tipping point is. Look to Earth Hour on March 28, 2009 to be even bigger.

Friday, March 28, 2008

This is for my Daughter

My daughter "discovered" this on YouTube the other day and was very excited to share it with me. I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Wish I'd taken some of the advice back in 1999 - but hindsight is always 20/20.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just One Life...

I watched Professor Randy Pausch's last lecture on YouTube this morning. It's entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." It's the length of a university lecture - about 90 minutes, but its worth watching to see evidence of the power of positive thinking/action upon one's life and the subsequent impact that can have on the world around you. Seven months ago Pausch was told he had 3-6 months left to live, yet not only has he outlasted that, he is enjoying his life more than most people I know and still teaching - teaching us how to live.

Pausch's homepage illustrates how one can meet their potential in the amount of time left to them. It's inspiring to me, life affirming. I tend to get somewhat philosophical when I have time on my hands... and given my current state of "underutilization" readers will hopefully forgive me for my wanderings.

Pausch tells us "everyday matters right now." While obviously true for him, it should also ring true for all of us. We are all dying; most of us just don't have a date in mind so we sometimes "forget" about how important the living part is.

Randy Pausch didn't set out to be a hero, but he has lead his life in such a way that it has touched mine on many different levels (watch his lecture and you will see what I mean) and in achieving his dreams he is leaving this world a better place. Can there be any better measure of a lifetime?

Link: Randy's Blog.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reflections on the Easter Message

We watched the Iron Giant today – wonderful movie whose ending has me thinking of the Easter Message.

There's a point in the story where a nuclear missile is going to kill everyone that the Iron Giant knows. In an instant the Giant makes a selfless decision – he will sacrifice himself to save everyone else. As he flies toward the missile he hears his friend's words in his head "You are what you choose to be." Moments before the impact, with determination of choice, the Giant says "Superman!"

It's a retelling of the universal human story of unconditional love, compassion and sacrifice. It's taught in all of our world religions and traditions. The Qur'an teaches the most effective factor in establishing world peace is through an individual's personal peace and inner state of harmony; Buddhism warns that to be of any help at all we must first become selfless. "You must be the change you want to see in the world," echoes the words of Mahatma Gandhi. It even permeates our own stories, as when Gandalf tells Frodo "All there is to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

Despite what its critics say, Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" is one of my favourite movies; a brilliant portrayal of a Jesus that I can relate too.

"Last Temptation" is Scorsese’s attempt to reconcile the belief that Jesus was both fully a man and fully God with his own understanding of what it means to truly be a man. As such, Scorsese's Jesus is a man with human feelings as Scorsese knows them. Jesus struggles to understand his relationship with God and his "destiny" as he believes God has laid it out for him. But he struggles because for him it has no meaning, yet, and as such he can’t make the sacrifice that the act itself demands.

What makes "Last Temptation" so powerful occurs within the dream sequence near the end of the movie. Jesus has before him all the temptations that any regular man desires from a lifetime, he tastes it, knows it, and wants it more than anything he's ever wanted before. With it comes a different destiny; his world in ruins.

In an instant of epic realization, Jesus sees what is at stake and makes a choice. He chooses to be the son of God. He chooses to be the sacrifice to save his fellow man. He gives up everything he always wanted and dreamed of and asks God to take him - willingly gifting his life for the good of humanity - this intentional choice is what provides the sacrifice necessary for salvation to occur.

It was never enough for him to merely go to the cross and die.

Just as it is not enough for any of us to merely lead a simple and self centered life towards our own endings.

This same potential exists within all of us. At best it's what sets certain people apart in moments of chaos – those we call heroes - and at least it's a way of living that influences the choices we consider making. We must be the change we want to see in this world. Everyday.

Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Big Foot Lives...

Actual Shoe Size = Gigantic

Shoe shopping for my firstborn isn't quite what it used to be. During yesterday's excursion to purchase running shoes for my son I couldn't help but sit there and recollect. Seems like just yesterday when I would pick out a cute pair of shoes, press the fronts to make sure there was room for toes and watch him wobble around the store before making my purchase.

I marvel somewhat just how big those feet are - and I'm not convinced they have even remotely reached their adult size yet. He's not really my baby boy anymore.

For anyone who came here looking for actual info on Bigfoot, check this out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

As if ...

Read all directions carefully!

Our friend Deven is here for the weekend and brought some wii goodness with him. We've have been playing Super Smash Bros Brawl - loads of fun, lots of laughter, good times!

A cursory glance at the game manual brought more laughs. It says Flicking, afterall.

Blog Catch Up - Would you like Fries with that?

A lot has happened since I started my Blog Hiatus... so a quick update is in order.

Rocking in the free world...

Happy Blogiversary to Summer's Daydreams, which turned 5 years old on Feb 18th! 5 years ago I started this blog for my random thoughts, petty complaints and various political opinions - but more importantly as a journal, recording events and experiences as they happen to me. I don't know if I planned for the blog to still be alive 5 years later, but it is very interesting to see the evolution of me over those years. I have to admit now the blog has become an important part of my life.

Election Central in Meadowlark

I was appointed Returning Officer in Edmonton Meadowlark which proved to be an amazing experience. I started very late in the process due to the resignation of the previous RO and almost immediately found the challenges I faced to be very unique. I had to hire and train enumerators for a partial enumeration and assess the constituency growth areas (I even created a new polling area), all before Feb 1. Then I had to hire two full time office staff (and find said office) and proceed to hiring almost 200 people to work on election day. Reading that back, it doesn't seem so hard, but consider that all election officers have to be eligible electors and live within Meadowlark (in this job market) and that I wasn't legally able to sign a lease until writ drop yet we legally had to be open for business by day two. Once the writ period actually started we were so busy that it went by at an incredible pace - candidate nominations, training (I ran five training sessions), arranging for ballots and polls on election day, etc. If it wasn't for my amazing office staff I'm not sure it would have been so rewarding - but I really did enjoy it. Working as an RO allowed me to be part of the democratic process in a way I've never considered before and has given me a greater appreciation of the process and everything that goes into running an election.

Another year older, another hole in my head!

I had a birthday in March... and turned... well, it's not really a secret. I'm 36 years old. I had a lot of fun and was spoiled terribly which is always good in my books. I also died my hair dark and had three new piercings done.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm Back!

And I'm at a loss as to what to say. Stand by, I'll figure something out. Perhaps a "Blog Catch Up Post" is in order.