Saturday, 4 April 2009

Funky days

Spring is finally creeping in. I've spent the past couple of weeks whining about how shitty the weather is, now that the sun has finally begun to grace us here in lovely Windsor, I thought for sure I'd be happy about it. Then I looked outside. The grim task of reassembling my yard is inching ever closer. Yuck. Tomorrow we're going out there, yard waste bags in hand to start the inevitable task.

Or maybe we won't. We'll see.

On to business.

The economy sucks everywhere; that's not exactly news these days. It seems to be a hot topic of conversation around kitchen tables, between hockey games. Obviously people are scared, some with more reason than others. Some are not affected at all in any direct way, their jobs are safe for one reason or another. Thankfully, there are still people out there who maintain optimism. Hell, someone has to. Around coffee with friends tonight the topic of optimism came up. One overwhelming conclusion is that there isn't enough of it. There isn't enough positive news anywhere. The mainstream media is constantly blabbling on about how bad it is and how bad it will get before it gets better. My advise to CNN, CBS, CBC, NBC and the rest is simply to have a big bowl of shut the fuck up.

Here's the problem in a nutshell - economy goes south, news stations report it, people get nervous and start turning inwards to defend what they have, the news gets worse again, people stop spending based on this bad news, economy gets worse, media reports how bad it's getting, people get scared and stop spending, yadda yadda yadda. There is no good news to report, or at least very little, but nobody reports the good news. Nobody tells the general public that there are companies out there making a difference, they instead concentrate on the news that brings ratings - bad shit. People are sensationalist hens. They follow any train wreck or ambulance they see, and then freak out about the reporting. Y2K ring a bell?

How about a news story that buoys up people's optimism and spirits. How about some fucking hope?

A certain company I know of is just as scared. They aren't making money hand over fist, but there are aspects of the operation that are profitable. The problem is that because of the fear factor, everything is frozen. All spending, hiring, renumeration, expenses, everything. Only the most essential costs may be covered. This company needs a new piece of kit in the profitable operation, in order to make even more money. It can't buy it because of the cuts. Why?

Why does corporate fear ripple down throughout all aspects of the company, even parts that make money? Why not encourage that company to make more, thus increasing confidence in shareholders, increasing confidence from the public, and the debt holders. Make people optimistic again. Make money, make jobs, make the public happy again.

If more companies did this, and the media reported it, what would the result be? Maybe the recession will be in site of ending. Maybe it will put people back to work. Maybe it will at the very least, change perceptions and lead to new hope.

Obviously, many are in no position to even think positive. People are still losing their homes and their lives are in ruin. It's too late for many. The unemployment rate in Windsor is hovering at around 13 percent. It's much higher when you account for those on temporary layoff, social services, or completely unaccounted for by any sort of social net. People are leaving this city in droves, which scares the hell out of the rest of us. Admittedly we have been affected by the downturn; it hasn't been easy, but luckily our situation was of another cause. We can be dropped into the basket with the rest of those affected simply by statistics; we are just one more one-income household. The prospect of job hunting in this economy is a scary thought for our family, just as it is for thousands of other around here. But we'll persevere and move forward. We'll be optimistic, and we'll move forward. We have to be in that mindset, if we don't, fear will take over and we're sunk.

The sun will rise again on Windsor and on our home. It will also rise on the world economy. It isn't the first time we've gone through this, I just think it's the first time that the world has been as closely connected, such that the awareness of every aspect of the situation is under a collective global microscope.

Maybe that connectivity is what can help us all recover. Maybe everyone will band together and see that there is truly hope, and that we can all start enjoying life again.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

April Fools

Well it's April. So what. The weather still sucks, the move is barely moving, work is piling up, Spring cleaning looms heavy overhead, all the news is bad, and the cat just bit me.

So I'm starting the day on such a positive note. Maybe it's the weak coffee, but today seems to be the day I just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. I'm in a funk again today, and I blame the weather. It's raining and cold outside, and I'm desperate to get out there and feel the warm sun. I so badly want to get out on my bike - the best therapy I can imagine is a long quiet ride (mountain bike, mid life crisis hasn't caused a Harley purchase yet). But I can't really enjoy the ride when ice is forming on my moustache. There's also a burn pile in the back yard that's getting bigger. Any therapy method - burning things. I tried to get that going last week, but everything, including the Christmas tree was soaking wet. I'll try again this weekend.

I have chores to do around here too, I have to fix the back door and fill cracks in the foundation. I'll start simple, the annoying jobs may wait a little longer. That's a list that's not doing much for my funk.

On a positive note, Kim is heading to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Iowa in May. Her team won in her division at the regional competition here in Windsor last weekend. Way to go guys! Now we just have to figure out the logistics of the whole thing. The short time between the two competitions is all part of the problem solving. You only have six weeks to prepare if you win. Now it gets frantic. The team will be taking my car, I really don't mind NOT driving for a week! It's a good opportunity to bike to work. Easier to get into shape when you have no choice!

The move at work is also positive. The problems with Bell are winding down, seems like I actually have everything I need now, and they can piss off for any year or so. I have my Ethernet switch, now I just need the router programmed. Once all that is installed we can move our offices in. I can't wait. My own office, my own door! No more working in the kitchen. Six years of trying to work while others are discussing life around the lunch table five feet away is over.

The joke now about the new office is who's going to be the first to lock themselves in the old vault. The building used to be a bank. We have to get that door disabled!

April is coming in like a lion again, it's raining and crappy out today. With luck this day will turn out well, the birds will sing, the planets will align and all will be good with the world. I'm starting in a funk, I intend to end it upbeat. Maybe that's my April fool's joke. Having everyone think my little grey cloud is still following me.


Tuesday, 31 March 2009

BELL again

I finally thought I got Bell DSL stuff for the new building done, but alas, no. After the lines were finally installed last week I called to inquire about the account activation and modem kit. Bell indicated it was sent out by courier to the location. Problem one - the sent it to an empty building. We corrected that. Yesterday I called the courier with a tracking number to ask where the package was - it ended up in the undeliverable pile. Turns out Bell neglected to put the business name on it, so it was addressed to Keith Wilson, 1614 Lesperance, blah blah blah.

So imagine a driver tooling around looking for the business name. Unless someone puts up a sign our plaza that say 'Keith Wilson works here', they weren't going to find one.

I headed down to the courier office, ID in hand, and got the package. When I got home I ripped it open like a kid at Christmas. I had to send the account info to our tech in the corporate IT department to program our router. Imagine my surprise when the account ID supplied by Bell was, you guessed it, for Toronto.

I'm back to square one, and we move in two weeks.