Thursday, September 28, 2006

No Good, Very Bad Day

There are some days when you just shouldn't write about what's on your mind, and today is one of those days. So, I will try to shift from the non-events that are making me grouchy to a psychological analysis on why they are all happening today.

It really is true what "they" say about outlook - it really affects everything. When you're tired, minor glitches seem to compile to make you frustrated. Joking around with friends suddenly becomes old and you just want to lash out. Twenty minutes into your 80 minute Accounting class, you suddenly realize that accounting really IS boring, and you've been duped over the past year into thinking that it's interesting and practical. Today, I realized that all we are doing is memorizing rules for making income statements. Yes, that's what I love to do - memorize rules.

So, maybe not the profession for me. I don't really like following rules, much less memorizing them.

But, the thing is, if I had chosen to just be happy this morning, maybe none of this would have happened. Maybe when Hotmail experienced technical difficulties and wouldn't let me download the report I needed to print, I could have simply shrugged, logged out, and logged back in again. That would have been more productive than yelling at the monitor. (Yes, Mom, I know that when I yell "stupid computer," if it could hear and process, it would yell back, "stupid operator.")

Maybe when I found out that the van isn't going to be fixed until tomorrow, I wouldn't have gone for a rant on how they should give me a courtesy car and how I'm never buying a Dodge. (Kind of a useless rant, since I decided that a long, LONG time ago.)

Sleep may have a huge factor on my "cheery thermometer," but perhaps I can CHOOSE to be pleasant.

After all, I've gotten more work done today than any other day this semester.

And maybe tonight I'll fall asleep when my head hits the pillow, and I can look forward to waking up early and having a productive day tomorrow.

So... time for happy thoughts. :-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An Analogy, maybe...

The great poker players don't need good hands to win. All this came up in an argument - er, discussion - I had with my friend Jeremy the other day. Apparently I was playing too conservatively.

"I'm just not going to play 10-6 offsuit," I said, "and I haven't been getting anything better." (10-6 offsuit means a 10 and a 6 that are different suits. It's an okay-ish hand.)

Then, when I finally got "Big Slick" (an Ace and a King), I lost to the lunatic who decided to play 4-5 and hit the straight. (A straight is 5 cards in a row, so if an Ace, 2 and 3 came up, having a 4 and 5 would give him a straight.)

"What in the world is he doing playing 4-5 anyway?" I asked.

Poker players tend to gravitate to one of two poles - intuition or analytical. The intuitive players will play 2-7 offsuit (which is considered the worst hand in poker, because you won't get a straight that includes both 2 and 7, you likely won't hit a flush, which is all cards of the same suit, and the 7 then is the lowest possible card you can get without the possibility of a straight) simply because they "feel" it. They rely on past glory stories as proof that it is a good strategy.

The analytical players only play cards that are really good. Pairs or face cards. And if the table is big enough, there will have to be two face cards in a hand before the analytical players will play it. When there is a raise, the analytical player will calculate the odds that their hand is good (or could become good if they hit the right cards), and will only call the raise if the percentage they have to pay at least matches the percentage that their hand is good.

So, there are intuitive players and analytical players... and then there's me. Being a more mathematically oriented person, I always start playing analytically. I play only the good hands, stay in only if I have a reasonable hope of winning the hand, and very rarely bluff.

But, then... the pot will reach a certain size, and I'll have a good hand, and while I know that there are better hands out there, I just can't fold a good hand. So I stick around and lose everything. (Just for the record, I don't play for real money, so losing everything is not the end of the world.)

This loss could easily be credited to a lapse in strategy. But, I've always seen it as something else - a lapse in discipline. I really believe that the analytical method is the more practical, guaranteed strategy. But, sometimes I get bored or impatient of waiting for the monster hand. And as a result, I lose discipline.

So, what can we learn from all this? I think life is about discipline. There are too many misalignments in my life between what I know and believe, and what I do. A valuable exercise would be to make a list of core values in your life (things that you believe in your head/heart), then write out the ways they manifest themselves. I think it would be very eye-opening.

Well, that's all my thoughts for today.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Feeling Uninspired

Nothing to say, but was tired of the Ode at the top of my page. It was centered, and nothing else was, so it looked weird.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ode to Eeyore

Oh, Eeyore.

You never really did anything.

But you were pretty.

Sometimes you ate when I put the food at the top of your tank.

You always swam away when I tried to get you into the cup to clean your bowl. But I eventually tracked you down.

Even holding a mirror up to your tank didn't bring out the fight in you.

You never were very active. Even when I first got you. That's why I named you Eeyore. Like the Winnie-the-Pooh character who was always so melancholy.

But you were pretty.

And now you are gone.


Since my sister's blog contains a memoir of Eeyore, I figured it was only appropriate to honour his memory on my own blog.

2004 - 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006


There is a pivotal moment in the Phantom of the Opera in which Christine must make a decision. Does she face her fears and go see the Phantom, now that she has seen him for what he really is, or does she run from the performance, the opera and the Phantom?

In their discussions about the situation, Raoul makes a very valid point... if Christine does not face her fears, she will live with them for the rest of her life, always wondering when and if the Phantom will show up.

That lead me to think... Fear is very paradoxical in a way. If we never face our fears, we live with them forever. But there is also great fear in facing them.

So how do we balance the fears in our lives? Which do we face, and which do we live with? I guess that is a question for each of us to answer individually.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fall and New Beginnings


My favourite time of the year. How can I count the reasons why I love fall so? The leaves change colours. The weather starts to cool off... but comfortably. Fall clothes are awesome. You can go outside in a hoodie. Last year, we had a CD in the van with the song "Beautiful Day" by U2 on it. Somehow, every morning, we managed to be listening to that song as we pulled onto the university campus. And it was SO fitting... there were days when leaves just swirled around as they fell to the ground on the tree-lined streets.

Fall isn't supposed to be nice. In my conversations with others, all I've heard is that fall is just a prelude to the cold and winter and all that brings. Fall is a time of ending, and death really, if you think about it.

But... here's my argument. God redeemed fall by making it incredibly beautiful. So, maybe there is something in endings and death that we need to learn.

Endings are beautiful. The ending of one thing is, without exception, the beginning of another. And beginnings are always great... starting a new job, career, relationship, habit... Beginnings don't worry so much about the past. They are fresh and full of hope.

But in order to experience beginnings, we need endings. Imagine if we could skip fall and winter. What would happen come springtime, when the old leaves covered the trees? It just wouldn't be the same. A tree needs to lose it's leaves in order to make way for fresh, new ones.

And now, ironically, with the yellow leaves comes another set of ending and beginning for me. The end of my summer job, and my time of employment with the church. The beginning of the last year of my undergraduate degree. A new year with a fresh canvas...

Maybe this will be the year I learn to study properly...