Henry Burris and His Complaining Puts an Asterisk on my ‘Go Stamps Go*’

The Calgary Stampeders play the Montreal Alouettes for the CFL Grey Cup Championship on Sunday. Being from Calgary, of course I’m cheering for the Stamps. However, I am a bit disappointed at how our quarterback, Henry Burris, reacted after not being voted as the league’s Most Outstanding Player. He did his fair share of whining and complaining about how his team (really he) fails to get respect and recognition. But, ironically, when using that ‘we were robbed and disrespect’ card of not coming out on top of any awards as motivation, this method may backfire and be a reason that critics will use back against them if the Stamps should lose.

In this case, I would agree with the critics. Leading up to this week, as well as at beginning of playoffs, Burris and his loud mouth kept emphasizing how most important is the team award and the Grey Cup at the end of the road. So why is more noise being made about these outstanding player awards? If you really want to make a statement, and prove to everyone that you were ‘wronged’, then just shut up, stay quiet, have an amazing game Sunday, and then talk all you want after. Actually, you wouldn’t even have to talk, because the results would speak for themselves and everyone would realize how they overlooked the Stamps and would then respect them even more for just focusing on the team goal. Wouldn’t this be an even more powerful statement than trying to yell it in everyone’s ear?

Just from a glimpse at some of the fan reaction, even a lot of Stamps fans are embarrassed by the comments Burris made. He is representing the city in a way that I think most of us do not want to be portrayed.

And if we must count, Burris has won one playoff game with the Stamps so far, and he did not have anywhere close to the ‘definitive’ game, as it was more Calgary’s defense and special teams that kept them in it. What about the other years when his turnovers cost the Stamps in the playoffs? Was he voted off the island? Least most valuable? Some may have had their gripes inside, but I don’t think many players would publicly announce how bad he played. So, now that things are turning around, I don’t think there’s any need to announce how good you are…or how good you want people to say that you are.

You barely squeaked by BC, and the way you are talking makes it sound like because you beat BC…and topped the West, and that the West is the tougher division this season, and you beat all the teams in the West throughout the year, that should give you the MVP award? All this noise before playing the Grey Cup? It’s like Burris already assumes, and is saying it loudly in his whines, that they are the better team just because they are from the West, and Montreal is not as deserving cause they play in the East? Maybe Montreal should be the ones feeling a lack of respect, and not so much Burris!

I know it’s more of a psychological ploy to create an ‘us versus the world’ mentality, but the story does not need to drag on. Again, if it ends up working, and Burris has the game of his life, good for him. And I’ll celebrate the Stamps’ great achievement, but will still wonder about the priorities of Henry Burris. He’ll always have that asterisk beside his smile.

Go Stamps Go*

-Patrick Law

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How ‘IT’ Staff Make us Look Good

In this post, I’m going to give some kudos and appreciation to people who work in IT. I think that so many of them work behind the scenes, dealing with a lot of stuff “under the hood”, while we the users end up looking good and getting the accolades. It’s time to give these accolades back to where they belong.

When we complain about a computer problem, printing issue, connectivity issue, all kinds of issues, we often think that we are the only ones with the problem at that time, and that our problem is the most urgent. When we phone or email IT, we probably don’t realize that on the other side, the IT person is probably in the midst of putting out many fires at once, dealing with other people who all have the most  urgent problems in the world! I think we need to consider this the next time we mutter under our breath about why something is taking longer than expected.

Many of the IT staff have set the bar very high for themselves. By being so available, if not by phone, then by email, if not by email, then via some online conference route, if not that then a ‘contact us’ form on the Internet, and usually they reply in such quick fashion. Because of this, we are spoiled and unrealistically expect this service every time.

At our workplace, there are often computer/network printer connectivity issues, in that maybe during peak times, a patron’s print command may not register and then the printing gets paused, or not even initiated. We usually tell patrons to do the time consuming process of saving their work, closing everything, logging off, then retyping user name/password to log on again, reopen previous document, and finally executing the print command once more.

When notified of this, our IT person came up with a short-cut fix and set up something where the patron can click a folder, and then run something called “Printer Fix.” And then the printing will work. Magic? Apparently, clicking the icon acts to reset or refresh the connections without need to log off. I don’t know how it works, how it is set up, what was done behind the scenes, but I do know that patrons are happier for such a simplistic, time saving fix. And they end up thanking us for helping them and giving us their appreciation, while Mr. IT is somewhere else putting out another fire.

Isn’t that often the story of IT? Fixing things during times of stress, but not around to receive praises when things are running smoothly. Indeed, we don’t think about IT much when things are going smoothly, which is most of the time!

I know they often face many complaints, so just wanted to make a post in appreciation and to say: “Things are running great today!”

-Patrick Law

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The Inconclusive Dissection: Mind Half-Full or Half-Empty?

If we go on the premise that procrastinators think too much, then perhaps it’s reasonable to assume that my mind is really full. Well, better than empty, I guess? I guess! And, yes, I guess it could be a possible explanation as to why nothing tangible and concrete is coming out of my head. That’s because everything is so crammed inside, I guess!

Yes, my ideas are packed to the point of having no room to breathe or move, so they just stay within my mind and discuss among themselves. That is where all my stories are, I promise! And when they spend so long there, telling and retelling many variations over, they are already exhausted and left wanting in energy to escape. Furthermore, it feels as though the story has been told, we know the twists and turns, and feel as though the world should look inside to find out what we’ve done, instead of us always having to come out and show what we do. Understand? Understand!

I understand that I am probably deluding myself, but these thoughts are still true. If I think hard enough, I can save myself the step of publication. Save paper? But how do I convince people to take the plunge, to take that leap of faith, and just look inside my mind? To trust me? Trust me!

These were my thoughts during a dinner date in a restaurant with candles. Sitting across from me was an articulate, more good-looking that I deserve, attractive doctor, with experience. I sensed that that my luck may be changing and that it won’t be long before my mind starts opening up.

After a few sips of wine, and samplings of appetizer, I started getting a tingly sensation emanating from the inner portion of both stockingless legs underneath the table. I guess I just had a feeling when choosing what not to wear for the night. Just as he was proposing a toast to ‘I don’t know what’, I clanged his glass while debating within myself whether or not my partner is a surgeon or not. Admittedly, my relationship with him has not gotten deep enough yet for me to acquire this knowledge.

But, oh my, what if he were a surgeon? A surgeon! My imagination went wild in considering the possibilities. And I downed my glass of wine with sumptuous enthusiasm and determination. Would he have the tools and the requisite skills to dissect me? I couldn’t giggle outwardly at such a delicious thought so, instead, I crossed my legs so my skirt wouldn’t be as much of an intrusive censor, and I flexed and extended my ankle continuously, as if to communicate that my heart was jumping up and down with joy? Unequivocal joy!

If there was any way that he could do a professional dissection of me, but preferably with a particular emphasis on the artistic, then finally, at long last, he could really, literally, open up my mind and the world can see the unadulterated stories I have completed!  They’ll know I haven’t been lying all this time. They’ll trust me that I’ve been hard at work!

I suddenly felt incredibly sexy at that moment, more sexy that I’ve felt in my entire life. I didn’t know how much was left of my legs under the table at that point. With all the gyrations going on, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had exercised away all the skin and left them see-through. Oh, poor doctor, I could see it in his eyes, and his focus on his steak, that he had no clue what was going on under there!

I watched intently how he cut up the steak, savoring enough time to allow the juices to bubble over, so he could observe the satisfaction before making it disappear within his mouth, thereby intensifying the the senses at least twofold. That’s a good sign. Maybe he is a surgeon? A surgeon! The thought of him opening me up with such care and focus, like he did that steak, made me lose a button somewhere in my skirt.

I was so ready, I was so much in the mood for desire and intimacy. So, I quickly apologized to him for having to leave early and cut short our dinner together. I declined his offer for a ride, left him alone to finish the rest of his steak (as a surgeon should definitely not leave an operation half completed), and ran all the way home in such a mad rush that there was barely a trace of clothing on me when I arrived.

I have to work harder now. Think harder, deeper, even more intensely than ever before. Patience, my thoughts, patience, as I will bring more characters into an already tight space. But, patience, because now I know that you will soon all get to see the light of day. We must think together on this and get as much inside as possible before the surgeon arrives? Promise me that when that time comes for me to have an operation, you kids will not be hiding somewhere inside. All this work and to have him open me up to find nothing? Nothing!

-Dawn

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A Shorter Tale of the Tape (Nonfiction Version?)

Here is another variation on how procrastination can be manifested. Remember yesterday when I wrote about a practical joke played at work to provide some levity to lighten up the air a bit? Now, let me turn that on its head and be absolutely serious.

In my idealistic, almost romantic version, I obviously left a lot of important details out. Is that another danger of procrastination? We write and purposely put off describing the difficult aspects? We do everything, elaborate ad nauseum, within the comfort zone, and stop right before we get to truth?

I don’t mean to say that what I described yesterday wasn’t truthful. It just wasn’t the whole story. To refresh our memories of what happened yesterday, a quick summary of my ‘easy’ story goes like this: Someone asked to borrow the tape; I told them to look it up in the computer and search the online catalogue; those who played along searched for a book I referenced, and found the tape I placed beside the book; I then asked a staff member to please put the roll of tape in the catalogue, so people can search for it directly. All who played along got some laughs out of this.

I guess, in yesterday’s more vivid and fuller description of the story, I may have gone overboard with the potential health benefits for all. I also conveniently left out parts of the story that involved those people who didn’t play along too kindly. What about them?

While most customers played along with polite amusement, there was one patron who just shook his head. There were others who, even though silent, I can read from their faces and body language these messages: “I just want the tape! How hard could that be?” And “Stop wasting my time.”  Actually, you can kind of tell as a patron approaches who is in a rush, who is in a mood to play, and who just wants no nonsense.

The games we play in the process of procrastination, even though the delay was intended to instill a sense of mystery and curiosity rather than always providing the same old same old dry answers right away, these games can pop someone’ blood vessels if used inappropriately.

The tape is over there, beside the photocopier.

-Pat

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A Tale of the Tape

Okay, I truly hope work people who may see this will see it more as humor than as me slacking. Yes, I have another short-cut to save time, but already the word ‘short-cut’ does not jive kindly in a work context. Laugh, just laugh. I am trying to reduce everyone’s blood pressure.

Okay. I was doing some work in the forest of bookshelves. Yes, I could probably get lost in there for inordinate amounts of time, read a chapter, and not be found, but I emphasize: I didn’t do that! Instead I was adjusting some labels and call number ranges to make them reflect more accurately to the items that were actually on the shelves. All this to make the lives of patrons a little bit easier for when they try to locate resources.  My intentions are good! Give me a raise! Okay, maybe not, especially if you read on to the next section.

When I got back to my desk I realized I left the roll of tape in the shelves. Fortunately, I remember exactly which book I left it beside. In fact, after working with call numbers for an hour, I even remembered the exact call number of the book near the tape. For my amusement, I just took a short-cut and left the tape there. Call it lazy, call it a short-cut, call it slacking, call it illogical, call it irresponsible, even call me evil, but please don’t say that I don’t care. I care greatly for your health and your tension.

So whenever a patron asked me to borrow the tape, I would say: “Did you try going on the computer and searching for it in the online catalogue?”

When they responded with quizzical looks, I elaborated by insisting: “Really, trust me. If you go on the catalogue and look up this book title (the title I had memorized from before), copy down the call number, and go to the shelves, you can find the elusive collector’s edition of the tape that you are looking for.”

Some who had the time to play along, did the search, went on a short treasure hunt, and I heard them laughing somewhere in the shelves. For others who didn’t want to go on the computer, I just gave them the call number.

Then I went into the back room and made a request to the cataloguer with an air of seriousness and urgency: “I’ve been getting a bunch of requests for the tape this morning. Would you mind quickly making a record in our system and assigning a specific call number to the tape?”

Everyone in the back room stopped what they were doing and just froze, trying to comprehend and make sure they had in fact heard what they thought they heard. Yes, I was dead serious. A few more seconds of awkwardness, and then bursts of laughter all over. You could almost hear, or at least imagine, the blood flowing smoothly through all our veins.

Have a great day at work everybody!

-Patrick Law

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Procrastination’s Weak Rebuttal?

It may be time to toughen up the exterior a bit, so it reflects more ideally the fires burning within. I can’t say that many of the posts here have been very much of the aggressive nature, but is it now time? Rage, rage, rage.

It started with innocent chatting over warm drinks that must include honey, but then it somehow it came around to some heated debate about the merits of a blog with procrastination as its title theme. I was urged to changed the title because it automatically predisposes readers to have a certain expectation when they visit, and usually those impressions are not overly positive. And if the focus is on the writing, on a variety of creative and current event topics, then it all gets consumed under that overhanging shadow of procrastination. Writing that has nothing to do with procrastination would get unfairly interpreted under that rubric.

Furthermore, they say, we would waste too much time trying to pigeon hole or slot writing into some relation with procrastination when the topic had no business even being in the vicinity. In addition, we would have our hands tied and be forced to write about procrastination every odd post even though there is no reason to. (I guess they wouldn’t approve of this current post I’m crapping out right now) And this would take valuable time away from other more important writing. Then they went on a psychological bent: It’s as if even when there are no procrastination issues, we purposely seek them out and create procrastination problems for ourselves!

By this time, I was the only one finished my drink with honey because the others were too occupied expressing their views. If the drink wasn’t warm enough to begin with, I am sure I was easily able to reheat it to the boiling point within my intestines. However, by the time the steam was able to make its way back up my system towards my mouth, it all dissipated into the form of mild voice that asked weakly, ‘So what is wrong with this procrastination rubric?’

Oh, and then the chorus came! All together in tremendous chorus! The chorus came raining down in unison! They said people often don’t go too close to the actual writing because they are turned away by the monstrous label. They fear being bombarded by a big group of postings in high pitched voices lamenting and commiserating about how so and so didn’t do what, and how such and such didn’t get what done, and a whole bunch of it’s okay, it’s okay, you’re okay, I’m okay, it’s all okay, you’re human kind of discourse.

Finally, I stood up. I stood up to them, or maybe just stood up in front of them. And said confidentally, “I have to go to the washroom.” Must have been the drink mixed with honey. Instead, I went home and browsed through all the posts to try to spot themes of ‘I’m okay, you’re okay…’

Maybe I should tone down my aggressiveness?

-pat

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Short Cut to Deal with Sleep Shortage: Inflating the Count with Placebo

As the pace of society quickens, and we want to sardine as many tasks as we can into one day, short cuts and sacrifices are inevitable. Unfortunately, sleep always seems to be the unlucky candidate that gets the short end of the stick and told: “Sorry, maybe I’ll get to you tomorrow.”

Well, if these are just the facts and realities of the times, then we may have to be creative and find our own kind of placebo effect to convince ourselves otherwise, and maybe derive some unanticipated health benefits from our strapped circumstances.

Here is an example: We usually count sleep duration by erroring on the side that puts us in the category of being sleep deprived. We may be in bed 8 hours, but not all of it is quality sleep time. So, in our sleep journals, maybe we put total of 7 hours or even less to account for all the tossing and turning, aches, thinking, and, yes, procrastination. Accurate? Yes, but depressing. Realistic? Yes, but doesn’t do anything for the ‘feel good’ side of the ledger.

I want to argue that some days we should try to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If we are in the midst of a hectic period where the allotted time and hours don’t add up, then let’s skew the statistics in our sleep journals, a little bit. On the odd chance, in the odd morning, that you find yourself sleeping all the way to your alarm, with the alarm actually waking you up, but it still totals only 6.5 hours of sleep, then let’s inflate the numbers a bit. For myself, I imagine myself, and tell myself, that I could have slept another half an hour at least, if the alarm didn’t go home, then I’ll just reward myself with the bonus. I could have slept a quality 7 hours, so just give me the credit.

Will this placebo effect carry me through the day? I know I could be just deluding myself and this could actually have adverse effects on my health over the long term, but it sure feels better than fretting and dwelling the entire day over how I’m short of sleep. We can deal with the truth in therapy later on when things die down, but can we be allowed this short cut for the time being? Instead of always shorting ourselves of it, how about we go long for once? Really, I’m refreshed.

-Patrick Law

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