Friday, December 30, 2011


Hello blogosphere, it's been a long time since we met. I've missed writing, and I deeply regret the loss of the community that had developed here and in the blogs I read. I'm not going to promise to write every N days in 2012, as that would just be another stick to beat myself with when I missed a date; but I will start writing again.

I'm in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with cousins and other assorted family, eating and drinking and watching Jeopardy (don't ask). The concept of experiencing "together time" by sitting in front of a TV with the sound turned up too high for conversation is difficult for me to grasp, but we all have our foibles and mine would strike them as equally ludicrous. The weather here is odd, very little snow and unseasonably warm at only -7°C.

This is my second week in Canada, actually. I started in Calgary with Favourite Cousin, we spent a day drinking capuccino and stoking each other up for an active and growthy* 2012. She suggested the term "accountability partner", somebody to whom you report regulary and who calls you on your lazy-ass weak-excuse-finding bullshit; we'll be AP-ing each other next year as she gets her keynote-speaking business in gear and I try to level up after what felt like a year of stasis.

I've been working like the proverbial dog this year, building the competition project we won in the summer of 2008. Three and a half years, dear friends; I suspect that many outsiders have no idea how slow archtitecture is. It was a success: the public and the local press liked it, the staff find it convenient to work in. We were only around 6% over budget, which is pretty good; unfortunately it was months late and although it's been in use since the formal opening on October 8, there are still workmen onsite. When I left a week ago, the architectural snagging list was ten small-print single-spaced pages long. Just architecture, mind you, the electrical and services engineers have their own lists too. If you want to have a look at this, mail me (address is above left) and I'll send you a link.

It's funny that 2011 now feels like a static, almost wasted, year, because I did in fact do quite a bit of stretching socially and at work. I went onsite as supervising architect for the first time, all three of us were there six days a week for the last two weeks before the opening. That was a real growth experience, I can tell you. I thought I was just walking around talking to people all day, and at first felt vaguely guilty that I "wasn't really doing anything." It took me a while to realize that this is exactly what the job is, at least during the last few panicy days.

Funny how it worked out: G and Offsite Guy believe in supervising by shouting abuse, which is really not my style at all. I played good cop to their bad cops: encouraging the contractors, building up their confidence and courage, smoothing over tension between trades in favour of give-and-take cooperation. Another difference is that I always greeted everyone I met, every day, even if it was only to catch their eye and nod across a crowded room; G and OG seemed not to see people that they weren't engaged in shouting at. I think my results were at least as good as theirs. Certainly at the opening celebrations, people came up to thank me for my involvement. Even people I don't remember speaking to, like the wellness franchise women, knew my name and felt that I had helped them.

Other than that, I've been playing World of Warcraft and hanging out in Second Life, attending a meditation retreat in Halifax in July and an informal meetup of the same group in Berlin in early December. I think that SL, Facebook (spits) and Twitter between them are responsible for the decline in my blogging: not only the incredible amount of time that they consume (particularly SL) but that they came to fulfill my need to communicate. Second Life in particular has become a great part of my social life, I use it not for gameplay (it's not a game, as I have said many times) but to meet friends. It's my equivalent to going to the pub to chat with the guys, but without beer or second-hand smoke.

* Yes of course "growthy" is a word.

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Blogger Zhoen said...

Watching Jeopardy needs no explanation. Although, it's no Mastermind.

December 31, 2011 at 1:07:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Pacian said...

Happy new year.

Growthy is the best word.

January 1, 2012 at 1:58:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Glad things are going well. SL is nice, but hitting a pub with real people is good once in a while. At least it makes you take a bath and get dressed.

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2012 at 6:34:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Aggers said...

What the hell is Jeopoardy?
Anyway, welcome back :)

January 5, 2012 at 1:51:00 p.m. GMT+1  

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