Writing the Wild Within: Part 3 – Squirrel Away Your Energy

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Spermophilus columbianus Columbian Ground Squirrel Glacier National Park

Columbian Ground Squirrel, copyright Ellen Wilson

If you will watch an animal in the wild you will notice it doesn’t waste any energy.  All of the available energy an animal has goes into finding food, finding shelter, mating, and feeding its young.  An animal really doesn’t want to waste any energy, because the less energy it has the less chance it has for survival.

We human animals rarely think of our life in these terms because we live in civilization, and we feel protected and safe.  But it pays to think about how we spend our energy because sooner or later that great equalizer, that great stalker – Death, will cut us down.  Of course we spend a lot of time deluding ourselves that Death won’t cut us down, but that is another story.

It pays (literally, because that is the currency that gives all the goods we need for survival) to think about how you spend your precious energy.  Pay attention to your energy cycle, or when you feel more concentrated or have the best energy.

I squirrel away my best energy in the morning.   This is when I work on my novel.  I like this slightly dreamy state for working with fresh material imbued with my imagination.   At this time of day it is just me and the characters of my work dancing in my head.

And then the dream ends.

In the world of freelancing it is usually feast or famine.  You rarely can pace yourself with just the right amount of work for yourself.  It isn’t like the Three Little Bears, and it is never just right.  Usually you have to much, or too little, and if it is just right, get ready for it to change to either or.

Then there is the added layer of social media and social networking – this takes energy too.

Recently Michael Martine, author of Remarkablogger described how bloggers should run in packs, like wolves, to get the most effectiveness out of working together as a group for common and individual goals.  I have always thought this makes sense because humans are social animals and we usually don’t operate in isolation.

To demonstrate how this operates, Chris Garrett picked up on Michael’s blog idea and suggested on Twitter that everyone come together and communicate under the Authority Blogger forum.

This is why we have civilization in the first place.  So we can come together and accomplish mutual and individual goals.  It takes far less energy doing things this way than operating alone.

Photo Credit:  © Ellen Wilson

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51 Responses to Writing the Wild Within: Part 3 – Squirrel Away Your Energy

  1. Kelly says:

    Ellen,

    So true. I wish I had more morning hours, because I am incredibly focused in the mornings and so full of ideas. I can jam stuff out like nobody’s business. After 1 or 2 I kind of drop off. For me, that’s a good time to schedule meetings (I can get creative the next day, but let’s just talk about the creative in the afternoon).

    Great post. Now I’d better go stuff some nuts in my cheeks!

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Because the Side of my Head Has Been Sore for 25 Years: Prize Time!

  2. Wild animals are fascinating. Humans are definitely pack animals, so I followed your link to check it out and I’m not sure how I feel about it — a group where you’re obliged to subscribe and follow everyone on the list, with no obvious rules or criteria for joining… I think I need more convincing 😉

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Recipe for Freelancing

  3. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Kelly – I’m the same way with my energy levels. I wonder if drinking too much coffee in the morning has something to do with it. I get on with article work during the day.

    @Melissa – You bring up a good point. I don’t think I can follow everyone on the list, it’s too vast and time consuming. How can I comment on one thousand people’s blogs?! Hell, I can’t hardly even keep up with you guys, and I do my best! It’s a good theory though. Chris Garrett can manage it, well, because he’s Chris Garrett and has been doing it for a long time. You know, I was thinking, if I blogged everyday I wouldn’t have time to write, take pictures, or comment on other people’s blogs! There has to be a happy medium.

    I’m glad you brought that up.

  4. Kelly says:

    Ellen,

    I’ve cut back on the caffeine over the years. I’m becoming too sensitive to it. For me it’s probably the opposite. I’ve only got so much energy, so I’ve got to use it before I lose it in the afternoon!

    (By the way, James’ gloating was for nothing, because he didn’t read the rules: the reference to my age is “in the post,” not in the comments. So if you feel like a little hunting, grab that cup of coffee and look around, the prize is still up for grabs!)

    Oh, I meant to click through to see what all the wolf-fuss is about. I’m off to do that now.

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Because the Side of my Head Has Been Sore for 25 Years: Prize Time!

  5. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Kelly – Took me a second to understand what you meant by “wolf fuss.” I get it.

    Hey! I still have a chance at the prize! As soon as this article is done…

  6. Wendi Kelly says:

    I think we have our own little blogging wolf pack and like the three bears story- its just about the right size for me. I looked at Chris’s but I can’t commit to 1000 people. I can commit to our gang. I know our gang is growing and as it does, I will continue the committment but it is a commitment that grows naturally as I get to know people in a real and authentic way, not contrived. I support and comment not to gain something that you “owe” me but because I respect and enjoy what you do.
    Does that make sense? If it is recipreicated because we are like-minded then all the better.

  7. Karen Swim says:

    Ellen, managing energy is an ongoing battle. The funny thing is in Corporate I never thought about it as I didn’t have a choice! However, you do have support so I suppose that helps (at least that’s what they tell you!). I try to get all of my “heavy lifting” done early. By 3pm I am drained of creative energy which is the perfect time for meetings, etc. Support is essential and as solopreneurs you have to link arms with others. I agree with the comments too and agree with Wendi. I do support this group but because I genuinely like the group, the writing and want to support your success.

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

  8. Karen Swim says:

    Hey Ellen, came back to thank you for the Authority Blogger forum. I joined and have just been adding everyone to Twitter and my feed reader. It turns out you’re not obligated to follow all members. There’s an additional note there from Chris which basically says that some will stick and some will not on Twitter or in your reader, and he gives tips for giving blog love that are manageable. I like his approach and I think this is a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

  9. Friar says:

    I’m the opposite. I hate mornings and it takes me a good two hours to feel fully awake and functional.

    I do my best creativitiy (writing, painting, etc) late at night, especially when I’m supposed to go to bed.

    I think it’s part of the “forbidden fruit” mentality. The adult part of me says I should go to bed at a reasonable hour, so I can get up for work the next day. But the kid part says “No, I wanna stay up”. It’s been like this since I can remember.

    Of course, I feel like crap the next day. Hence, I’m not too producutive first thing in the morning.

    (Ahh..but so what? It’s only work!) 🙂

    Friar’s last blog post..Tapping into your Subconscious

  10. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Wendi – Yes, it makes sense. Relationships are about reciprocality, but yeah, they must be authentic. Chris’s idea makes sense if, for example, you need a story dugg on digg. Then it might be able to work. It makes sense relationship and workwise to stay in a smaller pack. I think you can work more effectively this way. We will get to know eachother very well and learn to grow from the diverstiy of our group. I think Karen had an excellent “ass” post about that concept. Gives me another blog idea.

    @Karen – I’m glad we are here for eachother and I know we have a good thing going! One good thing about freelancing is that you can work around your own schedule and energy levels. Usually.

    @Friar – I like the forbidden fruit mentality. Reminds me of a Hieronymous Bosch painting. You know Bosch? He is one of my favorite painters. I used to get lost in his paintings for hours when I was little. My dad’s art books.

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I do appreciate them. I still have to get that prize from Kelly…I won’t forget!

  11. Kelly says:

    Wendi,

    “I support and comment not to gain something that you ‘owe’ me but because I respect and enjoy what you do.” I tried to say that last night someplace else, but I didn’t say it nearly so well. I am all for word-of-mouth, but I prefer mine organic, not quite so manufactured.

    Friar,

    This is what comes of not having kids.

    When you’ve got ’em, they drag you down, wear you out, and have to get up at ungodly hours to get off to school. No problem sleeping, no problem waking up. Well, you might have a problem waking up, but you have no choice. Borrow some nephews and all that forbidden fruit thinking will go away quickly. Sleep IS the forbidden fruit of the parent.

    Oh, I might have forgotten to mention they’re cool and you love ’em. 🙂

    Ellen, it is yours for the taking. You have just the creative brain to suss it out.

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Why is Go Daddy so Gosh Darn Ugly?

  12. I like the way Wendi explained it… letting the pack form naturally. It’s not so bad if you don’t have to follow 1000 people on Twitter though. I mean, that would get totally out of hand!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Recipe for Freelancing

  13. Friar says:

    @Ellen
    No, I didnt’ know Bosch. I’m gonna have to check it out (We engineers aren’t all that knowledgeable when it comes to arts and the humanities).

    @Kelly

    Oboy..I’m getting tired just listening to what it’s like to have kids. I can’t imagine actually DOING it.

    There’s good and bad things about being single…but I must admit, I really DO appreciate my freedom to be able to do what I want, when I want. Seeing my friends who have kids, I certainly dont’ take what I have for granted.

    Friar’s last blog post..Tapping into your Subconscious

  14. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Kelly – If we don’t love our kids who will? Ha! Yes, I like organic too. Manufactured is like a big factory. Organic is like a fruitful garden. I’m going to look now on your site now that I have a few!

    @Melissa – I see that some people on Twitter are following something like 15,000 people?! Wouldn’t your computer crash?

    @Friar – My dad was an engineer and an artist, so I guess the two are compatible. You can only be so linear. If you like pagan Vikings and maypoles you will like Bosch.

  15. Kelly says:

    Ellen,

    My thought process while reading your comment… “she has a few… she has a few kids? fruits?” LOL “oh, minutes!”

    Friar,

    Not “all that knowledgeable when it comes to arts and the humanities.” Sez the watercolorist. Yeah, yeah.

    I did realize that wasn’t the best advertisement for the most glorious part of my life, but hey, there are two sides to every coin. With kids, you need a sense of humor for the flip side. I’ve never known anyone who’d back up and do it differently.

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Why is Go Daddy so Gosh Darn Ugly?

  16. Friar says:

    @Ellen
    I remember almost getting scolded by some art students, when they found out I could draw better than they do. (I should have asked them to solve a differential equation!) 🙂

    I think engineering and art often go well together. Despite the math and science, there is a lot of creativity that goes into engineering and problem solving. I find I use the same part of my brain. It’s sort of like art, at times.

    @Kelly
    Except for some watercolor lessons, I’ve had little or no formal training in humanities. I haven’t studied English or History or social studies since High School. I’m really not that well-read when it comes to painters and literature, etc.

    (Oh, they made us take a few mandatory “arts electives” in University, but we just took them as “Bird courses” for the easy marks…I don’t count those.

    Kids are fun…but I’m talking from an “Uncle Friar” point of view. I must be 100 times harder when you actually have to be a parent.

    Friar’s last blog post..Tapping into your Subconscious

  17. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Kelly – Energy is the forbidden of the parent! That and patience.

    @Friar – I don’t understand why some art students would “scold” you? Is it because you had no formal training and they were jealous? University trained individuals sometimes like to hold themselves above those below the ivory tower. Sometime it works to your advantage not to be university bred. Look at artists like Jean Michele Basquiat or writers like Alice Walker who had no formal training. You aren’t a captive to any discipline and your mind is free to roam new lands.

  18. Friar says:

    @Ellen

    I think those “artistes” were mad. Because they weren’t really that good. I drew better than they did, plus I was also studying engineering.

    Artsies and engineers are like cats and dogs. They often bicker and dont’ get along.

    We engineers laughed at artsies because they had 16 hours of classes a week compared to our 35-40. They laughed at us because we were apparenltly uncouth knuckle-dragging apes who coudn’t spell our own name.

    Thing is, Engineers end up with higher paying jobs. so we would get the last laugh. But it sure was fun to rile up the artsies and get them all huffy and self-righteous.

    Oh, but I would NEVER do that myself. (Oh no, certainly not) 🙂

    Friar’s last blog post..Friar’s Never-to-Do List

  19. Brett Legree says:

    One thing I’ve come to realize is this:

    I can do anything I set my mind to doing.

    Another thing I’ve realized:

    I don’t possess the mind of a “modern engineer”, you know, the ones where we work who excel at focusing on one single boring task for 60 hours a week. The ones who don’t think outside of the box. The ones who follow all the rules all the time.

    I went into engineering because it was somewhat interesting to me, and it paid the bills.

    Yet, as I’ve matured I’ve learned that I am something else.

    I think I am more of a “classical engineer” (and I think you are too). Think Leonardo. For a more modern example, think Kelly Johnson (of Lockheed, designed the U2 and the SR-71).

    People who could think artistically, outside the bounds of tradition.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  20. Friar says:

    @Brett

    You know, Ellen’s talk about squirrelling away your energy…If you’re doing something you love, your energy level explodes, you never get tired.

    But if you’re doing something you can’t stand, your energy level DROPS.

    Like at the end of the day, after working at the Widget Factory, I feel totally wiped out and drained.

    Not because I worked that hard… I didn’t really. But because I’m so godamned bored, the job just sucks the soul out of me.

    I actually have to do something physical (run, garden, etc) to clear the cobwebs out of my head and get my energy level back up. Sometimes it takes an hour or 2 after work till I start to feel “myself” again.

    Friar’s last blog post..Friar’s Never-to-Do List

  21. Brett Legree says:

    @Friar,

    Right on the money. That’s why I get up extra early to work on my own personal stuff – to give the best part of my day to what I care about most. Then I go to work and do what I have to do.

    And I agree with you then, on Friday night I ran around 9:30, and I had so much energy I was up until 2:30…

    We’ll get there – just takes time… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  22. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Friar – Are you sure the arteest’s didn’t have the last laugh? Even when you work on what you want though, at least I find, your energy level can lag. For me it’s around midafternoon.

    @Brett- It sounds like you are describing scientists (creative thinking individuals who invent things) vesus technicians (who consistently put widgets together). A scientist person gets bored because they’re not challenged enough.

  23. Kelly says:

    Hey, how come I don’t get any notice of a conversation going on here, and then suddenly eight comments show up in my inbox all at once and I’m hopelessly behind? Something funny going on…

    Friar,

    Yes, the moment when an art student realizes they are not going to be [name favorite artist who also makes money] is a deadly one, and if you’re nearby and you draw better while not realizing the blood they’ve been sweating just to be mediocre, watch out. The same goes for theatre majors.

    I very happily dated engineers in college. I lived in the geek dorm, because I was a geek, and very few artists were, so engineers were who I knew. (Yes, our school was big enough that we had a designated geek dorm; no, I’m not making that up, though it wasn’t called that. It had to do with the program we entered under, which was the geek program.)

    Boyfriends and their buddies, who were also my buddies, mocked and were jealous at the same time. I tried to explain how many zillions of out of class hours go into those classes, but hey, you engineers put in a lot of out-of-class time, too, so who knows. That’s supposed to be the rationale.

    Fine artists have to make a conscious decision to take “money isn’t everything” as their mantra. Which is its own bitter pill, no matter how hard you try to swallow it.

    And watch out… Ellen could be on to something about the last laugh. 😉

    You and Brett are like Leonardo, artsie and sciencey at the same time. Haven’t you heard Renaissance Men (and Women) are supposed to be dead?

    Long live the new Renaissance Men and Women.

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..I Know It Was Earth-Shattering! But I Lost It in Bed!

  24. Brett Legree says:

    @Ellen,

    I think you are right about that. When I start a new job, I’m usually good for about 3 months, then I get bored. Hence, I need to do my own thing… 😉

    @Kelly,

    I think you’ve hit it on the head. Renaissance Men and Women, we are. I know this, I’m different, and so is Friar. I remarked to him once or twice in the last week that on some level, I’m almost (almost, but not quite) jealous of the engineer types at work who can be reassigned to yet another boring project and instantly become interested in it (or at least, feign interest) – to the point of living and breathing it.

    I guess that would be an “area to work on” for me. I just won’t do that. You’d have to pay me a lot of money (and I make good money) to become the nookulur sammitch advisor.

    Hmm… a new list, perhaps. Eight personality quirks…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  25. Friar says:

    @Ellen
    Without trying to sound arrogant, I think I might have the last laugh. True, I’m not happy with my job. But I suspect there are just as many Art History Majors and Humanities PhD’s in the same boat, who are working at menial jobs that have nothing to do with their line of work.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I’m just greatful I have a good salary that gives me freedom to explore other options.

    If I could make a good living doing art and writing, I’d be the happiest man in the world. That’s what I’m striving for.

    In the meantime, all things being equal, I’d rather be an unhappy engineer on an engineer’s salary, instead of an unhappy arteeste on an arteestes salary! 🙂

    @Kelly
    We engineers always put in huge hours of work outside of class. I used to do 4-5 hours of homework a night from Monday to Thursday, take Friday and Saturday “off”, and then do an entire day on Sunday. Every year, for four years.

    I lived in a dorm and I saw first-hand how hard engineers and math/computer people worked, compared to humanities students.

    I’m not putting down humanities…if that’s what people are really passionate about and that’s what they want to study, great!. Not all of us are destined to be techno-weenies.

    But a lot of students take humanites by “default” because they dont’ know what else to do.

    But (just stating facts), humanities have easier entrance requirements, and the work load is considerabely slacker than science/engineering.

    Hence, there is a greater supply of humanities grads than engineers, which is reflected on the starting salaires upon graduation.

    I think high-school guidance counsellors should tell students these facts before they get to college. Not to discourage them, but just to make them aware of reality.

    Friar’s last blog post..Why our Kids will Never Amount to Anything

  26. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Kelly – Yes, you are right about the new Renaissance. It’s going on now as we speak in the blogoland. Notice I didn’t say blogosphere. I know you think it’s overused. I think geek is an overused word which I will never apply to myself. I do not understand “geek.” What is it? Someone who likes computers and numbers? Someone with taped glasses? I will make up a new word to replace geek. I’ll let you know.

    @Brett – I have the same attention span deficit. I like my hands in many pies. Word pies, that is. One of the reason I like to write on many different topics. I really don’t like putting myself in a cage.

    @Friar – I don’t know how much reality a high school guidance counselor can instill in an eighteen year old. Like my son just said, “the problem with research papers is you have to research.” Geez, where did he get THAT idea?!

    Reality teaches kids everything they need to know. The school of hard knocks. I advocate trying what you like, even if it doesn’t pay.

    But you’re right, you need money to have an iota of freedom.

  27. Friar says:

    @Ellen

    I agree…let the kids study what they want…but they should just be made aware that they might not get the big house and fancy car, if they want to study Ancient Egyptian Basket-Weaving. Just so long as they realize that.

    But then again, what can you tell an 18 year old? (They just entered their “Darwin years”. If a male can survive the years of 18-25 without killing managing to kill themself..chances are they’ll make it in life.

    I tempted Darwin many times myself….! 🙂

    Friar’s last blog post..Why our Kids will Never Amount to Anything

  28. Brett Legree says:

    @Ellen,

    Long live the insanely interested in everything.

    Re: guidance counsellors and Friar’s comment – my take on it is this, I met with two guidance counsellors in my life, once in Grade 8 and once in Grade 12. In Grade 8, it was suggested I go into science as I wouldn’t enjoy shop.

    Years later, I discovered I really *loved* metalworking while I was project manager of a machine shop. Dang.

    In Grade 12, it was suggested I try engineering, even though I knew I liked to write, because “writers never make any money”. Well, maybe a lot of them don’t, but engineering’s getting kind of stinky after 12 years of it. Sure it pays the bills, then again, maybe if I had studied English and become a prof or something…

    No matter. I know what I want to do now. And that’s all that matters. Tell your kids to try all kinds of different things to see what they want to do. Ask lots of people lots of questions about their work.

    (I’m sure that you already spoke with your son about that. I know I already have done so a little with our oldest.)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  29. Kelly says:

    Friar,

    I remember you…. There’s always one funny guy who thinks he can take Friday and Saturday off, while my buddies are working themselves sick. 😉

    I was a super-achiever-humanities-student at college the first time (two majors—two minors—too burnt out!), so I won’t take offense to all the offensive stuff you said. Though, you wouldn’t want people who don’t know what they want, to be thrown into the deep end of engineering, would you? We’re young if we go straight out of high school. A lot of people don’t know what they want, except for it to be over. When they get to college, it’s “to smoke and drink and do drugs and hook up AND for it to be over.” We can let them sort themselves out in humanities, or tell them to go home, which doesn’t seem fair, because university is a good place to sort it out. Most do.

    Damn. I missed Ancient Egyptian Basket Weaving. Was that before or after Medieval Spanish Poetry? Which stunk, BTW. I coulda been weaving a basket.

    Kelly’s last blog post..I Know It Was Earth-Shattering! But I Lost It in Bed!

  30. Kelly says:

    Ellen,

    Ha, ha, yeah, I’m sick of blogosphere but I use it on occasion, too. Go figure. I’ll have to remember blogoland. That’s good.

    I’m a geek, and happy about it. A bit nerdy. Intelligent without apologies. I’m also very well-rounded, but that’s been a conscious effort to avoid being an intellectual snob. (And I’m humble. Did I mention that?) My daughter is a darling little geek too. I can’t complain. I know, some folks don’t like the word, but to me the shoe fits. It’s who I am.

    Kelly’s last blog post..I Know It Was Earth-Shattering! But I Lost It in Bed!

  31. Kelly says:

    Brett,

    “Insanely interested in everything”—what a completely perfect phrase!! Still, not as concise as Renaissance Man, though then there’s the gender thing.

    My 8th grade guidance counsellor’s sage advice after some hideous test was, “You can do anything you want. You’re well-suited.” Umm, thanks. Good lord, can I have your job?

    Through h.s., I was told you should be a this and you should be a that: artist, actor, writer, engineer even (no way!). Every teacher had a pet school they wanted me to get into. I ignored the steering. I thought I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to teach English as a second language to inner-city Spanish-speaking kids. The best doggone ESL teacher ever. Poor, but so what? I set up my world for that goal.

    The day I was headed to college, my mother says to me, “Don’t do something practical, just because you think it’s expected of you.”

    I doubt anyone “expected” what I was doing, but the words have simmered for the rest of my days. Three-plus years later I took my overachieving butt out of school, knowing that whatever “it” was for me, it wasn’t all that stuff. (I asked her much later, Ma, what on Earth did you mean? She said, “I don’t know. I say a lot of stuff. How do you remember things?”)

    I started working in design shortly afterward, like it was waiting for me. Later I went back and got a degree in what I was already doing. Because I knew why I was there, I absorbed it all like a sponge and had a much better time than the first go round, at least directionally. I wouldn’t trade any of it…

    No regrets.

    Until later,

    Kelly

    (Whew!)

    Kelly’s last blog post..I Know It Was Earth-Shattering! But I Lost It in Bed!

  32. I think that they play as well, the squirrels in my neighborhood are always chasing each other and running and leaping in the trees, it really looks like they are just having fun sometimes!

    Darren Daz Cox’s last blog post..Each artist is equal because art is subjective

  33. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Brett – Kids get worried about it because of the society we live in is bent on achieve, achieve, achieve! That’s why you should listen to yourself and not other people. Sure, it’s good to get advice, but ultimately you have to hear that little voice. To thine ownself be true.

    @Friar – Wait?! Whose blog are we on? I’m getting confused! Help! It’s all melding together! I had to check on was on my dashboard and not yours. The “Darwin Years!” Oh, I love that! Yeah, that about sums it up. Of course Nick bought a lemon sports car so he is not in danger of killing himself in that. His bike? Maybe.

    @Kelly – Welcome to my blogoland where the natives weave baskets and talk about squirrels. Some of them probably eat them too. Oh I don’t even want to get into the neighbor I had who did that. And it wasn’t in the country either. Why would someone eat roadkill? Ugh!?

    People in the Renaissance did not call themselves geeks. They wore ruffs and lace and velvet and conversed in Latin. I am a refined geek. I am a spleak. Now I will get into Dr Seuss speak.

    @Daz – Squirrels chase eachother because they are in mating mode. Most of the time. I know they play, too. All animals play. I onced watched a show about star fish and how they play. You wouldn’t think a starfish plays, or has a personality for that matter. But intelligence is all relative to the organism. Darwin said that, too.

  34. Brett Legree says:

    @Kelly,

    It’s kind of like what Steve Jobs said about going to calligraphy class after he dropped out of college… if he hadn’t followed his interests, the Mac and arguably all computers wouldn’t have nice fonts. Strangely enough, I can see myself going back to school in the not too distant future…

    @Ellen,

    Exactly. I ignored the little voice for a long time, until it became a big voice and said, “HEY”.

    (how do you like my ruffs and lace and velvet?)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  35. Friar says:

    @Ellen
    Wow..look at the animated discussion we got going here. I like how these topics suddenly spin off the original subject…you never know where your post is going to end up.

    @Brett
    Yeah, I remember my guidance counsellor. Totally useless. You know why I went into Chemical Engineering? Because I liked Chemistry, and engineering also looked good. So I combined the two and made a compromise.

    Kind of a stupid way to decide, when you come to think of it (especially since Chem. Eng has little to do with chemistry!). But no one was around to tell me that at the time.

    @Kelly
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all humanities students slacked off and took it easy. If people are passionate about something and put their whole energy into it, it’s a worthwhile endeavor, no matter what the subject.

    I’ve just seen too many people take humanities by “default” (I’ve had some admit they dont’ know what they want, so they took the “easiest thing” they could think of). They’ll pick the easiest courses, doing the bare minimum work, just to get their parents off their back.

    I’ve lived with people like this: pot-heads who think university is a big party…it’s a joke. (What a waste…when you consider how many people dont’ have the chance to get get a higher education).

    You’re right, though. Engineering is a huge committment, and you don’t want students going into it half-assed. But why not encourage them to take something else besides Badminton Theory or Watching Cartoons 101?

    Friar’s last blog post..Stupidest Reasons I’ve Been Told Why I Should Get a Girlfriend

  36. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Friar – This is why students get like this: their parents who wanted them to have it easy. Easy is as easy does. You know, they don’t want to work for anything! Oh, believe me, I went to the biggest party school in Michigan, MSU. I think one third of freshman drop out due to this very phenomenon. Kids emulate their parents. Also their peers, and this gets harder to control once they get older. I know I said previously that kids should pick their own friends, but it irks me when my kids have friends that are completely materialistic. Another story…another blog post….lalala. Oh, and when I went back and got my degree in English their were a lot of lazy lame students in that field also. Writing is hard work, and so is analyzing leeterature.

    @Brett – You look magnificent in ruffs and lace. Especially since you have been getting all buff running. A total Renaissance man. The Greeks thought humans should have a balance between mind body and something else. I forgot . It probably had to do with eros.

    I hope you guys are having a good holiday? I see it Victoria Day according to my calendar. And you still have the queen on your money! Haaaa! I do like the loonies though. It is very groovy to have wildlife on your money. I’d like a crow on the dollar bill.

    I have been busy today and neglecting my blog friends, so I will have to kick it up a notch tomorrow. I know no one wants to be neglected, and we all like comments.

  37. Friar says:

    @Ellen
    All that talk about University and studying. Makes me realize I’m so GLAD it’s over. I had a good time when I did it..but I’m done my formal schooling for a while.

    Yes, it’s Victoria Day. Bloody cold! It was in the 40s this morning and pouring rain. It got up to mabye 55 today with blowing winds. This is normally considered the “First weekend of summer”.

    Yes, we still have that Old Bat on our money. I’m not a monarchist like some Canadians. WTF did Queen Elizabeth ever do? (Besides have a great great great great (etc.) grandfather who conquered the Celts in 1066?)

    You know what’s even more useless? Having a Governor General (who’s supposed to represent the Queen). She lives in Ottawa in a huge mansion at taxpayers expense, and she basically goes around Canada dedicating buildings and cutting ribbons. (Where can I get a job like that?)

    And (get this) she’s French (originally from Haiti). A Francophone…representing the Queen of England.

    Go figure. That’s so typically Canadian.

  38. Brett Legree says:

    @Friar,

    Yeah, I sort of did the same thing. I had a Chemistry teacher who used to blow up things, and my uncle is a civil engineer, my parents said, “your uncle’s an engineer, you might want to think about that” – so I thought I’d try it.

    And you’re right about that – people ask me if I know such and such about chemistry, and I’ll say, “don’t ask me, I’m a Chem Eng!”

    @Ellen,

    Why thank you! I need the ruffs today as it is a bit chilly. We had a great day here today, went to check out an old ghost town (I’ll blog about it soon) and we’re having chili tonight (chilly & chili, there’s a connection I guess).

    That reminds me, Friar, if you haven’t been to that ghost town yet, we can go check it out some time when you’re around on the weekend. That is, unless you’re going out with Claire Chaffington 😉

    Oh, and Ellen, you’re not neglecting us – family first. We’ll be here.

    -Brett

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  39. Kelly says:

    Friar,

    Wait! Are you saying university wasn’t supposed to be a big pot party?

    I must have gone to the wrong school.

    Oops.

    And I missed Badminton Theory, too. That could have kept my mind off the munchies.

    😉

    Brett,

    Rockin’ ruffs, dude. You are the most stylish gent in itty-bittyville. Don’t get ’em caught in a reactor. 🙂

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tipping Points Go Both Ways

  40. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Friar – I had no idea that there were Canadian monarchists. How can you work such a thing with your French brethren? We are still trying the melting pot theory here and obviously it isn’t working. All for one and one for all. The problem is we spend to much on our schooling system with kids who are not up to speed. I haven’t figured this out yet, but it is a serious social problem, as I suspect it is in most “developed” countries. It mainly is a class or social problem with historical undertones. Or can anything have “undertones,” because everything is bred from something else.

    Yeah, I am so happy those formal years of schooling are over. I learn a lot more by teaching myself. Well, I always have, and sometimes I wish I never went to college at all. Hindsight is always 20:20, they say. I suppose I am like Steve Jobs, who Brett likes to quote.

    @Brett – Looking forward to the old ghost town. I like stuff like that. Every time we pass a cemetery in our wanderings I say to Mike, hey, let’s go look at dead people. He thinks I’m morbid and it’s a waste of time, but these people were alive, and I like to think of them as I walk amongst the stones. Some people haven’t had anyone think of them for a long time. I want to be the one to remember their lives.

    @Kelly – You come up with the best lines, “don’t get ’em caught in a reactor.” That reminds me of farming and not getting you hand caught in a combine! I suppose if you get your hand caught in a reactor it would glow.

  41. Brett Legree says:

    @Kelly,

    Thanks for the style compliments, but no danger of getting stuck in the reactor, they shut down two on Friday and the other one is so old it should be euthanized… (thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week!)

    @Ellen,

    You know, I was going to blog about that personal productivity stuff I introduced last week, but I think I’ll do the ghost town first. It is pretty interesting stuff. Productivity can wait… 🙂

    Like you said, people need to be thought of. I used to ride my bike on those streets when I was Cameron’s age. It is a really strange experience for me to walk there as an adult. I can almost hear the kids playing, see the houses, smell the smells (I went to a birthday party there once and we had barbecue).

    Surreal.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  42. Friar says:

    @Brett

    Actually, you remind me that I want to write about that old abandonned ski hill that I visted last month (in the “Forsaken Zone” in Eastern Ontario).

    I want to see those old streets and buildings you mentionned. I think I know what your’e talking about.

    There is a cool website “Ghost Towns of Ontario”, and I’ve been to a few. There are several within a 1 hour drive of Splat Creek.

    @Kelly
    I admit, I was such a goody-goody, I never did pot. (I lived with pot-heads for four months and they were such jerks, it totally turned me off ever wanting to try weed). Though I have been known to (ahem) drink the occasional beer. 🙂

    @Ellen
    Obviously lots of French-Canadians can’t stand the Queen. They still cant’ get over the English defeating the French on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec city in the 1700’s.

    We dont’ have a “melting pot” here. Rather, we have “multiculturalism”. Which basically means everyone ELSE’s culture must be accepted and must be tolerated. But it’s okay to bash western beliefs, particularly from the people who immigrate to Canada so they can benefit from the exact same culture they criticize.

    And we accept this, because that’s what Canadians do. (Don’t even get me started here!)

    ..as a parting thought. In Quebec, did you know it’s AGAINST THE LAW to have a sign in the English language unless the words are 1/3 the size of the French words?

    And we have official “Language Inspectors” who measure the words on signs with rulers, to make sure the law is being obeyed!

    In some ways, I wish we were more like the U.S. You guys woudlnt’ put up with any of this crap.

  43. Brett Legree says:

    @Friar,

    We can go check it out any time you like, maybe Ken would like to join us.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  44. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Brett – You are a sensitive person and I’m sure you can see it. I’d like to see the ghost towns of Ontario. Especially by Splat Creek.

    @Friar – I had to stop and think about what you said regarding bashing Western beliefs. I’m glad we have the freedom here to say what we want. Usually. And the people that come here have the same freedoms. I wish it wasn’t “Western” standards that we are judged by, but by universal standards. Universal standards I’m not sure of, but we need to come to some sort of agreement on. I suppose that’s why the US has a constitution that is amendable.

    That’s why, I think also, people who come here are so critical, not only do they have freedom of speech, but they judge us by our foreign relations within the world context. And I can’t blame them.

    I’ve seen the signs in Quebec. It’s the last French holdout.

    The Natives in both our countries are the ones who have really lost out. And they are the ones with the least voice. At least from my perspective.

  45. Friar says:

    @Ellen

    I guess what I have a problem with is when people start trying to change our “Western” beliefs, which happens to include freedom of expression and democracy.

    For example, we’re no longer allowed to say “Merry Christmas” in many workplaces.

    More seriously, we had a recent case in Toronto where a father killed his daughter in an “Honor killing”. Because she wanted to go out with her friends and refused to wear her tradional clothing.

    In his mind, he probably though his actions were perfectly justified.

    This would be one case, where the other culture is definitely “wrong”.

    These is the kind of values/beliefs I dont’ want to see come to our country (or any other country, for that matter!)

    Though there are people in Canada who would probably label me “intolerant” for saying this.

  46. Pingback: 6 Weeks

  47. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Friar – No, you’re right. That wouldn’t be tolerated in the US. Honor killing? That’s ridiculous. Label me intolerant too, but I just can’t deal with that ridiculous power control crap. There has to be a bottom line. It reminds me of a book that Mike (that sounds funny, eh?) wanted me to read, because he was all incensed about it after he read it…it’s by Jon Krakauer about the Mormons out west. It seems they have got quite a hold out there and want to spread their influence. That would destablize Liberty and Justice for All, now wouldn’t it? We have to practice tolerance for eachother, but when these microcosms don’t practice tolerance with eachother what should we do? After all, they are a small part of the macrocosm when they come to the west. Western women have to cover their heads when they go to certain Middle Eastern countries. That’s the best comparison I can come up with.

    I don’t have anything against any religious group, don’t get me wrong. Hell, I don’t even have a problem with people having 20 wives! As long as they’re nice to them. Really, it’s their business, not mine.

    I was even going to write something political last night, but then I stopped myself. I thought oh no, he we go with the politics, is this the way to go on a blog? But really, sooner or later you have to get real and not dance around the issues. Isn’t that what screws things all up?

    So today I’m thinking why shouldn’t I practice freedom of speech? It’s what I think. And if anyone else disagrees with me on my blog that is fine. They have the same rights I do. Just as long as they don’t get nasty and play nice in the sandbox.

    Thanks for all the insight, Friar. I learned some new things about Canada. You will have to keep me posted on that honor killing case. I’ll look it up on the net.

  48. Friar says:

    Ellen

    Yeah, I dont’ want to get into politics too much either. I’ve been too “serious” on my blog lately, I need to act like an idiot soon or I’m gonna blow a gasket.

    I read a big chunk of that John Krakauer book, though. Un-freaking believable. It’s mostly the 14 year old “wives” that I feel sorry for.

    Did you read his book “Into Thin Air”. I’m not a big fan of moutain climbing, but it was a compelling book, I coudlnt’ put it down.

    Well, I need to go fishing. Mabye if it warms up above 50F, I’ll consider it.

    Friar’s last blog post..The Magical Fish

  49. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Friar – Nothing wrong with serious, but it seems with politics and religion it just goes round and round. Your blog is a good mix of silly and serious. Comedy and Tragedy are what make the theatre of the world.

    Yeah, that’s what Mike was getting at. I said oh, c’mon, it can’t be that bad. Then I watched a documentary and changed my mind. I did read snippets of the book “Into Thin Air,” and I remember thinking how ridiculous and arrogant these climbers are/were. We went hiking in the Beartooth Mountains in Montana, and that’s about as mountainey as I care to get. Those mountains kicked my ass. That, and I was not happy about hiking around during a thunderstorm. There’s no where to hide.

    I don’t like ice-fishing, either. I could compare it to meditation, but it’s just toooooo cold for me.

  50. Friar says:

    Hahah! I never thought of myself as part of the “Theater of the world”.

    More like the drainpipe of the Blogosphere.

    Ice fishing is good, in that when it’s minus 20 outside, and you’re on a cold windy lake, trying to hook a squiggly wet minnow onto a hook with your numb fingers…..well, you tend to forget about things like the office!

    Been there, done that. As much as I love fishing, I stick to the summer months.

    There are easier ways to get Zen moments to achieve.

    Friar’s last blog post..The Magical Fish

  51. Ellen Wilson says:

    The drainpipe of the blogosphere sounds like a good post title.

    Yeah, cold windy lakes with the temps dropping to below 20 degrees. That sounds like a FUN time. I suppose thats why ice anglers like their Shanties. And Schnapps. I think it’s all about the Schnapps. A little fish, a little more Schnapps – no more fish, a lot more Schnapps.

    Rather than hunting or fishing I usually prefer to shoot things with my camera. I’m a pretty good skeet shooter, though. Haven’t done it in a long time.

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