Assumptions

Assumptions are the bane of my existence. Many fields of scholarship have alluded to the inherent weakness of calcified shared assumptions, such as education and business (see below). Although shared assumptions can be a very healthy way of maintaining balanced social interactions, once they cease to evolve freely they become rhetorically and functionally tautological (see definition below).

We all have our faults and weaknesses. One of mine is “jumping the gun”. Occasionally I make a superficial assessment of something I read or see, based on false assumptions, then base a conclusion on incomplete information. Usually this goes unnoticed even by myself, because I seldom, if ever, leave any assessment as superficial. I am driven by some internal force to find out more, look at possible meanings, find the context. The superficial assessment serves only as a starting point in my process of education. I am, for the most part, a self-correcting system, in a constant state of intellectual flux.

There are times though, when I venture an initial statement on a subject before moving into the research stage. Usually these false statements happen in a conversation where I am feeling some pressure to participate, which is usually but not always a self-generated pressure. This invariably leads to miscommunication at best, embarrassment and/or hard feelings at worst.

Not to confuse this with my “off the wall” statements, and in particular “off the wall” questions. These statements/questions are usually based on a solid core of understanding, a seemingly unique perspective on a subject. This unusual perspective sounds ridiculous to other people (colleagues, professors at university while I was a student etc.) at first, until they hear the context of the statement/question. My questions are frequently regarded as irrelevant, crazy or “off the wall”, based on the conversant’s assumptions about why I am asking the question. Almost invariably though, once they answer the seemingly silly question, and listen to my response, they can abandon their own assumptions about what the statement/question must mean. Then they are free follow my subsequent logic and understand the point I am making. That is not to say that they will agree with my point, it is merely that they cease to regard the statement/question as crazy, and assess it on its own merit.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

SNOW SQUALL WATCH IN EFFECT
-27 °C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -27.0°C
Dewpoint: -29.6°C
Humidity: 79 %
Wind: SSE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -31

Quote

“Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.”
Eric Hoffer
1902 – 1983

Note

Jumping the Gun
“to do something too soon, before the right time”
Source: http://www.oxfordadvancedlearnersdictionary.com/dictionary/jump_1

Off the Wall
“(informal) unusual and amusing; slightly crazy”
Source: http://www.oxfordadvancedlearnersdictionary.com/dictionary/jump_1

Assumption
“a belief or feeling that something is true or that something will happen, although there is no proof”
Source: http://www.oxfordadvancedlearnersdictionary.com/dictionary/jump_1

Shared Assumptions

The normalization of social interaction: When shared assumptions cannot be assumed
Marilyn A. Rumelhart
QUALITATIVE SOCIOLOGY Volume 6, Number 2, 149-162, DOI: 10.1007/BF00987085
Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/t042253702136380/

How One Center of Innovation Lost its Spark
July 23, 2001, Donald Sull, Faculty
Harvard Business School
Source: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/2377.html

Tautological
“A rhetorical tautology can also be defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, whereby the statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed or that the truth of the proposition cannot be disputed by defining a term in terms of another self-referentially”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology_(rhetoric)

Firewood Tops The List

A.M.

Snow squalls are on their way apparently. This morning it is snowing and the wind roars occasionally, which means serious gusts. Driving visibility, the weather network warns, could be nil at times by this afternoon. I will be home by then, I hope. Hopefully Attila will make the short journey home at the end of the day without incident. I rather hope he does, not least because he is the provider of firewood, therefore the provider of heat. Mist and I insist on and appreciate his presence. Of course I have many other reasons for desiring his company, but today firewood tops the list.

P.M.

As promised, snow squalls have arrived. Attila will be busy most of this evening with snow removal and wood splitting. The road conditions are deplorable, and worsening as the day progresses.

Fish for dinner. Usually Attila does the cooking, but I am the designated fish fryer. We buy frozen fillets, which I thaw, pat dry, dredge in peppered flour and fry in olive oil with chopped garlic. It has become a favorite meal.

I notice WordPress has another software update that I’ll have to manually install on the server. Not today though. I’m kind of tuckered out after a busy start to the week, our trip and then working full time for two days. Guess I’ll just go sit in the easy chair, with my feet up and my Kobo in my hand.

http://www.poetshouse.org/

Worldly Distractions

Weather

NOW SQUALL WARNING IN EFFECT
-9 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 1 km
Temperature: -9.0°C
Dewpoint: -9.9°C
Humidity: 93 %
Wind: W 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -14

Quote

“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.”
W. Somerset Maugham
1874 – 1965

Walking

Still here. Attila and I spent Sunday in Toronto. Most of our time was spent walking about, poking around my old neighbourhood, making note of changes and browsing book stores. Then it was down to the Free Times Cafe, another old stomping ground, to hear Steve Paul Simms and friends perform. Old familiar tunes, new tunes, old friends and new friends; we had a wonderful time.

We left the cafe to walk through gentle snowfall and the quiet streets to our car. There was nothing gentle though about the drive home. The snow, so benign when traveling on foot or at low speeds in downtown Toronto, became blinding as we travelled north on the highway. The roads became increasing snow covered, and in some locations slippery. We did pass one recent accident where a car heading south had done “donuts” and then taken out the guardrail; flashing police lights were heading south towards the scene. There was little traffic save for odd lone transport truck.

We arrived home at 1:30 a.m. Attila then stayed up to build and burn a fire in the masonry heater, and split the wood for the next morning’s burning. I headed to bed, so I don’t know how late he stayed up. Attila didn’t get much sleep.

Last night we turned in at nine, and here I am this morning at five. Attila and I both feel much better today.

Yesterday I worked all day. Unusual. Wonderful. Today I work all day again. Tomorrow I return to part time hours for the rest of the week. Next week I am only working three hours. Feast or Famine.

My quote for the day is a statement shares the same same sentiment that inspired my poem Noble Cause.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -19.0°C
Dewpoint: -21.2°C
Humidity: 83 %
Wind: NNW 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -27

Quote 

“He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars:
General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer.”
William Blake

Damn The Torpedoes

Yesterday there was nothing about work I could have complained about, I just didn’t want to be there and the experience felt jarringly discordant all day long. I maintained my smile throughout. Sometimes the corporate straight jacket fits a little too tight; the abrasions are still chaffing this morning.

Attila and I made a trip into the village yesterday evening, to do some much overdue banking and pick up supplies. The savings on groceries when we shop in the village is enough to pay for the fuel to make the trip there and back; and there are more allergen-free food choices in the village.

Store bought soda biscuits are usually made with palm oil, or other saturated oils that aren’t all that good for you. President’s Choice has a new product, Olive Oil & Rosemary soda crackers, made with…. olive oil. After some experimentation the following conclusion was reached; these crackers are not great with peanut butter, not great with strawberry jam, lovely with cheese and best plain. You heard it here first.

After a cloudy start to the morning, the sun is intermittently breaking through the clouds. Attila is working this morning, I am not. Our plans for the afternoon are modest. Attila will split wood and build fires. I will putter.

Our experiment with NetFlix continues, and when the next high-speed bill comes in the total cost can be tallied. Streaming videos is a great way to watch movies and television programs, pausing whenever and resuming whenever one feels the need. The selection outranks our satellite service by leaps and bounds. But the cost, the cost will be the determining factor.

I’m gearing up to write poetry again, it has been some time since I’ve written anything acceptable, acceptable to me I mean, I’ve only published one poem, so publication is not my criteria for acceptable. Time to get out the pen and paper. There is no intrinsic or material reward for writing poetry. Poets seldom become affluent as a result of their writing. And as one disdainful person wrote about poetry readings, “The poetry was still torture, though”. It hardly inspires one to write. Damn the torpedoes.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-8 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -8.0°C
Dewpoint: -12.7°C
Humidity: 69 %
Wind: SSE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -12

Quote

“No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.”
William Blake
1757-1827

Installments

Friday Morning

I’m writing in installments just in the case the day goes haywire and I don’t make it back to my computer. I’m working in two locations today, with about 20 minutes for lunch in between. Busy day. It is feast or famine when it comes to work.

It is milder now, and much warmer indoors. Of course I’ll spend my day today in a well heated building, where at times I will feel overheated and uncomfortable depending on my level of activity, so the lower temperatures at home will be a welcome change at the end of the day.

It is snowing again this morning, so I’ll be heading out to the car ten minutes early to clear the snow and scrape off any ice before heading down the road.

Hopefully more to come this evening, or if that fails, tomorrow.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-8 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -8.0°C
Dewpoint: -11.7°C
Humidity: 75 %
Wind: SW 17 gust 33 km/
Wind Chill: -15

Quote

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910