Penny Pinchers and Grasshoppers

Well! That was a week I wouldn’t want to experience very often, satisfying as it was!

The full-time job I started last Monday is working out very well thus far, and I anticipate it will continue to be pleasantly challenging. I think I may have landed on my feet there, fingers crossed that I’m not looking at it through rose coloured glasses.

The part-time job I started on Thursday is a different kettle of fish entirely. Not so keen on it, truth be told. A lot of unpaid time seems to be “suggested/implied” to get up to speed, if that continues I will just have to turn in my resignation. I am also expected to gather information during office hours, which I cannot do because I have a full-time job during the day. Neither of these expectations were revealed by the employer before I accepted the position. Pressure and stress. The other issue with this position is that the agreed upon 20 hours a week has blossomed into more than 40 hours in the first seven days. I can’t manage that many hours in a week in addition to a full-time job. I’m complaining already, it does not bode well, although it might just be startup jitters.

Attila and I are home together this afternoon and tomorrow. Attila is just now preparing to head off to work, I am getting ready to work at the new part-time job from home, for the two remaining paid hours I’ve been allotted for today. This afternoon we are both free to attend to our personal life.

Our last hydro bill was very high, because we heated the house with electricity for three days while we visited the little house in the city; it costs around $15 per day to keep the house above freezing when we are away on mild winter days. We’ve laundry to do to, which must be done late in the evening, very early in the morning or on weekends to take advantage of the off-peak prices for electricity, which are around the same prices we used to pay for all our electricity. Bread baking is now a mandatory weekend task, my bread is presently rising in the oven. Tomorrow we will prepare a lot of next week’s food to be taken in lunches and to be heated in the microwave for our dinners.

I think we are what I’ve heard called “penny pinchers”; we certainly must watch where every last penny is spent in order to keep our ship afloat. No one ever led me to believe that life would be easy, and for that I am grateful. I suffer no disappointment on that account.

The Girl Guide Motto made a lasting impression on me: Be Prepared! A large number of people regard efforts to be prepared as “anticipating things that won’t happen”, or “over-thinking”; two phrases of advice I received while in training at my new part-time job. While one can obsess about the unknown, which is not desirable, the intelligent approach toward responsibilities is to prepare for eventualities, particularly in environments with limited resources, tight schedules and possible safety issues. It all puts me in mind of the fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, a cautionary tale told for centuries (see Notes). Or even the old sayings, “a stitch in time saves nine”, or “If you command wisely, you’ll be obeyed cheerfully”, both taken from Fuller (see Notes).

We have an election coming up on Monday. We always vote, for all the good it does. I have no particular political affiliations, never have had, probably never will have. The profession of politician is fraught with situations that would compromise my integrity and irritate my soul, were I to venture in that direction. Still, there could be individuals uniquely situated to navigate those waters and maintain personal integrity. Haven’t ever observed this happening, personally, but the laws of the universe declare that anything is possible! So I vote.

Worldly Distractions


-2 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -2.0°C
Dewpoint: -2.0°C
Humidity: 100 %


“To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
1844 – 1900


The Ant and the Grasshopper

“The fable concerns a grasshopper that has spent the warm months singing while the ant (or ants in some editions) worked to store up food for winter. When that season arrives, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger and upon asking the ant for food is only rebuked for its idleness. Versions of the fable are found in the verse collections of Babrius and Avianus , and in several prose collections including those attributed to Syntipas and Apthonius. In a variant prose form of the fable, the lazy animal is a dung beetle which finds that the winter rains wash away the dung on which it feeds. In its Greek original, as well as in its Latin and Romance translations, the grasshopper is in fact a cicada.
The story is used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving, and the perils of improvidence…”


Recorded in Thomas Fuller’s Gnomologia, Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British, 1732

Here and There, Minute and Massive: Bad Energy is Bad Energy

The forecast for today is for warm and sunny weather! I will only be working for two hours, and fully intend to bask in the sunshine during the rest of the day.

We continue firing the masonry heater twice a day, as it can still be quite cold at night. The low temperatures for the next few nights are predicted to be -11C, cold enough to need the heating system.

I am grateful for the quality of my personal life and for the present stability of the area where I live.

Bad energy is bad energy.

At work the atmosphere is charged. The work load is light, so that there is ample time for my coworker’s endless striving for personal information to be used for her pursuits in “disowning projection” (see Notes below). My neck is so stiff with stress that I can barely turn my head. The medication I am taking to relieve my stomach pain is working. Daily I become more irritable with Attila, who is the faultless victim of my bad humour. On the surface, at work, it looks like we are “getting along”, which is all management wants to see, hear or deal with. I need the money, or I’d be out of there like a shot from a gun. Another two weeks to put in at this office. I had silently prayed to the universe to extricate me from needing to put in these three weeks; my prayers were not answered, despite my attempts to move on to another job or obtain a relocation to another office.

I think I may be doing a little bit of projection myself, my distress and outrage at my present working conditions being directed at the captains of industry around the world. Really, my working condition represents profit’s indifference to balanced existence, at a very minute scale; whereas the Japanese nuclear reactor condition represents indifference at a massive scale. It is a safe outrage at the massive scale… they care nothing for me, for my opinions, for my words lost in the vast digital sea. I might not lose my job by projecting my outrage onto the massive scale conditions, but people are losing a lot more than their jobs in Japan.

Still, I would like to think that the “written history” of my time here on earth included some sort of outrage at the stupidity that we call progress. So my words are here. My troth is pledged to the betterment of the human condition, regardless of the effectiveness of my efforts. When I return to my maker I will make a good account of myself.

The devastation caused by natural environmental processes in Japan is beyond anything I can imagine, watching from the relative safety of Ontario, Canada. I continue to feel sadness, fear and outrage at the nuclear issues they are facing in Japan. I am not convinced that nuclear power plants are any safer here in Ontario or Canada than they are anywhere else in the world. Sure, the earthquake caused this issue with the nuclear power plants; but hey, the people who built the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan, and other plants along the fault lines, knew about earthquakes. If science is such a God-like, unbiased intelligence just how did they come to build these fragile giants in such vulnerable locations. Of course, the answer is obvious. Science is a tool, a loaded gun with no intelligence of its own. Those who wield it determine the outcomes of its influence. Outrageous hubris!

There are many issues of safety with nuclear power, most of which we trust the “powers that be” to respect, and to protect the public interest. I am pretty sure that if we ever faced a crisis of the magnitude that they are facing in Japan, that our “powers that be” would be largely absent as the population struggled through the darkness.

Pat Logier used to tell me I was a “master of the obvious”. We are what we are.

Worldly Distractions


-3 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: -3.0°C
Dewpoint: -3.0°C
Humidity: 100 %
Wind: calm


“And Browny quite gave up rolling in the mud, and Whitey ceased to be greedy, for they never forgot how nearly these faults had brought them to an untimely end.”
The Three Little Pigs and Other Folktales of Type 124

Japan’s slow tsunami response stirs anger: Government breakdown, lack of resources create frustration
“Fed up with waiting for instructions, Abe offered his services to a group of teachers who have stepped in to help fill a void left by the breakdown of one of the world’s most capable and usually omnipresent government bureaucracies….

But the state, overwhelmed by problems, has abdicated some of its most basic duties, some say. The government is not doing anything. They are not present here,” said Akase Hiroyuki, the principal of Ishinomaki’s Nakazato Primary School. Along with 20 of his teaching staff, he runs a shelter for 1,200 people left homeless and hungry by the tsunami. Classrooms serve as dormitories, and the school’s gymnasium has become a food-distribution center….

Asked what officials are doing to help, he laughed and said: “I’ve been looking for them, but I haven’t seen them yet.”
Source: Washington Post: Japan’s slow tsunami response stirs anger, Government breakdown, lack of resources create frustration


Radiation Network

“Most of these models, as well as the GeigerGraph for Networks software, are available at, a web site operated by Mineralab. Click on the text hyperlinks in the previous sentence to go there. You can also contact us here:
Mineralab, LLC
Welcome to, home of the National Radiation Map, depicting environmental radiation levels across the USA, updated in real time every minute. This is the first web site where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time (see Disclaimer below)…
Disclaimer: Mineralab, LLC, the operator of this web site, can not independently verify that the Radiation Levels, or any Radiation Alerts, that are displayed on this Radiation Map are correct and valid. Among other possibilities, Geiger counter malfunctions or proximity of the counters to certain medical procedures or to radioactive items can cause high readings at a Monitoring Station. If the Radiation Map appears to show elevated Radiation levels, contact Mineralab.”

Aarne–Thompson classification system

“The Aarne–Thompson classification system is a system for classifying folktales. First developed by Antti Aarne and published in 1910, it was translated and enlarged by Stith Thompson. As a treatment of morphology, it uses motifs rather than actions to group the tales.
Over all, the tales are grouped by Animal Tales, Fairy Tales, Religious Tales, Realistic Tales, Tales of the Stupid Ogre, Jokes and Anecdotes, and Formula Tales. Within each group, they are further subdivided by motifs until the individual type.”

Disowning Projection

In a projection , a person attributes certain aspects of him or herself to others (→ Attribution Processes ). The process is closely tied to → identification in the psychology of personality. A disowning projection involves attributing negative aspects of the self to others, such as “selfish motives, evil intent … [or] stupid attitudes” ( Cameron 1947 ). Cameron includes the exclusion of those characteristics from the self as part of that projection (hence the disowning portion of the name). Theoretically, a disowning projection should be contrasted with an assimilative projection , in which a person similarly projects his or her own qualities onto others. Although both are projections, the content and effects of the projections are quite different. When negative characteristics are projected, the person who is projecting disassociates him or herself from the characteristics. When positive characteristics are projected, no such disassociation occurs. Instead, the person who is projecting maintains the view of him or herself as being described by these characteristics, and, after projecting them onto others, sees him or herself as similar to those others.


Captains of Industry

Devastating, the situation in Japan. Should be an eye opener to all of us, what the captains of industry have gotten us into, and how our governments are implicated. I feel a lot of compassion and respect for the general population of Japan. I feel disgust and contempt for the movers and shakers of industry, business and progress, worldwide. The fear of nuclear contamination is not generated by a war, it is created in the name of progress, aka greed, the very same progress that promotes nuclear power in Canada as a “green” alternative. The hubris of the powerful has been visited upon the meek.

In my opinion, the powerful are invisible to the general public and self-protective, the politicians are glib, incredibly convoluted and cunning. History is written for the powerful. Knowledge is generated for the powerful.

For all we know, humans existed in peaceful co-existence with each other and the planet, before this brief era of written history. The stories of our distant ancestors are buried in time.

As a species we need leadership with integrity, not politics. There is a world of difference.

Worldly Distractions


1 °C
Condition: Light Freezing Rain
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: 1.0°C
Dewpoint: 1.0°C
Humidity: 100 %
Wind: SE 5 km/h


“Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment”
Peter Buffett


Raw Data from Japan

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Japan March 16, 2011

Ongoing News from Japan

HAPPENING NOW: Live updates of developments in Japan

Our Government’s Stance on Nuclear Issues

Harper embraces the nuclear future
Climate-change anxiety breathes new life into nuclear power, and shifts Ottawa’s plans
JOHN GEDDES | May 7, 2007 |

“Stephen Harper would seem an unlikely pitchman for nuclear power. When the Prime Minister launches into his familiar spiel about Canada as an emerging “energy superpower,” we all think we know what he’s talking about — he’s an Alberta MP, after all, and his father worked for Imperial Oil. Yet in a key speech last summer in London, his most gleeful boast was not about record oil profits, but about soaring uranium prices. “There aren’t many hotter commodities, so to speak, in the resource markets these days,” Harper joked to the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce crowd. Then, noting that Britain is among those countries poised to begin buying new reactors for the first time in decades, he added: “We’ll hope you remember that Canada is not just a source of uranium; we also manufacture state-of-the-art CANDU reactor technology, and we’re world leaders in safe management of fuel waste…

It’s a renaissance fuelled largely by climate-change anxiety…

However these battles unfold, the nuclear industry and its political supporters will be looking to exploit cracks they see in the wall of environmentalist opposition…

In an email exchange with Maclean’s, Suzuki explained his position. “I don’t say unequivocally that nuclear is not an option. It may very well be sometime in the future,” he wrote. “But right now, I think it’s nuts to even suggest nuclear. Climate change confronts us with the opportunity to think and design the kind of energy we want in the future and to me, it’s clear it should be a network of small-scale, diverse sources.” He lists wind, solar and tidal power as his preferences….”


Chernobyl 1986 – 2006, 20 years later

English Russia: The Lost City of Chernobyl

Microscopic Scale

Just what are The Fates up to these days? I’m not talking world economic crisis, political unrest, environmental disaster or atmospheric anomaly. If I can’t figure things out at my microscopic scale, there is little hope I’ll be able to resolve anything at a larger scale. I’m beginning at the beginning, which is me, in my case, you in yours.

Attila and I made a bold move, we bought the little house in the city to transplant ourselves near our beloved children. Shortly after the purchase Attila was given a promotion at work and his working conditions improved significantly. In the present economy his job is not replicable, not even close, in or near the little house in the city. He and we cannot afford him to leave his job. Hmm…

My job search has been intense and extensive, both here in the country and near the little house in the city. It has come to my attention that finding employment is unlikely. So my hope that I would find employment in line with my education, experience and qualifications is only a pipe dream, in this great country of Canada. So I will not be able to find work to support us if we move to the little house in the city. Hmm…

When we bought the little house in the city both daughters were living close by it, Luna and Terra. Since we bought the little house in the city Luna has moved away once, a few hours away, not too bad. But a second move is about to take place taking her and her little family far away and largely out of reach for visits. Hmm…

Here is the thing though. We love the little house in the city. We love the house. We love the neighbourhood. We love the milder weather. Most of all, we love being near Terra and Lares. We enjoy doing our little projects to bring the place back from the brink of extinction. I pined for the place at times during the long, long winter of bad weather and foiled travel plans.

A move to the little house doesn’t look imminent. Who knows what The Fates will bring; they haven’t left any crumbs to lead the way through the forest.

The whole experience still seems positive, even if it hasn’t gone according to original plan.

What I wish for is that the disparate parts of my life, whatever they are, weave together to create a cloth, a whole that is greater than any of its parts; that that cloth remain healthy and vibrant and that it sustains my dreams as well as the practical aspects of life.

Here are some sisters who I don’t know at all, found their little show on a youtube search for the song Side by Side. They have the right idea.

Worldly Distractions


-17 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -17.0°C
Dewpoint: -18.6°C
Humidity: 88 %
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -2


“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Bill Cosby
1937 –


The Fates
“The Fates were three mythological goddesses and may refer to:
Moirae the Fates of Greek mythology
Parcae, the Fates of Roman mythology
Norns, numerous female beings who determine the fate or future of a person in Germanic paganism
Three Witches, characters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth
The Fates, characters in Disney’s Hercules”

Right Kind of Genius

To my way of thinking we are living in a era where the cultural empire is creating a fast narrowing path to survival. The empire is ultimately self-destructive. There are historical precedents; the Roman empire, the Mayan empire… analyze these structures of power any way you like, from any disciplinary perspective, spend countless hours discussing what little we actually know of how they actually grew and died off, intellectual discussion doesn’t change that they existed, grew and disappeared but for built form. They were what they were, no matter how we analyze and categorize and philosophize.

The descendants of meek members of those cultures remain, healthy and strong. It seems a bit biblical really, the meek have inherited the earth many times over during written history and who knows how many times in the vast ages of human history before the written word.

Many times over the weak have inherited an earth much diminished by the unnatural growths of powerful structures that fed like parasites on a balanced system.

Here is where my thoughts on genius intersect with my thoughts on culture.

The right kind of genius would put the weight of its talent behind a balanced structure of human habitation and community. Since the beginning of written history the right kind of genius has not been culturally favoured. Genius instead has been siphoned off and poured into the foundations of imbalance, the gathering of resources into the hands of the few.

An example is Christaller, whose theory on central place was used extensively by the Nazi’s to create, among other things, a network of internment camps. Christaller’s contemporary, August Loesch, see also, was comparatively ignored; I wonder if this was because his intellectual integrity was not as useful to political and economic strategies. Dr. Loesch did not join the Nazi party.

These are names of people who carried genius. Much of the built form in our present day-to-day lives, in Europe and North America, has been shaped by the product of their minds in the hands of the powerful.

In spite of the successful efforts of this towering structure of wealth, that reaches towards the heaven of its own desires, the right kind of genius remains, germinal, a force of nature, not of culture. And that is as much “human nature” as is greed and competition; more so in my view.

I wish my world were an ancient tale, a sleeping beauty and I a prince to kiss us all awake, in time to live the lives we have been given.

May those who carry the seed of genius with integrity live happy and fulfilled lives. If they can, then we will. Thank you for existing.

What can I say, I am like this in the mornings.

Worldly Distractions


-10 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 8 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -13.2°C
Humidity: 78 %
Wind: W 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -16


“I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly.”
Bessie Coleman

From the movie The Matrix
Lock: “Goddamnit, Morpheus! Not everyone believes what you believe!”
Morpheus: “My beliefs do not require them to.”