Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Visit With Santa

Merry Christmas from Sean, Patrick and Brian

This photo was taken at Oakridge Centre in Vancouver in 1969.
I was 8, Sean was 6 and Patrick was 2.
Nice one of Patrick, eh?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Fun Frolic

I belong to an informal masters club at the YWCA that was started by Donald F. We have pretty serious swim workouts and are very focused on proper technique of all four strokes. We swim Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:00 am until 7:30.
Donalds program is a true “Masters” swim club program and we use the same drills and practices that they use at the University level clubs.
Donald is an Engineer as well and sends us articles from the book Swimming Fastest.
These wildly technical articles discuss things such as whether swimming propulsion is a result of the Bernoulli Principle or whether it is Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Any thoughts from my Engineer readers?
I think even Joe Lee would be impressed. However technically Joe’s stroke is pretty bad according to the textbooks and he isn’t a pretty swimmer, but he’s faster than anybody so he doesn’t need any technical help.

Today was our swim group’s fun swim and breakfast.
In the past we have gone to Griffons at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, but Chris is boycotting it because of a cold poached egg experience. So today we went to the Hotel Soleil.
From left to right:
Maureen, Jules, Shiuman, John, me, Sarah, Ota, Donald, Chris, Lee-Lynn.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Trouble Making

I’m not talking about practical jokes. They are a waste of time, and people can get carried away. They can also cause aggravation and feelings can get hurt. And I’m also not talking about causing trouble that will cost the company money. I’m talking about a little mischief making to get the blood flowing in some individuals who I consider to be a little inactive. I want my people awake and lively. I like to see people scrambling about because of something I have done. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

There is active trouble making and passive trouble making. The real pros know how to do it passively. That way you put in the least effort and get the maximum results.

We have a group of four troublemakers in the office and we each take turns.
Here are some basic attempts of troublemaking you can try on your own.

Ignacio is somewhat primitive and his attempts involve sprinkling hole punch confetti. This is an example of “active” trouble making.

Gerardo’s clever use of “Sametime” can drive a target to distraction. He waits until his mark is involved in an important conversation with the boss at the target’s desk. Then Gerardo Sametime’s his victim so the icon starts flashing on the computer. The victim is distracted by the flashing, but doesn’t want to be rude to the boss by answering it. The boss wonders why the victim doesn’t answer the Sametime since it is obviously from someone in the company. I find this passive troublemaking elegant and easy.

Here are some basic guidelines to help you with your troublemaking:
The easiest group to make trouble for are the people who are really serious.
The key is to always blame somebody else and make sure that person is plausibile. He or she should be in the wrong spot at the wrong time so they can be blamed wrongly.
You, the troublemaker, must look like you are doing something productive when you are causing trouble. Carry a pen and paper and start writing when the trouble starts happening. That way people will assume you are taking notes about something and also assume you are far too busy to be causing any trouble.
Try to spread the trouble around so that a bunch of people get blamed for something they didn’t do.

Here is an example of active trouble making by Vijay. Mike left a relatively clean desk when he went away on a business trip. He'll be very active when he gets back.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Plant Progress Update

Safety Motto: Safe Plants go to Heaven

Marketing: The plant naming sub-contractor has finally performed! The plant will be called “Robert Plant”. However no singing, humming or whistling will be allowed at site until our client CEO’s wife recovers from her bad hair style.

Statements by Discipline:
Civil & Design Eng. – Is there any budget left?
Structural – I blew my entire budget on coffee and steel.
Architecture – I’m wearing my Star Trek outfit to the opening ceremony.
Process – It’s done already, when’s the party?
Mechanical Services – The money has gone hence the project must be over.
PD-Piping – The bugs ate a piece of my budget.
Mechanical Eng. – The plant had some bugs but we sorted that out in the end.
Material Handling – I don’t wanna let go, the plant is like a part of me.
Electrical Eng. – I’ll have what the plant is having.
Instrumentation Eng – Why do I always have to finish last? Next time I’m going to be project controls.
Accounting – The plant financials balance everyone should make merry.

Chai Latte

Is my coffee/ chai latte drinking habit as expensive as being a smoker? If I stop going to Starbucks what will I do with all that loose money? $155 per month translates to $1,900 per year. If I stop going for two years then I could afford to buy a really nice Aquarium.

This is my first run at a forecast and I’m simply using a fixed forecast method. Next month when I have better data I may go to a rolling forecast model.

I suspect that there is an inverse correlation between work and Starbucks consumption. The less pressure at work the more time I have to drink coffee/chai. And the pressure is definitely decreasing as the Cerro Verde project Engineering is nearing completion.
I may discover some interesting trends in this study.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I grew up in Kemano, British Columbia. Kemano was an Alcan Aluminum company town in Northern British Columbia created to house workers at the Kemano Hydroelectric Generating Station. Kemano was accessible only by boat, helicopter, or seaplane. I lived there until I was 5 and then we moved to Tsawwassen.
Patrick just sent me this picture of the Kemano 1962 Bowling Champions with my Dad 2nd in from the right at the top.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tri Buddha Club

Several of my close Ironman Triathlete friends belong to an ultra elite club called the TriBuddha Multi-Sport Benevolent Society. The club's motto is "Where's the Fried Chicken? " I desperately want to be in this club because well, I don't really know why, but they won't let me in!
The idea of this club is to remind us that we should not be obsessive about Ironman and drop to low body fat percentages in order to participate in our races. We are supposed to be doing these races for fun, not to win our age groups. In order to be in the club members must promise never to diet. In fact members are often called upon to make pigs of themselves at the social events. It's a social group and they often go out to restaurants for meals, or have dinners at someones house.
Unfortunately I have been known to go on the Atkins diet and I often get carried away with the fad of the moment in order to drop weight or build muscle. So I have a bad reputation which stops me from even being put on the applicants list.
Doesn't help that I'm dating a vegetarian either. Tri Buddhas consider vegetarianism an eating disorder.

Anyway, I am back on a diet and I guess I don't deserve to be in the club. I'm doing pretty good at it actually. I'm drinking protein drinks about four times a day and really trying to increase protein. I do have a problem with my Starbucks Chai Lattes but I'm not willing to give those up even though it irks me paying $4.50 for one of those drinks.

My body fat is down to 14.5% and I'm hoping to get down to 12% someday.
Here is my latest chart which highlights my obsessive dieting characteristic.