Neat Interview by Simon Sinek on Millennials – Relevant in Alberta

Problem with the millennial challenge is four categories.

Parenting – Raising the generation

  • Parents say you’re special all the time  Real World: You’re not special.
  • You can have what you want, at any time  Real World: You can’t have whatever/whenever
  • They’re in honours classes because their parents complained, not because they earned it. Some got A because the teacher didn’t want to deal with the strong-willed parent.  Real World: Mom or dad can’t get them a promotion.
  • Participation medals Real World: They don’t get anything for getting second.

Technology

Technology causes physiological responses that are adult-addictive responses. It’s like they open up the liquor cabinet and start drinking at a young age.

  • Facebook/Instagram – shows the world your best side, but nothing messy.
  • Body’s dopamine response – smoking, gambling, drinking (porn) which have age restrictions. We get this addictive response with social media and video games, but social-media is not age-restricted.
  • The generation growing up in lower self-esteem (they were dealt a bad hand).

Generation Characteristics: Lower self esteem – doesn’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with stress. They turn to addictive behavior.  There’s nothing wrong with alcohol, but the moderation is key.

Impatience

Simon goes onto say there is “instant gratification for many topics, except for job satisfaction and strength of relationships”.

What the generation needs to work on is: patience for things that really matter. The journey is arduous, long and difficult.  Scaling a mountain means people still need to scale the mountain.

The younger generation need to learn patience, love, joy, self-confidence.

Environment

Suggestion is to remove cell phones from conference rooms, bedsides, and meals with others. Relationships are formed when communicating with people, helping people, trust-building exercises. If your phone isn’t charging by the bed, you won’t check it if you can’t sleep.

These days, corporate managers need to pick up the slack and bring the generation into deep meaningful relationships, build self-esteem, and help them recover by disciplining them.

Interstellar – The One Thing…

I really like the movie Interstellar, along with the music of Hans Zimmer

I was impacted emotionally by the movie when I first watched it in 2015, and again today I as I listen to the soundtrack.  While the music isn’t amazing on its own, it does what I think the composer, Hans Zimmer, intends, and that is to help me re-live the movie through the music.  The essence of the movie and music remind me that life is short. That some of us have few chances to make deep lasting choices.  That our mortality is closer than we think. The simplicity of the music hints that there is a whisper to be listening for, and that in that whisper we get our identity, and that we can make humanity-altering choices, and that life, while short, is more eternal than temporary.

Remember the people who go behind you into that good night.

Here is the album on Google Play.

https://play.google.com/music/m/B7tmkeo3paclf4diumnhubsles4?t=Interstellar_Original_Motion_Picture_Soundtrack_Deluxe_Version_-_Hans_Zimmer

 

 

PMBOK Knowledge Area ABCs (memorization)

As sung to the song for ABCD:

In’te’gra’tion, Scope’, Time’, Cost’ (A-B-C-D-E-F-G)

Qua’lity, Hu’man Re’source (H-I-J-K-LMNO-P)

Com’mu’ni (Q-R-S)

‘ca’tion, Risk (T-U-V)

Pro’cure’ment, Stake’hol’ders. LIST! (T-U-V)

These are knowledge Ar’e’as. now I’m gonna pass this test!

 

Another version, as sung to

 

Silent Night (of studying)

Initiate (Silent Night)

Plan, Execute (Holy, Night)

Monitor (All is calm)

And Control (All is bright)

Close, and Integrate, (Round yon virgin)

Scope, Time and Cost. (mother and child)

Quality,  (Holy infant so)

Human Resource (tender and mild)

Communication, Risk, Procure (Sleep in heavenly, peace)

Stakeholders, for sure. (Sleep in heavenly, peace)

Solar Panels on Roof Tops in YEG

So you’re interested in what it takes to do solar, or as they call it in the Power industry, micro-generation?

Me too!

My friend Josh C use to tinker with fun DIY electronic projects and our corporate friend Radio Shack.  Funny enough I still have that disposition, and I started calling around to find out what it would take.  While there are a few companies that do this in Edmonton, I wanted to try and help you get to the end decision part more quickly than you would by searching this out yourself. By the way, this is for residential Edmonton home owners, but it’s probably similar for businesses too.

Take a look at this house in Edmonton:
Solar House

1. First you’ll need to be engaged. 

If you’re not use to using your brain to do this sort of thing, then it’ll take some mental effort. You’ll have to call around, read legislation (it’s not too bad), and apply for permits. Electrical contractors or construction contractors in general will be able to do this project with precision, because that’s what they do all day long, but you too can do this yourself.

2. You’ll need to commit resources (eventually)

Solar costs money, and you don’t want to waste you time, so there is a “Go/No-Go” point you’ll need to consider.  You’ll likely identify steps you can grow your home’s setup for solar.  Also, keep informal track of your time, as you’ll undoubtedly talk to others, so you can compare notes and keep the maker movement alive.

3. The Regulator, The Distributor, The Retailer

The Regulator for electical power in Alberta is called Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC, http://www.auc.ab.ca). These folks keep power generation under wraps. Before you talk to the distributor, you’ll need to be familiar with the micro-generation (Rule 024). They ask questions related to the regulation.

The AUC Micro-Generation Rules:

“On February 1, 2008, the government of Alberta issued the Micro-Generation Regulation. This regulation allows Albertans to generate their own environmentally friendly electricity and receive credit for any power they send into the electrical grid.

The Alberta Utilities Commission has implemented the regulation, and has developed processes to simplify approvals and interconnection agreements between customers and owners of electrical distribution systems. AUC Rule 024 was developed to define the business rules and processes to enable customers interested in micro-generation to connect into the distribution system.

More information for customers interested in installing a micro-generator can be found on the micro-generation page.”

[Source as of today: http://www.auc.ab.ca/rule-development/micro-generation/Pages/default.aspx]

Micro-gen_applicationFlowChart

There are four steps to become a micro-generator in Alberta:

  1. Become familiar with the contents of the Micro-Generator Application Guideline which will help you in understanding the process and technical requirements of interconnecting your micro generation unit to the distribution system.
  2. When you are ready to proceed with your micro-generation project, complete all the required fields of the generation project (less than 1 MW) notice form. Please note that missing or incomplete information may cause delays in processing your application.
  3. Send in your completed application form with all the wire service providers required documentation to your wire service provider for approval (for example: if your micro-generation project located in the city of Edmonton you will need to send your application to EPCOR Distribution & Transmission Inc.).
  4. Notify your electric retailer. You must advise your retailer of the micro-generation connection date and arrange for compensation for any excess electricity generated.

Micro Generation Application (AUC) .PDF

The Distributor

In YEG it’s Epcor. They get the power to your doorstep, as in all that copper leading up to your house is up to them to maintain and protect. You will need to apply for a Distribution System Operator Approval before you’ll start talking meters and such.  To get the application docs you’ll need to contact Epcor, and they’ll chat with you about the paperwork you need.

At this point you’ll have to commit to the new meter. Epcor (in YEG) will put a bi-directional cumulative meter to count the Watts coming off the grid, and the Watts going on the grid. You likely currently have a unidirectional cumulative meter counting upward).

The Retailer

Once your distribution application is approved, they send over a “Generation Retailer Notification” which tells your retailer (mine is Epcor, but yours could be any of the others) that they should be ready to do the micro-generation billing.  The lady on the phone said that current billing is $1 for use and you get credit for $1 of energy you put back on the grid. You’ll start to see your bills changed here.

No information on 4, 5, or 6 yet. I suspect that I’ll need an electrician to do the work to hook up to the meter.

4. Getting the Solar Panels
5. Installation (mounting them, hooking them up)

Best Practices:

6. Go time

Leadership and My Fellow Citizens

I’m continuing my attempts to eat more #organic food in Edmonton. Admittedly I’m on a bandwagon, and I have less critical thinking (and research) going into my decisions to buy organic than I’d like.  Regardless, the stories of my journey cause a scare in me that the Organic food movement is propagated more by businesses than by righteous research and wholesome decision making by consumers.  A few stories I’ve heard recently cause me to think (against my hope that they are guided by more than money) that civil servants are ultimately guided by the almighty dollar than by goodness.

I remember my dad saying when I was younger that we should all expect at bubble of lower productivity that move through our workforce when we make significant budget cuts to the Education System. He would say, Education cuts need to be considered more critically over other budget cuts.  While I think the balancing act is a behemoth, currently I’m focused on how decisions are made as they related to food. In Canada, Health Canada is the department that regulates this, and I have hope they will be guided by heavenly good decision making. 

My friend, Josh, had shared a story that a bakery in BC was calling some bread organic, while making it with non-organic flour.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had found the bakery mis-labelled “Organic” bread. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-bakery-caught-selling-mislabelled-organic-bread-1.2489314). This went on for 3 years, and nothing was done.  The headline “Betrayal of Consumer Trust” is accurate, because I, too, feel betrayed.  Aside-ly I can think of a few other groups that might be linked to this headline.  I almost think that we as consumers need to put more emphasis to CFIA that this lack of compliance after inspection is unacceptable.  Who’s at fault? I am…because I continue to let the Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, deal with issues that she sees are more important.  She can’t see unless someone tells her, and I honestly keep silent.

I, in my ignorance, also allow Health Canada to support progress for the sake of progress. Where is the passion in the leadership, like the Swiss, who ship their cows by helicopter out of the mountains. Why, because it affects the country’s water table if they die and then rot in the mountains.  Their Government gets involved to pay for cows to be shipped out.  That’s the direction I’m talking about…where is that type of commitment in our food system?  I mean subsidize home gardens, teach citizens the good things they can grow, and incentivize them on taking on their health themselves.  Maybe it’s limiting sugar in key cereals.  A gal I knew said you can’t put vitamins or fibre in a junk food like Pop.  Now, it’s happening where pop (soda) companies can put vitamins in sugary drinks–WT!   I mean the end game has got to be the almighty dollar.  I know I should just accept it, but there is a better way, and it’s sacrifice.

If I don’t take a bit more interest in my health, then who will protect me and my health?  If I don’t speak up about Organically labeled products made with non-organic ingredients, who will on my behalf? If I don’t tell leaders that I value sacrifice over making more of a buck, then I shouldn’t be surprised at the outcome.  I think we need to spend more time looking, critically, at the decisions our leaders in Government make, and also ensure that we lead those with wholesome, maybe more expensive choices in the marketplace.

Saltwater tank, Turbo Snails and Barnacles

I picked up a few snails from Big Al’s Aquarium yesterday. They  are super interesting, and really fun to watch.  My aquarium is a salt water tank, and I’m wanting to turn it into a reef tank versus a marine tank, but the salt water part has been much easier, because of my friend Dan Grewal (he Rocks, literally http://www.ottawafolklore.com/2010/08/dan-grewal/)

I started out about a year ago, and I convinced my wife I should pick up a 45 gallon fish tank, the filter, heater, and no light for $75 in Fort Saskatchewan.  January 2013 was the start of the journey.  I picked up this tank, and it came with a mid-sized pleco, and I turned it into Big Als.  The other two fished died, but the pleco got a new home.  I started my scrubbing of the fish tank…what a lot of work that was.  It was vinegar and a souring pad I used to scrape the inside clean.

Once I got it cleaned, I loaded it with water…45 gallons of Instant Ocean. What a task that was, but finally I got it up and going. Dan said I needed to have it run for about 3-4 months. The long it ran, the more of a good cycle I would have (referring to the Nitrogen Cycle of all fish tanks).  I let it run for 3 months, 4 months, 5 months. About month 3 I think I saved up enough money to purchase some Live Fiji sand from the pet store. It was necessary to have a thick bed of sand, called the substrate, so that anaerobic bacteria could eventually develop.  Again, no light.Then it hit me, about 10 months into this that I really needed a light, and that the ambient light from the sun from my living room wasn’t cutting it. So, for Christmas I asked my wife for the gift of light. Amazon had a good 150W metal halide with two 450nm actinic T5 fluorescent bulbs and and LED moonlight. Once I got it, the tank started to do some amazing thing, including grow cyanobacteria or this red-slime algae.

The final move was when this red algae stuff was looking like it was spreading all over, I went over to Big Al’s Aquarium, bought a dozen red-band turbo snails to eat the algae, and my problems would be solved.  After acclimating the snails to the tank (30 mins of temperature and water swapping) I put them in, and two of the 12 right by the large patch of red slime. The next morning…BOOM! The right 1/2 of the algae was all gone, and what was left was the purple Coralline algae–SWEET!  These weren’t Mexican Turbo snails like the websites seemed to say, but the Red Band Turbo snails seemed to be effective. Here are some pics of them below.

I sort of miss talking with Dan at work about this tank. He had other plans with his family, but nonetheless I was happy to have met him and asking him how to start a salt water marine/reef tank.  I love looking at the clear patches, cleared of algae. I also like looking at the tank both with the metal halide on as well as in the moonlight LEDs. Now that my sw tank has cycled, I only need to convince my wife on getting some of the corals. My first one will be what my friend Mike Paustian likes, a Green Star Polyp, which looks like grass flowing in the sea.

Confession of an Info Junkie

I’m several days into Seth Godin’s #BlogFor30 challenge, and it really is a challenge to commit to writing a blog.  I find there’s a great deal of thought I need to generate to write a blog post, plus there are many topics I find interesting, but it’s the refinement of those thoughts that takes the time to work out when having to write. I’m finding my thinking can really be undisciplined, lazy, and distracted.

I enjoy a good thought just like the next guy. Thoughts are stimulating, there is little commitment behind them, and they are plentiful in my head.  That overstimulation shows up in other areas like my search patterns on google and even in managing my own household. While I get tasks accomplished, sometimes they take a bit of time.  I think this affinity to mental stimulation is caused by unrestricted searching on the Internet, but I believe it also is caused by a lack of goals and my attention to them. Honestly, while a set of written goals can accomplish tasks, a lack of goals is an unrestrained chaos.  Who guides me if not for my written goals?

Also, I think my thinking can be lazy at times. The remainder of overstimulation due to interesting topics causes a depressive response sometimes. If there’s no click-whirr, if feels like there’s no motivation to put thought into something.  Click Whirr is a response (maybe addictive) in a person has that triggers them to act more irrationally than otherwise. The click-whirr for me comes from wanting to be the first responder of interesting information for the motivation of personal acknowledgement. That motivation is soooo imperfect, and because it feels like the motivation is pulled out from under me, my response pendulum swings to the other side,  I stop caring about affirmation, and that mental response is childish and lazy.

The distracted thinking, I think, also stems from the addiction to information (Info Junkie), and the affirmation related to showing value by responding to information first.  The click-whirr effect has caused many a distracted thought, and because there are so many interesting topics out there the temptation is high.  I also don’t think I can get away from that in this world, but there are other, more rational responses than just blind, feeling-based, reactions…like knowing who I am as a person.

So far in writing this article, I’ve taken several hours, traversed 3 meals, visited 1 friend, cut my dog’s hair, and finally the end is here here.  Knowing who I am in the Lord Jesus is an important fact, granted for Christians. But the good response to temptations, distractions, laziness, click-whirr, and lack of discipline can be acquired through the meditation on God and the complete picture of what Jesus has done for me (and you).  When I woke up this morning I saw the crucifix with Jesus while I lay on my pillow.  I think the response to what Jesus did on the cross combined with what he’s doing on the throne in Heaven is important to consider fully.  That meditation keeps magnetized the needle of my compass to always point in the direction of fruitfulness despite my own distractions, laziness or lack of discipline.

9kg of Ground Beef Cooked – CHECK!

Have you ever eaten tacos in a bag?  Well, I haven’t, but we’re going to try it out for the company Treat Day tomorrow.  Doritos, Beef, Sour Cream, cheese, lettuce and salsa in a bag together. What a neat combination.

I cooked 9 kg, 3 Costco packs, of lean ground beef. Now,  I don’t want to see ground beef again in my house for the next month.  My house smells like cooked meat; that fatty, metallickey sick smell. It’s stuck in my nose too.

We’ll see how this tacos in a bag goes tomorrow. Off to relax now…

Edmonton (YEG) – Flu, Cold or H1N1

I can’t believe I was sick yesterday.  It seems like I hardly get sick, but around Edmonton these days there are some pretty sick people around.  My office is filled with them.

I talked with my colleague Daryn, and he’s been sick with bronchitis for 4 weeks now.  He says he’s felt this bad only once like this, but for longer, and he thinks at the time he had contracted H1N1.  This time he doesn’t know what it is, but he’s only really at 85%.  The vast majority of the remainder of my colleges seem to be sick too.  It’s going around the office.

I was reading about colds and flu on WebMD.  They basically say that a fever is the main, large difference. A cold often doesn’t come with a fever. The Swine Flu (H1N1 strain) is accompanied with vomiting and diarrhea, where as a flu more often doesn’t.

Cold vs Flu (Edmonton)

WebMD says that flu and cold virus enter your body through your mouth, nose or eyes.  How often do we touch those in the day? To give you an idea in the last 15 mins I’ve touched my watery eye about 35 times.   How often do you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands? Think about it…that’s how the virus is transferred.

You should know the difference between the common cold and flu.  They are very similar, but the flu will way more often come with a fever, and the complications of flu that can be life threatening.   Also, know the difference between mild vs moderate vs severe aches and pains, so that you can better know what you have, and more importantly if you should goto the doctor.

Wash your hands often, cough into a tissue or your elbow, don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.  (Oh yeah, and use hand cream to deal with washing so many times in dry ol’Edmonton)

Resources:

Canada’s Influenza Site

Alberta Influenza Site