So Let’s Talk About Procrastination…Later

I’ve done it again. I’ve got an assignment due tomorrow that I haven’t started yet. This happens, without fail, for 95% of my assignments.

I do have an idea of what I’m going to write on, but this isn’t going to translate into a finished article without many hours of keyboard staring in between. When I was 12 years old or so and writing my first essay, I wished that I could go to sleep and wake up with the paper in its finished state. I haven’t stopped wishing for this.

I suppose I could have saved myself the upcoming stress if I had started the article over the weekend. But that would have gotten in the way of my fun, and who wants that.

I guess I’m just a creature of habit and this is one bad habit that I haven’t managed to change.

But I have learned how to deal with it. I know that I can only leave an assignment to the last minute for shorter assignments. If I have to write more, I’ll start earlier. Sometimes even two days before it’s due. Ha.

I’m extremely lucky that my one talent in life is one that is often used in academia – writing. I know I can write quickly and do a good job at it, so I’ve never felt that I’m endangering my academic life by procrastinating (such an ugly word).

However, I do put unnecessary stress on myself by doing so. I know what I need to do to change, and sometimes I do, but never for an extended period of time. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve learned to deal with it, because it will always be a struggle for me.

Reading? Redding?? Reeding???

Do people still read these days? Do people even have the time to read? Are books being phased out by the Internet?

Answers: Yes, probably no, and I hope to hell not.

People do still read these days, but what are they perusing? Magazines still continue to be very popular, with hundreds starting up and going defunct every year. Books seem to be doing okay, though conversations would seem to indicate that fewer people are reading books.

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Life is a Lot Like Hockey

Not really, but I thought it was time for a post on our national sport and I couldn’t think of a title.

So what should I write about? There’s no point making predictions because, well, there’s just no point. And no money involved.

How about I talk about Sidney Crosby, and how all my friends think he’s a punk? Nah, no point in that either. I’ll be the one laughing when the Pens win the Cup. Mark my words. Wait, was that a prediction? Better put money on it!

Anyways, I was thinking about the drive that separates a pro athlete from an amateur. What is it that a pro does differently that I can learn from? From what I’ve read, pros can make a living from what they do because of their mindset. You read that right. Not natural ability or learned skill, but mindset. Sure, being 6’3″ and 250 pounds are probably handy assets, but they’re not eveything. Continue reading

Editing for Meaning is Tough!

So I’m an aspiring editor and sometimes writer. I’ve taken a couple courses in editing, edited newsletters here and there, even had a hand in writing and editing policies and procedures for the last company I worked for.

But I’ve always had a problem editing for meaning. I can pick out grammar and sentence structure errors just fine. Typos and misspellings are rarely missed. But what the author is trying to get at? A little more difficult.

What I’ve noticed is that when I read over something that’s missing information or doesn’t make sense, I fill in the missing information. Whether it’s from my own knowledge or my own assumptions, I mentally fill in the blanks and move on. Even if it’s not what’s on the page, my brain automatically tries to make sense of it. Only if the sentence is seriously out of whack do I pick up on it.

I guess this isn’t what you’d want to hear from an aspiring editor, but there it is. At least I know about it and can work on it. Along with the 10,000 other problems…

Alternative Fuels

I recently read an article about Nigeria’s oil situation in the February issue of Vanity Fair. This was a real eye-opener.

In brief, Nigeria is the fifth-largest oil producer in the world. Its economy depends largely on the sale of oil to foreign multinational corporations. But its corrupt government is illegally siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars a year from this industry. Communities in the Niger Delta, where most of the easy-to-access stores of oil are found, see none of the oil money since government officials are keeping it for themselves. These communities lack safe drinking water, electricity, and sustainable economies. Their people rely on a subsistence fishing economy to survive. Needless to say, they are very, very, unhappy. They have taken to committing various terrorist acts, such as kidnapping foreign oil workers and sabotaging oil pipelines, in order to make themselves heard.

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Can You See the Misteak?

No, I’m not talking about typos.

I’m talking about human fallibility and our constant striving for perfection. Mistakes are at the heart of both.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”

I think this speaks to what makes us human – the fact that we will, no matter how good we are at something, make a mistake. We can’t be afraid of making a mistake, since it will happen. But we have to learn from the mistakes we make so they don’t happen again.

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Transit is Taxing

So it’s almost tax time. Again. Well, the good news for the 2006 tax year is that all of us who ride the loser cruiser can benefit from a non-refundable tax credit if we bought a bus pass(es) from July onwards. For more information, check out the Translink website, and for even more information, check out the CRA website.

For those of you who submit all your receipts and stubs to a tax preparer like H&R Block, don’t forget to give them your old bus passes.

Hmm… but now that I think about it, this bit of information may have come a little late for those who weren’t in the know, since you probably threw away your bus passes already. Oh well, it’s not like the credit’s really huge. It’s whatever the total value of your bus passes are, multiplied by the lowest tax bracket for 2006 (15.25%). But remember it for 2007! Keep all those bus passes. Who knows, maybe you’ll save enough to be able to afford another bus pass when your refund comes in.  Me, I plan to spend my extra moola on fried chicken. Church’s to be exact. MmMMm greasy!