London, and bag gone AWOL

[This entry originally posted on How To Get Lost: London, and bag gone AWOL.]
The flight out to London was great. Wow. I love British Airways — amazing service for an airline. So far above anything Air Canada could ever hope to dish out. The food alone was better than most things I’ve cooked in the last little while.
Well, except for one minor little detail. My backpack has gone missing. The bag with all my clothes, toiletries, and various supplies for the next seven weeks.
Continue reading “London, and bag gone AWOL”

On five years at Critical Mass

Five years ago, I walked in the doors of Critical Mass, having basically no idea what I was about to get myself into.
At the time, I wasn’t planning on being at Critical Mass that long. Chris and I had planned on going to Japan to teach English. (Only Chris ever made it there.) Somehow, I thought I’d stick around.
Until this job, I’d never thought I’d be at a company for more than two years. The longest job I’d been at was two years and one month, and that seemed like a long time.
Yesterday marked the end of my fifth year here, and today the beginning of my sixth. I don’t see any immediate end to my career here, and only an interesting future ahead of me.
Why am I still here after all this time? Why haven’t I moved on to greener pastures? One primary reason: there aren’t many pastures greener than here, and in Calgary, those pastures are exceedingly rare. There’s a lot of opportunity for me at Critical Mass, and I find that I’d be hard-pressed to do better elsewhere.
Besides, as something many people have noted over the years, it’s the people. The people who work here are what makes Critical Mass such a great place to work. I don’t have mere co-workers, I have friends. They’re not just colleagues, they’re partners-in-crime.
What can I say? The last five years have been a lot of fun. I’m curious to see what the next five years hold.

On the passing of Pope John Paul II

I’m not a Roman Catholic. However, I will mourn the passing of Pope John Paul II.
From a religious perspective, John Paul II had no direct influence on my life. John Paul II did not draw the line at religious direction. He was the first pope of the modern era of technology and communications. He instituted more ways of communicating to the world than any other pope before him. He was a global pope — a global personality.
Within months of his election, he went home to then-communist Poland. Depending on who you ask, he either ruffled the feathers of the Soviet elite, or he helped contribute in a large way to the fall of the Soviet Union. He caused a calm revolution.
Pope John Paul II’s influence extended around the world, and he visited more countries during his 26 years than any other pope before him, or any world leader ever could.
While I didn’t entirely agree with Pope John Paul II’s views, specifically the ones on homosexuality, I cannot argue with all the things he did for the world. He might have done more good for the world through encouraging peace and negotiating than any other person … or organization, for that matter.
In a little over two weeks, a new Pope will be elected in Conclave. Whoever it is that ascends to the Throne of St. Peter will have a great deal to live up to. The challenge has been set before him, and the world awaits to see if he’s up for it.
For now, though, the world will continue to mourn John Paul II’s passing. Pope or not, he was a large influence on the world, and the loss of an influence that large is not easily dismissed.