Thoughts on turning 50

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It’s 12:40 AM on Nov 11 2015.

I am officially 50 years old.  Half a century.

The weeks leading up to this day have been difficult.

I obsessed on what I didn’t have.

“I have no one and nothing!”  was a constant mantra.

I was depressed,  and I grew angry and bitter.

I reflected on everything I’ve done for others,  and I began to resent myself for it.

For working towards the greater the good instead of my own fulfillment.

And despite all that sacrifice, I had nothing and no one.

Its embarrassing to admit that.    I don’t do the things I do for reward.

Then a few days ago my eyes were opened.

Through the gentle and determined persistence of some close friends I saw that delusional bullshit I had managed to sell myself.

I was surrounded by people who genuinely care about me.

Not for what I do for them,  but because I am who I am.

I suddenly saw how I fit neatly into the different social circles I run in.

So…today is not a mile marker piled on broken dreams,  but rather a mile stone on the path to wherever I’m headed.

And I know that path is not a lonely one.

To my persistent friends….thank you for not giving up on me…even though I wanted you to.

A salute to single parents every where

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This is a salute to every single parent, or anyone who looks after a small child by themselves….

I have a god-daughter.  Kay.  She is two years old and the epitome of the terrible twos.

By terrible I mean she is a little dynamo who enjoys climbing, disassembly,  putting things in other things (by force if necessary).   She also has this thing for running around waving broom and mop handles around.

I love her to pieces :)

Her mom needed a break so I suggested that I take her for a whole weekend.

“Are you sure?”,  mom asked several times,  like she was asking if I really wanted to stick my honey covered hand in a hive of wasps.

I assured her that everything would be cool.   Kay and I have a bond….I can handle anything she throws at me.

Oh boy…

I’ve just put Kay to bed (or rather her room….getting her to stay in bed would require things unethical and illegal) for the second night of her solo visit.

I just texted her mom and said, “You do this everyday, mostly without any help, you are freaking awesome”.

I mean it.

To constantly be asking yourselves:

“What was that noise?!”
“OMG, she was here a second ago!!!”
“What’s that she has in her hand…omg how did she get that??!!!”
“What’s that smell?!”
“Oh good, she wants to sit and watch tv….oh no…there she goes again!”
“Did she eat, or did she give it all to the dogs?!”

In addition to that you must have:

Precognition…the ability to predict things that will go wrong
Reflexes that would make a nervous cat jealous
Hyper-Vigilance…oh yes…hyper vigilance
The stamina of an elite athlete

and most of all..

A deep well of patience, and an ability to see humour in things that would drive other people around the bend…

24 hours to go, and I hand her back to her mom….I’m looking forward to seeing the reunion and some peace and quiet.

But I’m also looking forward to her next visit :)

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


Dear Justin;

I hope you don’t mine me calling you Justin.  If you do, you can start your own blog and call me Mr. Rothbauer if you want.

This morning,  the day after the 42nd federal election I woke up and wondered if last night actually happened.

It did,  and I am so incredibly happy for Canada,  and for the world in general.

When Stephen Harper won his majority government I posted that I wept for my country.  I didn’t really,  it was a turn of phrase.

Last night I posted that I wept for my country again,  but these were real tears.  Tears of relief and joy.

As I typed “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau” I teared up a little again,  with good reason.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the last 10 years have made it hard to identify myself as Canadian.

It became difficult to understand what being Canadian meant.

Until the Harper Government took power,  being Canadian meant so many things that were overwhelmingly positive.

So many adjectives to choose from, polite, hard working,  honest,  fair,  tolerant, friendly, caring…. all summed up with one word:  “Canadian”.

We’ve reached a point where being Canadian could easily be associated with fear,  intolerance,  uncaring.   Terrible adjectives that stained our national identity.

There are still many people in the world still us as being good,  but globally we’d lost our place in the world, and the Canadian flag became less and less welcome.

This morning so many of us woke to the very real hope that Canada will be restored.

Stephen Harper promised to unify Canada,  and in the end he failed on that promise.

You however managed to bring us together.   You,  Justin Trudeau,  gave us hope,  and we gave you the reins.

When you won the leadership of the Liberal party,  I joined.

My faith in you never wavered.   Even when you supported bill C-51,  I had faith that you knew what you were doing.

When others were pointing to Mulcair as a better option,  because he was running a better campaign,  my faith never wavered.    I saw that you were playing the long game,  and you stayed on message,  and did what was right,  even if it meant a load of bad press.   That takes guts,  it shows tremendous character,  and is the sign of a truly great leader.

I first noticed you when you delivered the eulogy for your father.  I was struck by the charisma,  your words,  and its delivery.

I knew then that you would become something great.

I wasn’t wrong.  (I am usually right about things like that 97% of the time (15 times out of 20 with a 92% margin of error))

And now you have a majority government!

I just want to say this…

We placed our trust in you,  and see you as the way back to what being Canadian was 10 years ago.

We are so thankful for the hope you’ve brought back to Canadians.   A departure from fear and divisiveness.   Of being told of what you’ll do for us,  instead of how awful other people are.


If you let us down.   If you become like all the old school politicians who thought you weren’t ready,    we’ll show you the door just like we did Harper.

Because one little known thing about Canadians is that we have little tolerance for bullshit.  We’re polite about it though.



Politicians are humans too – so how far back is too far for social media gaffes?

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We are the closing days of one of the most exciting, contentious, and perhaps revolutionary federal election campaigns in Canadian history.

While I could go on at length about the various issues (and still might),  there is something else I want to address.

Throughout the campaign there have been numerous news stories about candidates resigning because of “inappropriate” comments made in social media.  Mostly Twitter and Facebook.

Ala Buzreba,  a 21 year old Liberal candidate resigned over vitriolic twitter posts made when she was a teenager.

Seriously….if we were all held accountable for things we said and did as teenagers we’d all be unemployed!

Maria Manna, another Liberal candidate resigned over Facebook posts she made questioning the 9/11 investigation several years ago.

The CBC has conveniently compiled a list,  you can see it here.

The point of this blog is not to defend,  or debate things that were said, posted, or implied.

Rather I want to suggest a different way of looking at this.

When someone steps up to a leadership role,  how far back do we do in someone’s social media history do we go back before opinions expressed become irrelevant?

Naturally there are cases where is absolutely appropriate to distance your campaign from someone’s expressed views or activities.   I will resist the temptation to link a few example of those.

But when such opinions were expressed in the distant past,   shouldn’t we look to more recent opinions?

Honestly,  I would rather cast my vote for someone whose made a few mistakes in the past and has clearly learned from them.

No one is perfect, and any one who has a blemish-less social media history is hiding something or doesn’t use social media.

When we deny someone an opportunity to step up,  someone who had the courage and intestinal fortitude to throw their hat into the ring,  we must do so carefully.

The other often over looked consequence of bringing up ancient history is that any one thinking of stepping up will think twice because the internet never forgets.

We could be losing out on having some excellent future politicians out of fear of having some past skeleton exposed.

I know from my own past that if certain things I’d said, and believed were brought to light that it would be mortifying.

The internet, being what it is would completely ignore any recent opinions I’d voiced, but focus on vile things I’d said as a teenager.

But those comments do not reflect the man I am today.   The very fact that I once believed them caused me to take a serious look at how I viewed the world,  and it changed me…for the better.

I know you’re dying to know what that was, but I’m not going to tell you. Unless you tell me yours….and if you say you don’t have anything like that in your past…you’re either young, or lying.  (and I’m only joking I don’t want to know your dark secrets!)

When assessing someone’s character we should look at the person they are today,   and not in the past.

My own opinion as to how far back is that it depends on what the person believes today…..even if they posted something stupid yesterday.

After all one of the traits I look for in a leader is the ability to learn from one’s mistakes, and admit when they’ve screwed up. That takes guts,  character,  and its rare in politicians.

Should I re-write a poorly composed marketing email filled with spelling mistakes and send it back?

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Over lunch I received an email on my work account.  I saw “Can you help me” with a name I didn’t recognize in the toaster pop up so I went to read it,  thinking it might be from a new hire.

It wasn’t.

It was a marketing email from a company that specializes in direct mail services.

It was pretty terrible.

I’m not the best with grammar,  and the occasional spelling mistake will slip by,  but some of them make the text hard to read.

It was so bad, I want to re-write it and send it back.

Here are some examples:

I work for an company that has invested 25 years in being poised to….

I think there was some editing,  but who wants to do business with a company that has been poised to do something for 25 years?

You can help us grow further and be a bigger impact in more lives

As a customer, I’d be more interested in how a vendor can help me.

From the rest of the text, I think this is very small business looking to expand out by bidding on contracts.

They do mention focusing on hiring minorities and diversification.

I would normally have completely ignored this as they are US based, and we have no need of their services.  But after reading it,  I’m really wanting to re-write it for them.

What do you think?   Should I?

RTOD: Why is it that Hollywood only talks about Lawyers having 60+ hour work weeks…

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These guys have obviously never met software developers…

RTOD: “Civic Holiday”

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I was just talking to a co-worker about the coming long weekend and all the signs talking about “Civic Holiday”.

I said, “I don’t care, its a day off.  They could call it Crapfest Day and I’d still be happy!”

Happy #Crapfest Day everyone!

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