Having No Goals

Back in the mid-1990s Catherine Hennesssey was running for mayor. I was a very casual acquaintance of hers at the time, but this was enough to have me drafted to serve on her campaign team, or at least to circle around it curiously.

Somehow it came to pass that Martin Rutte, another friend of Catherine’s, and an author, speaker and consultant of some regard, donated his services to Catherine’s campaign in the form of a workshop for the aforementioned campaign team.

A motley bunch we were, covering most walks and stages of life. We gathered on Water St. in a vacant townhouse on a Saturday morning for the festivities. Although the specific ontological details of the morning are lost to time, the general subject of the seminar concerned identification of personal goals, roadblocks to achieving those goals and finally steps that could be taken to work around or smash through the roadblocks.

I did not do well at this.

Other people did. I remember one participant talking about how she wanted to break into film (she did), another talking about how she wanted a cottage on the shore (she has one now). There was discussion of career and family, love and relations. It was an unusually intimate exercise for people many of whom knew very little of each other.

I maintained that I had no goals. For Martin, trained in the arts of getting ornery or un-self-fulfilled people to discover the hidden goals within themselves, this presented a problem. I could not have no goals, he maintained. I must have roadblocks in the way of my goals in the way of my roadblocks.

He came at me this way, and he came at me that way. I held fast. I was simply being honest: I had no goals. Finally, after 45 minutes of thrust and parry Martin gave up.

He decided to come to terms with the fact that I had no goals. And that was that.

I had cause to think of that morning this afternoon when I called an old friend, out of the blue, to see how he was doing.

Well and not well, he said.

I asked him what he meant.

And he relayed a complicated tale that ended up with anti-anxiety drugs, a daily course of which he is on to this day.

I asked him what this meant for everyday life, and he said the most noticeable side-effect is that he totally lacks ambition. He can operate fine on a day to day basis, but he has no desire to set or strive towards longer term career, work and life goals.

And, he added, he’s more productive, and happier, than he’s been in 20 years.

Maybe he should talk to Martin.

Kate Rusby

Kate Rusby I accidentally discovered musician Kate Rusby, who’s been described as a “Mercury Prize-nominated, flag-waving folk princess.” Think Dougie MacLean plus Tori Amos. You can buy her CD’s at Indigo, at least in Charlottetown. Wonderful voice.

By the way, I couldn’t remember Tori Amos’ name, so I gonged up my brother Johnny and our Jabber chat went like this:

john_rukavina says: hello
peter says: Need a name:
peter says: Female singer/songwriter
peter says: Flaming red hair.
peter says: Plays piano.
john_rukavina says: Bonnie Raitt?
peter says: No, younger.
peter says: More hip.
john_rukavina says: Sarah McLachlan?
peter says: No, American, with bigger lips.
john_rukavina says: Tori Amos?
peter says: Yes. Thanks. oo
john_rukavina says: oo

Everyone should have a brotherly reference source. Between my three brothers, I don’t think there’s any popular culture fact that I can’t find the answer to in 10 minutes.

NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire is one of those evolutionary pieces of software that you wonder how you ever did without.

It’s a Mac OS X (only) application that lets you organize and browse the wide variety of websites that make their contents (or at least their headlines) available in a format called RSS.

RSS is a standard — in the same way that, say, trailer hitch sizing is a standard — that allows authors and developers of websites to format information in a way which it makes it easy to syndicate. Usually this syndication happens through other websites — Site A might have a list of headlines from Site B, for example.

NetNewsWire reads these “RSS feeds” and displays them in an elegant format that makes it much easier and quicker to navigate through your personal collection of news and views websites.

A screen show demonstrates this better than anything:

NetNewsWire Screen Shot

NetNewsWire is a well-polished package that’s dead simple to use. Recommended.