Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Year’s Restitution (sic)

As I made my way down to the YMCA this morning for my first workout of the year, I was expecting to see a lot of New Year’s Resolutioners (my newly coined term) floundering about aimlessly through the rows of fitness equipment as they attempt to make up for an entire year (or years) of poor lifestyle choices in a single bound. Other than observing a few portly patrons whom I did not recognize, my expectations were not realized. I communicated this dilemma with the desk attendant who indicated to me that those above-mentioned folks will indeed be arriving….just not until later into the month, or even next month as has been demonstrated in previous years.

 It then occurred to me that these are not the kind of people who grab the bull by the horns and get started at something at the earliest possible moment. They are procrastinators by nature which is why they feel the need to engage in such unsustainable balderdash, such as making New Year resolutions, in the first place. I could never see any merit in assigning an arbitrary date to one’s desire to improve some area of their life. I realize that the first day of a new year is significant insofar as the changes one must make when writing cheques, and other such fare, but I contend that it is insignificant in all other respects. Why not just start doing something as soon as you get the idea to do it? Why put things on hold until your calendar is in the garbage? If you must associate a date with some new initiative or project, at least make it a date that is personally meaningful to you, such as the day you broke off an unhealthy relationship, or the day a loved one dies, or the day of the birth of a child?

But just as Christmas is the golden season for retailers…The New Year is a time of prosperity for everyone who works in the health and fitness industry, ranging from personal trainers, to those selling workout equipment and nutritional products. Who am I to criticize?


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"Smart" TV's are for dumb people

I had the idea of writing this post quite a few years ago, but left it as a draft until now. These days pretty much all modern TV's are smart TV's, but my point is still valid. 

Ever try using any of the wonderful trio of time-wasting (YouTwitFace.com) on a "smart" TV? Not only is the interface extremely slow and laggy, due to the primitive processor in the idiot box, but you have to enter characters one at a time using a remote. This will scarcely appeal to anyone who has membership in Mensa! And if that weren't enough, the TV screen won't be formatted properly for most of the websites you visit as, in addition to having a primitive processor, your TV also has a GPU whose technology dates back to somewhere around the Cretaceous era! Then there is the issue of ads and bloatware that many manufacturers are plying you with, and privacy issues as well. In contrast to your hitherto dumb boobtube, your new set can also spy on you!

But there is hope. You can turn any television (assuming not so old that it doesn't have HDMI inputs) into a genius by connecting even a modest computer to it. Now you will enjoy a fully modern internet experience with a full QWERTY keyboard and access to your drive data as well!


The true meaning of schadenfreude!

When the only thing preventing you from killing yourself is the fear of giving pleasure to your enemies.

The big and really only problem in this world is that the clock keeps ticking away and bridges really do burn down. All the Nietzscheian optimism in the world won’t change that fact. When I was a kid, I was an avid video game player. In that era this meant heading to an arcade with a pocket full of quarters, as Buckner & Garcia’s immortal “Pac-Man fever” evokes. I was a natural on these machines…routinely outperforming most adults whilst as young as ten. I would have dreams about playing these games and wake up with solutions as to how to improve my score. Anyway, I recall becoming sort of a perfectionist later on. For most games you would get three lives per play. If I died early or missed some desired objective during my first life, I would routinely kill off the rest of the game and start again by simply inserting another token. If only the real world provided the luxury of such restarts. Sadly it doesn’t. We are all forever connected to our past mistakes and misfortunes. For me, there is one mistake, or event of circumstance, if you will, that eclipses all others, and in fact, has been looming over me of late. It involves the loss of a relationship with someone very special to me. This person is not deceased, but for all intensive purposes they might as well be, or more precisely, I might as well be to them. Try as I might, with every fibre of my being, to rectify and reunite (rhyme coincidental), my efforts are met with futility, and my willingness to do anything humanly possible for her is simple not enough. This is not someone who can be replaced, and I cannot go back in time. Several clichés come to mind at this point, but I will refrain from uttering them. Instead I will quote Hal Hollbrook from the great 80's era movie "Wall Street": “Man looks in the abyss…there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Gym Politics

After having been a member at about half a dozen different local workout haunts over the years, I've made some observations and noticed a few things.

For starters, there is the tendency for people to generally pick the machine that is furthest away from other people, not unlike what men do at the urinals in public washrooms. This is the case regardless of what gender the other members are, in order to communicate that you are not trying to make a sexual advance on them. Problems arise, however, if the particular machine that you want is right next to the other member whilst there are other available machines that are not. The other member is not necessarily keen to the fact that you have a predilection for the adjacent machine due to it's particular idiosyncrasies, such as the particular software it uses.. firmness of the belt, or any other host of reasons. Now you either have to casually strike up a conversation to direct them to these advantageous idiosyncrasies upon approaching the machine, at the first point you gain their attention--or you have to pick the less favorable machine. There are other issues as well, such as when there are an even number of machines and the other members are at both ends, such as the infamous 7-10 split in bowling.

You have to make a decision about which member you will choose to be closer to and you know that they will both be trying to understand why you arrived at the decision you did. Now you are compelled to avoid eye-contact with both of them for the remainder of your workout.

On to the weights. Men tend to be competitive and aren't comfortable with another man lifting more weight. It's one thing if there is a gross disparity with regard to size or age, or if one of the members is an obvious gym rat who probably has no life at all, outside of the workout facility. But the problems arise when the other member is of a similar demographic. This is fine if you're the stronger of the two, but if you're the one holding onto the short end of the stick, you must carry the burden of  knowing that someone else is doing better than you are. Sure, you can try to rationalize this by looking for advantages in other areas, or perhaps reason that soon you will be lifting more than you are currently working with, but unfortunately the same thing applies to the other party as well.

Then there is the matter of checking out the hardbodies. At what point does a look become a leer, or a glance become a stare.

I've never been very good at establishing this line of demarcation and find myself erring on the side of an extended ogle. It's almost an automatic reflex for me, so I often unwittingly have a dreadfully sober expression on my face. I can only imagine what effect an icy-looking eyeball from a 196 cm strange man must have on a beauteous damsel. If caught in such a prolonged gaze, I feel I must avoid eye-contact with her for the remainder of my workout as well. Its either that or else give total commitment and actually hit on her. Nothing in between will do.

Then there are the staff. Oh the wonderful staff. At many of these large franchised McGyms, the monthly membership fees barely cover their overhead. They look to make extra money by up selling "boot camps" or other non-essential nonsense, such as personal trainers.
Don't get me wrong...I have nothing against a qualified personal trainer who actually cares about providing a service to a client, but at one gym in particular, of whose name I won't mention for legal reasons...all I ever saw were bubble-gum chewing know-nothing fraudsters who gave nothing but bad advice to the client and were only interested in making money. Later I was to find out that all they had to do to be able to tout the title "certified" trainer, is to take a Mickey Mouse two week safety course so they would at least know how to use the machines properly, but nothing more.

As promised, I won't be spilling the beans on what gym I am referring to in particular here, but let it be said that if you want to have a GOODLIFE in which FITNESS is a priority, then I wouldn't recommend you go there. In fact, the staff were so blatantly aggressive at that gym which i refuse to mention, they would run up to you and say things like "what are you going to work on today, buddy?", or "How is your training going, buddy?" as a precursor to the impending sales pitch. It occurred to me that "your mother" would be an appropriate response to the first query, and, "ask your mother" to the second.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


In every epoch, and indeed in every generation, we are afflicted with concern about the end of the world. It’s a promise that is sold both by entrepreneurs and religious zealots alike. This time will be different. The stars are in the correct alignment now. The biblical prophesies have come to fruition. The list goes on and on. It’s always the same product, if in different packaging. Yet even a broken clock is right twice a day.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Solipsistic Dreams

This lingering idea goes back as far as I can remember. The terrifying notion that I am all alone and that nothing else exists outside of my own mind. I sometimes ponder why I‘m not even more unnerved by such a conception than I actually am, for if true, it should surely mean immediate insanity, or at least insanity from the vantage point of the psychiatric profession, which upon realizing it as potentially a product of my own mind, provides a duality of both comfort and concern. For if I truly am the God of my own universe, why is it that I have relegated my locus of awareness to the lowly position of a mortal who is believing myself to be as a peer amongst my own creations. It‘s like the 80‘s movie Tron in which the computer programmer becomes trapped inside the program and has to conduct a life and death struggle with the animations of his very own code slinging. The problem is, there is no rational way to disprove this perspective. You can move away from thinking about it by immersing yourself in concrete endeavor, or move towards it by living in isolation and departing from the cultural collective, but in the end, the question will still be there.


Friday, November 04, 2005


evil clerk
I awaken from a pleasant dream. With Kenya Estate AA dark roast brewing, I anticipate an enjoyable and rewarding day ahead. All of the sudden, I am vexed by a ringing phone and am swept from my contemplative state as my antihelixes vibrates to the uttering of a solicitation for savings on my long-distance phone rates. I attempt to explain to this dysphonic automaton that I am not in need of such a service as I never make long-distance calls. But alas, my efforts are met with futility and I am urged to take advantage of this offer now as it is for a limited time only. I request the attention of the manager, with the intent of having my phone number removed from their calling database, but again fail to get my way as this information-age barbarian has no intention of abandoning his pursuit of a commission so quickly. Several rebuttal attempts later, I am able to escape from this accosting and reclaim my morning, only to find that the experience has left me deflated and with depleted levels of serotonin. I now ponder how long it will be until my next dealing with a clerk.


Friday, January 21, 2005

The Bottom Feeder

There is that variety of scoundrel who avoids an honest day's labor. The type of low-life reprobate who will do anything to flee even the most incipient level of risk and uncertainty. In games, this miscreant will seek out only the weakest of opposition, and in fact, it would be a misnomer to call their prey opposition, they are all too willing to succumb, as a feather succumbs to the slightest breeze. In work, these caitiff redefine Frost's vision of the alternate path. For there is no road not taken for the bottom feeder. Their choice is between safety and inviolability. They can be found as salesmen of lifejackets near an underwater current, or as fresh water providers in a desert. The only thing curious about these rogues is how they've escaped Darwin's clutches, by their very existence.