Sunday, 7 February 2010

The world according to GARP...well, actually me

Ok, some of you may be confused by the title, suffice it to say, I'm dating myself with that reference.

Anyways, what's been happening in the world for the last week or so. Let's see.....

1. US aid to earthquake stricken Haiti is declining...Yippie !! Just what the Hatians need, more of less. Now I will commend the US for their quick response and no doubt, they have saved lives but is this really the time to be backing off on major disaster relief literally in your own backyard while the World's watching ? Ehh...Mr. Nobel Laureate ?

2. The US has just released their budget for F2010 and it's a whopper !! $3.5 Trillion dollars and a good chunk of that is in additional borrowing. Hrmm...when I was about 18, I got a credit card and remember racking up $2000 on it and having to bust my ass off to repay it. The US just got a credit limit increase and they can't even make the minimum payments. But they can afford to spend $750 Billion on the Pentagon this year. Sure, the recession / economic meltdown has kicked them in the shins and they need to get jobs money flowing, fight 2 wars etc. but sounds to me like insolvency is just around the corner. Wonder how long it'll be till they're asking the IMF for aid themselves ?

3. The 2010 Winter Olympics are a week away and Vancouver has had to resort to trucking in sown in order to effectively host the games. Thank god that Global Warming's a myth and not really a concern. See, there is no such thing as Global Warming, afterall, it snowed somewhere and we can still truck it in.

4. Israel just paid the UN $10.5 Million (that's right, I said MILLION) and now says that all claims are off the table following it's little January 2009 war in Gaza. The money is supposed to be compensation for them having blown up a UN school in Gaza (illegally). So let's see if I have this right....they illegally target and then destroy a UN factility but as long as they can pay a token amount then no harm no foul ? Nice to see the sanctity of the UN is intact and our sense of Global outrage have held firm. Meanwhile, let's pray that the government of Hamas can come up with a matching amount to buy their own "Get out of Jail Free" card.

5. China & the US are having diplomatic problems stemming from a few minor hiccups. The scoring so far is......
- Chinese hackers try to break into Google (among others) and steal data or tamper with their systems...
- US is selling $5-6 Billion on military hardware to Taiwan, that pesky breakaway province whose been around as long as the
current Chinese government... But the Chinese sell arms to places like Iran and North Korea ?
- China is pissed cause Obama is going to meet the Dali Llama and this could highlight the whole Tibetan issue ?
- Obama wants to get tough with China on enforcing the trade agreements between the two nations. Sounds like blustering
sound-bites to me. Afterall, in light of #2 above, and the fact that China's basically the global Sugar Daddy, what leverage
does the US actually have ?

So those are the few things that pop into my mind on this early Sunday morning. Just needed to vent. But on a lighter side...

I found a shiny nickel on the pavement outside my apartment today. My retirement fund is well on it's way !!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Workout Mania

Christmas came and went (BAH HUMBUG !!) but Santa was nice enough to get me a membership to the local Rec. Centre that has a gym and pool. So merrily on Dec 27th I trundled over and got my card and went in for the first day of a healthy me.

Now the place has the usual assortment of the instruments of pain and torture and as usual, my first days results included among other immediate results, pain in my arms and legs to the point that the following morning necessitated a HOT bath just to get me moving. It doesn't help that puppy Otto sleeps with me and at 7:00am he's full of energy looking for his morning walk regardless of my discomfort.

But on I went and I have continued to do so for about 4-5 days a week. My routines are getting longer but more organized now with a certain routine to them and it seems to be paying off a bit. Now I've got no delusions that I'm an adonis in the making but I am slowly making progress. The weights lifted are slowly increasing, the duration of my lifecycle / elliptical bouts are increasing and 'lo and behold, the pain is actually a thing of the past (mostly). As an added benefit, I've actually lost some weight (about 10 lbs in 4 weeks) and my sleep is improving but DAMN....slow going......My membership will carry me through till the summer at which point I hope to have shed somewhere in the vicinity of 30 pounds and firmed up whatever's left.

One strange thing though that bothers me about the Centre where I workout. You see here in Toronto, they are city buildings, staffed by city employees and in every ward of the city, there are free to the citizens....except in my ward. Now I can't exactly complain about the actual cost to me for a membership (it was a gift afterall) because at $96 for 6 months, that's 1/3 the cost of the cheapest gym in town but still....Why do we have to pay a membership to a facility that our tax dollars already paid to build, equip and staff ?

Can it be because it has a pool ? Nope, there are other centres with pools. Can it be because it has squash courts ? I hope not 'cause why then am I subsidizing the squash players when I don't play myself ? Can it be because it has a gymnasium ? Same as the previous point so I hope not. Add to this the fact that in my ward / neighborhood, it's all buildings (apartments & condos) so we have a pretty high population density which means lots of tax revenue from this area to pay for those goodies in the first place.

Something to take up with the government. Yet another example of Downtown Toronto residents getting fleeced.