Why does the gym have to open so early on Sundays?

April 28, 2008

We went to the gym again this weekend.  I think that makes twice that we’ve been in April, so for anyone out there who was looking for a role model or motivational buddy — I’m not it.

AerobicsBut I have to ask why the exercise classes are all in the morning.  On a weekend.  Honestly, wouldn’t turnout be better if you had it at, say, 4 PM on a Sunday?  It gives people a chance to snooze a little, laze about the house, and then maybe bolster up the courage to head to a gym where they can gather in a small darkened room and leap about swinging big weighted sticks at each other.

I am, not surprisingly, in great pain today, and I blame at least half of that on the fact that these classes are at a simply unholy hour on a weekend morning.  I blame the other half on the fact that they had one light on in the whole room during this particular class, so I was straining to see my hand in front of my face, let alone the ass of the person in front of me that I was trying to avoid parking my foot in during one of the particularly active leg exercises.

I have to believe that, in a few hundred years, achaeologists or anthorpologists or anybody who actually gives a rat’s ass about what we happened to do in our spare time in this day and age will look at this particular ritual in much the same way we currently regard the worship of cats.  Fascinating, but hard to fathom in one’s daily life.

Image by kk+


Jumper, the Movie

February 24, 2008

I mentioned yesterday that we were watching Johnny Mnemonic, which I did not feel was a particularly strong film.  Following that, we went to the cinema to watch “Jumper“, a movie that definitely appealed more to my friend and I than to my wife.

This isn’t a review, so I won’t get into a great many details about it.  Suffice to say that, although there were plot holes you could drive Texas through, I enjoyed the show.  The critics who panned it are largely the same critics who trashed Transformers for being “just a move about robots fighting each other.”  And a movie about robots fighting each other is a bad thing because…?

What made me happiest in the whole film, though, was that during one scene I pricked up my ears and caught the strains of “Ahead by a Century” by The Tragically Hip — quite possibly the best Canadian band performing today.  It was the first time I’d heard them on a movie soundtrack, and it made me quite happy.  It’s not one of my favourite songs (for some of my favourites, check here or here or here), but it’s one of my favourite bands, and their presence in the movie made my day.

Update: for those interested in the full list of songs in the movie, you can check here.  I find it interesting that the soundtrack listed on Amazon seems to have a completely different selection of songs.


Email clusterfoolery

February 19, 2008

It happens at least once a year.  Somebody at work sends out an email, and inadvertently adds a monster distribution list to the “CC” field.  The result, of course, is that about 80 billion people inside the company get an email which was really only supposed to go to five employees.

Now, this doesn’t actually bother me that much.  Mistakes happen.  Sometimes Outlook auto-fills your address line and you forget to double check.  I get that.  It’s a mistake, you try to avoid and correct, but it happens.

What drives me nuts is the inevitable resulting email chain.

10:53 AM – Joe Z sends out email.  Subject line: “CRM Server Maintenance Schedule”.  Sent to: Ed T, Susan Y, Bonnie F, and A Distribution List That Covers Half The Bloody Planet.

10:54 – The first response.  Someone replies to all, saying, “Please remove me from this distribution list.” 

The stage is set.

10:54 – Someone else replies to this message (and everyone else).  She also wishes to be removed.

10:55 – Next message: “Please remove me also”

10:55 – “Me too!”

10:55 – “Please remove me from this distribution list.  I don’t know why you sent this email.”

The snowball has begun rolling down the mother of all hills.

10:56 – A new email emerges.  Subject line: “Do not reply to all”.  It is, of course, sent as a reply to all.

10:56 – “Hi!  Please remove me, too.”

10:56 – “Me too”

10:56 – “Stop replying to all.”

10:57 – “Remove me too, please!!! 😀 😀 :D”  If that person could find a way to dot their “i”s with hearts in an email, they’d do it.

10:57 – “Remove me”

10:57 – “What is wrong with you people?  Stop replying to all.”

10:57 – “Remove me please”

10:57 – “I think this email was sent to me in error.  Please remove me from this list.”

10:58 – “Please do not reply to all when telling people not to reply to all.”

10:58 – “Hello – remove me, please.”

10:58 – “Me, too”

The storm approacheth.  Small animals seek cover.

10:59 – “Remove me”

10:59 – “Do not reply to all.  Just delete the message and move on.”

10:59 – “Hi, Ed!  I was copied on this and think it may apply to you.  Could you advise?”

10:59 – “STOP REPLYING TO ALL”

10:59 – “Stop it”

11:00 – “Please remove me also.”

11:00 – “I do not need to be on this distribution list.  Please remove me.”

11:01 – “ARE YOU PEOPLE STUPID OR SOMETHING?!? STOP REPLYING TO ALL!!!!”

11:01 – “Hi everybody!  Just wanted to get in on this game.  Wheee!”

There are now 60+ emails in everyone’s inbox, on this thread alone.  The earth begins trembling.  Angels avert their eyes.

11:01 – “Hello team!  Please remove me from this list!”

11:01 – “Me too!”

11:01 – “Me too!”

11:01 – “IF YOU PEOPLE DON’T STOP REPLYING TO ALL I AM GOING TO PERSONALLY COME TO YOUR HOUSES AND LAY DOWN A RIDICULOUS BEAT ON ALL OF YOUR ASSES.”

11:02 – “Hi – please remove me.”

11:02 – “Please stop replying to all.”

And we’re off.  For the next 2 hours, there is a steady stream of emails flowing into my Outlook.  At first, the little notifier in the lower-right of my screen struggles to keep up.

*bink* “New email message: ‘CRM Server Maintenance Schedule'”

*bink* “New email message:’CRM Server Maintenance Schedule'”

*bink* “New” *bink* “email” *bink* “message” *bink*

*bink* *bink*

*binkbinkbinkbink*

Outlook folds.  If begins throwing up halfhearted notifications every few moments.  “You have 32 new email messages.”  “You have 46 new email messages.”  “You have so many new email messages that I can’t actually calculate the number unless you upgrade me to SP2.”

The IT Helpdesk sends out a weak message, urging people to stop replying to all, to stop requesting to be taken off a distribution list.  It’s about as effective as a basket weaver at Troy urging the Greeks and Trojans to please not fight. 

Countless thousands of emails pile in.  Amazingly, many of them still request to be taken off the distribution list.  The responses become more vitriolic.

And then it happens.  Time passes.  Time zones shift. 

India wakes. 

Our counterparts there arrive at their desks to begin the day’s work.  They check their inboxes.  They respond.  What was previously an avalanche of email becomes the Armageddon of electronic communication.  The servers squeal under the strain.  Legitimate messages grind to a halt.

I pack it in for the day.  By the time I get back to work the next morning, things have died down.  There’s still the occasional trickle – *bink*, *bink* – but for the most part it’s manageable.  I dig out of the volcanic ash of email aftermath and begin my day, knowing that in another 6-8 months this will happen again.

Sometimes, I deeply fear for the future of our species.


Early Saturday mornings

February 16, 2008

More so than any other aspect of the weekend, I relish to opportunity to sleep late.  Mind you, I also enjoy not having to go to work, and having free time to do the things I enjoy doing, but what I really like is not being bound by the alarm clock in the morning.

Every now and then, though, something comes up that means I have to wake up early on a Saturday, and when it does I often go through the same cycle.  First, when the alarm goes off, I indulge in a moment’s quiet weeping, lamenting the passing of the night and the need to leave my warm bed.  Then, stumbling forth from the house, I reflect on how quiet the world feels, and allow myself to enjoy the experience of watching the sunrise while driving on traffic-free roads.  And finally, as we hit mid-morning and the bulk of people are out and about, erasing the magical feeling of being alone in the city, I mourn a lost opportunity to catch up on sleep and be generally lazy.

I realize that it would be easier to wake up during the week if I maintained a consistent sleep pattern — but I do so enjoy the chance to lay in bed on a Saturday morning and let a fleeting sense of the carefree drift over me.  Monday comes all to quickly, and with it the pressures and deadlines that govern the other five days of my week.


Madison Square Gardens

February 15, 2008

We went into Manhattan last night for the Matchbox 20 concert at MSG.

First, I need to clarify that it was my wife who drove the decision to attend the concert.  I must also say, though, that I had a good time; the guys put on a solid show, and the crowd was definitely into it.

As we were sitting in our seats during the break between Alanis Morissette’s set and MB20’s, I was looking around the gardens at the various penants on the wall, and noticed something that reminded me of the Air Canada Center in Toronto and brought a happy Canadian tear to my eye.

To my left, the wall was strewn with Rangers banners.  To my right, Knicks banners.  But there in the center, on the scoreboard, was one word that made it very clear who opens and shuts the gardens: “Period”.

The scoreboard is forever set to indicate which period it is.  Not which quarter; which period.  The Knicks play here, but Rangers hockey is the blood and bone of this place.  It’s the same with the ACC: the scoreboard unwaveringly declares that this is hockey’s home.

I warmed the cockles of my little Canadian heart. 

Of course, the fact that they had a Canadian flag hanging from the rafters during the concert didn’t do anything to dampen my spirits.


The Gym, one day following

February 14, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday, last night marked my first visit to the gym in… well, in far longer than it should really have been.  What’s more, we went to one of the Les Mills classes that the gym offered, which does not afford much opportunity to “ease into it”, as they say.  So, how did it go?

Well, the fact that I’m still here and typing provides the good news of the story.

The bad news is that I think it very nearly killed me.  There were a few guys in the class, so I didn’t feel as though I was completely out of place when I first got there.

Shortly after we started, though, I did begin feeling completely out of place.  For one thing, I’m not used to working out to a rythm.  Trying to follow the instructor’s movements, in time, while maintaining good form, with music blasting at me from all corners of the room, was unsettling, to say the least.  It becomes particularly challenging when you’re doing an exercise that compells you to lie on your back and stare at the ceiling, while somehow still keeping an eye on the instructor to figure out just what in hell’s name you should be doing.

And then my lack of training kicked in.  About 15 minutes into the class, we started doing some intensive leg work (squats, lunges, stratospheric leaps, Russian dancing), and I sensed a growing awareness of just how unfit I am.  The woman in front of me, who was probably half my size, was carrying at least twice the weight and prancing about delightedly with it.  I, on the other hand, was finding solace in the fact that at least I had not yet puked. 

Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of my tomato-red, sweat-soaked face in the mirror.  It was not inspirational.

I survived, however, and even though I had to crawl down the stairs backwards this morning and am sitting with my legs stretched straight out before me, whimpering occasionally, I’d say things aren’t half bad at this point.

Of course, my wife wants to go back tomorrow.  Help.


The Lamppost

February 13, 2008

Heads up – Brad W’s excellent education blog over at The Lamppost has a new home.