Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 2

As per Tim's request, this post will explain all significant events in reverse chronology.

10:30 AM - Watching snowflakes as big as nickels floating by my window with a stomach that is still a bit queasy.
9:30 AM - Arrive at work after walking through light falling snow.
8:45 AM - Leave home
8:00 AM - Get back home. Felt a bit queasy, but not nearly as bad as yesterday.
6:45 AM - Leave for the pool.
6:07 AM - Get a phone call from Andre.
5:01 AM - Get a text message from John because reception is bad and he can't phone.

Friday, March 28, 2008

So, how was your morning?

At a late lunch yesterday and a discussion on self-discipline, I entered into an experiment that includes three tests each weekday until Friday next week. This involves Andre phoning me in the morning when he gets to a phone (he doesn't have a cell, nor a phone at home). The tests are:
  1. I wake up and answer his phone call.
  2. I immediately drive to C.G. Brown pool for some swimming.
  3. I immediately drive back home and then immediately go downtown for work.
If I fail any one of these tests on any particular weekday, I owe him a dinner of his choice at Gotham Steakhouse. Subsequently, I hedged myself by having John phone me every morning when he gets up, which would be a little bit before Andre would phone me. If John fails to phone me on any particular weekday when he gets up, then he owes me $50.

So how did my first day go?

5:00 - John phones me. It's enough for me to get into the mood of waking up. I nap until Andre phones me.
6:45 - Andre phones me. I groan and get out of bed. Surprisingly, washing my face wakes me up enough for me to feel relatively fresh. Brush my teeth, etc. I get into the car and wait a few minutes while the engine warms up, then drive off.
7:15 - Arrive at the pool, do some laps. I don't remember it being this hard.
7:45 - Leave the pool feeling like I'm going to throw up. It was a big late lunch, and I don't know if it all digested fully. And combined with swimming, it did not make for a comfortable feeling in my stomach.
9:00 - After various things, leave home to walk to the Skytrain. Wearing sweat pants because jeans feel too uncomfortable with how I feel like I want to throw up.
9:15 - Almost at the Skytrain, but realize that I forgot my cell phone. Usually, I put my cell phone in a clip thing on my belt. Wearing sweat pants, I have no belt. Walk to the bus stop to take the bus back home. Just before I reach the bus stop, the bus rushes by me. I walk home.
9:30 - Arrive home, get my cell phone, decide I want to bus to the Skytrain station instead of walk again. Go to the bus station, but before I reach it, I watch the bus zoom by. In resignation, decide to walk to the other street's bus stop and wait for that bus instead.
9:30 to 10:00 - Watch not one, but TWO buses zoom by the bus stop that I originally was at. Meanwhile buses fail to show at the stop at which I am waiting.
10:00 - Bus finally arrives at the bus stop at which I'm waiting. I go to the back to sit by the window, but a man counting his cigarettes asks me not to sit beside him. The man looks schizophrenic, and I spend the entire bus ride listening to him talk to himself or people that don't seem to exist.
10:15 - Waiting for the Skytrain to come. See one in the distance standing still and wonder why it's not coming. Meanwhile, two or three Skytrains zoom by in the opposite direction on the other side of the tracks. Finally, my Skytrain comes. It seems that the Skytrain that is standing still is a spare Skytrain or something that just sits there on the tracks.
10:45 - Arrive at the office still feeling like I want to throw up. :(

I have 6 more days of this? :(

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why Climate Change Activists Bug Me

I'm attending GLOBE 2008 the past few days, and today's the last day. I finally figured out what it is about climate change activists that's been bugging me. In the tradeshow space, there's this big wall of artwork and information. One of the posters talks about how in the earth's history, there have been five large climate-based events that have caused mass extinction. The events are about 50 to 100 million years apart each, with the last one apparently happening about 65 million years ago (the dinosaurs). Then the poster goes on to say that if we don't take climate change seriously, we will be facing another extinction.

My irk is this. The climate change issue has been turned into a moral issue due to us saying that the fate of the human race is in question. Firstly, I've learned enough to know that the debate is not yet settled, and I'm not qualified to lean one way or the other on the debate. However, people seem confused as to what they're worried about. Are they worried about the environment or are they worried about the human race? If they're worried about the environment, they're certainly talking about the subject as if the human race were integral to the environment. I always hear people making statements about how because of climate change, we have to seriously change our way of life, or else WE will perish, and that will be the end of the world.

No, quite frankly, the earth will still be here. The implication of this poster is that it was still here and life restarted just fine after each major extinction. Now the thing is, all of those previous extinctions happened WITHOUT the intervention of human beings. Previous global climate changes and ice ages happened WITHOUT the intervention of human beings. So clearly, there are factors at play that ARE NOT human. Take away the human impact, and these factors would STILL exist. And if these previous patterns hold, we would STILL eventually face major climate change and extinction because if the previous patterns are any indication, it's a NATURAL thing. And here are humans so arrogantly thinking that the humans did something different. Yeah, maybe we did. We accelerated the process, perhaps. But quite frankly, if the last extinction happened 65 million years ago, and extinctions happened every 50 to 100 million years according to the chart, then we're quite due for another extinction anyway. It's certainly debatable in this big picture how large human impact has actually been. It seems almost arrogant to say that we caused this naturally occurring phenomenon and then say that we can and should fix it too.

But that arrogance is a part of human nature. We've never cared much for simply living. We've always used our intelligence and abilities to change the world for our liking and our desires, whether it be for pleasure or survival. And now we're saying that we can, should, and will control climate cycles for our own survival. That's all fine and dandy. But if you want that, then don't link our existence to the welfare of the environment, because the environment carries on just fine without us, it has through five extinctions. Separate the two and admit that you in fact wish to manipulate the environment to serve our own needs.

Now don't get me wrong, I think a lot of green technology is good, if it has the ability to give us cheaper alternatives to expensive oil, clean the quality of air so that we have less asthma cases and health scares, improve everyday products so that there's less risk of scary things like cancer, and reduce excessive logging so that topsoil isn't prone to mountain landslides ending thousands of lives. But again, all of those don't have environmental welfare as their root motivation, they have human welfare as their root motivation. Finally, if the environment is a moral issue because of human interests, I think there are quite a number of moral issues that are equally, if not more troubling, issues that are not natural cycles and which we do clearly have control over.

edit: Here's an even better summary that I just included in an e-mail to someone...

Basically, the implication of their poster was that climate change was a natural cycle, directly contradicting their position that climate change was caused by human factors and had to be manipulated to save humanity. This seems to result in a cognitive dissonance as to whether or not humans are integral to the environment. This cognitive dissonance is then simply ignored, and the human race is called to action to save the environment for humanity, which comes full circle. If the poster's original implication is that climate change is a natural cycle, humans are then actually interfering with the environment for the sake of humanity, thus showing that they are being hypocritical and don't really care about the environment, but rather, THEIR environment and THEIR self-interest.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fighting evil by moonlight...

So I just finished watching the Prince of Tennis animated movie. They do a lot of silly scenes when the players do their fancy specialty shots, of course. That's to be expected for anyone who's watched the series. But did they really have to make Echizen Ryoma undergo a Sailor Moon-style transformation scene? It was disturbing.