Better than I have said it

So sometime last week I officially became a “fan of same-sex marriage” on Facebook. It wasn’t too many hours later that I had a message in my inbox about it. It seems that the sender didn’t consider that you don’t have to be gay to support gay marriage.

As someone who was raised in the Christian faith, and who has a minor’s worth of credit hours from university in Bible-related courses, I find it especially abhorrent that Christians would be trying to thwart equal rights to a political freedom. This comes down to the idea of separation of church and state (which is in the best interest of Christians; especially over the long term), and the basic tenet of the Christian faith: Love God with everything you’ve got, and love your neighbour as yourself (which Christ himself said was enough to cover all the other rules we’re supposed to abide by).

I’ve done a fair bit of kicking, screaming, and reasoning with all number of people about the issue, and I must say that Keith Olbermann has really done a fantastic job of leveling with the unreasonable position of the religious fundamentalists:

I have to agree.


Doing One Hundred Pushups

So two weeks ago I mentioned on my Facebook Status that I should be doing pushups to get over being so weak in the upper body (my legs are just dandy, thanks). One of my friends suggested that I start doing the 100 pushup challenge, and it sounds like a good idea, so I’m going to do it.

The dialogue

The dialogue

My initial test is pitiful. I can’t get down to a full parallel-with-the-ground position for even a single pushup. It looks like I’m going to have to start with the “alternative” or “girly” push-ups for a little while until I build up some strength. But just you wait. By the time Christmas comes I’m going to be doing 100 consecutive pushups in some form or another. I may not be able to write on the top half of the chalkboard for the rest of the semester, but goshdarnit, I’m going to be FIT.

I refuse to be 30 and out of shape. I started this project a little more than a year ago with commuting by bike, and have surprised myself at what has been accomplished. In a post last night I talked about the past year with my lovely Surly LHT. This summer I managed to push my bike on a more-than-100km-per-day pace for seven full days (half days on the first and last days, but over 700km total on an eight-day-seven-night trip) in Hokkaido. I lost about 15kg over the last year. I commuted by bicycle faithfully for a full year, in all weather and temperatures. 100 consecutive pushups is the next step. Anyone want to challenge themselves with me?

One Year with the Mule

My Surly Long Haul Trucker in assembly

My Surly Long Haul Trucker on its first day.

It’s been just over a year since The Mule showed up in Daejeon, making my commute to work a lot more enjoyable. Several thousand kilometers later (I’m guessing between 3 and 4 somewhere), two multi-day bike trips, seven metric century + days, and many day trips out and back, this bike has served me well.

One year and a few days later.

My Surly LHT Today. A few modifications later.

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Good Weekend

I went up to Seoul this weekend with Aryaena for a girls’ (+Dan) party at the Dragon Hill Spa at Yongsan (용산 in Korean, or 龍山, which means Dragon Mountain). We sat and chatted in the many dry sauna rooms of various temperatures before sending Dan off on his own and heading to the public bath area. We soaked in the various tubs of which the outdoor Japanese-style tub was our favourite. After chatting some more we headed back inside to scrub ourselves with rough mittens until our dead skin rolled off in little grey rolls. It’s really nasty to look at, but the result is completely worthwhile.

After we finished up at the spa, Dan, Tae, Aryaena and I headed back to the hotel Tae had reserved in Insadong (인사동) for us. We dropped our things, finished fixing ourselves for the evening and headed out to dinner at Carne Station back across town in Gangnam (강남).

The whole weekend was part of DeVika’s Birthoween event. She’s a socialite and loves planning these huge parties to bring as many of her friends together as possible. Dinner had about 20 people at it. Someone had purchased a cake from Costco, but there wasn’t any knife in the box for cutting it up and sharing it around.

The birthday cake

The birthday cake

DeVika went through great pains to try to get the staff to provide her with a knife to use to cut up the giant slab cake. After sending people to the kitchen four or five times, they provided her with the following:
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Love the Ethicist

I love Randy Cohen’s column in the New York Times, “The Ethicist.” Every week in the NYT Magazine he answers a couple of letters dealing with the sometimes tricky area of morality. I almost always agree with his advice, and this week was particularly impressed with how he took a moment to pull back and look at the bigger picture surrounding a particular falsehood:

Minutes before my first lunch date with a man I met online, he called to cancel because he was hit by a bicycle and was in the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital. I later called the E.R. to check on him, and a nurse said he was never there. Weeks after that, I heard about another woman with whom he used the same excuse: hit by a bike; in the E.R. Is it dater beware, or is there an obligation to be honest even online? — BETH ROSE FEUERSTEIN, LONG BEACH, N.Y.

While there is scant expectation of integrity in online dating (six feet tall? 35 years old? full head of hair?), the obligation of honesty persists even at JDate or As does the duty not to be a goofball: can this guy not simply cancel? Must he concoct so baroque a lie — one so easily exploded? Has he no professional pride?

From my narrow, crackpot’s point of view (my favorite), the real harm here is not to you but to the many tens of thousands of New York City cyclists. This fellow promulgates the canard of the pedestrian-threatening bicycle. Average number of pedestrian deaths attributable to cyclists each year here? About one. (There were 11 between 1996 and 2005.) Yet in 2006 alone, cars killed 156 pedestrians (and 17 bicyclists) in New York City and injured more than 10,000 pedestrians (and more than 2,800 bicyclists) badly enough to be hospitalized.

The still greater tragedy? Some of the dead and wounded might have been men you could date, gents who would not invent ludicrous excuses but would stand you up honestly.

Hear, hear! Thank you for providing a little (and in my narrow, crack-pot opinion much-needed) perspective.