– Smokers –

I am going to preface this by stating that I do not hate smokers themselves. I am sure that most of them are quite nice people. I just think that smokers need to show more common sense, and courtesy to non smokers. I myself have tried smoking a little. Not something I am going to continue with, but I am glad I tried it because now I know I definitely don’t want to be a smoker. On to what bugs me about smokers.

Here in Victoria legislation has been passed that bans smoking in restaurants and pubs. To many non smokers, this sounds like a great idea. To get around this, many restaurants built a “patio”. Many went to such extremes as to put up walls around their “patio”, and pipe in heating ducts. Smokers now have to be seated on the patio if they want to smoke before or after their meal. Additionally, smokers have to step out to the patio ti light up if they are eating inside. This means that if a non smokers wants to sit outside on the patio in the summer, they must put up with much more smoke than they had to before the legislation was introduced. I quite enjoy eating on the patio in the summer, but I can’t stand it now due to the over abundance of smokers out there. It truly diminishes my dining experience. Now, I personally don’t apply this to when I am seated with a smoker. This occurs of my own free will.

Another thing that really iritates me about a smoker is when they throw a cigarette butt out the window of a car. Come on smokers, quit littering. Ever walked beside a road and look into the rain gutter? It truly is disgusting how many butts you will see there. Why do smokers throw their butts out the window anyway? It doesn’t make any sense. Not only is it disgusting, but in the dry summer season, it can be dangerous since the still lit cigarette could start a road side fire. I just don’t get it.

IF you got any thoughts, drop me an email

– Trusting My Instincts _

The older I get, and the more life experience I gain, the more I realize I should really listen to my instincts. Too many times I have ignored my instincts, and that has ended up causing me problems.

I remember a couple years ago when this girl and I were just starting out dating. My instincts were telling me that this was a bad idea. In the end, it was a horrible idea. I should have listened to my instincts then.

I guess the problem is that my instincts only seem to tell me when something is a bad idea, not when something is a good idea. Kind of frustrating really.

The whole reason this came up is that I am now in a situation that I am not sure if it is a good idea. Nothing is screaming that this is a bad idea, but I am still left wondering. Should I continue? Should I turn and get out?

This time I will trust my instincts and go for it!

Mountain Biking – How it changed my life

This topic has been a long time coming. I have thought about this on and off for the past couple years. Mountain biking really has changed my life for the better.

It all started with my response to a newsgroup posting at UVic. Someone was looking for someone to go mountain biking with. I thought it would be something new, and something fun. It would be a great way for me to meet some new people, and get outdoors.

I should back up a little bit here. This first occurred in the summer of 1995. A few years earlier I was in high school. During this time I was not interested in physical activities of any sort. I only ever watched T.V., did my homework, and played on my computer. I hated Physical Education in school, and stopped taking it as soon as I could. I was starting to gain weight, and I was not liking it. I was just not motivated enough to do anything about it.

Skip forward to 1995. I met up with Mike (who later turned into a great friend of mine), and we went riding. Back then I was on the crapiest of crap bikes. Yet that one day turned everything around. Off road riding was difficult, muddy, and lots of work. I was hooked. That summer I bought a more sturdy bike. It was made for off road.

Time past, and Mike and I kept riding. While I was in school, I only got to ride on the weekends. However, I made it a priority to ride on the weekends. First it was one day a week, then it grew to two. I began a work term in Victoria. Soon I was riding after work. I had really been bitten by the biking bug. Three and four rides a week.

Large portions of paycheques were put aside for new biking equipment and gear. It soon became an obsession.

I rode for many reasons.

Soon my riding took a turn for the worse. I began to love the adrenaline rush! I would try to ride the steepest, gnarliest obstacle I could. I couldn’t get enough of this riding. Soon my abilities began to exceed the capabilities of my bike. I began considering buying a new bike. I finally decided on the Santa Cruz Bullit. I was in the process of saving my money for it. Then the unfortunate happened. I found cracks in the frame of my bike. I was forced to buy my Bullit earlier than I had inteded.

This new bike opened my eyes even more. I loved speed in the past, but this bike just begged for speed. It loved air, and I soon began to warm up to jumping. I was still obsessed with riding, but my obsession had now changed from long XC rides to short but super technical DH/freeriding.

I got myself a good set of lights, and discovered the magic of riding at night. Even trails that I know like the back of my hand can be completely unrecognizable at night. The cool crsip night air coupled with high speed trail bombing was a new twist on an old love.

I think back on my evolution of my riding style, and it brings a smile to my face. I had come a long way since high school. I never liked sports, and since I started riding, I got involved in a few other sports. I played soccer for a summer season, I took up Ultimate which I played for several seasons. I go for more walks now, I hike more. In general I tend to enjoy the outdoors much more than I used to.

I am not ashamed of what I used to be like, but I am sure proud of what I have accomplished.

– Decisions –

I find it pretty amazing how one decision can affect the rest of your life. Quite often I think back to certain profound moments in my life, and ponder the decisions I made then. I wonder how events would have progressed had I made a different choice. Would my life be better? Would it be worse? I ponder the course of events following the decision. Those events usually lead to other profound moments, and the cycle continues.

A prime example is back in second year University I was pretty unhappy in my Engineering studies. I needed to make some life changes. I decided to transfer to Computer Science. I also decided to move out of residence. Those are two life altering decisions that I think about quite often.

My decision to move off campus lead me to answer a usenet posting at UVic. I moved in with two guys who I had not ever met before. These two guys became really good friends of mine. Through them I met countless other people. I gained immeasureable knowledge from them. Hell one of them even helped me get the job that I currently hold.

I often think back to these decisions. What if I had stayed in Res? How would my life be different? Would life have turned out as good as it has?

– Sept 11, 2001 –

This was the day of the World Trade Center attack. I remember laying in be that morning hearing that a plane had just crashed into one of the WTC buildings. I thought to myself “What a weird joke”.

I began my day like normal, had a shower, got dressed, ate breakfast, then went to work. I began checking my daily webpages, and it began to feel like the world was ending. Every website I visited I saw pictures, video, or eyewitness testimony to what was happening.

The horrible acts of a few have hurt so many people. I am happy that the ones I love are safe from this, but I can’t help but feel sad for those that have been affected.

I sat at work all day long scanning various news sites in some attempt to comprehend what just happened. I tried to make sense of something that made no sense.

Sure the perpetrators had their reasons. But I can’t comprehend hating a culture so much that I would take my life in the attempt to destroy that culture.

In the aftermath I can’t help but wonder if the devastation that was caused was intentional, or was the falling of the two WTC buildings something that was planned?

Slowly the world around me bagan to return to normal. I think back to Sept 11, 2001 and think to myself that the world has changed. I read newspaper stories about the war on terrorism. I read explanations as to why the WTC buildings collapsed. I watch countless news stories on “America Under Attack”.

Since Sept 11, 2001 I have been growing increasingly disgusted with our society, and the society of the U.S.A. There have been reports of Mosques in Canada and the U.S.A. being defaced. People on the streets of Canada and the U.S.A. have been attacked, and injured. These are reactionary actions perpetrated by people not thinking, and that to me is disgusting. Just because some people have the same skin color, accent, or even religion to those who may have conducted this atrocity (at this point in time it is still not 100% sure who commited the attack), does not mean they are terrorists.

There are some people who are trying to capitalize on this tragedy. Selling FDNY hats, t-shirts, flags, NYC paraphenalia. Some people are scamming others who are trying to help victims. This is truly Disgusting.

One of the more disturbing stories I have read about is the so called Banned Songs List created by Clear Channel. If I have my information correct (and it is possible I don’t), Clear Channel, which owns several radio stations created a large list of songs that station managers may want to no longer play dues to the tragedy. The songs supposedly include references to New York, Terrorism, Tuesday, plane crashes, etc. This is distrubing on so many levels. First off what gives this private company the ability to censor the airwaves because of what happened? Many of their so called banned songs have nothing to do with that days events.

More censorship is occuring in the movie and book industry. Movies involving terrorist activities are not being released until a more approtpriate time. Video games are being edited to no longer include images of the WTC buildings. A new Tom Clancy novel is being re-written because it’s story line may have included a scenario similar to what happened.

I am disgusted by these actions because it seems like everyone just wants to block out what happened. Forget that it even occurred and just go on with life. If nothing reminds me it happened, then it never happened. What happens when the next terrorist attack hits? Will we forget that one too? Maybe eventually someone will stand up and say “Hey, we need to do something here!”. I am rambling now.

I say, never forget. Remember how many lives have been affected by this disaster. Think about it daily. That is what I am going to try to do.

– Being in a Bad Mood –

You know, I am beginning to hate the question “How are you doing?”

It is just one of those innocuous questions that everyone asks. They expect to hear good things. When it is not, they want to know why. Some days when I am in a bad mood, I just want to be left alone. Besides, how do you answer that question when you aren’t in a good mood?

Q: How are you doing?
A: Pretty crappy actually.

That usually doesn’t go over well. Just yesterday I was in an absolute foul mood. I have had some stupid personal problems on my mind, and they have been weighing pretty heavy on me. As a result my sleep patterns are all out of whack, and I just dont feel like myself. My friends can recognize this. A couple people asked me yesterday how I was doing, and I replied with something like “I’ve been better”. Friends being what they are immediately want to know what is wrong. I wanted to tell them about it, but at the time I couldn’t. I politely declined. It all started with a simple question to which they got an answer they weren’t expecting.

Normally I am a pretty mellow person, and not much changes. When something does change for the worse, I think that my friends just want to help me return to normal. I appreciate that, but sometimes I just want to wallow in my self pity, or whatever bad mood I am in. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. If I want help I need to learn to ask for it, not have it thrust upon me.