Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aging: Life's Cruel Joke

Just when you get to the point where you’re comfortable with yourself, life decides to throw the concept of aging at you, and then everything changes. For me, this seems to have manifested in a variety of physical changes: I’ve gained weight, my hair color has darkened rapidly, my skin is extremely dry. When I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize myself anymore. I fight against it, but deep down I know there’s not much I can do. It’s depressing, mainly because in our society, the older you are, the less respect people give to you. I didn’t get much respect to start with, I can’t imagine it going downhill from here.

I find it especially hard going from the straight size 0-2 that I used to be, to having to buy size 4 or 6 “curvy fit” pants and S instead of XS tops. Marketing strategists can come up with all kind of words for it, but essentially it all boils down to the fact that my hips have too much fat on them. “Curvy fit” doesn’t make me feel more feminine, it makes me feel fat. Clothes shopping is no longer a matter of seeing something I like and buying it, it’s now a huge rigmarole of trying a bunch of things on, realizing that clothing manufacturers only cater to people without hips, and deeply sighing at the thought that I didn’t used to have this problem.

I’m trying to eat healthier, exercise more, and hope that I can see some changes on the outside. I’m ashamed of the level I’m currently at, and I swore to myself I wouldn’t let it get this far. I’m probably the billionth person to say that, and may be the billionth person to fail at it. But for now this is my path, and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Last year was a particularly busy one for me at work. I worked a lot of long hours on a new system implementation. One of my rewards was a gift certificate to a day spa for 5 hours worth of services. Since I am an average office worker Mon-Fri, and have church late on Saturday afternoon, I could never find 5h to devote to the spa. I chose instead to use the value of the gift cert to treat myself and my best friend to pedicures and manicures.

I opted for colored polish on my hands and feet. By day 2, the polish from my manicure had already started to chip. 5 days later, it's so bad that I will have to remove the polish rather than look this sloppy. I'm not impressed. I will accept some responsibility for being hard on a manicure, since I was out in the hot sun yesterday on an ATV in the woods (not the usual dealings of someone who gets manicures). However, I think my aesthetician and the quality of the products are also to blame. She did not go as far down on the nail with the polish as I would, perhaps this is what is taught in school, but it ends up looking like my manicure is two weeks old and has grown out. I was not familiar with any of the polish products used on me, but I especially am not impressed with the top coat. Top coat should protect against chipping, and yet it has basically worn off after 5 days.

I am debating a complaint to the spa, but I'm not sure I have any leg to stand on. The gift certificate was for a spa which went out of business, but a new spa opened in the same place. They decided to honor any outstanding gift certs for the old spa. They likely don't want to hear a complaint from [essentially] a non-paying customer. However, the service I received seems faulty. I really don't think it should look this bad, even though I haven't been easy on it. I don't think you should have to organize your life around protecting your nail polish. So I'm not sure what to do about it, but I will have to make a decision today. I have a party to attend tomorrow, and I can't leave it looking like this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thoughts on Sirius|XM

One of the very few times where I actually want CanCon is in my 80s music. I grew up with Much Music, in a time when it was Znaimer-owned, and still had some integrity. A lot of the bands promoted on Much Music went on to have great careers and notoriety within Canada, and had some great songs. Many of these songs are right up there with Duran Duran and Heart in my playlist.

Listening to Sirius|XM, I miss hearing Canadian artists. They play a smattering of Bryan Adams and Corey Hart, and that's it. There is no time devoted to Kim Mitchell, The Payolas, The Box, The Grapes of Wrath, Alannah Myles, or Tom Cochrane (with or without Red Rider). The more I listen to Sirius|XM, the more I miss these artists. There is a channel for French Canadian programming, no doubt to comply with CanCon, but this leaves the English artists out in the cold.

One of the biggest problems with 80s on 8 is its repetitive nature. Its programming focuses around what was played on MTV, which I will grant were the biggest hits. The problem is that they play a lot of those hits once or more every day. As someone who listens to this channel in my car, and sometimes during the day in my office, it starts to get annoying after a while. A friend of mine, who received a free 3-month trial with his new car, declined to continue with the service. He cited dead zones and repetitiveness as the two main reasons he wouldn't be continuing with the service. "How many times can they play 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'?"

Another problem with the programming is the division of catalog. As an 80s fan, I will flip between 80s on 8, Classic Rewind, and 1st Wave. I can only hear The Cure and Depeche Mode on 1st Wave, certain rock songs on Classic Rewind, and the rest on 80s on 8. Unless they are playing the weekly countdown, I would never hear things that were also hits of the 80s, like Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbit, or Stacey Q. There is a ton of variety to choose from, but they have segregated the programming so much that they end up with a repetitive mess, or as in the case of 1st Wave, some extremely mainstream pop songs mixed in with very obscure artists.

In one very weird example, 80s on 8 rarely (if at all) played Michael Jackson's Beat It until after his death. Arguably the biggest 80s artist, a song which is on the best selling album of all time, and was a big hit for him. XM, before the merge with Sirius, had a better 80s program director and better variety of music, with the small exception of being a little too focused on Jody Watley for a while. I don't think I've heard Jody Watley more than twice since the merger. Kenny Rogers and Eddie Rabbit had hits in the 80s, whether we like them or not. I can't believe they're finally playing an INXS song on 80s on 8. For being such a hit-prolific 80s band, you wouldn't know it from listening to this channel.

I took a look at the playlist for Galaxie, the commercial-free music service that is part of Canadian digital or satellite TV programming. This is pretty much what I want: Prince's When Doves Cry mixed in with National Velvet's Flesh Under Skin. Unfortunately, having only the old-style analog cable service means I don't get this programming, nor Much Retro, which would play the same style only in video form. If I were made of money, I would upgrade my cable to digital. Alas, I am spending too much money already on TV.

If I had an iPod, and a car with an iPod port, I'd be thinking a bit more strongly about canceling the subscription to the car. I'll be taking this into consideration when I go vehicle shopping next year. I just hope GM has finally smartened up regarding this type of technology. My car is a 2007, and yet it only has a 6-cd changer, and can't even play MP3s. I am probably the only person I know who still makes mixed CDs for my car.

All that being said, the current Sirius|XM is still better than traditional radio. It's easy and convenient to use in my car, and I can and do flip around to other channels. As a long time user, however, I realize how repetitive it truly is. Every once in a while, though, they pull something out that I had totally forgotten about. I guess that's what keeps me hanging on. I also like someone else making the decisions for me on the playlist... sometimes.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The game

Some days you just get tired of playing the game.  Today is one of those days.  I can’t get any answers.  I don’t think I have enough energy today to put up a fight.  Even if I did, I would probably just get flicked away.


I’m not intentionally trying to make anyone’s life more difficult.  It just so happens that people perceive it to be that way.  It’s difficult to explain that that is not the case.


Sometimes I feel the soul is slowly being sucked out of me, and then there will be nothing left. 


I’m not sure how I will get through what has been planned for August.