Being Wishy Washy at Work

SEX - If you've ever dated someone (and this is the same for both men & women) who is wishy washy and doesn't know what they want you quickly realize how frustrating and what a relationship rollercoaster it is.

Let me cite some examples.

Ten years ago when I was in the first year of university I dated a girl from Hong Kong who was in a dorm west of mine. We broke up 27 times over a 2 week period, mostly because she couldn't decide what she wanted in the relationship. She would get upset over the silliest things, break up with me, get jealous or lonely and then ask me back. Half of the time it was me breaking up with her, because I was getting very frustrated with the sheer rollercoaster of emotions. Eventually we broke up permanently.

Now that is an extreme example, but since then I have had occasion to meet women who are also wishy washy. Not just relationship wise, but indecisive in general. Some women can't seem to decide what to wear, what to eat, what to do even.

Meanwhile the guy is standing there pulling his hair out and saying "Just a pick a pair of shoes that matches the weather outside!"

For men this level of wishy washiness is very frustrating. We're not used to standing by while someone makes a decision, often a decision that makes very little difference.

Now generally speaking we think of women as being wishy washy, but I have heard of instances where men do it too. And likewise it will be over silly inane thing.

"Should I have the red wine or the white wine with the chicken or the fish?"

Does it really matter? The thing is dead, it doesn't care what wine you drink with it. The fish isn't going to look up and say "Have the red wine! You'll live longer!"

The point I am ultimately trying to get at is that being wishy washy is a relationship breaker. Some people might argue its even worse than the Dreaded Silent Treatment (which basically means the relationship is over because the person is so immature they are refusing to communicate).

The thing about being wishy washy however is that its a personality flaw. The Silent Treatment is just something immature that little kids do when they're angry at their parents or siblings. ("Mom! Andrea won't talk to me and she's being a dick!") In theory as people get older they eventually realize that the Silent Treatment doesn't solve any problems, it just hurts the relationship and will ultimately kill the relationship if it continues.

ie. Siblings that keep giving the Silent Treatment as adults will probably cease talking altogether and even avoid the other at family gatherings.

Being wishy washy however isn't something people grow out of easily as they get older. Its much more deeply rooted in a person's psyche and as such when they're trying to make a difficult decision (like breaking up or getting a divorce) such events will be even more traumatic for the other person because they will taken through a rollercoaster ride of "Are we getting divorced or not? Make up your freaking mind!"

In which case the person on the receiving end may just to decide to end the relationship first, out of sheer frustration and heartbreak. They may not happy with the decision later on, but there is only so much a human being can take emotionally before they decide to cut off contact.

Exercise at Work

HEALTH - I have this horrible habit I do, its called exercise.

Let me explain... I was online chatting to a woman and I mentioned hurting my elbow lifting weights at the gym. To make a long story short she started giving me this whole attitude like "Oh, you're one of those people..." meaning people who exercise regularly. She wasn't referring to the muscle-bound professional weightlifters... or the people obsessed with working out every freaking day, she was referring to people "who believe in the value of exercise."

You see from her perspective exercise is a waste of time. You're either fit or fat and there's nothing you can do about it. "Its all genetics!" she argued.

If it was truly genetics how do explain the following?

#1. Obesity rates skyrocketing during the last 20 years in the United States. Is she saying Americans are genetically inferior? Highly doubtful.

#2. Obesity rates are only high in countries where people spend a great deal of time watching television and/or on computers, in contrast to spending time exercising. The average American watches 30 hours of television/movies per week and spends 14 hours per week on the internet. Combine that with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle in workplaces (and schools which have cut out Physical Education) its no wonder Americans are the fattest people on the planet. Please note that this has nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with lack of exercise.

#3. Some people eat a lot but don't gain any weight. This is because they have an active lifestyle. The more active and energetic you are, the faster your metabolism, the more easily you can consume food without gaining any weight... indeed if you are weightlifting the only weight you do gain is muscle mass (as opposed to fat).

But you see none of these points seem to matter to the woman I was talking to. From her perspective exercise to lose weight is a myth, a hoax forced on us by the weight-loss industry. She is absolutely convinced its all one big grand conspiracy to suck money out of people by forcing us to pay for gym memberships and exercise equipment.

Which is silly because exercise is free... anybody can go jogging, do aerobics and various traditional exercises like push ups, chin ups, etc., lift heavy things (ie. buckets of water or stacks of books) as a form of exercise. Having a gym membership is more about convenience because then you don't have to worry about breaking things in your home, you can get advice and you have all the extra space and useful machines at your disposal. (Heck my gym even has TVs on the treadmills and internet access.)

But regardless her mindset was clear she had a bit of a screw loose when it came to exercise. I did some checking online and there's a whole culture of people out there who think obesity is a genetic deficiency and on that basis they don't believe in exercise because they think its a waste of time and too troublesome.

At which point I am starting to wonder if the fat cells are blocking the flow of blood to their brains. Their arteries are so clogged with cholesterol their brain isn't receiving the proper amount of blood flow and its resulting in a brain malfunction. Its NOT genetic, its just a symptom of their condition.

Scientists have already proven that elderly people who exercise are less likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease and go senile. Regular exercise reduces the amount of cholesterol blocking their arteries, increases blood flow to the brain and results in the brain being healthier because it regenerates more.

Ergo people who exercise more often have less clogged arteries and healthier brains.

That might explain why some people can delude themselves into thinking exercise is a hoax... but I also think its part of their whole laziness mindset. They don't WANT to exercise, therefore they come up with reasons not to. Eventually all these reasons are combined until they've convinced themselves that exercise must be a complete waste of time because every time they do they never lose weight...

I think part of the problem is they expect instant results. Exercise is often combined with the word "regular" to imply regular daily exercise. Its not going to happen overnight. It will take months and years to achieve the final goal. That for some people is too long of a wait and they're simply too stubborn, stuck in their ways and lazy to make the prolonged effort.

Its like the people who say "Oh, I can't do art. I just don't have the talent." Bullshit. A baby has no talent. Talent is learned through practice and repetition. If you draw Charlie Brown 100 times by the time you get to number 100 you will probably be reasonably good at it. Artistic skill is learned ability. People aren't born with it. Some people might point out that other family members are also artistic, but thats because they also practiced their skill constantly. Their family values creativity and thus encourages it more, resulting in children who are better at it due to the amount of practice time.

The same thing can be applied to families of fat people. If the parents are lazy and spend all their free time watching television its guaranteed the children will do the same thing. Parents who are into exercise or sports are going to have active healthy children because they encouraged those activities.

And if you need further proof lets look at Type II Diabetes.

Type II Diabetes is caused by too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. Its not a genetic problem, its purely the result of overeating sugary foods. All that extra sugar results in hypertension, elevated cholesterol, various syndromes and will eventually kill the patient. Scientific studies have determined that the ONLY cure for Type II Diabetes is "consistent and continuing exercise" combined with healthy eating habits. In other words the patient needs to burn off all that extra sugar in their blood.

The human body isn't meant to eat large doses of sugar. We're meant to be outside hunting, fishing, foraging for food. We're supposed to be eating fruits, vegetables and meat. We're omnivores, not glucosevores. We're supposed to be outside, exercising, the wind in our hair... not trapped in a cubicle, eating prepackaged sugary foods and spending our evenings watching television or on the internet.

And now with much adieu I have to go to the gym now. Maybe I should take up archery? That sounds like fun.

Growing Old at Work

HEALTH - I think men and women approach aging differently.

#1. When women worry about their age they do two things: Lie about their age and try to cover up their wrinkles using cosmetics. Some even go for more extreme measures like botox or surgery.

#2. When men worry about their age they think in terms of exercise and diet... but ultimately many men take a fatalistic approach and say "Bah, I'm still in good shape."

I think there is a lot of people who do that. They kind of lie about their level of fitness and try to ignore the fact that their body is starting to fall apart at the seams. Once their eyesight, hearing, etc. starts to go the next thing you know they've got no teeth and their bowels flush whenever they hear running water.

Comparatively few can actually say "I'm still in pretty good shape." Its reminds me of that scene in "Never Say Never Again" (with Sean Connery as James Bond)... check out the video below.

The difference of course is that James Bond does exercise (as shown by the weightlifting in the video above, an excellent way of staying young and fit), but his constant drinking and smoking have left him with a liver that will likely be what finally kills him.

Meanwhile the pharmaceutical industry is working overtime trying to make a variety of pills that will help keep people younger, utilizing everything from bat DNA (bats are very long lived for their size) to human growth hormone. In the meantime there are plenty of other ways to stay young and active.

Diet wise red wine is one of the big names and its been proven to work wonders. Any wine blog will tell its the red skin from fruits (not just grapes) that helps. The red skin of apples, ripe mangoes, tomatoes, red pears, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries, etc. protect the fruit from the sun's harmful rays and contain nutrients that will also help protect your skin as you grow older. That and its just plain good nutrition to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially the older you get.

Another problem with growing old is many people don't seem to keep their mind active (television apparently is not good for the brain BTW because its not interactive). Some elderly people can't handle simple tasks like programming a DVD player (or worse, a VCR), using a microwave or an office phone system. Its one of the reasons many old age homes are now stocking Wii games in an effort to get the elderly more active but also simultaneously using their brains so they don't collect dust and fall to bits.

A lot of scientific studies have been done in recent years that prove people who exercise both their bodies and their brains tend to live longer and have a significantly better standard of life in their old age.

At my gym for example there is this elderly woman who looks like she is in her 90s, but she's in there doing aerobics and lifting weights 7 days a week. I see her there EVERY time. She's in better shape than most teenagers.

Part of the problem I think is retirement. Lets say you're a business consultant for 40 years and the day after you turn 65 you retire. What do you do with all your free time? Do you keep reading the financial news or let it pass you by? DO you remember to keep visiting your local Toronto dentist or do you forget you have teeth entirely? Do you keep active, take tennis and golf lessons? Maybe take up sculpture, painting or photography?

Lets take photography as an example. Sure you could take photos of family members, your dog that is as old as you are (in dog years at least), your 20+ cats and the local landscapes... or you could become more artistic about it, submit your art to Canadian art galleries or even to photo contests like Lenzr which recently changed their voting structure rules so now users can vote for whomever they want to win (its essentially a popularity contest now).

Some people when they retire just seem to watch TV, visit their relatives and go for the occasionally walk. They don't want to go outside because its cold out so they stay inside and vegetate in front of the TV, their brains and bodies slowly wasting away... which might explain why so many elderly people move to Florida, because they can enjoy the weather more.

And while I do think men and women approach aging differently, we do share a commonality in that we all think we're going to live forever... right up until the point we are confronted with our own mortality. Those of us who are scared of dying tend to become religious, worried that they'll just cease to exist after they die (which is what most atheists believe). Frankly I don't mind the whole ceasing to exist thing, just so long as I leave the planet having contributed something towards making it better.

Maybe thats what more old people should do with all their free time: Become environmentalists. Heck, old people vote more than any other age group. They're a huge voting bloc and could force lots of changes if they really put their minds to it. Its time for the elderly to stop pissing away their lives and being complacent when they could actually do something that will make a difference for everyone.

Plus they could exercise and use their brains at the same time. Protesting is a workout for the brain and the body.

Wind Power at Work

TECHNOLOGY - There's nothing men love more (with the exception of their love of women) than a great piece of engineering.

Between fast cars, airplanes, ships, rockets, architecture, computers, bicycles, motorcycles or anything else we can build with our hands there is a lot to admire. I think it comes down to a male drive to build and create. We can't make babies like women can, so we satisfy our creative urges with something else.

And our desire to build and create isn't limited to just what we can build ourselves, we also recognize and respect the things other people build and say "Hey, thats a really big engine you got there! How many horsepower does it have?"

Typical men, we love things that are bigger, stronger, more powerful.

This fascination also extends to gadgets for some men, whom have an obsession with their BlackBerries, their iPhones and whatever other gizmos they can afford and brag about.

Its a bit like having a supermodel trophy wife. Men love to brag in general.

But how do we fuel all of this technology? Electricity usually. With the exception of automotives that run on gasoline, diesel/bio-diesel or hydrogen power, everything else with so much as an electric switch needs an ample supply of electrical power... but how we produce that electricity is limited...

COAL POWER - About 40% of the electricity produced in North America comes from burning coal. It is the cheapest source of energy, but accounts for 35% of the greenhouse gas emissions.

NUCLEAR POWER - The cleaner alternative to coal, but the price of building nuclear power plants is always way more than originally predicted and ends up costing significantly more than anticipated (so much so that nuclear power has NEVER even been profitable and has always resulted in local governments being burdened with the financial cost). Nuclear also has waste left over which has to be dumped somewhere, regularly in war-torn and piracy-infected Somalia, resulting in skyrocketing cancer rates in that country.

SOLAR POWER - Suffers from a reputation of low reliability, but is technically cheaper than nuclear power. See Solar Power becoming Profitable.

HYDROGEN POWER - If there were more rivers that we could build dams on we would, but the ecological effects on the fish limits the number of dams that can be built. Dam construction has reached a plateau.

WIND POWER - More reliable and more efficient than solar power, wind power is old technology that has been upgraded with new lightweight materials and more efficient designs. So much so that wind turbines have become the darling of the energy industry...

In January 2010 Samsung announced a $7 billion deal to build wind turbines in Ontario. See: 16,000 new Samsung jobs in Ontario for more details.

Now the Danish company Vestas, the world's largest maker of wind turbines, is also thinking of setting up shop in Ontario. Officials from Vestas are currently in Ontario looking for land in Hamilton, Niagara, Kingston and Belleville to purchase, both for manufacturing and also to house the wind turbines they plan to build. Toronto-based Trillium Power Co. is currently bidding to become the exclusive supplier from the 740 wind turbines Vestas currently plans to build, and hopefully gives them the inside track to hundreds of more turbines in the future.

"Without a doubt the future of electricity in Ontario will be wind power," says one industry insider.

The Ontario government is also pushing hard to attract more green jobs to the province, and has become a mecca for wind power companies in North America. One third of Canadians live in the province, one sixth in the Toronto region alone. That is a lot of consumers who need electricity and Ontarians have made it clear they want to get rid of the old coal plants, but without building any nuclear plants which always go billions of dollars over budget.

But here's the thing... despite what naysayers say about wind power, I actually admire wind turbines for their technological achievement. I think its a brilliant piece of engineering. True, it may not have the zing and radioactive kewlness that nuclear power has...

If I was a finance or business consultant in Toronto I'd be really tempted to tell my customers to invest in Vestas, Samsung and any other wind turbine company. I think there's unlimited money to be made in the wind power industry.

Russian Mail Order Brides at Work

TECHNOLOGY - We live in an era of spam... and within the context of spam nothing is more humourous than the emails from Russian mail order brides with horrible English, hot photos, and generic auto-responses that ultimately lead to asking for money.

And its presumed you never see or hear from them again afterwards. No bride ever "comes in the mail" or arrives by airplane.

In theory I could block all the spam just by creating a filter for all the names typically used by the Russian mail order bride scamsters... Tatyana is popular, but so is Katya, Olga and a few others.

I've received so many of the spams I've become a bit of an expert on the topic. I don't delete them quickly as I should, instead I like playing with them by asking them questions:

"Hey, how do you say hello in Russian?" and other language questions because I want to see what kind of response I will get. Usually they just ignore such questions and send another form response telling you about their favourite colours, how they like cooking and pleasing their man, how subservient they are and whatnot (basically the perfect 1950s housewife).

Or sometimes I will ask them something complex and hypothetical like:

"If you had to choose which would you rather be: A billionaire paraplegic or the ugliest person on the face of the planet, so ugly no one would ever love you?" or "Which do you prefer? The man of your dreams who cheats on you and treats you badly, or a guy with a sense of humour who is utterly faithful to you, but physically is quite ugly?"

If I am lucky I might get a real response, depends whether they actually read the emails. It does occasionally happen that its a real person answering the emails.

In which case they all eventually start asking for money so they can buy a plane ticket and come visit you, usually within the first 4-5 emails.

In which case, get real! Even in a hypothetical situation wherein I was sending love letters online to someone I was interested in overseas I would not be sending money to them or wanting to go visit them for at LEAST six months of constant daily emails.

For reference purposes its not just Russians that do this rather shoddy scam. I've also received variations of it from Nigeria, India, China, Japan, Bulgaria, Romania and I presume there are others. Its a really pathetic scam when you think about it.

And just imagine if it was real? What kind of relationship would you have if this poor girl who can barely speak English shows up on your doorstep? Eventually she is going to get bored and since the 'relationship' was built on a fraud to get her into your country by bypassing VISA applications with a marriage license the end result is the relationship is a big sham.

In reality they should be paying YOU to come to your country, marry you, get divorced after the paperwork is finalized and you pocket your payment. From what I've heard the base price for such a service is $100,000 CDN. (Heck, a Canadian passport alone is worth $50,000 USD on the black market.)

Seriously, if Canada accepted more immigrants that are simply loaded with cash we could pay off our $511 billion National Debt quite quickly. At the rate of $100,000 each we could pay off the debt just by accepting 5.11 million more wealthy immigrants into the country. And frankly, who doesn't want wealthy immigrants? They boost our economy. We should open the doors wide open to every wealthy person wanting to come to Canada, buy a home and setup a business.

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