first of all, happy 26th b-day to my sis yvonne, who's back home in toronto taking a 10-day break from her studies at ubc!
anyways, we took yvonne out for her b-day lunch today, and after that, we went over to the no frills to do some grocery shopping with mom. and, it was at this time that i noticed that a couple of cups of baby food somehow wound up in our grocery cart. so, not being one to jump to conclusions, i decided to ask yvonne about it.
so, according to yvonne, she's been eating baby food on a regular basis ever since she became a grad student, due to financial reasons! apparently, they're only 87 cents per cup and each cup gives you 2 servings of fruit (i think you need 5-10 servings of fruits and veggies per day). she also said that it tastes alright, but "the mushiness takes a little getting used to".
yet another addition to the list of things i'd really didn't need to know ...
here's a real-life example of money arriving in the mail ... i got a letter this morning from my mortgage specialist at royal bank, with regards to my new condo purchase.
according to her, due to further reduction in mortgage rates, my 5-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped like crazy, from 5.5% to 4.7%. wow!!!!! i did the math and apparently, this little 0.8% change will save me $65 per month, every month, for the entire length of the mortgage. i could buy a new car with this saving alone!
i know, it sounds almost too good to be true ... i'll have to call the specialist next week to confirm the details and make sure there aren't any "hidden catches" ...
so ... in the throes of a hot summer, i've decided to try yet another new activity - dragonboating! it took me a while to find a team, but i finally managed to find one - called "just 4 fun"! which is great, because that's what i'm there for - just to have fun.
the practices are in the outer harbour of toronto, out on the leslie st spit. while i was in the water, i couldn't help but think about the polluted lake ontario water i was boating in. i did get splashed a few times and i wound up getting some lake water in my mouth. mmm ... tasty!
of course, the practice itself was a lot of hard work. being a complete beginner, i had no idea what i was doing. i'm pretty sure my technique was incorrect, to say the least. it seemed like everyone else there knew what they were doing, except me! i'll probably be super-sore tomorrow.
however, i did have lots of fun! and the view of downtown toronto from the harbour is great! i'll definitely be back next week for more.
i think the humidity level today in the city broke a new barrier. i was out driving around 7:15pm today, with the A/C in my car turned on at a moderate level. when i stepped out my car, my glasses started to fog up (just slightly). i kid you not, fog up my glasses did. these are the days i thank my lucky stars for my air conditioner, which is now in its 3rd year of operation, but still running perfectly (in your face Ming!!!)
i expect my electricity bill to be sky-high this month, but i think back to all those years as a student in those air-conditioning-less waterloo student residences, and i know that my comfortable evenings of a/c-filled goodness are worth it!
after visiting rogers video on monday and finding BOTH episodes v and vi available for rental, i decided this would be the week to fulfill my grand master plan - to watch all six star wars movies in proper sequential order!
i agree that episode v was great - vader was a lot more sinister in this episode than the previous one, and the buildup to the emotional climax of the movie was truly excellent.
i didn't think that episode vi was as bad as everyone said it was. being the last episode of the series, it was necessary that all of the plot points be resolved. however, vader's betrayal of the emperor at the end seemed a little contrived to me. it seemed like vader did it just because the script said so and that that would be the right way to end the movie. i found that vader didn't do a very good job of selling his motivations for his selfless act to the audience. granted, it's hard for a character to express emotions from behind a mask, but it seemed like one minute, he was willing to kill luke and turn leia to the dark side, and the next minute, he was suddenly on luke's side. maybe i'll have to watch episode vi again some time in the future to see if there's anything i missed.
well, now that the master plan is complete ... what movie should i watch next?
my aunt teresa has been living in london for a very long time ... my cousins sherraine and anthony have spent their entire lives growing up there. today, on the day of my aunt's birthday, terrorists set off bombs in the london underground and also above ground, aboard a bus.
the madness has to stop. and, the first step is for the usa to do a little reflection on its foreign policies with respect to the middle east. it is their foreign policy which i believe is driving some people to extremism.
bush is fantasizing if he thinks his plan to "destroy all terrorists" and defeat al-qaeda is going to end terrorism. what the usa needs to do is: first, end the occupation of iraq as soon as possible; second, push forward towards the creation of an independent palestine to co-exist beside israel, as soon as possible. if the usa is serious about spreading fairness and freedom in the middle east, palestine would be a great place to start.
it is time for the dialogue to start and the warmongering to end. we've seen that violence does not work - how about giving a peaceful solution a chance?
everybody who isn't living in a cave knows about the live 8 concerts which took place worldwide this weekend, with the canadian concert taking place in barrie. what i want to talk about today is not the music (i've never been that interested in live bands and performances), but the supposed raison-d'etre of this event, which was to reduce/eliminate poverty in africa by eliminating the debts of african countries.
now, don't get me wrong ... i'm not saying that this is not an issue - i think helping the poor is a very noble goal. it's just that i think that elimination of debts does not really solve the deeper problem.
before africa can grow as a continent, before anything else can happen, the fighting must stop, and i'm not just talking about wars - i'm talking about civil wars too. the darfur region in sudan has been the prime example recently, but it is not the only one. citizens live in fear of their own government or of the militias. some countries spend over 3% of their GDP on arms - greater than the amount spent on education. another problem is the rampant corruption that exists in some of these countries. these are problems that will not be solved by the elimination of debt.
given the impotency of the united nations, the united states should take a leading role in the rebuilding of africa. however, it is not in the usa's best interests to do so, both economically and politically. in other words, nothing will change in the foreseeable future.
in 20 years, if and when the next live 8 events are held, africa will be just as poor if not poorer, and the western countries will be just as rich if not richer. call me a pessimist if you will ... i prefer to think of myself as a realist.
i must be from another planet, because i can't remember the last time i ate at an outdoor bbq. (naturally, korean bbq doesn't count.) so, it was nice to be able to finally enjoy the wonderful smell and taste of naturally grilled meat at cindy's place today. the beef ribs and pork chops were nice, but my personal favourite was the chicken wings. mmm ... chicken wings ... thank you cindy for a great time!
before dinner, a few of us went to the driving range to practice our golf swings. hmm ... the last time i played golf was in either october 2001 or 2002, when i shot a ridiculous score of 155 on a par-62 beginners course. i definitely did not have a lot of confidence when i stepped up to the driving range. interestingly enough, i didn't do as badly as i expected. i still remembered bits and pieces from my golf lessons over 4 years ago, such as how to hold a golf club and how to swing properly. at the end of my session on the driving range, i was able to hit a 5-iron/6-iron about 100-120 yards. however, i didn't have any consistency - quite a few of my shots were slices that flew off towards the right.
i'd like to get back into golf some time, but it's a demanding sport that requires constant practice. it's a very tough game to master.
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