Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The other night there was a retired gentlemen that came in to dine with his wife at the restaurant. The two of them were the last customers to have come in and that allowed me to give them more attention. From recommending soups; discussing the future of arts, music, theatre, literature, and education; talking about his drop-out education; talking about her career choices of secretary, nurse, or teacher; to sharing stories of good ol' Larry Klapoushak, we shared a wonderful conversation.

All three of us were about to leave the night having enjoyed our evening. The gentlemen came to the front to pay for the meal. He gave me a toonie and asked me to split it in half and give him back just one, "...let's make that your tip, I wish I could have given you more." I split the toonie into two loonies and decidedly put both coins in his hand. He didn't notice it.

Being a retired gentlemen likely to have no income, he wanted to give me the loonie as a token of thanks for my services provided that evening. If that's true I'm content with just the thanks.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Push-Ups for Life

Modern-day society [of developed nations] is lazy. Its not that we want to be lazy, but the society deems it necessary. We do a little as we can "physically" to maximize "productivity."

Stop what you're doing and do 10 push-ups every 15 minutes.

Whether you're at work, if you're studying, or if you're performing almost any given task on any given day a lot of time is spent sitting, or standing, in one place. If you've worked too long or have studied too much you can go lie down to relax and take a break. The mind is restless and the body rarely stops resting. This is, sadly, what our lifestyle and our society deems necessary.

Every 15 minutes stop what you're doing and do 10 push-ups.

When it comes time to shift from neutral to drive, the body takes time to warm up--just like a car in a Saskatchewan winter. If something sudden happens, like needing to move an extremely heavy box into the house, the body's engine revs up and the dormant muscles experience high strain to accomplish the 10 minute task. After the dust settles, the body is promptly placed back into hibernation as the heart lowers the revving and the muscles cool down. Isn't this being a slightly-incredibly harsh on the body? Is it possible to train the body to be in a state of always-readiness?

Take a break and do 10 push-ups every 15 minutes.

It takes time for the heart to "warm-up" and ready itself, it'll pump away during physical activity, and it'll cool off and slow down when inactive. Assuming that the more times the heart readies itself the more efficient it will be at doing so, and assuming that increased blood circulation is beneficial for muscles as well as many organs of the body, the heart can be trained to attain a permanent state of readiness.

Regardless of what you're doing, stop every 15 minutes and do 10 push-ups. This will take anywhere from 5-20 seconds [the time it takes will also significantly shorten after a few days, though for some it will lengthen after the first few hours before shortening). In a standard 14 hours day 560 push-ups can be completed, you'll use nearly every muscle in your body but significantly the ones in your arms, the efficiency of your lungs will increase, and more importantly your heart will have the chance to start-up/perform/cool-down 56 times. Eventually [me thinks] your heart will build towards the pattern, reach an always-ready state, and possibly lower your performance bpm to your warm up bpm. I wish to scientifically experiment and collect data on this hypothesis in future. I'll definitely blog the results whenever I get around to it!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Poutine Kids

There were a group of kids whom had visited the family restaurant frequently in the summer of 2006 and 2007. Though I can't say I miss them, not having seen them at all this summer, I can never forget them and can't help but wonder where they are or how they're doing.

One memory I have tells of sometime last summer. There were 3 of them. One of them we saw waiting outside, another two entered the restaurant and began walking their own separate but determined paths within the small crowded restaurant. One was stopped by my sister as his eyes began searching around the room.

"What do you want? Is there something I can help you with?" my sister asked him. He probably would have plowed through my sister and pushed her aside if she didn't say anything. "Can I have some water?" was his reply as he changed course towards the fridge, cups, and water pitchers. A little rude if you ask me, but it was evident he was coming from a low income family and seemed to be have been payed little attention to.

The second boy, they were both roughly 10-12 years old, locked his gaze in the direction of the cash register as he slowly walked his way up to the till. "What can I do for you?" I asked, to which he mumbled an incoherent reply without taking his eyes off the till. "Is there something I can do for you?" I asked him again, but he wasn't responding to my questions but rather repeating his mumble which sounded something like "ooteen, ooteen, ooteen..." I had no idea what he was talking about, he wouldn't look at me or anything except for the cash register. I made my way to the cash register and from behind the counter looked down at him and asked him again, "What can I do for you?" only to have him repeat his mumble again. Without looking up at me, while looking around at the items placed on the counter at till I finally understood what he was asking me, "Do you have poutine."

Poutine? In a Asian restaurant? Not completely out of the question, but I'm sure a 12 year old would know not to ask for poutine in an Asian restaurant. "No we don't. Is there anything else I can do for you?" I asked him as his eyes continued surveying the items around him.

"Oh." was his reply, but still he stood standing and scanning with his eyes. By this time my father had made his way out to the dinning room and had gotten impatient with the kids. I can't remember what he told them, but it would have been along the lines of a modest "we're running a business, not a poutine business, and we can't keep having you guys come in here to ask for water or mints or candies every other day."

I always remember them running away from the place in a hurry though. It is almost as if they felt that they needed to run away each and every time they left the restaurant, but not before they would shut off all the light switches in the entry way plunging the whole dinning room in near-absolute darkness.

Sometimes they would come in twice in the day. In one of those days they came in, asked for water, didn't finish their water, hung out by the donations envelop for the opportunity for the disabled chocolate stand, and left. Later they came back, bought a pop, paid for it, hung out by the donations envelop for the opportunity for the disabled chocolate stand, and when we weren't looking, ran away without their one can of pop (I assume it was to be divided between the 3 people).

I'm actually not sure any more whether or not I miss them. I certainly remember them and do not want to forget them, regardless of the memories I have of them, but I can't help but wonder some days where they are or how they're doing.

Time and Space

Consider the possibility of two random people being in the exact same space and time in the exact same instance. What would it mean if it happened to you?

A year ago on Sunday July 23, 2006, in a large room containing well over a thousand people, I decidedly sat down on a spot on the floor and abruptly find an individual sitting in the same spot in my lap. In that instance, two people who've never seen each other, from two different countries, and it was then, as it awkwardly as it may have occurred, I met the individual. There were some abrupt apologies, confused looks, and short introductions, all of which were followed by days of darting glares of confusion and uncertainty. In the end we each went our separate ways, and back to our respective homes and countries.

Roughly a year has passed, and on approximately the same day (Saturday July 21, 2007), at generally around the same time in the evening, close to the same spot in the exact-same room, the I met her once more. In that instance, the past was recalled and memories of our unusual greeting from one-year prior flashed through my mind, and our faces lit up with smiles.

A short week went by and we parted our ways again. I'm not sure what it all means, time and space, but I'm really enjoyed meeting her. I guess it was a good thing after all, being sat on.

A New Beginning - The Past, Present, and Future

I spend a lot of time worrying. Worrying about the going-ons of the present, the outcome of the future, and the occurrences of the past. All the time there is so much happening; it becomes overwhelming at times and I find myself only able to react to the situation(s), unable to shape the outcome.

Get involved-- Those words are passed down to today's youth through countless different voices. Those same words are deeply anchored into who I am. I do because I can, I enjoy what I do, and there is so much to do that I can't help but keep busy. Sometimes as I try to do so much, I am rooted in the present and rooted into worrying about the present in such that I am unable to think ahead and shape the future: similar to playing chess with an opponent with invisible pieces.

The past is invaluable. To reminisce, ruminate, and to dwell in, the past is pure and holds many teachings. The future is uncertain, but entirely moldable by the gift of the present--if one acts with the future in mind. One must try never to act in response to the present, or to spend one's future correcting the past.

To do so much I get stuck in the present. When it comes down to the future, I don't want my future to be spent correcting the forgotten past--but it happens all too often.