dal niente

Month: August, 2011

Blood

I went with [CM] to the Sydney Town Hall area to donate blood today. Felt a bit light headed afterwards, but all in all, was a much more pleasant experience than I thought.

I’d never done it back in Montreal because, frankly, the process was too complicated. I once tried to give blood during my 2 hour lunch break, and it wasn’t possible because they needed so much paperwork done, and I would have had to take an appointment. I thought it was pretty cool that out here, I basically signed a bunch of forms and then they were hooking me up to hoses within half an hour. The process here is definitely more efficient!

The crazy thing is that they take 470mLs from you. That’s very close to half a litre of blood. A whole human only has beetween 5-6 litres as I understand it… so it’s not an insignificant amount!

-=-=-=-=-

Going to the blood thing gave me the chance to check up on a few stats about myself. Apparently, I weigh 72.5kg (or 158ish pounds). Which is great– because when I left Montreal, I was pretty fat and out of shape, and was around 75-76 kilos. My resting heart rate used to be around 90bpm as well, and it turns out my new resting heart rate is about 67. I guess biking everyday is paying off!

A lot of people tell me that it’s pretty incredible that I bike to school 4 days a week, for a distance of 10km. The thing is: it isn’t. I mean, sure, it takes a bit of conditioning to get used to it, but really, if you wanted to, you could do it to. Even though the route I take is hilly, the truth is that a bike is a pretty amazing piece of machinery. If you pay attention and learn from your own experiences, you’ll figure out tricks: you’ll find faster, safer routes; you’ll learn to time the lights so that you can use an optimal speed to go through nothing but greens; you’ll learn to ease off on the braking; you’ll learn to draft; you’ll learn to use momentum on downhills to rest, and how to convert that into gain when you attack the mountains. Biking is a relatively simple thing to do, and like walking or running, you’ll just get better in a lot of ways by exposing yourself to the experience.

Chances are, you probably don’t need to drive to work or school. The cost of owning a car aside, you’ll save tons on gas, gym bills and health costs if you just get places with your own body’s power. Not to mention all the other side benefits of just being in good mental and physical health.

For me, one of the big benefits of daily exercise is that when I want to, I can basically eat whatever I want.

A friend of mine, [SiB], has been on diets for… I don’t know. It’s been a long time. I don’t really agree with his approach but I suppose we agree to disagree. He moves from diet to diet in an effort to lose weight and just be better looking.

Diets are a lot like study guides for subjects. You can get away with a lot of things, but I think that the actual state of physical and mental being is mostly superficial. One can fool the average person with that kind of work, but when it really comes down to it, it’s not the real thing.

Like a study guide, attention to diet (as opposed to a diet) is meant to supplement the core activities of a regular habit of exercise/study.

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Night Off

Yesterday, after getting home from school at about 5pm, I decided I wasn’t going to do any school work. It felt great.

I did other work though– applied to something like a dozen community legal centres and a dozen jobs. By this morning I got a request for an interview at a “coaching college”, which seems to be the equivalent of the cram schools or hagwons of Asia.

Every now and then it’s nice to just throw out everything that I have to do and take a break. I find it refreshing to just work on something else.

Actually, my study habits have been pretty good because whenever I get sick of studying something, I move on to another subject. It’s some sort of strategic deployment of “procrastinator’s motivation”: you know, that energy you get to do everything else aside from what you ought to be doing? The only difference was that yesterday I just decided not to do anything schoolwork related. Occasionally I feel burnt out because I’m being pretty hard on myself I think.

The Contract Law teacher [His Lordship], pointed out early on in the semester that it’s not enough to read the case summaries, or wait for a case to be discussed in class. Only if we actively tried (and failed) to read cases ourselves were we ever going to get the practice we needed to really understanding the subtleties of judges’ reasoning, and get some sense of the common law as it evolves through this process. I’ve been really, really good about reading almost all the cases on my own– but frankly, it’s exhausting. There is physically too much case law to read, and I’m of the opinion that it’s simply not possible to go through every required reading with a fine tooth comb.

Thus, rather than beating myself against a wall with it, I’m just learning to ease up a little — for my own sanity — so that what work I do do is quality, well rested and well reasoned work that tries to cut a few reasonable corners, rather than all encompasing but falling behind in terms of the overal material. I didn’t realize that law would be so much about time management, but it really is. Every day, I have to evaluate how to juggle several things: my physical energy (depending on how much sleep I’ve had, if I’m going to be kickboxing, and if the weather is windy/rainy); my motivation (how much I feel like doing particular tasks, in what order); interaction with [CM]’s schedule (it’s nice to be able to cook and things, because she’s currently in exam mode); social obligations (so that law school isn’t just a total drag); deadlines (which will tend to trump other factors, but I prefer that there’s no opposition and deadlines are handled sooner than later); as well as self-investment opportunities (that is to say, doing research into job opportunities , internships and volunteer work).

But every now and then, I just like to catch up and watch 20 episodes of Naruto. (Kakashi as the Hokage? Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut)

Can’t say my life is boring!

Layton

I’m saddened that Jack Layton passed away.

August 20, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

Lazly fourthl finger

S, I went t kickbxing tnight. ne f the sideffects is that after it all, I can’t really extend my furth finger. The muscle just gt t tired ut.

Its surisingly hard t tye witut the ability to lift it ff the keyboard. But i’m sure you all understand.

Relax…

…Hard work isn’t everything. It doesn’t get you everything you want.

If that were the case, the Donkey would be the king of the jungle. On the contrary– the Lion is king. If he crossed paths with a donkey, he’d probably eat him. And in his spare time, he’d hang around his harem, mostly sleeping while the ladies go out and hunt for him.

So how did the lion do it? Well, femminist cricicism aside, I think that if we were to anthropomorphise the situation, part of the solution is to finesse the whole issue of charisma.

I met former judge Michael Kirby of the Australian High Court a few weeks ago. What can I say about charisma? The man gave a talk for about an hour and a half– he made the audience laugh, he entertained questions, and, in general, he entertained. He didn’t once look at a cue card. It didn’t once sound like he was saying anything he didn’t whole heartedly believe in. There was a pace, and yet, a casualness with the way he chose his words, that would lead you to believe that everything that evening happened exactly the way he intended it to.

How does one arrive at such a status? I don’t mean his title– I mean, the actual state of the aura that surrounds him.

Well, he describes the secret of his success as being “a joiner”: going out and doing things. Not waiting for thing to come to him. Seeking out trouble, putting himself in bad situations… forcing himself to experience.

Of course, he worked hard to get to where he was– but as I’ve heard before, he also pointed out that stress isn’t a medal of honor. It’s necessary too to be efficient, and to make sure that despite work, the overal situation is evolving as a result of the hard work. That is to say– don’t just be a cog. Be the steering wheel. Or something.

Pyjama Game

Reading Agent_Eric (on xanga) is always fun in that sense, because he’s one of the few people on xanga who is training in the martial arts actively who writes about it. I’ve always missed being involved in martial arts– any of it. But ever since Numac shut down, there just hasn’t been much opportunity, time or money for me to train.

This morning, along with my textbooks, I loaded up my taekwondo pants in the saddlebags of my bike. The plan: check out the UNSW Kickboxing club.

Originally, when I came to Sydney, I was pretty stoked at the concept of finally being able to take Judo. UNSW has one of the most famous judo gyms in all of Sydney, with a number of state champions, and apparently an Olympian or two for good measure among the instructors’ rosters. Alas, it wasn’t to be– aside from the facts that the times for the club are totally wrong for my schedule, the program is simply too expensive.

I must admit that I didn’t think much of the idea of the Kickboxing Club at first, but it turns out to be a good bunch of enthusiasts. There’s a range of fighters there from beginners to some pretty advanced people there… and more interestingly, there’s a lot of different physiologies going on. There’s short, tall, thin, stocky, lean, and built– that makes for some interesting potential I think.

Getting through the workout was insanely difficult. I don’t think the workout itself was actually that hard, it’s just that I don’t have the physiology for it anymore. All I’ve been doing for the past few years is cycling– and while that gets good endurance in my legs for a pedalling motion, it doesn’t exactly translate to anything useful in a fighting situation. Commuter cycling also isn’t all that great for cardio. I mean, I guess I’m in better shape than the average person, but the whole point of commuting by bike is to do so with as little effort as possible– it means timing lights, using your momentum just right, using as little brakes as possible, drafting with busses… you’re trying to work less not more.

As a result, I was out of breath and cramping through most of the kickboxing drills. It was, of course, dissapointing that not only had my fitness dropped so much, but also that my body was incapable of using proper technique as a result. It makes sense though– without the proper physical foundations, at my level, one can’t really expect technique to be able to hold together without the physique to keep it all together. I’ve never been a very good technical fighter to begin with, I’ve always been more analytical and strategic– more of a Shikamaru than a Rock Lee, if you want to put it that way.

There was one thing that came back all too quickly– the recognition of pain. It’s a strange sensation, really– to have your lungs on fire, to be forcing your diaphragm to obey. It’s a feeling that you never forget. Despite that it means that you’ve managed to push yourself thus far, it also laughs at you, and wonders nonchalantly if that’s all you’ve got.

To my surprise, it turns out that they also have a few grapplers there. It’s been a long time since I did any stand-up fighting, but it’s been even longer since I did any ground fighting. I didn’t have a cup protector with me, but as an old habit, I did bring a long sleeved rashguard, and I had my mouth guard. Not sure how much of a rumble I expected when I was packing earlier in the morning, but it worked out well, didn’t it?

I got to roll for perhaps 5 or 6 minutes (it’s always hard to tell when on the ground) with the club’s local grappler– someone who had a fair amount of formal training. I was mostly worried about being so exhausted. However, things worked out pretty well for me. My preventative measures were really rusty, so he managed to get me in a triangle choke and an arm bar a handful of times– but thankfully, instincts kicked in and I managed to escape each time.

I can’t tell you how good it felt.

I think part of it is that a lot of the time when I’m at school, I feel kind of old. I’m 28 years old now, going on 29. The majority of the people I’m in class with, even as postgraduate law students, are 5 or 6 years younger than me. The kickboxing club is the same, and some of those people are undergrads.

Sometimes when I’m in class I feel annoyed at the whole uphill battle of it all. I feel that being an international in Australia is difficult because I don’t know where anything is. Sometimes I don’t understand peoples’ accents if they talk too quickly, even though it’s been two months. Sometimes, people raise issues in class that they just know about because they’re immersed in the Australian news, and they know it’s history.

Sometimes, they just think faster than I do or contextualize things just like that, and come up with clever arguments.

Although I think I make up for it in worldly and professional experience, it is a sad fact that sometimes, I feel like I’m old for this crowd. That’s okay with me, I guess– I’m still going to do it. I’m still going to give it all.

But it’s another thing to be going to a kickboxing class and training alongside people who have the kind of stamina I did when I was 5 years younger. Unlike law school, I know this world– and I know how much of it I’ve lost, and how much of it I’ve missed. It’s also another thing to see that world in the eyes of others, as they do what I used to do and love so much.

But I do see the difference between us. I hear whining and bitching around the room by people who lack the resolve, or I see the flaws in the technique that, if we were sparring, I’d draw out and exploit every now and then. Despite that I’m on the side, gasping for air– this is a world I know, and it’s one that still calls to me. It calls to me in a way that humbles me, while giving me strength in the fact that here, I’ve found a little community of “real” people. And comparing myself to them, I feel a little more real, I guess? I guess I can see how in their youth, they’ve got a few things to learn that I’m already past…

It’s hard to describe. I’m by no means a master of anything, or anywhere close– it’s just that there’s still a development of character and fighting spirit, and no matter how good your technique or physique is, that takes experience to develop.

I think my fighting spirit has been locked up for a long time.

I dunno– it’s been a long time since I’ve done any training, but it’s amazing how, even if my body is slow to get back into it, my brain just pulled all the data and theory right back out.

When I was rolling with the grappler, I definately felt outclassed– his transitions, his sense of position, they were all much better than mine. How I got the upper hand I think was because I was more efficient, I displayed more spirit, and I think I was more strategic.

I knew that he had a lot of stamina over mine, so my tactic was to tire him out. Sometimes that meant letting him get a near complete lock on me while I positioned my escape, and then just dragging it out. A lot of the time, it meant letting him get an incomplete triangle or arm bar, and then using that tie up to stack him.

Stacking means you pile the person backwards on his upper back, and you basically try to fold their legs backwards on them. Basically, stack the person upside down, like a yoga plow, then put all your weight on squishing this shape. Though you can’t really ‘win’ by stacking, the position is uncomfortable and makes it pretty hard to breathe if it’s done right. And in other situations where I could have secured a secure offensive position, I instead opted for “knee-on-chest.” Basically, when someone’s on their back, you try and kneel on their chest (even better if you can get on their solar plexus) and hang on as long as you can as if it was your last rodeo. The longer you can, the better– again, it’s not a move that will win you a fight because it doesn’t hurt enough usually to enduce a tap out, but, it does make it hard to breathe– it drains stamina. Eventually when I’d worked him down, I baited him, countered his attack through a position reversal, got his arm, and applied the kimura. It was pretty easy once he was tired. I took quite a few gambles, but it worked in the end.

It felt good.

The guy I was against was pretty nice, and I bear no animosity against him. In fact we’ll be rolling a lot, I imagine, in the weeks to come. I look forward to it. If I have enough space, I might bring my judogi with me so that we can go with gis– that’d be interesting.

[CM] told me when I got home later that it sounded like I had a great time. Well, it wasn’t without it’s costs– I was so exhausted about the whole situation afterwards. Actually, while I was doing the bike ride home from school, I flew off my bike… it was raining, and I tried to turn up a curb at a not-perpendicular-enough angle. In the rain, the puddle concealed that the curb was a few inches high, so my wheel was rejected and I flew to the side.

Being the badass that I was, I managed to roll with my fall, so I incurred no damage except a scratch on the side of my steering bar. But it wouldn’t have happened if I had enough strength in my arms to hop the front wheel over the curb in the first place, which is what I normally do. I was so tired from the club that I was having a bit of trouble keeping my grip on the brakes. When I got home later, I couldn’t even take the cap off of a juice bottle.

I’m glad I found this club, and it’s likely that there are many stories to be had from this experience. It’s kind of restored my confidence in myself, to be honest.

I know that it sounds like quite the dream to be studying something you enjoy. And make no mistake, I do enjoy it. But do still feel a build-up inside of me some sort of negative-force. Anything can trigger a few points added to this total. Sometimes, it’s when someone in class bullshits their way despite the fact that they didn’t read the text. Sometimes, it’s the fact that as an international student, I am not entitled to concessions for public transport. Sometimes, it’s just some asshole drivers, or worse, asshole bikers during my commute. Sometimes I just feel pissed that despite going through an initiative to start a case brief wiki for a few of my classmates to collaborate on, they’re not putting in as much as they’re getting from me. I dunno. There are lots of reasons to be angry: I’m sure everyones’ lives are like that. None the least of which is that I feel like what comes naturally to the new generation of students isn’t so easy for me.

But the simple logic of of the marital arts makes sense to me, and as always, gives me insight into the rest of the way I deal with my life. Sure, I’m getting older. That’s natural. I was never meant to be young forever. But frankly… I’m not even 30 yet. What the fuck am I bitching about? There are plenty of things that get better with age. There are plenty of things that I’m better at now than I was 5 years ago, and though I’ve got a lot in my head, I think, frankly, that having been where I’ve been, I’m better at learning than a lot of people.

And even all that… fuck that. Why do I even care about how I stand against other people? If tonight prooves anything, it’s that being me is about investing in myself. Every now and then, I cash in, and I get to reap the rewards. And then I’m reminded that I’m doing okay.

Torts Assignment

ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
PART I. (This part is worth 65% of the marks for this assignment). Consider the following facts and answer the questions below:

The Le Tour De NSW TopClub (TopClub) has organized a three-stage mountain biking race which traverses some of NSW’s rural and windiest back roads and tracks. Australian mountain biking star Sophia Ho is competing. On the first day of the event Sophia is leading a breakaway group on a downhill sector and is about 5 seconds ahead of the next cyclist. She turns a sharp corner and accelerates when a 4 wheel drive media vehicle filming the event for popular sports Channel 00, which was trailing her, clips the back of her wheel. She is thrown from her bike and hits the ground. Mandanarra, who has competed against Sophia for over 5 years and is a close “professional” friend, is the next rider and comes around the corner seconds after the accident. Although she does not see the media vehicle hit Sophia she says afterwards that she heard her screams before she rounded the corner. Mandanarra dismounts and sees Sophia lying in a pool of blood groaning with her leg twisted and her tibia bone sticking out of her flesh. Mandanarra is frozen in shock and does not assist. Castel is a race marshall who is standing approximately 100 metres from the accident and witnesses the whole accident. Castel, who suffers from a learning disability, rushes to the scene and attempts to move Sophia from the middle of the track and out of the way of other cyclists. He had been instructed by TopClub that his main duty as race marshall was to keep the bike track clear of all obstacles. Paramedics arrive 5 minutes later. They cut off Sophia’s safety helmet and administer cardiac massage. The camera person in the media vehicle films the entire incident including close-ups of Sophia’s mangled leg and the blood which can be seen coming from her nose and mouth after the helmet is cut off. This footage goes live to air. Sophia’s brother Frankie, a cult hero planker who has not seen Sophia for several years after they had a disagreement over a planking (mis)adventure which resulted in Frankie receiving a sizable fine, is currently working in far north Queensland. Frankie has secretly followed Sophia’s career and is streaming the race live on his iphone. Frankie is unable to take his eyes off the footage which he replays a number of times over the next 3 days. Authorities determine that insufficient safety mechanisms and guidelines had been put in place by TopClub to prevent the media from getting too close to the contestants and Channel 00 admits that their driver was reckless in driving too close to Sophia.

Mandanarra is traumatised by the incident and suffers post traumatic stress disorder. She has a long history of depression which her psychologist attributes to a childhood event where she witnessed her younger sister being badly injured in a cycle accident. Mandanarra had always blamed herself for not assisting her sister who was left with severe disabilities. Castel suffers from prolonged and severe anxiety attacks after the accident. Research suggests that people with learning disabilities are more susceptible to anxiety disorders after stressful life events than the general population. Sophia has serious leg injuries and her doctor says she will never compete again. She becomes severely depressed as a result. Frankie suffers post traumatic stress syndrome and his psychiatrist said that he isn’t sure whether his post traumatic syndrome was caused by the initial sudden shock of the watching the accident live on his iphone or by the gradual and protracted trauma of watching the replays over the next three days. Frankie also suffers debilitating and severe guilt because of his long estrangement from his sister.

The accident occurs on a four wheel drive track beside the land of local farmer Jasmine who is trialing a new free range brown egg. The track, which is almost never used, is not a public road and belongs to a local farmer who has given permission to TopClub to use it for the race. Unfortunately, the siren of the ambulance and the noisy commotion after the accident scares and causes stress to the striking but highly sensitive Rhode Island Red Cross chickens which Jasmine has imported from the United States and they lay no eggs for the next four weeks. Jasmine claims to have lost $30,000 as a result. Prior to the race, TopClub held several information sessions where Jasmine and other local landowners were informed about the race. Jasmine was concerned about her chickens and had asked TopClub a lot of questions explaining that the chickens were very sensitive to noise. TopClub assured her that there would be only minimal noise and disruption as vehicles and spectators would be limited in that stretch of the race and, as the CEO of TopClub said on one occasion, “Have you ever heard a bicycle make noise?” Jasmine claims that she would have moved the chickens to another location if TopClub had warned her that accidents do happen. Frankie has never planked again.

In relation to the above facts answer the following question.

1. Does Channel 00 owe a duty of care to:
(a) Sophia
(b) Castel
(c) Mandanarra
(d) Frankie
2. Does TopClub owe a duty of care to Jasmine?

Human Rights

It’s interesting to see that in Australian history, there has never been a codified bill of rights. The general way that it works is that you can basically assume whatever you want as your right, except where leglislation or common law has told you it isn’t.

Is it enough to suggest that human rights ought to exist in the back of judges’ minds whenever they make the common law? Australia, for the most part, seems to think so. The approach is not without it’s critics, of course. I’m one of them.

I think that it is a nice analogy to how we deal with our own lives though. So much of the time, our sense of personal identity is defined as a reaction. We define ourselves by what we are not, perhaps more often than what we are or want to be. Is it enough to define ourselves by omission?

Evaluate

I had the opportunity of meeting Justice Michael Kirby yesterday while he was giving a talk at UNSW, and it was pretty inspiring. He’s famous for being a big of a renegade judge– always the social justice advocate, he often held the dissenting opinion whenever the majority of High Court judges ruled in favor of decisions that were likely to overlook the individuals in a move towards increasing libertarianism. It’s really easy to read his work in the textbooks and forget that, at the source of it all, is a human.

His general idea was that throughout life, it’ll never be enough to pride yourself on being neutral– you need to have values. You need to do what you believe in, and you need to explain what you believe in. You need to try and understand others. Only then can anyone judge.

Having an opinion is a difficult thing though, isn’t it? Perhaps the difficulty comes because having an opinion is responsibility. Indeed, most of the people who we don’t like tend to be people who have an opinion who can’t justify it or who don’t stand by it responsibly.

Slightly related: in “Anatomy of a Torts Class” (1985), James Boyle wrote:

“My claim here is that you can learn argument and become proficient at it quickly without confusion or mystification. In the rest of this handout I attempt to explain how you can do this, but first a warning: this set of arguments and techniques is not a substitute for political, economic, or moral understanding of the law. My descritption should show you taht these argumentative techniques are, by themselves, incapable of explaining the cases or teh ‘rules’, because for each argument or technique there is a counterargument. Without some political choice as to which side one is going to favour, the arguments are just like a pairs of cliches, e.g., many hands make light work vs. too many cooks spoil the brother; a stitch in time saves nine vs. cross your bridges when you come to them.

Like cliches they appear convincing because the judge only uses one of them at a time; but you have to learn that there is always another, opposite one. Until you learn to do this, you will be fooled by the shell game of judicial rhetoric, which appears to deduce solutions from ‘legal reasoning,’ when in fact those decisions rest on political, moral, or economic decisions.”

Basically– having an opinion is important, in my opinion. One might not always be popular because of a dissenting opinion, but one ought not be popular for having no opinion at all.

A Day in the Life

New Note 5

Liestening to: Theme from xxxHolic — the movie
Time: 8:36AM
Location: On bus 370, somewhere between Glebe and Kensington, on the way to school

It was only about 30 minutes ago that, as I rolled my bike to the front door of our apartment, I realized that the back wheel felt soft. The back tube was completely flat. Not sure how that happened.

I’m a bit saddened by the issue of my bike. This coming Wednesday, I’m probably going to sell it. It’s served it’s purpose pretty well for the past two months, but lately I think that the rigours of my daily demands are showing their toll. I broke two spokes last week, and now this flat tire… well, it seems to be hinting to me that my body weight, plus my laptop on my back, plus the load of 5-12kg of books / groceries that I put in the saddles just might be too much. I also had a problem with the kickstand and shifter a while back. I am sad to see it go, but unfortunately, there’s a lot more mileage to do out there– so I’m going to have to let this one go to get myself a stronger bike.

It’s kind of sad because the bike was the first really substantial thing I bought for myself in Sydney, and on top of that, I bought it with [CM] from the same shop and at the same time as hers. Our bikes are very similar when you look at them– kinda like a guy’s and girl’s version of the same bike. So aside from being the first brand new bike I buy for myself ever (every bike I’ve used up until now has been a gift or I’ve bought it second hand) it’s also the first vehicle that I purchase in a linked way with CM.

I think I have a strange relationship with bikes. I say strange because while others obtusely understand that it’s good for health, better for the environment, and generally good for character, many still think it ridiculous that I don’t drive, especially “at my age.”

The thought of ever having a bike stolen, or giving one away, or having to sell one, never really hits me until there’s an empty space in a room where it used to be parked. I’ve gone through a lot of bikes in my lifetime– over a dozen in fact. Over the years I’ve cared for them, built some up from scratch, rescued the abandonned, I’ve had memorable life experiences with them, both in the garage and on the streets. But they’ve come and gone in the name of utility.

I’ve never had a driver’s license, although I’ve driven a car in NorthAm a few times, and I drove a scooter in SK. I always come back to bicycles though, because despite their utility, bicycles resonate somehow with my way of life.

So, to start off with a flat tire really gets the the day started on all the wrong feet. On one hand it’s a bitter reminder that this bike hasn’t lived up the cost I paid for it– on the other hand, it’s my first bike, so I’m sad and reluctant to see it go. Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing it, but I feel as if I’m punishing a friend for their betrayal.

Maybe I’m just in a bad mood because I don’t like starting my day on a flat tire.

I’m trying to stay positive. It is nice to be able to ride the bus once in a while. It’s an experience out of the ordinary for me.

I’m sitting in the back of the bus as I type this, listening to some music. That in itself is novel– while cycling, I can’t listen to music, so despite that I have a player with me everyday, I never actually get to use it to play music for me.

I tend to leave a good collection of “protagonist” music on my player because, generally, the only times I have time to listen to anything is when I’m on the move with a particular destination. Today turned out to be just such a case.

The experience is strangely nostalgic of my youth, riding the long 123 bus through LaSalle to go to high school during sunrise. Orange light floods the cabin of the bus and the shadows flicker on one side as perpendicular light chops it’s way between buildings on the opposite side of the bus. I squint and tilt my display so I can still see.

It’s 9:00AM now. Late.

edit: 9:20 AM: Class cancelled. Grarrrrrr.