Nov. 28, 2008

Black Friday

No posts in a while... Maybe, like my triathlon training, I'm taking a bit of breather? But now it's time to ramp up again because in 2009 I'm determined to hit the starting line of Ironman USA this coming July in excellent condition and in a competitive state of mind.

So today is "Black Friday", the day after American Thanksgiving when all the retailers turn their focus exclusively toward Christmas. Big one-to-three day discounts on electronic goods are the order of the day to stimulate consumer enthusiasm. There's always some desirable item at a crazy low price but only for a very limited quantity. Crowds form waiting for those retailers to open and the pour through the door in a frenzy creating excellent news coverage and "mind space" of who has the best Christmas pricing. Well this year a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by the stampede. But someone got a fantastic deal on a 42" flat panel TV, so its all good.

Politics: In the U.S. Barack Obama is acting as de facto President while George W. Bush wanders aimlessly toward the end of his term, effectively fiddling while Rome burns as the monumental economic crisis largely produced by his policies devastates the U.S. economy. Luckily "President Elect" Obama seems to be hitting all the right notes as he selects his cabinet. George seems to be focussed on all the brush that needs clearing back at his ranch in Crawford, TX. The right-wing bloggers are however reading everything that happens as proof that Obama's Presidency is already a failure. Good luck with that one!

Here in Canada the newly re-elected Conservative government is trying to slip a bunch of ideological and partisan measures into an economic stimulus package promoted as helping the Canadian economy cope with the expanding world-wide financial crisis. Effectively Harper is daring the Opposition to bring the brand new government down over it. However the stimulus package looks weakly designed and ill-conceived and this maneuver may backfire, perhaps resulting in an embarrassing retreat or as an abrupt end to Harper's government. It should be an interesting few days.

Culture: The Art Gallery of Ontario has just re-opened after years of reconstruction. I'm aching to get a look inside, it's architectural makeover is getting great reviews. I've seen a few films lately, Clint Eastwood's new film Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, was pretty good. Jolie's performance was great but the last third of the story, an amazing true story about the disappearance of a boy in the 1920's and the LAPD's cynical response, seemed a bit disjointed. Before that I saw Rachel Getting Married. Also a good performance by the female lead, Anne Hathaway as a recovering junkie/bridesmaid, but I found the whole wedding scenario irritatingly chaotic. So no thumbs up. Too bad, I usually enjoy Jonathan Demme films.

One year old and reading already?On the home front, I've survived a one year-old's birthday party (dim sum buffet with Sheryl's friends, family and "out-laws") and an eight year-old's birthday (boys running amok in a party room). Yesterday Chris' mom and I had a round of parent-teacher interviews to discuss his interim report card, which was predictably lousy. His highest mark was a 77 (still below that classes average), his lowest mark was 10. 10! Ten!! X!!! Consensus is "smart kid who won't do his work or pay attention in class". Welcome to each of the last ten years of Chris' school career... So once again the hammer will come down on distractions: Xbox 360, TV time, mindless web surfing. Those are my areas of expertise, not his. :-) He actually seems to be OK with this, perhaps he was waiting for some external feedback to let him know he'd gone overboard.

Two other bits news: I've been elected Vice President of the Toronto Triathlon Club, and have passed at least part of the web master duties over to a new volunteer. Also, the music video shoot I was recently in seems to be getting ready for release. There's an official "behind the scenes" clip out on YouTube, although sadly there is no footage of the supporting cast...

Listening to: Being Here by The Stills from Oceans Will Rise.

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