Sunday 10 October 2004

'Doggy Paddle (woof woof!) You Can Do Them All...'

As usual on a Sunday, I went to the gym this evening. My exercise routine is pretty fixed:

Tuesday - run after work

Thursday - football at PowerLeague

Saturday - run before lunch

Sunday - swim

During the summer months, I try to do as much exercise as possible outside, and it's only in the last week or so that I have been driven indoors into the gym on a Tuesday night as it's been getting dark whilst I'm still at work.

The gym is a funny place. Well - actually the gym is fine, it's the people who go there that are funny. You certainly get all sorts:

- the poseurs: people who are dressed in the most immaculate sportswear, have lovely tans and ridiculous mullets. Look as though actually taking exercise is the last possible thing on their minds. Often seen swigging a smoothie in the bar.

- the tubby hopefuls: the rather overweight people labouring on the machines and looking as though they may drop dead at any moment (at least they're making an effort, right?). Often seen gasping for air.

- the muscle boys: buffed up men who waddle about with funny little vests on showing off their enormous pectorals and biceps, apparently oblivious to the fat rippling around the rest of their bodies. Often seen swigging some sort of "engineered protein" shake.

- the body fascists: extremely tanned women with tattoos on the small of their backs and tops that expose their terrifyingly muscular midriffs. Usually seen in spin or body pump classes, or scaring the hell out of everyone else at their domination of the machines.

ah - I could go on, but I won't. You know what I'm talking about.

Anyway. I wasn't in the main gym this evening - I went to the pool. There is a whole etiquette in the swimming pool that reminds me a little of the rules in a men's toilet.

1) On first arrival at the pool, you must look for the empty lane (even if this means getting into the fast/slow lanes)

2) if no lane is empty, you should assess the other lanes and pick the emptiest (under no circumstances should you make a 3 in a lane if there is another lane with only one person in).

3) if 2 lanes look about the same, pick the lane you think is going about the speed you want to swim (at this point you should not be swayed by the presence of anyone in a bikini - if they're swimming slowly, you should pick the other lane..)

4) once in the pool you should pay attention at all times to the distance of the person behind you - it is your responsibility to let them past if they are catching you up

5) No pissing


Not hard, you would think, but apparently the majority of people are ignorant of these rules. The one that annoys me the most are when someone in your lane is having a breather, and as you approach the end of the pool, they kick off just before you touch. Arrrgggghhh!!


I watched "Star Wars" this afternoon. I'm determined not to go all fanboy again, but suffice it to say that I think the film would have been better if Lucas had left it how it was. The Greedo scene wasn't as bad as I remembered, but the Jabba scene was worse.

The assault on the Death Star made me think of a scene in "Clerks"

Randal: So they build another Death Star, right?

Dante: Yeah.

Randal: Now the first one they built was completed and fully operational before the Rebels destroyed it.

Dante: Luke blew it up. Give credit where it's due.

Randal:And the second one was still being built when they blew it up.

Dante: Compliments of Lando Calrissian.

Randal: Something just never sat right with me the second time they destroyed it. I could never put my finger on it-something just wasn't right.

Dante: And you figured it out?

Randal: Well, the thing is, the first Death Star was manned by the Imperial army-storm troopers, dignitaries- the only people onboard were Imperials.

Dante: Basically.

Randal: So when they blew it up, no prob. Evil is punished.

Dante: And the second time around...?

Randal: The second time around, it wasn't even finished yet. They were still under construction.

Dante: So?

Randal: A construction job of that magnitude would require a helluva lot more manpower than the Imperial army had to offer. I'll bet there were independent contractors working on that thing: plumbers, aluminum siders, roofers.

Dante: Not just Imperials, is what you're getting at.

Randal: Exactly. In order to get it built quickly and quietly they'd hire anybody who could do the job. Do you think the average stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main? All they know is killing and white uniforms.

Dante: All right, so even if independent contractors are working on the Death Star, why are you uneasy with its destruction?

Randal: All those innocent contractors hired to do a job were killed- casualties of a war they had nothing to do with. (notices Dante's confusion) All right, look-you're a roofer, and some juicy government contract comes your way; you got the wife and kids and the two-story in suburbia-this is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn't ask for that. You have no personal politics. You're just trying to scrape out a living.

(The Blue-Collar Man (Thomas Burke) joins them.)

Blue-Collar Man: Excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt, but what were you talking about?

Randal: The ending of Return of the Jedi.

Dante: My friend is trying to convince me that any contractors working on the uncompleted Death Star were innocent victims when the space station was destroyed by the rebels.

Blue-Collar Man: Well, I'm a contractor myself. I'm a roofer... (digs into pocket and produces business card) Dunn and Reddy Home Improvements. And speaking as a roofer, I can say that a roofer's personal politics come heavily into play when choosing jobs.

Randal: Like when?

Blue-Collar Man: Three months ago I was offered a job up in the hills. A beautiful house with tons of property. It was a simple reshingling job, but I was told that if it was finished within a day, my price would be doubled. Then I realized whose house it was.

Dante: Whose house was it?

Blue-Collar Man: Dominick Bambino's.

Randal: "Babyface" Bambino? The gangster?

Blue-Collar Man: The same. The money was right, but the risk was too big. I knew who he was, and based on that, I passed the job on to a friend of mine.

Dante: Based on personal politics.

Blue-Collar Man: Right. And that week, the Foresci family put a hit on Babyface's house. My friend was shot and killed. He wasn't even finished shingling.

Randal: No way!

Blue-Collar Man: (paying for coffee) I'm alive because I knew there were risks involved taking on that particular client. My friend wasn't so lucky. (pauses to reflect) You know, any contractor willing to work on that Death Star knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault. A roofer listens to this... (taps his heart) not his wallet.

(now I think of it, that scene is more than a little apt in the current situation in the Middle East)


I'm listening to the Spinal Tap soundtrack thanks to Soaring. It rocks.

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