Car shopping

Posted by bernicky - January 27th, 2007

I have been looking around for a new vehicle. There are a lot of dealerships out there and a wide range of cars so it takes some time to figure out what you want to buy. Shopping is time consuming and you take information from friends, family, television shows, newspapers etcetera.

The cars I was thinking about (I am a car person not a van or SUV person) are the Ford Fusion, Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Sonata. These are all nice looking cars but Ford is now off the list after having watched a CBC show called Underdogs which explored the ugly underbelly of Ford customer service. It wasn’t pretty and guaranteed I will probably never set foot on a Ford lot in my life. I have a twelve year old Toyota Tercel now and Toyota service has been exceptional at ever step in my ownership of the car so there is no complaint there but the Corolla does not come cheap considering what you get in the car. Hyundai on the other hand has a great package, a good price and quite frankly I like the styling. It looks different – more aggressive than Hyundai’s have in the past.

I have always believed that we make decisions based on what we feel and then find the logic which justifies those decisions. At the moment the Sonata is my favourite in this race but I haven’t stopped looking. There are still the other Japanese makers to look at – though Honda and Mazda are usually ridiculously expensive in comparison – Nissan and Subaru still need to be looked at. What strikes me as funny is when you walk onto a lot to look at cars the sales staff assumes you are buying today instead of looking at a wide range of options. I wish I could send them all a newsflash – I’m looking but I want to ask some questions and get some answers! Shopping on the web gives you lots of opportunity to look and price but it’s not the same as sitting behind the wheel, popping the trunk and looking under the hood.


Posted by bernicky - January 27th, 2007

Running shoes

Asics 2120

You wouldn’t think it but the shoe above cost me about $795.00 over the year. Running is more expensive than I thought it would ever be. There were additional costs as well – clothing came to about $180.00 for the year and race events totaled just over $500.00. My running hobby came to around $1400.00. Yowzer.

My other hobby – doing reviews is a bit different. Mostly I handle the technical side of things and my partner writes the majority of reviews. I do some reviews as well – television – movies – books but not nearly the volume Richard does. I enjoy having the sites and managing them – even when I screw them up which happened recently so it is a fun hobby but the price tag for the year for doing it was $1278.35 US! KitKat, the Cadillace RLE 1.8 bike I bought in the summer to replace the Miyata I scrapped in an accident, was another $1200.00 plus $100.00 for fitting.
When I look at my hobbies from an expense at the end of the year standpoint they strike me as frivolous expenses but on a day to day basis they are part of what keeps me going. I look forward to running as if it were coming up for air from a deep dive in the pool. Running is what renews me and keeps me sane. The websites are a way to engage in what I enjoy doing which is anything to do with computers and writing. Cycling is just plain fun there isn’t any better way to spend a summer day in 30 degree heat than to go out for a ride. Still when I look at the numbers it seems a little hard to justify. Maybe I will just do less races this year to help keep the costs down. 😉

Wii redux

Posted by bernicky - January 26th, 2007

Unwrapping Wii
My son with his new Wii.

Sometimes I forget just how good a person my son is. I’m not stupid – he’s a young teenager like any other so he does lie, he does slack, he forgets to do his homework, he has his priorities all screwed up but most of us do at twelve years of age. But here we see him with his new Wii which was an Xmas present (delayed) from his grandmother. He has been waiting for this for a long time. As an avid gamer there is little more that he wanted to do than play with it as soon as it arrived.

While I was setting it up he studied for his science exam. Yesterday he broke from gaming to study for his math exam today. Instead of playing non stop he has allowed his sister to create her own character and play with the games. He has done this without complaint though he has tried to explain to his sister what she is doing wrong with the Wii sports games with a little more enthusiasm than is warranted. It is things like this that remind me of who he is. He may not be a good worker – yet – and he may offer up more back chat than I would like – but at the core he is generous of spirit and kind. In truth these things are more important than how well he does in school.

Going greener

Posted by bernicky - January 24th, 2007

On Sunday the Green Party in my riding will be having an orientation session to get things rolling for a Green Party riding association and I will be attending.

This comes on the heels of having watched “An Inconvenient Truth” over the weekend. Al Gore’s movie could spark a multiplicity of responses in people ranging from denial to despair. For my own part there is nothing in the movie which particularly surprised me and despair is a wasted emotion. There is only do or do not. I choose to do. There is no political party in Canada which places the health of the environment at the forefront of their agenda other than the Green Party. I really do believe that there is a moral imperative for every person to take action to preserve the planet for future generations.

Global warming is more important than any other issue in the world today. There isn’t anything else of greater import because at the moment there isn’t anything else which threatens all life on the planet with such finality. Believing that I don’t see how I can possibly ignore that I have a responsibility to do what I can to change the situation.

Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles. – Dr. David Suzuki

Whee – Wii

Posted by bernicky - January 23rd, 2007

The Wii has landed!

My mother-in-law was passing by EB Games today and dropped in (as she has been doing for two months now) to see if they had any Wiis. The sign on the wall said SOLD OUT but the salesman recognized her and caught her as she was leaving the store. It turned out they had just received six as she was paying for hers they sold four more! Naturally I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet as my son has been trying out all the Wii sports games which come with the console. With luck I will get a shot at it tomorrow.

A footnote – every store I have been into to try and buy a Wii has had PS3’s in stock. For Sony this must be the most disastrous launch of a console in their history.

What I learned today. I could write one of these every day.

Posted by bernicky - January 21st, 2007

I learned that it is pointless to try to run when you know you are injured it only makes it worse.

I learned today that it takes me two hours and twenty three minutes to walk 10 kilometers.

I learned today that it only takes me 30 minutes to set up a bike on an indoor trainer.

I learned that watching a movie like An Inconvenient Truth really can give you pause when you are buying stuff like doing groceries etecetera.

I learned that NeoCitrin is still my favourite cold remedy for relieving a stuffy head, congested chest and sinus headache. It tastes good too.

I learned that even though I am trying to like American football so I can talk semi intelligently about it with my son he knows more about stats etc but doesn’t care for watching the games. Weird.

I learned that once again the best way to get rid of spyware is to format your hard drive and reinstall all your applications. Grrr.

In three weeks (more or less) I have my first foot race of the season. Wish me luck on my recovery I really would like to run in the race as I’ve already paid for the privilege.

Grab bag

Posted by bernicky - January 16th, 2007

I took yesterday off from running – we had a snow storm and I used it as an excuse. Though I guess you could say I cross trained since there was a lot of shoveling of snow going on yesterday too. The upshot though is that I think I will take today off from running as well. Many more experienced runners, including the club coach, have advised me to take some time off to let my muscles heal that it would be silly to ignore the advice. This week will be my a cutback week to let my muscles repair from the volume of running I have been in the last few month.

My daughter asked me a question the other day: “Daddy why doesn’t Mom cook? Everyone at school their Mom does all the cooking and the lunch monitors always say – ‘Ask your Mom…’ ” There isn’t much I can do to answer that. I am home first so I make supper. I am up first so I make the breakfast and lunches. It is a simple division of labour and that’s what I told our daughter. It’s not like my wife never cooks – it is just that her hours don’t make it convenient for the rest of the family but it never occurred to me that it would be something my kids would wonder about.

Life has been so busy on the work front that I barely have time to breathe most days. It is easy to start feeling overwhelmed which is what I was feeling last week. This week I am making an effort to stop – breathe – and take things one at a time and not be rushed just because someone else ins in a hurry. Wish me luck. 🙂

The season to recover :)

Posted by bernicky - January 12th, 2007

It’s finally over!

Last night was our last party of the holiday season. That makes three parties in the last 7 days! Now normalcy and perhaps reassert itself. Of course last night I couldn’t get in a run so I went out at 4:30 this morning which would have been nice but for the 2 degrees and freezing rain. I fell twice on a 10K run whoops. The problem was that traction would seem great for a while then all of a sudden there was black ice with a thin sheen of water on it. Live and learn. Fortunately the only things injured were my pride and my pace. With luck tonight’s run will go smoother.

Best v Average v Worst

Posted by bernicky - January 10th, 2007

Chris’ “Huh” made me think I should explain what “best pace” means. Best pace is the fastest pace achieved during a run. On any given speed work day I can expect my “best pace” to hit around 3:55.

On Saturday I ran 19.45 K in 1:34:18 for an average pace of 4:51. My best pace during the run was 3:56 my worst pace during the run was 6:37.

Running, for many amateurs, is not a smooth and steady activity. While runners of Chris’ caliber and some other members of Phoenix can hit and maintain a pace from start to finish I have found that I am a very uneven runner. I am using the Garmin given to me by the club to try and smooth that out. I’m certain I would have felt less tired at the end of 19K if I could have hit and maintained a steady 4:51 from the outset rather than being all over the place with my pace.

Monday’s workout though was just sad. Admittedly bad workouts happen but a speed workout which has a 5:05 as an average pace is not something to write home about. Another speed workout tonight so we’ll see how it goes with a days rest.

Wanting change

Posted by bernicky - January 9th, 2007

I haven’t been running well lately so I am taking the day off. It’s not that I’m not trying it just seems like I’m not making the progress I want to at this point. So an unplanned day off after an abysmal speed workout which saw my best pace for the evening at 4:16 I’m not a speedster but I know I can do better than that. The upshot is though that I am 8 lbs heavier than I was in November and I have a race in 4 weeks time to pull it together!

On another front I have found a cool site for those who are willing to put their money where their mouth is: is a website that puts together everyday people with a little money to lend with people in developing nations who are looking for micro credit loans. With a 95% repayment rate there is not a whole lot of risk and if you keep the loans small and spread them around then you can minimize your risk. You have to like an idea that allows you to make a personal difference and see the person you are providing financial help as they work towards their goals.

If that is not up your alley or you don’t have the money to lend how about the time to click? If a click will save a square meter of rain forest would you provide a mouse click? If so drop by yes you have to spend a little time to sign up but once you have done that your clicks will help save rain forest because the sponsor actually buys rain forest which is dirt cheap equal to the amount of clicks per day. So if you only visit once per day and click once you will save the equivalent of half a football field of rain forest in a year.

Making a difference doesn’t have to take you a lot of time or a lot of money but it does require that you want to make a difference.

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