Monday, July 24, 2006


This summer, Kevin has been getting more and more suntanned, while I've remained my usual pasty white. No doubt it's partly a matter of exposure and partly of predisposition.

He has certainly seen a good amount of sun during his Friends for Life training rides, while I've spent much of that time indoors. But I would assert that, had I been along with him for those rides, either I would have applied lots of sunscreen and remained just about as pasty as I am now, or I would have not applied lots of sunscreen, burned and peeled repeatedly...and remained just about as pasty as I am now.

For the last decade or so, I've been quite convinced that I simply can't tan.

I don't really know if it was jealousy of Kevin's fantastic skin, simple vanity, or maybe a desire to challenge my own assumptions that pushed me to act yesterday. I paid a visit to a local, well respected tanning salon to get some fake and bake UVA goodness.

I filled out a consent form, noting on it my tendancy to not tan, my tendany to burn, and my lack of sun exposure. They recommended seven minutes in a 200W Sun Capsule VHR. I was warned that I might very well see no effect from the session, reassured that we were just trying to start a base, and promised that I'd start to see something after a couple more tans.

"No worries," I replied. I'd rather take a few seesions to get results than to overdo it and end up getting burned.

The seven minutes passed quite quickly, and I felt fine the whole time. On emerging from the machine, I checked myself out in the mirror. As predicted, I didn't see much difference. My face and arms might have looked a bit darker, and I had a general glow about me. Interestingly, the combination of the ambient heat and the blowing cool air had left my hair looking fantastic. I went home feeling quite satisfied and planning to return on Tuesday for another session.

It only took another half hour for the burn to develop. My arms and face remained fine, but my torso and upper legs turned bright, bright red. If Kevin hadn't borrowed my camera for his ride, I'd post a picture of my burn line. It's pretty shocking. Every time I look in the mirror, I'm reminded of Kevin's red body paint last Halloween.

Today, I'm pretty sore. The worst spots are my outer thighs and under my armpits.

Once it all fades and peels, I'll have to decide whether I should give up on tanning for good or go back and give it another go...maybe for a four minute session.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Convenient Delusions

Last night, I saw An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary about Al Gore's campaign to raise consciousness of global warming. It was truly alarming.

I would love to summarize the points he made, but I don't think I'd be doing him justice. Most alarming for me were the revelations about the melting and cracking that's already occuring in arctic and antarctic ice. It's happening quickly -- in many cases, more quickly than previously predicted -- and the potential consequences are dire. The melting of Greenland's shelf ice would raise global sea levels by over 20 feet, submerging many costal cities around the world. Scarier yet, ocean currents may be affected in totally upredictable ways, completely altering global weather patterns.

The response to Gore's science mirrors a point he makes in the film: the scientific consensus is there, but it is denied by those who find it politically convenient to pretend that there is a significant disagreement within the scientific community.

Anyhow, I would encourage anyone and everyone to see the film.

This morning, I was enraged by conservatie pundit Ezra Levant, who appeared on Sounds Like Canada to promote his book, The War on Fun. In this book, he argues that nasty, liberal do-gooders are trying to control our every action and take away everything that's fun. Apparently, he defines "everything that's fun" as smoking, over-eating, and producing massive amounts of carbon dioxide. He was actually speaking from his new Hummer, as if to prove how obnoxious and disconnected from reality he is.

He tried to claim that, while we should have the freedom to do what we want, we also need to take personal responsibility for the outcome of our actions. But, he utterly failed to address any notion of collective responsibility for outcomes that affect us all. He might be just fine driving around Calgary in his Hummer, but if the Netherlands wakes up under water, how is he going to take responsibility for his part in that?

Big surprise, it's not even an issue for him. Ezra doesn't seem to believe in global warming. Without citing any science at all, he brushes off global warming as lacking a scientific concensus, and asserts that climate change certainly isn't the most pressing issue facing us.

I guess that's his convenient delusion.

Interestingly, Ezra's live-and-let-live attitude towards personal liberty only seems to go so far. On one hand, we shouldn't let something petty like a desire not to radically alter the world's climate stand in the way of his gas-guzzling fun. But, please, let's not offend his sensibilities by daring to extend equal treatment by the state to gays and lesbians. Fun is all well and good, but, two boys kissing? That's just gross.