Wednesday, April 27, 2016

... by any other name

On my quest to play racquet-based sports, I made the resolution to join a league so that I could hone my skills and maybe get a little more exercise as well. And all was well; I registered with the USTA and then went on with my na├»ve quest to join a league. This should be easy. Now, either I am living in the most affluent part of America (nope) or they are expecting the average pleb to fork out mucho dinero to become a member of their Scooby Doo Club. So, irrespective of whether I use any of the other facilities, this equated to $2500 for the membership and an ongoing $2500 per-year to use the facilities ... which also includes Tennis, thankfully. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed.

Back in the days of living in Australia, a six-month season of Tennis would be less than $200 (with balls) and a season of Football (RE:Soccer) would be even less. Apparently in America you need to take out a second mortgage on your house to play - in comparison to the rest of the world which somehow feel less interested in 'gentrifying' all the sports. I don't understand the mindset that exclusivifying sports is somehow a good thing. Yes, private lessons will still cost but the actual cost to play should be open to all those who have any desire to compete. So this might just be one more reason why the BMI of the average teen is moving skywards.


However, I did find a work-around. Thanks to meetup.com which provided a willing troupe of players to bunk the system of exorbitant fees and actually play some Tennis rather than weigh up whether they would be eating a meal this week. Thank goodness for alternatives.

Friday, April 22, 2016

What once was old

I am noticing a trend. It has come to my attention that some of the traditions and technologies of yore are making a come-back. I have recently started buying milk from a local dairy that comes in glass bottles. Naturally, the milk tastes better and is more expensive but is nicely offset by a reimbursement upon returning the bottle. The end result is you're supporting local business and also helping the environment.


The same thing happened with my choice of razor. I have now reverted to my grand dad's double-edged safety razor ... and I'm loving it. I wouldn't say I've got the most illustrious of stubbles but it seemed that with the modern razors I wouldn't even get through a single shave before noticing the blade has dulled and clogged up. I would also get horrible shaving rash and in-growns from the faulty concept of multiple blades. In contrast, the safety blade have fewer issues: easy to clean, stays sharp for longer and avoids many of the issues around shaving rash or in-growns. The one catch is you need to be a little more careful to avoid nicks ... but that's fine. It's also, coincidentally, significantly cheaper. I bought a shaver + 20 blades for less than $15 shipped. That's enough to keep my appearance dapper for a whole year. I'm also using olive oil in an atomizer for shaving cream. It works better and results in a smooth shave and with no need for application of moisturizers post-shave. 

Side note: most moisturizers actually dry out your skin due to the prevalent use of alcohol as a core ingredient. 

And so, in conclusion, just because something is no longer new, doesn't mean we should set it aside. A lot of old technology (like vinegar / baking soda for cleaning) are making a come-back. Not because it's cheaper but because it's simply just better.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Something something dark side

So, it has come to my attention that Australia (where I formerly lived) is doing their best little brother impression of the US. It has got to the point where they are not content in simply replicating American culture or implementing favourable US sanctions. They have now turned their attention to raising the price of education and privatising health care. In the words of my favourite meme:



But, really, it is. For those who have read 1984, you would know that the best way to control the general public is by ensuring that they are permanently in debt. Having a mandatory private healthcare system and an overbearingly expensive education system (which was once free just a few decades back) would ensure that the average 20-something would have a prohibitive debt right out of university. They would be paying that debt for at least the next 10 years (on average) and would basically result in more taxes against the average Australian. All I can say is I'm happy I'm no longer in Australia.