Saturday, August 27, 2005


I just got back from a nice Saturday afternoon of skating with a few fellow medstudents.

There are few things in life more enjoyable than going for a skate. Well, it turns out that if you believe that first sentence, then the University of Calgary is the place for you. U of C is blessed with the speed-skating oval from the 1988 Olympic winter games, and unbelievably to me, skating is free for students. They have public skating every weekday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., which makes the oval a great place to head after dinner, as well as at various times on weekends. When I'm out there on that ice, I thank Toutatis that I was accepted into meds here. Back in Boston, I had to dish out to skate at MIT, so I only went once in total after they introduced the entry fee. Anyways, my skating drought is over.

Which brings me to thinking about how many things are free here at U of C. First of all, there was the skating oval. There, helmet rentals are free as well, which is also a bit of a surprise. The huge gym on campus, the rock-climbing gyms, the swimming pools, the gym at the hospital (much nicer than the HMS gym, btw), they're all free. So, for a cheap guy like me, this may result in me not going down the road to obesity, despite the number of burgers in my life these days.

Anyways, getting back to the topic of skating, once again I am reminded of high school, where going skating down on the canal in the evenings was the thing to do on Friday nights and weekends. It turns out to be ditto for medschool, but with the Olympic Oval substituting for the Rideau canal. Good times are here again!


The Mad Scientist said...

Reminds me how the "Newport Jazz Festival" or "JVC Jazz Fest" in NY is all indoor payed concerts, while the Montreal Jazz fest has about 20 times more shows, most of which is outdoor and FREE.

I miss Canada. Although the GDP may not be as high as in the US - I think that the gross domestic "happyness" per capita is much higher than here.

Want proof? How many Canadians are pissed off with the government or the elite, or other boogiemen?

So have a great skate. And sxend happy vibes to us stuck down here.

Tall Medstudent said...

Hmm, I recall seeing footage of Dylan playing Newport, and it was outdoor.

How many Canadians are pissed off at the government? All of them! That's what makes our government accountable to the people: the inability of spin doctors to control the populace.

The Mad Scientist said...

Go to Newport Jazz fest and see ... perhaps at one point they did have free shows, but that is no longer the case.

Also Canadians complain that the government should do things differently. Americans (at least the rabit right wingers) blame the government for culture, lack of religion and other weird ideas. Their solution for everything is that the government should get out of everything. Canadians on the other hand EXPECT a certain amount from the government so it's fundamentaly a different type of gripe.

(although you do get the sense that Alberta is more "American" than the rest of the country)

Tall Medstudent said...

Well, Republicans *claim* to want the government out of their faces, and yet they love to make laws banning as many things as possible, so I'd have to say, they just never put their actions where there feet are (in their mouths). Is it a different type of gripe? It is a demand for fair representation, something unheard of in the current American political system. The populace throws its tea in the harbour every day up here; we don't just talk about some guys having done it over 200 years ago!

As for Alberta being American, I'd have to say that that is in no way the case. Here at U of C meds, the cost of tuition went up this year by $3000 over last year. However, not a single student is paying a penny more. Instead, *the government* is covering the increase. That's like a $3000 cheque in the pocket of every student. Just try and match that, lousy reduced-taxation-means-more-money-in-your-pocket-people! Lies aren't good enough here.

The Mad Scientist said...

Look all I'm saying is that Republicans always chant - "less government" and cut spending to important areas such as education and nulify laws such as those that protecting consumers. Yes the republicans in office are hipocrites (sp?) because they end up funding pork and passing laws for prayer in school.

In the US, arguments are platonic ideological and less connected to the day-to-day reality. In Canada, the voters, the media and in the end the government are much more pragmatic - in that the day-to-day issues are ("more"?) properly discussed and argued over.

Tall Medstudent said...

Hear hear.

BTW, I had to add word verification for comments, as last night I suddenly started getting tons of junk ad comments. I had no idea such a thing existed.

The Mad Scientist said...

Yeah, it's called blog spam - nasty stuff

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