Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mount Saint Vexation University

I'm taking a masters in education degree at Mount Saint Vincent University through a cohort program. In essences, it's a fast track arrangement where a part-time degree gets completed within two calendar years instead of it taking 3 or more if you register and select courses independently.

That's about where the pluses end. The list of annoyances and hassles is legend.

There's the closure of the cafeteria in the building my classes take place in by 7 pm in the evening, so that if the prof loses track of time you're stuck trying to buy junk food from perpetually sold out vending machines with change you can't get from the perpetually empty change machine with money you can't get from an ATM that's a half kilometer walk up a mountain to get to (not to mention the lady who begins to stand by the entrance and starts glaring students down at 6:45 sharp as they go in to make sure they know to get the heck out because she's not sticking around one second longer).

There's the seven different user IDs (none of which are identical to the ID code on your student ID card, which makes TOTAL sense) you need to log into the student information management portal, the library services log in that's buried 8 clicks deep in the library website and the inability to use your student ID to pay for printing on campus (gotta love those honour system donation cans next to laser printers all throughout Seton Academic Centre), and the student webmail interface where your email address has NOTHING to do with your login ID.

But what I love most of all? The parking Nazis at MSVU. The office where parking passes can be purchased is conveniently located ALL the way at the top of a massive hill a 5 minute hike from ANY parking lot close to the main academic building where my classes are held. A pass to park in lots that are 85% void of vehicles after 4:30 pm is $7... There's always the pay to park option, although by looking at the signage around the payment kiosques it would seem to the naked eye that there are 4 total spots you can use this service in that are never empty (and the webpage where parking rates are listed doesn't tell you how you can pay, but like everything else on campus, it's cash only, and if you don't have cash, you can walk 10 minutes up the mountain to the ATM, try and get change out of one of the perpetually empty change machines, and then walk 10 minutes back to the pay and display kiosque, then back to your car and THEN go to class).

The parking meters closest to the building I take classes in are routinely full when I arrive for class, so getting a pass is an enormous hassle that generally means I would be 10-15 minutes late for class to get one.

So when I walk out at night and see a sea of parking tickets on car windows that belong largely to full time teachers taking night classes, my blood boils.

The kicker? The parking tickets, issued on PRIVATE PROPERTY owned exclusively by MSVU, aren't MSVU tickets payable to the Mount- they're Halifax Regional Police tickets that ensure that you're out $32 and potentially points on your licence if you don't pay within the 4 nanosecond limit before you're summoned to court to explain why, as a full time teacher who can't leave their workplace until 55 minutes before class starts, then travel home by car pool to get the one family vehicle in time to rush to class while driving through the biggest construction project in recent memory on the highway right before the exit to get to the university and take 30 minutes to go to one building and the ATM that only dispenses $20 bills that ensure you'll get 2 kg of change from the pay and display kiosk or change machine, or then the building with the security desk where you can buy the pass, and THEN drive to the lot that isn't a 10 minute hike from the building your class is in, you didn't have a valid parking pass.

Here's hoping Alexa McDonough gets wind of the genius logistics of this university and does something about it. I can tell you I won't be attending the school again, and neither will my kids, and anyone I meet considering spending money there will get a comprehensive picture of how frustrating a place it is to go to class and get stuck with idiotic municipal tickets because you parked in a parking lot at a school where ALL offices are closed before you ever parked your car.

The Canadian university to offer a masters degree for teachers in an entirely online format will be getting heavy consideration from me for my next qualification upgrade.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Me 2, Little Hater 0

5 rounds: 5 jump pull-ups, 5 pushups to the deck, 15 squats, no rest

Total time: 10:01

54 seconds slower than Wednesday, but I did it with no stops and I DID it.

Eat it little hater. You ain't got no hold on me no more.

Run tomorrow night, next workout Monday. Thanks for the cheers y'all!

Building momentum, beating the haters...

One of my fave reads (or, in this case, views) is J-Smooth over at illdoctrine.com. I don't always agree with what he has to say, but the dude has serious chops as a vlogger and has created a style and voice that's unmatched (in my opinion) in the vlog world.

As you know, I've kickstarted the run/workout regime coinciding with the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year. I've set some goals, and now the trick isn't just to post them, but actually follow through. I ran twice this week, and Eric and Shahed came to give me a boost with my first crossfit workout.

The toughest part about getting in shape is building the habit of working out consistently. I don't know how you all feel about the hardest part about getting off the couch and into a healthy routine, but I find that one of my biggest enemies is the little voice in my head that keeps jawing about how pathetic I am, how overweight I've gotten or that it's cute that I'm trying but it's inevitable that I'll be back snacking instead of running in a week or two anyway, so why not take a break?

I draw a little inspiration from this:

So I'm not going to give in to my little hater. Yes, I weigh 260 pounds. Yes, I used to weight 212. But I didn't blimp up in one week, and I'm not going to cut it all out in one week either. It's hard work, it's going to hurt, and that's the price of getting back to where I should never have left in the first place.

So here's notice hater: I won't fade. I won't give up, and I will learn to savour the ache, because that's what tells me I'm headed in the right direction. When I feel blissfully round, I'll be worried.

Pray for grace to get this one down- my right tricep feels like it's full of razors. Let you all know how it goes!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Better late...

Than not at all!

So far, I'm moving ahead with most of my goals quite nicely. Lagging notoriously behind? Scripture, running and working out.

Tonight, I threw down the gauntlet on my lardy self and went for a run.

 20 minutes and 3.1 km later (first run in 13 months), I have launched the first salvo in the war to get fit and stay that way after a decade of yo-yoing between being in awesome shape and being a paragon of chub.

Next up on the road to fitness? Wednesday night throwdown with Eric and Shahed in my basement, with the new chin up bar I fabricated out of an old pipe and two hunks of 2 x 4. I'm glad to get rolling, but MAN, is it painful to realize how far I've fallen in terms of my being in shape.

With three kids looking on, I gotta win this one. Need to set a good example to follow so I don't raise a generation of couch potatoes!

Smack talk, encouragement or comments all welcome to fuel my effort to win the battle of the bulge...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The plan for eats...

So the first set of goals I have pertain to diet, and they are:

  1. No food after 6 pm
  2. Portion control – 1 plate per meal, 1 portion protein, carbs, veg
  3. Vitamins daily
  4. Water!
  5. 1 treat a week (junk food, etc)
So why these goals? Beyond writing them down and making them visible and known as a way to be accountable for them, I trusting that exploring why cements the resolve I need to make these habits instead of resolutions.

I'm 6' 2 1/2, and I weigh in the neighbourhood of 260 lbs. I didn't get as big as I am by eating right, and consequently if I don't change my eating habits, I won't get any smaller either.

No food after 6 is simple: it's rare I'm active after that time, and thus I don't need to be pumping food energy I won't use into my body just to turn into fat. Gotta not eat out of boredom!

Portion control is really only an issue at supper. Because I pack a lunch, it's contained in terms of how much I can eat. Breakfast is usually basic and nutritious before I head out to school. Supper can be a pig out just because I can. We don't eat junk or fatty stuff for supper either, but when you eat twice as much as you need to in a sitting, it doesn't matter where the calories come from- they're all going to fat. The fist sized measure was a ground rule that was really effective for me when I followed Body For Life several years ago, and because it's simple and I know it works, I'm going back to it.

Vitamins daily is about making sure my iron stays consistent (it's been low in the past) and that I'm taking vitamins to combat getting sick at school. Just a healthy habit, and they're all there in the cupboard- just need to make a point to put them in my mouth and swallow. Isn't it amazing how good things are so near yet they always seem to slide because we're lazy or unwilling to take a few small steps?

I have been drinking a lot of pop over the summer, and it's just sugar in spades. I need to stay hydrated at school because I'm on the very warm third floor, and it helps manage appetite. A stomach full of water is hard to stuff with junk (although it does mean frequent trips to the can!).

1 treat a week is acknowledgement that a treat is OK- just once in a while, and just ONE when I do. Eating junk food or goodies is cramming worthless calories in, and I just don't need it.

Any feedback on the goals so far? Other reasons these make sense? Hit me back readers. G'night!