Steve's Journals

Software Engineer, Avid Traveler, & Lover of International Cuisine………

About Me [2]

Smoking

Don’t smoke. Never have. Never will!  Ugh!

I hate smoke. I can’t stand being around people who smoke. I remember growing up……….I remember playing soccer with the boys in the hood………..and, I remember how, during the short break, they would sneak away behind some shed, and try out cigarettes. I remember them offering me…………I remember their looks of chagrin and confusion when I said “no”.

Why do people smoke, if I may ask??????

Ok, stupid question, really. Because I know why. Smoking is one of those things which has absolutely NO USE! None at all. There is precisely nothing to be gained from smoking………..it has no advantages, no benefits, nothing!

Even alcohol is beneficial. Of course, not if consumed in large quantities. Other than that — if speaking of vices — the argument can be made that consuming alcohol is relaxing, and downright beneficial to one’s health; like, red wine, for instance (yep, fact, not fiction).

But smoking??  What does it do? Other than literally burn and roast your lungs. I won’t even go into the whole “cancer” angle; that’s pure medical, and I’m not a doctor. For now, I’ll simply stick to the basic: each time you smoke a cigarette, you are literally setting a match to your lungs. And that’s all you are doing!  Nothing else.

So, once again, why do people choose to smoke?  Based on the fact that smoking is merely a slow way of committing suicide — and nothing else –, there can be only 3 reasons why anyone would choose to smoke:

A. they are simply bored with life; and/or self-destructive; and/or idle;

B. they are trying to somehow “fit in”. Society demands that you fit in somewhere, anywhere. If your mates are smoking, you need to smoke, too. Otherwise, society shuns you.

(c) (as a consequence of both “A” and “B” above), they are plainly and simply stupid.

Psych Evaluation

Haha. So, here’s my psych-eval………..

I hate drama; I hate conflicts; I hate confrontations.

I hate noise. I don’t like noisy and crowded places. And I don’t like noisy people. I’m the kind of person who is more comfortable in quiet places……..consumed by peace and tranquility. Loud and aggressive people drive me up the wall !!!

Most of all, I absolutely detest stupidity. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………….heaven, help me.

They say music is good for the soul?  What about sports?  Or TV?

I get the first 2; but certainly not the third.

Music

My taste in music is rather unique. I adore Classical music (my favorite composer was Johann Strauss).

I’m a fan of the Oldies — music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and maybe a bit of the 90s.

I also like R ‘n B, Soul, Disco, and Country (yep; I grew up listening to Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, and Dollie Parton).

My favorite singer of all time was Michael Jackson. I had all his albums; his posters covered my walls. I mimicked his dance movements. And, of course, I thought I’d be just like him when I grew up.

Then there was Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Teddy Pendergrass, James Ingram, Luther van Dross. And, then there were the eternal ABBA, Boney M, The Temptations, The Commodores, Earth-Wind & Fire, etc, etc.

Ahhhhhhhh, the good ol’ days  (lol).

I have no patience whatsoever for the so-called “modern era music” — the garbage that passes these days for “music”. All that pop, techno, and electro, and head-banging crap. Jeeeez!  Just one whif of that stuff, and I’m ready to rush to the pharmacy across the street for a whole bottle of Aspirin!

Sports

My first encounter with “sports” was not the most pleasant experience. I was an immensely FAT kid. I was born fat, and grew up fat (haha). OK, maybe not always; but, still it happened. At the age of 10, I remember my father summoning me to his room, and telling me to stand on a weight-scale. The needle shot up to 50 kg!  My father declared: “you are too heavy for your age”.

And, thus began a strict regimen of exercising, and dieting. All of which I HATED with a passion. At first. But, then, I began to play more and more with the neighborhood “boys in the hood”; we would play soccer, basketball, tennis, anything which came to mind. Some days, we would go running — not for exercise, but for the sheer fun of competing against each other. I didn’t even notice when I began to eat only once a day, play all afternoon and evening, only returning home for a quick shower, and a hop into bed.

(That was when I realized that: it wasn’t the exercising I hated. No, I loved it. I only hated it when my father would drag me with him on one of his runs, and act like he was a drill sergeant, and I was a new conscript in the army!).

Anyhow, before long, I was as skinny as a pencil. So much so that Staff Sergeant Dad became worried, and ordered me to eat more (hahaha).

In any event, I was hooked. I began to wake up as early as 5 a.m. on most mornings, and head out for a jog, before school. I visited the gym 3 times a week, and pumped up my muscles to such an extent, that the physique I attained back then (I was 15) stayed with me to this day. Since then, I’ve put on weight many times, and also lost it again and again; but the endo-physique remained.

Sports in Russia

Moving to Russia brought a whole new chapter to my life in sports. Up until that moment, sports had always been for the fun of it. I did it because I enjoyed it. Living in Russia, however, changed all that; being black in one of the world’s most racist countries required that I be able to defend myself, if the need ever arose. And, the need did arise. After a few times of being physically attacked on the streets, in broad daylight, I decided that jogging and visiting the gym were no longer enough.

That was when I first tasted the thrill of combat sports — first plain boxing, and then kickboxing. The fact that I was doing it because I needed to, sort of provided an extra incentive. I became very good at it.

Sports in Finland

When I moved to Finland, all of this changed. In terms of temperament, and social interactions, Finland is the extreme opposite of Russia. Where Russians are aggressive, confrontational and haphazard, the Finns are very quiet, calm, and reserved.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I wouldn’t need to fear for my personal safety and/or life while I was in Finland. As a result, I began to neglect my sporting activities. In fact, I forgo sports of any kind. And, besides, the fact that Finland has about 7 months of unpleasant winter did not do much in the way of providing sufficient incentive to get up off the couch, go outside, and MOVE something (lol).

In retrospect, this may have just been my laziness. In any case, the result was that: once again, I became fat and clumsy. I mean, for real! Tummy hanging out………..boobs as big as most women’s…………LOL. And, needless to say, I was as lazy as ever. I would take the elevator up to the 2nd floor, rather than use the stairs.

Of course, this reflected very badly on my health. A simple cold would hit me so hard that I would cough and nose-blow for several days! And, Finland is certainly the place where a cold could hit you at any time!

Funny enough, none of this rocked me back to my senses. Not until, one day, I returned home, and had to climb the stairs to my apartment on the second floor……….and, when I reached it, I was panting like an idiot!

The 2nd floor???  Seriously??

Yep. That was when I decided to get myself together.

How did it all start?  Simple really. The Finns have a very strong biking-culture. They all love to ride bikes, especially when the weather gets warm (although, some of them do it all year round). So, I bought myself a used bike, got a helmet, and decided to try riding to work one morning.

Hahahahaha. I still remember that first day. I was so out of shape, that I could barely negotiate some of the gentlest slopes. Still, it was a start. Each day, I became stronger and more agile.

Then came the walking. One fine evening, I had to dash to the shopping mall, which was about 5 km from my house. Usually, I’d take the bus. This time, I decided to walk instead. It wasn’t as hard as I’d expected. My legs ached like hell the next day, though. But, I realized that I loved it immensely. I began walking daily, increasing my speed gradually.

My small moment of triumph, however, came on the day I decided to walk all the way to work. A distance of 12 km. It took me just over 2 hours. But, it was pure delight!

Since then, over the years, I’ve stuck to walking as my main form of exercise. Sometimes, I bike, other times I visit the gym. But, I walk almost daily. I try to average 10 km each day, but sometimes it’s less or more, depending on where I am.

(Living in Panama has made walking an even more enjoyable experience. Every evening, I average 12 km along the Cinta Costera).

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2 Comments

  1. Rad

    I love your blog! It is honest, no-nonsense, straight to the point no sugar coating…
    A caffeine loaded cuppa on a good sunny French afternoon while browsing your blog is an afternoon well spent! Thanks again

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