February 2014


‘Looking’ episode 4 recap: work husbands, work relationships, work sex?

Dom meets up with Lynn

Dom meets with Lynn — in case you’ve forgotten, Lynn is that dude from Quantum Leap whom Dom chatted with in the steam room of the bathhouse — to discuss his business idea for a restaurant. Unfortunately for Lynn (because let’s be honest: Dom’s a babe) this meeting is strictly business in Dom’s eyes. The chemistry on-screen between the two is thick; I found myself wanting this to be a date, but Dom makes it clear that it isn’t when Lynn asks him. The two seem very relaxed with each other and talk about everything from their parents to Piri Piri chicken. It’s almost like that elusive perfect first date — but again, let’s be clear, this isn’t a date! Lynn offers Dom some great advice and says he may be able to help get the ball rolling on some investors. They finish their lunch and make their way to Lynn’s. At this point, we see Dom going back to his old ways, offering to come over to cook dinner at Lynn’s later and have Lynn taste his chicken. I guess it makes a change from Dom eating all the “chicken” the first three episodes.  Dom is stuck in his habits, even though everything went well and Lynn is on board to help him, he feels he’s got to seal the deal with some sex. Thankfully, the older and wiser Lynn asks, “What are you doing?” and tells him to put together a business plan that they’ll take a look at together sometime in the future. It’s great seeing Dom as the younger one when he is in scenes with Lynn; it’s a different spin on the interactions we’ve seen him be a part of so far, which highlight him as the ‘older one’ in comparison with the other boys.

Patrick’s crush on Kevin intensifies

Patrick and Kevin are working on a video game they are due to present the next day; the only problem is that they may have to pull an all-nighter. Is this really a problem, though? Not to Patrick. Besides the fact the Folsom Street Fair (an annual kink and leather street fair) just happens to be taking place outside, prompting them to discuss ass-less chaps and whips. Patrick’s crush for Kevin is getting more and more obvious, and since Kevin is in a two-year relationship with his boyfriend, this really should be more of an issue. “You have to find someone who understands what you do,” Kevin says when discussing his long-distance relationship, pretty much allowing Patrick to keep falling for him since these two obviously understand what the other does. Both are dancing a fine line between work relationship and something a little bit more. However, a lot of people have their work-husband or work-wife. You know, the one who you can joke with about the boss or bitch about that co-worker who brought tuna for lunch … again. When Kevin’s boyfriend calls to have him pick him up from the airport, Kevin takes off and Patrick stays behind to show his commitment to the project, and impress his new crush.

Agustin and Doris with their leather persuasion

Agustin is decked out in his leather and hanging out with Doris at the fair. They call Patrick and persuade him to come meet them for some lunch and leather. He obliges and they end up in a leather store where the friends convince Patrick to wear a leather vest, with nothing underneath. Finally! Some semi-shirtless Patrick! Jonathan Groff looks good in leather, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t screen grab that one and save it to my “Essays” folder on my laptop (this folder is X-rated and does not include a single essay).

Agustin wants to start creating some art with CJ

Agustin is dead set on meeting up with the male sex worker, CJ, who he met last week. Agustin wants to start creating some art with him. He wants to follow him around, record things, not think about it too much, and just see what happens. Sometimes as gay men, we get wrapped up in our sexuality since society thinks it is what defines us. Apparently sex, sex, sex, is all we think about. This reminds me of a documentary I made in Film school titled D.I.Y. It was an X-rated look at people who create their own amateur pornography online. At the time I did my best to push peoples buttons and really shock my audience. Is that what Agustin is doing? Prove yet again he isn’t just a stay-at-home husband, that he has his wild side?

Rent-a-guy for $220/hour

Once they meet up with the rent-a-guy, Agustin and Patrick take him to lunch (which Patrick has to pay for since Agustin is a starving artist). Agustin tries his hardest to come off as the confident, suave artist, so much so that he eats a piece of meat that CJ offers him. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but Agustin is a vegetarian, and the meat does not agree with his stomach. Once CJ agrees to work with Agustin for $220/hour, they take off. Agustin searches for a port-a-potty but not before Patrick gets some judgmental comments in about Agustin’s threesome and working with a prostitute after just moving in with his boyfriend. Once they see the line up for the portables is way too long, they head to Patrick’s office so Agustin can get some sweet sweet relief. We’ve all been there, having a few too many drinks or eating a few too many different types of food at a street fair (or worse, Pride) and it feels like World War III is taking place in your stomach.

Patrick continues to be judgmental about Agustin’s wild ways

Patrick acts like he is supportive of his best friend but repeatedly brings up his wild behaviour. Is monogamy the only type of relationship Patrick is looking for? This coming from a guy who wanted a quick hook-up with Richie and to see if he was uncut. Thankfully, Agustin quickly turns it around on him “You’re having a fantasy relationship with your boss,” which is true. Only moments later, Kevin comes back to the office to discover the leather-clad group playing video games and taking a break from the Folsom festivities. Everyone takes off except for Patrick who is ready to – unfortunately — put some clothes back on and get back to work.

Work-husband no more

Patrick gets to hear some complaints from Kevin about his boyfriend, and the two are back to their work-husband scenario. Kevin asks Patrick if he is hungry and would want to order some fried chicken, something Kevin’s boyfriend would never let him eat, and it finally dawns on Patrick. Patrick sees what Agustin is talking about: the two breaking this rule would only lead to more broken rules, late nights at the office, and most likely Patrick falling hard for something that could never work. Patrick blows Kevin off, and Kevin takes the hint. He puts the leather back on and meets up with his gang at a leather bar just in time to see RuPaul’s drag race star (or flop), Honey Mahogany perform. Remember Honey from last season? She was so bad; she was sent home in a double-elimination, all the caftans in the world couldn’t save her.

 Agustin keeps things underwraps from Frank

They meet up with Frank and his friends, Agustin has an awkward exchange with Frank and he doesn’t exactly explain how things went with CJ. Agustin is essentially hiring him, for whatever purpose. Agustin is rebelling against his commitment with Frank once again and starting to keep secrets.

Patrick reunites with Richie in the hottest scene this season

The silver lining to this bar is that the sexy Richie is spotted across the dance floor. After some drinks Patrick gets up the courage to go and talk to him. Seeing a past hook-up or ex-boyfriend at a bar can always put a damper on the night. I’ve definitely done a drink-and-dash once I’ve seen an old flame, or have been caught in a “Hey, nice to meet you,” “You slept at my place last month” scenario. Not cute. Rarely does it result in a positive outcome. But here, Richie is forgiving, “I’ve been alright, still cut,” he pokes fun at their awkward past and extends the olive branch. Patrick confesses that he is more LTR minded than he led on and begs forgiveness. The two dance slowly together, in what I find to be the hottest scene so far this season. DP Reed Morano captures the moment beautifully, from a distance in a crowded club, the dance floor belongs to these two. Their lips close enough to touch, yet aren’t, chest to chest, moving as one.

We’ll have to wait to see exactly what Agustin will be paying for, how Patrick and Richie’s night ended, and if a business plan buds into something more intimate for Lynn and Dom.

Follow Brett on Twitter at @AshleyBrett.

Personal finances: Is your budget right for you?

Corporate budgeting in itself is a complex but widely understood concept. The goal is clear and usually easily defined, if not easily achieved: make more money. For me, the practice of sitting down and working out a corporate budget is standard and non-negotiable. This is business, and in business you sit down and draft a plan. Review your fixed costs, control the variable expenses, mitigate the risks, align the budget with the corporate strategy, and maximize profit. It’s been an interesting shift for me to apply this same formality with the way I budget in my personal life, but a shift that has definitely paid off in helping me to have a better grasp of my personal finances and a more accurate view of how and when I’ll achieve my personal goals.

Fixed costs

My fixed costs are often beyond my control: mortgage, home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, travel costs, etc. They are usually the biggest part of my budget and usually the most necessary and uncompromising.

Variable expenses

My variable expenses I have more control over. Things like my Internet and phone expenses provide opportunities to review current plans and research new offers from competing companies. I make it a habit to review this annually (or in some cases, as contracts come to the end of their term) to see where I can get the most for my dollar. I’ve found on occasion that it’s even works out in my interest to cancel a contract and pay the penalty fee in favour of a greater discounted rate from another source. Take a real look at the numbers and see how they balance out.

Highly variable expenses

Highly variable costs of course vary for me by the season, but are often where I slip up in practicing effective management. Movies, concerts, eating out and ordering in can all add up. Wedding gifts were my vice this past summer and Christmas gifts will probably be my vice in the coming winter. And of course, anyone who knows me knows my weakness for online shopping, handbags and shoes. Personal care is also a very important part of my routine, and even though it’s among the first things that women will cut out in the event of a budget crisis, I’d say it’s necessary in presenting yourself and representing your business. Proper grooming is essential and personal image does count.

Mitigating risks

Mitigating risks has also been an interesting concept to apply to my personal life. My sister and I often joke that in this context, it probably has more to do with people than with market shifts and potential competitors. Bottom line is that every risk should have a contingency plan, no matter how unlikely the risk appears. Do you have a sibling, parent, close friend or family member who is likely to default on their rent payment and ask you for a bail out?  Decide whether this is critical personnel that should be subtracted or whether you should establish a contingency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Are you sensing another impending breakup between your best friend and her significant other for the fourth time this month? Build extra time into your schedule for the “you don’t need him anyway” late-night movie marathon and the subsequent “I’m so glad you guys are back together” brunch.

Lifestyle alignment

Above all, I make sure that my personal budget aligns with my lifestyle. My budget is realistic for me, and what makes sense for me or for you might not make sense for others. I budget for my yoga classes because that is an essential part of my life. I make sure my budget and my life are tied together by goals that are important to me, whether it’s dealing with acquisitions, personal health, or just enjoying where I am in life. All in all, it’s become my personal strategy for defining where I am and deciding where I’m going.

The perfect night

Sometimes the stars align and everything just goes right. On Tuesday, thanks to one of my favourite people, Country Boy and I had the pleasure of sitting 21 rows up from the ice at the Leafs game, which is basically my happy place: boy, beer, and the blue and white.

We laughed and talked throughout the game, trying to make bets on the outcome, drinking, and just generally enjoying ourselves. After the game, courtesy of another wonderful girlfriend, we managed to get a table at Real Sports for a couple pints where his baby sister and her boyfriend joined us and that is where my nerves really kicked in.

My last big love, you know the one, the guy who broke my heart, the one who made me think that believing in love was wasted effort because when your heart breaks into that many different pieces you almost forget how to put yourself back together – that guy. We dated for over a year and I was so incredibly in love with him that I put up with never meeting his family and with being his secret girlfriend because I was never strong enough to force the situation, to tell him what I needed. So, these days meeting the family is a big deal. It’s so important to me that I’ve put a time limit on it, if I’ve been dating a guy for 6 months and he still hasn’t introduced me to the family, I’m done.

Country Boy didn’t have a problem with introducing me to his baby sister but I sat there wondering if I was talking too much or too quickly or if I was saying too much about myself. It was intense. But in the end, we got along well and she seemed like a wonderful young woman, beautiful, confident, and sure of herself.

After the bills were paid and we went our separate ways, Country Boy and I walked hand-in-hand back to my place, all smiles and stolen kisses. The night was warm and it made for a lovely walk but we couldn’t just saunter back to my place without running into more people that I know. As we came up to my street, we almost bumped into another girlfriend of mine and, as always, he was charming and if her messages the next day were true, I was glowing.

There is something about being happy and feeling safe that makes anyone look more beautiful. Country Boy has that effect on me. Being around him makes me smile in a glowy happy way that I had forgotten I knew how to do until recently.

I don’t know how things will go between us as we move into 2012 but I do know this: Country Boy has taught me that my heart wasn’t ever broken beyond repair, it was just waiting for someone to understand me, someone to make time for me, someone who for whatever unknown reason knew how to bring the glowy, happy, smiley me back. And I’ll tell you a secret; I love it.

This article was previously published on December 15, 2011.

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

7 nutrients to boost your immunity

by Dr. Suzanne Bober

Stress can be high this time of year, which means your body is particularly vulnerable to common viruses. Adequately feeding your immune system boosts its fighting power. There are a number of nutrients to add to your diet now to cut down on missed time from work due to illness.

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and increases interferon levels, which prevent viruses from entering cells in the body. It is important to know that you don’t need massive amounts of vitamin C, as any excess just gets excreted from the body. Therefore you just end up with very expensive urine. You can obtain the necessary amount by eating six servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps to stimulate the production of natural killer cells, which seek out and destroy viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. It may also reverse the decline in the immune system seen with aging. Seeds, vegetable oils, and grains are good sources, but supplementation may be needed to reach the recommended 100-400mg per day.

3. Carotenoids

Carotenoids increase the number of infection-fighting cells as well as mop up excess free radicals that accelerate aging. Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A to boost immune function.

4. Bioflavinoids

Bioflavinoids help to protect the body’s cells against environmental pollutants. A diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help you get the bioflavinoids needed to help increase your immunity.

5. Zinc

Zinc increases the production of white blood cells and helps them to fight infection more aggressively. It also increases the number of T-cells that fight against viruses, especially in the elderly who are often deficient in zinc, and whose immune system often weakens with age. Be careful with zinc supplements however, as too much zinc can actually lead to reduced immunity. Generally 15-25mg per day is adequate.

6. Garlic

Garlic is a powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal nutrient that is also rich in antioxidants. It also helps to lower blood-cholesterol levels.

7. Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids increase the activity of phagocytes, which are the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. They also protect the body against damage from over-reaction to infection. Always ensure that you are taking additional vitamin E when taking omega-3 supplements for antioxidant protection, as they act together to boost the immune system. Add one or two teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

If you do happen to fall ill with a cold, stay away from drinking milk as this will increase the production of mucous in the nasal passages. Hot foods such as chili peppers and onions contain ‘mucolytics’ which break up the mucous that accumulates in the nasal passages.

Arm yourself with these nutrients now, to prevent a cold or flu from overcoming you over this season; your immune system will thank you.

Take a trip to beautiful British Columbia

by Susan Ponting

Perhaps you’ve already visited British Columbia, with its wonder-filled, seaside, Canadian destinations. But, if you haven’t been for a while, need a refresher, or by chance still haven’t visited spectacular British Columbia – I’ve just returned and have some ‘must-see’ things to do. It was a whirlwind vacation for me and my hubby, Ron. Our trip lasted only six days, but we packed a lot into a short time.

We started out in Vancouver, rented a car, and headed on to Victoria and be still my heart, Tofino, which did not let us down.

We were there mainly to see our niece Sam and her beau, Morgan, but thanks to a West Jet seat sale ($1,216.14 round trip), it turned out to be ‘old home week’ as we connected with former Toronto, blues guitar player, Pat Axe, his wife Genoa, her sister Tracie, my step-brother, Carlo; and a good friend Alison, born and raised in B.C., and who we met when she lived in Toronto.

As I lived and worked in downtown Vancouver in my early 20s, touring the city and outlying areas years later was, to quote Oprah’s now overly used, but still effective maxim, “a full circle moment.”

The first time I went was to escape my life in Toronto – was it Margaret Atwood who said, “BC is the end of the road?” At the time, I went because it was far enough away, and so I left for the coast. It was not easy as a young 20-something working at McDonalds, and adjusting to life in a new city.

The next time I passed by Vancouver was with a friend on our way to California. We had the travel bug and drove across Canada through the Rocky Mountains, which still have a grip on my heart. But we didn’t know what we wanted to do with our lives, yet, and so the stay was, again, “the end of the road.”

This time, and many years later, the trip was pure natural joy. We got to see Sam and Morgan, walk along the beach, and eat at scrumptious food places. We stayed in fancy hotels like the Century Plaza with great views, and a kitchenette, ($168.92 taxes included booked on We also stayed two nights at the Sandman Suites ($345.15 two nights including taxes also booked on hotels had kitchenettes. The Sandman had a balcony overlooking the ocean, and the Century Plaza looked out high atop the mass of condominiums.

Instead of worrying or working, this time I was able to soak in the mountains, ocean, and this bustling city that is, in a way, like Toronto used to be – a city with a small-town feel.

In celebration of Pat Axe’s birthday we had a scrumptious dinner at O’Doul’s on Robson. The food was wonderful, the service excellent, (our waiter was a dead ringer for Aidin Quinn), and of course the company, was divine.

The food was beyond succulent at Joe FortesSam, who’s a true foodie, and I still talk about the crème caramel we wished we ordered three of. And the calamari melted in our mouths. Ronnie even said the steak was as superior as the PEI Blue Dot Grass fed we buy in Ontario.

After three days in Vancouver, we hopped in our rented Hyundai 4 x 4 (Enterprise $208.42 including taxes, unlimited kilometers, for a five day rental) and headed for Victoria. Stay tuned for details of that leg of our adventure.

In defense of viewing the Sochi Olympics

Belle Brockhoff, Australia, Snowboarding

Cheryl Maas, Netherlands, Snowboarding

Barbara Jezeršek, Slovenia, Cross-Country Skier

Sanne Van Kerkhof, Netherlands, Speed Skating

Ireen Wüst, Netherlands, Speed Skating

Anastasia Bucsis, Canada, Speed Skating

These six openly gay athletes are the reason I will be watching the Sochi Olympics.

Before I continue, there are a few things that must be said in the name of full disclosure. I am an open member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. I sit on the management committee for Kulanu Toronto, which represents Jewish members of the LGBT community in Toronto. Nothing I say here is to speak on behalf of any organization of which I am currently or have ever been a member.

In 2013, the Russian Federation adopted a law against “homosexual propaganda.” This prohibits “promotion of the homosexual lifestyle” to Russian children including such symbols as the rainbow flag, and published works containing homosexual content, which — as it turns out — may include Canadian bobsledder Justin Kripps’ personal website containing a photo of himself and three teammates posing in their underwear next to their sled. All four men identify as straight.

Make no mistake: the international community’s exposure to Russia’s way of life is a mere fraction of the day-to-day surveillance that Russian citizens have unfortunately become so accustomed to. Russian President Vladimir Putin as an “elected” (a word which should not be taken too literally) dictator. He rules his country with an iron fist and would not hesitate to eliminate any threat to his power.

That said, Sochi offers the world an opportunity to voice their grievances and cheer for our openly gay athletes. When Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis takes her place on the Olympic oval, her very presence will be an act of protest. She will stand on her skates for equality and for Canadian values. I, for one, will not let her protest go unheard.

I understand why there are those who feel a need to boycott the Olympics. But to them, I say, such actions will not fix Russia. Moreover, the actions of the Russian Federation are not the responsibility of the athletes present.

Please do not let these athletes’ sacrifices be for naught. Watch them compete. Root them on. And in the case of six incredibly brave women — hear their protest.

Follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanAGlass.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Sochi 2014: Protests and funny tweets against Russia’s anti-gay laws

With the passing of the controversial anti-gay legislation in Russia, millions of enraged viewers watched as the Sochi Opening Ceremony began. Tensions were especially high as President Vladimir had recently issued a warning against protesting — the  excuse being that “propaganda” should not be spread during a sporting event. Of course, this warning only exacerbated people’s thirst to speak out. So it didn’t take very long for people across the globe to start cyber-bashing Russia and devise creative ways to protest.

Human rights organizations, politicians, spectators, and athletes banded together in feverish harmony to reject Russia’s homophobic attitudes. On the national level, U.S. President Barack Obama showed his support by picking two openly gay athletes to join the U.S. delegation at the Sochi Olympics. This move was ultimately viewed as a snub to Russia and to President Vladimir Putin.

The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion showed their support by releasing a hilarious homo-erotic commercial, featuring two luge sledders moving suggestively in slow motion to the song,  “Don’t You Want me Baby.” At the end of the clip, the commercial displays the following phrase: “The games have always been a little gay — let’s fight to keep it that way.” You can see the clip below and on CIDI website.

Google also joined the initiative, adding rainbow colors, the sign of inclusiveness, to its homepage logo on the day of the Opening Ceremony. Locally, another major sign of protest was shown by Brahm Finkelstein, a Toronto advertising copywriter, who invested $10,000 creating rainbow-colored matryoshka dolls to celebrate diversity. To show your support, you can purchase these dolls at

As this viral wave of support spread, there was an explosion of pro-gay comments buzzing on the Internet, particularly on Twitter.

Here are the top funny tweets against Russia’s Anti-Gay laws!

1. There are no #gay people in #Sochi. So weird, the same is true about American bath houses. Nothing but bi-curious! (@SteveStrafford)



4. Can’t believe PSY is dancing Gangnam Style while Putin sets gay dogs on fire. (@DJWeedPizza)


6. Does Canada have any openly gay athletes going to Sochi? I want them to walk hand in hand at the opening ceremony!  (@srobarts)

7. The opening of Putin’s homophobic Olympics will be notable by the world leaders not in attendance (@bruce_arthur)



10. The German rainbow outfits are awesome… Whether it is a dig at Russia’s anti-gay ideology or not. (I hope it is. Imagine Putin’s face!) (@ AdamTodd310389)


12. The Russian athletes look a little #gay to me.(@patpowers)


The first step to uniting GTHA around a strong vision was made

The Toronto Region Vision (TRV) 2014 event on Feb 6, 2014, was a terrific success, with over 300 participants coming from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The day was designed to get people from the region to talk about their visionary ideas for the GTHA. Business leaders rubbed shoulders with leaders in government, nonprofits, and students. History was made in taking the first step toward creating a strong regional vision.

The day was launched by Premier Kathleen Wynne, who gave a fantastic keynote speech in the form of a “Pecha Kucha” (ideas jam) presentation – 20 ideas on 20 slides; at times funny at times serious her presentation focused on the need for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to unite around a strong regional vision. She outlined some of the hurdles in the plan to improve transportation in the GTHA and the need to stop debating over

Following the Premier were five more Pecha Kucha presentations.

The first speaker, Dan Hoornweg (professor and research chair at University of Ontario Institute of Technology) pushed for making Toronto the “teaching” capital of the world. He suggested building a museum of civilization and cities and use it to house the Frist Nations welcome centre. He also suggested a carbon tax for the Toronto urban region dedicated to transit in collaboration with the other cities in the region. And to create government ministries for the Toronto urban region.

The next speaker was Zahra Ebrahim, founder of archiTEXT, a design and architectural think tank. Her lively presentation covered everything from the Copenhagen Wheel that stores a cyclists kinetic energy,  to the use of “Parmigiano” capital – In Milan banks let producers use their chees as collateral for two years (the time it takes to age). Zahra also spoke about the need for good public awareness campaigns to change negative habitual patterns like driving. She capped off with the idea of participatory budgeting where residents brainstorm around how municipal taxes should be spent.

The third speaker was Sunil Johal, policy director at the Mowat Centre. His presentation focused on reinventing government employment services, measure government collaboration and make them accountable for working together. He spoke about getting employers to support training opportunities through training payback guarantees; and the idea of creating telecommuting hubs in different parts of the city.

The fourth speaker was Terry Cooke, president and CEO of Hamilton Community Foundation. He gave a passionate presentation that focused around Hamilton and the idea of desegregating schools and nieghbourhoods by income. He pointed out the success of mixed income schools.

The last speaker was Mary Rowe, flown in from New York she suggested we abandoned the idea of a “plan” as a map, but instead look at it as something that evolves, modifies and grows.  Mary encouraged participants to think big through small initiatives that together make big change. She spoke about the need to build consensus to tax and invest in the region.

The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to brainstorming. Ideas were captured by note-takers at every table and will be put into a report, with help from the Mowat Centre, that will be released in March. The goal is to get the ideas out to communities across the GTHA and we are hoping that candidates in the next election will help with that.

Together 300 people took the first small step toward creating a vision for the GTHA. But it doesn’t stop with one event, one report, one commitment. Together we must continue to untie our communities around a building a strong, shared, vision. We need champions willing to dedicate their time to pushing this forward and judging from the first TRV2014 event I don’t think we’ll have any trouble finding them.

Should you hit the gym or work out at home?

by Nicole Duquette 

Exercise for me, like many others, is not a joyful activity, but a trying necessity. It has taken many years for my relationship with exercise to be as painless as it is now, and I still get tripped up sometimes.
After many experiences working out at gyms and at home I greatly prefer at home workouts; although, I have also seen the benefits of a formal gym environment.

The main reason I prefer working out at home is because I am not a fan of group sweating. If I am going to be huffing and puffing, sweating profusely, and contorting my face into strained grimaces it is not something other people need to witness. Another reason I like working out at home better than the gym is that it requires less effort. Given my lack of love for exercise I am not exactly willing to go out of my way to wake up early, pack a bag, and drive to the gym before starting to workout. At home, I can workout whenever I have the time or motivation. No planning required.

However, other people are one thing that can be considered an advantage of going to the gym. The gym provides a social aspect that working out at home doesn’t. Going to the gym with others is a good way to spend time with friends or to make new friends by attending classes or chatting in the dressing rooms.

I recently gave up my gym membership in favour of working out at home because I simply couldn’t justify the cost ($50 plus a month). While the cost of gym memberships is a common deterrent it is no excuse for not exercising. There is some very costly home fitness equipment out there, but it isn’t necessary. It is possible to do an effective workout at home using inexpensive equipment. Don’t have dumbbells? Try water bottles filled with water or sand – experiment to get the weight right. Don’t have a treadmill? Head outside. Already have a video gaming system? Try a fitness game. Also, look into getting a stability ball or resistance band as they are less than $20 and can amp up any workout.

One thing that is worth the cost of a gym membership is the professional fitness trainers. People who haven’t worked out much in the past would benefit greatly from talking to a professional before getting started at home. Short term personal training doesn’t cost as much as long term gym memberships. A personal trainer can develop an individualized fitness program for you, and demonstrate proper exercise techniques to avoid injury.

My running-shoe shod feet may be firmly planted shoulder-width apart at home right now, but I know one of the many benefits of gym exercise will draw me back, sometime in the future. For now, though, I will enjoy the relaxed environment of my at home gym and the privacy of my own shower.

Stop Rob Ford’s homophobia — Show your support for the City Hall pride flag


This week has been tumultuous for gay rights both locally and globally. With the world’s attention arriving in Sochi, Russia, after months of intense scrutiny around the government’s homophobic crackdown, many cities around the world raised rainbow flags to support the gay athletes heading to Russia and also show their solidarity with the gay people of Russia.

Here in Toronto we have, unfortunately, seen a bigotted renaissance at City Hall.

Rob Ford and his brother Doug have placed their ignorance front and centre with hurtful and cruel comments directed at the LGBT community of the city.

When asked if he would be attending the annual Pride festival, this year celebrating World Pride, Ford responded “I’m not going to go to the Pride Parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride Parade. I’m not going to change the way I am.”

Simple, hurtful, straight to the point. Rob Ford doesn’t care about gay people. Rob Ford isn’t going to Pride, not because he has a family tradition or because he isn’t feeling well. He is not going to one of the largest celebrations of gay rights in the world that takes place in a city he is the mayor of because he just doesn’t want to.

Doug followed it up by letting us know his brother isn’t homophobic, going so far as to drop the he-has-gay-friends line. He then went on to say that Pride is no place for families or children, wading into the territory of suggesting without saying that gay people are somehow shocking, gross, or otherwise perverse and should not be near children.

The cherry on the cake this week was Rob Ford’s ordering of the rainbow flag outside of City Hall to be removed because he thinks of it as somehow unpatriotic.

Gay people in Toronto, Canada, and around the world have come too far to be bullied by the likes of Ford; all of Toronto has to make sure Ford hears loud and clear that this is not okay by standing up against homophobia.

Show Rob Ford that a passion for gay rights is patriotic by pledging your support to the City Hall pride flag.