Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Friendly Technology

I originally began this post on September 13th. Like many of my ideas, I got sidetracked along the way. So please take this as a window into the past before we get to the present.

Yesterday I went for my first run since mid-June. Let me tell you, it was not a thing of beauty. No, this was running circa 2006 when I first decided that maybe spending all my time reading fanfic and watching CSI and BSG was maaaaybe not the best idea. Between work and reading fanfic, I actually had to get a stronger prescription because my eyes were so tired from staring at a computer screen for so many hours a day. True story.

So anyway, yesterday I was running one minute intervals with my fancy new Nike+ watch that I got right before I was told to not run/play soccer for the summer. BAM! Fall is here! And I can start to build up my cardio and any sort of habitual running again because last week as I ran for the bus to go to my massage therapy appointment, I almost died. (I'm fairly certain that the folks sitting next me on the bus were thinking, oh shit, if she has some kind fit then I'm going to be late because they'll have to call an ambulance.... I mean, if those people were anything like me when I lived with an old woman with a bad ticker, type I diabetes and a house with a basement -- I was routinely afraid something like that would happen. So, you know, reversal of expectations?) Also I went to my soccer practice three days ago and my teammate said, hey, your lips are purple.... With the tone of voice that indicates that perhaps, just maybe, they shouldn't really be that colour. I mean, I am pale but I guess it's hard to call purple lips just a by-product of a healthy pallor.

My point about going for a run with the fancypants watch was that it is like having a digital cheerleader. It has messages for running your fastest mile/kilometer, your longest distance, or for just getting out and running at all. It also has little reminders and asks when you're going to run next. I love it. Aside from the pace and distance and heart rate functions, it's just a fun little watch that wants to go running with you.

Team Support

I have been injured since I ran the BMO Half Marathon in May and as I can’t play soccer, I have been helping out on the sidelines when I can. Last Sunday I helped to run the substitutions – or at least I did for the first half and about 15 minutes of the second half before all of my team’s subs got injured. The opposing team had four subs and had a good level of fitness to run us around the field. I was proud of my team for not only keeping up with the other team but creating several scoring opportunities. This only brought to the forefront how important team communication is.

Clearly communicating things like position, availability and how much time your teammate has are all very strategically important. But I also don’t think you can over-value the encouragement of your teammates. We frequently use the phrase “Like you can!” when talking to a teammate about to take a free kick or goal kick, or when someone is taking a throw in.I really like this phrase because it says so much; it says that we believe in our teammate’s capabilities, we believe that our teammate is skilled and also that we as a team expect the best from each other. You could do worse than to have an entire team supporting you and expecting the best from you. If it doesn’t work out, well, that’s what practice is for.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spirit of Christmas

This video is the reason why I love Christmas. I love the exuberance and the sweetness that is exhibited. There’s a lot about the way Christmas is celebrated that is rubbish – not only the amount of packaging rubbish it produces! – but for me the holiday is about the love and the sharing. It’s about the decorations that come out each year and small traditions that develop between friends and family. It’s about the scents of baked goods, pine trees and eggnog. Oh eggnog. I love the twinkling lights and soft candle light; the hugs between friends and kisses between lovers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Grain of Salt

I really hate the media. The focus is largely on the negative and on perpetuating destructive normative behaviours and beliefs. Today I saw an article that was fearmongering parents yet again and tying on a nice dose of fatphobia. The article was expressing a "new study's" concern about overweight childern, their sodium intake and the ties to higher blood pressure. What that article should  have been asking is why are so many products packed with sodium now? Why do we continue to purchase products that are packed full of preservatives so that they can sit on the shelf longer and contribute to the massive amounts of food waste when it reaches its extended "best by" date? Whenever a brand launches a new "reduced sodium" version of their product, they do it with such a fanfare. Why don't more consumers pressure those companies to ask why they had so much sodium in the first place? The reduced brands are often still packed with enough sodium to account for your daily intake alone - never mind the rest of the meals you eat that day. The same can be said of the sugar added to our food. We are adding our way into a nutrition deficit and all anyone wants to do is find a way to produce fake chemical versions that are ten times sweeter and trick your body. It just doesn't add up. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reading Rainbow

Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
Ivey and the Airship - Cheryl Ammeter
Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus - P.C. Martin, Richard Monson-Haefel, Daniel Corte
Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Timepiece - Heather Albano
Sundae - Matt Wallace
When Women Were Warriors: The Warrior's Path - Catherine M. Wilson
The Final Deduction: The Last of Sherlock Holmes - David W Walker
Above - Leah Bobet

In a fit of productivity...

or perhaps just a fit, I return to this forlorn corner of the internets. Hullo kittens, all 6 of you. Hugs all around. My summer was spent moving into a new space and making it fit to live in. This principally involved me trying to purge a bunch of stuff and awesome!L doing a lot of grunt work. awesome!L lives up to the name folks. I don't really want to live up to expectations of dying amidst piles of books and cats and more to the point awesome!L would probably kick me out onto the balcony to best consider my options before that happened.

I jest of course but on the upside we now have a balcony that I could sleep on if it came down to it! No more juliet balcony for me but a proper space that can host a cosy dinner or an even closer gathering of friends to watch the fireworks. Back to my previous point however, I have yet more things to purge. Some items I think I should try to get money for and the rest I worry I will have to pay to be rid of. Eegads. In some sense I think I have accidentally been purging what meagre ideas pop into my head as well. They aren't gems, let me advise you, and most of them actually pertain to washrooms. Really, I don't know how to explain my fascination. I think it's just that they so often rouse my ire that I start getting wordy with a minimum of effort.

In any event, I do want to try purging some thoughts into type more frequently so here we are again. The dance we know so well -- I'm a terrible dance partner actually, always stepping on toes and leading into the other couples. Ah my poor blog, you are ill-used indeed.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


The Language of Bees - Laurie R. King
The God of the Hive - Laurie R. King
Pirate King - Laurie R. King
Fly by Night - Frances Hardinge
A Madness of Angels - Kate Griffin
Ship Breaker - Paoloa Bacigalupi
The Highest Frontier - Joan Slonczewski
The Cloud Roads - Martha Wells
The Serpent Sea - Martha Wells
Bending the Willow - David Stuart
Truth of Valor - Tanya Huff
Spindle's End - Robin McKinley
Zodiac - Neil Stephenson

Monday, February 13, 2012

Can you hear my Hart-beat?

So pretty much since my friend Jean sent me a link for "My Drunk Kitchen" I've known that Hannah Hart is the comedic gem I wish I could be. I mean, I try -- anyone within earshot of me knows how much I pun -- but Hannah is sheer brilliance. I have enjoyed every video she's posted and I'm just sad I spent four days without this song in my life.

Oh Internet. <3

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Have you heard?

The bird is the word. In this case, MIA flipping the bird at the Superbowl halftime show and not being censored in time to protect the delicate sensibilities of all viewers is the word. I think the furor over the Superbowl "controversies" are a blatant attempt at misdirecting people's attention from matters of actual importance. The regulatory bodies that have come out with ridiculously stringent responses are clearly more concerned with the censorship of public media in the name of knowing what is the best for the estimated 100 million viewers. Those people are pretty damn ballsy. I wouldn't feel comfortable saying that I know what is best for the two people that regularly read this blog. But do you know who would know what is best for everyone?

The woman who made the following video and Xena: Warrior Princess. Women with many skills.

Alternate Super Bowl Halftime Show - Xena Style from Rosie j. Russell on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik
Black Powder War - Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik
Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik
Valor's Trial - Tanya Huff
Core Performance Women - Mark Verstegen & Pete Williams
Foreigner - CJ Cherryh
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

At It Again

Last night my soccer team had their first practice of 2012 -- the others have been cancelled due to some ill-timed bad weather (I know, is there ever a good time for bad weather? I guess that depends on who you're with...). The last time I was at the practice field, the parking lot was a construction zone and we had to park in side streets and "legal enough" alleys. When we arrived last night the parking lot was restored and the new community centre situated very nice and shiny with active classes. We had a good practice, although after two days of soccer I think I need more core work, and as we headed off the field it happened again. My teammate drives a silver SUV and in the dark silver looks a lot like cream and well…

Kirsten: (Walking straight off-field towards a SUV.)
Teammate!MR: (Walking diagonally off-field towards a different SUV.) Kirsten! Where are you going?!
Kirsten: Uhhhhh…dammit! All SUVs look the same in the dark. (Joins Teammate!MR at other SUV.)

Clearly what I need to do is start memorizing my friends’ license plates for future reference; reducing embarrassing moments and handy for paying parking meters too!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Whenever I make myself a cup of Red Rose tea, I always think of my friend Jean. It was at Jean’s house that I first had a cup of Red Rose tea that was actually enjoyable. Every other time I had been served the tea it left my mouth feeling dry and I could feel it catching at the back of my throat. I will be the first to admit that I regularly over steep my tea. For most herbal teas, I find that they can use all the steeping they can get to extract every last bit of flavor. I drink mostly black teas because herbal tea flavours so rarely live up to the aroma that they have. The bouquet on herbal teas can be the most delicious and enticing scents and once you taste them…you’re drinking nice smelling water. I think I’d get more enjoyment from adding them to a bath! Also, whether I’m drinking coffee or tea, I prefer the palate to be strong and full-bodied.

What this attitude fails to account for is that some teas have a precise brewing time, in the same way that coffee has brewing routines. Jean showed me that paying attention to the brewing instructions can produce a perfect cup of tea. Following instructions can be helpful! Who knew? (Okay, I guess a lot of people knew. And then wrote instructions. And warning labels. What-have-you.) So now I pay more attention to my teas – I’ll follow the instructions for the first brewing and decide from there. I got some really yummy tea in Barcelona that I follow the directions for exactly. I got more tea at the German Christmas Market that is fruity and spicy – very refreshing during a season of indulgence. Some teas I continue to over steep and enjoy them just as much as my perfectly timed cuppas. So I owe great thanks to Jean, bringer of properly brewed tea, for broadening my palate to the joys of civilized beverages.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pithy Internet Wisdom

Most email forwards have some schmoopy sentiment at the end, a warning against plagues of locusts if you don't forward it to 10 people or untold riches if you only send it to your 15 closest friends. I like the ones that have been tweaked to be a little snarky. The close of one such email read:

We'll be friends until I am senile.
Then we'll be new friends.

Which is hilarious particularly because one of the most horrifying ideas to me would be physically able in my old age and have lost all my marbles. Let's all laugh in the face of our fears for a moment shall we?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Silly Video of the Day

I know that I said I was going to be posting cat videos and all but I think I might have a problem. I may have suddenly garnered an insight for the origins of all those picture-spam emails that go around. I deactivated my Facebook but I still have all the blogs that I keep up with through my Google Reader feed. The other day I saw the video that is posted below and I thought: oh my gosh, this is so hilarious that I have to share it on Facebook. I mean that was actually my first thought. Whoa whoa whoa. Back up the sharing train because is that 3 minutes and 35 seconds that everyone really must see? Will it enrich them and make them happy that I foisted this time suck upon them? Probably not, no. But then….awesome!S sent me a link of the same video! I felt a surge of vindication: two of us could not be wrong about the awesomeness of 3 minutes and 35 seconds. Which is exactly why all of those emails propagate and kill inbox capacities.

The nature of the email-forwarding-beast aside, I love how many different Sesame Street spoofs and videos there are. This particular video is not directly affiliated with Sesame Street but there are many official ones that are very awesome and very cute. I think it’s great that Sesame Street is still going strong after all these years and that new generations are being introduced to those loveable muppets. So I hope you enjoy the wonder that is an Elmo cover of LMFAO “Sexy and I know It”; I know I preferred this video to the original!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Status Update

I quit Facebook for awhile to remove myself from the habit of constant feed updating, browser refreshing and liking of all manner of posts. Since a friend mentioned my blog on my penultimate Facebook status I thought I might as well share the address. (Howdy to the 26 people who have stopped by. Nice of you to click on the link.)

I need to take some time for myself and consider what I want to be doing with my life. As my lovely friend Jean so recently posted (APP for a SMART life CC Jean Leggett) – I want to develop my APP. It’s something that I haven’t done since university and a question that I had a hard time answering when jean asked during a coaching session. It’s December 2012 – what have I done? What achievements and experiences have made 2012 stand out? In the midst of all that will be the posts about videos and jokes that I “have” to share with my friends. Because, let’s face it, I do love me some kitten videos.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Slow day

Today I meant to get a head start on some work but unfortunately I have caught one of the colds going around. Not quite the start to the year that I had hoped for but I would rather rest up now to get better sooner. My brain is a bit fuzzy and so most anything that I would put together here is not worth the posting. But since I want to start many things on the right foot -- I shall post this note and push on tomorrow.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


One of the things that amazing!L and I have in common is our love for Sherlock Holmes and the BBC productions of the Sherlock stories with Jeremy Brett. This past summer I purchased the complete DVD collection of the Jeremy Brett series. We watched several dvds before she returned to school and we picked up where we left off this Christmas break. I was very happy to find a Sherlock Holmes trivia book link here that was a gift from Santa to amazing!L and me. :)

After we watched each episode, we would play the quizzes. It turns out we're deductive geniuses -- available for consultations on such important cases as missing keys, etc etc. It was a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to resuming this summer. (As a side note, bonus points for the BBC productions because they are really great with the details.)

We had planned to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie together and in anticipation we watched the first movie on Christmas Day. Time being what it is, we didn't quite fit it in. So today, as I browsed a book store while talking with amazing!L as she boarded her plane I happened across two new Sherlock inspired novels:
Sherlockian (Synopsis) and
Dust and Shadow (Synopsis)

I picked up "Dust and Shadow" and decided to view the new Sherlock movie before going home again. As one might imagine the theatre was rather busy so I had to wait, reading my new Sherlock novel, before the next viewing. It was very meta. :) I had an empty seat next to me and so I imagined that amazing!L was seated next to me sharing in the experience.

It was a very Sherlock Christmas...and I'm so glad that it wasn't any other way.