Writer's Block: Fast-food TV

To be honest, there aren't any that I watch right now, but when I was a kid, I rather liked watching Seventh Heaven. That show was ridiculously family-values, religious and well… a lot of things that I am not. That said, I found it a sort of surreptitious addition.

Strange how I don't have any of those anymore… At least not in the tv universe.

Yummy Food, Friends, and Fun!

Yesterday I FINALLY made it to Edmonton Alley Burgers in the alley behind 100 Bar + Kitchen. It was a very delicious lamb burger (the best lamb burger I have ever had!) for a measly $5. We didn't even have to line up for terribly long — maybe half an hour. Afterwards JD and I stopped at Subway so that HE could get something to eat (being vegetarian and all), and then we were off to Grant's party.

Grant's party was a good chance to reconnect with some folks I hadn't seen for a longish while. Good conversations certainly — the party seemed a bit more low key than others I've attended, but maybe we're getting older, Grant's place is getting nicer (I like what he's done with it in the last year), and well that suited me just fine.

This morning was David's birthday brunch potluck party. I finally made it to the Elm Cafe (I've been following it on Twitter for months and months now, so it's a great thing that I was finally able to visit) and picked up some chicken waffles as my contribution to the gathering (it was that or go to the farmer's market — I made the best choice though!). The chicken waffles were a big hit — they were gone pretty quickly! And gosh was there ever a great assortment of brunch-ish food. David's friends really know how to cook! I even came home with a vague recipe for some rum syrup (which I had on crepes). Something great to make with some of the rum I came home with from Jamaica! 🙂 Anyway, the party was a good opportunity to catch up with people, meet some new ones, and eat delicious food.

Upon my return home, JD and I went for a bike ride to Velocity Cycle where he purchased his long desired Brooks B17 bike saddle. He just left now for a second bike ride today to test it out (and start breaking it in). He really does like his quality bike accessories (etc.). Having a high quality leather bike saddle seems like a pretty neat idea so I'm hoping he likes his!

Summer days and all that stuff…

I'm VERY SLOWLY making headway on all the tasks I had planned for May. It's relatively relaxing and stressful (alternately) but I am getting stuff done. JD's alternately really motivating to do household chores and exercise (bike ride) and distracting from some of my other daily tasks. Which all together isn't a bad thing.

Yesterday we rode for 19.5 km in the river valley — a bit of a shorter trip, but there were lots of hills, and I still don't deal so well with uphill stretches, though I'm getting stronger I think.

Speaking of motivation to exercise, I joined a new social network for exercising (in the hopes of keeping up with it: I have 8 invites to Fitocracy, the social game you play to level up your fitness. Snag one using this link! http://ftcy.co/leM4SX

Writer's Block: Mother Monster returns

I think that her songs are powerful. Not just in the whole earworm kind of way but also in the messages that she tries to put forward. I say tries, because I highly doubt that everyone listens to them for the messages, but the songs themselves are worth listening to — if only for their unique or interesting musical sound.. She's a success in many ways and I think something should be said for that — afterall she's no tween musical sensation. Sure she's not my favorite artist, but I do kind of like paying attention to what comes from her.

Interesting question, really.

More biking adventures… and some adventures in homemaking too I guess!

On Friday night I went for a pretty long bike ride — my longest ever I imagine. It was about 30 kilometers in total (around 15 km each way). We rode to JD's mom's place and then back. On the way there it was still light out and we rode through downtown, along the LRT path, down Fort Road and up to their place. On the way back we rode in the dark through some river valley paths before I got tired of hills and darkness, and the sound of people setting off fireworks (illegally — particularly given the fire ban) in the river valley and rode the rest of the way back home through downtown. I'm pretty pleased that I'm CAPABLE of riding that far, let alone that I was able to do it. JD's expensive light really helped things (mine were decent but his was brighter — almost blindingly though on occasion). I wouldn't have ridden that far without his company, particularly after dark!

Yesterday was a pretty full day. I went to the farmer's market with David where I picked up some carrots and a bumbleberry pie, before getting a new haircut by Jackie. In the afternoon we cleaned up a bit, and I made some pizza from scratch before we entertained JD's mom and stepdad for dinner. We followed that by playing Scene It (JD's mom, like my mom is really good at movie trivia. They both have watched a LOT of movies!). After they left, JD suggested we watch a movie, and I produced a couple of free Empire Theatre passes I had saved so we went to see Source Code in an almost empty theatre and ate yummy frozen yogurt (and JD had popcorn and Skittles).

All in all it's been a pretty darn good long weekend (I work tomorrow and get paid double time).

Writer's Block: Dynamite with a laser beam

This is a great question. It shows exactly why I love Lamb so very much:

I burn like a good bonfire
In whatever I do
I burn like a good bonfire
And I know I`ll come through

That's very much how I want to live my life, and why I find this as one of my absolutely favorite songs.

It feels good to be movin'… but not so great when I'm THIS sore.

I'm rather good at overdoing things. For the past week I've been back to cautiously doing the Wii Fit thing again. Sure my wrist pain's been no better than previously as of late, but I know that I have to be active. I love biking again (it's fun!), though my wrists aren't terrible fans of the carrying of my bike among other tasks for example. And EA Sports Active was a bit too stressful on my wrists on a continual basis so I'm back to the Wii Fit I think. So we'll see.

But yesterday, I did a Wii Fit strength workout — pretty much the first time I've even attempted normal pushups since the worst of my wrist problems began. And as per usual, I pushed myself (because that's what I do when I exercise — I enjoy it too actually). So today I'm damn sore: my legs, my glutes, my hips, my abs and my back and shoulders to different extents are sore. But heck, while losing weight isn't really my concern (though it wouldn't be harmful really), I really would like to have more general fitness, body tone and flexibility. And damn it, while I'm imperfect, this does require work. In the summers it is easier obviously, but as a grad student I still have to work at it.

When I'm traveling, I focus on walking frequently, being active, and enjoying experiences I don't usually get to do. Yes, I eat a fair bit — but that goes without saying given my love of flavours. When I'm at home as a grad student, I sit a lot. And that to me is a bigger problem — my joints don't tend to love it for example. So it's a constant battle. But I do feel better about myself when I'm active. And while I'm really sore this morning, I've got to remember that it's for a very worthwhile reason. And maybe, just maybe, one day I'll learn not to overdo it so badly… but we'll see about that.

Writer's Block: Tobacco road

Given the fact that I have huge problems breathing when there is tobacco smoke (or most other kinds of smoke) in the air, yes I would find it ideal that people do not smoke in public. However, it would be really resource intensive to enforce it properly and thus I doubt that it will occur in the short term without undue use of police resources that would be better put to use combating other crimes in all likelihood. That said it is a nice thought to be able to go walking downtown without getting the occasional unintentional lungful of carcinogen infested air.

Bicycles, Wind Gusts, Sushi, oh my!

So I haven't been writing terribly much as of late — my to-do list only grows and grows and who knows how I'll get everything done. That said, life goes swell lately with the noteable exception of my wrists which hate me this morning (among other mornings) due to my having biked last night and they don't much like that. I think I need to buy some biking gloves — preferably ones that are compatible with my wrist tensor bandages (I tried more sturdy wrist guards for all of a week — they made my wrists numb in very disconcerting ways. These are thus the best solution).

Regardless, I did, as noted, buy a bike last week. This week, JD bought a (considerably more high end, fancier, more pricey, light, road) bike so we've been out riding a couple of times. I still want to buy a pannier for my bike rack, but beyond that and bike gloves (and maybe eventually if I find one on sale that I like at some point, a nice light shell etc.) I think I've acquired most of what I would like by way of biking gear. I'm not a terribly good or fast biker, but it is fun.

Yesterday we rode at night. I like the fact that I have lights — they certainly help things a bit. The hard part though was that it's so very windy as of late!! The gusts were pretty unpredictable and uncomfortable/scary for one such as me who hasn't done much biking for quite a number of years. I didn't hate biking, but I definitely prefer not having such gusts! My wrists get all tense from biking (similar I think to the tension I felt back when I drove… only gosh darn more painfully annoying).

Last night I finally made it out to #yegSushi with JD. A tonne of fun, we had perhaps a bit much to eat (though that is totally the usual result of all-you-can-eat sushi, really!). The hijinx of the group was pretty great. I realized yet again how great (NOT!) I can be with names, but whatever. It was a wonderful evening just the same.

If I had one wish at this point it would be for my wrists to get better/stop being as annoying. Of course I have what seems like a zillion of other things to work on too, but that's a start!

Brief notes re: Jamaica, Kiwanis, CKI and more!

In case you haven't noticed, I was in Jamaica for about a week. And as usual I don't really feel like writing an epic blog post chronicling my travels (I don't usually). However, I thought I'd post a few musings.

– I rather like flights with seatback tvs. While flights with in-flight movies that you cannot choose yourself are good (better than flights with no in flight entertainment), the option to choose when to sleep and what to watch is pretty darn useful.
– The weather in Jamaica is rather uniform. Perhaps this is because we were there during a drought of sorts, but it was still rather predictable in this sense.
– The food in Jamaica is mouth-wateringly good. I was so impressed! Callaloo, ackee, saltfish, bammy, breadfruit, dumpling, squash, scotch bonnet peppers, escoveitch fish, Jamaican patties, curried goat, the list goes on and on! And certainly, the soft drinks are really good too: Ting, Ginger Beer, and Malta!
– I wouldn't want to drive (even if I drove) in Jamaica. And this isn't just the fact that they drive on the left side of the road either. There simply aren't the same noise bylaws, shoulders on the roads, sidewalks and whatnot that we might expect in Canada. And no, generally seatbelts aren't worn in taxis, most being rather non-functional.
– The beaches in Montego Bay have some of the softest cleanest sand I have ever experienced on a beach. I was very impressed.
– Pools should use small tiles: large tiles (ie. over a foot square) are condusive to slippery-ness. I did fall and my scrapes/cut are still healing. Nothing serious of course though!
– Easter Monday is very much observed in Jamaica.
– It feels really good to not limit myself to tourist traps — interacting with local Kiwanians really made this trip awesome!
– The need for service (to children and otherwise) in Jamaica is everpresent. Our trip to the West Haven Children's Home, the Easter Egg Hunt in Sandy Beach, and the Day Care in Sandy Beach were all examples of the need for service in Mo-Bay.
– Tourism is the major industry in Jamaica, followed by Boxite and Sugar Cane. Sugar Cane trucks remind me of logging trucks that we see in Canada. It is so bizarre realizing just how many people are involved in the tourism industry in Jamaica!
– Jamaica has seen a LOT of growth (in many different areas) in the past several decades, and continues to grow and change.
– Many places do not realize just how much more the Canadian dollar is worth as of late when compared to the American dollar. It is also interesting to note that when paying in Jamaican dollars, sometimes one receives a MUCH better deal (sometimes not though…).
– I definitely still don't do well with trying to have a vacation: I like to stay far too busy for my own good.
– It is really interesting and unexpected when my netbook decides that it doesn't want to connect or stay connected to the internet.
– We got almost more Canadian TV stations in our hotel than we do in Canada — this was strange! It made watching the Royal Wedding really easy though.
– Kiwanis service projects and fundraising projects really do rally the community. In addition, Kiwanis club members who are active tend to be VERY active when compared to the same in many other areas of Kiwanis. I was very impressed. Meetings can truly vary — sure titles may matter more as may do agendas, but FUN is DEFINITELY had.
– CKIers certainly can and do a LOT.
– It seems odd to me to be in a place where the best public transit is the taxi (which can be cheap for locals), and even more odd for gas prices to be as much as 4 times what they are in Canada (and you thought Canadian gas prices were high!).
– Anyway I had an ABSOLUTELY excellent trip, spent less money than I had budgeted (so I probably CAN afford to buy a good new bicycle this month?), and met some absolutely wonderful people. Perhaps this will teach me to research meeting up with local Kiwanians when I travel more often (though something tells me I may not always have the time to do this, as much as I will try), but a service trip like this one was the perfect mix of travel, vacation, service work, fellowship, leadership, and food. I hope to have many more of the same!

Now to get back to catching up on email and all the many things neglected while I was on this trip.