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Monday, December 31st, 2012

entry ||posted at 4:14pm
Post style shamelessly stolen from goodconceited. <3

Best book read this year: The City and the City, China Miéville. It was kind of an off-year for reading for me; I didn't five-star a single book on Goodreads. But even when Miéville is not at his best, he's still far better than most.
But also worth mentioning: One in Every Crowd, Ivan E. Coyote; First Spring Grass Fire, Rae Spoon; The Edible City: Toronto's Food from Farm to Fork, collected by Coach House Press; Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, Carmen Aguirre; The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, Michelle Tea
Worst experience: World Made By Hand, James Howard Kunstler. My book club steered me wrong.
Special mention: Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form by Anna Anthropy. It's probably easier to just point you to my rant over on Goodreads.
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Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

entry ||posted at 9:21am
I'm continuing my seeming tradition of only posting when I'm travelling, it seems. I'm on the train to Windsor--currently passing through Woodstock, Ontario--which is transit vehicle two of six for today (TTC streetcar, VIA train to Windsor, Windsor #2/Crosstown bus, Windsor tunnel bus over the border, Detroit People Mover, SMART 530 to my mom's town). I'm working the morning from the train, and then the afternoon from my Detroit office (<3), before heading out for Family Kthxgiving.

Regarding kthxgiving, I also refer you to this cat macro from a few years ago, because it's still cute.

And regarding the Detroit People Mover, I have to take a moment to say that I think it's my favourite name for a transit route ever. It's so wonderfully communist and functional, it could only come from the city of labour. Most transit systems/routes are named for what they are (streetcar, subway, SkyTrain, etc) or where they serve, but the DPM tells you who it's for: it moves people around. <3 (Plus it helps that it's the same physical system as the SRT and the Mark I SkyTrains, which I have a long-time love for.)

Running continues! I am doing my first 10K tomorrow morning: the Turkey Trot in downtown Detroit. My older sister talked me into this, much like the 5K I did in north Detroit back in June. It should be fun; the route map looks really neat, going past a bunch of old and new landmarks, so I'm sure I'll be pic-spamming Twitter as always. I've also got plans to do the Corktown 5K in Detroit in March (see sister-blaming, previous) and the Vancouver Sun Run in Vancouver in April. Yay!

Silly game-playing continues! I'm still playing Guild Wars 2. I've fallen in with a guild of Mostly Older Folk--Older Folk in terms of MMO-playing, anyway. (We think the average age is early 30s. The youngest one I know is 22; there are a good number of people in their 50s and beyond.) So we actually have fun conversations and do neat things. There's none of the sadly standard homophobia, misogyny, or other nastiness you often find in on-line gaming, which...sure, just means 'meets basic standards of humanity,' but it's pathetically rare in that universe. The bulk of them are in Seattle and Tacoma, too, so during that April trip I figure I'll try to get a bunch of them over to Liberty or something.

Mmm, Liberty. Could go for one of those peppercorn tequila infusion things right about now.

Upcoming travel plans: Detroit again in December; Ottawa or Quebec City in January/February; Seattle and Vancouver in April (not sure of exact dates yet, will be booking in January or so); Cape Breton in August.

This has been a really good year. Next year's looking even more awesome.
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Monday, October 8th, 2012

entry ||posted at 4:27pm
I bought plane tickets to Vancouver--and by that I mean, I bought them Saturday at 17:55, and my flight left Sunday at noon--so I'm here now. Staying on isomorphisms's couch, tootling around and having an enjoyable time.

Today, I went for a 19km walk (well, bits of it were a run, but either I'm having some kind of allergic reaction here or am just still exhausted from yesterday's flight, so after a few tries, I gave up and walked), starting at Burrard Station, through Coal Harbour, along the Seaside path all the way around Stanley Park, back through the West End and Yaletown, past Science World, and then back over the Terminal Avenue bridge to the Commercial Drive neighbourhood.

Pretty much everything looked like this:

and this: yes. It was an enjoyable way to spend three hours.

(There was also some of this here:)

Heading back downtown in a bit, by train this time, to have Thanksgiving dinner with maellenkleth. Some other plans with other, non-LJ-using friends, plus sonatine might have a possible sidequest coming up here Thursday.

Back in Toronto Friday night.

Someday (not that this will ever happen) I need to Catalogue Thoughts, both on a bunch of social things and on my standard wanderings in local and federal politics, all of which I've been mentally playing with a lot of late. For now, though, everyone should read Warren Kinsella's new book. I devoured it on the plane ride over here and will be writing it up on Goodreads just as soon as my brain's digested it.
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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:24am
I was going to write about Minneapolis this morning--and probably will, still, once my brain wakes up a bit, but! Family news! I have a second niece! :D

Natalie was born to my older brother, Jeff, and my sister-in-law, Nicole, at 22:22 last night. 6 lb, 9 oz, "has quite a bit of hair, and a good loud cry."

Sadly, this is the Florida branch of the family, so I probably won't see her until Christmas at the earliest.

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Monday, August 27th, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:08am
Good morning, intermoo!

I'm in Ottawa, sitting on goodconceited's couch. It's been a lovely weekend. This morning, I went for a pre-dawn run through a UNESCO world heritage site:

Ottawa is lovely. This is my third time here, and I've always enjoyed my time here. This weekend was no exception. Saturday I got in around lunch time, and goodconceited met me at the train station; we spent most of the afternoon hanging out at his place, catching up on news, books, video games, all the general introvert nerdities. We both went to bed fairly early as I'd gotten up at 4:30am (and he'd gotten up at some similar hour).

Sunday morning, I woke up at 6:20am, rolled over, and saw the cat was lying across the room, staring wide-eyed at me. Just lying there, quietly, staring. I thought, hmm that's weird, and rolled back over for more sleep. I woke up again at 7:15am and she hadn't moved, and was still lying there, staring. "Oh cat, were you staring at me all night long?" Creeeeeeepy cat demon. :3

Sunday was Ottawa Pride! I posted some pictures on Twitter, although, well, it was a pride parade, so. But it was neat. It's been a while since I've been to a smaller-town Pride--this was more on the order of Seattle, rather than Vancouver's large celebration and Toronto's flood-the-streets-with-millions-of-people version. I found a half-metre-tall concrete thing under a tree about five metres back from the street, which I jealously guarded (it was quite hot and humid, and also, well, skin cancer survivor, so I'd rather have the shade and a view than be right up in the crowd). We then went over to Venus Envy to buy books and compare it to the Halifax location, and it wasn't until after I'd bought five books that I found out they had a 20% sale going on (:D). Then we ended the afternoon at my favourite pub in Ottawa, right down a block from Parliament. Spent the evening back at his place, which mostly involved me reading and playing video games and him attempting to do things on a laptop while being attacked by the demon cat.

This morning I went for that run, and am now eating breakfast while typing that post. Working today, then catching the 17:06 express train (zero stops all the way to Toronto! faster and cheaper than airplane! and I get fed dinner and drinks! I love VIARail so much) home. I look forward to returning, Ottawa; you're rather neat. <3
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Friday, August 24th, 2012

entry ||posted at 3:45pm
I feel like the very act of posting to LiveJournal is something of a nostalgic exercise, which makes it the perfect platform for nostalgic posts.

A couple of days ago, an old friend and former (unacknowledged) crush found me out of the blue elsewhere on the internet, and we've been catching up a bit, which has been nice. I ended up in Ontario, and he ended up in medical school. Two very different paths.

It's kicked off a bit of a nostalgia trip, looking through the on-line lives of some of the people I've lost touch with over the years. In a lot of cases, it was for the best, if not something actively sought in ridding baggage of the past. But it's still interesting to look back and then see where they've all gone in life.

Does make you appreciate the people you still have around you all the more, though. I'd like to think I've built a life surrounded by awesome people, and I love you all. I spent a lot of time in the last year chasing down some friendships I thought were fading by simple neglect and, if the other was interested, rebuilding them; it's been a wonderful exercise, and, among other things, made that Vancouver and Seattle trip earlier this year so, so much better.

One of the odd amusements was realizing how I basically have a crush per year. He was the 2009 model. 2008's was someone I miss rather a lot, but life circumstances (i.e. their primary partner hates me for, as best anyone can tell, loltastic reasons--We Have Theories™, and they're kind of hilarious) caused us to lose touch over the years. 2011's was someone who, as I got to know better, I realized they're .. kind of a terrible person! oops!

And 2010's was, of course, goodconceited. Where through magic and sheer force of will on both our parts, we managed to turn back into a good solid friendship, which is awesome. And as a result, I'm off to Ottawa tomorrow for a weekend of hanging out, and also for Ottawa Pride! <3 I posted a bit about this this morning on Tumblr, but to repeat here: if you're going to be there, say hi! And then I will hide in a box like a shy sloth, but hey, I'll at least say hi back. :3

Still accepting applications for 2012, apparently. :3
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Friday, August 3rd, 2012

entry ||posted at 10:09pm
Everything, travel-wise, in yesterday's post fell apart. It's a longish story, but if you've worked in startups, you're familiar with it. (Very short version: work trip got cancelled; suddenly I had no flight home; flights home this close to the date are already over $600 for one way.) So this means no Halifax this month.

However, while cancelling everything, I also booked some new stuff. I'm going to be on a train tomorrow morning (6:40am, ugh; doing laundry right now so I can get to bed with enough time before my 4:45am alarm) to Montreal! I've found a cute little place to stay--someone's flat that they rent out to visitors--and will be near Marché Atwater, on the Concordia side. I think the only person I still know in Montreal already knows, but if anyone else is going to be there, let me know!

Current plan is to come back Tuesday, but I bought the tickets on VIA points, which means fully exchangeable and cancellable. I might stay an extra day or two. Who knows. (I have nothing I need to be in Toronto for until Friday morning, when I have to go in for a poking and prodding at my new family doctor's office.) The funny thing is that my Montreal place is cheaper than my Halifax place, which meant a net credit back to my card, and the trains are free, so booking this trip sorta kinda cost me negative dollars. :3 (And I now have a small pile of Air Canada credit for my next trip, sometime in the next year.)

Still talking about Boston (actually staying in the Boston area, rather than one day in Boston and the rest in CT) later this month, and will let the Boston folks know as soon as I know. Ideally, it'll be the last week of August, with me flying Saturday morning over to Minneapolis, but who knows at this point?

(eeeeee Montreal. Tomorrow will be trains, then wanderings with my space scientist/Canadian Space Agency friend and her sister, then meeting ljtourist's train, then drinks. It has been way too long since I went over there.)
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Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:48am
I've been at my current job for a year, as of this morning. That...sure went by fast.

This post got long! Table of contents: introduction, travel bits, money bits, book and video game bits, conclusion.


Travel bits! I've put these off until the last minute because they keep changing, and they're still changing. But: I will be in Halifax from the 6th (next Monday! wow) until the 11th or 12th. There's about a 70% chance I'm heading to Boston on the 12th, and will be in Boston and Hartford from the 12th to 16th--this is for work, mostly, but there will be hanging out time, if it goes through. If not, the 30% remaining means me either taking the train or a flight home from Halifax and getting back to Toronto on the 12th.

Then probably Ottawa from the 24thish to the 27thish (some dates around that weekend) because hi goodconceited! Next, possibly Boston (especially if the 12th-16th trip falls through) the 28th to the 1st or so; maellenkleth and I have talked about making that happen, but there are Some Major Concerns that have come up on their end, so no promises on anything, but it's possible. And finally, Labour Day weekend I'm talking about going to Minneapolis with feignedapathy and .

Ridiculously busy month! But I've travelled almost zero this year--one big trip in May, and a couple visits to the family. I haven't even been to Quebec this year. :o So I guess it's all coming together before summer ends... Also, the only actually purchased ticket is on the 6th, and so the rest of that is still in a state of flux. But, heads up for people in those towns, I'm hoping to be seeing you at some point this month!


It'll sound silly to say this after the preceding section, but: this has been a planned year of living frugally. And it's not fun. :| My one big expenditure for the year was that May west coast trip, which I'd saved up quite a bit for. But otherwise: I decided at the beginning of the year that if I spent one year being super frugal about everything, I'd be able to have a lot more fun in the years to come. And so far it's gone well.

It's gotten harder starting in July, though--due to Some Shenanigans on the part of the HR company my employer used to contract out payroll and benefits to, combined with me having a somewhat nasty flare-up of mental health issues earlier this year and thus not actually keeping a close eye on them, I am now having the joy of several hundred dollars a month in extra withholding through the rest of 2012. That, plus me attempting to continue to throw at least a thousand dollars a month at my student loans, plus normal taxes, is a lot!

But where have I gotten this year?

Student loans are almost gone, which is the most amazing thing. When I left school, I had just over $50,000 in debt, because hooray USA. ($78,000 in tuition, plus Seattle living expenses, minus working full time while going to school full time...) I am now 86% done paying them off, and should have it all gone next February. (I was 66% done in January; I've put just over $10k at them this year so far.)

Also, I have a tiny house fund. Like, a fund dedicated to getting a house in Montreal, or some land in Cape Breton, or something like that someday. (I hold out no real hope of buying anything in Toronto, as it is quickly becoming New Vancouver in terms of real estate. Not quite as bad yet, but rapidly getting there. Condos are already a losing game, and even an entry-level house is just not in the realm of reality.) My hope is to have that 20% down ready in the next couple of years, and then make Some Decisions.

The idea of a pile of land to play with in Cape Breton is kind of fun, and then mostly living in a rental in Toronto... it makes more sense if I go into the extended version, but that's for another day. But it also blows my mind that I could actually afford to buy an actual, fully-detached, for-reals house in my favourite neighbourhood in Montreal, which is very tempting; Montreal's a great city, but...I really love Toronto. So. Who knows! The point of the exercise right now is that A Separate Very Small but Growing Pile of Money is a wonderfully flexible thing, and I can make the actual decisions on what to do with it further down the road.

And finally, before anyone is like 'you are talking frugal but still travelling': I .. haven't, much. And basically everything listed above is cheap; an entire week in Halifax, including flights, is under $500; work pays all the costs on the Boston stuff; and both the Minneapolis and Ottawa trips are travelling on points and crashing with friends.


One of the fun side effects of this living frugal thing has been not buying books (aside from one splurge at Glad Day while friends were in town) and video games (aside from a bunch of Steam sale stuff)--which has led to me actually going through my library and reading/playing stuff I bought ages ago. Turns out, a lot of things I bought and forgot about are really good!

Games: I generally have something from Steam and something on the 360 running in parallel. Just finished S-ranking Spacechem, which completely ate my brain for a few weeks there. Also I'm working through Assassin's Creed II, which .. I kind of expected to not like? and I'm not sure why? but it's really good! My same complaints on AC1 apply--I still think I wanted this series to be more like Thief: The Dark Project, where stealth is rewarded over combat, especially because the combat in the AC games is just not fun. But other than that, AC2 is pretty great. I definitely prefer the setting of the first one, but what they've done with Renaissance Italy is stunningly beautiful. And there's just more to do--AC1 often felt like a proof of concept, where what was there was good, but eventually it turned into repeating the same tasks over and over. AC2 still has a bit of repetition, but the level of repetition is mostly controlled by you: do you really want to go around collecting all the seals and treasures and feathers? If so, sure, that's repetitious, but if not, that's okay, you can beat the game anyway. (...So far, I am. Because I'm me.)

Having finished Spacechem, I've started The Legend of Grimrock, which is basically a new Eye of the Beholder game. AND IT NAILS IT. They even have a mode where it disables the in-game map so you have to bust out graph paper 1993-style! (I didn't turn that on.) Only real complaint: it's Windows-only, so I rarely play it as I have to reboot in order to do so. Next after AC2 on the 360 pile is probably Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.

Books: Currently working my way through Beyond Binary, a genderqueer science fiction and fantasy collection, massively disappointing so far. One story by Kelley Eskridge completely blew my mind and led me to wish-list everything she's ever written. Otherwise, they've mostly been generic fantasy, and most of the stories don't even have any kind of genderqueer or sexually-fluid aspect at all--it's like, well, that story was okay, but it wasn't great, and it didn't fit the theme, so what is even going on here? I'm also just starting Ursula K. Leguin's The Left Hand of Darkness, which I should've read years ago, but whatever. And I'm about to start Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre, which has been on my shelf for a while, was chosen as Canada Reads 2012's book of the year, and is my next pick for my co-worker book club (we take turns choosing books).


Okay, that got long. Uh. Back to work, I guess. :3
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Saturday, July 28th, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:03am
I hosted my first house concert! Yay!

The band in question is CRIME and the Forces of Evil, which is solarbird's band. She and annathepiper were staying with me for a few days here in this fine city, which meant about 35km of walking around and showing them the town, and then on their last night here, a house concert.

I even took a video; I haven't posted one before to LJ, so I hope this works:

(I took a few others, but one really didn't turn out, and the others, um, I've been lazy and haven't gotten to.) epi_lj took four videos and posted them here.

It was a lot of fun--both the concert itself, which I thought was really good, and the whole hosting thing. I think I should do it again sometime, definitely, now that I have a house in which to hold house concerts. :3
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Saturday, June 30th, 2012

entry ||posted at 6:15pm

Oops, a month went by without posting. Hmm...

I'm in Detroit this weekend. Right now, I'm sitting in my mom's living room, while my little sister plays Skylanders on her PS3. Today, I had my second race; my older sister, little brother, uncle, and I ran the 5K while my mom and little sister walked it. Five kilometres up an exurban road. Kinda neat. Totally exhausting.

A month ago I was in Seattle, which was also an excellent trip. In between was, well, June. Not a whole lot to report; lots of good stuff, but none of it super standout. Also, exhausted, what with getting up at 5:40am. :3


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Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

entry ||posted at 9:41pm
I'm about a mile behind on everything internet-related, as I've been here on the west coast for 11 days now. Tomorrow morning, I'm flying back to Toronto, and will hopefully have some time on the plane to sort through pictures so I can share. This weekend, I'll be catching up on comments, e-mails, and the like, so I'm sorry if it seems like I've been ignoring you. I haven't! I've just been off-line. }:D

The trip was amazing in every way, and it was so good to see all of you again--some of whom I haven't seen in over five years. I will try hard to ensure it doesn't take another five before the next meeting at the Inn of the Last Home.

But for now, time to finish cleaning and packing, then sleep, for 5:00am bus to train to plane to subway to bus or streetcar to home.
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Sunday, May 20th, 2012

entry ||posted at 3:14am
It's kind of strange how I never know what goes in LJ and what goes other places anymore. But I had an amazing 16 1/2-hour day all over this fine city, internet, and I wrote about it over on the tumblrs.

It includes a giant puppy and a drunk pigeon.
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Monday, May 14th, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:45am
It's 8:30, and I've already gone for my run, had breakfast, and done my daily French lesson. Sometimes I wonder who I am and what I've done with cow; turning into a ~morning person~ over the last year or two has been quite a surprise.

Really, what it is is that I've taken to rising with the sun. My bedroom is the 3rd-floor loft, and it has giant east-facing window/sunroof things built into the slope of the roof, and I really love waking up to a pile of sunlight. So right now, that means I've been getting up around 6:15. In the winter, I get up more like 8:00.

Haven't posted much lately, other than the travel stuff, because a lot of my life is this way. I'm doing a lot of really neat stuff, but none of it is the sort of stuff that makes for a great blog post. I guess that'll be changing more and more as we get into summer? And also, I need to dump the 200 or so photos from my camera and see if any make a good photopost. But first, more coffee.
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Saturday, May 12th, 2012

entry ||posted at 5:16pm
Just finalized the last of the travel plans for the west coast trip. The farm portion has been cancelled due to Conflicts, many of them a work-based nature; nearly-infinite flexibility ran up against the unchangeably inflexible nature of the Deep South. Meh. Such is life.

But! I am still coming west, as I had already booked other bits and it should be a good time. Here is the rough overview:

* Sunday, 20 May, evening: arrive Vancouver International Airport
* Thursday, 24 May, morning: depart Coal Harbour Seaplane Base ( }:D )
* Thursday, 24 May, mid-morning: arrive Victoria Harbour Water Aerodrome (because any day involving an aerodrome is an awesome day), have just over 2 hours in which I can grab breakfast and wander downtown, then depart from said airport
* Thursday, 24 May, early afternoon: arrive Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base on Lake Union, Seattle
* Thursday, 31 May, unfortunately early in the morning: depart Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

So yes. I will be in Vancouver for a few days and Seattle for about a week. And Victoria for 2 hours, 45 minutes, because I love ridiculous adventures (and because 2 seaplanes in a giant < shape + a nearly-3-hour layover is STILL FASTER than Amtrak travelling in a direct line). Note that the Vancouver time is Victoria Day weekend (although I'll be working that Monday), and the Seattle time is Memorial Day weekend (and I won't be working that day). Only things solidly booked so far are the evening of Wednesday the 23rd and the daytime of Saturday the 26th. I have a bit of a list of things I'd like to do, so it's just fitting them in with people and times.

Yay! Adventures! Tea and drinks and wanderings! See you soon, west coast!
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Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

entry ||posted at 11:50pm
Whoa, it's May! (...and three weeks from today I'll be in Vancouver! Just shy of two years since I moved away, and I haven't been this should be interesting.)

On Sunday, I did my first race: a 5K along the Lake Ontario waterfront. Cutting a bunch of psychology and running stuff that most people don't care about.Collapse )

My next run will be Run the Plank, a new 5K being organized by my mom's church and two others along the same street. After running a Lake Ontario boardwalk, doing a 5K up an exurban street will be less interesting, for sure, trading sun and sand for strip malls. But it's also going to be a family affair; my older sister did her first 5K about a month ago in Detroit, so we'll both be running in it. Also, it's a 5K run/walk, so my mom and my other siblings are going to walk it.

I think I've decided that this year is the year I get over my water anxiety and actually learn to swim. Yeah, .. I don't know how to swim. Yes, I lived in Florida for four years in a house with a pool in the backyard and I never learned how to swim. Kayaking and sailing always seemed fun, but I can't swim. Plus, I'd really like to be able to go to the monthly trans/genderqueer swimming and social nights my community centre puts on. (And it also makes a really good cross-training activity now that I'm getting more into running.) And did I mention there's a free public pool across the street from my house? So yes. It is ridiculous that I can't swim. I need to fix this.

Been doing incredibly neat stuff at work, lately. The sort of thing where I already have permission to write a journal article or a talk about it, because it's both neat and relevant to other people in the field. As of tomorrow, I'll have been at my current employer for nine months already! Time flies zoomfast lately.

And I'm very excited about the upcoming trip. With the exception of two weekends in Detroit with family, I haven't left town since I went to Boston back in January. I haven't even been to Montreal since December! It is time to get out of town.
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Friday, April 27th, 2012

entry ||posted at 11:25am
A bit of a trip update: I've got the first two sections booked. (Air Canada doesn't charge any different cost for one-way versus round trip, and prices are Going Up Rapidly, so I booked the flight *to* Vancouver, at least.)

I'll be arriving Vancouver late in the evening of Sunday, the 20th of May. It looks like I'll be staying with isomorphisms there (she's in the vicinity of Commercial Drive) through Thursday, at which point I will head south to Seattle. I'll be in Seattle May 24-31; I've found a really fair deal on a nice place on Capitol Hill (19th and John, to be specific; me and the 43 bus will be bff once again), so I'll be there. I've had a few places offered, and I appreciate that, but given the short trip and the number of things I want to do and people I want to see, it seemed having somewhere central was worth the cost.

Some logistics issues have come up re: the farm thing, so that may or may not be happening; we're discussing them and I'm trying to work around problems. So either May 31 I'll be heading back to Toronto or down to Olympia. But I wanted to announce the firmly-booked sections now so that Plans Can Be Made.

What's wild is that I'm leaving for Vancouver in just over 3 weeks. Where on earth did the first third of the year go?!
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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:59am
Hi, intermoo!

So I'll be heading west in a few weeks for about a month. Exciting! The main part of this is that I'll be housesitting--and, more specifically, goat-and-peacock-and-other-bird-sitting--for caladri and corivax. Which is going to be really interesting, and I'm looking forward to it, both for animal time and for vacation/resting time.

But I'll also be taking a week in Seattle! Currently thinking I'll spend the week before--24-31 May, give or take a day--in Seattle, then be down on the farm from 31 May-16 June, then back to Toronto. This also means I'll be there for Memorial Day weekend, which hopefully means more social time! (I'm on American holidays again, so I, too, have it off.)

Then, back to Toronto on the 16th, and then over to Detroit (if I have the energy) because my mom's church is organizing a 5K through her exurban neighbourhood on the 24th, and my mom, sister, and I are all hoping to do it, which sounds fun. (Basically it's Romeo Plank north from 21 to 24 Mile, if you know the area at all, which is unlikely, but.)

Then, back to Toronto because I've been asked to be a volunteer co-ordinator again for The 519's Pride celebrations. Last year we had 400 volunteers and 44,000 attendees in our tiny park, and sold $375,000 in booze alone. It's probably the most exhausting thing I do all year, but it funds all of the awesome programming we do--the city only funds the building and keeping the lights on, and while the federal government kicks in money for our queer refugee programs, most of what else we do (homeless and underhoused drop-in meals, queer parenting classes and oh-my-i-need-adult-time-while-the-kids-play programs, trans sex worker drop-in meals, counseling, income tax and free legal service clinics, etc.) gets funded through donations and through events like Pride. So I need to be there.

And then I'm going to sleep for like a week. :3
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Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

entry ||posted at 12:00am

(courtesy cumaeansibyl, via Tumblr)

I'm pretty sure this is just an edited caption, BUT STILL. ♥ ♥ And it did cause me to learn that Pokémon Black has a battle subway, where you ride trains and battle Pokémon.

I really got that whole thing out of my system with French FireRed last year, so I don't really feel the need to play it. But...battle subway!

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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

entry ||posted at 8:30am
Topic two for today! randomdreams asked me to talk about running, and getting into it.

I've been at it for about four weeks now, and it's really starting to pay off. The first, and strongest, piece of advice I can give you is to take it slow and be patient with yourself.

...It also helps when your city suddenly gets a fake-summer when it would normally still be below 0. It's going to be 26 degrees and sunny today; it's been in the 20s for about a week. This makes everything easier. But I got started in mid-February, and I had a couple of sub-zero wind-in-your-face runs. It's a doable thing, if not necessarily a fun thing.

Many of the running guides I've seen talk about distance--'today, run 2.5 km'--but don't talk about pace. Even the one I'm using, which is one of the RunKeeper FitnessClass things--will just say 'slow', 'moderate', or 'fast'. It's very tempting to go faster, to push yourself harder--but actually, this ends up counterproductive. If I run at the pace I feel I should be running at (not that I should be running at, but that my illogical side thinks I should do), I poop out at about 1.3 kilometres at this point. But on Tuesday, I forced myself to go super slow--almost painfully so--and did a 6.1-kilometre run, without breaking running stride once.

(Have I mentioned how much I love being a short walk from the lake, all these amazing beaches, and the boardwalk? Have I mentioned it like a billion times? Okay, then.) I even had enough energy at the end to run back up from the beach to Queen Street, which is an 18 metre climb. That pretty much took the last out of me, though.

Right now, the training plan is roughly to run every other day on an 8-day cycle. Runs 1 and 3 (days 1 and 5) are to go at a more moderate pace for a shorter distance; today is one of those days, and I'm aiming for 3.25 km today. Run 2 (day 3) is interval training; run at full throttle for a bit, then jog/walk a bit, repeat several times. The last one of these was [60 sec hard run, 90 sec slow], repeat 8 times; during the hard runs, I aimed for a sub-6min/km pace, which just feels good. Run 4 (day 7) is to go at a slow, almost jogging pace, but just run for as long as you possibly can.

Each of these stretches a different bit of muscle and cardio. The moderate-pace runs really push what you want to aim for in a race, and give you a good sense of where you're at; it also works on cardio a lot. Intervals training is for strength; it's a lot like weight lifting. The slow, but long-distance, runs are all about stamina. (That, and confidence. I can look at that run I did on Tuesday and say to myself: look, I already can run the 5K I want to do in five weeks. Everything from here to there is just working on pace.)

The last piece of advice is to find friends who also run. Sadly, none of my Toronto friends do, but both my boss and my sorta-boss are way into it, as are some of my friends elsewhere; we've got each other added on RunKeeper, so we see what each other are doing, cheer each other on, share tips, that sort of thing. The community really makes it easier, especially on bad days. You will have bad days. Don't let them stop you. (Also, don't be afraid to say, it's just not working today, I give up today...but come back the next time and try again.)

I have to say, though, I'm amazed at how good it feels. When I finished my last round of intervals, I was completely drained and sore, but full of delicious endorphins. After the run on Tuesday, I still felt okay...right up until I stopped running and switched to walking, at which point everything from my lower back down felt like rubber and I sort of wobbled through my 5-minute cooldown to get to the streetcar stop. But I also was like YEAH! I DID IT! YEAAAAAH!. It's a bit hard to explain, since it's all in that intangible emotional space, but it's far more addicting than I expected.
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entry ||posted at 8:29am
I made a hat! }:D

... but I couldn't get a decent picture of it, so, there's that. It's from this Knitty pattern, so you can see better pictures of it there. :3

I actually made two of them; the first is much smaller, since I needed to teach myself knitting in the round and cabling and such, and so I did that as a proof of concept. This is really the first thing I've knitted that wasn't just a rectangle or square. Very cool. :3

Miko, one of the owners of/awesome people at my neighbourhood yarn shop, next recommended a fingerless glove pattern that also does a bit of cabling, since I was curious what to try next. (I'm not feeling quite ready to branch out into more interesting yarns; the hat is made with Cascade 220, as are the gloves. Maybe my next project.)

(sonatine has requested a hat like this, too, but in this colour; the Purl was sold out, making this my first Yarn Special Order™. :3)
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