For you, the dress code is casual.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Reflecting Kinda Post on a Friday Night

Wow, what a week. Ups, downs, and all arounds.

Dealt with the towed bike today. $106. Holy fucking hell. Oh, right, yeah, my scooter was towed. I wrote a rant on the other blog. $106. That doesn't even include the ticket I'm contesting.

My first paycheque's always tight 'cos I have rent, insurance, and a couple other small bills. I seldom get social at the beginning of the month. I focus on silly things like food and maybe some videos. But $106 for a ticket I think is totally fucking bogus because it goes against everything I was taught about parking by an actual parking enforcement officer, THAT pisses me off. But I'm dealing.

And while I'll be broke off my ass, tonight I'm dining on ginger-teriyaki salmon, grilled balsamic asparagus, "grill fries" my style with sea salt, and fire-roasted corn on the cob. Fan-fucking-tastic. Like, wow. Took me 20 minutes to cook, and has virtually no oil involved. Very, very healthy stuff. The corn didn't even need salt, it was so sweet and lightly charred. Mm-mm good.

On the upside of being broke, I can afford veggies and beans, so it'll be a nice and healthy couple weeks. Ha. Then again, I do have some fish in the freezer, so I can eat that as well. Sunday's my foodie day on the cheap so I don't need to spend money for five days. Beans and sausages, Steff-goes-Italian style of my own creation (lots of peppers and tomatoes and Italian sausage, too), and baked falafels for sandwiches all week. Beans for lunch every day, energy food post-stairs and for cycling! Then falafel at night for casual couch food. Cheap, $25 total, likely, since I already made my tzatziki a few days ago. :) Have fish some night for variety and health, and the week'll be taken care of. It'll be a fun foodie day, and it'll take the edge off being a little too broke for comfort, knowing whatever else happens I'll be eating nicely all week.

Eating seafood (and enjoying it) is something I've been trying to train myself to do for a long time. This is the first time I'm succeeding with it. I never would've imagined I'd be eating salmon and appreciating it. I used to retch at the smell of it. But it's part of being so sick of being sick and tired and weak all the time, and changing my life for the better.

I'm still working hard at the total-overhaul thing. I make no great leaps or strides in any one area in any short amount of time, but the progress I've made this year in all areas of my life really do make me proud of myself. It's been difficult, the struggle to believe in myself during the wearying work of it all. But I've held on. It's good. :)

My website's improving a lot, and my traffic continues to improve. I've tripled the traffic and quadrupled my feed subscribers. I've gone up in Technorati's rankings from 376,000th up to 109,000, and all since about February sometime. Not too shabby. Gonna take a lot more work now to increase the traffic. I'm building credibility, figuring my writing's strong enough to draw traffic on its own merits, but I got to start doing the commenting-everywhere thing so people start trying to track down my work. It's what I did before to get readers. Trick is, they got to be good comments, right? Otherwise who cares. I'm not really "on" enough to be a sharp commenter right now, so. Hey.

Then the weight's a huge accomplishment but still needs more work. I've lost between 32-36 pounds depending on the day (jesus) and every single piece of clothing is loose or flat-out too big. It's ridiculous, yet awesome.

Money's still a drag but I'm sorting shit out. It doesn't just improve overnight. I'm still playing catch-up from the lean times.

It all adds up. Slowly but surely. And this food thing, well, that's been a life-long struggle. Eating a good meal like this surprises me, honestly, since it involves salmon, healthy stuff, little fat, tons of flavour, and no bread. I mean, hey, it's a good thing.

Ahh, yes, full and contented now, time to take a breather. Enjoy your weekend. My Saturday's a concert, tix taken care of with an IOU-when-my-ass-can-get-it from a buddy, a barbecue from the freezer for my friends. But it'll be awesome, I'm sure. Then I can be broke and satisfied. The Von Bondies. Cool. There are songs where the idea of being in a small sweaty venue with 400 other people when the band throws down is just EVERYTHING that being a music fan is about. The Von Bondies' C'mon C'mon is one of those anthemic songs that just unleashes energy on ya like you wouldn't believe. I can't wait to hear that, and will throw a stool if I do not.

I will throw a stool if I do not!

Okay, I won't, but I'll visualize it and swear lots!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm multi-tasking and stretching my legs before I shower and zip to work. My friend came by for brekkie of muffins, after we climbed the stairs, and I've never been happier to see someone wheezing and huffing! Makes me realize the stairs ARE hard, and it's not just me. :) Panting, gasping, praying for God to smite ya... thems the stairs!

Ooh, The Evil Stairs! I gotta do 'em tomorrow again, see if I can finally break past 26 floors!!

So That's Effective

My friend'll be here within the hour for muffins and agony, but I think I'll be falling asleep on the couch before she gets here. I'll call it a nap. :P

So I just checked my blog on Technorati. Now it's in the top 115,000 on there... far better than being ranked 385,000th in the world, and the raise has been in less than two months. Cool. :) Long ways to go and now the progress will slow, but that's fine!

Monday, May 26, 2008

When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn to New York

Crazy frigging tornadoes, eh?

Whew. Mother Nature's had a burr in her bum this past month or two. Hollywood producers everywhere are wondering when it's finally all going to rain down on New York so all their stupid fucking "volcanoes in New York!" and "twister pandemonium in New York!" and "asteroid hits New York!" fucking melodrama might have an iota of credence.

Jesus Christ. If I see one more major, totally implausible, never-gonna-fuckin'-happen catastrophe hit New-fucking-York, I'm gonna blow a realism gasket, man. Lightning bolts on steroids come raining down and quakes are rocking goddamn Broadway and a giant lizard's climbing up the Empire State Building and the governor's getting blown by hookers, and all these has-been actors are standing around, looking overwrought, saying lines like "I never would have imagined I'd be in this horrible situation!"

Of course you didn't! It's New York! Why would you ever imagine a massively thick cloud of electrical disturbance to centre itself immovably EXACTLY ABOVE MANHATTAN? Why does a gorilla go there? Why do tornadoes start appearing? All in fuckin' Manhattan, too, right. Like, not Buffalo, or someone slipped a couple degrees and landed in Jersey, eh?

How in the hell do THOSE writers get work? I mean, what is this, "Bong-Hit Cinema" or something? "Bong-Hit Cinema... Movies inspired by hits off the bong! Smoke up, Johnny, it's 4:20! And FUCK, does it suck to be in New York! Tonight, plagued by rare African killer bees, New Yorkers ain't gonna take no more! Put AWAY the honey!"

Goddamn lame-ass waste-of-celluloid pieces of unimaganitive shit.

So, that came from out of nowhere. Ahh, the proverbial literary enema.

My hand is better. Tomorrow I will be in a world of pain. Friend from work is coming by to climb the stairs with me and assist me in pigging out on mufffffins and other fabulous morning eats. Then I work. Then I play soccer for, yes, 2 hours.

Shoot me now. Then I won't have to do any of it. No?

Bah. Fine. I'll behave and go to bed.

Mm, muffiny dreams. See, I think my friend can use muffins. Everyone has times when muffins make everything better. They work for me. My mother was a firm believer in the mighty, might power of muffins. My brother sang "I am the muffin man" for the first 16 years of his life. Me, I make muffins, and pretty nice ones, too, and always healthy!

But muffins are always nicer when you're sharing them. Yes, and thus the power of muffins.

(And 170 calories, 4 grams of fat per muffin? Fabulous! And, no, they're not an inch big. They're real-sized. I'll dig the recipe out for you people next time. My secret ingredient is blueberry yogurt.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Photos from the Recent Past

Been a while since I've added some photos, so here you go. Taken from the past couple of months on various cycling trips.

A weeping willow along the Heather bike route.

A silhoutte at dusk someplace.

Los Angeles may be the city of angels, but this is the city of cranes. Yet more pre-Olympic construction.

You never know what you're going to find when you just look around ya on walks and cycling trips. I liked this lonely shirt and wondered how it came to be there.

This is a great little scene along Vancouver's Stanley Park seawall... and nicely timed, if I don't mind saying so myself.

Another fallen tree in another windstorm has become protection for a burgeoning new contribution to UBC's endowment land park.

A stream for salmon spawning in Stanley Park and the tunnel for the passing street above.

I was cycling into the light, but the clouds headed our way really didn't inspire confidence. Nothing like the dramatic skies one sees living on the ocean. With 10 kilometres before me and my home, you can be sure I took the picture quickly and cycled even faster. :) Rain started to get me at the end of my ride and, about 15 minutes later, a full-on rain and windstorm kicked in. Nice!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Thoughts for the Self-Contented on a Saturday Night

Wow! The luck! Apocalypse Now is on TCM!

I'm taking another well-deserved me-night in. The date went well enough. My head wasn't in it, but I'm glad I went. Another would not be a bad thing at all.

I'm starting to realize that the existential plate of mine is actually quite full, and that I might just be human to be as fatigued as I often am. Writing on here is a relief valve, but writing for Smut is more work-like (but similarly more fulfilling when I make a good hit, like my Fuck the Pope post of late).

35-40 hours of work, 6-12 hours of athletics, cooking for myself, cleaning for myself, writing and maintaining the blog to the tune of 15-20 hours per week, and, what, sleep? That's my life. I see friends and family seldom, and I enjoy it, but, mentally, the blog keeps me pretty exhausted 'cos the day job is a cerebral workout in itself.

The blog's important to me. Sure, it's work, but that's because I've increased my standard lately. There's a lot less journalling, and a lot more commentary on issues that matter to me. There's a lot more of me trying to think of craft and links and interplay of ideas and themes. I think my quality has improved. It can always improve. That's the great thing about writing:

You will never, ever be good enough.

That's writing.

Glutton for punishment I am, I just can't get enough.

I have my goals down for '08, but '09 includes finally tackling the challenge of fiction again. I want to write fiction. It scares me. Story, hell... that's a hard wench to master. I respect story too much to go insulting it by crafting a weak one. I have a natural sense of smelling great story that I think more writers wish they had. I've never had to learn through lit classes what great story is. I just instinctively get it.

Telling it, though, I'm not sure I'm there yet. Yes, I think I'm pretty good at relating stories from my life. I know how to build the momentum. But ground-up construction of people, place, things, pace, and plot? Whew! I'm gonna plead non-fiction writer on that one, thanks.

Thing is, I can't. Out of about a year of writing fiction, I know I wrote three really good short stories, and one was "Wow, Steff, that's totally evoking Denis Johnson!" from my writing teacher Maureen Medved, so I know I've occasionally channeled a well-told tale.

And, fuck, I want nothing more to write the next great Canadian novel, but story is the ultimate challenge for any writer, and I respect that more than anyone because more than anyone I feel cheated and robbed by the fickle bitch that story is.

Slap, slap. Whine, bitch. Mmf.

Yeah, narrative's my thang. My zone. I diggit. Story's my lifelong challenge. It's why I'm so story-telling in my writing style, so often. My pseudo-fiction.

All that aside? I'm getting more and more confident in my style. I wrote my rant, Fuck the Pope, on the holiday Monday last week, I think. And it felt great. It was comfortable, it was cathartic, it was fun, it was everything writing should be. It's that rare moment of writing that really, really is a verb. Wow. I could live a lifetime on monthly installments of that cathartic bliss.

Very, very, very rarely do those moments transmit into the posts that are most resonant and evocative for readers.

This time, however, Fuck the Pope hit all the right notes. And I was fucking SHOCKED.

Why? Why would this girl's Catholic life and angst hit that many corresponding notes with her readers? And the Sugasm folk voted me as the best pick of the week, too, which is high praise, considering some of the folk on the list.

But how I felt when I wrote that is how I've felt for a few of those pieces that really resonated with readers. One piece in particular really carved a name for me on the web back in March of '06, and it was exactly the same kind of righteous "why are the religious types always hypocrites" this-is-my-honesty type of revealing post.

And I was going to NOT publish it! I thought it was too personally driven! I thought it was too soapbox about something no one gave a shit about! The pope? Who cares, right? Wrong.

Fucking stunned I was, yeah. To see the comments and the reactions? Oh, totally. Great, though. Just fantastic. The most reassuring, confidence-building, pleasing reaction I've had in a while. And good on me. A reminder to stay true to my instinct, and that my indignation is more universal than I might suspect, and celebrating it isn't an altogether bad choice.

You know, I smile sometimes when I think of those times in real life when I say things that momentarily take people aback and then cause them to break out in understanding laughter. Tapping into people's psychic undercurrents in ways that cause them to express how they relate, that's a high I'll never, ever tire of. Just gives me gas to go on, you know?

Hell of a long way to go, man, and I'm so aware of that. It's why I'm savouring this small victory in this limited window while I can. Normalcy will dawn again, with slightly higher new normals, and new goals to pursue... but it feels good tonight, and I'm enjoying the high.

But I'm also drunk. :) Bought a bottle of wine and got a little lushy. I've earned it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Slow Friday Night

I'm chilling at home after what's been the most stressful week in months, in some regards, but a good one in others. Still, I'm spent.

My acupuncturist tells me I have a chi deficiency. Meaning, my lifeforce is weak. I believe him. I feel it, day in and day out.

My health is better, I'm stronger, more fit than I've probably ever been, yet I'm fucking spent. All the time. It's an effort. Better than it used to be, but because I exercise so much it's a compounded/cumulative thing. I could probably KICK YOUR ASS, and I can exercise for two hours straight, but I likely require two hours more sleep a night than you, at least, and have an intimate relationship with my couch these days. Not cool.

I'm gonna do some research on chi this weekend. It can't hurt, right? I've let typical medicine have their kick at the can, and now it's time to do it Oriental-style, baby.

But I'm tired of being tired. I'm working real fuckin' hard to be strong, powerful, and fit, but I'm constantly against the current, and it sucks ass.

However. I'm starting to feel a little sharper. Hopefully that'll continue. The doc says my chi being weak, even though I may be strong, I don't have the strength to bear my own weight, and not just in a physical way, you know? And I sort of get that. And it's why I'm tired all the time, and why my wrist is too weak for cycling right now and shit like that.

But now I want to change it. If I've seen anything this year, it's how good I am at making the change I want when I'm willing to work for it. So we'll see how this all shakes down.


Gotta tidy up some more and do "spa morning" on the morrow. Got an afternoon date. I'd like to completely skip dating by meeting a good guy tomorrow. That'd be nice. Just beeline into a decent relationship. I'm ready for that.

Not, however, ready for the rejection and weirdness of "trying on for size" random dating right now. But this seems like something promising. 24 hours and I'll know better, won't I?

Yawn. A date is good. I had a date around Christmas where I stood the guy up. First time ever. Sucked, too. Just wasn't into it, had some delayed Christmas blues or something. I'd told the guy I wasn't into meeting anyone for a few weeks. So he's all "cool, cool" and next thing he's pressuring for a date again. Same response. Again with the pressure, three or four times in about 8 days or something. Finally, I said yes.

Then I just didn't go. Funnily, I got dressed and everything I was at the bus stop, the bus pulled up, I looked at it, and I thought "Wow, I'm so uncomfortable about this" and the pressure thing clicked and I realized I wasn't in my right mind 'cos normally I'd have just said, "You know what? Fuck you. You're not respecting what I asked, so, hasta la vista" after the third time of being a thick-headed twit.

So, you know, my bad. Instinct kicked in too late. Such is life. I got in touch with the guy and apologized and all, but just never agreed to anything else.

That was the last dating thing. Before that was just an awful series of, well, mostly idiots over 18 months. No one I was excited about the night before, the day of.

Well, one I was quite keen to meet. It turned out he had over-Photoshopped his photo and lied about everything, and turned out to be an "appointment maker" for an "escort service" who was answering "business calls" on our coffee date. I guess Saturday's a busy night for him. He was totally skirting around his job until I dusted off my fucking journalism creds and pressed him for the truth. Sheepishly he told me of his job and how he was always of "assistance" to the escorts. He was also four inches shorter than he claimed and about 10 years older than he claimed, so. Yes. Shortest date ever. What, an hour? Now I'm skeptical of everyone.

Icing on the cake was when I was at work about two months later, working on a documentary about the sex trade, and he was a central storyline, going with the escorts to get their STD tests done and taking photos for their ads and stuff. Yeah. That was a weird day at work. Several hours of "I'm so fucking glad I went home. I'm so fucking glad I went home. Yay! I went home!"

"Promising" is a nice word to use for a change. I'm restraining my hopes for now. It's better that way, yeah? Ha. Ahh, the cynical dater. If you've been on the last 10 or 12 dates I've had, you'd nod sadly and empathize, man. Whew. Jesus, what an array of undesireable men. What was I thinking? Oh, right, they sounded good on paper.

So, yes. Restraint, but with promise. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

YAY! And Gazpacho!

Ahahahahaha! I published! It worked!

Oh, happy, happy. Might start trying to get Wordpress up and running in case this occurs again.

Okay, because I love you, and because I'm sadly at the end of my monster batch of gazpacho, I am going to share my recipe with you.

Gazpacho, if you haven't had it, is a cold tomato soup the Italians love in summer. Fantastic on a hot day, it was heaven after bike rides this week. I thought it was all right the first time I had it, but this time I love it.

As with all my recipes, I have changed a few things to make it my own, like fewer tomatoes, more kick, and a little something extra. You'd be surprised how much some of the kids loved it when I taught cooking camp last year.

Steff's Gazpacho

Puree & set aside:
7 large ripe tomatoes (remove the skins via the boiling water method)

Chop to a fine chop in a food processor:
1 large red onion
1 long English cucumber
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped small for safety's sake :)
1 large green pepper, seeded
3 large cloves of garlic, minced

Add the chopped veggies to the pureed tomatoes. You can, of course, do a more rustic large and chunky chop of the veggies, but I'm a fan of how all these flavours really mix together this way.

Add 1/3 cup each of good olive oil and red wine vinegar, and also 1 cup Mott's tomato juice (not tomato sauce!!) or as much as you want to get it to a consistency you approve of, and mix well. Add 1/2 cup chopped basil OR cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley. Sea salt it and pepper 'er up with lots of fresh cracked goodness.

Mix, and yer set! My batch kept for five days in my uber-cold fridge.

That said, it tastes best when you let it get closer to room temp, 'cos the flavours wake up a bit. Good stuff.


In the bad news:

Having hand problems. New, troubling. Not good. Acupuncturist tells me to lay off the bike a few days. I'll lay off till Sunday and will try changing my seat position to see if I can destress my wrist.

Now, to stop typing so much. Sigh.


I can't put up with this shit much longer. 72 hours of being unable to update my blog is getting PRETTY FUCKING ANGER-INDUCING, I'll tell you.

It's not like I'm some office-starved geek just eeking out a voice on the other blog... not like this one. :P The other one's where I'd really love to make an income. Besides that, I'm good at it! Over there, I usually have something that's worth saying. So, WHAT THE FUCK, BLOGGER?

Fucking FTP publishing is STILL not working. And does Google communicate with any of us about why, whether they're on it, or whether anything's happening at all? Fuck, no!

Does anyone know if switching to Wordpress involves republishing every single posting manually, or if it's something easier to do? I mean, I have more than 600 postings, so. Yeah.

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck you, Blogger. Fuckety-fuckety-fuck! FUCK.


AND my blog traffic has almost quadrupled in less than a month. BECAUSE I KEEP FUCKING UPDATING IT ALMOST DAILY. THREE DAYS OF NO UPDATES IS LIKE COMMITTING FUCKING SUICIDE IN THE BLOGGING WORLD. And the kicker is? I have a great post waiting there, hanging in limbo, crying "Read me!" to the minions of the world. Fuck!

Deep breaths. I'm fine. Blogger's a fucking twat, but I'm fine. Fuckin' hell. I can't believe how irritating this is. COMMUNICATE. Is it so hard? How ironic, the company that has made blogging and communication the easiest thing ever happens to be the company that's one of the worst at communicating ever.

And the weird just gets weirder. Don't mind me, I'll be over here banging my head against the cyberwall.

And FUCK YOU, Blogger. No, really.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Day and My Bryan Adams Story

My blog still won't publish. The other one, obviously, as you're reading this. 36 hours now. Getting just a little beyond pissed, but as it's out of my hands, I'm trying to just chill.

Cycled to and from work today. I'll have to upload some photos later this week. Passing Queen Qlizabeth Park tonight, a couple guys were in the pond, doing the "icky stuff down there" funny deep-water walk with giant poles. The mission, it seemed? Retrieving long-lost Ultimate Frisbees from the pond bottom, since they had several friends standing around, all hanging on to Frisbees.

It was weird.

I'm watching the Idol finale, but I've already checked CNN and know the winner. Pluses to being on the West Coast. The guy I want to win (guess) does. So, yay there. Finally. Aww, Vancouver's own, Bryan Adams is on. Go, Bry!

Did I ever tell you the dick-ish thing that Bryan and my cousin did to my brother when we were all kids? Bryan and Rich were, what, about 20? Still fucking funny to this day, my brother still tells the tale warmly.

Bryan and Pete played music together for kicks in North Van when Bryan was already after a solo gig and was starting to record his music more seriously, so this was, what, '80? 1979-1981, around there. I was about 7, my brother was 9.

Pete's basement was semi-finished but the central bit, where they played, was still exposed concrete and groundwater seeped up sometimes, so there'd be the odd puddle. Which there was.

(Ahaha, ZZ Top is on! Fuckin' a. Now I wanna hear "Sleeping Bag". Who can dislike ZZ Top? Best non-sell-outs ever!)

Bryan, who my bro worshipped, quite suitably, took him and positioned him like a rock star.... smack dab in the puddle. He stands back and goes, "Awwright, here's how the pros do it--" and did the big rock'n'roll 'round-the-world arm sweep/strum of the electric guitar. He takes the guitar off, straps it 'round my bro, and tells him to go for it.

So, my brother, totally keen to impress this amazing gonna-be-a-star guy, throws his arm around and SCHWING-zAp!

The sparks flew. "HOLY SHIT" shout Pete and Bryan. My brother's hair was standing up, he staggers all the way back and crashes into the wall.

Naturally, the guys wanted my brother and I to keep it "our little secret" so they let my brother drink some of their beer. Nice. Pretty funny.

Hmm, yes, so that's my Bryan Adams when-we-was-kids story. That might've been a dick thing to do, but he really was a great, nice guy just playing a typical prank. We like Bry, even if I'm not the biggest fan of his music. That's another posting for a real, real slow post day.

Yay, hump day down, two to go. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's a Bad Monday on a Tuesday, And We're Not Impressed

Oh, shoot me now.

What a fucking frustrating day I've had. Just so many things. Work went fine, thank god. Just a few computer crashes. My website's busted. They've only now figured it out and now the admin's not in till tomorrow so it'll sit untouched till then. Fine, fine. It loads, but the ads don't.

My internet went down inexplicably again. For, like, an hour, while I was trying to work with the tech dude a little earlier, during Idol. Sigh.

And, you know what? For some weird reason, I actually like captioning in other languages. I never feel good about the end product 'cos I have no control over the content. Couldn't tell ya if it's proper French or not. Never mind the Inuit or Portuguese, you know? Still, it's fun. I try to figure it out and if I figure out a whole caption I bustle with pride.


Except when you get hit with the wall of Bad Day on the way to work (a few things all happened before work, of which the website was the second worst, second most enduring issue). Then, you know, spending the first five hours captioning French and Inuit really doesn't help quell the unrested mind. So, wrong day for that, but the good thing is, I think the week will definitely improve. Right?

I did not have a good day. Not at all. I'm not in the least sorry to see the sun set on this one, man.

I'll be able to laugh about today within, like, a week or two. Seriously. It's that fucking ludicrous, the symphony of bullshit that just played throughout my day. Work was fine, though. I just had that "Fuck, I have so much I need to solve and this is just getting in my way" feeling about it, is all. Shit happens.

And yesterday I felt FINE about going to work today. Why? Because I got a lot done!

The website will resolve tomorrow. That's fine. The other issue I don't wanna talk about.

I rode my scooter to work mantra-ing "It's always darkest before dawn, darkest before dawn...".

Ha. Fuck, man. Ahh, just a shitty couple of weeks and then things'll be better. Last week was a pretty good week. All balances, I guess.

But Wednesday's looking pretty fucking sexy to me now, I'll tell ya. DIE, full moon. DIE. Bad moon phase! Grrrr. My weekend's looking good, though, so, there's that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vancouver: The Way We Was and Won't Be Much Longer

A friend from work came over and we went for a 25km bike ride then hit up my food for fillin'-- gazpacho, bread with vinegar and oil, and souvlaki. Good eatins', even if I overcooked the chicken some. She got me drunk. Good trade.

I introduced her to a stretch of Van I doubt hardly any of the urbanites know, all along the Fraser River. Some great tracts of land along the way, a whole smorgasbord of environments to fill the urban heart. Great stuff. She thought it was fantastic, not what she expected at all, and is something she'd love to do again sometime.

That's the crazy thing about Vancouver, often called a city of neighbourhoods. It's so different from hood to hood, and you talk to people and say names like Kensington-Cedar Cottage or Sunset or Strathcona or Fraserview or Marpole or Shaughnessy or Kits and you gotta wonder who lives there, what it's like, where it is. People can live here all their lives and not have a big sense of different neighbourhoods. Cycle 25km through it and you'll get a good glimpse... if yer lookin'.

I guess it's true of the average city and its average citizen. People will often be lacking in intimate all-over knowledge of their cities. Not me. :)

Way back when I had hand surgery, spring of '99, I spent a whole lot of time walking all over the city, since I couldn't drive. I saw a lot of great stuff I'd never seen. Since then, I've seen far more thanks to the cycling I do and my penchant for scootering thru side streets.

Along the way today, I noticed that an old landmark I'd seen last spring and photographed (and is one of my favourite) is no longer standing! I've included the photo here now. I guess is was some kind of loading implement for industrial boats back earlier last century or even before. But it's gone now. And it wasn't important to anyone. Poof. Gone. Sad.

Our history in Van is so fucking disposable. Just 'cos the city's only 100 years old and only a few of us were here 25 years ago, everyone thinks our history can be flushed down the modern drain. Such a bummer, especially along the Fraser, where stuff like this and the Celtic Shipyards just vanish with no public dispute. I also have a photo somewhere of the Celtic Shipyards, similarly taken on whim, conveniently just months before it vanished forever. It's also one of those cool things from an era in Vancouver someone somewhere doesn't think is important at all. An in-between age. But it's cool. And now it's gone, in a city for which "history" isn't much of anything at all.

But that's where I live. A city that reinvents itself every 20 years, pretty much on clockwork. The '40s-'50s began the urban sprawl. The late '60's/'70s saw the embracing of Arthur Erickson and a brand-spankin' new mod-modern city for the modern architecture fan. The '80s brought us Expo '86 and a world that suddenly saw us for what we was. A stunning, beautiful city with a hell of a lot of potential.

Here we are now, 20 years later, building up to the Olympics.

I understand as much as anyone, maybe better, just how much this city will change after 2010. I lived in an itty-bitty city back in the '70s, and now it's a world destination about six times larger than it was then. In 25-30 years. Crazy.

For Expo, it's not a TV event. No one really tunes into Expo on the telly as a matter of course. Yet '86 unleashed a huge growth spurt that has never slowed down in 20 years. In 2 years, we'll have the Winter Olympics. For the Olympics, for 10 days, the city bathes on tv screens around the world. It's all about the Olympics. In between all those events, filler is needed. Why not a doc on the local living styles? How about a picturesque look at the region? A fancy primer on the local culture? Hey, it's the Olympics.

For 10 days, the world will see us. "Wow, look at the mountains." "Whew, look at that ocean!" "Holy smokes, look at those trees." "Dude, look at that hot chick."

Like Shoeless Joe said, "If you film it, they will come." Or something like that.

People will move here. People will ooh, ahh, and gush. It is what it is. How can they not? Have you seen this place?

Global warming will make this place increasingly tolerable year-round. Albeit the annual onslaught of rain (you'd think this was a rainforest or something, eh?) will keep the influx at a manageable level. The tanning beds would cost some people a fortune.

Still, this city had a fragment of its population when I was a child. Now... Whew. It's bustling. 10 years from now? I shudder to think.

Yeah. I lament the changes to come, but I also celebrate some of them. Like the new foreshore/seawall east of Granville Island. What a beautiful modern urban gathering place. What a gift to the city! Stunning! The sea wall will just get better and better, if that's any sign of what's to come. When's the rest getting an upgrade? Wow. Floored me when I saw it recently.

Skytrain out to Richmond, also awesome.

I keep holding out hope it pushes for remedies for our homeless population. I want to believe good will come of the Olympics.

And I hold great disdain for my friends who all think "Oh, I'm getting out of town, it'll be crazy." It's once in our lives that ALL the eyes of the world will be on us. OUR city is the party capital of the world for two lousy weeks. Fuck! Stick around! Live it up! Within a month life will be back to normal. Go away and we will laugh at you as we party with international revellers on every street and corner.

I know I'm sticking around and seizing the moment as best I can. Awesome. Olympics! I'll lament the city bursting beyond its current size, but if it's the only way we become a 24/7 city that caters to people of varying schedules, then so be it. Besides, the city seems to be creating MORE parkland these days, not less, so it's been a positive growth so far... we'll see if it continues. Yes, it will get crazy. Yes, it sucks.

But I always knew Vancouver could only continue being a best-kept secret for so long. The throngs were bound to catch up with us sooner or later.

For those of you who are thinking of moving here: You fools! It rains all the time! You never see the tops of the mountains, thanks to the abundance (and constance!) of marine cloud. Move HERE? What are you thinking?!

Kelowna is the place for you.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mm, Burger... MMm, Cheeseburger... MmM!

It's, like, 28 or something degrees out, about 90 F, and it's officially our first sweltering day of the year. I've cycled 35 kilometres today.

Not only that... I cycled past every fucking cyclist I saw today. I did not go slow and take a leisurely ride, I fucking ground it out and cycled as hard as I was able, despite the heat. None of the cyclists I passed rebounded to pass me. They all literally ate my dust. Mm, good eatin'.

I'm spent. I left it all on the road out there, and good on me. Awesome.

Tonight I'm having a well-deserved big juicy barbecued burger smothered with tart heavy English cheddar and topped with caramelized onions. I'll do some "grill fries" for the side, with some asparagus and other veggies.

And I will lie around all bloated and happy like a beached whale. Fanfuckintastic.

I got to tell my chiropractor today that I'd lost 35 pounds. "35!" he exclaimed. He was ecstatic, too. Love that. Not only that, it's 11 pounds I've lost the last month.

Whoop, there it was!

While I'm just wiped right now, I'm certainly starting to feel more energetic these days. Betcha this burger, while it might be heavy, greasy, and evil, helps boost the energy with some tasty red meat iron tonight.

And BEER. Much deserved beer. Beer heals all!

Tomorrow I've got a guest for dinner, but we're eating healthy -- homemade gazpacho, chicken souvlaki, grilled asparagus, some grilled yams, and garlic bread. Last night was grilled fish and veggies, so, yes... burger tonight but I'm obviously still behaving. My FABULOUS ASS demonstrates that, thanks.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be grilling veggies again. So tasty. So right. Yay for me. Yay for charred veggies.

I still refuse to gut my diet of all guilty pleasures. Not happening. I want my guilty pleasures. I need them. I will work harder to have them. And tonight's is a burger with cheese and beer.

Praise be! BURGER! (giggling greedily)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Day for Steff

I don't even know what to say. I've lost 34 pounds. I am finally past that point I've never been able to get past. I've lost close to this amount of weight before, but I've never gone below where I was when I was at 31 pounds lost last weekend.

But now I have. I've broken it. I'm in uncharted territories. And I'm just ecstatic. I've FUCKING EARNED it, is what is what. Yeah, man. I really have.

And I've done it all the healthy way without excluding anything I love from my diet. In short, it's a sustainable lifestyle for me. :)

I'm so pleased with and proud of myself today, and I cannot WAIT for my doctor's appointment at 12:45. He doesn't know yet that I've lost all this weight. He was so visibly disappointed with me last September when he gave me my full check-up. I've thought of his facial expression and his concern often when struggling with the weight.

"You can't let this continue," he told me. "You're approaching dangerous waters. You need to take control."

And I have. And today I get to show him. It'll be great. My doctor's awesome. He'll be so happy for me, and that'll be perfect in addition to the good weather coming our way, in helping me get some new motivation underfoot.

Also, I get acupuncture today, which I'll really appreciate. Relaxing, happy, good. And lighter! Yay me. Yay, yay, yay. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Oh, my fucking god. If Mother Nature were to stand before me today, I'd slap her. Yeah, I'd haul off and belt 'er one.

This spring? What a fucking joke. Lousiest goddamned weather I've ever seen in Vancouver for a spring. Just dreary and, even when it is nice, it's 5 degrees too cold, at a minimum. I still have to close my windows at night! This is just wrong.

Tomorrow, though, reprieve. A heat wave begins. Four days. And I have five days off. My fucking third eye's working just fine, baby. Booked the right two days off at the right time, and shazam. I get me a heat wave. Brilliant, ain't I?

But Mother Nature still deserves a slap. Today, anyhow. Ask me again tomorrow and I'll want to shower her with kisses, I imagine.

I tell ya, though, if anyone deserves five days off with a heat wave, you are lookin' at her, baby.

I have been holding on to what little motivation I've had with a fucking death grip. I've been hoping, praying, wishing that I can just motivate myself three or four times a week, that's all, so I can stay on this path to a thinner, healthier Steff.... and it has been a HARD struggle when the weather's so fucking not cooperating!

Sunny and 20? I'd feel too guilty to not cycle! I've pretty much warned all my friends that, right now, fitness comes first, so if I, on a whim, choose to cycle or something, I may well cancel or postpone plans as a result.

Right now I have to work harder, longer, and more often, because I'm losing weight. 31 pounds. That's right, baby. A few months from now I'll move from the losing to the maintaining stage, and life will simplify a bit. Right now my priorities are where I feel they really need to be.

But it's just fucking HARD and DEPRESSING when the weather never inspires me. All I want is a little cooperation, you know? And not just for the next four days.

See, another 4-6 weeks and my work will be busy as hell again, and I won't have as much time on my hands. Right now, I'm READY and WILLING to push it for all it's worth. And where's Mother Nature been?

But you know what? I still done good. I've been getting it done for the last while even though I've felt like sobbing some days when I'm trying to fucking motivate myself. So, there's that. I'm very proud and content with what I've gotten done of late. I'm just done with trying to dial things up from the inside.

So, the heat wave, really, it's coming at the perfect time. I'm just about at the end of my rope. I'm angry and pissed. I've lost 31 pounds but I want, no, NEED a little help now. I want to enjoy myself and soak up the sun and be warm and happy.

Tomorrow, I'm hitting up the stairs in the morning, 'cos they'll get too hot in the heatwave, and then I'll do a cycling trip in the evening, but nothing major, maybe 15km. Total, about 2 hours of decent activity. I have two 30-km trips planned on the weekend, and might get out a bit on Friday too. Tonight'll mean some dancing with the Kills' gig I'm attending, but it'll be a bitch on my calves and achilles. Ooh.

I did the stairs yesterday and it really kicked my ass! I'm sore today. All over. I think I didn't realize how much more gruelling it is, hiking up 25 or so floors with all this weight, versus cycling, so now I'm keen to have a plan that includes them both. Also, the stairs perked me up a bit yesterday as I realized I'll have that to get me through the shitty winter next year, so when I can't cycle, climbing 45 floors (which is my goal by September, to be able to do 45 floors... I started at 10, have managed 27, and tomorrow will try 30!) will certainly work in its place.

Plus, I've now lost enough weight that I can feel the bones in my bum. Ha! Trust me, it's been heavily padded for 20 years. This is new.

Sigh. I just find this whole weight loss journey to be really emotionally hard some days. Yesterday and today are sort of me reaching my breaking point in finding the will to power from within. The weather's the main problem right now. I've never been able to be this motivated in weather like we've been having. That I've managed as much as I have will probably wind up really impressing me down the line, but I'm too tired to care right now. Too fed up and frustrated.

Feed me, Mr. Sun. Feed me. Sigh. 24 more hours and that's exactly what will happen. I'm looking forward more to a hot day than I am this concert tonight I've been wanting to see for a good long time. That's just weird.

Anyhow, time to jam for the jobbie. Wound up staying downtown an hour extra last night to sell a ticket to someone, so I get to start at noon today. Sweet! More time to piss and moan before the job. Snicker. Ah, got it out of my system, so now I can go be bubbly at work.

Ooh! Catfight!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Robert Downey Jr. on Jimmy Kimmel

Robert Downey Jr. on Jimmy Kimmel. They're going on and on about the newfangled video games and how tough they are.

Kimmel: "...but you gotta watch out, because instead of you controlling it, it controls you, and you don't want that--"

Downey: "Hey, been there."

Kimmel: "...It's bad."

I love how Downey, in three words, sums up his entire addiction, but they're talking about video games. Downey, totally deadpan, "hey, been there" and shrugs all nonchalant, and the audience fucking cracks up. Because Downey's always been god. I've loved him for as long as I've also been a Depp fan, what, 15-20 years now? Brilliant actor but he just crackles with life onscreen. Love that. Depp can be bleak and dark and it can falter, but Downey's almost always watchable.

I totally want to see Iron Man again. Sorry, left my thinking cap home on that one and you're not getting a smart-Steff review. Great fuckin' flick. Period. Had fun. Must do it again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Morning Ramblings

So, I cycled 40km Friday. Ouch. But I was fine this weekend. Stiff, sure, but that's it. Good stuff. Heckuva workout, for sure.

Today's Mother's day. Hmm. I'm all right with it. I've had moments of late, in the last few months, where I've had very bad "I miss my Mommy" days, where I'd have given anything for a mom-daughter chat, but they were situational. Meaning, things happened that caused that response. I'll have those things happen the rest of my life, it is what it is.

But today I'm cool. I'm not even leaving my apartment this weekend. It's awesome. I'm about to watch a couple depressing drug movies while I clean house intermittently. The Midnight Express is first on tap. I've only seen it once and it's been years and years, but I'd like to see it again, though I know it'll depress the hell out of me, but something in me needs to see it.

I don't remember much of it, but I like the idea of watching something today in which someone's wrenched from their comfortable life and needs to fight and persevere to overcome the most horrible of odds. Something about that story works for me today. I'm not sure why. But there you have it. Sometimes these strange compellings lead to good writing sessions, so we'll see what happens later.

Yesterday, as a surprise in the midst of all the morons on the web dating site I check periodically, there's a smart, successful guy who totally fits the mold of the kind of guys I typically like... but, successful. :P

Which is good, because I'm getting pretty sick of the guys who are trying to convince themselves they're happy with their lives because it's easier than trying to get something they've actually always wanted. I'm sick of the fear of trying in my own life, and know the last thing I want is to be around that again in a relationship.

I took a kick at the "Is there a career out there for me?" can and quit my job and tried a few things out, and I hated it all, am glad to be back in my old status quo, and am instead trying to make myself happy in every other area of my life. And it's working. Work is working for me. Do I want it for the rest of my life? No, I want to be a writer. Will other jobs accommodate my writing? No, not like this one. Therefore, I'll stay here as long as I'm able, while I'm trying to make my writing work for me. Doing what I need to be doing, is the nutshell.

So I've no fucking patience for anyone who's going to bitch at me about his job. Not in a relationship. I can handle friends being unhappy at theirs, especially the married ones. They get to bitch about work. But single guys with nothing to lose, no. Not anymore. I don't really respect it.

I don't know if this email will lead to anything. "Great" is my answer either way. Leads to nothing? Perfect. My life's going in a good direction right now, and I suspect staying single's not going to last forever. Not if I keep cycling 40 clicks and achieving things I've always been nervous about. I like this woman I'm becoming, and it's something I can focus on and be happy about for a while. When I'm happier, it'll be infectious, and I won't stay single. It works like that.

But if it leads to a relationship, that'd be pretty great, too. Just so long as no one gets in my way. Those are relationships I can do without. I'm going to be pretty fucking fiercely protective of my priorities for a while. Fitness & writing/blog are at the top of my list, everyone and everything else is a distant second & thereafter.

Still, I'm really digging who I'm becoming. I'm dealing with more and more of my past and my insecurities with every passing week, and it's hard, and I'm often grumpy and tired, but I'm so pleased with what I'm getting done. This is my first 100km cycling week, for instance, in a really long time, and I think I've only ever had one 100-km cycling week, but it was a cycling holiday. This is 100km + work, so it's a great start. I'm aiming for another 100km week this week too, but towards the back end of the week 'cos tues & weds are concert nights, and monday's my gym night with my new buddy. Expensive week at a bad time, which fucking sucks. But I'll have fun doing it.

Well, time to get some coffee on the go and the Midnight Express.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Evil Generous People Fired: Tim Horton's Strikes Back!

A woman at a Tim Horton's in Toronto was fired for giving a kid a free Timbit (worth an astounding 16 cents), but when bigwigs at the corporation, I guess, heard a stink had been raised, they began claiming it was an overzealous manager and the backpedaling began.

I SAY BULLSHIT. (Don't just take my word for it; the story is here.)

See, the woman was caught on the camera, which poor unsuspecting employees believe are there to catch armed robbers in the act, but the truth is, it's to bust the employees, too.

My brother was fired back in the late '80s from, yes, a Tim Horton's, when he too was caught on camera doing the despicable act of... wait for it... wait for it... giving a homeless guy a FREE REFILL of (gasp!) old coffee that was about to be dumped. Yes, costing the company a whopping 35 cents in a generous act of good will using soon-to-be-discarded product was enough to get your ass fired then, and is likely still quite liable to get your ass fired now.

Unless, of course, you go running to the media and the fucking bastards get exposed for the cheap-ass swine they are.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Politics, How Do I Love Thee?

Got into a political chat with a new friend of mine. That was interesting. Love talking politics. It's just so, you know, verboten and all.

She's pro-Hillary, I'm pro-Obama, but neither of us cold-cocked the other, so this is good. We both surmised that, while we'd prefer a Dem clinch it, even John McCain would be a positive force on Pennsylvania Avenue, so, you know, much lower stress, this election year.

But then she played the "Hillary has all that experience" card, and I trumped it with "Kennedy was a junior senator, too."

And I guess that's the thing we both agreed on, with Obama's relative lack of experience, he's also had less time to get ingrained in the wicked web that is Washington. This is a good thing, no matter how you slice it.

I like what McGovern's thrown into the mix today with his decision to switch allegiances to the Obama camp, and how he's calling up the recollection of the evil, bad Democratic conventions of '68 and '72 when all hell broke out to crush the hopes of Humphrey and McGovern in those respective years.

Sigh. I like having a campaign of hope and change happening at the same time I'm trying to have hope and effect change within my own life. Granted, I'm pissy and tired a lot lately and rather lacking of joy in general, it's mostly 'cos I'm so fucking tired of the work-work-work thing, but I tell you, I'm pretty pleased with what I've accomplished so far this year. If it keeps me bitchy for a while, so be it. I apologize, friends and family.

Yet, still, I wanted change, I'm making it happen. It's been a positive, life-altering year so far, on more levels than I could possibly know at this point. If I follow through in all these areas, it's going to be an incredible experience.

Through it all, I'll enjoy watching this presidential race transpire. The campaign of a lifetime, no doubt about it. Political watchers wait their whole lives for such a perfect political storm and just the right cast of characters to weather it. Like, oh my god. This is so the perfect political storm.

Nutshell? Vying for top seat in the land, we have a war hero who endured years of torture as a prisoner of war, a woman who's a political institution in her own right, who's seen the inside of the White House for eight long years, and an African-American being touted internationally as potentially the next JFK but black, not Catholic, and with the middle name of Hussein, for god's sake, all whilst the nation wages a wrongful war not yet lost but sure as fuck not won, while the economy is crashing not just at home but around the world, with a food crisis, and god knows what the fuck else is going to come pounding on the door.

It's not that anyone's enjoying the political climate, but to have THAT political climate, a true need for people in office who are capable of facing those challenges, and to have these three as the candidates of choice? And let's not forget Nader, the man keeping the art of argument alive. And a constant rallying cry of change and now and Yes We Can as a backdrop to serious discussion on serious issues? Well! Sounds like politics worth watching.

This is an absolutely incredible, beautiful, inconceivable, once-in-a-lifetime election for those of us with liberal points of view. What great openminded individuals to be able to choose amongst. Wow. It boggles the mind.

It's so hard to believe after all these years of the backward Bush administration and the horrific crap they've shovelled atop their citizens.

I never thought I'd see an election like this. I'm so surprised at how emotionally involved I am in this. I want to believe in the change that's gonna come. I wanna be just like Sam Cooke and believe. But it's been so, so long that our hope was justified. When Bush won in 2004, I was depressed for weeks, then months, then years. I'm certain there's been a degree that his presidency and the morass that North America has become under his watch has had something to do with my penchant for depression the last eight years. Fuck, he won 3 months after my mother died. THAT HELPED, YEAH, THANKS.

Fuck, man. Sometimes you just wanna throw yer hands up and go, "A little fuckin' help, big guy? Like, this too? Really? COME THE FUCK ON, man!"

Yeah, the dead mom, you know, I'll deal with it, right, but this fucking bozo the clown as president? And born-again Christian, TOO? Gotta be kidding me! Just leave me the fuck alone with my grief, and give me a leader of the free world who can at least lead, all right?

Bush... What the hell were people thinking? My god. Oh, wow. I've needed political therapy so long, man. I'm one of those people that, if I had the money, I'd be in the therapist's office twice a week for an hour, so I could spend 90 minutes bitching about society without pissing off friends and family, and about 30 minutes talking about myself. Of the 90 minutes on society, 60%, easy, on politics.

Yeah. You gotta wonder about me sometimes, eh? I was that kid in grade one who could answer a) who the Prime Minister was [Trudeau] and b) what his job was. "He's 'sposed to do what the people want him to do, fix problems with Canada and stuff." Pretty astute for 6.

All right. I gotta find a Scrabble word I can play on Facebook. Foiled with 2 Y's, an X, a J, an I, a D, and something. Hmm.

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More Primary Babble

Ah! Wednesday! Almost past the half-way point of my week. The gym is tonight, which'll be a little less hard than the 13-km route I've been taking to and from work the last couple days. So, 1 hour 40 minutes of cycling each of the last two days. Tonight I'm more concerned with weight training than cardio, for somewhat obvious reasons. Glad I'm not biking, it's windier today, and colder!

Yay, Obama! Glad to see he took a victory and significantly closed the gap on Clinton in Indiana. Take that, blondie.

Total kudos to Obama for believing the average voter is sophisticated enough to understand that a "Gas Tax Holiday" is just voter pandering and a Band-aid over a vast issue. Silly Hillary. Yeah, saving a whopping 4.5% off a tank of gas-- which is what 18 cents on $4 gallons works out to-- is really going to make a difference in your life... when it starts cutting services the government can offer. Come on, get real. A tax rebate or income tax shift is a much more beneficial way to relieve burdens, and this way it continues pushing people towards finding alternatives to always driving.

Stupid ideas like "gas tax holidays" aside, Hillary should finally get the fuck out of the way, not only because the math says so, but because her conscience should be saying, "Look, the country needs a Democrat to win, and a united party, and this is just dividing, and not to conquer. It's just not working."

When she does finally step aside, Obama will, I am quite certain, take the gloves off and be the contender I think he can be. I think he'll throw more punches, rally more support, and heal the fissures created by Clinton's divisive approach of late. He appeals to Republicans more than she does, the moderate ones, depending on your sources, and can bridge the divide in the party when she's gone. Plus, he's the one inspiring new votes to come out in record numbers.

It's unfortunate she's used so many questionable tactics of late. Politics gets dirty, yes, but I can't stand the McCarthyist "but he knows a terrorist" (correction: former terrorist your husband pardoned, woman) methodology she'd been using. I still respect her for a lot of reasons, but I really dislike who she's become. She'll have a lot of days to reexamine her behaviour and motives of late when this is all said and done.

Yeah, Obama's done some manipulating of his own, but it's been in a way that carries more integrity, I think. He's certainly no choirboy, though.

And we'll see more of that when he's up against McCain, who he's been pretty delicate with of late.

I'm just getting really fucking tired of the limbo we're in with Clinton spouting the same shit, saying she's on the victory road to the White House, when the numbers still don't back it. And in the face of Obama getting mud slung at him from every which way, with a fucking nutbag minister trying to steal the show for an entire week, and she STILL can't close the deal? What's she fucking need, a gift all tied up in bows? C'mon!

Sorry, honey, but the Teflon candidate's the guy who should be running for the office. It's time to heed your curtain and take stage left. Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Babbling about this week's weight struggle

It's supposed to be sunny and 16, which would really help motivate me to ride my bike today, but it's blah and grey, a little like me.

That's okay. I'll ride my bike anyhow. Gonna get ready in half an hour or so. I really don't fucking want to.

Did I mention I laid out my area rugs the other night? My place feels so much more homey. I'm really looking forward to holing up and healing on the weekend after what I predict to be a very hardcore week for me.

I'm really tired and don't know if I'll manage the active week I'm hoping to have, meaning 90 minutes plus of working out each day I'm working... but I'm going to try.

Why? I want to know if I can, I guess. Never have been able to, but I've never really tried. I've never wanted to try. Never thought I could, I guess, so why try? Now I know I can, but I'm not sure I'll be able to yet. Definitely in the coming weeks. But hopefully this week, if weather cooperates, etc. Blah.

I've set 6 hours as the weekly goal for working out, though. If I make that but fail on five-consecutive-days, well, I'll live. :)

But eating, that's goal number two this week. Trying to have a week of eating very, very healthy, balanced, fat-controlled meals, coupled with heavy activity, so I have an idea what I can accomplish when I'm on page in all areas-- especially since next week's a very, very heavy social week with two concerts, two birthdays, and lots of eating out. Ugh. I smell death. It's gonna kill me.

I have five days off next week, too, though, and plan to push it real good for my off-time, too.

You know, all this bullshit about, "Yeah, you'll feel great all the time!" when you're losing weight and busting your ass for fitness. IT'S A FUCKING LIE, PEOPLE!

I feel like crap! I'm tired, I'm sore, I don't want to hang out with people. I mean, GEEZ. My place is a mess 'cos I'm working out too often and don't feel like cleaning up, and did I mention I'm sore and tired? Right. Don't forget, I'm hauling, like, 230 fucking pounds around with me. You think yer fuckin' groceries are weighing you down on stairs? Christ. You don't know nothin'.


I feel pretty good about what I've been accomplishing fit-wise. Every time I make it up another hill, I'm happy with myself. For a split second. When, like yesterday, I'm huffing and puffing my fat-fat-fat ass up a big hill and people are smiling at me and pumping the air to encourage me to keep going, I feel pretty fucking great. That did happen yesterday, too. Just big hills I've seen skinnier people walking up, and while I'm looking pretty ugly as I'm doing it, I'm still getting it done, however ingloriously. They were cheering me, and earnest about it, and it felt really, really nice. It really made my whole ride worth it, honestly, especially when I kind of feel that way for just getting up those fucking hills some days.

So, when I'm sitting on my ass all tired and dead later, I know I've earned the sloth. Which is quite different from sitting on one's ass and feeling like an ass for failing to move said ass, of course.

Well, I've got to go grab my laundry, put it all away, then cycle to work. Bah! I'll cycle. I just don't plan to be happy about it for a bit. Mmf. :P

SOME 20 or 30 MINUTES LATER: I've grabbed a pair of cut-offs, and I had a moment of brain-hit happen, you know, where some thought just slaps you awake and you go "Wha?" But, if memory serves, these cut-offs are the ones I bought in England in '91... Like, a long time ago. They've never really fit me but for a bright sunshiny month before I had my first of two accidents, in '03. But they've never been loose enough to cycle in, except maybe now. But it startles me to think I've been more or less around this size since '91, but usually a bit bigger. That's kinda freaky. I think the only reason I kept 'em around is because they were one of three things I had from my vacation with my mom and brother to England, the only such trip we ever took, the three of us. Sentimental. Nice to have them fitting now.

Well, I'm off to cycle my sore ass 13km to work. I've lengthened my route by 2km each way. Dumb, but true. Whatever. I figure I need a little extra kick in the ass, so we'll see how it helps. Enjoyed it yesterday... a nicer route, more people peopling the path, more camaraderie and community feel. It feels better than the wealthier, more upscale routes I've been trying of late, so it's worth the added distance, plus, there's now some waterfront in my ride. Slick route retooling! :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

A bedtime story

Between the 80 stomach crunches and the now-lengthened cycling-to-work return trip, our heroine really fucking hurt. All over.

"Come thither," she whispered to the painkillers.

So they did.

And they lived happily ever after. The end.

Manufacturing Dissent, or Just Rehashing Rhetoric?

I'm watching a bit of Manufacturing Dissent before work today, a Canadian documentary exposing Michael Moore as... wait for it... a spin-thrift manipulator with a political agenda and a tendency to selectively inform in a way that pads his argument.

Oooh, big expose, this. Woo, woo.

I was just curious what the doc had to say. I like Michael Moore's work, but I'm under few illusions of how well he stacks the deck when making an argument. Sure, his work is mainly true, but it's seldom accurate or even fair. Take his depictions of Canada when he's trying to wax romantic about the utopian world we have up here.

So not true. Sicko glosses over our medical system, for instance. I love our free medical, don't want to see it any other way, but it needs work. The system needs revamping for a new age. We need more of Britain's wait-free system and preventative care focus. We need more access. We need fewer wait times. (Granted, Britain has a fucking island to put roads on, and Canada this monstrous nation and half the population of Britain, so how can we pave all these roads yet still have the UK's incredible, envious system? Our nation's disposable income is nothing like the UK's.)

Yes, we get surgeries when they're urgent/emergency surgeries, but when it's deemed as less than life-or-death, the waits can get long and unpleasant. But I do pay for my medical separate. I get a bill monthly. It's different from province to province, so let's get real here. ($36 a month, but still.)

But that doesn't bolster Moore's claims, so why point out that, while most of us wouldn't want to be without our system, most of us do believe improvements can (and should) be made? It just doesn't help his case.

Is Moore a bad guy for making a one-sided argument with sexy legs? No, but it goes back to caveat emptor for his viewers. Just 'cause you see it don't make it true. You gotta see through the spin, whether the spin favours your POV or not. You have to find your own answers, too. You need to accept all arguments with a grain of salt, then look into unbiased, objective sources.

This film was probably the low-point of Moore's life, though. 2004-2005. His films were doing incredibly, but he managed to make himself a liability to the Democrats' campaign for control of Pennsylvania Ave. I honestly believe that, had Michael Moore just released Fahrenheit 9/11 and said, "This movie speaks for me" and walked away after three weeks of release-date press, Americans would have voted against the war.

Instead, he stuck around so long that the movie stopped being about an unjust war, and the press became about an argumentative lefty calling Republicans every name in the book. He lost his equilibrium and he lost his control of the spin. He sounded petty and venomous. Instead of tempering his argument, he amped it up.

And the Democrats lost the election. And the Americans stuck it out in Iraq.

There comes a time when some people need to shut up and take a back seat. When your voice drowns out all others and you instead become a beacon of discontent, a target for your opposition, then maybe it's time to sit down and shut up.

But Moore never understood that, maybe he never will. I worry that, now that he's come out on the record for Obama, that he may ingratiate himself into this campaign as well, which I feel might be disastrous, even if Sicko's brought him more non-partisan support than he has enjoyed in the past.

God knows Obama's taken a whuppin' of late, too, so having Moore rallying behind him might be just the last "fanatic" he needs throwing weight behind him. Farrakhan, Wright, now Moore? Good god. The guy doesn't need a new stump speech, he needs a fucking paddle and a lifejacket, 'cos he's drowning in shit!

The reports on Moore being an unrelenting employer, well, those hardly surprise me. As a guy who wears his passions on his sleeve, it wouldn't be a stretch to think he'd be one of those guys who thinks everyone's passion should similarly sustain them through difficult work and such. Insecure, controlling, liable to feel victimized? Moore? Geez, you don't say.

I worked for someone like that last year for six months. The kind who thinks you should feel privileged to have that job, that working beyond closing hours is for the good of the cause, who needs overtime? Who needs raises? Pfft! The world spins on good intentions, doesn't it?

The fucking nobility of the cause. Well, I couldn't deposit nobility for my rent payments, and I didn't like overtime being a way of life, so I fucking walked. I can't stand the person any more, even though they were always pretty honest about who they were, you know? And I feel BAD that I feel that way, 'cos they were always, always honest about who they were. I just wanted to believe something else, is all.

I get the same sense from Michael Moore. I'd like him for a week or two, but I'd probably lose my taste for him pretty quickly. Sanctimony only works on me for a short while, but then the light of day shines and I avert my eyes.

Still, he contributes important arguments. I think he's an important watchdog of politics. He just needs to watch that people don't get too wise to him, or he might fall further out of favour, and I suspect he'd hit the ground pretty hard after toppling from such a height, or maybe he'll just play his "poor me" victim card for good measure.

And, then there's the legacy of Moore, the next generation, the generation that understands the value of his work, but also understands the way the media must be played in a post-digital society, and the unending ability for the average person to now fact-check on their own. A generation being headed mostly by Morgan Spurlock, who has yet to fill me with the ambivalence I feel towards Moore post-2004 Kerry/Bush.

Ahh... documentary film-makers. God bless 'em.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Steff's Take on the Middle Eastern White Bean Salad

I'm about to bake some honey-cilantro-crusted salmon, and I'll letcha know how that works out.

1 can butter beans, if you can find 'em, or navy beans, etc.
1/2 an English cucumber, diced small
4 roma/plum tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions sliced thin
1 green, yellow, and red pepper, seeded & chopped small
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf/italian parsley

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl (don't worry about mixing it yet, and be careful of the tomatoes when you do).

1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 crushed, minced cloves of garlic
black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over salad, mix well, serve. Will keep for several days.

This is an awesome all-purpose salad I'm officially going to make more often. It's for dinner with my salad and my asparagus. Very healthy, no? Hopefully I'll be doing this more often.


In other news, I've hung some art, laid out rugs, put a few cluttery things away. It's still a messy pad, but the things I've been getting done are ones I've been ignoring for a while.

GayBoy and I both encountered the same post-painting "fuck that" attitude towards the finishing of the job.

So, slowly but surely. I have a five-day holiday weekend two weeks from now, and know I'll polish off the rest of my stuff in between fun things. Yay. Oh, to finally be done.

Not really possessing of endless "yeah, clean up!" energy right now, what with the exercising and all. But hey. Soon. :)

The salmon is summoning me. Back to cooking, then.

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15 Minutes of Craftiness Becomes an Afternoon of Smug!

Martha Stewart called. She wants her neuroses back.

I reupholstered my AbSwing.

It comes from the factory in this stupid red vinyl with "AbSwing" written on it, because that's exactly what I want to have on my gym equipment that sits in my living room next to all my fancy antiques.

So, I used the same cream/off-white vinyl that my dining room chairs all have on 'em. It's not so "$79.95 at Zellers!" now. Now no one will know it's an AbSwing. Now I'll have to say "Oh, it's an AbSwing".

I did 65 stomach crunches Friday night. If you use this thing right, man, it will HURT the next day. I still hurt, two days later. Laughing and coughing, ooh, it hurts.

But now it's shiny and white! Marth would be proud. I'll go now and do 70 aesthetically pleasing stomach crunches. Delightful. (Puke.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

MREOW! The Cat Logo!

Lone Dog saved me and found me a copy of the cat restricted logo I was seeking! I did a whole bunch of "cat" searches -- lioness, tiger, leopard... and I knew I was forgetting something, but hey. It's a cougar. And it's a born-in-BC regional symbol. Apparently it's quite popular in the adult entertainment industry.

Whatever! I got it now. Putting it up on the other blog, keep the youngins out. Here's how the end product looks. Originally I just wanted it black and white but then I tweaked one or two other things. Totally bad of me, but it rocks, so there ya have it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Coffee Break (Hi!)

I've been searching off and on since last night for one of those old black-cat "restricted" logos for movies that I used to see in my childhood. I tell you, there are few web searches I've failed at, but that's one. What the hell? Bah. I'll keep looking. If any of you can share, though, feel free!

Well, I hit bed around 2am last night. Guess I'm becoming more and more of a night owl. I got a comment on some posting last night off Smut, really enthusiastic, so I reread the posting, was pleasantly surprised that it read better than it felt to write it, and thought "Hmm, wonder if that's been the case more than I think of late..." So I started reading other stuff.

You know, it was a really pleasant experience. I liked most of it. Even found one good quote.

See, the last time I'd really read anything was, what, a month ago? Or so. I'd gone through some of my archives (about 6 months of work), and then I stopped when it began getting depressing last year. Just had nothing to say, and when I did have something to say, I said it poorly.

But reading decent writing from the recent past is really empowering. That my traffic's picking up is just icing on the cake. I'm getting it all done, though. I've added more advertising options to my blog, fun quotes reflecting various writing modes and sentiments of mine. I've tweaked the layout in bits.

The project for the next few days is to learn about adding DIGG and other webtools to Smut.

The traffic here... snicker. I probably get 3-4 dozen hits a day. Know what? I'm good with that. Mostly people I know personally, stuff like that. I don't care, I'm not writing for anyone here. I'm writing for myself, just journaling for the hell of it. Keeps my head straight. And I'm not sure I want this blog popular, anyhow. I like its lowkey status. Keeps it a simple hobby for me, like mental enemas or something. Get it out, get on with things.

But I have big goals for the other blog. To be finally getting it all together after two years of neglect is very, very uplifting. Maybe I can be more than just a legend in my own mind.

Ah, well. I'm getting somewhere with it. This is good. I've probably spent 10 hours doing blog stuff (not writing) this week, and it really does show. It's proving to me that if I take a little more time to apply myself to it, that's all that's required. It's really being a second job for me right now.

My home, however, looks like shit because I've been ignoring everything outside of the blog and working out. I'm accepting that these might be the prices I pay, and I need to decide what's more important right now to my sense of self-worth. Exercising and blog, yeah, they're top of the list right now.

Too bad choices need to be made, but it is what it is. At least progress is being made on all fronts now.

Work's quiet and I'm being allowed to go slow and neurotically on the digital stuff I'm learning, which is wicked cool. I don't want to hand in sub-standard work and use the excuse that I'm learning; I'm learning new methods, but the grammatical basics and fundamentals of captioning still apply, and I'm well-versed in both of those, so why take the easy way out on new work, right? Right.

But it's hilarious, the bosses are so, you know, "Oh, do what you can, you'll pick it up sooner or later" and mellow about it, no pressure. I think they must feel like maybe they're putting the pressure on me or something, but, no, I'm just built by Neuroses, and Ford tough. It's how we roll. I know what I can deliver, and it pisses me off to deliver anything less. I get angry when I'm not allowed or able to work to my standards, whether it's because a client doesn't follow specs or because I'm foiled by new media, it really doesn't matter. I'm neurotic. I wear it well. See?

Ha. Yeah, well, whatever, I'm not thrilled to work today but that's 'cos I'm too motivated to get other things done, and work's kind of that thing standing between me and VICTORY right now. There, I'm over it. Off I go.