tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

29Jun/120

The Simple Joys

This weekend, for me, will be about simple joys, I've decided. As it is a long weekend for Canadians, some will run away to cottages, fly to see family, go to our nation's capital to celebrate or any number of fun activities.

This weekend, I will likely rarely leave the house.

Partly this is due to the need to recover from a running injury. Partly this is because, most days, I'd prefer to rest at home.

I've decided this weekend, however, will be about simple joys in life.

  • The condensation on a cold bottle of white wine.
  • The involuntary bodily spasm when Jon Stewart delivers a punch line.
  • The smile after a long conversation, about not much in particular, with someone who is incredibly dear to me.
  • The smell of peppers roasting in the oven.
  • The satisfaction of downing a boss.
  • The raspy sound of one day's growth.
  • The scent of freshly brewed coffee.
  • The slight buzz after a couple glasses of wine.
  • The ding of an instant message.
  • The confirmation of a successful file transfer.
  • Sending a supportive tweet.
  • Sharing a happy moment.
  • Sleeping until you're a little groggy.
  • Sitting back and knowing you are safe.
  • Sitting back and knowing you are loved.

I hope your weekend is filled with simple joys. Share some with me, if you have a moment.

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25Jun/120

I’m running! Wait…no…false alarm.

So I've got this pain in my left knee.

It's not super intense. I'm not crying out in pain, and I can still walk on it.

It's funny because, when I started running again a couple weeks ago, I was worried about my left leg. I'd had numbness issues before, but I figured I'd try and work through it. Listen to my body, but keep trying and see if regular, gentle running helped. And it did! The numbness disappeared entirely, replaced by the wonderful, burning achiness of running, where your legs hurt just enough afterwards that you know you've done well.

But last week I started to feel a different pain in my left leg. It had moved up a bit, into the knee. Nothing crazy, but I took a day off, felt better (except for the energy crash that comes from not running in the morning) and tried again; I got through the run, but paid for it the next day, and have been resting my legs since.

It's more than a little frustrating. Just when I think I've found the motivation to work exercise back into my life, when I find something I can enjoy, I get sidelined. I know, from how it feels today, I need to rest the leg for a while. We have a long weekend coming up, so I'll likely spend a lot of that resting. As much as I am somewhat looking forward to that, this means I have to be extra careful with the calories if I want to keep the modest gains I've made. Down 4 pounds, last time I checked. Not much, but a start.

I guess this is a good lesson in knowing your limits, though, and maybe that the idea of setting huge goals for yourself is not the best plan when dealing with exercise and injury.

21Jun/120

Wine and Love: 9

So today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week!

Wine

    • I feel like whenever I get ahead in one aspect of my life, others fall to the wayside. I'm exercising and eating better, but now I don't seem to have time to read blogs or watch videos, or blog myself!
    • While I'm excited about moving out in a few weeks, I am a little nervous. Lots of stuff to deal with. I've lived on my own before, but never while working full time. I know it will be good for me to learn, but I'm still worried I'll leave the stove on or the door unlocked or wake up and realize I have no clean clothes or something of the sort.
    • It's hot! Although not terrible, still a little unpleasant. Though I am grateful most places I'm in have AC.

Love

 

  • I have been running pretty regularly most weekday mornings. Not far, and not long, and with lots of stops for walking, but still. I've coupled this with calorie counting. It's amazing, when I realize how much latitude I gave myself and just how much I was eating. I do miss that, being able to eat whatever I want, but it wasn't healthy. I'm down around 4 pounds already since last week, which is excellent.
  • I'm excited about moving to the city for a little while. I'm still a little iffy about the idea of living there permanently, but this will be a good test of that. I'm looking forward to cooking for myself more and having more control over that.
  • Podcasts. I've been listening to some at work while doing some data entry work and, not only has it improved my productivity, but the time seems to just fly by, and I feel like I'm getting something done both work and personal-wise. Lately it's been Comedy Bang Bang and the Nerdist, but I'm open to other recommendations.

What are you loving, and not loving this week?

12Jun/120

BEDJ Day 11: Canada

K, so I've missed a few days. Sorry, BEDJ! Life got busy!

Today we're talking about travel again, and I thought I'd talk about some of the places I want to visit in my own country, Canada. If you never have, go look at some of the Canadian Tourism sites. We have a beautiful, varied country, and I want to see it all!

I've lately had a bit of a love affair with our east coast, in particular Newfoundland. The TV show Republic of Doyle is filmed and set there, and it shows a slightly harsh, but beautiful landscape, with a unique culture. Some of our best musicians (in my opinion) come from out there, and the music has a Celtic and generally upbeat feel. The land even has its own dialect of English. Seriously, you can buy a Newfoundland-Canadian English dictionary. I checked. I also have some distant family there, and am 1/4 Newfie myself, so I'd love to visit sometime.

The North is another spot I'd love to visit. Much like Iceland, this is an area of stark and somewhat harsh beauty, though with more trees. Part of this is how cut off a lot of this area is from the rest of Canada. While there are certainly flights, the capitals of the various territories that make up the North look more like small towns, with many things being more expensive, since almost everything must be flown in, as there are few (perhaps no?) roads leading up there from the rest of Canada. Probably would be best to go there in the summer, but it's the kind of place I'd like to go just to say I'd been, in ways.

There are many, many spots in Canada I'd love to go. I'd love to spend more time up Muskoka way in cottage country, head out West to Vancouver, and everything in between. If you'd like a taste of the kind of thing I'd love to do, check out the movie One Week. Fans of Joshua Jackson will enjoy it, as he stars.

Check out One Week anyway, it's a good movie.

 

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6Jun/120

BEDJ Day 5: TV Tuesday

Today on BEDJ we're talking about TV.

Ho-boy. I only get 4 days to talk about TV this month? Clearly not enough time.

I love TV. I love it as a medium, and do not understand why people hold up films as the great masterpieces. A series can be a masterpiece too. Where else do you get to know a character that well? Where else does a writer or an actor have the time to craft a character, often spending years doing so? Not to mention an overall story arc!

I think I'll start, funnily enough, at the beginning of my TV watching. The first show I remember watching regularly was Star Trek: The Next Generation. I started this whole geek thing at a young age. I was embarrassed by it at first; a closet Trekkie, if you will, though over time I became more open about it to people at my school (which resulted in much teasing, but I didn't care, cause Picard wouldn't care). TNG was the first show to really spark my imagination. I wrote my own stories, played out my own parts. Star Trek introduced me to the idea of science fiction; of a world more magical than our own, where anything was possible, where a little boy could go out and explore the stars. The whole universe that was built there fascinated me. I loved to see not just the Enterprise, but other Starfleet vessels, Captains and worlds. I wanted to know more about all these races, their cultures, their languages. This even turned me onto reading, the first novel I read being a Star Trek one, focusing on the Romulans (who remain one of my favourite races).

The only thing that bugged me about TNG was that I always felt like it wasn't serialized enough. Course, I didn't know how to say that at the time, but the fact that one episode rarely referenced another, that plots rarely carried over and that there were few large arcs, bothered me intensely.

However, TNG opened me to a new, final frontier. Not just Star Trek, but other, wonderful science fiction series came up after this. I'm still waiting for the next great one, truthfully. Nothing quite thrills me, to this day, than a military based space opera, like Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate, BSG (to a point). All these have, sadly, come to an end.

Next week; Babylon 5, the best science fiction show you've probably never heard of.

5Jun/120

BEDJ Day 4: Icelandic Travel

So today's topic for BEDJ is travel. For this, I thought I'd talk briefly about my favourite destination, Iceland.

That's right. It's not particularly warm or sunny, but it is wonderful.

I spent a week there a few years ago, traveling with a group of friends. We spent a few days in the largest city, Reykjavik, before renting a car and driving a bit along the southern coast, before heading back to Reyk and back towards home. Since I'm tired, and since I can go on about Iceland for pages and pages, I'll stick to a few quick facts.

  • Iceland, despite the name, is actually relatively temperate. Temperatures tend to range between 0 and 15 Celsius (that's 14 and 55F, for you crazy Yanks).
  • During the summer the sun is out more and more, eventually resulting in a full day of sunshine. The winter has the opposite effect, of course.
  • Tired of old politicians, Reykjavik elected their equivalent of Jon Stewart as Mayor (I think; it's a little tough to read it all in translation, but a comedian running on a joke platform got elected and has so far done a decent job, from what I've read).
  • The first lesbian elected to be the head of a government was Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, elected in 2009 as Prime Minister of Iceland.
  • Icelandic names tend to follow a patronymic naming style, whereby the child takes the first name of the father as a last name, with the suffix sson or dottir. This leads to a family of four having, potentially, four different surnames. So if Magnus Thorsson marries Ingrid Bjorndottir, their children would be Gabriel Magnusson and Johanna Magnusdottir. Something along those lines, anyway. Because of this, and last names not meaning much, the phone book lists occupations as well, to help identify people.
  • The country has a population of around 315 000, with around 230 000 in the Greater Reykjavik Area. Take a moment and think of how truly small that is.
  • Iceland tends to use clean, geothermal energy, yet has one of the highest rates of cars per capita. It was explained by a tour guide that Icelanders don't use geothermal power cause it's environmentally friendly; they do this cause it's easier than any other form, for them.

I can't say exactly what it is, but this kind of barren, kind of crazy country captivated me. I could have spent years there, and even now I still debate running off to there and trying to make my way. I'll definitely need to go back at some point, but for now I've been saving my money. But every now and then I still read the Iceland Review, or the Reykjavik Grapevine, just to get a sense of what's going on there. Maybe I lived there in a past life or something, couldn't say for sure.

Either way, if I've piqued your interest, I'd suggest checking out a couple fun sites; Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend and Inspired by Iceland. The latter is one of the most beautiful and inspiring tourist campaigns I've ever seen, while the former is creative and kind of adorable.

Better yet, check out flights. They're probably cheaper than you think.

4Jun/120

BEDJ Day 3: I’ll post later

This past weekend I did something I had been meaning to do for a long time. It was a relatively minor task. You see, my computer setup has grown over the years, from a large desktop PC, to a laptop, to a large Mac and has included any number of peripherals, all requiring plugs, mostly. As such, my power plugs were a mess, and probably a fire hazard. Not to mention, the single plug there were plugged into was somehow damaged and looked...weird. It's never given off any sparks or anything, but it didn't look safe to have it plugged in there.

Of course, I've had it plugged in there for 10 years or so.

This weekend, I decided that was going to change.

So I turned off my computer, warned the house the Internet was going down, and went to work. I cleaned out the area (SO much dust) and checked to make sure all the plugs there were actually necessary, pulling out what wasn't. I managed to get it down to 1 power bar's worth of plugs, and then ran that cord to another outlet that w a bit further away, but was perfect and undamaged and did not look like a vague fire hazard.

Lately I find myself tackling things like this; tasks that have been sitting on the back burner for ages, but that I've just never quite gotten around to. In my family leaving tasks like this undone for weeks, months, even years is common. We have rooms full of stuff we will tackle later. There's always something more important to do.

I've treated a lot of things in my life like that; things I will do later, things I will take care of when the time is right. Well, the time is now, I say, to do all the things I've put off. A lot of this is inspired by some straight talk from friends (and one in particular) that has inspired me to be more adult about things. It may sound odd, but in my mind, tackling all these tasks is the adult thing to do.

Of course, I did all this with a video game book ending beginning and finishing this task. I may be an all, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten how to have fun.

 

3Jun/120

BEDJ Day 2: Food

Technically, day 1 was food, but I used that for my consumption post, so we're running with this topic today!

As someone who's been chubby for most of his life, I have a bit of a weird relationship with food. I like food. I love it, really. But it's always been both...enemy and friend. The bane of my existence and, you know, something required for continued existence. And existing is basically all I do!

As a kid, food was a treat. A candy, some chips, ice cream. These were things I had on a bad day, or when I was good. So, basically, unless it was just a so-so day, I got a treat! As such, I've grown up with a somewhat similar mindset, which tends to cause some problems for me. There is nothing I want more on a bad day than a meal from McDonald's, or ice cream. This lead to me being a chubby kid, which leads to more bad days, which lead to more treats. It's a vicious cycle, yeah?

I've also always lived in a household of simple eaters. My parents like boiled vegetables and simply cooked, unseasoned meat. I've only recently learned that, hey, vegetables can be cooked to be somewhat tasty! I cannot overemphasize how odd it was for me to enjoy eating broccoli, cauliflower and peppers, for the first time ever. Sorry, Mom.

For me food has always been a test of willpower; can I force down the terrible tasting, good for me stuff, and resist the terrible for me, good tasting stuff? I'm only now starting to redefine my relationship with food as a joyful one. Enjoying the taste of an apple, or some raspberries, or taking a second helping of roast vegetables.

The toughest part for me, though, is still the tests of willpower. Saying no to those tasty treats, treating myself instead with some fruit.

But I still think y'all who tell me you'd rather have fruit than a giant slice of chocolate cake are crazy. ;)

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1Jun/121

What I’m Consuming: End of May

As I've mentioned before, I've been thinking a lot about the content I consume, and been wanting to consume more. I fell out of that habit the last few weeks, but wanted to get back to it. So I thought, what better way than being accountable to others for what I'm consuming?

So every week I'll be posting a list of the things I'm reading, watching, hearing and...touching? Tasting? Maybe? Likely the first 3, mostly. The idea here is to make sure I have things to share here, knowing I'll be making this post once a week and maybe share some cool things I've discovered.

I'm also doing #BEDJ, or Blog Every Day in June, with many awesome people, and this is sufficing as my first post for that, cause I want to start doing this regularly on Fridays! I may write the Food post, which is our theme for the day, later.

Without further adieu:

What I'm Reading:

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

I've been enjoying this so far, just over halfway through now. It's the sequel to his previous book, The Name of the Wind,  and part of a trilogy. Fairly accessible fantasy, with a fascinating world and a compelling, if somewhat Mary Sue-esque, character. I suspect I'll be done this by next week!

What I'm Hearing:

Radiant Land by Leeroy Stagger

In ways this should be "CBC Music App," as that's how I discovered this album. Randomly loaded the app up, turned on their indie music station, and the song Dirty Windshields came on. The app had a "download on iTunes button" so I clicked that about halfway through the song, and bought the album. A bit country-esque, with a hint of classic rock. The album is the kind of thing I put on in the background (while healing LFR on Wednesday, actually) and it's a nice accompaniment.

What I'm Watching:

Life

Technically, this should be Game of Thrones, as I finished Life last week, but I wanted to highlight this little gem of a show. It ran for two seasons, starring Damian Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers) and Sarah Shahi (Fairly Legal) as partners in LAPD Homicide. Lewis' character had just been released from jail after 12 years, after finding Zen Buddhism and clearing his name and getting reinstated as an LAPD officer. Similar to Castle, and not quite as snappy, but fun, with a dose of Zen Buddhism weaved through some of the themes. Should've gone on for longer, if you ask me, but sadly no one did. Watched this on Netflix, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice distraction with most shows heading towards their finales.

 

What are you consuming this week?