Monday, May 24, 2010

Gettin' Fit

I have been whining about my weight and overall lack of fitness for some time. Unfortunately, whining does not burn many calories, so it has largely been an unsuccessful strategy. Paying gym dues has been equally ineffective.
On the spur of the moment though, I decided to register for a 5K race coming up in two weeks. I go for a run now and then, so I know I’ll be able to manage the 3.1 miles in a reasonable time - if I run every day between now and then and do some extra work on the coming weekend.
I really hate to sweat, but at this point, I hate being soft around the middle even more. The last two years of graduate school and work have not done me any favors as far as the weight and fitness go. I now weigh more than I have ever weighed. Fifteen pounds to go, though, and I will be back at a point where I can be happy. Hopefully a daily run for the next two weeks will put me on track toward that goal.
Now that I am done with grad school, I can actually use some of the time I regained to return to fitness. It’s on the list and now I need to put it on the calendar now that I have all my various calendar devises synchronized. I no longer have the excuse of time or the lack of organization to get it done.
No more conflicts!
No more excuses!
No more whining!

Friday, May 21, 2010


I periodically write about experiences with technology and different discoveries I make by playing around with it. None of my previous experiences match the ecstasy I felt upon getting all my electronic calendars to sync yesterday. I gush over this accomplishment because it was the first time I was able to cross platforms - from Mac to PC. 
At some point I crossed a line and truly became a tech geek. I am certainly not in the tech elite, but shiny things with touch screens do make my heart beat faster.
Since buying the iPad just over a week ago, I have gradually done more and more work on it each day and have found that it really is one of the most functional toys I have ever purchased. The calendar, internet, and various applications, do make it much more than a cool way to watch television while in bed (as if the 27” television, connected to cable, in my room was not enough). As I began to find ways to make it work with my iPhone and MacBook Pro, I was upset that it didn’t sync with my work calendar.
After playing for just a few minutes, I was able to make it sync with the exchange (Microsoft) server at work, but that still did not populate information to my iCal on the MacBook. Mobile Me made it so easy for my Apple products to connect, but I knew there had to be a way to make the Microsoft calendar work without duplicating everything.
And then I remembered that I had the Entourage program. After a few minutes of playing with it, I discovered that, since it is on my MacBook, it will sync through Mobile Me - as well as with the Exchange server at work.
I literally had a technologygasm when I opened iCal and it had synced every electronic calendar I have.
I then opened the calendar on my iPad. It was just as beautiful and I pulled it out at every meeting afterward to show everyone how well it works. The iPad received lots of oohs and ahhhhs, but my proclamation of technology conquest elicited only a few, “that’s cool” responses. No one else admired the same technological accomplishment as much as me.
When I tweeted the technologygasm comment on friend responded that it sounds like something that happens after cybersex.
For me, it was even better. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reading Again

Since the completion of graduate school (again), I have been reading more "real" works again and have focused on finishing the book I started last September, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As a former English teacher I made multiple attempts at reading the original Jane Austen tome, but never made my way through it.

I may have a red high-heel-shoe tape dispenser, but Austen's writing was too girly and forced for me to tolerate.

The zombies made it tolerable.

Actually, the zombies along with the newly created games, beheadings, and ninjas. Ninjas make any zombie story better. Heck, they make anything from Romantic England better.

My favorite of the games was "kiss me deer" in which the zombie fighting sisters would use their eastern arts stealth to wrestle down a deer and kiss it on the nose before setting it free (or taking it home for dinner). I think I was particularly drawn to that one because of the hours I spent as a child and youth in sneaking up on deer to see how close I could get without detection.

While the core of the story was preserved, the new additions gave the story a life befitting the times we are in today. Everything old is suspect but desired because of the perceived security in the known (but to be improved) conventions of society - we can always improve on our forebears.

Although I spent nine months getting through the book, I'm glad I persisted and look forward to the time when I am reading a book a week - just for fun. For a while it will all be for fun because between work and school it has been all thinking reading for too long.

Now, I think I'm up for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Sent from my iPad because it is even cooler than the iPhone (for a little while)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So Gay

A couple weeks ago I was in Houston and had to run by an office supply store some last minute materials. While there, I came across and item I simply had to have for my desk. I didn’t need it, but I simply had to have it!
It had been on my desk for two weeks when a co- worker came by to have some paperwork signed. After a while, something caught her eye and she gave me a look and and said, “I’m just gonna call this what it is. That is so gay!”
Her true motivation was that she wanted one for her own desk, but I was not giving in - no matter what she called it!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Going Commercial

For a while I’ve been getting email offers about putting advertising on the blog. Eventually, the process became easy enough that someone as untechnical as myself was able to do it. So far, I prefer the Amazon advertisements because I get to choose what to put on the post. I just do not care for the placement and am going to have to figure out enough HTML code to move it around to the space in the blog where I want it.
The Google selected advertisements have been fun to watch though. Because one post was titled, “Big Boy Bedroom,” the ads were all fro children’s furniture for days. After posting pictures of flowering trees in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, ads for tree-trimmers popped up. I understand a bit of the technology behind the key-word searches used to identify advertising, but it still strikes me as quite entertaining to see what key words are identified in my writing of different posts.
I have made reference to standardized tests before and I take career assessments and interest inventories for fun to see if I can manipulate them into telling me my chosen career of the day is indeed my dream career (more often than not, I can or I get close). I am curious to see what I can do as a commercial writer to drive specific types of advertisements to my page on any given day. I take it as a personal challenge to manipulate the advertisement without changing the writing I would  be doing on my own anyway.
The two views a day the blog gets certainly are not going to make me independently wealthy as a blogger; at the current rate, i’ll be celebrate my tenth anniversary as a blogger before I get my first check.  Still, as a capitalist, the idea of corporate affirmation just makes my heart go “cha-ching.” With enough amplification, it may even be loud enough to hear through noise-canceling headphones in a quiet room.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Adventures in Blogging: Post 300, 5th Anniversary

Three hundred posts and five years ago today, I created this blog. At the time it was something fairly new and I had heard a few reports of these things called blogs on the news. At that time, they had hardly come about to be the media force they are now. A few activist blogs had begun to be taken seriously by the media and some newspapers were sensing the threat as they laid off reporters who went straight to competing with them through the resources available online.
Now people make their living by blogging.
Not me.
Three hundred posts in five years = sixty posts a year = five posts a month. Averages don’t mean a thing.  The first month had two posts and then there was a gap.
A significant gap.
Until I became so bored in my job that I was craving some kind of creative outlet again and the posts picked up to a regular pace.
Then I got a new job that took all my creative energies.
And there was that second Masters degree in the middle of it all.
But through it all, there was also the chance to get to know some people I now call friends. I’ve met some on trips to different cities and there was the one 24 hour round trip to New York to meet a bunch of bloggers on a hot-as-hell roof for the bar’s Sunday weenie roast.
It has been fun to look back on old posts over the years as I’ve tried different formats and tried to come up with regular features. They were all a bit forced and not the natural way I wanted this blog to flow. I re-read some and go, “what were you thinking!” and look at others and go, “I’m proud of that writing.” Before I started typing 3/4 of the posts in word or pages prior to posting them, I look back and see the number of typos I made as I typed directly into the blogger platform. The photos represent some of the fun I like to have and present my one visual artistic bent.
The overarching observation about my blog is that it represents me. In reading it, you know who I am and I’ve been able to demonstrate my serious side, my love of cooking, and gardening. My favorite posts though have shown my quirky sense of humor as I sometimes read labels a bit too seriously (jerky, shampoo, margarita mix, insurance envelopes). Life is best when well rounded.
I now confess, that I’m the author of three blogs and have two more in development as I’ve come to rely on the opportunities for education and communication they present. I actually teach a class through one blog as the platform there allows me to post text, video, and audio. Another is a professional blog in the question/answer format on yet another platform: people ask a question, and I provide the answer.
Little did I know, five years ago, sitting on the balcony of my apartment, just how much that yearning for creative expression would pull me into the online world and a new community of friends. I could not have imagined that what I publish here would go out on twitter and then pop up on Facebook. I certainly did not imagine that I could type an email on my phone and publish it to the blog.
I really have to stay away from the iPad or I’ll be dangerous and never get any of my work done!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

All The Free Time

The last two weeks have been and the next week is going to be so busy that I have started to fantasize about  the free time I am going to have after next Saturday. There are so many things I want to do that I have not felt like I have the time to do, but with grad school officially over and the program audit done, I won’t have that excuse anymore.
So, the top 10 things I am going to do when I once again have a life:

10) Write more
9) See more movies
8) Take weekend trips
7) Finally finish the hot tub
6) Work out and get buff!
5) Write more (yes - it’s on twice)
4) Have more parties at my house
3) Sleep (this may actually be #1 for a while)
2) Date
1) Read “real” books again!

Still Life in Bathroom

I've heard from some friends that art is all around and beauty can be seen anywhere if you just know where to look for it.

I think a really good camera helps.

This morning in the shower, though, I noticed the arrangement in the corner and thought, wow, that's interesting and looked at it from several angles as I let the water shower down over me.

The colors, angles, curves, and textures, all come together for me, so I had to get out and grab the camera right away.