Sunday, June 30, 2013

Long Weekend Warrior

Finally I can run without major pain in my right knee or in my left Achilles Tendon.  It feels like it has been months since I could run free of discomfort, oh right, that because the last time I ran pain free was back on April 22nd!

This week I have managed to run three times now, Friday after work this morning and just now late this afternoon.  I find that this is what long weekends have become for me a veritable marathon of activity.  For instance since I came home from work on Friday I have run three times for a total of 13.5k and done two big bike rides.

This morning’s run was back in Jackson Park with my work out buddy Sarah, she’s not quite a speedster yet, but we’ll get her there.

with Sarah

Yesterday I decided I would ride all the way out to Buckhorn, which is a 53k round trip!  I have borrowed the bike my dad used to ride all around Ireland and while I’m not as avid of a cyclist that he is I can go pretty good on a bike.  The trip took me just under 2 hours to complete.


This morning I rode pretty much over to Lakefield and up toward Peterborough and back, just shy of 23k. 76 Kilometres of biking in two days is none too shabby if I do say so myself.


Of course there was a workout on Saturday morning as well and two hours of Karate, very awesome.  I made sure to track most of that stuff on Endomondo and what not and see how many calories I burned and such.  I did decide today that any day where I go over 30k I am entitled to ice cream from the place here in Bridgenorth.  Not sure if I will do that every time, but when I burn 2000 calories exercising I have to get them back somehow!

Today is also the last day of the first half of the year, so lets check in on some of the year long goals I set.

2013 Goals at the Half Way Mark

50,000 pushups 

Status: Honestly, this one can still be done, but I am bored with it!  So many pushups!  As of right now I have done 24,460!  Just barely shy of where I would need to be at this stage of the game.  I know I have the ability to do it, but do I have the patience?

Run/Bike 2000km

Status: I’m on pace to do about 2500 if I can keep it up, it will be hard in October-December to bike though since I don’t have a gym membership anymore, have to be sure I get the kilometres in while I can. So far Running 382.65 Biking 902.924, numbers that will crush last years!

Bench Press at least 230lbs.

Status:  Check – I think I did this in early February

Complete a 1/2 marathon.

Status: Done back on April 28th, and the cause for my slowdown in running because I hurt my Achilles as I mentioned earlier today.

Complete a Try-a-tri.

Status: Modified – Dad and I are entering a Triathlon that is a 4k canoe race, 20k Bike and 5k run. This takes place next weekend!  So this will get checked off then!


And That folks is how I have spent most of my long weekend, I also have decided to watch the Batman Begins Trilogy, last night was the starting, tonight is The Dark Knight, yeah!

How you are having a great and safe long weekend?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why I Hate Windows 8

I may have mentioned here before that I used to be a computer support technician.  For a couple years at the tender age of 22 I did that work mostly over the phone, supporting all the libraries in Southern Ontario through a free service provided by Tekdesk.  It sounds for more exciting that it was, we got on average about a call or two a day.  But we supported systems from Windows 95 all the way through to XP at the time.  After that I had a job at Computer Installations Plus doing support work that was more hands-on, on site type things, or we'd bring computers back to our shop.  During the tail end of my career there Windows Vista was coming in to play and I have to admit I was not a big fan.  It stopped me from easily changing settings and things that I was so used to be able to do in XP.

I got laid off from that job and returned to college for ECE, during February of 2011 I bought a new laptop as Amber’s was super slow, and we needed an upgrade in the house, she took my ‘old’ XP machine since she was familiar with that system and I took the new Windows 7 laptop.

I think it’s fairly common knowledge now that Windows 7 was the perfection of the operating system.  From a tech guy stand point it was easy to use and to set up and to find networks and other computers and all that.  From a user point of view it ran smoothly and looked really pretty.  The pinnacle had been reached.  It was here that Bill Gates should have surveyed all he had done, laid off a bunch of programmers and just kept Windows 7 current for the rest of time.

But no.  Windows 8 is here.

My dad has just returned from a 20 day bicycling trip to Ireland, he has a fancy new HD camera and has hours of video to edit and stuff.  He was going to do all that on his clunky 10 year old XP machine.  I said to him that if he runs his HD video through that computer to make his movies it's going to come out looking like crap.  The program he was using, Windows Movie Maker, of that era had no support for HD and his processor would have died trying to make all the movies! 

I convinced him he was going to have to get a new machine and spend about $500 before tax to do so.  He, being a cheap ex-teacher, mulled it over for a week and then decided that he wasn’t fond of the look of Windows 8  so he would buy a new computer, and then GIVE it to me, and then I would give him my now two year old one.  Sweet deal for me right?

We bought the computer on Saturday and I took it home to set it up (he has no Internet) and copy my files over to it and stuff.  I had just finished installing Office when the then crashed, Critical_Process_Failure or something.  Some choice words and a few reboots later and it was working again – Strike 1 for Windows 8.  I was really annoyed with the lack of a start button, since I have been using a computer a certain way for like 20 years, but got around that with a little add on program istart8 I think it was called.  But everything was an extra click to get to, and if you changed programs under the ‘metro’ or tile interface the other programs just kept running in the background!  Finally I went to install my copy of Photoshop and I couldn't get it to work.  I threw my hands up.  I've had enough of this!  (I tried a few times to get Windows 7 to install on the machine but the set up would kick me out and lock up about half way through)

Dad only wants the computer to make movies and track his cycling.  I added him as a user, deleted my profile and stripped of all the tile icons and junk so he had three programs, I made it boot to the ‘regular’ looking Windows screen and called it a day.

Maybe I'm old and just don't like change anymore, but why mess with perfection?  Windows 7 works so well!  Looks so Good! And behaves just how I expect as a tech and a user!  Windows 8 has none of that, it annoyed me on so many levels!

I turned down a NEW computer just to keep Windows 7!

Fried Making Monday–Ten Simple Questions

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here and over at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Ten Simple Questions

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

I haven’t looked yet.

2. Do you prefer to pay for things with cash or plastic? 

I used to use my debit for everything, but we have since switched to a cash only system in the house.  We’ve ended up spending a lot less!

3. What is one word that you use too often?


4. Who is the last person outside of your family who said “I love you” to you?

Um, no one?  I don’t even know

5. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone and mailed it? I write letters and mail them pretty often.  I sent out a few cards over the weekend.

6. Have you ever been called upon for jury duty? 


7.  How many keys are on your key ring? 

I have about six keys I think, car, house (a couple different doors) work, karate

8.  List two characteristics that you want to change about yourself.

I kinda like myself the way I am, less sarcastic might keep me out of a bit of trouble though.

9.  Do you bring your own shampoo and conditioner when you travel, or do you use what the hotel provides? 

I bring my own

10. What is your birthstone?  Do you like it?

Um, November, sapphire I think… I don’t really care.


Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



If you care about seeing Man of Steel without a single major reveal, don’t read this.




Not reading?









Ok, people are gone now I think.



I have only one single problem with what was an amazing movie.  Man Of Steel was so many things that I hoped it would be.  It was BIG, it has amazing fight scenes, it’s ‘believable’, as far as a movie about an alien coming to earth and becoming a ‘god’ can be.

Supes punches a whole lot of stuff which, as I mentioned ages ago, is pretty much what he does.  Batman is a surgeon, Superman is a blunt instrument.

But here is my issue.  But let me back it up a bit.  Superman has been around for 75 years and in the “classic” or modern interpretation which has been around since the 50’s or so I believe, Superman is supposed to be an inspiration, the embodiment of what humanity can strive to be.  He is a  “Super”-man, that’s the whole idea.  The pinnacle of that notion is that he does not kill, and does everything he can to protect the bystanders.

So In Man of Steel, there is a Massive fight between Superman and Zod.  The two of them absolutely destroy Metropolis.  I can understand that, they want to show how powerful these two beings are, so no big deal there, it’s part of what made the movie so huge in scale.  However, at the end, Superman kills Zod.  It is to protect people yes, but he does do it.  I’m having a hard time getting over it.  That’s not the Superman I grew up with for 33 years! 

I’ve heard some people say (well read it actually) that it’s just how it is now, that he’s been updated.  Or they did it to make him more human.  I just don’t get it.

So, I know you all know who Superman is, what he’s supposed to stand for even if you have never read a comic.  What do you think?  Does Your Superman kill?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Some Drawings

I’ve posted drawings on here before.  I’m not sure if any of you folks care or not, but during a conversation with my friend Matt we talked about how art needs an audience.  So I have made art, an now I’m forcing it upon you, my audience.  You can comment, you can skip it over, whatever you like.




One of the kids at daycare asked me to draw a zombie for them


Here are a few more ‘daycare’ drawings, Green Goblin


Rapunzel version 1


Rapunzel version 2


Clearly not a drawing…  but a Zombie head made of clay


My first attempt at a comic book page


Another page started

2013-05-07 09.09.47

Some more daycare drawings…  A vampire, on a car, going into a lake

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Batman putting out a fire in a building, with Spiderman

2013-05-15 08.21.03

Three Ironmans

2013-06-05 08.32.00

A Zombie


I have recently got the book ‘How to draw comics the Marvel way’  Which while I don’t draw much Marvel stuff for myself has been really valuable in the evolution of my drawing ideas and skills.

Friend Making Monday–Just Wondering

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here and over at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!


Just Wondering


1.  Do you wear glasses and/or contacts? 

I wear glasses to drive, or if I’m looking at stuff far away.  Like this past Friday and Saturday I was at Professional Development all day, so I wore my glasses all day so I could see the screen.  I tried contacts a few years ago for when I played hockey, but since I was only wearing them once a week I never really got used to them and gave up on them.

2.  Do you have summer vacation plans?  If so, where are you going? 

I don’t have vacation plans other than a couple of extra days off.  I try to spread my vacation days out a bit to get an extra day off on long weekends and whatnot instead of full weeks.

3.  What is your favorite food to eat for breakfast?

Pancakes, we have then every Sunday.

4. Do you enjoy window shopping? 

I go and look around more than I would like, I often have a hard time pulling the trigger when I know I really don’t need a certain item.

5. What is your favourite candle scent? 

I kinda like that sulphur smell from striking matches.

6.  If you had to choose between going to a zoo or an aquarium, which one would you pick? 

The zoo, I like going to the zoo to see the big cats.



7.  How many times do you plan to exercise this week?

4 minimum, weights at least twice and running or biking at least twice.  Probably more like 6 times.

8.  Do you speak another language fluently? 

Nope, but I can figure out simple French, and speak simple French.

9.  What are you currently reading? 

I get Batman and Nightwing in the mail each month.  Batman just started a Zero Year story arc, should be awesome, the first issue of it was at least.


10.  What are you looking forward to most in the coming week? 

We are doing our Preschool graduation on Wednesday and that should be great I think.  All the kids that are going to grade one and won’t be back when the school year ends are getting diplomas and such.


Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments, and say hi to someone new this week.  Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Excruciating Knee Pain Taught Me

This Friday and Saturday I was in Guelph for work.  We were learning about and discussing on the topic of the Early Learning Framework that is being introduced to the school board and most likely daycares throughout the province in the next little while.  It was interesting work and I had great people at my table to discuss with, but it was long days to be sure.

To combat that I wanted to get some exercise in before our days got started at 8am.  Since I was in a hotel I knew I wouldn’t sleep very long anyways and so when I was up at about 6 in the morning both of the day I got my gear on and went out for a run. 


The first morning I just did a nice little 5k in the neighbourhoods in behind the hotel.  It was a nice enough route, but nothing I couldn’t see in any city.  During one of the breaks one of the ladies at the table and I got to talking about running and such and she suggested I go run at the university of Guelph and in their arboretum.  Unique and very pretty.

You may recall that during my run at The O Course I kind of hurt my knee a bit somehow, and so the run on Friday was my first attempt since last Saturday.  My knee was alright.

Running over to the University sounded like a fantastic plan Saturday morning since I briefly visited the hotel gym after dinner the night before and it sucked.  I did ride their stationary bike, but that’s it. 

It was a much further run to get to the arboretum than I expected really and I was about 3k in before I even got to the woods.  my knee was hurting a bit by then already, but I wasn’t about to run to the entrance of this place and then turn around without seeing it!  So I ran through the woods, it was very pretty and since I had forgotten to bring headphones I could hear all the birds and critters and other forest sounds, it really was nice.



By the time I got out on the other side and back up to the street I had gone 5k and I was really starting to feel the pull on my knee and up the outside of my thigh and down into my calf a bit.  I knew, however, that I was at least 3k from the hotel, and even running I would have less than an hour to shower, get dressed and get breakfast before our session started.  Slowing down or walking was out of the question if I was going to make it back in time!

At 7k completed I was dying!  I could feel the pain creeping outward from my knee, and I was thinking ‘Just get to that set of lights, then we’ll walk’ (That’s we, like the ‘royal we’ – “We are not amused…  We will walk when we get to those lights…  We think our knee might explode!”) And then I would get to those lights and realize I had at least another block to go and continue running.

My leg hurts pretty good right now, 24 hours later.  Last week the chiropractor said I have super tight IT bands and need to get a foam roller to help work them out a bit.  All I know is that my leg really flippin’ hurts.

What I learned in that 3k slog back to the hotel is this.  I am unstoppable if I choose to be.  I will admit I kind of applied this same thing before but that was about running after dinner and feeling like I was going to hurl just because of the full tummy, or it was about simply pushing for more time or distance or to be faster.  My half marathon and this run here have told me that even when one of the fundamental things I require to do an activity is malfunctioning I have the will and ability to make things happen!

The short term impact of that might not be all that great, and I should probably lay off a bit and be sure my knee and legs get the restorative attention they need.  But ultimately it is a very good thing.  You learn about yourself when you have to fight adversity.  Pain is a good thing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Friend Making Monday – How Do You Celebrate

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here and over at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!


How Do You Celebrate?

1. When is your birthday? 

My Birthday is November 15th

2.  Do you like to celebrate it or do you prefer to keep it quiet? 

Depends on your definition of celebrate I guess.  I don’t usually have a big party or anything, but I like going to dinner with friends and hanging out for sure.

3. Have you ever had a surprise party? 

Yes actually, it was awesome.

4. What sign are you?  Does it represent you well? 

Scorpio, and I have no idea if it represents me, I don’t follow that hokum.

5.  Do you tell the truth about your age? 

Yep, 33.  Most people think I am younger though.

6.  Share your best birthday memory. 

I think it would have to be as a kid.  One year my dad went out into our woods and set up a bunch of orienteering points ahead of time, gave me and my friends compasses from school and we had to go out and reach each of the places.  That was fun!  Then we came back and all got to put all our own toppings on pizzas.

Best giving birthday memory was my ex step daughter (or however that definition goes) before she was actually my kid.  We got her a bike and hid it, and put notes all over the area they lived, so she opened the gift box and got a note and had to go find the next and then the next and so on until she got to the bike.  That was fun!  She was excited!

7.  Share a few item that could be on your birthday wishlist. 

This year it’s easy again, Batman: Arkham Origins probably for Xbox, maybe some under armour stuff.  I’m sure there will be a new Mario or Zelda I will want too.

8.  What is your favorite kind of cake? 

Just like vanilla(?) or white cake or whatever with milk chocolate frosting.  I’m pretty simple when it comes to cakes.  We always do homemade cakes around here for birthdays.

9.  If you could be anywhere on your next birthday, where would you be? 

If I’m being reasonable – either Matsu Sushi or The Favourite Greek with a whole bunch of friends!

I’m ok with being at my house with those same friends too!

If I’m being outlandish – I’d be taking all those same folks on a cruise!  And celebrate my birthday for a whole week in the Caribbean!

10.  Do you make a wish when you blow out the candles? 

I do, but as I have explained to the kids at day care about wishing on blowing on the dandelion seeds, I make very simple, easy to come true wishes, that way they always come true right away!


Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Monday Everyone!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Couple Official Pictures

arms out

I’m actually a bit ho-hum back there in this picture.  It took a bit for my arms to get tired.

Squats in the water

Squats in FREEZING water

ammo case

Ammo Case Carry

tire carry

Tire Press, Look at the Dragon Face there!

The O Course Part II

Part I Here!

Yesterday I ran and did The O Course.  Seems odd to have two verbs there but it is what is necessary actually. The whole story goes like this.

I left my house at the ungodly hour of 6am – the same time I get up to go to work the rest of the week – and made my way down to Polson Pier in Toronto.  It was a little tricky to find the actual place, but thanks to a couple of experienced people it was found and the wait from about 8am to the 9am start time commenced.  After a bit of their own detour Tara and Kamita showed up and we grouped up together to do the “warm up” part of the course.


The DVP at 7:25am.  I had to take a picture because I have never seen it this empty before.

This is why I say “did” the O Course.  The '”warm up” was nearly and hour and a half long from start to finish, some of that time was the opening instructions and warnings like “If you think you are going to pass out, let one of the instructors know”.


The warm up was quite challenging, but I felt more from a mental aspect.  Can you push yourself to do more than you thought you could, there were only a very few times I was actually out of breath, but lots of times where my muscles were screaming at me!  You don’t realise just how heavy your arms are until you have to hold them out at the side of your body for like 15 minutes, and do flutters and waves and circles and then hold them again.  I think the worst part was the ‘only for 10 more seconds’ bit. See during this phase everyone HAD to have their arms up for the whole time and we’d get to 10, 9, 8… and someone would drop their arms and we’ve get a reminded to hold them up for the whole 10 seconds and start over.  This happened like 10-15 times at least.  Just hold your flippin’ arms up!  10 seconds is way shorter than the 10 minutes those random people made us do!

Then there was sprints down the indoor soccer field, which I later figured out was 60 metres and my fastest time down was 8.62 seconds.  Then it was crab walking the whole length, and then like belly crawling.  Once we had done all that we went and got our rifles.  These were the 2.5 foot 2x2’s (or close to that at least).  We then proceeded to do a bunch of exercises with these, mostly holding them over our heads or out from our chest.  It is here again that the whole 10 seconds situation happened again.  I swear, relax for a second or two BEFORE the 10 count begins, jeez! Again 10 seconds was turned into at least 10 minutes thanks to a bunch of people!

After all this it was on to the race/obstacle course portion.  We took our ‘rifles’ and headed out on to what I am told was a 5k run, but it was not just a straight run.  About 5 minutes in it was sit ups IN lake Ontario! 


Good God was the water ever cold! Then a little loop away from the water, and then back in the water for 50 squats in waist deep water and then I’d say about a 300 metre slosh in water waist deep or more along the shore and then 25 push ups in the water.  576793_582468048452861_1651625558_n

Thoroughly soaked and freezing to the point of numbness from the waist down is was a nice jaunt along a bike path for quite a while before returning to the waters edge to do ‘box jumps’ onto some big rocks, and then return into the water for more push ups and squat jumps before heading right back to where we started.

Here I, and a couple of people I was following, went a bit of the wrong way extending our run by about 5 minutes or so.  Which kind of sucks because in the end I think it cost me about 20 places!  We doubled back and got on the right path and then it was time for the real obstacles!  We stowed our rifles and headed around the big inflatable indoor soccer building.  Frist thing was hauling tires up out of the water to toss back into the lake, three times, then over a big wall, much higher than those at run for your lives, I’d say it was about chest/shoulder high.



Then hopping over some beams and down into a pit full of putrid water and belly crawling up the mud/sand on the other side.  More beams to hop over and then the Commando Bars. 



This is the only thing I was unable to do.  In fact I only witnessed one person capable of it.  I tried it three times and did make it six bars along I think.  My shoulder just does not allow me to get this done at this point.  Maybe if they where horizontal all the way across, but going upward to start was not possible for me.  So 25 burpees and then on to a few push ups, and 15 overhead sledge hammer swings,  not around to the side and up, but straight up which was a bit harder.


Rope climb was next and looking at it, hands covered in sand, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it.  I wiped my hands on my equally sandy shorts and went.  It took me a second to figure out how to grip the rope with my legs on the way up but once I had that, it was simply a matter of will.  I was getting up that rope! and by the time I reached the top of the 15 feet(?) or so I was grunting with each pull, but I made it.  Of course then I had to come back down, can you say rope burn‽



It looks worse than that now

On to the carrying things portion!  As I come around the building to the beach volleyball courts one of the instructors says ‘Hey Under Armour’, because of my shirt, ‘Go help her out then come back to me!’ So I helped a girl carry an ammo case down the width of three courts and back.  Arriving back I was told to grab a tire, hold it over my head and go down and back, then it was on to two five gallon pails full of sand.  My guess is that they weighed about 60 – 70 pounds each (since if they were full of water they would be about 50).


The worst part of the entire day was next.  A backpack full of sand? lead? dark matter?  I’m not sure but it felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. So you ran down the width of three courts, and then had to belly crawl back.  It was the hardest crawl of my life!  Literally it took everything I had on each ‘step’ of the crawl.  I was a bit muddy before this part, now I was covered, neck to toes in sand.  In my shoes, in my shirt, in my shorts!


Last moving things bit, a deck post base on a chain.  After the backpack this was a walk in the park.  You know that scene in Spaceballs (The Movie) where Barf and Lonestar are carrying Her Royal Highnesses Matched Luggage and then they dump out all the stuff, but still carry the pieces and go “This is way easier, I could carry two or three of these”?  Yeah that was me, I even said that to a guy I passed.


Finally the end was near, it was high stepping into a bunch of tires football training montage style, and then a burpee, hopping over a beam and another burpee, about 15 times and then done!  My problem here was calf cramps!  I did my first burpee and then went to hop over the beam and mid hop both calves seized up!  I barely made it over the beam! It hurt so bad!  But Each hop the muscle cramps were less and less.


1:06 was my finish time, good enough for 36/180+ even with my detour!  It was great and at the time, I felt great too, except for the sand everywhere.

I met up with Kamita who was forced to quit because of the mindblowingly cold lake water.  We chatted and then I wanted to go get “showered”.  It was only about 15ÂșC and the water was just cold tap water to wash with with not much pressure at all. So it was more of a rinse than anything else.  I got cleaned up enough, changed my shirt to the other under armour one I had brought, but stayed in my shorts and muddy shoes.  I then watched for Tara to finish.  I got a bunch of pictures of her as she neared the finish and then we posed for some pics after.



It really was a great morning, some people have gone multiple times, it runs almost every Saturday!  The guy that ‘usually’ wins has won in like 9 *consecutive* attempts!!  Unreal!

Check out The O Course here!  Or on Facebook!


Hopefully pictures/video during my actual race are up soon.  Also to note is that right at the end of the run I felt like I had tweaked my knee a bit.  Once the adrenaline had worn off I was sure of it.  It hurts pretty bad now, to the point of limping and me wondering if I should get it checked out.  I fear ligament damage, but assume I would be in more pain if it was hurt that bad.

The rest of my day in Toronto deserves chronicling as well, but that’s for another post.