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Oh Christmas Stress!

Oh Christmas shopping, I have left you far too late.

It's a good thing Christmas Eve is on a Saturday this year, because it looks like I will be finishing my shopping bright and early in the morning on December 24.

The problem isn't that the stores are busy: I don't set foot in them until I know exactly what I want and can strategically get in and out as fast as possible (for the season, obviously). The problem is that everyone else has already purchased many of the things on some of my giftees' Christmas Lists, which means I have to get creative or resort to impersonal gift cards. For some people in particular I almost always have to resort to gift cards because their lists are very short.

But other than that, I am very much looking forward to a week off at Christmas! Our office is closed between Christmas and New Year's, so my plan is to make considerable headway through the stack of books I've been meaning to read. Probably I'll also play far too much Minecraft. One of these days I'll post some screencaptures of some of the stuff I've built. None of it is seriously epic, but my friend J and I are seriously considering teaming up to build a massive Hotels Board game in the desert, complete with skyscraper hotels. Oh Minecraft, how much time I waste with you! :D

Mostly though I'll be waiting eagerly for January 5th to get here, which is when A returns to Canada from Christmas at home in the UK and I get to pick him up at the airport. Until then email and Skype chats will have to tide me over, but they are a poor substitute. Skype chat on Christmas Day already scheduled though, so at least I get to wish him a Merry Christmas sort of "in person". :P


Once again I have neglected you, dear blog. There are three primary reasons for this and I'm not certain which one is more to blame.

The first is -- of course -- that I keep busy and just never seem to find the time to post, though clearly I find the time to do dozens of other things every week. This feels more like a whine than an excuse, and I find myself in a perpetual state of guilt because of it every time I think about it. Why can I find time to watch three seasons of Being Erice (awesome show by the way) and not blog?

This may be related to reason two, which is that since taking on a job where writing is at least 50% of what I do everyday, I find myself significantly less motivated to write on my off hours save a few exceptions. This applies across the board to all writing projects, either fictional or journalistic in nature, and this bothers me. I am still doing a ton of writing on a daily basis, probably more than I've ever done, but it's almost entirely all work related.

The third reason is more complicated. I am pretty up front on the Internet about who I am, and I like to write about my life candidly in this public place because it's meaningful and helpful to me. However, with more people on the Internet, I'm increasingly aware that the people in my life whom I spend a great deal of time with -- friends and family primarily, but also coworkers and people I date -- probably don't embrace the same kind of openness about their life as I do. But since it's easy enough to discover who writes this blog, even if I use pseudonyms it would be pretty easy for anyone event tangentially aware of who I am to figure out who these people are, and they may not be comfortable with that.

This never used to be as much of a concern because most people weren't online searching for names the same way they are today, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to connect the dots fairly easily. That's fine insofar as I'm concerned, but I find myself second-guessing what I can and can't say here, trying to intuit whether the people whose stories intersect with mine would feel their privacy was invaded if I posted it. I always find myself leaning toward keeping quiet these days, and that makes blogging less of a journalling outlet than it used to be.

As someone who has always tried to be upfront about who I am, I find myself considering trying the anonymous blogging style so I could speak a little more openly about my life and my interactions. The idea is both appealing and frustrating.

In any event, I am blogging less (as you can clearly tell) and frustrated about it.

In other news, my apartment was entirely too quiet, cold and unfriendly without a Velcro Cat, so I went to the Edmonton Humane Society a few weeks ago. I had a home that needed a kitty, and there were plenty of kitties there that needed homes, so I adopted a lovely 1 year old white and grey cat, whom I named Merlin. He is cuddly, very fluffy, and drools a lot. I love him. I think Velcro Cat would have liked him too. :)

Missing Velcro Cat

Tonight I had to say goodbye to my cat Lexus, whom the internet and those who follow this journal knew as Velcro Cat. After coming home this evening to find him having difficulty breathing and walking, I took him to the emergency clinic and the diagnosis was very poor with almost no chance of long term recovery or comfort, so I had to make the very difficult decision to put him to sleep. It was extremely likely he had a large tumor in his chest: the alternate diagnosis were not much better, and almost all of them were terminal.

I will miss him very, very much. I will miss him greeting me at the door when I get home, and his cranky meowing when I arrived too late for his liking, and will also miss telling the internet of his adventures. He has been my companion for two years, and my home will be lonely without him.

Sad night, heavy heart. Saying goodbye to pets is hard.
Title: Trigger Finger
Fandom: Leverage
Characters: Nathan Ford, Eliot Spencer
Word Count: 1,367
Warnings: None
Summary: "It might be reluctantly, it might be angrily, it might even be to his death and despair, but Eliot would ultimately always go where he pointed, and Nate never understood it, not until now."
Author's Notes: It has been a long time since I wrote fic, and this is my first foray into the Leverage fandom. This started out as a piece of meta about the relationship between Nate and Eliot, but somehow I think it makes more sense as fic.

The worst thing I ever did in my life I did for Damien Moreau.Collapse )

Road Trip to Calgary

This weekend I helped ymp and JB move to Calgary, which was a lot of fun but also means they don't live in Edmonton anymore. :c *cue sad violins*

Around ten of us road tripped to Calgary with a U-Haul, stayed overnight in a sleeping bag pile amongst the boxes in the living room, and spent the day at the Calgary zoo after a delicious and leisurely waffle breakfast.

We had originally planned on constructing a fort of boxes and miscellaneous furniture to sleep in, but the house was handed over to ymp and JB in a less than clean condition, so half of us got to scrubbing whilst the other half unloaded the truck. After all that work, we opted to lazily hang out in the living room sans box fort and watch a little Firefly instead. Which was also awesome because, hey, Firefly!

Zoo was fun, and some of us managed to fit in a round of frisbee golf before hand, which was also fun but included a lot of searching for frisbees in the bush. The Calgary Frisbee Golf course by the zoo is short, but the fairways are narrow with lots of high, thick brush that ate our frisbees. :/

Running Update: Still running! The more I do it, the more I seem to enjoy it. I am doing jogging intervals of almost 10 minutes now, which works out to just under 1.2 km depending on pace. I continue to feel triumphant on a regular basis, and my steady upward progress is super motivating. Yesterday was also my longest run yet, almost 4k!

Regular jogging is a neat way to explore areas of the river valley I've never been to before. Last night I jogged through the MacKinnon Ravine and made it from Groat Road almost all the way to the 142 Street bridge before I turned around. I'd never been down there before, and it was fun to see a different part of Edmonton's River Valley. Thinking I might park at the Muttart one day and run the Mill Creek ravine.


Parker Is My Favourite

I have recently begun watching Leverage, a show about a team of thieves that steal from those who are horrible and give back to the people they have been horrible to. It's entirely awesome, and I'm fast becoming addicted; already into season three.

And I am completely in love with the character of Parker, the thief. I enjoy all the characters, and love the relationships between Sophie and Parker, and Hardison and Parker, but mostly I just adore Parker. In just a few episodes she shot her way up into my top ten list of favourite female TV characters, and now she might be in my top five.

I love her for how broken she is and for how well she copes most of the time, yet also is unexpectedly vulnerable and sensitive sometimes. I love how confident she is when it comes to thieving and how panicked she gets when she has to grift. I love her quirks, the utter glee she gets from thieving, and the way her lack of social skills manifest in blunt honesty. I love the journey she's going on throughout the series, learning what friends and family are, and learning how to use her skills to connect with and help people. I love her effortless physicality and youth, how being way too young to be so good at what she does is balanced by her strange mannerisms and awkward social skills. I love her safe house, and the way it evokes the loneliness of her life, and how completely she identifies what she does as who she is.

She's a brilliant character on a fun show, and mostly I just love her.


Jogging? Me?

I have done the unthinkable.

I have started… running.

While I wouldn't go so far as to consider myself a "runner" yet by any stretch, for the last couple of weeks I have been taking to the sidewalks and pathways to test my jogging legs. The first time I went out, I really expected to go maybe half a block before collapsing in a side-cramping, panting pile, so I was pretty surprised when I ran around all four sides of the block without stopping and felt… pretty fine, actually. Like I could even… keep going.

Let me explain: I have never been able to run farther than across a badminton court, and then only if my opponent is kind enough not to constantly force me to dart back and forth without a break. I tried soccer once, but after mere minutes of running across the field I was done in.

A few weeks ago I decided to give this jogging thing another shot. Partly because I have a few friends who've recently picked up running that shared similar profiles, but mostly because I really, really need to be more active and running is the single cheapest way to get that done.

Jogging also slots flexibly into my schedule, which is another selling feature. I've been trying to get up in the mornings to run before work, but I can slot it into the evening if I need to as well. Yesterday I actually brought my gear to the office and ran right after work in the Riverdale river valley, which was a nice change of scenery.

So far things are going surprisingly well. Yesterday I ran an entire kilometre without stopping which I find astounding given the entire lack of exercise I've had in the last six months.

Right now I'm going out for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, doing jog/walk intervals as needed, and concentrating more on working myself up to continual jogging than worrying about pace. My goal right now is to get to a 5k continual jog, and that doesn't seem like an insane target to reach in the next 8 weeks.

Tracking my progress also seems to be helping to motivate me. I just downloaded the RunKeeper app, and the ability to track myself both during my run and after is really encouraging. Especially during the run, when the app tells me every five minutes how far I've gone and how long I've been going for. It even draws little route maps based on the GPS info and graphs my pace, so my analysis-loving brain has data to crunch afterwards!

My current jog plan is to continue doing what I've been doing, slowly increasing the duration of my jogging intervals bit by bit, and to keep going out for 15 to 20 minutes at a time three times a week. This seems like a reasonable amount of exercise when compared to my historical non-activity, and this seems to offer the least disruption to my schedule. Wish me luck!

Embarrassing Things About Tea

Internal chat programs at work are often repositories of quirky conversations between coworkers. Some day I will have to mine the transcripts for the best gems that should be shared with the world, but in the meantime, this was what started my morning:

Me: One day the computer will just be hardwired to my brain and it will KNOW what I mean so I don't have to tell it.

SS: I've always thought that could be a little dangerous. What if your mind wanders off and you end up brain typing something embarrassing about tea? Cars hooked up to the brain worry me even more — how does it differentiate between me pondering if I want to go somewhere versus actually intending to go there?

Me: You think embarrassing things about tea?

SS: Well, you know… an example.

Me: Uh huh, riiiiight.

White Collar Finale Quibbles

I watched the finale of White Collar and have a just one small, trifling of a complaint.

White Collar Finale SpoilersCollapse )

Anyway, it bothered me and has been bothering me since I watched the White Collar finale. Apparently it bothered me enough to surface not only long enough to blog -- which I haven't done in weeks -- but also to blog about meta, which I haven't done in months.

Open Letter to Cat Owners

Pro tip:

If you own a cat that freaks out scared at the drop of a hat, don't let him sit on your lap while men are working on the building outside your open window unless you're wearing body armor. Otherwise, when kitty does inevitably freak, you'll get scratched all to hell.


Also: ow.