Attack Of The 26 Foot Woman

Day 2 in Chicago was filled with more wandering, eating, drinking (not all booze, by the way), and walking. The weather was perfect; there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, the humidity was low, and the temperature was just perfect.

Ben and I started our day off with breakfast at a local restaurant, before jumping on the subway to head downtown. We wandered the city, avoiding parts of Michigan Avenue so that we could avoid the crowds as best as possible. Our first stop was for some sort of coffee based beverage. We went to a Chicago born company called the Argo Tea Café. Based on the recommendation of one of the baristas, I ordered a 16oz small iced Maté Latte made with almond milk (which apparently only has about 90 Calories). Verdict: delicious and thirst quenching.

After satisfaction was found in the bottom of my Maté Latte, we moved on to the former library now known as the Chicago Cultural Centre to view the Tiffany Dome – the largest glass dome created by the company to bear its name. The building was beautiful, the dome was incredible, but I have to say my favourite part of the tour were the quotes from famous authors that decorated the walls. Specifically:

“A good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” Milton.

“A library implies an act of faith which generations still in darkness hid sign in their night in witness of the dawn.” Victor Hugo.

“The real use of all knowledge is this that we should dedicate that reason which was given us by god for the use and advantage of man.” Bacon.

and my personal favourite:

“He that loveth a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.” Isaac Barrow.

Following the cultural tour we moseyed over to Millenium Park to see the giant Millenium Bean. And of course, play tourist by getting a bunch of stupid photos of ourselves in the reflection of the Bean. Awesome stuff.

The newly opened modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago offered up a spectacular lunch of olives, pickled vegetables, white fish mousse, and various deli meats. Oh, and a tasty Ebel’s Weisse beer.

Full and re-energized, we continued our tour of the town. Amazingly, we randomly stumbled on the Marilyn Monroe statue that I had blogged about here. It was like Marilyn was a siren and we just couldn’t resist her siren song. And just like a siren, she managed to crush me under her massive heel. Ha. I kid. Of course, I am proud to say that I was the only one (at least, the only person at the time that we were there) that thought to crawl under Marilyn’s giant foot and pretend that I was being crushed by her. Everyone else was doing the typical ‘look up her skirt’ shot, or ‘hold on to her leg’ shot. It might have been that I was just uber clever, but it was probably more that the ground was metal and thus a billion billion degrees. That is to say, I burnt my ass while I was pretending to be crushed by an angry 26 foot tall Marilyn Monroe. Regardless, the pain was worth the picture, in my honest opinion.

Wandering the city a little more, we made stops here and there to sample the local foods, drinks, etc. Eventually we ended up back at Ben & Erin’s place, tidied ourselves up and headed to dinner. Our dinner location is a newer restaurant that has opened up in Ben’s neighbourhood of Logan Square. Called Telegraph, the restaurant is a fantastic little wine bar with excellent food. We split an order of frog legs, and some lemon blueberry cake. This was paired with a 1977 Madeira that was so freaking tasty, the $20 per glass that we spent doesn’t seem enough. I am going to hunt this stuff down so that I can have a bottle on hand at home.

Oh, our dinner was also shared with one Rahm Emmanuel – you know, the Mayor and former Chief of Staff at the Whitehouse. Ya, that’s right. He heard I was coming to town and insisted that he had a seat directly beside mine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t up for having my picture taken with him, so he had to go home without the souvenir he wanted.

We ended the night at El Cid Number 2 where I had an espresso horchata (rice milk drink). So. Freaking. Good. Why are these not available everywhere?

Sadly, I leave tomorrow, but I still have an entire day of exploring Chicago to go. w00t!

Chicago – My Kind Of Town

 Yesterday I continued my quest to travel 12 times in 12 months. I’ve successfully passed the half-way point; that is, I’ve been on 7 trips so far this year. For those who may have forgotten, the list includes Hawaii, New York, Ottawa, Calgary, Ottawa, Halifax & Wolfville, and now Chicago.

I arrived in Chicago yesterday morning after a 3:30am pick up by Red Car. I’m pretty sure no one should have to get up at that time. Ever. In fact, the only way anyone should see that time of day is if they are going to bed at that point.

The flight itself was uneventful, included a 10 minute cat-nap, and thank the FSM no screaming children. The woman next to me had doused herself in what I can only imagine was some sort of perfume you might find in the dollar store, but she was nice and I was too exhausted to really care.

It was great to meet up with Ben. He took the day off of work so that we could wander about and enjoy the city. After a quick but necessary shower to remove the staleness one tends to have on their body after flying, we headed out to a local eatery for some food. We spent the morning catching up and chatting, drinking coffee, sampling some local beers (specifically Goose Island Sofie and Goose Island Matilda), and then meeting up with some of his colleagues.

Of course, being the light weight that I am these days, I was drunk after 2 beers. That didn’t mean I was out for the count. It did, however, mean that feeding me more booze-y goodness wasn’t difficult because my ability to say no had apparently been drowned by the first two beers. Thankfully the booze consumption was spread out over the day, so while I had a great buzz going, I wasn’t (at least to my recollection) stumbling all over the place.

Note to the readers #1: I don’t get stumble-drunk, I get charming. Riiiiiiiight.

Note to the readers #2: Ben has informed me that I was trying not to stumble while walking home last night. Clearly the ground was uneven, as Note to the readers #1 clearly indicates that I don’t get stumble-drunk. Ha. Right.

I have to say that my favourite beverages of the night were found at a little bar called The Whistler. This place was amazing. All of the drinks were designed by the owners, and they were absolutely tasty. The two drinks that I particularly enjoyed were The Whistler Punch and The Viking Funeral. The Whistler Punch was light and refreshing – definitely a winning drink for a hot summer day. The Viking Funeral wasn’t as light, but it had an incredible spicy flavour. I’m going to have to go back to try them again so that I can better describe them both (and without the influence of the beer I had to start the day).

Anyway, we are off for food and further adventure.

File Under Naiveté

My doctor is not Dr. Nick.

Apparently I’m rather dumb. Or naive. Likely both.

Anyway, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m going to be getting my hiatal hernia fixed. Specifically, next Friday, August the 5th I’m going under the knife. And while this has been a long time coming, I was still a bit floored today when I went for my Pre-Op meeting.

Before we get to why I was floored, understand that in my head, hernia surgery is not a big deal. In fact, it’s a non-issue what with modern medicine being all modern and medicine-y like. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that I had assumed that this would be a day surgery event, followed by a few days of feeling like a big bag of smashed hammers, and then a slow but steady return to fighting form (read no running and biking for a week or so).

Author: National Institute of Diabetes and Dig...
Image via Wikipedia

Flash to me in the nurses office discussing the procedure. It was today that I learned (or maybe finally understood) that I could be in the hospital for 3 days – depending on how the doctor believes I’m healing. It’s not so much to monitor the incisions (although that is part of it), but it’s to make sure that my stomach is functioning properly and that I can actually eat solid food. Keep in mind that my stomach has decided to migrate through my cardiac (or lower oesophageal) sphincter. Hence the doctor has to pull it down, perform some funky acrobatics with it to help prevent future migrations, and then return it to its rightful place. I guess that might upset it, and make it not function the way it should. Gah!

Not only that, but the nurse informed me that I might be off work for up to 6 weeks. Six. Weeks. What the what? Anyone who knows me will realize immediately that I have a really hard time sitting still for any length of time. It’s not that I can’t relax – I can, and I do, and I love it – but this won’t be sitting around in a relaxing manner, and that is going to drive me bat shit crazy. I repeat, bat shit crazy!

Even better; I naively informed the director of my department that I’d be off Friday and maybe Monday. How stupid did I feel this afternoon when I sent him a follow-up email to inform him that my maybe 1 or 2 days off might turn into a few weeks. Gah!

Ultimately, this is going to throw a wrench in a lot of my summer goals. The yoga challenge, the marathon, the century bike ride, climbing more mountains, travelling every month. Gah. Gah. Gah. Gah to the freaking Gah.

Clearly the universe is trying to remind me that I am in fact human. And that I should probably listen to the best advice out there and take the time to fully recover so that I can get back to training and doing the things that I love instead of pushing myself too hard and screwing my body up further, thus prolonging any necessary down time. Stupid universe reminding me that I have limitations. You do not amuse me. In fact, this reminds me of something my very wise friend Aqleema recently wrote (and when she writes, one should read, because her writings are often hilarious, profound, thought-provoking, and full of awesome):

‎When the universe tells you ‘No’,

there is only one thing left to do.

Bitch slap it.

I really want to bitch slap the universe right about now. Instead, I’ll take my medicine and be a good little patient and be stronger for having done so. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still hope that this is all just a ‘worst case scenario’ situation, and in the end I’ll heal up super quick, super strong, ready to fight in no time at all. Then again, if that shan’t be the case dear readers, be comforted knowing that I’ll likely post more ramblings as I’m going to be undoubtedly bored to tears.

Oh, and for those who have asked – I’m going to do what I can to film or photograph whatever I can of the surgery. Be prepared :)

In somewhat related news – the Pre-Op visit has provided me with confirmation that my resting heart rate is in fact 48 beats per minute (as documented here). This however does not answer the question as to when one is considered a Zombie. Further research is clearly needed.

Embracing Exhaustion

I do not look like this when I run. I hope.

About a week ago, my fellow run-until-you-puke-to-feel-like-you’ve-done-something-awesome friend, Carolyn, posted about her outing with the Guelph Victors – a group of people who gather on Tuesdays at St. James school in Guelph to partake in interval training. After reading her post, I knew I wanted to try it.

So tonight, after biking home from work and having a quick snack, I jumped on my bike with all of my yoga gear, my running shoes, extra water, and extra snacks, and headed to St. James to join in on the fun.

When I arrived, I met up with Carolyn and we chatted while watching the 6:00 pm advanced group finish up. Mainly we chatted about our nerves prior to joining in on the run, and how we really just didn’t want to pass out, fall down, or make complete fools of ourselves. There was also talk about getting hit in the head by one of the soccer balls that was being kicked around in the field inside the track which we were running.

Not having participated in a group training session like this before, I also had the desire not to be the last person. I figured a nice in-the-middle-of-the-pack goal would be great. So that is where I set my goals for this my first interval training with the group.

On tap for this eve:

  • a few minutes of warm up,
  • 1.5 laps (1 lap = 400m) doing Indian Runs. (Why this run is named as such is beyond me. The run consists of running in a line of 6 people. The last person has to sprint to the front of the line, where they then slow down to the pace of the line. The new person at the end of the line repeats this process. Sounds weird, but it’s actually quite fun.)
  • ladder runs.

Ladder runs? What the what? Ladder runs are a type of interval training. Basically you run at top speed over short distances, rest, and repeat. The run starts with a full 1000 m, then rest, followed by 800 m, rest, 600 m, rest, 400 m, rest, 200 m slow run, followed by an immediate 200 m sprint, rest, and a final 800 m. Crazy awesome.

I was far happier than this during the run. Honest.

After the first half lap of the first interval, I realized that my body was feeling good despite the exhaustion that I felt this morning, so naturally, I picked up the pace. After the first lap was done I realized that I only had 1.5 laps to follow so again picked up my pace. It was at this point that I realized I was running past a lot of the people who were in front of me; my breathing was fine, my body felt strong, and my form felt good. Things were moving the way they should. So again, I picked up my pace. I was shocked to hear my time when I crossed the finish line – 4:21. Crazy!

I decided at that point that I was going to try a little harder from the get-go of the next interval. And so I did. And with every interval I was shocked with my time. This tells me that the training I’ve been doing on the treadmill has been paying off. It probably also helps that I have the cross-training benefits of biking, and the bendy benefits of yoga.

Regardless of the why, I was stoked that my interval times were better than expected, I was amazed that I didn’t vomit (although I did have a little bit of exertion-related-cud-chewing after the training ended and we started our cool-down), and I was uber happy that I didn’t look like a giant tool (I hope). If memory serves me correctly, my times were

  • 1000 m – 4:21
  • 800 m – 3:26
  • 600 m – 2:34
  • 400 m – 1:21
  • 200 m slow run + 200 m sprint = 2:00 (?) – this wasn’t timed
  • 800 m – 3:21

This gives a grand total time of 17:03 for 4 kilometers (assuming the non-timed interval was only 2 minutes). Extrapolating my last 800 m to 1000m and adding that time to the total suggests an overall 5 kilometer time of 21:14. Not my fastest 5k, but close :)

Not being satisfied with just a run, I said my goodbyes to Carolyn (who was running home – because she’s crazy fit and awesome like that), jumped on my bike and headed to yoga to complete today’s Moksha class as part of my 35 day yoga challenge.

And now I find myself looking forward to meeting with the Guelph Victors again next Tuesday. Awesome!

Note: The title of this blog was stolen from Carolyn’s post. Stolen titles are way better in my humble opinion.

Show Me Your Downward Dog: Week 2

So yesterday marked the end of the 2nd week of my 35 day yoga challenge. That means I’m 40% bendier than I was before I started. Okay, maybe that math doesn’t quite add up. And maybe, perhaps, I haven’t really done anything to determine if I’ve actually become bendier. But I stand by my statement. Forty. Percent. Bendier.

How did week 2 go? Pretty good actually, if you ignore the fact that I missed 2 classes over 2 separate days. But, I doubled up on Sunday so I’m only short 1 class for the week. For those who are counting, that’s 13 classes completed in 14 days. I figure I can make up the other missed class some time this week. And, this doesn’t screw up my challenge as the requirement is that I complete 35 classes over the 35 days.

Why did I miss getting my bend-on on two separate occasions? Well, in the first case (Tuesday) I went to see Harry Potter with a bunch of friends. So. Freaking. Awesome. In fact, so awesome that I saw it again on Thursday with Kevin. Which is why I missed yoga on that day too. I could have gone earlier in the day, but then I wouldn’t have been able to have dinner with Aqleema. Clearly I had a difficult decision to make, but I believe I made the best decision given the situation. Dinner was awesome. The movie was awesome. And I still have 21 days to make up the missed classes.

Anyway, here is a summary of week 2.

  • Monday: Moksha Level II – 75 minutes
  • Tuesday: Harry Potter with Steph, Gerarda, Alan, Sean, Mike, Victoria, Randy, Kim, Maggie, and Elizabeth
  • Wednesday: Moksha Yin – 75 minutes
  • Thursday: Dinner with Aqleema and Harry Potter with Kevin
  • Friday: Moksha Kharma – 60 minutes
  • Saturday: Moksha – 60 minutes
  • Sunday: Moksha – 60 minutes, and Yin – 90 minutes
Two weeks down, three to go.

Mom & Dad, You Might Not Want To See This

Prepping to climb Koko crater.

I stumbled on this video (below) about a week or so ago (via The Daily What), meant to blog about it, but then completely forgot. Perhaps the epicness of the video caused some sort of short-term memory loss. Or maybe it simply blew my mind.

Anywho, after viewing it I knew exactly what I had to do. And that, dear readers, was to email my friend and fellow wanderlusting nerd Rick. Specifically, I had to inform him that this particular little hike was something I felt we needed to do if ever we returned to Hawaii. And by if, I clearly meant when. Given that I’ve been there 3 times, you might think that I’ve had enough. But not so. There is so much to see and do there, I can’t imagine not exploring it again.

So, let it be known that the next time I visit Hawaii (assuming I’m not injured or incapable of movement for some bizarro reason), I will hike this. And I will make sure to have a camera strapped to my person so that I can record the awesomeness that his hike surely will be. In fact, this is now officially item #233 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Non-Mom Related Confirmation That I Am A Winner

Once upon a time, there was a most awesome blog-related contest for So Nice Creamer on one Dr. Beth’s blog Not To Be Trusted With Knives.

And guess what folks? I won. W00t! What did I win? Only a voucher for So Nice Creamer. Double W00t!

I was this excited when I got the news that I won.

I received notification last night, and I’m sure that if I were awake when the email arrived I would have been too excited to sleep.

The notification of my winning awesomeness read as follows:

“Given that you are the only four people who commented on my blog posting (other than those who commented that they didn’t even want to try the soy creamer) and I have four vouchers for free soy creamers – you win!”

In all honesty, I am actually pretty stoked about this. I love free stuff, and I do enjoy creamer in my (instant) coffee. I look forward to checking this stuff out. And of course, I’ll let you know what I think of it when I get it. Perchance So Nice will send me some free vouchers too.

Thanks Dr. Beth. Or perhaps I should write, almost MBA Dr. Beth instead. :)

Happy Pi-Approximation Day

Being the nerd that I am, I feel compelled to celebrate Pi-Approximation Day.

That’s right folks, today, July 22nd is known to some as Pi-Approximation Day. The reason is quite simple: the ratio 22/7 is a pretty good approximation to \pi.

So how does one celebrate Pi-Approximation day? Well, by eating pie of course. Granted, you could celebrate as suggested in the following comic, but personally I think eating pie is a far better way to embrace the nerdiness of the day. Regardless, celebrate in whatever freaky manner you feel is appropriate – just make sure to hug a nerd if the opportunity presents itself. Better yet, do something to encourage the opportunity to present itself. You know, like hang out with a bunch of nerds.

Do The Math…

What’s wrong with this picture, folks?

Some of you might be thinking – it’s a math clock, that’s what’s wrong with this picture? And while you might be correct, there is something more that is wrong with this picture. Something that really frustrates me.

Have you guessed what it is?

Clearly the equations are meant to replace the numbers. That’s clever right? Normally, I’d agree. I mean, something this nerdy screams Dan. But in this case, I’m torn. I appreciate the idea (and I have seen other math clocks that do a far superior job than this), but in this case, the idea just isn’t enough.

Anyway, let’s do the math starting from 1 o’clock. Obviously 102,413-102,412=1. That works. And \sqrt{4}=2. In the 3 o’clock position we can simplify our fraction to 3. Solving for x in the 4 o’clock position gives x=4. And the equation in both the 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions are fine. At 7 o’clock we need to solve 52-x^{2}+x=10. The solution is x=-6 or x=7. Only one of those answers is correct (assuming time is positive). Moving on, the 8 o’clock position is fine. But then, just when we think that mathematical logic has returned, we hit 9 o’clock. Apparently this is when our clock should be labeled as the time when math dies.

By this point, I’m sure everyone is aware that \pi is an irrational and transcendental number. The irrationality means that it cannot be represented as a ratio of integers. Which means that \pi-0.14 is not exactly 3. So 3 times something that isn’t quite 3 is also not going to be 9. What the hell people who designed this clock? Did you not seek the advice of some hard-core math nerd?

Anyway, the 10, 11 and 12 o’clock positions are fine. But still – how can a clock that asks you to test your math skills be wrong? Where’s the editing? Where’s the mathematical rigor?

Unless perchance, the clock was designed to truly test one’s math skills – that is, to see who might notice the problem with 9 o’clock. In that case, bravo clock makers. You’ve done your job.

Down Goes Number 3

This is a reasonable facsimile of my "I just published 3 papers in under a year" happy dance.

And just like that, item #3 can be crossed off of my Not-So-Bucket-List list. Which item is that? you ask. Only that I have 3 articles published in 1 year. W00t w00t!

The best part is that I’ve completed this task sooner than required, and it was completely unintentional. That is, it only took 10 months (October 2010 through July 2011), not a year, and I really wasn’t trying to accomplish this goal. I knew it was on the list, but it wasn’t a priority.

Having finished early, this now means dear readers that there is now a good chance that I might even be able to strike item #4 off of my list as well. This of course assumes that I can get 2 more papers published within the next 2 months. A challenge for sure, but within the realm of possibility.

And here’s the extra awesome bit; I’ve already submitted a paper with my friend, colleague and fellow nerd Dr. Mandi. And I should be submitting another paper before the end of August. The likelihood of actually getting 2 more papers published in the remaining few months of this year is slim, but it’s possible. And that is good enough for me.

Anyway, for your entertainment I provide a list of the papers that have been published in the last year, followed by a list of the papers that have or will be submitted for peer review in the very near future. Here’s hoping at least 2 of them are accepted for publication before the end of September.

Accepted or published

  • Uzaraga, I., Gillis, D., Gerbis, B., Holwerda, E., and Wai, E. (2011). Topical Amitriptyline, Ketamine and Lidocaine in Neuropathic Pain Caused by Radiation Skin Reaction: A Pilot Study. Supportive Care in Cancer. (accepted for publication: JSCC-D-11-00020R2)
  • Lukey, J., Crawford, S., Gillis, D., and Gillespie, M. (2010). Eff ect of ecological uncertainty on species at risk decision-making: COSEWIC expert opinion as a case study. Animal Conservation, 14: 151-157. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00421.x
  • Lukey, J., Crawford, S., and Gillis, D. (2010). E ffect of Information Availability on Species At Risk Decision-Making. Conservation Biology, 24(5): 1398-1406. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01555.x

Submitted (or about to be submitted)

  • Martyn, A.C., Choleris, E., Gillis, D., Armstrong, J.N., Turner, P.V., Liang, G., Cai, K., and Lu, R. (submitted May 2011). Luman/CREB3 Recruitment Factor (LRF) Deficiency Affects the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and Prolactin-Mediated Maternal Responsiveness. PLoS Biology.
  • Gillis, D., Desmond, T., Holt, J. (to be submitted August 2011). Multivariate Spatial Poisson Mixtures. The Journal of Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology.

In the works

  • Gillis, D., Krsic, N. Evaluation of Sampling Methods Used for the Estimation of Proportion-at-Age in Fish Stock Risk Assessment Using an Individual Based Model. To be submitted to Ecological Modelling.
  • Gillis, D., Gillespie, M. A Multivariate Spatial Poisson Mixtures: An R Package. To be submitted to The R Journal.
  • Gillis, D., Desmond, T., Holt, J., Gillespie, M. Climate Factors Affecting Gastrointestinal Disease Incidence in the Province of Alberta, Canada. To be submitted to The International Journal of Health Geographics.
  • Crawford, S., Gillis, D., Cheghano, M., Angevaare, J. Principles of Population Modelling. To be submitted to Ecological Applications.

Dear Windy City – I’m Coming For You

The Chicago skyline at night. Image via Wikipedia.

Dear Chicago,

I’m coming for you.
Consider yourself warned.

Love me.

As you are likely aware, one of the items on my Not-So-Bucket-List list is to travel each month for a year. And up until this month, I’ve managed 6 trips in 6 months. Not a bad first half of the year. Anyway, not wanting to ruin my run at this particular Not-So-Bucket-List item, I’ve scheduled my July trip. And as you’ve guessed from the title, I’m heading to Chicago.

Why Chicago?

That’s easy. Chicago is an amazing city (I’ve been there numerous times before). It’s partly amazing because it has an incredible waterfront, an excellent jazz and art scene, amazing neighbourhoods, great food and drinks, and an ample supply of awesome. But it’s even more amazing because that is where Ben and Erin live; Ben being a most awesome friend who moved there several years ago, and Erin being his most awesome wife. Given that I haven’t seen Ben since last year during my PhD prom, I figured it was time I got off my ass and visited. And I can’t wait. Ben has already informed me that he’s going to take the Friday off when I arrive so that we can get into trouble enjoy the city and all of its wares.

At this point, I have no specific plans for Chicago except for one. That is, I’m going to want to visit this new art installation. Now, what I do when I’m visiting this installation is up to you, dear readers. That is, I’m putting it out there – what should I do while here? It needs to be epic (and legal, or at least legal-ish).

Anyway, as I mentioned – I have no specific plans. I’m really just looking forward to hanging with Ben and Erin, eating some good food, drinking some good wine/beer/port/whatever, and wandering an amazingly beautiful city. We’ll probably visit the Field Museum (that’s where Sue lives – and if you know me, you’ll know I love Sue), the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute of Chicago, Wrigley field, the millenium bean, and who knows what else. And if the weather cooperates, perhaps I’ll get some tanning time in too. W00t!

Wherever we wander, I know it’s going to be awesome.

P.S. Thanks to Tweeter @FCPenno for setting me up with a sweet deal. If you are thinking of travelling, give him a call (or follow him on Twitter):

Joel Pennington, International Travel Consultant,
Flight Centre


Show Me Your Downward Dog: Week 1

So as I mentioned last Sunday, I started my second yoga challenge this week. Specifically, my 35 day yoga challenge. As of today, I have completed the first 7 days of 35. That’s right folks, I’m 20% done already. w00t!

How is it going? Honestly, it has been great. I love going to yoga every day; and with each day, I’m rediscovering why I love it.

I started the week off with Yin/Acuball. I figured this would be a good way to get back into the daily routine given that it’s a Yin class – that is, a class that isn’t heated, and where poses are held for an extended period of time – and one that includes the use of acuballs (which I’ve chatted about previously). The class is relaxing and rejuvenating, and the use of the acuball was perfect given that my IT band has continued to be a bit of a pain in the butt (no pun intended), what with all of the running/biking and such that I’ve been doing.

Tuesday was my first hot yoga class in I don’t remember how long. And it was awesome. Of course, I was a big bag of sweat before class even started as I had to bike to the studio, and every class since then has been like that. Super. Sweaty. The water wasn’t just dripping off of me, it was pouring off of me. This posed a bit of a challenge when I tried the downward dog position, as said position provided the perfect route for all of the sweat that was pouring off of me to pour right up my nose and into my eyes. Good times.

The week was capped off with a Yin class on Sunday evening. Since the weather was so great, Kelly, the teacher and owner of Moksha Yoga Guelph decided to hold class outside. This was the first time that I’ve ever had a full yoga class outside, and it was an incredible experience. While on the ground in savasana (pronounced shah-vah-sah-nah, with the emphasis on the vah), normally I’d be looking up at the ceiling of the yoga studio. In this case, it was nothing but blue sky. Listening to the sounds of nature, feeling the breeze, and smelling the flowers of the garden gave class a completely different feel. I really hope I get to experience an outdoor class again during my 35 day challenge.

Anyway, my week is summarized below.

  • Monday: Yin/Acuball – 90 minutes
  • Tuesday: Moksha – 60 minutes
  • Wednesday: Moksha Yin – 75 minutes
  • Thursday: Flow (reduced heat) – 75 minutes
  • Friday: Moksha Flow – 60 minutes
  • Saturday: Moksha – 60 minutes
  • Sunday: Yin – 90 minutes
One week down, four to go.

Get Your Geek On

Image found at

Happy Embrace Your Geekness Day all y’all. Apparently July 13, 2011 has been set aside by someone on the interwebs as the day to embrace everything about you that screams geek. And of course, it is on my list-o-nerdidays, so that makes it an official holiday here at Consumed By Wanderlust.

Of course, if you are convinced that there is nothing geeky about you (which I highly doubt — as I’m pretty sure that everyone has something in their lives that gets their geek-meter fired up), then feel free to embrace someone else that does subscribe to all things geeky. Be aware, however: if said geek is truly geeky (and as such, potentially lacking in social skills), be sure that you aren’t invading their personal space too much.

For those that prefer the term nerd (such as myself), you are also free to embrace your nerdiness today.

But, how might one embrace their nerdiness/geekness today? Good question.

I have opted to sit down for a nerdly talk with my former Mathematics Masters advisor, Dr. Pal Fischer. Not because we have any important projects that we are working on, and not because it’s required as part of my job. I do it, because Pal is one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met in my life, and I love, love, love chatting with him. Every conversation with him is a walk in nerd-paradise. Clearly, this is one of the best ways to celebrate my nerdiness. As a side note, my use of the term clearly definitely comes from working with Pal. It’s impossible not to use it when working with him, because every mathematical concept is just clear to him.

Don’t worry though, I’m not going to just have a nerdly chat with Pal. I had breakfast with Almost Dr. Lorna and Jasper Tey this morning (clearly a nerdly thing to do). And I’m going to go for a run or a bike later today, which will require necessary calculations off the top of my head to estimate pace, and expected completion time. But don’t worry folks – that won’t be it – as I’m sure I will do other things that qualify as nerdly; I mean, it is my modus operandi.

Anyway, happy Embrace Your Geekness Day all y’all. Go hug a geek/nerd. They’ll surely thank you for it.

Doing A Happy Dance

Dear item #103 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list (or as I like to call you; 5 in 22).

Let me begin by saying thank you. Thank you for providing me with inspiration, and purpose, and a drive to succeed. You have served your purpose well. And while our relationship has been sometimes rocky (see here for example), know that you have made me a better person.

But as you are aware, relationships aren’t all meant to last forever. People change. I’ve changed. Trust me when I say that it’s me, and not you. I’d like to tell you that I’m sad that I’ve outgrown you, but I’m not – wasn’t that the intention all along? We both knew getting into this thing, that you were just a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I hope you aren’t too upset. Try to remember the good times.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that your presence on my Not-So-Bucket-List is no longer required. Please pack your things and vacate the premises.



P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure – I’m after your cousin. You know the one I’m talking about: 5 in 21. I just feel that I’m so close to 5 in 21, I have to try. Please try to understand. And don’t cry – it does not become you.

I am this happy right now! Actually, I'm probably happier than that, but I digress.

For those unaware, I successfully completed 5km in under 22 minutes yesterday. The run was on the treadmill, mainly because it was so damned hot outside. Of course, I failed to consider that my running room (also known as Dr. Steph’s and Almost Dr. Sean’s guest room whenever they visit), being upstairs and all, was about infinity-billion degrees. Regardless, what’s a little heat when one is running to break a record? Vomit-inducing heat builds character, and such-like.

Anyway, the official results were: 5.03km in 22:00 minutes (which translates to 5km in approximately 21 minutes 52 seconds). Item #103 – you are so off my list. And now onto item #221. That’s right, I’m coming for you sub 21 minute 5km run. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Show Me Your Downward Dog; My New 35 Day Challenge

So not being one to rest on my laurels (um, what exactly are laurels?) I’ve decided to add another challenge to what I am now calling, Dan’s summer-o-challenges. You might recall that I’ve already written about the following goals:

What challenge am I adding? Well, from the title you probably have already determined that I am going to take on another hot yoga challenge. Specifically, a 35 day challenge. This would allow me to check off item #109 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. w00t!

What does this mean? It means that over the course of the next 35 days I have to participate in 35 separate yoga classes. Why 35 and not the standard 30? Well, I figured I should do one class for each of the 35 years that I’ve been around. But, since life happens and I may not always be able to hit up Moksha Yoga every single day, I am allowed to double or triple up my yoga classes to compensate. That is, completing 35 classes in 35 days is the only true requirement of this particular challenge.

Why now? Simple. The challenge ends on August 14, one day prior to my 36th birthday. What better way to start my own personal new year than as bendy and presumably healthy as possible.

As part of the challenge, I will be providing you, dear readers, with a weekly update of my progress. I might also, if I manage to pick up a better camera than what I have on my iPhone, add the additional component of taking shots of yoga poses around town. I’m not sure how well that will work, but it’s sure to be ridiculous.

Wish me luck!