A Great Start…

Happy Canada Day weekend all y’all

The Canada Day weekend is on us, and I have to say it has started off most excellently. Most excellently indeed.

For starters, the weather has been beautiful – blue skies with just the right amount of clouds, lots of sunshine, and for me at least, hot but not too hot. I’ve managed to get to the market, have coffee with my friend Bang, go on a long walk, go biking, go running, and relax with the wee fuzzball.

And that was just today.

Yesterday – the official beginning to the Canada Day long weekend – included a farewell party of sorts for Dr. Dom. He’s leaving Guelph on Sunday for his new home of Regina. The celebration began at The Baker Street Station. Of course that meant tasty beer, tasty onion rings, and tasty chicken wings. A meal fit for kings – or in this case, four nerdly friends.

We eventually made our way to the Red Brick Cafe to enjoy the night air outside with a bottle of white wine. I can’t recall what kind of wine it was because by that point I was two-beer drunk2. Regardless, I remember it being quite tasty but I also remember having to pass off most of my glass to Dylan because I was already two-beer drunk.

Now I’m off to Jamie’s (the Jamie of the original Jamie and fuzzball team1) to sit outside in the garden, have a few drinks, and enjoy the last moments of the day. Which seems like the perfect end to a pretty fantastic day.

Oh, and in honour of Canada Day, and because William Shatner is the man, I offer you the following video (which was passed on to me by Aqleema).

Happy Canada Day weekend all y’all. And Good luck Dom in your new home. You’ll definitely be missed3.

1 You may recall that I adopted the fuzzball off of Jamie when he had to move.

2 Technically I was well past two-beer drunk, but I wasn’t counting, and really – I was drunk after two beers. Because I’m apparently a lightweight.

3 P.S. Elliot says meow. I assume that means thanks for the treats, because he pounced on them like a fat kid on Smarties.

This Is What Happens When I Don’t Pay Attention

It pays to pay attention.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently renewed my mortgage1. As of last Friday, I’ve made 2 of the 240 odd payments that are required for the term of this particular renewal1. Which means I’m 2 more payments closer to being mortgage free. W00t!

When I arrived home the other night, I found a little package in my mailbox from my mortgage company. Inside it contained some of the relevant details about my mortgage (i.e., rate, term, payment frequency, and my payment amount), as well as information for accessing my account online.

The package also contained a small booklet to describe some of the details of my mortgage in plain english3. Because my mortgage agent is a huge slice of awesome-pie, I already knew that I could do several things to pay down my mortgage faster, including lump sums of up to 15% of the principle, doubling up a mortgage payment on any regular mortgage payment date, or increasing my yearly payment amount by 15%.

However, what I failed to realize, despite the fact that Rob explained this to me in detail, was that the 15% increase in payment could, if I wanted it, be compounded.

Say what now?

What I had thought was that I could, at any time, call up my lender and ask for my payment of say $500.00 every two weeks to be increased by 15% to $575.00. What I incorrectly assumed is that this could only be done once. In reality, I can do this on the anniversary of the mortgage.

I repeat, Say what now?

What this means is that I can increase my payment by 15% this year (say from $500 to $575), but then next year I could do it again – raising my then current payment of $575.00 by 15% to $661.25.

Holy shitballs I thought, and immediately pulled out my trusty spreadsheet to figure out what this could mean4.

After crunching the numbers I was floored. Absolutely floored. If I take advantage of this option, and only this option, my should-be-paid-in-20-years mortgage will actually be paid off in full in slightly less than 8.5 years.

Eight. Point. Five. Years.

Sponge Bob, master of all things financial, approves of the happy fun time zone.

Clearly that represents a butt-load5 of interest that I wouldn’t have to pay. It also represents 11.5 years of NOT PAYING A MORTGAGE. Consider that statement. Instead of dumping $500 every two weeks into the mortgage, I could be dumping that into other more exciting things – like adventuring and shenanigans. Over 11.5 years, that would amount to almost $150 thousand dollars of adventuring and shenanigans.


Of course, I need to be realistic here. By the end of those 8 years my payment would have to be about $1600. How likely is it that I’m actually going to be able to afford that in 8 years? I can say right now, not likely – but who knows – the possibility is there and that gets the nerd in me excited.

Still, this got me thinking about what I might be able to afford and once I figured that out I did some further number crunching. In this case, I have assumed that I will eventually be able to afford a payment of $1050 every two weeks. The end result – my mortgage could be paid off in 9.2 years.


I think I head adventure calling.

1 Thank you very much Rob Campbell (@TheRobCampbell on The Twitter)

2 Woohoo – 0.83% finished.

3 Instead of the legalese that normally describes mortgage options.

4 Full disclosure: I was squeeing both at the idea of compounding my payment increases, and at the idea of getting my spreadsheet on. Because I am nothing if I’m not a man who loves all things spreadsheety.

5 A butt-load being the official economic term to describe these kinds of savings.

Bring On The Long Weekend

Happy Canada Day all y’all.

For whatever reason, this week has been extremely long. Strangely, it hasn’t been any different from most of the previous weeks. My days have been filled with meetings, research, more meetings, report writing, even more meetings, and for extra fun – meetings. Regardless, I’ll be smiling the smile of a fat kid with a giant bowl of Smarties tomorrow as soon as my last meeting finishes1.

Why is this the case?

Honestly, I have no idea. It’s not like my sleep habits have changed, my eating habits are the same, and I’m just as active as per my normal. In all ways that I can think of, nothing is different. Regardless, I’ve been exhausted almost every single day this week. To the point of nodding off while at my computer in the afternoon, and suffering accidental naps on several occasions2.

After much thought6 I’ve decided that the reason I’m suffering this ridiculous case of exhaustion is because I haven’t been on a vacation for far too long. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve travelled and gone adventuring recently, but none of my adventures have involved a full and proper vacation.

I know, I know – first world problem.

Smarties Rainbow
Mmm, Smarties. Photo credit: Lynne Hand

Regardless, I need to do something about this. Even if it just means planning something. So that is what I’m going to do. I’m not sure when this is going to happen, or where I’m going to go, but I really think I need to find some time to step away from meetings, and research, and other such academic pursuits so that I can just breathe in as much as I can, centre myself, and come back with a renewed sense of awesomeness.

I think I’m also going to try to sleep in past 6:30am on Saturday.

Because I’m nothing if not wild and crazy. Ha!

1 Okay, maybe not all fat kids smile when they have a bowl of Smarties, but I know that when I was the fat kid, I definitely would have been smiling ear-to-ear if presented with my very own bowl of Smarties. I probably would have also spewed venom if you tried to take that bowl of Smarties away from me. Get your own Smarties!

2 I write accidental because, as was the case today, I sat down on my bed to finish an email, blinked, and woke up half an hour later3.

3 Maybe I’m being abducted by aliens4?

4 Although I don’t feel like I’ve been probed-for-alien-science5.

5 I assume that one would be able to tell that they’ve been probed-for-alien-science. Of course, I know nothing about alien-science, or probing-for-alien-science, so maybe one wouldn’t know when that has happened.

6 Which really wasn’t much thought at all.

On The Road With A Pinochle Of Nerds

Getting my eat on in London.

I’m currently on the way home after a quick visit to London. The purpose of this trip – to visit some friends while stuffing my face with tasty deliciousness.

Mission very much accomplished.

We – where we included the Drs Darlington, Dixon, and Edge, as well as Almost Dr. Weijs, LLB Seaman, Almost LLB McKeen, and MPH Anderson – headed to The Runt Club1 for food, drinks, and lots of laughs.

And did I mention the food? According to the all-knowing Google, The Runt Club has London’s best pasta. While I can’t really speak to that – as I have yet to try all the pasta in London – I can say that it was freaking fantastic.

Of course, the best part of the night was hanging out with everyone. Despite the level of nerdiness present at the table, the conversation danced between high and low brow. Some of us may have been more low brow than others.

Anyway, after a long day of statistics and programming and meetings and other such academic pursuits, I can honestly say that tonight was exactly what I needed. And after stuffing my belly, I am quite ready for bed.

Oh, and for those wondering – a Pinochle is the term used to describe a group of nerds. Similar to the a murder of crows, or a pride of lions, except far nerdier. True story.

Night all y’all.

1 Okay, technically we were at Fellini Koolini’s, but I understand that these are the same restaurant – or put more precisely, two halves to the same restaurant.

Eff It

Except today isn’t Wednesday.

So apparently it’s Tuesday. For some reason, I spent the better part of the day under the impression it was Wednesday. I should have known today was going to be odd when I woke up from a restless sleep wondering where I was.

In case you are wondering, I was in my own bed1. I just couldn’t process that information. Waking up from what I gather was a rather tumultuous and disturbing2 dream, it took a while for me to place my surroundings. My heart raced in the process, and I struggled to catch my breath. I wrestled with my brain to figure out what was going on – why I was in the state that I was in – but the more I tried to grasp whatever it was that had caused the panic, the more it slipped from my grip.

Not the way that I wanted to start my day.

All I can remember is that I had a dream where I was told by someone whom I assume was important to me that I wasn’t good enough. Seriously, I wish I were making this up. I’m not sure if the dream included scenes that proved that I didn’t measure up, or if I added that after the fact to fill in the very large holes in my memory. Regardless, I woke up panicking and feeling like a giant bag of useless.

I’d like to say that the feeling faded as quickly as the memory of the dream, but it didn’t. I went about my morning – making breakfast, feeding Elliot, shaving, showering, the like – in a bit of a funk. That stupid voice in my head kept repeating You aren’t good enough.

A simple but powerful reminder.

Prior to leaving the house I had to stop for a minute and just breathe. I took stock of the situation: I appreciate that self-doubt happens. And I appreciate that I’m not always going to feel like a million bucks. But what I can’t accept is that this dream – a dream that I can’t even remember – is going to set the course of my day.

And then I said something aloud that I learned to say with conviction years ago whenever I was filled with doubt or unease:

Eff it3.

And with that a sense of calm came over me. I got on my bike and headed off to school. By the time I was there the feelings that the dream evoked were a distant memory. In their place, I found myself smirking and chuckling at thoughts that could have been the end of a great day.

What does this story have to do with me not knowing whether or not today is Tuesday or Wednesday?

I have no idea.

1 Because my bed is awesome. And also because I am pure and wholesome. Write that down folks, there’ll be a test later.

2 And apparently scary as all hell – because I woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air, and completely freaked out of my mind. Glamorous, no?

3 Except in place of Eff I may or may not have used the actual Eff-word. But since my mom reads this, I’m going to insist that I only said Eff. Because I’m pure and wholesome. Don’t believe me? See footnote number 1.

That’s Crazy Awesome

I also want to do this again. But solo.

Jeepers. Today I realized that I’ve not updated my Not-So-Bucket-List list in quite some time. In fact, it has been over a month since I’ve added something to it.

What is up with that?

I must have been out having fun crossing things off my list1, and clearly have forgotten all about updating it. You see, this list can’t be static. That would just be…wrong.

How did I realize that my list hadn’t been updated since May 19? Well, first – I’m rather nerdly2 and write the date of the last update at the bottom of the list. Second – my brother sent me the following YouTube video (embedded below). Clearly this was something that he knew I would want to do. And he’s right. I do want to do it.

Skydiving in a Squirrel Suit. I’m totally going to do that.

And because I’m the kind of guy who knows guys like Rick3, I knew immediately that he would want to know about this as well.

And I was correct. Which means I win the day, right?

Anyway, Rick’s reply to the video: That’s crazy awesome! Whoohoo.

I couldn’t agree more Rick. I couldn’t agree more.

And so, without further ado I introduce you to the newest item on my Not-So-Bucket-List list – #276: Visit Victoria Falls and Swim in the Devil’s Pool. W00t!

Oh, and just for fun I may have also added item #277: Skydive Solo, and item #278: Skydive in a Squirrel Suit.

Because why add one item when I can add three?

1 Such as items #20, #183, #247, and #258.

2 I probably should have warned you that I was about to drop a bomb. Sorry, next time I’ll have you sit down first.

3 Who is trying to win a contest so that he can raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada – click here to vote for him.

Why I Should Always Ignore The Voice In My Head

Today I woke up very, very dehydrated. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the beer I had last night. I’m sure it also had nothing to do with the scotch I had before bed.

As I said, I woke up very dehydrated. I also woke up knowing that I had to go for a longer run. To be specific, I had decided earlier in the week that I needed to run a half marathon today. Part of the need to run a half marathon was the belief that it would purge the demons of what seemed a rather sedentary week for me. However, I also had in the back of my mind the need to work on my half marathon (or better) a month challenge.

So after waking, did I immediately jump out of bed and start this long run I was supposed to do?

Hells no.

I lounged in bed for a while, playing on email, playing KenKen, and trying to come up with every possible justification for not running.

I’m too tired.

My legs hurt.

I can run tomorrow.

I really am too dehydrated.

I do feel a little like a champ right now. Note: I wrote champ, not chump. Ha!

In short, they were all 100% bullshit excuses. In fact, I was probably spending more energy convincing myself not to run than what I would need to just get off my duff and start doing what I knew I needed to do.

So how did I convince myself to actually run? I started with small goals. Drink some water. Feed Elliot. Drink more water. Feed self. Drink even more water. Putter. Drink more water. Do some laundry. Drink more water.

Before long, I realized that I had sufficiently hydrated and I really just needed to get my race on. So I put on my trusty compression socks, my trusty compression shorts, and my shiny new runners, and I just started. One foot in front of the other. I started off slow, because I still had that stupid voice in my head telling me to stop, give up, save it for another day.

I took it one mile at time – one minute at a time. I wasn’t intending the run to be a fast run, I just knew I needed to do it. So I kept telling myself just go a little bit further, and then consider a rest. And that’s what I did; pushing my body just a little bit further until the miles started disappearing behind me.

When I had managed a third of the distance I took stock. It was then that it really dawned on me how fast I was pacing. Less than 5 minutes per kilometre (less than 8 minutes per mile). What the what? That was not part of the plan. Despite my brain suggesting that I should stop, my body didn’t feel the same way. In fact, my body felt really good. I kept running.

Two thirds the distance passed. My pace had not wavered. My body still felt good. I kept going.

This quote flashed through my mind a number of times today. Mainly when I felt like yarfing. I don’t think yarfing is a reason to stop.

At the 12.1 mile marker I started smiling. Holy shite, I’m going to do this. I’m actually going to run my first ever half marathon at a pace less than 5 minutes per kilometre. Holy freaking awesome.

I tried not to get too excited, doing some quick calculations to verify what was going on. It was going to be close, but I was sure my numbers were correct. I’d definitely cross the finish line in under 1 hour and 45 minutes. My smile grew wider and wider. An incredible wave of runner’s high poured over me and I easily sailed past the finish line, happy it was over, but even more happy that I had done it.

And just think, if I had listened to that voice in my head this morning, I wouldn’t have run and I wouldn’t now be enjoying a personal best (21.12 kilometres in 1 hour, 44 minutes, 43 seconds).

I love it when that voice in my head is wrong. It feels good to give it a mighty punch to the face.

Below is an updated list of the runs I have completed that are part of the Run at least 1 half marathon (or better) per month for a year challenge. Five months in, 9 runs longer than a half marathon. Awesome.

  1. February 2012 – 21.64 km – training run
  2. March 2012 – 25.75 km – training run
  3. March 2012 – 30.56 km – Around the Bay 30k
  4. March 2012 – 21.54 km – training run
  5. April 2012 – 21.21 km – Run for Retinal Research Half Marathon
  6. May 2012 – 43.00 km – Toronto Goodlife Marathon
  7. May 2012 – 21.37 km – training run
  8. May 2012 – 44.04 km – Ottawa Marathon
  9. June 2012 – 21.12 km – training run.

An Evening With Sarah

Sarah, in silver pants. Because silver pants are cool. Apparently.

Last night, for those not in the know, Sarah McLachlan held a concert at Molson Amphitheatre. What made the concert extra awesome, beside the fact that it was a Sarah concert1, was Sarah’s back-up band.

In this case, the back-up band was none other than the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Let me put this into perspective. Imagine, if you will, how amazing any concert would be on a beautiful summer day as the sun sets to the west of the Amphitheatre, and a cool breeze blows over the crowd. Imagine the perfect light that only comes with sunset. Imagine the stars slowly coming into view, one by one, as the light of the sun fades beyond the horizon.

Amazing, no?

Me and the Warrior Princess.

Now throw into the mix the incredible voice of Sarah McLachlan, the incredible talent of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and getting to hang with my favourite Warrior Princess. Pretty much the perfect concert.

I’ve seen Sarah several times now, and every time I see her I am more and more impressed with her talent. Last night’s show was extra amazing given the accompaniment of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Some of her songs seemed to have been written with the intent of having an orchestra accompanying her voice. To say that I was overwhelmed by the combination of the two would be an understatement.

Sunset at the Amphitheatre. Perfect.

I can’t honestly say which moment was my favourite moment, because in all honesty there were just too many amazing moments. However, I think one of the most incredible moments was when Sarah started singing Fear. The song is one that, when I first heard it, I assumed was a studio song. That is, a song that required so much skill as an artist, that only a perfect setting could reproduce it. Fortunately last night I heard an incredible, better-than-the-album version of it.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve embedded a YouTube video of Fear below.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next time I get to see her in concert, because I know that this is not the last.

1 Which by nature is about 10 million percent more awesome than a regular concert.

Why Talk To Action Makes Me Throw-Uppy

Oh Mickey, the sight of you makes me queasy.

I think I might throw up.

But in a good way.

I just did something really, really, really awesome. Or perhaps really, really, really stupid. Only time will tell.

What have you done now, Gillis?

Well, dear readers, I’ve gone and registered myself for the Goofy Marathon and a Half – scheduled for the weekend of January 10-13, 2013. This means that I’ll be running the Donald Duck Half Marathon on Saturday January 12, 2013, and the Mickey Mouse Full Marathon on Sunday January 13, 2013. That’s 63.3 kilometres of running insanity over the course of two days.


Fortunately I’m not alone in my insanity. My friend Mark – who ran the Ottawa Marathon with me this year and last, and who is also running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon with me in October – has agreed to be Goofy too. Because clearly he’s awesome. Or insane.

Probably both.

Hey there shiny medals – Mark and I are coming for you.

As I wrote in a text to him earlier:

We are effing insane. I love it.

I may also have written:

I think I’m going to throw up from the awesomeness of this.

I just hope I don’t throw up during the run. Actually, that’s the least of my concerns. I’ll consider myself successful if I can get through both races without collapsing into a giant puddle of goo. Okay, in all honesty, I’ll consider myself successful if I can finish both races without collapsing into a giant puddle of goo and if I do so without shitting myself.

Aim high, right?

Blah, Blah, Blah, Statistics

Almost zero meetings? Unheard of!

Hold onto your hats folks, for what I’m about to tell you might blow your mind into a million pieces. Today my calendar informed me that I had only one meeting1. And it was scheduled for only an hour.


As with most people, I think I can say that my productivity is inversely proportional to the number of meetings I have. This means that today was a day of high productivity. Honestly, I’m glad. I needed a day like today to remind myself that there are so many research questions that I want/need to explore2. Sometimes those questions sit on the back burner for so long, I tend to forget that they exist. It’s nice to have some time to shine a light on them every now and then. You know – remind myself that they are important, and that it’s not always about meetings.

The other bonus of not sitting in meeting, after meeting, after meeting, after meeting3, is that I can focus on one topic for an extended period of time. And that’s a good thing because it allows me to get my statistical juices flowing.

Today was no exception. I ploughed through a bunch of work. My mind was clear, and fresh, and definitely open to new ideas. So, for example, while I was writing code to analyze some data, my mind was also considering how I might update some of the state-of-the-science population models used to estimate the abundance of a species. I was also exploring in my mind the structure of a statistical model known as a Zero Inflated Poisson, wondering how I might update it for a specific setting where the zeroes…

Oh, right. Blah, blah, blah, statistics.

Sorry – I won’t bore you any more with the details. I realize that I’m excited about this stuff but that isn’t the case for everyone. Suffice it to say, today I had my nerd on and it felt great. Because today was a day that reminded me again why it is that I love what I do so much. And it also reminded me that I am one lucky bastard because I get to do what I love to do, and I realize that not everyone is that fortunate.

And with that, dear readers, I will say good-bye as I have to get back to work. You see, I have to prep for a 10am meeting. Yee-haw.

1 One meeting! W00t!

2 The nerd in me would argue that this is more of a need than a want.

3 After meeting.

A Big Mountain Challenge Is Calling My Name

Climbing mountains for your health. It’s the thing to do.

About 1 week ago, I was either directed to, or stumbled upon the Banff National Park Big Mountain Challenge.

What, for the love of criminy, is the Banff National Park Big Mountain Challenge?

I’m glad you asked. The Big Mountain Challenge is a contest in which the winner and a friend will be taken on three awesome mountain hikes – Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, and Temple Mountain – with a certified guide. Awesome, no?

Aurora at Banff, Canada (Cascade Mountain}
Aurora at Banff, Canada (Cascade Mountain) Photo credit: Wikipedia

But wait, there’s more! Not only does the winner and a friend get to climb these three excellent mountains, they also – once completing all three climbs – receive a $15000 cheque for a charity of their choice. If that isn’t freaking awesome, I don’t know what is.

But hold on, there’s even more! For every dollar the winner collects (up to $5000) for the charity of their choice, Banff Lake Louise Tourism will match the total. That means the charity could receive $25000! And if the winner collects even more than $5000 – who knows what the total could be.

So, why are you telling us about this Dan?

Another outstanding question.

As soon as I read the details about the contest, I realized that Rick needed to know about this. Clearly this was an adventure made for us. And with the added bonus of raising money for charity – how could we not consider entering?

And that dear friends, brings us to the now. The entry has been made. Since the contest indicates that

“One winner will be selected and the number of Likes and Comments an entry receives will be strongly considered!”

Rick likes to sing show tunes while hiking. Show tunes about kidney health. True story.

we’ve decided to work with just a single entry (under Rick’s name) so that we don’t end up vote-splitting.

Of course, this is where you come in. Remember a few lines ago where I wrote Likes and Comments would be counted? Well, this is where I ask, nay beg you to click on this link and Like or Comment the crap out of Rick’s entry (or click on the shiny button over there at the right side of the page). And don’t just do it today. Do it every day until July 27th. Because it’s good for your kidneys.

Wait, What?

Right, I forgot to mention the charity! Given Rick’s connection to nephrology research the choice of charity was obvious – the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

So folks, click on the link and vote for Rick (and me). Because climbing mountains at the end of August might just save your kidneys one day. And aren’t your kidneys worth a simple vote?

Sometimes It’s All About The Stomach Punch

Pre-hernia porktastic.

Almost 320 days ago I went under the knife to correct a hernia that had been a rather annoying health concern for approximately 2 or more years prior to surgery. The hernia was the major factor in an almost 50 pound weight loss, and led me to replace my wardrobe several times over. I went from medium and large shirts to small and eventually extra small. I went from a size 34+ pants to my current 28. It was, to put it lightly, life changing1.

So why am I bringing this up now?

Well, a significant portion of the initial weight loss could be attributed to the fact that I wasn’t able to eat large meals without getting sick. The hernia, as wonderful as it was, acted like a band on my stomach – which meant that large meals led to discomfort, nausea, and in many cases vomiting.

EAT A SANDWICH! (No, I wasn’t sucking in my stomach)

Post surgery, I was informed that I’d be able to eat more eventually. That is, I’d be able to have a normal person portion again. While I can’t say that my portions aren’t larger than they were 10 months ago, they are also not back to normal person portion. And it seems at times that the portion size varies by day.

For instance, tonight I met some friends at the Wooly for a pint. I was hungry – almost starving when I arrived. My meals for the day had consisted of oatmeal for breakfast, a small snack before lunch, a bowl of soup for lunch, and a coffee this afternoon. Dinner, as it was, didn’t arrive until about 9:30, and it consisted of a half order of fries. It should not have been sufficient to fill me up.

Today – hernia free and healthy. Well, as healthy as a man can be when he’s able to run a marathon AND be thwarted by a half plate of fries. DAMN YOU FRIES!

And yet, here we are. I am full. Painfully so. From a half order of fries. I realize that this is something that will take a while to correct or normalize, but sometimes I find this limitation obnoxiously frustrating. So much so, that I almost want to punch my stomach square in the face for being such a wuss. Of course, I realize that punching my stomach square in the face would likely not help the situation. I also realize that my stomach doesn’t actually have a face. Suffice it to say, if it did, I’d want to punch it. Punch it real good.

Anyway, I guess the moral of this post is that my stomach doesn’t have a face, and that’s a good thing otherwise I’d punch it, or perhaps I should have had more than a coffee post lunch, or even A half order of fries is obnoxiously frustrating.

Honestly, I have no idea what the point of this post is. All I know is that my belly is full, and I didn’t eat very well today. Clearly this is something I need to work on.

1 Ultimately life changing in the best way possible. I am far healthier now than I’ve ever been, and I attribute that to the hernia, hernia associated weight loss, hernia enforced diet change, and the need to get healthy post hernia surgery. It’s really all about the hernia.

Bing! Email!

I’m not sure I had the energy to stand up this straight this morning.

I woke up today feeling exhausted. Again.

I’m not sure what’s going on. My sleeping patterns haven’t changed – save for the fact that I seem to be waking up about an hour earlier than normal. And when I write an hour earlier than normal, I don’t mean that I’m purposely getting up at this time. What I mean is that I’m waking up before the time when my alarm is set to wake me. And when I wake up, I wake up exhausted. Fortunately I’m awake enough to recognize that I’m exhausted, so I’ve just rolled back over and promptly fallen back to sleep. But clearly it’s a craptacular sleep because when I finally wake I’m completely knackered.

For now, I’m going to blame it on the heat as I have not yet turned on my air conditioner. That, or Elliot has been purposely poking me to wake me up as some sort of bizarre feline joke. Note to self: keep your eyes on the cat – he knows too much.

Sadly, I didn’t just wake up exhausted today. By the time I got to the office, and while I was meeting with one of my grad students, it struck me – I was cranky too.

Excellent, I’m tired and a charming bag full of crank, I thought to myself. This is not going to be a good day.

I don’t think I necessarily woke up cranky, but it wasn’t long before my computer started chiming. Bing! Email! Bing! Email! With every Bing! Email! I cringed just a little. Mainly because I was tired and really wasn’t ready to start my day. Nor was I ready to read about this or that that I needed to do. All I wanted was just one more hour of sleep.

Bing! Email!

Yup. This about sums up my morning.

I tried to shrug off each and every Bing! Email!, going about my usual morning. I should have known I wasn’t doing a good job of shrugging it off. Regardless, I hopped on my bike and headed to the office. I had hoped that the bike ride would get me out of my funk. Not so much. It only took one more Bing! Email! to put me over the edge. I was full on Cranky-pants McGee. In this case, it wasn’t so much the Bing! Email! that did it; it was the content of the final mood-killing Bing! Email! I’m not going to get into the content of the email, but suffice it to say someone else’s lack of preparation was suddenly somehow my problem.

I have to give my grad student Kat tons of credit. She sat there patiently and put up with my crank. She smiled and let me have myself a little pity party. At some point during the meeting I think I acknowledged that I was a giant bag of crank, we laughed, called it a meeting, and headed to Starbucks based on her suggestion that she needed a coffee. On the way there, I told her I need to shake off this funk that I’m in. That may or may not have been followed with a w00t, three solid motivational claps, and a Go Statistics! cheer (seriously). She took it all in, allowing me to be the dork that I needed to be. Best grad student ever!

This was clearly the beginning of the end of my funk. The proverbial nail in the coffin for my funk came when I met up with my friend Rob (@therobcampbell). Chatting with him was exactly what I needed. It wasn’t so much anything that he said – it was just sitting with someone who has the type of energy and spirit that I like to surround myself with. He was just the reminder that I needed that I was choosing to be cranky. I didn’t have to respond to the Bing! Email! the way that I was. I didn’t have to let someone else’s lack of preparation get to me. I had, but it wasn’t the only way I could have responded to these things. And since I allowed this to happen, I could just as easily not allow it to happen.

I left my meeting with Rob feeling completely refreshed, ready to take on the day, and no longer Cranky-pants McGee.

When I got home, I continued my mission to not be cranky. First, I had a sweet 30 minute nap with the wee fuzzball. Second, I went for a great run, then followed that up with about an hour of yoga and stretching. And finally, to close out my day, I’m going to eat a dairy free pecan butter tart. It’s basically impossible to be cranky when one has a dairy free pecan butter tart to eat. That’s a rule – you should write it down.

And this is pretty much how my morning ended. Except it wasn’t peanut butter crackers and a comic book that did it. It was a friend with one of the greatest smiles going.

Twice As Deadly, Not Nearly As Furry

I probably looked like this guy this weekend, except increase the gluttony by a factor of 5000. Also, I’m not nearly as furry.

I am a giant ball of sloth deep fried in boiling liquid gluttony. That’s right folks, twice the deadly sins for the price of one. I’m what you’d call a bargain1.

At least, that’s how I feel after today’s meal. Seriously, I should have worn my eating-pants, or perhaps clothed myself in the finest dining-tarp money could buy.

Why so full? you ask.

Well, being Father’s Day I headed off to my parents’ place with my younger brother to celebrate all things fatherly. This of course meant eating. And lots of it. Beyond the delicious spread that the fathers in the room prepared2, I also was tempted – and ultimately succumbed to – homemade strawberry rhubarb pie that my mom had made for the occasion.

So. Freaking. Tasty.

Marathon number 3 for 2012? Don’t mind if I do.

Looking back to the old-time-y days that were last week, I realize that I had started this weekend with so many good intentions. First and foremost, I wanted to get in a long run. Second, and just as important, I wanted to get in a long bike. Sadly I accomplished neither. In fact, if there are things that could be considered the opposite of a long run or a long bike, I did those things. Add in the gluttony that came with today’s meal, and I’m feeling like a large bag of gelatinous goo. And a lazy one at that.

Fortunately, I’m going to fix this first thing tomorrow. And how am I going to do that? Well, I’m going to bike to school for one thing – but that’s not really anything new. I’m definitely going to run in the eve – but this too is not really anything new. What’s going to fix this feeling is the fact that I officially need to start training for my next 30km race and my next marathon. Because, I may or may not have just signed up for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon4, and I may or may not be signing up for a 30km race in August5.

Take that deadly sins.

And oh yeah – Happy Father’s Day all y’all. Of course, by all y’all I don’t actually mean all y’all of you. Just the fathers, fathers-to-be, and the fatherly types out there. Happy Father’s Day to you.

1 You should probably write that down.

2 The fathers – being my dad, and my brother Bernie – actually prepared and cooked the meal, because apparently that is how one celebrates Father’s Day. Or in this case, Fathers’ Day.

3 Apparently it is also now the tradition that should the dinner guests enjoy their meal, the chef gets tossed into the pool. My nieces thoroughly love this tradition, and took great pleasure pushing my dad in.

4 Hells ya I did.

5 Hells ya I will.

I’m Considering Something Stupid

21.1 plus 42.2 equals awesome-sauce

Or Goofy. Either way, I’m sure it’s a bad idea. Or the most amazing idea in the history of ideas.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

A while back – perhaps some time last year – I was introduced to the Goofy Race at Disney World in Florida by my friend Carolyn. The idea – run a half marathon through Disney World on Saturday, and just for fun, run a full marathon through Disney World the very next day. That’s 63.3 kilometres of running in 2 days.

If one completes the half marathon only, they receive a shiny Donald Duck Half Marathon medal.

If one completes the full marathon only1, they receive a shiny Mickey Mouse Full Marathon medal.

But, if one completes both the half marathon and the full marathon2 they receive an additional shiny medal that is known as the Goofy medal. Because running a marathon and a half over the course of two days is Goofy. Or stupid. Or awesome. Or all of these things. And clearly it deserves an extra medal.

And really, who wants one shiny race medal when they can have three?

So this is where you might think me a little stupid – because I really think that I need to have these medals. Not want. Need3.

The Donald Duck Half, Mickey Mouse Full, Goofy Marathon and a Half, and Relay medals for 2012.

Of course, I’m all over the place with this potential challenge. On one hand, hells ya I’m going to do it. On the other hand I think holy crapshite, that’s a lot of running, and how will my body handle a marathon the next day after a half marathon, and holy crapshite, that’s a lot of running. Of course, when I question whether or not I’m capable of doing it I immediately think screw you self, of course I can. I also think there’s only one way to really know. 

And so here I am writing about a challenge that is probably on the extra stupid side of stupid, and yet like some weird siren song it’s drawing me in. That is, dear readers, I would suggest that this particular challenge is going to happen. At least, I’m 85% sure that I’m going to do it. And if all goes well, I’ll be crossing the line twice in Disney World this coming January. Because why run a half marathon when I can run a full marathon? And why run a full marathon when I can run a marathon and a half?

Of course, I’m going to have to kick up my training ever so slightly. I’m also going to have to figure out how to schedule this particular race given that I will be teaching in the Winter semester. If all goes well, I’ll be able to fly down on Friday morning, run Saturday and Sunday, then fly home Monday eve so that I’m ready for teaching on Tuesday.

Hmmm, I’m already considering my training program and planning a trip around my work schedule. I should probably upgrade this challenge from 85% sure I’m going to do it, to 90% sure I’m going to do it.

Hmmm number 2. I just realized that my Not-So-Bucket-List list already has this listed as a thing I want to do (item #270, which strangely I don’t remember adding). I guess I need to update my confidence level in running this race again – from 90% sure I’m going to do it, to this is so going to be done.

I love being stupid.

1 Only. Ha!

2 With a pace that is less than 16 minutes per mile.

3 Okay, it’s not a need at all, but the want is so strong that I think it’s a borderline need.