Category Archives: Scotch

RIP Summer

One of the added bonuses of autumn - the wee fuzzball insists on increases in both snuggle frequency and snuggle duration.
One of the added bonuses of autumn – the wee fuzzball insists on increases in both snuggle frequency and snuggle duration.

I realize that autumn doesn’t officially begin for another week or so, but I think someone needs to state the obvious – summer has passed on. Let’s take a moment to remember summer for what it was. Oh summer – we hardly knew ye!

While summer is my favourite season, spring and autumn also hold a special place in my heart. The difference between the two is that autumn – despite the crisp air, smell of freshly made pies, preserves, beautiful colours, and the like – reminds me that winter is coming. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know my feelings about winter. If you’re new here, I’m not a fan. Sure, winter comes with its own charms – skiing, sledding, and skating with friends, hot chocolate, newly fallen snow, scotch by the fireplace, stouts, baked goods, mulled cider, and everything spiced – but I just can’t embrace it like the others. Perhaps, like the Grinch, my heart is just two sizes too small. Or perhaps I just suck at maintaining a body temperature that exceeds popsicle status.

Regardless, it seems that autumn has come early to Guelph. Some of the trees have started their transition from green to yellow or red, extra layers are required, and the sun is setting earlier every day. There’s also a different smell in the air – that spicy autumn crispness – sort of a mix between damp earth, decaying leaves, and I’m not sure what. And of course, the truest sign of the season, I feel more compelled to curl up on the couch with the wee fuzzball and a scotch instead of heading outside.

While I’m looking forward to some of the things that autumn brings (did I mention scotch by the fireplace?), I can’t help but feel somewhat sad that summer is over, and that winter isn’t far off. So welcome autumn. May your stay be long, and may you be full of good food (e.g. cherry pies, peach pies, blueberry pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, strawberry rhubarb pies, … ) and good friends.

And for the love of all things holy, stick around a little longer than summer. I’m really not ready for winter yet.

Good-Bye Shanghai

On my way to Beijing!
On my way to Beijing!

Today I said goodbye to Shanghai and the various people I’d met there over the past 8 days. I’m very much going to miss the city, especially the part where I ate street food almost every night after enjoying a tipple or three with the folks I was fortunate to call friends during my stay. Originally I had planned to leave Shanghai Tuesday, but those plans were thrown out the window on Monday eve. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On Monday afternoon I said farewell to three of the people I had spent the last few days hanging out with. There was Ben, the other professor in our merry band of misfits, and Andrew and Sass, two 20 year-old students from Australia who have been dating for the past two years or so. After I said goodbye, I relaxed in the lobby of the hostel looking forward to a quiet night. I had a beer, got somewhat caught up on email and world events, and was fully expecting to head to bed early.

And then in walked Andrew and Sass, both looking a little rough around the edges.

So deliciously delicious.
So deliciously delicious.

I clearly had a very confused look on my face because they immediately started laughing and then began recounting a rather harrowing adventure that began with a police ticket for the cab driver, and ended with their flight being canceled. In between they were involved in a car accident on the highway that wrote-off the car they were in (fortunately all were okay save for some stiff necks). If that weren’t bad enough, the substitute cab had a faulty door which was only discovered while careening down the highway at speeds in excess of 120 kph. Apparently it’s not normal for the door of a vehicle to just swing open. Who knew? Fortunately Ben – who was travelling to the airport with Andrew and Sass – got things under control (and I think managed to make his flight home). From this point, however, things went from bad to worse for Andrew and Sass.

At the airport, Andrew and Sass were initially faced with flight delay, after flight delay. Eventually they were told the Military were conducting operations, the airport was essentially closed, and they should return to the hostel. They were given a slip of paper saying they’d be able to get a flight on Wednesday around noon.

The gift for the friend who has everything?
The gift for the friend who has everything?

Despite the day they had, they walked into the hostel with very few gripes and a lot of smiles. After listening to them recount their adventure, I started thinking that my time in Shanghai wasn’t quite finished. We chatted about plans for the next morning (technically check-out was at noon, and I had the entire day to get to Beijing) and decided to head out for food and some drinks. We had a great night chatting and exploring several dishes at a nearby restaurant, laughing at some of the Chinese to English translations. Dinner led to drinks at a local bar which was fortunately stocked with some deliciously delicious scotches. I already knew Andrew was a fellow scotch drinker so it didn’t take much for us to sample a few drams. After several drinks we returned to the hostel, but not before a feast of street food. Scallions wrapped in some sort of gluten/soy blanket, bacon wrapped something-or-others, fish-on-a-stick, mushrooms, and a bowl of spicy crawdads – or whatever the Chinese equivalent might be. All of this was washed down with a half litre of beer for the outrageously low price of 5 yuan (less than a dollar Canadian).

On Tuesday morning I awoke early to extend my stay an extra day in Shanghai, and modify my booking in Beijing. It took all of 5 minutes.

Golden Buddha.
Golden Buddha.

After some coffee, the three of us jumped in a cab and made our way to the art district known as M50. I was expecting a market with local artisans showing off trinkets and such. It was nothing like that. The area reminded me of the Distillery District in Toronto, but larger, and filled with various different artists. The works ranged from absolutely amazing – we all seriously considered buying some prints by the artist Sanzi – to downright creepy (hello naked baby painting). Some were quite practical, such as the handcrafted tea sets, to completely outrageous. Why would someone want a 7 foot purple corn-on-the-cob? Or for that matter, a giant angry silver baby riding a tank? Perhaps I just don’t get art.

We had lunch in the area then walked to a nearby temple to see a beautiful jade Buddha. The temple – appropriately called the Jade Buddha Temple – was stunning. We wandered the temple for about an hour, snapping photos and taking in as much of it as we could, before we grabbed a cab and returned to the hostel for a nap.

Deliciousness and tasty beverages can be found here.
Deliciousness and tasty beverages can be found here.

The day led us to the French Colonial section of town. From the street I’d never have known this place existed, but down a particular alleyway pointed out by our cabbie, we were presented with pedestrian walkway after pedestrian walkway, each filled with pubs and eateries. Given our success of the previous day, we opted to repeat history. Several drams of scotch were ordered for Andrew and me, while Sass opted for some rather beautiful and delicious cocktails. We chatted about travel and school, life in general, and even statistics. At one point I found myself explaining degrees of freedom and multicollinearity. It was weird and wonderful and completely unexpected. Feeling a bit wobbly from all of the scotch, we returned to the hostel and the same street vendors. We couldn’t have our last night in Shanghai not include more spicy crawdads and fish-on-a-stick.

It tastes way better than it looks.
It tastes way better than it looks.

I’m glad I decided to stay an extra day. Andrew and Sass are exactly the type of people I like meeting when I travel. Adventurous, open to new things, and willing to laugh at the weird things that happen instead of getting upset. What could have been the death-blow to their vacation, they turned into a grand adventure. Instead of pouting and whining, they decided to give Shanghai one last hurrah. How could I not have stayed?

As we hugged farewell today I knew that I wanted to keep in touch with them. I’m really excited to know where their adventure-filled life will take them.

All The Feels

Sleeping Elliot cake, complete with Ardbeg, Starbucks, greek letters, and the Blerch.
Sleeping Elliot cake, complete with Ardbeg, Starbucks, greek letters, and the Blerch.

Last Tuesday I celebrated the fourth anniversary of my PhD defence. It’s hard to believe that four years have passed already. As with most of the anniversaries I celebrate, I marked this particular event with a dram or two of scotch.

As is custom, I also marked the event by taking some time to think about the changes in my life since the big day just over four years ago. To be perfectly honest, when I began reflecting on the events of just the last year, I found myself thinking did all of that really just happen in one year? 

While I won’t get into all of the details, the highlights have included the Farm To Fork crowd-funding campaign and launch, numerous talks – both invited and contributed – on things ranging from community engaged scholarship, to pedagogy, to statistics, to public health, and to social media. I’ve been interviewed several times, and I’ve written for other blogs. I’ve watched as the Farm To Fork project has grown from a simple idea to an amazing tool to fight food insecurity. And I also received a teaching award – which sits proudly in my office.

Amazing detail. An Ardbeg
Amazing detail. An Ardbeg “garnish” for my cake.

But the thing that I find myself dwelling on – the thing that makes me the most happy – is something that really has, in my opinion, little to do with me. The thing that makes me smile the most has been watching the success of the students that I’ve been so fortunate to work with over the past 20 months. These men and women are amazing, and every day that I get to spend with them I find myself loving my job even more, smiling a little bigger, and feeling blessed that I can watch as they become even more incredible people. Their dedication and creativity are inspiring. Their desire to give back, to improve the world, and to help improve the lives of people in our community and abroad, are my armour against the daily onslaught of negativity that the media often presents. I honestly can’t begin to describe the profoundly positive effect they’ve had on my life in such a very short period of time.

This weekend I invited the students – my minions – over for an end of semester celebration. This was to be a thank you from me to them for all of the hard work they’ve put in over the past months; a small gesture to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with them. Instead, they arrived with one of the best gifts I’ve ever received – one that I won’t soon forget. If you know me, you’ll know that their gift – a sleeping Elliot cake – was perfection, right down to the smallest details. It’s not often that I’m speechless or overwhelmed with emotion, but last night’s thoughtful gift left me in exactly that state.

Starbucks, the Blerch, and greek letters.
Starbucks, the Blerch, and greek letters.

After the minions left and I tidied up, I sat down on the couch, and waited as Elliot went through his routine of pawing at my belly before nuzzling in for his evening snuggles. As I sat there I thought about the night, and the past year, and I once again came to the conclusion that I am one lucky bastard. I smiled to myself, content, happy, and completely overwhelmed with everything.

So a huge thank you to my minions for making last night an amazing night, for constantly putting a smile on my face, for making me laugh, for inspiring me, for challenging me, and for making my job the best job in the world.

To my minions who are graduating this semester – your graduation will be bittersweet. I know that I will be beaming as you walk across the stage to receive your degree, but there will be a small part of me that selfishly won’t want you to be leaving. You are all amazing individuals, and I can’t wait to see what you do next.

Over-overwhelmed

Farm To Fork launched October 3, 2013
Farm To Fork launched October 3, 2013

Early on in 2012, my friend Danny and I were sitting around drinking scotch or beer or something of that nature, discussing doing something. I don’t mean doing something in the sense that we were bored and wanted to entertain ourselves with an activity. I mean in the sense of doing something to demonstrate that regular everyday folks could make a meaningful difference in their own community if they simply got off their butts and did something.

Little did we know where that conversation would take us. Little did we know that our conversation-soon-to-be-project would garner the attention of people around the globe. Little did I know how much of an impact this thing would have on my life.

Fast forward to last Thursday. There we were at Innovation Guelph, surrounded by over 100 people – students, staff, and faculty of the University of Guelph, community partners, and local citizens – all interested in learning about, signing up, supporting, and celebrating the launch of the Farm To Fork project. To say that the experience was overwhelming would be an understatement. Over-overwhelming might begin to scratch the surface of what we felt.

I mentioned earlier that this thing - this Farm To Fork thing - has had a huge impact on my life. That is by no means an understatement. For those of you not aware, my training is in Mathematics & Statistics. If anyone were to tell me that one of the things that I would do in my life of which I would be the proudest would dwell in a world outside of Mathematics & Statistics, I might have thought you insane. And yet, here we are – several days post launch – and I am blown away by how things have changed in my life over the last year and a bit. This class project has become more than anything I could have ever imagined.

  • Farm To Fork is a computer science based solution to the very real problem of food insecurity in our community. Just over a year ago I barely knew anything about food insecurity. Now I find myself spending most of my day researching this very real problem, and talking about it with anyone willing to listen.
  • Farm To Fork has been supported by the community in ways I never imagined, including a very successful fund raising campaign earlier this year. Just over a year ago, I would have never even considered crowd-funding for science. Now I’m contacted on a regular basis because I’m apparently one of the first Canadian academics who have used it to support their research.
  • Farm To Fork is the result of community engaged scholarship – students, faculty, and community experts working together to make a difference. Just over a year ago I’d never even heard of community engaged scholarship. Now, I find myself giving talks and extolling the benefits of engaging students in real outside the textbook problems. It is a better way to educate.

My life is vastly different than that I had imagined. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s completely wonderful. It’s amazing and unexpected. It’s full of highs and lows, but mostly highs. It’s beyond the words that I am capable of writing. It is, simply put, more than I could have ever asked for. I am the luckiest bastard I know.

Farm-To-Fork.ca
Farm-To-Fork.ca

Of course it didn’t just happen. I have to acknowledge the incredible contributions and hard work of so many amazing people. Throughout all of this, Danny and I have been very fortunate to work with the best of the best – people who knew everything about all of the things we didn’t; people who had the power to act, and did; people who inspire me every time I think of what they’ve accomplished. I am incredibly spoiled to be surrounded by so many big brains and bigger hearts. The success of Farm To Fork is due to this collective of awesomeness; this group of dedicated and highly motivated people who know that things change only when we come together and think beyond the rules. I am so fortunate to find myself in the company of these people, and I am forever grateful. There is no way I can thank them enough.

While there are many people to thank, I want to thank the students the most. They were the thinkers, the planners, the doers in this story. They worked tirelessly. They worked beyond the grades. They worked because they knew what they were doing was right. I am incredibly proud of them. So proud that I have no idea how to express the impact they have had on my life. They have reminded me that people can be amazing. They have taught me so much. They have reassured me that, despite what one might read in the news, our future will be bright. Bright because there are people out there who care; because there are people out there who are willing to go above and beyond; because the future will be led by them.

Farm To Fork started out as an idea over scotch, but it has become so much more than that. I couldn’t be prouder.


 

For those who missed it, this is the slide show that was presented during the launch party.

I Miss The Mountains

We came. We saw. We conquered.
Me, Rick, and Aidan at the top of Sparrowhawk

On Tuesday afternoon I made my way back home to Guelph, having spent the prior week visiting Rick in Calgary. The adventure was amazing – but that really wasn’t a difficult bar to pass given that the trip involved mountains, hiking, meeting up with friends, good food, a drink known as Better Than Folgers, more mountains, Banff, hanging with both Rick and my brother, and basically celebrating the anniversary of the grandest of adventures known as the Big Mountain Challenge.

Since I returned I’ve been running around a little crazy – doing last-minute and final prep for the course that I’m teaching this semester, organizing my undergrad and grad students1, organizing several projects, organizing the Farm To Fork launch party, trying to come up with a prioritized list of things to do, and basically doing whatever I can to make sure the next several weeks/months aren’t too stressful2.

Easier said than done, obviously.

Despite all of this (and the occasional build up of anxiety3) I’m feeling good. I think my trip has a lot to do with that. There’s something special about mountain air that does my body good – providing me with better focus, more energy, and the drive to crush whatever obstacle might be in my way. And I’m going to need that this semester, because my list of projects and papers and grants and talks and posters and events could be overwhelming. I just have to remember to take the time – especially when the anxiety and stress start building – to stop and reflect on my mountain-top adventures. Because nothing destroys my stress quite like the mountains.

And I think that’s why I miss them so much.


I’ve uploaded a bunch of pictures and a video below – some of these are new, some you’ve likely seen before, and some are courtesy of Rick. Enjoy.

Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Nerds
Nerds
Adventurers (at Mount Indefatigable)
Adventurers (at Mount Indefatigable)
Climbing Sparrowhawk
Climbing Sparrowhawk
Not the summit of Sparrowhawk, but still pretty impressive.
Not the summit of Sparrowhawk, but still pretty impressive.
Pika!
Pika!
Sunset following our Sparrowhawk climb
Sunset following our Sparrowhawk climb
Climbing Mount Indefatigable
Climbing Mount Indefatigable
At the top of Indefatigable. Epic scramble. Epic ridge walk.
At the top of Indefatigable. Epic scramble. Epic ridge walk.
More of Indefatigable
More of Indefatigable

1 Which really means organizing myself.

2 Such as snuggling with Elliot.

3 Apologies to Julie who had to hear a mild rant today.

 

Shenanigans Are Nigh

Rick and me near Sentinel Pass
Rick and me near Sentinel Pass, during the Big Mountain Challenge (Sept. 2nd, 2012)

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly the time for shenanigans, but shenanigans are nigh – so very, very nigh.

For those not in the know, I’m about to take a real vacation. What do I mean by real vacation? Only that I’m about to board a plane (requisite number 1), travel afar (requisite number 2), and do something crazy (requisite number 3) with someone almost as crazy as me (requisite number 4).

In this particular case, I’ll be boarding my flight to Calgary on Wednesday eve. You can rest assured knowing that my flight will more than likely include a scotch or two – because, well, VACATION!

On the other end of my flight will be fellow partner in adventuring shenaniganery, Mr. Rick. You may remember Rick from last year’s Big Mountain Challenge. You may also remember that last year’s Big Mountain Challenge happened at approximately this time last year – which makes this trip our Big Mountain Challenge-versary. While having a “versary” isn’t a requisite for any of my travels, it does up the awesomeness that is this trip.

What crazy things are we going to be doing? Well, in true “versary” style, we shall be celebrating the Big Mountain Challenge-versary by climbing several mountains. This may or may not include (but most likely will include) jump shots, yoga, high-fives, and seemingly death-defying photos that aren’t really in any way death-defying. Okay, maybe the death-defying photos involve things that most people would find crazy and such, but never fear – Rick is the voice of reason and has the power of veto should any of my ideas push the envelope of good taste or safety. Actually, he’s only ever vetoed things that push the safety envelope, because let’s face it, good taste is not really in our vocabulary. Ha!

So far I’m only aware of two adventures that we’ll be doing. The first – retake Mount Yamnuska. Apparently the first time Rick and I did this, we actually didn’t hit the peak. Clearly this is a mark on my otherwise spotless (Ha!) record, and it must be rectified. The second – conquer Mount Bourgeau.

I can’t freaking wait.

Of course, I still have a bunch of work to do before all of this happens. Which means I need to focus. Easier said than done. My brain is full of outdoors-y thoughts, mountains, fresh air, adventures, shenanigans, laughing, chatting and spending time with someone I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with.

Sigh. Only 52 more hours until my flight leaves. But who’s counting?

So This Is 38

Apparently I’ve survived another year on this, our wee blue-green spaceship

Thirty-eight.

Three Eight.

Three.

Eight.

I’m trying to decide if thirty-eight has a nice ring to it or not. There’s nothing particularly wrong with thirty-eight. It’s a perfectly cromulent number, composed of two rather curvy digits (and who doesn’t like curvy digits?). But it’s also not entirely notable. It doesn’t represent any of the standard milestones – sweet 16, legal drinking age in Canada, legal drinking age in the States, 25, or dirty 30 – and it’s just shy of the four decade flag. It’s not prime. It’s not a perfect square. It’s just plain ole thirty-eight.

And yet, as I sit here thinking about how plain thirty-eight appears to be, I just can’t seem to accept it. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that 38 could be awesome.

I mean, the years that came before 38 have been pretty great. I’ve been fortunate enough to land myself a job that I love, and that permits me the opportunity to explore (both theoretically and in application) the world around us. I’m surrounded by a rather weird yet incredibly wonderful assortment of family and friends who, despite the crazy ideas that pop into my head, never cease to offer their support and love (and sometimes pie, or date squares1, or chocolate). And I’ve been able to travel – not nearly as much as I’d like, because let’s be honest, I’d be travelling and exploring and adventuring every day if I were independently wealthy.

My life is pretty awesome. I don’t write that to brag. I write it because it’s good to take stock and remind myself just how lucky I am; to remember that even on those days where I’m not feeling like things are going my way, that the overall trend has been positive and getting better every day.

And this is why I get the sense that 38 is going to be anything but plain.

So here’s to another year of adventure, another year filled with shenanigans, and family, and friends; a year full of highs and lows – but mostly highs; a year full of laughter, and more laughter, and laughing so hard I cry just a little; here’s to 38.


1 I’m not saying that date squares would be a pretty stellar birthday gift, but, actually, wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

I May Have Broken The Law

Yes, I do dress up from time to time.

So just over a week ago I made my way once again to the airport for fun and adventure – this time in the form of a wedding1. In Vegas2.

Having never been to Vegas I really didn’t know what to expect, but this trip wasn’t so much about Vegas itself as it was about celebrating my friends Danny and Erin getting married. And what a celebration. Given the law of the land, I can tell you that a good time was had by all. The food was fantastic, and I may or may not have had a bottle of Laphroaig to toast the newly married couple with3. We also had an amazing room for the reception that overlooked the city.

The day after the night before, some of the party-goers and the happy couple headed off to tour the strip. I won’t say I was feeling perfect, but walking around for several hours, enjoying the blue sky and the fresh air certainly didn’t hurt.

Sadly, the well established law of the land – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – didn’t seem to hold true for me. I don’t know if it was a result of the cigarette smoke in the casinos4, the jet lag, the time change, the handling of money, the casinos, the slots, the time spent on the plane, or a lovely combination of these, but I brought home some nasty bug. I tried to fight it all week, but by yesterday I was down for the count. Fortunately my friend Danny – the groom component of the happy couple previously mentioned – insisted that I stay home and get better. And so I did. Because he knows things about things.

Fortunately I’m feeling much better today. Whatever evil possessed my body seems to be leaving.

Sadly, I’m left with the unfortunate realization that I broke the cardinal rule of Vegas. I’m going to assume whatever punishment the universe sees fit to dole out will be reduced or eliminated as a result of Friday’s time already served.


1 Not my wedding. Don’t be silly.

2 Which means I can cross off Vegas from my list of travel destinations on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. And given my trip to Florida in January, my trip to New York in February, and this trip to Vegas, I’m 3 cities down on my goal to travel to 12 cities outside of Ontario in 20135.

3 Note: it wasn’t so much a formal toast as it was I drank some scotch in their honour.

4 Ew.

5 Hmmm, I’ve just realized that I haven’t updated my Not-So-Bucket-List list in a while. There are a few other things I can cross off – like travelling to New York city for example.


 

Today Is The Day

Help me raise money for the CMHA.

Holy hell. Today is the day.

Today I am going to willingly allow a spider to crawl on me. Let me write that again because it still seems surreal. I am going to willingly allow a spider to crawl on me. A real, living, breathing, man-eating spider. Crawling. On me. Me!

GAH.

Clearly this may be my last post ever, as I fully expect to be murdered in a cold-blooded spidery way; my life force carefully sucked from my core, leaving nothing but a husk of the man I once was. It was nice knowing all y’all.

For those interested in witnessing my untimely demise, drop by the Atrium on campus at 5pm. I’ll be raising money for the Canadian Mental Health Association – so bring your loonies and toonies. If you can’t be here in person, please consider donating here.

I’ll do my best to live-tweet the event. If I can, I’ll try to set up a live video feed as well. And yes, there will be pictures – I need to have photographic evidence of all of the stupid things I do.

Wish me luck. Better yet, drop by with some scotch. I’m going to need some after this is over.

#CrushArachnophobia


A Turn Of The Page

The Big Mountain Challenge – one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Thanks Rick.

When I arrived home this eve I found the new Portico magazine in my mailbox. For those not in the know, the Portico magazine is the University of Guelph’s alumni magazine. It details the current research and goings-on on campus, while also highlighting the successes of former students. It’s actually a really cool read if you’re into nerdy things, cutting edge science, and holy hell I can’t believe someone did something so awesome stories.

The first thing I did – once I poured my Friday night scotch and settled in with the wee fuzzball – was to peruse the pages of the magazine. While I normally recognize a face or two within the pages, I was happy to see several faculty and students – who are working on some very cool science-y type things – highlighted for the awesome work they are doing. In fact, with every turn of the page I found myself recognizing someone who was being recognized for the work they were doing. I couldn’t help but smile, because each are doing great work to improve the lives of students, help build better communication pathways, and improve our understanding of the world around us. Cool stuff indeed.

And then I flipped the page again.

I won’t lie – I was a bit surprised to see a picture of Rick and me at the top of a mountain. Clearly, an image of the two of us at the top of a mountain wasn’t surprising. Flipping the page to find myself staring at my own face – that was. In some ways, our Big Mountain Challenge feels like a lifetime ago. In some ways it feels like yesterday. Regardless, the story took me by surprise – in a good way.

I was reminded of our trip, of the things we got to see and experience. I was reminded of how tired we were (at times) and how awesome it was to summit so many mountains in spite of fatigue. I remembered the cold and the snow and the wind. I remembered the awesome hotels and spa days. I remembered the laughter and conversations as we hiked for hours. I remembered the fun. I remembered somehow raising a bunch of money for a really great charity. I remember feeling inspired and lucky and awed that I was able to take part in such an awesome adventure. Most of all, I remembered spending a week with an amazing friend.

So with that, I once again want to offer a huge thanks to Rick. I guess you’re alright.

Schtubbed Ubb

Ma sinuses are stubbed ubb.

So my sinuses have decided that they don’t like me very much right now. I blame all of the time I spent on flights this past weekend. Actually, I have no idea if the flights are to blame, but it allows me to blame AirCanada and I think that somehow makes sense.

Anyway, in the interest of health I’m going to bed.

Hopefully that means I’m going to wake up all healthy and stuff.

One can dream, right?

Off To A Good Start

w00t times 1000
w00t times 1000

As I mentioned back in the old time-y days of 2012, my attempt to log 1000 miles on my treadmill before I rang in 2013 ended just shy of my goal1. While I could have put in the extra miles on the 31st of December, I opted to prevent a potential injury and call it a day.

I do not regret that decision.

In fact, I regret it even less today because I managed to get my lazy ass on the treadmill and knock out the required distance to put me over the top. The number 1000 never looked so good2.

The best part about this is that I get to cross something off of my Not-So-Bucket-List list, making two items in two days3. What an awesome start to the year.

Of course, I don’t think I’ll necessarily be able to sustain this pace all year. Most of my Not-So-Bucket-List items require a significant time contribution, and there are other things I need to do – such as work, stretch, bike, sleep, and veg out with the wee fuzzball.

Regardless, I think I’m going to bask in the warming glow that is crossing off two items in two days for the rest of the eve. In fact, I may have a scotch to celebrate.


1 Approximately 4 miles shy, to be exact.

2 See how shiny and awesome it looks below?

3 The first being to set up a budget for 2013. Which I did. Yesterday. Because I’m a nerd. W00t!


W00t!

Welcome Christmas

This is one of my favourite Christmas morning Calvin & Hobbes comics.

After all of the running around, preparing, and planning, Christmas has finally arrived. For many, that likely means presents, food, drinks, more food, even more food, and dessert. And if you’re me, it might also mean some scotch, because Christmas really isn’t Christmas without a wee dram or two.

Anyway, having stuffed myself silly, I seem to be suffering from food-sketch; you know, that point after eating where you’ve realized that you’ve had one cookie too many, or perhaps you should have worn a muumuu to dinner. It’s the same point when all the blood has rushed to your stomach to digest the vast quantity of foodstuffs you’ve just ingested, leaving your brain without an ample supply of oxygen and at the mercy of such tasty beverages as wine and scotch.

Given this, I’m going to stretch out on the couch and lose myself in a movie or two.

Merry Christmas everyone. I sincerely hope you were able to spend your day surrounded by those who mean the most to you.

Silent Night

A good plan. A better plan would have included motion sensors on the roof. And maybe some scotch to distract the jolly fat man.

After a busy week of seeing friends, Christmas shopping, and the like, tonight my home is surprisingly and most enjoyably silent. Well, silent-ish.

To my right is the wee fuzzball, purring, snoozing, and probably dreaming about whatever it is that cats dream about. To my left is a dram of scotch1. The Christmas tunes are playing softly in the background, and I’ve already stuffed myself on some Christmas treats2. Everything that needs to be done is pretty much done.

Well, everything if everything excludes wrapping gifts.

Sigh.

The mountain of things on the table behind me, which at this moment I’m choosing to ignore, patiently await the hours of wrapping and ribboning and bow tying to transform them from simple things I purchased to marvelous wondrous mysterious presents-o-Christmas. Would that I could fast forward time to the exact moment in the very near future when that task is finished.

But fear not, dear readers – I will get through this. It may require the help of an extra dram or two of scotch, it may demand that I watch several Christmas movies while wrapping, and it most definitely won’t happen without the much-needed Calories provided by the ghost of future Christmas cookies I’m about to eat. But I’m willing to do all of this for the sake of Christmas, because Christmas is about giving.

Ha. I’m such an ass.

Merry Christmas everyone.


1 Ardbeg, thank you very much.

2 Fresh bread, sliced prosciutto, smoked mackerel, olives, and a Christmas cookie or ten.