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Showing posts from July, 2017

Merry Monday - 17 Ways of Handling Stress

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Let's face it, the world is full of stress. It's not hard to find a news story where someone has been hurt or killed. Why is it so common? Well, it's possible that it isn't and there is just more attention given to those types of stories.

Maybe it has to do with people working long hours and overtime in many jobs. Is it more than before? That may depend on whether you look at the entire working history of the world before unions or take a snapshot that covers the last 10 years. "Before" is subjective to whoever is looking at the issue.

Are there more mental health issues today? No idea on this one. We see it in the news more, but that doesn't mean it's happening more, only that it's actually being talked about and diagnosed now.

Do people not have enough healthy outlets to deal with the pressure they face? Maybe. I can&…

Symphonic Saturday - Pink Floyd

Yesterday, I watched a documentary about Pink Floyd. It was interesting to learn how much great work they did together despite the personal relationship issues they had. I learn it is because of Pink Floyd that we have so many spectacular visuals and performances at concerts today. It's sad they couldn't work together anymore until that charity performance for Live 8. It took them so much time to be able to play well in the sandbox together. Still, I'm glad they got to a place where they don't hate each other now. Some people never do get to a friendly place with people from different walks of life.

There seems to be a lot of anger in the world and I wonder if I only notice because I'm on social media so much. I wonder if I reduce my participation in Facebook, will I see less of the day to day alarmist reactions and more of the good? It wasn't that long ago that a music event happened at the park down the street from me where people gathered in celebration of di…

Frisky Friday - Fantasies

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Ever thought about sex at work with a coworker? Just clear that desk off and do it right there?

Powerful people don't just fantasize about it. They act on those urges and often end up in some kind of trouble from it like Bill Clinton. Or they lose their job.

Some fantasies are meant to be only fantasies.

Like the rape one. Yes, many women fantasize about very aggressive and rough sex. It's actually a common thing females fantasize about. That in no way means they want to be raped. But they might want to role-play or not be asked every 5 seconds if they still want to have sex. They might want their man to drag them to the bedroom and fluidly move them into different sex positions and just generally rock their world. But pay enough attention to your partner to tell if they are in pain or if they are asking to stop.

The problem is the world is trying to fig…

Thoughtful Thursday - 17 Ways to Suck as a Person

Everyone sucks some of the time. Sometimes you might be tired or hangry and mess up. Making mistakes is part of being human, but if you do these things with regularity, you should consider working on yourself. Think about whether your goal really is to be an asshole.

1. Proclaim that someone you don't know can't possibly need to be seated on an airplane before you because they aren't even limping.

2. Turn every article you see online into a discussion about some political thing that isn't part of the article. Since you love politics, everyone else should want to talk about it in every conversation, right?

3. Run around hating whatever group of people it's popular to hate in your country. Don't think about how your group might be the next target. Jews, white males, the Chinese, etc. Whatever gives you the best scapegoat.

4. Park across 4 spaces in a city that has a parking shortage. Your vehicle and convenience are more important than those other 3 people that could…

Warrior Wednesday - Demo

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This weekend we did our annual Natsu Matsuri demo. Natsu Matsuri is the Japanese Festival. The Taiko drummers were there doing full body drum work that boomed across the ground at Mooney's Bay. There were dancers that got the crowd moving. The crowd was warmed up by the time we got up there.

Most of us decided to go barefoot and that was a different feeling on the feet than the wooden dojo floor I was used to. The grass was fresh and the ground slightly uneven. It had been trying to rain and several of us were worried it would become slippery. There were some awkward moments. One of our members made a mistake that would've been bad had it been an actual fight. Or good if you were the one fighting him. There were some timing issues. I finished way ahead of the others in my group, but the crowd couldn't tell and seemed to enjoy it.

We handed out a l…

Theatrical Tuesday - Doctor Who's Recent Casting Choice

A lot of people are divided about the latest regeneration on Doctor Who. Some would have you believe that it's nothing more than males being stupid, but I think jumping to that conclusion is wrong and it's harmful to what the feminist movement was supposed to be about. I, like Camille Paglia, believe this male bashing crap has to stop. Feminism was supposed to be about equal treatment and rights like being able to vote and work in traditionally male jobs. It wasn't about tearing men down, feminizing them, or declaring female superiority.

The Doctor shouldn't be female just because 'it's time'. The Doctor should only be female if the actress blew them away at auditions. It should be about selecting the best candidate by demonstrated ability regardless of sex, race, or sexuality. The BBC has said they have done this.

I'm a fan of the show. My first Doctor was Tom Baker, though I was quite young and don't remember those episodes clearly. I've seen ma…

Merry Monday - Extraordinarily Busy

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On Thursday, I attended a networking event and made some new contacts. Then I went home and worked on my screenplay. I've been working on it since and I've come to the conclusion that description is my weakest writing tool. With screenplays it's often because I want to leave things up to the people making the film to put in extra details. I haven't learnt yet which things they will want in the script vs which they want to decide except things like camera directions and some specific acting directions. But I generally don't want to decide what a room looks like in its entirety. Some things in the room are important as the actors need to interact with them and others are left to the imagination. I do the same thing with novels and need to do it a little less with them.

Friday was spent cleaning, writing, and doing Couch 2 5k. I also got …

Symphonic Saturday - RIP Chester Bennington

I can't begin to express how sad I am about the loss of Chester Bennington. Music helped me tremendously when I was going through my divorce and Numb was one of the songs that resonated with me the most.

I listened to it and sobbed. I listened to other songs and sobbed some more.

All I can hope is that he and Chris Cornell are up in heaven together giving everyone a great rock show.

We need to do something to stop this suicide epidemic. Suicide rates among men are higher than women around the world in most countries despite women being more susceptible to depression. We need to find out why. Are they Vitamin D deficient? Have they all suffered as much as Chester did as a child?

Bennington was a tortured soul much like Robin Williams. Yeah, I'm not over that one yet either. What happened to Bennington as a child, there's no excuse for. I wonder if Chester could've gotten the help he needed if Chris hadn't killed himself.

Linkin Park's performance on Jimmy Kimmel says…

Thoughtful Thursday - Rampant Intolerance

I'm tired. I regularly see people who shout about tolerance then refuse to discuss differing opinions. They jump to name calling and exclusion. But as I participate more in the world, I realize that these extreme social justice types are a minority. There are many people who believe in true equality rather than attacking white males to get ahead. That gives me hope for a future where people are truly free to live and let live.

Right now there is such a high amount of tension that we're seeing more and more ridiculous displays of anger like this road rage incident that happened in Toronto this week. People are running around saying and doing whatever they want expecting that there won't be any consequences.

I think some of it is a result of trying to force people to participate in practices against their will. The more people run around punching every white male they declare a Nazi, the more hatred is bred. Especially when many of them aren't white supremacists or bigots,…

Warrior Wednesday - Exercising While Injured

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In the physical sense, things aren't ideal. My neck still hurts though I have a little more range of motion today. The last couple of days I couldn't tilt it left or right at all. I can't go far with it, but I can do more than none.

The things that are helping aren't just the neck exercises, but swinging my sword and other exercise. That's likely partly due to endorphin being a natural pain killer, but also moving is necessary for healing as the newer acronym METH (Movement, Elevation, Traction, Heat) says. Oh, Aleve and Tiger Balm are also wonderful things.

The video link that I shared the other day suggests to keep doing the exercises that don't hurt or stop before the point where it hurts. This is something none of the physiotherapists I've been to said. In fact, most just put me in a room after showing me the exercises once and…

Theatrical Tuesday - Horror, Generally

I'm a horror fan, though I know plenty of people who are more enthusiastic about the genre. Some of it I really don't like. Saw, for example, is not my kind of horror. I guess that might be called torture porn. It has nothing to do with the blood. I really enjoy most vampire films and Cannibal the Musical and they have a lot of blood in them. I guess it might be because I can see psychos like that existing in the real world.

With others like Freddy and Jason, the probability of me being in that situation is low and so I can get both a popcorn feel out of them or find a metaphor that could help me tackle my own real demons. I think my favourite ones are small creature films. Sometimes they're bloody, but usually we don't see much of that. Usually there are a lot of silly things that happen. We can yell at the stupidity of the actions the characters take, knowing full well that were we in that situation we might also do dumb things and get ourselves killed. But they'r…

Merry Monday - Broken

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I didn't do a lot this weekend beyond watch TV because I felt broken.

I missed martial arts on Sunday as my neck was killing me. I think I've been sleeping in strange positions because of the upper oblique muscle I pulled while sneezing on Friday and that's aggravating my old herniated disc problem. I hope it resolves before the weekend as I have a martial arts demo and it would be ideal if I could practice before then.

Yes. A sneeze broke me. I suppose this is a sign that I'm getting older.

I like this video for giving me more options to tame my neck pain. Maybe it'll help me heal it once and for all.

I still managed to get some cleaning done and feed myself. I'm annoyed at this silly injury. I'm going to try not to let it delay my Couch 2 5k start, but at least I can get some writing done while I'm broken? I'll try a fas…

Symphonic Saturday - Music Software

Now that I'm done with my online course, I have about a month where I can play around with learning LMMS. I expect it will be a while before I try to actively record anything, but I can finally go through the tutorials and hopefully learn the basics. Audio recording packages like this have similar interface designs to some video production software, so it might even help me be prepared for one of my upcoming courses on Basic Video Production.

I can also play my guitar and use Yousician and Rocksmith  to improve my skills with that instrument. I think music is going to be a big focus for me outside of my writing and sewing for the rest of the summer. Also, movies and video games.

Last night, I spent some time working on drum beats on an Android app called Walk Band. The app is limited in that I can only do small sections rather than a whole song, but it lets me play around and try things out, which has its uses. I don't know if I can import those into LMMS, but at least I'll …

Frisky Friday - Injuries and Sex

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Having just pulled my upper right oblique while in a sneezing fit, I figured out what to write about today. Sex while injured.

Now, obviously this needs to be more of a tender rather than wild adventure, but injury doesn't have to take sex off the table.

With many position options available, there is surely one or two out there that could be modified to allow for a good time and help one forget about the pain for a little while.

Doggy-style would hurt right now, but may be doable on a different plain. My legs are fine, so if he was sitting in a chair, we could probably make it work.

Missionary with a pillow supporting my back might work too. Here are some suggestions I came across while looking it up.

And if there are other challenges due to size, weight, etc then it might be more difficult to find a good position, but it's out there.

There are many in the…

Thoughtful Thursday - The Reset Button

Taking a trip away from daily life is like hitting a reset button for me. All the things that were making me angry, worried, etc before the trip still exist, but they've lost their hold on me. They are less relevant to my existence and it's easier for me to work around them.

I've realized lately that I don't care what most people think. I've always been that way, but as I get older, I care even less. People are going to do and say things based on their own weaknesses or limited life experience regardless of what I do. So I might as well be doing the things that give me joy.

Stories are what give me joy. And they come in so many forms, so whether I'm watching a movie, reading a book, listening to a song, writing poetry, or talking to loved ones, I can do what I enjoy most. Sharing stories with others is where the motivation to complete writing projects comes from for me. I don't want to keep them all bottled up inside me.

Yes, I hope to one day make enough mone…

Warrior Wednesday - Budo as Life

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Coming back to the city after a weekend filled with sugary foods, alcohol, and over consumption makes me want to get serious about my fitness goals.

I have to admit that even when I was heavy, once I started doing karate, I shed pounds quickly, but I wouldn't say I didn't notice or that it was easy. It was hard work. Crunches, sit ups, burpees, side kicks, front kicks, push ups, leg raises, roundhouse kicks, punches, squats, lunges, etc. Not easy nor fun, but I went from being near 200 lbs to the right range for my body size. Those belts were hard won, so I never understand when someone says it's easy to give up martial arts. Martial arts are a part of who I am. They aren't just something I do to pass the time or get some exercise in.

Advancing doesn't happen because you've been doing it for some arbitrary length of time, but your abili…

Theatrical Tuesday - Orphan Black

I started watching this show because it's on the list of Aurora Award nominees. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. The premise is complex, yet the casting is simple because one actress plays many roles. As a writer, we can see how many different ways we can go with a character, just from watching a couple of episodes. While it is science fiction, the science isn't so complicated that it takes over the story. The story comes first and the technical details second. It is firstly a story about people and relationships in a strange situation.

With a cast full of strong female characters, it may not appeal to all viewers, but I like it. There's the soccer mom who enjoys theatre, drugs, and the shooting range; a criminal; a cop; a religious zealot; a transgendered male; a science nerd; a woman who desperately wants to be a mother; and more.

Every time I think I know what's really going on, they put a twist in.

The production value is decent. It errs on the side of showing less. Th…

Merry Monday - Happiness

In the past, I was envious of the things others had. I'm not exactly sure when I grew out of it, only that I know I did. I've realized I don't need things like cottages, boats, horses, gardens, etc. Well, I'd probably like a garden more than any of the others. 

Visiting someone's cottage, for example, is a nice weekend away for me because I don't have to maintain the thing. Hanging out with friends is fun once in awhile, but my introverted nature loves to get back to my little 500 square foot condo in a low bug zone. Somewhere along the way, I became a city woman who would much rather be playing video games or watching a movie than camp in the country.  

So for me happiness is a place with amenities nearby. Pho restaurants, bookstores, dishwashers, concerts, a bustling market, museums, and art galleries. Now I just need the funds to enjoy everything that's available in Ottawa...

If I did have a garden, it would be full of edible things, but laid out in a prett…

Symphonic Saturday - Canada Day Music Review

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Canada Day was special this year. It marked our sesquicentennial (150 years). As such, around the country there were concerts to celebrate and CBC live streamed parts from all of them. First it took us to a performance by The Trade Offs. Next up was the Arkells
in Victoria, BC. We traveled next to Moncton where Couer de Pirate entertained us. Then Buffy St Marie played. After her, there was a unique group with 2 East Indian male dancers, 1 female white violinist, 1 male singer, and 1 male drummer who played a drum that hung on a strap. If anyone knows who they are, please let me know.

We then heard some country performed by Brett Kissel. Alessia Cara played a song for us. We saw a medley that included Dean Brody and Louis Jean Cormier before Serena Ryder sang. Then the Arkells were back before Cirque du Soleil put on a show. Walk Off The Earth played a tune before Bruce Cockburn made me realize some of Barenaked Ladies'…

Frisky Friday - Ancient Self Love

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So they discovered a man in Pompeii whose naughty bits were out when he died. Judging by the look frozen on his face, he did not suddenly die and fall that way, but decided to exit the world with a bang.

People are trying to protect this man's dignity saying that perhaps he was peeing or protecting his package by covering it with his hand.

Basically, they are ashamed for him and feel a need to cover up a natural human thing that has been demonized. Look, I get there are some weird things out there when it comes to masturbation like the sex robots that are being made to allow men to have a pretend relationship with a female seeming machine, but that doesn't mean there was anything wrong with this man dying the way he did.

Stop projecting your beliefs on a man who was part of an ancient civilization. He chose to experience a little pleasure when the worl…

Thoughtful Thursday - An Opinion on Opinions

Sometimes there really is absolutely no need to state your opinion on something. If someone posts an ad about a country home for sale that states they are willing to sever more acres, it is not time for you to chime in and say that the term sounds weird. No, it's time for you to educate yourself on common real estate terminology rather than suggest subdivide would sound less 'harsh'. Sever is a LEGAL TERM. This is not something subject to your "feelings" about wording.

It's a term used in a lot of things. Severance pay. Severing assets. Severing land.

If the only thing that comes to your mind is severing limbs, then you are the one with the problem rather than the rest of the world.

The knowledge of much of the world is at your fingertips. I don't give a crap what you *think* something is when it takes two seconds to confirm you're talking out of your rear end.

And for heaven's sake, it's a real estate ad. If you're not interested in buying th…

Warrior Wednesday - Weight

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I know several people who's fitness goal is to lose weight without even realizing they may already be in the ideal range for their height. They look at their flabby middle section and think they have to get onto a bicycle and try to sweat out the extra fat they believe they have despite how tiny they might be.

It's quite likely they need to gain muscle or tone rather than lose any pounds.

This chart may be a decent guideline on how much you should weigh if you are concerned about your weight. It tells me I'm already in my ideal range, but I look down at my tummy while I type this and wonder if I'll ever see my abs. When people are sitting, it's normal for our bellies to bulge out. You may not have as much work to do as you think. Your thighs also look fatter when sitting. Also, sometimes you might just be having a bloated moment that makes…

Theatrical Tuesday - Game of Thrones

Over the past couple of years, there has been some negativity following this show because of the sexual assault scenes depicted. Among my author peers, I have an unfavourable opinion when it comes to this. I think the scenes were indeed horrible, but depicting them was the right thing to do.

Why do I feel this way? Well, largely for the same reasons that the actress herself feels: "The more we talk about sexual assault the better, and screw the people who are saying we shouldn’t be putting this on TV and screw the people who are saying they’re going to boycott the show because of it,” she said.

Think about how much discussion on this subject has happened since.

Yes, we're still struggling to get rapists appropriately punished, but discussing the subject and showing how horrible it is help people see why it's wrong and bring us closer to appropriate punishments. Not everyone can simply intuit things. Not every person has parents that are actively involved in teaching them rig…

Merry Monday - Tough Weekend

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Around mid-day on Friday, my phone died. After trying cache wipes, factory reset, and more, it just wouldn't come back to me. Late on Friday, I saw a cockroach n my kitchen. It ducked into my saran wrap dispenser. I think I'll be getting rid of that device. I spent the weekend "sleeping" with the lights on. You can guess how much sleep I actually got.

Both of these things affected me far more than I wished they would have. I'm a horror fan. I read it, watch it, and sometimes write it. I couldn't do any of these things this weekend because of one cockroach. With my phone down, I couldn't access the Kindle app because I forgot about the browser option in my state of distress between the phone and the bug, so I went to the next book in my reading list, which happened to be The Glass Castle. This book is a memoir of a woman whose…

Symphonic Saturday - Canada Day

Today is Canada's 150th birthday, but that means a lot of different things to different people, so I can't think of one music genre or song that fits. As a friend said, Canada is a cultural mosaic.

To me, being Canadian means recognizing the awful things we've done and are doing like how the railroad was built, the continued mistreatment of our First Nations people, our involvement in The Somalia Affair, turning away Jewish people in WWII, the internment of our Japanese citizens during WWII, and our involvement in supplying materials for the bombs detonated in Nagasaki and Hiroshimi. There's probably more listed in a book called Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific by John Price.

All of that means everyone who lives here can have immensely complex feelings about this holiday.

For the First Nations people, many may protest or want little to do with this day. It means 150 years since strangers came and took nearly everything from them.

For the Chinese, it may …