May 2010

Push-up challenge = FAIL

by DaniGirl on May 31, 2010 · 11 comments

in It IS all about me

So DaniGirl, how’s that push-up challenge going?

*sound of crickets*

Yeah. I totally fell off the wagon on this one. Aside from doing two sets of 15 push-ups at the gym on Saturday, I haven’t done a single set in the last week or two. Push-up fail. Mind you, I’m still pretty damn impressed with myself that I can do 30 push-ups in three minutes, which is 30 more than I could do at the beginning of last month!

I made it to Week 4 Day 2, I think, before I missed a day that stretched into two or three, and then I thought maybe I ought to backtrack a few days, just to get caught up, but didn’t, and then, well, life kinda happened and suddenly it was two weeks later.

Oops.

I’m waffling on whether to start up again. I figure I can start back on Week 4 Day 1 and just push (snicker) on for the final two weeks of the program and be done with it. One must finish what one starts, right? For the principle of it, if nothing else. But, did you look at the last two weeks of the program? Whimper. It looks (warning, whine ahead) haaaarrrrd.

Of course, the lazy part of me that is not overly keen on the whole physical exertion thing is pretty damn pleased with the progress to date and willing to call the push-up thing conquered once and for all. I mean, the original goal was to be able to do “some” push-ups at some unspecified future date. 30 in three minutes definitely qualifies as a reasonably impressive definition of “some” especially when compared to the previous standard of “none.”

Nobody seemed to notice that I didn’t even blog about the push-up challenge last week — does that mean that y’all have fallen off the wagon, too? I know Liisa mentioned on twitter that she has, um, stumbled recently, too. Solidarity, sista! 😉

Okay, bloggy peeps, whaddya think? Have I proven myself on this one, or do I have to face this down to the end?


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I‘ve spent the best part of this afternoon getting my digital life in order. In fact, I’m dashing this off while the computer works hard in the background. Blog back-up, then reorganizing and backing up five years’ worth of photos. I just filled a 125 GB drive, and I’m not done yet — no room for most of the last four months’ worth of pictures on there. Yikes! I see Costco has 750 GB drives on sale for $120 — I think that’s my next stop.

Backing things up makes me feel better, though. My photography teacher suggests you keep at least two separate back-ups of your images, kept in two separate places, in addition to your working files on your computer. In fact, he suggests that every time you go out shooting, you immediately send the unsorted images to an external hard drive for archival purposes, then begin the process of sorting, choosing, editing and saving.

I’m an inveterate pack-rat, but I could never bring myself to do this. I save about 1/4 of the images I take, picking through them and keeping only the ones I really like. This only works if I stay on top of it, though. I’m trying to file everything and format my card every day, and that way I stay organized. If I wait, I end up with duplicates in files called things like “Sort through these later October – November 2009”. I just made more than 30 GB of space on my portable hard drive simply by erasing duplicate files I’d made because I was disorganized!!

I’m slowly becoming a convert to the multiple-back-ups mentality. Even though most of the best of my images are already on Flickr, I’d cry for days if I lost the originals. Besides, I had no idea how ridiculously cheap hard drives are now. Did you know you could get a terabyte drive for less than $200? Even I couldn’t fill that up in a year or two!!

I’m curious, how do you back up your digital life? Do you do the recommended daily back-up of your blog (Erm, I’m more on a weekly to monthly schedule on that.) Do you save your pix in more than one place? How often do you back up your computer — if at all? For the photographers (and wanna-bes) among you, do you save every single digital negative?


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You know how creativity ebbs and flows? Lately, I seem to be all gummed up. I’m really enjoying taking pictures, and I always enjoy writing. Well, almost always! But my head seems far more full of ideas and images than I am capable of turning into prose or pictures. I have creativity constipation! Anybody got any Muselax?

Anyway, despite that, when I look back on the pictures I’ve taken this week, I’m pretty happy with them. On Friday night for my photography class, we were supposed to do an in-class theory session but the light was just so spectacular that we went on another walkabout around Nepean Point. I’m starting to get comfortable shooting in manual now, and even prefer some of the straight-out-of-the-camera shots better than the ones I play with in Photoshop.

The timing was perfect to capture this silhouette of Jacques Cartier, his astrolab, and a few of his friends.

469:1000 Nepean Point silhouette

We were rewarded with this view from the Point, just at the foot of the statue above:

467:1000 SPAO class 2 walkabout - Sunset from the point

Then I turned around, and the flaming sunset had set the windows of the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings ablaze. (How lucky are we to have this stuff in our city?)

SPAO class 2 walkabout - Parliament afire

We walked back down the Point and onto the road where the Alexandra Bridge meets St Patrick. Did you know there’s a little lookout down there? In all the time I’ve spend wandering around that part of Ottawa, I had no idea it was there. And look how the Alexandra Bridge points right into the setting sun! (This one messes with my sense of geography. In summer, the sun sets due west, but Gatineau is north of Ottawa. Hmmmm….)

SPAO class 2 walkabout - Sunset at the Alexandra Bridge

And this is what I mean about straight out of the camera versus post-processing. I tweaked this one because my exposure was a bit off (damn manual exposure is a lot of work!) and although I really like the composition, I think I overtweaked the contrast a bit.

SPAO class 2 walkabout - Sunset at the Alexandra Bridge

You know what else is fantastic about late-spring-into-early-summer in Ottawa? The return of flea market season!!! Yay! On Sunday we trekked out to the Antrim flea market to poke around. There was a guy selling a table full of absolutely gorgeous old Yashica twin-lens cameras, which must have been somebody’s collection. He was selling them for $25 each, and at first I thought I could use them for through-the-viewfinder work, but the viewfinders were pretty foggy. I hemmed and hawed for a bit, wanting one just for the sake of having one, Beloved ribbing me the whole time that we truly do not need to add to our vintage camera collection. I stepped away to chase the boys for a bit, and when I went back someone had snapped up the whole collection, probably a dozen or more cameras.

The stinger? I looked online when we got home, and they sell for $75 to $200. Oy! Foregone beauty AND foregone profit. Damn!!

But, at least I got this… it’s the brilliant midday sun shining through a set of sherry / wine glasses onto a white table cloth. I love the refractions!

465:1000 Wine glasses at the flea market

And the colours of this paintbox were irresistible, too.

466:1000 Paintbox

The boys were playing with bubbles at my folks’ place on the weekend, and I didn’t realize until after I’d posted this shot to Flickr that you can see a little me reflected in the bubbles. Fun!

464:1000 Wheeee, bubbles!

This last shot is not very strong from a compositional or technical standpoint. And yet, it’s my favourite picture of the week. Why? Because it makes me smile every time I look at it. I came down the stairs on my way to work and found all three boys scratching Katie’s belly. You can see by the expression on her face how she felt about that! And miraculously, they kept being cute long enough for me to grab my camera and take this snapshot. Not a perfect picture by any stretch of the imagination, but a perfect moment for sure.

468:1000 Doggy love

And! Happy birthday to my sweet Katie dog, who turned 11 years old this week.


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Congratulations to the three winners of passes to the adorable new movie, BABIES!

Simon MacDonald
Nathalie St-Pierre Roths
Amy of Muddy Boots

Yay! I love giving stuff away, and I hope you have a great time seeing this movie. Please drop by and let me know what you thought of it. I’d love to see it myself!

Thanks very much to Alliance Films for making this giveaway possible!


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So as I mentioned, we’re starting to count down to our Nova Scotia vacation this summer. We’ve got a beautiful seaside cottage booked that has all the amenities I could possibly want or need, save for one: the bed doesn’t have any seatbelts or restraining straps. Not for the toddler, which will be a separate challenge, but for me.

You see, I have this deep and primal fear of wide open spaces and deep water. And seriously, does it get any more wide open or deep than the ocean? Gulp. It actually makes me a little squeedgy just thinking about it, being right there next to all that wide open blue-ness, with only a thin wall and tiny strip of road between me and the abyss. My chest is a little bit constricted, and the back of my knees are twitchy as I type. Honestly, I can’t even use the satellite view on Google Maps to scope out our cottage rental without feeling a lurching sense of vertigo.

I’ve always had this fear of wide open spaces. When I was a kid, I read every single book in the public library on astronomy, but almost never went outside and actually looked at the stars, because every time I did I had to dig my fingers into the grass to hold on for dear life, lest the earth fling me up into the endless vortex of space. When Beloved and I first got married, we had a little red Sunfire and I loved that car because I could sit in the driver’s seat with my seatbelt on and look at the stars through the moon roof, strapped in and perfectly secure. You might be laughing, but I’m serious!

It’s not just the night sky, though. You know those really big satellite dishes, not the consumer cable ones but the really big mothers? Yeah. They make me feel a little squeedgy, too. Something to do with them broadcasting out into space, I think, although there is absolutely nothing logical about this particular phobia — it’s as irrational as it is deep-seated.

The fear of deep water I may have come by through nurture instead of nature. When I was a kid, I jumped out of our little 16 foot boat to retrieve an anchor that had come loose from its line. Growing up in southern Ontario, it was my experience that any body of water in which you could see the bottom must be relatively shallow, so I jumped over the edge expecting to thump into the sandy bottom under about four feet of water. Unbeknownst to me, the perfectly clear water was closer to eight or ten feet deep, and I plunged in way over my head without touching the bottom, startling myself out of at least a year’s growth.

And it’s not just about swimming, either. When I flew to Europe in 1995 and again in 1999, I had to spend a lot of time telling myself, “We’re still flying over Labrador. Still flying over Labrador. Still flying over Labrador. Don’t look, don’t look. Still flying over Labrador, it’s all good.” *pause* “Okay, flying over Ireland now, flying over Ireland, I’m sure we’re flying over Ireland by now.” For the whole flight.

This spring, my folks went on a two week cruise from LA to Hawaii and back, and while I envied them the experience of visiting Hawaii, there’s no way I could do it. The cruise, I mean. The idea of being on a ship without *any* land in view? That’s so never going to happen. I can’t even stomach the idea of flying into Hawaii, because it’s this little tiny island in that vast sea of, well, sea. It wouldn’t take anything to slip off the edge of the island and sploosh, into the drink. *shudder*

So why the hell am I so hell bent on visiting the ocean that I’m willing to subject the entire family to 36 hours trapped in the car so I can spend a week not sleeping without tying myself into the bed for fear of the sea sucking me out into its murky spaciousness? For the same reason I always loved astronomy as a kid, I think. Like a moth drawn to a lightbulb. Because what terrifies you also fascinates you, and what repulses you is also compelling, at a fundamental level.

Plus, I don’t like to be afraid of things. I’m stubborn that way. While there’s no way in hell I’m ever going on a ship across that ocean, or even a big boat that carries me out of sight of land, I’ll choke down my fear and hold my breath to stand ankle deep in the surf. And try really hard not to shudder in front of the kids.

I have three kids, so not much scares me. Snakes, blood, heights, enclosed spaces — no problem. Bugs give me the creeping heebies, but what scares me on a truly visceral level are things that are deep, and vast. Like the ocean.

What freaks you out?


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Have you seen the trailer for the new movie, “Babies”? It’s an intriguing idea for a movie. According to the official synopsis:

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, this film simultaneously follows four babies around the world from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. Release date: May 21st.

It’s an interesting idea that seems to make for surprisingly compelling viewing. Here’s the trailer:

Fun, eh?

If you’d like to see it on the big screen, leave a comment below before midnight EDT on May 26. I’m giving away three pairs of passes, courtesy of Alliance Films. The passes are for the run of the engagement, and it’s currently playing at the Empire 7 theatre. You must leave a valid e-mail address to enter that I may share with the Alliance Films representatives. I’ll choose three winners using random.org and post the winners on Thursday!

Good luck!


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Planning for Nova Scotia

25 May 2010 Ottawa to Nova Scotia 2010

When we started planning our cross-country road trip to the east coast, we didn’t have much of an idea of what we wanted. East, because none of us have been further east in Canada than Quebec City, and ocean because we loved our family vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine in 2007, and because I love […]

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The Thousand Picture Project: Loving that summer light!

21 May 2010 Photo of the Day

I don’t know what I love more about the month of May — the soft scent of flowers perfuming the air, or the return of the gorgeous, soft light of late afternoon and early evenings. Like this: It’s a sweet subject, but the way the light falls on them really makes this picture, in my […]

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Coffee overload?

18 May 2010 It IS all about me

The people I work with like to tease me about the amount of coffee I drink, I think because finding a way to adapt my at-work coffee habit was one of my first priorities when I got here. “Yes, thanks for the desk and computer, nice to meet you all, but where is the nearest […]

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The one where she rides her bike to work

17 May 2010 It IS all about me

The very first day I started working at this office back in November, as I drove the short jaunt to work I thought to myself, “And hey, maybe I can even ride my bike to work in the summer.” Even as I thought it, though, it was in that “ha ha, not likely” kind of […]

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