Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jet lag

Never before have I had so much trouble with jetlag.  This time though?  It's killing me.

Usually, you see, when arriving from Canada to Europe, you arrive pretty damned tired as you've lost a night's sleep on the plane, so the first night, you usually sleep pretty well, cause you're wiped out.  This year, me, not so much, I was awake for a few hours in the night, but OK.  Whatever.

The next night is usually hard, cause you aren't so tired, and a normal bedtime here feels like about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so it is pretty normal to lie there for a while before you get to sleep.  This year? try 4 am. 

The third night, though, is usually great.  You're tired enough that you crash again, and then you're all sorted out. 

Seems I've just given up on sleeping.  That third night?  2 hours.

Fourth night?  5, I slept from 5 am to 10 am

Fifth night?  3 am to 7:30.  Four and a half hours.

I think that brings us to tonight.  Went to bed around 10:30, asleep a little after midnight.  Awake at 2am.  It is now 3:30 and I have given up.  I am downstairs with the lights on, writing this and doing some work on the computer.

I give up.  I'm now going to approach this like Chuck the dog.  If I want to nap, I'll nap.  If I wake up?  Well, I'm up.  Freaking hell.

Problem is I don't go to sleep as fast as he does, and I have that work thing.

Also, now a headache that has lasted over 12 hours.

So so so so so tired of lying in bed awake and being tired all day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Final thoughts on that game

Well, I am very done with Pokemon go. 

The biggest problem for me is the basic premise.  It is essentially like illegal dog fighting.  Capture a wild creature, that is normally pretty cute then you 'evolve' it into something aggressive.  Train it to fight in 'friendly' fights, and then send it out to other gyms to really fight.  The pokemon can get injured and killed in these fights, and you make money off them.

Just plain sick.

Also, the augmented reality aspect is a slick little sideshow and is not integrated in the game in any real way, in fact most players...and websites advise this....turn off the AR as it saves battery power, so while this is the primary reason I was looking at the game, the first really massively popular use of augmented reality, a break out so to speak, it isn't really that much of a thing in the game.  Just kinda something cool at first.

And it is sick.

Despite the fact that I know that these are non-existent creatures, I will not be fighting them.  Just cannot go there. 

Oh, and there is also this kinda creepy feature where you can trade them out for cookies for the animals (sorry pokemon)  Kinda like dog cookies, no? You can 'transfer' them to 'the professor'.  But what is this professor doing with them?  What is the story behind that?

Anyway, final comments?

Ick.  Just sorta gross.  I'm looking forward to uninstalling it from my phone

and the augmented reality?  Cool, but they could have done so much more with it!

At level 5, some more thoughts on that pesky game

From before....I cannot post at work, so it needs organization to get this stuff posted!!!!

well, i've leveled up to level 5, and things have, as stated gotten more interesting.  I now have an incubator and can incubate eggs.  Interestingly, in order to hatch an egg, you have to walk.  The minimum is 2k!  Some are 5k or 10 or 15 k!  Wow, enforced exercise!

It is interesting to look too at the perceived or real overlay.  One always knows that there is much more going on in a place than you can really imagine.  You look around an office and wonder what all those people can be so busy with at their computers.  Or at least I do.  My dog must as well.

This summer, I stumbled upon a geocache, and I have a friend who is mad about this, so I messaged him and he told me to log it, which I did do.  Then I realized the number of geocaches there are around us that we know nothing about.  They also make use of google mapping to show where they are in general terms.  

Then there is pokemon go with all the gyms and stops and I know not what else.  There are layers and layers around us that we pay no heed to.

More importantly this makes me realise the layers of natural world that are around us that we pay no heed to.  Territories for foxes, or squirrels, hiding spots (caches) of food for the winter, nest, hiding spots for predators and their prey.

Mapping all of that as well would be fascinating, and would end up like one of those old anatomy books with transparent drawing after transparent drawing laid one on top o the next.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pokemon Go

Well, I have gone over to the dark side, or the pokemon side, to the tremendous ridicule of my family!  But in reality, as I am studying technology in education and online learning so pokemon go is actually really fascinating.  It leverages the technology that is so available in our phones, gps, cameras, and of course the processing power.  

Boy does the phone heat up.

So, first thoughts?  Lots of folks have scuttled out of their basement gaming consoles to come into the sun and walk around, which is definitely cool, most of them seem to be doing it with friends or a partner, which is also really neat.  It also seems to spawn a certain amount of conversation amongst other pokemon go players.

It does seem to indicate a fairly short attention span however, as the pokemons you find while walking even the shortest distance come thick and fast.  We seem to need a lot of feedback, and quickly.  Not a lot of patience amongst the searchers, which is noticeably different from geocaching, which need quite a lot of patience for the reward to come.  Different.  Geocaching also needs considerably more problem solving skills, a much tougher game.

By the same token, the use of augmented reality on the phones is very cool, and does add degree of interest to it.  And it does require you to get quite physically close to spaces, which increases the chance of people going out in person and doing this, and also of them socializing as they are physically in close proximity to one another.  

It'll be interesting to see what I figure out from it as I level up.  Not sure how long the interest will last, but it is a neat usage of the newest technology and could certainly be used in an educational setting, as it is essentially a treasure hunt.  
Things I dislike is the clear gendering of the avatars, there is no option but male and female, and you cannot alter body shape (which is generally quite unrealistic) or hair length, either in the men or the women.  A little frustrating.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


I'm here in Canada on my own this year, for the first 6 weeks, so I figured I needed to sign up for something that would keep me busy and hopefully keep my fitness levels up a little more than in past I joined a triathlon group.  I think I've said this before...but whatever.

I'm now swimming three times a week, and the coach is excellent, I am improving SO much it is unreal.  I can even do bilateral breathing!!!!  It has been interesting working my way through the different things he wants me to try, and it is neat feeling myself improving.

The cycling has been less successful.  Man triathletes like going round and round in circles.  That doesn't bug me so much in the pool (few other options!) or even the open water swims...hard to coach us if we're swimming off to Niagara.....

But on a bike?  Really?  round and round in laps?  BORING!!!!! OMG, I went to one, and we went round and round and round.....I went to a second one, and they wanted to go and play in traffic, so I bailed out on that and went and did my own thing, and it was glorious....

I signed up for a ride this morning, but it was up north and they just went round a big rectangle of streets....I mean, is there nothing more?

I know the idea is training, and drills and all that, but really? 

They have a running training as well, but it is mostly sprints and hill work, and I don't think I am good enough to try, and I really hate running on the road...give me a trail any day and I'm a pretty happy panda, but ask me to run along a road or a sidewalk?  blea....

So, they keep asking if I'll do a tri, I think no.....I just can't face the run.

We'll see...the real goal is to keep on getting some exercise, and I am doing that.

Monday, July 4, 2016


For all that I have done lots of swimming, and even got some lifeguarding certification way back in the past (and I'd like to say, you never ever ever wanted me to be the one to rescue you)  I do generally like swimming.

That said, I have always been the type of swimmer that is pretty happy to float around, rather than push myself at all. 

Then, last weekend, I tried swim goggles for the first time and nearly drowned myself when my autonomous nervous system thought I was snorkelling and I just inhaled a gigantic lungful of air. 

To say that I went into tonight's swim a little uneasy would be a clear statement of fact.  You see, I've signed up with a triathlon group while I'm here, on the premise that I am here alone, so I have quite a bit of extra time, and it will certainly motivate me to exercise, and I might even meet a cool group of folks.  I do not think a tri is in my future, I haven't the time or desire to train frankly.

So, off I went this evening, and was delighted to see, shall we say.... a range of body types at the venue.  I was worried they would all be amazing Simon Whitfields.  I chatted briefly with the coach to say that I was a complete and utter beginner, she said, no problem there were lots of beginners and that the week before some barely made it off the beach!  Hallelujah!

They were letting us try on wetsuits, very fancy, very expensive wetsuits!  So that was a nice thing, I'll be in a swim suit from here on out and it ain't as buoyant.  It was pretty cool having my feet at the surface all by themselves!

So, things were going well.  Generally.  Apparently I breath through my eyes considering the amount of fogging I was getting on my goggles, and I could maintain the crawl for much longer than I anticipated. 

I also have to admit that at some deep reptilian layer of my brain I am kind of afraid of swimming.  It only rears up at odd moments, and I am quite used to it, as I have been sailing and racing all my life, but I do get a bit of a panic-y gasping thing going from time to time, quickly brought under control.  And I don't exhale underwater, ever. 

Till tonight!  See things were going pretty well, I wasn't horrifyingly last, and indeed passed some folks.  Anyone who has seen me swim, can only imagine the caliber of those swimmers!!! So all was hunky dory, and I was managing to sight the lines fairly well through the fog that was my goggles, and so I thought it was time to give exhaling in the water a go.  And I could do it!  It wasn't such a happy place, and I cannot say that it was going smoothly (lots of water up my nose, not sure why) but I was doing it and that is huge!!! 

Plus I got some technique tips for doing the crawl, and man did that ever help!!!!  Excellent evening overall, already signed up for next week.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bad ass women

I have to find me a group of these.  I've got one friend here who's very bad ass.  She loves to walk, long long long walks.  And that is awesome!  But she doesn't climb, or bicycle, or do ferrades, nor can she handle high altitude.

The man is the man of my dreams, but he doesn't like doing these things.

Youngest has finally gotten old enough to be useful, rather than a much loved liability on these excursions, and has promptly decided that I am not cool to hang out with and bails on everything in favour of better offers.  Totally get it, but it is a wee bit frustrating.

So, I need to find some bad ass women, with grown children, with partners who are grown ups so they can take a day or a night out to go and do something cool.  Either a bunch of them for different sports, or a couple who are capable of multi-sport activities.

Otherwise I'll be doing a lot of things alone, and that isn't always the best option.

Not sitting on my ass though as a result.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

What an amazing weekend!

Really....a great one....

Sat, went to work, that was fine.

Then we went out to mark Vilatrail....lightning, thunder, pouring rain...Chuck got up in a strangers car to try to escape it and we know how much he loves cars....(not at all)

He looked at me like I was torturing him!  Poor thing was soaked, he stopped bothering to shake even, and at the height of the thunderstorm came over to be put on leash.  Not a happy puppy, but once it passed over, he was pretty cheery again.

This morning, got up at 5am to do work on the Masters, then Vilatrail as a witch again, waiting for some photos to come in, hope I get some!  Home, then out again to do a Via Ferrada en Centelles, Les Buamens Corcades....very cool indeed.  We skipped the very hardest part, there were only two of us, I didn't realise how bad a climber my buddy was, and we didn't have climbing shoes...gave that section a pass....but it was amazing.

The three story climb out of the parking lot was not so welcome, after two vilatrails in 24 hours and a 600m via ferrada, my legs were not feeling toooooo happy about it...but complaining we made it.

Off to bed!

Awesome weekend.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Final day of the trip to Galicia, Santiago de Compostela

This was the final day, we didn't walk......

well, tourist walks.

Most of the buildings are baroque, which is not my favourite style, though the church is SO over the top that it almost kinda works.....

Ate a spectacular empanada, Xoritzo and eggs, might as well have hooked myself up to a cholesterol IV, but my oh my, was it ever good.

The big cathedral, from one side or another, it is actually a little confusing, honestly.

Strangely, there is a copy of the Virgin Mary from  Montserrat!

Big dome....
with the shells that are the symbol of the camiño and the crossed swords as well.

Oddly, there was a Henry Moore exhibit outside the church...

The main entry to .... I'm not sure what building....

There is a fancy hotel, that used to be a hospital for pilgrims, funded by Isabel and Ferdinand.  You can go in for a visit for 3 Euros and it is lovely.

I poked my nose into more places than I should have gone, but, whatever.

There are some very cool corners.

One of the courtyards,

This is from the pilgirm's museum.  Or more correctly, the museum of pilgrimage, though after some token conversation about other global pilgrim routes, it is really focused on the Camiño de Santiago, of Camina de Sant the Catalans call it.

This is a then and now of clothing!

High high high Baroque, so high it almost kinda works.  The alter in the Cathedral.

Next time I go, I think I should walk there.

And that's the end of that trip!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 3, Camiño de Faros

So, what a surprise, we went walking again the next day.  It was another spectacular day, though the extremely prickly everything slowed some folks down quite a lot.  Gaiters would have been good that day.

We started half way along that point, more or less, walked out to the end, and then walked back.....

We're headed to the tip of the point in the distance....

NB, every single plant in this picture is prickly has hell.

All of those ones too.....

This is the final point!  The furthest west you can go in continental Europe!  Hi Canada!!!

Looking along the cliffs that make up this chunk of Europe....

Adorably, the Camiño de Faros is also occasionally marked by these footprints!  It was so windy there, if you look at my pants you can kinda tell, I had a hard time taking the photo, I kept blowing backwards off the rock!

And a curious doorway....just 'cause.  This is in the town of Cee.

Oh, and a heads up...this is a little nasty....those prickly plants?  This is what I looked like.....