Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run movie image

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Two weeks ago I started running (again). I don’t think the “again” really counts, because I’ve never consistently run for any decent period of time. I have had bouts of running in the past, but my legs were always an enormously limiting factor. I would get shin-splints almost instantly, which is something pretty difficult to work through.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I started having terrible back pain two years ago. I suspect it began one summer at the camp sail docks, lifting just the right boat in just the wrong way. The pain went away eventually, but came back in full force thanks to a squash injury (a sport notorious for back injuries due to the ducking and twisting motions it requires). Since then I’ve seen three physiotherapists and two massage therapists with a 2 month backpacking trip somewhere in between. Nothing seemed to be working. Nothing until this last massage therapist.

This guy is a freakin’ miracle worker. The treatments hurt like hell, but now I can sit down for any length of time without being in terrible amounts of pain. And somehow through the course of these treatments it became clear that these back injuries were not a result of simply pulling my back. It had been something that was building for a long time. Too much sitting, not enough activity to keep the hips mobile. My massage therapist’s theory is that if the muscles in the hips are too stiff, they constrict the innervating nerves and arteries of the legs, which makes the leg muscles more stiff and cuts off their circulation (which could lead to things like shin-splints).

I’m not sure how accurate the theory is. It certainly sounds plausible. But either way, the treatment WORKS. So like I said, I started running last week, and suddenly the limiting factor isn’t my legs any more – it’s my lungs! Just the way it should be considering I have mild asthma! But this is awesome. I put on an entertaining podcast, throw on my runners and away I go. I was running every other day for 10 days up until this past Thursday (at which point I had a busy weekend visiting family). But tomorrow I’m getting back on the road!

It feels so good to be running. I can’t believe I’ve been doing without it for so long.

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Another Passover Come and Gone

When I was a kid Passover was far from my favourite Holiday. Hannukah was at the top of my list for obvious reasons. But as I’ve grown, and toys have become less central to my life, Passover has taken the lead. It’s hard to beat the fun of seeing family for a big fun dinner.

This Passover was exceptionally fun, because I got to spend a lot more time with my sister and her kids than I usually do around this time of year. I also had the opportunity to co-lead a seder with my cousin – and that turned out to be a lot simpler than I had anticipated. During that seder, I briefly mentioned that Passover makes me think of what I am thankful for. And I do have a lot to appreciate and be thankful for. But now that my sister and her kids have left for home, it is impossible to deny that family is at the top of my list.

Now in order for this post to not be completely hokey (and to say thanks to my sister), here’s a great video that we found during her visit.

Customer Service

 

This week’s a bit of a cop out, but they can’t all be winners. Here’s something funny I was shown this week, courtesy of some friends at work. I like to think that the customer service we provide is as calming and soothing as this.

Adventures in Exceptional Nerdiness

Picture of Linux Terminaljavascript:;

I work in a customer service job that requires me to know a much greater than average amount of technical knowledge on the topics of domain name and email management. The training we get isn’t by any means equivalent to a technical degree in a subject area that would cover these topics, but I certainly have much more understanding of how these things work than when I started this job.

I’ve always been really interested in programming. My attempts at learning more about it have not always met with success, or even lasting effect, but it’s always interested me. I’ve always been interested in how things work on a fundamental level, especially when that thing hides its inner workings so well. Programming lends itself really well to this. As a computer user, you only see the graphical interface connecting you to the program you’re using. But there are so many things going on behind the scenes when you use a computer program.

Recently I decided that I would install Linux on part of my Mac. I’ve heard that Linux isn’t always the most user friendly operating system, but I’d also heard that it’s gotten a lot better. And I’ve also heard that many of its best features are found in the command line (that scary DOS looking). The command line may look intimidating to the average computer user, but it intrigues me too. That’s usually what happens when I don’t know how something works.

At about the same time as I was installing Linux on my Mac at home, I was trying to figure out how to use the command line on the Windows 7 at my work to send email messages. See, an email message is sent by your mail program and a mail server having a conversation between each other. And it’s actually only a few lines long, not including the body of your message. So it’s actually something you can feasibly do by hand. ‘Why would you want to?’ is a perfectly valid question to be asking at this point. Well, one reason is that it allows you to send email messages that look as if they came from somewhere they didn’t (which lends itself to making spam or some good pranks). Another reason is that if you can send an email ‘manually’ so-to-speak, then you can potentially verify that an email address exists. This is a pretty useful thing to be able to do when you’re troubleshooting email problems that go beyond setting up your Outlook Express properly.

Knowing that I could do this on my Windows at work, I set out to accomplish the same task at home on my newly installed Linux. And this goal has taken me through reading a number of tutorials and resources on how to make use of Linux’s command line (aka terminal simulator, shell, bash <– that’s just me showing off). Turns out the command for sending email works exactly the same on Linux as it does on Windows. It took me a lot of discover to figure that out, but it’s ok because I’ve learned a lot about how to use my new operating system. Except, now I have another problem: my external hard drive can only be read by Linux. So in Linux I can take files off of it, but I can’t put new ones on. So now I have another goal: to change the ‘something’ on my hard drive so that I can use it with Linux as well as my Mac.

Even if you aren’t that interested in how the command line works, Linux is still a great operating system for anyone to use. For a really great newbie distribution (version) of Linux, try Ubuntu. The great thing about Linux systems, is that they’re free and very stable. In fact, unless I’m doing something very intense on my Linux OS, like converting files from one format to another, so far I have never heard my computer’s fan turn on once (which is an indication of how hard your computer is working, since the fan turns on when it gets hot, and it gets hot if its performing a lot of calculations all at once). This is in contrast to my Mac OS, which frequently engages the fan when I turn on large programs like iTunes. Maybe this is an indication of the age of my computer, which is fair. But the other great thing about Linux, is that you can put it on older computers that are starting to get bogged down by newer, bigger programs that are becoming hard for it to handle.

Now Linux does have its limitations. I wouldn’t install it on a gaming computer, and its equivalents of software like Office will always lag behind in compatibility. But all in all, I’m very please with Linux. No major complaints aside from the hard drive thing. And once I figure that out – no biggie.

If anyone’s interested in learning how to install Linux on their computer, I’d be happy to help point you in the right direction.

Growing Up

I’ve done a lot of growing up this year. I guess by year I mean school year (I’m still not used to the year not actually starting in September), so I guess I haven’t done THAT much growing up. But I’ve done some. Or maybe it’s just that I feel quite overwhelmed with all of the things that need doing. But I feel like that’s part of what growing up is about – becoming responsible for more things. Or maybe it’s more than that, because even a child could be given the responsibility to do a large number of things. But a child isn’t able to keep track of all those things and make sure that they get done. Though sometimes I feel like I’m not able to either.

 

But for the most part I can. Yet on days like today it feels like my head is spinning with all the things that I need to get done. I have a calendar of appointments; a list of To Do’s; and a few papers and other tasks scattered around that are always in the back of my head, and which receive my attention every once in a while. There’s got to be an easier way to do this, doesn’t there? I get a bit worried sometimes that I’m going to forget something and it’s going to slip through the cracks.

 

It feels good. It feels good to be productive. But it’s really difficult sometimes. Any longtime practitioners of the art of adulthood have some sage advice for the newbie?

 

P.S. This is the first time in recent memory that I’ve written a post before Sunday. Booyah! <–mark of a kid at heart

Social Media Explained

Twitter-I need to pee; Facebook - I peed; Foursquare - this is where I pee; Quora - why am I peeing?; Youtube - look at this pee!; Linkedin - I'm good at peeing

My brother found this, and since I don’t have much time and haven’t put much thought into this week’s post I thought I’d share it with you. I think it’s a perfect summary of exactly what I aimed to do when I started this blog, and exactly how I feel about all the ridiculous variety of things out there now that I’ve looked into it.

I’m still gonna keep up the blog. I love writing. I just won’t necessarily focus on the net. In case you couldn’t tell from my recent posts.

And I may dedicate my next post to what the heck Quora is, because I had never heard of it until this picture.

Amateur Journalism

I haven’t talked about my new blog project for a while, and there’s a reason for that. It’s taking a lot of work to put together and so it still isn’t ready yet. And again, like the last few times I’ve mentioned it, I don’t want to say too much about the project, because I and the business I’m implementing the blog for are pretty excited about it and don’t want to give anyone any ideas before we have a chance to give it a shot.

That all sounds super-secretively awesome, but don’t take it like that, please. This project is not a huge deal. We just don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

What I can say about it, is that the project began with my spending a lot of time poring over newspaper clippings, and doing a lot of library research that way. However, the project has now morphed into more of an interview process. I’ve been privileged to be able to purchase a recorder for this project and write it off as a business expense for this purpose, and with this in hand I have set out to capture on 1’s and 0’s the interesting things that certain people say in regards to….*trails off into obscure vagueness*.

Anyway, I had my first interview today, with my uncle. My initial idea was to just sit down, ask my interviewee to tell me some stories related to *blank* and away we go. And this idea went pretty well. My uncle is a good public speaker, and he was able to make the stories come out in a natural, conversational-sounding way. Then after the recorder was off, we were chatting and more stories started coming up! I had to turn the recorder back on, though discreetly so as not to make him aware, or at least not to change the comfort level of our conversation. So it occurs to me, that maybe a better way of going about this whole amateur interview thing is to just engage my interviewee in a casual conversation focused on whatever topic I’m looking for. That way  stories come out more naturally.

Actually when I started this project my cousin, Lucky, had given me this very same advice along with the suggestion of interviewing people for their stories instead of looking in old newspapers for the information I wanted. So I did start off using some of his advice, though now I’ll be using all of it. And why did I ask for his advice in the first place? you may be asking. Well, Lucky’s a bit of an historian, which is a gross understatement to be sure. My cuz creates memoirs for people from their stories. He sits down with them, and has conversations with them about their life, recording the whole way through. In the end, he has a collection of stories from their life or a special time in their life that they or family and friends can look back on for years to come. And let’s not forget he’s also an author of the newly published ‘Voices of British Columbia.’ It’s a collection of stories (in print and on CD) that he discovered and restored while working with the CBC’s audio archives. It gives a pretty cool picture of what life was like in days gone by for those who lived in the province of BC. This is his his site, MemoriesToMemoirs.ca.

I didn’t start this post intending to make an endorsement, but Lucky’s stuff is really worth checking out. And by the way, if anyone has any more tips on amateur journalism, leave a comment!

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