Friday, December 17, 2010

Tilt Shift = Awesome

It's after 2 am and I'm still up.  I have a momentary obsession with creating artificial miniature worlds using a technique called Tilt Shift.  I've been going through some of my older photos trying to apply this technique.  I've mostly been inspired recently by Katrin Ray who was recently featured on blogTO.

Here are a few of my initial tests.  I'm hoping to do more, but part of the trick is taking photos from a more birds eye view. I'll have to look out more windows.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I totally cloned myself!

I had so much fun tonight!!  My colleague Akeil and I decided to challenge eachother to a multi layered photo starring ourselves, otherwise known as cloning.  

This is me judging myself

My theme for this was a personal assessment. While I should be studying my Chemistry text in preparation for my decision to go back to school next year, instead I end up playing video games or browse the internet.

I can't wait to see what Akeil comes up with!  I really enjoyed this challenge and hope to do more cloning in the future. 


Monday, December 6, 2010

"The Voice"

 Toronto is really going to miss you.  May you rest in peace, Mark Dailey

Mark Dailey: "the voice" of Toronto

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stalker Posing

Nami and Mushi show me what they're made of . . .

Saturday, December 4, 2010

He's 4 months old today!

He's going to be a BIG kitty.  I think the testosterone is kicking in; his neck is getting thicker and he has a much stalkier "I'm going to kick your ass" kinda stance.  Like a Bob Hoskins.

He's also developed Cat Acne on his upper lip.  At first we thought the white was changing colour and for a couple of days we made a joke that he was developing a Hitler stache.  But after closer observation, there were tiny black bumps on the skin.  My cats had this growing up, but it usually developed under their chin.  After some research, I found the cause could be plastic food and water bowls, which is what they had.  I changed their dishes to stainless steel and the acne cleared up completely. 

Mushi sporting his acne
We're a little stumped as to the cause of Mushi's.  He drinks out of a stainless steel bowl and his food plate is ceramic.  The vet said it's most likely a reaction to something in the environment.  She suggested removing the dish soap from the counter and any plastics he may be chewing on, to keep out of reach. 

Robert removed all of his plastic based toys and our kitchen counter is spotless all the time with chemicals put away; like child proofing.

It's been a week since it first appeared and it seems to be slowly clearing up.  Hopefully we've tucked away the cause and he heals to his adorable self again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Insignificance and Arsenic

I occasionally get moments where I feel insignificant. My moment occured this morning on my daily commute where I happened upon an article suggesting that there are more stars in the universe than previously conceived. The article states that we have an estimated 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars (that's 300 sextillion).

When I was a kid, I use to try and imagine the farthest reaches of our galaxy and as I tried to visualize, a wave of nausea and dizzyness would hit me. It was physically impossible to conceive infinity and my body couldn't take it. But, now when I try to imagine, I get an overwhelming sense that my being really means nothing in the larger scheme.


As my thoughts drift back to the present my mind wanders on to other things, but it's amazing for that single moment that life can feel trivial.

On an unrelated note, a friend forwarded a very interesting article from NASA citing the discovery of a microorganism thriving and reproducing in Mono Lake, a body of water with high levels of arsenic.

"We know that some microbes can breathe arsenic, but what we've found is a microbe doing something new -- building parts of itself out of arsenic," said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and the research team's lead scientist. "If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected, what else can life do that we haven't seen yet?"

Incredible! I can only imagine the religious/evoluntionary debates that will appear with this article, but I think it's absolutely fantastic!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A serious contemplation of education

For those of you that know me, you are quite aware that I'm not incredibly thrilled with my current job.  I work in the financial industry, mostly doing pawn like work, and while the job itself is fine, it lacks the ability to keep me interested.

The past few years I've thought long and hard (that's what she said) about what I've wanted to do with my life.  With pawn like work, I've felt like I've had no real direction or purpose.  If you've ever been in this position you can understand how stressful, depressing and demotivating it can be.  It was only a few weeks ago that I realized I may have found the direction I probably should have gone years ago . . . Nutrition.

On Saturday I attended an Open House at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.  I had been researching the school for a bit and decided to attend to get more information.  There were lectures on adrenal fatigue and nutrition in relation to memory retention and the psychology of disease.  I felt incredibly comfortable as I sat there like a sponge absorbing all this fascinating information.  I gathered all the information I could and left feeling invigorated about the possibility of finding a career that was meant to be.

As I continue to ponder each day, I'm realizing that it might be time for me to go back to school; as terrifying as that feels since I graduated college nearly a decade ago.

Step one:  Apply

...and then we wait...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mushi and the 7D test

A short video of Mushi using the Canon 7D. 
Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.4

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's a Boy!!

Welcome to the family, Mushi! 

Birth date: Aug 04, 2010.  9 weeks old

I decided to take the Friday of the Thanksgiving long weekend off to have some time to introduce Mushi to our resident 2 year old cat, Nami.  Mushi settled into the bedroom almost immediately when I brought him home, as any curious kitten probably would.

After a couple of days of separation and a handful of hisses and growls from Nami, she and Mushi play gently under the door.

By Sunday we decided to have them meet.  Mushi was placed in his carrier and brought out to the living room so Nami could investigate the bedroom where Mushi has been kept.  As cats rely completely on smell and are extremely territorial, the first couple of days both kitties were rubbed down with towels and exchanged several times a day.  Mushi didn't really respond much to Nami's smells, but Nami's nose worked over time as she sniffed his odor filled towels.  With the continous swapping, Nami adapted fairly quickly to his scent. 

After Nami explored the bedroom and mainly ignored the kitten in the carrier, we decided to release him to test her reaction.  There were several gentle bops on the head and a few more hisses to show Mushi her first rank in the household.   Lots of chasing back and forth through the apartment followed by crash naps for both, we continued to separate them for extended periods and repeat short meetings.  We are having much success!

I am so incredibly proud of our Nami! :) She's making the transition for Mushi an easy one. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Project 365 FAIL and the Return of the Shutter. . .

The last time I picked up a camera was the end of May when my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. The time before that was in April when I took one of my last shots for Project 365.
I failed 365 miserably and have been a little embarrassed to post anything since I've quit the project. I don't know why I stopped. I have many excuses in my head and I've been very ashamed.  What's done is done and maybe I'll try again someday.  Time will only tell.
But, enough is enough. It's time to pick that camera up again and start snapping! It's about 37 degrees celsius with the humidity right now and the bed is an oven. Nami and I are hanging out on the balcony with a glass of water trying to keep cool because the apartment feels like the Apocalypse.
I'm looking forward to the coolness of Fall . . .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eating 101: The Primal Blueprint

I first became aware of Mark Sisson's book a few months ago while researching diets for optimal health and nutrition.  It's a subject I continuously have an interest in as I have struggled with dietary restrictions for the past 6 years.  Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever written about it, so let me start again...

I have a mulittude of dietary limitations. Due to many factors in my past, including poor diet, birth control pills and overuse of antibiotics to treat reoccuring infections, I have a very weak digestive system. I can no longer tolerate grains (bread, rice, pastas, corn), milk and cheese, fruit, sugar and many chemical preservatives. I've had my ups and downs (many many downs) with such a restrictive diet.  I always felt like I was part of an unfortunate group of people, the Candida sufferers.  It became tiresome to explain to new people that I met why I couldn't indulge in the luxurious breads and delectable sweets that they could.  It was really depressing and I would adopt a "to hell with it" frame of mind and join in, paying the consequences soon after.

My consequences included migraines/headaches, bloating and weight gain, intestinal cramps, lethargy, depression, insomnia...the list goes on. 

Finding this book has been a godsend.  It's not a weight loss or diet book.  It's a lifestyle and one that I've adopted quite easily in the last three weeks.  The Primal lifestyle is based on a modern hunter-gatherer eating style including vegetables in abudance, fruit, eggs, meats & seafood, nuts and plenty of saturated and monounsaturated fats (yum). 

The diet is fairly spot on to the Candida diet I had adopted on and off for so many years, the only difference was the increase in fat.  By increasing the fat in my diet, I feel satiated for long periods and cravings for complex carbs and sugar have almost completely diminished.  I also feel like I'm part of a healthier community and not a community of constant sufferers (no hard feelings, but it's been a little depressing).  Mark's website, is full of fantastic articles and answers any questions readers have about this remarkable way of living.  The success stories of readers are inspirational and truly moving.

My energy levels have been through the roof and my afternoon nap attacks that subsided after grain based meals are gone.  I sleep better and most mornings I wake up before my alarm, refreshed and ready to start my day.  I never had any intentions to lose weight, but I've been losing 1 lb per week so far and it feels great.

Anyone looking to "reprogram their genes" and feel more connected with their bodies with "vibrant health and boundless energy", I completely recommend this book. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Awesome start to April

Loverly April is here.  The earth has thawed from our non-existent winter and the trees are starting to bud.  The weather has been freaking gorgeous with record highs of 25C.  Awesome Easter long weekend!  Let's hope we get more of this weather in the next coming weeks.

Here are the project 365 photos for the week.

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Photo 90/365:

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's been a fortnight!

Hello old friend.  It's been a long time.  I'm sorry I've neglected you these past two weeks.  Things are picking up at work and I'll be starting week 7 of P90X tomorrow morning.  April will be better ... I promise.

Project 365 is alive and well and I will only be posting the few photos that I put some effort into (I have 20 some odd photos since my last post and I don't really want to post them all now).  But, if you want to see the rest, click on the Flickr link to your right :)

Here are a few photos from the past 2 weeks.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another week down

I feel bad I don't have as much time for this as I'd like to.  I'm always making mental notes of things I'd like to discuss or express here, but I just don't have the time.  My days are pretty stacked and it's difficult to cram one more thing in.  If only I could justify blogging at work; but my stupid ethics get in the way.

This week is Recovery week in P90x.  Monday started off with Yoga which was pretty good followed by Core Synergistics From Hell.  Core Synergistics From Hell is basically what the latter describes.  I always grumbled about Plyometrics, but Core has trumped to become the fully dreaded one.  Imagine an hour of planks, and running planks, push up planks, planks on stilts . . .

This morning was Stretch X or X Stretch which I had to miss this morning because my alarm never went off.  That's not an excuse, by the way.  I woke up very confused as everything was set up correctly.  It just never went off.  So the hour long Stretch has been skipped.  I'll make sure I stretch a lot at work today.  Like a cat.  I'm sure my colleagues will be delighted.

With Recovery week ending this weekend it means I've managed the first 30 days of Tony Horton's P90X.  I started a few weeks ago with only being able to do 4 or 5 push ups on my knees and now I can do at least 2 full push ups ON MY TOES!  That's an amazing accomplishment for me as I've always had the upper body strength of a slinky.

Here are the Project 365 photos for the first week of March.  I'm back to colour again.  Exciting!

Photo 60/365:

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Photo 66/365:

Friday, March 5, 2010

February: Week 4

I'm posting this a little late as it is now March 5th and the title is week 4 of February.  I've recovered from that wretched cold somewhat and have most of my energy back.  I started week 3 of P90x over to make up the time I was sick.  I just finished Legs & Back an hour ago and it's been tough getting back into it.  The two weeks I lost in the program was a bit of a set back, but I'm happy to report that I'm able to get through the DVD's pretty well, except plyometrics.  I hate plyo, it makes me want to throw up every time.

My illness couldn't have come at a more perfect time, though.  I was able to enjoy the Olympics (winter is my favourite) and was very thankful that CTV was streaming it live online, as I don't have cable (and never will again).  I love the speed skating.  Their grotesquely large thighs are so fascinating to me.  How do they buy pants?

Canada kicked some serious ass this year at the Olympics and although I don't consider myself a competitive person, I took great pride in our athletes this year.  They pushed themselves hard, harder than I would ever push myself.  I stay in my pajamas for entire weekends, sometimes (okay, most of the time).  There was a togetherness in this country for those two weeks and it felt good.  My friends and colleagues in Vancouver were on a two week high and many of them shared that they hoped the positive energy that exuded during the Olympics would continue for weeks after.  I hope it does too.

Here are the photos for Project 365 for week 4 of February. 

Photo 54/365:

Photo 55/365:

Go Canada Go!
Although super pathetic to take a picture of your screen while you're watching the Olympics, I couldn't think of a better moment to capture for Project 365 than Canada defeating Russia.

Photo 56/365:

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I am happy that February is over.  I gave myself the challenge of making the month black and white, but I got bored really quickly, as you can see with most of the subject matter.  Looking forward to March!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February: Week 3

I started off this week pretty well, commencing my week 3 of P90x.  I successfully completed Monday's Chest & Back exercise and felt pretty good that I had managed my first full push up (not on my knees).  I felt really strong and accomplished until I woke up Tueday morning with zero energy.  I couldn't complete the Plyometrics so put the disc away hoping I could get through it on my rest day instead.  Wednesday morning was worse.  I was tired with no energy and my throat was hurting.  By 2 pm, I left work to come home to rest.  I now had a wonderful chest cold to nurse right through the weekend and Monday.

I haven't been sick in a long time and thought that I had my immune system under control with all the good food, exercise and regular vitamins.  I wear gloves on the subway and am always washing my hands after touching communal services.  I equate the illness to my work environment where we sit day in and day out breathing in the same recycled air.  Not a single window can be opened and the amount of sick people that continue to drag their ass' into work irritates me to no end.

So with being sick, I somewhat failed my Project 365.  I missed a couple of days due to sleeping the days away and little energy.  I'm still continuing, though, and made up for those missed days by taking extra photos on the days I remembered.

Photo 46/365:

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