Tuesday, October 26, 2010

#DWTS Week 6

I take back my complaints about filler a little bit. I did really enjoy the top ten at the start. I love Rock Week. I also think it's cute that Len's version of looking rock 'n roll is his classic suit all in shades of black except for a polka dot pocket square.

Audrina & Tony's Pasodoble: Still plastic and devoid of personality. I know they're supposed to have a lot of really crisp movements in this dance, but she looked very mechanical rather than intense. I hope she's gone soon just because she's so boring. Also, what's going on with her implants? They looked particularly bad this week and have become a cautionary tale. She had a weird breast roll thing happening in that top, with the line of her implant creating separate cleavage from what's left of her natural breast. Brooke was even staring at them constantly during the scoring interview.

Kyle & Lacey's Tango: Lacey has the best costumes. I loved her Spanish road warrior streetwalker dress. Kyle's intensity was really up this week. Very hot, sharp, and sensual. Love!

Jennifer & Derek's Pasodoble: There were two moments I thought might be lifts, but may have been considered jumps. Jen almost lost her balance in a spiral right at the very end and it all unravelled for the last couple bars, which was unfortunate. It seems like Jen has a bit of trouble on most dances bringing the technique and the ambiance together. When she has one, she loses the other. Derek was very gracious about the scores.

Rick & Cheryl's Tango: Rick had quite the silver fox look going on tonight with that fauxhawk and eyeliner. Hawt. Except for that expression on his face. It looked like he smelled something really bad and was very angry about it. He did a really good job and if he keeps this up I could see him becoming a favorite.

Bristol & Mark's Tango: Bristol seems to have so much fun in rehearsal, but doesn't seem to bring much of that enjoyment on performance night. I didn't see what the judges saw in terms of her character. She did so much better at the dance and her footwork was worlds better than last week -- but her face was blank the whole time except for that three seconds of air guitar.

Kurt & Anna's Pasodoble: I'm really glad they didn't do a space theme for the costumes. I really don't know if I liked it or not. He was clearly into it which was good but I didn't like the choreography. I don't know if it was the choreography itself or how he executed it or a little of both. So...I don't know. I wasn't feeling it.

Brandy & Maksim's Tango: I loved everything about it. Except for Maks's terrible pants.

 Group dance was fun as always.

Bottom two prediction: Kurt and Audrina, with Kurt going home.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Double down

The KFC Double Down finally came to Canada (our part of Canada, at least). Despite David and I recently trying to be healthier, we had to share one just to try it out.

It is delicious. Dangerously delicious. Original recipe chicken, bacon, Monterey jack and pepper jack cheese, and the Colonel's sauce. No bread, just the hot and greasy chicken fillet 'bun'. Scrumptious. It's also not as unhealthy as you'd expect; it's nutritionally comparable to a Big Mac or a two cheeseburger meal from McDonalds, and not as bad for you as the Wendy's Baconator.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Woolies for Kenyans

Yesterday at my polling location for the municipal election, the lady stationed at the ballot reading machine was knitting. I asked what she was making, and she said she makes wool tuques and scarves for an orphanage in Kenya.

"In Kenya? I didn't realize it got cold enough there for woollen outwear."

"You know...I never thought about that. I have no idea how cold it gets. I just knit them with my ladies' church group and we send them off."

Knitting for charitable organizations is a wonderful idea, be it an overseas orphanage, a homeless shelter, or for chemotherapy patients.The  key is to be sure you're sending knitted goods to locales that genuinely need them. Knitting can be time consuming and I expect it's rather costly to ship parcels to Kenya. Now, I don't know, maybe Kenyan orphans do very much need warm tuques and scarves. What is odd is that this woman and her fellow church ladies have no idea if their woolly wares are actually needed in east Africa.

#DWTS Week 5

I skipped the entire first 30 minutes of judge banter and commentary. Don't care, have better things to do, just want the dancing. I love television theme week!

Brandy & Maks: Loved her dress so much, even with that butt bow. Loved the dance even more. Fun, energetic, joyful, free, bouncy, full of personality. Fantastic! She's been solid all season, but tonight she totally wowed me.

Florence & Corky: Florence seemed to be happy about getting The Brady Bunch theme. I thought it was too predictable and little hack, just like having Jennifer dance to Dirty Dancing songs. Florence's fluidity was much better this week. She looked more relaxed with her steps and more comfortable with being in control of her movements. That said, I agreed with the judges about those ragdoll moves. They should have kept it crisp to keep it from looking gimmicky.

Kurt & Anna: Very nice, but again, he lacks so much personality for me that he doesn't stand out.

Audrina & Tony: A pink satin shirt unbuttoned to the navel is not a good look for any man. Not even one with a torso like Tony's. It was a nice dance and I think she's getting better, but I'm not a huge rhumba fan. I didn't see the lift Carrie-Ann was talking about.

Kyle & Lacey: That swank 70s beat seemed like it'd not lend itself well to a foxtrot, but I think they did a well enough. A 5 from Len was astounding especially since he didn't give any constructive criticism. I hate it when the judges criticize things like Bruno did - they were given a disco song from a famous 70s show for theme week. They shouldn't be penalized for sticking with the theme they were handed.

Rick & Cheryl: Cheryl was so cute and tiny among those basketball guys. The rhumba seems like a hard dance for male contestants since it's usually touted as being a dance with the spotlight on the woman. Rick's motion and fluidity seemed much better than last week. Definite improvement.

Bristol & Mark: Oh dear. She really didn't have the bouncy steps and sometimes she didn't have the steps at all, and sometimes she had them but was totally out of sync. This was her best performance but her worst dance yet. I can't believe that Len was so hard on Kyle but so soft on Bristol.

Jennifer & Derek: I understand that his frustration doesn't help her, but frustration is one of those things that's really hard to contain. I really liked their dance. It was fun, cute, light, smooth, and elegant. What is with Len? He hated Kyle's dance and loved Bristol's, thought Bristol wasn't theatrical enough but Jennifer was too theatrical?

Bottom two prediction: Bristol and Florence, with Bristol going home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kitty cats

We'd been considering getting either a pair or kittens or another dog for a while. David was delivering something to a farm just south of the city and the owner had two or three litters of kittens that were from 5 to 10 weeks old. There were probably about two dozen cats of various ages running around. There was one tiny little 5 week old moggie whose siblings had died either from the cold or from getting into the dog pen. The mother cat had stopped lactating and the wee one was struggling, so we were going take it even if meant a few weeks of bottle feeding.

We made a vet appointment for the upcoming Saturday and arranged to go pick him up and take him straight in for a checkup (Thalia isn't exposed to other cats so she's not vaccinated against everything), but when we got there he and his mother were missing. The owner hadn't seem them since the previous afternoon. We ended up taking two white with orange girls and David named them Eldath and Lliira after two Dungeons & Dragons goddesses.

I've had faith from the beginning that Thalia would warm up to kittens; she grew to like people after being an abused stray, she grew to like the children (well, one of them at least), and she clearly really cares about Zeus and sleeps on the bed with us and him at night. David was sure Thalia would be perpetually miserable with kittens in the house, but I have a good grasp on what she's been through and how she adjusts to things.

They were in isolation for a few days while under treatment for ear mites and an eye infection. We started bringing them upstairs for short periods, and also stroked them and Thalia with a cloth to mingle their scents. After a little less than a week of them coming upstairs, Thalia is eating next to them at meal times, will approach to within a few inches, goes downstairs to watch them play, and has no qualms about sharing water dishes or litter boxes with them. She still hisses and growls when the kittens invade her personal space, but she hasn't once postured aggressively or taken a swipe at them. In contrast, she wouldn't even be on the same floor of the house as Zeus for the first week we had him and I had to put her food up on the kitchen table or a chair where she felt safe from Zeus for a few more weeks. I think it's helping that the kittens much prefer being in their room downstairs to anywhere else, so Thalia is afforded a lot of peace and space.

Eldath is very much like Thalia, very reserved and quiet. She is her own cat and very much likes to be left alone until she's ready and demands attention. Eldath really seems to want Thalia to like her but is being very respectful and patient in how she goes about it. Thalia is getting more comfortable with Eldath every day, so I have hope that they will settle in together well. Lliira is very much like Zeus, wanting constant attention and to play with everyone and everything. I've more than once seen her in a full bum-wiggle ready to charge and pounce on Thalia. So far she's thought better of it at the last minute, but she's going to end up smacked around a bit before long.

Zeus is smitten with Lliira and she is very fond of him. Last night she started grooming him while he gnawed on his rawhide, then he stopped to lick her face while she tried to have a taste of the bone. I'm not sure I've ever witnessed something quite so sweet and endearing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#DWtS Week 4

I didn't do a results post for week 3. Margaret went home as I predicted, good enough for me.

Week 4. Am I the only one who felt they were playing very fast and loose with the term "acoustic"?

You know the show was on for 15 minutes before they got to the first judged dance? And 10 minutes between the end of the first dance and the start of the next? They really need to trim this down to at least 90 minutes. With  9 dancers this week, there is (at most) 25 minutes of actual dancing, 18 minutes of behind the scene training footage, and 15 minutes of judges comments. That's 58 minutes of relevant show stuff, 102 minutes of commercials and inane banter  I'm a busy person, I don't have time for this much filler.

Kurt and Anna: It was...nice. And bland. I can't complain, but it didn't stand out either.

Brandy and Maks:  Again, nice and bland. I don't know if the dance, the music, or the dancers, but the first two couple just haven't done anything for me.

Rick and Cheryl: Didn't Cheryl wear this dress or one just like it a season or two ago? I liked the dance well enough, the footwork was good (although Rick was a bit mechanical at times), but I didn't like the last lift. It all really lacked the drama and ferocity that usually goes with the Argentine Tango. I think the floor is messing them up.

Kyle and Lacey: Another very cute skirt! While Len has a point about Kyle being sharp rather than flowy for this dance, wasn't it previous complained that he wasn't sharp enough? I love watching Kyle dance and he did a lot better at this sensual dance than I expected.

Mike and Karina: He needs to stop looking down at their feet! It was weak because they focused on lifts and neglected intricate footwork, and weaker because what little footwork he did was terrible.

I hate it when Carrie-Ann treats the guys like meat. "On behalf of all the women I'd like to welcome The Situation's abs to the show!" Ugh. Imagine if a male judge said that to a female contestant about her breasts or butt.

Florence and Corky:  I liked it! Mrs Brady is a hot cougar mama! I think it was her best week yet.

Jennifer and Derek: Loved their opening bit. It had flair and drama and great movement around the stage without it ever feeling like the stage was too small. I think it was my favorite dance of the night.

Bristol and Mark: I thought it was good but they should have left out the strip show. The judges were hard on her, maybe with good reason and maybe not. This was a really tough dance on a really tough show for her. That she's doing so well technically is impressive. Margaret was chided for dancing too much with her face, Bristol is penalized for not dancing enough with her face.

Audrina and Tony: Some of their footwork looked really awkward and out of sync, but I don't know if that was deliberate or not. Very nicely integrated lifts. It was really good and fun to watch, though Jen and Derek's was still better.

I'm not sure about the bottom two this week. I believe it will be some combination of Mike, Florence, or Bristol. I suspect that it will be Mrs Brady's night to go home, but I hope that it's Mike's time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bathrobe Man

Several mornings a week while the children await the school bus, I see a middle aged man (who looks a bit like Wallace Shawn) walking his lady friend to her car, carrying her briefcase and lunch and putting them in the car for her, then giving her a kiss goodbye. It's very sweet and gentlemanly.

Except that he's typically wearing a scandalously short bathrobe. We're talking about Zapp Brannigan short.

This morning it was a relief to see that he had pulled on a pair of trousers to supplement the bathrobe. I hope it's a response to the cooler weather and will continue.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My undergarments and handbag do not help cancer patients

Last year, there was a game on Facebook that had a message circulating urging women to post the colour of their bra. It was touted as raising awareness of breast cancer and said by participants to have been a tremendous success and kept the men guessing for days.

The bra game did not start as anything to do with cancer awareness. It was circulating for at least four days as "Tee hee, let's be coy with the boys and keep them guessing." Someone tacked on the cancer awareness thing later. It made the news, sure, but it did very little for cancer awareness because of the complete lack of information and ideas. It was essentially "Hey, breast cancer exists!" Yeah. No kidding. What good does that do?

Now there is the purse game:

'This year's game has to do with your handbag/purse, and where we put our handbag the moment we get home. For example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser", you get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let's see how powerful we women really are!!!


This is just as silly and ineffective as the bra game.

One of my aunts died after a long and painful battle with breast cancer. Posting about the colour of my undergarments or where I leave my handbag masked in faux sexual innuendo, and pretending it's to help the cause of women like my aunt would be frivolous, disrespectful, and merely make light of that very difficult time.

I don't understand the logic behind being coy and mysterious being an awareness campaign, when these viral campaigns don't even include any links or idea for how to do things that will actually help people. If people want to help and raise awareness, they need to do something real. Donate money, donate time, knit caps for women who have lost their hair after chemo, give a donation of food to Compassion House, share the stories of loved ones who have been touched by cancer, send people information on real, tangible ways that they can help.

Be coyly naughty and mysterious if you must, but please don't cheapen cancer and what families continue to go through by pretending it's for a good cause.

#DwtS Week 3.1

As always, I loved the pros dancing to demonstrate the dances.

Derek & Jennifer's Samba: I love the Samba and I think they did a well enough job. However, I did not like that their story was a teacher seducing a schoolboy. Maybe it's because I have kids now, maybe it's because I'm acquainted with someone who went to prison last spring for seducing one of his teenage students. It's just not a fun or appropriate subject matter.

Florence & Corky's Waltz: What an unexpected song. Not Florence's best week for me. Her footwork was fine, but she looked stiff and uncomfortable when holding her frame rather than easy and graceful.

Also, I just noticed that Tom Bergeron does a slow clap after every dance. I now imagine him clapping sarcastically to everyone and it amuses me.

Kurt & Anna's Foxtrot: Very nice. I liked the nods to Gene Kelly.

Margaret and Louie's Samba: Rehearsing in Edmonton! Her parents looked so happy and proud. Not her best dance, though. Her feet got really clompy partway through. It may be a mistake for her to try to stop dancing with her face; she's very expressive but I think concentrating so hard on what she's doing with her face is taking away from focusing on what she needs the rest of her to do.

Audrina and Tony's Waltz: The waltz is not my favorite to watch, but they did a really lovely job.

I love the glimpses of Bruno at the judges' table, conducing with his pencil, standing up to intently watch the footwork, tapping his hand on the table.

Bristol and Mark's Foxtrot: I really liked the dance. It was elegant with some modern flair. But where was the story? The homeless guy start didn't relate to the song at all and they totally lost the story once the hobo coat and tuque were discarded. Dance win, story fail.

Brandy and Maks's Samba: I really liked the dance and Brandy really improved from last week, but I wasn't feeling the story. I didn't get until the end that Maks was her bodyguard. I spent the whole dance wondering if he was a cop or a mobster. He did look awfully tasty, though! I'm with Len, I didn't get it.

Kyle and Lacey's Waltz: I thought this might not be a good dance for Kyle because we've really only seen him do the fun, lively, peppy dances so far. He was so much more elegant than I expected. Great chemistry between them. Also, Lacey's trousers were deeply unflattering to her backside.

Mike and Karina's Foxtrot: He's so stiff in the arms. Len once gave a contestant the advice to stop thinking about the arms, and just think about were the hands need to be and let the arms follow. Mike should try that. He's trying and his feet have improved, so good for him, but he's definitely the weakest contestant.

Rick and Cheryl's Samba: Very nice, but Rick just doesn't stand out so much for me. I'm not sure why. Like Audrina, the dancing is good but there's not a lot of personality.

Bottom two prediction: Margaret and Mike, and Margaret will go home. Although, I can see Florence at the bottom of the list this time. Tough call this week.

Monday, October 4, 2010


The previously mentioned wristwarmers were not working out. So now I'm making these fingerless mittens which I'm finding an easier. I've not yet gotten to the thumb hole yet, however. I'm very apprehensive about the thumbs.

Friday, October 1, 2010

On February 16, 2009, I broke my left pinky toe very badly. It was at a full right angle from where it ought to have been. It was X-rayed, set, cast, and subsequently healed as well as it could. It aches when it (the toe itself) is cold and when it's cool and humid out. Recently, I've started having a some pain at the base of the middle toes and the ball of my foot. Whenever that flares up, the knee which had a minor injury 16 years ago also starts giving me problems.

When going through the orientation process with my personal trainer at the gym, she referred me to a nearby clinic for a biomechanical foot scan. I just had that done and it confirmed that my left foot is getting pretty effed up. Both feet have low arches, so I already wasn't distributing my weight very well when I walked. The way in which I changed my gait after breaking my toe has had me distributing my weight on the left in ways that feet were not meant to handle, putting me at risk of a stress fracture. I now await some expensive (but hopefully to be reimbursed by our health insurance) custom orthotic insoles to prevent worse things from happening.

Then I walked 2.5km home.

Unto the breech

Today is my first real visit to the gym. I am apprehensive. I worked out a general plan with my personal trainer, Kelsey, to do about 1/3 light cardio and 2/3 weights. Today we'll start narrowing down which specific types of each category will work well for me. I'm pretty sure I'm going to hate every second of weights, but I may enjoy cardio. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm going to sign up for another 12 sessions.

Afterwards I'm going for a biomechanical foot scan to figure out what's wrong with my left foot and if fixing it will help my knee. I probably should have done that before the gym.