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Monthly Archives: June 2008

given sufficiently modest goals, anything is possible!

By last January, I was feeling pretty overweight — in fact, I was heavier than I’d been in years. So I set a goal to lose 25 lbs in the first six months of 2008. Unless I lose an arm in the next few days, I won’t make that goal, but I extra have lost, to date, exactly 20 lbs, and I feel a whole lot better, even if I am still a good 15 lbs too heavy. As far as I’m concerned, that counts as a win! (If there’s one thing I’m not, its a perfectionist. Or someone who is too hard on himself. Or great at sticking to a single subject.)


I noticed that after an initial, fairly quick, weight loss, I started to level out, until just the past few weeks, when I moved into my new apartment. Which is kind of odd, because I’ve only been to the gym a few times since then, and I’ve hardly gone jogging at all. But I have been walking or biking to and from work almost every day, and eating at home more. The trick, you see, is to only ever keep the Blessed Trinity of salad, coffee and tuna in the house. Happy side-effect: I can blaze through grocery shopping in about 8 minutes a week!

I was also planning to use this as an excuse to try various wacky diet and exercise plans, but to be honest, I got kind of nervous that they would detract from my slow but effective plan of eating better and getting more regular exercise. Which I know, is a whole lot more boring than trying the Shangri-La Diet (it’s gotta be good, because it was invented by a Scientist! plus, all the flax oil you can drink!). But hey, maybe in the second half of this year I’ll lose all respect for the deliciousness that is the food-eating experience. (Mmmmm… I want some laksa from Hawker’s Delight right… now.)

Tomorrow, the lovely Janelle arrives from Australia for a visit. I expect a lot more dining out and even less gym time for a while, so this will be an interesting experiment in just how well light regular exercise like the 4K walk to work holds back the really, truly fat man trapped in my only-kinda-fat man’s body. Particularly in the face of my goal of trying every restaurant on Main Street. I predict… not as well as I would like. Take that, constant struggle against obesity!

white meat, butternut squash — welcome to the family

setting up whitemeat

Well, it’s something of an adjustment, this living on my own. So the first thing on my to-do list — after unpacking and walking around the living room in various states of undress unimpeded — was to surround myself with a couple of new friends. At first, I thought about getting a Roomba, but who needs that level of commitment, you know?

And so… last night I welcomed to my home White Meat and Butternut Squash. White Meat is my brand-new white MacBook. Butternut Squash is my new AirPort Extreme wireless base station. They will join Yams (my iPod Touch), Warm Gravy (my old iPod Shuffle), Brussel Spouts (my 8GB thumb drive), Pumpkin Pie (my work backup drive), Cranberry Sauce (my 750GB external hard drive), Bone & Gristle (my aging music-library drives), and the venerable Coconino (my 12″ G4 PowerBook), which will now be my permanent at-work computer while White Meat takes over the home duties.

Play nice, everybody.

Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

Between moving, visiting the fam and breezing through the all-too-short run of Freaks and Geeks on DVD, this is actually the first movie I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s one of Werner Herzog’s lesser known films, about a conflict between an Australian mining company and the local Aborigines, who see the mining site as sacred ground.

Where the Green Ants Dream is a gentle but oddly graceless film. The actors don’t play characters, but rather personifications of the different points of view surrounding the conflict. While they are rarely cartoons, the scenes of interaction between the characters range from clunky to embarrassing. Herzog is too much the unsentimental humanist to let the film devolve into stereotypes of noble savages and evil capitalists, but for some reason he’s also never able to make the conflict seem like it involves actual human beings instead of abstractions, and I really think this movie needed that to feel grounded. Herzog has often spoken of his cinema as the search for the “ecstatic truth”, but I think the issues he tackles here may be too tied-up with politics and philosophy for anything so pure.

On the other hand, there are some nearly sublime moments of Herzogian brilliance, mostly involving a beautiful green Caribou transport airplane which is parked in the middle of the outback and becomes a kitchen, meeting room, and observation post for the Aborigines. And of course, stunning shots of the outback, which is as Herzogian a landscape as you could imagine.

The Sand Brochus (+ one Sand Mahoney)

sand people, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

I spent most of the past week with the family at Chesterman Beach, on Vancouver Island’s beautiful west coast. Oddly, while the last time I was there was the middle of last winter, the weather didn’t seem to have changed — there were just a few more surfers. The internet went out on the second day of my visit, but it turned out I didn’t miss much.

The reason for the gather is that my parents were looking at retirement properties on the island. House prices back in Regina have risen to the point where a large, middle-class home there can now buy you a small, unimposing home on the island, as long as you stick to the little untouristy towns on the east coast and don’t insist on a view of the ocean. At the risk of sounding self-absorbed, I’d just like to take a minute to congratulate myself on the number of people in my family who have followed me to the West Coast. The number is several, depending on whether you count Gillian as family. Well done, me. Well done.


main street, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

This is actually a picture I took a couple of years ago — I really have not had time for photography lately, so I went to flickr and did a search of my photos, looking for my previous impressions of Main Street. My new home looks nothing at all like this, and is, in fact, the ground floor of a nice house on a leafy old street. This is a building several blocks away. And, as I said, this is a picture of the past. In fact, I barely remember taking it.

However, yes! I moved. Tyson, Gillian, Meghan and Gregor were good enough to help me move exactly 37 blocks east. Meghan even drove the van, which was pretty handy, because while I can drive, my license expired years ago. (In other news, it’s a long damn bus ride up to the U-Haul in North Vancouver.) In an uncharacteristic bout of optimism, I thought we’d be able to move all my stuff in a single trip. Ultimately, it took two trips, and my bike is still at the Kommune.

But everything else is moved. It seems a bit weird to be surrounded by all the same furniture and things I had before. Wrong, somehow. I’ve moved before, of course, but I’ve actually never moved a lot of furniture and just… stuff. Until now, I’d always been travelling light, or unloading most of my possessions to move to a new city. However, even all my worldly goods assembled don’t really fill a smallish apartment, so I’ll be getting new things soon enough and replacing others.

Modulo a few little annoyances, I really like my new apartment, and I love my new neighbourhood. Within about a four block radius, there are multiple coffee shops, bakeries, butchers, Asian produce markets, greasy-spoon diners, burger joints, Vietnamese pho shops, sushi bars and regular bars. I am going to eat so much bad food.

On Sunday morning, after my first night in my new place, I headed out about 8 o’clock for coffee, walking past bleary-eyed scenesters heading home, and elderly Chinese immigrants hobbling along on their morning constitutionals. I passed signs in half a dozen languages and posters for bands I’ve never heard of and never will again. I felt… I felt like I would like it here.

Anyway, I’ll be going to Tofino on Wednesday to meet up with the family. My parents are looking for retirement property on The Island and my brother and his wife and my other brother and his girlfriend are going up there, too. So I probably won’t be updating until next week, and God only knows when I’ll get around to posting pictures of my new place, but I promised, and I will deliver. Eventually, I will deliver.