10 December 2013

The Impossible

I just watched The Impossible. Literally the only reason I watched it is because of Ewan McGregor. I was miffed about it when I saw the previews and, even though it's based on a true story, I came away miffed. You see, it's about a family affected by the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The reason I'm unhappy with it? It's about a white family. It details their struggles to survive and to reunite. There is hardly any reference to the non-white locals affected by the disaster. Several thousand people died in Thailand alone, and over 200,000 in 14 countries. The film showed dead people. It didn't gloss over the devestation, but it didn't personalize it. Because, obviously audiences can only connect with white protagonists. (/sarcasm)

The acting was very good. I'm a fan of Ewan's (obviously) and I like Naomi Watts a lot. The boy was also very good. Mostly the acting was a lot of terror and grief, but I feel that it takes particular talent to do well. And they did.

Strangely, it's a Spanish film (but is in English), I don't know if that redeems it at all. 

So yeah. I don't really have anything to say about it besides what I've said.

07 December 2013


I now drive a small 2 wheel drive car. I like it. It has amazing gas mileage. But it snowed. And it's a bit terrifying to drive. This is my first winter driving not-an-suv. It's not so much the lack of 4wd that scares me about driving in the snow. It's the fact that I'm now half the size I was and I feel fragile next to all the suvs zooming by me.

Another weather related note: cold often invigorates me. This cold snap hasn't so much done that though. Instead I want to eat all the snacks possible to build up a layer of fat and hibernate for a time

05 November 2013

For my health

So I'm trying to be healthy, y'know? I'm seeing how many days I can go without added sugar/ dessert snacks. That is, I cannot eat things that are sugary just to be sugary as a snack or meal or dessert, what have you. I still take a sweet and salty granola bar to work. And I can have honey in things, though I usually don't use it for anything, I like my tea black (or green.) And fruit. But not juice. I've been drying fruit, if you haven't been keeping up. I've done raspberries, which was a new thing, and bananas which wasn't new. And just today I dried some pineapple. I'm going to have to get more while their still on sale at the queen soopers. I also made some jerky. The second batch turned out heaps better than the first. I think the quality of meat might have had something to do with it. And I found a better marinade recipe. I think that half price dehydrator has already paid itself off.

Along with my (mostly) healthy diet, I've been trying to get back into a more regular exercise routine. Every weekend my boyfriend and I hike, and lately it's been eight or more miles, so that's been great. And we try to trail run about 3 miles once a week. Haven't done that as regularly. And we also occasionally do a loop around the neighborhood park. Last week I did a little parkour training with a friend. Hopefully we can keep that up regularly.

Each morning for the past month or so, when I get up I do some push ups and pull ups and some core conditioning (that doesn't include sit ups or crunches!) This has generally helped my lower back pain and energized me for the day.

I am not doing the "dieting" and exercise in order to lose weight (though I am a bit soft around the middle), I am doing it to be healthy. And perhaps to one day be see my abdominal muscles, I know they are there.  I will not be weighing myself regularly and keeping count, though I did record my weigh on the 1st. It's just that I need to create more healthy habits. I want to be able to do certain things (parkour) and my lifestyle right now doesn't enable that.

So yeah, that's me being healthy. It's been one week since I've eaten candy (yes, I made it through Halloween.) Here's to many more.

03 November 2013

The Enemy Gate is Down

This is a spoiler-filled review of the film Ender's Game. (Please note that I am not going to get into any discussion on the author, Orson Scott Card, especially related to his politics and religious beliefs.)

The film was okay. It seemed... simple, I guess. I know it'd be hard to get all the nuances of the book onto the screen, but I was bummed with how it turned out. At the same time, I was amazed at what was pulled off. As a stand alone film, it was quite engaging, or at least I assume it would be. But I've only just finished listening to the audiobooks, so the differences were disappointing to say the least.

First of all, it seemed to move too fast. The novel takes place over several years. Ender is 6 at the beginning and around 11 at the end. The film seemed to take up only about a month's worth of time. Which is really quite implausible considering the task at hand. The children had to learn not only basic school studies, but also tactical maneuvers and how to work together as a unit. I understand that it would be hard to film a kid growing up, but I also think that they may have chosen a slightly too old kid. Yes, Asa Butterfield's performance was strong, and he looks quite young. However, he was 14 or so during filming and he's quite tall, which made some of the fights seem not as momentous as in the book. In the book, fighting the bullies and winning was a big deal because he wasn't bigger than them in any way. He had to use his brain to find ways to overcome them.

Another thing I missed in the film was Peter and Valentine's deeper roles. I realize that it was unnecessary for the film to have anything to do with them, but it didn't really drive home how awful Peter was and how good Val was. How Ender wanted to be nothing like Peter in any way. And it skipped all of Peter and Val's writing to become influential on earth; which was not needed for the film, but still quite interesting, as they were just as smart as Ender, but not suited for Battle School.

I think that they used the phrase "The enemy's gate is down" in much to trite a manner. We didn't get to see how Ender reoriented the Battle Room to fit this idea. How he had his soldiers attack feet first to make smaller targets, and now none of the other Armies could figure out his tactics. It made the phrase nearly meaningless when Bean reminded Ender of it at the beginning of the final battle.

There are things I did like about the film. The performances were quite good. Asa Butterfield embodied much of the Ender I imagined as I read. He showed confidence and strength of character. He did reveal a lot more emotion in the film; but in the book, we were inside his head, reading about his anguish and lonliness. He never expressed it. It would have been impossible to portray that onscreen. Butterfield also handled an American accent quite nicely. That's got to be hard. Harrison Ford made a perfectly dispassionate Col. Graff. I loved the changes they made to Major Anderson; choosing Viola Davis for the part was perfect. And Ben Kingsly! At first I was worried after seeing promotional photos of his tattooed face. I worried about cultural appropriation and the like, though I knew the character Mazer Rackham was from New Zealand. But the simple fact that Kingsly used a spot-on Kiwi accent washed all those misgivings away. He was perhaps my favorite part.

I also very much enjoyed the film visually. The simulations were amazing. I wanted to see much more of those. The Battle Room was also quite awesome, though not as I had imagined. I imagined a stark white room. No views anywhere at Battle School. But I liked the visuals of space and earth. I wish they'd showed more battles there as well.

So I was disappointed that the film left out a lot of beloved details. It seemed rushed. But I did enjoy it. Let me know what you thought if you've seen it.

29 October 2013

Hiking and shoes

So it's been awhile. I actually have written some things, just not here. My boyfriend has been studying math in order to possibly go back to school for another bachelor's in mechanical engineering. So while he plays with numbers, I've committed to playing with words. I haven't got much, but I do get down a little blurb of something in every now and then.

On Sunday we went on one of the longest non-14er hikes we've ever done. It was up Bergen Peak outside of Evergreen. It was a beautiful day and the trail wasn't very strenuous at all. The hike totaled over 10 miles.

Merrell trail glove over the open space

clash of seasons on the north face of the peak

Denver in the distance. A very clear day, comparatively.

Pike's Peak

Today I received some new minimal shoes I ordered last week. I am super excited about them. Obviously, everyone knows I'm a fan of minimal shoes. And also the color purple. And these are a combination, so they're perfect. I haven't taken them off since I opened the box. I cannot wait to try them out for running and parkour.

I was too lazy to find my actual camera, so you get some phone camera poor quality.

30 September 2013

out to dry

So I've picked up a new hobby to go along with my continued desire to eat well. I got a food dehydrator. My mom used one of these for fruit when I was growing up and I decided I could do the same. I found one for half off (only $30!) The timing coincided with King Soopers having a sale on raspberries, so I tried my hand at drying a bunch. They didn't turn out perfectly, but they're preserved and they don't taste horrible, so it worked out. They're just very similar to cheese puffs in consistency. I also dried a bunch of bananas which was always a favorite from my childhood. My next venture is to try my hand at making jerky. Just need to find some good meat.
hooray for new projects.
raspberries set out to dry

finished bananas

23 September 2013

The escape.

It's finally, officially Autumn! It was a great transition, on the night of the 12th, after work, my boyfriend and I left the city. Early that week, it was hot, like 90s hot. Starting on the 11th it had begun raining rather intensely. So we left. Took our long awaited trip to Glacier National Park. We left behind the recent heat and the deluge. We found refuge in the north and returned to a wonderful Colorado Fall. Here are some highlights from our trip. 

After driving out of Wales (er, Colorado) we slept in the car off the side of I25 in the middle of Wyoming. The next day we drove through the rest of Wyoming and essentially all of Montana. On Saturday we hiked around 9 miles (round trip) to Iceberg Lake. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

 Glacier National Park.

hiking to Iceberg Lake.

yes, my feet in the water with an iceberg.

seriously, a lake full of icebergs.

very fun-shaped icebergs. 

Because of the way the cliffs face, this spot hardly ever gets sun. Perhaps an hour or two in the height of summer. So the snow and ice melts very slowly and hangs around in the water. It's absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.

We also hiked to St. Mary's Falls. 

St. Mary's Falls

After driving Going-To-The-Sun Road over Logan Pass, we hiked through some western cedars up Avalanche Creek to Avalanche Lake.
Avalanche Creek

Avalanche Lake

After leaving the Park, we visited Flathead Lake. A lake famous for being crystal clear even when it gets really deep. We didn't get to go out on it, but even from the shore (which was just smooth stones, no mud) we could tell that they weren't lying to us about the clearness.
Flathead Lake.

Hungry Horse Reservoir at daybreak. One of our camping sites.

We left Montana and headed south back down through Grand Teton National Park. These are mountains that I love immensely. They are striking in their shape and beauty and the fact that they spring up out of nowhere as the tallest thing for many miles.

Our last morning was a foggy one, I ended up with a really neat shot:

It was an amazing trip. I want to go back and stay in that area for months. I want to backpack and get lost for days in Glacier. Alas, we left the animals here and had to return. Oh and the whole job thing.

Next year.

06 September 2013

Today I really miss an old friend. We would talk for hours. Sometimes a mite awkwardly, but generally very agreeably. We discussed politics and religion, even though we differed on both. I know I've written about him before. I just miss him. And I want to tell him that I've gotten into Parkour. That I've been conditioning and occasionally training with some people. I want to have a long chat over a nice, dark beer. I want him to come with me as he usually did when I got a tattoo. (Not that I'm getting another any time soon.)

I know he is doing what he most wanted to do. He is being true to himself which is the most important thing a person can do. And I am doing it too. I just wish we were still in contact.

04 September 2013

goodbye and hello

Last weekend I drove Martin to my parents' house for a final time. Gone are the days of four wheel drive, of being able to see into other cars. Gone is the tradition of Nissan Pathfinder. I now am the owner of a Toyota Corolla. It's pretty exciting to learn to drive something so small and very exciting to pay so much less for gas. But then there's the car payments. Ah well. One thing I couldn't forgo was the manual transmission. So that's a comfort.

I meant to take a last photo of the old Pathfinder. But alas, I forgot. I also meant to take some photos of the new car. I guess I'll get to those later.

This weekend we're taking it for an inaugural drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Hopefully it can handle that road.

19 August 2013

Bein' Crafty

I made some minimal shoes. Moccasins actually. I used this guy's blog as my basic design, but modified a couple of things.

I bought some nice thin (perhaps too thin) deer hide and a couple of tools. I actually didn't end up needing an awl to punch sewing holes, because the hide was so thin and soft.

I began with a pattern made out of an old pillow case to make sure of the measurements rather than wasting the hide.
pattern out of pillow case

buckskin patten
I had to teach myself the pucker stitching technique for the toe. It took some trial and error, and it's still not perfect, but it'll do.
pucker toe stitch is a bitch

I used a running stitch for the other parts. I wet them and wore them for most of a day to get them fit to my feet.
heel tab
uppers sewn on

billows added to the tongue (to keep out debris)
The soles are very thin and needed reinforcement. I couldn't find shoo goo on my first try, so I used another type of glue to affix some sand to the bottom to hopefully keep the soles from wearing through so fast and to add a bit of traction.
glued on sand

I'm pretty happy with this first project of shoe making. These will make great footwear for around camp.


21 July 2013

Another 14er

This weekend was quite fun. And I got a lot into 3 days.

Day 1, Friday: I did some parkour with some friends from work. There is a great place with walls and rails and grass and everything.

Day 2, Saturday: After camping, we woke before dawn and began out assent of Mt. Sherman. It was amazing. I am in love with the trail to Gray's and Torrey's, but I think this hike may have trumped it. It's beautiful. And fairly short (just over 5 miles round trip). And also fairly easy. There were all sorts of old mining buildings, and the day was quite clear and perfect temperature. Really, I don't think I've had a more pleasant time. We summited about 2 hours after starting, so around 8am. We had Liam's sister's tiny dog and she did wonderfully going up, but had to be carried back down. I wore my new (to me) Merrell trail gloves. There were great. Nice and light and thin. I was worried that the bit of arch support they do have would hurt me, but it really didn't. Only the shape was a bit odd so that my arch got poked by a few rocks above where the sole ended. I think that Vivobarefoot still has the minimal sole down best.

Day 2 ended with steak, beer and Ewan McGregor (in Jack the Giant Slayer).

Day 3, Sunday: Almost attended Colorado Springs Pride, but they charged to park. Almost drove up Pike's Peak, but the traffic was awful. Instead, napped, ate.

Not looking forward to going back to "real life"

reflection and mine and summit.

Zorro up the ridge. 
trail gloves at the summit

Liam with Zorro at the summit. 
carrying Emma down. Sherman in the background.

17 July 2013

Remember how I have an addiction to minimal footwear? Yeah, I got another pair of shoes to add to my collection.

I now have 3 pairs of Vivobarefoot. One pair is slightly on the small side and I wear them to work. One is for winter hiking, and the other are new and I shall likely use them for parkour/exercise/everything. I have a pair of Unshoes sandals that I use for playing in the water and also for hiking. I have a pair of Cushe shoes that aren't quite minimal, but they have a barefoot feel. They're the casual walkabout shoes. And my newest addition is a pair of Merrell trail gloves. I got them for an incredible price on ebay. I have decided to delegate them as hiking shoes, but I'm not sure if they'll actually pass the test, I may resell them. You see, for a barefoot shoe they have a very high arch. Unnecessary. It sort of hurts. So we'll see. Headed for another 14er this weekend, I'll test them on the decent. Great thing about minimal shoes is that they're a breeze to carry around.

15 July 2013

I wonder if I can paint a picture with a few words here.

We were up before dawn. And it was chilly, not in a debilitating way, but in an invigorating way. We had hiked this trail several times and shared it with several people each time. That's because it's a popular 14er hike; fairly easy and close to Denver. We were hiking Torrey's Peak. As I said, it was invigorating.

And I thought we were making decent time. I was in my unshoes sandals. (fantastic for climbing, but I changed into vivos for the decent.) So some think I'm a bit odd for baring my toes on a 14er. Then we spied him.

He was tall. And he was wearing flip flops. But those actually weren't the first things I noticed about him. The things I noticed first were his leg warmers. They were pink leopard print and shaggy. A close second were his pants. Er... underpants? They were small and tight and bore a red and orange flame pattern.

He was loudly lamenting that his flip flops were just fine, except that he'd chipped his toenail polish. And indeed, his lime green lacquer was in quite a sorry state.

His fabulosity (my own word) actually may have outshone the exultation of summiting my 5th 15er. Alas that I didn't get a photo of him. I'm sure he would have loved it had I asked.

I do have other photos of the hike though.
Columbines with Torreys Peak

Summit of Torrey's Peak
Summit of Torreys. Grays on the left. Unshoes on the right.

28 June 2013

Win some, Lose some.

While I am happy that DOMA is now defunct, I must say that marriage is not and has never been my schtick. It's nice to see some equality happen, but it's only the bare minimum.

The same day that the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA they also struck down part of the voting rights law. This is the one that came about through the civil right movement. You know, the one that allowed people of color equal voting rights. The changes don't make it legal to discriminate or limit anyone from voting, but some of the protections are now gone.

Okay, that's a bit of a sidetrack, but still important. What I really want to say is while marriage is not my fight, trans issues are. Not in a militant way, but they are simply more important to me and should not be left out of equality discussions. 

On his show, Colbert brought up that with all of this recent coverage of LGBT rights etc, people are starting to wonder what the last two letters mean. Specifically the T. Sure, people know what it stands for, but not what it means. Even LGB people often don't think the T should be a part of the movement. 

I don't like to play the victim card, because I don't see myself as a victim. However, I do know that many- if not most- trans people are victims. Victims of hate, physical violence, sexual violence, self-hate and all forms of discrimination. And yet there are very few actual laws protecting trans people. In fact, in the UK it's a criminal offense to be a trans person and have sex without disclosing one's status. This is horrendous and unsafe. There are numerous cases of physical violence going unpunished because of the "gay defense." Basically, turning homophobia and transphobia into self-defense. And the opposite. A trans woman defended herself from physical racial and transphobic violence and ended up in prison for murder. A male prison I might add.

These are things that not everyone hears about. These are inhumanities happening right under out noses. And while I'm not generally outspoken about all of this, I think I need to be; more people need to be.

So while I celebrate a bit of a victory for the LGBT community regarding federally recognized marriages, my heart still aches for those who are fired, beaten, killed, homeless, hungry, unemployed and suicidal due to their gender identities.

(If you want sources for any of the things I've mentioned, just ask.

26 June 2013

Damn, I really need to write more.

Last weekend the boyfriend and I went climbing. It was my first time since I was 13 or so. It was his first time ever. It was amazing and well worth the (discounted) price. Now to find some friends who are already outfitted so we can tag along every now and then.

Liam and our guide dude. for scale.


I'm alergic to heat. Perhaps I should just move more north and deal with the dark winters. Anything is better than the oppression and fires that come with summer.

I feel tired. And spent. I think I'm too young to feel this old. I need a vacation. A proper one.

18 June 2013

Pridefest was a bit different this year. I didn't feel pulled in so many directions by so many people. Three friends came into town and stayed at our place. Usually there are around ten that spread between two or three residences. It gets rough. But it was nice this year to keep things a bit more low-key. And the weather was perfect. No sunburns. And I had purple hair for a bit. Actually, I still do. Apparently my job doesn't care as I was worried it might. I cut it though, now it's just vaguely spotted.

10 June 2013

memories of hay

The smell of fresh hay brings many memories flooding back to me. It's odd how smell does that.

One memory is of horses. Or course. Prior to buying my own horse, I worked on a ranch. My memory is of ridding the back of a 6-wheeler and tossing flakes of hay over an electrified fence for horses wooly with winter hair. My breath puffed out with each toss. The horses ahead of us nickered impatiently for breakfast.

Another memory of hay is driving the old (very old) tractor slowly (very slowly) around the field. My dad paid to have the hay cut and baled, but we had to pick it up ourselves. So I drove (steered really) while my dad and brother wrangled bales onto the trailer.

The last memory was one that recently eluded me when I smelled hay. The smell ignited the feel of a place, but it took me some time to figure out what I was remembering. It was a vast, low roofed shed. Dim and dusty. The most pervasive smell was not of hay, that was the underlying one. It smelled of sheep. They have a very distinct smell. Much like the smell of new leather. And the shed was full of them. Most of them 'ma-a-ing' contentedly as their lambs nuzzled close. It was lambing season -April probably- and I was perhaps 10.

Lambing season on a sheep ranch is a hectic time of year. Hundreds of ewes can easily give birth to twins and be on their way, but some have difficulties, or have triplets. My job was to care for the 'bummer' lambs; the orphans. They were kept together in a pen near the front of the shed. Here some natural light came through the open east side, but no chilly winds. The fence around the bummer pen was only a couple feet high so there was no gate. I spent hours leaning over that low fence, or climbing it and crouching among the tiny sheep. Every couple of hours, I would go to the crock pot near the pen and pull out the bottles of warming milk. I would attached a nipple to the tops of them and then disperse the contents to the lambs. They were generally very eager, greedy even; butting against the bottle and each other. It was my job to make sure each of them got the proper amount. And some of them were younger, weaker, shyer. So I would have to remove them from the pen and spend time with them; coaxing them to explore the black rubber nipple. Once they realized it was good, I rarely had to remind them again.

The rancher told me of a trick they often used to get ewes to adopt bummer lambs. The process of giving birth apparently takes a lot out of a mother, so the ewes were often very deficient in salts. Generally, they were supplied with a salt lick. However, when a ewe's lambs died or if she only had one, the ranchers would coat a bummer or two with salt and put them in a pen together. The ewe would eagerly lick the lamb and after a time it would smell like her, and she would take it in as her own.

I took home the ones that couldn't be grafted, and completed the process as a surrogate mother. Usually I only had 2 at a time, but occasionally up to 5. I gave biblical names to most the lambs. Names like Daniel and David, Esther, Ruth. Also there was Loni, Holmes, Little One, Quark. And many more I do not remember.

Some I had to feed every 4 hours. I even had to set an alarm to feed them in the middle of the night.

Davey came down with an odd paralysis in his hid legs and I would walk him around while supporting his rear end. He recovered from it and everyone was very surprised. Little One was a constant companion. She was one of the tiny ones I had to feed ever 4 hours. Occasionally, I'd have to give them Pepito-bismal or cod liver oil. Even injections. They were my projects. Many of them did not survive to adulthood, but many more than would have had I not taken them in. When they were nearly a year old, I would sell them back to the rancher and he would pay me by the pound.
Little One and me, age 11 perhaps. 

I still like sheep. And I still have fond memories of the lambing shed. They are silly animals. Not smart, but quite endearing.

Perhaps I'll move to New Zealand and join their largest industry. I wonder if job experience counts when it's been 15+ years.

30 May 2013

This month will be good.

Comic Con this weekend.

14er next weekend.

Then Pride/ out of town friends.

So good.

I just have to survive the workdays in between.

25 May 2013

Today was grand. We hiked up part of Mt. Bross. Then we slid down it.

And then I got to see a good friend I had in high school. We were rather ridiculous and creative and I miss those times.

23 May 2013

Self-pity is an easy thing. I struggle not to feel sorry for myself nearly every day. Because there really is  no reason. I've got it good.

I think it's the lack of change that wears on me. The idea that this is the norm. 40 hours a week. Come home. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Drive the same roads. Buy gas. Buy groceries. Watch Netflix. Spend hours on tumblr.

The only saving grace is getting out to hike on the one weekend day Liam and I share.

It's getting hot out, so soon it'll be even worse.

Nothing like binding and layering while drenched in sweat...

This is the life I choose. I must choose to change it, if change is what I need.

(my new mantra.)

Being stagnant is easy. Self-pity is easy. Apathy is easy.

I tend to like easy. And hate myself.

I must change my normal.

22 May 2013

Last winter my cat died. It wasn't a huge deal for me because he lived with my parents. He was very old, close to 20 actually. I got him as a kitten when I was 10 or so. He was an indoor/outdoor cat so his age was even more astounding. Most of our cats only live for around 8 years.

Anyhow, my mom kept a catnip plant for him and whatever cats we had at the same time. She even transplanted it when we moved. He hoarded it. He would lie in the bush and eat it and swat at anything that came near. He'd get sluggish and drugged up and snag my pant legs with a single claw. It was very clearly his catnip.

My mother informed me that this spring the perennial catnip did not return. Apparently Patrick and the catnip were symbionts.

13 May 2013

I had a taste of who I once was this weekend.  I was something of an activist in college and the year or so following. This weekend I was invited to a 10 year anniversary of the non-profit I interned with and traveled with to Kenya. It was almost surreal to revisit that stage of my life. I saw almost no one I knew, as the people have changed over the years, and of course so have I. It was odd in many ways to revisit my past. It was odd to see the few people I did know now that I've transitioned. For their part, they made it entirely not awkward at all. It was refreshing.

It got me thinking about my life though. When I was 20 and a few years beyond all I wanted was to work with an international humanitarian non-profit. And to some extent I still do, but I've lost much of the drive. I now know that money actually is important to have a least some of. I know that most non-profits do not pay very well, especially with only a bachelor's degree.

So I got to thinking about furthering my education. Again. I just don't like traditional education. I don't think I got much out of it in my 16 years in school. I certainly had some good times and I do like learning, but I am unsure if I want to revisit that part of my life. Especially now that going to grad school would be complicated by my long absence from university and my transition.

Anyhow, I had a bit of nostalgia and it was nice to share that part of my life with Liam. I know that my involvement with that project is past, but it was fun to look back.
The winning team. Football at St. Luke's School in Western Kenya.

11 May 2013


So I obviously haven't been doing the word of the day every day. But when a word I find interesting comes along, I like to do it. Though I seem to save them for the weekend. And, I don't have sentences for them. It's odd. I've had these words sitting here and I think they're fun words, but I don't have anything to say about them. so.

droll \drohl\, adjective:
1. amusing in an odd way; whimsically humorous; waggish.

logomachy \loh-GOM-uh-kee\, noun:
1. a dispute about or concerning words.
2. an argument or debate marked by the reckless or incorrect use of words; meaningless battle of words.

23 April 2013

Well, this last week or so has been pretty back and forth. Much like the weather. Work has been mostly hellish. We have heaps of new protocols dealing with a bit of an issue in the dog population. Things won't be back to normal for several weeks. Hopefully our lungs don't burn from all the bleach before then. Also, hopefully we won't all kill each other with the added stresses.

I amazingly got an interview at the Equine branch of my shelter. IT was nice to be among horses again. Alas, I did not get the job, or even the day-long working interview I was promised. But I think I'll try to get a volunteer position there. See how that goes.

And the weather. I'm tired of turning the heat on and off. Because I always forget until I'm in bed, either freezing because of the sudden snowstorm or hot with the widows open. All I hope is that this moisture makes the summer bearable and not on fire.

I want to go hiking. Climbing 14ers, parkour. Anything. Then it snows again and turns everything cold then muddy.

I want/need to write. I don't know how to find a muse again and it's painful to force myself. But I feel that I must. Or I will never write again.

15 April 2013


chuffed \chuhft\, adjective:
1. annoyed; displeased; disgruntled.
2. delighted; pleased; satisfied.

When the baby was placed in his arms, he looked awfully chuffed. 

If it were me, it's definition #1. I really enjoy this word. Another is egregious. I don't know why it is that the English language has allowed for words to be their own antonym.

05 April 2013

Shoe fetish

As you may know I am a shoe enthusiast. Not like most gay men, though. I enjoy a rather different variety of shoes. Minimal/barefoot shoes.

I really enjoy Vivos and I have two pairs. The first I got when I began parkour and the second was for winter hiking etc because they are waterproof. I got the first pair very snug as I figured it would be best if they didn't slip around. A good idea. However, my feet seem to have seized the freedom I've granted them and grown a bit. Now these first shoes pinch my smallest toe a bit. (This could get expensive if my feet keep growing!)

I also have a pair of minimal sandals from Unshoes.  They are good for everything except when it's very cold and parkour.

I decided I wanted a more casual shoe, not an athletic one. So I bought a pair of Cushe shoes. They are not as minimal in the sole as Vivos, but they still have the barefoot feel. They have a nice, wide toe box and no raised heel. They are very comfortable.

As always, I never pay full price for my shoes. I got them all (except the custom fit Unshoes) from the Clymb. There are many good deals there.

Anyhow. I've embraced -- rather, re-embraced-- the barefoot/minimal shoe lifestyle. And I love it. But I need a new pair of trainers now, because my feet apparently love it too much.

On Fog

I wrote this in college and was reminded of it by this post

I look upon a foggy day, not as one depressed by such weather. Some think of the fog as a lurking, evil thing that clouds the senses. I, however, consider it a magnifying glass. Through fog I can see the land more clearly. Its dampness adds shine to otherwise dull things. Its coolness brings relief. The darkness which travels with it clarifies the light. Yes, the fog swirls about and obstructs things, but through indirect exposition, one can learn much more. Great mystery can be discovered and resolved in fog. The mists each tell a strand of any given story. The cool touch on my brow; the sweet, refreshing scent; the almost plausible mass of air; each shows me life in new ways. The sun shines through, layering down to the earth, illuminating the wisps. It clarifies the darkness. It eats away at the envelopment, tearing the white mass to tiny, diminishing threads. Each melts, revealing a stark, clean world that one may see far across. But the cool comfort of the fog is gone. Only bare exposure remains. To haunt. 

04 April 2013

An essay in defense of my workplace

Some may hate me because they know that "no-kill" is not attached to the name of the shelter where I work. They may know nothing else about the place but that.

I want to clarify things. "No-kill" is a misnomer. And it must mean that if we aren't "no-kill" we are a "kill" shelter. So what does that make someone who is not "pro-life"?

So what does "no-kill" mean?

 "No-kill" shelters are generally limited admission shelters. Their population often gets stagnant because they have unadoptable animals. This means that they often actually turn animals away because they don't have room.
My shelter is what is called an open admission shelter. We take any animal brought to us. We even take animals from "no-kill" shelters so that they can have more room. We've received boxes of kittens that people have found in the parking lots of "no-kill" shelters. We are able to do this for several reasons. The first is the huge facility. It is one of the top three largest animal shelters in America (and therefore, likely, the world.) Another reason is that we have an amazing marketing team that facilitates animals leaving the shelter. There is a third reason, but I'll get to that.

We have one of the highest live release rates of any shelter. This means that more animals leave out the front door with happy people than most any shelter (including "no-kill" ones!) We have achieved this high rate mostly due to our numerous behaviour programs. We have programs for dogs with fear, barrier aggression, food aggression, etc. We even have programs for cats with similar behavioral issues. We also have an awesome team of veterinarians and vet techs who keep the animals healthy. Because of our generous resources, we can treat most illnesses in dogs and cats and we perform many major surgeries. Many shelters do not have the time, space or resources to treat health or behaviour problems. These animals are most often marked for euthanasia. "No-kill" shelters still euthanize animals for health reasons. The behavioural ones are often kept around indefinitely (or transferred to a shelter like mine.)

And now that point I said I'd come back to. Yes, at my shelter we perform euthanasia. This does not make us a "kill" shelter. It makes us humane. There are basically two reasons to euthanize an animal: health and behaviour. As I previously stated, we treat most physical ailments and work out behaviour problems. But there are things we cannot fix.

Old age. Many animals are relinquished to us or found in their old age. Their bodies are failing and they are euthanized humanely. There are a few other health problems that we cannot help. Heart conditions, neurological conditions, massive trauma, chronic illness, genital defects. There are others, but in each case, euthanasia is the only humane route.

The behaviour marks are admittedly the most difficult. However, they are also rather rare. For dogs it's generally aggression. We work through food aggression and fear aggression, but it is unwise and irresponsible to allow a dog with a history of aggression towards people or other dogs out into the general public.

We do happen to be located in a city with a pit bull ban, so we cannot adopt them out to anyone. However, we work closely with several other shelters who are not in the city who generally take the pits from us. It is a very good thing.

Anyhow, all these things add up to my good fortune to work in a large facility with all the resources needed to keep our life release rate higher than most shelters. No, I do not work at a "no-kill" shelter. I work at a shelter much better than that. And even though I am at times dissatisfied with my job, I am glad to have one at such a place.

27 March 2013


I don't write much because life's been pretty stagnant. And also, I apparently have lost the ability to put words together on a page.

Anyhow, this past weekend we went to Utah. It was fantastic. It took a couple extra hours to cross the passes with all the snow, but Utah was mostly snow-free. It was a bit chilly at night, but we had fun anyhow.

Here are photos: