First New Food

Valentine’s Day weekend was an eventful weekend for the 30 Before 30 list. I was able to cross a few things off.  Trying a new food was one of those things.

On the Saturday morning, I tried an “El Diablo” hot chocolate from the Fire Roasted Coffee Company. It’s a hot chocolate made from their own homemade 75% dark chocolate, steamed milk, chili pepper and whipped cream. It is also topped off with red pepper flakes. It had a very unique flavour and while I can’t say I hated it, I didn’t love it either. I’m not sure I would get it again. I’ve wanted to try it for awhile, and now I can say I have at the very least.

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The presentation of the drink was quite lovely though and I definitely liked looking at it while working up the courage to drink it. I wonder what my next new food will be. There are only four more to go!

Got our Tickets!

On February 13th, Jay was able to get his hands on tickets to Forest City Comicon 2015.  As a result, we are on our way to completing number ONE on my 30 Before 30 list. Announcements for celebrity guests will be happening later this year into the summer months. I am excited to hear who might be there.

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I also thought this was pretty nifty: We bought ticket numbers 1 and 2 for the event! Super cool! :)

Catching Up: Doctor Who

This past week I finally started watching season 8 of Doctor Who. I know it started in August and it has been done for a while, but for some reason I have a tendency to wait until the season is over. I then start to binge watch it at a minimum of 2-3 episodes at a time.  This has happened again with this latest season of Doctor Who. I am five episodes in and I think Peter Capaldi is brilliant as the twelfth doctor. He is very different, but at the same time he is most definitely still the Doctor. I don’t know that they could have cast a better Twelve.

In the spirit of catching up on Doctor Who, I also caught up with my comic collecting. Back in October during the first Forest City Comicon I purchased the first issue of the Twelfth Doctor’s adventures by Titan Comics. I actually posted about it here as I was very excited about it. I didn’t think much of it after that, but a couple of weekends ago we were in a local comic book shop (L.A. Mood) and found more.  When I bought the first one for some reason I didn’t stop to think that there would be more to follow. Anyways, we found two of the four that were released there and then found the last at Heroes, another local comics shop. They are two great places to spend some time on a Saturday, by the way!

I now have all four current issues, and the plan is to go out and buy the latest one this weekend and continue on with my collection, not having to spend time catching up like this again.

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A Fangirl Moment – First of 2015!

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Jay and I always do a little something for it; it’s never anything big, but always a nice little something. This year he knocked it out of the park. He managed to come up with something totally unexpected but totally amazing. Something I had planned to purchase myself when the time came, so I hadn’t mentioned it to him before.

He preordered You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) for me. It’s Felicia Day’s memoir.

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If you’re not familiar with who Felicia Day is, she is basically the ultimate girl geek. Gamer, actress, writer, entrepreneur, you name it, she is it. She started a YouTube channel and online community called Geek and Sundry, which I follow. She has been on Supernatural and she was in Joss Whedon’s Doctor Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog along with Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion awhile back. She is a very confident and successful person and she’s just a big inspiration to me.

I am very excited for my new book to arrive in August when it is finally released and I am fangirling just a little bit!

Reading All of the Books!

To move forward with the 30 before 30 project, I realized that there are a number of things that I need to do and put in place to really make it happen. One of these things was making lists. Many lists to keep track of all the things and to figure out some starting points. The first list I tackled after the initial list of things I need to do to get started, was the list of books I own that I haven’t read yet. I had to go through my shelf and make a list of books I have yet to read. It took a bit of time as my bookshelf is quite full. My book collection used to be much larger too, believe it or not. Many of my books are in storage currently, and a couple of years back I donated some and sold many more to a used book store for credit to buy yet more books. To put it plainly, I love reading and my home would simply feel empty without the books I have in it.

I was actually surprised at how few books there are in my bookshelf that I haven’t read. There were exactly 3:

  1. The Plague Dogs – by Richard Adams
  2. The English Patient – by Michael Ondaatje
  3. The Phantom of the Opera – by Gaston Leroux

I feel like this task will be daunting, nevertheless I am going to do it! They are slightly heavier reads, being that they are mostly classics. I will come out triumphant and will be very excited to be able to cross this off my list when it is accomplished. Let’s get this project started. :)

30 Before 30

In light of my approaching 29th birthday, I have noticed a few things cropping up around the internet that I hadn’t paid attention to previously. The most prominent of these has been “30 Before 30″ lists, or lists very similar. These are obviously lists of things to do/accomplish before turning 30. Seeing these has inspired me to create my own.

I had created a list previous to this one, but it was a little too ambitious for me to accomplish in a year. So, I revised it a little bit, and what you will see is the final version. Over the next thirteen months, I will chronicle the process of accomplishing the things on this list. It should be fun!

I’ve split it up into different categories because I thought it would be cool, and because it made it more fun for me,: the geeky girl who loves lists. Anyways, here it is, in all of its categorized glory. (And yes, many of my plans from my “firsts and learning” post are incorporated in one way or another!)

[Adventurer]
1. Attend Forest City Comicon 2.0 (October 18, 2015)
2. Have a good old fashioned picnic.
3. Go on a hike.
4. Go to the beach for the day.

[Creative]
5. Stop using phone for blog photography.
6. Finish Vintage Colt WIP
7. Finish Bird of Hope WIP
8. Learn to crochet, start a blanket, arm covers for the couch.
9. Make/acquire art piece(s) for bedroom (even just updated photos).

[Experience]
10. Volunteer somewhere – either a one off event, or continuously.
11. Learn to drive standard.

[Financial]
12. Pay down at least $10K of my current debt.
13. Put some money away in savings.

[Smarts]
14. Read all of the books I own that I haven’t read yet.
15. Take a creative writing course.
16. Read 2 non-fiction books.
17. Read 5 contemporary fiction books before I revisit the usual classics.
18. Learn at least one new thing every month.

[Health Nut]
19. Save up enough money to attend yoga weekly (projected start April 2, 2015, continue twice a month until then)
20. Lose 15lbs, keep it off.
21. Make walking a part of my daily routine.
22. Cook 10 new, healthy and interesting meals, integrate the best ones into regular meal rotation.

[Foodie]
23. Try 3 local restaurants I’ve never tried before (don’t need to be fancy).
24. Bake a cheesecake.
25. Try 5 brand new foods.

[Misc]
26. Write a blog post a week.
27. Donate blood for the first time.
28. Go out for ice cream.
29. See 12 movies I have never seen before.
30. Buy my first board game, host a game night.

Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments!

Update: I’ve created a page here for tracking my overall progress. You can find it under the Hobbies & Projects link across the top of my page.

Ramblings of a Non-News Follower…

I couldn’t think of a whole lot to write about this week in regards to my usual blogging topics. Except…then I remembered I am trying to blog about more things in general… like life and happenings. So I am going to try that.

The flu season has hit our area full force this year now, and our household is no different. We have been dealing with the flu at home for the past week. We are in recovery mode now, thankfully, and hopefully we won’t have to deal with it again this season.  This was a particularly hard week in terms of the illness, as neither of us have had anything worse than a cold or a minor infection in many…many years. New lessons were learned for all of us this year in terms of dealing with more serious illnesses…and…getting older and dealing with them. We definitely aren’t 20 anymore, and don’t bounce back nearly as quickly as we used to. That was a hard pill to swallow.

Not only has that happened to us, but lots of things have been going on in the news this past week that have been pretty interesting to me. It has been a long time since I have paid attention to the news or to events resembling news. For some reason this past week was different. There were a few things that caught my interest and got me thinking.

First thing, on January 22 there was a first-time-ever event that took place on YouTube. It was called “YouTube Asks Obama.” It was an event where three top YouTube personalities (Hank Green, GloZell Green and Bethany Mota) were able to interview the President of the United States in real-time, inside the White House. It was a pretty cool concept, in my opinion. I know I’m not American, and things like this don’t really have a direct effect on me and mine, but it was interesting to me nonetheless. I watched it the following morning. I thought it very well done. They claimed that Obama had not seen any of the questions in advance of the actual interviews, but I am personally kind of skeptical of that. He was asked some questions you would expect him to stumble a little bit over, and his answers seemed a little rehearsed, like he had time to think about an answer in advance. Regardless, I think it was something great that catered to younger people. I read somewhere that the US has a similar issue with engaging younger voters as Canada has, and I think this event could go a long way toward inspiring interest in politics in young voters. Maybe they could do something like this with the Prime Minister here in Canada… I’d totally watch that too! Anyways, American or not, I do recommend watching it. It has been posted on the White House’s YouTube channel. And check out some of the YouTubers themselves. They’re really out there making names for themselves. In fact, Hank Green posted a really interesting little article on Medium about his experience and the relevance of mainstream news media in this day and age.

On Friday, a co-worker said something interesting to me: “Did you hear that the Doomsday Clock is 2 minutes closer to midnight?” Of course, I responded I had not, seeing as I am not a huge follower of news. As soon as I was able, I took to the internet and Google to suss things out for myself. Turns out the clock was moved from five minutes to midnight to three minutes to midnight – with midnight being symbolic doom for humanity and the earth, of course.  The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board has done this because the world has failed to reduce its “nuclear arsenal” as well as due to climate change. The hands on the clock haven’t been moved since 2012, so this was a pretty big deal – relatively speaking. It’s also the closest it has been to proverbial Doomsday since 1984, still in the midst of the Cold War. I dunno, this is interesting news in the sense of what it implies, but it really doesn’t affect everyday life for any of us. Personally, when I hear the words doomsday clock, all I can really think about is the Doomsday Clock in Watchmen! Speaking of which, I think it just might be time to pull that one out for my viewing pleasure again. It has been quite awhile…

For the techies in my midst… Windows 10: The Next Chapter aired as a live stream on the internet on the 21st, showing what`s happening with Windows 10, Microsoft’s next operating system. It shared new features coming available in the technical preview including the ability to seamlessly switch between devices (i.e. from laptop to tablet to phone), the use of Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant who learns things about you and tailors herself to you, and a new web browser. Because we all just LOVE Internet Explorer and would just HATE to see it go the way of the dodo…  There were also some other cool things that they introduced… the biggest one being the Hololens which has some really exciting implications. You can read some stuff about it here. I’m kind of excited for Windows 10. Jay is running the technical preview they have released to Windows Insiders, and it’s looking better and better with each new release. A lot of the things they got wrong with Windows 8, it seems like they are getting those things right with this new upcoming release of Windows 10. Did I mention ALL Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1 users get a free upgrade for the first year?! Even better!

There. I’ve written a whole blog post about things I have never written about before. It was kind of fun actually. I will have to do this again! :)

Revisiting Bird of Hope

It’s been over a year since I stopped to take a look at it.

This past year I have had very little motivation to cross stitch even though I have missed doing it. It is really a perfect winter activity too.

So, this is where it was left around December 2013:

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It’s will be quite nice once it’s finished. The colours are really quite pretty. When I get around to finally finishing it, anyway…

It will happen…one day… :)

A Year of Firsts and Learning

The new year brings many things for many people: fresh starts for some, and new plans and goals for others. Some of the take the form of the “New Year’s Resolution”. The resolution isn’t really my thing. I think it is to much of a cliché to even bother with. But I DO tend to make new plans and create new goals for myself. Sometimes they have to do with things I want, things I want to do, or slightly more abstract things like self-improvement. I’m not really on for things like getting healthy and losing weight. I feel like these are things I work on anyway, however slow the process. I like to make my plans and goals a little more specific… Or a lot more in some cases.

Here is a snapshot of the kinds of plans and goals I have been making for 2015. As the title of this post states, they have themes of learning and firsts, sometimes both together.

Firsts:
Attend Rib fest
Attend a play during the Fringe Festival
Get the tomato situation right in my garden
Submit a photo to an online collective
Go for a hike at the Fanshawe Conservation Area

Learning:
Learn to crochet
Take a writing course
Learn to balance my hobbies, start stitching again
Take full control of how I live my life

I chose these ‘firsts’ because I want to try new things. I played things a little too safe last year, and I have the goal of changing that this year. My main goal is to be a little more adventurous and open to new things this year. I spent much of last year hiding from life, and just don’t think that’s an option this year. These plans help me to accomplish this goal, as they are all things that are completely new to me. I’ve been to local festivals but never Rib fest. We strolled through last year but never participated. I’ve always wanted to see a live play here in my city and I think Fringe is the perfect opportunity. In four years, I’ve yet to grow a successful tomato. That will happen this year. I kind of pot my photography practice on hold late last year, but I intend to pick it back up and put my work out there, and I thought submitting an image to The Broken Light Collective is the perfect way to start. Finally, I’ve never been on a proper hike and I’ve never been to the Fanshawe Conservation Area. I want to spend more time outside. BOOM. Two firsts in one!

Through 2014, I discovered how much I was actually missing learning. Learning in all forms. I decided to start learning again. I started last year by taking an online comic books course. I am continuing this year with the learning trend. I need to keep my mind busy! Starting January 12, Jay and I see taking an online course together in astrobiology. I’m excited as I think it will be very interesting. Jay is excited for it as well. For myself though, I have set up a few more plans for learning some new stuff. As I love writing, but don’t think I write all that week, I plan to take a writing course. Improving my writing skills, even if just technically, can only help me! I also have a friend who is going to teach me to crochet. She is always making beautiful things and I want in on that! I’ve actually featured some of her work here on the blog. As much sad I love and miss stitching, I have this urge to learn to make things that can really be useful. I love a good snuggly blanket, and that will be the ultimate goal in learning to crochet. My last two learning plans fall more under the self-improvement category and are therefore a little more abstract at first glance. For me though, they are quite specific. I want to learn to balance my hobbies. I find myself getting overwhelmed trying to do too many things at once, and this year I plan to finally get that under control. Lastly, I plan to take full control of how I live my life. I worry way to much about what others think of me and how/why I do things. This year will be the year of me focusing on being happy with myself, and not showing other people’s thoughts, actions or words dictate how I feel or act. Thus will be huge for me as I really do with far too much about others opinions of me and not nearly enough about my own opinions of myself.

I think 2015 will be a year of personal growth and expansion of my perspectives. It can only be a good thing for me to make these happen and I think I need for them to happen. I am looking forward to learning more about my changing self and sharing my journey and new experiences with Jay. He is so supportive. Much more than I give him credit for. And I love him so much for it. Moving forward together in this new year will be exciting.

The New Year Begins with a Bang

Hello 2015,

You haven’t gotten off to too bad of a start this year. At least I’m not complaining about it yet!

Already, things have been quite busy. This past week has been an overhaul of all of our home tech. Computers cleaned up, dying storage hard drives replaced, computers repaired… It has definitely been productive. And to think, it all started by accident!

My mom brought over one of her laptops saying it was running slow, adding if we could refresh it a bit, get it running better. Jay looked at it, being great with that kind of stuff, and discovered the hard drive was dying. He first aided it, and was able to save it for the time being. In the meantime, we discovered that one of our own hard drives was on the brink of death. This turned into a frenzy of backing up data and the like (which is never a bad thing)!

So our ailing hard drive was replaced, and my mom’s computer saved. That left our own computers. We have several in the house, as it is kind of a hobby of Jay’s. It’s convenient when weeks like this happen. Jay installed a Windows 10 preview on a netbook (it’s pretty nice!), dual booted the other with Android, and cleaned up the desktop on his main computer. Awesome, right!? And then there was mine…

There have been storage concerns with my computer for awhile, and it has been running progressively more sluggish over the last while. These storage issues were to the extent of not being able to figure our where approximately 100GB of my used storage was being used! It’s a treat though because you see, my computer is a Macbook Pro running Windows. It has been dual booted with Mac OS X and Windows for the last three years because Mac OS X and I had some disagreements… Several in fact. Anyway, my computer got a complete refresh. Fresh install of Mac OS and fresh install of Windows. It’s running quite nicely now…and guess what! No more storage issues! Turns out a few other things were broken as well…minor things like my headphone jack not lighting up like it’s supposed to, and my Bluetooth not working. These were things I didn’t even know were broken. But they are working now, and my computer is running quite nicely. It will be ready for some blogging in no time (yes, I’m writing this from the app on my phone). I already miss blogging from my PC!

So how’s that for a fresh start in the new year? Our computers our all working as they should again!

I should also add that after a very warm and green Christmas, the winter weather has arrived. Time to bundle up!