Monthly Archives: March 2011

Rise to the challenge on Vimeo

I’m so proud to be a Sun Devil.

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Earth Hour

It's onesie time.

It’s that time of year again where we’re encouraged to turn off our lights and electronics for an hour to raise awareness of global climate change.  I think it’s a noteworthy event to participate in although I exercise frugalness of light usage on a daily basis any ways.

In the past it’s also been a time of alcohol consumption, dancing and costume wearing.  This year will be no different.  I’m not sure if you’re all aware that my lovely pink onesie made it across the pond.  It was impossible for me to give up.  I haven’t worn it since I came over here and I think tonight is the perfect opportunity to do so.  I’m noticing it’s a little snug around my butt, but I’m hoping I’ve just forgotten how tight it is rather than admitting that my butt has gotten bigger.

For tonight’s event I will also be suspending my music challenge for the hour. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to have any electronics on, but I turn off the monitor on my laptop and just put on a dance tunes mix.  So it’s cheating, but not totally cheating.

Tonight’s beverage consumption will be that of cider and bitter as that’s what I have available.

So, if you remember at 8:30 PM tonight, turn your electronics goods off for an hour and remember how precious Mother Earth is!  For more information about it, click here.

And for a quick Music challenge update, I’ve made it into the Bs.  I’m deep into my Beatles catalogue with Beck immediately to follow.  Good times!  Must prepare for the hour dance party.  I only have 24 minutes to go!  Have fun everybody.

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Cycling to silence

Current song:  Amy Winehouse “Me & Mr. Jones”

Out in the Lancashire Countryside

My cycle ride to the south yesterday didn’t go to plan.  I wanted to go to Chester.  Actually, I wanted to cross the Welsh boarder so I could officially say I’ve cycled to another country.  But  these things didn’t happen.  Instead I had to settle for a circling of the outer areas of Liverpool and then into the city center.
But it wasn’t a wash.  I got lost.  I had 2 maps with me, which gave me a rough idea I was, but there were a lot of times I couldn’t have told you where I was on the maps.  And nowadays, with gps and our highly connected society, it is rather refreshing to know I can still get lost in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.  It means you can put to use those navigation skills we as internet connected humans don’t often get to use.  And when you get lost on a bike, the only way out is lots of exerted energy.   So it’s a worthwhile learning experience.  And really there’s no way to lose.  I can give up being lost, find a train station 15 minutes later, and be sipping on a cold adult beverage in Liverpool within an hour.

I am looking forward to a lot more bike trips in the next couple months.  I have a few in mind and there are some wonderful trails to do here in the North.  How lucky am I to live in England and be blessed with Sustrans!?  What a tremendous asset they are to this country.  Without them, I would have struggled to get most of the way to Liverpool yesterday, or I would have ended up on some busy, unsafe motorways.

So yes, I think the cycle was a success.  I think I’ve calmed my brain down.  The muck of my life strewn on the path between here and Liverpool.  Hoping that it will be enough to have a good weekend of writing and researching.   Just have a lot going on in my brain and in my heart.  Opening myself to the world of possibilities is scary but so rewarding as well!

Any ways, if anyone wants to do a ride with me, please join!  It would be neat to have some company sometimes. And I now know I’m capable of doing about 70 miles in a day.  Probably could do more if someone else is with me and keeping me motivated.  🙂

Still listening to Amy….. I’ve listened to 123 songs out of 4650.  At this rate, I should be finishing this music challenge about August.


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music challenge

Like most upper class, college graduate 20 somethings in the Western world I have a lot of music on my computer.  Most of it being music I quite enjoy, some I hate and force myself to listen to, and some I have no idea where it came from and what it is.  I looked at my song count today and I’m at 4650 songs which would take 12.9 days to play all of it straight through.  Of the 4650, I have 760 that I have never listened to in their entirety.

What I am proposing is to organize my music by artist and starting with the first artist (mine happens to be ABBA’s “Gimme gimme gimme”) and to play the whole lot from beginning to end.  A to Z of Colleen’s iTunes.  I realize I can not play it continuously as, but whenever I have the means, I shall play it in order.  I’m curious to see how long it will take me to get through it and how long until I go crazy from 4 days straight of OAR.  Not to pick on OAR, but you know what I mean.  Sometimes there’s only so much you can stomach of one artist at a time.   Hopefully I will be able to keep my patience.

I will start this experiment at 3 PM GMT (in about 3 minutes).  My last “random” song is going to be Robbie Williams “Millennium” which you can’t get more random on my computer, but is really an excellent song to leave on.  And I won’t be hearing it for quite a while.

I will keep you updated on my progress and my sanity.  Any time I post I will also let you know what song I’m on.  It should be an epic adventure.  Let me know if anyone else has done this and succeeded.  I think I did it in college but I only had about 1000 or less songs at that point.

Off I go!  The things I do to distract myself from school work…….

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I just did 5 full push ups.  And I’m up to 25-30 set (depending on my mood) girl push ups.  This is remarkable advancement.  It’s actually palpable, or noticeable how they are getting easier and easier to do.  I love it.

This is amazing considering how much these usually hurt and how much I hated doing them in general.  Just a year ago.  Both mental and physical victories!

If I can progress with this fast enough, I may add an addition resolution onto this which involves doing a handstand.  I’ve never been able to do a handstand.  And I was more partial to doing a headstand.  I really excelled there.  No better time to learn to do a handstand than now.

I guess I have a new found appreciation to overcoming physical barriers.  Wonder what I’ll want to do next year……

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Deja Vu

I’ve grown tired of posting things on fb today and you probably have as well.  I’ve had two deja vu moments in the last 24 hours.  One was while defrosting the fridge and listening to some tv show in the back ground.  Then I just had another one filling out this job application.

It freaks my freak when that happens.  But it’s almost like there’s a parallel dimension where another me exists and sometimes messages between the two dimensions pass while I’m asleep.  And then there I am remember something that I’ve already thought about.   I wonder what things I’ve done in life that parallel dimension Colleen has gotten messages about.  Or may be nothing at all because I’m behind her?

Any ways, awesome.  I love deja vu.  I say I get a good dose of it every 2 or 3 months on average.  That 2 happened in 24 hours is weird.

That is all.   I’ve got to get back to filling out this job app.  This has to be one of the more painful processes we’ve developed in the western world.

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Push up city

Just following up on my push up success of the other night.   I did 2 sets of 3 full push ups last night.  And this morning I did a full set of 25 girl push ups!  I might even do another set or two later today.

If anything, I think my upper body is getting noticeably beefier.  Well, at least to me it seems as such.  Or maybe I just forgot what muscles looked liked since I haven’t been doing landscaping for the last 7 months.

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Big news

Yes, I have some tremendous news to share with all of you.  You may remember my 7 new years resolutions I set out with in January for 2011.  Well, 7 which became 6 after someone nicked my bike odometer.   One of them was to do 25 full blown push ups by the end of the year.  I think this is the one resolution I have been working the hardest on this year.   I’ve slowly been working my way to a more horizontal position (that sounds bad) with the push ups.  I’ve graduated to “girl” push ups in the last two weeks.  When I was younger I used to detest girl push ups because they were more like baby push ups.  And I totally wasn’t a baby.  Instead I did really crappy real push ups that did nothing for me.  I wasn’t any better off.  So I have been actually enjoying doing the girl push ups the last 2 weeks.  Doing sets of 10 and 15 throughout the day when I feel inspired.

Tonight I decided to try and do a real push up.  Like nose-to-the-ground push up.  And you know what?  I did 2!!!  2!!  And that was enough.  So there is hope that by the end of the year I can do 25.  Maybe I can do even more than that.  The main problem I experience besides pain is that my effed right shoulder moves in the socket and presses against the artery and nerve in my arm.  My whole arms swells and starts to hurt and then goes numb.  So I’m hoping that these push ups will help me develop enough muscle around my socket to keep the ball from moving so much.

That’s all I’ve got on this Saturday.  I’m still working on the same paper.  Yeah, don’t bring it up.  It’s a touchy subject tonight……UK planning policy is not anyway straight forward.  Every time I think I have it under control, I find another authority and another policy and framework and strategy and ugh……..that’s my Saturday.  Have a good night folks!

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Another Friday night here in P-town.  Actually went out for a couple pints tonight, but I wasn’t having the greatest time.  Staring at your pint, watching the level drop slowly as the minutes tick by, contemplating all the other things you could be doing, where you could be doing them and who you would be doing them with.   It’s just kind of depressing. I think going out by myself makes me feel more alone in the end.  I am alright with being alone, but it’s been extra nagging to be alone since I’ve gotten back from Kenya.   While in Kenya, I met some very good people and actually went out for meals, hikes and dancing with them.  So coming back to the alone-ness again is a difficult transition.

I’ve also got so much writing to get done in the next two weeks.  That’s alright, but when you’re feeling a bit meh, it’s more fun to do just about anything.  But if you were ask me to trade back to the life I was leading, I’d say no thank you.  I’d much prefer to be doing this.  Before I came here, I knew it’d be a struggle.   And struggling is accepted.  If I wasn’t struggling and everything was easy I would be concerned.

Any ways,  I should unplug from the library and head to sleep.  I’ll be back here early tomorrow.  I’ve got about 10 pages of writing to do and a lot of research to knock out this weekend.  And then a further 15 pages due by next week.  The fun never ends!

Oh, and if anyone in the UK happens to read this, check out the BBC Comic Relief on BBC iplayer.  They are in Kibera, the slum in Nairobi.  I decided not to go there (well not formally.  I ended up there for a little bit not on purp0se and quickly left) as I thought it was weird to go in there and be a voyeur into people struggling to live everyday.  So watching the Comic Relief documentary is replacing it for me.  And it also makes me want to go back to Kenya.  There was a bit in Human Planet Cities (epic series) episode I was this week about some people literally living in a garbage dump in Mombasa.  I went by this place on the train.  It was really really sad to see that people had to resort to finding their food and supplies from garbage.  I rolled by many other “dwellings” right by the train tracks, filled with people who obviously had very limited means in life.  I choked back a lot of tears on that train ride.

That’s the thing about posting pictures to everyone.  Yes, I took pictures of some really nice things while in Kenya.  But I didn’t take pictures of the bad things or I chose not to broadcast them to the world.  You get only part of the story.   I wasn’t going to take pictures of people struggling, living in decrepit, crowded living conditions.  It’s not nice.  It was an incredible experience and very humbling.  It makes me want to give so much.  And I feel stuck at the moment, knowing I have to at least be here for another 4 or 5 months finishing up this degree.  Then I need to find a job so I can pay off my loans.   And all I really want to do is get back to Africa and start helping with tree plantings…….ugh.  But I know in the end, earning this degree will just help me in my quest to help more people in the end.

So, yes,  this is probably why I’m feeling meh.  Well, one of the reasons.   So on that note, I will pedal on home.   Good night, folks.



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Good vs. Meaningful

This post may be suspect since I’ve just returned from the pub where I watched the Champions League match between Barca and Arsenal.  But I can’t help thinking about this especially tonight and especially within the last year.  There’s something to living the good life.  I certainly was doing so during my time in Bend.  Lots of hard work and lots of hard play.  Everyday.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn sweet about 95% of the time.  I got to live for 3 1/2 years with my best friend in the world and become friends with some real, genuine, good people.  I would never regret a moment of my time in Bend.  I needed every second there to get a handle on who the hell I was and what I could possibly want to be in the future.   And maybe more importantly, to let go of the past which was dragging me down.  All of that got figured out for the most part.     I learned my lessons and was ready to go.  Bend was always going to be a temporary stop over for me.  Some place to enjoy life until I could find my road to England.

And now, a year on, I am searching for what is next for me.  School will be wrapping up here in another month or so.  My dissertation will be done in another 5 months . Then what?  What do I do from here?  I am struggling.  I want to go about 100 different directions.

Right now it’s finding that balance of what is going to be a good life after school and what’s going to be a meaningful life.  Meaningful being I am contributing to the betterment of the Earth.  Bettering life for someone else who is struggling.  Taking these skills which I have acquired and giving back to others and to mother nature.  But I don’t want to do it to the point where I am not happy.  If that’s the case, I won’t be doing what I set out to do.  It’s a struggle now, but I think the forces that be will direct me in the right direction as long as I am open to them.

On top of all this I keep trying to apply these rules to other people in the world.  I see lots of people in the US taking for granted all that the country has given to us.  The opportunities that we have had and that we have passed up because it’s too difficult or would require too much time.  Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I think many Americans (and Westerners in general) could reorientate their lives and make them more meaningful for themselves and for others.  Going after those dreams and goals which seem to hard to achieve.  I just spent 6 years trying to find a way to get to the UK and make sure I did it in a way that was still relevant to what I wanted in life and that I could eventually give back.  From where I am now, the world is my oyster from where I want to go from here.  It’s daunting to make the next step, but I’m excited to do so.

I understand that things are hard.  And they often require huge sacrifice.  But if it’s worth it, it won’t seem like such hard work.

This entry may have lost it’s focus.  But what I’m getting at is that living a good life is good.  Living a meaningful life can mean a good life for you and for someone else.  Immerse youself in your passion.   Give it back to the world.  And we can all be better.


God, I have become a hippie, haven’t I?  Yikes.

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