Thursday, June 28, 2012

Small Victories

Ignore the giant sweat marks, this victory was hard-won.
 Small Victory #1: After my back injury kept me from silks class last week, I was able to go back yesterday. That triumphant picture is from last night. I FINALLY got into a silks move called the cross-back straddle on my own for the very first time! Prior to this I've always needed a boost to get my legs over my head. It was possibly one of the most exciting moments in my life this week. Anyone else have any small-but-super victories lately??

Fresh-from-the-plant basil is an amazing smell.
Small Victory #2: The sweet basil bouquet I harvested from my basil plant for dinner tonight. I love my baby deck garden. <3

Small Victory #3: Lately I've been feeling run ragged and just plain overworked and was desperately wanting a day off to recuperate and catch up on work around the house. I'm hosting my birthday party in about a week and I'd love a chance to actually get my house in order. Then, out of nowhere, my boss called me last night to let me know that my company hasn't gotten government approval for sub-contractors to charge to the new project #'s that came into play yesterday, so none of the sub-contractors can work today. I feel like the Universe heard my plea and decided that I deserved a break, so thank you, Universe. I appreciate it more than I can say!

Small Victory #4: I finally got around to staking up my listing tomato plants & blackberry bramble, and they all seem to be doing better for it.

As for now, I'm going to go back to watching Hook and working on my very first color commission drawing. I bid you all adieu!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Piranhaconda - Live Blog Style!

I decided to do a live blog of Piranhaconda because a. I'm way too excited about this movie and b. this movie deserves a rating on my personal awesome scale. Here goes!

Death rating: 10/10. Final death count is at least 25/the entire cast.
Indredulity rating: 10/10.
Acting rating: 1/10 (which might translate into a 10/10).
Stupidity rating: 6/10.
Commercial rating: 5/10. About 43 minutes of commercials, but they were good for potty & smoothie breaks.

Overall - hilarious, would watch again.

Live-blog recap:

9:01 PM: Not even 1 minute in and already - one of the actor's names is Chris DeChristopher. This bodes well.

9:04 PM: First and second deaths occurred while two hapless expendables were raiding eggs from what I presume was a Piranhaconda nest.


9:06 PM: First sexy co-ed in a bikini shot, how long til she bites the dust? I'm giving her about 15 minutes. Oh no! Sexy co-ed gets attacked by a deranged machete-wielding masked man! Oh, but it was all just part of a movie scene. A movie within a movie. How original.

9:09 PM: We're ntroduced to the manly movie savior. Threatening to maul women is apparently a valid pick-up line in this movie.

9:10 PM: Piranhaconda just sneezed some really intense mucous onto a hot blond girl's tits. Now he bit her leg off. Now she's crawling and shrieking through a bamboo forest. Now he's eating her in a magnificent, explosive mist of blood. Aaaaand commercial break.

9:16 PM: We come back to manly mauling lead having drinks with one of the hot movie producers. Witty banter abounds. And a healthy dose of manly ridicule to spice the conversation up!

9:19 PM: More sexy bikini-clad exploding bloody death by Piranhaconda.

9:23 PM: First sighting of hot-but-badass blonde chick toting a giant gun. She's probably doing something illegal. Bud from Kill Bill appears, playing Intelligent Professor dude who tries to warn everyone of the imminent danger of Piranhaconda. No one listens and he's taken hostage.

9:25 PM: Uh-oh, badass blonde chick has some kind of giant egg suspended in green Jell-o in her bag!

9:27 PM: More co-eds. This time one of them is smart because she's wearing glasses and talking about science labs. They're searching for an incredibly rare flower with miraculous healing abilities. Hey they found one already after only hiking for three miles! They're intrepid adventurers!

9:29 PM: One of the co-eds goes missing with a shriek, other co-eds more concerned about leaving with their flowers. Remaining co-eds now eaten by Piranhaconda. And - commercial break.

9:38 PM: Another sexy co-ed death by Piranhaconda! BUT WAIT! Now there are TWO Piranhacondas! DUN DUN DUN. Also, Sexy Co-Ed #1 is still alive. My prediction skills are terrible.

9:40 PM: Have learned this movie takes place in Hawaii. And that the movie-within-a-movie has been shut down by the producers. And now the movie people are being taken hostage by some shady looking folks in black shirts. Director is shot in the foot. Lead Black Shirt informs them they are now hostages until their ransom is paid.

9:42 PM: Heroic group of hostage movie people make a break for it! Here's a gem: "After them! But don't kill them, shoot them in the ass!" compliments of Lead Black Shirt dude.

Commercial break. Time for a smoothie.

9:50 PM: Random hostage-taker gets pwn'd by one of the Piranhacondas.

9:51 PM: Not all movie people made the great escape. They are now being taken to see The Man by Lead Black Shirt dude. Lead Black Shirt dude is handed a video camera with shocking footage of the first Piranhaconda deaths. Dios Mio!

9:53 PM: Lead Black Shirt dude just got pistol whipped by The Man for trying to warn about Piranhaconda. Love interest, annoying movie-within-a-movie actress, and bloody-foot director are now tossed in a warehouse with the Professor.

9: 55 PM: A Useless Couple on a deserted beach get frisky, but suddenly the dude has to pee. Of course he gets eaten by Piranhaconda while Useless Girlfriend wonders where he's gone. Cut to another commercial!

10:01 PM: The Man refuses to leave even when confronted with footage of Piranhaconda and despite the fact he's already lost one man. And the movie's best line just happened courtesy of Lead Black Shirt dude - "Some kind of unholy union between Anaconda, and Piranha."

10:03 PM: Manly lead and his Sidekick meet up after successfully shaking their hostage-taking pursuers.

10:05 PM: Professor gives some back-story on why he became a professor. More scenes with hostage group.

10:08 PM: Lead Black Shirt dude propositions Love Interest chick. She runs away after "playing kickball with [his] cahones." This dude has the best lines ever. Love Interest sobs and is chased by a clumsy man wearing a skull mask while Lead Black Shirt cradles his testicles. She falls into a nest of eggs! Commercial break!

10:16 PM: The Man and Badass Blonde have an unhealthy relationship. Love Interest is confronted by Clumsy Chaser, but Clumsy is eaten up! Love Interest makes her escape, so far the first one to make it out of a Piranhaconda encounter alive. She runs straight back to her kidnappers in a fit of horror.

10:18 PM: Manly Savior and Sidekick do some recon on the hostage group. They don't have a plan outside of "blow stuff up".

10:22 PM: Manly Lead leads the hostages to safety while Sidekick plants explosives. They head for some SUVs. Movie Director heroically volunteers himself as sacrifice so the others can make their escape. All these gunshots attract Piranhaconda before Sidekick can hotwire the car. Badass Blonde eats it! The Man makes it! Sidekick eats it! The building blows up! MOVIE DIRECTOR MAKES IT AGAINST ALL ODDS! EPIC CHASE SCENE BETWEEN PIRANHACONDA AND SUV!

10:26 PM: Piranhaconda cuts them off at the pass! The man pulls up and UNLOADS A BAZOOKA STRAIGHT AT THE SUV! He misses and blows off half of Piranhaconda's jaw instead. The SUV is miraculously unharmed AND NOW PIRANHACONDA #2 EATS INJURED PIRANHACONDA #1!


10:33 PM: Manly Lead, Love Interest, Annoying Girl, and Professor hoof it through the jungle looking for a marina because their car is all shot up. The Man & Lead Black Shirt dude have an altercation, but of course The Man wins. They go hunting for their hostages. Movie Director is hobbling through the jungle on his shot-up foot. He meets a friendly crab! And Useless Girlfriend from before, who is calling her dead boyfriend and his phone rings from inside Piranhaconda's stomach.

10:36 PM: Useless Girlfriend runs through the jungle looking for her boyfriend. Movie Director follows for unknown reasons. Manly Lead gives Love Interest the shirt off his back. Literally. Useless Girlfriend and Movie Director end up in Piranhaconda's nest. And Useless Girlfriend starts destroying eggs! Movie Director gets pwn'd by Piranhaconda! Useless Girlfriend gets headbutted and then bitten in half by Piranhaconda!

10:41 PM: Heroic hostage group arrives at a well-kept marina and get into a boat. They discover that the Professor is harboring a Piranhaconda egg while Manly Lead volunteers to kill the Piranhaconda. They all leave their escape boat to stalk Piranhaconda.

10:44 PM: Piranhaconda kills three men in one go! Professor cares more about his egg than his companions! Annoying Girl tries to help! Lead Black Shirt dude is snatched up! The Man is snatched RIGHT OUT OF HIS SHOES!

10:45 PM: Manly Lead & Love Interest raid a half-digested corpse for guns. Manly Lead forces Love Interest to leave. He goes back for Annoying Girl and to kill Piranhaconda.


10:52 PM: Professor makes it back to the boat and attempts to escape. Manly Lead's bullet wound seems to have disappeared as he runs through the jungle. Love Interest also makes it to the boat.

10:53 PM: Manly lead finds detonators and a motocross. Love Interest finds Professor's egg. They struggle, he drops it, he goes diving with a little help from Love Interest. He gets eaten and she clears out.

10:58 PM: Piranhaconda gets her egg back, along with a stick of dynamite! Piranhaconda is seemingly no more. Manly Lead  & Love interest share a passionate kiss and are snatched up by another Piranhaconda! End Credits.

Gardens and Adventure Kats and Back Injuries, Oh My!

This weekend was originally supposed to be full of outdoor adventures and a theatre performance, but unfortunately my body had different plans. About a month ago, I had an accident during tumbling practice and ended up with some badly strained back muscles. Up until last Sunday I was feeling almost back to normal, but then I decided to do some weight lifting and ended up aggravating the injury all over again. This also means I'll have to take a break from silks & pole next week, so hopefully I can keep up my productivity around the house so I don't get too depressed. :) Being house-ridden today kind of forced me to relax and take a much-needed breather, even though it wasn't the plan. I've cleaned pretty much the entire house, and am now taking a break with a SyFy Original Movie called "Mega Piranha". I have an irrational love for bad science fiction - laughing at the bad acting and ridiculous plot (a 20-foot piranha just leaped 50 feet into the air and literally chewed a helicopter out of the sky) never fails to put me in a good mood. What are your favorite ways to unwind?

My kats also had some outdoor adventure time! My timid little lady, Calla (also known as Moo), ventured out onto the deck for the first time in her life, and Sasha (aka Fatty) sauntered around like a true deck-exploring pro. Unfortunately for them, the combination of morning sun on a dark-stained deck created hot-foot syndrome and drove them back inside after only a few minutes.
Calla being very brave and inspecting the grill.

Sasha wants me to know that seriously, killer haircuts do not protect against hot feet.

 I am also super excited about the progress of my deck garden! I've got tomatoes, blackberries, strawberries, rosemary, basil, marigolds, catnip, daisies, roses, and begonias. I also have about 7 spiderwebs, but I'm okay with them as long as I don't find them with my face.

Deck garden in all its glory.

Some of the early tomatoes on Tomato Plant #1!

Considering a month ago it looked like this -
Yes, those two tiny green containers are the same tomato plants as up above.

I think everything is going really well! It also gets full morning sun, making it an extremely peaceful place to enjoy a morning smoothie.

All right, I just saw a commercial for "Piranhaconda" - an unholy union between piranha and anaconda! - an all-new SyFy original movie that premieres tonight. I guess I know what I'm doing with my evening! Maybe I'll even order some chinese food to complete the picture.

Monday, June 11, 2012

101 Things in 1001 Days

At the end of May, I made a list of 101 Things in 1001 Days over at Day Zero Project. I've already managed to check off a few items! I'm so excited to complete this and make a new one with new goals once it's all over! Here's My List at the Day Zero website, and there it is again right below for those who don't want to click the link. Go make one of your own and tell me all about it!

20. Host my own birthday party 7/8/2012
77. Get into cross-back straddle! 6/27/2012
91. Get a Moleskine for all these creative ideas I'm having - and actually use it! 6/15/2012
97. De-swamp my back yard 6/16/2012
101. Fix my laptop


I feel like I'm doing fairly well for myself lately, but everyone can use some self-improvement goals! Especially since this person tends to disorganization and laziness when without a plan. Hopefully having a concrete list of goals will help me have a productive summer!
In the next three months: June 11-September 11, 2012

The Road to Success: run five days every week - but START SLOWLY.
End Goal: run three miles in thirty minutes. Tough Mudder is looming and as I stand right now, I am woefully under-prepared.

The Road to Success: Pay my credit card down an additional $1,500.
End Goal: Feel slightly accomplished. Be closer to the light at the end of this stupid debt tunnel.

The Road to Success: Lift two or three times a week; continue pole & silks classes.
End Goal(s): Squat, lunge, & deadlift at least 100 pounds; be able to do three pull-ups in a row. Just because I want to.

The Road to Success: inventory all of my finished/in-progress costumes.
End Goal: Get rid of any that I don’t wear anymore or have no intention of finishing. Yeah. And also finish sewing my Ty Lee costume so it’s all ready for AUSA.

The Road to Success: Sit down, relax, and art it up at least twice a week.
End goal: Finish up the three art commissions I’ve taken on (one is almost finished, that almost feels like cheating).

I think that’s challenging as well as possible in three months, eh? Here’s to my tenacity, may it be enough for me to accomplish everything.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pole Dance Isn't Always Sexy, Aerial Isn't Always Graceful

Back in March, I signed up for pole dance classes (with two awesome friends, actually, one of whom also lives in the blog sphere and resides at The Invincible Blog).  My hopes are fairly simple – to transform my ungainly, clumsy self into a strong and sexy beast. About a month later, I also started aerial silks classes (also with the same two ladies – Kate and Tini, you are fabulous and should feel fabulous). Honestly, I’m just hoping that both classes will help make me harder to kill in case of the dreaded Zombie Apocalypse. Oh, and I’m also participating in a Tough Mudder competition this September, so if I can learn to do some pull-ups before then, that would be really great. Anyway, main motivation aside, my excitement at the prospect of swooping and spinning and generally looking really, really awesome pushed me through the first few classes even when I could barely do three push-ups in a row. I knew it would take a lot of hard work, and guess what – I’m still working really, really hard to look really awesome. Most of the time, actually, I’m working really, really hard to try to look even a little bit awesome. Many silks practices end up somewhere around here – 

I call this the Floppy Scorpion. Done correctly, I should be hanging by that raised leg and it should look something like this…

*Real Scorpion. Photo from stephaniefoundit's Flickr
…but I haven’t yet developed the core strength to throw my legs over my head while I’m hanging in mid-air (inversion, woo), so when I try this trick I have to stay close to the ground. Despite my wry look, though, getting into this was fun! Botched moves also help remind me not to take myself too seriously, which keeps me from getting super frustrated when I can’t immediately force my still-weak body into complicated poses.

One of the stranger things I’m noticing throughout all my pole & silks classes is that the left side of my body is decidedly weaker than its right side counterparts. It’s a little strange to have to strength train unevenly in order to bring my left side up to par with my right side, but it’s been catching up fairly nicely. Fortunately in the two and a half months I’ve been at this, I’ve only had one semi-major silks-and-pole related injury (I tore my left forearm muscle, which took almost two weeks to heal). I also had one other setback, but that came from a tumbling accident. I've learned that I am clumsy and shouldn’t be tumbling (yet). I have since broken up with gymnastics, at least until after Tough Mudder. I’d rather stay healthy and hale for silks and pole classes than learn to do a front tuck (even though front tucks are really, really cool).

As far as pole class goes, well – let’s just say that my inner sexy beast hasn’t made an appearance yet. I love pole class, and fortunately have a really amazing instructor, but I can’t help feeling a little off and self-conscious. It simultaneously helps and hinders me that the two gorgeous ladies I signed up with are naturals and are learning everything quickly. Watching them is definitely inspiring and gives me hope for my future in pole dance, though! I’m determined to stick with this because despite my current lack of sexy, I have a great time and generally leave class feeling bouncy and happy and pleasantly tired. Also my stubbornness won’t let me quit yet, but whatever it takes to keep me going, eh?

My most recent pole class exhausted me and I ended up dragging my wrist along the pole way more than I should have, which left me with this – 

For the past three days I’ve been walking around feeling very dramatic about my bandaged wrist (because it's definitely bandaged, except when I get creepy and take pictures of it). I also get a real kick out of the furtive looks my coworkers have been giving it.

All in all, I’m thrilled to be taking these classes with my two wonderful friends, and honestly can’t wait for the progress we make so I can continue taking pictures, and swooping, and falling, and giggling, and generally keep feeling awesome about life.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Did I Get Here? An Introduction.

Sometimes, when I can’t figuratively see past the end of my nose, all I can do is take a step back and try to analyze where I am and how I got there. Five years ago, I was graduating college with a very illustrious Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I was in the process of transplanting my existence from Richmond, VA back to my hometown, and coming to terms with the fact that, now, I had to become a Real Live Adult. I had to get a job, flee the nest, pay my dues, find my place in the world, etc. etc. After an 8-month stint as a childcare professional, my highly romanticized dreams of becoming a teacher were shattered when I realized that I was not cut out for the intense inter-teacher drama that goes hand-in-hand with educating the young minds of our future. Finding myself at an unanticipated crossroads, I chose the path of least resistance and jumped into the professional world of office administration, hoping to somehow find my niche. In the years that have followed, I've experienced so much sideways momentum that sometimes I feel like I’m stuck slowly orbiting the edge of a whirlpool, and it’s all I can do to keep from being sucked down into a dark and dismal grave. That’s pretty melodramatic, but I hope it has accurately impressed upon you how I feel about office administration.

About a year ago, after being laid off from a lackluster job with a foundering direct mailing company (I was the one who sent you all that junk mail promising you a new car if you only donated $5 towards curing heart disease!), I decided that enough was enough. I finally came to terms with the fact that no, I am not cut out for office work – I don’t care for excel spreadsheets or monthly metric reports or recruiting the Perfect Candidate for one of our new contracts. I don’t care for filing a forest’s worth of paper dating back to 1987 or trying to figure out exactly which daily report title will piss my boss off the least. I needed a way out. I’m currently still searching for that exit, but I’m moving closer every day. I started school again in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Graphic Design. I am currently working (another) lackluster administrative job, but there are a few perks – it’s only five miles away from home, my boss is kind (and allows me a semi-flexible schedule), my coworkers are all wonderful, it gives me the time to work towards that exit, and I know I won’t be stuck here forever.  Even though it’s sometimes difficult for me to envision a life that doesn’t revolve around my alarm clock, I know that if I just keep going, someday I will be able to dictate my career, instead of having a job that dictates me.