shanmonster: (On the stairs)
The illness. It is OVER.

Thank goodness.

[Running Metcon Blue]I still have a niggling cough, but it is an annoyance only, and doesn't seem to be impacting me negatively for kicking my own ass. And I have been kicking my own ass. Literally. It's a warm-up drill for running. I've been doing a lot more running, too. And guess what? I think I officially no longer suck at running. I am mediocre, at worst. Woohoo! On Monday, I ran between 9-12 km, which is double my previous distance. On Wednesday, I ran 100m dash intervals, and most of them were under 20 seconds. No one's going to accuse me of blood-doping at these speeds, but I'm pretty darned proud of myself.

I continue with my 100-day push-up challenge, and with my wing chun and aerial silks training on top of my usual CrossFit regime. I feel stronger and fitter than ever. Even fitter than when I was doing kung fu regularly, and that was pretty darned fit.

I'm entered in not one, but two athletic events in July: Warrior Dash and the Underground Series Wasaga Beach Seal Camp. The first one is basically a big, active party on the go. The second one looks a lot harder. I'm competing in the masters division, and am pretty darned nervous about the whole thing. Aaaah! I hope I don't die.

July also marks my first experiment with the Whole 30 challenge.

What am I capable of? I don't know, but I want to find out. This morning's workout was vicious:
  1. 400m run
  2. 30 * 65lb deadlifts
  3. 400m run
  4. 30 * 65lb power clean
  5. 400m run
  6. 30 * 65lb split jerk
  7. 400m run

I didn't die, but it was close. I haven't sweat that hard in a while. I swear I was foaming like a workhorse. My clothes were soaked through. And although I came in dead last, I had a cheering squad keeping me going. Afterwards, I had a few people come up to me and tell me it was amazing. I'm not sure what made it so amazing to watch. Maybe they were taking bets I'd drop dead before finishing. Heheheh.... In any case, thanks, guys! You made me feel like a gold medalist or something. That bike ride home was MUCH harder than usual.

This weekend is allocated for some hardcore resting. I'm going to sit on my arse SO HARD it'll be like an Olympic event. Oh yes. I've earned it, and my muscles will thank me for it. In fact, I've gotten a head start and am already sitting on my arse.
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
I keep hearing this in lots of situations in reference to posture: pull your chin in.

This is wrong. I'll tell and show you why.

Here is the problematic head/neck position. I see it all the time. I call it turtle head, because it reminds me of a turtle poking its head out of its shell. This is perfectly acceptable posture for a turtle, but for people, not so much. It's often accompanied by forward sloping shoulders and a closed chest. It's also often accompanied by neck pain.

[Turtle head]

In order to correct this posture, people will often say pull your chin back, ostensibly to give this alignment, instead:

[Upright]

However, in order to go from the position in the first photo to that in the second, I did not pull back my chin.

When I pulled my chin back, I ended up with this position, instead:

[Chin back]

This unflattering angle not only gives me multiple chins, but also closes my windpipe off a bit, making it harder to breath. Not acceptable.

So, what did I do to go from the first position to the second?

Years ago, I picked up a Chinese martial arts book and flipped through it. I don't remember what style it was, but one gruesome analogy caught my attention. In reference to head position, it said to imagine your head was hanging from a meathook.

From this, I instead imagined the top centre of my head was suspended from above by a string (which is just a bit friendlier to me than the meathook image). By doing this, my head moved into much better alignment. My chin was no longer leading me along, leaving my throat open. I felt a better range of motion through my neck. It was comfortable. And it looked nice.

I combined this with my usual balancing tricks, carrying something on my head. If the weight is heavy and my head is forward in the turtle position, it puts a lot of strain on my neck. If I pull my chin back and carry something on my head, it applies uncomfortable compression, and also, breathing is still more difficult. And when I lifted with the imaginary string, the weight on my head was centred much better, and I had more stability and comfort.

And as far as fighting goes, you can hold this position and tip down slightly, guarding your throat without counterproductively cutting off your own air supply.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Several years ago, I frequented a forum which no longer exists. A woman posted how she and her husband had hired a personal trainer, and how they'd done a full workout and were very sore the next day, and that walking was a bit difficult.

Someone made a reply that went something like this: "You need to sue! That gym needs to be shut down and that trainer should never get work again. There's just no excuse for that!"

I was flabbergasted.

This is just one extreme example of something I encounter on a regular basis, though. People seem to think that they can get in shape with little effort, and certainly no discomfort.

I don't know where this magical thinking comes from. The Matrix, perhaps, where Neo downloads the sum total of kung fu? Maybe? I dunno. Do you know what "kung fu" means? It roughly translates to "hard work," which makes that whole scene of instant mastery in the Matrix rather ironic to me.

If you work your muscles harder than usual, or in a different way than usual, you will likely be sore for the next couple of days. There's a term for this: DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The best way to prevent DOMS is either to never use those muscles (unrealistic, unless you're confined to bed), or to exercise regularly. As you strengthen those muscles, the DOMS decrease over time.

A friend once told me she wanted to get in excellent shape. I asked her what sort of shape, ie. what was her ultimate goal? She told me she wanted to be able to run all day without exhaustion. She asked me what she needed to do to attain this goal. I told her she'd need to run several times a week, and when she was sure she was too tired to run any further, to run for 30 more seconds.

She didn't like it, but I told her that until she actually ran regularly, or started taking angel dust, she would never be able to run all day. In fact, she may as well be wishing she could flap her arms to fly. She never did start running, though now, more than a year later, she has started doing some regular exercise. I wish her good luck. If she sticks with it, she'll get in much better shape. But until she actually starts running, she'll never be a runner.

I've often had students give up an exercise because they thought it was too hard. I told them that if the exercise was easy, that they wouldn't be getting much benefit from it. If you only do the exercises that are easy, you will plateau really quickly.

While teaching a class, I've had students just stop doing anything at all during certain exercises. I told them they're only cheating themselves, and that they can at least do some other exercise while everyone else works. They reluctantly start doing crunches or jumping jacks when I point that out.

I don't understand their recalcitrance. If they're not there to exercise, why are they in a fitness class? I seriously don't get it. Do they think they can pay the money, show up to a class, not actually do anything, and still get a smoking hot bikini body? Really? Really?

I think the answer to this is yes.

One woman used to show up to my fitness classes regularly, and go through the motions without actually exerting. I don't think I ever saw her crack a sweat, or do even half of the repetitions for a particular exercise. And then, one day, she was the only one in my class, and she got a private one-on-one. She told me she'd been exercising for several months now, but didn't feel any different, and hadn't lost any weight, and her measurements hadn't changed. I told her I'd put her through the class and watch her form and technique very carefully. And with my one-on-one attention, she worked, and she worked damned hard. When I saw her slack off, I stopped the stopwatch and told her I'd resume when she was through her break, to make sure she did the exercise for the full length of time.

When she did very weak, sloppy pushups, I corrected her form and changed the angle so she could do it properly in a way which challenged her without being impossible.

She sweated. She complained. She balked. And at the end of the class, she smiled. She'd never worked this hard before. But she'd done all of the exercises, and she'd done them correctly. I told her that this is how it felt to exercise. A mixture of tiredness, complaining muscles, and exultation. And when the stretches were done, a feeling of loose limberness. I said that if she wanted to see results, she needed to apply herself and actually work.

I once had a student laugh at the beginning of every exercise and say, "Have you looked at us? Do we look like we can do that?"

And I answered with, "I don't judge based on appearance. Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes." And I believe this, too. Just because someone is skinny doesn't mean they're fit. Conversely, just because someone is fat does not mean they're unfit. Look at these photos of athletes and dancers at the top of their form, and you'll see just how diverse fitness can be. Fitness fills a wide spectrum.

Getting in shape is not comfortable. It is not easy. It is not instant. You cannot magic your way there. There is no pill or powder that will turn you into a swimsuit model. You cannot pay someone else to make you fit.

Only you can do this for yourself, and you need to work hard.

I know how to work hard. I know kung fu.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Warning: Please don't punch someone in the junk. Unless they really, really deserve it.

shanmonster: (Default)
I was all set to do a full day's work of proofreading, but the files I need aren't available, so that will have to wait. Instead, I've been getting caught up on my housework. Oh boy! Excitement!

As you may be aware, I'm in the process of eliminating as much plastic use as possible from my life. I'm trying to eliminate as much disposable product as possible. My current conundrum is this: how do I keep my bread from getting stale? I'm thinking of a bread box. I am presuming that what I need is airtight, since unwrapped bread gets all hard and crusty, which is fine for croutons, but not so amazing for sandwiches. What options are out there? Any ideas? (Just in: this suggestion for a homemade one).

Also, I have several small-mouthed bottles from flavoured vinegars and such. I'd like to reuse them. Do you have any recommended recipes for sauces or such?

I've yet to tackle the plastic-free soap/detergent container issue, but it's been noodling around in the back of my mind. Tricky, tricky....

I did make one victory with the local health food shop, though. I can bring in my own containers to purchase bulk foods there, and they will weigh the container first and deduct that from the final weight, so I can purchase products without using plastic. Huzzah! Also, they sell quite a few locally-made products in glass containers rather than in plastic. I'll be getting my milk and yoghourt there, from now on. It comes from local dairies, and the bottles are all reused. So once I'm finished one jar of yoghourt/milk, I wash it out, bring it back, and get more. I like that I'm supporting local farms and reducing waste all at the same time. Huzzah! Plus, it just tastes nicer, in my opinion. Win, win, win....

I am also discovering it really isn't so very necessary to get my groceries at big grocery stores. For the most part, I can get what I need at local shops as I need it. There are several excellent bakeries nearby for when I don't have time to bake my own bread. The local drug store sells quite a few basic groceries, the Asian market has a good selection of produce and fish, the Hasty Market sells halal meats, the health food shop has locally-grown produce, tea, baking goods, etc., and Bargain Bargain has a few things, too. And I get my amazing freshly-ground coffee from a local coffee shop. There is also a farmers' market on Saturday mornings, and when I'm actually in the city on weekends, I go there to get pretty much anything else that's not covered by the other shops. I rather like shopping a little bit every day or so, buying things fresh and as needed. It's rather soothing, in a way, and certainly more pleasant than fighting for pole position in busy grocery store queues.

I'm nervous about my upcoming dance performance on Saturday. [livejournal.com profile] f00dave agreed to be my assistant, but he took a nasty spill off his bicycle last week, and I really don't think he's going to be able to help me. Poor Dave. He has pulled muscles, and possibly a cracked rib or two. If I have no one to assist me, my performance idea loses rather a lot of oomph. Damn it. It's so hard to find people to work with. Maybe I smell bad or something. It's a good thing I'm fine with being a soloist. I just need someone strong enough to drag me around a bit without hurting themselves. I'd do it myself, but I have yet to figure out how to make my own clones.

I haven't even put any thought into my dance performance coming up in mid-November. I'll start thinking about that next week, once this show is out of the way.

It looks like I'll be teaching "kickboxing" classes. Basically, they'll be more like mixed-style basic martial arts for fitness classes. I begin training to teach these classes this Friday. I'm pretty excited about it, really. I may not be taking any martial arts classes at the moment, but this gives me a way to get back into practice while testing my technique and teaching skills all at the same time. Plus, I'll be helping people get fit, and I'm all for that. My new belly dance classes start this week, too, at the same gym. I really hope this flies. I intend on making this class more rigourous than the class at the senior citizens' centre. So there will be a lot more emphasis on getting up and down off the floor, and working core strength more extensively. Oh yes. I want to make these people (and myself) work, and work hard. It will be good.

I went larping this past weekend, and when the event was over, I started horsing around with some of the guys. One of the men is very small, and the bigger guys were playing catch with him. I joined in, catching and tossing him easily. I also picked up [livejournal.com profile] knightky and piggybacked him at a slow jog, which seemed to surprise rather a lot of people. I'm a lot stronger than I look. Hehehehe....

That being said, I must get to the gym today, at some point. My muscles demand their exercise.

Link time? Sure.

Love Bites Choker: I can't decide whether this is awesome or cheesetastic. Either way, I kinda think I want one.

ARKONA - Liki Bessmertnykh Bogov: I really enjoyed this pagan metal music video. It's very refreshing to see a frontwoman not covered in crazy makeup. She reeks of awesome, and her traditional Slavic costuming is fantastic. I really want to make an outfit like that. Plus, she's an excellent growler (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] alagbon).

Cute Handmade Zombie Hat: I really do like this.

BPA declared toxic in Canada: Right after I decided to reduce the amount of plastic in my life, this announcement was made. I'm very curious to see how this effects food packaging in Canada, plus food importing.

Mexico’s Creepiest Tourist Destination: Island of the Dolls: I absolutely adore this, and if I still lived in the forest, would be tempted to make a little area similar to it.

Drug addict has vasectomy for cash: A friend of mine wants sterilization, but the doctors say he's too young. I suggested he go to the UK and become a crackhead, because then he'll get paid to get the snip.
shanmonster: (Default)
My kung fu figurines went through a violent experience. One died. See?

[RIP]
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
It's rough.

I haven't trained very hard in almost two months, due to asthma and chronic foot pain. But yesterday, I got back into the workout saddle, and did a yoga/Pilates class. And today, I biked for an hour and did three hours of Rapid Assault Tactics training. Plus a little kali stick and knife fighting. I got a fat lip. Gave a fat lip. Headbutted a Krav Maga guy in the schnozz. And got punched in the pointy part of my elbows over and over again. I feel positively woobly, now. And can theoretically turn people into mush.

I've missed fight training so much. Here's hoping I can get back into somewhat regular martial arts again....

Tomorrow is another yoga/Pilates class, Monday is cycling, and then the next four days are four hours each of intensive Butoh training (if my registration goes through. Hope, hope....).

And in the meantime, I must remember to never, ever use those Rapid Assault Tactics at Underworld.

Sorry about the headshot, Murph. *ducks*

I'm gonna grow back all that muscle I lost, damnit. I WILL DO THIS THING!

And speaking of that, I'd better hurry. Muscle: 'Hard to build, easy to lose' as you age.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I thought of kung fu vore, and then enacted it. Welcome the birth of a new, fucked-up internet fetish.

[Watch mine!]

Wilt

May. 9th, 2008 08:24 am
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
My lungs feel like a bouquet being held too tightly at the bottom. It's crushing the stems and making the flowers wilt, damnit. My energy levels are way down. All I've been doing this week, it seems, is napping or sitting on my ass. I want to get back to dance and kung fu classes next week, but I'm not so sure my lungs will comply. Nevertheless, I did go for a decent walk yesterday, some calisthenics and my seniors' dance class the day before, and a run the day before that. I teach dance tonight. And I want to go for another run. Maybe I'll get some dance practice in today. Let's see how that goes.

Dancing. Yeah. I want to do a lot more of that. I recently got a copy of Ariellah's drilling DVD, and am eager to give it another try.

----------

Wow. I just remembered it's my anniversary this month (14th!). Umm, [livejournal.com profile] f00dave, what do you want to do for it? My weekends are full, but I have a raincheck for plans I've been making for some time.

----------

My tabs are filling up again. Have some tasty links.

Steampunk Star Wars: I'm pretty sure I linked to this before, but [livejournal.com profile] papajoemambo's post made me want to link to it again. You know what I want to see? Steampunk renditions of other 70s pop culture: Diff'rent Strokes, Jabberjaws, Towering Inferno, etc.

Plantimals: Corns have ears. Potatoes have eyes. These have, well....

My Beautiful Mommy: Children's book about plastic surgery.

50 Greatest Commercial Parodies of All Time: Cute.

The Ultimate Showdown of Homosexuality: NSFW. Just as brilliant as The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, but far more nekkid.

Katar Gallery: These are some almighty gorgeous daggers, and if I still had the facilities, I'd make one for myself.

Smell Yo Dick: Oh, pop music. How I love you so.
shanmonster: (Sigh....)
I felt utterly run down for the past two days. I think yesterday's therapeutic massage session and last night's excess of sleep has ameliorated the problem, somewhat. Yet somehow, despite the exhaustion, brutal neck pain, and [livejournal.com profile] f00dave's constant questioning (f00: "Are you depressed? You look depressed!" Me: "No. Just really tired and hurting." f00: "You sure?" Me: "YES!!!"), I managed to teach a dance class, take a yoga class, go for a run, go for a bike ride, and take my first advanced pole class.

Today I go for another run, teach another dance class, take another pole class, and go to the Ren to see Stephen Thrasher. You should go, too. Free show, interesting people, and cheap beer. What more can you want on a Wednesday night?

This weekend is busy again. I'm planning on scouting out the new LARP location. It's a sizable property, and I want to know where the hazards are. I'm also playing with sticks, knives, and fists with Sifu Chuck, [livejournal.com profile] lindalicious, [livejournal.com profile] gha5t, and company, and then I'm off to Toronto with [livejournal.com profile] schwartzung and Sara to see Meshuggah and motherfucking MINISTRY. Oh hells, yes! Then I'm bringing my new buddy Rooster back home with me for a couple of days so he can vacation in beautiful, scenic Kitchener.

I finally ordered business cards. It's about freaking time. Next up, I want promotional postcards to have on-hand for my various performance and teaching venues. I'm hoping there's a place locally which sells 'em for cheap. And then, I need to get my costuming book back in print. Oh yes....

Want links? I've got your links right here.

Help Mother Nature Fight Back: Bizarre promotional campaign meant to increase awareness of the plight of endangered species. Or maybe it's an attempt to up the arms race. I'm not sure which.

Lizards Rapidly Evolve After Introduction to Island: Lizardmen are only a couple of decades away....

Orangutan attempts to hunt fish with spear: Maybe that awareness campaign isn't so far off, after all.

And now for a video that boggled my mind (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] gha5t). These guys are total nutjobs, and I love them for it.

Raar!

Apr. 15th, 2008 07:24 pm
shanmonster: (Default)
My legs feel like half-set gelatin. Where did all my muscles go? If I keep exercising, I know I'll find 'em again!

At 4:30 or so, I went for a run. At 6, I went to pole class. In a few minutes, I leave for kung fu.

I want to start going to morning kung fu again, which adds another hour of cycling to the mix.

Gonna pump that body to the top!
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Yesterday I tried out partner dancing for the first time. Ok, maybe not for the first time, as I had a ten-minute merengue lesson with a Cuban hottie about six years ago. This time, I tried out Argentinian tango and West Coast swing. I found the movement styles very interesting--more like horseback riding or Wing Chun sticky hands than like any other dancing I've done. Both styles relied on pressure cues from my partner, and once I figured out what those cues were, I progressed very quickly. I think I'm more partial to the swing dance than the tango. I didn't get to try lindy hop, but I may get that opportunity yet.

After taking those dance classes (and teaching my own quick and dirty belly dance class), I went for a walk in the park with [livejournal.com profile] f00dave with my camera in hand. Unfortunately, although I saw many things I wanted to photograph, the light was very flat, and the shots don't pop the way I want them to. Still, I did get some practice in composition, and got to laugh at ducks sliding around on ice and marvelled at the destroyed computer sitting in a snowbank.

Today I'm working on my dance résumé. I have a couple of potential dance jobs coming up, and if I get them, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to save up for a better camera.

Links? Sure.

What a Choice! Sex With a Sleaze for $100,000 or Writing for Peanuts: I want a sugar daddy, but not that much.

Racial slur on sofa label stuns family: "When the new chocolate-coloured sofa set was delivered to her Brampton home, Doris Moore was stunned to see packing labels describing the shade as 'Nigger-brown'" (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] schwartzung).

Russian 'bird-boy' discovered in aviary: "Russian care workers have rescued a seven-year-old 'bird-boy' who can communicate only by 'chirping' after his mother raised him in a virtual aviary." They lie. He also shakes his feathers.

Erotic Falconry: Parts of this are NSFW, so be warned. "Where’s the deviance in wanting to pull feathers rather than blond hair? What’s abnormal about wanting to see your wife take a three-inch beak instead of a 10-inch African American phallus or a silicon, injection-molded forearm? How can a human vagina or anus even compare to hollow bones or a molty egg-hole."

Cougar Page: Kitties! The cutest frigging mountain lions, ever.

Mysteries of Radio: Number stations. What is the purpose of these bizarre broadcasts? I don't know, but I'm looking for my tinfoil hat....

Students exchanged nude cell phone photos: Little kids, actually. It's the high-tech version of playing doctor.

Fit By Jen: Jen was morbidly obese. Then she got control of her eating and exercise habits, and now she's a personal trainer, and pretty darned inspirational!

Alcoholic parents force children to suckle dogs: No mention if any of these kids ever went on to start their own Roman empires.

How creepy do you want it?: "The famously eerie tale of nine dead Russian hikers, with all the bizarre details you can handle."
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
I had a busy weekend planned, but it was cut in half when I took a glorious fall during a game of dodge ball and failed at breaking my hip. I did succeed in decreasing my range of movement and increasing my personal experience with pain. Since the swelling made it feel like my hip wanted to pop out of joint, I kept myself hopped up on anti-inflammatories and skipped yesterday's kung fu seminar. My hip feels better for it. Today I can walk like a normal person, instead of shambling like a zombie pirate. Good thing, too, because I have a dance class to teach in a couple of hours.

Since [livejournal.com profile] schwartzung and I seem to be taking turns with falls, and since there appears to be an escalation in severity, he'd better look out because his next fall shall surely kill him.

So, what's coming up?

More dance.

I'm miffed that my floorwork class has been canceled. I was getting a great workout out of it, not to mention getting some good practice at floor transitions. Alas, but I think it was canceled because the exercises intimidated students away. It's very physically demanding. And yes, if you're not used to the exercises, you're going to be damned sore for a few days afterwards. No wonder floorwork is a dying art. People are too wussy as a rule to stick with it.

That being said, not teaching the class frees up a bit more time for me to take dance classes. I've never tried tap dance before. That's what's filling the time slot, so I'll give it a go. Also, a pole routines class is beginning on Mondays (I'll start next week), and there's a drop-in ballet class fairly close to wear I teach my Wednesday class. I'll start doing that as soon as the weather gets decent enough to walk/bike in without destroying my lungs. And joining CADA should make it much easier to attend dance workshops.

More kung fu.

I've missed so many classes because of my asthma, but my lungs are finally starting to go back to what they should be. And the kwoon is getting a wooden dummy, so I'm looking forward to training on that.

More gaming.

It looks like LARP will be happening monthly. Hopefully, I won't be breaking parts of my body at every event. If you're in the Toronto area and want to play, check out Underworld. I'm the bitchy dark elf with the leather armour.

More writing.

I'm behind on my fiction writing, although my poetry production is way, way up from where it's been over the past decade. I'm not sure what's making me so bardlike, but I'm not going to argue with where the muse is taking me.

More concerts.

Henry Rollins is coming up soon. So is Ministry. I'll be at both shows. It looks like I'll be performing in a few more shows, too, but I don't have dates for them yet.

More exercise.

I was planning to do stair training starting today, but I'm saving my hip for tonight's dance class. If I feel fine, then every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I'm going to be zooming up and down the seventeen or so stories of my building a few times to get my cardio back up to snuff. Who needs stairmasters when you live in a high-rise apartment building? And now that I have my stripper pole set up in my studio, I'm doing drive-by chin-ups and pseudo-flagpoles. Once the weather turns nice, I want to start running again, too.

More costume design.

I started work on a black leather dance costume a few months back, and I really want to finish it. I also have ideas in my head for more PVC and leather outfits, as well as the usual textile joy with silk, velvet, etc.

More costume writing.

I really need to complete my new dance costuming book and get it to print. I need money, and this is a guaranteed income, so I've got to get my arse in gear.

....

Link time!

Check out the trailer for the new Thai martial art flick Chocolate. Now that girl's no wuss.

Mr. Urethra, Meet Mr. Anus: NSFW. And no. Just no (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] warren_ellis).
shanmonster: (Sigh....)
I have a busy week ahead of me, ranging from the mundane to the wonderful. Today's adventure begins with a visit to the dentist for a cleaning (I still have to really force myself to go, after that tooth-pulling fiasco that left me in the hospital), continues with more writing (dance organization membership stuff and promotional materials for 8 Digital), and ends with an hour of dance. Tomorrow begins with a trip to a Buddhist temple in Mississauga to celebrate the Chinese new year, continues with a dance class, and ends with kung fu training. Moving right along, I have a LARP event on Saturday where I'll be once again donning elf ears, armour, and black makeup and beating people up with a foam sword. Then I'm back to kung fu again, the next day.

I've discovered a ballet school that offers drop-in classes on Wednesday nights. It's fairly close to where I teach, so when I'm through teaching eastern dance to seniors, I can work on developing my western dance background. And then maybe at next year's On the Move conference, I'll be able to participate when the instructor wants a grande jettée.

I'm still looking for ways to increase my income without resorting to taking a job I'll loathe. Modeling is one of those ways. I noticed a photographer in Toronto is looking for alt models. Are you familiar with Santillo Photography? I am reluctant to work with new photographers until I'm familiar with their reputation. I either want to know more about him from someone I trust, or I want to be able to bring along an escort to ensure my safety.

Ready for some links? Here you go:

Pure Energy: A Critical Look At Energy Drinks: A crazy person decides to drink and review thirteen energy drinks over the course of a weekend.

Quarter of Brits think Churchill was myth: poll: This reminds of an anecdote I heard in which a history professor was discussing WWII with a freshman class. Upon seeing utter bafflement on their faces, he asked what was wrong. "Why is it called World War Two?" asked one student. The rest of the students stared at the professor expectantly.... Talk about a serious gap in education!

Pelvic floor exercises 'help men too': Pfizer likely doesn't want people to know that doing Kegels can make Viagra unnecessary for many men.

Save Mom's Life, Kick Loose Deadly Tumor From Mom's Cervix While Still in Womb: Ki-ai!

Cap'n Danger Baby Chute: I think I should buy one of these for my nephew. What do you think, [livejournal.com profile] raine_storm?

Popple Cat Dog: The most creative taxidermy I think I've ever seen--as equally disgusting as it is cool.

Volunteer in Canada and Abroad: I've wanted to do humanitarian work in other countries for most of my life. Maybe I'll be able to do it within the next five years.
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
For various reasons including asthma and holidays, I've not been working out regularly for over a month. Last night, I crawled back on the wagon with four hours of exercise. I started with an hour of pole dance, and that left me worried about the rest of the night. Normally, the leg section of the class goes by as easy as pie. This time, my legs were quivering and burning with lactic acid. This did not bode well. After all, when pole dance was over, I had to hustle my arse over to kung fu where the leg workout is significantly greater.

And sure enough, I was to do 160 Hindu squats in a row. By the time I reached 100, I could barely get my body low to the ground. But around 130, I decided to hell with it all. I was going to do them right, and just forget how sore I was. And so I did them. In fact, for the last ten, I decided to add a jump after each squat.

We played sticky hands for a while after that, and my legs were all but useless to me. I fell a lot more than usual, to be sure.

I'll see how my legs hold up for me tonight when I start teaching my new session of seniors' dance classes. I'm now teaching two back-to-back on Wednesday nights.

And tomorrow, I teach floorwork, then proceed directly to kung fu to die another muscley death.

This is like some sort of brutal kill or cure technique, this going from sitting on my arse for a month to two to four hours of exercise a night, isn't it?

....

On Saturday, after I did my Cambodian dance workshop, I donned elf ears, armour, and black makeup and went to another LARP event. I was waylaid by bandits twice, and got dragged by the ankle into the keep by party members. The setting for this event was a tournament hosted by a baron in honour of our heroic actions at the last event (where we rid a wood of some demonic evil or another). After I received by certificate of heroism, I entered all of the competitions: throwing accuracy, wits, entertainment, and a grand mélée. After all, who doesn't want to win fabulous prizes? I did decently enough at the throwing accuracy competition, but was disqualified when one of my feet slipped ahead of the line. D'oh! The wits competition was comprised of two pages of riddles and brain-teasers. My group (which I've dubbed Team Hot Chick) worked together on the answers. Next up was the entertainment competition wherein I learned I have transferable skills. I did a sword dance, balancing a boffer weapon on my head while I did a back bend and a roll-over. I felt like a huge dork while doing it, but managed to keep a straight face the whole time. One of my slaves, Elly, sang a song for her entry, and we tied for first place.

In the next round of the entertainment competition, we had to perform in an entirely different style than we'd already done. The winner would be decided by audience applause. Elly chose to tell a bawdy joke. I chose to sing Dark Eyes in Russian (although my version seems a bit different from this one). When it came time for Elly's applause to be measured, she received a good round of applause. When I stood for mine, I had applause and cheering.

The Baron addressed the crowd and said, "I think it is obvious who the winner is. The prize goes to Elly!"

I wasn't at all surprised. The Baron had already made it abundantly clear to me that he was a racist bastard by this point. So when it came time for me to hand in my sheet with the answers to the riddles, I crossed out my name and put in the name of our sergeant, instead. (We didn't win this one, but no matter.)

Up next was the grand mélée. I fought the Baron's guard, and although I lost, I think I did decently enough for myself. Frankly, I was surprised I had the energy in me to fight that long while wearing very heavy armour and face paint, especially considering I'd already spent the morning dancing in the Cambodian style.

I won't say what other devious things I got up to in the game lest spies are reading this entry, but suffice it to say I'm quite pleased with the way Team Hot Chick ended the night.

I think I'll be doing another event some time next month. Maybe my armour will be even closer to completion, then!

[Team Hot Chick, aka Nerd Brigade]

See that? From left to right, it's Elly, Jun, and Di'ikh Aiah. We are the Nerd Brigade Team Hot Chick. Wanna see more?
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
Forget acting my age. I've been up to no good at all, staying up all last night to watch Pantera videos, wage an epic penny/pillow battle with James, and shoot [livejournal.com profile] schwartzung gangsta-style with a glue gun.

Two days after a particularly brutal kung fu class, my abs are still sore, especially when I laugh or stretch. We did a couple of partner exercises which led me to this condition. The first is a classic: one person stands upright with their feet spread apart while the other lies on their back with their head between the other's ankles, holding onto their lower legs. The person on the bottom swings both legs up toward the standing one's head, and the standing one reciprocates by shoving the legs back down to the floor. The feet aren't allowed to touch the floor again, of course. One variation includes raising the entire torso along with the legs. I actually find this variant a bit easier.

The other exercise is in-fucking-sane. One person lies on their back with knees bent, feet close to their butt. The partner sits in a kneeling position with their butt on their buddy's feet, holding their buddy by the back of the knees. The one on their back has to jettison themselves into standing position with their arms crossed on their chest. I did fifteen of these, and by the end, I was completely drenched with sweat.

Oh yes, and I skipped nonstop for seven minutes, and that after a minor asthma attack. That was probably the easiest part of the class. I've got to say, I'm surprised I can skip that long, because it always winded me before.

I've quit my gym membership, and I'm stronger than I thought, with better cardio-vascular endurance than I thought. Go me.

Want some links? I'll give you some links.

Tree Man Who "Grew Roots" May Be Cured: "An Indonesian fisherman who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body has been given hope of recovery by an American doctor - and Vitamin A" (Thanks, Ken Donald).

Airworks Inflatables: Probably NSFW, as it's a giant, inflatable, tentacled twat.

Fear of Girls: Gamer comedy. It's funny because it's true (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] schwartzung).

Our Ugliest Crime: Holly Exposes Child-Sex Trafficking: "The Israeli-born New York attorney was in the midst of a very long sabbatical, traveling around the world, when he found himself on the streets of Cambodia surrounded by a dozen young girls. 'I’m talking really little, like five to seven years old, who were aggressively soliciting me for prostitution.'"

Conclusive Proof - That There Is No God and Humans Are Essentially Evil: Would you go to a brothel to boff a shaved orangutan named Pony? Lots of people did (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] warrenellis, for restoring my faith in humanity). Fortunately for Pony, she was eventually saved by an orangutan rescue organization.
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
I'm going to cancel my gym membership.

It's not because I plan on slowing down my exercise regimen. It's because I really haven't been using the gym's services more than once every two weeks or so, and that's a huge money suck. I'm getting lots of exercise from cycling and from my kung fu and dance classes. Today I learned that by using just my arms I can climb at least partway up the pole. I have every intention of being able to scale the whole pole with just my arms. My biceps are bulging out to the sides now, rather than just getting "tall" when I flex. This is a first. After umpteen years of working out, I am finally getting some serious upper body strength. It's about freaking time.

I've cut back on my caloric intake and improved on my food quality lately, and it's finally beginning to pay off again. My belly fat is melting off, and I've got the vaguest hint of a six-pack going on again. Booyeah.

My sifu made some sounds today about possibly teaching Jeet Kun Do, too. If that happens, I might be there. It would be on Wednesday nights, and that's when I teach my seniors' class. If JKD is after the class, well, that just might work out.

The Thursday floorwork class (taught after I do kung fu for a couple of hours and bike for an hour) continues to turn my students into wobbling heaps of jelly. Hell, even I feel the effects, albeit not nearly to the extent that they do. I plan on adding a new exercise to the regimen this week--something that will work leg and glute strength while also helping with cardio and flexibility. I might also do a few partner exercises for abdominal strength development. Mwahahaha!

My class is up a flight of stairs, and one of my students said she's very glad there's a handrail, because she's scared she'd tumble down the stairs without one after my class.

This week, I might be all weak, too, because after my floorwork class, I have to go on yet another bike ride to cash in a gift certificate I won as a door prize.
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] redlyra who got into the Mendelssohn Choir! That's pretty awesome, even if it means she'll be singing Carmina Burana instead of running around in the woods with me bopping people with foam swords while pretending she's an elf. Hee!

...

Yesterday I met with a personal trainer, not so much so I can get personal training (I can't possibly afford that), but so I can see how she goes about working with prospective new clients. We did a before and after mock-up on her computer. I would look pretty much identical to the way I do now in six weeks if I were to fix my diet and get more regular weight-training. I'm not even a little bit surprised about that. However, the program wasn't really written with already-fit people in mind. Had I been forty or fifty pounds overweight, inactive, and eating a lot of crap, I would expect to see significant physical changes if I were to suddenly change my lifestyle.

That being said, I certainly have room for improvement. My clean diet fell by the wayside in the past year, as did my regular weight training. When the trainer asked me when I was going to fix that, I thought a bit and said, "Tomorrow." That gave her a huge grin.

She also told me that when I get my trainer certification to look her up, because she might be able to give me a job. So I need to look into that again. Everything costs money, though. Sigh....

So here I am, eating a perfectly cromulent breakfast, and I've packed a nutritious, junk-free lunch for work so I won't be tempted by the cream cheese and smoked salmon Montreal-style bagels just down the street (they're delicious, but creamed cheese and bagels don't fit on my tried and true meal plan). I need to get some serious groceries, and get more fresh veggies to snack on instead of the microwave popcorn that's been my standby for too long.

I fully expect to still have a cheat day once a week. Pizza happens because game happens, but the rest of my week will compensate.

I'm going to see if I can get my four-pack (I never quite made a six-pack) back.

...

Cool news! It looks like I'll be teaching floorwork again. We're going to give it a go at the dance studio. Of course, the average student has never even heard of floorwork, so we had to give the class a catchy name. My class will be replacing a butts and guts workout class, so I think it could appeal to the same sort of student. I decided on the name "Core on the Floor", and will have to come up with a snappy little description for it, too. The price for taking the class is dirt-cheap, too. Where else can you study floorwork for $10/hour? If all goes well, classes will start up the second week of October on Monday nights at 7.

No one showed for my belly dance class last night, so I took a pole dance class, instead. Somehow, I gave myself a wicked pole burn on my wrist, so I'm wearing a big bandage that makes me look like a suicide attempt. I'm hoping it will be sufficient protection for my advanced pole class tonight. And then, if I still have any energy left, I'm going to go for a kung fu class with [livejournal.com profile] lindalicious and [livejournal.com profile] gha5t. Maybe we'll get some Hung Gar practice in, too. I haven't done any Hung Gar in too long. And I'd especially love to do some Northern Mantis, too. Mmm...

...

Ready for links? Here you go, anyway.

The World's Largest Penises: Contains no pictures of penes, but you'll have to make the judgment call over whether this is SFW or not.

Chinese woman's 'needle ordeal': "Doctors in China have discovered 26 sewing needles embedded in the body of a 31-year-old woman. They think they were inserted into Luo Cuifen's body when she was a baby by grandparents upset she was not a boy."

Curiosities: A gallery of very creative artwork.

Hidden method of reading revealed: "The mystery of how we read a sentence has been unlocked by scientists. Previously, researchers thought that, when reading, both eyes focused on the same letter of a word. But a UK team has found this is not always the case."

7 Amazing Holes: Contains no porn, just huge holes in the ground, both naturally-occurring and manufactured.

Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain: There's a gay gene and a democrat gene (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] gha5t)?
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Yesterday saw a very excited ShanMonster when I realized I can now flip myself upside down on the pole into something akin to a handstand. I can hardly wait until I can extricate myself from said position gracefully. Right now, I kind of slide-clunk my way down the pole headfirst until I land on my shoulders, back, then arse. It's not a pretty sight. But I can flip upside down!

My Tuesdays are about to get hella busy, with cycling to kung fu in the morning, cycling back, taking an hour of intermediate pole class, cycling back out to kung fu, and cycling back home. That's a total of two hours of cycling.

Tonight, when I get back from work, I'm off for another pole class, and tomorrow, I want to start up with modern/lyrical again. It's been far too long since I last did modern or lyrical dance.

My deltoids are still slabs of marble. I checked them out in the mirror. They definitely look larger than I remember. My lats are beginning to emerge once again, too. Once I get my eating back on track, they'll pop like mad.

I stopped by Value Village again yesterday. It was 50%-off day. I was hoping the button key accordion I'd seen there last week would still be there, but it wasn't. So I guess I won't be reacquainting myself with that nerdy instrument any time soon. Those suckers are expensive! I did, however, score another fabulous find. I bought a beautiful suede coat for about seven bucks. I just need to replace the buttons, and it's good to go. I found an amazing dress, too, but sadly had to let it go. It's just too small for me. I'd have bought it for someone smaller, like [livejournal.com profile] lindalicious or [livejournal.com profile] redlyra, but I wasn't sure if it would be to their liking and I don't have the money to spare on a gamble.


Oh, and I'd love to dress like this for Hallowe'en: [Alien Queen]

Are you ready for some links? Here you go....

Robotic Cow Tongue: I think I may have linked to this before, but it's creepy enough for another go-round.

I Love (not having kids with) You; Birth Control of Yesteryear...: "The universal symbol of love and affection has its origins in an herb that let the ancients fornicate [like rabbits] free from the worries of pregnancy. Yep, thats right, the heart shaped sign that we all know and love originated as the universal sign for a natural birth control pill."

Hard-core for Christ: "Heavy metal guitars, lyrics about burning flesh, and the faithful crying out to bathe in Jesus' blood might trigger an exodus at traditional churches. But it packs them in every Sunday at the nondenominational Deliverance Bible Church in Hurst."

Woman visits her own heart at exhibition: Not everyone gets to look at their heart in a jar (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] tdj).

Morbid little comic: Ha!

Idahomosexual Public Service: "As a public service to those people who are straight or gay or NOT GAY, NOT GAY, NOT GAY, who may be dramatically impaired, I offer you my reading of the police report from the incident in which the NOT GAY conservative Senator from the great state of Idaho was arrested for playing NOT GAY footsie with an undercover cop."

Goats sacrificed to fix Nepal jet: "Nepal's state-run airline has confirmed that it sacrificed two goats to appease a Hindu god, following technical problems with one of its aircraft" (thanks, Benoît).

Instructional Film for Women: Women! Know your place (thanks, Tom)!

Dink Lump

Sep. 3rd, 2007 09:55 am
shanmonster: (Spasmolytic)
After Saturday's kung fu fest, my deltoids feel like slabs of granite. My hamstrings are a slightly more porous rock. Everything else feels normal, although I slept long and hard the last two nights. Phew!

Last night I dreamed I was a soldier who'd brought back several prisoners of war. I tied one onto a circular frame and flayed him, but he died before I could get any information out of him. C'est la vie....

Link time!

Just Like You Were in 7th Grade, September’s Mags are Fat: "Of Vogue’s 840 pages, 727 are ads, or: 13 percent is editorial."

Puppy With Heart-Shaped Marking: What could be cuter than a puppy? How about a puppy with a heart-shaped marking?

Man pays the price for being a good samaritan: Don't cops have more important things to do?

Men charged over brother sex switch: "A man in Germany who was embarrassed about his penis size is facing charges, after asking his girlfriend to have sex in the dark – and getting his brother to stand in."

The 17th century women's guide to looking good: Includes some great pick-up lines, my favourite being your "breasts are two Ivory balls of listing pleasure".

Lion Reunites with Humans: "This lion was reared by the guys in the vid,he was then released into the wild in africa but a year later the guys returned to see if he was doing OK. Check out the look on the lions face as he realises-'thats not food its my MATES!!'"

Honey Doll Has Touch Sensors, Moans, Has Fake Orgasms: NSFW. "Thank the Japanese for pushing humanity one step closer to sexbots: This almost-perfect, silicon-made Honey Doll is equipped with touch sensors that will make her moan with different sounds."

Quiltsryche: Quilts for rockers.

Japanese Wasp Crackers - made with Real Wasps: Hey [livejournal.com profile] snowy_kathryn! This one's for you....

Button Embroidery: I was planning on using buttons decoratively on a new costume I'm making. I like the way these are sewn on, although I really don't like what they did with 'em overall.

Nicola Constantino: Probably NSFW. Bloated, slow-to-load website, but the content is interesting. I'm particularly amused by the T&A bag.

How to Kiss Someone Passionately: I like the what not to do sections....

Breast Cancer Differs Between African American and White Women: Black women should be more vigilant in their tests for breast cancer because they're more prone than white women to a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer.

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