shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
Possible video application for the Canadian ocean expedition. They want to know my name, interests, passions, and why participating is important to me. They are looking for enthusiastic people. Think I qualify? I hope I qualify.

If the video didn't embed properly, here's a link.
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Today was made with walking interspersed with a whole bunch of other stuff. Here's a video précis of my day.

My morning:



Now? Now I rest.
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
This was my first attempt at making a webcast, and my last assignment for my archaeology course. The video's a bit clunky, but I hope you find the story interesting. If my video editing skills were better, there'd be much more audio. I did all the photography and videography here.

shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
Elder Squirrel Demon Summoning Circle is an environmental installation artwork piece which I placed on my back deck. A multimedia piece, it incorporates a demonic squirrel head, chalk, roses, herbs, peanuts, salt, and pinecones.

I created the centrepiece by hacking a Big Head Squirrel Feeder. Horns were fashioned out of Sculpey by my roommate Amelia, and I affixed them with KrazyGlue. The eyes and eye rims were painted with bright red nail laquer, leaving slit-shapes unpainted for the irises. This gives the eyes a blood-filled, demonic aspect.

Next, lengths of binding wire were attached overhead to the roof and a nearby tree. The wire is green and blends in with the foliage. I next connected the wire to the head with lengths of transparent bracelet cording. This transparent cording makes the head look like it is hovering unsuspended.

I next adjusted for height by winding the binding wire until the head hovered the correct distance from the ground. Because of the elastic nature of the transparent cording, this process had to be repeated several times during the exhibition of the installation piece. Once the head was in place, I marked the centrepoint beneath and sketched out a circle in chalk. I drew the pentagram, then added Enochian text traditionally believed to have been used to summon demons. Technically speaking, a traditional demon summoning circle looks different (and contains far more Enochian text), but for the purpose of making the circle more identifiable to the average viewer, I chose to go with a circle of protection. Besides, I doubt squirrels know the difference. ;)

To add colour and to tie in the elements with nature and the history of the occult, I also added roses from my garden, herbs, small heaps of rock salt, and pine cones gathered at a nearby cemetery.

Since I intended to make this piece interactive with nature, I included peanuts to summon the squirrels. Then I sat and waited for the squirrels to get cheeky and brave enough to approach while I awaited with my camera. To aid with the summoning, I participated in a dread occult practice: the osculum infame. In other words, I made kissy noises.

Eventually, a black squirrel demon was summoned.

My ritual worked!

As a note, no squirrels returned the next day, but two days later, when I went to look, the peanuts were gone, and in their place, at the centre of the summoning circle, was a cherry. I summoned a demonic cherry! I swear I did not put it there, and no one else was in the yard all day. Ooooo. Spoooooky!

I confess that I ate part of the cherry, but as of this time, I have not evinced any signs of demonic possession....

Pics and video behind the cut! )
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
This past year has been tricky for me. I recover from one issue just to fall back into another. My hip is feeling pretty good, but my peroneal tendonitis has flared up again and put my training on the back burner. So much for the running I was hoping to do.

Still, I survived the Louise LeCavalier workshop last weekend. Although the choreography with its tic-like specifics combined with jumps and full-body movements eluded me, it was because my brain and choreography don't mix well. Physically, I was fine. I was tired from the intense training, but not as tired as from one of my usual training sessions. I could tell the other dancers were feeling it, though. Although everyone else had the choreography better than I did (no surprises there), I suspect I was the only one who wasn't feeling muscular soreness from the training.

As a note, tricky dance workshops are not a good match for wicked menstrual cramps. That is all. UGH.

In regards to the material itself, we worked on conditioning exercises drawn from boxing. I am not a boxer. However, I have studied a variety of martial arts for over a decade, and know how to deliver a solid punch, and how to use my body mass to drive that impact. There were a few stylistic differences between my trained/natural fighting stance and the stances expected by Lecavalier. She wanted us to put more weight on the front leg, which may work fine for boxing, but for any sort of fighting where kicks or leg sweeps are a possibility, it's not so ideal. I did as she said, because it was a dance workshop, not a fighting workshop. Still, a few things niggled at me. The guard position she touted had the elbows touching or almost touching the torso. This is a weak defensive position, just begging to be jammed. And when we were doing punches, she said I was hitting too hard. This boggled me until the end of the workshop, when we got to do a Q&A period. This is when I learned that although she does a lot of boxing training, she never competed, only sparred once, and hates hitting things.

Ahhh... This explains much.

The choreography she taught was a combination of elements from Édouard Lock and another choreographer whose name I didn't catch. Lock's elements were twitchy and precise, with jumps and arm waves. The other choreographer's work used more space, larger, less specific movements, and incorporated rolling and floorwork.

When it comes to dance, Louise Lecavalier is amazing. She's a living legend who's been accorded the Order of Canada. When it comes to applicable martial arts, though, seek someone else. After having taken two workshops with her now, I think I have no more need to do it again, unless she showcases new content. The material was almost identical for both.

Nevertheless, I recommend her workshops to any dancer who gets the opportunity. She is a sweet, highly-skilled dynamo, and holy heck, she sure is fit. She did two workshops each day, back to back, and did most of the work alongside us. That's some serious endurance. She also has an incredible memory, and called out to each of us by name throughout the workshop with corrections/critiques. To top it off, without introductions, she remembered me and the other student who'd taken the workshop with her two years ago by name. And I look very different now from then, too!


On March 10, I performed at 60x60 again. It went well. Here's a still. )

Drop It

Apr. 9th, 2013 11:02 pm
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
Today I'm a bit grumpy because it was cold and rainy out, and I wanted to bike, but knew if I did, I'd be absolutely drenched for my aerial silks class. My shoulder/neck has been overly tight for a while now, and my tendinitis has been tweaking for two days. I have a dance workshop with Louise Lecavalier in three days, and I don't want to have to worry about my neck and ankle slowing me down.

*cue sound of needle being scratched along a record*

Wait a minute. How about some perspective, Shan?

Three months ago, I wasn't sure I'd be able to walk on anything but level ground again without a limp. Any time my foot skidded out on a bit of ice, or I took a step with anything more than a mincing nature, it felt like someone had taken a potato peeler to the inside of my hip joint.

My hip has improved drastically. My worries from not so long ago have already dissipated.

These sore bits are nowhere near as scary as the hip issue was. I'm hoping a tune-up with an RMT tomorrow will do the trick.

In the meantime, here's something I did today, which my hip would NOT have allowed me to do even a month ago. )
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
This is 2012 pole dance champion, Michelle Stanek.


shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Today's clip is of Remi Martin and Eike von Stuckenbrok performing for the tv show Verstehen Sie Spaß? Wow.

shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
This is Jenyne Butterfly at the EyeCandy Premium Pole Dance Party in Roppongi, Japan on March 25, 2012. I'm in awe of her strength, flexibility, and control. She makes this look effortless and painless. It's not.

shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
It's been a while since I've posted one of these. This time, it's a comedy piece: a parody of a belly dance routine by "Sibel Istanbul". I do not know the dancer's actual name. Watch for the unique isolation shimmies. ;)

shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Just me having fun at the KW Bellydance BiZaRrE earlier this month.

shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Not so long ago, I couldn't do even one diamond push-up. Here I am, on day 98 of my 100-day push-up challenge, banging out ten.

Up next, I plan on doing a 100-day squat challenge, with the focus on one-legged squats (pistols and one-legged box squats). Who's with me (regular squats count, too!)?
shanmonster: (Default)
How many of you are still with me on the 100-day push-up challenge? Today's my day 53. Here I am doing ten diamond push-ups. My form gets a bit saggy by the tenth one. I'm hoping that by day 100, I'll be able to keep perfect form a lot longer.

shanmonster: (Default)
Oh, hectic month, you sure are hectic: as hectic as longcat is long!

I've ramped up my training, as I said I would before, and am running a minimum of twice a week. Mondays, I run between 8-12 km of hills, and Wednesdays, I do a variety of running drills (sometimes sprints, sometimes intervals, sometimes hills, sometimes distance, sometimes cross-country, etc.). And then I run around the neighbourhood when I feel like it on other days, and run, when it's called for, at my CrossFit workouts. I still do not consider myself a good runner. But I am no longer a bad runner. I'm slow, but steadily getting faster, and my endurance is much better. I think I will be up to competing at Tough Mudder next year and half marathons, at this rate.

I've been training harder and more frequently than ever before, and my recovery time has improved dramatically. For example, Wednesday is possibly my hardest training day of the week. I do a minimum of 30 km of cycling, two hours of kung fu practice (which often includes about 400 squats as conditioning), and an hour of running drills. Oh yes, and the usual pushups are thrown into that mix. When I first started this training regimen, I was absolutely destroyed come Thursday. This week, I felt perfectly fine the day after, and am sure I could have done another full workout. However, I'm ramping down to save myself for tomorrow's race.

Tomorrow, I run the Warrior Dash. It's a 5km obstacle race, and looks like this.

So instead of a giant workout, I did a leisurely one. Basically, I went to the gym to play. I climbed the cargo net upside down just to see if I could. I did handstands. I did pistol squats, weighted (10-lb) glute ham raises, and 10-lb one-legged squats off a 24" box. I played on the rings and ropes a bunch.

The other night, I dreamed I could finally do kipping pull-ups with ease. Previously, I've only ever managed one. So I tried, and though they're certainly not pretty, I can do them singly now. It's a start.

Over the next week, I'll be teaching six fitness and kickboxing classes, and keeping up with my training schedule which goes as follows:

Sunday: push-ups
Monday: push-ups, 1 hour CrossFit, 90 minutes of running
Tuesday: push-ups, 2 hours of aerial silks
Wednesday: 2 hours of kung fu, 1 hour of running
Thursday: push-ups, light training for 1-2 hours
Friday: push-ups, light training

Cycling gets strewn about daily, because it's how I get around. I generally do a bare minimum of 10km a day. I'd do heavier training on Friday except that I'm competing again on Saturday in the Masters division of the UG Series.

I have another Masters competition in mid-August (Masters Mettle), a Strongman training seminar the week after, and then I'm off to hike the Inca Trail in Peru!

I'll be doing my push-ups all the while, except possibly while on the Peruvian trip, because I just don't know how feasible that will be. I'll continue where I left off upon my return, though.

Holy crap.

And yes, there are more competitions upon my return. I'm thinking of at least volunteering at a local zombie race. I'll be a zombie. Braaaains....

I still want to take up rock-climbing, but am not sure how to slot that in. There's only so much of me to go around, after all, and I still do other things, like teach, dance, sing, paint, write, cook, sleep, etc.
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Holy cow, but Eleanor Powell could really, really dance. And do a bunch of crazy highly-skilled tricks while she tap danced, too. Here she is with Red Skelton in 1943'a "I Dood It."


shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
It's been FAR too long since I've done one of these.

Here is Leo Hedman's aerial silk take of the old movie Nosferatu. The piece is called Nocturnal and was performed in 2005.

I would love to be able to do any of this even half as well....
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
Earache makes sick Shan a sad Shan. Go away, plague of never-endingness, now with achey tinnitus. Go away!

On the silver-lining side, my aerial workshop was cancelled today. It's just as well, because the way my sinuses feel, being suspended and spinning upside-down would be a special room in Hell.

I was invited to a party tonight, but I'm feeling destroyed. I was really hoping to get to the gym to do some lifting today, but it didn't take long for me to realize that would be a Bad Idea. Feh.

Despite the malaise of my head tubes, I was productive. [ profile] f00dave, Meredith, and I installed a buttload of new shelves to replace the seen-better-days old shelves I had in my room. It's starting to look nice in my room, instead of just cluttered randomness. Now it's eclectic with a theme. Whoa. I never thought that would be possible.

I can't remember if I mentioned or not, but a while back, I discovered a huge abscess on Princess Tubby's face. I don't know how it went unnoticed for so long. I guess I thought she was having a bad fur day for a while until I realized the lump was the size of a marble. That would be huge on my face, let alone on a little critter like Tubby.

I took her into the vet, and he checked it out. The good news is that it wasn't a tumour. The bad news is that draining and rinsing it out then giving her a course of antibiotics didn't solve the issue. So surgery was next. She had the lump removed, and I was worried about her for quite a while after that. She lost a lot of weight overnight and was miserable. But then her appetite returned and she gained her weight back.

Alas, but the surgery site was starting to refill. The abscess was trying to return.

Ends up the bacteria in the infection was not responding to the antibiotic. For chinchillas, antibiotic options are very limited. She's been put on a new medication, and I think it is finally working.

She hated the taste of the old stuff. We had to force feed her, and she made horrible faces all the while. But this new stuff? Well, take a look for yourself.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to Mississauga to see this: Canada East Crossfit Regionals Competition. A team from my CrossFit club qualified and I'll be there to cheer them on. I sure hope this earache is gone by then. Gah.
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
I have been having such fun with my singing lessons. This is the song I've been working on most recently. I wish I could take voice lessons every day. I can't remember the last time a class has consistently been so enjoyable.

shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Seriously. I can't watch it without grinning like a fool.

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