shanmonster: (Sacrilicious)
It's coming up on photo progress day: my cam, my tape measure, and no mercy. Who else is up for it?

Today I'm getting interviewed by a researcher for some sort of psychology/sociology project on Aboriginals' life experiences. It should be interesting, and I get a $25 gift card for my participation. Woo!

It's also gym day. Time to make those muscles bigger and stronger. This morning, while I languished in bed trying to get back to sleep after a premature wake-up, I contemplated changing the way I do my front planks. I think I'm going to attempt to hold 90-second crocodile asana, instead. I don't expect I'll be able to hold it for 90 seconds for quite some time, but when I can, well, I'll be impressed with myself.

In case you don't know what that asana looks like, it's this:


(Check out the website that picture is from. It looks like a nice yoga resource.)

Link time!

Judge Stuffed Acorns With Condoms: He handed them out to unsuspecting women. Even better, he's from Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

Squirrels masturbate to avoid sexually transmitted infections: What squirrels really do with their nuts.

Converse...pants?: I like these, but how on earth would you launder them?

Today's baking/cooking projects are:
- Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans
- Honey Yoghourt Cheese
- Flaxseed, Fig, and Walnut Crackers


Holy crap, but I sure am looking forward to my weekend!
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
My workouts have been working. I'm steadily progressing. Although I still haven't managed to increase the weights for my arm exercises, there is definite improvement. I can now do weight training and a pole dance class on the same day. I couldn't do that a month ago.

I was all set to do yoga today, but I woke up sick. Here's hoping it's a 24-hour bug, and I'll be back to the gym tomorrow.

It's been a month since I started intense training, and yesterday, I changed up my routine. Here's what I did on Tuesday:

[Leg raises]Treadmill warmup: 5 minutes at 5.5 mph
Front squats: 3 sets at 80 lbs
Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets at 100 lbs
Pushups: 30
Chinups: 3 sets assisted weight of 120 lbs
Calf Raises: 3 sets at 340 lbs
Reverse grip bicep curls: 3 sets of 20 lbs
Plank: 90 seconds
Tricep Extensions: 3 sets at 22.5 lbs
Shoulder Flies: 3 sets at 10 lbs
Abs - leg raises: 30
Abs - incline bench crunches: 30
Back extensions: 30

Here's what I did yesterday:

[Leg raise with ball]Hindu squats: 30
Dragons: 30
Walking lunges: 3 sets at 15 lbs
Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets at 110 lbs
Dumbbell bench press: 3 sets at 10 lbs (I will be increasing this next time)
Lat pulldowns: 3 sets at 40 lbs
Calf Raises: 3 sets at 340 lbs
Plank: 90 seconds
Side planks: 90 seconds
Tricep kick backs: 3 sets at 12.5 lbs
Upright row: 3 sets at 30 lbs
Leg raise with stability ball: 30
Pelvic thrusts off stability ball: 30
Twisting crunches on incline bench with medicine ball: 30
Back extensions: 30

Each set is of ten reps, unless otherwise noted.

I need to find a different exercise than the upright row. It was hurting my back for some reason, no matter how I adjusted my posture. Any suggestions for something that'll work my deltoids?

Just in case you're wondering, here are video clips of some of the exercises I do:

Pelvic thrusts from the stability ball at 1:28:

Hindu squats:


Leg raise with stability ball (1:26 in)

I went to yoga class yesterday for the first time in forever. Why did I stop going? Am I stupid? In any case, I plan on adding 3 or 4 yoga workouts a week on top of my regular training. For the first time since I started hardcore training again, I saw myself in the mirror while exercising and thought, "Damn! This is really paying off!" That being said, I could feel how my technique is weaker, but I know it'll go back to what it once was within a week or two of practice.

So yeah, go away, stupid flu bug! I want to get back to training! Grr....

Edit: I have decided to do the military press for my deltoids. Looks good.

More Class

Mar. 17th, 2009 10:30 am
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
Oh lord but I hurt.

Yesterday, I went for my first run of the year. I did much better than I had anticipated, and I'm sure that by this point next week, I'll be doing even better, still, if the weather keeps being nice.

Then I taught my dance class. No problem. Then I started my yoga class, and only a couple of minutes in, was asked by the studio director if I could be an emergency fill-in for a butts and guts class.

And so I was suddenly placed in a very busy class teaching an intense core workout when I haven't taught such a class in about seven years. Yikes! After some quick thinking, I started them on a slow warmup, and the next thing I knew, we were all doing hindu squats, dragons, side plank pushups, kitten crawl planks, etc. Basically, all the most intense strengthening and explosive power movements from kung fu and floorwork. I had people partner up and do ab drills where one would lie on her back, gripping the standing partner's ankles. Then she'd try to kick her partner in the face, who would catch the feet and hurl them down toward the floor. But the feet weren't allowed to touch the floor....

I had people laughing and groaning and sweating. I definitely put them through their paces. And although a replacement showed up halfway through the class, I think I could have taught the whole hour. With time to prepare, I know I could.

Once I was relieved, I went back to yoga, where oddly enough, the class was in the midst of a slow-motion version of one of the things I had just done almost until failure. So I was put right back to work.

At the end of the class, I was so wobbly and weak, I could barely move. I can't remember the last time I had such an intense workout day. I fear my tomorrow, when my muscle soreness shall be at its zenith. I fear it, and look forward to it. That's the good pain.

I'm supposed to do weight training today. Oh boy....

Link time.

Boy, 4, brings pot to Tamarac pre-school, police say: Not such an exciting story title. But the official conclusion is a blast. Since the kid brought it in his bookbag, as a result, bookbags and backpacks are now banned.

Sho'nuff: Kiss my Converse (thanks, [ profile] schwartzung)!

Enhance your movie experience: How to retrofit your popcorn bucket into ... Well, into a pocket pussy. Egad. Nice censor bars on the M&M's faces.

Paraplegic Man Suffers Spider Bite, Walks Again: Unleash brown recluse spiders on rehabilitation centres? Surely, you jest!
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
I'm just going to quote the YouTube write-up for this, because it says it better than I could.

"This work-in-progress premiere of Shabd (meaning sound or word) is the first time Pandit Das' Kathak Yoga technique is being brought to the main stage, performed by members of the Chitresh Das Dance Company: Seibi Lee, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Joanna Meinl, Rachna Nivas, Anjali Nath, Rina Mehta and Dmitra Smith. The dancers perform in both a 9-1/2 beat cycle (sare-nau matra) and a 16 beat cycle in different layas (tempos) Kathak Yoga is one of Pandit Chitresh Dasís innovations within tradition. The dancer simultaneously performs rhythmic composition through footwork, movement and expression while simultaneously reciting the underlying rhythmic structure (theka) and singing the corresponding rhythmic melody (lehara). Pandit Das also adds the element of playing an instrument on tabla, harmonimum or manjira (finger cymbals). Kathak Yoga is a unique and virtuosic practice requiring the dancer to integrate mind, body and spirit, with the goal of achieving pure bhakti through the dance. Pandit Das' innovation of Kathak Yoga exemplifies the idea that one does not have to go outside of one's own tradition to innovate."

I will add this: the precision of this dance is phenomenal.

shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Last night at Mugshots Noir:

[Mugshots Noir]

Today after acro-yoga. I flew! Man, am I ever shagged out now, though.

[My bandanna is gother than yours]

Move Out!

Jan. 30th, 2009 09:59 am
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I'm off to Toronto shortly to do some shopping for the burlesque troupe, and then I'm back again for the Mugshots Noir opening, this evening. Tomorrow is partner and acro yoga, more burlesquery, and Sunday is more yoga and Pilates. Next week is just as filled with dance as my other days. I like to move it, move it.

Yesterday was spent costuming and sewing. I repaired the smokin' hot beaded silk dress, and made good progress on a red and black dress I'm making based on a vintage 40s pattern.

Links. Yes.

'Immortal' jellyfish swarming across the world: As [ profile] snowy_kathryn said, "We have work to do." *Picks up a spear*

How to Make a Rainbow Cake: Suitable for Care Bear and coming-out parties.

Honey helps problem wounds: "A household remedy millennia old is being reinstated: honey helps the treatment of some wounds better than the most modern antibiotics. For several years now medical experts from the University of Bonn have been clocking up largely positive experience with what is known as medihoney. Even chronic wounds infected with multi-resistant bacteria often healed within a few weeks."

Shark Fin Ice Cube Tray: I require this.
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 [ 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, [ profile] lindalicious, [ profile] gha5t, and company, and then I'm off to Toronto with [ 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, [ profile] gha5t). These guys are total nutjobs, and I love them for it.

Work It

May. 2nd, 2007 10:05 am
shanmonster: (Spasmolytic)


I need to find a part-time day job as my dance education expenses cost more than I'm making doing the actual dance.

I teach on Mondays at noon and again at 6, so Mondays are generally pooched. I take a dance class on Wednesdays at 5, and am often out of town on weekends for dance workshops/performances. Weekday mornings would be great, and preferably in the downtown Kitchener area. Either that or something I can do from home with my own set hours. Up to 10 hours per week would be ideal. Any ideas?

My skill set is varied: customer service, online/library research, animal handling, website design, ad/promo copy writing, basic goldsmithing, theatre/dance/music reviewing, voice talent, retail, modelling, heavy lifting, botanic illustration, food/beverage preparation, etc. I'm a Jane of all trades, really.



[ArBee]Dance-wise, I'm still in the process of expanding my horizons. I've been learning a lot through my Danse du Jour series, but want to learn more. What am I missing? Do you have any recommendations? I've been trying to find good examples of other dance forms (eg. contact dance, square dance, jazz, contemporary, etc.) and could use some help. Do you know of excellent, inspiring, or just plain thought-provoking video clips I could share? Tell me! As long as it has some element which makes it stand out (even for negative reasons), I want to see it.

Today I finally begin regular ATS instruction. I'm really looking forward to this. And right after I finish my ATS class, I trundle over to my pole dancing class. In a weird sort of way, I can see how the two could potentially fuse together. Imagine, if you will, group improvised pole dancing. Hmm....

I'm looking forward to Rachel Brice's new instruction video: Bellydance Arms and Posture.



There's a possibility I may be going stateside this weekend with [ profile] miami_pony to see Jonathan Coulton in Rochester, NY. Do you know if I need to have a passport to go to the USA from Canada? I lack that particular piece of identification. I have my provincial ID, OHIP card, and birth certificate. Is that enough?

Edit: According to this site, I do not need a passport to enter the US by land or by sea. A birth certificate and photo ID will do. If I were flying in, however, a passport is necessary. Odd.



I didn't get to wing chun last night as I was suddenly stricken with intense exhaustion. I think it's related to the migraine aura which has been taunting me with elusive sparkles for the past week or so. The exhaustion hit me around 3pm, and only worsened when I went to yoga with [ profile] snowy_kathryn. My brain grew heavy in my head, and my eyes became as Atlas holding aloft the heavens. My eyelids were forced lower and lower under this perceived weight, and my hearing narrowed to a thin, low whistle. During the warrior series, I felt myself browning out several times, and only through careful breathing and easing up on the depth of my stance was I able to avoid crashing down onto the floor in a swoon. The eagle asana was pretty darned abortive. I simply could not stand on one foot. I've never welcomed savasana as much as I did last night. I staggered home afterwards, collapsed on the couch, and blearily watched Borat.

I feel normal today.



Iran ban on 'Western' hairstyles: The fashion police exist for real.

Male Scientist Writes of Life as Female Scientist: I can't help but draw a parallel to Tiresias.

Topsy, Electrocuted by Edison: The Rasputin of the pachyderm kingdom finally met her demise thanks to the showboating of agenda-ridden inventors.

Getting Off . . .: Just another story about just another apotemnophile.

Man cuts off penis in restaurant: You just can't take some people anywhere.

LSD as Therapy? Write about It, Get Barred from US: "Nobel Peace prize winners, some of the great scientists and writers in the world have experimented with LSD in their time. We know people are being pulled out of lines and racially profiled as part of the war against terrorism. But this is a different kind of travesty, banning someone because they used a substance in another country thirty years ago."

How to Smoke All You Want: Cigarettes are good for you (thanks, [ profile] gha5t).

You Haven't Seen Crazy Until You've Seen America's Black Hitler: "Dig 'em up and kill 'em again."

Turtle Sex: Turtle slash wok (thanks [ profile] seraph_x).
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
Today's clip is again, not really dance, but an astonishing sequence of yoga asanas courtesy of Krisnamacharya, yogi and instructor of BKS Iyengar and Sri K. Pattahbi Jois, founder of the Astanga style of yoga. This clip is from 1938.

If you don't exclaim aloud at some point or another during this video, I'll be surprised.

shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Today's clip isn't dance, but I'm including it because it's an incredible piece of movement. This is B.K.S. Iyengar demonstrating his yoga technique in 1938.

Holy shit.

shanmonster: (Is that CLEAVAGE???)
As per popular request, here are some hip openers I've found beneficial.


Bird of Paradise: About a year and a half ago, I somehow managed to get myself an inner thigh injury which resulted in nasty tightness on my inner right thigh. I've found the pigeon pose to be very therapeutic. I had physiotherapy for it, but nothing helped as much as this asana.

Seated Hip Opener: I just find this one very relaxing. You rock your leg like a baby....

Bound Angle Pose: This is a variation on the hip opener which is supposed to work wonders on menstrual cramps. From this position, you can use straps looped around ankles and back to hold the posture. Then lie on your back with a bolster cushion running the length of your spine and let the legs relax open. Ahh... Soooo comfy....

And now for some non-yoga links:

The Executioner's Tale: "Fernand Meyssonnier has me by the head. With four meaty fingers behind each of my ears, he is tugging me forward out of my seat. It doesn't exactly hurt, but the effect is certainly unsettling."

Naked stage role for Potter star: Richard Griffiths is set to star in Equus. I hope he can do the role justice. It's my favourite play.

Gibson's Anti-Semitic Tirade -- Alleged Cover Up: My favourite part is when Mad Max yells to the cop, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits" (thanks, [ profile] snowy_kathryn)?

Summoner Geeks: It's funny because it's true (thanks, [ profile] professormass).
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
No phone calls for weeks, and then, within one single hour, the phone rang off the hook. I had three telephone interviews (a gym, a call centre, and a staffing agency), and then I just got a call-back. I will be doing at least two days work at a newspaper doing proofing.

This means I won't be able to stay late at Pirates and Pyjamas. I'm planning on going around 10. I'll be dressed in some crazy swashbuckling apparel that includes a garter belt (all pirates worth their rum wear lingerie).

Beforehand, I'm meeting up with [ profile] professormass and his significant other for tea. It is good to meet more people. It is also good to drink tea. Biscotti-flavoured black tea with milk and brown sugar is my new favourite.

I went to yoga this morning, and it was good. I did some rather intense hip opener stuff that involved a bolster and bondage. Yes, getting tied in something similar to a trussed turkey position is very freeing. I could feel the muscles relaxing one at a time. The position is also very comfortable. I could sleep like that. And apparently it is just the thing for menstrual cramps. I must get myself a bolster cushion and the appropriate strappage, because my cramps are of the variety that spawn legends.
shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
I still don't have a job, but I'm halfway to my CPR/AR certification. CPR is a pretty good cardio workout, I must say. And I have carpet-burned knees from all the first aid practice. In theory, I can administer CPR and artificial respiration (including to people with neck injuries, but I hope I never have to because it involves dislocating their jaw), treat serious (and not-so-serious) cuts and amputations, save a choking person (even if they're very pregnant, obese, or me), and deal with epileptics, asthmatics, diabetics, and people going into anaphylactic shock (if there's an epi-pen handy, that is).

Tomorrow is all about the other stuff, like head and eye injuries, burns, and nose bleeds from hell.

I think I'll do the third day next weekend, too. That covers infant and child AR/CPR. I may as well have that, too.

During today's lunch break, I went for a little walk and happened upon Kitchener Kicks. The sign gave no indication of what they taught--only that it was a martial arts school. So I walked on in. Once inside, I soon figured out it was a kung fu school, and that they were big into competitions. Trophies were all over the place.

A woman was sitting at the desk.

"Excuse me," I said. "Can you tell me if you teach mantis style here?"

"Mantis style? What's that?"

"Er, it's a kind of kung fu."

"Nope. Never heard of it."

"What do you teach here?" I asked.


"Shaolin what?"

She blinked at me, all confused.

"Maybe you can tell me if there's a place around that teaches Wu-style t'ai chi chu'an, then."

"Never heard of it."

And so I left. What sort of kung fu school has never heard of mantis or t'ai chi chu'an? Yikes.

In other news, sometimes good things happen.

I've worked out a deal for yoga and dance instruction. I will volunteer at Atlas Studio in return for yoga instruction. I want to get my yoga instructor certification, too. The head of the studio is also the one who runs the certification course at Wilfred Laurier University. I was hoping my employment insurance would cover part of the training costs for the 40-week course starting in September, but due to an unlucky loophole, it will not. However, the exact same course, offered as a month-long intensive next June, could be covered. How annoying. By then, I probably won't qualify anymore. Damn. Where am I going to get the money to get this certification? I do not want to take out a loan.

And here's the good news about dance.

A couple of points:

Firstly, [ profile] snowy_kathryn and I want to arrange an ATS dance workshop in September. I think this will work out well. Atlas Studios is interested in hosting it. I happen to know at least two instructors who may be willing to teach.

Secondly, I believe I shall finally be teaching my floorwork specialty class come the fall. It will be at Haft Vadi. I'll be teaching in exchange for a combination of lessons and cash, which works out quite well by me. On Monday, I start going to the beginner classes to get a feel for their teaching methodology, so there's a good flow between our classes. And I'll be doing the advanced classes on Thursday nights for the same reason and also for my own edification. This will be my first time taking regular Egyptian raqs sharqi classes.

In the meantime, I need to work on a few dance things for myself. I want to develop a curriculum based around my own personal dance style and philosophy (I'll call it syncretic world dance, for the nonce). I also need to expand on my floorwork curriculum.

And I also need to work on my own technique. [ profile] oceanfiretribal showed me an interesting move she learned from Kami Liddle: a syncopated shoulder roll. I look like a right and total spaz doing it, so I need to practice to make it beautiful. She also showed me another way to practice my barrel turns. Here's hoping I can do it without barfing. Barrel turns make me want to yark.

Tai Cheese

Jun. 22nd, 2006 07:57 pm
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Oh dear.

I just got back from another Body Flow class. I love this class to death. It's done wonders for my flexibility and strength. It's given me more power in my kicks because of all the low stance training. But (ugh. The cat is barfing furballs all over the floor. BLARGH!) there's this one instructor who makes my mind hurt. She's soooo flaky. She's soooo patronizing. She memorizes everyone's name and greets them all by name at the beginning of the class, and thanks them all at the end. I feel like I'm on Romper Room. Remember that show?

Anyhow, we're doing a new series of movements this time around, and we're doing the "tai chi" bit. She says "Tai chi isn't about how it looks. It's about how it feeeeeeeels!" and "Remember, all tai chi is done with a slight smile."

Urge to kill rising.

The series of movements makes no sense whatsoever. I don't know if it's her fault, or if the series she was given is just plain broken. It seems to go from a dragon with sweeping hands to a horse stance with tiger claws (or her approximation thereof) to another dragon with sweeping hands. The sweeping hands move into a bizarre raise hands then to an incomprehensible tiger claw mushy thing before we circle around down into a dragon again. And then we twist ourselves up in some sort of insideout braided cat stance and do some vague hand waving again. All of the stances are very high, even when she says to make them low.

I guess I'll see if the sequence makes more sense when another instructor goes through it with me.

My mind kept wandering during the poses. It was an attempt to distract myself from the woman's neverending, crystal-licking, fluffy, pagan, crooning diatribe. I found many opportunities to surreptiously ogle the very cute guy behind me. I've never ogled before. It's much more enjoyable than listening to a platitudinous harpy.

When we got to the end with the relaxation and breathing in corpse asana, I tried--I really tried--to focus on my breathing, and to let my body sink down into the floor. But the woman's shrill effervescence kept intruding. At one point, I realized I was making a freakish rictus, and had been doing so for quite some time. The realization made me shudder with suppressed giggles. The more she told us things like "Inhale -- I AM. Exhale -- AT PEACE," the more my body vibrated.

I really don't think I can go to that woman's class anymore. And as [ profile] snowy_kathryn says, she knows our names and therefore has power over us. Just like Rumplestiltskin.


Edit: And I forgot to mention that during one of the "tai chi" exercises, she was moaning and OH-YESSSing just like you'd expect in a porno.
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
This may seem obvious, considering the frequency of my fitness regimen, but I can do a proper pushup.

This has not always been the case.

In fact, it was only yesterday that I did my first proper pushup, going all the way down so my nose could brush the floor, and back up again.

And I can thank the alligator asana from sun salutations for that.

Thank goodness I conquered this move before my thirty-fifth birthday!

I also played around with Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli. It makes belly rolls look weird as hell, not to mention my ribcage isolations. Excellent.

I still have to work on Stage II and III. I can't quite do the side isolations with my abdomen, but it's all coming together.

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