Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well, that was demoralizing.

It's been two months, and here I am with the promised experiment results.  100 crunches a day, over 2 months.  I've lost maybe a kilo during those two months, though I've been visiting chocolatiers and making croissants in-house and so it's fair to say that my dietary habits haven't changed much.  I haven't had as much beer over the past month, but I would say that ice-cream consumption is up, which pretty much means the only difference you'll see here is exactly this: the 100 crunches per day.

As I've said all the way along, I do feel a difference.  Good thing really because taking the photos today and comparing to the "befores" made me think "well, that's disappointing."  So, without further ado I give you proof that 100 crunches a day might make you feel better, but certainly won't do much for your appearance:

2 months ago above, "standing relaxed pose".  Today below.
 Yes, I may just be one of the whitest people you have seen (albinos aside, of course.)


 2 months ago above.  Today below.
I think the most noticeable (the only noticeable?) difference can be seen in my back/hips area.


The classic "female flexing abs pose."  Seriously... do I even look like I've got anything going on there?

Looks aside, my core is definitely stronger, and I'm able to do waayyy more crunches consecutively and with good form before needing to take a pause than I was at the start of this.  I figure I'll just continue on with this experiment and see about what happens if I double the number of crunches per day since 100 now truly feels like nothing.  200 per day is still completely manageable to slot into any day, since it takes up less than 5 minutes.  We'll see where it goes from there.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New and improved update: now with less rage!

--- We are off this weekend for a little getaway in parts Flemish.  As always, I have peeped out a chocolatier/patissier I can't wait to visit.  I believe that coming home heavier may be unavoidable.

--- And what of the body?  I do know that very very soon I will have to display what two months worth of doing 100 sit-ups every day looks like.  I have my doubts that it will show up well on film, (I have been busy this month with the counter-productive activity of eating fattening things for various good reasons.)  I'm pretty sure my brand new burn mark might show up nicely though.

--- Completely unrelated to the above: I don't recommend you iron a shirt if you are not wearing one yourself.

--- I have visited a particular office in my commune 3 times in the past week.  I am now used to the fact that the receptionist simply doesn't exist or if he/she does, they are intensely private.  I have managed to piece together where I am supposed to go in the building, and just this morning I discovered that contrary to all information posted online and inside the building itself, the office I need to get into opens at 8am.  This morning at 8:30 I was 20th in line.  Given that the 20 people in front of me were mostly people who have no idea how to do their taxes and have come to have someone else do it for them, and calculating 30 minutes per person... I left.

Monday I'll go back very early to make sure I'm the first, and I'll bring something to entertain myself while I wait for the bureaucrats to see me.  It's all rather Belgian in flavour, this.  I should have expected it and resigned myself to it sooner.

Ok no really... the real reason I'm ok with it is because this particular office is about 2 minutes walk from my house. SO, it's only a little skin off my back to possibly have to make the trip 4 or 5 times before my matter is dealt with.  I prefer the strategic in-and-out visits to commune offices anyhow.  It's the waiting that kills me.  This can be terrible torture especially if the other people who come to the commune office to wait within olfactory range of you are the sort who shower every 2 or 3 days... There are more people in my commune like that than I'm comfortable with, hence the ninja "first thing in the morning" approach.

I'm outta steam.  Time to drink coffee and lie about aimlessly drawing things.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear Belgian Administrative Offices:

This is generally how I feel when I leave any of you:

drawing by Cameron Rutten

This is because pretty much right from the get-go, I am never given the feeling that anyone in your offices actually wants to help me, though it is their JOB.  In fact, I'm generally given the feeling that people who work in your administrative buildings feel that their job is to socialize and drink coffee, and that they feel truly inconvenienced when a public citizen comes in and ASKS THEM TO ACTUALLY DO SOME OF THEIR WORK (which is, you know, to help the public.)

Today I walked into one of your fine buildings at 10:30am.  I was coming to do a good thing and correct my tax-declaration after finding a missing document.  It wasn't anywhere near lunch or morning coffee time.  I waited at the reception for 10 minutes without seeing a single person or sign that might direct me to the place I needed to go.  I read your useless listing of offices by floor-number, which essentially designated every office on every floor as "controle", meaning I had to ask the receptionist in order to know which controle to go to, and could not direct myself.  There was no "back in 10 minutes" even posted on the glass enclosure to the receptionists area.  (I am beginning to understand, btw, why all your receptionists seem to be protected behind thick glass.  With the way you guys run things I can see that being necessary.)  It would have been especially good if I'd taken time away from work to come to your building.  I'm sure I would have been even happier leaving than I was today had that been the case.

I don't really find you charming in this respect Belgium.  Your civil service sucks, just so you know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Truancy excuses.

My goodness how the time flies when real life stuff is fluttering about.

Far-Away-Chocolate-Job: in the end I was asked in for an interview.  I had to ask if the chocolate guru I was hoping to work for would be able to do an interview by Skype, as I was completely willing to hop continents for a job, but couldn't afford to do it for both the interview and the job, if I got it.  Sooo, chocolate guru took a look over my cv and said we'd stay in touch as he was really busy and hiring for more junior positions at the moment.  I'm not sure how to read that, but I'll hope it's a good thing and not just a pleasant brush-off because seriously, I'd love to work there one day.

All this, at the very least has been more motivation for me to slog forward with the work of getting my studio/workspace together here.  It's coming, but man... changing a space from a granny's dining room into a space suitable for a clean-freak's cooking and art-doings is a little complicated.  I cannot believe how many boxes of little porcelain cherubs, decorative plates and lamps I have already carefully packed away and placed in the basement.  Mami certainly liked trinkets.

I still have achilles tendonitis.  It is annoying, but is slowly getting better.  This past Friday we were in Brussels for the new Amon Tobin show (which was definitely impressive,) and I danced (I couldn't help it,) which kind of set me back a few days on the whole "healing" thing.  It's bothersome, not moving very much for weeks at a time while this small but crucial part of me calms down.

But hey!  I have something else to tell you about related to fitness stuff: MBT shoes.  These are unbalanced rocker-sole shoes that are supposed to challenge your body in ways that are beneficial to posture, balance, developing small muslces and so on.  I bought a pair (on sale) while in Toronto, and have been sporting them on average about 20 hours a week while at work.  Not only did I initially feel more tired at the end of the days when I wore them, but now with the whole angry-achilles thing, they've really helped to keep my tendon happy and healing!  I think they've helped keep the tendon happier as it heals than my other "more normal" shoes because my foot isn't always going through the same set of motions as I walk, so the stresses to the tendon are not always applied in the same place and manner.  Neat.  Rotating through my various shoes as the tendon heals has helped too in varying the standing and walking motions from day to day.

And yes, I was supposed to report back on the whole "abs-thing".  I've decided with my intense schedule of not running to put this report off to the 2 month mark.  So expect a report around the end of June.  I promise I'll do it and it'll be all detailed and so on.  I'll even be a sport and post the before and after photos, no matter how mortifying the act of doing so may be.  You can be the judges since my opinion of what I see in the mirror varies from day to day.  I do feel a difference though, which is enough for me to stick with it.

I have been taking online Spanish lessons as an exploration of different online language teaching media, companies, and methods.  They seem to actually be working a little, y yo hablo un poco now.  I think my favourite word so far is frigorifico, (fridge) because really, isn't cold storage magnificent?  The word I have most difficulty saying for whatever reason is berenjena (eggplant.)

All this, and I'm currently working my way through 3 different books from the "I feel I should have already read these" pile.

So there.  Life goes on, I have not abandoned my blog, I will be back soon, there will be pictures.

Chitika