Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vacation Roundup

Back from sunny Florida! Here's a little roundup of what we did:

Airboat tour!

I have no idea what's up with the swamp cows, but that one was definitely giving me the stink eye. 

These swamp cows are badass. 

Then we went to the beach:

I know this seems a little gross, but I found this turtle skull fascinating:

The Botanical Garden at Florida Tech, home to the friendliest turtles:

And then the Brevard Zoo:

You can feed the giraffes!!

A pic of my new friend Armando, from the wetland up the road. I was ridiculously excited to see him; I've always wanted to see a live wild armadillo.

And then some randoms:

^^so smart!^^

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Running Wardrobe Basics

People will try to tell you that running is the cheapest sport in the world to take up, equipment-wise. "Just lace up your shoes and go!" they say. 

Of course, now that I've been running for almost two years, I know it's not that simple. That's long enough to have amassed a fair bit of knowledge, but short enough to remember what it's like to buy all the basics. Essentially, this post is about what you'll need, where to save a buck, and where to spend it. 

Counter-clockwise, from top right:

Shorts x 2: These are Reebok, bought at Dick's Sporting Goods for around $14.99 each, if memory serves. The style is important; those booty-short styles look great for about five steps. Then your thighs rub together, like thighs do, and you end up with a massive wedgie. You're then left with the decision to pick that wedgie 72 times during your run, or just grit your teeth while it creeps ever further up your buttcrack. These Reebok shorts are very loose, so you don't have that problem, and they also have bloomers inside, kind of like an attached pair of underpants. It keeps you from flashing everyone if you have to bend to tie your shoe, and also gives you the option, on a really hot day, of skipping underwear entirely. 

Singlet x 2: I used to think these were tank tops, but no, they're singlets. (They're tank tops.) I picked up two for  $10-15 each at tj maxx. The most important thing with these and any running tops is to avoid cotton. When cotton gets damp, like from sweat, it starts to chafe. If you're thinking, 'how is a little chafe a big deal?' Google Image search "chafe nipples." Mmmm-hmm.

Sports bra x 2: This is one of the places to spend a larger chunk of your budget. I favor the Moving Comfort Fiona bra; I'm a larger-chested girl, and this gives me all the support I need. One tip, though: if you're going to buy this particular bra, order one cup size up from your normal fit. Depending on color/size, you're looking at $30-50.

Yoga Pants x 2: I bought these basic yoga pants on Amazon. Depending on color and size, they run from $11-20. They've held up really well, and they have pretty much every color available in the fold over waistband. A tip about that waistband—on really cold days, instead of folding it down, pull it up over your belly for an additional layer on your middle. 

Jacket: This was a gift, so I'm not sure of the exact pricing, but I believe it was about $40. The brand is Storm Creek, also purchased on Amazon. You'll want something that isn't bulky, but has a nice warm lining, keeps out the wind and the rain, and is machine-washable.  Personally, I don't like a hood on my jacket. They block my peripheral vision, and they always fall down anyway—I prefer a hat and a scarf, but I'll get into that in a later post. Make sure to hang it inside-out when you get back from your run, too. 

Shoes: This is where I deviate quite a bit from the conventional wisdom. I run in hiking shoes, not running shoes. They're heavier, and not very flexible, but my shoes—Keen Alamosas, if you're curious—have a wide toe box, great support, are waterproof, and as far as I'm concerned, can't be beaten in stability. I ran all last year, four or five days a week, through the worst winter our area has seen in ten years. I did fall a few times, but never because of a slip on ice or snow. If these shoes can keep me safe through that, you bet they have my endorsement.
Regardless of what kind of shoes you decide on, make sure you get good ones, and consider going to a specialty running store to be properly fitted. Your shoes are literally your running foundation. Ill-fitting shoes lead to injuries.  

Capri pants x 2: These are not only your spring/fall transition pants, but an important part of your deep winter gear as well. When yoga pants aren't enough, layer your capris over them. If you feel at all silly, just remember that you just basically made your own compression pants, without shelling out the $70+ compression pants usually cost. Capris usually run about $15 at places like tj maxx and Kohl's. 

Shirts x 2: If you're smaller-framed, like me, this is where you can save a few bucks. Rather than shopping in the women's section, head over to the kids'. A large or XL will offer a similar fit as a women's medium, for around $10 less. 

tl;dr: Start out with two pieces of each clothing type. Shop clearance and discount stores for clothing. Invest in a good bra, jacket, and pair of shoes. 

I'll be back soon for some other running gear-type posts, so stay tuned! 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014


I usually remember on Friday morning that Throwback Thursday was the day before. But my dad just sent me a couple of pictures, which kind of set this up nicely for me. 

I liked this one in particular:

Me, obviously, probably around age seven or eight. I haven't gotten much taller since this was taken. 

My parents, I think, tried to encourage me to have an interest in people by buying me Barbies. I ignored them and carted around her animal friends, like her horse. This is a fairly accurate foreshadowing of myself as an adult.  

The dog in the photo was named Sunny. I have some pretty awesome dogs right now, but Sunny...Sunny was one in a million. She was born right in our basement, one of seven puppies in the litter of a pregnant stray who adopted us. 
I can barely remember what happened yesterday, but I can still remember all the names of those puppies: Brutus, Sunny, Honey, Bunny, Baby, Bear, and Sweetheart. 

We rehomed her mother and the other six in the litter, but Sunny stayed with us. That dog was legendary. Every one of my childhood friends remembers her, probably because she was the one who looked after us while we played in the woods. Utterly sweet to people and animals, but protective when push came to shove—she once attacked and drove off a stray dog that came after my friends and I.
I also like this photographic evidence that, once upon a time, I could pull off bangs. I got bangs for the first time since the nineties a few weeks ago. When loosed upon the world, they stand straight up. I look like Johnny Bravo.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Who Does This?

So, for my low-key Halloween costume this year, I did this:

Apparently, you can't only purchase two googly eyes from Walmart. Which is fine...I figured I'll get the big pack, stick them in my purse, and anthropomorphize random things as I go about my travels. Like you do. 

However, since Halloween, they've been sitting on my bathroom sink, because I'm a slatternly wench who never puts stuff away. And while I was brushing my teeth the other day, I noticed something. 

Do you see a problem here? Because I do. A very large problem.

If you didn't get it yet, don't feel bad, because it took me several days to notice. To notice that, less the two googly eyes I used for my spider hair, there were seventy-five googly eyes originally in that package. 

Seventy-five. Seven. Five. A number not divisible by two. 

tell you, if I didn't believe that true evil existed in the world before, I do now. 

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Maked These

It's that time of year again...when Jackie ruins her hands carving pumpkins. At least this year I didn't do five. Seriously. I couldn't bend my thumb for like two weeks after that. 

Here's my favorite: 

If you've ever met me, chances are I've been wearing a Hello Kitty shirt of one incarnation or another. I fiend over HK. 

This one didn't turn out quite as well: 

He's supposed to be wearing sunglasses, but you can't really tell. Also a piece of his face (bone?) fell off and I had to stick it back on with straight pins. So far he's holding together. 

I also made these spooky eyes to put out during trick-or-treat. However, as you can see, craft projects in my house spiral quickly out of control:

He bit me when I tried to take them back. 😼

Sadly, we got just over a dozen trick-or-treaters, so we have quite the over abundance of candy. And hardly anybody got to see my cool hairdo. 

Happy Halloween!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

How To Feel Like An Ass, In Three Easy Steps

Step One: Decide couch is no longer working, for various ergonomic and aesthetic reasons. Convince husband of same.

Step Two: Collect recliners from storage at parents' house. Generally put everyone out doing this.

Sirius, in shock after realizing there's no place for him in this new furniture arrangement. 

Step Three: After about twelve hours trying to convince yourself otherwise, decide you hate the recliners, because you can no longer snuggle with your dogs. Repeat steps one and two, substituting "recliners," for couch, and vice versa.

Hope you're having a better weekend than I am.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oh, Neville.

My husband heard a noise in the kitchen and went to check it out. In case you're wondering what's so funny, that's the dog food bin.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Wait, what?

Did you ever realize something, and then realize you really should have realized that something before, and then feel really stupid for not having realized it already?

Today I read an article about a man who lived on a tropical fish farm. The following is a conversation between myself and my more cynical self (you should easily be able to figure out who's who).

Me: A tropical fish farm?? Why am I not a tropical fish farmer? I've never even heard of such a thing. 

Me: Seriously? You worked at a pet store for, like, two years. Where did you think they came from?

Me: Um, the tropics?

Me: .......

Me: And, you know, the divers would go down, um, with their little nets, and, um...

Me: .......

Me: Okay, okay. Jeez. 

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Things I Learned From My First 10k

Last Sunday, I ran my first 10k. 

That's me in the bright green tank top, #162! Photo by A J Lipe. 

For some people, I know, a 10k is no big deal. For me, though, it is. I only started running less than 18 months ago. Running doesn't come easily to me, either, not like it does to some people. I'm extremely slow, for one thing, and for another my brain likes to get in the way. 
So, I'm feeling pretty darn proud of myself, and chock-full of newfound knowledge, which I hope will help any other newbies contemplating the big 1-0.

1.) Don't cram. I had it all planned out. 12-week training program, customized and plotted down to the day. Then summer happened, and the heat (I really don't do well in hot temps) made long weekday afternoon runs impossible. Then, of course, we put our house on the market, blah blah blah...and then suddenly it was mid-July, and I hadn't yet run more than four miles at a clip. That gave me one month to build up to six miles, without stopping for a break. Did I manage it? Nope. And that caused me more anxiety than was necessary. Be aware of the timing of your race, and follow a training program. 

2.) Announce your intentions to race on social media/to anyone who will listen. If I hadn't, I probably wouldn't have raced. But the prospect of very publicly failing to do what I'd vowed was more daunting than the possibility of, you know, maybe dying on the course. 

3.) Pick something fun. I'm very passionate about animals and conservation, and the fact that there would be animals nearby got me stoked enough. But I did a 5k at the LV Zoo earlier this year, and was super impressed by the atmosphere. It was a giant, friendly party, and an absolutely gorgeous course, beautiful enough to distract from the discomfort and nerves. 
You don't get to run with bison at any old race!

The atmosphere can either lift you up or drag you down, so make sure you ask around and find out what races really got people pumped. I can tell you I'll be back next year for sure. 

4.) Take a pain reliever a few hours before the race. It'll help during and after. Trust me on this one. 

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There's No Such Thing As A Good Guy.

I love books. And TV. And movies. Basically, I love stories. 

Sometimes, though, I wonder if all those stories are good for us. Because, especially lately, it seems we're having trouble separating reality from fantasy. Like this whole concept of good guy/bad guy. 

There is no such thing as a "good guy." There is no such thing as a "bad guy." Not in real life. Whether you're talking about actual people, or corporations, or countries, the fact remains the same. Life, and people, are far more complex. Their actions and decisions as a whole can't be fit into a neat little box of "right" and "wrong." Someone can make the right decision one day and the wrong one the next. It makes them neither bad nor good. It makes them human. 

More and more, though, I see people blatantly ignoring facts in order to make those people or corporations or countries fit into the neat categories they expect. It doesn't work like that. That sort of thinking is a child's. Adults think critically, and critical thinking means seeing things for the way they are, not the way you want them to be. 

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Playing It By Ear

I've never been able to listen to audiobooks. I've tried them a few times, but my tendency to mentally meander has always been a handicap. I do it while I'm reading regular books, too, but turning back a page or two is a lot easier than rewinding, especially since when I last tried, they didn't have that handy little "skip back 30 seconds" button the apps have now. 

But I'm running a lot now, and for a lot longer—I'm talking an hour + on the weekends. I love my music, but it only carries me so far.  And as a fervent multi-tasker, I'm always happiest when I can do something while doing something else. 

So I gave it another shot, and I am absolutely shocked to discover that I love it. Using Audible's free trial, I downloaded Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes. I've listened to it several times this week—during my runs, including the six-miler last Sunday—and while crocheting. 
It's perfect for both. I still can't listen while cleaning or driving, but I gotta tell you, I'm so into it, it's tempting. 

That being said, there are still a few things that bug me about audiobooks:

1. You have to be able to turn off. No sneaking a few pages on your phone's Kindle app while in line at the grocery store—audiobooks require a chunk of uninterrupted, dedicated time. Which is really hard when you're dying to get back to the book and see what happens next!

2. They are so. Effing. Long. I'm not quite officially a speed-reader, but I'm damn close. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the first time in about 5 1/2-6 hours. I'm in the middle of my annual reread (yes, I'm a dork) and I was thinking about getting the audiobooks for next year's, so I could experience them in a different way. You want to know how long the HPatDH audiobook is? 21 hours. I could read the book four times over in that length. 

3. And they are so. Effing. Expensive. The aforementioned HPatDH retails for $45. From my meager research, this is not at all uncommon. Most audiobooks are $35 and up. That's where the Audible membership comes in handy; $15/month and you get one book of your choice each month; $22 gets you two (though, seriously, who has that kind of time?). Sadly, Harry Potter isn't available on Audible. Looks like I'll be hitting up eBay for those. 

Other than my few gripes, though, I'm totally into it, and glad I tried again. If at first you don't succeed...

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

First Week Of 10k Training

Subtitle: Oh, No, Not Another Running Post! because I know that's what you're thinking. Sorry. Other than this, there's not a whole lot going on in my life right now. 

I started off the week with a 45 minute timed run. It went badly. Very badly. I waited too long that morning to get started, and by the time I did it was nearly 80 degrees and the sun was high overhead. About 30 minutes in, I came down with chills. I had goosebumps all over my arms and legs, too. I pushed through—not terribly successfully, since I had to stop and walk about four times—but I pushed through for a total of 3.5 miles. 

Bounced right through my three weekday runs, because we went at 6 pm or later. Even if it's still hot, the sun isn't beating down on my head, which, apparently, is the problem. 

Then came Saturday, and I did it again. A 4 mi run at four in the afternoon. Once again, chills and goosebumps, even though my face looked and felt like an infrared bulb. I drank all the water in my hydration belt, stopped several times...nothing helped. So I kept telling myself it was all in my head, and I was never going to successfully run a 10k if I kept letting my brain tell my body what it could and couldn't do. 

Weeeeellll...apparently I shouldn't have. Thankfully, I found this out the easy way (Google) instead of the hard way (collapse) but chills and goosebumps are actually a sign of dehydration and imminent heat exhaustion. So, if you should ever experience this, stop running immediately, find shade, and rehydrate. Do not attempt to push through. Ahem. 

Now, of course, I have to figure out how the hell to run in direct sunlight. Because I don't know if you've noticed, but the sun? It comes up every day. And it stays up for, like, twelve to sixteen hours. Problematic. I don't know what to do. Salt tabs? Add Gatorade to my pre-run hydrate? At least I have eleven weeks to figure it out. Suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

On a positive note, I am incredibly grateful for whatever genetic quirk allows me to be this pale (like, just-buy-the-lightest-shade-of-makeup-without-even-trying-it-on pale) and still tan so incredibly well. Forgot my sunscreen, and yet, after almost an hour in the sun, I'm a relatively benign light golden-brown.

Total miles: 15.5. 

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The Importance Of Playlists

Some people can just run. No headphones, no music, just...go. I wish I could do that, but sadly, I can't. I need the distraction, otherwise I'll start thinking about my breathing and before you know it, I've psyched myself into hyperventilation. Plus, it helps to have something to think about other than "ohgodohgoditHURTS."

Up until a few months ago, though, it never occurred to me to use music as a tool for something other than distraction. That's when I stumbled upon the 150bpm playlists on Spotify. Here's the trick--if you sync your breathing and your stride with a song that has a 150bpm rhythm, you will run a 10 minute mile. Want to run a 9 minute mile? Then you want songs with a 160bpm rhythm. Having tried it, I can tell you it definitely works. 

I'm sure you don't have a few days to spare to sit and vet your playlist with a metronome; that's why there are websites like You can also search Spotify for "150bpm" and you will get a ton of playlists. 

Sometimes you need pacing, though, and then sometimes you need motivation. Times like my race last week, when I was pushing uphill in my last half-mile, skipping song after song in a desperate attempt to find one to carry me to the top, wasting precious breath cursing because I couldn't. Times like that you need a song that lifts you on a soaring chorus and drops you into a free fall, the kind of song that releases that chilly flood of dopamine that, for me, anyway, is just as effective as adrenaline. 

Below, I've posted my new 5k playlist. It's designed to play in order, escalating in intensity; I've broken the songs down into a hot sauce classification so you can see the steps. The more tired you are, the more kick you need. If you plan to make one of your own, though, this is my recommendation: don't just go for songs that are fast. Go for songs that make you feel something. Emotion is a powerful physical motivator. Just make sure the cumulative song lengths match approximately with your mile times. 

Mild (steady songs with a good beat, nothing fancy):

Ready Aim Fire—Imagine Dragons
Fire Breather—Laurel
Came Back Haunted—NIN

Medium (stepping up the beat as well as the emotion):

Locked Out Of Heaven—Bruno Mars
Trouble—Robots Don't Stop (aka Robot Koch)
Raise the Dead—Rachel Rabin

Muy Caliente (this is where the songs go that make you catch your breath. Go for the throat.):

Bottom of the River—Delta Rae
Everybody Wants To Rule The World—Lorde
Say Something—A Great Big World

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Race Day At The Zoo

This morning, I ran in The Great Ambulance Chase 5k. It benefitted Cetronia Ambulance (specifically, their community outreach and education program). It's a fabulous cause, but the real reason I chose this race is because it was at the Lehigh Valley Zoo!

"Petunia, do you have any change?" "No, sorry, all I have is a $20."

This is only my second race ever, but it's definitely my favorite. It was really well-organized, and the volunteers were so friendly. Also, the organizers get mad props from me, for giving us a poly-blend t-shirt we could actually run in! (Most of the time, you get a cotton tee, and cotton chafes when you get sweaty.)

It matched my pants better than the one I was wearing, so I decided to change. 

Public bathroom selfies are SOOO high-class. Also, it was freezing, and I got caught by a stranger trying to warm myself up under the hand dryer. Awkwaaaard. 

And the course! OMG, the course. It was the most beautiful run I've ever taken. The loop went through the wooded Trexler Game Preserve, all along the Jordan Creek, over footbridges and even a covered bridge (!). It finished up inside the zoo, with emus and ibex cheering you on through the last leg. Thanks in part to their help, I beat my previous PR by almost a minute. 

A friendly volunteer welcomed racers at the finish line (the girl was nice, too).

With the hard part over, I got to wander around the zoo a bit, so here are some assorted photos: 

^see the little baby goat she's feeding?
^Peregrine's looking like, "Dat ass!"

It was a superb day, and I give the event itself a 10/10. Highly recommend, and I'll be back next year!

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Google "clover mites," and you'll find out what's wrong with the world

Yesterday afternoon, I was weeding my front garden. I looked down and saw those teeny-tiny, bright red bugs running around on the concrete. You know the ones; I think I've heard them called "brick mites" before. Anyway, I realized I didn't know what they were actually called, so I Googled it. 

As you may have guessed from the title, they're called clover mites. They drink the sap from grass and other vegetation, but not enough to cause harm to the plants; in fact, high numbers of clover mites are a sign of a healthy lawn or garden. They don't bite or damage property; interestingly, it's impossible for them to infest a home, as some strange quirk of their physiology renders them unable to reproduce indoors. 

And, after telling me this, every single page Google returned told me how to kill these "nuisance pests."


Yeah. They don't hurt anything, they don't eat anything, and yet apparently they are classified as a nuisance because, when you squish them, their tiny scarlet bodies leave tiny scarlet stains. 

And that's what's wrong with the world today. If you can't figure out the metaphor, take a good, long look in the mirror, and consider that you may be part of the problem.  

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Swedish Lessons

As some of you know, I'm married to a Swede. Like, an actual Swede, direct from the country of Sweden.

One of the things that bugs me, though, is that, after almost twelve years of marriage, I don't speak any Swedish. I mean, other than parts of the body and a few curse words. That's just laziness on my part, I feel, and so I've been trying to learn. Well, I've been trying to learn for years, but it's only in the past three months or so that I've made any progress. I can now sometimes communicate in rudimentary, halting Swedish with my husband (which I often have to repeat several times, because my accent is atrocious) and through text message (much easier, since I can check the dictionary first!) I can even make (small, weak) jokes in Swedish. 

What's different this time? Well, I think it's because I've diversified my approach, by using a variety of apps and other resources, which I'm about to list for you. I generally try to do three of these per day. 

(Please note, I have an iPhone, so availability might be limited on other platforms)
• Babbel: Babbel has a number of language apps, three which are specifically geared toward Swedish. One is a vocab builder, one is a language/phrase course, and one is a Swedish/English dictionary. The vocab app is a little buggy, but all three apps are really great. I especially love the dictionary--it has all the curse words, too!
•Memrise: Just discovered this one a few weeks ago. Each small course only includes about three or four phrases, but they will be hammered into your head by the end. Good use of mnemonics, too, and a great review program. My only complaint is that the Swedish courses are very limited, and I'm already getting close to the end!

Podcasts are great, especially if you're like me and have really crappy verbal recognition. I personally like Swedish Survival Phrases and SwedishPod101. Swedish Survival Phrases is my favorite; SwedishPod101 has a lot of fluff and is constantly bugging me to buy their shit.

Social Media: One plentiful resource I didn't expect is social media, especially Tumblr and Pinterest, though Twitter's pretty okay, too. Search tags on the language of your choice and I guarantee you'll come up with a lot of surprising gems.  

Books/Newspapers: A quick Google search will easily yield you several online news sources in the language of your choice. Try translating just the first paragraph or two of each day's top headline. 
It's also remarkably easy to find children's books in other languages uploaded in .pdf form to free international libraries. Just make sure they aren't pirated sources. Also, steer clear of books in verse, especially if you're a beginner—as in English, the author may have used less commonly used words, or changed the typical word order, to make the story rhyme. 
Another way to use books is to find the translation of your very favorite, well-read book. I actually managed to score Harry Potter 1-6 in Swedish on eBay a few years back. My first crack at it went pretty well, but that kind of heavy translation is time-consuming and headache-inducing, so I've set it aside, and will return to it when I build my vocab a little further. 

Well, those are my tips for language learning. Lycka till!

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The Week In Review (4/29-5/6)

Now that I've discovered I can write halfway-decent blogs on my phone, there really isn't any excuse, is there? I guess I just feel like I'm boring. Ah well, lovelies. Prepare to be bored, I guess?

What I Watched: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. I didn't think much of the first movie, since it was a badly mutilated carcass of the book, but enough time has passed since I read the books now that I could watch this movie without worries. Good flick, and Nathan Fillion's cameo was, as always, dee-vine. 

What I Read: The Naturals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I waited for a while on this one—for some reason, Barnes's books are always either hit or extreme miss for me—but this one was a definite hit. I also started from the beginning on Cassandra Clare's TMI series, since the last one comes out at the end of the month (squee!).

What I Did: Ran a lot, as usual, though a bit slower, since hubby is trying to get back into it with me after taking the entire fall/winter off. Going forward, though, the schedule should be interesting; I'm taking almost all of next week off in prep for my 5k on Saturday, and then the following week I start my 10k training. 
On that subject, has anyone used the Coach function on Nike+? The convenience is very attractive, but six weeks seems a little accelerated! I know comments don't always work here for some reason, so please feel free to leave a response on my Facebook page (link at the bottom!)

I guess the good news is that this post has given me several ideas for other posts, so check back in soon for more on the progress of my Swedish lessons and other running-related stuff. See you soon!

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bullshit Prevention Protocol

I love this with all my heart. I wish I could surround it in blinking neon lights. If I had my way, this would be on every cereal box in America. More importantly, it would be a daily pop-up on every social media website. 

I borrowed the above from this blog post:, which you should check out; it's an intelligent, quick read. However, the original article is geared toward journalism; I'd like to look at how it applies to misinformation in social media. 

1. Who is telling me this? If you know the person in real life, consider their personal politics and views. Is it possible they believe the link or story without question because it falls easily in line with their beliefs?
If you don't know them personally, take a few minutes to scroll back through their feed. Seeing a lot of suspicious activity? ("Obama is a secret Muslim!") You can probably consider the case closed. 

2. How does s/he know this? What if this person seems pretty level-headed, though? Well, now it's time to consider their source. If they've shared a link, click through (provided your virus software is up-to-date, of course). What do you see? A blog with a somewhat canted title ("")? Misspellings and grammatical errors? Lots of declarations, but no bibliographical links or attributions? Big ol' red flags, folks. Click away and think cleansing thoughts. 

3. Given #1 and #2, is it possible that s/he is wrong? So, you've screened the source individual, and the article looks pretty legit. The writer has lots of supporting links and a fair command of the English language. Now what?
Now we look closer. Click those supporting links and read on. Yesterday, I read a blog post on the dangers of vaccination which actually debunked itself with its own links. Because the writer didn't understand the science behind vaccines and how they work (specifically, the difference between "live" vaccines and "attenuated live" vaccines) and wasn't a terribly careful reader (due to recent travel, the possibility of "wild" virus infection in the child studied could not be ruled out by researchers) the post turned out to be an alarmist bushel of baloney, based on misunderstanding. 
Oh, and by the way...I didn't know the difference between "live" and "attenuated live" either. But, when I found a phrase I wasn't familiar with, I Googled it. 

4. If answer to #3 is yes, find another source. Which brings me to my favorite part ...Google. If you are reading this, you are on the internet, which means you have access to Google. So, for the love of llamas, frigging Google it already! A simple keyword search should get you page one results. And if you can't find a legitimate, independent news source--not another blog, but a newspaper or major media source--to back it up, then don't believe it, and don't share it. Assume bullshit. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moony Over Mars

It's been a great couple of weeks for Veronica Mars fans.

First, this happened:

And then, this happened:

Having sampled both, I can tell you they were a-freaking-mazing. I expected nothing less than awesomeness from the movie, but the book? We've all seen novelizations of our favorite movies or TV shows. Has that ever worked out? Ever?

I can tell you now that it has. Exactly one time.

By Chapter Two, it was like coming home. I could hear them all in my head. Veronica's snarky voice-overs, Keith's calm restraint, even Cliff's luscious baritone. It was perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. And oh, the plot twists. The plot twists, you guys.

Well, if you haven't read it yet, you're in luck. In keeping with the tradition of the My Favorite Things giveaways, I'll be giving away one ebook copy (ebook only, no physical books, sorry) of the Thousand Dollar Tan Line, as well as one e-copy of my own book, Blind Study.

Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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