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8 reasons running in the heat SUCKS

Update: one of the comments raised another reason too good to leave out, and my 4.5 mile run in even worse humidity this morning gave another.

Yesterday, I did a 5k run in 28 degree (82 Fahrenheit) temperature. Humidity was at 50%, which actually could’ve been worse (this morning humidity was 95% and anybody who would run in that is not human). This is probably the hottest weather I have ran in before, and a series of particular notions rose continuously over the course of the experience that I wanted to share.

I know that for you seasoned folks living in countries with warmer climates, 28c is nothing. To a Scottish person who is lucky to see 25c at the height of summer, however, I may as well have been in a furnace. It was awful and there are months of this heat to go (not that I’m complaining; I love the heat. Unless I’m running).

Why running in the heat SUCKS:

  1. The air feels like it’s literally trying to suffocate you. It does this by refusing to enter your lungs easily, resulting in you sucking it in as you try to keep your oxygen on par with the energy you’re expending. Doing so makes you breathe more heavily, which raises your heart rate, which makes you need to breathe more. But the air is so hard to breathe, so you gasp it in harder… and so it continues. This stupid heavy air cycle is more reliable than the thumping of your stupid heavy legs as you plod onwards.
  2. The possibility of vomiting. This may just be me, but any time I finish a run and feel like I’m going to puke I can guarantee that the run was on a hot day.
  3. The possibility of fainting. This also occurs just after you stop running. Somehow, your head felt fine – until you stopped running. Now you’re going to collapse, probably while vomiting.
  4. The sweat. Oh, the sweat. I’m a sweaty person; I’m sweating right now while sitting in my cool basement apartment wearing shorts and a vest because the hot laptop is on my knees. But in this forsaken weather, it’s like my skin is a river. And people have to see me like that.
  5. It slows you down. My average pace drops a full minute per mile in this stupid heat.
  6. The more you run, the hotter you feel, the slower you run, the longer the run. The longer the run, the more you run, the hotter you feel, the slower you run. Basically, runs in the heat never end.
  7. Humidity makes your sense of smell better. I learned what time the garbage truck goes along a certain street in the morning and I get up earlier so I can avoid it. Rotting plants are another offender – and if you check the comments, you’ll find something even worse from Marie, who described running along a molten lava lake of poo.
  8. Seeing or hearing sprinklers that tease you with watery coolness. Every now and then I’m lucky and get to run through the spray of someone watering their grass early in the morning. Usually, they’ve positioned them so the water doesn’t reach the pavement so I’m just on the outside of the spray, staring pathetically as I lumber past.

It’s basically this:


Got more reasons? Add them in the comments below! Because I’m sure there are plenty more.


Vote for Canada’s New National Bird: The Bald Eagle

Happy Fourth of July, folks!

Since it was Canada Day on the first, I wanted to write a post in honour of Canada, where I lived for two years from 2010-12. And what better day than the fourth of July? All of the happiness and joy of Canada Day has simmered down and we can get down to some really important business I want to draw attention to. So pay close attention.

Canadian Geographic is running The National Bird Project, a campaign to pick a national bird for Canada by 2017. Since their current national animals appear to be the beaver and the Canadian horse (whatever that means), this seems like a good idea. A quick survey of the voting website provides worrying information, however:

Canadian Geographic birds voting poll

(Current stats as of July 2nd, 2015)

I have one crucial question, followed by two still-important ones. Where is the bald eagle, that majestic bird that is always flying around Canada skies? Worse, why on earth is the Canada goose in fourth place? What kind of world are we living in where a rude and aggressive goose tops the friggin’ bald eagle, a magnificent bird of prey that represents Canada perfectly?

The general dickishness of Canada geese aside, it really makes no sense why the bald eagle is not present in this list. More distressing is the fact that the bald eagle doesn’t appear to feature at all in the 40 selections voters can opt for. I cannot think of a single reason why. It’s maddening! They are practically all Canadian: check out this distribution map, which shows that the majority of bald eagles choose Canada when it comes to having babies.


(image from sdakotabirds)


With over half of the world’s 70,000 strong bald eagle population above the border (though much of them live in Alaska, possibly for the whale watching), it’s obvious that bald eagles love Canada.

So why doesn’t Canada love bald eagles?

Here’s a list of reasons the bald eagle should be Canada’s national bird – nay, its national animal:

  1. The bald eagle is a noble, gracious creature. Just like Canadians. I lived there for a couple of years, so I know this for a fact.
  2. The bald eagle looks a bit like Canada: brown and pudgy on the bottom, snow-capped on top. This is, evidently, a sign.
  3. According to Wikipedia, the bald eagle’s call goes “kleek kik ik ik ik” – or, in English, “ohhh Canada, our home and native laaaand” (sometimes translated as “ohhh Canada, you’re really, really great”). This distinctive call also has a distinctive Canadian accent.
  4. In 1854, poutine was inspired after an overworked chef watched a bald eagle puking up some mouse carcass to feet its young and realized that it was time to go back to his simple roots of serving cheese fries. As homage to the eagle, he switched the shredded cheese for cheese curds in order to imitate the way the vomit had looked.
  5. Canada needs a cool national bird, like America’s national bird, the fighter jet (and its unofficial mascot, the shotgun).
  6. It can soar to great heights, just like Canada’s progression into the future. Gay marriage? Healthcare? Bald eagle.
  7. Bald eagles were an active part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) until the 1950s, when a population decline forced the mounties’ hand to replace them with horses. What kind of horses? You guessed it, Canadian horses. It was likely part of the same conspiracy that made Canadian horses the national animal. For those interested, bald eagles used to be much larger and the mounties would fly around on their backs, swooping down and picking up bank robbers and such in the eagle’s majestic talons.

Finally, do you want this?


Canada... yay...






(Images by Chris of The Geek Brew, who you can follow on Twitter)

Now that you’re convinced, it’s time to take action. Hit up The National Bird Project and suggest the bald eagle for their national bird. If enough people do this, they will surely add it to the list of candidates and voting can commence. We have until 2017, people. Let’s make it happen. If there’s one country that should have the bald eagle for its national emblem, it’s Canada.

God bless Canada!

Happy 4th!

This post was a joke, but your democratic right to vote isn’t. Make the most of your freedom: vote #canadaforbaldeagle

grey book cover

#AskELJames on Twitter is the most enjoyable thing I’ve read involving E L James

grey book coverE L James and her marketing team must have many regrets as they wade their way through this ill-advised Q&A session. While there is certainly irony in thousands of people having a go at James for including sexual and emotional abuse in their novel in a massive cyber-bullying session, some of the tweets were too good not to appreciate.



And last but not least…




jurassic world

Why don’t people think women are capable of dealing with giant deadly lizards?

Warning: contains spoilers, probably.

Yes, yes, I only just saw Jurassic World and it’s already been out for two weeks or something. And even though I waited this long to see it, the cinema STILL had some Chatty McGees in it (thankfully they shut up shortly after the movie started, which is unusual for America).

I really wanted to like this film, and I kind of did. But I also didn’t.

I was uncomfortable with the startling lack of effort to create meaningful characters that strayed in any way from formulaic gender roles. It was so eye-rollingly blatant that I was actually a bit shocked.


Just how manly was Chris Pratt AKA Studly McHero?chris

  1. He could drive every vehicle he came across
  2. He punched a dude and everybody just stood there
  3. Everybody latched onto him to save them as soon as they met him
  4. He was ‘alpha’ in a pack of trained velociraptors (!?)
  5. He saved everybody’s life a million times
  6. He had two guns (don’t worry, the woman had none)
  7. He got the girl


Just how incompetent was what’s-her-name?whatshername

  1. She could not do a single thing for herself without Studly by her side
  2. Scratch that: she managed to outrun a t-rex while wearing high heels
  3. But her hair and make-up was perfect and she got progressively more naked as the film went on, so no biggie
  4. In spite of the fact that her job was to run the park, she had nooooooo idea what she was doing for the entire movie
  5. I’ve only just noticed, but doesn’t she look like Connie from AOL’s early 2000s ads?


What about the other female characters?

Um, what female characters? The three other women had five minutes of screen time combined. And one of them died in the most undeserved overdramatic fashion for no reason (it was quite unforgettable, though!).

For a franchise so hung up on the theme of progress, Jurassic World was shooting in the wrong direction. One of McHero’s lines – “Maybe progress should lose for once” – is an ironic summation of the film’s treatment of gender: lose it did.

Remember this scene from Jurassic Park??


woman inherits


That was 22 years ago.

Okay, fine: this movie is about fantasy fulfillment. Men get to watch Studly McHero succeed at every problem he faces. Women get to watch what’s-her-name run through forests in a pair of heels … well, there is a part where she shoots a pterodactyl, actually saving McHero from the clutches of death. Hooray! She is rewarded with shocked expressions before quickly having her gun removed.

Here is a two second clip from the trailer that says it all. She runs in sexy slow motion, he’s here to kick ass.




Why don’t people think women are capable of dealing with giant deadly lizards?



It’s annoying, but rather than simply complain about it, I would like to propose a solution. For the star of the next Jurassic movie, I pick









Oh, there’s a dragon there? Daenerys Targaryen hardly noticed.




Daenerys Stormborn, just chillin’ with her giant lizard. What’s that, dinosaurs are giant lizards too?


raptor claw


Daenerys the Unburnt stylin’ it up. Know what that necklace is? A raptor claw. She stole it off that brat kid from the first Jurassic Park. Mother of Dragons? More like Mother of T-REXES, fool!


dany seriously

Oh, a dinosaur got loose and is killing everyone in your park? No, that’s cool… women can’t do anything about giant prehistoric lizards… I’ll just hang back and let Studly McHero save us all.





image (1)

50 Shades of NO WAY! I read E L James’ GREY: prologue/warning

image (1)



Before we go deeply where a lot of people have absolutely no desire to go, I thought I would begin my exploration of E L James’ book Grey, which is the companion to the unparalleled 50 Shades of Grey series, with a teaser. Actually, it’s more of a concern.

Christian Grey has a very active imagination which, seeing as the novel is told from his point of view, the reader is privy to. He thinks about sex an awful lot; fine, that’s to be expected. But one passage in particular caught my eye and I wanted to raise awareness of how you really ought to be careful out there, even in the fantasy world.

The passage in question is as follows:




Now, we’re talking about the sexual appetites of human beings, so I am aware people insert bizarre objects into themselves. But peeled ginger??

Isn’t that a spice??

Also, it looks like this:

peeled ginger


I mean…

Concerned, I decided to ask Dr. Google a question:

ginger google

Now, I didn’t specify which eye the ginger was going in, but you’ll notice that the results aren’t particularly encouraging regardless. The top result was about someone who woke up with pink eye the morning after cutting up some ginger (I presume – who knows what they were doing with it).

The above passage is bizarre enough, but however you feel about it, keep things safe and protected if peeled ginger is going to be involved.

That is, unless E L James knows something we don’t… or Anastasia Steele (yes, that’s the female character’s name…) has some issues Christian Grey is simply trying to help her with via trusty folk remedies:

ginger google 2


(Note the mention of digestive systems in the description – seems legit.)

By the way, the ‘irresponsible’ thing the girl did was go out and get drunk with her friends. So, you know, ginger up the ass.

dec 13 2012

Why won’t Albert Whisker die!?

Cutest hamster ever. Oldest hamster ever?This is Albert J. Whisker. He is at least four years old, meaning he could be the oldest hamster in the world. He is definitely the cutest.

We have been wondering why Albert Whisker won’t die for well over a year now. It’s not that we don’t like him – as a matter of fact, we love the little dude and will be heartbroken when he finally sheds his mortal coil – but damn is he old! On top of that, we have begun to wonder if Albert Whisker is cursed: every other pet in our home has perished since he moved in, including a rescued fish that lasted mere hours (RIP Fred*).

Albert Whisker eats like a damn kingAlbert Whisker likes to keep to himself. He enjoys a quiet life, hoarding oats and running in his silent wheel. According to a reputable source, he is at the very least 80 in hamster years, so his constant exercising is quite impressive**.

How is he so old??? Is it his diet, which is admittedly quite excellent? He dines upon a homemade mix of oats, freezedried fruit, uncooked pasta, and Total cereal (which contains all the essential vitamins and minerals he needs to never die), as well as frequent helpings of fresh fruit and vegetables.

FreeeedomIs it his adventures in his plastic ball, from which he enjoys a free range exploration of the house? His excursions in his ball include the moments I am almost certain he rolls towards me when I make a clicking sound with my tongue, indicating he is also a genius.

Perhaps he is here to serve a higher purpose.

Or perhaps it is something more insidious that we can even begin to fathom.

Look into his adorable little eyes. What secrets they must hold. Only Albert Whisker knows the answer.


*It is likely that poor Fred died from trauma due to being put out on the street before being rescued by us. Or it could be the curse.

**This website only converts for golden hamsters; Albert Whisker is more grey (or silver as he would prefer to put it).

Bookcon 2015: the good, the bad, and the meh

Walking around the Javitz Center convention hall during BookCon 2015, I was frustrated and disappointed as I watched publishers miss a great opportunity to connect with readers. Instead of building relationships, publishers played at being booksellers in a market-style environment. But it wasn’t a market; it was BookCon.

Convention attendees were offered the remarkable chance to purchase books at retail price, as if that seemed like a good deal to anyone in the age of Amazon or even Barnes & Noble discounting. I’m sure they had decent success – the excitement of the moment often overrules patience as eager buyers can’t wait to get their hands on a new item.

For those of us who weren’t buying, however, there wasn’t much to do.

The show felt lifeless – which could be attributed to the fact that there was actual breathing room, unlike at Comic Con – but is more likely due to the simple lack of passion and enthusiasm that one sees at comic conventions amongst creators and consumers alike. It was plain that many of the giddy attendees were happy to be there, but most exhibitor booths were, as already mentioned, essentially pop-up bookstores (with some exceptions, of course, which I tweeted about to give ’em the attention they deserve).

Where were the bookstores, by the way? With publishers selling directly to consumers, was the role of the bookstore being minimized? Would it be better to have actual bookseller representation at BookCon, so publishers could focus on building connections rather than making sales? Publishers could supply the stock. Booksellers could sell it.

Maybe it wasn’t as humdrum as I felt: a few days prior, I had just finished my master’s thesis about how book publishers should be more like comic publishers, especially when it comes to interacting with fans. When I saw so little of the connection I had been hoping for, it was inevitable to find the show lacking. After all, its overall reception was generally positive. It may have been enough for most, but it wasn’t for me.

Last year’s inaugural BookCon was criticized as what may be described by Brazilians as a muvuca; in English, the similarly evocative ‘clusterfuck.’ It had heart, though, which disappeared when the organizers and exhibitors both came more prepared for 2015. The exhibition hall was devoid of excitement, except the occasional flash line-up of fans hoping to score a free book when giveaways were announced via Twitter (and it was hard not to join these lines – thanks for the books, Penguin Random House, Recorded Books, and Capstone). As a fan experience, though, the show floor was a real let down.

It wasn’t all bad!

The Women of Marvel panel talks Black Widow
The Women of Marvel panel talks Black Widow

The panels were excellent. I attended as many as I could and was disappointed by none. The COMICS ARE AWESOME! panel, with Ben Hatke (Little Robot), Jenni Holm (Sunny Side Up), Jeff Smith (Bone), and Raina Telgemeier (Sisters) was an entertaining and informative chat about comics creation and process. Inside the Recording Studio explored how audio books are made. The energetic Women of Marvel with Margaret Stohl and Adri Cowan was both hilarious and empowering. The Welcome to Night Vale book discussion was for my own fandom’s sake: seeing and hearing Cecil Baldwin live was pretty sweet. 

Each panel had excellent guests, was in an appropriately-sized space, and was well-organized. There were many, many other panels taking place on Saturday, and just as many on Sunday – and if they were as well attended as the ones I went to, that deserves praise.

My $40 ticket granted me an interesting experience that was both exciting and dismaying. I saw some exhibitors who were getting the right idea about interacting with their audience, and many who seemed to be actually getting worse. BookCon is only in its second year, so we’ll see how next year goes – unless it takes place in Chicago, because, unlike Comic Con, it does not yet merit travel.

Transmedia Love: Harlequin’s Mills and Boon creates massive cross-platform story experience

Harlequin breaks boundaries on cross-platform storytelling for book publishers

Mills and Boon, an imprint of Harlequin UK, has launched a massive transmedia project today called The Chatsfield. The project has been months in the making and was created through a collaboration with transmedia firm StoryCentral Digital.

A quick rundown of the depth of the project gives us a fictional hotel with a website where you can ‘check in’, receive a room key, and start exploring the hotel. There are several locations to discover, where users can interact with the environment to learn more about the four main characters. These characters can be found across digital, social, and mobile platform, including through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs.

Best of all (well, for me, anyway) is the chance to participate. Email them? You’ll get a response. Tweet the character? They tweet you back.

In one area, users can upload videos and blogs sharing their own stories, interact with one another, and share details of the progressing narrative – effectively, becoming part of the story. This may not be anything particularly groundbreaking in transmedia, but for a book publisher? This kind of audience participation is huge. Harlequin has initiated a innovative project for a publisher, and it may be the first to do so. Other than Pottermore, which is not owned by a publisher, The Chatsfield appears to be the first of its kind – which is a big, welcome step for publishing.

Book publishers have been caught in a struggle to stay relevant as the way people consume content has changed. Rather than focusing on a single piece of content for hours on end, more and more consumers have been switching to bite-sized snippets of content that don’t require too much time or investment, often feasting on multiple pieces of content at the same time (watching TV while browsing on their mobile). More and more, content is being consumed across a variety of platforms on a combination of devices. As readers’ attention becomes more fragmented, publishers have faced the challenge of first getting people’s attention, let alone keeping it.

By creating a story world that can be accessed in a multitude of ways, Mills and Boon have provided the opportunity to consume as much as you like in the ways you prefer. You can choose to dive right in and check in to the hotel, follow the characters’ blogs and social media accounts, upload your own stories, and get interactive – or you can simply read the books. How involved you get and how much you consume is up to you, and whether you take in a little or a lot you’ll get a great experience either way. Making sure the audience has fun at all involvement levels is key to a successful transmedia project, and it looks like this one has been well-planned.

Harlequin has said that they will be rolling out some 800 pieces of content over the next three months. It’s free. So how are they making money? Two ways: novellas set in the world of the Chatsfield are available to purchase, and partnerships with companies like Glossybox and, the latter of which gets a quick mention in the first video blog by character Jessie Loe, an exec PA. What will be most interesting to find out is how successful the venture is in terms of numbers. While romance isn’t usually my bag, this is one love story I’ll be keeping tabs on.

Harlequin was purchased by HarperCollins last week, which could have fantastic implications should the project prove successful.

Check out the trailer:

Installing Twitter took forever

I thought I knew how to use WordPress until I got a account. I’m still unsure whether it’s installed properly, but since the website is up and running then it’s not as if everything has gone wrong.

That said, it just took me about two hours to get the Twitter feed – that lovely thing you see on your left – working. I installed three plugins. I created one app and one widget via Twitter, both unnecessary. I read three or so guides, all useless – well, it’s more likely it’s me that was useless, but hey.

Here it is, though! Follow me for transmedia, marketing, and publishing news, as well as my invariable failures to be funny.

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