Life

now browsing by category

 

Marvel Goodness

Well on the weekend I saw the latest installment in the Marvel Movie line, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. I can’t describe how much I was looking forward to this movie, and it didn’t disappoint. It made me wonder though, why do I like the Marvel movies so much?

To be honest I don’t really know where it all started, my earliest memory of anything marvel has nothing to do with the comic books, I was never a comic book fan as a child and I don’t really remember my parents ever letting me have them. My earliest memory is of the cartoons that were produced. I am pretty sure my first memory was of Iron Man as a cartoon and I really enjoyed it. It kind of went from there.

Fast forward to the first Iron Man movie, which was really the first of the new “Marvel” series. After a long long period of time between when I first saw the cartoons and then saw the movies, it brought that fascination back to life. I loved the first Iron Man movie, it felt to me like Marvel really understood what making a good movie was about (Robert Downey Jnr was a perfect choice to play Tony Stark) and I grew to love the proceeding movies even more. When Avengers came out (I was in Seattle on my round the world trip at the time) I was like a giddy school girl, wanting to see it days after release. The first Captain America movie was great and I lapped it up.

Late last year Marvel took their first step into Live Action TV shows in quite some time with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (I just call it Shield) and I loved every minute of it. Though not really to do with movies the back story kind of works around it all and I was hooked. When I saw the latest episode of Shield I was a bit shocked by the story line (no spoilers here) I knew about the background of what happened but it was like “where the hell did this come from”. Had I seen Captain America 2 first, it would of made sense. When I saw it on Sunday, things became clear…. it is all linked, even the tv show.

Linking the movies together over several years is a great thing to do for money but stretching it out over time, makes me go crazy. I still say that the 3 worst words in the english language are “To Be Continued” and this is kind of what it feels like (just with a several year gap between movies). I can’t complain that Marvel are doing justice to their own comics and making a movie that is not only entertaining but keeps fans talking about it for hours and days afterwards.

Captain America 2 to give you my thoughts on the movie, it was dark, it was moody and it was action all the time. At one point I did see a tear in Heidi’s eye. If this is the kind of movie that Marvel is going to produce… Bring it on!

Staycation 2014…

Since I had been planning to run the Vancouver Half Marathon and I wasn’t able to get any leave any time soon, so that I wouldn’t go stir crazy I figured why not have a bit of a staycation. For those that don’t know a Staycation is a vacation in your own city. Stay a night in a Hotel in your own city, explore it like your a tourist, have fun and enjoy yourself. Considering I still haven’t really explored this city, it was appropriate right? Heidi also agreed that we should have some touristy fun. I won’t go into to in depth of a trip report, mainly because a lot of it is just boring but let it be said that we picked the hotel purely so that I could give Kimpton another shot and also open up the use of the free nights (which are not all that helpful this year as it turns out you only have free night options in either Savannah or Miami). Out of the 3 Kimpton hotels in Seattle we went with the Monaco.

We started off the weekend by me suprising Heidi with a mystery. Originally planned for Sunday afternoon but since the weather was crap, I decided to move it up. We headed down into Sodo for the Google Glass event. Showcasing the Google Glass was pretty cool, I had always wanted to see what it really was but after experiencing I wouldn’t buy one. It just isn’t my thing. Bonus though we got a photo together and add in the free food and drink on offer and it was a good morning.

From Life in Seattle 2014

After checking into the hotel (and being told the room wasn’t ready) and leaving the truck up in the International District (also convenient to grab a cheap lunch of Bahn Mi’s for $3 each!), we did a walking tour of Pioneer Square. Picked up from Howaboutwe.com for free and through Stray Boots which controls it all like a scavenger hunt via a phone app. It was good and i had my first experience of a Utilikilt

From Life in Seattle 2014

Weirdest thing about the scavenger hunt was having to go into some stores and do stuff without buying anything. Felt kind of awkward, but it was still pretty fun. After the scavenger hunt we recollected the truck and parked it down by Belltown and picked up some gelati on the way back.. yeah it was a voucher again obtained for free so why not! We shared a cone on the way back and had a bit more for later stashed away. We got back to the Monaco and checked in. The hotel is definitely Kimpton. Small, Boutique and unique as well, it was a great looking hotel. We grabbed our bags and headed up to the room:

From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014

The room was great, would of preffered a view in the other direction, but hey can’t have everything right? The room was what is called a “Junior Suite” in America. More an overly large room with some form of barrier between the “sitting room” and the “bedroom” which in this case was some fabric curtains. There was two things missing when we arrived, the in room amenity and the goldfish. Kimpton has a great perk for some travellers who get lonely. They will place a goldfish in the room to keep you company. Heidi loved this idea and just had to have one, eventually the fish was delivered and we met our new friend Charles:

From Life in Seattle 2014

He was a great little companion, didn’t say much but he was always there swimming around (and also seemed to be constantly taking a dump, any time we turned around… I’ve never seen a fish poop so much!). The in room amenity was also delivered but it was wrong. I won’t go into the whole situation to much but after the stay I emailed the hotel as they dropped the ball big time on this. Turns out they gave my Inner Circle ammenity to someone else. Big Big ball drop on that but it could of happened on any stay.

We stuck around the hotel for a little bit, went out for a walk as well and just generally relaxed and enjoyed things. When it was time for dinner we lost track of time and while trying to get around some technology issues that had cropped up we ended up missing our dinner reservation and were late getting back to the truck before the time ran out on the parking (Thanks Uber for the free ride!). By that stage we didn’t feel like even going to the restaurant we had planned and due to all the stress we just couldn’t make up our minds what we wanted to have. We drove around Capitol Hill trying to find a park but couldn’t, in the end we gave up and headed to 13 coins for dinner. It was old school, not so cheap but pretty filling. The counter seats were pretty amazing (not that we were able to be seated at them):

From Life in Seattle 2014

After a dinner that had the most amazing cream sauce (yeah I went not even remotely healthy) we headed back to the hotel for a quiet night in. Sunday was a little bit less stressful thankfully. We woke up at a reasonable time and rather than stick around the hotel since we had changed our plans around, we checked out before breakfast and headed up to Ballard for breakfast at Skillet with Dan & Shawna. Skillet Diner is probably one of my most favourite places to eat and with a location in Ballard that is bigger, easier to find parking and still the same food, well… only this would happen:

From Life in Seattle 2014

The Cinnamon roll was pretty amazing and the frosting so good that I ended up doing this (And getting shameful looks for doing so)

From Life in Seattle 2014

Heidi had the Biscuits and Gravy which looked pretty good

From Life in Seattle 2014

After Skillet, Heidi took me down to the Ballard locks as I had never been there before, sadly no Salmon in the ladder though but there was plenty of boats in the locks though

From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014

After the locks it was time to meet the Grandparents and pick up a chair for Heidi (hey the Truck got some real usuage) and before we knew it, Staycation was over and it was back to reality.

From Life in Seattle 2014

Staycation was a great idea and it was something we both needed, a way to relax (at times) and try and just forget about our lives for one weekend. Plus getting to play around downtown without the stress of driving home or worrying about times or anything like that is worth it on so many levels. The whole weekend was good and we should do it again sometime in the future. Maybe a weekend in LA is next… god knows I need to fly this year!

Training Update

Well it has been a month since the injury at the end of February and as I start the last month before the half marathon I have finally come to the conclusion that I doubt i will be able to run the full half marathon. I am barely back running as it is right now.

It has been a long process for the last month as I kept my brain in check without falling apart again. I have been trying not to just give up entirely and keep pushing forward with the running. I had hoped to be running solidly by now but unfortunately 2km at the moment is the longest stretch I have managed (though I am going for 2.5km tomorrow). The running is slow, but it is definitely happening. Slow is better than not at all right?

So I have finally come to the conclusion that although I won’t be able to run the whole way, I am going to try and run as much as possible. I am already $120 in the hole for this half marathon and I am not going to waste that, so if I have to walk some of it, I have to walk, so be it. I am not giving up! I may not be able to run but I am going to give it a crack anyway.

I also have really decided that maybe a half marathon is a bit far for me. I still love my 5ks, I love doing a 10k as my real challenge, so maybe that is as far as I push it? Is a half marathon just that little bit to far for me? I don’t really know and only time can tell but for the immediate future, I will stick to 5k runs!

Tomorrow I run again (after giving today as a break day in between training) and will go for a 2.5km run with a 500m walk and then another 2km run back. That should hopefully do ok enough that on Saturday I can try for a full 5km. If that works and I don’t feel the pain too much, then I can start adding back in the length to the run. Who knows, maybe I can run at least half of the distance in one stretch? Time will tell.

Something a little bit different

So most of you know what i do for work, so do a lot of the people I converse with on twitter. So when a friend on twitter asks me to make a booking for them, I am sure not going to say no to some extra dollars (especially when its travelling in my highest ever month.. close to half a mil in sales). However it’s what happened after the booking that was a bit different.

In the past in Australia, I used to help people fix their bookings all the time, conversing by phone, email etc while someone is on holiday was never an issue. However this time, things were a little different. I spent some time working with this friend to fix some problems on the booking via twitter. This being the first time that has happened meant that everything was just different for me. I had never before fixed a booking just by using twitter. Definitely a unique experience trying to cram a conversation into 140 characters at a time. I could have emailed but things would not have been as fast (especially when someone is on the other side of the world and looking at a substantial time difference).

Seeing a message like “DM me when you get into the office” can be ominous but during the whole time, this friend was nothing but nice and a total pleasure to deal with. Much better than some of the people I have dealt with in the past fixing up issues (I still remember being yelled at by a guy back in Australia because one tiny thing went wrong).

Twitter is just another form of communication these days and I know that a few hotels are starting to use it as a tool to make bookings. I have made appointments via twitter, restaurant reservations as well. Maybe sometime in the future I will do plenty of other business via twitter as well. At the moment it becomes my go to weapon in the fight against Airline Seat assignments when people want things others can’t achieve. Maybe it will lead to more?

Circle Work

On Friday, I got a message from the lovely Heidi suggesting we go to Ocean Shores with her family on Sunday. Ocean Shores is down on the Olympic Peninsula, a part of the state that I have not been to. So I agreed to it, and so plans were made. Being that we wanted to explore a little more there was decisions as to who was going to drive. Of course Heidi knows where she is going and has a car that doesn’t eat gas like the Ram does, so i mean that would be the obvious choice right? Well in Ocean Shores your allowed to drive on the nice big wide beaches… and if you find somewhere that has a bit of open space…. well, that was the deciding factor. Ram it is!!

So Sunday rolls around and we head on down to Ocean Shores. We make good time and spend some time relaxing by the water. Of course my first time driving on Sand was a bit wierd and thankfully there was a 25 mph speed limit so I wasn’t watching as people were doing 100mph or more on the beach. What I wanted to find though was a nice big empty piece of sand. I found it and my first attempt at a bit of circle work was really disappointing. It was just so… boring. Something wasn’t right.

After a break off the sand to pick up a few drinks and some snackage (since Heidi’s family had actually thought ahead and brought most of the food), I had a good thought… Traction control off…. well that made all the difference

So as you can see, I finally got to do some donuts on the sand in the end I had quite the amount of fun…

From Life in Seattle 2014

But it wasn’t all about the truck and the sand, it was about spending time with Heidi & her family… something I really enjoyed.

From Life in Seattle 2014

Getting to know them a bit better was worth the day and Ocean Shores was a great day out. The weather was fantastic (even if the wind picked up a little) and I got to see some of Heidi’s family history from around that area as well. I even got to see a house one of her relatives grew up in (I think it was Great Grandmother… I forget). Then to top off a pretty awesome day… I got to try Yak for the first time:

From Life in Seattle 2014

That is a Yak Patty Melt and it was pretty tasty. Like Buffalo but a tiny bit more gamey, a good dinner. Though I would of liked to finish it off with one of these

From Life in Seattle 2014

I am sure I will be heading back to Ocean Shores again soon, maybe a weekend out of it this time. Some sunset shots by the beach though… o and more circle work!

Breakfast Chronicles: Manhattan Seattle

Heidi & I have two things in common, we both love a good breakfast and we both love a good bargain (although Heidi’s bargain love is more towards clothes than anything else) so if you can combine the two, well that is a sure fire win. There had been many Groupon etc deals floating around for a restaurant on Capitol Hill called Manhattan but after further investigation, you could get a pretty awesome deal without the need of the Groupon. On Saturdays & Sundays for the first hour of their Brunch service (10-11am) it’s classed as “Happy Hour” and they give you half off your Brunch meal. So as long as you order by 11am your main entree portion (sides and drinks don’t count) are half price… Freaking Win! So off we went to check it out.

From Life in Seattle 2014

The restaurant was a little bit tough to find at first as it was fairly non descript on the outside, but on the inside it is definately fairly eclectic. A steakhouse for lunch and dinner, and a unique one at that, the decor was unique alright including the lovely Ram’s Head decoration above the bar.

From Life in Seattle 2014

I forget the name of the Rams Head (bar tender told me) but they refer to it as the “12th Ram” (damn Seahawks fans are everywhere) and yes, those are AR-15s on the horns (not an M-16 as i reffered to it as and got corrected but they are essentially the same thing, don’t get me started). The Menu was all southern inspired and I was in a sweet mood (as usual) & Heidi just could not overlook anything with the words “Sausage Gravy”. So I ended up with the Chocolate Chip Pancakes

From Life in Seattle 2014

Heidi had the Country Fried Steak

From Life in Seattle 2014

And we shared a side of Jalapeno Corn Bread and some White Cheddar Grits

From Life in Seattle 2014

Service was pretty good and relatively quick, although I didn’t get a 3rd refill of coffee (yeah I really shouldn’t complain about that i know, but i <3 my coffee so kill me) that was about the worst complaint. The food was REALLY good and the grits were delicious. The pancakes were not really huge and giant like I expected but a good mix of both thin & fluffy at the same time, plenty of chocolate. The steak that Heidi ordered was HUGE for a breakfast portion and extremely tasty (it was apparently only 5oz… but I don’t believe that at all). The breading on it was crunchy and spicy at the same time and the gravy was pretty darn good. Mixing the Grits with the Cornbread made for some really good flavor combinations and i felt that if the Sausage gravy had been replaced by Grits on that steak, I would of inhaled Heidi’s plate for her. Some ladies at the table next to us gave us one of their Beignets and they were pretty good (would of been better warm no doubt) and they were as impressed by the food as we were.

All in all my pancakes cost $5 and Heidi’s steak was $7 thanks to the happy hour pricing and if we had not of had sides or a cocktail/liqueur coffee it would of been a pretty cheap morning! So if you up for a good breakfast that has an amazing deal… well I would definitely go for Manhattan. While it may not be the Best Breakfast in Seattle, it is definitely the best Breakfast DEAL in Seattle

Labels..

This may not be the post you were expecting with that heading above but this has nothing to do with food labels (though maybe some day i might rant about them) it has to do with the labels we give other people. People in relationships will often use a label to define the other person purely out of convenience or because they think they need to. I don’t think that way though.

Whatever term you use, be it partner, girlfriend (or boyfriend), wife (or husband), partner in crime, ball & chain or destroyer of freedoms, they all mean the same thing. The person that you care about, love, want to be with. Whether you are enjoying a meal together, seeing a movie or just getting a hug, it’s about what you feel towards each other, not what other people say or think. The more you spend with this person, the closer your ties with them become, until the lines between a friend and something more blur. Normally this would be the time that the label is used, but does it really matter?

To be honest to everyone about my exact feelings on the subject. I use the term girlfriend for other peoples sake. It doesn’t matter what I was to call her as it doesn’t change my feelings. I could use a word that has no resemblance of girlfriend and it wouldn’t change those feelings. Those words are just purely a label, nothing more, nothing less.

So whenever you use a label that may define a relationship status, do you really need to? Does it really matter? The only thing that should matter is how you feel about each other & what kind of life you want to have together. Those are the things that really matter, all the rest is just not worth worrying about. Apart from coffee… that matters the most in my life.

:(

This is not the post I wanted to make while giving updates about my Half Marathon training. Im screwed :( My injury from last year has come back to haunt me and i have strained the same muscle i did in Hong Kong. It’s crap and I have only myself to blame but right now, I am stuck.

I have already paid for the entry fee to the Vancouver Half and now I 100% know I won’t be ready. Right now I don’t know if I should just keep training towards running the half still or training more towards getting myself recovered from the injury. I know that if I try to run the half, things are probably not going to end well (and a big part of me is saying that I should just suck it up and take it like a man) with possible further injury. But then I would be wasting all that money I have already paid for the entry fee.

Unsure what to do about the race right now I need to try and at least get back to running out right. I tried running this morning, was aiming for a good 1km run just to get myself back after a week off of running (not training) but i got about 500m in and the muscle started to fight back. I was able to walk still and it was a bit stiff on the way to work, but it’s not to bad now.

I know I need to work back towards actually being able to run, but at what point do I give up on the half? Should I still stick the half and just do what i can in a Run/Walk mix? Do I just go balls to the wall and go for the run? Should I just give up entirely of this half marathon challenge and stick to 10ks?

Should

Ranty Ranty

It has been a while since a good rant, so while I don my fire retardant suit, you can move on if you so desire… and Begin!

This last week has been a little bit different in the Frequent Flyer (FF) world. Delta decided to change their points program and low and behold everyone in the known world has made comments about this. I can not believe just how many people have continuously talked about this change. I have seen 2-3 posts a day from some online blogs and it is just getting a little bit much. Add on the fact that the changes made it to the mass media as well, it has been a long week of the same things over and over again…. *sigh*

So while constantly over and over again I have read the same things (well not so much reading as skimming then deleting from my RSS feed) about Delta’s changes I see almost the same thing in some of these blogs. Numerous credit card links. Links to Delta’s cards, links to unrelated airlines cards, just more and more credit card links. I am starting to wonder what the main point for some of the blogs I read. Are they there to inform people about changes in the FF world or are they there now to just promote credit card after credit card after credit card. This week alone I think i have seen at least 10-15 different blog posts mentioning Chase and god knows how many other cards over how many blogs that I don’t read.

I know that all the credit card links give them referral credits (and I will also admit that I have used some of them to get the points that I have earned so they should thank me for that) but at some point it just becomes pure saturation. I feel like I am at that point already, when do i just stop reading those blogs that constantly repeat the same things over and over again? Should I just give up now or wait till all this stuff is over with and things return to normal? Who knows!

/Rant over

Quitting

I went to church this morning (Yes a few people will be shocked by this but stick with me here) with Heidi. It was not the first time it has happened, it probably also will not be the last, and suprisingly I left this morning feeling like someone had been reading my mind. They talked about “Being in a Team” and how we all have someone (aka God) to back us up as we will all be tempted to quit. The person giving the sermon was actually really good and even gave a good example, one that really struck home. He talked about training for a half marathon. Hello!!

The temptation to quit runs through my head quite a lot, it is something I deal with on a daily basis. I look at things like the during the weight loss period (something I have been struggling with still lately) where I had others to support me, guide me, to keep me going and I felt that if i quit, I wasn’t just letting myself down, I was letting others down. To be honest, up until now, I didn’t really feel that way over here. I have felt alone, I have felt that things every day in life (work etc) are mine and mine alone. Though I have friends over here, I had not really realised just how much of an impact they have on your life. It really hit home this morning when I heard about not wanting to give into that temptation to quit, to keep going, to strive and in those times of struggle when we really need help, to look to those around us for help.

Yesterday I was back on Burke Gilman for my 13km training run. It was cold, I was tired and the rain kept away until the last kilometre. All the things that when combined (Worse if it was raining the whole time) create a perfect storm of quitting, or as you hear me refer to it as “copping out”. I could have made excuses, I could have said “I will do it tomorrow” but instead I sucked it up and kept going. The only person I am letting down is myself, but can I live with myself when I want to cop out. I know my friends would have understood me, but would I be happy with myself. Could I look at my friends and family in the same way and feel the same if I told them I had quit? I know that the sermon talked about support from those people, but could I let them down? Could I let myself down?

I ran the 13km in a fairly good time, within what I had expected. I am aiming for 2.5 hours for my Half Marathon time and although that is fairly slow, that’s what I want to do to make sure I don’t walk away with an injury. That little fact kept me going during the run. Yes I had some pain but I had to be smart. The training now and the pain now mean that time after my run won’t be so bad later. I kept pushing myself, every step of the way, during the run. I had to keep telling myself why I was doing it, why I shouldn’t quit. What was my answer?

The look on my friends and families face as I cross that line or I pass them during the race, for them to see that I can do the things I set my mind to, that although I may want to quit. Doing so is not in my interest, because I do it for them as well.