Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hopefully, a new low

I went for my annual check up recently and the doctor confirmed what I already knew.

Me: So, I think I gained some weight since last year, because I was injured and...
Doctor: Ha! The excuses are already pouring out! (reads scale then my file) Well, you did gain a little weight. That's okay.

My doctor's sudden return to sensitivity signaled that I had become a subject of pity because a weight gain of almost 10% is not "little".

Fortunately, I'm not the only one getting tubby, and since victory over others is a great personal motivator, I challenged fellow fatties to a weight loss competition. Our progress, or lack thereof, will be documented in a blog:

So as not to appear callous, we have tacked on a charitable element to the endeavor. Spectators are asked to bet on a competitor, pledging to donate an amount of British pounds, equivalent to the amount that the competitor loses, to his/her associated charity.

A foreseeable end to the competition was suggested by Royal Pinguo so, sometime in September, the biggest loser will be revealed...then beaten with pork hocks. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hard at work

Contrary to what my meager blogging may indicate, I have been busy writing.

After mastering the art of generating strong opinions within a lunch hour for the last five years, I decided to make myself more respectable by attempting to write fiction. My last foray into fiction writing was back in high school, when I was heavily influenced by J.D. Salinger. This was not a good thing. So, I signed up for an introductory writing course with the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies. It worked for Vincent Lam, so why not an underachiever like me?

My class is made up of people who work in finances, mothers doing it for themselves, and a party clown (not a derogatory statement but a fact). The writing is equally eclectic: the Muslim women use lush prose to describe the clash of East and West, the party clown wants to be the next J.K. Rowling, and a segment of the finances division has failed to meet the project deadline. Of the two remaining financial workers who did hand in their final project, one offered a story worthy of Harlequin, and the other modified a personal travel blog entry.

The latter student's year in Australia has been a well of inspiration with rapidly diminishing returns. Her stories run the gamut of traveling through Australia to encountering ticketing problems while attempting to leave Australia. In one story, the gender of her main character was changed but he still pranced to yoga class and traded bitchy looks with a travel agent.

The in-class workshop, during which the class offers compliments and constructive criticism for a single student's work, is one of the best aspects of the course. Still, it has made a strong case for the idea that procrastination does not make for good writing. In the first few weeks, the compliments flowed freely, but as we approach the end of the workshop schedule, a tension has descended on the party. The class struggles to find the bright side of what they have read ("You have a very original narrative voice.") and temper their criticism ("I don't understand what is happening here.").

After my workshop, I edited furiously in order to meet the submission deadline for the Random House Creative Writing Award. Whatever the outcome, I am hooked on this new respectability, and the promise of fame and cash prizes will drive me to write long after my lunch hour is done.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More little gladiatorial shorts coming soon!

My favourite blog tells me that Season 2 of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" will be shooting soon as its lead, Andy Whitfield, is now clear of cancer.

Whitfield will have until October to fill out his tiny gladiatorial shorts.

Woot woot!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Tour de Dufflet: do it now!

A part of Toronto Bike Month, the third annual Tour de Dufflet sounded like our kind of event: bike to all three Dufflet locations in one day to receive refreshments and delicious baked goods at each stop.

Joe and I, joined by Royal Pinguo and Flocons (who blogged about this, too), started at the Uptown location because gravity would carry us to the two other stores. After paying the $5 registration fee, we were presented with a Tour de Dufflet water bottle, an 'Eat more cake' button, then offered a choice of water or lemonade, plus any cookie or bar of our choice. Wow!

At the Uptown location, I chose the Lemon Lime Coconut Bar ("Tangy lemon lime filling and chewy coconut on a buttery, shortbread crust"). At the Downtown location, it was a German Brownie ("Coconut, walnuts & chocolate cake with a gooey layer of more coconut and walnuts combined in a buttery vanilla icing"). Finally, at the Beach location, I celebrated my saddle sores with a Lemon Meringue Euro Tart ("Tangy lemon filling in our Euro-style crust, topped with a cloud of meringue")

As we biked across the city, Tour de Dufflet offered unexpected attractions and detours. It became a real estate tour as Royal Pinguo and I admired the million dollar homes we passed, then a shopping tour when we arrived in the Queen West area, and, finally, we expanded the menu when we decided to stop at T&T Supermarket for all-day dim sum.

Having sweet rewards to entice us to bike across the city on such a beautiful day was a great experience. Tour de Dufflet ends June 30, but there is word of a cupcake tour, which has Flocons dreaming of something more manly like a hot dog stand tour - the quickest ride to obesity if ever there was one with a hot dog stand at every corner. Ride on!