Try, Tie, & Buy the Perfect Running Shoe

Buying running shoes is a tricky business. On the one hand, you really need to take the time to try on shoes until you find the perfect pair. On the other hand, you don't want to look like a complete fool who doesn't know his left foot from his right. And, you really don't want to look like you just started the sport yesterday (or, worse yet, like you're wearing running shoe as a fashion statement!).

So, what's a not-so-knowledgeable consumer to do? Below, I've compiled some tips on trying, tying, and buying running shoes:

  • Determine your gait and shoe model. Figure out whether you have high arch (supinated), flat (pronated), or neutral feet. Figuring this out will help you know what type of shoe you should look for (stability, support, etc.), and there are a ton of resources online to help with this. One site suggests the "wet test": get your foot wet and step onto concrete or another surface that will leave an imprint. Use this image to help you determine your gait: 

Image courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

  • Got to a real running store. Please don't pick your shoes from amongst the basketball and volleyball shoes. Go to a honest-to-goodness running store that is dedicated to all things running.

  • Let the salesperson help you. Don't be afraid to admit that you don't really know what you're looking at, and don't worry if they start asking you 20 questions. The seemingly endless interrogation will end (how far do you normally run? trails or roads? how many miles per week do you average? do you have joint pain?). He or she may even ask you to jog to see if you are pigeon-toed or have any other needs in a shoe that you may be unaware of. If none of these things occur, it may be time to move to a new shop that really cares about fitting you with the right shoe.

  • Check the width. Runner's World explains that the ball of the foot (the widest part) should fit exactly to the width of the shoe. Furthermore, your foot should "rest gently against the sides of the shoe, rather than jamming up against them or not touching at all. Also, be sure your toes aren't being pinched from the side."

  • Leave room for your toes. A lot of people make the mistake of buying running shoes that fit "just right," with their toes nearly touching the end of the shoe. Rather, a well-fitting shoe on a typical runner will have about a half to full thumb's width between the big toe and the end of the shoe. Leaving adequate room at the end of the shoe will help save those precious toenails, as well as avoid pain and soreness from long runs.

  • Lace it right. I only recently learned this one, but it has been important in maintaining stability in my foot. Not surprisingly, Runner's World has a great tying guide, including videos. I prefer the loop lock, which helps keep my narrow foot from sliding forward.

Image courtesy of "The Champion Lifestyle"

  • Try it out. Take the shoes for a test run...a real test run. Jog outside, around the corner, up and down a hill if you can. It's worth it: you'll be taking these puppies on some long runs, and they're not cheap, either.

  • Ask about the return policy. Good running stores will have a good return policy...say, if your foot goes numb after mile five or you find that the support isn't enough. Make sure that you can return or exchange them until you find your perfect fit.

Of course, this how-to guide isn't complete, but it is a good starting place. At the end of the day, probably the most important things are finding a good running store with a knowledgable staff to help you and not being afraid to really try the shoes until you find the perfect one. Good luck, and happy buying!

A camera review

Back before our epic Disneyland trip, we purchased a little camera for Emily. We needed something sturdy, shock resistant, because let's face it, she drops things, and it had to be easy to use.  With Michelle's help, I decided on this little Fuji Film camera. I think this is the right picture...she has a green one...

Anyways, I didn't want to miss anything so I figured if she had a camera and took pictures from her point of view, I'd be twice blessed. AND I was. She got a few shots of me on our trip, but the best part is this little sucker takes awesome video. For 14 days she shot video and took pictures, not the over 1500 I took, but still had room for both! I was amazed. 
She also dropped it at least 2 times with no ill effects. 
When I went to the JinkyArt retreat, I made her promise to take pictures of her and Kerry's big Vancouver adventure. I played the guilt card, I wouldn't be there and didn't want to miss out! (I'm not saying I would have given up the retreat to go to the Olympic village.)
Here are a few of her SOOC shots. 
I like this one! She's in the photo! Good one, Dad! She's sort of smiling.

And this one...I'm sure she snapped it for me and my love of Disneyland. Although I have no love for large boats, or most boats. 

And a very decent one of her dad, with some interesting things in the back ground. I think this was before their attempt at leaving Stanley Park. But I could be wrong. 
Her indoor shots left a bit to be desired but she's taking after me and leans towards natural light  photography. She figured out how to turn it off the little point and shoot, but doesn't quite have a steady hand yet. 
I'm so happy to have these photos so that I have pictures to go with their stories of their trip. 

China Cha Dao Qi Lan Grade A

China Cha Dao Yan Cha - Qi Lan - leaf

"Qi Lan" means "Strange Orchid" and at grade "A" this yancha stands a good grade (and a half?) below the Shui Xian. A link to the tea is here.

The sample measured just over 10 grams, and I used all of it, tapping the gaiwan to use the "Brazil nut effect" to my advantage to sort the broken bits to the bottom of the gaiwan, where they would be the least agitated from pouring and decanting.

The dark dried-seaweed green of the leaves often indicates, in my somewhat limited experience with yancha, a higher oxidation combined with a middle-high to middling roast, my guess on appearances alone being the former. I enjoy higher oxidation Chinese oolongs and also often prefer a middle to middle-high roast, so despite the shorter and more broken leaves that have little aroma when dry, I am looking forward to this tea.

My expectations drop, however, when the leaves have little aroma even when wet, and very little aroma evaporates from the lid. The taste is tart and the texture thin. I want to disregard this first brew as a mere rinse, but I rinse my nose with a neti pot to rule out my sense of smell as the problem.

The second infusion was still tart, but offered a grainy flavor and some gan, a term best explained as "the return of sweetness to the back of the tongue and throat after swallowing something." The only Western food I can think of that has gan is coffee, particularly espresso, but an accustomed mouth can find it in foods like grapefruit and rapini. It's also obviously present in bitter liqueurs like Campari.

China Cha Dao Yan Cha - Qi Lan - brewed

By the third infusion, the sourness has calmed down some, the texture has thickened some, and the aftertaste lengthens some. It is floral in the middle infusions (orchid!), tasting strongly floral of jasmine when cooler. The next infusion balances these tastes with the roast and finishes fruity, confirming my suspicions about the oxidation.

China Cha Dao Yan Cha - Qi Lan -

The remaining infusions, which brought the total infusions of this tea to only 7, were thin and mostly fruity, leaving me the impression that the tea was well oxidized but not well roasted, or too weak in leaf structure to stand up to the roasting process. The oxidation is visible in the purpling apparent on many of the wet leaves in the picure above.

I think this tea might improve some with resting, but I was unimpressed sufficiently to not want to find out.

The remaining teas from the sample pack are mostly all higher grades, so I am hoping they are more like the Shui Xian and less like this Qi Lan.

A Vision in Lavender

The pictures from the event are limited at this time, but I think Sofia's choice of a lavender Alaïa dress was a perfect choice for a second wedding. The nupituals took place at a Coppola estate in Italy.

Run Like a Pro: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10 Running Shoe

Whether you've championed the toughest running trails or are just getting started in the sport, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10 (also available in Men's) running shoe will likely make your run more pleasant, as well as reduce pain in joints and increase stability.

Back in my early college years, when I really started getting into long distance running, I went shoe shopping. My experience with running shoes was to just find something that fit, was comfortable, and was labeled "running" on the wall of shoes at one of my favorite sporting goods store. However, one lovely Spring day, I walked into Bandana Running and Walking in downtown Boise. The crew at Bandana fitted me to my perfect shoe, letting me take each model for "test run". They explained when to buy new shoes and how they should feel. I left with my purchase and tried out my shoes the next day on the Boise greenbelt.

I don't want to be overly sentimental about a pair of shoes, but they really did improve the way I run. They absorb the shock of the road and save my poor knees, which have a tendency to ache. They fit well to the width of my narrow foot, partially because they have width and length sizes, allowing me to get the perfect fit. They even have a good tread with enough grip to keep me upright in semi-slippery conditions.
Right now, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10 Women's shoe is on sale for $65.00 through the company's website. The shoe is normally $100.00, but it's on sale because the new model, the GTS 11, is out (and full price). However, once the GTS 10 sells out, you can be assured that the newest model will be even more awesome. Over the years, I've been through model upgrades, and Brooks always outdoes themselves.

Not sure how to buy a running shoe? How about how to lace it? Look for my next blog: "Try, Tie, & Buy the Perfect Running Shoes".

Keeping It Going: Pursuing Your Passion

Here's my question: What have you done in the last 24 hours to pursue your goals?

For many people, this is difficult to answer. Lots of us spend our time doing things that don't really help us in the long term--watching television shows, shopping, and partying, among other things--and continue to claim that there's just not enough time to do the things that give life meaning and purpose. So, think back on your last 24 hours, and answer the question. In what ways have you held off the temptation to waste your time and energy on things detract from pursuing your hopes and dreams?

I struggle with this. Some mornings, as I'm standing alone in the kitchen, waiting for my french press to finish brewing my coffee, there is the slightest inclination to just give it up already. On days like those, a cushy, nine-to-five sort of job seems attractive. It even seems downright enviable.

When this happens, I try to remember all of the reasons that I do the things I do. I remind myself of why I'm working these long hours and missing out on some of the fun I could be having. And, as I stare into my cup and think of all the good things that are to come as a result of my diligence, it gives me the strength to go about my day with joy and gratefulness.

My dad has been a great example of this. For as long as I can remember, he has posted a visual reminder of whatever his material goal is. When I was in grade school, he had a picture of a BMW pasted to his bathroom mirror. Later, after he got his Beamer, he changed the picture to a gold pen, which he later bought. By seeing the photo of whatever his current goal was, he was able to maintain the focus to go to work and save the money to purchase it.

I don't really have much in the way of material goals. Okay, that's not entirely true. I have a very clear vision of exactly what my future house will look like, including the separate writing and art studio that I want to build in the backyard. I can see myself sitting in my studio, writing, feeling content and happy. That's the dream that drives me. That's the dream that keeps me focused.

So, what have I done in the past 24 hours to pursue my goals? I've edited articles, e-mailed clients, and written this blog post. And I'll keep doing it until my dreams are accomplished. Then, I'll pick something new to aim for. What about you?

Rock, Paper, Scissors

One of my childhood games that assisted in many decisions between friends and myself. Alright, most were probably bad decisions or choices that I normally would not have made but seemed right at the time.

Such as lets go water skiing in February, look no one is on the lake and the water looks like glass. Lets do the rock, paper scissors to see who drives the boat and who gets to ski. I remember that day well. I won to ski first, or least I thought I had won.
I started out great, take off from the dock. No problem, no splinters in the butt, did not get that wet getting into the water. The lake was great, no one was on it, had it all to ourselves carving back and worth on glass. Who could ask for anything more, right?

One problem, how to get off the water without getting wet. No problem cut toward the dock and let go when you get close enough to coast on in, then get out. A perfect plan except timing is everything and I came in to fast and let go to late and coasted into the dock. But no broken bones, only hurt pride and I survived.

Needless to say that was just one of many decisions made with the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. I thought the game was random and pure luck. I did not know that there were strategies to winning. If I knew now what I did not know then, I think of all the ridiculous things I may not have done and then again I may have done them anyway.

China Cha Dao Shui Xian Grade AA+

China Cha Dao Yan Cha - Shui Xian - leaf

Jerry of China Cha Dao offered a free Wuyi oolong sample pack on Steepster recently, and always on the lookout for good yancha, I joined in.

I decided to start with the most generic and widely available varietal of this tea, Shui Xian. Shui Xian is highly variable in quality and characteristics, a trait it shares with its more illustrious brother Da Hong Pao. A suspicion bites at me whenever I see Shui Xian and Da Hong Pao that a particular store takes its least interesting yancha of any varietal and renames it Shui Xian, and takes its best tasting and thickest yancha of any varietal and names it Da Hong Pao. But I digress.

Jerry's Shui Xian carries the grade "AA+" which I interpret to mean "not just your average Shui Xian". I brewed it "gongfu style" using the entire 11g sample in my 100ml-but-functionally-90ml gaiwan and did very quick infusions to start.

The leaves above are long but not uniformly colored, meaning the tea is likely a blend of two roasts or oxidations--or more. I let them rest after their long journey from China, and they became more fragrant as they came to adore the dry, mild California climate, like any good tourist.

China Cha Dao Yan Cha - Shui Xian - brewed

The brew has mild fruit flavor and a punchy sourness in the first brew. The sourness becomes less prominent from the second infusion onward, which offers cinnamon notes and has a longer aftertaste. Throughout most infusions, the tea tastes a bit bitter on the front tongue. Third infusion tastes more balanced--less roast, more florals, with an even longer aftertaste that is really pleasant.

The Shui Xian offers a smooth mouthfeel and a slightly cooling sensation after I swallow. There is a sweet smell under the lid of my gaiwan; in fact, the aroma is more interesting under my gaiwan than the taste of the tea. This average complexity puzzles me, because clearly something (grain? candy? malt?) wants to be in the cup, and perhaps my brewing is to blame.

It lasted a good 10 infusions.

One nice feature about roasted oolongs is that they improve with 6 months or more of resting after the roast, and if this tea is from this year, that means its roasty aromas and flavors of this 2011 tea may calm into something even nicer by the middle of fall, which is perfect weather for roasted teas.

$51/500g is a good price for a Shui Xian I would call an A+ tea. I think AA+ sounds over-the-top, but I suppose not knowing how these are rated means I should respect their hyperbole in classification.

The Man Van Renovation

After returning from our last trip to Arkansas I decided two things.  One camping is cheaper and two, you miss so much when you are staying in a hotel versus camping. 

I have always loved being outdoors and enjoying nature, but lately we haven’t done as much camping as we used to do.  The main reason, it takes me two hours to get the knots and work the creaks out of my body after sleeping on the ground.  Even with an air  mattresses it is not comfortable.  So we have not done as much camping as we would like to do or used to do.

My husband has a 2001 Chevy Express Cargo Van that he was using for his business but has not used for awhile.  The Man Van as my girls used to call it as they cringed whenever he picked them up from school.  The Man Van is not a bad vehicle it just doesn’t have any of the frills or thrills of our car or suv. The windows have black limo coverings so that you can not see inside and it only has windows on the back doors.  It does have a radio, heat and air conditioning, but that is about it.  Anyway with a little persuasion the Man Van is now mine and the renovation into our new camping van is now underway.

Years ago we used to have a VW camper van.  It was a great little vehicle and we am modeling a lot of the Man Van after it. 

First  gutted the Man Van of its work shelves in the back.  Tune up on the engine, a new power steering pump and he is as good as new, almost.  Most of our vehicles I have given female names but there in no way the Man Van resembles a female name.  Possibly when the conversion is complete, he will look more feminine but for now it is still the Man Van.  The air conditioner needs work and only cools the cab, but not a problem I am going to change out the compressor, accumulator and expansion orifice an several small items and she should be cooling like a champ.

The gutting of the Man Van is completed, and walls ceiling have all been washed down with bleach.  Nothing smells clean like the smell of bleach.  We drew about ten schematics for electrical, redrew, and finally settled on a design we can live with.  We decided on 120 volt AC for the major appliances, air conditioner (separate from the cab), coffee pot (must have without a doubt), laptop, television and a small microwave oven.  I had thought about buying a roof top air conditioner.  Coleman makes some great air conditioners but we did not want to cut a hole in the roof.  Most of the air conditioners also start at 10000 btu which is a lot of btu’s for a van.  We are looking to cool at the most 70 square feet, so I was looking for about 5-6000 btu and that is being generous. 

With the Man Van gutted, the electric has all gone in and the walls and ceilings insulated. We chose foam board for the insulation. Not an easy chore since nothing is flat and the walls are rounded.  But it is completed and the paneling and ceiling are going up.  We chose birch cabinet paneling for the walls and ceiling but haven’t decided on what color to stain it yet.

It is almost time to start choosing the appliances.  The air conditioner is already here and the bed arrived.  So I am heading out to work on the beast that is consuming all my time.

Pardon my absence

Since my last post in May, I have moved twice (in a sense), relocating to Georgia and then returning to Los Angeles for a final 3-month stint. The result being a long period of adjustment in which I've sat down to gongfu tea only four times since the end of July.

I am now all settled in and will return to my semi-demi-hemi-regular postings in the next days.

For my time in LA, I have much simplified my teaware out of necessity. Below is my setup: a 100ml gaiwan, pitcher, small cup, and bowl on a hand-woven Red Yao minority wedding scarf from Northern Vietnam. I kept only one teapot here, a hei xing tu pot I use for older sheng pu'er.

My Setup at the New Apartment

The many samples I meant to drink but haven't also wait here with me, tapping their feet impatiently, un-greeting me with a scornful silence, angry at my neglect. Patience, little leaves! I will bathe you soon.

Night Spot Review: Cock & Bull English Pub, Cincinnati

Image courtesy of:

Last night, Doug and I went to the Cock & Bull English Pub. I, personally, think the name is a bit unappetizing, but it seemed a good place to get a beer and do some people watching. This restaurant by day/eve turns into a happening spot as the twenty-and-thirty-somethings make their way to the yuppy's paradise that is the Hyde Park area.

We arrived around 10:30 p.m. and settled into an outdoor patio table. Doug ordered a Dog Fish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA, and I ordered a Franziskaner Hefe, with an orange (of course). We also ordered some delish pub chips--you know, the super thick kind that are like a french fry and chip in one? Yum.

The scene was pretty mild mannered at first, with a few older couples sitting nearby. However, around 11:30, things started to liven up, with the perpetually single (professionally single, as Doug called it) and newly divorced on the prowl. The drunker people got, the louder it got, as is usually usually the case. Nonetheless, it was a fun place to have a beer and enjoy Hyde Park Square.

So, here's my review of Cock and Bull. I've rated each on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest. Cost is rated from $ to $$$:

Beer: 6.5
Appetizers: 7
Atmosphere: 7
Price: $$
Likelihood of returning: 7

Ode to Feral Cats Everywhere

Our cat is crazy. I don't mean the chasing-bugs-and-running-around-the-house kind of crazy. I mean the jumps-at-every-sound-foot-attacking-eyelid-biting kind of crazy. Yes, she bit my eyelid.  And it hurt.

We got our little bundle of love from the Dominican Republic. Having recently moved into our first apartment together, my then fiance (now husband) and I decided to adopt a pet. Why we did this, I'm not really sure. In hindsight, we probably should have waited until we got back to the States.

We started our search for our new kitten by looking online. Now, the Dominican Republic is a wonderful place, but it is immensely lacking in infrastructure--roads, mail, and Internet--so finding our kitty was not easy. After several choppy conversations in Spanish, we finally found an organization that had two kittens ready to adopt. We went immediately, of course.

When we arrived, we saw two, little, emaciated kitten-like creatures. One of those little things was practically screaming at us in meows, and the other was frantically scaling the wall of its cage, crying at us.

We are practical people. Both of us knew that something was wrong with those cats. Their mother had died a week after they were born, leaving them alone on the street, starving, for a week. The rescue agency then took them in and gave them hard food and water at two weeks old. These cats had some real neurological issues.

But, we were desperate. We needed a cat (or so we felt at the time). And, the cat needed us (which was probably true).

So, we took the less crazy of the two home and named her Lila, which is Spanish for lilac.

You know how, sometimes, a baby is cute just because it's a baby? Lila was like that. Her cuteness wasn't inherent, and our friends politely pretended to think she was cute.

Truth is, our cat was a nightmare in many ways. She destroyed $900.00 of furniture (which we had to pay our landlord for), left scars from the many scratches she gave us, and attacked me on multiple occasions. We've also paid hundreds of dollars flying that silly thing back and forth between the Dominican Republic and the United States (four times).

Despite all of that, I love every feral bone in that little monster's body.

The point? Well, I think my "ode to feral cats everywhere" was supposed to be a plug for adopting pets. I'm not really sure that happened. If I haven't scared you off entirely, adopt a friendly, feral pet today!

Review for Blue Sky Blue Energy


84 mg/8.4 oz. can
164 mg/16 oz. can


Another one that’s plenty hard to find, at least around here.  On the western seaboard, it’s found at every Safeway store I’ve been to, so if you live near one of those, this shouldn’t be hard to find.  Otherwise, you’re pretty well out of luck.


I like the look of this one…nice blue color, mountains in the lower background, lightning bolts, etc.  It’s a nice change from yesterday’s Spike Hardcore Energy—The Original (which may be in part responsible for today’s headache, the kind I tend to get when I sleep poorly).  Rather than saying “I WILL kill you,” as Spike did, this one’s message is a little more mild, promising a needed boost rather than caffeine Armageddon.


Above the supplement facts to the right of the front of the can are the words “WILD BERRY FLAVOR”, so I more or less had an idea what to expect…or so I thought.  I open up the can, and…what the frick?  Do I smell Red Bull clone?  I take my first sip, and—sure enough—it’s the traditional energy drink flavor, a little less sweet than Monster Energy or Knockout Energy and definitely less bitter in terms of aftertaste than Red Bull itself.  Another interesting thing…the drink’s not even blue.  It’s a reddish-greenish-I-don’t-know-what-else-ish color.  All that aside, even as unoriginal as it is, I do like the flavor, and it is different enough that those who find something unsatisfactory about Monster Energy or Red Bull might find something to like in Blue Sky Blue Energy.

8.4 OZ. CAN


You’re not going to get a whole lot in terms of energy from the 8.4 oz. can alone—enough to perceive, but not enough to actually do a whole lot.


Hard to gauge, but definitely less than an hour and a half.


Get the 16 oz. can if you can.

16 OZ. CAN


The 16 oz. can packs a passable punch, producing a noticeable increase in energy with side effects more along the lines of increased chattiness than an excess of jitters.  While it’s not the strongest thing I’ve ever experienced by a long shot (which today I’m okay with), it is still acceptable, managing to outperform in this regard at least a few of its peers toting the same flavor or a variant thereof.


The highest point of energy didn’t last especially long (perhaps an hour or so), though a passable state of alertness lasted a good few hours before it started to wear off.  The end period of effectiveness was fairly uneventful, coming without a crash and leaving me feeling more or less normal, if a tad sleepy.


Okay…so out of this experience, we get that the traditional energy drink flavor and wild berry flavor may be the same thing, at least according to the Blue Sky Soda Company—who knew?  My preoccupation with the Red Bull flavor aside, Blue Sky Blue Energy didn’t lack much and I did enjoy drinking it, and don’t have any reservations against recommending it to those who are willing to give a modest variant of the traditional energy drink flavor a shot. 

KEYWORDS: Blue Sky Blue Energy Drink review, Red Bull clone, traditional energy drink flavor, wild berry

The Internal Battle & Addictions

I’ve been reading recently, that according to a recent study, addictions are a disease. There are other influences as well that drive a person to be an addict, nevertheless in the end, the individual still has the power of control over their own choices.

In another article I read recently, the author was saying, while a person intellectually understands something is bad for them, the association of the imagery and emotions to good feelings, will many times trump what good logic dictates. Therefore to overcome this problem, a person with his mind, must change the associations of certain bad decision and good results to the bad results they truly lead to.

Both of these articles are not saying anything new. The Bible talks of two spirits that is built in, within a person. An animal soul, which in some people is stronger and more inclined to certain animalistic tendencies. And a G-dly soul which in some people is stronger in certain areas than others. The G-dly soul which is compared to light, it dwells and manifests itself through the mind, will always have the power over the darkness and animal soul. As strong as emotions are, the mind can overcome the emotions, and the animal within.

Our sages tell us, that a person who has a predisposition to bad leanings, and he actually wants to do the bad but overcomes this temptation, the depth of his goodness comes out in a way that would never be drawn out if not for the trial. When facing an internal battle, the strength is always there to overcome, and to make us stronger and wiser as a result.

Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch once told his son, “the evil inclination inside each one of us, even though it’s called an animal, can at times act slyly and can clothe itself in the guise of a straightforward humble righteous person, requiring one to use much cleverness to uncover its’ tricks. The evil inclination, manifests itself in each person according to his nature. One person might feel a powerful desire to do a good deed, yet it is coming from the evil animal within, who is trying to prevent him from doing something necessary positive and good at this moment.”

“Take this as a general rule” said the Rabbi. “Anything that leads to an actual performance of good and self refinement, and is met with opposition, even the most noble, comes from the evil inclination”.

Rabbi Meir of Premishlan once related the following; “One wintry day, while I was traveling with my teacher, our horse and buggy reached an incline and it seemed to me that the carriage would topple over at any moment. I was prepared to jump out hastily, full of youthful courage, when my teacher placed his hand on mine and said “Sit down calmly, no bad will befall you.” So it was.

After some time elapsed, driving on flat snowy terrain, we hit an ice patch. The carriage turned over and we all fell on the snow. My teacher then said to me “Nu, so do you see now, when a person falls”.

This experience taught Rabbi Meir that sometimes the danger of succumbing to the evil inclination is not when the danger is apparent. If we remain cool and collected, we don't act in haste, and with focus on our goal, we will reach where we need to.

It is when we least expect it, we are overly confident, that we unexpectedly reach the ice patch and go slipping down. We must always be on the lookout for the enemy, because the enemy never forgets what they are here to carry out.

Review for Spike Hardcore Energy--The Original


350 mg


Like so many of the energy drinks I’ve acquired lately, this is one I’ve only seen once, and that was at a 7-Eleven in Richland, Washington.  Unless my experience is not representative, you’re going to need to look long and hard before you find this.


This is one of the more effective designs I’ve ever seen on a can—the name of the drink boldly displayed diagonally front and center, jagged spikes in the background, warning labels on just about every available surface…even the color scheme seems to scream that this stuff means some serious business.  Truth be told, the whole getup has an almost intimidating look to it, which I consider to be appropriate, given the exceptionally potent nature of the drink.


The taste was mostly strawberry-oriented, with some red raspberry in the mix.  The sweetener blend used in the drink was not at all disagreeable, though the aftertaste stuck around a little while.  There’s a high level of carbonation to the stuff, also, which made it so that it wasn’t exactly the smoothest thing in the world going down.  The end result is about average on the “agreeable” scale.


Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve committed to limiting myself the 1-10 scale for taste and kick (or 0-10, since Rockstar 2X got a rating of “0” for taste), but HOLY HUMPIN’HANNAH, THIS IS SOME FREAKIN'HARDCORE STUFF!  I don’t know how else to describe it.  I was rarely sitting still so as to get the full effect of it, seeing as I was too busy moving trying to expend all the energy by moving virtually all the furniture out of my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment single-handedly.  Whenever I would be standing still, I was shaking so badly and was so beyond jittery that it was actually alarming.  The drink earns all the warning labels that they stick on the can—this is not a drink to be trifled with or drunk casually.


Again with the out-of-range rating on the drink…alright.  Let me give you some idea of how long-lasting the effects of the drink are.  I drank this at roughly 3:00 P.M.; by 3:15 P.M. the shakes had already began.  Went over and started moving; was done by 8:30 P.M., after which the physical exhaustion of doing so much for so long had already set in.  Does that mean I was crashing?  No.  It was about 12:30 A.M. before I could manage to get to sleep.  That’s about nine and a half hours of effectiveness.  Nothing I’ve had before even begins to compare.


So as you can see, I haven't given an overall rating to Spike Hardcore Energy—The Original.  The reasoning for this is the fact that the rating system is flawed to an extent, in that there are certain things that it doesn’t take into account but often need to be set forth.  For example: Venom Energy—Death Adder is, in my mind, the finest energy drink I’ve had to date.  It gets a 9.33 out of 10, so just short of perfect.  The score, however, does not take into account the sheer quality of the beverage—the kick the drink managed to produce, though not the most intense I’ve had, was still an experience that was second to none, producing a level of alertness and functionality that most drinks tend to fall short of or overshoot, contenting themselves with either mediocrity or excess.  The same principle applies here—the rating does not take into account the fact that this drink is supremely and unnecessarily potent.  We are at the point where discussing the taste is inane, and where there's really no sense in giving it a rating out of 10 for effectiveness.  All you really need to know about it is that it is powerful to the point of brutality, and for this reason, I do not recommend it unless you have a physiology that renders you all but impervious to the effects of caffeine and need something that will keep you awake, or, if it’s the only option you have, don’t go and down the entire can.  It is definitely not your standard energy drink, and should not be treated as such, but with due respect and caution with regards to the exceptionally high caffeine content it possesses.

Looking over this review, it seems more like a public service announcement than a review.  Oh, well.  So be it.


KEYWORDS: Spike Hardcore Energy Drink review, Spike Shotgun Energy Drink review, Spike Original Energy Drink review, warning, contraindications

Goodbye, Steve Jobs

Yesterday, Steve Jobs announced his resignation by submitting the following letter to Apple.

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
What will Steve Jobs's resignation mean for Apple? Will Tim Cook be able to maintain the Apple legacy?
Sure, Steve's been called a tyrannical micromanager who demands the beauty and perfection of all Apple products...inside and out. Yes, it's been said that he spies on his employees, demanding the utmost secrecy surrounding all Apple products. So? Jobs's vision and type A Steveness has been the driving force behind this multi-billion dollar brand. A brand that has captured the hearts and wallets of the global marketplace, converted die-hard PC heads, and made computing into a work of art.
Okay, maybe that's a little bit sappy. I don't care. I want to wallow for a little while.
I say the world needs people like Steve Jobs. People who are maniacally committed to making a brand sing, to making technology accessible and simple, and to controlling every little aspect of production until it's perfect.
So, what will become of Apple? According to a Forbes article, the market will bounce back, no, bounce forward.
And, undoubtedly, it will. Yes, Steve has an incredible hand in the making of all things Apple, but this multi-billion-dollar company certainly isn't lacking in expertise. Stocks may have been down today, but they will go back up. Many believe that Tim Cook will bring a fresh perspective, and he's definitely got the experience to take on the new role as CEO.
In closing, I'd like to officially issue the following letter to Apple, on behalf of all fans:

Please, please, please, dearest Apple,
Maintain your creative integrity, your commitment to excellence, and your devotion to all things awesome. You do that, and I'll keep giving you money.
Apple fans everywhere

You are here!

I've been feeling very mappy lately. 
I found this very purple and pink glittery 18x18 inch canvas in the clearance section and brought home 2 of them. I knew exactly what one was going to be...the base for my map.
I saw this sort of thing on-line and had to replicate it only instead of printing a map and antiquing it digitally, I did it all manually. I used the only map we had of Kelowna, and it's a darn BCAA map so it does have the location of the nearest BCAA marked on it. It now also has a little heart for where our house it.  I think I will hang it upstairs somewhere just incase I need to know where I am.

Gotta have ART!

 After seeing all the very creative ways Heather has been journaling in her Art Journal, I decided to make one using mixed media papers, actually I made two.
I gave one to Emily when she said she wanted to do more watercolour painting. Maybe she was inspired by all my talk of Amelia's art work, and the fact I hung one of her post cards up. (Amelia was another Jinky Art Retreat attendee, she does beautiful sketch work.)
I'm using my Art Journal as a bit of a 'trial and error' book, to see how I like the different mediums, different hand writing, etc. I'm enjoying  the journey.
I had a pile of Japanese papers, maybe from Grandpa's house. I mod podged them to a few pages and then painted on them. For this one, I drew a heart and then water coloured it.
 This one has yet another Grandpa find, the K page from the A-K Dictionary. We don't know where L-Z is.
 I did this watercolour when the power went out. I did it in the dark.
 More Grandpa papers, and some Tim Holtz goodies.
 The front of a card from Grandpa. I see a theme now.
 This is my favourite so far. Kerry was filling dry wall holes and I borrowed the paste. I used my Cornish Heritage  Farms stamp in the paste. After it dried, I mod podged it. Then I water coloured it in the colours of our new improved basement. I mod podged some fabric from the basement too.
 I used Indian ink in a dropper to write COLOUR.

 This one is a favourite too. Just water colours and pen.
Emily came down and decided to add some paint to her journal. We've gone from a woodcrafting house with every colour of acrylic paint under the sun to a papercrafting house with only a handful of paint. There's lots of colour mixing. We'll have to start picking up a few more colours because there are just some things I can't do. Mixing colours is one of them. I always end up with purple-brown.
 I finally remembered to stop at Home Depot yesterday and get the things I needed to finish off the parcel to send to Amy and David. She sometimes stops by the blog so I will keep everyone guessing, although I think it's pretty obvious what they are. It's almost their one year anniversary. Kerry was saying that it's hard with fall coming and no trip to California to look forward to. I totally know what he means.
I had seen something like this, only with Texas and I knew I wanted to make one. After cutting out British Columbia, I wanted to move to Saskatchewan! (This looks much better in person, the colours are weird here)