Exercising at Your Desk (and other tortures)

arttreadmill I am known as a treadhead. By that I mean I use a treadmill desk while I'm writing away on my various projects (you can read about it here). Since 2009 I have walked just over 9604.2 kilometres (or 5967.7732 miles). The treadmill desk has made me healthier, able to concentrate better on my creative work and leaner...though sadly I'm still a bit of a bore at parties (unless you ask me about the joy of treadmill desking). You can't have everything. And not everyone wants to dive right into the treadmill desk world. So I'm putting down a few other options you can use to torture yourself...I mean exercise at work.

Many people have heard that sitting is the new Satan. It will destroy your life and suck out your soul. Here's an infographic that shows exactly how that works:17t48tzmose95jpg

See! Scary!

So, to combat evil, I propose a few ways to avoid the Satanic Sitting Syndrome.

      1. Stand up: Ah, sounds simple doesn't it? But the difficulty is remembering to do it. Set a timer and go for a walk whenever it rings. Or do a set of lunges and squats (who doesn't like squats?). Pace around (or at least stand) whenever you're on the phone. Take the stairs. Park further away from work. Oh, and that four-legged thing in your house with a collar? It's a dog. Take it for a walk. And feed it, too. *Update: just today I found out about a very, very cheap standup desk. It looks brilliant to me. It's made of some sort of space age cardboard and is portable. It's called the Oristand. And sells for only $25.00. oristand_black
      2. Get a stand up desk: You're a stand up guy, right? Or a stand up woman? Why not get one of those fancy dancy stand up desks? If it's good enough for Leonardo Da Vinci and Sir Winston Churchill, it's good enough for anyone. Even Dickens used one. And he was no slouch metaphorically speaking.
      3. Try a gyroball, a hoverboardwhachamacallit, or a pedaldesker. Okay I may have made up some of those names. But this is what they look like:1448484346803This is the Fluidstance Level. You stand on it in front of your stand up desk and, in attempting to balance, burn more calories. I've never tried it. But imagine how jealous people will be when they see you standing on it. They'll think you've come right out of Back to The Future. Visit their website here: http://www.fluidstance.comOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can sit on an exercise ball at your desk. It's like the opposite of what the great god Atlas was doing. Though you will still be sitting, the muscles you move to stay in place will burn calories. Plus if you get a clear ball people will think you can levitate.DeskCycle600PPThis little pedalled creature lives under your desk and gets you to move your legs whilst you're creating your opus (or playing Candy Crush). I found it at http://www.deskcycle.com
      4. Pick up a pedometer. I'm a Fitbit type o' person. It keeps track of steps. One of the best aspects of Fitbit is that you can keep track of friends and have competitions. Yes, geeky Fitbit competitions to see who can walk the greatest distance in a  day. I told you I was a bit of a bore at parties.


There you go. Just a few ideas about getting fit and torturing yourself at your desk and defeating evil. I, of course, stand...err...walk confidently behind the idea of a treadmill desk. But not everyone wants to dive into that odd and strange tread head world.


Photo credit for the red ball thingy: ex_magician via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

My book has grown up and left home...

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 12.46.48 PMMy book has grown up and left home. Yesterday, I sent the "first pass" pages of Flickers back to my publisher. This is the last time I will see the book before it's published (April 26th, 2016 fyi). And yes, it's like sending your kid off to college. I won't be around to remind him to comb his hair or eat all of his green beans. Or to point out that he has a dangling modifier on his chin. It's too late to adjust his character. Or remind him to be a bit more dramatic and not so wordy. Yes, I'll get his Aunt Copy Editor to check in on him. But otherwise, he's going out into the world. He's become his own man. Oh, the people he'll meet. Some might toss him aside. Others ignore him. But all I can hope is that he finds at least one good home to stay in. Or two. Well, actually, now that I think of it ten thousand or a hundred thousand homes would be okay, too. Anyway, the next time I see him he'll be all grown up. I hope I recognize him. And I do hope he doesn't try to move back in again...



Excuse me, I've forgotten your name...

2192192956_c9023211ca_mThere is a specific part of the brain that remembers names. I don't recall where it is exactly. Or where I got that information from. But I think it's called the embarrassebellum. Because I can never remember names. This is especially problematic since I live in a world where people use names to identify themselves. And yes, I've tried the tricks. I met one of the fathers at my daughter's school and thought, I'll remember his name because it's the same name as my cousin. But...I have several male cousins. Every time I see him I think: Is it Bill? Mark? Jim? Kirk? Michael? Oh, no. The problem is when I'm introduced to someone a horrible loud fuzzy noise fills my ears so that I hear, "Arthur I'd like you to meet BZZZZZZZZZZ and GZZZZZZZZZ." "Great to meet you. How many z's is that in your name?" Or, even worse, is when the social situation calls upon me to introduce people to each other. For example, let's say I'm at a bookstore talking to someone I've known for years and another person I've known for years walks up. This situation demands that I introduce these two people. I will suddenly feel as if a spotlight has been lasered down on my position and a Bond-villain voice whispers, "You are standing on a trapdoor and  if you mess up this introduction you will fall into a tank of author-eating sharks. HA HA HA."  I wipe the sweat beading on my forehead and turn to these people I've known for years and say, "Umm. What'syourname I'd like you to meet Whathisname. You have a lot in common. You both have names. And I can't remember either of them."

Gah! Bring on the sharks.

Dante's Inferno has a special circle of Hell called the author's signing table. It's a place where people have braved hail, wind, rain or meteorites to attend your book launch then paid good money for your book and are now lined up to get your signature on that book and all those people in the line up have names. I tell you they all have names.

"And who would you like me to sign the book to?" I ask the man I've known since high school.

"To me, please."

"Oh, and how do you spell your name again?"

"Really? It's Bob. Don't forget the second B."

It's time to hire a full time name whisperer. Or maybe, just maybe, there's an app for that.

Anyway, pleased to meet you. I hope to remember your name.


Photo credit: striatic via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow



I love this book and I want to marry it. Okay, that's how my six year old has taught me to express my feelings. But this really is a wonderful novel. Science fiction that is poetic, thought-provoking, gentle and at times perfectly action-packed. Oh, and there are moments of absolute horror. The premise is that an artificial intelligence has taken over the world and to prevent war is has gathered together the children of the world leaders and if a country goes to war then the children from the warring countries are executed. The book is told from the point of view of one of those children. And to top it all off, the book is mostly set in Saskatchewan. Bonus points for that.