super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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Stuff and some unrelated pictures of other stuff, while I think of something better to say

Well, well, well.

So much to talk about in general, so little to say in particular.

But I suppose I should update this place, especially since Mal Law’s review of my review last week brought so many new people over. Hi everyone, old and new. Sorry if you came here thinking there’d be something just as interesting to read. I got nothing.

Well, sort of. There’s stuff.

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I managed not to forget my running gear at home and make it to the Adidas store in time for their weekly group run last week.

I’ve been getting my running groove back, slow and steady, ever since my leg stopped hurting a couple of weeks ago. Now that I’ve gone through my first period of injury and forced rest, I’m ultra careful about trying not to get hurt again. Those weeks without running were mental agony and if running less means I can avoid going through that stuff again, then I’ll be patient.

So that’s what I’ve been training lately – my patience and my discipline.

To say that I’m failing is a bit of an understatement. I’ve been running often but I’ve also been noticing how a Cadbury chocolate-based diet carries few fitness benefits (it’s one of those studies I had to conduct so you don’t have to. You can thank me later). My pace is slower, my legs are heavier (well, my everything is heavier) and, some days, I’m less motivated to run than Lindsay Lohan is to go to rehab. But it’s a phase, right? Coming out of injury is a funny stage to be in, a struggle between wanting to make sure you don’t completely lose your hard-earned fitness while also ensuring you don’t go out too fast and can recover 100% before breaking yourself again.

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That’s AM, people. Not PM. I know, I’m shocked too.

As part of my efforts to stay motivated and to become more disciplined, I’ve done two things in particular lately, which are also #5 and #8 on my list of new year’s resolutions (yes, I’m still talking about those).

In the beginning of the month, I started a 30-day photo project (which explains the random photos you see appearing throughout this post). No themes to follow or any of that stuff, just me challenging myself to remember to take a photo a day and post it to Instagram. It’s not about taking 30 photos in a hurry on the last day of April, it’s about a consistent ongoing effort to complete an easy task every day. Much like training for a run, it is something that doesn’t allow for laziness or procrastination, something that you can’t just go and cram into the very last minute. Ask anyone – I’m the queen of last minute. So far, I’m doing okay-ish, but the first few photos were pretty much all taken in the last few minutes before midnight.

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Morning run along Hobsonville Point last Sunday. Hello, Autumn!

The other thing I did in the interest of motivation was cough out $295 on Friday for the XTERRA trail running series pack. I could have sat here and promised that I’d run all 6 events this Winter but we all know that I’d find excuses to skip one or two, in favor of staying in bed or watching the Come Dine with Me omnibus that airs every Saturday morning. But nothing like seeing triple digits coming out of my account to get my butt into training mode. Excited? Yes I am.

Lastly, a few blogging words about blogging, just to be really meta. In the last couple of days, I got mentioned in the blogs of three awesome ladies: slowgirlfastdog, some kind of runderful, and barefoot marathon momma. They all thought I deserved one of those “Versatile Blog Awards”, which automatically makes them awesome so you should head to their blogs if you don’t read them yet. Anyway, the rules dictate that I link to them (done), post an image of the “versatile blog award” logo thingie

(hang on)

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there you go.

And it also says that I have to list ten things about myself. I’ve done more than that a while ago, when I wrote the 40 things you don’t need to know about me and stuck it in the About page (go read it if you need to feel normal). I really can’t come up with 10 other things so pick 10 out of those 40 and be amused. Done. I’m also supposed to choose 10 or 15 bloggers (the rules differ on this) and nominate them for the award. Since I’m not sure what exact number to follow, I suppose I can just nominate everyone on my list of daily reads. Done.

A few hundred words about nothing in particular. Seinfeld would be proud.


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No such thing as a free (photo of your) lunch

If it hadn't been for Instagram, the world would never have found out what I had for dinner last Saturday. I'm so worried they're going to pass this image onto a pasta sauce company. Not.

If it hadn’t been for Instagram, the world would never have found out what I had for dinner last Saturday. I’m so worried they’re going to pass this image onto a pasta sauce company.

One of my favourite ways to break up a run is to take photos of what I see along the way. As of a few months ago, I started using Instagram as yet another way of sharing them (not the only way). As shown above, I’m also often guilty of the food picture internet sin. It makes me happy, whatever.

Yesterday, the internet got its virtual panties in a bunch over a change to Instagram’s Terms & Conditions (to come into effect in January). I have been trying to figure out what people’s problem with it is but I think I’m failing. From where I stand, it looks like people complaining about Instagram handing their photos over to third parties expect to use the Instagram service for free. Instagram T&Cs don’t actually say they are going to sell your photos anyway.

When exactly did Instagram become a charity? Instagram is a business (owned by Facebook but still a business), it employs people and it needs to somehow make some money so that those employees can afford luxuries such as food and other stuff. Why shouldn’t we pay to use it, whether through a joining fee, advertising or any other way? Because we don’t wanna? Sounds a little whiny.

The number of paid apps I have ever downloaded from the Android App store (it keeps changing names, I can’t keep up) amounts to around about zero. Instagram is just one of the many free apps crashing my phone on a regular basis. Since I’m not willing to pay for it but still want to use the filters and sharing capabilities, shouldn’t I be charged in some other way? Absolutely. What a self-entitled prick would I be otherwise.

Perhaps the solution would be to offer users a choice – a different set of T&Cs for those who agree to pay a fee to use the service. I know I would rather allow Instagram to hand my photos over to whoever wants them, especially because chances are no one wants dozens of photos of my cat anyway. And please, for the love of all #catsofinstagram, stop saying Instagram wants to hand over your photos “without your consent”. By using a website, you abide by that website’s set of terms and conditions (in case of supergenericgirl.com, there’s only one condition: no bad words about cats, brownie or Ryan Gosling). It’s not Instagram’s (or any website’s) fault that we’re lazy users who never bother to read those things.

One way or another, we should all pay for the services we get to use. Stop expecting free shit. If you want to #quitinstagram or #boycottinstagram or #whateverotherangryhashtag, go ahead. Plenty of other services out there you can use. But don’t be silly to think that there is such a thing as a free lunch. Or a free snapshot of your lunch.

Also, aren’t we all supposed to die on Friday anyway? Chill out, internet.


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How Lord of the Rings and VFX relate to marathon training (at least in my head)

Well, if we’re going to talk about numbers, this week was a massive catastrophe. Good thing we’re not going to talk about numbers then, or else I’d have to admit to you that I didn’t get anywhere close to the goals I had set up for myself. Among the reasons I didn’t run nearly as much as I should have this week I include: work commitments (those bills aren’t gonna pay themselves, apparently), meteorology (can’t control the weather, amirite?) and just overall laziness. You know, the usual. And yes, I am feeling stupidly guilty about it but guilt won’t really get me running any faster or longer so I’ll just harden up and get over it now.

I did put together a bit of a training plan with S. on Monday evening (while not running because of the rain) so that’s gotta count for something. I then flew to Wellington for work on Thursday and, on Friday afternoon, managed to drag myself to the path along the waterfront (part of the route of the half marathon I ran there back in June). It was a lovely, albeit fairly short, run, during which I only stopped a couple of times very briefly for the photos you see here (Instagram is my new excuse to take breaks during runs).

The conference that took me to Wellington ended on Saturday night with a gala dinner at Te Papa Museum (hands down my favourite museum in the country). They had a guest speaker come and give a bit of a speech after the awards ceremony (or was it before? I don’t know, it was in between wine). The speaker was Wayne Stables, a name that didn’t ring any bells to me but must make serious Lord of the Rings fans’ hormones go a little nutty. He’s the big visual effects guru at Weta Digital, Sir Peter Jackson’s film company.

It was during his talk to the conference guests that I realised two things:

1. I need to immediately take a weekend off to re-watch all Lord of the Rings (including the bits during which I fell asleep in my first and, so far only,  attempt)

2. I’m so obsessed with running and marathon training I’ll find a link between that and anything else in life.

All the man did was stand there for a few minutes talking about his amazing work in movies such as Lord of the Rings, Tin Tin and Avatar. My brain related pretty much each one of his sentences to running. One of his key messages was that working with massive visual effects productions means you have a lot of really big overwhelming challenges – like, for example, creating all the vfx for the battle of Helm’s Deep in LOTR or the super long continuous shot that was the chase scene in Tin Tin. There are a million little details that have to come together to create those scenes. If you think of the whole scene as one big thing, you’ll be completely stumped and overwhelmed by all the details that need looking after (stuff we don’t even think of as we watch the movie, such as cloth motion or the most realistic way to get water falling). So the key, he says, is to break those big challenges into tiny little ones and look at each detail at a time, rather than having the whole big picture in mind.

D’ya get it? D’ya? D’ya? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who made an immediate correlation to training for a 42.2km long run (not to mention that the marathon is only part of a much larger goal to run a 75k trail run, but that’s a whole new blog post). It’s all about breaking the massive challenge into little ones. Simple and yet genius. I went back to my hotel room later on having run a grand total of zero kilometers that day but with the distinct sensation that sitting through that talk  represented some sort of progression in my training.

Probably bullshit. I better get my ass on the road and run because, at this rate, special effects really are the only way I’m ever going to be seen crossing that finish line.


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snapshots from the past month

The last month came and went in what felt like approximately 2.4 seconds. In the last 28 days, I packed a journey that passed through 14 countries and included hundreds of photos and endless hours of footage that will surely take months to sort through.

It also included a huge lot of sightseeing, too many hours on planes, an enormous amount of time inside a car, pretty mountains, old monuments, snow, beaches, coffees in multiple countries in a day, running on the longest bridge in Europe (well, part of it), entering my first ever night running event (and loving every second of it), visiting the world’s highest glacier palace, and some of the world’s smallest countries (Liechtenstein is so cute I wanted to put it in my pocket – and almost could!).

It included the bitter cold of winter, the crunchy leaves of autumn and the warmth of summer. It had long overdue hugs from family and friends. It included my favourite people, my favourite places, my favourite food.

What will follow, once jet lag finally abandons my body, is a whole lot of blog recaps of all the cool stuff that happened last month, running events included (spoiler alert, I ran the coolest half marathon ever and didn’t die). For now, bed time. Unpacking can wait.