Art, Google, and a Personal Renaissance

Fascinating. The internet never ceases to amaze me.

I have the program Google Analytics set up for my site, so I can see how many visitors I get. Well, this program also tells you what Google searches bring people to my site. Let me tell you: hilarious. So far, I haven’t gotten too many strange things, but I’m in the top 10 sites for people searching for Glosette Raisins. 😯 !! Who knew?! Also on the list of searchable items: “strenght of laura” (written that way, too — which alerted me to the fact that I’d made a typo in my tag which I promptly fixed 😉 ) , “dj mrmak” (who knew there was a dj in my family?!) , “il faux pas” , “tan malamuts” (again, a misguided spelling error) …… haha, the list goes on. Anyway, I was really surprised about the Glosette Raisins thing. Are there really so few people out there who know about this delicious chocolatey treat?

In other news, I seem to have abandoned you, my readers! Forgive me, I beg you. I really am sorry 😥

To make it up to you, I shall inform you on my recent activities. I suppose that’s not really making it up to you, as it’s just a regular ol’ blog, but hey, at least it’s something!

I did a presentation for my Spanish class this past week. I’d say it went well, but I’d probably be lying. My partner was very good, and spoke well throughout our 1.5 hour presentation (it was supposed to be in the 30 minute range 😯 oops.), contrasting greatly with my mumbled incoherent words and pathetic reading directly from the screen. I was clearly not prepared….. though in my defense, we started actually putting together the presentation at 9:30 p.m. the previous night, and I didn’t know which slides I’d be presenting until about 10 minutes before we presented. (The reason we started so late was because we’d only decided to work together late the week before, and only were able to get in touch with each other about two days before the presentation, and we both had other major things to complete before starting to work on it.) Plus, I’m terrible at reading out loud under duress, especially in other languages. Plus, I was keenly aware that we had TOO much information, and wanted to speed up the process. Anyway, enough excuses. It wasn’t that I didn’t do enough research; I definitely learned a ton and was very interested in the material (especially in comparison with my other presentation in the class last term, on irony in Spanish literature). The project was on Goya, the Spanish painter whose work ranged from sketches, etchings, to tapestry templates, to impressionistic paintings, to “modern” art, and the style of painting that would later inspire the famous Manet and Picasso. You might recognize a few of his paintings even if you’re not that familiar with the art world….. try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Goya and have a look at the paintings featured there, especially The Third of May and Saturn Devouring His Sons. Yep, preeeeetty dark. Then again, what do you expect from a guy who inspired Picasso? haha…… Anyway. The nice thing is, even though the presentation from my side of things didn’t go too smoothly, at least I got to learn about something I was relatively unfamiliar with. I guess this, right here, is an example of both my strangely unfaltering (and sometimes misguided!) positive thinking and my pure passion for research…..

Moving on. I have often complained about the lack of indoor tennis courts in Kingston. I find it pathetic and disgraceful that the mayor (who passed me off to his minions when I wrote to him), the universities, the college, and the local sports complexes fail to realize this need, considering it is the time they should be doing their research and figuring out which sports are not being adequately represented in the city. I did my research years ago when I wrote to the mayor, and came up with some stats. In fact, why don’t I just attach the e-mail? haha. [Okay, actually, I attached it, then realized it didn’t even include the research info I was referring to, so I deleted it since without that it was just boring.]

Anyway, someone else responded, but I didn’t like their response — something about how there are 32 courts in Kingston (implying, why not use those?). So this was part of the research I included in my response:

* “I researched statistics about Kingston from The Weather Network, and found that out of 214 possible days between April and the end of October, 80 of them had precipitation of over 0.2 mm, with 34 of those days being over 5 mm of rain. It is fairly safe to say that after a bout of rain measuring over 5 mm, it will take an extra day to dry up the courts if a court-dryer is not employed. Estimating that half of those 34 days were in a row, let’s say that 16 non-raining days were lost due to wetness on the courts. Those 16 days in addition to the original 80 days of rain, makes 96 days whereby outdoor tennis courts in Kingston are useless. Out of the 214 possible days, that leaves 118 days of use (only 55% of total, even excluding winter months!). That means the courts are usable 32% of the year, whereas the indoor facilities are usable….. well, 100%. Surely it is clear how much we could use these facilities.”

I believe the stats were from 2004, as my letters were written in 2005.  Notice how fair I was, too!  If there’s over 5 mm of rain, chances are the courts will be unusable for the next *couple* days! ….. and there’s no accounting for the days it’s frankly too HOT to play in the summer sun.  That year was notoriously bad for tennis (and general outdoor activities) conditions, because there were so many smog and UV warnings, it was near impossible to find a decent day temperature-wise to play.

So there you go. Kingston, who has decided to build several facilities for sports (both the city and Queen’s are building their own separate little [massive] sports complexes) are ignoring this lack of indoor facilities. Why, I cannot comprehend, as it’s almost a guaranteed financial success. This is where the short-term cost is blinding them from the long-term return. With usable courts for the full course of the year, and the ability to set the price of booking a court (since there’s no competition)…………

Anyway. Take what you will from that. It used to make me so frustrated. The point of this story got sidetracked actually, as it often does when this topic comes up. I finally found a way to play tennis in the winter. Granted, it’s a pathetic classification of what is deemed “tennis”, but beggers can’t be choosers. I signed up last week for a spot in the “multi-sport” courts (they mean racquetball, squash, handball, etc.), and hit against the wall for about 40 minutes (that’s the max time allowance). It’s very strange….. but it was still enjoyable and I made sure I got a workout. Luckily, things like overhead smashes and serves don’t require proper ground surface, so those weren’t affected. It’s very tricky getting used to returning in half the time you normally do, but I suppose it helps with footwork. My footwork was impeded that particular day, due to an unusual shearing of skin on my ankle from a recent skating excursion….. and I cut my thumb with my nail somehow, so I was rather injured! Haha, that didn’t really bother me, it was just kinda funny.

What else? Well, I have more things to say but this is ridiculously long, so I think I shall leave it at that. Actually, come to think of it, I’m going to take out the letter to the mayor considering it was just the research I wanted to show you, not the boring letter. There. Much shorter, much better.

haha.

I love how I’m detailing to you all my edits here……. Ah well. Now you can know how I think! (see: disjoint thoughts, possible insanity…..)

Have a great night everyone!

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