Monday, 31 October 2011

Sunday, 23 October 2011

100 things about me

 A few months ago a very popular meme was making the rounds on Twitter, where people were telling us a few interesting things about themselves and everything had the hashtag #100thingsaboutme. I liked the idea but thought that actually, Twitter was not the right place for me to publish a list like that, so I decided to write a blog post instead. This way I could elaborate on some of the more interesting items, while keeping the 100 things all together.

So I started writing a list. I got to 50 pretty quickly but then things slowed down. Turns out, it is actually quite hard to write 100 interesting things about me! But I persevered and whenever I would think of something for the list, I'd add it so that gradually my list grew. It did take a few months though and that is my excuse reason for not having updated the blog in a while!

Here is the list. You will notice that I haven't actually included 100 things about me, but am a few short. This is because I know that someone will read the list below and think of something about me that is pretty interesting but that I have somehow forgotten... so if this is you, send me your suggestions.

Over the next few months I will be ellaborating on some of these things - and have included links below on the things I have actually already discussed in the blog before. Hope you find something interesting in this very, very indulgent project!
  1.  My favourite fruit is watermelon
  2. Cheese is my weakness
  3. I once had 6 fingers in one hand
  4. I think Kate Winslet has the best boobs
  5. I’ve never been a bridesmaid
  6. I have completed a marathon
  7. … and a few half marathons
  8. It takes me a while to focus on something
  9. I’m pretty lazy
  10. I love sleeping
  11. If I could, I would Zumba every day
  12. Billy Joel rocks
  13. I wanted to be a journalist when I was little
  14. I am neither a morning nor an evening person
  15. The music from Soarin’ is my favorite on any Disney attraction
  16. I prefer dark chocolate to milk
  17. I love the taste of fired clay
  18. For a couple of years I had blue eyes
  19. I would love to be able to sing
  20. There aren’t enough days in the year to wear all my clothes
  21. I prefer non-fiction to fiction
  22. My hair is my strength
  23. I can count from 1 to 10 in Japanese
  24. Someday I will write a book
  25. I love musicals – proper ones
  26. I love astronomy
  27. I wish I could speak a third language
  28. Fruit isn’t dessert
  29. There is no way I will wash up without gloves on
  30. I can’t always remember what language I dreamt in
  31. I loved school
  32. When I’m dancing, I’m happy
  33. I’m not a baby person
  34. Mickey Mouse is my absolutely favourite Disney character
  35. I hate being late
  36. Reading is my passion
  37. I love Disney songs
  38. I don’t always forget work when I’m not AT work
  39. Data can be so exciting
  40. I have pretty feet
  41. I have zero patience
  42. Monterrey will always be my home
  43. I am terrible at drawing
  44. Life without music is not life
  45. I’m allergic to shellfish
  46. Disney commercials on TV make me cry
  47. I’m a big city girl at heart
  48. Wish I had freckles and blue eyes
  49. I am very, very tidy
  50. …But I hate cleaning
  51. Apollo 13 is one of my favourite movies
  52. Favorite food: pizza!
  53. I love to buy blank notebooks for some reason
  54. I am not a dog person at all
  55. I know all the words in “The Princess Bride” by heart
  56. Talk radio really, really distracts me
  57. I am obsessed with Starbucks Caramel Frapuccinos
  58. I don’t like talking on the phone
  59. If I could, I’d go back to Tokyo in a flash
  60. I have been to every continent at least once except for South America
  61. London is my spiritual home
  62. I love driving alone
  63. I will never get a tattoo
  64. There never is enough time for cooking
  65. I run (and zumba) in skirts
  66. My left knee is my weakest
  67. I love baseball
  68. My hair is naturally wavy – not straight or curly
  69. I think girls should never wear football shirts
  70. I judge fat people
  71. Men look much better in winter than in summer clothes
  72. I love curry but hate hot food
  73. Gentlemen should open doors for us – and we should let them
  74. I really miss heat and sun
  75. What I miss most about Mexico: friends, food, fun
  76. I actually like airline food
  77. When I was young I read whole encyclopaedias
  78. I can’t stand Bryan Adams or Tom Cruise
  79. The older I get, the more high maintenance I get
  80. I hate bra straps showing
  81. If I could live in one place in the Star Wars universe, it would be Cloud City
  82. My prescription is so high, without my contacts I can’t see to the end of my arm
  83. I used to do horoscopes for people, now I’m not sure I believe in all that stuff
  84. Poor grammar and punctuation irk me
  85. I don’t like fish but I do like sushi
  86. I love being a girl
  87. My favorite color is purple
  88. I can recite most of the periodic table of elements
  89. I know the names for clouds
  90. I don’t own any apple products
  91. I have never seen a single episode of Eastenders or Coronation Street…
  92. …or Dr Who
  93. I used to bite my fingernails
  94. I have had lessons in Hawaiian dance
  95. For some reason I find it easy to remember car license plate numbers

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My journey to the Olympics begins

On 15 September 2010 not only was I getting ready to celebrate Mexican Independence Day but I also submitted my application to be considered a volunteer for the 2012 London Olympics. It was a long application, which actually took me a few days to complete, and I had to provide quite a lot of detail on myself, my skills, my interests, my strengths and of course my personal details. It was pretty complicated and I had to keep finding out stuff like my passport number and so on.

 
Ever since that day when London was announced as the venue for the 2012 Olympics I knew that I had to try my hardest to be a part of the event, somehow. Being a volunteer (or Games Maker as they are known) was the most obvious choice so I made sure my application was as thorough and detailed as I could make it. I finally submitted it on that September day and crossed my fingers that it would be good enough to get me an interview.


It was a long wait but finally I got the news I was hoping to get in March 2011 - I had an interview to be a Games Maker! The date took some coordinating as I was actually away on the first suggested date but after a few phone calls, the date was set: 1st June and I would have to go to the Excel Centre in London. I was actually looking forward to the day out!

I worked half a day and then made my way to East London for the interview on what was a gorgeous sunny and warm day. The selection event itself was, in my opinion, very well organised and after registration and a short wait, we made our way to watch a short video with more details on what it means to be a Games Maker (I hope this video is made public someday, it was pretty funny!) and then we went to our assigned cubicle where we had a 20 minute interview. The interviewer - a volunteer himself - was very nice and kept the interview moving along while asking all the required questions. It was here that I found out what team I was interviewing for: the Afterwards we made our way out - via a shop, very Disney! - and had a chance to write a message on a wall, for posterity.



I left the venue feeling that I'd done my very best but, was it enough? I know that I am a pretty good candidate and I have a lot of relevant experience but I also knew that the competition would be tough, so I didn't want to get my hopes up too high. So I prepared myself for another long wait...

In late September 2011 we had an email saying that offers were starting to go out for those lucky Games Makers that had been selected, so this made the wait even more agonizing, knowing that anytime now I could get the good news. But a few weeks went by and nothing. 

Finally, I got the news I was waiting for: just this week I had an email offering me the position of NPC assistant, based in the Athlete's Village during the Paralympic Games. In English, this means that I will be volunteering for the National Paralympic Comittee of a specific country (don't know which one yet) and will be presumably at their beck and call. I will have to complete quite a lot of training (including driver training as I will be in charge of a vehicle!) and there will be further detail on the role in the next few months. 

So I am of course thrilled, excited beyond belief and can't wait for the fun to start. I know it will be awfully hard work too (just like WDW was) but the rewards will be so worth it. I will get to meet lots of people from all over the world and will take part in what is a once-in-a-lifetime event. I hope to create amazing new memories and I promise to blog about it as much as I can. 

All that time I spent filling out the application form was worth it in the end!



Monday, 19 September 2011

Is there anything good about the colder weather?

There is a definite chill in the air: a change of season is upon us and fall is on its way to be followed by dreary winter and months of cold, dark and rain.

I rarely welcome the coming of fall because it means that the weather gets colder and colder, something that I definitely don’t enjoy. But instead of whining about how I hate the cold, how I miss the sun and how I can’t bear to have to dress like an eskimo, I am going to try a different approach. I need to focus on the positive side of this colder weather, so for example things like these:

October moons
Admittedly, this one is short lived but it is an awesome and spectacular sight: there are fewer sights as beautiful as the sight of the full moon in October. I’m sure there is a perfectly sound reason for this amazing sight but it doesn’t make it any less spectacular.

Harvest vegetables
The fall is also the time of year when one can find the tastiest, yummiest vegetables which also happen to be my favorites: sweet potatos, butternut squash and sweetcorn. These three are delicious, good for you and at their absolute best at this time of year.

Fall TV shows
The summer tv schedule is full of utter shite, too much reality tv or a bunch of re-runs. Now that the summer is over, all the great stuff I like to watch is trickling back: Glee, Desperate Housewives, An Idiot Abroad, QI, Mock the Week and other great shows. Yay!

Layering
With the colder weather comes the need to dress warmly. In general I much prefer summer clothes but I do find that I look smarter in the winter. Skirts, tights, boots and layers all look dressy and can be put together too look quite funky too. An added bonus is that when I get my clothes out from storage, invariably I find more than one garment that I’d forgotten about, which feels almost as good as getting new clothes.

Surprise money
Another thing that comes out of storage is all my coats and jackets which of course I haven’t worn in a few months. More often than not I find money in the pockets of a coat and THAT feels so good that for a few moments I actually love the change of seasons!

What are your favorite things about fall and winter?

Monday, 13 June 2011

London, the Brand

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in London.

(No, this isn’t my excuse for not updating my blog in a while. Well… maybe it is)

Although I don’t live in London, I’m close enough to go there frequently. I do find myself there very often because of work, but I also like to go there to play. The more time I spend there the more I realize that perhaps I should be an honorary Londoner.

One thing that really fascinates me about London is about how it appears to have a Brand. Somehow the brand revolves around buses and the Tube, both forms of transport. Well, there are also red telephone boxes and the Queen’s Guard but for now let’s focus on the Tube.


Not only is the signage for the tube almost universally recognized as a London icon, but so is the famous tube map by Harry Beck. Not to mention the gorgeous underground posters and the phrase: “Mind the Gap”.

Enlace

I can’t think of many other cities in the world that are defined by their transport, and defined so well, following the principles of Branding. All I need to do is see a tube sign in the distinctive New Johnston typography and I know I’m in London. I like the Paris Metro or the NY Subway but I can’t now recall any unique iconography. (Before I get blasted, I’m sure Parisians and New Yorkers differ in this assessment, which is fair enough as they live there). In these places the trains are used as a mode of transport between tourist attractions – not an attraction in itself. Does the Paris Metro have a gift shop? Are the NYC subway posters an art form in their own right?

This means that London Transport can make some extra money flogging us every possible trinket that either has the Tube map on it, or the roundel or even fabric designs from the train seats. The branding is so sharp that underground stations and bus stops are easily identified because of the distinctive typography and colors. These design elements work beautifully together in the other parts of LT like the Docklands Light Railway, River transport, London Overground services and even the Barclays cycle hire. There are of course extensive rules about how the elements should be used, to ensure consistency.

It all works so well. I am consistently impressed by how well this branding works and how well it adapts to new uses (like the cycle hire elements, which are not that old at all). It all feels like it’s ALWAYS been there, because it’s so faithful to the well-loved elements.

I have spent a lot of time admiring all these elements of London iconography. I love the fact that they are clear, simple, timeless and modern. I love that they help me find my way, help me find stations and various modes of transport. I love that they look very, very cool.

I think I’ve been spending too much time in London.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Word cloud (again...)

I haven't done one of these for a while...


It's interesting how the focus of the words has changed quite a bit from the previous time. 'One' is now my biggest word!

created in Wordle

Friday, 11 March 2011

Japan person finder

In case you need to find someone in Japan or have information about someone:



My thoughts are with the gentle people of Japan and all other Pacific Rim countries in these scary times...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Music - the great motivator!

­Few things motivate my workouts more than kick-ass music. It seriously is the difference between an ok workout and an awesome one and I have been known to cut runs short if my music suddenly dies on me!

So making playlists for my workouts has become something of a necessity – I even have a playlist just for races! My playlists are very, very long and sometimes I include tracks that don’t always work out as well as I thought they would so there is a lot of editing to do, to save me from having to find the NEXT button on my MP2 player. I am always trying out new things but I do have a bunch of tracks that are my reliable ones and any workout playlist will include all of these. So, in no particular order:

My life would suck without you

I have two versions of this song (Kelly’s and Glee) and they are both awesome, with a great beat that perfectly matches my comfortable running pace.

Telephone

I have a bunch of Lady Gaga’s songs in my workout playlists but this one is my fave without a doubt. Never fails to make me push a bit harder and try to keep up with that wicked bass line.

Unbreakable

Michael Jackson is another artist that features greatly in my playlists but this track is a lesser-known one, with a brilliant beat that makes me want to run and run.

Maria/ She bangs

Two Ricky Martin tracks that I simply love. Beat-wise they aren’t always perfect (I have about 3 versions of each song, all mixed slightly differently) but it makes me feel like dancing.

Far from over

A little obscure this one, by Frank Stallone and featured in Staying Alive, the film sequel to Saturday Night Fever. It is an awesome dance track with inspirational lyrics. Love it.

Don’t stop me now

I think there’s a rule somewhere that all running playlists will include at least one Queen track! Well, this is my favourite and as a happy bonus, the beat makes me hit a lovely tempo pace.

La vida es un carnaval

Yes, I do occasionally listen to music in Spanish! I love Celia Cruz and this track is not only uplifting and fabulous, it has some great lyrics.

Hush hush

Another dance-inspired track, by the Pussycat Dolls. Whenever I exercise to this, in my head I am dancing away like a pop diva!

Come sail away

An oldie, this is one of several Styx tracks that I like to listen to while exercising. The rock feel to it makes me think that I’m not devoted to Pop, and it has some amazing lyrics. It also has a good running beat.

Dame

Another Spanish song, this time by J Lo and one of my favourite ever songs. This is one that makes me want to dance and has the advantage of having a great running beat.

Jai ho

This song is just full of energy! From the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack, this song never fails to make me go a little bit harder.


Vivimos siempre juntos

A Spanish track by Mecano, with great energy and some lovely lyrics. I love running to this, definitely one of my all-time favourites.

Everytime we touch

Cascada’s album of the same name as the track is pretty much my perfect running album. Nearly all the songs have the same exact beat and it happens to be an excellent beat for my pace so this is one of my very favourites. I picked this particular song as I love it, but it was also playing in Epcot when I ran through the park during the WDW 2008 marathon and since then, I always think back to this amazing race when I hear this song.

California screamin’

This track is the background music that plays on the roller coaster of the same name at Disney’s California Adventure, which also happens to be one of my all-time favourite rides anywhere in the world. Although technically the songs in this post aren’t in any particular order, I did leave the best for last. Simply THE BEST running song for me, with faster sections where I can push my pace while in my mind I pretend to be a roller coaster, with some slower sections in the middle to catch my breath. The only downside is that it is so short, so I always play it two or three times in a row for some kick-ass intervals or when I’m feeling energetic. Fantastic track, I simply love it.

So there are a few of the songs on my running playlist. I’ve left lots and lots out, so maybe I will do a future blog post on some more music that I have in my workout playlists.

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