Monday, December 31, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed

I try to watch comedies on my tablet during my plane rides, but I think iTunes miscategorized this one.  It had some funny parts, but was more a weird movie than anything else.  The main actress had a bangable look and some good deadpan acting, but some parts were a bit slow.  I'm not even sure how to describe my reaction to this movie so I'll just say that you shouldn't turn down watching it, but don't go out of your way to do so.

First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher

I was able to polish off the final book in Butcher's Codex Alera series.  I still believe the series peaked in the middle, but this ultimate book was more entertaining than the previous one.  I think the magic became a little pedestrian and there wasn't enough other stuff to fill the void.  The middle books had some good military action that the later books lacked. 

I also wasn't as interested in the romance in this book as it felt a bit forced.

Still, the series is entertaining and fairly innovating so I recommend this book and Jim Butcher in general.

Namaste Yoga

A work friend recommended I check out Kate Potter's Namaste Yoga series on DVD so I ordered up the first season.  It got good reviews from Amazon and the comments indicated it was suitable for beginners.  Now I've never taken a yoga class, but figured I'd be alright.  I tried to follow along the first episode and it was tough.  The movements are smooth, but fast and I was a good step or two behind the hot women doing the routine.  I feel more relaxed now, but a little frustrated at my inflexibility.  I guess I should try to turn the frustration into motivation since increased flexibility will help me more readily apply sports beatdowns.

Not a bra is to be found so I did get the treat of a lot of nipple action along with some tight asses and hard bellies.  Definitely six to midnight and was one big selling point for me since it's about $4/episode.

I'm a little congested from my air travel yesterday and could hear myself wheezing during these supposedly relaxing moves.  It's all good though and it's one reason why I do this kind of stuff at home rather than by taking a class.

I think I'll try the next episode and see if it builds on the first one or explores new moves.  My colleague does one episode a day in the mornings, but I think I'll shoot for two or three episodes per week since I'm focusing on strength gains.

I'm trying to challenge myself more and yoga will definitely fit the bill.

Fitness update

It's past the last Saturday of the month so it's time for another fitness update.  The holidays are always a tough time for my fitness because of the traveling, the tasty food and the inactivity.  I started the month off well, but hit a snag when I rolled my ankle at basketball a couple of weeks ago.  I was still able to get three sessions of tennis and running in apiece while in Portland along with some pushups and whatnot, but it wasn't enough to overcome the crap I ate.

In the charts below, you can see the holiday uptick, but the ending point isn't too bad.


I think I'll go back to keeping photographic evidence of my progress.  I'm not ashamed of my body, but I know I've got more work to put in until I've reached my goal.

Not a bad financial year

Despite having to take out a personal loan to pay for my new HVAC system, I still ended the year $14k less in debt.  Not too shabby.  My goal for 2013 is to pay down another $30k.  It's ambitious, but worthy goals always are.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Skyfall

I saw this movie in the theater this afternoon with my mom and my sister-in-law and it didn't do anything for me.  I'm not sure exactly why I didn't like it, but it could be a combination of a stupid plot line, bad movie physics and a lack of typical James Bond elements - hot women with goofy names and cool gadgets.

This movie was the third in a prequel trilogy, but featured a lot of high end computing.  How does that fit in with the other movies?  It would've been cooler if they had set these stories in the past.

The bad guy was creepy, but annoying.

I do not recommend this movie, but I guess a lot of people liked it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ted

A friend of mine said this movie is pretty funny, but he's a bigger Family Guy fan than me.  It did feel like an extended live-action Family Guy episode since it had Seth McFarlane's voice and similar jokes.  Family Guy can be funny, but when it's not, it bombs and I felt the same way about this movie.  I watched it on my iPad and laughed a few times, but not even Kunis' smokin' hot body could save me from feeling disappointed.

I do not recommend this movie.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Prometheus

I remember a lot of hype when this movie hit the theaters earlier this year but it bombed and I can see why.  The movie visually awesome, but the plot is weak and the dialogue is even weaker.  Fassbender does an ok job, but there was something slightly off from his performance.

The movie physics was weak as they never explained how they traveled to another solar system in only two years.

No part of the movie was scary and no part was dramatic.  It was also severely lacking in eye candy.

I do not recommend this movie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

Abercrombie is one of my favorite authors and his Circle of the World novels are awesome.  I like gritty fantasy which is heavy on fighting, wenching and drinking and light on elves and dwarves and he doesn't disappoint.  He's just about my favorite fantasy author out there and Red Country is one of his better ones.  Perhaps I'm biased because it features one of my favorite characters, but there is plenty of grit, well-written characters and an exciting plot.

I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Orb Sceptre Throne by Ian C Esslemont

Esslemont and Erikson are co-creators of the Malazan world, but the main books are written by Erikson while Esslemont's fill in back stories.  I think I prefer Erikson's writing style, but Esslemont's books are solid.  This one is a bit light on magic and contains a few too many sub-plots for its length.  Esslemont's writing is not as weighty as Erikson's, but he also involves a cast of thousands so it can be difficult to keep track of everyone.

There is plenty of the action from the previous books and a good plot.

All in all, I recommend this solid book.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Son of a gun.

I stepped on someone's foot playing basketball tonight and rolled my left ankle.  I had to leave early because it won't take much weight.  Shucks.  I was just getting back in to my fitness routine and now I need to take it easy for a week.  Fudge.

I'm surprised I made it this far into the season before getting knocked out of commission.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Expendables 2

I enjoyed the first movie, but a friend of mine said this one was a disappointment.  I'm going to have to call shenanigans because I enjoyed it.  It is a bit cheesy, has some pretty piss poor movie physics (wooden bridges exploding!) and weak sauce eye candy, but it has a bunch of action stars from my childhood shooting and kicking bad guys.  Really, what more can you ask for?  There was enough irreverence, blood and one-liners to fill a number of action movies.  The cameos were a bit strange, but it's all good.

Some of these action dudes have aged well, but some just look weird.  The BluRay transfer was a little grainy which was unexpected.

I recommend this movie.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I think I'm going to be sick and it's your fault.

Hot damn I'm ready for my Christmas vacation.  I e-mailed my cousin and I think we'll go snowshoeing around Trillium Lake.  I haven't done it before, but it's supposed to be fun.  It'll be a good workout which is something.

I got my family some good gifts and I'm excited to see what they got me.  I wish I could say I only get greedy during Christmas, but perhaps it's fair to say I get greedier.

I overslept this morning and came to work to find another workstation in my cube which means they're doubling me up.  Super weak.  I know the building is full, but there has to be somewhere else to put new folk.  I'll go squat in an empty cube in the new building so it's not a big deal, but no warning was given.  I don't think companies treat employees like they used to and figure we're just grateful to have a job in this economy.  Perhaps they're right, but fuck that noise.

I'm not happy about missing basketball tonight, but I nearly crapped my pants.  I must've eaten something bad today; perhaps the fruit cup I had as part of lunch.  It's a good thing my Toto toilet is world class as I don't think another brand would've been able to handle the mess I made in there when I narrowly avoided shitting myself.

I can't remember the last time I got a proper night's rest.  Maybe tonight's the night.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's a good thing I don't have a gun in my car.

I'm pretty sure I would've taken a shot at the white trash dude who cut me off this afternoon and then had the temerity to flip me off when I honked at him.

Also, iTunes sucks big time donkey dick.

Saturday morning ramblings

I've had too much dairy this week so I've been battlin' some sinus issues which makes it tough to sleep. I could've slept another two hours this morning, but I got up at 7:15 in order to get ready for squash.  I've had some trouble getting up early the past month or so, but feel much better after I've exercised so I'll need to make sure to do something each morning.

I've dug myself into another financial hole, but it's not as deep as previous ones so I should be ok.  Things'll be a little lean until after Australia, but I can't complain.  My financial discipline comes and goes.

I was disappointed this morning I didn't see a chunk reduction, but perhaps it's because of the crap I had Wednesday night.  I need to bail from work to bowling so I've been getting something there, but they don't have any healthy options.  Too many chicken quesadillas.  I should try to pack something I can eat cold in the parking lot since you can't bring in outside food.

The Wahl colon struck again this morning.  I was doing some burpees after squash this morning near the courts and ripped out some oily stank.  I went over to get my stuff right as some people were exiting the court and could hear them complaining about the stink.  Heh.  I guess it smelled bad enough to go beyond the usual farts.  The Wahl colon is nothing, but a stank factory and I've been feeding it garlic, broccoli and duck fat.

No snow today, but the rain should help with the water level come summer time.  Actually, I don't know if water is an issue around here or not.  In Oregon, you have to deal with California trying to jack the water each year and each year, Oregon, Washington and Idaho tell them where to get off.

I'm definitely ready for my Christmas vacation, but there are still two weeks to go.

There is a Crossfit club in the building where I play squash and I always go over to look since there are often hot women in tight pants.  This morning they were having some sort of competition and I started to wonder how much weight I could lift in my current state.  Probably not as much as I think as I need to work on strengthening my connective tissue.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Callouses

I like my AdiLight basketball shoes, but they've got a fair amount of plastic in them which means not a lot of give in the toe box.  Somehow the rub against the outsides of my big toes so I've built up some callouses.  Usually that's a good thing, but mine get wicked tender so I tried some moleskin tonight.  Nothing doing.  I suppose I could get some salicyclic acid pads to dissolve them or maybe I could try cutting them off.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving visit 2012

This year I decided to surprise my family by flying in to my hometown of Portland, OR.  The night before Thanksgiving, I took a cab from the airport and walked up to my parents' house.  Both cars were there, but the lights were off.  I ran the doorbell a few times, but no one answered.  Normally my folks' dog would go apeshit, but they took him to the doggie hotel earlier that day.  I called their home line from the porch and the conversation went something like the following:

My dad [sleepily] - Hello?
Me - Dad, I'm in big trouble.
My dad - Wuh what?
Me - I really need your help.
My dad - Wuh what's going on?
Me - I'm on your front porch and no one is answering.
My dad - Are you...are you joking?
Me - No, come downstairs and open the front door.

He comes down about 30 seconds later and realizes I'm actually there.  The surprise went pretty well and was definitely worth the $30 cab fare.

I had a great time hanging out with my family, especially my nephew.  He's now crawling and is pretty active.  He likes to bang on stuff and babbles a lot.  He's a baby so he does fuss now and then, but nothing that would piss you off.

My brother and I went to see Portland square off against Minnesota at the Rose Garden the night after Thanksgiving.  I got us good seats and the game was entertaining.  I haven't been to any sporting event more exciting than a home Blazers game.  Even when they suck, the crowd is great.

I ate a lot of tasty food, but a lot of crap as well, but it's a holiday so it's all good.  It actually didn't rain for two days as well which is always appreciated.

Out of order picture vomit can be found here.

First snow of the season

I woke up to snow on the ground yesterday:
 It's all gone now.

Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian

This Aubrey-Maturin book took me a bit longer to read than the others, but I'm not sure why.  The book is well-written, but perhaps the pacing was a bit off.  There was more intrigue and less sea-action. I guess I'm not as interested in Aubrey's home life as well.

O'Brian definitely knows his sailing and definitely knows 19th century British history.

I recommend this book if you like historical fiction and/or nautical stories.

Feelin' good

I can tell that the Paleo lifestyle is the one for me because I feel much better since I haven't had any intentional wheat since Wednesday night.  The exercise helps, but my head feels much clearer when I'm gluten free.  I put some beer in the slow cooker with my German food, but I think a little gluten isn't going to hurt me.  I also sleep much better when I'm gluten free and that contributes to less grumpiness as well.

I was able to run 4.7 miles this morning without a heel strike.  I tried out my new biking jacket and it worked well.  It's cold and windy out, but I stayed pretty warm.  I need to get some running gloves, but those went on to my Christmas list.  Yeah, I still put a list together for my parents.  So what?  Heh.

I should eat well this week since I browned up ground meat for super nachos.  I saw some rendered duck fat at the grocery store and I like to experiment with different kinds of natural food.  I think it added a nice richness without any overpowering flavor like coconut oil.  I fried up some chicken liver in duck fat this morning for breakfast and it was pretty tasty for sure.

As I mentioned, I've got kielbasa and sauerkraut in the slow cooker and I'll pan fry some shrimp and scallops for lunch today.  Three dishes should be enough to give me some variety this week.  Last week I ate at the cafeteria at work.  The food there is good and I chose wisely, but I still spent about $50.

I finished my Christmas shopping last week and even got myself some stuff.  Heh.  I'm still not disciplined enough to not buy stuff, but it's ok; I'm slowly crawling out of debt.  I've been told I do a good job of getting people stuff and I like to give as much as I like to get.  I think my family will be happy with the gifts.  It was pretty easy to shop for my nephew since he's just a baby and will be more interested in the box than the actual gift.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fitness Update


I'll admit I ate a lot of crap over Thanksgiving and it cost me a bit of fitness.  You can see a bit of an uptick in chunkiness over the past couple of months, but I think I'm back on the wagon and this morning's measurements indicate a loss of two fat pounds.

I'm still not to my intermediate goal of 20% body fat, but I think I can get there with some discipline.  I need to do some kind of exercise every day which gets my heart racing and makes me sweat.  I currently have basketball twice a week and squash once a week, but basketball will end soon.  I usually go running once a week, but I'll probably backfill with burpees and mountain climbers.  They aren't much fun, but are certainly effective.  I wouldn't mind taking some boxing classes as well so I can learn to punch well enough to get my own speed and heavy bags.  I think it would be a great stress reliever and would help get me closer to my goal of being jacked/ripped.  I'm certainly enjoying the process.

I ate a lot of gluten over the holiday and I could tell it was slowing me down since I feel much better now since I haven't had any intentionally since Wednesday night.  I feel pretty good actually and that's always a good thing.

It still amazes me that I've lost nearly 30 fat pounds over the past five years.  I'm embarrassed I chunked out that much, but I think I'm headed in the correct direction.  I definitely do a lot of walking at work because our complex is large.

The Walking Dead: Season 2

While I'm a huge fan of post apocalyptic stories, I'm not a fan of zombies.  However, I still found this season entertaining.  Sarah Wayne Callies is poorly cast for her role and the little kid, Carl, is pretty annoying.  The show could also do with some more eye candy, but it wouldn't be realistic if only the good looking folk survived.

The movie physics are terrible in some of the episodes and it definitely detracts from the zombie killing.  I don't think the producers realize how hard it is to be an accurate shot with a pistol standing let alone from a moving vehicle with zombies all around.

I'll still watch the third season, but I'm not going to bust a nut to do so.

I recommend this season and this show if you like post apocalyptic plots and/or zombies.

The Watch

The Watch was the movie I watched on the way home on my tablet on the plane.  There were some funny parts, but a lot of the jokes fell flat and I think they pushed the envelope a bit far.  I blame the Hangover for convincing viewers that nasty = funny.

Ben Stiller also seems to be able to go an entire movie with just two facial expressions.

I give this movie a lukewarm recommendation.

Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher

Another installment in Butcher's Codex Alera.  I liked it, but I think the series has gone on for long enough and should've ended with five books.  It's not that the books are getting worse, but nothing new is coming out.  The magic has become a bit routine and the characters are a little rote.

I still recommend this book.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Campaign

I watched this movie on the plane on my tablet and it was acceptable.  Ferrell mixed in a few of his well-known mannerisms and there were some funny parts.  However, large chunks of the movie were over the top and I'm not sure what to think about Galifianakis.  He reminds me a bit of Andy Kaufman in that you either love him or you hate him.  I haven't decided yet.

Anyhow, if you need a movie to help kill some time, I recommend this one.  Ass and titties.

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher

This book was engaging enough that I read it in one weekend.  I'm not completely satisfied with the direction of the series since there are a few cop-out enemies, but this installment is well-written.

I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher

Today I polished off another installment in Butcher's Roman Pokemon series.  His world is innovative and the magic intriguing.  His characters are well-written with depth and feeling.  Their actions are believable and the plot is reasonably well-paced.  This book wasn't perfect, but was a great read.

I highly recommend this book and this series.

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson

Erikson's Malazan Empire books are some of my favorites of all time so I was pretty stoked to see he had published the first book of a prequel trilogy.  It's a new library book so I only had two weeks to read it, but it deserves a much more careful read because it's...weighty.  I was going to say ponderous, but I don't want to imply anything negative.  This book is awesome, but I have a hard time describing the whys and the hows.  I guess I got into the apotheosis of some of the characters from the Malazan books.  You get a sense of their origins and get insight into some of the elder races.  Erikson is a master at creating a morally ambiguous world which stands in contrast to the Tolkien drek of good and evil.

I would recommend reading the books in published order rather than chronological order.  I highly recommend this book and I eagerly await the next installment.

The Amazing Spiderman

Sony has to make a Spiderman movie every so often or the movie rights revert back to Marvel (?).  I guess they squeezed the Tobey Maguire Spiderman franchise dry, so they rebooted with some new dudes.  A reboot means yet another origin story which is lame.  I'd rather they just jumped right to it since most people know who Spiderman is.  If not, they can watch the older ones to get caught up.

This movie had the Lizard as the villain and I think it was a mistake.  He looked pretty stupid in CGI and is not really all that interesting.  I'd prefer they have the Kingpin who has no super powers and Craven because then they could have a lot of animals running around.

While this version was rote and predictable, it was mildly entertaining so I half-heartedly recommend it if you're in the mood for an action movie.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday night ramblings

I guess it's been a while since I've rapped at y'all.  Heh.  Good ol' Jim Anchower.  Yes, The Onion used to be funny once upon a time.  They have some funny articles from now to then, but it's no longer in my website rotation.

I was relieved by the presidential election results more than anything because it means an end to the political ads, an end to people talking about the election and the election was settled so we don't have to worry about the results being decided by the court.  I voted for Obama, but I don't think he's going to do much of anything.  The real problem is money in politics and he spent a crazy amount on his campaign so he's definitely part of the problem.  I also think the US has stagnated a bit and people are more interested in holding on to what they already have rather than taking a risk.  We're starting to fall behind in innovation and have lost that killer edge.  I think it parallels the fall of the Roman Empire pretty well, but there is still a chance for us to recover.  We should definitely free up some capital and get rid of all the excuses.

I bought a book on trigger point massage and a foam roller so I'll give it a try.  Both were recommended when I was complaining about my calves after my run on Sunday.  I'm big on fitness gadgets for sure and should probably cut back on buying stuff, but I've been hobbling a bit this week.  Minimalist running definitely requires more foot strength.

Just one more day at our Albany site and then I move up to our Malta site for a year.  I might end up staying longer, but I want it to be my choice.  We'll see.  It'll be nice getting out of a multi-company alliance since I feel not everyone is on the same page.  There are also seem to be a lot more single women up there as well so perhaps I'll get some dates.  Heh.  I guess I'll need to be more social and I probably should get a haircut.  I'd rather just shave it all off, but it causes less drama with my mom so I generally keep some hair for the holiday season.

It sort of snowed last night, but it was much warmer today and will be even warmer this weekend.  I'm not ready for the snow and I hope we have another mild winter.  A couple of snow storms are alright, but I don't want to be out early every morning clearing my long-ass driveway.  I've got a snow blower, but it'll still take time to clear everything off so I can get my car out.

I've been on a sugar kick since yesterday's lunchtime pizza party.  I know I don't have the discipline to resist snacking so I need to avoid the initial breakdown.  All I can think about now is how much I want a slice of pizza.  Damnit.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Magician: Master by Raymond E Feist

While the first book was tolerable, this second one was pedantic and I struggled to finish it before it was due back to the library.  I didn't like how he described battle scenes and the magic failed Sanderson's First Law badly.

I do not recommend this book.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher

The second novel in the series took a bit more time to get going, but, having finished it, I can see how it all ties together.  If you're finding the middle a little slow going, slog through it because it'll be worth it.

It was interesting to read he had based this series on a challenge - a writing-mate said he couldn't make a good story out of a lame idea and he made one out of two - lost Roman legion and Pokemon.  Heh.  This book has a bit less magic than the first, but maybe that's because the concept no longer needs to be explained.

I was pleased to note there wasn't too much time spent catching the reader up from the events of the first story.

I highly recommend this book and will read the rest of the series as fast as the library can deliver it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

I thought Weeks' The Black Prism was awesome so I jumped a chance to plow through the second Lightbringer novel, The Blinding Knife.  It did not disappoint though I thought it was epsilon worse than the first due to some "Huh.  What?" moments in the middle.  Don't get me wrong though; this book is still awesome and better than 99% of the fantasy books out there.

The magic definitely obeys Sanderson's First Law and you get a little more insight into how it works in this book.  You also get plenty of magic, intrigue and fighting.  Weeks isn't quite as descriptive as Abercrombie when it comes to the fight scenes, but it is still more than adequate.

I highly recommend this book and I eagerly await the next installment.

Fitness update

I was sick for the first part of this month, got better and then took a knee to the thigh while playing basketball.  It didn't feel like a regular charlie horse and never bruised up.  I guess they call those deep muscle bruises or something.  Anyhow, I took a week off to heal up, but got back to business this week and was able to undo some of the chunkening.


The charts show I'm in about the best shape of my recent life.  I feel pretty good, but I could be doing better by cutting back on the junk food and by being disciplined with my exercise.  For instance, I skipped squash this morning because I couldn't get my ass out of bed.  It's just one workout, but that attitude could be preventing me from getting really ripped so I need to work on it.

The good news is I've avoided the cyclic uptick and have continued to drive all numbers down, down and down.  Most people who haven't seen me for a while ask how much weight I've lost or comment on it.

The other good news is the tabata workouts are working which is good because they're fairly short and will allow me to sleep for another 30 minutes a night.

Next month's update will include the Thanksgiving holiday, but I'll try not to eat too much junk food then.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Man on a Ledge

Fuck me crosswise with a chainsaw.  This movie sucked big time donkey balls.  I'm not even sure where to start, but firstly HOTEL WINDOWS DO NOT OPEN!  The entire premise of the movie is blown with that fact right there.  The rest is just the usual bad physics, bad police work and stupid dialogue.

The plot is terrible and the only redeeming part is some T&A.  It's fantastic, but doesn't even come close to making up for the rest of the shit show.

I do not recommend this movie and want two hours of my life back.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Exercise compromise

I have a tough time getting up early enough Monday morning to exercise so I usually sleep in and miss my workout completely.  This morning I decided to do a shorter workout so I can sleep in a little bit (I still woke up at 5:20) and still get some work in.  

I'm not sure why I thought doing a tabata upperbody workout would be easy.  I did 8 sets, 0:20/0:10, of pullups, pushups, dips and an Indian club workout.  I haven't done squat since getting kneed in the thigh last Monday night so I was definitely feeling it.  I think most of my upperbody strength is held back by weak hands and/or wrists.  I don't know if it's because of too much computer use (carpal tunnel) or what, but my hands don't feel as strong as they should be.  My calluses hurt after a couple of pullups, but eventually I started to get fatigued elsewhere - it traveled down to my arms.

The pushups weren't too bad, but I was nearly too wasted to bang out proper dips.  The Indian club workout is more for loosening up my arms and shoulders than anything.

I wonder if once a week of tabata is sufficient or would more be too much?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

I really enjoyed Butcher's first Dresden book so I thought I would check out his other series.  Holy moly.  This book is awesome.  I plowed through it on my Kindle since I borrowed it from the library and I wasn't sure for how long my loan was and I didn't want to miss out a chance to finish it.

He has created a unique world with a very interesting kind of magic.  It is more sword-and-sorcery fantasy than his Dresden book, but not in the same hokey vein as Tolkien.  His magic definitely passes Sanderson's First Law and is well explained without the pedantic lecturing of Feist.

The book is well paced with plenty of action and intrigue.  The characters are well-written though some could use a bit more depth.  A minor quibbling for sure.

I highly recommend this book and I already grabbed the second one from the library.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The San Francisco 49ers are awesome.

After last night's thrilling game, I'm not sure why anyone would root for any team other than the San Francisco 49ers.  Their former number one pick, Alex Smith, was a worthy selection over Aaron Rodgers and SF definitely made the correct call in retaining Smith over signing free agent Peyton Manning.  Rodgers and Manning may have won Super Bowls, but Smith holds the SF single season record of fewest interceptions in a season with five.  He also has some awesome career marks of a 58% completion percentage and a 76.4 quarterback rating.  For folks who don't follow football, those numbers are outstanding and most definitely cannot be duplicated by any journeyman quarterback who would play for half the money.

Smith is also clearly the engine driving SF rather than Frank Gore whose punishing inside running pales in comparison to Smith's caretaking.

And that defense?  Wow.  Their strategy of letting the Seattle receivers get open and then willing them to drop easily catchable balls including one which would have been a touchdown?  Sheer genius.

Given the result of last night's matchup, I'm going to burn all my Seattle gear and root for SF for the rest of this season and beyond.  I'm going to the Seattle-SF game in December, but I'll root for the SF instead so they are clearly the superior team.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Virginia visit 2012

In the last weekend of September, I went down to Fredericksburg, VA to visit my cousin who was there for work.  I flew in to Dulles and rented a car to drive down as my cousin works for the government and can't have any non-governmental passengers.  It was an awesome weekend for sure. 

The first morning we drove down to Monticello to see where Thomas Jefferson spent most of his time.  The people there do a great job of explaining the house and Jefferson's philosophy so I highly recommend it.  After soaking up some history, we went into Charlottesville for lunch.  It wasn't anything special, but it seems like a pretty cool college town.  That night we went into downtown Fredericksburg for Oktoberfest drinking with my cousin's colleagues.  Most of the people there had been drinking since one in the afternoon, but I caught up with a couple of steins of quality beer.

The next morning we went to George Washington's boyhood home, Chatham House and the Fredericksburg battle site.  Lunch was barbecue and then I headed back to the airport.

Virginia is an awesome place to visit if you're into history since you can't go five miles without passing by a Civil War battlefield.  Flying in to Dulles allows you to bypass the Beltway traffic, but it's a pretty crappy airport.  I took a Freedom Pat on the way back because I refuse to go through the backscatter machines and I wasn't in a hurry.  The TSA jerks gave me a hard time, but I was well within my rights.

I think I'll try to get back to DC next spring for cherry blossom season and to finish off the Mall.  Maybe I can get to Mount Vernon as well.  It's too bad my other cousin no longer lives in Arlington because then I could crash at his place.

You can find the picture vomit here.  I need to learn how to adjust the white balance since it was pretty sunny out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

I had seen many of the Dresden Files books at the library, but never the first one so I finally put a hold on it.  I'm glad I did because it is well-written with a good pace and the right amount of action.  I also like how there is a detective element to it.  The magic comes close to violating Sanderson's First Law, but perhaps it will be fleshed out in future books.

The author does a good job at hinting at more stories to tell about the protagonist's past and he's more an anti-hero than a white knight which suits me.  I believe life is more gray than black and white.

I highly recommend this book.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I got this book from my library on my Kindle because it was highly rated there and I like post-apocalyptic stories.  I'm not a fan of zombies, but this book had a different take.  Unfortunately, it falls completely flat due to the author's pretentious language, do-nothing characters and a slow pace.  The story focuses more on the thoughts of main character rather than the zombies and I was ok with that path until a third of the way through when I realized I didn't really care what happened.

The author should have relied less on his thesaurus and more on better pacing.  Give me a reason to care about someone as mediocre as the main character.  Perhaps it was meant to be ironic, but I'm not a hipster nor do I want to be one.

I do not recommend this book.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Grey

I remember there was some controversy when this movie came out because people thought it was needlessly anti-wolf and that it promoted wolf killing.  Having finally seen the movie, I disagree.  It's a survival movie that has wolves as an element, but I don't think it glorified killing them or turned them into villains.  They were just being wolves.

I thought it was pretty well done though there were a couple of slow parts.  The ending was definitely unexpected, but a welcome change from the usual Hollywood crap.

I highly recommend this movie.  It certainly motivated me to hone my survival skills and to put survival gear in my car in case it goes off the road and some wolves are after me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How do you know if you're crazy?

I've always wondered if you can self-diagnose craziness.  I mean, if you're sane enough to rationally judge your state of mind, then how can you be crazy?  On the other hand, you can tell when you're drunk so why not when you're unbalanced?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

New York Giants Training Camp 2012

The Giants were back in Albany for their 2012 training camp and I walked over one day to check it out.  They're coming off a big Super Bowl win earlier this year so expectations were high and the crowds were thick.  This year, they opened up the viewing areas a bit.  Before you could only watch from one end zone, but they opened up two more sides so more people could get closer to the action.

It was a nice day out and well worth the walk over.

You can find the picture vomit here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My obesity fix

It's not hard to see Americans are getting fatter by the minute and I think our diet is to blame.  People eat crap and too much of it.  Rather than tax sugar, I would set up a sliding tax based on the number of ingredients.  If you buy something like an apple or an onion, you pay no tax.  If you buy something with 2-5 ingredients, you pay maybe a 20% tax.  Something with 6-10 ingredients would have a 50% tax and so on.  I would eliminate all other taxes on food.  Yeah, it would make some food become prohibitively expensive, but that would be the point.  And no, bread wouldn't count as one ingredient.  In fact, modern bread would be heavily taxed because it is enriched beyond belief.

Perhaps my tax is too harsh, but the idea would be to discourage people from buying anything, but whole foods.

Visit to NYC September 2012

The Sunday before Labor Day, I took the train down to NYC to tool around.  I spent most of my time walking around Central Park because I hadn't seen it before.  The weather actually cooperated.

You can find the picture vomit here.

Visit to Oregon Aug 2012

You know I'm a lazy bastard when I'm putting up vacation photos nearly two months after I got back.  Anyhow, in August I flew to Oregon to visit with my family.  I got to meet my nephew for the first time since he was born in April of this year.  I spent most of the time hanging out with family and friends.  I played some tennis, went on a long ass hike in the Columbia River Gorge with my dad, went to the beach with my brother and his family and drove down to Bend to visit friends and family.  On my way out of Bend, I hit Smith Rock since I had never been there.

It was great to visit Oregon in the summer when it's not as likely to rain.  I had an awesome time for sure and I wish I lived closer.

You can find the picture vomit here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Modern Family: Season 3

Another solid season with an unexpected cliffhanger at the end.  I appreciate this show for the jokes and for the lack of a laugh track.  And Sophia Vergara's tits.  Let's not forgot those beauties.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I read the second Hunger Games book via the Kindle lending library.  It picks up where the first book leaves off and is really just an extension.  It offers nothing new, but, if you like the first book, you'll like the second.

As I mentioned before, the writing isn't great, but the books are still entertaining.  I don't really care that much about the characters, but I like post-apocalyptic stories.

I recommend this book.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E Feist

I finally decided to start at the beginning of his Midkemia books.  This one is the first part of his first book which was broken in two for who knows why?  Probably money.  Anyhow, this book is better written than the later ones which suggests he's coasting.  It happens to the best of them and Feist is far from the best.

This book is ok, but is fairly standard fantasy work.  I recommend it as a beach read.

Machine Gun Preacher

I wanted to like this movie because the guy tried to do right, but it was too slow and too boring.  I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters.  Unfortunately, that attitude is also held by a lot of Americans because the Rwandan genocide and Sudan civil war went on for a long ass time with a lot of innocents getting killed.

I do not recommend this movie.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fitness update

The month of September was pretty good to me because I was able to get really frickin' close to my target body fat percentage of 20%.  If I hadn't gotten sick about a week ago, I think I would've made it, but last week was spent hacking stuff up.  Even so, I think I'm definitely on the right track.  I still feel pretty crummy, but I'll try to fight through it.


I'm pretty stoked that I had to drop the lower limits on the graphs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rides a Dread Legion by Raymond E Feist

I grabbed this book at the library because I was out of stuff to read.  His work is fairly pedestrian, but serves well when I'm waiting for more desirable books to show up.  I like the world he has created, but I need to read the first few books to get caught up on its history.  He has an annoying habit of moving the plot along by having his characters ask questions - "So what happened next?"

I recommend this book only if you have nothing else to read.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Sitter

This movie is a bit stupid and is pretty damn cheesy, but somehow I still found it entertaining.  It has fat Jonah Hill who is funnier than the skinnier version.  The kids did alright, but the plot was a bit uneven. Of course, it's hard to hate on a movie which has the Method Man so I have to say I recommend this movie if you set your expectations pretty low.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ashes of a Black Frost by Chris Evans

I finished off Evans' Iron Elves trilogy a couple of days ago and was mostly happy with the conclusion.  The first 90% of the book is just as riveting as the previous two books with a nice mix of Napoleonic action and magic, but the climax felt a bit rushed and was underwhelming.  Still, it's a more-than-solid series and I highly recommend it.

I look forward to his future books.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans

The second of his Iron Elves series picks up where the first left off and is another solid addition to the world of fantasy.  The historical equivalent would be the Napoleonic Era, but with some elves, dwarves and magic thrown in for good measure.  His characters are well-written, the book is well-paced and the action is violent without being gratuitous.  There have been a number of nice twists, but he could probably kill off a major character or two for the tension.

I highly recommend this book.

Act of Valor

I was in the mood for an action movie and 9/11 got me in a patriotic mood so I had Netflix deliver me up Act of Valor.  They got real military folk to be the military guys in the movie and I think it paid off.  The dialogue and acting was a bit stilted, but the action shots seemed more realistic.  Some of you know there is a strong military tradition in my mom's side of the family so I'm predisposed to liking these jingoistic movies, but I thought it was well-done.  The plot was fairly straightforward and believable and the action was tight.  There were some scenes for reflection, but they weren't long enough to detract from stuff blowing up.

There were more headshots than expected, but I guess that's a consequence of body armor.

I highly recommend this movie if you're in the mood for America, Fuck yeah!

It also has this awesome poem allegedly from Tecumseh:
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Kindle)

I meant to get this book free through Amazon Prime's Kindle borrowing service, but accidentally bought it for $5.  Oh well, lesson learned.  This book has terrible writing, but was tough to put down.  I haven't figured out how a crappy book could be that enjoyable, but it is what it is.  I guess the premise, which seems less like a rip off of The Running Man than thought, appeals to me.  I can certainly see how the tweens got wrapped up in it.

There is a fair amount of casual violence which seems like a bit much for younger readers, but they're already exposed to violence in other media.

I recommend this book if you can get it for free.

Boardwalk Empire: Season 1

I tend to enjoy the series put out by HBO and this one is no exception.  Buscemi does a great job as the anti-hero and there is plenty of violence and titties to satisfy my inner thirteen year old.  The 20's are far enough way (nearly 100 years) to be nearly mythical so it's probably a good setting for another series.  America was going through a moral crisis and had just finished up one gruesome war.

The main Prohibition agent is a little creepy, but perhaps that's just great acting.

I highly recommend this series and will watch the second season.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

The Heroes is another excellent addition to Abercrombie's First Law books.  It's a standalone novel, but I recommend you read his previous four firstly because some character background is assumed.  It is just as gritty as the previous books, but the geographical focus is a bit tighter and there are plenty of maps to let you know how the battle is progressing.

I like Abercrombie's writing style which is violent, but with intrigue to balance it out.  Like Martin, he's not afraid to kill off major characters so don't get too attached.

I highly recommend this book.

Monday, September 3, 2012

August running

I didn't run as often as I would've liked, but I've got a lot of sports on my plate so it'll have to be enough.

I've started running a loop around the high school in my minimal shoes.  I try to run up on my footpads, but my calves aren't strong enough yet so it usually becomes fairly painful pretty quickly.  I'll keep at it so I should get stronger.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Titans of Chaos by John C Wright

This book finishes off Wright's Chronicles of Chaos trilogy and I think it's just as good as the first two which is a good thing.  I appreciate his attempt to explain the power of the gods with higher dimension physics.  I'm not sure it all holds together, but who knows?  His characters are well-written though I think he gives the Olympians short shrift.

There might be a tad too much juvenile sex jokes, but his protagonists are teenagers so perhaps it's appropriate.

I highly recommend this book and the series in general.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Breaking Bad: Season 4

This show has been nothing short of awesome the first three seasons so I was pretty stoked my parents ordered up the fourth season on DVD to watch while I was visiting.  We only made it through about half the season there and I finished up the rest at home.  The first half actually has some bad episodes.  None is as bad as the one about the fly, but some come close.  Breaking Bad is about a good guy who makes meth to provide for his family so the first seasons focused on his dealings with rival gangs, etc., and featured quite a bit of violence.  The first half of season 4 focuses more on his family and I don't care for them.  His wife is annoying and his son is even more so because of his voice.

Fortunately, the second half of this season gets back to basics and the episodes feel like they could belong in seasons 1-3.  There is plenty of violence, plenty of conflict and you can see the changes in Walt so you know season 5 is going to be good.

I highly recommend this season because of how it ends.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fitness update

Well, well, well.  It seems my 11 day vacation to OR didn't really set me back any or perhaps it's the fitness challenge at work which started at the beginning of this month.  In any case, I've set or have gotten close to records in body fat percentage and chunk circumference.  Sweet.

The challenge is less competitive than I thought, but I'm still trying to put in two hours a day.  I'm a few hours, in total, behind my boss, but he's training for a half-Ironman triathlon.  The race is on Labor Day and he's going to cut way back after so I'll have three weeks to catch up.  Of course, he'll get something like ten hours  that day just from the race so it'll be tough.

I feel great, I feel strong and I'm much leaner.  The spare tire has deflated quite a bit, but is still present so I have work yet to do.  I've set some good habits so I know I'll hit my target of 20% body fat by the end of the year for sure.



Friday, August 24, 2012

John Carter

This wretched movie reeks of Disney - big budget, inspid plot, banal dialogue, awkward romance, bad movie physics and a happy ending.  I knew it wasn't the movie for me ten minutes into it and the remaining two hours proved me right.  Why did I continue to watch?  I kept hoping it would get better.  I did chuckle at a few spots, but those three or four laughs don't make up for the garbage that was the rest.

So many things made little sense that I'm not even sure where to begin.  Nothing about Mars had any scientific basis.

Don't bother watching this movie.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fugitives of Chaos by John C Wright

The second book in Wright's Narnia-esque series picks up where the first one left off.  It doesn't offer anything new, but I don't see that as a bad thing.  I enjoyed this book since he tries to provide a scientific or rational explanation for the gods and their various powers.  No one is omnipotent and the magic obeys Sanderson's First Law, which is crucial for the success of a story with magic.  Wright has added an interesting layer to our reality and has created unique characters.  They're supposed to be young adults and their actions are believable.

I highly recommend this book.

ParaNorman

I have to admit that I'm biased about this movie because my sister-in-law worked on it (she made puppet heads).  I got to see a special screening of it a week before it opened along with employees and friends and family since Laika is in the Portland area.  Laika did Coraline which I really liked since I like dark stories.  ParaNorman is dark for a kids movie, but more light-hearted than Coraline.  The animation/puppetry is tight and visually appealing.  The plot is tight and the movie doesn't feel like pap put out just to sell toys like most Dreamworks' movies.  There are some funny parts and a good message.  The voice actors are appropriate and do a great job.

We got to see it in 3D and it was a nice bonus since it wasn't over-the-top with stuff coming at you all the time.

I think this movie is appropriate for kids older than 5, but adults should enjoy it as well.  I highly recommend it.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

This book is the first of Mieville's Bas-Lag series and was just as weird as the third one.  His world is mostly steampunk with some magic/occult thrown in.  His writing is... different, but I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not.  The story was strange and overly convoluted, but the third book makes a bit more sense now because I know more about Bas-Lag.

He does introduce some interesting concepts like the punishment factories and Remade so I recommend you give this book a shot.

The Dark Knight Rises

I saw this movie with my mom while I was in Portland.  I had heard some things about it, but went in with the expectation that I would be entertained by mindless violence and explosions.  I was surprised to be severely disappointed.  While there is some violence, it's not enough to make up for the weak plot and the unsubtle right-wing propaganda.  The villain, Bane, was done incorrectly and serves little purpose.  Catwoman was also wasted though it's nice to see Anne Hathaway in tight leather.

I'm not a fan of DC's big screen adaptations and I only liked the second Nolan Batman movie because of Ledger's performance.  This one was heavy on Bale and I don't care for his fake Eastwood Batman voice.

I recommend this movie only if you know you're going to like it.  It's really long and is likely to be a big waste of time.

21 Jump Street (2012)

I watched this movie on my iPad on the way to Portland since comedies are easier to me to watch in the plane because they don't require my full attention.  I thought this movie was funny, but not overly so.  The plot was pretty stupid, but I think that was on purpose.  The acting was ok, but nothing special.  Hollywood has a hard time getting high school kids right because they always cast actors in their twenties.

I recommend this movie only if you have some time to kill on a plane.

The Serpent Passage by Todd Allen Pitts

I read this book for free on my Kindle through Amazon Prime.  I like historical fiction and this book falls into the historical fantasy category.  The first two-thirds of the book is ok, but then it goes downhill in a hurry.  It devolved into something I can only describe as stupid.  The book feels amateurish and not well edited; something you might have written when you were thirteen.

I do not recommend this book.

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

This movie is Brazilian which means it's either about sex, drugs or violence.  In this case, it's about drugs and violence.  You follow the story of a drug cop as he tries to clean stuff up.  I was able to follow the plot pretty well, but had a hard time caring about any of the characters.  There was an adequate amount of violence, but it assumed too much knowledge of Brasil for me to fully enjoy it.

I recommend this movie only if you've run out of ideas.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond E Feist

This book is another I grabbed at the library.  Feist has written a lot of books so I figured, if I liked his work, I'd have another 15-20 books to polish off.  This book was alright, but was a bit ponderous and assumed a lot of background knowledge that I do not possess.  I suppose I should start reading Feist's Riftwar books from the beginning, but I may intersperse them with other series since he's more of a volume writer with some formulaic plot points.  His description of magic is unsuitably vague and violates Sanderson's first law of magic.

I recommend this book only if you've read all the others.

A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans

When I drop a book off when the library is open I like to browse the science fiction and fantasy shelves for new authors.  The cover of this book looked interesting and the contents do not disappoint.  It's a fantasy book with elves, dwarves and magic, but is gritty like most modern fantasy.  It's Evans' first book and, while there are some slow parts in the middle, is a more-than-solid offering.  I found the magic to be believable and not overpowering and there is enough intrigue to keep my mind working.  The characters are well written and have depth.

I highly recommend this book and I will see if the library has any more in the series.

July track work

I figured I get enough interval training with squash so now I hit the track to jog as many laps as I can.  I finish off by running some stairs.

Of course, I hit the track a couple of times in early July, but that was using my larger GPS watch and I haven't bothered to upload that data to my Garmin account.  I'll also try to figure out how to export the calendar.

On Friday, I was able to run at a pace of 8:49/mile, but this morning I got it down to 8:35/mile and was able to do two more laps.  My goal is to run better than 9 minute miles, but I think now I should shoot for 8 minute miles.

I felt pretty good running and it helped loosen up some of the joints which were sore because of squash.  It might be more interesting to run around a neighborhood, but there aren't a lot of sidewalks where I live and I like being able to stop any time I want for whatever reason.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fitness update

I woke up with a crick in my neck on Monday so I wasn't able to work out much this week.  I also ate a lot of crap.  Despite all that, I checked in with some good numbers this morning.


This month has reversed the upward trend and I'm getting back to where I was more than two years ago.  The older I get, the tougher it's going to be to stay lean, but I'll do what I can.  Playing squash for five hours a week should certainly help and I'm also jogging on the track for about seven miles a week as well.

Yesterday, I decided to run some stairs.  I'll have to be careful the next time I go hiking because I was feeling it in my knees going down.  I got some knee braces so I think I'll be ok, but it could still be painful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Refinanced

I just got done signing closing documents for the past 1.5 hours on my refinance.  I'm locked in for thirty years at 1.25 points lower than my original mortgage so I'll save money, but some of that I had to give back in a doubled PMI.  The bank also ate less of the closing costs than anticipated, but I'll live.

It took nearly three frickin' months to close, but it's done so it's all good.

Monday, July 23, 2012

30 Minutes or Less

This movie really isn't that funny so I suggest skipping it.  There are a couple of parts that might get a chuckle out of you, but it didn't do much for me.  The two bad guys tried to channel Farrell and Reilly from Step Brothers, but weren't successful.  The lone bright spot is the Indian hottie, but she's barely in the movie.

The good thing is the movie is only 83 minutes long so you don't have to suffer too much.

I do not recommend this movie.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Orphans of Chaos by John C Wright

As a reviewer said on the book jacket, this book has a Narnia feel to it and I concur.  There is a lot of mythology, but Wright attempts to provide a scientific basis for the gods.  I found a lot of good discussion on morality and was definitely mentally engaged.  The book is a little weird for sure, but highly entertaining.

The middle is a little slow, but it finishes with a bang.  The characters are well fleshed out and believable.

I definitely recommend this book and I look forward to reading the second.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs

I wanted to like this book and it has a nice premise - the author attempts to become the world's healthiest man.  It's a pipe dream, but he gives it the college try over two years.  The book is more a survey of bits and pieces of health advice, but it lacks a coherent theme.  I think listening to anyone and everyone is not the most effective way to go about it.

What turned me off is the constant name dropping - "my Sony TV" instead of just "my TV or "a pair of blue Nike shorts" instead of just "a pair of shorts".  He lives in NYC so you know he has some scratch so why is he a brand whore?  He also writes in a bit too much about his personal life.  There are some lame attempts at comedy and I chuckled a bit, but nothing noteworthy.

I don't want to come across too harshly because health is important to me as well, but the book felt more like a gimmick.

I recommend it only if you get it from your local library.

Photo a day July 16

Sign

Sunday, July 15, 2012

In Time

The premise of folks never aging past 25 years, but needing to add more time to keep living is intriguing, but the execution of this movie is flawed.  The science questions are glossed over to focus on a Bonnie and Clyde storyline with Timberlake and Seyfried.  Much of the movie is predictable and quite a bit of it makes no sense.  It's the future, but people still use payphones?  You can't even find a payphone these days.

All the adults are supposed to be 25, but they're all a very hard 25.

I do not recommend this movie.  It doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it, but you shouldn't expect much from it.

Photo a day July 15

Finger

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell

This book was actually the first Cornwell one I read, but I wanted to reread so that I could say I read the Saxon Chronicles in order.  It's another book focusing on Uhtred and his attempt to retake his ancestral home.  I'm a fan of historical fiction and this book does not disappoint with plenty of history and violence.  I didn't like this book quite as much as some of the others and I think I'm ready for the series to wrap up.

I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction.

Photo a day July 11

Letter

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Game of Thrones: Season 1

I'm a fan of Martin's series and I've read most of the books several times.  This HBO adaptation does not disappoint.  The show is well cast and well acted.  Some have complained about gratuitous nudity, but I welcome the nice titties shown, especially those of Daenerys.  Sweet lord.

The series is faithful to the book with some embellishments.  Ten episodes isn't quite enough to cover all the subplots, but they got the important ones.  I was disappointed with how they depicted the direwolves since they're supposed to be more fearsome than dogs.

My favorite characters of the book, Jon, Tyrion and Arya, are also my favorite characters of the show.  The girl/woman playing Sansa does a great job and she's really easy on the eyes as well.

I highly recommend this series, but I suggest you read the book firstly.

Photo a day July 09

Big

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian

The Mauritius Command is another book in O'Brian's entertaining Aubrey-Maturin series and does not disappoint.  This book focuses on England's attempt to take Mauritius and the surrounding islands from the French.  It has the usual elements of an O'Brian novel and is well worth a read.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like historical fiction.

Photo a day July 08

Lunch

Track work

Even though it's hot and humid out, I went to track this morning to put some work in.  I was able to jog two warm up laps, jog/sprint four laps, jog two cool down laps and then walked two more laps.  The easy laps outnumber the hard laps, but it's alright.

I need to get back to where I could sprint over 15mph.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Justice League: Doom

I felt like watching a cartoon since I've been mainlining the first season of Game of Thrones.  Justice League: Doom hit the spot since I like superhero cartoons and WB usually does a pretty good job.  The animation was just ok, but they had the usual voice actors so it didn't really feel like a low budget affair.

The plot was a standard one and there were plenty of instances of bad movie physics, but, overall, I found this movie entertaining and I recommend it to comic book fans.  I think it presupposes more character knowledge than a casual fan would have and it's a little rugged for those under 12.

Photo a day July 06

Chair

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Photo a day July 03

Best part of my day

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Photo a Day July 01

Self portrait
I like the zombie eyes.

New photo project

I'm done with Project Tree because it was lame.  It was even lame enough I don't feel guilty for stopping only a third of the way through.

Instead I'll do the Photo a day July Challenge.  It seems more interesting for sure.

Track work

I figured a week of rest was enough to let my knees heal so I hit the track this morning for a light workout.  I normally do twelve laps, but figured eight would be enough for today to get back into it.  I was slow, but I completed the workout without walking and my knees feel ok so I think I'm good to go.

My pace was 9:19/mile which isn't terrible, but my top speed was only 12.3mph so I was unable to really get moving.  I'd like to blame the heat and my injury, but perhaps I'm just slowing down in my old age.  Heh.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fitness update



Since basketball ended, I've been struggling a bit to stay fit.  I tried doing some calisthenics, but I don't think they're enough.  I joined a club where I can play squash and I think that helped, but I jacked my knees up last Sunday hiking so I didn't make it this week.  Bum deal.

There is a disappointing uptick in the chunk this month, but the past couple of weeks are going in the right direction so I think I can lose five pounds of chunk next month which would put me near my record low fat.  I've been eating pretty well and have been able to cut out gluten and sweet snacks with a few exceptions.  I'm going to eat homemade stuff people bring to work, but nothing storebought.

You might notice it's been five years since I started this challenge.  In those five years, I've lost twenty pounds of which all are fat.  I've also lost six inches from around my gut.  I think that's a big accomplishment, but I think I can get down around 180lbs with ~20% body fat and a navel circumference of 32 inches.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hike up Noonmark and Round Mountains

On Sunday I hiked up Noonmark and Round Mountains which are in the Adirondacks.  You can park at the lot on Ausable Rd just off Rte 73 near Keene, NY.  The weather was nice and the bugs weren't too bad, but I jacked up my knees coming down.  I'm not sure if they're defective or it's just because it's the first hike of the season, but I had to hobble the last couple of miles back to the car.  It's been three days and they're still sore.

The hike was a little more than 7 miles in total and my moving average was a slow 1.8mph due to the elevation gain and my bum knees.

Anyhow, the route up to Noonmark is pretty steep, but you get some awesome views of the Adirondacks as you'll see in the following pictures.

Pointing the way to the top.

I threw a gang sign at the top of Noonmark.

The USGS marker on Noonmark.

View 1 from Noonmark.

View 2 from Noonmark.

View 3 from Noonmark.

View 4 from Noonmark.

View 5 from Noonmark.

View 6 from Noonmark.

View 7 from Noonmark.
Throwing a gang sign on top of Round Mountain.
Noonmark as seen from Round.

Elevation profile.

Route seen in Google Earth.

My friend took this one with his superior camera.