Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Better Luck Tomorrow

Parts of this movie were awesome, but parts were predictable so it averages out to a pretty good movie.  I liked the random violence, but not the teenage angst.  One of the main characters reminds me of one of my brother's friends growing up.

The American Pie dude sort of mails in his role which is too bad because he can be pretty funny.  The rest of the casting was adequate.  Much of the movie also feels dated.

I recommend this movie if you're looking for something straightforward.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fitness update

Even though I ate like crap this week, the numbers are pretty good.  The plots show a plateau, but I think I can break through by staying Paleo and by continuing to exercise daily.  I've been moving pretty well at basketball and squash so my hard work is paying off.  I've been doing my wall slides diligently and my shoulder mobility has improved.

I can now deadlift my body weight for reps and am nearing triple digits for bench press and shoulder press.  I still can't squat, but I'm getting close.  I can get into the proper low-bar position with minimum pain with the bar in the rack, but can't take it out without my lateral deltoids squawking.  It'll get there soon.

I took my bike into the shop for a tune-up and got a new helmet, pedals and shoes.  I also discovered my bike fits into my car easily if I take the front tire off which means I can take it to work and ride during lunch.  I have a bike rack, but I'm worried about someone jacking my bike or removing my computer and light.


I had my first boxing lesson last night and it was awesome.  I feel a bit stupid for not going there sooner, but my first impression it was a gym for meatheads.  The reality is quite a bit different.  Sweeney's is in my neighborhood, clean and well-equipped.  I got a free introductory lesson last night.  The owner wrapped my hands had my start out on the speed bag.  You do 15 rounds of activities with three minutes on and one minute of rest.  You work through the speed bag, the heavy bag, the agility bags, rope jumping and mitt work.  I learned how to stand and what "jab," "hook," etc. are.

I was pretty jacked after my workout because it's a great way to relieve stress and tension.  I just pictured some of my more annoying coworkers' faces on the bags and punched away.  I'm a little sore this morning, but nothing serious.

I can get 12 more similar lessons for $200 which is a great deal and you get a pair of wraps for free.  After 12 lessons, most people switch to a $50/month plan for unlimited access, but no mitt work.  I found mitt work to be the most fun so I'll see if there is a way to get some in now and then.  I had originally planned to do the 12 lessons and then get my own equipment, but now I realize I enjoy the social aspect and $50/month is covered by half my raise so it's all good.

Supernatural: Season 7

Longtime readers know I really dig this show for the humor, the irreverence, the 80s references, the muscle cars and the frequent hot chicks.  I found Season 6 to be a little slow, but Season 7 reclaimed the usual awesomeness.  There was the expected season-ending cliffhanger, but it wasn't overly dramatic.

This show is well-written and well-acted and I highly recommend you check it out.  Just don't write slash fiction about it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Men in Black 3

This movie was predictably stupid yet failed to entertain as expected.  The special effects are boring and the plot stupid.  Brolin does a good Tommy Lee Jones impression, but Will Smith is tiresome.

The whole movie felt like a cash grab.

I do not recommend this movie.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Eat like a predator, not like prey"

Longtime readers know I'm constantly tinkering with my diet and my exercise plan because I want to live forever.  I've done enough research and experimentation to settle on a Paleo diet and a barbell strength training program.  I also run and play sports, but those are done for fun more than any health benefit.

I found a great article laying out the Paleo diet in six easy steps - http://www.gnolls.org/1141/eat-like-a-predator-not-like-prey-paleo-in-six-easy-steps-a-motivational-guide/.  His advice is medically sound and jives with everything else I've read.  The key to a successful diet is to eat real food.  If it isn't something you could kill or gather, then don't eat it.  If it requires significant processing to be edible, don't eat it.

This diet has worked well for me and I can tell when I've fallen off the wagon.  Last weekend, I was feeling crappy so I got a bunch of crap from the grocery store.  I ate cookies, cupcakes, ice cream and other garbage.  I enjoyed the sugar high for about a day and then I got the farts and dookers and generally felt crappy.  I got back on the wagon on Wednesday and have been doing much better since.  Sure, it's just anecdotal evidence, but give it a shot and see how you feel.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Combine the worst elements of Transformers, Independence Day, Top Gun and the A-Team and you still wouldn't have a movie as stupid as Battleship.  Bad acting, poor casting, a monkey punching bag and a goofy fake Matt Damon further drop this movie into the abyss.  It was definitely a cash grab by Liam Neeson so I hope he got paid fat stacks because this movie is an anchor on his career.

I'm not sure I have enough time to detail all the movie physics fails, but I was especially impressed by the visible radiation used as a transmission signal.

I definitely do not recommend this movie.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wishful thinking

I hope America has an engineering revival because I'm sick of working with FoB Chinese.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Omega Man

I took advantage of my Amazon Prime membership to watch this movie while I had lunch.  I'm not a big fan of Heston because he always looks pissed off, he has a Jesus complex and I don't care for his jungle fever in this movie.

The plot is interesting, but the execution comes up a bit short.  The dialogue is cheesy and the movie physics is not acceptable.

I do not recommend this movie.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Superman vs The Elite

I usually avoid Superman comics because I think he's overpowered and overly goody-goody.  However, this short movie had a great take on the morality of having super powers.  While the animation was just ok, the dialogue was witty, current and evocative.  The plot was completely relevant to the events of today and was well-paced.  The voice acting was solid.

I much prefer comics focusing on antiheroes rather than the Golden Age ones because the world is a complicated place and conflicts are rarely black and white.

I highly recommend this movie.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Black Company by Glen Cook

I got deja vu about fifty pages into this book until I read online Erikson's Malazan Empire novels were inspired by this series.  The Malazan books are some of the best written so it's high praise for Cook, but he deserves it.  His storytelling has a great mixture of magic, intrigue and the weird.  His demi-gods are as human as the rest of us and his mercenary company is full of antiheroes.

Cook has fewer described characters than Erikson so it was a bit easier to follow and faster to read, but nothing beats the Malazan books for detail.

I highly recommend this book and I will read the rest of the Black Company series.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Straightening out my posture

I haven't been able to squat since my back is a bit rounded so I asked my chiropractor about it during my monthly appointment on Wednesday.  He said my back is a bit rounded with a protracted neck.  He pointed out it's nearly impossible to pinch your shoulder blades together with neck protraction so he recommended I continue the LYTP raises and prone Bruggers, but to add a little weight.  I'm using the 3lb weights from my weight vest set and it seems to be enough to provide resistance.  The Y raises are the ones that give me the most trouble.

He also recommended an exercise he calls a wall angel which is similar to a wall slide.  You stand with your back to a wall.  Put your arms up with your palms facing away from the wall.  Keep your butt, your skull (retracted neck), your upper back, your elbows and the backs of your hands on the wall and move your arms like you're making a snow angel.  If you have good scapulothoracic mobility, this exercise should be easy.  If you're like me, it's borderline painful.  I can't get my elbows and my hands/wrists to touch so I flex my wrists to have my fingers touch.  It's not ideal, but is better than nothing.  He recommended ten repetitions twice a day which I've done.  I can definitely tell it's working because I feel much more aligned with reduced neck protraction.  It's also less painful each time.

I'm going to keep at it along with Bruggers stretch and will try to squat every Sunday.  I'm not going to force it and will only squat if I can get the bar into the correct position with no lateral deltoid pain.  It could take a couple of months, but it's better I get stuff squared away than risk serious injury.

He did save me a trip to a physical therapist because they'd likely have me do the same exercises, but in an office.  I probably should be on the computer less often, but my job demands it.  We'll see how this improved posture impacts my sleeping and my sports.

Ultimate Avengers 2

The first one was just ok, but I enjoyed the second one a bit more.  I could've done without the stereotypical spear-chucking Africans as well as the one-dimensional heroes: playboy Stark, jerk-off Pym, whiny Banner, etc.  The animation was just ok with solid voice acting.

However, the plot was a bit more focused with plenty of action.  There wasn't quite enough Hulk, but he was in time-out for smashing up the joint in the first movie.

I'm slightly positive towards this movie.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Taken 2

I enjoyed the first movie, but was skeptical about the second.  Well, I was right to be skeptical since the second was more of the first, but with ten times more cheese.  The movie is quite short and the action curtailed.  The plot is flimsy and the movie physics poor.  The daughter is not believable and Famke Janssen's rack is about her only positive quality.  Her acting has gone downhill since the X-Men movies.

Not much about this movie makes sense, but the Istanbul scenery is cool.

I do not recommend this movie.

Batman: Under the Red Hood

I often stream short animated movies while I eat dinner and usually the Batman ones are entertaining enough that I don't feel cheated.  This movie doesn't have the usual voices and it was distracting.  Some of the animation was up to snuff, but most felt rushed.  The plot was predictably stupid, but there wasn't  the same amount of detective work as in most Batman movies.

I do not recommend this movie.

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

I really enjoyed Abraham's first two Dagger and Coin novels so I had high hopes for this book, but it fell a bit short of expectations.  The first two-thirds was engaging, but the last third fell flat.  During the last third I lost interest in the characters and the outcome of their scheming.  The magic was also poorly explained.

I am neutral on this book, but will check out the rest of the series to see if he finds his groove.