Checking In

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 No comments

It’s been a fairly uneventful month for me.  I did  start a new podcast  – What We Make: A Terminator Podcast.  It was originally going to be an introcast on The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  Since we were planning on discussing pretty much the entire Terminator universe, we decided to make it a general Terminator podcast.

I’m a lot less optimistic about work improving than I was before.  I spoke to someone in the same position as me earlier, so I’m not the only one who feels the way I do.

Fitness is going well.  I got my measurements today and I’m down to 11% body fat.  My trainer told me it would be really hard to get lower than that, but I’m going to try.  I got a Fitbit Charge HR yesterday and it’s pretty cool to monitor my heart rate.  I don’t like wearing anything around my wrist, but this device hasn’t been a problem for me.

Progress after 6 months

I’m so busy I haven’t had much time for video games, TV, or movies. That should change this coming week. I’m looking forward to going to Raleigh in April and Mississippi in June.

 

Until next time.

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I Like to Watch People Play Video Games

Saturday, January 31st, 2015 No comments

I like to watch people play video games.  It’s fun!  It’s becoming more popular because of Twitch.  For me it’s usually something I put on in the background while I’m doing other things, but I will focus on it if I’m watching a competition.  Some criticize those of us that like to do this, so I thought I would quickly explain some of the reasons I like to do it.

For me this started back in grad school when I watched my roommate Jason play some of my games that I had already beaten.  I started to realize that when you’re playing games, your’re often focused on one part of the screen and it’s easy to miss a lot of the details that get put into these games.  When someone else is playing, it’s easy to take in the big picture.  Sometimes you just want to veg out and enjoy the experience like when you’re watching a movie.

I don’t have much time to play games these days.  I can live vicariously through others while I’m getting work done.

I kinda suck at games.  I have my own Twitch channel where I let others watch me play games sometimes.  The title of it is “Watch me play games poorly”.  It’s nice to be able to watch people play skillfully on Twitch.

Watching people play can help me decide if I want to buy a game.  Gameplay on Twitch is probably more representative of a game than the trailers that the company releases.  Many of these trailers don’t show any actual gameplay footage.

Well, those are some of my reasons.  The main reason is that it’s fun.  Some will still wonder why you would watch people play when you could do it yourself?  Why watch any form of entertainment when you can do it yourself?  Because it’s entertaining.  You could race cars or perform on a stage yourself, but most of us are going to watch others do it.

And that’s totally okay.

 

 

Christmas 2014

Sunday, December 28th, 2014 2 comments

Christmas was good this year.  I was in the spirit pretty early on, but sometime the week before I lost it a little bit.  I got it back though in time for Christmas.  I was alone here in Protland, so at times I did feel a little lonely.  It was hard seeing all the photos on social media of people with their families and good food.  All I had for dinner was a piece of chicken and some veggies. At least I had Reese and he’s good company.  Next year will different hopefully.

What did I get for my birthday and Christmas?

  • Spartacus: The Complete Series on blu-ray
  • Microwave (I bought for myself)
  • King size wine glass
  • Serenity: Leaves on the Wind hardcover
  • Portlandia: Season 4 on DVD
  • Labyrinth on blu-ray
  • The Neverending Story on blu-ray
  • Interstellar soundtrack
  • GIRL by Pharrell Williams
  • Twin Peaks soundtrack
  • Requiem for a Dream (the book)
  • Touch and Go paperback by Lisa Gardner
  • Game of Thrones map poster
  • Game of Thrones blanket

Getting in Shape

Saturday, December 27th, 2014 1 comment

Back in September I entered the first ever Lose-to-Win weight loss competition at my new gym, VillaSport, which had opened the month before. It ended 3 weeks ago.

I came in 11th place out of 120-130 people in terms of percentage of weight loss.  I got 1st place in participation points for going to the events and activities.  I got a $50 gift card at the gym for that. I used that card to buy a larger gym bag.  My team got 5th place out of around 20 teams.  We each got a $25 check for that.

I’m happy with the results.  I got off to a slow start because I went to Hawaii soon after the competition began.  I didn’t finish as strongly as I would have liked to because of Thanksgiving.  Another thing is that I added some muscle.  Excuses excuses.  Still, I’ve been working hard to get into shape these past few months.

I was working out before the competition began.  The competition was just more motivation to get serious about losing weight again.  I found out because of the competition that my membership at this gym got me 4 30-minute sessions with a trainer. I picked out my trainer, Nate, because he specialized in body fat reduction and metabolic resistance training, which I had heard of and wanted to learn about. I thought I was doing a good job working out before, but these sessions proved that I wasn’t.  What he had me doing was tough.  Fitness has evolved and what he taught me started showing results even after just a few weeks.  Early on though I was afraid that Nate would tell me that I wasn’t cut out for MRT and that I would have to do something else.

In addition to better workouts, I got my eating back to what it needs to be.  I go out of my way not to use to d word.  I went crazy on Thanksgiving,but other than that I’ve been pretty good. I was already doing a lot of things right, but I got some more tips from Nate and a dietitian at the gym. I threw away everything that was unhealthy or expired in my kitchen and there was almost nothing left.  It was fun to go shopping for healthier food.

At one point I lost 5% of my body fat in a month, which Nate says is hard to do and is a record among his clients.  Apparently he’s been bragging about me because of that.  After about 5 weeks of a “basic” workout, I bought more sessions to learn a more advanced workout.  I thought what I was going before was tough, but this is even tougher. I’m getting the hang of and I’m actually enjoying it now. Nate also formulated a food plan that actually allowed for more food each day that I was previously eating.

I had my annual physical last week and unlike last year, my cholesterol was right where it needed to be.  Yay for overall health improvement!

I’ve been showing off how much progress I made after 3 months.  Pictures of me on this blog are pretty rare I think.

Progress after 3 months

Let’s see what I can do in another 3 months.

Thanksgiving 2014

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 No comments

This past week was Thanksgiving.  After Hawaii I had said that I wouldn’t use any more vacation days this year, but I decided to take Wednesday off so I would have a 5-day break.  I was happy that for the 2nd year in a row I got to have a Thanksgiving meal.  While we were camping in September, Alston and his girlfriend Stephanie asked me if I wanted to join them for Thanksgiving.  That was the last mention of it until the week before when I asked Alston if it was still on. Alston said that everybody else had backed out, but I was still welcome to come.

I looked online and got an idea for something healthy to cook: roasted Brussel sprouts.  I also made a sweet potato pie.  When I got to their place they had snacks ready while the other food was being prepared.  They made turkey, stuffing, corn bread, mashed potatoes and cranberry relish.  It was a delicious meal.  I wasn’t so keen on the Brussel sprouts, but I just didn’t like the taste.  We all ate so much.  It had trouble standing up straight for very long after the meal.  We ended up going for a walk afterwards.  According to the scale I put on 3 lbs that day.

I took my PS3 over there.  While we waited for the turkey to finish and after we ate, we played video games.  I had never played most of the games we played and I owned them.  I ended up letting Alston borrow my PS3 a few days later.

It was great spending Thanksgiving with friends since I couldn’t be with family.  Hopefully, I can keep the streak alive next year.

Taking it Easy

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 No comments

I haven’t really done much since I got back from Hawaii.  It’s been nice to be live a lazy and boring life.

A couple of weeks after I got back from Hawaii, I came home to find that Reese wasn’t his normal energetic self.  After a couple of trips to the emergency vet and a visit to the doctor that performed his surgery back in March (she works at a different place now), we figured that it was a return of his back problems, which will be a lifelong problem.  Although I was prepared to take him in for surgery again, it looks like bed rest has help greatly.  I started taking him on increasingly longer walks each week as the doctor instructed, but this week he started limping a little bit.  I started shortening his walks and he’s doing better.  He seems like his normal self most of the time.

I entered a weight loss competition at my gym and it started right before I left for Hawaii.  I used my 4 complimentary personal training sessions to learn a new workout routine.  Even though I had been working out, I was still very much out of shape.  My old workout wasn’t cutting it. My new workout was a “basic” workout, but it was very tough.  My trainer is honest and told me beforehand it wouldn’t be easy.  Over the next 4-5 weeks, I saw made some good progress, but it was getting too easy and I wasn’t loosing weight anymore.  I paid for 8 more sessions and I’m learning a more long-term workout routine.  It’s much much harder than what I was doing before.  Also, I’ve been eating better.  I’ve done pretty well with sticking to my food plan over the past couple of weeks.  So far, I’ve lost about 17 lbs.  I’m in 8th place in the weight loss competition.  At this point, I don’t really care about the competition anymore.  I just want to be healthier.

I’ve been trying to play video games as much as possible.  There are way too many games and not enough time to play them.  I’ve also been catching up on a lot of movies that missed.  Everyone should go see Birdman.

I went to “An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss” here in Portland about a month ago.  The Doubleclicks opened for him.  Most of it was a repeat of what I saw at P.A.X., but it was still fun.  I got an autographed copy of his new book.  I was too tired to stand in a long line to get a personalized autograph.  Maybe next time.

Work is the main thing that’s bothering me these days.  I’m just very bored and frustrated.  I’ve talked to the people that I need to talk to, but no one seems to want to change anything except me.  Hopefully, things will turn around soon.

That’s it for now.  I have to get a few things ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

10 Years

Monday, October 6th, 2014 No comments

I didn’t realize it until a month after the fact, but this site turned 10 years old in August.  Time flies, doesn’t it?

I remember trying to decide which platform to use before deciding on Movable Type.  Now I’m using WordPress.  I remember switching hosts at some point,  but I don’t remember why.  I’m sure it’s in the archives somewhere.  I’ve gone through at least a couple of different redesigns.

Blogging isn’t as popular as it used to be, but I hope I’m still doing some form of this 10 years from now.  It’s a good way to help remember things that happened to me.  I’m going to try to write more often in the future, but I’m pretty sure I’ve said that before :).

Hawaii Part 2: The Rest

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 No comments

The second part of my trip was better in some ways and worse in others.  After LOST 2014, I didn’t have a schedule of activities, which left me free to do whatever I wanted.  However, I was alone most of time and there were occasions when I had time to kill, but not really anything I could do.  Not having a car hampered me a little, because I couldn’t go to some places by bus before they closed.

On Tuesday, I did a lot of walking around to explore Honolulu.  I was still getting used to the bus system at this point.  Once I got on the something like the 9 bus, but it turned out to be the 9S bus, which went to a completely different place.  Each bus said the areas it was stopping by, so maybe if I knew the area better I wouldn’t have as many problems.  I only wasted a little money though.  I got to see the Christian academy where the last scene of LOST was filmed. I think other scenes were filmed there as well. I went to see another movie this night.  It was The Giver, which was much better than I thought it would be.  It seems like a lot of people don’t like to go see movies while on vacation, but I do.
Sacred Hearts Academy

On Wednesday, I went to Diamondhead and hiked all the way to the top.  I was so tired and sweaty by the time I got to the top. Afterwards, I took another trip to Waikiki Beach.  I had wanted to go to a non-touristy beach, but this one was more convenient.  I got dinner at a cheeseburger place.  I went to see another movie, A Walk Through the Tombstones.  It wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be, but it was still solid.
View of Waikiki from Diamondhead

On Thursday, we found out that Bonnie Craft passed away.  Bonnie is a big time LOST fan.  I never met her in person. She was one of the LOST fans who friended me on social media leading up to LOST 2014.  I exchanged a few messages with her on Facebook.  I think she was the one behind the thank you video that was played at the final event because she asked for photos of us.  They told us then that she had pneumonia and wasn’t able to attend LOST 2014.  I don’t think I knew at the time that she was actually in Hawaii.  I heard this day that some met her at the check-in before the Jorge Garcia Q&A, but I don’t think I did. After  I found out that she had passed, I saw her last posts from Hawaii telling people to go on without her because she wasn’t feeling well.  I then saw tweets from earlier where her sister was trying to get an update on her condition from  and shortly after that the news broke.  Very sad.  That day I went on another hike, this time to Manoa Falls.  It rained on me a good bit of the hike, which was fine because it cooled things down.  I ate dinner at a Korean BBQ place and wondered the city until it was time for bed.
Manoa Falls

On Friday, I didn’t plan on doing much because I was tired.  People came over at 8 am to do an inspection on the apartment I was in and to fix something.  I did some podcast prep after they left.  It rained a good bit that day.  I didn’t get to see a friend like we  had planned this day because he was busy entertaining another firmed from Minnesota.  Maybe I’ll see him next time I’m in Hawaii.  It rained a good bit this day..  I ate dinner at a another burger place and went back to my room after that.

On Saturday morning I went to airport way early.  I was just ready to get out of that apartment and start making my way home.  Someone I met at the last LOST 2014 event was on my plane.  I tried to get his attention before we boarded, but I don’t think he saw me.  We landed in Portland a little after midnight and I made it home after midnight. It was so cold compared to Hawaii.

A few more observations:

  • I saw a lot of military people, probably because of the nearby military base.
  • So many places there were cash only.  I didn’t eat at some places because of that.
  • I had shave ice almost every day.  It’s great!
  • I think I became an expert at the bus system by the time I left.  But I was relying heavily on Google Maps, which tells you exactly which buses to take and where to transfer.
  • I got to see a lot of crazies on the buses, but they weren’t that bad.
  • I never felt like I was in any danger while I was wondering through unfamiliar neighborhoods late at night.

I had a great time in Hawaii.  It was expensive, but it was worth it.  I don’t want to go anywhere else for a while.  I am worn out.  I have a few trips already planned for 2015, but they are more spread out.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going on the one I have planned for January.  I just want to stay home.  In 2016, I think I’ll take fewer trips and dedicate more time and money to each one.

I’m so ready for Fall.

Hawaii Part 1: LOST 2014

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 1 comment

I’m in Hawaii!!! It’s my first time here.  I came here for the LOST 2014 fan event, but also just to visit Hawaii.  Instead of waiting for the end of the trip to write one long entry, I decided to break it up into two entries.

I left Portland Friday morning.  The plane ride was the longest I’ve ever been on.  I think it was about 5.5 hours.  It was light flight with not so many people but lots of cargo.  Because of that, the plane’s balance was off.  They made some people in the front of the plane move to the back to balance things out.  I had never heard of that happening before.  The pilot said he had never seen that on so large a plane.  Someone who still doesn’t really like flying doesn’t want to hear about problems with the plane.  The flight was smooth except for the final descent.  We had some of the worst turbulence I’ve even felt.

The first thing I noticed when I got here was the heat.  Everyone is saying it is unseasonable warm.  I keep hearing people say that this is the time of the year that the trade winds stop, so it gets hot, but this year is worse than normal.  I’m sweating so much that I feel unclean the whole time.  I don’t care that it’ll be after midnight when I get home in Portland.  I’m taking a nice, long bath.

This is my 5th trip since the middle of July, so I’ve been trying to save money each step of the way.  I went the Airbnb route to find a place to stay while I’m here.  It’s a nice apartment in a nice neighborhood, close to some non-touristy places to eat.  The biggest drawback is that I’m a couple of miles from where the LOST 2014 event was.  I’m relying on public transportation to get around, so it’s a bit of a hassle to get over there.  I can’t really come back here to rest between events, so I’m out in the heat pretty much all day. I feel clean for about 5 minutes after a shower then, I feel like I need another one. I probably should have staying at the event hotel while the event was going on and then moved to a less expensive place when it ended.  Also, I should have rented a car, which I still might do.  Don’t be so cheap, Will.  But that’s how you afford to do a lot of the things you do.  Decisions decisions.

Friday after I got in, I chilled at at tea café while I waited for my host to get off work.  After I “checked in”, I walked around this neighbor and did some grocery shopping. My host is a really nice guy.  He gave me some tips on where to eat, what to eat, and some places to explore.   He does have company sometimes, and at times they’re making lots of noise when I’m trying to sleep.

On Saturday, LOST 2014 began.  The first thing was a Q&A session with Jorge Garcia.  He was great.  I got to get his autograph and get a picture taken with him.  We had an awkward moment hugging each other because the person taking the pic couldn’t figure out how to take a pic with my camera.  The same thing happened with Chris Mulkey at the Twin Peaks Festival.  After this I started giving people instructions on how to use my camera.  Not everybody listened though.  After the Q&A, I had some time to kill so I explored a little.  I got some shave ice like my host suggested.  It was delicious.  I also went to Waikiki Beach for a little while.  There were some awesome beach bodies on display.  I wish I could look like that.  Next, I went to the event hotel and read in the lobby for a couple of hours.  I followed the Mississippi State game while I was doing this.  Then it was time for the welcome reception and costume contest.  At this event and the Q&A, I got to meet people that I had become friends with on Twitter and Facebook leading up to this weekend.  There were a lot of cool costumes.  I really have to dress up for one of these events. The winner was a Bad Robot / Claire thing.
Me and Jorge Garcia

The only thing I had planned Sunday was a tour of the LOST filming locations.  It was so hot, but it was worth it.  We got to see Dharmaville, the beach that was used as the crash site in the pilot and for other scenes throughout the show, the place where the Nigerian village scenes where shot, the stadium where Desmond met Jack,  the road where Kate was on in the Australian outback, the waterfall where Kate and Sawyer found the Halliburton, the convention center that served as the Sydney airport, a gas station which I think was involved in Kate’s storyline, and a church that was involved in Sawyer’s storyline, and probably some other things I’m forgetting.  Some places we drove by without stopping.   I know some people have gone to the church used in “The End”.  I may try to do that before I leave.  The guide on our tour wasn’t that great.  He knew a lot about Hawaii, but didn’t know as much about LOST as I would’ve have liked, just the facts he had in his notes.  At first he tried to tell us that Sawyer met Jack at the stadium, but the people on the bus quickly corrected him.  He seemed to have trouble finding his words at times.  The scenery that we saw on the tour was beautiful.  After the tour I went to the beach for a little while and then I went to a movie theater and sat in some air conditioning for a little while.  The apartment that I’m staying in doesn’t have A/C.  The Drop is a pretty good movie, 4 out of 5 stars.
Me and Jorge Garcia

waterfall

Monday was the final day of LOST 2014, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the premiere of LOST.  I slept late that day because the first scheduled event was the group photo that afternoon.  I got there early like I did for every event.  While I was waiting I felt something hit my shoulder.  I turned around and saw something orange and gross on my shoulder.  I don’t know if it was from a fruit or if it was bird poop.  Do birds poop orange?  I immediately took my shirt off, walked shirtless across the street, and bought another shirt.  There are shirtless people all over the place here, even inside stores, so it wasn’t a big deal to anyone else.  It was for me though.  It’s probably weird that I have no trouble being naked around people indoors, but not shirtless in public.  I did go to that nude beach last month though.  That seems like a really long time ago. Anyway, after the photo, I got something to eat and hung out on the beach some more.  That night was the anniversary party and charity auction.  They had LOST-themed food.  After the expected acknowledgments of everyone’s hard work, we saw pre-recorded messages from a few of the cast members and a thank you video for the event’s organizer.  Also, they announced LOST 2020 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the LOST finale.  They said they are looking at locations that would make it easier for more cast members to attend.  I’m assuming it’s going to be in L.A.
LOST-themed cake

I had a great time at LOST 2014.  I wish there were more activities, so there wasn’t so much down time.  If I were staying at the event’s hotel, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. I think I missed out on social opportunities by being so far away from everybody, but I did have fun meeting people I did from various places.  I think there were 15 countries represented and I walked to people from all over the United States.  LOST has brought a lot of people together.  I’ve made a lot of friends over the years that I never would have if not for LOST.  I’m glad we found each other. If at all possible, I will be attending LOST 2020.

 

First Camping Trip

Monday, September 15th, 2014 No comments

This past weekend I went on my very first camping trip. I went with my friend Alston and his girlfriend Stephanie. We went to the Keenig Campsite, which is about an hour from here in the Tillamook State Forest. Originally we had planned to go fishing one morning, but that trip turned into a camping trip.

Somehow I wasn’t notified that they were planning on going out there Friday afternoon. I left Friday after work. I did leave work about half an hour early though. When I got there they had already started the fire and were preparing to cook dinner. Alston and I got my tent set up and we ate dinner. That night we stayed warm by the fire and chatted the whole night. We didn’t have enough light to do much else. I think we all underestimated how cold it would get considering how hot it was during the day. We went through all of our firewood that night. None of us really slept well that night. My sleeping bag did a decent job of keeping me warn, but it could have been better.
camp site

The next morning we ate breakfast and went to get more firewood. We overcompensated quite a bit. We walked around a nearby camping area and visited a museum there. Once we got back to our campsite, we went fishing. Back in the day when I went fishing with my cousins and uncle, I just used a simple pole. This time I had a rod and a reel. It took a little getting used to. I could never get the bait out far enough to do much good. The good spots were already taken. It was fun to get some experience using the equipment though. Next time will be better. After not sleeping well the night before and being in the sun fishing for too long, we were tired so we had lunch and rested a while before playing cards. Alston wasn’t feeling well, so he rested some more while Stephanie and I went on a good walk. After that I was tired, but thankfully it was time for dinner. After dinner we chilled by the fire for a while and called it a night early.
Keenig Creek

The next morning we had some breakfast, packed up all of our things and left. We didn’t come close to using all the wood, so I brought the rest home. I might actually use my fireplace this winter. I was so glad for my heater and cell reception on the way home and my shower once I got home.
empty campsite

I had a great time on my first camping trip. I definitely want to do it again, but probably not until next spring or summer. I learned some lessons. I know there are a few things I want to buy before I go again. A lot of people had their dogs with them, so I might take Reese with me next time. I’m sure he’d enjoy it out there.