Raleigh 2015

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 No comments

Jay and Jack

This past weekend I went to Raleigh, NC, for Jay & Jack’s annual charity podcast for Autism Speaks.  I was supposed to go last year, but backed out because of so many things happening all at once.  There was a point where I thought I might have to do it again this year, but I was determined to go and thankfully was able to.

In my head I thought that my flight left at 6 am on Friday morning.  The night before after I got in bed around 10 pm, I checked my itinerary just to be sure and I learned that it actually left at 5:15 am.  The last few times I had early morning flights I didn’t get up soon enough, so I barely made it there in time. I got up at 2am after sleeping a little under 4 hours.  I got there in plenty of time.  There was no line at security even though there is usually a decent line for 6am flights.  The flight there was long, but I had TV and books to pass the time.  Dan picked me up from the airport along with a few others we went to a restaurant and met up with the others.  Most of the people I had met before at SDCC 2011 or had contact with them online.  I did meet some new people though.  After dinner we walked over to an ice cream place.  When we were stuffed we went back to our hotel and played a card game before going to bed.  I was rooming with Jon this weekend.  I roomed with him at SDCC 2011.  I didn’t get to see him much back then, so I was glad to be able to hang out with him this weekend.

I slept about 10 hours that night.   I missed a chance for an early morning run that some of the group went on.  Hopefully, they’ll keep that tradition alive next year.  By the time I got up, it was time to go bowling.  I like to bowl even though I’m not good at it.  I got to meet Dale for the first time at the bowling alley.  After bowling, we went shopping for snacks and headed to the ice plex for the 12 hour charity podcast.  I’ve listened to bits and pieces of the podcast every year since I’ve known about, but I don’t think I’ve never listened to the entire thing. It was a lot of fun.  The guests were entertaining and we kept ourselves entertained.  I guess I did miss a little bit when everybody started skating.  I didn’t actually skate myself.  Maybe next year. We went to bed around 4 am.

On Sunday, I got some breakfast with a few people and we went to Jay and Colleen’s for a barbecue after doing some grocery shopping beforehand.  There was so much beer and food and it was so good!  It was nice We played Cards Against Humanity and watched the season premiere of Game of Thrones. It was nice getting to hang out with the group one last time.  We had a short after-party at the hotel later.

Monday morning a small group of us had breakfast and the hills drove Vicki and myself to the airport.  My plane didn’t leave until that afternoon, so I had a long wait.  I watched TV and got caught up on emails.  After a long time in the air I arrived back in Portland late Monday night.

I had an awesome time in Raleigh, meeting new people and seeing people I hadn’t seen in years.Going into it, I thought it would be at least a couple of years before I went back.  Now I know that I’m going to try my best to go back next year.

Audiobooks

Monday, March 30th, 2015 No comments

Lately, I’ve really gotten into audiobooks.  I think it was last summer that I re-activated my Audible subscription.  I created an account to get that 1 free book years ago, but I canceled afterward and never even listened to the book.  Until last summer, that is.

I was reluctant to listen to audiobooks because I figured I would miss too many details.  When I listen to podcasts at work, I miss portions because I’m focusing on my work. However, I’ve found that there are tasks that I do during the day that I don’t need to focus on much,  so I’m able to focus on the book enough to catch what’s going on.  An example is that I spend about an hour in my car on an average day, so I can get a lot of listening done in my car.

I doubt that I would choose the audiobook for a book by one of my favorite authors or a book that comes highly recommended.  I have been able to experience books that are off my radar.  It’s allowed me to keep “reading” since though it’s harder for me to find the time to sit down and read a book these days.

It’s taken me a while to jump on the audiobook bandwagon because I love my paper books.  I hope to continue utilizing them for a long time.

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.

Tags: , ,

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.