Friday, February 26, 2010

Writing and Exercises

I haven't been posting in week or so because I've suddenly been back logged. It's really weird how it happens, but it seems like time just escapes from your grasp.

I suddenly realized that the first deadline for applications was coming up on Monday and I needed to get the recommendation letters for it and once I had confirmation of them I needed to send in the application itself. That was fun.

As I mentioned before I started to do the two hundred sit ups again and I'm keeping up by giving myself two days of rest instead of one for the first week. Tonight more exercising. I also started playing with free weights. I used one of my physical therapy exercises as an excuse to buy a 5 lb free weight and I started using it to rebuild my arm muscles. I do the same exercises with my left arm as a sort of constant, and my right arm is just really bad and I hope to have improvement when I do it today.

I hope that it is because of that that I haven't reached my goal of 200 lb by the end of February. I started to make some progress, then fell back. I was overeating again too. I do consider maintaining weight a positive note during this. How bad would I be if I wasn't paying attention? Anyway, I have notice a shift in my fat, the muscle aches are lessening, and my pants are fitting better.

Lastly my writing has been going great. I'm still behind, but I have a plan to catch up and have been having great story ideas. Reading Percy Jackson and the Dresden Files most likely helped.

Just a short update because I haven't been around.

Perseus is a really cool name

I saw Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Lighting Thief yesterday, but before I write about that I need to give bonus points to the movie theatre.

I always go to Regal Cinemas. I have their loyalty card so for every $100 I spend on movies and concessions I get a free movie ticket. This isn't the only reason. They are also always clean and the staff is always courteous and helpful. I have been to a couple non-chain movie theaters that were great, but if you are heading to a chain, Regal is in my opinion the best.

I actually saw Percy Jackson for a couple reasons:

  1. I thought the previews looked cool.
  2. I finally found a copy of the book in mass-market paperback (and therefore cheaper) and enjoyed it immensely
  3. I had a loyalty ticket and I needed a movie that allowed the use of free passes (the first week or so of a new movie),
So I get to the theater not as early as usual, get free popcorn (because of my loyalty card again), and proceed to sit in an empty theatre, because it's a children's movie and I'm there at the 1:50 pm showing. I end up not being the only one there. Just before 1:50 a family with a really little kid came in and an older man that I assume was there to pre-watch it for his own kids or grandkids. As soon as 1:50 rolls around the manager comes in and informs us that there is a problem with the projectors and that the movie will start a few minutes late.

Isn't that nice? They actually told us right off the bat that something was wrong, instead of letting us think that they just forgot to turn the movie on. Several minutes go by, the manager had estimated "two or three minute" delay and that was clearly wrong. So the manager returns and give us all passes to another movie to use whenever we like. Suddenly none of us mind waiting the half-hour to forty-five minutes it took for them to fix the problem. What really sucks is that it sounded like it was a really stupid problem that you would not think would take that long to fix, but anyway I got to see a movie for free and got another free movie ticket.

Now back to the movie itself.

I really liked the book, when I ignored the whole ten-year-old-can-do-shit-grown-men-can't-do crap. They got around this by shifting him up a couple years and making him a teenager. That helped a lot because if you go back and watch the first Harry Potter movie you really see how ridiculous it is to have a child that hasn't even hit puberty yet. Of course, I'm not sure how old Logan Lerman, who plays Percy, was at the time of filming but I think he's one of those people who is destined to play teenagers forever. He looks really short, then again 5' 8" is shorter than me, therefore he is.

Now, I said I liked the book. You know what is coming next. I will say this in the most diplomatic way: in relationship to the books I absolutely hated the movie, in respect to the movie itself, I didn't mind it. The major problems with the movie is that it simplified the story and whereas the book avoided many pitfalls that you might come across when writing stories like this, the movie jumps into them. They switch villains to make the story work for only one movie better, they make that gods more dickish and over obsessed over Greek culture (in the book none of the gods are dressed in traditional clothing, Poseidon is dressed more like Charlie Harper from Two and a Half Men) and just to be nit picky, the walls on Olympus were not painted and there is proof that they should be.

What is really annoying is that they fell into the Hades is evil hole. Hades liked his job for the most part and in the book doesn't want war anymore than anyone else. In fact the entire point of Poseidon not being in Percy's life was because he, Zeus and Hades were all forbidden from having children after World War II (Zeus, of course, was the first to f that up).

So see the movie, but don't expect it to be anywhere nearly as awesome as the book. Oh and Perseus is an awesome name and sounds much more masculine than Percy, don't you agree?

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Exercise always hurts

I finally lay back down and did some sit-ups again. This was the first time since, September, I think. I wasn't posting about that much here so I don't know when it was.

Bring you all up to speed: I was trying to take the One Hundred Push Ups Challenge, along with the Two Hundred Sit ups, and Two Hundred Squats because if you can do that, you mus be healthy. I actually did fairly well for awhile. I was doing more push ups than ever and I started off with a shocking number of squats (almost too many for the first third of the challenge). I was having trouble staying on schedule since I don't tell any one what I'm trying to do but I was making progress. Slower than I was suppose to, but progress. I got to the two week mark at which point you're suppose to see how many you can do in a row without stopping to chose the difficultly level for the next two weeks. I had already been having new problems with my wrist which finally failed and couldn't hold my weight. So I stopped all three challenges for some reason.

Anyway, today I decided to start the sit ups again since I have been prepping my abs with isometric exercises and I don't think it's helping anymore. Now as far as I can tell, I didn't even post about my first time on here so here that goes.

I hadn't done any exercise in ages not counting the week before when I started the push ups. So I was not expecting to do very well on the start up test. Difficulty two, I wasn't doing "sit ups", I was going to be doing "curl ups", because sit ups can mess up your back. So I start to do these things after looking all over the internet trying to figure how a curl up is done. Basically, you start doing a sit up, but stop just as you get your back off the ground (35 degrees). In other words, you need to do the hard part, if the up starts getting easy you went too far. Now, me being use to doing full sit ups has trouble with this. It doesn't seem that hard, so I start doing a bunch trying to make sure that I was doing it right. Problem - I've now done a bunch right, a bunch too far, and a bunch not far enough, but they all add up. I fall back and every single muscle in my torso - my abdominal muscles all the way to my groin (you forgot they go down that far didn't you?), my pectoral muscles - all froze up. I've had some terrible charley horses in my legs before, I've accidentally allowed all of the blood to drain from my right arm, but this hurt worst. When it happens to a leg you straighten it out to the resting position, the resting position for your chest and abs it standing up and I couldn't use my abs to stand up. Oh, and your lungs move your chest when you breath. I did get up, using a secret technique taught in acting classes.

As you can guess, I survived. Today I did twenty-six sit ups before I decided I was done. I actually was able to pull my laptop over before my body decided, once again, that I over did it. Not anywhere as bad as last time, but they are still clenching a bit with me lying down right now, a good four hours later. I think it's more focused on my obliques this time, which would make sense with the isometric exercises. I was able to a practice round. The challenge trains you by having you do a set, then waiting a minute or so, then doing another set. I actually did enough that it wants me to do fifteen sit ups, rest then do another 10-15 five more times, and I thought it was crazy but I was able to do it.

So I'm at it again! And this time I have it on my calender.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How time flies and how ice melts

I've not really been doing anything the last week or so. Snow is deary, even when melting. At least I can leave my house if I have the urge, which has been more often then not recently. I actually was woken up by the cigarette smoke that billowed into my bedroom. I had to go out to restock my turkey supplies and when I returned it was like a punch in the face.

It didn't help that I also have a headache do to the current cold front, not eating until 1:00 pm, secondhand smoke and drinking less caffeine. I'm only guessing on the caffeine thing because I've been nauseous too. In other words today has not been a great day on the health side. Except for the not eating too much, I actually did okay on that, but exercise was out of the question. Body is willing, head is not.

I did last week bake some white bread. One recipe makes two loaves and I ate one almost all by myself. At the same time I started a sourdough bread, For those of you not in the know, sourdough gets to sit on your kitchen counter for a week while it spoils gets sour. Last time I did it I waited the minimum time and it barely had any taste to it. It's actually really hard to find a sourdough that tastes right. I had one last summer that was gotten from a New York bakery which was actually too sour, at least how we were using it as a dinner bread. It may have worked as sandwich bread since the sour would have been evened out by the meat and condiments.

I have caught up a little bit on my writing. I added a couple new characters and I feel like they will all meet up at some point, I'm just not sure how. Part of the inspirational for one of the new characters was seeing the movie Wolfman, not that I really liked the movie enough to even write an entire post about it, but I had the idea to have a werewolf character. That added into me actually buying the Pathfinder RPG rulebook and seeing that they have proper werewolves in it. By proper I mean that the people turn into wolves, not giant wolfs, not half-man wolves, not anthropomorphic wolves, just normal - if on the larger end of the possible size - wolves. So the character doesn't turn into a monster every full moon, he turns into a wild animal. More interesting, but doesn't make for a good movie.

I'm pausing in my writing today as I try to figure out how I'm going to treat the character. Currently everyone in the town knows he's a werewolf, so I'm toying with the idea that they are pretending to be his friend so that they can kill him on the full moon. I'll say that werewolf hide makes for excellent armor and that the bones cure disease or something. I'm just remembering that I bought an encyclopedia on mythology that I really should pull out right now, if I can remember where I put it. Sometimes writing out your ideas can be very helpful.

Well I meant to hit post about two hours ago.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Novel writing sucks

So one would think that being stuck in a house for a week with multiple feet of snow would make you want to write many blog entries, draw many pictures, and write many words. Yeah, no.

Being stuck inside makes me want to do just about anything else. I've said before that I don't like working on things when people can look over my shoulder so I'm not comfortable writing or drawing in the main areas of the house. Also most of the communal areas are only set up slightly better than my bedroom.

Only table is the kitchen table and my father has been working from his home office this week for obvious reasons. This is bad for two reasons, one, I feel like some one is watching what I'm doing all the time, even if it isn't active watching he has a general idea of when I woke up (about eight hours after I fell asleep). Two, all of his smoke stays in the house and because it's "cold" he doesn't open the window. On Monday night I had to open my window for a few minutes so that I could breathe. I don't consider this very cold, I think of it as refreshing.

Once again I reiterate, I need to move out of here. My doctor agrees. Anyway, back to my point.

I was doing pretty good on my little writing project. My due date is the end of March so that I can start the next day on Script Frenzy and I was only about a day behind. Emphasis on "was". I haven't been able to write. As I wrote the last couple of chapters I was getting to the end of what I really had planned out in my mind and having four supposedly major characters was becoming burdensome. The dialog I wrote for some of the characters was interchangeable and the conversation with the NPC (non-player character for those not in the know) was dull. Not to mention the NPC was really more likely to kill them and take their stuff instead of talking. I'm having too many cases of real world/fantasy world overlap, something I prefer to the way Narnia was done wherein the kids just accept the stupid nonsense that is going on. Mostly though I don't know what to do with three out of four characters. The last one is by himself and has all kinds of things to do, the others got to town and literally heard an old man say that the missing one is the chosen one. It's kind of like what a lot of NaNoers say about their stories going off in directions they never expected. My story informed me that I have three extra characters who need to return to the real world and forget about their cousin. Now even though this is not a NaNo project I'm still using their rules for story aspects I don't like - I can't delete the words. Perhaps as the story progresses I'll realized that I can use those extras, but until then that section of the novel will just sit and make me slightly closer to my goal.

Now to write several hundred words.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When in Rome...

When I go somewhere or purchase something I feel like I'm granting approval or disapproval of the advertisement for that product or service. I was somewhat interested in Avatar when I saw the trailer, but I lost all interest in the TV advertisements became all about the graphics. I have a degree in theatre and almost minored in film, the blatant disregard for the plot disgusts me. I have not and will not see Avatar in theaters, which is a shame because it is the type of film that should be seen in a theater. I'm also prepared for a bunch of crappy movies with cool graphics and crappy Science Fiction movie (or as the it is know in the publishing world, speculative fiction).

So I couldn't see that and Legion didn't look too good, so I did the only thing I could. I saw When in Rome.

Why did I, a guy, see a romantic comedy by myself? Well, for one, I'm incredibly lonely. Two, I really liked the advertisements for it. They don't even have Danny DeVito in the ads, who has a great role (did you think all of the men she have running after her were going to be young and handsome?).

I really enjoyed watching it. It was funny as both leads are slightly clumsy, with actual reasons, Beth (Kristen Bell) is paying attention to other things and Nick (Josh Duhamel) has a perception problem because he was struck by lightning (before the movie though there is one quick flashback for Josh Duhamel haters, if their are Josh Duhamel haters... why would you hate Josh Duhamel?), and it is only done sparingly. The plot requires some forgiveness, you see the trick easily - or I did at least, but it is completely believable that the Beth does not.

Most importantly, it made me laugh. How many comedies have you been to that you haven't really laughed? For me too many. Yeah, a lot of reviewers say that the comedy is slapstick and overdone, but I disagree. It's more like a joke taken to just far enough that you still find it funny.

So it's a good movie, you should go see it. If you're not confident in your masculinity, bring a girl along. Or you get there extra early and leave after everyone else, like I did.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blogs blogs and more blogs!

I've become a bit addicted to blogs. Political blogs, design blogs, humor blogs. I just have to share some of these as most of them I learned of by reading other blogs.

The Bloggess - I only discovered this one a couple of days ago, but it literally makes me laugh out loud and it really isn't that often that I can say that about a website. In person it happens all the time.

The Dilbert Scott Adams Blog - rarely has anything to do with Dilbert, but it was named that because Scott Adams' claim to fame is drawing Dilbert, which is why they changed the name when they moved it. Anyway Scott sometimes has humorous stories and terribly flawed plans for a utopian society. Just remember that if he pissed you off you fell into his trap.

Warning! I'm a moderate conservative! These blogs are probably going to lean that direction.
Legal Insurrection - do you know how hard it is to find someone you agree with on most political issues? That's why I like reading Prof. Jacobson's blog. And of course that ego boost of being on the same side of a discussion with a Cornell law professor.
Hill Buzz - Four gay guys in Chicago who proclaim they are "hot for Hillary" (even when it stopped being cool) and dislike Obama (before it was cool). They now proudly look at candidates for office not based on the letter next to their names but by their actions as elected officials and as human beings.

Young House Love - a young couple (soon to be plus one), their chihuahua and their house. Starting as blogging a kitchen renovation they grew a large following and are sort of untrained experts in home improvements. Is that an oxymoron? I happen to be an interior design buff without a house to interior design so I have to get my fix vicariously
Volpin Props - This guys makes props from video games and such. Not those crappy ones though, really awesome ones. It's just cool, though he doesn't update often.

Calorie-Count Blog - the only thing I really try to read every week are the Success Stories, but the other articles are good sources of information. Just avoid the comments - a lot of "fat" sounding people.

Hope you enjoy

Monday, February 1, 2010

Damn those dirty rules

So today I had my first physical therapy appointment. I received instructions on exercises and was actually given rules for the wrist brace. Specifically I have to wear it all the time. I assume they don't mean while sleeping (ain't happening), eating (don't want to clean it), or anytime that is inconvenient to me (just about any time).

I knew I wasn't wearing it as much as I should but it is really annoying to be unable to use your wrist and if you can't use your wrist you use your arm instead which is why my shoulder now hurts. We will see how this continues. It will be interesting to see if I can draw with my hand in a brace. It might actually help me - you are supposed to use more of an arm motion then a wrist motion, anyway we just learn bad habits as kids thinking that drawing is the same as writing.

I guess I should also mention that I'm coming up to both my one hundredth post and my one year anniversary of blogging. I considered trying to match the two events up, but I highly doubt that I can go for a month and a half and only post eight times.

So, are you going to get me a present?