Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bout Damn Time

The Altar of Entertainment is complete! Or, at least, as complete as it's going to be for quite a while. I finally, after four months, found an Xbox360... probably could have had one earlier if I actually asked someone at the store, as they tend to not have them out on the shelves. Last night was an orgy of hi-def, 56", surround sound gaming, followed by dreams of said game (which, frankly, were kind of annoying). Between that and the perpetual queues on the World of Warcraft servers, I might just let my World of Warcraft subscription expire. Might.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


So I'm now 20% into the Body for Life Challenge (17 days out of 84). The first couple weeks were kind of tough, maintaining the focus, and reminding myself I needed to go to the gym and so on, but I'm settling into the routine. I haven't lost any weight, but I've gained muscle, so that means I've lost an equal amount of fat (I haven't been measuring that, but I might start). I'm not in severe pain anymore, but rather the occasional ache, and I'm a little tired from the exertion. But I feel a lot less lazy than I did before, which is nice. Seems getting up and forcing myself to do something has improved my motivation in a lot of ways. Yay me!

Monday, March 27, 2006


So there have been a lot of demands on my time & energy as of late. Frankly, I'm not handling it all that well. A good portion of my weekend was spent sleeping. The workout and nutrition regimen takes a lot more energy and time than not doing it (it's surprising how much time is taken out of your day trying to eat 6 healthy meals), Pre-marital counseling doesn't take a lot of time normally, but we had two different sessions last week, and each one ends up being really emotionally exhausting, I'm working on voiceover stuff three times a week, I still have Parable and Worship Planning regularly on my schedule, and I'm leading Stage Hands at church, and being on the board with Mensa. That, and work has been really busy lately. And I've been trying to work the Fight Shop into my schedule. I need to drop some stuff. Fortunately, I'm not running for re-election with Mensa, but that's not really a huge schedule drain, and I think I'm going to drop Worship Planning at least until the beginning of next year. I've decided that the Fight Shop can wait until the voiceover workshops are finished, and we only have a couple more counseling sessions. So April will be slightly less crazy, and May should be even better. Still, I've been kinda wiped as of late.

Monday, March 20, 2006

V for Vendetta

We went to see V for Vendetta over the weekend. Much like The Matrix (both done by the Wachowski Brothers), this was a complex movie that doesn't really stand up to it's first impressions. First impressions were that it was exciting, dynamic, and visually stunning, with fascinating characters, if a bit talky for a feature film. As I think about it, it's still all those things, but much more of a thing that makes you go hmmm. V, played by Hugo Weaving, is fighting against an insanely corrupt fascist regime. There is no question in anybody's mind that they are evil. But V is not necessarily a good guy. He's certainly the lesser of two evils, but when it boils down to it, he's a terrorist, employing psychological warfare as one of his big tools, and not caring who dies or is permanently scarred along the way. Sure, "movie morality" means that government workers are fair game, but when civilians or other main characters get caught up in his plots, that leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. It's also worth noting that the obscene fascist regime has been made from the current political situation in our world, and not the nuclear war of the graphic novel. Another point of note is that we never see V's face. He is always behind a mask or, on occasion, in shadow. You'd think a mask that doesn't move would be a problem for characterization. But between Hugo Weaving's masterful use of body language and voice, and the Wachowski Brothers' masterful lighting and directing, V is actually more expressive a character than many of his onscreen counterparts. In all, I do highly recommend this film, but be prepared. It'll make you think.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Day After Tomorrow

So as I'm under the weather, I take this as a great opportunity to watch some movies that I wouldn't otherwise get a chance to see. I recently got The Day After Tomorrow from Netflix, and yep, it has Roland Emmerich written all over it. Here's Roland's List of Film Qualities:
  1. It's insultingly stupid
  2. It's visually impressive
  3. It moves along at a quick pace
  4. It's well-cast
  5. It has interesting supporting characters (that frequently get killed off quickly), and tedious main characters that you never fear for
  6. It's about a global situation, and focuses exclusively on how New York, LA, and Washington DC handle them (Optional)

Anything other than LA and New York are considered "flyover states" by much of Hollywood. But seriously, having a movie about snow, and not including Chicago? Minneapolis? Please. This movie was more insulting than most Emmerich films, in that every scene I found myself wondering some variation of "Why would he do that?" This would make sense if it was Earl goes to the Ice Age, but each of these characters are supposed to be brilliant. Now, I didn't expect this to be a very good movie. In fact, when the billboards were out, and their tag was "Where will you be THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW?" My internal response was "Probably not in the theatre." But I still wanted to see what a cock-up it actually was, and oh, for that, it was a masterpiece.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ugh. Sick.

This is inconveniently timed. But sort of expected. I'm starting out on a long, arduous journey, that involves a lot of pain and a dramatic restructuring of my nutrition and activity habits. And I get sick. I actually haven't been feeling too well since Saturday, but I guess I'm acknowledging it now. I won't let this come between me and my workout, but perhaps I'll spend the bulk of the rest of the day sleeping. Nevertheless, it's annoying.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Being Healthy: the Beginning

So the caffeine thing? one of the best decisions I've ever made for my general well-being. Don't get me wrong: it sucked massively those first 4-5 days, but now I have more energy, it's sustained through the day (yesterday was a little sleepy, but I hadn't gotten enough sleep, due to not feeling very tired at night previously), and when I do sleep, I sleep better. Now, I can't blame caffeine entirely, as my source of caffeine up till now has been Diet Coke, and that thing is all chemicals that are foreign to your body. But I have noticed my reaction to this stuff had changed roundabouts my 35th birthday, and I was constantly tired, with caffeine only giving me a temporary boost. I've also noticed recently that my road rage has decreased, but we've also been having fabulously beautiful weather here in Chicagoland the past few days, so I can't necessarily attribute it all to evicting Mr. Addiction Monkey. What it boils down to, is that losing caffeine was a great choice for me, probably the best I've ever made for my general well-being, but I'm not going to evangelize the caffeine thing to everyone, as different people probably react differently.

Also, today was my first day on the new diet/workout regimen. Heidi took my "before" pictures yesterday (and let me say, that seeing a full-body shot of me in workout shorts, not trying to impress myself in the mirror, elicits a pretty hefty "ewwww"). I must say that I had a lot of apprehension going to the gym this time around. Perhaps my last few gym experiences weren't so good, and this one did end up being only OK, but the point is that I'm there, and will continue to be there. I might look at another gym, but this one's proximity is a big bonus.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Sorry for not posting for a while. I've been really apathetic about most things. The important things have still been important (family and immediate goals), but pretty much everything else has kind of slid by the wayside. Part of that, I'm sure, is that I went cold turkey on caffeine this Sunday. It wasn't as rough as I expected it to be, but I found myself tired and uninterested in pretty much everything. This was in anticipation of the workout regimen I'm starting next week. In any case, almost everything has slipped. I haven't felt at all like working on voice stuff, I haven't felt like working on church stuff, I haven't felt like working on wedding stuff, I haven't felt like working on work stuff. Fortunately, I'm feeling more awake and alive now, so I can get things done, but hopefully this explains my quietness as of late. Can't guarantee it'll get a lot better, but we'll see what-all happens.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Goal Update 2

In keeping with the continued accountability, I'm posting how I'm doing with the goals. I normally do this at the top of the month, but I didn't want to steal any thunder from Heidi's birthday post, and yesterday was a busy day.

1. Get Married: Heidi posted a good summary here. It hasn't changed much.
2. Move to a new place: We'll likely either move to Heidi's current place in Arlington Heights or a place she looked at in Palatine.
3. Get a different job: Done
4. Get back in the gym, and establish a regular routine: I've scouted out the gym I'm likely to use, and I'm going to start the Body for Life Challenge either next week or the week after.
5. Get at least one Voice-over gig: Making Progress.
6. Brew at least three batches of beer: Purchased brewing equipment from, still need to get some decent shelving for the kitchen and an extract kit. And yes, I have figured two ways to work this in with the Body for Life Challenge without cheating on the program.
7. Travel at least four times: 1 down, 3 to go.
8. Write a script: I've got some ideas percolating, but nothing solid.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end: Plugging along.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Birthday to Heidi!

Today is Heidi's birthday. She's not one of those to be embarrassed about her age, but I still won't be the one to tell you what it is. Considering how good she looks, I'd be proclaiming it loudly. But anyway, tonight's activities will probably be very low-key. We'll be going out for Caribbean food, to a place I've never been, and then relaxing at her home for a while. For her gift, I got her something I thought would make a much better impression than it did: I registered a star with the International Star Registry for us. I haven't actually seen the details of where it is, and I doubt it can even be seen with Chicago's light pollution, but it's there for all the world to see. Bright and shining. Much like our luuuuuv.

Update: The star is actually magnitude 11.6, near Deneb, in the constellation of Cygnus. being 11.6, it's invisible to the naked eye. But it's permanent. Much like our luuuuuv.