Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekly Weigh In: Week 5

This week saw a couple more pounds drop off as I have gotten myself down to 180.5. With this, I have officially crossed the ten pound threshold. Whee! I didn't notice much of a change in the waistline, but the weight is coming from somewhere, so I'm happy.

I've started working out for ten minutes longer each morning, bringing it up to 40 minutes a day, in part to help with things if I can't work out over the weekend, but also to make myself feel better about slacking off with Wii Fit. Now at least I have an excuse as I have to review Top Spin 3, but I won't always have that. Incidentally, Top Spin 3 gives quite the workout as it uses the motion controls to simulate your player's swing, so I'm still getting some video game exercising done, just not as much as with Wii Fit.

Now that I have lost some appreciable weight, the desire to cheat is so much greater because I feel like I've made good progress so I can now let off a little. I will fight this odious desire though, lest I lose all of the progress I've made. I'm enjoying the fact that I can wear shirts that used to be too small and I'd hate to lose progress. Once I hit my target weight, I'll have to decide if I want to keep going to build in a buffer zone, or stop where I am. I'll keep working out every day, but will probably allow myself a little more to eat, and my usual Friday post-bowling Frosty can come back into my loving arms. Other than that, I don't see much changing. The benefit of dieting, other than losing weight, is learning to enjoy seeing a smaller number on the scale more than eating some late night snack, or something similarly bad for me. As long as I keep working out, and enjoy the bad things in moderation, everything should be just fine.

I finished watching The Cottage today and really enjoyed it. A lot of good comedic bits, even if the horror aspect was a bit formulaic. I'll have to see if I can find the DVD to add to the collection. Not sure what's going to be next, but probably The Mist as I can get the whole thing wrapped up before Friday's day off and lack of working out. The weigh-in will be a day early this week as I'm sure I'll be eating more than normal on Friday, so waiting until Saturday will throw off things. Hopefully the extra working out I'll be doing Mon - Thurs will help make up for losing a day before the next weigh in. Either way, I get to be off the diet (mostly) for an extra day this weekend, two actually as I get Monday off from work, so I don't really care. I'm all about the long term goals so a few extra days of eating, or fewer days of working out won't make much of a difference.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Busy and Such

Sorry for the light posting schedule this week but I have been equal parts busy and lazy. Busy as I needed to finish Secret Agent Clank so that I could return it, thereby allowing GameFly to send me my next review game Hellboy: Seeds of Evil for the PSP. Lazy as once I finished Secret Agent Clank I wanted to watch a movie with the missus and play GTA IV, none of which are conducive to posting.

Speaking of movies, I finished The Ruins and was quite happy with the movie until the ending. Spoilers need to be spoiled in order to have this discussion, so if you wish to see this movie on DVD and don't want things ruined, then run along now.

The movie is about four vacationing Americans and the German tourist they meet while in Mexico, traveling to this archaeological dig site in search of the German guy's brother. Once they get to the temple, one of the Americans, Amy, the wishy-washy girlfriend of Jeff, the take charge med school student, accidentally steps on the vines covering the dig site while their group of people is being yelled at by some crazy villager guy. Once Amy steps on the vines, crazy villager guy gets even crazier, calls his homies, shoots an unfortunately expendable Greek tourist who was along for the ride and makes our intrepid group of five high tail it up to the top of the temple. The villagers don't let the five leave the temple, folks get injured and it turns out that the vines are sentient and will pretty much do whatever they can to kill and eat you.


In the book, everyone dies. I don't remember exactly how, but nobody gets off of that temple alive. It's pretty bleak, and gross, but that's the way the book is. In the movie, not so much. After Jeff and Amy's friends die due to some unfortunate knife action, and well after the German guy had to have his legs cut off and the vines choked him from within, Amy and Jeff hatch a plan to get Amy out of there. Jeff brings her seemingly dead body down to the base of the temple, lies it on the ground, and then walks away from it, around the base of the temple, talking to the villagers and drawing their attention away from Amy. After a very nice speech, he yells her name, the villagers shoot him full of arrows and Amy gets up and bolts into the jungle. She is chased by the villagers, but eventually finds the jeep left by the last group of people, starts the engine and drives off. As she drives off, a vine appears under the skin below her eye and we know that Amy is infected.

Again, bummer.

Here's my problem with that. As bad as it was for everyone to die in the book, they pretty much had to. The vine was growing on their clothes, even in places that hadn't been touched by the vines. The villagers kept watch on the temple, and salted the ground around the temple, to keep the vines out of the surrounding jungle, knowing full well that the vines would spread like crazy and probably kill everything. Amy was probably the weakest character in the group, and while the right thing for her to do would have been to turn around, go back to the temple and take one for the team, I'm pretty sure she didn't do that, so as a result, our world in that movie is probably overrun with killer plants now and we're all dead.

Thanks a bunch, Amy. Loser.

The other problem was that Amy was so whiny that it's not like you really want her to live. The book was much better because you knew that these people were all going to die, it was just a matter of when, and how awful it would be. I had the same feeling while watching the movie, so to then have one of them escape seemed wrong to me. Plus, I don't want to be killed by malevolent plants so Amy needs to die. I've heard that there was an alternate ending, probably more in line with the book, so hopefully in that version, killer vines get a small snack of six tourists, but are denied the main course of our entire planet.

Now I'm watching The Cottage and it's fucking hilarious. Andy Serkis is a genius. Hopefully it won't end poorly.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Now That's What I Call Cost Savings

So I had to bring my car into the dealer today because every time I braked, my brakes made this horrible grating noise. For one it was kind of annoying, for two, anyone who drove with me thought that my brakes were going to fail at any moment, plunging them into a fiery death. As my car is still under warranty I was forced to go the dealer.

While I was there, I was told that my car was due for it's 20k service, which entailed an oil change, tire balancing, emergency brake tweaking, whatever the fuck that is, and a car wash. I needed a car wash. I needed an oil change. I needed my tires rotated. Seemed like a good deal to me.

Several hours later they called to tell me that the noise is normal, however there was an update out for my car, so they replaced the brake pads with new ones. Odd that an update for a car is new brakes however I can't see how my failing brakes would be fixed with software, so I guess it makes sense. Anyway, they also told me that my front tires were out of alignment and as a result they were worn down and needed to be replaced to the tune of 400 bucks. Yeah, I don't think so.

When I picked up my car, the guy explained everything that had been done and then proceeded to try and send me on my way without me paying for anything. When I told him that I needed to pay for the 20k service, he looked confused and then said "But you declined the service." I told him that I declined the new tires, but not the service. Whoopsie. He was very apologetic and said that they could take care of it right away, but I couldn't stay and I figured that if I had to get new tires, getting my existing tires rebalanced and rotated probably wasn't worth it. I told him not to worry and went on my way.

When I went out to my car, I noticed that the car had been washed. Sweet! Free car wash! As I was driving home, I noticed the temperature display. My car has a charming feature that when your oil life gets down to 15%, every time you start the car, the engine light comes on and your normal temperature and trip odometer display is replaced with the oil life. The only way to reset it is to change the car's oil. My car wasn't showing the oil life, it was showing the temperature and the trip odometer. Then I looked up in the corner of my windshield and there was the sticker thanking me for going to the dealer, and that I needed my next service at 25k. Sweet! Free 20k service, or at least free oil change!

When I left the dealership, the service guy said that I'd be getting a survey in the mail and that he knows he'll get dinged on the service snafu, but the only way he passes if I give him "excellent" across the board. Sir, you just saved me 100 bucks. I'd say that's pretty fucking excellent.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekly Weigh In: Week 4

After a week of what seemed like complete and total starvation, I emerged from the week with a new weight of 182.5. This represents a loss of either a pound or a pound and a half, depending on which value from the previous week's weigh-in you're going with. I was a little disappointed in the loss, as I had wished for more, but I was a Wii Fit slacker all week, exercising maybe one night. My disappointment quickly faded though when I busted out the measuring tape and found that I now have a 38 inch waist line, something I haven't had in years. It's all very strange how you can go all week, seemingly without losing anything and then a bunch of weight falls off, or how you can be losing weight but your stomach remains the same size until you lose some minuscule amount of weight and it is coupled with a 2 inch drop in the waist size. Methinks there's some inaccurate measuring going on, but still, it all can't be chalked up to incompetence. Then again, this is me, so maybe it can be.

This past week I finished watched Bullitt and Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms which I finished up today. Tomorrow I'm going to start on the stack of horror movies I've had sticking around for some time now but never got around to watching. I have The Host (Korean monster movie), The Cottage (crime horror comedy), The Mist (American monster movie) and The Ruins (American sort of monster movie). Most of them are around 90 minutes, which makes for something I can watch in the space of a week without the weekend dulling my memory. My memory isn't so good to begin with, even when it's not being starved so all bets are off when dieting. I'm lucky I remember to put pants on in the morning. I did put pants on didn't I?


Ah. Ahem. Back in a bit.

Hot Shots: Open Tee 2 review

My review for Hot Shots: Open Tee 2 is up. Personally, I think my original is better than the edited version. Oh well, such is life in the big game reviewing city.

Friday, June 20, 2008


As promised, here are some panoramic shots of my desk at work. You'll have to forgive the blurriness of some of them as a) it's a cell phone camera, b) the lighting in here is conducive to one and only thing, crushing the souls of men, and c) my hands shake a wee bit, making it somewhat tough to line up the seams in the photos. Enjoy!

So here we have the view from my chair, were I to scoot back a few feet from my desk. Starting on the left we have my Redskins mug, the Hellboy movie poster that everyone keeps knocking down, a picture of palm trees from last year's vacation, my Xerox hat which is resting atop the unseen Dr. Chiaopolis, my Einstein-esque Chia head. After that are a bunch of pictures of the kids, a poster of Pearl Jam at Benaroya Hall, and the beginning of the Transformers collection resting on my PC (those are the Real Gear robots). The desktop image is from Okami, with Legends class Cyberton Transformers below the monitor, flanked by the protoform movie Transformers and with Pikachu in the middle, as he should be. After the monitor is Donatello from a co-worker's kid's Burger King happy meal, some more family pics, my Hellboy Animated statue, my Get Fuzzy calendar, my phone, and the deluxe class movie Transformers. Whew!

More phone goodness. More Transformers, along with my Weighted Companion Cube, half of Lugnut from the animated Transformers show and my lenticular Transformers: The Movie card resting in front of the framed picture of Fido, my trusty T-rex. Don't ask.

Here are all of the deluxe class Transformers (the ten buck ones) with some Legends class movie robots and the aforementioned Lugnut thrown in. Lugnut looks blurry because he's quivering in anticipation of being reunited with his beloved Megatron, not because I'm a shitty photographer. You can also see the corner of my New Yorker Office calendar which is filled with hilarious cartoons from New Yorker magazine about the crushing toil of everyday work. They're a hoot.

Up here are all of the Classics Transformers with some Cybertron ones thrown in as well as Animated Blackarachnia, Ratchet and Grimlock. I have some toy moving to do, so they got shoved in where they'd fit. Long time fans of the site will remember this as the location of the Battle Royale. That diorama is no more as I got tired of it and some of the combatants kept falling down. Bastards.

Finally, up top are all of the big guys. The movie Voyager and Leader class toys. Rescue Ratchet, Incinerator and Evac are in vehicle mode because they're fun to transform and I haven't gotten around to transforming all of the others. Plus, the Leader class toys make a hell of a lot of noise when you transform them, thereby cementing my coworkers' ideas about me not doing a damn thing at work.

So, there you have it. Behold my work lair of geekishness. It may be time to chronicle the Lego stronghold that is my home office as well. I'll have to spend more time with my phone's camera first though, or see if my wife's camera has the same functionality. It'll be damn hard to line up shots based on three inch tall Lego figures. To the research lab!

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Riddle Redux

Yesterday I found out that the contact lenses I'll need to wear for the rest of my life, or until I get cybernetic eyes will cost $46 a month. Minus the $140 a year I get from the insurance, the answer to the riddle "When is free not really free", works out to "when it's $412 a year". Lovely.

In other news, a shiny new phone from Sprint showed up on my doorstop today, a full day after my original shiny new phone showed up. Either the Sprint shipping department heard of my praise for them and decided to reward me with a new phone, or they're the reason that Sprint is having so many problems. Sending free phones to anyone who asks for one can't be good for the bottom line. I need to give credit to my beautiful bride, Linda for that last joke. She'll be here all week. Try the veal.

After a night of blistering frustration, my phone is humming along nicely. As it turns out, the Java suite, or whatever the hell you want to call it, can't run programs for shit, so Gmail's client, and Opera Mini, the two programs I used the most on my Palm, didn't run at all. Bummer. One new Java suite and one Opera Mobile download later, we're cooking with gas. This phone is damn nice, and I'm already having a good time with it, having lost pretty much my entire day to fracking around with it. It even has a panoramic camera thingy where it'll stitch three photos together. Very nice. Tomorrow I'll take some pictures of my cube at work so that you can see the panoramic mode in action, as well as how many toys I have. Try and sleep tonight, despite the excitement you must be feeling.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take That Terrorists

In my ever increasing effort to single handedly prop up this great nation's economy, thereby destroying terrorism at the speed of thought at the very same time, I have made a number of purchases this week that I feel the need to share with you.

First up, is my shiny new toy, the HTC Mogul, courtesy of Sprint. I had grown tired of my Palm of late, what with it's sluggish touch screen, no doubt made slow from the various high speed ground collisions I subjected it to, and it's need to leave the phone portion of the device off even though the dulcet start-up tones led me to believe otherwise. I need a full size keyboard for all of my Gmailing on the go, so those fancy touch screen models wouldn't have worked. The notion of dealing with Windows Mobile somewhat scares me, but I think in the end, I'll be happier. The ability to remote into my machine at work while on the go, combined with the ability to turn the phone into a mobile WiFi access point certainly makes the OS wrangling worth it. Plus, it's a damn pretty phone. I hesitate to call it sexy, as I hate that term for describing inanimate objects, or animate objects that aren't actual humans, but it is certainly attractive, for a phone, and if I were a telecommunications device, like a fax machine, or a CB, I'd certainly want to freak it nasty. Linda ordered it for me on Monday and it arrived before Wednesday barely had a chance to get going, so despite the problems that Sprint as a company is dealing with right now, their shipping department is not one of them. Good for you Sprint shipping department, way to knock it out of the park.

Realizing that terrorism wasn't quite dead ye, I continued to spend, spend, spend, striking a blow for democracy everywhere. The fine people at TopatoCo have a brand new t-shirt for preordering, so I did just that. The first, displays the result of when a chicken and a pig love each other, very, very much. Let's just say, that the results are delicious.

The second t-shirt shows the calamitous result of a gorilla meeting up with a great white shark. It ain't pretty. I bought this shirt partially for myself but mostly to inform the general public as to the destructive powers that would be brought to bear on our fine race if the natural cunning of the gorilla were ever teamed up with the ruthless ferocity of the great white shark. Luckily for us, their mutual hatred of each other ensures that they will never join forces and focus their ire on us, but if they do, God help us all.

Finally, I bought a shirt that lays bare the human condition for all to see, namely that at the end of the day, we're all just made of meat. It doesn't matter how pretty you are, or how much money you have, or how many beautiful people you have sex with, you're just a walking pork chop, with little or no defenses at your disposal should a gorilla or a great white shark want to roll you in Shake-and-Bake and serve you with a side of applesauce. As much as I love this shirt, I will refrain from wearing it to the zoo lest I give the tigers any good ideas. The last time I was there, they looked at me in a manner best described as unnerving.

Unfortunately, not all intended purchases were able to be made today as my attempts to procure the season 1 set of Burn Notice was unsuccessful. If you don't watch this show, you should as it's awesome. Michael Westen is super cool and the show moves at a really good clip. Plus, it has Bruce Campbell in it. Bruce Campbell! If you don't want to pony up 35 bucks for the set, at least rent the dang thing so that you're all caught up for when the second season starts in July.

Phew! I'm tired. Securing capitalism's footholds in an uncaring world is a tough job. I should go take a nap and then maybe write some reviews or something so that I can pay for all of this shit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Riddle Me This

Here's a riddle for you:

When is free not really free?

The answer is a long one, so sit tight. Back in 1999, Linda and I started working for a company that managed to somehow get LASIK as an approved procedure in the vision plan. When I say approved, I mean, no out of pocket cost whatsoever. Nada. Zip. Zero. We both got the corrective surgery done and neither one of us paid one cent.

Fast forward to last year and I noticed that my vision was starting to diminish, especially in my right eye. I got glasses for driving, but mostly, things were ok. Fast forward to the beginning of this year and my vision in my right eye had gotten to the point where I couldn't read street signs. I do all of the legwork and find out that because I had been keeping up with my yearly eye appointments, I'm eligible to have my LASIK touched up free of charge.

So a couple of weeks ago, I go for this mega-dilation that they do so that my optometrist can get a better look at my eye before I go in for the LASIK evaluation and he tells me that my vision has gotten worse since February, which is kind of strange, because it had only been a few months and I had developed astigmatism, which is also odd. He also tells me that my cornea is kind of thin, but is probably thick enough for the surgery.

Today I went for the LASIK evaluation and found out that they can't use LASIK to correct my vision. It would appear that back when they did the original surgery they thinned out the cornea too much causing two problems. One, my cornea is too thin for further surgery, and two, the thinned cornea is bulging out due to the pressure in my eye, hence the astigmatism.

Unfortunately, glasses won't correct the problem due to the fact that the lenses are farther from my eyes and my brain won't be able to put 2 and 2 together and I'll feel like my head is going to explode. That leaves contact lenses, which I wore in high school, and hated. If things continue to get worse, I'll have to switch to a hard lens, in the hope that it will keep the cornea's shape. If that doesn't work, then I'll need a corneal transplant.

Granted, that last one is probably not going to be needed, but at the same time, I woke up this morning hoping to be able to get my vision touched up and instead found out that I'll need to wear contact lenses for the rest of my life. Not exactly what I was hoping for, especially when you consider that prior to getting the LASIK, I wore glasses which are pretty much the easiest thing in the world to deal with.

Oh well. At least I'm still alive, and my vision can be corrected so if all I have to deal with is putting in contact lenses, then I guess I got off fairly easy. Tomorrow I go in to get fitted for the fucking things. I can't wait!

Oh, and Stan Winston died, so it's been a pretty big crap storm of a day. Here's hoping tomorrow is better and I don't find out that my physical therapy caused my knee to fall off.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekly Weigh In: Week 3

This week saw the largest weight movement thus far with a weigh in of 183.5 lbs, for a loss of 3 lbs and one inch off of ye olde waistline. Woo-hoo! The waistline measurement isn't exact as sadly, my gut is bigger than what the fabric measuring tape we have can measure. It seems like an inch, so let's just go with that.

This past weekend I did pretty well with the eating. My Father's Day choice was to get ribs from my favorite rib shack, and seeing how we did Father's Day on Saturday, I had a chance on Sunday to eat more normally, thereby making sure that I don't spend the first half of this week working off all the food I ate over the weekend. The diet is still going well, although my sister is in town this week, and today was her birthday so I ate more than usual. I still did better than I normally do in these situations, so there's that.

Last week, I finished the Doctor Strange animated movie and then finished the week off with Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron. The Doctor Strange movie was OK. There was a lot of build up and very sedate final battle. Blood and Iron, on the other hand, kicked ass. The last time I watched this movie it was when Cartoon Network originally broadcast it and they managed to take a 75 minute movie and stretch it into two hours. In doing so, they completely shattered any narrative flow that the movie had going on. Watching it without commercials was so much better. Since then I've taken a break from the animation an am now watching Bullitt. Steve McQueen is so fucking cool that I can barely stand it. Jacqueline Bisset is pretty easy on the eyes too.

Hopefully my progress will continue on this week and soon I'll be at my goal. Then I can go back to eating like a slob. Whee!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Friday

Yay, it's Friday, happiest of days!

Or is it?

For some reason, yesterday I got to thinking about how glad I was that I was just one day away from Friday, when it would be the weekend and I could get down with my bad self, hang with the family and generally get away from work. Then, for some reason, I thought of the people for which Friday represented the end of something wonderful and not the end of a week spent in drudgery and toil.

It's summer time now, which means summer vacations and exotic trips and times spent at camp. Right now there are people who are having the best week of their lives, as they spend their time frolicking on exotic beaches and eating fantastic dishes paired with refreshing drinks. These people have never been so relaxed and free as they did this past week.

Or there's a woman who went on a trip, not meaning to do anything but spend time with herself and she happened to meet someone, someone who stirs in her feelings she never knew she had. She lives away, far away from this someone, far enough to make it unreasonable to have more time with this person exist outside of this bubble of paradise she has managed to find herself in.

Or there's a boy who went to camp, not wanting to at all, lonely and depressed when he arrived, because he couldn't compete with at the athletic events, nor did he really want to. He planned on a week of misery until he saw her, and her shy smile told him that she felt the same way about her surroundings as he did. When they finally kissed, each sharing their first with each other, under the late week evening's swollen moon, he hoped that he would remember this moment for all of his life, how her lips were so soft and how her hair smelled like strawberries.

For these people, Friday represents and ending to something they will never get back, never be able to extend, never be able to recapture. The very fact that their experiences were finite, and that they knew of this limitation, even when they desperately tried to forget about it, made their weeks so much sweeter yet makes today so much more painful.

We'll always have the pictures, they'll think. There will be other vacations! We'll go on one every year! And they will, but no matter how good a time they'll have, it will never be as good as this time, and it will sit there, in their hearts, gnawing away at their good times.

We can write, we can call! We'll see each other! But they won't. Geography and time and lives and the real world get in the way to when you can't remember exactly what it was about the other person that got you so excited. If you do meet, you'll desperately hope to recapture what you felt during that blissful week, but it is lost, gone into the ether.

We can call, our parents will take us to visit each other! But they won't. They don't remember what it's like to be 13, when everything seemed to be life or death, when love was uncluttered with adult responsibilities and diminished by the passing of time and the eventual familiarity of decades with the same person.

To these people, I say hold on to this week. Hold it in your heart and guard it and keep it precious. You may never relive it, or return to it, but you can never lose it. It will stay with you even when the details are somewhat fuzzy and you can't remember which place you went on what day, or the exact color of his eyes, or where she said she went to school. At that point, it will have become something else to you, possibly even bested by some greater event you experience, but it will be no less comforting, no less wondrous, no less stirring.

To the rest of you, I say, Happy Friday. Drinks are on me. This is some depressing shit.

Lego Indiana Jones DS review

After a short, though fun romp through the Lego Indiana Jones universe, my review is up.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

About Fucking Time

The Supreme Court ruled today that detainees in Guantánamo Bay can challenge their charges in civilian courts. Basically we've given them the right of habeas corpus, which they should have had from the beginning as they're being held in an institution controlled by the US government.

I'm sure that this doesn't feel like a big deal, and I'm sure that our shitty ass media won't talk much about it, but this is a huge deal. Basically, the Supreme Court told the present administration that you can't just suspend basic constitutional rights simply because times are tough. In fact, the Constitution is designed to weather tough times as the opinion so eloquently states:

The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system, they are reconciled within the framework of law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, part of that law.
Habeas corpus is so important, and was so important to the framers that it is included in the Constitution. In other words, they didn't need to sit around and think about whether or not the government should be able to imprison you for no reason. They knew that the government should not be able to right from the start.

Make no mistake, the part of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that this ruling strikes down is exactly that, the government imprisoning people for no reason. This might seem all well and good when it's some dude from thousands of miles away taken in the dead of night and imprisoned with no knowledge of the charges against him, but what if it's you? What if your kid starts hanging out on message boards online with no real understanding of what they're espousing and gets flagged as a possible enemy combatant? There is no piece of legislation that says that "enemy combatants" can't be US citizens. There was nothing in the law struck down today saying that the government couldn't come into your house, seize you, an American citizen, and deny you the most basic of Constitutional rights that this country was built on. I'm not so naive as to think that every detainee in Guantánamo Bay is completely innocent of the charges brought against them, however suspicion of guilt is not enough to deny them a fair trial, even if they are guilty of crimes against US citizens. We, as Americans, are better than that. We have to be. The underlying principals that our country was founded upon demand that we be better than that. If these detainees are guilty, then let them have their trials so that we can have justice. If not, then for Christ's sake, let these people go. It's been seven years since the detention center opened.

One more thing to consider before I get off of my soapbox. Three of the Justices who sided with the majority, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter are all expected to retire during the term of the next president. Obama has stated that he favors Justices in the mold of Souter and Ginsburg whereas McCain favors the kind of Justices in the minority, Sam Alito and John Roberts specifically, none of whom are expected to go anywhere any time soon. This statement only serves to emphasize just how important this next Presidential election is, and how the decisions made during the next Presidency will have effects that will last for decades. Supreme Court appointments are life long appointments. It doesn't take a master detective to determine who I'll be voting for in the fall, but if you think that you don't need to vote because it's all meaningless, I can assure you that it is not.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Learning: 1, Crass Commercialism: 0

On days like today when my daughter is a bit on the tired side (freaking out over nothing and then not calming down) we put her to bed a good half hour or so before her brother. On these days, when he's the only one watching TV, I usually let him watch an episode of Transformers Animated with me. Of late though he's been hooked on this show called Super WHY! on PBS. It's about this kid named Wyatt who goes with his friends into books and then they find letters to help spell the answer to some pressing problem such as which toy to buy.

Tonight, I gave him the choice of watching either Transformers or Super WHY! and I was extremely surprised to see that he wanted to watch Super WHY!. I guess it's not completely unexpected as every day he tells me that Wyatt turns into Super WHY! that he's Wyatt, that he wears a green mask. Like Wyatt. You know, the guy who turns into Super WHY!. He also tells me about how he tells all of his friends at school that they can play Super Readers at school, but they can't be Super WHY! because he's Super WHY!. Magnanimous to a fault, that's my kid.

I also think that he knows that watching Transformers means he can't stay up as late because it's jam packed with commercials that we just skip through. In fact, the last time we watched it, when it was over he turned to my wife and said that the show was pretty short. He's not wrong, it is pretty damn short, clocking in at just over 20 minutes per episode by the time you cut out the opening and closing credits.

I'm not unhappy that he'd rather watch a show about spelling and reading over a 20+ minute long commercial for toys that, most likely, he won't get. After all, once I'm done buying them for myself, I have very little money left over for others. Hey, I have two jobs, thank you very much. I was surprised though as I would have thought that giant, fighting robots would win over reading any day. Far be it from me to discourage it though. Hell, I'll buy him all of the books he wants, including books about Transformers. I'll even buy him a green mask as I understand that Wyatt wears a green mask. You know, the guy who turns into Super WHY!.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Myst DS review

Man this game was a train wreck. You can sift through the wreckage in my review.

Weekly Weigh In: Week 2

I figured that I'd be in for some problems on Saturday as Friday we had a pot luck at work and people brought in an obscene amount of food. Granted, I didn't have any dinner, so I had almost 24 hours to digest everything but still. Imagine my surprise when Saturday's weigh-in showed 187 and then 186.5, a drop of 1.5 or two pounds, depending on which reading you go with.

Alas, my poor eating continued into the weekend, so that was the last time I'd see those low numbers all weekend. Granted, I didn't eat so much as to gain it all back, I'm not sure that's even physically possible, but still. My scale is, unfortunately, somewhat wonky, so I'm not sure exactly what's going on, however the Wii balance board noticed an uptick as well, so there was definitely some bad stuff going on, the debate is just over how bad it is.

I slacked off pretty heavily with Wii Fit over the week out of nothing but laziness and a desire to play GTA IV however I made up for it by riding the bike an extra 1o minutes a day. Alas, I don't have that luxury this week so it's back to the yoga and push-ups. When you're trying to just get a small work out in, all of the extra crap you have to do in the menus becomes a real pain in the ass. Even so, I should be able to strike a nice balance between Wii Fit and my other gaming this week. Even if the Wii Fit isn't helping so much with the weight loss, I'm definitely getting better at the exercises, so something good is going on.

In other news, I watched the Marvel animated flick The Invincible Iron Man last week while working out and man, what a stupid piece of crap that was. I think I only paid something like five bucks to buy it, but it was still a waste. Now I'm watching the animated Doctor Strange movie, and aside from there being some sort of ridiculous super group of sorcerers, it's not bad. Given that the one guy in the group is shown on the DVD box fighting with Doc Strange, I'm assuming this dude kills everyone else off, leaving Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme. I don't see how this is supposed to be a big deal as apparently they can just recruit any old person to wield Teh Majiks, but I'm sure the movie will explain it all in it's own retarded way. At least the animation for the magic is cool. After this one, I think I'll watch the animated Hellboy movies as I know they're good.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Blinded By the Light

Today I had to have my eyes massively dilated for a LASIK evaluation. The two receptionists made it sound like I was going to be blind for the next 24 hours, but other than needing to wear sunglasses on the way home, and while doing dishes (no shaded on the windows above the sink) and while mowing the lawn, things have been fairly normal. Oh sure, everything has a somewhat blurry tinge to it, and I can't read too well, but other than that, and looking like a junkie, it's all peachy keen.

I'm still not sure if LASIK is an option for me as I may have developed a condition in my right eye that manifests itself as astigmatism, severely so in younger people, and it's not treatable with LASIK. They can install something in your eye, like a contact lens, that stretches the cornea to be more round, or I can just wear a contact in my right eye, neither of which are all that attractive an option. Truth be told, unless I needed the contact to keep my eyes, well eye, from getting worse, I'd probably just go back to glasses. Either that or a monocle, although that last one will require a lot of convincing of ye olde wife.

I'll be having the final LASIK evaluation in the next couple of weeks, and they'll do a corneal topography to see once and for all just how jacked up my eye is. Hopefully not too much and they can fire up the Lasertron 4000 and get things done. Whatever the cause, I'll be sure to share all of my eye slicing stories with all of you. I'm sure you can't wait.

Penny Arcade game review

My review of the Penny Arcade game is up if you're at all interested. It's a fun game, if a little short. I still need to go through it again to get all of the achievements, which makes the short length an asset.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Well, as you can see, my local Walmart had a tremendous amount, if not all, of the Animated Transformers figures. Why Walmart has them, yet they still haven't shipped to me from Hasbro's own toy shop, I have no idea, but there it is.

As much as I'd like to keep each and every one of them, alas, many of them will be going back. Optimus, Megatron, the Optimus vs Megatron 2-pack, Lockdown, Prowl, Bulkhead and Starscream are all going back as I ordered them from the Hasbro Toy Shop with a 20% off coupon along with another, larger Optimus, and I can get all of those toys for about 20 bucks less than what I paid at Walmart, and that's with shipping. It's like getting the Optimus vs Megatron 2-pack free, which is hard to pass up, even with all of these toys right in front of me.

Lugnut, Grimlock, Ratchet and Blackarachnia get to stay as they were ordered without a coupon so it was cheaper to get them at Wallyworld. I will be opening them shortly. Bumblebee also gets to stay as he'll be a gift for my son at some future time. I'll probably also get him a Ratchet to compliment his Rescue Ratchet fast action battler.

I really was amazed at how many they had at my Walmart as two other trips to Walmarts brought nothing but the aforementioned 2-pack. My Walmart usually gets things all sorts of last, so to see so much Animated goodness was unexpected and exciting.

What this means is that I'll be ordering my second order with the Hasbro Toy Shop, the order that contained Lugnut et al, however it also contained my Leader Class Bulkhead and Megatron.
Those two are currently slated to ship the second week of July, and reordering them pushes them back to August, so I think I'll just leave them as canceled and press my luck at retail.

It sucks to have to return the figures, but at the same time, I need time to move my books from the bookshelves in my office to the built-in shelves in the living room to make room for more figures. Also, this way I get a big old box in the mail in a few short weeks containing not only everything I'm returning but an additional Optimus Prime. Plus, I have four new figures to play with. Given all of this, and the money saved by waiting, it'd be silly to keep them all.

Enough talking. Ratchet is a callin'!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I asked my wife what to post about today, and her response was "potatoes". I'm not sure what to do with this, however I try to listen to my wife whenever possible as she is wise beyond her years, and happens to be the only person I'm allowed to have sex with, so I try to follow her advice as much as possible.

So, potatoes. As a rule, I enjoy them. Truth be told, I don't know anyone who doesn't like potatoes in some form. I mean, what's not to like? They're starchy, which makes them filling, and they go well with pretty much anything. Butter? Check. Sour cream? Check. Bacon? Check. I mean, name one other food that can be covered in butter, sour cream and bacon and taste that good. I'm sure there are others out there, but can any of them be cooked, then scraped out of their crispy shell, have their filling mixed with cheese, butter, sour cream and bacon and then shoved back in themselves, only to go back in the oven? Well, sure, cats, but other than cats? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Fried, scalloped, tater totted, hash browned, twice backed, new, red, roasted, in a casserole, in a Shepard's Pie, covering sausage in a dish of Bangers and Mash in Irish Pub, in a tasty stew, kicking it with some pot roast, if there's a way to make potatoes, by God, I'll eat them.

So there you go. Potatoes. Great food, or the greatest food? You be the judge.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wii Fit Mayhem

Once again GameShark flexes it's synergistic muscle and runs both my review of Wii Fit and my Wii Fit themed Mr. Binky column.

Linda took all of the pictures for the column so you can thank her for displaying my slothful, slug-like frame in all of its glory. The balance board really does make an excellent cutting board and step stool, which is something Nintendo should investigate for future marketing materials. You're welcome, Nintendo.

Monday, June 02, 2008

First Weekly Weigh In

The results of the first weekly weigh in are here and my weight has dropped to, drum roll please....

...188 pounds.

Woo-hoo! I know that this is still a large number, however it represents a 3.5 lb loss since I started the whole exercise thing two weeks ago. I can't see a difference in the waist line yet, and according to my scale, my body fat percentage is roughly the same, but hey, I'll take the weight loss. Let's just hope it isn't water.

This past week was the first week where I dieted as well as really tried to get my heart rate up and I think it helped to get things going. I figure that between burning off 300 calories a day and taking in 300 less calories a day, I can lose around a pound a week. That will make my goal of 16 pounds in 3 months hard to meet, but at least the process has started. This week with both kids home from daycare, I can work out a little longer in the morning, so hopefully that will help too. I also continue to rock the Wii Fit every day for about 20 minutes of activity (not menu surfing, actual activity) which can only help in the weight loss process. I can't say that I feel much more toned, but my scores are, for the most part, improving, so I must be doing something right. I can tell you that the dancer yoga pose is pretty fucking difficult. I mean, zero points and nothing but pain difficult. I think I'll work up to that one.

More updates next week after Saturday's weigh in.