Saturday, March 28, 2015

Another Potter Podcast & NerdStrong Movie Night

I got home from the gym and had just a half hour to get ready to record another podcast for Treks in Sci Fi. Rico and I continue looking at the Harry Potter book and movie series. Today's podcast covered Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is probably my favorite of the books and I really enjoyed this movie as this is when the look of the films took a much darker and more realistic take. Rico and I recorded for just over two hours and had a great time discuss this book/film. I'll have it all edited up and it should be posted towards the end of April and as you all know I'll mentioned it again on my blog when it's released.

During the evening I headed back to NerdStrong Gym, not to work out but for movie night. Tonight we are watching my favorite of the Alien movies... Aliens. This is my first movie night at NerdStrong as the last movie night when they watched The Last Starfighter landed on my D&D night so I couldn't go. So I was looking forward to this. I brought my comfy chair (which everyone commented on), some snacks to share as well as a whole cooked chicken (it was my dinner). Around 20 people showed up, found a place to cope a squat and the movie began. We watched the directors cut of the movie, which I've only seen once. The biggest difference that I noticed was the entire "colony" scene where we are introduced to Newt and her family and the beginning of the outbreak on the planet.

I wasn't sure if this was going to be in the style of Mystery Science 3000 with folks chatting and commenting to what is happening on screen, but for the most part it was silent and everyone was focused on the movie. Of course all of Hudsons one liners got a huge laughs, as they always do. It was an enjoyable evening of snacks, aliens & friends. Now I get to look forward to tomorrows workout which will be Aliens themed... can't wait!!

Oh and I want to mention my friend Erin wore this amazing Ahsoka Tano outfit to the screening.. she looked great. We're both HUGE fans and enjoy talking Ahsoka when we can.

NerdStrong Gym - Rowing & Thrusters

Saturday NerdStrong class was a good one, another CON session. We started with a warm up of rowing and PVC Pass Thrus. We did 100 meters of rowing then did 10x PVC Pass Thrus and repeated it three times.

We then went over techniques for Rowing and Thrusters. For Rowing they showed us how to do a quick release from the foot bands, luckily it was something that I was already doing. And for Thrusters we went over form to ensure that we were all doing it properly.

The workout was done in heats. Since there were nine of us we were broken down into three heats. I was part of heat 3, which meant I went last. This was a consistent 8 minute workout which involved funny enough Rowing and Thrusters. We first did a 15 Calorie Row (depending on your reach that can take two to three rows per calorie), and then we had to grab either a barbell or some dumbbells (my choice) and do 15x Thrusters.

For the first round, Heat 3 were just cheerleaders, cheering on Heat 1. When Heat 2 started we became coaches and counted their reps while encouraging them. And finally it was Heat 3's turn. I actually got the furthest in my heat, I did 3 complete rounds of rowing and thrusters and then got in 8 more rows before my eight minutes was up.

I definitely pushed myself to my limit and just beyond but I felt great just a few minutes later.  Another successful and fun workout at NerdStrong gym.. Thanks Andrew

Friday, March 27, 2015

SDCC Hotel Issues

So I have a secure hotel room and I was happy but then my buddy Steven informed me that he had an extra room at the some hotel and wanted to offer it to me. It was cheaper then the one Robert got but it was also only a "twin" room, Roberts was a Quad. But my brother and I have talked about getting a room just for the two of us, I've always shared with three other people... so I told Steve I would take it. I went online and tried to modify the info and put the hotel room in my name, well that didn't go well. The page has broken and now I can't add my credit card or make any modifications. So instead I called their 800 number and was on hold for over 45 minutes before finally getting a hold of them. I explained the situation to the woman on the other end and she tried to add my credit card info but she was unable to do it as well. There seems to be a glitch in their system effecting my reservation. She "supposedly" reported it to the their IT department. 

I then asked to change the hotel room reservation name to mine and gave her my information but like with the glitch with the credit card, she wasn't able to change anything on my reservation. She said the IT people should have it fixed within 24 hours and to try again tomorrow.. fingers crossed all goes well.

NerdStrong Gym - Open Gym

Today is my first Friday workout at NerdStrong Gym, it's an open gym session and I want to start working on building up my chest and back. Being short and stocky has some benefits, like a "barrel" chest. My chest has always been large and I also have a somewhat "V" shape to my body. I just want to enhance what I already have and really define the "V".

I spoke with coach Blair and he created a personal workout routine for me.  It started with 5 Reps for 5 Rounds of Dumbbell Rows, but unlike the other dumbbell rows that I have done for previous classes he had me do these from a bench instead of on the floor.

I then moved on to Bar Pull Ups and again I did 5 Reps for 5 Rounds. These were tough but man do you feel them working the back muscles.

I then did 10 Reps for 5 Rounds of something called Supermanz. And they pretty much are what they sound like. You lay on the ground and lift your head and shoulder off up while simultaneously lifting your legs and feet off the ground. This seems easy at first but when your on round 4 you really start to feel it.

And the final thing I did was Bench Press, these I did will fellow workout buddy Josh, we did 8 reps at a light weight, then 5, then 3, then 2 and finally 1 at our heaviest weight. I set a new record for me for Bench Press. I managed to do a press at 175 lbs.

Overall I was very happy with this workout.. Thanks coach Blair for creating it and I look forward to continuing my Friday Open Gym Workouts.

NerdStrong Six Days A Week!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Downton To End, Alien Nation Reboot & Con Crazies

So I've been hearing rumors the past few weeks that season/series six of Downton Abbey will be the last season/series. I kept saying that I won't believe it until it's official.. well it's official. Season/Series 6 will be the final visit with the Crawleys. I am extremely disappointed that they have decided to end the series. It's one of my favorites and a series I can watch over and over again, in fact I have watched the first five seasons over and over again. I know they are currently filming season/series six so hopefully will get some closure with these characters. I expect several weddings or at least engagements. I guess I should be thankful that we got / will get six amazing seasons. It will be sad saying goodbye to this family.

There have been rumors of Fox resurrecting Alien Nation, as a movie or as a new TV series. Well it looks like rumors are abound once again and Fox is looking into rebooting the movie. Only time will tell if it actually happens or not. If it does it will be interesting to see how they go about rebooting it.

So we got the results of the SDCC hotel lottery and I didn't get anything. So I had to wait and see if any of my friends got anything. And luckily they did.. my buddy Robert got a room and not only a room but it's at a hotel that is only 3 blocks from the convention center (it's the closest that I have ever stayed), so as of right now things are looking up for SDCC hotel rooms.

And in other Convention news I finally got my Star Wars Celebration badges. This has been an ordeal as I changed my address on their website but it didn't seem to work as they sent the badges to my old home address. Luckily I'm still in contact with the owners of my former house so I was able to email him and ask him to keep an eye out for it. I also contacted SW Celebration and they said there wasn't much they could do since the badges were already sent out. They did say that if I didn't get them a week before the con to contact them. Well a few days ago I got an email informing me that the badges could not be delivered and returned. They asked for my new address, which I gave them and today they arrived in my mail box.

I don't know what it is but I seem to have a "con" curse this year. Everything seems to workout in the end man is it a roller coaster of a ride to get to it.

NerdStrong Gym - Barbell Rows and Deadlifts

Strength day at NerdStrong Gym. Coach Andrew was running this one. And actually only two people showed up for the 7am class.. me and my buddy Derek. So it was more like a one on one session with the coach (which is awesome).

It was a good warm up, Butt Kickers, 5x Squats, 5x V Ups, then High Kicks and again 5x Squats, 5x V Ups, Toy Soliders, 5x Squats, 5x V Ups, Lunges, then 5x Squats, 5x V Ups, 10x PVC Good Mornings and finally our final 5x Squats, 5x V Ups.

Now for the workout we were doing Barbell Rows and Deadlifts.

First were Barbells and we were doing 5 sets of 5 reps and then 1 set for 10 reps. This was more about form and less about weight. We weren't doing our one rep max to see how much we could do. And since it was just Derek and I, Andrew got to spend plenty of time correcting our form.  I would get the form and then lose it as there is a lot of remember when lifting.

We then did Deadlifts and again like with the Barbell Rows it was all about form and less about strength though we did do 5 sets and decreased the reps and increased the weight as we went... 8 / 6 / 4 / 3 / 2. Again like with any of the barbell work there is alot to remember when lifting and though I try and do my best some of them just don't stick in my brain.

Another good workout day at NerdStrong Gym. Thanks Coach Andrew for your patience, with yours and the other coaches continued guidance I'm sure I'll get the correct forms down in time. NerdStrong Gym is the best!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NerdStrong Gym - Sorting Hat Gone Wrong

Today's "CON" workout was a Harry Potter themed workout and I just happen to be wearing my Hufflepuff shirt to workout.. woot!!!

This one was titled The Sorting Hat Is Having A Bad Day and was created by Coach Blair the night before.

It was all about randomness. Like with the Skittle workout we used a D8 and D20 to determine how many reps you had to do during that set.

We made two groups of three. I was teamed up with the ladies that I worked out with yesterday, Lauren and Bailey. We then pulled one random piece of paper from the four different hats (groups). Each piece of paper had a workout on it from the four different categories. We then rolled a dice to see how many we were doing of that workout.

We did five rounds and each round was 4 minutes long, so if you finished you just repeated the set again and again until 4 minutes was up.  Here is how our workout turned out. First round we did 13x Russian Twists, 100 Meter Row, 7x Dumbbell Rows & 8x Wall Balls. Not a bad first round, we got lucky with some rolls.

Our second round was 13x Sit Ups, 2x Dumbbell Thrusters, 50x Mountain Climbers and 1x Ring Row. Again not bad and we really got lucky with the 1 and 2 rolls. But with less reps just means you do more sets to fill up that 4 minutes. So by the end you really aren't doing any less.

For our third round Blair let us pick one from each category and how many times we wanted to do it. I didn't feel comfortable picking how many times and so my team agreed that we'd roll the dice and see what fate would give us. We started with the 100 Meter Row, then 11x Bananas, 5x Bicep Curls and finally 5x Push Ups.

Round four we went back to randomness, we got 5x Dumbbell Thrusts,  12x Bananas (which we were not happy with as they are horrible), 50x Mountain Climbers and then 8x Dumbbell Rows. Now you've been doing this a while and you're starting to feel it.

For our fifth and final round once again Blair let us pick a workout from each category but he specified that we had to choose something that we had not done yet. So we wound up with 8x Burpees, 8x Slam Balls, 17 Sit Ups and 140 Meter Run. I'm the one who rolled for this set and got the highest numbers possible for Burpees and Slam Balls and almost got the max of 20 for Sit Ups. This was probably the hardest workout set of all the rounds and it was also partly due to the fact that it was our last set and we were exhausted.

Overall it was an amazing workout. I may have rolled my eyes a few times at Coach Blair when he asked us to continue to finish off a set though time had ran out.. but he knows I appreciate him and all the coaches at NerdStrong. And I have to say I love these "random" workouts. I hope we get more of them in the future (hint hint).

Afterwards Coach Andrew and Coach Blair retooled the workout a bit so the evening classes got a bit of a different workout then the morning classes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Am I Ashamed of Being Gay?

Of course my answer would be no. I'm happy with who I am as a human being, I like me and my life. I think I'm a fairly good person and try and treat everyone I meet the same. But there are those times when I do question that.. and I don't know if ashamed is the correct word.. maybe it's embarrassed, disappointed or insecure.. what ever term you use it's not good and I hate feeling this way.

Example... when I wear this t-shirt (in photo). It states that Some Dudes Marry Dudes, Get Over It. Now I guess the person wearing this doesn't necessarily need to be gay, they could be a support of LGBT community. But when I wear this shirt I make sure I wear it in appropriate places and I hate that I think like that. When I put this shirt on today I thought to myself. Okay I'm bringing lunch to work so I won't have to go outside for any reason, I'll just remain in my office all day.. yeah it's okay to wear it then. When I'm at work and I leave my office to go to the bathroom (which is down the hall from the our offices) and there are other people walking in the opposite direction I tend to turn my body or fold my arms over the chest so you can't really read the words on the shirt. It's stupid and I hate that I do that but for whatever reason I do.

I don't know if it's because I don't want to make the other person uncomfortable, or the fact that I don't like conflict and this is a way to avoid it, or maybe I care what this complete stranger thinks about me (which is totally stupid). But I think the main reason has to do with fear.. I been called faggot a few times, given the evil eye and threatened with bodily harm. It's hard to predict how a person (a complete stranger) will react when they find out your gay... in a worse case scenario you are beaten to a pulp, strapped to a fence and left for dead. 

I know the feeling is irrational and luckily I don't feel that way 95% of the time but I guess it's just part of being a gay man in a world where 50% of the people hate you, 25% tolerate you and only 25% accept you for who you are.

Resisting Fast Food

Today I struggled with eating out food. I've only eaten out food one time the past few weeks and I have my good and bad days when it comes to temptation. If you know me you know I use to eat fast food three to four times a week, but I've been trying hard to cut back. But today was a particular bad day. I had made me some chicken breast for lunch but it wasn't enough so I had a few bags of chips (Sun chips and Baked chips) but chips non-the-less. Around 5pm I was extremely hungry and didn't want to eat more chips so I tried to drink water to fill up my stomach but it didn't work and I was starting to feel sick to my stomach.

I decided that I'd run down to McDonalds (it's close to my job) and grab some french fries, I've been craving them the past few days. So I made my way to the elevator debating this decision over and over in my head, and when I got to the elevator I opted that it wasn't a good idea so I headed back to my office and was determined to wait until I got home at 7:30 and eat dinner. A few minutes passed and my stomach wasn't doing well so I said screw it.. I'm going to get some french fries. I once again got up and made my way to the elevator debating weather I should or should not do this and once again I opted not to go and headed back to the office. I must have looked funny to my co-workers walking back and forth a few times for no apparent reason. I even did the two steps forwards, then a few steps back and so on a couple of time. It was a huge struggle but I'm happy to say that I did not get the fries. I actually found some snacks in the kitchen that weren't to bad for me.

When I got off work at 7pm the same dilemma happened. I was so hungry that I figured I'd stop by Fat Burger and get me a turkey burger, but of course if I get a turkey burger I'll probably grab some fat fries to go with it, so I resisted and immediately got on the freeway but with every exit I kept thinking, oh I can pick up some El Pollo at this exit, and oh I can get some Taco Bell at that exit but I'm happy to say that I resisted and wound up making dinner at home.

I know dealing with my fast food addiction is going to be tough, I mean it is an addiction after all.  And I won't get over it in a matter of months but I am hoping that after a while it won't be such a struggle

SDCC Hotel Lottery, Cosplay Body Types & New X-Files

When I got home from the gym it was time to sign up for the Hotel Lottery for San Diego Comic Con. I have tried every year since going to SDCC and have had no luck with it. But I have had friends get great hotels this way so I always give it a try. In the past if you didn't fill out the form and send it within two minutes you didn't get the hotels you wanted.. it took me 2 1/2 minutes to complete the form so I'm more then likely out.. but you never know.

I came across this picture and it really struck a cord with me. I have always felt that anyone should be able to cosplay anyone they wish to and this pictures represent that feeling. For me personally I try and cosplay people that I feel fit my body type. I'm short and stocky so I don't feel I can pull off someone like Superman but I'm happy to be a Dwarf or a Hobbit.

News broke today that Fox is bringing back The X-Files for a six episode limited run. Both of the main stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny will be reprising their roles of the F.B.I. agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Also the creator Chris Carter will be back as well. This is fantastic news, I've been a huge fan of this series since it premiered back in 1993, I've seen every episode of the nine seasons and watched the two tie in movies. I'm super excited to see what they come up with for the storyline. I hope it's something special. 

NerdStrong Gym - Just The Three Of Us

It's so funny to me that I miss going to NerdStrong Gym on the days I don't go, which is Monday's and Friday's (this will be changing soon), but I never thought in a million years I'd anticipate going to the gym with such excitement.

When I woke up today I was super excited that today was Tuesday because that means NerdStrong Gym day!!!

When I arrived I noticed that coach Blair was teaching class today. I also noticed that I was the only person there for the 7am class. Luckily just before 7 two more people arrived so we were a team of three.

We started with a Jump Rope warm up. We did 10 jumps, then 20, then 30 and so on up to 50 jumps and then we made our way back down to 10. It wasn't timed, we just have to complete it. By the end of the warm up we jumped rope 250 times.

Now for the workout, this was broken down into four different things and from the looks of it we weren't going to get everything done. The 6am class only got through the first two things and I figured we'd probably do the same. We started with 5 rounds of 6x Weighted Box Step-Overs followed by 1x Wall Walk. Before we started these we went over both things.. the Box Step Overs are pretty self explanatory. You hold kettle bells in your hands and then step up on to the box and step down on the other side of the box, we had to do this three times for a total of six step ups. The Wall Walks is exactly what you expect with a name like Wall Walk. You start by lying on the floor with your feet up against the wall, you then literally walk yourself up the wall and start to climb until you are doing a handstand against the wall. I actually took to these extremely fast. I got up with no assistance the first time. I think it helps that I have a bit of upper body strength.

Once we were done with our 5 rounds we moved on to our next set of workouts. Since there were only three of us Blair gave us the option of which set we wanted to do. The consensus was the third workout which consisted of 12x Sit Ups, 10x Push Ups and 8x Dumbbell Thrusters. We had to do four rounds of each. These are basic moves but after a while it get's tough and I was super happy when we finished.

As predicted we didn't have time for any more workout, our hour had concluded. It was nice having a smaller class as it felt like we were getting a one on one session with the coach. We took our time to learn each move and coach Blair made sure we were doing it properly. It was also fun to see coach Blair so excited when we accomplished a task that we had never done before for the first time. His enthusiasm transferred into us and made us feel great.  Thanks coach Blair for all your awesomeness and encouragement... it's much appreciated.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Agents of SHIELD

I skipped my run this morning as I picked up my friends Robert and Cait last night. They were due to fly into LAX at 11:45 but instead didn't get in until 12:45am and weren't off the plane until 1am. Needless to say when I got home and in bed it was 2am and there was no way I was going to get up at 7am and go for a jog. So I took the day off.

When I got home from work I watched a few TV shows that I had put off watching as I usual watch them with my buddy Erik. He has been in Florida the past few weeks so we have a build up of shows to watch. Tonight we watched the last two episode of Agents of SHIELD. 

We started with S2 Ep 12 "Who You Really Are" Coulson and the team help Lady Sif, who lost her memory after a fight with a mysterious warrior.

It was great to see Lady Sif again, she's always a favorite of mine and I'm happy to get a bit more information about the Kree and Inhumans. I love that they didn't keep the "will the team find out about Skye" storyline going for more then an episode. And I really enjoyed how everyone reacted to the news.. especially May. She's very protective of Skye and she was about to take on an Asgardian to protect her. I'm happy to see that Simmons is softening a bit towards the "them" and "us" mentality. I want a resolution to this Mack and Bobbi storyline. We learned they most certainly were not Hydra, even as their secrecy and intensity, and belief that whatever they’re doing will likely turn everyone against them, raised lots of intriguing questions. I can't wait to see what that is all about and hopefully that will be soon.

Overall it was an enjoyable episode, we got lots of information about who and what these inhumans are and why they were created. We got a few twists and turns and I'm very happy that the core group of characters are sticking together.

And then we watched S2 Ep 13 "One of Us" Cal assembles a team of gifted individuals from SHIELD's Index that include Angar the Screamer and KF Gideon, to get revenge on Coulson. Meanwhile, May calls on her SHIELD ex-husband Dr. Garners - a therapist who may be able to help Skye understand and control her gift.

This was a wild episode, Cal is so crazy and he gather some crazy people to hang with. Those this storyline was the main one I was happy with the b-story with Mack and Bobbi and us finally finding out who they are working for, though this brought up more questions then answers. Who is this "Real" SHIELD. An interesting turn for Skye and controlling her powers. I like that we get a little bit more info about Agent May and her personal life. I liked how Fitts and Simmons slipped back into their fun banter like it was before his accident.

Another enjoyable episode, I can't wait to find out more about these "mysterious" other "inhumans". I love the effects used for the teleporter.  I look forward to seeing the growth of Skye and her powers. And of course who these "real" SHIELD people are.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

D&D / Pathfinder - Trapped in a Room

After my workout I had a few hours to watch some TV and eat some lunch before heading to D&D / Pathfinder. Several of the players were not joining us today and that always makes it more difficult when it comes to battles. We ended our last session entering a room that had the two men that we were looking for but they erected a wall of zombies and were using magic to protect themselves.

As this session started the door closed behind us, locked and a force field of sorts went up around the room making sure we couldn't get out. One of their first spells was a silencing spell, so none of us could talk which meant none of the spell casters (including me, DASH) could cast spells rendered us pretty much useless. We then spent the next five hours in that room, knocking down zombies, doing a bit a damage to the two main guys but then they would just heal each other and revive the zombies again and again and again.

Finally with just a few minutes left in the session and on round 8 the silence spell went down. I was able to cast one spell that didn't seem to do much damage. We managed to blow up a zombie orge and our leader (Ginnon) and second in command (Phlige) managed to switch bodies. And the session was over.

This session was different then all the other sessions that came before it as this is the first time that we never made it out of the room that we started in. The entire session took place in that room and will continue at the beginning of our next session. It was a frustrating for Dash as he couldn't really do much, since he couldn't cast any spells and his dagger (at most causes 6 hp of damage), it was also difficult to move around in that room as it was small and there were a ton of people/zombies in there.

Hopefully we can finish off this battle early on during our next session so we can move on and get out of this room.

I want to thank Dallas, our DM who always does an amazing  job with every session.

NerdStrong Gym - Pillage and Plunder, Viking Workout

I love Sundays at NerdStrong Gym

Today's themed workout is titled "Viking"

This is an older workout so some folks have done this workout before, though I did hear this one was modified and is not as crazy as the last Viking workout.

The warm up was a workout unto itself. We had to do 7 Wall Squats, Run a 140 meters, 7 Sit Ups, 7 Lunges and then 7 PVC Dislocates. We had to do this as many times in 8 minutes. I manged to do it almost four times.

Now that we were thoroughly exhausted the actual workout could begin. Coach David was teaching the class with help from coach Christy. David is awesome and really gets into the themed workouts.

He explained that we are Viking about to pillage a village. We first have to row 500 meters to the shoreline, then we had to grab a weapon (clubs or maces) and then run 500 meters (two laps around the parking lot) to get to the village. Once there you took a mace and started attacking people, 50 to be exact. This was taking a mace and slamming it down on a large tire. We then grabbed a boulder  (Slamball) and for good measures smashed their heads in. This was taking a Slamball and doing 50 Slamball drops. We then had to grab a fallen comrade (weighted Sandbag) and run those 500 meters back to the boat and drop the body in the waiting Funeral Pyre (large tire).

We did it in waves of three people and I was part of wave two with Derek and Miles. I'm happy to say that I finished pretty strong. It was tough but once you find your grove you just do it and try not to let the pain get to you. Afterwards it only took me a few minutes to recover and I was good to go.

Themed workouts are my favorite of all the workouts. Yes they are usually harder but also alot of fun as well. I want to Thank David and Christy for the awesome coaching job and congrats Lauren for completing her first Sunday themed workout. Next Sunday we do an Aliens themed workout.. can't wait to see what that entails.