Saturday, August 22, 2015

NerdStrong Pajama Party and Movie Night

Today is all about NerdStrong Gym. It started with my 10am workout. After the workout I headed home to eat my second breakfast before taking a shower and then heading over to fellow NerdStronger and friend Erin's place for a Pajama party.

I was the first to arrive and got into my Star Wars pajamas, shortly after more people arrived and we started the movie watching. Joining us for the PJ party was Erin and Mike (who is Erin's roommate), Lauren, Pooja, Brent and Matt. Joining the party late was Liz and Derek.

We had planned to watch Star Wars, the original trilogy on blu-ray but Erin was having trouble with her blu-ray player so we opted to watch X-Men Days of Future Past Rogue Edition, which I really wanted to see. And when I say we "watched it" I mean it played in the background while everyone talked about everything. It was a pretty awesome conversation.

It's always fun to see these guys outside of the gym as we really don't get to "hang out" while working out. When we are outside the gym you get to see the many personalities of the NerdStrongers. I mean we are all nerds to an certain extent, some more then others. Some are loud and outgoing while others are quieter and shy. Some are smart at a whip and others hilarious. It's such a wide range of people that it makes these get togethers pretty fantastic!!

After the PJ party I went back to NerdStrong Gym as they were having a screening of Serenity. If you know me you know I'm a HUGE Firefly fan so I couldn't miss this. I was bummed to see only a handful of people showed up but it was still a good time. Now I get to look forward to the Firefly themed workout tomorrow.

NerdStrong Gym - Building A Better Handstand

For Saturdays CON class we continue our Handstand work and core strengthening. We started with a nice warm up and then move into Handstand drills. This was a repeat of last Saturdays drills. We started with Lunge with Arms Up, then moved to Lever to a T, then Lever to Hands Down and finally Lever to Split Kick. I was much better at holding myself back from doing to much this time around.

We then moved on to 3 rounds of one minute of Spider-man Plank Crunch, one minute of Flutter Kicks and one minute of Rest. This is all about the core, doing 30 seconds of something is tough but having to do a full minute of each was crazy hard. Definitely felt it burn, especially the flutter kicks.

We then moved on to some Box Work. We did "L" Holds and then Raised Hollow Holds. This was to prepare us for the inverted feeling when doing an actual handstand.

Next was an 8 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) we had to do 12x Hammer Curls, 12 Brainz and a 230 meter run around the parking lot. I managed to do 3 rounds and finished my third run as the clock ran out.

There was a finisher if there was time but as I recall we did not have time to do that. Overall another great workout, lot's of prep work for the handstand. I'm really looking forward to actually doing handstands since I can already do them but I know all this prep work will help strengthen my handstand. My goal by the end of all this is to do a one handed handstand.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Way He Looks Blu-Ray - My Review

If you've been reading my blog you know I'm obsessed with a movie I watched a few weeks ago called The Way He Looks. You can read my original blog post/review HERE. Well I got the blu ray today. And as soon as I got home from work I immediately started to watch the "bonus features".   

Here are the blu-ray specs...

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
1080p HD
English Subtitles
Spanish Subtitles
Audio Descriptive Track in English

Bonus Features:
Deleted Scenes
Interview with Cast and Crew
Short Film: I Don't Want To Go Back Alone
Original Theatrical Trailer
First thing I watched were the deleted scenes. The directors starts by saying that the original cut of the film was 2 hours long but he cut out 25 minutes as he felt some of the scenes were repetitive. Not only did he cut out complete scenes but he also shorten a few scenes as well. Now we don't get all 25 minutes of deleted scenes which would be amazing but we do get about 15 minutes of deleted and extended scenes. I'm sure the director had his reasons to cut these scenes but I found some of them really help round out some characters. Three of the scenes that were cut were with Leo's grandmother and had some really emotional stuff in them. I wish we could get the completed 2 hour version as it would be really enjoyable to watch.

Next was the Behind the Scenes which was about 10 minutes long. Lots of hand held footage during their downtime. Nothing to exciting but we did get to see the actors interaction with each other, you could tell they were having a good time.

I then watched a Cast and Crew interview that looked to have been done here in Hollywood when they came for the release of the film in the US last year. Everyone spoke English and though the director spoke the most it was fun hearing the two lead male actors answer questions in English. The interview lasted about 26 minutes and you got some very cool BTS info about the making of this amazing movie.

I finally watched the short "I Don't Want To Go Back Alone". Of course I've watched this nearly everyday for the past few weeks but this was the first time I was watching it on TV, previously it was via You Tube/Computer... so that was awesome. Also I noticed that some of the subtitles were different from the youtube version.

And of course I had to watch the US trailer for the movie which I also saw on you tube many times.

Another special feature on this blu ray was the Audio Descriptive Track in English. This is used for the visually impaired person who is watching the movie. I had never watched a movie with this track before. It had a guy describing the scenes while a woman recited the dialogue. I thought it was an amazing idea but these guys were less then stellar. First of all the guy needed to be more descriptive, most of his descriptions were vague and confusing. If I was visually impaired I feel like I'd only get a 1/3 of what is happening from his description. The women doing the dialogue was a little better but since she didn't really do voices (until towards the end) it made it difficult to know who was talking. She would paraphrase stuff or not read some dialogue at all. I felt like they were doing this in one take as at times she would talk over the guy and then stop and let him finish or she would miss read something and then re-read it again. The guy mislabeled people from time to time to the point that I found it frustrating. I don't know who produced this audio track but there was a lot of room for improvement. I found myself talking out loud to the TV.. giving better descriptions of the scene. I found it disappointing that if I were visually impaired I wouldn't have enjoyed this movie since you're only being conveyed a small part of it.

Anyways love the movie, love the blu ray and all the extras. Do I wish there were more.. of course but for being an independent movie we got quite a few of really nice extras. I would highly recommend buying the blu-ray not only for the beautiful HD quality picture but for the fun behind the scenes extras. A++++++ for me.

Traffic School, TNG in HD, Marvel Dubsmash War Continues

Since I'm off from NerdStrong this morning I took a few hours before work to do my online traffic school. I got a ticket back in April for doing a U-turn in front of my apartment (guess it's illegal). I considered fighting the tickets but decided on just paying it and doing traffic school. After one extension my due date is fast approaching so I took the time and did an online traffic school course. I haven't done traffic school in 20 years, the last time I did I actually went to a class as they didn't have "online" classes so this was my first online traffic school class. I mean they really get your on the costs as you pay your ticket fine, then pay an addition amount to opt to to do traffic school and then you have to pay for the traffic school course itself. In the end I spent around $400 of my hard earned money to get this all taken care of.

The class was pretty self explanatory. It was broken down into five sections. You had to read a few pages before taking a 5 question mini quiz before you could move on to the next section. The first two sections I read everything and got 100% on the quiz, so I figured I'd just go right to the quiz for section 3 and found out that was a mistake as I missed 2 questions and failed that section and had to start over again. So from that section on I read everything and continued to get my 100%. The final test was 25 questions and you have to complete it within 30 minutes. It was an open book test but I'm happy to say I only had to look back a few times for answers and I finished it within 10 minutes and got 24 of the 25 questions right and passed (I needed to get at least 70% right to pass). So that's all done and I'll check back in a week or so and make sure everything is processed and this ticket is closed.

Overall it was a good experience. I did learn some new things as the laws have changed over the years.. so that's good. I didn't like spending the money but I think in the long run it was the best option for me.

So I came across this awesome picture of Hayley Atwell in the Captain America suit. Of course it's photoshopped by I don't care. She's one of my favorite actress and characters on TV now and the love story between Captain America and Peggy is one of the best. I don't know who created this amazing picture.. but man do I love it.

And speaking of Hayley Atwell.. so the Agent Carter vs Agent's of Shield Dubsmash battle continues. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then read THIS blog post first. While they did the first one for fun and it was such a huge hit they decided to do another one for charity. They released a video explaining how it's all gonna work.. it's pretty hilarious... watch it below.

Super excited to read this news.. Star Trek The Next Generation remastered episodes are not being aired on Netflix. They are slowly replacing the older SD versions and hope to have all the HD episodes replaced soon. So now you can watch Star Trek The Next Generation in all it's HD glory. Can't wait to do a rewatch!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

NerdStrong Gym - Hang Cleans & Deadlifts

Today is strength day, after a good workout we worked on Hang Cleans which we have been working on the past few weeks. We did some 2 Position Drills and then moved into 5 rounds of 3x From Hip movement and 3x Full Hang Clean.

As I have with past Hang Cleans I struggled with these as well. My workout buddy John told me not to thing about it and just do it as he felt I was overthinking everything and he was right. I did get in one set that actually was decent. I still have a long way to go with Hang Cleans but coaches keep saying one of these days things will just click.

We moved on to Deadlifts which I'm happy to say I am better at but with my bad lower back I always worry about doing these, especially with a heavy weight. But this wasn't just Deadlifts it was combined with Slamballs and it was a double ladder, which meant you started with 10 Deadlifts and 1 Slamball and then do 9 Deadlifts and 2 Slamballs and so on. The Deadlifts went down while the Slamball goes up. I managed to make it to 2 Deadlifts and 9 Slamballs before time ran out.

Overall a good strength day, still my least favorite of the workout days.. well unless we are doing bench press which is my favorite barbell activity.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Felicia Day's Book Signing

So I got out of work a little early to head to Felicia Day's book signing out in Hollywood. I had pre-ordered and picked up my book last week and I also got a "line" ticket to get in line to get her autograph, I as number 104. I got to the book store early so I decided to go for a walk and see if I could find a place to eat. It was interesting walking around this part of Hollywood (Vermont & Hollywood Blvd) as it's very hipstery. The food took a little longer to get so when I got back to the bookstore it was already past the start time and the place we packed. I managed to just squeeze in the front door so I could kind of hear Felicia doing her Q&A's before the signing. That last about an hour and then they started with the signing. I knew it would be a while since I was 104 and they were lining up 10 numbers at a time.

I ran into my friend Diana who was in the 200's so we got to chat for bit. My friend Lydia was 50 so I got to see her on her way out. I got in line when they asked for numbers 100 to 125. The place was small and the line was kind of weird, they had us start on one side and then get to the front where Felicia was but then you went to the other side and to the back of the line and made your way up to Felicia again. She saw me in the first line and gave me a big smile and wave. It was another fifteen minutes or so before I got back to the front and finally got my time with Felicia.

I got a big hug from her (everyone was jealous), she mentioned that she had a book set aside for me already but I told her that I wanted to support her and this bookstore. She signed my book and told me that I was mentioned in an earlier draft of the book but had to be cut. But she said she would send me the exerts. We only had a few minutes to chat but she complimented me on my weight lose and I congratulated her on the success of her book. She mentioned that she is trying to get the Guildie group together for a bowling party or something... let's hope that happens.

I said my goodbye and headed out of the store but ran into a few more friends and chatted for a bit before heading home around 9:30pm.

Great Short Film & Cat Saying No More

I came across this really cute short film sponsored by Coca-Cola about a teen discovering his best friend is in love with another boy. The short is called “The Text” It is Spanish but there are English subtitles.

I just had to share this video.. it's a cat getting a bath and asking for "no more"... it's to cute.

NerdStrong Gym - Rowing-Mania

Today like the previous Wednesday was all about Rowing.

The first part of the workout was all about the Stroke and breaking it down into smaller pieces. So we did 3 rounds of 20x Arm Only Strokes, 20x Arm And Back Strokes, 20x Half Strokes and then 20x Full Strokes. NerdStrong has five rowers so we did this in two groups. I was part of the second group and shared a rower with Kiki. My biggest issue when it comes to rowing and form is keeping my feet flat when doing a full stroke so that is what I worked on most and I'm happy to say did a pretty good job at keeping them flat this time around. This portion of the workout wasn't about speed it was more about form. Kiki and I would trade off back and forth until we finished all the 3 rounds.

We then moved on to Two 500 Meter Rows and they wanted us to keep consistent times with each row. It as tough as your arms are like jelly but you push through it and do your best.

As a finisher we had to do 3 rounds of 5x Burpees, 10x Box Jumps and 15x V-Ups and when we finished the three rounds we did a 230 meter run around the parking lot.

Needless to say we were all exhusted but of course since we had 8 minutes or so left in class coach Blair decided to have us do a TABATA Planking (:20 seconds of work, :10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds). Not only did we do high and low planking but right side to left side planking as well.

If I wasn't tired before, this did me in. Though I can't really complain as they did remove a center workout listed above on the whiteboard, but regardless it was another tough workout.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dinner with Friends

After work I got to hang out with a few of my "Geek Mob" friends. These hangs outs are far and few between these days, I miss these guys alot, which is crazy as several us live only a few blocks apart from each other. Of course we still get together for big events like SDCC and see each other here and there but the "hey days" of the Geek Mob are long gone. We spent 2 and a half years (2011 - 2013) having some of the most amazing adventures together. So even when just a few of us get together it's kinds of special.

Dallas initiated this Dinner at a new Lebanese place in NoHo. Now I'm not one for eating at new places as I'm a creature of habit but I wanted to see these guys so I figured I'd give it a try. I met up with Jen and we walked over to the restaurant (about a half hour walk). When we got there Robert and Dallas were already waiting for us and shortly after we were joined by Will.

Dinner was amazing, the food was extremely tasty, which goes to show me that I should try new things more often. We had a great few hours hanging out and just enjoying ones company. Afterwards Jen, Will and I went to Target and it dawned on me that I really don't do "everyday" things with my friends. When we get together it's all about having dinner, seeing a movie or watching some TV. We never go grocery shopping or run to the store together.. and that seems weird to me now.

Anyways it was a nice dinner with some awesome people, something that I hope we can do more often.

NerdStrong Gym - Kettlebells & Maces

Back to the gym today after a much needed rest. Today we started with a nice warm up before moving on to one of many workouts.

We started with Mace Squats. A mace is a long pole with a knob at the end and that is where all the weight is. We had to do 3 sets of 4 reps at a tempo of 4242 pace. The first set had us hold the head of the mace close to our hands so it wasn't that bad when you did your squats. We actually did 2 squats per side. The second set was held the mace around halfway down the pole an so the weight is leaning towards one side. This made doing the squats a bit more difficult but the worst was set number 3 and holding the mace at the far end of the pole and having the weighted end on the other side. This make it extremely difficult to squat as you are trying to counter the weight and not fall over while doing the squat.

Once that was over we moved on to the second workout which was weighted Lunges. We had to do 3 sets of 6 (3 on each leg). This took as tempo'd at 5050 pace. The hardest part about these was getting the timing right. Five seconds is a long time to do a lunge.

We then moved on to our third workout which was 5 rounds of 2 Handed Kettlebell Clean to Press for 30 seconds and then right into 2 Handed Kettlebell Swing for 30 seconds, then right into a x25 Two Handed Kettlebell hold Sit ups. This was extremely tough as you are already tired from the first two workouts and there is no resting inbetween sets for this one. I chose a yellow Kettlebell which is about 26 lbs. I usually use a green which is 30+ pounds but I knew that I wouldn't be able to do 5 rounds with that much weight. I'm so happy I went with the lighter weight.

We rested for about 3 minutes before starting our fourth and final workout which was another 5 rounds of 1 Arm Kettlebell For Press for 30 seconds then a Kettlebell Figure 8 to Hold for 60 seconds before doing the x25 Two Handed Kettlebell hold Sit ups. Again like with the last one there are not rest periods. I kept having issues with my shorts when doing the Figure 8 as I kept grabbing the bottom of my short. It was frustrating to the point of me wanting to take my shorts off (but I wasn't sure which underwear I was wearing :) ) But I manged to do a good amount of them. By the end my shoulders were in pain and I know I'll be feeling it for a few days to come.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Falkor Plushie, TNG Pillow & Empathy

Came across a few cool geeky items.. first one is Falkor plushie from The Neverending Story (one of my favorite fantasy movies). At first I thought it was for the actual plushie but further investigation I found out it's just for the pattern and instructions on how to create your own. I mean for the price it's a great deal but you need to be a bit crafty to pull it off and my levels of craftiness are well below making that awesome thing. I read that when she initially put this up on Etsy she got over 1500 requests and she can only make about 12 a month at best so that's why she is only offering the pattern and instructions. Click HERE to check out her Etsy store. And if you're able to make me one of these.. I'll love you forever!!

The second one is a Star Trek The Next Generation throw pillow. I saw a picture of my friends Kiki and Brendan's new kitty and in that picture was the cute kitty but also this awesome pillow.. so of course I had to look them up. It's actually not a bad price.. definitely going on my must buy list. You can buy you're very own pillow HERE.

And lastly I want to share this video that I came across on Facebook. I've always felt that I am a very emphatic person, it's one of the few qualities I prize about myself. I think this video does a great job at explaining the difference between Empathy and Sympathy.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spending Time With Family

After the Indy workout I went home to shower before heading out to visit family. It's been a few weeks and as you know I like to visit my family every few weeks. It was hot outside and when I got to Riverside it was 112 degrees. When I got to my brothers no one was there and the door was locked. I rang the bell a few times before texting my dad and a few minutes later he came wandering out of his bedroom to unlock the door. He totally forgot that I was coming to visit today. I told him I was going to take him out for this birthday lunch. So he got ready and we headed to our favorite Chinese place Hong Kongs.

We had a nice lunch and when we got back my brother and his family were still not home. So I texted my sister-in-law Lora and asked if they were returning anytime soon and she said they'd be home in 20 minutes so I just hung out and waited. A half hour passed and I heard my niece and nephew at the front door so I went to them and both of them yelled uncle Kenny and gave me a big hug (that will never get old). As I mentioned it was hot outside so we couldn't go outside to play but I got to hang out with the entire family and chat. Molly (my niece) painted my finger nails and then my nephew Kenobi got in on the action and painted two on my other hand before calling it quits. Molly was very generous with the nail polish. Afterward she helped me remove the nail polish. I got to spend a few hours with them and as always it was a nice time.

When I got home I of course watched the movie I am completely obsess with that I have watched (in part or completely) everyday for the past three weeks The Way He Looks. I can't get enough of that amazing movie. It was the perfect way to end my weekend.

NerdStrong Gym - The Last Crusade

Today is our final Indiana Jones workout called "Welcome to the Last Crusade" Like with our other Indiana Jones works out this one is done in teams, this time teams of two (Indy and his father Henry). I teamed up with one of my regular teammates Lauren as we are pretty suited for each other when it comes to exercise and skill.

How this all worked, while one of your teammates held a 95 pound barbell at the top of a Deadlift the other would go to the temple and choose a cup (there were about 30 index cards with cups drawn on them). When you turned the card over there was some sort of exercise on it in which both you and your partner had to do. It would vary from 80 Jump Squats (meaning 40 per partner) to 60 Burpees to Rest for 60 seconds and go around and tell everyone how Awesome they are. While you were doing the task your partner is standing there holding the heavy barbell until you finish and then you get to hold the barbell while they do the other half of the exercise.

It's a completely random workout because as you pick a cup and read what you have to do, a coach is standing their to move it around so you can't pick it up again. Even if you remember what the cup looked like they created several of the same cups so you were never really sure what you were going to pick... it was pretty ingenious. So depending on what cups you choose your workout could be horrible or extremely light.

Though Lauren and I got three rests we did get a few doozies like 80 Jump Squats or 60 Burpees and we also got several of the same exercise over again.

Overall it was a great workout and we were both exhausted by the time the 30 minute time cap ended.