Saturday, September 26, 2015

New Who & Heroes Reborn

After my party Erik (who was leaving back to Portland, tomorrow AM) and Thomas (who would be staying with me for a week) went back to my place to hang out and watch some TV. We started with the second episode of Doctor Who's ninth season. S9 Ep2 "The Witch's Familiar"

Using Dalek energy, Missy was able to power her teleporter for her and Clara to escape. The two attempt to find the Doctor, going through the sewers, which are filled with decaying Daleks. They successfully kill a Dalek and empty its case to disguise Clara inside of it. Meanwhile, Davros tells the Doctor he wishes to heal him, and asks the Doctor if he is a good man. The Doctor comforts Davros, and the two begin to bond. Feeling compassion for him, the Doctor uses a little regeneration energy to power Davros' life support, which is also connected to every Dalek. This turns out to be a trap, and begins draining the Doctor to regenerate Davros and the Daleks. Missy saves the Doctor, and the energy also restores the dying Daleks, who wish to destroy the functional Daleks. While escaping, the Doctor and Missy encounter Clara's Dalek. Missy tries to trick the Doctor into killing her, but fails and escapes. The Doctor then returns to the battlefield, where he doesn't kill Davros, but destroys the mines to free him and then helps the young Davros home.

After last weeks premiere episode ending on a cliffhanger I kind of knew that Clara and Missy weren't dead and that the Doctor wasn't going to kill "kid" Davros, but I didn't see how they were going to write themselves out of the spot they got themselves in... but sure enough they did. I don't know if I like the resolution but in the end it works. I thought the most interesting part of this episode was Carla Dalek trying to convey to the Doctor that she was Clara and every nice thing she said/thought was translated into nasty comments. It kind of makes you feel bad for the Daleks as they truly have no way of breaking the cycle of their evilness. Missy was great as always I love the way Michele Gomez is playing her. The whole thing with Davros and the Doctor and who was playing who kind of dragged on for a bit to long. And I knew this wasn't going to happen and hate to say it but it would have been really interesting if the Doctor did kill "kid" Davros and rid the universe of these evil Daleks.. how much history would have changed... would have been interesting to see.. kind of like a "what if" episode. Overall I enjoyed the second part to the story and I think the new Who is getting off to a pretty good start.

We then watched the premiere episode of Heroes Reborn. *Season 5, Ep1 "Brave New World" - In Odessa, Texas, Primatech, the leaders in "evo" research, are hosting a peace summit for evos and humans to come together, when the venue is bombed. Mohinder is blamed for the bombing, and over the next year, people with powers around the world are hunted down, believed to be dangerous and untrustworthy. Tommy Clark, a high school student with powers living in Illinois, barely escapes an anonymous meeting for evos that turns into a slaughter. Noah is working as a car salesman under the name Ted Barnes when he finds out that his memory of the bombing was tampered with. War veteran Carlos Gutierrez finds out that his brother Oscar has been fighting crime as a masked vigilante with super strength in Los Angeles, but when Oscar dies, Carlos is faced with tough responsibilities. In Tokyo, a girl named Miko Otomo finds a sword in her father's study that sends her into a video game world to save him.

First let me say that I loved season one of Heroes and I did watch season two and enjoyed it (though it suffered from the writers strike). I watched the first few episodes of season three but then they started piling up on my DVR and eventually I just deleted them and figured I'd come back to it once it came out on DVD... well that never happened. 

So I'm familiar with the world but not with seasons three and four in which this story takes place a year later after events from those seasons. But being the geek that I am.. I've read or heard enough of what happened so I have an idea of what's going on.

Now to Heroes Reborn Ep1... I enjoyed it for the most part. It had a very Heroes feel to it. Lots and lots of questions and very little to no answers. I enjoyed the characters with exception to Zachary Levi and his killing partner. I know Zach is a main character but I don't see how they are going to redeem him. I assume his partner (wife) is going to die at some point (and I'll cheer when that happens) but I feel that Zach's character is so past redemption.. guess I'll have to wait and see. I think my favorite of all the storylines would be Tommy. Also the girl is Japan that teleports to an animated world is interesting.. really don't know what's going on but interested to see if she's related or connect to Hiro in some way. Overall I enjoyed this first episode and it peaked my interest enough so much so that I am looking forward to seeing episode two. Not loving it right off the bat but it has potential... the jury is still out.

My 45th Birthday Party in the Park

Today I am celebrating my 45th Birthday with a party at Griffith Park. My buddy Erik arrived last night from Portland so he is here to help with setting up. I skipped NerdStrong this morning as I had a lot of do and figured I'd be active at the park. The party starts at Noon and I was going to have it in the "Old Zoo" section of the park as it's a cool place to hang out and fairly secluded. There is no way to reserve a section so you have to get there early to claim your spot so Erik and I arrived around 10am and to my surprise they were prepping for Halloween. I knew that they did this every year but figured I was safe since it was still September... but I was wrong.

I started to panic as the park was already filling up with other parties and I really wanted a spot that had a few picnic tables. The other thing was finding a location that my guests would be able to find. Erik was kind enough to post in the Facebook invite that the location had changed, we just didn't know where yet... so Erik and I drove around the park and over by the Merry-go-round side we saw that there were these two picnic tables close to the tennis courts and we figured it was an easy place to find and had a few tables so we would go claim them. As we were walking we noticed this couple setting up for a birthday party at a long row of picnic tables (about 12 or so). They only had table clothes on about five/six of the tables so I went up to them and asked if we could use some of the tables on the other end and they said yes.

This new location was even better then the old one as it was right in the front of the park and people could see us from the main road. I also had a large area for us to play some games and a few trees for shade and to top it off parking was ample and not to far from the location. So Erik and I started to set up the party (just bring things from car, not much to actual set up). We tossed the Frisbee around a bit as it was still an hour and a half before guests would be arriving.

At 11:30 I headed over to El Pollo Loco to pick up the food while Erik manned the picnic site and waited for guests. Just after noon folks started to arrive and the party got started. My brother and his family arrived with the corn hole game and folks started to play.

It was a pretty good turn out, we had over 40 people come and go throughout the day. We played Corn Hole, Whiffle Ball and tossed the Frisbee around. I tried to visit with everyone and thank them for coming. I even started to take pictures with folks as they were leaving. People ate, chatted, played games and laughed.... It was alot of fun.

I think the biggest surprise for me was my buddy Thomas from Northern Ireland, showing up. I had no idea he was coming.. not even a hint. He came up to me from behind and I looked to my right and thought 'oh hey it's Thomas' and then a split second later it hit me.. 'OMG.. IT'S THOMAS!!!!" I couldn't believe it. I immediately gave him a hug and a few seconds later I gave him another hug as I couldn't believe he was real.. he actually flew from Northern Ireland to come to my 45th Birthday.. and even better he was staying a week. Talk about an awesome birthday gift.

Overall it was a fantastic 45th Birthday celebration. It started off a bit rocky with us losing our picnic spot but in the end it was for the best... The skies were blue, it was a bit hot to start but cooled to the high 80's and everyone seemed to have a great time. It was six hours of awesome friends, food and fun... thanks to all who came and celebrated with me. Especially Erik and Thomas who flew in for this..  I couldn't have asked for a better day.

You can see more photos HERE.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Awesome Friends, Dubsmash War Round 2 & Erik Arrives

Today I was surprised by a video of my buddies Lauren and Brent doing Birthday Battleropes in honor of my 45th Birthday.. the video is pretty fantastic. You also have Brett jumping rope with such grace.

video

Team Carter vs Team SHIELD Dubsmash Wars continue with round two videos... If you don't have a clue what Dubsmash or this battle is about then please go HERE and check out my previous blog post about this on going battle. 

If you're too lazy to do that then here's a quick explanation.. Hayley Atwell who plays Agent Carter in the Marvel universe got into a DubSmash battle with Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) and Chloe Bennet (Skye). It went crazy viral so they decided to do an official battle and raise money for their charities. 

I think the first round definitely went to Team SHIELD but this second round.. Team Carter blew Team SHIELD out of the water.. check out the videos HERE. Honestly both videos are fantastic and I can't wait for the final third round and see who wins this Dubsmash War. 

During the evening my buddy Erik arrived from Portland, he is visiting for the weekend and is here to celebrate my 45th Birthday tomorrow.. how awesome is he. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Who Fun & SHIELD Preview

There are two videos I wanted to share with you guys.. first one is for Doctor Who. A picture came out a few days ago promoting the new season of Who and it was the classic "Beatles" album cover with them walking across Abbey Road. Well this has a Doctor Who twist with The Doctor, Clara and a couple of Daleks walking (or rolling) across the street. This video shows how they did it, I mean Abbey road is still a functioning road with lots of traffic.. check it out.


The second video I want to share is the first five minutes of the premiere of S3 of Agents of SHIELD. I am so looking forward to the return of this series and this opening scene has gotten me even more excited... I can't wait!!!

NerdStrong Gym - Bench Press Fun


Today is Strength day at NerdStrong Gym, I'm not a huge fan of Strength day as I really don't like barbell work.. with exception to Bench Press and guess what we are doing today.... BENCH PRESS!!!

We started with a nice warm up consisting of a 230 meter run, banded pass thrus, banded pull aparts, 10x Dumbbell Exterior rotation and 6x Perfect Stretches.

After the warm up with went into the main workout.. Bench Press' 8 sets of 3 at various percentage of your max hold. I was teamed up with coach Andrew so we went with my max hold which is 205lbs. So we started at 60% or 125 lbs.. this was pretty easy so we moved up to 70% or 145 lbs.. 3 reps at this weight is fairly easy for me so we up'd it to 80% or 165 lbs.. now it's getting interesting. But this is only my third set so I managed to get through these with just a bit of effort. We then move up a bit more to 85% or 175 lbs. This definitely took some effort and it's crazy to think this is were my max was just a few months ago.

We then drop back to to 65% or 135 lbs and after doing 175 lbs this was nothing, and so was 75% or 155 lbs. I started to feel it when we hit 85% or 175 lbs and then finally hit the max we were going to lift today, 90% or 185 lbs. It took some effort but I did my three reps and managed to keep my form in tact.

I was extremely happy with my performance on bench press today.

As a finisher we had a mini workout of 5 rounds of 10x Wall Balls and 10x Sit Ups.

I think by the third round you are really start to feel it and by the time you hit the fifth round you are ready for it to be over.

Here's another great story about my gym... read the article and watch the video HERE

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My 45th Birthday!!!

IT'S MY 45TH BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!

After the gym I headed out to Denny's to get my free Birthday Breakfast (second breakfast). I try and do this every birthday because.. it's free. Who's gonna not take advantage of free. So you get to build your own birthday breakfast and choose four items from a list of items. I went with my usual which is eggs (scrambled), sausage (sometimes bacon), hash browns and pancakes but today I went with a biscuit instead. I know some people scuff at Denny's food but I've always enjoyed them and I mean it's breakfast and you can't really screw that up.

Once I was done with breakfast I headed home, showered and changed for work. Yeah I have to work today (the big party is going to be this coming Saturday). Work was fine, it's getting extremely busy, which is good because it makes the time fly.

When I got home I headed out to dinner with my buddy Will. He contacted me last night and asked if I wanted to have dinner and since I had not made any plans I was free. We headed to Buffalo Wild Wings and enjoyed some tasty vittles. Best part of hanging out with Will is our awesome conversations. Will and I don't hang out as often as we would like so when it does happen it's pretty fantastic. Afterwards he came back to my place and we chatted for a for more hours.. well past my bed time but the company and conversation was too good to call it a night.

Overall it was a quiet but nice birthday, as I said I expect Saturday to be a blast. Thanks Will for spending my birthday evening with me.. it was perfect.

And I want to thank everyone for their Birthday wishes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Texts.. you all know how to make a guy feel super loved!!!

NerdStrong Gym - Rowing Efficiently

Today's workout was all about Rowing.. but before we got that we did a nice stretching warm up to get our muscle nice and ready.

We then moved on to Row Drills but first we did a 2:00 minute Row Test to see where we stood. We then rested for 2 minutes before teaming up and  breaking down the row step by step.  One person was on the rower while the other person planked. We started the breakdown with 1 minute of Legs Only, so all you're doing is pushing back and forth with your legs. While you are doing this your partner is planking (various ways) and then you switch and you plank while they do the drill. We then moved on to 1 minute of Pause at Bottom of Row. Then 1 minute of Pause at Top of Row before doing 1 minute of Plant Feet/No Rocking.

All of these movements are to help us row more efficiently. By pausing for a split second you are allowing the rower to do a few rotations which gives you more meters without working for them. By planting your feet and not lifting them it gives you more of a base to push off of.

After the breakdown we redid the 2:00 minute Row test and man was there a difference. I manged to keep the same fast pace as my first test but I felt like I was putting in about 2/3d's of the effort to get those results. I think what helped me the most was the pausing and allowing the machine to do the job for me.

For a finisher we had to do 5 minutes of Wall Squats and Med Ball Hold. So one of you would do Wall Squats while your partner would hold a Med Ball overhead. The person doing the Wall ball really dictated when we switched as that task was harder then holding a med ball overhead. Five minutes doesn't seem that long but man it feel like forever when your exhausted.

And because it's my birthday a few of us did Birthday Battleropes and to spice things up we did a completely new version called Stagecoach Battleropes where you are sitting on the floor and doing the ropes so you have no leg help and it's all arms. We do Birthday Battleropes for one second of each year you've been alive.. I unfortunately turn 45 today so that meant 45 seconds of battleropes and man were they are killer.  I was happy to see a few fellow NerdStrongers joined me for battleropes so I didn't have to suffer alone. Thanks coach David, coach Andrew, and buddies Robert, Micheal and Brett for partaking in the fun. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hobbit Birthdays & Pottermore Revamped

Today is Bilbo and Frodo's birthday, being the Hobbit that I am I had to mention it on my blog and celebrate this momentous occasion. As they have done the past few years The One Ring dot net had a huge party in Griffith Park this past Saturday to celebrate and like I do every year I plan to go but something also seems to come up, usually it has to with my birthday being to close to theirs.

Well this time I was available and had every intention to go but after my morning workout I was tired and coupled with high temperatures of 106 degrees I just couldn't bring myself to dress up and go out. I was hoping that it would cool down and I'd at least stop by for a few hours but as the day went by the temps did not decrease and my laziness grew heavier. So I missed it once again (I'm very disappointed), I should have sucked it up and went even if I didn't dress up.

Anyways today for their birthday I honored them by eating like a Hobbit, which includes Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner and finally Supper. Happy Birthday Mr. Bilbo and Mr. Frodo.

In other geeky news, Pottermore completely changed it's format. Before it was kind of like a game/animated story teller type book. You could win house points, search for missing items and collect chocolate frogs. This new version is much more streamlined. It seems much more adult. I haven't had a ton of time to explore but it seems to be easier to find "additional" writing from JK herself giving us some amazing extra information about some of our favorite characters. If you're a fan of Harry Potter you need to check out the new POTTERMORE at https://www.pottermore.com

During the evening after work I headed out with friends Jes and Dallas for a tasty pre-birthday dinner. We went to a local Lebanese restaurant that we discovered last month. I got to enjoy my "supper" (final Hobbit meal of the day) with two of my favorite people.. thanks guys for a fun evening.

NerdStrong Gym - Legs and Balance

Today's workout titled "Ministry of Silly Walks" started with a great warm up. First we did a 230 meter run around the parking lot, then we harness our inner spirit animals for a Bear (now known as a AT-AT) Walk, Forward Crab Walk (which are the worse things in the world), Frog Jumps and Lateral Monkey Walk before doing another 230 meter lap around the parking lot this time doing an Indian Run. I was good with everything except the Forward Crab Walk, what makes this particularly bad is the fact that you have to keep your fingers facing forward and it's a killer for the wrists.

Next for our Skill portion of the workout it was all legs and balance. We started with 10x each side Front Scale Leg Lifts, then 10x each side Back Scale Leg Lifts and finally 10x each side Front to Back Scales. With these kinds of workouts you really get to know your mobility and how much balance you don't have. With some of these I could do with ease but then the next one I couldn't hold my balance to save my life and I would have to stop and take a minute to regain it and start again.

We then moved on to the actual Workout of the Day. It as 4 Rounds of 6x Push-Up Side Walks, 6x Bananas and then 60x Jumping Jacks. This doesn't look like much compared to things we have done in the past but this took a toll on me and by the third round I was exhausted but continued to push through and finish all four rounds.

Great workout as usual. Thanks guys!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Premieres: Big Bang Theory & Scorpion

It's the beginning of the new TV season and I watched two season premieres this evening. The Big Bang Theory and Scorpion.

First up The Big Bang Theory S9 Ep1 "The Matrimonial Momentum" Leonard and Penny arrive in Las Vegas while the gang gathers at the Wolowitz house to watch their wedding online. Sheldon pushes Amy to make up her mind about the status of their relationship.

I've enjoyed The Big Bang Theory from the very first episode but the past few seasons or so I feel like I'm watching this series out of obligation. Yes there are still some pretty amazing episodes that are super funny but some don't even register with me and I forget about them as soon as they are over. TBS airs repeats from the first six seasons and there are so many awesome episodes that I can clearly remember watching and enjoying. If you ask me to recall an episode from last season I would have a tough time remembering anything. I feel like the Penny and Leonard relationship is kind of blah at the moment, there isn't much happening with Bernadette and Howard's relationship and I don't like the Raj and Emily relationship at all. The only fun relationship is Amy and Sheldon. That's really the only one that I care about and look forward to seeing where it goes.

It's hard for me to speak negatively towards this series as I have said I still really enjoy it but it's missing that spark that it had during the first six or so seasons. Hopefully season 9 will reignite that spark and I'll want to watch new episodes over and over again like I did in the past.

With that said the season premiere was just okay.. again didn't care for the Wedding of Penny and Leonard.. what I found the most funniest was the break up of Sheldon and Amy and Sheldon's reaction. Can't wait to see where that storyline goes.

I also watched the season 2 premiere of Scorpion S2 Ep1 "Satellite of Love" Scorpion is back in business after new Homeland Security director Adriana Molina tasks them with a case when the nuclear-powered Russian K-12 satellite is knocked out of orbit by space debris. They race to the Rocketry Aeronautics Center to divert the now-turned A-bomb's course before it detonates over Southern California. But after last year's car accident, Walter isn't one hundred percent physically and mentally there due to a hand injury and post-concussion syndrome. His hidden feelings for Paige have also seemed to cloud his judgement. When problems arise on the job, they have to work extremely close together. Later, they test their theory of the team vs. their attraction with a working hypothesis of a kiss.

I was hooked on Scorpion after the very first episode. What made it even better is that it was a moderate hit for CBS, so much so that it got a full pick up and second season fairly early on. I'm happy to say that this new episode still has it... action, comedy and suspense all rolled into one. I love the characters and though they are changing they are stay the same. The Paige and Walter relationship is still on again off again. I'm liking the new Homeland Security director, hopefully she'll remain an ally for our team. Overall a great way to start the new season and I look forward to many more adventure with Team Scorpion.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Downton Abbey Final Season

Tonight in the UK Downton Abbey the sixth and final season premiered. Of course we here in the U.S. won't be seeing it until January but me being the die hard fan that I am that isn't good enough. So I took to the internet and worked my magic and I'm happy to say that I watched Season Six, Episode 1.

Set in 1925. Big changes are afoot. Robert anticipates having to cut costs, and reduce the size of the staff, which worries Carson. Mrs Hughes is nervous about being embarrassed when performing her wifely duties when married to Carson, and asks Mrs Patmore to sound him out; after much embarrassment, Carson says he expects them to have a full marriage, which reassures Mrs Hughes. The local hospital is threatened with a take-over by the larger County Hospital; the board is split, with Violet objecting, and Isobel approving in the name of efficiency. A former chambermaid, Rita Bevan, turns up trying to blackmail Mary by revealing her tryst with Lord Gillingham. Mary refuses to pay, but Rita confronts Robert, who buys her off with £50 instead of the £1,000 she wanted, and gets a signed confession to prevent further blackmail. He admires Mary's pluck, and approves of her taking over Tom's job as the estate's Agent.

Sergeant Willis tells Bates & Anna that a woman has confessed to killing Green, and the matter is closed. Anna is upset at not having a child; twice she was convinced she was pregnant, but it was a miscarriage each time. Edith plans to spend more time in London, and be more hands-on with the publishing business. The family attend an auction at a neighboring estate which is being sold off. Daisy unwisely confronts the new owner because her father-in-law Mr Mason may lose his farm, but this backfires, and she only succeeds in angering him. Although she is liable to dismissal, Cora keeps her on. The owner tells Robert that great estates like theirs are on the way out, and advises him to sell up too.

I'm so excited to be back in this universe, even if this is the beginning of the end for the series. One of the many things I love about this series (and there are a ton of things) but one thing I love is how you can slip right back into this world without missing a beat. There is no re-getting to know these guys. The emotional connection to each and everyone of these characters is still there. Their way of life is coming to an end and everyone can see it, some are fearful of the future and some and taking it head on. Even with just this first episode these characters continue to grow.. some more then others but they are all moving forward. What does the future hold for everyone. I know we won't get nice bows on everyone's story lines but I do hope we do to see the wrapping up on some of the main characters that we've been following since the beginning.

For this episode some of my favorite scenes were with Mrs. Patmore being the go-between for Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson about sex in marriage. Some very awkward but funny scenes.  It's always fun to see Violet sparing with Isobel, this will be interesting to see where this storyline goes, hopefully their friendship can endure the stress. Mary has grown so much over the past five seasons.. it nice to see her not care about her reputation as much. And Bates and Anna are finally off the hook for the murder of Mr. Green. Now I hope these two can finally live happily ever after... I doubt it but here's hoping.

We're only getting eight episodes and the series finale Christmas special and I'm going to relish each and everyone one of them, over and over again..

I can't wait for more.

NerdStrong Gym - Sugar Rush!!!

This workout was one of my favorites.. and that's saying something since I love them all. But this one was particularly entertaining and fun.

It's Sunday so that means group themed workout, which is always a blast. It is Wreck-it-Ralph themed if you didn't know by the title "Sugar Rush". Of course we did a light warm up before being split into teams of four. Each team has a disassembled car, Body = Wood Box, Axles = 10 & 15 lbs Mace and Front Wheels = 27 & 35 lbs Kettlebell And Back Wheels = 14 & 20 lbs Medicine balls. So the object of this workout was do complete the work at the station and then walk around the parking lot (230 meters) with all your car parts before moving on to the next station and then doing it again and again.

So we started with a 2000 meter team row. My team opted to do 500 meters each so we only had to get on the rower once. I opted to go first as that meant I would have more rest time before starting the trek around the parking lot. We then had to figure out how to carry all those car parts among the four of us. The first time around we opted for one of us to carry the light kettlebell and heavy medicine ball while the other person carried the light medicine ball and heavy mace. Then the other two would carry the box together in one hand and then one would have the heavy kettlebell and one would have the light mace. I was carrying the box and light mace and about halfway through the walk my hand holding the box started to hurt so the box holders switched sides and made the rest of the trip.

When we got back we had to do 140 meter Sprint Relay. So one by one we sprinted (ran as fast as possible) to the end of the building and back before your next team mate could go. When we were done with that we once again had to carry our car parts around the parking lot. This time those who didn't carry the box the first time carried the box this time and we tried various configurations carrying the mace, kettlebell and medicine balls. Like before we made a pit stop about half way around the parking lot so the box people could change sides and reset.

Team Double Mint
Once back we had to do 30 Team Squats and pass a baton around (we got to choose the baton as it was a part from the car, we chose the light kettlebell). So we stood in the shape of a square facing each other and one by one we would do a squat with the kettlebell in our hands and count off before passing it to the person to our left. We did this 30 times. Once done we gathered our car parts and made our trek around the parking lot once again.

When we got back we had to do 20 Push-Ups in Unison. So again we got into a square shape and did our 20 push-ups in unison one at a time.. that was fun and some nice team work. As some of us were not proficient as others when it came to Push Ups.

We did our final walk around the parking lot with our car parts before doing our final task which was 25 Box Jumps in a Round-Robin manner. So the four of us stood around a tall box and one at a time we'd jump and count off until we finished all 25.

I had an awesome team and we worked so well together that we finished in first place.. woot!!! (not that it's a competition) :)

Thanks coach Andrew and coach Christy for coming up with such an amazing and super fun workout. Can't wait to do this one again.