Saturday, October 24, 2015

NerdStrong Craft Day & My First PGA DVD Screener

So after the gym I headed home, showered, ate lunch and then headed back to NerdStrong.. but not to workout. NerdStrong was having it's first "Crafty" day. Since there are several Cons coming up Coach Kimi thought it would be a good idea to have a craft day for those working on cosplay costumes or any other crafty project.

I didn't have my material ready to work on my Twi Lik Jedi but I went anyways the help anyone who needed it. There was a great turn out of about 25 or so people, the majority of them were working on their cosplay costumes but coach Marla was working on a cityscape for Stryder's room so I was able to help with that and cut out buildings. I also modeled a Thor "shirt" that Kili was working for her husband.

I learned a bit from Adam who is a professional costume designer and really knows his way around a sewing machine. He said when I get to making my Jedi robes that he'd help me out... woot!! Spending time with all these folks really made me want to buy my own sewing machine. The only way I'm going to get better at making costumes is to make costumes.

Got home from Nerdstrong and found that I finally got my first PGA (Producer's Guild of America) DVD screener, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. I've saw this movie at a PGA screening and really enjoyed it. I very much disliked the first three Mission Impossible movies but the last two have been really fun and entertaining.

Let's hope this is the beginning of tons of screeners this season. Last year I only got 24 screeners (my usual is around 30) and they were very slow coming. Getting one at the end of October bodes well.

NerdStrong Gym - 20 Something Boss Fight

It's Saturday so that means Boss Fight but it's only the 20-Something Boss, not as bad as the big bad final boss that we fought in the beginning but worse then the Teen Boss we fought last week.

We did a fairly aggressive warm up "Build" with 10 meter (down and back) of High Knees, High Skip, Butt Kickers, Quad Stretchers and Side Shuffles. We then had to do 2 rounds of 5x Wall Squats, 10x Air Squats and 5x Goblet Squats.

Here's what we had to do to beat this boss. 460 Meter Run, 50x Kettlebell Swings, 460 Meter Run, 40x Push Ups, 230 Meter Run, 30x Goblet Squats, 230 Meter Run, 20x Burpees, 140 Meter Run, 10x NerdMakers, 140 Meter Run, 10x Burpee Pulls ups, 230 Meter Run, 20x Headcutters, 230 Meter Run,  and finally 30x Box Jumps.

With the original boss I manged to make it to the Box Jumps and do 15 of them so I was fairly confident that I would at least finish this one. We had 38 minutes to do everything, which is less time then before but I was still sure I could finish.

It was close but I did defeat this boss within the time limit... woot!!! Next week we take on the full blown Boss Monster that we took on at the beginning on the month. Can't wait to see what happens.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2 & NerdStrong Game Night

Star Wars Rebels is back!!! We got a taste of season two during the summer with the two episode story "The Siege of Lothal" And after a few months of waiting season two officially started. I was able to watch episode 3 "The Lost Commanders" and 4 "Relics of the Old Republic" of season two.  Here's a quick synsopsis of Ep 3, Having barely escaped total destruction of the rebel cell Phoenix Squadron by Darth Vader, Ahsoka Tano sends the Ghost Crew to locate a former military commander somewhere in the Seelos system who has the knowledge of useful hideouts in the Outer Rim. The crew discover the commander to be former clone trooper Captain Rex, accompanied by Commander Wolffe and clone commando Gregor. Kanan is immediately hostile due to the clones' role in Order 66 although Rex claims they removed their brain chips. Ezra negotiates with Rex for information relating to potential bases. In return Gregor enlists them for a hunt by using Zeb as bait to catch an elusive Joopa. With the hunt successful, Rex holds up his end of the deal but Sabine discovers that Wolffe betrayed the Ghost crew's location to the Empire. A skirmish with an Imperial probe damages the Phantom shuttle, the crew is temporarily stranded with the clones waiting for an Imperial assault.

Here's the synopsis of episode 4, The Empire tracks the Lothal Rebels to Seelos. Admiral Konstantine and Agent Kallus arrive at the Seelos System to capture the Jedi. Rex gives the Lothal Rebels a datachip containing old Republic bases in the Outer Rim. Ezra tries to persuade the clones to join the Rebellion, but Rex and the clones instead offer to delay the Empire so the Lothal Rebels can escape. Agent Kallus commands the clones to hand over the Rebels, but when Rex refuses, Kallus arrives with three AT-ATs. Taking advantage of a sandstorm and the Force, Kanan, Ezra and the clones use their AT-TE's main gun to destroy one of the AT-ATs. Meanwhile, Admiral Konstantine is summoned away by Darth Vader. Instead of meeting him, the admiral meets Fifth Brother, who claims that he will succeed where Kallus and Konstantine have failed. The Lothal Rebels prepare to leave on the Phantom, but Ezra is unwilling to leave Rex and the clones behind. Kanan, Ezra, and Zeb commandeer one of the AT-ATs and turn its weapons on Kallus' AT-AT which Rex destroys with a critical hit. Kallus flees the battle on a speeder. Hera returns to pick up the clones and the Ghost crew. Returning to the Rebel flotilla, the Lothal Rebels and Rex reunite with Ahsoka.

So much awesome in both of these episodes. Rebels was good during season one but I was coming off of Clone Wars which was AMAZING so it was hard for me not to compare the two and Clone Wars was coming out way ahead. But I have to admit they have really stepped up their game with season 2. Besides the fact that they added one of my favorite characters from Clone Wars (Ahsoka) to the show with these two episodes they added another Rex. It's great to see what happen to some of the clone when the war ended. Watching Kanan struggle with trusting them (as he should) and Ezra really not understanding Kanan's distrust.

The second episode revealed AT-AT's which took me back to my childhood so it was awesome seeing these in action. And of course my favorite part of both of these episodes is the reuniting of Ahsoka and Rex... so many feels.  I'm really looking forward to this new season of Rebels, if these few episodes are any indication of what's to come we are in for an amazing ride.

During the evening I headed to NerdStrong for our monthly Game Night. As always it's a total blast playing board games with these peoples. We started the night play Russian Roulette Pie Face. We had two of the Pie Face games and we set them up across from each other. Two people sit down and one at the time they would twist the knob and hope to not be smacked in the face with whip cream. It was a lot of fun.

I then jumped on a game called Catacombs, it looked like a lot of fun but was brand new so we had to set it up by putting a ton of stickers on pieces. It took us a while to do it and by the time we started playing (it was extremely complicated) we were kind of over it and when the owner of the game had to leave we were more then happy to box it up for another day.

The final game I played for the night was called Escape 'The Curse of the Temple'. This was alot of fun and definitely something I can see myself buying so I can play it with other friends.

Overall it was another fun game night... can't wait until next month.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Farscape Vs Guardians, More LARPs & New Potter

I came across this picture that explains the similarities between Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy, never really thought about it and I'm a huge fan of both franchises... It's an interesting read.

Been enjoying the new season of LARPs The Series. We're only a few episodes in and I'm already loving it. I enjoyed season one but you can tell these guys really found their voice in season two.. not only that but with their longer run times they are really doing alot of character building as well as expanding the world. 

Episode three has a scene that made me very happy as I've been a big fan of the character of Arthur though he's done a few shady things in the past. And we find out in this episode that this character is gay. But the way they reveal it is in a normal conversation, there are no bells or whistle, it's as though him being gay is the norm. I found that approach extremely refreshing, and I wish more shows would follow suit. If you're not watching this series then you are really missing out on something special. I haven't loved a web series like this since The Guild.

Last thing I want to share on today's blog is about Harry Potter. We've been hearing bits and pieces about a few Harry Potter story.. but this one is for the stage. We know it's going to be in two parts but today we got a bit more information about it.

Here's the full synopsis: “It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

They are touting this as the Eighth Harry Potter story. I would love to be able to fly over to London to see this but I doubt that's gonna happen. I'm hoping it come to New York as that might be a bit easier for me to get to, but will wait and see what happens. I'd love to see the continuing story of Harry Potter. 

NerdStrong Gym - Strength Day

Today we continued our work on Back Squats.. but first we had our Build (Warm Up) and had to do a 230 Meter run, 2 rounds of 30x Jumping Jacks and 10x Reverse Lunges, then 5x Air Squats, 10x Banded Squats and finally 5x Air Squats.

Next was the "Proficiency" portion of the workout which was Kettlebell Glute Bridges, coaches asked us to do two rounds of ten.

We then did our "Quest" which was the Back Squat portion of the workout. We are working towards our one rep max. For today's back squats we had to work up to a heavy weight and then do 8 sets of 3. If I recall I think my heaviest was 145 lbs and half way through the sets you're exhausted.

And to finish off the workout we did our "Battle" which was a Five Minutes AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). We started with 2x Dumbbell Push Press and 2x Dumbbell Renegade Rows but with every round we increased our sets by 2. So round two we did 4x Dumbbell Push Press and 4x Dumbbell Renegade Rows and then x6 and then x8 before time ran out on me. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future & Pilates

Today is the day that Marty and Doc Brown went back to the future.. 10/21/15. People have been waiting for this date since this movie came out 26 years ago (1989). USA Today printed a special edition newspaper that matched the one in the movie. Pepsi made those crazy bottle seen the movie and Nike release a limited edition self tying shoe. Universal even got in on the fun and made a Jaws 19 trailer (which I posted on my blog a few days ago). It seems like everyone is super excited for this day.

Now I will admit that Back to the Future II was my least favorite of the three but it's still always fun to go back and see what they though the "future" would look like. From the flying cars to crazy clothes and them thinking we'd still be using fax machines... their 2015 is alot different then the real 2015.

Since it's Wednesday that means I start my day at NerdStrong Gym with a great and often tough workout.. well I end my day at NerdStrong Gym with a great stretch and core workout doing Pilates. Coach Corrin is the best, she really knows her muscles and anatomy. Taking a class with her is great because not only am I feeling great but I'm being educated as well. Loving my Pilates class.

One Year Later

Today marks my one year anniversary of getting fit. One year ago today I sat in my doctors office and listened as he told me that my A1C levels were at 6.4 and that I am now considered pre-diabetic. And in all actuality if I was .1 more at 6.5 I would be diagnosed with diabetes. And once you are diagnosed with diabetes you will forever have it even if you get your numbers down. This would not only effect my health but my health insurance and various other things.

My doctor gave me three months to get my numbers down and the moment I walked out of his office I was determined to do anything I had to do to not become diabetic. So when I got home from work that evening I walk/jog for an hour at the park across the street from my place. The next day I got up early and did another walk/jog for an hour before work. I did this every single day without taking a break for 3 months. I also changed my eating habits and tried to eat less out food and more healthy foods.

At the end of the three months I had lost 25 lbs and was feeling pretty good. I went back to my doctors and found that my A1C was now down to 6.0, I was still considered pre-diabetic but my numbers were heading in the right direction.

Two weeks later I joined NerdStrong Gym, my workouts went from 3 days a week to 6 days a week in a matter of a few months.

At my six month mark I was down another five pounds for a total of 30 pounds lost. I had gone down two pant sizes and one shirt size. My A1C was now at 5.7, which is .1 away from being normal at 5.6 and below.

So in six months I went from being .1 away from being diabetic to being .1 away from being normal.

Now today it's my one year mark and things are moving along. I have to make an appointment with my doctor to have my A1C levels checked once again. If the trend holds I should be a few points below my last numbers which would make me "normal" and no longer threaten with diabetes.

To be honest I should have made the appointment by now but part of me is scared of the results. The first six months was great and I worked hard to get fit, but these last six months have been tough. I still work hard during my workouts and my body has be changing for the better but my eating habits have been like a yoyo and I'm worried about my A1C. I would be crushed to find out that my A1C went up again but I'm gonna have to suck it up and find out.. it's better to know for sure then to worry for no reason.

Side note here.. I've been going to a place called Fit Fax for the past eight months where they measure your body composition. In those eight months I have lost 4.2 lbs of fat but gained 5.1 lbs of lean body mass as well as 1.4 lbs of Dry Lean Mass. My Metabolic rate has gone from 1592 to 1654 an increase of 49.

My weight this past year started at 219 (the highest it's ever been) but I went down to 189 at my 6 month mark but at my year mark I'm back up to 194 (but it's all muscle mass). I'm still trying to get my weight down to 175 but it's tough and with my yoyo eating habits it's making it that much harder. But I'm determined to do it and I know in time I'll get there.. just have to be patient.

One year down... and I'm very happy with my progress. I know things aren't going to change over night but I've come a long way in a year. Thanks to all who have shown me such love and support this past year... couldn't have done it without you all.

NerdStrong Gym - Great Scott!!!

Today was a Back to the Future workout in honor of the day that Marty and Doc Brown go to the future. It was a coach Blair workout so that means it was tough.

We started with a "Build" (Warm Up) that had lots of stretching, 2 rounds of 5x Wall Squats, 10x Air Squats, 10x PVC Pass Throughs and 15x PVC Good Mornings.

Then to our "Proficiency" portion of the workout we did 4 rounds of 5x Single Leg Box Squats on each leg. This was the first time I had done these and they aren't easy. After the third or fourth one you're leg starts to feel like jelly.

The Quest was a dozy, we started with a 5 minute Row for distance, since there aren't enough rowers for members, if you were not rowing you had to do one of the following. 4 Minute Jog, 3 Minute Jump Rope or 200 Mountain Climbers and then hold a :30 second Plank. I didn't get to a rower in time so I was part of the group who had to choose one of the "other" things to do. Of the five people in my group we all choose to jog for 4 minutes. Blair wanted us to make sure we picked a pace that we could maintain, he didn't want us to stop within those 4 minutes.

After the job we waited another minute for the current rowers to finish and then we jumped on and did our five minutes. Coach Blair asked that we try and go at least 1000 meters in those five minutes and I'm happy to say that I did 1163 meters.

I was exhusted but we got a few minutes to rest before doing the "Battle". This battle was titled "Great Scott!!" and we had to do x10, x21, x20, x15  (or 10/21 2015) of Slamballs and Sit Ups. So we started with x10 Slamballs and then did x10 Sit Ups, then 21x Slamballs and 21x Sit Ups and so on. I can't recall where I finished but I do know that I was tired and didn't finish the entire thing. I think I got through half of the x15 Slamballs before time ran out.

It was a good workout.. but I wouldn't expect anything else on one of coach Blairs CON days.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tom Hiddleston & B5 River of Souls

So I came across this video titled "Fall In Love With Tom Hiddleston in 20 Seconds Or Less" Now there are people out there who are crazy for his Loki character and think he's the hottest thing on Earth. I've never been on that band wagon, I mean he's nice looking and he seems very sweet in interviews.. but he's not all that... OMG after watching this video I fell head over heals and now understand why those who adore him do so... he is just so dang adorkable!!!

After work I headed over to my buddy Robert's place were we continued our first time viewing of Babylon 5. It's been a while since we watched some B5 and we are so close to being completely done with the series. For today's viewing we watched the third Babylon 5 TV movie titled "River of Souls" Here's a quick synopsis: After a short absence from Babylon 5, Michael Garibaldi returns to the station to meet with a person in his employ. An archaeologist in search of a means of immortality brings his most recent find to Babylon 5 – an orb containing one billion souls of an extinct race. Within days a Soul Hunter arrives claiming the orb was stolen from his people. With the assistance of the archaeologist the souls break free from their captivity in the orb and bring havoc to the station.

There was only a handful of the "regular" cast members in this TV movie. Jerry Doyle who plays Garibaldi was the main lead with Tracy Scoggins as Captain Lochley, Jeff Conaway as Zack and Richard Biggs as Dr. Franklin returning to their roles.

I actually really enjoyed this movie, I thought it was better then ThirdSpace (the 2nd TV movie). I enjoyed the story and it didn't bother me that the majority of the main cast members weren't in it. Garibaldi use to be one of my favorite characters on the show but the last few seasons I haven't been a fan of where they took him but he wasn't so bad in this episodes and he reminded me of the Garibaldi I use to enjoy. I really like the character of Captain Lochley, we only got to really get to know her in the final season but it was nice seeing her again in this TV Movie.

We only have two more TV movies to watch and then decide if we are going to watch the short lived spin off series Crusades. But our B5 experience will soon be over.

NerdStrong Gym - Mobility & Steel Clubs

DEX day at NerdStrong Gym. We started off with a warm up that could be considered a workout in itself. 230 Meter Run with arm circles, left over right back & forth and shoulder rolls, 1 minute of Calf/Hamstring Pole Stretch, 5x Pole Squats and 10x Kneeling Stretch.

We moved on to our Proficiency portion of the workout and did LAT Mobility Complex with Banded LAT Distortion and Anterior Delts with Mobility Ball. The Banded LAT Distortions felt great but the Ball was painful as you crushed it into side of your body.

For the Quest we had to choose 3 workouts and work on them for 10 to 12 minutes. We could do 3x Burpee Pull Ups, 3-5x Pull Ups, Max Reps Weighted Pull Ups, Max Reps Negatives, 5x Strict Ring Rows or 5x Lateral Rows. I chose Burpee Pulls Ups, Ring Rows and Lateral Rows. I can only do two pull ups at most and not a big fan of negatives.

Our final Battle was 3 rounds of :20 seconds of work, :10 seconds of rest with a Steel Club. First we had to do a One Handed Swing (left arm), Two Handed Shoulder Squat, One Handed Swing (right arm), Two Handed Front Press and then a Two Handed Front Pull Over. None of this is particular hard but after all that we had done by the second and definitely third round your arms are like jelly and you can't wait for it to be over.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens Tickets and Trailer

Today is Star Wars day.. not only are they releasing the first full length trailer (prior to this there have been teasers) but tickets are going on sale as well.

The trailer for Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is going to premiere during half time on Monday Night Football and tickets are to go on sale moments after it's premiered.

But things didn't go as planned and two hours or so before the trailer was released I saw a tweet saying that tickets were on sale (on certain websites). So I went to the Arclight website and sure enough they were on sale. Since I was trying to do a group purchase I hesitated on buying tickets right away, instead I Facebooked messaged my friends which version they would prefer to watch.. ATMOS (which I love) but it's in 3D or just regular 2D. By the time folks responded (which was only like 10 minutes) I went back to the website and it was being bombarded and it took the next hour and a half, refreshing, crashing, refreshing, crashing to purchase six tickets. Websites were crashing all over the place and people were going crazy. But I got my ticket and a few friends as well so I'm extremely happy. I'll be seeing Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens on Thursday at 10pm at the Arclight Sherman Oaks Theater. I'll be seeing it in 3D with ATMOS Dolby audio (which is the main reason I choose this theater.. love ATMOS).  I'm sure I'll be seeing it several more times over the weekend with various other people... but there is nothing like the first time.. I can't wait!!!!

I was at work when they aired the trailer during halftime but it was only a matter of seconds before it showed up online so I sat in my office and watched the brand new trailer... then I watched it again.. and again.. and maybe a few more times. It was as though I was seven years old again and watching the Star Wars (A New Hope, but it wasn't called that back then) trailer. I would let out audible ohs and ahs, I had chills from head to toe while tears welled up in my eyes.

The music alone was amazing and so emotional but the visuals were spectacular. This movie reminds me so much of A New Hope in look and feel. They gave absolutely nothing way in the trailer as to what the story might be. We got introduced to a few of the new characters and got to see some of the amazing battles that they have in store for us. This trailer only made me even more excited for this movie... Is it December yet!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Star Wars 7 Poster, Chris Evens is Hot, Team Carter Wins & Family

They released a new poster for Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens and it's pretty fantastic. It's not done by Drew Struzan which is a shame as he is an amazing artist and I have loved his previous works (including many of the previous Star Wars movies). But I have to say it's still very much in his "style". Which begs the question, why didn't they just have Drew do it? Still I'm super excited for this movie and I can't wait for the new trailer to drop tomorrow during Monday Night Football.

I came across this Captain American GIF and just had to share it. I mean is there a better example of the male specimen, Chris Evens is just so dang cute and seems like a very sweet and generous man which makes him even hotter.

Staying in the Marvel Universe for a minute.. the Dubsmash war between the Agent Carter actors and Agents of Shield actors is over and the underdog Agent Carter came from behind at the last minute to win the war. You can check out all their fun videos HERE.

I was Team Carter all the way so I am very happy with the results but both teams did an amazing job collecting donations for their two charities. I have a feeling this isn't the end of the war between these two shows.. can't wait to see what's next for them.

There truly is no loser here.. both teams were amazing and together they raised a combined total of $154,329 for their two charities

Today I got to spend some time with my Dad and my brother's family. I got to take dad out to my favorite Chinese restaurant and when I got back I got to hang out with my niece Molly and nephew Kenobi. I brought along my Pie Face game as I figured the kids would get a kick out of it. Of course I had to do it first and show them how it worked and that it didn't hurt getting hit in the face. Then surprisingly Kenobi was much more keen on doing it then Molly. I thought it would be the complete opposite as Molly is the gung ho type of kid and Kenobi is more like me and reserved.

Kenobi and I had a great time getting smacked in the face with whip cream over and over, even my sister-in-law Lora got in on the fun and towards the end my niece joined in, but I think she just liked eating the whip cream.

Afterwards I went out on the trampoline with the kids, I'm so thankful that I'm going to the gym and being more active as these kids are full on energy and run circles around me. I can usually keep up with them for an hour or so before I have to call it quits and rest. But we had some fun times on the trampoline.

NerdStrong Gym - Zombie Fights

Today at NerdStrong Gym.. Army of Darkness themed workout. This was one of the more complicated workouts, here is how it works. In Teams of 3 we had to do two 12 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) and in this case you wanted to do as many as possible because when you completed a round you got a chainsaw, which would help in a later fight.

At the end of each of these battles we had a Zombie Fight (5 minutes to do 10 Burpees in unison). But how ever many chainsaws we got during the battle would decrease the amount of Zomies (ie Burpees) we had to fight.

But there was a twist, one of the coaches would roll a 4D at the six minute mark, if it landed on 1, which is a crit fail we had to add 5 more burpees to our Zombie fight bringing the total to 15 Burpees. If it landed on 2 we only added two more Burpees to our Zombie fight, 3 we lost 1 chainsaw that we had earned and 4 nothing happened.

The first battle was in the Graveyard, we had to do 20x Push Ups, 30x Sit Ups and 40x Squats. While one person did the workout, one would hold a High Plank and third person would rest. We rotated doing as many as we felt we could do, so of us were better at Push Ups then others so we did a few more and so on. We managed to do four rounds of this battle and got 4 chainsaws, luckly the coach rolled a 4 so nothing happened and my team had to do fight only 6 Zombie (burpees) for this battle.

The second battle was at the Castle Siege, we had to do 20x Ring Rows, 30x Hanging Knee Raises and 40x Reverse Lunges. This time the hold was a Weight Plate Hold. Again like with the previous battle we did as many as we felt we could do and this time we managed to get 3 chainsaws within the allotted time. Unfortunately coach rolled a 3 so we lost one of those chainesaws and wound up fighting 8 Zombies (Burpees).

Overall it was a fun and tough workout. I love these team workouts...