l33tminion: (Keepon)
Another week where I don't have the energy to post about the weekend until the next weekend.

Last weekend, Julie's dad visited us in Boston. We took a side-trip to Concord, New Hampshire, went to see the symphony at Tanglewood (Beethoven's 9th, an amazing performance), and had some amazing meals (in particular, my first time dining at the new(ish) Boston branch of Fogo De Chao).

On Wednesday, we went to a concert at Club Passim along with Xave and Sarah. Hanna Sanders and Liz Simmons opened, Katie McNally and her trio were the headline performance. Both acts were really amazing, it had been too long since the last time since I caught a show at Passim. We were hoping to get a meal at Veggie Planet (the restaurant at Passim) before it closed for good, but it seems they already packed up shop. Hopefully Passim will be able to replace the restaurant for its dinner concerts, but they were running a pretty good concession stand.

Work has been busy. I had an important meeting with a technical contact at an airline this week. I did some good work this week and encountered some frustration. Today had good parts, yesterday was a disaster. But I survive, to the long weekend. Performance reviews are coming up once again, but what do I have to show for the last six months? Much accomplished, but little complete. A bit frustrating.

The produce box that arrived today contains cantaloupe and callaloo (some strange green, but that name is used for a variety of vaguely related greens, so I don't know which one precisely this is).

I finished Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall (good story and setting, an interesting game) and read Lexicon (a pulpy thriller, very similar premise to Snow Crash but a less satirical setting).

Workouts have been good, but I have a bit of a pulled muscle in my neck. It's recovering, though.

Really glad to have a long weekend.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Fun things from this week:

Saw Snowpiercer at the Brattle. "Hunger Games"-on-a-train by way of the cinematographic conventions of Korean action movies. Good stuff if you're willing to take your sci-fi more than a bit absurdist.

Julie took me to Giulia for my birthday, an amazing meal.

I went to the Union Square Farmers Market this weekend and did a bit of cooking. Steamed carrots, long red Florence onions, and baby kohlrabi with fresh sage. Sauteed rainbow chard and various other exotic greens with lemon. Made a salad with cucumber and red sorrel. Bought a loaf of pain d'epi (a pretty baguette variation I hadn't seen before) and served it with Fiore de Nonno burrata. All very good.

I got in a bit of biking yesterday, and today I took Hubway everywhere and biked about 14 miles.

At work a big project is being slow to warm up, but I've been putting in a lot of effort to make documentation improvements that I didn't have enough time to get to this past quarter. Feels good to finally get to that.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Thanksgiving break was great. I really enjoyed spending time with Cleveland friends and family. Though the travel itself was a bit exhausting, the trip was a nice break. We saw some plays that my sister, Melissa worked on in some capacity, a Cleveland Playhouse production of "Venus in Fur" (Melissa is interning at the Cleveland Playhouse this year; that one was a fantastic show, with amazing acting and staging) and a convergence-continuum production of "Fool for Love" (she did fight direction; I didn't find that play quite as compelling).

Since I got back, work has been all right, but stressful. My workouts have resumed, that at least is going great. The weather was that sort of mild winter weather that seems so much warmer than the first time in the year those temperatures came around, clear skies turning to fog later in the week. I was expecting to wake up to serious snow today, but the weather must have taken an unexpected turn, since things stayed dry. We didn't miss the nationwide cold-snap, though, winter is back.
l33tminion: (Slacker Revolt)
Not too much to report this week. I continue to be busy. Thank you notes have now been mailed. Work is going pretty well.

Going to Cleveland for Thanksgiving break all of next week.

My exercise routine was interrupted this week after a business crisis at Fitness Together. They're closed this week and opening under new management the next. My trainer is planning to move across the country in January, so I'll be working with someone new soon. But hopefully can continue to make progress on that after these few weeks of rest.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
I will be married in two weeks, and I'm exhausted. Most of the wedding logistics are now handled, save for a few minor things: Haircut next weekend, coordinating day-of logistics with my minions, getting a bit more detailed plan information to photographer.

Work is very busy, there's some complicated stuff I really want to wrap up before I head off on honeymoon. Julie is in a similar situation.

I've been making good use of my Hubway membership, and have a lot of good things to say about that service. Being able to do one-way trips by bike on impulse is really convenient. Especially when the weather is as variable as it's been lately. At least it's cooled off from last week's heat wave.

I'm keeping up with exercise, and have managed to take a little time to relax and celebrate, so that's good. Xave ran a short Nobilis game, which was fun. Haven't been dancing or climbing lately, but there's a new rock gym very close to my house, which I'll have to check out when I'm back in town.
l33tminion: (L33t)
What to say about the past few weeks? One of the marathon bombers was killed, the other captured alive after a manhunt that left the city shut down for the better part of a day. And I don't mind that. A bomber on the loose is dangerous indeed, maximizing the chances of catching the guy was worthwhile, even if it was very disruptive.

There's a lot going on in my household lately. I'm busy with wedding planning (though much of the work is done at this point). And figuring out what the housemate situation will be in July (DJ is moving out, though he'll still be in town). Work is busy. Workouts are intense. Things are stressful for a lot of people I know, it seems. Plus everyone's sick.

The weather is beautiful, though.

I've found time to play a few video games which are all pretty good and couldn't be more different from one another:
Dishonored (a steampunk-horror stealth-combat game about assassination, revenge, and the price of power, featuring a bit of a twist on the usual deal-with-the-devil trope)
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (a JRPG, Level-5's charming collab with Studio Ghibli)
don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story (a VN about fiction, meta-fiction, identity crises, high school literature class, and social networks)

May is looking like it's going to be as crazy as March.

This weekend, I'm going to Florida for Julie's sister's baby shower. Looking forward to that!
l33tminion: (Exercise)
I attended a parkour workshop at Metrorock this past weekend. It was interesting, and quite challenging in terms of strength and balance. I was surprised to find that's had quite the boom in popularity in the Boston area recently, even the Somerville Rec Department is holding an adult parkour class this winter.

My household got a delivery of local produce from Boston Organics this week, which was pretty cool. Because of the season, that meant lots of winter vegetables: Radishes (including some watermelon radishes), carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas kohlrabi, beets. Roasted the rutabagas kohlrabi in honey butter, the rest in seasoned olive oil with garlic and rosemary. Good stuff.

Edit: Seems I confused rutabagas and kohlrabi.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Got another fit-test. The last one was in June. Results are mixed. Weight is same, body-fat percentage up a little but probably within measurement error (believe down a little is accurate from observation, but not sure). Just have raw data this time, not aggregate scores.

Measurements: Don't have the figures from last time, so don't have the exact differences, but gained a bit in arms, legs, waist.

Weight: 160 lbs. (same)
BMI: 25.8 (same)

Bodyfat (3-Pinch Measure): 16.2% → 18%
Bodyfat (Impedance Measure): 18.4% → 18.6%

Resting Heart Rate: 58 BPM → 56 BPM
Active Heart Rate (after 3-minute step-up): 77 BPM → 76 BPM

60-Second Situps: 38 reps → 45 reps (back to where I was two times ago)
Maximum Pushups: 33 reps (got the form down now)
Sit-Reach Flexion: 19 in. → 18.25 in. (stiff)

I decided to go back to logging my diet. I've been making pretty good strength gains, I just need to get my focus back when it comes to what I eat. The food at work is great, but work messes with my eating decisions in all sorts of ways.
l33tminion: (Doubt)
Went to Albany this past weekend for a memorial service, the ceremony was beautiful, eloquent, joyful, deeply sad. It was good to have been there.

The news this week is already full of awesome achievement, senseless brutality, and major disaster.

In an odd mood, to say the least.

Sore from bouldering yesterday, but scrambled up to v2s and a v1+. Slow progress, but progress.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Got another fit-test last week, once again a year out.

Weight: 160 lbs. (+1 lbs.)
BMI: 25.8 (+0.1)
(My weight has fluctuated up and down but stayed basically the same.)

Measurements: Less 0.75 inches around shoulders and 0.5 around chest (significant? measurement error?). Up 2.25 around waist, down 2.5 around hips (kind of bizarre). Up 1.25 around thigh, 0.25 around calf. Down 0.5 around upper arm, 0.2 around forearm. These fluctuations are strange.

Fitness Scores
Overall: 51 → 65
(1-100, 50 is average, higher is better, compared to other males my age)

Bodyfat (3-Pinch Measure): 59 → 48 (14.2% → 16.2%)
Bodyfat (Impedance Measure): 40 → 35 (17.4% → 18.4%)
(This seems like an odd result, given my strength gains over the year. Neither of these measures is terribly precise, though...)

Resting Heart Rate: 25 → 83 (76 BPM → 58 BPM)
Active Heart Rate: 29 → 90 (115 BPM → 77 BPM)
(This was the most dramatic improvement.)

60-Second Situps: 75 → 55 (45 reps → 38 reps) (don't think I did my best here)
Maximum Pushups: 67 → 75 (29 reps → 33 reps) (good form, increasing reps)
Sit-Reach Flexion: 68 → 70 (18.75 in. → 19 in.) (still need more flexibility work)

Given how hard I've been working, I wish it wasn't so much trouble keeping strength gains and fat losses. Need to refocus on diet. Good food abounds.
l33tminion: (Climbing)
Bouldering today: Passed a v1+, failed a v2 repeatedly, failed a v1 repeatedly, passed a funky v0, failed a v1+ until I was exhusted.

Good day, but now my hands are pretty sore.
l33tminion: (Overwork)
Fitness: Workouts continue apace. Trying to watch my diet a bit more, despite all the opportunities for delicious brunch.

In related news, props to Newton Running for their innovative shoe design. I bought a pair of the Sir Isaac (Neutral Guidance Trainers), in hopes of strengthening my foot for more minimal shoes (as opposed to my previous "ludicrous amounts of arch support" design). Very interesting shoe; odd but actually quite a bit more comfortable on the ankles and knees when running, but more tiring across the sole of the foot in general. Forces a better form while running, has me adjusting my form on balance exercises and lunges in a good way (less leaning on my shoe). May have my feet a little more tired at the end of the day than previous, but overall seems good so far.

ComplexMeme: Trying to post more things at my other blog. A little bit about the movie The Interrupters, and some thoughts on the Netflix split (unpleasant for customers in the short run, and maybe the long, but certainly an interesting business case-study).

Politics: The remaining two of the Americans arrested in Iran while trying to hike in Iraq were released this week after the nation of Oman paid $1M in bail. What a bizarre story. Iran essentially kidnaps American hikers in an entirely different country after luring them over an unmarked border, overtly based on accusations of espionage but covertly (evidently) just an old fashioned kidnap-for-ransom scheme (which makes me wonder just where that "bail" is going?). One is released on "bail" pre-trial, her failure to show up for the trial is undoubtedly used to help convict the other two. The others are actually sentenced to eight years in jail, but then allowed to be "released on bail" as a "humanitarian gesture". The US, meanwhile, saves face by refusing to pay, but convinces Oman to pay somehow as a "humanitarian gesture" of their own. Don't know what the US government did to get the government of Oman to pony up the money, but that is undoubtedly coming soon to a WikiLeaks near you.

Don't Ask Don't Tell (a.k.a. the "let's fire Arabic translators for no good reason during a counter-insurgency effort in the middle east" policy) has finally been repealed for good. DADT was an embarrassing and dumb compromise that allegedly improved a worse embarrassing and dumb policy. But hey, I guess that compromise worked, in a sense. Good riddance.

Troy Anthony Davis was executed yesterday after final appeals failed. I have little to say about the case that hasn't already been said. If I was required to put money on it, I'd say the guy was innocent, but I cannot claim to have a sufficient understanding of the evidence of the case. However, I will say that while I understand why the criminal appeals standard is higher than the criminal trial standard, it would be nice if "beyond a shadow of a doubt" (at the very least) was applied to the approval of executions.

Games: Finished two video games recently.

The first, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a worthy prequel to the original. It's fun, and it captures the setting very well. It has somewhat less depth than the original, but far more polish. The stealth/cover system leads to interesting and suspenseful scenes, and there really are multiple valid solutions to most of the game's challenges. The difficulty curve is great, if you remember you're not playing a "standard" modern shooter, your character seems powerful but not invincible. Get the jump on a guard (or a group of guards, with careful planning) and they're doomed, run out into the middle of a room of foes with guns and they will swiftly turn you into cyborg swiss cheese. The choices of which mechanics to change relative to the original were smartly made (replacing a complex per-body-part health system and medkits with one total and regeneration was good overall in my view, inventory management is a bit easier, and replacing a "plug it in and wait" hacking mechanic with a rather clever mini-game). A few aspects are off: Boss battles are either way too hard or way too easy depending on weapons/tactics, the ending is a little clumsy, and the balancing/regeneration for limited-use special abilities are not quite right. Still, if you liked the original (or if you like shooter/RPGs or cyberpunk scifi) in general, you'll probably like this one.

The second, Bastion is a fun action/RPG game, with beautiful and surreal aesthetics, amazing music, fun, challenging, and suspenseful gameplay, good balance, and an interesting, well written, and well-programmed narration style. It's an excellent example of a game that tells a story in a way that's predominantly storytelling through gameplay (as opposed to "accompanied by"). If you want a great (and great as a game) example of "games as high art" that is not (and does not have the typical flaws of) "an art game", this is it. Seriously, this is not only one of the best games of this year (if not the best), but goes on my list of "best games of all time". If you like adventure/RPGs, you should play it. If you are interested in games, art, or storytelling in general, you should at least watch someone play it for a while. The soundtrack also stands on its own, this has been running through my head all week.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Warm up = 30 sec. jumping jacks, 30 sec. shuffle splits, 30 sec. burpees, 30 sec. mountain climbers. What's new this week is that I'm running through that twice in a row.

My incredibly itchy nose has been fixed by better allergy medicine.

It looks like Hurricane Irene is going to be quite a bad storm.

In mostly unrelated news, I'm going to PiCon this weekend.
l33tminion: (Music Metroid)
Things I've been up to this week:

Seeing the new Captain America movie (worth seeing if you like comic book movies), finally watching Silence of the Lambs (which I've had out of Netflix for months now), getting bruises on my forearms from new kettlebell exercises, bouldering because I get to the climbing gym late, playing Bastion (pretty good, and addictive; it's way too easy to buy and download XBLA games).

Last Sunday, Ames invited me to a music festival at the Cambridge Y, an event called "We Are Guest Talk, Free: $10". Unbeknownst to me, that event was the third annual installment of the "Weird-Stalk" concert series, so it was significantly stranger than I'd expected, including:
  • Genres of music that begin with a hyphenated "noise-"
  • The sort of jazz that raises the questions "how do you get that sort of sound out of a saxophone?" and "why would you get that sort of sound out of a saxophone?"
  • "Preggy Peggy and the Lazy Baby Makers"
  • Rock that sounds like it was created for and by extra-terrestrials (or at least some far-future sub-culture (actually a present sub-culture, thanks to insanity and the magic of the internet)) with radically different aesthetic sensibilities from ordinary human beings, played on an instrument that looked like the Reaver version of a theramin after it had dismembered and adorned itself with the internals of an innocent family of electric guitars
  • A husband-and-wife team performing advertising jingles
  • A multimedia theater/film piece about a mannequin communicating with its creator / data entry specialist through a series of VHS tapes entitled "How to Become a Better Person Through Clothing Choice"
  • The sort of absurdist theater that is to theater as "noise-[whatever]" is to music
  • Packing tape and a microphone as percussion instrument
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Fit-test results are in, nearly a year since the last one, and the results are decidedly mixed. Some of that is probably the tail end of that cold, and there's some random error on either side. Still, it's not good.

Weight: 159 lbs. (+8.6 lbs.)
BMI: 25.7 (+1.3)

Measurements: All measurements up except waist (which is same): 0.75 inch around shoulders, 1.25 chest, 0.3 hips, 1 thigh, 0.3 calf, 1.4 bicep, 1.1 forearm. Changes seem to be related to gain in muscle, so not too bad. Still have failed to cut that fat around the middle, though.

Fitness Scores
Overall: 66 → 51
(1-100, 50 is average, higher is better, compared to other males my age)

Bodyfat (3-Pinch Measure): 33 → 59 (18.8% → 14.2%)
Bodyfat (Impedance Measure): 59 → 40 (14.3% → 17.4%)
(Not sure what to make of that. By one measure, I've lost 5 pounds of fat and gained 13 pounds of muscle. By another measure, I've gained 6 pounds of fat and 2 pounds of muscle. Neither of those measures is particularly accurate. My last test was around when I was leanest, so I'd say I've probably regained a bit of fat overall, but also gained some muscle.)

Resting Heart Rate: 50 → 25 (68 BPM → 76 BPM)
Active Heart Rate: 82 → 29 (84 BPM → 115 BPM)
(This is where a little congestion really throws the results off. I hope.)

60-Second Situps: 80 → 75 (46 reps → 45 reps)
Maximum Pushups: 78 → 67 (34 reps → 29 reps) (good form, now to get those reps back up!)
Sit-Reach Flexion: 80 → 68 (20 in. → 18.75 in.) (guess I need to stretch more, too)

The silver lining: I have been doing good the last few weeks since I redoubled my efforts and started seeing the trainer three times per week again, I have put on some muscle, and my cardio endurance (which I mentioned as a setback last year) is also up this year (though it doesn't show in that particular test).
l33tminion: (Yay!)
Looks like I'll be working for Google in the near future after all. The merger is approved (though the official close of the deal still needs to happen paperwork-wise, which may or may not be delayed by the federal government totally shutting down), and I've accepted a formal offer of employment from Google. My desire to brag about the figures is overwhelming, but I leave it at saying I am excited about my new job for reasons other than that it works out very well for me financially. Which it does.

Speaking of changes and money, I'm determined to get off of the fitness plateau I'm on, so I'm switching back to three PT sessions a week, and I put the money down for three months of that. I will make this happen.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Last week I got to watch Ink with Michelle and have Chinese food with Tara. Saturday was relaxing. Sunday, I went to a dim sum gathering, then later to the Cake and Robots party at Artisans Asylum. So that day was too much food.

Food's been a problem in general. My attempt to redouble my exercise has been largely successful, but I've been making too many exceptions on the diet. Sometimes it does make sense to indulge in moderation, but it's way to easy to inadvertently hand over the keys. My weight has stayed about stable, and I do need to remember that my weight often rises a bit before it declines at the start of a new workout routine. Still, I want to drop a few pounds in the next few weeks, which means I really need to watch the snacks.

That's going to be hard this month because I have a lot scheduled. This weekend is Intercon. The next weekend is PAX East. One weekend free, then I'm taking a weekend trip to NYC.

Also, oil's up to $102/barrel. Time to party like it's 2008.
l33tminion: (Nom)
This weekend has been pretty intense, and I've still got Monday to go.

I feel like the last few months I've been slipping on my fitness. I'm ~159 lbs., up from 151 in June. I'd thought that gain was more of a temporary blip, but it seems to have settled in to a more long-term plateau, so more dramatic action will be required to start pushing my ratio towards muscle again. So more lifting and more cardio this week. Started off with a very intense workout with my trainer on Saturday and an extra half-hour on the elliptical. (Nothing today. It is vital that I get to the gym on Monday, even though I'm off work for Presidents Day.)

Saturday evening there was a dance for Squares, which was pretty fun.

Sunday afternoon went to the Boston Lamb Jam with DJ and Michelle. Had amazing food from local (and not-so-local) restaurants and some incredible beer (tasted Cape Ann Brewing Company's Fisherman's Tea Party barleywine and Blue Hills Brewery's Antimatter Pale Ale).

In the evening, I was sitting in the 1369 drinking tea and reading and the whole experience was just sort of surreal. A traveling snowshoe hiker was pouring over a trail map, and I struck up a brief conversation. A gray-bearded man at the table across from me was reading Medea. A group of surprisingly well-dressed friends discussed local brunch venues. It fit the mood perhaps too well that the book I was reading was Greg Egan's short story collection, Axiomatic.

Currently, watching the start of the third season of Avatar and taking it easy.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Happy 2011, everybody!

New Year's was a blast. Went to New Year's party at The Buttery (this communal home founded by some SCA people), spent the weekend hanging out with DJ, Michelle, and Ames.

Got in a little bouldering Monday and spent it all failing v1s.

Up late a lot this week, but still getting a lot done.

Saturday will be a road trip to NH to pick up Michelle's new kitten. Sunday there are brunch plans in the works.

Weekend after that is Mystery Hunt!

Following the start of the new congressional session has been... entertaining.

Various clothes-related things continue: Still working on shirts (slowly), acquiring a few sweaters and more chino pants. Suits (new and old) need to go to tailor.* Black dress shoes are still on my list (think I know what I'm getting there, though).

Fitness stuff also continues: Weight is hovering around 160, but some gain in muscle (I think). Trying the hundred pushups program and have managed to push my max rested up a few in a few weeks.

* I probably should have brought my old suit to the tailor instead of buying a new suit this summer. I currently have two very similar gray suits, neither of which fits that well, and the new one may well be worse quality than the old. I'm not sure whether the right solution is "tailor both", or "identify the better one, tailor that, donate the other". But honestly this should barely be in my mind at all, since I hardly ever wear a suit.
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Various things of note this week:

I saw a tailor about some dress shirts, which should arrive in six to eight weeks. If that does not result in some shirts that are an excellent fit, I will be sorely disappointed. Also placed a small order here and here, and that will also take some weeks before I know exactly how I managed to get the fit completely wrong. It's a process. More expensive ideas have been staved off until if/when the Google deal closes (also if/when I have a better idea of what I'm doing).

My comforter is beginning to fall apart and my sheets are starting to get little holes in them, so I put in an order to replace those with something that is (hopefully) a little more durable. Still haven't bought a bed (a frame for my futon, rather), since I really have no real need for such a thing, but that's still on my to-do list. Also ordered a small space-heater for the coldest part of winter. Wish my room had a radiator.

Started doing 100 Pushups, for kicks.

Looks like Yahoo is going to be shutting down Delicious. That's terrible! I love that service, and no one does quite what they do quite as well. I'd hope that Yahoo would be willing to consider selling it. (And I'd hope that Google would be buying. Google should have acquired the site back in the day. It's a valuable trove of information and the main thing that could improve the site is better search integration.)

The Obama-Republican tax plan passed. At least my representative still has some semblance of honor. Wish I could say the same about my senators.

Nikki will be in town this weekend! DJ and I will be accompanying her to a Christmas party on Saturday. I am excited.
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 04:22 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios