Monday, December 13, 2010

“The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we appear to be.” - Socrates

About 6 years ago I started playing a card game called Legend of the 5 Rings, or L5R for short.  I really played it heavy for at least a year, maybe two, until the game store I frequently visited closed down.  There was another game store in town I supplanted myself to, but none of the players transferred over to the other game store.  The game came to a sudden halt for me.  After a few years, THAT game store closed down, and thankfully a month or two later a new one started up, but the old players still stayed away.
After a decade and a half of playing different card games and trying different things, L5R remains my favorite game out of all of them and it makes me sad that I don't have anyone in my area to play with.  To me, it felt like when I played against an opponent, we were actually telling a story.  And I loved the fact that in the big events, called Kotei's, who ever won the Tournament actually influenced the game (and the story of the game) in a new direction.
But granted, its probably a good thing.  Over the years, Ive learned at least one thing about Collectible Card Games.  They are a huge drain of resources.  Be it money, time, or others you might think of.  But they sure are fun.  So, I guess I could start up a L5R RPG, so I can get my fix of the world of Rokugan.  But then I would have to venture into the world of DMing.  And who wants to do that?

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Nya-ugh" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

I realize this is more than a month overdue, but this being my Blog, I will be lazy with it as I see fit. To follow up my last Post, I went as Steampunk for Halloween, and I looked a little something like what you see on the right.  I really liked the costume, and I found it surprising how often I had to explain what Steampunk was to people.  I guess everybody cant be nerds, which is a shame. 
Since All Hallows Eve, Ive been watching a lot of TV.  There has been a few things Ive really got into.  Ive discovered in the last month the Greatness that is The Big Bang Theory, cause I can relate to the very high nerd level, and the spectacle that is Glee, cause who doesn't wish their life was a Musical every once and awhile?  But the standout has to go to The Walking Dead an the AMC channel.  Believe me, just go watch it!  But on the low end, Ive had a large dose of Anime too.  I think I would like it a whole lot more if there want so much damn Posturing!  There's to much standing around talking about so and so's back story, and we he cares, and why his move is better than everyone else's, then the back story to his great move, then three episodes more of why hes face down in his own blood explaining why the other person decided to let him live.  Just get on with it already!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

'Bravery is being the only one knowing how scared you are.'

Ive been having a hard time coming with a costume idea for Halloween this year. Ive been finding this kind of difficult because the last few years, the costume ideas just kind of clicked. Done and done. But this year, I struggled. For starters, I don't have the prison abs that are required to meet the prerequisites for some of the costumes I did want to do (like Thor or Alex Louis Armstrong. Maybe next Year?!). Or the money and the know how (sorry Ganondorf).
Buuttt... After a few trips to the local Halloween stories with friends and throwing around ideas (watch out! They're sharp.), I think I might have come up with something. It kind of involves spiky, white hair, goggles, a trench coat, and maybe a really big WRENCH. Oh, and gloves. And its not a mad scientist. Sorry to disappoint. If you can figure it before Halloween, then good for you. If not, you'll have to sit there and wait. Ill tell you then.
The idea kind of kind of came out of nowhere. It was just on one of those trips that my friend and I were just bouncing ideas off each other, trying stuff on, and trying to piece something together. And it just sort of happened.
I'm glad that the group of friends I'm in still like to dress up around this time of the year. Because less than a week ago, I was with two friends, and I kid you not, we had an hour long conversation about how much we earned and the price of Health Insurance. Yeah, felling kind of old. But, none the less, we're making a good time of it.
What are you people dressing up like this year? Any good ideas out there?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

‎"I have always felt that violence was the last refuge of the incompetent, and empty threats the final sanctuary of the terminally inept." - marquis de Carabas

Tonight I attended my monthly Book Club meeting. This has been our 3rd meeting, and I’ve really come to enjoy the meetings. Mostly for just getting together, but don’t tell anyone. We have a really good group of people. To date, I don’t think we've had a horrible book. And this including a Stephanie Meyer book. (I know, right?!) This last book was of my own choosing, by the name of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’ve always have wanted to read something written by him, because I’ve seen his name around and people say he’s competent.

I honestly can’t say I’m in love with his writing as of yet. He’s not horrible by any means of the imagination. He’s actually got a great imagination. But here’s the But: For some reason I had a hard time following the story at times. There was multiple times were I had to go back and reread certain passages to understand what was going on.

But he is a great writer. I understand why people like his style of writing. He had some great characters. Like Croup and Vandemar. They were the nicest and dirtiest assassins of ever seen. I would’ve liked to see a little more back-story of a few of the main characters, like Marquis de Carabas, but what are you going to do? And they’re a ton of clever crafted, well written lines in the book, so I have to give it that.

I’m going to definitely look into his other books when I get a chance to. I might start with American Gods or Sandman. But who knows what the future will bring?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"The biggest mistake is believing that there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation –– or a relationship." - Deborah Tannen

Hello gentle people,
Look at your Blog,
Now back to mine,
Now back at yours,
Now back to mine,
Sadly, yours isn't me,
But if you stopped reading my blog and go see Scott Pilgrim VS The World,
Your Blog could read like mine.
Look down, back up.
Where are you?
You are in a room, reading that blog yours could be like.
What's that in your hand?
Back at me, I have it.
It's two tickets to that movie that I love.
Now look again, the tickets are now bags of popcorn.
Everything is possible when you go see Scott Pilgrim VS. The World.
I'm on my computer.

If you can’t tell, I recently saw Scott Pilgrim VS The World. And it was Fantastic, with a capital "F". It’s been kind of weird the last few weeks. It’s rare when right after watching a movie, I want to buy it on DVD. It’s not only happened once, but twice. The first was Inception, which was brilliant in, well, its inception. And now it’s happened with Scott Pilgrim.
It was cleverly written, the dialogue was rather snappy, the fight scenes were entertaining, and a friend told me it was rather relatable in the sense that is how a lot of dating is like, both of you bringing your baggage to the relationship and seeing how you cope with it. I, for one, wouldn't know cause I’ve never been in a relationship of any degree in that area. Which I’ve been told by friends and family alike that I need to rectify.
I like the idea of dating. I don’t dislike it by all means. I just don’t have the dating bug at the moment. If someone comes along, then great! Plus, I don’t think I’m in the right environment to meet someone that’s around my age. My work is hopeless (Cause there’s me and only one other guy) and the church group I frequent, I’m afraid that I’ll start hitting on some girl that’s 18 and right out of High School.
Plus there’s a little fear of being in a serious relationship for the first time. I’ve never done it before so I have no idea what to expect. There’s a little fear of the unknown there. I just need that first little experience to push me over the edge.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Why is it that if someone tells you that there are 1 billion stars in the universe you will believe it, but if someone tells you a wall has wet paint, you will have to touch it to be sure? " - Unknown

I got back today from staying a week up at Bear Lake with family today.  It was rather enjoyable experience I must say.  Family and all.  Plus it allowed me to experiment with something Ive been wanting to do for awhile.  To see if I could take some pictures of stars and have them turn out all right.
I must admit that, for a first try, the pictures turned out a lot better than I was expecting.  Nothing perfect (that would be a real far stretch of the imagination), but I surprised myself.  I think if I had thousands of dollars to throw at a hobby, I think I would really pickup Astrophotography.  I think it would be real fun to produce high level images of different celestial objects.  It sure isn't for everyone.  Theres a lot of sitting around on your thumb going on.  But I find it rather peaceful.  But thats just me.  Heres what I did on my first attempt.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

“We got to go to the crappy town were I’m a hero!” - Wash; Firelfy

It feels like one of those days that I’m going to ramble, so bear with me. First off, I’ve noticed that I’ve been watching a lot of British TV of late. Because 1, all my regular Shows are off for the season, and 2, people have told me to watch  few shows. A few of you know, I’ve had a long held view that British programming was crap. I have to readjust my scale a little bit. Instead of 100% garbage to 95%. I would be the first to admit that there are a couple really good shows on the BBC, taking the forms of Top Gear and Doctor Who.
I have watched a few others, mainly including Spaced, Torchwood, a few Instances of The Mighty Boosh, and Red Dwarf when I was younger. Spaced and Torchwood go into the grey area for me. They both had their moments, I didn’t mind the hours I spent watching them, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back and rewatch them because as an overall series they were Beh at best. But Red Dwarf and The Mighty Boosh, to me, were plane awful. The few funny lines they did have wasn’t worth the cringing it made me do and watching the rest of the episode to get too that funny line.
And now for an abrupt change in topic (since I can’t think of a clever segue), time for a weight loss update. I haven’t lost any weight for the last few months, but on the upside, I haven’t gained anything back either. I’ve been fluctuating between a 10 pound span for awhile now. It’s been kind of frustrating, especially after my initial shed of about 80 pounds in the first 5 or 6 months. So I guess what I’m saying is that I hit a wall. I need to revaluate a few things. To start with, I need to clean up my diet. Im not doing horrible, but there’s room for improvement. I need to start doing a high protein and vegetables, with a low everything else (fat, sugar, carbs, etc…). It’s harder said than done.
Granted, this sounds like I’m trying to pack on a lot of muscle, which I’m not. I’m going to naturally put on some lean muscle just by the fact that I go to the gym for an hour at a time. When I get down to the weight I want to be at, then I’ll see where I’m at then start adding from there. Speaking of which, I probably need to switch up what I do at the gym, but I don’t know what to switch it too.
Now for another complete turn in conversation, it’s been a pretty wet spring, which I absolutely love. I wouldn’t mind it raining most of the summer, just because it would keep everything cool and fresh. I should move up to the northwest somewhere, were it does rain a lot. I would love it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"As a whole, people suck. But a person can be extraordinary.". - Harry Dresden

I had a great night being with a couple of friends tonight, and I remembered something about myself. When I’m a part of a group setting, I’m an observer. Some of my friends might disagree with me, but deep down I am. I just like to watch people. And I’m also shy, which might have something to do with it. But, sometimes you can learn a lot about people by just standing aside and just observing them.
Being shy and liking to observe can make me come across as distant, lacking a personality, and not opinionated. I admit, I do have a mixture of those qualities. I’m distant, until I warm up to you. My personality doesn’t shine until we connect. And if I seem to be not very opinionated, that means 1, I don’t really care about the subject, or 2, I don’t have enough information to form a valid opinion.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that I use to judge people pretty harshly (especially in High School) on just first impressions, and Ive tried to change that. I think I might still do that occasionally, but I consider myself a pretty open guy now, willing to listen and try different things. When I don’t give people a chance, I try to catch myself, and realize people have different ideas and viewpoints than I do, and try to be more accepting of them.
But that’s the point of life, isn’t it? Continue to grow and learn. So live long and prosper.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"A man might be thought wealthy if someone were to draw the story of his deeds, that they may be remembered" - Buliwyf: 13th Warrior

I really never had any gaming counsels when I grew up. So I never really played any of the classics that people talk about, like the Street Fighter series, any of the Mario games, nor any ot the countless Final Fantasies. Which I get crap for occasionaly.  And so a couple years ago, I did finally pick an Xbox 360. For the most part, I’ve really liked the games I have purchased for it. The “meh” ones I only paid under 20 dollars for, so I can’t stay mad at that.
As of recently, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy 13. I picked it up because of the good things I’ve heard about the others. For one, it a great looking game. You can spend hours just running around looking at the scenery. But the game play is pretty linear, which is kind of a disappointment. I really like the soundtrack to it as well. I can’t really nerd out about it and get all the inside jokes because I haven’t played any of the others. I would recommend it to anyone.

The more games I play, the more I realize that the games I love are the ones that would probably be considered party games. Games that can be played by 2 to 4 people. Such as Rockband/Guitar Hero, First person shooters that have a good online mode, Fighting games and the random fun stuff like Dance Dance Revolution.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do like other games such as Oblivion, Grand Theft Auto, and Overlord. But the problem I’m seeing is that I do play those games when I first pick them up and really enjoy it, but after awhile they just end up sitting on my shelf. I do still really like those games when I do get a chance to play them, it’s just I never finish any of them.
There’s just something I like about the social aspect of multiplayer games that make them my favorite. Be it the smack talk, the sudden spurts of rage people go into, or the accomplishment you feel when you finish a rather hard co-op. To me, they’re just more fun.
And since I can’t think of a clever segue; I’m just going to force this in here at the end. I watched The 13th Warrior the other day. Great movie, that. Makes me think I should’ve been a Viking. But I digress. I just wanted to share this quote from the movie that I liked:

'Lo, there do I see my father.
'Lo, there do I see My mother, and my sisters, and my brothers.
'Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
'Lo, they do call to me. They bid me take my place among them.
In the halls of Valhalla, Where the brave may live forever.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

'First Lord's Fury" brought to you by the Hallmark Channel...

The other day I finished reading a book that went by the name of ‘First Lord’s Fury’. No, this book didn’t have any religious connotations, and yes, this is another book review (well, more of a just my opinion and own rantings), so deal with it. All and all, I can sum up the book with one word: Meh. Yea, that’s right. Meh. And here`s why.
Let me start off by saying that a lot of endings to book series I`ve read don’t really stand up to what I expect the grand finale of a series to be. They seem to fizzle out with they ‘live happily ever after and the bad guys dead.’ Kind of like a wet balloon that suddenly goes limp from lack of air after the sudden gusto that it had for life. Granted these endings have great moments, but they don’t quite do it for me.
I want to have an explosive ending. Like when someone takes a pin to a fully inflated balloon. I don’t necessarily expect or want the ending of a series to be glazed over with happy feelings like a funnel cake. I don’t mind a little Happily Ever after, but I want them to pay for it. So I guess what I`m trying to get at is that I what a little bit more mayhem and tragedy in my endings. If the main character gets hitched at the end, I want him to be missing a leg or Hilary Clinton to be the Mother in Law. If they win the day, whole cities will have to have been laid waste to do so. I don’t mind the good guys winning. I just want them to have something bad happen to them so they learn something by the end.
To me First Lords Fury had some good qualities. It had pretty good pacing. Through the whole book there was a sense of being constantly being pushed back, to struggle to survive against a vast horde of enemies, and making shady deals with other enemies to help the cause against the enemy of all. But when the end came, and when everything was beginning to wrap up, the sugar coating started to appear. All the main characters survived. ‘Tis a shame I say, but what are you going to do? The last epic fight was just that until the last note, when it wasn’t. There was no limbs lost, no emotional turmoil they had to deal with for years. It was just done. All wrapped up in a neat little package.
That said, there were a few characters I really liked and connected with. Overall, the characters from the series seemed really human, and popped out. The series as a whole was pretty average with some great parts. I just thought the ending was kind of underwhelming. I’ll probably end up recommend the series to friends, ‘cause it was decent at the core. Now to find another series to take up my time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We rode on the winds of the rising storm. We ran to the sounds of the thunder. We danced among the lightning bolts and tore the world asunder. - Crossroads of Twilight

I’ve been a fan of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan for a little over a decade now. For most of that time, I’ve been a disgruntled acolyte of the vast and rich world that Jordan had created. By the time I picked up the first volume, The Eye of the World, half of the current 14 books had already been published.
I’m going to say the first 5 or so books are the best written of the series by far. Jordan gives us a world full of scope and history, with characters that you come to love and hate, and doing it all that very descriptive way that only can do. Then from about book 6 on is when the Train wreck happens.
At this point, it just seems like the story as whole just gets away from him. He throws in so many plots and subplots, that it just becomes a convoluted mess that takes books to sort out. Plus there’s the fact that major characters don’t even bother to show up in some of the books. At one point, I just kept on reading just because I wanted to see it through to the end of the series.
When I first heard the news that Robert Jordan passed away a couple years ago, I admit I was kind of angry, frustrated, and disappointed that he wasn’t able to finish the series. I know that was a little self centered at the time, but I got over it. Especially when I heard that he took some really detailed notes right before he died so that someone could finish were he left off. Enter Brandon Sanderson.
I’ve never have read any of Sanderson’s books, but from what I’ve heard, he’s pretty competent at what he does. And being a fellow Utahn, I guess I could support him. Sunday I finished the latest Wheel of Time book that came out last October, The Gathering Storm. It’s the first of three that Brandon Sanderson helped put together and that will wrap up the series. And I’ve got to admit, I really enjoyed it.
It still had the Robert Jordan feel and vibe to it, with a little Sanderson flair. I’m liking it because it didn’t have the sense of being bloated like the last few have been, but it had a sense of finality to it. Things are starting to wrap up. Plus, it just seemed to flow better as well.
If you were one of those people that became disillusioned with the whole thing, I implore you to at least read The Gathering Storm. It’s made me a believer again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Life is not the way its suppose to be, it’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

I’ve been going to the gym for about six and half months now, and I’ve found one of the most boring things you could do is the elliptical machine. I do it, because honestly, I need a good bought of cardio if I want to lose weight. And being a larger fellow, I found it’s easiest on the knees. But I digress. I’m stuck on the torture device for about a half hour at a time, with nothing to really stare it. Well, I guess they have multitudes of TVs on different stations to mesmerize you, but you need a set of headphones to actually listen to them. I’m not a fan of having something covering my ears like that when I’m exercising.
So, at some point, I’ve come to enjoy a little something I call Gym Watching. I find it rather a rather interesting implement of observation. If you go to a certain place long enough and just watch your surroundings, like I have with the gym, you start to recognize the people who come and go on a regular bases, who they come in with, what they like to work out on, and a few of their idiosyncrasies. I think it’s fascinating to see how people create their own little bubbles to make themselves comfortable amidst strangers. I do realize that one stares at someone to long, it can be determined as rather creepy and weird, so I don’t observe for any long durations.
But I’ve come to find out that peoples personal little bubble fields extend only so far. For a few weeks, I tried to randomize which elliptical machine I used. I found that, unless it’s really busy and they don’t have a choice, when multiple people use the same type of exercise machine, they usually place themselves on every other machine to as far apart as they can get. I don’t know if it’s an ingrained sense of don’t talk to strangers that your parents whipped into you when you were young, or that people have a natural deep dark fear of that unknown stranger at the gym.
Don’t get me wrong. People at the gym, more often than not, are really quite nice and courteous. I have more than once witnessed people help others. There are the occasional gym rat douches that are just trying way too hard, but that’s not the norm. I’m just noticing that in large groups, people revert to an inner caution, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But that shouldn’t stop you from letting go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Unless you believe, you will not understand.

There was an article posted by a friend the other day over on MTV Newsroom about something I never knew about; Wizard Rock! There was an apprehensive "Um, ok" moment while I read the article. Most of the bands they list at the bottom of the page, I’ve never heard of. Deciding it couldn’t hurt at all; I started to plug some of them into Pandora, the internet radio station.
As I listened to what Pandora brought up, I couldn’t believe I never heard of those glorious Heavy Metal Bands singing about epic fantasy and magic and warriors of might. For the last couple of days, I’ve been listening to it a lot. It makes me want to run through the fields, with the wind blowing through my hair and sword in hand, to do great deeds just so that someone might write a rocking metal song about me.
Granted, this isn’t for everybody. In fact, it might be for only a select few. But it appeals to my sense of awesome and greatness. Now to get the song “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie out of my head. Back to Pandora for another dose of Metal to help.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"There is no indignity in being afraid to die, but there is a terrible shame in being afraid to live." Alydon, in "The Daleks"; Doctor Who series

For as long as I’ve known, I’ve never really liked British TV Programming. I’ve seen a little hear, a little there, but I never really grew fond of it. I can’t pin it on a specific thing really, like the humor, or the production, but I never really got it. For awhile, I liked being the only Anglophobic out of my social group just too see my friends’ gawf at my antianglo tendencies. But recently (probably within the last year), my attitude has started to change a little. Through discussions of popular British shows and friends sending me clips of funny scenes, I’ve started to warm up a little too actually thinking about watching something from across the pond.
My first real experience was viewing one of the seasons of Top Gear, a show dedicated to cars. Needless to say, it was quite interesting. I like cars, but I’ve never really been into them so much to the point where I could tell the specific horsepower of a specific model gets or how many seconds it can go from 0 to 60 in. Top Gear will definitely appeal to those types of people. But that’s only half the show. The other half seems to be the Cast trying to implement “I’ve got a crazy idea; now let’s see if we can get a car to do it!” From racing different types of British buses, making a car able to float across the English Channel, to can they make an old p.o.s. car make it across an African desert. It usually turns into quite an ordeal, and then hilarious ensues. I’ve liked it enough that I need to track down more seasons of it.
Until I do, I’m watching the new incarnation of Doctor Who. I’m currently about half way through the second season, and I rather do like it. They have rather clever plot device where if the current actor playing the Doctor is no longer with the show, they can bring a new actor on board without a glitch of any sort. I’m currently on my second Doctor, played by David Tennant. As of the moment, I like the Christopher Eccleston (the first) version of the Doctor a little bit more at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I like the job Tennant is doing. I don’t know if I just got use Eccleston as being the Doctor since he was the one they started with in the new series (I’m a big fan of continuity) or what. They both portray the genius and slight insanity of the Doctor rather well, but to me Eccleston has more of a solid presence on screen. The best way I can describe the difference is Eccleston is more akin to a rabid wolf and Tennant is like a cornered badger; both things you wouldn’t want to deal with.
I may yet grow to like David Tennant more as the Doctor (he’s in it for a couple more seasons) because he does do a rather fine job. Time will only tell. As long as I don’t overdo it, I think I may yet come to love British television as much as the rest of them. Just as long as it doesn’t involve me having to watch Red Dwarf.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"...London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained." - Dr. Watson

I recently had the pleasure of viewing the movie Sherlock Holmes in the theater last week, and I wasn’t disappointed. To my mind, it was rather well done. The dialogue was witty throughout without becoming overly cheesy. Robert Downey Jr., a rather solid choice, played a believable manic Holmes and I rather liked Jude Laws portrayal of Watson instead of the portly henchman he’s been played as before. Rachel McAdams character was rather underwhelming, and because of such, was usually pushed aside by the other greater performances.
I’ve heard that people didn’t think it was as true to the Character of Holmes that were in the books and there was too much brawling and explosions for its own good (and on a side note, I thought it really added something to the movie). I can’t give a definitive response to this because I’ve only read one Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of The Baskervilles, and that was 10 years ago in High School. But one of my friendly acquaintances, who is an English Major and have read several of the stories, was of the opinion that this version of Holmes was truer to the one in the stories than any of the previous incarnations. If you have any qualms about seeing Sherlock Holmes in the theaters, it definitely is worth a cheap seat or two. 3.5/5 stars.
Update: I went and saw Avatar again, but this time in 3D. If you haven’t seen this film already, go and see it now I 3D! I might have to give it an extra half a star for being such a great looking film.