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Quickie of the Night

So, I’m watching Darkness Falls while working, courtesy my brother who gave me a pile of DVDs he no longer wanted. ‘Cause trust me, I would never have invested in this movie. The most obvious question is: when survival is dependent on staying in the light, why don’t these characters turn on the dome light when driving in a car? Didn’t the writers know how bright and annoying those things are? The end song by Vixtrola is pretty good though.

Also ice cream reviews continue! Tonight I had Ben and Jerry’s Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler which is described on the carton as Peach Ice Cream with Cinnamon-Sugar Shortbread Pieces and Peach Swirl. And for once, B&J gets it mostly right. The ice cream was decent with a light peach flavor. The peach swirl is mostly peaches with a only a small amount of peachy-syrup stuff nearby. It is quite peachy, but the shortbread bits break it up with a salty cinnamon-graham cracker taste. My only criticism is that there could be a few more and smaller bits of shortbread. But hey, for once B&J didn’t overload their ice cream!

Now back to work with me…

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And now I shall drink the world…

Just came in from my first 4 mile run of the year.  I’m actually surprised that I hadn’t gone beyond 3.5 until today, but I *was* in pretty crappy running shape at the beginning of the year and then got sick in February.  Logged about an 8.5 min/mi too.  Not shabby for one as slow as me.  But it again strikes me as disheartening to contemplate how many calories are burned versus how much effort is put forth.  I mean 332 calories for 33 minutes of sweating, burning muscles and maximum lung intake?  Yeesh.  Which is why it is better to take the long view.

 According to my FitDay records, since the beginning of the year, I have spent:
14 hours running, nearly 88.5 miles, burning 7500 calories.
But that ain’t nothing compare to:
48 hours playing ultimate frisbee, burning slightly over 19,000 calories.
Now that makes me feel better.

(Yeah, I know.  Running burns more calories per amount of time, but ultimate is a hell of a lot more fun.)
(And yes, I know.  These approximations are that…approximations.  How many calories burned will vary with what tool is used and many other factors.  When I ran on the treadmill last week, it gave me some huge number for calories burned but it’s calibrated for someone who is not me.  And when I go running in Omaha in a month or so, I’ll burn more calories because I’ll be running up freakin’ hills, except I won’t because I’ll die after the second one…)

On the plus side, knees feel okay today.  New shoes are probably helping, despite my being an under-pronator and buying light motion control shoes (because I do have flat feet).

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So, I’ve been watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip while working. Produced by Thomas Schlamme and Aaron Sorkin, it has the same wit an eloquence as The West Wing.  And when I say the same, I mean *the same*.  On one level that bugs me.  On another, I really liked West Wing so why complain?  I was rather hesitant about the show due to some of its cast.  Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet are not my favorite people.  Except when they are on this show.  Go figure.  Steven Weber is also excellently cast against type.  I’m guessing that this show is no longer in production.  A shame, but it is available to be enjoyed free and legal online.  At for example.

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You know, the opening scene of Model Species is kind of gross. I’m rather proud of myself.

Headed up to the mall to work. Had overpriced frozen chai, reasonably priced pizza at Slices, and made some headway on the scene that’s been confounding. Well, I have it worked out, just not written yet. I plan on getting to it tonight. (And if I do that’s doing pretty well.) Also shopped. Bought Eric a shirt and new running shoes. It’s possible that my shoes have been contributing to my knee problems. Or maybe it’s just something about the time of year. I seem to recall buying my knee band last year after spring league. (Maybe it’s to do with crushing and abrupt ends to the season that send my entire being into dismay.) Eric and I spent the evening consuming alcoholic energy drinks and brainstorming Fuel Eater. We contemplated what disadvantages Harlan Ellison would have if he were a GURPS character. Seemed an appropriate thing to do on his birthday.

Disc! I have been feeling the lack of disc and being out on the field was good. I did nothing spectacular, nor do I remember screwing up too badly. We stopped at Albertson’s on the way home and were then stopped by a highway patrolman who was obviously phishing for a larger charge than a non-functioning break light. The advantage of having a crappy vehicle is that no one ever breaks into it. The disadvantage is that it may appear slightly criminal in nature.

Working. Slowly. I hate editing. Procrastinating.  Annoying people on Facebook.  Writing long over-dramatic LJ entries.  Never mind.  It isn’t online games that are evil.  It’s just about everything online…

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The Weekend

Had dinner at Anne’s on Saturday night in honor of Hailey’s birthday. Drank too much beer, ate too much food. Got slightly sunburnt while sitting near the pool. Talked to Jim about stuff including Phoenix landing on Sunday. He gave it about a 90% of landing without incident. I’m sure he was a pretty happy camper on Sunday.

Sunday. Goofed off. Started up EverQuest 2 accounts again. Watched The Lookout. Not a bad movie. I’m not sure if they did a great job with the character’s mental disabilities, but it was passable. Jeff Daniel’s is great in it and I was really fun watching Deputy Donut kicking some butt. It was pretty much exactly as I expected it would be.

Today, I was really intending to work. And then didn’t. Got bit by the EQ2 bug and the laziness bug.  I could do a little work this evening, but I’ll probably just catch up on the goof-off stuff I’m behind on.

Ran today, but probably pushed a block too much.  My knees have been unhappy.  I think I need new shoes.

Ice Cream #10 – Haagen-Dazs Green Tea Ice Cream
I really hoped that this would taste like a Thai ice tea. I could imagine that it might. You know, green tea, sugar, cream. It was possible. But it is not the reality. I suppose this ice cream tastes like green tea, not I couldn’t find it. Eric could, but he agrees with me, there’s some other taste that just doesn’t work. My brain says avocado but that’s only because it is the color of guacamole.  I added cinnamon, and it helped, but not enough.  Sadly, this is an ice cream that I won’t be eating any more of.

And that ends my 10 ice cream list for the 1001 challenge.  As with the candy goal, I wanted to do this to try new things instead of eating the same old thing.  My favorite of the bunch?  Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter, which is surprising since I generally go for vanilla bases.

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Special Effects

Jack Donaldson: Comic-book Movies Have Ruined Special Effects – Entertainment on The Huffington Post

In many circumstances, I’m not a fan of CGI. CGI effects generally have too slick of a look for me. Too pristine, no grunge. And sometimes they lack adherence to physics. I’m not interested in the new Hulk movie mainly because its CGIed anti-hero looks too…cartoony…to me. 

I agree that subtle effects are awesome (David Fincher returned San Francisco’s freeways to their pre-1989 state in Zodiac and you probably didn’t notice).  But some special effects are meant to be a spectacle, and part of the reason that noticeable effects aren’t as impressive is that we’re used to seeing them.  Way back when, the T2000 and the creature from The Abyss were pretty awesome because they had never been seen before.  James Cameron sinking the Titanic had never been done on that scale.  Comic-book movies can be made now (and are being made in profitable droves) because they needed the effects technology to pull them off.  It’s true, CGI can be over-used.  The Star Wars Parts 1-3 are probably a good example of that.  The Lord of the Rings films are a good example of CGI being used well (for the most part).  Comic-book movies are going to tend to over-use it by their very frenetic clash-of-Titans nature.

It would seem that the combination of CGI and practical effects is the way to go, and Donaldson is blind to a whole genre that takes advantage of whatever works to get the job done: the horror genre (and it’s kin).  Pan’s Labyrinth is gorgeous and full effects that are seamless within the movie.  It wasn’t even nominated in the visual effects category, though it won for cinematography, art direction, and makeup.  The Saw franchise uses multiple techniques to pull off the gruesome things that occur, but again, it’s not seen as an “effects” movie.  Horror movies rarely are, even though they’re all about tricking the audience through visual effects into believing that something has happened that obviously hasn’t.  Interesting that two of the bigger directors/producers that are pushing effect technology, Robert Zemeckis and Peter Jackson, have roots in horror.

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It is likely that I have rheumatoid arthritis. 

I still haven’t been officially diagnosed, but the symptoms are there.  It is a persistent and chronic condition.  Which means that, it’s going to gradually get worse and it’s never going to go away.  And strangely, except for the occasional tantrum, this doesn’t bug me too much.  It’s not like I can undo it or that I had a lot of control over it’s presence in my life.  It is a part of me, but not the end of me.  Then again,  maybe my attitude is in part because I haven’t been officially diagnosed.  I can still retain some level of denial.  That alone might be more worthwhile than getting diagnosed and put on hard-core drugs.

I have started taking measures though.  Keeping track of pain, maintaining a healthy weight, pulling back on exercise when it might be too much.  (I’ve given up playing ulti tournaments, a decision that has been pretty painful especially considering that the area might finally be putting a serious women’s team together.)  I’ve been monitoring my pain meds and started splinting and taping when I need to.  Keeping track of other factors that might cause a flare-up.  But I wonder where I’ll be in five years.  How much worse am I now than I was five years ago?  Hard to tell.  I wasn’t really dialed in.  It is rather interesting to note that it was five years ago that I threw out my back for the first time.

Anyway.  I should do my weights and then kick Eric out of bed.  We’re to go up to Anne’s this afternoon, but we need to get a gift for Hailey first.  I woke up at 8:30 to the phone ringing, but have managed to get nothing done.