Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year End Weight Stuff

This chart shows my weight loss progression since I started making "by the pound" entries. I lost 30 pounds over 7 months, or roughly 1 pound per week on the average. My net weight loss is 35 pounds from my peak.

The depressing side... my new scale shows about 5 pounds more than my old one. My friend and diet buddy Nicole pointed out that I still lost the same amount of weight, but I still can't help but feel a little disappointed that I wasn't as close to 200 as I thought.

So I'll starting posting in the new year calibrated for the new scale, which would put me at 215.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006


Who knew stress could be so slimming?

I think the big difference is that even though I'm working a "manager schedule", I'm not taking a manager lunch. I'm sticking to 30 minutes with a Slim-fast and a granola bar-like thing.

As opposed to before, when I would take the hour lunch and go to a restaurant for it just to spend an hour out of the store where no one could bother me.

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Go ahead and tailgate him...

Found this on Amy's blog and it was too funny not point out. That's awesome.

Kudos to whoever snapped that picture.

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Comic Superwomen Commercial

This takes me back to when I did a study on the comparison between Spanish advertising and American. Ads in Spain were like this, with Wonder Woman running in slow-mo, and we have Head-On. I tried thinking of a different annoying American commercial because the site I found this also compared this commercial to Head-On, but Head-On is so damned annoying I think it pushed all of the other annoying ones out of my brain.

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Friday, December 29, 2006


Just in time for New Years, another pound gone.

Even though I didn't hit my hopeful goal of 200 by New Years, it's only weeks away (my goal that is). As long as I keep making progress, I'm happy.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

X-Men 2k6

Good group picture of the current X-Book line-ups.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

End of the rainbow

Go here.

Somewhere under the rainbow... is a six-pack with my name on it.

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Calvin & Hobbes Snowman Art

Click the image to go.

Is it wrong that I find these so humorous? *EG*

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Feliz Ozzidad

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Yule, Festive Festivus, Pleasant Near-Solstice Holiday.

I find it sadly amusing how controversial the Christmas holiday has become as people and organizations attempt to be politically correct. Wal-Mart's banning of "Christams" last year resulted in such a backlash that some groups tried pinning the same thing on other companies they didn't like, claiming that this or that company was firing employees for saying "Merry Christmas" (an untrue story featured on some Fox News shows among other places without them bothering with minor journalistic details like fact checking).

People on both sides get too worked up. If a company uses Happy Holidays, it's not that big of a deal. I had a customer give me grief because the sign on our door said "Holiday Hours" in stead of "Christmans Hours" until I pointed out that the sign included Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, which meant that it covered multiple holidays and not just Christams, ergo the Holiday Hours.

On the flip side, I really don't think many people are going to get offended if you wish them Merry Christmas this time of year, even if they celebrate a different holiday. Any holiday greeting is merely well-intentioned well-wishing, so take it (and give it) for its intent.

Compound that with the fact that Christmas has pretty much become a secular holiday. While many Christians celebrate religious aspects, many folks celebrate it without the religious aspects. If any thing, the ancient church PR plan was too good... it co-opted a popular existing holiday season with their religious holiday (despite the fact that Jesus was *supposedly* born in July), and increased the popularity to the point that the holiday took on a life of its own outside of any religious trappings. Now it's Christmas trees and Santa Claus.

But it's all good. It's a time for family and friends. So whatever, however you celebrate, have a happy one.

Feliz Ozzidad.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


It was more like 211.25 (maybe I need to get a digital scale?), but I don't declare a pound until the needle stays sqaurely on the mark.

Good thing I resisted the craving I had last night to get a caramel cashew custard sundae from Culvers. At the gym, I started wanting one really bad. I don't know why, I don't think I've ever had one.

I went home and had a granola bar instead. Not as much fun, but it paid of this morning.

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Maps of War

I'm sure my friend Marik likes this one... Democratic presidents actually presided over more war deaths than the Republicans. Of course, we can argue over how responsible a given administration is for getting us into a given war, but I just wanted to highlight an interesting site, not carry on a prolonged debate or write a term paper.

I hope this site puts up more maps.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

What did you get me into?

"What did you get me into?"

Those were my words when I saw my GM after being at my temp assignment a few days. To say that things are jacked up in this store is an understatement.

Jacked. Up.

Soon I will be like Darth Vader... when I show up at a store, it will mean someone is getting promoted because their boss was force-choked for ineptitude. I will be sent to "find new ways to motivate" stores before the Emperor arrives to see how jacked up they are.

I wonder if Vader had stress treatment on his medical benefits?

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Build your own Death Star

This site allows you to design your own death-star-like super battle station.

I think I'll build one and go looking for the Planet of Bitchy Holiday Shoppers.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

I have a bad feeling about this...

As I was getting ready to leave work Thursday, my GM called me into the conference room. Usually this means there's something wrong. Since I hadn't done anything wrong, I figured we had busted someone and I was needed in my capacity as the supervisor in charge of loss prevention.

I was wrong. GM started with the district needing me to do a favor.

To quote Han Solo: "I have a bad feeling about this."

It turns out one of our stores had lost two managers in the space of as many days, and at 9 days before Xmas. They wanted me to go to that store as an acting assistant manager for a temporary assignment.

Well, it's only 9 days until XMas, so I figured two weeks. But the permanent replacement wouldn't be there until February. And I needed to train him.

Granted, they offered me incentives and met demands. I get a premium for the duration of the assignment (they offered that up front). I stay on my M - F dayshift schedule. I stay hourly - important since I'll be working overtime. I stay bonused out of my store (my store rocks on financial results, my temp store not so much).

The downside... I can only imagine the nightmare scenario I'm walking into, so I'm anticipating lots of stress. It's the worst time of the year to be out of my store for so long. And I like my store and the people I work with... in fact I chose to remain in that store rather than open my temp store.

On the plus side, premium + overtime = new tv $. Looks like I'm getting me an Xmas present.

Assuming I don't keel over from a heart attack.

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Finally the bloody needle started moving again. I was beginning to think that it was stuck (yeah, that's it, it's not me staying fat... the scale is stuck).

Of course, now we are heading into the double jeopardy time while Riverdancing in a minefield. Not only do I have the Xmas - New Years one-two punch coming up, my job stress for the next six weeks is going to go through the roof.

More on that later, I've got to go to the gym.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Movie Review: Eragon

Sometimes I wish I hadn't read movie reviews before I see a given movie. One review I read talked about the similarities between Eragon and Star Wars. As I went into the movie, I tried to put that out of my mind so that I wouldn't intentionally be looking for similarities.

The could have titled this movie "Dragon Wars: A Recycled Hope".

Spoilers after the jump, or if you've seen Star Wars.

I mean it... spoileriffic. These are not the spoilers you're looking for.

I haven't read the book that the movie is named after, so I don't know how closely it follows the book. I mean Eragon, not Star Wars, which it follows pretty closely. It looks like the writer saw Star Wars, read Dragonlance, then sat down at the keyboard.

The hero is a farmboy with a destiny and fantastic powers he just discovers during the story. And he's a pilot dragonrider. He lives with his adopted uncle on a farm, that with a pallette change would look an awful lot like a homestead on Tattoine.

There's the mentor, a former Jedi dragonrider. Guess what happens to him.

There's the tough but beautiful princess, captured by the bad guys while trying to flee with the plans to the Death Star the dragon egg. She gets held prisoner in the Death Star bad guy's castle and our hero has to rescue her.

After they rescue the princess, and are joined by a scoundrel-looking guy, they flee to the princess' allies... leading the bad guys to Yavin 4 the good guys' secret base.

I half expected there to be the cantina band when they walked into the village, not to mention a couple of times when people almost said aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper that they expected the dragonrider to be "more."

So how was the movie? It was okay, even decent, especially compared to some other movies of the genre. Unluckily for it, it also has to be compared to the likes of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies. The dragon CGI was actually pretty good, though the ogres were just big shirtless guys with war paint and false teeth. There are mentions of dwarves and elves, but we don't see them.

Although, in a couple of spots the dialogue is Lucas-worthy (that's not a compliment), and there's no chemistry between the hero and the princess, even though we know they're destined to fall in love (until they find out they are related). Actually, I'm guessing at that part, but it fits the cliche.

So my overall rating? 2.5 light-saber-wielding-jedi magic-wielding-dragonrider flying monkeys.

Read the rest!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Very flexible

You know what my thought was...

She shoots better with her feet than I do with my hands.

Why, what did you think I was going to say?

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What are your D&D stats?

Bwahahah... you can go to this site to take a quiz that will "calculate" your AD&D "stats".

Of course, that test is pretty simplistic and some stats hinge on one question. This gives really broad assumptions (ie: everyone that achieves an undergraduate degree is the same intelligence), and cases where people won't know what the answer is (ie: how much can you bench press?)

My stats...
Strength 11
Intelligence 13
Wisdom 13
Dexterity 11
Constitution 12
Charisma 13

Oh yeah, this also needs to output into html or at least text that can be copied and pasted.

Read the rest!

Blogger Beta is evil

I am really becoming annoyed with Blogger Beta, and I don't even use it. But is someone has switched their blog to Beta, it won't let me log in and comment unless I have a Google account, even though it tells me that I can use my regular Blogger account.

It's all part of Google's conspiracy. So if you are wondering why I haven't commented on your blog recently, this is why. Because Bloogle Beta is Evil.

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Civil War: Reed hasn't changed much after all...

I guess this means that Reed thinks Cap is a revolutionary as well.

And for those hoping Civil War will soon conclude, I have bad news. I was at the comic store filling out my sub sheets and I noticed the last issue of CW:Front Line was on there. I said, "Thank gods, Civil War is finally going to end."

The people in the comic shop started laughing at me and told me otherwise.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What American City are you?

You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You're totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

Austin? I would have never guessed. Found this one courtesy of Nicole.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Antique beer

Some brewery found a stash of 137 year old beer. Not only was it still drinkable, it was good, acoording to this article.

It takes some stones to be willing to taste 137 year old beer. I imagine it sounding like the Life Cereal commercial.

"Drink it."
"I'm not going to drink it. You drink it."
"I'm not going to drink it. You drink it."
"I got it, let's get Oz. He'll drink it, he'll drink any beer."

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Failed GAP commercial

OK, this is hilarious. Who wouldn't love to do this to a store?

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

D&D: Drowning in expensive books?

I went into a bookstore to look at Cityscape. There used to be a time when I would buy all of the rulebooks released for D&D. Not necessarily campaign setting specific stuff, but rules expansions, class books, etc.; I was a junkie. But enoug crappy, useless, over-priced books from Hasborg had taught me my lesson. I looked before I bought to make sure I would get enough out of a book before plunking down $30.

And nowadays, $30 doesn't buy much of a book. The prices go up and the books get thinner. Plus it's a double-edged sword... the more stuff that comes out for D&D, the more difuse the game gets, the less likely I am to need or even want a given book. While looking at Cityscape, I noticed several other books that I didn't have. I flipped through a few and didn't see anything that said "buy me know", even with a 25% off coupon in my pocket.

Add to that the fact that I'm an experienced GM. I can come up with a lot of stuff on my own, The biggest thing I saw in Cityscape was the notion of guild membership giving in-game benefits. I don't need a book to specify that; now that I have the notion I can come up with bennies for the guilds in my campaign world. Know what I'd pay $22.50 or even $30 for? Software that would let me do maps like the ones in the book. I find mapping software to be cumbersome, I find it easier to draw by hand then scan in as mapping software can't meet my needs.

But back to the topic at hand. How many books do we need with a new race or three, a couple of classes that are bastardized combination of previous classes, a couple of prestige classes and a sprinkling of feats?

Of course, the hardcore collection of 47 books will be rendered moot when D&D 4.0 comes out.

(If you disagree and feel the urge to have every book, feel free to visit my friend Shadowdragon. If you tell him I sent you he might even give you a nickel off. Or maybe not.

Read the rest!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Movie Review: Apocalypto

I wanted to headline this "I ♥ Kulkulcan", but then no one would read it because they'd think I was just in the drambuie again. Reading other reviews, I almost didn't see this movie as I was expecting a bloodbath full of long, excruciating deaths (one reviewer dubbed this a "snuff epic"). And while there were plenty of blood, deaths, and a few wince-worthy moments, it was not the tale of carnage I was led to expect.

Which is good, because heart-ripping human sacrifice and jaguar mauling aside, there is an excellent movie. Forget the Mel Gibson hype and the Passion comparisons, this movie has more in common with The New World. It is a gorgeous movie, where the actors face a huge challenge in conveying the story in a subtitled "native" language. And the actors do a great job of this.

Fans of (quasi) historical movies will enjoy this (conjectured) look at the Mayan culture in decline. This isn't just a Hollywood backlot with some pretty actors in buckskins and body paint. If nothing else, Apocalypto will get the Oscar in costuming, art direction and cinematography.

Grathed, there are a few liberties... the Mayan population centers were abandoned in 900 AD, and an eclipse happens extremely fast (though to be honest, I can forgive this as I wouldn't want to sit through the amount of time the eclipse *should* take).

This movie isn't for everyone. It's not for the squeamish. It's not for people that hate movies with subtitles. But if you enjoy a beautiful movie with a good story, go past the hype and watch it.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 human-sacrificing turquoise-grill-wearing flying-monkies

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Friday, December 08, 2006

What Code Can't Do

This article highlights all of the "liberties" Hollywood takes, not to mention outright misconceptions it perpetuates, on the subject of programming and computer code.

I figure Carlton and lbfh will especially enjoy this.

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If Fox News had existed throughout history...

Click on the pic to see the whole thing.

I'm betting Marik can find the counterpoint with CNN (and share the link in comments). I'm just too lazy to be fair and unbiased right now. Besides, I'm a blogger dammit, not a journalist.

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The 'Verse Online (updated)

News is out that the green light had been given for a MMO based on Firefly. According to an article on IGN, the game should be released in 2008. Update: another article.

I might as well pencil out that year, and 2009 to boot. Maybe the Soldier of Fortune will fly again.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Buffy: Season 8

What? Season 8?

Before you get too excited, Season 8 is a comic book series by Dark Horse. But it is being written by Joss Whedon.

It picks up after the series finale (and mentions something from Angel Season 5). I could be adding a new title to my monthy subs. And of course, when they mention 1800 slayers, 500 working in organized squads, you know what my first thought was?

No, get your game out of the gutter.

My first thought: campaign setting. Of course, I have plenty of games already in play and in line. And I've never looked at the official BtVS RPG.

But when has that stopped me?

(and to my players, don't panic... all of my current campaigns are going strong).

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Robot Chicken X-Mas

Go here.

He he he ... so wrong. :)

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Quick hits around the net

Twenty years and you get a lousy shirt? Wal-Mart shows its employees how much it cares.

Beer Ape

One more after the jump...

Evidently quite a few people thought that this article was real.

Read the rest!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tarot Card quiz

You are The Magician

Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.

Eleoquent and charismatic both verbally and in writing,
you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.

The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

This quiz seemed appropriate in light of yesterday's post. Too bad they didn't have the Robin Wood deck as one of the choices... the picture for the Magician kind of looks like me. And not surprising, the Magician is what I've always considered "my card" when it came to readings.

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Me are smarts

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Of course I paid attention in high school. None of this has to do with going to college or being a post-college geek. :)

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Customers bitch about packaging

This article is all about the evils of clamshell packaging and other means to delay our material gratification. Yes, I fight with the same blade-resistant adamantite-like plastic blisters. But I understand why we need them.

Three big reasons for all of the "secure" packaging. The first is to protect the product before it gets out of the store during its trip from some obscure region of China, overseas, then through a parcel service or a semi-trailer ride to the warehouse or store. Little Suzy is probably going to cry if she finds out that her Barbie was decapitated by the UPS driver's door.

The second is shoplifting. You be amazed at how fast the expert ones can pop open a package and lift the product. And to be honest, the packaging for DVDs and videogames are still woefully inadequate. The best idea I've heard is for the manufacturers to imprint the security tags on the discs themselves, right around the hole.

The third is the customer. Countless times I'll come across some hilljack opening up a package because they want to "take a look" or read the instructions, then after they do they'll put down the package they opened and pick up a new one to buy. Obviously these people didn't have the upbringing that I did; I was taught not to open things in the store (actually, it was not look, not touch).

Maybe if they'd just take my suggestion and yakuza shoplifters.

Read the rest!


After teasing me all week by being on the low side of 215, the needle clearly fell on 214 this morning. My weight loss seems to have settled into slow but steady, but as long as it remains steady, I can't complain.

I could *try* to be more disciplined about my eating habits, I just don't want to go to the point where I starve myself for a week then binge on the rebound. I just need to cook for myself more often... that's a sure way for me to lose more weight.

I wish I'd measured my gut before I started this. My waist is definately 2" smaller. I found some jeans I had bought a few years ago then stashed away because they were too small while rifling through my dresser for sweats small enough that I wouldn't have to worry about an embarrassing incident. Now those jeans fit. Yay me!

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Friday, December 01, 2006


Warning: the following post is not for the scientifically minded or those requiring a coherent train of thought. It is not written under the influence.

On my way to the gym, I took a short cut through an office complex. Going through the parking lot, I slowed when I saw what I thought was a stray dog trotting across the pavement. It looked odd, then I realized why... it was a coyote. A moment later its mate appeared and the pair trotted past my car.

More after the jump

Once I got in the gym, I noticed a young woman that a couple of the personal trainers were flocking around (one was working with her while the others were finding excuses to go up and talk to him because he was working with her). When she turned to go I saw her face and recognized her. She worked in the same store as me a few years ago, and at the time was arguably the "hottest" woman in the store.

After the gym, I went to a local drive through for a "reward" for sticking to my gym schedule despite a kind of crappy week and not putting on weight over the holidays. I had a coupon (free food has no calories), and the employee had trouble ringing it up right. After the third time, he told me not to worry about it and gave me my whole order free. It wouldn't have cost much, but I consider it a stroke of good fortune anytime I get something free that I didn't expect.

On the way home, I drove past the same parking lot where the coyotes had been and it occurred to me that the series of events could be interpretted as some sort of sign.

I used to do a lot of vision-seeking and divination. I stopped the divination when I got tired of getting bad news and having it come true. The vision-seeking just kind of feel off because it doesn't seem to be something my religious peers are interested in.

Maybe the gods and spirits are being less than subtle.

The obvious interpretation is that I'm going to get together with someone through happenstance. No, not the woman from the gym, she's just a symbol, like the coyotes. Of course, the coyotes have me a little concerned because I don't really *want* another learning experience. And having the coyotes in the imagery is kind of like letting Joss Whedon right your life... things won't go smooth.

Or it could be that a couple of coyotes strayed in from the edge of town, she still lives in the area and goes to that gym, the employee doesn't know how to ring out a coupon, and I'm a crackpot.

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American Accent quiz

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Seeing as I grew up in and near Chicago, this seems pretty accurate. That and my girlfriend in college thought it was funny that when I became frustrated my "northern" accent would come out.

The hardest part about this quiz would be being honest about how you say words vs. how you read them.

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Mine grammar are good

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

Found this one thanks to Nicole.

My problem is that when I'm typing, my brain will "read" what I intended to type even though what my fingers tap out is different. Edit buttons are my friend.

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