Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fit Mii

Wii Fit U Workout

Since downloading Wii Fit U I’ve been trying to stay fairly regular with my workouts.  That’s gone to all hell this week since I’ve been doing the morning show. Pretty much the only moments I’ve had to myself this week have been while I have been sleeping.  But prior to this week, I’ve really been enjoying my workouts.

It’s nothing fancy, and it’s far from a hardcore workout.  But as out of shape as I’ve been it’s probably better that way.  I pretty much focus on Cardio to get my heart rate up and mix in some strength training routines in between like pushups, rowing squats etc.  Probably the most brutal so far is the “Single-Arm Stand”.  It sounds like something that would require you to balance on one arm.  But what really happens is you hold one arm straight in the air with the Wiimote.  Then you have to lay flat on the ground and get back up.  All while keeping that arm completely vertical.  It’s actually somewhat intense after I do about 12 reps with each arm.  Wii Fit U is definitely enough to make you feel the burn and the soreness the next day.

That’s good though, that’s what I need it for.  I’m not trying to be a fitness nut or anything, but I’m just trying to be more healthy.

One thing I’ve noticed is I pay a lot more attention to what I eat.  Not because I’m trying to diet or anything, I just don’t want all these workouts to be for nothing!  It’s definitely made me more aware of what I’m putting in my body.  I wouldn’t say I’ve given anything up, but I watch my portions more closely than I used to.

The Fit Meter is pretty cool.  After you’ve used it for a while, you can set a daily calorie goal.  If you meet that goal while wearing the Fit Meter it will play a little fanfare tune for you.  It tracks your distance and altitude and you can take fit meter challenges to put your daily activity in perspective.  I’m currently working my way around the Island of Oahu.

fitmeter

Do I feel better?  I can’t really tell.  Maybe.  Sometimes when I’m playing with Luke on the floor and I get up, that involuntary grunt isn’t there like it used to be.  I’ve noticed when I do my 10 minute “run” during my workout, I’m able to push harder for longer.  For the first time since I got the game, my Body Test said “Normal” instead of “Overweight”.  So the needle is moving a bit.  My goal is to get my BMI down to 22, but I definitely think I need to work some more activity into my day to accomplish that.  Spring will help quite a bit with that, I’m sure!

Tomorrow is the last day for the free trial if you want to try it out.  You’ll need a balance board though.  We picked ours up on the local classifieds.  Then if you purchase a Fit Meter for $20 the whole game is yours forever.

What can I say?

Twitter is definitely the worst thing ever to happen to this blog.  A lot of the little moments I used to share, I end up tweeting, and rarely do I come here to expound upon those moments.  Before Twitter, I’d lament about the most minute experiences.  Now I blast them out there and feel less inclined to write about them here.

It’s not the end of the blog.  No way.  I’m coming back with a vengeance.  (Watch this be the last post for another two weeks).

Tonight was Retro Night.  Andrea, Luke and I played some Mario Kart 64 battle mode.  It started out that way, because Luke wanted to play and in that mode he can just drive off in any direction he pleases.  (And I get to use him for target practice. That still makes me a good dad, right?)  Andrea took over Luke’s spot for a little bit and I had a blast playing.  There was a moment when she pulled off a miraculous shot, and we both cried out in laughter, but I immediately thought about how long it’s been since that game had provided that, and how long it will probably be until the next time.

I would love to have a small group of people that wanted to get together on a regular basis and play old games like this.  I don’t see that happening around here.  Of course I never expected the GoldenEye Fests to be as popular as they were.  That was when the N64 was the new thing though… Oh well.  If I can trick Andrea into playing with me once in a while, that’s okay.  And if that feeling is rare and fleeting, then I can appreciate it all the more I think.

Back to Guild Wars 2

I’d taken a bit of a break from my nightly routine.  But Monday and today I was able to play a bit of Guild Wars 2.  This game is more than I’ll ever be able to experience in its entirety, so for the moment, I’m happy just to be able to exist in it.  There is so much content being released that I can’t keep up with it all.  Two years have gone by and I still really haven’t gotten into any of the Wintersday stuff.  Maybe this year…

I really can get enough though just adventuring and taking in the sites as usual.  I’m following the main storyline and getting close to maxing out my character at level 80.  There’s so much to do beyond that though.  If this were me 5 years ago, I’d be hard pressed to pull myself away from this game.  But alas, I try not to focus on what I’m missing in the game, and enjoy what I can experience when I have time.  That alone is enough.

What the heck is that? I never did find out. It was impervious to all my attacks.

Can you find me?

How about now?

Here’s some of the new content I accidentally stumbled upon. Was pretty fun. Had to solve some puzzles and kick some butts to kill this big ole plant that was oozing evil into the world. Or something like that.

Wrapping up the night at an outpost after finishing some of the main storyline. Was a good night. Other than I accidentally slaughtered an entire platoon of my own troops. Mistakes happen.

 

 

 

 

A Game I Missed

I know I’ve written here before about how weird life was back in the Gamecube days.  As far as gaming is concerned the result today is that I have a rather large collection of games for that system that have been barely played.

F-Zero GX was my choice tonight for retro night.  I’ve actually been thinking about this game for a while, ever since the 30 cent sale Nintendo had on the Wii U Virtual Console that featured the original F-Zero on SNES.  I could have swore I’d played GX more, but when I popped it into the Wii tonight in the Retro Room, what I ended up playing was MUCH better than I remember.

First off, this game made me re-affirm my love for the Gamecube controller.  What a well crafted, comfortable and precise instrument.  I still would have preferred a more traditional button layout, but everything else is just about the pinnacle of controller design.  It just melts into your hands.  And this game, F-Zero GX really highlights how precise and solid the analog stick is.

Maybe I approached this game too much like Mario Kart.  F-Zero is more about course memorization and well timed flicks of the stick than it is racking up power slides and cutting corners.  I remember being absolutely terrible at this game when it came out.  Apparently I haven’t given it another chance until over a decade later.  What I discovered tonight is the smooth and polished controls, AI that really fights back, and some really creative course design.  It didn’t take long though before the tracks started kicking my butt.  I need to spend more time with this game and learn the tracks, I’m convinced that’s the ONLY way to win the later stages.

All of a sudden I’m smitten with this game that has literally been collecting dust for ten trips around the sun.  I really hope to spend some more time with it this weekend and finally break it in.  If anybody wants to come over for some split-screen action in the Retro Room, just make the call.

8 Below

Well, it was downright cold this morning.  -8 degrees.  The Cutlass had been sitting outside all frigid weekend long, so I really had my doubts as to whether it would start up.  We’ve had issues with the choke sticking in cold weather before.  But with some reluctance, it cranked right up!

I was a little worried at first when the gauges didn’t read right, but after a gentle tap, they all sprung to life!

Sure it’d be easier driving something new, but you wouldn’t get that thrill of living on the edge, right?

Best of Intentions

I had every intention of accomplishing something productive this weekend.  Seems like it was the first one in a while that we weren’t traveling, or working.  I had 48 solid hours here at the homestead.  Now it’s Sunday night and I look back on it and accomplished pretty much zilch.  I mean, I guess I did scrape the one inch of snow off the driveway… so that’s productive.

I have very little regrets though.  From the looks of it, we’re going to be hanging around here more often this year.  We looked at our budget and we are going to go hardcore into saving mode in order to meet our goals for our house.  Hopefully this time next year we’ll be talking about home shopping.  But one thing is for sure, you absolutely never know what life will bring you.  All we can do is prepare as best we can, and see what tests God has in store for us this year.

Andrea’s 49ers won their playoff game tonight, so that always makes for a happy house!  I’m excited for her.  She is as invested in that team as I am in my own geeky stuff.  So I’m always glad to see her passion able to be rewarded with a win.  She even has Luke all on board and cheering on the team.  Here’s hoping they win the Super Bowl!

It’s back to the grind tomorrow.  Actually kind of looking forward to having a whole week to get everything done.  This cramming it all in to make time for the holidays makes for fewer days, but definitely longer ones.  So I’m setting a goal of getting out by 5PM each day this week.  We’ll see how that turns out.

As for the rest of the weekend, I think I’m going to spend it playing some retro games and a cold beverage or two.  A toast to a good weekend.

Vegetating and getting caught up.

What a great day.  I slept until 9AM and got out of bed and Luke was already up, goofing around in his crib.  The Saturday morning ritual commenced with pancakes and Care Bears.  I actually had zero obligations today.  Well… I did have to work on a website for somebody, but that only took about 15 minutes.

hexxit

Biebs has been bugging me to play Hexxit, a Minecraft mod pack with heavy emphasis on adventuring.  Today I finally got the opportunity.  At first I pretty much dove right in.  I made a wooden sword and started rolling through some of the light dungeons near the spawn.  I promptly got my butt kicked.  So at that point I decided I needed to establish a stronghold and build up some resources.  There’s a TON to do and a ton you can do in this version of Minecraft.  And I’m excited to dive into it.

I’ve been enjoying Animal Crossing: New Leaf to a great extent.  With only one big gripe… there’s only been the fishing pole, net or shovel for sale at Nookling’s since I started the game.  I really need my slingshot, watering can, and axe.  It bugs me to no end as I’ve seen about six presents floating overhead so far and no way to get them.

This is the first Animal Crossing game since the first that really feels different.  The biggest difference is you get to be the mayor as Tortimer has retired to a tropical island.  It’s cool because you get to decide in what order you want to enhance your town.  It definitely would benefit from multiple players as many of the projects are pretty expensive.  Right now I’m working on getting my house filled out with more room, so that soaks up all my bells.  But there will be plenty of time to get to it all.  Animal Crossing is a long term dedication.

I’d really been craving a game of this type too.  Something you can build on incrementally.  You end up feeling pretty invested in games like this after you’ve been playing off and on for a couple years.  You have your favorite residents, the collections you’re trying to complete and all the different holidays you want to check in on.  We even used Animal Crossing as our official New Year’s Eve countdown!

All of the holiday travels are done.  And they weren’t without some eventfulness.  We got all loaded up to head to Kansas City for Christmas with Andrea’s family, that’s when I noticed a steady stream of antifreeze dripping from underneath the Jeep.  It was coming out quick enough that I knew we weren’t going to try taking it.  I looked it over quickly and couldn’t exactly deduce where the leak was coming from, so Andrea, frustrated, loaded all our gear into the Cutlass instead which made the trip without issue.

Old Water Pump Removed

New pump installed!

When we got back home Thursday, I looked the Jeep over a bit more and it looked like it was leaking from the gasket.  Which meant the pump had to come off, which in turn meant, might as well replace the pump.  Long story short: I have learned never to be shocked by what you find when you buy a used vehicle.  The water pump had a HOLE in it!  Like an actual hole through the pump.  Sometime before we bought the Jeep someone had dabbed some RTV sealer over the hole.  It’s amazing that it lasted over a year.  But now we have a new pump and thermostat and it seems like it’s working great and doesn’t leak a drop.  Even got it put back together in time to head to Cimarron on that Saturday!  Not too bad for the old KartMaster’s Garage.

Bright red amp power cable and fuse.

Also did some work on the Jeep that was more, “scheduled”.  For Christmas I got Andrea a new amp and speaker box.  We already had the speaker which is what made the project affordable.  It was quite a bit of work, but I’m glad I did it right.  Had the front seat out and all the interior trim apart on the passenger side to run the power cable.  Ended up breaking off one of the bolts that holds the seat down because it was siezed up, so that won’t be fun to drill out and fix… but I’ll get it done eventually.  The finished product is the only thing you can really see is the power cable under the hood, and the speaker in the back.  No ugly wires showing anywhere.  Real clean.

So that kinda gets caught back up to today.  Got a little more snow, but just about an inch or so, nothing that will slow anything down.  Maybe enough for Luke and I to go play in tomorrow morning!

3028 Barbara Lane

Over the Christmas break, Dad and Jamie were talking about how our old house was up for sale in Dodge.  Jamie said that the real estate company had pictures of it on the internet and that it looked exactly the same on the inside.  So I had to pull it up and sure enough it’s pretty much just like I remember it!

Exterior FrontI still drive by this place once in a while when I’m passing through and feeling uber nostalgic.  So many great memories here.  That driveway I used to take sidewalk chalk, draw out a bunch of city streets and drive my big wheel around them.  We had a rocker/glider that sat under the windows next to the door.  And Mom and I stood out in this front yard at 3AM one cold frosty night to watch the Space Shuttle zip overhead.

Living Room 1The living room is pretty much exactly as I remember it.  I’m glad these pictures are of the empty house, because it makes it that much easier to picture all of our old stuff in there.  We had an entertainment center on the wall in the far right of the photo.  We didn’t have a television in the living room though, just a stereo.  I remember how big of a deal it was when we got that Sony Hi-Fi with a CD player.  That was a big day.

That fireplace probably still has the black ovals on the stone flat part where I used to play with my Nascar race cars and have them all doing laps right in front of there.  I remember trying to climb the rocks and not getting too far.  The farthest door led to the kitchen.  The hallway to the right led to the dining room and had the utility closet that kept the washer and dryer.  Then to the left of the living room out of this shot was the hallway that led back to the bathroom and bedrooms.

Living Room 2We had a matching sofa and loveseat.  Hard to describe… white with vertical pinstripes and wood across the back and down the armrests.  We also had Dad’s old recliner.  It was epicly green if I remember.  We re-arranged the furniture every now and then, so no particular arrangement sticks out in my mind.  Since this year’s New Year’s Eve is fresh in my memory, I remember one NYE in this house, my parent’s friends Bart & Robin came over with their three girls.  While the adults were doing whatever, we pretended that the living room was a club called “The G Club”.  I was the manager and some of the girls were customers, and some were waitresses.  All the while we had cool music pumping out of the Sony.  Mom always had sparkling grape juice ready for the kids at midnight.

KitchenAs a kid I didn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Unless it was to grab a box of cereal out of the pantry, or bug Mom about something.  I don’t think the color of the walls was the same but other than that it’s exactly the same.  I remember one day Mom was making some meatloaf and used a recipe that called for beer.  I remember her assuring me, the alcohol would bake out and all that it was just for taste. I remember thinking…. “Suuure, Mom.”  It did smell good though.  Lots of good smells from this room.

Dining RoomAgain… this is just an empty room… but so many memories flash to my mind all at once, it takes some focus to pull each one out and reflect on it individually.  We had a couple tall chairs that sat at the counter top.  The kind where the seat flips up and you can use it as a step stool.  We had a little 12″ black and white TV that sat at the end of the counter next to the wall.  There’s a cable TV outlet there and we had to use one of those coax to RF adapters to hook it too the cable, and then we could only get the first 13 channels.  I remember watching TV while we ate supper together, which is something we did more often than not.  Eat supper together that is.  Something a lot of families, including my own, probably don’t do enough.

Our crazy dog, Tiger ran head first through the screen on that sliding door.  It lead out to the patio where sometimes in the summer Dad would bring home a horse tank that we’d fill with water and go swimming.  And the spot where the picture above was taken from is where our computer desk eventually sat and was home to our very first computer, the Apple IIe.  To the left out of the shot was the door to the garage.

Mom & Dad's Room 1Here’s Mom & Dad’s room.  This is where “the TV” was.  As I mentioned before, we never had a TV in the living room, and as a result I never really watched a lot of TV until we got TV’s in our rooms.  More on that later.  I remember though, this is where we discovered that Jamie needed glasses because of how close she would stand to the TV screen.  Mom & Dad’s bed was pretty much right in the position this picture was taken from.  I do remember laying in their bed as I fought off the chicken pox, and our cat Princess would crawl up in the bed next to me to keep me company.  To the left out of this shot was the private bathroom.

Jamie's RoomHere’s Jamie’s room.  I realize you’re just looking at a corner between two walls… I see…  too many girly toys!  I recall that she had a LOT of stuffed animals.  In the corners she had multiple Pet Nets to accommodate all of her different animals.  One year for Christmas or birthdays, Mom & Dad got us our own phone line.  Jamie and I had our own phone number that we shared and could give to our friends.  I don’t recall calling my friends much, but I did dial a local automated phone system that could tell you the forecast, horoscope and time and temp from time to time from my sweet Bill Elliot phone.

My RoomAnd finally… my room.  I have to chuckle thinking about most of the people looking at these pictures that just see some white walls and a closet.  For me I see so much more.  Against the left side wall were my bunk beds.  I usually slept on the bottom but would put blankets all the way around the bottom so it was my own private little space.  I started doing that after Dad got up for work one morning and noticed my light was still on… I was up reading all night.  I used to read all the time.  The window to the front yard is right behind the camera in this shot.  The far wall to the right of the closet had my dresser.  The same dresser Luke uses for his clothes now.

Mom frequently had to hassle me to clean my room.  Seeing it this clean is remarkable.  I’d sit on the floor in front of my bed with Mom’s boombox recording songs off the radio, or recording my own voice.  Or I’d set up my slot car train track next to my bed and play with that.  One year Mom & Dad got Jamie and I each our own TV’s for our rooms.  Just little 13″ TV’s, but still, I felt like we were rich!  I would lay in bed and watch Nick at Nite.  Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy… even at a young age, I had an appreciation for old stuff.  Funnily enough, the TV’s that we had survive to this day.  Ironically I have Jamie’s old TV just sitting in my closet here, and Dad has my old TV in his basement.  I should see if he wants to swap.  Haha.

Google Street View 2We only lived here about 4 years.  From my 2nd grade year to almost 6th grade.  But still so many  important memories to me.  I could probably write an entire blog site just on my time here in this house. I should really write a lot of those memories down before they’re lost forever.  Like the time the Killer Bee’s fountain attacked Mom in the waterway on the 4th of July.  Or when the neighbor kid Brent and I wanted to build a pedal car which he awkwardly named “Steve”.  Great nights with Paul staying over, and visa versa at his house.  Learning to mow the yard on the old Ride King mower.  Shooting cans with my BB Gun in the back yard.  Easter egg hunts… man, I could literally write for hours.

Thanks to my parents and my sister, for helping create a really great home back in the day.  I’ll always remember those times fondly.