Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Winter Blues

I've always felt like I have a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, ingeniously acronymed "SAD," but which in my case would probably be more aptly labelled "ANTSY." I don't know what the words for that one would be, though.

I'm dying lately to go outside and consume some Nature, but it's cold as a tomb out and dark as that same tomb anytime that I'm not working (and sometimes when I am), which puts a bit of a damper on things, especially since I don't own a winter coat. Being inside all the time is certainly something I am accustomed to, but being forced to be inside all the time is another matter altogether. It's always wintertime that I think about buying a sailboat again, and it's always wintertime that I wish I was doing other crazy things, like rockclimbing, or hanggliding, that sort of thing.

The ironicish part is that during the summer, I forget all of these things and, well, procrastinate, sitting inside, most of the time. Such is life. I'm just kind of bored and cooped up I guess, with that sneaking suspicion that outside the world is entertaining wild adventures without me - while in reality it's really just being really, really, cold. And somewhat dark.

Bleh. Back to Mario Kart.

Monday, December 12, 2005

You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains!

Selected pictures from the recent birthday and unofficial music game party are up on my Flickr page (link on the sidebar). Some of them are kind of dark, but I was too lazy to post-process them right yet.

Also I have like 4 gigabytes of video, including the time a certain lady spilled red wine on my couch and the time a *different* lady cleaned it up. ;-) The Injustice! The first denies it, but who can know the truth? Let's go to the video tape!

Well, I can anyways. If I can figure out iMovie, maybe you can too. I'll just say this: everything is more awesome with "Le Internationale" as the soundtrack.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Freezing Rain

Woooooooo 2 hour delay snow day!!!!!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Maya is Like a Member of the Family

If I've been lax in my posting of late, you'll please forgive me. I've been seeing my personal trainer, Maya; it's amazing how much 30 minutes of exercise a night will make you never want to spend your time posting your thoughts on the internet. Well, I just finished my first "physical challenge," and I am feeling pretty good about myself, so I thought I would give everyone a heads up.

Yourself! Fitness is an Xbox, PS2, PC "game" that Maura bought a couple weeks ago. It's not really a game so much as it is an interactive, dynamic workout video. The only interaction with the controller is to select menu items and type your name in (which is good, because the programmers managed to introduce some bugs into the control nonetheless).

Basically it works like this. You create an account, and Maya, the 3D animated personal trainer, guides you through an evaluation, where you measure your pulse, do jumping jacks, do squats, pushups, and crunches, you enter your weight, height, etc. Then you choose a focus for your workouts, from amoung upper, core, or lower body strength, cardio, flexibility, or weight loss. Then you pick which days and for how long you want to work out. Maya makes suggestions for all of these things, but you can override her if you want.

Then the fun begins. You show up the day of your workout, and Maya greets you, usually with some reference to the time of day, how you felt last time, how she's glad that you keep showing up on time, and that sort of thing. While all of her lines are canned and repeated often, the integration with the internal system clock really makes her seem real, with good mornings and good evenings as appropriate. She praises you when you show up for your workouts (i.e., me), and she expresses disappointment when you skip them (i.e., if you are Maura).

If you do really well, you can unlock new music and new workout environments. (I'm currently a gold medal holder with access to the alpine lodge). I know it sounds really stupid, and it is, but it really does help when you are feeling like quitting, and then Maya gives you a heartfelt speech about how proud she is of you. And grants you access to the wild west town ("I hear this is where all the celebrities come to work out!").

Each workout has a focus, chosen from the above list. You still concentrate, though, on your long term goal - I can testify to this, because Maya always makes me do crunches. The actual workout works just like an aerobics video - Maya does her thing on screen, shouts encouragement and instructions at you, and you are on your honor to follow suit. A nice touch is the time remaining clock and, more importantly, the bar at the bottom that tells you what you are doing now and how much longer you have to do it.

Maya asks for feedback throughout the workout, and adjusts the difficulty based on how you respond. This is a nice feature, as it keeps you from getting bored or discouraged as the case may be, and it also allows her to gauge your progress and what she needs to have you focus on.

Also, if you have workout equipment, including hand weights, giant rubber ball thing, or a step doohicky, you can tell Maya and she will include these things in your workouts. I always lie and say I don't own hand weights, cuz I just know she will make me do horrible horrible curls with them.

I've got to say, I am very impressed with this game. It is extremely simple and obvious and has more than its share of bugs - but it works really well to get you to exercise if you don't mind feeling stupid for prancing around your living room and screaming obscenities at a computer for assigning you another goddamn round of crunches. I know you guys don't want to hear about my BODY, but I can totally tell a difference, and I don't really recognize myself in the mirror anymore (I'm too tall and it cuts off my head), you know, because of all the muscles (this is hyperbole). I think Maura bought it used for like 7$, I would check it out if you want to save on a gym membership, or if you are like me and know you would never go even if you bought one.