Thursday, March 12, 2015

My rocky relationship with fitness

Hello once again,
Those who know me will know that I have never been one for working out. If you get right down to brass tacks I'm not good at it. I've seen people work out in gyms. I've looked at diagrams and suggested workouts. None of it makes sense. It's supposed to make sense right?
I get that you pick things up and put them back down again. That much is clear. The confusing part is how. If you twist your arm one way you work one muscle or group. Twist the other way to work another. Will I hurt myself? Which muscles should I be working out? Will I hurt myself?
As such I have opted not to join a gym. I've done that and due to my complete failure to understand what I was doing, it ended up begin quite the waste of money. Instead I am doing the exercises I know I can do right; push ups and crunches.
I have the great fortune to have, as part of my current job, about a minute to myself several times per day. I ride a slow elevator up to where I pick people up for a tour. My achievement is probably not impressive to anyone but for the sake of tracking this list of tasks I can tell you I am up to 15 push-ups or 25 crunches per elevator ride. I've only been at it for about a week and a half but I feel good about it.

Finally,  sorry it's been a while since I last posted but some of these goals take some serious doing. Thank you for reading and feel free to engage in comments to let me know what you think and which goal you think I ought to do next.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Review: On Her Majesty's Secret Service

This James Bond excursion is a slightly surreal deposits from the usual bond fare. I don't think I've ever seen an equally sedentary portrayal of the famous globe trotter. I think he visits a total of three locations. I may be wrong, this movie lacked the usual clarifying title cards. Those departures noted this film did cover most of the expected  Bond tropes some in particularly glorious fashion.
So, confessions up front, I probably should have done some research before starting the "Watch All of James Bond" part of this project. I had intended to watch them in order. Then, right out of the gate I reached for the wrong movie. On well. According to people who know these things Dr. No is the first bond movie. I, thinking that surely Sean Connery wouldn't have taken a break midway through his tenure, assumed that this must have come first. Well, he took two breaks, so there's my assumption going wrong. So, as a result, I'm going to watch them all in order except this one which I'm kinda glad I got out of the way.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service opens with Bond in some seaside/tropical location. Perhaps it's said explicitly where they are (Portugal according to Wikipedia), if so I missed it. Bond is driving his car down a coastal road when he's overtaken by a beautiful woman in a red car. He continues down the coast to a point where her car is pulled off to the side of the road overlooking the beach. Here he meets Tracy (Diana Rigg). Who is trying to kill herself by walking into the sea until Bond saves her and then gets into a fight with some guys for no real reason. 
Tracy's uncle is a crime lord who apparently finds it charming when prospective sons in law beat up loads of his employee, which he does a few times before managing to actually meet the guy. From there the story takes us to Bond doing some actual research to use a connection between Tracy's dad and Ernst Blofeld (this connection in no way damages Bond's romantic interests in Tracy). Eventually he decides his best course of action is to pretend to be a gay representative of the London College of Arms. This totally makes sense. At least everyone he runs into seems to think so. He pulls his best "Superman being Clark Kent" act. You know, when Clark goes out of his way to not be able to do things or be amazed about things that Superman has done. 007 spends extra time establishing how he isn't sporty or physically fit. 
Suddenly, he arrives at his destination via sledge and helicopter and cable gondola. The destination in question turns out to be a fancy and remote complex in the Swiss alps which is chock full of hot babes. Finally! The perfect location for a Bond movie! We spend a little time here before blowing the whole place up and finally living up to the movie's promise. In a masterstroke Blofeld and Bond manage to get into fights on skis and bobsleds. This part of the movie is awesome and exactly what I thought the rest of the movie was going to be. In fact this bit is exactly what all of the bond movies should be. Blofeld's underground lair is like a parody of a bond movie. The brainwashed hot chicks as weapons who are all desperate to get in Bond's pants (and kilt). 
After the exciting conclusion there's another bit of movie. Bond gets married and then, as they drive away, Blofeld drives by out of nowhere and shoots the car killing Tracy. This would be devastating if it were set up for the audience to invest in. One certainly might care about this odd tag along ending. I wasn't compelled to. 
This movie has some great elements. If you thought the Austin Powers movies were a fun parody of Bond Tropes this movie will (for the second half) completely reward you with over the top fights, stunts and locations. All told, this is a good start to my bond watching. Blofeld is in it. Bond sleeps with several hot chicks. There is a remote mountain location with rotating rooms and an underground lair. For what more could one ask?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

30 before 30, a year of significance.

One year from today, I will turn thirty. Thirty! I know. The end of a decade on the planet. the last chance to say things like "I'm still young" or "I'll walk it off". The ultimate cultural primer "Friends" taught me to fear this spectre most of all. So, people of the anonymous and expansive internet, in the opening salvo of this new blog I make the following oath.

I, being of sound mind and body, do hereby resolve to complete the following before my birth date one year hence on which date I will have been alive thirty years. As I will be irreversibly "a grown up" these experiences and skills are either important for living up to the title or "no longer allowable" once the title is applied.

While this axiomatic relationship of old to young being marked at each decade is pretty questionable, I think that gaining a bunch of experiences and skills is reason enough to do anything. To borrow a term from one of my mentors, this will be a "year of significance" for me. 

1 Start and keep a home workout regimen
2 Weigh less than 200lbs
3 Walk the Lake Shore Path
4 Learn a new language (enough to get by in a conversation)
5 Party all night long
6 Learn to cook rogan josh (my favourite Indian dish) from scratch
7 Read one of the classics I always pretend to have read
8 Watch a movie which serves as a cultural touchstone
9 Attend a new cultural celebration
10 Learn a song on mandolin
11 Learn another song on mandolin
12 Learn yet another song on mandolin (this is part of a bigger goal related to my career, you understand)
13 Learn to cook a traditional French dish
14 Get something published legitimately
15 Go to an awesome concert, someone big
16 Try Pequod's pizza
17 Try Lou Malnatti's pizza
18 Learn to tend bar (at least five drinks)
19 Skydive, bungee jump or otherwise endanger myself for amusement
20 Eat a Chicago style beef sandwich.
21 Drive to Canada, do something Canadian.
22 Eat something that repulses me
23 Disconnect for a week- no internet or phone
24 Purchase and assemble a ridiculous Lego set
25 Play on a playground
26 Watch all of the James Bond movies
27 Go to an open house
28 Go to a fortune teller
29 Leave my current job
30 Share lunch with a homeless person