Thursday, December 31, 2009

Week of Loss - Dec. 27

This week I gained 1.6 lbs., and am within 31.6 lbs. (new goal: 2.6 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Wow, the year is almost over. It's Christmas today, and I'm in a good mood.


I woke up early and put in a great workout on the bike trainer (something I just started doing this week). I have been using my new heart rate monitor - sorry, "Polar RS 100 Running Computer" - and it's an amazing toy to play with. And it motivates me. It gets me on the bike trainer, in the garage. The cold, cold garage.

I'm going to relax with the diet today. I'm going to enjoy the food available. I'm going to have fun.


Snow, you say? Yeah, it's there. And more is coming. And the roads are probably bad. Driving isn't recommended, but that will no stop me from heading over to grandma's and later to SHERLOCK HOLMES.

Like I said, it's Christmas and I'm going to enjoy the day. I hope you do as well.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Game Night - December 19

Now that my brother (the Monkey) has moved into my place, and I’m flat broke and in need of cheap entertainment, I thought it would be interesting to keep track of how well I fare when it comes to board games. As a child I was king at such games. I’ll be keeping a running tab of wins/losses and high scores.

Clue
PlayersWinLoss
Pirate01
Monkey10
Yahtzee
PlayersWinLoss
Pirate12
Monkey21
Scrabble Slam
PlayersWinLoss
Pirate10
Monkey01

High Scores
GamePlayerScore
YahtzeeMonkey209

So, I didn't fare too well last night. That just means that it's now on, little monkey.

Week of Loss - Dec. 20

This week I lost 3 lbs., and am within 30 lbs. (new goal: 1 lb.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jack Bauer Interrogates Santa Claus

"You're on the naughty list now."

The Five and One-Half Year Plan

It’s a good thing to have a goal, to have a target with which to aim your attention. And if it’s a good thing to have a goal, it must be a great thing to have an entire list of goals.

Today is December 17, 2009, and in five and one-half years – on June 17, 2015 – I’ll be exactly 35 years old.

But thirty-five is not the end. Heck, I hope it is not even the halfway point of my life. What it can be is the start of the rest of my life.

Things now are not what I had hoped they would be. It is my intention to work my way toward the life I want to be living, the life I deserve to be living.

I've created a list of goals - some of which I'll share and others I might not - and over the next 5.5 years I'll be posting my progress on the blog. It won't be every day. It might not even be every month. But as my goals change, are achieved or struggled with, I'll post my progress to the blog. It keeps me accountable and striving towards the life I want to be living.

The list is daunting, but achievable. Let's get to it.
(9:21 PM - 12/17/09)

Monday, December 14, 2009

The ULTIMATE Movie Trailer



Dude, I'd see this movie. Wait. I have seen this movie. I've seen all these movies.

This is a pretty cool mashup of about 50 different movie trailers all in a little over 3 minutes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week of Loss - Dec. 13

This week I lost 4.6 lbs., and am within 33 lbs. (new goal: 4 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week of Loss - Dec. 6

This week I lost 1.2 lbs., and am within 37.6 lbs. (new goal: 8.6 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Make It A Snow Day

Need a Snow Day?

This is a great site where you can cut your own snowflake. My unique snowflake is # 8,784,464. Give it a try.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Words Cannot Explain

There are no words to explain the awesomeness of this clip.

*WARNING* Language is not suitable for young kids or the elderly.



See. Awesomeness.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beards Rock

Dammit, I wish I could grow a beard. Even Robocop looks badass in a beard.


And here's Batman rockin' his beard.


All thanks to artist, Vanja Mrgan.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week of Loss - Nov. 29

This week I gained 0.8 lbs., and am within 38.8 lbs. (new goal: 9.8 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Amazing Drawing



Nate Van Dyke is an amazing artist. I just love to watch artists work.

Also, check out his website.

Sleepless in Seatle The Suspense Trailer



There are a ton of these recut trailers on YouTube - some better than others.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Matrix as You Never Imagined



I once made a short little LEGO movie with a LEGO dude getting chopped up and lots - LOTS - of ketchup (blood, duh!). It was nowhere as good as this.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weeks of Loss - Nov. 22

The past two weeks I lost 4.6 lbs., and am within 38 lbs. (new goal: 9 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Part-Time Indian Kills Wimpy Kid

So I just realized that Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is essentially a more literate (and god, I hate that word and it's snobby connotation) version of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Diary format with comic illustrations throughout. Troubles with family, school, friends. Same. Same. Check.

A quick search shows they were both published around the same time. It's funny how similar things often arrive at the same moment in time.

Sure, Wimpy Kid is easily more recognizable and popular, but Part-Time Indian is amazingly well-written. I'm happy I can enjoy both, each with its own strengths.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief NEW Trailer



While it looks very Harry Potterish, the series is quite enjoyable. I'm ready for the movie come February.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kick-Ass Trailer

Finally, the first trailer for Kick-Ass. The comic this movie is based on is hilarious, and most definitely R-rated. Enjoy.

Kick-Ass

Trailer Park | MySpace Video

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week of Loss - Nov. 8

This week I gained 1.4 lbs., and am within 42.6 lbs. (new goal: 13.6 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prince of Persia Trailer



I don't know...looks fantastic to me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week of Loss - Nov. 1

This week I lost 3.6 lbs., and am within 41.2 lbs. (new goal: 12.2 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here's a few found pumpkins for your Halloween enjoyment. (I've always wanted to try carve an impressive pumpkin. One of these years I'm going to actually do it.)



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boogie

Now this is an animated movie I wouldn't mind seeing...

(Beware...there is violence and blood. There. You were warned.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week of Loss - Oct. 25

This week I lost 5.2 lbs., and am within 44.8 lbs. (new goal: 15.2 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Scared Myself

I did a dumb thing today. I went and saw PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, and it scared me.

Scared me good.

And I knew it would.

I'm a jumpy, scaredy cat kind of guy to begin with, and I absolutely knew there was the potential that the movie would scar me, but I couldn't bring myself to not see a movie with such hype surrounding it.

And it was good. Great, even. I laughed and jumped and was entertained every second of the film. You can't ask for more from a movie. It even stuck with me; it wasn't some throwaway piece of entertainment, though now I sort of wish it were.

I do highly recommend the movie, but only if you think you can handle the scare.

Week of Loss - Oct. 18

This week I lost 4.4 lbs., and am within 50 lbs. (new goal: 21 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, little brother!

And because I know you know how rad Leon is, I included his picture for your enjoyment.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week of Loss - Oct. 11

This week I lost 3.8 lbs., and am within 54.4 lbs. (new goal: 25.4 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wild Things

I'm back! With awesomeness! Oh yeah, deal with it.

Somebody mashed the trailer for WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE with the classic GREMLINS 2 and made my day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week of Loss - Oct. 4

This week I lost 4.2 lbs., and am within 58.2 lbs. (new goal: 29.2 lbs.) of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week of Loss - Aug. 2

This week I gained 5 lbs., and am within 57.6 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - August 2

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “The Island” by Peter Watts * * *
Tuesday: “The Test” by Richard Matheson * * *
Wednesday: “Mantage” by Richard Matheson * * * *
Thursday: “The Container” by Deb Olin Unferth * * * *
Friday: “The Canary Prince” by Italo Calvino * * * *
Saturday: “The Wine Doctor” by Frederick Adolf Paola * * * *
Sunday: “Strawberry Spring” by Stephen King * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “The Container” by Deb Olin Unferth

From the review: “While the act – and container – seem to have little the do with the rest of the story, it’s a strong image to end a story on. Sometimes a great visual goes a long, long way to making a huge impact.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week of Stories - July 26

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Transients in Arcadia” by O. Henry * * *
Tuesday: “To Do” by Deb Olin Unferth * * * *
Wednesday: “A Chaparral Prince” by O. Henry * * * *
Thursday: “The Clarion Call” by O. Henry * * *
Friday: “A Retrieved Reformation” by O. Henry * * * *
Saturday: “The Hiding of Black Bill” by O. Henry * * *
Sunday: “Trucks” by Stephen King * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Trucks” by Stephen King

From the review: “This is the kind of story that would have really excited me – creatively and in my imagination – when I was a kid and spent my summers traveling by semi across the country, staying many nights in truck stops, constantly surrounded by vehicles such as these monstrous trucks.

Week of Stories - July 19

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Essential Things” by Jorge Luis Arzola -
Tuesday: “The Twelve Oxen” by Italo Calvino * * *
Wednesday: “Seven Pieces of Severance” by Robert Olen Butler * *
Thursday: “Other People” by Neil Gaiman * * * * *
Friday: “Crack and Crook” by Italo Calvino * *
Saturday: “Shoofly” by Richard Matheson * * * * *
Sunday: “The Man Who Loved Flowers” by Stephen King * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Shoofly” by Richard Matheson

From the review: “Matheson does a fantastic job of showing how someone can become obsessed by a distraction and take that distraction to an unhealthy extreme. It is both funny and sad because I’ve been in so many similar situations.

RAGBRAI XXXVII - July 19-25, 2009

A Rambling Recollection

That was a tough one.

This was my sixth RAGBRAI, and probably the toughest ride of the batch. The course was full of hills this year. The first five days of the ride were all hills – with only a short stretch of level riding to be found. The last two days leveled out a bit and were easier riding, but there was still distance and a few long climbs. It was just a beast of a ride.

The total distance on the bike this ride was 495.29 miles, with a ride time of 38:53:27 hours at an average speed of 12.8 mph for the week. Maximum speed reached was 44.4 mph.

I left for RAGBRAI weighing 230 lbs (the most I’ve ever weighed on a RAGBRAI?) and came home 8.4 lbs lighter. This loss isn’t always the way it goes on the ride. In the past I’ve actually gained weight due to excessive eating along the route and in the overnight towns. This year I brought snacks to keep from eating junk along the route, and limited my eating to just a large dinner in the overnight towns. This worked very well. Okay, the first two days I was extremely dehydrated and exhausted due to the lack of fluids and calories (and more likely, the fact that I was exercising more than I had in months – my body was simply in shock). As the week progressed, the routine became familiar and my body adapted. It was a good system that produced great results.

My ass was SO sore. I never became comfortable on the bike seat. The pain was almost unbearable. My butt has never hurt as bad as it did this RAGBRAI. Sure, it normally takes a few days of RAGBRAI riding for me to be accustomed to the daily grind of a tiny seat and many miles, but in the past I always did just that, became accustomed to the ride. This year it simply did not happen, and I was miserable.
I think this was due in large part to having never ridden on the bike seat I rode this week. It was a wider seat with a lot of gel cushioning. It was the seat attached to the tandem I rode and it should have been replaced with the seat from the road bike I’ve been riding the past 2+ years. I can only imagine what the ride would have been if I’d just thought to change that seat before starting.

This was the year of the tandem. In a spur of the moment, last minute decision, my uncle Jeff and I decided to do the ride this year on his tandem. I’d suggested this a month earlier, but nothing came of the idea. And then suddenly the option was presented to me. I jumped at the chance; I’d always wanted to try the ride on a tandem after seeing couples flying by during my first few years on the ride. In my mind it was a win-win situation: I hadn’t been regularly (or properly) training for RAGBRAI, and in my mind tandems meant I’d be able to go twice as fast. Even the suggestion of having to pull the Burley – a bike cart – behind the tandem didn’t discourage me. This was going to make the ride a piece of cake. Let’s just say Jeff wasn’t as na├»ve as I apparently was. He knew what he was getting into and still said okay. It’s not that the tandem made the ride harder, but it sure as heck wasn’t the magic solution to my lack of training. The ride on the tandem was probably very comparable to how my ride would have been solo on my road bike. The most difficult part riding the tandem was giving up my riding style. As the rider in the second seat I had no control over the gears, breaks, or steering. All decisions, from coasting to speed to road position, are essentially given to the first rider. That’s not to say that Jeff wouldn’t have done anything I asked (and I asked to coast A LOT), but in general, he was the conductor and I was just along for the ride, shoveling the coal into the engine to make the train go faster. Another note on riding style: I must ride out of the seat more than Jeff because I was constantly fighting the urge to coast and stand on the pedals and rearrange myself on the seat, while he prefers to sit and hammer down on the pedals mile after mile.

Would I ride a tandem again on RAGBRAI? I don’t know. If I did, I’d sure as hell train on one before putting in close to 500 miles. And I wouldn’t pull 45 lbs of cart and gear behind me.

Jeff and I were thinking – the tandem, slowly moving up hill, was loaded down with close to 450 lbs of man and gear and cart.

I can’t say enough about the wonderful pizza buffets we had for dinner. Two great nights at Pizza Hut and one at Pizza Ranch. My favorite part was the giant plate of cool salad covered in dressing at each buffet. And I always enjoy pizza. Those were perfect meals. The other couple of nights were McDonalds and a Wendys. Each of these evening meals lasted hours. We’d sit in the air conditioning, slowly eating, reading the newspaper, until we’d had enough or the rain was finished outside or the crowds waiting to be seated in our spot looked restless. No church meals for me this year! (I hate the church meals.)

Things bought from vendors while riding: 1 glass of lemonade, 1 small bag of Lay’s potato chips, 2 bottles of Gatorade, 1 banana, 1 strawberry banana smoothie from the Garden of Eden, 1 root beer float from Beekman’s.

Things bought in overnight towns: 1 camp chair from Bass Pro Shop (an AWESOME purchase in Council Bluffs that helped make the camping experience so much better), 2 quart containers of skim milk, 1 camp pillow, 1 Salted Nut Roll candy bar, 1 gallon of water, 4 shower (with towels).

Went to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in Chariton. Arrived for the movie an hour before it started and were allowed to sit in the air-conditioned theater. All told, that was 3.5 hours of air-conditioned goodness in padded seats. And it was cheap! Admission was $3 and treats (popcorn and a large Diet Coke) $4. I wish movies and concessions here were that inexpensive.

Took $126 with me to spend. And that was all the week cost me. Factor in the registration and jersey, snacks purchased for the ride, and this “vacation” cost me about $350. That’s eight days, Saturday to Saturday, at about $44 a day. Cheap.

Steve drove me back down to Indianola and rode with us to Chariton. The first half of the ride he rode mainly with Craig, ahead of Jeff and me. The last half he rode with us. It was fun having him there for the day. It’ll be great when he is fully recovered and able to ride again next year. I know he’s looking forward to next year already.

Thanks to mom and Dan for driving Jeff and I over to Council Bluffs to start the ride. They took us in my Nitro and dropped us at the campgrounds around 1 PM.

Thanks to grandma and grandpa for driving down to Indianola to pick me up and bring me back to spend Tuesday night at home, in my own bed, in the air conditioning. They also picked the three of us up from Burlington on Saturday and brought us home. The ride would be much more difficult without people so willing to help drive us back and forth.

The overnight towns on this year’s ride: Council Bluffs (starting town – camping right off the interstate, near the Bass Pro Shop at exit 1B), Red Oak (Sunday – camping at a house, a connection of Jeff’s), Greenfield (Monday – camping at the high school), Indianola (Tuesday – camping at Simpson College – only Josh came home), Chariton (Wednesday – camping at the softball fields), Ottumwa (Thursday – camping at the park), Mount Pleasant (Friday – camping at the Old Threshers campground), Burlington (ending town – no camping; end of the ride).

The ride to the river this year wasn’t too far – only 5 miles each way. We rode north from the campgrounds to a new pedestrian bridge by the Harrah’s casino on the river. It was a very high bridge over the Missouri River. I tried not to think too hard about that fact as we rode over to Nebraska before turning around and “officially” beginning our ride across the state.

Every town we entered the first half of RAGBRAI had a steep, steep uphill approach. Made me wish we could bypass the towns altogether.

It figures that the baggage truck would have to be at the bottom of the steepest hill of the ride in Red Oak. This wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t already gone up the hill to find the home we were camping at that night. All told, we had to ride up that hill 3 times instead of the one time most everyone else had to conquer it.

You don’t know how spoiled you are to have a support crew until you go a year without them.

This is the first year in 3 years that I rode the entire RAGBRAI. Last year I missed a day of riding to drive the support vehicle. The year before that I missed the 3 middle days to come home and interview for my teaching position. The year before that I missed one day because of heat exhaustion (and yarking up a Pizza Hut supper). This means that I’ve completed 3 full RAGBRAIs and participated in another 3. Plus there’s that RAGBRAI from when I was a small child, pulled in a bike cart with my baby brother that ended halfway through the ride in Pella.

Packed lighter this year, but still took too much stuff with me. One of these years I’m going to be able to bring just the right amount of stuff.

I HATE searching for my bag in the mess of bags dumped from the baggage truck. Unless I was able to be among the first bags on the truck (one day I actually was the first bag on the truck), it took me forever to find my stupid bag.

Still having trouble feeling my large toes on both feet. They are numb and sort of tingly. They aren’t black, they don’t feel right. I hope it’s just shock and my poor circulation and they come back to normal life soon.

I was able to put my contacts in every morning with no difficulty at all. That’s never been the case before. I remember having to spend quite a bit of time some days forcing those bad boys in. It was just my year for contacts, I guess.

I slept terribly. That wasn’t a surprise for me. I usually sleep poorly on RAGBRAI, out in the wild, on the hard ground, in the heat (and sometimes chill). The last night, in Mount Pleasant, was especially bad. Exhausting.

I’ll keep an eye out for some of the pictures Craig took during the ride and post them on the blog later. That might help refresh my memory about the ride later on. At this point I’m drawing a blank. The days have blurred into an endless stream of riding.

Thank you Jeff and Craig for riding with me this year. Extra special thanks to Jeff for putting up with me and my insistence on coasting while riding the tandem this year. It was fun – and I say that now, with the ride finished.

Bring on RAGBRAI XXXVIII.

Week of Loss - July 26

This week I lost 7.4 lbs., and am within 52.6 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Loss - July 18

This week I gained 0 lbs., and am within 60 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Brief Interruption

I'm off to ride RAGBRAI this week. I'll return to posting (sporadically) next weekend. 442 miles of riding, here I come!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Week of Loss - July 12

This week I gained 5.6 lbs., and am within 63.8 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - July 12

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Utriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson * * * * *
Tuesday: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” by Richard Matheson * * * *
Wednesday: “So Far from Anything” by Benjamin Percy * * * * *
Thursday: “Wind in a City” by Italo Calvino * * *
Friday: “Ma, a Memoir” by Lynn Freed * * *
Saturday: “McHenry’s Gift” by Mike MacLean * * * *
Sunday: “N.” by Stephen King * * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “N.” by Stephen King

From the review: “The story does include the “Pandora effect” that many horror stories suffer from – that curiosity that always leads to disaster. Here it fits the story – the curiosity created for the characters is overwhelming – and the results, while tragic, make the story enjoyable, and a little scary.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Carpet Cleaner, Carpet Cleaner

Carpet cleaner, carpet cleaner, carpet cleaner. I hate that once an idea gets in my mind I can't let it go.

I went to grab what I thought was an empty can of Diet Pepsi and managed to spill some of it - not a lot, I think - on the floor. Needless to say, I was not pleased.

Now I've convinced myself that if I don't clean the carpet - with carpet cleaners - I'll have ants and centipedes and other crawlies invade my living room. (I don't know where these thoughts come from, but they are the first thoughts I always have.)

So, I guess I'm off to the store to buy some carpet cleaner.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week of Loss - July 5

This week I gained 1.4 lbs., and am within 58.2 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - July 5

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Ten True Things” by Miranda July * *
Tuesday: “The Moves” by Miranda July *
Wednesday: “Mon Plaisir” by Miranda July * *
Thursday: “Birthmark” by Miranda July * * *
Friday: “A Kidnapping Story” by Deb Olin Unferth * *
Saturday: “How to Tell Stories to Children” by Miranda July * * *
Sunday: “Popsy” by Stephen King * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Birthmark” by Miranda July

From the review: “What a difference a touch of narrative can have on a story.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WOW!

I have a comic book on my shelf that is selling for $400 (or more)!


Holy shit, how rich am I?

What else do I have on my bookshelves?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Buzzed Again


I hadn't had a haircut in over two months...I feel so much better.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cool Stuff I Found on the Web II

Even more cool things I found...

A "transformer" laptop:



A trailer for Dead Snow, a foreign movie with Nazi zombies:

Watch it here

And I guess that's it for now. The other things I found interesting are long gone, forgotten for now, but there's always something cool to find tomorrow.

Cool Stuff I Found on the Web

I've been collecting these pictures and links and articles for a few weeks now with the intention of posting them on the blog. I'm tired of the open tabs and cluttered desktop, so here's a batch of stuff I found interesting...

A cool tattoo:


A couple of comic book illustrations, the first a Batwoman pin-up by Jock, and the second a Powergirl cover by Adam Hughes:



A link to an interesting lawsuit regarding Captain Crunch's Crunchberries:
Read about it here

A long forgotten, but awesome line of toys - Battle Beasts:


And a great history of the Battle Beasts can be found here

Week of Loss - June 28

This week I lost 0.8 lbs., and am within 56.8 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - June 28

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

(And every story this week was a 5-star – excellent – example of the form.)

Monday: “Happy Fish, Plus Coin” by Scott Snyder * * * * *
Tuesday: “The Museum of Whatnot” by Kevin Wilson * * * * *
Wednesday: “Julie in the Funhouse” by Jincy Willett * * * * *
Thursday: “Pompeii” by Leslie Pietrzyk * * * * *
Friday: “Abraham’s Boys” by Joe Hill * * * * *
Saturday: “The Flints of Memory Lane” by Neil Gaiman * * * * *
Sunday: “Everything’s Eventual” by Stephen King * * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “The Museum of Whatnot” by Kevin Wilson

From the review: “Whimsical, romantic, and just strange enough to completely capture your attention.

The Impressive Power of Water

It's amazing what water can do in just four minutes time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Daybreakers Trailer

Whoo, boy! Before you say, "Oh, another vampire movie," you need to watch the trailer. Looks fantastic. Almost everyone on the planet is a vampire, and they hunt the few remaining humans for their blood. Only they are running out of blood. And all kinds of crazy stuff happens after that.

Click through to watch the trailer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Scarred for Life?

I doubt I could have handled a toy like this as a child.

Created by Elmer Presslee.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Biking: Revenge of the Bird

A little over a week ago I hit, and most likely killed, a bird with my vehicle while driving over to Ankeny for a bike ride. I felt bad; though not a huge fan of animals (or birds), I don’t deliberately go out of my way to kill them.

So it seems only fitting that while out on my bike ride today a bird attacked me. I could see it coming from behind me, its shadow soaring along the highway, gaining on me.

And then it struck.

The bird hit my helmet and nearly knocked me off my bike. It then followed me. I was cruising along at 17 or 18 mph and the bird kept pace, just to the left of me. Apparently not satisfied with its first unsuccessful attempt, the bird tried three more times while I shouted and flailed one hand over my head trying to shoo the bird away.

Eventually the bird retreated to fight another day, and I put the pedal down to get some distance between us.

Now I’m sure the “incident” had nothing to do with my entire ride being so much faster than my previous record, but you never know. Maybe subconsciously I rode faster in an attempt to finish and hide from my new worst enemies.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week of Loss - June 21

This week I gained 1 lb., and am within 57.6 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - June 21

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Making Love in 2003” by Miranda July * * *
Tuesday: “Sunbird” by Neil Gaiman * * * * *
Wednesday: “The Replacement” by Duane Swierczynski * * * * *
Thursday: “Feeling Good, Feeling Fine” by George Garrett * * * * *
Friday: “There, There” by Deb Olin Unferth * * * *
Saturday: “The Parrot” by Italo Calvino * * *
Sunday: “Battleground” by Stephen King * * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “The Replacement” by Duane Swierczynski

From the review: “Swierczynski is a master at taking an impossible idea and turning it into a fast-paced, enjoyable tale.

Buffy vs. Edward

You can't imagine how hilarious I found this mashup to be. It's Buffy being stalked by that goofball Edward from the Twilight movie.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Linkin Park Video

Here's the new Linkin Park/Transformers mashup of a video. It's kind of cool.

Linkin Park – “New Divide”

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Week of Stories - June 14

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

“A Week of Richard Matheson” short stories.

Monday: “No Such Thing as a Vampire” by Richard Matheson * * * *
Tuesday: “Pattern for Survival” by Richard Matheson * * *
Wednesday: “Clothes Make the Man” by Richard Matheson * *
Thursday: “Mute” by Richard Matheson * * *
Friday: “The Creeping Terror” by Richard Matheson * * *
Saturday: “Shock Wave” by Richard Matheson * *
Sunday: “’Tis the Season to Be Jelly” by Richard Matheson *
Sunday: “Gray Matter” by Stephen King * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “No Such Thing as a Vampire” by Richard Matheson

From the review: “It challenges you to at first believe its veracity, and then question it, leaving you primed and ready for the perfect ending. A nice little tweaking of conventions.

Week of Loss - June 14

This week I gained 4 lbs., and am within 56.6 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

And...I've been exercising again. 50+ miles on the bike over the past 2 days! It feels good to be back in the swing of things.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife Trailer

Here's the link to the trailer for The Time Traveler's Wife.

This was an amazing book.

(But then again, I am a sucker for time travel.)

The movie looks good. And any movie with Rachel McAdams...

Beaker's Ode to Joy



Beaker is da bomb! "Meep." (This is hilarious.)

"The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9"



This is a pretty awesome cartoon by Jake Armstrong. A nice style of work and an entertaining science fiction story. If all cartoons were this great, kids today would be much more interesting.

Catch Up

Going to post some things I've found interesting over the past week, but was too lazy to put up sooner.

I've been off Twittering and by the time the day is done, most of what I've wanted to say has been condensed to 140 characters and posted here.

I'm going to try do better about blogging - real blogging - not just posting videos and links.

But for now...enjoy the following videos and links.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Classic Movie Quotes

It's amazing how many of these movies I've seen (and if I haven't seen them, I at least have heard the lines before somewhere).

100 famous movie lines in 200 seconds.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lucky Words

Yeah, I couldn't resist posting the cover to the July issue of Esquire.


A new Stephen King short story! [Review here.]

Week of Loss - June 7

This week I gained 0.8 lbs., and am within 52.6 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - June 7

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “A Sleep Not Unlike Death” by Sean Chercover * * * *
Tuesday: “Like Riding a Moped” by Jordan Harper * * * *
Wednesday: “Dynamite Hole” by Donald Ray Pollock * * *
Thursday: “The Holiday Man” by Richard Matheson * *
Friday: “Burning Ring of Fire” by Hana K. Lee * * * *
Saturday: “Love Far from Home” by Italo Calvino * * * * *
Sunday: “Morality” by Stephen King * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Love Far from Home” by Italo Calvino

From the review: “And by far the coolest name for woman I’ve come across – Mariamirella.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Week of Loss - May 31

This week I gained 4.8 lbs., and am within 51.8 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Week of Stories - May 31

Week of Stories – May 31

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Double Down” by Jason Starr * * *
Tuesday: “The Contests at Cowlick” by Richard Kennedy * * * *
Wednesday: “Forbidden Brides…” by Neil Gaiman * * * *
Thursday: “Twice” by Deb Olin Unferth * *
Friday: “The Prince Who Married a Frog” by Italo Calvino * *
Saturday: “Doctor Jack-o’-Lantern” by Richard Yates * * * * *
Sunday: “The Night Flier” by Stephen King * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Doctor Jack-o’-Lantern” by Richard Yates

From the review: “This is the stuff of life, and it’s not neat, and it’s not nice. It’s true.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It Can't Happen Soon Enough

Green Lantern - a trailer.

If a fan can put this together, just imagine what the movie - and there is a movie coming - could be. Simply amazing. And a good choice in actor for Hal Jordan.

Do I Read Too Much?

Today I read from the following books: Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale, Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt, L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker, Hunger by Michael Grant, The Good Guy by Dean Koontz, The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Miller, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, Just After Sunset by Stephen King, Walking Dead by Greg Rucka, and Monster by A. Lee Martinez.

Whew.

It would be even more impressive if I had read more than a chapter or two in any of those books. I have a difficult time picking just one book to read.

Week of Loss - May 24

This week I gained 2.4 lbs., and am within 47 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - May 24

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “The Three Castles” by Italo Calvino * *
Tuesday: “Relations” by Deb Olin Unferth * * *
Wednesday: “My Lawrence” by Claudia Smith * * *
Thursday: “Ax” by Deb Olin Unferth * * *
Friday: “Jack Jaw and the Arab’s Ape” by Ryan Oakley * * * *
Saturday: “The November Game” by F. Paul Wilson * * * *
Sunday: “Graduation Afternoon” by Stephen King * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Jack Jaw and the Arab’s Ape” by Ryan Oakley

From the review: “I’ve always said: all any good story needs is a monkey ripping a man’s arms clean off – blood spurting – swinging those bastard limbs over its head.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Surrogates Trailer

Oooh. Science fiction is always fascinating. This new Bruce Willis led movie, based on a graphic novel, looks interesting. Full of action, robots, and...well, Bruce Willis being Bruce Willis.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Human Target Trailer

A new show this fall on Fox, Human Target, looks to have some potential. Based on a comic series of the same name, the show has the action, humor, and mystery that make for a must-watch series.

Sherlock Holmes Trailer

Sherlock Holmes is THE CHRISTMAS MOVIE of 2009. If Sherlock Holmes stories were as exciting as this trailer, I'd have read more of them. The humor, action (the boxing looks straight out of Snatch), the style - it's the Guy Ritchie twist on the Victorian detective. And that appears to be a very good thing indeed.

The movie stars Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Watson, and Rachel McAdams. It opens Christmas Day.

(The hammer fight - yes, hammer fight - is hilarious.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Week of Loss - May 17

This week I lost 1.8 lbs., and am within 44.6 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - May 17

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “The Snake” by Italo Calvino * * *
Tuesday: “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman * * *
Wednesday: “Another One” by Deb Olin Unferth * * * *
Thursday: “A Flourish of Strumpets” by Richard Matheson * * * *
Friday: “En Transito” by Deb Olin Unferth -
Saturday: “Juanita” by Tim Wohlforth * * * *
Sunday: “The Boogeyman” by Stephen King * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Juanita” by Tim Wohlforth

From the review: “None of the characters are all that likeable – typical of noir – and yet they seem believable. They may not be people you would spend time with in the real world, but they make for fascinating company on the page.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick Draw by Jim Lee

Here's a great (and quick) sketch of Gambit by original artist, Jim Lee.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Road Trailer

The trailer for The Road, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, is now up at Yahoo! I'm excited for the movie because the book was this amazing piece of tension and horror and hope. The movie looks too "bright," but I have hope that it's every bit as dark as the novel.

October 16, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Care Bears Deathmatch?!


I never would have thought of putting the Care Bears up against the Lanterns. And in a deathmatch?

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Fables Novel


As broke as I am, it will be hard to pass up a novel set in the world of such a terrific comic book series. Coming out later this year, I may just have to save up some money.

(And what a pretty cover.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week of Stories - May 10

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “We Ate the Children Last” by Yann Martel * * * *
Tuesday: “Single Percent” by Deb Olin Unferth * * * *
Wednesday: “Bad” by Deb Olin Unferth *
Thursday: “The Little Girl Sold with the Pears” by Italo Calvino * * *
Friday: “The Present of Concern” by Deb Olin Unferth * * * *
Saturday: “Dying Room Only” by Richard Matheson * * *
Sunday: “The Things They Left Behind” by Stephen King * * * * *

My favorite story of the week was: “The Things They Left Behind” by Stephen King

From the review: “Serious King is just as good as Scary King.

Week of Loss - May 10

This week I lost 0 lbs., and am still within 46.4 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Week of Loss - May 3

This week I gained 2.6 lbs., and am now within 46.4 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Weeks of Stories - Apr. 6 - May 3

A recap of some of the best short stories from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

4/11 “Monster” by Kelly Link (Children’s) * * * * *
4/12 “In the Deathroom” by Stephen King (Suspense) * * * *
4/17 “Soap” by Deb Olin Unferth (Suspense) * * * *
4/18 “Dreams” by F. Paul Wilson (Horror) * * * * *
5/3 “The Little Sisters of Eluria” by Stephen King (Pulp) * * * * *
5/4 “We Ate the Children Last” by Yann Martel (Science Fiction) * * * *

The weekly summary of short stories resumes tomorrow, May 10th.

Rough Month - Spartan Life - Big Changes

The past month has been rough. I fell off the wagon of ambition I was riding high on since the beginning of the year. Workouts stopped. Diet crumbled. Blogging became sporadic (at best – I “blame” Twitter).

And to top it all off, the life of easy leisure I was living finally caught up to me in a big, bad way.

I’m broke.

The budget I had in my mind (not a good place for anything – especially something as important as this) wasn’t at all accurate. Between that fact, and my tendency to spend, spend, spend, the world I lived in (not the real world) crashed.

I’m not going to go into details, but with the help of my brother, a new – honest – budget has been created. A check from the BEST MOM IN THE WORLD helped with a slight (exaggeration) money issue, and now I’m back on track.

Only it’s a different track.

It’s a life of more responsibility (because I have to face it: I was NOT being responsible). Rampant spending is over. All unnecessary expenses must be cut. Free time must now involve additional work at second (maybe third) jobs to bring in the funds necessary to pay the bills. It’s a life-changing time.

A more Spartan life.

I have a ton of stuff. Literally. I probably have two thousand pounds of comics, movies, books, CD’s, toys, etc., sitting on shelves gathering dust. There is no need (and no money) to add to this collection.

Instead, I will work hard to fill the hole I dug.

I will do this by finding that lost ambition I used to power me through some tremendous health and wellness changes at the beginning of the year. I’ll resume the blogging to stay accountable for my actions. The entertainment component will still be a part of my life – there is no getting rid of it – but it will come out of the past, out of the collection of materials I’ve gathered and ignored over the past 10 years. Leisure and laziness must become things of the past. Work and effort and responsibility are the Pirate’s new tools.

Funny from Family

Wow, a movie starring some of my relatives. Almost as good as Star Trek!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Music to Carry Me Away

Six years ago (doesn't feel like that long ago) I spent a lot of time burning CDs - this was all pre-iTunes craze - of the music I'd accumulated during my time in Iowa City (college - round 1). Flipping through the binders of music I have sitting on my shelf this afternoon I'm finding all sorts of good stuff. At least, I remember it being good stuff, years ago.

None of this music - all at least 3+ years old - is on my computer, the iPods, or in any type of rotation. Hasn't been for ages. I think over the next few months I'll dig in. I'll play albums not played in years, upload some tracks to the iPods for workouts, save some music to the hard drives for posterity (only the good stuff). I'm sure there's a small fortune of music there (my credit card debt would attest to that), a small wealth of tunes to carry me through the summer.

Today: A burned mix of songs from Days of the New and Live.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Go JOE!

Can't help being a child of the 80's. While I wish it was a little less now, I'm still excited to see what they do with JOE.

G.I. JOE trailer in HD

Monday, April 27, 2009

Week of Loss - Apr. 26

This week I gained 0.6 lbs., and am now within 43.8 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Funny Start to Sunday

This is seriously worth your time. It is one of the funniest SNL skits from the period (2000).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Me WANT!

I'd pay just about anything for a keyboard this awesome.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Week of Loss - Apr. 19

This week I gained 3.4 lbs., and am now within 43.2 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

They Know Me

In the summer reminders newsletter from my homeowner's association:

"Garage doors shall be kept closed except times of access for the safety of the owner."

Do you think this was directed specifically toward me? A person forgets to close his garage door, his car door, and lock his entry door every once and awhile and now he's in danger?

Okay, probably. I just found it amusing that this note comes so soon after my second "incident" of forgetfulness.

The Fringe Code and More...

The mysteries of Fringe show up even in the commercial break images. This interesting article cracks the code. And I once again wonder at the time some people have to explore such ideas.
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The best comic series running now, Scott Pilgrim, is being turned into to what I hope will be the best comic book adaptation of all time. You can now follow the production through the official website and its video diaries.
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Stumbled across the trailer for The Hurt Locker. It looks amazing. View it here. (Really. Go now. Enjoy.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Find Things

So I wanted to listen to a CD (rodrigo y gabriela) today while at work. I searched my shelves of CDs - at least I was pretty sure I knew this CD to still have a case and not be filed away in one of 8 cases of CDs I rarely play. I found the CD and opened it up to find the disc missing.

If you know me, you know this isn't uncommon. I misplace things, like CDs, and have a hell of a time finding them again. They are often in with another CD, hiding in a different case. And when you have hundreds, literally, of CDs, that becomes a problem.

So - disappointed - I decide on another CD ( The Black Parade). I open it up to check and make sure the disc is there...and I find the missing CD I was looking for. First other case I opened and there it was.

Pretty amazing way to start the day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Week of Loss - Apr. 12

This week I gained 0.8 lbs., and am now within 39.8 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Week of Escaping Tweet - Apr. 5

A collection of some of the escaping thoughts (tweets) from the past week – complete with COMMENTARY!
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Found my garage open, my car door open. And guess what? They've been that way since 5 PM yesterday. It's amazing I survive on my own. [I am my own worst enemy. Not that this is any surprise to me.]

Is waking up earlier than normal, not tired at all, the start of some April Fool's joke my body has planned for me? [Made it through the day unscathed, but did cause a little tomfoolery of my own.]

300th post! Weren't there supposed to be dolphins and fanfare and tiny cakes? [Am still thoroughly addicted to Twitter.]

@timpratt "Her Voice in a Bottle" - very fine, indeed. Thoroughly enjoyed the tale. [Ended up being the best short story of the week.]
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As always, follow the Escape Pirate over on Twitter.

Week of Loss - Apr. 5

This week I gained 0.8 lbs., and am now within 39 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - Apr. 5

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

Monday: “Something That Needs Nothing” by Miranda July *
Tuesday: “The Rememberer” by Aimee Bender * * *
Wednesday: “An Indian Ghost in England” by Rudyard Kipling * * *
Thursday: “Life with Father” by Bentley Little -
Friday: “Her Voice in a Bottle” by Tim Pratt * * * * *
Saturday: “The Purple Dress” by O. Henry * * *
Sunday: “Night Surf” by Stephen King * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Her Voice in a Bottle” by Tim Pratt

From the review: “This is a story worth saving, a hopeful story for lonely hearts in troubled times.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cool, Breezy, and Wet

I heard the rain start falling a few minutes ago. I'd been planning - and procrastinating - a workout outside all day long. The rain scrubbed those plans. I have no desire to get drenched and sick.

But I did step outside onto my meager little porch. It felt wonderful to stand there, out with the cool breeze and wet. It is the kind of weather you can smell. Hopeful weather. Like something new is coming along.

I could use some new again. Things have not been good this past month - not bad, but just not as great as the first few months of the year. The short slide back into bad habits has become more pronounced and I'm struggling to find a way to stop the fall. My good intentions are coming up short, week after week.

Where do I go from here? That's the weight on my shoulders tonight.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spared...Almost

I thought I made it through the day unscathed. And that was saying something. Last year I was not so lucky.

So imagine my surprise when I took a bag of garbage to the trash can in the garage and found some empty pop bottles tied to the back of my vehicle. Apparently, at some point after lunch, someone at work snuck out, and with pink yarn, tied some empty pop bottles to the hitch on the back of my Nitro. It does explain the rattling sound I heard while driving home from the comic book shop tonight.

Sneaky folk at work. And the sad part is: I wouldn't have even noticed if I hadn't taken out the trash. Who looks behind their vehicles before driving? I'm just glad I didn't drive into work tomorrow with my dangling bottles for all to see. I would have truly been the fool then.

April Fool's Trouble

What kind of trouble can I cause at work today under the cover of April Fool's Day. Last year people screwed with me, and I have no idea what I might be walking into today. I can take a joke, run with the gags, I just hope I don't have to clean up too much this year to put everything back in place.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Do I Survive?

It's amazing I'm not robbed blind or murdered in my sleep. I went out to the garage to leave for work this morning only to find the garage door wide open. My car door was also open to the world. Think that's bad? The door into my place: unlocked. There was little good about the situation except that all my stuff was still there, the car managed to start, and no one messed with me while I slept. (Thank you for small miracles.)

But seriously - I've got to be a little more on top of things. This wasn't the first time I've left the garage door open and house unlocked overnight. Call it what you want, my head just hasn't been in the game for the past month.

Snap out of it, pirate. There are escapes, and then there are escapes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week of Loss - Mar. 29

This week I lost 2 lbs., and am now within 38.2 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Escaping Tweets - Mar. 29

A collection of some of the escaping thoughts (tweets) from the past week – complete with COMMENTARY!
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Slow start to the day. When is the weekend? (Yes, I understand it is only Tuesday.) [That was my attitude all week long: longing for the weekend.]

Picked up the remastered Ten by Pearl Jam, and the new Papa Roach. Will be playing both while working tonight. [Big music week for me. Also downloaded some Shane MacGowan, The Bad Plus, and The Dubliners. All good stuff.]

The walk was needed. Had the chance to be tossed around by 30 mph winds while listening to the new Papa Roach. Feel so much better, truly. [Once again, the only workout of the week.]

Would love to stay home from work today and do nothing. Oh wait, that was last week. That was vacation. *sniff* I miss vacation. [The weekend went by too fast, as well.]

Wandered around the bookstore but could find only books I already owned and had not yet read. [Okay, so today I wandered again, and found a few books that I didn’t own and wanted to read. Tuesday there’s a new Coben book!]

Finally registered for RAGBRAI. More expensive this year to ride across the state of Iowa. [3rd hilliest, but at least it’s short. Looks like there will only be 3 of us this year. ]

If you are bald you can make surprisingly accurate game avatars. [The new X-Box Experience allows you to create avatars like the Wii’s Miis. Pretty nifty.]

Why do some people find the need to stand so close to me in line? If you can lick the back of my neck then you are too close. [I was like: step off woman; you’ll get your popcorn soon enough.]
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As always, follow the Escape Pirate over on Twitter.

Week of Stories - Mar. 29

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate.

A Week of Stories by Italo Calvino.

Monday: “Conscience” by Italo Calvino * *
Tuesday: “Solidarity” by Italo Calvino * * * *
Wednesday: “Dauntless Little John” by Italo Calvino *
Thursday: “The Man Wreathed in Seaweed” Italo Calvino * * *
Friday: “The Black Sheep” by Italo Calvino * * * *
Saturday: “Good For Nothing” by Italo Calvino * * * *
Sunday: “The Ship with Three Decks” by Italo Calvino * * * * *
Sunday: “The Death of Jack Hamilton” by Stephen King * * * * *

My favorite story by Italo Calvino this week was: “The Ship with Three Decks”

From the review: “A successful folktale can transport you back to your childhood, when times were magical, and stories – especially those folk and fairy tales – filled you with wonder.

My favorite story of the week was: “The Death of Jack Hamilton” by Stephen King

From the review: “That someone has the patience, skill, and dexterity to accomplish such of a feat is unbelievable, but the thought of those white threads attached to the flies floating in the air is just as funny and beautiful to me as it was to the dying Jack Hamilton.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Revisiting American Gods

I've been rereading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, loving every page. I remember feeling the same type of joy when I first read the story a few years ago. It is almost as though the world shifts a bit and I find myself on the same journey across America with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday. This book is a trip. It will take a real effort to not read more than just a handful of pages a night before bed.

It's more than reading; it's an experience.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Green Grass and New Music

It was nice to see the green grass returning. We've had a lot of rain here in the Midwest over the past couple of days, and it's starting to show. The first highlights of green have returned.

It looks good on ya, Iowa.
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Picked up the new Papa Roach - Metamorphosis - and the reissue of Ten by Pearl Jam. I'm glad I noticed that the $11.99, 2-disc version of Ten had the remix disc I thought was only available with the Deluxe Edition ($27.99). I never get around to watching the DVDs that come with those Deluxe Editions anyway.

Was contemplating the purchase of Coheed and Cambria's huge live CD and DVD box set ($79.99), but there were no copies left at Best Buy, and like I just mentioned: I don't get around to the DVDs, so what's the point?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Week of Vacation - Sunday

That's the end of it all. Vacation is over. All that is left is being able to wake up in time for work tomorrow. (Something which I am praying I'll be able to do. I am setting every alarm possible - loud as possible - in the hopes that I do not oversleep.]

Finished Battlestar Galactica today. Spent a good portion of the day watching the final episodes from my DVR. I am pleased to announce that I was immensely impressed with how the series ended. Everything felt right. I can't think of another show that ended as well as this series did. Bravo! (I will not go in to details here, because I'd hate to spoil the end - this entire series - by talking about the ending. Watch it for yourself - you owe it to yourself to do so. It is that great.)

I am off to finish the night with an issue or two of Starman. I can't think of a better way to end my day, my week.

Week of Escaping Tweets - Mar. 22

A collection of some of the escaping thoughts (tweets) from the past week – complete with COMMENTARY!
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Little bit later start to the day than I planned. That'll teach me to try "plan" a vacation. Only setting myself up for disappointment. [Vacation went nothing like I had planned. Disappointment I did feel, but also realized I was relaxed, which was truly the point of this vacation.]

Driving home from Iowa City. Good day spent with great friends. [It was great to see the friends again, but kind of disappointing (for me) to hear they may be moving away (but great opportunities for both of them – so I’m happy for them).]

This life of leisure has its downside. Very little is being accomplished. [Still early in the week when I was worried about the lack of accomplishments.]

2 mile walk at a quick pace on a brilliant night. Aside from every little thing (too much horror on my mind) scaring me, it was great. [My one workout for the week was too quick, but also wonderful.]

A trip to the comic shop only made me want to dig through my back issues and reread old comics. Is there anything out now truly exciting? [A week of many, many comics has convinced me that my love for them will never truly die.]

I absolutely love sitting in a theater, waiting for a new movie to start. [Only one movie this weekend – a vacation weekend! Found too much of interest on the DVR in the form of shows I’d fallen behind watching.]

Wow, a four CD, five DVD box set from Coheed and Cambria...only $80. Interesting. Also, new Papa Roach. Good music week for me. [Going to be getting some new music this Tuesday, but how much?]

I am IMMENSELY satisfied with the ending of Battlestar Galactica. Can't think of another show that ended as well as this one did.[Simply an amazing series throughout its entire run. Bravo!]
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As always, follow the Escape Pirate over on Twitter.

Week of Loss - Mar. 22

This week I gained 5.4 lbs., and am now within 40.2 lbs. of my goal weight.

Continue to monitor my progress and other health and wellness information over at A Year of Loss and Health, Pirate.

Week of Stories - Mar. 22

Stories read this week from over at A Year of Stories, Pirate. (A week of two tales per author each day - the free time of vacation.)

Monday: “Making Do” by Italo Calvino * * * *
Monday: “Dry River” by Italo Calvino * *
Tuesday: “Return to Pleasure Island” by Cory Doctorow * * * *
Tuesday: “The Super Man and the Bugout” by Cory Doctorow * *
Wednesday: “20th Century Ghost” by Joe Hill * * * * *
Wednesday: “Pop Art” by Joe Hill * * * * *
Thursday: “Not Yet the End” Fredric Brown * *
Thursday: “Etaoin Shrdlu” Fredric Brown * * * *
Friday: “Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale * * * * *
Friday: “The Long Dead Day” by Joe R. Lansdale * * *
Saturday: “A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman * * * *
Saturday: “October in the Chair” by Neil Gaiman * * * *
Sunday: “Jerusalem’s Lot” by Stephen King * * * *
Sunday: “Graveyard Shift” by Stephen King * *

My favorite story of the week was: “Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale

From the review: “I had been in the mood for a western – not old-timesy and tame, but something brutal and fierce. The addition of a supernatural element only added another level of pleasure to this tale.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Week of Vacation - Saturday

I was of a mind that my week was wasted, that my vacation was ruined, but now, at week's near end, I find I am at peace with the week. Did I accomplish the goals I set for myself - not a one.

Did I relax? Yes.

And in the end, that was all I truly wanted - needed - on this break from work. I let myself down on a lot of fronts, but it only gives me something to come back from. Will I turn things around right away, starting Monday? Probably not. But I will try. And trying is all I - anyone - can do.

Today I started the morning off rough. Something was wrong with me - with my stomach? - last night and I couldn't sleep. I maybe caught an hour of sleep between the pain and uncomfortableness of whatever was wrong. I decided to finally just start the day around 6 AM with an episode of Dollhouse and one of Smallville. I then read my short stories, 10 of the weekly comics, and watched 1 more of Fringe and 3 of Battlestar Galactica.

I am going to go back downstairs and read some - maybe comics, maybe a novel (or 2) - but then I'm off to sleep. Tomorrow will hold something. I'll see it when I get there.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Week of Vacation - Friday

Feel as though I did very little today. Can't even say that I read a lot today, because I didn't. I just spent a lot of the day, wandering around. (I suppose some people call it shopping, but when you don't buy anything - or very little - is it really shopping?)

I did go and see Knowing, * * *, starring Nicholas Cage. I enjoyed it quite a bit. The more I think about it, the less sense everything makes, but at the time, while watching (which is the only time you should truly consider), I was completely absorbed. If you are in the mood for a good science fiction tale, you could do much worse.

Read only a couple of the weekly comics today. No novel reading. My two short stories, both by Joe R. Lansdale were great - one amazing.

Watched Seth Rogen, Guy Fieri, and Chris Cornell on Leno tonight, and it was a very good episode. I kind of want a Bob toy from Monsters vs. Aliens.

Who knows what tomorrow will entail. I know what I should be doing...but that doesn't always mean much.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Week of Vacation - Thursday

Read a ton of comics today. Single issues (10+, I don't feel like going to count), trades (Green Lantern: Secret Origin, Air, Midnight Nation, House of Mystery) - just a lot of comics. I also read my short stories, finished a novel - The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief, and worked a bit on The Graveyard Book - which I'd like to finish in the next few days (the three days of vacation left to me).

While reading all those comics I realized I'm not as discouraged by the current state of comics as I was yesterday at the comic shop. There are some good titles being put out each month; I've just fallen far enough behind that I couldn't remember them at the time. I want to write an entire post about this, but not now. Maybe tomorrow.

I also watched Role Models tonight. I really enjoyed the movie in the theaters, and it was just as funny tonight on DVD. I'm glad I shelled out the money to own this film. This is one I'll watch over and over again. As I Tweeted earlier: there are many quotable - and inappropriate - lines of dialogue.

Still feel as though I've wasted this vacation. All my plans - nothing to show. I keep thinking I just need some inspiration, some motivation. But instead of waiting for these things to just show up, I should be DOING something about it.

It's simple, really: GET OFF MY LAZY ASS. Get up out of the chair. Do my work. Stop feeling sorry for myself because I've wasted my vacation - there's NOTHING to be done about it now other than spend the next three days doing what I set out to do all along.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Week of Vacation - Wednesday

I was pleased to share a nice lunch with my mom at Olive Garden. I had a huge herb-grilled salmon fillet, and it was good. Both my mom and I are busy people, and it seems like I see her less and less, but it is always nice to get together, even if it is just for a meal.

Got the call from the comic book shop, as I was driving there, that the copy of Starman: Omnibus #2 I ordered had come in. I was waiting - impatiently - for this ever since I missed it by mere hours a couple of weeks ago during its release. Almost picked up a copy Monday when in Iowa City, but knew, just knew, that if I did it would surely arrive today. (And it did, so I'm glad I waited.)

Spent a good portion of the day reading stories by Joe Hill (they were both excellent) and finishing On Writing by his father, Stephen King. Also read a handful of weekly comics - still no where near current with these - but have, as of yet, not read my goal of one collection daily.

Contemplating exercise or a bit more reading with the remainder of the night.