Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

Allow Me To Introduce…Myself

Okay, I’ve had a slew of new followers on my Twitter feed, and after making five introduction posts, I figured I should use a better medium to convey this information. Thus I lead you here, so that you all may know a little more about me. To say “I’m a geek,” doesn’t really drill down into who I am. Like most people I have different facets, masks and social modes that Voltron together to make me… well, me.

By day, I’m an IT professional. I’m a technologist working in the UNIX environment for FedEx. I don’t touch packages and I don’t provide customer support, so any such queries will have to be directed elsewhere. It goes without saying that my opinons on my social media are my own and not that of my employer (and yes, that needs said in this day and age). I enjoy what I do. As a result, my “geek flag” doesn’t fly that high here. It used to at my last job, and I think that was more a defense mechanism from a crappy work environment.

I’m a writer — more by hobby than anything else. In 2006 I earned an MA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. Two of the best years of my life were spent learning the craft of writing, and I have a lot of friends from the program. I have only one sale to my name, which is in Bash Down the Door And Slice Open the Bad Guy. The two reviews I’ve seen of that short were, constructive if luke-warm, and I’m okay with that. Short stories aren’t my forte. In addition, I wrote this essay years ago, so I’m pretty good at not freaking out over people’s opinions of me. So while you could ask me for writing advice, I’d rather point you to a number of people far more successful than I.

I’m a fan. I love SF, Fantasy, Horror, and the various sub-genres therein. Love comics, even if I don’t have a gigantic collection. Seeing a hero BE a hero is my thing. Good characters in well written stories are also my thing. I can go for for hours about the virtues of Babylon Five, BSG, Supernatural and the like. I try not to though — conversation gets stagnant that way. What I won’t do is quiz someone’s dedication to a fandom or denigrate a person for liking something I don’t. That way lies the Jerk Side. There are no fake geeks (boy or girl). It is known.

I’m a critic — again not a professional, but it’s a definite side-effect of that MA program I mentioned. Once you learn the workings of a craft, it changes how you see the product. By way of example, when my folks bought their first house, my Grandfather — a Union Carpenter — pored over every detail of the place. Of course he was looking for something to fix, but the point is he could see past the first impression and look at what went into making that house. Same thing with me and books. Yes, I’ll point out the bad, but I’ll also point out the good. I don’t express an overwhelming yea or nay or rate something on a discrete numeric scale because opinions aren’t always binary.

I’m a gamer. I like to slay imaginary creatures with funny shaped dice. Sometimes I try killing heroes with them too. Blasting away at pixels can be a good time as well. You’ll see me talking and tweeting about my (mis)adventures as a Part Time Action Hero. Or course, some of these games require miniatures, photos of which you’ll find on my Tumblr page. I like to paint. Just as soothing as writing.

I’m becoming a fitness geek. Went on a Fitness Quest back in 2010. Lost 35 pounds. Gained fifteen back until I renewed my commitment to the Quest as a New Year’s Resolution. Now I’m under 190 and still working it off. It’s been a great journey, and I feel better for doing it. I can offer advice with a shaker full of salt — I only know what works for me. But the reason I renewed my Quest is…

I’m a martial artist. Don’t worry, I’m not an expert – just a black belt. I study Shohei-Ryu Karate, and I’ll no doubt get into a mood to babble about that as well. I’m working my way to becoming Nidan (second degree black belt). God only knows when that’ll be. Hopefully late next year.

I’m an… equalitarian? I don’t believe anyone should be slighted, attacked or demeaned because of gender, gender identity, color, belief, or sexuality. If I’m a feminist, it only means I’m for women being treated as true equals — that gender does exclude someone from a career or hobby if they prove capable in all other respects. Same thing with all other points of diversity I mentioned. No one needs to be put down when we can all lift each other up. Yeah, it’s idealistic, but why not aim high?

So those topics are what you’re most likely to see discussed here and on my Twitter feed. I generally keep it light hearted on Twitter, because it’s the fun place to hang out.
You’re free to stick around, and if you stop following me I won’t worry much unless we’ve had extensive conversations. There’s really only two ways to get kicked out of my niche in the InfoSphere:
1) Tell me what I should or shouldn’t say on my site and feed.
2) Being a dick — this includes being a racist or sexist.

Got it? Cool. Welcome to the show.

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Fitness Quest — Now In Decaf!

First the numbers: 193 pounds with 23.8% body fat.

That’s pretty damn awesome given how things have panned out in the past. The last couple of times I’ve gone on a Fitness Quest, I’d hit a plateau at 200 pounds. Usually after a while I’d start getting frustrated and life would step in with distractions and I’d stray from the Quest.

Now I’m close to the weight I had back in college. Like I said, damn awesome.

Here’s the plot twist. Back in February I decided to try a weight loss supplement to help get the body fat down (all over the counter, nothing sinister). It took a while, but it started working. Then yesterday, acid reflux reared its ugly head.

This problem cropped up last July. I was at CONvergence at the time, and I had attributed it to something I ate at the con. Then at GenCon I paused to take a swig from a fresh bottle of Coke Zero. The pain that hit my stomach made me wonder if I needed to seek out medical attention. When it wouldn’t go away, I sought out a doctor — a story in itself given I hadn’t picked a primary care provider. I was worried it might be something serious. After getting some blood work done while seeing a specialist, it was, as I said, acid reflux. The specialist recommended I try reducing fatty foods and my caffeine intake. That did the trick, and life went on with only a cup of tea at breakfast and a can of Coke Zero at lunch.

Now back to the present. That supplement I was taking included a “metabolism enhancer.” The main ingredient? Straight up sapho, my friends. 200 mg of it. I knew this when I started taking it, being mindful of the potential problems that could arise. Sure enough, it kicked up yesterday, faded, then returned this morning when I took another dose.

My hypothesis is that as my weight dropped, so did my tolerance for caffeine. In the past I’ve experienced my tolerance for alcohol drop with my weight, so I would imagine it would be a similar effect with stimulants. Going back to GNC, I asked what would make a decent substitute. I got two options, and after doing a little research on the interwebs, I decided that the one that didn’t have all the currently trendy and unproven ingredients would make the better choice.

It’s not exactly back to square one — actually it’s not a set back at all. The workouts continue and my diet is still proving fruitful. I had my Sanchin tested Tuesday night and I was surprised. Apparently I didn’t know how much strength hds come back, and not just from ¬†muscle but form and condition.

I’m still not there yet. About two weeks ago, Dan (our Sensei) had a bunch of us do some drills focusing on our legs. It was only three sets of exercises: punches from horse stance (singles, then doubles, then triples), iterative sets of front kicks (one, then one-two, etc), and finally squats and kicks. By the end my legs were quaking, my stance faltering. Dan commented that I needed more conditioning for my legs, so guess what I added to my routine at the gym?

That got me thinking a little further. What else could I do? I need to develop better stamina in my muscles (this is, of course, before my pending leg routine at the gym). I also need to become a little more flexible. So I’m starting to add yoga to my routine. I picked up a beginner’s DVD, while Mom found one geared for martial artists, so I’ll be bouncing back and forth between the two depending on when I do the routines. I’m also considering pilates, since that’s geared towards strength. That’s for a later time, though — I need to get used to some yoga poses first.

Next step: get down to 190 and stay there in time for C2E2. Not looking to impress anybody. Just hoping to get in condition for a cheat day on the diet. Deep dish pizza awaits!