Sunday, March 14, 2010

Post Number 100

This is the 100th post in this blog. I'm not sure how to commemorate it. However, I do have The Answers from the Creative Blog Award exercise a few days ago.

1. Like so many boys, I solved initial personality conflicts through rough-and-tumble fistfights. In fact, the only lasting friendships that began before high school began with fisticuffs.

Outrageous Lie. I've never been in a serious fight with any of my close, long-lasting friends. We've had our share of friendly wrestling matches. In general, I abhor violence and consider myself a "realistic pacifist." While I won the childhoods fights I was in, I also cried when they were over because I hated having to hurt others.

2. I've been on the internet for a long time. The first time I ever went online was in 1992 on my uncle's Mac. We tied up the phoneline for countless hours reading a newsgroup dedicated to video editing techniques.

Outrageous Lie. Actually, it's close to the truth. I I first went online in the winter of 1989. I didn't know we were online, though, and wondered why we had to leave that cool program so quickly.

3. We've always been at the cutting edge of technology. In addition to having the latest game systems, each member of my immediate family had a cell phone by the time I entered high school.

Outrageous Lie. We actually got the first cell phone when I was 12. It was a family phone roughly the size and weight of a brick. It cost a fortune to operate, so I was rarely allowed to have it. I was 19 when my whole family finally got individual cell phones.

4. As part of my lifelong quest to be a Renaissance Man, I've played a lot of instruments in my life. My all-time favourite is the tin whistle, which I started after hearing The Chieftains.

Outrageous Lie. Sorry, Yuri. I always admired the tin whistle and wanted to learn how to play, but it is not one of the many instruments I learned. Although I am now half-tempted to try and take it up.

5. Impulsive by nature, I once skipped a week of class because I "just had" to take train to Las Vegas. It didn't do much for my grades, but I did come home $200 richer than I left.

The Most Outrageous of Outrageous Lies. I'm not a fan of Vegas or gambling. The shows are fun, but I don't care for games of chance in casinos on account of I took statistics. On the other hand, I'll bet on myself in a contest... Funny thing, though, is that I almost embarked on this journey a few years ago. It was an impulsive idea and I canceled it when nobody else could make it.

6. Always the businessman, I began quite young. At the age of seven, I cornered the market for flower seeds in my neighbourhood. But my dream was to start my own research facility to develop and market new inventions.

The Truth. I've always loved business, and I've been selling things since I was a wee lad. My lifelong dream is to own my own research facility and use it to develop, then market my own inventions. This moved from a full-time career to a part-time hobby and goal for retirement a few years ago, but it has always been and always shall be.

7. My guilty pleasure is popping anchovies. I've been known to eat them in hiding during breaks, much to the chagrin of students, teachers, and coworkers.

Outrageous Lie. I generally hate anchovies. They make me sick when I eat them.

Congratulations to Mr. Stauffer, who narrowed it down to the Truth and one of the Lies. Thanks to all who participated! It was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise.

This is post 314.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Creative Writer Blogger Award

A few days ago, Amalia passed me the "Creative Writer" Blogger Award. Now, I must tell you six outrageous lies and at least one outrageous truth. I hope that you'll find yourself amused by my list.



1. Like so many boys, I solved initial personality conflicts through rough-and-tumble fistfights. In fact, the only lasting friendships that began before high school began with fisticuffs.

2. I've been on the internet for a long time. The first time I ever went online was in 1992 on my uncle's Mac. We tied up the phoneline for countless hours reading a newsgroup dedicated to video editing techniques.

3. We've always been at the cutting edge of technology. In addition to having the latest game systems, each member of my immediate family had a cell phone by the time I entered high school.

4. As part of my lifelong quest to be a Renaissance Man, I've played a lot of instruments in my life. My all-time favourite is the tin whistle, which I started after hearing The Chieftains.

5. Impulsive by nature, I once skipped a week of class because I "just had" to take train to Las Vegas. It didn't do much for my grades, but I did come home $200 richer than I left.

6. Always the businessman, I began quite young. At the age of seven, I cornered the market for flower seeds in my neighbourhood. But my dream was to start my own research facility to develop and market new inventions.

7. My guilty pleasure is popping anchovies. I've been known to eat them in hiding during breaks, much to the chagrin of students, teachers, and coworkers.

Which one is true? Post any guesses in the comments, and I will follow up soon.

This is post 315.

Pound For Pound Update

Yeah, it's not been going well. I gained four pounds over the last few weeks. We spent a lot of time at the hospital with Grandma and those three days were plagued with terrible food choices. The days since then haven't had a lot of good choices in them, either.

The good thing is that I think at least part of it is muscle. My clothes don't feel any tighter, and my I seem to be progressing in my strength exercises.

This is post 316.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hooray for Monday!

It's been too long since I've done a Hooray for Monday, so I'm going to highlight a website that Yuri pointed me to. Lifehacker is a pretty neat site, with articles from a variety of blogs that run from interesting to thoroughly helpful.

For example, this article describes how to use a freezer to save waterlogged documents, photos, and books.

One regular series concerns workspaces. They have articles featuring a variety of different offices that are set up in unique and creative ways, like the Window Desk, the Zendo Workspace, and the Emerald and Onyx Balcony Office. Many of the ideas are interesting ones that I'd like to try someday, when I actually have an office.

All in all, it's a neat community of people sharing ideas to help one another out.

This is post 317.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sweet Mother of Contests!

I've been gone for a bit. Things went a bit crazy in life. But then Amalia told me about this sweet contest. The blog is called Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog and the author is giving away a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran, along with


A Genuine Roman Coin, Complete With Certificate of Authenticity!


Belle is as excited as I am, and as you should be. Go and check it out!

This is post 318.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Update

I've been gone for the last few days, again, because of preoccupation with career-based pursuits. Specifically, I'm taking a licensing exam tomorrow, because if I pass I might get a contract by Friday! After that, I'll have two more to go after before things become slightly more regular.

I should be able to drop another tomorrow. This weekend, I'll be on a train trip and I hope to have a bit of time to devote to a few articles. I'd post more tonight, but I have to leave in ten hours and I must sleep.

This is post 319.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love at First Sight Blogfest?

Sadly, I've had little time for writing and computer-associated joys over the last couple of days. It's because of good news. I've got to get a few licenses (by studying for and taking exams) so that I can get a better job. Which is very nice, but is also why I come to you late with my Love at First Sight Blogfest entry. It's another one of those true stories from life, because it fits better than any of the awkward bits I've actually written for my characters.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

I don't care much for this holiday. I never have. I prefer to save my money and show that I love people the other 364-365 days per year too. And for some reason, I always think of Al Capone...

Today I want to take a look at the Snickers commercial that I really liked.

Company: Mars
Product: Snickers Bars



Point of Commercial: "You're not you when you're hungry." Even Betty White transforms into a scary trash-talker when she's hungry. So you're probably insufferable.
Score: 10. It was hilarious and made its point well.

This is post 321.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Superbowl Commercials: Doritos

Our Superbowl party was fantastic. We did actually watch the last three clock minutes of the game. They were exciting, for American football.

I made a list of my favourite commercials and companies during the rest of the game. I don't yet know which company I like the best, so I'm going to break it down into posts by company before I announce my overall favourite. Otherwise, this will never get done. Studying has taken over my life again, and I don't want it to prevent me from achieving my goals here. I'm already behind as it is.

We'll begin with Doritos.

Monday, February 8, 2010

We Have a New Puppy

Two isn't enough, on account of Little Dog will be lonely when Tiny Dog moves out with us. To rectify the problem, we got a new puppy yesterday! He's particularly small, and I've taken to calling him Micro Dog. He got along great with everyone at the party, which is fortunate because he arrived mere minutes before they did. Micro Dog will live a longer and more fulfilled life when he learns to sleep through the night, though. And to keep his mouth quiet in general; I'm up and waiting to let him and the other dogs out, but I can't do it until he quiets down else he'll think that the whole thing happened because of his crying.

He's not actually been in the kennel for very long, either. We last let him out slightly over five hours ago. My goal is to get him on a six o'clock schedule with the other dogs. Fortunately, he's getting along quite well with the rest of the dogs. They're quite motherly towards him, although Tiny Dog still doesn't quite know what to think of him. She's used to being the smallest dog. She still got a lot of attention from the new people last night, though, because she's so tiny for a Sheltie!

The halftime show and many of the commercials were superb. I have class all day today, and I hope to report on that sometime this evening.

This is post 323.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Super Bowl

I can scarcely wait for the Superbowl tomorrow. Things are planned, my friends.

-People shall come over for a party
-Food shall be consumed at said party
-Commercials shall be watched during the consumption of said food at said party
-The watching of The Who shall replace the commercials during halftime
-Yuri and I shall prepare at least one (perhaps more than one) Commercial Review Post

That's right. The very beginning of this blog featured a few good Superbowl commercials, and we'll be doing it again this year!

Myself, I could care less about the game. I don't know what teams are playing, and I'm completely comfortable with that (I know it's not Green Bay, so I don't care). The point is the people, the food, and the decent entertainment.

Bonus this year for The Who playing at halftime.

This is post 324.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pound for Pound Challenge Update 2/3/2010

Well, it's going pretty well for me. I'm staying consistent with my goals. In the next month or so, I'm going to convert from fat loss to muscle-gaining mode. I'll go from pretty basic, relatively low-intensity strength training to higher-intensity bits. I plan to stick mostly with bodyweight exercises, because they're free.

My parents are doing the Atkins diet. My cousin has lost 20 pounds since Christmas, and that's been motivating my parents more. They've been less successful, but they also failed to cut out caffeine and dairy.

I'm not that big of a fan of the Atkins diet, myself. Granted, I've never needed to lose that much weight, but I've been less interested in it because of my introduction to it. The doctors put my grandpa on it because he needed to have heart surgery, was diabetic, and was too unhealthy to have the surgery. He lost a lot of weight quickly and it served its purpose, but the doctor was clear that it was an emergency diet and not something to be maintained.

On the other hand, it could be a good way to start off if you do need to lose a lot. It's just that overall, I'm not a fan of fad diets. They always seem to promise a lot, but when it comes down to it I notice the ones that actually succeed boil down to this:

Calories Consumed < Calories Burned

Bill did Atkins for a while, and he credits its success with the fact that two weeks in, he felt like he never wanted to see a steak or an egg again in his life. In the end, a real diejavascript:void(0)t must be sustainable.

This is post 325.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hooray for Monday! 2/1/2010

This week on Hooray for Monday, I'd like to point out a blog I've been reading for the last few months. It's called Getting Boys to Read, and it's contributors are writing articles about how to get boys interested in developing the skills and pastimes of reading and writing. Parents, teachers, and librarians are invited to join. I thought that a few writing types might find it a good cause as well.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pound for Pound Update 1/29/2010

I've been out for the last week or so because my class materials just came in the mail. I must take three exams and acquire a few licenses, but at the end of it I'll have a full-time job that will actually pay all of my bills. Nothing against my current job, it's just that I'd rather avoid long-term abject poverty.

The Pound for Pound Challenge is coming well for me, I think.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hooray for Monday!

This week, I want to introduce you to klaatu42. They're a band from Nova Scotia, Canada that does a lot of neat work. I've not actually heard any of their music; a friend of mine sent me the following video:



It's part of a whole series, and I think they're all hilarious. They're on Facebook, too. Check 'em out.

This is post 328

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Happy Blog Award! (Part 2)

Well, the task has been given to me, and though I certainly found it difficult, let it never be said that I was one to shirk my responsibilities!

...Okay, that's a lie; I'm horrible with follow-through. But I've do my best to get something up here. There will probably be a considerable amount of overlap with Dmitri's, but we have similar interests, so that's to be expected. (Also, I'm an incorrigible copycat.) So without further ado, here's a list of ten things that bring me joy:

Scene Revision

I did a bit of revision on the scene that I posted last night. It's more focused and less awful.

Why is Conan O'Brien So Popular?

I must ask this at the risk of my reputation as a geek, apparently. Why?

I've always felt that his show material was too gimmicky, for one thing. He also seems to be perpetually stuck in that awkward/bad timing stage of his jokes. It doesn't come off well, and I feel like he always comes off as a newbie.

I like Conan. I've been on his side in the whole contract dispute and all. (Really, NBC has just made a series of bad decisions by signing and breaking the contract). I love his Simpsons and SNL material. I just don't seem to understand why he's really funny on late night TV. Did I miss a memo, people?

This is post 330.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally, a Writing Post!

(Edit: Paragraph formatting)

I grabbed this exercise from Gary Corby, at the suggestion of Amalia. I've been working on it all night, so we'll see how it goes! Also, please forgive my mistakes, for I wrote it in Notepad and apparently didn't proof it (so I feel like an idiot now).

There are many interesting writing exercises. Here's one:

Describe a character purely by describing a room they've been in. How much information about the person can you transmit?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BTS 2: GRE Vocabulary

Welcome to another installment of Beat the System! Last time, we took a look at the analogies section of the GRE. Before we go any further into the verbal section, it's important that we look into the resources for the vocabulary you'll be expected to know for this game.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pound for Pound Challenge Update

Well, I seem to have hit my usual plateau. I've been past it before, and I know that I need to up my physical activity to pass it. But I've bounced off of it several times in the last six months, and I plan to crash through it this time.

I woke up this morning because my hamstrings were so tight that I couldn't even lay comfortably in bed. Instead, I got up and got active. I did a few dry squats and played with Tiny Dog. Eventually, I loosened up.

Overall, though, I've never been particularly flexible. Especially in my hamstrings. I've done all kinds of stretches to try to change this. Does anyone have any suggestions?

This is post 333.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hooray for Monday!

This Monday, I'd like to introduce you to a free health website called Spark People. The founder of SparkPeople.com is also the founder of Up4Sale.com, an online auction site and eBay's first acquisition. He met his wife while working for eBay, and after three years they retired and opened SparkPeople.com as a way to give back to others. It's got a lot of useful tools for someone that is looking to keep track of nutrition and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Happy Blog Award!

Thanks to Amalia for the Happy Blog Award! This award requires me to list ten things that make me happy. Perhaps, I shall say, that these are ten things that remind me regularly of my happiness.

BTS 1: GRE Analogies

In Beat The System, we shall embark upon a quest to conquer common standardized tests. Myself, I am a methodical test-taker, and many of these strategies require the same steps to be consistently followed. This doesn't mean that an intuitive test-taker cannot use these strategies. But a word of warning; the Game is designed to fool smart people! You can pick an answer that is right, but without employing the full strategy, you could still lose points for it! BTS 1: GRE Analogies put us in just such a situation.

Beating the Standarized Testing System

I can't seem to get away from standardized testing. Everyone goes through it at some point. I experienced it as a student in the form of the MMAT, MAP, ACT, CBASE, and Praxis exams. But it didn't end there, because I became a teacher and still deal with them all of the time. Just because my students are taking the test doesn't mean that I'm still being graded by it.

That said, I'm pretty good at taking standardized tests myself. I score well. This is no accident, and not something I was simply born with. Every standardized test is like a game. It has its own set of rules, conditions, and expectations for the test takers, or the players. I learned a lot of the rules when I was young, and it's beyond me why so many other students were skipped out. Thus, I give you a new feature: BTS-Beating the System.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Health Check

Following up for the Pound for Pound Challenge, I weighed in today. Minus four pounds. It's a start and I hope that it continues for a few more. I worry because my eating is sporadic. When I'm stressed about things, I have a tendency to skip meals. The problem is made worse because after the fact, when I'm bored, I tend to eat a lot

Monday, January 11, 2010

PfP Challenge Update

Last Tuesday, Belle and I signed up for the Pound for Pound Challenge to donate to charity. Nearly a week later, I'm realizing that things are a bit crazy with my diet. I've been keeping track of what I eat, and the inconsistency is extraordinary. I think that I may need a bit more structure to my diet.

I'll be weighing in tomorrow and letting everyone know how it goes. The Wii Fit is going to kill me; I've not been on for a few days. Did some boxing today, though.

This is post 339.

Hooray for Monday! 1/11/2010

Having missed the last few Hooray for Monday! bits, I have something particularly neat. A buddy of mine, Guest!, started a blog last week called The Year of Beer. I'm pretty excited about his project, which I think will enrich all of our lives.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Direction

In my New Year's post, I set a goal of making at least 350 posts on this blog in 2010 and described my system for making more successful New Year's Resolutions. As a part of that, I would like to get into the habit of regularly posting on certain topics.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Driving Conditions

Our new internet service is slow. I suppose that we got what we asked for; AT&T's phone service is doggy and dodgy as well.

Today is a snow day, meaning that the entire regions has practically shut down. When it comes to winter traffic, I live in a particularly bad area. I'm not entirely sure why. The road conditions are not bad in and of themselves. We have snow and ice every year. It just doesn't add up, really.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Musicals and the Manliness Factor

When, how, and why was it ever determined that musicals are a "girl thing" or at least not a "manly" thing? I've seen the attitude in a lot of circles. I can understand if you don't care for musicals. There are plenty of reasons why musicals might not be your cup of tea. It's just that this one I hear most often, and it is rather disconcerting.

The Pound for Pound Challenge

Belle and I signed up for the Pound for Pound Challenge this year. We learned about it through her aunt, and I think that it is potentially a great thing. The way that works is this: for every pound you pledge to lose (up to 50 lbs) before 30 June 2010, they will donate 1 lb of food to a participating local food bank. We're on there, pledged to lose a healthy amount of weight.

You call this "Snow"?

It's supposed to snow tomorrow.

I should be eagerly looking forward to this. I am not.

Excellent Day!

It's been a productive day thus far. New internet/cable hookup, cleaned, did laundry, and the puppies got a special treat. Belle had a good day as well, and this afternoon we dropped by the train station to purchase tickets for weekend trip.

Then I logged on via our shiny new service, only to find that Amalia had passed the Superior Scribbler award onto our blog for the Santa Claus and Jesus post! Thank you!

This is post 346.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Success!

The No Kiss Blogfest was definitely a success! Thanks again to Frankie for hosting the event and Amalia for making me aware of it! I also want to thank anyone that dropped by and actually read my story. It's easier to write something if you know that someone is reading it. I hope that it was enjoyable for everyone, I certainly loved reading what I did!

There was a bit of unfortunate timing, however. I've been engaging in migraine-induced fun all day, and this is my first venture online since it set in. I'm also performing an experiment by switching the words "fun" and "misery" for the day. The results thus far indicate that using different words doesn't do a whole lot for altering reality. *makes a phone call to political correctness advocates*

In other news, Belle entered us in a contest to win a free wedding. It'd be nice to get it, on account of we're rather broke. We find out Wednesday if we're in the final four, and if we are then it's up to online voting to win the day.

I'm off. Thanks again to everyone for reading!

Post 347.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

No Kiss Blogfest 2010

No Kiss Blogfest 2010:

The year was 2001, almost 10 years ago. I was dating a girl named Sydney. It was pretty early in the relationship and at that point, we had not yet kissed. She was a couple of years younger than me as well. I was her first boyfriend. This would be her First Kiss.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Prepare For No Kiss Blogfest 2010!

As a part of my resolution to write, my good friend Amalia suggested that I participate in the No Kiss Blogfest 2010. Thus, I will.

If you're not participating in this, I'd suggest that you do. This looks like a lot of fun.

Post 349.

Four Key Components of a Successful New Year's Resolution

I've never much cared for 'serious' New Year's resolutions. Too many of them are the same. Everyone wants to lose weight/get in shape/learn Japanese/quit smoking/quit drinking. I know people that say the same thing every year. It's a big joke. My personal resolutions have included switching my 'Hellos' and 'Goodbyes' for an entire year and wearing all black so that I'd match my dog.

After a while, though, I started to look at resolutions and wonder why the most common ones fail. As it turns out, most resolutions skip out on four of the more important aspects of a serious goal.