Sunday, May 29, 2005

The End of "Star Wars"?

Finally saw "Revenge of the Sith." Funny thing: I didn't hate either "The Phantom Menace" or "Attack of the Clones" nearly as much as a lot of others did, but I wasn't nearly as blown away by the new one. It felt half-hearted and rushed to me. There were so many threads from Ep 2 that Lucas had to resolve, and so many pieces of Ep. 4 that he had to lay the groundwork for, that it felt like Lucas spent most of the movie just rushing from obligatory scene to obligatory scene, trying to hit all his marks before time ran out on him. Hayden Christensen was stiff and Natalie Portman just looked like she wanted to be somewhere else. I thought the movie was structured wrong; two major scenes should have been reversed, in my opinion, which would have given the entire dramatic arc a much stronger spine. I loved the first "Star Wars" when it came out, and I've been a fan of the series ever since, but when I walked out of the theater this time, I was feeling sort of, "Meh." The whole thing feels like a first draft.

Friday, May 27, 2005


You know, when I first got the idea of doing a blog, I thought it would be a neat no-pressure thing. Just post and go; anything and everything I want to mention, just mention and move on. But for some reason, it hasn't worked out that way.

It's the same sort of self-imposed pressure for perfection that kept me from getting many dates as a high-schooler, kept me from being able to speak Korean (as opposed to reading it) in the Army, and keeps me from finishing a ton of writing projects. I want to speak, but often don't unless I a) have something to say, and b) can say it correctly. I have trouble throwing caution to the winds, having fun and letting myself perhaps look foolish in the process.

On a more positive note, I have been more active in sending out writing submissions, and I did something the other day that I've long toyed with doing, so I feel as if I'm making progress. Granted, two of the submissions were rejected almost immediately, but oh well. The other thing I did was to hang up a heavy bag for punching.

I've thought about getting myself a punching bag for a long time, but I was afraid to try to hang one, and besides, they're so damned expensive. But I got over my tool fear (easier since changing out my shocks and springs), and just went out and did it. I knew I had to screw the hook into a support beam. I thought about using the old tried-and-true method of using a hammer (which I'd never really done, but I'd seen it done), but then I noticed Mom-in-Law's electronic stud finder, so I grabbed that. After I'd drilled four dry wells, with the drill bits coming out wrapped in insulation, I decided to go Stone Age (okay, Iron Age) and revert to the hammer. BAM! First try. But then I had to switch from the battery-operated drill to the one with the cord to get enough power to drill into the beam. And by the way, if the drill is set on "reverse," you're going to be waiting a long time for the bit to go anywhere.

For the punching bag, I used Patrick Swayze's field-expedient version from "Roadhouse." I used an old Army duffel bag, stuffed with old uniforms and other clothes, hanging by a rope from a D-ring. I still need to stuff it a bit more, to make it heavier so it won't swing as much, but it's fun to hit. I bought handwraps and bag gloves from a sporting goods store and took it for a test drive the other day. I'm looking forward to incorporating more boxing training into my workouts. I want my body to look like Sergio Mora's from The Contender. Okay, I'll never look like that, but I can only look better, right?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Big Paradox

Well, there are actually lots of big paradoxes, but this is one that's on my mind lately. You know how people are always saying that one reason to exercise and get in shape is how much better you'll feel? It's just the opposite for me.

Don't get me wrong. It feels great to be able to do stuff that I was never capable of doing before, or to do something easily that was once insanely hard. But in general, when I'm on a workout cycle (like now), I don't feel great. In fact, I'm in pain all the time. Every day, I hurt. The pain moves around - one day, it's my legs, the next, my shoulders or lower back or chest - but it's always lurking there somewhere. You know when I feel really good? About a week after I quit working out. But that's not too great an advertising slogan, is it? Sounds too much like a crappy old joke. Why exercise? Because you'll feel so good when you quit...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I'm Back

I was out for drinks last night with a couple of buddies who got me feeling guilty that I hadn't posted here in so long, so I'll start again. It's been hard to get my strength up for blogging. I've been through the mill the last couple of months: I had to replace the shocks and springs in my car, I had to work an extra day per week for a while there, and I've been working out 5-6 days per week. I'm one week away from the end of this workout cycle. I have to say, it's not perfect, but P90X is the real deal for people in halfway decent shape who want to get ripped. I'm not super-ripped, mostly because I haven't been eating well at all, but The Wife keeps commenting on how much better I look, so something must be working.

I'm pissed off at movie trailers. There's this thing they do where they fade in and out of shots now, instead of cutting. It's hella annoying, and it seems like everyone's doing it. The worst offenders so far have been "Zathura" and "War Of the Worlds." Seriously, when I was in the theater watching the "War of the Worlds" trailer, it was so annoying I just closed my eyes until the damn thing was finished. It's like 70% black screen; if I hadn't seen it on-line first, I would have thought the projector was broken.