Gym Log, Star Date somethingfunny

This is mostly just a record for myself, so I can look back in a year or so and see if / how much my gym sessions have changed (I’m going to record the distances next time I’m at the gym and update this, because I can’t remember them all).  This is what my current gym session consists of (not in this order, I mix them up to keep thing interesting).

  • Recumbent Bike – Warm up – 9 minutes, ~70rpm
  • Treadmill – 8 minutes, 5.5km/h, 2-9% incline
  • Upright Bike – 8 minutes, 80-100 rpm
  • Wave Form – 4 minutes, level 8
  • Cross Trainer – 2 minutes, level 1
  • Rowing – 10 minutes, medium intensity (1800-1900m)
  • Arm Bike – 5 minutes, level 4, 5, 6, 7, 4
  • Lats – 3 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Shoulder Press – 2 sets, 15 reps, 10kg
  • Chest Press – 3 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Low Row – 3 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Leg Press – 2 sets, 12 reps, 30kg
  • Abdominal Crunch – 3 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Pectoral – 2 sets, 15 reps, 15kg
  • Adductor – 2 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Abductor – 2 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Leg Curl – 2 sets, 15 reps, 20kg
  • Leg Extension – 2 sets, 15 reps, 15kg (These make me want to die!)
  • Recumbent Bike – Cool Down – 10 minutes, ~80rpm

13/10/2011 – update: Leg extensions are only 15kg and Abdominal crunches only 20kg.

14/10/2011 – update: corrected a few other entries.

The Hobbit – What I’m looking forward to most

Dwarves who aren’t comic relief.

I get why The Lord of the Rings movie was the way it was.  There is, for all intents and purposes, only a single Dwarf in that story, and in nearly every scene he’s in, he’s adding some comic relief.  Whether it’s being tossed by the beard, afraid of trees, counting how many goblins he’s killed, being stuck under a warg or claiming Dwarves were built for sprinting, most of his lines are designed to make us chuckle.

But I’ve been reading fantasy books for a long time, and roleplaying for about the same duration and Dwarves are mighty warriors, dour, taciturn, honourable, noble and solid like the mountains they inhabit.  They aren’t the butt of anyone’s humour, or if they are, that person finds them self missing a limb pretty quickly.

With a bakers dozen Dwarves in The Hobbit though, I’m hoping at least a few of them live up to the fantasy literature design that I love, and the way I enjoy playing them in games.

Don’t let me down Mr Jackson.

An Open Letter to Game Developers – Content, not Hair Styles

Ground rules for this rant about computer (roleplaying) games,

  1. I know some players absolutely love being able to customise how their character looks to the nth degree
  2. I know that with the ability to customise appearance, and to change appearance based on the gear you’re wearing in the game, is rumoured to capture a larger audience
  3. I know that funding for Feature X does not necessarily impact on funding for Feature Y (so less of X does not mean more of Y, or more of Y does not mean X suffers).

Given those basic ground rules, here we go.

Dear games developers, mostly roleplaying games developers

To a reasonably large extent, I don’t care how my character looks, but I do care if all the locations are just the same rehashed map over and over again (I’m looking at you Dragon Age 2).

Mostly, I don’t really mind if I only have say, 2 hair styles and 1 nose to pick from at character creation.  But I do care if all the quests are similar and there’s no epic storyline to follow other than ‘buy your way out of debt’ (hey, DA2, looking at you again!)

Yes, I absolutely want to be able to invest in my character, because being invested makes the gaming experience that much better, and part of that is being able to change how my character looks.  But let’s be honest, I’m not going to make him look like me (fat, fourty, hairy) so a small sample of heroic male and heroic female appearances will do.  Also, armour is armour, I don’t mind if you use the same shape and just change the colour, really.

Instead of spending time and money developing the game engine so it can handle all that customisation and doing all the hard work necessary to pull it off – why not invest that time and energy into content.

Quests, dialog, locations.  That’s what I want from a game.

Not to decide if my character has a hook nose, or a ever so slightly smaller hook nose.


David Gemmell’s Legend

You can read my full post about re-reading David Gemmell’s Legend over at BookThing.  I just wanted to write a short piece here to say that it’s as good as it ever was.  I decided to re-read it (and all of his books) while we were going through our books, adding them to Good Reads.

I have half a mind to re-write some of my reviews on BookThing because they tend to be very short in the early days, but we’ll see how that pans out.

Untidy Blog

Meh, transferred (or half transferred) various blog posts, forum posts and stuff from various sources to here, before I shut down some other websites I host, but as usual, got bored half way through so now I have a bunch of old, badly tagged, wrongly formatted stuff hanging around.  To make it worse, I’m not sure how far through the process I got, so there may be only half the posts I want to transfer but no easy way to find them amongst the 1386 (soon to be 1397 when I hit post) items on the blog.

Oh well, must devote some of my impending holiday to sorting this place out (in lieu of sorting anything in the meatverse out).

Exercise for the sake of it

I have never been interested in taking part in sport.  I’ve just never found it an enjoyable activity, sure I played football as a kid, and tennis in the street for two weeks of the year, but it wasn’t something I found engaging.  I don’t think PE at school helped, but I wouldn’t say it stopped me either, I just never enjoyed it.

And I never liked the idea of exercise for the sake of it.  Running is great if you enjoy running, but running purely because you feel it is good for you never sat well with me.  That probably explains most of the motivation for things I do – but anyway that’s a different story.

I’ve had a pretty sedate lifestyle (I know, with my physique you would never have guessed right?), although never being able to drive meant I spent my teens, 20’s and early 30’s doing a lot of walking, but these days it’s slowed even more.  We’ve not done any LRP events for 5 years or so, and my job is even more desk bound than it used to be.

There have been a couple of events over the last 12 months which left me feeling embarrassed or frustrated at how out of breath I was.  So I’ve been wanting to make a change.

But the real inspiration for what I’ve done (more in a bit) is Grete (@randomwittering on twitter, and owner of Bookthing, on twitter as @bookthing_uk), my amazing wife.  Grete has been going to the gym (and aqua aerobics) for nearly 2 years now.  I’ve been talking about maybe going for about 12 months, and I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago.  I had two inductions at the local council run gym, the first was good, the second less so.

But I eventually went for a full session with Grete, and have been a couple of times a week now for the past month and a bit with a short break.  I won’t say I enjoy it, it is after all, exercise for the sake of it in its most pure form.  I mean let’s be honest, walking at 5.5km/hour for 10 minutes with varying inclines is great except you never actually go anywhere.  So no, I don’t enjoy it, but it does make me feel good.

It makes me feel like I’ve made a positive change in my life which will hopefully result in things being better.  I’m never really going to change my eating habits a great deal these days – I made that change when I found I was diabetic and I’m just about living on the edge of what I can tolerate food-wise (although the last 12 months have slipped a little).  So I needed to make another change.  I’m not fit enough to ‘do sport’ even if I wanted to (which I don’t, maybe American Football, but not much else), and the advantage the gym has is that at least what you do varies during the 90 minutes or so you’re there.

So, thank you Grete for inspiring me to go to the gym, and for inspiring me to make a positive change in my life.

I can’t stop having the bacon cobs for breakfast, but at least I can burn off some of the calories walking nowhere for 10 minutes.

I hate cars

So it’s my semi regular I hate cars post.  Our Megane gave up the ghost suddenly out of nowhere.  One day it was fine, one day the head gasket is gone and it’s on its last legs.

Thanks to some super quick action from Grete’s Awesome Father (Or, the GAF), and most of our savings (which is the first time we’ve had any for ages, and now they’re gone), we’ve got a new old car.  A Ford Focus.

Some random points,

  1. Air con – don’t need it until you have it, then can’t live without it.
  2. Some company paid us for the Megane and then they scrapped it, and it was easy and painless and we made enough cash to cover insuring the Focus.  This is a big change from when we scrapped the Escort and we had to beg someone to take it away and we paid them for the privilege.
  3. Slow punctures suck.
  4. Kwik Fit’s policy of charging different prices for the same service depending on whether you book online or just turn up in the store is shocking.  Luckily the store sorted out us.
  5. Cars in general, suck.

That is all.

Stop Worrying about the Internet

This was true when Douglas Adams wrote it, and it’s true now, but for subtly different reasons.

Everyone should read it.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Selective quote,

We are natural villagers. For most of mankind’s history we have lived in very small communities in which we knew everybody and everybody knew us. But gradually there grew to be far too many of us, and our communities became too large and disparate for us to be able to feel a part of them, and our technologies were unequal to the task of drawing us together. But that is changing.

Interactivity. Many-to-many communications. Pervasive networking. These are cumbersome new terms for elements in our lives so fundamental that, before we lost them, we didn’t even know to have names for them.


When we got our Windows 7 PC’s earlier in the year, I was really careful to take backups of absolutely everything before we wiped our old PC’s.  In fact, I ended up with about 3 backups of everything in several locations.  However, due to some issues with hardware, messing about, and frustration, I ended up losing my Picasa albums.  Not the ones on the web, but the definitions of albums on local disk.

I wasn’t too worried initially, I had all the photo’s.  Over time though I got more and more annoyed that there’s no easy way to re-link a web based album with Picasa on the PC.  No way to say – import this album and it’s settings, and relink to all the photos.  Very annoying.

Every time I start up Picasa I get a little twinge of annoyance.  Since I was painting some mini’s today and taking pictures, I’ve been starting Picasa a lot.

So I finally knuckled down, ransacked Google and my backups, and have restored all but one of the albums! Yay, success.  Picasa backups up the .pal files which represent the albums, and with some arcane copying too and fro you can convince Picasa to recreate them, although the behaviour seems inconsistent.  No idea why one of them didn’t work – but much easier to rebuild one album manually than 10, and now they’re all back fully synced and online.