What the heck has been going on?

May 15, 2013 in Blogging, Exercise, Misc by pacejmiller


I checked my blog this morning and saw that the last time I posted was May 1, or two weeks ago. That is not acceptable. It’s not like I have nothing to write. I saw Trance a couple of weeks ago, and of course, Star Trek: Into Darknesslast week. There are two books I need to review, and the final posts from the back end of my trip to Japan in MARCH are still outstanding. So what the heck has been going on?

I don’t really know. It’s like I’ve been sucked into a vortex where the space-time continuum is all out of whack. The other day my sister responded to an email I sent her. I thought it had been more than a month, but as it turned out it had only been a week. Same thing with this new credit card I signed up for. I was fretting about not receiving a bill for the first month, which I was convinced had passed ages ago, but again, it had only been a couple of weeks. It’s like I’m living day by day without being conscious of the passage of time. I’m enjoying life, but I’m also in a weird daze where all days kind of melt into one because of the familiarity of my schedule.

I have also been busy with a couple of freelance cases. I started my first subtitling gig, for a short film, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Nothing better than watching movies while you work. The other thing is a pain in the assbender that had been dormant for a couple of months, but suddenly decided to pop up just when I was ready for a break. And there is a bit of a pay dispute too, so hate is all around for those douchebags. (They take more than 10% of the agreed payment, and when I ask they call it “taxes” and say I’ll get it back next year when I do my tax return. Why has this never happened before?)

Apart from that, not much else. My growing son takes priority, of course, and then whatever free time I have left I have invested in my renewed exercise regimen. I’m officially back, and I’m feeling much fitter, even though the schizo weather has been leaving me restless and deprived of quality sleep. I’m watching more TV shows — Game of Thrones, Touch, The Mentalist, The Good Wife — and I’ve recently ventured into the world of free classic books available on my new iPad mini. First up, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The 2009 film version starring Prince Caspian sucked, so I am hoping the source material will turn me around.

It is my hope that whatever I still need to get out of the way will be settled by the end of this week. Then shall begin a glorious Golden Age of blogging. Stay tuned.

New Year’s resolution: reading and no smartphones before bed

January 7, 2013 in Exercise, Misc, Technology by pacejmiller

No iPhones

I decided my long-awaited first post of 2013 should, naturally, be a New Year’s resolution. Now before I am reminded of my abysmal New Year’s resolution record, let me assure you that I think this one is totally achievable.

When I used to work crazy hours I often wondered what it would be like if I worked a regular 9-5 job and what I would do with all that extra time. Now that I practically do work such hours (9-6, but close enough), the amount of stuff I get done after work is not actually all that different. Yes, there is the problem of a little boy who has completely changed my life, but he usually goes to bed by around 7:30pm-8pm, and even when you factor in the time it takes to wash and clean all his stuff every night, it’s not really an excuse. My goal is to sleep at 10:30pm every night, which usually means at least an hour and a half of leisure time before I close my eyes.

As is probably the case with most people, a significant part of my inability to do anything constructive during my free time stems from my smartphone and tablet usage, especially just before bed. I don’t know why these damn things are so addictive, but they are.

Recently, I have become obsessed with this smartphone app called Letterpress (following my previous obsessions with Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends). You know I don’t like to brag, but I am such a beast at this game. I remind myself of a 2010 movie title starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine about a runaway train. But my awesomeness is also a curse because I’m always staring at the damn phone wondering when my opponent(s) will make their next move.

My wife reminded me the other day that the reason why our sleep hasn’t been so great recently, apart from a sometimes sick or restless child, is because our eyes are always fixated on electronic devices shortly before bed. It’s not just the smartphones or tablets either — we often watch a TV show or movie in bed or I’m writing something on my laptop. On the odd occasion I might be playing a console video game. I used to spend some of that time exercising, and I’m still working to get myself back into that.

Most of us have probably read research which states that staring at light-emitting screens an hour before bed will likely affect your sleep as it inhibits the proper release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body’s natural sleep cycles. I knew about it but conveniently wedged it away in the back of my mind so I could keep dominating in the word games and keep telling myself that I’m actually working on my vocabulary so I can be a better writer.

So my New Year’s resolution is very simple: no smartphones or other electronic devices (save for emergencies) in the 30 minutes immediately prior to sleep. Instead, I will be reading. A book. Made of paper. You may have heard of them.

Can’t be that difficult, right?

10 Movies That Make Men Want to Work Out

June 18, 2011 in Best Of, Blogging, Entertainment, Exercise, Misc, Movie Reviews, Reviews by pacejmiller

I say this with an unblemished record of heterosexuality (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Have you ever watched a movie that made you want to go work out afterwards?

I have.  Well, I’ve never actually gone out and done it, but real men would have.

What I have noticed is that these films usually feature men who were either previously unknown to mainstream audiences and/or have undergone amazing physical transformations.  For example, Arnie or Stallone films rarely have that ‘Wow’ factor because they’ve always looked that way, and in any case from my research it seems looking ‘cut’ is generally preferred to looking ‘buffed’.  Anyway, it’s no surprise that the Internets is filled with guides on how to transform your body to replicate the following movie stars.

Without further ado, these are what I think are the 10 films that have inspired more meatheads than any other.

(click on ‘more’ to read on)

Read the rest of this entry →

Pre-workout amplifier: a cautionary tale

February 17, 2011 in Exercise, Misc, On Writing by pacejmiller

Look, I don’t know much about workout supplements per se, but since we were on the topic of exercising (to avoid doing what I should be doing, ie, writing), I’ll share an experience I had yesterday.

I take a few vitamins (a multi, fish oil, etc) to maintain my general well-being, and a few days ago I visited a new bargain vitamin store that opened a few suburbs away from us.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been doing the 100 push-up challenge (which is bloody impossible using the suggested ‘6-week program’ — if the most push-ups you can do is say 40, how can you possibly do 7 sets of 20-24 push-ups with 45 second intervals and THEN do at least 50 in your last set?) and the 20 chin-up challenge (surprisingly easy).  Together with the cardio and basketball and PS3 Move, I’ve been getting pretty sore lately, so I decided to get some protein powder to assist recovery.

Anyway, at the counter, the assistant couldn’t figure out out to print a store receipt and became awfully apolegetic.  The sheer guilt led him to offer us a bunch of free stuff, such as T-shirts, shakers, drink bottles and supplement samples.

Yesterday I decided to try one — called Code Red from MuscleMeds (check out the website here).

From the outside, it’s a little long red packet which says ‘clinically superior, super-potent workout amplifier!’ and ‘scientifically formulated to enhance muscle growth, pumps, energy, endurance, intensity and improve recovery*’ (* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA).

So I dumped the packet into a glass of water and downed the entire thing.  Tasted like fizzy punch.  Waited 20 minutes for it to sink in while sitting in front of the computer.  Then suddenly, my world began to spin.  I was getting lightheaded, dizzy, even a little nauseous.  Not a good sign, but I felt strong.

So I decided to start my push-up routine.  I’m into the final and sixth week of the program (even though it’s taken me like 10 weeks already) and it’s not easy.  I breezed through the first four sets with ease, surprised by how easy it was.

Then I suddenly realised that I was sweating.  Profusely.  As though I had just been sprinting for half an hour.  The dizzying sensations were still there.  I put my head down and powered through the next four sets.  No big deal at all.  By this time my heart was thumping and I felt like my body was burning from the inside.  A big wet patch developed on the front of my shirt.

The last set was brutal — 58 — and I could never complete it before, not after doing eight sets right before it.  But amazingly, I did it.  I even did 60 for good measure.  I was pumped.  This thing works!

Still feeling strong, I went and did my chin-ups immediately after, and absolutely killed that too.  Did reps of 10 instead of the four that was prescribed.

Then I went hard for 35 minutes on the elliptical machine.

By the time I was done my shirt was drenched in sweat, much like when I play basketball for 2.5 hours on Sundays.  But this time, something was different.  I was too focused on the exercises that I hadn’t noticed it before.  I raised my nostrils and took another whiff.  I was horrified.

I stunk!  I had BO!

I’m one of those lucky people that never — and I mean never — get BO* (* I don’t count foot odour).  I occasionally put on deodourant for the sake of it but even when I don’t I never smell, no matter how much I sweat.  I know I’m not delusional because people have told me how amazing my odourless sweat is on many occasions.

And yet, there was no denying it.  I had BO for the very first time in my life.  Could it be a coincidence?  I think not.  I have no doubt the Code Red was the culprit.

The lightheadedness and the similarly weird sensations followed me for the rest of the night, and I even had a little trouble sleeping.  But none of that bothered me as much as the BO.  I took a cold shower straight after exercising but I found it incredibly easy to sweat again for the remainder of the night.

This morning, the weird feelings were gone, but when I smelled my shirt (the one I put on after I had showered), there was still a tiny hint of lingering BO.  And just now, sitting up alone in my room and typing away on this admittedly humid day, I can still smell something.

Have I opened up a gate I can’t close?  Or do I just need time to allow this evil concoction to leave my defiled body?

One thing is for sure.  I’m never having this stuff again.  Anything that makes you dizzy, lightheaded, sweat like crazy, nauseous, and gives you BO (when you’ve never had it) can’t be good for your body, no matter how good it might make you look.