Friday, September 20, 2013

The making of an action hero pt32

Entry #31. The past couple weeks have been good to me. My solar savaging from the tubing adventure is finally healing up. As of today I’m down to 282.6 pounds, putting me at a total loss of 30 pounds for project action hero. Last weekend I walked through the topiary gardens with agent Squish and hiked around town with Deathquaker. I’ve managed to keep generally on target despite eating out more than I’d like. I’m also discovering that moderation is more important than I thought. After several days of chronic aches and pains, I’ve lightened up on the sets and reps in my morning workout. It’s hard enough getting up in the morning, I’m concerned that pushing myself too often before my muscles have had time to warm up may do more damage than good. I’m hoping to go through the cardio section of my club video this weekend. The parts I’ve been doing so far have become relatively easy. I think adding another series to the workout will make me more comfortable cutting back to two sets of each exercise group instead of three. If you’ve never done this before, fat people have to be careful how much stress they put on their working joints. You can do irreparable damage to knees, ankles, and shoulders if you push them too far. I can feel myself getting stronger. My muscles are more firm. I have more power and grace in my movements. If I let that growth push me into overconfidence though I’ll do something stupid. Along the same lines, I’ve tried to ease up on the dietary restrictions every once in a while. At first I thought cravings were just a symptom of mental weakness. Now I’m not so sure. The cheeseburger/charred meat thing seems to hit after I’ve been avoiding beef products for a while. The wracking hunger seems to hit after I’ve been working out heavily. I’ve proven to myself that I can eat healthily. Now I think I need to make sure that the strict dieting I’ve been doing doesn’t end up with me so deprived that I go intermittently crazy. On other fronts, my battle group arrived from BTP, so I’m now officially able to start playing warmachine again. I’ve got some khador models I’ll be trying to trade at a swap meet in October. So until then I’ll be looking to play smaller games. It will be nice to get back into miniature gaming. RPG time has been lacking lately. Dragonstorm hasn’t taken off like I wanted and most of my other RPGs are languishing for various reasons. I need to see if agent Corc is interested in stopping by Titan games this weekend. WMTrainguy and I need to get in some more warmachine and flames of war. I really want to try out my painted fourth Indians at Titan, heck my Khador too. Of course, that requires me to read up on the rules, but I’ll get there. It feels lately like I have to work a lot more at my hobbies. Deathquaker has agreed, tentatively, to take on my proposed legion project time and finances permitting. That project won’t start until March though. The rest of my Khador is waiting on funding. I’d like to play/run more RPGs, but enthusiasm is limited. We’ll be starting a new Iron Kingdoms RPG soon, so hopefully that pans out well. Every other Thursday seems doable. I’m looking for that next thing to take my fancy—preferably something with a minimal monetary component. Maybe I’ll take a trip up to Alternate Worlds and see what game nights they have open. I need to find something to obsess over that won’t cost a fortune. It seems like every “thing” I encounter lately either fizzles out or requires thousands of dollars of investment to get where I want to go. Perhaps it’s time for me to finish up the beast cave and focus on something else, like creative writing. In the mean time it’s off to friends’ dinner this evening followed by one of the few completely free weekends we’ve had recently. Intake for today: Breakfast=A fruit shake, very unsatisfying. I’ll be using more of our pumpkin over the weekend and getting some more almond milk and bananas. The difference between a smoothie and a shake is apparently the portion of frozen fruit you put in—who knew. I’m not a fan of smoothies, so must strive for more shake-like breakfasts. Work meal=an apple, a cheese stick, and an egg salad wrap with a side of tuna salad. I was particularly hungry today. Having recently finished off my stash of unsalted almonds, I broke my three month ban on the cafeteria to supplement my lunch. That was…disappointing. The food was ok, but I have no special desire to return. Note to self, must bring in snacks on Monday and make up some new wraps. I obviously need to switch up my lunch selection. Dinner=whatever the friends put out, reportedly pizza, salad, garlic bread, and dessert of some kind. My plan is to have two pieces of pizza and then if I’m still hungry attack the salad without mercy. Unless the dessert is really good, resisting shouldn’t be that hard. Of course the wife in that pair works at wegmans so who knows what delicacies will be present.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fun With Hordes

I haven’t played warmahordes in three years. So in expectation of playing again I’ve been reading up on hordes—generating the following musings. Picking a warmachine faction is all about style. Big, Slow, power=Khador. Cinergy, fire, denial=Menoth. Shooting, lightning, tricks=Cygnar. Undead, fast, maledictions=Cryx. That’s oversimplifying it a bit, but you get the point. Within each faction’s limitations you can play any kind of army you want—infantry spam, tuff troops, jack heavy, fast, shooty, magic heavy, denial…etc. Your choice of caster predisposes you toward certain army builds or your choice of army predisposes you toward certain casters—same thing. What I’m getting at is that warmachine is a mature war-game. The factions are constructed in such a way as to make one choice lead seamlessly into the next. The model range and mechanics are well fleshed out. Theme lists reward players for taking fictionally appropriate armies. So picking Khador was about the style of game I wanted to play. Hordes is different. The fury mechanic means that instead of getting a set amount of resources at the beginning of the turn, a warlock drains the energy spent by his warbeasts the previous turn. If his warbeasts don’t spend energy/fury than the warlock has to take damage to cast spells. There is no resource allocation involved. Additionally, there is a limit to how much fury each warbeast can hold. If the warlock can’t drain it all, then the warbeast risks going berserk, possibly attacking its companions. As a result hordes is a game of risk management. A side effect of this relationship is that warlocks are very reliant on their warbeasts. It’s recommended that warcasters take a jack. Warlocks are required to take a warbeast, usually several. Each warbeast comes with its own unique spell-like ability which they can cast once a turn. The warlock gains access to this ability as a temporary addition to their spell list. Basically warlocks and warbeasts are inextricably linked on a fundamental level. Because of this, looking at hordes factions is as much about the beasts as the warlock. Each pairing has a distinct character. Because each warbeast is a resource generator, force projector, and temporary spell enhancer, choosing which beasts, how many beasts, and what caster to take ends up being more of an art than a science. I keep finding myself rereading beast and warlock entries to verify synergies and strategies. Warmachine has its own uniformity. Cygnar is at the top end of the technology scale. Cryx is out there on the mutation ladder. Even so PP has done a good job presenting the WM factions as the civilized cultures of Western Immoren. Perhaps it’s just that warmachine has what I consider the archetypal fantasy divisions. The sociopolitical makeup of the land is pretty standard—big bad expansionist faction, religious theocracy, enlightened technologically savvy nation, evil supernatural terrors…etc. Hordes is refreshingly free of preconceived notions. The races are sometimes drawn from stock fantasy tropes, but manage to distinguish themselves from that ancestry. For me this comes down to the staggering variety of warbeasts in the range. You can find just about any monster you’ve ever read about, from dragons to golems, from mammoths to hydra. In warmachine a jack is a jack. When someone says warbeast, you can only guess as to what creature they are referring to. There are four primary and two secondary hordes factions. I like the thematic differences in hordes more than warmachine. Not only are the models demonstrably different, but the feets and spells depart from the WM standard mess-with X-mechanic theme as well. The skorne are a nation of pain obsessed, ancestor worshipping, expansionist slavers. Their armies tend to focus on attrition and assassination. Their models feature high melee quotients backed up with excellent armor. Their warbeasts consist of cyclopee, basilisks, elephants, and other Romanic themed creatures. They are the big slow faction—leavened with a healthy dose of soul manipulation. I’m not very impressed with the Skorne. They seem a little too attention seeking for my taste—like a bunch of dark elf wanabees with daddy issues. “Just so you know, we’re evil, really evil.” “Really?” “Oh yes, we do very bad things…and we’re mean.” “Hmmph, if you say so.” “No really we kick puppies for fun and J-walk. We wear white before and after labor day.” “Shocking.” Reading through their warlock list is amusing and kind of sad by turns—each one of their locks tries to one-up the other on the badness scale. I have the same problem with the Romulans from star trek. It isn’t that I don’t see them as threats, it’s just that they seem so damned earnest about it—they want so very much to put on their big-boy pants and be a grown up antagonist. The circle is a collection of tribal warriors who worship the elemental gods of nature and destruction—think druids crossed with Chuck Norris. Their armies focus on movement and terrain manipulation with a definite slant toward alpha strike and denial. They have three main warbeast families, Satyrs, wolves, and golems/stone constructs. Not surprisingly, many of their abilities are focused around forest creation, manipulation, and exploitation. They have some unusual warlocks, one of which spends his time tied at the hip to a stationary tree, another who rides a war-goat, and yet another who shifts between human and beast forms. For all that variety the circle feels like a faction of gimmicks and cheap tricks to me. They have plenty of utility and versatility. They have excellent models. They lack that essential something—that spark which would take them from an internally coherent faction to a compelling movement. The troll bloods are the varied genetic offshoots of the troll species unified under a banner of honor and vengeance. Nations like Cygnar have defaulted on so many promises to exchange service for land that the trolls are taking what they feel they are owed by force. Their armies are small tuff—literally, units that rely on group bonuses and stellar resilience to defeat their opponents. Their warbeasts come from a plethora of savage trolls including some wielding acid, fire, ice, and earth magic. Their army is almost entirely built on medium to large bases—trading quantity for quality. The trollbloods are nominally the protagonists of the hordes world—being the only group with a morally justifiable reason for reeking carnage on an epic scale. They are big, blue, and really hard to kill. I kind of like these guys. Most of their warcasters are uninspiring—save Borka Keg slayer. Seriously, who doesn’t want to play a giant troll in a fir collar and codpiece who runs around with a pigmy carrying a keg of booze for him drinking his way to victory? Trolls have the same mildly comic aspect that orcs and goblins have held for time immemorial. Despite the fact that they are the toughest kids on the playground, it’s difficult to get past the whole big and blue shtick. I really would like to like them more, but they feel sort of one dimensional, not attention seeking like the Skorne or boring like the circle, but lacking thematic variety. In fairness to the cerulean tuff guys, some of my ambivalence stems from the fact that trolls are the big tuff faction of hordes—filling the same spot in the factional Meta as Khador does for warmachine. It feels conformist to prefer forces of the same type regardless of the game—and really who wants to be type cast? That brings us to the legion of everblight. Ah legion, how I love thee. The legion is an army of corrupted winter elves and draconic monsters in service to the dragon everblight. Their armies tend to run very fast with many glass cannons. Currently they have some of the best warlocks in the game. Their beasts come in several different flavors including: • Lesser warbeasts, basically mini warbeasts with great abilities but no endurance. • Nephilim, draconic blood crossed with winter elves to make a series of light warbeasts that wield weapons and can fly. • Classic draconic beasts that fly and wield a breath weapon. • Various reptilian monsters spawned from the blighted blood of their warlocks. I love legion. That’s partly because Everblight’s story is beautiful. He’s taken over a nation of elves by proxies and is fighting his father smarter—not harder. His warlocks are just plane awesome. It doesn’t hurt that several of them hale from the frozen north—a theme that has always resonated well with me. The big part of legion is the beasts. They have winged creatures. Beautiful deadly creatures. The thing that always drove me away from Cryx was that they were dirty and nasty. You can paint them up as polished killing machines, but in the back of my head I will always think of them as rotting animate corpses. Legion are alive but corrupted in spirit. So yes, that’s going to happen, sometime, in the future, after my Khador is done, when I have the money…sigh. Minions are the hordes equivalent to mercenaries. They are secondary forces meant to support the main factions either with supplementary troops or with cooperative casters. There are currently two minion factions. The blindwater congregation is a group of alligator men, deep ones, and frog people lead by voodoo priests, alligator zombies, and a bastard fishman. Their warbeasts consist of skeleton swarms, giant alligators, an acid spitting turtle, and a swamp horror straight out of Lovecraft. Just so we’re clear on this, these guys are happening too. I read the units for this group and had spent a week doing the research before I realized what had happened. Almost as good as Legion…almost. The thornfall alliance is a group of pigmen striving to take over the world. They are lead by an egomaniac, a human mad scientist who converts pigs into cyborgs, a necromancer pig, and a cyberpig with a split personality. Their warbeasts are fast pigs, cyberpigs, and pigs with guns on their back. Their rules are totally awesome. Most of the warbeasts have a rule called “bacon” where when the warbeast dies, any friendly warbeasts in contact heal damage…because of the healing power of bacon! I can’t take them seriously but they really do rock. I want to play hordes now. Considering my caster and jacks just arrived for our escalation league and I have mucho infantry to get, this is going to have to wait a bit. But damn, want to make a legion force of dragons.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A letter to Shawn Gately and Blue Table Painting

Shawn, Thank you for the prompt response. When you get back into the office can you clarify the timeline for me? We are apparently operating under different expectations regarding how quickly this project will be completed. 1. On 8/17/13 you said “Turnaround would be 1-2 weeks. However, I think it could be faster than that, since I have found the models locally. I've got them on hold for me at a local shop. If you checked in every three days I am confident it could be done within the coming week. But I'd need you to check in.” 2. On 8/24/13 you said “Got your Instructions and your Marauders are on order, thank you. I'm out to Valhalla this coming week, but as soon as I'm back everything should be in and a go.” At this point I had added two models to the project and you were waiting for them to arrive. 3. Again on 8/24/13 you said “It will be six days for your Marauders to arrive. There will be nothing to report I'm sorry to say.” At this point you had my deposit, my instructions, and I assumed were six days from project start. Based on your original email to me which said, “Matthew, Hey there, thought you might be interested in this. I am reaching out to a few clients from years past. I have put together a small team of artists, plus myself to take a few no-waiting projects. This includes Joseph (a master miniatures painter) and Renn (a master assembler).” I was given to understand that as soon as my deposit and models were in hand your veteran team would start on the project with a 1-2 week completion date, sooner if I called regularly. As of 8/24/13, that would mean assembly and painting of my five models should have begun approximately 8/30/13, 9/3/13 if delayed till after the holiday. According to your most recent email 9/7/13, “I just got in from Comic Con and it's super-late, but I wanted you to know I got this email. I talked with Mike D. about your project today and he's on standby to start it up this coming week. All is well. I will re-read this and re-respond again soon....” My models have been sitting for the last week with your master team with no work being done. So everything is not “well.” So you can understand where I’m coming from here, I’ve recently read some extremely critical reviews of BTP, its employees, and the quality of its finished product. I’ve spent more than $3,000 with you and BTP in the past. While there were issues, the projects generally were satisfactorily completed. I undertook this project with the expectation that the best of the best were standing by to begin work on my battle group. That is apparently not the case. This lends credence to every poor review I’ve read—all from the last 12 months. Simply put, I feel like I have been misled. You pushed for my deposit and now that you have my money the project isn’t a priority. I specifically went with BTP because of your quoted turn around and your claim that master artisans were on staff to handle my project. As of today, the first was apparently false advertising and the second is in question. I’m not trying to force your hand. As a concerned customer on your supposed short list I want you to understand how this looks. Going forward, please set realistic expectations and meet them. My future patronage and thousands of dollars are dependent on your ability to deliver on these promises. Please provide a revised start and completion date for this project. Sincerely, Matthew Nixon

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The making of an action hero pt31

Entry #30. Today was one of the bestest days ever. I got up at 6 and did three full sets with the clubs to the music of halo II. The brunette, WMTrainguy, his wife and son (agent E), and I set out for the Shenandoah river a little after 8 with a 12 pack of red’s apple ail and a metric ton of my pasta salad in toe. We met up with my mother in law and made our way to the entry point for the upcoming patrol. Agent WMTrainguy and the mother in law (hence forth agent T) caravanned both vehicles down to the destination point and drove one car back so we would have exfiltration at both ends of the trip. Knowing that we would be in mild water and inner tubes for most of the patrol, I left the emergency pack at home and stuck with a Gerber carabiner tool clipped through a hole in my shirt tale. We got into our tubes, tied them together, attached the two tubes for the coolers, and set off down current. The sun looked down from a cloudless blue sky with a mild breeze stirring the air. I relaxed back into the tube holding a red’s with nothing important to do all day. It was immediately clear to me why I had never heard of this pastime. It was so pleasant that nobody wanted to give up the secret lest the river become congested with evolutionary excrement. Seriously. The only part of my body supporting any weight at all was the hand with the bottle. The river lapped slowly around us and time slowed. WMTrainguy came to the rescue, out heroing me handily, when the coolers broke free and almost smashed themselves on the rocks. He rescued the alcohol and my good mood as well as keeping our little tube-train together. After that we just floated down stream talking, relaxing, and exchanging empties for new bottles. There was some completely uncalled for splashing of this worthy by heartless “friends” but otherwise the trip was a resounding success. The three hours of lazy comfort ended far too soon. We then retreated to agent T’s home for a cookout. Hooo boy, nothing caps off an afternoon of aquatic patrolling like a plate full of charred meat and pasta salad. That is the essence of a good time. Nothing but living in the moment, no fears, no worries, nowhere to go, just good food and friends. Things I learned this trip: 1. Next time, bring water shoes. The bottom of the river and the parking lot are covered in rocks. I managed to go barefoot, but it wasn’t easy. I would have been severely impaired had there been an emergency. 2. Cheap sunglasses would have been nice. That sun was fantastic, but right over head. 3. Bigger tube/raft and more time on the river. We weren’t able to tie off at the end, so had to rely on people to hold the tube train in place. I’ll be looking at the cost of an inflatable boat/raft to help with that process next year if we don’t go sooner. 4. Talk to the entire group about food/drinks in advance. Our 12 pack worked out fine, but it would have been nice to get something for everyone. Also, WMTrainguy’s wife (I really need to find something better to call her) made pasta salad as well because we didn’t coordinate. 5. It is entirely useless to use suntan lotion on your face and arms, wear a shirt, and forget to put sun block on your legs and feet while you are stretched out face up to the sky for three hours. I was proud of my preparations until we started home and my legs started feeling like someone had covered them in superglue every time I tried to move. 6. Mint oil is an excellent home remedy for sunburns—really—seriously—it works. Judging by the amount of pain I was in it also might work on radiation burns. Have to look into that. 7. Going to do this again, after my legs heal. Weigh in today after exercise=284.6 pounds. Intake today: Breakfast=a health shake with oatmeal, almond milk, spinach, and a banana. Patrol meal=several red’s apple ales—I dunno how many. I didn’t drink them all, I was sober the entire time, and everybody got some. Lunch/dinner=two helpings of pasta salad and 4 burgers. I stopped before I gorged, but by almost 4pm, I hadn’t eaten anything since 8 that morning and I was really hungry and it was really good. I figure for two meals it wasn’t terrible. I need to add more beef into my diet so the smell of charring meat doesn’t turn me into a barbarian on the hunt.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The making of an action hero pt30

Entry #29. This has been a great day. Action hero training has been taking a lot out of me lately, especially with back and foot issues. I’ve countered with getting to bed earlier, a focus on stretching, and clamping down on the diet. Adding in the spiral wheel part of my club work out didn’t help matters. I’ve been stiff, sore, and in various levels of pain all week…until today. I awoke at 5:00, and for the first time didn’t feel like Cro-Magnon dragging my knuckles on the ground. Going to bed at 9 probably helped with that. Getting eight hours of sleep makes it easier to get up in the morning—who knew? I’ve been relying on inspirational music to substitute for actual wakedness while using the clubs. Recent selections have included the soundtracks to the rock, transformers, and pirates of the Caribbean. I start thinking and moving in time with the music. As the heroic score reaches its climax, I am fully vested in the action/workout. Today featured “Video Games Live” which is an orchestral rendition of popular video game themes. Finishing up with the title tracks from Halo and Castle Vania got the day started on the right note. Here at the end of the day I’m still stiff and in some small pain. My right shoulder is definitely feeling the burn and my lower back still has occasional twinges. That being said, I’m worlds better off than I was a week ago. I start off my workout fighting to stretch and move and by the end my muscles and joints are all warmed up, moving in something like harmony. Tomorrow the Brunette, WMTrainguy, his wife and son, my in-laws, and I will be going on an aquatic patrol. We’ll be posing as locals by traveling in some inner tubes—complete with a cooler full of adult beverages while coasting down the river. I’ve had some body modesty issues for years now, ever since I put on weight. Even with a shirt and shorts on, this will be a step down the road toward confronting those issues. Avoiding pool parties is one thing. I’m not going to let my hang ups stop me from seeing the people I care about though. Weigh in today was 286.4 pounds after my workout. I’ve taken back the ground I lost last weekend. I made a health-a-fied version of my pasta salad for tomorrow. It consists of whole wheat pasta, a pepper medley, plumb tomatoes, white onion, cilantro, snow pees, grated carrots, and craft light dressing. Craft is the only company that seems to actually make “light” dressings worth the name any more. Intake today: Breakfast=a health shake with a banana, strawberries, oatmeal, blueberries, and almond milk. Work meal=a pepper turkey wrap, an apple, and some unsalted almonds. Dinner=the left over meatloaf and a couple mini peanut butter cups.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The making of an action hero pt29

Entry #28. Some days you can win the battle but lose the war. That’s about how I feel today. Friday was a challenge which I met and conquered. I weighed in that morning at 286 pounds. The doctor clocked me as losing 17 pounds since April and 38 pounds since July 2012. I ended up averaging well under 290 for the week and hitting my goal for the day. My cholesterol dropped more than 30 points since last time, cutting to 191. Thursday my foot began acting up, again, which rendered exercising difficult. I persevered, but not without a great deal of soaking and stretching. Still, a victory hard fought and won. The brunette lost weight and ended up with better blood pressure than me…I’m going to have to work on that. We left there, hit target for a few essentials and one of my rewards for averaging under 290 for a week, a new nurf blaster. I will review some of the nurf products in a future post, but let’s just say that grabbing a dart launcher capable of mounting a rotating caddy with up to eight magazines is awesome. The walk over to the shopping center for lunch proved challenging both because of having to walk cross country and because I hadn’t actually done that route in a few years. I kept making mistakes, misremembering things, and having to say over-and-over again that the brunette was right. She loved it, me, not so much. We met up with WMTrainguy for lunch at our favorite Japanese steak house. They have a $10.99 all you can eat sushi bar as well as the normal hibachi options. Since we got there early, I ordered a beer and a Philadelphia roll—smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, and rice. At that point I hadn’t eaten anything in over 24 hours. The tender salmon, soy sauce and wasabi, perfectly blended textures and flavors, all in contrast to the crisp Sapporo exploded onto my pallet. It was truly glorious. The staff there likes us, probably because we bring them a lot of business and because we really enjoy eating there. Ever have a perfect meal? Something so good that it redefines the definition of fine dining? That’s how I felt about that sushi. It must have showed, because the hostess kept bringing us more and more rolls on the house—I suspect just to replicate the process of lifting me to nirvana. It was so good that I passed on filet and went with the sushi bar and another beer. We returned home to do some reading and work with the cleaning lady to organize our apartment. We went through all of our DVDs, culling out the ones we can send to DVD swap. It turns out I have 3 of four ultimate James Bond collector sets. I’m going to be watching a lot of bond in the next couple months. It’s nice to put your house in order, literally. We have a long way to go before our home is a picture of tasteful elegance, but things are moving in that direction. That evening agent Squish and I went to a gathering of friends for dinner and socializing. I had a bowl of chili and a few beers. I spent the evening out on the porch watching one of our acquaintances inexpertly hit on another acquaintance. That was where the mischief started. The two beers at lunch were fine. The three beers and mixed drink I had with dinner were excessive. There was no hang over, no sickness, I just felt bad Saturday morning. The truth is that I brought a six pack of duckpin IPA as a courtesy—growing up in the South; you don’t go to meals at other peoples’ homes empty handed. I didn’t have to bring that beer. The brunette and I are part of a larger circle of friends that take it in turns hosting these weekly dinners. We put our dues in every time we help Squish and the Jew host. I did it anyway and ended up drinking more than I should have; not because I got drunk, I was only a bit buzzed throughout the evening, not because I couldn’t afford the calories, but because those last few beers went down more as reflex than because I was particularly interested. This reinforces my commitment to only bring alcohol to special events. That poor decision set the tone for the rest of the weekend, a trend I’m not proud of. Saturday was the first day I hadn’t worked out in two weeks. My foot was killing me and we had to get dressed up for a wedding early. I put on a black suit, red shirt, and gray and red striped tie. Deathquaker and the brunette, looking fabulous, escorted me to the nuptials celebration. We got there five minutes late due to traffic and ended up missing the first third of the ceremony. After that, we retired to a local eatery for the reception. There we were served heaping plates of breakfast fair, including eggs benedict, bacon, fruit, and a bagel. The food was excellent. Although the reception was a little disorganized, everything ended well. We reconnected with some old friends and got to wish the bride and groom a happy life together. By the time we got home my back was killing me and my foot was worse. This happened because I sat in a car for almost four hours and because my old dress shoes offer little support. I can fight through discomfort. I can deal with pain. Chronic, ongoing pain saps your will though. I spent Sunday reading swords of exodus, medicating, stretching, and soaking where needed. I managed a short workout that evening. By that point I was really feeling the lack of exercise. You wouldn’t think one day off would matter that much. But with the lax diet those past few days, the issues with my back and foot, and with me on anti-inflamitories and pain killers, exercise was high on my list of priorities. Monday, MX and Squish came over for lunch. I made the group Italian sandwiches with Kiser rolls, pepperoni, provolone cheese, red onion, and tomatoes with cilantro marinated in light Italian dressing. I had a few pieces of the meat and cheese, but ended up having the last bit of my Indian meatball dish for lunch. Squish helped me work through the next segment of the starting club work out DVD. I’d been doing 2 of the original six exercises wrong, although not badly so. The next three, titled the spiral wheel, are much more joint intensive. They require a great deal more attention to alignment so as to avoid making unfortunate mistakes. I’m getting there slowly. There are certain exercises that are just going to take a while. I have very short legs and arms. I’m not particularly flexible. I have to build up the range of motion and physical strength to do some of these exercises. I’m not going to kill myself, pushing your joints too far is a potential disaster waiting to happen. As I practice more things will improve. That evening I made meatloaf with lean ground beef, hot Italian sausage, carrots, red peppers, onions, and some left over ground cheese. I finished off the brunette’s portion. My apatite is fading due to the meds, which is a mixed blessing. Today I started at 291.2 pounds. I didn’t expect to keep the 286, but keeping under 290 would have been nice. I’m looking at this past holiday weekend as a learning experience. I have the strength of character to make good choices when things are going well. I don’t have the strength to do so when I’m deprived (which is what happens when you starve yourself for 24 hours.) I made some bad and good choices. In the end what I came away with is that you can’t cheat the system. I’m going to focus back on eating well and exercising regularly and give a little less focus to the number. I’m losing weight or building muscle. As long as I’m doing one or the other it really doesn’t matter. I put in a good 45 minutes with the clubs before dinner. With the muscles loosened up and warmed in the shower I feel better than I have since the start of my “issues.” It feels good to be back in the game. This is a small setback. I will overcome.