I Could Be a Proclaimer


Monday was a milestone day for me. Literally. On Dec. 16, 2013 I started using the Nike+ running app to track my walks. 11 months and 136 walks later, I passed 500 miles.

That first walk at the end of 2013 was 2.5 miles. 2 months after gastric sleeve surgery I was still getting in "walking shape" and shooting for 20 minute miles, and 2.5 miles was a nice little challenge. After I would walk, I would pretty much be worn out and ready for bed. Monday morning, I walked for almost 2 hours and traveled over 6 miles. The best part is that except for some leg muscle soreness that kicked in about 3 hours later, it felt like a normal day.

Jerry sent me a text to warn me of upcoming storms later in the day (he's my designated weather alert system) and that if I wanted to go walk I should get a move on. We were on the same page, as I was on the tail end of my walk and heading back toward the car around Mile 4, where the Athens greenway hits the track behind the baseball fields of Athens High School.

The track intersects a 2nd greenway, which I've always hated as it's a 1.206 mile stretch where I have a hard time making out details and can't quite figure out how far I've got left. Most of the trail looks like this:

Nice, but nondescript. Eventually I made it out of the greenway and came out along Highway 72.

I still have a quarter mile left on my walk as I've started to park in the Lowe's parking lot. The greenway has a grassy area to park in, but I kept timing my walks with mowing schedules. Jsut to make life easier, and to add a consistent length to my walks, I picked a designated parking spot at Lowes.

It seems to work. Every once in a while I get a call from Gina asking "Are you walking? I think I saw your car."

So now I have walked 500 hundred miles. I guess I'll walk 500 more. I bet that song's still going to be stuck in my head for a while.

gastric sleeve

Unity Asteroids Pt 2


After about 2 weeks I'm at the point I'm ready to call my little Unity Asteroid Shooter done, or at least 90% done. It's got laser particle effects, explosions, sound effects, and some begin/end screens. For a 7+ hour tutorial I played with for a month, there's a lot that it does along with a lot that's missing.

The one thing I skipped that's in the tutorial is keeping up with high scores. The tutorial uses the UserPrefs object, which stores values in the registry. Simple enough to use and implement, but I'd much rather use a plain text file for now than messing around with registry entries. Registry entries are a pain to track and debug. In addition, I haven't messed with any file functions in C#, and this boils down to some C# functionality versus Unity coding so it's a good excuse to learn.

I would like to better tweak the GUI of this game. I've got a couple of ideas to play around with, and it's more fun to tweak a working game than to experiment with something from scratch. If it starts out working and I break it, I can always back track. Phase 1 will be to change out the space ship model and associated effects. I think I've got a BSG Viper sitting in a directory somewhere...

I haven't posted the actual game to play, mainly because there are some licenses involved since I paid for the tutorial and associated assets. Plus I've never built a Unity project for "public" use and would feel really bad if I corrupted a computer with a memory leak or some such. When I leave the number of asteroids at the default set in the tutorial my monitors turn off after a minute or so and I'm forced to reboot. So I'm just looking out for you, the general internet public.

Plus, it's a fairly boring game unless you've spent a month getting it to work.

game dev video games

For Want of a Widgey


My board game playing has been lax the past few months. My gaming with Jer & Keith has dwindled to where the last time all 3 of us played was back in March. Keith and I have played a few games since, even joining some of the Dealnews gang for some game nights. Overall though, my gaming interest has waned this year.

Maybe it's cyclical? In 2005 Jerry and I started playing games again after a 10 year hiatus. That 10 year hiatus followed a 10 year run of game playing. Granted, the last few years of that run were sparse in playing. Now we're closing in on the end of another 10 year run of playing.

I know part of my problem is due to the type of game I enjoy. I'm very much an Ameritrash gamer. Games that ooze theme and lots of pretty pieces appeal to me. The drawback for these is that generally the rules are thick and take a while to learn, plus the time and effort to set up all of those pretty pieces for a game. When you want to play a quick game of something for the first time, the games I like take longer to set up and learn than to play. There have been many times where we've learned partway through that first game that the game in question just isn't for us, which leads it all to feel like a wast of time.

The games we've played lately have been quick, semi-abstract (to me) games like Splendor, Quantum, and Smash Up (which was completely over my head). All are good games and enjoyable in their own right, except for Smash Up - it's going to take me a while to get the hang of that one as there's a lot more going on that I originally thought there would be. These games play more as a classically thought board game in that you, as the player, don't immerse yourself into the game via an avatar.

Immersion into the game is more fun more me. It tends to lead toward more social interaction, which is the real reason I play board games. Ticket To Ride is a lot easier to play on a computer or iPad and let the software take care of all the bookkeeping, but it lacks the fun of taunting and goading other players as well as cursing them to their face when a route you want is taken. While I don't feel like I'm the train in Ticket to Ride, I feel more ownership of the routes I'm placing which puts me in the game. Maybe it's because pieces aren't picked up and moved, but placed and forever stay? I hadn't really thought of that before now....

The games I've most enjoyed of late have been those in which I immerse myself. Star Wars X-Wing has been the game I've been playing the most, and each time I feel like I'm in a dogfight inside a Star Wars movie. The X-Wing game has led me to find that I'm a fan boy of the publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, which I've come to think of as the President of Ameritrash as all of their games reek of theme, have lots of pretty pieces, and even better - most of them have expansions which pile on even more theme, pieces, and rules.

It's those expansions which may be burning me out on the games I enjoy. As with Car Wars in the 80's, enough content can be added on to a game as to make it encompass so much that it gets bogged down to where it's almost unplayable. But, I don't want to get behind in the rules or miss some cool new thing, so I have to keep up with the expansions. Expansions I end up not caring about or using, but my completest gene of acquisition forces me to collect.

With all of the above, I still like board games. I don't want to get rid of the closet full of games I've still yet to play. I feel a little guilty for not playing as much as I think I should, but forcing myself to play isn't really fun, and shouldn't playing games be fun?

boardgames rambling

1 year and 104 lbs later


1 year ago (yesterday), 401 lb me went off to the hospital for Gastric Sleeve surgery.

Yesterday, 297 lb me thought about what's happened in the past year.

I've had a f'n awesome year.

There have been a few low points (being unemployed again would certainly count), but looking at the things that are actively under my control, I'm completely happy. There are day to day things I do that I make sure not to take for granted, little things like walking across a parking lot and not being sweaty and out of breath. To celebrate such, I went for a 6+ mile walk this morning.

My biggest question asked is still if I miss eating the things I used to. I don't. The idea of a big juicy steak and baked potato, or even a binge trip to good old Sonic for corn dogs and cheese sticks sounds good and causes my mouth to water (it's watering as I type this), but were it all sitting in front of me I wouldn't touch it. Tempted probably, but I would stay away.

My friend that I've never met, James Buchanon Puckeepsee (not his real name) has a compulsive personality. Alcohol, food, exerciser. I think he's found how to focus his compulsiveness positively (mainly exercise) but that wasn't always the case. Some 10+ years ago, I heard a recording of a talk he gave to a group at Overeaters Anonymous. He brought up a point that has always stuck with me, but only now can I really apply it. Dieting is the only activity where you reward yourself with what you're trying to avoid. As a reward for losing 10 lbs, have some cake (or something else you've restricted yourself from)!

Over the past year I've not thought of food as a reward. I've tried to make my menu fairly mundane. I'll have an occasional treat, but not for doing anything special or as a reward. Instead, I'll think back over the past month or so and see if I've not gotten carried away with eating anything I shouldn't. If I've stayed on track, I'll allow myself to falter a little. Tuesday night I had some chocolate chip cookies, no diet/fat-free/low-sugar ingredients anywhere near them. They weren't a reward, they were a treat. I ate them, now time to move on to more protein shakes and salads.

The exercise regimen that James McDonald Puckington (not his real name) focuses on is also inspirational, although I don't take it to his extremes I do make an effort to be more active than the 441 lb lump on the couch I once was. I'll try to get out and walk 3 times per week. If I don't, it's ok and I don't beat myself up about it. If I do, it's ok and I don't need to shout to the heavens and get kudos. Walking is something I do for me - it makes me feel better. Sure, I'll mention it here when I hit a milestone (should hit 500 miles total walking this month) or go particularly farther than normal (did I mention 6.38 miles this morning, much more than my normal, piddly 5 miles), but in all honesty reading about hey, I walked 5 miles again for the 3rd time this month is about as boring as it would be to type it. When out on my walks through the Athens greenway system I enjoy myself and take active notice that I couldn't do this very activity a year ago, and that makes me smile.

As for complications from my surgery and the side effects thereof, I never had any. Never threw up. No hair loss. No vitamin deficiency. No protein deficiency. I'm still drinking 3 protein shakes per day. I'm still taking vitamin supplements 5 times per day. The doctor expected me to be around 200 lbs today, so I've only lost half what he wanted. I wanted to be 240 lbs, but not necessarily today. I wanted to be healthy today.

I feel pretty healthy. I'm counting that as a win.

Next I keep doing what I'm doing and watching to see if more weight will slowly drop off. Maybe I'll hit that 240 yet. I'm in no rush though. And I don't think I'll stop in on Sonic along the way, either.

gastric sleeve

7 seasons of Californication Complete


This weekend I wrapped up 7 seasons of Californication on Amazon Prime's streaming service. I never watched the show before all 7 seasons became available (for free), but it had long been on my "to watch" list as it fits in a special category which I tend to like: boobs & banter. Being a Showtime series, the boobs & banter lean toward the more mature side.

I've mentioned the show to Jerry as I was getting caught up in watching the series, describing it as spoiler-free and using my special blend of obtuse references that only I can make up on the spur of the moment.

It's a show where the guy from the X-Files is a drinking, sexed-up writer of some fame who has a teenage daughter with the chick from George Clooney's version of Solaris. Even though the show is really about the relationship between father and daughter, my favorite part is the banter between the father and the bald guy from Sex & the City who married Charlotte. There's boobs a-plenty, although some shows only have the boobs in the "previously on..." prelude.

See, a synopsis that doesn't give a damn thing away yet tells exactly what the show is about, assuming you know who was in X-Files, Solaris, and Sex & the City.

After watching 84 half-hour episodes (12 episodes per season), I can whole heartedly say I enjoyed the first 5 seasons. The last 2, meh. The final one I would have been ok skipping completely, but halfway through season 7 I decided the completest in me had to watch the whole thing.

The surprising thing I like from the show ended up being the guitar/instrumental music used in the opening and closing credits. The opening credits theme got on my nerves originally, but somewhere along the way I started to enjoy it. I think I was mentally playing Guitar Hero as the guitar riffed away. The end credits switch up the music, sometimes it's a known song (or a cover), other times it's an instrumental that sounds vaguely familiar.

This isn't a show for everybody. Honestly I can only think of 1 person I would suggest might possibly enjoy the show, and he's mentioned at the top of the post. The prevalence of boobs and thesaurus of 4-lettered euphemisms peppered throughout would offend most people I associate with. Not me though. I'm indefendable.

Does that mean what I want it to mean? I bet it doesn't. Mu$*a F&*.... I mean, drat!


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