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Two Steps Forward, One Leep Back

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6th November 2013

2:59pm: I have my own website, my own game blog, and I post quite a bit on Facebook/Twitter. I guess I will use LJ to post things that I don't actually want anyone to make super available for people to read. Like this:

You know how you cry, then you feel stupid for crying so you cry some more? That is how I feel a lot of the time, except replace crying with just straight-up being sad because I haven't cried in over 20 years.

I'm old and poor and nobody likes me or the things I do. Damn. This was not the plan.

13th August 2013

1:11am: Here's how my social-media brain works:
If you are doing better than me and brag about it, I get jealous.
If you brag about things that pale in comparison to me, I get mad that you're pumping yourself up more than warranted.
When I have stuff maybe worth bragging about, I don't want to come off as "that guy," so I'm posting about it less and less.

It's messed up. I'm really starting to despise Facebook. I don't know that it's doing me any good. Maybe if I go back to my very selective list, I'll feel better.

I'm doing better - finished new screenplay, doing my best at recent auditions - but I don't know that it's enough. The clouds are still dense, and thicken faster than the slivers of light can peek through.

I'm not the only one in a bit of a rut. But I have a financial struggle atop it - something I haven't had to deal with in around 13 years.

2nd April 2013

2:09pm: Wrestling Story: vs. Jasyn Vaine
There I was, chatting up my nurse at the doctor’s office after spending an hour in the waiting room trying to ignore Maury Povich and his lie detector results. Her two sons – both older than me – are big wrestling fans, so I end up telling some tales from the ring. One seems worth sharing here.

I’m booked to wrestle Jasyn Vaine for Neo Pro Wrestling in 2003. Don’t know the guy real well, but had been on some shows with him. He’s a burly dude who wasn’t trained by one of the usual suspects. I believe I’d had a run as the Neo Pro champion by this point, so my character is kind of a big deal in the promotion. Jasyn was a regular in Neo Pro as well.

As we’re talking about our match, he’s got his hands together and he’s jiggling his pecs. Not sure if it’s conscious, if he’s trying to intimidate me… no clue. I do know that I had a bit of a reputation in the Minnesota wrestling scene. My style was pretty hard-hitting, and that meant some people got hit hard. Plus, I really tried to make everything look legit and didn’t break character much after shows, so I would understand if people thought I was a violent prick in real life like my in-ring persona. Or maybe that’s just how Jasyn established toughness with new opponents. Again, I don’t know.

I do know that during our discussion of the match – what spots to do, how we want the match to flow, what we want for a finish – the following event was not discussed. We’re brawling outside of the ring, which is common for Jasyn. He picks me up around the waist, with my face pointing upwards, and drops me back-first onto an unfolded steel chair. The chair collapses under the impact, and my spine doesn’t feel much better.

I take some offense to that. When wrestlers wrestle, we put our lives in our opponents’ hands – often literally. The fact that I didn’t know this was coming or given a veto option kind of irked me. Now, I usually go with the flow and give people benefit of the doubt, but as I’m on the floor selling I start to get more pissed. A receipt is in order.

1_Kick_Vaine


Vaine climbs up – either to the top rope or just the apron, I’m not sure. He dives down, hoping to hit a splash where his 250 pounds wipes me out. I see him rocketing toward me. I throw a roundhouse kick at his falling form that nails him right in the fucking nose. No wonder they used to put over my “educated feet.”

Now, his nose is bleeding pretty good, and he’s the one on the ground selling. I scoop a few fingers full of blood from his face, and use it to paint my initials on my chest. I scream “Justin ‘Violent’ Lee, bitches!” or something like that, and posture to the crowd (and Jasyn).

I don’t remember much about the rest of the match, not even who won. I hold no animosity toward Jasyn, of course. He hit me a little too hard, I hit him back and we move on. That’s a receipt for you. I’m sure we shook hands after the match.

1_Vaine_Bloody


Last thing: I want to thank wrestling photographer extraordinaire Wayne McCarty for the pictures of the match. Awesome work as always.

27th March 2013

1:10pm: 9 Steps To Defending Yourself

There is violence in the streets, y’all. If you are not prepared, you can easily become a victim. Hell, even if you are prepared, you may still become a victim. Now, I’m not saying to always walk around with your guard up… but maybe always walk around with your guard half up.

I’ve been a martial artist for over 20 years. I’m no street-fighting veteran (since E. Honda doesn’t count), but I have given the subject a lot of thought. This is some of my advice. It’s not meant to help you beat the crap out of some drunk douche who hits on your friend. Rather, it’s to keep you out of trouble as much as possible.

1. Be Aware
You have 360 degrees of space where things can go wrong. Try to look, listen, and feel all around you, so you can detect threats as quickly as possible. This means cutting down on things like talking on the phone or texting while walking around in public. Nothing is more important than your safety.
2. Keep Threats In Front Of You
I know the conventional wisdom is to run from trouble. Here’s the problem: When trouble is behind you, you don’t know what trouble is doing. When trouble is in front of you, it can’t surprise you. If someone suspicious is following you, take a detour and work it out so now you’re behind them. A lot of times, a bad situation can be avoided if the potential cause is aware that you are onto them. A modicum of subtlety is required, but it’s well worth it.
3. Diffuse, Don’t Escalate
People trying to start trouble will attempt to anger you, make you lose your cool. It is vital that you keep control of yourself. Avoid dishing out any threats yourself. Every state has different definitions of who started it or who’s to blame. It may be worth looking into them for your area. While laws vary, it’s best to avoid throwing the first punch unless it’s become readily apparent that you are in imminent danger.
4. Don’t Be Quiet
Let’s say someone is about to attack you. There are probably bystanders around, even if you don’t see them. While you cannot expect them to come to your aid, you can turn them into useful witnesses. Be vocal. Yell that you are being assaulted or attacked. This will draw attention to the situation; it may even put an end to the situation then and there.
5. Act Like A Pro
If you watch real fighters fight, there are a few key things they do. Without the benefit of a coach or years of training, you can still learn something from them if – heaven forbid – you find yourself in a situation you can’t get out of. Burn the following into your brain: Hands up, chin down, and breathe. These will prevent you from taking as much damage and from becoming too winded to defend yourself (“gassing out” in MMA, “blowing up” in wrestling). They are things even a professional fighter’s corner continually yells at him or her. Try to remember them.
6. Blocking Is Bogus; Angles Are Awesome
We’ve all seen action movies or played video games. One thing they get wrong is blocking. If an attack is coming toward you – especially if a weapon is involved – you want no part of your body to come in contact with it. Your natural instinct may be to reach out and intercept with your arm. Don’t. So what do you do instead of blocking? You move out of the way. A missed attack is easier for you to react to than a blocked one. You may be tempted to just back up; that is not the best idea. Moving in an angled or circular motion is preferred, generally away from the main weapon – whether it’s a knife or a cocked-back fist. For example, if the attacker is righty, circle to your right away from their right hand. That puts you further out of danger than simply moving backward.
7. Ground Rule
Unless you’re well-versed in grappling, you do not want to be on the ground with someone on top of you or standing over you. That puts you a tremendous disadvantage. Unlike UFC, there are no rules against kicking a downed opponent. There are no tapouts. You cannot count on someone to break it up. Thus, if you find yourself on the ground, do everything you can to get up. Speaking of rules…
8. Do What You Must, To a Point
If you are being attacked, the rulebook has already been thrown out. It’s about survival. That means eyes or groin are in play – anything to protect yourself from someone who is out to hurt you. But remember there is a line. If you successfully defend yourself, yet continue to strike or choke or injure the attacker, the roles become reversed. You don’t want that; you don’t want to end up in jail or court because you went a little overzealous in defending yourself. Once the situation is no longer endangering to you, call the cops and get out of there.
9. Express Yourself
After traumatic events, you’re going to be feeling a lot of things. I encourage you to find someone you trust to talk to, as well as think about what happened internally. I’m always an advocate of chronicling events either in a notebook or in Microsoft Word. Keeping things bottled up will only come back to bite you later.

15th March 2013

12:39pm: Confidence Shaking
I may have mentioned that at a recent SAG-AFTRA "thing" I went to, the life-coach spent a good chunk of time talking about affirmations and breaking negative habits. At the time, I thought "I have enough confidence; this isn't for me."

Fast-forward to now. Another writing contest I entered - this time on Amazon - and I didn't even make it past the first round.
An acquaintance had agreed to read my script. It's been a month since I last heard they were "loving it" but needed more time. I'm going to assume they didn't finish. Like a lot of people - some very close to me - who decide to read what I've written. Now, I've left things unfinished that I've liked. Life gets in the way, other stuff is newer and prettier. However, this seems like a pattern.
And I'm not very happy with my lack of productivity as of late. It takes me 2 hours to get to the gym for less than 2 hours of working out. I ain't doing that much that I need to heavily monitor what I eat then how long I wait to take my "Hulk Juice."

So now I'm kind of putting my hopes in acting, for better or (likely) worse. I get headshots next week, from this lady: http://poyeyphotos.com/ I absolutely love her shots. I was recommended by an agent who has been giving me some help lately. It's going to be very expensive, and I probably need to go shopping for some "edgy" or "guy-next-door" looks, because my clothes mostly consist of t-shirts and shit that's too small since I've been working out. Gonna hit Macy's and this wardrobe-department reseller "It's A Wrap" this weekend. The agent is considering representing me.
I had a thought recently: If I don't make $20,000 acting this year, I may just give up. Of course, writing isn't doing much either. Maybe I have to be a Johnny Lunchpail. If I can find a job doing that. But now Kate has invested time AND money in me doing this, so I feel like I'd be letting her down. You'd think that would inspire me to work harder. I don't even really know how to work harder toward this. Frustrating. Fucked.

11th February 2013

1:08am: The fact that my sadness makes my wife sad, makes me sad. It's an emotional infinite symbol.

I am tired of stunt class. Ironically, I find out tonight that my sensei is going out of town for 2 weeks and needs me to teach class. Really not sure what to do. I kind of wish when the old dojo shut down two weeks back, Bob would have just called it a day for the class.

I am back immersed in the sequel to Still Man Fights. That makes me happier, though if sales for SMF are any indicator it will be a vanity project or creative-writing exercise at best.

Went to a party held by a stunt friend last night. Met a woman with 15 years of working stunt experience. She treated me like a neophyte child. That did not sit well with me, so I probably ended up coming off slightly arrogant defending myself and my ability. Her attitude was terrible. I was saying how I not only know falls, but teach people falls. Her response was "Some people who teach don't know what they're doing." I basically kept my cool -- in part because I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt -- but replaying things in my head got me worked up. If only she knew I helped teach the hostess of the party how to fall.

Saw a dear friend at that party, too. I wish I could take him aside some time and do the social equivalent of media training. Not that I am one to talk. But my friend really continues at length in ways that don't paint him in the best light, and he just doesn't stop. And he's a great dude. Maybe if he had a LiveJournal like me to bitch on, he'd be less of a downer to others.

6th February 2013

11:08am: Frustration. Depression. Desperation.
They are scars under scars under scars. If you keep picking, you may reach bone.

3rd February 2013

9:23pm: Many who follow the path I'm on end up curled up on the side, sobbing and lamenting their failure. I have yet to do that - because I am strong, I am determined, I am confident.
But do not be surprised if one day you find me pulled over, head in my hands and eyes red.

25th January 2013

5:38pm: Not One
According to reports, I have sold literally zero copies of Still Man Fights on Kindle since switching covers. But hey, I switched covers to help with the paperback version, so it's all good, right? Wrong. I have sold literally zero copies of Still Man Fights in paperback since switching covers. That cover cost me $210 to have designed, by the way.

I could sit and hypothesize on these facts for a good long while. Maybe adding a dollar to each - $3.99 on Kindle, $8.99 in paperback - took them out of everyone's price range. Maybe people are sick of hearing me talk about this damn story after 2 years. Perhaps everyone who was going to buy it has done so already.

I guess I should just focus on future projects. Kind of hard to do when this one was such a financial failure. Keep in mind I quit THQ in summer of 2010 to work on it full-time.

Okay, I'm done. Any more would be just me whining (more).

14th January 2013

12:30am: Craig & The Stone Cold Stunner(s)
When I lived in Key West, Florida (1998-1999), I had a very interesting neighbor named Craig. I wrote about him back in 2004. I suggest you read that first.

Recently, I was thinking about a specific series of events involving Craig, so I thought I'd write more about them.

Craig and I had a few things in common; one was that we both liked wrestling. This was around the time when Stone Cold Steve Austin was in his prime, and both Craig and I were big fans. Steve would go down in history as one of the most popular pro wrestlers in history -- for his don't-give-a-shit attitude, his colorful language, and his smashmouth style. The latter included a following finishing move dubbed the Stone Cold Stunner. Below is a montage so you can see what it looks like.



Pretty cool, right? Now, stop and imagine this in real life. Not so cool, right? I mean, the trained performers who are taking it do a good job of making it look lethal, but really you're just grabbing a guy's head and dropping to your butt. Probably wouldn't do much in a legitimate combat situation, right?

Craig begged to differ. He used to go out drinking quite a bit -- something that's easy to do in Key West with its many taverns. Craig also liked to hit on girls, despite the fact that he was not the most attractive or hygienic of 35-year-old dudes and he lived with his dad.

I'm at home in my trailer one night, minding my own business, and Craig knocks on my door. He's drunk, out of breath, and upset. It turns out some guy didn't like what Craig was doing with and/or to his girl, and was going to beat his pudgy ass. Craig had an ace up his sleeve, though: The Stone Cold Stunner. He kicked the guy in the stomach area, grabbed his neck, and fell to his ass. Despite doing everything picture-perfect, he did not get the reaction he expected. The guy definitely wouldn't have stayed down for a ref's three-count. So instead of basking in victory, Craig ran home as far as his legs would carry him.

Craig begged me to beat the guy's ass for him. Why? I dunno... defend his honor or something. I refused, but still listened to him whine (I was much nicer back then). Craig wanted to show me his technique, then proceeded to accidentally knee me in the nuts. I wasn't very happy with that. Maybe I should've been glad he didn't drop to his ass and give me a Stunner too; I imagine the flimsy trailer floor couldn't have supported the weight. Craig left to sleep it off, preceded by his not-unfamiliar vomiting of rum-and-Cokes in his yard.

The next night, I'm once again minding my business -- I did that a lot, either writing sad poetry, playing video games or hanging in AOL chat rooms -- and Craig again beckons me. I'm told Craig was again at the bars and again ran into the same guy, who liked him even less than he did before the previous night's wrestlemania.

What did Craig do? He kicked the guy low, grabbed his neck, and fell to his ass. Surprise of surprises, it again didn't knock out or even faze the dude. And to illustrate the "fool me once" principle, the guy then proceeded to beat the shit out of Craig. I don't know that anyone would deny that he had it coming.

7th January 2013

2:18pm: Veering to Vegan
My best friend is a very successful professional wrestler. He's also been a vegetarian for about 10 years. Recently, he made the jump to full-on vegan. This means not consuming products made from animals (dairy, eggs, etc.). The reason he switched was a film: Forks Over Knives.

He told me a bit about it -- enough for me to know that if I watched it, I'd likely be drastically changing my eating habits. So, when Kate was out of town, I punched it up on Netflix Streaming. And guess what? I was right.

I am from Wisconsin, "The Dairy State." While others have shunned milk in their adulthood, I’ve stayed a believer. That may not have been my best move. I’m not going to get too preachy, but it seems dairy isn’t that great for you, and meat isn’t that great for you. Processed foods aren’t that great for you, but most of us knew that already. They advocate a plant-based, whole-foods diet. I think that term was used a few dozen times.

So I want to switch. I want to not only stay as healthy as I am, but get healthier. Maybe my physique will be more ripped. Maybe my recently-returning asthma will go away. Maybe I’ll live to 125 like I always joke about doing.

I’m fortunate I live in LA. There are at least a handful of vegan-friendly restaurants within walking distance of us. There’s a farmers market on Sundays a mile west, one on Tuesdays a half-mile east, and one on Thursdays near the gym. Then there are health-food stores such as Rainbow Acres and Samosa House.

We hit the Mar Vista farmers market yesterday, which is very close to our old place. We grabbed the last pluots of the season, some honeycrisp apples, sugar peas and some hummus – typical for us. Then we hit Rainbow Acres. I snagged some avocado, saitan (a sort of meat substitute), and Ezekiel split-grain bread (which has zero flour). Their dried-good section was insane, but I’m nowhere near that fancy/ambitious, and I may never be.

I have a lot of non-vegan food in my house. And I also live with someone who I don’t want to push my new choices upon, accepting as she is about most things. I grew up in trailer parks; I don’t like to throw away good food. So I’m taking it slowly. The Tupperware with (organic, free-range) chicken thighs will be eaten. So will the Trader Joe’s cheese tortellini, the boxes of Fiber One bars, and the can of turkey chili.

However, I’m trying to ration them. Since Kate and I split that Pesto Pizza last night, I kept from having one of my two remaining yogurts. The rest of the day, I ate granola w/almond milk, oatmeal and dried cranberries, sugar peas and split-grain bread with vegan curry hummus, and black beans with tomato and shallots over brown rice.

I ordered some plant-based protein powder from Bodybuilding.com (at an awesome price), so my worries about getting enough muscle-building protein will be allayed. And who knows? Maybe I don’t actually need as much protein as I think.

I’ve never been about labels. Some call me straight-edge, but I don’t like that term. I don’t think I’ll ever use the terms vegetarian or vegan – even once I’m all-in – in part because of the connotations they inspire. I’m just a guy trying to do what’s best for me and my health (and maybe a little for the planet). And of course there’s the chance I’ll abandon this after a month (or less). I’ll keep you posted.

29th November 2012

1:39am: Cop a 'Tude
I don't know whether I like kids or not. They're like cats to me: I usually speak ill of them, but if one's around, I'll probably eventually play with it.

This thought was brought to you by my doing background on Suburgatory Monday, in a scene taking place at a Little League baseball game. I played a cop interviewing witnesses after a kid got hurt. I was on set for about 45 minutes, after sitting around holding for 4 hours. I did get to eat. And I got to wear a snazzy cop uniform. And I got 8 hours pay (which is admittedly only $64 as I am still non-union, damnit).

Yesterday, I again donned cop attire. This time it was my own, as I had an audition for a bailiff for a pilot of a reality court show. It took 10 minutes to drive there, 10 more to find parking, a 5-minute sit downstairs, 3 seconds sitting upstairs, and 3 minutes in front of a camera for the audition. They didn't give me a script; I would parrot everything they said -- "All rise" and the like. A staffer downstairs mentioned there would be about 50 people auditioning for bailiff. That means I have a 2% chance of getting it. And that's probably way better than most other auditions. What the fuck am I doing, trying to be an actor? It's not like I'm exemplary at any of the aspects of acting. I mean, I'm okay looking, in good shape, and well spoken. I'm also not a freaking moron, which isn't always a given in the business. But really... I have nothing unique to offer. I have no "hook," especially when there's no fighting involved.

Okay, I'm going to a dark place again. So easy to slip into there these days -- especially since I paid bills today, meaning I looked at my bank account.

I did have a good workout, though, so I'll brag about that a bit. I feel strong and I look strong. I went to a different, bigger LA Fitness as ours is closed until early January for remodeling. That means I have to drive instead of walk, but the one today wasn't that far. It was heavy upper body day, so I pushed a lot of weight.

I use iPhone's Notes to track all reps/weights/workouts. Here's what I did today:

Weighted Dips

Carrying 65 lbs for 10 reps, then 8 reps. Then w/no extra weight for 16 reps.

Seated Hammer Curls

60 lbs for 16 reps, 2 sets. 65 lbs for 16 reps.

Seated Military Press

135 lbs for 7 reps, then 5 reps. 125 lbs for 6 reps.

Weighted Chinups

Carrying 42.5 lbs for 6 reps, then 8 reps. Then w/no extra weight for 12 reps.

Smith Bench Press

205 lbs for 8 reps. 225 pounds for 5 reps. Another 205 lbs for 8 reps. (I know Smith is cheating, but my bench sucks and I feel this will help it)

Smith Shrugs

315 lbs for 8 reps (didn't mean to do that much), then 2 sets of 275 lbs for 10 reps each.

Rope Tricep Pulldowns

Not sure about the weight on these. I usually max out at 150 (+5 extra) at the old gym, but this was a different setup. I went increasing-weight sets of 12, 10, and 10 reps.

Concentration Curls

40 lbs for 8 reps. 45 lbs for 8 reps. 50 lbs for 6 reps.

Wide-Grip Weighted Chinups

Carrying 20 lbs for 6 reps, then 8 reps, then 7 reps.

Incline Bench

135 lbs for 8 reps. 145 lbs for 6 reps. Back to 135 lbs for 8 reps.

Thanks for indulging me. Now I can go to sleep without feeling like a total loser.

19th November 2012

12:53pm: When things aren't going your way, it's easy to get jealous of those who are doing what you do but having more success. Since I have many and varied aspirations, that is quite a long list. It's been a while since I've been down this low. I'm not *so* low, though; many things to be thankful for if you're me.

15th November 2012

6:47pm: Allow me to whine
There's a reason I'm doing this, right? Why I'm spending 5 days a week at the gym. Why I'm in better shape than when I was in my early 20s and getting paid to wrestle in little clothing a few times a month.

Here's a picture I posted on Facebook last week:


Not sure what the reason is that I can never rely on others. I thought Still Man Fights was good to go, then someone talks me into needing a new cover. So I have to go back to trying to get someone to help me. And I'll have to probably pay a few hundred bucks -- which is more than I've made on the book so far. In fact, the paperback has probably sold single-digit copies in its first month or so. And even my close friends haven't bothered to pimp it. Not that a wrestler telling his fans to read a book is going to have much of an impact. I am embarrassed by these facts.

Maybe I need to just put that first story away and keep working on the sequel. Or something else. Or get a job at the fucking Subway down the street. It's a good thing I have so much confidence, because I've had nothing externally to convince me I'm worth a shit in the last year.

It's not like I'm grinding like crazy to either act or do stunt fighting or get paid to write or anything else. I don't know what steps to take beyond honing my skills. But my skills are pretty damn sharp. The book is dope. I'm a good writer. Few can touch me in fake fighting skill. And I have 5 figures in my bank account now. And have made probably less than $1000 in income this year. I am embarrassed by these facts as well.

I've always said you need to be ready for the opportunity you want, should it come to you. I think I'm pretty ready, but it's not up to me.

27th September 2012

12:11pm: On The Block
I'm once again selling a bunch of games (and toys). The reasoning is twofold. First, to make more space as games make up a big part of the square footage in our apartment. Secondly - and more importantly - because I am blessed and cursed to be eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) very shortly. That's great for opportunities to act/stunt, but it's also going to run me around $3000.

Anyway, here's the list. I figured I'd let my friends make offers for this stuff before it goes up for auction. I usually pride myself on "friend prices," but because I really need this money I can't give/accept super lowball deals. A lot of this stuff is pretty rare/sought after, especially in its condition.

This friend-exclusivity last from now until Sunday night. Monday, I'll start the eBay exodus. I'll try to keep this post updated.

If you have any questions, hit me up on your social media program of choice. I am in the process of taking photos of everything listed.
Thanks for your time and potential money.

The List

Xbox 360
Alan Wake Mint
Alone in the Dark New
DOA Xtreme 2 New
Gun New
John Woo Presents Stranglehold: Collector's Edition New
Kameo: Elements of Power Mint
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend Mint
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames New
Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis Mint
Splinter Cell Conviction: Collector's Edition Mint

PS3
Bionic Commando PS3 Mint
Overlord II PS3 New

Wii
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles New
The Munchables Mint

Nintendo DS
999: Nine Hours - Nine Persons - Nine Doors Mint
Deep Labyrinth Mint
Diddy Kong Racing Mint
Dragon Ball Origins 2 New
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime Mint
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen New
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Mint
Dragon Warrior V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride New
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift Mint
Game & Watch Collection 1 (Nintendo Club Exclusive) New
Game & Watch Collection 2 (Nintendo Club Exclusive) New
Honeycomb Beat Mint
Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns Mint
Lunar Knights New
Magical Starsign New
Nervous Brickdown New
Puzzle Quest Mint
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Mint
Space Invaders Extreme 2 New
Super Princess Peach Mint
The Legendary Starfy Mint
Wario: Master of Disguise Mint

PSP
Gradius Collection Mint
Metal Slug Anthology Mint
Tokobot Mint

GameCube
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean New
Cubivore Mint
SOLD Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Mint
Ikaruga Complete
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess New
Paper Mario: Thousand-Year Door New
Pikmin 1 Mint
Pikmin 2 New
Skies of Arcadia Legends New
Tales of Symphonia New
SOLD Virtua Quest New
Wario World New

Dreamcast
Fur Fighters DC New
Grandia II DC Complete
Illbleed DC Complete
Resident Evil 2 DC New

PS2
Colosseum: Road to Freedom New
Culdcept Mint
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Mint
Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented New
GrimGrimoire New
Metal Saga New
Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast New
RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive New
Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity New
Suikoden IV New
Suikoden V New
Wild Arms 3 New
Ys: The Ark of Napishtim New

Xbox
Fatal Frame Mint
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Director's Cut Mint

Game Boy Advance
Advance Wars 2 Mint
CIMA: The Enemy New
DemiKids: Dark Version New
Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku II Mint
Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament New
SOLD Ninja Five-o Mint
Pinball of the Dead Mint
Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis Mint

PSone
Aquanaut's Holiday Complete
Arc the Lad Collection New
Bust a Groove Complete
Crash Team Racing Mint
Diablo Disc-only
Einhander Mint
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix New
Final Fantasy Origins New
Hogs of War Mint
Legend of Mana Complete
SOLD Misadventures of Tron Bonne Mint, but missing demo
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment New
Rhapsody: Musical Adventure New
Syphon Filter 3 New
Tecmo Super Bowl Complete
Tecmo's Deception Complete
Thousand Arms Complete
Threads of Fate Mint
Tomba Missing inside of instruction book
Tomba 2: Evil Swine Return New
Vandal Hearts Mint
Vanguard Bandits Mint
Wu-Tang Shaolin Style Mint

N64
SOLD Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber Complete
SOLD Paper Mario New
Sin & Punishment (Japanese Import) Mint

SNES
Breath of Fire Writing on box, but otherwise Mint
Donkey Kong Country 3 (Japanese) New
SOLD Kirby Super Star Complete
SOLD Kirby's Dream Land 3 Complete
SOLD Mega Man X2 Complete
Pocky & Rocky Cart Only
Secret of Evermore Complete
Soul Blazer Cart Only
Space Megaforce Complete
Sparkster Complete
Super Mario RPG Complete

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Jak & Daxter Trilogy Movie (Not for Resale) New

30th July 2012

12:19am: Your New TNA Impact Wrestling World Champion!
A couple weeks back, my best friend Dan flew me out to visit. This wasn’t just any visit. It was his way of thanking me for helping to get him into wrestling. He recently signed with Impact Wrestling for a 3-year deal, and it was paying him a good amount. Thus, he could afford to fly me out. Also, he was headlining a pay-per-view, and rightly thought I’d enjoy attending the show.

It’s been a while, so I won’t be my normally thorough self. I did get to reconnect and meet a lot of great people involved in the wrestling business. I had hung out with Samoa Joe a few times previously, and chatted with him about a weird encounter Kate and I had with “Samoan Joe” at a GWAR show. Christopher Daniels had come to a Deity showing, and was super nice; I got to talk to him a bit. I even had a brief but not unpleasant interaction with one of Impact’s writers, one Dave Lagana. Lagana, those close to me will remember, made my life rather difficult the 1st year I wrote for the WWE games (he was a writer on SmackDown at the time), and then later called me a “moron” to a mutual friend. He’s done right by Dan, so my heat with him is basically gone.

Al Snow is a former ECW and WWE talent who is an agent there. He and I talked a bit on Facebook, as he was coordinator for Chad Deity’s Louisville run, and I was obviously in the LA production. So it was good to meet him and swap Deity tales. D-Lo Brown is another agent who was formerly in WWE. He’s been very supportive of Dan, and I let him know that. I met Kenny King, a guy Dan mentored in Ring of Honor, who was just now getting a chance at Impact after ROH royally fudged his contract situation. I also met head of talent relations Bruce Pritchard, formerly known as Brother Love in WWF; former high-flying ECW star Kid Kash, announcer Jeremy Borash, and show hostess So-Cal Val.

Dan was pretty busy on the day-of, so after he got his tan on and we hit the gym, I pretty much just hung out at the arena and tried to stay out of the way. It was a pretty entertaining fly-on-a-wall scenario. There’s really not much backstage at the “Impact Zone,” where almost all TNA shows take place. Most of it takes place outside, and it’s oppressively hot before the sun goes down.

For the show, I sat on hard-camera side, front row pretty much center. Dan’s dad and a few other family filled out the seats next to me. I haven’t seen Dan’s dad for probably 20 years. It’s interesting how some men kind of soften up when they get older. Nice guy.

The show was great. 3 matches really stood out: Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle, AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels in an I-Quit-Match, and of course Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The crowd loved Dan, and the 25 minutes he was in the ring, he and Bobby told a great story.

When my best friend ended up winning the match, it was an amazing sensation. I literally couldn’t have been prouder if I had been in his shoes. And the audience absolutely exploded. He’s so damn great at what he does, and this was a type of reward and validation for 12 years of hard work climbing up an impossibly steep hill. But he did it, and damned if I didn’t feel a little emotional at the outcome. He was kind enough to point to me and smile on camera, and then give me a hug after the show went off the air.

We had a pretty low-key celebration that night, which was cool with both of us. I did have my first alcoholic drink in over 10 years, though: a celebratory shot of Jag’. We ended up staying up until 5am socializing with crew and such.

The next day, we drove back to Tampa where Dan lives. He did an interview in the car, and was impressive as always. Seriously, when I thought of something he could say, he was already saying it. He was humble and thoughtful.

We basically chilled out the next day, playing NBA 2K, watching Trailer Park Boys on Netflix, and chatting. It’s funny: When we’d go to eat, I’d let him order. Here were two decent-looking, put-together dudes sharing vegetarian food. I wonder how many people thought we were gay. ::shrug::

I need to take inspiration from what he did. I don’t know if there’s anything I do as well as he wrestles, but there are goals I want to achieve that seem lofty at best and impossible at worst. But he did this thing. Maybe I can follow suit.

12th June 2012

4:22pm: E3 2012
Last time I was an attendant of E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, was back in 2006. I was a host for GameTrailers.com, and it was great. I’d roll into a booth, do an in/out, shoot some interviews/demos, and move on. I got paid well and it was loads of fun. Compare that to previous years, when I’d have to stay up until 3am writing previews for web stories.

I have some sentimental feelings about E3. After all, it’s where I first met my wife. I got to see Outkast, Jane’s Addiction, and Missy Elliott. I interviewed tons of people who are at least famous to me, and saw some epic games months or years before they released.

So, when Microsoft sent out an email offering to let Xbox gamers attend E3, I said why not? I ended up getting a free pass, both to the show and Microsoft’s press conference. I ended up attending the presser and two days of the show.

Perhaps the coolest part about the whole thing is that I could get to/from downtown with ease, thanks to the new Expo train line. While the closest station isn’t open yet, I only had to drive a mile and a half, park in the free structure, and hop on the train. For $1.50, I got to downtown in under a half hour. Same with coming home. It was awesome! I only really rode the train in Japan, and BART (in SF) a few times. But now Kate and I can get to downtown cheap and easy and quick. That’s great.

The Microsoft presser wasn’t that great, but it was fun to just attend one again. Trey Parker and Matt Stone made an appearance to show off the upcoming South Park game. They were the only ones without a teleprompter, and of course were the only ones whose conversations were natural. Usher capped off the show with a dance number. Did you know he has a last name? It’s Raymond. That’s how he was announced: Usher Raymond.

Otherwise, there were some game demos/trailers and some non-gaming business discussed. The demos always had someone on stage pretending to play, which was goofy to me. So many demos were super loud – especially Black Ops 2 and Halo 4. It was ear-piercing. Others were just super violent: Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider sequels. Nice to see Joe Montana demoing the Kinect playcalling for Madden, albeit without any Sketchers Shapeups on his feet. Resident Evil 6 looked so archaic in its themes and mechanics, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the series.

The two days I spent at the show were mostly with my buddy Raymond, who had me do hosting for his site, RPad.tv. I really enjoyed doing interviews again, and it was definitely an eclectic mix. Some were triple-A games, like Bethesda’s Dishonored and Epic Mickey 2. Then there was the CEO of the company behind World of Tanks and a crazy game which uses Kinect and a real basketball to teach you to be a better ballhandler. Not everything’s up yet, but much of it is on the above-linked site, so please check it out.

I didn’t play too much, but that’s nothing new. To me, E3 isn’t about playing games so much as seeing the big sell. The game I maybe played the most, which surprised the heck out of me, was Brave. Based on the upcoming Pixar game starring a young Scottish redhead, it played more like Baldur’s Gate with intuitive right-stick bow-and-arrow targeting.

I played exactly one Wii U game, but as I was player two I actually (and weirdly) used a Wii remote. That platform as a whole doesn’t get my juices flowing. I think I’ve grown tired of Nintendo’s scant third-party, evergreen first-party games in the same 8 franchises software lineup, and their gimmicky controllers just clutter things up. I don’t see myself buying a Wii U any time soon.

Of course, I still don’t have a PS Vita, either. The one game I played for that – which was the first time I used one – was Gravity Rush, which just came out. It was neat. I like when my gimmicks are built into the hardware.

Speaking of hardware gimmicks, I brought my 3DS for the express purpose of picking up street passes – little avatar business cards from people in your proximity. In 2 days of the show, I got 130 of them. Keep in mind 10 is the max your system can store before you sort them. Not only could you see the cool avatar hats and far-off places people had come from, but you can get 3D puzzle pieces from people or hire them for your Find Mii quest. Yes, all very nerdy stuff, but I hadn’t been that excited about something game-related in a while. Every hour or so was like Christmas morning as a kid. Where will they be from? Can I complete the Legend of Zelda puzzle?

My favorite game had to be Dishonored, by Bethesda. The studio behind it has an amazing pedigree, headlined by Harvey Smith who designed the original Deus Ex games. I watched a 20-minute live demo where a developer played through the same level twice: first as a stealthy character, second as Rambo. Very neat. First-person non-linear action is maybe my favorite genre, a la Deus Ex. I really need to give Bioshock a second chance, now that I think about it.

Conversely, Tomb Raider was maybe my biggest disappointment, seeing as I had high hopes for its reboot. The first half of the demo was a little too Hunger Games’y for my taste: I’m a teen girl; I found a bow-and-arrow; let me hunt some food in the forest. The second half of the demo I consider almost-rape. Lara Croft is in the clutches of nefarious dudes multiple times before narrowly escaping. Then she starts killing them like a Terminator. They shoot her with uzis, her brains splatter on the camera, but she blows them up using some over-hanging fire and a well-placed arrow. Whatever happened to brilliantly designed levels of exploration and intrigue? My only hope is they just didn’t show that half of the game (“half” is pure hope on my part, too).

The show itself had a different vibe. It was still loud and busy, but it was strangely more open. Booths had large blank walls; in Capcom and Activision’s case, almost everything was shown away from the public. Additionally, you had to wait in long lines to see/play just about everything. So crowds were in lines more than they were wandering. The main exception, oddly, was Nintendo – who partitioned most of its Wii stations behind red ropes in 2006. Microsoft’s and Sony’s booths had a lot of accessible consoles, too, if you didn’t mind a little wait. I should mention the food trucks both inside and outside the convention space. India Jones!!!

E3 to me is most about reconnecting with friends. I was able to see so many people I’d worked with over the years. I caught up with some of the Game Informer guys (my old boss is now a fit mountain-biker). I saw a few of my favorite PR peeps. I even saw some of my old associates from THQ. Certain parts were like weird class reunions where everyone else is still in school. An old friend from the GWAR newsgroup days (~1998) was in town, and helped Raymond and I with our shooting. So much has happened in the 13 years since we last hung out.

In summary, I’m glad I went. It was surreal at times, but more fun than anything. Will I go next year? I’m not the kind of person who knows what’s going on next weeks, much less 12 months. It was great working with Raymond, and I preferred doing hosting there to just wandering around the whole time. If someone wanted to pay me a decent day rate to cover E3 next year, I wouldn't punch them in the face. They wouldn't even need to get me a hotel room; I have the train.

24th May 2012

3:27pm: Butterfly pt. 2
Almost a month to the day, I saw the butterfly again. First thing I thought: The person who named butterflies must have been dyslexic, and had meant to call it a flutterby.

Second thing was the shape of the wings – something I hadn’t thought about too much. This particular butterfly, when idle from a profile view, has wings that are a bit like a right triangle, only a bit acute. Maybe like 80 degrees instead of 90. On the side opposite the right angle, the side is softer as in not a straight line. It’s almost like torn paper. The side parallel to the ground is shorter than the other two, also.

Is this significant? Not yet; but it is interesting. I'm glad the flutterby made another visit.

23rd April 2012

3:58pm: Butterfly
Friday, I think it was, I was looking out our kitchen window when I saw a butterfly on our patio. It was neat looking: almost all black, with faded yellow outlining on its wings. It chilled on one of our outdoor chairs, fanning its wings a little bit. I don't see them too often, so I stopped to watch. After a minute or two, I walked away and went on with my day.

Sunday, I decided to wash the dishes. Again, I was facing the patio. Again, I saw the same butterfly; its appearance was even odder the second time. It would set on something, then do a few laps around the patio before setting back down. It was almost beckoning me, wanting me to take notice. Like it was important.

I watched. I studied. I thought in great detail about how it flew. I pondered its freedom, its shape. It felt like I needed to do it. It would flutter around, then make a pinpoint landing. It would speed back and forth to show just what velocity it was capable of. Then it would almost look at me.

“Do you get it yet?” it seemed to say.

“No, but I’m trying,” I would say back.

“Okay, try this!”

It stuck around the entire time I was doing dishes. Since then, I feel like I need to reflect upon it – as if some specific inspiration will present itself. I still haven’t come up with anything solid. But it was definitely inspiring in a general way. If nothing else, I’ve never appreciated how cool butterflies are or the uniqueness of their flight abilities.

Maybe I’ll come up with the true meaning eventually.

14th April 2012

5:37pm: Cruise Chronicle 2012
Before I get to the details, here are my top 9 bullet points from the cruise:

1. I had more fun than I thought I would
2. Snuba is such a great way to explore underwater
3. I love my niece and nephew, though they don’t know how good they have it
4. Developing nations can be pretty depressing at times
5. The Mitchum family is so cool that I enjoyed all the time I spent with them
6. It wasn’t bad being unplugged from outside communication for a week
7. I miss getting some color from our friend the sun
8. Oddly, the best place to eat on the ship was the buffet
9. I picked up a new skill: juggling
Read more...Collapse )

19th March 2012

2:00am: In stunt class, Bob put our fights on video. Then we re-watched them as a class. It's the first time I've seen myself not in a mirror in the last few months. I am astounded by how much bigger I look. It's like a totally different person from the skinny guy I see in most of the clips on my action and hosting reels.

I feel bad for feeling good about it, in a way. I mean, it's looks; it's superficial. But it's something I've devoted a lot of time to, and I've received results. I'm in the best shape of my life, I'd say. That's not a bad thing, right?

Not sure how far I want to take this. I'm getting into a different territory, casting-wise. That's potentially good or bad. Not like I'm booking anything right now, though. But every piece of clothing that I haven't worn for a while feels 2 sizes too small. I mean, they still look good, but it's weird.

My pants and boxers are especially fitting snug, though, because of all the leg work I'm doing. I've gone from squatting 115 lbs 8 times for 3 sets, to squatting 185 pounds 10 times for 4 sets. A couple months back, I was proud to leg press 6 plates (45 pounds/plate). Now I do 10 plates. The strange thing is, I'm not sure my body is even growing in proportion to my increased strength.

Okay, I feel like a douche, so I'll stop for now. But I may take a comparison pic to do the Pepsi challenge with some posed wrestling pictures in the near future. Unfortunately, they made my "JL" singlet smaller during Chad Deity, when I wore it for a few taped promo spots.

5th March 2012

1:13am: Also, I'm at this moment pondering shaving my beard.
But maybe I'll keep it for my meeting with the agent.
Like many things in my life, I think its virtues are under-appreciated and have hope it will get the full credit it deserves some day.
1:09am: Just my sighs
I’m depressed. I don’t know what I’m doing with myself; and when I do, I’m not exactly sure why I’m doing it. I was feeling like this before our Kentucky trip a little over a week ago, and wrote about it in my last (friend-locked) LJ entry. Then it subsided – perhaps because I didn’t really have the time to process it much. But today it came back, and I’m really feeling it at present.

I’m exercising a lot. Endorphins, testosterone, all that shit. Should be good, right? Though I’m even a little edgier than I normally am. I feel like I’m going to snap at some point. It will be a controlled loss of control, but a removal of the leash I wear nonetheless. I encounter situations that are dangerously close to that point. Some politician leaving a sign on my front lawn, which I later find out my landlord authorized (without running it by us). A guy on a bike hogging the sidewalk despite existence of a bike lane, who yelled back at me when I mentioned to him about the fucking bike lane. And that was just today.

I do have two potentially positive things to look forward to. An actress friend put in a word with her new agency, who emailed that they’re interested in meeting with me a week from Tuesday. A bigwig at a big book publisher who didn’t return emails last May and July immediately responded to me, requesting my manuscript. And these two responses happened in the same day. I know better than to get my hopes up, but there’s crazy potential for good to come out of those things.

I was reminded of an event in my grade-school days: In music class, as we were all on risers singing away, I felt very down. The teacher even mentioned it during our singing. I scurried out of the room and went to the bathroom (in the basement, only ones in the school). I felt like I was going to cry; I don’t know why. Dan ran after me, so I tried to play it off like I didn’t feel good.

I’m not sure what was going on in my life at the time. My mom and Roger splitting up? Other issues with my then-stepdad? I don’t know. And I don’t really know what my issue is right now. I wouldn’t say I feel like crying, because I don’t know what that feels like. I haven’t cried since I was about 14. I’m almost 34 now. Okay, in honestly I know what it feels like, but on the rare times it happens I fight it back with everything inside me. Because that’s well-balanced of me, right?

But let’s talk about Dan for a second. That was a really nice thing he did, coming to my aid. Another time, in elementary school, I had been absent on the day we were to run the mile. My asthma and chubbiness meant I wasn’t much of a runner, so perhaps I’d played sick that day. Regardless, I and a few other kids trekked to the Catholic high-school quarter-mile track to run the mile. Dan came with, only to support me. I remember on the final lap, he set himself up to run alongside me on the home stretch. Nobody – family included – had ever done anything that encouraging or supportive for me. Is there any wonder I consider him my best friend some 25 years later?

I’ll leave this on a happy note, thinking about my buddy, and focus on listening to music. Currently playing on iTunes shuffling: Pearl Jam’s Corduroy.

24th January 2012

7:04pm: Little Actor Story
I inquired about a project on Craigslist (my first time doing so), casting a stunt fighter. Found out it was for no pay. I talked to the dude, who was apparently the star but spoke very poor English (French accent? German?). He didn't give me much info, though I asked some really pertinent questions. Still, I said I'd meet with him today to see if we could work out a fight. Waited around all day, and found out this afternoon he wasn't available until tonight. In the mean time, I requested some more information -- like where/when shooting is, if I could see the script, etc.

When I give my time, skills and body to a project, I want to know it's a good fit -- especially when it's for no pay. I would assume a director/writer/star would want to be reassuring of people volunteering their time. I got little to no response and didn't like what little I was told. He said, "This C-list actor is attached, and it'll be great. We shoot 7am tomorrow." Or 9 hours after rehearsal would be over. Rehearsal in Universal City, which is a bit of a jaunt from here.

I was getting bad vibes, so I decided to politely decline the offer and save myself the trip to/from Universal City. My decision was proven correct when he texted back, "That's why people like you will never make it!"

Yeah, silly people like me who don't jump into a pool until they're sure it has water in it.

I forgot my policy of not doing free stuff unless it's for a friend or for a great credit (or SAG voucher). I'll remember it in the future. Maybe I was being overly critical in his eyes, but I'm not desperate to be on camera, and I'm not just some wannabe with no skills.

3rd January 2012

12:25pm: 2011 Year in Review
2012 has a couple days’ head-start on me, but I wanted to recap my 2011 before the memories fluttered away. After all, it was a wild one…or at least seems that way on paper.

For starters, 2011 produced something that ranks very highly among my proudest achievements: I wrote and put out my debut novel. While Still Man Fights is by no means the talk of the town – or even the talk of magazines I worked at for 4 years – I couldn’t be happier with it. Those who were coerced into reading it really seemed to like it, so maybe it’s just the start of the adventures in the “space Australia” known as NewHome. Here’s a link to its Kindle page: http://amzn.to/yjHeqY

Another large event was my on-stage acting debut. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity was such a perfect fit for me. I played a bad-guy wrestler, named the Bad Guy, in an awesome play about many fascinating facets of professional wrestling. The cast was an amazing group of guys (literally, as there were no females) and I learned a lot. It got me into great shape and the credit of fight captain for a Pulitzer finalist production at a prestigious playhouse. I also got to take powerbombs and backdrops for 50 shows in 48 days. And I’m not an Equity actor. Pretty nifty!

A thing that didn't happen was me working for WWE. It was close to happening, though, after 6 months of courting and a trip out to Stamford to interview with Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and others. But they decided to go with soap-opera writers, apparently. Eh, I'm a west-coast guy anyway. ;)

Music played a big role in my life for 2011. Very early on, I picked up the Beatles box set which contains basically everything they recorded. I selected my favorite 94 songs (sorry, Hey Jude) and have really immersed myself in them. I did similar with Led Zeppelin more recently, digging deeper into their catalog than just their 2 excellent best-of CDs.

I also made some music this year, writing and recording a song about the Occupy movement. I ganked the beats and basic formula from Jay Z’s 99 Problems, but it was still a challenging experience. Here’s a link to 99 Percent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOSzctl8JCg I’ve got aspirations of writing and recording more songs, and have already begun preparations on several.

This year, I tried to pare down my video-game collection some. It started with Kate’s friend Laura coming out for Thanksgiving. I wanted to have less boxes around. I took about 150 games to Best Buy and sold another 50 on eBay. I used the Best Buy credit to get an iPad 2, which is an amazing little device. At least games for that take up no space.

What I did not pare down was my video-game PLAYING. NBA 2K11 dominated my game time in the early part of the year, and Skyrim has absolutely owned the last couple of months. I’ll likely beat the 185-hour playing time record I had on Oblivion (its predecessor), though part of me hopes to rid myself of the Skyrim curse soon. After all, staying up until 3am playing is not the most productive thing I could be doing. What if I’d spent that 150 hours learning Japanese, for example?

I touched on it with Deity, but I really have focused on fitness. It was part of our rehearsals to go to the gym nearly every day (Equinox membership!), and I did that despite some bothersome injuries (ribs suck). Putting on weight was difficult but I think I looked fine, though standing next to the dark and massive Chad Deity didn’t help my cause. I’m pretty sure I was overtraining and not eating enough. After a post-run month of illness and laziness, I’m back to working out around 4x a week at the old Bally-turned-LA Fitness. I’ve put on about 5 pounds, which I attribute to working my chickeny legs more often.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Kate. Our relationship continues to be beyond awesome, and I couldn’t be happier. She got herself a new job, which has offered her new challenges and better pay, though her boss situation quickly turned into a similar situation to the old one. Her late-December car accident was a bit scary, but her new car is a positive byproduct. My wife is such a talented, wonderful human being.

I also ought to mention that my relationship with my mom improved a lot this year, and it’s solely to her credit. I don’t think we’ve put the either near the top of our priority lists much over the years, but she involved me a lot more in 2011, and I really appreciate it.

I guess I’ll cut this off here while it’s ~800 words. I’m getting better at these things! On to 2012 and all that it holds!

PS,
I let my hair grow out, and it’s still there!
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