Nov 18th 2013
We had a busy but fun week.
Monday night, we played Settlers of Catan with people from my work. I was shut down pretty quickly. Molly and Jacob worked to get everyone to block any possible paths I had for expansion. It was still a good time. Dave had never played before that night and the next day he was already asking when we were going to play again.
Tuesday night, we met with Michael and Lisa at Ruby Tuesdays for dinner before going to the movies. I had never eaten there before. I always thought it was just like Applebees, but the salad bar and free cheesy biscuits were a nice touch. After dinner we saw Thor 2, which blew away my expectations.
Thursday night, we went out for dinner with Molly's uncle Robin at Zocalo's. He had been there once before and didn't like it, so we were hoping to prove that they do have good food. While Robin said that his food was good, it was pretty ironic that my food wasn't as good as anything I've had there before. The guacamole appetizer was good enough to make up for the lackluster entree, though.
Friday, I was trying to get a ticket to see Capital Cities and Fitz and the Tantrums. The show had been sold out for weeks, but I thought I might be able to get one second hand. I was only willing to spend $40 for a ticket, and the cheapest one on StubHub all day was $65. Karl already had a ticket, so I figured I would go with him to the venue and see if I could score one from a scalper. When we got there, a lady asked us if we had an extra ticket. She had been there for over an hour trying to get one. Karl was willing to try to help me get a ticket for a while before going in, so we started asking passersby if they had a ticket to sell. Eventually, I saw someone hold a piece of paper up across the street. There was a scalper with one ticket. I let the lady who had been there for so long go over and get it since I felt like she had more effort invested in it than I did. She paid $45 for the ticket. After trying to find another ticket for a while longer, I gave up. Karl went in to the show and I headed back to my car.
Later that night, Karl texted me to say that I was lucky to have saved my money and he wished he would have sold his ticket to that lady.
I had been invited to go to Ryan's house with some other people from work, so I decided to head down there instead of going home. Not that I don't enjoy spending time with my wonderful wife, but I felt like since my concert plans fell through I still wanted to do something different for the night. So, I headed down to Akron where Ryan has a nice house in the woods. Jacob and I played Ryan's MAME cabinet pretty much the whole time we were there. Others joined in from time to time. Marble Madness with a trackball was pretty intense. We also played Galaga, Millipede, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was a lot of fun.
Sep 22nd 2013
Last Saturday, Karl and I drove up to Detroit for the St. Jerome's Laneway Festival. Originating in Australia, this was the first international laneway festival and for some reason they chose Detroit as host city. Maybe it was because Oakland University has an awesome venue for a multi-stage concert event. Rolling green hills and almost perfect temperature made for a great day of music.
We got to the festival grounds pretty early, so we scoped out all of the merchants and were familiar with the stage locations before the first band started. About ten minutes after entering, I realized that I left my sunscreen in the car and Karl left his sandwich there, too. Unfortunately, the event had a no reentry policy. I asked a guy at the entrance if there was any way I could go out and get my sunscreen from that car. Without any sympathy, he assured me that I could not. I tried to stay in the shade as much as I could throughout the day, but I ended up with a sunburn. I guess it could have been worse if I wasn't mindful of it.
The bands we saw were Haerts, My Brightest Diamond, Chet Faker, CHVRCHES, Solange, Flume, and Sigur Rós. We saw bits and pieces of other performances, but those were the full performances we caught.
The biggest letdown was CHVRCHES. That was the band I was most excited to see, but it seemed like the lead singer didn't want to be there. There was a song where one of the other members sang lead vocals and he went nuts during the performance. It was strange but entertaining, unlike the rest of the songs where they all pretty much just stood there and played their music. Karl and I agreed that they might perform better in a small club where it's dark and the lighting could provide some engagement for the audience. From what I've read in the reviews for the festival, our poor opinion of the performance is in the minority. I still love the band, but I don't think open space daytime venues are for them.
The biggest surprise was My Brightest Diamond. I expected it to be good, but unexciting. I listen to her music when I want to chill, but it turned out that she had a very energetic show. Small strange things, like wearing a hard hat and fake mustache for one song or putting on yellow house cleaning gloves for another, kept things interesting. She did a good job of working the stage.
One nice surprise was the Detroit Party Marching Band. They started the set for My Brightest Diamond, but we also caught them performing on their own out in the middle of a field. They were very entertaining. Energetic music, crazy costumes, and interactions with the audience made for a fun time.
The best performance was, by far, Sigur Rós. The sun had set by the time they took the stage. Individual light bulbs had been placed around the platform. Their set made use of the long LED screen that had been hanging unused behind all of the other bands that had used that stage. It displayed atmospheric video clips to match the mood of each of their songs. The crowd was taking pictures and videos for the first half of the set, but soon after, it felt like everyone was just caught up in the moment with the band. There weren't any hand-held glowing screens scattered around me; just a crowd enthralled by the energy pouring out over it. After it was over, I was on an emotional high. I loved it.
Overall, it was a great music festival. Problems that a lot of concerts face - crowding, obstructed views, drunks, fights - were virtually nonexistent at the Laneway Music Festival. The music was eclectic and the venue was perfect. If the bands are lined up right for next year, I can see myself going again.
Jun 7th 2013
Molly and I got in to Selinsgrove around midnight last Friday night. Saturday morning, we went to Perkins for breakfast with my grandpa and my brothers. Then we met the rest of my family at the Susquehanna Sports Center for some mini-golf. Their church was having a summer fun day for the kids. Molly, dad, and I were the last to start going around the holes and must have been taking a really long time at each one. When everyone else had finished all 22 holes, we were on hole 13. Everyone was headed to the church building for lunch, so we skipped ahead to the last hole. Molly had been keeping score, but wouldn’t add up the final score. I’m pretty sure it’s because she knew I would have won. At the church building, we had pizza and then the kids played water games. I got to visit with my friend James and some others. It was a good time.
After all the kids were thoroughly soaked, we went to my parents’ house. Molly and I showed them pictures from our trip to Ireland and London (which I plan on posting about later). It was really useful having a tablet that can hook up to a tv so everyone can see the same pictures all at once. Even so, it took us an hour and half to get through all of the pictures. It seemed like Maria was the only one that got bored with it, except for my dad when we were showing the pictures from the Harry Potter tour. Molly will be reworking the picture collection for showing it to her parents. We also gave my family the souvenirs we got for them. I think the shirt I got my dad was the most perfect match of the bunch.
For dinner, we went to a new restaurant in Mifflinburg called Twisted Bull. While looking over the menu, I saw an item called the Miff Burger. In the description, it listed Biff Sauce as one of its ingredients. There was a burger joint down the street from The Rental Stop when I was growing up that was called Biff Burger that had a special sauce on their burgers. It closed down in 2001 and I couldn’t believe this restaurant was featuring their sauce on a menu item. Of course, that’s what I ordered. I added cheese and bacon to mix and it was both nostalgic and delicious.
Sunday, we went to church and rushed back to the hotel to check out before noon. Then we had a great home cooked summer lunch of fall-off-the-bone ribs and corn on the cob. After lunch, Molly and Maria worked on a craft project Molly had brought: glow-in-the-dark mosaics. Maria liked “charging” them up and then pulling each of us into the closet to see them glow. Meanwhile, I was having a lot of fun finding old art and writing projects from school and sharing them with the family.
It was a good trip!
Apr 2nd 2013
The final weigh in was yesterday and I got second place!
I lost 7 pounds in the last 3 weeks. That’s 20.5 pounds overall. My total body weight percentage lost was 10.35%.
I lost more than I thought I would and actually came within a percentage point of the winner of the contest. Unfortunately, taking off my belt wasn’t enough to put me in first.
I plan on continuing to pay attention to the number of calories I consume so that I can maintain this weight and I’ve already started weight lifting this morning. Right now, I’m just skinnier; I need to get stronger.
Before & After:
Mar 13th 2013
Oops. I forgot to update this last week.
I lost 6.5 lbs in the last 5 weeks. That’s 13.5 lbs overall.
The person who was in the lead for most of the contest so far has been diagnosed with Graves’ Disease which has resulted in him losing 9 lbs in the past week even though he was eating a lot of food and not exercising. We disqualified him and refunded him his entrance fee.
That puts me in second place, but the guy in third place is only about 0.2% behind me. My birthday is this weekend, so that makes it extra hard to eat healthy. I was planning on going to a Brazilian steakhouse for my birthday dinner. Now that doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Especially since I didn’t lose any weight last week.
The Mayo Clinic recently did a study on the effects of monetary incentives in weight loss programs.
The study results showed that those involved in the incentive-based programs were far more likely to reach their monthly target weight loss than those in the nonincentive groups.
Those who were able to earn money for dropping weight in the study lost an average of 9.08 pounds over the course of a year, compared with 2.34 pounds for participants in the nonincentive groups. Furthermore, 62 percent of those in the incentive groups completed the yearlong program, compared with just 26 percent for those who didn’t receive cash incentives.