I Push Buttons

Whether I'm coding, writing, playing games, or pissing people off, it all boils down to pushing buttons.

February 26, 2009

Ego Boost

Courtney had a meeting at church tonight, so I went to the mall to get some dinner at Chick-fil-a and browse through the new releases at Gamestop, fully knowing that I wasn't going to purchase anything. I haven't been playing video games as much as I used to, so a game has to be something I'm really looking forward to (or at least one for which I have a trusted recommendation) in order for me to purchase it. After perusing video games for several minutes, I left the store and started heading back toward the other end of the mall where I'd parked.

I hadn't walked too far when I noticed a group of teenage girls heading in my direction. They were your standard modern teenagers, laughing and talking way too loud as they window-shopped their way down the main aisle. As we approached each other, one of the girls looked over, brazenly eyed me, and asked, "Do you have a girlfriend?"

I didn't even break stride. I smiled and said, "Mmmhmm," as I passed her and her friends. I could smell her perfume as I walked by, the kind of inexpensive perfume teenage girls wear to impress teenage boys. Still walking, I turned back and smiled at her; she was still walking too, her head turned and looking back at me over her shoulder. I pulled my left hand out of my jacket pocket and waved my wedding ring at her.

"Oh, snap!" she yelled and started to laugh. I turned back around and continued heading toward the far end of the shopping center, the laughter of the girls blending into the general din of the mall as I went. "Bye, baby!" I heard her call from further down the main corridor.

I didn't look back.

February 24, 2009

The Post Of Plenty

I went to the gym today, as usual, but I couldn't do my weigh-in for the week. Someone had left the weights on the right side of the scale for who knows how long, and it had knocked it out of whack. The scale would not zero out properly when all the weights were on the left. So, I had to wait until I got home tonight to weigh in. The home scale said 204, but this measurement was made at a different time of day and right after I ate dinner. I'm going to assume the one pound difference is from the food and just call this past week a wash. Overall this last week, I came in under in my calorie intake, but there were a couple of days where I had more than I should. Hopefully I will see better progress in the next week.

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This past weekend was a lot of fun. On Saturday I finished reading 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. I avoided reading this book for the longest time because I didn't enjoy the movie at all, and the book was based on the movie (not the other way around, per usual). However, several of my friends who share my reading interests told me the book was much better, so I ended up getting it. I'm glad I did! The book is so much better than the movie. I'm not sure if the movie is lacking (in my personal opinion) because of the technology that existed when the movie was made (1968) or if Kubrick maybe took some liberties with the script. It doesn't really matter, though. If you like science fiction, I definitely recommend the book, even if you didn't like the movie.

Saturday night we met my family in Fair Lakes at Sakura for my aunt's 50th birthday celebration. I love me some Japanese food. I'm not sure if the hibachi style food is traditional Japanese (i.e., they actually eat that kind of food in Japan) or if it's Americanized Japanese food, much like most Chinese food is in the USA. My gut tells me it's Americanized, but I don't care. It's awesome. For the record, I do enjoy traditional Japanese foods as well, like sushi and sashimi. Not that you care.

Sunday afternoon I went out bowling with a bunch of the men from church. We had an absolute blast. I hadn't been bowling in a really long time, and after about a game and a half, I started to get my rhythm back. We bowled two games and started a third one. I did pretty horribly at the beginning of the first game, to the point where I was wondering if I would even break 100. (I haven't bowled below 100 in probably over 15 years.) Luckily, toward the end of the game I started to improve, and I ended up getting a 115. Dave, the winner of the first game, had a 139, so I wasn't far behind.

The second game was a hard-fought match between myself and Daniel. He opened up the game with a turkey (three strikes in a row) and was immediately off to a huge lead. I managed to keep not too far behind him by getting several spares in a row. In the middle of the game, he hit a rough patch with a few open frames in a row, and I managed to land a double, which caught me back up with his score. In the final frame, we were separated by only a few points. I got a strike on my first turn, and then on my second, I got a nine. I failed to pick up the spare, and Daniel got ready for his turn. He rolled a nine on his first ball, which brought him pretty close to my score. He would have to spare in order to beat me, but luckily (for me) he missed, and I ended up winning by two points, 156 to 154.

Our two hour time slot for the lanes was almost over, but we decided to just start a third game to get as much for our money as we could. This game probably would have been my best. Like Daniel's previous game, I opened it with a turkey. On my fourth turn, I rolled what looked and felt like a perfect ball, but the ten pin somehow managed to stand it's ground. At this point it was time to leave, but at the rate I was going, I'm pretty sure I would have topped 200 if I had been able to finish the game.

Bowling with the guys on Sunday made me realize how much I miss the sport. I bowled in a league for many years when I was a kid, and our team of four took first place in South Carolina state's for our age group one year. I'm thinking about possibly getting back into it and joining a Friday night league over the summer. I want to talk with the guys at church and try to gauge interest to see if any of them would be willing to form a team. Even if they don't want to, though, I think I may just join by myself and get put on a random team.

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I'm hoping to get some work done this weekend on the cooperative writing project I started with a friend last year. It's been on hiatus for several months 1) because we've both been pretty busy, and 2) due to #1 we haven't been able to get together to discuss where we are going with it. We finally met for dinner several days ago and came up with some pretty good ideas and modifications. This weekend I hope to work on a map of the world we've created and start an actual plot outline. If I don't have an outline, I'll end up writing in tangents that will never get resolved, so before we go any further I would like to get at least the main points nailed down.

That's all I got for now. Hopefully things are going well for you.

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Previous Weight: 203 lbs
Current Weight: 204 lbs
Goal Weight: 185 lbs

February 20, 2009

This Needs To Happen

While doing my daily Bible reading (I'm following a blueprint which will get me through the entire Bible in a year), my mind conceived of one of the most awesome ideas ever. I can only hope that someone, somewhere with the powers to make this happen will become aware of this intellectual gem and bring it to fruition. What's this epic idea, you ask?

The Book of Proverbs: As Read by David Caruso

I can just see it now.

"A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness..."

[Caruso puts on sunglasses]

"...pours out lies."

[Insert Pete Townsend wailing at the beginning of Won't Get Fooled Again]

If this all seems way out of left field to you, then you must not be familiar with David Caruso's work on CSI: Miami. In that case, I refer you to the video of Caruso's cheesy one-liners.

This Is A Test

This is only a test to see if this interactive poll thing will work like I hope that it will. I'm not sure if Facebook will allow the javascript to be imported or not. Even if it doesn't, if people are interested, they can always go to my blog and vote there. If it works properly with Facebook, so much the better. I'm hoping to revive something I used to do a few years ago. If you read my blog back when I had my own custom site, you can probably guess what that is.

February 17, 2009

Back In Action

I believe I am now fully recovered from the flu or whatever it was I had last week. It was not fun, but it did have the side benefit of helping me lose some weight. I woke up at 8AM this morning and did my usual routine for the first time in over a week, and I made it to the gym this afternoon for another workout. My current progress is noted at the bottom of this post. I have to say that I'm very satisfied with the progress I've made in the last two weeks, and I hope that I can continue to make similar progress in the weeks to come. I hope to be in much better shape for the annual beach trip this year.

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I picked up a couple of new board games this past weekend for Courtney and I to play. It's... challenging... to find games that she and I both would enjoy and that can be played with only two people. I ended up getting The Settlers of Catan Card Game and Tigris and Euphrates. We played both games the day we got them, but we didn't get to finish Settlers, so I can't really report on that one. What we played of it was fun, but we ended up having to go to bed because it was one in the morning (we started late) by the time we were even getting close to being finished.

We've spent most of our time playing Tigris and Euphrates. I have to admit, I was worried about getting this game because there is a good deal of direct conflict in it, something that Courtney doesn't usually enjoy in games. We've had a couple of rough spots in playing while we were both learning the rules, but the last game we played ended up being a lot of fun, even considering the multiple conflicts that arose during the round. (For the record, she has beaten me four out of the five times that we've played, so I don't see what she has to complain about.)

This is definitely a fun game if you like your games with strategy in them. Personally, I don't really care for games that are mostly luck-based, and Courtney doesn't really get into strategy type games. I think it's pretty lucky that we both ended up liking this game. Of course, I think her taste in games may be changing as well. She didn't think she would like Settlers of Catan (the original), but it's a favorite or hers now. I think that game definitely opened some doors for some deeper games, such as Tigris and Euphrates, and I'm hoping to be able to get more in the future that she will also enjoy.

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Previous Weight: 210 lbs
Current Weight: 203 lbs
Goal Weight: 185 lbs

February 11, 2009

Getting Better

I know I promised that I would update yesterday with my new weight after a week, but as many of you already know, I came down with the flu on Saturday and haven't left the house for four days. As miserable as that was, it did have the added benefit of helping me lose some weight, and my home scale says that I'm now 204 lbs. If that's accurate, I think that once I'm back on my regular exercise schedule I could be under 200 lbs by sometime in March. I can't even remember the last time I was under 200 lbs, so that will be a milestone in and of itself.

FYI, I'm aware a lot of you are following me on Facebook, but these notes all originate from my blog at http://ipushbuttons.blogspot.com. So, if you care to follow me there, you're more than welcome to. You know, just in case you like my pointless drivel better than other people's pointless drivel and want to make sure you don't miss a single word.

February 05, 2009

Maybe You Shouldn't Be Driving...

This is insane. Apparently there is some lady in South Korea that has failed the written driver's exam 771 times. The passing score is a 60, and she's gotten as high as 50. Now, it seems to me, that were this woman to pass this test with a 60 at some point, that this country should be scared to death of putting her on the road. There is obviously something wrong here, like a learning disability or memory loss.

Of course, the whole process is screwed up in the first place. I don't think it should be possible to take the test 771 times. There should at least be some sort of annual limit. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking 25 attempts, twice per month and a free bonus test on your birthday. If you don't pass in five years, you're done. It's public transportation for you, lady! Letting someone take the test this many times is like allowing unauthorized users to guess passwords to your website as many times as they want. Eventually, they will get it right, and nothing good will come of it. Seriously, South Korea, if you know what's good for you, you'll keep this lady on the bus.

You have been warned.

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I got up at 8AM again today. I even woke up before the alarm clock went off! I did a more intense half hour workout this morning since I unlocked some new exercises on the Wii Fit. I'm going to the gym this afternoon and plan on biking for 45 minutes or so.

February 04, 2009

I Hate Politicians

Can someone tell me why Geithner and Daschle are not in jail? Oh, that's right, they have the money to buy themselves out of it. They have this money because they didn't give it to the government like they were supposed to. I can understand a couple of errors here and there on your taxes. I can be reasonable and see how Nancy Killefer could have missed the $946 in taxes on unemployment compensation for hired help. But $34,000? $128,000? That not a bookkeeping mistake. Daschle owed more in taxes than most people make in a year. Pleading ignorance is no excuse; especially when everyone is pretty certain he was not ignorant of what he was doing. I hate politicians.

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I successfully got up at 8AM this morning and did my morning workout. I took C's advice and did exercises on the Wii Fit. I didn't do my afternoon workout because my triceps are killing me from lifting yesterday. It's been a while since I lifted regularly, so I'll have to wait for my muscles to get used to it again before I start doing it regularly.

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A cat just jumped on me.

February 03, 2009

Putting It Out There

Well, I'm finally doing it. I'm determined to lose some weight this year. I'm not even close to obese, but I'm definitely overweight. I've been somewhat trying to lose weight for the past couple of months, but I can hardly say I've been dedicated. I've been lazy and doing it half-assed for long enough. It's time to get serious about it. But, Matt, exactly how serious are you? Well, I'm writing about it on the internet! And everyone knows the internet is serious business.



I've decided on doing several things that I think will help me to lose weight consistently as well as get back in shape. I believe if I can stick to them, I'll be able to meet my goal weight in a reasonable amount of time. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) I'm going to try and get my body into a normal sleep cycle. This means I will be getting up at 8AM each day. This may seem late to some of you, but this is early for me. I work flex hours at work and generally do not leave the office until after 6PM. To help facilitate getting up at 8AM and not hitting the snooze button, I will be moving my alarm clock across the room so I'm forced to get out of bed to turn it off. I plan on getting up at 8AM every day except for Sunday. Yes, kids, that includes Saturday.

2) After getting up, I will do light exercises for half an hour. This includes, but is not limited to: pushups, situps, jumping jacks, planks, leg lifts, etc. This will be difficult to get into for the first week or so, but once my body starts expecting exercise at 8AM, it will be easier to get up at that time. Once it warms up outside, I will add running to the list of morning exercises.

3) I will be moving my more intense workout from the evening to the mid-afternoon. When I'm working from home, I will lift weights using the free weights that I have. When I'm at work, I'll go to the gym around 2PM for weight lifting and light cardio. I went at 2PM today to see what it's like, and it is great! There is almost no one there, so I don't have to wait for any machines, and my workout goes by quickly.

4) I will try to watch what I eat. This will be the hardest one for me. I love food. Luckily, I'm not really a candy/dessert/soda person, so I have that going for me. I think my problem is that I tend to eat too much. This wasn't an issue for me back in college when I had an actual metabolism and walked 10+ miles a day. Now, it's harder. I'm going to try and eat healthier. I will also try and eat less, but more often. Courtney has a program for her iPod touch that helps her keep track of what she eats throughout the day, and once I get an iPod touch of my own, I will definitely be getting that. Hopefully I will be able to get one soon. In the meantime, I will have to go by the honor system.

That's pretty much my plan in detail. I'm going to post my results here on a weekly basis. I'll be weighing myself on the same scale at the gym every Tuesday. I figure if I'm putting it out there for everyone to see, it may help to motivate me. Encouragement is welcomed but not required.

Previous Weight: N/A
Current Weight: 210 lbs
Goal Weight: 185 lbs

February 02, 2009

Getting The Ball Rolling

I'm going to try and blog more. I've been on a reading binge lately, which inevitably leads to a writing binge, so I need to start flexing those muscles in my brain so they'll be ready when the time comes.

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We had a good time visiting Matt and Sarah in Blacksburg this weekend. That town has definitely changed a lot since the last time I was there. They are building all over the place. I deliberately avoided going to the VT campus, as I want my memories of that place to remain untainted. My four years there were some of the best of my life. It's hard for them not to be, really. I made lifelong friends and met my wonderful wife while attending school at Virginia Tech. I want to keep all of those mental images intact as long as I can. Progress be damned.

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Don't try to have sex with a raccoon. If you do, it will bite off your doodle. I'm pretty sure I didn't have to tell most of you that, but on the off chance you're a dude who is planning on having sex with a raccoon, I may have just saved you a world of pain, in which case you may buy me something expensive as an expression of your eternal gratitude. An iPod Touch would suffice.

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We are probably going to cancel our cell phone plan and switch over to a pre-paid plan. Basically, the minimum number of minutes offered by the phone companies are way more than we ever use. I generally abhor speaking on the phone, so this should not come as a surprise. It turns out that if we switch to pre-paid phone plans we could save over $400 a year. That's just ridiculous. We're planning on going over to the Verizon store on Saturday to see what is involved in switching to this plan (we're pretty sure we have to buy a specific kind of phone) and if we'd get to keep our phone numbers.

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The Superbowl was definitely an exciting game. I think it was a pretty horrible officiating job, but I didn't have any real emotional investment in the game, so I don't really care. Both teams played well and have nothing to be ashamed of. Well, everyone except for James Harrison, who should have been ejected from the game following his encounter with Aaron Francisco. That was just childish.

Is it just me, or do the Superbowl commercials suck now? It used to be they were the funniest/craziest/most interesting ads you would see all year. Now it's 75% car commericals and movie trailers. The only memorable one for me was the career builder one that looped over and over showing all the reasons people hate going to work. Any commercial that involves punching a koala wearing glasses is a win in my book.