First Gym Experience

I’ve finally broken down and signed up for a membership to a local gym. I won’t lie, for the first month of my membership, I didn’t go. The thought of being there and seeing these immensely  muscular people intensely grunting as they lifted 1,000 lbs weights turned me off. Even the thought of just being on the treadmill and seeing others run like they were saving the Hobbits from Isengard was enough to give my anxiety the push it needed to make me not want to go.

An Awkward Start

I buckled down and told myself, “No one cares if you’re running on a treadmill or lifting a few weights, or practicing some yoga. That’s what that place if for.” With that, I forced myself into workout clothes after work and went. The first piece of equipment I touched was the treadmill: my comfort zone. For the first few minutes, I’m sure I looked like the stereotypical henchman in the background of a movie… You know, just pressing buttons that didn’t doing anything. Then the belt slowly began to move.

I went to the gym a few more times, mostly just running 1.5 miles on the treadmill and beaming at the high number of steps on my Fitbit Blaze. One night, a co-worker went with me and asked what I liked to do at the gym. My response was, “Um… Mostly run on the treadmill because that’s all I’ve done.” I had been told by someone else to just “read the instructions on the machines” if I wasn’t sure how to use it. However, I thought about how that would require me to be in the zone with some of those intense people I had mentioned earlier. My co-worker was gracious enough to show me how to operate some of the equipment, which gave me more confidence and motivation.

The Nerve 

This week, I went to the gym with a complete workout in mind. I was going to work up a sweat at the gym, then go home and feel like an accomplished adult. My first stop, the ever favorite treadmill, which was the easy part. I walked/ran my 1.5 miles and could “feel the burn”. To my dismay, there quite a few people lifting weights and working out. I took a deep breath, gripped my water bottle, and made my way into the lion’s den.

I was lifting weights, listening to music, and pushing myself. I am still a bit new to this, and didn’t want to end up on Facebook in one of those “gym fails” videos people send me. I was sure to read the instructions and do things slowly. I was even keeping track of my workout with my Fitbit and thought about how excited I would be when I looked at that night’s results on the app.

Patiently, I waited for this guy to finish on this ab machine I wanted to try out. He walked away, and even came back to wipe it down. As he walked away for the second time, I stopped to check my phone and my Fitbit. Sitting on the seat, I started to read the instructions, when something caught my eye. It was the guy who was just on it. I started to take my headphones off, when he put his finger up and mouthed the words, “Give me one more second.” I nervously got up and mouthed, “Sorry, sorry.” Then he got on and began to work out… Again. When I realized he wanted to do another set, I was a bit frustrated. I had waited for him to leave, he had even wiped the seat clean… Just to push me off? I shook it off and walked to the water fountain to refill my water bottle. When I turned around, another guy was on it.

I’m not sure what did it, but I had become a bit anxious about just standing and walking around looking at the diagrams on the sides. I knew I looked a bit lost, and even avoided eye contact with people walking by. At that point, I had decided it was okay if I went home. At least I DID something, at least I ran over a mile and actually DID something other than sit in my bed at home.

Not a Complete Waste

It’s been a day or two, and I’m still proud I went by myself. I’m proud that I have been mostly cooking at home this week, trying to fit in some sort of breakfast, and making healthier decisions. I’ve even noticed that these past couple of weeks I have reduced the amount of soda I drink, and increased my water intake. I’ve been doing research on workouts that may better suit me, and looking into even more healthier habits.

The point is, I now strangely have more confidence and motivation to go back to the gym. I’m hoping that when the temperature cools down a bit more, I can start riding my bike. Maybe someday I’ll even post a “beginning/results” picture. But for now, I know what to expect and I won’t be letting anyone run me off of the equipment.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

I finally got a chance to go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I decided to see it after the mass crowds had swarmed the theaters. Now, I’m going to refrain from putting in too many spoilers in this review, but I think most people have seen the film by now.

jynJyn Erso is a prisoner of the Empire. She is the daughter of Galen Erso, who just so happens to be the scientist behind the creation of the Death Star’s planet-destroying power. Years after her father is taken by the Empire, Jyn joins forces with Cassian Andor and K-2SO, a Rebel spy and a reprogrammed Imperial droid. Along the way, they befriend with Imwe and Malbus; a blind martial artist and his gun-wielding companion, who join them in the rogue mission to obtain the information from the Imperial base of Eadu.

 

The first thing I noticed about this film is it did not open with the traditional credits intro we normally get. I was expecting it, but later it made more sense not to put it since this is a side story, and not the main plot. We already know what has happened in Episodes I-III, and we know about the events that happen in Episodes IV-VI. This film nestles right in between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope. In fact, this story actually ends just moments before Princess Leia is captured by Darth Vader. I loved how this gave us more insight into the conflict between the Empire and the Rebellion. When the Rebellion was able to destroy the Death Star, it was a major turning point in the war between the two.

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Some fans have complained that Star Wars is about the Skywalkers. This is true, and I do not argue with that. However, how I can justify this story is that the Empire, the Sith, the Rebellion, and the Jedi are all key to the story of the Skywalker lineage. This story just simply expands on those key elements of the larger story. Plus, this film does actually feature two Skywalkers. Even if it is only for a brief time.

 

Which brings me to another aspect of the film that really helped me connect with it. It helped fill that nearly two decade gap that we get between Episode III and IV. We see the ruined city of Jedha, which was where the Jedi once resided rehost2f20162f122f202f6929688d-1a69-4671-8f33-5b02af51d4fe1before their downfall. The film, in my opinion, did capture the feel of Episode IV. They mention Obi Wan and the fact that he has been “in hiding” for several years.
The other way how it really helps the audience connect with the other Star Wars films is it brings back familiar faces such as Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, and a brief look at young Princess Leia. We also get the Rebel and Imperial fighter ships, the Deathstar, and both fleets. If you watch, you’ll catch that they actually recycle footage from Episodes IV-VI, which was pretty clever way to connect the two films to tie it into the others of the franchise.

Overall, the film was as I expected it to be. It not only gave you insight into the Star Wars universe, but I feel it was the film we needed for the end of 2016. It introduced new characters, and even revived the more familiar faces that we grew up watching. Rogue One was definitely worth the wait.

“I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” 

c82c1bbfb0cfdb1c12bb8dd381090786f06dc67d1Unfortunately, it was announced that Carrie Fisher died due to a heart attack she had on a plane a few days ago. I actually had ordered my tickets minutes before I read the news on Tuesday, and was deeply saddened. Not only was she Leia Organa, but she was a witty comedian and a beautiful writer. Recently she published The Princess Diarist where she revealed after 30 years that she did in fact have an affair with Harrison Ford on the set of the original Star Wars film. But being Leia isn’t the only way I will remember Carrie. I will remember the way she addressed people criticizing her for aging and returning to the screen as the beloved character. I will remember how funny she was in her interviews, and how she seemed to be at peace with who she was. One quote of hers that I found that really stuck out to me was:

“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.’ “

Hopefully for 2017, I will read and review her new memoir and be sure to write a review on it. It saddens me that it took me this long to realize that she was a writer.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Dir. Gareth Edwards. Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Mads Mikkelsen. Images from Google Images. 

When I met Rufio in 2014

Alright, so tonight I am writing about an experience I had on Novemeber 1, 2014.

On Halloween night, I had been out to a house party in Oklahoma City with a friend of mine. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had any time or money for the costume that I wanted (a doll). At the time, I was on the only transporting team for a hospital, and we ended up being out until 10 pm (my friend lived over an hour away and I had to run home to get dressed and ready for the drive). I was just having a genuinely upsetting Halloween. I had decided to settle on just wearing a black dress. I didn’t necessarily look witchy, so I couldn’t claim a witch… I didn’t have a chance to put any sort of makeup on. So, I was just myself… but in heels and a black dress.

At the party, I had over heard someone mention they had been to the anime convention in Bricktown earlier that day. It’s called Izumicon. I had been a few years ago with my sister and her friends, and had even convinced a couple of my friends to go with me another year. That first year I went, I met Rikki Simons (voice of Gir from Invader Zim), a few years later, my friend Christine and I met Vic Mignogna (voice of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist), and many others. However, this year, when I looked at the guests line up, the first one that I noticed was Dante Basco.

Dante Basco was the voice of Zuko in The Last Airbender series and Jake Long in Disney Channel’s American Dragon series. However, where I knew him from was from his role as Rufio in Hook (1991).

When I was a kid, I had that movie on VHS (old school, yo), and I wore it out. I played it several times a day. I could quote the movie from start to finish. I even had a huge pink bunny that normally ended up with his ears tied together and I pretended that was Rufio (yes, a huge pink bunny) while I jumped on the bed and off dressers to pretend I was flying while he and Peter Pan fought Hook. That movie was a huge part of my childhood. So, needless to say, when I saw he was on the guest lineup I knew what I would be doing with my November 1st.

I woke up the next day on my friend’s couch. I cleaned myself up as best as possible in her bathroom, gathered my things, and locked her door. I was already running a little late – because I wanted to be there early for the line. I knew there would be a line.

Parking in Bricktown was maddening. I ended up parking several blocks away and I put enough change in the parking meter to be there for at least 4 hours. When I finally made it to the doors, I was greeted with the familiar site of people in cosplay. I bought my ticket from a girl dressed in a cute white Lolita dress and blonde curls, and went to the restroom to make sure I looked alright. I still felt like I was a hot mess from the night before, but I worked with what I had.

When I got back down to the the doors, a small line had formed. I was the 9th person in line and I was 45 minutes from seeing one of my childhood heroes. Not too shabby. As I sat in the line, I had wished I had a copy of Hook for him to sign, but I figured they’d have something in there. If all else failed, I had my Izumicon pamphlet. While waiting, I was invited to play my first ever game of Cards Against Humanity. When I’m alone, I’m pretty shy about interacting with other people… but this game sounded so fun I couldn’t resist. Now I have my own deck.

Anyways, our game ended and they opened the doors. As I walked through, I kept thinking Man, just keep cool. You’re shy, but how many times do you get to meet Dante Basco? HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU GET TO MEET RUFIO? They started to divide the line as we approached the tables – I stepped to the side and realized that most of the people in front were going to see both guests at the panel… I ended up being the second person in line to meet him.

I watched as he walked in front of the crowd with his phone – taking a video. I couldn’t believe it. I hardly paid attention to the girl in front of me while she got a poster signed and a picture taken. Mostly, I was thinking, When you walk up there, don’t fall on your face because this is exactly one of those moments where you would probably find a way to do that.

Then, my turn.

I walked up while he sat at the table, and shook his hand. I was so nervous, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to talk. He asked my name, and I told him. I purchased a Rufio poster for him to sign. As he signed, I blurted out, “You got me into a lot of trouble as a kid.” He laughed asking how and I told him about being a kid and playing the tape hundreds of times, about jumping on beds and furniture playing and pretending to be fighting along side him and Peter Pan. He was extremely polite and kind. He asked what I did, I told him that I am a writer. I know I wasn’t there for a while, but we talked about writing. I hadn’t realized that he wrote poetry. I even talked about how the whole story of Peter Pan inspired the setting for a story I wrote and placed 3rd in a statewide contest in high school – and that was the beginning of me realizing I loved telling stories. I told him I had been published twice, and had just finished college.

I even worked up some courage and asked for a picture with him. When you’re a kid and you know a person on television is older than you, you normally see that person as being taller… because everyone else is taller than you. When he stood, we was only a few inches taller than me. It made the kid in me realize how much I had actually grown up (even though that same kid was also trying to keep its composer because I was standing next to Rufio). Somehow, I had even discussed how the story of Peter Pan also influenced my decision to adopt when I am ready to start a family.

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When he stood he told me he liked my necklace, and in the picture my face is still red from blushing. I shook his hand again, he told me to “keep lookin’ out for those Lost Kids” and smiled.

When I got out, I called my mom and dad. The visit to Izumicon was a spontaneous thing, so when I told them both that I had met Dante Basco, they thought I was joking and talking about someone in costume. My Halloween may have been disappointing, but the next day made up for it.

I still have the Rufio poster he signed for me, I framed it immediately so that it wouldn’t get damaged on the ride home. A full year later, I still tell people I met him and share the experience. I checked into some of his Youtube videos and read some of his poetry. Despite being an English major, I rarely got into poetry (I sure as hell can’t write any), but I definitely am a fan of his.

I wasn’t just meeting a celebrity, I met a fellow writer. It kind of gave me inspiration and motivation to keep on writing. At the time that I met him, I was feeling a little depressed because I wasn’t happy at my job and I hadn’t had a thing to write about since I graduated college in May. It was just a cherry on top of the whole experience to learn he loves writing too. Most people I do meet hate writing and don’t read much at all.

So, anyways. If I could meet him again, I would tell him thank you for the motivation to keep my chin up. It was a highlight in 2014 for me.

Here is the video from Dante Basco’s Youtube Channel.

Halloween Playlist

Even though I’m sure everyone and their dog has created a Halloween Playlist by now (I’m assuming), I am going to post a list of songs that I really like that I’m currently enjoying to get me in the mood for Halloween. By the way, I plan on being Han Solo. I feel like that is pretty fitting for this year since the new Star Wars movie comes out in December. Though I always have a backup idea in case at the last minute I can’t pull it off… and this year… costume number two is Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. I think I could totally pull her off.

Anyways, are some songs from my playlist for Halloween. It’s made up of some classics, and maybe future classics.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

“Season of the Witch” by Donovan

“Ghost N Stuff” by deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire

“Howl” by Florence and the Machine

“Into the Woods/The Witch” by Danny Elfman

“The Wolf” by Fever Ray

“Spellbound” by Siouxsie and The Banshees

“Celestial Crown” by The Sword

“I Want To Tear You Apart” by She Wants Revenge

“Feral Love” by Chelsea Wolfe

Bland First Post

It’s been a month since I’ve created this blog, and I think I’m a bit overdue for a first post. Mostly, I hate introduction posts because it’s such an awkward thing to do. You’re trying to set yourself up, while at the same time trying not to be cliche. It’s a bit stressful in itself.

At the beginning of the summer, I moved from a city (town… it seems more fitting) with a population of around 17,000 people to a much larger city with a population of 57,000. Of course, both numbers come from the 2013 surveys, so I’m not sure how close everything is now that it’s 2015. The point is, I went from a small city, to a much larger one.

Since I like writing I decided to start this blog to keep myself busy, and to show to potential employers if I ever apply for a writing position. I mostly write prose, so keeping a blog for social media could be easy. Obviously, not as easy as I thought it would be because it took me a whole month to come up with a first post.

Here I will be writing a few posts a week. I will post anything from DIYs, recipes, playlists, events, and maybe random adventures I tend to go on. I will probably also write reviews over places, books, and movies. Since I’ve moved to a different location, I would like to try new and different things. Also, just to let all my readers (if I eventually get any) know, I have a standard poodle named Alex and you will see a lot of her. Normally, I take her wherever I go and end up taking more pictures of her than of anything else. I know, I’m like that crazy cat lady… but with a dog.

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It will be safe for all to assume all the pictures I post on here will be my own. I will do my best to correctly cite pictures (and references) if I barrow any from other sites.

I know this was sort of a bland first post, but just stay with me. Maybe next time I will post my October Playlist.