A Journey of Strength and Spirit


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Warrior from Hong Kong
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@lofivelcro Wowza! I need to try some of that RPing. Perhaps I've gotten off on the wrong foot - after finishing the base campaign, I wanted to play the game solely as a FPS. I got my wish, but even with all my mods installed, the game is not as strong a shooter as others in the genre (ie doesn't have the responsiveness of say, a COD game). Still, it's fun to have another looter-shooter experience in my library (not exactly a genre whose cup runneth over).

@CODawn Yeah! I love Alice Cooper! He's got awesome music!

More tired Ox!

Deadlifts: 170 x 3 as a top set, followed by descending sets. I'm not exactly sure what happened here, considering I've performed much more strongly in the past. A possible culprit was the barbell I used; I'm used to a heavily-knurled one that "bites" into the hand, and the one I used today was smoother. My grip kept giving way.
T-Bar Rows: 95 x 5.
Meadows Rows: 80 x 6. Again, grip issues.
Machine Narrow Rows: 45 x 6. I don't know the proper name for this one. I feel like the motion the machine forces you through is *too* strict for my liking.
Machine Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 6. These still feel good.

I left the workout today with my legs and joints in pain; I don't think it's a permanent thing, but it likely reflects on the stress I've put on my lower body lately. Time to take a break? Say it ain't so!

Keep going, Bees!

Playing: Prodeus. Had a lovely late night just listening to my favourite podcast (Colours of the Dark) and blasting demons at the same time. I used the last of my free Government money (the original 2000 HKD has been whittled down) to buy a Steam card to load up on purchases but... nothing's really sticking out. Maybe the transgressive Priest Simulator?

Watching: I forgot to comment on House of the Dragon yesterday. Paddy Considine's performance as Viserys was, and has been, nothing short of magnificent. Applause. We're not at the beginning of the end, folks (which might seem that way because this is the end of Season 1)... considering the course of The Dance of the Dragons, we're at the end of the beginning.

Listening to: Pop Evil - Ghost of Muskegon. What's the feel of this one? Reflective? Lost? Either way, it's a very memorable, slower alt-rock song.

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Alchemist from France
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Watching: I forgot to comment on House of the Dragon yesterday. Paddy Considine's performance as Viserys was, and has been, nothing short of magnificent. Applause. We're not at the beginning of the end, folks (which might seem that way because this is the end of Season 1)... considering the course of The Dance of the Dragons, we're at the end of the beginning.
Was raving about Paddy Considine too, really, he outshone them all for this episode!
Loved the little detail (apparently due to chance?) of Daemon gently putting back the crown on Viserys's head after helping him to the throne. For such a fraught relationship, this was a sweet conclusion.
Still loving "No one calls my woman a whore!" Daemon , even if I am not over the, ahem, end of his first marriage!
Only regret I have is that it is for the moment a tad too manichean for the kids, at least the boys : Alicent's two boys are just aweful, each one in their way (c'mon, toasting your nephew "strong" right after daddy Viserys basically told you his last wish was that you'd play nice?!), while Rhaenyra's boys are, for the moment, hot-headed but that's all.
For Haelena, is it just me or are they playing her as a bit special / not all there? Anyhow, she seems gentle and nice. What will come next is going to be extra hard to watch...


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@PetiteSheWolf I'm glad we agree about Paddy! And that was an amazing moment of respect and deference from Daemon. Yeah... it's pretty clear that Rhaenyra's kids aren't as shitty as Alicent's. Keeping one eye (har har) on Aemond, though. I can't explain Helaena's dreamy nature. Some have suggested that she's on the autism spectrum. Whatever the case, she is indeed sweet.

Bonzo Chest day!

Paused Bench Press: 142.5 x 4, 145 x 4 (a new PR). I was trying to get 142.5 five times, but no dice. Had more luck with 145 for a new 4rm.
Incline Chest Press: 125 x 3. Another PR!
Shoulder Press: 70 x 5. Haven't been going very heavy with these lately.
Incline Curls: 16 x 20. I love the stretch I feel in my biceps.

It's cooler now, and the air has dried up, so I'm consuming even more water than usual. I don't actually go out and wear a costume (haven't since I was 10), but I'm still a big fan of Halloween.

Are you getting into the spirit of spooky season, Bees?

Playing: S'more Prodeus. It's become my favourite "turn off your brain" game to play. Still haven't made a purchase off of Steam...

Watching: I watched Halloween Ends today. There was a special showing in the morning for only 56 HKD, so I went for it. Review follows...

I'm going to try to avoid spoilers, but I can't help but be disappointed. We fans watch the Halloween movies to see Michael Myers wreak mayhem and carnage. In this film, he doesn't show up until at least 45 minutes in. The bulk of the plot is shifted towards Laurie Strode seemingly at peace, her granddaughter, and a bullied and ostracized (and oddly, quite handsome) fellow who romances said granddaughter. The murder and mayhem takes way too long to materialize, and let's face it, that's what we're here for. There are a lot of clumsy allusions to how Laurie Strode and her ilk are cursed, but these were illogical and poorly fleshed out, and have been brought up in previous instalments ad nauseum. So my complaints are with the film's plot structure. The ending will divide people like none other.

The acting is fine; unsurprisingly, Jamie Lee Curtis steals the show and Andi Matichak stands out as well. Will Patton was underused. The guy playing Corey was fine, but his character development stretched belief. At least the film is well made and shot, and the kills are as satisfying as ever.

I give it 2 1/2 pumpkins out of 5.

Listening to: Naturally, the immortal Halloween theme, composed by the one and only John Carpenter.



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Thank you @CODawn and @JCU. Regarding Halloween Ends, I was entertained, at least. And I can't remember the last time I paid for a ticket that cheap (usually they're at least 100 HKD).

Absolute slugger of a workout today!

Squats: 120 x 5. Went up to 122.5, but didn't hit my requisite five reps.
Paused Squat: 110 x 3. This was a tough one.
Front Squats: 75 x 5. Just getting the reps in.
Leg Extensions: 170 x 12. Ugh. Couldn't quite get my knees to lock out.
Back Extensions: 50 x 8. The madness continues! I use slightly bigger plates each time.

I'm ready to take it easy and enjoy a good Korean BBQ tomorrow. It's the weekend, Bees! Go crazy!

Playing: I caved and bought Priest Simulator. It's an absolute hoot. It's one of the the most proudly and irreverently weird indie games I've ever played; I play with the Polish audio on because it just felt right (and made me laugh more). My one complaint (admittedly, I haven't gotten to the open world yet) is that there's too much fetch questing and find X quests.

Watching: Deadstream! It's about an obnoxious (even by the standards of the internet) streamer who spends the night in a haunted house because... well, he hasn't really thought it through. I love found footage movies, so this is an absolute treat. I've heard that it's funnier than it is scary.

Listening to: Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire. I don't think of anyone in particular when I listen to this one. I just love the gentle, atmospheric feel of the song.

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@CODawn I can see how it can be seen in that light. Probably one of Springsteen's more... er, explicit songs.
@JCU So you've seen the madness! I honestly think it's too wacky to be very offensive; and I say this as someone raised in Catholicism. The game is not at all a serious parody of Christianity/Catholicism... more like the crack-fic version.

Just getting back into the swing of things after my massive Korean BBQ dinner last night. Yum!

Bench Press: 150 x 3. Aiming for four reps in a few weeks.
Incline Press: 120 x 5. I've got the power!
Machine Cable Extensions: 11 x 8.
Hammer Curls: 26 x 10. I'll go for 12 or more reps next time.

I'm still waiting for the weather to dramatically cool down; I've heard it'll happen in the next few days.

I'm very happy to see that we've got more and more Bees and their accompanying threads. Keep going, everyone! You got this!

Playing: Prodeus, of course. Need to devote more time to Priest Simulator to unlock more zaniness.

Watching: I'm watching Smile with a friend tomorrow night, and it promises to be a spooky old time! Or a buttload of jump scares, rather.

Listening to: Fredric Myrow - The Theme from Phantasm. Because it's spooky month, I'm going to see if I can post a horror or scare-related song for each day that I post this month. Here's the ever-memorable Phantasm theme song, which has an amazingly haunting melody.



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@aku-chan Haha, it's a memorable movie - just not one that makes a whole lot of sense.

Yo Bees! Spooky season continues! And today was back day.

Deadlifts: 175 x 5. Whew! That took it out of my legs. I used a different bar for my deadlifts, and that seemed to help some. I would've gone for six reps, but my grip gave way.
Barbell Rows: 105 x 5
Meadows Rows: 42.5 x 5
Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 5
Narrow Grip Rows: 60 x 6

Let's start the week off well, Bees!

Playing: More Prodeus, of course, though I may have hit a road block. I dislike having to replay past levels with special equipment so that I can grab more money. Annoys me. Priest Simulator is still a riot, as expected.

Watching: Smile. I just got back from watching this with a friend. A technically accomplished horror flick that makes up for its lack of originality with plenty of scares. And jump scares galore, annoyingly. Lots of shocked audience members in my theater. I'm not sure how deep the movie's explanation of trauma goes, but of course - it's just a movie; and it was integrated into the plot well enough. Sosie Bacon stands out in terms of acting.

Listening to: Phantom Planet - The Living Dead. I first heard this one fifteen or sixteen years ago; it's one of the few songs I can think of that's dedicated to zombies, hehe.



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Hello again Bees! Less than two weeks to All Hallows' Eve!

Today is my second push day of the week, so I took a break from the bench press and did something different.

Shoulder Press: 82.5 x 5. I haven't used this weight in a long time; I think I was able to lift that heavy because I wasn't doing the bench press beforehand.
Dumbbell Press: 34 x 10. Haven't done these in years! Stronger than the last time I tried these. No surprise, given how much weight I've gained.
Front Shoulder Raises, Side Cable Raises, Rear Delt Raises: I lumped these three into one category because they're bodybuilding exercises that work on the delts.

Today was an easier workout designed not to beat up my joints and give myself a break from all the benching. I feel random aches in my body from time to time; I would chalk it up to all the heavy lifting.

Playing: Tempted to revisit Fallout 4. "So anyways, I started blasting", only ALL THE TIME.

Reading: I'm fully reading and comprehending the graphic novel Maus for the first time. Sure, I flicked through it as a kid, but reading it cover to cover is eye-opening: not only in describing the persecution against the Jewish, but also in regards to the characters and their actions.

Watching: I'm going to start watching The Midnight Club, which is apparently another winner from Mike Flanagan. I loved his previous outing - Midnight Mass, which had some absolutely amazing acting.

Listening to: Gunship - Dark All Day. A synthrock masterpiece. Apropos of Halloween, the music video and general tenor of the lyrics fit right in. I'm a big Gunship fan, so I'm looking forward to their upcoming third album.



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Oof. Today's workout pounded my legs into mush.

Squats: 122.5 x 5. Moving up little by little in weight. This was one tough set!
Front Squats: 95 x 5. Not content with torturous back squats, I moved onto front squats. This was a PR that was really hard fought.
Hack Squats: I forgot how much weight. I'm glad that the Smith Machine in my gym is good for something.
Back Extensions: 55 x 8. My joints!

I've had a head cold all day from the changing weather. It was pretty cool yesterday! So I'm going to take a pill and get to sleep soon.

Hope you had a good day, Bees!

Playing: Didn't play much last night, was too sleepy. Maybe tonight I'll fit in some Prodeus, but don't really want to replay levels. Perhaps Project Warlock 2! I'm obviously rather fond of "boomer shooters".

Watching: Ditto, didn't watch much last night.

Listening to: Vast - She is Murder. I don't really know what the metaphor/music video for this one is. A hallucination? A sexual fantasy? A comment on the dangers of VR? However you slice it, it's a creepy song and music video and is therefore on my Spooky Season playlist. It's a damn shame that the artist, Jon Crosby, seems to have stopped making music altogether.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
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Thank you @TopNotch @Mianevem @Sif_Shepard @Lallafa @JCU @CODawn and @Fremen. Your support is awesome! Also, I seem to have bewildered TopNotch because of the rate at which I attain PRs. This is probably due to the fact that I train constantly to push myself and exceed old PRs. Sometimes I get them, sometimes I don't. Eh.

Today was a pec-stravaganza! (I'd better trademark that pun; it's pretty glib, even by my standards). My head cold is still present, but I feel a bit better.

Paused Bench Press: 150 x 2. Not as difficult as I thought it would be, but was I strong enough to get three reps? Not this time.
Incline Bench Press: 127.5 x 2. Will need to work more on this one.
Close Grip Press: 115 x 6. Because it's the end of the week, I felt like tacking on an accessory exercise.
Machine Pushdown: 13 x 8. Feeling less elbow pain than I used to.

I'd call it a good workout. Right now, the fading sun casts red upon the buildings around me. A beautiful way to herald the day's closing. Tomorrow, I take a break from the heavy metal workouts to eat at a buffet. Yum!

Enjoy your weekend, Bees!

Playing: I booted up my old copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Previously, I'd played until I got to the bear and completely lost interest (this is ten minutes in, so I lost interest pretty quickly). Not sure why? Maybe it felt too spoon-fed to and formulaic to me. So why revisit it? Well, I was going to buy the PC version of Uncharted 4 (which has attracted some pretty good reviews) but I wanted to play a more open-ended experience first, which is what I heard ROTR provides. It's alright so far, I suppose. I spent a handful of Steam dollars on Cultic instead, which is another boomer-shooter find - and a good one!

Watching: Finished Deadstream, finally. I'm surprised at how the humor was slightly subdued, and the scares generally took center-place. I also liked how it innovates on the found-footage genre (eg where Host tackled Zoom calls, this tackled influencer livestreams), and give it three and a half pumpkins out of five. I'm going to revisit Shepherd and try to watch more of it tonight.

Listening to: Tim Curry - Sweet Transvestite (from Transsexual Transylvania). I can't remember exactly when I watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it was a one of a kind experience. While it's not exactly scary, it has a few horror moments, so I took the liberty of putting it on my spooky playlist.



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@TopNotch Thank you all the same!
@lofivelcro Drag and Trans shows are kind of absent where I am. I'll bet it was real interesting!
@JCU I'd heard about the movie for ages... Dr. Frank-N-Furter and all that. But seeing it was something else entirely. Shame I didn't see it with someone else like you did.

The buffet was good eating, but I had to head back to the gym today to get things back on track. I decided to work my Back today and save Chest for tomorrow.

Deadlifts: 170 x 3, 175 x 2. I used the smooth barbell again today, as the other one was in use. I think it's really limiting my grip. It's also interesting to see how I never make it past two working sets, as I just run out of steam afterward.
T-Bar Rows: 95 x 5. Too much heaving and jerky motions, so next time I'll dial the weight down.
Machine One Arm Rows: 75 x 5. Same!
Machine Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 6. I've said it before, will say it again, I like this more than the "free-weight" version. It feels like I can actually feel my muscles pulling.
Pull-Ups: 4 reps x 5. I did the classic variety (palms facing outward). This is the first time I've been able to do them in a long time.

Funny thing happened while I was at the gym. I was going about my business, lifting and adding weights, and this older fellow (short, tubby) just starts staring at me and making strange gestures. I know when I'm being stared at, and find it quite uncomfortable. I don't know if he was trying to be rude or anything of the sort, but it bothered me. Eventually, I went up to him and asked, in Cantonese, "Can I help you?" He mumbled something and slunk off. It transpired that this was his first time in the gym and later on, a trainer led him around to do different exercises. But he kept sneaking furtive glances at me as I continued my workout. I'm going to count this incident as a win because I didn't lose my temper, and did the grown up thing.

Usually, in the gym, if someone has an opinion or something to share, they'll just come up to me and say it, which I don't mind at all. So I found this rather intrusive, and had to (subtly) set a boundary. Have any of you had this, or anything else weird happen to you when you were exercising?

Otherwise, I've had a great day. Not going to let this ruin it.

Enjoy your Sunday, Bees!

Playing: A trifecta: Forgive Me Father, Cultic, and Black Ice. Gotta get my shooter fix! Was curious about Gotham Knights, but it looks like tosh.

Watching: Watching The Last Kingdom while I do my cardio at the gym. Great way to pass the time.

Listening to: Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill: Homecoming) - Scarlet. The Silent Hill franchise is a font of spooky music, but my favourite is this number in Silent Hill: Homecoming. It's an awesomely creepy combination of tense soundscapes and icy female vocals.

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Ugh, not one of my better days.

Bench Press: 150 x 3, 152.5 x 2. Why was this so hard today? Who knows? I'm going to hammer at it for awhile.
Incline Press: 125 x 3. At least I've still got this!
Rope Pushdowns: 10 x 8
Hammer Curls: 26 x 12. Whoop! Moving up.

I swear, today was all triceps, and less chest. Bah.

I've got news! There's a bench press competition coming up in my neck of the woods early next February. To be competitive, I need to shave off a few more kg to get myself down to my usual weight. But still, I look forward to the chance to do another competition, which I haven't done in years.

Happy Monday, Bees!

Playing: I spent the last of my Steam bucks on a roguelite FPS called Deadlink. I find it a bit barebones at the moment (there are no automatic weapons, eg), but it holds lots of promise. Black Ice has become my fallback, brain-off podcast-ready game. Don't know when I'll return to Tomb Raider.

Watching: Didn't watch anything last night, as I dropped off to sleep. May try to watch a bit more of Shepherd, but boy is it slooooowww.

Listening to: Blood Soundtrack - Dark Carnival. Oooh, this one's an oldie but a goodie! I remember playing the seminal FPS Blood back in '96 or '97; it's a tongue-in-cheek horror shooter that's both terrifying and silly in equal measures. I recommend for everyone who can stomach the excess of gore. One of the levels begins with this haunting, nursery-esque theme that's just sublime. Hence, it's earned a place on my Halloween playlist.

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Yup I did watch, and liked it, as the three Dragon icons may indicate :LOL: Chomp - ooopsie - now here we go to war...
Definitly a good season, and a good finale.
Little thing that annoyed me, that apparently Rhaenyra was on dragonback so fast after her stillbirth - specially after finding time to show in a previous episode they knew there was something called afterbirth... Oh well. Yeah, Storm's end scene was good, Aemond is definitly out of control - like Vhagar, I guess ; though he looked quite shocked at the outcome. C'mon, you were never told to play with loaded guns, Aemond?! Poor Lucerys... Seeing him chased by those two beasts - man and winged creature, was already hard enough. And Rhaenyra's shock. As you say, the Dance has begun.


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@PetiteSheWolf I don't know how to post spoiler text, so I'll broadly respond to your spoilers by saying that I agree on all points. Regarding the show in general, I didn't know what to expect when it started. It's a surprisingly bold, but nuanced - I would argue that it's an even more morally questioning show than GoT. And I loved seeing so much of the lore brought to life, and played with in different ways. While there were some weak episodes (I'm not a fan of Driftmark, which I felt was sloooowww), it was a strong showing. Well done to the cast and crew!

Help. My legs are mush.

Squats: 125 x 5. I started off my squat sets feeling really out-of-sync - I'm not sure why. Maybe I hadn't warmed up sufficiently? But I managed to smash out a set of 125! Boy was it a tough one.
Front Squats: 90 x 3. All the energy I used for the back squats took it out of me, and I didn't do as well as I usually do here.
Hack Squats: 40 x 6. Loving these more and more; need to add more weight next time.
Lying Leg Curls: Zzzz... I need a better hamstring exercise.
Back Extensions: 110 x 8. Bleurgh.

So now I'm sore as can be, and am likely going to be feeling it tomorrow! I need to go to my meeting first, do the dishes, pack for tomorrow, do a little bit of writing, etc...

Take care, Bees!

Playing: More Black Ice, of course, but will try to play a little Tomb Raider as well. I'm tempted to reinstall Cyberpunk 2077 as well.

Watching: Not sure yet! I heard that Barbarian is coming out soon, so that sounds quite exciting!

Listening to: Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man. Wait a minute! Why is this on my song list for Spooky Season? Well, ever since I watched David Fincher's Zodiac (if you haven't, I highly recommend it), I've associated this song with the sinister tone of the film. It is not a very pleasant song, despite Donovan's dulcet tones; in fact, it kind of creeps me out. It makes me feel like something ominous is coming.



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@PetiteSheWolf There's definitely a strong parallel between the two. I do look forward to seeing Rhaenyra's character development.
@Sif_Shepard It is! I haven't played it in some months, as I'm hoping the patches have made significant changes to the gameplay (ie fixed it).
@TopNotch Thanks!

Hi again Bees! My legs are still mush, but I managed to squeeze another workout in, today.

Shoulder Press: 82.5 x 3. I've done better than this, yuck.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 34 x 8. I'm hindered at this because this is as heavy as the weights at my gym go. Maybe I'll compensate by doing more reps.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 12 x 8.
Face Rows: 7 x 10, I think.

Just a small push day workout in between the rest. I lost about a kilo since I last check two weeks ago. My cut for the competition is on, so I need to have fewer days where I stuff myself silly!

Hope your week is going well, Bees!

Playing: Cultic is an indie gem - it's perfectly paced, and a joy to play. I'm going to give up on Priest Simulator for the time being, as playing it feels like I've been jerked around for gaming's longest tutorial; that and the fact that it may be further developed as time goes on. Really tempted to reinstall Cyberpunk!

Watching: I watched a colossal and patience-testing 8 minutes of Shepherd. And it was during one of the "scarier" parts. I'm thinking about giving up on it altogether, as there are so many spooky movies that are more deserving of my time, like Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of something or other (yes, I'm aware it's a TV anthology).

Listening to: Ramin Djawadi - The Night King. This is off of Game of Thrones, naturally: from Season 8. While I'm not a fan of GoT's final season (for lots of different reasons), I can't fault the inclusion of this beautiful track. It's haunting, despairing, and chilling at different parts, and as such is a natural fit for my Spooky Season playlist.

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I came in insisting that I would smash my old PR, and I just barely managed to.

Deadlifts: 180 x 4. Hell, that was an amazing set. My fingers were losing their grip but held on for one last rep!
Barbell Rows: 102.5 x 5. I haven't really made much progress on these. Should try harder?
Meadows Rows: 47.5 x 5. Again, the end of the barbell is so thick that my fingers were slipping.
Machine Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 6.
Narrow Grip Rows: 60 x 6.

Went out with a friend for a fried chicken dinner! Hey, I have to get my protein in somehow. I'll take any excuse to get out and about. Was good to see him and take a load off.

I also saw the return of the fluffy charity doggos on the street with their handlers! Will get a picture of them, next time.

It's almost the weekend, Bees! Keep going!

Playing: I played a bit of Cyberpunk 2077 for the first time in months! It didn't run terribly despite my expectations and memories. Cultic is my new stalwart, and Black Ice, of course. Couldn't really find anything essential in the Steam Halloween Sale.

Watching: I finally finished Shepherd. That was one loooong watch. I finally finished it by spending my ride on the MTR watching bits and pieces. So what's the verdict? I think it's a half-baked movie that takes way too long to get anywhere. The problem is that for the most part, the film has one cast member spending time on this spooky Scottish isle, and not a lot happens. Even though the lead performer gives it his all, his performance doesn't compensate for a string-thin plot and underwhelming scares. It's got atmosphere and a great score, sure. But you have to have more than just these things (like a cohesive plot) to make a compelling film! At least I can move on and watch more deserving flicks. I give it two pumpkins out of five.

Listening to: Calvaire - The Piano Scene. I've never actually watched Calvaire, but I've heard it described as disturbing, blackly comic, and flat out jarring. I really should get around to watching it but the prospect scares me! Anyway, this scene (and song) really does speak for itself... it's intensely creepy, and the piano is nothing less than nightmarish. Hence its inclusion in my Spooky playlist.



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Thank you @JCU and @Froud!

Today I was very weak! Can't win 'em all, I guess.

Bench Press (Paused): 152.5 x 2. I swear, this set ruined my entire workout and sapped my strength.
Incline Press (Paused): 120 x 2.
Machine Pushdown: 12 x 8.
Bicep Curls: Bleh. Had no more motivation by the time these rolled around.

I think I'm burning out. I've been training too hard for months, and it's slowly sapping my strength. So starting next week, I'm going to use a training program and see where that gets me. Might do me good to get away from the heavy weights from a bit. Tomorrow, I'm taking a break and eating a big meal to relax.

It's the weekend, Bees! Go crazy!

Playing: Cultic, of course. I'm kind of sad that the campaign is winding down, as it is skilfully designed, and a lot of fun to play. May dip back into Tomb Raider, or Cyberpunk. Tomb Raider has more immediacy, but Cyberpunk offers a deeper experience.

Watching: I just finished The Night House last night. Talk about a refreshing viewing experience, especially after the drudgery of Shepherd. Rebecca Hall is absolutely masterful in the role, expressing shades of grief, anger, and self-pity. The first half of the film is setup, and in the second, everything falls into place sublimely. I think the scares were cleverly handled (visually intriguing, too), and the script interesting, if more than a little ambiguous. I'm glad I finally got around to watching this one. I give it four pumpkins out of five. Next up on my watchlist: Barbarian. Heard a lot about this one, and it sounds exciting.

Listening to: Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast. It definitely fits the Halloween bill, with its ominous lyrics and topic of devil worship. I'm also convinced it's one of the finest Heavy Metal songs every written. The galloping melody, screaming guitar solos, and that killer howl from Bruce Dickinson!



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Thank you @TopNotch @Fremen @CODawn and @JCU. Speaking of that new program...

Today is Chest day, but I used a program set out by Stronger by Science.

Bench Press: 120 x 5 for five sets. I had to dial back the weight and not push myself so hard for these sets. Feels strange to use "light" weight after all this time.
Close Grip Press: 95 x 8 for two sets, and then 95 for 13 reps in an AMRAP set.
Machine Pushdown: 13 x 8
Dips: About 60 in total.
Bicep Curls: 26 kg a hand for 14 reps.

It occurs to me afterwards (only having read the accompanying notes for the program) that the program I'm now using has a ton of volume; it's a Boris Sheiko-inspired routine with lots of benching sets. The reason I'm not bothered by this, however, is that my past workouts have been so insanely heavy and volume-heavy (eg 10 pressing sets a workout at 90% capacity three times a week? Yikes!) that this routine I've turned to is a reasonable change. I'll run it to its conclusion and see how things work out.

Also, my heart goes out to those hurt or killed in the South Korean Halloween stampede. The police over here took to controlling this year's Halloween celebrations in HK's most popular clubbing area (Lan Kwai Fong) in an effort to avoid a similar disaster.

If you're celebrating Halloween tonight, have a spooky old time!

Playing: I finished Cultic! Overall, a small purchase that did not disappoint; unlike some other boomer shooters (cough cough Forgive Me Father) the gameplay has plenty of variety and there's a relentless drive to the finish. I give it four and a half pumpkins out of five. I'm at a crossroads here. To play Tomb Raider, or Cyberpunk? Or BOTH??

Watching: I watched the first episode of Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities. I was expecting goopy supernatural carnage, and was not disappointed. A most excellent start!

Listening to: Type O Negative - All Hallow's Eve. While Halloween is tomorrow, I couldn't help but post a gloomy goth song that pays homage.



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Hey everyone! Happy Halloween! My legs have been pounded into mush once again.

Deadlifts: 180 x 5. I have no idea how I pulled this off. I was feeling iffy working up to this weight, and expected a set of 2 or 3 reps, which is the usual. Goes to show that sometimes you can do more than you think. Doing this sapped my legs of strength, however. Will be curious to see how DOMS will take its toll tomorrow.
T-Bar Rows: 100 x 5. I had to cheat and use a lot of jerking to get this weight up. Will have to re-assess next time.
Meadows Rows: 45 x 5. Ugh, I need to rethink doing these. But there are no free weights heavy enough for me to do rows in my gym!
Machine Lat Pulldowns: 75 x 6. More therapy for my lats.
Pull Ups: Since when did I start doing these? Nine sets of five, I think.

Surprisingly, though it's a school night, saw lots of kiddies and their parents going around trick or treating. There was also some kind of party being held in the nearby park (I really need to remember to take pictures). I'm glad people are still having some fun and getting out for a bit.

Playing: I played a bit of an RPG called Deathtrash last night, but it didn't really stick with me. Uninstalled Cyberpunk, as I'm not ready to dive into the world just yet.

Watching: Finished the second episode of Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities. Creatively shot by Vincenzo Natali (I didn't expect any less) and suitably merciless.

Listening to: The Nightmare Before Christmas - This Is Halloween. And for the final song on my spooky playlist, I've chosen one of my favourite songs of all time from one of my favourite movies of all time. I remember seeing this broadcast on Hong Kong tv as a kid and it's stuck with me ever since. Love the characters, the songs (!), and the amazing animation. Actually, my choice was a toss up between this song and the Oogie Boogie Song, which is darkly hilarious.

Aren't you scared?
Well that's just fine!
Say it once, say it twice, take a chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night!



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Hey Bees! It's the day after Halloween, and I hope you didn't hold back from any sugary snacks. Unless you're me, and need to make a weight cut. Yuck!

Bench Press: 135 x 1. This is the second Bench Day of my program, and the top set is absurdly light, compared to my past efforts. I didn't include the 9 other bench sets, which have various finicky poundages and reps. I had to fudge the weights I put on a bar a little, because I'm working with kg weights.
Shoulder Press: 60 x 5 for four sets. Had to do something additional for the fun of it.
Rope Pressdown: 9 x 8 reps. Keeping it light.
Dips: Sets of seven, not sure how many in total. Lots.
Incline Curls: 16 x 10. I may increase the weight next time, as this was a touch easy.

I am very curious to see what results occur from the Stronger by Science bench program - I have a suspicion they won't be 10 or 20 kg increases in my bench, but them's the breaks.

Happy sugar comas, Bees!

Playing: Reinstalled Mass Effect: the Legacy series. I'm currently on ME2, the first set of squad recruitments. This could be a colossal mistake; in the past, I played ME 1 and 2 on the 360, and both proved to be giant timesinks. I may have to watch myself to ensure that I don't spend many a late evening playing. Also playing a dash of Black Ice, which is good "comfort food" gaming.

Watching: I've just started The Boys Season 3. It's just as hilarious, adroit, and disgusting as the past two seasons were. Looking forward to the introduction of Jensen Ackles' character.

Listening to: Akira Yamaoka - Breeze in Monochrome Night. I had a craving for more Silent Hill music. Of all the soundscapes across the games (and there are many of them), this one's my favourite. It's very mellow and calming, though I don't remember hearing it during the game (Silent Hill 3).



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There was a typhoon yesterday, so no workouts. But today I went back!

Bench Press: 127.5 x 3 for two sets. Today is a very minimal day in the program, perhaps to give the body some time off and recuperate.
Shoulder Press: 62.5 x 5 for five sets.
Dips: 8 sets of 8 reps.
Bicep Curls: 20 x 20. Maybe next time I'll try for 22, but this was a pretty difficult set.

The first week of this program is done, and it wasn't so difficult. Of course, the weeks ahead are more difficult, so let's see how they go.

It's almost the weekend, Bees! Keep it up!

Playing: I plan to play some Blood West (I hate stealth, though...), a dash of Black Ice, and maybe get back into Dread X Collection (a fantastic anthology of different horror games!). Not sure if I'll set aside time for an AAA like Tomb Raider or ME.

Watching: VHS 99: This is an instalment in a horror found-footage anthology series (whew! what a mouthful). All the stories in the anthology are set in the late 90s and are of inconsistent quality. The first segment, which opens the movie, is about a bunch of skater Jackass-types who are in a band. Man, did I hate them, and by extension, that first segment. What a terrible way to start the movie. At least I felt some satisfaction when they suffered their well-earned demises, but man, for 14 minutes, it was a slog. At least the second segment, involving a hazing ritual gone wrong, was much better.

I'm also continuing Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities. I'm a little bit of the way through the fourth segment (The Outside), which stars a quirky and adorable Kate Micucci. The horror hasn't kicked in yet, but it looks very promising!

Listening to: Johnny Cash - Hurt. Pretty much one of the finest cover songs ever recorded; Cash adds so much gravitas to the tone of the song. It works so well in a stripped down format because Cash's authoritative baritone exudes honesty and, well, hurt. With all the experiences and performances accrued to Cash, we know that he lends this song a fresh voice.



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I set out for leg day today, but wasn't feeling my best. Nonetheless went on to smash out a challenging workout and largely succeeded.

Squats: 120 x 5. I was not feeling the squats today... not sure why. I guess if I have to have a strength drop, 120 x 5 is not a bad place to be set back to.
Front Squat: 85 x 5. Bleh.
Paused Squat: 105 x 3. For fun and profit!
Leg Curls: 40 x 8
Back Extensions: 60 x 8

And now my legs are mush.

The Rugby Sevens watchers have taken over the area around my gym. Not as many people coming in as before (due to travel restrictions and a limitation on the number of tickets), but there was still a steady line of punters showing up. Tomorrow will be even more crowded than today was, so I may avoid going to the gym and go on a walk instead. No doubt there'll be many carousers and revellers wandering around at all hours of the day.

Enjoy your weekend, Bees!

Watching: I finished the Cabinet of Curiosities episode "The Outside". I anticipated the way the story turned out, but the execution was remarkably well done, and... well, inventively disgusting. There's humanity and loneliness in the protagonist even as she descends into the insane and the pitiful. It also features an eerie and creative use of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing".

Playing: Mmm. Not sure these days. I don't have a strong central game that's grasping my attention. In the past, that would be something like Fallout 4, Resident Evil Village, and Elden Ring (I've spent 117 hours on Elden Ring, amazingly! I don't know how my controller survived so many deaths). You know, the kind of games that have your undivided attention and make you want to play them when you're not! Usually it's an AAA game, but not always. I've installed a ton of indie rpgs and shooters from my library in hope of finding something. It's also a damned shame that God of War: Ragnarok is (for the time being) only on PS. Boo, hiss... (edit: Oh crap, I forgot that Cyberpunk is in my library. But should I...?)

Listening to: Robert Parker - End of the Night. There's one song that I've been listening to again and again, and it's this well-crafted slice of synthwave pop. The vocals alone are impeccable.

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Another week begins. Today is week 2 of the Stronger by Science bench program. The high volume seems to be agreeable for me.

Bench Press: 127.5 x 4 for four sets. 120 for three sets. Slightly heavy, but not particularly difficult. I expect Wednesday's workout to be harder.
Close Grip Press: 105 x 10 for a top set. Should try going heavier with these sometime.
Machine Pushdown: 14 x 10. My elbow seems to be holding up alright.
Dips: I did a pyramid with these, starting with 5 reps, building up to 10, and then back down to 5. How many reps total that is, I'm not sure. I haven't bothered to work it out.
Bicep Hammer Curls: 26 x 20. Oomf. My form was giving way towards the end.

My goal was to drop 10 kg in three months for my competition, but that's looking increasingly unrealistic. I might just sign up for a higher weight class and if I happen to lose some excess weight, that's just an added benefit.

Have a great start to the week, Bees!

Playing: Reinstalled Grim Dawn last night and played a bit. In the past, I've given up on it out of the gameplay being too repetitive, but it's still a reliably fun ARPG experience. Thus, I'm giving it another shot.

Watching: Finished watching VHS 99. Outrageous, disgusting, and occasionally competent. I was more entertained than I was impressed. I give it two and a half pumpkins out of five. Moving on to Cabinet of Curiosities episode 4: Pickman's Model, featuring an improbably youthful Ben Barnes.

Listening to: Be Bop Deluxe - Heavenly Homes. How about some glam/prog rock? This song befits sunnier times, but I can still admire the songcraft any time of the year. There's some absolutely killer guitar soloing, too!

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It's another Tuesday, and for me, that's deadlift/back day.

Deadlifts: 185 x 3. A new PR! Now we're cooking. I just barely pulled this one off!
Barbell Rows: 105 x 5. I used to be so strong with these. Now they feel like more of a chore.
Machine One Arm Rows: 70 x 5.
Machine Lat Pulldown: 70 x 6. Therapy for the lats!
Behind the Neck Pulldowns: 60 x 6. I couldn't go very heavy with these, which doesn't really bother me.
Pullups: About 40 in total.

So sleepy! I don't know if it's the mark of a good workout or not. I've heard people say that they finish their workouts feeling rejuvenated - I can't imagine it, myself. I usually feel pretty tired post workout + cardio + walk home.

Hope you're having a good Tuesday, Bees!

Playing: I've got Grim Dawn fever! It seems to have captured my attention once more. Until I get bored of cutting down an endless number of monsters and move onto something else, natch. I'll throw a little Black Ice into the mix.

Watching: Tomorrow I'm watching Wakanda Forever in the morning; it promises to be worth it. Also watching The Boys Season 3 while I do cardio at the gym.

Listening to: The Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love. Mysteriously, this has gone missing from my phone's playlist. Can't believe I forgot about this song; it's absolutely amazing, and is just one of the many amazing works from The Sisters of Mercy.