Quest for Muscle: The Return of the Pump


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Warrior from Hong Kong
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"So sleepy!"
Hey everybody. Took yesterday off, and went into the gym today to put my Back through its paces.

Deadlifts: 170 x 5. This was a lot harder than I remember it being!
Paused Deadlifts: 140 x 3. Zzzzz...
Rack Pulls: 160 x 5. Never done this much for so many reps before.
Dumbbell Rows: 32 x 10.
Pull ups: Top set of 4.

As a result of the heavy pulling, my fingers are pretty sore! Had a yummy cheesburger afterward. Mmm... cheeseburger.

We're starting the week off strong, Bees!

Playing: Since Fallout: NV is off the table, I'm back to Project Warlock 2, and a bit of Sleeping Dogs, which I've been giving short shrift, admittedly.

Watching: I finished Castlevania: Nocturne, so here's a review (sans spoilers, in case anyone's curious about the series).

It's basically the French Revolution with evil vampires plotting behind the scenes, and a handful of plucky heroes out to save the day. It's well-animated and (generally) sharply written, and tries to live up to the legacy of its predecessor series. I loved that there was a menagerie of characters with different motivations and sympathies; only a few are one-dimensionally evil (you'll know 'em when you see 'em). The fight scenes are as crisp, dynamic and well-choreographed as ever. The writing is shot through with a modern attitude, which was a hallmark of the previous series, and while it's competent, I didn't find it as well-written (the now-maligned Warren Ellis did a stellar job with penning the first series). But the animation and surprisingly mature themes make up for it.

I did not see the final minutes of the series coming. To avoid spoilers, all I'll say is in hindsight, it's obvious that this was set up to be a first season. I confess to being a tad bit disappointed, as I thought this was a self-contained series, but them's the breaks, I guess. The good news is that a second season has been greenlit, so our heroes will continue their adventures.

I give it four cracks of the whip out of five.

Also, going to get back to Mean Spirited, tonight.

Listening to: POD - Freedom Fighters. I had completely forgotten about this one. It disappeared off of my playlists until I had a POD craving and decided to revisit some of their songs. The song does them proud; love that rousing melody.

"We have the right to live in peace
You must fight for what you keep
If what you keep holds truth inside
Stand up, defend, or lay down and die



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
Heya Bees! Pretty tired, but you knew that.

Took today as an opportunity to do my W2D2 Push workout.

Bench Press: 130 x 7. Was not feeling it today. The setups sucked, and even the lighter weights (115 and 122.5) were a real trial. Didn't think I'd get as many reps for 130 as last time, but I managed.
Reverse Grip Bench Press: 100 x 5. This one is a real blast from the past, and today I used more weight than in the past. Not too fond of this one, however... I feel like it's too anatomically awkward to stably do (I felt like I was on the verge of dropping the weight several times). Maybe best let sleeping dogs lie.
Incline Press: 90 x 5. Just going through the motions... literally.
EZ Bar Pushdown: 11 x 10.
Shoulder Raises: 8 x 10.

One day til the weekend, Bees! Keep at it!

Playing: Some Stone Soup helps while away the time. Playing more Project Warlock 2, as it's become my new podcast game - at least until I finish it. Also purchased an FPS called Adaca (great sounding simple name) that takes inspiration from Half Life 2.

Watching: It's back to Seal Team at the gym, which is a reliable source of entertainment. Planning on watching more Mean Spirited tonight, assuming I don't fall asleep early...

Listening to: Holy F*ck - Red Lights. Look, it's a kitty driving a car! Backed up by a kitty band! And it's being chased by a... dog driving a car. I guess it makes sense it context. Sorta.



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@PetiteSheWolf Dangerous! Cats are already aloof, but that video makes them look even cooler!

Hey Bees! Today I decided to start Week 3 of my Push/Bench Press workout. W3D1, if you will. So how did it go?

Bench Press: 137.5 x 5. Not going to lie, this was a real tough one. Started off with two sets of four reps before I pushed out a set of five, and it was a real grind. I'll see if I can pull it off again later this week.
Larsen Press: 125 x 5.
Incline Press: 92.5 x 5.
EZ Bar Pushdowns: 12 x 10.
Barbell Curls: 25 x 10. Definitely going to be doing more of these.
and 22,000 steps! Yikes!

Again, the weight felt heavy and the setups for each exercise didn't really groove, but I managed, in the end. Here's hoping that it heralds more PRs in the near future.

Bought some roast duck for dinner afterward; tons of tourists roving around Times Square and Causeway Bay in general. Glad that the duck and I made it home okay.

Hope you've had a great weekend, Bees!

Playing: I started playing Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for the first time in years. Let's see if I can finally finish it, this time. On slightly related news, they released a remaster of Turok 3 (which I've never played), but it's pretty pricey right now. Also indulging in some Stone Soup as well.

Watching: Not much Mean Spirited. Perhaps my flagging desire to watch it speaks volumes; this stands in contrast to When Evil Lurks, which I devoured pretty quickly. Also started watching Alice in Borderland at the gym. Still too early in, but it looks promising.

Listening to: (I changed the song.) Gary Numan - Me! I Disconnect From You (Alan Moulder version). Takes one of my favourite Numan songs and makes it even better. Love it!

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Hello again Bees! It's been three days since I last worked out, and that's way too long. That scale is threatening to burst at my increased mass. All this means that it's back to the gym, where I beat my body into paste.

Bench Press: 140 x 4, and 142.5 x 3. I expected as much. My right shoulder has some soreness that's persisted over the last week, but it didn't stop me.
Larsen Press: 127.5 x 5. Tough, but an improvement!
Incline Smith Machine Bench: 75 x 5. Just testing the limits, as it were.
Barbell Curls: 30 x 10. I used to bust these out with no difficulty in the past, but my guns are weaker now! So I blasted them with extra sets to ensure growth.

The gym was packed with all the youngsters today... past a certain time, I assume that they get off school and make their way over to the gym. It's fascinating to see how they're at different stages of growth; some of them are quite strong, but will be even stronger with time.

Tomorrow, hopefully, is Back day. And after that, hotpot night! Om nom nom.

Hope your week has been great, Bees!

Playing: Finished the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on my PC. Here's a review!

I first played Turok back when I was in high school, and finally completed it yesterday. I dabbled with it here and there and bought the remastered version after my old CD went missing (and let's face it, that version was inferior by this point). I've previously gotten quite close to finishing it; at one point I started the second last level and then promptly forgot about the game. But this time I finished the game from start to finish, which took about 6 1/2 hours (I was under the impression that it was much longer). What compelled me to do so?

I don't think it hurts that Turok has aged incredibly well, and even pushed the boundaries of the FPS genre a bit. It's a fun game that allows you to slay dinos (and plenty of foolish peons) to your heart's content. We're talking buttery-smooth movement, wide-open levels, enemies that range from regular militia to regular militia mounted on triceratops (!), and almost most important, a plethora of killer weapons. Like many FPS of the day, it's incredibly easy to pick up and get immersed in.

Not that it's perfect. There's basically no story to any of it (this was a year before Half-Life would write the FPS storytelling book), having to hunt for keys in big levels is a recipe for disaster, and the final chunk of a game is a mad-dash to the final boss that makes one miss all of the deliberate gameplay and exploration of the first chunk. Interestingly, I remember a cheesy weapon called the "Chronosceptre" that you have to collect the pieces for. I think I have a bit of FOMO for not finding it.

For all its various accomplishments, I give this venerable FPS classic four bullseyes out of five.

And now I have to play through Turok 2. Great. That game has the most uncompelling opening segment you can think of, but I'll have to power through. Also trying an indie called the Tunguska Visitation, which is very much inspired by STALKER.

Watching: I'm kind of lagging with Mean Spirited. I don't think I look very forward to watching it because none of the characters are very likeable. I usually detest youtubers, and sitting through a movie entirely based around them is tiresome, to say the least.

I am looking forward to watching a French-Canadian (?) comedy called Smoking Causes Coughing. It's purportedly very surreal, and very entertaining.

Also, this hilarious video of kitties that are Down With the Sickness!

Aaaand... the long awaited trailer for GTA VI! It looks absolutely amazing! It's interesting to note that most of the TikTok vids in the trailer are inspired by, if not taken wholesale from real-life social media vids.

Listening to: Siamese Youth - Dream On. Nothing fancy, just a solid synthpop tune that captures feelings of heartache and longing.



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"So sleepy!"
What's up, Bees. Extra helpings of fatigue today (and likely soreness tomorrow).

Felt energized at the start of the day, so I did my Pull workout.

Deadlifts: 160 x 6. Steady on.
Paused Deadlifts: 160 x 3. A mini PR! Not bad.
Rack Pulls: 165 x 3. Attempted a PR of five reps, but my grip gave way. Need to bring chalk.
T-Bar Rows: 85 x 5. Need to use less weight.
Barbell Rows: 75 x 6. Brought down the weight and focused on really feeling the pull in my lats.

I don't know what compelled me to do 34 sets in total, but in hindsight, it wasn't the best idea. I'm still pretty tired as I type this. The surface of my hands actually hurts from all the heavy pulls. On the walk back, felt like I was falling asleep standing up. I know I know, that's what happens to people in SEAL Team training, but for this unfit guy, today was extra sapping.

Therefore, looking forward to a relaxing weekend to chill out. Hotpot tomorrow! Om nom.

Enjoy your weekends, Bees!

Playing: So I started Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, and am farther along in it than I've ever been. Not impressed. The starting weapons suck and the enemies are bullet sponges. But my favourite pet peeve is how the maps are ludicrously large, and require backtracking. Eh, I'll see how far I get.

Watching: Finished watching Mean Spirited at the gym, and at home, over the course of a week and a half.

Andy, a career youtuber, has fallen out of touch with his estranged friend Bryce, now a wealthy actor. Out of the blue, Bryce invites Andy and friends to spend the weekend at his luxurious mansion. With the help of his film crew, Andy plans to majorly prank Bryce, and films everything (as these movies are wont to do). And natch, things don't go to plan.

I don't really know what to say about this one. I'm very tolerant of found footage horror movies, but this one did not cut muster. I didn't like the performances, but that's part of the point. These are obnoxious portrayals of youtubers, and I can live with that.

It's more the lack of story, the crappy scares, and the way the film tries to transition into a horror movie with zero finesse or reason. The film tries to say something profound about youtubers and falls flat on its face. And of course, all the cliches and predictable bits and bobs of found footage cinema are there, and untouched.

I should've just rewatched Deadstream instead... maybe I'll do that. In the meantime, I give Mean Spirited one and a half LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE! exhortations out of five.

@PetiteSheWolf I'm glad you got a kick out of it! I have one more funny kitty video. It's as single-minded as its title suggests!

Listening to: Mega Corp - Cosmic Fantasies. If there were any song that could capture my physical and emotional state, it would have to be this synth instrumental.

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Thank you so much @Mamatigerj @Nevetharine @Laura Rainbow Dragon @TopNotch and @Fremen! I couldn't do it without your support!

Hi again, Bees! Hotpot was great. But now it's back to another workout today - Push day, or W4D1. In this week, I find my 3RM, and aim for an improvement over the previous cycle (which is really what I've been doing all along).

Bench Press: 142.5, followed 145 x 3 for three sets, and another mini PR. After the first few reps of 142.5, I knew I could hit 145 three times. Sometimes you have that instinct depending on how well the bar moves, or the setups go. Everything was stellar today, so I cemented my progress by doing additional sets of 145. Could've gone for 147.5, but I decided not to. Maybe next time.
Close Grip Chest Press: 125 x 3. Glurk.
Incline Press: 102.5 x 5.
Paused Shoulder Press: 72.5 x 3. Kind of underwhelming, I'll work to improve this one.
Hammer Curls: 18 x 20. Yay!

And after walking around for a bit (to the tune of 22000 steps), totally bushed, once again. I have to get back to work on my lesson planning, yuck.

Hope your week starts off great, Bees!

Playing: A plethora of things! But first...

I rage-uninstalled Turok 2. After getting stuck last time on the second level searching for the doohickey or doodad I was supposed to find (I actually replayed the level twice... no mean feat with the size of these f*cking levels), I wised up and consulted a Youtube video, finding the missing goal in the process. Finished the level. Then it turns out that there was something else I had to find in addition to that, and by that point, I'd had enough. I can't spend anymore time with a game that has such brazen contempt for my free time. Off my hard drive it goes. Stay back, you crap game, you!

I am instead filling my free time playing a roguelite called Empty Shell (evidently a successor to Teleglitch), which posits a lost and derelict laboratory in '76 Japan that you have to explore. And by "you", I mean a succession of unlucky and reluctant prisoners. The whole thing is top-down, and has a retro B&W aesthetic (I know that's very broad, but it makes sense in practice), and it's surprisingly creepy. I bought it on a whim, and it's honestly quite good; three quarters of this is due to its stripped-down presentation.

Watching: A bit of Seal Team and Alice in Borderland at the gym, but little else. Need to pick my next movie for late night cinema, and here's hoping it's better than the last one.

Listening to: Trevor Something - Your Eyes. Nothing pretentious, just a laid-back and nightlike synth number. I used to find Trevor Something's songs monotone and one-note (you'll know one when you hear it), but I've warmed to the style in time.



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"So sleepy!"
Thank you again @Nevetharine @Mamatigerj @Laura Rainbow Dragon @Fremen @TopNotch ! You're all the best.

Hey everyone! Mega-back workout today, but it went well! My sore fingers and calluses can attest to it.

Deadlifts: 165 x 5. Eh, my grip gave way during the fourth rep, so I was lucky to pull another. Really need to bring chalk.
Paused Deadlifts: 145 x 3.
Dimell Deadlifts: 130 x 5. I like these a lot! They are, however, quite challenging.
Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 5. I'll try to make more progress with these, as I haven't done them in a long time.
Pull Ups: Top set of 8 reps. How did I pull this one off? Pull ups usually aren't my strength. This is the first time I've done more than five reps in a year, or more.

33 sets of muscle building (one hopes)! In addition to finger soreness, my quads are complaining too. I'd chalk this up to the deadlifts.

Super sleepy, so I'm going to hang out, watch Netflix, and rest up for my lessons tomorrow.

Hope your week is going well, Bees!

Playing: Empty Shell is still on my playlist. It does a very specific thing (tense horror action), but it does it quite well. It's become my new podcast game.

Reinstalled an oldie - State of Decay 2, as it's very much a mindless loop kind of game, I feel. I also hear that Ready or Not is getting a huge update tomorrow, so I've reinstalled the game in anticipation.

Watching: A bit of Seal Team at the gym. Was considering watching more of the SWAT tv series, but I haven't re-evaluated it; it still looks like rubbish. For lack of a new horror experience, I've settled on The Fall of the House of Usher as my late night entertainment, and the snappy (?) pacing has kept me entertained thus far.

Here's a Christmas video to help me get into the mood. RIP Gabe.

Listening to: Blue Eye Samurai OST - For Whom the Bell Tolls. Here's a spirited Metallica cover (in Japanese, no less!) to finish the night with. May need to check out this series, as it looks impressive!

"Stranger now are his eyes to this mystery
Hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see



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@TopNotch Thank you kindly! Just time and practice.

Hey again Bees. When I woke up today I definitely did not want to go the gym. My body was sore in different areas, and I wanted to stay home and game. But I went anyway. This is Push W4D2, and still on the 3rm goal.

Bench Press: 142.5 x 3, 145 x 3, 147.5 x 2. This started off totally rubbish. 142.5 felt like a ton! I do, however, tend to do better on a second set, and I managed to get 145 x 3 like last time. Moved up to 147.5 just to try it out, but didn't get anywhere.
Larsen Press: 125 x 5.
Incline Press: 102.5 x 5. Zzzz...
Paused Shoulder Press: 75 x 5. This was quite the effort! I originally planned for four reps, but managed to grab another.
Bicep Curls: 16 x 20.

We're leaving for New York to visit my big sister and family next week. We're also getting rid of unnecessary items around the apartment, as our home is undergoing minor renovations. And soon, we'll be moving back to North America after selling it. Things are moving quickly...

There's a chill in the air, Bees! Stay warm (not that I've had any trouble doing that in a tropical city lol).

Playing: Making steady progress in Empty Shell. I have one steady complaint so far. Every time you die, you play a new "volunteer" going through a new layout of the level. This means that enemies and loot are randomized as well. I feel like the loot/enemy placements are either tremendously charitable, or brutally unfair. Contrast this with a refined RL like Hades, in which the difficulty is steadily ramped up over time. Here, one wrong roll of the die, and a giant hand, or something equally difficult will come out of nowhere to smash you (I wish I were making this up). I know, I know, Roguelites live and die on their randomization; yet the best will taper the difficulty as the levels go on. One welcome change is that as you play through the campaign levels, your progress is saved. So you don't need to restart from the very first zone when you die, a la Madshot or Hades. Will report on more later...

Also playing a "STALKER-like" called Tunguska: The Visitation. It's granular in gameplay and unforgiving in difficulty. Will have to keep going.

Also, Ready or Not received its first big 1.0 release, and I look forward to playing the revamped game. I've heard buzz both praising and disappointing, but I'll see how things go.

Watching: I rewatched The Blair Witch Project on a whim, for what has to be the fifth or sixth time in my life. I first watched the film on VCD back in... 2000 or so? I've rewatched it on more legitimate formats numerous times over the years, as it's one of my favourite movies of all time. Here's a review!

Back in 1994, filmmakers Heather, Josh, and Michael set out into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland to chronicle the myth of "The Blair Witch". The footage they took documenting their journey is all that remains of the missing trio, and it tells the story of their interactions and journey, if precious little else.

If time is kind to this movie, TBWP will go down in horror movie history as bold, innovative, and a landmark viewing experience. Yes, we all know it's just a movie, and that even back in '99, many people didn't buy into the exaggerated hype. Part of understanding the film's impact is understanding the colossal and unusual marketing campaign it had. But enough of that, is it a good movie?

Damn right it is. Forget all the cliches of found-footage films, this is, while not the very first, the most impactful found footage horror movie. The story it tells is simple: as time goes on, the cameraderie between the three filmmakers frays, and scarier and scarier things start happening to them. This culminates in a setpiece and ending that is as unforgettable as it is enigmatic. Make no mistake, this film subscribes to the "less is better" aesthetic, and is better off for doing so (though this gives little credit to the meticulous way it was prepared). Some people will find it infuriating; others will praise it like I have. I'd say that it's worth it to find out which camp you're in.

I give it five F-words out of five.

Still watching Seal Team at the gym, and started a new indie horror called Where the Devil Roams. Lots to watch!

Listening to: Stridulum - Home. Gothy synth that makes for a dark, yet sugary pop confection. One of those late night discoveries of mine that bore fruit!



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"So sleepy!"
Hey everyone. Ox here - pending a change of thread name, which I'm changing to something more delicious, saucy and tongue-in-cheek. Also, here's a W5D1 Push workout that went terribly.

Bench Press: 150 x 2, 152.5 x 1. I was aiming for a new 2RM, so it's disappointing that I failed the 152.5 lift, and nearly ended up getting crushed under the bar (I use my ninja-like reflexes [yeah right] to scoot out of the way). I'll give it another hack later this week.
Spoto Press: 125 x 3. Wow, these are tough! I'm going to try doing them again later this week.
Incline Press: 112.5 x 3. These are fun! I should keep up with them.
Dumbbell Flys: 22(?) x 8. Haven't done these in years.
Barbell Curls: 32.5 x 8.

The weather dropped over here in Hong Kong, so it's become hoodie and coat weather again. Comically enough, most people are bundled up like there's a snowstorm, but having lived through two snowy environments in my life, the cold doesn't bother me as much. And when we get to New York, it'll be colder still...

Enjoy your Sunday, Bees!

Playing: I finished Empty Shell's campaign mode! Was definitely not expecting this. Here's a brief review.

Set in Japan, the setting is of an island base that has gone dark and lost contact with the mainland. As a "volunteer", you are given a random weapon, ammo, and nothing else, your task being to explore the facility and find out what went wrong. I've already devoted some words to describing this one, so I'll keep it brief. This is a topdown horror, but not survival horror, experience that's also in black and white. The limiting format and the video artefacts set the mood pretty effectively, and sell the spooky vibe. As this is a roguelite game, you will die many times, though I felt more than a few deaths were due to bad luck, as opposed to a lack of skill. Still, it's a compact, eerie experience that does what it sets out to do, and offers more than a little spooky fun. I give it three and a half gas masks out of five.

So it turns out Ready or Not's 1.0 release is still dogged by ludicrous difficulty (namely suspects that would put John Wick to shame). So for now, it stays off my hard drive while I play other... stuff.

Watching: Some Seal Team at the gym. Not much late night cinema, which I should rectify.

Here's a very sharp and tight short film called "The Amazing World of Emma" that I found pretty creepy and well made.

Listening to: Mountain - Theme from an Imaginary Western. Dreamy and Pastoral. Everything it says it is on the tin, albeit with heavy rock instrumentation.



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Hey Bees! A mini check-in today, as I didn't go to the gym (moi? no gym?!) today.

Instead I stayed home, worked on my lesson plans, and did some sandbag exercises.

Sandbag swings: Pyramid up to 26 reps (started as 5, then 6, et c...). Quite challenging!
Waiter Walks (Hold a dumbbell/kettlebell above with arms outstretched, then walk): Pyramid up to sets of 4 lengths, just to start light. Not sure of the length of my apartment.
I counted ten sets in total.

And thanks to the Darebee team, my thread sports a sillier title. Just felt right! Tomorrow I'll have a more full-bodied workout and update.

Stay sane and safe, Bees!

Listening to: Alien Ant Farm - Forgive and Forget.



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"So sleepy!"
@PetiteSheWolf Much thanks! 'Tis my epic journey for the mythical Gains!

The Quest for Muscle is off to a good "start", of course. Today was Back day, which means... you guessed it, deadlifts.

Deadlifts: 175 x 5. Okay, I suppose. Can't wait to go back to 180, and 185.
Paused Deadlifts: 140 x 3. Uggh... these were real heavy today!
Rack Pulls: 150 x 3. Ditto!
Barbell Rows: 80 x 8. Slow and steady, really feel the motion and not just jerk the weight up and down.

And 23000 steps! Big whoop!

I've been experiencing very strong anxieties these days. It's interesting to note that they're most noticeable at the gym, hammering away at me as I move to do my workouts. I feel less anxious when I'm back home, relaxed. They relate to a lot of things... to wit, my current state in life (I'm a freelance teacher and professional bum, I feel like) and my not-so-distant future plans of moving back to North America. I also beat myself up a lot.... so sometimes, I struggle to stay positive.

Oh well. As the saying goes, one day at a time.

Our Christmas trip is still in the cards, and we depart on Sunday. We've been busy moving things around in the apartment and covering them up, for when the painters arrive. Look forward to seeing family again in New York!

Keep on going, Bees! Almost there!

Playing: A dash of Empty Shell, some Project Warlock 2, and Turok 2. WTF. This is after I already rage-deleted it off my HD. But I felt a bit like I was giving it short shrift, so I consulted a guide (for the second time), and managed to find the key item I was missing. Who knows if I'll continue to play it to completion. I don't!

Watching: Of course, Seal Team at the gym - meat and potatoes entertainment that's a little rote, but has a lot of heart. Also a bit of Fall of the House of Usher, which I shall continue with.

Listening to: The Mars Volta - Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of). I haven't listened to this album in years. Pretentious quasi prog wankery? Sure, and it's true that the band would lay on the pretentiousness pretty thick in later albums. But their first is relatively concise, and has a surprisingly focused punch.



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"So sleepy!"
Thank you kindly @BrigidForged.

Hey everyone. Still not-so-cold here, still trucking away at the workouts. Today was W5D2 of my Push workout, so more bench pressing.

Bench Press: 150 x 2, 155 x 1. I sensed early on that 152.5 x 2 wasn't going to be in the cards, so I played it smart, and performed some single rep sets instead. Didn't get very far, but at least I didn't fail a set and drop the bar over my head like last time.
Spoto Press: 130 x 3. I can't believe how difficult this lift feels! I used to do it with much more weight (as in 10 kg more!).
Decline Press: 115 x 5.
Bicep Curls: 18 x 20.

So I seem to have peaked with this cycle - not getting any stronger. Will deload next week and start another cycle after the new year.

Edit: See you again, Bees! Hope your pre-holiday is going well!

Playing: I uninstalled Turok 2 again. I played through a chunk of the new level I'd unlocked and forgot to quicksave, stupidly. Having lost all my progress, I started again from my old save, making sure to mash the quicksave button periodically. And then it turned out I was using the wrong quicksave button. This may be an indictment of my carelessness, but instead I blame the stupid game for not having autosave. Grr.

My downtime is also spent on some Stone Soup, and Zero Sievert, which I haven't played in awhile. Also some Blood West, but the difficulty of the game isn't very enticing to me.

Watching: Seal Team, and planning to watch more House of Usher. I haven't found a new horror movie to sate my interest as of late, so House of Usher will do in the meantime.

Listening to: Indigo - The Edge. Perfectly crafted pop treasure, this one.

"Feel the heat
Feel the beat
Keeps pushing
Through the pain
In my veins
And my legs keep running

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"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees. It's after X'mas and New Years, but today was the first opportunity I had to workout (looking after my sister's kids takes priority) in two weeks.

My vacation started off terribly. On the first night, right before bedtime, several family members (myself included) got into a vicious shouting match, and horrible things were said. While that horrid blowup was the only one we had, it depressed me heavily and made my anxieties skyrocket. Things calmed down later on, but acting as a babysitter for my sister's kids doesn't leave one time for reflection or relaxation. I love the little ones, but I don't feel like repeating the experience for awhile.

Otherwise, I loved being away from HK and getting to spend time in my sister's neck of the woods. I love her family to bits, and it's always good to see them again. I also saw snow for the first time in several years. So there was a lot to be grateful for, warts and all. And I do feel excited about a new year, in contrast to 2023, which saw me spinning my wheels.

Also, MILK DUDS. I bought a bulk order of them to take home (they're impossible to find in HK). Will have to ration them, and not pig out all at once.

We got off the plane this morning and not two hours later, I set out to hit the gym for an overdue Chest workout. How'd it go?

Bench Press: 100 x 10, 115 x 6, 117.5 x 4.
Incline Press: 92.5 x 5.
Larsen Press: 105 x 5.
Triceps Dumbbell Extensions: 14 x 10.
Hammer Curls: 16 x 26.

For sheer numbers, this is the worst workout I've had in years. Something hath sapped my strength, and here are the most probable reasons.

1. Jet Lag - my lifts are always lousy after I travel
2. Two weeks without working out
3. The remnants of sickness... still have a nasty cough, and lingering cold.

Mind you, I felt absolutely charged during the workout. But I couldn't follow through. Frustrating to be back at the start - but I'll make progress. It's good to be back in the gym, no matter how you slice it.

And since I missed the occasion, I'll say it now: have yourselves a good and healthy new year, Bees! Now I'm going to drag myself to bed and sleep until next year.

Playing: Thanks to my rambunctious niece and nephew, and lack of a gaming PC at my sis' house, there hasn't been much gaming going on. Just purchased a roguelite called Mortal Sin, so I'll give that a whirl. Also looking forward to some Ready or Not.

Watching: I watched tons of movies at my sister's place, as it helps distract the kids! I'll write some reviews when I get around to them.

Listening to: The Monkees - Me & Magdalena. I heard this one while driving to dinner with my brother-in-law. Absolutely warm and gentle.

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Warrior from Hong Kong
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"So sleepy!"
Thank you so much @PetiteSheWolf, @Nevetharine, and @Laura Rainbow Dragon. I'm slowly feeling better every day (is that a Chicago lyric?).

Hey again, Bees. I went to bed at a jet-lag appropriate 8:30, and got up at 8 am today; possibly the earliest I've been up in awhile. My pecs are as sore as can be from yesterday, but I decided to come in to the gym again today for a Back workout.

Deadlifts: 160 x 5.
Paused Deadlifts: 125 x 3.
Dimell Deadlifts: 135 x 6.
Lat Pulldowns: 60 x 8.

I originally intended to do more sets (I did 28 in total today), but was just too tired. About midway through I felt like I'd just slammed into a wall, and it sucked. Like yesterday, I chalk this up to jet lag and lingering sickness. The Dimell Deadlifts (which are really just the top half of a deadlift motion) absolutely killed me. But deadlifting 160 for five isn't so bad, especially after a hiatus.

Hope your week is going well, Bees!

Playing: I tried a bit of Ready or Not, played a bit of a mission clearly inspired by Ruby Ridge and the Unabomber, and rage quit after dying several times - this is after installing a mod that reduces the difficulty. I'll give it another hack tonight. A dash of Zero Sievert. Played quite a bit of Mortal Sin. Though it took a little getting used to, I do approve of the gory first person melee combat. Me likey.

Watching: Seal Team at the gym, and a bit of Fall of the House of Usher. Will start on a horror called History of the Occult tonight, as it looks promising.

Listening to: Bob Seger - Sunburst. I haven't spun up this song in several years, and it's still as good as I remember. It's a surprisingly epic number that portrays the experience of performing on stage.

"Fires begin to rage
And they engulf the stage
All right

Bring on the night!

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Warrior from Hong Kong
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"So sleepy!"
@Mamatigerj Thank you so much! I'm glad you approve of the classic rock.

Hello everyone! Today was a bit of a departure from my usual routine. I went to see my psychiatrist, squeezed in a workout, and then off to work.

Today was another Chest day. How did it go?

Bench Press: 112.5 x 5. Yuck.
Larsen Press: 105 x 5
Incline Press: 85 x 5
Flat Curls: 16 x 20

Terribly. It went terribly. At this rate, my numbers are going to exponentially drop until I can't even lift the bar. Kidding aside, I'll give it a few days and try again next week. Hopefully the extra protein I've been taking in will have an impact.

And tomorrow is Leg day. Ugh, total fun time. I jest. I'm so glad to be back in the gym after my circumstance-imposed hiatus.
Also, I saw the charity doggos again! My furry therapy for the day! :cantwait:


Keep going, Bees! It's almost Friday!

Playing: Mortal Sin has taken over my free time - to the tune of 11 hours in three days. I don't remember the last time a game offered me such unadulterated, addictive fun. There's something about the deceptively simple, meaty melee combat that's hooked me. Roguelite developers, this is how you make a randomized game. Not the pixelated crap that masquerades as fun these days.

Will also pick up where I left off with Blood West. Assuming I don't spend all my time with Mortal Sin, first!

Watching: Watching more Seal Team at the gym. Haven't been watching Late Night Cinema in a few days, as I'm usually too sleepy.

Listening to: Shakin' Street - Suzie Wong. I might've picked this because it's an oblique reference to my home city (I've also literally never heard of another song referencing Suzie Wong), but it's also a really decent and uplifting slice of rock.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
@Nevetharine I haven't trained abs in years! And I'm typically not fond of Leg Day because fondness aside, I hit my legs pretty hard.
@MadamMeow I know! I'm actually allergic to dogs and cats, which makes me sad, 'cuz they're my favourite animals. So owning one is out of the question, but I love seeing them on the street and getting the chance to have a quick cuddle/pet.

Hello Bees! We're at the end of the week, so I slammed my legs with today's workout!

Squats: 100 x 5. I'm not surprised it's so low.
Front Squats: 60 x 7. Huh, these felt pretty good!
Paused Squat: 80 x 3. Bleh.
Lying Leg Curls: 45 x 6.

26 sets of leg exercises in total; admittedly, I'm neglecting my hamstrings, but the quad work was no joke. I caught myself closing my eyes from fatigue several times.

Mom and I are headed to a Dim Sum Fong Tai (Fong Tai = All you can eat) tomorrow. We've never tried an all you can eat dim sum place. I'm looking forward to it, and am curious as to what sorts of dim sum there will be.

Enjoy your weekend, Bees! You've earned it.

Playing: Still playing Mortal Sin. Got farther playing this morning (lol, should be more productive), but still got my butt handed to me. Also need to play more of Blood West.

Also purchased Warhammer: Boltcaster (?) last night, but was too sleepy to really play it. Will try again tonight, as I can already tell it rocks.

Watching: Seal Team, of course. Really need to resurrect late night cinema.

Listening to: Thin Lizzy - King's Vengeance. Yeah yeah, everyone knows The Boys Are Back in Town, but I spent some time listening to a chunk of their discography and found that they were an amazingly consistent band. I would argue that their guitarists put out some of the tastiest and most adroit six-string work of their time. So many of their songs have amazing melodies and solos.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
Hello, Bees. Today was the return of the Chest workout, after going to church.

Bench Press: 110 x 7.
Larsen Press: 105 x 5.
Incline Press: 90 x 5.
Flat Curls: 16 x 22.
Rope Pushdown: 11 x 8.

I was hoping for an improvement over my terrible showing on Thursday. No major changes, but some minor improvements in the reps. Not the transformation I hoped for, but I'll take it.

Dim Sum Fong Tai was... decent, I suppose. The dumplings and buns were noticeably smaller and less handsome than the ones you'd find at most other restaurants, but for $98, and all you can eat, it was worthwhile. Interestingly, for a hole in the wall place, lots of people showed up to eat. The appeal of an inexpensive buffet, I suppose. This Friday we're going for Hot Pot! Om nom nom.

Tomorrow is Back day, and I'll try to improve on my deadlift totals from last time.

Get ready for the week, Bees, and make it a good one!

Playing: I've spent close to a full day's worth of game time in Mortal Sin. Yesterday, however, I spent hours in Blood West. Got up to a boss, died a few times, rage uninstalled, reinstalled, found a way to prepare, beat the boss, and entered a new area. And currently getting my arse handed to my by its inhabitants. Still, it beats puttering around the early areas.

Watching: Seal Team, natch. I'm not a newcomer to military-themed TV series. Past series I've watched include Britain's Ultimate Force, about the SAS, and The Unit, which was about Delta Force. I'd say Seal Team is more mawkish than the cynical Ultimate Force, but more direct and unpretentious than The Unit. And more authentic too; Seal Team stands out for its attention to detail.

No late night cinema these days, as I've been staying up too "late". Tonight, it's either History of the Occult, or In the Mouth of Madness (a certified, stone-cold Carpenter classic).

Listening to: The Hollies - Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress. One of my all-time favourites, which supposedly cribs from CCR. I love the overblown, hard-boiled noir feel, and the drawling vocals.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
Happy Tuesday everyone! I pigged out and didn't go to the gym yesterday, so I hit today's Back workout with a vengeance.

Deadlifts: 165 x 6. Progress, but it sure as hell wasn't easy. Saw stars at the end of the set!
Paused Deadlifts: 135 x 3.
Rack Pulls: 145 x 4. My fingers...
Barbell Rows: 95 x 6.

I'm happy for the deadlift increase, but the rest of the exercises were just tiring. In the future, I'm going to move away from emphasizing the deadlift movements and focus more on upper-back exercises, like I used to.

I rate today's workout as Slog/10.

Cat-spotting update!


This is the calico (?) at my gym complex. I'm glad that some soft-hearted staff members continue to feed and take care of it.


Sometimes you get lucky. I spotted this helpful shop assistant on the way home; interestingly, some Chinese medicine stores have a habit of keeping cats as pets. While this friendly feline was giving me slow blinks, I decided not to enter, as there was nothing there I wanted to buy.

Hope your week is going well, Bees!

Playing: Booted up Ready or Not and got my butt handed to me. Rage quit. Try again tonight. Have been neglect Warhammer: Boltgun, so I need to spend more time on it. And Mortal Sin continues to take up the brunt of my free time. It's just that good...

Watching: Seal Team at the gym. I hear that True Detective is good, so I'm considering making a start on it.

Listening to: Spencer Davis Group - Keep on Running. The SDG put out some of the direct and driving rock 'n roll of their time. Some of their hits are just classic! I had to choose one, so I stuck with this song, as it has a special significance for me.



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Lovely gym calico :) And how could you resist the slow blink, @GentleOx ?! How could you?!
Puss In Boots Puppy Dog Eyes GIF

Best hook to get visitors in the shop ever!


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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
@PetiteSheWolf I don't know why I didn't greet the kitty. If I pass by again, I'll definitely say hi to it.
@Laura Rainbow Dragon Thank you kindly!
@MadamMeow I definitely consider kitties good luck!

Attention, attention please!

We have a sighting of a wild GentleOx in the area. Please do not approach him, as he is as hungry as he is sleepy!

Thank you for your cooperation.

Today was another Push workout, in which I sought to improve on my previous numbers. Was I able to?

Bench Press: 110 x 9, 115 x 6. Wow. If you compare this to the last time I worked my Chest, in which I could only pull off 110 x 7, this is a huge improvement. I'm not sure why... perhaps the increased protein intake? Or maybe even the increase in volume after a break?
Spoto Press: 105 x 3.
Incline Press: 90 x 5. Ugh. This sucked. Again, not sure why. It just didn't gel.
EZ Bar Pushdowns: 12 x 8.
Hammer Curls: 16 x 20.

So big gains! Hopefully I can build upon them in the days to come. Next workout I'll be increasing the weight. Sloooowwwllly.

So tired. But satisfied. Hot Pot on Saturday, yay! But I have to get through Leg Day tomorrow. Boo, hiss!

Keep going, Bees! You're past the halfway point of this week.

Watching: No Seal Team at the gym. I watched a bit of an African horror named Saloum... but I'm not impressed so far. I was promised an action horror film, and halfway in, there's been precious little of both. Meh.

Also watched episode 1 of True Detective: Night Country. So far it's been table setting, but I'm impressed with the bleakness of the setting and the quasi(?)-supernatural horror tones.

Playing: Mortal Sin. Also been making inroads into Ready or Not - I ploughed through three missions yesterday. Warhammer: Boltgun (so that's its name!) is fun so far, but doesn't reinvent the Boomer Shooter wheel.

Listening to: The Who - A Quick One, While He's Away. It's been awhile since I got my last Who fix, and I always love the melody of this one!



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
Thank you so much @Mianevem, @Nevetharine, and @Laura Rainbow Dragon! Your support means the world.

Ugh. Some days I do not want to go the gym, and I was hit hard with that feeling of sluggishness before and of course, afterwards. But I finally made my way over to the gym for Leg Day.

Squats: 105 x 5. Ugh.
Front Squats: 65 x 5. Double ugh. I gave up on these after five sets because I could feel my hip flexor giving way.
Paused Squats 70 x 3. Normally I can do much more with these, but today I wasn't feeling it.
Leg Extensions: 12 x 10.
Back Extensions: 2 sets of 10 reps each.

Doing this workout was like hitting a wall, breaking through that one, and then encountering another one. I'm glad I worked my legs, but now I can relax in peace.

Visiting an old friend's art exhibition tomorrow, and then hot pot! Yum yum.

Enjoy your weekend, Bees! You earned it.

Watching: Finished Saloum partly at the gym, and partly on the commute home.

Three experienced African mercenaries, after finishing a gig, find refuge in a Senegalese island in order to lay low, and ponder their next move. After meeting the village's odd inhabitants, things take a turn for the worse, and they struggle to survive and get out alive.

I was looking forward to this one for a long time. It starts off promisingly - there's a deft mix of genres here. The film is part western, part folk horror, and even has a dash of war/action movie in its blood. And the movie is almost universally acclaimed on Rottentomatoes.

But honestly: I struggled to care. I just found that the disparate genres didn't coalesce into a compelling movie, even when the compelling parts show up. Yes, the film takes a turn into horror territory - it just doesn't do this very well. I don't understand the threat of (SPOILERS) supernatural creatures that can be killed with mortal weapons, and they show up too late to really make a difference. I can understand why the film has been praised; the direction is deft, and the acting is good, but it just didn't keep my interest, for some reason or the other.

So I give it two nickle-plated revolvers out of five.

Playing: I've clocked nearly 28 hours in Mortal Sin. Saw on Steam an absolutely hilarious game called Kill It With Fire; it involves spiders, and you can guess the what the point of the game is. It's available for a pittance, but I'm not sure if I'll buy it (it seems like a gag game rather than a substantial one).

Listening to: Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions. Probably one of the best instrumentals ever recorded.

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees! I'm back, with more muscly goodness fresh on tap.

Usually I workout on Sundays, but I moved my workout to today, as I hadn't gotten enough sleep yesterday. Today was another Push day, in which I had some minor improvements.

Bench Press: 112.5 x 9, 117.5 x 6. Oomph! I love the progress, but the x 9 was a real fight. It was one of those RPE 11 moments. What this means is that I haven't progressed as quickly as I'd like, and need to proceed judiciously.
Larsen Press: 110 x 5. Uhh, I forgot if this was actually 110 x 5 or 107.5, but I think the former.
Incline Press: 95 x 5. Looks I've improved in my accessory lifts! Not bad.
Wide Grip Shoulder Press: 50 x 5. I find these pretty tough, hence the weight being lower than with a standard shoulder press.

So minor gains! I'll take it.

The week has started off well, so let's hope that it continues that way.

Ox out.

Playing: Nearly 30 hours in Mortal Sin. Also steadily making my way through Ready or Not, one gruelling mission after the next. I find that the game, even with its controversial ripped-from-the-headlines missions (or maybe, because of them), doesn't stack up to the mature, more restrained action of its predecessors.

Watching: Back to Seal Team. This episode, which features one of the team stuck in a torpedo tube with rising water, features yet another improbably ass-pulled solution that saves the day. I know that the show isn't going to cut one of its starring cast members midway through the season. The miraculous nature of this one is more jarring than most of the show's dei ex machina(e).

No late night cinema, but I'll try to watch a bit of Mike Flanagan's Hush tonight.

Listening to: Lou Christie - Lightnin' Strikes. While it starts off as trite bubblegum nonsense, the song progresses into classic rock majesty with a great chorus (and a formidable falsetto) and killer guitar solo.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
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"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees!

It's as cold as it gets in Hong Kong today, and everyone's bundled up against the cold. I braved the chilly climes to pull off another workout! Today was Back day.

Deadlifts: 170 x 6. Moving on up!
One Arm Deadlifts: 60 x 3. I put these in as an experiment, but I don't think I'll do them again. They're too finicky and balance-sensitive to execute.
Rack Pulls: 155 x 6.
Machine One Arm Rows: 52.5 x 6.

I'm going to relax with a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy the cold while it lasts.

Stay warm, Bees!

And now for a GentleOx critter update!


Spotted this doggo in a furniture/appliance store. It started barking and wagging its tail - I think it wanted to play.


If looks could kill. I saw this sleepy feline at my local hardware store. After snapping a pic, I held out my hand in greeting, but the kitty wanted none of it. The owners warned me that it likes to bite, so it may have been for the better.

Playing: Mortal Sin, for sure. Made a bit of progress in Ready or Not, and am on the controversial nightclub level, called "Neon Tomb". I will say that the game packs plenty of content, as there are loads of levels. Whether or not they're in good taste is a different question altogether!

Watching: Seal Team at the gym, and started watching Hush, a 2016 slasher/thriller flick. I'm surprised it's taken me this long, as the film is definitely a winner.

Listening to: Clone3 - Hyper Drive. I've been posting a lot of classic rock lately, so I'm going to take a break from the old-time rockers and listen to a little more synth. Here's a fantastic recent discovery.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 529
"So sleepy!"
Ugh, Bees. It has not been the best of days lately, but that's okay.

I skipped my Thursday workout because I had a stomach bug that started on Wednesday and has carried over to today. You know that feeling like your guts are knotted for a few moments, and then unwind? Yeah. All the familiar characteristics of a stomach ache are there.

Hasn't left, but I braved the pain to hit the gym today. It was really a coin-flip kind of moment - I had all my gear packed and ready, but there was that little voice in my head whingeing and complaining and looking for excuses. In any event, I'm glad I made it to the gym. Today was my second Push day of the week.

Bench Press: 115 x 8. I was a bit surprised by this. It was difficult, sure, but I was expecting another strength drop.
Spoto Press: 110 x 3. Gains.
Incline Press: 97.5 x 5. Gains.
Wide Grip Shoulder Press: 55 x 5. Gains as well.

So, a very gainful workout, which surprised me - usually when I get sick, there's a magic drop in strength - but I'll take it.

It's been getting warmer after the chill of the last few days. I'm curious to see how this year's Lunar New Year pans out (usually everything grinds to a halt). Mom wryly noted that we've already done our preparations (eg cleaning and clearing out stuff) just in time for the holiday.

Take care of yourselves, Bees, and have a happy weekend!

Watching: A dash of Seal Team, some True Detective, and I finished Hush, after putting it off for six years. Review below.

Maddie Young is a solitary, deaf-mute writer who lives practically alone in the middle of the woods, until a psychopathic killer comes knocking and forces her to fight for her life.

There's nothing complicated about this one: it's a lean and mean thriller that cleverly uses its premise (deaf-mute protagonist sadistically threatened) to its advantage. I don't know if I would call it the "Thinking Man's Slasher", but it is definitely well-written and thought out. Part of the thrill of the movie is the cat and mouse game between Maddie and the masked killer, which I thought was very believable (barring a few decisions).

For its merits, I give Hush four out of five crossbow bolts.

Playing: A bevvy of new stuff! I purchased Slay the Spire (but have yet to start it), and played a bit of Postal: Brain Damaged, which is about as tasteless and manic as one would expect (though not a bad game). Also an indie shooter called Impaler, but I may regret that one (to the tune of 15 HKD, fortunately). And Mortal Sin, of course.

Listening to: Slicarius - After School. Was listening to this on the way home. Wish that my time spent after school were as carefree as this song.