Quest for Muscle: The Return of the Pump


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"So sleepy!"
Oops, I skipped all the updates from all of you. Thank you so much @Mianevem @Fremen @CODawn @JCU @PetiteSheWolf @Laura Rainbow Dragon @Mamatigerj @roman . My tummy's feeling better, and I'm so close to 100%, but not quite there.

Hello again, Bees! I went to the gym after going to church, for a rather early Push day. I didn't really expect any PRs with this one.

Bench Press: 117.5 x 6. Eh, kind of ho hum, so I'll stay with this weight and work on getting more reps.
Spoto Press: 120 x 3. Not bad!
Incline Press: 100 x 5. Been a long time since I repped this weight.
Wide Grip Shoulder Press: 60 x 5. Hnnng. Tougher than I thought iw ould be.

Some small improvements, but I need to work on my existing weights and not get greedy. All in good time.

In other news, my dad is getting out of prison in several days (far earlier than expected). I don't remember exactly how long ago I was distraught, writing the post about when he'd been arrested. I'm glad that he's getting out, but logistically, it's a bit of a nightmare. We don't know what his plans are, and where he intends to go (stay in America? go to Canada? come back to Asia?!). So all in all, pretty frustrating, and my anxieties have found another excuse to start screeching in my ear.

And yet, all I can do is wait. I shall do so with calm.

(Also, I bought a custard bun that was not a custard bun. It was tasty, but it was not a custard bun. I demand recompense.)

Hope you had a great weekend, Bees.

Playing: A little bit of Ready Or Not (approaching the end here), and some Mortal Sin, and really, that's all. Despite the 10 or so games on my hard drive demanding to be played.

Watching: TV-wise, the usual suspects, though I have yet to pick another movie for Late Night Cinema.

Listening to: Devo - Girl U Want. I can't believe I dismissed Devo so off-handedly in the past. That changed when I started getting into New Wave. The quirkiness is part of the show, but so is the group's consistent song writing chops.

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@PetiteSheWolf Thank you for the kind thoughts, you and everyone else.

"Usual suspects" refers to the two shows I've been concurrently watching these weeks: Seal Team and True Detective: Night Country.

I actually haven't seen The Usual Suspects (the movie) in awhile, but your quote is one of the many great things about the film: "And like that, he was gone".

I went to McDonalds today and eschewed working out lol, so I'm going to hit the weights again tomorrow.

Hope your week is starting off on the right foot, Bees!


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"shooting the devil in the back? And what if you miss?" (showing his crippled hand)
The line-up "give me the keys you M..F.." scene :LOL: (such a summary of each character! Not to mention the impro)

I'll be interested in your commentaries on the new True Detective, I'm curious , as I really like Gillian Anderson.


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Heya Bees. I skipped Monday, but hit the gym with a vengeance today to make up for it.

Deadlifts: 175 x 3. My grip gave way. Will try again with chalk next time.
Paused Deadlifts: 140 x 3.
T-Bar Rows: 80 x 7.
Neutral Grip Pulldowns: 70 x 6.

A balance between lower and upper body this time. Disappointed, that I didn't get 175 x 5, but them's the breaks.

The saga of dad continues. We still don't know where he's getting sent to after release, so the only thing to do is wait. Life continues around us.

Take care of yourselves, Bees!

Playing: Mortal Sin, for sure. I tried Slay the Spire and... it didn't click. And it's not genre snobbery on my part; I played, and liked, Inscryption, but that was lightning in a bottle. I'm not sure StS is as exemplary.

Rage uninstalled Ready or Not, and decided to go back to FF7 Remake. Maybe I'll actually go past the beginning this time.

Loads of games on SALE on Steam, but nothing's caught my eye, and I already went on my spending spree for the month.

Watching: Seal Team at the gym. I have a mini-rant about the show in store.

David Boreanz is the lead of this show, and he still retains the hunky charisma of his days of starring in Angel. I don't doubt his leading man qualities, but physique-wise, he's flat-out unconvincing. I find it hard to buy episode after episode in which he's humping a pack or darting through the action when he's sporting a dad-bod.

Two caveats. First, I'm the last person who should be gate-keeping someone based on their build; I'm not exactly built like a Navy SEAL myself. Secondly, I know that he did physical prep for the show, and his workouts were even featured in Men's Health, or some other magazine.

But I'm not impressed. When lined up next to his co-stars, like Max Thieriot or Neil Brown Jr., he sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm not going to stop watching the show because of this, and it doesn't take me out of the action, but it detracts from the otherwise amazing realism, somewhat. /endrant

Regarding True Detective...

@PetiteSheWolf I'm only at the second episode of this season, but I like it so far. It's solidly crafted (as you might expect), and there's plenty of nuance buried (pardon the pun) beneath the surface. What I really like is that the leads (Jodie Foster and Kali Reis) inhabit the roles very believably. I never watched the other seasons (I thought season 1 was too pretentious for my tastes), but this one has its chilling (another pun!) moments.

And there's more! For late night cinema, I started watching a New Zealand flick called "Loop Track", about an anxiety-ridden fellow he thinks he's seeing things while out hiking. It looks promising so far.

Listening to: CRX - Broken Bones. File this one under my "Badass" playlist. It certainly has enough swagger for it.



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Hey Bees!

Today I hit the gym early (for me at least, 11 am is an early gym outing) for another Push day. I'm very impressed with the results!

Bench Press: 117.5 x 8, 122.5 x 6. Not bad! Time for another move up in weight. It occurs to me that eventually I'll stop getting these "beginner" gains, but for now, I'll just keep upping the weight, and seeing where that takes me.
Larsen Press: 112.5 x 5. Microgains. Found it very difficult to do this one, but I'll keep doing it.
Paused Incline Press: 105 x 3. This hurt my shoulder a bit, so I may have to take it off the roster.
Wide Grip Shoulder Press: 60 x 3. And this hurt my shoulder even more! I'm more like to stop doing this one than the incline presses.
Flat Dumbbell Curls: 18 x 12. Next time I'll do sets of 14 reps.

The dad saga continues. He is scheduled to be released today, but they still haven't pinned down where he'll be going next, as he may face deportation. Either way, it's not going to be a concern for me tonight, due to the time difference. Once again, all I can do is wait.

I'm so tired of being anxious about things all the time. Fortunately, we have a holiday (CNY) coming up, so I can have some time to recharge my batteries and compose myself once more. And yummy pigeon for dinner tonight! Om nom nom.

Stay safe and well these days, Bees!

Playing: Not as much as I'd hope, thanks to all the aforementioned dad news going round. Problem is, I just feel too tired. Sometimes it's easier to glaze over online news and memes than it is to put "effort" (yes, seriously) into gaming. I do hope to get in some Mortal Sin, Warhammer: Boltgun, and make a fresh restart on my FFVII Remake save game.

Watching. Finished Loop Track, which is a NZ thriller about hiking in the woods.

Ian has just driven to the woods, pack in hand, to get his mind off of events in his life and deal with his crippling anxiety. His solo walk through the wood's loop track is rudely interrupted by the garrulous Nicky and a newly married couple from Australia. As they progress through the woods, Ian starts seeing things he can't explain; the hike goes on, his anxieties mount, and he's forced to fend for his life.

I liked this one a lot! I could really empathize with the main character, as I've suffered with my own lifelong anxiety issues. And it's absolute black comedy how despite his best efforts, he's always part of a group of more outgoing characters. The film would've been strong enough even if it had just been a black comedy revolving around the milquetoast Ian's adventures with this more extroverted group. But the film dips into another genre periodically before completely switching gears, and is the stronger for it, I felt. Without giving much away, we find out the truth of Ian's fears in a very satisfying fashion.

I give it four and a half sips of water out of five. I was going to append a trailer, but it gives too much away.

Not sure what I'll watch next; have caught up with True Detective, and am still on Seal Team's Season 2.

Listening to: Alien Ant Farm - So Cold. Alien Ant Farm's back in business! This new single absolutely rocks.



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@Mamatigerj Thank you for the hugs; they are appreciated.

Working out on a Saturday? I never do this! I took a break on Friday, so I was eager to get back into the gym.

I eschewed Leg day (whaaa??) and worked some Arms, instead. I haven't had a dedicated Arm day in a long time, so I thought I'd try it out.

Barbell Curls: 30 x 15, 35 x 8. Not the crazy weights I've done in the past. I simply focused on the reps, and I believe the rest will work itself out.
Barbell Skullcrusher: 35 x 6. Ditto. Will up the weight in subsequent workouts.
Dumbbell Flat Curls: 18 x 14. Did these again. What a surprise, doing them still sucks (I must be the only gym rat who thinks this).
Dumbbell Overhead Extension: 16 x 8. Not bad, will try for more next time.

What struck me was how I had to "ease in", or warm up before doing many of the exercises. Only after I'd done the motions a few times did they come easy to me.

More family drama that I discussed with mom over our usual weekend dinner. My take has always been that certain members of our family don't want to change; hence they can't be changed from the outside. I think mom accepts this as well, even though it's saddening.

Today, the area around my gym was packed; Messi is in town, and all his fans are heading to the stadium to get a look-see.

Have a good weekend, Bees!

Playing: Just Mortal Sin for now. It's easy to pick up and put down, and has become my podcast game of choice.

Also, oddly excited for Vampire: Bloodlines 2, which has been delayed multiple times. And am possibly the only one, judging by those YT comments.

Watching: Not much. Still waiting on True Detective episode 4.

Listening to: Gary Numan - We Are Glass. Hell yeah! I need more Numan in my life.



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Hey Bees!

I hit the gym today for another Push workout. Still continuing the steady strength progression of the past few workouts.
Bench Press: 120 x 8, 125 x 5. The final rep for 120 was an absolute grind, but I still gots it! Been looking forward to moving on to 122.5.
Spoto Press: 120 x 3.
Larsen Press: 110 x 5.
Wide Grip Shoulder Press: 62.5 x 5. Didn't I say I was going to move on from these?? Oh well, there's always next time.

Didn't do any arms today, as I just wanted to get in and get out.

The latest controversy to hit Hong Kong has to do with Lionel Messi. I'd never really paid attention to the guy, as I'm not a football fan, but apparently he's a big deal in the world of footie.

Anyway, Hong Kong fans of his were promised an exhibition match in which he (the wording here is important) and his team would play against our local team. The match took place, and Messi was present, but he sat on the side lines the entire time. People who had shown up to see Messi strut his stuff and play were left sorely disappointed, to say the least. Football's not my thing, but I agree that if I paid several thousand HKD to see a band perform and their frontperson didn't show up, I would be equally disappointed. Fingers are being pointed left and right, and it's still up in the air as to who's ultimately responsible (blame has been cast on Messi, the organizers of the match, and even our government). Go figure.

Football scandals aside, I'm still enjoying my workouts and living in the moment. The Lunar New Year starts on Saturday.

RIP - Phil the Malamute. This adorably fluffy internet icon will forever be remembered!

Hope your Monday's going great, Bees!

Watching: Seal Team at the gym, and True Detective tonight. I'm going to resume watching Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities for my late night cinema, as I never finished it - the back episodes apparently have a lot to look forward to.

Playing: More Mortal Sin, and a bit of Warhammer: Boltgun. I must say that the epic, cosmos-spanning series deftly fits into the more focused Boomer-shooter mold.

Listening to: Gary Numan - My Breathing. More Numany goodness. No matter the era, he has a good sense of pop hooks, as this particular number shows.



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Who is this guy? I'm so out of football!
This info is from a cursory visit to his wiki page: Lionel Messi is an Argentinian player, and is purportedly one of the most gifted athletes in the sport. His popularity rivals Cristiano Ronaldo's, and he is definitely big news. So it was a big deal when he visited our city, as he had a great number of fans that were expecting him to play. He didn't play at all (later citing injury concerns), causing an enormous scandal.

Hello again Bees!

Today I took it (relatively) easy and did a truncated Back workout.

Paused Deadlifts: 150 x 3. Wasn't interested in doing regular deadlifts, so I took a break from them; will resume next week.
Rack Pulls: 160 x 4. Just about hit my limit doing these. And now my fingers hurt...
Barbell Rows: 100 x 6. Haven't done these in ages; cheated the weight, but the movement felt good nonetheless.
Pullups: Top set of 4 reps.

All that nonsense with Messi aside, people are gearing up for the New Year - at least that's the impression I got wandering around outside. From past experience, there's a lot of excitement in the days leading up to it, and then everything shuts down for the first four days. Which means no workouts for me, unless I can overcome my laziness and do a home workout.

Hope your week is going well, Bees!

Playing: My gaming gears are stuck on Mortal Sin. I have yet to beat the main loop, but I've been trying. While it's fun, it's still quite frustrating to die, yet again.

Will also play some Boltgun, and return to Starfield, to see how different it is with the patches.

Watching: A bit of Seal Team, catching up on True Detective, and I started a Cabinet of Curiosities episode last night, which starred Rupert Grint (unconvincing accent included).

Listening: Cadenti - Bleed. This song has popped up a lot in my playlist. It lays on the saccharine a bit thick, but it's still a good synthpop tune.



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Hey gang! It's almost CNY, and I'm squeezing in my workouts before the gym closes (for only a few days, admittedly).

Today was a Push day. Wasn't expecting big results, but did my best.

Bench Press: 122.5 x 7. About as much as I expected. I'll give it a few workouts to see if I can progress to 8 reps.
Larsen Press: 115 x 5. At least my accessories are getting stronger.
Paused Incline Press: 105 x 3. This accessory got stronger too.
Close Grip Incline Press: 70 x 6. Wasn't interested in pushing these, so just went through the motions (literally).

The weather is cooling down again, just in time for the holidays. Once again, everyone's bundled up.

The Messi saga seems to be dying down, though to add insult to injury, he played in Japan after claiming that he was risking injury in Hong Kong. Unsubstantiated scuttlebutt claims that Messi has a dislike of political games, and wanted to stick it to the forces that be who were err... forcing him to play in Hong Kong? I don't f***ing know.

I do know that my city desperately needs a win, as we've been hit by disaster after disaster these few years.

I may or may not work out tomorrow, as I have to run some errands and partake in a zoom conference.

If I don't update again, Gung Hei Fat Choi! Have a Happy Lunar New Year, Bees! :chicken:

Playing: Still chipping away at Mortal Sin, getting closer and closer to the ending before falling flat. Amusingly enough, it's not much of an ending (at this early stage anyway)... I'm just playing for the sake of achievement.

Watching: Still on Seal Team and True Detective. I hear that Halo's growing into its second season quite well. Shit, I can't even remember what I was planning to watch for late night cinema, but I'll settle on something. Assuming I don't fall asleep first, that is.

Listening to: Korn - You'll Never Find Me. I periodically need to get my Korn fix.



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新年快樂, everyone! Happy New Year!

Thank you so much @JCU, @PetiteSheWolf, @CODawn, @Mamatigerj, @Deadoks, @Fremen, @OJJJEM, and @Laura Rainbow Dragon for the blessings! May this new year, lunar or otherwise, be a great one for you!

Mom and I did the New Year rounds and visited a few relatives. Otherwise we've been chilling, as most of the city is closed, including the gyms :typy:

Well, that ended today! My gym reopened today, so I had a workout after seeing my ex. Today was another Push day.

Bench Press: 122.5 x 8. Did not expect this. Hell, I might even attempt it again! Or just move on to 125? It's where I've always wanted to be.
Spoto Press: 125 x 3. Not bad. Slowly getting better, even.
Incline Press: 100 x 5. Boy, this was tough. I may even bench this entire exercise, as it just doesn't groove like it used to.
Hammer Curls: 18 x 20.

I had a good lunch and talk with my ex (we broke up back in late 2020). I'm glad that most of those pesky feelings are gone. Most of them, anyway.

Also got some lai see as well!


Hope your year is going great, Bees!

Playing: Not as much as I'd like (and what would that be, twelve hours a day?!), but I'm still hacking away at Mortal Sin, and continuously getting my butt kicked for my trouble. But there's a new contender for my free time!

I bought Tiny Tina's Wonderlands on sale, as I'm a big Borderlands fan. I read the user reviews that said that this entry in the series (technically, I guess it's a spin-off) wasn't as good as it should've been, and I'm inclined to agree; I'm tempted to say that this has some of the worst writing in the series. Of course, I'm only two hours in, so we'll see how things pan out. But for now, the word that comes to mind is uninspiring.

Watching: More Seal Team at the gym. True Detective is also coming to an end, though I haven't yet started this most recent episode. For late night cinema, watching a Found Footage-r called The Last Radio Call. It's not well acted, let alone good, but it does have found footage spooks to spare. I know I'm going to be disappointed, but at least I'm getting my horror and found footage fix.

Listening to: Alien Ant Farm - Around the Block. AAF is just full of surprises. Even when I think I've got a hold on their sound, they surprise me. I love this nostalgic number in particular!

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Hello Bees!

I had a shorter Back workout today. Something inside told me to deload and reset my deadlifts, so I did so today - my body is thanking me for it.

Deadlifts: 140 x 5. Sometimes it's good to just go through the motion, and not have to stress about hitting a new PR. Wasn't feeling it today, anyway.
Barbell Rows: 100 x 7.
Meadows Rows: 32.5 x 6. Remember, all about the form.
T-Bar Rows: 85 x 5.

It was a truncated workout, but still good to get the reps in. Also, almost nobody was at the gym. Which is a relief!

Afterward, I went to visit a friend who lives a ways (as in, an MTR ride) away.

The shopping mall near their home had some interesting decorations.

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Here I am with her daughter, going out for a stroll.

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Creature update!

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Gonzo wants to kill me for disturbing her sleep. I offered her the finger of greeting, which she sniffed, and then promptly ignored.

I judged it better to not pet her.

Keep it up, Bees! We're making it through the week.

Playing: More Mortal Sins, a bit of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. I want to buy (even) more games, but I need to watch my budget. So yeah, it's the good old stuff for now.

Watching: Hmm. Lot of crap movies out there. I would know, I'm going to watch Madame Web tomorrow. Yeah yeah, I know it('s pretty much confirmed that it) sucks. I'm seeing it with my ex, and Argylle was unavailable, so... here we are. I'm going to try to enjoy it the same way I would The Room.

Some more Seal Team at the gym... still haven't caught up with True Detective, but I'll get around to it. My late night cinema has repeatedly been curtailed by sleepiness, and the bush-league quality of the flick I've chosen to watch. Oh well.

Listening to: Futurecop! - I'm Enough Cosmos. When all else fails, the Synth doesn't! Here's another exuberant one from Futurecop!.



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Thank you @PetiteSheWolf @MadamMeow and @Deadoks. The little girl is an absolute sweetheart.

Hey Bees. I've had a great week so far hanging out with friends and relaxing a bit before work picks up soon.

Today was my final Push day of the week, and my final day of working out unless I go in tomorrow (may or may not).

Bench Press: 125 x 7. Not bad, not bad. I'll work towards eight reps in the coming week(s).
Paused Incline Press: 110 x 3. Progress.
Shoulder Press: 65 x 5. Ugh, everything else has gotten stronger except this.
Straight Bar Pushdown: 11 x 8. Stimulate, not annihilate.
Flat Bicep Curls: 16 x 26. Will go back to 18 next time.

Saw some surprisingly strong guys show up to use the bench press. One of them used half the range of motion for each rep. Not really sure why, but it seems to be a rather popular practice at my gym. The other fellow was pretty damn strong - I saw him work up to 125 for a heavy single. My guess is he's competed before.

Tomorrow is hot pot day! Om nom nom.

Enjoy your weekend, Bees!

Playing: My adventures in Mortal Sin continue, but victory evades me. Still playing Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Also, reinstalled Skyrim, and added a heap of mods, so looking forward to slaying dragons again!

Watching: So I watched Madame Web with my ex. She enjoyed it more than I did. Here's a review.

Cassie Web is an New York EMT whose otherwise unremarkable life is peppered with strange visions of the future. She sees the potentially deadly fates of three young women and realizes she has to do something to save them.

Dakota Johnson (who's distractingly attractive) is unconvincing as an EMT, but does lend the film a winsome charm.

But otherwise... yeah, it's as bad as you've heard. Maybe worse. It's like several different films crammed into one, lending the film an unfinished, haphazard feel. The writing is aggressively mediocre, the music is hilariously on the nose (it closes with The Cranberries' Dreams, for example), the villain's motivations are pointless, the climax unexciting, and the characters' interactions lack any semblance of chemistry.

So in two words, utter tosh. Any entertainment value to be found comes from laughing at the film's glaringly obvious flaws. For this, I give it half a pointless precognitive vision out of five.

Also watching True Detective. Looking forward to watching the climax of this season, and it's a joy to see the greater plot come into focus.

Listening to: Adrian Johnston (Shackleton soundtrack) - Mountain Crossing. This is part of the soundtrack to a film about the legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton (specifically his aptly named Endurance expedition). I haven't seen the film in more than a decade, and it's been similarly a long time since I heard this song, but I love its sound. It's both dignified and compassionate.

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Hello everyone! Very tired, but happy that I got my Sunday workout done and dusted.

Push day again. No gains today, but very close!

Bench Press: 125 x 7. I had great control of the reps until the end. I'm on the verge of another breakthrough, so will try again later in the week.
Larsen Press: 122.5 x 5. So if you have your feet on the ground it makes a difference of three reps or so? Anyway, this got stronger.
Incline Press: 110 x 5. Haven't done this much in ages; feels great.
Rope Pushdown: 13 x 8.
+21,000 steps!

Everything around my bench has improved, but not the bench itself. Soon...

I have a big teaching assignment coming up in two weeks; I have to do IELTS tutoring for 40(!) students at a secondary school very far away. I am very nervous about this. Aiming to do my best and prepare well ahead of time; the last time I taught in a classroom, I didn't do so well. So I'm going to have to take everything with a grain of salt (or skepticism) and understand that I can only do so much for such a big group of students. Just so.

Get ready for the week, Bees! We'll all do great.

Playing: I successfully beat Mortal Sin's main loop for the first time. I would like to say skill was involved, but it felt more like luck - the battle against the final boss just went my way from the beginning. So...

Mortal Sin is the story of an tortured soul stuck in a strange purgatory and forced to slash, bash, stab, kick, and bump his way through death after death. This can only be done by reaching the fabled Maw of Sin, and finally finding absolution.

I'm not going to mince words. This is one of the best roguelites I've ever played. Once you get over the peculiar visuals (which can be colour-adjusted), you realize that this game is extremely well-made: especially considering it was made by only one person! The anchor of the gameplay is the melee combat - I've never seen it so well-implemented as it is in this game (it beats the tar out of Skyrim's anemic hacking and slashing, eg). Every time you land a successful hit on something, the game briefly pauses, and lets out a meaty sounding THWACK. It's simple enough to duel single monsters, but fighting 6 or 12 or more at a time becomes an endeavour of skill, timing, and careful blocking. Like most rogue games, you'll die a lot. Unlike most rogue games, progression is not marked by increasing your abilities at the start, and enabling the cheesing of future runs. If you beat this game, you'll beat it fair and square.

I give it four and a half decapitating slices out of five.

Speaking of Skyrim, I got it working, but it crashes periodically. So sad :sad:

Will have to tinker more with the mods to get it running smoothly.

Watching: S'more Seal Team at the gym. Shit, I forgot what I was supposed to be watching for late night cinema--oh now I remember. I've been making my way through an indie horror called Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls. I'm about halfway through, and waiting for the horror to start, but I do love the goofy, garrulous humour.

11 days until Dune Part 2 comes to cinemas!

Listening to: Light the Torch - Become the Martyr. How about some metal? I confess that at first I confused the title and the band's name, because both are really kick-ass band names. Either way, it's a great song that exercises restraint very well.



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Thank you so much @CODawn and @colin! I still have two weeks, so there's time to prepare.

Hi Bees.

No exercise today - my body feels all beaten up and sore, so I'm taking a needed break (*cough* Skyrim). Stayed up too late last night, and didn't get quite enough sleep, so that might have something to do with it.

I'm also going to try and work on my lesson planning.

Have yourself a great Monday, Bees!

Listening to: Sun Araw - Deep Cover



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"So sleepy!"
Hi Bees! Back in the gym today.

Less sleepy than yesterday, but beat the tar out of my body with today's Pull workout.

Deadlifts: 145 x 5 for five sets. Sloooowly increase the weight over time.
Barbell Rows: 105 x 5. Tough, but my form's getting better.
Behind the Neck Pulldowns: 60 x 6.
Meadows Rows: 35 x 6. Remember, slow and steady. Don't rush this lift.
Neutral Grip Pull Ups: Top set of 10! Woohoo!

And now I'm sleepy again, but satisfied.

In other news, the weather was absolutely horrid and humid today! All the cold of the past few weeks seemed to have been replaced by a muggy, dogged heat that presages the summer to come.

I have a big teaching assignment to prepare for in two weeks, so I'm racking my brain.

Hope your week is going well, Bees!

Playing: I haven't played Mortal Sin in a few days! What's up with that?! It's been replaced by my playing through Skyrim again. I'm playing a barbarian named Ronan (what do you mean he's based off of a similarly-named, famous barbarian? I don't know anything about that) who's busy pillaging ruins and hacking Draugr into little pieces (and there's probably a mod for that). The biggest game changer is an "autolooting" mod that automatically hoovers up nearby coin and gems. Saves me the trouble of having to manually open everything (take notes, Borderlands...). The frustrating thing is that occasionally crashes, but I've gotten it to crash less. So long as I can play with reasonable stability, I see little reason to complain. A real blast from the past!

Watching: I finished Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls, a comedy-horror flick. Here's a review.

Onyx is a down-on-his luck amateur Satanist and professional loser who lives with his mom (glass houses!) and works a dead-end job. Nothing is going his way until he wins a contest and is chosen to stay with and learn from Bartok, an eminent master of the dark arts. Onyx eagerly packs his bags and arrives at the mansion, meeting fellow followers of the occult and speculating as to what rituals they perform. Little do they know that not all is what it seems, and that Bartok has another agenda.

This was obviously a labour of love. There's not a lot of impressive spectacle, which the film eschews for appealing practical effects and puppetry. The writing is sharp and witty. I loved all the performances; Jeffrey Combs chews the scenery (as usual) as the sinister Bartok, but the rest of the cast turn in charming performances. Most people will be put off by the titular Onyx, who's motor-mouthed and immature to the point of obnoxiousness. But at the end of the day, that's kind of the point. Onyx indeed undergoes growth throughout the film, and Andrew Bowser won me over - as an actor, writer, and director. I didn't realize that the character of Onyx originated from his Youtube skits.

I give it three embarrassing cartoon lunch boxes out of five.

I'm also trying to find cheap tickets for Dune Part 2 (it comes out a day early here, on the 29th of February), but I feel like this is a fool's errand. Almost all the theatres I've searched show it playing only in Imax. I may have to bite the bullet and fork out another 80-100 HKD for a more full-bodied viewing experience.

Listening to: Jeremy Soule (Skyrim soundtrack) - Imperial Throne. My favourite Skyrim composition; it radiates dignity as well as warmth.

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Hello Bees! After several days of inactivity, I rushed back to the gym to get my pump on!

Bench Press: 125 x 8. Surprisingly, another PR. I know that last week I was aiming for this number, but still surprised that I got all the reps.
Spoto Press: 127.5 x 3. Gee, this one was tough!
Paused Incline Press: 105 x 3. And this one sucked too. I'll try again next time.
Rope Pushdown: 10 x 8. Just a placeholder exercise for today.
Flat Dumbbell Curls: 18 x 16.

I don't know for how much longer I can keep up the Double Progression (this is the "program" or method of increasing weight that I use) gains. I welcome them, for sure, but there will come a point when they dry up, and I'll have to turn to a more structured program. But for now, gains!

...And it's cool again. It'll be the last cold weather we get this year. Just booked my ticket for Dune 2 next week. Squee!!

Tomorrow is Japanese Buffet day! Om nom.

Have a good weekend, Bees!

Playing: So I bought Ghost Recon: Breakpoint on a whim. It's been rated as mediocre by Steam, but it was on sale, so I threw up my hands and thought "why not". I'm honestly surprised it's taken me so long to come around on this one. This game is exactly what I've been looking for - CoD shooting mechanics + RPG progression and looting. I should've tried this sooner.

Also squashing in some Skyrim, and plan to return to TTW. Maaaayybe.

Watching: Finished True Detective: Night Country.

After a mysterious collection of corpses is found outside the Tsalal station in Ennis, Alaska, seasoned (if incredibly acrid) detective Liz Danvers and her erstwhile partner Evangeline Navarro (with whom she has a history) team up once more to find out what happened.

This is a very smartly-written series with two enormously capable leads that blends horror and detective-procedural as well as could be expected from the "True Detective" title. The two leads are amazing: Foster is a formidable actor, but Reis (who was actually a boxer prior to acting) sketches an equally capable, tough character. The one nitpick I have is that the ending explanation is... kinda implausible, and belies the series' initial promise. Several plot points are dropped and never picked up again. But the series is overall a sharp and chilly horror treat.

I give it four spirals out of five.

Watched a bit of the Avatar: TLA Netflix series premiere. The martial arts are on point, and it feels lavish and faithfully cast, but we witness someone getting fried to a crisp (!) in the first ten minutes. Now I have a bit of an inkling as to why some critics have claimed it's tonally inconsistent. Will keep watching more, in the name of research!

Also watched a bit of Frank and Zed - a comedy horror series that stars... puppets. I like it so far!

And here is the trailer for the Borderlands movie I was kind of looking forward to. Looks ferociously mediocre.

Listening to: Jesper Kyd et al - Dam Top. I'm drowning out the horrible Borderlands movie trailer with my favourite song from the series. I remember this particular setpiece (where you battle to save Roland) very fondly, and the music is awesome, too.



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Thank you so much @Laura Rainbow Dragon @CODawn @Mianevem @Fremen @JCU! It's great to have your support and encouragement.

Hey again, Bees. After church, I headed to the gym for my usual Push workout. Wasn't expecting much, after Friday's monster PR, and indeed, I wasn't surprised.

Bench Press: 127.5 x 6. I'm going to have to work with this one for a few weeks. I knew it would be tough going starting a new weight, but man, this one left me bushed.
Larsen Press: 120 x 5.
Incline Press: 100 x 5. Hnnng. Couldn't progress.
Overhead Press: 67.5 x 5.

So I'll try again on Thursday, when I've properly rested up.

Looks like I made a mistake with my lesson planning, and need to retool my old lesson plans. Rats.

Critter update!


The charity doggies were back! Balls of soft, cloudy fluff (though well-behaved, they seem a bit jaded)!


These puggies belonged to a newspaper vendor. I wonder where he gets the time to walk and feed them.

Hope you're having a good Sunday, Bees!

Playing: My time is split between Skyrim and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Really should play the odd indie, just to inject some variety. Open world games are fun, but they lack the pell-mell, all-out focus that many of my other FPS have.

Watching: Some Seal Team at the gym, and a little bit of Avatar: TLA. Regarding the latter, I'm very early in, but I do like it so far - even if it's just my nostalgia, it's still a well-made show. Caught myself smiling at familiar scenes.

May rewatch Dune Part 1 this week to prepare myself for the cinematic greatness of Part 2. It's either that or Frank and Zed, which I do like!

Listening to: Mitch Murder - Interceptor. How about some more synth? I've really gone back and forth on this one over the years, but I ultimately think it's a chilly slow-burn of a masterpiece.



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@aku-chan I think not having played the games helps. I'm a lifelong fan and the trailer did not nail the pitch-black comedy feel that they had.

Hello again Bees. Today I took the opportunity to smash another workout; today was Pull day.

Deadlifts: 150 x 5 for five sets. This was an absolute slog. 150 is normally a weight I'm quite comfortable with, but not today. Ugh.
Barbell Rows: 100 x 5.
T-Bar Rows: 85 x 5.
Meadows Rows: 40 x 6.
Narrow Grip Rows: 45 x 6.

To be honest, this workout just sapped me. And not in the fun way that most of them usually do. So I'm glad to see it done; here's to more enjoyable workouts in the future.

Still excited for Dune Part 2! Thursday morning...

Playing: A bit of Skyrim, some Ghost Recon, and a dash of Mortal Sin. I really need to try some of the other games on my backlog, like WH40K: Boltgun.

Watching: In anticipation of Dune Part 2, I'm rewatching Dune Part 1. It hasn't been long since it was released (about three years?) but it still holds up as a sharp sci-fi epic. Finished Seal Team's second season at the gym, and will start watching Invincible season 2.

Also, I found this funny because it describes my gym life in broad strokes.

Grateful for: The time I get to spend with my mum.

Listening to: Robots with Rayguns - Summer Dreams (feat Keith Masters). I'm bringing back the Synth music for a Synth party in this Synth 'hood!

"Shades down, watch me move
You feel it do, undeniable who
I got my hand in the game like a Power Glove
They feel the magic as soon as I step in the club"



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"So sleepy!"
Hey everyone! Another day, another workout.

Today is my first Push day of the week. I wasn't expecting to have made much progress on the benching.

Bench Press: 127.5 x 7. But I made progress anyway! Reps felt good, and control was good, so in a few more weeks I might be able to make eight reps with this weight.
Paused Incline Press: 110 x 3. While this felt pretty good, there came a time where I knew I had no more reps in the tank, so no PRs today. Moving on...
Decline Press: 120 x 5. A real blast from the past! Felt pretty good overall.
Hammer Curls: 18 x 20. Heavier weight than I usually use. Gots to grow!

I actually walked past a crime scene on the way home. Saw a ton of police and press gathered around a jewellery store in CWB. Turns out that there had been an armed robbery just two hours earlier. Yikes.

I did something to the muscles buried under my left shoulder blade, likely during a Back workout (figures). Tomorrow I'm going to take it easy and abstain from working out, though I'll hit the gym again on Friday.

Looking forward to Dune tomorrow morning! Squee!

Take it easy, Bees!

Playing: A bit of everything. Aeon: WoR was just released in full form, so I'm trying it out again. Lots of other games on my bucket list (Graven, and WH40k: Boltgun come to mind), but I continue on with Skyrim and Ghost Recon.

Watching: Finished Dune (2021) for the second time yesterday, as a fun way of preparing for tomorrow's sequel. Here's a brief review.

10,000 years in the future: Paul, the heir to the honourable Atreides noble house, is sent with his family to the desert planet of Arrakis to harvest the colossally fertile spice, a task that has been vacated by the Atreides' sworn enemies, the Harkonnen. Upon arriving, the House finds themselves beset by various dangers as they struggle to adapt.

Ah-h-h-h... What's there to say? This is a casually epic film that's just stunning to behold. While it doesn't hew closely to the novel all the time, the changes made more often than not render the film more accessible. It's obvious that a lot of love went into its production, and it stands up to repeat viewings (I can attest to this).

I give it four and a half crysknives out of five.

Also watching some of Invincible at the gym, as I'm taking a break from Seal Team. Also watching GDT's CoC's late at night, specifically "Dreams in the Witch House", which I'm still struggling to finish.

Also, ERB dropped a new battle with Godzilla and King Kong! Awesomesauce!

Grateful for: Cool city nights.

Listening to: Manowar - Violence and Bloodshed. Even without the cheese, the disturbing survivalist fantasies, the histrionic bellowing, the pectorals, and the wild riffs and solos, you have... well, not much, but this song is lathered in Manowar stereotypes and kicks ass anyway.



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"So sleepy!"
Hey again Bees! I took yesterday off after watching Dune Part 2, but managed to make it into the gym for leg day today.

Squats: 80 x 10. I deliberately lightened the weight, not just as a deload, but because my training was getting stale. Hopefully I can make steady and gradual progress.
Wide Stance Squats: 90 x 10.
Dumbbell Front Squats: 14 x 6.
Leg Extensions: 120 x 10.
Lying Leg Curls: 50 x 4. These were pretty tough.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Pretty cold today. I presume that this is the last gasp of winter before we go back to our sluggish summer humidity.

Tomorrow we're having a buffet lunch/tea, so om nom nom.

Feeling a lot of anxiety over my big class on Monday. What if I do something wrong (and I know I will)? But it will come, and it will go, like all things in time (that sounds very Blade Runner-esque).

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

Playing: A bit of Wrath: AoR, some Mortal Sin, and some Ghost Recon.

Watching: As intended, watched Dune Part 2 yesterday morning. Here's a review...

Having escaped the Harkonnen cleansing of the Atreides noble house, Paul and his mother find refuge with the hardened, but prickly Fremen people of the desert. Both find that they must push themselves, both mentally and spiritually, to further their agendas and prepare for a coming war with the Harkonnens and the real power behind it all, the Emperor.

A review I read described the film as an "embarrassment of riches", and I find that a pretty apt description. There's a lot to gush over - the acting (and star power), the costumes,the themes, the locations, the cinematography, the props, the set pieces... Villeneuve and co. really stepped up their game for the sequel, and it shows. My favourite aspect of the film is the visual language of it all; the way locations and characters are filmed is amazing. From the gorgeous, endless sands of Arrakis to the monochromatic harshness of Giedi Prime, there's a lot to savour.

My one caveat for anyone interested in watching the film (go see it now, dammit!) is that it kind of drags in the middle - it is a nearly three hour watch. But otherwise, the film is extraordinarily well-paced, and the set pieces go by with great energy.

My single misgiving not being enough to detract from the film's rating, Dune Part 2 is awarded five sand thumpers out of five.

Also watching an anime called Wicked City, which I would describe as a neo-noir horror film. It's pretty gross, but it definitely holds my interest. And a bit of GDT's CoC's Dreams in the Witch House, which is overwhelmingly okay, but little else.

Listening to: Hans Zimmer - Kiss the Ring. I found it ridiculously hard to think of a song to post, until I remembered that the film I'd just watched comes with an epic soundtrack. So here's a selection that I found which is at a pivotal point of the movie.

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