I’ve gone to the gym for the 4th time in four days. This is a big deal for me. The last time I had a gym membership, I’d go maybe four times a month. At sometime, somehow, a switch got flipped and I want to go to the gym. The last four days my body has ached, but its mostly gone. I have also really switched my diet to mostly fruits and vegitables. It hasn’t really reflected on the scale yet, but I can feel a difference. You can’t go from nothing to something and not have it make a difference.

There were a ton of reasons why I avoided going to the gym. One of them was the intimidation factor. Gyms are natural habitat for ex-jocks, the muscle bound and narcissistic….none of which are me. While the chubby and rotund are the ones who most in need of a gym, they the ones most likely to be intimidated by going. I’ve never really defined myself by anything physical and dealing with high school punks, mid-level managers with their wannabe CEO haircuts, and Eden Prairie housewives who still look like Martha Stewart, is not my definition of fun.

Nonetheless, letting yourself go to hell isn’t much of an option either. So I’m biting the bullet, doing it, and ignoring the vapid conversations around me.

Tonight, I’m watching The Pianist. I’m sort of catching up on all the 2002 movies I missed.


And what did you do on the 4th of July?

I watched movies.

Terminator 3: They did a much better job with this than I thought they would. T2 didn’t easily lend itself to a sequal, but they managed to explain everything in a convincing manner. The problem with many franchise movies, is that they weren’t initially concieved as franchises. Indiana Jones, Highlander, Planet of the Apes (Original), and Jaws sequals were all sort of made up as they went along. As a result, some of the story lines just get rediculous as more sequals come out and the budgets get thinner. So far, Terminator has done a good job of keeping things together. I think there is an excellent T4 out there waiting to be made that will have nothing to do with Arnold in the role of a robot.

Punch Drunk Love: I went to Hollywood Video to rent some movies after seeing T3, which is something I rarely do. The guys at the checkout were talking about Everquest and I asked them what server they played on. They flipped out that I knew to ask that question and gave me 50% off my movies just because I was cool. I’ve liked all the previous Paul Thomas Anderson movies I’ve seen (Magnolia and Boogie Nights). While this was a good movie, I didn’t think it fit in to the same catagory as his other films.

Adaptation: I’ve heard so much about this movie that I thought I knew what to expect, but in the end I was totally wrong. There is so much going on in the film that I think I’d really have to see it again to let it all sink in. The short summary of the plot is that its a movie about writing a movie, except its really so much more.

Also, Barry White passed away. A generation will grow up not understanding my impression of him.


The Pillsbury Doughboy

I started going to the gym again. When I last had a health club membership, it was something I did because I knew I should do it, but going was a chore. I went once a week and going once a week is like not going at all. Now, I want to go. I can’t explain it, but I’m just sick of looking like I do.

I don’t think my problem is eating. While I certainly can make some improvements in my diet, I don’t think that is the primary problem. The big problem is that I have a very sedentary life. Like most kids, I was pretty active playing outside all the time. I played sports through my sophomore year in high school. Then…..I joined the debate team. While debate is probably one of the best things I’ve ever done, it doesn’t do much for your body. If you’ve been to a debate tournament, you can take a look around and realize this pretty quick.

In a larger sense, I’m sort of representative the problem society has with weight. For most of human history, the primary focus of humanity was eating. Hunting, gathering, and farming. The amount of time it took to acquire and prepare food was many many times greater than it is now. Today, (in developed countries at least) the amount of work needed to acquire and prepare enough calories to survive is trivial. We pay farmers not to grow food. The largest dietary problem amongst the poor in the US has dramatically gone from malnutrition to obesity.

On the other end of things, we don’t have to work very hard anymore (in the burning of calories sense of the word, not in terms of time). Television is often blamed for most people’s lack of exercise, and to some extent its true, but even with out TV, people wouldn’t necessarily be out working up a good sweat. My personal devil is the PC. I don’t really watch too much television despite the link up above. My television watching is pretty efficient due to Tivo, and I really don’t care for most of the programming outside of the educational channels. The PC is a much greater time suck for me than TV ever was, because TV is finite in its content whereas the Internet is not.

So, having eaten the easy to come by foods and having sat on my ass, I am now counteracting it by running in place, lifting things that serve no purpose, and sweating like a pig (and when I sweat, I really sweat). Nonetheless, I like it and feel much better having done it.


Hail Caesar

I watched the TNT mini series “Caesare” tonight. Its too much story to put into two episodes. Hell, just Caesar and Cleopatra took 2 hours in the movie Cleopatra and that didn’t deal with anything prior to the defeat of Pompey.

The mini series does appear to use a fair amount of CGI in the battle scenes, which is a trend in epic films. I think its a great thing if it mean more historical epics being made. Baz Luhrmann is currently working on Alexandar the Great and there are several other large scale epics in the works. The idea of a Baz Luhrmann historical epic has me worried, but I’ll reserve final judgement till it comes out.

A Caesar motion picture would be a great, but they have to pick and choose what they want to deal with. The whole story of Caesar is too much for one film (in the same way in which “Gods and Generals” was just trying to do too much in one film). I think the march on Rome and the Roman Civil War would make for the best story, and the one which really hasn’t been done well by Hollywood.


On the right and the left…

One of the things I’ve noticed in my travels that that nations which drive on the left hand side of the road tend to be islands. Most of the island nations I can think of all drive on the left: UK, Ireland, Australia (an island for the purpose of this discussion), Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, and pretty much all of the Carrebian. Most of these places also had a significant British influence. (Labrador and Prince Edward Island also drove on the left until the early 20th Century)

I began to wonder if there were any places that were not islands that drove on the left. Sure enough there are a bunch. 1/3 of the world infact. India, Pakistan, Kenya, Buthan, Thailand, Malaysia, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Uganda, Guyana, and Botswana. If you can imagine a map of the world, you have Africa basically split in two. There is a line that runs along the southern and eastern borders of Angola/Congo/Ethipoa where driving switches. You also have a cluster in South Asia east of Afghanistan, south of the former USSR and China, but not including former French Colonies. Guyana is alone on the South American continent.

You have to wonder if this effects trade at all where you have a border where you have to switch sides? Having driven on the left side of the road during a trip to the Bahamas, you really have to pay attention when you turn. Its nothing something I’d want to have to switch back and forth doing on a regular basis.

Nova Scotia (1923), Labrador (1927), Sweeden (1967), and Burma (1970) have all made the switch from left side driving to right side driving.

This is the sort of crap that I think about. Up next: voltage differences and electrical outlets.