And honestly? This explains about 95% of the comments made, for or against something, around here.
As part of my Contract With Myself, I included "get my body in the best shape of my life." Now, both diet and exercise are listed as means to accomplish that, so that's both good (makes it easier than just doing one way) and hard (got to mind two separate things). As of yet I've not ordered a new kettlebell as I don't have the budgeted money to do so, but I will next paycheck. Getting it before then would go against the financial goals I have for myself. Making the best of the situation I'm doing some other things in the meantime:
I just had my first session of EA Sports Active since I first tried it months ago. I burned 135.6 calories and finished the whole thing. No small feat considering when I originally tried it kicked my butt and had me out of breath, wheezing, and skipping menus.
Here and there at work I've been doing pushups. While I'm not attempting one-armed push-ups Pavel Tsatsouline **** I am following aone-hundred pushups in 6-weeks program found online. By the way; Pavel's book, "The Naked Warrior," did wonders in terms of educating me on using my body smarter than before. I definitely owe the guy.
One great perk, and one I didn't really know about concerning exercise and type-2 diabetes is that it really does work hand-in-hand with my goals. At first I thought exercise was all about weight loss, and that's reasonable. But:
The Plate Approach will take you a long way toward slimming your waistline, dropping your blood sugar and possibly even getting you off diabetes medication or lowering your dose. But if you stop there, you're missing out. There's another way to stack the deck in your favor and even help reverse your disease: exercise. It does naturally what some drugs do: Sensitizes cells to insulin so they soak up more glucose from the bloodstream, which brings your blood sugar levels down. (ChangeOne for Diabetes)
Given that I hate taking medication, this is a big plus for me. And not something I knew before. So, yeah, awesome!
I know there are some folks out here who are quite quick to dismiss the Wii as a gaming console. But right now its looking like it'll be a good tool for me to use in addition to everything else I've got lined up.
Happy goal getting, folks! :)
Mirror's Edge - 4.99
Braid - 2.49
Audiosurf - 2.50
Champions Online - 10.19
Audiosurf - 2.50 (gift)
Lumines + Advance Pack - 2.99
Torchlight - 4.99
Street Fighter IV - 9.99
Portal - 4.99
Mass Effect - 4.99
Total - 50.62
Only two more days of this sale madness :shock:
The only thing that stopped me from getting Devil May Cry 4 is I already have it, thusly the discount (25% off) wasn't high enough. I would've preferred to get Street Fighter from Impulse, but as much as a fan as I am I'm not that much of a fan. But, you know me. Loyalty? What's that? :P
I posted this on the Console Union board, and figured I'd stick it here too. I could see such a creature coming out in a few years at the latest - before the next generation really starts, ideally. Again, they'd be aiming at the mass-market versus the core market... if anything it'd be the "game machine as an appliance" vibe I get from the Wii. Simple, to the point, does its thing very well, etc. Sort of like an iPod.
I don't think Nintendo will want to directly compete with Sony or Microsoft, so they did make a "WiiHD"? I'd expect it to be backwards compatible, have similar power to the 360 and likely use dual-layer DVD's like the 360. They might opt for flash storage (SD cards and the like), even.
Now, if they were clever-ish and got their butts working, I'd like to see them come up with a real online plan of some sort. Not necessarily for gaming but for social networking/interacting andcloud storage. They could keep the internal storage relatively minimal and then have games connect online, saving progress, achievements (they need to implement something like that, methinks), settings, etc. Maybe have a synergy with the DS/DSi and the WiiHD.
I don't see them going for Blu-Ray at the moment due to costs, and Nintendo has never seemed interested in subsidizing hardware. Having Blu-Ray would jack the costs up pretty high, and they would need to keep prices on the lower side. The existing Wii tech they can bring over (ie, the controllers, balance board, etc) are fine as is, helps maintain the value of the current system and accessories (always good for retailers and consumers who have bought in).
I think that a Wii HD should be $199 (no game) and no more. I think Nintendo could do it right now if they wanted, but I don't think they want to. The Wii is still selling too well - no sense cutting its life short.
If they could put both versions of a game on a single disc that would be great. Blitz Games did that with the Burger King XB/360 games. HD-DVD had that as part of the spec. Blu-Ray can (finally) do that. I think that would be a definite advantage - buy a game today for your Wii and know that it'll work on the Wii HD (complete with the better graphics, additional features and such). Would ease the transition, and I think help prevent players/owners from migrating to other systems since they're effectively "bought in" to not only one system but two.
Dreaming here, mind you. Totally dreaming.
The guys at Maximum PC outdo my budget computer build, and in pretty good fashion, too. If you remove the cost of the video card (as none of my builds have that factored in) they undercut me by almost $82. Not shabby! Their best two cost savers are the power supply (since I was aiming towards something SLI/Crossfire capable) and the case.
Thinking about it, I think I'll likely drop the Crossfire/SLI from my list of things to really want. If I go with this, I'd make sure I had an AM3 motherboard (per the plan), a higher power supply (just in case), and I think that's about it. I'm not sure about the CPU... an Athlon II X3 would save some change and still get about the same gaming performance, whereas spending an extra $20 would get me a Phenom II X3 and get near i5 performance in some areas.
But wow... still. Good time for being a PC gamer!
Now, we're getting ready for New Years, and of course, New Year's resolutions. Usually these are well intentioned, but have no plan behind them. Gyms sell year-long memberships, lots of gimmicks are hawked off onto folks, etc., around now. In an effort not to waste my own time, money and precious sanity, I'm setting my goals for the year, but with more concrete definitions and plans on how to get there.
Get my finances in the best shape of their life.
- Stick with the program. Discipline! Refresh myself, encourage myself, and stay focused on the long term.
- Get a second job or find side-jobs as I can. This will advance me towards my goals faster.
- Help others do the same.
- Re-evaluate what I'm doing once a month when I'm making the next month's budget.
- Keep using OpenOffice Calc (spreadsheet program) to track my progress, keep my eyes on goals, etc.
How: Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University program. Already started on it (since September), working towards Baby Step #1. Should be done with that by March at the latest. After that? Its headlong into Baby Step #2 then #3.
Also: Going to look for a second, part-time, job or side jobs that I can do to get where I'm going faster.
Get my body in the best shape of my life.
- Get my diet back under control again. Since programs seem to work for me as they provide steps, goals, expectations, etc., I think its time to find my old copy of ChangeOne and get back on that. When I was living out their program I did well. I got off it and over the years went from 180lbs to a high of 220lbs. I'm around 208lbs right now, and need to get back down. I think getting down 180lbs by December 2010 (2.5lbs/month) is doable.
- Sleep more, which means an earlier bed-time. 10 p.m. on weeknights. I hate sleeping "early" but it seems I need to do it!
- Exercise! Like it or not. I've got a kettlebell picked out, know what to do, and will get back on that. If the sleep goes well, then I can try exercising before work in the mornings, otherwise its back to the lunch-time "work out while my food is cooking" bit. I'm going back to kettlebelling - when I was using my old one (since given to a friend) I lost inches off my waist with no weight change (ie, muscle was being gained). Plus we've got a treadmill at home that needs using, so...
How: ChangeOne by Reader's Digest for diet, and a 26lb kettlebellfor weighted exercise. I'm shooting more for a way-of-life change here than simply losing weight; with heart disease, diabetes and more in the family history I need to be more focused on this. Especially at my age.
Get my brain in the best shape of its life.
- Keep the gaming to the weekends and use the time during the week for reading, brain-working activities, socializing, etc.
- Try to read a book a month. Got a library card; need to use it!
- Do at least one "project" a month. I like photography, writing, and a bunch of other things, and all of that could use a little more attention too.
- Take at least one educational course a year. Maybe not at Maui Community College, but there's VITEC (continuing education), plus things around the island for different hobbies, topics, etc. And online, too (Lynda.com, University of Pheonix, etc).
Present myself better than I ever have before.
- Finally go through all my clothes and get rid of stuff. Stuff that's old, unflattering, whatever. I can wear 38"-waist pants again, so is there any real reason for me to keep my 44" ones still? There are plenty of places I can donate to, anyhow.
- Get new stuff (seems logical) in a planned out fashion. I likely will have to think about things I normally don't bother with; colors, situational appropriateness, combinations, etc.
- Get new, nicer shoes and take care of them. No more sneakers or slippers for work.
- New glasses.
- Remember that I need to look my best, not for some superficial, shallow set of reasons, but so I don't sell myself short. I am worth the time, the effort and the money. I also represent other people and groups I'm affiliated with.
How: Donate my old clothes, set some money aside, and grab a few women I know with good taste on such things.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!
Straight from my e-receipt:
Mirror's Edge 4.99 USD
Braid 2.49 USD
Audiosurf 2.50 USD
Champions Online 10.19 USD
That's a pretty good! :D
Devil May Cry 4, a PC game I'm rather fond of, is finally going up for sale through Impulse, my favorite (emotionally, not entirely rationally) digital distributor. Anyhow... it'll be $30. But I've already got the game, and I've got a 360 to boot.
* I would like to not have to deal with keeping the disc in the drive like I do now for my PC.
* It ran well on my PC, and I've upgraded the video card since. On top of that, I'm planning to upgrade my machine next year.
* I'll be able to install and reinstall with ease - just have to redownload it.
* I can use FRAPS (in-game video capture program) with it.
* I'll be supporting two companies I really like, Stardock and Capcom. More than that, I'll be rewarding Capcom for releasing a PC version of the game.
* The 360 version will be cheaper. Likely a lot cheaper.
* I can sell/trade/loan the 360 version.
My current machine is a Dell Dimension 9200: C2D 6300 @ 1.8ghz, 4g RAM, Radeon 4670 w/1g VRAM. Its a great computer and still works very, very well. But, sadly, I like gaming and thusly I am wanting to upgrade sometime in the future.
Its very tempting to want to go out and spec out the biggest, baddest thing possible. Its also pretty darn easy, I might add. No, what's challenging is trying to get a good machine that's pretty darn affordable, yet provides an upgrade path!
* Keeping my current video card
* Centurion 5 case
* Antec 550w power supply
* 4g DDR3 RAM
* 640g HDD @ 7200rpm
* DVD burner
* Windows 7 64-bit OEM
There's the easy part. This would be the same no matter what I got in all likelihood. The real trick? Choosing a CPU, which then determines motherboard type. Intel's i5 CPU is nice. Very nice. Its $200, and a motherboard for it is going to be at least $100. Now, the trick for me is that since I live in Hawai'i, I don't get free shipping from Newegg. So, saving money here and there can help me out with my budget. So, what am I looking at? AMD CPU's. And here is where it gets hard! For $100 or less, I can choose from:
* Athlon II X4. Slower speed, but quad-cores are great for multitasking and multi-CPU games and applications. However, according to Tom's Hardware, there's not much benefit to having four cores for gaming right now, as it offers little benefit compared to three cores. $99.
* Phenom II X2 BE. Very fast; much faster than the Athlon II X4, even performing quite respectably compared to Intel's i5. But, only two cores means its not going to be quite so nice for multitasking, and some games will do noticably better having a 3rd core. $99.
* Athlon II X3. Gaming performance is good, comparable to the XP4 yet costs $10-20 less depending on which one I went with. $79-89.
What fun! On top of that, all these are AM3 socket CPU's, so (at least according to the current roadmap/plans) I would be able to use AMD's Bulldozer CPU's come 2010-2011. So, really its a matter of deciding which of three good options would work best for me.
What's fantastic is they'd all be significant upgrades for me, give me better future options, and would be cheaper than my computer was back in 2006 when I bought it (around half as much)! It would improve all my current games and applications (especially the multi-core friendly Adobe Premiere Elements 4 and FRAPS), and I'd even be able to give my current computer to a teacher friend of mine.
I love technology. Even when it drives me crazy. Decisions, decisions! ;)
edit: Right now I've specced things out on Newegg...
Athlon II X3 $562.92 ($148.01 cheaper than an i5 system)
Athlon II X4 or Phenom II X2 $584.93 ($126 cheaper than an i5 system)
Intel (i5) system $710.93