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Demand to speak to life’s manager!

October 13, 2011 3 comments

As you may or may not have realized by now, I am a creature of craft-centric impulses. I am also a compulsive video game nut. This works well for my husband, who works for a video game company. He usually avoids my yarn-related projects, unless they’re of a geeky bent… then he adopts them and pimps them out.

He is currently fiercely protecting this Portal 2-inspired little guy:

It's just a lemon...

And if you want to know who’s to blame for the combustible yarn-lemons:

 

That’s right people.  That’s all it takes for me to shiny object.

I have plans for this flammable citrus.  I’m going to install a zipper with a lit fuse fob on the end.  Then, I’m going to try to rig it so that the flames accordion up and out of the lemon while you’re unzipping it.  Then I’m going to find a way to swap them for the lemons in Valve’s cafeteria.  Assuming they have lemons.  Oh well.  Who are they to argue with free, questionable, fake lemons?

You can see I’ve put far too much thought into this…

Next, a portato gun!

 

Been nice knowing you, suckers…

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

(c) Valve Corporation, retrieved from http://www.thinkwithportals.com

My late-birthday present from the husband was Portal 2, which came out on my birthday.

I may do a review or something later, but for right now my brother and I are about to dig in to some cooperative play. (If we can, considering )

So, now I have an excuse for not being around! Ha ha!

(I’ll still be doing schoolwork and making knit/crochet stuffs, with pictures… Thanks to Mary, who told me where to find my camera. Derp.)

Categories: Video Game

Here we go again! (or “Why Kella is queen of myriad unfinished works…”)

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

So, my brother is going to school to become a sound guy for video game companies… or something like that.  I think the title has to do with audio engineering.  Oddly enough, I’ve gotten the bug to re-investigate my programming roots in recent weeks.  In high school, I started to take programming classes, did really well for a while, then almost flunked and had to drop the class due to real life dumping on my head.  Unfortunately for me, 10 years later, there are far more programming languages now then there were when I left… I decided to reverse-engineer my way to a decision by starting with what I wanted to do after learning a new language.

Since I’ve been toying with the idea of creating 3D games (or at least learning how) for a while now, I decided to start by researching open-source game engines.  Blender is amazing!  Just looking through the gallery had me drooling and daydreaming up all sorts of things that I would do after learning how to use such a program.  I promptly downloaded the Python library and command-line interface required to run/edit Blender efficiently.  Then I realized just how dumbed-down I’ve become in the intervening decade.

Thank goodness for wiki pages!

I’ve got all sorts of game and game-like interface ideas floating around in my head now.  The question is: Do I have the ability to learn this on my own?

We shall see…

Categories: Programming, Video Game

No, Mommy! I wanna workout!

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

So, my 16 month old is The Great Imitator, as they all are at that age. She’s not very articulate, being verbal only in the babbling “I have my own language… don’t you wish you understood it?” sense. But, she’s smart as a whip. She’s been able to hold a controller since she was old enough to roll over onto her stomach, and has always known how to hold it the right way — without my husband or me showing her. She’s fascinated by computers, and will often sneak into our computer chairs to uninstall some randomly crucial file unless we have the foresight to lock the keyboard when we get up, but even then we run the risk of peripheral accessory damage…

Today, her fascination was with the Wii Fit that I was working out on for 45 minutes. (Before I caved and had cheesecake, thereby invalidating my calorie burn session for the day.) I almost kicked her in the head twice when she walked behind me during my workout. Then, when I went to do the arm-toning exercises, which don’t require a balance board, she shouted “Hey, Dada!” at her father, then stepped up and started dancing on the Wii balance board. On her face was the look of, “This is how my mommy plays the game, and I’m a big enough girl to do it too!” When I had to use the board again, my husband distracted her with her sippy cup. She saw me get onto the board and immediately shrieked “nananananana!” at me, rushing the side of my kneecaps to push me off the board.

She caught me by such surprise, she actually succeeded the first time. Falling off the balance board, I had enough time to see her stand in the middle of the spot she’d just pushed me out of, then dance around in circles while looking at her father, as if to say, “See, Daddy? I’m a big girl!”

By attempt three or four, I’d gotten wise to her sabotage. She wasn’t pleased.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand the concept of “Wait till you’re three years old.”

Categories: Child, Video Game, Weight Loss

If you can’t go to Gold’s Gym…

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Ok, so I’ve been searching for a way to increase my exercise regimen without killing myself… And I’ve also been trying to find a way to tone my arms more, so that I can avoid the loose hanging skin as I lose weight. I managed to stumble on Gold’s Gym for the Wii (which will use the balance board from the Wii Fit bundle in some of its exercises) for $14.99 at Target today as I was going through checkout.

So, it has two options for boxing styles: You can choose to box with a Wii Remote and a Nunchuck, or you can choose to box with two Wii Remotes… I chose the latter, since I’m tired of semi-garroting myself with the cord that trails between the remote and the nunchuck. It offers Shape Boxing lessons, Pushups, agility/balance tests in the form of dodging punches, sit-ups, squats, etc. Some use the Wii Fit balance board and some don’t (so don’t worry if you don’t have a Wii Fit!).

It’s pretty intensive, even on beginner. I’m sitting here pouring sweat after only 10 minutes of Shape Boxing. Although, it’s a good workout feeling! I’m going to take a few minutes’ more beating on the Gold’s Gym and then plug it in as Wii Fit credit before continuing my workout on that!

Crazy, you say? Well, yes.

…But I’ve been fat for 10 years, dammit!

Conversations with My Wii…

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

As a side note, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in the last few days. School and stress related to school have gotten the better of me.

Remember at the start of this blog when I was emphasizing the weight loss my Wii had told me I’d achieved? Yeah. I was naive. I believed my Wii, without thinking that maybe I should double-check my weight against a bathroom scale (I didn’t realize we had one in my roommate’s bathroom…) before going off willy-nilly. Don’t get me wrong, I feel tons better since I’ve started exercising on the Wii, and my weight loss has been progressing… just not as quickly as the Wii had been telling me.

It all started two or three weeks ago…

Me: I’m going to move the Wii Fit setup into the other living room, where there’s more room to exercise and generally flail about.
Wii: I approve of this plan. Don’t forget, in the other room you had semi-shag carpeting, so you’ll have to remove the risers from the feet of the balance board before using the board to maintain accuracy.
Me: Yes, oh Wise Wii Program. I obey. [removes risers]
Wii: Thank you! Okay, Kella. Step on! … Keep still. … Keep still… Hey, are you fidgeting?
Me: No… I’m holding so still the lactic acid buildup is palpable…
Wii: Oh. Okay. Please step off me while I reboot and weigh you again.
Me: Um… Ok. [steps off]
Wii: Thank you. Measuring… Measuring… All done! Hey! You lost 30lbs in the three weeks since we’ve seen each other!
Me: Wow, really?!

A week passes…

Wii: Welcome back, Kella! Whoa, you’ve lost another 10lbs! I’m so proud of you. Have a calorie-reduced cookie!
Me: Shucks, that’s awesome! You say I’m now 167lbs! … I know I feel lighter, but not that light! I must be doing better than I thought!
Wii: Yep! Working out on me is truly that amazing!
Me: Well, golly! I should go out and post this in my blog! People have to know that this is an amazing thing!

Another week goes by…

Me: Okay, Wii. I need to start exercising more often. I’m going to increase my exercise routine.
Wii: Good thing, too… I show that you’ve gained 20lbs.
Me: In a WEEK?!
Wii: Yes. Did you have a cheeseburger?
Me: Yes, but I was on Slim-Fast the rest of the time… I’ll reset you and we’ll try this again. Maybe I was fidgeting.
Wii: I don’t think that…zzzzzzz… Whoa! Hi, Kella! How long have you been there? Want a measurement?
Me: Yes, please.
Wii: Okay then. Hop right on and we’ll get this party started… Whoa! You’re 30lbs heavier than last week! …Are you holding a midget?
Me: … This is physically impossible… Maybe if I put your risers back on.
Wii: Oh, I don’t think that will help you…hey! You’re 215lbs!
Me: You just told me I was 167 this morning, then 5 minutes ago you told me I was 194. Now I’m 215?
Wii: Oh, I don’t think so, Kella… You know, maybe it’s the type of exercises you’re doing… Some of my exercises can improve your memory…
Me: I’m going to injure you. Resync the board while I go upstairs to see if there’s a bathroom scale available.
Wii: Sure, but can that bathroom scale tell you your BMI, center of balance, equilibrium, agility, and sexual orientation?
Me: …I’ll be right back. [Hit resync, go upstairs, come back down 5 minutes later…] Okay. I’m back, and I have a number in my head.
Wii: Hi there, Kella! You want a measurement?
Me: Yes, please. I’m thinking of a number, and I’m leaving your risers on while you measure me.
Wii: Oh, that’s not wise, since the balance board is on hardwood floors instead of carpeting…
Me: Deal with it.
Wii: Measuring…Measuring… Wow! 215lbs. You’re obese! You’ve gained 30.5lbs since we last saw each other! Hey, how did you gain 30lbs in a week?!
Me: By listening to you. I’m going to increase my workout to 230 calories per session.
Wii: Well, be careful, Kella! You don’t want to hurt yourself…
Me: I’ll be fine. It’s only 100 more calories per workout. It’ll help the weight come back off faster.
Wii: Whatever helps you get through the day, Kella…

Needless to say, my apologies for going off half-cocked before verifying with the scale… The risers are staying on the board to maintain accuracy in the future, and at least 15 of those pounds can actually be attributed to me being lazy in the last few weeks and lapsing on my calorie-deficit diet plan.

Categories: Video Game, Weight Loss

Going, going, gone! Why you should consider adding the Wii Fit to your weight loss plan…

July 16, 2010 4 comments

Note: Please refer to this follow-up post for further information and/or updates…

When I first decided to start this blog, the main idea I had was to write about my weight loss and the wonders of the Wii Fit system. This idea has since expanded to encompass multiple forms of geekery, but I still feel that this review is a must-read for anyone still on the fence about the Wii Fit program’s benefits.

I’ve never been a stick figure. I come from a long line of non-stick-figure women on my mother’s side. I was a respectable  132 lbs at 5’5″ when I was in the 8th grade, and then spent high school bouncing between 145 lbs and 155 lbs at 5’7″. During my pregnancy with my first daughter, however, I had quite a few health problems which resulted in my gaining 80 lbs in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. In the intervening nine years, I have consistently maintained a weight somewhere above 200 lbs aside from a period of six months, before I met my husband, where I weighed in at 185 lbs. The worst of it was within the last three years, when I came off of Depo Provera and ballooned 60 lbs within 2.5 months. Follow that up with getting pregnant with my youngest and you have me weighing in at 250 lbs from April ’09 through March ’10.

Before April 2010, I weighed in at 245-250lbs...

I had experimented with multiple weight-loss and diuretic supplements, vitamin B, and Slim-Fast. I started using Slim-Fast again earlier this spring. A friend and neighbor loaned me her Wii and Wii Fit in the middle of April this year.  I had started to lose a little weight, with the Wii telling me initially that I was 232 lbs, then rebounded back up to 240-245lbs by the time I borrowed the system from her.  At first, I hated it.  Have you ever been to the gym and had an overzealous trainer, or even gone on a walk with a friend who’s a health nut, and they’re constantly yelling in your face that you won’t be healthy until you’re half the person you are today? Yeah. I hated her Wii.

The first time I stepped onto the weight-sensing balance board, it took my little cartoon Mii (the avatar you create for each user of the Wii) and gave her a double chin and tent-sized waistline, pronouncing me “obese”. I had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of about 36 and it claimed I had the body of a 35-year-old. I’m 27, so this was a bit of an ego-slam. Immediately after the weigh-in, the Wii provides some balance, judgment, and agility tests. During the process, it also assesses the user’s center of balance (C.O.B.). I was always lectured about my posture while I was growing up, but I never realized how horribly it screws up one’s neck, back, hips, and knees to have a poor center of balance!

Once I passed through the gauntlet of ego-bruising facts and admonishments, I was presented with the Wii Fit training menu. Trust me when I say that there is something for everyone on the Wii Fit. I had never done yoga before in my life, but I found the yoga exercises in my routine fun and helpful. There are also strength training exercises, balance games, and aerobic games. I’ve become a master at the snowball fight, which gives your forearms, agility, and sense of timing a run for their money!

At this point, you’re probably asking what sort of results one can expect from the Wii Fit. My answer is this: you lose what you work off. My initial commitment was to do a half-hour workout for five days a week, burning 145 calories a session. I started with yoga exercises as a warm-up, moved on to balance games, did some basic strength training to work on developing muscle in trouble areas (abdomen, triceps, thighs, etc.), then did aerobics and cardio for the rest of the session. Since moving and encountering the stress of finals, I’ve been more than a little lax in the exercise department lately. I went from working out once a week for the first three weeks of June, then nothing from June 14th to July 7th. I logged into Wii Fit yesterday, but only to weigh myself and record my stats.

I’d like to think it’s momentum from the workouts I did at the start that has gotten me as far as I am, combined with my three-shakes-a-day on the Slim-Fast plan. However, I know that what will convince you to give the system a shot is reading about my success. Here’s the raw numbers:

  • April: Weighed between 245-250.
  • April 21st: Began working out on Wii Fit five times a week. Also, increased my meal frequency to six small meals per day, with three or four of them being Slim-Fast shakes or snack bars and the rest well-balanced meals composed of healthy carbs (wheat pasta, whole grain breads, etc.) and protein.
  • Mid-May: Went to the OB/GYN, who was constantly upset about me being “obese”, for final checkup before moving; weighed in at 230 lbs.
  • June 14: Weighed 216 lbs. (This was the last time I exercised regularly on the Wii Fit.)
  • July 7: Weighed 185 lbs. (This was with no exercise on the Wii Fit in the intervening 3 weeks, just normal errand-running and climbing stairs.)
  • July 14: Weighed 167lbs. (I’m thrilled!)

As of July 14, I weighed 185. A week later, the Wii claimed I weighed in at 167!

As you can see, I’ve lost around 80 lbs in about three months! I’m not done yet, either, as my target weight is 140 lbs. I hope to be there by Halloween, and since I somehow managed to drop 31 lbs in three weeks of no exercising, I think that’s more than achievable.

I believe the trick is in designing your own exercise regimen and sticking to a diet plan that works. With the Wii Fit, I can set my own exercises that seem fun to me, track my weight loss and BMI history, input physical activity I’ve done outside of Wii Fit (e.g. laundry, going for a walk, climbing flights of stairs, etc.), and set progress goals. I’m horrible at remembering to take pills, and always hated diet shakes. However, I found the chocolate flavor of the Slim-Fast drink mix has really improved since the last time I tried it. It’s almost addictive! I fudged a bit, though, since the mix says to use skim milk and I insist on using 2% or whole milk (Lactaid, since I’m lactose intolerant…) instead. I pretty much eat what I want for my other two meals, as Carl’s Jr. employees can attest… I’m a sucker for their Six-Dollar Burgers. I cut down on sodas, however, and substituted in Sobe Life Water of varying flavors, although Fuji Apple Pear is my favorite: it’s not too sweet and has 35% daily value of chromium, a major ingredient in diet pills.

The main benefit to using the Wii Fit, aside from increasing strength, agility, decreasing my weight, and speeding up my metabolism, is that I just feel good after a workout. I can discern a noticeable change in how my back (which has been in chronic pain for years, due to three pregnancies and multiple car accidents over the years) feels afterward, and I move around a heck of a lot faster! I’m not out of breath when I pick up my daughter anymore, and was able to give her her first piggyback ride myself yesterday! I’ve gone from being “sedentary” to “mildly inactive”, which doesn’t seem like much of a change in lifestyle, admittedly, but my husband and friends say they notice the difference.

Now for the legal disclaimer: I’m not being paid by Nintendo (who makes the Wii), Sobe, or the makers of Slim-Fast. I wouldn’t turn down a free something-or-other for my troubles, but as of this post I am not being reimbursed in any way. My results are not typical. Please do not become discouraged if your results are not exactly as fast as mine, and do not deprive yourself of food in an attempt to speed things up. Always talk to your doctor before beginning a rapid weight loss program, even if it’s of your own design.

Feel free to leave questions, comments, or your own Wii Fit success story!

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