Friday, October 10, 2014

How To Start Your Day: The Artist's Way!

I awoke for the second time this morning. The first was when TheWife left for work. A flurry of harried activity culminates with a bedside kiss, and then she's gone with but settling dust and pug hair trailing behind her like fairy glitter. I am left alone in the darkness with 4 hours of slumber tucked into my belt, which isn't enough even for me. I catch another hour.

At the second wake up, I lounge. I don't like that space between sleep and wakefulness, or the hypnopompic state. There's a new word for you, fellow adventurers, thanks to AussieDiver. Use it three times in a sentence today.

So, even though I'm not a fan of the hypnopompic state, I AM a fan of starting the day off mired in my own thoughts. Today was no different. I opened my eyes a few minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off. I looked at the ceiling and considered my favorite sexual positions, wondering if they had changed at all since last time I did this. Turns out they have. I spend a few extra minutes matching my top 5 positions with songs that seemed appropriate before deciding it was time to work out. Naturally, I have Bruno Mars' Gorilla in my head as I get up.

I do a little Wing Chun to warm up, followed by some simple body weight exercises. My shoulder screams at me like an angry drunk, with about as much coordination. I torture myself for just under 30 minutes. This puts me in a bit of a sour mood, but then I hear Gorilla in my head again and life slips back into technicolor. Plus, it's breakfast time! I do love food and music!

Thick cut bacon and a 2 eggs scrambled with sauteed onions and peppers. Breakfast of champions. I eat a banana just to add something sweet to the mix. I watch an episode of Gotham while I eat. it isn't bad, but it's not that interesting, either. I'd rather spend time in my own head, so I turn it off about 20 minutes in and go back to thinking.

Once I've put my favorite Metallica songs in order from 1 to 10 (am I the only guy who thinks Until it Sleeps is better than One?), I head into the studio. Today I'm working on Temperance, a painting in the Tarot:Major Arcana series. I'm recording it, because it's been awhile since I've made a speed painting video.

I paint for 4 hours, listening to Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. All in all, not a bad way to spend the morning.

How do you start your day? Are you frantic? Chill? Comatose?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Movies with Geraud: Mercenaries

I know, fellow adventurers. A few days have been skipped. But, it's only because I was sicker than an Ebola-plagued flu patient with an immunodeficiency disorder. And in that time the caveman controlling my diet was mostly silent. I had chicken noodle soup and buttered rice and ginger ale.

I say "mostly silent" because there was a time I would have had a lot of macaroni and cheese (only Kraft, with that silver packer of neon yellow cheese goo, thank you very much) and fast food. So, I would say major improvement.

So, you may not get to hear about my food or exercise regimen, but, you, dear reader, get to sit with me while I watch the greatest Expendables rip-off ever: Today, we're watching "Mercenaries."

I am curled up on the couch, at approximately 1 AM, unable to sleep due to the constant cough whose only purpose must be to facilitate the very messy escape of my lungs through my torn and ravaged throat.  I cover myself with  a blanket. Naturally, I leave room for you to join me on the couch.

Immediately, the movie breaks bad. According to the movie itself it isn't called "Mercenaries." It's called "Expendables 3.0." What??? Is this from the Expendables franchise? How could it not be good?

I sit up a little, no longer expecting a total shit-show. This might be worth a damned.

The President's daughter is on some sort of "I'm looking out for the safety of women in foreign lands" visit to a place who's name isn't real. Granted, my geography is shit, so it could have been a country near Jamaica. Whoever this woman is, she is a bad actor. Bad bad. But who cares? 3 minutes in and she's already in a gun fight. People are trying to take her hostage. People with accents that I can't place. Are these Samoans?

Whoever they are, the country is led by Brigitte "I banged Flav-A Flav" Nielson. Also known as Brigitte"ewww, gross!" Nielsen. They take POTUS's child back to headquarters where we hear a rousing speech about how shitty America is. We're apparently a society of whiney, arrogant...

Oh shit! The daughter just grabbed a knife and put it to Red Sonya's throat! Wow. A very, very rubber knife. I mean, crazy rubber. She may as well be holding a stick of Big Red to Brigitte's throat. Not that it matters. Brigitte is out in a second and killing some random woman to prove how bad ass she is.

Back in the USA, land of whiney arrogant folks, Cynthia "About Twelve People Remember Me From the 80s" Rothrock is recruiting a bunch of killers, a la The Dirty Dozen. Except none of these killers can act. We meet Cassie Clay, played by Zoe "Stuntwoman-To-Everyone" Bell. She's tough and has apparently kicked the shit out of her commanding officer and wound up in jail. She never explains why she did it. I'm going to bet it was for some noble reason. She's going to be the leader of the group.

We meet Kat Morgan, played by Kristanna "I Was In Burn Notice...No Seriously" Loken. Three of you might remember her from the Sci Fi hit Painkiller Jane. When I say hit, I mean it was on Sci Fi back before it was called Syfy.

We meet Mei Lin Fong, played by...who the hell is this? I think I saw her on an episode of Human Target. Now THAT was a good show. Especially Guerrero. That dude was...

Is that Vivica Fox?? Sorry. Vivica A. Fox. The A stands for "awww...I really need the money." I would have sworn she could act better than this. Holy shit, she's terrible. Also, she's going to be the traitor. Her back story couldn't yell "I'm the traitor" any louder without the viewer actually seeing her betray stuff.

The girls from Mercenaries. Sorry, Gyrrlz from Mercenaries!

I may have taken a quick nap. Or, it might have just been boring for a few minutes. I might have also been playing Puzzles and Dragons on my Samsung Note. Either way, when I get back the Mercs have gotten into a gun fight sneaking into whatever country Mrs. Ivan Drago is in charge of. Morocco? 

They aren't sneaky enough. Not when Vivica goes off-script and starts shooting. And this gunfight is EPIC. Think the A-Team, but with people who have never learned to shoot a gun before. Wait, that might have been the A-Team. Vivica is shooting like she just put on gang colors. And Painkiller Jane blinks whenever she pulls the trigger. But, after 3000 rounds get fired and 3 guys get killed, the battle is over. Horray!

With no transportation, our femme fatales walk casually through the streets know...I think maybe that's Perth. I'm sure of it. Perth has a lot of huts and shit, right? Is Perth a country? Actually, I don't think it is. I'm going with Ayers Rock. I KNOW Ayers Rock is a country. 

So, the girls are walking with their guns slung on their backs dressed in black like they just left the Trinity tryouts for the Matrix 4: Neo Knows Tae Bo. Suddenly, some local girl pops out and picks their pockets. She steals a radio and our heroes chase her around for awhile. When they catch her she gives us our deus ex moment of the movie. She knows how to get into Red Sonya's compound! Bazinga!

After some great exposition, the Expendababes steal a truck with some missiles in it. They use those missiles in the old "we stole your truck full of missiles, but we'll give it back if you will only hire us to join your crew, even though right now you have the President's daughter as a hostage and there is no way you'll agree to this" play. Naturally, Mrs. Ivan Drago let's them in. I mean, why wouldn't she?

The Mercs infiltrate and manage to seduce and tie up every man on guard duty and manage to get the President's daughter rescued. Apparently all men are just horny beasts waiting for some military chick who's been wearing leather for 3 days to come and put the moves on them. Good thing, too. Looks like the Mercenaries are going to pull this off.

OH SHIT!! Vivica "Don't Call Me Copperhead" Fox just changed sides. I did NOT see that coming! 

This is a face you can trust.

Zoe and the POTUS kid make a break for it. They run to the top of the building...which is what any trained soldier would do. Unfortunately, just before they grow wings and fly away (or whatever the plan was) the ruler of Uzbekistan shoots Zoe in the shoulder, blasting her off the building. They capture the rest of the girls and leave Zoe for dead on top of a truck. A truck that she fell on top of. A truck that, for some reason, drives away. A truck that just drives out of Brigitte's compound and out into the countryside with a presumably dead mercenary on it.

Uh. So...that just happened. But, we don't have long before she decides to go back in and rescue the President's daughter again. And maybe save her friends, even though they should be long dead by...oh. Nope. They are all alive and tied up. About to be tortured. I think the Riddler may be coming in to ask them some questions. WHY AREN'T THEY DEAD?!?!?! Anyway, Zoe is about to go Liam Neeson up in here!

Zoe breaks back into the compound. This time she's alone and wounded, but she's got anger on her side. She kicks ass! And, for some reason, no one wants to shoot her. Dudes just run through the street or jump out of buildings and try tackling her or punching her or tripping her. I shit you not. Some guy just tried to trip her! She beats that dude's ass! Ouch. 

She gets in and rescues EVERYBODY. Including some women who were going to be sold into prostitution. She releases them, gives them guns, and sends them on their way.  She and her Merc team goes one way, the freed prostitutes all run in the other direction. Zoe says, and this is a direct quote:

"I say we go PMS from hell in this place." Naturally, the Mercs agree.

In the meantime, the freed prostitutes literally make it around the corner before they get mowed down by one of Red Sonya's henchmen. Holy shit!! I mean, every last girl is dead! They just got out of their cells! I mean, they are decimated. By a handheld Gatling gun! Wow. I...I mean... That's fucked up!

The mercs can't be bothered with this.Now a car chase is happening. This section is obviously brought to us by Jeep. Car chases. Bullets flying. No damage to the cars. Pristine jeeps tearing through the city of...Dubai, maybe? But, the Mercs make it to an awaiting American plane. There's no pilot there, so one of the ladies has to fly them out of there. So, they do. 

But wait! There's more!

Brigitte is driving up, trying to catch up to the plane before it can take off. What if she does? There's nothing she can...wait a second.

Is there a...

You will not believe this. There is some sort of strap hanging from the plane. The plan is one of those huge C-17s. But for some reason it just has some random strap dangling from it, like toilet paper stuck to your shoe when you leave an airport bathroom. Oh, and the tail gate is down. Sure. Who doesn't fly with the tailgate down?

Brigitte grabs that strap and the plane takes off and everyone breathes a sigh of relief until Brigitte pulls her ass into the open tail of the plane and just starts blasting a 9mm Beretta all over the place. I should rewind and count, but I am sure she fired no less than 73 bullets, and only PainKiller Jane got hit. Shot in the gut! Her exposed, six-pack gut! And she gets shot out of the plane. Zoe is sad...but she must fight on!

She and Brigitte are fighting. Who do you think would win: Xena the Warrior Princess's stunt double or that traitor chick from Beverly Hills Cop II?

Well, you'd be wrong. Zoe is getting her ass beat like a high-school nerd getting on the wrong bus during football season. Fortunately, Brigitte isn't the only one who learned that rope trick. PainKiller is back! She uses that strap to lasso Brigitte and...ahhh. 

Look there. See that? Remember those missiles they ladies stole? The ones they gave back to Brigitte in order to join her gang? Well, there they are. They are on this plane somehow. What?? And now, Brigitte is stuck to these missiles with that mystery strap hanging from the back of a C-17 with it's tail section open. Zoe pushes a button and the tailgate opens just a bit more so that Brigitte and the missiles fall out of the plane...and on to Brigitte's compound! Bull's Eye!! The compound explodes in a fiery hell of crap CGI!

By the time to credits roll on this thing I am exhausted! The girls have a slo-motion walk into the sunset and I give a standing slow-clap to this wonder of modern cinema. Of course, I'm hopped up on cough syrup and Sudafed, so what do I know?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Primal: The First Weekend

This weekend was harder. My cravings finally kicked in with a vengeance. I woke up with them. All I wanted was pancakes and syrup. But, I fought off the craving successfully by eating some chicken salad that I made a couple days ago. All was well.

Then, I went out to run a few errands. I picked up a few art supplies and drove past McDonald's, which I don't usually care for at all but was suddenly calling me like the Sirens calling to Ulysses. I stuffed my ears with Bon Jovi and sang at the top of my lungs until I drove past it. Then, I ran into the Bojangle's. There, my weakness for all things that start with Bo, including Bo Diddley, Bo Derek and Bozo the Clown!

I was...good? I only got a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. I avoided the fries and the tea. I decided that was doing great and didn't kick myself too hard.

In the evening I met some friends for karaoke. I had a scotch and soda, along with 2 beers that I milked through In the Jailhouse Now, When You Were Young, and How Far We've Come. 

Sunday was MUCH better. The cravings for fatty foods went away, but the desire for sweets picked up where the grease train left off. I was rummaging through the house looking for cheap chocolate, butterscotch candies, or those unwrapped mint candies my grandmother used to have on her kitchen counter. The gross ones. The ones I never would have eaten under penalty of death. If that bowl had been in my vicinity I would have scarfed the whole thing down.

But, alas, it wasn't, so I settled on a piece of Orbit gum. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Primal: Day 6

I have been cooking all day. That sounds like a complaint, but in truth I'm very pleased with myself.

I should qualify. When I say I've been cooking all day, I don't mean I've been slaving over a hot stove like a 1960's stepford wife. What I mean is that I've actually cooked all of my meals today. At home. With real food.

Breakfast was simple. Bacon and eggs. Nothing crazy. I ate a couple hours after I woke up.

For lunch I made a variation of a Cuban pork chop, using cumin, lime juice and garlic. It was amazing. And, it was easy. Whipped the whole thing together in about 15 minutes. Ate it with a sliced up pear and a half of an avocado.

For dinner I separated a whole chicken and grilled it up using a new recipe from Again, it was quick. And, even more importantly, it was delicious. Had some wilted spinach on the side. I'm using the chicken back and legs (neither of which I really like) to make a Parmesan chicken salad for tomorrow.

Earlier today I took Kosmo, Koolest Dog in the World, for a 3.5 mile walk. A good full day, but a healthy one, too.

I feel great. My feel less groggy. I have some spring in my step, though some of that could be mental. Not that I care. Spring in step is spring in step. Even had a little wine with dinner. The whole bottle? Nope. Stopped at two glasses, and that's only because TheWife didn't enjoy the wine very much.

I still haven't weighed. I don't want to know. I want to see if this thing makes me feel better, and if it helps my health issues. If I find I'm not losing weight as fast as I would like I might bail on it. So, I'm forcing myself to remember that this isn't for weight loss. It's for my actual health.

Has anyone out there had any good experiences with Paleo/Primal? Or bad experiences? Let's hear them all!

Primal: Day 5

Today wasn't as good as the others, but it wasn't terrible either. I started eating a Marie Callender frozen meal that I had in my freezer. It was a chicken and pasta dish that I usually love. I know it wasn't Primal, but I also hate for food to go bad and it needed to get eaten.

I tried. I got about a third through it. It was not good. It could have been all in my head, but it seems that five days is a little soon to have reprogrammed my brain already.

Whatever the reason, I threw the rest of it in the trash can and grilled myself some zucchini and onions. And my stomach was happy.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Primal: Day 4

I spent the morning laughing and cooking and drinking wine with AussieDiver. Her humor and joie de vivre is an excellent start to the day. And doing it over Skype makes me feel like one of these TV chefs. But, with an audience of one.

It was simple fare. An omelet with peppers, jalapeno, and potato. I know, potatoes aren't primal. At least, according to most camps. But some people argue the case for the poor white potato.

Those that say "aye" argue that potatoes are real foods. They don't require much processing like legumes and grains. The best argument I've heard is that chimps have been been known to dig up potatoes with a stick and munch on them. Only Encino Man was more primal than that! Or those cavemen from Geico.

But, there are those that say "nay," and their argument is good, too. The most important of those being that Primal/Paleo isn't just about natural foods, but it's also about limiting the insulin spike caused by eating things with a high glycemic index. Primal dieting is about cutting out all the sugars in our diet. In my case, it was a ton of sugar. I believe the term was "shit ton". But the reason for cutting out those sugars and complex carbs is that we want to limit the regular high concentrations of insulin within our bodies. Potatoes help cause that high insulin spike.

"I just want to be friends! Don't leave me!"

So, where do I sit? I firmly believe that I should limit potatoes in my diet. But, potatoes weren't the thing killing me. It was bread, Doritos, ice cream sandwiches, pancakes and syrup, cereal, graham crackers, Belgian waffles and fast food.

So, cut me a little slack. And, maybe cut yourself a little slack too. When you run a 17-minute mile you do not need to worry about whether your toe is flexed a little too much. That's advanced shit. You've got bigger things to deal with.

Eventually, my potato and I may part ways. For now, it was great in my omelet. More importantly, I felt great throughout the day. Maybe the potato isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Primal: Day 3

I have frozen shoulder, which is a fancy way of saying that my shoulder is all fucked up and nobody really knows why. Best guess, I have a swollen bursa that causes me intense pain when I raise my arm too high. It's been an issue for a few months. Physical therapy is doing alright in that I can move it much more. I can sleep most nights without waking up at three in the morning feeling like someone has taken a dentist drill to my shoulder joint.

Range of motion is at 70%. However, I have the strength of a 4 year old on one side. Ok, that may be an exaggeration. But, where I was once able to lift three small Cirque du Soleil gymnasts in my right arm I can now barely manage one. Also, it hurts when I do it.

So, imagine the wailing that was happening while, this morning before breakfast, I was trying to force my gargantuan frame off of the floor in an attempt to do 10 push-ups. I made it to 3. I wasn't sure if I was too weak to do another one, or if I just wanted the shooting pain in my shoulder to stop. Either way, I was finished. 

I did the last two sets on my knees in what used to be called girl push-ups. Hopefully women stood up and made a stink about it, forcing us to call them something else. Of course, I wasn't listening, so I don't know what that new title might be. May as well call them Geraud Push-ups. I managed to do a set of 4 and a set of 1. 

Can you call "1" an actual set? My calculus professor would be disappointed.

I did some shoulder stretches with the pull up bar and then 3 sets of planking. Don't let anyone fool you. Planking hurts.

My eating was great. I cooked three meals, avoided all the extra carbs, and felt really good. My energy levels were still high today. And still no desire to snack or run out to the drive-thru. Not that I'm bragging. It's been three days. You can spend 3 days in a hotel fire wearing gasoline pants. Three days is nothing.

Neither if four. Off to the next day.