Sunday, 8 November 2015

How I Became a Witch - and a YouTuber!

Sorry I've been silent here for the past couple of months. A lot has been happening both emotionally and spiritually, and my weight loss hasn't progressed at all. I have started something new, though: my own YouTube channel!

It hasn't even been two weeks since I posted my first video, and already I've received more comments there than I did during two years here at Blogger, even though I haven't yet started to promote my channel in any way (I'm waiting till I have a little more content to start doing that). So, looks like it might end up being worth the effort! Here is one of my most recent videos, go check out the channel to see more.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Getting Back In Shape 2015: 18 Weeks

I don't know about anybody else, but I myself can definitely spot a difference around the waist / tummy area! Finally! And note that even though the difference between these two photo series is only one kilo (2 lbs), you can actually see it in the pictures. What a motivation boost!

I couldn't stick to the 5:2 plan, so I decided to once again abandon it and start this week with a new plan. I don't know, maybe it's because I've been at this for almost two years already and am starting to get quite battle-weary, but somehow the "hunger days" are just too much suffering for me. The new plan I've been following this week is:

Saturday - Thursday: 20 km (12,4 mi) on the cross trainer, energy intake ~1500 kcal
Friday: rest day, eat whatever I want and can afford
So far, this has been great. I can eat enough to not have to go hungry, my meals are tasty, home-made, balanced mixtures of carbs, proteins and fats so that I get enough of each every day, and the workout not only burns energy but also perks up both my mood and my metabolism. Fridays are dedicated to recovery and indulging myself.

On Monday morning, I still weighed 81 kg. This (Friday) morning, the number was 80. All week, the scale has shown a steady 200-300 gram drop per day. Obviously, one week is too short a time to tell anything for sure, but if this plan keeps on working this well, the next series of photos should show some pretty significant changes. Fingers crossed, everyone!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Wedding Date

Keywords: romantic comedy
My rating: ★★★★★

From the back cover:

"Debra Messing (TV's Will & Grace) shines in this hilarious romantic comedy about the surprising road to finding true love. Kat Ellis (Messing) is determined to attend her younger sister's wedding with a date. Rather than face the ridicule of her family and in order to show up her ex-fiancé, she resorts to the Yellow Pages to find a last-minute escort, Nick (Dermot Mulroney, My Best Friend's Wedding). His dashing good looks and quick-witted charm may win over her family. But will they win over Kat? Filled with unexpected twists and endless laughs, The Wedding Date is the one date that you'll want to keep!"

My own impressions:

Every year, a barrage of new romantic comedies hits the market. And most of them are, well, "meh" at best. There are those that are just plain boring, those whose humour is just way below my standards, and those that I just can't manage to connect with for some other reason. The Wedding Date doesn't belong in any of those categories. It's a brilliantly sparkling gem that I'm really happy to have in my DVD collection. The bare bones of the story are the same as in hundreds of other romantic comedies - two strangers are thrown together and fall in love - but they are fleshed out with very colourful and entertaining characters, cleverly written dialogue, a handful of scenes so sensual they give me goosebumps, and just so many little things that have been done so perfectly right... This is a movie that keeps me captivated from the very start all the way to the end. Also, the humour in it is genuinely funny and never leaves the realm of good taste.

I have seen this movie lots of times, and still, every time I watch it, it has a very profound effect on me. It's classy, clever, witty, funny, and sexy - it makes me smile, blush, giggle, laugh out loud... and leaves me elated and very much in the mood for... mmmmm.... (or chocolate). I can't recommend it highly enough. Seriously. You'll just have to watch it and experience it for yourself.

Monday, 27 July 2015

About Comments

I'm sure you haven't noticed, since none of you ever comment on any of my blog posts - There have been two exceptions, but two comments in two years? Just exceptions that confirm the rule - but I have removed the "comment"-feature from this blog. Seeing the "No comments" -text on every single one of my posts - save two - was hurting and depressing me, so I decided to do something about it. It wasn't as if any of my readers were going to be inconvenienced by having their ability to leave comments on this blog removed, as during the past two years it has been established beyond even the tiniest bit of doubt that none of them wish to leave me any words of encouragement or appreciation, or share with me their own thoughts or feelings about any blog post of mine or its subject matter. So, here we are, you no longer having to feel guilty about never leaving me any comments and me no longer having to get hurt by the overwhelming silence that is the sole response I get to all of the body- and soul-baring I do in this blog, as now I can at least pretend that not receiving any comments is my own choice. It's a win-win!

Today, I will leave you with a beautiful video that illustrates the effects the feedback received from other people has on a person's emotions. If you ever decide to comment on how someone looks or on what they have said, written or done, please remember that all of us have feelings, and your comments as well as the complete lack of them have the power to make or break another person's day.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Getting Back In Shape 2015: 12 Weeks

As you can see, there hasn't been any progress at all - either on the scale or in the mirror. And that is the reason why this blog has been so silent for the past couple of months: I didn't take a photo after the first 6 weeks because there was no progress to show, then felt so bad about it that I didn't even want to take a look at my blog, much less post anything. This time, though, I decided to take a photo and post it, if for no other reason than to show my readers that the struggle is real and visible results don't come quickly. Between those two photo collages, I have done 1 round of FB Booty, 1 round of FB Abs, and four weeks of cross trainer and kettlebell workouts. I do feel better and stronger, but apparently the muscles are hidden under such a thick layer of fat that the improvements don't show.

So, I need to drastically reduce the amount of fat to see the "new and improved" me. In my experience, the most efficient and reliable way to do that is the 5:2 fast diet. I don't enjoy it, but it always gets results. So that's what I'm going to do for the following 6 weeks, starting today. The number of fast days - or "hunger days", as I not-so-affectionately call them - being finite (12), I believe I can muster up the strength of character to stick to it. I'll post another picture update in 6 weeks, let's hope I'll have some actual progress to share then!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

14 by Peter Clines

Keywords: mystery, science fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ story, ★★★★☆ narration

by Peter Clines
read by Ray Porter

Publisher's summary:

"Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.

There are some odd things about Nate's new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn't perfect, it's livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don't nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela's apartment. And Tim's. And Veek's. Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends. Or the end of everything...."

My own impressions:

A contemporary science fiction novel set  in a creepy, old apartment building where every apartment has its own mysterious phenomenon to solve? Heck yeah, gimme gimme!

I had very high expectations going into this story, and for the most part, it didn't let me down. It's very original, fluently written, entertaining, and never boring. Full of suspense and mystery. The only thing that stood out for me in a not-so-good way was one scene that was so clichĂ© I immediately thought "Oh no, please tell me you didn't! I've read and seen this elsewhere so many times, I know how this is going to go..." at its start, and then it went exactly the way I'd predicted, and I was disappointed. In a story otherwise so fresh and original, that scene felt like even more of a let-down. On the other hand, it was just one scene and only took up a fraction of the story's length, while the rest of the book was, at least to me, very interestingly original. So, four stars for the story.

Ray Porter did a really good job bringing the different characters to life during dialogue, but the actual "narration" parts - everything other than dialogue, that is - sounded to me quite flat and even a bit mechanical. So, four stars for the narration also.

In conclusion, I recommend this book to anyone who is not averse to suspenseful (in parts, almost scary) stories of the paranormal and extra-terrestrial and who is looking for something fresh and interesting in that field.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Getting Back In Shape 2015: The Equipment

Want to see what kind of stuff I use to work out with? Here you go:

A pair of good quality sports shoes is a very important thing to have. They provide support and absorb some of the impact during all the different kinds of jumps in Fitness Blender workouts, helping you to get a good workout in without injuring your feet. I use these sneakers - they are quite old, but still serve just fine.

My yoga mat and my collection of weights: three pairs of dumbbells - 1,5 kg (pink), 3 kg (green) and 5 kg (blue) - and a 6 kg kettlebell. (To get the weights in lbs, just multiply them by 2.) Some or all of these are used in most of the Fitness Blender workouts I do.

When I zumba, I do it with one of these games for the Xbox 360. I absolutely do not want other people around when I work out, so the live classes are a big no for me.

And then there is this lovely cross trainer of mine. Provides a nice full-body workout on days when I just want to crank the music up high and get sweaty without any structured workouts or instructors.

This is all the stuff I actively use these days. I might occasionally pop a yoga DVD from my collection into my computer's DVD drive and do a guided yoga workout off of it, but since I've already learned a lot of if not all the poses and moves by heart, I mostly prefer to just put on some relaxing music and yoga on my own, listening to my body, seeking out the aches and tensions, and flowing through such moves and poses as it needs me to at that moment.

Till next time, remember to be good to your body!