Quest for Muscle: The Return of the Pump

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees! The weekend's just about ending, but I managed to fit in another workout.

I considered this one D2 of W4 of my strength program, so it was a Push day.

Bench Press: 137.5 x 3, 140 x 2 and failed on the third rep. Waaah, this sucks. Not sure why I wasn't able to hit three reps. I'll check my strength again next week.
Incline Press: 105 x 6. Ooof. Still a toughie.
Decline Press: 115 x 5.
Bicep Hammer Curls: 16 x 20. That's more like it!
Dips: Top set of 10. My chest was really feeling it today, so I didn't do many of these.

And that's a wrap. I'm back to work tomorrow, once again.

Hope you had a great weekend, Bees!

Playing: Mmm. Played a bit of Everspace 2, but not sure if it's to my liking. May give Sleeping Dogs another try, or Resonance. I'm waffling because I need something to pass the time until Starfield (also planning on saving up some cash to buy a new 3D card). I know! Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night! I need me a good platformer (that's not a Souls or Roguelike).

Watching: Finished ep 8 of Warrior at the gym. Deadware is... meh. It's only provided intermittent frights, and they're more eerie than scary (cf Host, a film with a nigh identical format that ramps up the scares early on and doesn't stop). I'm such a sucker for the found-footage format. Still, I'll watch it to the end.

Listening to: Waveshaper - Lost in the Cloud. Can't think of anything else, so here's one from the reliably listenable Waveshaper.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees. Man, am I beat. With good reason this time, I promise.

I thought I'd squeeze in a workout before I went to teach my lesson tonight. Tonight is W4D2 of the strength program.

Bench Press: 140 x 3, 142.5 x 2. Wow. My bench got off to a crappy start today - things just weren't grooving. So I put on 140 with the expectation that I'd do it twice.

Boom! Got it up three times. Then moved on to 142.5 for two reps. The endgame for this cycle is 145 x 2, but I'll save that for next week, and potentially 147.5 x 2.

Incline Press: 107.5 x 5. I kept the reps low today. Sets of four until the final set.
Decline Press: 115 x 5. Meh.
Triceps Pushdown: 9 x 8. Zzzz...
Bicep Curls: 16 x 24.

+21000 steps in total! My feet are dead.

Big developments lately. Explaining means parcelling out some Ox history.

I used to work as an English Teacher at a fairly well-known international company for many years. At the same time, I was getting more and more addicted to alcohol as a result of my growing depression - at its worst, I consumed more than a litre of vodka a day, and more fatally, went to work drunk. I was caught, and warned. I didn't heed their warning (or rather, I wasn't ready to be sober at that point) and was promptly drummed out. That was back in 2017. I truly sobered up two years later and as a previous post states, celebrated four years sober. Cut to today.

On a whim, I applied for a job posting from said company. Why? I missed the place, and I missed the pay, and I've been bouncing around jobs since like a man adrift. To my surprise, they called me to express interest, and they're interviewing me on Friday for a teaching position. Assuming this isn't some cruel joke, I'm going to work my hardest to pass this interview and get my old job back, even though it's been six years.

Wish me luck, Bees.

Playing: Not consistently much of anything. Tried Nude, I mean, No Man's Sky for the first time in a long time (coincidentally, before I was fired). It is definitely improved, but I've never been a fan of crafting mechanics, and was soured on the game's reliance of these. Probably going to chuck it in the electronic bin.

Been playing more of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and it's slowly opening itself up. May play the Black Mesa remake and try to finish it for good this time.

Watching: Here's my review of Deadware.

Two friends connect online in the late 90s and get entangled in a spooky online game, as well as the mystery of their missing friend. The story is told from the video feed of the two friends, making it a quasi found-footage film.

I know it's apples and oranges to compare this to Host (from 2020, another webcam focused horror), but this movie suffers in its stark contrast. "Wha, I have no budget" the director might complain, but given Host's superior scares and similarly low budget, there's really no excuse. The paltry spooks that show up now and again just don't really do much to alarm, let alone frighten. The two actors are solid, at rare best, but undistinguished and crap at worst. And the structure of the film is just... meandering. One of the best parts of the film is that it's little more than an hour in length. And when that's one of its best points...

Do I regret watching it? Eh, I don't.

Would I recommend someone else watch it? Eh, I don't.

I give it 1 and 1/2 shitty 90's era webpages out of five.

Listening to: Catherine Moan - Jawbreaker. Nothing like some saccharine, sweet-like-candy retro pop.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Thanks a ton, @CODawn, @aku-chan, @Fremen, @PetiteSheWolf, @Tileenah, @Mamatigerj, and @JCU. Your support and warm thoughts mean plenty to me.

Today mean a post church workout, so I did some cheeky maxing out.

Bench Press: 145 x 2, 150 x 1. Wow. I seriously wasn't expecting the 145 set, nor to hit 150 today.
Incline Press: 107.5 x 5. Slooooow progress.
Decline Press: 120 x 5.
Paused Shoulder Press: 70 x 5. For how fun these were. In a taxing, grindy, not at all fun sort of way.
Triceps Pushdown: 10 x 8.

So, progress of a sort. The weights didn't really gel or groove, but I hit my goals. So weird. In my next workout, I'll try to hit 152.5, but no promises.

I've had a fairly long and frustrating week with a teaching engagement taking up every weekday (with the interview on Friday adding extra stress. It went as well as it could, I suppose). I worked out only twice.

I nearly got into an argument with my mom, twice. We do this maybe once a year, or less often. Mom and I are back to being cordial and warm again, but I can't help but feel guilty. Mom is one of the most patient and loving people I know, and she doesn't deserve me making things worse.

So, I've felt listless and frustrated since. I thought the stubborn, resentful side of me was dormant, but it's always waiting beneath the surface. I need to manage my moods better.

Here's to a new week and a new start.

Love ya, Bees!

Playing: Random stuff. Nothing really holds much of my interest. I know that this is due to the pending release of Starfield and the anticipation I have.

Watching: For late night cinema, I started watching Ju On: The Grudge (the Japanese one). I understand that this is the third in a series, but it still feels like a standalone story. I like how it's filmed and acted so far. Also finishing up Warrior Season 3 at the gym. If this is the way it goes out, it'd count as going out on a high, methinks.

Listening to: Spiritbox - Jaded. This band has a killer sense of melody and a great sound.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Thank you @CODawn, @Tileenah, @JCU, and @Mamatigerj and (edit) @PetiteSheWolf . @Mamatigerj that's very reassuring. I will still try to do my best to be calm and level in the future.

Hey Bees! I'm back to being tired again (maybe this is a pattern? Happens especially on certain workout days...)

Today was basically the Back workout I skipped last week. Put myself through my paces, and man, do I feel like it.

Deadlifts: 180 x 6. Oof. I dread these. A single set is all that's needed, but I still dread that single set.
Paused Deadlifts: 105 x 5. Even with lightweight, these are quite taxing! I have no idea how people do them with so much weight.
Deadlift and Row: 100 x 4.
Lat Machine One Armed Rows: 52.5 x 6.
Lat Pulldowns: 60 x 6.
+19000 steps!

So sleepy. Going to get a good night's rest. I'm going to stop worrying about how the interview went and accept that even if it doesn't go my way, life still goes on.

Take care of yourselves, Bees!

Playing: I didn't play much last night. Feeling fitful, so I just went to bed early. Tonight, I'll bone up on some Stone Soup Dungeon Crawling and replay the original Bioshock.

Watching: Now that I'm finished with Warrior S03 (more thoughts on that later), I've resumed watching Justified: City Primeval. I'm a big fan of the show's original run and this continuation has all the ingredients for success. Also continued watching Ju On: this is the horror movie I've been craving. The acting is natural, and the scares are doled out not sparingly, but effectively.

Listening to: Soundgarden - The Day I Tried to Live. I was originally going to select Black Hole Sun, but then I remembered how important this one is to me. Like Black Hole Sun, I was listening to it a lot during a very painful time in my life. This one lives rent-free in my mind because I absolutely love the message behind it. I have had so many days where I just stay in bed, shut the curtains, and blot out the world. But other days I get out of bed, go outside, and try this "life" thing, and it may not always work out. I might still have a shit day. And this song beautifully captures that struggle.

"One more time around (I might make it)
The day I tried to live
Just like you"

 
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GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
@CODawn Indeed! They represent parts of our past that have a certain resonance.

Hoo boy. Made big gains today (and have the fatigue to show)! Maxed out on the Bench Press for the first time since before my trip to the US.

Bench Press: 155 x 1. I was actually going to aim for 152.5 as a max single, but today felt good. My form and setups felt good and the weight moved easily, so I put on 155 x 1 and smashed it (though it was a tough rep). This is excellent progress, considering I'd been stuck at 125 x 5 at the beginning and barely scraping by with 145 x 2. I probably could've done 147.5 twice, but I decided to be patient - which paid off.
Incline Press: 107.5 x 5. Not as hard as they were earlier this week.
Decline Press: 120 x 5. Zzzz...
Dumbbell Flat Curls: 18 x 16. Mmm, haven't used this much weight in awhile.
Close Grip Pressdowns: 10 x 8.

Today is the end of the Candito 6-week strength program, though I will start it again next week in the hope of more gains. I have responded very well to this program in the past, so I have reason to believe that there's still more potential in the tank.

A big typhoon is coming in, so that means that the city is shutting down for tomorrow. I'll see if I can squeeze in another workout on Saturday, then.

Take care of yourselves, Bees!

Playing: So I reinstalled an early access game called Graven which is kind of like a fantasy FPS (Immortals of Aveum, eat your heart out!). It's also coincidentally great for putting on podcasts and playing at the same time (as I've mentioned before, some games are great for this). I tried replaying RE4 but I couldn't get into it. And of course, Bioshock, and Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup.

(Starfield is coming soon... Only six days!)

Watching: I'm watching a found-footage Bigfoot flick called "Exists". Spoiler: It's not very good, but I'll get into that later. I've taken a temporary break from Ju On. Still watching Justified: CP at the gym. Funny how there are no explosions or gunfights, but it still holds my attention.

Listening to: Brand New - Sowing Season. Feeding my alt-rock/emo mix with this excellent number. Starts out quiet, builds, then explodes!

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
@PetiteSheWolf We were safe, thankfully. It was a big one.
@Mamatigerj Thank you!

Hey Bees! Went to church today and then squeezed in another workout. Today I restarted the strength program, so this is W1D1, and my second consecutive cycle. In previous years, I've run the program and taken a break, but I feel good about my progress last week, so I'm going to do it all over again!

Bench Press: 125 x 7. The program calls for some relatively low intensity sets (eg 10 and 8 rep sets at RPE 6 or 7), so I added a set of my own. I took a weight I had had some trouble with weeks ago (125) and tacked it on to the end of the working sets. Got 7 reps, which is way better than the last time around.
Incline Press: 107.5 x 5. Meh. Slow, slow progress on these.
Decline Press: 125 x 5. Ditto.
EZ Bar Pushdowns: 11 x 8. I may phase these out altogether, it feels like they're making my tris extra sore.
Hammer Curls: 16 x 20.

Am quite tired afterward, but still standing! Still counting down until I get to play Starfield (not long now...)!

Hope you've had an excellent weekend, Bees!

Playing: Still playing Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, as it's my longstanding time-waster of a game. Tried some Days Gone (again), but couldn't really get into it.

Watching: Finished Exists, the found-footage Bigfoot flick from one of the original directors of The Blair Witch Project.

The basic premise is that some young, sexy 20-somethings travel to a cabin in the woods for some fun times (and woohoo, obviously). The least Hollywood one of the bunch has armed himself with Go-Pros to capture all the fun, which quickly takes a sharp turn into woodsy horror, courtesy of a Bigfoot incursion. I will give the film this one plaudit; it doesn't waste time; when Bigfoot enters the picture, things ramp up, and don't stop til the end. The primate in question is plausibly fierce, and there's a surprising ferocity to its attacks (though some of them are laughably unreal). And... that's about all the good.

It's an entertaining flick, but there is no character development and no subtlety. I mentioned Willow Creek, which is another Bigfoot found-footage film that's absolutely terrifying in comparison to this one; the director of that film understands that you can squeeze scares out of what's implied, rather than what's shown (until the time is right). Exists is just full-bore ape all the time, and that cheapens the impact. And why the hell should I care about this gaggle of millenials when there's no reason to? And why should I be scared of the big guy when his attacks all feel the same? So in the end, a competent found-footager, but absolutely nothing special.

I give it two Bigfoot tracks in the dirt out of five.

Listening to: Jimmy Buffett - Margaritaville. RIP Jimmy Buffett. Thank you for the beautifully pleasant music; I will raise a drink in your memory.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
@CODawn Jimmy indeed!

Hey Bees! Got me an old copy of Borderlands and a protein shake to see the day out. Had a big Pull day today which I'm glad to have put behind me.

Deadlift: 185 x 5. Ugh. This one just sucked... there was no momentum from the initial pull, and I swear that the weight moved scant millimeters at a time before making its way up. I'm going to try to work with this weight next time to improve on it.
Paused Deadlifts: 110 x 4.
Deadlift and Row: 100 x 5.
Rack Pulls: 120 x 4.
Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 6.

Tomorrow morning, Starfield drops! I plan to wake up early to play my heart out until my responsibilities (ie work) come knocking. Funny, I did the exact same thing for Half-Life 2 nearly twenty years ago... guess some things don't change.

See you next time, Bees!

Playing: Just whiling away the time until Starfield arrives, and eclipses everything else. Reinstalled Diablo IV, just to try out a different class. Also playing more Stone Soup, and cursing frequently due to my many deaths and stupid mistakes.

Watching: A little bit of Seal Team at the gym; I still stand by my belief that it's excessively heavy-handed, but equally entertaining. Will watch more of Ju On tonight.

Listening to: Type O Negative - (We were) Electrocute. I haven't listened to Type O in some time, so tonight, I'm making up for that. This song could single-handedly prove that melody in metal can be beautiful, and majestic.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Thank you so much @Mamatigerj. I stayed at home for the day, and I live on a hill, so flooding wasn't a problem in my part of HK, but others were not so lucky.

Hey everyone. Been absent a few days... Starfield is to blame :standby:

But at least I made it back to the gym today! W1D2 of my strength program.

Bench Press: 125 x 8. I had this target in mind, and it's one rep better than last time; so I'm glad I succeeded. The weights moved quite smoothly today, too!
Incline Press: 107.5 x 5 for five sets. A royal slog over the past few weeks... been aiming to get 5 reps for 5 sets. I'm going to move on to 110 for my next workout.
Decline Press: 120 x 5. Zzzzz...
(Skipped the shoulder press today, just wasn't feeling it)
Triceps Pushdowns: 12 x 8.
Bicep Alternating Curls: 18 x 20. Whew! I haven't worked on this weight in a long time.

The flooding was pretty bad in certain areas, but the worst is over now. Rain's still falling, though. Tomorrow we're having my birthday dinner buffet (at 3 pm). I know it's a day early, but I'm still glad to have the chance to celebrate.

Have yourselves a safe and fun weekend, Bees!

Playing: I started Starfield the morning it was released, and have been playing it since. I've logged almost seven hours these past three days. Here's what I think.

It's the Bethesda formula, writ large. In many ways, space is the perfect environment for a Bethesda game, and the company has used the starry expanses to great benefit. There's so damn much to explore; so many worlds, so many quests, and even procedurally (read: random) generated spaces to scratch that dungeon-raiding fix. It is quite addictive; there's nothing like getting your mitts on a new weapon and exploring another new city.

The problem? It's the Bethesda formula, writ large. And that means that the game's reach exceeds its grasp. The bugs and quirks you'd expect from a Bethesda game are present and accounted for. And annoyingly, the game crashes at least once an hour. Performance is rubbish, and the game has been criticized roundly for this (annoyingly, when queried about this, the game's director simply told us to buy better PCs. Jerk.) But the flaws also show up in the structure of the game. There is so damn much fast travelling (thankfully, it's pretty smoothly implemented). And the space travel and planet exploration isn't as good as, say, No Man's Sky.

Regarding the story, it apes Mass Effect from the get go. The writing is pedestrian, and the characters feel like they were auditioning for a PG-13 movie. The main characters (ie in Constellation) are so morally upright that it's kind of nauseating. Every scene with them is "how can we serve mankind, explore those starry skies, and while we're at it, be more swell?" Interestingly, I have yet to hear "f***" spoken or seen it written.

All the above aside, I'm still going to play the hell out of it. Ultimate verdict? It's flawed, but a great deal of fun. I'll give it a score when I'm actually finished.

Watching: Finished Ju On: The Grudge. It's a Japanese movie that centers on the eponymous grudge (basically, a vengeful haunting, or curse) and how it affects the lives of people who come into contact with it. Almost an anthology movie in its approach. A very skilfully directed film that feels very natural. Its scares aren't forced, and are genuinely eerie. I liked it more than The Ring. I give it three and a half yowling cats out of five.

Also watching more of Justified: City Primeval at the gym, and loving it.

Listening to: Vangelis - Blade Runner End Titles. Chosen because it fits with the rain pouring down outside, and because I haven't listened to it in ages. Also, I live in a city parts of which could be uncharitably described as "cyberpunk".

 
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GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
@PetiteSheWolf I hear you! One of my favourite movies of all time too (though The Thing claims the top spot). And the soundtrack is absolutely seminal.

Is mah birfday today! But hold the cake and the parties and the invites and stuff. I don't really do all that anymore.

Instead I went to the gym, to make up for all the food I scarfed down yesterday. I was pushing it today, doing a Push day when I'd trained the same muscles two days ago. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bench Press: 127.5 x 6. Kind of mediocre. I'll give it a few more days and aim for at least 7 reps.
Incline Press: 110 x 4. The majority of the sets were three reps, but I pushed to four during the final set.
Decline Press: 120 x 5.
Paused Shoulder Press: 75 x 5. Not a bad surprise! I'm a bit rusty with these.
Hammer Curls: 18 x 20.
Rope Pushdowns: 10 x 10.

And now I'm sat at my computer, reflecting a little. I'm pushing 40 now. I could beat myself up for all the things that didn't go well, but I'd rather celebrate being alive and grateful, and with good friends at my side.

Have a wonderful day, Bees!

Playing: Take a guess. Interestingly, I haven't been slavish in my Starfield playtime. While it's become my main late night, triple-A game, I'm still playing Stone Soup, which requires so much less of an investment in time and energy. I only feel safe playing Starfield when it's late and cozy at night and all my other responsibilities have gone to bed.

Watching: More of Justified: City Primeval at the gym. I love the writing and the performances, and I'm about halfway through. Schemes upon schemes, motives upon motives. Going to watch a recent horror called "Cobweb" for my late night cinema. It hasn't received the best reviews, but I've heard it's got some quality (jump) scares.

Listening to: Pink Floyd - Learning to Fly. As good a song as any to listen to at this time in life.

"A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit
"

 

PetiteSheWolf

Well-known member
Alchemist from France
Posts: 1,375
Happy birthday!
And LOL, "the thing" is my favorite horror movie, and one of my fave movies overall too ! Music from Morricone, if my memory serves. The image when they burn one of the first contaminated, in a circle around him, and how "he" howls... Of course the final images... So well done.
ETA : and the ... aftermath of the doctor trying to give a cardiac shock to someone... When I had to receive those shocks (anesthesized before, no fear), kinda chuckled remembering that scene, LOL.
 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Thank you so much @mavie @BetaCorvi @Tileenah @Zenchan @CODawn @PetiteSheWolf @Mianevem @Mamatigerj @JCU and @Fremen! You're all the best!

@PetiteSheWolf Yeah! So many iconic scenes from that movie. The one that always stuck out in my mind was the Thing hiding among the huskies. Brr...

Hey Bees. Super tired today post-workout. I know I say that a lot, but I'm feeling especially bushed today. I think it was the combination of a long workout and the long walk back home. Today was W2D2 of my strength program. Didn't do well. Meh.

Bench Press: 127.5 x 6, failed on the 7th rep. Note to self: Don't get greedy if your reps are unsteady. Just stick with what you can do and the rest will follow.
Incline Press: 110 x 5. Not bad!
Decline Press: 120 x 5.
Paused Shoulder Press: 70 x 5. Damn! This was so much harder than a few days ago.
Triceps Pushdown: 11 x 10.
Flat Bicep Curls: 18 x 16.

I'm going to use the rest of the evening to relax, game a little, and kick my feet up.

Goodnight, and good luck, Bees!

Playing: Played through Starfield, and nearly made it to the end (I stopped a few questlines short, judging from what I've read). I think one of the original impetuses for my playing through the main questline was to find out what happened at the end and get all the tasty spoilers. I think this turned out to be a mistake. If any of you plan on playing Starfield, I'll avoid spoiling it.

Barring perhaps Morrowind and Oblivion (I haven't played any of their prior games), Bethesda's main campaigns/storylines tend to be... underwhelming. They are more renowned for their open-world gameplay and attention to detail, and rightfully so, I will say. But the main storylines don't consistently excite me. Hmm. I'm not sure why.

Take Starfield. Last night I played through to some very important revelations about the main storyline (of which the need to discover was driving me all along). And my reaction was... "is that it?" Sure, there's a surprisingly ambitious turn of events that occurs later on, and an important revelation about a certain planet, but I just couldn't muster up the energy to care.

Contrast this with another big moment in another sci-fi opera: Mass Effect. I remember playing the original up to the point at which Sovereign, the Reaper, is revealed, and you are made aware of the greater threat to the galaxy. That particular bit hit me like a ton of bricks. I think it was due to the skilful way it was delivered, rather than the originality of the twist (Bioware's games often involve outside context civilizations popping up and stealing the storyline). That was a huge "oh shit!" moment for me in gaming. Starfield doesn't compare. I would, however, pay well to see Starfield's storyline/premise like this in the hands of another studio, like Obsidian or Bioware.

So what's the point of this, and what did I do in the end? I'm starting a new game. And I'm going to put off the main quest until I feel compelled to finish it. Fortunately, there's a lot of sidequests to keep one occupied...

Watching: I watched about 3 minutes of Cobweb last night before dropping off to sleep. Hopefully that's not an indicator of how compelling the movie is. Still watching Justified at the gym.

Listening to: Castroe - Caped Utility. Here's another recent synth acquisition.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hello Bees. Tired again, but it's for a good reason, of course.

I went to see the doctor and then stop off at the gym for Leg day. Never skip Leg day, they say. It's a rule I've fallen afoul of quite a bit recently.

So I sought to rectify that!

Squats: 100 x 5. Ugh. It's honestly a coin flip as to how well these groove for me on a given day. Today, they were pretty tough. Ten sets in total.
Front Squats: 60 x 6. Seven sets!
Paused Squats: 80 x 3.
Leg Curls: 45 x 8.
Back Extensions: 10 reps.

Now my quads hurt. Gack. Walking home was fun...

Tomorrow is hot pot! Om nom nom!

We've made it to the weekend, Bees! Go nuts!

Playing: Doing well with my restarted game of Starfield. I aim to take on some of the quests that I missed with my original save. Curiously, I seem to be burning through my ammo extremely quickly. And this is hard to do, considering there are more than ten different calibers available. Sheesh.

Watching: Uhh, no late night cinema. After taking my meds, I zonk out pretty quickly. But I did watch an episode of Seal Team at the gym, and City Primeval at home.

Listening to: NINA and Ricky Wilde - Causeway. Honestly, you can't go wrong with NINA, who is one of the best voices in the synthwave scene.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hi Bees! Hope you had a great weekend, as I know that I did.

Today is W3D1 of the strength program, so my bench went up to 132.5 kg for reps.

Bench Press: 132.5 x 5. Mmm-hm. I'll take it. Challenging, but not impossible. It crossed my mind once or twice to go for six reps, but I decided against it.
Incline Press: 110 x 5. Still practicing Double Progression. 3, 3, 4, 4, and 5 reps for the final set.
Decline Press: 120 x 5.
Paused Shoulder Press: 80 x 3. Deliberately set out to push myself today, and did quite well. Wasn't expecting three reps.
EZ Bar Pushdown: 11 x 10.

Today I went out with a friend to watch "Talk to Me", which has been on my radar for quite some time, and then had pizza afterward as a belated birthday celebration. Pizza and a movie? Can't go wrong with that!

Start your week strong, Bees!

Playing: Still making my way through Starfield *slooowwwly*. Just got the Mantis ship (basically a space Batwing for a space Batman). Also playing lots of Stone Soup on the side.

Watching: As mentioned above, watched Talk to Me, a movie I'd been eagerly anticipating for some time.

This is essentially a demonic possession film anchored by the ominous presence of the artifact on the cover (it's no coincidence that in Hong Kong, the movie is titled "Hand Spirit"). Mia, a teenager bereaved by the recent loss of her mother, spends her free time hanging out with her friend Jade, and brother Riley. However, they are made aware of a recent craze that's been going around online; videos of teenagers entering a trance way of a severed hand. Mia persuades her friends to see this for themselves. More fatally, she volunteers to try being possessed, seems to get a glimpse of her mom, and things get worse from there.

My immediate assessment was that this was a taut, and gripping film. Interestingly, I didn't find it as shocking as Smile, but I chalk that up to Smile relying a lot more on cheap jump scares. Here, the scares are doled out not sparingly, but in good measure, and what's more is that they make sense. The result was that I didn't jump in my seat (as I have with other cheap films *cough* *cough* Conjuring 2), but I found myself feeling very tense and wary as the film progressed, and bad went to worse. This was a first-time feature effort from the guys behind the infamous Racka Racka Youtube channel, but surprisingly, everything is directed very adroitly. All the performances are uniformly quite strong (the protagonist, and Miranda Otto's no-bullshit mum stand out). And there's a furtive, and not quite-so positive commentary on the ubiquity of our smartphones, and the destructive wiles of teen culture.

I give it four and a half preserved psychic hands (what else?) out of five.

Listening to: Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I'm not a big Genesis fan, but some of their songs are too stellar to ignore.

 

GentleOx

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
@PetiteSheWolf I highly recommend it! It was a well-made and coherent scary story.

Sleepy Ox, back at it again. It's been several days since I last worked out, so I headed back into the gym to beat my body into shape. And boy, did I!

Today was W3D2 of my strength program. Annoyingly, my trusty wrist wraps have gone missing, so I had to complete my bench sets sans wraps. Oh well.

Bench Press: 135 x 5. About what I expected. I was very nervous doing this as I usually have wrist wraps on to prevent the bar from slipping. I went ahead anyway, but the weight felt that much more unsteady. Not one of my better days.
Incline Press: 110 x 5. Steadily, slowly increasing the reps per set.
Decline Press: 120 x 5.
Dips: Top set of 12.
Biceps Hammer Curls: 16 x 16.

Bought me some tasty wraps from my local supplement store. I'm used to seeing crappier, nameless-brand equipment being bandied about, but found Schiek, a very reliable brand. They were somewhat pricey, but when my life could potentially be at stake, I'm not going to cheap out.

We're almost at the end of the week, Bees! Slow and Steady wins the race.

Playing: Welcome to the Starfield Ox Gazette, in which I recount my numerous adventures through space!

Last night I donated to and helped out a charitable organization, slew some pesky space-moles, encountered an obstinate bureaucrat, and tangled with Ecliptic mercs.

(And of course, some Stone Soup. But nobody wants to hear about that...)

Watching: Finished Justified: City Primeval a few days ago. I was jonesing for the conclusion to the series so bad that I started watching it at home too (usually, I save certain shows for the gym). I've commented a lot on the writing, which I liked a lot, it has to be said. The villain came across as rather... dense, and not exactly worthy of a series revival like this one. But it's so much fun watching everyone shoot one-liners left and right, and there's a surprising empathy for many of the ne'er do wells. I give it four incriminating ledgers out of five.

As for late night cinema... TBD.

Listening to: Tom Morello - Hold the Line. I haven't really been into Tom Morello (while he complemented RATM perfectly, I'm more of a shredding fan), but this song's an absolute banger, I can't deny.

 

GentleOx

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey everyone! Ox here.

Today I tried a little experiment. I did the bulk of my back workout with lower-body exercises, rather than all the pulling I usually do. I also started a 5 3 1 program for my deadlift, just to try something different. It had me working with lighter weights than usual, which I really needed.

Deadlift: 145 x 10. I could've gotten more reps, but the bar started wholesale slipping from my grip! Should've brought chalk.
Paused Deadlift: 115 x 5.
Deadlift and Row: 115 x 3.
SL Deadlift: 120 x 5.
Lat Pulldowns: 61 x 6.

Will have to see how sore I am tomorrow!

No more updates! Am tired.

It's the weekend, Bees! Let's go out and... and... zzz...

Playing: In Issue #2 of the Starfield Ox Gazette, I crept through a decrepit and overgrown embassy to access a keycode, raided an outpost, and then helped out a series of feuding families in a distant system. All in a good day's work!

(And... you guessed it, some Stone Soup.)

Watching: Uh, keep forgetting about late night cinema. Once I'm in bed, I fritter away the hours on Reddit and Instagram. Still watching Seal Team at the gym. Also a bit of Special Ops: Lioness, though I feel like its pretensions of being high-class television don't exactly pan out.

Listening to: GUNSHIP - Doom Dance. Eagerly counting down the days until their next album releases. This number marries a sinister, slinky vibe with catchy melody.

 

GentleOx

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey everybody! Hope your weekend has been going well.

I decided to head back to the gym today to find my bench 3rm, after church.

Bench Press: 142.5 x 3, 145 x 2; failed on the third rep. Auggh, I hate failing. Obvious safety issues aside (if that's what you can call nearly getting pinned down by the bar), it's always been a sign of poor judgement on my part. I call trying to go for more reps and failing "getting greedy".
Incline Press: 110 x 5. Not too difficult today!
Decline Press: 125 x 5. Got it.
Rope Extensions: 10 x 10.
Dumbbell Curls: 16 x 20.

Yesterday, mom and I had a reservation for our friendly neighborhood steakhouse, which is a place we'd been to for several years. However, it's been three years since our last visit. We sat down, had a look at the menu, and it turns out the cheapest steak options are 45 USD and upwards! This is a far cry from back in the day, when this place was more affordable. We weren't willing to fork out that much for overpriced steak, so we looked around and settled for some yummy Vietnamese food instead. Mmm... Pho...

Right now, we're running around, searching for flights to New York to see my big sister and her family for Christmas again. Mom is adamant that we get premium economy, which I'm definitely not complaining about. I absolutely hate the travel part of traveling. Reaching your destination and having fun is great and all, but the journey there almost always sucks! Still, I love going to the States, so I'm looking forward to Christmas!

Hope you're enjoying the rest of your weekend, Bees!

Playing: In Issue #3 of the Starfield Ox Gazette, I destroyed a number of pirate ships in space battles, headed to a gloomy cyberpunk city (Neon), collected a bounty, and interrogated a number of ne'er do wells as part of my duties as a Ranger.

Watching: Watched a little bit of Seal Team at the gym (I suspect I may continue doing this for a long while), and I started watching The Continental as well. It's too early to say, but it is a well-made, enjoyable slice of crime action. As good as John Wick, though? Not really. I feel like the original movies benefited from their simplicity, and instead, we're forced to watch schemes upon schemes even in the first episode.

Listening to: Peter Gabriel - Growing Up. This is a moody, electronica-tinged number that reminds me of my (lousy) college days.

 

GentleOx

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees! I've somewhat neglected my fitness as of late, so I was happy to fit in a good workout today.

Today is W4D2 of my Strength Program.

Bench Press: 142.5 x 3. After remembering the peril of going for 145 x 3, I stuck with this weight instead.
Incline Press: 110 x 5. 5 sets for 5 reps! That's a wrap for this weight. I'll move on to 112.5 next time.
Decline Press: 125 x 5.
EZ Bar Pushdown: 12 x 8
Forearm Curls (Dumbbells): Oooh, I like these! They're an exercise I looked up online in which you grip a dumbbell on a bench and twist your wrist halfway each way. Pretty tough.

Also, 20,000 steps!

I watched The Creator earlier this morning. My thoughts are below. Heading into what looks like an easy-going weekend.

Take care, Bees!

Watching: So if you haven't heard of it, The Creator is the story of an ex-special forces vet shepherding a robochild across a faux-Asia in order to find his long-lost wife. This will probably go down as famous for being from the director of Rogue One; indeed, a lot of the plot touchstones are the same. Visually, the film is beyond reproach - I'd say its signature maneuver is taking footage of real people and places and altering them (to become robots, in the case of the people) to resemble a future that doesn't seem so far-flung. Some of the set-pieces are a joy to watch, and the punchy action is a highlight.

It's a shame that the plot doesn't really hold up. I found it derivative of many other films, to the point of my guessing the big twist an hour in. The acting is alright, but doesn't really deserve the lavish action (perhaps some of the fault could be shared by Washington, for his wooden acting). And the final third of the film just lags.

So, worth seeing for the gorgeous imagery, but forgettable thanks to drama we've seen before. I give it three robotic chips out of five.

Also watched some Seal Team at the gym, and may watch some Queen of Black Magic (yes, that's a real film!) tonight for late night cinema.

Playing: In Issue #4 of the Starfield Ox Gazette, I destroyed even more raider ships in an epic(ish) dogfight, confronted a rogue regiment of soldiers, and helped shore up the defenses of a city.

Listening to: Megadrive - Total Control. Today's movie put me in a sci-fi kind of mood, so here's one of the best tracks I've heard that pays homage to the futuristic movies of the past. Someone went to the effort of syncing video to the references in the song! Awesome!

 

GentleOx

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey everyone! Boy am I glad it's the weekend.

Today was a Pull day. Out of nostalgia, I incorporated a few of my old Back exercises to form a mix of upper and lower body.

Deadlifts: 155 x 6. Ugh, I really need to bring chalk. Could get more reps that way. Otherwise, quite unremarkable.
Snatch Grip Deadlifts: 115 x 3. These are as challenging as I remember them being.
Deadlift and Row: 110 x 5.
Landmine Row: 87.5 x 5. These make a return! And they felt great.
Machine One Arm Row: 57.5 x 5.

Watching A Haunting in Venice tomorrow with mum, and then buffet tea time! Om nom nom.

Have yourself a great weekend, Bees!

Playing: In Issue #5 of the Starfield Ox Gazette, I trekked through a frozen city and uncovered the secret of a massacre.

Watching: Watched a dash of Queen of Black Magic late last night. Heard that it gets crazy later on, but twenty minutes in, I'm still waiting.

Watched more of Seal Team at the gym. An unusually subdued episode finds the team holed up in a home they've invaded, searching for a terrorist. Shows well the horror that comes to those on the other end of the team's guns.

Finished the first episode of The Continental. Eh, I dunno. Lacks the workman-like reliability of Seal Team and the laser-like focus of the film series it borrows from. But I'll keep watching... I mean, it's only three episodes long, so why not.

Listening to: Gunship - Tech Noir 2. They're back in business! Gunship's new album just dropped and I'm eager to devour it. Here is the revisiting of 2014's Tech Noir.

 
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GentleOx

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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees.

Totally tuckered out by my workout today, but progress was made! Today was W5D1 of my strength program. I pushed for a new 2rm.

Bench Press: 150 x 2. And got it! This is a colossal improvement over last cycle's 145 x 2, so I'm chuffed as chips!
Incline Press: 112.5 x 3. Started a new Double Progression cycle with these. But slooowwly. Five sets of three reps.
Decline Press: 130 x 5. Pushed it extra heavy today, and it worked out!
EZ Bar Pushdown: 12 x 10.
Dumbbell Curls: 16 x 20.

Spooky Season (ie the month of October) has started! It's one of my favourite months of the year.

There's a chill in the air, Bees! Stay safe, but spooky!

Playing: Did lots of dungeon crawling last night with Stone Soup. No Starfield (wha...?). No big games to look forward to these days.

Watching: Watched a Haunting in Venice on Saturday. Mom and I watched it at one of the ritziest malls in Hong Kong (K11); I should've taken more pictures. I haven't seen any of the Kenneth Branagh as Hercules Poirot movies (supposedly they're lacklustre) so I was very curious going into this one. Anyway...

Inspector Poirot has retired, and lives in Venice, pruning plants. This is until he is invited to observe a seance on Halloween night, and observes murder most foul.

This one uses its setting to very good effect; the movie is well-steeped steeped in the watery and weathered shadows of Venice. Branagh does a good enough job, but I can't speak to the veracity of his French accent. I loved the direction and the cinematography, but some of the acting and line deliveries seemed a touch stilted? The movie also adds many horror-based touches very well, I thought, which made the movie more exciting than if it were exclusively a whodunnit. I give it three and a half apples out of five.

Listening to: Spooky season is here, so I'm going to do the same thing I did last year and select a spooky, scary or otherwise horror-based song every time I post. Hopefully I know enough songs!

The first song is Mr. Gnome - Night of the Crickets. Surreal pop anchored by an equally surreal music video. Don't watch this one before bedtime, or the imagery will give you nightmares!

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
Hey Bees! Super tired once again, but satisfied with another great workout. Today was a Pull day, so lots of deadlifts.

Deadlifts: 162.5 x 6. Not my best, but I'm following the dictates of the 5 3 1 program, so there'll be more weight in the future. This is also better than last week, so I'm not complaining!
Paused Deadlifts: 115 x 5.
Romanian Deadlifts: 120 x 5... I think.
Rack Deadlifts: 140 x 5. These were tougher than I expected! Which likely means that they're useful.
Rack Pulls: 100 x 5, 90 x 5. I was cheating the lift too much with 100, so I dropped the weight. And I was still cheating! Maybe next time I'll drop the weight even more.
Lat Pulldowns: 70 x 6.

Just super fatigued. Even skipped my practice pad exercises, and my planned lesson planning. Going to take a break tomorrow.

I hear that another typhoon's coming in...

Hope your week is starting off A-okay, Bees!

Playing: In Issue #6 of the Starfield Ox Gazett, I hunted down a bounty, then got lost on an icy planet following my (apparently, defective) scanner, and then quit out of boredom. I'll start a new questline soon (I hear the undercover one is interesting).

Also, Stone Soup! Got relatively close to my all time best (number 9 out of... several hundred playthroughs).

Watching: Watched a bit of Queen of Black Magic last night. Still waiting for the gorror to truly begin.

Watched some Seal Team at the gym. This episode tried to lay the tension on thick, and you would think that given the mission involved moving nukes, this would be easily done. But it got boring after awhile, instead.

Also watched a bit of Castlevania (the new series). Starts off with a bang, and I'm excited to see where it goes!

Listening to: For tonight's spooky song, I select Slipknot - Yen. I've posted it before, but I like it so much; it showcases the extent of Slipknot's sonic palette very beautifully. The MV's replete with imagery that wouldn't be out of place in Eyes Wide Shut.

 

GentleOx

Well-known member
Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 455
"So sleepy!"
@colin Thank you friend! One foot in front of the other.

Hello, Bees.

Not as tired, but still fatigued, and back from a good Chest workout. So (IIRC), this is W4D2, in which I tried to best my old record and lift 152.5 x 2.

Bench Press: 152.5 x 1. Couldn't do it. 150 x 2 was tough, but doable. 152.5 on the other hand... the second it hit my chest and I hoisted it back up, I knew I wasn't going to be able to get in another rep. Beats failing and being pinned under the bar, however.
Larsen Press: 120 x 5. I always have fun with these! Chose to use slightly less weight this time, as it's been awhile.
Incline Press: 112.5 x 5. Ugh. Was not feeling these. See below.
Decline Press: 105 x 5. Sometime after (or during) the Incline press, I'd done something to my rotator cuff. So I felt some pain doing these and had to stop. Ow. Of interest is the fact that these have historically been an injury-prone movement for me. May be time to give them up for good.
Bicep Curls: 16 x 20.

I hope I'm not facing another injury! I've been making pretty good progress, too. I feel okay, but it may be time to break out that foam roller.

The promised typhoon has yet to emerge, but we know it won't be as big a deal as a few weeks back, when the whole city shut down.

Past the halfway mark of the week, Bees! You've got this.

Playing: In Issue #7 of the Starfield Ox Gazette, I skipped over that bugged quest (get on it, Bethesda!), and signed up for work at the prestigious Ryujin corporation. I'm doubtful that I'll go far in the questline because I hate stealth quests, and didn't realize that the Ryujin quests demand a more discretionary approach.

Also playing Warhammer: Inquisitor, since it's a good mindless action-RPG.

Watching: Just finished The Queen of Black Magic last night. Hanif takes his family to the orphanage he grew up in to meet up with old friends and have a relaxing vacation. A good time is had until secrets come to light and guests start being dispatched in increasingly creative ways.

It starts off pretty slow; this is why I had trouble starting the movie, and why I'll dock it some points. The friendships and memories are all carefully established (and there are quite a lot of characters), but after a certain unfortunate accident, all hell breaks loose. The ending third captivated me, and I stayed up late to finish it. There's some gore here that's not for the faint of heart - I wouldn't call the movie eerie, or scary, but its intensity rivals most of the shockers we're accustomed to. There's also a surprising dedication to long-buried trauma and the need for revenge.

I give it three and a half caterpillars out of five.

Watched more Seal Team at the gym. I have tons of horror movies to select from (which I'd be watching even if it weren't spooky season), but I think I'll go back to my comfort food of found footage, and watch Wekufe - a Chilean witchcraft horror.

Listening to: For tonight's spooky song, I select Korn - Thoughtless.

Most of Korn's music videos borrow from horror imagery, but I love how this one in particular apes from Carrie, and other high school flicks. Also of interest is that Aaron Paul, pre-Breaking Bad, stars at the beleaguered protagonist.

 
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