* It snowed a ton last night (comparatively for this area). Kids are sledding in the street. Since it’s been like 4 years, I put on my Wisconsin-purchased snow boots and hiked 4 miles round-trip to the coffee house to sit and read for a bit. Tipped big. It was a great feeling, the sliding, crunching snow and the peaceful silence. The stinging cold was a nice reminder that I’m alive. I miss this northern ceremony every once in a while. But I don’t miss midwest weather.

* I’m slapping my forehead for a finance dumbshit move: I forgot to write down/notify myself of when the quarterly earnings reports go announced. So I missed the wave (and it was a pretty big wave this quarter) where all the stocks go up about 5% in a few days as financial analysts buy in to stocks they know are doing well, and then the mass sell-off which drops the stock 5-10% right as the earnings reports are read off, as the analysts get out and the average joes buy in. Missed out on an opportunity to reign in a free $1200 or so for zero effort. Oh well. I’ll just wait a week or so and watch the stocks go back up and be more way next quarter.

* I got pretty far in Popolocrois II. It’s a wonderful gem of a PSX game, a true “honobono”/”feelgood” experience. The battle system is about as complicated as… uh… ok, metaphor failure: It’s not very complicated at all, and that’s refreshing. Cute art, wonderfully light plot and heartwarming story line up into an unparalleled experience. I’d love to see more of this kind of game, but it’s hard to sell a low-graphics RPG in the PS3 world of “Killer Graphics and Multi-Million Dollar Budget or GTFO”.

* My birthday is tomorrow. I turn 35. Huh. At least this year I’ll remember how old I am. Incidentally, I found out that I share the same birthday (and year) as a Japanese porn star. I should send her a card.
Oh hey, Justin Timberlake’s B-Day is tomorrow, too!

* Week one of my vacation is nearing a close, and I feel rested. Mats W from work was right: Us Americans have no fucking clue how to *take a break from work*. While I don’t necessarily believe we need the same ample vacation time as our European counterparts, it really does take 2 weeks to wind down and really relax from work: It takes one week to relax, and the second week to “have your vacation”.

* Finished a few books. Currently reading Greg Egan’s latest anthology, Crystal Nights. Man, he may be my favorite SF author and probably the greatest SF author of our generation (BAR NONE. SERIOUSLY), but he really has a hard on against Buddhism. This is like the fourth time I read a thinly veiled anti-B screed in his works. Then again, I’ve met really pretentious practitioners that would have made me vomit screeds as well.

* I finally beat the boss on Final Fantasy XIII after about 12 tries. Whomever says this game is easier than previous titles is simply a liar who has never played it. You play three bosses in a row, and while the first is long and mildly difficult, and the third a breeze with a good strategy, the second one is a boiling pit of YOU LOSE. The boss employs a lot of cheap maneuvers that result in one-hit kills. More on that later. The end movie was pretty, but made about as much sense as any other Japanese cinematic experience.

* While the movie PANDORUM never promised to be that great, I still feel that they had a great premise killed by the need to pander to a dumb audience. It could have been much sharper. And a lot of the editing and cuts make it really look rough at times. I love the fact that they had a Vietnamese guy who spoke no English and didn’t “suddenly learn it” or whatever as well as No Subtitles for him (not even in the Subtitle options!), that was ballsy (he’s a badass K-1 fighter in real life, too). The movie also employed not one, but TWO twists at the end that really made the movie that much more awesome (“Where are the stars??”). In the end, the awesome outweighed the dumb, but by barely.

* Next week I might vacation from the Greater Internet altogether, we’ll see.

* Incense is awesome, but never light it a few hours before you plan to sleep. You might as well have a cigar smoker blow ash into your lungs.

* Last week I could do one pull-up. Now I can do four. I’m getting back on track. I can also do about 70 push-ups, once, before blowing out my arms and any further weight training using them for the evening. I’m slowly building to 100. Also upped my weights on squats (front and back), bench press, and upright row.

* “Iron Yoga” is nothing more than doing plain normal yoga, while holding 5-12 pound weights in each hand. It’s also kinda badass.