the return of me…again (A VERY BIG UPDATE!!!)

So I really haven’t blogged in a while, and although I probably should instead be writing something tonight that I can pay some bills with,seriously – where’s the fun in that?!

I don’t remember exactly where I left off, but here are some notable mentions (in my opinion) that I wanted to share…

An Afternoon with Kevin Smith
Now first of all, I know that we went to this almost a month ago, but I feel kind of bad about not writing about it sooner because it was really an awesome experience. We didn’t end up getting there early enough for any of the pre-show entertainment (they were going to show the 10th Anniversary Edition of Clerks and some parts of his previous Q&A DVD), but that was ok because we did make it on-time for the show itself and it ended up running into the wee hours of the night. Literally, the man got on stage at about 2:30pm and didn’t stop answering questions until the Convention Center staff finally kicked him off at 9pm – it was great! The entire presentation was just hilarious – he answered any question that got thrown out there, from professional questions about the people he’s worked with and his advice to getting a break in the business to personal questions that somehow got related back to his getting to tell the story about how he was forced to sit in the jury of a local court case even after explaining – in detail – about the fact that at the time he was contending with, well, an anal fissure. He also honored a lot of people’s requests, taking scripts and movies that people had put together, and even left an “unforgettable” outgoing message on one girl’s voicemail (it went something like, “Hi, this is Kevin Smith taking messages on Barbara’s voicemail because ever since I did Jersey Girl, work’s been a little short! Blah blah blah … leave your message after the tone and she’ll get back to you, and by the way, Barbara loves it up the ass…”).

If this posting marks the first entry that my grandmother decides to read, then my apologies, but the entire room just about died laughing, Sara and myself included. And of course, he then hypothesized what a call from Barbara’s mother might sound like – I can only hope that this chick said screw it and kept it on there! All in all, it was just an awesome time. We spent the first couple of hours a few hundred feet from the stage (it was an absolutely huge room!), but were able to work our way up as the crowd began to break up until Sara found us seats in the third row for the last few hours of the show. At one point, he came off the stage to give one girl a hug who’d been put in a wheel chair after an accident and we were maybe ten feet away from the guy. What else can I say – I’m a huge fan and it was a very good day for me!

A Day Out at the Ballpark
To make up for spending the whole day doing things that I wanted to do, the following day we drove down to Tropicana Field in St. Pete to watch the Yankees play the Devil Rays as a surprise for Sara. I honestly don’t really even like baseball, but it was good to get out and we both had a really good time even though the Yankees got whooped something fierce! (Mind you, I was rooting for the home team, if not for any reason other than to razzle Sara and her family, who are all diehard Yankees fans. I don’t know about you, but if I did like baseball, I’d at least try to align myself with a team that actually knows how to play baseball…) I didn’t get to see the manta ray tank that The Florida Aquarium donated to the stadium this year, but I still had a good time and could probably be talked into going back.

Diet, Schmiet…
I was doing good, and then not-so-good…

So I was wondering how long it would take before I got to my plateau and things starting getting tougher – turns out, that would be right about now! After dropping about ten pounds in the first two weeks, it seems that now I’m sort of stuck in a rut and can’t seem to get past the 215 mark. It’s difficult because the losses were a big source of inspiration for me and helped me to follow the diet and exercise plan that I’d created, so not seeing successes any more is just making it that much harder for me not to cheat. This weekend was really bad because of a combination of a little eating out, making what I thought would be a healthy dinner Saturday night and then going overboard on portions, and then a pan of brownies that have just been begging me for some a la mode action ever since they left the oven. The brownies are almost gone now and I’m still cleaning up the damages that are dishes all over the apartment. This is tough, but I guess I know what I have to do.

Sara and I went shopping this evening and stocked up on meals for the next week. I picked up a few of the pizzas that I know fall within my guidelines – now I just need to keep myself busy enough so as to not go astray in between meals. I’m confident that I can keep things in line up through Thursday, but Friday afternoon begins our anniversary trip to Disney and I know there’s going to be some fudging there. (Both of the caloric numbers throughout the weekend, and also actual fudge from the candy shops themselves…) I’ve got a vague plan that I’ll try to blog about later in the week, but ultimately I guess if I shoot for maintaining my current weight until next week, that might just have to be good enough!

New Games to Waste Time By
For some reason, I’ve been playing a lot of video games this weekend. I think a part of me is convinced that it somehow helps to smooth along the creative process in my writing by providing a diversion while I work through my thought process, but it’s a tough one because I know that plain, old procrastination also plays a strong part in this one! I got some new SNES games off eBay over the weekend and have been putting those through the paces ever since. I’m not really sure why, but I’ve been having this itch to play Sim City for a while now, but I couldn’t find the cartridge in my collection so I had to buy a new one. I played a lot last night and ended up with a city of around 200,000 people before I finally went to bed! Of course, I think I ended up using the money cheat before I made it to 50,000 people because I blow through money so fast in that game, but it’s still fun for me all the same. I don’t think I’ve ever made it to Megalopolis – 500,000 people – and after filling in pretty much the entire screen, I’d be real interested to even see how it’s done at this point!

Tonight I’ve been focusing my “free time” on Paperboy 2, which compared to the original is just freaking crazy! I had a hard enough time avoiding dogs and crazy ladies in the first one – fire-breathing gargoyles, ghosts, and sewer monsters are just too much, don’t ‘cha think?! And what’s with the medieval castle right in the middle of the block, firing cannons at the paperboy?! I’ll buy the “haunted house” – maybe we’re working the Halloween shift or something, but you lost me at the Round Table. I’m also not too fond of that dude who just stands in his driveway, chucking tires out into the street, either…

Creative Progress!!!
One thing I’m happy to admit that came out of this weekend is that I finally feel like my creative wheels have touched ground once again…at least a little.

I spent a good portion of Friday and Saturday night working on new layouts for both my professional writing site and a revamp for the comic site, and aside from a few tweaks that are still in order, I’m really very pleased with how they turned out. Granted, these are merely the homepages and there are entire sites behind each that will need to be built, and even these don’t have anything other than static code behind them at this point, but it’s good to at least see where you’re headed. It’s the first time in a while where I’ve come out of a weekend feeling like I made some progress on that front, so I’m very happy in that return.

Didn’t do as much as I would’ve liked, partially because I spent more time working on the aforementioned layouts and partially because of my next bullet point, but I did get a few columns done and it’s a start. I also managed to lose one of my older ones that apparently never got saved because Word is stupid, but I’m trying not to think about that at this point…

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – awesome show!
Sara made the comment after catching part of the first episode while I was exercising that this might be something that she’d want to watch with me (aside from a few shows, we don’t exactly share the same tastes in television programming), and after watching the other three episodes that were sitting on the DVR yesterday afternoon, we’re now officially hooked. This looks like such a good show on so many levels that I simply can’t do justice by going into here, but needless to say, so far we’re both very impressed. The characters are great, the story is definitely interesting, and just like with Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin is a freaking genius – hands down. My only regret is that we didn’t discover this show after it was already on for about two years so we could just plant ourselves down on the couch and binge on the DVDs all weekend – I so can’t wait until the next episode (Monday, I think?).

Vacation Countdown – T-Minus Four and a Half Days and Counting…
And we’re finally to that week that shall now be known as the longest week ever. It should be interesting – I’ve got my diet and exercise to try to keep under wraps, not to mention my articles for the paper up North that I’d really like to get done this week before we go so that I don’t have to worry about them when we return. Also, probably a list of roughly 10,000,000 other things that need to get done in the meantime as well, but let’s try not to think of that right this second! Friday night we’ve got dinner reservations at Teppanyaki, the Japanese restaurant at Epcot, which should prove to be an interesting start to the weekend. Sara picked it out after we couldn’t get a table at the Coral Reef, and I’ve never eaten at one of these places where they prepare your meal with a sword right in front of you, so assuming I don’t get decapitated in the process, if anything it should at least give me something interesting to write about afterwards!

I know it’ll be a great weekend – the trick at this point is simply getting there without a boatload of stress for either of us along the way. I’ll try to keep mine to a minimum by hopefully blogging a bit more throughout the week – between this and a few columns, the writing was really helpful tonight and I’d like to do it a little more regularly so that I can cut down on the amounts that I have to pour out at each sitting! Oh well, I’d love to stay and chat, but Paperboy awaits and those subscribers’ windows aren’t going to break themselves… 🙂

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