Wii? Fit. Me? Fat.

Saturday, 28 February, 2009

My sister and I spend the better part of this week going to every store in Plattsburgh looking for one item: a Wii Fit. Every time we asked no store had one in stock. We even called a Wal-Mart store that was 50 miles away, with no luck. That didn’t seem to stop us from looking, though.

Today, however, our local Wal-Mart had them in stock. My sister excitedly bought one, and brought it home. I didn’t care, either way, about playing around with it, really. She was particularly excited about it, as it seems to be a decent means of exercise in these cold days.

As she was setting it up, I toyed with the idea of creating a profile. I really didn’t needing a video game peripheral to tell me what I already knew about myself. Yes, I am a fat guy. I have no real issues with it, myself. I just didn’t want it to be displayed on the TV screen.

After watching my young nephews set up their profiles–and seeing that it didn’t display your weight unless you opted to see it–I decided to give it a go. Before I even stood on the thing, though, I was sure I wasn’t going to enjoy it.

The balance board that runs with the Wii Fit software measures your center of balance–mine is slightly to the left, if you are wondering–and your body mass index. It plumps up your poor little Mii until it looks like…well…you. It takes these readings, along with your actual age and height, and gives you a Wii Fitness age.

Mine was 41. That’s 13 years older than I am. After being chastised about my balance issues, and Wii Fit Age, I came up here to sulk. I listened, though, as my sister was obviously enjoying herself while playing some of the games (called “training” on the software).

I wandered back down to see what she was doing. She was stepping on and off the balance board in time with a whole group of Miis. This was only the second game she has played (and one that I cannot keep in time with, because I am so uncoordinated–see my Guitar Hero post).

She showed me a game which requires that you hula hoop, and asked me to try. So here I was, standing on a plastic board in the middle of the floor, gyrating my hips like there was no tomorrow. And, you know what? I actually enjoyed myself while doing it.

So, putting aside the horrors of having a video game telling you how unfit you are–I KNOW ALREADY!, and the fact that you might look a fool, gyrating as such, the Wii Fit is actually pretty fun. In the long run if it actually does help shed some pounds, it might just be redeemed as a viable piece of exercise equipment.

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The Simpsons renewed through 2011

Friday, 27 February, 2009

Yes, America’s favorite dysfunctional family has been renewed for two–count ’em, two!–more seasons. Fox has extended the contract. This means that they will be running through 2011.

That’s twenty-two full seasons, with a whopping total of 493 episodes! That would make it the longest running prime time series in American history. It would blow Gunsmoke out of the water!

I, personally, love The Simpsons, and think it’s very cool that they managed to stick around this long. I am going to worry, though, about the quality of the episodes, and the writing (which is stellar in earlier seasons).

I will pull for them to do the best as their reign runs on. If they manage to make the episodes watchable, even after twenty-two seasons, they might be able to run even longer. Good luck, Simpsons cast! And congratulations!


T-minus seven days

Thursday, 26 February, 2009

Seven days from now–that’s March 5th– I will be leaving Plattsburgh for a couple weeks. I am going to visit my father in Port Richey, Florida. It’ll be two weeks of nice weather (hopefully), and good times (again, hopefully).

Dad moved down to Port Richey in September of last year, and he has been after someone–either my sister, or myself–to visit. I knew I would have to wait until tax return time to afford it. I bought my ticket to fly out a couple weeks back.

I just bought the return ticket the day before yesterday. That was because I was watching the fairs. To fly out (before taxes/fees, mind you) the ticket was only $29 through Allegiant Air. Plus I get to depart, and fly back into, Plattsburgh. The airport is really only two minutes from my apartment!

I will be sure to post many pictures while I am there, and maybe I will even write about the flight. It’s my first ever, and I am kind of nervous. This trip, to me, is kind of a scouting trip. If I enjoy myself, I will probably pack up and move down! There’s no telling!


LEGO Star Wars, the pieces!!

Saturday, 21 February, 2009

We had a birthday party for my young nephews, today.  Every time we asked them what it was they wanted (leading up to today, that is), the answer was always the same “Star Wars LEGOS”!  I am to blame for that one, though, as I played a lot of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for the Wii.

The boys are 6 and 4 (the youngest turns 5, next week) so my sister thought it was probably a good time to start getting them LEGOs. My oldest nephew wanted an X-Wing Fighter , so she picked that one up for him, as well as the Rebel Scout Speeder and he was thrilled.

My youngest nephew had to have something ti R2-D2 in it. In fact, I had to make them an R2-D2 cake (it was hideous, I am not a baker). So she found Anakin’s Jedi Star Fighter. She also picked up the Imperial Dropship for him.

My mom bought them each a small set, as well. I know what a pain these–especially the bigger sets like the X-Wing can be! And one of the, thankfully smaller, sets that my youngest nephew got had no instructions. I feel bad for his dad, who is, right now, putting it together for him! Thankfully it wasn’t something huge like the LEGO Death Star


Blogger’s block

Saturday, 21 February, 2009

I am seriously suffering from blogger’s block–that’s writer’s block, but for bloggers.  I have been known to succumb to it occasionally, and I find it awful.  There are things I want to say here.  When it comes to writing them down and making it into something cohesive, however, I end up with bupkis!

I have been trying to write a blog (which you will someday see, I promise) unsuccessfully for a few days now.  I will sit, and find my stride–typing like a fiend, getting those ideas into words–and something seems to interrupt me.  That’s happened each time I  set to writing.

Yes, I know that there is a “save draft” feature, and I use it.  When I come back to the saved draft, though, the blog seems to have lost it’s…magic, I guess is a good word.  It doesn’t flow as well as it did when I originally started writing.  There’s no way for me to say it otherwise.

I guess this blog, in some way, was a good exercise for me to get those creative ideas working, again.  Hopefully it will manage to kick my mind’s arse, and make it work too.  We’ll see how that turns out.


On cooking

Tuesday, 10 February, 2009

I am not really a cook.  Not by any means.  I do, however, enjoy spending time in the kitchen.  I am usually delegated the task of chopping up vegetables or cheese or whatever have you.  Believe it or not, I enjoy doing these things.  I don’t really know what that says about me, but, it’s fun.  Being there in the kitchen, singing along–there is always music playing in our kitchen when we are cooking, or just chatting.

And while I am not a cook, I do like to make things.  As long as there isn’t any raw meat preparation involved.  I make fresh items like salsas, guacamole and tomato bruschetta.  All of these, though, are things we only have rarely, so I don’t get a chance to make them often.  Not to mention that the ingredients for guacamole can be a little on the expensive side.  Mostly the avocados.

Last night I got to make bruschetta.  Actually, this was on the insistance of my sister.  I hadn’t made it since last year, so it was a good time.  We planned a meal around it that included cheese ravioli (frozen, but, I do want to learn to make pasta!!),  the bruschetta, and some fried aubergine (though the store’s aubergine selection was not good, so we went without that).

It all turned out rather well.  Barring that we had to go to get a new baguette–the one we bought a couple days ago was just too hard to do anything with.  Come today, there were leftovers.  All this is really the reason I wrote this blog.  Yes.  That’s right!  I am going to share a recipe.  I probably shouldn’t have written a whole spiel.  I should’ve gotten right to the point.

Anyway, this is a recipe for the delicious leftovers I made for today’s lunch.  And I guess it’s a recipe for the tomato bruschetta topping I make, as well, since that took part in today’s lunch.  Anyway, here it is.

Browned ravioli with aromatics

12 Ravioli (I used cheese, and they are the small ones, hence the amount)

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese (to taste)

Tomato Bruschetta

[-4 roma tomatoes]

[-4 cloves of garlic]

[-1/2 red onion]

[-olive oil (as needed for liquid)]

[-cilantro (to taste–I use it for the brightness, most bruschetta recipes use basil)]

[-salt and pepper (to taste)]

[-roughly chop and mix all the above ingredients in a bow, and add olive oil to make is as sauce-like as you want]

Heat some olive oil in a skillet on about medium.  When oil is hot, place ravioli in the pan.  Allow both sides of the ravioli to brown.  When both sides have browned to your liking, add the tomato brushetta topping and warm through.  Add Parmesan cheese on top after you plate it.

I got the idea to make this when I saw that there were going to be quite an amount of leftovers.  The freshness of the topping goes well with the mild flavors of the cheese ravioli.  It not quite a sauce, but, it works rather well.


My family…

Saturday, 7 February, 2009
The crest of Clan Douglas

The crest of Clan Douglas

When I was eight-years old, my mother’s father died.  I never got the chance to ask my grandfather (we called him Pépé) about the Douglas family.  I don’t know if it was that, at that point in my young life, I was uninterested in familial backgrounds.  I like to think that was it.  I mean I don’t know how many eight-year olds can tell you about their family’s past.

I say past, but, mean to reach farther than that.  Ancestry.  I know that Douglas is a Scottish name, and an important one at that.  Clan Douglas (if we are indeed a part of said clan) has a rich history that is intertwined with that of Scotland itself.  For it is said :

The history of Clan Douglas cannot be separated from the history of Scotland and the history of Scotland cannot be separated from Clan Douglas. They are one in the same!”*

Unable to find any real information, myself, I sought help from the website linked above.  I contacted their Genealogist, Melvyn Douglass, and gave him the information that I knew: my grandfather’s information, and that on his parents and grandparents–all taken from their grave stones.  Melvyn was quick to respond and is endeavoring to find out any information he can from his database.

You are probably wondering why I am showing preference to my mother’s family.  I’m not.  I am sure the Ashline Family (derived from a French family–Asselin) I’m sure has a rich past as well.  But, the Douglas side of me wins out.  I take after them more than my father’s side.  That, and my aunt (Dad’s sister) has done some work to study that side of the family.

So here’s to Melvyn Douglass, who is researching my family for me.  If not for you, I would always be wondering who I was.  More so who my ancestors were.  Thank you, Mr. Douglass!

*thanks to The Clan Douglas Society for the inspiring quote, and having Melvyn’s e-mail address!