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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Torbrand the Sneaksy Hobbit

If case you didn't know, I play Lord of the Rings Online. I love most things Tolkien related and being able to role play IN actual Middle Earth (well, you know... a computer representation of) is amazingly cool. I believe a lot of WoW player think it's stupid and lacks features, but they are tools who appear to miss the point. Better for the rest of us I suppose.
I don't play very often as it is a role playing game essentially and requires a decent amount of time for each session to accomplish anything, so I tend to try to play for chunks of no less than 3 hours and a few times have squeezed in about 8+ hours. With my job and the requirement of getting to work early, the essentially means I play during vacations or some long weekend. I even put together a special computer specifically for this game - only had to buy a new CPU, additional ram and a kick ass video card to do it. I'm also a lifer, so I never have to pay for my time again after the initial $199 I paid for play time. This means I'm good until the game dies away. I just hope it sticks around for a good long time. I'd been waiting for this since Sierra originally started to develop a version around 10 years ago.

I played this summer connected to a video projector. I'm not sure there's a better way to play a video game (or do anything video related), but it sure was a pain in the ass to set up each time. Finally though I figured out how to get it to diosplay on the TV. It's only a 36" CRT, but it does fine. I don't run at a super high resolution anyway, not wanting to risk the nice framerates and turned up graphics effects - man, seeing the tall grass swaying in the wind while I'm running through it is just cool as anything. That doesn't mean I play more - school has started, so I haven't actually played in over a month, but soon... soon!
Mines of Moria, the first pay for expansion comes out shortly. I'm not going to get it right away. I know I can get it now for a deal (I think), but I believe it's really for higher level characters and my primary character (see below) is only level 19 right now. Like I said, no rush. It's Middle Earth for crying out loud... enjoy it or leave. :)

I got an email this morning from the peeps at LotRO about the new ability to have sigs for the forums with dtat blocks for out characters, and those also include a "likeness". Still very cool - though I don't post in the forums much. Even cooler, I can post an image of the sig stat block elsewhere... so it made for a good excuse to create another entry here and show off my Hobbit Burglar.

If I know you and you are interested in playing, let me know. You can play a trial of it, but if I hook you up with an invite, and you buy, I get a 30 day free play time cert... which I don't need (lifetime membership, remember?) but I can transfer... thus adding a month to your play time, unless you go lifetime as well. I'd say you could come watch the game in action, but well... hey, if you are interested in that, perhaps something could be worked out. If I don't know you - wow, thanks for reading. Check youtube or summat, I'm sure there are lots of videos posted. I tried to capture some video while playing and it didn't go well. If you are already playing, tell me during gameplay that you read this :)... then come help me on a quest.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Shake It Up

I'm doing P90X to get myself back into a more athletic shape. I started this past June and will be ending in two weeks (had to restart the penultimate week because I was dead tired and sore after the first week back to school - this past week). One important thing I learned this time around was the importance of protein. Last summer during fitquest I didn't supplement my running and other workouts with protein, so I lost a lot of weight (~25 pounds), but didn't really gain much muscle. So this time I hooked up with protein drink mix. Gold Standard 100% Whey is what I eneded up going with after asking questions and checking the ingredients. I mostly have the Double Rich Chocolate flavor. It's actually quite good, but has an aroma that isn't all pleasant to all. In fact, my breath afterward usually makes the wife cringe. Wanting to be able to mix with other thins than water (I didn't tend to mix with milk) I later got the Strawberry-Banana flavor. Not too bad either. No great, but certainly passable. Smells a little better too - though the wife does not like bananas, so I can't really win now can I? :)

The first two phases of the program limit carbs a lot and all phases limit fruit in the diet as well. Well, I didn't follow the diet too clasely. If I did, I'd have definitely lost more fat, but I think I did pretty well so far. I'll be posting the pre and post pix when I'm officially done. I did avoid a lot of fruits, which is hard for me, but I stil lfind it hard to get in a ton of veggies - they are expensive to buy fresh and we don't like most frozen options - or the fresh go bad before we finish. I did try tyo eat a lot of cucumbers and lettuce from our garden.

3rd phase, however, more carbs are needed. Not sure it really factors in, but I decided to turn my drink into a shake. It allows me to turn an 8oz protein drink into about a 20 ouce mini meal after my workout. Mmm-mm. It's some good stuff, and here's my recipe. Nothing special, I'm sure there are a ton out there just like it, but hey here's my take:

Chris' Choco-Banana-Protein Shake
1 scoop of Gold Standard 100% Whey - Double Rich Chocolate
1/2 scoop of Gold Standard 100% Whey - Strawberry Banana
1 Medium banana (best if frozen first)
8 oz Milk (skim)
2 Tbps Dark Chocolate Dreams (brand All natural Peanut Butter & Co.)
6 Ice Cubes

In a blender, add the first 5 indredients and blend until smooth. You might need to stop it once to push down any ingredients that got stuck to the sides of the blender.
Keeping the blender running, drop in once ice cube at a time and continue to blend on high until you don't hear any chunky sounds, perhaps doing a few sustained pulses to chop up any last ice chunks.

Pour into a tall glass and drink as is or use a straw.

Nutritional info:
538 Calories
Fat 15g
Saturated 3.5g
Protein 51.5g
Carbohydrates 55.6g
Fiber 5.1g
Starch 6.3g
Sugars 35.4g

Try it and post comments on how you feel about it. Unfortunately, you can't just buy a couple scoops of the Whey mix, but you might be able to get sample packs at the local vitamin shoppe or gnc or somewhere. You could also use a similar powder mix of a different brand. I'm certain it won't be too different, though the nutritional info would likely be different. The kicks Nutella's ass. It's different, but common. I did make this with Nutella and it tasted just great as well, so you could substitute that as well. I have also done it with just peanut butter. I use Simply Jif because it has less sugar and salt and less of the additives or others.