Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Going Without Sugar – One Month In

So here I am at the end of my first month without sugar; and yes you heard me right, I think I’m actually going to be sticking with this for a while. Biggest reason why – Since I started this back on June 1st I’ve dropped 13.5 pounds (243 to 230 for those who want specifics), and other than the switch off of sugar, I really haven’t done much differently. Sure my evening snacks are now either fruit or veggies (and yes I know there is sugar in both, but I’ve been trying to avoid sucrose rather than fructose), and yes I’ve been having regular walks in the evening, either by myself or with a family member if they take pity on me, but overall I haven’t changed a whole heck of a lot.

I’m still a little hesitant to try taking my wedding ring off – as I no longer have a medical test I’m required to take it off for, I’m not sure how removing the physical symbol of my marriage comes across as a positive, but I can spin it around on my finger a heck of a lot easier now. Through the month I went through a number of cravings, from baked goods to holiday cookies and weirdly an entire whole week thinking about McCain Deep ‘n Delicious cakes but other than that I found the cravings to be pretty manageable and I have to admit, my clothes are feeling more comfortable.

So now I’m working on how to fit my new sugar-free lifestyle into my life, and honestly, some things I’m not willing to give up – I’ve got a kid’s birthday in mid-July and you’d better believe I’m getting me some birthday cake, but after that I don’t have another treat-related event until the end of August (my own birthday) so I think I’ll skip out on sugar until then.

In the end I guess I’m saying that it’s not impossible, although the first week wasn’t amazing, and I’m happy enough with the results I’ll be keeping up with this at least over the rest of the summer of 2015…

Monday, June 29, 2015

So we just sent our youngest to Quebec for the Summer...

...which is fine - I mean, look at the place she's headed to - Trois-Rivières, QB. She's attending the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières for a summer french immersion program called Explore - and actually for all you Canadian parents of teens out there, you should check out the website, it's at http://www.myexplore.ca/en/
and is a pretty excellent way for your kids (aged 16 and up) to spend part of their summer, checking out another part of the country and, in some cases, getting some University credit while they do it!

The tricky part for my wife and I is that this is our youngest kid, so although we're excited, we're also pretty nervous; and don't get me wrong, she's super smart and pretty amazing, so she'll be fine, we'll just be spending the next month missing her like crazy.

At least it looks really pretty - and she promises to take lots of pictures!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Movie Review: Jurassic World

For Father's Day my kids took my out to see  Jurassic World  - well, to be fair they took me out to see it twice, first for an early matinee that had been sold out, and then to a later matinee we could get seats for - and considering this was a movie that came out a week ago, that was pretty surprising!

The film is quite a lot of fun, action, dinosaurs and scares - but not -gory (although some of the scares are pretty intense!), the story is a lot of fun, and honestly, this should be seen on the big screen.

Of all the films, this falls just beneath the original, but I definitely preferred it to both the second and third films.  It also had an awful lot of fun tie-ins with the original film.

Go see it!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Evening Constitutional

Since giving up sugar at the beginning of the month, I have added one other health benefit; the evening constitutional - basically going for a walk before it gets too dark (although up here in Edmonton the sun sets after 10pm during the summer).  

I'm not going particularly fast, and all in all the walk takes about 45 minutes, but I have found that my kids are much more likely to come on a walk with me if I ask!

Which is pretty great really, as they get older and have more stuff to do it's kind of fun to get a little one on one time with either of them (or both of them, but then that's not one on one anymore) and as my youngest is heading off to Quebec for the better part of the summer in a few weeks I'll take whatever time I can get!

Anyway, I know it's not baseball or rock climbing or any other glamorous endeavor, but a simple walk every day has been a lot of fun for me this month.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sugar-Free Bookmonkey at Two Weeks

I have no idea why, but I've spent the last few days fantasizing about tearing into a tin of Dutch Butter cookies (pictured right) - which is odd as:

1) The Dutch invented Cookies (even the word "cookie" is a Dutch word), and have many varieties I far prefer to these...

2) These are cookies I only eat while visiting relatives who have put them out for all to share - and I often feel it's the same tin as last year.

3) While not awful, there are all sorts of cookies or treats I would have rather had during my sugar-eating days.

But there you have it, quit sugar for a few weeks and you start thinking strongly about cookies you used to only think were okay.

On the positive side:

Two weeks in and I'm still going strong, I've limited myself to only naturally occurring sugars (i.e. fruit) and for most of the rest of my diet I'm making sure the nutritional facts promise less than five grams of sugar per serving.

Although I spent the first week feeling a little more tired than usual, and having some heightened teeth sensitivity, everything else has gone pretty well.

Also I've lost five pounds since June 1st.  (243 to 238 for those who care), and as I haven't changed much of anything except cutting out the sugar, I think that's pretty darn good!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: The Sculptor, by Scott McCloud


All right, this is actually my third Scott McCloud comic (following "Understanding Comics" (1990) and "My Obsession with Chess" (1998-1999) and I cannot stress enough how impressed I was with this story.

My personal comic book reading tends to lean towards Horror or Superheroes, but every once in a while (usually suggested by my wife) I come across a Blankets, a Daytripper, or Violent Cases, and am simply stunned by what a author (or an author and others) can do with the form.

The Sculptor takes a look at the idea of art, and what you might give up as sacrifice to your art. In this case it follows a young sculptor who is offered a deal, total control over his chosen art form in exchange for his guaranteed death in 200 days.
The results of the deal, and of the story are stunning, and honestly, I can't say more than this.

Go read this comic now.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Movie Review: Insidious Chapter 3

Yesterday I went to see the latest entry in the Insidious Franchise, Insidious Chapter 3, and although the film did have some serious flaws, I had a pretty fun time.

Leaving behind (or I suppose ahead, as this is a prequel) the Lambert family, being the main characters from the first two chapters, this one focuses on a new family, The Brenners, and specifically their seventeen-year-old daughter Quinn (Stefanie Scott).  Equally sharing screen time, and effectively stealing the show is Elise Rainier, played incredibly well by Lin Shaye, who I have to say may be my favourite part of all of these films.

The movie works best in terms of the questions it asks, and it's deeper delve into the franchise's world of "The Further" but does lose out as it mostly relies on shocks and jumps, and unfortunately attempts to tie itself too closely to the previous films, but I have to admit, in it's better moments I was definitely unnerved.

If you've never seen the series, definitely check out the first, as it is by far the strongest, but if you find you enjoyed the world and it's characters, the sequels are worth a look as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Movie Review: Kung Fury

Holy cats...

All right, I've been aware of this little Kickstarter phenomenon for a while now, both as it was being crowdsourced and later after it was released, but it wasn't until my friend Ron sent me a direct link that I actually sat down for half an hour to check it out.

Kung Fury (31 minutes) is crazy fun.

You should go to YouTube and see it now.

The film, an '80s-themed Martial Arts/Action-Heavy cop film, works to put in just about everything my thirteen-year-old self (1989) loved about movies - explosions, science fiction, amazing visuals - it's pretty great.  On top of that, the film works to appear as if it were a movie which came out 25-years ago, appearing to be played on an over-played VHS copy with inconsistent tracking issues. In a lot of ways it made me think of Black Dynamite.

Honestly, it kind of has to be seen to be believed.

Go watch it now.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

So I'm going off Sugar for June...

Long story Short - I'm trying to avoid Sugar and Sugary treats this month - don't worry, I'll still be posting about Genre Books / Games / Shows I'm enjoying, but I figured if I put it on the blog, I'd be held a little more accountable.

Short Story Long - At the end of May I had a bit of a wake up call.  I needed to get a medical scan taken which required removing all jewelry first and found I physically could not remove my wedding ring.  In the end it all turned out ok, but for a little while the good folks at m y local hospital were seriously considering snipping it off (and my ring is incredibly cool - check out a video of it here).

So I began thinking of things I could do to help myself avoid this sort of embarrassment in future and decided I might be eating too much sugar.

So I'm spending the month of June avoiding it.

More on this as it develops...