Category Archives: Reasons to smile

So many movies to watch.

Yup, I’ve got many movies to watch. My list continually grows and there have been many times where I’ve missed the chance to watch said movies in theatres and have to settle for Blu-Ray. (Yes, Blu-Ray. I love me some HD.)

But I’ve been luckily catching up! I just saw Disney’s Frozen and I really enjoyed it! A big part of that was that Idina Menzel played the Queen who is basically Iceman — as in original part of the X-Men’s Iceman — and her voice is spectacular. (She was the original Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked and she’s just a Broadway powerhouse in general.) But it was also full of laughs and great songs (though I wish there were more). If this ends up in a stage version, I’d love to see it, especially if it means those castles in it get built in some form. I’d also immediately visit the expansion of Disney World that would house these castles, because it’s too epic not to visit.

Earlier in the week, I caught Anchorman 2. It had its moments, and I did enjoy it, but it’s pretty hard to re-create the magic that was the first Anchorman. I mean, I’ve seen that movie easily 20 times or more since watching it in university. Plus, all the quotables from the original movie were pretty much a language all on its own that we spoke during Frosh Week. So that, in itself, holds a special place in my heart. Loud noises. I love lamp.

But my list goes on! I’ve got enough Scene points for two more free movies, and one of them will definitely be The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and, if I can still find a theatre playing it, Thor: The Dark World.

And beyond the cinematic adventures upon which I will partake through those movies, I have a number of Blu-Rays that need to…be…unwrapped…and then immediately watched. (In a previous post, I’ve mentioned my problem where I continue to buy new collectible entertainment — video games, books, movies, comics — but never get around to enjoying them before purchasing more. It’s the best problem.)

I really need to get on that two week staycation where all I do is enjoy all of the entertainment I’ve been acquiring over, specifically, the past 5 years. (Or however long it was that I bought Metal Gear Solid 4. Because it’s been since then that I’ve been acquiring all these yet-to-be-enjoyed items.)

I want to overload my brain with entertainment. Books included. Because that’s a healthy and balanced brain diet, right? Cool.

Note: this isn’t MY movie collection, but this is a pretty accurate representation of what I own but have yet to really enjoy. Or at least this looks like what I feel.

-Mickey

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Food porn

I haven’t had cable in years. When I did, I loved watching food shows. Wok With Yan, Emeril Live!, Iron Chef, and even the occasional Barefoot Contessa, were all some of my personal favourites to watch. But I haven’t really watched many food shows since I’ve been without cable.

Enter Netflix. (Read: damn you, Netflix.)

I’ve started making my way through David Chang’s The Mind of a Chef and it’s been too awesome so far. Let’s just say I’m glad I ate dinner before I started watching this show, because, even as I type this just thinking about the show, I really want some authentic, Japanese noodle house, ramen.

Oh, ramen. Why must you be so delicious? The best ramen I’ve ever had was in a little ramen shop in Oahu, Hawaii. It was also the first time I had ramen in an actual ramen shop. The second best was a ramen shop in New York City that I visited with my friend, Kathy, during the last thanksgiving. Miso-based ramen quickly became my favourite after that night. And now I want ramen. Really. Badly. I’ll just keep doing it to myself for this whole post, most likely.

But yes, with Netflix being the new cable for me, essentially, I imagine that I’ll be exploring more and more food shows as I spend more time looking for something to watch on Netflix than actually watching Netflix anyway. I did watch all of the available episodes of the original Kitchen Nightmares, which I found entertaining more than delicious and tantalizing. Though, admittedly, I salivated for most of the one episode that featured New Orleans inspired soul food.

And once upon a time, I fell in love with Pixar’s Ratatouille and was immediately inspired to cook like a real chef with every dish I prepared for the next month. I was really good at the presentation, but the flavour I could still use some work on.

But without fail, every time I watch food shows, I might as well be Stan’s Dad from South Park in that one “Creme Fraiche” episode. But just to a point. Not all the way. (If you know the episode, you’ll understand.)

Seriously, though, I need some ramen. Get me some ramen. Please.

-Mickey

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Sometimes all you need is dim sum.

I love dim sum. It’s the best. My favourite part about it, though, isn’t even the food. It’s all about the people. It’s meant to be shared and it’s the quickest way to make a group of friends feel more like family, even when you welcome new friends to the fold.

Dim sum in the winter is especially delicious and enjoyable. There’s something about delicious bite size food keeping you warm in the cold and wet of winter that just makes you forget about the conditions outside. And did I mention the people? They’re the best. You talk about anything and everything at the dim sum table with friends. And you laugh at all of it. And the only silence you experience is the wonderful food silence that happens because all of the delicious occupying your mouth. Ah, food silence. It’s the most comfortable silence in the world.

My advice? Order everything. At least once. I haven’t done it yet, but one day, with a group of dim sum loving friends (read: all friends because who doesn’t love dim sum?), all the items will be on the table. All of them. Even the ones that I don’t like, because someone will inevitably try it and finish it. (Chicken feet lovers, you know who you are.) Admittedly, it’s a little harder on friends who are vegetarian/vegan. Okay, it’s a lot harder for those friends to enjoy it since nearly everything is meat based, but even then they can enjoy a couple of delicious elements of dim sum. Not much of it, unfortunately, but again, it’s about the people you bring to the dim sum table than it is the dim sum.

Don’t get me wrong: bad dim sum sucks. But unless you’re getting dim sum from the wrong places (i.e. not restaurants), it’s really hard to have bad dim sum. Even store bought, frozen-food section dim sum is good in a pinch. Really, there’s just good dim sum and great dim sum.  I don’t even know how I can say that “bad dim sum sucks” because I can honestly say I’ve never had dim sum I didn’t enjoy somewhat.

But then again, I always have good people at the dim sum table, and, again, that’s what it’s all about.

Go have some dim sum. There’s never a bad time to do it. And then invite me. I’ll be there.

And don’t forget that your fortune cookie fortunes aren’t complete sentences until you say “in bed.”

-Mickey

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I collect stuff.

Over the past summer, I became a collector. I collect comics and Heroclix. (Hero-what? Keep reading.) I’ve always wanted a comic collection since I was a kid. I never got a chance to start collecting because I could never find a point to jump on to with all of my favourite story lines. I knew a lot about superheroes origins, villains, and some of their plot lines mainly because of cartoons. Batman: The Animated Series was my absolute favourite, but I made sure to always keep up with the likes of X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons as well. (Not to mention the video games I poured hours into also.)

I had some comics. My cousins were avid collectors, and I always looked up to my cousins, so I wanted to collect too. I had a couple of X-Men comics, some Spider-Man issues, the first issue of Venom, and a random Namor illustrated (and signed!) by Jae Lee. Other than that, I would just pick up the monthly issue of Wizard to try and keep up with the story lines the cartoons didn’t cover.

After a while, I lost interest in wanting to collect, but ever since Disney bought Marvel and started releasing better and better comic book movies, I wanted my own collection. And with Marvel Now! and The New 52 as new starting-off points coinciding with some spectacular comic book sales, within half a year (and counting) I’ve accumulated over 6 full-to-the-brim short boxes of single issues. And I’m loving every penny spent (albeit probably way too many pennies…or nickels…because pennies are gone).

It’s gone so far that I’ve also built a far-too-large side collection of Heroclix, a trading miniatures battle game that’s a combination of D&D, card collector games, and mini-action figures. It features Marvel and DC licenses, as well as movie licenses such as Lord of The Rings/Hobbit, Pacific Rim, Star Trek, and much more. The game is a lot of fun, and the collecting is even more fun, because these little figures can be worth quite a lot. (And as that habitual completionist that I am, I love completing collector’s lists.) Plus the sculpts just look cool.

So now I’m a collector of what seems like a lot of superhero-related stuff. And I’m absolutely fine with that. I’m doing what every kid dreams of doing when they grow-up: never growing up.

Also, if you haven’t played Lego Marvel Super Heroes yet, why are you not playing it right now?

spidey

-Mickey

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P90X again?

Whenever I catch up with friends, whether at work or anywhere else, this question always comes up: are you still doing P90X?

Well, friends, yes. Yes I am. I’m actually starting another round of P90X this coming Monday. And I’ve got a few new faces looking to come along for the ride with me on this one. I couldn’t be more excited for them. Like I’ve mentioned before, I love being a coach for people who have made the decision and commitment to make positive change and progress in their lives. I’m good at helping people reach their own conclusions about what needs to be done and at making people realize how unnecessary it is to stress, in general. (You can either affect change, or you can’t. Stress is the inability to cope with that reality, in my opinion. But, I digress.) And when it comes to P90X, the commitment to the program is a commitment to positive change and progress.

I’ve thought about jumping onto other exercise regimes. I’m a fan of what Team Beachbody has to offer, and things like Insanity and T-25 Focus came to mind, with the big sell on those programs being how little time it takes per workout. The workouts from P90X, comparatively, need more than an hour a day, which was starting to seem like too long a time to commit after my 2nd round at it. But I think the real reason I was looking elsewhere was that I was beginning to get bored of the routine.

So I took a break. I still kept active, but I didn’t work at it nearly as hard as when I was in the program. And then the holidays arrived and oh, how the food appeared. The wonderful, tasty, so-bad-for-you-but-you-can’t-resist food made its way to my gullet. And I indulged. And it was good. And I realized that you can balance the good-for-you with the not-so-good-for-you and not blow up and rebound back into your pre-P90X self. Sure, my weight would flex up and down, week-to-week, but I remained stable. I could have real pizza again and I remained stable.

And with that realization, I knew that breaks were okay. We all need them, not just because the work is hard, but because breaks from anything consistent can make you crave for that consistency again. The recently boring eventually becomes un-boring again. And the routine that you’ve gotten used to and that you know gets results becomes the go-to routine, once again.

And that’s where we are now. I know P90X works. And I’m going to make it work for me once again. If you thought those photos from April of last year were impressive, just you wait.

Bring it, 2014. I will be.

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-Mickey

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#sixseasonsandamovie

I probably told you last year, but I’m a huge fan of Community. And like most fans of this show, I was very excited when news of Dan Harmon’s return to the show broke.

Dan who? Well, for the uninitiated, Dan Harmon is the creator of Community.  After the 3rd season of the show, however, he was fired by the network, apparently (I think) because they felt where he was taking the show would not bring in better ratings for the network. So a 4th season sans Dan Harmon appeared and, well, it was…questionable.

Okay, it sucked.

I mean it had its moments, and some of the ideas started out great, but it pretty much was a bunch of ups and downs on the lamest roller coaster you could ride. I found myself struggling to watch a lot of the last half of the season, only doing so because I’m a habitual completionist. (I have to finish things, whether its watching series, collecting comics, collecting Heroclix –more on that later — etc.) The characters felt like alternate versions of who they were. The relationships and plot lines felt forced, to say the least. And while each episode had the potential to save the sinking ship that was season 4, apparently not having Dan Harmon in the room prevented that potential from being released. Just imagine what he could have done with Muppets (mild season 4 spoiler).  This was becoming a show looking more and more like they would never reach their inside-joke-of-a-goal of six seasons and a movie. In fact, the season was so below the bar set by previous seasons that apparently (I think, again…I should really read up on these facts more thoroughly) the actors refused to do another season unless Dan Harmon was brought back into picture.

And thus, Dan Harmon returned. And after last night’s dual-episode season premiere, it’s clear that his return is good. The characters feel like themselves again. The jokes and quips are back to their natural rhythm that made me fall in love with the show in the first place. And the writing. Oh, the writing. Welcome back to being good. Welcome back to not feeling forced.

I’m not big on being a reviewer or a critic, I just know what I like and I like to celebrate what I like when it makes a big comeback and does so successfully. Community, you are SO back. Dan Harmon, you just Jesus’d the show. No. You Abed’d it. Or something. Whatever. I’m excited.

COMMUNITY IS BACK.

-Mickey

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Let’s go. Again. Because dedication.

Welcome to the new year. Welcome back to my goal to write something every day for an entire year. Last year, I was able to ride all the way into May (I think) with consistent posts, thoughts, randomness, and hopefully something interesting to read every day. You saw my mind, dumped onto the page, through it’s highs, lows, and places to go — couldn’t resist the rhyme — and this is me inviting you back.

How did your 2013 work out? Mine literally worked out. As in, I worked out. A lot. You saw it. The good news is that I’m still fitting into the plethora of smaller clothes that I had to dig out/re-purchase and I have no plans of having to look at bigger clothes ever again. In fact, just like last year, I’ll be starting off January with a round of P90X, this time with some new faces that I’m happy to have joining me. I love being a coach or a mentor, especially for people who have made the decision to accept that they need a coach or a mentor. I’m always open to people who haven’t made that realization yet, and I might gently nudge those folks into making such a realization, but I think it works the best when the desire for change comes from the self. Deep. Or not. Whatever, I believe it.

So I didn’t get re-fat. Sweet. Now I’m going to work on becoming stronger and finally getting rid of the gut for good. Chip away, chip away, and sculpt: that’s what I’ll do over the next 90 days and beyond. But aside from riding fitness momentum into 2014, the artist-me will be riding his own momentum as well. A re-mounted project, a newly-funded project, and of course, the elusive first album are all a go for the first quarter of the new calendar year. I’ll spare you the details for now — I need that content for future posts *wink* — but let’s just say I’m excited.

I’ll do a full recap of highlights and lowlights of my 2013 year a little later on. As a quick summary, I was able to achieve about 70% of what covered my vision board. Today, I’ll be making a new one, but rather than just wiping the slate clean, I’m just going to modify the board. Again, I was able to achieve a lot of what was on that board, so I can safely remove those items and replace them something new, something to grow on. I’m getting on that right about…now.

Happy New Year, friends. I’m excited, not for what the year will bring to you and me, but for what you and me will bring to this year.

Poppy New Year!

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-Mickey

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