Sunday, February 21, 2010

I love Simcity 4 soundtrack!

Video game music has come a long way. From its 8 bits nostalgic glory to the fully orchestrated, Hollywoodish soundtracks of most AAA titles nowadays. Video game music is mostly cherished in a way, but artistically under appreciated outside the hardcore-gamer sphere. It can be like pop music, wildly popular and liked at times (who can't remember that classy Super Mario Bros tune?) but hardly anyone would celebrate it as art. As an avid gamer (gamer-wise, I'm just a shadow of what I used to be now that I joined the Augustinian order) and as a fan of music, I have always been of the opinion that Video game music is heavily under appreciated. Sadly, this is due to the general idea that Video games, are just, well, games. Toys. Something to play with. Or even worse, something for kids. This is partly due to the name of this entertainment medium, as its second name "game" sells itself too short, and can't possibly do justice to this wonderful, interactive expression of art. Yes, I've just called Video games art. For this reason, many in the industry have pushed and called for a new name for this entertainment medium. But enough of that. My main point is that there is much more to Video games than that which its name reveals.

And one big, important part of Video game is the music. I've been recently addicted to a game: Simcity 4. One of the things that I love about this game is the music. From playing other Maxis' video games (like the Sims), I know that Maxis takes good care of the music for its video games. Jerry Martin and Andy Brick used a 70 piece orchestra to record and compose parts of the songs for the game (specifically with its Expansion pack,, Rush Hour) in the Czech Republic. One of my favorite pieces of this is called "Wheels of Progress".I absolutely love this piece, it starts slowly with an almost haunting and barely audible harp melody, a beat set by what seems to be a bass trumpet of sorts (sorry I'm not an expert in identifying these numerous instruments), slowly the violins (possibly the viola) joins with trumpets and strings setting the main, carefree, and apparently disorganized melody; a flute introduces a second melody, quickly contrasted with the first melody by the strings, the orchestra mildly and slowly exploding into a third melody that can act as the "chorus" of the piece, returning with the quiet and calming harp and bass trumpet (or whatever instruments set the beat), and then proceding with different variations of the melodies. There is an interesting article on the New York Times about Andy Brick, the composer of this beautiful piece"andy%20brick"&st=cse

Even better, you can download the whole Simcity Rush Hour soundtrack in the Simcity 4 website Other favorites of the Soundtrack are "Morning Commute" and "Metropolis". Check it out, its free. Give video game music a chance.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

End of Week 1 Weight Loss Challenge.

I was supposed to post this on Monday, but I was too busy playing Simcity 4 that I forgot to weigh myself. I did so yesterday, and returning from a visit from parents, I decided to finally post it. So there you go, that's my excuse.

So this the result of the end of Week 1:

Starting Weight: 316.
Ending Weight: 314.
Pounds lost this Week: 2.
Total Pounds lost: 2.

So there you have it! I know that 2 pounds is not too much, but I want to lose weight in a healthy manner, unlike my last time I did so. For this week I reduced my serving portions. I did some exercising (walking) but not as much as I would like, and so I'm going to try to step it up this week. See you next week!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The start of my weight loss challenge -Week 1.

As part of my New Year's resolution, I finally decided to start losing weight (in contrast to just deciding to lose weight). As a way to keep myself motivated, and possibly motivate others to do the same, I will start posting weekly weigh-ins, and if I lost any weight, say how I did it. I am a busy student. I'm also living in the Augustinian community as a pre-novitiate candidate. I have many obligations that can make this weight loss journey difficult. But if I can do it, lazy and busy as I am, then indeed anyone can do it. And I know I will do it. I had done it before. When I was living in my native country, Nicaragua, I was 70 lbs. overweight. I decided to make a change. I lost the 70 lbs in just three months. Unfortunately, the weight loss was too rapid to be healthy, and after one year of maintaining my weight, I regained it all back, and then some.

My Goals: But no need to cry over spilled milk. The future is always before me, if God grants me the grace to do so. My goals will be to lose between 1 and no more than 4 lbs. a week. To attain this goal I will do the following:

-Reduce my meals portions.
-Never miss breakfast.
-Have small snacks (no more than 100 cals.) between meals.
-Exercise a minimum of 3 days a week, and if my schedule permits, 5 days a week.
-Try, as much as my class schedule permits, to never have dinner after 6pm.

About the exercise: I am fully conscious that exercising a minimum of 3 days a week is not enough for me to lose weight. I will try to exercise more days. Unfortunately, I am a very busy student (with tons-load of homework) that leave me little time to exercise. The odds seem to be against me, but I know I will do it. At the beggining, my exercise will be simply to walk. Later I will try running. Gym will not be my primary way of exercising, not only because I have limited gym access, but I know many people have limited gym access. Gym is not neccesary to lose weight.

My first weight in: I weighed myself this morning. My starting weight is: 316 lbs.
If you want to know how I look with this weight, just look at my profile picture. I have not changed much since I took that picture.

See you all next week! God bless!