September 2012 | explodedsoda

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Fitbit Ultra

So for the past few year or so I've been contemplating buying some sort of wearable fitness monitor. My first choice was the Jawbone Up, but given its severe issues (and no given ETA on when the 2.0 version might surface) I slowly started looking at other options. Mainly the Nike+ FuelBand and the Fitbit Ultra.

Now, the FuelBands are everywhere. I know of at least 4 or 5 people at work with one, and when I was still an active user of Path I had at least 3 friends there who would sync theirs with that application. Having many active friends and seeing the way the FuelBand could integrate with social apps was very tempting. But I didn't like the idea of wearing it on my wrist, as I tend to talk with my hands, and I also didn't like the idea of measuring my activity in their Fuel Points.

The Fitbit Ultra measures your steps taken, distance walked, and floors climbed (both hills and stairs count, every 10 feet is a floor) and calories burned. The floors climbed part was a big selling point for me because...I live in San Francisco! SO MANY HILLS. It clips easily on to your pants or bra (I usually wear mine clipped to the little inner pocket on my jeans) or you can just put it in your pocket. It also comes with a bigger belt clip for thicker items. Also comes with a wristband to wear at night and track your sleep!

You can sync your Fitbit with the website, showing you pretty graphs of your activity over time.

Along with tracking your fitness and setting goals on the Fitbit website you can also track your food, water intake and calorie intake/burn! Although I have to say their food options aren't as vast as LoseIt or MyFitnessPal's, but you can link your Fitbit to either of those apps and it'll sync the food you enter there. I also find myself trying to drink more water to see that little glass fill up throughout the day.

Now, I'm not a very big fitness person, so I really held off on buying one of these because of that. How could I be sure this wasn't just my gadget addicted self craving a new fix? But when I saw them on sale on Amazon for 25% off I just couldn't help myself. Plus I was SUPER excited that it would come in before PAX Prime, which were my most active days so far.

I've had it for little over a month now and I can definitely say I'm more motivated to boost my step count. Wait for Rich to come to me after work or walk to his office (about .8 miles away) and wait? Walk! Go to the closer train station or walk to a further one? Walk! Just a few weekends ago I suggested that instead of taking the bus from my place to Rich's that we instead walk the 2.5 miles. That's not something I'd normally suggest. I'm even packing my sneakers for my trip to Indiana this weekend to go hiking with my dad at the State Park we're staying at!

I especially love all the data and how it's displayed on the website. I love trying to beat my own personal bests, earning badges, and (secretly) competing with my friends I've added on the site. Which, by the way there aren't many of so I hope more of my friends get these soon!

However, there are a few issues.

While it boasts that it syncs wirelessly, it only syncs wirelessly with the dock...which has to be plugged into a computer. So, not really all that wireless. The newly announced Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip do sync wirelessly via Bluetooth with Android and iPhones. Oh, if I had only waited a month!

I've also noticed that on bumpy bus rides (*ahem* MUNI) it can register steps and floors. One work around for this can be starting an activity on the Fitbit (holding down the button until a stopwatch appears) when you get in the bus/train/car, stopping it once you're out and logging the activity as "driving/riding a bus/etc" on the site. This will clear out any steps it registered for that time, but it's not always easy to remember to do this. It does not register escalators or elevators or smooth car/train rides. So that's good at least.

And, finally, I don't know how accurate the sleep recording mode is. Basically if you're not moving it considers you asleep, even though you could be wide awake and just laying still trying to sleep. Although it is interesting to see how often I move around at night.

I'd definitely recommend the Ultra or its upcoming successor, the One, for the person looking to make some improvements to their daily lifestyle/fitness, or looking for some motivation. If you're already a highly active person you'd probably get more satisfaction out of a device with a heart rate monitor and more accurate distance measurements.

All in all I am completely in love with mine and so happy I purchased it.

Now I need to go walk around the house some to boost my steps before the end of the day!

Walking in circles,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

PAX Prime 2012 Am I back to only having 30ish readers? Cause I'd totally be okay with that.

After work on Friday I headed on over to the BART and down to SFO for another weekend trip, this time on my way to Seattle for my first ever PAX Prime!

My flight was delayed, so I decided to save myself some time and do my hair and makeup in the airport (and looked really goofy in my "going out" makeup while still wearing a Pikachu shirt). Once I finished, I found a place to get a hearty meal to prepare me for the drinking I was sure to be doing later.

After getting into Seattle I headed straight to the hotel to meet up with my con partner-in-crime Cathy, and Molly, who were all ready to go to the Frag Doll / AC III / party and ordered a cab as soon as I came in. I quickly changed and we headed out!

I immediately ran into some of the PMS Clan ladies, plus many other friends I had met at previous conventions or on Twitter. So many hugs! It was like one big reunion...which it really shouldn't be for me anymore since I now live in the same city as a handful of them. That's what I get for being a recluse the majority of the time, I suppose. Unfortunately we didn't do the Assassin's Creed III photobooth cause the line was too long, and they kept playing Gangnam Style - who can pass up dancing to that?! After they shut the bar down we headed to Noc Noc with a few others to continue dancing, but stayed only briefly before catching a cab back to the hotel for sleep.

OPPA GANGNAM STYLE. Also they kept playing AC3 trailers on repeat on that screen.

Woke up pretty early (damn you internal clock) and while waiting for a cab we saw two other friends, Stu and Kayla, who had rented a car for the weekend and we got a ride with them to the convention.

Molly had gotten in a day before Cathy and I, and knew the floor by then, so I wandered around with her to see where the important things were. We stood in a very, very long ZombiU line for a while before saying "screw it" and wondering to meet up with Cathy. I scored a New Super Mario Bros 2 shirt from Nintendo (extra large though, anyone have any good tips for making it into a dress or more fitted shirt without a sewing machine?) and, of course, tried to get as many pictures, StreetPasses and swag as I could!

Mmm hmm.

 Maro pls

 Woo! Shake it Shep!

 This guy. Best. Zombie. Ever.

Hobo Stormtrooper

Before heading back to the hotel to rest for a bit we grabbed our official PAX Swag bags! Lots of Magic The Gathering stuff, including 30 card starter decks and coloring books and crayons! I later spent part of that evening coloring. :3

No orange? The hell?!

We said goodbye to Molly before heading out to the Notch .party() since she was flying out that night to be in a wedding the next day. She is super fun. I wish she could have gone to the party with us, and definitely can't wait to hang out with her again.

The party was probably the best party I have ever been to - even considering all that happened. Cathy and I arrived very very early, VIP was empty and the floor was only just filling up. We grabbed some drinks, said hi to my college friend, Ryan, and rushed over to the photobooth before the party filled up.

Drink refills, dance, repeat until more friends showed up. Then of course it was more dancing, more photobooth-ing... repeat! After a few hours of this I slipped off my heels and replaced them with the flipflops I had in my purse. Eventually some Stormtroopers and a Steve head and Creeper head that were out on the dance floor came up into VIP too. Oh. And the man himself, Notch.

Hmm this picture looks familiar.


We went down on to the main floor every now and then to dance in the crowd. And there was tons of socializing with both old and new friends who were there. Also I found out that you can get a cup full of maraschino cherries at an open bar event if you ask! They were delicious. At some point confetti starting raining down around us, and I kept scooping it up off the floor and throwing it up around my friends, because I can't resist confetti.

The next morning we walked to the Denny's down the street for breakfast before heading back down to the convention. I stood in line to play Halo 4, which I cannot wait for. So. Good. We then headed to meet our friend Jon to get lunch down near Pike Place. Most hilarious lunch ever, my abs still hurt from laughing so hard. Did you know someone bothered to make magnetized silverware? Totally bizarre.

Found this on the 3rd floor of the convention center. Centaur and human orgy painting?!

After lunch we went around saying our hellos and goodbyes to friends on the floor. The end of a con is such a bittersweet moment.

We then had dinner at this amazing pizza place, Via Tribunali, with Jon and Chris (another online friend I met for the first time) before Cathy, Jon and I headed back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the night napping and being lazy, since all three of us had 6am flights back home. And that more or less put an official end to another great trip!

Can't wait to go back next year, a PAX Prime is definitely something to be experienced.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Boundaries and The Penis Incident

Edit 2 3/31/13: I also attended the .party() | gdc and I had an amazing time (and brought my boyfriend AND didn't drink). I don't remember seeing any "escorts" like I keep seeing stories saying there were. Wargaming had go-go dancers, why didn't they get any shit for it? What happened to me wasn't caused by there being women hired to work the party, that guy probably would've done it anyway. 

Edit: I'm seeing a lot of comments on twitter and elsewhere blaming PAX for this incident and the security guard's reaction. This party was NOT held by PAX, it was not even in the same venue, hell it wasn't even on the same street. It was not affiliated with, sponsored by or organized by PAX. The only things it had in common were being gaming related and being the same weekend in the same city.  I'm even seeing some blaming Mojang and Notch (the party was held by Notch himself, not Mojang). The ONLY person who should be held accountable for what happened is the asshole himself. And if you're going to get mad about security, blame that guard. Also this post isn't about nerd or gamer culture or blaming those cultures at all, this could happen in any community, at any party, to anyone.

So before I write up my official PAX Prime blogpost I wanted to touch on this, because it happened and I want to talk about it but I don't want the bad feels tainting the rest of the awesomeness that was PAX.

Around the end of the (amazing) Minecraft party (which is NOT affiliated with PAX at all, this is a separate, privately held party but is in no way organized or held by the same people as PAX), my feet were tired, I was tired and I had been drinking and dancing for nearly 6 hours straight. I found myself a secluded and empty couch in the VIP section so that I could drink my rum and Coke in peace, rest, people watch and catch up on Internety things on my phone.

I don't exactly know what it is about a girl sitting alone, at a party that just screams "YES I TOTALLY WANT TO BE BOTHERED BY YOU, RANDOM GUY" but it does. You'd think in a social situation like that if I wanted to be social then I wouldn't be sitting alone. And I'm usually (always) too nice to say "Hey, fuck off" so when they start small talk I'll reply, but keep trying to ignore them while looking at my phone. So when he came over I did the same. "Oh yes, hi, no I don't work for a gaming company but my boyfriend does. No he's not here he's busy with work. Oh yeah Japan is awesome, where at does your sister live?" One of my very good friends at the party caught my eye and made a gesture asking if I needed help, but no I didn't, I mean,  it was just normal small talk at the time.

This went on for a while, but maybe I was too drunk or maybe I still try to hard to be "one of the guys" to realize it was quickly going into creeper (haha, get it? get it? Minecraft party?) territory.

So when he started talking about boobs I didn't really care. When he started showing me pictures of boobs of girls at the party that he had taken I thought "okay that's weird whatever maybe he asked beforehand." At some point he raised a concern about being Asian and women not wanting him cause of some stereotypical view of penis size, and I was like "most women will agree size doesn't matter" and went back to my phone.

Then he grabbed my free wrist and put it on his crotch and asked "Is this big enough?"

That would have been bad enough, but he had also pulled his dick out through the zipper of his pants. I had no idea what to do but say "You can't do that!" and NOPE'D the fuck on out of there to find my friends. There's a tweet from right around when this happened that says "I NEED AN ADULT AGAIN."

I mentioned it to my group right after it happened, but it didn't really sink in to them, or me, for a while. I tried to dance and drink it off for a bit, but eventually just sat down as the situation began to replay in my head and as soon as the party ended I bolted for the door to find a cab, trying to hold tears back. Thoughts of "Is this how people who don't know me in the industry see me? Did he not even HEAR the amount of times I mentioned my boyfriend? Did he think I was just some whore?" and of course all the guilty thoughts of "Is this my fault for not leaving the conversation sooner/dressing like this/etc." Being drunk also wasn't helping me be any less upset. My friends tried to find him, and tried to tell security (and got a "Okay? What do you expect me to do?" response). I freaked out for a bit, but thank god I have amazing friends who were there to smother me in hugs and "I'll break his dick off" threats. And I'm thankful that if something that shitty had to have happened, that it happened that close to the end of the party. The events totalled about 30 minutes from it happening (I tweeted around 1:22am) to me waiting on a cab to leave (2amish).

I'm not okay with it, but I'm dealing with it better than I was right after it happened. Hell, I was even on the phone with my airline trying to see how early I could leave as soon as I got back to my hotel. I'm trying my best to keep it separated in my mind from the rest of PAX as to not let it overshadow the awesome time I had this weekend. It's fucked up and I keep replaying the scene in my head and trying to figure out what I could have done differently to keep it from happening. People tell me I should've called the cops or screamed or made a huge scene, but I didn't want that type of attention and the reaction of the security guard made me feel like cops would be even more of a waste. I actually even deleted a lot of the tweets I posted, because I felt ashamed and embarrassed that this happened to me. I didn't want to ruin the party/PAX for other people. I don't want people to pity me. "I'm stronger than this" I kept saying to myself as I was crying.

So yeah. Needed to get that shit off my chest. And I'm sure all the drunk, self-loathing tweets that I sent out at the time weren't really helpful, but I definitely don't want to act like this didn't happen. This is more common than people think and could happen to anyone you love, anywhere, anytime, in any community. A girl should be able to go and sit alone at a party and not be bothered, or go where they want and dress how they want and not be treated like that.