Monday, April 9, 2012

Zombies, Run! - A Review

The concept of this app is really brilliant.  Take running, a traditionally boring event for most, and add motivation in the form of the zombie horde.  On the surface, it seems like just a quirky way to work out...but there's more to it than that.  When I run, I can't wait for it to be over.  I'm in it for the exercise and calorie loss.  Fun is the last thing on my mind even with a music playlist.

This app harnesses the power of human imagination.  While running requires a degree of physical fitness, there is a large mental piece.  Zombies, Run! taps into the mental side of running.  It took my focus off of the exercise and onto an immersive and engaging story.  I was playing a game, enjoying the story and also trying (successfully!) to avoid a mob of "zoms."  I wasn't thinking about the drudgery of running.  I was...wait for it...having fun!

One more thing.  Don't let the price turn you off.  8 bucks might seem a lot for an app, but consider what you're getting. I've spent hundreds of dollars on games and it got me hours in front of a screen on my butt.  Entertaining? Yes...but ultimately unhealthy.  8 bucks gets you outside, exercising AND you're playing a game.  You don't even have to run.  You can walk to start...and as long as you can keep it above a slow shamble, the zombies (probably) won't get you.

Also, this team seems on top of it when it comes to making improvements.  I'm a RunKeeper user, so I was very happy to see that RunKeeper integration is coming soon along with audio notifications for time, distance, and pace.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Hear that? That was the sound of me blowing the dust off this blog.  Time to get back into the game.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

209/365 - Return of the Sign Bandit(s)

Caught this on the way to work this morning. It looks like the sign bandit (or bandits, more likely) have struck again. All similar signs from the corner of Cherry and 150 down to the video store were defaced in some way. This sign was the most tame.

My guess is drunks walking from the DILLIGAF Pub got some inspiration from their inebriation. beats gangbangers and armed robberies.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Originally uploaded by Shivpics
A Shivers Family Digital Short

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Return! (Although, I can't promise I'll stay...)

I really should have a plan to blog more. I don't, of course.

My last post was 4/29/09. Many things have transpired since then. I'm over 30. My little girl is 1. We have a minivan (*sigh* we have a minivan). Actually, the van is great for trips and that's pretty much the only time I drive I'm happy.

Most recently, I've somewhat entered the world of freelance voiceover work...which, coincidentally, is the real reason this blog exists. I recorded and sent out a couple of sample spots to a potential client this evening. Hopefully, I'll get a positive phone call tomorrow.

I've also been part of a Photo 365 project. I'm taking a photo on every day in 2010. Most of the time it's pretty challenging and fun. Tonight, it was easy and kind of weird.

I'll let the photo speak for itself.

56/365 - Cryptic


Feel free to take a look at my other Project 365 photos.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Magnet for the Strange

As I was leaving work yesterday, I had two rather bizarre, and seemingly unrelated, experiences.

I had parked on the fourth floor of the parking deck, so I decided to use the elevator. I pushed the button and waited patiently for the elevator to arrive. And arrive it did. The doors opened...and then started to shake violently. I mean, "consider filming another Exorcist in this elevator" violently.

I bravely (stupidly?) stepped onto the elevator anyway, figuring it would stop in a second or two. Of course, it did not. The doors did not close and I did not want to stick around to see what happens.

As I stepped out, a lady asked me if that noise was the elevator. I replied with, "Yes...and suddenly the four flights of stairs don't seem so bad." She agreed and followed me up the stairs. I may have saved her life and/or soul that day. God knows what that elevated lift had in store for us.

After safely arriving at my car (which, thankfully, was NOT violently shaking), I began my winding trek out of the parking deck. Before heading home, I had to run an errand...which took me past the McDonald's on Veteran's Parkway.

To my surprise, there was a grown man standing between the road and Mickey D's screaming at the passing traffic. I have no idea why. Perhaps he realized the futility of hitting the "button that does nuttin" on the corner and decided to purge his rage at the very objects that were impeding his travel.

Or maybe he's bat shit nuts.

Either way, it was a strange afternoon. Glad I could share it with you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Checkout Lane Hell

There should be a special line at Sams for people that split their order into more than one transaction.

or a special place in Hell for those people.

Consumers choice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Infant's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

Admittedly, a three-month-old's lack of fine motor control and general inability to move around under his or her own power makes said three-month-old a pretty benign threat in the field of trouble making. However, much like passive or nonviolent resistance, there are techniques that infants can (and will) employ to cause at least some degree of rascality within a social situation.

Izzy employed one such technique just last Sunday while we were in Chambana visiting Auntie Anne (my sister...not the pretzel store).

Quick backstory: We went to pick up Sarah's bridesmaid dress. She's in Anne's wedding this summer. We had a gift certificate for a free Monical's family pleaser that we received after completing our birthing class. Anne is still a po' college student, so we invited her out to dinner. And scene.

We stopped by my sister's apartment, picked her up, and drove to Monical's. We were seated quickly, ordered, and in no time we were enjoying salad, breadsticks, and what passes for pizza at Monical's (that's another post). began.

That unmistakable noise...a harbinger of doom...the none too subtle clue that someone's immediate future was about to become very unpleasant.

"Is she grunting?" I asked Sarah in a worried tone. "Yeah," she sighed.

"Uh-oh." I moved Izzy's car seat to the other side of the booth. Mother scooped up daughter and diaper bag and made a beeline for the bathroom. Anne and I remained at the table, continuing our meal.

Time passed...then more time passed. I glanced at my watch. Anne bravely volunteered to check on the girls. "Almost done," she reported back.

Finally, Sarah and Izzy returned to the table. I was not surprised to see that the outfit Izzy went into the bathroom wearing was not the same one she was currently sporting on her return trip. I was, however, surprised to see that she was barefoot.

"She pooped through her outfit," Sarah said. "It was awful. I just wanted the mess gone. We lost a sock...I think I threw it away with the diaper. The other one is in the diaper bag."

"Wait," I said. "You threw one sock away and saved the other one? Why?"

"Well, I think I threw it away. I don't might turn up."

At this point I was thinking, 'What does it matter? These socks won't fit in a matter of weeks. We can buy new socks...let it go, woman.' I did not verbalize these thoughts.

So you see, pooping oneself in public (at an eatery, no less) is part of an infant's small, yet surprisingly effective, arsenal of anarchy.

At this point, you may be questioning the child's motivation. Perhaps you'd say, "Matt...babies are running on instinct. There's no malice malevolent or malicious intentions."

And you'd be wrong. Babies are adorable and devious little gremlins...and mine likes to poop through outfits in public. And before you say"My child never did / would ever do anything like that!" consider this.

Your kid might be dumb.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hey brother, can ya' spare a snot-sucker? -OR- How I Felt Like A Criminal At The Hospital

If you're a parent, then you already recognize the importance of the beautiful blue item pictured here.

For the uninitiated, let me be the first to tell you that the bulb syringe (AKA Blue Bulb of Doom...AKA Snot-Sucker) is an essential piece of equipment in every new parents' toolbox. Infant congestion is not fun for anyone and the sounds a congested baby emits do not make for pleasant listening. When one is without a proper Snot-Sucker, everybody suffers.

My wife has a bad habit of leaving this thing at the baby sitter's house when she picks up Izzy. We have another bulb syringe that came in a first aid kit, but it doesn't work as well. As we've already covered, a stuffy baby is a real bummer. So, I decided that today I was going to find another, duplicate bulb syringe to keep at the sitter's house. As a Father-of-the-Year award nominee (in my own head), I thought that made a lot of sense.

Acquiring one was not as easy as I expected. I figured Walgreens would have one, but they did not. They DID have a more modern, battery powered version of the snot sucker. However, I was not prepared to spend 20 bucks on something like that.

Now...I would consider myself a reasonably intelligent and logical man, so I decided to go to the hospital's birthing unit to see if the nurses had an extra bulb syringe. This is where my day continued to go south. I strolled up to the nurses desk and asked if I could have one of these syringes to take home. The nurses behind the counter seemed reluctant to comply with my request and threw a knowing look to one of the other nurses. Immediately, I knew something was up.

The nurse that received said glance (You know...the one who is perpetually having a bad day) spoke up and asked, "What are you going to use it for?"

What am I going to use it for? Is there some sort of illicit or illegal act that one can do with this syringe and I haven't heard about it yet? I'm going to take it home and frost a cake with it, lady. No...I explained that our child was congested and that I would be using the device to extract snot. This really put her on alert. The nurse looked at me like I had two heads.

"She seems a little old for this. Did your pediatrician tell you to do this?" she asked.

"Yeeaaaaah," I responded slowly. I filled her in on my situation (IE wife forgetting it at babysitter's, etc).

She then proceeded to tell me that Izzy was a little old for this and that she shouldn't need it. I then wanted to ask her if she actually had kids and does she realize just how much snot a two and a half month old generates. While I didn't say that, the look on my face must have read that I meant business because she took a little walk to the supply room and gave me one.

This lady really irked me. I mean, is there some way that people are melting these things down and getting high? Why was she so suspicious of me? I just wanted a spare to keep at the baby sitter's house.

For the record, I described this nurse to my wife and she's pretty sure she dealt with her when she was in the hospital giving birth to Izzy. She was a pain then, too.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm Still Here!'s been over a month since I've posted anything. Time flies when you're a new dad. So, to my two followers...sorry for the delay! :-)

I've been adjusting to life with our daughter, Izzy. She's really the coolest thing that has happened to me. She's sick, though...which sucks. I think my wife put it best in her blog entry about it:
"I hate, I mean really hate, blowing my nose. After dealing with a congested baby for a few days, however, I have a new found appreciation for this simple if gross ability. Isabelle has her first cold. Being only 5 weeks old there is nothing she can do to communicate with us except cry and be fussy. She has had a hard time sleeping in certain positions and it's hard to tell whether or not she'll be comfortable when put down until you try. Then she either continues to sleep peacefully, or wakes up and fusses. And, of course, she does not yet have the ability to blow her own nose so the blue bulb from the hospital has become my good friend and the bane of Izzy's existence.

The good news is that the pediatrician tested her for RSV and it came back negative, her lungs are clear, and her appetite is still pretty good. So now we wait for her congestion to clear up and try to get back to business as usual."
And that, as they say, is that.