July 2015 Loot Crate Unboxing: Heroes 2

What is Loot Crate?

Taken from the Loot Crate site, “Each month, Loot Crate™ ships a themed mystery box of the best geek, gaming, and pop culture gear to a subscriber base of over 100,000 Looters. We emphasize phenomenal support and content, and include gear from some of the most respected entertainment and consumer product companies in the world.” Loot Crate sells for $13.95 a month plus $6.00 shipping and handling. You can save on the costs by subscribing for longer periods as well. The July theme was Heroes 2 which is a follow up to one of the crates from last year. I’m expecting to see some comic stuff and a cool book.

What’s in the Box?

The big item from this month is the QMx Q-Pop DC figure. This figure looks great, it even comes with a cool base. Most of the figures we get in Loot Crate are stand alone models without a base. You can also write a message on the sign. I particularly like this figure since it’s the Batman from the old TV shows. I remember watching episodes with my great grandmother when I was very young. Also, Adam West is awesome. 
The Batman multitool is pretty cool and I want to replace my current keychain with this one. It’s a bit heavy which may weigh down my pocket. The Zelda wrist band is cool but I don’t really use wrist bands these days. I’m not a huge fan of Star Trek but I like the air freshener. The “Live Long and Prosper” hand sign  is one of the iconic nerd symbols. I do not know anything about the game Brawlhalla but I will after I download it.

The Wonder Woman poster is done in a WWII propaganda style which is neat. I will probably give this one to my younger sister. 

This looks like a book I would like to read. It’s a book of short lived super heroes from actual comics with history and commentary. I like historical books and the comic book industry is an interesting one.

Final Thoughts

Even though this box did not have a shirt, I actually liked it. The Q-Pop Batman and the hardcover book were my favorite items this month. Overall, I think this month was worth it. Can’t wait to see what the theme will be for August.

If you would like to subscribe to Loot Crate, use this LINK, and the cupon code SAVE3 for $3.00 off your first crate. I also get credit towards free Loot Crates if you use the link. Check out next months unboxing of Villans 2!

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Loot Crate August 2015 Theme: Villans 2

Taken from Loot Crate email release: “We took a hero’s journey in July, but this August, we’re turning up the heat! Get ready for the strike back, the revenge, the evil electric boogaloo! This month, join us as we cower in fear at the return of the Villains! Whether they’re terrifying or tragic, something about bad guys and gals is just plain fun. Probably the snazzy outfits, army of henchmen and totally relatable “treat yo’ self to some sweet loot” attitude. Anyway, we’re celebrating our darker side with epic items from Marvel, an exclusive DC figure and more (including a unique wearable we’ve never put in a crate before)! It’s good to be bad.”

Last year’s Villains crate was pretty sweet. We got the Joki shirt, Deadpool socks, and some other villain themed items. Last months Hero 2 crate was great which gives me hope that the Villains sequal will be just as good. I’m excited, I hope you are too.

If you would like to subscribe to Loot Crate, use this LINK, and the cupon code SAVE3 for $3.00 off your first crate. I also get credit towards my account if you use this link.

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Review: Inov-8 Fastlift 335

After talking to a few members and coaches about weightlifting (Oly) shoes, I decided to take the plunge and order a pair. The hardest part was deciding which shoe to purchase and what fits my budget. I settled on the Inov-8 Fastlift 335 because of its price point, versatility and availability. I have been using these shoes for a little more than a year and they have been great.

Looks and Fit

The Fastlifts come in a variety of colors but my favorite colorway is the black and red. The materials used were ripstop nylon as well as other synthetics. The heel platform is different from other lifting shoes that I’ve seen. Instead of a wedge it has a “power truss” which look like columns. I think the columns make the shoe lighter while still providing the same stability as a wedge. The shoe has one strap which keeps your foot locked down and instead of a rigid midsole this shoe also has a metaflex system. The flex point should help during movements like box jumps and brupees.

Since these were my first pair of weightlifting shoes I didn’t know what the fit was supposed to be like. A lot of articles online recommended a snug fit. The Inov-8 website recommends a half size up from your f-lites, but I decided to get my normal size. If they didn’t fit well I could always return them. Thankfully they fit well, not loose or too snug. Fastlifts are light weighing only 335 g or around 12 oz. I would be doing some olympic lifts in the coming weeks which gave me a great opportunity to test them.

Performance and Durability

This is my first pair of Oly shoes and I did not know what to expect. I tested these shoes during heavy lifting days and I did some metcons as well.

Heavy Lifting Days

The advantages of Oly shoes can be felt immediately. My ankle and hip mobility are not great; these shoes help keep me on my heels and maintain a more vertical torso. During heavy squats I’m able to push into the heels without the give from regular CrossFit shoes. Snatches and clean and jerks feel better in the Fastlifts. The first and second pulls felt easier and my turnover feels faster. With all these advantages I managed to hit a clean PR at 165 lb. during the first week, adding 10 lb. to my clean. I was able to also PR my snatch but that was a few weeks after my clean PR.

WODs

I would use these shoes for WODs that had moderate to heavy barbell movements. I wouldn’t use them for WODs that had running in them however since the raised heel would kill my running form. During WODs these shoes do not feel heavier than normal shoes which was a concern since those extra ounces add up. The shoes are flexible and do not hinder movements like box jumps or burpees.

Durability

So far these shoes have held up great and still look fairly new. All of the pictures featured in this post were taken a week ago and I’ve been using these shoes almost every week since I got them. I only use these shoes indoors and during certain workouts which helps with longevity.

Final Thoughts

I bought these shoes mainly because of the price, hybrid functionality and online availability. At the time these shoes were $150 but they may be cheaper now. I’m not sure if these would be better than the other hybrid shoes on the market but they are definitely well worth the price. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below.

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Miniature Mondays: Temple Flameguard

After finishing Tristan Durant I needed a new project to work on. I wanted to start on Reznik 2 but it seemed like a huge task. Since Anson Durst will be out soon, I decided to finish my Temple Flameguard unit and unit attachment. I’ve finished two models so far and I’m working on them three at a time. Should be finished with them in two weeks if not earlier. The WIP picture shows my current color scheme which is close to the studio.

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Miniature Mondays: Tristan Durant is Done!

After weeks of work Tristan is finally finished. I’m happy with this model even though I tried out some new techniques on him. I still need more practice with wet blending and metals which is good since I have more models to paint. I’m currently working on a full unit of Temple Flame Guard and the unit attachment which I will post next week. I will post some pictures below, let me know what you think!

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Miniature Mondays: Red Modeling Painting

An artist that I’m starting to follow is Ashton Holbrook, the artist behind Red Modeling Painting. His YouTube tutorials and videos are very informative and have helped me understand many painting techniques. He does a great two brush blending tutorial on the pEyriss video below:

Check out his YouTube Channel and his Facebook page.

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CrossFit Progress: Overhead Squat 3 Rep Max PR!

The last time I tested my three rep max for the overhead squat was five months ago in February. Since then, I worked on a lot of shoulder strength. From handstand push ups to strict press, the programming focused on the shoulders and it showed. I was able to add 20 lb to my overhead squat three rep max bringing my new three rep max to 175 lb. I didn’t have much time but I could have added another five to ten lb to that number. I missed my attempt at 195 lb, I was either too fatigued from the previous lifts or it was too heavy. I want to work on more accessory lifts, especially the overhead squat.

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Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I received my copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in the February Loot Crate. I didn’t know much about the book or the author. I read the sales copy but I wasn’t excited to read it. I read an article about Steven Spielberg being tapped to direct a movie adaptation, so I decided to give it a read.

Ready Player One is a science fiction novel written by Ernest Cline, set in the year 2044. The world is overpopulated, going through an energy crisis and dealing with wide spread poverty. The population escapes this reality by going into a virtual one called “OASIS” (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation). The OASIS is a hyper realistic open world game where people can go on quests, work, and even attend school. At the beginning of the book one of the creators of OASIS,billionaire James Halliday, dies and leaves his estate to the first person to find the virtual easter egg he has hidden somewhere in OASIS. In his announcement video, Halliday uses many 80’s pop culture references which people interpret as clues. This leads to a resurgence in everything 80’s, from video games to music and movies.

 The narrator of the book is Wade Watts, a high school student and full time egg hunter (gunter). He dreams of finding Halliday’s egg and escaping his life of poverty. He is well versed in 80’s movies, music and video games. He meets a few people along the way, his best friend “Aech” and “Art3mis”. They usually discuss 80’s trivia trying to outdo each other with a “who knows more” contest. The main antagonist of this story is Nolan Sorrento the head of the Oology Department at Innovative Online Industries (IOI). IOI is the typical greedy corporation. They want to destroy the open and free version of the OASIS and turn it into a “pay to play” world. Wade and his friends must find the egg before IOI or else the OASIS as they know it will cease to exist.

Ready Player One is one of my favorite books. It’s a great story about gamers and how gamers can change the world. I loved the pop culture references in this book. It brings back memories of my childhood especially the gaming references. Cline does an excellent job building the world especially OASIS. However, the book primarily appeals to people who enjoy copious amounts of pop culture references. The writing is okay at best with the exposition spanning more than a few chapters. The book also feels like a young adult novel but the target demographic would be 80’s and 90’s kids. Even with the books shortcomings, I would still recommend this book to friends. I might re-read the book before the movie comes out. This is a book any nerd will enjoy.

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Miniature Mondays: Tristan Durant Update

I managed to get some painting done over the weekend. Added some metallics and some highlights to the black robe. Will add more highlights to armor and metals. Did some highlights and washes on the base as well. Need to do some final dry brushing and clean up the boots. I’m trying out new techniques on this model and hopefully it comes out better than my last model that I painted.

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