Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kratos Costume pt3: Gauntlets and Shins

I bought some cheap gauntlets/shin guards from Costumes Etc for about $6 a pop. They are nothing more than flimsy plastic right now, but they have the look I'm going for. The idea is to cut out several layers of foam seal to give them some girth, then pack it tight (heh) and glue it all together. Afterward, spray paint the foam seal so Kratos doesn't have exposed pink anywhere on his body.

Will have to see how this comes together this week...

Foam Seal!

Shin guards!

I glued everything together, and it looked absolutely terrible. Hoo-ray! My next attempt will involve working with leather.

Level Up: New Squat/Deadlift Max

Today, I got some very good advice on my deadlift form (alas, training alone allows you to develop shitty habits sometimes), and was able to identify my major weak points in training.

First...this happened.

 Deadlift Max Lift (405-->465)

I brought my current deadlift max from 405 to 425, then 445, then fucking 465 out of nowhere. Granted, it was ugly, but they were complete.

Squat Max Lift (305-->315)
Worked up to 315 and hit it like it was nothing
Set 1, was my bitch
Set 2, was slightly hard
Set 3, I accuse my training partner of adding weight when I got water
Set 4, my legs shat themselves
Set 5, I looked silly for 15seconds before I sat down in defeat

Current maxes
Bench - 250 (need to test, pulled 10 singles of 230 like it wasn't there)
Overhead Press - 160
Squat - 315
Deadlift - 465
Behind the Neck Press - 210
Powercleans - Ten Triples at 190

With this, my powerlifting total finally broke 1000 (bench/squat/deadlift): 250 + 315 + 465 = 1030.
Level up. Get stronger.

Spot Me Brah pt Deux

When someone asks you for a spot in the gym, it is polite to oblige without question (the only reason you would say no is you are about to start a set, or are too tired to help).

One of the gearheads at my LA Fitness asked if I could spot him while he squats. I admitted that while I had never done so before, I would do my best to help him out. Let me preface this ultimately failed lift with the following:

This guy was huge. Large, lean, and had relatively good form in his warmup sets for squats (he did not cheat any range of motion) as well as having the long legs that facilitate a squat. He walked around the gym with an alpha pose I could only assume had been earned by years under the iron. Anotherwords, I assumed he knew what the fuck he was doing. Ehhhhh. Wrong.

Roidrage loads up the bar with 275. I assumed this meant he was going to use his massive strength to rep to failure, and needed me to help when he did not have the sense to just sit down. Nope. Roidrage goes down for rep 1, and doesn't even move at the bottom of the squat rack.

"Help me brah, cmon!"

Ok...I pull up on the bar until he can stand up.

"Ok, one more," he says.

No, I thought. You didn't get the first one Smalls. There is no one more for you. This time you're on your own. He goes down and immediately falls forward towards the back end of the squat rack (instead of sitting down onto the safety bars like a normal person would), makes a lot of noise, and turns around to face me.

"Where were you brah?"

I believe I was where I needed to be. For future reference, the picture below is what he expected me to do.

Ya no thanks

In my mind, spotting still only applies to a few situations.

Spotting is:
- protecting someone's life if they fail a heavy lift
- assisting someone for a forced rep at the end of a set

Spotting is not:
- pretend time where I lift something for you

If a weight is too heavy, it's too heavy. That's what getting stronger is all about. Your worst challenge today is a cakewalk a year from now. Roidrage should have known better.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Planet Fitness: Keeping You Fat Since 1992

I can't say anything to hurt Planet Fitness that Planet Fitness hasn't already done to itself. They have free pizza and Hershey kiss days, and cultivate soft and self conscious sheep. They have a contradictory policy that all people who makes noises have to leave immediately (they have a lunk alarm that screams whenever someone grunts) while they spout non-discrimination rules.

They do, however, make fun commercials.

I've started doing this in the mirror all the God damn time now. Stay out of Planet Fitness.

Bang Pow. Get stronger.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Past Kratos Cosplayers

I've been looking up people who have done the Kratos costume in the past in order to pick up as many do's and don'ts as I can along the way.

Most of these guys did a pretty damn good job. All things considered, it's pretty hard to nail down the Kratos physique and attitude.

Vegan Kratos
This guy is skinny as shit. I'm not completely crazy about the costume either, although I really do like the blood glazed on his blades. Another option he presents is not painting himself at all (besides the red), which would be a reference to the pre-GOW game style of Kratos.

It was too late, he was already one of them
Robot Kratos. Pfft, ok.

Beta Kratos wants you to know, he's here for you and your feelings
Paint job looks a little rough, but the main problem I have with this getup is the attitude. There is 0 malevolence in this face.

Is actually a black guy
Why this dude didn't stay black and go with the fear costume is beyond me. The entire costume looks pretty good, but the one point I'd like to make is he looks too clean (no fault against him, it's just my personal preference for this costume). He looks like he was shining his skin and weapons before this picture.

What I've learned from Jenni Kallberg's Samus costume, is that the battle worn look adds a new dimension to your look. I want to add cuts and strains to the paint on my body, fake blood on my face and chest, and stain my blades with rust and blood. Done.

Obviously put a lot of time into his costume (this is Kratos as the actual God of War after he murders Aries), there just isn't anything that appeals to me in this costume.

I know
I wanted to site this costume for one reason. This seems to be the only guy who bothered to find a way to fit the blades of chaos onto his back when he got tired of holding them. In the game, they somehow magically adhere to Kratos' back. Da fuck?

I'll have to look at other options, but for now it seems like I'm holding whatever I make.

While I'm not sure if these 2 pictures are the same guy (he appeared in Brazil for the GOW3 release party), but they both have the same thing that pisses me off. They have the muscles to pull off the costume, but they painted themselves silly with detail. looks kinda cool, but it just looks like a lie. 

Fucking scary. This is my favorite Kratos by far. He's too skinny to fill out the costume, but he doesn't seem to give a shit. He is sharp and will hurt you.


This guy was at DragonCon last year. I like how he has broken away from the norm by donning a Medusa head as one of his weapons.

Hey! Well...ok.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Movies pt4: The Masked Pretender

Worked on this with Nick, Shea, Kit, Phillip, and a few kittens.

The 10min version was much prettier than the 5min version we had to submit for CMF. Regardless, this is one I like more and more as time goes on.

A great deal of things that bother me about this film were caused simply because we ran out of time, or I fucked up with the lighting/audio recording.

Zac Caplan did the music for us, and it sounds pretty good (most notably the Bane segment). The only real piece of audio that irks me is Phillip's (Robin) voice over about 7seconds into the movie. Fuck. FUCK.

Other than that, the only real disappointing thing was nobody got any of the jokes, and we were unable to reedit the full film later. Also, we kinda had to shove the plot down peoples' birth canals in order to finish on time. Much was lost in translation. Most notably the fact that Robin is posing as Batman. Yeah, oops.

The Masked Pretender

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Level 1-3, and Everything Else that Matters

When I was 5 I got my first nintendo.
I was terrified of Super Mario Brothers
The game confounded me
I would call my dad into the room to handle the large jump in level 1-1
and I was forever stuck on level 1-2
I had dreams about what level 1-3 would be like
I was convinced people would pop out of the TV and shake my hand
fireworks would go off
and I would be thanked for beating the hardest level of all time
I truly believed this
and when the dust settled, I finally reached my goal

A bit of my childhood died away in a silent jump to the next level
no thanks
no awards
not even a princess
but sometimes...
if you time it juuuust right
you can still get those fireworks to jump out
and they make me smile


My name is Aaron Brandt, this is some of my food.

Death Mountain
Sandwich ends are made of girl scout Samoa cookies. Creamy center is constructed mainly of peanut butter and nutella. A nice honey crown drips through the monster daring anyone to touch it. Explodes in your mouth, and in your hands.

Mexican Standoff Pizza
Toppings: Hot salsa (subbing for pizza sauce), pepperoni, 1lb ground beef, mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, sharp Cheddar cheese, feta cheese, rosemary

Fried Cheese by the Foot
A fruit by the foot is wrapped around a slice of deli pepper jack cheese. Roll the product up like sushi, coat in honey and granola. Fry it, carefully. Trisect the object, serve with Tabasco dipping sauce.

Dodeca-stuff Oreos
Cut out the creme of an entire box of oreos to make a few giant cookies (dodeca = 12 layers of creme). They were all quite a bit larger than they appear in this picture, but they were crushed slightly in transit (sent them to a chick in Germany).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Movies pt3: Tears of Children

Nick and Aldon wrote this beauty on how to capture and bottle childrens' tears for hot sauce profit. Fucking delicious.

The intro sequence involved burning a painting I made on the day. It pretty much started a fire in my (then) girlfriend's apartment. A lot of editing time went towards timing out the song ("Que Sera Sera" from Katemari) to the footage, as well as finding out how to color correct everything...which was a pretty awful fail.

Tears of Children

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kratos Costume pt2: Blades of Chaos

I'm paying a young industrial design student in booze to help me construct Kratos' blades of chaos.

We started by printing a scaled version of the blades, and separating them into the hilt and blades. Then, the pictures were cut out and traced on top of sign foam.

Original Picture

Blade and hilt cutouts
Blade and hilt outlines on sign foam

Next Steps
- Cut through the trace to get the general shape
- Halve the blade trace to get both blades
- Cut detail into shaped foam
- Prime and paint the finished product (metallic spray paint for a shiny look)

Squats and Deadlifts

First, let's get this out in the open.

I'm glad we had this talk.

Why Squats and Deadlifts 
Let's start out simple. Both exercises activate more than 75% of your body's muscles. They also allow you to use the largest weight loads without having to sacrifice form or function. If you are a natural strength trainee, your main goal is to place increasing demands on your body's muscles and central nervous system. You cannot afford to either ignore these movements or half ass them (deadlifting and squatting 135 will not make a man out of a male). The only real decision you need to make is frequency of use. Rather, most people can squat several times per week, but one round of deadlifts per week puts one out for more than just 2 days.

- quadriceps
- glutes
- hamstrings
- abs
- calves
- traps and arms

- same as squats
- also emphasis placed on back

Famous picture for a reason

Pain and Excuses
It's very easy to come up with excuses to avoid either or both exercises. You'll hurt your back, it's bad for your knees, I don't want callouses, I can't lift a lot because of my grip. Granted, if you're doing it right, all of these statements are bullshit (except the gripes concerning callouses and grip, in which case you just have to man up and get some chalk), but they all surround one common theme. Pain and mental fortitude.

When you are training heavy enough, each rep will feel like a mountain. Sometimes, you will get stuck halfway in the middle of a rep and have to make a decision. Do I try, or do I fail? This is not as easy of a decision as you might think. Stuck under a mountain, feeling worn and used, you have to fire every shred of strength you have in order to push or pull the bar up. The only time you will fail is if you doubt your own ability to finish what you started.

The only time I have injured myself on an exercise was when I went for 2 reps of a squat at 295 (this was months ago). I was telling my friend that I felt a snap near my groin halfway through rep 2, and knew the damage had been done. He asked, "Did you finish the rep?"

Damn straight.

My hands are bleeding from squatting 300x10x1 and deadlifting 405x10x1. My current maxes are squat: 305 and deadlift: 405. They will change next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, until I am unable to move or run out of skin. Soon.

Get stronger.

My fingers 2 days after the bleeding stopped and the blisters were popped

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Movies pt2: Laundry Day

While not an original work (based off an animation to the line), I really like this short. The actors both played their parts extremely well, and the animation looks fucking good for only using Final Cut and Livetype.

Laundry Day

Dirty Knowledge and Other GChats

From Dirty...
With (in order): intelligence, courage, ambition, and have a chance at having integrity...and the ability to do/change just about anything

I'll use my fatty I was angry when this came up.

If you're stupid...then nothing will inform you that heart disease, diabetes, etc. is a bad thing.
If you are too scared to take a good look at yourself and eliminate all excuses...then you'll never have an environment to succeed in not being a fatass.
If you're apathetic to the end game of being a fatass (lower quality of living, horrifically painful death), then you'll never have the drive to make changes.
If you don't have the willpower to resist temptation, then you'll never be able to stick to your changes.

Without all of the can never really be sure you have integrity in your life decisions.  Because you can be either: manipulated through stupidity; intimidated by consequences; indifferent to injustice; lacking in resolve. it could just be the bourbon or my anger from the Marta ride talking, but at the moment....this makes sense.

Meanwhile, in another chat window, this happened...
so im fuckin her from behind like 2 minutes ago
pull out
rip off condom
and explode like the whole load in her hair
dude it was huge
she is so mad at me right now
me: did you scrub it in?
a little

I like my friends.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chaos and Pain 2

I've really been enjoying Chaos and Pain so far. It's a different combination of volume and resting periods I've used in the past, and I can see myself training like this for a while.
With the exception of accessory exercises, I'm using the rep scheme below for each exercise...
5-10x3 85% 1RM
5-12x2 90% 1RM
5-15x1 95% 1RM

The weights and volumes can change on any given day, and I use accessory either as fun, useless fun (a la pumps), or just when I have energy to burn. Below is an example of a week with an accessory grab bag. I may use anywhere from 5-12 sets on each exercise depending how I feel (trying to keep rest periods down to 1-1.5min), and accessory occurs if and when it is necessary.

Generally, one exercise will be heavy singles (95%) and the other triples (85%). The next week will use the same exercises, but the percentages used will switch.

Squat 95% Singles
Bench 85% Triples

Squat 85% Triples
Bench 95% Singles



Behind the Neck Push Press
DB Bench
Breathing Squats

Row/Kroc Row

Overhead Press
Front Squats
Partial Squats
Hammer Curl
Overhead Tricep Extension
Lateral Raises

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Breathing Squats: LSD Under a Barbell

It's 8pm on a Tuesday night. You are all out of acid, your roommates took all your bud (except for seeds and stems, fucking assholes), and the CVS refuses to sell you any more Robitussin.

Fear not, oh grounded friend, for I have found a way to see God juggling hamster shaped chainsaws without the pleasurable tingle of substance abuse.

Breathing Squats
Take a weight you are certain you can squat for no more than 10 reps, then do it for 20 instead. When you are tired, stand under the bar and take deep deep breaths between every rep. DO NOT for any reason give up. You are a lone sire weightlifter, and your orders are to stand under that bar until you prevail or die (please use safety bars underneath numb nuts).

When you breathe, your air should push your abdomen out (those who play wind instruments should recognize this method).

Another way to approach breathing squats is the following:
Reps 1-10, 1 deep breathe between reps
Reps 11-15, 2 deep breathes between reps
Reps 15-20, 3 or more deep breathes between reps

Squat. Breath. Squat. Breath. Trip balls, get stronger.

p.s. You may puke. Just sayin.