I knew a guy who dated Shauna Lake

I have been struggling with my mid-week blog, well, blogging in general and I should not be.  I mean, I am a funny son of a bitch, I’ve lived in Texas and I think the gays should marry.  Right there, bam, that is a blog that should write itself, right?

You would think so, but it takes a lot of energy.  Energy fueled by Chinese food, hummus and sushi – and the occasional trifecta of stomach indulgence called the gut bomb (it was easier when I lived by El Taco Feliz, but now I have to go to two restaurants to get this gourmet treat of chicken fingers, enchilada as chip dip and deep fried bar food).

With an intro like that you can probably guess the tone that this blog will take, but you would be wrong faithful reader.  Lets start off with the numbers (something I am lifting from Kai Rizdall on NPR)

Weight:  Hovering around 342-343
Letters / Thank you’s written:  3
Gym Visits (PTD – Project To Date): 4.75
Items Crossed off of 40 while 40 list: 2 (more on that next blog)
Days without Smartphone: 16
Biological fathers written: 1 (more on that next blog)

So what I wanted to talk about was why I want to lose the weight; I have mentioned my first journey out of FatAsserville was because of anger, this time I have 6 better reasons:

Sexy people!

Sexy people!

Yes, that is Matthew McConaughey and you are asking why?  Well, shit, its Matthew “the shirtless God” McConaughey.  Friends with Lance Armstrong and pot aficianado.  If I can’t earn his respect, well then, shit.  Also, he says things like “Cool, its Cool” and “Alright, alright!”  Also, also, Amanda does a pretty good impression.

OK that was a joke, here is the real photo and why:

SEXIEST People!

SEXIEST People!

Starting from the lower left:

1 – Amanda:  The love of my life, the partner, my BFF and better half.  I want need to be there for her when we get old.  And also, it will help if her friends think I am sexy.  She will get the esteem of having a hot husband in his forties.

2 – Alex:  That is a picture from a few years ago when his hair was longer, I liked him more back then, he was around. Though I still love him, I never hear from him.  I use to not think this would bother me, but maybe I feel my own mortality. And I want to be there, when he is ready to come back to me.  And he will, I promise.

3 – Anthony:  That is the ciggy pop pose I got him to do.  The kid does everything shirtless.  Anthony is rough; he hasn’t had a real good father figure and I don’t want him to think it is OK to be lazy and fat. I want him, like my other boys, to go hiking and fishing and camping and run and play and love me as much as I love him.

4 – Ayden:  Like I mentioned before, I get her for only about 35-50 years somewhere in there.  I want to see her graduate, marry and hopefully have a baby before I fucking die.  I want the rest of my life dedicated to making sure that the vision she has of men is one that we can be proud of and keeps her off the fucking pole.

5 – Adam:  (see #2) Like Alex, I kind of have lost Adam.  He would rather play his WiiStationbox 4 with his friend than come down to see me or spend a lot of time talking to me. But I still love the bugger.  I was his age once, but again, don’t want the short times we spend together wasted cause I am fat.  I want to paintball and shoot him in the face.

6 – Autumn:  I may have already lost Autumn to the pole at 10 years.  She is ten going on thirty.  I love autumn tremendously, she is so intelligent and creative and at the same time makes me want to bash my own damn head in.  She is going to be a heart-breaker at 16 and I need t o be ready to beat some young man’s ass.  Also, I need to show her it is cool to run and play and be fit, and like yourself.

That kind of explains it.  I included my wedding picture because even on January 7th, 2012, I knew I had backslid and was going the wrong way and had already gained back thirty pounds by then.  That was sixty-five pounds ago; but that is the past.  I am working hard, and working smart and I will get down to 175 in a little over a year; one fucking pound at a time.

Some other folks I’d like to thank for their motivation and part in my weight loss for reasons personal and public:

24 Hour Fitness – Wigwam and the good people working there, Mike B (for believing in me almost as much as my wife and just patiently waiting until I kick his ass at climbing), David G (for both motivating me with kindness as well as annoyance), my parents who have both had their own success with weight this year – way to go mom and dad, and of course all my blog friends who I read and for some reason don’t get read back 9but your stories always inspire me to be the athlete you are and that I can be).

Thanks for stopping by

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Dark Secrets of a Wanna-Be Executive (aka creepy corporate culture)

An honest life is a hard life to live; that is a piece of what my 40 while 40 is about – really discovering the man I am and the man I am still to be.  But it is also about having fun, a lot of fun growing with my family and my friends and myself.  It is very hard to be honest with yourself.  I think it is actually easier to be honest with others, unless of course they are asking about you.

You like?

You like?

“Doing great, thanks!”
“We are all good!”
“Out of sight!”I probably said each of those once over the last week, the last one is a little weird, I agree.  Stuff it, I said it and I probably thought I meant it.  But the truth is, no, I am probably NOT at 100%.  I do not see myself the way other see me. I cannot for some reason, but I am trying.  And that is my week one item I like about myself.  I like that I can always try to be a best version of myself, and try to see myself the way others do.  I may not always show it, but I do; and often I like what they see. Sometimes, I see the truth of what they see and it inspires me.

Back to honesty, I had gone into this week with the utter intention of working out 7 days this week, working on the walking, moving toward running, etc. But the truth of the matter is that I have had one mediocre workout as it got interrupted by two of the beautiful girls in my life.  I REALLY need to get into the gym; for my health, love and family as well as my own enjoyment of riding the bike and lifting the weights.

Left, their idea of yoga; right, what it looks like for me (hell, I wish I was that flexible)

Left, their idea of yoga; right, what it looks like for me (hell, I wish I was that flexible)

There is a darker side too, to the weight loss.  I work in a corporate culture that rewards folks that are more fit.  I look at the executives at my company and for right or wrong, those that are “going somewhere” within company are runners, cyclists, athletes all.  I am regaled with stories of seeing the CEO at hot yoga (hey, for me, any yoga is hot and sweaty), or the AVP in Human Resources that is running the half marathon and so on. It is painfully obvious what I need to do to get ahead at work.  Fuck the fact that I have basically taught myself Business Intelligence Applications development, SQL Server and SRSS while employed and underpaid there, now I got to lose 140 pounds too.

**DISCLAIMER – I work for a great company, with great people under me, peers and leadership; I am fortunate to have great mentors and friends there, I just hate the fact that is sometimes is surface over substance in some views.  The company itself is a caring, community minded leader on the cutting edge of what or mission, vision and values are, and am proud of the work I do and for who, truly I am.  I also  know who reads my blog **Truly, I need to lose the weight anyway, but I digress.  Pardon my venting.

Basically then week one of 40 while 40 saw some highs and lows, I went and got the photo of myself at valley of Fire like I wanted and posted last time, so I can cross that off my list.  I wrote a couple of thank you notes to some colleagues. That made me feel good, to foster a thankful attitude.  I also wrote the rough draft of the letter to bio dad.  So yes, I did not work out, but I can cross three things off and am on track with two others.

What to do now?  I am headed to the gym with my wife who was just Freshly Pressed (awesome, baby!) where I will put in some work on the bike and some abs.  Then a steam.  This week, I plan on really focusing on getting back into the gym and getting ready for a couple of events that fall on the same day 35 days from today.  My mid-week blog will be about the events, hold your breath.

Thanks for stopping by.

FACTS Week One:
Weight: 345
Letters / Thank Yous written:  3
Gym Visits: .75
Items crossed of 40 while 4 list to date:  1
Days without SmartPhone:  11

40 and I remember why I am doing this

Its been a damn near perfect weekend (4 days off actually).  Starting with my 40th birthday and ending with some Guinness, Corned Beef and Cabbage today.

Yesterday the family spent the afternoon at Valley of Fire State Park, NV.  It is about 50 miles north of Las Vegas and for those that live here and have never been, I encourage you to go.  We spend the time driving and walking around looking at the amazing rock pieces.  Amanda got a chance to practice her growing skill at photography.  And since she is the family shutterbug, she will not let me post pics yet.  Once she has approved them all, I will post them here.

There were two reasons I really wanted to go out there.  About 4 years ago my ex wife and I went out there when I was at my unhealthiest, she took a photo of me in the drainage pipe near the Clark Memorial on the east end of the park.  I was fat, unhealthy and suicidal.  It was my darkest point, but it still took me one year, a divorce and a good look at how far I had fallen before I lost weight – and yes, I was successful.  However, I was successful for the wrong reasons.  Alcoholics in the program call it a Dry Drunk; when you put in the work, but you are one step away from your next bender – well that is where I was, anger can only carry you so far.

Since then my life has turned 180 degrees as you already know.  I am happier than I have been in a long time but yes, gained A LOT of the weight back so part of my 40 while 40 project is to  get out, lose the weight and learn a little about myself along the way.  So it was important also for me to have Amanda take my photo in the same place.

The photo is shockingly embarrassing, because we do not see the damage we are doing to ourselves without really scrutinizing.  For example, I had NO clue my calves had gotten so fat again.  No wonder I breath heavy when I walk.  It is sad, but it is also part of the goal to be a triathlete in 2014.  Hopefully this year I will run one Sprint or so as a Clydesdale, but next year I want to be competitive.

So, here are the photo’s,  I have linked them to my Flickr account because I did not want to insult you by throwing my lump of clay in your face; but like clay I am going to sculpt.  In 1 year I will post the sister pictures proudly.  Until then, you have to click to see.

Thanks for stopping in.

Just Plain Sick

I am a firm believer that there is a higher power out there. Maybe more than one. A lot of folks don’t know this about me, but almost ten years ago to the day, I had decided I wanted to be a Lutheran Pastor. I was going to go to parochial school, I started looking and planning on moving to Colorado where the nearest ELCA ministry college was. I was 29 and on the fast track with God; but then I stopped hearing his voice, then I stopped even listening. Then, even I stopped caring. That was ten years ago, and in that time, I have come to grips with that loss of faith and the empirical worship I have now. I follow a greener, more pagan fellowship with my God and Goddess now. And I am happy, if not a little lackadaisical in my worship. Remedy needed.

My point is not about religion and whether my God is better than your God (he kind of is, but later on that – Just kidding, same god, different belief structure). But my point is rather about hearing the voice of God or the Goddess. I believe you can hear or see or feel the power of that which is outside of you if you listen. I believe that every day we are getting messages from powers greater than ourselves, we just are not in tune with them.

So this week, when I have read or heard on NPR, three stories of men no older than 42 at my weight dying of heart failure, it grabbed my attention. By the balls.

Look, I procrastinate, I get caught up, I want and need and desire things right damned now. And sadly, I know that doesn’t work. Sometimes I pontificate just to pontificate because I like to read my own words. This is not one of those times. I have sucked the joy out of being a jolly fat guy, and am tired of people calling me big guy. But, not unlike 2010, I find it hard to just get off the couch.

Granted this week the typhoon that is a bad spring cold has run through our house but-raping everyone as it goes. So, I have a VIABLE reason not to work out the last three days, But what about the week before that, or before that, or….You get the point, right?

Amanda and I started the Henderson Lighten up determined to crush the competition, and the first week we totally did, that was 5 weeks ago, and I am now as heavy if not slightly heavier than when we started (my scale only goes to 335, and my reckoning, that puts me at 337-342).

I am going to start small, I have already realized that if I am going to lose this weight, I have to be realistic. I probably will not be a competitive triathlete by October, But 2013 can always be the year where I turned this shit around for good and got the fam involved and we lived healthier ever after right? Right. So I am going to start my goal off small. Our next weigh in for the Henderson Lighten Up is next Wednesday, I am determined to be able to read my own weight on my own scale, and then we can get a new goal right? Right.

I overheard another message this week, maybe not from a higher power, but maybe from all the Nike YouTube I have been watching, ‘Stop chasing your dream, go make your dream’ and I loved it.  Amanda asked me this week, which was the biggest motivation ever, if I was going to do the C25K training again, as she was thinking of joining me.  WOW!  How much of a message from your higher power is that?  Your spouse wants to run with you?  I always have excuses for not running again, but I am done with them.  After a couple weeks maintenance and to get my endurance where it needs to be, I am going to start this amazing program over again, with my wife!

Anyhoo, I don’t have much more to say than that.  I will post again next week, let you know about the weigh in, running plans and maybe talk about the difference between healthy porn obsession and unhealthy addiction.

Thoughts of a wannabe loser, a blog post

Trying to lose weight is very difficult. Its easy to stutter and have to start many times over. Its also very easy to get trapped into trying things to speed up the process, motivate you or just do out of some level of self-loathing.

I find myself over the last two to fifteen months in that hamster wheel where you start, stop and gain. The SSG principal a lot of dieters get into. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this and have decided there are some rules you have to live by. Some of them are not new, most in fact, but it is a new observation for me.

1. It is not a diet–This is the most important thing to remember. If you diet, you WILL lose weight, I promise, but I also know from years of experience that you will gain it back. The only successful way to keep weight off is to make long-term (life) changes to the choices you make regarding the food you eat and your activity level. They don’t have to be terrifically theatrical like a juice fast, going vegan, eating only non-processed free range organic duck liver; but they do have to be different than what you are doing now. And for the love of all that is holy, drink more water. If you think you drink enough, double it.
2. Do not keep up with the Jones’–I have a good friend, like a brother to me actually, and I have only known him a few years; but he inspires me so much but that can be dangerous too. You cannot chose to live vicariously through someone else. This friend is turning 30, he is a decade younger than I (I am literally 33% older than he) so his body acts and reacts different to stress, fatigue and activity. I cannot be him. In fact, as much as he inspires me, and we have similar interests, I don’t want to be him (sometimes I feel like our overlord does). I want to be the best me that I can and that includes doing some of the stuff he does like biking or hot Pilates, because they sound amazing and they are fantastically healthy. Let him be him, you be you and I will be the me; we will just be the best we can.
3. It is going to hurt, sometimes a lot, but find your inner super hero–I didn’t know I had inspired anyone. See, I yo-yo’d because I lost focus, reason, clarity and goals. I had gone from nearly 400 pounds down to 250-245, in a little more than a year. How? Hard fucking work. So much so that I was about to get those words tattooed on my knuckles. I started running, and it hurt. I biked to work, and some days it hurt. I actually became the bike guy. I did not have car, and I rode my bike everywhere. My son and I would go to the grocery store, ride the strip, I’d ride to work – hell, my wife fell in love with the bike guy (it is awfully hard an embarrassing to tell your first date, guess what I have no car; you become afraid she will be singing “No Scrub”). Somewhere I become the boyfriend guy, then the engaged guy, then the father to be guy then the truck guy, then the mini-van guy and then the 330 pound guy again. I forgot my superhero alter identity, Bike Guy – until recently. One of my employees who is new to my team, said that Bike Guy had inspired him and a lot of people. It made me feel good. I felt like Superman in Superman 3 when he is a drunk bum; or any movie where the hero got a gut and then a montage later, he was svelte again. I really need a montage, but I am willing to put in the hard, heavy work. And hurt from time to time.
4. You have to have a reason–Originally my reason to lose the weight was hatred, raw and burning loathing for the woman who told me it was impossible for me to change. I wanted to prove to my ex she was wrong. After 50 pounds, I realized it was really about me, then it became about wanting to run a triathlon. Then, well, I just forgot. It became easy for me to eat doughnuts again or skip workouts. But here I am at the nexus of turning forty, and it is going to get harder, and I have SO much I still want to be able to do like play soccer, climb, canoe and yes run triathlon. But the biggest reason is that I have a beautiful family that I need to be around to take care of, and to do that right, I have to put my health needs first.
5. You have to have the most amazing support structure–I mean the most amazing. Loved ones and friends that are willing to not roll your eyes when you say, “I swear, in the morning, no more hot dogs”, or when you come home “hone, I am not eating solid foods for ten days”. Hell, they not only cannot roll their eyes, they have to go out and buy you the veggies to juice. Your support system is there to listen and love you no matter what. That being said, they are not responsible for your weight loss and lifestyle and you cannot ask them to change to meet your needs. Remember that, let them be the best they can, but you be the best you can. That being said, if you can find a fitness or accountability buddy – do it, you chances for success are that much better.

Anyway, these are just some of the things I had been thinking over the last week and realizing where I had forgotten my path, especially the superhero alter ego. It is time for me to bring back Bike Man I think and do battle with the jack asses in their car.

Go move today.

Joe Cool Rocks the Westfront Auditorium this Saturday

I am pretty inconsistent in my writing and for that, I am just lame. I don’t even have a great excuse like I have school and work and family. I estimate there is about 2 hours of my day that I waste doing stuff like scratching myself, hanging out in bathroom stalls trying to get a few moments of privacy, or just staring at my PC that I could dedicate to blogging more. But if I write it, will they come?

What makes a blog magical? I have read some blogs that are fantastic, well written and put together well and I read them; even if the subject isn’t necessarily in my arena. Now, that being said, I know that I am more tempted to read new blogs based on searches of things I am interested in, so I have tried using tags that were specific to my blogs like porn, sex, babies, shirtless men and broad wired big data analytics but I still struggle to find my blog niche. Maybe if I just keep writing, I will get a narrative thread, get better at writing and finally break through. Maybe.

Or maybe someday my kids will find my blog and just think what a douche there dad was. Maybe.

In recent news, I am not now or in the near future moving to Utah. There is happiness and sadness about this. I can focus on the betterment of Mike now (spending more time with friends, making new friends, fitness, recipes, making beer and just all around becoming the dude you want to hang out with this summer). I miss my boys, but maybe the little shits should visit here?

Amanda and I are participating in the 12-week Henderson Lighten Up event, which is a free city sponsored weight loss and fitness awareness program. We are mid week two right now. Both of us had a great first week, Amanda would kill me if I posted her weight, but she tore it up and crushed a 2.36 % overall weight loss. Fucking amazing! She had thought that .75% would be a lot. Admittedly, it will get harder, but what a start. She is now at Zumba working off our cheat night of AYCE Sushi.

As for me, I came in at 2.26%. Way above the 1.25% I had guessed, but well below what I am capable of. I will take it more seriously and crush the next ten weeks. I have been watching Nike Commercials all morning, and reading my fitness blogs. I follow Power of Run, who truly inspired me to get over my fear of starting to run on her post here, go check it out, very worth the read.

That’s about it, I am writing a creative blog entry for next time called 25 Hour Fitness and the power of Combat Yoga, but I am still ironing it up and polishing it off.

Big props and shouts to my friends and those that inspired, motivated, or were just there for me this past 7 days. Mahalo and love to you all. Go find your greatness this week, I am getting ready to go ride a bike, talk to you soon.

My wife is an amazing woman, and I commit to her that this will he the year of the Chicken.

Southern Fried in Vegas

I hate resolutions. I think the whole idea of them is stupid. Ok, maybe not the WHOLE idea…but the act of everyone making them at the beginning of the year, just to break them and go on with the existence that they didn’t like in the first place, is stupid. I like the idea of making yearly goals. And to-do lists? I’m all over those.
Lists are one of my favorite things. It’s the OCD in me. It’s also the mom-of-three-who-can’t-remember-what-fucking-day-it-is-much-less-what-I-need-to-get-done-during-said-day-or-what-to-get-from-the-store in me. Lists are my friends. I leave them all over the house. I feel so accomplished when everything I put on my to-do list gets a nice straight line through it. (Stop judging. Yes, I’m like this all the time.) Lately, not all things get done, but there is still satisfaction in saying, “I wanted to do that today, and LOOK! I did it!”. Evidently, my inner self is…

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