Saturday, March 17, 2018

Walk of Life: Episode 3 - Niagara Falls (Thursday May 5, 2016)

Today is March 17, 2018. This episode is from my attempt at another solo podcast called "Walk of Life" that never really took off and is actually from May 5, 2016. That's almost two years ago if you are keeping score at home. But why I am posting this just now? That's because on the primary entity of the Pookon Inc. Empire (, I just finished posting the pictures and captions for Iceman Celebration Day 2016. Yes, I understand that none of this is relevant anymore because I have changed so much due to the unstoppable passing of time. But even though I am different person now, this episode encapsulates who I was at the time and what I was thinking and feeling on Cinco de Mayo 2016 as I stood atop of the Skylon Tower overlooking Niagara Falls as I was about to enter my 35th year of life. So click below to time jump back into the past and see what life was like at that glorious moment in time.

A more in depth retelling of this tale can be found on at, but let me tell you right here that I had an amazing experience. I love being up high on my tower. From an elevated vantage point, I like to be able to see the World around me. That unique perspective is something that you just cannot get on the ground. It helps you to understand how truly small you are and how big the World is. At 775 feet above Niagara Falls, they say that you can see both the Toronto and Buffalo skylines on a good day. Since I was up there at dusk/night, I concentrated my seeing power on the falls herself. While walking around the observation deck, I talked about the different towers that I have been on (from Rockefeller Center in New York City and the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and someday I hope to do the same thing in Seattle from the Space Needle and Toronto from the CN Tower) and how much I loved being up here. As I walked around this relatively small round space up here (as you can see from the picture on the right), I got a little too deep and introspective on what life means and what we mean to the life around us. Happens. It was Cinco de Mayo and I was drinking backpack booze. None of this makes sense. But why should it?

When you are up on top of the World (or as far as someone like me can go on a restricted budget), you get to marvel at the surroundings. That's when you realize that for some people the sky's the limit and for others the limit is the sky. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but for May 5th and 6th I was willing to live outside of my means and celebrate like there was no tomorrow. I hope to live a long and fruitful life, but one of these days today will be my last. And I hope that when that day does come, my final day on this planet will be something spectacular. I understand that not every day can be the greatest day ever. But if I try hard enough and rage until the wheels fall off, there's a chance that it won't have to be. 

- pookon -

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Whiskey & Whatever - C is for Cookie Video

Last week I shared the song "C is for Cookie" that Kevin and I created (as the band Whiskey & Whatever) while we were camping. This just kind of happened while we were jamming out to some Tom Petty and it just took off and became its' own monster. And a Cookie Monster at that. Well this weekend I had a little downtime and an idea to put together some video clips to play behind this song. The results of which truly embody the spirit of our band, our childhood icons and what happens when you combine Whiskey & Whatever. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did singing the song and putting this together. But if you don't, I really don't mind. Because C is also for complacent. And that's good enough for me.

- pookon -

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Whiskey & Whatever - C is for Cookie (ft. Jenny Reck)

While camping at Mirror Lake State Park near the Wisconsin Dells, we played songs around the fire. After finishing Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How it Feels" we created a song using Cookie Monster's "C is for Cookie" as a guideline. What happened that night was another on the spot creation to add to Whiskey & Whatever's staple of musical works.

This is one of many reasons why I set out the recording device every time we sit around and make music. Kevin and I (and any of the one of the multitude of friends and family that join us) can come up with these musical wonders at any given moment. I'd rather have thousands of recorded hours of music with a few minutes worth posting than not have a recording of the good stuff when it happens. I just hope that you enjoy these songs and that you get to be there in person the next time something like this comes together. 

 - pookon -

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Walk of Life: Episode 2 - Fox Point (Monday April 25, 2016)

When I started this podcast a week ago I knew that today was going to be a day to record another episode. I was kind of looking forward to it and not at the same time. I knew that on Monday April 25, I would be a mess of emotions and there was no telling how this would benefit or detriment an audio recording. Even though the results are mixed, it is still important that I captured my feelings at this time because today was 5 years to the day that my younger brother Timmy passed away at the age of 24. It's been a very long 5 years, but at the same time I feel like it was just yesterday because the wounds and emotions feel so fresh. I feel like if I keep typing then I will just be rehashing everything I say in this episode, so click below to listen to find out what I was feeling on that day:

Timmy was the best friend I could ever have and it hurts me so much to know that I have to spend the rest of my life without him. I think about him every single day because that is one more day since he was (physically) in my life. I hate to have negative thoughts and let them hamper me from enjoying my life, but I can't help but think about how much life would be so much better if he was still here. I'm thankful for every opportunity that I have gotten in the past 5 years and I certainly have enjoyed every single adventure that I have been on. But I will always play the "what if" card no matter how many times I tell myself not to. That's how important he was to me and how much of an influence that he had on my life and on me as a person. Life is hard. It throws a lot of things at you that you really are never ready for. But you just gotta keep on going dealing with them and moving forward. You gotta keep on walking. On that's what this podcast is really all about. Today was hard. But tomorrow things may get better. Who knows what will happen in a few weeks? But I know that I will be here to to provide yet another snapshot on my life during this walk of life.

 - pookon -

Monday, April 18, 2016

Walk of Life: Episode 1 - Mark Travel (Friday April 15, 2016)

Welcome to another foray into podcasting. While "Burnin' Down the Podcast" from The Daily Burner is on hiatus, I figure it's time to get my spoken thoughts out there again. My last solo podcast "The Drive to Stay Alive" went for about 25 episodes from October 2012 to March of 2014. And while I certainly will go back to that Podcast in the future, I decided that the "Walk of Life" could be kind of an offshoot of that (which was recorded in my car during my morning and evening commute to work) but tailored to my current situation. I now live about 5 minutes away from work, so recording during my commute wouldn't give me enough time to talk. But I do take a half hour walk during my lunch break, which gives me more than enough time to snapshot a moment in my life. While each "The Drive to Stay Alive" episode was around 50 minutes long, I'm going to try to keep these around 10-20 minutes. Just long enough to get my point across and get my thoughts out there. Episode 1 is 15 minutes long and basically gives an introduction as to what I'm trying to do here. Check it out by clicking below:

So that's basically it. I'm not premeditating these episodes or writing down future topics for discussion. I'm just going to hit record when I have an idea and see what happens. That means each walk/episode should be fresh and spontaneous (not to mention topical). I'm excited to see what happens, but more than that I am eager to talk out my feelings and ideas and get them on the record. I don't know where this idea will take me or how long it will last, but the important thing is that I'm still trying. And still walking. And I'll keep on doing that until I'm no longer able to.

 - pookon -

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Even It Out Month 3 - Day 31 (Sunday January 24)

As you can see by the date this was posted, I haven't written anything on this blog or about this Even It Out challenge since December 5th. I apologize for that. But I didn't really have anything to say and by the time the month came to a close, I didn't want to report on the results. I started out December at 350 pounds. I finished the month at 356 pounds. If you've been following along, this would be the first time that I gained weight during this experiment. And not only that, but I gained a lot of weight. I was consistently losing 1-2 pounds and feeling better every day. So what happened? Everything was going great until the holidays. I set up my schedule of eating every other day so that the eating days landed on some holiday parties, Christmas Eve and on my Star Wars Marathon on the 18th (when I watched Episodes 1-6 in preparation for seeing The Force Awakens on Saturday the 19th). As soon as Christmas approached, the wheels fell off and I failed to put them back on.

I went to church on Christmas morning and I fully intended to go the entire day without eating (as I had on every odd day this month). But then I ate some snacks around lunch time and it all went downhill from there. I figured that I could use Christmas as a cheat day and then I could get back on target. I should have known better. The whole reason I did this challenge is that I know I can't handle moderation. Once I get a taste I don't want to stop. I want the whole thing. Then after eating it all I sit around feeling sick wondering what happened. By the time I weighed myself on January 1st, to no surprise I had gained a lot of weight in a short period of time. The Holidays can be a real bitch for so many reasons. 

This is why people make New Year's Resolutions. They usually involve giving up something or losing weight. I'm guilty of falling victim to this ploy and setting unachievable goals. That's why I didn't set any this year and also why I decided to end this Even It Out challenge. While I can't argue with the results when I was sticking to the plan, I know that I did make some mistakes along the way. It's now the end of January and I weigh the same that I did at the end of December. While this could be construed as a bad thing, this means that I've been able to maintain my weight without having to give up eating every other day. I definitely need to keep on losing weight and become a healthier person, but I was going about it all wrong. What good does it do to give up eating on an even or odd day if I eat like shit on the days when I can eat? That does even it out. Instead of say consuming like 2,500 calories in a day, I would consume 0 in one day and 5,000 in the other. So it's all the same in the end. I didn't pay attention to what I was eating and how much I was eating, which is why this approach ultimately does not work.

But it did garner some positive results. I have lost like 10-15 pounds and kept if off (for the most part). I have figured out yet another way that doesn't work for me. That means the only way to being healthy is eating right and exercising. Who would've thought? This sucks. I thought that I could come up with a magic solution that would produce incredible results, but it turns out that the tried and true method still works the best. I guess there's nothing left to do but pay close attention to the food I am putting in my body and make sure to get plenty of exercise. Damn it.

 - pookon -

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Even It Out Month 3 - Day 1 (Tuesday December 1)

I started this month at 350 pounds, so I decided to keep this gravy train going for yet another month. Mmmmmm... Oh, what I wouldn't do for a gravy train right about now. Could you imagine if one of those made an unscheduled stop in your town? You'd run out of the house with multiple helpings of turkey, mashed potatoes or a million other things that are improved by a slathering helping of gravy. Popsicles? Better with gravy. Cotton candy? Why would you choose between blue and pink when you can have one that is basted in delicious gravy?  What goes best with gravy? Well a side dish of gravy of course! Can you tell that I'm hungry? What turned you on to that? This kind of thing happens when you decide to continue this little experiment for a 3rd month. I'm so messed up that I can't even think straight. At this point, I'm still not convinced that this is a good idea. While it is certainly true that I have lost 20 pounds as a direct result of this experiment, this whole idea is starting to seem a wee bit ludicrous. This is on par with an eating disorder and people who starve themselves and go to extreme ends in order to achieve their goals. They need to stop and think about the consequences of their actions. But has it gone too far? Is it too late to turn back?

At this point I think that I understand why people make poor and unhealthy decisions. I've gone too far to turn back now. It may be wrong. It may be damaging. It may be so many things. But it's addictive. It gives me power. It makes me feel something. I never used to be hungry. I used to just eat because I didn't know what else to do with my time. Now I feel the hunger festering inside of me and I have to deny it. When I say no to those demons I feel like I can conquer just about anything that stands in my way. Wielding that kind of power is incredibly dangerous. No one man should be that. But judging by my current weight, I am not one man. In fact, I am two. That means I should be able to do this, right? Easier said than done.

Making a complete life change is probably the most difficult thing there is. I can't begin to explain how this challenge goes against everything that I have ever done and everything that I know. From the outset it was destined to fail. What kind of lunatic does something this insane? It's madness I tell ya. MADNESS! So don't be alarmed if this gravy train goes completely off the rails and floods the valley with turkey, beef or country gravy goodness flowing from the overfilled containers.  That kind of thing tends to happen from time to time, so I apologize if you are smothered in that delicious gravy. You are so lucky. Right now, I would switch places with you in a heartbeat. A stalled, palpitating heartbeat caused by an over-consumption of gravy. But dear God - it was worth it.

 - pookon -

Monday, November 30, 2015

Even It Out Month 2 - Day 30 (November 30)

At the beginning of November, I weighed 358 pounds. I'm happy to say that by the end of this month, I'm down to 350 pounds. That's pretty incredible to me considering that this month contains my favorite eating day of the year - Thanksgiving. I was actually able to control myself for the most part and I only fixed up one plate of food (albeit an oval plate) and didn't take any leftovers home. That's a first for me because I usually overdo it and end up in a food coma that keeps me in that state longer than Elaine Esposito. By the time I wake up, I only feel regret and stomach pains. But this year was different. This time around I was conscious of my decisions and didn't go overboard like the men unable to occupy a lifeboat on the ill fated voyage of the Titanic. What? Too soon? It's never too soon. Especially to make important life decisions that people aren't fully supportive of or ready to understand. Well this is my struggle, not theirs. They need to do what they need to do and I need to do what I need to do.

Gravy for days. That is a World that I want to live in. Of course one may argue that since I live in America and come from a middle class family, I already live in a World where that is a reality. At any given moment, I can go to the nearest convenience store and purchase enough gravy to keep me satisfied until the next time I can go out and get more gravy. While one may call this "living the dream", I call this being caught in an endless loop to which there is no escape. I can have whatever I want whenever I want. How do you say no to that? How do you stop yourself from taking advantage of this situation? If I turn my back on everything I've ever known, I feel like I'm doing a disservice to myself. That is why I have to keep this experiment going in order to retrain myself into a different way of thinking and a complete lifestyle change. This isn't going to be easy and this change isn't going to happen overnight. This is about erasing 34 years of learned behavior and completely starting over. This sort of thing has already proved to be quite difficult and I don't see it getting any easier. But nothing worth having isn't worth working for. I've been working for some time now and I'll be damned if I'm going to let myself fail now. 

2 months down in this experiment and everything seems to be going OK. While this is certainly not ideal and I don't expect you to understand it, I need to do what works for me. And this works. Whether you agree with it or not, this is undeniably working. I don't intend to stick to this plan forever, but I'm at least going to keep this gravy train going for another month. So that's my plan. And for time being, I'm sticking to it. It's up to you if you want to come along for the ride.

 - pookon -

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Even It Out Month 2 - Day 17 (Tuesday November 17)

I know that it's been what seems like a long time since I last posted in here. That's because there isn't really much to say. I have a couple of updates to provide and also to let you know that I am continuing this challenge for another month. In fact, I believe that I just committed to doing this challenge throughout the entire Winter. Because of that, I'm only going to post periodic updates when I actually have something to say. There's no sense in wasting any more of your time if you came here for the most important question - is this experiment working? Well, at my last check on Nov 16th, I clocked in at 352 pounds, which means that I have lost 6 pounds since Nov 1st and a total of 17 pounds since beginning this challenge. That's 17 pounds in 6 weeks for those keeping track at home. So of course I'm going to keep this going. But that's not to say that I'm not going to make some changes today and in the future in order to keep this train rolling right along on track. If you know me, then you know how much I want to derail this train. It would be one hell of show. But not until I'm ready to end it all. I'm not there pal. Not even close. Life is just beginning for me.

I mentioned in the last post from Oct 31 that there was so much wrong that I did over the final 3 weeks of the month. I'm doing my best to stay away from the things that led me to only lose 1 pound a week during that time period. Apparently it is working because I'm up to 3 pounds lost per week. Besides a few very minor infractions, I have respected the Gremlin Rule (no food after midnight). I've been eating healthier, but the alcohol/beverage intake is still through the roof. This isn't helping me one bit, but I realize that this problem isn't going to be easily resolved in the foreseeable future. I can't possibly take that out of the picture right now because I'm taking away one of the things I love the most - food. If I would have to pick something as my favorite, I think I would have to say food is at the top of my list. Nothing in this World makes me happier, which is probably how I became the beast that I am today. I still have yet to find something that can replace that love, but I feel like I'm getting close.

That's because I have found my new obsession - a TV show called "Make It or Break It" that ran on ABC Family from 2009 - 2012. It's about a group of teenage gymnasts training for the Olympics in Boulder, CO. Now before you call the authorities, I'll have you know that all of these girls are above 18. But it wasn't the girls in tight clothes doing stretches and incredible athletic feats that keeps me watching (although I'll sadly admit that's what drew me to the show). It's the teenage girl drama that I can't get enough of, especially from my girl Lauren (the one in the orange in the picture on the right). If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I've been jabbering on nonstop about Lauren and how I'm caught up in her destructive drama that barrels in like a hurricane and obliterates everything in her path. Hurricane Lauren. Lord help us all. I absolutely love teenage drama (and love teenage girl drama even more). I get addicted to shows like this on ABC Family, Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel. I have problems. But like last month when I was too busy moving and watching the MLB Playoffs to think about eating, this has been my distraction this month. I could go on and on and on about how much I am loving this show and the teenage girl drama, but I don't want to be any creepier than I already am. Moving on.

There are two more things that I want to mention before starting season 2 of "Make It or Break It" - during the month of November I decided to switch it up and only eat on even days and I joined a "Biggest Loser" competition at work. The decision to go with even days was made about midway through October when I extended this plan into November. Why change it? Because Thanksgiving lands on Thursday, November 26. I'm all about this challenge, but I'll be damned if I'm going to sit and stare at a smorgasbord of food and not eat a single morsel of it (for those new to this challenge, in the month of October, I only ate on odd days). I'll do my best to not go overboard, but that's kind of hard to not do when sailing on the gravy boat. 

At work they are doing a 16 week "Biggest Loser" challenge and you have to pay $1 for every week. There are 25 people doing it (for a total of $400) and at the end of the challenge, the top 3 people with the most weight loss share the pot (something like 60%/30%/10%). You weigh in every Thursday and for every pound you gain, you have to pay a penalty $1. That weekly money then goes to the weekly biggest loser. While the monetary incentive is nice, I decided to join this just to show everyone that I could do this. I doubt that I will win any of the the weekly challenges because aside from the first week loss of 9 pounds, I've been steadily losing a few pounds per week. For me this isn't about the money or the title of champion. This is about a long term goal to be healthier. I might have a shot at the end prize if I stick to the plan and make improvements along the way, but we'll worry about that at the end of February. For now, I'm going to go with what is working and stay on target. I just have to take it day by day. Baby steps. That's really the only way that this goal can be achieved.  

 - pookon -

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Even It Out - Day 31 (Saturday October 31)

So the month is come and gone and I'm left here trying to figure out if this challenge was beneficial in any way. Just to recap, during the month of October, I only ate on odd days in an attempt to even it out and reduce my calorie intake. Here is what went right - I did only eat on odd days. So in that sense, I successfully completed this challenge. I also ended up losing a total of 11 pounds over the 31 days. That's a good thing. I'm not going to overlook that or downplay that in any way because for a person of my size, losing weight is an absolute must. I have to be a healthier person and make changes in my diet and exercise routine in order to elongate my life. I set a goal and stuck to it. I proved to myself that I could do something as long as I put my mind to it. I learned a lot about myself and my body and how much food you really need in order to survive. When I did get a chance to eat, I wanted to eat real food and things like snacks, candy and fast food were not appetizing to me. That stuff really has no place in your food consumption (but I'll be the first to tell you that it is incredibly delicious). So I can hang my hat on a couple of things. 

But here's what went wrong. For the first week, I did a good job of only eating when I was hungry (once again, on odd days only). During the second week, something bad happened. On those odd days (when I could eat), I started binge eating and eating snacks, candy and other non-essential food items. I was stuffing my face with anything within arms reach. It was a horrible sight to behold. That's one of the reasons why I lost 9 pounds in the first week and then only two pounds over the remaining 3 weeks. Also during that second week, I started treating days like calendar days and not as the time between when you wake up and when you go to bed. The difference is this - take for example October 18th. Since it was an even day, I didn't eat. But then that night at midnight, I ate because the calendar said it was now the 19th. I was in clear violation of one of the big rules that I put in place when I first started this challenge - The Gremlin Rule (no food after midnight). That was supposed to safeguard me during this challenge and ignoring it ended up replicating the demon inside of me.

I previously talked about how I was busy this month moving out of my place. This worked for and against me. While it gave me something to do instead of eating, it caused me to gorge on some food items with the whole "can't take it with you" mentality. I had some food items that I didn't want to move because of lack of space at my new place (The Mothership). So I either ate poorly or ate too much of some items because I didn't want to pack or transport them. If I hadn't been moving, I might not have acted that way. That could have resulted in the minimal weight loss. But I can't really put that all into the wrong category because moving helped me to stay active by walking things out to the car, going up and down stairs and lifting heavy objects. Without the move, I doubt that I would have done as much exercise. 

And while diet/calorie reduction is the most important step of weight loss, regular exercise to burn calories certainly plays a very big roll as well. I probably did a lot of other things wrong, but there is only one more that I will point out. My alcohol consumption was through the roof during this challenge. My goal was to not eat on even days. I told you that I achieved that goal. But I didn't say that I wouldn't consumer calories. Sometimes you forget how many calories, sugar, sodium, carbs, etc. are in booze, beer and the multitude of mixers that go with them. Even on days that I wasn't eating, I still took in my fair share (but probably more than my fair share) of calories. That didn't help in trying to lose weight because I didn't stay true to the plan of every other day. Apparently I found a loophole. I know I drink too much. It's kind of my thing. It's not to deal with problems and I don't consider myself a true addict, but it's definitely a problem that cannot be ignored. It became more apparent during this month because without the food to help soak it up, it took very little to get me drunk. The "normal" pour that I usually do is enough to knock out a baby elephant. So there is still a lot of work to do.

At the end of the day I'll take away two things. This kind of diet does indeed work for me because of my addictive personality. I do better without having something than doing it in moderation. I'm all or none and until I can figure out how to properly balance everything out, I need to keep doing this in order to be healthier. In fact, I've decided to keep this going in November but with a couple of changes (look for that in an upcoming blog post). The other thing that I learned is how little food a body needs to survive and how much I eat because it is available or if I am bored. I need to figure out a way to resist boredom and temptation and I'll be alright. I've never had self-control because I've always had enough money and any food you want, any time, is available (this is America after all). Once I learn to say no to those things, I will be a better (and healthier) person.

I didn't write as much as I would have preferred, but that's OK because I was too busy living or die tryin'. Yeah. Right. But once my internet got cut off in the first week of the month, it became more difficult to sit down and blog about this challenge. Talk about your first world problems, right? But all of that will change in November because I'll be continuing the challenge with a lot more stability in my life. I don't know now if that will make it easier or more difficult. You'll just have to stay tuned to see what happens as I attempt to Even it Out.

 - pookon -

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Even It Out - Day 18 (Sunday October 18)

Something happened today. I woke up this morning and I didn't know what else to do. Normally I would eat breakfast or lunch on a Sunday (depending on what time I wake up). But today was an even day and I couldn't eat anything. But I needed to do something. After all, boredom is the first step towards relapse. This is what led to me looking like a cancer patient. What? You expected me to have a little more tact? Try drinking all morning on an empty stomach and try to not be offensive. I'd say that I'm sorry, but I don't mean it right now. Drunken Iceman is a true asshole. But if you need visual proof of what this little misstep did to me, simply scroll down to see what happened. If you didn't already know, let me state for the record that I have problems. There's a lot of things about me you don't know anything about. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand. You don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner. A rebel.

I don't know where else to go with this one. I shaved my head and beard because I was bored. When you have reached the point of no return, you can't go back. I'm a little more than halfway into this monthly challenge, so I have no choice but to soldier on. I figure since I've gone this far, I might as well keep on going, right? So excuse me if things start to get weird. Wait, start to get weird? They've already been weird. Where the hell have you been pal? Christ if I know. I often try to go on a quest to find myself, but my spirit animal (a smug ass dolphin), always leads me in the wrong direction. Punk ass bitch. I don't even know why I subscribe to that method of thinking. I have a level head. I'm educated. I don't make foolhardy decisions. So why do I allow the asshole of the sea to take me to these places? I don't know. I have problems. He has problems. We all have problems. Deal with it.

 - pookon -

Friday, October 16, 2015

Even it Out - Day 16 (Friday October 16th)

It's now been two weeks since I started this challenge and 1 week since I first weighed myself. During the first week I was astounded by the success of this program when I found out I lost 9 pounds. While I knew that there wouldn't be similar results (as a 20 pound loss is unreal), I was hoping for some kind of progress. So it was kind of a shock to see that in week two, I only lost 1 pound. I'm down to 359 now. I'm trying to stay positive that at least I didn't gain any of the weight back, but I just want to be like you normal people. Obviously this is going to take time. A long time. And it's going to take more work than I've already put into it. All I did was cut out eating on even days. I still drink beverages with calories and haven't stayed away from beer or alcohol. So even though I'm not eating, I'm still consuming calories on these days. So that would make perfect sense as to the lack of weight loss. This week I also didn't exercise as much as I didn't move anything else out of my apartment. The lifting, carrying and up and down stairs multiple times a day had to have help with the weight loss. This week I basically just sat around and watched baseball. So it was a misstep. I'm not off the path, but things could have been better.

There's also one really big issue to address. I've been reeeeeeeeaaaaaly bad on the odd days. I don't even want to tell you what my eating habits are like on the days when I am allowed to eat. It would play out like that scene in Heavyweights where the kids (who are at fat camp) overthrow the counselors and pig out on every kind of food in a rather disgusting way. You don't want to know. I need to work on that because I'm not doing myself any favors. What is the point of reducing your food intake on one day if you are just going to double up the next day? I'm not cutting back. I'm not being smarter about my choices. It totally negates every ounce of good will that I am doing here. Aside from the fact that the human body isn't designed to lose 10 pounds a week, I'm sure that my lack of self-restraint on odd days contributed to the minuscule weight loss. 

I don't think I'm doing everything right, but I know that I am doing some things wrong. Or is it that I think I'm doing everything wrong but know that I am doing some things right? Is there a difference? Hell if I know. Look, I'm making this up as I go along here folks. Isn't that what doing an experiment is all about anyway? That's half the battle. The other half? Knowing of course. 

- pookon -

Monday, October 12, 2015

Even it Out - Day 12 (Monday October 12th)

It's incredibly hard to not eat. It obviously can be done. It's not impossible. But when you're sitting around doing nothing and there is plenty of available food within reach, it takes a whole lot of self control to not give in. All I have to say is thank God for baseball and my scale. Without those two, I for sure would have cheated by now. The Major League Baseball playoffs are my absolute favorite. That is probably the only reason why I love October. Sure, it would be nice to have my Brewers in it again like in 2008 and 2011 (and I have my Timehop to remind me how amazing that was), but I've come to realize that I'm in love with a losing franchise. 1982 and 2011 are the best that it is ever going to get, so if I want to see a winning team I better jump ship and ride a new horse. I'm too invested to turn back now, so every year I pick an American League team and follow them with all my heart in the playoffs. 

This year I'm all about the Houston Astros. Of course there's the Brewers connection with Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, but I'm more into the fact that they lost 111 games as recently as 2013 and are back in the playoffs. Since you have to make a lot of great draft picks and moves to pull that off, it gives me a little hope that we signed our GM, David Stearns, from their system (he was assistant GM from 2012 - 2015). We don't have a great shot to get back in the playoffs over the next 5 years, but that signing alone makes it seem more likely to happen. But let's talk about that if the Brewers ever get back to the playoffs. I'm loving every minute of the post season, so you can't tear me away from the TV, radio or Internet while these games are going on. There's something so amazingly wonderful about do or die baseball that makes every game, every inning, every play and every pitch important. It just doesn't feel that way in April. Without that I don't know what I would do. Probably eat.

If not for the scale, I don't know where I would be right now. That sounds like a weird thing to say because I've gone the majority of my adult life avoiding one. Why would I ever want to put a number on my obesity? I know I'm fat. I've known that for my entire life. Kids in Elementary and High School reminded me about it every day. So why would I want to relive that? Because I need to know now. You can't measure weight loss without knowing where it all begins and how it all ends. I was always afraid of getting on a scale, worried it would either break or make fun of me, displaying "please - one at a time" instead of my weight. But eventually I had no choice. That very fear has become my saving grace this week. If not for the noticeable progress in the numbers, I would be tempted to give up. But those numbers show results. They show that this experiment (no matter how bizarre) is working.

So hooray for baseball! Hooray for the scale! And hooray for me I guess.

 - pookon -

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Even it Out - Day 10 (Saturday October 10th)

Yesterday (Friday, October 7th) was a very important day in this month-long challenge. It has been one week since I started this thing and the first time that I stepped on the scale to see if there were any results. One week ago (October 1st) I weighed 369 pounds. This morning, to my surprise, I was down to 360 pounds. I lost 9 pounds in one week by eating only on odd days. While I am overjoyed by weight loss, I can't help but think that the amount is a little extreme. Losing weight is a good thing (at least when you are overweight like me). But it should be done gradually over the course of time through exercise and a healthy diet. So this can't be good. But then how come I feel amazing? I'm sleeping better, have more energy and I feel outstanding. So much to the point that I almost have to keep this experiment going even if it is detrimental to my health. I've never really lost weight before no matter how hard I tried because of my poor diet. While this is far from the optimal plan, I feel like I need to do this in order to get used to eating less. 

There will be something to learn from this experiment and I will take something away from it. I have already displayed some really great self control on the even days but let the wheels fall off on the odd days. I need to be consistent and learn to implore moderation. But seeing some (albeit drastic) weight loss is enough to keep me going. I am going to weigh in more frequently to make sure that I don't lose another 10 pounds this week. I don't want to run into a situation where I get sick or endanger my body because of malnutrition or lack any possible side effects. I need to lose weight, but I can't be unsafe about it. So if you've been following along and have any concern for my well-being, please know that I will quit this at any time that I feel like I'm in any danger or feel damaged in any way. There's a huge difference between dieting/weight loss and starvation. As much as I need this, I don't need to end up in the hospital or dead. But like I mentioned in previous entries, on the days that I don't eat I never feel hungry or sick in any way. I haven't felt a lack or energy or any ill effects. I drink plenty of water and I take a daily vitamin. I'm getting enough exercise and sleeping 7 hours a night. So unless something extreme happens, the experiment goes on. 

 - pookon -

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Even it Out - Day 8 (Thursday October 8th)

I had my first bad day during this challenge. No, I didn’t eat on an Even Day. I’m not going to screw that one up. But I was tempted. But what I did was probably just as bad. The day was Wednesday October 7. Since this was an odd day, I was allowed to consume food today. But I went overboard and instead of ending up on a desert island with a beautiful, desperate, sex-addicted supermodel (one can dream, right?), I ended up drowning. In an ocean of food. The morning didn’t start well. I woke up with the hunger and plenty of time. That is a very dangerous combination. Since I had been looking at them in my fridge for about a week, I cooked some Bratwurst. Brats for breakfast. Could I be any more Wisconsin? If that was the worst thing I did all day, I’m pretty sure that I could live with myself. But like a runaway locomotive, it just keeps picking up speed before it eventually derails off the tracks.

My Team (of 5 people) had scheduled a taco day potluck at work. It was originally planned for Tuesday October 6, but I coyly had them change it to Wednesday, claiming some kind of scheduling issue that I had later that afternoon. Of course I didn’t tell them the real reason why. Who would believe that I’m not eating on even days? What kind of psycho does something like that? I can’t reveal my secret (to anyone who doesn’t read this blog to keep it exclusive to the viewers) until I have some kind of evidence to support my experiment. So I ate the shit out of those tacos at work. And when I was done doing that, I ate some fully loaded nachos. It was disheartening how much lunch I consumed. I normally don't eat anything at work (unless there is free eats), so it was definitely a step in the wrong direction. But this was only strike 2 on the day, so I had at least one more before walking back to the dugout instead of towards first base. I wouldn't allow that, would I?

Things went from bad to worse when I got home. After moving a couple of things over to Mom's, the feast continued. She had all sorts of leftovers in the fridge and I couldn't contain myself. Spaghetti. Chili. Whatever the hell that was. Chips. Snacks. Yum yums. It didn't really matter what it was. I ate it like I was going to die tomorrow. And if I keep on eating like this, I might. Just because there is plenty of food available doesn't mean I should eat it all. There's always a grand feast out there in front of you. This challenge only works if I restrain myself on the odd days when I am allowed to eat. Otherwise there is no benefit to what I am doing. It doesn't matter that I don't eat on even days if I eat twice as much on odd days. That evens it out too much (and benefits no one at all). I have to find a better way manage this thing and not screw up on the odd days. That's my goal for the coming week. I better figure out a good way to do this while I'm trying to establish a routine. Or else what is the point of this experiment?

 - pookon -

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Even it Out - Day 6 (Tuesday October 6th)

I picked the perfect month to do this. Boredom is the first step towards relapse (or so I've heard), so I've been keeping myself busy like a little bee. I guess it helps that I found out about a week ago that my lease is up, someone bought the house and I need to be out by the end of the month. Doesn't really give you a lot of time to sit around and think about being hungry when you have as much shit to move as I do. My free time has been spent packing, lifting and carrying. The rest, rage and repeat. I do this all morning long when I wake up and all night long when I get home. Even though I still have 24 days in which to complete this transition, I'm not leaving anything to the last minute. I know myself too well and I'm sick of doing that shit. I am basically tiring myself out, which is good because I don't have time to eat. While one would think that I wouldn't have any energy in which to do all this activity, it is actually the opposite. I feel great. In fact, I don't think I have ever felt better. I don't know if it is cutting down on my caloric intake or the increased amount of exercise. It could be that I'm eating less junk food and focusing on the essentials. It also could be because I am drinking more water on purpose to stay hydrated and feel full. But also my procedures at the Vein Clinic are through and my blood could possibly be flowing correctly now. Better blood flow equals more oxygen in the body equals better sleep equals better physical well being. Whatever the case may be, something is working. And I like it. 

Until I do my next weight in on Friday (which will be 1 week since I did my initial weigh in), I won't know if this has helped me lose any weight. While that is part of the idea of this whole thing, it's not the most important. It is more important how I feel. Even though I have only gone 3 total days without food, I can already tell that it is making an impact. When I do get to eat, I choose more wisely because I don't want to fill up on nonsense like junk food or wasted calories. So non beneficial things like ice cream or fast food don't make the cut. What's the point of eating that crap anyway except for the fact that it is incredibly delicious? It's a huge price to pay for how terrible you feel later. There is no nutrition there. And it is obvious that you don't need that stuff to survive. I'm not trying to preach or anything because I realize that I haven't done anything yet and still have yet to even scratch the surface of breaking bad habits. All I'm saying is that I get it. And I know what I must do in order to turn this ship around before it ends up at the bottom of the sea, Titanic-style. What? Too soon?

But slow down Mr. Reck. It's been what, like 6 days? You've been too busy to seriously sit down and let the hunger overtake you. It's like when Derek Zoolander was working in the coal mine for 1 day and said that he had the black lung. Talk to me after you've been working down there for 30 years. While I'm not waiting 30 years to find out the end result, I'll certainly wait at least 30 days until I prescribe this as the cure to my ills. I need to see what happens once I'm not so busy and boredom leads to stuffing my face with the closest available edibles. I don't see that coming any time soon though, as I have so little to do and so much time. Wait... scratch that. Reverse it. You know what I meant. I don't see there being a day in the near future when I am so bored that I can't think of anything other to do than to eat like a banshee. But let's cross that bridge when we get there. I don't have time to think about that now, so I'll see you all in a few more days. 

 - pookon -

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Even it Out - Day 4 (Sunday October 4th)

As I am typing this, it is the most difficult part of my day during this challenge. I usually eat breakfast, but I have been known to skip "the most important meal of the day" simply because I don't have enough time in the morning. I am not a morning person. I will never be. Not here, not in an alternate dimension, timeline or realm. So if things aren't clicking for me in the morning, I have no problem sacrificing this meal for some extra sleep or me time. I don't eat lunch at work (unless we have free eats at work) so missing that meal is no big deal. But I always eat dinner. Even it comes at a late hour because of previous commitments or my 2nd job. It may be at 6pm, 7pm or 1030pm. But I always eat dinner. I don't mess around when it comes to that meal. That's what makes today so difficult. Even though there were plenty of distractions (a 2:10 Brewers start and coming home to the 2nd half of the Packers game), I can't help but be upset that I'm not allowed to eat my favorite meal of the day.

That is easily the biggest disappointment of the day. The Green Bay Packers won, so there is nothing to be sad about there. The Milwaukee Brewers lost, but in all honesty, it was just the final nail in coffin that was shut on April 6th (Opening Day) with a 10-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies which continued the pain from the last month of the 2014 season. I saw this one coming from a mile away. But I'm not used to missing dinner. I'll miss my favorite TV show. I'll miss my friends and family. But I don't miss dinner. That is what makes this so hard. On Friday night, I said that the 2nd day was the easiest. Well, then the 4th day is the worst. I'm hoping that in a few days, I will get used to this cycle. But for now, there is an adjustment period. I have to work through the mother of all first world problems until I get used to not eating every day. I feel like an asshole right now because I realize that there are people out there in the World that don't choose to not eat everyday. It just happens. It's a part of life. I'm doing this on purpose AND still complaining about it. When did I become that guy?

Well, I guess that is all . I successfully made it through another day of not eating with little to no desire to eat (although those peanuts that the kids in front of me had at the game looked incredibly delectable. You know how much I love those salty nuts! Ok, so that sounded #aLittleGay. Did I just hashtag something in my blog? Oh I'm so ashamed...). There's nothing else left for me to say now, so I'm going to go outside and walk around for a bit. I'm about 2,000 steps short of my 8,250 step goal. I haven't missed my daily step goal since August 17th, so I don't want to break the current streak that I'm on. Side note - I dreamnt of chicken wings last night I woke up drooling all over my pillow. This not eating thing is really starting to affect me. But at least I get to do something about it tomorrow. Hooray for odd days!

 - pookon -

Friday, October 02, 2015

Even it Out - Day 2 (Friday October 2nd)

Cat Stevens once said that "the first cut is the deepest". Well baby, I know. But the second day is the easiest. If you're like most people (aside from the homeless, the poor, people in 3rd World countries, etc.) then you probably eat every day. In fact, you probably eat 3 times a day plus snacks. We are just used to it. Coming from a middle-class family, I've always had food on the table and have been fortunate enough to not know what it is like to truly be starving. I've also worked every day since I was 16 years old, so I've always had enough money to afford the basics - food, water and shelter. A day without food is not going to kill me. In fact, it's a welcome relief to not eat anything. I wasn't hungry at any point during the day so I didn't even think about it. But today was different than most days, so it wasn't much of a challenge. On Friday October 2nd, I had a full schedule of activities that prevented the boredom from setting in. Like I previously mentioned, I don't usually eat because I am hungry. I'm really never hungry. I eat because I am bored. Today I wasn't bored.

I had my final procedure at the Vein Clinic and I got to see Nurse Sarah for one last time. I know it sounds weird, but I'm a little sad that my time there is over. I've been scanned, poked, injected and spent more time lying on the operating table than I care to admit. After all of that, you would think that I would be overjoyed to be done with all of this. But I've developed relationships with Dr Gariti, Nurse Sarah and the office staff. Hell, for the better part of the summer, I was there 4-6 times a month. And each time, I spent about 2 hours with these lovely people. We talked and we shared information. Almost like we were old friends getting together (except I was dressed in hospital gear and they were performing ultrasounds and sticking needles in my legs). I can't believe that I'm going to miss going there. But with the worst veins ever, there's reason to believe that I'll be back there some day.

I always scheduled these appointments for first thing in the morning so that I can still go to work. Since there procedures are of the outpatient variety, I can walk out and go about my daily life with nothing but minor soreness. Since I was out in Brookfield I went over to the house of my friend and (now former) landlord Carl to give him my last rent payment and to meet his new daughter Harper. I'll be moving at the end of the month, so life is about to get really interesting. I'm sure there will be more on that later. But I had to go to work. I got in around noon and I pretended to do things for 5 hours before leaving for other work at Miller Park at 5pm.

The Milwaukee Brewers hosted the Chicago Cubs in their 3rd to last game of the year and it wasn't even fair, as the playoff-bound Cubs defeated the Brewers 6-1. The only bright spot was a Khris Davis homerun. Work was hell but it always is on a Friday or Saturday night. I hate to openly bash my employers, but they have no idea how to run a successful business. It's a wonder I even have a job. Sometimes I wonder why I keep working there, but when it comes down to it, I love the people I work with and I really love being at the baseball game. Those 2 things overshadow all of the negatives that occur on any given night.

Coming back home after the game was business as usual. I would normally grab something for dinner (on a normal day, I eat breakfast, skip lunch and then eat dinner around 7pm) but since I didn't get home until around 1030, dinner would be late. But on this day, dinner didn't show up because it was an even day. So I had a couple of drinks, worked on the website, watched Twister and The Goonies and then I went to bed. And by went to bed, I mean passed out. I didn't eat a single thing today although I did consume some calories. I got a coffee at the bank (when I withdrew my rent money), had a coffee at Carl's house (when I was handing over my rent money) and then had a coffee after filling up with gas at Speedway (which had nothing to do with the rent money). My alcoholic drinks did contain calories since the whiskey was mixed with whatever, but I doubt that I even got close to 1,000 calories on the day. Seeing as I walked about 20,00 steps and burned 2,846 calories (according to my phone), I would say that today was a good day. Ice Cube style. 

I kept myself occupied enough to not think about eating food. But today was not a typical day in my life. How will I occupy myself on the even days over the next couple of weeks to keep this train rolling? I have no idea. Something tells me that I will figure it out, as October is shaping up to be anything but a typical month in my life (with the move and having no set permanent location to live over the next few months). I'm guessing that I won't have time to think about it, which is going to make this experiment a piece of cake. Mmmmmm. Cake. Damn it. Now I went and made myself hungry.

 - pookon -

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Even it Out - October 2015 Challenge

I've been going through some minor medical issues over the past couple of months. Long story short, I have the worst veins that my doctor has ever seen (based on my age and sex). While this is certainly correctable through laser surgery and sclerotherapy treatments (where they inject a solution into my legs that closes off/repairs my broken veins), it still got me thinking. I don't want to bore you with the medical details and shit. If you really want to know what I've been dealing with, talk to Doctor James Gariti of the Vein Clinics of America Brookfield location. (Quick side note - I highly recommend them if you have vein problems. The staff is incredibly helpful and friendly and they have made me feel at ease about this whole thing. I was worried about this mess, but I got through it. I've never broken anything and never had any kind of surgery. This was my first real medical issue. But hopefully everything is fixed with me now and I won't have to worry about this anymore).

I haven't really talked about it a whole lot unless you're really close with me. No offense, but people didn't need to know and I didn't want to make you worry. I wasn't dying and this issue was easily able to be fixed. But it did get me thinking. One of the reasons I had to go and get these procedures done is because of the possibility of blood clots due to vein and circulation problems. Blood clots can lead to heart attacks and strokes. And that's nothing to mess around with. Even though I'm not in the greatest shape, I'm way too young to be worrying about something like that. So if I could do something to fix it it, it was the right choice to make regardless of how much money it cost me. You can't put a price on a life. I'm not ready to die even if it costs me every dollar I have and every dollar I could possibly borrow from any bank or any government that will lend me money. That's where this month's experiment comes into play.

Followers of this blog should know that I sometimes do weekly or monthly entries when I get bored. Over the course of the last couple of years, I have done experiments like Go Bananas, The Write Month, Pickle the Day, The Drive to Stay Alive and It's in my Head. This recent health scare got me thinking that I need to try something different. Its no secret that I'm overweight and it affects every single aspect of my life. From mobility, to confidence, to sleeping and even just being alive - I can't live life like any of you normal people. I'm just different. It wasn't always like this and it doesn't always have to be. But I've fallen into a cycle that is too hard to break. Exercise isn't the problem. I don't spend hours at the gym and I'm certainly not ready to run a marathon. But I stay active enough despite my desk job. Ever since I got my new phone in February, I noticed that it keeps track of my steps. So I set a daily goal and I stick to it no matter what it takes. I've even started to raise that goal and push myself on a daily basis. I could certainly do a lot more, but it is a step in the right direction. Which leads us me to this monthly challenge.

I have a problem with food. I love it more than anything else in this entire world. I'd give up just about anything before I give up my favorite foods. I love all of the bad ones. Pizza. French fries. Mashed potatoes. Dry cereal. Gummy bears. Toast. Mac and cheese. Anything with sour cream (especially tacos and and nachos). Salty foods are a staple of my diet. Salt for days is my motto. I can't eat healthy. I can't say no to snacks. I certainly can't say no to free eats even when I'm not hungry. I'll eat until I'm tummy sick and still I'll try and eat some more. Moderation is not a word in my vocabulary, even though it is one of the keys to life. I've tried and failed a thousand times at regulating my diet. I can't do it. I hate to admit defeat and capitulate to my bad habits. But there is is a way around this. Or at least I hope that there is.

When it comes to doing something, I'm all or nothing. I love to gamble, but I can stay away from the casino. What I set foot inside the Casino, I lose control. Before I know it, I'm visiting the ATM for the second time and losing money that I can't afford to spend. But for the most part, I can keep myself out of the casino. In my eyes, that's what separates me from being a true addict. I can live without it, but it totally overtakes my life in the moment. So I decided to take the same approach with food. And that is where the Even it Out idea came to fruition.

I'm all or nothing. Once I get one bite of food, I want to eat everything that's within arm's reach. I want I want I want I want. I need I need I need I need. And I won't be satisfied until there is nothing left. But if I don't take that first step (put that first morsel of food in my mouth), I can control myself. It's easier for me to not eat it all then it is to eat only what I need to survive. Once I start eating, I don't stop even if my body tells me that it's had enough. I love food. And I'm going to show that food a night out on the town. I will wine and dine that food with the corporate credit account. But then I'll charge it to the Underhills. That is where this plan makes so much sense. Time to stop burying the lead - 

For the month of October I'm only going to eat on odd days. 

My goal is that I will reduce my calorie intake in half because on the even days, I will not eat at all. Since I will continue with my exercise plan, I hope that this will lead to weight loss. Everyone knows that the key to weight loss is expending more calories than you take in. If I'm exercising everyday and only eating every other day, I shouldn't have a problem losing weight. I have no idea if this is healthy or even if this will work. But that's the best part about it. It's an experiment. I'm doing a trial run to see if this sort of thing works for me. So I'm going to give it 31 days. As of October 1st, I weighed 369 pounds. The only way to tell if this experiment was a success is to weigh myself on November 1st and compare the results. So until then, there's not really much I can do to know if this is the right thing for me. 

But in order to keep this blog interesting, I've decided to write an entry every other day (on the even days) and talk about what I did that day instead of eating. Because when I get bored, I eat. Something else needs to take that place if I don't allow myself to eat. So let's see what happens folks. I have no idea where this is going to go. But that's the beauty of this. That's why you do experiments. You keep doing tests until eventually one of them works. You can't fault a guy for trying. So check in every other day here at the blog for an update on where this thing is going. If there's ever anything I have learned from my life it's this - there's no way to tell what's coming next. And that's what makes waking up to a brand new day so incredibly exciting. I'm sure that this, like everything else in life, will all even out in the end.