The Great 24 Day Challenge - The Final Five (days)

24 Day Challenge – Day 20 – May 21

Saturday, I got up and hit an energy drink first thing. That got me going for the morning. Dietary timing was good today, kept up eating at about the correct intervals, though I found I kinda had to force myself to eat once or twice.

Energy levels were good today, I took some regular breaks from my project but was able to keep focus and surely didn’t require a nap or anything.

Today went well.


24 Day Challenge – Day 21 – May 22

Much like yesterday, I got up and hit the energy drink first thing, then the breakfast drink not long after that. My back is still a little tender and I have been resisting the urge to go to the gym and try and work through it. Luckily I still have a ton to do on the project, so…

Energy levels were great today, kept up the dietary timing and content like yesterday, though when I got to dinner I couldn’t resist a nice linguine and chicken. It was fairly light in content but the VOLUME of noodles is what killed me. (note to self: PORTION CONTROL DUDE!)

Coming towards the last days of the challenge, still taking the daily supplements but evening meals are getting harder to contain with the end now is sight. I wish I had been able to focus more on fitness during this process instead of having to spend so much time and energy on other projects…


24 Day Challenge – Day 22 – May 23

Mondays Mondays Mondays…. Got up and hit the energy drink right off, just like the last two days. This served me well, got my drink down, packed up for work and off to the bus with minimal fuss. Energy levels were great today… that is until lunch time.

Part of this is to be expected, I think. I started a new schedule today that is a half hour earlier – so now I am “up and at ‘em” (as Dad used to say) around 4 AM. This extended my lunch time to a full hour and with my back still a little tender, I had a hard time staying awake at lunch. This was especially true after I ate, in spite of the fact that it was a fairly light meal of sliced turkey, raw carrots and a half apple.

Yeah, I was dying today – I think it was the schedule change that had me so messed up…


24 Day Challenge – Day 23 – May 24

Today started much better, this time I did NOT take the energy drink first thing but waited until my lunch work out. Yes! I did get into the gym today and it felt awesome to just hear my back pop and loosen. It was a light workout, mostly basic plyometrics and stretching, although I did hit my legs a little.

No lunch-time burn out, although I did crash out on the bus ride home – but that is not too unusual.

Dinnertime was a trial again, I needed something easy and fast so it was about 8 Coscto meatballs with a big ‘ol bowl of capellini (angel hair) pasta tossed in a spicy marinara sauce. As far as pastas go, this is fairly light, however that is as far as pasta’s go…


24 Day Challenge – Day 24 – May 25

Today is the last day! Well, to be honest I feel like I copped out on the program since my evening eating habits went down the toilet in the last week (no pun intended). My energy levels were almost perfect today, not too tired and not too hyped (usually followed by a crash or nap).

I managed to get a work out in, but like yesterday it was low-key and consisted mostly of stretching and other light work , like a 15 walk on the tread-mill.

The afternoon/evening schedule was a little trying. My back was a little tired and somewhat sore so I was not too motivated to do a whole lot. But today is the eldest’s DISTRICT TRACK MEET so I needed to be there. Unfortunately the bus was nearly 40 minutes late (in the down-pouring rain) and then was stuck in traffic on the way North. Got to the meet late and missed it all, then had to take both girls to the mall for choir practice.


Alright, a nice chicken teriyaki with rice followed by a “Milky Way” coffee drink and then washed down with a Baskin-Robbins (single scoop this time) ice cream cone…
Yeah, what was I saying about feeling like I copped out on the program?

By the time that I got home, I was wiped. Got the kids ready for bed and am putting myself down for the night.
Wow, this is the last entry for the daily blog! Alright I will have to start working on a conclusion and then get the measurements (the few that I did get) for the before and after and my review of the program.

Cya then !!

The Great 24 Day Challenge - days 16 - 20

24 Day Challenge – Day 16 – May 16

Gah, today started bad, woke up late and my body was aching like mad. I have a lovely array of back problems that start at a bulging disk in my lower back and go up to what is believed to be either a damaged trapezius or scar tissue around my infraspinatus (under my shoulder blade). Either way, I am starting to suspect my bed…

In any case… In spite of the start, the day was not too bad. Energy levels were moderate though I did start to drag towards the end of the day. I have lightened up on the weights since the stretch mark incident, keeping my workout lighter and more restricted to natural movements like push-ups, pull-ups, lunges and squats.


24 Day Challenge – Day 17 – May 17

Got to bed late last night, so another tough wake up. Back was causing more trouble this morning but I got dosed on anti-inflamatories right out of the gate to help. They didn’t seem to do much so I had to resort to my cache of muscle-relaxants and the last of my pain killers. Spent most of the day in a bit of a haze and as a result, my energy levels were very low. To that I have to attribute the affect of the drugs, another effect was my appetite was off; I had a hard time eating when I should.

Got home and took a nap for a while, sleeping off the vicoden. This left me in a bit of a stupor till now – time for bed.


24 Day Challenge – Day 18 – May 18

Today was a wash. I didn’t go to work, slept for a portion of the day then had to run the kids to some events in the evening. My dietary timing was screwed today. I ate late, didn’t balance my meals and ended up scarfing down 3 ZonePerfect bars later on.

To top it off, during the running of the children I somehow managed to ingest 2 Burger King burgers, a handful of fries, a double-scoop Baskin-Robbins ice cream cone and a 32 oz soda pop.

Bleh, I feel bloated and nauseous.

24 Day Challenge – Day 19 – May 19

Worst day of the challenge yet.
I stayed home from work again, I suppose last night did not help any, but today was next to impossible to even get my shirt on – my upper back/shoulder seems to have frozen in some twisted and painful position during the night and refuses to release. Several flexoril later (and subsequent 7 hours of sleep) I managed to move around the house a little more. Completely forgot to take the day 19 supplements and porked down another 4 ZonePerfect bars, some pasta I made for the girls, about 10 Costco Italian Meatballs and somehow worked in a 6” Subway Chicken and Ranch sandwich.


As I didn’t take any of the supplements (and my diet was so shoddy) I am going to have to sweep an extra day to the totals – which means I will end up finishing on the 25th instead of the 24th… (the twenty-FIVE day Challenge?)

24 Day Challenge – Day 20 – May 20

Yesterday I slept off the last of my Flexoril and Vicoden, but it seems to have done what I needed it to do: let me rest (unmoving) long enough for everything to unlock. As a result, I felt a little hung-over today, which had me dragging for the first half.

Walked around at lunch and avoided the gym like the plague, though I dearly wanted to go in and get a little workout – I fought the urge.

My energy levels evened out towards the end of the day, which is good because my appetite was all off. Again with the dietary timing, feeling like I had to force myself to eat at certain times of the day even though I did not really feel inclined to eat.

I finished out the day alright and even managed to get some work done on my project in the evening. Heading to bed, got a long day tomorrow…

The Great 24 Day Challenge - days 11 - 15

24 Day Challenge – Day 11 – May 11

Due to lack of sleep the night before, I did not go to work today. Finally managed to get to bed around 4:30 AM, by then I was wrecked for the entire day. Slept in till 9:30 or so and took the herbal battery that I will be taking for the next 2 weeks. I made the mistake of mixing my meal replacement drink the night before and storing it in the fridge. Wow, do those things thicken up! It was like trying to drink pudding. I managed to get it all down and will say that it filled me up nicely, which seems like a rarity among protein/meal replacement drinks.

The rest of the day went fine, energy levels were acceptable in spite of the folly of the night previous. This time I remembered my lesson and did not have another energy drink any later than 5 PM and made sure to get to bed at a reasonable time.


24 Day Challenge – Day 12 – May 12

Got up and took my morning herbals, supposed to eat about 30 minutes later. This would have worked out ok if I had not forgotten to bring the MRD (Meal Replacement Drink) so I had to wait until I got to work and then I ate my apples and had a protein drink as a belated breakfast.

Energy levels are in the toilet today, even though I swore I would get to bed at a reasonable time, l it was still after eleven when I hit the pillows. Keeping myself awake, much less motivated in the gym, has been a task. I am down to one energy drink at work so I ended up going through 3 cups of coffee in my struggle to remain conscious.

24 Day Challenge – Day 13 – May 13

Today is Friday the 13th…. Oohhhhh…..Seriously though, I am not one for superstitions so today is no big deal. Energy levels have been good, though I have been a little hungrier than normal. It’s getting harder to stick to the meal plan, at least for today..

I had some extra food at work, so the hunger cravings were manageable today, but the evening was something else. Fell off the wagon a little bit with some of the remaining kids Easter chocolates and an extra “Zone” bar (protein bar) towards the end of the night. We will have to see if my “skinny jeans” fit tomorrow…


24 Day Challenge – Day 14 – May 14

Got up early this morning and started working on my project. Did the breakfast and the pills and all that correctly today – sometimes that is hard to accomplish even though it seems so very simple.

Worked well on my project from about 6 AM to about noon, my energy level started to wane about then so by 1 PM I decided I would take a nap. Slept for about 3 hours and got up and back at it for a while then headed over to check out the body suit for the costume project.

Now, remember that I measured a 47 chest which was a XXXL size on the website chart for the body suit but we ordered the XXL instead so it would not be too long for my short little Barney Rubble legs. As it turns out, I was cutting it close on that sizing. It wasn’t too long (as I had expected) but it was quite tight through the arms and chest.

Now, I will say this with just a little bit of humility… that with the exception of a bit of a roll around the waist; I looked pretty good in that suit. There was even a hint of ab muscles showing through! I felt pretty good about that.


24 Day Challenge – Day 15 – May 15

I had stayed up late working on my project and watching TV. Got a case of the munchies late and ended up wolfing down a bag of popcorn and two zone bars (told you the appetite was going up for some reason) so I was a bit surprised this morning when I put on the size 33 jeans and they fit comfortably.

This is good, very good. Now these aren’t “skinny jeans” to be sure, but it is kind of a chick-thing having a pair of smaller pants to check yourself against. I found them in the closet last year after Halloween and if I could squeeze into them, then I had a bit of a… err… overhang… above the belt line. Needless to say, they haven’t seen much public time in years.

Most of my pants are still a size 36 and they are all really baggy on me now, I have figured myself to be a 34 as life rolls along, fitting into the 33’s was nice surprise. Something else came up today, it may be a bit disturbing but I guess that depends on your perspective. I had a bit of a burning at the juncture of my chest and shoulder and I figured it was just pinching from the overly tight body suit I wore the night before. Looking into the mirror I discovered that I had some really nasty stretch marks right there.

Now I had stretch marks on my chest from back in the day when I was really lifting heavy and bent on bulking, but this was in 1988 when I grew a lot in a short amount of time and the result is… yup, stretch marks. Now remember that I have said that I have not adjusted my workout schedule at all during this time, so the appearance of these kind of marks is completely unexpected and tells me something important: this program: and the amino supplements are ideal for gaining muscle mass.

As I have apparently increased significantly enough in the last few weeks to have this kind of reaction, I will have to now invest in some cocoa butter or whatever to fix it, but...well I will be interested to see what the measurements are at the end of the program – arms and chest in particular – as my weight does not seem to be changing  any.

So in conclusion, the smaller pants fit me better now and my upper body is apparently getting bigger faster than my skin can contain it... hmmm. Again, unsure of how to take this just now, but one thing is for sure: I have to stop lifting weights for my upper body during this program or I am going to end up looking like an action figure.

The Great 24 Day Challenge - days 6 - 10

24 Day Challenge – Day 6 – May 6

Energy levels are good today, I took the day off from work for a trip south over the Mothers day weekend, so there is lots to do. Kept to the program all day but I was having a hard time keeping thertiming of meals correct. It was a little sporadic across the day and I did slip a little on the trip to Portland. During the drive, we stoppd for food and I ended getting a sandwich at Subway. I did keep it to a flat-bread and no mayo or other really fatty items – double turkey meat – but that much bread after so long with none was bloating. I felt like I had over eaten and fat but that could have been just from eating a footlong sandwich over a period of 2 hours…


24 Day Challenge – Day 7 – May 7

Today was a better day, the bloating from the sandwich was gone, I even gave in and checked my weight this morning. I was at 190, so 2 lbs down froom my initial weigh in. I did great over the course of the day on both the timing and content of my meals. The wife was at a conference all day, which left me at mother-in-law’s house working on my project. I did go through a lot of energy drinks, but they are on the program so it should be good. I intended to get to the gym during the day, but things were going so well on the project that I couldn’t tear myself away. I ate hard-boiled eggs, apples, nuts, bananas, turkey – all the good stuff that is low fat and I was pretty good getting the meals in about every 3 hours. I even managed to get out to the movies and see “Thor” and stick to water and almonds instead of soda and popcorn.


24 Day Challenge – Day 8 – May 8

Things started well this morning, I got up and took my “Restore” pro-biotic pills, then a half hour later did the first of another 3 days of morning fiber. I did take an extra long shower feeling a little sore from the guest bed (back was killing me) and after a breakfast of fiber drink and banana, I took a 4 hour nap on the couch. I was beginning to wonder if I was coming down with something, I felt so awful this morning but after the nap I felt a little better. I had a light meal of 3 hard-boiled eggs, a measured portion of baby carrots and apples and an energy drink and I was good to go for a little while.

Being Mother’s Day, we headed over to my parent’s around 1:30 where everything fell apart. My brother had brought 4 kinds of pizza with chocolate chip cookies and there were some delicious looking short-bread cookies dipped in chocolate…

Yeah, today was a loss. After 2 pieces of pizza, 3 shortbread cookies and 4 chocolate chip cookies I felt a little sick. Looks like that fiber is going to have its work cut out for it tomorrow… blah!


24 Day Challenge – Day 9 – May 9

Today went well, it went long but it went well. Started off with “ye olde fiber drink” and a breakfast bar, energy levels were good during the day. Making up for Mother’s Day seems to have been the theme, I ate perfect all day, in spite of forgetting to bring my lunch. I still had an apple and almonds and peanuts at work, so that made a good mid morning snack. A can of tuna fish was a little hard to choke down, but I managed and then two protein shakes – one after my lunchtime workout and then I got another in after work.

After all that, and staying an hour late at work, I walked over to the Pyramid Brewpub and met with some great folks who areputting together a charitable organization that revolves around the Comic book Conventions. They were very entertaining and engaging and I thouroughly enjoyed our dinner and conversation. I was even good there, sticking to a chicken ceasar salad and water.

The walk to the brewpub and back was a good bit of hoofing and I managed to get there two minutes before the bus, so it all worked out ok. One thing to note, some weird freakin people ride the busses at night – just so you ar e forewarned… like the song says “the freaks come out at night.”

24 Day Challenge – Day 10 – May 10

The day started off wrong. I was wiped out from the long day before and got up late. I did manage to eat and get my last nasty fiber drink down, but getting started a half hour late is a terrible way to start the day. I checked my weight this morning, I am unsure of what I was expecting, considering the great “Mother’s Day Pizza Fiasco” but I still weighed in at 189, so that’s not too shabby considering the amounts of crap I consumed the day before.

I got to the bus stop JUST in time to catch a bus downtown. This was a mixed blessing as it was packed to standing room only and then broke down on the freeway halfway to Seattle. After fifteen minutes of smelling a bus full of other humans, I was ready to hang my head out the window like a dog. Now I understand why they do that: we smell bad.

My energy level was drained walking in the door, but an energy drink perked me up nicely and I got caught up on work in no time. Unfortunately I underestimated the strength of the energy drink and was up for most of the night.

First commissioned costume project

" feels like I should have this thing almost done, I have been working on it for the last 4 hours straight and have only completed a tiny portion. And these are only the shoulder pieces, I still have the chest, back, arms, legs and helmet to do...""

~ an UnofficialVoice after the first full week in build.

Well, as the title suggests I have my first commissioned project under way. My client has paid me the first porrion that fully covers materials, but there are a few things more that I really really  need to proceed. Until I get those items (which I will come back to later) I can continue to work on building out the different body parts, with so many pieces I am going to need to get as much done as soon as possible.

Let me back up a minute and give a better explaination of what this is all about. For those who know me, they are aware of my propensity towards really cool and intricate costumes. For Halloween in 2008 I build a set of body armor just because I thought it would be cool to have body armor and because I wanted to see if I could actually make it.

That first set is (technically) unfinished, however I passed it off that season and wore it to a couple of events - unfinished in my mind but still pretty good overall. I really started with building static props - my first was a Star Wars E-11 Blaster Rifle. I had always wanted one as a kid and again - I wanted to see if I could build it. That first one was made of all scrap parts and PVC pipe, basically junk I found around my garage and few pieces I pulled from the shelves at Lowes Home Improvement stores. I called that one the "Fat Albert" because it was such a junk-yard toy. I sold it for fifty bucks on ebay.

This only lead me to more and more intricate and creative props, another E-11 that any Star Wars fan would love along with one of the larger rifles, some Wolverine claws that looked really good, and a Tony Stark costume complete with lighted chest peice and unfinished armored arm that had a lighted hand repulsor light. Nerdy as hell but it looked really good and people went a little crazy with it.

Well what I have been getting at with all this is someone I know needed a costume for an upcoming event and offered to work a deal with me. The basics are this: He pays for materials and I get my payment in tools. This allows me to upgrade my workshop and he can bargain price the tools I need. As I get those tools in place, the work goes faster and easier.

Not a bad deal if I say so myself, though my wife wanted cold, hard, cash - I can see the value of adding a new Table Saw, Router Table, Drill Press, stationary combination Disk and Belt sander, and a shop vac to my workshop. Of course I don't see him getting ALL of those things, but the Sander, Table Saw, and Shop Vac would be worth the work and time. Plus this gives me another feather in my cap that I can use to advertize my work.

We'll see how it all works out in the end. I will blog more on this later, but right now this particular post is getting a little TOO long.

Peace - Out !

Days 1 through 5 - 24 Day Challenge

24 Day Challenge – Day 1 – Sunday May 1

We chose Sunday, May 1 as the start date because it allowed us to pig out on left over Easter chocolates for another 36 hours as well as setting the 24 day schedule on day 1.

Well, this way it will definitely be easier to know which day we are on.

Not a whole lot to this so far – a fiber packet in the morning and sensible eating all day with a triplicate of horse-pills right before bed time. This will apparently we be the M.O. for the first three days with the horse-pills for 7.

I can see that the dietary program might shock some people, I might include some details of a daily plan at some point, but for now it is really not all that much different from the way I normally eat. It is actually very close to the high protein dietary ideologies that are out there, but I get to exchange fruits for cheeses. It also recommends a lot more veggie-matter during the day.

Vegetables have always been my weakest point in my diet.



24 Day Challenge – Day 2 - Monday May 2

Monday was pretty uneventful as far as this program goes. I have played with my diet a lot over the last 3 years or so and I understand that it’s not day one that is the hardest, it’s usually around day 5 through 8 when those cravings really hit.

The second day of the fiber breakfast went fine, you just have to power down the liquid that has the consistency of applesauce, but after that it’s not so bad. It has been working, I can tell you that much…

Not having coffee at work today was a big time bite. I brought some of the program’s energy drinks with me but they did not seem to have much effect, I have been dragging ass all day.

The lunch-time workout went well, but as usual a 30 minute workout is a little too short to really get anything done. I end up losing 5 to 8 minutes just getting down there and getting dressed. Then there’s the warm-up (not missing anymore of those since the upper back issue) so I usually only get to hit one or two muscle groups in 4 or so exercises. For now, it will have to do since my post-work schedule is a little prohibitive through June.

I weighed in at 192 – we forgot to get the measurements for the program. Well we didn’t actually forget but we did not yet have any tape measure to use in that manner…


24 Day Challenge – Day 3 – Tuesday May 3

Well today is the third day of the fiber-drink breakfast and I have to say that it is working rather well. Almost too well, since they blocked off our bathroom and are forcing us to walk stairs or take an elevator to another floor while construction is going on.

Energy level is great today, was able to focus and get through the day with fair ease.

24 Day Challenge – Day 4 – Wednesday May 4

No fiber drink this morning, just the probiotic a half hour before eating. Kinda throws off my groove in the morning but apparently this is only for another day or two then we go back to the fiber drink.

Energy level was a little low this morning, but I made it a point of eating at scheduled times and that seemed to help. Well, that and two energy drinks. Since those are really just a slurry of Amino Acids and a bit of caffiene, I figured I could have a couple in the morning. Broke those up to about 3 hours apart and I muddled through the rest of the day.

It strikes me that I don’t have any examples of my daily foodstuffs – maybe at some point I will outline a typic al meal content for the day.


24 Day Challenge – Day 5 – Thursday May 5

Well it’s only day 5 but I think that I already see a difference. It’s hard to tell because I failed to take any measurements to start the program beyond my weight and chest (was doing a fitting for jacket). But it feels like I have a little less of a muffin top today…

Went over to the international district yesterday during lunch and picked up a bundlle of bananas, apples, almonds, and some smoked salmon. Picked up two packages of salted peanuts from the vending machine and made myself a little feast this morning of almonds, apples, and peanuts. Strangely enough peanuts and apples go well together – not so odd if you have ever tried apples and peanut butter and liked it).

I haven’t changed my workout routine much, if at all. Typically I have only been getting the half hour each day at the fitness center at work. Lately I have been doing too much at home to get my 1 or 2 hour post work-workout in for the day.

Energy levels are good today, had the morning meal and the energy drinks and water – got lots of work done and had a good focus.

Got a long three day weekend planned for Mother's Day so I will have to try and keep the log in an off-line status for the next 5 day block.

The Great 24 Day Challenge

"All of these weight loss programs crack me up. They all say the same thing; if you follow these guidelines to a healthy diet and combine with moderate exercise you will get the best results..."

Well, DUH.

So then how does the product help? By spending the $50 to $250.00 on their program, you now HAVE to follow the program because you just spent $50 to $250 to do it - there’s your motivation! That money spent has not become your commitment. How about just making the commitment to eating better and save yourself the cash?

~ an UnofficialVoice

I am not sure how many times I have spouted off those lines watching commercials on TV.

I have long been a proponent of diet and exercise, as a matter of fact I often tell people who ask that the hardest work [when trying to lose weight] occurs
outside of the gym.

My staple philosophy starts with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, chicken, turkey, fish, grains (oats), nuts, etc... Try and eat food that has the least amount of processing associated with it. That being said, my favorite foods like breads and pastas are ejected from the menu. You don't necessarily have to delete them completely, but definitely cut them down to the bare minimum and you will see change.

There is a lot more to the WHAT category, but I want to try and keep this short, not one of my strong points - ask anyone who knows me.

The next staple is
when you eat. Eat first thing in the morning, the old axiom is so very true: "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". By eating first thing (inside of the first 30 to 60 minutes after waking) you tell your body that it has the nutrients it needs to use for the day. In this way you can train your body to not store calories for use because the body knows that it is getting input when needed and will get nutrients when needed.

On the flip side of breakfast is your last meal of the day, try not to eat inside of an hour before bed time. While a bodybuilder will disregard this (for a protein shake before bed) most people will want to avoid dropping a whole bunch of food into their bellies before going unconscious for eight hours or so. Associated with this "when" portion of the staple philosophy is the frequency of meals. The idea of eating more meals each day, but cutting down the portion size is not new, but it seems to be getting more attention these days.

So we have established that eating foods that are closest to their natural state is good and eating at the appropriate times (first thing in the morning and not within an hour or more of bed time) is also a huge ingredient. 

Now, we get to how often, instead of eating three large meals (until you are full) try eating several smaller meals in your diet plan. In between that breakfast and last meal, there should, ideally, be about 4 or 5 other little meals. Every few hours you want to eat a nice balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The ideal balance is 40/40/20 (40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat) in fairly small portions.

This always reminds me of that scene in "The Fellowship of the Ring" where one of the Hobbits is so very concerned about their meal schedule being interrupted while on the road, "Well does he know about brunch? What about elevensies? Tea time? Supper? Dinner?"

I chuckle now at that quote, but in actuality that is not a bad plan - Breakfast, mid-morning snack, Lunch, afternoon snack, Dinner, evening snack. Right there is a 6 meal day. You balance that with good foods and portion control and you should be good

Pretty basic stuff, right?
Well I have cut a lot of corners and left a lot of things out, but the basics are eat whole, unprocessed foods, eat at the appropriate times, and balance portion control over the meal time events and you've a good start on things.

Ultimately though you have to take that and put it into practical application. This is the tough part. I have had people tell me that it is just too much work to prepare all of those meals every day. Well I guess that is up to you. I have found that taking a handful of turkey, carrots, apple, or banana to work on Monday and leaving it there for me to pick at during the week works out pretty good. This cuts down on prep time and allows for a bit of spontaneity in the day as opposed to a rigid eating schedule.

What I am getting at here is the above principle has worked really well for me in the past, combined with regular exercise. Doing this I lost almost twenty pounds in about 8 weeks. That is not bad, not bad at all. But during that particular time I was being very very rigid on the content of those meals in order to try and maximize my fat-burn and minimize fat intake. This takes a lot of will power and can be very difficult at times with so restrictive a menu.

Through all of this I have often scoffed at using any kind of products to assist or enhance the process - diet and exercise is the tried and true method and any products on the market out there are only snake oil salesmen.

This brings me to the point of all this ranting. I am still a skeptic, but I do keep an open mind. Since my wife offered to enroll me in a "program" (if I actually followed it was the stipulation), I agreed. This is a great chance for me to actually see if standard diet and exercise principles net the same results as a structured program that push product. Since you have read this far, then you will understand later when I say that the changes this program is asking me to make are really not all that far from what I have been doing anyway.

So, no sales pitch - not even the product name. What I will be doing over a 24 day period is akin to a scientific test. My previous results will be the control group and this will be the test phase. I am going to try and keep a log here every so often to comment on what I am thinking of the program and how it seems to be working for me. But what I really want to know is: Does this work? It if does not, then you can expect me to fully express my opinion here where it's just me on my soapbox.

As this is day 3, I cannot honestly start with day 1 notes - however I will try and do a full 3 day catch up after this post to note my impressions as things start out.

Take care and good eating!]

On the emotional stress level and creative outlet

It seems like the more miserable you are, the easier it is to find that artistic outlet... be it writing, acting, music, or painting - whatever the talent is.

I see now why artists are often so stressful to be around, I think that some deliberately keep themselves in that state so they can just keep that level of performance up.

Christ, that must be exhausting.

~ UnofficialVoice

I have found that when I am ultimately in pain, like following the death of my sister, that being able to express myself becomes rather compulsive. In my case, it is usually verbal or written, It becomes harder to get motivated if I am somewhat content and just feeling a little tired or down.

That seems to be the biggest hurdle - getting the motivation.

When I walked onto the mat [high school and collegiate wrestling] I always Knew whether I would win or not, it was the oddest thing, but true.

There was a feeling I would get that meant nobody, and I mean NOBODY was going to be able to stop me. It was such supreme confidence that left absolutely no doubt in my mind (in the slightest) that I would not walk off that mat with my arm raised.

It never failed me, not once.

However, if I did not feel that particular (and elusive) aura of invulnerability, then it was about a 30 to 40 per-cent chance I would pull it out and get the "W".

I feel that some days, even today. When I approach the computer keyboard I know if I am going to kick ass or if I am just going to mail-it-in on the work. Its an all or nothing proposition, which I find vastly unfair. What happened to the old "Happy Medium" where we can coast on the thermals? What's with the highs and lows?


I guess that is all part of the human condition. I love so much to write about that condition, but when I have to experience it... well that is a whole 'nuther thang!

What is comes down to is that I have not been working on my project, I tend to go in fits and starts. I know that ultimately I will get back to it - it's just a matter of getting the "bug" that drives me to write.

In any case, more will come soon enough.

Scriting vs Screen-play vs Story

"It always seems so simple at first concept, the story. I have the whole thing birthed in my mind in moments, but then I have to try and eject it into the world and let it see the light of day..."

~an UnofficialVoice

So I have been working on writing the script/screen-play for PARADIGM SHIFT, and it seems to be fairly slow going, however I have discovered that the process of writing out the script has given me certain insights into just how I would like the end product to look (in a scene by scene basis).

So after a week and almost finishing the opening sequence (14 pages later) I began to wonder if I am doing this correctly. I mean, do all writers for film have to put that much down and spend that many pages for such a tiny amount of footage? With that in mind, I began a re-write, not of the story itself but of the book. Then there is the screenplay option. At this point in my experience, I am still trying to figure out the difference between the two. it is highly likely that what I have written is some form of mutant step child of both a script and screenplay and this is why it is taking me so long to get it into a written and coherent form... I guess that I will have to retire to Google and Bing and Wikipedia to complete my education, ahh what I would not give to be a proper Padawan right now.

*edited entry:
Research indicates that what I have worked on would be considered a "Screenplay" with the word "Script" being an older term that usually applies to theater or radio. A Screenplay will include environmental factors as well as emotions and actions, which is exactly what I have been creating...*

My natural instinct is to write in that third party omniscient that authors so love, well once I had mapped out the images and sequence of events in the opening scene, I realized that this starts in no-way like my original book outline. While the details and the outline, plot, and characters were the same, the vision for how the story starts varied greatly and I decided to address that.

This being said, writing the story so it matched up with my vision of how the movie should look only made sense. This also allows me to fill in the blanks with information on the characters that are so much harder to fill in using visual only media. As an example, in the script we see that Derek's father is some kind of a control freak with baseball on the brain, however we don't know why. Ultimately, in this story, it doesn't really matter. The only important fact, as it applies to Derek is that his father obsesses with him becoming a baseball star and this is what causes the break between father and son and pushes him into military service. However in a book format, these are the details that add depth to the characters, so that information is explained in more detail.

But see, now I am getting ahead of myself and giving away spoilers.

Let's just leave it at this, right now I am creating the film scene by scene and then going back and mirroring this with the book/written version. I am curious if this will end up as a short story or a 1200 page novel that I will have to edit all to shit and cut up into a trilogy...

Time will tell.


On learning new software and the story-boarding process

"Imagination is key. Without any, then very little would seem possible and we would stagnate as a society."
~JLH (an UnofficialVoice)

It has been a while since I have put together any of my fan videos for my favorite NFL team. Part of that is relating to the enormous amount of time and effort that is required just to get the assets and clips I need to make a 2 to 4 minute video.

Sometime around November 2010, my computer rolled over and died on me. I lost a large amount of data that I still have to try and recover as well as the installed applications that do the video editing. Right now I am biding my time to get a new software package that is much easier to use.
Since I just rebuilt the system, I still have to recover a lot of data before I can move forward. This new system should be able to handle the rendering load that taxed the old one so badly. Hopefully by the end of the summer I should have SOMETHING that I can put up.

Originally, I started making those videos as a learning process. While I took a "Industrial Video Production Internship" in college, it has been a long time since that course and software applications at that time were non-existent. While the class gives me some familiarity with the overall process, the tools have evolved significantly enough that it is like learning everything all over again. I would have to consider that initial goal as a success, for I've learned much since that first vid. But there is still a long way to go and a lot that I still want to accomplish.

It is also been a goal to work on getting a story-boarding software or process begun. The idea is to use the "Paradigm Shift" story to do the first attempt, though that may be a little too ambitious as that is a fully developed story-line, however I might consider doing a short version that would be akin to a trailer for the story. I fear that just making a simple story-board (at my level) would be a huge project in and of itself and it seems I never have enough time to devote to all of the aspects I want to perfect.

I will have to work on that more in the future, ideally I can find someone to team up with that will take the work load off me for that project. Something I have learned over the years is that you cannot do everything yourself. Tied to that is "Do not do yourself what you can have someone else do for you, and better."

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