The Honest Story of How I Lost 150 LBS, Part III – Justified Eating and Laziness

January 31, 2012 § 3 Comments

To catch up on the story, read Growing Up Fat and Kenny 1, Fat 1

When we last left off, I had dropped almost 60 lbs thanks to diet and exercise during my senior year of high school.  It was the first time in my life that I was starting to feel “thin” but the truth was that I was still 250 pounds.

Now, I am 6’6″, so weighing 250 pounds isn’t terrible.  It’s a lot better than 306 pounds and it was the best that I had ever known.  At that point, 250 almost became a good number to me.  It’s like if you had never seen a girl naked before and then you saw a middle-aged Geena Davis naked.

Hey, that would look pretty good to you given the circumstances.

At 250, I had perhaps resigned myself to the fact that I had accomplished something.  And with my graduation from high school, I stopped trying.  I honestly don’t have a great memory of this weight gain but here’s a few things I’ll say about a pre-disposed fat guy putting weight back on:

  • Justified Eating: Justified is a show starring Timothy Olyphant that is about a dude that kick’s ass and every once in awhile, take’s names.  Justified Eating is my life about a dude that eat’s one time at McDonald’s and then justifies himself being able to go back again the next day.
  • Justified Eating is the absolute death-kill for any over-eater, in my opinion.  Eat a Twix once and you say “This is my only Twix, I swear.”  But four hours later you’re looking at a bag of Peanut M&M’s and saying, “Well, I can eat this bag of M&M’s and we’ll just call this a fat day.”  Then you wake up the next day and you say, “It’ll be a fat day and a fat morning,” as you down a 1,200 calorie sugary coffee.

So Good...

  • Mentally, you’ve already given up.  Physically, your body is hooked on sugar again.  Sugar is a highly addictive substance and once it’s in your system, it begs for more.  Honestly, if you are a sugar addict, you have to kick it out of your life completely in the beginning.  3-4 days later you won’t crave it anymore, but in those first few days, it’s begging to get back into your body.  I don’t know if that’s a fact for salty foods, but I’m assuming it is.  (If you can’t tell already, I am not a dietitian or a physical fitness trainer. I’m just telling you my experiences.)
  • Justified Laziness: The same that goes for eating goes for working out.  I like to work out a minimum of 4 days a week, preferably 5, when I am trying to lose weight.  My attitude is this: I’m impatient and when I want to get somewhere I try to get there as fast as possible.  It’s amazing how lazy I am when I’m gaining weight and how hard-working I am when I want to shed it.  But Justified Laziness is also a death-kill.
  • “I’m not going to go the gym today, but I’ll go tomorrow.”  “I didn’t go yesterday, but I’ll go on Saturday.”  “Well, I didn’t go this week, but I’ll be back next week.”  These all start to pile up until you say, “I haven’t been to the gym in six months.  What happened?  Why am I lying upside down on the foot of my bed with chocolate ice cream streaming down my face while I watch Chip N Dales Rescue Rangers?”
  • Justified Laziness means that if I decide to skip the gym today, I’ll skip the gym tomorrow.  Justified Eating means that if I decide to eat this Kit Kat bar today, I’ll have Jack in the Box twice tomorrow.  You will eventually start to justify being fat again and once you’ve made your mind up, it’s hard to revert back to being that healthy person you once were.

The next two years of my life are sort of a blur.  I know I’ve made allusions to being a “pothead” on this blog, but the truth is that I never really drank or smoked in the first 20 years of my life.  I just either have a really bad memory, or I blocked out the times in my life that I’d rather forget.

So those next two years are pretty fuzzy.

I went to a community college that was just down the street, so I didn’t even have to move out of my house.  I spent two years there, and let me just tell you that community college is nothing like Community, as if you really needed to be told that.

A Google Image Search for "Community College"

I didn’t make a group of friends.  The only person I even remember from those two years is Blake Hawksworth, and the only reason I know that is because he pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals now.  So instead of Troy and Abed, it was Ken and Kenny in the Mooorning!

I mean, for me those years were just that; years.  It was two years of my life and justified eating and laziness led me back to where I started and then some.  What sparked me to drop the weight again?  I was finishing up community college and transferring to a four-year school: Washington State.

Stepping back on the scale when you know you’ve added weight again is hard.  It’s one of the hardest steps of your life because you know that you’re going to be discouraged.  You know that you’re going to see a number that upsets and frustrates you.  It’s going to be a reminder of the mistakes you made after you worked so hard to get where you were before.  But it’s also one of the best and most important steps you have to make.

I made the step: 315 pounds.

GOD DAMN IT!!!!!!!

You wish you could take back everything you had done wrong to get to this point.  You wish it never happened.  How could I let this happen again?  I promised myself that I would never cross 300 pounds again.  I was done with 300 pounds.  I meant it so hard when I said it and yet here I stood on the scale looking at 315.  What the fuck?

Oh well.  Don’t be a pussy about it, just drop the weight again and transfer to a real college and have the time of your life.  I was determined again and I had about one summer to get there.

Much like this particular weight gain, I don’t remember a lot about this particular drop in weight.  I was working a summer job in Seattle as one of those guys that holds the “STOP” sign on a construction sight.  I basically would just watch what I eat but I wasn’t really working out.  Standing all day on the construction site was a lot better than doing nothing though.

Boredom and watching TV will absolutely make you fat.  Be active, no matter what that means.

All I really remember about that diet is what I told my friend Chris at the time: “Water and popcorn.”  He still reminds me of that to this day.

Apparently I'm not the first to do this.

Basically, I had cut out drinking anything except for water, and I’d spend most of the day snacking on that fat free, tasteless microwavable popcorn.  I don’t know if that’s the most healthy thing you can do, but here’s the great part about it: It allows you to keep moving your hand to your face while snacking without a bunch of calories.

(Note: Not everything I say is going to be advice.  Trust me when I say that at certain points, I’m going to tell you something that I did that I don’t recommend.  I think some of the things I did are great and could help other people.  I think other things that I did are unhealthy.  But this is my story.  Not that snacking on popcorn is one of those things, I think it’s actually a great snack in moderation.)

Three months later I moved across the state and enrolled at WSU, which also has one of the top student athletic facilities in the nation.  For awhile, I was eating right and working out and I had made it back down to 250 pounds.  WOOHOO!!!

All of those mistakes I had made during those two years to go back above 300 pounds were erased.  It’s funny to say this but even though it’s a lot easier to put on pounds than it is to lose pounds, if you work hard you will lose weight a lot faster than you will gain it.  I can pack on pounds as fast as anyone, but the road back to fitness is actually shorter, though it is a lot more treacherous and contains more hills and coyotes and shit.

Now I had once lost 50-60 pounds as a senior in high school, and 60-70 pounds as a kid transferring schools.  I had already twice lost significant amounts of weight in my life.  Much like the elevator business, being fat has it’s ups and downs.  Right now I was on the better end of it.  The key was simply to continue down this path and I’d have all of my twenties and the rest of my life to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Then fucking school happened….

 

Netflix Instant Review: The Take

January 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

The beauty of Netflix Instant is that sometimes it hits you with something unexpected.  Something new.  Something that you would have never watched if it wasn’t for the fact that you were browsing on Netflix Instant.

Sometimes Netflix will suggest these titles to you as a “Top 10″ but honestly I’ve found more success just doing the browsing on my own.  I don’t know what I was looking for on this particular night, if anything, but I came across a “New Episodes!” suggestion for something called The Take.

The cast of The Take

I had never heard of this, but I decided to take a closer gander and I saw that it starred Tom Fucking Hardy.  I’m in.

Now, I looooovvee me the ladies.  Not that I really feel a need to justify the fact that I am heterosexual, but not everyone is as comfortable about their sexuality.  (Welcome to KennethAuthor.com.  The only blog that somehow weaves ones sexuality into a Netflix Instant Review.  Tell a friend!  Straight or gay friends! No judgment!)

Anyways, I love me the ladies with a passion, but that doesn’t stop me from freely admitting that there are certain actors that I will watch a movie for because of their badassesness.

Kenneth.  Your word is “Badassesness.”

“Badassesness.”  Country of origin?

The U-fucking-S-fucking-A.

“Badassesness.”  Can you use it in a sentence?

John McClain gave the drop-kick to Hans Gruber because of his badassesness.

“Badassesness.”  B-A-D-A-S-S-E-S-S-I-N-E-S-S.  “Badassesness?”

No.  That’s incorrect.  What the hell Kenny?  You just made up the word and then wrote it six times and you still spelled it wrong.

I guess I just don’t have badassesness, sirs and ladies.

But Tom Fucking Hardy does.  And I found out when Netflix suggested another gem from across the pond: BRONSON.  (Check out Bronson as well, if you haven’t already.  It’s kind of got a Drive feeling to it with the music.  Not as good as Drive though.  But still pretty great.)

Tom Fucking Hardy first entered my consciousness when he entered other peoples unconsciousness with his breakout role in Inception as Eames, the Forger.

This was the breakout role for Tom Fucking Hardy in America, but it was hardly his first breakout role or his first American gig.  His debut was actually in Band of Brothers in 2001, followed by a small part in the “Holy-Shit-That-Movie-Had-A-L0t-Of-Famous-Actors” movie, Black Hawk Down.

For nearly a decade, Tom Fucking Hardy would show up with small roles in movies like Star Trek: Nemesis, Layer Cake, Marie Antoinette, and RocknRolla.  He had parts on BBC shows, and made a name for himself in London Theater, but it wasn’t until Christopher Nolan cast him in Inception that people finally were able to go “You know, that guy in Inception.”

For the most part, I believe this is still where Tom Fucking Hardy stands, but it’s becoming less and less the case.  After Inception, he co-starred in the UFC film Warrior and is now appearing on a billboard near you for the shitty-looking This Means War with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine.

I believe that his life will finally change for good once people see him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  I predict from then on, Tom Fucking Hardy will be a leading actor for American cinema.  And good for him.  Once I saw Bronson, I had a suspicion that he was going places.

Now that I’ve seen The Take, I’m sure of it.

In Bronson, Hardy plays one of England’s most famous criminals, Charlie Bronson.  He’s a madman but he’s a charming lunatic.  He’s less charming in The Take, but he’s still quite mad and very charismatic.  When Hardy is on camera, it’s hard not to follow because you’re completely unsure of what he’s going to do next.

Hardy as Bronson

The Take starts out with Hardy’s character, Freddie, getting out of prison.  He goes to his Welcome Home party and the stage for this four-part mini-series is set.  His long-time girlfriend Jackie, his best friend and cousin Jimmy, and Jimmy’s girlfriend/Jackie’s sister Maggie, will make up the quartet that dominate the storyline of The Take.

Brian Cox is the only other recognizable name (for American audiences) in the cast, playing Ozzy the puppetmaster of sorts for this criminal organization.

That’s basically what The Take is about, organized crime.  But beneath it’s surface, it’s about so much more.  Freddie wants a Scarface-like rise to power, and he’s insane enough to believe that nobody, including the higher-up bosses, is safe from his path of destruction.  He’s unreasonable and his only logic is that it’s best to feed his natural instincts before asking whether or not he should.

His cousin Jimmy however, played by Shaun Evans, plays the absolute opposite of that, using reason and logic as a way around violence.  He’s a nice guy and that’s why Freddie really needs Jimmy more than the other way around, but it’s not something that Freddie would ever admit to.

Hardy and Evans

The four-part series covers at least 20 years of time in only about four hours of time, but it never feels rushed.  The way that The Take’s director David Drury and the show’s creators are able to do this is by making the viewer fill in the blanks.  At first, it’s kind of jarring to realize “Wait.  What the fuck?  How’d we get here?  What happened?”  But eventually you realize the genius of leaving a scene open-ended, and then getting a subtle answer in the next episode.

So much drama and mayhem happens during the mini-series that it’s really the only way to pull off covering 20+ years of these criminals lives that’s covered and it’s brilliant.

The show will make you say things like:

  • Holy shit!
  • Wow.
  • Oh my God.
  • Fuck.  That’s terrible.  (In a good way.)
  • Jesus!!
  • Wow, oh my God.  That’s fucking terrible.  Jesus fucking Christ.

There are surprises, thrills, sadness, tragedies, betrayals, and so much more packed into another epic British mini-series.  Somehow in America we can have brilliant shows like The Wire and LOST, but in the UK they pack nearly just as much into four hours.  It’s like comparing the British The Office to the American The Office.

I fucking love both versions almost equally, yet Ricky Gervais did it in about half-a-season’s worth of the American version.

I’m not going to sit here and compare The Take to The Wire, or something of that nature.  The Take is more like a really long movie than it is a really short show.  It’s just a really great, really long movie.  When I came upon it on Netflix, it was about 10 PM on a work night… I pushed through as long as I could before finally calling it quits at 1 AM.  That’s how hard it was to stop watching The Take.

Mostly because Tom Fucking Hardy is a scene-stealing motherfucker that’s going places.  I recommend checking out at least Bronson and The Take before you see him rip America to shreds with his performance as Bane.

His badassesness will make you a life-long Tom Fucking Hardy fan.

I give The Take 5 out of 5 punches to the face.

Follow me on Twitter @casetines

Bulletpoints Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 3

January 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

  • If you ever find yourself bored watching a Paranormal Activity, think about how bored the guy in the movie is having to watch 98% of the Normal Activity.
  • There are several moments of boredom throughout.  But that’s how these movies work… they lull you into a calming trance and then BOOM!  Shit your pants.
  • There are some good shit-your-pants moments.
  • It’s better than Paranormal Activity 2.
  • The movie is set in 1988, which means that this guy was the FIRST to have an HD camera and better yet, he had TWO of them!
  • Today, you can hook up your camera to a PC or whatever and film as many hours of footage as you want.  They had to justify it with 6-hour tapes, but if taping stuff on TV when I was a kid taught me anything, it’s that 6-hour tapes have shittier quality.  Luckily, he still got HD-quality video.
  • This also meant that technically, he would have had to get up every 6 hours to change out the tapes.
  • Why are you filming yourself watching film?
  • Putting a camera in your step-daughters rooms to film 24 hours a day?  Somebody call CPS.
  • Catching some of the earlier scares on tape and not telling anyone except for your lackey assistant?  Fine.  But once he caught the babysitter footage on tape, he should have called Unsolved Mysteries, which began production in 1987.  He would have been the most famous episode of Unsolved Mysteries ever.
  • No, not that kind of babysitter footage.
  • At a certain point, there was absolutely no justification for living in that house and then the movie went on for another 30 minutes.
  • I’m usually annoyed at the bad acting in Paranormal Activity movies, but this one wasn’t as bad and the two young girls did an awesome job and overshadowed the adults.
  • The first movie was super cheap and made a buttload of money.  This one was still super cheap at a budget of $5 million.  It pulled in $104 million domestically.  This almost guarantees a Paranormal Activity 7.
  • Paranormal Activity 4 comes out on Oct. 19, 2012.
  • I assume that it will be set in 1850 and witches will have created HD video cameras.
  • I give PA3 7 out of 10 angry ghosts because while it was boring at times and really forces you to stretch your imagination, it was more entertaining than PA2 and had some good scares.
  • I watched it on Amazon, but you know its on DVD and probably On Demand and stuff but I doubt it’s on Netflix Instant yet.  PA 1 and 2 are on Netflix Instant though (or at least they were) if you need to catch up.  Sadly, they connect all of the movies so it actually does help to watch them all in order.

Drinking Game Review: Battleshots

January 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Maybe I am a little too old to be playing drinking games like this one with my roommate.  (Pause for an epiphany about why I am still single.  Forgive all girls that have refused to date me seriously.)

Last week, my friend Kyle posted this picture (or one much like it) on Twitter:

Hmm, that looks interesting to me.  I enjoy Battleship and I enjoy drinking, so why not get the best of both worlds?

I sent the picture to my roommate, who proceeded to get so excited about it that he used his last two hours at work making the board out of a FedEX box.  So, I guess that means we are playing?

Yeah, we are:

We didn’t have the “boats” but we just lined up the shot glasses on the board as if the boats were there.

5 for Aircraft Carrier

4 for Battleship

3 for Destroyer

2 for 2 Cruisers

This is how we played.  If there is a different way to play, or we played “wrong” I don’t really care.  This is how we played.

We had three drinking options: 1 oz shots of tequila or whiskey, and also “chug half a beer” in order to break up the liquor shots.  When your opponent made a successful hit, we got to make our own choice and then pour the shot or drink the beer.  Honestly, pouring the shots ahead of time might have gotten too messy.

Set your board and then take your shots.  There really isn’t too much to it.

Pros:

  • You get drunk pretty quickly.  So, you don’t need that much alcohol.  We are talking about 16 shots and about 30 minutes of game time.  We got pretty messed up in under an hour.
  • It’s Battleship.  A childhood favorite.

Cons:

  • When you are talking shots of whiskey and tequila, nothing sucks more than when your opponent has found your aircraft carrier or battleship.  You’re staring down the barrel at that point.
  • Don’t plan to do anything afterwards.  You’ll be pretty messed up.

How I’d do it differently:

  • Play with more people, obviously.  It helps to not only have more friends in general, but in this game it would be nice to play on teams such as beer pong.
  • A bigger board that allowed for boats, or possibly to just play with solo cups of beer such as beer pong.
  • Apparently I just want to play beer pong.  But this game is something that can be played in any home, whereas beer pong can not.  Chalk that up to another Pro for Battleshots.
  • One thing I would not do differently is how I handled my phone situation before we played: I turned it off and had the battery hidden.  No morning regrets (almost.  DAMN YOU FACEBOOK!)

I give Battleshots 7 out of 10 shots.  If you want to get drunk quickly, it’s a great option and it’s a fun game.  However, if you want a casual drinking game or one that’s easy to setup, use a deck of cards.

I give my life 10 out 10 sad-faced clowns.

Follow me on Twitter @casetines

The Honest Story of How I Lost 150 LBS: Part II – Kenny 1, Fat 1

January 27, 2012 § 8 Comments

Read part I, Growing Up Fat, if you haven’t already.

When we last left off, I had just found out that I officially weighed over 300 pounds and that was a serious blow to the heart of yours truly.  (Much like the serious blows I had been giving my heart with Hungry Man TV dinners and Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.)

I mean, here is how I associate a person with 300 pounds:

It’s how much Homer had to weigh in order to get disability from work!!!

Now, as an adult that is obviously either an asinine number or Homer is 4 feet tall, because I work with guys that are easily pushing 350 and plenty of large guys and gals have employment and not disability, but as a kid you just associate 300 pounds with moo-moos and needing two seats to see Naked Lunch.

This finally gave me the motivation I needed to lose a dramatic amount of weight for the first time in my life.  To not be a “fat kid” anymore.

That meant that I had to eat right and exercise for the first time in my life.  I had really short spurts of exercise earlier, but I had never really done it for an extensive amount of time more than a couple days and I had never watched what I ate.  This would be a whole new experience but I was in it 100%.

Which sucks because I had just gone to the grocery story and packed the freezer with awesomeness.

I never touched those foods though while I was dieting.  I found out that I actually have pretty good willpower when I set my mind to something like this.  During this time, I didn’t eat fast food, drink soda, or eat candy.  I was just eating right and exercising.

This would also set the stage for learning about how to exercise that would help me throughout my adult life.

I was working at a dealership and washing cars after school.  It was the middle of my senior year and I was working a pretty decent schedule already: Go to school, go to work after school, work 10 hours on Saturday.  For me at 18, that was a lot.

Now I added working out into the mix.

One of the guys I worked with had been a gym rat for years and invited me to work out with him in the mornings.  So I started getting up at 6 AM and going to the gym before school.  It sort of looked like this:

Now my entire schedule was basically filled and I didn’t even have time to eat or lay around if I wanted to.

He gave me the lessons about working out necessary that I still use (to a degree) today.  Thanks, guy.  (I don’t remember his name.  Alex?  White guy.  You know who I’m talking about.  The guy that was really influential in my life….  I’m an asshole.)

The first time you start to really put effort into losing weight, you will notice a dramatic drop in the first week.  I think when I started I was something like 306, and it only took maybe five days to drop under 300.  This is what they call “the water weight.”

Fuck you body for retaining so much water because:

  • You’re making me weigh more than I actually do.
  • You give me false hope when I drop you.
  • I have to replace you with more water.
  • How the hell did I get so much water weight?  I never drank that shit!  Maybe two trips to the fountain a day.  How do you think I got fat?  By drinking my two liters of Diet Coke a day, not water!
  • No, I’m not that stupid.

Still, it felt nice to drop under 300 so quickly.  Once I passed the threshold, I said “Goodbye 300!” when I was done with it.  Sort of like what a guy says once he has seen the movie 300, because you know what they say about a guy that’s seen 300 more than once…

During this series, I’m going to go over some terms that I came up with on my own.  Now, they may not be original and I don’t claim that I’m the first that ever came up with these ideas, but I’ve never read a diet book so I have no idea what others have said.  All I know is, when you go through a personal struggle with weight loss you start to do certain things naturally.  I think that others who have lost weight have probably done the same thing and I think they could also be helpful to people trying to lose weight.

I’ve always wanted to help someone lose weight, so this is my chance of getting into heaven.  Because I’ll never follow the Ten Commandments.

When I was losing weight, I started to count everything in Decades.

Basically, I got under 300 and I said, “No more 300′s!”

Then I got under 290 and I said, “Fuck YOU 290′s!”

Then the same with 280′s and so on and so forth.  I just set mini-goals of 10 pounds.  That’s all I was focused on.  Thinking about the big picture can be overwhelming but if all I do was say “I’ve got to get under 280, I’ve got to get under 280,” then I was setting a reasonable goal.  And every day that I got closer to 279 was a victory.  Then, when I did get into a new Decade, I said “Fuck off” to the previous level of weight.

True enough, sometimes you will get into a new decade and then find yourself back in the 280′s, but it’s not a setback.  I always just told myself: “You were 279 yesterday.  You didn’t do anything wrong between today and yesterday, so know that you are still on the right track.”

Now, this brings up another issue that some people have a problem with but I’m only going to touch on it briefly in Part II: Everyday Weigh-Ins.

For the majority of time that I am in the middle of losing weight, I weight myself every day.  Other people tell you not to do this.  I agree to disagree, or at least I say “Let me do what I want to do. Mind your own business.  You are a skinny person.”  (Skinny people have a lot of weight loss advice.  I appreciate that you’re trying to help, but you’ve never gone through this.)

For me, it was motivation.  Whether I gained a pound or lost a pound, I was motivated to do better that day.  (I always weigh myself in the morning, when I’m most likely to be my lightest.)

So, I continued on my path of working out and eating right for the last six months of my senior year in high school.  I imagined so many glorious things happening when I was finally in good shape: girls, girls, and most importantly, women.

I was down to just about 250 pounds.  Hey, almost 60 pounds lost!

Then a funny thing happened: Nobody said anything at all.

I’ll never forget that one girl said “Hey, have you lost weight?”  (I never know how to answer that question.  I am too humble to say “Yes!” and yet I don’t want to say “No” or something like that because I worked so hard for it.  I guess let the results speak for themselves.)

But one girl did kind of notice.  She was just an acquaintance.  Nobody “special” to me, but I guess you could say that I’ll never forget her because she was the one person to notice.  So, I just continue down this path and things will continue to improve right?

Right….  ?

Oh fuck, we just graduated.  I was about a year late on this quest to lose weight.

I graduated and then sort of lost sight of everything.  No more having to get up at 6 AM, because I didn’t have school anymore.  No more being too busy to eat.  No more girls to impress.  (Well, it’s not like I never left the house or didn’t have friends or didn’t hang out with girls.  But it’s different when you’re in that everyday school environment.)

If you can see where this is going, I was about to start the Yo-Yo effect that is typical of weight loss and people with a weight problem.

I took my first shot back at being fat.  I tied the score up at 1-1.  Fat was about to answer with another score of it’s own….

 

 

Karaoke: 3 Tips If You Can’t Sing

January 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

As I said earlier this week, I had a karaoke competition at work and the winner received a brand new iPad.  I wanted that iPad.  Even though I have no idea what I would do with an iPad, I wanted it because it’s an expensive and fancy item that I could have at the cost of zero dollars and four minutes of my time.

I have been whoring myself out for free items my entire life.  I don’t know what it is, but if somebody offers me a nominal amount of cash or prizes to do something, I’m usually a willing guinea pig.  I lack a lot of qualities, but mostly shame and embarrassment.

However, in this case I would need to drop every inhibition I had in order to have a chance at victory because I can’t sing a lick.  There was a time when I actually was a good singer and used to sing a lot.  I still turn my shower into a packed house at Madison Square Garden from time to time.  But years of drinking, smoking, and excess have left my vocal chords as a barren wasteland of forgotten dreams.

No, in order to win over this crowd I would have to do what I am good at on stage: making people laugh by making an ass out of thy self.

I rehearsed for a week.  I practiced steps.  I choreographed when I would walk into the crowd and start singing directly to people (both women and men, because people find that especially funny for whatever reason.)  I had a single “prop”, sunglasses for when I did the Michael spoken word part of End of the Road.  I was all set.

Then last night I got up there and I nailed it.  The audio recording of my performance would be a joke, but the audience bought into what I was selling and they rewarded me.

iPad, bitches.  I got an iPad.

So how does a guy without singing talent sing a song by some of the greatest vocalists of the nineties and win a competition?  Here are three pieces of advice:

1. Know the Goddamn Words

This should go without saying, but somehow beyond all odds we still see people go up on a karaoke stage and not know the words.  When a person gets up on stage and just stops singing because they are either A.) embarrassed and laughing or B.) just didn’t know what they had gotten themselves into and didn’t know the words, we don’t laugh with them.  We also don’t laugh at them.

We hate them.

It’s a funny sight in retrospect, but at the time it seems like the person gets booed and attacked if they go up there and make us listen a wordless track while they hold the mic and laugh.  It’s not cute.

If Jesus Christ descended upon a congregation of his followers and blessed each of them and healed each of them and said “You are all coming to heaven with me where you will be happy and blissful for eternity,” it wouldn’t be enough to save him if he got onto the stage in front of them and then forgot the words to  “She’s Lost that Loving Feeling.”

He’d be booed off and told to go back where he came from and never come back.

I'm a Terrible Person

I never had to look at the screen while singing End of the Road, so it allowed me to walk around the room and have confidence.  Any lapse in that, and I would have been done.

2. Crowd Participation

This doesn’t work for every song or every person, but anything I could do to turn the focus from me to the crowd, helped.

This includes: Going into the crowd, specifically serenading different people, calling out names, and synchronized clapping.  One of the best parts of End of the Road is the last part, where the guys just sing and the music drops and even in the song itself, it has the “crowd clap” as their beat in the background.

So when I recognized that the crowd was into it, I motioned for them to clap and they did and by the end of it, everyone felt like it was a great performance and that they had a good time.  I’ll do the same thing during sex.  Just a nice slow cap to the rhythm before finishing coitus.  Try it some time.

  3. Pick a Song that Crowds Love

Oftentimes you can get bonus points off the bat just by picking a song that makes people feel all warm and tingly inside.  Don’t confuse this with a song that crowds “used to love” before it became so damn common that they never wanted to hear it again.

This may include:

  • Don’t Stop Believin’
  • Sweet Caroline
  • Fuck Her Gently

Those are just a few of the played out songs that people may hate to hear.  If you know your audience is in the 25-35 range, just try to hearken back to their middle and high school years.  To a song that reminds them of their first crush, their first school dance, their first time having sex, their first time going to planned parenthood, their first time smoking marijuana, their first time smoking meth, their first time selling a baby on the black market.  You know, basically anything most teenagers do.

It’s best if it’s a song they haven’t heard in awhile.  I find that a lot of these songs are played quietly over the loudspeaker at your local VON’S or Safeway.

“What’s Goin’ On?” by Four Non-Blondes.  “Red, Red Wine,” by UB40.  “Whoop There It Is,” by the legendary Tag Team, and of course, Boyz II Men.

I’ve sung BIIM at karaoke bars more than a few times before and every single time it has gotten a reaction.  Sure, the karaoke bar next to my house may have more African-Americans than your average bar, and I may or may not specifically go into their crowd and ham it up with them, but white people like it too.

It makes white people feel like they’re slightly black, and if I’ve learned anything about affluent white people it’s that they want to be black.

I have a few more tips but felt like this post was getting a little long-winded, so I’ll save some for another post.  Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments, and this includes suggestions on what to do with an iPad!

I seriously have no idea what I’m going to use this thing for, but at the price I paid for it, who gives a shit?

2012 Oscar Predictions for the Best Pictures I Haven’t Seen

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been a fan of the Oscars since I was a little kid.  I don’t know why, but I just became obsessed with winners and people getting recognition for their work.  Must have been the occasional nipple slip.

I was such a fan that my mom bought me a book that covered the entire year-by-year history of all of the winners of every category.  I mean, this shit was complete and I read every page of it.  My ability to retain more than 25% of that information is lost somewhere between my 83rd and 215th hit of weed but I know my fair share.

Because of that, I’m the fucking shit at predicting the winners.  And by that I mean, the eight categories that anyone gives a shit about: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting ones, Director, and the Screenplays.  On average, I’ll hit on about 7 of those.

Now they had to increase the number of Best Pictures and completely fuck my mojo up.  I’m still pretty confident I can do it though.

Normally, I would watch every nominee before the Oscars so that I had ammunition for rage when I know that the Oscars get it wrong.  Because I have been called a “pirate” and felt bad about it though, I will not see every Best Picture nominee before the awards show.  I have only seen one: Moneyball.

It was okay, but truthfully I don’t need to watch all nine nominees to have ammunition for rage.  I already have it: DRIVE WAS THE BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR AND GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, here are my Best Picture predictions:

Moneyball:

"Money, I Balled the Kids"

Pros – It’s the The Social Network of 2011.  A true success story that a lot of people knew about and that nobody thought would work as a movie and then surprised everyone when they thought “Hey, that worked!”

Cons – Director Bennett Miller was not nominated for Best Director, which is a deathkill for Best Picture noms.  It would be only the third movie to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination.  Also, The Social Network didn’t win Best Picture and if a movie co-starring Jonah Hill can win Best Picture, then where was the love for Superbad?

The Artist

"........" - Dialogue from The Artist

Pros – Oh how pretentious and awesome could the Academy say they are if they give a silent, black and white movie the Best Picture award in 2012?  Forget the fact that none of them have seen it, you’ll look like a real genius with a taste for the finer things in life if you put “The Artist” on your ballot.

Cons – Despite what you overheard at the coffee shop, not a lot of people have seen this movie.  Sure, you might decide to comment on this article saying “Oh, I saw it and it was awesome!  You wouldn’t understand!” but that’s only something someone would say about a movie like The Artist so they feel awesome about themselves.  Tell me that you’ve seen Mac and Me and I’ll be impressed.  I’ll see The Artist but I’ll wait until it’s at my local moving picture theatre.

Midnight in Paris

Finally. A sequel to Wedding Crashers.

Pros – Woody Allen has been nominated for sixteen Oscars in his amazing career as one of the greatest screenwriters of any generation.  He’s a genius and at 76 years old, maybe it’s time to honor him with one more award, as he’s only won two in his career.  It would also keep Owen Wilson happy.  Must keep Owen Wilson happy.

Cons – Did you see what I just said?  2 out of 16!  Woody Allen makes nice movies, but he rarely makes the best picture of the year.

War Horse

If only this were a romantic comedy of a boy and his horse.

Pros – Fewer nominations than Woody Allen, but achievements with Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and the underrated Munich, make Steven Spielberg a literal Academy boner.

Cons – Can we stop pretending like anyone really gives a shit about hero horses?  Secretariat, Seabiscuit, and now War?  This movie was sooooo an “academy” movie, that it’s going to fall flat on Oscars night as all of the “soooooo Oscar” movies usually do.

The Descendants

I can't tell if it's George Clooney if I can't see the lip twitch.

Pros – George Clooney doesn’t thank the Academy.  The Academy thanks George Clooney.  Director Alexander Payne has hung around as a “Oh God, I looooove that guy” director for awhile but doesn’t direct often.  His last feature film was Oscar darling Sideways.  He won a writing Oscar for that movie, but missed out on the directing trophy.  He could win three awards with The Descendants this year.

Cons – Is it too loved?  Darlings are always hot up until Oscar night and then fall flat.  But will that be The Artist or The Descendants?  They should have teamed up for The Artists Descendants and made it in black and green with people being able to talk, but only like the Swedish Chef.

The Tree of Life

"One day I want to run the Oakland A's"

Pros – Oh Terrence Malick, you crazy bitch.  He hardly ever works but now all of a sudden he’s working like mad.  Did you know that Imdb currently has Malick directing four features either in post-production or pre-production right now?  He’s directed four in the last 23 years.  People seem to either fucking love or hate this movie, but a lot of people love it.

Cons – But a lot of people hate it.  Or at least don’t care for it.  Or wouldn’t even give it the award for “Best Terrence Malick Picture of the Year” instead deciding to give that award to a picture that Malick took of a koala bear at the zoo.  No matter how much some people may love your movie, it won’t help if enough people hate that shit.

The Help

A nice white person. Let's give her an award. No, really.

Pros – White person interacts with black people at a time when that was considered being a hero.  It worked for Driving Miss Daisy.

Cons – If The Help wins Best Picture, it will be the first winner of the award since Chicago to be a movie I’ll never fucking see.  If they were going to give Best Picture to a movie co-starring Emma Stone, it should have been Superbad.

Hugo

Hugo teaches the kids about the birds and the bees.

Pros –  1930s Paris.  Imagination.  Ben Kingsley.  Kids.  Martin Scorsese.  The Academy took a shit on Scorsese for years until finally giving him his just rewards in 2007 with The Departed.  They still need to make up for Raging Bull and Goodfellas and you can go to hell if you don’t think Gangs of New York was a great movie.  It has the most nominations this year (11) and good reviews all around.

Cons – Maybe they still want to shit on Scorsese.  It’s a proven track record that I can’t argue with.  Hugo was a box office bomb with a reported budget of $170 million but only $83 million worldwide in receipts.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

"Son, we don't belong here."

Pros – It is nominated.

Cons – Holy shit, really?  REALLY?!  Look, I may find out that this is a hidden gem, but this has been called by some as the worst Best Picture nomination of all time.  And the Academy didn’t even have to do this.  They only needed to nominate between 5 and 10 pictures this year.  They could have stopped at eight.  This movie has a 6.3 on Imdb and a 47% on the Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer.  Fuck no.  FUUUCK NO.  I know you like Tom Hanks but seriously, what happened here?  Did you really miss him?  I’m sure he would have came anyway.

 

Conclusion: 

Based on all of the hard evidence I have compiled while only watching one of nine of these films, I believe we have found a winner.

No fucking way – Extremely Dumb & Incredibly Stupid, Bore Horse, You Need Help, Moneys Ball, Wedding Crashers 2.

Fucking maybe - The Descendants and Tree of Life.  I would put The Descendants as a good half-mile ahead of Tree of Life, but ToL is not a zero% chance.  It’s got a slight chance.  Descendants is in third place.

Sure – The Artist.  So fucking artsy are we?  This movie is the odds-on favorite for most, but it’s a bit too fartsy for me to think it will win.  So…

Winner – Hugo.  Despite a disappointing run in the theaters, Hugo will find a second life on DVD and Blu-ray and Megauplo.. oh never mind.  But it will regain some of it’s money after Scorsese takes home his second Best Picture trophy.

I don’t need to see these fucking things to have a general idea of what’s going to happen, but I see Hugo as the winner and an after-theater-run sleeper hit.

By the ways, I am on twitter if you never look to the left of the page.

 

The Honest Story Of How I Lost 150 LBS. Part 1 – Growing Up Fat.

January 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

I still struggle with what this blog is.  Well, maybe “struggle” isn’t the right word.  If you don’t like the blog and it’s complete inability to stay focused on a single topic, then that’s fine.  I didn’t create this blog to just do movie reviews.  I didn’t create it to just do random humorous posts.  I didn’t create it because I thought it might get me laid.

I did it for all of those reasons.

Seriously, I just want to write.  It’s more than just a hobby, it’s what I want to do for a living and by writing on four blogs for over 30 hours per week at almost no pay, I get better at it.  That’s why this blog is here.

It might have multiple personalities, but that didn’t stop Sybil from becoming Cybill Sheppard did it?  Did it?

I would by lying if I said that I wasn’t apprehensive about getting too personal on here.  I mean, I think that the nature of this blog is trying to be less about me and more about observations and swear words.  As a blog-writer for the Seahawks, it seems that in any kind of “journalism,” the writer doesn’t want to be a personality or have a personal life that’s seen in the public view.

Well, I am not a journalist.  I am a blogger.  I can do whatever the fuck I want.  If it is a mistake, then so be it, but I much prefer taking chances and fucking up then wondering “What if I had tried this?”  I think that’s pretty clear if you look at all my life’s fuck-ups.

The most personal of all my personal stories is about being fat.  I don’t want to use words like “obese” or “overweight” or “tubber tubber belly rubber” because that’s not what my affliction is called.  It’s called being fat, and growing up I was one of the fattest kids in school.

I don’t think anybody can know how something like that starts if it’s all you’ve ever known.  From my earliest memories (of which there are few, and mostly spotty at best because apparently I was a stoner from the time I was three?) I have always been a big kid.  Not just in width, but also in height.

To put it in perspective, because I have no damn clue how tall I was at any age, I am 6’6″ now and I haven’t grown much since early in high school.  This height advantage proved to be somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of any efforts to trim up before I started hitting those critical puberty stages.  (Crossing my fingers that I hit puberty any day now.)

People would tell me, “You’ll thin out” or “It’s just baby fat.”

"Ohh baby... fat."

Nope, this is real fucking fat and the taller I get the more I expand.  I felt like I was some machine that needed to feed itself more food in order to survive.  I have more than once in my life been called a “bear” and not in the much more appealing homosexual way.

At least bears in the gay community are desired.  I was just a big ass dude.

So, there I sat (always sitting.  Fat, get it?) as a kid in elementary school – middle school – high school, as the big kid.  As the “huge” kid.  Not just fat.  Not just tall.  But a whole lot of both.

How does one cope with that?  Who the hell would my heroes be to look up to?  Baloo the Bear from TaleSpin?  Chunk from Goonies?  (A special “Fuck you” to anyone that told me to do the “Truffle Shuffle.”)  More importantly, how does a kid that’s 10 or 12 or 14 independently lose weight on his own accord?

I feel ya Donkey Lips.

It’s not as easy as it seems.  Kids need guidance for shit like that.  And it was fucking killing me that I was not skinny.  Seriously, it’s some depressing shit to grow up and have crushes, or see your friends get girlfriends, or want to be respected in sports and then have none of that.

I would have done anything to be skinny.

I can remember going over several ways to lose weight, one of which was inspired by Theodore in Alvin and the Chipmunks when he decided to steam up the bathroom and sweat it all out.

That didn’t work.  Damn you for being a cartoon.

I remember being inspired by the most random shit on television like a story about Hulk Hogan on Nickelodeon, or an episode of Head of the Class when the fat kid Dennis comes back from summer break looking even bigger and then reveals that he was hiding pillows in his clothes and had actually lost weight.

Fuckkkk… I want to pull pillows out of my clothes after summer break too.

But up until the time I was eighteen, I did not lose any weight.  I just packed and packed and stored more for the winter.  I played some football and some basketball, but those aren’t real workouts if you are supplementing them with McDonald’s.

I had small bits of “Okay, I’m going to go running!” but they never lasted very long.  I would starve myself for a day or two because I didn’t know any better.  None of it really mattered because I was too naive, too lazy, too hungry to stop the cycle.

I mean, have you had a Double-Quarter Pounder with Cheese?  That shit’s bomb and it’s half-a-pound.

When I was a senior in high school, I weighed myself and found that I was finally checking in at 300 lbs.  That’s a big number.  It’s a “milestone number.”  It’s the kind of number that no fat kid wants to see and it was an eye-opener.

I knew I had to do something about it and that I was no longer young enough to make excuses.  This is when I lost weight… for the first time.

Netflix Instant Review: Ultimate Predator with Manny Puig

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you are familiar with Jackass or Wildboyz, then you’ll already be familiar with Manny Puig.  He’s the one guy that hangs out with that crew that actually seems to have his shit together, even if he’s a bit crazy.

Puig was brought into the Jackass crew after Jeff Tremaine (creator of Jackass) and some of the other guys saw Manny jumping on sharks and riding them and thought “What a perfect way for our guys to act like jackasses.”  So he was brought into the fold and has appeared in Jackass-related material ever since.

You won’t see him do any fecal matter jokes or homo-erotic foreplay though.  Manny Puig is just a badass animals expert that gets his kicks by coming face-to-face with the most dangerous animals in the world without any proper protection.  Whereas Steve Irwin was fearless in a way that almost made him seem like a 4-year-old (“Ooooh look at that snake. Let’s give him a kiss.”) Puig is probably less fearless and more likely just challenging himself to continue pushing the boundaries of nature.  He’s just a brave motherfucker.

Ultimate Predator (2006) is an exclusive look at just the exploits of Puig and his cameraman Mark Rackley and is available on Netflix Instant Watch.

It’s a quick watch at less than an hour, so it won’t take up any more time than watching To Catch a Predator but these predators don’t bring you wine coolers and condoms.  They are far less friendly.

You will get to see Manny:

  • Hand-feed sharks.
  • Ride Hammerhead sharks.
  • Challenge mother bears.
  • Hand-capture alligators.
  • Pick up rattlesnakes.
  • Levitate the alligators.

Manny’s seemingly biggest feat as an “Ultimate Predator” is the levitation of alligators.  Rather than using the traditional way to catch alligators (why there would be a traditional way to do something like catching alligators, I have no idea) Puig came up with a way to calmly get them out of the water.  It’s pretty simple: Just swim down to the bottom of a swamp, get face to face with an alligator, put your hand under his jaw (you know, the one with all the teeth) and grab him by the jugular like he’s been a bad alligator and it’s time to get punished.

Try this at home.

Puig doesn’t really harm any of the animals during the video, though I suspect he’s probably killed a thing or two in his life.  His goal is not to kill or eat the animals.  He does not want a physical trophy.  His only trophy is the experience of facing off against the world’s most dangerous predators and learning more about them for “scientific purposes.”

If you are like me, then you will be impressed by what you see in the video and you don’t have to be a Jackass fan (at all!) to enjoy it.  Also if you are like me, you spent 35 minutes this morning debating whether or not to put “Make-out with the T-Mobile girl” on your bucket list.  It’s not that I don’t want it to happen, but realistic goals, ya know?

The quality of the video is not the greatest.  The segments where they interview people from Jackass are not really needed, though they provide interesting insight.  The video is kind of scrapped together amateurishly.  But for under an hour and as part of Netflix Instant, it’s definitely worth a viewing.

You won’t see Manny get hurt very badly in the video, but it’s worth noting that in 2009 he lost a middle finger to a rattlesnake.  I guess he shouldn’t have tried this at home.

I give Ultimate Predator 5 out of 7 levitating alligators.  

 

 

Terrible Lyrics? Boyz II Men – End of the Road

January 23, 2012 § 5 Comments

This week I will be performing in a karaoke competition with an iPad2 as the grand prize to the winner.  I want that damn iPad.

I would never purchase an iPad in my current financial state (ladies?) but win one of those portable time-wasters?  Hell yeah.  I’m not an Apple fanboy, but I recognize it’s superior product.  I don’t have an iPhone, but I do rock an iMac and a Macbook Pro.  I’m working my way up the fanboy ladder.

In preparation for winning this competition, I’ve chosen one of my favorite songs of all-time: End of the Road by none other than the Boyz that later grew up and became Men.  Also known as Boyz II Men and not to be confused with Boyz IV Men or Boys 2: Men.

Boyz II Men were a major part of my high school experience, and I was not ashamed to rock out to their ballads, dreaming that one day I too would grow up and become a man and sing these songs to women.  I’m still waiting for that day, but I picture it happening some time before Marty McFly saves his older self and retrieves the Sports Almanac.

I had to re-visit the song though and make sure that I had it down perfectly.  I could recite the whole song with ease, except for Michael’s spoken word plea to his ex.  This is a critical part of winning the karaoke competition, as it both A.) Stops me from singing and B.) Makes the girls go “woo!”

Seriously, it’s tactics like this that will have to win me that iPad.

I’ve been singing the song over and over again on my way to and from work.  Watching it on YouTube and reading the lyrics over and over again, just to get a perfect grasp on it so that my clean perfection of the words masks my complete inability to come close to Wanye’s “AND BABY JUST DON’T LET ME GOOOOOO!!!!”

In doing this however, I’ve come to the realization that this song is sad.  Not sad in the way that “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” is but sad in the way that an R. Kelly song is sad.

Dude, the Boyz II Men were with a girl, they were dedicated to a girl, they loved a girl, and then the girl cheated on them.  According to Michael, this wasn’t just a one time deal.  She had a straight up affair and “all those times… ran out with that other fella.”

Guys… this chick sucks.  You need to realize that it’s good to be at the End of the Road with this one.  You’re the Boyz II Men, you don’t need this in your life.

I won’t go over the whole song, but here are some key parts:

We belong together
And you know that I am right
Why do you play with my heart?
Why do you play with my mind?

Interpretation: This starts out as a heartful, “Hey, love you! Kisses!” and turns into “Stop fucking with me!” very quickly.

Boyz, if you know that she’s playing mind games with you, then maybe you should move onto the next one.

Said we’d be forever
Said it’d never die
How could you love me and leave me and never
Say goodbye?

Interpretation: She’s a liar!  This girl sounds TERRIBLE!

Girl, each time I try I just break down and cry
Pain in my head
Oh, I’d rather be dead
Spinning around and around

Interpretation:  Yeesh.  We just found out that the Boyz are suicidal!  It seems like they want to get to the very end of the road.  And all over a chick that so far we have found out is manipulative and a liar that just ups and leaves without even saying goodbye.

Girl, I know you really love me
You just don’t realize
You’ve never been there before
It’s only
Your first time

Interpretation: You’re starting to creep me out Nathan, Michael, Shawn, and Wanye.  It seems pretty clear that this chick does not love you, yet you keep telling her that she does and she’s just confused.  That’s some restraining order shit.

Also, you were messing with a girl that had never been in a relationship before and her actions surprise you?  Have you guys ever been in a relationship before?  You’re old enough and famous enough and talented enough to not worry about girls that have never been there before.

Maybe I’ll forgive you
Maybe you’ll try 

Interpretation:  Now it’s a maybe?  I thought this whole song was you forgiving her and that she just needs to come back to you.  Don’t start wavering now.  Either commit or back off (as you clearly should.)

Will you love me again
Like you loved me before
This time I want you to love me much more
This time instead
Just come to my bed
And baby just don’t let me go

Interpretation: Love me.  Love me more than you did before.  Just come to my bed and don’t let me go.

So, if I’m reading that right, she loved you a lot less than a girl that would only come to your bed?  Boyz, did you even really date this girl?  It sounds like you’re just stalkers to be honest.

Michael, speak it!

All those times at night
When you just hurt me
And just ran out with that other fella
Baby I knew about it
I just didn’t care
You just don’t understand how much I love
Do you?
I’m here for you

Interpretation: You’re here for her?!  YOU.  ARE HERE.  FOR HER?!!!  Mikey, please understand that she was the one cheating on you.  And you just told her that you knew about it and did not care.  What do you think she’s going to do in regards to cheating during the second go-around?

I don’t like your stance on infidelity.

I’m not about to go out on cheat you
Just like you did
But baby that’s alright
I love you anyway

Interpretation: IT’S NOT ALRIGHT!  Forgiving a person is one thing.  Telling them that they did nothing wrong and let’s do this again and you keep runnin’ out with that other fella is not!

(Lonely)
Yes baby, my heart is lonely
(Lonely)

Interpretation: No shit you’re lonely.

Although we’ve come
To the end of the road
Still I can’t let go
It’s unnatural
You belong to me
I belong to you

Interpretation: Out of context, the chorus is great.  In context, what the fuck?

This girl sucks.  Stop writing songs for her.  Stop saying that it’s cool to her to run out with a bunch of other fellas.  I honestly don’t know if this chick ever cared for you.  You deserve better BIIM.

That ends my mini rant on End of the Road, and I will still be singing this song this week because it makes the girls swoon and the guys question their orientation because of the hotness I bring on stage.

iPadIIMen, here I come.

 

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