Well I’m not trying to lose a real quarter horse but more of almost a quarter of a horse. A quarter horse roughly weighs about 1000 pounds. I’m on a journey to lose 208 to 258 pounds depending how I look and/or feel when I lose 208 pounds. I wish today was my official weigh in day. I’m going to jinx myself but I’m down almost 61 lbs. I’m going to go ahead and say a little bit about myself and why I started this.
When I started this new lifestyle almost 20 weeks ago, I weighed 458 pounds (let me pause for a moment for you all to gasp and become “unshocked”.) It was definitely the biggest that I have ever been. My knees hurt and I just didn’t feel good overall. When Renee and I left for Nerdtacular 2012 we said when we return home we would start our new lifestyle. We had no idea exactly what we were going to do.
We had purchased HBO when Game of Thrones had started its second season. One of the benefits of doing this is that you can DVR a lot of stuff before you got rid of it at the end of the season. One of the things we DVR’d was a documentary named “The Weight of the Nation”. It talked about obesity and the problem here in America health and weight wise. The documentary was broken up over four days because it was four hours long and each hour having its one part. It was very informative and not only did it tell us about the problem but it also gave solutions.
One of the misconceptions that I had was that if I go to the gym and work out, I could still eat like I wanted and still lose weight. I had thought that working out was the key to losing weight. Alas, I was wrong it was actually managing what I eat.
Thus began our adventure to LoseIt.com land, where we would begin to journal all our food that we would eat, log our calories, and really work in a budget. It has truly been an exciting journey for Renee and me. As of this writing, Renee herself is down almost 55 pounds after 20 weeks.
Now let’s get to the amazing part and talk about community. During our weight loss and sharing that experience with people. We are part of such a great Frogpants community that revolves around many podcasts, nerdisms, and major geekery. We have had a number of folks join us on Loseit (as of this writing we have 270 members in the group and 194 folks in the challenge) and as expected they are so supportive of each other. That makes me want to work even harder.
My plan is to periodically update here on my blog my status and insight that I have gotten. I consider this my day I finally accept the fact that I had gotten so heavy and reveal my weight. It may not seem like a big deal to many but to me it means a whole lot. I’m thankful for the people around me. I’m thankful for those that support Renee and I. I’m thankful for those that are in our lives and together we’ll all make each other a better person both physically and mentally.
I have to thank the folks at The Anecdotalist Podcast for resparking some of my favorite stories as a kid. I have so many stories that I want to share and I’m going to start sharing them here on my blog. I’ve submitted one to their podcast and I’ll wait for that one to air before I share it. Aside from that I’ll share the ones that I have on my list that I’m so excited to share. Today will be a story of entrapment…not the type that cops do when they are trying to catch you doing something but one of actually trapping something. I call this one “Gulliver’s Travel”.
Growing up as a kid, I was raised by my grandparents. My parents divorced when I was 4 or 5 years old. On the weekends I would alternate from going to my Mom’s or my Dad’s. I loved going to my mom’s because a lot of times we did fun stuff that I liked. Some of those things were, playing card games, rent video game consoles to play for the weekend, go to the mall, and go out to eat! One of the other things that we did was play practical jokes on one another. One of the things about my mom, she has been clean of alcohol about 26 years. Mom was never drop dead drunk where she couldn’t function but she was a functional alcoholic, it was something that was natural to be round and she wasn’t a horrible person. She’s was and still is an amazing mom and I love her. At the time of this story I’m going to tell was during the period when she may have had some alcohol. (*wink*) I have also have an older sister that I would spend the weekend with when I was at my mom’s house. She was raised by my grandparents on my mom’s side of the family so we got to see each other and spend lots of time with one another when I was there. With that let the story begin.
It was a Saturday afternoon in the fall and myself, Renee (my sister, yes she has the same name as my wife) and my mom had gotten back from our Saturday routine of going to the mall, getting food and going by the video store. My mom lived in a trailer that in had a queen bed in the main room and also a twin bed that had the headboard/footboard combo. One of the effects of alcohol on my mom was that she would take naps frequently and she would fall asleep easily. So this Saturday afternoon my mom had fell asleep and my sister and I had a plan for her…an EVIL plan! My sister and I had schemed and gotten some old cassette tapes and taken them apart and was using the material on the inside as twine. We twirled it together to the point where it was pretty tough and almost unbreakable.
This day while mom was sleeping we had taken our stash of twine and began to wrap it slowly around the bedpost that she was napping on and around her wrist and ankles. She would twitch every now and then and we would stop so that she would settle back down and we were fighting our laughter as we tied her wrist to the bed post and ankles to the footboard. After doing that we then tied a make shift “trip wire” from the chair to the bottom of the bed so if she broke free she would trip. (Hey we were kids we didn’t know the dangers!!!!) After setting up our joke/trap we waited and waited for her to wake up. We waited so long we couldn’t wait any longer so we began to do stuff to wake her up like using feathers to ticker her nose and face and when she attempted to swat at the “fly” she couldn’t move! When she woke up and noticed that she was immobilized she began to yell our names, “Jonathan!!!! Renee!!!! What are you doing!?!?!”. We laughed and laughed until we realized that she wasn’t getting our practical joke. We couldn’t help to keep laughing and we were looking at each other as who was going to go untie mom? Mom was able to free herself and during the whole “excitement” of her waking up we forgot about the trip wire!!!
This is a good memory that we still talk about to this day! Our mom was such a good sport and she is loved so much. This is always a story that makes me smile. Hope you enjoyed the story and I’ll share more at a later date!
Over the past month or two Renee and I have been doing a lot of work to get our podcast sounding as good as possible. I have to thank a lot of people for helping us. The list is long and one of the things that we really really appreciated is the honesty and support of the community. The community that we are in is so supportive and encouraging in a community where there are a lot of people doing podcast. The thing I’ve learned is that this community loves to see other people succeed as well, there is room for everyone.
I know one of the things that’s hard for some people is to be quite honest and upfront about something that can be wrong in a project that you see someone is so excited about. They don’t want to kill the excitement but they also want to steer them in the right way. Even though I had to push a couple of people to critique our podcast it was well-worth it! Last night we recorded episode 19 and it sounds simply amazing…so AMAZING!
After getting our new equipment and everything we submitted our video to the “How it’s Casted” website. It’s been an amazing two months and I love doing the podcast with Renee it gives us a time to sit down and have a conversation of stuff that we love to talk about! We talk through out the week but it just gives us a moment to share that conversation with our friends. I’m going to attempt to thank some folks for helping us. I know I probably shouldn’t try to list them because I know I’ll forget someone…so here we go!
Darrell a.k.a Bearbutt: Thank you for being one of the first for your honest critique you don’t know how much we appreciate that tweet when you spoke about our sound when we first started out. That was the catalyst for a lot of changes that we appreciate.
Deci: Dude, thanks for being in the trenches with us and the competition for who was the “ghettoest” podcaster. Thank you so much for putting our album art together, you have a gift dude and I can’t wait to celebrate with you as well.
J.A.V.A (Jeppy, Aprillian, Vrishna and Ashayo)- Jeppy and Aprillian Thank you for having us on Ctrl Alt Geek and talking with us on how to podcast and inspiring us. Vrishna and Ashayo thank you guys as well for being part of a great crew that inspires people not to be afraid to be themselves on the mic you all are a classy act.
Nick McKinney (20Q guy!) – Thank you for having us on 20 Questions and being one of the first folks I talked to about equipment and when we spoke…my mind was blown and I was quite overwhelmed. I can’t wait to sit on the other side of the mic with you.
Scott Johnson: Just have to say aside from just being awesome for the great content you put out, I can say you’re a good friend as well. You respond to emails and I remember a boohoo email I sent you a while back and you were so kind man. You’re an all around good guy and your love to see other people succeed.
Daniel J. Lewis: This was a stumbled upon jewel! I was doing research on what I need to fix in Audacity and found this podcast. I can’t wait to cover it on the Podcast of the Week segment of our show.
Dave from Maphook: Thank you so much for supporting a little ole couple from Louisville, KY. You’re an upstanding guy and do so much for the community.
Listeners: Thank you all for listening and being so supportive it’s amazing that we have folks that listen to us every week and we appreciate you all so much. We love hearing from you all and love your feedback, emails and submissions on what we should try. We are so glad to be doing this not only for ourselves but for you to give an hour of some Valentine love and conversations!
I really hope I didn’t forget anyone if so leave a comment and let me apologize. It’s been a great year so far and so excited for what’s ahead! Love you all and take it easy!
March 14th, 2011 was a day of awesomeness for Renee and myself. One it was the eve of Renee’s birthday and also it was our first day of recording our podcast. This is something that Renee and I wanted to do and it’s something that we do to spend time together. We do a lot together and we enjoy each other’s company a whole lot. This podcast has been an outlet for us to share our lives with other people that are interested in our take on life situations, food, tech and just about everything that we want to talk about. A lot of times folks wonder what exactly Renee and I are like and they want to know outside of World of Warcraft, Twitter, and other social media outlets and if you want to find out the place to start is at our podcast/blog http://atvalentine.com.
Tonight we record Episode 16 and I’m excited and it has come to the point where I do enjoy my Monday’s more as this is the day that we record. Except when we had the Nerdplague from Nerdtacular 2011 we ended up recording the following Wednesday (also the name of Deci’s pug!). I’t s been such a great experience and hearing feedback from those that occasionally listen or listen all the time. One of the biggest things was finally getting our sound to sound better (Thanks Bearbutt/Darrell)! We were sitting too far from the mic and didn’t realize that it sounded that way. Since then I’ve been able to purchase a Yamaha MG82cx mixer that was brand new on Craigslist for cheap! Now all we need are a couple to four mics and we are set. Why the four mics? Well so when we have “in studio” guest.
I love that we do this every week because we can go back and listen and it’s like old home recordings. In four more weeks we’ll be pushing out episode 20, wonder what we will do? No telling but believe it…we’ll be there!
So this seems to happen around this time of year. I actually wished I didn’t know why but If I said that I know I would be lying. Getting close to my birthday and this is normally a great time for people to celebrate them getting a year older and all that stuff.
I’m married to a wonderful woman who loves me and have awesome in laws that love to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. It’s always odd to hear one’s mother in law say “Your birthday is coming next month, where do you want to go for dinner for your birthday?” as she wipes out her calendar to try to match up schedules to see when is the best time to celebrate. Last year they made a point to go out to dinner even though they had been out on vacation to still take me out. They even mailed me my birthday card and they live in the same city, but they were out on vacation!
My wife she’s amazing, she always does a good job in getting me a present and just being there and making me feel awesome. She does that even when it’s not my birthday. I know what you are thinking? So what the hell is wrong with you man?
Well the above scenario is something that’s played out for the past three to four years. The years before that they weren’t so grandiose. Even some of the things that happen still happen today. I had one birthday from my childhood that stood out above any other birthday when I was growing up. This was the birthday where I turned twelve years old. I actually had a birthday party and had friends come over and I got a whole twelve dollars for every year of my birthday! My grandmother made a guitar cake and it was so cool.
The rest of my birthdays well they weren’t so grandiose! A lot time it was forgotten by family members and it didn’t have any celebrations. I guess I shouldn’t complain or at least that’s what I’ve been told. It was just never a time where I actually felt special. Which seemed to have been a running theme of my upbringing. That’s for another blog post I suppose. Those days of not feeling special still creep back up on me and makes me view myself in a light that is not becoming.
I remember an exercise that my therapist had me do back in the day. He said I have to start playing “tapes” of good qualities that I am and stop listening to the “bad tapes” of what others have said about me. There are times in my life I end up going back to that “virtual tape case” and pulling out the old tapes and start playing them, I don’t know why it’s just dumb and silly I know.
It just seems like today is one of those days where I can’t turn off the damn tape player. Anyone have a hammer?
Taken from Wikipedia:
Flirting is a playful, romantic or sexual overture by one person to another subtly indicating an interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, and can involve verbal communications as well as body language. Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, proximity etc. Verbal communication of interest can include the vocal tone, such as pace, volume, intonation. Challenges (teasing, questions, qualifying, feigned disinterest) serve to increase tension, test intention and congruity.
Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest. This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony. Double entendres, with one meaning more formally appropriate and another more suggestive, may be used. …
People flirt for a variety of reasons. Flirting can indicate an interest in a deeper relationship with another person. Some people flirt simply for amusement, with no intention of developing any further relationship. This type of flirting sometimes faces disapproval from others, either because it can be misinterpreted as more serious, or it may be viewed as cheating if either person is already in a committed relationship with someone else.
This has been a topic that I can say I have not fully grasped. When I say “grasped” I mean I don’t understand those that are in a “happy relationship” and they seem to want to flirt with another person in a “happy relationship” and this isn’t just a simple “Oh you’re cute” type flirt this is a full on advance. I never understood how this is acceptable by either parties. I can say I’ve been a sucker and I took some simple flirting done to me possibly to far when I was in high school and thought someone was flirting and was interested in me but they weren’t. The flirting to this person was a game. Wait…what? A game?!?! A game of what? The person could not explain to me what the game was.
Was it a game like “chicken” to see how far one could go before they suddenly swerve off the road only to crash? A game to see how close you get someone believing that you are interested in them and then just drop them like a fly? A game to try to break up a happy relationship only for your own selfish reasons? I don’t understand what this “game” is.
I’m that type of guy (cue LL Cool J) that don’t play a game when I flirt. If I’m flirting that means I’m interested. When I say flirt I’m not talking about “Oh my you’re looking smoking hot today!” I’m talking about the flirting when it’s to the point where you’re doing full own advances. Talking about how you want to caress, hold, grab, kiss the target of your flirtation. I’ve never understood how this type of flirtation has become acceptable. Maybe I’m old fashion or maybe I think anyone that does this, knowing that the person your flirting with is with someone else, is truly treading on unsafe ground. I’ve seen plenty of “flirting” move away from just “flirting” to breaking up relationships and leaving hurt feelings. I’ve seen it where it didn’t break up the relationship but left history that no one should have to deal with.
I’ve been in the restaurant with my dad and I’ve seen him flirt with the waitress to the point where it was flat-out embarrassing to me and the waitress. I mean my dad is in his mid 50s and still acting like he’s in high school. Is this OK behavior to have with a perfect stranger when the person you’re flirting with ISN’T FLIRTING BACK? If the person isn’t flirting back that should tell you something. Either “Stop!” or “Now isn’t the right time.” In either situation you should probably stop.
So I have to ask for you when is flirting ok and when is it not? Be specific as in the flirting that is harmless (You’re looking hot today) or too far (Oh if I get a hold of you I’m going to turn you out!)
Tao of Cao: Innocent flirting can lead to feelings hurt on both parties. If the person is in a relationship really think about what you’re doing aside from your selfish feelings if you’re doing it just for pure kicks. If you’re doing because you’re interested you should move on until that person isn’t in a relationship any longer.
I’m a forgiving kind of guy and I really try to understand people, I really do. I find them intriguing and interesting. I find us humans quite familiar yet different. I really seek and try to understand people to no end, but there are times where I cannot understand somethings and I will say, “That irks me!”.
Why do I say this you may ask? Well I don’t understand how a person can do something good for 95% of the time I mean really do something good for 95% of the time and when that 5% comes up and it is interpreted wrongly that this 5% ruins the other 95%! Here are the things that go through my mind?
- What kind of sense does that make?
- So does this 5% ruin the other 95% or is it a human thing?
- Does this 5% define this person?
So let’s say a person is age 40 and for 2 of those years this person had a horrible time with drinking and they were an alcoholic for those two years. This two years can be somewhere in the 20-22 years of age. Does this one thing keep that person from moving forward and being an “honorable” person within society or is that person labeled an alcoholic for the rest of their life? Too big of a time frame? OK let’s say for 365 years a person has stayed healthy for 346 days a year. Throughout that year sprinkled through was 19 days of where they were sick. Is this person labeled a sickly person? If in your mind they are I just think that is dumb.
Another thing that irks me is that if you think someone is saying something and you aren’t quite sure they are saying what they are saying, ASK!!!! Plain and simple don’t let some dumb ass decision you are going to make be on some shit that you “think” is the issue. If you aren’t quite sure on it, just ask. It’s not hard, not hard at all.
Where is this coming from you may ask? I’ll just say this:
“I’m tired of opening myself up to relationships where I feel like someone understands me and allow them into the many, many layers of Big Ole Jerry V only for them to misunderstand something and use that against me and piss me the f— off.”
I’m not a perfect man and I’ve never said I’ve been one. One thing is for damn sure, I’ve tried my damned hardest in everything that I’m in. Be it my marriage, friendships, work, you name it. I’m a true friend and I will stick there to the end and even though someone misunderstood me and let me down I will still remain their friend. It just sucks that it had to be within my many layers of Big Ole Jerry Valentine.
I will say it’s rough sometimes as I know its rough for a lot of people out there. I love Renee so much as she understands that I can sit there and talk to her and let my heart open up and with tears coming to my eyes explain to her the struggle of being an overweight, black male in this society. There are stereotypes that a lot of people have to fight against and I will say the typical stereotype of an overweight, black guy that loves video games are:
- He’s lazy.
- He’s a slob.
- He’s going to eat all the food.
- He’s not going to get <insert task> done.
Wait, wait, wait! Don’t run off! I’m not going to continue a discussion that I had on twitter here but I just thought it would be a cool title to have.
What I would like to discuss, however, is the topic of “When is too much information, too much?”.
Here is how I break down information sharing:
1) Know your audience. If you know your audience you know how much is enough, too much, or not enough. In most situations this is a “majority rules” type audience. If a person is in that audience I would think they know who the information giver is.
2) Know yourself. What’s comfortable for you to share with your audience? Are you more of a type that likes to holds one cards to their chest and not let others see? Or are you a “I’m human and my audience is too and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one that does this.”?
3)Know your platform. What platform or place are you giving this information? Is it verbal or written? Is it being recorded or not? To some people this makes a difference. Actually being on record of saying something they will change what they will share.
So with me. I tend to view my audience as a majority rule and think that everyone is human so I know I’m not the only one that’s seen or heard the information I’m about to share. If it’s recorded I wouldn’t change what I would say. I learned a long time ago to be myself and not change who that is. I lived a life where I was not myself and it was hell.
So let it be known that most humans do wear underwear or they are commando. Also most couples have sex. That’s not too much information is it? Naw, it can’t be!
Tao of Cao: Don’t live a false life. Don’t be afraid to show who you are to people. You will be respected more if they know you are the same person in and out of public. Being fake doesn’t get you anywhere but into a hill of trouble.
PS I must say. I have to take a bit of my own advice and include the photo above. I was too embrassed to share it on Saturday as I felt I looked HUGE but it’s me. Who I am, I can’t hide behind it…but you can! Ha! I made a funny about myself. Love you guys and gals.
Oh how many of you folks out there are happy that Valentine’s Day is over? How many of you are not? How many of you even care? Me having all the luck in the world to have the last name Valentine I fall in the last category to be honest. I know a lot of times the running joke is my “hatred” of the day because of the corny jokes that happen during the holiday. It’s enough to make me smile. In our house any day can be Valentine’s day because I make sure I show Renee that I truly love her.
One of the things that hit me this holiday though is the fact that there are a lot of people who feel like they do not deserve a rose, card, or even a cordial greeting. Sometimes this is caused by hurt, loss, or just flat-out don’t like the propaganda during the holiday. I’d like to take a second and address at least the first two.
Hurt: I can relate to this. I’ve been hurt plenty in my life and it’s not a good feeling. You feel like you been done over, taken advantage of, or just flat-out stupid. It seems with some guys it easy to separate yourself (re: shut down the feelings once held) and move on. I find this interesting as it’s easy and nothing is resolved but one must do what they must to move on. With some gals it seems that there has to be a process of removing the person that’s done the hurt from your heart. This normally takes time and there’s a process of removing such person or object.
Loss: I’ve had my share of loss in life. I still remember the day my grandfather passed away. I was raised by my grandparents and this impacted me hard as I was only 15 years old. I remember my grandmother telling me I was know the man of the house. I remember not crying at the funeral and felt like something was wrong with me. I also remember walking up to the graveyard 2 months later and talking to my grandfather, bawling my eyes out as I screamed and asked him why did he leave me here to take care of the family and I was only 15. I still look back and wonder why’d it take so long for me to grieve? I know each person grieves differently.
I feel that much like hurt people deal with these emotions the same way. The shut-downer and the recoverer. (Yes I made these names up).
Sometimes it’s hard for one to understand the other. The shut-downer shuts down that bridge looks at the recoverer that’s trying to remove the object and leave some what of a bridge and doesn’t understand how it’s so hard to let it go. The recoverer looks and wonders why was it so easy for the shut-downer to “shut the feelings off”. I feel that it’s not about if one is male or female any more.
I wonder if it goes back to how one was raised? What was their childhood like? What are their defense mechanism to protect them in life? I know in my life I was the one that in order for me to move on I would shut down. I couldn’t operate if I allowed all my feelings to just unleash. I do know this though, the past 4 years with Renee has allowed me to not shut down immediately. I’m thankful for her and what she has brought into my life. I thank God, Zeus, whoever you wish to acknowledge here for her every day.
Propaganda: As far I’m concerned we as humans are going to try to make a buck off an idea. That same steak dinner you can get for 12.99 any other day suddenly goes up to 17.99 on Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, etc. Is it right? Probably not but it is what it is you can even give in and participate or not.
What do you think, what are your mechanism? What’s your instinct tell you to do when hurt or loss comes about? Do you feel that’s too much ammunition to admit to?
Tao of Cao: Love yourself like you never loved anyone else. Love yourself and those that love you will love you more. Believe that you matter no matter what, because you do matter.
I have no excuse on the lack of post on http://taoofcao.com as of late. It’s been well over 4 months of goodness that has been going on. I figure most of those that read here follow me on twitter/Facebook or other means of communicating. For those that don’t know Renee and I have started a joint blog over at @Valentine where we talk about a topic that we enjoy together. Things like a particular restaurant, movie, or item.
Never fear though I’ll still bring the boring-ness of what’s going on with me here in a sporadic fashion in the least creative way possible (lol). As of late here at my job we’ve been and are going through a migration that is taking a lot of time, man hours and headaches. I’ve horribly been in and out of touch with things during the work hours and fall way behind on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Most times when I’m get home I’m beat, wore out and tired. I know one thing is for sure I’m sure am glad I have a job.
I believe that’s enough belly aching from this guy. How’s it been going for you all out there?
Tao of Cao: Too much belly aching may cause you to get the medicine that you least like. Don’t belly ache too much or only when necessary.