Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!

Happy New Year 2019!

Looking Back and Looking Forward

2018 Recap

2018 was a crazy year. It had it's share of both highs and lows. Overall I'd say it was much better than 2017. Well, it definitely was much better than 2017 for me, anyway. I was able get rid of my Mom's fire-damaged home which had been a constant drain on ye olde pocket book throughout 2017. I dropped all the booze-weight I had put on in 2017 and then some. In fact, I lost 55 lbs overall. I would have lost even more weight but I put some of it back on due to holiday sugar-binges.

I missed some deadlines with regards to registering for classes at the beginning of the year. I just was not in the right place mentally or emotionally (or even physically, as I was traveling to my hometown and back a lot) to deal with a full load of classes. However, I was able to knock out a couple of classes in the Summer session and took a full load of classes in the Fall. I am now that much closer to acquiring my Associates in Web Development. I was also able to make plans on transferring to a university to get my Bachelor's degree after I'm done at Long Beach City College (note: I might keep taking classes at LBCC long after I have my B.A.S. if I'm still in the area- I'm addicted to school now 😂).

Right now

Due to some recent events I might or might not be attending secret meetings that might or might not meet in church basements that might or might not encourage one make a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves (update as of 01.03.19: I've been working the Refuge Recovery program which is not so secret and meets in yoga studios instead of church basements. I don't need to keep the same anonymity as the super-secret group). Between the super-secret meetings (or not-so secret meetings), work and school I no longer have time to create weekly posts. RIP "The Boil Down". On top of that, other (and MUCH better) weekly lists already exist such as: DragonFly BSD's Lazy Reading, Bruce Lawson's Reading List, and Tim's 5 Bullet Friday. On a positive note, when there is extra time to write a post, the subject matter will not be quite as disjointed. There is a much clearer vision for what this blog is and the kind of creative outlet it will be.

In (possibly) related news: The "recovery" playlist I've been curating on SoundCloud has been updated. As of the time of this post, it is 38 hours of recovery goodness. It's heavy on Light Hustler episodes right now (note: which is not a bad thing by any means- Anna has great guests) but more variety will be added soon.

What Will 2019 Bring?

Penn Jillette often says on his podcast that you shouldn't tell anyone what your plans or goals are because you lose motivation to complete them. Here is some of the reasoning on why you shouldn't share your goals or resolutions until after you've done them:

  • Shhh! Keeping Quiet May Help You Achieve Your Goals: "Shouldn't you announce your goals, so friends can support you? Isn't it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects? Doesn't the law of attraction mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal is already yours? Nope."
  • Don't Tell Your Goals to Anyone : "A study conducted at New York University found that blabbing about your goal can give you a false sense of accomplishment, making you less likely to actually go after it."

In light of that I will not divulge what any of my intentions or plans are for the coming year until after they are accomplished. Well, ok, I can reveal that there is a post exploring Zen and the other Buddhisms that I've had in the works for a while. I don't really have a good idea on when it will be done though. There will also be a fairly significant post involving weight loss and health around June or July. That's all I can say for now.

May you all be safe and well as we head into 2019 and beyond!

All The Ramen,


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Boil Down 12/11/2018

The Boil Down 12/11/2018

Note: Short post this week but I am now very close to the end of the Fall 2018 Semester. Two finals have been completed and now only my web design final project remains. Then I have a short break before the winter session begins. I will get to experience a 16 week class crammed into 5 weeks. 🤣😭

What I'm Reading

Computer Stuff

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • Andrew Olendzki - Early Buddhist Maps of the Mind
    From the description: "Andrew Olendzki delivers an overview of the early Buddhist maps of the mind. Delivered at the 2013 Mind and Life Summer Research Institute." Andrew also had this to say about the talk: "My hope in offering this outline of the classical Buddhist map of lived experience (which will be familiar to the many graduates of BCBS’ Buddhist Psychology course) is to plant some seeds or spark some fires among this next generation of scientists. These researchers are already sensitive to the value of mindfulness and meditation, and are already shaping the new paradigms with which we will come to understand ourselves in the years to come."
  • Brad did a nice review of a Japanese movie that presents a) what temple life is like for Zen monks in Japan and b) some Japanese stereotypes about Zen monks. I definitely want to track this movie down and watch it now!

Ramen ⦁ Randomness

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Boil Down 12/04/2018

The Boil Down 12/04/2018

Note: Finals and final projects are rapidly approaching so these posts might be (even) lighter in content than usual the next couple of weeks.

What I'm Reading

  • Attempting Normal by Marc Maron. What do I really need to say? It's Marc Maron. It's a really good and funny read.

Computer Stuff

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • Surviving Toxic Relationships with Narcissists and Sociopaths. 35 minute talk + 24 minute guided meditation on developing a secure base by Josh Korda from Dharmapunx NYC. This isn't really Buddhist studies but Josh is an empowered Buddhist teacher. I've listened to Josh and read his articles here and there over the years. He seems to be the real deal. I highly recommend this talk even if you've never been in a toxic relationship yourself. It can help explain why people who are in toxic relationships (whether it be romantic, a close friendship or familial) have such a hard time getting out of them. I personally didn't do the guided meditation but it might be helpful to you or someone you know.
  • Philosophy and Philology in Edo Commentaries on Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, SOAS University of London
    From the description: "The Shōbōgenzō 正法眼蔵 by Dōgen (1200-1253), founder of the Sōtō Zen sect in medieval Japan, has become one of the best-known East Asian Buddhist texts because its intricate evocation and eloquent elucidation of Chinese Chan sources in Japanese vernacular emphasizes a dynamic view of reality and multi-perspectival approach to discourse. However, there remain many misconceptions about the formation and structure of the text, especially in terms of how, when, where, and why it was written. The aim of this lecture is to correct one of the main areas of oversight by highlighting the role of more than six dozen Edo-period commentaries neglected in Western scholarship, while showing that only through examining these complex materials in terms of their respective approaches to textual hermeneutics involving philosophy and philology can the gap between the author’s intentionality and modern interpretations be bridged."

Ramen ⦁ Randomness

  • Lonely Ghost Attic on YouTube needs more subscribers! Or, I guess you could just watch them on Greg's Instagram. Greg's podcast with his wife, Amiira, is good too!
  • ASMR - C# Whispering, Mechanical Keyboard Typing: For sleepytime.
  • Hochi and Friends

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Boil Down 11/27/2018

The Boil Down 11/27/2018

Note: I know this is a little soon for another "Boil Down" but I'm aiming to switch them from Fridays to Tuesdays.

Computer Stuff

  • Lea Verou | CSS3 Secrets: 10 things you might not know about CSS3 | Fronteers 2011: This video is seven years old but it was all new to me. I had no idea CSS3 could do any of that stuff.

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • Eiheiji - Inside Dōgen's Zen Monastery: Dōgen was the founder of Sōtō Zen in Japan. Eihei-ji is one of the two head temples of the Sōtō sect. Dōgen taught Shikantaza ("nothing but precisely sitting") style zazen which also happens to be the style that works best for me.
  • New Books in Buddhist Studies: Spreading Dhamma: Writing, Orality, and Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand by Daniel Veidlinger. "New media technology changes culture. And when it comes to religion, new technology changes the way people think and practice their traditions. And while we usually think of technology as some new gadget or machine, there was a time when the written word itself was a new technology, and this had a profound impact how Buddhism was practiced in South and South East Asia." I never really thought of writing as a new "technology" for ancient peoples before.

Ramen ⦁ Misc

  • Samyang Stew Type!
  • Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think. Many, many, many moons ago, fitting in with the people around you was crucial to your survival. Finding approval with the tribe you belonged to meant access to food and protection. "Because of this, humans evolved an over-the-top obsession with what others thought of them—a craving for social approval and admiration, and a paralyzing fear of being disliked." Civilization has completely changed but we still have a life-or-death attitude towards being accepted socially. This article explores why we should stop listening to our outdated "Social Mammoths" and start listening to our "Authentic Voices".

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Boil Down 11/23/2018

The Boil Down 11/23/2018

Note: That GIF has nothing to do with anything. It just made me laugh. Also, I am really beginning to hate...HATE...Blogger's HTML editor. I might be switching platforms/content-managers very soon.

Computer Stuff

  • Writing Less Damned Code – Heydon Pickering – btconfBER2016 - "Less of anything is good and if there is less of anything there is less shit-stuff." Truer words have never been spoken.

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • I had completely forgotten about this video until I stumbled across it the other day. It is a Vocaloid version of the "Heart Sutra" (or "Hannya Shingyo"). The Heart Sutra is one of the most widely chanted Mahāyāna Buddhist sutras. It is one of the "Perfection of Wisdom" texts and explains the fundamental emptiness of all phenomena.
  • Speaking of the Heart Sutra, here is Brad talking about that whole "form is emptiness, emptiness is form" stuff:

Ramen ⦁ Misc

  • I really have no idea what is going on here but it looks and sounds pretty damn serious. However, since that looks like black bean sauce (which I'm fan of) I'm definitely down to try this if I can ever get my hands on some. Also, after a quick Google search- the character that looks like a bear is actually a lion (without a mane)...and his name is Ryan. The more you know...
  • More Ryan...more noods...
Ok. Now, I'm starving. That's all for now. I'll be back in a week or so.
Peace☮ + Pizza🍕

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Boil Down 11/16/18

The Boil Down 11/16/18

or "Sharing The Weird Stuff I Enjoy"

or "The Perfect Blog Post For That Person Who Has Everything"

I'm still not one hundred percent since the cold-from-hell decided to nestle itself into my sinuses and lungs. In fact, I am admitting defeat and just started a course of antibiotics. I really hadn't gotten any better in the last 48 hrs and it felt like I was getting a sinus infection. Gimme dem drugs!

Anywho, this is a little bit of what I was watching, reading and listening to while my immune system was carrying out its counter-assault on the rhinovirus.

Computer Stuff

  • This video is three years old but it is a good reminder of why electronic voting is a terrible idea.
  • Fedora 29 was released on October 30th. Of all the linux distros I've played around with, Fedora has always worked the best for me. It just works. I look forward to installing Fedora 29 on my beater laptop and taking it for a spin very soon.
  • In more Fedora news: Fedora turned 15 years old on November 6th! Happy Birthday Fedora! 🎉🎂🎁
  • Which is faster: a linked-list or an array? Dr. Steve Bagley decides to find out.


  • Talk by James Dobbins on D.T. Suzuki's role in exposing the West to Rinzai Zen and his modern views on Pure Land Buddhism. James Dobbins is a Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies at Oberlin College.
  • Shin Buddhism Is American Buddhism by Scott Mitchell. I am a huge fan of The Dharma Realm Podcast which Scott co-hosts.
  • I've been back on the zafu again and I encourage everybody to give it a try...even if you think you don't need it. This is as good a place to start as any: Daily Practice: How to Get on the Cushion Every Day with Brad Warner. The first video is free and the other three are behind a paywall. However, the first video is all you need to get started.


  • I'm not so sure about this...

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕

Friday, November 9, 2018

Quick Update

Quick Update

of "Blood Test Results And This Blog"

or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Math"

Sorry I haven't been very active on this blog or any social media. I started a new job a little while back. Between that and school I've been pretty busy. I even dropped a class and assumed it would give me more time but so far I still feel like I have a full plate, and then some. The fact that some rhinoviruses decided my body would be a great place to replicate themselves (and subsequently kick my ass for a few days) didn't help.

Blood Test

I mentioned quite a while ago that I planned on getting another blood test to see if there was any improvement after being on a plant-based diet for a while. Well, the plant-based thing didn't quite work out as some of you know. Even with not sticking to a plant-based diet my blood values were markedly improved. Instead of 5 values being "out of range" I'm down to only three.

red indicates an out-of-range value
Test Name May 8th 2018 Result Nov 1st 2018 Result reference range
HDL Cholesterol24 mg/dL36 mg/dL> 40 mg/dL
LDL/HDL Ratio5.13.4< 5.0
Uric Acid9.2 mg/dL9.0 mg/dL4.0-8.0 mg/dL
C Reactive Protein7.5 mg/L1.5 mg/L< 3.0 mg/L
Vitamin D26 ng/mL38 ng/mL>= 30 ng/mL
HomocysteineN/A17.0 umol/L11.4 umol/L

So, there's that. Overall I'm happy with the results. My A1C was even lower than it was last time (5.0 as opposed to 5.5). Not sure what is going on with the Uric Acid and Homocysteine. I'd be worried about renal failure but the values of any other blood test that relate to the kidneys were totally normal. I'll talk with my doc and figure it out soon.


School is going well but I did have to drop my 6 unit Algebra class. I dropped it early enough that I was able to get a W so it won't affect my overall GPA. I kept choking badly on the exams which, along with the final, were 70% of the grade. I'm going to regroup and try again. I know exactly what I'm getting into with that class now.

This Blog

Since Web Development is the field I am entering I suppose I plan on using it as a playground for anything I learn. A web-developer with an ugly looking blog just won't cut it! Plan on this site being a little easier on the eyes...hopefully. [Note: The Blogger HTML editor leaves A LOT to be desired!]

I'm going to attempt to take a page out of Tim Ferriss' book with his 5-Bullet Fridays and Dragonfly BSD digest's "Lazy Reading" and "In Other BSDs". I plan to do a quick roundup of anything cool I've come across during the week. I will also endeavor to share things that are at least somewhat related to web development (front and back-end), Buddhology, and ramen. There are also a couple of posts in the works but they are still some way off.

I still feel like I'm dying so it will have to wait until sometime next week. Until then...

Self-reflection and ramen,


Sunday, August 26, 2018

ask and yee shall receive

Ask And Yee Shall Receive...

and don't ignore it when you get it.

or "Last Minute Thinking Through My Fingers"

Hello all. Hope you are well. I am trying to get a post in before classes start August 27th. I'm taking a full load and if you add income generation (i.e. a job), possible extracurricular activities, and trying to maintain an active lifestyle on top of that I do not foresee having much free time for blog posts in the next few months.

Note: I think this is about the, no lie, sixth version of this post since I started writing it a week and half ago.

Asking...and ignoring

There is someone in my day-to-day life that has had plenty of wake-up calls but has barely altered their lifestyle in light of them. This same person asks me for advice all of the time. I'll offer advice and then the person promptly disregards what I say. I have gotten to the point of wondering why they even bother asking me what I think about anything. It's just a huge fucking waste of both our times. Actually, I think it's just because the person likes the sound of their own voice. It really pisses me off.

I asked. I received. I ignored.

Alas, I have no right to be pissed off because I did the exact same thing. I reached out and asked for advice and promptly received very clear answers. Maybe someday I will fully explain what happened but all you need to know is that the solution to my problem was very practical and made sense. However, instead of following the advice, I chose to do the opposite and it fucked me.

On top of that, some shit went down about two weeks ago or so that was a huge fucking wake-up call for me. It was a big slap upside the head and reminder that "You ain't there yet, dummy!" A lot of insecurities and issues I thought I had worked through were still there. They popped up to make themselves known and shout "We're still here asshole!" It was definitely a wake-up call.

Yet, the thing about wake-up calls is, as time passes, they become easier and easier to ignore. All I can say is that I am doing my best to be proactive and not ignore it.

Vegan Pizza Is Bullshit

I'm over the whole Vegan/Plant-based thing. I am hesitant to go into all of the details surrounding why I jettisoned that way of eating. I will just say that it's not because it was too hard. It has never been easier to eat a plant-based diet...especially in Southern California. I don't think I'm being lazy. Like I said, it is really easy to eat a plant-based diet. I've been eating mostly plants for months. I still plan on eating mostly plants. I don't have any plans on shoveling massive amounts of beef, pork and poultry into my face any time soon. I've made quite a bit of progress on my health and fitness in the last few months and have no plans on undoing it.

I will say this though: I am really sick of all these bullshit labels (any kind of -ism, -ist, and -ian) we put on ourselves. Social media is rife with ideological purity and very often if you don't have the right label or fall in line perfectly with someone else's ideology you're suddenly "terrible" or "garbage". It is by no means unique to "Left" or "Right" culture. I don't care what you're calling yourself. All I care about is if you are a good person? Do you treat others well? Even online?

Beyond the self-labeling, I absolutely cannot stand dogma (in the definition of dogma as a "prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group") and dietary dogma is beyond annoying.

As far as day-to-day eating goes, I'm fairly convinced that Michael Pollan has it right. It's nice and simple and free from dogma:

  1. Eat food. [note: Michael means real food, not processed junk.] 
  2. Not too much. 
  3. Mostly plants.

A final word on diet

I'm still very curious about the relationship between diet and health. I intend to put as much Rich Roll, No Meat Athlete, Found My Fitness (with Dr. Rhonda Patrick), Chris Kresser, and Robb Wolf into my ear-holes and eyeballs as I can handle. I'll figure it all out for myself at some point. Ok. I've said what I needed to say. I'm shutting up about diet from here on out.


I'm coming to terms with the fact that this is just a personal blog. I'm not really promoting or selling anything, nor am I an expert in anything. As I mentioned in the last post, I'm over the whole "challenge" concept. So, I'm moving away from what I originally envisioned this all to be. From now on I plan on talking about the things I really nerd out on like: un*x (I've been having a lot of fun playing around with the BSDs again), occultism, and all-things Japan. I understand that if I'm talking about FreeBSD one day, the Rose Cross Ritual the next, and then ranting about how expensive college text books are after that, very rare is the person who would be interested in all of those topics.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, shit gon' get weird around here. You have been warned. 😆

This is all being said with an understanding that blogging has, for the most part, been a dead medium for years. I hope to branch out into different platforms to supplement/compliment anything posted here, but that is still a ways off.

Anywho, I have a ton of things I need to do before tomorrow so I'll end this here.

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


I R Back

or "DAMN I needed that break!!!"

or "Cro who?"

Quick Recap

I had to read two articles for my English class: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr (Atlantic, Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 302 Issue 1) and "Meet Your iBrain" by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan (Scientific American, Oct/Nov2008, Vol. 19 Issue 5). I realized I was experiencing the exact same negative side effects of too much internet use that I was reading about in the articles. I was experiencing what Small called "techno-brain burnout". I was stressed out, depressed and feeling unable to cope for absolutely no reason whatsoever. My financial situation could be better but things were going well and life was generally getting better. However, my outlook on life was gloomy and I was excessively negative for absolutely no reason. I was having a hard time coping with even the slightest setback.

So, I decided to step away from social media for a second. All social media apps were removed from my phone and social media links were removed from my toolbar. Over the last two weeks it is funny how often my fingers instinctively started to type "twitter" into the tool bar.

I won't lie, some days were pretty rough. Here and there I felt antsy and hated feeling like I was completely out of the loop. It wasn't easy. Sometimes I was pretty much like:

What I did while I was "away"

It was shocking. Not looking at Twitter compulsively gave me A LOT of extra time (especially after I got all caught up on my coursework). While on this self-imposed exile from social media a lot of things that had been put on the back burner got done. I finished several books that had been sitting around half-read for quite a while. I cleaned up my room something I had been talking about doing for over a year. While cleaning my room I stumbled across another loose-end with my Mom's estate that needed to be tied up. I also completed a five day water-only fast* that I had been meaning to do for some time.

Besides schoolwork and reading I also watched some YouTube videos. I stumbled across the Inspire Nation channel after looking for any videos with Mitch Horowitz. I had just finished Mitch's book Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation before my brief respite from social media.

In reference to this particular video, I started working on the three experiments mentioned at about 39:16: Stronger Every Day (Practice of the Coué method created by Émile Coué where you repeat the mantra "Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better", or "Day by day, in every way, I'm getting better and better", 20 times in the morning when waking and 20 times while drifting off to sleep), The 3-step Miracle, and the Definite Chief Aim (which Mitch also turned into a book, The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim. It is one of the books I read during my break- I still need to go back and do all of the exercises).

Basically I've really gotten into New Thought and some other stuff that I never thought I would be interested in. So, I'm one of those weirdos now.

30 Day Plant Based Challenge?

I'm pretty much over 30, 60 or 90 day challenges. I don't think I'm going to do any more of them unless something really catches my eye. I'm all for doing experiments and trying new ways to be the best I can be, but I'm over the whole "challenge" format.

That doesn't mean I'm giving up on the plant-based challenge. In fact I'm taking it one step further and am drawing a line in the sand. On Tuesday, the 24th, I decided to go 100% plant-based from then on. I have too many good reasons to do it and the reasons not to do it (for me, at least) are...well, weak. If you've followed this blog at all, obviously this is a personal decision. I'm not big on pointing my finger and looking down on other people...well, MOST other people (tee-hee). It's just something I need to do.

Note: I will do my best to order plant-based food when eating out but if I accidentally order something with an animal product I won't freak out and I am not going to waste it. I will just try to be more careful and aware of what I'm eating next time. I say this because I love trying new Japanese dishes (well, East Asian cuisine in general) and bonito (slipjack tuna), as the central ingredient in most dashi stock, is ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine. I am almost certain I will be eating foods that used bonito in the cooking process at some point. I will do my best to avoid it.

In Conclusion

Overall, the break was great. If you're feeling stressed and burned out for no real reason I'd suggest looking at your social media usage. You might be in need of a break from the Tweeters, Book of faces, and Instantgrahams too.

* Quick note: Five days is the absolute upper limit of doing a water-only fast without medical supervision. I felt great during the fast (well, the first day was pretty crappy) but I would never go past five days without a professional monitoring me! You shouldn't either.

Positive Thoughts + Potatoes

Friday, July 20, 2018

30 Day PBD Challenge And A Much Needed Break

The 30 Day PBD Challenge Continues!

or "Watch Me Disappear"

Weekly Summation?

Long story short I'm not feeling the weekly summations. They seem fairly pointless. This challenge is has turned out to be easy enough so I will to see this through until the end. I'm kind of surprised I am not craving any animal products right now. I thought for sure I'd turn into a cheese-fiend but not so much. This is making me curious how long it will be until I eat an animal product again after the challenge is done. A summation of the 30 day challenge will be posted on August 10th or so.

Mental Health Break

I need to take a break from social media for a little while. Part of the coursework for my English class has been reading articles about how the Internet and digital media affects our brain chemistry and how we process information. I feel like I've been on a daily emotional roller coaster lately and Twitter (and to a lesser extent, Facebook) has played a big part in it. Even though I can look at it logically and go "Why am I letting that bother me? That's stupid." a tweet can make me borderline despondent. Something similar happened a few years ago and I fixed it after deleting all of my social media accounts. I don't think I need to go as extreme this time though. I am going to step away for a little bit as a practice of good mental hygiene.

On top of that, I really want to focus and finish strong in my classes.

NOTE: This also not some weird cry for attention. Everything is OK. I am a million times better than I was a couple of weeks ago. I just need to focus on myself for a second until I can "level myself out"...if that makes any sense.

Anyway, I'll be back...soon? In the meantime, take care of yourselves.

Necromancy + Nut Butter

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

30 Day Plant Based Challenge 7/10/2018 - 7/16/2018

30 Day PBD Challenge Weekly Summation  #1

or "So Far So Good and a #FAIL"

Well, here is the first weekly wrap up for my 30 day plant based challenge. I'll get one thing out of the way first- I completely forgot to do my meditation on Sunday, the 15th so that challenge is a #FAIL! It's all good though. It really shouldn't have been a thirty day challenge because I need to be doing it daily for the rest of my life. I guess it was good motivation to get back on the zafu.

I am very fortunate to have access to a pool so I've been swimming for ninety minutes every day since July 11th. Eating clean, getting some sun exposure, and exercising every day have been a tremendous help mentally and emotionally. It seems to be helping shrink the waistline too.

First, Some Thinking Out Loud

Everything seems manageable again. When your anxiety and insecurities get the best of you it is crazy how little tiny setbacks or obstacles can suddenly become a life or death situations. You can look at something logically and go "oh this is really nothing" but physically your body is acting like it's in imminent danger and your mind is working against you. Thank you to the "group therapy" peeps who let me vent and heard me out. You know who you are. #YEE

I also had a VERY odd experience on Saturday 14th that I doubt I'll fully ever go into detail about here. It really freaked me out too, but in a good way. It was like a welcome slap in the face. Ultimately, solicited advice was given and the advice was "suck it up, dude". In any other situation this input would not have been taken well but it came from the right source at the right time. It really felt kind of like a fever breaking suddenly.

I also wanted to go into a discussion about sobriety (or a lack thereof) but I'll save that for another time soon. I need to finish this and get back to my weekly coursework. 

Weekly Recap

I ate a lot of stuff that looked like this.
Instead of posting pics of everything I ate (which would be time consuming as all hell) I decided to snip my Cron-o-meter entries for each day. I've used the app for so long it's almost second nature to log everything I eat in the app so it should be a fairly accurate log of what I ate every day.

Tuesday 10th

Wednesday 11th

Thursday 12th

Friday 13th

Saturday 14th

Sunday 15th

Monday 16th

Friday the 13th I only ate 577 calories for the whole day. I was kind of a mess that day and had no appetite. Most other days were not nearly as extreme. I also have no idea what, if any, weight change occurred over the week because the display on my bathroom scale broke.

I have some more "Thinking Out Loud" posts rolling around in my head but I'm not sure when I'll get around to them. At the very least I will be back with another recap next week. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you are well!

Purpose + Potatoes

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Thinking Out Loud 07112018

Thinking Out Loud July 11th, 2018

or "Publicly Working Through Things (Again)"

There is a way I need to live (i.e. stay sober, eat clean, and exercise). There are things I need to do (i.e. get my fat ass on that zafu and stare at the wall every day). If I don't live this way or do the things I need to, I begin to completely fucking unravel. When reality clashes with my expectations or I realize that I will never get certain things or be in certain situations I can't cope with it. Little adversities quickly pile up and I become the middle-aged, neurotic, insecure, and self-centered person, if I'm being honest, I generally despise. I know that my experiences are by no means unique but after years of being in close quarters with barely functional adults who won't do the work to better themselves I don't have much patience for it. Few things bother me more than adults who willfully refuse to get their shit together.

I will even admit that I might even be more of a dick when I'm sober and judge others more harshly. However, I am for sure no use to anyone when I become mortally wounded with every single perceived slight. I can't be there for anyone else when I am this fragile neurotic mess.

So, part of what I'm wondering is why do people abandon what they know they need to do to they stay healthy and functional? Why do we self-sabotage? I don't generally consider myself a self-destructive person. I know I had piss poor coping mechanisms for years but I did some work and learned some. I don't understand why I or anyone who has learned tools to cope thinks that they can set those tools aside?

For now I'm living right and staring at the wall like I should. I have to wonder, though, is zazen and staying sober enough? What would need to be added on: 12-step? Joining a "spiritual" community? Hardcore-laying-on-the-couch-let's-deal-with-this-shit therapy?

I don't have the answers to this (or maybe I do).

Prajñā & Potatoes,

Monday, July 9, 2018

Thinking Out Loud 07092018

Thinking Out Loud July 9th, 2018

and "Let's Not Call It A Failure, But Rather A Delay"

or "These Trips Out Of Town Might Be Doing More Harm Than Good"

Note: I hammered this post out as quickly as possible. I just wanted to get some stuff out of my head before I go to bed. I don't have the time to proofread as much as I would prefer- I apologize for how sloppy it is in advance.

I just got back home a little while ago from my friend's place in my hometown area. I have almost all of my stuff out of his carport now. We were more successful some days than others moving his junk out of his apartment and cleaning up around "new" place. I won't go into details but it is emotionally draining being there. Some of you know the situation there. I don't really feel like I'm helping anymore. In fact I kind of feel like I'm enabling. It's also really easy for me to slip into old bad habits while I'm there. I didn't have a game plan or timetable for coming back home because frankly there is still so much that needs to be done there. I woke up this morning though with that weird depression and anxiety and thought "I NEED to get the fuck out of here NOW!"

It is going to be a while before I make the trek up to the Central Coast again.

So, long story short, I allowed my plans surrounding the challenges to be hijacked. Ok, that sounds like somehow it wasn't my fault and I was just taking a passive role in it. I was 100% complicit and an active participant in the challenges getting hijacked. There is no use in not facing up to that.

It's funny how I know exactly what actions I need to take to be a person I'm generally happy with, yet I keep fighting it. I keep thinking I am going to get away with things that I know I won't. It makes no sense and I'm getting really sick if the self-sabotage.

Even though I was a week into the challenges before I fell off the health-wagon (in more ways than one) I'm re-starting up the challenges tomorrow morning instead. I'm choosing to look at it not as a failure but rather as a delay. I went to the market and picked up a bunch of kale and other veggies so I'm all ready to start up again, By "start up again" I mean let all of the kale turn brown and the veggies get fuzzy and mushy. Har har. #TacoBellLife Nah, life is much more stable and manageable when I'm home. I'm ready to do this.

Just as a reminder this all means that I will be eating a 100% plant-based diet and doing 15 minutes of shikantaza style zazen every day until August 9th, 2018.

Prajñā & Potatoes,

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Back to 30 Day Challenges

Back to 30 Day Challenges

or "I Swear I'm Really Going To Stick With It This Time For Real Seriously Absolutely"

I'm crazy busy with schoolwork (this English class is going to kill me) so I'll keep this post short and to-the-point. I took a trip out of town which delayed the plans outlined in my last post. There needs to be a longer post about everything that happened on that trip but I don't have the time right now. For the sake of honesty and so I don't feel like I'm sneaking around, I fell off the wagon HARD. My friend and I were both drinking heavily while trying to move stuff from his apartment to his "new" place. I know it didn't help anything but at the same time I don't feel guilty. I haven't drank in over a week and I ZERO desire to drink right now. I really don't know what this means and I don't know where I stand with sobriety, recovery and (if I'm being truthful) a myriad of other things right now. I'm too busy to care at the moment.

30 Day Challenge no. 1: Plant-Based Eatin'

I will keep to a strict plant-based diet. So, no dairy, eggs or animal products. I won't go so far as to say a "whole food" plant-based diet because I do plan on using olive/avocado oils and dropping into Taco Bell for fresco bean burritos here and there. I will try to "whole foods" in general though so I will be avoiding processed foods like vegan "chikn" nuggets and junk food like Oreos. Yeah, Oreos are "vegan" lol. I will take a picture of everything I eat daily and post it all here weekly for some accountability.

30 Day Challenge no. 2 : Get Your Ass On That Cushion!

You are not supposed to do more than one challenge or change at a time but I think this is manageable. I will do at least fifteen minutes of daily breath (counting) meditation. The goal is to sit absolutely still and not let my mind wander for that fifteen (plus) minutes. I got used to sitting for forty minutes at a time so this should be a cakewalk. I just need to reestablish the daily habit. I'll post the log from Insight Timer here each week here. My twitter account should also have a daily post after I complete the session. I apologize for the spam in advance. :)

I have to get back to the essay I'm working on so I will post a roundup on July 5th or so. I wish you well!

Peace + Pizza

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Habit Change

Habit Change

I've been listening to the No Meat Athlete podcast A LOT lately. I've been listening to one episode in particular over and over. It's the January 4th, 2018 episode entitled The 5 Big Keys to Habit Change. I might do some challenges here and there again but I am switching my focus to forming new or changing habits. For example I don't want to do a "Longevity Diet" challenge. I want to make that diet the way I eat for the rest of my life.

One of the points that Matt Frazier brings up is that if you changed one habit a month for three years, that would be 36 new/changed habits. You would almost be a completely different person at the end of those three years. This episode was from a NMA Academy seminar. I hope it is alright to list out the 5 Big Keys. Please go listen to the podcast if you are even remotely curious about this. I have nothing but the upmost respect for Matt Frazier and Doug Hay. Go check No Meat Athlete out!

The 5 Big Keys are as follows:

  1. Have to want to change or feel a need to change. There needs to be an emotional connection.
  2. Don't start immediately, have patience. Give preparation and planning time so you do not build a habit of starting something new only to fail and quit.
  3. Change one only one thing at a time. You can plot out which change you want to make first in advance.
  4. Start out with small steps.
  5. Something to keep you accountable. Could be as simple as a piece of paper with a list you check off at the end of the day.

So I've decided to that for 30 days after Sunday June 17th, 2018 I will eat only as outlined in The Longevity Diet. I know I should only be establishing one habit at a time but I will also work on adding daily stillness/breath meditation back into my routine. I am only going to start out with a 10 minute session to reestablish the practice. I do not see how this could be overwhelming.

To keep accountable for these habit changes I will turn on the automatic tweets for my Insight Timer app and I will do a weekly post with a visual food diary of what I ate. I read The 4 Hour Body many moons ago I remember where Tim talks about the "flash diet" and how about taking a pic of your food before you eat it act as an "instantaneous intervention and forced people to consider their choices before the damage was done."

Beyond all of that I need to head out of town to help a friend move over the weekend. I might not be around much and I'm planning on leaving my laptop at home. Then, school starts up on Monday. Oh, and I need...ok, needed, to get a job a while ago. So, long story short, I'm not sure how active I will be on the media de sociales for a while. However, I do have a sizable queue of daily sleaze, fantasy and sci-fi art tweets ready to long as Crowdfire doesn't mess them up.

Unless I post something in the meantime (which is doubtful), I will be back here with the first weekly update on Sunday, June 24th, 2018.

Peace + Pizza


Monday, June 4, 2018

90 Day Plant-Based Challenge Weekly Roundup 03

90 Day PBD Weekly Roundup No. 3

or "How I Am A Complete Failure, Please Kill Me Now. Please."

or "How I'm Bouncing Back From Failure"

Sorry For The Delay

The reason will become evident in a moment.

What I ate for the week of 03.21-03.27

I ate only potatoes (Russets and sweet potatoes) for the second week in a row. I was feeling pretty good too. I decided to add some low sodium hot sauce about halfway through the week and noticed that the weight that had been steadily falling off suddenly stopped. It seems even 350mg of sodium was enough for my body to retain water. All in all, I was doing damn good and then...

Then I Fucked Up

My entrance to the failure expressway started on Memorial Day. I should have been beginning the second phase of the "diet" by eating nutrient-dense veggie stews. However, since it was Memorial Day I decided to get some veggie dogs. (Note: How remembering fallen armed service members become equated with eating hot dogs and hamburgers is beyond me but...) I have honestly preferred veggie dogs to regular hot dogs for many moons so I would have been getting veggie dogs regardless of trying to eat a plant-based diet. I purchased some Lightlife Tofu Pups because they have the least ingredients (and I know what all of those ingredients are) and are only 50 calories a pup. I got some Ezekiel 4:9 bread to go with it. This all sounds healthy right? Well, I ate six of them. I still only wound up consuming about 1500 calories for the whole day but I was RAVENOUS. The veggie dogs triggered all sorts of nuclear-powered food cravings out of nowhere. I could have eaten six more!
Long story short, going from very bland food to hyper palliative food in such a short time set me up for failure. I ate six more tofu pups the next day with the biggest salad I have ever eaten before. I was still insanely hungry. By Wednesday my willpower was completely broken. I consumed fast food on a trip back up to my hometown and ate horribly the whole time I was there. The ninety day challenge was and is a #FAIL.

An Anal-y-sis.

I had several factors working against me. The two greatest components to the failure were that I didn't really have a support system in place and I was making too many huge changes all at once. As far as the support system, please don't get me wrong. I appreciate the hell out of every single kind and encouraging word I got! I was making too many significant dietary changes all at once to not have some sort of daily hand-holding in place. Penn Jillette, Matt Donnely and other people doing the "Cray-Ray" diet were in contact with Ray Cronise almost daily. If not in contact with him they knew he was watching their blood pressure and weight readings regularly.

Although it is not their fault I also have people in my personal life who were not supportive at all. In fact a couple of them seemed to be actively working against me. Oddly enough they are the least healthy people I know too...

Where Do I Go From Here

I am almost done reading Valter Longo's The Longevity Diet*. I highly recommend it even though I have not finished it yet. (Note: I'm slightly skeptical of the "fasting-mimicking diet" he pushes in it- why not just do a water fast? Maybe a fasting-mimetic diet IS all it's cracked up to be but it is also damned expensive. I should point out that Longo receives no financial gain from the sale of the diet product though.) Between the longevity diet and some of Michael Greger's guidelines in How Not To Die* I have a good game plan for how to eat. I should be able to keep compliant with the longevity diet because it allows, nay prescribes, 2-3 servings of low-mercury seafood a week, 3 tablespoons of olive oil daily (something missing from all of the other plant-based diet books I'd read recently) and a daily ounce of nuts/seeds. I plan on eating an egg or two here or there. I will still avoid dairy and all other animal products.

All in all I lost 22.4 lbs in those three week which is A LOT! I've put some of it back on but I haven't gone completely off the rails as far as what I'm eating. Come Hell or high water, the fat will continue to come off.

That said, even though I am done with the ninety day challenge I still have a blood test coming up in August that needs to show some vastly improved numbers, a waistline that needs some shrinking and blood pressure that needs to come down quite a bit. I'd like my kidneys to keep functioning, my dick to keep working and, oh yeah, I don't want to stroke out. I might have failed on my challenge but I must still work towards improving my health. Quitting and going back to how I was eating before just isn't an option. I will post my (improved!) results from the blood tests and more biometrics in August.

I am completely open to suggestions about how to keep culpable for what I eat. If you'd like me to still do a weekly "wrap-up" post about what I'm eating let me know. Or do you think daily snaps of what I ate would be good (I can provide snaps info I you want)? If you have any ideas please let me know.

In the meantime I need to figure out some new thirty day challenges.

Peace + Pizza


Monday, May 21, 2018

90 Day Plant-Based Challenge Weekly Roundup 02

90 Day PBD Weekly Roundup No. 2

For this week I went a little extreme. I'm doing a mono-diet of just plain, whole potatoes for two weeks. This includes all the various edible tubers dubbed "potatoes" from russets to sweet potatoes and everything in between. I will mainly be eating sweet potatoes and baked russets to keep it simple.

This is not a "Potato Diet" or "Potato Hack"

The whole idea behind a two-week mono-diet is to help reset your flavor pallet by completely removing added salt, sugar and oil. Learning to enjoy the natural flavor of foods is the ultimate goal behind the mono-diet and any weight loss is a welcome side-effect.

White potatoes became fairly maligned at some point but they pack quite a few nutrients and when combined with sweet potatoes most (if not all) nutritional needs should be met. Hell, Andrew Taylor only ate potatoes for a year and was perfectly fine. This is only two weeks however and not meant to be a permanent situation.

The mono-diet doesn't need to be potatoes either. It could be brown rice, or beans or many other things. Potatoes are just convenient and VERY filling. You can only eat a few and then you're full. It's next to impossible to overeat plain whole potatoes.

A much greater variety of foods (via nutrient dense veggie stews) are added to the diet after the first two weeks...and I am greatly looking forward to that!

What I ate for the week

Sorry for getting lazy with the images but once you've seen one baked Russet or sweet potato you've seen them all 😆. My caloric intake was very low again. Don't worry, I have plenty of stored energy on my body. I'm in no danger of wasting away any time soon.

 I only tried to eat when I felt really hungry and plain potatoes are filling...and really boring. I am also taking 1000 mcg of b-12 and 5000 IU of  Vitamin D3 daily.

  • Day 8 Monday, May 14th: 3 cups of coffee, 3 Wendy's plain baked potatoes. 
  • Day 9 Tuesday, May 15th: 3 cups of coffee, 26 oz. of baked russets.
  • Day 10 Wednesday May 16th: 5 cups of coffee, 16 oz. of baked russets. (I was not feeling too great today so was not that hungry- this might have been the worst day of the week).
  • Day 11 Thursday, May 17th: 3 cups of coffee, 23 oz. baked russets.
  • Day 12 Friday, May 18th: 3 cups of coffee, 1 'bucks venti Americano, 10 oz baked russets, 15 oz. sweet potatoes.
  • Day 13 Saturday, May 19th: 3 cups of coffee, 9 oz sweet potato, 24.5 oz. baked russet.
  • Day 14 Sunday, May 20th: 3 cups of coffee, 24.85 oz baked russets. 

In summation

I weigh myself everyday and was down .6 lbs yesterday so of course today I am up .6 lbs. About ten years ago or so I lost a lot of weight and started eating what I thought was a healthy diet. My official weekly weigh-in was every Friday. I weighed myself daily much like now and my weight would ALWAYS be up on Friday. I wonder if there is some weird psychological factor to it.

I'm down 6.2 pounds this week and 17.4 pounds over all. My systolic blood pressure has gone from hypertension to pre-hypertension. I still need to get it lower but it has only been two weeks and I'm happy as long as it is headed the right direction.

I really felt crappy at times during the first five days of the mono-diet. My thoughts were really cloudy and jumbled for a couple of the days but fortunately I was able to take it easy. I'm feeling fine now though.

That's it for this week. I will check back in next week.

Peace and Weenies 🌭

Monday, May 14, 2018

90 Day Plant-Based Challenge Weekly Roundup 01

90 Day PBD Weekly Roundup No. 1

or "Who Knew Taco Bell Wasn't That Good For You?"

Hah! It wasn't that bad.


I got the results from my blood test(s) and they weren't what I expected, but they were not surprising either. My LDL cholesterol was okay (76) but my HDL was low (24). That is throwing off the ratio of LDL to HDL to make it higher than it should be (5.1). My Uric Acid was 9.2 mg/DL and the healthy range is 4.0 to 8.0 mg/DL. Sooo, that meanse my kidneys aren't happy. I'm assuming this has to do with high blood pressure. This marker kind of freaked me out because I DON'T WANT GOUT!

My C-Reactive Protein (inflammation marker) was 7.5 mg/L which is an indicator of "higher relative cardiovascular risk". Well, great. Again, though, I'm not really that surprised.

My Vitamin D was 26 ng/mL which is considered an "insufficient" level of Vitamin D. Time to start taking some Vitamin D3 and get out in the sun.

As long as I stick to the whole food plant based eating (and take some D3) all of these potential problems should be fixed. I will know when I take another test in twelve weeks or so. If they are not fixed by then I'll make a trip to the doctor and get on the meds I need to get on.

90 Day Challenge Goal

The two main goals of this 90 day challenge are to lose a lot of fat and to change the food that I habitually eat (and desire to eat) in my day to day life.

What I ate

This will probably like it's not that much food...and it isn't. I have A LOT of stored energy so I'm trying to tap into that as much as possible. I could probably live for a month off the fat in my left tit alone. I will be fine with a restricted caloric intake for a while. 

  • Day 1 Monday, May 7th: 3 cups of coffee, petite sweet potatoes (with ground flaxseed and roasted sesame seeds), steamed spinach (with roasted sesame seeds), B-12 1000 mcg.
  • Day 2 Tuesday, May 8th: 3 cups of coffee, half a chipotle veggie burrito with guac (no cheese or sour cream), steamed asparagus, steamed spinach, 1 oz raw pecans.
  • Day 3 Wednesday, May 9th: 3 cups of coffee, Trader Joe's Sriracha Baked Tofu, 2 Taco Bell Fresco Bean Burritos.
  • Day 4 Thursday, May 10th: 1 Startbuck's Venti Americano, 2 cups of coffee, 2 Wendy's Baked potatoes (no sour cream, only chive). 
  • Day 5 Friday, May 11th: Starbucks Venti Americano, 650 g (before cooking) sweet potato, 1 bag of Uncle Ben's whole grain brown rice. 
  • Day 6 Saturday, May 12th: Starbucks Venti Americano (6 shot), 3 Taco Bell fresco bean burrito, Taco Bell large unsweetened iced tea. 
  • Day 7 Sunday, May 13th: Coffee 3 cups (not pictured), Suja life drink (50 calories), Uncle Ben's brown rice, Simply Balanced Organic Low Sodium Three-bean Blend Kidney, Pinto & Black Beans, Hot curry sauce.

The odd thing I noticed was, even when I was in a sizable caloric deficit, on the days that I ate Taco Bell I didn't lose any weight. In fact once I was up a pound the next day when I stepped on the scale. I also noticed that the food was not that filling. It actually made me ravenous for more...Taco Bell. Even though they have decent plant-based options, I'm ultimately going for whole foods (and not the market, either). I think it's best to avoid Taco Bell from now on.

The cravings for greasy food were insane at times. It was almost too much. The impulse to get some loaded fries, pizza or whatever was relentless. I'm hoping the cravings become a little more manageable after I adjust what I am consuming.

In summation

After weighing myself this morning I'm down 11 lbs overall. I'm 70 days sober. I have 1 consecutive day of doing zazen after missing a couple of days. Oops. Time to get back on that Zen horse! My blood pressure has barely come down but I will give it a little more time after I further reduce my sodium intake.

That was the first week. I kept it plant-based but am not really happy with my general diet. I still consumed too much processed, salty, hyper-palatable food with oil and refined grains. I could have eaten more whole foods and consumed far more bulk. I am using the fact that I was out of town for a few days as an excuse though. For the next two weeks I am going to go a little extreme (note: no more extreme than the daily 1-man eating competitions I was engaged in). If anyone has heard Penn Jillette talk about how he lost his weight or read his book Presto! you might have a good idea of what I plan on doing. 

Viva la potatoes!

Happy New Year 2019!

Happy New Year 2019! via GIPHY Looking Back and Looking Forward 2018 Recap 2018 was a crazy year. It had it's share of both ...