Monday, April 30, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 22

Day 22

Topic: Your Academics

This topic works out. I don't think I've really talked about what I'm taking at school. 

A little bit of a background information: I got out of high school early with the California High School Proficiency Exam. I had big plans of taking college classes but I kept putting it off. Instead I worked in dead end jobs like tile-setting (I never had plans of becoming a contractor myself) or retail management (I never had plans of becoming upper-management). So, now, a million years later, I'm doing the Old-Guy-Goes-To-School thing and finally taking classes.

When I first decided to go back to school I had plans to get an Associate's in Culinary Arts. Then I was going to transfer to either Cal State Long Beach or Cal Poly Pomona and get a degree in Food Science or Nutritional Science. While knocking out required classes I had to take a break due to my Mom's unexpected death (which gave me time to reexamine my academic path) and also read a couple of books which basically ruined me on Food Science and nutritionism (Michael Pollan's In Defense Of Food in particular). I still like cooking and find the science behind cooking interesting but I know it would be very unfulfilling as a career. I think most people with a Food Science degrees become inspectors anyway and that isn't what I want to do.

I decided to pursue an Associate's in Web Development instead. I've done web design in the past so it is not something completely foreign to me. I'm working on getting a certificate in Android App development at the same time. I will possibly go on to get a degree in Computer Science from Cal State Long Beach. I know I want to get a Bachelor's degree but I'm not one hundred percent sure what it will be at this point. I still have quite a bit of time to figure it out and will just focus on the Web Dev degree. Focus on one thing at a time, right?

So, that is my "Academics" and my post for the day.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 21

Day 21

or "The Last Supper"

I like chicken wings and mochi.

Topic: Death Row Meal

I saw this topic several days ago and was kind of worried about what I would write. Should I go with something fairly decadent like Osso Buco and risotto (although in all likelihood I'd actually be served Salisbury Steak with instant mashed potatoes). Maybe I would go ascetic and get lentil soup in a veggie broth. Or I could really bloat up my ego for my last 24 to 48 hours among the living and possibly even just request bread and water.

A trip to the supermarket this evening provided the answer. Luna (the SUCCESSFUL Luna- sorry dumb inside joke) snapped a pic of a freezer full of mochi ice cream at Whole Foods, I suddenly had the compulsion to get mochi ice cream too! After I grabbed a few different kinds of mochi ice cream I also got some hot wings from the deli.

What an amazing combo!

So that's it! My Death Row meal would be hot wings and mochi ice cream.

Sorry for the semi-lazy post. I'll back tomorrow for DAY 22!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 20

Day 20

or "Some Places I Need Not Return To"

Topic: List all of the places you've lived. 

Morro Bay

I spent the first year of my life in Morro Bay. I later went to Morro Bay Elementary School (RIP) from the third thru sixth grade. My parents owned a bike shop here called The Schwinn Shop (RIP). I also went to Morro Bay High School. 

Morro Bay
photo of Morro Rock by Pedro Dias

Los Osos

I lived in Los Osos from age two thru seventeen. Growing up in Los Osos was BORING! It was only after I grew up that they added a skate park and other stuff for kids to do.  If you find yourself in Los Osos and like Thai food, Noi's Little Thai Takeout is a MUST! Otherwise Los Osos is just a perpetually overcast pile of sand with some houses on it. I'd be perfectly fine if I never had to go there again. 😁

Los Osos. Note Morro Rock in the background.

San Luis Obispo

I have lived in San Luis Obispo on and off since I was eighteen. San Luis Obispo is a college town (California Polytechnic State University) so there is more to do than in Los Osos. There are quite a few bars downtown and there are always good shows to go to (if you are 21+, that is). Downtown San Luis is reminiscent of a smaller version of downtown Santa Barbara if that helps.

Seal Beach

I lived in Seal Beach from age eighteen to nineteen and have been back there the last year and a half. I love Seal Beach and am going to miss it when I have to move away. There is no way that I will be able to live there after I am done going to school...well, unless I win the lottery. It is insanely expensive to live there. I will enjoy it for the time-being and am grateful I can live there for now. For reference, Long Beach is just to the west and if you go south-east you'll hit Sunset Beach and then Huntington Beach.

Paso Robles

Wine Country. It's funny that Paso de Robles is now known for it's vineyards and high-end boutiques downtown because when I was growing up it was known for the summer Mid-State Fair and that is about it. There was never any reason to go to Paso any other time of the year. I lived here for about four years. It is far too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I don't have much nice to say about Paso. I do however meet up with one of my friends here every year to catch a movie around Christmas time.
The Paso Robles Inn - I've only been here for drinks but the food is supposed to be good.

I am currently much happier living down in Orange County. I've spent a lot of time on California's Central Coast. I don't need to spend more time there. Been there, done that. On the other hand, people I know were born and raised there and have no plans on ever moving. To each their own. 😃

Well, another day and another finished post. I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 19

Day 19

or "Other Ways I've Permanently Damaged My Hearing"

Topic: Concerts you've attended.

Sooooo, the juice cleanse is a bust. I didn't read the fine print. You have to order the five day cleanse A WEEK IN ADVANCE! WTF?! I'll wait until I back in Southern California to do it. I wanted to order the juices from a specific juice bar in Long Beach anyway.

On top of that I keep getting invites to go eat awesome but horrible food. So I won't be getting on that plant-based train for at least a couple more days. I WILL be, come Hell or high water, somewhere near my "ideal" weight by April 24th, 2019 though. 

Anywho, here is how I've damaged my hearing besides years of being in close proximity of a tile saw:

First concert!

In 1995 I saw Reel Big Fish somewhere in...Fountain Valley? I think? I didn't know my way around anything west of Sunset Beach and for the most part I still don't. Their independent release, Everything Sucks was the only album they had out at this point. This was before RBF's album, Turn The Radio Off, was released on Mojo records. Fun fact: my cousin went to school with and was friends with the bass player at the time, Matt Wong. I met him a couple of times and he was really nice. I was really into ska at the time and was starstruck both times. 🤣 Monique Powell of Save Ferris joined RBF to sing a couple of songs too.

Gameface was the opening band. I only remembered that when typing this and just confirmed with my cousin. 🤣

The Palace, Los Angeles 10.31.00

This was a crazy show. Kottonmouth Kings were the headliners. Rehab, Sen Dog's (of Cypress Hill fame) group SX-10, Corporate Avenger, and Too Rude. Oh and some band that would not go on to make anything of themselves, Linkin Park. I had absolutely no clue who Linkin Park was at the time but they killed it. They were the standout performance of the night. My friends and I (who were only there to smoke weed and watch KMK- at least that's what I was there to do 🤣) were all very impressed. I went out an purchased Hybrid Theory the next day.

(a preformance from earlier in the year)

The Catalyst, Santa Cruz Nov. 21, 2006

This show was supposed to be part of Danzig's Blackest of the Black tour but Danzig no-showed. I was pissed about that for years. Actually I'm still pissed off about it. I did get to see Lacuna Coil though (who I've seen another time in my hometown of San Luis Obispo.) The only other bands I remember were The Haunted and Belphegor. As disappointed as I was that Evil Elvis didn't show up Lacuna Coil made up for it. They put on a good show and my crush on Cristina Scabbia didn't hurt. She is teh hawt. 😍

Cal Poly Rec Center, Dec 7, 2005

Nine Inch Nails played the Cal Poly Rec Center in San Luis Obispo. I can't remember the opening band for the life of me. Nine Inch Nails was amazing. The sound was flawless. The Rec Center is a gymnasium for stuff like basketball and volleyball games. The acoustics are terrible but the NIN crew had the time and equipment to make it sound great! I also saw cKy and Avenged Sevenfold in the same venue and the sound was complete shit. They tried to solve the problem with the acoustics by playing at loud as possible and it sounded horrible.

Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles Oct. 16, 2015

Judas fucking Priest with Mastodon opening. Nothing more needs be said.

 Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood Jun 16, 2017

BABYMETAL opened for HELLYEAH. My friends and I were really only there to see BABYMETAL. I was curious about HELLYEAH because I had been a fan of Mudvayne (the whole idea for the name "Belt of Skulls" came from one of their songs) and Pantera. HELLYEAH was terrible. BABYMETAL should have been the headliner. They killed it.

Once again, that will do it for now. I've been to a few other shows but I will save that for another time.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 18

Day 18

or "How I Plan On Not Dropping Dead Anytime Soon"

Might or might not be my Bitmoji head on Rich Roll's body.

As some of you may know I recently celebrated another trip around the Sun. Birthdays seem like a good time to reflect on where we've been and where we want to go, both figuratively and literally.

Something has to change...and soon

Kevin Smith's recent heart-attack has freaked me out quite a bit. Kevin is several years older than me but like him I've been carrying around "a few" extra pounds for some time. It has gotten worse since I quit setting tile a couple of years ago. My uncle had to have triple bypass surgery and my Mom had to have a quadruple bypass surgery. The recovery from those surgeries did not look like fun. I would like to avoid all of that if it's at all possible.

Then there is the increased risk for all kinds of cancer when you're carrying around a lot of excess fat. My Grandfather died of lymphoma. My Grandmother died of breast cancer. My Dad died of lung cancer. My Mom had breast and pancreatic cancer. My uncle died from kidney cancer. My aunt has had breast and kidney cancer. After watching all of them go through treatment for it I don't want to get fucking cancer.

I am a full-blown stress eater. Doing the "old-guy-goes-back-to-school" thing precipitated an increase in my self-medication with fast-food. In addition to that, the unexpected death of my Mom (and the circumstances around it) a little over a year ago kicked my drive thru habit (and waistline expansion) into overdrive. Pour a bunch of alcohol all over it and you have a recipe for one Fatty McFattass. Now that I'm sober and working to say that way, I'm trying to recognize and address other addictive and compulsive behaviors. I think it's time to start working on my horrible diet now.

I've run out of excuses. It's time to get healthy.

Changing my relationship with food

I've been trying to cram as many episodes is the of the Rich Roll Podcast, Found My Fitness and No Meat Athlete into my ears as I can. I've especially been listening and (re-listening) to all of the episodes Ray Cronise was the guest (RR 212, 345; Found My Fitness w/ Ray; NMA 29, 113223). Ray Cronise is the mastermind behind Penn Jillette's 100 lb. weight loss. Ray is also helping Kevin Smith drop the fat after his recent heart attack. Ray has helped many others collectively lose thousands of pounds of fat. I really dig his non-dogmatic, no-nonsense, scientific approach.

Ray's diet secret? It's based on a whole food plant-based diet. Even more than that, Ray is big on starting out with mono-meals to rewire your taste buds. The mono-meals are not for weight loss or designed to be anything permanent. For a while you need to avoid hyper-palatable foods loaded with salt and fat until you can enjoy the subtle flavors of real whole food. New habits need to be formed. There is no mucking about with "cheat meals" or meat analogues.

"Rare and appropriate" meals are not planned cheat days. It's for rare situations when it is appropriate to indulge a little bit. It's good for holidays, family gatherings or when seeing friends you haven't seen in a long time.

Where I need to get to

Just Sides (founded by Ray Cronise, Julieanna Hever, Matt Donnelly, Michael Goudeau and others) has an ideal weight calculator. The average of my ideal weights is 154.8 lbs. I AM NO WHERE NEAR THAT! I have not been anywhere near that for a very long time, but I think it can be done. 

The tools to get there

I've read Penn Jillette's Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical TalesI just finished vegan ultra-athlete Rich Roll's Finding Ultra. I've had Ray and Julieanna's Idiot's Guide to Plant Based Nutrition for a while and plan to read it very soon. I am enrolled in Tricycle's Korean Buddhist temple cooking class and just ordered a shōjin ryōri (Japanese temple cuisine) cookbook entitled Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions. Forming new rituals around cooking and eating will hopefully help change my current relationship with food. Armed with some knowledge and these tools I'm ready to consume mostly plants. I say "mostly" because I've heard multiple people (including Ray) say there doesn't seem to be a difference between 90% plant based diet and 100% plant based diet as far as health is concernedAs of right now, I have no plans on becoming a vegetarian (let alone a vegan) but I know making minimally processed plants the majority of what I consume everyday will be a great thing. I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine in general and ramen specifically. Bonito (slipjack tuna) finds its way into a lot of Japanese cuisine. I don't want to have to fret about every single ingredient if I go out with friends to a Japanese restaurant or hang out in Little Tokyo. If I have a bowl of ramen made with a pork broth or some nigiri sushi once in a while but my day to day diet is comprised fully of plants, it will be a million times better for me AND the environment than what I am doing now. I won't stress out about it.

Who knows, I might make the jump into 100% plant based at some point. If eating animal products triggers me into a fast-food bender maybe I will have to. I will cross that bridge when I get there though.

Long story short

Tomorrow I will embark on a year long journey (well, 363 day journey since I'm starting later than I planned). I am going to be doing a five day juice cleanse [I am an idiot 🤣] to kick it off. Then I will stick to a mono-diet for a while as a taste-bud "reset". This will probably be all sorts of different sweet potatoes. I have a day or two to figure that out. I will then reintroduce other plants as necessary. I plan on getting a blood test as soon as possible so I know where I'm at now and so down the line I compare future blood tests against it.

So, even if I do not write another blog post the next 365 days I will be back April 25th, 2019 (as long as I'm not dead or in a coma) with my report on how I did the previous year. I am posting this publicly so I will succeed or fail publicly. I promise to be as close to 155 lbs. as I can possibly be with a vastly improved blood profile. If you read only one more of my blog posts, please check back in for that one. Hold me to this, please!

That will do it for today. I'll be back tomorrow with a lighter topic. I wish I had a cool sign off like Rich Rolls' "Peace + Plants". How about:

Be Nice + Booty,

Hmm, I gotta work on that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 17

Day 17

or "Another Lazy Post"

I am postponing the "diet" post I mentioned yesterday until tomorrow. I want to make sure I'm not misquoting certain people and completely talking out of my ass. So, the (much easier) topic for today is...

Topic: Provide 5 pictures of celebrity crushes.

I'm not expected to explain why these are crushes am I? Even if I am, I'm not going to. Here they are in no particular order...

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Allison Brie

Morena Baccarin

Franka Potente

Anna Kendrick

Well, that will do it for today. That was harder to do than I expected and I'm already second guessing my choices so I'm going to post this and just be done with it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 16

 Day 16

or "WARNING: Controversy Ahead!"

Topic: What is your favorite Disney Princess movie and why?

If I was and am ever to catch shit from a blog post I'm sure this will be this one. There are very few things more divisive than declaring which is your favorite Disney Princess movie. Talking politics. Pshhh. Discussing religion. A cake walk. State your favorite Disney Princess? If you claim the wrong Disney Princess in the wrong hood, that shit will get you straight up killed!

I ain't scurred though! My favorite Disney Princess and favorite Disney Princess (note: my hands are shaking and I just broke out in a cold sweat) movie is...

...The Little Mermaid.

Snow White? Go back to sleep! Cinderella? Get back in your pumpkin! Aurora? Who? Belle. Ok. Belle, we're cool, but you're still no Ariel. All the rest of y'all...meh.

The honest reason why The Little Mermaid is my favorite mostly has to do with when it came out. It stirs the greatest feeling of nostalgia out of all the Princess movies. I was still young enough to not be jaded yet and old enough to think that Ariel was "teh hawt".

Aladdin and Beauty And The Beast are close behind. In fact both Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin might be a be better movies. At the end of the day though, when I think of Disney Princesses, and Disney characters in general I think of Ariel first.

Please don't hate me. 

I'll be back again tomorrow with a far less controversial topic: diet. Wait, that's pretty bad too. Oh well.

Monday, April 23, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 15

Day 15

or "Stuff I like to put into my eyeballs"

or "Halfway through the challenge!"

Topic: Your favorite Tumblrs.

Here we go!

The Vault Of The Atomic Space Age

Atomic age art, fashion and tech.

A lot of cool vintage art and ads.ретрофутуризм

Mostly Midcentury

"A Hodgepodge of Memories from 1935-1976"


Everything from book covers and old ads to vintage naughty bits (Ooh la-la).


"Lover of all things created between 1920-1980." Also, a curator of some great Ann-Margret images! 😍

Well, that will do it for today.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 14

Day 14

or "Why am I letting this crap clutter up my room?!"

Topic: What do you collect?

I'm not going to go into it yet but the last year or so I've been having figure out what to do with a lifetime's worth of someone else's acquisitions; otherwise known as "having to get rid of a house-full of someone else's crap". It's has pushed me to start getting rid of a lot of my own things. I am just plain old sick of "stuff".

BUT that doesn't mean I am ready to get rid of my collection of figures! I mainly have Funko Pop! Vinyls but I also have a couple of Bishoujo and some other random figures. When I started collecting the Funko Pops I really tried to stick with a theme to avoid putting too much of a hurt on the old pocketbook. For the most part I've stuck to my theme. As you'll notice it's mostly DC.1

I'm also apparently starting a Pusheen collection too. 🤣

Sorry for the quality of the photos. I took these pics very quickly before I had to head back out of town.

That will do it for today! Let's do it again tomorrow! 

1. [FYI: I don't consider myself a DC or Marvel guy. I collected a lot of the Marvel mutant titles when I was younger but I was also into Batman. Not much has changed.]

Saturday, April 21, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 13

Day 13

or "Another list of 10"

or "I talk about food...again."

Topic: List ten of your favorite foods.

Ok, this should be easy enough. I don't really feel the need to explain why I like some of these. As it turns out, almost all of the videos will be from the First We Feast channel on YouTube. It is probably one of my favorite channels...and that just gave me an idea for tomorrows blog post. 🤣 Here are my ten favorite foods in no particular order.

1. Ramen

I like all kinds of ramen from fancier restaurant ramen to instant ramen (which can apparently kill you).

2. Tacos

3. Burritos. 

I've already mentioned that if I could eat only one food the rest of my life it would be burritos.

4. Wings! 

I prefer hot wings but I'm down to try new things. I want to try Atlanta lemon pepper wings for sure!

5. Nachos

6. Sushi

It's a Saturday night as I'm typing this which means...tomorrow is #SushiSunday!!!

7. Pizza.

8. Pupusas

9. Drunken Noods!

10. Fried Chicken


Ok, that will do it for today! See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 20, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 12

Day 12

or "The crappy music I listen to"

Topic: Put your music on shuffle and list the first 10 songs that come up.

1. Unsane - "455"

2. Entombed - "Abnormally Deceased"

3. Amorphis - "The Castaway"

4. Anthrax - "Any Place But Here"

5. Iron and Wine - "An Angry Blade"

6. Genesis - "Counting Out Time"

7. Temple Of The Dog - "Call Me A Dog"

8. The Misfits - "Astro Zombies"

9. AFI - "Dancing Through Sunday"

10. Roadrunner United - "Constitution Down"

Ok, that wasn't too bad. I was a little scared at first. Fortunately, none of the embarrassing stuff showed up. 🤣🤣🤣

I'll be back tomorrow!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 11

Day 11

or "More easy blog topics, please!"

Today's topic: What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is from writer, anarchist, artist and philosopher, Elbert Hubbard.
"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge." - Elbert Hubbard
See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 10

Day 10

or "#BurritoLife"

Topic: If you could live off of only one food and one beverage for the rest of your life what would it be?

That is easy. As far as the food is concerned it would have to be BURRITOS! You can basically put anything edible in a tortilla so the variety would be endless. Examples:

Ramen Burritos

Buffalo Chicken Burrito

Obligatory Vegan Burritos

Bonus Burrito Porn (link)

As far as living off one beverage to drink the rest of my life it would have to be water, right? If I could actually live off of it though, without negative repercussions, I'd choose coffee.
Ok, that was a short easy one. The next few days might be shorter posts too because I have to do some traveling back and forth from home. CYA tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 9

Day 9

or "I need to hurry up and finish this so I can go to sleep"

Topic: Your five favorite blogs.

Hardcore Zen  by Brad Warner

Brad Warner is a Soto Zen priest. He is the dharma heir of Gudo Wafu Nishijima. He is a Dogen and Buddhism nerd. Brad used to write for Suicide Girls. Flux was the best SG. That has nothing to do with Brad. 

That's So Zen by Gesshin Greenwood

Gesshin is a Soto Zen nun who lived in Japan for a number of years. She's in the States these days attending graduate school. There are a lot of female Soto Zen teachers and "nuns" (I don't care for that word when used in a Buddhist context. Can't they all be "monks"?) in the US but Gesshin is unique in that she has lived in actual Japanese monasteries for a few years.


Tofugu is a Japanese language and culture blog (and company). If you're interested in learning Japanese or about Japanese culture Tofugu is a great blog to follow.

No Meat Athlete 

Great source of information on running, self-improvement and plant-based eating.

The Narcissistic Continuum

I don't really know how to describe this site. It's ALL THINGS narcissism. Beyond narcissism the topics range from parenting, feminism to art. If you have, or think you have, family members or friends who are narcissists this blog might be worth poking around. It must be pointed out that the site navigation is a total nightmare. 

See ya tomorrow!

Monday, April 16, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 8

Day 8 Is Great!

or I Want To Go To 7-Eleven In Japan!

Ok, I have to get this done before the day is out!

The topic for today is: A place you have traveled to and somewhere else you want to go.

A place I have traveled to:

I haven't really traveled all that many other places outside of California. The furthest I have traveled was to Key West, Florida. I went traveled there to both visit my friend who lives there and to experience Fantasy Fest.
Fantasy Fest is kind of like Mardis Gras in Key West. It occurs during the last week of October. It consists mostly of lots of people with hardly and clothing on (or just body paint) walking around and partying. It culminates with a parade at the end of the festival.

I was chronically hammered drunk by the time the night rolled around (I've been past due for sobriety for a LONG time 🤣) so I really don't remember much of the nightly festivities. I CAN say that during the day, though, exploring Key West was fun. My favorite part was going to the Hemingway House Museum and my favorite part of that was the polydactyl cats. I'm not claiming to be the biggest Hemingway fan but stuff he wrote like The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is still one of my favorite short stories. The book The Wild Years, a collection of articles he wrote for the Toronto Star, is also a favorite of mine.

Somewhere else I want to go:

I REALLY want to go to Japan. I will list just a tiny fraction of the places that I would like to go in Japan.

First off there are a bunch of temples that I want to visit. I want to go to Eihei-ji. Eihei-ji is the main temple of the Sōtō school of Zen. The temple was founded by Eihei Dōgen, who is also the founder of the Sōtō sect. Sōtō style zazen, or Shikantaza, is the Zen meditation that I practice. I also think Dōgen is the bee's knees.

I also want to go to Fukusai-ji an Ōbaku Zen temple in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Japan. Ōbaku is the smallest of the three main Zen sects in Japan. Fukusai-ji temple was constructed into the shape of a turtle and an eighteen-meter high statue of Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, stands atop it.

I also want to go all of the areas that are known for their animal populations like Rabbit Island (Ōkunoshima), Cat Island (Tashirojima), Deer Park (Nara Park) and Zao Fox Village.

That doesn't even cover all the places I want to go just to try the food! I'd love to even just stop into the local 7-Elevens to try their nikuman!

Ok! That will do it for me today! I'll be back at it tomorrow!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 7

Day 7: TOYS!

or "YouTube clips and a lot of rambling"

The topic for the day is: What were your favorite childhood toys?

Here we go.

G.I. Joe

Almost all of my friends were into G.I. Joe. What is there to say? Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were the coolest. Cobra always had the better looking figures. I cannot remember what I did with my figures but I know I still have an unopened Firefly figure somewhere.

Is it just me or does the blurring of their faces make it really creepy?

Zartan was cool because his skin changed color in the sun! I think I got Zartan in some sort of trade with a friend and didn't have the Chameleon or his mask which was a bummer. I also had his brother Zandar who changed color in the sun too.

I was really into the whole Serpentor thing at first. I remember reading the G.I. Joe Marvel comic issue #49 over and over and over. A year later though, by the time G.I. Joe: The Movie came out, I was pretty much over G.I. Joe and toys in general. I also remember the G.I. Joe movie really bumming me out when I saw it. My focus was about to switch from toys to video games at that point anyway. #NintendoLife


Like G.I. Joe, almost every friend of mine was into Transformers. I probably had more Transformers than G.I. Joe figures and absolutely no recollection of what ever happened to them.

I know I had some, if not all, of the Constructicons.

I know I had some of the Insecticons too. Well, I know I had Bombshell for sure.

My two biggest Transformer scores when begging for toys were Jetfire and Shockwave. I think Jetfire was $29.99 or something which might as well have been a million dollars when I was a kid. Thanks Mom!!!

Like G.I. Joe: The Movie, Transformers: The Movie left me kind of bummed out when I was a kid. Playing with toys was becoming passé. Soon it was all about rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser and running around Hyrule killing Octoroks.


M.U.S.C.L.E. (or "Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere") were two inch tall outlandish professional wrestling rubber figures. I never had the M.U.S.C.L.E. "Battlin' Belt"  or board game but I had the "Hard Knockin' Rockin' Ring". It was kind of like Rock'em Sock'em Robots...except worse. It was total crap. Oh well. 🤣 
One of the cool things about M.U.S.C.L.E. was that they sold multi-pack trashcans in opaque packaging. A picture of the "trash can" multi-pack can be seen here. Like Mystery Minis today, you never knew what figures you were going to get. 

Bonus M.U.S.C.L.E. stuff:
Mental Floss article: A Brief History of M.U.S.C.L.E. Figures

Well, that will do it for today! 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 6

Day 6: Dark Questions

or "I swear I'm going somewhere with this."

The question for today is: What is your zodiac sign and does it fit your personality?

I am a Taurus, and yeah I guess so. I'm stubborn as hell, lethargic and like the finer things in life.

That is a stupid question. This is a funny video.

Ok. Let's get serious.

One of the questions or subjects for the fifth day of this challenge (I have to work off of multiple lists as each list contains dumb questions) has been rolling around in my head for the last twenty four hours. It was: A time you thought about ending your own life. My first thought was "Well, I am thinking about it right now."
First off, what a weird, random and dark blog subject to mix in with other topics like "what Pandora station do most often listen to?" Second, it really rattled me because I hadn't realized I was thinking about ending my own life until that moment.
Ok, I wasn't really thinking about actively ending my life but I was thinking it would be very nice to just lay down and start dissolving into the carpet, never to get back up again. That is just Depression talking. Hey, Depression! I see you there. Stop looking around and acting like you can't hear me! Just wanted to let you know that I KNOW you're there. See you around, D. Weirdo.
Anyway- thoughts like this are nothing new. I've dealt with depression before and I know what I need to do. I know how to be proactive and get ahead of the thoughts and feelings that I need to. I also know how to ride out the thoughts and feelings that just need to be rode out. If it gets bad enough I will seek professional help. This is old hat.
That all brings me to the real subject of my post: sobriety. March 4th, 2018 was the last day that I had a drink (i.e. got drunk) and I haven't really felt like drinking since then. Long story short, I decided I would have a couple of drinks that day. I told myself that I wasn't going to let myself get that drunk. I then proceeded to get straight-up blackout sloshed. Prior to that I had been blacking out here and there for months. I was already at the point where it was getting harder and harder to deny that I had a problem. When I woke up the next day I decided to throw in the towel and call it quits. This isn't the first time I've tried to quit but hopefully it is the last.
So with Depression showing up (Yeah, still you, D.) I have to admit drinking myself into oblivion would be very nice. I still really don't want to drink though. Like I can't even picture myself doing it. I am not going to drink, just like I am not going to off myself. It just isn't going to happen.* This will all pass.
I need to get involved with a community of sober people or start going to meetings (AA or Refuge Recovery) soon. In the meantime though, I have been filling my head with podcast episodes about people in recovery. I have found this helps a lot. Personally, it really takes the edge off, or, weight off of the depression. I'm pretty sure it adds to my lack of desire to drink too. If you feel like you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, no matter where you are in (or not-in) recovery, I really think listening to other people talk about their struggles helps. Here are a couple of the podcasts I'm listening to:

I mentioned the Rich Roll podcast before. Rich Roll is a committed 12-stepper himself and many of the episodes deal with recovery.
Rich Roll Podcast 
Rich Roll Podcast 226: Moby
Rich Roll Podcast 341: Amy Dresner

I've been putting as much of Anna David's Light Hustler into my head as I can. You can find the Light Hustler podcast on iTunes or whatever podcast app you use (I dig Pocket Casts). The episodes are also on Soundcloud. I'll leave you with a few of my favorites so far. See you tomorrow! (Note: Tomorrow's subject is a lot more lighthearted. Let's see if I can go some place dark with it. 🤣)

*I will try to convince myself I can drink again at some point. This is sure to happen. I will be ready for it one way or another.

Friday, April 13, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 5

Day 5: Five Questions

or I Already Ran Out Of Ideas For Posts

Five days in and I'm calling an audible. I found a couple lists of questions that other people have used in their own 30 day blog challenges. I have to use them as guidelines otherwise I will wind up talking about Zen in every post. I'm currently reading Reb Anderson's Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts and binge-listening to Domyo Burk's The Zen Studies Podcast. I got Zen on the brain!

Day 1: Discuss Your Current Relationship
I am in a relationship with spicy ramen and it is getting pretty serious.

Day 2: Where You'd Like To Be In 10 Years?
The exact "where" is not all that important. I'm really hoping in ten years I can make my living by working from home. I hope to have a little plot of land where I can farm ramen with my ramen-wife. I'm not planning on ramen-children though.

Day 3: Top 5 Pet Peeves

  1. Passive Aggression
  2. People who talk to you when you are clearly reading.
  3. Tailgaters
  4. When people bite down and clink their teeth on forks or spoons
  5. People who don't close cabinets or drawers after opening them
Day 4: Discuss Your Views On Religion
Damn! Right into the minefield! I already touched on this a bit on Day 2. I'm fascinated by religion. If I was independently wealthy I would love to get a degree in Religious Studies. This is a hodgepodge of my thoughts on religion.
Religions come into being and evolve out of our weird need for ritual and community. They grant purpose and meaning. Religion also allows another way people feel that they are right and other people are wrong. I respect everyone's right to believe what they want to as long as it doesn't cause harm to others. I adhere to the right to respect the believer but not the belief itself. I do my best to keep the two separate. I am very skeptical about supernatural claims and people who purport to know if there is an afterlife and what it is like. That's all I really want to say about that right now.

Day 5: What Are Your Favorite Comfort Foods? And Why?

Ok, not JUST Ramen. Burritos and loaded fries are also my favorite comfort foods. At one point I would have said nachos were one of my favorite comfort foods but I will now go for loaded fries over nachos any day. As far as the "why" of liking them...why does anyone like any food? It tastes good and makes me feel better (if only for a bit) after eating it. 

Ok, that is more than enough for today. I'm going to keep trying to post in the morning but I make no promises. Happy Friday the 13th!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day4

30 Days 30 Posts: Day4

or Welcome to another installment of Thirty Days Of Narcissism!

Today presented the first real struggle in figuring out what to post. There is some heavier content to talk about but it's not time to jump into the deep end yet. Plant-based eating (note: diet is on point again today) is easy enough to riff on because it's fresh on my brain but I absolutely do not want to come across as preachy. I'm convinced PBD's are a good thing and have my own personal convictions about it but, that said, I despise heavy handed approaches when it comes to ANY diet.

So, I guess I'll talk about Zen again.

Like a lot of people I really knew nothing of Zen. I was aware of books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (which I never read) and how in popular culture "zen" was synonymous with being tranquil or placid. Somewhere in my hardcore-atheist phase I had heard that Zen offered spirituality without God so I decided to check it out. I watched a documentary about Edward Espe Brown, a Zen priest and cookbook author, called How To Cook Your Life. At the time he came across as neurotic and whiny. I actually told to a friend, "If this is Zen, I want nothing to do with it." I find it humorous that I eventually got into Zen because my first exposure to it completely turned me off.

Since discovering Brad Warner and embracing Sōtō style Zen I have listened to a dharma talk or two by Edward Espe Brown and have warmed up to him. In hindsight, Edward was really just being himself. He was in the moment and not putting on a false airs. He can be a little bit of a mess sometimes, and what do you know, I can too. That means so much more to me than just faking it and acting the part of what a detached "Zen master" should look like.
A quick thought: One of the things that you notice after getting into Zen and meeting other practitioners is how neurotic and downright crazy (I mean that in a loving way) some, ok, most of them are. You don't decide to start twisting your legs into pretzels and staring at the wall for prolonged periods of time if you're already a well-adjusted individual.
Bonus video: Here is a Brad Warner's ordaining teacher, Gudo Wafu Nishijima, demonstrating how to practice Sōtō style Zazen, or Shikantaza. And with that I bid you all a fond adieu! See you later! またね。( ゚▽゚)/

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 3

Day three! So far so good with the daily blog posts but I really flubbed the whole plant-based eating challenge. I'm on track with it today though. It helps that I have been a little pissed off all day. A bit of anger always seems to help fuel the willpower for some reason. 🤣 Anywho, while I'm on the subject of challenges I decided I'd make a quick post about some of my go-to sources when I need a little inspiration. If you are looking for ideas to improve your life or for a little encouragement or enticement these blogs and podcasts might be worth checking out.

First off in you're interested in doing your own 30 day blog (or any social media, really) challenge here are a few links:

Tips, Tricks and Thoughts on Starting a 30 Day Blogging Challenge by Atiba Shaikh

I Posted on Medium (Mostly) Every Day for 30 Days — Here’s What Happened by Blake Powell

30 Day Social Media Content Challenge by Miranda Paquet

Here are some random ideas for 30 day challenges. I might try a few of these...🤔

100 Thirty Day Challenge Ideas To Inspire Your Life by Clare Hudson

Here are some motivational blogs and podcasts:

You can't have a inspirational/self-improvement list without Tim Ferriss in it. I've read and enjoyed both his 4-Hour Body and 4-Hour Chef. Although I don't listen to his podcast religiously the episodes I have listened to were informative and held my interest.
Tim's Blog
Tim's Podcast

Matt Frazier has been around the self-help block once or twice (Damn, I really need a new idiom for "having experience" 🤣). Matt is an ultra-marathoner and has written a couple of books. I really enjoy the No Meat Athlete podcast with Matt and co-host Doug Hay.

No Meat Athlete Blog
No Meat Athlete Podcast

Rich Roll struggled with drug and alcohol addiction until he was 31. Although he got sober he was about 50 pounds overweight. At 40 he decided to turn his life around and became a consummate plant-fueled ultra-endurance athlete. I really like and recommend Rich's podcast but some of the episodes (especially the earlier ones) can get a little too "woo-woo" for my tastes. He has excellent interviews with people like Tim Ferriss, Matt Frazier and Moby which make up for it.

Rich Roll Blog
Rich Roll Podcast

Well, I think that will do it for this post. I'll be back tomorrow to do it all again! 😁

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

30 Days 30 Posts: Day 2

"How I Got Into This Zen Stuff"

or "How I Ramble On And On About Something I Could Have Said In One Paragraph"

Please read my disclaimer

The subject of Zen is guaranteed to come up often here. Zen meditation (zazen), books about Zen practice, academic books about Zen, and dharma talks by Zen teachers are a big part of my life. It might be good to address how this came to be so. I will do my best to keep it simple and flesh out the hows and whys later on.
My parents became born again Christians when I was five or six. I might have been younger but I was old enough to vaguely remember when they started going to church and being sort of confused as to why we were suddenly going somewhere on Sunday mornings. My Mom and Dad went to a Baptist church that friends of theirs went to. My Dad died when I was eight of lung cancer and people at the church were very kind and helpful to both me and my Mom.
At some point I became angry as all hell when I was teenager. I fell away from the church for a couple of years but came back and got involved with one of the praise teams. I was thumping bass strings for the Lord during the contemporary services. I started bouncing around to different churches in my late teens and early twenties but kept playing in the praise bands almost wherever I went. I wound up pretty much identifying as a Lutheran theologically even though I was attending a Presbyterian church (PCA for those in the know).
At some point I started having serious doubts about what I was supposed to believe. I started watching debates between Alister McGrath and Richard Dawkins and multiple debates between Christopher Hitchens and various people (including Dinesh D'Souza and Christopher's brother Peter Hitchens). I wasn't ready to abandon my faith yet though and started exploring the theology of N.T. Wright and other people the conservative Lutheran and Reformed big shots looked down on.
Then while watching the documentary Jesus Camp I had a visceral "Oh my God, there is no God" moment. It was as much an anti-conversion experience if there ever was one. God was just suddenly taken off the table and all belief in the supernatural suddenly seemed absolutely ridiculous. 
I read a little Richard Dawkins and some Sam Harris. I watched as many lectures by Dawkins, Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett as I could find on YouTube. I was fairly angry at anything that had to do with faith, the supernatural and spirituality. I was never angry at God because I didn't believe in him/her/it anymore. It seemed silly to be angry at a fictional character even though I knew quite a few people who seemed to do just that.
After a few years of identifying as an atheist I felt like I had been neglecting my weird monkey need for ritual and the numinous. I also missed the sense of community that came with being involved with church. So, I started poking around any "spiritual" group that seemed like it might be a good fit for a skeptical atheist. This was mostly a fruitless endeavor.
Then I picked up the Vol. 19 No. 1 issue of Skeptic magazine in 2014. There was a book review for Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen Strikes Again. I cannot remember what the review exactly said but it was positive enough for me to go check out this Brad Warner guy. I am almost sure this was the first video of Brad that I watched:
I was pretty much immediately hooked and started watching and listening to anything Brad Warner related. Although I explored other forms of Buddhism (more on that in another post) I always came back to Brad and the Soto lineage of Zen.

Ok. That should be enough rambling for today.

This is the book that was reviewed in Skeptic:

This is the first book of Brad's that I read:

Happy New Year 2019!

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