Food Junkies Can Be Healthy Too! It Just Takes Some Work…

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Now that I’m a little bit older and wiser than I was in my twenties, I’m all too aware how easily I can become addicted to something. Luckily, I’ve never been addicted to anything dangerous, but food has always been a weakness of mine.

I don’t know if you guys have heard, but food is DELICIOUS. You should really try it sometime.

This has been a thing as far back as I can remember and though it’s gotten much better into my adulthood, I still have my struggles. It’s not so much the act of eating, but the experience of flavor. Salty, sweet, fatty, sour, rich FLAVOR.

Amirite?

That’s the messed up thing with taste as a sense: it usually involves ingestion. Seeing things doesn’t make you go blind (just don’t look directly at a solar eclipse). Smelling things doesn’t make you eventually… uh… uhhhhhhhh…

Anosmatic!

Google FTW.

Anyway, you know what I mean. Taste, you are an evil temptress.

A deliciously evil temptress.

Surprisingly if you don’t know me and unsurprisingly if you do recovering from a food addiction relapse is all about mental fortitude. Remember, this has been a thing since childhood for me so, yeah, old habits are hard to break and all that jazz. So because I’m in this mindset of attacking life 100% (I’m not into that whole more-than-100-percent thing that people sometimes use), I made up five, count’em, FIVE rules for myself to help make this a lifestyle.

  1. My primary beverages will be water and wine, not to be confused with turning water into wine. I don’t drink wine every day, but it’s something I do with my fiancé on our days together. I can throw tea in there as well, but anything outside of that will be relegated to once every couple of weeks. WWAD?
  2. Snack foods are a Friday only thing (for now). While my fiancé and I are apart, I’m keeping snacks to my favorite day that begins with an F.Yeah, not Father’s Day. Sorry, Dad, but it’s a close second. At least it’s not Frog Jumping Day. Only suckers celebrate that.It’ll probably be a different story once we’re living together, but for now, Fridays are our day so I don’t mind being a little reckless one day a week.
  3. I’m going to eat raw at least once a week. I’m not a big fan of eating raw because I love warm food, but this one shouldn’t be too tough.
  4. The only things I’ll buy that have more than three ingredients are bread, pasta, and my Friday snacks. Is there more to explain? No? Let’s move on.
  5. Meditation is key! At least it is for me. And although I don’t really meditate in the traditional sense as much as I used to, mindfulness will only help keep me on point.

You may have noticed I don’t have much of what many might call a “diet” on my list. That’s because diets are for chumps, y’all! I’m not trying to get über muscled up like I was some three or four years ago either. This is about health and balancing it with my infatuation with my mistress, flavor.

Sweet delicious flavor.

I firmly believe that body and mind are much like chaos and harmony in the sense that they are constantly in a state of flux. For many us, chaos and harmony appear to be at odds, but a high level view shows us they’re part of the same thing because you can’t have harmony without chaos and vice versa.

Side note: I hate when people say “vice-ah versa,” but apparently that’s some old school British English at work there so I don’t have a leg to stand on.

Er… on which to stand*

It’s tough for grammar junkies in these streets.

Anyway, I think mind and body are the same as well. Let’s call them our physical and non-physical selves, shall we? Some people have strong physical attributes such as good health, muscle mass, high metabolism, etc. Others have strong non-physical attributes like a sense of inner peace, determination, courageousness, etc. Tangible versus intangible.

Makes sense? Awesome!

Okay, the balance between harmony and chaos is somehow managed by our entire realities. The balance of body and mind is up to us as individuals.

Kind of. External factors come into play, but stick with me here.

If you have the means to properly take care of your mind and body, do it. Why not, right? I feel doing so is a large part of achieving personal balance. While I’m here on this earth, that’s the goal. I’m pretty sure I have the mental/non-physical side down; now it’s time to refocus on the body/physical.

What do you do to maintain or increase balance in your life? Let me know! Tips and insights are always welcome.

Let’s do this!

Peace out, party people.

Daily Opinion: I Hope Nepal Isn’t the New Haiti

Haiti shack

If you didn’t already know, Nepal experienced a significant earthquake that claimed 3600-3800 lives on Saturday, 4/25/2015. It may be even more at this point. As beautiful as life is, it can be pretty brutal sometimes too. This morning, I noticed there were several sites showing how to donate to the relief effort. You know what I thought of? Haiti.

Have you seen Haiti lately? It’s not like it’s a hell of a lot better than it was back in 2010 and $1.4 billion was donated by the US that year alone. I believe about $13 billion was eventually raised. So what happened? How could so many people raise that amount of money to help the needy yet the needy haven’t been helped nearly as much as you would have thought once it was no longer a hot news story?

There have been successes for sure. People were fed and given temporary housing. But then other actually lost their new housing to make way for new government buildings. Around 85000 people are in displacement camps with sanitary issues while many others have just opted to building sheds on whatever land they can get a hold of. More affluent areas that had no earthquake victims had new property built for some reason. Hell, $18 million was spent on a rec center and soccer field while people live in squalor nearby.

Vice recently interviewed this dude Jake Johnston who investigated what was going on with Haiti and he found most non-government donated money gets used for emergency relief while government donated money… well that’s a whole other story.

So this one blew my mind: the US embassy actually paid for houses to be built in Haiti… for their own employees. Meanwhile, they never came anywhere near close to completing their projected housing goals while also going way over the intended cost. On top of all this, the companies hired for this work redacts the hell out of their documents so visibility is practically at zero.

I REALLY hope Nepal isn’t the new Haiti, but there’s no way to really know. Experiences like Haiti can potentially sour others on the power of charity. It doesn’t take much to make someone jaded, especially when they try to go out of their way to do some good in this world. Rather than let that happen, let’s put some pressure on our respective governments to be open about where relief money goes. I understand that  we don’t have to give anything at all, but that’s not the mindset I think we should have here. Charity is good. Helping others is good. Ulterior motives while helping others? Misrepresenting where money is going? That’s bad.

Obviously.

I’m not certain how to go about demanding more information about relief efforts, but I do know there’s power in numbers. If you happen to feel the way I do or are involved in something that pertains to this topic, let me know! I’m going to keep reading and whatnot so I can hopefully learn more. Then perhaps I can make an impact, hopefully along with some good people out there.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Daily Opinion: Making a Case for Bronies

The Ramblings Podcast: Episode 50 – The Full Blown ADD Episode

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Fifty episodes in the bag! I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with the podcast thing and I plan to keep it going. My fiance and I celebrate this episode by embracing our ADD and talking about Mexican cartels, grilled cheese sandwiches, growing up thinking the brontosaurus is real, the sexiness of various Saved By the Bell cast members, the meaning of the word bougie, and more! Enjoy!

Run time: 1:11:53

Download Here | iTunes | RSS Feed

Previously: Episode 49 – Susan Is Workin’ on Her Fitness!

The Curious Case of the Successful Underacheiver

Success-Kid

Okay, people. It’s time to get real again.

All the way real.

I am being honest when I say most of my life, I’ve found success giving maybe 50-60% effort. I’m serious and I know it may sound as if I’m full of myself.

I’m not.

But I also know I’m smart. I was a smart kid. It started off when my parents taught me math and English before I had to learn it in school. It wasn’t too hard. I was able to get it at a pretty early age. When I got to school and I was already ahead of everyone else, I learned a lesson that has been a running theme in my life: be smarter now so you can make more time to slack off.

Note that slacking off wasn’t necessarily about being lazy. It was more about doing things I loved doing. Y’know, reading, writing, drawing, being off in my own thoughts. Not homework.

Or… work in general.

So if I had a concentration in intelligence, it’d be the art of slacking off. I would keep myself smarter than most people, but I’d never actually really try to be number one. That was too much work. Top ten is a hell of a place to be in its own right, especially when you don’t actually care that much.

I know, I sound like I’m not a go-getter, but I totally am when I want to be. I’m just easily bored by traditional school and work. I guess that may be part of the ADD thing.

It wasn’t until I worked at my previous job when a fire was lit under my ass. At every job I had previously, I was always promoted quickly while giving only 60% effort. I was expecting the same thing here. Again, I know it sounds cocky, but I knew I was better than everyone on my team. I made sure of it because I wanted to be good enough to be asked to work on more interesting side projects. I set my goal to be smarter than the woman who trained me. The woman who couldn’t get the job I eventually did. You want to know how I got that job?

I gave 100%.

I gave 100% because I wasn’t promoted when I thought I should have been. Instead, my boss at the time put me on some BS two year plan to become a lead while he brought in some dude he knew to take the role.

Oh no he didn’t.

I was furious. That was the first time I experienced a situation where talent alone wasn’t enough to get by. After that I was on fire. I worked my ass off and eventually became the youngest Director at the time. Unfortunately, that was also the point when I began hating my job.

Er, disliking my job. I don’t want to be too hard on them. I found a lot of success there.

Now I’m back to my old ways, steadily finding success giving 60% and feeling far less stressed. Then a funny thing happened: I was checking my work email, eating chips because I was too lazy to buy actual groceries, thinking about what I’ve achieved so far this year compared to where I want to be once my fiancé and I are married.

Yeah… 60% ain’t cutting it.

So it’s time to use my brain and combine it with the drive to want to slack-off with my future wife. I’m putting this out there so I make sure there’s some level of accountability, even if no one else actually cares. I’m going at this 100%, especially since we’re not in the same country at the moment.

This also extends to how I’m treating my body and general health. I have to give myself props for how much effort I put into becoming mentally balanced. I owe it to myself to become physically balanced as well. Because a healthier me means a (hopefully) longer life with my fiancé, I’m going to go at that 100%.

Well, maybe 90%. I still like snacks and wine.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m special in any kind of way. I think there are many people out there who greater than the effort they put forth. Mostly because slacking off is awesome.

We both know it so let’s all stop pretending.

Still, there are moments in life where a person needs to have the discipline to go 100%. I’m in the midst of one of those moments now so it’s time to go hard. Not forever though. Sixty percent is my comfort zone long term.

Game time.

Peace out, party people.

The Gibbler Podcast: Episode 10 – Hissing Is the New Booing

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This one’s a random episode, but if you can brave the jouney, the first 90 minutes is all Game of Thrones talk! Yup, we yammer on about hissing at mom, black and white cookies houses, Lannisters with no power, and Snow days. After that we talk movies and random television stuff. Enjoy!

Run Time: 2:45:41

Download Here

Previously: Episode 9 – The Walking Dead Season Finale Recap

Fixing My Blogging Mistakes: No More WordPress.com Hosting!

Photo Credit: Jorge Quinteros

Photo Credit: Jorge Quinteros

I’m prepping to move to BlueHost!

When I first started this blog damn near a year ago (though I only really got into my groove in August 2014), I was a straight up noob/newb/n00b. So much so that I opted for WordPress hosting.

Will someone please think of the children?

It was a hasty move, no doubt. One that killed me the moment I realized installing WordPress plug-ins wasn’t an option. They denied me all Dikembe Mutombo-style.

Did I just show my age there? I totally showed my age there.

Sure, I found it silly that WordPress hosting didn’t allow for the installation of WordPress plug-ins, but I don’t have the time to poo poo my past decisions. “Live and learn” is what a bunch of smarter people who lived before me said. So yeah, I’m going to use that as my mantra here.

Commence learning.

With the move and possible/probable redesign of the blog coming, I want to take the opportunity to also figure out the focus of this blog. Since I started this the focus of my blog has been pretty much like my attention span: unfocused. I wrote about earning money independently, meditation, social issues, religion, veganism, and Ninja Turtles. I’ve posted spoken word pieces, book excerpts, photography, recipes, music, and a ton of podcasts.

ADD is great!

So I have an ambitious plan, one that I’m sure I’ll fail implementing. At least in the beginning. All I can do is keep trying to improve and see where I am another year from now. So here’s my crazy idea: I’m going to have a couple super-focused blogs that will be updated less frequently, but consistently nonetheless. Those posts will be reposted here along with original posts that focus mostly on positive living, creative writing, and my life experiences.

In short, I’m creating a blog network.

I’m fully aware that all signs say I’m going to face plant like a mofo trying to do this, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Aim high, try hard, and I’ll at least land somewhere between failure and success.

Peace out, party people.

Yo Dre, Why Are You Always Talking about Changing the World?

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I’ve been reconnecting with a lot of friends recently and it’s been cool to catch up with all of them. As I’ve shared with them the many changes I’ve gone through over the past year and a half or so, there has been a trend I’ve noticed: people asking me why I care so much about changing the world.

Wait… wanting the world to be a better place is a weird thing? LOL.

Okay, okay, I’ll explain it like this because after a call I had with my fiancé, I feel like I finally found the words to properly convey my mindset.

*deep breath*

Much like everyone else, most of my life was spent just trying to make my way through this world. I tried to play fair within the boundaries of the rules everyone told me to follow. There were exceptions, of course, but for the most part I was just the nice guy who had to earn his confidence over time rather than having it all my life.

Actually, I started off as a super confident kid, but adolescence isn’t for the weak of heart. A brother’s confidence caught a beat down, y’all.

There was also a nagging thought I had had ever since I was a kid: I’m alive right now and one day I won’t be. I kept that to myself for YEARS because I figured I’d be looked at like a weirdo if I started posing such esoteric concepts as a ten-year-old. Still, why was I alive? Am I supposed to just live and die and that’s it?

Was I a sinner for making a joke about Jesus? I mean, it’s Jesus, for… uh… Christ’s sake. He should know I’m kidding, right?

Am I supposed to spend my entire life working and hope that I stay alive long enough to enjoy retirement? That sounds like a bum deal.

I kid you not when I say I had these thoughts and questions for the majority of my life. I felt like an effing alien because no one else I knew seemed concerned about any of this.

Andre: King of the Weirdos.

During college and afterward, I met a handful of awesome, open-minded people. Folks who are fine with conversing about this stuff. Coupled with that, I soon found out that everything for which I had ambition (a high salary, lots of stuff, a misguided definition of love) brought me temporary happiness at best and straight up unhappiness at their worst. I mean, by and large I was a happy person, but every once in a while the disappointment of not being able to swallow society’s expectations of me and the goals I was taught to have manifested itself in not so pretty ways. In short, I was lost.

If only I knew I wasn’t alone, but people who are lost rarely see the big picture.

I took it upon myself to figure this thing out. I’d love to get into the details of how I did it, but not everyone in my personal life would be accepting of the choices I’ve made even if they’ve helped me for the better. I personally don’t care about the opinion of others, but I’m not about to stir the pot unnecessarily either. That being said, I figured myself out. I figured out that I was much more and much less than what I thought I was. To be specific, I’m not special. Not as an individual at least. But I’m also much more than just a man; I’m a part of everything. Just in the same way that a blood cell is both the individual cell and the blood. I am this reality in which I exist, the individual and the collective.

It may sound crazy to people who won’t get what I mean, but stick with me on this because it all ties back together.

I found my happiness and it was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I spent some time patting myself on the back for having the wherewithal to discover my own answers while still being open to the beliefs of others. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered not everyone reciprocated this feeling. On top of that, I was all too aware that I didn’t actually care about the fancy job, having a bunch of stuff, or many of the other things I was taught to want. What was the point? My happiness and sense of peace was far more important and I learned I could have that independent of any external factors.

So why was I still here?

This next part may sound concerning if you don’t know me at all, but I’m not about to apologize for thoughts that crossed my mind. I seriously questioned why I should keep playing this unfair game of life. You know, the one where we’re expected to follow rules that not everyone is actually following. Where people hate, murder, cheat, steal, and whatever other vile acts humanity is capable of. Why do I want to continue working at a thankless job where I didn’t agree with many principles? I already found my happiness. What was the point of continuing? None of this would help me maintain my sense of inner peace. For all intents and purposes, I would have welcomed being done with life. Not in a negative way, but more like there was nothing I felt this world could offer me and I certainly didn’t want anything from this world either. I was happy being benign, but family, friends, and the rest of society had invested too much in me already. I wouldn’t be let off the hook that easily.

Sigh…

Then a funny thing happened: I met my soul mate aka my fiancé. The story of how we met is nothing short of fate. I say that because, seriously, how it happened is ridiculously improbable (I’ll save that for another day). The point is, I found my reason for enduring a life in which I had no stakes. Soon afterward I was laid off from my job, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise despite it being an initial burden. I had the opportunity to create a life that I wanted, not one shaped by what I was taught to want. I wasn’t about to sacrifice my own happiness again.

But then I looked at the the rest of world and couldn’t help being put off by all the ills around me. Remember, I saw myself as both the blood cell and the blood. I’m both the being and the reality. Therefore, how could I just sit idly by and be unconcerned with inequality, war, discrimination, greed, etc? That’s quite the impossible task given the way I think nowadays.

We’re all sharing the same house. If I was living with someone who treated me unfairly and was trashing our home, I would probably move out or ask them to leave. I don’t have that option. I have to figure out how to coexist in this house. But I don’t want to live in a sh*tty place either.

This time there are no questions. I have to do what I can to fix this house. Not just for me, but for all the people out there who are walking the path I once walked. We’re all just trying to figure our way through this life and we’re the victims or beneficiaries of people who came before us. That doesn’t excuse crappy behavior, but I understand why we aren’t living in utopia right now; there are a lot of lost people out there just trying to fit in where they can.

And this is why I want to bring positivity to this tiny, insignificant rock we call Earth. If I have to be here I’m going to do my damndest to only make an impact that helps rather than hurts. It’s why I’m going vegan. It’s why I want to exclusively use reusable energy. It’s why I’ll always be against our current form of capitalism. It’s why I’m writing this now. Believe me when I say I love you all and I only want to see you happy too. ALL OF YOU.

But I’ll always love my fiancé more. After all, I don’t know if I’d be here right now if it wasn’t for her, heh.

Peace out, party people.

Let’s Come Together and Be Extreme Non-Extremists

Alright, so let’s get into this. It’s not going to be a sunshine-and-rainbows kind of topic, but if that’s all life was about then we’d have no problems to address.

We definitely have a lot of problems to address.

Al-Shabaab, a group linked to al-Qaeda, decided it’d be a cool idea to massacre 148 people at a university in Kenya. Why? It doesn’t matter, but apparently it has something to do with Kenya sending troops to battle extremists in Somalia. Christian students were separated from Muslims and the rest is… tragedy.

The human race has a cancer called extremism. You know, people with such strong beliefs that they’ll do just about anything in the name of them. Many people point at religion, but let’s be real here, extremism in any shape or form is ridiculous and I’m pretty sick of it. It’s easy to point a finger at religions, but any ideology can be taken too far.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I firmly believe we can come to some common ground as long as there are enough reasonable people out there. The question is, do we have enough reasonable people who care enough to speak up against the unreasonable ones? I have no clue; optimism doesn’t always equate to certainty.

The thing about extremists is because they’re, you know, extreme, they have the drive to organize and effectively make non-extremists roll their collective eyes and say, “WTF are these crazy people doing?” But our head shaking and finger wagging from afar aren’t exactly effective tools, now are they? If they were we’d probably have less so-called “whack jobs” running around murdering people who simply live a life with which they don’t agree.

So where does this leave us? I don’t know, man. That’s a tough question and I don’t think I’m equipped to answer it alone. But I have ideas and I’m willing to cooperate with anyone who simply wants to live in a world without violence and inequality. Is that so much to ask? I’m not asking for a complete 180 in a day, but what’s it going to take here? We have super pro-Americans taking up arms to fight a war with the government and they’re not scared one bit. We have groups like ISIS straight up recruiting people worldwide for a cause not all Muslims are down with. We have power-hungry leaders willing constantly threatening wars that I guarantee most regular folks don’t care about. Do I need to go on?

I’m not saying we need to take action now, but I really want to have like-minded people come together with me on this. We’re the only ones who can put this whole thing back into balance. Well, maybe not the only ones, but we can sure as hell make an impact. Cancer doesn’t stay benign forever.

Peace out, party people.

We Have More Attachments Than a Zip File………………. NERD JOKE!

shackles

You know, after going through the experience of fasting, I realized something: it’s awesome to know I can give something up. Not forever or anything like that, but I like knowing that I don’t need anything.

Nothing controls me. Or, more accurately, I don’t give control to anything, even if it’s just a false sense of control.

At least that’s the goal.

I’ve been doing pretty well if I do say so myself, but I want to take this a step further. Why? Because I have a crazy addictive personality for things I like. It’s the reason why I grew up overweight and watched television cartoons for hours on end as a kid. It didn’t help that lasagna is effing delicious and the Ninja Turtles kicked ass.

Now as an adult, I’ve adopted a more balanced mentality. I feel like I’ve got it down in a “spiritual” way (I hate using that word sometimes because it can come with a lot of baggage, but I can’t think of a better one to use), but I can still find ways to improve in my everyday life.

So starting in May, I’m going to try giving up one thing a month. I think I’m going to start off with television and movies with the exception of anything that I need for The Gibbler Podcast. After that, who knows, but this is my path to living a more detached life.

There’s a difference between wanting and needing. The line is thin, no doubt about it, but sometimes we create that line in our minds. At least I do. I did with meat at one point. Sure, I never actually made the distinction of whether I needed or wanted it, but my actions told a different tale. I ate meat like I needed it. But having certain attachments can mean willingly feeding into a system where something is negatively impacted. So yeah, this is why I don’t want attachments to rule me.

Before May arrives, I’ll share some of the things I’ve given up permanently and how I managed to do it. Willpower can only go so far sometimes; I like having a strategy. Let’s see how this one goes!

Peace out, party people.

What Exactly Are You Suggesting, Google?

kevin spacey

I just started watching House of Cards recently. Little did I know this show was fueled by people’s love for Kevin Spacey and David Fincher projects, but apparently I fit that mold. Seriously, it was green lit due to positive research.

Metrics FTW.

Also, K-Pax FTW.

Anyway, I was speaking to a buddy of mine about the show and he decided to enlighten me on Kevin Spacey’s alleged sexuality.

Andre: Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors.

Buddy: You know he’s gay, right?

Andre: Is he? Well, so what?

Buddy: Oh, it’s not a big deal. I just find it funny that he’s tried to deny it all these years. I remember hearing about it back in the 90’s.

Andre: Eh, who cares? Who he has sex with doesn’t affect me.

Still, curiosity, as it often does, struck me. This was a thing since the 90’s? I had to verify this bold claim. I typed the following into Google:

Is Kevin Spacey

Now, I’ve always thought Google was good at suggesting whatever I might be looking for. Google suggested the following:

Is Kevin Spacey dead?

Is Kevin Spacey democrat?

Is Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty?

Nothing about him being gay. Well, that’s debunked! Or was it? I added one crucial letter, but the only suggestion I got back was…

Is Kevin Spacey good actor?

LOL. Grammar FTW.

I decided to finish typing in the rest of my search and I was flooded with tons of results about my favorite actor. Apparently my friend was right. At least about the rumors, that is. I didn’t care about the results though as I was more interested in Google’s suggestions. So I tried something else…

Is Obama

You know what one of the suggestions was?

Is Obama gay 2014?

Whoa, Google even suggested the year that Obama may or may not have been gay. That’s just weirdly specific.

So what’s up Google?  Personally don’t care about anyone’s sexuality specifically, but your suggestions are just… questionable sometimes. I mean, the internet has poked fun at your suggestions for a while now, but with this as well as you ranking the “truthfulness” of sites… I don’t know, man.

It’s all suspect. Sure, this is a small, silly example, but I put almost no effort into this and I found a weird discrepancy. What about more important topics? Will Google actually provide good suggestions? Will they promote “truthful” sites? Who the hell actually knows? I’d be stupid to say I do.

But I do know one thing: Kevin Spacey is effing awesome regardless of what a search engine tells me.