Sunday, March 29, 2020

Can Eating When You're Not Hungry Destroy Progress? Journey To One-derland: Week 44 Progress Update

Week 44 in the books, and how did I do? Well...let's just say that eating at mealtimes is important, and steering clear of artificial sweeteners is too.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Conference Call

I made a not-too-unusual appearance over on the Rish Outcast, and Rish and I discussed all the stuff he learned and experienced at his annual writer's conference. Follow this link to check it out.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Support Group Checking Up On Progress and Talking About Fat, Journey Into Health, Big and Marshal

Marshal Latham and I get together again to talk about how we did this past week with our plans, and we also discuss the history of fat, and how it got demonized by one Ancel Keys and put us all in such a bad place in our modern world. Check it out, and join us in a Journey Into Health.

Also, check out Marshal's blog, called Marshal's Freaking Losing It!, and make him stay on track with comments and encouragement.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Is It Really The Way They Say It Is?

Has anyone ever told you that eating meat will give you colon cancer? Where did that come from? Any idea? Some kind of study or other, right? When they told you that, did you go and find the study that made that claim and read it for yourself to verify the assertion or did you just take it on faith?

Of course you took it on faith. Who reads studies? Nobody does. Not even doctors who allow the studies to influence the way they treat their patients. Not even the reporters who are disseminating the findings of the study to the masses. Hell, it seems like the people who publish the studies in their own medical journals don't even read them. Sure, they may read the abstract, but that's the most time anybody wastes on a study. Nobody combs through the data offered up in the studies to support the assertions that the authors make.

Well, almost nobody. Here and there, a rebel arises, and someone actually looks in depth at a study that claims that coffee is a health food, or that coffee is the devil, or that wine is a health food, or that wine is the devil, or that chocolate is a health food, or that chocolate is the devil. You know you've heard each and every one of those assertions made by a study several times over the years. Most of us get fed up with the noise, and stop paying attention to them at all. Some poor schmucks try to keep up with every study and change their habits accordingly. Here and there, though, there's a person or two that has the education necessary to understand a study, and the motivation to look into them.

I've recently heard lectures made by several of these types of people, and the things they have said in those lectures made me rethink everything I thought I knew about nutrition and science in general. This lecture here is by Georgia Ede, and talks about the studies that have tried to tell us what is good for us, what is bad for us, and what we should eat to be healthy. She read the studies from front to back, and found that there was a lot less substance to them than anyone ever guessed.

It turns out that the people who write the studies know full well that no one ever reads them beyond just the abstract, so they can say whatever they want, no matter what the data might actually indicate. These people may actually have a hidden agenda behind their studies, and it may well be something that will infuriate you, like it did me, if you found out.

Please, listen to the lecture by Georgia Ede. It's worth the time. Think of it as a podcast. You don't have to watch it. Just listen. It might make a difference in your life going forward if you do.

There was a doctor named Gary Fettke from Tasmania in Australia. He found that eating low carb made a huge difference in people's health, and started recommending it to his patients, causing many to be able to get healthy, stop their medication, and regain their lives. So, how was he rewarded? The powers that be came down on him, censured him, forced him to stop talking about low carb to his patients. Why would that be? Check out this video in which his wife talks about the truth behind the story. It may infuriate you to find that some people want you to be living the precepts of their religion, whether you accepted it and got baptized in or not.

This talk here is a longer more in depth version of the same story as told by the doctor, Gary Fettke, himself. If you're interested and want to know more.

So, are you a Seventh-Day Adventist? Do you believe in the visions received by Ellen White? If not, then why are you eating her Garden of Eden diet? Especially when it is becoming more and more obvious by the day that it only promotes sickness rather than health? Low carb, not high carb is the way to be, folks. Don't let somebody else's religion dictate the way you eat any more than you would let it dictate who you can love, what you can wear, who you can be friends with or any of the other things religions often like to stick their noses into.

Who Are The Real Monsters?

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More guys I got at the dollar store. My wife was so taken with how cute Boo was that she bought these for me even though they didn’t have a Mike Wazowski. This Mike Wazowski is one I already had sitting around the house from a previous round of dollar store figurines. He looks better with this Sully than the one he came with, because that Sully was way too small. The scale is closer to correct with these two. boo is still way too big though. #mikewazowski #jamespsullivan #roz #randallboggs #randall #sully #toycollector #toycollection #toycollectors #actionfigures #actionfigure #actionfigurecollection #actionfigurephotography #actionfigurecollection #boo #monstersinc #disneypixar #disney #pixar #dollartree

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Support & Accountability To Change My State Of Mind, Journey To One-derland: Week 43 Progress Update

After my first support group with Marshal, how have things changed? Did I finally get it together?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Marching Toward A Sweep

The stores are pillaged, and the news keeps getting worse and worse. For me, that means that I work extra. All of our news shows have expanded as much as possible. The thirst for news seems to have grown significantly in the last few weeks. I can't complain too much, though, because I still have a job. So many others out there can't say the same.

I am not one of those people that gets to work from home, however. The way our computer system is designed, someone has to be here to put the video clips online so they can play out on air. The only way I'll get out of going in to work each day is if I actually catch the virus, and I ain't trying to catch no virus.

For the most part, these developments have meant that I can't get a lot of writing done during my lunch break, because there is a show happening during my lunch break these days. I do still get some words in each day, but more often than not, I am also writing at home when I arrive after work...which is already a half hour later than usual. The one good thing for me about all of this is that the traffic on the roads is much lighter than usual, so now I spend less time in the car spitting and swearing.

So, my goal of getting my writing done earlier in the day has not been achieved yet. Some days I get my writing done before coming home late at night, but not many. I have, however, still managed my 1,000 words each and every day of March. Here's what my chart looks like as of today:

So, I am at 24,654 words for the month. Here's my progress meter to show you how my progress towards my goal of beating last month's total words is coming.

24654 / 33604 (73.37%)

I am at 73 percent, which is good. 22 is 70% of 31, so I'm doing just fine. I'll pretty certainly make it. At this point the only way I won't beat last month is if I skip a day, and that's not happening.

Speaking of that, I have now surpassed my personal record for days in a row writing. Back in 2017, I wrote 62 days in a row before moving to Texas derailed that progress. In 2019, my best streak was only 27 days in a row. Today, I am at 63 days in a row, and unlikely to miss a day anytime soon. It may take a conronavirus infection to stop me now...though, considering that my station sends reporters out day in and day out to cover the story, it's probably only a matter of time before one of them brings it back to the station with them. So maybe I don't have that long after all, but I'm not going to dwell on that.

I'm just going to dwell on the fact that I'm a record-breaking writer who just finished his second novel, and is cruising toward achieving his goal of 300,000 words this year. I'm 117,334 words along my way. Here's my year-to-date chart. As promised, I broke it into two pieces so you can actually see it (if you want, which I can't imagine you would).

Okay, everyone. Thanks for reading, like, comment, subscribe, and I'll see you next time here on the Big Anklevich weekly writing update.

Marshal Latham And I Join Forces

Marshal Latham, who has does the Journey Into... Podcast as well as the Delusions of Grandeur Podcast with Rish Outfield, has been there by my side, supporting me through my attempts to get my health back.

These past few weeks, when I have been struggling with my sugar addiction, I realized that I needed more support and accountability. I knew that Marshal was trying to improve his health just like I was, and that he was having struggles with it just like I was.

I had the idea that Maybe we could get together and start doing a podcast where the two of us keep each other accountable like a support group at Weight Watchers or something. This is our first week of that. Hope you enjoy it.

That's Incredible!

The New Theme Song For The World

With coronavirus forcing everyone to stay home these days unless you work in an essential area, hardly anybody is going to work (sadly, I am exempt from that). My 8-year-old was listening to his They Might Be Giants kids music CD, and this song came on. It struck me as just how appropriate the song is for the day and age. Enjoy, have fun.

Remember These Guys?

Here's that old commercial that they come from. They were one of the better mascots from over the years. Way cooler than The Noid for sure.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Be Like Mike

Little came down the stairs yesterday with a bag full of change in his hand. It was the money from his piggy bank. He'd found it stuffed under his bed somewhere.

"I want to go to the store, Dad. I found my money, and I want to buy a Bakugan," he said.

This didn't sound like one of those absolutely necessary trips to the store that all our elected officials have been saying we should limit our excursion to. "We're not supposed to go out, though," I said, "President Trump says not to. Governor Abbott says not to. County Judge Hidalgo says not to. Mayor Turner says not to." He didn't know who most of those people were, but I thought it would be fun to throw a bunch of names at him to add weight to the admonition.

"Keep going," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"You didn't say the best one," he said.

"The best one? What do you mean?" I asked.

"Mike," he said in a tone that would have been used to say, "duh," normally, as if I should have know that. I didn't know what he meant.


"Yeah," he said, "you know. Mike will get it done."

Then I finally realized what he meant.

He watches a lot of YouTube videos, and a few weeks ago when Mike Bloomberg was still in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and was spending his 500 million dollars on advertising, you couldn't watch a YouTube video without getting a Bloomberg ad before and after your video, and if it was long enough, in the middle as well.

Bloomberg may not have managed to make enough headway with voters to survive long past Super Tuesday, but at least he earned the vote of one eight-year-old boy. I may need to start policing what he watches on YouTube a little more closely.

Contradiction In Terms

Someone brought this into work the other day and left it out for people to have if they wanted it.

I looked at it, and couldn't help but chuckle and take a quick snapshot. Skinnygirl popcorn indeed. How many years did I believe things like popcorn would help me lose weight. After all, it wasn't caramel popcorn right? There's only 25 calories per cup, and this stuff is low in salt, so it's heart healthy too, right?

Couldn't be more wrong, it turns out. Calories don't have a thing to do with it. It's all about the insulin. Don't be fooled. Carbohydrates cannot help you lose fat, because they spike your insulin every time you eat them, and insulin prevents the burning of fat. Nobody wants to just lose weight. It doesn't help to lose muscle, bone, and sinew, or thews as Edgar Rice Burroughs always liked to talk about in his John Carter books. We all want to lose fat. That's the stuff that causes the health problems, and it will only go away if you lower your insulin and allow your glucagon to take over and get that fat put to the use that evolution invented it for, powering your body.

If I remember right, this video talks about the issue pretty well in a relatively short video.

I Finished My Novel

I've been writing day in and day out since October 28th of last year. I certainly haven't been perfect, writing every single day since October, but in January I really got my act together, and now I'm currently on my 61st consecutive day of writing without missing one. I've worked on several different things during that time, but the thing I've worked the most consistently on is my novel, Sunny & Gray, part 2: Gray, and I'm proud to announce that on Thursday, on day 60 of my consecutive streak, I wrote the very last sentence in the book.

If ended up at 100,738 words long, which according to my word processing program is 346 pages long. Though I've always heard that manuscripts are roughly 250 words per finished page, and 100,738 divided by 250 is 403 pages. I don't really know what to trust or how that works. I suppose, depending on your line spacing and margin sizes, your book can be any varying number of pages. How many of us didn't make our essays in school look better by adjusting the spacing until it filled the paper out better?

Granted, this is actually the second novel that I've finished. The first one being Sunny & Gray, Part 1: Sunny, but I in no way feel like I'm an old pro at this because I did it before.

Writing a whole novel is a relatively monumental undertaking. You don't just sit down and pound it out in a day or a week (unless you're that weird lady Rish and I saw and a panel once who basically locks herself in a hotel room for a weekend, wears adult diapers, and sleeps three hours a night to write a book in one weekend). Instead it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. You gotta keep coming back day after day for a long time to get a whole novel written.

I have never been known for my perseverance or my strength of will. I'm mostly known for that time I managed to eat four entire large pepperoni pizzas in one sitting. I made the news, and then President George Bush used my story as a way to highlight what was wrong with kids these days in his State of the Union address that year. I have been a legend ever since that feat, but that was a short burst kind of a thing. I was done in 23 minutes and 38 seconds; I didn't have to keep at it for a long period of time. So, finishing a novel that runs into the six figures in word count is an absolutely amazing feat for me.

Last time, when I finished writing my first novel, the aforementioned Sunny & Gray, Part 1: Sunny, I was on a weird buzz the rest of the night. I walked around filled with a jittery energy and butterflies in my stomach for what was left of the day. This time around it was similar, but not quite as strong, which is kind of a bummer. I can't expect it to always be the same, though. There's a reason addicts are always doing more and more and heavier and heavier drugs, and it's because they are chasing that first high that they got. The next one never is quite as amazing as the first time, and the law of diminishing returns makes it less and less satisfying from then on out. On top of that, I finished writing it so late at night that I went straight to bed as soon as I was done writing. So the buzz didn't last very long before I zonked out, and by morning it didn't remain.

Dean Wesley Smith talks about publishing myths in his book Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing, and one of his myths is that every book needs to be an event. He says no, after your first book, which is in fact a pretty big deal, finishing a book is just a minor achievement. Give yourself a pat on the back and get back to work on the next one.

A book is an acutal event when an author finishes his or her first novel. Now, that’s something special and should be celebrated with friends and family with a good dinner, maybe cards, flowers, something special like a cake. Finishing a first novel puts the writer in a very small minority of writers. Most writers talk about writing, but never find the time to write, let alone to do what it takes to write an entire novel, working for weeks or months to do it. Finishing a first novel is a small event. Celebrate, then put the novel in the mail and get started on the next one.

Kevin J. Anderson sent me a great card after I finished my first novel. On the face of the card is four pictures of a very small mouse pushing a huge elephant up a steep hill. When you open the card, it shows the mouse, sweating, with the elephant at the top of the hill, and at the base of the hill is a herd of elephants just waiting. The caption says, “Great work! Now, do it again.”

I guess that's good advice. I can't sit around patting my back for too long. For one, I've still got a lot of days this year that I've committed to writing, so I need to keep going. Sadly, I'm not sure what I'm going to write next. I haven't been planning ahead for that like I should have been. I started reading my outlining book, but haven't finished it yet, or put any of the things that the author says I should do into practice. I have a pretty in depth treatment that I wrote last year for my novel idea called The Gauntlet, but I haven't even read that through since last year when I wrote it in the first place. There's probably a good deal of work that still needs to be done on it before I start.

I was thinking of writing another Christmas story, and trying to put out a collection of Christmas stories this coming November.

Right now I've got "The Christmas Creature", which we ran on the Dunesteef this last December (part 1, part 2); "A Christmas Wish," which we ran on the show in 2016, "Dear Santa," which we ran on the show back in 2014; and an all-new prose version of "The Spirit of Christmas" that Rish and I did together for our Christmas episode in 2009. Add to that, the new story that I just wrote this last December to the prompt, "You're invited to your girlfriend's/boyfriend's family Christmas dinner for the first time, but the meal isn't what you were expecting." That one is called "Reiterating Christmas."

Those five stories add up to 37,870 words, not terrible, but using the divide by 250 method, that only makes 152 pages, which seems a little spare for a book. If I wrote one or two more stories, then maybe people would be more satisfied with what they got. I had an idea that involves snowmen, and I thought it might be good. So, I'll probably start writing that while I see if I can't get my act together so that I can start The Gauntlet when I finish.

So, I guess it's time to follow Dean Wesley Smith's advice (or Kevin J. Anderson's I suppose) and do it again. Back to work.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Get Some Support Or Struggles Will Be Harder, Journey To One-derland: Week 42 Progress Update

Week 42, and I'm still struggling to get back on track, but I swear I will.

Monday, March 16, 2020

How Much Does Sleep Help Overcome Temptations, Journey To One-derland: Week 41 Progress Update

Been fighting to get back on track, both on the way of eating and the releasing of videos in a timely manner. Here's my latest...for March 3rd.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sweeping Through March

It's been a pretty crazy week. Last week, since I didn't live in the Seattle area, I hadn't considered that the world was going to end at all. Then, on Wednesday, I showed up for work, and found out that we were going to have an extra long news show that day because the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo had been canceled. Let me tell you, if there was any way they could possibly have kept that open, they would have. There's nothing in the world more important to a Houstonian than the rodeo. They'd give up the Rockets, Astros, and even Texans combined as long as they were allowed to keep the rodeo. So, I knew that it was a big deal. The world really was coming to an end.

Luckily, I had foreseen some of the things that were coming our way, and had gone to the store and grabbed some food stores before the run on food began. So, I was okay. It wasn't likely to be a big problem if the store didn't get stocked up for a few weeks. Me and mine could make it that long. So, when I went to the store on the way home, and it looked like this:

I wasn't too upset.

However, I was admittedly pretty worried, distracted, and a little bit depressed about the whole thing. I was having a bit of a hard time mustering the will to care enough to sit down to a keyboard and type for an hour or more a day. I was very much like Alvie Singer on Annie Hall when he was a kid and he'd learned that the universe was expanding and would someday break apart.

Everytime I sat down to write, I thought, just like little Alvie, "What's the point?" When we're all dead, who's going to read this stuff?

Not only that, but there was crazy news going on at the same time. So many things to keep me distracted from the job at hand. I should write...but oh my God, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have Coronavirus. I should write but...oh my God, they canceled the NBA...MLS...Major League Baseball...NHL...NFL I should write but...Justin Trudeau's wife has Coronavirus and they're both in quarantine. I need to text my wife. Could this be the end of Canada as we know it?

Somehow, however, I managed to focus long enough to get my words in all week long. So, here's my chart so far for March:

So, I've written every day, and I've reached 15,498 words for the month now. How does that stack up toward my goal for the month of 33,604 words? Well, here's my progress update:

15498 / 33604 (46.12%)

So, I'm at 46%, and 14 is 45% of 31 days, so I'm still ahead. I think I'll easily beat it, as long as I manage to write 1,000 every day. That will be 31,000 words. The slop that comes along with all of that writing will easily equal 33,604. So, I'm not worried about that.

How about my other goal of finishing my writing up earlier in the day...well, I think this screengrab sums it all up:

That is a screen grab of my Google Drive that I use to both write my book in each day as well as keep track of my word count. Notice underneath each of those boxes the message that says, "You often open around this time." Google tries to have the files that you use most at any particular time up and available for you to click on and open when that time arrives and you are looking for them. The problem is that I took that screengrab at 12:30 AM, as I was starting to write on Thursday.

In other words, Google was telling on me. I have been writing late into the night, instead of early in the morning like my goal I'm supposed to be striving to fulfill dictates. So, no, I am not doing a good job with that goal.

There's nothing I can do about past failures, though, right? All I can do is strive to be better in the future. So, I'm going to keep writing, and keep working on writing earlier in the day so that I'm not up all not long, making myself too tired to write decent prose the next day, because you know it's not going to be gripping stuff that keeps the reader on the edge of his seat if the writer couldn't stay awake while he was writing it.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Skinheads Of The Insect World

My kids were talking about bees and wasps today, and, of course, the quote from the comedian that I remember from back in the eighties came to mind again. "Wasps are the skinheads of the insect world. Wasps will sting ye, even if ye don't annoy them!"

I thought I'd try (in vain) to search out that quote again, so I could share it with the kids. I remember back in 2018, we did our episode about the MCU film Ant-man and the Wasp, and of course I couldn't help but title the episode after that quote. It's a quote that I've brought up on the show several times over the last eleven years. Who knows why it is that the quote stuck in my head so firmly, but anytime anyone mentions the word wasp, then, like a Pavlov's dog, the quote leaps into my brain.

When I searched for the quote, I was surprised to find that four out of the first five entries on the list were various podcatchers pointing to our show. That's pretty cool. Surprisingly, though, was the sixth entry that was a Reddit post that linked to that old comic from the eighties performing the bit. I'd looked for that bit more than once, but not remembering who it was who had done the bit in the first place had limited my effectiveness. Now, some redditor had pointed me right to it, and here it is, marked so that it starts right at the crucial spot:

I was so excited that I had to share it with you. I don't know if this is familiar to you; if you remember this from back then, but check it out. Here, this time I'll set it to start at the beginning.

I was surprised to see that it was Craig Ferguson, the guy who hosted The Late Late Show on CBS from 2005-2014. I guess it was from a much earlier era, when Ferguson was more edgy. I mean his character's name that he's playing in this routine is Bing Hitler (incidentally, a name chosen by his friend Peter Capaldi back in the day). You can't even joke about Hitler anymore, or soup Nazis or any of that stuff. It always surprises me when I find someone who is super-mainstream now but used to be much more edgy back before I knew who they were. Anyway, hope you like the routine.

Thundercats, ho!