Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Week Five Update

Went out of town with my wife for our anniversary this weekend. I was really worried about how things would go if I was eating out at restaurants for every meal. How did it go? Check out the video to see.


We were at the dollar store the other day, and I saw this product on the shelf:

That's right, grated topping. Not grated Parmesan cheese topping. It's grated topping...with Parmesan. What in blue blazes might be in this to force them to not call it grated Parmesan, I wondered. Because you know that they totally would have if they possibly could have. So, I looked at the ingredients...sorry about the blurry picture. I guess I got too close to the label:

It has dairy whey...which, I guess isn't the worst thing ever. The second ingredient though...Food Starch. FOOD STARCH?!!

What, pray tell, could food starch possibly be? My guess is that it's soylent green. It's made of PEOPLE!

Nah, that's surely not true. Actual soy is sooooo cheap that they would never bother to pay for the people it would take to make real soylent green. And, down at the bottom it says that it contains wheat and soy, despite the fact that nothing on the ingredient list says wheat or soy. I suppose that's what they mean by food starch.

I can't believe some of the stuff people can get away with when it comes to labeling food. Eventually, there will come a day when you can look at the ingredients of products, and it will just say:

Ingredients: Food.

Just eat it, and accept the cancer that it gives you, you filthy commoner.

More Cheap Toy Hunting

Here is the video about how I built my army of Snowtroopers from Empire Strikes Back. Good times were had by all.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

That's A New One

My wife and I went to a nearby town called New Braunfels for our anniversary this past weekend. We went tubing down the Comal River:

Which is a big attraction there. There was a lot of other people on the river with us as well.

And as happens to us every time, there were several things that we forgot to bring with us when we left home. We swung into the local Walmart to grab stuff that we needed, and while I was looking for what I needed, I saw something that surprised me.

Walmart always makes T-shirts of the local high school that you can buy and, I don't know, wear to their football games or something to show some support. It doesn't really support the school in any real way. Walmart gets all the money from the sale of the shirts, but I guess you are supporting them in thought anyway.

So, they had the shirt for the New Braunfels team, and I saw that that school has a rather unusual mascot:

Not only is the shirt an awful tie dye thing, but their mascot is the friggin' unicorns. I know what you're saying right now, "Big Anklevich, you're a sexist douche. Unicorns are noble and fierce mythical creatures," and both of those things might be true, but mascots have always been something that was supposed to be fearsome, or something that the imagery could strike fear into the hearts of your opponents.

Nobody chooses rabbits or prairie dogs as their mascot, because that isn't the least bit fearsome, and their opponents would only laugh. How much did the ducks have to fight just to live down their mascot in The Mighty Ducks movie. The fact that they called the movie The Mighty Ducks says all that you need to say.

So, if my high school was the unicorns, I probably wouldn't choose to go out for any of the sports. It would force you to face ridicule from every other team you played against. Week after week, it would be ridicule. If you can put Rainbow Dash on your uniforms, and people would have to say, "I guess that works," then you shouldn't have that mascot.

If you must us a mythical creature, try dragons, or even griffons, but don't go with Unicorns...or pixies, or brownies, or pecks, or even stupid daikinis.

The Last of the Cloak and Dagger

Finally made it to part three of my Cloak and Dagger series. This time I'm talking about the toys. Check the video out, folks.

Monday, June 24, 2019


The weeds are just unstoppable around here. Here's a good example of what I mean:

There must be a crack that leads down to the soil there somewhere, or the weed couldn't exist, but you can't see it with the naked eye or anything. It's just bricks, mortar, and cement, but, as my friend Ian Malcolm used to say:

I hate weeds, and this year, I especially hate them, because they're worse than ever.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Week Four Update

Things are still going really well. I've managed to hit every goal I've made so far, which is awesome, and I'm losing bunches of weight too. Here's my update for the fourth week of my plan to take me to one-derland.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Week Three Update

It's been a full three weeks that I've been doing the Alternate Day Fasting combined with the Carnivore Diet. How's it going? Watch the video and check it out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Time Flies

This came up on Facebook today. Hard to believe that it's already been two years.

Man-Bat and the Dewback on Cheap Toy Hunting

Hey, y'all. I just put up a new episode of Cheap Toy Hunting over on my YouTube toy channel. I got some great deals on this stuff, and it's fun stuff, so I had to share it with you. Hope you like it.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Weird Car

I was getting gas the other day, when I saw something weird peaking out from behind all the trucks parked in front of the convenience store. I drove past it, and was excited to see what it was. I had to drive around the parking lot and pass it by once more to get a picture of it too, so I could share it.

I thought it was the Google Maps car at first, but it in fact has a sign on it declaring it to be the Apple Maps car. I don't know why I'm geeked out about it, but I thought it was really cool to see the thing in person.

Fighting My Addiction

I was talking with Rish on the phone the other day, and he was telling me about The West Wing. He's been on the show, but he'd never watched it before. Recently, however, he has begun watching the show. He told me about John Spencer's character, Leo McGarry, and a particularly moving episode where they delved into what the life of an alcoholic is like.

The character mostly refuses to ever drink, because he's not like other people. He can't just have one drink. If he gives in, even a little, then he will certainly go overboard. He was kind of shocked by it all, and after he expressed that to me, I told him, "Now you know why I've got to do things like Keto and Intermittent Fasting. I'm the same guy, but with food."

Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm making light of addiction. I understand how powerful and destructive that alcoholism or drug addiction can be. People can be normal people one day, and criminals doing the most awful things the next day because they gave in to their addiction to alcohol or drugs. They're terrible things, and the bane of the modern world.

But I am going to raise my hand and say, "Hi, my name is Big Anklevich, and I'm an addict." What I am is a food addict. Or better yet, a sugar addict. Actually, more precisely, I'm a carb addict. I'm like that guy on West Wing that can't just have a taste. I'm like Barney from The Simpsons, who got off the sauce, turned his life around, became an astronaut, and when he had a tiny glass of champagne in celebration, went off the rails and lost it all.

That's me. For example, at work people often bring in treats--donuts, cookies, pizza, cake--and every time that they did, I was that piece of shit that kept sneaking back covertly to grab more and more of it. I hoped that no one saw that I was frequenting the treat table way more than anyone else. And of course my actions meant that several people didn't get any treats at all. What an ass.

It was 20016 that I found out that my habit had led me to diabetes. Now something had to change. I couldn't just keep going like I always had. In late 2017, I discovered the Ketogenic way of eating, and realized that I could turn my life around.

Over the next six months or so, I gradually got myself onto the diet, until I was firing on all cylinders. I was sticking to it perfectly, I was losing lots of weight, and things were going swimmingly. All my blood tests told me that I was super healthy. I hadn't felt so good or so good about myself in years.

Then the combination of two events completely derailed all that progress. One, I went to the doctor, got an A1C test done, and it said that I was at 5.2. A diabetic is someone who score 6.5 or higher on the A1C. A prediabetic is someone who scores between 5.7 and 6.4 on the A1C. So, my efforts had moved me out the even the range of prediabetes. So, in my mind I started thinking, "Wow! I'm not a diabetic anymore."

In one sense, that was true, but in another sense, it was completely false. It took me a long time to turn my body from a healthy one into a diabetic one. It would surely take a similarly long time to repair that damage and get back to normal. But I wasn't thinking like that. Instead, I was thinking, "Wahoo, I'm cured!"

The second thing that happened at that time is that we went out to California for our summer vacation. I'd been so good with what I ate over the last while that I thought I could lay off the Ketogenic thing while I was there. Let myself have a vacation and eat whatever I pleased. We were in San Francisco, I should have myself some sourdough and some Ghirardelli.

Those two factors combined sent me off the rails again. When I got back from vacation, I couldn't get back onto keto and stay on. I kept telling myself that I wasn't diabetic anymore anyway, so it shouldn't hurt if I have an indulgence or two sometimes. Of course, that's not where it stopped. An indulgence or two would have been fine, but they multiplied to three or four or ten or seventy-eight.

All that weight that I lost from being good on keto began to creep back on...wait, creep isn't the right word. It came rushing back. It didn't take long for me to return to my old corpulent self. All my problems began returning. Worse yet, because of keto, I had been able to ween myself off of all the medications I was taking before. But now I was eating as if I was a normal Joe, and I didn't have the protections that those medications offered (along with their numerous side-effects). So, these indulgences hit me even harder than they would have before.

Here and there, I would get control of myself for a little while, but inevitably I would lose it again. I noticed a black speck appear in my vision, and realized that I had damaged my eyes with my recklessness. This was particularly sobering. What else was it doing to me that I wasn't able to see evidence of? How soon was my fatal heart attack coming?

I'd been thinking about trying to get back to it, and using YouTube as a means of ensuring that I keep at it. I'd long thought of doing a YouTube channel documenting my success at Keto. But I hadn't decided to do it until I'd already lost 40lbs. At that point, isn't it a little late to start documenting things? Now, I guess, I could make the lemons into lemonade, because all my progress had been reversed. So I could document it all from the very beginning.

So, here's my first video of my new YouTube channel called Big Anklevich on Health. A documentation of me finally getting my health under control, and turning my trajectory toward an early grave in a different direction.

I did that one a few weeks ago. Last week, I did my first update. Here it is:

As you might have guessed, I was pretty pleased with my results of week one. There's no way my weight loss could keep that pace, but when I did my second update, it was still going pretty well:

So, that's where I'm at so far. I'm being pretty drastic, I suppose, but I feel it's necessary to get myself completely under control. I'm going to visit family on vacation about a month from now, and I need to be ready to turn down all those temptations, and keep myself heading in the right direction. You don't get to One-derland if you give in to all the offers you receive after all.

It's only been two weeks, but I'm feeling good, and it seems to be getting easier every day. Sometime soon, I'll go see the doctor, and I'll be able to share with you what my A1C is and what my other blood tests reveal.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Did April Powers Bring May Flowers?

I meant to do one of these writing updates once a week, but I'm...three weeks overdue. Whoops!

So, what's going on right now? Well, I am suffering from a little bit of writer's block these days.

I think, after all this time, I finally understand what writer's block is. I used to think it was when you sat down at the keyboard, went to type and some kind of door in your brain slammed shut and you couldn't write anything. It's not really like that, though. It's different. I'll describe what I'm up to and see if it makes sense.

So, for the last month or so, I have been doing prep work for my book idea called The Gauntlet. It's about a pair of young adults, Ramona and Sebastian, who get visited by a weird looking guy and told they have inherited a gauntlet from a long lost relative of theirs. These two are surprised, because they have been orphans for most of their lives, and didn't know they had any relatives anywhere. Turns out the gauntlet they inherited gives them superpowers, and they have now been drafted into the fight against the ancient sorcerer, Gydion, who lives in the Otherworld, and only the power of the magic in the gauntlet keeps him from invading our world.

I've been writing a treatment for this book. It's grown pretty long. The treatment is sitting and 10,393 words right now. It's novelette length already. I've pretty much arrived at the climax, and I'm trying to figure out how to make it work. Their enemy has defeated them so completely, but they have to go back and take him on again. How will it change this time? The odds seem stacked against them way more than the last time they faced. What can they do to make it work?

That's my problem. I don't know! I'm not sure how to make it believable that they triumph in the end. I'm trying to come up with ideas, but they don't really come. And so, I'm blocked. I sit down to the keyboard, and type a couple of words, and then just quit. And that's on the days that I do write, because I have been avoiding writing as well due to my situation. I don't feel like struggling to come up with an idea. I have writer's block, and I finally understand just exactly what that means.

I finished off last month on a pretty weak note. Here's my chart:

I haven't gotten over five hundred words for most of the month, and the last week I was getting piddly numbers under 200. I even did a mere 84 on the very last day of the month. May was much worse than April. Check out the comparison from the last chart:

15,000 words compared to less than 9,000 in May. Hell, May even has an extra day. But don't worry, it gets worse. This is my chart so far this month:

Through the first five days, I haven't even managed to get 200 words. More days not writing than writing. I almost didn't even make it over 100 on the two days that I did write. It's just pitiful.

So, how do I get through this? Do I spend some time working on a different story for a while and then come back to this one? Maybe I need to force myself to drive to work in silence--no podcasts, no audiobooks, no music--and let my mind turn over the problem. Better yet, I should hook up a mic, and make myself talk about it out loud, because it's too easy for my mind to wander to other subjects if I don't feel like anyone's listening, but if I'm recording, it tricks my mind into thinking someone's listening, even though no one ever will. Or maybe I should call Rish Outfield and talk with him about it on my drive to work. He helped me with a spot I was having trouble with earlier in the story.

I feel like I really ought to be writing on this book for real by now. Not still piddling around trying to make a treatment for the thing.

I guess I'm getting hit pretty bad with that impostor syndrome. I feel like I can't turn this idea into a good book. Maybe somebody else could, but I'm not a real writer. Just a jackass podcaster who likes to talk about writing on the Dunesteef from time to time like I know what I'm saying. I'm like a boy wearing his dad's clothes, and pretending to be a an adult. It's so cute when little kids go clomping around in oversized shoes, but nobody's gonna pay that kid to fix his air conditioner, no matter what coveralls and boots he might be wearing.

Do I have what it takes to write a book? Can I create interesting characters that aren't just thinly veiled versions of myself? This guy is Big Anklevich but a mathlete. This one is Big Anklevich in a dress. That's what it feels like I do.

I want to be super positive and say, "I'm going to tackle this head on and defeat it! I'm going to turn things around!" But I don't really have much confidence in that. I hope I can turn it around and keep going. We'll see how it goes.