The Secret

Turn it up to 11 (worn out weight gloves in 9 weeks)

In late 2013, getting dressed for work one morning, I realized that I couldn’t button…a SIXTY inch-waist pair of jeans.

SIXTY inches. Think about that (’cause I don’t want to).

For some reason it was a surprise. It was also eye opening. One of those moments.

Yeah yeah. All my fault. “Weak.” “No resolve.” “Lazy.” “Couch potato.”

Yanno…all that standard issue rot that isn’t true, spouted by folks that have never had a weight problem, have no clue what it’s all about…and think they are elevated…when they drag others down.

But that’s subject for another post.

I said something like, “Screw it.” and got to work.

By late 2014 I had lost 100 pounds. My doc then said something along the lines of, “Knock it off for a while, you’re killing yourself.” He then quit the business and went to work on tits and ass for California babes. No insurance headaches, cash or easy financing, and lots of “perks”…but that, again, is subject for another post (though I do wonder sometimes if I made the wrong career choice).

See, losing weight is NOT healthy. Not even a little bit. BEING a lower weight is healthy…the process of getting there is a serious stress in several key areas.

So, I knocked it off…and despite life clobbering me and mine in about 24 different stressful and serious ways, from late 2015 through 2016 I held my weight within a couple pounds of that number. Woot!

Dateline, February 2017. Woke up one morning and said, “Screw this. Screw the docs. Time to go again.” I joined a gym, hired a trainer, severely modified my diet, and went to work.

That was 9 weeks ago today. 34 pounds gone so far in this go-around.

I am wearing a pair of 42″ jeans today. They are loose. I need to punch more holes in my belt too.

So…it’s working. I know what to do…I just wonder how long I can keep it up. It’s NOT…as many folks will tell you, “Just a matter of willpower.”

Sacrifice, time, sleep, money, family, hobbies, projects, health…yah…apply all of those too.

I get asked a lot, “What’s the secret?” Even by folks that have asked it before.

Truth is, there is no secret. It’s just that nobody likes the actual answer.

Turns out it’s a LOT like distance motorcycle riding. You’ll occasionally love it, often hate it, and frequently wonder, “Just what the bloody hell am I DOING here?”. You’ll hurt yourself, feel better, feel worse, wonder why you’ve not done this all the while, and then in the next moment, swear you’ll never do it again.

You’ll also have people hate on you for no more reason than you are what you are…doing what you do.

And the process goes round and round.

But, the secret…or non-secret…the thing that simply doesn’t exist because folks won’t believe what they don’t want to hear…is this:

1) Don’t eat anything you really like.
2) Be hungry, all the time.
3) Work your ass off.

It’s a decision…and it takes total concentration and commitment…and that sacrifice I spoke of earlier.

Be prepared to irritate and disappoint your friends, family, spouses, boss, etc…when you have to declare, “NO. This time is for ME and I’m NOT going to change it. No. Not even for you. Not even ‘just this once’.”

Anything less just won’t cut it. Folks will tell you, “It’s a lifestyle choice.” and that’s true to some degree…but it’s over-simplified to point of being an idiotic platitude. Choosing to ignore others’ requirements in lieu of your own doesn’t come easy to some of us…

And the cost is yet to be tallied in that regard.

Oh…and one more step…once you get the first 3 down…

4) Turn it up to 11.

Anyway, if you don’t believe that’s actually the answer…that’s okay. There’s about 40 million companies all lined up to sell you the latest “magic pill” to take care of it for ya. Let me know how that works out.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Unexpected…

I have attended…on too many occasions…the “School of Hard Knocks”.

Now…the “School of Hard Knocks” can be a pretty efficient (pronounced “ruthless”) teacher…but I am apparently a somewhat dense student in this regard (pronounced “stubborn”).

I ride for my sanity…I work for my life. I am a man…and have to do the things men must do. There simply is no other way.

A lifetime of construction work, motorcycling, selling my health “to the job”, and the occasionally required “Stand up for what’s right even it if kills you” that’s required in any real man’s life has left it’s mark.

Did I say mark? Mmmm. Marks. With an “s”…or three…

And when the “School of Hard Knocks” can’t teach ya…well…it just dispenses pain.

It’s pretty good at it.

Several serious and painful injuries…things that never healed correctly and the like have added up over the years to some significant chronic pain…which is made considerably worse when taxing myself for my job, riding, or projects. I exert, I pay. It’s just how it has to go.

One of the reasons I’d hesitated to take on “myself” as a project, and get training/gym/serious exercise REQUIRED to fix “me” is I’d figured pushing myself even harder than I already do would result in even more pain. Real, lasting pain sucks…and frankly, the folks that say “grin and bear it” simply haven’t experienced any.

A shoulder. A hip. A knee. An ankle. My entire left glute (which, over the years, has been stabbed, burned, treated by a veterinarian (had no money/insurance in those days), cut, road-rashed, scarred, infected, re-cut, re-infected, fallen on, slid on, kicked, hit with a pipe, stabbed through with a conduit, surgerized and many other things I can’t…or refuse to…even remember anymore…all added up to the occasional “screw it, I ain’t getting out of bed” moment…even as I’ve always managed to force myself to. The cursing only occasionally bothers the neighbors.

Anyway, seems counterproductive to take on a SERIOUS 5-day a week heavy-exercise routine, including significant weight training and flexing/using all those mentioned “pains” intently and intentionally.

I did it anyway. I’ve been known to be a bit cantankerous.

Here’s what’s unexpected…

I am experiencing MUCH less pain now than I was before I started. Significantly less. Life-changing less. Waking up and wondering just WTF is wrong for a good 5 minutes before I realized that what was “wrong” was that I had no pain at all one morning. My ibuprofen consumption has fallen by half…and probably will fall more…as I’ve found myself on a couple occasions taking it out of sheer habit.

There is still some…pain that is…more when I work on projects than working out…but it is vastly reduced.

This is NOT the weight loss…this is the added muscle and strength controlling those joints/areas better.

-32 today. That’s -132 from my peak.

…and now I’m turning it up to 11.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Instincts…

Instincts. We have ’em…in spades. Problem is we’re taught from birth to ignore them…those “feelings” and warnings dismissed as primitive and unsuitable in civilized society.

We also seem to have recently acquired a good dose of “entitlement”…we SHOULD be safe…anytime anywhere…so we seem to declare that we ARE.

Declaring we ARE something we are NOT despite the obvious seems to be in fashion.

This is bullsh!t of course.

While people in general are a good lot…society itself isn’t civil…anywhere there’s a population…the scavengers and sociopaths come. Even if they only account for one in a thousand…well..I’ll encounter 10 times that many folks on my commute (one way) alone today…

It pays to listen to your instincts.

The folks that teach us to ignore them…well…they’re either selling something, or the ones we should be actually worrying about.

Or both.

***

So then there’s that awkward moment…

Scratch that…let’s call it an “interesting” moment…when 3 BIG guys in a pickup rolled up beside me at a light and told me my tire was very low…

Now…I was skeptical…see…I was on The Dragon…migrating through the city traffic…and had just made several turns…and the hard stop that had me sitting at the very light they were addressing me at…and when The Dragon has a problem with a “skin” whilst navigating at speed…well let’s just say she is not shy at all and is VERY quick to let me know about it…

Nary a peep.

Also when I said, “Which one?”…one of the guys said, “Back!” and another said, “Front!” at the same time.

But still…these kind souls…had gone out of their way to warn me of a potential danger…and yanno…”stuff” can happen so it “could” be a wise thing to check it out.

Except for all those damn alarm bells…the ones in my head…saying, “UmmHmmm.”

They are normally *very* reliable.

But yanno…*could be*…

The light changed…their lane moved first so they had to depart first…and once well ahead…seemed like they were going their way so I hit a parking lot for a quick check.

I never made the check though…the truck swung a right at the next intersection (the parking lot went all the way there), immediately turned into the lot and headed my way at a gallop.

Heh…fruitless though…ain’t nobody can gallop like me and The Dragon can. Parking lots are double the fun because of all the double rows of big concrete stops in the parking places…Valks effortlessly go through…even slaloming just to add a little fun to the morning…and the equivilent of “the finger” to the folks that couldn’t follow…insult to injury as it were. Trucks (at least if they want to keep running very long) have to go around.

Had galloping been…impractical…well, the trusty 1911 ready to hand can crack engine blocks…so a couple or three scumbags aren’t normally going to be an issue…and that’s assuming I bothered with it and wasn’t in the mood to simply break somebody (or three) in half.

Yeah, well…I’d only had one cup of coffee. And apparently I’m getting old. That adage again…you know the one…

Never start a fight with an old guy. If he can’t beat ya…he’ll just kill ya.

Here’s a pro-tip fellas…near 300-pound, leather-clad, armed, grumpy bikers…simply aren’t good victims.

Especially old ones.

They’re out there folks.

Y’all be safe.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

(once again resolving to put a camera on the bike)

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Losing it…

I am of a breed that works tirelessly to support my family and friends…protects the same…and does my best to solve problems for them and others.

This intense drive is part instinctual/sex. Yes kiddies, there actually is a difference between men and women and how they approach things.

It is also part parentage, part societal conditioning, and a very large chunk of it is my developed personal honor…formed by experience…resounding successes…and horrifying failures.

It is NOT a minor thing…this drive.

Unfortunately it results in neglect of certain things…mainly…myself. Work or “stuff” I need/should do for myself gets put last on the priority list. Since our society generates crisis and noise at a frantic rate…that list is never ending…and “I” often end up on the bottom of it.

When I do take time to do “stuff” for myself…it is usually external…work on a project of some sort…ride to keep my sanity…that sort of thing…and again, I never get down to the “me”. There’s simply nothing “less important” on the list that I can ignore.

Since, despite its problems, I like life in general and mine in particular, I recently realized this is not exactly the best approach.

Six weeks ago today I announced (on my Facebook feed I think), that I’d had enough…and no matter what it took…sacrificing job, friend, or family obligations, I was going to tackle my fitness.

Before in life…it was a self-maintaining thing. Construction and farm work will keep you pretty fit…at least when they aren’t happily and effectively killing you…but as I’ve aged and neglected myself…well…some of that changed. A desk job is not a small contributor.

So…yeah. Six weeks ago I hired a personal trainer (small class format), and stepped foot…for the first time…into a formalized exercise environment.

It’s a little bit daunting…my exposure to training was my high-school and jr-high coach…who’s idea of exercise was to, and I’m NOT exaggerating, make us run around the track until we puked.

Three times a week. Run around the track…heat, cold, rain, whatever…until you puke (no water/breaks either!). The other two days we did push-ups or sit-ups…nothing but…for 40 minutes (or until we puked).

The other factor is that spending your teenage years in a poor environment sort of encourages you to work very hard…but at ACCOMPLISHING something. The focus was external though. Exercise was expending effort at accomplishing…nothing concrete.

Taking care of myself was never even on the list.

Lord knows I’ve the scars to prove that one.

There’s no other way to lose weight than a strict diet (short of surgery)…so why the trainer? Particularly the weight training? Diet is king…and if you simply MUST exercise, well, cardio is where it’s at for weight loss…you can walk around your neighborhood for free…

Well, it’s like this…I’ve been a strong man all my life…and I LIKE being capable of picking up engine blocks…and breaking stupid people in half when they need it. That really should be a rarity…but there seems to be no shortage of stupid people lately.

Weight loss at the expense of muscle and bone mass is NOT a good thing…being fat would be healthier…and this will also help balance and such if I manage to survive the metroplex long enough to retire.

There is NO healthy way to lose weight…being a lower weight is healthy…but getting there is a serious stress and your body will fight you every step of the way…sometimes with serious health consequences.

Training is a way to make it as safe and effective as possible.

Anyway, I’d lost substantial weight on my own…but have been stuck/frustrated for a year now.

My attitude…or id…got to a “point” and said “Screw this crap.”

I woke up one morning and told the wife that no matter what it took…I was losing 100+ lbs this year. I sighed up the next day.

I’ve always been a large/muscular man so I’m shooting for 200-220 and then I’ll see where I’m at (I weighed 220 when I was nothing but muscle and blood). If you want the embarrassing facts…I peaked a couple years ago at 427…and I couldn’t fasten a SIXTY INCH jeans.

I worked at that with diet and hard work (life/project stuff, not structured exercise) and lost a bunch…I was a hundred or so pounds lighter but plateaued/holding when I started this new regimen.

That damn list again. It takes focus and drive to succeed at this…nothing short of 100% will do…and I’d fallen clean off the bottom of the list.

So I put myself on the top…and I mean the VERY top…of the list. I’ve never been there before. It remains to be seen just exactly what…it will cost me.

It’s a tough thing…my work ethic and honor fight that “selfishness” every day…and it tastes like a failure.

But it has to be done or I won’t succeed. If you have a (more than 20%) weight problem…the success rates of losing it and keeping it off are dismal…there are entire, multi-billion dollar industries focused on selling you magic to fix this…and society is not geared to allow you to focus on it…even while demanding you “fix” yourself.

My wife supports me…but I was met with some skepticism in other venues.

We will see, won’t we?

Has it worked?

Six weeks…I’ve lost 24 pounds and gained substantial muscle mass at the same time.

20+% of my goal. 80 pounds left. When I’m done I’ll be less than HALF my peak weight.

And next week I “ramp it up a notch”.

Will I stay motivated?

Wrong question. I’ve ALWAYS been motivated. Problem was…”I” wasn’t on the list.

I’m at the top of it now. The question is…can I stay there.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

(left) 2013, 427 pounds — (right) 2015 327, pounds

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The Great Wall

Took my lover to the movies Monday evening…”The Great Wall” was on the agenda…

We had reservations about this one…it looked good in the previews but its run in the smaller theaters we usually frequent was disturbingly short…and other than on the internet…we heard little about it.

Still…the trailer looked fun…so off we went, taking a chance with our hard earned $25 (ticket prices at the AMC are getting downright sucky).

We loved it. Cinematically gorgeous! Action. Adventure. Monsters. Fantastic sets. Intricate costumes. A decent story as well…VERY well cast.

Much more action than suspense…which is our preference.

Fun…kind of a mix between over-the-top American action style and…well…over-the-top Chinese action style.

We enjoyed it, and will add it to our collection.

For sure worth a viewing on the big screen!

Also: (obligatory)

So far for the year:
#1 Passengers
#2 John Wick Chapter 2
#3 The Great Wall
#4 Triple X…the Return of Xander Cage
#5 Collateral Beauty

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We learn…

Something over a million miles on motorcycles…near a quarter-million on The Dragon alone…45(ish) states (including Alaska), 7 Canadian Provinces, and at least 5 Mexican states…mountains, curves, horrendous weather, wildlife…and I realized on this morning’s commute that the most technical, grueling, challenging, demanding, and dangerous (by far) riding I do…is right here in the metroplex.

It meets out lessons…and pain…on a constant basis. There is something to learn, every damn day.

As humans we learn right up to the point where we die…so it sounds good, right?

Maybe not…It had never occurred to me before that it might be the lessons that kill us.

I’ll see you on the road.

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Valentines Day…ur…romantic getaway?

Sooo…we were pondering Valentines Day plans…

A movie/meal? We like movies. We have a couple dinner theaters hereabouts…sounds like a plan…
But what movie?

Me: “Well, Drafthouse has this ‘Titanic’ thing…showing the 1997 movie and serving a ‘themed’ multi course dinner…but it’s like…$90 each.”
Her: “Too expensive. We can watch it on DVD and eat steak or something.”

Me: “SMG has ‘The Notebook’ out for Valentines.” (I’d not seen this but heard it was supposed to be a “chick flick”.)
Her: “Gawd no. That’s not romantic. It’s a horrible tragedy!”

Me: (really reaching, still trying for a “chick-flick”): “Fifty Shades Darker?” (we watched the first one on DVD and it was…boring. Seriously. Not porn. Not erotic. Not exciting. Not titillating. Boring. With a capital “B”.)
Her: *snerk* “You’re kidding, right?” (with that sideways look I get when I’m being particularly obtuse) “Booorringggg! Sex should NOT be boring. Only Hollywood could manage that.”

Me: …..
Her: “Hey, isn’t John Wick 2 out?”
Me: “A shoot-em-up for Valentines?”
Her: “Why not?”

It’s gun porn. Simply put. It’s more gun porn that 50 shades is porn porn…by a long shot (heh…see what I did there?) Stupid, WAY over the top action and shoot-em-up.

But the original was fun…which, frankly, is why we go to the movies. Reality and/or boring on the big screen doesn’t interest us all that much.

John Wick Chapter 2 is more of the same…a continuation, in fact…of the first movie…which would be sort of expected with such an inventive title.

Like the first…it has a body count I can’t even fathom…of course…as in the first one…they took pains to show us that…(insert best Arnold Schwarzenegger accent here) “Yeah but they were all bad…”
(vid for the reference)

Update…the ever helpful internet…being known for just this sort of thing…has informed me the body count for JW2 is 128. That’s all kills by John Wick.

Which…of course…is damn near double the 77 kills in the first movie…but the internet informs me (again, it’s good for this sort of useless information that nobody cares if is accurate) that his shot accuracy declined from a 86% in the first movie to 80%…which should surprise nobody since he would be very tired…HOW tired I’m not actually sure…as it appears the internet has failed me in determining how many times John Wick himself got shot (or stabbed or punched or tossed) in the movies.

Now…we probably need to get some counseling for the poor souls that managed to watch these through enough times to count all the shots/kills…

Bullets flying. Bad guys dying. Our hero takes a licking and keeps on ticking…hmmm…actually, this is misleading…there is ZERO sex in these films, which is a shortcoming…when ya have this much gratuitous violence, gunshots, explosions, crashes, and the like…ya need some gratuitous sex to go along with it…it’s like a tradition!

And yes, we quite enjoyed it.

So…yep…the wife and I…at John Wick 2 for our romantic Valentines Evening…and we had a blast.

I do believe she’s a keeper. 🙂

Also: (obligatory)

So far for the year:
#1 Passengers
#2 John Wick Chapter 2
#3 Triple X…the Return of Xander Cage
#4 Collateral Beauty

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The Life I’m Given: Book Review

Book Review: The Life I’m Given : The Life You Choose by Guy B Wheatley

Just released, Guy B Wheatley’s third offering in the Given series follows “Emily”…a modified/enhanced human female awakened with no memories, in the clutches of a powerful company who intends to use her as an operative.

She’s not alone…and has help escaping provided by a previous “product” of the same lab. She must recover what memories she can while discovering her new abilities, and choose a new life…or to embrace her old one.

This is a satisfying read and was hard to put down…Character driven action (with the scify element of human enhancement) set in the not-to-distant future and although it can stand alone, I recommend reading the entire series.

Pick ’em up in digital or softcover at Amazon…click the picture to go there.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Triple X…the Return Of Xander Cage (movie review).

“Attending your own funeral is some really surreal sh!t…”

I took that cute little gal I’ve been known to hang around with to the movies this week.

We were checking out the offerings and deciding on what to see when the wife (yes, that cute gal mentioned above) says, “Sometimes ya just gotta blow sh!t up!”

Yep…I agree. Seems blatant, stupid, over-the-top action was on the agenda.

There’s a reason I married that woman!

So…xXx3 it is!

A synopsis…

Vin Diesel is back as the smarmy, ultra-bad-ass Xander Cage. We get to see some gorgeous women, big, elaborate sets, lots of impossible, over-the top stunt work, government conspiracies, and explosions and gunfire everywhere.

That’s pretty much all you need. Okay, I admit…”synopsis” is a strong word for that. How about a tag-line instead:

Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you do it.

This describes the entire film to the “T”…or perhaps the X.

If it’s not what you expect, well, you’ve not been paying attention. This is a sequel to the first two movies in this series…which you can also sum up with, “Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you do it.” They work, and they’re fun…which is why many of us go to the movies. Why change things?

The characters are fun, colorful, and utterly predictable. The plot exists simply as a framework to assemble this cast and blow up those things. This is a formula action/combat/gruff guy saves the world flick…and it totally works.

We enjoyed it, and will add it to the library. It’s worth a big-screen look.

If you like action/set movies, or even Bond movies, and particularly if you liked the original, then this movie’s a good bet.

It comes in as #2 in my top well…three. I’ve only seen about 5 for the year (more reviews coming).

Oh…and we kill off Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson’s character) in the first scene in the film…but he’s not dead. I’d have warned you of the spoiler…but it’s not one…’cause you already knew that. The only way to kill off a Samuel L. Jackson character is to feed him to a shark in ultra close-up, blood spewing, yet laughable horror (yes, it’s been done). He is, apparently, eternal. He also, apparently, plays exactly the same character in every film he does.

xXx3 is my #2 pick for the year so far…

#1 Passengers
#2 Triple X…the Return of Xander Cage
#3 Collateral Beauty

There are plenty of good movie offerings coming up this year…so we’ll see you at the movies!

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I wonder…

I wonder if they think about me…later…the ones that almost kill me…

They run me out of my lane or pull out in front of me without looking. Some run up on my tail at speeds that make it impossible for them to evade. Some swerve in front of me and slam on the brakes.

I’m not talking about the minor stuff…I don’t even notice that anymore. In a city of millions those sorts of things are inevitable. They’re avoidable too…if the other driver is just…inattentive rather than aggressive or outright hostile.

It’s the ones that give me no chance at all…unless I take serious evasive action. Fractions of a heartbeat…fractions of an inch…between life and death. More than once I’ve wondered in passing just which side of that particular line I ended up on…

Heartbeats…

One day I might blink at just the wrong time. Zig instead of zag. Make the wrong decision. I ride defensively. I’m aware. I always try to have an “out”…a plan.

One day even that may not be enough. Will they think about it then?

Life…and death. Fractions apart…some…many…flip me off when they realize what happened.

What kind of fucked up world view would you have to have in order to almost kill somebody…and then flip them off?

Do they mean it? That may just be the question that haunts me.

I’m not sure what’s worse…some never acknowledge I was even there.

I wonder if they actually understand what they nearly did…that there was life and death on the line. They created death…it was only the actions of another that prevented it.

There was a person on that machine…one that wanted nothing more than to get home and see his lady…

…a person that might just need one more day…or perhaps just one more moment…to earn back another piece of his soul…

Does that matter? Does it cross their mind later? Do they wonder…in the middle of the night?

I do.

I’ll see you on the road.

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