News Roundup: April 27

Good morning, today is Thursday April 27 and here are the stories that interest me.

Fallout from the US Administration’s threats on Lumber and Milk Tariffs is leading the US’s largest Milk buyer to look elsewhere. Mexico is beginning to look to the EU and New Zealand to lessen the country’s reliance on US milk. Mexico has begun talking with New Zealand, a major Dairy producer, to introduce New Zealand Dairy to the country. Originally under the TPP,  which the US withdrew before ratifying. now the two countries are looking towards a bilateral agreement. While the initial shift is small, there is a sense that Mexico is begin to prepare for life post NAFTA.

Commentary: In response the the Lumber Tariff that Trump is imposing, Canada is basically saying “ok, we will go elsewhere,” It is talking with China and other asian nations, who already use Canadian lumber, to help  mitigate the issue. Several provinces in the country have also begun to set up funds to assist logging companies affected by the tariffs.  What is worse is that Canada is being blamed for the Milk issue (which… is there a milk issue?) when there is actually a surplus between the two countries. As a reminder, Canada is also a major dairy producer. I think that, once again, the US Administration is not prepared for the realities of world trade politics and it feels that the US will end up with more egg on its face.

Oh, fun fact, one of the major sticking points in the TPP was between New Zealand and Canada fighting over access to Dairy markets between the signatory nations. New Zealand wanted more access, Canada wanted to restrict that access. And yes, Dairy politics are serious business.
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A Meningitis outbreak has killed 813 people in northern Nigeria so far this year. Earlier this month, a massive vaccination drive started in the country to help combat the disease, which strikes due to poor conditions in the country. Authorities have begun doing a house-to-house search in order to identify, vaccinate, and infected people.

Commentary: This is why vaccines are important.
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China has launched its first domestically build aircraft carrier. The development shows China’s growing sophistication in its defence industry. The impact of this is being immediately felt across the region. As China flexes its muscles in the South China Sea, other countries like Japan, India, and Taiwan eye the situation closely. China is believed to be planning to make 2-4 more carriers rivalling the size of the US Nimitz class ships with the ability to launch planes with more weapons and longer missions.

Commentary: While plans began in 2013, there is no doubt that the world is responding to the US and its plans to raise its military spending. What is also important here is that this is a completely domestically built ship, meaning that we do not know what is actually in it, or how it is built. This level of competency means that China may just start churning out ships at an accelerated rate. With tensions in the South China Sea (Long story short, several countries claim the sea, and China is trying to bully its way into taking that territory by raising artificial islands and settling on them. Expect the US to use this as justification for more military spending in its budget.

and that is all for me on the news front, be back tomorrow, and enjoy your day!

 

The Journey: Celebration without food

Today is a great day. A few weeks ago, I was made redundant, The company, which I genuinely enjoy, has been awesome in helping me find a new job. They also gave me 4 weeks notice (which I think is required by law), so I have been working on getting a job.

And today, the offer came in, two days before my last day.

The job is a step up in responsibility, a step up in pay, and it is on the bleeding edge of technology, so I am pretty excited about the future.

In the last week, I have been patiently/impatiently waiting on the offer. For me, anticipation is a terrible feeling. I personally hate it. the pressure builds, and I find that I have all this nervous energy without a place for it to go. I wish for things to happen now, and to handle it. With the offer coming in today, it was literally seeping from my body, and the first thing I thought about was how to celebrate.

*Ice Cream*

*Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream*

*The Tonight Dough*

As those thoughts entered my mind, it was a weird moment. I haven’t had ice cream in three months. In those three months, I have been on the straight and narrow. Now people will tell me, “WanderingExPat, it is ok, it is a treat!” but in reality, my head space is  completely different at the moment. The old me would have already gone to the story, come home, and already broken out the ice cream, chomping down on the pint like no tomorrow, satisfied and happy that things are all right in the world. I got a raise, I got the job that I want, and it is exciting… time to eat to top this off.

New Me however reacted differently.

OK, do I want to eat ice cream and wipe out the last two days of weight loss? Ugh, I haven’t had significant sugar in three months, this will lay me out. Is the Ice Cream worth it?

And that was a pretty shocking honestly.

Food and emotion often go hand in hand. For me, I would often eat when I was sad, I eat when I was happy, I eat when I was bored, I eat when I was nervous, or stressed, or ansy, or… for anything. Food is that comfort, and that quiet supporter, because a pint of ice cream or a bucket of wings never judges me.

But using food to placate or enhance my emotions is toxic. Just like drinking to be happy, or drugs to feel normal, I need to make sure that food and emotions not mix so much anymore… at least in terms of a catalyst for me to eat something unhealthy.

So while I celebrate this day, there will be no Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream tonight.

I will have Ice Cream at some point, it will become that 2-3 times a year food I will have. But I am not breaking my streak yet. Not while I’m on a roll.

-W

 

News Roundup: April 26

Good morning, today is Wednesday, April 26, and here are the stories that interest me.

The US is imposing a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber in a retaliatory strike against what the US believes is unlawful subsidizing of the industry. The US alleges that Canadian lumber is subsidized to the point where it make the wood noncompetitive with US lumber. This has been a LONG standing argument between the two countries. The US is also expected to place tariffs on milk as well. Canada has yet to respond to the changes.

Commentary:  Well, this has been a long standing issue in the construction and lumber companies. The last two administrations have worked with Canada on a resolution with no solution, so of course the current Administration goes in and uses a sledgehammer. The Administration is currently trying to relax EPA regulations to allow logging, mining, and drilling in national forests. Their goal is to target virgin but aging forest for cutting down. This will unlikely work. If a trade war does begin with Canada, it will mean that we are now in trade disputes with two of our largest trading partners. Furthermore, the Executive order being signed today to start the logging will likely be halted while court cases on it play out, meaning that the tariff will mean higher construction prices for homes and small businesses. With the Administration’s track of having their Executive Orders challenged, I question the timing of the tariff.
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In a study released today, scientists and doctors have successfully incubated lambs in an artificial womb that could be a game changer for helping extremely premature babies to survive. For 4 weeks, the lambs were kept in an artificial womb, and their lungs and brains developed normally. This step is a massive leap for neo-natal studies and may lead to successfully develop premature babies and avoid developmental issues later.

Commentary: How cool is this! if we are able to supply the baby while it is developing in those situations, we can avoid a ton of physical and developmental issues that face many premature children. I really cannot wait to see what comes of this.
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A short but intriguing article, it has been found that a the larvae of the  greater wax moth can break down the plastic’s  polyethylene into ethylene glycol. This discovery may unlock a way for us to better eliminate the plastic we have put into the environment. The discovery was made by chance by a Developmental biologist and Amateur beekeeper. The first link goes to a magazine source, the second, to the actual paper.

With that, I hope you all have a wonderful day!

The Journey: Diet Changes and adjustments

The last couple of Journey posts have been fairly heavy, with talk of image, eating disorders, and future plans. Today, I am going to keep it a little lighter, and talk about the changes to what I eat, and the realities of life post surgery.

In many ways, I am relearning how to eat. I know that sounds weird, but in many ways it is exactly what is sounds like. In the immediately aftermath of the surgery, you are limited to only fluids, then as the days and weeks go on, you move on to more and more foods. During this process, doctors, or nutritionist will start hammering to you your new diet. Stay away from Snacks, candy, heavy starches. Then there is no coffee, no caffeine, no pop/soda, no juices, no ice cream, cookies, pretzels, and stay away from pasta, breads, and rice.

*blink blink*

So, with these restrictions, you kinda have to relearn to eat. To be honest, my diet pre-diet would vacillate between healthy-ish to downright terrible. so when you now have less than 600 grams of food a day to work with, you want to make the most of it.

So, cue me, in the grocery store, staring at products I would never ever consider pre-surgery.

“Hmm, protein bars. This one is only 2 grams of sugar… awesome! What’s in it… “Superseeds?” ok, sure, marketing packaging for the win. What are these seeds *flips box*… Sunflower, Pumpkin, an Chia…. what the fuck is Chia?”

I mean, what does a Chia seed grow into… Chia pets?

I sigh and after reviewing all the other protein bars for several minutes, take the box and move on.

I move on to the cold section to get some yogurt. While something I would never really have before the surgery, it has become a somewhat comfort food for me when I want something simple and has a sweetish taste. I generally go for Greek yogurt because of the  lower sugar/carbs levels, but I have also found probiotic yogurt.

*cue Jamie Lee Curtis commercial*

In reality, my post surgery body loves this stuff. So get the Rhubarb flavor and I go.

As I move through, I find more foods that pre-surgery I would never look at.  Either they were “too healthy” or “not tasty” or “Not my taste.” Now that my old diet is pretty much off limits (for good reason), I am now re-looking at these “foo-foo” foods (as my dad would say for something fancy) and re-approaching them with a more open mind.

And it is not bad!

Sure, maybe the surgery has left me able to enjoy anything, but honestly, the chia seed superbar of protein is really good! (though I have only had one so far). With my body completely off of sugar right now, I feel like I taste EVERYTHING, and that any sugar is almost overwhelming. I feel it is actually not that bad, and I realise how… dependent I have been on sugar and sweetness of things. So, exploring new flavors, exploring new foods to try, and realising that healthy doesn’t mean boring is a nice surprise.

It is good to remember that while one door has closed, I feel that several new doors have opened, and I am looking forward to trying all those new and weird things that are good for you.

But seriously… Chia?

-W

 

News Roundup: April 25

Good morning, today is Tuesday, April 25. Today is ANZAC Day in  New Zealand and Australia. This holiday is to honor the troops who died serving their country in the ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps- in the two nation’s history. The day also commemorates the landing of the ANZAC forces on Gallipoli during the First World War, it was the first time the ANZACs were deployed. Here is  more information on the ANZAC Gallipoli Campaign.

Now, onto today’s news.

Marine Le Pen has temporarily stepped down as leader of the National Front leader a day after securing a place in the Presidential Runoff yesterday. the move, largely seen as a symbolic gesture, was to signify that Le Pen would work for all French people, and that she will help everyone. She then launched into an attack against her opponent, Emmanuel Macron, for not having the French concerns at heart. Le Pen is facing stiff headwinds heading into the second round of voting due to take place next month, trailing Macron in polls 62/38 with two weeks until the second vote.

Commentary: A really transparent move, and the fact that it is temporary makes it a cheesy move at best. Marine Le Pen is facing a harsh electoral environment, with the other Presidential leaders all backing Macron, it seems that the vote is coalescing around him. However, the only danger I see here is that the anti-establishment in politics in the last few years means that there could be a swing to Le Pen and the National Front. That being said, I feel that most of that vote is already accounted for. That being said, the last time National Front made it to the second round of voting in 2002, they received only 17.8% of the vote, so this will constitute a huge upswing in general. Two weeks not a lot of time to swing the election, but I suspect she will try anyhow.
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Jordan has scrapped Article 308: a Law that allowed Rapists to escape conviction if they married their victims. There has been a major push by women’s groups, Christian, and Muslim scholars to banish the law that exists in most countries in the Middle East as well as some Asian countries. The campaign has already been successful in Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia, and repeal legislation is pending on Bahrain, and being considered in Lebanon. Originally, Jordan amended the loophole so that it could only be used in cases where the victim was 15-18, and it was consensual. (Sex with minors under 18 is automatically considered rape in Jordan). Now, the law has been completely repealed.
Commentary: Jordan is considered one of the most secular and progressive countries in the Middle East, and I am glad they have taken this further step. The law is atrocious, and we should continue to pressure countries to repeal the law. It is also important to know that this law also lives outside of Muslim Countries, like the Philippines, so this is not just a Muslim issue, but a general issue we need to be aware of. This is the slow and steady work of progress, and while it is slow (they have been campaigning on this for years), it has finally begun to bear fruit.
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Antarctica is melting faster than previous thought. In a just released study, researchers found flowing water on the surface of Antarctica, something that is extremely rare. Rivers, lakes, and even a 400 foot waterfall have been found, shocking scientist. The Continent gets an average of 166 milliliters (6.5 inches) of precipitation a year so a vast majority of this water is melt water from the glaciers. This, along with the impending calving of a delaware-sized (or Wales sized) piece of ice shelf is radically changing the Antarctic landscape.

Commentary: F#(# Sh#( A#(Hole. SERIOUSLY?!??!?!? I usually don’t get too riled up with stuff on my blog, but we need to look at what is happening in the world. Mudslides and floods in Colombia, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, the US and many other places. More powerful storms, warmer weather, wilder weather, a crack in the Greenland Glacier, and now melting in the Antarctic? How much evidence do people need to realise something terrible is happening. How much evidence will it take for there to be actual action on climate? China is furiously trying to modernize their country to pollute less, we have the Paris Accords, but with the US stuck in Luddite territory and Australia has its head planted firmly in the sand, it is going to become worse.
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Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets New NASA Record For Most Days In Space. The Two time Commander of the International Space Station and biochemist has spent more time off planet than any other American at 534 days. She is due to extend her stay in space for another 5 months as her mission was extended. She will eventually hit close to 650 days in space. She has also spent more than 53 hours outside the airlock in space walks.

Commentary: I love this story. Even though there are a couple of Russian Cosmonauts who have been in space longer (the longest is 878 days) this is a monumental feat. It is also awesome that it is a scientist who has achieved this goal, as I feel that science is the gateway to exploring space, the Moon, and Mars.

I wanted to leave on a positive note, but something irked me about the article. They included the conversation she had with President Trump on her breaking the record. The exchange, which you should read, is classic Trump: Uneducated, self-serving, and idiotic. Whitson handled it very well, but I do wonder what her thoughts after the call was over.

With that, I hope you all have a good day.

 

The Journey: The Bariatric Bear and RuPaul

There are two similar, yet different topics I wanted to bring up in today’s Journey Post, so expect a bit of a long post today.

Bariatric Bear World

The moment I announced to my friends and family that I was getting the new sleeve procedure, I have been quietly contacted by several friends expressing their curiosity, their interest, and their own worries about their weight. A couple of them are now going through the process of doing a bariatric procedure themselves. The common thread we all have is that we identify ourselves as bears*.

In fact, I have learned over the last few months that many friends and acquaintances in the Bear Community have contemplated or even had the surgery. Most of us are in our mid to late 30’s or early 40’s, and I hear a common theme; I am tired of the struggling, I am tired of being big, I am tired of the health issues starting to pop up and I want to change.

Is Bariatric Surgery the mid-life crisis for the Bear community?

I say that partially in jest, but there is a hint of reality there. The Bear community (as it was sold to me as a young gay) is a community that askew the typical trappings of what “gay” is. When I fell into the Bear crowd, the Gay stereotype was thin, effeminate, and acted a certain way. The Bears were not that. They were bigger guys, they were nerds, and the didn’t fit the “stereotype” of what gay was.

Of course, that was 14 years ago, and a lot has changed. Now, the gay stereotype is more along the lines of muscular, sporty, masculine, and trim. While the old stereotype is still there, it seems that everyone, Bears and non-Bears alike are being molded by this stereotype. The “We love all sizes, especially big” mentality of the Bears is there, but it is being squeezed out by gyms check-ins and selfies, protein powder, and athletic feats. In fact, it almost feels that the “big is beautiful” mentality is now apart of the “Chub” sub-sub group, and the ideal bear has radically changed.

We fat older guys are seeing that, we see our health, and we want to change. Of course, I don’t think any of my friends have this in their minds as they are making this decision, but for many of us, the Bear community empowered us to enjoy our size, no matter what it was. If we were bigger, it didn’t matter, and at times it even went to the point of being self-reinforcing. “Why are you losing weight? you already look awesome!” As if losing weight was a betrayal of the Bear mantra. At one point, after expressing my want to lose weight, had a boyfriend tell me that if I lost too much weight, he would leave me. So, I didn’t lose weight because I was scared I would lose the people I came to know and love.

Except that now, it is no longer the case. Now, it is health, longevity, and lifestyle, and the person I love encourages me to strive for the person (and weight) I want to be.

In a way, losing your weight is almost like losing a part of your identity. Can you be a Bariatric Bear? Can you be a former bear? Can you still say “Big is Beautiful” yet shed 100+ pounds? Is there a place for me in the gay community anywhere if I don’t fit the new bear aesthetic, the old bear aesthetic, or even any gay aesthetic? hmmm, something to think on.

RuPaul and the Journey

Something I absolutely love is RuPaul’s Drag Race, having watched it from the very beginning, I have devoured and adored the series. I have had parties, get together, dressed in drag, and even had an evening with Ru herself. On this week’s episode, there was a pretty frank and honest discussion on eating disorders in the gay community. This also goes into that stylised gay stereotype. For all gay men, not just the Bears, we are faced with an increasingly impossible standard of attraction that leaves more and more men falling into eating disorders, body modification, and even Silicone and saline injections in their Balls, Ass, thighs, and calves and everywhere else to look more muscular, more attractive, and more desirable.

For me, it became a bit personal, because through my previous attempts to lose weight, I would slip into dangerous territory where I would starve myself for days, only to binge on a single meal, only to deny myself food for several more days. After my first major episode of this in 2009, I would vacillate between being hyper aggressive about losing weight and not eating anything to then stuffing myself full of food. These cycles could go for months in either direction. And the mindset… it becomes all consuming, and in reality, my inability to control the impulses of starving and bingeing  is what partially brought me to 168kgs. From eating nothing, to eating a 20 wing bucket from KFC… not a good thing.

Since 2009, I have had three major episodes of this, followed by periods of eating pretty much anything I wanted. Each episode seemed to get worse.

But, watching these drag queens talk about their struggles with eating (and it was several of them) was heartening to hear. We never hear about eating disorders in men, and it is isolating when you do have one. Having that incessant drive to starve yourself, or that obsession to eat everything RIGHT NOW, to have the biggest musclebound body out of everyone is unhealthy, and we need to be more open and frank about it.

The surgery, and the Journey has been a little worrying for me because of this. Currently I am still eating less than 1,000 calories a day. When I am hungry, I eat and when I stop feeling hungry, I stop. So far so good… but then I look at that calorie count. I only had 650 calories today, and my body isn’t screaming at me? Am I starving myself, or just not hungry? Is this normal?!?! MyFitnessPal yells at me every day that I am not eating enough… shit…

But there are also times I have forced myself to eat. The other day, I had to literally stop and make sure I ate. I didn’t quite enjoy it, but eating suddenly became a chore and that is a completely new feeling. I am always concerned about slipping into an episode 4, and I know that with massive weight loss, my impulse to go further, faster, and farther than others figures hugely in my mind. My doctor says I am healthy, and I am walking and doing things I haven’t done in ages, so I will keep continuing, but that fear of my mania coming back is always in the back of my mind, and I work every day to make sure it doesn’t become a thing this time.

I feel that this discussion, men and eating disorders, needs to be talked about more openly, and be more empathetic to those who struggle with weight, in one direction or another. Also, within the bear community, it is starting to feel that the new mantra should be “Big is Beautiful, but Healthy is Gorgeous” and the bears who become Bariatric Bears have a place in our community too.

-W

 

*Note: I am talking about Gay Bears, which is a subgroup of the Gay community.

News Roundup: April 24

Good Morning, today is Monday, April 24 and here are the stories that interest me.

Today, France has just finished the first round of their national elections, and currently, projections show that Far Right-Candidate Marne Le Pen and Center-Left Candidate  Emmanuel Macron will face off in the Presidential Run-off. Macron leads Le Pen in the projections 24% to 22% as the votes are starting to be tallied. François Fillon, the Center-Right Candidate has already conceeded and has backed Marcon in the runoff. Far Left Candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has yet to concede staying that that the votes need to be counted first.

Commentary: This was the most likely result from the last few weeks. When Fillon’s support collapse about 6 weeks ago after a scandal broke out, Marcon has been in the drivers seat. Even the late surge of Mélenchon didn’t dent his support in the first round. It is likely that all of the major candidates will now back Marcon moving forward. With Le Pen and her party being anti-EU, Anti-Immigration, and other hardline positions, it would severely impact the entire continent if she were elected. Currently, polls have Marcon safely in the lead in a head-to-head matchup, and it is expect that Marcon will easily win. I feel that the Far-right tide is beginning to ebb in Europe, with the failure of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and the struggles of Le Pen, it seems there is a ceiling to the movement. Non the less, they will be significant movements throughout Europe, so they will be impacting politics for a while.
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For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, Britain went 24 hours without using Coal to power the country. Britain has set a goal of no more coal usage by 2025, and this marks a watershed moment for the country. As coal plants and mines are shutting down across the country, the move to different forms of energy production is ramping up. Last year, coal only accounted for 9% of energy production in the country.

Commentary: This is a great move, as we are moving into a new age, we need to leave behind old technology and old methods of producing power. While the US still uses coal for its energy (30% of our energy came from Coal last year), the rest of the world is quickly transitioning to other methods. In the end, it will be intense international pressure, or a Democratic President that will move the needle in the US in regards to climate change.
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Kenya has partially canceled their National Primaries after too many came to vote. The primaries, which choose the Governing parties nominee were flooded with voters, causing massive shortages of voting materials. This lead to chaos and some violence until President Uhuru Kenyatta cancelled the primary vote. This sparked off protests in the streets of a rigged election. The President has promised to reschedule the primaries, ahead of August’s national elections.

Commentary: Unfortunately, I am not fully up to date with Kenyan politics, but voting issues and violence has been a mainstay of the country for some time. there were over 1,000 deaths in violence in the last major election, so while this seems a bit shocking, it is also not a complete surprise. The test will come whether Kenyatta actually reschedules the primaries, especially since half of the vote has already been taken.

 

 

The Journey Update

I have been remiss in not giving a Journey Update in the last week. There were a lot of factors in that, so I will break them all down.

A Mini Plateau

So after hitting the heralded 40kgs lost, I did a small gain (1.5 kilos) over the next two days… and then nothing. At first, I figured it was because of my skipping walking for two days over Easter Weekend. Picked back up with walking, and still nothing. What was I doing wrong? What changed? Given that my surgery type, the normal range of weight loss is between 30-50 pounds (13.5 to 22.6 kgs), I know that I am in bonus territory here, however I don’t want to rest now that I have lost so much.

I bought a food scale, and I began looking much more strictly at my  caloric intake, and I found that my carb intake, while low, was arresting my weight loss. So, I Thursday, i shifted to a more Ketogenic Diet. When I was on the Liquid phase, as well as the puree and soft food phase, what was drilled in is that protein is vitally important in losing weight after surgery. I found that now, my percentage of protein I was eating was dropping a lot and being replaced by carbs. And while I was still eating, the percentages were putting me in maintain mode, and losing mode. Now, I am not doing a strict Keto diet, but since I am not drinking pop, eating candy, junk food, ice cream, take out, chocolate or drinking alcohol or anything other than water… I am already on a defacto Keto diet anyhow. Now, I am just prioritizing protein over everything else. By today, I am now at 42kgs lost, (92.5 pounds) and I am really hoping to hit the 100 pounds lost goal this week.

The Freak out

While on the mini plateau, I was also working on getting a new job. I have a very good opportunity in front of me, and I had a third interview last week, and while I am fairly confident I have the job, the time it is taking for them to get back to me (They say by this upcoming Wednesday) is driving me crazy. I have long hated the feeling of anticipation. (I wonder if there is a German word for that… hmmm), and coupled with the dislike of surprises, it makes me quite on edge. The freak out though, came when I went into my closet to find my clothes for my third interview. Interviews are those moments you want to impress, and I quickly found that I had used both of my wearable “work” pants for my interviews. In my current job, the dress code is very relaxed, jeans are fine, T shirts are fine, and people wear flipflops regularly. And why? Well… we are a tech company, and we are hip and cool!

This company however is definitely on the level of Business Casual+. No tie, but slacks (dress pants), and a button up shirt. They are Serious IT, enterprise IT. And honestly, I think I am ready for that enviornment again. Currently, I only wear business casual when I am in front of clients, and these days, most of my training in at home online, so I am in shorts and sweatshirts and no shoes. Currently, there is a gap in my wardrobe. I have 36 waist Khaki pants (which I don’t think would fly at this company anyhow) and then I have 2 pair of 40 waist slacks and the rest are 42-46’s.

My shirts are even worse. Of the nice, button up shirts I have, I have an amazing Ralph Lauren shirt… that is 14 years old. I have a couple of other shirts that fit me at this size, but a majority of them make me look like I am a kid wearing my daddy’s clothes. And they are all pretty old.

So now, I am already recycling my clothes for a job I don’t even have yet.

So I am looking at my wardrobe, and I panic. If I get this job, then I need to buy clothes immediately, but what if I am still losing weight? I don’t want to buy a new set of clothes only to size out of them in a month or two. Do I buy just enough to get me through until I get to my core weight? Is this my core weight? I am no longer losing… is this the end? Ugh, I don’t have the money right now to drop several hundred dollars on nice work clothes only to not be able to wear them… WHAT DO I DO!

This is lots of panic for me, and it ended up my my clothes strewn across the floor as I furiously try to figure out what still looks respectable on me.

I eventually calmed down, though the clothes are still recovering, but the thought is still sitting in the back of my mind. As I move out of my bigger clothes (which seem to grow in number every time I reevaluate), I see my wardrobe start to shrink again. And soon, I will need to confront my hesitancy of buying clothes, and the feelings surrounding buying clothes. You know that moment you find something you love and realise that you are too big for all the sizes, and you leave the store without buying anything because they have *nothing* in your size? Yeah… that stays with you for a while, especially when it becomes the norm.

Future Goals

But… on to better and more positive things!

So now having pretty much conquered 40kg, my new goal is to breach the 100 pound (45.3kgs) loss mark. It is a short term goal, especially given how close I am to it, but it is definitely an emotional goal for me. Losing 100 pounds in under three months is pretty insane, and in a way, I kinda want to achieve it. Right now, I have lost 25% of my body mass in that time, and that is kinda epic. breaching the 100 pound goal will make that go up to 29%, so that is pretty neat. The most I ever lost has been 110 pounds (~50kgs), so I feel that is also obtainable.

But I need more goals than that. Do I go for a number goal? Do I go for an event goal? I am unsure. With my wariness of setting a number I will obsess about reaching, I want to keep any numbered goal pretty easy, but I also want to challenge myself. Numbers are a good way to know where you stand, and it is also good to look at analytically. I have started thinking about 120, 115, and even 110kgs… but I am unsure I want to set those. The mythical 110 kg has been out of my reach my entire adult life, and even considering it makes me nervous even contemplating going for that goal.

And the event goal… that one will be a bit harder. When I had lost weight before, I would do something big: one time it was Bungee Jumping, another time, I did Tough Mudder, a third time, I didn’t really do an event and I kick myself for not doing anything.

So , I want to make sure I do something this time…

I am thinking of doing the Milford Track within the next year. I am considering doing it either during the general Christmas/New Years Shut down in New Zealand, or around my birthday right before Christmas. This has long been a dream of mine, and I had a couple of plans fall through in regards to it… but, I want to do it, badly. I want to take my camera and just get back to things that I love; seeing amazing places, be awed by nature, and take tons and tons of pictures. Walking to Milford Sound and then spending a night there on a boat, which, I think would be awesome, would be that special thing to push me even further in my overall weight (and now fitness) goals. I think the challenge is whether to do it on my own, or find someone to do it with. I could see myself doing it alone, but I would miss my husband and my dog, and it could be lonely. On the other hand, having a few days on my own, meeting new people, also may do me well, I am a hermit at the best of times, and getting myself out there would be good. There is stuff to think on there.

Of course, if Milford goes well, I could look at other things, but right now, I think that I will focus on Milford Track for now, and see where that take me.

This has been a long one, so I will close.  I have more to say, but I will save that for another post. So with that, take care, have fun, and be awesome.

-W

News Roundup: April 21

US Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, has announced he is not running for reelection in 2018. Chaffetz, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, has shocked Washington with this announcement, as well as floating the possibility of resigning his seat early. Rumors have already begun to circulate ranging from an extra-marital affair (both gay and straight), to the possibility to run for Governor of Utah in 2020, to possible blackmail by Russian operatives. There is nothing confirmed in these rumors, but as this is a highly unusual move by a politician who is considered a rising star.

Commentary: This is highly unusual. While I will hold off on inflaming the rumors further, the fact that Chaffetz is willingly walking away from a long career in the House, and possibly more, something is up. Chaffetz is not in danger of losing his seat, as he is in one of the reddest districts in the country, he is young, and while a move to Governor may be a decent move, his current position gives him a higher national standing, and more clout in politics. I don’t care what the media is saying about 2018 and a possible Democratic wave election, this is too early to jump ship, and further, to resign before people catch their breath? Mr. Chaffetz, what are you running from?
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Car Manufacturer General Motors has announced that the company’s plant in Venezuela has been seized illegally by the government. The move has lead the the closure of GM manufacturing operations in the country. Venezuela has been rocked by a series of violent protests stemming from the economic meltdown the country has faced over the last year. GM has stated that the building was seized causing “irreparable damage” to the facility. GM is the latest to pull out of the South American Country, with Bridgestone ending operations in the country after 6 decades.

Commentary:  Things are only going to get worse in Venezuela, the protests this week were coordinated by the opposition party, who is trying to stop the President from imposing stricter controls which is hurting the populace. The result was the government jailing several opposition leaders and troops were sent out into the streets. This is considered the worst situation in South America, though there are lots of protests and tensions all over the continent. Venezuela will continue to be in this economic freefall until oil prices rise enough to rebound the economy.
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China has launched its first Cargo ship into Space. The ship, carrying 6 tons of goods will dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory that will hopefully be the basis of a Chinese space station by 2022. The continues China’s push into space and its reinvigorated space program.
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And that is all for me on the news front. I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and I hope you have a great weekend.

News Roundup: April 20

Good Morning, today is Thursday, April 20, and here are the stories that interest me.

Former US Football star Aaron Hernandez was found dead this morning in his prison cell. Hernandez, who was convicted and sentence to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiance’s sister. Last week he was acquitted of a double murder, though he still had years added to his sentence for unlawful possession of a gun. He was also in court for a 4th potential murder. There was no indication that Hernandez was suicidal and was found alone in his cell.

Commentary: Hernandez typifies a lot of the negative stereotypes people see in football players: talented, arrogant, and feel they are impervious to the rules. It is hard to feel sympathy for the man as he willingly kept up the bravado and the devil-may-care attitude throughout his trial and incarceration. It is those people I find fascinating, what was truly going through his head during those moments, and when he was alone, he became his greatest demon. His death feels cheated imo. While suicide is a terrible thing, I wished he has lived his life out, losing his talent, his body, his adulation. I wished he has come to truly regret the hubris of his actions and the pain and suffering he put others through. I wished he had become forgotten, truly the harshest punishment of all for someone like him, and he sit there and watch it happen. But… he took another route… I hope the families he had hurt and damage can find peace in that.
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Now, this does push my understanding of science, so bear with me, Scientists have observed “negative mass”. Just like electricity can have a positive and a negative charge, theory holds that an object can have positive and negative mass. By observing atoms near the Temperature of Absolute Zero (~-273 C), scientist were able to observe negative matter. Then they exerted force on it, the negative mass actually moved towards the force, the opposite of positive mass, as it would expect to following the laws of Physics. The hope is that this discovery will lead to more information about other negative mass phenomenon like Neutron Stars, Black Holes, and Dark Matter.
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Catalonian Vice President Oriol Junqueras has warned that if the Spanish Senate fail to allow a Independence Referendum for the region, that they will unilaterally declare independence. Spoken in a direct conversation, the Vice President said he feels that the pro-independence movement will win a referendum, bolstered by a majority pro-independence government in the region. Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alfonso Dastis quickly squashed the idea saying that, “I don’t see Mr Junqueras unilaterally declaring Catalonia’s independence. It is ridiculous.” The expectation is that a decision on the Referendum will be made by September.

Commentary: This is a growing area of concern for Spain. With the first Scottish Referendum in the UK allowing self-determination, Catalonia has been pressuring Spain to do the same. This is complicated with the fact that Brexit is revisiting the Scottish decision. Spain has said that if Scotland leaves the UK, they will not stop the country from rejoining the EU. This has caused other EU countries to begin pressuring Spain to allow the referendum, and therefore, possible inclusion of the new country into the EU. What I find interesting here is that we now have a precedent for people voting whether to go for independence or not. While the Velvet Divorce in the 90’s was awesome, it seems now that popular opinion at the ballot box is the Western’s “evolved” revolutionary system. If Catalonia is successful, and Spain allows them to leave, I suspect other separatist areas will reexamine their positions.
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ESports will me a metal event at the 2022 Asian Games. The second largest multi-sport event in the world after the Olympics, the games announced that they will have full metal events. At next year’s games, there will be a demonstration with three games being played: FIFA 2017 (a Soccer game), a MOBA (Massively Online Battle Arena), and a RTS (Real Time Strategy). The MOBA game “League of Legends” will be the likely choice for the MOBA while the RTS genre is wide open.

Commentary: Finally. ESports is one of the largest and fast growing markets in sports, and it is time that we are beginning to see it come to the mainstream. With over 100 million people playing League of Legends, it is a world phenomenon. Also, Esports federations are pushing for games to be played at the Olympics, which I find very exciting. The twitch and reflex ability of these players is formidable, and to be able to react, process, and strategize is every bit as strenuous as other sports. I can see ESports coming to the Olympics by 2024, or definitely by 2028.

And that is all for me today on the news front, I hope you have a great day!