Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Atheist is not a dirty word

This post may cause me a bit of a personal shit-storm, but I have been wanting to write it for a while. Having gone to Catholic school for K-4, I held many Catholic beliefs for many years but as I grew older and started to think for myself, I realized that church wasn't the place for me. Then I realized that religion, in general, is not something I believe in. If I am in church for a special event, I will pay due respect, and I will participate in the acts I remember out of respect, but not for God. Respect for the person who I am there in support of.

That is a key point there that I want to clarify. My appearance in a church has to be out of respect for a person, not an event. Not Christmas, nor Easter fit this description. A wedding, a funeral, or a baptism are such events because I am respecting that the church is an important part of your life and it is a life event that you wish to share with friends and family.

I am sure I will get some "Only through God can you..." type comments, but that is YOUR belief , not mine. I am not going to run around killing people because I am a godless heathen. I am still the same person I have always been, just now outwardly an atheist.

Why I came to this decision years ago is multifaceted, but includes things such as the church's persecution of certain groups, my knowledge and understanding of  Science and the world I observe, and the hippocrates I see in religion.

Those that upset me most are the "crisis Christians" and those that use their power for evil rather than good. Those two groups are the ones that find religion any time something  bad happens and the members of the church who have committed or hidden acts of abuse.

Do I expect some people to be angry with me over this post? Yep. But the beauty of it is, I am not going to go around and tell people to give up religion, but some will probably do the reverse to me. So, believe what you want. If it is important to you, I respect that. Just leave me out of it.


When mortgage assistance first started, I had serious problems with it. It only rewarded people who bought more house than they could afford and thus ended up behind on payments. Yea, there were people who had planned more properly and got screwed later on, but it seemed to only help people who screwed up.  Then it was extended to people who were only in the unfortunate situation of losing a bunch of equity, like me. I am still not a huge fan of HARP as a whole, but I am taking advantage of it because I would be stupid not to.

I refinanced my home about a year after I bought it at a lower rate, dropping 1.375%. That was still on a 30 yr, but due to market losses, I ended up with more than 80% financed and thus PMI. My payment was still less and I am out of PMI now because I made it to less than 80% of appraised value being financed. Unfortunately market forces have made it so that is now about 98% of my house's current value.  That does mean I am able to do HARP though.

Why HARP? Because I can make my 30 year loan (that is 3 yr old) a 20 year loan at 1% lower rate and only have my payment go up $100/month. That chops 7 years off my payoff date assuming I pay the min and significantly reduced my total interest paid. And thanks to HARP, no PMI! So, I am getting rewarded in a way for being responsible and just getting screwed by the market.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"And I'm half the man I used to be"

I mean that title in a good way.  I am just a few pounds more than 1/2 my highest recorded weight.  Currently, 305lbs, highest recorded, 595lbs in August 2010.  On July 5th, 2011, I had gastric bypass surgery.  My weight at that time, 540lbs.  I have come a long way and it has been an interesting journey.  One filled with learning how my body works now, finding my limits, and uncovering new problems.
Self Portrait
This photo is from very near to my peak weight in Oct 2010

The initial weight loss was extremely quick and my energy levels increased greatly.  I was continuing with water aerobics, walking more outside, and the pounds were shedding off.  My energy was much better on our anniversary trip in 2011 to the the rest of New England.

Statue of Liberty Visit
This photo is from Oct 2011

In December 2011, my parents saw me for the first time since the surgery, and were shocked at the transformation.  Shortly after I got back to Maryland, I suffered a setback though, in the name of a perforated ulcer.  I woke up in immense pain, and ended up in the hospital in town and then having emergency surgery in Baltimore later that day.  After about 2 weeks on he mend.  At the time of the ulcer, I was 380 lbs.  Due to post surgery swelling, I wen back up to 420, but quickly dropped that back off.

Old weigtloss photo from April
April 2012
This brings you up to about now.  I need to take a new "weight loss" photo but my weight hasn't moved a whole lot lately, so the last one I will post is my "Jared-esq" photo from May.  I am "Severely Obese" by BMI and would still qualify for gastric bypass even now, but the improvement has been incredible.  The Nurse at the Dr. office this week said she doesn't think she has seen so much weight loss in the first year after surgery, and the exercise specialist at the office thinks I have set the new record in their office for total inches lost.  With my increased activity has aggravated some other issues though, such as a heal spur which now has me wearing custom orthotics, and my knee has started acting up so I just saw an orthopedists today and they gave me a big ol' shot of cortisone. Fun times.  Stay tuned for updated pictures.

Jared-esq photo from May 22nd
May 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Share the Road...that goes both ways

You always see signs that say "Share the Road" and "Watch for Motorcycles" and yes, cars need to be mindful of motorcycles, but the reverse is true as well. Only once have I seen a sign say "Cars and Motorcycles Share the Road."

This post may piss off some people I know who own motorcycles, but this isn't directed at your everyday motorcycle rider. This is directed to the people who swerve between cars and shoot the gap on the highway. This is also directed at the assholes who cut you off then turn backwards on their bike to flip you off (yes that happened to me).

I will also bitch about bicycles for a second. If you want the right to be treated with respect on the road, you also have to follow the laws. You can't run stop signs and lights and get pisses off if someone honks. If you want to run that stop sign, you can hop off you bike and actually run past it and hop back on. /rant

Why I post (to Twitter/FB/etc) Pre or Mid Workout

Many people have friends who are gym rats.  Seeing their constant "I just benched 50 billion pounds at the gym" posts can make you feel pathetic, and actually make you want to work out less because "I could never lift that much so I am not good enough." So, how does that reconcile with the fact that I post either before, or while I am on the treadmill?  Easy: I need those posts, and I am a fat ass.

Those posts are as much about bragging as they are about personal accountability.  I tweeted this morning while on the treadmill including a picture of the treadmill's display showing my progress.

At that point, I was 31 minutes in, had burned 333.5 calories, and was walking at an incline setting of 4 @ 2.7mph.  I stated that my target was 600 calories burned, sent that tweet and went back to walking.  After I posted this picture, I increased the incline to 7 for a while, and then settled back down at 5.  At around 470 calories burned, I REALLY wanted to quit.  I had been walking "up hill" for around 35-36 minutes at that point, and was getting a bit tired of being on the treadmill.  Then I thought "DAMMIT!  I said I was going to burn 600 calories and I plan on burning those 600 calories."  I pressed on, even torturing myself for a bit with an incline setting up to 9 on the treadmill, and I finished out after cool-down having burned around 620 calories.  People are more willing to fail privately then publicly, and if I failed, it would have been a public failure.

The other reason my posts aren't as bad is because I am NOT a gym rat running 15 miles on the treadmill every day.  I struggle to get to the gym, I am not the pinnacle of good health, and I probably still weigh more than many of the people who follow me on Twitter or on Facebook.  I feel like that might give those people a glimmer of hope.  If I can manage to drag my ass to the gym on Saturday morning, walk around 2.5 miles and burn 600 calories, "YOU CAN DOOO IIIIIT!"

So, if my posts about going to the gym and hopping on the treadmill piss you off, stop following me, unfriend me, or ignore them.  Don't bitch to me about them.  I don't even bitch to "gym rat" people who I might see posting on Twitter on FB, although I may occasionally make snark remarks for fun.