Monday, 24 February 2014

Vegan Dinner Disaster

Every year around our birthdays my family takes the birthday person for dinner to a restaurant of their choice. Now you can be like me and always default to sushi, you could be like my brother and never make up his mind, or you could be like my sister, adventurous and constantly trying new places.

Bree generally had good tastes. So a few weeks ago when I found out she had picked a restaurant for her birthday dinner, I naturally starved myself in preparation for what is normally an excellent meal. She declined to inform me what the name of the restaurant was, but hey, surprises are usually good.

And then we drive up to a vegan restaurant.


My brother and I are horrified. We are carnivores through and through, capable of eating red meat every day without complaint. My parents are laughing uncontrollably and my sister has this massive poop-eating grin on her face.

The inside of a restaurant was basically what I'd imagine a hippie's dream establishment to be. Yoga in the basement, wooden tables that look secondhand, a tea bar filled with the words "energy", "spiritual", and "activate" plastered everywhere. Brian and I sat poker faced as we withstand another barrage of laughter from our Mother.

Meanwhile, a McDonald's taunts us from across the street. I know of a good sushi bar 2 blocks away, and one of the best cafes I know is literally beside us. And here I am, trapped in this nightmare.

I'm trying my best to be polite. The food isn't bad, but I wouldn't come here on my own volition. Everything tastes of nature, the earth, tree bark, grass.

And I hate it.

Brian is poking at his mac and "cheese". Yes, the cheese is in quotations because it was presented that way on the menu. No it didn't not taste like cheese, at least, not any cheese I've eaten in Canada before. I'm choking down some sort of salad? I'm not quite sure what I ordered, I picked what seemed the most edible.

My Dad is happy though. He's able to sample everything that everyone else is eating. It's difficult to find places to eat at with my Dad due to his vegetarian tastes but he's having a good time.

Damian sits across the table, slowly losing his mind.

I was going to pick up a 20 piece McNugget pack from McDonald's after dinner. But something in that vegan dinner didn't agree with my stomach. So for the rest of the evening I suffered with extreme gas. My mother claims it was all psychological.

I personally blame the vegan food.

Never again.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Project Jason: Pre-Workout and Bulking

Project Jason is my attempt to gain some weight. It's been a long journey that started in August and I haven't given up just yet, maintaining an average of at least 3 hours a week in the gym. I've learned that it's not enough to simply go to the gym, and through my trainers (Eli and that "other guy") am learning routines, supplements, and "flexibility" to maximize my time spent in the gym.

Almost none of my pants fit anymore either thanks to leg day. My legs have shown the most noticeable improvement since I've got my trainers. If only the same could be said of my upper body and arms.

But what you do outside the gym played a far greater role than I initially realized as well. If you don't eat enough, the muscle won't develop, no matter how much you workout. You'll look like a slightly meatier skeleton.

So today, let's talk about a supplement called "pre-workout" and my efforts to "bulk".

I can only hope my readers are actually reading.

I started getting my protein powder and other supplements through Eli. I'd be taking the same stuff as him, it certainly tasted a lot better the other stuff I was drinking, but one stuck out. Something simply referred to as "pre-workout". Eli claimed that you couldn't get it in Canada (he was ordering it from the States) and that it allowed you to push yourself harder.

I had no reason to doubt him. But the initially the effects were felt after the workout. Usually after an hour or two in the gym I felt exhausted. But on this pre-workout I left feeling full of energy, as if I could go back and do several more sets. Was it the supplement? Was I experiencing some kind of "weight lifting high"? It was odd, but I kept taking it anyways.

The true power of the pre-workout was finally realized on a leg day. We were doing squats. I go down for my last few reps, almost done a set, when suddenly a familiar sensation hits.

My calf is cramping up.

Experienced weight lifters will likely scoff at the barely 100 pounds that I am squatting. But I'm still getting used to this, this is pretty heavy, and to fall over due to a cramp with this weight on my back? Not going to be a good time.

And then suddenly the cramp goes away.

I begin another set. And my other calf starts cramping up but just as suddenly as it arrives it's gone. In fact, for the rest of my leg work out I can sort of feel my legs threatening to cramp up, but it was almost like a barrier was keeping the cramps away. It's the best way I can describe it.

Apparently the pre-workout works by reducing lactic acid build up in muscles. At least, the stuff that Eli got me does that. I've looked online and there are some with caffeine but I think I'm good with what I have right now.

Which brings us to our next topic, bulking and cutting. The idea is that while you workout, you bring your body fat percentage up to 15% by eating 500+ calories above your recommended intake. You'll gain muscle, the resources to build said muscle, and some fat along the way. Then, you "cut" by reducing your calories eaten to 500 below your recommended intake but maintaining your workout schedule.

You don't want to starve yourself (otherwise your body starts breaking down muscle instead of fat) but this reduction will burn away the fat and allow you to keep the muscle. Rinse and repeat.

And one day, you too may look like this.

But as we all know, poor old Damian here has trouble bulking. I need to eat at least 3200 calories a day and I'm used to eating 2000, maybe less. I went to my doctor and for the first time, maybe ever, a medical professional has recommended that their patient eat more fast food.

I'm serious. My doctor told me, "You know, I probably shouldn't be telling you do this, but, ugh... It might do you some good to eat like, an extra Big Mac a day or something. Just to help with the weight gain.". Eating junk food during your bulk phase is referred to as "dirty bulking". And I think all the chocolate milk I've been drinking counts as dirty bulking as well.

I've been on my bulk phase for at least a month now. I'm dying to figure out what my body fat percentage was. Back in August, a machine determined it was at ~3%. Probably inaccurate, but until I get my own set of calipers I'll have to keep using this machine.

I step on, I hold my breath, and a number pops up on a digital display:


My sentiments exactly.

Alright. Need to keep bulking. Maybe in another month something will change. I really just want to start cutting because I'm so lazy. I could go make myself food to eat OR I can load up another video on Youtube. The choice is simple. Eating is a chore, and it's getting expensive. Maybe I should invest in more fast food coupons or something.

Another reason why I don't like bulking is because I'm actually starting to develop a small gut. It's only noticeable to me, when my shirt is off, after I've eaten a lot of food. But still, I don't like this. Give me my abs back.

I've almost gained another 5 pounds since my last post though. There's a few fluctuations but hopefully by the end of the month I'll be at a steady 155 pounds.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Singles Awareness Day

And I'm still single. Hurray. For all of you fortunate to have dates and significant others, congrats. You are all very lucky and I am very jealous. Me? I'm going to celebrate that midterms are done. They (hopefully) went better than expected but seeing as I only need to pass the courses I don't need to be all that concerned with my grades. They'd be just for bragging points.

So tonight, I'm probably sit back with a few drinks and contemplate life and video games.

Yay for Valentine's day sales.

We do have a week long break next week. Which is great, I could use the break to catch up on a few things, get back into the gym. Midterms have a way of messing up one's schedule. I'm off to take it easy.

Take care everyone.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

To The Moon

How many of you have heard of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin? It is essentially Internet money, with no single organization or group of people controlling it, Bitcoin has garnered the attention of many as a way to avoid banks, government control, and other economic nonsense that I don't really understand.

How is Bitcoin produced? In the simplest way possible, they are locked within mathematical equations of various difficulty that people get their computers to solve. This process is called "mining" and often, many people join forces to solve the problem. Once the problem is solved, the block rewards the users with X number of Bitcoins which is stored in a wallet application. In 2011 a single Bitcoin was worth as little as $0.30 USD.

As of this post, a single Bitcoin is valued at over $700 USD.

One my greatest regrets is not buying Bitcoin several years ago.

Some of you may ask, why not just start mining Bitcoin now? See, the problem is that as more Bitcoins are mined, the mathematical equations become exponentially more difficult. And as you have more people mining, the Bitcoin reward is further split up. Add in the cost of electricity and unless you have something dedicated to just mining Bitcoins it simply isn't worth the effort.

As people began noticing Bitcoin's rise to power, they began to create their own cryprocurrencies. Feathercoin, Peercoin, Litecoin, amongst many others began to be developed, but none of them ever could come to close to rivaling Bitcoin's power.

Until now.

In late December of 2013, someone decided to create a joke coin. But within a matter of weeks, it became apparent that this was no joke, and this coin skyrocketed in popularity.

I present to you, DOGECOIN.

Pronounced "Doh-j".

I'm certain most of you have seen this meme around. Pictures of Shiba Inu images with poor grammar superimposed on top. Welp, someone decided to make an Internet currency off of it. I can't wait to see Dogecoin being studied by future economists.

But what's so special about Dogecoin? The biggest thing is the community. If you're lucky, you'll have a community like Bitcoin filled with angry and disgruntled individuals who hate newcomers, if you're unlucky your cryptocurrency simply won't have a community.

Dogecoin stands out because it does nothing but welcome the new, with members actively helping one another out, no matter how often a question is asked or how silly it is. Discussions will be half serious and half nonsense, often ending with people yelling "TO THE MOON" or "TIME TO PANIC BUY".

But more newsworthy is the charities and fundraisers that the community does. What did they do when they found out the Jamaican bobsled team couldn't afford to go the to Winter Olympics?

Raise over 25 million Dogecoin (valued at ~$25,000 USD) and donate it to them. The Dogecoin community has also successfully fed numerous homeless people, raise money for service dogs, cancer, and much more more.


On a more technical level, because of Dogecoin's youth, people are still able to mine coins with relative ease. Sure, you can drop several hundred dollars on a rig, or you can just use your normal computer.

Which is actually what I'm doing. I've calculated the costs, and after deducting fees from electricity, I'm making about $20 a month, just by letting my computer idle. My friend is making more than double that, but I see people who are making roughly a $100 a day.

Does that bother me? Not really. I'm seriously doing this just for fun. I think it's hilarious that Internet money based on a silly dog is being taken seriously and has real world repercussions. Also, because I failed to jump onto the Bitcoin hype train, a small part of me is hoping that I'm sitting on a fortune.

Must. Keep. Mining.

If any of my followers are actually considering getting a Dogecoin wallet after reading this post, leave your wallet address below and I'll tip you some. And together, we shall go to the moon.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Happy (Belated) Chinese New Years

For those unaware Chinese New Years was last week. And it just so happens that it's my year, the year of the horse. I would have made a post sooner except that my family takes Chinese New Years kind of seriously. So that means that if I'm not in class, I'm at a dinner somewhere. And if I'm not at work, I'm at a dinner somewhere.

Lots of good food. Lots of Red Pockets full of money. I can always use more money so I won't complain. I'll put it to good use.

For helping pay off my debt.

But not just that. The instant celebrating Chinese New Years ended, I had midterms to study for. Economics hasn't been hard per se. One class has been stupid, and I'm just studying from the textbook and skipping classes. The other? Very, very nitpicky. Prepare to spend most of your time trying to decipher what the prof is asking for.

Which is exactly what I did on his exam. I can't remember the last time I spent more time wondering what was going on in the question as opposed to answering them. It wasn't terrible, but you can never be certain whether not you actually answered correctly.

Oh well, looks like most of the rest of the class struggled too. So I'm ok with that.

I may look calm on the outside, but those questions, wow.

In the meantime, I have one more midterm to study for but it's next week. It's sad, when I finally have things to talk about on my blog, I don't have to write about them. Let's see if I can change that.