Ketchup, You Devil

As some of you know, I went on a long journey from close to 400 lbs to 230, though I’ve bounced back up to 245. I’m incredibly frustrated that I can’t drop back down to 230 (my goal is actually 220). Last year I visited my father in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. I was 232 before I left. I stayed there a week. My next weigh in at the doctor had me at 244. Since then I’ve been hovering in that 240-245 area.

I thought about how my diet has changed in the past year, and what I’ve been doing differently. My sodium and calorie intake is up (I started adding ham instead of fat free cheese to my massive veggie egg monster in the morning) and I’ve been using more hot sauce, since I’m losing my sense of taste. My exercise level is about the same, but after the car accident in august, I went about a month with no exercise and a lot of stress eating from the pain, mostly chinese food and pizza.

pizza rat won

Ok, those are obvious things that I can change. But there was something secret and insidious that I never thought of.


I’ve been dumping ketchup on everything. I thought that it would be healthier for me than my usual condiments because it’s lower in sodium. I never looked at the calories.

Holy shit, it’s a calorie bomb. One tbsp is 20 calories loaded with sugar.   Since I have big, veggie-loaded meals, I add a lot of it. I figure that I’m adding 80-100 calories per meal in ketchup alone. Three meals a day and you get the idea.

pikachu ketchup

That’s it. I’m swearing off you, Red Devil.

Back to Tabasco sauce 😉

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Officially Butthurt

You heard me, folks. I am officially butthurt…


Last week I was stripping my bed, and I tripped over a pillow. I lost my balance, but I knew that there was a wooden chair right behind me. No big deal. There were papers on the chair, and they would cushion my fall. Rather than reach and scramble, potentially twisting or spraining something, I went with the fall.

I landed on the chair, but on the edge. Somehow I missed all of those cushiony papers. All I hit was hard wood (phrasing!)

Now I have a bruised tailbone. I don’t know if you have ever bruised your tailbone, dear readers, but it’s a real…pain in the ass (get it? GET IT?). Worse, it takes a long time to heal, I’m assuming because you are almost always putting some sort of pressure on it.

Original cartoon here

So I’ve been walking around gingerly, making sure that when I sit down or get up, I do so gingerly, avoiding the bruise. It’s not going so well.

The main problem is when I sleep. I am an active sleeper. I roll around in bed, and when I do, I roll right over the bruise. It’s been affecting my sleep even worse than my pre-butthurt insomnia. Today I woke up at 4:15.

At least I’m being productive with it.

Don’t worry, I will keep you posted on the state of my ass. I know that you’re dying to hear all about it.

Hey, did you know that I had two novels published (and a 3rd on the way). Did you know that they are heckin good (as the doggos would bork) and are doing me a proud? You should read one. You should read both. Hell, just read something that doesn’t come in blog form (except my blog. That’s cool). You can pick up my historical fantasy The Watchmage of Old New York or my dark sword n sorcery Song of Simon at any bookstore (they’re order it for you) or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or most online sellers. They are both getting excellent reviews, and Watchmage even received a 4 of 5 star critique from Writer’s Digest (from a recent contest. I didn’t win, but that puts me in some rare air.)

Note: My publisher for Song of Simon is currently having problems with it’s printing company, so they’re not producing more books. If you have one, congrats. It might become a collectors item.

Watchmage black

SoS Practice Ad 1

guinea pig card

Surgery…Also Iron Fist Sadness

It’s been over a week since I posted, so I thought I’d give you an update:

I had surgery on Monday to remove a growth and have it checked out. It wasn’t too bad, but I’m in a fair amount of pain now. I go back in two weeks to get the results and stitches taken out. Unless of course it turns out to be something serious, in which I’ll hear from the doctor right away (I hope).

Let Me Write Iron Fist Next Time!

Powerman (Luke Cage) and Iron Fist was one of my favorite comics growing up. It was one of the comics that the Lampstons by my apartment building always carried, so it became a fav by default.  My friend Frashard and I used to run around the playground in front of our highrise (we lived in Co-Op City, in the Bronx) and fight the Kingpin and his dastardly thugs. He even had a tiara made of tin foil, like Powerman. Growing up in the Bronx in the early 80s, it wasn’t that hard to imagine their world.

I was thoroughly disappointed with Iron Fist. It’s not that it was terrible, but it wasn’t nearly on the level of the other Marvel shows, and they didn’t even try to get his character personality right. They took the most mellow, unflappable, most in control of his emotions character and made him a loose cannon anger ball. Danny Rand is supposed to be the voice of reason, not reckless anger. I feel like they rushed through the whole writing and shooting process just to get it done. Not to mention that the fight sequences were mediocre, and Danny was humorless. I mean, he’s not a wisecracker in the comics, but he has a certain amused persona.

Powerman Iron Fist

I understand that he needs some sort of conflict. If I wrote the show, I would’ve had his conflict as more of a “fish out of water type,” confused at how the world has changed in the 15 years that he’s been gone. He should be trying to figure out how a smart phone works, and asking people to drive him around (there’s no way he should drive a car). He should be giving money to the poor, simply because he lived the last 15 years in a cosmic monastery. He should be confused by the internet (where’s the dial-up sound when you connect to AOL?) and why is there a starbucks on every corner?

I liked that he was easily duped and manipulated though. That made sense.

I would’ve also made a secondary internal conflict be whether he’s a man or a weapon. He said that fighting gives him focus (and that’s true to the comics) but what is he if he can only find peace in pain? There should’ve been more flashbacks to K’un L’un, to show how different his life was there, and the extremes of his training.

Oh well, memories are like food: you leave them out too long, they go bad.



I went for an echocardiogram yesterday for my heart issues. They also hooked me up with an 24 hour take home ekg machine. I hate this thing, the wires keep snagging, and I can’t shower 😦

But there’s a bright side. I looked in the mirror this morning and saw all the wires and electrodes attached to me. The first thing I thought was “this looks awful.” The second thing:

This look would make a great story character.


gif dog running explosion

BTW: In honor of summer and summertime reading, I have lowered the price of The Watchmage of Old New York to 99 cents. This is only until July first, so hop on the watchtrain (there is no actual watchtrain, but it’s still a purdy damn book. Awards and shit.


Happy Friday. Get your wiggle on.

gif cat shaq wiggle

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

The Past Comes Back

I don’t write many personal posts anymore, but something happened this week that shook me so bad, I’m still in “Crisis Mode.”

For a little over two months now, I’ve been dating someone. Things have been great, and I’ve final found someone that I have a connection with. It’s the first person that I’ve felt this way about since Valerie died.

Most of you don’t know: My girlfriend Valerie Z. Lewis passed away very suddenly on January 24th, 2013. In two weeks, it’ll be two years. She had recently moved to Binghamton, NY, to get her PhD in Writing (she was an incredible writer. You can find her novels and collected short stories on Amazon. The revenue goes to Mercy College’s Valerie Z. Lewis Award for Excellence in Creative Writing), and I was soon to follow.

I went to visit her, and I found her on the floor. Two days later, she was dead. I died with her.

I’ve dated since then, but this is the first time that I’ve found someone. It took me two years to get over the fear of opening up to someone, only to see them die.

So when my current gf started shaking and seizing in my apt, when she couldn’t breathe and her left side fell limp, it was my worst nightmare coming true. I moved with alacrity I didn’t know I had, calling 911 with one hand while keeping her shaking body from injuring herself with the other. I wrapped her in one of my giant hoodies and held her, begging her to hold on, trying to keep her coherent with reassurance.

On the inside I was dying all over again.

They still don’t know what’s wrong. She’s slept most of this week, and still twitches. I’m terrified to leave her alone. If I wasn’t there, I don’t know if she would’ve lived.

Maybe I’m cursed. Dating me is poison. I’m already broken, and losing another will destroy me. I’m not strong enough anymore, if I ever was.

Neck Surgery and What’s Next

Don’t worry, it’s not as serious as it sounds.

On Friday I had surgery on my neck to remove a fatty mass (insert “fatty mass” joke). It was my first time under the knife, and I admit that I was a scared little puss.

It’s not that I didn’t logically know that it was safe. Of course it was safe. My surgeon is very competent, and a nice guy too. It’s not that it was on Friday the 13th and a full moon. That kind of thing doesn’t bother me. It’s that I have a pretty severe anxiety disorder, and getting a scalpel to the throat was more than enough to trigger it.

I’d prefer Hump Day

So what could’ve been done with a local was done with sedation. I knew that the second that knife came to my throat, I would flinch. That’s a bad place to flinch. The mass was directly over my jugular, and I didn’t want my death certificate to read “death by pussification.”

Sedation, by the way, is awesome. I think I saw Cosmic Kitteh.

Presenting: Cosmic Pizza Kitteh!!!

When I came out of surgery, I rambled about Chaos Theory (which I think I combined with Newtonian Calculus, both of which I know only the basics of) and how my friend’s daughter “K” was the most fantastic kid in the world. I don’t think I’ve mentioned K before, but she is so brilliant and adorable. I’m sure people always say that about their friends’ kids, at least when they have none of their own (and probably never will).

So I’m all done with surgery for now, but I have a bunch of other doctors to go to. And I don’t have to pay for them. Say what you want about Obamacare, but I would be dead without it.

The bandage they had around my throat was awful and cumbersome, but the doc removed it today. Thank goodness. I’m freaking sick of sponge baths.

Not that this happened…

I do have to pay for the upcoming dental work, but I’ve been saving up for that. Dental work is so freaking expensive, especially when it’s painful and embarrassing.

So it’s been the Month of Many Doctors. Last month was also the Month of Many Doctors. It seems like every month is, but it’s something I’m used to. I’ve been living part time at doctors’ offices for thirty years. If it keeps me alive, I’ll take it.

The Daily Grind

Whelp, it took more time than I expected, but I finally finished Act II of the Watchmage reboot. This past month has been a rough one for writing, between enjoying the summer, then being sick, then being a different kind of sick. I like to write about 1000 words a day. I’ve been hovering below 500.

Still, I can’t complain. i have the job that I’ve dreamed my whole life for. No matter what a train wreck the rest of my life is (and it is) I have that. Complaining about writing is such a brag-complaint that I’m almost ashamed of doing it. Or, I would be if I had any shame left (the people that grew up with me know what I mean).

I’ve been pretty quiet here about “The Watchmage of Old New York,” as opposed to my Facebook Page, where I don’t shut up about it. But all that not shutting up has paid off. Watchmage is currently ranked 3rd at Jukepop Serials, with 133 unique voters and 1463 positive votes!! Huzzah!! I am so thankful to all of you that have read and voted for Watchmage. I love writing these stories, and I love the Watchmage World. I’ll keep writing if you keep reading 😉

Song of Simon News, CPAP Madness, and a Tribute to Valerie…

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Hey everyone. I just got an email from the artist that is doing the cover for “Song of Simon.” She sent me the final draft, and I like it a lot. It’s a different interpretation from how I pictured Simon–the boy looks more Latino than Irish–but there is a haunted look in his eyes that perfectly describes who Simon is. I am not too concerned with details. Details are less important than Truth. Also, I wouldn’t want to interfere with another artist’s interpretation. Seeing other people interpret your work is part of the fun (See my post on Fan Fiction).

On Wednesday I finally got a CPAP Machine to help with my Sleep Apnea. The doctor said to try it a little at a time to get used to it, so I used it for an hour during the day yesterday. I used it for an hour this morning, and I was almost able to fall asleep. Maybe tonight I can go all the way and actually get to sleep. It makes me sad that I can’t wear my glasses with it on though. I need the full mask, and it just wasn’t made for glasses. Oh well, don’t need glasses to sleep.

Next Wednesday, Mercy College is giving out a small award in Valerie’s name. I think that the award goes to either the top student in the writing department, or the winning story in a contest. Either way, I am happy about it. Even if years in the future, people no longer know who she was, she will still be helping her students. I remember when I was a senior, I was runner up for a similar contest. I only won a gift certificate, but it gave me the confidence I needed. Maybe my writing wasn’t as terrible as I thought. The encouragement is more valuable than the prize.

Stupid Sleep Apnea: CPAP Panic.

Last night I had my second sleep study for sleep apnea. This is the one where they put the vader mask on your face and shoot air down your throat. Needless to say it was as horrible as it sounds.

Lung problems run in my family. My grandfather had COPD. My mother had sleep apnea, my brother too. In addition to apnea, I also have asthma. I’m happy to say that my asthma isn’t as bad as it used to be, but i still carry around a rescue inhaler in case of emergency. The sleep tech thinks that I have had apnea since a young age because it is so bad at this point. He called it “old man apnea.”

The test was an ordeal, and I wonder if I will be able to handle the machine. Bascially, a masked is sealed onto your face, a tube forces compressed air into your airway, keeping it open. the thing is that the pressure is very strong, and it takes quite the effort to exhale. It feels like you are being strangled at first, even though you aren’t.

The first 5 minutes are the worst. I said to the tech, “it feels like I’m choking.” He said “don’t worry, I got ya. all your levels are normal, your heart rate is fine, blood oxygen is fine. Your brain is always trying to protect your airflow, so it is making you panic. Just keep telling yourself that you’re not choking, and you’ll be fine.”

So that’s what I did. I sat on the bed and watched RAW (a pretty lame episode, although I did like Ryback’s monologue, it actually made sense) and tried to calm myself.

It didn’t work.

While I did eventually adjust to the pressure, it took 3 hours before I fell asleep. In those three hours, I walked through a shadow of terror and self-loathing. I despaired at being 36 and needing a ventilator-lite to survive. I felt like I was old and dying, that the meat of my life was past me and I only had bones left to gnaw on. Worst of all, when I pictured myself on the bed with that thing pumping air down my throat, I kept drifting back to Valerie and those last days in the hospital. The worst moments of my life revisited over and over. Is that what I have to look forward to? It’s not bad enough that I think about her every waking moment, are the sleeping moments taken too?

I slept for about 4 hours, and I did wake refreshed. I’ve been very productive today as well, so maybe there is something to this treatment. It’s on me, I suppose. I am the one that has to adjust. But I wonder why I bother. What do I have to look forward to anyway? My best days are behind me. I knew that even before they hooked a tube to my throat.


Remember to read and to VOTE+ for “The Watchmage of Old New York” I’m almost in the Top 10. YOu can vote once per chapter, so get to it. There’s a whole city of sparkly shit counting on you.