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Domestic Terrorists, Serial Killers, Mass Murders, and Dieters…

August 6, 2012 Leave a comment

What gets you going in the morning?

What makes you want to keep going when you know other people would give up?

What makes you wake up one morning and just do something that forever changes your life?

What motivates people to take action?

I live in South Eastern Wisconsin.  Central Wisconsin had long been the location for one of the state’s most notorious serial killers, Ed Gein.  Between 1987 and 1991, Milwaukee played host to our most prolific serial killer, Jeffery Dahmer.  In the city of Delavan earlier this summer Ambrosio Analco shot and killed his girlfriend, two of their children (a third was shot in the chest but didn’t die), his girlfriend’s sister and a friend before killing himself, making him the latest mass murder in South Eastern Wisconsin.  And Just yesterday morning Wade Michael Page walked into the Sikh temple in Oak Creek and killed five people, including one police officer, before he was shot and killed, making him Wisconsin’s first recognized domestic terrorist.

This has gotten me wondering.  What is it that makes a person wake up one day and decide to do something?  To dramatically change their lives?  What is the motivation?

The broadest definition of motivation is a desire to do something.  That’s pretty broad and doesn’t really explain why people will seemingly one day just up and do something.  Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is still widely used to explain why people do things.  I don’t think it adequately explains why people just suddenly one day decide that today is the day.  Then again, I’m not a psychologist so I could be wrong.

Let us leave the dramatic behind though.  Murder, sometimes just can’t be explained.  Some people are broken and for them it must seem, at least in the moment, that they are making perfectly rational, logical decisions.  No, let’s talk about something perhaps more positive.

Dieters.  More specifically the person who after a lifetime of being fat suddenly one day just changes everything about their life  so that they can become the thin person people never thought they could be.  You know, the fat girl in high school who when she shows up at the 5 or 10 year reunion looks like a super model out of the pages of Vogue.  Or the fat, dumpy, nerdy guy who drops a hundred pounds, goes to the gym and gets in fantastic shape.  When asked they usually give an answer like, “One day I just woke up and decided I needed to do something about the way I looked and felt.  It was all for me.”

Was it really?

Is that what truly motivated them?

Or was there somewhere back in their mind, hidden behind all the altruism and positive self-help platitudes, a seething desire to just show the people who tormented , ignored, or belittled them that they were wrong.  And really is that such a bad motivator?

Really, isn’t it OK at times to say, “Screw You!  You didn’t think I was good enough for you when I was fat.  And now that I’ve shown you I’m not defined by my weight, now you want to be my friend?  Well screw you, we’re not friends.”  Isn’t that a valid motivational reason?

I myself am fat.  I’m working on changing that, but I’ve been thinking about what is my real motivation.  Yes, yes, health, longevity, better able to deal with moving around and all that, but is that my REAL reason?  A little history I suppose is in order.

I was a thin youth.  I mean really thin, and I suppose at that age one might have expected me to be a very attractive man as I grew older.  I had some traumatic events happen in my youth though that I guess subconsciously made me want to hide and withdraw from the world.  Well as a youth in elementary, middle, and high schools, you really can’t withdraw.  You’re going to have contact with people no matter what.  As a result though, I started to eat poorly, gain weight, and kind of let myself go.  It was never too bad, because I was still active and therefore didn’t really get to be too huge.  I was big enough though as a teen for my father, who could be verbally very cruel, tell me he was going to have to have me fitted for a bra.

I would have to say that this is one of my first “Screw You” motivators.  I have a higher fat content in my chest because I was put on an estrogen precursor in my teens as a way to deal with my eczema.  Something that I should have been on and monitored for about 3 months I was on for 4 years completely unmonitored.  Is there any wonder I looked like I was developing feminine breasts, though they really weren’t that big, I also have thick pectoral muscles under the fat because I was a wrestler and Olympic  power lifter, which can make them look much bigger than they really are.

To say I was self-conscious would be an understatement.  With the trauma that motivated me to withdraw, and my father’s less than kind and inspirational attitude toward me, I wasn’t very outgoing.  I went to college, met a girl, quit school and moved out and got a job that didn’t leave me much time for anything other than work.  Somewhere in there I decided to start working out again, just like when I was younger.  I got pretty darn buff and was even considering becoming a body builder.  Then I went back to school to finish my degree.  At first it was part-time, which meant I had to cut back on my workouts.  Then the food pyramid started to be pushed as the ultimate way to eat right by all the body building magazines, if I may say a huge fucking mistake, and I decided to go to school full-time while still working full-time.  Bad eating, little sleep, deep mental scars that hadn’t been fully explored, and lots of stress lead to giving up me gaining weight.  And I gained it quickly.  Even though I was still trying to workout at least 3 days a week I gained a hundred pounds in less than a year.  By time I finished my degree, I had stopped working out all together and my weight was over 350 pounds.

Getting my degree eased the stress somewhat and my weight gain slowed.  It didn’t stop, but it slowed.  Six years later when we were getting ready to adopt our daughter, I was closing in on 400 pounds and I wasn’t happy.  My weight stayed steady for several years, I guess the stress was easing, or I had hit the point where my body just wouldn’t let me gain any more.  In those years though I got some I guess I have to say odd information directed at me.

We had a friend visit us.  I don’t know what she was expecting.  I’m not sure at that point and especially at this point in my life I really care what she expected.  But at some point in the week she confided in my wife (the very cute girl who somehow took a shine to me in college) that I wasn’t the kind of guy she was looking for.  That’s OK, I wasn’t even thinking along those lines anyway, but nice to know.

A few years later at a party, I was talking to a female friend and her then boyfriend, now fiance, soon to be husband, and she said something very similar.  She added that it was specifically because of my weight.  Once again, nice to know, but I wasn’t really interested in her that way either.

It’s now a couple of years later.  I’ve since lost about 70 pounds, but I’m still just over 300 and finding it hard to stay motivated to do the right things.  My major downfalls right now are working out and getting enough sleep.  I do eat much better.  No longer do I bother indulging in fast food, and I use to adore Burger King.  I’ve given up wheat and breads pretty much completely except for our once a week pizza night.  I had gone gluten-free for a while, but I really didn’t like the substitutes.  So six days a week I’m completely paleo and Friday night we have pizza.  For over a year I’ve been struggling with breaking that 300 mark so we’ve joined a gym and are now trying to get  back into the habit of working out at least 3 days a week.  We haven’t made a full week of it yet, but we will.

Anyway, this all leads me back to my main point.  Motivation.  Is Screw You a good motivator?  I think in my world it just might be.  Yes I know all the reasons why I should lose weight and get in shape.  But when it comes right down to it I really want to tell (metaphorically) those people who put me where I am or told me I wasn’t good enough for them the way I am, “Screw You!”

Pizza Is A Vegetable …

December 5, 2011 1 comment

That’s what the news media would like you to believe about the Childhood Nutrition Act of 2011.  The truth is congress just upheld the Reagan era nutrition guidelines that declared 2 tablespoons of tomato based sauce (Ketchup) a serving of vegetable.  First, let me just dispel the first and most obvious problem with this, tomatoes aren’t a vegetable, they’re a fruit.  So to be most accurate, it should count as a serving of fruit.  I guess that it really doesn’t matter since the food pyramid (in use during the Reagan era) counts fruits and vegetables as equal.  Ok, so I guess for the Reagan era we can let it stand the way they wrote it.

The original bill for 2011 wanted to have the quantity of tomato based sauces raised from 2 tablespoons up to 1/2 cup in order to be considered a serving.  That seems like a reasonable amount of tomato sauce to be included as a vegetable.  It would force schools to stop counting 2 packets of ketchup that accompanies the french fries as a vegetable to meet the federal guidelines so they could get their government funding.  It would also mean that they would have to serve additional fruits or vegetables on spaghetti day since the sauce would no longer meet the guideline.  As far as it goes for tomato based sauces, the original bill, making a half cup of sauce equal a serving of vegetables, does more to look out for the health and nutrition of our children than what was signed into law.

This is what Michelle Obama says is a step in the right direction to end childhood obesity.  Its not just the tomato sauce issue that makes this bill a horrible mess for childhood nutrition though.  Its not even that the bill continues to place nutritional guideline development in the hands of the USDA that makes this bill bad.  What makes this bill bad is that it allows the food producers and the industry lobbyists set the agenda on what is nutritionally sound for children.  Of course the industry wants to sell their products, and they want to be able to sell their cheapest products for top dollar.  The lobbyists want to make sure that they have the government’s blessing for their food producer clients.  The USDA of course wants to promote US farm products to the world, and by extension the American public.  And again Mrs. Obama praises this bill.

There is some good that this bill does though.  First it makes school meals available to more children.  With the economy the way it is  right now and families living right on the edge, kids need to be given a chance.  School breakfast and/or lunch, for some children, are the only meals they get during the week.  I won’t even get into how deplorable that situation is given the place the United States holds in the world.

Second, the bill opens the way for garden to table lunch programs.  That means that schools could plant and tend their own garden THEN serve the vegetables in the lunchroom.  That’s one thing that until now they couldn’t do because gardens wouldn’t pass health inspections for commercial produce.

Really!?!

I think that this portion of the bill was helped along by the number of commercial fruit and vegetable producers who have had recalls because of contaminated foods.  In recent years there have been recalls on peanuts, lettuce, eggs, and cantaloupe, that I can recall off the top of my head.  Food Safety News gives a good overview of the number and type of commercial food problems in the Obama era.  This with the USDA overseeing farmland food safety?

So this is a good thing.  Schools can now grow some of their own food and not only make it a classroom experience, but also a lunchroom one.

Unfortunately, that’s about all the good that comes out of this bill.  And rather than take the real stand that she should have, the first lady praised it.  NO!  IF your want to do something about childhood obesity Michelle, take a stand.  Tell them what parts of this bill are doing more damage to children than help and make them fix it.

Baby you do get a rise out of me…

It’s pizza day in the FAF kitchen. That means fresh dough rising on the counter. I just love the way yeast works. Just finished the second kneading and am waiting for my wife to get home before making PIZZAS!!

Oh there will be sausage. We even have us some ripe off the vine tomatoes from the garden. Must resist eating tomatoes before reaching kitchen. So we will have to suffer with fresh tomato slices on the pie. Oh the horror of it.

Ok, real simple pizza/bread dough

3 cups very warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
2 tbsp peanut, olive, or veg oil
6 cups plus or minus depending on humidity flour

Put water and sugar in a large bowl, stir to dissolve. Add yeast stir and let proof, about 10 minutes should do. Add oil and half of the flour and stir to combine. Then add flour 1 cup at a time, working it into the flour until it forms a smooth, slightly sticky ball and you’ve incorporated all the flour. Put the dough on a well floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes. Form into a ball and drop into your mixing bowl, no need to clean it first. Cover and let raise for about an hour or two. Punch down the dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and toss back into the bowl.

Cover and let it live on the counter, pulling off what you need to make your pizzas, rolls, or bread loafs. Toward the end of the week, it will be a very lightly flavored sour dough. That’s when it gets yummy.

If art is food for the soul then food is the soul of art. That my friends is the the soul of Fine Art Food.

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