Category: Personal

The fictional woman who appears in most of my dreams

I almost never talk about people who appear in my dreams, since, with some exceptions, most people who appear in my dreams are fictional people. However, one fictional woman appears in my dreams quite often, and I do want to talk about her.

The fictional woman who appears in my dreams more often than any other fictional or real-life person is a young woman named Karen Maismueller. She’s not a real-life person, but she is a fictional person who appears in many of my dreams. All of my dreams that involve fictional people are set on a fictional continent called Usonia, which is loosely based on the real-life contiguous United States and southern Canada, which is located on a fictional planet called Atlas.

Here’s some of Maismueller’s physical attributes:

  • She has light skin, but is not albino
  • She is 193 centimeters (approximately 6 feet, 4 inches) in height
  • She has a somewhat muscular build
  • She has hazel eyes and straight, neck-length, dark brown hair
  • She is 1 year, 10 months, and 10 days younger than me
  • She is fully ambidextrous

Maismueller has a lot of tattoos and piercings:

  • Maismueller has 22 tattoos:
    • One tattoo immediately below the front side of her neck, the design of which is the astrological sign for Ophiuchus, which, in the fictional universe where my dreams and nightmares are set, is a galaxy (the real-life Ophiuchus is a constellation)
    • One tattoo immediately below her right clavicle, the design of which is based on olive branches
    • One tattoo immediately below her left clavicle, the design of which is based on arrows
    • Two tattoos on her right arm, the first of which is located on the right side of her right upper arm, and the second of which is on her right lower arm stretching from just above her right wrist to just below her right elbow; the design of her right upper arm tattoo is based on a sycamore tree, and the design of her right lower arm tattoo is a rainbow-colored tribal design
    • Two tattoos on her left arm, the first of which is located on the left side of her left upper arm, and the second of which is on her left lower arm stretching from just above her left wrist to just below her left elbow; the design of her left upper arm tattoo is based on a red oak tree, and the design of her left lower arm tattoo is a tribal design that incorporates many different shades of pink and purple
    • Three tattoos on her abdomen, the first of which is a large tattoo below her chest and covering the upper half of her abdomen, the second of which is below and to the right of her navel, and the third of which is below and to the left of her navel; the design of her upper abdomen tattoo is based on grapevines, the design of her lower right abdomen tattoo is based on an Adonis Blue butterfly, and the design of her lower left abdomen tattoo is based on a Palmer’s Metalmark butterfly
    • Two tattoos on her back, the first of which is a tattoo immediately below the back of her neck, and the second of which is a large tattoo covering the lower half of her back; the design of her upper back tattoo is based on a triskelion, and the design of her lower back tattoo is based on a collection of various species of flowers
    • One tattoo on her right side extending from just below her right armpit to just above her right hip, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means “A strong woman treats others with respect.” (the Usonian language is a fictional language that is spoken in my dreams)
    • One tattoo on her left side extending from just below her left armpit to just above her right hip, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means “A strong woman cares about others.”
    • One tattoo on her right hip, the design of which is based on an azalea
    • One tattoo on her left hip, the design of which is based on a rose
    • One tattoo on the left side of her right thigh, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means “I was born in a blizzard.”
    • One tattoo on the right side of her left thigh, the design of which is an Usonian language sentence that, when translated into English, means either “Consent be sexy.” or “Consent is sexy.”
    • One tattoo on the right side of her right lower leg, the design of which is based on a covered bridge
    • One tattoo on the left side of her left lower leg, the design of which is based on a quarter horse
    • One tattoo on the top of her right foot stretching from just above her toes to just below her ankle, the design of which is a tribal design incorporating various blue shades of color
    • One tattoo on the top of her left foot stretching from just above her toes to just below her ankle, the design of which is a tribal design incorporating various red shades of color
  • Maismueller has 26 piercings
    • Seven piercings in each ear, for a total of fourteen ear piercings; she has an industrial ear piercing, circular barbell helix, rook, tragus, anti-tragus, and conch piercings, and dangle lobe piercings in each ear
    • One barbell eyebrow piercing in each eyebrow, for a total of two eyebrow piercings
    • One nostril screw nose piercing in each nostril, for a total of two nose piercings
    • Three lip piercings, one of which is a medusa piercing of the upper lip, and the other two of which are labret piercings of the lower lip on each side of the center of the lower lip
    • One tongue piercing in the center of the tongue
    • Four navel piercings, one each through the top of her navel, the bottom of her navel, the right side of her navel, and the left side of her navel

Here’s some of Maismueller’s personality traits and other facts about her:

  • She is a strong-willed and stubborn-headed, but nice and caring, person
  • She is very talkative
  • She enjoys meeting with, and hanging out with, people
  • She can speak six different languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Usonian, and Lakota (Usonian is her primary language)
  • She is openly bisexual
  • She is atheist

Here’s some of Maismueller’s interests:

  • Exercising
  • Riding her bicycle
  • Sports, especially motorsports, golf, tennis, curling, cycling, bobsledding, swimming, track and field athletics, water polo, tenpin bowling, volleyball, weightlifting, and skiing
  • Comedy and action movies and television shows
  • Many different kinds of music
  • Dancing
  • Politics (she’s very liberal with a prairie populist bent)
  • Rural life
  • Massages
  • Technology
  • Science
  • Outer space

As you can tell, I have dreams about a very interesting person.

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As a progressive in a conservative region of Illinois, I can relate to people like these

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post includes a blockquote from a book titled Blue in a Red State: The Survival Guide to Life in the Real America, written by Justin Krebs. The blockquote comes from an excerpt of the book published on the Salon magazine website, as I do not have the actual book in question.


As someone who lives in a conservative region of Illinois (specifically, Vermilion County, Illinois, located in the east-central part of the state), I can relate to this:

Lisa in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has two Facebook accounts. One reflects her liberal politics; the other is for acquaintances and family members to whom Lisa shows only her cat photos. Christina, in Milford, Massachusetts, has a sign in the back window of her car proclaiming support for a Democratic candidate. But as soon as she parks in the company lot, she puts it facedown on the backseat. Byron has lived in the same small town of Pomeroy, Iowa—population 662—his entire life. He brings his partner to family dinners but has never actually said to his conservative sister that he’s gay.

Lisa, Christina, and Byron are “blues in red states”—liberals who live in conservative communities that exist in every state, Republican or Democratic-leaning, across America. They and people like them are constantly reminded they aren’t quite like everyone else: from the churches they do or don’t attend, to their purchases and media preferences, to their loyalties at the ballot box. On a daily basis, liberals who have made homes, formed friendships, and participated in the civic life of conservative towns and cities are confronted with unsettling reminders that they’re different, and they’ve found myriad ways to take that truth in stride.

Although Massachusetts, Iowa, and Wisconsin aren’t exactly “red states” (MA is a blue state with a Republican governor, and IA and WI are presidential swing states with Republican governors), all three of the people featured in the above paragraphs live in areas of their states that are more conservative than the state as a whole.

For someone who is very vocal about politics online, I almost never talk about politics when I’m away from my house. In fact, I blend in surprisingly well with other people in my community, as virtually nobody outside of my immediate relatives (mostly Democrats who are not as progressive as I am) know about my political views. In fact, virtually nobody in my community knows that I’m an atheist, and that’s because I never talk about that outside of online to a receptive audience.

In fact, regarding Lisa from Waukesha, Wisconsin, I’m actually an online friend of hers, believe it or not. There’s not too many people I’m comfortable communicating with (either in person or online), but I’m more than comfortable talking with Lisa online. I don’t agree with Lisa 100% of the time (although I’ve never agreed with anyone 100% of the time and I agree with Lisa more often than not), but Lisa is far more understanding of opposing viewpoints than me or most other people.

No, I don’t use a FitBit…I just develop an exercise routine

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Although I didn’t follow this advice myself, please consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen. Additionally, the exercise regimen I described in this blog post is my own exercise regimen, and others may find a different exercise regimen better suited to them than mine.


As someone who has battled with obesity since childhood and has been trying to get in shape in recent months, I’ve become well aware of the rise of activity trackers, such as FitBit, Apple Watch, Garmin Vivofit, and so on. These are electronic devices, usually worn in a similar manner to a wrist watch, that are designed to monitor number of steps taken, heart rate, and so on.

However, there are two reasons why I don’t have or use these types of devices. First, they’re very expensive. Many models of these activity tracker devices are a few hundred dollars in price. I can find far better things to spend a few hundred dollars on. Second, In the case of FitBit, they’re facing a class-action suit over allegations that they give inaccurate heart rate information. FitBit users in California, Colorado, and Wisconsin have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that two FitBit models are giving out wildly inaccurate information about the user’s heart rate:

Fitbit customers from California, Colorado, and Wisconsin filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging that two 2015 Fitbit models—the Charge HR and the Surge—don’t offer accurate heart rate readings. As the Verge, which first reported the news, points out, Fitbit also dealt with a class-action suit in 2014. In that case, customers were getting rashes from the Fitbit Force.

In the current suit, Fitbit users assert that the LED “PurePulse” heart rate monitor in the Charge HR and Surge doesn’t offer accurate readings. “Plaintiffs and many consumers like them have experienced—and testing confirms—that the PurePulse Trackers consistently mis-record heart rates by a very significant margin, particularly during exercise.” Good thing no one uses their Fitbits while exercising. One plaintiff claims that her heartbeat was actually double what her Fitbit said during a personal training session.

You can read the class-action lawsuit here.

For someone with a medical condition that requires them to have their heart rate and/or other vital signs monitored during exercise, getting inaccurate information from an activity tracker could lead to health problems not being noticed until it’s too late.

I’ve spent several months trying to find an exercise regimen that I’m comfortable with, and, in the past week, I’ve stuck to the following exercise regimen:

  • 45 minutes of racewalking — Believe it or not, racewalking is actually an Olympic sport, although I’m not a competitive racewalker. Basically, racewalking is similar to running, but with the requirement that at least part of one foot be in contact with the ground at all times. I racewalk around my kitchen table, I time myself using the kitchen timer function on the microwave in my kitchen.
  • Several minutes of weightlifting using detergent bottles filled with water — Instead of using dumbbells, kettlebells, or other types of actual weights, I use a pair of 75 fl. oz. bottles of laundry detergent filled with water (roughly 4.9 lb. each) as weights. I can do many dumbbell and kettlebell exercises with these weights.
  • Several minutes of unweighted exercises — Types of exercises I do without weights include lunges, stretching, arm circles, leg circles, calf raises, leg raises, and standing crunches, and squats, among others. Sometimes, I’ll do punches and kicks as well.

Most importantly, I don’t have to spend a ton of money to keep that exercise regimen.

 

Why Donald Trump mocking a physically-disabled New York Times reporter is personal for me

Why Donald Trump mocking a physically-disabled New York Times reporter is personal for me

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for The New York Times, by trying to mimic Kovaleski’s arm movements at a recent Trump campaign rally. Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a physical disability that limits the functionality of his joints.

While I’m not fond of the corporate media in this country (for completely different reasons than why Trump doesn’t like the corporate media, however), and I don’t have a physical disability, I was personally offended by what Trump did.

I have Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder that is considered an autism spectrum disorder. While Asperger’s is not considered a physical disability, one thing that I suffer from due to Asperger’s when I get excited, angry, frustrated, nervous, scared, etc. is uncontrollable hand and arm movements. I find mocking a person for a physical trait of theirs to be highly offensive.

Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump is running a presidential campaign in order to offend many people as possible. The fact that someone as offensive as Trump is anywhere close to being elected president is an absolutely frightening thought.

 

Meet Sady Doyle, the most vocal critic of Bernie’s Army out there

Sady Doyle, a Hillary Clinton supporter, resident of New York City, and freelance online journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian, has taken to Twitter in recent days to attack me, other Bernie Sanders supporters, the people of the State of Vermont, and rural America.

First off, Doyle has aggressively attacked and mocked Bernie Sanders, his home state of Vermont, and rural America:

I want to make two points here. First, Doyle, who is from the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is attacking Bernie for being from Vermont, a state that is mostly rural with small towns (although Bernie is from Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, and was the mayor of Burlington for much of the 1980’s). This is a classic example of urban Democrats trashing rural Americans, which is one of many reasons why Republicans control both houses of Congress and most state governments. Second, U.S. Senators are responsible for representing the people of their home state, not serving as some kind of absolute monarch or imperial ruler, and, unlike most politicians in this country, Bernie completely lacks any kind of a royalist mindset.

Doyle didn’t stop at attacking Bernie himself. She mocked and attacked the legions of Bernie supporters, which I like to call Bernie’s Army:

There are two main themes that Doyle is using to attack Bernie’s Army. First, she’s accusing Bernie’s Army of being a group of racist and sexist Bernie supporters. Second, she’s attacking Bernie’s Army for supporting a presidential candidate who actually agrees with them on the vast majority of issues.

Regarding the first point, Doyle thinks that it’s a valid crime for white men (who are considerably less than 100% of Bernie supporters; there are many women and people of color who support Bernie) to be politically active in this country. In my opinion, if you’re a U.S. citizen, and you’re old enough to vote, it’s an important civic duty to be politically active, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Regarding the second point, in regards to the Democratic nomination process, I’d rather support a candidate that I agree with nearly 100% of the time than a candidate who doesn’t really share my values but is the favored candidate of party bosses. Since America’s political party system is a strong two-party system, I support the candidate nominated by the left-most of the major parties (in this country, the Democratic Party) in the general election. However, for the Democratic Party’s nomination process, I usually, but not always, support what I think is the most progressive candidate running in a Democratic primary, caucus, etc. For the 2016 presidential election, that candidate is Bernie Sanders.

Pivoting back the first point, while I’m a Bernie supporter, I am not someone with a “bro” personality. I’m from a redneck part of Illinois, I consider myself to be a redneck, and I love country music (especially older country music) and NASCAR. I guess one could me a “BernNeck”. Also, Doyle made an implicit comparison of Bernie supporters and “PUMA” supporters of Hillary in 2008. For those of you who don’t remember who the PUMAs were, they were a group of Hillary supporters in 2008 who refused to support Barack Obama after he won the Democratic nomination. While PUMA officially stood for “People United Means Action”, it unofficially stood for “Party Unity My Ass”. While there are probably a few Bernie supporters who would not support Hillary if she were the Democratic nominee, I’m not one of those kind of Bernie supporters, as I’d vote for Hillary in the general election should she win the Democratic nomination.

Doyle didn’t stop at just attacking Bernie’s Army as a whole. She took a couple of swipes at me:

While I thank Doyle for referring to me as “heroic”, she clearly attacked me for criticizing a lame reference to pop music singer Miley Cyrus that she made about the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, as well as for saying that female supporters of the Bernie campaign (which there are a large number of), aren’t interested in silly pop culture references. Most supporters of the Bernie campaign, both male and female supporters, aren’t interested in silly pop culture references; they’re interested in making America a better place to live.

Oh, and while she was at it, Doyle admitted that Hillary is a bought-off corporatist politician:

I thank Doyle for reminding us what the primary reason we dislike Hillary so much is! Oh, and regarding Doyle’s claim that no other moderate Democrat has faced as much criticism of Hillary has, I can think of several moderate/conservative Democrats that have faced far more criticism than Hillary has. The most notable one that I can think of off of the top of my head was Mary Burke, a charter school supporter who was the Democratic nominee in last year’s election for Governor of Wisconsin (losing to Republican incumbent Scott Walker).

Last, but certainly not least, Doyle claimed that the vast majority of women that she knows are leaning towards supporting Bernie:

Keep in mind that Doyle is a known Hillary supporter, and she admitted that the vast majority of women that she knows are…you guessed it…leaning towards Bernie. Bernie is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination, and no Miley Cyrus references or attempts to divide Democrats based on gender are going to convince us to support Hillary for the Democratic nomination.

I now await the Twitter wrath of Sady Doyle…

My body isn’t perfect, but I love it

Me in my underwear
Me in my underwear

I don’t have the “ideal male body” by most people’s standards. I’m not muscular. My belly is very big. I’m not athletic at all. I sometimes have difficulty shaving my facial hair (although I never cut myself while shaving). I dislike haircuts to the point that I let my hair get very long and shaggy before I have my hair cut. I am physically clumsy.

However, I love my body.

Would losing some weight and building some muscle make me feel better, both emotionally and physically? Yes. However, I’m more than willing to embrace my less-than-ideal body, because I am who I am, and not everybody can have what a lot of people consider to be a “perfect” body.

Unlike a lot of overweight/obese people, I’ve been fortunate to have not been fat-shamed often, however, I have been fat-shamed by a couple of people. However, I’ve seen people who weigh a lot less than I do (especially women, although I’ve seen it done to men as well) fat-shamed by others on social media.

My advice to people who have been fat-shamed is simple: Love your body!

One week in, and my effort to lose weight is working!

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The blog post includes measurements in U.S. customary and metric units, with metric conversions in parenthesis and courtesy of Wolfram|Alpha, except for a figure that was calculated by subtracting two metric figures, which was calculated by me.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This blog post is merely a documentation of the author’s obesity problems and attempts at weight loss, and the post is not intended to give weight loss or other medical advice to anyone. When in doubt, seek advice from a licensed physician before starting a weight loss or other fitness regimen.


As I wrote about on here earlier this month, I’m trying to lose weight after years of being severely overweight.

Well, it’s been a week since I started trying to lose weight, and my effort to lose weight is working!

When I started trying to lose weight a week ago, I weighed in at 281.5lbs (127.69kg). As a result of my efforts to lose weight, which involves 45 minutes or so of exercise, usually in my small bedroom, daily and eating less food, I now weigh in at 274.6lbs (124.56kg). To put that another way, I’ve lost 6.9lbs (3.13kg) in one week! You can view the before and after photos of my tummy below.

7-10-2015 7-17-2015 Before And After 281.5lbs To 274.6lbs

There’s not a lot of visible difference between the before photo and the after photo, except for maybe a slight flattening of my tummy around my belly button. If I continue to lose weight over the next three weeks or so, I’ll provide updated tummy pictures three weeks from now or so.

I thank everyone who has encouraged me and praised me in my efforts to lose weight and become a fit person.

7-17-2015 274.6lbs Tummy Love
My tummy thanks everyone who has encouraged me in my efforts to lose weight!

My struggles with obesity, and how I’m trying to lose weight

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The blog post includes measurements in both U.S. customary and metric units, with metric conversions listed in parenthesis and courtesy of Wolfram|Alpha, except for a square meters calculation that is my own.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This blog post is merely a documentation of the author’s obesity problems and attempts at weight loss, and the post is not intended to give weight loss or other medical advice to anyone. When in doubt, seek advice from a licensed physician before starting a weight loss or other fitness regimen.


4XL pants I used to wear when I weighed over 340 lbs., but are far too big for me now because I've lost roughly 50 lbs.
4XL pants I used to wear when I weighed over 340 lbs., but are far too big for me now because I’ve lost roughly 50 lbs. since I wore these pants regularly.

I’m struggled with being severely overweight since I was about 6 or 7 years old. For many years, I’ve had habits of eating junk food excessively, eating large amounts of sugary candy, drinking several cans and/or bottles of soda pop per day, and not exercising. Several years ago, I weighed over 340 pounds (over 154.2 kilograms).

However, I’ve changed my habits. A year or two ago, I cut back considerably on soda pop and sugary candy. I now drink soda pop and sugary candy not more than 2 or 3 times per week. By changing those two habits alone, I managed to get my weight down to slightly over 280 pounds (slightly over 127 kilograms).

A few days ago, I changed more of my habits. While I still mostly eat food that isn’t healthy, I’m eating less food that I have in the past. Additionally, I’ve begun exercising on a daily basis. Since I spend most of my time in a bedroom that is 12.5 feet (3.81 meters) by 8 feet (2.44 meters), or 100 square feet (9.3 square meters), and I don’t have any exercise equipment (weight machines, treadmills, stationary bikes, dumbbells, exercise ball, etc.) at all, I’ve had to improvise with my workout routine. For 45 minutes per day, I will exercise. On most days, this will consist of 45 minutes of brisk walking back and forth across my bedroom, although I’ll sometimes do less than 45 minutes of brisk walking and fill in the remaining time with striking exercises (punches and kicks) and a core workout (mostly sit-ups). Over the weekend, I lost roughly 3 pounds (roughly 1.36 kilograms), mostly because of my significantly increased exercise.

If I lose a significant amount of weight in the coming months, I promise that I’ll share before and after photos on this blog.