Jury Duty

Today I had to go to the courthouse for jury duty. For those who live in an area where there is no jury duty, or for those of you who don’t know what jury duty is, I’ll explain.

Jury duty, at least in the United States, is a civic duty that you are required to perform if you have a drivers license (DMV) or are registered to vote. Every year you are entered into a group and that group is chosen out of a list to be called. Sometimes your group gets called and sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to keep checking back each day for a week to find out if your group is called or not. Very annoying. If your group is called you have to show up to the courthouse at a certain time. If you do not show up at the appointed time, you can actually be fined or arrested. Very serious stuff!

When you arrive at the courthouse, in the city I live in, you have to go down to the basement where the jury check-in is and you wait. While you are waiting they play a video that goes over all the things you have to do when you get called. One of the things they have you do is wear a plastic badge that lets everyone know that you are a member of the jury. I guess this way the attorneys and people on trial know not to talk to you in the hallways. Again, if you get caught talking to anyone outside the courtroom about the trial, you can get fined or even arrested.

You wait in a room with about 100 people in it all seated. There is a little area where they have a table setup to eat food at. It’s a little strange in that you are in the basement and you can really tell. Right out-side the jury check-in area, there is a maintenance door and everything. They call out names every once in a while and if they call your name then you are selected to be on a jury panel. This is where things get interesting.

In this instance, I was selected and was told to report with a group of about 75 other people to one of the courtrooms. Once there the judge went over all of the laws and rules and told a lot of stories about different trials, trying to get us to understand what they where trying to accomplish in this trial. I find it very interesting and I understand how the law works so I was somewhat excited at the prospect of being selected. During this initial selection you just have to not have any hardships that stop you from being able to server (children, taking care of older relatives, etc.) and then they had us go into another room and fill out a questionnaire.

The questionnaire was a series of simple questions that asked you if you understood certain parts of the law. They where especially interested in if you understood that the person is innocent until proven guilty. That is one of the things that many of the people had a hard time understanding. There is no burden of proof on the defendant. If the trial ended today without any evidence being presented he would be no guilty.

In this case especially this was an issue because of the nature of the charges. The man who was on trial was being charged with ‘lewd acts on a minor’ which means that he touched a girl under the age of 16. Because of the nature of the charges there where people who said that they would require that the man himself shows evidence and or testifies or else they would find him guilty. The law explicitly states otherwise so they where dismissed.

This all happened on the first day which was last week. Today I had to come back and be present for the jury selection process. For this we where ushered into the courtroom and names where called for people who would be sitting in the jury box to be questioned. Those people who’s names where called would go to the jury box and be asked questions about the answers they had given the week before. There where no right answers; the judge was trying to get an idea if the person understood and would follow the law. People who could not where dismissed.

This process when on for some time. After the judge was happy with the 18 jurors that where in the box he passed the questions over to the prosecutor and then the defense. Each attorney would ask their own questions and at the end of the questions they would be able to dismiss whoever they thought was not good for their side. Again, this took a while.

It actually took all day. The entire time this is going on I am sitting in the courtroom, having not been called, waiting and listening to all of this proceeding. For the first hour it was kinda interesting to me and somewhat entertaining, but then it started to wear on me. I wasn’t getting mad or anxious, but the energy of the courthouse in general is weighing and I was starting to get tired.

The end of the day approached and I thought that I was home free. They had a jury selected and all they had to do was finish the process by selecting 3 alternates that would take over a spot on the jury if someone had to be dismissed. Often times during a trial things will happen like someone will get sick and not be able to continue their roll in the jury. That’s when my name was called.

I sat up at the jury box and answered the questions. I understood the law and was able to say that I thought that I was a good judge of character. After the questioning by the judge, it was the prosecuting attorneys turn and he basically selected the first to people called, which did not include me, and they where chosen as the alternates. We where all dismissed and don’t have to return for 2 years!

I have mixed feelings about not being on the jury. First and foremost; I really thought that I was going to be on the jury and I was excited. I figured, what better time for me to fulfill this civic duty than when I am not worried about it interfering with work and when I have free time on my hands to commit to this. I also thought that I would be a good judge of the case and I knew that I would rule correctly on this matter. I was excited to be able to serve.

I am also a little relieved. It was hard to sit there for just this one day and listen to the back and forth of the attorneys. I can only imagine how much more it would wear on me if I had to sit in on the entire trial which was scheduled to last 3 weeks. I probably dodged a bullet on this one!

Moving on

Over the past week or so I have been streaming on Twitch.tv, mostly playing Dwarf Fortress but also playing a game called RimWorld. The streaming is fun and it is interesting to get myself out there. I feel that it is really making me think about the things that I say and do. It is also making me re-asses my character and how I am perceived by the world.

I remember when I was a child my dad had a mini-tape recorder. It was old and was probably from the 70’s when he was in the Navy. I would take the recorder and record my voice into it and when I played it back I thought that my voice sounded strange. I’m sure that there are other people who have noticed the same thing. Streaming is the same way. I would see and hear myself and how I acted and it would seem very foreign to me. Which is strange; because it’s me!

The streaming part has been a lesson. On top of learning about myself it has also taught me about the work and setup that has to go into video and audio. Making it all work and sound good is not an easy task. There were moments when I thought that the only way to get it to work was to spend money. I found out that was not true. If you really want to do something then you will get it done. Where there is a will, there is a way so they say.

Unfortunately, it started to wear on me. Not the streaming so much as the gaming. I really found out something about myself… I’m not much of a gamer. Playing the games was fun, but I don’t really get into playing action games or other types of games that most of the people who are streaming are playing.

Instead of streaming, I am going to fill that goal with more writing. I think that writing is more relaxing for me and really is something that I have always wanted to do. All you really have to do to become a good writer is have something to write about, and to write!

Instead of writing 500 or more words a day, I am upping my lower limit to 1000 words per day which should be a challenge but should also be doable. The main idea during this time of my life is to get things done that help me explore who I am and what I want to do in/for this world. If something is not working in your life, it is best to move on as quickly as possible. If moving on was not right then you can be sure it will present itself again in your life in the future.

All is not lost for my video making. I am planning on streaming some electronics videos and maybe other IRL (In Real Life) stuff on Twitch still. I am also moving in the direction of making YouTube videos. Next week I am planning on implementing a filming schedule that will force me to shoot footage no matter what.

This week is going to be a little different, but I think that changing it up is good. Like I said, if something is not working, don’t force it… Let it go and move on as quickly as possible.

Meditation and looking within

I mentioned in yesterdays essay the importance of looking within yourself. I also alluded to meditation as being a practical way to achieve the turning within. To many, meditation seems like a strange, foreign thing. In the United States, which is predominantly Christian in makeup, mediation is not something that is practiced. In many protestant churches, it may even be frowned upon as devil worship. But there should be nothing mysterious about meditation. In reality, it is as natural as breathing.

Meditation, at its most basic level, is focus. It is the practice of focusing ones mind and gaining control over its waves. By focus, we are able to calm the thoughts which are like waves and create a serene lake within the mind. If you practice it enough and are able to calm the mind then the lake becomes like a mirror, thus reflecting the true reality. It may not be easy to reach a point where the mind is perfectly clear, but it is easy to simply meditate.

Each and every thought that you have is like a quick little mediation. All of the images and words that you think. Each and every one of them is a brief focus of thought. Sometimes you have longer thoughts, like when you are having a conversation with someone, or when you are thinking a lot about a particular thing. For most people this happens without much control on their part. If there is something that affects them they jump to a thought. There are others who can control their thoughts and guide them more easily to their will. By practicing mediation you are able to control all of your thoughts and use them, focus them.

Normally the mind will bounce from thought to thought, going a hundred miles an hour! It will jump from one thought to the next rapidly and this can cause confusion. If the mind is running quickly it cannot be used properly. In order to think clearly the mind must be able to maintain focus on a particular thing. The longer the mind can focus, the stronger the mind becomes. It is like a muscle; the more you work the muscle the stronger it becomes. The same is true for the mind; the more you work on concentration the longer you can concentrate.

Many people think that mediation is about obtaining the absence of thoughts. I’ve known many people who tell me it is hard to meditate because they cannot stop thinking about thinking. The answer to this problem is that they are trying to go too far to quickly. The main goal of meditation should not be the absence of thoughts. The main goal of meditation should be to focus one’s mind on a single thought for as long as possible. It is often helpful to utilize an object like a rose or a lotus.

At first it may be difficult to concentrate the mind for more than a split second. You will start to think about things other than what you are trying to focus on. That is your mind trying to gain control back. As soon as you try to control it, it will start to fight you a little. The more you pull it in one direction, the more it will struggle. Finally, the mind will grow weary of this game and give in. If the mind gives you thoughts let it do so. Instead of fighting them, let them come. After a few moments, bring your focus back to your chosen object. It’s like a game you are playing.

As you practice meditation, you will notice that very quickly you will be able to focus for longer and longer periods of time. This may happen faster than you would initially think. If you get tired of your chosen object our thought, change it. This way your mind will not grow tired and will not struggle so much. It is up to you what you want to meditate on. It makes no difference. The main goal is focus. Through focus your mind will become sharp like a sword. It will easily be able to discern between right and wrong. Between the real and unreal.

The Subconscious

The subconscious is a wonderful thing. It holds all of the collective memories from all past lives that have touched upon its ray. To some, the subconscious is the enemy, to others it is a dark and scary place full of terrifying monsters. To others still it is a well of knowledge and information.

If properly tamed it can be a powerful stallion that gives the rider great power over him or herself. If not, it becomes a night-mare. The subconscious is like a powerful wild animal. The archetype of an animal would make sense in consideration of the fact that all consciousness traveled up to the human sphere through the animal sphere, and traces of every animal we have ever evolved through are still there in our subconscious.

The powers of all the animals are awaiting manifestation of their powers in the human. The strength of the gorilla, the fearlessness of the lion, the freedom of the eagle. All of those energies lie dormant and waiting for us in our subconscious mind. The power gained by discovering and using the subconscious is often represented as an animal as well. Instead of a wild savage beast, the subconscious can become a great and powerful energy in our lives.

The unconscious mind also contains all of the imprints from our past lives and the lives of our mother and fathers. In fact, it contains imprints from our parents, parents all the way back to before we where us and farther! That is the reason that the subconscious is so powerful. It contains all of the lessons from all past lives, all past actions, and this collective consciousness is contained as a whole in every individual.

This is a reflection of the fact that each and every one of us contains the entire universe as a whole. The entire existence is within all humans. This is a wonderful and extremely important truth. Just think about the implications that knowledge of this fact uncovers! Many have in the past! Many have meditated on this and obtained wisdom which is the greatest nectar and have gained great freedom.

If man is able to look within himself, he will be sure to discover all the knowledge that has ever existed and will ever exist. This is where the New Age idea of the “Akashic Record” comes from. In Sanskrit, the word ‘akasha’ means aether, sky or void. It has occult parallels with the concept of the waters above and waters below (Bohu, Tohu) found in Kabbalah. Akasha is the most basic and unifying ‘thing’ that makes up all other things. Scientifically it is the concept of pure ‘space’.

So what is being said with the Akashic Record, is that the imprint of all karma is left on this material/void/space which is the most basic and unifying thing between all matter and therefore links all matter together in this chain of karma. Because the universe exists within each and every human in full, then all imprints are accessible to each and every one of us if we know, and practice looking in ourselves.

This is what is meant by ‘dis-cover’. We have covered ourselves with ignorance in this world, thinking we are individuals with differences. We ‘uncover’ knowledge by removing the ignorance which is like removing the hands from your eyes. We already have knowledge of everything, we are simply uncovering that knowledge and stopping it from being hidden from us. It is possible to find all knowledge by looking inside ourselves. All things are available to us if we practice and perfect this looking inside known as meditation.

There are two ways to uncover things; from the outside and from the inside. The external takes much energy to develop. By looking inside we find everything with very little energy required!

All work is good work

The worst thing that you can be in this world is inactive. Activity, action, karma is the reason that the entire universe exists. Everything is the effect of some action and this entire universe is the product of the first and only action. The cause of all things including every action that you or I make.

Without action, nothing would exist and therefor no progress would ever be made. It is no accident that the entire universe exists. To think about the truth; that all of this is the product of stars is mind boggling. Not only our actions are the echos of the first and only action, but our physical bodies reflect this in that every particle is the product of some previous action. Some previous cause.

So, to not be active is fundamentally against this universe. It is not the law of this existence to be inactive. It is the law of this universe to be active. Activity is required and we are working all the time. Everything from our most basic breathing to every word that we say is part of our karma. To align the actions that you perform with those of the universe is the greatest form of karma ever. It is the type of action that moves things forward and makes things grow.

There are two basic ways that you can perform action. In these two categories of action all actions fall: to obtain and to renounce. The action of obtaining is known as the lifestyle of the householder. The action of renouncing is known as the lifestyle of the monk. For the householder, it is his duty to obtain things for many people rely on him; his wife, his children, the poor, etc. For the monk who has taken up the path of renouncing it would be amoral for him to obtain riches and fortune. His morals hold that he should never even think of riches. Neither of these paths are better than the other. They are equal in that they both are action; there is no difference.

It may seem like this is high talk, like it doesn’t make any difference in our day-to-day lives but it does. If we waste our lives by not doing anything, by being lazy and not doing any progressive work, then we are even more amoral then if we did bad things. That’s something to think about. If you do nothing, it is worse than having done something bad, which is worse than doing correct action.

Knowing that it is our duty to do action in this world, to perform karma we may feel a great burden. If we HAVE to do something, then it always seems like it becomes more tedious to do something because it’s forced. For this I would respond that we are all actually vindicated by this knowledge. We can rest assured that in reality, as long as we are performing karma to the best of out ability, we are doing good in this life. There is no fear of failure at this point. All work is good.

The Chariot

The Chariot

Today’s card is The Chariot. This is one of my favorite cards in the deck, second only to the High Priestess which is my favorite. The symbolism of The Chariot is very interesting to me and really represents this time of my life in a positive way.

This is a card of balance and the actionable result of the balance. If you take a card like The Lovers then you can see the progression of this energy. The Lovers are the opposite of the Devil which represents lust in contrast to love. One is master over the other. In The Lovers, the union is symbolized by a glowing angelic figure. The result of their love. The Chariot shows this same energy, but it is not displaying the result of the love, but the ACTION of the love.

The Chariot driver is like the mind and the horses are the senses. At least this is a most basic way to look at the situation presented. There is much power in the horses, a symbol we still use to this day with engines and cars. If the horses are not under control through discernment then their energies are dangerous and they can cause harm. If the driver is in control of the sense, then the power becomes his power and he is a king. It all depends on what is using what.

Coming back to The Lovers and the Devil cards they display this perfectly. In the lovers, the man is looking at the woman and she is looking at the angel. The angel is looking down at her and is sending blessings and shining light back represented by the hand gesture of giving. Here we see a completion of the circuit. Love is being used for what the power of love is there for. To make the light-bulb shine. By practicing love we complete the circuit and the light turns on.

On the Devil card we see a very different state of affairs. Here, the man and the woman are chained to the beast. This is symbolizing the fact that the senses are in control over the man and woman. They are chained to their own desires and their own impulses. Here the man is looking at the woman but the woman is looking away. The devil seems to be looking directly at you and there is no completion of anything, there is simply a glowing stare that wants more, more, more!

So in one case we see love as being a positive and beautiful thing; a thing that shines light and brings harmony through unification. On the other hand we see the senses using the man instead of the man using his senses. It is similar to smoking cigarettes. At first you find it repulsive, but if you do it a little you find at first a little pleasure and then more pleasure. Pretty soon you are back to where you started and the cigarettes bring you no pleasure but you still have to smoke them. At that point the cigarettes stop being smoked and start smoking you.

The Chariot shows the middle ground between the results of The Lovers and the Devil cards. Through discrimination of good and bad, the driver can steer the senses one direction or the other and cover the distance to the goal. Otherwise, it is like the drivers is asleep at the reins and the horses are running any direction without any sense or reasoning. They may run over others or lead the chariot over a cliff with the driver along for the ride.

The horses have names as well. One is mercy and compassion and the other is severity and harsh punishment. These two forces are also shown in many symbols, most specifically the Yin and Yang. These two forces are controlled through discretion which is very powerful. Some situations require kindness and compassion. Others absolutely require you to be appalled and repulsed. If you can tell the difference between these two paths, then you can always be sure that you are traveling in the right direction.

The Chariot shows these two forces under control, in their proper amounts at the proper times. This is the middle ground that can lead in two directions. Either to bondage or freedom. Into ignorance or knowledge. From sleeping into being awake. The Chariot shows us the way to controlling ourselves and therefor discover ourselves. If a canine is a wolf it will attack you and kill you without even thinking. If man has shown love to a canine for many years, overtime the wolf understands the human and the human the wolf. The wolf ceases to be a wolf and turn into what has been called “man’s best friend”. At this point the once wolf that would kill a man without a second thought becomes a creature that would give it’s life for its master. That is the great power of love and it is very real.

Let us make our natures like the trustworthy “man’s best friend” and not like the savage wolf. Let us all be friends to all people and lovers of all things. For that is the nature of one who is in control of their senses. This is the nature of the entire universe!

Overcoming Twitch.tv sound issues

This journey to streaming has been an interesting one so far. I am by far a “Streamer” having only been doing this for about a week. Every day I am learning so much and I truly am getting progressively better at my streams.

I have conquered the first two of my hurdles. The first was video. I solved that early on with a simple, and small, webcam. It’s basically a potato but I had to start with something and it was what I had laying around. The second was sound and this one was a little more complicated.

At first I was looking online for a DAC to connect to my computer. Then I remembered that I had something that should work setup in my garage. Since its about 32 degrees outside during this time of year, I won’t be hanging out in the garage any time soon so I removed the setup from there and installed it at my desk.

That’s when my first problem started. This was a simple one; I had to get the levels right between my mic, music, and the game sounds. With a live stream it is hard to monitor what you are broadcasting and what the person on the other end of the stream watching is seeing/hearing. I first started to tackle this problem by having my laptop logged into the stream and watching as if I was just another person. Lesson: Be sure to mute the sound or your microphone or else you will get an echo feedback.

The other solution I came up with was to have my wife log into the stream while she was working in the other room and have her listen and give me feedback if things sound strange. I found that this works quite nicely but it requires that you have another person, preferably within close physical proximity, that you can communicate with.

Then I discovered various tools that you can use (the twitch dashboard for instance) that allow you to monitor your stream. These tools and sites mostly let you monitor your bit rate (which is very important) to make sure that you are not lagging on upload during the stream. Unless you have headphones, it is difficult to listen to the live stream while you are actually broadcasting because there is about a 15-20 second lag between you doing something and the stream actually reaching that point.

Using the monitoring sites you can at least be sure that once you have everything dialed in and working, your broadcast is actually running smoothly. The next issue that I ran into may be caused by the cheap DAC that I am using. It came with my mixer and seemed to be working fine in the garage, but now it started to give me problems; the main being a buzzing feedback it generated. If you have ever heard a mechanical hard drive working that is what it sounded like.

This sound was easily heard in some of the streams that I was doing and that’s not good. No one wants to listed to a channel that has bad sound. Keep in mind that no one HAS to watch your channel. By disconnecting the USB DAC, the buzzing sound would stop so that is definitely where the problem was.

I was able to alleviate the buzzing but still be able to use my microphone through the mixer by removing the “input” to the DAC and instead having OBS stream the sound directly from the application of the game I was playing. So even though I was not running the sound through my mixer, and lost some of the controls that afforded me, I produced a very good sounding podcast that was free of the dreaded buzzing.

Those two issues took at least a week for me to completely figure out. Today was the first day that I streamed a decent stream that sounded and looked good. It was also the first day that I streamed the game Rimworld! I have not played the game for a VERY long time and apparently they have added a LOT to the game. I am finding myself having to re-learn almost the entire thing. It is a lot more energetic to play than DF, and I think more entertaining to watch. I may have to switch my focus to that game or even something else that is similar.

Tomorrow I hope to stream even more. I am really shooting for a “full day” stream and would be interested to see how many views I can get doing such a long stream. I think that Rimworld is much better suited to this type of play so I will be sticking with that game for the rest of the week.

Keep pushing yourself

It is always a good thing to have goals. They help you move forward and keep you action oriented by being goal oriented. Having goals that you adhere to also allows you to create a routine that enables you to reach your goals. Sometimes these routines are constructive and help you reach a goal, other times they can lead to complacency.

* The Casey Neistat paradox. He loves to make movies but he is also always pushing himself out of the comfort zone. Making movies everyday for YouTube becomes routine and he does not feel like he is pushing himself any longer. The desire to make movies is still there but he does not find that the processes he has implemented are pushing him out of the comfort zone and has lead him to become complacent. Therefor he is not able to enjoy doing what he loves (making movies) because the way that he implemented his goals as routine.

When something like this happens, it is important to look at where you want to go and what you are doing to get there. It is easy to fall into the trap of the Casey Neistat paradox. If your methods don’t match your ideal means to reaching your goals you can slow or even stop your progress toward reaching your goals.

* At times like this ^ it pays to re-asses your routine.
* Does it really PUSH you out of your comfort zone?
* Does the routine actually get you closer to your goal?
* Should something be removed or added to the routine to make it more effective? – Add/Remove
* What things are you ignoring or not doing that you could/should be doing? – Outside of what you are doing now; things you may not have thought of or looked at. This is good to do every once in a while to make sure that you are not missing anything or have discovered something along the way that you could include in your routine.
* Re-state your goal and re-write your routine – Affirmation of goal/routine.
* Are you having fun? – Or are you stressed out. A lot of the time these types of things and this type of planning can be very stressful. It should be fun and you should be having a good time.

The best way to push yourself farther is to go a little farther each day, week, month, year. This sounds simple but it can actually lead to a lot of effort. Try to add or expand upon what you are already doing on a regular basis. If you are working on Photoshop for instance, try to learn a new technique every week. Then add the creation of some output to it. Then make the output and post it to Instagram. So while you are still learning a new technique every week, and producing some output (a drawing for instance), you are also posting it to social media and you keep adding things to do every week until you have reached your goal.

If you do one more thing every once in a while then you will find that the things that you where originally doing, that you started with, are now happening automatically because you are not focusing on them anymore and the things you are focusing on are always progressing. By doing this, by focusing on the progressing thing, you can keep your focus over time because you don’t get stuck in the complacency of doing the same thing over and over again.

I keep coming back to the concept of making the things that you do every day into habits, thus allowing you to keep your focus on the present and future events. The idea that you can ‘automate’ the tedium or at the very least, relegate it to the back of your focus.

Maybe this is a little bit of escapism on my part. I wrestle with the idea that there is still a whole lot of work to get done if I am going to reach my ideal state. Personally, it is important to keep in mind that every little step forward counts. The nickels and dimes add up quick and you can end up wasting a lot of energy if you focus on the wrong things.

There is one thing that I know to be true: If you keep focusing on the future, if you have a forward facing mindset and outlook, then you will never be moving in the wrong direction. Only when you stop moving forward, when you stop progressing, do you have a problem.

I’m Learning Photoshop

There is so much you can do with Photoshop. It is probably the most useful piece of software out there for editing and creating digital artwork and photos. In my quest to create content for my twitch.tv channel I have started to use the program on a daily basis. Which is leading me to a lot of learning.

Photoshop has always been one of those programs I felt like I should know how to use, but never had a strong need for. I’m the type of person who learns from being hands on, on experience and my Photoshop tasks where too few and far between for me to really grasp its workings.

Over the past two days I feel that I’ve fallen in love with the program. It has turned into a creative experience in both my using it and in the things that it allows me to do. Specifically I have been creating banners that have a enamel finish with a shine to them. Doing this in Photoshop has changed my perspective on just how the program works.

I have come up with a maxim for Photoshop: “Let Photoshop do the work”. What I mean by this is you have to think of working with Photoshop like working a machine. In this case the machine would be a complex and powerful one. You can either try to build this machine custom for every project, or you can use the dials and settings on the machine to have it do the work for you with you just entering the parameters. Photoshop does the work for you as soon as you know what parameters to enter and what dials to turn.

Once you find the location of the dials and the position of the parameters, you have the power of the program at your fingertips. There is a wealth of content online in blogs and YouTube on how to do pretty much anything you can think of. The amount of knowledge that is being shared in the community is staggering. I am truly thankful to all of the people out there who share their knowledge with the world.

I am excited that my twitch.tv channel is starting to look good. The custom banners and buttons really makes the page look like you are creating good content. On today’s steam I had 5 or six people watching at one time. This was in-spite of the fact that half way through the stream I checked the audio to find that it was playing a sort of hard drive electronic sound throughout. I’m still not sure how I am going to rectify this as every time I plug in the USB DAC it makes the noise. My first reaction is to get a better DAC that should filter out the electronic feedback from the hard drives.

So that is the full and successful day that I had. I was able to write, stream, blog, and meditate today. The slow and steady road is the one that leads to success. I know that I can do this one step at a time.

A little bit of keto

My wife and I have been living in a ketogenic state as much as possible since July of last year. I have lost over 60 pounds in that amount of time and have been feeling great. Until Thanksgiving came around. Then Christmas. Yea.

Unfortunately when you go between carbohydrate burning and ketone burning it feels a little like the flu. The way I see it is that you are ‘withdrawing’ from the sugar and carbohydrate overload you just put your body through.

It’s been a little bit of a hilly ride the past couple months. For a while we will be doing great, feeling great and we forget that we are feeling good and think that we can just eat some ice cream or chocolate sweets and then we suffer the after effects.

A little bit of sweets or carbs are fine, there is a limit that we know we are reaching (and surpassing) where are are overloading our bodies. This was the case even before we started this diet. Everyone knows the feeling where you know you should stop eating but you just have those couple more bites.

The impulse to eat more and more is one of the reasons I believe that a carbohydrate based diet is not the natural state we are supposed to live in. Our bodies function much better when running on fats and this can be witnessed by the calm and serene feeling I get when I am in ketosis in stark contrast to the anxious and often irritated feeling I used to have for most of my life.

Today was one of those days where I was feeling slow and irritable due to being in transition. Tomorrow should be better and by the end of the week I should be back in a ketogenic state. Until then my wife and I are being sure that we keep our distance from each other. We have been doing our own thing all day and have made it through so far with little conflict.

Even with me being in transition to ketosis, I was able to get a lot done today. I did more streaming, but I didn’t get a chance to play Rimworld unfortunately. I played for about an hour streaming DF with not a single person watching and then I noticed that one of the more well known DF streamers was online. He had about 15 people watching which is pretty good. Apparently everyone who would have been browsing that game was watching his stream and ignoring mine.

The stream today was also the first time that I was able to get the music and my voice and everything really dialed in. I also found some stream monitoring sites/tools that I used to check the quality and administer my stream. Little by little I am learning all of this.

The other thing that I was able to work on was my twitch channel’s branding. I Photoshop’d some artwork and uploaded them to the site. Banners and labels for the info section, things like that. Every time I use Photoshop I always am perplexed by the amount of things that you can do, but how everything is hidden and not easily accessible. I have to re-learn everything every time I use it!

Aside from the struggling with Photoshop, I actually was able to get some really great artwork done for the page. I’m going for a gold and black command line look. I am also working on getting everything to have a glassy look. All of the buttons and banners will look like a screen with glowing pixels if it all turns out as I am envisioning.

Another day of getting all three of my goals done. I streamed, blogged, meditated. My three pillars of accomplishment!