If it doesn’t kill ya, something else will…

When I first started this site, I remember posting about carrageenan and its many dangers, along with words of caution about other edibles as well. You know what I’ve learned in 9 years? It’s all bullshit.

Unless you have an allergy or autoimmune disorder, if you spend your whole life worrying about everything you eat, drink, or put on your skin, I can guarantee your life isn’t being lived – it’s being managed. You are spending your days avoiding foods drinks cosmetics and other things because somebody somewhere (usually not based on actual science) told you that it could be harmful. Science is even wrong from time to time as well. How many times can we hear “coffee causes cancer” and a month later hear “coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants”?!?

So with all of the information flying around, what do we do? Do we stop eating and stop wearing sunscreen, makeup, and lotions? Do we stop socializing and instead relegate ourselves to a lifetime of micro-analyzing labels and avoiding the million ever changing “harmful” substances?

Sweeteners, sunscreen, carrageenan, GMOs, or coffee aren’t going to hurt you if you consume them in small quantities…though on the opposite side of that statement, if you’re consuming mass quantities of anything, you’re bound for some sort of trouble. You don’t need to do “clean eating”, you aren’t going to cure everything with a smoothie diet, you just need to get active and keep things in moderation. Have a Coke, eat a burger, put on some sunscreen, take vitamins and use supplements, and drink a beer or coffee, but be normal about it. Don’t go overboard. Do what’s right for youth keep on living a happy and meaningful life.

Lift some weights too. It’s contagiously wonderful and it’s fun to see progress in shaping yourself with some good old fashioned heavy weights and it is scientifically healthy…unless you’re allergic to weights.

Sean

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Round 2

Some of you have emailed me and asked how my trip went. It was amazing, to say the least. I got to hang out with some great friends, did some drinking, and spend time in another country just taking time away from every day life.

I started to really with myself back into shape for this trip, and I’ve gained a new level of excitement for my gym time. I moved from the Y to a new gym in Woodbury and I am really seeing some good results lately. I’ve also started a side gig as a brand ambassador for a supplement company and I am very excited about that.

Supplements have always been a big part of my life since I started going to the gym and it’s nice to know there are more companies providing quality products at affordable prices. It just makes taking care of my soon to be 40-year-old body a little bit easier.

Sean

Should I?

Mel wrote:

I am thinking of getting a breast augmentation and I came across your site wile looking for advice sites.  I am hoping you can help.

I breastfed 3 kids and it destroyed my breast tissue.  They used to be round and full and now they are wrinkly and saggy with no shape and I get big bunches of skin in my armpits.  A friend of mine got augmentation surgery and was recommending I do the same since I am always complaining about my breasts.  I’ve read the procedures and stats, but I need a second opinion.  Should I do it?

Mel

 

Mel,

If you feel it will help you feel better about your self image, I see no harm in doing a medical procedure like this.  It looks like you’ve done some reading on the subject and you’re not going in blind, so if you feel you’re up to speed on potential complications, go for it.  Many people get cosmetic “updates” as they go through life whether it’s teeth (veneers and implants), skin (tucks, augmentation, and Botox), or weight loss.   The most important thing is to feel good about yourself.  Don’t do this for anyone but yourself.

 

Sean

Groove Rings

I’ve been looking for a flexible ring for some time and I have recently stumbled upon Groove Rings, and discovered a selection of rings that are absolutely perfect in their design and comfort. You can even choose 5 styles and keep the rings you want, pay for them, and send the others back!

Before Groove Rings, I tried some from another manufacturer who promises “100% satisfaction guaranteed”…but what I found was a substandard ring, inconsistent sizing, and customer service that attempted to correct issues but either just kept sending the wrong sized ring or just getting snappy in emails.  The worst part, was something I call “band-aid finger”…you know that smell that your finger got as a kid when you left a band-aid on too long?  Substandard rings will give the same smell to your finger.  A well-made ring like Groove Rings let’s your finger breathe, so there is no band-aid finger!

With Groove Rings, the sizing is dead on. Measure using the method from their website, and place your order from any of their fantastic styles (a few styles are below), and wait for it to come.

If for some reason, it doesn’t fit, exchanges are super easy… but if it fits, enjoy it! Did I mention Groove Rings also have a NO BS warranty? That’s right, if it rips while you’re doing your supersets at the gym, don’t worry, it can be replaced. I took mine to Jamaica and sailed with it, snorkeled with it, lifted weights with it, and went water skiing with it, and my ring looks as good as it did straight out of the box.

The reviews speak for themselves on the Groove Ring website as well as Amazon. IGroove Rings are worth every penny and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a gym-safe wedding band, an extra ring, or a ring for the “other hand”.

Give them a try and let them know what you think!

Sean

Rock, Punk and Metal will save the world.

I spend my evenings these days listening to a spa music playlist on Spotify in order to calm Jacob down and get him into a bedtime mindset, so you can take this for what you feel it’s worth…

Also, a ton of artists’ music below can be found in the links in this post.

I really don’t enjoy most rock or pop (or especially R&B) music today. There are exceptions, of course, but in general, I am convinced it’s doing more damage today than good. Hear me out on this and let’s go back to 1997…

Grunge (my fave) was winding down, pop was winding up, and I was a freshman in college. Near the end of my freshman year in 1997, “Freshman” from The Verve Pipe (and no The Verve was NOT the same band) came out. In the midst of chaos of living alone for the first time and struggling to maintain sanity among homework, finances, full time work, and a social life, this song grabbed “my feels” as it is said today and it moved me. Here was this pop alternative band, shoving emotion into the mix of my brother’s White Zombie and Quad City DJs favorites and it turned me on to the next wave of alternative like Third Eye Blind and Barenaked Ladies, both who still make great albums by the way. In fact, a girl that frequented our small apartment parties liked “Freshman” so much she listened to it over a dozen times in a row and nearly drove everyone else crazy one night.

I moved to St Paul, then back to South Dakota, then down to Iowa, and then back to Minneapolis. I didn’t know it yet, but I was lost and it was music driving me further into the black. I had all of this emotion, and I didn’t know how to channel it into something productive.

I had come back to Minneapolis to be in radio, and while I kept my music options open at school, I still thrived from artists like Nina Gordon (formerly of Veruca Salt), Eve 6, Nine Days, and other more sugary artists on 104.1 The Point outside of school.

One day, while listening to a U2 song for the zillionth time (it could have been any band, but I think it was U2), I turned to Zone 105 to hear New Found Glory and their song “Hit or Miss“. I was always a Blink 182 kind of guy, but this, THIS blew me away. My mix CDs of music stolen from Napster turned from sugary pop alternative and headed deep into to punk, and eventually to rock, and I began to see the benefit.

A few weeks later, a guy named Neil was nice enough to give me an internship at 93x, a rock radio station in Minnesota (even though I got lost finding the building…twice), and though I enjoyed some NIN and Marilyn Manson from time to time, I honestly didn’t understand of what some metal and hard rock can do for the soul.

After a few bar gigs, I went to and worked at my first concert, the 3 day rock juggernaut-concert called XFest. By then, I was listening to more rock, but IN PERSON, it was a completely different experience. While there, I snapped a picture with Wayne Static and went with him to see Cher’s son play in the band Deadsy, I talked with Douglas from Hoobastank, saw Corrosion of Conformity rock out, and saw the not-yet-shitty Nickelback play “Super Bon Bon” from Soul Coughing. Couple that with a healthy dose of alcohol, only a few hours of sleep spread across three days, and 19 cans of Red Bull in a day (yes, 19…I had no idea what it could do..it was new to me) and I was thrown headlong into metal and hard rock fandom. I also realized the power of some badass rock.

While the sugary rock, pop and rap of the time was triggering emotion like the pop and rap/r&b of today does with it’s listeners, rock/punk/metal taught me how to deal with those emotions. I could feel sadness bubbling up while listening to “Flower” by the Eels, but harness that and channel it into something really productive with “Forty Six & 2” from Tool and work hard or use it to build myself up before something stressful. I could be saddened by a breakup, but turn it into a fun night out by taking away the hurt with Taking Back Sunday or Deadsy.

Hard rock and metal has been pushed aside lately, and record execs are to blame. First, everyone had to cut out guitar solos (bad idea), then once Staind had a popular slow song, everyone like Nickelback, Hinder, and Stone Sour had to follow with slow songs. Then, it all just sucked. Metallica tried to revive things with St Anger, but that was a terrible try. Soon, people were sick of hearing bands that all sounded like they copied the worst part of Pearl Jam vocal styles:

Bands were no longer making driving rock madness that spoke to people and these listeners all turned to other forms of music. With music today, the listener has emotions evoked (I don’t feel it, but my daughter tells me about it), but there is nothing to channel it, so it becomes angst and unhappiness or it becomes loathing and anger. The messages today of random casual sex, the drug life, and trying to cheat to get by in life are absorbed by the listener rather than messages of how a relationship goes wrong (The Starting Line), dealing with life (Korn), and rebelling against what is beating you down (NIN or Limp Bizkit). I know some rock songs back then had messages similar to today’s music, but it wasn’t every song on every channel like it is today.

Many of the rock stars of yesterday were bullied, beaten down by life, came from less than desirable home lives, etc., and rather than blame someone else for their problems, they did something great with their lives. That doesn’t really happen today because the genre picks YouTube stars and teens that are groomed for pop or Canadian actors that can’t sing for their stars.

Rock also helped me find my way back to religion after losing touch with what I actually believed in. After being bored by typical church services, I took interest in my wife’s church when she told me it was more like a rock concert with a message baked in than a stuffy church service. I went. She was right (only time I will publicly admit that). I’ve been going ever since.

Channel 41 on XM is a nice throwback to the metal and hard rock of the late 90s and 2000s. It’s good stuff. They should play more of it on FM rock stations, but not slip into the mind numbing Top 40 “overplay everything” format. Bring back some good hard rock and maybe we’d be in a world where people could positively channel confusion, anger, and frustration instead of having a meltdown because they can’t deal with feelings. Maybe it’s driving bass or a lung shaking guitar crunch, but whatever it is, it’s missing from today’s music.

What about country music? Well, nothing has ever been wrong with country. It has sadness, wild times, happiness and some anger all built in. If I can’t find rock, country is my next best option. Just no Kip Moore. That guy’s worse than Nickelback.

Sean

The Comeback

Over the past few years, as marriage, a new child, and the first child entering teen-dom, I haven’t been going to the gym as much.  I stayed home for most of the first year of my sons life, or at least more than the first year of Olivia’s.  I have some catching up to do.

It’s okay to slide, and it’s okay if life gets in the way of progress, but never lose that focus.  Make your focus something you can always come back to when life gets straightened out.

I have a trip, my FIRST trip outside of the US coming in Feb (somewhere beachy) and I have set a goal for myself to snap back into shape.  It’s going well so far, but the sudden return to squats is killing my ass muscles.

With the exception of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and NYE, I will be disciplined in staying active in watching what I eat.  Hopefully, the result will be something I keep with me for years to come.

Wish me luck.

 

Sean

Snowflakes

I have been avoiding politics on my site because they’ve become so divisive lately, but after getting over 30 emails asking whether or not I like or hate our government, I thought I’d respond.  I will keep this as light as possible.

First, let me say that no matter what side you’re on, the constant whining and protesting is embarrassing.  I was pissed when George W got elected.  I was even more pissed when he got reelected.  I didn’t go block traffic, light someone’s car on fire or throw around hate speech on Facebook.  I just dealt with it.  There are those that would say the protests are Americans making progress.  I will tell you flat out, you’re right…It’s pushing people away from your cause.  If you are preventing people’s life events from happening, your argument is automatically invalid in my eyes.  If you’re saying hateful things or breaking laws, I will never see your viewpoint because I just see your misdeeds.

Adults, and by adults I mean mature adults, know that things don’t always go their way.  They also know that people don’t have to agree with their viewpoints and (in the event of disagreement) disagreement can be civil and calm.  Everyone else has yet to figure this out, and in the meantime, our country suffers.

That said, here is where I stand:

It really doesn’t matter who is President, I base my my votes on views:

America needs to be safer and needs a strict and legal immigration process that is also faster than it has been.  Illegal immigrants in the US should be given one chance to become legal (unless they have committed serious crimes) and if they bypass that chance, they need to leave and reenter legally.

People in minimum wage jobs do not need to make $15 an hour.  They also need to be pushed into skilled labor jobs. Minimum wage jobs should be opened to people in high school or getting back on their feet or finishing college …or retirees, with the expectation that people will move to more skilled jobs or retire fully after time. Everyone should learn skilled or technical labor.

Pipelines are fine by me.  As someone that has felt the heat of a burning semi truck from 100 yards away, a pipeline seems like a much safer bet than putting explosives on a truck or train.

Capitalism isnt perfect but it’s what works best.  Socialism does not…Ever.  Never has, never will.  History has proven this.

I believe people that protest illegally or block the flow of people at a public venue or highway should be arrested.  I also believe people that start crossing the street on a don’t walk signal deserve a fine.  Laws are laws.

No, people don’t need to be equal in all things.  There need to be winners and losers in all aspects of life.  Same with rich and poor, just like there will always be sick and healthy and this will never change, no matter how much people try to change it.  You won’t always win and you shouldn’t.  Know life should be best spent working hard and learn to lose gracefully.

I am pro-choice but also pro-life.  I don’t feel a fully formed baby deserves termination, but I won’t make demands on your uterus or vagina.  That’s between you and God.

Speaking of which, I am a Christian.  I have Christian beliefs, but I don’t expect others to share those views.  My views are my own and others can have theirs as long as they pose no direct physical threat to me or my family/friends.  Have whatever religion you want, just don’t let it make you crazy.

I feel homosexuality is fine for anyone enjoying that lifestyle.  I feel socially promoted promiscuity is a larger danger to society than the sexual preference of men or women.  We need to promote marriage as an important part of society, regardless of sexual orientation.

I feel any person or group that openly promotes hatred or violence toward a group of people or the government should be considered a hate group or a menace to society.

I feel people have lost touch with their ability to tolerate opposing views because they’ve lost touch on their ability to socialize.  Rather than eye contact and conversation, it’s liking a post or posting with online blurbs.  Talk to each other.  Have a disagreement.  Don’t let that change friendships.

I feel our country is great, and no matter which way it sways politically, there is no reason to be destructive, hateful, or violent in the name of politics.

Celebrities and musicians need to keep political preference to themselves.  Have something to say?  Put it in a song or a movie.

I don’t believe any racial group has privelege over another.  We are all born naked and afraid and the rest of our lives should be spent making sure we don’t die that way.  Some will do better than others.  Some will fail.  Some will be slowed down by life events.  Not all of us will accomplish our goals.  It doesn’t mean we have failed or others have failed us.  It means we haven’t adapted to changes.

People need healthcare but no one should be forced to buy it.  It should also always be affordable for everyone.

College shouldn’t be free, but public college shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.  If tuition rises, it should be for academic progress not athletics.

Common core is the worst thing in education.  We need to say the Pledge every day.  No one sits out of this or the National Anthem.

Safe spaces and trigger words are ridiculous.  Suck it up.

We need to stop comparing America to other countries.  We aren’t them and they aren’t us.  Every country has at least one thing better than another country and constantly comparing these things is like saying Adidas is better than Nike.  Everyone will always disagree.

I feel Americans don’t do a solid job of respecting our military or law enforcement.

That’s it.  I have always hovered in the middle (though I consider myself fiscally conservative), but the far left and far right are really putting the squeeze on people in the middle these days.  It sucks.  If you’re in the middle with me, don’t let the wackos make you nuts.  Just hang tight and stay calm…And for goodness sake, avoid Facebook.

Sean