May 25, 2012

Link-O-Rama

Dmitri Young sold his baseball card collection for $2.5 million. And here's my favorite part of the story: "Only seven cards in the entire collection received no bids and all were rookie cards of his brother, current Tigers outfielder Delmon Young."

• Anyone know if this team needs a blogger?

• Oddly both brilliant and creepy: The evolution of a family, one picture per year.

Joe Mauer and Snoop Dogg, together again at Thursday night's White Sox-Twins game.

• Financing the remake of a Pauly Shore movie is a sure sign that you have too much money.

• Thing that made me feel elderly: This week is the 20th anniversary of The Real World on MTV.

• Friend of AG.com and former Gleeman and The Geek guest Lindsay Guentzel beat out 22,000 applicants for a spot in the MLB Fan Cave, but now they're voting out residents, Survivor-style, and she needs your help to stick around and keep living in New York all season. Go vote.

LeBron James reads The Hunger Games in the locker room, obviously.

Michael Cuddyer is in a new league and on a new bad team, but the newspaper articles about him and "clubhouse chemistry" predictably live on.

Curt Schilling: Great pitcher, not-so-great businessman.

• Saying this will inevitably lead to ridicule, but whatever: John Mayer's new album is really good and also quite a bit different than most of his previous stuff.

• If you're interested in becoming an AG.com "sponsor of the week" click here for details.

• Fat-O-Meter update: I wrote on March 7 about losing 153 pounds in one year. Since then I've dropped another 23 pounds and now weigh 179 pounds, compared to 176 pounds lost.

• My weekly appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen was fun and you can listen to us talk about the Twins and the MLB draft and my life as a robot by clicking here.

• On a related note, I showed up at the radio station immediately after this took place:

 Not so long ago I'd have been excited about the fact that there were still donuts around.

• I'd like this cake for my next birthday, please. But definitely not the blond version.

Aroldis Chapman was arrested for driving significantly slower than he throws.

Jim Thome is single-handedly trying to prop up the housing market by selling his old place for $3.8 million and buying a new place for $4.6 million.

• Someone bought Babe Ruth's old jersey for $4.4 million.

Torii Hunter has yet to rejoin the Angels two weeks after his 17-year-old son's arrest on sexual assault charges.

• My former Sunday school classmate Leora Itman writes about how my old temple in St. Paul has a new, supposedly "cool" rabbi. And he has a sports blog called The Great Rabbino.

Chris Brown and his fans truly deserve each other.

Albert Chen of Sports Illustrated wrote a lengthy profile of Georgia high school center fielder Byron Buxton, who might end up being the Twins' choice with the No. 2 pick next month.

• I've never tuned in specifically to watch this show, yet cancellation is probably the only way to stop me from watching five episodes in a row every time I stumble across a marathon.

• NBC renewed Community for another season, but creator and show-runner Dan Harmon got fired and it's tough imagine the quality and creativity not suffering without him.

• Who is Cole De Vries and what is he doing in the Twins' rotation? I'm glad you asked.

• In similar news, I'm taking myself out of consideration for People's sexiest man of the year.

Jesse Thorn's long-form interview show Bullseye is always a must-listen, but that's especially true this week with Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as his guest.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the studio version of the title track from Mayer's new album, "Born and Raised":

This week's blog content is sponsored by Curt's Salsa, a locally owned salsa company that believes in fresh ingredients and rooting for the little guy. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

April 27, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• Reminder: Gleeman and The Geek will be live on KFAN again Sunday at 4:00, shortly after the Twins-Royals game. Taking calls from listeners went well last week, so we'll probably do that again if you feel like listening live on 100.3-FM or KFAN.com instead of waiting for the podcast.

Josh Willingham welcoming his son into the world is pretty damn cute.

According to the New York Post a "highly intoxicated" Delmon Young was arrested and charged with assault late Thursday night. And not only did the incident occur on the six-year anniversary of his 50-game suspension for throwing a bat at an umpire, Young is being charged with a hate crime for "anti-Semitic remarks" during the assault.

Bobby Valentine had to redo the Red Sox's lineup Wednesday because he had no idea Liam Hendriks was right-handed and not left-handed. And then they clobbered him anyway.

• In addition to the "Mr. Irrelevant" title and a celebration at Disneyland the last pick in the NFL draft now also gets ... well, let's call it a date.

Picture of the week: Louis C.K. meets Hillary Clinton, with photo-bomb by Amy Poehler.

Mila Kunis has made headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, but thankfully the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com still looks like this at a photo shoot and like this at the airport.

Chuck Klosterman bravely attended Creed and Nickelback concerts on the same night so he could write about the experience for Grantland.

• I'm pretty much obsessed with weight loss after being fat for most of my life and losing 150 pounds in one year, so Tara Parker-Pope's lengthy New York Times article was fascinating.

• Speaking of which, it's been a while since the last Fat-O-Meter update: My new goal is to have lost more pounds than my current weight. I started at 355 pounds on March 7, 2011 and now I'm 188 pounds, so the goal is to weigh 177 pounds compared to 178 pounds lost.

Brad Miller closed out his 13-year career in style with a three-pointer and some tears:

And most of Miller's teammates, including the injured, in-street-clothes Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, wore headbands to honor him.

• It turns out not speaking Spanish really hurt Kyrie Irving's case for Rookie of the Year.

• Court Vision is a great website for "examining the NBA through spatial and visual analytics."

• On last week's Gleeman and The Geek episode I talked about playing basketball for the first time in five years and how depressing it was. One of my former teammates chimed in with a glowing scouting report on my old skills: "Undersized 4, no left hand, ugly jump shot."

Kerry Ligtenberg, the former Gophers pitcher who went from the independent league Minneapolis Loons to closing for the Atlanta Braves, is the St. Paul Saints' new pitching coach.

• Watching live as this bit of baseball history unfolded was surreal.

• Remember last week when I wondered what percentage of adult males could throw as hard as Jamie Moyer? I apparently wasn't the only person curious.

Chris Parmelee's life passing before his eyes, in picture form.

Kathleen Robertson is so good (and so good-looking) on the Starz show Boss that I'm willing to forgive her for bouncing the first pitch at a White Sox game.

Hanley Ramirez always wear a Nirvana shirt and a white belt when he hangs with Jay-Z.

Chelsea Peretti writes for one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation, and is one of my favorite follows on Twitter. And as this video shows, she's also a hilarious stand-up comic:

For a woman so thin to accurately describe life as a fat man is impressive.

Torii Hunter is up to his old tricks, throwing people under the bus in the media.

• For years now friend of AG.com Ted Berg has been an expert at eating and writing about sandwiches, so making sandwiches on YouTube was the natural progression.

• HBO sadly has canceled one of my favorite shows, The Life And Times Of Tim, after three underrated seasons.

• My fellow Community fans will enjoy Gillian Jacobs' appearance on Janet Varney's podcast.

• I'm hooked on HBO's new show, Veep, and it's reassuring to know that 29-year-old me likes 31-year-old Anna Chlumsky as much as 9-year-old me liked 11-year-old Anna Chlumsky.

• If you don't like Astros second baseman Jose Altuve we can't be friends.

• My cousin Josh Gallop had a 0.90 ERA and 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the Hopkins sophomore team, so they moved him up to the junior varsity squad. I've already put in a request with Baseball America editor John Manuel for a cover story.

• Netflix recommendation: The Messenger, starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster.

• Finally, in honor of the Twins' terrible start this week's AG.com-approved music video is "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)" by Charles Bradley:

This week's blog content is sponsored by Snap Fitness in Uptown, which offers convenient and affordable workouts with industry best equipment. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

March 7, 2012

How I lost 150 pounds in one year

As a little kid I was always skinny, but when my growth spurt to 6-foot-2 began around age 15 that turned into chubby and by the end of high school I was fat. After a year of college fat gave way to obese and, for the most part, that's where I stayed. I lost significant amounts of weight several times since then, including a huge loss about five years ago, but inevitably I always put it all back on and then some.

Last winter I got Chinese takeout or had Pizza Hut chicken wings delivered nearly every night, with various other fast food meals and plenty of late-night snacking mixed in. All that gorging made me the fattest I'd ever been, which was incredibly depressing and in turn led to even more gorging. I was a mess, physically and mentally, but thankfully for whatever reason something finally clicked in my brain in late February of last year.

I was 28 years old and getting fatter by the day, which seemed like a recipe for a terrible life followed by an early death. I committed to attempting another weight-loss effort, knowing that if this one failed like the rest of them I'd probably just have to make peace with always being obese. And like a true addict I couldn't just start the diet, so instead I decided to give myself one final week to gorge on all the bad stuff I could possibly think of eating.

I can even remember my last bad meal. I ordered my favorite dish, hunan chicken, from my favorite Chinese restaurant, Yangtze in St. Louis Park, and then topped it off with some donuts and ice cream. I went to bed that night miserable, knowing how long the road ahead of me would be and how unlikely it was that I'd see the end of it. I woke up the next morning, sluggish from my final binge the night before, and stepped on the scale: 355 pounds.

That was March 7, 2011. Today is March 7, 2012 and this morning the scale read 202 pounds.

I lost 153 pounds in 366 days, and I did it without stomach stapling or crazy diets or a trainer. And as "Gleeman and The Geek" listeners know, I never stopped drinking beer. Throughout my previous weight loss ups and downs I learned that the simple balance between calories consumed and calories burned is the driving force behind any lifestyle change and as a baseball stat-head the knowledge that things work on a linear scale was reassuring.

My goal early on was simple: Eat fewer than 1,250 calories per day and force myself onto an elliptical machine for at least 10 minutes. I completely cut out all the foods I loved, going cold turkey on takeout and delivery and snacks, and also focused on eating at least two meals each day instead of letting myself get so hungry that dinner became a smorgasbord. I ate oatmeal and bananas and chicken soup and Lean Cuisine microwave dinners.

And the weight came flying off, as I shed 40 pounds in the first six weeks. That was certainly a positive thing, but because I'd done that (or something close) several times before I knew it was merely the first step down that long road. In the past my undoing always stemmed from slipping up once, which seems like a harmless thing at first but eventually leads to falling completely off the wagon.

My brain has proven incapable of occasionally going off the diet, so even after losing 40 pounds if I allow myself Chinese food or a few slices of pizza I know within a week I'll be back where I started. I've now gone one full year without consuming even 2,000 calories in a day and likely haven't topped 1,500 calories in a day more than a handful of times. It's been tough, no doubt, but my mantra of "why do I need it?" has talked me out of numerous slip-ups.

Along the way I upped my elliptical machine workout to an average of 30 minutes per day and developed a routine of working out around midnight, propping my laptop up on the console so music or a movie or a live sporting event could keep me occupied. I can remember barely being able to make it 10 minutes that first day, breathing heavily and sweating and feeling like my lungs were going to explode, but if not for boredom going an hour would be easy now.

I also gradually began to incorporate different, more fulfilling foods. I still eat microwavable meals about once a day--my favorites are chicken enchiladas suiza from Smart Ones, Thai-style chicken spring rolls from Lean Cuisine, and barbeque seasoned steak with red potatoes from Healthy Choice--but about six months ago I started to cook my own chicken-and-rice concoction that has become a daily and sometimes twice-daily meal.

Here are the ingredients for the huge batch I make each week:

- 15 cups of cooked white rice (which is about five cups uncooked)
- 28 ounces of Kame oyster sauce
- 12 ounces of Hormel natural choice chicken, cut into small pieces
- 4 ounces of John Morrell diced ham
- 12 ounces of Green Giant valley fresh steamers mixed vegetables
- 32 ounces of egg beaters, scrambled
- 2 ounces of soy sauce
- 0.75 ounces of minced onions
- 0.25 ounces of ground black pepper
- 1 ounce of salt

Put it all together in a big fry pan and what you get is a variation of chicken fried rice that tastes good, isn't terrible for you, and will keep you feeling full enough to avoid going off the diet. And as someone with zero cooking ability I can assure you it's incredibly easy to make, with the added bonus that the above recipe will feed you for an entire week and needs just a few minutes in the microwave for each meal.

I use that chicken-and-rice mashup as the baseline for most meals. For lunch I'll heat up a couple scoops of it along with the aforementioned Thai-style chicken rolls or a cup of microwavable Kraft macaroni and cheese. For dinner I'll heat up a couple more scoops along with the aforementioned chicken enchiladas suiza or barbeque seasoned steak with red potatoes. Every day and every meal, with Minute Maid light orange juice or water to drink.

Nothing crazy and no tricks, just find some reasonably healthy stuff that fills you up and tastes good, and eat it every day while avoiding slip-ups. I'm not sure if that approach is the healthiest or the smartest or even sustainable for the long haul, but I do know that it, along with 30 minutes per day on an elliptical machine, allowed me to go from 355 pounds to 202 pounds in 366 days with the following progression:

March 7, 2011: 355 pounds
May 11, 2011: 305 pounds
August 12, 2011: 265 pounds
September 9, 2011: 253 pounds
October 21, 2011: 245 pounds
December 1, 2011: 235 pounds
January 27, 2012: 215 pounds
March 7, 2012: 202 pounds

I'm certainly proud of myself for losing so much weight, but I'm also incredibly embarrassed on a number of different levels. For one thing I've lost 30 or 50 or even 90 pounds before several times, often writing about it in this space, and then I've always put it back on. That sucks, plain and simple. Beyond that, the biggest key to losing 150 pounds is being incredibly obese to begin with and ... well, that's not particularly fun to talk about either.

Praise for losing weight has always seemed odd to me, because no one is ever praised for simply being thin in the first place. It's like praising a shortstop for improving his defense from horrendous to mediocre, but not praising a different shortstop for always being a good defender. I'm also not in anything resembling great shape, as I still want to lose about 20 pounds and will never be accused of being toned or muscular.

I'm not an expert, I'm not bragging, and I'll probably always be embarrassed about my struggles with weight and how I look. But what I am, for now at least, is someone who stopped his downward spiral enough to shed 153 pounds in 366 days and my hope in writing this is to encourage myself to avoid yet another backslide and perhaps to encourage others to make a change for the better.

Being fat sucks and, if you're like me, being ashamed about how you look fuels depression and then depression leads to over-eating. As happy as I am with how I look and feel now, it makes me retroactively depressed about times in my life when, looking back, people may have been embarrassed to be seen with me or not wanted to hang out with me. Or even just judged me differently because of the person I presented in public.

I'm a lazy 29-year-old guy who's been fat since high school, doesn't have great metabolism or genetics, works from home, barely leaves the house, and can't cook. If I can get on a simple diet and stick to it for a year, then literally anyone can do it and probably do it even better. Find some low-calorie foods you like enough to eat on a regular basis, learn to cook a meal or two that you enjoy, and push yourself to exercise just a little bit.

My issue has always been needing to feel full and binging, but by building a diet of low-calorie foods and a rice concoction I've managed to feel full most of the time and by going cold turkey on everything bad I've stayed binge-free. Whether it's analytical or obsessive-compulsive, knowing that burning more calories than I take in equals weight loss and establishing a consistent routine of what I eat, when I eat, how I work out, and when I work out was crucial.

I eat at approximately 10:30 am and 6:30 p.m. every day, consuming some combination of those same half-dozen or so low-calorie options for each meal, and then do the same workout around midnight. Immersing myself in those patterns kept me from slip-ups, helped me stay confident that my plan was working, and perhaps most importantly kept me from having to think too much about eating or working out in general.

Because for a longtime fatso whose over-eating comes partly from depression thinking about your life and diet and body can be the worst thing for any weight-loss effort. So instead of thinking too much I just eat the same stuff and do the same workout I did the day before. Stick to your routine, without exceptions. No cheat days, no slip-ups because you're out with friends, no skipping a workout because you're tired.

Do it, every day, and one year later you'll have changed your life.

January 27, 2012

Link-O-Rama

Rihanna seems like fun.

• In retrospect, Kevin Garnett had the right idea in this picture.

• If she wasn't already an Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate this quote would put Lizzy Caplan in the mix: "What I like to do every single night is fall asleep watching Larry Sanders."

Joe Mauer is engaged now, so perhaps there's a similar explanation for last year's injuries.

• One of my favorite comedians, Todd Glass, came out of the closet on Marc Maron's podcast and it was incredibly compelling stuff.

• Speaking of Maron, this article about podcasting quotes me right alongside him, which was a big thrill. And coincidentally the writer, Gaby Dunn, conducted the interview with Jewish porn star James Deen that appeared in Link-O-Rama last month. As always, life is weird.

• We had a first on this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode, as a random drunk woman interrupted the podcast to show us her bra for no apparent reason.

• Imagine a world in which Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Delmon Young are all on the same American League team and someone else is the designated hitter.

Jimmer Fredette's transition to the NBA is proving to be a difficult one and Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland has a very detailed, interesting analysis of his early struggles.

• Speaking of NBA rookies, I bought one of these.

Katy Perry unfollowed Russell Brand on Twitter after their divorce, which is no doubt where this is headed too some day.

• I was talking about wrestling on Twitter, so my mom dug up this picture of me with Sergeant Slaughter in 1985:

I apparently inherited his jaw line from that one brief meeting.

• Fat-O-Meter update: This is day 330 of my diet and I'm down 140 pounds.

• This is absurd, of course, but he almost deserves it for not getting a prenup.

• I wonder what Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie think about this.

• Two great tastes that go great together: Kate Beckinsale and Maria Menounos.

• Stuff like this fascinates me: Back in 1995 the Mariners turned down a deal with the Yankees for a 23-year-old catching prospect named Jorge Posada.

Moneyball was nominated for six Oscars, including "best actor" for Brad Pitt, "best supporting actor" for Jonah Hill, and "best picture." I liked these outtakes better than the actual movie.

• Not only is new Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow sabermetrically inclined, he announced via Twitter that Baseball Prospectus analyst Mike Fast is joining the front office.

Bill James used to write the occasional guest piece for The Hardball Times when I was there and it was a big honor, so Grantland talking him into being a regular is quite a get.

• As a Sarah Hyland fan, I might have actually tuned into the Golden Globes for this.

• I have some mixed feelings about this, but it's an interesting story and an important lesson when it comes to baseball rumors and reporting.

Zooey Deschanel, describing her college experience that sounds an awful lot like mine: "My specialness is not appreciated in this place." With the main difference being that mine still isn't.

• I've always said there's a little Gilbert Gottfried inside all of us:

 If you don't think that's funny we probably can't be friends.

• Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Aubrey Plaza on meeting Ryan Gosling: "I think he has a girlfriend, but maybe I'll murder her someday and we'll be together forever."

Flip Saunders got fired by the Wizards, who hilariously replaced him with Randy Wittman.

JaVale McGee's mom seems a lot like my mom.

Harris Wittels, who once left a comment here, was cast in Sarah Silverman's new show.

• I watched all 10 episodes of Bar Rescue despite not really enjoying it and thinking the star is like Gordon Ramsay without the charm, charisma, and hair. Is that a recommendation?

• Showtime is following the Marlins for Season 2 of The Franchise, which leaves the door open for Ozzie Guillen to appear on Shameless. I'll bet he has great chemistry with Emmy Rossum.

• For anyone with HBO: Make sure to watch the documentary series about Freddie Roach.

• Speaking of great sports documentaries, the final episode of the series following MMA fighter Allistair Overeem is spectacular and features his recent win over Brock Lesnar. Great stuff.

• As always I'm proud to be a very, very small part of MinnPost, which saw its readership grow 21 percent in 2011.

• If you haven't already, go buy Seth Stohs' annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook for 190 pages of hardcore prospect profiles, analysis, interviews, and rankings.

Nick Nelson's old blog-mate, Nick Mosvick, has a new blog all his own.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Work" by Gang Starr:

October 21, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• As a kid Razor Ramon was one of my favorite wrestlers and a chest hair inspiration, so this ESPN segment about his post-wrestling life is extra depressing. And apparently it got worse.

Ryan Howard isn't going to let a pesky torn Achilles' tendon keep him from Whole Foods.

Ozzie Guillen quote of the week: "We want to f*** you, but we don't want to marry you."

• This list of the best television show title sequences is a good way to waste an afternoon.

• Between these Community outtakes and her Late Night With Jimmy Fallon appearance Alison Brie shattered all sorts of adorability records. She's in the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com mix.

• If you watched Game 2 of the World Series last night you probably recognized this guy.

Tony La Russa's wind-blown mohawk was pretty spectacular.

• How can one man be responsible for unleashing all that internet nudity?

• Thanks to Jason Collette of Baseball Prospectus and DRaysBay for being an excellent guest on this week's podcast, which you can listen to by clicking here.

A.J. Pierzynski has successfully introduced "rally beer" into the baseball lexicon.

• The first two comments on the last Link-O-Rama entry sum up the internet perfectly.

Kate Beckinsale is having one of the best age-38 seasons of all time.

• It turns out "poo-poo and pee-pee cards" are the keys to managing a World Series team.

• Fat-O-Meter update: I'm down 110 pounds since March 7. No special gimmicks or weird diets, just fewer calories and more exercise. By now the weight loss has slowed down considerably, but I've gone from obese to fat and am dangerously close to husky. Still lots of work left.

Kimbo Slice's boxing career is going slightly better than his mixed martial arts career.

Don't blink.

Jake Fogelnest of Spin magazine wrote a great and lengthy article about the comedic genius of Tom Scharpling (and Jon Wurster).

Sad news about one of the OG baseball bloggers, Mac Thomason, who had a big impact on my blog-mate Craig Calcaterra.

• Before he became a playoff hero Nelson Cruz was passed over by every team in baseball, including the Rangers.

Michael Beasley hired a public relations firm to help his image, but last night they did him no favors by sending out literally a dozen unsolicited e-mails promoting the same charity game.

• She'll always be Lindsay Weir to me, but Linda Cardellini is 36 years old and pregnant.

• I'm a devoted Dasani drinker, but mostly because the bottle looks nice and clean.

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe wrote a really good, rational take on the Red Sox's beer and chicken controversy.

• I'm not religious ... or am I?

Maria Bello's hat made me snark on the show initially, but Prime Suspect has grown on me.

• On a related note the original, British version of Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren (plus a pre-fame Ralph Fiennes and Tom Wilkinson) is available on YouTube. Fewer hats, though.

• I've reached the saturation point with Jonah Hill, but anything that makes Hannibal Buress more famous is a good thing.

• I sent this link to my mom and she replied: "Thank you for George Clooney!"

• And speaking of great-looking couples that seem just about right, there's this news too.

Norm Macdonald on Marc Maron's podcast was pretty much the best thing ever.

• I saw The Tree of Life and decided it's either bad or I'm too dumb to appreciate its greatness.

• I've been posting a running commentary during the World Series games, so if you're into that sort of thing follow me on Twitter.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is The White Stripes doing a live version of "Ball and Biscuit":

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »