The Geek Squid!

Since starting ‘OPERATION: GET SKINNY’ I have been logging onto MyFitnessPal.com almost daily as part of my weight loss routine, but what I love most about ‘MFP’ are the forums. For those of you who are members, and only use the app, you are missing out on about 50% of what MyFitnessPal is all about… It’s about community.

Since joining MFP I have made some great online friends. I really like how everyone helps each other stay motivated and have their own story to tell, wheither it be that they want to lose weight, stay fit, gain weight or muscle. They all have their own reason to be on the site and a goal they want to reach. Of course there are the odd few people who disagree and have issues with others, but you will get that in any community, online or otherwise, and like I said, they all have different goals and reasons to be on the site.

Now, talking about weight loss is all well and good but I wanted to find more people who were a bit like me – a bit on the geeky side – so about a month or so ago I posted ‘Calling all Geeks & Nerds’ in the forum. The response was amazing! My friends list more than doubled, It went from 70 friends to 177 friends in a day. Because I had made so many new friends on there who were geeks and nerds I then created a group for us called, ‘The Geek Squad’. It’s a group for all things geek. So if you are a member of MyFitnessPal and you’re a massive sci-fi fan, into gaming, or just know your way round a computer, then this is the group for you. However, It turned out that there is an American store called ‘Best Buy’ whos IT support comany is also called ‘The Geek Squad’. This caused a bit of confusion, and even some abuse by some of the American members of MFP who thought the group was for ‘Geek Squad’ or ‘Best Buy’ employees. According to some of the members of the open forums who have had dealings with said company, they aren’t the most helpful or intelligent group of IT individuals.

I wanted to distance the group from this negative view of ‘geek’ & so I asked the members of the group to come up with a new name and mixedfeelings came up with the name ‘The Geek Squid’. I loved it! I then made a mascot (the little guy on the left), I again asked the group to give him a name, and due to a few drunken updates from myself where I use this word a lot, the squid gained the nickname ‘Squiffy’. I did want to go with a name that was suggested on twitter and I thought was genius, ‘Squeek’! It’s a combination of the words ‘squid’ & ‘geek’ and is a cute misspelling of the word ‘squeak’, but it looks like ‘Squiffy’ has stuck, and deep down I love that he is called ‘Squiffy’. I love the group, I am so proud it and it’s a great place for me to talk to other people who love the same things as me and to express my inner geek. We can talk about where we would travel in time if we had the keys to the Back to the Future DeLorean, or who our favourite character from Spaced is…

Speaking of which…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1y1BIACRH4

As you can see from youtube link & picture of me from 2008 standing outside “23 Meteor Street”, I am a massive fan of SPACED. On the night of Februrary 9th 2012 I had a dream that I was watching Spaced. I dreamt about the third series & I wrote about it here, in an entry called ‘Deep SPACED’. For those that have seen Spaced would know, there isn’t a third series, but in my dream there was. This series was new and picked up on the characters lives 11 years later. I won’t write the dream here as I have already done so a few entries back.
Well, my blog and twitter account are linked, so my blog will automatically send a tweet informing my followers and the other people on twitter that I have posted something. When I finished that entry a tweet was sent, like so…

 The tweet was then was retweeted a few times, and some people also sent a tweet to Simon Pegg (who co wrote and starred in Spaced) about what I had written…

“Skip to the end…”

Anyway, on March 6th, Simon Pegg tweeted this…

Coincidence?!!! Well, probably yes… but still, It was nice to know that Simon Pegg was also thinking about SPACED, and that is awesome. or as Squiffy the geeky squid would say…

 “GEEKS ARE AWESOME!”

Nil by Mouth

Where to start? I have an issue with food, (I guess that’s a good starting point if I am to write a post about my eating disorder). In fact I have a huge issue with food. I’ve had an issue with food my entire life. As you may or may not be aware I am trying to lose some weight for my forthcoming wedding on August 25th 2012, and to help me do this I joined MyFitnessPal.com. It is a brilliant website, that also has a great iPhone app for people like me who want to lose weight, and track calorie intake. But It was my food diary that a lot of people took interest in because my diet was so limited. People would ask me why I just didn’t eat a wider range of food?

Whenever anyone asks me about poor diet, I don’t really know what to say. I have an eating disorder, which is more like a food phobia. I am scared of food, or to be more precise, I am scared of trying new food. Almost everything I eat, everything I ‘trust’, I’ve been eating since I was very little and I have never really ever strayed from these ‘safe’ foods. It is easier for me to list the things I do eat rather than the things I don’t it. If I had to make a sweeping statement on the things I don’t eat, it would be this;

“I don’t eat meat, fruit or vegetables.”

I don’t really know the cause of my eating disorder. Trying to find the answer is a bit like trying to find the killer in a “whodunit” murder/mystery. My family seem to point fingers at each other as to who is to blame. There are a few theories. One is it being down to me having cerebral palsy and due to this I was not able to suckle as a baby. Then there is a dramatic story of me being traumatised after being force-fed food when I was very young and having to eat my own vomit. Whatever the cause, my issue with food has affected my whole life.

Growing up with this phobia was difficult. I don’t think people realise how much they take food for granted. How it – food – has an impact on everything. During my school years my fear of food would cause me to panic about school trips, staying at friend’s houses for dinner, and I even remember having to miss out on my best friend’s birthday party because they held it at Pizza Hut. I couldn’t go out for the day unless I knew there was something I could eat when I got there. I just wouldn’t eat otherwise. This behaviour seemed to be socially acceptable as a child. One doctor told my mother that it would be something I would grow out of, but I never did. The older I got the more it affected me. I felt even more alienated then I did at school. I was embarrassed by my disorder. I never went out on dates, going out meant eating out and that was something I just didn’t do. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t see the world, and because didn’t really eat anything I was also very underweight. I am 5′ 8″ and until I was about 25 years old, I weighed less than 8 stone (112lbs / 50.8kg). The below picture gives you an example as to how skinny I was.

Me (on the right) playing the bass guitar in 1999 when I weighed under 8 stone

It was around this time that I met a girl who didn’t try to change me but instead gave me options. For example she knew I liked cheese and she knew I ate plain pasta and asked if I ate macaroni cheese? For years I thought that macaroni was a vegetable and refused to eat it. I thought it was the same thing as cauliflower cheese. I had no idea that macaroni was pasta. She also introduced me to the plain cheese pizza. She phoned a take-away and asked for a margarita pizza without the tomato base. This was something I was too scared to do. What if they laughed at me? What if they ask why? What if they forget and it came with tomato? But she didn’t see my phobia as a problem, she would just help me work round it. She was great. She introduced me to more foods and because of her I put on a healthy weight, but I knew my diet wasn’t a healthy one.

My weight has been up and down ever since, and this normally depends on if I am in a relationship or not. I don’t really have a love for food, I hate cookery programs. I see food as more as a necessity rather than a pleasure. When I was single I would forget to eat, I don’t think I really register hunger. Buying food just seemed like a chore. I would buy food like bread. Forget to eat it. It would go mouldy. I would throw it away, and the cycle would start again. So I would then stop buying bread. I would stop buying milk. I would stop buying things that had a short ‘best before’ date. I started to get back into old habits, but now because I wasn’t as young as I was it started to affect my health. Different girls I dated had different ways of dealing with my disorder. One would try to trick me into eating things I didn’t like by hiding things in my food. This didn’t go down well at all. Some chose just to ignore it and let me eat what I wanted. Then when I was about 30 I had one girlfriend who was very militant about fixing my diet. She was tired of me saying that I would to get round to fixing my diet one day. She wanted me to fix it now.

I talked to my GP who referred me to a nutritionist. The nutritionist made me keep a food diary, but made it very clear that she wasn’t a therapist and could only advise me on my diet. I saw a therapist who tried CBT, but it didn’t get me anywere. I looked online trying to find help for people with eating disorders, but I couldn’t find anything that related to me. I wasn’t bulimic. I wasn’t anorexic. It was like no one else had the same issue as me. Then I found a web forum called http://www.fussy-eaters.com. The introduction to the forum reads:

We are an online community providing support and information for people with eating problems related to Selective Eating Disorder (SED) and Food Neophobia (fear of trying new foods).

I had finally found other people who had the same issues as me, and it was through this website that I was contacted by one of the producers of a program called Freaky Eaters. She sent me a set of questions for me to ask my friends and family about my food issues. She also asked me to make a small video diary of my eating habits, and to video myself trying new things, so thats what I did.

I sent them the videos, and the answers to their questionaires and they got back to me said they were interested in my story and would be in touch. I started to get my hopes up. I was finally going to be getting help. Real help. They started to interview my family, and friends, and then a few days later a camera crew arrived at my flat. It was now my turn to talk about my phobia. I was very nervous, but the woman interviewing me said I had nothing to worry about and she talked me through how it would work. This was just stage one. This was just the ‘getting to know me’ part. She would ask me a question and I would reply with that question and an answer. For example if she said; “What food do you like the most?” I would reply with “I think the food I like the most is..” etc. This was so they could remove the questions in the edit. The also filmed ‘cut aways’, which were just shots of my hands and eyes, and things they can use to edit my responses. They wanted me to talk a lot about pasta, the types of pasta I eat and how I just have it on its own or with cheese. No sauce. I became very aware that I was being pigeon-holed and that the name of my episode was probably going to be “Addicted to Pasta”. As things progressed I started to have concerns about how I was being portrayed on camera. I’m not addicted to pasta? I’m not a freak. I’m just someone who has an eating disorder, and one of the few foods I do eat is plain pasta. Then she asked me the question I dreaded the most. “What I thought caused my phobia?” I started to feel like I was on trial. They wanted me to point the finger. Point the finger on national TV as to who I thought was to blame for my condition. I started to worry about what my family had said on camera. Who did they blame? I answered the question the best I could. which is ‘I don’t really know what caused my phobia.’. She didn’t seem to be happy with that answer.

When the interview was over she opened a bag and brought out a carrot. She wanted to film me trying to eat it, raw. The camera focused on me. I couldn’t do it. She said this was brilliant. It shows I have a real issue. They wrapped up filming that day and said that they would be in touch about stage two. As soon as they had left I was on the phone to different members of the family with questions about what they had said to the film crew. Everyone was pointing fingers at each other. I got in touch with the producer and asked if I would see the program before it aired. If I had to give approval? She said that the first time I would see it was when it was broadcast. She told me that I had any worries and didn’t want to continue that it wasn’t too late to pull out. So I pulled out. I liked the idea of getting free help but was worried that the program might start a family feud. So that was the end of that.

Apart from getting over some of my anxieties, I haven’t made much progress since. I am too much of a stubborn person, but with my wedding fast approaching I have been thinking more about the future and how my diet is affecting my health. I also want to have children one day and I don’t want to pass my eating disorder on to them. I don’t want them to have the same problems as I do. I keep having visions of me trying to explain to a 3 year old child why they have to eat their vegetables but daddy doesn’t have to. Children learn by example and I wouldn’t be setting a good example for them, but I just don’t know where to go from here? In a way this is the first step. Admitting that I have a problem. Talking about it. Writing it down. I know it isn’t much, but it’s a start. It’s like being part of a help group.

*stands up*

“Hello everyone. My name is Russell, and I have a selective eating disorder”

Open Road Song…

Since I bought the VW Golf (RoOkar II A.K.A Rolf The Golf) I’ve had a bit of a dilemma when it comes to listening to music. My old fiesta had a cassette player and so it was easy to use a tape adapter for my iPod to listen to music and podcasts, and although I have a iPod FM turner, the sound quality isn’t as good so I have been mainly listening to CD’s (I know CD’s are so “old school” now aren’t they?!) . Now because all of my music is now on my computer and also because I don’t want to scratch or loose damage any of my original CD’s I have been burning my own compilation CD’s. So recently I have been obsessed with driving songs.

There are hundreds of songs out there that are perfect for driving to;

  • “Radar Love” by Golden Earring
  • “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf
  • “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC

…just to name a few.

But must of the songs which feature on the lists of “Top Driving Songs” are normally over 30 years old and as much I love listening to these “classic driving songs” I thought I would post the songs I would include on a list of great drving songs that rarely or never get a mention.

So here are 10 of my favourite songs to listen to while driving…

  • “Joy” By Gay Dad
  • “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei
  • “This is your life” by The Dust Brothers
  • “Step Into My World (The Perfecto Radio Edit)” by Hurricane #1
  • “Travelling Without Moving” by Jamiroquai
  • “My Favourite Game” by The Cardigans
  • “Stylo” by Gorillaz
  • “Jailbird” by Primal Scream
  • “Go With The Flow” by Queens Of The Stone Age
  • “Open Road Song” by Eve 6

Continue reading

Are You Easily Distracted? I am…

So my last post was back in January, which has surprised me really as it didn’t seem that long ago. In that post I commented on how I hadn’t posted anything for two months, 68 days to be precise (it was the title of the post after all). Well I appear to have left things for more than 68 days this time. Doesn’t time fly? I have tried to update since then as there has been lots of things that I wanted to blog about but (as you can probably tell from this) I just don’t know how start and then when I have started I have a hard time staying motivated and an even harder time staying focused on the subject that I wanted to write about. Once I have lost the spark I just give up on it. I have many post sat in drafts that I have given up on, some are only a few sentences long, others are paragraphs long, but they all are attempts to keep this blog alive & kicking.

To give you an example, here are the start of two entries that I started and never finished;

  • Fear of the Future – May 20, 2011

    I fear change. I hadn’t realised how much until the other day…

This entry was all about how I don’t like change, my fear of growing up and the a realisation that if I had a child today that by the time it turned 15 I would be 50! eek!

  • My Generation – May 9, 2011

    I came to realise the other day that my generation are the last to know what the world was like before the internet…

In this entry I was feeling nostalgic and I wrote about how the internet has changed everything we know. I talked about how everything is instant. We no longer have to wait for our holiday photos to come back from ‘Snappy Snaps’ before we discover that our thumb was in frame, etc. Most of the entry was inspired after reading this old blog entry by the late Douglas Adams back in 1999. http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/19990901-00-a.html

So there you go, just two entries out of many that I failed to finish. One that I wish I had posted but never got round to finished was a post all about Tw1tterband. What’s Tw1tterband you say? Well…

Back in Febuary I was involved in a band that was just made up from people on twitter (hence then name) hardly even of us had met each other but we recorded a cover of Rod Stewart’s “Maggy May” the finished song was launched on Sunday 6th February on BBC Radio 5 Live and raised £2285 for charity. The band went on to cover The Smiths “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” which got the attention of Johnny Marr of The Smiths, which then got the attention of the national press.

You can read all about that on the band’s blog here… http://tw1tterband.blogspot.com/

So as you can see I have had lots on my mind and lots to write about, i’m rubbish at writing about it that’s all. I haven’t even written anything about seeing Dave Gorman! *sigh*

I think this t-shirt sums me up best…

🙂

Promo

Like most people on the internet I have a few blogs and other things online that you might be interested in. I know you are probably not interested and this post isn’t meant as a “look at me, I am amazing” post but more of a “oh yeah, i’m on twitter too if you are interested” post. So if you are interested in my life and things away from WordPress then take a look at the links below.

Twitter!! I tweet more than I blog mainly because I am lazy. I know some of you are on twitter already as we already follow each other but it’s the online social networking site of choice for me. If you do add me say hello as I tend to not follow back unless you are followed by friends of mine, so I know that you are not a bot or anything.

I have a podcast. (it’s not really a podcast but a audioboo but it’s available on itunes so if you are interested you can have a listen).

You can subscribe to my youtube account, or friend it. I don’t post that many videos but you might be interested. I also try and make a video blog now and then but its normally about once a year.

I have joined flickr recently so I have been adding my ‘hipstamatic’ photos to it. So if you are interested in that then clicky clicky.

Lastfm is a addition my original ‘Promo’ post as I wasn’t a member when I first wrote this. I am surprised that I had never joined Lastfm before as it really is a website I can get into. I love music and love finding new bands to listen to. So if you want to know what music I am into click on the pic.

And that’s it really… well I say that’s it but I am also on facebook and I have a formspring account if you feel the need to ask me questions. I am also have a livejournal & myspace account but i havent really looked at either of them for a long time. I am also a member of SG too.

So anyway that’s me. Lots of things you can now click on if you are interested.

TELL ‘EM STEVE-DAVE!!

I will write a proper blog about my trip to New York later, but for the time being I will leave you with the highlight of my trip…

TELL ‘EM STEVE-DAVE #19:   “For Those About To Rock”

UPDATE:  If you would like to read more about my trip to America and my time on Tell ’em Steve-Dave,  I wrote about this in the blog entry called ‘Empire State Of Mind’.