Please help my friend Carly win recording time

Last April, my friend Carly Thomas invited violinist Noah Battaglia and myself to join her for a live-on-the-floor music video our friend Edward was filming. The song, I’ll Find an Ocean, just made the first cut in local radio station 98.1 Free FM’s “Under the Covers” songwriters’ contest, bringing Carly one step away from a huge $4000 recording package prize.

The voting system is annoying (requiring voters to create a new account on their WordPress-built user management system), but if you would be so kind as to take the time to vote for us, I would really appreciate it.

Goodbye, Vancouver

I moved from London, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia a little over a year ago to join Perch as the Sr. UX Designer. In that time, I have designed 3 versions of the app1, watched us grow from a team of 4 to a team of 8, and been part making what I believe is a new beginning in the way we experience communication.

The past 16 months have been amazing, but like all good things my time at Perch is coming to an end.2 Two weeks have gone by since I handed in my resignation, and my last day will be September 27.

At the end of the month I will be driving back to Ontario to spend time with my mom who has been battling cancer for some time now. My friend Ed will be joining me for the ride, my first time across Canada.

What will I be doing when I get back to Ontario? Good question, but not one I can answer at this time. What I can tell you is that it won’t be anything I’ve done before.

I have two special announcements for those in the Vancouver area. First, I’m having a party at my place Friday night. I know this is the Internet, but I still think you should come. Email me for the time and location.

Second, because my little Mazda 3 Sport can’t tow a trailer, I need to sell my furniture. There’s a bed, a sofa bed, and a patio couch listed on Craigslist that, I think, would look so good in your place.

I did not expect I would leave Vancouver so soon. I’m really going to miss working with Danny, Steve, Ian, Lance, Adam, Edward, and Pete. I’m really going to miss the amazing friends I’ve made. I’m really going to miss the sushi.

But, don’t fret. I’ll be back to visit soon.

  1. With numerous iterations in between. 

  2. If you’re a designer who would love to work with an amazing team on a product that has the potential to change the way the world communicates, you should get in touch

Juggernaut Joe’s 40th Jubilee

I bought this shirt when I was fat. It was too small for me, but I couldn’t put it back on the rack. At the time I was toying around with the Paleo diet, and thought I’d be able to wear it in a few short months. I didn’t stick with the diet at the time, so the shirt remained in a box in my storage locker.

My in-suite washing machine had been broken for a few weeks, and I was running out of clean tees.1 I hadn’t thought about it in almost a year, but as I pulled the green article out of the box my eyes widened with excitement.

I might be small enough to fit into this thing.

I put it on, and immediately felt the warmth of self confidence emanating from my chest.

Jaugernaut Joe's 40th Jubilee
My moobs are shrinking!

It’s the moustache that does it for me.

Episode 30 of my podcast, Hundred Down, is up. I drop a big announcement a few minutes in, about which I’ll have more to say here in the next a week or so.

  1. White. Whine. 

Perch in the App Store

Though it is technically a 3.0 release, in our hearts it’s our true 1.0. This is just the beginning of a vision we’ve been running towards since day one.

There are a non-trivial number of video communication apps in the wild, each with their own user experience wrapped around a basic concept: connecting people over distances of any size through video. The experience that we’ve created was built with the same goal, applied to a new context, resulting in a new experience. I’m really excited to see which of our ideas work, learn from the ones that don’t, and discover new problems and opportunities along the way.

If you have remote workers on your team, if your company works from multiple locations, or if your office would benefit an easier method of connecting two spaces within the office, I would love for you to give Perch a try. If you work from an office and have kids at home, try setting up one Perch Portal at your desk and another in your kitchen. I think you might like it.

Of course, I’m not a very good sales guy, so I’ll leave you with someone who is.

Download Perch for free on the App Store

I need a survival kit

Every week I listen to the latest episode before posting it to Hundred Down. Admittedly, our show isn’t particularly professional, but I do care that what is said on the show is—at the very least—tasteful.

A week ago, the guys and I recorded one of the most revealing episodes we’ve ever done. After recording it, I felt an intense inner pressure to protect myself from what was said. I didn’t want to hear it again. I didn’t want anyone else to hear it, either.

Usually when I talk about feeling down or being alone, I do so in a light-hearted way. Most of the time I feel pretty ok, and making a joke out of personal misery helps make it not seem so, well, miserable.

It took me an entire week to finally strike up the courage to listen to what we had recorded. But as I sat and listened to a guy break down, I felt comforted. It wasn’t that I looked down on the guy, but rather that I felt I wasn’t alone.

Now, of course I realized that this guy speaking to me through my earbuds was me, but the experience reminded me of two very important truths.

First: having some form of documentation of your pain to look back on allows you to realize that in life you are always moving forward. How you feel in any particular moment does not determine how you will feel in the future. As I sit here writing this today I feel so content, so genuinely happy, that I don’t recognize myself from even a week ago.

Second: other people in this world feel the same pain, sadness, loneliness, and fear that I have felt, and one of the best gifts I can give them is the comfort that they, too, aren’t alone in all of this.

To give you a sense of how strongly I agonized over this: I reached out to a few people I admire and asked what they felt about publishing something that was personally revealing for public consumption. The responses I got were both helpful and mixed. Were I to follow some of the advice I received I would not be writing this down and I would not be publishing the episode.

But as I listened again to the end of the show, I couldn’t help but wonder whether right in that moment, even if completely subconsciously, I could foresee the internal struggle I would face:

What I want to make clear is that I know I’m going to get into a funk again. I’m going to get into this place where it’s dark, and it’s gloomy. But in the meantime, I want to focus all of this time and all of this energy into putting together a survival kit.

This episode and the 27 that came before and the two or three dozen that come after will form the foundation of that survival kit. And my hope is that anyone who may be struggling with their own weight and/or self-image issues might find it a helpful tool in their kits, too.

The hardest ten

Losing weight is a mind fuck.

About four years ago I lost sixty pounds. Starting at 275 lb, I ran, lifted, pressed, pushed, pulled, fought, and calorie-restricted my way to 215 lb. It was tough. I was dedicated.

I had a really hot girlfriend helping me out.

Once that fell apart, I let myself go. As one friend-of-a-friend put it, I was putting on my shield. In a matter of months I gained back those sixty pounds, and then a few more just in case.

For three years I lived my life in that shield. I clung to it. It defended me. I embraced it. It saved me.1

On January 2, 2013, I started taking off the shield. On January 14, I started telling my story and documenting it.

In nearly 8 whole months of losing weight professionally2, I have discovered one fascinating benefit to be the ability to examine just how long it’s taking me. I have never kept good records, but recording the show has resulted in a trail of crumbs that allow me to look back on my journey. Where in the past I didn’t have the information to analyze, now the podcast has become a deep cove of revealing thoughts and stories and statistics about myself.3

Through this lens I have come to a harsh discovery: I’m in a rut.

By June 14, 2013, I lost 52 lb. I remember exactly how I felt because I can hear it.

It took me 164 days to lose 52 lb. That works out to 3.15 days per pound. It has been 66 days since I reached the 52 lb mark. In 66 days, I have lost somewhere close to 20 lb. Unfortunately, these have been the same three or four pounds lost and gained and lost and gained over and over again.

This morning I weighed myself and the scale read 234.9 lb. That means that in 66 days all I have accomplished is less than one pound per month. That’s 33 days per pound.

What the fuck have I been doing?

Even by listening to a few small snippets of the past few episodes of the show, it’s obvious I’m not doing well. I’m struggling to get over whatever’s holding me back. I’m making excuses for laziness. I’m pushing back against the system — no — the friends I’ve asked to help me out.

It’s a repeating pattern in my life, and one of the main reasons I don’t like asking for help.

I’m an addict. Addicts hurt the ones who try to help.

Watch any episode of Intervention, and you’ll see just what addiction does to someone. It makes them violent against those who love them. It turns angels into demons, saints into sinners, beauties into beasts.

And I’m one of them. It’s embarrassing to admit it, certainly even more in a place so public, but my hope is perhaps that by admitting it I can begin to heal.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m in some dire need of professional help. I have not stolen, or physically hurt anyone. There are certainly people whose addition has worn them down to the point where they are incapable of healing on their own. I am not one of them, though my heart breaks for them.

I have the mental, physical, financial, and social capacity to fix this. But, again, I can’t do it on my own.

So there it is. Getting from 50 to 60 lb has been hard. Hell, I’m still not really there. And there’s a hell of a long road after that.

But as I take a few steps back, giving myself space to accelerate in order to push beyond my own inadequacies in an attempt to achieve something I know I can achieve,4 I’m asking that perhaps, just maybe, you might come alongside and give me a bit of a boost.

Just, try to keep your hands off my bum.

  1. Even as a post-Christian, I’m still looking for a saviour. 

  2. The show has a net worth of -$96. We made $50 off the one ad we ran. I gave it directly to Bill to say thanks for all his work editing the show. 

  3. One of the more disgusting revelations I’ve come across is how easily I fascinate myself. 

  4. Winded, right? I’m working on my writing. Any and all suggestions from English Majors currently on their 3rd break during a marathon 14-hour Starbucks shift welcome here