So…yeah…I’m a vegan*

I am now a vegan*…Five words I NEVER thought I would say… No, I’m not a green-peace hippy. Nor am I on some self-righteous mission to save cows, pigs or chickens. Here’s some perspective.

*(Update 2/23/18 – Apparently true vegans don’t use animal products at all…I appreciate nice leather, not sure what I’m labeled as now…)

I loved meat. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Fourth meal. Anytime! Meat was a vital ingredient in my diet. I built a reputation for myself based on my love for eating and passion for meat.

Just this past Christmas, I ate least 30 ounces of prime rib at an annual all-you-can-eat buffet at my grandparent’s club. The meat slicer knows me practically by name since I have been a multi-plate regular at his station for +20 years. He always cuts mine a bit thicker, thinking it would deter me from returning. Wrong!

This year, however, was a little more interesting. My cousin’s husband challenged me to a prime rib eating contest. Although every bite was delicious, we both lost and paid for our foolishness dearly in the following days. I’ll spare the details.

So, how/why did I decide to switch to a plant-based diet? What the Health. In an hour and a half, this Netflix documentary turned my world upside down. That’s hard to do. I am a skeptic when it comes to agenda-fueled documentaries, especially ones that suggest my precious red meat could be the cause of my future demise.

I won’t go into the specifics of the movie, but I will say that I started watching it with a frown and finished it with raised eyebrows, bug-eyes and shaking my head. I felt betrayed and worthless in the site of our government. Things came to light and it all made complete and perfect sense. So many foods I grew up learning are nutritious are the root cause of so many diseases and physical ailments.

The government, food and pharmaceutical industries think we are all stupid. Flat out. Doctors don’t even have our best interest in mind because they don’t have to, nor do they want to study nutrition. Books, collateral, and box labels are authored by industry, with the industry’s interests at the forefront. You are simply a dollar sign. The corruption and deceitful nature of our health organizations and leaders are sickening.

I’ll digress.

My wife and I started our plant-based vegan diet on February 2, 2018. We knew this diet would not be convenient at the beginning, but with each day, we learn something new. Our mindsets are simple. We will do the best can and will control what we can control. A slip-up from time to time may happen and that ok. We have to small children. When we are out and about and they need to eat, will get the healthiest food possible but won’t get discouraged if the options are limited and we have to eat some chicken or in the worst case a double-double.

Overall, we are happy with our decision. I’m hoping to eliminate my sleep apnea and my self-diagnosed IBS issues. With this diet, my arteries and veins will get cleansed, thus minimizing my chances of heart disease. My late grandfather died from heart disease, my other grandfather and father are dealing with this condition now. It was inevitable for me, based on the amount of meat, dairy, and eggs I consume on a weekly basis. Those food groups do have B-12, so we take these vitamins to supplement the plant-based diet. In this short time, I have yet to experience stomach pains and uncomfortable bowel movements which could plague me anytime of the day or night. Over time, we will transition our kids to our new regimen.

We came across a convenient, frozen vegan food brand, Gardein. The meatballs and chicken tenders we have in various meals thus far have been amazing. The prices are comparable with traditional non-vegan options.

I have opened my mind and learned to adapt to a plant-based diet. Tomatoes are no longer disgusting to me. I’m willing to try new things. I want to be around and active when my great grandkids are born. I’m so glad my brother-in-law encouraged us to watch What the Health. It saved our lives.

I’m not trying to convince you to change how you eat. I just wanted to share my story and let others out there know that a meat-lover like me can change. A vegan diet is doable.

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CA CCW – Pt. 1 Weapon Certification

The old man and I are attempting to get California CCW permits. As we all know, California is difficult state to achieve this goal. Getting our non-resident Utah CCW’s was a breeze compared to this.

A few weeks back, we successfully completed state mandated 16-hour CCW training. There were about 28 of us participating in the 2-day course. Students included officers of corporations, small business owners, real estate professionals, church security members, a professional MMA fighter, a gunsmith and an elderly couple wanting to protect themselves from a potentially dangerous tenant/stalker.

Man, I learned so much, too much to write about here. The lead instructor was a police officer with over +30 years experience, servicing LA and Orange County. He is major gun and second amendment rights enthusiast. Go figure, a cop wanting normal, law-abiding citizens like us to carry everyday, everywhere. It was encouraging to meet a law enforcement officer who shared our sentiments for wanting to protect ourselves and our families. He even instructed us on what to say and what not to say for our Good Cause statement and interview.

Day 1 of training was strictly classroom reading (laws) and discussion (laws & scenarios). We went over numerous thought-provoking situations of when it would or would not be appropriate to use deadly force. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of having a tourniquet and first aid equipment, something I never really thought about.

Day 2 was live-fire training. We were split into two groups, Group A was for Glock shooters, Group B was for everything else. We were required to bring the gun(s) we’d list on our CCW permit. We did a ton of close-range to medium-range drills. In the end we shot about 100 rounds with out primary carry pistol and about 50 with our secondary weapon. Should I get approved, my primary pistol will be my Gen 3 Glock 19. My secondary gun is a Gen 3 Glock 17, 10 rounds of course.

At the end of Day 2, we were issued signed certificates of completion for the class and discussed more real-life scenarios. Obtaining a certificate from a state recognized training organization is just one of the many documents required for receiving a CCW permit.

My interview with the Sheriff downtown is in two weeks. Should I get approved to carry, I’ll be purchasing CCW insurance, a hybrid holster and some self-defense ammo. More to come…

Firearms Training Associates: https://www.ftatv.com

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Getting Ordained – Pt. 2

Let’s face it. The concept of online ordination is completely ridiculous. Growing up in the church and attending a Christian school from K-12 and parts of college, I learned that the traditional path to ordination includes seminary or divinity school.

When my cousin asked me to marry her and her fiancé, I knew that online ordination was the only path for me to take. I spent countless hours researching ordination organizations and finally found one that not only aligned with my Christian beliefs but also was recognized by the state of California. I simply signed a belief statement, paid a “donation fee” and that was it. A couple days later, I received my Ordination Certificate, a Certificate of Good Standing, marriage/baptism certificates, a clergy parking pass (which I am most excited about), and some materials regarding marriage laws and how to information for weddings, baptisms, and funerals.

I have all the tools I need to perform the wedding next month. My nerves are definitely building up as the days and weeks breeze by. The groom is from Germany so the venue will be filled with people not accustomed to American weddings. I hope this is a good thing. Perhaps they won’t know if/when I screw up. The Americans, however, will likely know that I am not a ”seasoned” officiant. Oh well. I’m going to do my best and conduct myself with as much confidence, grace, and joy as I can. I pray the focus, as it should be, is completely bride and groom and the guests drown me out.

I hope to meet with them in a couple weeks to learn about what they want me to say and how they want the flow and tone of the ceremony to be presented.

Last year, I was the best man in two weddings. Now, I’m the officiant of one! Lord, help me!

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Getting Ordained – Pt. 1

My cousin and her fiancé are finally getting married! They asked our oldest daughter to be their flower girl and ME to marry them in the spring. We both accepted! I’m extremely honored and blessed to be charged with such a responsibility. Now what?

I need to get ordained. Getting a seminary degree and a sponsorship through my church for ordination is not an option for a few reasons: I have a young family, a career and do not necessarily have the desire, time or resources to join a Christian seminary. Time to go online…

Where do I start? There are a so many online ordination services. From what I’ve seen in my research thus far, ordination will allow me to perform weddings, funerals and baptisms. Some ordination packages even include a clergy parking placard! Receiving a letter of good standing seems to be standard protocol from any online church.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll select my online ordination service and will write a follow up regarding my experience and next steps for wedding prep.

Image Source: http://dudeism.com/ordination/

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Opinion: Otto’s Decision

Upon hearing of Otto Warmbier’s passing, I immediately placed blame on Barack Obama. Although I believe he could/should have done something for Otto, I want to offer another perspective that may not be so popular.

In January 2016, Warmbier was detained at Pyongyang Intl. Airport and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel in North Korea. Obama failed to get this American home during his last year in office.

Being from Southern California, it is known that traveling south of the border is risky for Americans. The Mexican Federales are known to hassle tourists, pulling them over for bogus infractions and shaking them down in order to avoid a ticket or being arrested. Before we needed passports to enter Tijuana, I’d walk across the border and come back with no problems. I understand that driving into Mexico would pose a personal or financial risk, so I have decided to never do it.

Back to Otto. One would think Warmbier would have learned about North Korea through his parents, school, media or at the least through Hollywood films like Team America, Olympus Has Fallen, or The Interview just to name a few.

Although he was just 21 when taken into custody by the North Korean regime, he should have been aware of the risk associated with Westerners traveling to a region ran by a murderous dictator. The actions of the North Korean regime were extreme, considering the alleged offense. Otto Warmbier should have known better. Like others who have successfully traveled in and out of North Korea, the University of Virginia student made the decision on his own to enter the regime and ultimately paid the price for the “adventure.” Americans and global citizens alike have no business risking their lives or contributing to the North Korean economy. Young Pioneers Tours, based in China, is also to blame for marketing North Korea to Warmbier and other Westerners.

Going to North Korea is not an adventure. It is a risk, not matter how you cut it. If you want adventure, go skydiving, or travel to a country that is not run by a volatile leader who uses violence and murder to discipline his own family, leadership, and Americans.

My thoughts and prayers are with Warmbier’s family and friends. My prayers are also with our government as they weigh the political consequences of an American’s death at the hands of this violent, unpredictable regime.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_North_Korea

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I Sit Down to Pee

And I’m completely fine with it.

Being a dad of two small girls, in an apartment with one bathroom, I have discovered that it is more convenient and comfortable to pee sitting down for a couple of reasons.

First, since we have one bathroom. It cannot be locked in case the 3-year old needs to go “potty.” She has a tendency to barge in when she has to go, which startles me mid-stream, causing me to momentarily miss my target and block myself from her waist-level line of vision. Sitting down avoids messes and toddler inquisition.

Additionally, our 1-year old sleeps somewhat lightly. A firm pee steam from the standing position is just too loud for our humble abode. Sitting down greatly reduces the piss acoustics. My pees will never wake up the baby again, which the wife greatly appreciates.

Lastly, sitting down to pee is just straight up relaxing. When I’m at work, or other public settings away from my house, I do the traditional stand-thing to relieve myself unless I’ve got one, or both, of the little ones with me. At first, I was a little annoyed with the idea of sitting down to piss, but now, I’ve embraced it and it seems to be boding well with the family – that’s what matters to me.

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/man%20toilet/

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