Thursday, December 29, 2011

Staring Into the Cellulitic Jaws of Pier Pressure Eating

Pier pressure, man. PIER pressure. Your friends come along and they're all like "Yo, Ding Dong Man, Ding Dong Yo!"

And "Hey man...what is it with you? You on Some Kind of DIET? Is that what they teach you in that little sissy school of yours??

And "You ain't down wid us no more! You ain't ain't FAT!"

Oh wait...I may be thinking of the Weird Al video.

More realistically, though, friends come along and they, meaning well, want to go out for lunch at, say Long John Silvers. You know, like you've always done. And it SOUNDS nice. And you LIKE hanging out with your pals. And you don't want to change the plans. So you go, right?

The thing about food is, it's a way of life. It's not just what you eat. It's the society you're in. It's how you interact with people.

The best I've managed to muster is to choose carefully what I eat when I'm going out to eat with some pals, and to recognize the temptations that await me when I'm going. I have opted to say no once or twice. And I have chosen the location once or twice. And hopefully, overall, the small changes will make a big difference.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Huff, puff, huff, puff...okay....did my exercise for today.

There are always reasons not to get exercise. Because you're sick. Because you're terrified of getting mugged or "jumped" by your neighbors during an evening stroll. Because you're busy.

I ran down my own personal list of reasons this morning and finally came to the conclusion that for me, I was just being lazy. I had dropped my boys off at my wife's store so I could have some time to get some work done. On my way home I stopped by the State Park, jumped out of the car, and walked up the 200 step dune climb. Then I came back down and drove home huffing and puffing.

The exercise session took all of 15 minutes out of my day.

Honestly, I'm feeling quite a bit more alert than if I had not exercised at all. So I'm hoping I'll be more productive today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Don't Panic about your Post Christmas Weight Gain: I'ts Mostly Water Weight

Blarg! My Christmas binge has gained me almost three pounds. And before I learned about water weight, i'd be extremely disheartened and discouraged that I'd slid back so much and so fast. So read this, and maybe you'll feel better after your own Christmas binge.

Time to talk water weight again. Cuz boy do I got it. I blame my Christmas binge.

Water's tricky. CRAFTY.

When you first start losing weight, you lose weight fast. It's cuz of a certain chemicle in your muscles and throughout your body, which I like to call "Goo" (aka glycogen) which is sort an uber-fast energy storage method for the body. And the thing about this "goo" is that it holds a lot of water. When you first lose weight, this "goo"/glycogen gets used up and relases massive quantities of water, which is awesome because it feels like you're losing weight super fast at the beginning of the diet.

When it's used up, then the weight loss slows down. Fat takes quite a bit more time to burn off.

The major bummer, though, comes when you eat more calories than your body uses. Cuz then the glycogen/goo comes back and holds fast to vast quantities of water again. So you can gain three or four pounds all at once. WUMP.

Which is exactly what happened to me this week. I've gained three pounds even though my fancy calorie chart shows that I really only ate about 2300 more calories than I used...less than a pound's worth.

On the bright side, I should be able to drop it pretty fast again considering it's mostly water weight. It would be a LOT more discouraging if I didn't know what was going on. Which I do. So it isn't. I just gotta keep on with what I've been doing for a couple months and everything will be fine.

Monday, December 26, 2011

This Cheese Stands United in Favor Of Cheese in my Diet

GAH! Deal breaker. I fold. I'm not gonna be purist on the Paleo diet thing. If I can't have my cheese, I'm out.

No cheese in the paleo diet. No cheese in the paleo diet!

Oh I get your game. I GET it...lure me in with bacon and then SPRING the NO CHEESE on me.

No cheese. I'd give up on the bacon before I ditched my love of artisan cheeses. Cheese, I'll have you know, LITERALLY holds a special place in my heart.

No cheese....from my cold dead cheese...

Sometimes these diets intimidate me. The feel more intense than I'm comfortable with. I feel like I'm like most folks. I'm not out to make fitness into my hobby. It's cool for those who do want to do that. But that's not me. I just want to lose a few pounds and walk away a bit healthier.

I'm not out to get a six pack. I'm not out enter an iron man competition. I'm not trying to do triathelons or pull a dozen water skiing women in bath-caps behind a high powered boat using the power of my own jaw muscles.

Do I want to be as healthy as I possibly can be?

No. Not really.

The quest for perfection is more devout and obsessed than I'm looking for. And that's okay.

I love many aspects of the paleo diet. I love the notion of eating unprocessed foods. Of eating vegetables and grass fed or wild caught meats and reducing or cutting out gluten. But will I be a following that sort of diet to the letter? No.

Back to the Diet: Cheese is part of the Paleo Diet, Right?

Well, that was fun.

I ate food. For Christmas. There. I suspect I've gained back one of the pounds that I workd so hard to kill. Each one of those pounds of fat is 3500 calories. So amazingly easy to put into my mouth. So hard to take off my doughy midsection.

Do I feel some regret? Maybe a little.

Fortunately I'm still on track for my December goal. And now it's time to get back to ye olde diet.

But now arises a new problem: leftovers. Just because I am now seeking my way back to the path of healthy eating doesn't mean there aren't piles of cookies and bags of the traditional Christmas Cool Ranch Doritos hanging around. And real maple syrup. Dammit.

I just have to not put them in my mouth in vast quantities, right?

I should probably go back to my routine of filling up on something like cabbage and hot sauce for breakfast. And on the bright side, we have some fantastic, fancy cheese. Prima Donna cheese and a soft, goaty bucherolle.

Cheese is part of the paleo diet, right?

I'll probably also get out and do some more exercise today. Here's a vid I made yesterday while going out on my Christmas constitutional which theoretically burned about 400 calories.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ain't Gonna Break Out the Hair Shirt this Holiday Season

Batten down the hatches, mateys. We're most of us in for a pefect storm of foods:
Candies, chips, cookies, cakes, breads, kola─Ź, nuts, crakers...booze, pastries, booze pastries...

It's true. Booze pastries. My wife has a 5 gallon bucket wherin she's steeped, for months now, several loaves of homemade fruit cake in a bottlesworth of high octane brandy.

Am I going to eat/drink that? Yes. Yes I am.

How can I not?

And there's the problem with the holidays. Everything is so good, how can you NOT eat? I admit, I've had terrible luck sticking to my diet these past few days. Most days I've been coming just under the wire of my caloric limit. Yesterday I went way over...but I think I burned most it off by shampooing the carpet and searching around for a gifts for my 789 nephews. Not that it's an excuse.

In a way, I'm trying to keep this in perspective and now allow my failure to stick to a strict diet make me give up the ship once the rough high calorie waves of carbs and sugars have settled down.

After all, Christmas time...the solstice's traditionally been a time of feasting. Perhaps the problem is not the presence of feasts during the Holidays. Perhaps the problem is that we feast all 365 days of the year as well.

Maybe it's okay to have a short time of gluttony to look forward to, and to remember fondly, while we spend the rest of the year adjusting to a healthy, normal eating style.

I remember learning about medival monks. They'd have their strict, regimented lives day in and day out. And then one day out of the year, for the entire day, the youngest monk got to be the head monk and for that whole day hillarity and chaos ensued. A pressure valve. A time of relative abandon.

Food addiction aside, where overeating is a severe, chronicl problem...if releasing the pressure valve once in a while was good enough for Medieval monks, it's good enough for me. I'm going to sample my favorite dishes this time of year. I'll celebrate with friends. I'll try to watch my food intake, but I'm not going to break out the hair shirt if I go over. And then...when the holidays are done, the feast is over, right? Such has been the lot of mankind for centuries.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Confused by the Diet Wars? Eating More Veggies is a Safe Bet

Here's an hour-long video of some dude talking up the virtues of low carb, high fat food choices. He makes a few great points. However, I'm looking at two different sides in these diet wars: The Low Fat side and the Low Carb side. One side insists that fat is killing us, giving us heart disease and cancer...the other side insists that carbs are killing us, leading to obesity, diabetes, and plenty of other ailments.

So if you're as confused as I am, take heart. Because the one thing everybody seems to agree is that EATING MORE VEGETABEDLS is a good thing.

In the diet wars, nobody is telling us to put down our carrots, or that cabbage is going to kill us. Nobody is suggesting that broccoli and spinach are deadly killers.

Whether you're low fat or low carb, it's probably a safe bet to Eat More Veggies. Peas, carrots, cauliflour, and my personal dietary staple, cabbage. Cabbage pan fried in butter, I'll have you know. A heap of cabbage in the morning with hot sauce and a sunny side up egg.

Though I admit I went a bit on the meaty side this morning. Two eggs and healthy portion of bacon. And I just ate a carrot. Anyway, enjoy the video:

Venturing into Candies and the Smell of Christmas Things

Today I venture into the high-risk pool of Holiday candy production. Sure, I may be on a diet, but one does not turn ones back on tradition, especially with children in the house. They must know the ways and virtues of the Candied Orange Peel dipped in milk chocolate. And besides, they make fine gifts.

Christmastime is a time of smells and snow. We barely have the snow right now, which is a strange thing in Michigan. So we'll need to go extra-heavy on the smells and create that humid food-preparation environment Grandma used to have going on every time we'd enter her house on any special occasion.

I've got a cabinet full of the spices. I've got the savory spices in one cabinet and the sweet/halloween spices in the other. Strange that synesthasia and spices are so Month-oriented:

In October the smell of cinnamon and clove conjurs memories of Witches brew and pumpkin breads, and watching Young Frankenstein on television.

In December the smell cinnamon and clove awakens memories of raisin breads, raisin sauce, spiced ham and that strange cheese, bread, egg thing at Grandma's house with my family, and those flying-saucer type tree orniments I used to love to pull off the tree and fly around the house.

Anyway, the point is, smell is important. And I want my two little boys to have that smell-memory activated and associated with pleasant home memories when they smell holiday spices.

And so, today, we make candies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Help! The's TAKING OVER my MIND!!!

That's it. I've hit a wall. This is where the struggle begins. Where the Fatness starts to fight back.

Any suggestions are welcome....The fat, it has a mind of its own. It's taking control! It was but sleeping these past couple months while I mounted an assault on it. I admit, I got a bit cocky. Started to think "Well this isn't SO bad. This is going to be EASY."

I was a fool.

Something has happened. Somehow, after weeks of acclimating myself to sane and healthy portion sizes and food choices the fat is now brainwashing me. It's playing with my mind! Without noticing it, without even being able to point to a single individual slip up my calorie intake has started to rise....

Once is an event. Twice is a pattern:

I need to nip this in the bud. But I fear doubling down on food intake won't work. The Fatness is clever. It's wily. I need to out-smart the Fatness.

I've chisled about 20 pounds away from its empire and now it's pissed. This is where the struggle begins. Where the Fatness starts to fight back.

I think step one is to not eat out. At all. Maybe step two is going to be getting more munching veggies and have them on hand in case the fatness reaches for them. And breakfast. I need to be sure to eat a decent breakfast every morning.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

My pants, my pants, my pants are falling down.

Good god it's been a busy week-and-a-half. Scrambling around...doing this, doing that. Much doing. Haven't had time for the pithy commentary I prefer to do.

But I do have some good news to report: my pants are falling down. Repeat, pants falling down.

This morning I was scrambling to get ready for a meeting, and was met with this loose pants business, and grabbed a belt just before I flew out the door. As I put it on on my way to the car, I found the belt did not have holes enough to make the belt snug. So I went to the meeting with loose pants. One of the hazzards of losing weight, eh?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seeking post-binge dieting suggestions.


I'm looking for good ways to avoid stress, or at least avoid eating while being stressed. If you've got suggestions I'm all ears.

I've been out. Busy. Stressed. Here, look, I have a graphic of my caloic intake. Let's see if you can guess the day before a deadline:

Go ahead. Guess.

Give up, its the red one. As I've mentioned before. Anyway, if you have some post-binge diest suuggestions, I'm allears.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dieticians Confuse Me

The world of health and dieting as a sub culture is very very, very very, very very very, very, very very, VERY, very very VERY VERY strange. I admit I'm having trouble adjusting or relating to it. There's all this crazy stuff packaged with the simple mathematical concept that: if your body uses X calories to survive and move around and you eat X+ you'll gain weight, but if you eat X- you'll lose weight.

Eat less, exercise more.

Easy concept.

I can even wrap my mind around the concept of eating regular food instead of, say, Pop Tarts. Or an even better concept, eat food instead of nutrients. Forget about Vitamin A and Phenolyuekariotc-spinonza-braunschwager 3 and just eat a Tomato, already. EASY.

But what I don't get is stuff like this: gluten. And by gluten I mean the protein found in things like bread and a bowl of otameal. Oatmeal! And now the folks advocating eating FOOD instead of nutriets are going back to confusing the issue and saying "DEAR GOD! We didn't mean eat THAT!"

Now...Some folks, they can't eat gluten. Messes their insides up something fierce. Celiac diseaes. Awful. Those folks should not eat gluten.

But oatmeal. Bread! The foods of civilization? The product of the easily cultivated foods that lifted us from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle where we died at the age of 43 and as many women died in child birth as not.....bread? We should avoid bread?

I can't get behind that. Donuts maybe. MAYBE. But only barely.

I'd always understood this simple thing: Bacon will stop your heart immediately, oatmeal will cleanse your arteries.

Then in strides the modern dietician suggesting exactly the opposite.

Who ya gonna believe?

Well I'll show them! I'm...I'm....I'm...I'm gonna eat a whole plate of bacon and we'll see whose heart stops first!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I've Switched My Breakfasts to Spicy Hot, Butter Drenched Veggies

Okay, so I've switched up my breakfasts quite a bit. Insted of toast and some eggs and some sausage, or instead of a bowl of cereal, both of which are about 500 calories, I've been eating a massive pile of pan fried vetables in the morning.

I know. It sounds like hell, right? But god help me if I'm not actually enjoying it. Each morning I look forward to breakfast now. I think I may be channeling the ghost of my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Powers, who seemed singularly obsessed with teaching nutrition. Either that or the only time I paid any attention to her is when she was holding food in front of the class. If I recall there was quite a bit of hyping up of and eating of popcorn as an example of a healthy snack.

Anyway...back to the veggie breakfast...the cool thing is, I have a tremendous pile of food on my plate and have to refrigerate half of it because I can't possibly eat that much. So that's a nice change. I like when my brain is not locked in an epic battle with my stomach, both of us struggling for control of my hands as it reaches for and pulls back from a bag of cheetos, then reaches again. So there's that. Being full really helps with the brain/stomach armistice.

Ultimately when I'm done calculating how many calories are in my newfangled breakfast it amounts to about 112 calories. Not bad. 224 if I eat the whole massive, heaping pile of veggies.

So there's the choice between a 500 calorie breakfast that isn't particularly filling to a 200 calorie breakfast that stuffs you so full you don't feel like eating for the rest of the morning or most of the afternoon. It's really not much a a brainer. That is to say, it's a no-brainer.

Okay, okay...I think I'm at an advantage because I genuinely enjoy cabbage. I really do.

But for the folks out there who are reeling in horror and disgust at eating a heaping pile of pan fried veggies in the morning, I have three suggestions:

1. Butter. Lots and lots of delicious butter. Fry the veggies in butter. Let's say you use a whole tablespoon of butter. That's 100 calories right there by itself and you're only adding about 150 more calories to it with tons of veggies.

2. Cultivate a love of hot peppers. Make the food SPICY. Somehow, for me, it makes the food something I look forward to as much as salt, fat, carbs or anything else might. If not more. Except it's not going to load the foods up with calories. In just a couple weeks I've kind of become a fiend for the hot peppers.

3. Eggs. Add a couple eggs to the veggies. It helps to drop a fried sunny-side-up or two on top of the pile of veggies. Something with a little more fat and protein. Mmmm...and it doesn't really add that much more in the way of calories. You're still looking at a very filling 350 calorie breakfast instead of a 500 calorie breakfast, and that's good.'s how I do it. I usually start with cabbage. Cabbage is relatively cheap as vegetables go: about $1 to $2 for a large head of cabbage. Cheaper if you can get them on sale. If they're on sale, I buy a lot...cuz you can preserve it just about forever in the fridge or even out of the fridge.

Alright, so I slice off a large chunk of cabbage, about 1 or 2 cups worth, and shred it into thin pieces. That's about 22 calories per cup. Not bad.

I drop maybe a half a tablespoon of butter onto a hot pan and drop the cabbage in and let it sit there and let it fry until it's soft and nice and brown on one side.

That's when you add in some jalapenos which can be had for 50 cents for a half dozen of 'em at the store. I also add hot sauce or salsa. It's fantastic.

I like to add some onions if I have 'em. Mixed greens if I have 'em. I always, always have canned of pickled beets on hand so I add a few or those.

Peas. Canned peas give the veggies a bit more of a meaty tone to it. So I like to add peas.

But anyway, just throw a bunch of veggies into the pan and fry those up until they're soft.

And that's it. When they're soft, put 'em on a plate and eat it. Sometimes I add the sunny side up eggs, sometimes not.

I know, it sounds weird. But I actually look forward to these breakfasts.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Professor with MS Goes from Deterioration to Active Lifestyle by Eating a Paleo Diet

Here's a neat video from the TEDx Iowa City. A professor who went from a state of bed ridden deterioration from Multiple Sclerosis to an an active lifestyle in a matter of months just by changing her diet. If nothing else it's a pretty sound tesimonial about why you should eat healthier. For those into the whole paleo thing, this is some fascinating stuff.

My only two gripes:

1. I'm not giving up my dairy products and

2. Eating organ meats once a week...why, that's a load of tripe.

Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shoot the Messenger, Get a Better Scale

Okay, now that I've cooked myself up a high spice breakfast and I'm sitting down I'm going to vent some of my frustrations...namely that:

1. My scale is a piece of crap and
2. My weight loss has slowed

Now, I know what you're going to say about this scale thing. You're going to say what my wife says: that I'm just upset at the scale because it's not showing me what I want to see. And, okay, yes. But our scale is more of a ballpark figure scale. For example, my scale will tell me I'm 135 before a shower and might tell me I'm 149 after.

I don't think i use 14 pounds of soap. Or maybe I'm a lot more absorbent than I realize. I should try drinking water like Mork some time to see if...what? I said Mork.


That's right, I made a Mork and Mindy reference RIGHT here in 2011. Deal with it (for the kiddies, I've included a reference at the bottom)

Anyway, the moral of the story is, get a good scale if you plan to be obsessing about weight loss for any length of time.

In other news, I think I need to start setting shorter term goals. Sure, my goal is to lose 50 pounds over the next year. And maybe that's a bit too distant to really keep up the enthusiasm.

Maybe I should start set the goal of losing 4 pounds by the end of December. That's a 14,000 calorie deficit over the next 24 days. Totally doable.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Become a Hot Pepper Fiend - Forget the Weight Loss Benefits, It's DELICIOUS

Now here's a nice change of pace. Ever since experimenting with spicy foods as a weight loss help, I've really stopped caring one way or another if it's good for weight loss because it's SO GOOD. Why haven't I been eating like this before? Hot peppers are FANTASTIC.

For the first couple of days I had to psyche myself up to put jalapenos and other peppers on my food. But now I pile it on with gusto. GUSTO.

So far I can't much vouche for the weight loss benefits of capsaicin (peppers)...but holy smokes is it good once you get over the initial hump of having your mouth be on fire. And I even seem to be choosing spicey food over salty or high fat foods by choice rather than discipline.

As a side note, the same pals who recommended eating hot foods came over with some spicy asparagus spears their relatives canned. BEST pickled food I've eaten IN MY LIFE. Transcendent. And very spicy. With occasional hints of lime or cardamom, or garlic...

This hot foods thing is a whole new world. Plus there's some evidence it helps lower blood pressure.

And now, who else, the Red Hot Chili Peppers...

Friday, December 2, 2011

How To Fill Your Days with Negative Energy (that's a good thing)




Oh, hello! I see you've caught me meditating.

No! Wait! I said MEDITATING. Geeze.

Anyway. I have learned the importance of calm as a powerful dietary suppliment. It's pretty astonishing really. Regard the following graph so I can illustrate how meditation and calm can help fill your days with Negative Energy.

Hmmm...that sounded bad. Negative Energy Balance is a technical term for using more calories than you take in. It's a good thing.

This is a graph of my day to day calorie intake. Each bar represents a new day. The green ones going down are days I used more calories than I took in (Weight Loss) and the red ones...those are days I took in more calories than I used (weight gain).

Overall I'm doing pretty good. My weight is steadily declining...slowly, slowly, slowly. But it's going down. And that's good.

I've circled, in purple, a specific day. That red day. That day I took in quite a few more calories than I burned. Here's the interesting thing...that's the day I had a pressing deadline and a gagillion things I needed to get done. The kids weren't being terribly cooperative. People were calling to pile on more tasks for the day.

That was a stressful day. The thing is, I don't precisely remember eating more that day. It just turns out that I did.

A few diaries back I showed some research about how the analytical part of our brains can be easily overloaded, and when that happens, the salt-fat-sugar-hungry id part of the brain is no longer kept in check. It literally takes over, like some Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde sort of thing...or like a Cheeto crazed Incredible Hulk/David Banner sort of thing.

The research I talked about merely had test subjects memorizing numbers, and showed that JUST that task made people statistically MORE likely to choose chocolate cake over a fruit up

Now imagine if you have a million things to do over the course of a day and you're stressing out like crazy. A million little things to worry about. If your analytical mind is busy enumerating a To Do list and worrying about a set of crisies, your id is going to sneak a few bags of Swiss Cake Rolls while the super-ego is flailing around.

Weird, right?

I have found that it helps to relieve the mind of the To-Do list. Instead, I write things down. I try to get that crap out of my head. The moment I start listing off in my head all the things I need to do, I try to get it written down as soon as possible. That includes if I'm trying to remember what I ate during the day.

Get it out of your head. Clear the mind. That's why some caveman invented paper and a ball point pen.

And just as important....relax. Breathe. I'm sure I'll be talking more specifically about calm over time. It's something I stuggle to maintain.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Mouth is on Fire...but apparently there's truth to hot peppers being helpful for dieting

With the rumbling cacophony that is the sound of boys in the background, some pals mentioned to me that I should try to Eat More Hot Peppers to help with my Mission to Lose 50 Pounds. WAS at a child's 7th birthday party...and it WAS pretty loud, so it's possible I misheard them. It's possible my friend's said I should Skip More Fat Suppers, or Beat Floor Pot Schleppers, or Gleep Blore Zot Pebblers. But I'm PRETTY sure they said "Eat More Hot Peppers."

Anyway, they're fit, trim folks and their opinion is generally valuable to me, so I figured it was worth looking up and giving it a try. I'm talking about the Eating More Hot Peppers thing. I'm not even sure how I'd start Gleeping Blore Zot Pebblers.

So I hit Google Scholar and gosh darnit if there isn't some bit of truth to it. Capsaisin, the main hot-making component of hot peppers does, in fact, seem to help with weight loss:

Here's a scientific study: Effects of Capsaicin on Abdominal Fat an Serum Free-Fatty Acids in Exercise Trained Rats.

These results show that under conditions of pair feeding and exercise training, capsaicin intake induces a significant negative energy balance after only one week of treatment. This is associated with an increase in circulating free-fatty acids which is mediated by beta-adrenergic

"Negative Energy Balance" I had to look that one up. It means "burning fat". More techniclly it's when you use MORE energy than you take in, forcing your body to use some cases... vast stores of fat.

Of course...note in the aboce quote you can't JUST eat capsaicin and hot peppers to get thin. The study included exercise AND capsaicin (hot peppers).

It's never good to rely on just one study. But there are quite a few others confirming similar findings.

Here's another scientific study: Administration of Capsiate, a Non-Pungent Capsaicin Analog, Promotes Energy Metabolism and Suppresses Body Fat Accumulation in Mice

These results suggest that capsiate promotes energy metabolism and suppresses
body fat accumulation as does capsaicin.

So that's cool, eh? Maybe there's something to this capsaicin thing. I guess we'll find out.

Now I'm putting hot peppers into my eggs in the morning and munching on these pickled peppers I canned in 2010 but never had anything to use them for. Consider it a science experiment. A very painful....PAINFUL science experiment. My mouth is on fire half the day. I hear you get used to it.

Anyway, hot peppers. Give it a shot.

Picture Attributions:
Photo 1 by Photosteve101
Photo 2 by krossbow