Views From Strange (Wo)Men, Volume 1, Issue 5


Nearly every Saturday, I hope to highlight a writer or two that has made an impression on me in some way.  The title of the series is simply a reference to the fact that I am a stranger to the people I’m reading. I’ve never met them, so they’re strangers. Strangers are strange!

One of the bloggers profiled this week is relatively new to G96, but it’s someone who’s about to reach a major milestone in their weight loss journey.

Fatman Getting Skinny

John Parkins is a weight loss vlogger. It’s an interesting approach, using a video blog instead writing, that I think is incredibly effective for inspiring others. John’s closing in on his goal of losing 100 pounds, and he has been vlogging every day along the journey. You cannot help but go back and see where he started. He literally transforms before your eyes. It’s like a live action ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos.

He twitters and he facebooks, and I highly encourage you to follow along as he closes in on his journey. He’s open to questions from readers, and even responded via twitter when I asked what his ‘go to’ snack is. Turns out, he loves bananas.

Steve v4.9

I’ve been reading Steve’s weight loss blog for years. I think I first discovered him when he was Steve v4.7, and I’ve been following along ever since. He has lost close to 150 pounds!

I enjoy his blog because he switches things up from seriously thinking about his weight loss journey to posting hilarious video clips that he has run into.  He’s a fair example of the kind of blogger I aspire to be like. He talks about his own journey, and the overall scope of losing weight in a way that is engaging.

Previous Issues of Views From Strange (Wo)Men


Other People’s Scales


I’m at my parents house this weekend, and I’m up way, way too late. In fact, in less than four hours I’ll be waking up to go do some scuba diving training. I’ve already been trained, but I’m getting a refresher. Part of the reason I’m not overly concerned is that my sleeping pattern has been so fucked up in the last week that it really isn’t going to make a difference. I’ve functioned on less sleep. I know I should get more sleep, but it’s simply not happening. Tomorrow night I will definitely be sleeping early.

While staying with my parents, I noticed they’ve had the same scale in the bathroom forever. It’s so off, that you can step on it three times and get three different weight numbers. Years ago, I’d regularly weigh in and take the best number out of three.

So, naturally, I’m not counting my weigh-ins here. I’m not weighing in until Wednesday most likely. However, I also realized that I don’t think I’d weigh in at anyone else’s house either. I like my scale. Even if it’s off, it’s off to my liking. It doesn’t give me multiple readings, like the one here.

I’d hate to come to your house and find out I’m actually 5 pounds heavier than I am…because I’d undoubtedly think I was 5 pounds heavier at my heaviest!

So, I don’t use other people’s scales. It’s like wearing someone else’s underwear.

I’m wearing the same speedos tomorrow that I wore during my first training13 years ago! It was baggy then, it’s baggy still. How? My weight is the hang-over-your-waist type, that’s how.

That’s all I got, just wanted to share that. I have a new ‘views from strange men’ queued up for later today. Have a good one!

Mmmm Pork, Checkin’ In #26

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I didn’t go biking today, but I’m hoping to do some early biking tomorrow before a long weekend away.

The photo above was my dinner tonight.  A pork chop seasoned with onions and organic soy sauce, an Asian style veggie stir fry medley and some whole wheat rice. I know, I could do without the rice, but I’ve done tremendously well in mixing up my every day dinners. I used to do burgers a lot or just chicken breast. I’ve incorporated fish and pork into my dinner rotation, and going with the idea of ‘everything in moderation’, my meals have become much more diverse.

I’m going away this weekend, so other than checkin’ in tomorrow after my bike ride, there won’t be any check ins until Tuesday or possibly Wednesday. I might have something set up for the weekend, but I’m not sure yet.

I’m going scuba diving for the first time in 13 years. I’m taking a refresher course while the girlfriend is getting certified. I haven’t gone scuba diving since I was certified, and I weighed about 220 pounds then. I needed 50 pounds of weight then to achieve equal buoyancy in the ocean then, so I’m not looking forward to seeing how much weight I’ll need to wear this time!

That’s about all for today. Damn, that pork chop was tasty!

Sleepless Night But I Still Biked!, Checkin’ In #26

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I slept very little last night, and then slept late today.  I DVR a lot of movies on the Turner Classic Movies channel, for reasons like last night. I watched “Birdman of Alcatraz”. That movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. It pretty much entertained me until sunrise/exhaustion.

For whatever reasons, and there are enough, I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t health related so that’s not my issue. It’s a mental thing. Or I should say, things. Nothing worth going into here since this is a weight loss blog, but the point is my day was all screwed up because I didn’t sleep last night.

I didn’t want to go biking.

But, I hadn’t gone biking yesterday either.

I’m so easily pushed off a routine, that I had to force it.

At 6:30 this evening, I got the water bottles together and filled them up and took the bike out. I planned on doing an easy 14 mile loop that I’ve shown nice sunset photos from previous trips. I was physically tired, so in hindsight I should’ve just scrapped the idea and pushed hard tomorrow.

The thing is, I wanted to do this.  Being a little tired is a poor excuse to not bike.

I ended up shortening the already short loop. I did an aborted 11 mile trip. Though, that’s 11 miles I didn’t spend on my couch, so I think I win today.

I also weighed in lower, once again.  It’s hard to believe I’m approaching the verge of entering the 240s. I haven’t been there for longer than a few days in years. Though, if it takes another week to get to 250 or 249, I won’t be that upset.  It’s more important to reach a level where I’m maintaining a loss than just reaching a new low and then going back up. I’ve reached 252, so I want to stay here or below. I’m so far from my goal still, that I really don’t want to celebrate any major milestones until the ultimate goal is reached.

It’s like swimming to the bottom of the ocean. I don’t want to just touch it, I want to enjoy myself down there and stay there.

Weird analogy, sorry. It’s one of those days.

Keep on keepin’ on.

No Biking Today, Checkin’ In #25


After biking nearly 40 miles in two days, I’ve decided to give my legs a break. I thought seriously about biking a short distance today, especially since the humidity is low…but figured it wasn’t worth the risk of pushing myself further than necessary and wind up hurt.

I apologize if anyone has received this as their third notification of a blog entry in one day, but it’s one of those days where I needed to write. If I’m not biking, I should be focusing on other things with regard to weight loss.

I’m a few pounds lower, which is nice. I suspect it might fluctuate a few days before dropping again. That’s mainly because I haven’t figured out the body dynamic.  I’ve been eating well, and I’ve been making sure that I’m not eating late at night.

This journey feels so much different than other attempts I’ve made. I think  it’s the longest journey I’ve made in weight loss. I think just about every other attempt ended within a month. I don’t think I’ve continually lost weight for 6 or 7 weeks ever in my life. Gain? Maybe. Loss? Definitely not.

I can’t even explain why this journey is different. It’s not because I’m writing anonymously, though I think that helps. It’s something more, though. It’s something that I think every person who has lost a great amount of weight has experienced.  You can read it in their ‘about’ pages, or hear it in the voice on their vlogs, or even see it in their eyes in workout pictures.

It’s like a switch went on, and they’re more committed than ever before. That’s how I feel. I’ve had bad moments, but I’ve bounced back immediately. I didn’t name my blog Going For 96 because it’s catchy. I named it because I want to see 96 years of age. That’s 67 more years. Who knows if this blog will exist in 67 years, but that’s my plan. I’d even like to see 100 years, but 96 seems slightly more hopeful. haha.

That’s pretty much it for today. I hope your day is going well!

A review to do, for me and for you.

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A very nice representative from CSN Stores contacted me a while ago about doing something with their website that might help me and ultimately help them too. Basically, they’re interested in having me review a product, provide a link to their services, and then supplying me with the chance to acquire something from their website.  Fortunately, the CSN stores represent a number of websites that I’ve used, or people I know have used, to buy things for themselves. In particular, has a great number of things available, from small appliances like blenders to dinnerware.

In conjunction with the FTC blogger guidelines, I’m putting out this disclaimer; I am receiving compensation for an upcoming review on a product that I will not fully purchase myself, thanks to my participation in this review process.

During discussions with the representative from CSN stores, I made it clear that I didn’t want to link something that didn’t really make sense for anyone reading this to see a link to. I didn’t want a guest blog, or an ad blinking, or an exact sentence that had to be used.  I didn’t want to have a post that came off super-duper cheery, because let’s face it…I’m occasionally funny, but more often than not I’m just a regular guy talking to you about how I’m going to stop being a fat guy.

The reason I’m interested in reviewing a product, and the reason I’m okay with providing a link to CSN Stores, is because taking control of my eating habits is a big part of this weight loss journey. It’s not just biking, it’s getting into the habit of eating right and making meals myself.  If that means I can benefit from sharing a link with you to a website that offers a bunch of things to buy for your kitchen, then it’s something I can get behind.  It’s worth noting that the rep didn’t mention this, but I saw it myself..there’s a 70% off deal for certain summer things.

So, I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to review yet, but I’m going to be looking at the small appliances. Once I’ve received it, I’ll let you know. Then, I’ll review it and we’ll have some fun with this new thing.

Beautiful Day for a Ride!, Checkin’ In #24

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Though I’ve been biking regularly for a month and a half, today was the first day that there was so little humidity that I knew I could bust out a long ride.

After yesterday’s 14 mile ride, I was at 175 total since I started this. I didn’t want to make two trips to reach 200, even though 200 isn’t my final goal. I wanted to round things up. I wanted 200 done…and that meant a ride longer than anything I’ve done except one trip last month when I went to buy the girlfriend a gift.

On Sunday afternoon, I had visited a beach that’s located a good 20 minutes away by car, but it was also on a route that bike paths followed along. I’ve biked part of the way before, and decided to bike to that same area today. I didn’t go to the beach, but I was very happy with my trip on the bike.

This is a bike path beyond a beachy area that runs along a highway. Last time I was on this route, I went for the girlfriend’s gift. Last time through here, I had to carry my bike around a fallen tree. No fallen tree, and as you can see a lot of sunshine through the trees!

About a mile after the tree lined path, I turned left and headed for the Rockaways, the communities located off the coast of Queens, a borough of New York City. To get there, I had to go over the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. Gil Hodges was a famous baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers and later the New York Mets. He hit the first home run in Mets history.

Here’s the view riding up the side of the bridge. I had the tailwind the whole way. On the return trip, the headwind was so intense, I was pedaling hard despite going downhill! That was crazy. My guess is this is a trip that gets harder in the winter when the winds are whipping up.

This is a view from the middle of the bridge facing Breezy Point. It’s a National Park, but it’s split up and many folks have summer homes here. New York City! How many people not living in NYC know that they have entire communities of beachy neighborhoods? It’s not all city blocks!

After I arrived on the other side, I biked down to the entrance to the beach communities, and then turned around. I had thought that there was another route that connected to the other side of the island, but I couldn’t find it. Turns out I had overlooked a service road.  If I get to the point where I’m doing 40 mile trips, I’ll return to this spot and do what I set out to do and go beyond. The photo above is when I was heading back towards the bridge.

On my return trip, I opted to ride through the city instead of following back along the coast. I didn’t want the headwind all the way home. I’ve found a few routes that are great to combine with streets that aren’t actual bike routes. It helps keep my options open when I want to bike further unexpectedly.

There are a few routes that aren’t recognized as official bike routes, but the painting of the lines on the street suggest otherwise.

This, technically, is not a bike lane. However, that’s exactly what I used it for. A number of streets have this, or similarly lined roads that give extra space perfect for bikes. This was when I was about 3 miles away from home. I really like this road for cutting through the city to get back to my place.

So, 2 hours, 40 minutes and 25.38 miles. Not too shabby!

While riding, I had a thought about cycling in the winter. I’m curious if I would be better off staying outdoors or if I should consider joining a gym so I can either ride stationary or take up a spin class. The benefit of going to the gym for biking is I’d likely try some equipment. The benefit of biking outdoors is it remains free. I’m sure I’ll consider the pros and cons a lot more over the next month or two.

I also saved a total of $5.50 in tolls had I driven a car to where I went today. That’s kind of funny, isn’t it?

My guess is my legs will be sore tomorrow..but if not, I might try a leisurely 10 miler.

Unrelated to my ride, but related to the blog, I was solicited to review a product for a website and I would get a gift certificate to use on the website. This blog will not become a source of income for me, but I sure as hell wouldn’t mind buying a blender for nothing…though ‘nothing’ would be a link to the website in a post before the review and then the review of the product. I’m still discussing things with them, so we’ll see. If done right, I don’t think it’ll be a big deal for me and the content here. We’ll see though. It’s not worth it, if the few readers I do have decide to run away. =)

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