How I’m Losing Weight, While Eating Whatever I Want

First off, I’ll say that I’ve never really taken dieting seriously.  I am a bit of a hypoglycemic and used that to justify my significant appetite (as well as my internalization that I’m a “big guy”).

But coming home from a vacation this summer I just felt so fat.  I was 277lbs., I’d inched over into an obese BMI (even when adjusted for my height) and I was trending towards 300lbs. — a barrier that I just did not want to cross.  And this was back up from 257lbs. from when I got back from New Zealand at the beginning of the year.

So searching my options, I remembered the Shangri La Diet.  It’s a plan for self-experimentation really.  And I’d been reading and thinking about it for 3.5 years, but never had the gumption to try it.

Now was my time.  Those close to me know that both my parents are struggling with weight related health issues (type II diabetes and morbid obesity) and both of my grandfathers had heart disease (one heart attack and one congestive heart failure).  I wanted to put myself into realm of Normal BMIs, 18-24.9.

So that meant that I should weigh at most 219lbs (that’s just under 25 on the tall adjusted BMI) and I could/should probably lose even more weight to be in the 200-210 range — though BMI says I could be down to 160 (WTF!) and still be in the normal weight category.

I set my initial goal weight at 219, and set a mini goal of 257 (below which I know I hadn’t been in years).  When I reach 219, I’ll make a decision with consultation of those around me if I need to keep losing to put me lower on the BMI scale — or if I already look too skinny I’ll stop there.

Shangri La isn’t a diet.  It’s not subtracting anything from your diet.  It’s adding calories — flavorless calories — during windows where you’re not tasting other flavors.  These windows are an hour on either side of consuming the flavorless calories.

My daily routine is wake up, drink four tablespoons of canola oil, wait an hour, eat breakfast, and then go on with my day.  The oil basically suppresses my appetite and the no flavor turns on the natural fat burning mechanisms in my body.

Since July 29th, I’m down over 25lbs.  And it’s been fairly easy to do.  I’m eating a lot more salads — and I’m enjoying it, but I also eat a cheeseburger every now and then too.  I can eat ice cream, but I feel so full that I generally don’t want to.  I eat anything I want, but I just eat less of it — and then I’m not hungry after it.

The community discussion boards are helpful and here, and buy the book if you want a little more on the theory and whatnot.

Here’s my fatsecret profile.



Filed under personal

Waking The Sleeping Giant

Today we had the first meeting of the embryonic team that is Ask A Ninja 2.0  Douglas and I piled into Brett’s big ole pickup and started transforming my apartment into a studio.  And our first Nintern, Jon, showed up and was aces.

We needed a new greenscreen and bought a big paper roll and two grow lights, which are used for another type of green, but are also similar to movie lights that cost 15x the price.  The guys were skeptical, but the tests turned out great.

I was inspired by this Indymogul episode.

The bigger thing is that it’s just fun and terrifying to put ourselves out there like this, can we build up to be a force again?  I think so, I have faith in the creativity that we as a team are building.  We’ve lined up a big surprise for our first day back, and got more in store.

Also we’re taking suggestions as to where the Ninja has been in his time off.  You can tweet him at @realaskaninja.

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Filed under New Media

Hiring A Nintern

We’re officially hiring a few good Ninterns.

Must be web savvy and view YouTube and Web Series as a way of life.

Skills We’re Looking For:

YouTube Comment Moderation, Annotations, and Who Is In Right. This. Second.  You’ll also be handling moderating tasks on

Final Cut Pro — We’re looking mostly at Assistant Editing duties here.  You’ll be assisting in transcoding and data management.

Writing — We are building a team of creators, write something hilarious, it will get made and put out there in front of the Ninja audience.

$8/hour 20 hours a week.  Must be able to get to downtown LA one day a week and work the rest of your hours mildly supervised.

Send a cover letter, a sketch writing sample to with Nintern in the Subject line.

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Stepping Back To Step Up

This summer has been a big one.  I got engaged, met a new generation of my family, and saw the passing of my Grandfather.

I also came to terms with the tremendous opportunities still there for AskANinja in the online space and beyond.  Looking at what YouTube has done for consistent creators is inspiring.  That one can build up an audience of 10s of millions each month and make money from that is what we and everyone else has been looking for since the dawn of podcasting.  It’s now a reality.

And again when you build (or rebuild in our case) that consistent audience you can do interesting things with it (touring, TV, merchandising, etc.)

We need a dedicated producer to handle those responsibilities and guide those treacherous waters.  And I’ve always had trouble switching between producer and director/editor.  So with that in mind, we’re bringing in the internet’s Brett Register to fill the shoes of a day t0 day creative partner for Douglas.

Brett is one of the most prolific and consistent people working in the web video space.  We’re excited to see where he’ll push us creatively and how the show will grow and expand under him.  This is like when your favorite musician brings in a new producer, or a comic book brings in a new artist.  Same core, just slightly different execution.

Our new plan is to have content 5 days a week.

Here’s the tenative breakdown:

Monday — The Ninja Shows off  shows we like and want to see more of.  This will be a way to give back to the community to try and share traffic and promote worthy new shows to gain some audience.  They should be shows that appeal the young guy demographic — if you’re responsible for a show that would like to be featured, drop me a line.

Tuesday — Ask A Ninja, this is the Ask A Ninja that you know and love.  Quick and fun.

Wednesday — Ask A Ninja Vault/Experimental, this is where bloopers, unaired shows, and new Ninja Charcters and formats will live.

Thursday — Experimental sketch day, a palate cleanser for us and the audience to explore the non-ninja world.  This could be anything.

Friday — Ask A Ninja Weekly wrap, the Ninja’s take on the week’s events.

We’re planning launching the new schedule on 10/4.


Filed under community, money, New Media, personal, youtube

R.I.P Papa

Charlie Schardin was my grandfather, my Papa, but I’m not sure if I can say that I knew the man.

I certainly knew the legend, the stories, and the myths that we built around him – every family has a person that casts a long shadow – shadow is the wrong word – with Papa it was more like a spotlight.  He had the power and the brilliance to blind you at times, but he always brought light to everyone and everything around him.

Papa was born into a working class neighborhood of San Francisco, and he barely got to know his father and eldest sister before they were taken away with tuberculosis.  His mother scrimped and saved and held the family together.  And much like his native city that rose from the rubble of the great quake just over a decade before he was born and a nation drew itself out of the great depression, so Papa cast himself into the story of America.  Through his hard work he got his education at UC Berkeley.  Through his smarts and savvy he got good jobs as electrical engineers and those jobs led him to being a pioneer in the fields of Radar and Computer Science.

His whirlwind romance with Dorothy, Nana, and their adventure driving across the country before the creation of interstate highways is the stuff of legends.  This was a man who was at Pearl Harbor, who shook the hand of Einstein, and who tapped Stormy Snively on the shoulder while she was marching in the parade at Disneyland.

His marriage of over 65 years, his children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren, will always know him, and love him by those two simple syllables, Papa.

Now your journey is over, your travels are through.  But the stories, the legends will live on, as a shining spotlight to remind us all on how to be better people, better family members, and just better.

Love you Papa.


Filed under New Media, personal

Streamys and IAWTV: There Can Be Only One

A quick response to this post over at Tubefilter.

First I know everyone, and like everyone interpersonally.

That said — either this is the community’s awards show, or it isn’t.  Right now, it’s not.  It really looks like that the Tubefilteristas wanted to make an awards show, but also wanted a fig leaf of credibility so they created the IAWTV as the nominating/administration organization.  But that they would own the cash and glory machine that is the Streamys and pack the IAWTV board.

So now that the plane has crashed and burned and the IAWTV membership and board has realized that we’ve been left holding the bag and don’t want to be humiliated again.  Now we’re all trying to figure out how to move forward.

So the options are:

  • Move forwards without the Streamys name, give Tubefilter nothing
    Certainly possible, especially if Tubefilter feels that they’re owed something more than reasonable compensation.  Also the Streamys brand name is tarnished at this point.
  • Move forward with the Streamys name, fire Tubefilter
    Negotiate an exit Tubefilter from Streamys LLC.  This is the happiest option for the industry.  Give the guys some sort of compensation and a limited voice at the IAWTV.  But right now they are over represented.
  • Scrap everything and start over
    Depending on the way everything is setup, this might be the last but necessary option.

Regardless of what option takes effect, we as an industry must become a stronger Academy. Inclusivity, openness, and transparency need to become the hallmarks of what we do.

We also need to build an organization that can support paid staffers and can offer year round support and programming.  This means Membership dues and reasonable entry fees.

The only thing we can’t do is remain in stasis.


Filed under New Media

Writing in the Library

So I recently moved to downtown LA, and I’m loving it.  Our new space is immensely more satisfying — tall ceilings, big windows, dog ownership — but it’s actually encouraging me the home body, the lover of working from bed to actually venture out and go into the world more.

Mostly because I can avoid driving to get to places.  My old apartment had a walk score of 94% or something, but it was a deceptively high number.  I lived at the top of a hill off of the Sunset strip, so it was punishing to walk anywhere.  Here in Downtown, there’s a world within a half a mile, including the Central Library.

Sure, there’s a lot of humanity here to interact with — but it’s a pretty spectacular place to walk around and write in.  It’s also alive — there’s so many different types of folks here, bums and students sharing the same study table.  It’s also a vast labrynth where there’s a lot of different environments to feel creative.

My basic routine is to find a place, work at it for 45-60 mintues, and then shift when I get nasty to somewhere else in the library for two or three times.

I try to limit my internet access to my ipad so I can keep my laptop only for writing/business emails.  And then wash, rinse repeat.

Right now I’m cranking hard on the bones of my micro feature that I’m shooting at the end of June and it’s been fun to really see it come together.



Filed under film, personal, screenwriting