Monday, July 28, 2008

Anglican Hooligans ... Represent!

From the Man I Wish I'd Thought of That Department, comes this kool Anglican Hooligan wear, available right now at ...

I know as soon as my next paycheck comes, I'll be stocking up on this merchandise!

And it is for a good cause, too: All proceeds benefit Children's Ministries of St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock, California.

NPC USA Women's Bodybuilding

The NPC USA Bodybuilding contest was held Saturday, July 26, in Las Vegas.

The big (and I do mean big!) story on the women's side of this contest was the overall win by Isabelle Turell. Isabelle now joins the IFBB Professional ranks. She came into this contest in great condition, sporting about the most extreme V-taper (i.e., wide lats, narrow waist) I have ever seen on a competitor. And check her hamstrings in the side triceps shot ... crazy!!

The 3rd photo is of Claire Rohrbacker-O'Connell, who just moved up to the Middleweight class and finished a very strong 2nd Place. Congrats, Claire!

The 4th and final photo is of Tracy Bodner, who competed in the Lightweight class, and who (with her husband Cameron) coached me through my own recent contest preparation period. They are some of the nicest people you'd ever wish to know. And Tracy's posing is phenomenal.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weldcraft Wheels & Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men. -- Proverbs 22:29

We had a challenge with regard to the wheels on Eliot's Meteor. It took us a long time to find a rear wheel with sufficient backspacing to tuck under the rear quarter. It turns out that 2005+ Mustang GT wheels are a match.

But ... those are 17"x8" wheels - fine for the rear, but too wide for the front!

We needed minimum diameter of 17" on the front, to clear the Cobra calipers, but 8" is just too wide for the front of the Meteor. We'd rub the inside edge of the tires when turning.

But we wanted matching wheels, if possible. This is when Weldcraft Wheels came to the rescue. They were able, through some very tricky and skilled welding, to narrow our extra set of Mustang GT wheels by 2" ... and it was not easy! The difficulty came because of the large taper (slant) to the inside profile of the wheels. Sure, it is relatively easy to cut 2" out of the middle of the wheel somewhere, but then the two diameters would not match. James, the welder at Weldcraft, did amazing work in building up the inner and outer edges, and then laying down a massive weld bead which joined the two wheel halves ... all while guaranteeing that the wheel runs straight and true.

Here is the work of James, who (obviously) ROCKS!

And this 5-spoked beauty is one of the final 17"x6" wheels which we picked up from Weldcraft (Plymouth, Michigan) just a few days ago!

Friday, July 25, 2008

It hasn't got much Anglican in it ...

I need to apologize to you readers of this blog for the lack of Anglican content lately.

It is just that I am not feeling very strong in spirit these days. I have been reading virtually no Anglican news lately. I hardly know what happened at Gafcon, much less what is happening at Lambeth. Well, maybe nothing is happening at Lambeth?

My only exception has been to read Christopher Johnson at MCJ, since he always writes either (A) exactly what I was thinking; or (B) exactly the thing I wish I had thought of.

I have been afraid that if I read the Anglican news this summer, it would send me on a drinking binge, the proportions of which can only be described by saying that it would be as big as Gene Robinson's ego.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rejoiceth as a Strong Man to Run a Race

"In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race." (Psalm 19:4,5)

Above is the starting pose of my evening posing routine. It reminds me of a sprinter about to begin a race, and that was (sadly) prophetic ... the adrenaline coursing through my veins caused me to rush through the beginning of the routine way too fast! (Laughing Out Loud.)

I really like this back pose, because it shows the complexity of the back musculature, and the good amount of detail I was able to bring out.

But here is the big news: I only missed winning this contest by a single point!

That's right: Two of the five judges, including Head Judge Remi Bruyninga, actually had me marked down in 1st place! Here is the Score Card:

That is huge for me, psychogically. Because, if the winner had received straight 1s across the board ... I would have no idea whether I was a mile behind the winner, or an inch. But, because of getting two 1st-place votes ... I know I was really close!

Monday, July 21, 2008

2008 NPC Natural Michigan Bodybuilding

Well, the 2008 NPC Natural Michigan Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships have passed into the history books.

I finished 2nd (of 3) in the Grand Masters (age 50+) division. I met my goal of achieving the best condition of my life. And, on top of everything else, I had a blast.

Here I am, having a blast:

In addition to the health and fitness benefits of preparing for this competition, the day itself held significant opportunity for me to practice my role of Patron Saint of Inordinately Attractive Women ...

This was not my motivation for entering this contest, by any means, but because the Grand Masters followed the Figure competitors and Teen Men BBs, we got to stand backstage with
21 of the most gorgeous women I have ever seen in my life ... while they pumped and preened and oiled and ... I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Seriously, I had to be careful not to drool on my carefully-applied Jan Tana tan. Those few minutes made up for every hour of mind-numbing cardio I've done in the last 5 months!

Gym fees: $39/month

NPC card: $80

Being the one to lend your nice clean towel to Karen Zaremba1 to pat down one of the Figure ladies ... Priceless!

1Karen Zaremba was working backstage to help the Figure Ladies with last minute preparations.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hot Rod Anglican ... Muscle Madness!

I'm not quite sure what to say about this one ... after the bodybuilding contest (I placed 2nd) ... after the fried shrimp and cheesecake ... after washing off the spray-on tan ... here is what remains.

In retrospect, I dearly wish I had chosen this for my posing music!

Oh, yes, I have Medium and Large Hot Rod Anglican tank tops for sale. $15.00 a pop, shipped to anywhere in the USA.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Spirit of Counsel and Ghostly Strength ...

My son is Confirmed.

Eliot is midway through his 3rd St. Michael's Conference for Youth, at the Manresa (Jesuit) Retreat Center a few miles away.

Bishop Paul Hewett (Diocese of the Holy Cross), our bishop, Confirmed him ...

Fr. Peter Geromel, the dark-haired priest in both these pictures, is the son of my rector, Fr. Gene Geromel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thingie Proxy Results from Udine (Italy)

Well, thanks to the Herculean efforts of several gentlemen in Europe, including 'Thingie Kingie' Edo Bertoglio, the 2008 European Thingie Proxy Race continued on to its fourth stop at Udine, in northeastern Italy.

They raced our cars on this beautiful fast track, with the high banked 180-degree turn at one end:

Our Anglican Beach Party Shinoda Mongoose fared better than at Düsseldorf, where we broke, but we were still pretty far back in the pack. After the Udine round, our car sits 19th of 34 cars in the "Fast & Scratchbuilt 1/24" category.

Here is a great short video from Lucio Cocchi, showing just how dangerous this sport can be!

And here on this page may be found Edo Bertoglio's colorful and photo-filled "Proxy Diaries" of the event.

And, finally, a few line-ups with our Anglican Beach Party Shinoda included ...

Here are the 'Noda entries ... (our car is 2nd from left).

And an actual race line-up, showing a larger variety of Thingie bodies ... the ABP entry is at far right.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How I lost 40 pounds ...

How did I lose 40 pounds of unsightly flab? By leaving The Episcopal church! A bit of over-simplification1, perhaps, but true nonetheless.

This photo, taken tonight, is of me wearing the pants from the suit I wore when I walked out of The Episcopal church for the last time, in the summer of 2007. They fit me back then.

You see, it is hard to be Episcopalian without unconsciously picking up the habits and patterns of living of your fellow Episcopalians.

And one of the main patterns of living of Episcopalians I knew was what might be referred to as the Life of Ease. It is a Country Club mentality.
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands2 ... but never late for cake and cookies at Social Hour! You will be hard-pressed to find anything like this lifestyle advocated by any New Testament writer ... but if you join The Episcopal church, and if you stay very long, it begins to rub off on you. Sodomy is not the only "S" sin of TEc; there is Sloth as well.

And, hand in hand with Sloth, Gluttony. I have actually heard Gluttony preached against in the Sunday morning sermon (at one of the better TEc parishes!), followed a few minutes later by an invitation to Social Hour ... where there was a large and pathetically unhealthy cake waiting. Judging by the portion sizes, many parishioners had not listened to the sermon!

And accompanying Sloth and Gluttony is a sort of Hopelessness ... the idea that we are really all victims of evil things ... that the world is winding down, that heresy, evil, and bodyfat advance relentlessly ... and that no effort on our part is able to stop them.

I would say (judging from my weight histogram) that it took me about 5 months from the day I left The Episcopal church until I began to have hope again ... hope for the larger Church Militant, and hope for reforming my own earthly body.

1Well, I did also spend quite a bit of time on the treadmill.

2See Proverbs 6:9-11

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Kicking Asphalt & Taking Names!

Eliot's Cobra-IRS Meteor has passed it's road test ... We tooled around the neighborhood for about 10 miles Friday and Saturday. If it can handle our Michigan roads, with no pieces falling off, I'd say we have it buttoned up pretty tight.

Exhibit A:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reversing the Conventional Wisdom.

You know, even though it should not surprise me ... the fact that everything is backwards and upside-down in God's world, from the fallen human perspective ... it still does catch me by surprise.

Because, you know, the world's conventional wisdom will tell you to overcome your fear of appearing in front of an audience by picturing that same audience wearing only underwear. But I have found it much more motivational and inspiring to enhance the fear by picturing myself in front of the audience in (essentially) my underwear. I have lost 39 pounds this year, using this method.

Only 17 days to go!

My arms look decent in this one. Dig the license plate!