My Top 5 New Year's Resolutions For 2011

Traditionally, I do these kinds of posts as my last post of the year, but due to me flying back to San Diego on New Year’s Day and just enjoying myself on New Year’s Eve, I didn’t get around to doing one.

Although it’s a tad belated, here they are, in no particular order, My Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions For 2011:

5: Increase My Income

Being in the World’s Finest Navy, getting promoted is a great (and obvious) way to increase my income. However, I want to make my online income a more solid secondary income, as opposed to an extra $20 or so every month.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every penny that I receive from what I do online (all 2,000+ of them); but after blogging for going on eight years now, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be making at least $100+ a month from blogging.

This is why I’ll be doing sponsored posts again. I was hesitant to start doing them again, but it’s one of the most viable ways to make money online. The way I see it, as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, what’s the harm in a couple of plugs?

4: Expand My Audience Dramatically

I’ve been studying the traffic coming through here since I created TheAndySan.com, and even before then as far back as my Xanga days (not to mention off-site traffic like my YouTube videos). What I’ve learned from all that has helped me increase my monthly views from a hundred or so up to a thousand monthly views, which is good mind you, but I know that I can do better than that.

Now that I’m in the Navy, I’m in the position to be making some killer videos about not only how the Navy does things (unless it’s classified of course), but on the different ports that I visit. In theory, this alone should increase traffic considerably. However, I have a feeling that unless I do some serious pandering (ie more Funniest Two Seconds of Your Life-styled videos), my channel won’t get much exposure. I don’t mind doing those kinds of videos every once in a while, but I’m not sure about doing them all the time (although I do have some killer ideas for those kinds of videos). Tell me what you think about making more hyper-edited videos in the comments below!

3: Start A Band

Ever since I picked the guitar back up in 2005 (6 years this month!!), I’ve wanted to start up a band. I was never interested in trying out for a band, unless it involved my close friends, since I’m not that good at learning songs note-for-note.

I can get the gist of a tune downpat in most cases, but I often change a lot of the original’s feel to match not only my playing style but my technical limitations. As much as I would want to be an awesome lead guitarist who can play anything, I find that I’m best suited to play rhythmic stuff and I know that most people want to hear rhythm and melody and not an epic 5 minute+ guitar solo (I like both), so that’s where I fit in.

Now that I finally have a guitar again and will be getting an amp very soon (I’d say within a month or so), I’m definitely poised to finally get Chrome Sparks off the ground! Keep an ear open as good things will be coming shortly!

2: Lose Some Damn Weight

I’m not gonna lie, being in Great Lakes did a number to me physically. First I got beaten into shape at boot camp, and then I got stressed out with my workload at ATT, which caused me to put some things like good nutrition and exercise on the back burner in favor of a quick meal so I could get more work done. On a positive note, I did regain my ability to quickly prioritize and mentally schedule my actions in order to get the most done in the least amount of time. However, because of my poor diet and lack of a good exercise regimen, I ended up gaining some weight (I’d say about 10-15 lbs at least).

I also have a hunch that I might suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder aka SAD (probably the most ironically accurate acronym ever). I’ll also be looking into this a bit more in 2011 to see if I have it or if I’m just being paranoid.

Since I arrived in San Diego, I’ve been doing a lot of walking around the local area, which has been slowly getting me back into shape. I’m also going to be cutting back on my fast-food spending quite a bit not just to lose weight, but to save up for things that I want like a Citizen folding bike (most likely the Gotham2 model) and a Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 amp for my guitar.

1: Learn More About Relationships

This is the big one for me. Although I’m not as despirate as I was before my 25th birthday (seriously, I think that I suffered some kinda quarterlife crisis lol!), I still want to pursue getting into an intimate relationship with a woman.

I know that my parents sometimes read my posts so I’m not gonna get into further detail with this one so they feel less creeped out by my inner thoughts, haha!!

I will say this though: 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. Take that as you will 😉

What Lies Ahead

So those are my resolutions for 2011. My fingers are getting pretty cold as the sun’s setting here in San Diego so I’m gonna finish things up here.

I’m curious to know what your resolutions for 2011 are. Leave me your comments below!

TheAndySan

Chicago Street Saxophonist Plays Anchors Aweigh

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

Here’s a quick sneak-peak clip of my upcoming Life In… video where I go through downtown Chicago.

I saw this street saxophonist earlier and didn’t realize that he was playing Anchors Aweigh until I had passed by him, so after my shipmates and I finished eating Giordano’s Pizza (which was AWESOME!!), we went back and recorded him playing Anchors Aweigh and then gave him some change in kind.

Like I said in my previous video, I won’t be able to edit together everything that we did until I get my laptop mailed out to me, but trust me; it will be EPIC!! Stay tuned!!

TheAndySan

N-FAQs 03 – Boot Camp Q&A

If you can’t see the above video, click here.

In this week’s episode of N-FAQS, I answer some of your questions about Navy boot camp!

Question 1: How much money do u get after boot camp?

Response: It all depends on your rank and how much you spend, but I had about $1,500 right after boot camp.


Question 2: Do they make y’all eat fast?

Response: Depends on your definition of “fast”. Normally, we’d get about 15-20 minutes to eat.

My suggestion would be to pick soft foods as you spend less time chewing them (bananas over apples). Speaking of which, bananas are an excellent choice because they give you an energy boost and help with muscle fatigue. I’d usually grab two at a time whenever they were available.

Also, hydration and overall health are paramount so I’d suggest grabbing two glasses for every meal: one for water and one for either orange juice or cranberry juice. Seriously, it’ll save you unnecessary trips to medical and hassle in general.


Question 3: How much do they make y’all run?

Response: They progressively make you run more during PT time and it’ll be really intimidating when you first look at it, but by the time you get to that point, your body will be well-adjusted to it and it won’t be much of a problem.

They do make you march a lot, but I think that helps with the running.


Question 4: What is the lowest u can get on the ASVAB and get in the navy?

Response: That depends on what you want to do, but I’d say if you got a 70 or higher, you can pretty much get whatever job they have available. If they offer you the nuke test, take it because it’ll open up even more opportunities for you.

For instance, even though I failed the nuke test (by only 2 points, dammit!), I believe that me taking it and almost passing gave me the rate & benefits I have now. Accelerated advancement is a beautiful thing, my friend!


Life In…Series Is Coming Back!

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out with a couple of shipmates from my boot camp division to downtown Chicago to see the sights!

Since I finally have my new camera, a Sanyo Xacti SH-1, I’ll be recording material for an upcoming Life In… episode. However, I can’t edit it because I don’t have my main laptop with me to edit videos. Heck, my netbook can’t even really play HD videos, much less edit them, but that’s not why I bought it.

Anyway, my laptop’s being mailed out to me so I’ll be able to start working on them soon. Stay tuned!!

TheAndySan

Lost Vlog 10 – TL4YT Vlog 1 – Making Money Online

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

This vlog was originally uploaded to Google Video back when they let you do that (I miss Google Video!!). I did that because it was too long for YouTube, hence the title Too Long For YouTube aka TL4YT.

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

I tried making this thing shorter, but the results came out even worse. Anyway, in this vlog, I talk about one of my old ideas for using a website to generate income for me so that I don’t have to work. Needless to say, none of these ideas have seen the light of day due to lack of funding and all that junk. However, I thought it would be interesting to put these up to see what I was up to back then.

TheAndySan

J-Vid 10 – Why I'm Glad

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

In this video, I talk about why I am happy. Here is the dialog:

Good evening, it’s Andy!

こんばんは、アンディです!

Konbanwa, andi desu!

It’s been awhile since the last JVID, but I want to comment on MissHannahMinx’s JWOW.

それはしばらくの間、最後JVID以来だが、私はMissHannahMinxのJWOWにコメントする。

Sore wa shibaraku no ma, saigo JVID irai daga, watashi wa MissHannahMinx no JWOW ni komento suru.

Why am I glad?

なぜ、私は嬉しいですか?

Naze, watashi wa ureshii desu ka?

I lost 10.8 kg this year!

私は今年の体重10.8を失った!

Watashi wa kotoshi no taijū juuten hachi O ushina~tsu ta!

I’m a recruit of the US Navy!

私は、アメリカ海軍の募集です!

Watashi wa, amerika kaigun no boshū desu!

I’m working at a Chinese restaurant!

私は中華料理店で働いています!

Watashi wa chūka ryōri-ten de hataraite i masu!

Although making this video was fun, I’m not 100% sure on bringing the J-Vids completely back. Feel free to tell me what you guys think in the comments below!

TheAndySan

BGM Title: Minxy Techno Fun Time

BGM Artist: Lensei & MissHannahMinx

BGM Album: (not sure)

How I Lost 20 lbs In 2 Months For The US Navy Without Starving Myself

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

Due to popular demand, I’ve decided to do a 3-part mini-series on how I lost over 20 lbs in 2 months without starving myself to death.

Intro-Don!

Initially, I wasn’t sure if the Navy was for me, even after I told my mom that I was gonna sign up. I was scared of the long commitment that I’d have to go through or else face very serious career-ending consequences. However, I didn’t see any other opportunities for me so I decided to try to lose weight.

When I went to MEPS the first time to do all my paperwork and get weighted in, I was really scared because I got that “this is really happening” feeling when I got on the bus. After I had filled out a ton of paperwork and stuff (including the dreaded “nut grab”), I got weighted in and was at 27% body fat, so I got sent home.

In order to be qualified to join the US Navy, you have to have at most 25% body fat, so needless to say, I was pretty discouraged. After I had gone home and sold all my guitars to make rent for the following month, I told myself that I would take this whole Navy thing seriously and do whatever I could to lose the weight.

So the next time I went in to MEPS a little over a month later, I passed the weigh-in with a 25% body fat. I know that it’s right on the dot, but I was never more proud of myself than when I heard that I passed!

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

My Workout Routine

When I started working out again, it was the dead of winter so I couldn’t do much outside beyond shoveling snow, which definitely helped me lose a couple of pounds. During this time, I stuck to using the treadmill in the basement that had been collecting dust.

Originally, my daily treadmill workout consisted of a 20-30 minute routine where I’d start off at 3 MPH at a 3% incline and then increased the speed every 5-6 minutes and then went back down to 3 MPH when it got to be too much to maintain. I then tried increasing the intervals as well as the overall length of the workout to 30-45 minutes, but I soon realized that simply increasing my workload wouldn’t help me lose more weight. In fact, I happened to be gaining a little bit of weight during that time.

Instead of chalking up my weight gain to muscle gain or some other BS, I decided to change up my routine in order to shock my body into losing the weight.

I then changed my routine to the following: 5 minute warm-up at 3 MPH, 1 minute at 6 MPH, 2 minutes at 3 MPH, 1 minute at 8 MPH (later 9 MPH), 2 minutes at 3 MPH, and so on until I’ve been working out for 20-25 minutes. This kind of routine is commonly known as interval training, and it really kick-started my weight loss and I began to notice that my endurance was increasing as well.

I used to do situps as well, but I found those to be largely ineffective since in order to lose the gut, you’d need to do cardio routines and have an overall good state of health. Even if I did situps until I was blue in the face, nobody would be able to see any changes because even if I had rockin’ ab muscles, they would be covered by fat.

Since the weather’s nice, I’m doing pretty much all of my workouts outside now. I would either run up and down my street for 1.5 miles or go on a long bike ride around town (by long, I mean at least 10 miles round-trip).

I remember back when I left UU around May 2007 and moved to Coldwater, I weighted around 230 lbs. This is definitely the heaviest that I ever been, and the heaviest that I ever will be! Besides blaming myself, I blame my weight mostly on poor eating, late-night eating, and not too much physical activity. Granted, I did go out on walks with my friend Dan and whoever else wanted to come along, as well as solo bike rides and stuff like that, but I was simply eating too many empty calories for it to make much of a difference. Not to mention that I was a pretty depressed guy at the time (just read some of my blog entries from late 2006-mid 2007 to get an idea of what was going on).

Anywho, when I moved from UU to Coldwater, there wasn’t much of anything to do there so I decided to walk around town every day. I then progressed to taking bike rides around town to going to the Wal-Mart in Celina and back every day. As a result, I lose 15 lbs in just a month’s time!

I know that there’s a large group of people who think that running is a more effective means of cardio training than biking, and it is when you compare the calories lost/distance, but I find riding my bike much more enjoyable than running because I can be outside longer and actually enjoy the scenery more than I could while I’m running. Also, biking is much kinder on my back and knees so I don’t feel like crap the next day.

Even though I’m not rockin’ the six-pack yet, I’m still the slimmest I’ve been in years and I couldn’t be happier! For a guy like me who’s 5’10” (that’s 70 inches total or 175 cm for my international audience), being over 200 lbs is considered heavy. At the time, I didn’t think I was heavy (I knew I wasn’t slim, but I didn’t think I was fat), but now that I lost all that weight, I look back at some of my earlier videos and I can see that I was indeed overweight.

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

My Diet

When I started the diet, I knew I wanted to keep it simple and I didn’t want to count calories or carbs or stuff like that. I knew how super-analytical I could be about this, so I decided to keep things as simple as I could so I wouldn’t drive myself crazy analyzing every little thing I ate.

I did however keep a weight loss document that keeps track of how much I weigh every day as well as how much I’ve gained or lost compared to the previous day, how much I’ve lost overall compared to the first day of losing weight, and my average daily weight loss in ounces that would be calculated every 8 days. I highly recommend recording your weight loss in some fashion so that you can keep track of how much weight you’re losing as well as to keep yourself accountable so that when you gain weight, you see the figures right in front of you. The document needn’t be super fancy, heck I just used WordPad even though Excel would have worked much better in hindsight, but it’s fine as long as you have some means of keeping track of your weight loss and weight gain.

Remember, figures don’t lie, but liers do figure. Don’t try to cheat on it or else it won’t give you that subconscious push you need when you gain weight or that subconscious pat on the back when you lose weight.

Getting back to the actual dieting, I restricted my calories and my carbs by staying away from junk food, not drinking soda (or pop as I call it in my neck of the woods), drinking mostly water, eating healthy when I went out to eat, not eating late at night, and limiting my consumption of bread.

When I would eat something that would normally require bread like a sandwich, I would use either a whole-wheat tortilla (mmm, sloppy joe burritos!) or flaxseed bread, which is this kind of healthy bread that you can find in Wal-Mart and in most health food stores. Since it’s a really dry and stiff bread, I’d eat my sandwiches open-face (meaning with only one slice) so that would reduce my carbs and calories even further.

The majority of my lunches were tuna fish with generic Miracle Whip and some kind of a spicy element like jalapeños, taco sauce, red pepper, or something like that. Even with the Miracle Whip, I kept my calories and carbs in check. The spicy element that I would add also helps with digestion and gives the metabolism a boost too!

For a snack, I would eat an open-face peanut butter sandwich and that would usually be enough to quell my stomach rumblings. I’d also eat trail mix in order to increase my protein intake from the nuts as well as to get my chocolate fix.

When it came to drinks, I mostly stuck to water. Every once in awhile I’d have juice or apple cider to change things up, but 4 out of 5 times I’d be drinking water (in fact, I’m drinking water right now).

Closing Thoughts

In closing, I hope you found this mini-series informative and if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment or send me a message. Peace!

TheAndySan

Still Alive…And Well?

Holy crap, have I been busy!!

I guess we’ll start things off by saying that I’m now employed again for the first time in 8 months! I only work for a couple of hours at a nearby Chinese restaurant where I basically take orders over the phone, keep the place clean, and stuff like that. It’s not bad; I get some extra cash and I’m also learning how to write some Chinese characters so that the staff can read the orders easier (if they can decipher my scribbles that is).

Also, I’ve been recording & editing videos like mad lately!! I was gonna upload something today, but I didn’t have the time so I’ll upload the next Life In… video tomorrow and then my weight loss videos on Wednesday. I just finished the initial editing for my big collab video with my best bud Eriopolis and all I need to do is wait for him to watch it and then get the final approval before I upload it.

Well guys, I’m gonna go and catch up on what’s in my Hulu queue so I will see you all bright and early tomorrow!

TheAndySan

I'm Going Back To MEPS To Get My Rating

Hey guys!

I’m just writing this quick little post to tell everyone that I’m heading to MEPS later on today to hopefully get my Navy rating (job) and to be sworn in. I also want to wish Tylor, one of my best friends, all the best in passing Navy boot camp! He goes in today if memory serves.

I’ll definitely do a new video telling you guys what happened after I get back, but I’m not sure if it’ll be up this week (maybe early next week).

Also, my two aunts are coming down from Michigan! My mom’s been cleaning like a maniac for the past two weeks because of it, haha!! I haven’t seen Aunt Pam since Jon’s graduation party last year (I decided to go after Jon and I reconciled and we’ve been cool ever since) and I haven’t seen Aunt Sherry since probably my graduation party back in 2004 (maybe later, but I don’t remember). It should be fun seeing them again! I wonder if they’ll notice how much weight I lost? Hmm…

Well, I’d better get packing. Wish me luck and I hope to put up a new video about what happened at MEPS very soon. Bye!

TheAndySan

P.S: I’ve already recorded the videos for a three-part mini-series for how I lost 20 lbs in 2 months for the Navy without starving myself. It should be up next week as well. Look forward to it!

Vlog 35 – MEPS Weigh-In Results & The Surprise Is Revealed

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

Hey gang, It’s TheAndySan back here from MEPS!

If you’re wondering why there’s no sound in this video, it’s because my camera didn’t record it for some odd reason. I tested it again tonight and it recorded just fine so it must have been just a freak thing I guess.

I’m proud to announce that I PASSED my weigh-in at MEPS!! I still have to diet and exercise to keep my weigh down, but I don’t have to be quite as strict about it. Needless to say, I’m really excited!!

I do have some bad news though. I wasn’t able to get my rating (job) or be sworn in because they didn’t have any ratings for men that day (just women). I’m going back to MEPS for the 3rd time at the end of the month in hopes that I’ll get my IT rating. If it’s not available, I wouldn’t mind doing something else in the Cryptology department,

As I had promised in my previous vlog, I has a surprise for you guys! I got my Federal tax return back and decided to spoil myself a little bit, so I bought a used copy of Pokemon Diamond for about $20 at GameStop. I know, I know; I’m too old to play these kiddie games, but I love the original RPG-style Pokemon games very much! In fact, it was through the Pokemon comics in Nintendo Power that I began to watch Pokemon on TV and thus anime. Even though I watched My Neighbor Totaro and Samurai Pizza Cats long before Pokemon, it was Pokemon along with DragonBall-Z that originally got me interested in anime.

Anyway, I’d also like to ask you guys for some ideas for future videos. I have a couple in mind, but I want to hear from you, my audience, first. Please feel free to leave me your suggestions in the comments below!

If it’s an idea for an anime review, please try to make it a 13-26 episode series instead of a long epic like Naruto or One Piece. It’s not that I hate long-running anime (I love Bleach and I’m getting back into One Piece), it’s just that it would take me forever to do a review for them, and even if I did manage to do it, it would be too generic as the great seasons (or sagas, whatever you call them) would be weighed down by the crappy ones. For now, I’d also like to stick with something from within the past five years to draw in more viewers. OVAs are perfectly acceptable too! I’m also bouncing around an idea in my head for a collab video with my best bud Eriopolis, so keep your eyes peeled for that too!

Well kids, that’s all the time I have for today. I won’t be able to get online at all next week so I’ll see you guys sometime the following week, probably before I go back to MEPS. Until then, I’ll be playing Pokemon Diamond and watching some newly-downloaded anime. See ya next time!!

TheAndySan

P.S: If you didn’t hear any background music, it’s because I had to remove it. If I did, I apologize.

BGM Title: “Taking The ‘A’ Train”

BGM Artist: Duke Ellington

Vlog 32 – Getting A New Guitar Or Camera & Navy Weight Update

If you can’t see the above video, click here.

I might be getting a new guitar or a camera soon, depending on how much I get back from my income tax return.

If I’m able to get a guitar, I’ll be getting a PRS SE One in Antique White. I want to add a neck humbucker to it as well as change the positions of the volume knob and the 3-way pickup selector switch that I’ll need.

If I’m unable to get a guitar, I’ll just get a Sanyo Xacti VPC TH1.

I’m also getting close to raising the amount for keeping TheAndySan.com online for another year with only about $20 left to go!

As far as my weight goes, I finally reached my goal of losing 15 lbs this past Friday! My Navy recruiter decided to reschedule when I go back in to MEPS for this Thursday-Friday so I’ll just be doing more situps and running outside to shrink my waist until then.

Even though I lost over 15 lbs and can fit into Size 34 jeans again, which I haven’t been able to do since high school, I’ve only lost an inch around my waist. It’s certainly not bad, but I expected to lose more inches along with the pounds.

Well, it’s been fun, but I’m gonna hit the sack soon so I’ll see you guys on the flipside! Have fun!

TheAndySan

P.S: If you didn’t hear any background music, it’s because I had to remove it. If I did, I probably should have listened to HikoSaemon in the first place and used something with a Creative Commons License, haha!!

BGM Title: “With Me” from the game “Sonic and the Black Knight”

BGM Artists: Emma Gelotte, Tinna Karlsdotter, and special guest Marty Friedman