Know Your Role: Discerning RPG Elements in Real Life


As most of you have (hopefully) gathered by now, I fucking love role-playing games.

Being a sucker for a good story, there’s just something that is utterly satisfying and empowering about not just watching the tale unfold before you, but to be an active part in your characters’ mental, physical and emotional growth, their impact on the relationships with those around them, and, well, the fate of the world.  Without your intervention and guidance to those who hold the responsibility of being the much-needed heroes, they will never gain the strength to do so.  Their potential love may never be realized.  Existence itself will cease.

It’s all up to you.

Now, when I say that I love RPGs, this actually applies to almost any game with RPG elements and not just the classics.  The old Final Fantasy games, the Mother series and basically anything made by Squaresoft back in the day will forever be my favorites and hold a dear place in my heart, but one has to embrace what life offers us in the present, lest we live in the past. Luckily for us, it is becoming more and more apparent that adding certain aspects from classic RPGs to modern action-oriented games just makes them more appealing and fun to play, even to people who never quite got into them in the past.

I'll never understand how people never got into these games.

I’ll never understand how people never got into these games.

This of course includes Mass Effect trilogy and even games where the RPG-ness is understated to the point that no one would actually ever call the game an RPG.


Red Dead Redemption happens to be a prime example of a non-RPG with distinct RPG elements.

Any game that involves leveling up, building certain skills that both individualize your character and make them more adept at your desired purpose for them, and have you progressing through the main storyline while acquiring optional missions on the side that one can take upon themselves to perform, I would consider to have RPG elements.  This actually describes a vast percentage of video games being made today, which makes me so excited that sometimes I have to do a little happy dance when I just can’t contain all of my merriment any longer.

Yeah, kinda like that.

Yeah, kinda like that.

The deal that I’d struck with the gods on my 28th birthday notwithstanding, I’ve gotten older.  As such, I have had to accept that, despite that I will likely never stop gaming as it is just a part of who I am, in order to achieve my goals in life, certain responsibilities require me to, ya know, not play video games for several hours every day. (This is not to say I don’t still play, of course.) It’s kind of a sad realization to come to, but it’s perfectly alright, and I’ll tell you why:

Life is an RPG.

No, I haven’t gone off the deep end.  My sanity remains intact, at least for now. My ability to discern between reality and fantasy, while at times questionable, has not been compromised as of yet. Many times I’ve contemplated the old question of whether life imitates art or vice-versa.

In the year 2000… Researchers prove that life does in fact imitate art.


Unfortunately, the art it imitates is the movie Tango & Cash.


-Conan O’Brien

Most often my answer, at least as it pertains to my life and most likely many others, is of course both.  While a very large chunk of the person I’ve become has been influenced by the likes of video games, TV, and, of course, books, any form of art I’ve crafted has been directly influenced by my own experiences, especially those regarding my childhood.  There is, of course, just one problem with this; most of my experiences before the age of 14 that didn’t involve catching bugs, playing baseball with myself (yep) or running around with the other kids in my neighborhood (all of whom moved away by the time I was about 9, sadface.jpg) were purely from, you guessed it, video games, TV and books.

So, as much as I’d love to assert that art imitates life more than life imitates art in my particular case, it’s just not true.  My life has been so pervaded by art that I can only conclude that even the art that imitates my life is, in point of fact, imitating the art that my life has imitated.


Not entirely sure of what the fuck I just typed, so let’s just pretend it made sense and move on.

My point is, my development was so influenced by RPGs that I’ve often been tempted to write Cecil Harvey and Ness in as references on job applications and Hyrule as my address when I order stuff online.  It’s easy to make connections between them and real life as long as you know where to look, and for people like us (I can only assume that if you’ve made it this far into the post, you can relate to what I’m saying) thinking of life as the ultimate RPG can not only make things a little more fun, but be beneficial to us as human beings with goals and ambitions.

Final Fitness-y IV(?)

Out of every aspect of life in modern times, fitness can (and is) probably be the most directly correlated to RPGs in the sense that working out and following a certain nutrition protocol is all about visible progress.  To look in the mirror and actually see your own transformation take place, to be able to witness the slow conversion into the most heroic version of yourself is absolutely the real-life equivalent of leveling up.

That wedding that is only a few months away that you’re trying to lose ten pounds for? The bodybuilding show you’re prepping for?

That incredibly in-shape hottie at the coffee shop that you feel you can’t approach because you caught them staring at your beer gut and can’t bring yourself to ask them out until you have visible proof that you don’t treat your body like a big bag of trash?

These are the optional bosses; the dragons on top of the mountain.  Is confronting them necessary for progressing through the story?  Not really, but challenging yourself with the knowledge that a successful venture will give you a boost in power, some sweet loot or a more developed character usually makes it all worth it. Unless your current journey has sufficiently prepared you to defeat them, you’re going to have to grind a little; this is okay.  Sometimes the monsters you fight while making your way through the game won’t develop your skills enough for you to be able to crush the boss and get that loot.  Occasionally, you won’t be aware of your shortcomings and you’ll fail.  That’s okay, too.

Failure is just as much a part of life as it is a part of video games.  The best you can do is shake it off, reload a previous save and better prepare yourself for taking that fucker down so you can hop into your airship and move on to the next big thing.

As it happens, gamification has been applied to fitness in a really, really awesome way: Fitocracy-Logo From Wikipedia:

Fitocracy is an online game and social network that aims to use gamification to help users improve their fitness. Fitocracy users log their exercise activity by selecting from a collection of activities such as weight lifting or running and entering details such as weight lifted or distance run. Points are awarded based on the estimated fitness benefit of each activity. Users must reach points thresholds in order to level up.

Quests and Achievements

The site presents users with quests to perform for additional points, typically consisting of a set of related activities.  Particularly significant fitness milestones are recognized with achievement badges.


Dick Talens and Brian Wang, the creators, will forever have a special place in my heart for bringing Fitocracy into the world.

Thx gaiz.

If you’re interested in joining, visit Fitocracy and make an account.

Oh, and let’s be friends.

Building your network/friendships. Because it’s already been explained by someone much more qualified to do so than myself, here’s a 20-minute video on the subject:

In a nutshell, what Roman is saying in the video is that most professionals (or, ya know…unprofessionals) in any field will have one specialized skill, much like the members of your party in any great RPG.  So, in order to be as effective as possible and change the world, it serves well to surround yourself with people who can do what you cannot; those of whom are masters of the subjects which you are only adequately familiar.

Mostly by utilizing social media, in the last couple of years I’ve met many people who are experts in their particular field, which has enabled me to learn all sorts of useful stuff.  It also makes it so that when I am questioned by a friend about something that I don’t feel capable of answering efficiently, I have people to refer them to.

And, of course, they’re just really, really awesome people that I’m glad to have the privilege to speak to.

It’s just a side-quest.

Many people, myself possibly being one of the worst in the history of the universe, tend to become too focused on things that ultimately aren’t worth as much time and effort as they receive.

Gaining a little extra EXP on the side is never a bad thing, and I think we can all agree that it’s nice to take a break from the main quest every now and then; just don’t let it consume you.

Traverse the dungeon, and don’t look back.

You know that shitty situation you’ve found yourself in? Whatever the circumstances, whether you’ve just been dumped like an old taco or you only have fifteen minutes to clean your apartment before some hot young thang comes over for dinner because you were too occupied with a chain of Skyrim quests that just wouldn’t end (trust me, I know this feel), it’s easy to become overwhelmed to the point of inaction.  It might very well be tempting to just say “fuck it” and take a nap.


In order to continue with your own main story, you’ve got to fight your way through that dungeon.  Every random encounter, every locked door to which you haven’t found the key, and every hole you’ve fallen into whilst searching for the way out are just part of the journey.  Without dealing with those obstacles, you won’t gain the EXP you need so you can get the fuck out of there.

Here’s something that up until the point that this post is published, very few people knew about:

In March of this year, I decided to experiment with a somewhat-extreme short-term diet that involved a lot of protein shakes, superfood, fish oil and a few other supplements, and just one solid meal a week.  I was fairly vocal about that part with those who would listen, but what I didn’t share with the world was that despite the fact that it actually worked pretty well (I lost 13 lbs. of fat in 28 days with no significant muscle loss), I wasn’t doing so hot. I lowered calories to a stupid amount while doing one of the most taxing workout programs I’ve ever put myself through.  I believe this to be partly why this ended up being the beginning of an awe-inspiringly shitty couple of months.

Firstly, near the end of the diet I ended up messing up my left shoulder and the left side of my neck.  Talking, swallowing and opening my mouth all the way actually caused pain in my neck.  Picking up even 15 lb. dumbbells hurt like a bitch.  Not cool.

Secondly, I had suddenly become afflicted with near-crippling anxiety and a bad case of teh sadz.  If I put myself in any situation where there might have been crowds of people, I’d start sweating, suffer from heart palpitations and generally want to die. It was bad.  Despite being able to play it so cool that no one actually knew what was wrong, I had some dark fucking thoughts.

And, because sometimes Lady Universe is just a little bit of a detestable old bitch that enjoys spreading the ass cheeks of my soul and raping it with her Strap-On of Doom, I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience something unbelievably great. Obviously, I panicked about my situation (along with a few other silly things that really didn’t matter) and turned it down.  I felt I had no other choice.

I know this feel.

I know this feel.

But, after spending a few weeks being miserable and just generally feeling sorry for myself while doing my best to hide it from the outside world, I realized that I’d more than likely be stuck in that place forever unless I took some kind of action.  Any kind of action.  So I did some research, learned how to train around my injuries without aggravating them, as well as doing a hundred band pull-aparts a day (a sweet trick I learned from Joe DeFranco, which I continue to this day).

I started meditating again, taking incredibly long epsom salt baths and reading fiction (any book that involves Drizzt tends to make me feel like taking on the world) and started, ya know, going outside again.

Before I knew it, I was back to being able to lift heavy and feeling like a million bucks.

Fuck yeah.

To give up is to stay in that dungeon forever, which means you’ll never get back to the daylight.

The girl doesn’t get saved.

The world falls to ruin.

You don’t get to travel in a sweet airship.

So pick up your sword and fight your way out of that dungeon.

For yourself, your party, and existence itself.

Also, do it for bacon. Because there's no bacon in a dungeon.

Also, do it for bacon.
Because there’s no bacon in a dungeon.

If you wish to add more RPG goodness to your real life, check out

 I have no affiliation with them (though that would be pretty awesome), but they’ve quickly become my favorite t-shirt shop.

Check it out.

Prospiralcrastinaction: It’s Real and It’s (Not) Spectacular


Shut the fuck up.

I’m serious.  Just shut up for a second.

I want you to take a moment of silence to think about how awesome you are.

No outside influences. No motivational music playing in the background, no one telling you that you’re the best at what you do and all that.


Now tell me, how awesome are you?

Whatever your answer is, I’m guessing you’re not completely content with your current level of awesomeness.  That’s fine.  I’m sure as hell not; I have a ways to go before I go from simply being a squire of Awesome to a full-blown knight.  And that’s alright.  I believe that if you ever get to the point where you no longer strive to be in a higher plane of excellence, when you no longer have a battle to fight, it’s all over.

Even after I achieve knighthood, I know I’ll still have dragons to slay, and armies of basilisks, ogres and behemoths to defeat.  There will always be maidens in need of saving.  The fight is never over, and Awesomeness can never truly be conquered.

This is not to sway you from the journey, however; just the opposite.  To view life as a never-ending adventure opens you up to take charge and make the most of it.  This is your story, and just because you’re the main character doesn’t necessarily make you the hero.

You have to actually be the fucking hero.

This isn’t to say that you won’t have setbacks.  You will.  Circumstances, either under or out of the realm of our control, can easily dictate your ability to take action.  We all go through periods of desperation.  You may spend weeks doing nothing but watching TV and eating fuckloads of Taco Bell when you should be hitting the gym and cooking your own meals.  You might have a project in the works that you haven’t touched in what seems like ages.

It’s okay.

When Link is unable to get through a Boss Door in order to slay evil and get closer to saving his lady, do you assume he thinks nothing of it, unsheathes his sword and continues on?

Did Cerberus give Commander Shepard some sort of special cybernetic augmentation that prevents him from experiencing feelings of hopelessness from time to time?

I don’t believe this to be the case.

No one is immune to self-doubt, even seemingly-fearless heroes.  Everyone who has ever accomplished great and noble tasks has fallen on hard times, and I don’t mean financially. The smallest things can put a halt to everything that’s supposed to be important in our lives; a injury can easily lead to not only physical inactivity, but also stop someone from, say, finishing a book they’ve been writing.  Being dumped by your significant other might suspend your eagerness to start painting again.  Losing your wallet might end up dissuading you from asking out that cute barista.  It seems strange, but many events in our lives can lead to ostensibly unrelated choices, especially in the case of people like me who walk through life with an all-or-nothing attitude.  It’s definitely a double-edged sword.

Now, even as someone who has previously suffered from prospiralcrastinaction, which is the term I’ve coined for letting the supposed-to-be-momentary unhappiness from an unfortunate event spiral into procrastination and inaction, I still don’t have all the answers.

There are, however, a couple of things that have helped me get back on my feet in a big way:

1.  Books.

I don’t mean just some cheesy self-help books, either.  You need to read something that will help you recognize your problems on your own and give you the punch in the taint that you need to get back on your feet.

A few of my favorites:

Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein

This isn’t just a fitness book; it’s two men’s attempt to save the world, not only from low testosterone, but from being populated with men who feel that they are doomed to never live up to the greatness that dwells deep inside them.

I have suffered from feelings of hopelessness and discontent, from this idea that I’m forever trapped in this mundane life of which there is no escape. It is partly because of men such as Roman and Adam Bornstein that I no longer bury myself in self-pity and a disconsolate existence.

Now, I can’t say that reading this book is going to solve all the problems of your life, but holy fuck it’s a good start.

EtA could very possibly help you emerge from this pool of mediocrity in order to become the raging firestorm of men that we were meant to be.

It’s that good.

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau

This book provided me with a much-needed kick in the ass during a time when I was just kind of coasting through life with a dormant volcano full of ambition inside of me.

Chris Guillebeau has done great deeds using very unorthodox methods, all whilst sticking it to the man.

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

The story in this book can get slightly corny and religious in parts.  Don’t let this put you off, however, because of the rest of the content is pretty fucking solid.

Give it a shot.

2.  People.

I’ve spoken about eliminating toxic people from your life before, so I’m not going to get into all that; you know very well that having people around who fill your head with doubt need to be thrown off a bridge (I do not mean this literally.  Do not throw them off a bridge.).

Just as it is important to avoid negative influence, it is equally so to surround yourself with people who encourage you on whatever journey to choose to embark upon.  I mean sure, you’re probably very capable of doing it all on your own, but having a good support team will get you there a hell of a lot faster.

Have you ever tried playing through Final Fantasy 2 without a healer in your group?

Yeah, it's like that.

Yeah, it’s like that.

Lastly, I can tell you that if you’re currently going through a period of prospiralcrastinaction, or you’ve been feeling unmotivated, or you’re just finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, it will pass.  How quickly you get over it, however, is totally up to you.

Just as it takes the smallest occurrence to offset everything in your life, you only need a tiny, microscopic amount of energy to get moving toward your goals again.  Call it hope, motivation, the smell of bacon, a Phoenix Down; whatever the fuck you want.  Just grab it immediately and use it to your advantage.

After you’ve climbed your way out of the depths of despair, it’s more important ever that you live like a motherfucker.

“You living like a muthafucka will inspire others (such as myself) to live the muthafuckaest version of themselves as well. 


Rog Law

Unhappiness has its place in life, but Awesomeness is king.

Hail to the king, baby.

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Smaaaaash! The Earthbound Guide to Living Awesomely

Way back in 1995, when I was just a tender young lad of 11 years old, I didn’t do much except go to school, eat cereal and play video games.  Nothing made me happier than waking up on Saturday mornings, hopping out of bed, running to the kitchen in my jammies, pouring myself a big bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, watching some cartoons and then getting down with the Super Nintendo for pretty much the rest of the day, which I posit to be the greatest video game system of all time.

While I really wasn’t all that picky about genres, RPGs were, and continue to be, my absolute favorite.  I’m a sucker for an intriguing story, and a good RPG plays out like a brilliantly written book that pulls you inside and lets you be the one who saves the world, the universe, the girl.  They appeal to them readin’ types of folks.

So when Earthbound (known as Mother 2 in Japan), a game that I’d been reading about in the gaming magazines for months, was finally released in the U.S., I begged my dad to take me to Blockbuster so I could rent it.  When he finally caved and brought me there, I sprinted from the van to the glass doors.  If memory serves, I may have actually just leaped through the glass, leaving a trail of glass shards and blood behind me as I crawled my way to the video game section.  Interestingly, I never actually owned the game; I just rented it 3 or 4 times until I finally beat it.

While I was no stranger to RPGs at the time and I’d previously read previews and reviews of the game, I was totally unprepared for what laid before me.  While most RPGs took place in a Medieval-style world, the heroes wielding swords and sorcery to defeat whatever enemies stood in their path, Earthbound was completely different.  It takes place in the year 199X, replacing your classic weapons with baseball bats, frying pans and laser guns.  Instead of using magic, our heroes made use of PSI, or psychic powers.

The game’s odd sense of humor was also something I wasn’t accustomed to.  This game wasn’t just funny, it was downright fucking hilarious to me at the time.

Oh, who am I kidding.  It still is.

Oh, who am I kidding. It still is.

It also follows the Hero’s Journey fairly closely, which is always a good time if implemented correctly.

After a meteor plummets just outside of his hometown, Ness, our silent protagonist, decides to check it out.  This call to adventure leads to him meeting Buzz Buzz, a bee-like being from the future who acts as Ness’ mentor for a time.

A bee I am not… I’m from 10 years in the future. And, in the future, all is devastation…Giygas, the universal cosmic destroyer, sent all to the horror of eternal darkness… …… However, you must listen! Where I am from, there is a well-known legend that has been handed down from ancient times. It says “When the chosen boy reaches the point, he will find the light. The passing of time will shatter the nightmare rock and will reveal the path of light.” You see, it is my opinion that you are that boy, Ness. This I believe… …… Giygas’ monstrous plan must have been set in motion somewhere on Earth… If you start to confront the enemy immediately, you may have time to counter the evil intentions of Giygas. Three things are of the utmost importance: wisdom, courage, and friendship. …The legends from the ancient times tell of three boys and a girl who defeat Giygas. …I will tell you more later. Go now! And do not be anxious about the future. You have much work to do, Ness.“— Buzz Buzz


In keeping with Monomythic structure, Ness is given a supernatural aid by Buzz Buzz, an item called the Sound Stone, which is used to record the sounds of his memories of eight different locations in order to form a deeper understanding of himself and free his mind.


As you can imagine, this game has had a great impact on me. As I get older, my love for it doesn’t diminish, and I continue to develop a greater understanding of it with time.  As such, this masterpiece has many lessons to impart unto a nerd like me, which actually leads me to the entire point of this post:

1. If You Can’t Go Around it, Find a Way to Go Through It.


When making his way through Peaceful Rest Valley to save Paula from the cult of Happy Happyists, Ness’ only available path is blocked by a big pencil-shaped iron statue.  Did Ol’ Nessypants just say “fuck it” and go home?

Hell no.

He seeks out Apple Kid, a Twoson-based inventor, who has just invented a machine that is specially designed to “eradicate all pencil-shaped figures in just one second.”

Awhile back when I had first begun my journey to excellency & hotness, I hit a roadblock fairly early on.


I was just working out in my parents’ basement, where I had a cheap bench and a barbell with some old plastic weights.  All I did was bench press and bicep curls, pretty much every day.  I had no idea what the hell I was doing, and was ready to give up.

Instead of throwing in the towel or just continuing to work around my own limits, I started reading Men’s Health magazine, which led to my discovering a male model by the name of Gregg Avedon.  On his website I found a workout program called Push/Pull, which of course involved splitting workout days into days where I performed pushing exercises and days where I just did pulling exercises (and legs).

Was this optimal for a beginner?  Maybe not.  But it led to me buying more equipment and making progress with my physique I hadn’t seen before, and allowed me to continue on my sexy adventure.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Accept Help.

When Ness & co. discover that ghosts inhabit the Two-Three tunnel, which they need to cross in order to make it from Twoson to Threed, they are unable to do so.  Back in Twoson, after freeing Blues band The Runaway Five from their debt to the Chaos Theater, Ness accepts a ride from the band on their tour bus in order to make it through the tunnel and past those ethereal motherfuckers.

We’ve all been in a situation where we could have benefited from a helping hand.  Whether  we need someone to help us get through a tunnel full of ghosts, move a couch or we just need someone to offer us a kind word, it’s easy to let pride get in the way and try to take on all of our troubles by ourselves.

Just try to remember that accepting a kind offer of help doesn’t make us weak; just the opposite.  Acknowledging when something is too big for us to handle is a sign of true strength.  It also may stop you from being trapped under a heavy-ass couch or being murdered by ghosts, so keep that in mind.

3. Don’t Hesitate to Say Something Kind.

No matter what, no matter who you’re talking to or your preconceptions of them, if you notice an attribute worth complimenting, just go for it.


It’s never a bad idea to say something nice, and it’s a great, yet simple way to potentially turn someone’s entire day around.

Do it.

4. When in the Presence of a Hot Young Thang, Don’t Stare.

We’ve all been in that situation where we see someone that we fancy and unknowingly start eye-fucking them until we get caught.  Maybe you’re at the grocery store and you get a shot of some cleave as a woman is handling her melons (yeah.).

Perhaps you’re in an elevator and the female elevator operator has some sweet hips:


“Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don’t stare at it, it’s too risky. You get a sense of it then you look away.”

-Jerry Seinfeld

Words to live by.

5. Your Worst Enemies May Be Those Closest to You.

Pokey, Ness’ next-door neighbor, was always kind of a dick.  His family harbored a grudge toward Ness’ over a supposed unpaid debt, and he abandons his own brother pretty early on in the game.  He and Ness were still friends previous to certain events in the game, however.


Eventually it is revealed that Pokey is working for Giygas, the main antagonist.  This does not bode well for their friendship.

It’s important to identify toxic relationships with people and either learn to take their words with a grain of salt or cut them out completely.

The people closest to you may try to lead you down the wrong path, either out of misguided support or their own insecurities.

“You look fine!  You don’t need to work out or change your diet.”

“Oh, so now you want to be a accountant?  We’ll see if you follow through with this one.”

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re surrounded by people who either knowingly or unknowingly try to hold you back.

Keep your head up and ignore those motherfuckers.

6. Never Stop Evolving or Building Your Strengths.

When travelling through the gold mine in Dust Dunes Desert, you come across five giant moles who call themselves the Guardian Diggers.  You encounter them individually in different parts of the cave, and each one of them claims to be the third strongest among their group.

guardian digger

Every one of them seems completely content with being third strongest, to the point where it’s quite obvious that not one of them has any intention of bettering themselves.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

-Chinese proverb

If you’re really, truly happy exactly where you are at this point in time, that’s fantastic.  Kudos to you.  You’ve accomplished something that very few have in the history of the universe.

The rest of us, though, could all do better with a few changes or improvements.  We all have skills that we’d like to become more adept at.  Some of us want to become stronger, physically or mentally. We have bad habits we need to quash.  Perhaps you want to become a better at the sexy time.

Do you not finish your pancakes on Cheat Day?  Seriously, cut that shit out.

In life, there is always more to discover, there are always more foes to vanquish, and more fears to conquer.

To grow stagnant is to wait patiently for Death.

Of course, in this case, Death is a kid with a baseball bat and one hell of a mean swing.



I’m sure as life goes on I’ll find more hidden lessons within Shigesato Itoi’s great works.  And if you’re at all familiar with the game, I’m sure you’ve picked up on a few things that I haven’t yet.  If this is the case, leave a comment!


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Kittoe’s Warrior Day Migas


Me encanta la mierda de comida Mexicana.

In English, “I love the shit out of Mexican food.”

Or at least that’s what Google Translate is telling me.

Accurate translation or not, it remains the truth.  I really, really fucking love Mexican cuisine, and while the recipe I’m going to lay out for you may be regarded as more Tex-Mex than an authentic Mexican dish, if it weren’t for my adoration for that type of food I wouldn’t be so crazy about Migas.

Before we get to the recipe, however, I feel that I should explain why this dish is called “Warrior Day Migas.”

Awhile back I adopted a style of eating that remains somewhat controversial in the fitness world called Intermittent Fasting.

For those of you who have never heard of such a thing, allow me to show you this article by Dr. John Berardi which explains it better than I ever could:

I’ve been following (for the most part) a style of eating called Fat Loss Forever, which incorporates a few different types of IF protocols.  I’ve made a few changes here and there to better fit it into my own schedule, and it’s bloody fantastic.  Getting away from the whole “Dood u gotta eat liek every 2 hours or else your metabolic furnace will shut off lolz” thing is incredibly freeing, and looking back on it now, I realize how silly all of that was to begin with.

FLF features a couple of Warrior Diet-style days a week, which involves a protein shake in the morning and then a giant meal at night that includes most of your calories for that day.

You see, if you’re taking in the majority of your calories at dinner (for me, that’s at about 9 p.m.) it has to be a gigantic gut-busting behemoth of a meal.  Something that might be considered big enough to feed a family of four very well may become a primo selection for your Warrior Day meal.

This is where Warrior Day Migas comes in.  It satisfies my cravings for Latin food while taking care of my dietary needs.  Taking in such a huge amount of food at night also prevents any 3 a.m. binges, which have been a problem for me in the past.  Schwing!

“Dude, shut the fuck up about your weird eating habits and get to the recipe, already.”

Alright, alright.  Calm down, people.

Warrior Day Migas


Serves 1.  Or 2.  Or 4.  Whatever.  Eat the whole thing or divide it up as needed.

What you need:

6 eggs.  I use Eggland’s Best.

1/2 cup liquid egg whites

2 tbsp water

Black pepper

1/2 tsp. minced garlic (I just used the stuff from the jar.)

2 strips thick-sliced bacon

4-6 green onions, cut into little rings

1 medium tomato, diced and drained

1 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend

4oz. can of diced green chiles

3 Mission extra-thin corn tortillas, cut into about 1-inch squares.

1 tbsp. butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter.  Grass-fed, suckah!)

Optional: Hot sauce of choice (I used Valentina for this one)

Also optional: Tajin.

What you gotta do:

In a mixing bowl, throw in the eggs, egg whites, water, garlic and as much pepper as you see fit.  Whisk it like there’s a gun to your head and the only way to survive is to whisk like you’ve never whisked before.

Get out a big skillet and cook the bacon till it’s crisp.  Pour out the grease, keeping about a tablespoon in the pan.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and set aside.

Keeping the heat on, toss the tortilla pieces into the pan and cook in the grease.  Salt them a bit and flip them around in the pan until they’re browned a bit.  Dump them onto a paper towel.  Just like bacon, they really crisp up when they’re cooling.

Now melt the butter in the pan, and throw in the green onions.  Stir them around a bit, and after about a minute, pour in the eggs.

Let the eggs set for about 30 seconds, then stir, then repeat.  Do this for a few minutes until the eggs are ALMOST set.

Throw in cheese, tomatoes and chiles.  Stir.

Now throw in the homemade tortilla chips and bacon.  Stir it, then transfer it to a plate.

Top with hot sauce and Tajin.

Take a bite.

Moan my name in ecstasy.



There you have it.  Kittoe’s Warrior Day Migas all up in your mouth.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

Macros for entire recipe:  41g carbs, 83g fat, 90g protein.  1312 cals.

Keep in mind that this is just the base recipe, which I tend to use on a rest day.  To fit your needs you can cut out some of the cheese, throw in some rice or more tortillas if you need more carbs, use more egg whites for protein, etc.

Did you try this recipe?  Let me know how it turned out in the comments!

5 Things Currently Kicking Ass in My Life

It’s all about the little things.

Anyone who knows me fairly well will tell you about how I love trying new things.  That’s not to say that at this point in my life I’m incredibly adventurous in a conventional manner; I just  abhor doing the exact same thing, the exact same way, day in and day out.  My current physique and lifestyle goals don’t exactly allow for a lot of extravagant spending or traveling and due to financial constraints (don’t worry, I’m not complaining about money, it’s not my style), I must keep my life at a certain level of simplicity.

So I keep things fresh and fulfill my own need to learn and experience new things in any way I can.  This involves trying new foods, listening to different kinds of music and striking up conversations with people who might have a story or two to tell.  I tend to get pretty excited about random and seemingly mundane shit, and I’m perfectly okay with that.  Let’s face it, people who think of being “easily amused” as a character flaw have got to be boring as shit.  

And so I bring to you a list of things that are absolutely kicking ass in my life right now, even though they may seem positively humdrum to the boring-as-shit people I just mentioned.  Enjoy.

1.  Homemade Beef Jerky

Who doesn’t love jerky?  Well, I didn’t.  I mean I loved the taste and everything, but it was the toughness and texture that, for the most part, turned me off of the stuff.  I’ve never been a huge fan of things that are just plain hard to eat, even if they’re delicious.  Pomegranates, anyone?

Then I learned about ground beef jerky.


That’s right, ground beef jerky.  It’s incredibly tender, super-easy to make and it’s fucking delicious.  Making it yourself allows you to avoid those pesky preservatives and actually use good quality meat, along with helping me meet my own need to experiment with food.

You’ll need a food dehydrator and a jerky gun, but the cost of those will be made up for by the fact that you’re making quality jerky at a fraction of what you normally spend at the grocery store/gas station/dark alley.

Ohhhhh yes.

Ohhhhh yes.

My fav recipe at the moment, which is completely modifiable:

What you need:

1 lb.  Lean ground meat (grass-fed sirloin, bison, elk, ostrich, turkey, whatevs.  If you’re feeling particularly bold, use a mixture of meats)

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. Tajin (This is a Mexican chili-lime seasoning.  I’ve seen it at Walmart, but it’s easiest to just find it at a Mexican grocery.)

1 tsp. sea salt

A nice healthy squirt of Sriracha.  Don’t know Sriracha yet?  Allow me to introduce you:

Nice to meet you.

Double or triple the recipe as you see fit.

What you gotta do:

Mix everything together, and mix it good.

Shove it into the gun.

Shoot into 4-6 inch strips onto dehydrator grates.

Set dehydrator to 145-150 degrees.

Depending on thickness of jerky and countless other variables, it could take anywhere from 5 to 12 hours.  There should be no more pink anymore and if the jerky is brittle, you’ve let it go wayyyy too long.  Yes, I have done this.

2.  Coming Out of My Shell

Not a literal shell.  I’m not Donatello.  It’s just that a lot of the time when I feel out of my element I tend to shut down and live inside my head.  Sometimes I’m that guy that sits there awkwardly while everyone else is talking and having a grand ‘ole time because he feels he doesn’t have anything to add to the conversation.

Something I’ve come to realize over the past year is that I have something to add to every conversation.  I think most of us do.  Occasionally one must be the conversation conductor, and not just a passenger.  I’m a fucking charismatic guy with many interests and talents. Why would I go through life depriving others of the pleasure that is Matt Kittoe?

That is why I’ve made an effort to stop being that guy.  It’s just not who I am, and I feel ashamed every time I realize I’ve been daydreaming for the last five minutes, last half hour, whathaveyou.  Unless you’re completely content with just standing there and looking pissed off in the middle of a party, a concert, or just a gathering of friends, it’s time to make an effort to come out of that damned shell and start living life.

Don’t think about how cool it would be to have a dance-off with the hobo across the street from the bar during a reggae concert; just get out there and fucking dance.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life building walls within myself.  It’s time to grab a sledgehammer and start tearing that fucker down.

It may take a awhile, but it’ll be worth it.

3.  This pie.

French Silk, bay-bay.

French Silk, bay-bay.

No, it’s not Cheat Day, and yes, I had a weak moment.  But you know what?  It was totally worth it.

4.  Christmas.

(I’m sorry, I started writing this before Christmas and didn’t get to finishing it until now.  I know, I know.)

I’m not going to go as far as saying that genuine love for the holidays is a rare thing these days, but peoples’ need to be vocal about their disdain for Christmas seems to be at an all-time high, what with the Facebooking and the tweeting and whatnot.  It would make me sad if it weren’t for the fact that I fucking love Christmas and I’m too busy enjoying this time of the year to let any of those assholes get me down.

I love giving presents.  The fact that I don’t have a ton of money makes it so I can actually get creative with my gifts and create something, which if you’ve read my other posts, you know I love doing.

I love the food.  Much like what happens with pumpkin around Thanksgiving time, suddenly everything is flavored with peppermint.  I have an insane love for all things minty, so this is a great thing.

“Chocolate-dipped pretzel rods that have been rolled in crushed candy canes?  Yes, please.”

I love walking into the mall, the coffee shop or any random store and hearing Christmas music.  I know there are those of you out there who especially dislike the music, and nothing would please me more than to punch you in the mouth while yelling “IN THE NAME OF CHRISTMAS!”

Forgive me.  I just really, really love the holidays.

Oh, and the smells!  The almost-overwhelming scents of winter-y spices!  I can’t get enough.

A conversation earlier with my friend Ian:

Kittoe:  How do you feel about Christmas?

Ian:  As an adult, it’s nice to get together with my dad’s family on the actual day.  I know, I’m one of those rare people that actually likes his family.

Or at least part of it.

But it’s annoying spending two months having people constantly asking me what I want for Christmas, and not being able to think of a damn thing.

Kittoe:  So you’re not one of those that complains about the commercialization of it all, or despises Christmas music and Winter in general?

Ian:  Nope.

Kittoe:  Good, I can’t stand those people.

Ian:  Hahaha, I like the whole “holiday season” thing.

Kittoe:  Kudos to you, sir.

5.  John Romaniello and Nate Green.

Some may say (and have) that I talk about these guys too much, but this list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include people who have had such a profound impact on my life.

It all started a few years ago when I started following the work of one Nate Green, whose blog at inspired me to take my fitness to a whole new level and actually compelled me to start writing again.  I’d become friends with Nate on Facebook and enjoyed his musings about life and beer on a daily basis.  That’s around the time I realized not all “fitness gurus” had to be boring and and pedantic.  Some of these guys will make you laugh your ass off whilst learning valuable life lessons on a regular basis.

One day when I plopped down in my chair after work, I’d noticed that Nate had posted a video featuring some jacked Italian dude that I’d never seen before.

My first thought was, “That guy is wearing the fuck out of that v-neck.”

That jacked Italian fellow turned out to be fitness extraordinaire John Romaniello.

Now, Roman definitely isn’t for everyone.  He’s vulgar, talks regularly about buttsex, and will rip you a new asshole if you express disdain for Star Wars or Final Fantasy (but let’s face it, you have it coming).  The fact that he focuses mainly on aesthetics tends to irk some that I’ve talked to.  That’s fine.  He’s perfectly okay with the fact that not everyone is going to like him, which is just one of the lessons he has imparted unto me.

Mr. Romaniello, basically just by being himself and spreading his awesomeness throughout the land, has enlivened me in a way that can only result in my doing great things.  His workouts continue to kick my ass, and his friendship is invaluable to me as a human being.  I’ve come to that guy with some really fucked-up problems and he’s always given me great perspective, as I believe he’s been in some pretty interesting situations himself.

He even let me write a guest post for his blog, which has yet to be posted, but I’ll let you know when it is.

Plus it doesn’t hurt that he’s (arguably) an even bigger nerd than I am:

Yeah, he mentioned me and this site in that episode of Saturdays with Roman.  What up.

So when you get a chance, you should definitely get to know Roman and his writings by visiting his website or his Facebook page.  You (probably) won’t regret it.

And yes, that his a picture of him in a skimpy cow costume on his Facebook.

As for Nate, he’s currently working with Dr. John Berardi at a site called Scrawny to Brawny, which, as you probably guessed, is a project dedicated to helping skinny guys get jacked and tan.

Well, maybe not tan.  Whatevs. Check it out.

What’s kicking ass in YOUR life?


Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Kittoe’s Guide to Not Being an Internally-Angry D-Bag

I’m kind of an emotional guy.

That’s not to say that I’m one of those people who cries over a dropped hot dog (although I have to admit that shit really sucks), I just have a tendency to let my negative thoughts affect my emotions in a way that stops me from truly living in the moment.  My own internal struggles over the smallest, most seemingly trivial things eat away at me, which results in me silently suffering whilst wishing I could just sit there and enjoy my fucking cup of coffee.  So I guess you could say I’m just not outwardly emotional.

For example, I work at a place that is currently selling sandwiches for $2.  This effectively drops our quality of customer down to the level of…well, Honey Boo Boo’s mother.  The majority of the people I had to deal with yesterday were not only incredibly cheap, but they were also rude, demanding, and just surprisingly devoid of socialization skills.  After just a couple of hours, I was about ready to start slapping people, Dictator-style.

This was especially disconcerting to me as I’ve been trying really, really hard to stop judging people so harshly.  To just accept them as they are, and see through their outer shortcomings to the good that I am trying to believe lies in everyone.  Needless to say, this shit is hard when you work in the fast-food industry.

But I’m working on it.

Recently I’ve been dedicating a good chunk of my time to self-examination, and attempting to make corrections where needed.  I’m convinced that if I don’t put them in check, my negative thoughts will destroy me.  Outside influences should not fully determine your emotional state, nor should they keep you from being content in any situation.  Fuck internal toxicity.and self-defeat, I say.

This is why I decided to start meditating and learn mindfulness in any way possible.  I realized that a big part of my problem is that I just need to relax and cleanse my mind and soul of these thoughts that are making me, for lack of a better word, unhappy.  I by no means consider myself to be a depressed individual, and I don’t think I have anger management issues per se, but I feel that if I let this continue I won’t get anywhere in life.

And baby, I’m going places.

So I thought I’d share a couple of measures I’ve taken to become a but more mindful, and stop letting shit get to me constantly.

1.  Take a bath.

chandler bath

Yeah, that’s right.  Baths aren’t just for the ladies, and I’m not saying you have to get out the scented candles and schmear clay on your face (although to be completely honest, I don’t see anything wrong with a guy enjoying pleasant smells and clean pores).  It’s incredibly relaxing, and I can’t believe I was against the idea for so long.  A few weeks back I decided to take Nate Green’s advice, add my own twists and start taking semi-weekly baths just to unwind and clear my head, along with a few physical benefits as well.

What you’ll need:

10-12 peppermint tea bags

2 cups Epsom salt

Relaxing music.  I like Llewellyn and any kind of Richard Allison-type renaissance guitar pieces.

A good book

Glass of water, along with a glass of wine or scotch if you so desire.

Wooden spoon

What you’ll do:

Turn the bath faucet to the hottest water possible and start filling the tub.

Slowly pour the salt into the running water.  When you’re done, stir it into the water with the wooden spoon.  It won’t take long to dissolve.

Throw in tea bags, and occasionally as the water is filling, take the wooden spoon and stir the tea bags around in the water in order to spread the goodness.  You’ll see it working because the water will turn an ugly brown color.  This is perfectly fine, don’t freak out.  Just be careful when you’re getting into the tub, and do it slowly.  That shit is going to be hot.

BAM!  After the tub is full, you’ll have yourself a nice peppermint tea bath.

Relax, read and enjoy for as long as you want.

2.  Meditate.

Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming.  I dabbled in meditation a few years back and dropped it for no good reason.  The truth is, it’s almost an essential part of life now that we live in such an ADD-ridden world.  Do you have what it takes to stay mindful in an existence where we can’t go ten minutes without texting or checking our Facebook feed?  I sure don’t.

We’re constantly bombarded with information and I think we tend to underestimate the toll it takes on us as human beings.  It’s much harder to just stop and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings these days, and it’s not like the beauty isn’t there.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Ricky Fitts here.  I just think it’s important to completely clear your mind every once and awhile, as it makes it much easier to actually live in the moment and not be consumed by negative thoughts.

What you’ll need:

Your ass and an open mind.

What you’ll do:

Find a place where you can be completely alone and without distractions.  Ideally this would be outdoors in the middle of the woods on a beautiful day,  but who am I kidding; it’s December and most of us can’t make it out to a secluded Skyrim-type grove on a regular basis.

This is assuming you wouldn't be attacked by a Spriggan, anyway.

This is assuming you wouldn’t be attacked by a Spriggan, anyway.

Just sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  In and out.  If thoughts spring up, and they will, let them pass.  The worst thing you can do is attempt to think about nothing; it never works and you’ll end up actually thinking about thinking about nothing.  Completely defeats the purpose.  Eventually, and this might take a few weeks depending on how cluttered your mind generally is, you will free yourself of all burden and just…be.  It’s a fantastic feeling, and one I’ve only gotten a glimpse of so far, but I’m excited to truly reach that stage.

3.  Lift heavy shit.

“The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

-Henry Rollins

That pretty much sums it up.

When everything else in your life has seemingly gone to shit, the Iron will be there to kick you in the balls and tell you to fucking deal with it.  Negative emotions mean nothing to a dumbbell, and a 45 lb. plate will always be there to help you become strong enough to make it through whatever bullshit has befallen your life.  Befriend the Iron and it will never betray you.

What you’ll do:

Find yourself a coach or a decent program and start lifting.  Simple.

If you’ve never picked up a weight before, The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises can be a big help.  I still use it as reference myself sometimes.

Remember, it’s hard to focus on anything else when you’ve got a loaded barbell on your shoulders.

…And there you have it.  I’m sure I’ll discover more ways to practice de-negativizing myself in the future, and I’ll be sure to let you all know what I find.

Godspeed, guys.

Have anything to add to the list?  Leave a comment!

What You Can with What You’ve Got (The George Takei Tomato)

Creativity is a bitch.

Ever since I was a wee-little Kittoe, I’ve considered myself to be a bit of an artist.  In 1st grade we were assigned to draw scenic pictures with crayons (what else?) and, like anything that allows me to express myself creatively, I completely immersed myself in the project.  I spent the better part of the school day sitting at my desk with my cheap 24 pack of Crayolas (all my friends at the time had the gigantic 120 count boxes, so obviously I was at a disadvantage) drawing birds, trees, and individual blades of grass.  I buried myself in that drawing, imagining what it would be like to be there, just laying in the grass, staring at the clouds and listening to the breeze gently rustling the leaves in the trees that surrounded me.

The end result was so beautiful, that the teacher actually went out and bought a frame so that I could adorn my bedroom wall with this exceptional piece of art.  I took this shit seriously, man.  It wasn’t just that I wanted to be the best “drawer” in the class or that I needed to express myself; I really took pleasure in the fact that other people enjoyed my works.

Note:  Drawing probably isn’t as masterful as I remember it being.

As the years went by, I became somewhat adept at other forms of art.  Eventually I dropped the drawings altogether, (I just picked it up again recently, which explains the hilariously bad pictures you see on this blog) and got into writing.  I’d write short stories about everything from friendly ghosts to super-soldiers fighting aliens.  I can’t say that any of it was particularly original, but hey, I enjoyed it.

When I hit my teens, I was suddenly no longer interested in any of it.  I was distracted by things like girls and video games (Was?  Who am I kidding?) and didn’t even think about that kind of stuff anymore.  This went on for quite some time, and I didn’t pick it up again until a few years ago.  What I didn’t realize during those years of creative inactivity is that I’m completely lost without it.  That feeling that I get when I create something that both makes me proud and makes others feel?  I can’t get that anywhere else.

It may seem silly to some, but this is what I should be doing.  This is what I want to be doing.

Unfortunately, since at this point in my life I am not a successful man nor a wealthy one, I require a job.  And it just so happens that my job is at a sandwich shop.  Save your pity, it’s not all that bad.

Going back to my starting statement, creativity is a bitch because it rarely kicks in when you need it to.  You can sit down at your laptop for hours and come up with absolutely nothing (which is super frustrating, by the way) and then take a shower and have the ideas just start dropping like those mini-asteroids in Armageddon.  It’s hard to get the timing right.

What is a guy to do?

Well, this first thing I learned is that if an idea comes to you at an inopportune time, you’ve got to write it down.  I got myself a notebook that fits into my pocket and when I suddenly have a moment f brilliance, I write it down so I can flesh it out later.  John Romaniello of Roman Fitness Systems got it right in his “Roman’s Rules for Successful Living” post on his site:

Rule Number 4:  Write it down. Your memory is shit.

Amen, brotha.

The other thing I learned is that sometimes you’ve got to work with what you’ve got in the moment.  Sometimes creativity hits you like a Chestburster in Alien, and if you don’t act on it right then, it’ll be gone forever.  So no matter where you are, create something.

Case in point:

Being stuck in a sandwich shop with not much besides vegetables and masking tape, what is a guy to do?

That.  That’s what he does.

So, yes.  Creativity is a bitch.

…And I love her.

Have your own war with creativity?  Hate my George Takei impression?