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Matt McCabe Posts

How I Lost 109 Pounds

I tried all the diets. I’ve been on a serial diet since high school.

One time in high school, I looked at myself in the mirror as I was getting out of the shower. I didn’t like what I saw.

I went on a starvation diet. I do not recommend this, but you can do basically anything to your body as a teenager, right? I also used to stay up all night and drink zillions of Jolt colas (remember those?).

So I got older. I married. I had a kid. I got lazy.

Before I knew it, I was 350 pounds (175 kilos). That’s the point where a salesman looks at you in the store and says, “Dude! Wanna try on this nice mumu?”

I’m joking. Nobody ever said that.

But seriously, that’s when I started to work on my weight again. I could definitely call it a “weight-loss journey,” because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

Here’s a little hint: When you are really heavy, like I was, you can do basically anything and drop a couple pounds. I mean, start eating three cheeseburgers instead of four when you go to McDonald’s. You’ll drop four pounds in a month. Easy squeezie.

Then you have the bonus of telling your friends that you’re on this exciting new McDonald’s diet! You tell them you eat three cheeseburgers and the weight just drops off! Their eyes will get so big…

But after you have taken off the low-hanging fruit, you gotta start with real changes.

How about you stop eating fast food? Make a meal at home?

Look, your body needs a certain amount of nutrition. If you eat a heavily-processed food item (pick any fast food joint), your body is only getting a fraction of the nutrition it needs. You will still be hungry. The only solution is to eat more. Face it, the last thing you need is another fast food hamburger.

Ok, end of lecture.

At the end of the day, just about any diet will work, if you stick to it.

The trick is to find out a diet that you like enough to stick to. You will lose weight.

Seriously. I’ve been working on my weight for years.

My silver bullet?

Fasting. You know how guys usually lose weight faster than girls? With fasting, it’s usually the opposite. Men lose about two pounds per day when fasting. Women lose about three pounds per day.

Of course, the closer you get to your ideal weight, the less it will be. It might take you seven days to lose five pounds (I’m so jelly).

But that might not be your silver bullet. That was mine.

Right now I’m doing alternated day fasting combined with the warrior diet (intermittent fasting with a four-hour eating window). Let me break that down for those of you who don’t understand. For an entire day, I eat nothing—I only drink black coffee. I can have a very limited number of calories—100 or less.

The next day, I eat absolutely anything I want. I eat until I’m full. I eat between the hours of 2 and 6. That’s it.

I lose about 1 pound (.5 kilo) per day. I feel satisfied. I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself. I’m not.

For four hours every two days, it’s Game On.

While I could eat fast food burgers to the sky, I generally don’t. I try to stick to nutrient-rich foods. And realistically, you can eat a whole lot more food if you are willing to eat at home.

The other day I went to a local Trader Joes and picked up a block of cheese to snack on. Total price: $6.

The other night I got two $5 specials at a local hamburger place. Total price: $10.

Plus, I only ate 1/3 of that block of cheese before I put it back in the fridge. Two days for $6. Not bad.

How far would $10 have gone at a supermarket deli? Dude. If you haven’t gone to a supermarket deli and instead go to fast food joints… dude. Do yourself a favor. Put down the McWhatever and pick up a GALLON of potato salad.

You’re welcome.

—this guy

That’s about it, really.

I’m currently at 241lbs. (120 kilos)

I’m just getting started, y’all.

—this guy.

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On Writing

I have loved telling stories my entire life. I am good telling stories.

I am a writer.

My father’s words echoed in my head for many, many years.

You will never make any money as a writer.

—my father.

I should be fair. He said “artist,” but writing is my art. I discarded that a long time ago as “not a real career.” I ran away from myself for many years, but I always came back to the same conclusion. I am a writer. That’s how God made me.

So now the next question is, “How do I make money as a writer?”

As far as I can tell, that has to be a side-gig for a very long time. You have to be willing to make no money for a long time so you can make a lot of money later on. That’s true of a lot of things. Do what you love. Get really good at it. Then you will make money.

I’ve seen a lot of different advice:

  • Practice for 10,000 hours
  • Write 100 articles
  • Write 1,000 words

It seems like they are all saying the same thing. Write a lot. You’ll get better.

From what I’ve seen so far, that’s really true.

I self-published a book on Amazon. I envisioned it being a runaway smash. I would make oodles of money. I would be invited to speak at writer’s conferences.

How many copies did I sell. About 10.

How many reviews did I get. Two. One was from a friend. The other was just one word—Meh.

Ouch.

In anger, I calculated how much money I would have made working at Taco Bell for minimum wage. I felt worse.

But you know what? I wrote a book!

How many of you have written a book?

I look back at the prose. It’s really not good. I’m going back to release Book Two. If that catches on, I will re-write Book One. If not, I will write Book Three before re-writing Book One. I’m not hoping that Book Two will be a runaway success. I’m not making that mistake again.

I’m not writing for you anymore. I’m writing for me.

I was in the hospital for three months. I thought I would die. I did die once, in fact. My heart stopped and I had to be revived. This is my second chance. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to think about the trilogy that was always on my mind that I didn’t publish?

That was one of my regrets in that hospital bed.

I have had this idea for a trilogy of books since high school. That was like 30 years ago! Talk about procrastination.

So, my writing goals: One article per day. One chapter of my book each week.

Will I hit 10,000 hours of practice? Eventually.

Will I publish 100 articles on Medium? Eventually.

Will I write 1,000,000 words. Eventually.

Will I make any money? I do not care.

I am a writer. Writers write.


This is article #12 of 100… or so. I have written 12,820 words of 1,000,000. I have 987,180 words to go (I love spreadsheets). How many hours. Sheeze… you can’t track everything, yo. Get a life!

–Dude, seriously!

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My Son was Murdered by his Mother

“When will the pain stop?!”

That was my first question when I went to my first support group meeting, Parents of Murdered Children (POMC).

The answer, almost to my horror, is never.

The pain never goes away. I heard a man speak who lost his daughter to murder over 30 years ago. He is still dealing with his pain.

Initially, this made me recoil.

Never? The pain would never go away?

The pain of the first year is almost unbearable. The idea that this pain would go on forever was unthinkable. Over several years of meetings, I have learned the rest of the story.

Yes, the pain of a traumatic loss never goes away, but it softens. Survivingvictims of homicide are trying to save another life — their own. They are on a quest to find “the new normal.” We aren’t trying to “move on.” We will never move on from our tragedy. Instead, we “move forward” in spite of it.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me go back to the beginning.

My Story

I’m a big fan of motivational speaker. Mainly because… they motivate me.

My latest is Mel Robbins.

She said something in a speech that really stood out to me.

She said:

If you are doing something new, you might tell yourself that you’ll succeed or fail. –Mel Robbins

She goes on to say that we should tweak the saying. In our modern society, there is little chance that we will fail (or die). In ancient times, failure could mean death. Today, failure means we get a sternly-worded memo from HR.

Instead, she said, we should tell ourselves, “We will succeed or survive.”

I like this, because I’m a survivor.

To understand my story, we have to go back to 2013. I was living in Hood River, Oregon. I though I was living a pretty good life.

I had good friends. I had a good job. I had a good family. I had a beautiful little boy. He was autistic and non-verbal, but he gave really good hugs. I wish I could have heard him say, “I love you,” but both of us knew.

The Crash

That’s when my whole castle began to crumble.

I got a brain tumor. It was in a very sensitive part of my brain. I couldn’t feel the left half of my body. I could not walk. I was confined to a hospital bed.

I got good care at the local Providence hospital. My friends and family rallied around me. It boosted my spirits.

I was going to buckle down and recover!

Two months later, I was diagnosed with a rare form of MS. I spent a month in rehab relearning how to every common task you can think of. Standing up, walking, brushing my teeth, and dressing myself.

In the two months I had been confined to my bed, all of my muscles had atrophied.

I was starting as a baby again at the age of 40.

I’m used to tears and humiliation and hard work. You haven’t lived until you’ve messed yourself in public (that’s a joke). It makes a person humble, though.

A month later, I returned to my home in a wheelchair with a walker.

I wasn’t deterred. I was going to keep at it, work hard, and recover!

Life wasn’t done dealing me blows.

The Continued Fall

Then my wife had a “nervous breakdown.”

I’m not making light of mental illness. It’s a serious thing. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, get help immediately.

I am saying that my wife didn’t have a real nervous breakdown. At least, the later police investigation didn’t come to that conclusion. Their opinion is that she was pretending to have a nervous breakdown. Why? Maybe she didn’t want to deal with a special needs son and a special needs husband?

It’s all speculation. We may never know.

What I do know is that she was a master of manipulation. You thought of her what she wanted you to think of her. She wanted everyone to think that she was a poor victim of a “nervous breakdown.”

She entered the mental health system of Hood River. We bounced around from therapist to therapist. No one really did anything. Of course, nothing would have worked. She was allegedly faking it and showing different symptoms to different people.

When they started talking about putting her in an institution, my aunt and uncle came to the rescue. They offered up a room in their house for her to stay. Yes, she has a name, but I prefer not to use it… ever.

We’ll call her The One Who Won’t Be Named.

Now I didn’t have any support at home. My wife had been the primary care-giver for my son. I had come a long way, but I wasn’t yet up to the task of parenting a very energetic, special-needs boy.

My mother-in-law extended her vacation and stayed with me two weeks. My mother took a vacation to stay with me two more weeks. She was the one who said this wasn’t a long-term solution. She had life and job back in Newport, Oregon.

“Pack up a few boxes. You’re moving in with me.”

It was like quickly leaving a disaster and grabbing only what you need. There were so many things that I left behind. Years later, I don’t miss most of those things. It was forcing me to become a minimalist — and fast!

Normal Life?

Life continued like this in Newport — maybe a month or so?

I worked on daily exercise. I was still determined to “get better.”

Then, my wife’s condition “got worse.” She made some very angry, violent threats toward my aunt and uncle. The police were called. She was taken into state mental care. Quick hint out there for those of you dealing with mental illness. The police that came to the scene would sooner have just left things alone. That wouldn’t have been a good thing. You can tell when somebody needs mental care. In this case, she was allegedly needing serious mental care, but that’s beside the point.

My uncle insisted that she be placed in state care. He threatened to take legal action if they didn’t. Bravo, uncle! Between you and me, I think you dodged a bullet there.

Lesson: Make the public officials do their jobs, even when they don’t want to.

So, the unnamed one was placed in a group home in The Dalles, Oregon. Six months later, they requested a phone call. Apparently, she was “cured” (she wasn’t) and she was good to “come home” (it wasn’t a good idea).

Lesson: Even if a mental health professional tells you someone if “cured” don’t believe them. Get a second AND third opinion. Set up a meeting and see for yourself.

That may not have helped in this case, because she was acting “crazy” and acting “normal” based on her needs at the time.

The Crime

She came home to Newport and lived with us for about six months. I shiver when I think about the kind of danger we were all in.

I regularly got out of the house to practice walking or go swimming at the local pool.

On the evening of November 3rd, 2014, I went out. She said that she was fine to watch little London (she wasn’t).

I was gone for about two hours.

I noticed a bunch of emergency lights on the Newport bridge (the Yaquina Bay Bridge). I assumed there had been an auto accident. I was stuck in the slow traffic as it crawled across.

I kept my eyes forward on the slowly-moving cars ahead of me. This was for several reasons:

  • One of the reasons traffic goes so slow is because people slow down to look at an accident. I told myself I wasn’t going to be a “lookie loo” a long time ago.
  • Sometimes people get into fender-benders by looking at the accident and not at the road. I definitely don’t want to be one of “those” people.
  • I was fairly fresh to driving again after rehab. It’s like riding a bike, but it still required focus.

If I had been looking, I would have seen my wife’s car.

I got home and watched a movie with my dad. I still can’t stand the Transformers movies for that reason. That’s a whole bunny trail we won’t go in to here.

A couple hours past. It was dark. I was starting to get worried.

I called. I texted.

Nothing.

Then there was a knock at the door. It was a group of police and a chaplain. They asked to come inside. They asked me to sit. Then they told me what had happened.

She had driven London to the Newport bridge. Parked the car. Walked him out to the middle of the bridge. Picked him up. Threw him off the bridge.

When the police told me, I started to cry.

I cried non-stop for about three days. I cried so much, it felt like I broke. I have trouble crying even to this day.

When you hear something traumatic, your mind instantly goes into shock. This is not a good time to be talking to anybody.

Lesson: Do not give a statement to the police while you are still reeling from a crime. You aren’t thinking clearly. You don’t want to be “on the record.”

But that is another bunny trail.

The very next day, friends from Hood River began to arrive. This is about a three-hour drive. I was surrounded by shared grief and support. While I had been in the hospital, London had lived with many of these families. To them, it was also like losing a son.

Honestly, the first year is mostly a blur.

I think it’s a self-protection device of your brain. While the pain is fresh, the brain can’t compute. It mostly shuts down.

Witnessing all of this love, generosity, and support softened my heart. I gave my heart to God and his son, Jesus Christ. He has been putting my life back together ever since.

Some homicide victims are angry with God. If so, that’s OK. He’s a big guy, He can take it.

I never blamed God for what happened. I think He was the first one to cry.

I’m not here to convert anybody. I’m just saying that embracing faith has helped me on my journey

That began my nomad life. I began to wander aimless. Newport had too many memories. I moved up to Portland, and have been staying with one friend after another. I didn’t know where I was going.

An Exotic Beauty

A year later, I was still going through the trial. People ask if a “successful” trial brings closure. It does not. The legal process is a different kind of pain. As a society, we should be ashamed. We take a person who has been through a traumatic situation and put them through another traumatic situation (a trial). So, to answer the question, the end of a trial is just a relief — regardless of the outcome. It could be good or bad.

I just wanted it to be over.

I wanted to learn how to breathe again, instead of gasping for life.

When I needed a friend at the end of the trial, Malou reached out to me on Facebook. That’s an amusing story, but yet another bunny trail. She didn’t know anything about what I was going through. She just knew I was a Christian and she thought I was cute.

I’ll take that. I needed a friend as the pressure-cooker of a trial was underway.

She lived in Rome, Italy. She was a private chef.

We started to chat every day. In one of our chats, I mentioned the trial. I thought everybody knew because it was such a huge story. She had no idea.

The next day, she had done some research. She apologized. She had no idea.

We became closer and closer. At this point, I still didn’t know what she looked like. Her Facebook profile picture had photos of her children (adorable). Turns out she was a widow. She was working overseas to support her kids back home (in The Philippines). As I got to know her, she was a beautiful person. I admired her level of self-sacrifice for her kids. We started to talk about the possibility of getting married.

It was a lame proposal, but she agreed.

Maria Luisa Vispo Dela Cruz

It wasn’t until after the proposal that she sent me a photo of herself. I almost dropped the phone. She was gorgeous!

A year after that, I went to meet her for the first time in Rome, Italy. When I met her, she was surprised. She had seen my photos online of me at rehab in a wheelchair. She didn’t expect me to be walking. At that time I was walking with a cane. Now I walk without that.

Family, Wedding, and VISA

The whole Philippines family

I travelled once to The Philippines to meet the family and kids. She has SIX kids and one grandkid! We saved up for another year and then travelled again to The Philippines to get married.

More bunny trails there.

Now we are working on the VISA application. Holy Cow! Talk about pulling your fingernails out! My 1st application is about 80 pages long. Notice that I said “1st application.” There will be many, many more hoops to go through.

Six Years Later…

It has been six years since the murder. I am now a totally different person than I was. I am remarried. I am writing again.

If I had any advice for somebody going through traumatic grief, it would be this:

Do what you have to do. There are no rules. Stay busy and try new things.

Peace and may God bless you❤

Matt McCabe
January, 2020

Movie Hacks

I see a lot of movies. Movies are my happy place. I can sit in the dark for two hours and get lost in a story. Over the years, I have learned how theaters work, and I’ve identified four ways that you can make you movie-going experience a little better/cheaper/more enjoyable.

Let me tell you how to get:

  • Better seats
  • Free 3D
  • Free snacks
  • Free movie showings

1. Better Seats

The best seats in the house are right in the middle of the screen. Middle row, middle seat. The movie is all around you, especially in a big theater. I’ve seen a lot of movies, and this is the best place to sit, bar none.

And then movies started with this whole assigned-seating bullcrap. If I had to guess, it’s a way they can make more money.

Why is it bullcrap? ’cause I wanna sit where I wanna sit.

Now?

Now the best seats in the house are marked as handicap. I have absolutely no problem with giving the best seats in the house to someone in a wheelchair. I used to be in a wheelchair.

What I do have a problem with is paying big money for a movie, sit in sub-optimal seats, and have the six or so handicap seats go unused!

That really chaps my hide. — my very chapped hide

Solution #1: Sit in ’em anyway. I’ve been sitting in them for a couple years now. Who’s gonna stop you? Not once has anyone tried to correct me. I use handicap stalls in bathrooms, too. My handicap is being HUGE. I don’t fit in normal bathroom stalls.

Before any of y’all get on your handicap soapboxes, I actually am disabled. You can’t tell from looking at me until I try to walk.

I’ve had people tell me I was sitting in their seat two times… in two years. My response is easy, “I’m totally sorry, let me move.”

At which point I move down to the next, empty handicap seat (both times there were other empty seats).

Let me tell you kids a story about how there were no assigned seats at the theater when I was a kid… — some old guy (not me)

Solution #2: You might be one of those prim and proper people who would never sit in a seat not assigned to him/her. There’s a solution for you. Theaters will sell you these seats (the handicapped ones) 15 minutes after a movie has started.

The trailers are 15 minutes.

You’ll sit down right as the movie is starting.

Boom — some guy who just had his mind blown

2. Free 3D

3D movies are expensive. I don’t sneak into them, I just don’t pay extra unless I know it will be good. So, occasionally I will pay more and go to a 3D movie. I think it’s cool — I just don’t want to pay for it.

Now that I see a lot of movies (see trick #4, below), I am at the theater a lot. It is my happy place. I go to the movies to relax. If I happen to be the theater a hour early, I like to sit in on some random movie.

The major chains have taken all the movie names off the individual theathers. I imagine it is to discourage people from movie-hopping. Who wants to see a random movie?

This guy .

— this guy

I do not advocate movie hopping. I pay for all my movies, thank you very much. But if the theater chain is giving away movies (see trick #4, below), I don’t mind sitting in on a movie for an hour.

Problem: What if it is in 3D? I can’t watch it.

Solution: Keep a spare set.

Go see a 3D movie. Pay extra for the glasses. Enjoy the movie.

As you exit, there is a place to “recycle” your glasses. Nobody says you have to. You paid extra money to buy those glasses on the way in. What, do you think they sanitize them, shrink-wrap them again, and sell them to the next guy? No, they tear open another case they bought from China for pennies.

Sucker.

So now you have your very own pair of 3D glasses, usable any time you need to.

3. Free Snacks

Of all my movie hacks, this is the only one that some people might think is unsavory. But, who cares? Free snacks.

Did you know that the large popcorn and large soda come with free refills? Did you know that some people don’t actually get refills?

If I have an extra $10 on me to buy a huge-butt popcorn, you better believe that I’m getting a refill!

— this guy

So, some (a lot) of these obscenely rich folk will walk out of a theater and just throw away their bucket and plastic cup. I simply “recycle” that bucket and plastic cup (read: take them out of the garbage), walk up to concessions, and redeem the refill that they obviously didn’t want.

I don’t have any problem doing this. The refill is baked into the cost. Those people didn’t use it. I will.

Problem: A large popcorn is too much for me.

Solution: Don’t eat it all.

Problem: I would never be seen taken something out of the trash!

Solution: Pay $20 for a popcorn and drink. While you’re at it, can you give me $50?

Problem: I don’t want to drink after someone!

Solution: Get a new straw, dummy. While you’re at it, rinse the thing out at the drinking fountain. Doi…

4. Free Movies

If you use trick #3, above, you will be collecting a lot of points on your loyalty card. I used to plow through points “buying” small popcorns, but they are starting to accumulate now.

Start saving those points for a free movie pass!

While you’re at it, check out Regal Unlimited (if you use Regal theaters). It really is worth it. I go to the movies once per week. We go to the movies on Tightwad Tuesdays (most chains offer cheaper movies on Tuesday). Total cost per month: $24.

With Regal Unlimited, I can see any movie (even at night) for $21 per month. You do the math.

Plus, I can see any extra movies I want. Why stop at once per week? Any movie I see over the 4th is essentially free. I just pre-pay my movies.

What’s the catch? Well, Regal want you to see every movie in their theaters and buy lots of treats. Will they make money? Break even? Lose money?

I don’t much care. I just like movies. — this guy

Do you get any points if you use Regal Unlimited? You still get some points when it renews every month. It just won’t be as many points as if you spent actual money to see those flicks.

Now the strategy is to get the studio bonuses. Lots of movie studios are offering bonuses if you see a set of three movies. Ok, so see those movies. It’s free, anyway. You don’t even have to see those movies. Just stop by the box office and buy tickets for those movies.

Or, if money is no option, you can get the tickets online with Regal Unlimited. Then, if you don’t go to the movie, well darn. You still get credit for “seeing” the movie.

There is a small charge ($.50) for getting your Regal Unlimited tickets online.

Test of Faith: The Forgiven 002

As the group continued to wade through the desert, High Priestess Isis increased her pace. She pulled up beside Samia. They walked in silence for a moment. Isis waited for the Hunt Leader to acknowledge her, but she never did. Isis was the first to speak.

“I said nothing before in front of the others, but how long do you want to continue this?We both know who is really in charge.”

Samia grunted, “I wasn’t kidding. I lead this Hunt, and will continue until our city is retaken.”

The High Priestess paused in her step but quickly recovered. She tried another tactic. “So what are we hunting?”

Samia stopped walking and looked hard at her. “Not ‘what’ but ‘who.’ This Hunt will continue until we see Lilith’s head on a pike for what she’s done.”

Maani was beside them now, sensing that her sister needed backup. “Well, said, sister. We will see Lilith’s head on a pike.”

High Priestess Isis lowered her head. The words of Bast echoed in her mind. A true leader knows how to follow.

Isis nodded and moved back to walk with the others.

Behind the group Zahra raised her voice. “We should angle north. We are near a Union outpost.”

Amaunet laughed. “After facing the army that attacked our city, what is a small Union outpost? They stay behind their shield, anyway.”

The group of hunters murmured their agreement. Isis counted them off. There were seventeen hunters, including Samia and Maani. The battle priestess, Meri, rode atop the manticore along with Char. She shivered as she thought of their perverted bond.

It was sad that Amaunet was the only Raven to remain. She was walking and talking with Kerr. He had saved her life in the battle. Strange, that. A man saving a woman. It sounded like the opening of a joke.

The Cheetah had fared a bit better. Two of them had survived. Zahra and Thoeris walked together, apart from the others. She was honored to have their two best fighters guarding their flank.

They were such a small group. How would they retake the city with such a tiny army?

Up ahead was the Union outpost and its’ glowing green energy shield. From this close, she could see that the shield was made up of interlocking green grids, each in the shape of a giant hexagon. Nothing could get through. Her women had tried in the past. It was like a giant turtle sitting out in the desert wasteland. She found it better to ignore them. They kept to themselves.


Nicko flashed his white fangs, “Strap in, big guy. We’re about to do this. Countdown commence! TEN!”

Liam growled, throwing himself into the captain’s chair. It protested under his considerable weight. Nicko was strapped into the navigation chair, but both legs were hanging over the arms. He looked like he was lounging even when he was tied down. “Hold on, little buddy! I need a couple second…”

“There’s no time! We need to launch before the next guards come on duty. EIGHT!”

Liam clicked the belt down around him and squinted through the windshield. The massive docking bay doors were rumbling open. Beyond, the green energy shield glimmered. His brain calculated the mass of the ship and the force that would be required to punch through the shield.

“Uh, Nicko?”

Nicko was flipping switches and punching buttons. All the while, he was continuing his maniacal countdown.

“SIX! What’s up, Liam? FIVE!”

Liam nodded his head toward the bay opening. “What was your plan to get through the energy shield?”

“THREE! I don’t know. TWO! I thought you ONE! would think of something!” He screamed, “LIFTOFF!”

The acceleration pushed Liam back into his seat.

“WHAT?!”


Zahra trotted around them to scout ahead. She took a couple steps and then froze, staring at the Union outpost.

Behind her, the other women followed her gaze one by one.

“Huh,” said Shukura, standing beside her. “What are they doing?”

A small ship launched from the outpost. It was quickly approaching the energy shield.

“Shouldn’t the shield be opening to let it out?” One of the hunters asked the question they all thought.

The craft was drawing closer and closer to the energy shield. There were murmurs among the onlookers. Would it crash?

At the last moment, the ship banked to the side, and the women saw guns flash and missiles fire. Both exploded against the shield. There was no apparent effect.

“They are trying to escape!”

Amaunet raised her bow, “Any enemy of the Union is a friend of mine! Ladies, focus your fire on the same part of the shield. Maybe we can weaken it.”

Kerr chuckled. “With bows and arrows?”

Amaunet turned her head to glare at him. Her voice sounded like she was lecturing a child. She had to be patient and remember that he was just a man. “When I pray, God, my god, gives light to my arrow. It is no longer a weapon made by humans. It is a weapon of pure light from the almighty. It flies as light. It penetrates as light.”

“So… you can fire lasers.”

Amaunet grunted, not acknowledging the silly word.

Around her, women raised their bows. As whispers of prayer filled the air, arrows shimmered with light.

She whispered her own prayer, and her arrow hummed. Angry light hummed. She released the arrow of light and it whistled away.

The LENS in Kerr’s eye magnified his vision. He watched the arrow as it flashed and struck the shield in a blink of an eye. The energy shield crackled where the arrow hit. A red color overlayed his vision, and words scrolled across his vision.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 99%

Kerr firmed his lip. “I stand corrected,”

“Fire there! Where the tiles of the shield come together, the shield is weak.” Around them, all of the other women let fly with their arrows. The air was filled with the flashes of light.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 87%

This might work.


“We’re sitting ducks here!” Liam was screaming. He was terrified. He hated flying. He hated being shot down even more. “Our weapons don’t do anything to that shield!”

Nicko was busy picking lint off his uniform. He glanced up. “Why don’t you concentrate your fire where those other explosions are coming from?”

Was he insane? “What other explosions?! Are we on the same ship? I don’t see any other…”

Liam’s voice trailed off. There were other explosions, coming from outside the shield. Liam didn’t question his luck. He banked hard toward the new explosions and opened fire with all of his guns.


“Keep it up, ladies!” Amaunet was a battle leader again. Her voice carried loud over the group, “Fire! FIRE!”

Energy arrows filled the air with a symphony of whistles.

Kerr smiled as the readout on his vision continued to drop.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 46%

Inside the shield, Kerr could see the ship turn and fire at the same spot. Now the number on his eye was dropping faster.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 32%

Another light flashed in the air. Kerr turned to see Char had begun to project energy from his hands, as well. That boy seems to have some serious control over energy.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 26%

The getaway ship was barreling toward the energy shield, lasers firing. Kerr bit his bottom lip. Would it be enough?

The manticore let out a screech and took to the air. In three flaps of his wings, he was hovering near the energy shield. It opened its’ mouth wide, and a stream of green, bubbling liquid hit the shield in a torrent.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 12%

Now Kerr could see a crack beginning to form. It wasn’t visible to the naked eye, but he could see it. The shield was weakening.

SHIELD INTEGRITY: 5%

Was it enough? The energy shield started to flicker. Kerr could see a crack in the energy shield, like a broken pane of glass.

With a crunch of metal, the ship struck the energy shield. Kerr winced. It sounded and felt like he was watching an automobile accident. There was a fireball explosion. The craft shot from the flames.

Kerr realized he had been clenching his fists.

The ship was pointed down. It was no longer flying, it was falling.


“We’re going down!” shouted the Borg. “Better brace for impact!”

Liam pulled hard on the controls of the ship, but to little effect. They were, indeed, going to crash. Liam slowed the feed of his video down. It was a trick he had learned when he needed to process extra information.

The desert under him slowed to a crawl. Would it soften their crash? They were passing over a hill. He tried to match the downward angle. It was the best he could do.


The cheers of the women turned to murmurs as they watched the ship disappear from view. A sickening sound of twisting metal reached their ears.

They broke into a run.


Writers Note:

It’s been many MANY years, but I am writing again. I feel good. It feels right. I am writing out on Medium, too. I will eventually make money, but I’m under no illusion that it will be quick. I’ve heard it takes nearly a year to start getting traction. Until then, it’s all about consistency. I need to get into a daily habit.

I was so pumped when book one launched, and then it was crickets. I was sooo disappointed. I hung up my typewriter for awhile. It all just seemed like a waste. I have since learned that it is common for a first book to fail.

I’m normal, y’all.

And, looking back, the writing of my first book is not that great. When I finish book two and start to accumulate a following, I will re-edit book one so that the “voice” matches. Then I will write book three online.

Here’s my big master plan: Have a big following online and THEN publish the trilogy on Amazon. I should have done it that way first, but I’m learning, here. I should create a course on all this… assuming it’s a hit.

At the end of book one, I wrote a long writer’s note. I told everybody (all three of you) that I was engaged. I have since gotten married. That was January of 2019. She is still working in Rome while I process her VISA application so she can come here. Anyway, sign up for my mailing list to get announcements of the next instalments!

Did you miss the last instalment? Here ya go!

Why You Shouldn’t Fast

Let’s just get this out of the way. I’m doing a prolonged water fast. Not everyone should.

A water fast is hard on the body. That’s kind of the point. When you fast, your cells are put under stress. This makes you stronger, faster, sharper, and younger.

BUT…

All of your body systems work together. If one goes down it can cause a cascade of failures. Who knows if you happen to have a bad heart? A bad kidney?

I tried the Keto diet for a while and discovered I had a bad gall bladder. I had to undergo emergency surgery.

Yeah, so doing a fast is a little extreme. Guess I’m just that sort of guy.

Ideally, I would be going to a doctor and getting a blood panel before undergoing something like this. I don’t have health insurance, so I’m just going to wing it. I have faith that God isn’t done with me yet.

I am what you would call an experienced faster. I have done every variety of fast that I have learned about. I particularly enjoy “Alternate Day Fasting,” but right now I’m doing a prolonged water fast. For how long? Because I’m experienced, I am better at listening to the signals my body is putting out. I will stop when my body tells me to stop. I don’t know when that will be.

Stay tuned.

Read More: Why I’m Water Fasting

I’m going to pay attention to what my body is saying… in a couple days. Right now, all my body is screaming is, “I’M HUNGRY. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WILL YOU PLEASE JUST EAT SOMETHING?!”

I give an evil laugh. I imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger in my head, “You think you should be eating, girlie man? Do you wanna have a Twinkie? Well, you CAN’T!”

I’m in day 3. The hunger should go away in 1-2 days. It’s not real hunger, anyway. I can tell the difference.

Fasting is something that you should ease into. You should not jump in cold turkey. You’ll probably freak out and quit. Follow the following steps if you want to follow in my foot steps:

  1. Consult with a doctor who is experienced with fasting and the medical benefits. Most doctors don’t have training in nutrition and fasting. A regular doctor is going to freak out and scare you off your goal. Find a doctor who is “in the know.” Tell him/her of your plans. I would have done this if I had medical coverage. Seriously. You never know if you have a hidden medical problem. “It was a bummer about Timmy and the bad appendix. Who would have thought?”
  2. When you have the clearance from your doctor, set a small goal. Start with something simple, like getting through a day without snacking. Three meals a day. Stick to three. Do this for a period of time (3-7 days).
  3. Skip a meal. You have mastered snacking. It was a dirty habit, anyway. You may found that you have more self-control. Now you can skip a meal. I don’t care if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pick one and skip it. Congrats! This is “intermittent fasting!”

    You might find that this works really well for you. If you like it, you can try other variations of intermittent fasting (IF). Just try them all and stick with one that works for you. If you want to go deeper, try the next step.
  4. Keep shrinking your window. Definitely don’t go cold turkey, but see how you handle a fast of one, two, and three days.
  5. Now, you are ready. The end goal is a seven day fast. Dr. Jason Fung is the world expert in fasting. (https://medium.com/@drjasonfung). According to him, multiple 7-day fasts are just as good as one, long fast.

Basically, I don’t recommend doing what I’m doing.

Like I said before, I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I will stop when my body feels “done.” That’s one of the reasons I’m not putting a time limit on this. I’m not pushing for X days. I might stop tomorrow if my body tells me. Who knows?

I don’t want to fall in the trap of pushing for a long fast just because I told y’all I am pushing for a long fast.

What About the Hunger?

This is a huge reason that people don’t fast. They have skipped one meal and been ready to eat their own face off. They can’t imagine skipping two… or three… or (gulp) 120…

People think their hunger will get worse and worse as time goes on. Like most kinds of “pain,” your body gives up in about three days. Last time I was in the middle of a long fast, I had no interest in food. I sat down with meals with friends. They chomped on their food and I was content to sit and drink my coffee. Really.

It also helps that you start to experience your “fasting high” at the same time that your hunger goes away. You feel great. Energized. Focused. Motivated. This is the time that your body goes into Ketosis, burning fat for food. Your body says, “I’m not hungry. Look at all this fat I have sitting here!”

The idea of regular food seems almost abhorrent. Why would I want to get off this ride? It’s starting to get good!

What Can I Eat?

Honestly, not much. That’s also the point. You want to convince your body that you’re not going to be feeding it for a while. If you reward it with something yummy, you’re training it like a spoiled child. “If I throw a big enough tantrum, Dad will buy me the sugar cereal.”

Trust me, I have tangled with this beast. Your body can become like the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

FEED ME!

Now, when I have been fasting for a few days, my body is quiet and in submission. If at any point, my body screams FEED ME again, I will honor its signal. That means something is amiss. You are allowed to take a break, eat what you are craving, and try again.

The Rules

Let me break it into some easy to follow points:

  • Coffee or Green Tea
  • 100 calories or less per day
  • Water

A lot of people ask about “zero-calorie” drinks. I say no for several reasons. Yes, they don’t have calories, so yes you are still on a fast. The short answer is “no sugar substitutes.” For those of you that are happy with that response, you can stop reading.

For those of you that still want to know why it’s a very long answer…

Why Can’t I Drink Diet Soda (WAAAA!)

Do a quick search for “are diet sodas good for you?” I’ll wait.

  • Even if they don’t have calories, most artificial sweeteners still raise your insulin level. The “magic” of fasting happens when your insulin level is low. Yes, there are a few sweeteners that don’t raise your insulin level. If you must, use one of those.
  • Artificial sweeteners lead to insulin-resistance. Your tongue tastes “sweet.” It yells down to your body, “Some calories are on the way!” Your body preps for a tasty treat (this is where the insulin raise comes from). Then, no calories end up in your body. Your body says, “Wait a minute! Where’re those calories you promised?” After repeating a few times, your body listens to the signals of the tongue less and less. Congrats, you have diabetes!
  • If you have any food or drink with “flavor,” you will keep your body “in the mood for food.” We want to get through the “hunger jungle” as quick as we can. Anything you eat (even calorie-free) will slow your journey. Even though you are allowed a few calories every day (enough for a cream or two), try to avoid these for the first few days. I got used to drinking my coffee black—you can, too.
  • Your body knows how to digest regular ol’ sugar. Don’t fake it out.

But Science!

Yeah, science can jump in a lake

–MW McCabe

Science let us get fat, full of cancer, tired, and run down. Now it has money behind it. You aren’t allowed to tell people how to get healthy. “The man” will sue your pants off.


Matt is doing a water fast.

This is day 3 of his experience. Current weight: 244.0lbs

Check back to see how he is doing. Or, you can sign up for his on once-a-month newsletter to watch his progress!