Category: pictures

i am not my beard

I buzzed my beard off the other night because I was tired of the rough texture.  I went to work the next day and was met with audible gasps.  Not good audible gasps, either.  More like shock and terror.

“What did you do to your face?”

“Where’s the beard?”

“You…you shaved it?”

“Grow it back!”

People acted like I was missing an eye or a nose instead of facial hair.  I know they didn’t mean to make me feel bad but they did.  I didn’t realize I was some gargoyle and the only thing that kept people from bursting into tears at the site of me was my beard.  It was a mask, a filter, a softening lens that cranked down my deformed face.

Or maybe it was just the shock of seeing my face look so different so fast.  As I grew the beard, everyone was slowly introduced to bearded Bran, including myself.  And taking it all off with a few strokes of the clippers was a bit jarring.  I had the beard for nearly three months and it just became a part of me as if it were always there and suddenly it wasn’t.  I didn’t recognize the smooth stranger in the bathroom mirror.

I didn’t like everyone’s reaction.  I didn’t even like my own.  I didn’t regret buzzing it off but I do like the way I look better with a beard.  But my face feels so much better without one.  When I had the beard, I combed and clipped and conditioned and even through in some argon oil to soften the facial hair but it still felt too rough for my liking.  And sometimes when I slept on my side or stomach, the facial hair against the pillow really irritated my cheeks.

I also realized maintaining facial hair was actually more intensive than just shaving it clean off.  There’s a lot of maintenance involved.  Clipping.  Washing.  Conditioning.  Keeping the neckline even and clean.  Trying not to get food or bugs or girls’ fingers caught in it.  Serious upkeep.

Yes, the beard will come back but I won’t do it for anyone else but myself.  This is kind of a big deal because I’ve always been so used to doing things the way others wanted, living and looking the way others have dictated.  But I’m not doing that anymore.  In fact, I am thinking about holding off on growing the beard back even longer than I normally would just out of spite!  Take that, jerks.

It’s gonna be my choice, no one else’s.  And I’m going to rock it either way. 

I think just about every guy has done this at least one time when debearding.

bran before and after

I waited a whole year for this picture.

When I saw the picture of my sister and me together last Christmas, I was heartbroken.  I was so big.  How did I get that large and not notice?  I’m sure I was in denial, sure I could ignore it until things in my life changed for the better so I could focus on bettering myself.  But nothing changed and when I saw the photo, I knew I had to be that change.

I told myself I would not repeat that Christmas picture looking the way I did.  Long time readers will know I’ve been dieting and exercising all year.  I’ve lost approximately 50 pounds.  I’ve probably gained at least 10 of them back in the past 2 months (I’ve been too ashamed to weigh myself lately so I don’t know the exact number) due to birthday bingeing but that’s another entry for another time.  For now, I want to focus on the positive.  Yes, I actually can do that sometimes.

I was excited to take this year’s Christmas picture, anxious to see the changes.  It wasn’t as big of a transformation as I was hoping.  Sure, clothing and lighting and angles play a significant role in revealing the body but I thought 50 pounds would show a more dramatic change. That’s not to say I’m not happy with the difference.  I definitely look better and I’m happier where I am right now.  I can mostly tell in my face, which is good.  But I still have a belly.

I’m working on it, though.  I didn’t put the weight on in a year and it will take more than a year to lose it.

I’m cool with that as long as I’m always making progress.

Starting January 1st, I’m going to begin my diet and exercise anew and at the end of the year, I’ll take another Christmas picture and hopefully I’ll see more positive changes.  And no man boobs.

Left: Christmas 2011 with my sister.  Right: Christmas 2012 with my sister.

halloween and stuff

Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls.  I carved a pumpkin on Sunday…or I attempted to.  It turned out crap ’cause I tried to get fancy with it by shading and highlighting and…no.  Carving isn’t as easy as it might seem at first.  Maybe if I had a couple of pumpkins to practice with, I could have gotten the hang of it but my hand started cramping so I just gave up.  Anyway, here’s some pictures of the gutting process.

Our stray cat who adopted us wanted to help.  “Here, gimme that knife.  Let me show you how to do it.”

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I’m not even an outside person but the cool breeze has been so nice I honestly felt guilty for not going outside and soaking it up.  It seems it’s hot the majority of the year, freezing for a portion of it, and then there’s about two good weeks of perfect weather.  I didn’t want it to go to waste so I have been walking outside more.

There’s a dirt road next to my house that I walk along.  Sometimes the foliage gets a little overgrown and it does a number on my legs.  Lately, they’ve been breaking out into a rash (even when I wear athletic pants to cover them) and there’s also the occasional douche bag that doesn’t slow down when they pass me and it kicks up dirt into my eyes.  But when the weather is cool and the sweat is flowing and no one is around but me and the cows, it’s great.

Here’s an aerial view of the dirt road.  My house is to the left close to the top of the 3D symbol.  I walk to the road and then walk up and down it.


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georgia on my grind

I’m still toying with the idea of going back to Georgia during my time off from work.  The only thing really holding me back is that 8-hour drive.  If I could just have someone chauffeur me around, that would be great because I’m pretty lazy and I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort.  I also have to take into account gas money and the cost of a hotel.  I could manage but the money would be better spent elsewhere.  Then again, it is my vacation and I deserve to splurge a bit.

It would also be nice to at least have someone to go with me to keep me entertained and possibly halve the driving duties.  Work girlfriend said she’d go if she weren’t…you know…the actual girlfriend of someone.  So, little good that did me.

Ideally, I’d go back to Forsyth Park and watch the puppies play as I wrote a masterpiece of some kind.  The problem is I have no ideas.  But going there could produce some.

It could help me with the memoir I’m writing.  Maybe taking a walk through the historic district would drum up some long forgotten (or repressed) memories.  I like the idea of walking next to those cobblestone roads once again, retracing my steps from when I was greener and impressionable, seeing things now through more experienced eyes.

I need to get away and I need some inspiration.  I also need someone to drive me.

I looked through several of the pictures I took while in Savannah and it depressed me.  I realized that I missed out on so much and made so many mistakes.  I wish I could go back and do it again (don’t we all).  Sometimes I wish I had never gone in the first place.

2006.  My first day in Savannah.  I was very happy.


rabbit, rabbit (and its many variants)

I’ve been working on writing an entry for the past couple of days and I just haven’t been able to articulate it the way I want to so I thought I’d post several pictures that I’ve taken over the last year.  I apologize for the profuse use of Instagram but I think they help the pictures look a bit better (an obvious n00b photographer fallacy, I’m sure but IDGAF).  Just…just enjoy the pretty colors, okay?

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book notes #9: content

I previously mentioned I don’t feel like much of a writer, yet here I am talking about writing my book.  Seems slightly nonsensical but the way I see it, Snooki isn’t a writer either but if she can put out a book, so can I.  I still stand by my previous statements.
With that being said, it took three ink cartridges but I finally printed out my entire book.   I have already edited 126 8.5″ x 11″ pages and have 196 more to go.  For the size book I want it to be, it’s going to be 589 pages (holy crap) so that means I have to do some major cutting.
It dismays me to report, however, that during my vacation from work, I did not touch my book once.  I wrote several blog entries and picked up The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Memoir and Stephen King’s On Writing, both of which I also haven’t touched, but as far as finishing editing the first draft, um…I didn’t.
But from the editing I have managed to accomplish, I’ve noticed several problems cropping up.  As I’m reading and editing, I’m thinking of more stuff I need to add to make it coherent.  When I kept track of my first year of college through my blog and with personal journals, I didn’t go into exact details on the events that took place.  So, as I’m reading this book, I’m getting a lot of reflective chapters with back story tacked on.  I have to take those tacked on events and put them first so the reflection makes sense.  I think that will help the flow.
I don’t like starting every chapter with, “Two weeks prior, this happened” or “she made that face because she still couldn’t get over that time a month ago when I…”  I feel the constant back and forth of shifting from past to further in the past makes things a bit murky.  It’s a lot like trying to put together a puzzle and that is tiresome.
I realized I also almost fully neglected to talk about my classes, except through reflection afterward.  I have to find a way to talk about my classes first and reflect later.
One way in which I have been trying to cut down on the content is by removing a lot of my tendency to over explain what I’m feeling.  I’ll go off on an alliterative tangent and before I know it, I have a whole paragraph that says the exact same thing in different fancy ways.  It’s a style I’ve unconsciously developed over the years and something I’m really going to have to to try to cut out.
I also wonder if I should stick strictly with my time at college.  I included chapters during my Christmas vacation and Spring break while I was at home.  But even though I was at home, all I wrote about was school so I think those chapters are still important.  I thought about taking those chapters and condensing them to the most basic point and sprinkle it in the chapters where I’m actually at school.
And I’ve noticed that I jumped right into my craziness in the first couple of chapters.  I’m finding it hard to sympathize with me as a character in the book because it comes across like I’m devastated right when I step foot on campus (which I pretty much was) but unless the reader knows my back story, how excited I was for college and how it all blew up in my face, I don’t think the reader will get it or will understand why I became so broken so quickly.
My last concern is the fact that I don’t even know what I want this book to be.  At first, I wanted it to be a book about my first year of college.  Fine.  But what is that comprised of?  Is it more about me or the college experience itself?  I’ve put in so much background information about myself, like my struggle with weight and religion and all of those topics come up during my time in college and, once again, for the reader to fully understand how I feel about each scenario, I feel I have to give some additional information.  But that’s additional pages.
Obviously, I need to get it together and figure out a proper direction for the book before I get in too deep with the editing.  The truth is, I’m finding it hard to cut out too much because I feel like, even though it’s entirely too long, everything I’ve included has some importance to the overall story and to understanding me as I am.
I suppose if I were to release other books, I could spread my back story out a little bit over the course of those books but I don’t know if there will be other books.  It’s almost like I’m trying to tell my whole life story in this one story, cramming twenty years into just one year, like I’m trying to include college life and life in general and me breaking down and trying to build myself up.  It’s all encompassing and more than slightly overwhelming.
This is going to take longer than I thought.  

twenty cows and a kitty

I know in my previous entry, I complained about being stuck in the country but there are some good aspects.  Low crime.  Sweet tea.  And lots of pretty cows.  These guys were chilling in the pasture out past my backyard.

And I shot a small clip of these gorgeous creatures grazing, too. With special guest star, Miss Kitty, who also thinks she’s a cow.