6 Harsh Realities to Losing Weight

October 18, 2013

In this past year, I have lost over 100 lbs.  I didn’t have my stomach stapled or get a gastric band or anything like that.  I dropped the weight the good (hard) old-fashioned way — diet and exercise.  I’m still a bit away from being considered “normal” according to my BMI, but I still find it kind of unbelievable that I’ve lost that much.  It’s like having an entire person just fall off of me.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

Many people I know are trying to shed the pounds right now, and so I write this to inform those who are in this same boat with me (the S.S. Less Fat).  When you are medically obese, losing weight is good for you on almost all accounts, but there are some things you should be prepared for.  Things that no one will tell you about, save for me right now.  For example,…

6. Lose inches off your waistline… and wallet.

Before I took the plunge into a healthier lifestyle, I had to attend a funeral. I didn’t have a proper formal suit, so I got myself fitted for one.  A month or two after the funeral I started this weight-loss regimen and a few months after that, I had a business meeting to attend.  I tried on the suit knowing I’d need it for the meeting and wouldn’t you know, it didn’t fit anymore.  I went in to get it altered to bring it down to my size only for the clerk to laugh and say, “It’d be easier and cheaper if you just bought another suit.”

Inviting the other clerks in the store to come over and laugh was crossing a line.

Inviting the other clerks in the store to come over and laugh was crossing a line.

I had dropped six sizes.  Six entire suit sizes in a matter of months, and this isn’t an isolated instance.  My pants have accidentally fallen down just walking around the apartment.  I’ve notched several holes in belts simply to hold those (now clown-like) pants up.  My T-shirts look like I’m wearing tarps and are completely unfit to wear anywhere outside of a tire fire or dog fight.

It’s sometimes embarrassing, but I put off the inevitable — buying an entirely new wardrobe — because it’s so expensive.  I also don’t want to buy new clothes because I know I’m only going to get smaller, meaning even those replacement clothes won’t fit in a few months.  It adds up to a lot of money spent in a relatively short amount of time.

Not only that, but since I have a new diet, my girlfriend and I don’t share as much food.  Most of what she eats and drinks, I can’t partake in, and she doesn’t want any of my food.  Sure, we don’t eat out as much (few restaurants even serve food I can eat), but our grocery bill now more than makes up the difference.  Protein shakes, fistfuls of vitamins, and meal replacement bars aren’t cheap.

I also find myself buying things I never thought I’d buy just to support this new lifestyle.  Gym memberships, cross trainers, workout gloves.  I even bought spandex compression clothes, for crying out loud.

Like this, only fatter.... And less silvery.

Like this, only fatter…. And less silvery.

Why would someone as big as me buy compression clothes, you ask?  Because…

5. Your body is now a carnival of horrors.

Let’s do a little experiment.  Take two brand new, fresh-out-of-the-pack balloons.  Fill one entirely with water, seal it off and then leave it for several days.  Now drain all the water out, let it dry and then compare it to the other, untouched balloon.  Notice a difference?  The one that was untouched still looks like a cute little mouse ear while the former-water balloon looks like Fat Bastard at the end of Austin Powers 3.

This is the first and last time I've thought about that movie in about a decade.

This is the first and last time I’ve thought about that movie in about a decade.

Doctor’s call the floppy, stretched-out result of severe weight loss redundant skin, and I would NOT click on that link if you’ve been eating.  That person had lost over 400 lbs. before going in for surgery to have his excess skin removed, and it ain’t pretty.

Now remember the first sentence in this article: “In the last year, I have lost over 100 lbs.”  I’m nowhere near as severe as that example patient was, but the same thing that he experienced is happening to me, as it will happen to every other obese person who loses weight.  Right now I probably have about 20 to 30 lbs. of loose skin just hanging on me like a sweater made of flesh.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

I’ve been doing strength training for my exercise, so the added muscle helps tighten the skin, but I still experience problems.  Gross, personal problems.  I probably shouldn’t get into this for fear of losing what few readers I have, but let’s just say the compression clothes help alleviate some of my troubles.

The point is, I, and every other person who loses hundreds of pounds of weight, will eventually have to get the skin surgically removed.  And again, it’s another expense I wouldn’t have thought about prior to this endeavor.

Strength training combined with the redundant skin creates an odd disconnect between my body and my perceived body image.  I work all of these muscles everyday and I feel like that’s the real me and that I’m literally wearing an ill-fitting fat suit that just gets in the way.  Which reminds me…

4. You will feel like you are becoming the Hulk.

FUN FACT: The most effective way to lose weight and to keep it off is to build muscle.  Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is your metabolism when you are completely at rest.  A beating heart, breathing lungs, and all other vital organ functions burn calories even when you’re asleep, and it’s the largest part of your daily calorie expenditure.  Your BMR increases with more muscle mass — the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

Even like this, he's still burning more calories than you.

Even like this, he’s still burning more calories than you.

I mentioned that I’ve been strength training, and I can’t speak on behalf of those people who simply have surgery for their weight loss, but for those who work out to lose weight, you’re going to see some radical changes.  First of all, you’ll notice getting muscles you never knew you had.  I didn’t even know what the latissimus dorsi were, but now I can flex them as easily as a bicep.  It all started small, but as I worked out more, I noticed something else about myself as I came to realize the “new me.”

A side effect of all that new muscle mass is my body is now pumping way more testosterone than it did before.  As such, I found myself flexing my muscles as I drove into work in the morning and feeling a little invincible.  I would size guys up, thinking about if I could kick their ass or not.  The “old me” never thought that,… but then again, he was a soft, fat, wimpy marshmallow man.

This guy knows what I'm talking about.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

As a result from all of this added testosterone, I became more aggressive and “alpha male,” so to speak.  The good thing is that once I realized what was going on, I was able to control it.  The same can’t be said of the next point…

3. You will feel like you are in The Twilight Zone.

A sad fact is that we unconsciously treat attractive people better than everyone else.  Many studies have proved this time and time again.  What is unusual is to experience and recognize this difference in preferential treatment first hand.

My favorite part of the film Shallow Hal isn’t even in the actual movie.  One of the special features on the DVD is a behind-the-scenes look at the suit and makeup Gwyneth Paltrow wore to give herself the appearance of being over 300 lbs.  They tested out the prosthetics by having the crew follow her with hidden cameras while she walked around in public in full costume.  What happened was amazing.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to People Magazine's World's Most Beautiful Woman.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to People Magazine‘s World’s Most Beautiful Woman.

This extremely recognizable Hollywood actress was rendered virtually invisible with only a foam fat suit and some makeup.  After her short trip, she came back to her hotel room literally in tears.  She said of the experience,…

“I realized immediately that no one was making eye contact with me, or would even look in my direction. No one wanted to connect with me. It was a profound, very sad and startling experience.”

I would still be considered overweight by most people, but since starting this program, I am more V-shaped, my face has thinned out, and my arms and legs have a lot more muscle tone.  That said, many things about me are still the same as when I was obese; same-looking clothes, same haircut, same apartment, same demeanor, and the same loving girlfriend.  Overall, I still see myself as the same person, but strangers view and treat me differently.  Now people are nicer to me, they make eye contact more often, they are more willing to help me when they see I am having trouble, and a couple of times, women have openly flirted with me, which has never happened before.

"Look, THEY flirted with ME and I didn't reciprocate their advances, so please don't make that face. Please? Fine, I'll get you flowers. And chocolates."

“Look, THEY flirted with ME and I didn’t reciprocate their advances, so please don’t make that face. Please? Fine, I’ll get you flowers. And chocolates.”

When all of this attention first starts happening — and it will happen — it’s a shock, and nothing can really prepare you for it.  It’s a huge shift from what you’re used to and you’ll notice it.  Granted, this isn’t so much a “harsh reality” as it is an odd, semi-positive side effect to weight loss, but the same can’t be said of #2.

2. You WILL fall off the wagon.

Perhaps the hardest aspect to face in trying to lose weight is knowing how close you are to losing it all, which is to say gaining it all back.  I’ve done diets in the past and then gained the weight I lost back, however the difference between then and now is my support system.  I have more people cheering me on and actively helping me do this.  But even with all of this help, I’ve had moments of weakness.

A few months ago, I tore my pectoral muscle while working out.  The doctor (more expenses) made me do physical therapy (even more expenses) and told me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do until I was back to normal.  For future reference, here’s the list of strength training exercises you can do with a torn pectoral muscle: legs, nothing, and nothing.

A full week of leg extensions, calf raises, nothing, leg curls, nothing, and 20 minutes of nothing for cool down.

Needless to say, not only did I not lose weight, but I actually regressed.  I only gained a couple pounds, but it was still devastating to have that happen given all that I worked for.

Right before my injury, I saw a documentary about diets and weight loss where someone said something that stuck with me: “When you fall off the wagon, just realize that the wagon is still there and then get back on it.”  That may sound kind of hokey, but when you’re staring into the abyss of a peanut butter cup-induced shame spiral, a trite quote can snap you back to reality.

Weight loss is a multi-year journey, and you can’t plan every detail that far in advance.  You will hit snags, you will fall off the wagon and you will have a really bad month or two.  Just keep at it and don’t ever quit what’s working, because…

1. This is all worth it.

“You will lose weight like it’s a matter of life and death, because it is.  This fat is killing you.  Literally.”

That’s one of the first things a friend — who happens to be a certified personal trainer — said to me when I started this journey.  My asshole puckered when he said it.  It was chilling, scary and worst of all, true.  Obesity is the leading cause of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension — the list of maladies goes on and on.  What he said to me was just what I needed to hear to get me motivated.

Since that first day, I have counted my calories, watched what I ate, worked out an hour a day minimum for six days a week with only injury or illness ever keeping me from that routine.  I push myself every time I go to the gym and I get stronger with every visit.  In the beginning, the strenuousness of my workouts caused me to puke, but I kept going and now my body is used to it… the weightlifting, not the puking.

Work that body! Feel the BLEERRGH!

Work that body! Feel the BLEERRGH!

It’s all scary at first because you are essentially changing every aspect of your life, and your mind and body will work together to fight you.  Your body’s become acclimated to whatever routine you’ve had for these past many years that got you to where you are now, and now you are telling it, “No.”  It thinks it knows better, but it doesn’t.  It thinks you should skip that workout, but you can’t.  It thinks you should eat that candy bar, but you won’t.

This isn’t a diet anymore; this is your life, and it’s what’s at stake here.  Every day you work out and train is a day spent extending your life.  Once you realize that, you’re ahead of the game.

These guys know what I'm talking about.

These guys know what I’m talking about.

This post wasn’t created to scare you, but to hopefully help and inspire you.  If you are obese and actively trying to lose weight, good for you — keep it up.  This journey you’re on will be the toughest thing that you ever do, so don’t be afraid to reach out.  Know that there are others experiencing — or have already experienced — everything you’re going through right now and they can help.  If you are feeling like everything is coming down on you and you can’t do this, visualize whatever it is that gives your life meaning and remember that’s why you’re doing this.

And if you are obese and not trying to lose weight, it’s not too late to start.

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Sexism Knows No Gender

February 12, 2010

A car commercial aired during the most recent Super Bowl — what else is new? Apparently this car commercial ruffled some feathers due to its sexist message — again, what else is new?

That was exactly what one expects: A fairly stupid, one-dimensional car commercial aimed directly at men. Given that the audience for the Super Bowl is predominantly male (about 60% male viewership, if not more), it’s understandable. Someone (I’d assume a woman, but I really shouldn’t assume such things) was so disgruntled at this ad that s/he made their own parody of it.

I didn’t like the original ad and its message, and this lampoon doesn’t make things better. All it conveys is that women can be just as — if not more — angry, sexist and whiney as an ego-driven, male-focused car commercial. Hate and exclusionary remarks do not cancel out hate.

Think about it this way: Imagine some racist black guy is making a stink and calling all the white people he meets “honkies” and “crackers.” Instead of ignoring his racist remarks or confronting him in an enlightened and instructive manner, a white guy comes up to him and calls him “nigger.”

Using “revenge” as your go-to tactic when countering bigotry benefits no one. Fighting sexism by being even more sexist doesn’t mean you won the battle.

But kidnapping and torturing a sexist bigot is pretty sound and foolproof.

“But Boone,” you say in a highfalutin tone, “This parody ad is satire — it’s supposed to be funny. It’s making fun of the sexist message of the original commercial through direct opposition. Or are you too stupid to realize that?”

Fair enough, I guess,… although you didn’t have to call me stupid. However, before you say anything else, keep this in mind: I completely forgot about the original Dodge commercial ten minutes after I saw it. It wasn’t visually interesting, it was too long (for a commercial), it had a weak message and worst of all, it wasn’t funny. Thanks to the parody, not only was I reminded of the original commercial again — a commercial that my mind naturally thought wasn’t worthy enough of any brain space — but I remembered that it was promoting the new Dodge Charger.

I work in the advertising industry. You know that saying about there being no such thing as bad publicity? It’s 100% true. By even watching this parody you are giving attention to the lame Dodge ad. Those who were unaware of the original ad now have to see it to see what the buzz is about. Interest spikes, online views quadruple and the advertisers are promoted for making such an effective ad. Regardless of whether it’s negative or not, as Paris Hilton has proved, any attention is good attention.

Barely literate, and yet she had a book deal. Unbelievable.

Essentially, this parody ad shouldn’t have been made. Attention is brought to a problem in the least constructive way possible. Instead of denouncing sexism by being even more sexist and belittling your message, how about you try approaching the topic in a more productive manner? Contact the advertisers or the manufacturer and tell them about how displeased you were with their ad. Boycott Dodge vehicles and tell your friends/relatives about how much they suck. Hold a rally, attend a seminar about gender inclusion, write a blog post — anything would be better than to encourage the parody’s views of reinforced gender stereotypes and then laugh it off. Sexism isn’t that funny.

In a perfect world, ads would be gender-neutral and enjoyed by all. The Dodge commercial and its accompanying spoof only show how far off we are from that world.

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EDIT: There. Now I fixed the ads.


A Sign of the Apocalypse

October 12, 2009
Documentary?

Documentary?

The Apocalypse. Armageddon. The end of the world. Many people seem to believe that there will be indicators to signal that the end is nigh, particularly some Christians who dwell on the wackiest of Biblical scriptures, the Book of Revelations. Shepard Smith of FOX News thinks a certain food item is a sign of the Apocalypse.

But food never scared me (unless it was low-fat or — God forbid — vegan *shudders*). No, I feel a true indicator of the endtimes will be much more wide-spread and devastating than doughnut burgers made by trailer-trash hicks in Massachusetts. A real sign of the coming Apocalypse has to reach the entire world’s population, and it has to seem so awful that it can’t be real. It must be terrible enough that when you hear its mere mention, you’ll feel revulsion like you’ve never felt before.

I speak, of course, about the recent announcement that production has started on the sequel to Showgirls. Yes, THAT Showgirls. And in case you are in doubt of its validity, there’s a slickly-made website for it, complete with broken English (and nudity)!

My wanting is now!

My wanting is now!

Why, that introductory video was bloated, trashy and awful enough to almost seem like the real deal!
Honestly though, the director/writer must live inside his own ass to be that pompous over a fucking sequel to fucking Showgirls. Do me a favor and say it out loud, right now: Showgirls 2. Don’t you feel sick just saying it? Showgirls 2. *shudders again*

Question: Why? Who would want this? Haven’t we suffered enough? Do the filmmakers think they can actually improve the world by making this film? Everybody who has actually seen Showgirls felt like dying afterwards, so I’m sure the sequel will drive rational people to homicide. Or murder suicide.

Jonestown Massacre or premiere of 'Showgirls 2'?  You decide.

Jonestown Massacre or premiere of 'Showgirls 2'? You decide.

The end is nigh — repent now. I, not being a religious man, will take up a new hobby: getting drunk.


Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

June 26, 2009

All right. I might lose friends over this, but it has to be done for posterity sake — news and pop culture is fickle and forgetful. If you’re easily offended, skip this post.

That said, let’s get it over with…

thriller

Today marks the first day that Michael Jackson has been stiff without a five year-old boy nearby.

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There will be a post-mortem today to determine what is to blame for Michael Jackson’s death:
A) Sunshine
B) Moonlight
C) Good Times
D) Boogie
[Click here if you don’t get it.]

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Turns out it was food poisoning that killed Michael Jackson. He ate an 8 year-old wiener.

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When Farrah Fawcett died, God granted her one wish: that all the world’s children will be safe. So then God immediately killed Michael Jackson.

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Walmart has decided to introduce a new sale for this summer to honor Michael Jackson: All boys pants half off.

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When Michael Jackson was first rushed to the hospital, it wasn’t because of a heart attack. He went to the pediatric ward for a stroke.

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Q: Why wasn’t Michael Jackson saved in time?
A: There were only two of Charlie’s Angels available.

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Michael Jackson’s ashes will be spread in a sandbox so that after his death, he’ll end up in little boys’ shorts.

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Michael Jackson went to his plastic surgeon and said, “Doctor, I was hoping you could make my skin whiter.” “Whiter?” said the doctor. “The only way you could get whiter is if you became a ghost.”  So then Michael went home and died.

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Q: What’s Hell to Michael Jackson?
A: Being surrounded by people that can grow pubic hair.

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Part of Michael Jackson’s contract with Pepsi stipulated that — because he was 99% plastic anyway — when he died, he would be melted down into Pepsi bottles. That way he could end up in childrens’ mouths.

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Okay. That’s it. I’m spent. Now I have to pack my bags and prepare for going to Hell. “SHAM ON!


I Met Terry Jones

May 11, 2009

I met Terry Jones of Monty Python fame this weekend.

bandt-cropped

I sold him a new car. He was very grateful for the good deal I was able to get him.

But seriously, this past Mother’s Day (Hi, Mom!) I went to a comedy writing seminar/interview session with Terry Jones, one of the writers and performers for Monty Python and director of all of their movies. He talked about his theories on writing comedy and the audience got to ask him questions. Of course I partook in the action….

ME: “First of all, I just want to say that besides Carol Cleveland, you were the best woman on Monty Python.”
TERRY: [closes his eyes, bows his head and crosses his legs] “Why, thank you.”
[audience laughs]
ME: “Given the ‘questionable’ content of some of Monty Python’s material, especially Life of Brian and Meaning of Life, did you or the group in general have an internal barometer — or at least discussions while writing — to question whether what you were writing was funny or just profane for the sake of being shocking?”

He went on to say that they (himself especially) never analyzed what they were doing; they basically just wrote to be funny. (“You don’t know if a joke is funny or not until you put it out there.”) They gave their individual ideas to the group and if the jokes weren’t working, they scrapped them. He then said that they never found anything that they didn’t think they could make funny.

Overall, a pretty good weekend and decently informative. I leave you with his advice on how to break into the writing industry….

“Be luckier.”


I fought the law…

March 25, 2009

For those not in the know, YouTube has had a bit of trouble recently with various record labels and movie distribution studios. The suits in charge of these multi-national media conglomerates want complete control of their creative property [ed. note: That they themselves didn’t actually create]. As such, they really get their panties in a twist when they see people upload videos that contain their copyrighted material to the largest video sharing site on the internet.

YouTube has tried to fan the flames and strike deals with these media companies, as the people that own most of the accounts on their site are just regular Joes, like you or me. Since we can’t defend ourselves from these big companies should we accidentally (or not) encroach on their property, YouTube has accepted the role of moderator.

In a metaphorical way, YouTube is like the parent who is met with an, “I hate you,” by the child they had to scold. YouTube willingly accepts the blame when people yell at them for taking down their video because it used a clip from a TV show or a snippet from a song owned by these companies. But like a scolded child, our lashing out against YouTube is just a knee-jerk reaction that we don’t really mean. The real enemy isn’t YouTube — they’re just saving their asses from getting sued. The enemies are the litigious companies that threaten YouTube. (And the media companies would call us the enemy.)

One deal that YouTube has come up with is to have advertisements for the movie/song in question embedded as pop-up ads in the video itself. The page which hosts the video will also have banner ads on it, displaying information that’s (sometimes) relative to the video’s content. Not a bad deal, right?
Well, several companies didn’t take kindly to that — they wanted COMPLETE CONTROL of their assets, and so they pulled out. Now YouTube has been forced to institute a zero-tolerance policy with ANY video that has anything to do with NBC/Universal, UMG, Viacom and (since December) Warner Music Group. I want you to understand that when I say zero-tolerance, I mean ZERO-tolerance.
Yes, even if you’re in the band, your record label won’t let you upload your own music videos to YouTube.

I told you all of that so that I could tell you this: I recently had a dust up with YouTube.
With my Inappropriate Soundtracks (refer to the sidebar for a link to my YouTube page), I mix and mash up music with film to make a pop culture casserole made of crap. As you can imagine, given the current climate over at YouTube, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with copyright infringement. I’d argue that it’s parody/satire and since I’m not making money off of them, it could be considered fair use, but it doesn’t matter. (Zero-tolerance, remember?) I’ve had about 8 videos total get taken down at YouTube due to copyright infringement, but the video I uploaded this morning was special.

They allowed the video to stay, but they removed the audio because I used a song owned by the Warner Music Group in it. I was left in a weird situation; my videos NEED the music to be funny, but I didn’t feel like taking down the video after all the work I put into it and after several people had already seen it. What was I to do?

Well, I took a stand and turned the video into a platform in which to present the copyright issue as satire. I added (childish) annotations to the video making fun of WMG and how companies view us Joe YouTubes. Click the link below to see the fruits of my labor. I hope you get a chuckle.

[My mute, yet annotated, Wizard of Oz Inappropriate Soundtrack video]


Big Brother Is Watching

March 3, 2009

A recent traffic light camera at an intersection in my neighborhood has been taken down. You know those cameras that are installed at traffic lights to catch people running red lights…? Yeah, well, this particular intersection is near the largest mall in the state and one of the largest malls in the country; Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois. People were getting ticketed by these traffic cameras and the city of Schaumburg was getting threats from consumers saying they would stop going to the mall because of it. The city eventually caved under pressure and took down the camera, and order was restored to the world.

Sounds like a story of whiny people simply getting pissed over getting caught breaking the law, right? I mean, the city has our best interests at heart — they said these lights were installed in order to reduce accidents, after all. Do you want us to get in wrecks and make the streets unsafe? Why are you complaining? You broke the law — deal with it.

Right?

Well, the real story is in the details. See, cities make SERIOUS fucking bank on these things. In fact, at this particular intersection, the city received $1 million through camera-issued tickets in the span of three months. One million dollars. In three months… at a SINGLE FUCKING INTERSECTION. I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not.
Again, to the uninformed, this just sounds like a lot of people getting caught committing a crime and they’re just getting pissed over it. Bully for the city for cracking down on such rampant crime! Huzzah!

But think about this: How is it possible, in the span of 3 months, that 10,000 people can run a red light at an intersection and yet only 7 total accidents occur? For the mathematicians out there, that’s over 111 occurrences of people running a red light at this one intersection in a single day. If you extrapolate it, in less than 2 years, every man, woman and child in Schaumburg would have gotten a ticket for running a red light at this lone intersection. Statistically, none of this seems possible…. Something’s up.

Traffic light cameras are programmed to take a photo and issue a ticket every time a car crosses the white line while the light is red, including instances of people going right on a red light, with no exceptions. Now think about your driving history and how these cameras would adversely affect your life:
Every time you inched your car over the line to see past the SUV next you… that’s a ticket. Every time you slammed your breaks and your bumper accidentally crossed the line… that’s a ticket. Every time there was a blizzard and you couldn’t see the line and accidentally crossed it… that’s a ticket.

That 111 moving violations a day begins to make sense now, doesn’t it? Crime seems rampant when there’s zero tolerance.

Even though the city said these cameras were to make these streets safer by lowering traffic accidents, they still took the camera down. But if the cameras actually lowered accident rates, why take it down? Why fold so easily? Is it because… THEY DON’T WORK? The city even admitted the cameras don’t work in reducing accidents, and even if they did, how could you conclusively prove it without getting into a “coincidence vs. direct correlation” argument?

Like electronic voting machines, we’re instituting flawed technology that only creates a nigh-incontestable situation that ultimately harms us. Sure, you can appeal the ticket, but they might not listen to you. And that’s $100 a pop down the tubes over virtually nothing. Imagine how awful it would be to drive around if they install these cameras at every intersection. One snowy day could fill your mailbox with traffic tickets, and believe me when I say I personally know people who got a bogus camera ticket at this exact intersection.

In Illinois, the government will look for any goddamn excuse to squeeze as many dollars out of us as possible. Road tolls, city stickers, and the highest sales taxes in the entire country. Money is the bottom line to them, which is why the city folded so quickly when people complained that they would stop shopping at Woodfield because of the traffic cameras. It’s not about making streets safer — it never was — it’s about money.

Big Brother is watching you, and he has dollar signs in his eyes.