Category: news

It Was Bound To Happen Sometime…

It Was Bound To Happen Sometime…

As much as I hate saying it, my credit card information was compromised today. Some charges were made, and thankfully I’ve already handled it and spoken with the card issuer who assures me I won’t be responsible for the fraudulent charges. Unfortunately, things like this can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime, but there are things we can do to try an minimize our risk.

I made a video over on my YouTube channel talking about what happened, and shared a few suggestions to keep your risk as low as possible. Whether you have 2 or 20 credit cards, it’s good to be mindful of ways to be safe about them.  Check out the video below to find out what happened.

 https://youtu.be/_uwMuN9zJw4

My Guest Appearance on the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

My Guest Appearance on the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

There are many things I love about taking cruises, but there are also three things I really don’t like:  Getting off a cruise, having to wait until the next one, and the worst being the whole “having to pay for them” thing!  It’d be nice to be able to cruise for free (someday, right? #goals), but thankfully credit card points can help ease the burden, if even just a little bit.  This week, I was graciously invited by my good friend Matt Hochberg over at the Royal Caribbean Blog to cohost his latest podcast episode in which we talk about the Royal Caribbean Credit Card and its points and perks, as well as a few other options.

You can check out the podcast episode here:  https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/podcast/episode-209-using-credit-cards-save-cruise-vacation

You can also check out past episodes of Matt’s podcast here:   https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/podcast

Matt has a lot of great info there – I highly recommend checking out the content.   He also does Facebook Live sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and Periscope live streams on other days of the week.

I’ve been dabbling in the credit card points and miles game for a while, and have certainly learned a lot in the process. I’ll be putting together some content about that in the coming weeks here and on my YouTube channel, so be on the lookout for that as well.

Enjoy!

Taking Photography To Another Level

Taking Photography To Another Level

I picked this baby up on eBay since I’d been wanting to get back into film photography. It’s a Canon EOS 1n, a professional-grade film camera. It works with (almost) all of my existing lenses, so it seemed like a good fit. I just shot my first roll of Kodak Ektar 100 and can’t wait to get it developed.  I should have thought this through a little better, since this camera is…well… a bit… heavy.

It’s a boat anchor!

I’m going to have to get creative with carrying this when I go traveling, but after trying “smaller form factor” cameras and not liking them for being too small, I’ll make it happen.

The camera was a joy to shoot with, I’m looking forward to taking more great pictures in the future.

Do you have any suggestions or tips for getting back into film photography? Please feel free to leave comments below. Thanks!

 

I Flew A Plane For The First Time

I Flew A Plane For The First Time

Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t just fly in the plane, I flew the plane!

I’ve always enjoyed playing flight simulator games, and have done so since the early days of the first versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator on Windows 95! Fast forward to today, and I’ve been a big fan of a simulator called X-Plane on my Mac. It’s so realistic, the company who makes it offers a professional version or use in actual pilot training.

One of my friends from work, who also shares an interest in flying, suggested I do a “discovery flight” which is exactly as its name implies: a way to “discover” if flying is something you want to get involved with. So, yesterday I did just that.

It was incredible.

I put a video together for my YouTube channel talking about the experience, which I’d love for you to check out below:

I also uploaded a full unedited version on my YouTube channel  if you’d like to experience the entire journey for yourself. The audio isn’t great, because I didn’t have a way to record the onboard audio at the time, and I had only one camera feed. Still, you can get a feel for what it was like!

I wanted send a quick shout out and thanks to my friend Nate for the suggestion to do this in the first place, and for taking some great pictures while I was flying:

I wanted to send a special thank you to Mike and the gang at Above & Beyond Aviation, for giving an incredible and unforgettable experience! Since they also offer flight training, I know where I’m going if I decide to pursue my pilot’s license.

If you have any interest in aviation, be sure to sign up for a discovery flight at your local airport! It’s definitely a great experience, and one I highly recommend!

Iamjohnbamber…dot com: My Blog’s New Home

Iamjohnbamber…dot com: My Blog’s New Home

Notice anything different?

I’ll give you a hint: Practically everything is different, except for the content that’s been here.

I’ve decided to move my blog over to a new website, and change things up a bit.  Earlier this year, I wrote a post called “Going Public: My Social Media Update” in which I talked about unifying my various usernames on different forms of social media.  I now have the name “iamjohnbamber” on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Google+, and now (where it should have been all along), my blog!

I’ve gone for a simpler design as far as the site goes, but there is more happening behind the scenes that will help my blog be visible to more people. To those who have signed up on the old site, I thank you for doing so. Your signup is still valid over here. If you’re interested in signing up to receive my blogs via e-mail, you can always sign up here at this link.

As always, if you enjoy my content and like what I have to say, please share my blog with your family and friends and encourage them to sign up to my e-mail list. I don’t do the spam thing, I just do the “good content and fun stuff” thing.

What’s the address? Just like all of my social media handles, it’s iamjohnbamber.com.

Welcome to my new blog!

 

 

Can I Ask A Quick Favor?

Can I Ask A Quick Favor?

I promise, it’s quick, and will cost you nothing. You’ll be done before you know it.  It’ll actually take you longer to read this (hopefully short) post than actually do what I’m asking. 

If you couldn’t tell, I’ve dusted off my blog over the last few months and have gotten back into it. I really enjoy it; I love creating content. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to only make YouTube videos, or only write blogs, so I’m doing both. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about or make videos about, so I’m creating my content on just about anything that comes to mind. I have many interests, and am using that as my basis for creating whatever it is I’m creating.

I’m creating this content because I deeply enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences with anyone who wants to read about them or watch my videos. That being said, I want to make sure that I’m getting as much exposure as I can, and sharing my material with as many people as possible. The truth is, I can’t do that alone. 

All I ask is that you share my blog and YouTube channel with your friends and family; anyone you think might enjoy what I have to say. I cover a wide range of topics: Taking cruises, Photography Equipment, Life Experiences, Weight Loss, Product and App reviews, just to name a few. One of the reasons I love having a wide variety of material, is it will give my readers and subscribers a chance to see things they may not be familiar with or aware of. 

So, that’s it. I’d be eternally grateful if you could share this post on your social media network of choice, and encourage your friends and families to do the same if you like what I’ve got here on my blog and YouTube channel.  You can find me on all forms of Social Media with the name iamjohnbamber – I couldn’t think of anything else to use, but since this is all about things that interest me why not just be…well…me!

Crashed My Drone, and Got It Repaired… It wasn’t easy.

Crashed My Drone, and Got It Repaired… It wasn’t easy.

I crashed my drone… almost a month ago. I sent it in for repair, and rather than it being a simple process that took far long than I was expecting. Check out the videos detailing the whole process!

Once I got the drone back and all is well, I took it out for some long-awaited flying:

Going Public: My Social Media Update

Going Public: My Social Media Update

If you all couldn’t tell, I deeply enjoy creating content; whether it’s a text post on my blog, taking pictures, recording music, or creating a video of some variety.  As I’d mentioned in my previous “Love Me Some Content” post, I’ve got stuff all over the place, but there was a small problem;  my various usernames didn’t match.

Some places I was jbrecording, referencing my online identity specific to my recording studio and making music. On Twitter, I was MiniCoopJeep, an homage to being the car guy that I am, and I simply used my name on YouTube for my videos up there. There was no cohesion between them, except for one thing. I was the cohesion.

So today, thanks to the help of one of my good friends, I’ve unified my online social media presence and am known with the moniker iamJohnBamber on all of my social media accounts.

So, why the change? Well, I did this change to separate my “public” life from my personal life. I’m not an online celebrity by any means, but I, just like anyone else, have as much of a chance to become one.  Will that actually happen? Who knows? We’ll see.

I’ve even created a public Facebook page so I can keep my personal Facebook content private.  Since I’ve created the public Facebook page, I will no longer be pushing these blog updates to my private Facebook account.  If you would like to follow along with my blogs and videos, you can subscribe here for e-mail updates, or visit my public Facebook page and click the “Like” button.

It looks like 2017 will be a great year, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.

J

 

A Milestone on a Lifelong Journey

A Milestone on a Lifelong Journey

It’s no secret that I am a big guy.

There are many words often used to describe folks like me, from the innocuous “big” to the more scary-sounding medical term of “obese.”  There’s always the word “fat” – a three-letter word that bothers some more than it does others. I’ve never liked it. For whatever reason, that one always used to make me feel the worst.

I’ve had to battle my weight all my life, but rather than calling it a battle, I’m going to call it a war, because it’s not been just one battle. It’s been a series of battles, a series of ups-and-downs. Some battles I’ve won, some I’ve lost, but today I’m celebrating a victory.

I started this war back in 2007, when I was at my highest weight of 392 lbs. I tried all kinds of diets and exercise to no avail, so I went in for the lap band weight loss surgery. Over the next few years I’d lost 110 lbs and was down to 280 lbs. I felt great, but as they say, “life happened” and I hit a plateau. I couldn’t lose any more weight, so my body decided to “find it again.”

Fast forward to 2016, and I had gotten back up to 348 lbs. I was grateful to not be back where I started, but I wasn’t happy with where I was.

In the above picture, taken June 3 2016, I was wearing size 50 x 28 jeans and a 3X shirt. Previously I had been down to a 46 waist and 2 X shirts at my lowest some years back. I’d grown out of having to shop at the Big & Tall stores, only to be back there again shopping for clothes. I’d go shopping with friends to various clothing stores only to be waiting outside or at the front while they shopped, because I knew nothing in there would fit me. I was bummed, and knew I wasn’t going in the right direction.

It was earlier in 2016 when, I think, my body started giving me signals that something was actually wrong. I started having trouble staying asleep; I’d be woken up in the middle of the night having intense coughing fits. I’d never coughed up blood, thankfully, but I’m sure the blood wasn’t far off. I’d have to pop a few Tums, which would buy me a few hours of sleep, only to be woken up again with coughs a few hours later.

I’d sleep for 2 hours at a time. Tums, sleep, cough…Tums, sleep cough…  That went on for a few months, until I’d had enough. I was miserable, I wasn’t sleeping enough, and I knew it was time to get this looked at. Who loves going to the doctor? I sure don’t, unless the doctor can help fix something that’s just not right.

I’d heard that other folks with the lap band were experiencing similar coughing fits to what I was going through, so I consulted with a bariatric surgeon down here and told him about my experiences. Thus, the next battle in the war was about to begin. I told him about the lap band, and how despite my previous efforts I’m still at war with my weight. I swore to do whatever I had to, in order to ensure victory. This was the, no pun intended, “wake up call” that I needed. (I had to go for the pun since it was waking me up at night..)

The doctor ordered some tests, one of which was an upper Endoscopy. I made a video about it which you can view by clicking here.   After getting those results back, it seemed something had happened to my Lap Band and it had to be removed. The doctor used the word “unsalvageable.” When a doctor uses a word like that, it’s code for “Bro, you’ve got a serious problem we need to fix.”

He was right.

My lap band had slipped, and given me something called a hiatal hernia. Part of my stomach had slipped out of my chest cavity, which was one of the main causes for the bad acid reflux keeping me up at night. The solution: Take the band out. While removing the band would be a solution, it would potentially leave me with a new problem.

I didn’t want to be stuck without something to help me control my weight, because of where I was I didn’t want to get back up to 392 or worse; higher. I didn’t want to crest 400 lbs, or wind up on an episode of “My 600-lb. Life.”  For those unaware, that show follows a morbidly-obese individual over a year of their life while they take control over their weight and start down the path to a better life. It was this show that gave me the motivation and confidence to push through with the surgery to fix my unsalvageable band, and proceed with a different option for weight loss: The Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), aka “The Sleeve.”

Just about to go in... modeling the latest in hospital gown fashions.  Just about to go in… modeling the latest in hospital gown fashions.

On June 27th, 2016 I went in for the surgery and started the process. The weight came off quickly at first, but as I’m writing this I’ve officially lost 100 lbs since the surgery in June, and am at my lowest weight I’ve been in many years – I’m 248 lbs today, January 16th 2017. (If we start from the original start weight of 392 in 2007, I’ve lost a total of 144 lbs) I’m wearing jeans I purchased from Eddie Bauer; I’ve been only wearing jeans from the Big & Tall shop, so needless to say when these jeans fit me I was overjoyed. I’m just at the cusp of being able to shop at normal clothing stores. This is a moment I’ve been waiting for, and it’s finally here.

I don’t plan on stopping here, I’ve still got a ways to go. After my most recent trip to my doctor for my every-6-week checkups, he said I’ve got about 30-40 lbs left to lose. I have a feeling I’ll be sitting at about 220 lbs or so, and wearing a pair of jeans with a 36-inch waist. When I get to that point, it’ll be time for a new journey, because I’ll need some additional surgeries to complete my transformation.

I’m feeling great; I have energy, and more confidence in my appearance than I can ever remember having. I’m still overweight, but I am far more healthy and in a much better state than I’ve ever been. I am looking forward to the road ahead. I’m sure there will be more battles to fight,  but right now I’m winning the war.