When you ask yourself, “Why am I fat?” Here’s a place to start answering that question.

Salon’s  posted an article called, “5 shocking reasons why Americans are getting fatter … It’s not just the fast food…

It’s a good read. Or skim. Or whatever you want to do.

One of my favorite culprits for putting el bees on your waist line: Artificial sweeteners like that you find in Diet Soda.

4. Sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners have always been billed as a way to cut calories and lose weight. But recent research shows they may do just the opposite. When researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center studied 474 people who drank two or more artificially sweetened soft drinks a day they found the people gained five times as much as those not drinking diet drinks. Thanks for nothing!

There are three reasons artificial sweeteners may do more harm than good. One is that some of the sweeteners—which tend to be chemicals like acesulfame potassium and aspartame—may slow metabolism, speculate researchers. Secondly, artificial sweeteners separate “food seeking behavior” from the “reward” of real nutrients and can set up sweets addictions because the reward is never received. They literally “train” people to crave sweets. Finally the presence of artificial sweeteners in a product doesn’t automatically mean natural sweeteners aren’t present too. Some food manufacturers use both. Read the label. Marion Nestle, a professor in nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and leading food expert, told me she isn’t aware of any convincing evidence that proves artificial sweeteners help people to lose weight. One artificial sweetener, Splenda, has similarities to endocrine disrupting pesticides….

It’s a pretty good list. I’d like to do a bit more research on some of it. We don’t always eat organic, and haven’t seen much in the way of weight gain due to consumption of chicken loaded with hormones.

I mean, I like double hormone injections. It makes me feel like Popeye after eating a can of spinach.

I personally point a rigid and damning finger toward portion-sizes and lack of understanding about calories. It’s too easy in this country to consume way more calories than you should, even for people who think they’re eating healthy.

It was depressing for Tina and me when we went on a diet and discovered that dishes we were completing in record times were not only meant to be eaten by four, not two, we were still hungry afterwards.

So take my highly scientific response to this article as if it’s gospel.

My portrait of the band HIM = Snarly!



At JBTV, Bill Whitmire setup a strobe and a backdrop in a little room to get portraits of the bands that go through.

Thanks to Bill’s busy schedule, he asked me if I could capture the bands that he can’t get. Above is a shot of the band HIM that I got yesterday.

Frontman Ville Valo is, honestly, one of the coolest guys I’ve met briefly. We chatted for 5 minutes waiting for the rest of the band to wrap up whatever little adjustments that need to be made before their performance before the studio audience. Physically, he reminded me of Alex from A Clockwork Orange, but his genuine personality made me want to hang out all day.

Although, I think I would want to hang out with Alex from A Clockwork as well. So there’s that.

The whole band seemed cool. I was particularly pleased with the drummers Blackcraft t-shirt with large lettering in the back that read, “Jesus Enslaves.”

We get these shots between the sound check and the performance, so in this one, they had their ear gear dangling, which I think adds something cool … as if it’s a purposeful accessory. The keyboardist is the one with the coffee cup, and I told him not to put down the cup for the shot, but I wish he was holding it up rather than to the side.

Shooting these portraits is quickly becoming my favorite thing in the world. For about a year and a half, I was shooting bands for Time Out Chicago, but it’s very little if any pay, and the commitment wasn’t worth it. There are a crapload of concert shooters, and I didn’t feel like it was setting me apart as a photographer.

Mind you, concert photography changed my entire shooting and editing style. I’m much faster at what I do. I get sharper, more balanced photos faster than ever. I get what I want and I move on. The old me used to shoot a zillion shots thinking the next one would somehow be better than the great one I already got.

But portraits. PORTRAITS! I LOVE PORTRAITS. I love when I get photos of people looking directly at you. I love looking straight into the eyes of my subjects.

I’ll throw a few more performance shots beneath the fold for you to take a look at. Click any image to embiggen.

Continue reading “My portrait of the band HIM = Snarly!”