New Site, New Look, New Content!

It's that time again. 

I'm breaking free from the Blogger platform and reinventing myself. I talk about it more over on my new site and if you decide to follow me over there I promise a more active and engaging schedule. I'll keep this blog and it's posts as a reminder of how far I've come but my posting here will stop. Thanks for the views and the comments and here's to a successful new adventure.


What's the Deal with Bulking/Cutting?

Weight Loss/Gain, and the Jawbone UP24

I periodically go through stints of massive information intake when I want to confirm the facts around some new adventure I am about to undertake. This time around the fat loss/muscle gain adventure is nothing new but the approach to it is. 

Shawn Carter @mousebrat New York City blogger | Jawbone UP24
Since I purchased my UP24 band from Jawbone (courtesy of your local Apple store), I've been utilizing its food tracking feature in combination with the step/calorie burner and sleep tracking features. And I'm surprisingly impressed with how much protein and good fats I'm consuming on a regular basis. My sugar intake is about on par and will probably start dropping in the next few months. There's a wealth of great information to be gleaned from using the UP24 and I'm happy with its addition to my daily routine. 

But this is not an advert for Jawbone. Well, not intentionally. It's a small part to getting myself back into a healthier habit-soon-to-be-way-of-living like I was back in Denver when I was actively going to the gym. The new job has insane perks when it comes to gyms and, with my salary and perks as they are, I can now afford to get back into a gym routine. I joined Crunch and plan on starting next week once I've sorted out the locker situation and gotten my meal plans in line with the optimal nutrition plan for what my undefined goals are right now.

I want to shed the extra fat since I know that will be the biggest motivation to stick with this right out of the gate. For something that takes up so much of my time and forces me to adjust both what I eat and how I schedule my day, it has to have some immediate results for me feel like I'm not wasting my time. I've mentally committed to sticking with whatever plan I settle on for at least 14 weeks as I know I should see some serious improvements by then. But when it comes to eating, I feel like I'm floating somewhere between where I should be and where everyone thinks I should be. And a lot of that is because the information on losing fat and gaining muscle is so biased.

Bulking is the "old school" term for gaining weight quickly and it is generally assumed that this is a "eating everything in sight" approach to meals. I can immediately see several things wrong with this and took to the inter webs to get some insight on what a healthier approach might be. No surprise, everyone has their own opinion. It's like the paleo/gluten-free debate all over again. It's a battlefield out there. When it comes to cutting, or weight loss in the form of fat while still keeping muscle mass, it's less of a fight and more of a grey, nebulous whatever works for you kind of thing. I can work with that.

So I guess my best approach, like the paleo and gluten eating, is just to figure out what works through trial and error. I'm still going to read what I can and form some solid steps going forward but I'm going to leave some flexibility in there for potential changes that need to happen based on how my body reacts.

If you've been doing this for a while and can lend an experienced opinion (backed up with clear goal achievements), I'd love to hear from you. Comment, tweet, or leave a comment on Google+ and leave some input. I'll be updating more often once I start seeing some changes.

'Til next time.


A Sunday Morning in January

Everyone can take a morning to themselves. 

Shawn Carter @mousebrat NYC blogger and social media junkieCue the music... and we're off. I cannot write without something rich playing in the background. I've been known to listen to one song on repeat when I'm drawing or painting to capture the exact mood I dropped into when I heard the song. It's very easy to burn yourself out on a song that way too,  I might add. This morning I couldn't come up with anything to really get me writing. I tried Mree's newest "Winterwell" and just found myself relaxing into zero motivation. Then I tried the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack at the recommendation of Erin over at Chatting the Sky and, while I love her description of how she sees the music, it was just not hitting the right mood for me. So I went with my most recent discovery of "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die" by Panic at the Disco. If you haven't listened to it yet, Spotify has it streaming. Go.

So. It's Sunday morning. In 2014. We've crossed the threshold of another new year all over again. I know most people have already moved on to other topics at this point and "new year, new you" stuff is so five minutes ago. I promise this isn't that. I felt the need to get some of the thoughts I've had around this exciting last month out so I could have them down on (digital) paper. It serves the major function of this blog as a record of my thoughts and musings through out the last nine years.

Yeah, nine years. I can't believe it's been that long.

I can honestly say that 2013 ended on an unbelievably fantastic note and that carried right over into 2014. This is one of the first transitions I can remember being this good in a long time. Sure, life has been all over the place just like it is for everyone else on this planet, and I've had good starts to the years past, but none that were quite this remarkable.

Shawn Carter @mousebrat NYC blogger and crazy nutLast year marked the start of what I'm calling "Chapter 3: New York City" in the larger storybook of my life. I pushed myself over that cliff I'd been putting on the back burner for so many years and landed on my feet. I'm not going into it now since I've already beaten it to death elsewhere on the blog. What's important here are the many new things that have grown out of it whether it was the little adventures had all over this city or the larger mile markers in life that I've gotten a handle on. I've seen places that inspire me endlessly to be a more complex and expressive human being and I've now started a new job that does all that plus advance me along my career path. I've met people who fill out the whole crayon box of colors that I never would have interacted with outside of this city. I've watched less attractive parts of myself disappear and be replaced by new growth in my own character. I've seen my time spent on meditating and getting ahold of those fractured pieces of my mind increase every day, contributing to a better, saner me for once. The positives go on and on.

And that was how I ended 2013. Surrounded by close friends, in spirit and in person, with love and excitement and a healthy lack of fucks to give. At midnight on New Years Eve I made a conscious point to step forward into the new year on the right foot, giving tribute to the superstitious side of me that loves that kind of thing and reinforcing, psychologically, the direction and attitude I wanted to carry through the next year.

Shawn Carter @mousebrat NYC | World Trade Center construction | SunsetsI have no interest this year in resolutions. They are very valuable to some. I want to take a different approach and focus on goals. I want this year to not be about resolving to achieve those goals but rather to enjoy the process of chasing those goals. I've spent the majority of this month setting goals at work and in my personal life and as the timing is right I will start each individual journey and focus completely on watching myself change and adapt and revel in the process.

So, I've gotten that part out of the way. Do you think shorter blog posts should be a goal for this year? Lol


Life in NYC - Two Months Later

New York City Life, Blogging in NYC, Moving to NYCNew York City Life, Blogging in NYC, Moving to NYC

Whoever said moving to New York City was difficult was correct, almost. The technicality lies in the fact that it's not getting here that is tough, it's the adjustment period and initial struggle to get stabilized once you've landed. Prior to my move I had a good friend grab my hand and take a long look at me and state that August was going to be rough but September would bring along everything I was looking for with my move. She was dead right.

Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been miserable or dream-killing, even during the moments of sheer panic and short bouts of depression that have cropped up. My first day in the city was full of the stereotypical wonder and excitement that I think most people feel the first time they visit the city or move here. I didn't have a clue where I was going to sleep and every room situation fell through before I'd even arrived, but the excitement just kept on a constant rumble for weeks. It was like a constant little reservoir I could tap into no matter what emotion had my immediate attention right then. And it's still there.

August was rough. My move into my new apartment didn't happen on time and I ended up panicking for a few days. I bounced around to different living situations so many times I've grown sick to death of boxes and suitcases and don't care to pack another one for a good while. I've met some great people and some not so great people. I've wandered through some scary little neighborhoods and gotten lost a few times too many. I've run short of money more times than I could almost stand. I've been homeless more than once.

New York City Life, Blogging in NYC, Moving to NYCAll of this carried over to September for a week or two with a few things improving. There was the promise of a place to call home on the horizon and I managed to land a job just by walking into the restaurant and asking for work. I've had some kind of money coming into my pockets every day so far this month and there's a good chance that's only going to improve over the next few months. I managed to score a fantastic new roommate and I've grown so much closer to my little group of old and new friends here in the city. September has slowly revealed pieces of the life I wanted in part or in whole and it's looking like things are staying steady.

Two months in and I feel like I've grown a little and a lot at different times. I've got a home, friends, good health (just barely after that cold last week) and a job that pays the bills. New York City has taught me how to be alone while not being lonely and how to approach every day as a new adventure with new and random surprises around every corner. I was looking for radical change and it has found me. I'm still that kid from Wyoming and Colorado who is a little stupid and little awkward at times, but I'm quickly becoming the man who followed his dream of moving to the big city and opened up doors to be whatever he wished.

We are the architects of our own fate. - Buddhist saying


An Update on Life - New York City

Chapter 3 - New Beginnings in New York City

New York City, new chapter, moving and following your dreams

A lot has changed since I last wrote an entry into my blog. At the beginning of the summer I decided it was worth it to start thinking about the possibility of following my teenage dream of moving to New York City.

Ever since that first glimpse into the lives of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte from the TV series Sex and the City I have always wanted a life that included living in the Big Apple. A few short stops and drives through the city on my way upstate sealed the deal for me. All it took was one evening driving along the Hudson across from Manhattan and seeing those bright lights and breath-taking skyline to convince me that this was indeed the place for me.

So, with all of this in mind, I started pulling everything together for this move. It took lots of coffee dates with a close friend to keep me from losing it when the reality of what I was doing would start to sink in. This was the first huge move I'd ever done. Sanity in check, I managed to check every major thing off my list in a matter of a month. I still can't believe it sometimes.

After a final farewell party and a few surprising tough goodbyes I packed my entire life up into a Penske truck and hit the road. It was a boring, excruciatingly long, construction-laden trip that I have sworn never to make again. I took some time to relax for a week with my family upstate and then made the final trek to my new home.

When I arrived I had no idea where I was going to stay as every room setup I had tried (there were at least 30) had fallen through, most at the last minute. Thanks to an amazing friend and some last-minute networking I scored a place for a week. After that it was a bit of creative hunting and I finally ended up with a hotel for a couple nights and a sublet to rent for the rest of August.

The majority of my living space worries were over and it was all about following up on jobs and hunting for my permanent living spot. Again, amazing things happened. I ended up finding an amazing apartment right on Central Park with an amazing guy for a roommate. Seriously, I don't know how I managed to pull off finding the great places I've stayed. That epic-ness aside, I've spent the last few weeks sending out my résumé to nearly 100 different companies and job posters. I've scored one interview that looks like it will pan out with another very promising position recently applied for. Seriously, this company is my dream job. I love what they do, who they are and the people they've hired. It would be an honor to work with these guys as a part of their team.

So here I sit, blogging and reliving the last month, and my optimism is still riding high and there's no change in that on the horizon. I've reconnected and partied with old friends and made many new ones. Sure, there are some uncertainties out there and basic worries I'll have to address, but it's one day at a time. And with that in mind I'll make dreams a reality step by step.

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep." - Prospero, The Tempest


Personal Care - Exfoliating All Natural Face Mask

After seeing this recipe pop up on several different websites, blogs, Pinterest pins, and even Twitter, I decided to give it a shot since the ingredients were readily available in my kitchen. It's completely edible. After posting the results on Facebook, a hilarious exchange went on for quite a while and led to a few people asking for the recipe and instructions. I figured I'd share those here in hopes you try it for yourself and get a laugh out of it in the process.

The Exfoliating All Natural Face Mask aka Raunchy Poo Decadence Face Mask: 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp nutmeg, 2 tbsp raw honey (or any honey, really).

Mix into a thick paste and slap on the face, applying gently in circular motion. Let sit for 30 minutes while you watch porn I guess this makes it raunchy). Then, using a warm-hot washcloth, gently remove using circular motions to properly exfoliate. Don't get in your eyes, watch out for drips, it will get warm so don't freak out, and always be gentle when scrubbing 'cus cinnamon burns on a scraped face.

Let me know how it works for you! Follow me on Instagram for more hilariousness. @mousebrat


Back and Biting

Isn't Denver pretty?
Winter Begone | MouseBrat on Instagram

Hey there... Blogger. I'm back. I had a good year on my own domain, but sadly I was never happy with the rebranding I did and was never motivated to update the site or the blog. And it was just too much money to throw at something that I had no interest in. So, for now, I am back here on Blogger. As much as I might hate it.

Having spent a year away I am curious to see how the two compare. I'm still of the opinion that Wordpress is just a thousand times better, but as a free option I am comfortable with this platform. I also need to get more familiar with the analytics and operations of the Blogger platform. I'm also going to be looking into how this will mesh with some Youtube integration. I'm hoping over the next few months I'll be able to get an idea for how much difference there is between them.

This post is all kinds of scattered. It's late here and I've spent the last thirty minutes exporting and importing the few posts I had from my Wordpress website. So there is a bit of new content to check out if you didn't follow me over last March. AtypicalBrain.com will be shutting down here in the next few days. I'm going to spend the next month working up a new layout for the blog and using some new SEO information to optimize it. Any ideas on good software/plugins to accomplish that are appreciated. Just drop it in a comment or email.

Later gang.


Blue Jeans

Someday I will have someone special that I can put these lyrics to our relationship. Until then, I'll just keep listening to this song and thinking about the qualities I want in him when I find him.

Love, Affection, blue jeans, life, til the end of time, Denver Blogger
Unknown Artist

I will love you 'til the end of timeI would wait a million years
Promise you'll remember that you're mine
Baby can you see through the tears
Love you more
Than those bitches before
Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember
I will love you 'til the end of time

- Lana Del Rey


Summer Solstice Ritual 2012

Photo by Shawn Carter @mousebrat on Instagram Summer Solstice Ritual
This ritual is a rewrite of the original found at About.com by the amazing  Patti Wigington. You can see it here. The following contains rewrites and original content by myself. Enjoy.

The Summer Solstice, known to some as Litha, Midsummer, or Alban Heruin, is the longest day of the year. It’s the time when the sun is most powerful, and new life has begun to grow within the earth. After today, the nights will once more begin to grow longer, and the sun will move further away in the sky. 

Here's How:

Confirm altar is prepped with necessary herbs, candles, athame, wand (if being used), chalice, cakes and ale, any other offerings to be made and the salt, water and incense for the purification. Allow some time for breathing and centering. Light all candles from candle(s) burned on the day of the Solstice to introduce its energy into the space.

Begin this ritual by preparing the wood for a fire, without lighting it yet. While the ideal situation would have you setting a huge bonfire alight, realistically not everyone can do that. If you're limited, use a table top brazier or fire-safe pot, and light your fire there instead.

Purify your ritual space with the Blessing of the Bath or with smudge and blessed water.

Say either to yourself or out loud:

"Witches gather tonight to celebrate the Midsummer, Alban Heruin, the time of the High Sun, sacred to our Mighty Dead. The Earth as the Mother is pregnant and the God is at His peak. In the presence of those elements our ancestors held holy, the Sky above our heads, the Earth warmed beneath our feet, and the Sea who's embrace holds Us on all sides, we honor this and begin our dance between the Worlds with the lighting of our sacred fire."

At this point, start your fire. (Obviously)

Call in the elements using traditional callings or ones special for this occasion.

"Hail to you, Guardian of the Watchtower of the (East/South/West/North),

Powers of (Appropriate to the Element Called).

I do summon and stir you up

To bear witness this rite and to protect this circle.

(wait for the element to respond)

Hail and Welcome."

Repeat for each quarter. Include Above, Below and Center if desired.

Cast your circle using the following liturgy or your own.

"I conjure thee, Oh Circle of Power,

To be a boundary between the world of the Living,

And the Realm of the Mighty Ones,

A rampart and protection against all harm

To preserve the power raised within.

Wherefore do I bless and consecrate you

By every sacred name of the God and the Goddess."

"The Circle is open. We are between the worlds, in a place not a place, in a time not a time. Hail and welcome."

Build up the fire even more, so that you have a good strong blaze going.

If you wish to make an offering to the gods, now is the time to do it.


"Alban Heruin is often a time of rededication to the gods.
At all times the triple goddess watches over me,
And she is known by many names.
She is the Morrighan, Brighid, and Cerridwen.
She is the washer at the ford,
She is the guardian of the hearth,
She is the one who stirs the cauldron of inspiration.

It is she we call first into our circle

By all names known and unknown.

(include any invocation of all goddesses by name here)

The Lady is not without her Consort.

His names are also many and his power now at its peak.

He is the Horned One,

The Oak King,

The Hunter, The Lover.

When his horn sounds, the fabric of reality shudders.

It is he we call now into our circle

By all names known and unknown.

(include any invocation of all gods by name here)

Magickal Working - Burning Away Poverty Mind

A rite to pull in all positive energies associated with the Sun to burn away poverty mind that holds us captive and creates a mire we struggle through. By invoking the Sun and allowing it to burn away those limits in our lives we open ourselves to prosperity. During this rite the offerings will be charged with those limiting ideas and then offered in exchange in the ritual fire.

"We give honor to you here,

And make our requests to you now.

As the Wheel turns for the next year and a day

Grant us wisdom, blessings upon our endeavors,

And all that we desire.

As the ever-present Sun turns around us in the next year

May your faces never be far from our call.

I make this offering
To show my allegiance,
To show my honor,
To show my love,

To remove all that holds me back from achieving prosperity,
To You.

Cast your offering into fire."

Cakes and Ale

Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have offered, and what the gifts of the gods mean to you. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, dismantle it or dismiss the quarters at this time.
Allow your fire to go out on its own.

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