Why Dine In Hell: The Reason behind the Madness

For people who missed last year's challenge, understand how it all started this by reading this preliminairy post.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2 TV interviews

Log In with Philippe Yacoub on MTV, I talk about the blog, the challenge and the costume

Beynetna where I explain how my perception of the challenge changed and how it became also about mass motivation. About inspiring people to set their own goals and how interactive everything became

Sunday, October 31, 2010

King Leonidas Halloween Costume: Michel Dines In Hell.

I'd watch this one instead; it's longer, but illustrates the situation better.

"The old ones say we Spartans are descended from Hercules himself. Bold Leonidas gives testament to our bloodline, his roar is long and loud.

"Remember us", as simple an order as a king can give, "remember why we died".

For he did not wish tribute or song, nor monuments, nor poems of war and valor. His wish was simple: "Remember us", he said to me. That was his hope, should any free soul come across that place, in all the countless centuries yet to be, may all our voices, whisper to you, from the ageless stones.
Go tell the Spartans passerby that here by Spartan law, we lie."

And so my king died, and my brothers died, barely a year ago. Long I pondered my king's cryptic talk of victory, but time has proven him wise, for from free Greek to free Greek, the word has spread that bold Leonidas and his 300, so far from home, laid down their lives, not just for Sparta, but for all Greece and the promise this country holds. Now, here on this rugged patch of earth called Plataea, Xerxes' hordes face obliteration! Just there the barbarians huddle. Sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers, knowing full well what merciless horrors they suffered at the swords and spears of 300, yet they stare now, across the plain, at ten thousand Spartans, commanding thirty thousand free Greeks.
The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one. Good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue the world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine. Give thanks men, to Leonidas and the brave 300.*

To victory!"

Those were the words that struck me. That pushed me to press play again and again. I've seen this movie 57 times so far and am playing it as I'm writing this post. This "dumb action movie" – as some qualify it – changed my life. I advise you to watch it again and pay attention to the script. It has nothing to do with amazing cinematography or semi naked men in Speedos (yes, I admit it). It's about the principles they hold. About never yielding in the face of adversity. In dying standing than living on one's knees. 

*When I quote Delios, about Greek versus Persian, I do not hint at anything regarding my political views. Although, this movie might be read by some as a direct parallelism to current political situations, I see it, as Leonidas says, as "few against many". About two clans facing each other. About Respect and Honor. And that is all.

Now here are the pictures of the costume. Happy Halloween indeed.
can you imagine I looked like this 65 days ago?!! THE SHAME!! :D

the one with wounds makeup.
Barber's ought to cut the beard right (or I'll kick him in the pit of death as this is no longer Beirut... but SPARTA!)

I'd probably solve it this way... (by the way, I'm gonna Photoshop this into the Thermopylae background... just give me a couple of days! :P

with the makeup!




Here it is. The final curtain. We're the 31st and the past 2 days were literally CRAZY! As you can see from the final progress pictures below, I actually got there! But I not only I dropped 12.1 kgs in SIXTY FIVE DAYS. And got muscular. And got ripped. But the Blog got around 3000 views only yesterday and amassed around 24000 views up till now. And I made friends worldwide. And got on television...

That's one hell of a feat! This whole project went far beyond my expectations. Guys, I'm humbled by your reactions. Really. Thank you. Maybe now I should go ahead and actually seek out Gerard Butler, Zack Snyder and Frank Miller to show them what I've done. Or maybe try to get to the new Xerxes movie and act out as an extra! Now THAT would be CRAAAZY! :D

So here we are. The final progress pictures. I'll post the costume pictures and the party(ies) pictures in the next entry – in a bit don't worry, i know you wanna see how the costume turned out. :)

the final beard stage before trimming and shaping for Leo's beard! clients were scaaared! ;)

Next post I'll will have the costumes and party pictures. :P


Saturday, October 30, 2010

D-0. DAY 0. THIS IS IT. TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!!!! / Costume preparation sneak peaks


ok. so i m really sorry guys i couldnt blog before about this. Would you believe me if I said that all of this is a TAD hectic?! :D I was supposed to take off from work today but duty called. It's been a marathon to work on the costume as well. I decided that everything should be done at home as it should be. No buying a costume. no ordering one from the internet and especially NO OUTSOURCING to a fashion designer which will add "épaulettes" to the costume and become non-faithful to the original design. The base of course were pictures of Leonidas at different angles, AND (my favorite) MY 12" Leonidas Collectible 'who' always sits on my book shelf, on top of my computer, reminding me to never give up and keep on thriving.

It was an honor to have as my main helper: Aida Karsouny, my mom; who's had so much experience with my previous halloween costumes from when I was 3 to 10 years of age. She personally sewed me a Ninja Turtles Michelangelo costume, a Disney's Robin Hood costume, a Shere Khan costume, a brilliant Bumblebee costume which made me win a competition (Karsounys have always been competitive ;) – I'm gonna reveal to you a secret... people thought I was a BEE when I won the competition, ergo, a girl... not proud to say this but I had my hair covered, and since Michel also sounds like MICHELLE, people didn't pick up the slight difference in shape at age 7... :)

ANYWHO... so here I am. I'm actually completely dressed up. (written on friday) Not gonna show you everything today, but rather the process. Am gonna party like craaaazy at Chocolate, "document the night" – and the booze and craziness – and show you the final tomorrow(today)!!
I look at myself in the mirror as I add the bruises and scrapes. I actually have a ripped body. 65 days exactly after this blog has started. I've come a LOOONG way since these 2 short months. Pushed myself as hard as I could and I've even had. Went to the hospital more than I'd like to admit. Made very good friends, chitchatted with very nice and interesting people all around the world, simply by sitting behind my computer and by putting my every single day out there.

Guys, thank you so much for the great comments. I can't thank you enough. We're at 19000 views now and the blog has featured in blogs in based Brazil, Germany, France, Kuwait, Malaysia, Russia, China, the US, Canada and other countries. The bloggers helped out BIGTIME in spreading the word about the blog.

You know, we were having a discussion a friend and I yesterday, it went something like this:
- so whatever happened to your spartan army? People are gonna come dressed up as Spartans to the party?
- dude... I don't think so cause I mean, I wouldn't have dressed up half naked with my beer belly 2 months ago and not everyone of my friends have 6 packs...
- yeah well not everyone can stare at a Fondant au Chocolat or any other desert without DEVOURING IT eventually ...

That put a smile on my face but I realized something: THERE IS NO WAY I could've gone all the way without you. Without having to open a blank post on the blog every day and pounding away for an hour about my every thought and plans on the project. It was about my ego, about saying something and doing it, all the way, no matter what; it's about keeping a promise and not breaking it.

I've had something similar with a client and a close friend last December. I was really under pressure and had promised to design her something; then, after trying a hell lot, I had realized that I wasn't qualified/trained enough for that kind of project. And after a LOT of reluctance, I had to discontinue working and admit to her that I couldn't do it – and obviously felt really bad about it. Secretly, this blog has somewhat also been a way to make things straight with myself. To prove to myself that I won't settle and stop trying until I get to what I said I would get to. That I would keep a promise.
I know that person is reading what I'm writing and following closely because I know how much she cares about me and respect me – like I do. If you're reading R, I hope I proved myself to you and showed you that I'm not the kind of person that backs away from things. I really miss you and feel like an idiot to have cut contact with you. I will call you soon and would love to hang out. Till then, Happy Halloween... I DID IT!! :D

Check out later's posts for the COSTUME, final progress will be posted in the coming days.
By the way, I'm gonna be on national TV today (saturday 30th) on MTV's "Log In" with Philip Yacoub at 6:00PM to talk about the whole experience. Check me out.

Now me go PARTYYYYYYY!!!!! (that was said yesterday. :) update you in a bit!)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Michel Dines In Hell on "Log In" on MTV :) & Party & Costume Logistics

Tune in on MTV this Saturday 30th at 6:10 PM for a Halloween Special on "Log In" with Philip Yacoub featuring yours truly as I talk about "Michel Dines In Hell"! – the blog in case someone didn't get that ;)

By the way, I know I haven't blogged for the past couple of days; I've been trying to compensate extra for "some" work I had slightly postponed.

On D-1 and D-2 thought I'd party for a cause (2 actually) – as you know, Halloween is on Sunday so parties are on friday 29th and saturday 30th!! :(

Party 1 on Friday 29th: Donner Sang Compter's "Party for our Bloody Cause" at Chocolate Club (got a table in my name if you guys are interested drop me a line or call me up!)

Party 2 on Saturday 30th: at EM Chill Mar Mikhael (end of gemmayze)
The cool thing about both these parties are that I'm sure the mood will be crazy. No people that "don't dress up for Halloween cause it's stupid". Just crazy ass genuine down to earth people that just wanna have an amazing time, and THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I NEED! ESPECIALLY THAT I HAVEN'T HAD EVEN ONE SIP OF ALCOHOL FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS!!! BRING IN THE DOODOO SHOTTTSSS!! :))

I'm working on my costume now!
I was thinking of asking either my cousin Edward Arsouni (yeah not Karsouny...mine is cooler) or Hass Idriss, both great fashion designers to help me with the costume. But I figured, if mom helped me out with my first 10, she should have great experience! She sewed a Shere Khan costume, a Ninja turtle one, a Bumblebee one (where people thought I was a bee ...ergo a girl... I was 6 and was telling people my name was Michel(le) with my 6 year old voice... you know...) ... so on so forth; The best person EVER to help me out – and it's an honor for me – is MY MOM!! :)

We haven't been spending some good old Mother & Son time so that would be perfect! I hope we'll pull it off!

Can I end this post with HAOUUU!?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I decided that the difference between Day 1 and Day 3 (when I started taking the daily pictures doesn't really differ anymore now that the progress has leaped completely.

Here we are after 50 days, with 10 days total of rest because of the stupid chab'it hawa (or "muscle inflammation/lesion" caused by air conditioning as different doctors call it).

Without further ado, here's the progress 10 days prior to the big night.  

the extra weight training gave shaped to the shoulders pretty well, especially since the last 2 weeks with the heavy weights and low reps.
NO. It's not blown up on purpose, stop saying that. We're on day 3 here and I'm trying to be as accurate as possible. Hey, check out the man boobs in the 1st one! :D
Add caption
I CANT BELIEVE I WAS THAT FAT! Actually I also can't believe my back looks that slim :)
Beard is still growing, I gotta trim it right when the time comes to get the Spartan shape
A bit more muscular than week 5 because of higher weights and lower reps and obviously less cardio.
same posture as 10 days ago yet 3 kgs lighter. Muscle mass remained because of the high protein intake, however, Fat dropped by lowering carbs and the caloric intake.

I guess I should start also working on the costume now. I'll update you tomorrow on the plan. Gotta pull both off well to have a complete Leonidas.
I was thinking of attending the Donner Sang Compter fund raiser for Halloween. It's for a good cause, Yorgui Tayrouz has saved so many lives with his NGO, providing donors in case someone needs blood. He's definitely making a difference and I want to support him. Blood and Leonidas do go together don't they? Lame BAD joke! ARGH! I suggest you to do the same if you don't have anything planned. Actually guys, let's all meet up and really make something out of this Halloween night. I've been working on it for the past 53 days and would really love the culmination of all that effort to be one FANTASTIC NIGHT! I'd love it if you all showed dressed amazingly in any costume, as long as it's worked on and fun! (you could also come as Spartans so we can have ourselves an army. That would be friggin' awesome! 

Let me know what you think. 

I'm off! Lots to do between work, training, blogging and now the costume!? It's gonna be one hell of a stretch! No worries, I can handle it ;)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The 5 REST DAYS ARE FINALLY OVER! I trusted my reason and stopped training because of the muscle lesion I had in my left chest. I really feel better now. The pain is gone and I'm really excited to start off the final stretch: we have 11 days to go!

5 days of no training and I'm actually wondering what I did during all these extra hours that I got now that I wasn't blogging for around an hour and a half, training for another hour, walking in the morning for yet another one. Four free extra hours a day!! I drew. I caught up with work I was doing. But I also read a lot about training.
I started wondering what I was gonna do after this whole shebang was over.
I really feel like keeping the training going. I actually really feel like bodybuilding for a while. A friend of mine that's a crazy – yet very professional – muscle man Tariq Abou Nassar really put me in the mood of big time body sculpting. That doesn't mean I'm gonna train for the Olympia but I'd keep it going let's say 3 times a week which seems very moderate and fun. I would maintain where I got to without having all the extra pressure of getting at peak state.
I'm considering very heavy weight for mass without taking any weight gain supplements. Because I'm obviously not going to be at my best on Halloween, I decided to continue my diet and training till I'm fully satisfied with the fully sculpted 8 pack I've been trying to pull off for the Leonidas costume. The muscle mass would show completely with that drop in body fat percentage so I wouldn't really have to worry about making the rest of the physique look like Leonidas, if I have a striated 6-pack, it means that every single detail of the rest will show too, along with veins if I continue the weight training.
There's also the Beirut Marathon I'm thinking of checking out – the 10K fun run – but the thing is that I'm still going to be cutting and can't handle a 10K run with the diet's low caloric intake.

here's where I am so far not flexed
and flexed

This means I'm probably gonna go for another 2 to 3 weeks on the diet and training regimen but without stressing. I could update you if you still wanna follow up after Halloween, although the primary challenge would've been complete. I wanna keep on going till I get to 84 kgs and stabilize there. Last time I was at that weight I was 17. It felt great. I felt LIIIIGHT. Last time I was at Ricardo's I had dropped to 90. Apart from the Hardees 5 Star Burger and fries I pounded yesterday at 10:30PM, I've been keeping up bigtime and am hopefully expecting to have dropped 2kgs this week. I'm not ashamed of the burger by the way, I've cheated only 4 times during this whole 54 days; I even was put in situations where one would fold, but I didn't. This week end was my sis and Karly's bdays and I got faced with a lot of temptation with all the tasty cakes that everyone was inhaling. "Walaw 3id okhtak! Yalla kol gateau! Kirméla!", and I'm like "CHOU KERMELA!?! Happy Birthday! I'm here and struggling! What more do you want from me!?!".
Karly's chicken, turkey, tuna, egg, Picon and bone cake for his 1 year old bday
check out Chrine's cake on the left. Didn't Touch it! :)
In any case, let me let you in on an little secret: after a while you mind can't imagine the taste and texture of any given food you haven't had for a long time. So you can be even staring at a Chili's Old Timer with Chili all over the fries and AS LONG AS YOU DON'T SMELL THE FOOD, YOU WON'T CRAVE IT! It would feel as if you're staring at anything. At a couch or at a wall or a shoe. Im dead serious. That's why a lot of people say that as soon as you surpass the 21 day limit, new habits settle in and things become A LOT easier. Trust me, I'm living it day by day:
1. you use your enthusiasm at first
2.  you make a commitment to AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN, especially the ones that encourage you or the annoying ones that want to see you fail, just so they call you on it if you don't follow up.
3. Keep it going till it becomes a habit past 21 days. When I say 21 days I don't mean taking a break on week ends. That's very important. You shouldn't be reminded YET of what this kind of food tastes like because in your mind it SHOULDN'T BE A BREAK from the agony of dieting. You should never view dieting as a burden, but more as a conscious change in lifestyle. You should make it in a way so you get MORE PLEASURE OUT OF NOT EATING JUNK rather than feeling pain. You need to feel pleasure for consuming healthy foods. Afterall, YOU'RE CHANGING YOUR LIFE!! That's the exciting part. Not a stupid burger. It's JUST A BURGER. WHO'S STRONGER!? YOU OR A BURGER!?! (or a Krispy Kreme glazed Donut?!). After the 21 days, a burger might taste good, but it wouldn't be like "sweet mother of goood I'm free at last", but more of, "that was good". It will be JUST ANOTHER MEAL and that's what you want to get to. Junk food shouldn't be a prized treasure, but just a food like any other meal. By the way, although the burger was good, my body got so used to non-junk food that I kept burping onions till this morning!

Here's where I fall: MY SENSE OF SMELL BETRAYS ME! So I make it a point to steer clear from any place that does that to me. Roadsters included (Krispy Kreme, McDonalds or fast food places that use the fake french fried smell so that you just rush in, any patisserie that serves Knefeh... etc).

On a completely other note, I decided to keep growing my beard till way after halloween. I donno if this matters to you but I'm kinda getting used to the whole Captain Caveman - Cousin IT thing that's going on. It would keep me warm anyways for snowboarding season. Maybe I could bleach if for Christmas even and dress up as Santa! But no I'm serious, imagine where it would get to if I kept it till April!! BWAHAHAHAHA!

OK! No more blabbering. I'm visiting Ricardo in a half hour for my new diet and weight. I'll be posting my overall progress tomorrow with different angles and poses so you could asses where I am, and it will be cutting and muscle building and dieting – and costume making ;) – all the way till the 30th! Halloween!

By the way, I haven't decided where I want to party, so please let me know on your suggestions. Maybe we could even meet up in one place and party like there's no tomorrow! That'd be really fun and I could finally see who's been following. That'd be really awesome! AND I COULD FINALLY HAVE MY MEXICAN BEERS AND DOO DOO SHOTS!!! :D:D:D (only for that night and then we tone it down again)