Hwy 55 Burger


Today I tried the Hwy 55 Burger: 55 oz. burger with fries and a drink. I didn’t eat all of it, but it was delicious and I had a lovely conversation with the staff. I love how even attempting to do the incredible enlivens people. It’s so easy to just go through the motions. It’s another thing entirely to really experience life for all it is worth.


Taco Bell Diablo Hot Sauce Challenge

Hello all,

Recently, a good friend of mine watched Isaac Fitzgerald of BuzzFeed try to take down thirty-one packages of Taco Bell‘s newest and spiciest hot sauce, the Diablo Sauce.

Knowing I would be crazy enough to do the same, she dared me to take on the challenge. After successfully downing the last packet, I will have to say… kudos to you, Taco Bell! That was one tasty sauce.

You can view the Rocky-style culinary battle here:

Blessings to you in Christ,


The Heart of a Champion: The Furious Life of Pete Czerwinkski

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 2.28.09 PM

Summary: Our circumstances may not be in our control, but our reactions to them certainly are. And reactions make all the difference.

Above is a picture of a wonderful gentleman by the name of Furious Pete.

I first met him on the competitive eating circuit. We shared a common trait: we eat like Cookie Monster. (Although, admittedly, he’s better at it.)

The man is full of life- and that’s saying something, considering his backstory.

See the picture above? Fit dude, right?! But he was not always that way.

No, years back, he was anorexic- so much so that he had to be hospitalized for it. Having wrestled with anorexia in the past myself, I can relate to his struggles. It’s a terrible state to be in.

BUT! He did not stay that way. He fought his way out of it. He built up his body and his self-confidence and went on to become a pro body builder and a top-ranking competitive eater. He’s even quite the YouTube star…

If this were a fairy tale, that would be a pretty sweet place to end. But, as you’ve probably noticed, life isn’t a fairy tale. It’s a CONTINUOUS CYCLE of ups and downs.

To that point, he was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. His health, his future… everything was put into question. Yet, again, he kept going. He saw a doctor, got the surgery, and now he’s back on his feet, pursuing his dreams.

In many ways, this is the face of the modern day superhero: Someone who is thrown a bunch of curve balls, yet never gives up. This isn’t mean just “sucking it up.” No, that is a phrase for our parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Today, we take a fearless inventory of our lives, admit our weakness, and by confession and positive action, we rise above.

As of the writing of this blog, Furious Pete is back hitting the gym hard with his eyes fixed on being featured in bodybuilding.com’s Bodies of Work Vol. 4.

Whoever and wherever you are, I hope you internalize Pete’s approach- and go, fight, win!

Blessings to you in Christ,


The Long & Winding Road: Finding Your Way in a World of Infinite Possibilities


Summary: Don’t fret if you fear you’ve lot your way. We’re all on a journey together, and we will make it through.

1. A Confederacy of Dunces

I’ve been around the Internet more than a few times. Along with all the cat videos and movie trailers, there are a whole lot of people doling out advice. Some of these people have earned the right to say as much, through hands-on experience or insider information. A great number of people, however, have not. They will lead you down rabbit-holes that suck time out of your life and money from your wallet- and more times that not, you will be left none the wiser for it.

I’ll be honest with you: even the people that seem to have it all together do not have it all together. We are all on a journey. Our heroes. Those we admire. They are still works in process.

Sure, there are sound bytes they can offer that, in the short game, can get you ahead of where you are now, but if you are in it for the long haul… Well, let’s just say a sound byte won’t cut it.

Practice, patience and perseverance are the only true recipe for true success… and even that needs to be flooded with prayer.

With all that said, let me take a moment to fill you in on where I come from, so you can make up your own mind on my qualifications, as well as hopefully gain a bit of insight from the journey I have been on:

2. A Little Bit About Me

My name is Aaron Daniel Ybarra. I will be thirty in April. My dad is a mad-awesome percussionist and my mom is a retired school teacher.

I live in North Carolina with my wife, Katie. We have been married for four years and recently moved here from Orange County, California, where I had spent most of my life.

I have always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first book in high school. It was science fiction, five hundred pages long, and is still in great need of a rewrite before being remotely ready for widespread publication.

I was granted a scholarship to Chapman University by working my butt off in high school- and probably also by being Mexican American, blended with Cajun. (Bring on the gumbo!). I studied under James P. Blaylock, one of the godfathers of the steampunk genre, and also Marvin Meyer, who helped translate the Gnostic Gospel of Judas and was gaga over Albert Schweitzer, the German humanitarian. From there you can see I love scholarship, religion (especially Christianity), fantasy, and philanthropy. I received a BFA in Creative Writing in 2007 and sat on it for a good long while. I kept writing narrative fiction for a good long while with no real lucrative result.

In the meantime, I met and fell in love with the woman who later became my wife.

On the year that I got married, I took up Competitive Eating, wherein I had the privilege facing off against the great Takeru Kobayashi and being shown in both a hit TV show, Bones: The Gluttony Games, and an indie documentary, Hungry. These two projects took the honor of being first real experiences with Hollywood cinema. (I had been given the opportunity to participate in a filmmaking workshop back in high school via the Veracity Project, but sat on my hands while my chance came and went and life rolled merrily along.)

As the CE scene started to slow down, I took up songwriting, and composed a song for CE friend, Mary Bowers. She suggested we film it. We did exactly that, thanks to help from a cool dude named Zach Aro, who I met while working at a coffee shop (I worked at that coffee shop for seven years).

Zach and I kept making short films until a friend from church pointed me towards the 168 Film Project, which the first film festival we ever sent a short too. Each year, we would submit a short to that festival. Sometimes we would make it in, sometimes we would not.

But our faithful interaction with 168 put me in contact with the man who is, for all intents and purposes, my agent right now. We work well together and remain in constant contact. Both of us have a passion for storytelling and both of us are surviving day to day. He calls me out on lots of stuff. I take my licks and grow every time I learn from my mistakes.

Now, we’re pitching scripts to some pretty awesome people…. And that pretty much catches you up with where I’m at right now.

3. A Bright Hope for Tomorrow

I know that’s a lot to take in all at once, but I just wanted to show my rather circuitous journey, so that you would (A) know about me, where I come from, and what I know (and don’t know), and (B) encourage you not to despair if you are trying to find your own path and encounter obstacles and detours along the way.

Speaking from experience alone I would say: don’t be afraid of taking the long way home (it may take you to pretty cool places), and pay careful mind on who gives you instruction along the way. As the commercial says, “Show Me the CARFAX?” We are called to be adventurers, not in ignorance, but in esteem.

I pray this little walk down Memory Lane was educational and inspiring. I wish you all the best in your journeys ahead.

Blessings to you in Christ,


Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Last year, Fox Studios invited Our Kind of Awesome creator, Aaron Ybarra, to act as an extra in the TV show “Bones” (“Gluttony Games” episode). Here, in a mini-documentary, you can catch him in action:

If you would like to get in on the competitive eating action, visit www.eatfeats.com to find an eating challenge near you. Or, if you’d rather just watch, visit Naader Reda‘s & Johnnie Excel‘s Youtube channels to see epic eats of every shape, taste, and size.

We have lots of exciting new projects lined up for the future, so stay tuned! God-willing, this will be quite the rockin’ summer.

God bless!