Thanks much to everyone!
Zack - glad you enjoyed the gift, I told Robert to let you know that if you think it'll be useful, let me know and I'll make sure there's more where that came from
Vege - I come from a line of people who put on weight just looking at food
Seriously, though, my metabolism sucks, and I gain weight eating over 3000 cal./day easily enough. 4000 cal./day and above, what I was eating during the bulking years, allowed me to gain VERY quickly, but it came with a lot of fat, too. Finding the best balance has been tricky with my love for snacks, but I'm getting better at it!
beforewisdom - my back issues started with my first strongman comp, tried to hold on to an overhead log press too long, it bent me backward and everything cracked in my back from top to bottom (which stated the issues with a strain on my QL, which still haunt me but it's getting better). Taking the bulk of a year or so off from much squatting and deadlifting has helped, and then having Kirk (trainer and friend) teach me how to stretch my QL out properly and rebuild slowly vs. my usual "Let's get to where I used to be in a hurry" mindset. It's getting better, but that's not to say one false move couldn't re-tweak it again. I just have to be much more careful - after having about 8 re-inuries of it during the past few years, it's a pain I prefer not to revisit!
jcdenton and Northstar - thanks to both you you as well for the comments. For the 2000 calorie meal, you have to consider that I'm surrounded by aisles of all-vegan foods all day and night, so there's temptation everywhere
Just put a pint of vegan ice cream in front of me, a few packs of vegan jerky and some Go Max Go candy bars and I can make 2000 calories disappear in about 20 minutes. For good, clean, whole foods my appetite is reasonable. For junk food crap, I can eat mountains of it without ever feeling full. That's how I got into the mess of being fatter than I wanted to - when it came to getting strong, I just figured that the more I ate the better the progress, and I didn't pay attention to bodyfat levels until it caught up with me.