Friday, August 06, 2010

Whatever happened to Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan?

Craig Titus - Mug Shot (LVPD)
One of the most common searches to my blog is for Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan.  Both Titus and Ryan were alleged to be involved in a murder of their assistant, Melissa James, during a fight possibly fueled by heavy doses of narcotics.

Although the story is covered pretty well, there are still a few lingering questions about the tragedy.  There were always rumors of a sex tape involving Kelly Ryan, Melissa James, and Craig Titus, but that has apparently never surfaced.  Some people claim to have seen it or clips from it, but to my knowledge, no substantial proof that it exists has ever been released. What is clear is that Kelly Ryan and Craig Titus lived a drug fueled party lifestyle and probably had a situation of an open marriage where both partners were free to swing and engage in outside relationships.

Kelly Ryan - Mug Shot (LVPD)
The fact that Melissa James came to live with Kelly and Titus is a perfect example of this relationship.  It would seem somewhat unusual for a married couple to need a young female live in assistant when they had no children and their occupation was professional bodybuilding.  What it came to in the end was apparently the result of jealousy on the part of Kelly Ryan towards Melissa James.  There were accusations that Melissa James was stealing money from them.

Although Craig Titus still doesn't freely admit that he intentionally killed Melissa James, he does admit dumping her body in their car and setting it on fire in the Nevada desert.  Both Ryan and Titus copped plea deals, making them eligible for parole in the future.  Titus will be eligible for parole in 2026 when he is 61 years old, while Kelly Ryan could be eligible for parole as early as next year (2011).  Whether or not the parole board will see it this way is yet to be determined.

A true crime novel called Fire in the Desert has been written about the ordeal, but it is explained pretty thoroughly in the 48 Hours piece, "Vegas Heat", produced by CBS that I've embedded at the bottom of this article.







48 Hours - Vegas Heat





Watch CBS Videos Online

If for some reason you can't get the video to play, you can watch online at cbsnews.com

This is a follow up on two earlier stories I did IFBB Pro Craig Titus & wife Kelly Ryan Wanted for Murder and Titus and Wife Captured!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Gregg Valentino Interview: I never took Synthol!

I originally wrote a post criticizing the much vaunted Gregg Valentino back in 2006 after his special on TLC, The Man Whose Arms Exploded, originally aired in the US.  It was called Gregg Valentino: "I'm an idiot". But then just last week I got this comment on my blog for this post:

MORON...NICE TRY!!!... I NEVER USED SYNTHOL IN MY LIFE THAT IS INTERNET FOLKLORE ...ANYBODY WHO GAS SEEN THE TLC SHOW KNOWS I USED STEROIDS, THAT ARM WAS AN INJURY, I DRAINED BLOOD FROM A HEMATOMA.....I HAD AN INFECTION IN MY OTHER ARM FROM SHOOTING TESTOSTERONE AND REUSING NEEDLES...GETS YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT PUSSY!!!!...I NEVER SAID I USED SYNTHOL, SHOW ME WHERE IN THAT TLC SHOW DID I SAY I USED THAT GARBAGE....YOU ARE A LIAR!!! 
The comment was left anonymously, but since it was written in all upper case and seemed to be written in the first person from Valentino's perspective, I decided to contact him and see if it really was him and ask if he would like to take part in an interview to clear up any misconceptions there might have been.  He agreed and you can now listen to the interview online below.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW (MP3 96kbps)
Alternate Link


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If you have any trouble listening to or downloading the interview, please let me know.  If you would like to provide a mirror to download the MP3 or a direct link for streaming, please contact me (use the link on the right) and let me know.

Gregg Valentino embodies a certain part of our culture that is not all that different from others who consider themselves to be outsiders.  From tattoos, and piercings to hair dye and wearing different styles of clothes.  At different junctures of our collective heritages, each of us has seen these things traverse from being done by a rank outsider in an extreme taboo to a common everyday appearance and even to the point of being a social norm or a rite of passage that many young people perform.  In this sense, Gregg Valentino could almost be considered an innovator.  He a took a look at the sport of bodybuilding and decided to transcend beyond even their outlandish norms and converted his body into something truly freakish.  In a way, he is like a modern Frankenstein's monster.  No other previous generation would have had the suitable science, technology, and pharmacology to circumvent normal human biology and create a Gregg Valentino.  But, as with Dr. Frankenstein's creation, Gregg Valentino is both laughed at by some and applauded by others.

As for Gregg Valentino himself, he doesn't consider himself to be a sideshow freak.  "I just got lucky" he says, referring to the cards he's been dealt in life.  Now refocusing his attention to the mainstream media, he still feels the pangs and urge of fame calling for him, but it still feels better to be able to have the income and free time to spend with his kids -- not to mention to be alive and in relatively good health.

Yet, throughout his career starting in the early to late 1990s he has been commonly accused of using site enhancing oils (SEOs) (aka Synthol) to create his freakish appearance and get his biceps to the size of 27 inches in diameter at his peak.  What initially made me consider Gregg Valentino a Synthol user was how out of proportion his upper arm muscles (biceps, triceps and deltoids) were even to his forearms, not to mention his chest, legs and back.  Even after speaking with a prominent manufacturer of an SEO product, they told me that Valentino's appearance was not the result of any type of SEO, but in fact, could only be the result of muscle implants.  However, looking at him today, his own explanations seem more plausible.  Implants don't shrink, but Gregg Valentino's biceps have.

Gregg told me that he never used any site enhancing oils, commonly referred to as Synthol.  Synthol is colloquially known in the bodybuilding world to be a type of oil a person injects into their muscle to increase the size without actually increasing the muscle or the strength itself.  It's sold legally as a gray area product, typically marketed as a "posing solution" to be rubbed on before a competition, even though its sold in sterile vials.  Most Synthol or site enhancing oils are made up of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) that have been sterilized with some lidocaine added as a local anesthetic.  Even to steroid users, Synthol use is tantamount to cheating.  Once Synthol is injected, it expands the muscle fascia by filling it with oil.  That oil usually dissipates over time so people have to continue to use it to keep up the fa├žade.  Usage patterns for Synthol differ, but on one site that sells a site enhancing oil product, Synthetek, recommended starting with 1ml a day for 10 days.

However, Gregg explained to me that what he was doing was similar.  He was doing site injections of enormous volumes of steroids such as Equipoise (EQ) and Testosterone propionate (test prop), such as amounts of 6ml injections of test prop twice per week at the very least.  Test prop typically contains 25mg/ml of testosterone with the short acting propionate ester attached, which would make it a solution of 25mg of testosterone in 1ml of oil.  Using 12ml of oil twice per week alone would most likely give a user Synthol like results if site injected into a muscle group.  But, with the added benefit of the steroid hormone it would likely increase those results (not to mention the additional EQ).  Gregg says he doesn't remember how much exactly he would take each week, but because he was dealing at the time and had a huge supply on hand, sometimes he would use go through two 10ml bottles of test prop per week.  A typical dosage used for test prop is generally recommended to be 25mg every other day (which would be about 4ml of oil) with EQ generally recommended at 400mg per week (which would generally be 2ml of oil).  In my mind, this could account for Gregg's Synthol like appearance in his biceps without actually having to use it.  I also asked him if he had ever had implants and had any X-rays to prove it.  He told me that he was X-rayed for his appearance on ESPN E60 - Superfreak (click the link to watch or click here to download) but that was mostly for general health and not to check for implants.  He said if someone was willing to put up the money, he would submit to X-rays to prove that his biceps aren't full of oil or implants, but the most they would find would probably just be scar tissue now.

Using bottles upon bottles of injectable anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) as often as you wanted without regard to their price or negative short and long term side effects on the body, one could easily picture Gregg Valentino pounding vial after vial of test prop and EQ, not even keeping track of how much was used or taken boggles the mind of a sensible person.  But even a person who would consider themselves to be a sensible steroid user it is completely outrageous.  It could also easily explain the "synthol" type look Gregg Valentino achieved with the vast quantities of AAS suspended in that volume of oil.

Gregg says he now no longer does any cycles and his biceps are down from 27" to around 20" today.  He writes a monthly column for Muscular Development and is working on making appearances in TV and movies.  He stared in the popular documentary "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" about steroid use and the bodybuilding culture. He's working on getting into movies and one particular upcoming role he mentioned was a film called Sanctum Void which is in pre-production.  He says he's concerned about his health and no longer takes any steroids or wants to try any of the prohormone/prosteroid products on the market.  He basically takes flax oil, fish oil, CoQ10 and Gaspari protein.  He's also written a new book called Death, Drugs and Muscle about his crazy lifestyle in the 90s.




Most of the interview I asked him questions specifically pertaining to the TLC documentary The Man Whose Arms Exploded which apparently no longer airs and isn't listed for sale on Amazon or TLC's website.  So, I have made it available for download.  It is split into three parts and compressed using RAR, so you will need software to decompress it, if you don't already.  Two freeware programs you can use are 7zip and Tugzip (both for Windows).  All you need to do is download them all into one single folder and open the first part and it will automatically combine the other parts, extracting the full movie for you.  The movie is in AVI format so you will need something like DivX Player to play it back.  Note: You need to download all three parts to watch the video.  Once you download all three files and put them into a single folder you then extract them into a single video file with the entire documentary (unedited).


Thanks to MediaFire for hosting the files and the interview!

MediaFire - Free File Hosting Made Simple

You can visit Gregg at his website at http://www.greggvalentino.net/
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