Sunday, January 28, 2007

Some days, I have a hard time fitting in.

Welcome to the fun house.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Most Important Meal of the Day

It's been stated by many nutritionists and other experts that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This makes sense in a lot of respects...people generally stop eating at around 8PM (although it's 10:30PM when I write this and I'm snacking on chips and salsa), which means by the time we wake up, we will have gone without food for up to 12 hours.

Of course, when you consider that you're expending significantly less energy when sleeping, this might not be such a big deal, but constant food energy is important for maintaining a specific body weight. I don't dig on the idea of skipping breakfast, although I must admit that I'm generally not that hungry when I wake up. I usually keep it simple, although I do like waffles made from scratch (I make 'em with banana and chocolate chips, with whole wheat flour, a scoop full of protein powder, and oatmeal).

Cereal and milk is the quickest and easiest. I used to stick to one cereal and have nothing but that, although that may have been due to parents being responsible for grocery shopping. I never could eat that fast when I was a kid, which is why I now make a point of not eating Corn Flakes, because they get soggy in a matter of seconds.

About halfway through childhood, the transition was made to Rice Krispies and then Cheerios. As I grew older, we would mix it up a bit and would have different things, and even mix them together. Plain Cheerios mixed with Honey Nut Cheerios is good for toning down the sweetness that makes you bounce off the walls.

Since I started getting my own groceries, I just buy what's on sale. Cereal is cereal, although I will definitely avoid anything where sugar is the first or second ingredient (eg: Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Lucky Charms).

On my last grocery trip I picked up a box of Kellogg's Vector and a thing of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Yes, cereal is great because it's quick, easy, and it's simple.

Or, so I thought. "Directions for use"? How much more complicated can it get other than "Add milk to cereal"? When I was a kid, on occasion, I would pour the milk in first (which is generally a bad idea because cereal floats), but come on!

Since when do we need instructions on how to eat cereal? Perhaps this is intended for countries where dairy consumption isn't a regular thing. Or, perhaps it's for people who are obsessive as to their exact caloric intake.

What I'm curious to know is who generally has the time in the morning to painstakingly measure exactly 300mL or 1 1/4 cups (which is actually inaccurate...1 1/4 cups really converts to 312.5mL in metric) of cereal, and then 200mL or 3/4 cup (which converts to 187.5 mL in metric) of milk?

I guess the same type of people who have the time to calculate how inaccurate the conversion from imperial to metric is when written on the box.

I got bored, so I compared my usual helping (left) with the one dictated by the instructions (I'm using imperial measurements, so it's exactly 1 1/4 cups). I guess this would mean I'm getting a little bit more of my RDI (recommended daily intake) of all the goodness that Vector provides. An eyeball estimate (no, I did not take the contents out of the bowl and measure them) would suggest I'm eating 40% more than the suggested serving.

I suppose this might be a good thing that they go into that much detail when it comes to how much you're supposed to be eating at any given time, especially given the controversy over serving sizes in fast food restaurants. You may argue that this isn't really the same thing, considering that cereal and milk is better for you. But then, you take a closer look at the ingredients list, and the third ingredient is sugar/glucose-fructose.

Y'know, screw the USDA. Screw the FDA. I'm gonna eat it the way I want.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Half-way to achieving at least ONE goal for 2007.

To be continued!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Now THIS is funny.

This opens up the whole thing about subjectivity and how if you tell someone enough times, you can actually convince them that someone looks like someone else, sorta like how you can start seeing shapes in clouds. Given that it's a computer that came up with this, it uses mathematical algorithms to determine similarity due to placement of facial features, shadow depth, closeness of skin tone (although with lighting, it's also subject to change), and the like.

That still doesn't make it accurate, though, as computers aren't always that good at recognizing colours (especially with lighting). That, and the database doesn't have a whole bunch of Asian actors in it. I'm not thinking that the software is especially sophisticated, at least when it comes to the malleable nature of faces, as it also is based on whatever photos that they have on file. Just on a whim, I submitted a few different ones with different smile types and found that I could be a potential match to Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Cho (AKA "MILF guy"), or Magic Johnson.

With more sophisticated technology, such a 3D laser scanning, then this could be much more accurate. But, it's something kinda neat that you can brag about and show to your friends.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Goals and New Year's Resolutions

Every year, it's the same - a lofty resolutions that are typically forgotten in a matter of weeks, or even days, all of which serve to remind us of how stuck we are in our current patterns. Maybe it's best that we don't actually have "New Year's Resolutions" and instead focus on long-term and short-term goals that aren't tied to a new year, so that there won't be necessarily any disappointment or frustration if they can't be attained.

Anyway, this is just so I have some level of semi-permanent record and statement, so my nearest and dearest have something to bug me about if I happen to be slacking off in any way (subtle hint). One thing I also noticed is that in order to attain goals, specific plans to meet those goals must be used and then followed.

Things that are conceivably attainable within a few months:

  1. Master specific Capoeira and other acrobatic movements (Wallflip, Folha Seca, Armada Dupla). Plan: practice, study on technique, and soliciting advice.
  2. Find a new job in my field. Plan: network more often, do volunteer work with organizations, get name out there, keep my portfolio current, keep my writing, design, and editing skills sharp any way I can.
  3. Clean apartment. I'll do that as soon as I finish writing this. Plan: do dishes first, finish laundry (including fold and store), tidy work/computer area.
Ongoing habits:
  1. Become more comprehensive in Brazilian Portuguese. Plan: complete WikiBooks course, complete Teach Yourself Portuguese book, ask more questions of native Portuguese speakers, watch/read more Portuguese media.
  2. Learn at least one Capoeira song in Portuguese a month. Plan: practice at home, learn more vocabulary and grammar in Portuguese so that I can memorize easier with better understanding
  3. Take much less crap from people. Plan: pay more attention, be more cognizant of what people are saying and putting myself in more social situations to prepare myself for when similar situations arise.
  4. Get in the habit of maintaining a certain level of cleanliness and organization. Plan: Put away everything once I'm done with it, develop an organizing system for everything from documents to trash.
  5. Feel better about self. Plan: see #3.
  6. Develop better time management skills. Plan: do things according to priority, dedicate specific blocks of time to specific tasks, do not interrupt task to do something else, reward self with "fun" tasks.
  7. Get better at networking. Plan: Go to more events, keep up to date with older contacts, treat everyone with respect, and do exactly what I say I will do.
Lofty goals
  1. Save up sufficient cash to go travelling, specifically to visit cousin in Australia. This may take a bit more time. Plan: Get better job, develop better spending and budgeting habits, remove unnecessary expenditures.
  2. Earn Azul Escuro (dark blue) belt in Capoeira. Considering that I already bypassed Amarelo Claro (dark yellow) in the 2006 Batizado, I should count my blessings. Plan: learn more songs in Portuguese, ask about teaching introduction classes at the academy, develop better skills with Portuguese.
Generally useless on the grand-scheme-of-life but cool to do anyway for self-improvement purposes
  1. Guitar music - learn more songs and techniques. Master two handed tapping to properly play classically inspired compositions on electric, such as attempting Pachabel's Canon in D. Although I don't expect to be going along the same level of FunTwo... Plan: spend about 30 minutes per day (time usually spent surfing the 'net or just goofing off) practicing and learning, preferably right before going to bed.
  2. Puzzle solving - I really don't know how much smarter this makes me...much like IQ tests, they are only indicitive of how one is good at doing IQ tests. But, getting my Rubik's Cube solving time to an average of 40 seconds is easily conceivable. I'm already at about a minute. Plan: memorize two or three last layer algorithms per week while on transit (80 minute round trip).
Now, off to start my year off right...hey, there's something good on TV! Maybe a little later.

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