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The Amateur Everything
Half-Competent In Nearly Anything

The power tended to fluctuate here when I put it up, going out for a little burst every 2-3 weeks due to something or another (rain, snow, being glared at by a pretty girl, being looked at by a pretty boy, being smiled at by a girl who would look prettier if she wasn’t wearing makeup and making eyes to wear down the defenses of a half-awake stoner, getting an “A” on my lab report, getting a “D” on a test, going to class, skipping class, and someone sneezing in Canada).  It has a consciously old look to it with its wispy black spider hands, ornate backdrop, and squiggles of vaguely austere botanical flourishes of flowers and leaves fill out all of that pesky space in between the large circles protecting the clock from its own numbers.  A quiet nod to steampunk ideas, without the slightest risk of it overrunning the bamboo-floored apartment by exhibiting re-engineering of anything resembling dedication. 

All in all, it was another reinforcement whenever I, half conscious in stirring from my slumber, forgot how to read.  My friends tried, repeatedly, to tell me to just get a digital watch, to use my phone (which has increasingly proven to be my most effective alarm, to my dismay), or get a battery-powered digital clock.  “But this is no good,” I tell them.  “This slow tear away from the dreamscape renders everything disorganized on all but the greatest days, such that I forget to invert the view from my eyes, as my brain is always tasked with, and 9s become 6s, 1s become blurred and resemble 7s, and the whole thing remains a mess, really.”  They mean well, and the reason that I have so many ways of telling time is because I have given myself a great deal to do on a given day.  That is, at least, what I am told, and over the years I’ve come to develop a dangerous trust in the democracy of opinions, particularly when some write impassioned, concerned letters to me over burned drip coffee at the “good diner” up the road.  “If some of these people have passion and well-structured beliefs,” I think to myself, “then this must say something about the rest of them, who perhaps lack the courage or time to say these things to me.” 

So the Central Nervous Government goes as it holds its sessions.  It’s Election Season again, as it is every spring: Karthik Kakarala vs. Alar Akak on every line of the ballot, especially Deputy Director of Statements.  Some suggest that this quick election cycle means that all officials are merely career politicians, that everything is all for the campaign, to stay in office, but their voices are usually shouted over in short order in tall orders of decibels. 

I keep a battery-powered analog clock on the wall.  It manages to keep perfect time with itself, even though it was set for a slightly-fast time in the first place.  I set everything by it, so I’m always convinced that there’s little hope of me getting there on time.  Still, I get to enough things just a little late.  The clocks on campus are slightly faster, still.  I used to worry that a small faction had seceded, and formed an organized sense of futility.  Then, nearly anything would transpire, and the delusion passed. 

I keep a battery-powered analog clock on the wall.  Placed there for nine months time, nothing fruitful has come of it, apart from a sense that everything was in working order.  There’s a popular delusion that “time flies when you’re having fun,” but I thought about it a lot, after feeling it out just gave me a jumble of a headache, and the 85bpm throb obscured by my right eyebrow ebbed away, and came to a different understanding, based on all of those things that I have supposedly learned (and I have learned so many things, so I must be making good use of my time when I wasn’t counting it).  When I had fun, at least the way that I used to have fun, back when I was new at having fun, strong and fast impressions would overload my brain, and I could rarely grasp at them strong enough to cling to them.  I’d try to sort through it all later, for posterity, and my Black Box had recorded the distorted whirlwind that I perceived it at the time (unless I had possibly become overloaded to the point where I wasn’t even recording things as I experienced them, but I had read too much to be too susceptible to that fear, and while I suspected a few undiagnosed quirks that I’m sure I could pay someone’s unemployment check totals to “cure” with technicolor dots, I had to operate on the premise that things were in relatively good working order.  However, I made a note of the thought, both in my mind and on paper, a paranoia-control method that has actually caught a few errors over the last two decades of its implementation, and continued my deductions…) and all in all, the memories were strong, but I had trouble reproducing anything beyond the internal to a satisfactory extent.  I then realized that, on the occasions when I managed to fight boredom (most frequently, classrooms, a shame that I had allies in, as we grappled with what it could mean, that anything could manage to cure our previously untreatable curiosity about how everything worked), that everything seemed to stretch on forever, ¡but how much sheer data I gathered during these points! 

I could hear every whine from the air system as the molecules careened violently against the welded metal corridors, being elementary enough that they would not have to suffer like the nameless red blood cells that endlessly went to their dooms in order to play relay race to a few simple nutrients… some of which were in the vents, even then.  The light seemed constantly overexposed, and I could see imperfections in the curved glass that had built up over the years on the clock.  I could feel the wool from my collar catch on the lower hairs of my neck, dragging throughout the day.  I never got into the habit of shaving those hairs regularly, especially when I was growing out a full bead… I never had the time.

I could tell anyone (well not anyone… time constantly claimed the impatient from being my audience) everything about those moments, right down to the floral patterns to how sharp or dull the textbooks sounded when they closed at the end of class.  My brain sped up, during these moments, a sort of rebellion against the lack of obvious, peaks to the max on the mixer stimuli.  I’d learn to close my eyes, open them quickly and time wasn’t such a nuisance (usually), I could sort out the details, and the more details I gathered amidst the overall central tone, the longer it played out when I went to the replay. 

I started getting intoxicated a little less often: It was getting a bit expensive to drink a fifth of whiskey anytime I wanted to get a smirking, wall-leaning buzz and relax for a half hour or so after that point… before I’d speed up again, restless and armed with a rebellion against the grammar that all the teachers used to tell me I was so good at,

“Really? I thought you were going to major in English in your upcoming college semester!”

“You look like you’re watching years go by,” a young lady interrupted my reverie in the midst of a shouting cacophony.  “You’re an old soul.” 

I decided wisely to not say anything about all of the times I had gotten accused of not having a soul by girlfriends who hated when, backing away from all the misconstrued “discussions,” I had developed a tendency not to refer to my thoughts as totally subjective “feelings.”  I just said, “there’s just a lot going on at every moment, here.  I have to take it all in, sometimes.”  Then, we started a conversation where we did our best to cut through the noise…

I keep a battery-powered analog clock on the wall.  I haven’t changed the time once since I placed it, there.  Daylight Savings Time came at the start of November, and that clock was almost exactly an hour off for a little over a third of the year. 

“Why don’t you just change it?” an irritated guest pleaded with me. 

“Don’t touch it,” I insisted, roundly.  “I know what time it is already, and being forced to think a bit more about the time anchors me, just a bit.  I need that, when I wake up in the morning.”  I could tell that she listened to me as she moved her hand away from the clock, but still thought that I was nuts for not just changing it.  I had gotten good at knowing what that looked like, over years of catching every detail with my darting, strained eyes. 

I keep a battery-powered analog clock on the wall.  It’s correct again, although it’s still off by as many as five minutes based on the world, and two or three minutes behind  where I go on most of my days.  A lot of times, I have to wait, and just bear all of the minor discomforts that are produced by the chain of physical effects from an Ambassador being cut off in Hyderabad traffic at 1:30 yesterday.  I have to accept that things won’t quite work and ignore the problems, while simultaneously keeping my spirits up enough to fix anything related to the problem (like my sleep cycle, like becoming alert quicker, like I used to be) before doing something direct… I need my changes to last, and the adjustments to get back to being minor.  I tend to not change something if the discomfort is only minor, but every problem needs work at some point, and I can’t just assume that a few calendar tears will bring everything back to the truth again on its own. 

At some point, that clock just isn’t going to be right anymore, and I’m going to need to find where I put that other “C” battery.  ¿Where the fuck am I going to find one of those, at this hour? I should’ve done this earlier.

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Current Location: Greymalkin VI, Carbondale, IL
Disposition: pensive pensive

2 clicks to the time sig

If there's anything that I've become particularly sensitized to, it's postmodernist bullshit, to the point where I conversationally refer to the shit as "po-mo" only if I intend on dragging most of the sounds out in a sneer that would make Billy Idol blush. I am, as I might explain in an entry apart from this one, very much against the suggestion that just anything could be art. Marcel Duchamp is a personal hero of mine, it's true, but there were artistic statements that he was making about both post-modernism and art criticism through presentations that were, themselves, fairly po-mo-seeming themselves. He was on the attack, and he didn't deny meaning per se, so much as he knew he had achieved a point where he could achieve pointed pranks upon the establishment without having to do much dirty work himself, so much as nudge the whole matter along.

However, I digress, because I'm about to make an attack on something that isn't predictable by this setup. Y'see, I also have quite a bit of a fire shooting out of my sides and eyeballs about the responsibility of art and the artist too, as a result. Yet again, I can hear the staccato clicks of mouse buttons "UnFollow"-ing me soon, but I'll press on anyway. It is the responsibility of an artist who utilizes English words in a visual presentation to take some personal role in appreciating the assertions and inferences suggested by a particular combination of words. Juxtaposition with a picture, no matter what the picture ends up being, thusly is supposed to charge the picture with the bludgeoning that is all of that hidden and surface content slamming into the viewer+reader.

However, we now exist in an era where software or even websites give the tools to make this combination (frequently easily without even having to create the picture, so that pictures can be hijacked for some sort of flat-out pointless remix) happen in minutes, if not seconds in plenty of hand pairs. Now, something that used to require a lot of time and effort (and thusly self-policed itself as an art form so that such idle combinations were less likely, due to the time spent) now can be done by any bored pre-teen that manages to not find anything to watch on the now hundreds of television channels that are available, let alone all the way through any frail elderly human being that finds that they somehow have no time for something as stimulating as chess (chess fucking rules). I have nothing against these human beings normally, but I do have something against the runaway effect of idle thoughts and false hopes. In fact, I basically have something against anything that can so blatantly sabotage a human psyche, but at least most other things actually take some fucking effort to make.

Oh, I suppose an example would be good...



A perfectly good image of a forest, complete with some artistic background blur, just got some fucking white bars pasted over it and some ambiguous-ass words thrown in. there's a small amount of arrangement/alignment, ¿but would this take more than 3 real minutes with most software programs that enable this kind of thing? I mean, for me it wouldn't, apart from having the picture, and I frankly suck at Photoshop. It's kind of embarrassing, actually, but true.

¿For what, though, do we get this? Oh, I'm sure it motivates someone who's down and out, but I'm asking some honest questions about the underlying situation: ¿What the fuck does it say about us as human beings, that so many people lap this shit up, and is inspiration going to remain this fucking cheap? My previous blog in the series had a lot to do with the attention span of willpower (as I've gone back to retitle it), and shit like this is not going to help the matter at all. What is necessary in this age is an attention span to read, to mull over thoughts. Novels, sentence fragments. Essays, not quotes out of context.

LET HER KNOW (!?)...

That is a fucking Hallmark commercial. There were more than 60 notes on a sappy, directionless Hallmark commercial without the fucking crown emblem in the picture that circulates through a blogging site, or the Internet, or as a goddamn Forward in your work E-mail box (because everyone knows some fucking guy/gal who insists on forwarding you random crap to your work E-mail box that makes you reading a blog seem productive by comparison). I'm only remarking on the latest in a long string of versions o f this kind of garbage, and it's only just now started to even look that good, even though no one wants to explain why wasting this time on this actually helps them do whatever the hell it is that it relates to. Honestly, a lot of it downright looks like an idiotic way to reaffirm stupid ideas, and passing it around just gives a pathetic sense of validation that you're okay, because a bunch of other people want to believe they're okay for thinking the same total rubbish as you.

¿Example? I thought you'd never ask! (I know... you didn't ask.)



Not now that I see that you think this needed a perfectly nice picture of a landscape fucked up by some shitty Photoshopped cliche, actually. I actually just got convinced that we're different, because I'd rather go outside and play in a fucking field, while being paranoid and looking for text to come in and ruin the whole scene. I picked a kind of positive one, as a scary note. Just imagine if I were to bring up one about being lovesick, or what a perfect guy is (in which every single item was bollocks), or any number of other things that I could list which would be reacted to as if the short statements were preaching some great truth. Now imagine these things being passed around by kids who are spending an equal time at computers for less productive means than I was (who, mind you, guaranteed can't type as accurately or quickly as I can, judging by what I end up reading...), all of them approving these sweeping emotional statements, and...

...I'm going to cover this crap later, but a quick aside:

You're not that old, kids. You haven't lived a full life yet, so maybe you don't have to worry about being alone your whole life. You're still developing, actually: That's kind of exciting, because even if you ARE screwed up, you can actually fix it... and be infinitely more well-adjusted by my age than I turned out to be. Get off the Internet, and learn about what those sentences you're looking at in pictures actually MEAN.

Man...

...I am a jerk. ¿See? I can say something in a short point.



This isn't even a challenge: The year didn't harm you, as tough as it is to accept. I had a rough year, but I made mistakes that resulted in that. I also made fewer of the old mistakes. The next year will be better, because I have learned and will apply those things. Overall, things get better, because I take charge of my circumstances. ¿Does that make for great word art (with or without the picture)? Apparently not, but it also doesn't reinforce a lot of stupid reactionary thoughts that I might have, so my hopes will actually get somewhere.

The fact of the matter is, it's entirely baffling (pleasantly) that the response has been so favorable to these "Grievances" entries. Frankly, they're long; They have complex sentence structures (with varying levels of proficiency), they have correctly spelled words (like "proficiency"), last longer than 10 words on average, don't have some picture of mountains to ruin by writing over them, and generally don't offer you false hopes, so much as giving cold hard ideas about why something might not be such a good idea upon a real second look. I mean, apparently you're all understanding that it's because I actually respect you, and am not talking down to you, so much as saying things that I know won't be favorable on a reactionary level, but should be said to put the brakes on runaway behaviors. Yes, I am disappointed in those of you buying into this pap or anything resembling it, because we're frankly doing a lot of this shit in person too, let alone in text messages, instant messages, and the like. Oh, it's easy to get a fixation on the matter, especially when some sites outright skirt the line, albeit ultimately artfully, but I'm certain that some real scrutiny can show the difference (without even the close [¡but not quite!] example that I linked to).

This line of thinking is going to trouble some people, because it means that I'm not particularly in favor of most quick-fix short-snippet solution sayings, and it's honestly what guides my system of beliefs (and yes, I have one, although one too complex to put on a piece of postcard artwork). I don't give myself short statements to sit and waste a shitload of time interpreting, unless I have some cheat-sheet information on advice to give if my own mulling over isn't working. You'd be surprised at what I could believe while having such a spare set of guiding notions, but it does inform my preference for real advice, rather than trying to always guess what the other person wants from me. There is a way for allowing for creativity, but so far, this Internet manifestation of an old problem doesn't do much to solve it.  I guess that I apologize for being zealous about wanting a world in which you're not easily swayed by some jerks with spare time on their hands and some photo editing software, let alone an ability to quote something out-of-context or say something they heard before.  I'm not intending on offending you outright, unless it gets you thinking about the collective impact of all of these market-sized "ideas." I wrote about it for this long because frankly... I actually give a shit about this.

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Current Location: Springfield, IL

to the time sig

Possibly, the only things worse than the rationalizing, self-enabling addicts are the quitters. I don't mean people who, after a struggle, manage to quit something that was destroying them. I am referring to people who half-try at every single thing that could possibly help them out. Give them a 12-step program, and they'll stop at Step 4. They've tried every fad diet without thinking about what the diets mean, and they lose their nerve before they even lose two pounds, ballooning right back and possibly beyond the previous weight, into depression. Go ahead and insert exercise for a similar headshake, from me. The idea is fairly simple: Most of you are clearly not accepting the idea that a Deterministic system is in place that makes every action happen, not wholesale (which is actually kind of necessary for Determinism to work), so you're kind of stuck with the ugly little problems that free will brings up. You almost always are starting because you decided to, or made decisions that led to you feeling forced to make the decision towards the task or activity, and yet here you are, acting like your only option is to quit, before really going through any options that might just be really uncomfortable (but that's hardly that horrible when up against not ever finishing anything).

The same could be said of people in discussions, when they're trying to prove their points. They lay down some groundwork, or simply give the conclusion, but they never quite finish, ¿do they? They ramble, they dart about from supposed "point" to "point," letting any little thing distract them, until they've run out of time or patience to impart their supposed "knowledge," and simply don't even finish in order to give the sense that they might have an attention span in this modern age, they just up and

 

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Current Location: Springfield, IL

to the time sig

I want to note, before we continue, that my good friend (I want to call him a good friend, anyway, in that he is good at being a friend, at least, and because I'll break down crying later if you don't wait to tell me otherwise) Howard managed to remind me that SIEMENS (still a ridiculous name for a company) makes fashionable hearing aids, although they don't seem to be for the more severely hearing-impaired individuals, judging mostly by placement. Anyway, my reply to the very appropriately snark-laden ("Oh yeah? Look at this:" was what followed the upcoming response) question about what I thought of that was this,

"In the case of glasses, you can at least make varying visual choices with them, even though the costs usually keep people from stockpiling multiple pairs. Most hearing aids seem to still be stuck in fairly drab designs and plain colors. I think that the guy who NEEDS hearing aids, who then makes the bold choice to wear neon green lightning-bolt hearing aids, would kind of need to occur as a possibility before the guy who just wants to look like he's lost his hearing by having a fashion accessory could be satisfied.

I confess that I would be dumbfounded if non-functional stylish hearing aids came out first, as a result."

So, considering that Howard responded with the video proving the existence, I guess that just leaves the bizarre possibility of someone being such a hipster that they want to have a fashionable look based upon the disability of someone who can't actually hear normally. In which case, my previous arguments shift to accomodate, in my personal belief. But, now that we've effectively discussed some of the social politics of genetic hearing disabilities or different abilities (as I myself frequently believe them to be, in some cases), let's consider hearing loss in an average lifetime (Mr. Holland's Opus isn't the end-all be-all talking point for families with genetically disabled hearing members, but it certainly should be watched when considering the matter, no matter how sappy some people might consider it to be).

We're killing our hearing, of course, but what's disturbing is how little is really discussed in terms of how this is occurring.

We think that loud is rock 'n roll, but a lot of the people I know seem to have no bloody idea as to why this is the fucking case. If they did, a lot of things would likely be different in the listening habits involved.

As it is, a lot of you are letting the companies dictate your emotions through loudness. Compressing and smashing the volume against the peaks at nearly every second they can progressively more as the years go on, you of course end up convincing yourselves that mp3s somehow sound like the original CD wav files, ¿so who needs to fucking buy those stupid old things? Yeah, the way that happens is by cheapening the quality of the original files to begin with. For more on the Loudness War, I personally recommend the quickest primer at Bob Weston's Chicago Mastering Service, although even I can be enough of a Man to admit that fucking Rolling Stone actually did the best popular journalism piece on the matter in the entire fucking decade. To get any better, you'd have to dig around for some of the more obscure sources that generally agree with this, and/or know a thing or two on the subject (like me and others), so read up, and deal with it.

So there you are, consumer: You're removing critical audio data left and right, tossing out the data of dynamics and space in order to cram more audio onto your fucking iPod, so that it doesn't sound worse in your shitty earbuds. At this point, we have ourselves a bit of a problem, because I think that we know that this is quite a bit of a double standard, perpetrated all in the name of convenience. First off, take a look at what your hearing range actually technically is, at least at the ideal, when you're not fucking it up so terribly. Second, consider that you're going to have to face that it takes a hell of a lot more data to actually give you what the human ear can hear and the human mind can sort out. Now, you're going to then tell me that the data-compressed from that charming little song is the same song? That is akin to suggesting that your darling gal finds my mellifluous voice exactly as uncontrollably charming on the phone, with so many frequencies filtered out, as she would in person (while you're obsessively giving yourself a soundtrack to every moment with your fucking iPod, you self-centered prick). I think we both know better than that (and don't worry about it... I don't find her that attractive anymore, now that she's dating a fucking iPod user.).

On top of it, you're all wearing earbuds, and an alarming number of you are trying to tell me that the convenience of them means that they're acceptable for hearing. No, asshole(s), that's why you have that beautifully-sculpted cartilage outside that we call the ear (even though it really includes the inside canal and various parts as well) in the first place. There's a lot of detail and channeling that those surfaces do, and earbuds are skipping all of that in order to do their pathetically uninteresting and crackly (because they're not that durable, are they?) job. They're also not isolating you from other sounds, so of course you end up turning up the volume even more to shut out other sounds, while you get less data operating in a more narrow frequency range yet at FEWER volume dynamics!

ALL IN THE NAME OF CONVENIENCE.

Oh fine, don't trust me: Trust Pete Towshend, who played guitar for the loudest band ever, who is experiencing his problems primarily through using headphones. That's right: That full-stack, when giving his ears space and room to breathe? Not painful, not like plugging headphones directly into that Marshall head.

Our brains are adapted to compress loud sounds psychologically: Since so much of our hearing does involve our brains, this makes sense as a way to guard the processing functions of the organ from being blown to pieces. But of course, this triggers an alert in the brain that the sound is LOUD, ¡and that attention should be paid! We're back to the "fight or flight" bit, folks, because whatever's making that sound could be BIG or DANGEROUS or BOTH. As it is, we can see by the fact that a large majority of us have that compression and attention occur (at least initially) that the ancestral individuals that had this trait tended to survive, as opposed to others which got lucky, were recessive, or mutated later. That, however, is what we're capitalizing on, and one of many reasons why rock 'n roll has that reputation for danger. Keep doing the sound that loud, and it won't have the same affect: That sensory adaptation that was a good thing now could be our undoing, whether it's the same sense of taste mindlessly repeated over and over again, or the same sound that is played constantly at the same volume. ¿Is it any wonder that a generation that has more battery power to play music being driven into the same narrow volume ranges through headphones so shitty that they have to be turned up louder to get the same decibel effect is more frequently listless than many before?

While I may have an exaggerated view, I do not find this to be a coincidence, that we are becoming so much harder to excite (and anyone that doesn't believe me should attempt to run into each other at rock shows... people look fairly perturbed if anything occurs that is outside of their experience of blankly staring at the performer, something that clearly is outside of viewing a performance outside of a YouTube sub-window) as a populace. As a result, we are entering a bizarre world where I might be one of the few rock 'n roll acts left. My live music has staggering decibel drops, where the dynamics give way so that yelling actually sounds like yelling, and I hit frequencies completely untouched by the average iPod AAC or mp3 file, startling and exciting the audience so that there is clearly some danger, here, even without my bursts of motion. I don't want it to be this way, but it fits directly with what I have noted of the listening behaviors that are occurring. It's only a piece of an overall landscape that I am putting together in other posts on our divisive culture, but this alone fills me with worry and dread, especially when so many people are rationalizing against me. ¿Why, then, do we have so many people that have trouble telling a difference in the audio tonality of a voice, if it isn't because they aren't used to listening for such nuances?

The complexities of the human ear cannot be replaced so easily by hearing aids altogether, in regards to what we are noting, so it does little good to do anything short of protecting it frequently. If you must listen to music (and I must), listen to it on larger headphones, and limit the usage of that, when you can: listen to it in the air (or at least, until bone conductivity-speakers take more of a hold and become cheaper), to capitalize on your whole hearing. I fear a situation in which relatively narrow bands of hearing will be almost completely gone, while wide swaths of hearing will leave us with little subtlety in our world. You see, I am a romantic, of sorts. I find your whispers draw my attention, your sense of projection means something, and when you don't use it, I draw near so as to get you to not whisper as much (and strain your nice voice further). There are rhythms in your language, and I want to hear each time you draw your breath, let alone those hesitations that you give me.

My heroes have tinnitus, and I hopefully only suffer from it in a neurological sense of it, but it is enough to allow me to retain some productive fear. I myself always seem to have the most intact hearing in every band that I am in, and it's a distinction that I find to be of a dubious level of honor. I myself have not finished my piece for 51 guitars, and don't want to quit playing the guitar because of my hearing problems becoming too much, because I know how I could get there.

I also want you to be able to hear me when I offer advice or tell you stories of my ridiculous adventures.

Getting rid of all of that is not worth the convenience. I'll pick out my music before I go out of the house each day, because it never was that much of a problem before, really.


So yes, the data matters, the details matter, the nuances count, and the volume doesn't have to be so high. Let's be quiet, for a while, for about 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

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Current Location: Springfield, IL

to the time sig

This one actually is going to tap into some cultural considerations and decision-making mechanisms that won't be fully discussed, here. If they were, this would be the length of a fucking book, as opposed to several small introductions to the rage that everyone's been trying to force as clearly part of my character. Looks like you got your wish, people: I hope that I'm conveniently 2-dimensional enough for you, now.

Anyway, it becomes apparent after the holiday season (otherwise known as the season of eating that separates most people from the Diabetics from those with Diabetes Type I and Diabetes Type II) that people's tastes are not exactly that unified. In spite of the Food Network, Bravo, and the like, we aren't all eating brilliantly decadent meals that manage to include every food group and keep a smile plastered to our faces 24/7 (although Alton Brown rules). That's hardly a surprising lack of development, considering that we are completely mismanaging our own metabolisms just by the way we consume food, so that we are constantly reacting, rather than thinking calmly, about how to eat in general. Now, there's also a clear barrier to most of the previously mentioned recommendations from ever making it through to actually becoming staples of our diets. Next thing we know, we're wrinkled, old, can barely taste anything, and are shoving 20 pills down our gullet with our pathetic excuse for a breakfast (if we're lucky, we've not in retirement homes and have splurged on what the saucy young brunette on the television told us to get for breakfast, like Special K or whatever-the-hell will be the splendid breakfast recommendation, by then), because half of our organs are functioning at less than half of their previous efficiencies.

But, about that barrier: How something tastes, to you. Y'know, those of you who have severely hampered your sense of taste by repeatedly beating up your ability to smell, which is highly entwined with your sense of taste (and you don't need to have a cold to know that much [although having had one certainly helps slam the point home, so reach back to that]) by smoking. In spite of this, there's frequently a disinterest in sucking that up and eating some of the vegetables quite likely to assist in guarding against some of the damage coming from smoking and basically just about everything else, considering how many cancer types there are in existence.

I live in a universe where an absurdly high number of people that I know who are self-proclaimed vegetarians to some extent won't eat one or another vegetable that I, as a supposedly Universe-Hating Omnivore (oh, the nerve of him for even typing, now!) happily chomp and/or drink (¿organic juices? ¡Yes, ma'am!) up. My example that is the most blatant would be the carrot. Yes, you're probably covered for most of your daily intake with a multivitamin, but how often are you honestly taking the blasted things? Even I will admit to being kind of forgetful and infrequent with said pills even now, as I slowly transition to (trying to get rid of some of my old bullet-sized stock of non-) chewable vitamins. In any case, getting the nutrients through ingestion is much more recommended in the first place. So, maybe now's not the time to have a dislike of something fairly major and identifiable for the label that you've affixed to yourself, ¿hrm? Being 12 about the eating preferences made more sense when you were, say, twelve, and your Mum was around to make sure that you survived long enough to maybe grow tall, bitter, and passed up for people who primarily eat beef, whose colons have several feet of unprocessed matter to prove it, washed down with copious amounts of horrible-tasting light beer that they clearly didn't have any problem getting a taste for, despite obviously not having a taste for it before.

But no... we've got to bow to your subjective sense of what you can accept eating, without you developing any new tastes until you die, to hear how we're told this matter. We even bandy about such concepts as having good taste, as if this is supposed to mean that someone has made all of the right choices, rather than the condition of having experienced a wide breadth of variants for the sensation, and thusly are capable of making an excellent judgment upon the basis of this worldly knowledge. I'm incredibly sorry that you never "had a taste for it," whatever it might be in presentation to you, ¿but what are you intending on doing, now that you have so clearly defined all of your parameters, whether literal taste (eating) or figurative (culture, communication [physical and verbal], arts, beliefs, etc.)?

¿Are we to believe that the entire extent of the human experience is merely the nailing down of the proper subjective views for you to take? I am accused with labored repetition of being arrogant and judgmental, and yet many of my detractors are guilty of the same on a much more covert level, a much more socially acceptable way of rejecting various aspects of the world. I am not even going to suggest that we can't have our own subjective judgments of the world, not at all (I may be a jerk, but I am not a tyrant, per se). I am just suggesting that I find myself a little skeptical of people wanting to be close to others, to have friends who might not be identical to them, when such things are closed off due to a lack of even attempting to reconcile differences. That's just the thing: I know that many of us are different in our tastes, and I DO find that glorious, as I suggest frequently in my writings less overtly, alternating with great spouts of fervor as I attempt to bludgeon home the idea on a more blatant level (I have problems, and I slowly am solving the ones that are a hindrance). However, the only thing that ever matters to me is the why, not just for me to know, but for both of us to know: That kind of understanding allows for an appreciation to blossom, amidst it all. Or, I suppose, I could just be told that ______ is vile and shall always be that way.

Anyway, thank you Mum, for understanding that I needed some time to come around to liking a lot of vegetables and various things that are good for me, along with giving me an open mind to apply my analytical razors to, in regards to art, let alone the world. I am, however, profusely apologetic for all of the stubbornness (also heavily drawn from both her and my Father, responsible for many of the razors of logic being referenced) that now torments her, in regards to my broad taste(s) (note the clarification of how the word is being utilized) and how I won't let her just settle like the wide swath of people that I am pointing my psychological finger at(I am guilty of the problem too, at times). However, I do consider it absolutely the least that I can do, in regards to repaying all of her patience with me over the years.

It will be several more years before I catch up, but I'm apparently not as good at the role, so I might have to go at it a bit longer. One might say I've gotten a taste for such mild struggles.

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Current Location: Springfield, IL

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There really is, isn't there?

I mean, never mind that the person is an awful human being, or honestly quite hideous due to not taking care of himself/herself at all (see Airing of Grievances, Vol. 1): One look from those eyes, especially with a smile, and we're supposed to just bow to that person's will.


We all are completely aware of the value of our own eyes, considering how fascinating we find the eyes of others. I mean, even I am aware that they might be the one feature of my face that I haven't gone through a period of outright loathing for, although I came close in relation to the fatigued states that they veer towards on these long nights, writing (or as it will come to pass by the time you see this, editing down my rage in the hopes that somehow, I'm going to get it out in a way which means that broadcasting it out won't prove necessary. Clearly, you reading this means that this honestly stupid goal did not fully succeed.) or, as it used to be in the old days, reading or drawing... which might at times turn to a mirror and my own eyes. I can't rationalize that my dark, dark brown eyes are uninteresting to women anymore (thank you to every gal that has ever helped me along on the matter), except that maybe they just won't get much attention while they sit behind glasses...

...which actually brings me to one of my points, under this. By point, I mean yelling angrily.

Normally, I let this matter slide, ¿but at this point in the year? I'm going to let my fucking rage fly like I just conquered your goddamn island and planted a flag in your mayor's eye socket.

Do not talk to me and tell me that your fashion glasses aren't a big deal. If they weren't, you wouldn't be fucking wearing them. Let's not even pretend, on this. Yes, I am goddamn jealous that you can see a nice perfect 20/20. It makes perfect sense that your ancestors survived and continued to pass on their genes, because their eyesight lasted long enough to avoid severe injury and pick out nice-looking mates who could clearly also see them, resulting in children who tended to survive for the same reasons (with the vision-impaired ones generally blindly falling off of cliffs and such), and so on, until eventually they got to you. Of course, I know that the arguments frequently turn to effectively making the frames out to be like picture frames, in order to make the lovely genetic picture (the eyes) look all-the-better, and I do understand that argument. I also know the questions that are asked of those of us gazing upon the fashion-glasses wearers, about whether they make the wearer "look smart." That is, in fact, supposedly one of the compliments that is bestowed upon the person wearing glasses.

It must be nice to have that choice. I can’t get contacts past my blink reflex (and I have TRIED hard), so unless I get surgery, I basically have the choice between glasses and missing a whole lot of detail (I can see, but I can’t risk a number of details that could be important being missed, plus there’s being in school in general. As a result, I have to have glasses to be a productive citizen. No, I don’t get prescription glasses covered under insurance, so that cost is straight-up eaten by me/my family).

Frames are cheap, ultimately, which is nice, because then you can focus on all the glorious little nuances of the frame when shopping without having to think about not wanting to wear them everyday. For those of us needing vision correction, there’s a huge tack-on in the form of the lenses that the frame is holding, so for those of us who aren’t independently wealthy, we generally have to stick with the same pair (maybe two, tops, on average for people who have other things going on in life, one just being a backup) for a while, if not indefinitely in some cases far more impoverished than mine that I know and am attempting to also complain on behalf of.

We can GET fashionable frames, I’m not arguing about that. No, I’m just noting the possibility of glasses being complimented on by an individual is kind of low. Even if everyone complimented a new pair of glasses frames, it usually doesn’t happen more than once for any particular individual doing the complimenting. However, then there’s those of us who have to have them, they’re this burden that we have to have, let alone protect the lenses of to a paranoid extent, lest some dickhead slam into them and give us massive eyestrain for the next long ______ until we can scrounge up the change to get a replacement lens that doesn’t have a scratch RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NATURAL VIEWING FIELD, FUCK.

¿Is that a scratch, or just some grease? Oh please oh please oh please...

We don’t generally get to be attractive without the glasses off, unless we spend yet more money on contact lenses, as mentioned earlier (if we can make them work at some point before we die) or manage to overcome fear and budgets to get lasers to cut in and hopefully not fuck us up even further in that increasingly rare, but still occurring complication. I’m pretty sure that none of you think that squinting is attractive, so don’t try to argue that last point. That’s why plenty of my glasses-off pictures have my eyes too fucking wide or two narrow, by the way (oh, and let's not forget the wonderful glare factor of glasses, which is normally what I'm compensating for, because I rarely want that in the picture, and anti-glare costs even more).

So if you got this far, I’m not telling you that you don’t have the right to fashion frames, because you do, legally and in general. However, some of us don’t consider it a “whatevs”/"whatever, no big deal" situation, because I haven’t even talked about the self-esteem crippling jeers from schoolyard peers that turn the glasses-bearer into a potentially majorly bitter adult who writes endless text on the Internet to attempt to vent enough rage to get some relief.

I’m not telling you to not do something, because I have a compromise: Acknowledge everything I’ve said. I’m not making up things above, and I’m not going with anything that’s very uncommon.

Give someone wearing prescription glasses a compliment about their frames, even if you’ve seen them wear that frame a bunch of times before. Give them a hug and tell them they’re looking good/nice/handsome/sexy, whichever one is most comfortable with you, but TELL them. I think in the midst of that, we could overlook how you're borrowing the identity of someone who's genetically different or who has strained their eye muscles considerably from reading in dim light or looked at computer screens far longer than most of us reading this now have.

I suppose people who wear glasses don’t have the right to feel cheap and assert the natural value of everything that glasses actually do signify that is being exploited with fashion-frames. That’s what our existence feels like without anything I’m recommending, in the midst of fashion frames: Cheap.

The top of my nose has indentations more noticeable on days when I’ve been awake longer due to having more work, which has made me wear glasses longer on a lot of recent days, and now I’m freaking out because those spots might get a little worse that way than they already are. It’s fucking raining again today, so I’m having to clean the damn things even more constantly than usual. I look even more tired from the low-level strain that keeps occurring when I miss a spot.

I feel completely fucking unattractive right now, to the point where I just used the word “feel,” for the love of everything.

I don't know if you've picked up on this, readers, but I have trouble when attempting to date women. A lot of it comes on the communication fronts, and how both the other party and I manage to keep injuring that. However, the best times I have always had coincide with times when the woman in question, despite all of the trouble that could be keeping her silent, manages to both say that I look good when I don’t have glasses on and when I have glasses on, even in cases where I’ve had the same frame for nearly two years of knowing someone.

I shouldn’t be expecting marriage proposals at this point, because I’m terrifying in my transparency and ugly because I’m wearing glasses that I used to think were nice, but clearly aren't nice enough overall.

"Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."
-- Dorothy Parker


Hey, Dorothy Parker...

On behalf of the 21st century and anyone who has to endure you being completely over-referenced (because frankly, anything that could be good that gets referenced too much can grow tiresome. Get over it, hipsters, because you know that you'd get bored if you were in my shoes, too.), FUCK YOU for ever saying that. I'm sorry that times were rough then, and I'm sorry that your life sucked (although to claim that none of it was ever your fault would be complete madness), but I can't agree with anyone referencing you in that fashion. As it usually becomes, I can't yell at the girls in question for being first-class twits, so I have to settle for yelling at a fairly innocent woman's grave instead. I'm sure if I pour something with alcohol on it, that her drunk spirit might find it in her to forgive me, though.

But that's just it: Many of the girls referencing Parker aren't visually impaired. Also, they're fucking kidding themselves, because boys and Men aren't automatically less attracted to girls wearing glasses, and 1/3rd of my own dating record displays this fact (it actually would be more, if I had more courage with asking women out in general, historically). On top of it, if that statement does prove true, I can guarantee you that the main reason that I'm deterred has had to do more with the fact that I have to be somehow scrutinizing whether your fucking glasses are prescription, while somehow not looking creepy for staring at you, and on most days, that balance tends to prove a little too tough, for me. No, I am not opposed to dating a girl who wears fake glasses, and they can look nice, but I would have severe problems dating a Woman (preferred over girls... girls bore me in dating, and I don't mind going to Hell for that remark) who didn't think that the social politics of glasses were being referenced with glasses like I've illustrated above. I also have little problem with women wearing colored contact lenses... I think that it's just fair that, in light of the fact that I don't let such things make my decisions for me, I shouldn't feel unreasonable in trying to see what I'm dealing with as the natural state before I accept as many alterations as I would end up with. I think we all know by the principles of dating that this is, ultimately, a futile wish, but it's my wish, every goddamn time.

A couple of sidenotes, while I'm on the "eye" topic:


  • Yes, glaucoma is a situation where I fully endorse medical marijuana being used, but then again, I never said that it was wrong, just why the rationalizations (in regard to some smokes magically not being smoke) fucking kill me, sometimes.

  • Don't use eyedrops to get the red out (regular Visine, for example) on a remotely regular basis, unless you absolutely have to for the sake of appearances on some job moment coming right up. They get the red out by dumping vasoconstrictors onto those surface blood vessels atop your sclera, and the tightening up of those forces the blood out. Yeah, it solves things for a little while, but your eyeball was craving moisture and rest, so it didn't really get satisfied on either, there.  Go with the artificial tears formulas, if you can manage to address the actual problem with the time that you have.

I kind of finally feel better about the topic, now, considering that I heavily borrowed from an earlier post in editing this one together to work a touch better, now. I'm sure that everyone who wears fashion glasses thinks that I fucking hate them now, but I just was hating not having the right to ever be annoyed. Your eyes look quite nice, with or without the glasses, I promise.

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Thanks to a bit of better down-conversions, we get the return of this image... along with another from the same shoot.  I bet you're thrilled.

I know that I was...



Merry X-mas.  Good luck sleeping, tonight. 

Pictures through the assistance of D.I.G.. 

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One of the first things I ask someone when they're whining about being tired doesn't even have anything to do with whether they exercise, or what they eat, or how frequently they do either, let alone sleep:


It's about when they last had water, and how much.


I always get this weird look when I ask the question to someone who hasn't heard me ask them that, and it's almost always too long, or too little, when the answer finally does come out.


The usual suspects that you saw coming a mile away, I'm sure (you're quite smart, I'll grant you that much):



  • The human body is 60% composed of water, outright (and then there's plenty of oxygen and hydrogen bound up in many of the remaining compounds... it's one of those organic creature deals, y'know).

  • The human brain is 70% composed of water (there is something to be said for you not thinking straight because of a deprivation of water...).

  • 83% of our blood is water.

  • 2.4 liters, on average, of this water must be replaced every single day, through consumed water and the water content bound up in our foods that we're consuming (at good, sensible rates, ¿RIGHT?)


"I had 8 glasses of water today, though!"
"Um... ¿when?"
"I had a couple this morning, and then I had 6 just now!"

Goddamnit, does Karthik have to choke a guy?

Much like with any of the nutrients mentioned in the previous entry in the series, you need water at multiple times in the day, ¡and you can't just take a recommended amount, get it all in at one point, and expect to be okay, damnit! Your body doesn't understand what game you're trying to play, ¡and it has better things to do than second-guess your smart-aleck ass anyway! So, more water is going to seep into the descending loop of Henle in each nephron of each of your two kidneys (or perhaps one that has grown to approximate the size of what once was two kidneys, because that's how you can get away with having one), because now you have a ridiculous excess of water, and then you go excuse yourself to the bathroom and remove the problem, which actually was going to help you. ¡FUCK!


So you're cycling out water, for sure. THEN, you have to consider all of that stuff that you drink. Oh yes, I drink some of it, too, but I never said that I wasn't very disappointed in myself, ¿did I? (I really didn't, not at all)


  • Coffee

  • Tea (Sweet or bagged or loose-leaf, etc.)

  • Soda (Pop, Cola, I don't fucking care what you refer to it as, or how you're more right with your name. Shut up.)

  • Alcohol (Beer, hard liquor, wine, etc.)

Each and every single one of these is a diuretic in some way, so you're going to lose water pretty equivalent to the liquid amounts of these that you're drinking. As a result, you get the brief sensation that you're quenching thirst, but you're really going to have to be compensating by intaking twice as much water for each volume unit of any of these, ideally, in order to balance the matter out. Yes, the first two do have a wonderful ability to flush the systems out (although that's mitigated by any number of ridiculous things that we justify putting into them), but you want a certain amount of water in your system when that's all said and done. Your nifty Diet _____ soda isn't going to somehow reduce that effect, and the artificial sweeteners that are normally in those aren't going to make your life that great either, so don't try to dodge the truth about soda being an ill-advised thing to consume, when all is said and done. Just minimize it to some extent.

Also, considering that you're clearly getting some exercise now, you are probably losing water through sweat. This is again a good thing, as you're also using it to carry out a lot of poisonous products that you've been wanting to get out, let alone might be forming during the exercise, and it's no surprise that your skin's going to be looking better as a result of that activity (although you're now going to have to put up with my attention as a result, and we know by now that this is an insufferable pain, so maybe you should sculpt yourself into a more Jabba-like state, since your brain will also function at such a horrendous level that I won't want to talk to you on two [normally synergistic] fronts of interest!). However, that's more water that you need to replace, then.

Thirst is not going to save you, no matter how much the goddamn commercials glaze over this fact publicly.

Gatorade's electrolytes are nifty, don't get me wrong. However, you should note the sodium content of the stuff. It's there to force your thirst reflex to make you drink more, and that's it. Sooner or later, you're going to want to drink some basic water. Your thirst reflex, much like your hunger reflex, has a bad case of timing. They claim that they're good timing mechanisms, based on feelings (and don't even get me started on THOSE), but they're basically the last-ditch efforts of your body to force you to take care of yourself in some way resembling "proper." You have to tailor your intake to anticipate those needs, rather than the other way around, so you should be hydrating also before the exercise, not just during (which proves to usually be insanely hard, by comparison) or after, let alone in acceptance of the implications of your beverage(s) of choice.

How anyone can be remotely aware of some of these (like altogether many people actually are) and still so blindly ignore them is beyond me, but it happens all the fucking time in my life with the people that I interact with. Not only do I get to deal with their fatigue and outright sleepiness, but I also get the added bonus of their charming mood snaps that occur when their brain is clearly deprived of something quite critical to its composition, let alone its functions directly.

Of course, you're taking in nutrients, and probably excreting the amounts that you don't necessarily need, as well. That means that you're going to need more water in general for the sake of carrying out these extra solutes (no, your urine shouldn't resemble the coloration of various Mario Bros. villains or Muppets: That's NOT healthy, actually.). Failure to recognize this over and over again, while those beverages or sweating remove water consistently, may leave you itching to have a kidney stone or three in your lifetime. If you're lucky, you can have one painfully pass though your ureter and leave Zorro-style. If not, The Empire will have to assist you with their lasers to break up the mass and then the passing will probably be more repeated and more painful still. If you have plenty of water in your intake, those solutes are a lot less likely (in most individuals: Some of you have to be 9 times more careful in your lives because of bad kidney functions that don't even have to necessarily do with anything like alcohol abuse, and I don't envy you at all) to collect to the point of welding together and forming a combat force against your health and sanity.

As it is, that extra interstitial fluid (the extra fluid in between spaces of cells that resembles cytoplasm in some cases) and blood plasma gets filtered through the amazing network that is your lymphatic system. Also, your breathing passages and skin's hydration allow cells to have the right moisture to be at full size, forming barriers of protection and fully-functioning mucus layers and immune blockades in their own right. Basically, keeping hydrated is an essential component to not getting sick, something to keep clearly in mind this holiday season, because those cold conditions lead to very dry conditions (water doesn't readily hang out in the air if the temperatures cause it to liquify or even freeze quickly), and it becomes no subsequent surprise that you're more likely to catch airborne viruses and bacterial illnesses during this season.

It should be noted also that you're being kind of an idiot if you're always drinking freezing cold water: Your biological processes like operating at higher temperatures, so you're not ultimately doing yourself any favors by knocking things down so low, let alone tightening up your vocal cords (singers know what I'm talking about) and straining that voice of yours in yet another way. Drink it a bit warmer (without necessarily making it scalding when you're not brewing tea or coffee) than room temperature, at least: There's a reason why that has a more lasting soothing quality, and you don't need to be getting sick to know how much nicer that lastingly feels compared to your throat closing up on you every time you have a "cold one."

All of this talk of water makes me thirsty, but it really could just be the rain outside. I'm going to go ahead and not take my chances, though.

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Current Location: Springfield, IL
Noise: freezing rain slamming onto my window

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(Once again, these are not ranked: The numbers are present in order to help me keep track while editing the content, and to keep things straight during and after posting. There'd be some pretty absurd ties and/or upsets if I actually ranked even what I had so far, ¡let alone what's to come!)

So, there's a clear absence that's been screaming out this whole time, and that tends to take a form resembling the snark-filled question of "Right, right, this is all nice, but don't I have to eat healthy shit too, and not eat fatty foods? I don't think that I can do that shit, man!"

Fair, though, fair.

By the way, as we're getting into this, I ended up making the title a reference to Frank Costanza, the Seinfeld character that allowed a perfect gateway for the television version of Festivus to get so readily circulated in the first place.

That said, along with the inferred mockery of my own empathy-driven rage, let's continue back on the topic that I actually just set up earlier...

Nutrition is considered important not only for having vitality and that vibrant energy that I hawk like I'm a snake-oil salesman (link provided for the young and old who might not be familiar with the badass reference), but basic day-to-day functioning and having any shot at living into those predicted lifespans without being a total hopeless wreck, by then. The food pyramid is an excellent start for novices that is frequently struck down as being impractical for daily living, but it helps take care of quite a few needs while eliminating a lot of the thinking that neurotic psychopaths like myself do through much of the day. As it is, with few exceptions on an average basis (presumption being that most organs are functioning adequately, most nutrients tend to be absorbed most readily by ingesting them in food sources. In any case, most pill supplements want you to be eating or have just eaten for maximum efficient absorption anyway, as an acknowledgment to this fact.

So, let's presume that you have the use of The Internet in order to look up, on average, the toxicity levels of individual nutrients, along with whether something is water-soluble (i.e. excess will be excreted in urine when the kidneys are in good shape) or fat-soluble (gets stored in the fat if in excess, so that toxic levels are usually a potentially legitimate concern if you keep overdoing it too radically), so that I don't do a run-down of every single nutrient.

Let me concentrate instead on one, because it builds on other entries of mine:

You are not getting enough Vitamin D. I don't want to hear how there's vitamin D in your milk, your orange juice, and your multivitamin that you take to keep things simple (which is fine for early-level health fiends, but I believe in a certain proactive character that lies within people going so far as to read this!): You could probably get more vitamin D. On a side-tangent, I fly into a fucking rage when someone talks about how they simply need to go get a few minutes of sun each day to be okay.


  • A lot more ultraviolet light is getting through, and even if you don't believe in global warming specifically, the holes in the fucking ozone layer are pretty blatant, and are letting a lot more UV radiation through, damaging your fucking DNA a bit more readily than that bit of a vitamin D increase, damnit.

  • Unless you're working outside all of the time, I bet that doesn't compensate for how much time you're spending studying/working indoors, most certainly.

So, that taken care of as an excuse, let's consider how much is in a multi-vitamin (I'm going to use Centrum as my example, as it's very readily available nationwide in the U.S.):

400 I.U.

I.U. stands for International Units, a standard that's a bit more precise and universal a measurement than all of this milligrams (mg) or other weight-units rubbish, and it's based on the biological activity of the item being measured, so it has a very practical application when applied to a nutrient that has biological relevance.

That said, you need vitamin D at more than one time in the day, as your body clearly is doing shit beyond the one hour in which you're having that Pop-Tart breakfast (or whatever failure to eat right that I might share with you on more than a few days). The amount present in a supplement, that fortifies milk or orange juice... that takes care of nationwide worries of an outright deficiency in many people, and that's all that the government would ever concern itself with. Depending on how much you do, you might actually need more vitamin D, and if you're trying to safeguard your bones against future worries of osteoporosis, it might be a good idea to step it up, a bit. On top of it, the nutrient also has roles to play in neuromuscular activity and immune function (that's right, kids, it's not all about vitamin C and zinc, ¡because the body needs more than a couple of things when an invader is knocking over all the shelves in the shop!), so ot say that this isn't getting a lot of action would be quite the grand mistake.

I do admit that it's a good thing that vitamin D is fortifying foods that also contain calcium, since all of that calcium (that you're clearly getting because you know you need more bone mass to keep up with my other suggestions) is kind of worthless and not utilized without vitamin D, but individuals might want to consider resorting to a higher intake. On top of it, many of these supplements are not necessarily being 100% absorbed, as they tend to be vitamin D2 (QUACK QUACK... QUACK... quack... I like the reference), rather than the much-more readily absorbed vitamin D3, which is mostly only available in deliberate pill-form supplements, at present. The best thing about vitamin D? It has your back: If there's an excess, it doesn't immediately start becoming toxic, and you can super-duper overload before it becomes a problem. The excess gets used when there's not enough being taken in, which is a relief for me when I know that I'm not always 100% the best with my nutrition for a trillion days in a row. Just consider all of the implications for you if you're not getting enough (oh, and let's also consider that women, who have more concerns about retaining bone mass in the midst of various hormonal shifts and losing blood for a few days each month, which includes calcium and vitamin D, among other things, should probably get more in order to build even healthier bones in advance), on all of those levels, and it's kind of a given that you should get more vitamin D.

The sad fact is that, myself included sometimes (though I've gotten much better), you're also probably not eating at a reasonable pace or quantity. Consider the starvation-defense mechanisms that are in place to have allowed the ancestors (who, as we so far can believe, did not have refrigerators with Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's ice cream inside) to survive in between all-too-infrequent meals, but didn't go away when said refrigerators came about. A trait that was frequently rewarded is now our enemy, because it's easy to be fat. Now now, you must... chill! I will say this again later, but I'm not a fan of emaciated skeleton humans... it's not attractive. Anyway, now that I have you panicking at least a little less for a while, back to what I'm talking about... the three square meals a day fits a schedule that doesn't even match to what we're doing now, let alone back then. ¿Do you really think that you're using all of the calorie energy that you're getting from that Xmas dinner? With maybe a few exceptions, I imagine that the answer is usually that you are not. Let's also not forget that you're probably stressed from your Modern Age lifestyle in some way, so that you're also in Fight/Flight Mode, and are probably trying to store calories as readily as possible, while also putting them in the highest-energy form possible so that you can make it out of there now, and prepare for if the scuffle you're supposedly going to get into leaves you injured for a long while (and theoretically unable to get food in an Early Historic Period). Your metabolism is likely to go into a certain level of shutdown, as far as burning the calories immediately: ¡You might need them later!
 

Dude, body... we're going to eat again at dinner.

No, we haven't eaten again, and we just got a lot of calories... WE MUST STORE THEM!

Fuck, ¿why do we even talk anymore?

Distress! Anger! We are in danger!

¡Shut up!

...

...so there's that. Then, on top of it, you have to basically imagine your mitochondion as power plants. Actually, hang on... Mitochondria (as the plural actually is) are an organelle that exist in nearly every living cell of yours (as in, you shouldn't really count those amongst most of the visible cell layers that you present to the world, because those are old and dead layers, let alone other dead tissues that form support systems internally). In fact, I will somewhat simplify things by suggesting more basically that they are the bacteria which we have the friendliest relationship with (although they are certainly not the only ones, they are the main ones that we have internal to the cell). You might find this bizarre, of course, for me to say that, especially since we are taught that they are an organelle, like I was just saying. However, they do have their own DNA, and they are not constructed from the DNA code in the nucleus of a cell, like basically every other part of the cell worth mentioning in a technically short entry. There is a setup coming, but I think you can spot that a mile away by this point in my "Grievances" series...

Like any classic power plant (I am not referring necessarily to solar plants or wind farms, so fucking work with me, here), there is a by-product of that metabolic activity that these mitochondria undergo in order to make aerobic respiration work and give all of the wonderful energy that you're probably taking for granted when you're fist-pumping to the new Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii (which I wish I owned, let alone the fact that I'm separated from my Wii, now that I finally fucking have time to play it). Those mitochondria are the reason that aerobic respiration happens in complex eukaryotic cell-laden creatures like us, rather than the extremely lower-energy fermentation processes that we tend to resort to when we just can't keep up with the demands of our muscle activity, or simply want some other organism to do our bidding for making yogurt, beer, or harder liquors. So you can clearly see that these are the little guys/gals that we want to be working well at any given time. However, when they're being given a shit load more caloric energy to process, that 'pollution' (in the form of free radicals) builds up faster than what is considered "usual" and can damage the DNA of these mitochondrion every bit as much as UV radiation can cause free radicals to form and damage the DNA of our dermal layers. To make matters worse, these mitochrondria have a whole lot less DNA in the first place, so that the same amount of mutation has a much bigger potential impact. Sure, they have the same mechanisms as the contents of the nucleus for repairing and correcting damage, but let's imagine a shitload of binge eating or binge drinking on a regular basis, and how quickly the probabilities could add up, for that. ¡It's a wonder any of us manage to survive the modern diet, at this point!

It doesn't take that much, thusly, for a mitochondrion individual to become either completely dead or reproducing incorrect descendants, etc.. If you get this happening regularly and rapidly enough, you have a widespread inability to process sugars of simple and complex sorts that takes places in the cell, or perhaps tissue, or organ, depending on how widespread the problem is. Keep in mind again that this isn't a code that's being given in the overall DNA code of the main cells. In fact, these mitochondria were given to you via their ancestors through your mother, because the egg gamete of the pair is a larger than full-sized cell that contains all of your embryo's original organelles. The implications to set up future metabolic problems in offspring become alarmingly noticeable when the situation is viewed in this light.

But, of course, we have no problem with over-feeding ourselves at every single meal. Most of you aren't laborers per se (and frankly, neither am I), so you're not really readily burning these calories off. The overall net result works out, but we never really find it too worrisome that this happens in spite of the same starvation mechanisms that I was mentioning before, and how quickly they take hold. Now let's fastforward, for most of you: You see these energy crashes, the situations where people "hit the wall" at 24 or 30 or 40, etc., when that charmingly slim figure just can't take all of the abuse anymore. ¿Does it ever occur that the excesses of the past can set up the failures of the future, considering everything I noted, and the multiple individual papers that are leaning behind many of the statements that I am rambling about, let alone how it doesn't strike me as a surprise that your metabolism might closely resemble that of your mother's when she gave birth to you (I'd like to take a brief moment to say that I love my Mum)? Go on, eat your shitty fast food all the time, because your generation happens to be working out alright, ignore those amongst us who come from families that consumed a lot of fast food already, and scratch your heads when the kids aren't alright.

Or eat in moderation. I don't want you to starve, I really don't: A lot of shit shuts down, from brains to sexual capabilities to just about every organ imaginable at thresholds much higher than what you're guessing, most likely.

This is, by the way, where those vegetables (and plenty of fruits, truthfully) come back into play as being important: Their antioxidants are more readily absorbed than in supplements, and antioxidants are exactly what counter the possibilities of free radicals oxidizing parts of the mitochondria and the DNA to wreak their havoc in the first place, much like in the instances regarding that damage from the smoke and charred food in Grievance #2.

I'm suggesting that, unless you have some critical beliefs against eating more than three times in a day, that you become a snacker, a "grazer" as I think they call it. Break the day up into smaller meal chunks, and you might also find that getting in the nutrients that I was mentioning above might become a bit easier when you're dividing by a higher number than three. As it is, your metabolism will also run higher in genral, even before we factor in exercise (which you're clearly doing, ¿RIGHT?), because it isn't so readily going into that starvation mode that it has to get kicked back out of in the midst of a new meal being provided. Your liver won't get destroyed so quickly by an excess of fat inside that isn't being worked on actively by the liver, and I think I've noted that to be a pretty nice thing in general. You'll notice that I didn't even necessarily say that you couldn't have the occasional high-calorie food, but I've also noted that you have to burn that off at some point too, so I think that you can put all of that together to be responsible.

Make the changes now, so that later can be a bit nicer, for you.

You're irritating enough right now when you're bitching idly about being tired, so I hardly think you're going to find me up for being around that often when you're complaining about it all the time, because you never stop being tired (and labored).

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Give me the excuse, and I have officially fucking heard it, in regards to aerobic exercise, the lack thereof, and particularly why running is such a fucking horrible thing to do...


...or so it's said. Like anything, it can be, if you do it like a total asshole. I heard the blast beat synchronicity of multiple people clicking their mice in getting ready to "UnFollow" me, and I'm frankly surprised that I've gotten this far without losing half of my Followers (I think that they believe I'm going to stop, and they might just be now gathering that yesterday wasn't the end... I have a number in mind, and I bet that some of you clever ones can guess what it will be. Don't tell the others... let's keep it a surprise.), but I'd recommend you hang on.


For this image to work, you're going to either have to vividly pull out the last memories of being at a gym, go to a gym in your regular routine (Um, which you have, ¿right?), or suck it up and finally go. Don't go doing your grim routine (I don't know that many people that it starts happily for, and I'll freely admit that I have varying days) just yet, though. Just go to the room with the aerobic machines and just stand there. Do it in a corner, like you don't know what you're doing (the last thing you want is for people to freak out because you're the creep staring at them, and this isn't that visual an experiment, actually), perhaps. Just listen, once you've stopped making much sound. Most gymnasiums don't have a lot of television sound now, because they've got some ridiculous headphone setup or low-power FM-radio frequency broadcast for each and every television, so this should be easy. Even so, unless it's a small gym and someone's being a total jackass, this will still apply... just listen.


¿What are you hearing?



  • The wiring of treadmills

  • The swoosh/slight scrape of elliptical machines (c'mon, not many of them are properly serviced, so they start to make friction sounds after that much use... let's not pretend otherwise)

  • The tension-filled whir of wheels letting out cable for rowing machines

  • Cross-country ski machines? Yeah, ¡right, maybe in the 1990s! (Although they weren't horrible as an idea...)

  • Stationary bike pedaling (similar lack of servicing at hand, so I doubt it will be quiet)

  • 1-2+ elephants


Wait... ¿what?


Oh, my mistake, that's just someone running on a treadmill.


But here's the thing... I just listed a shit-ton of sound sources that should be drowning that out. That pounding isn't supposed to be there, so readily. This is one of those weird myths that fucking kills me, that no one necessarily says, but a lot of people clearly collectively believe: Running involves a whole lot of pounding footsteps until you've gone a certain distance. As it is, most treadmills made within the last 8-9 years also have a certain amount of elastic rebound that should be assisting those very same footsteps in ways that pavement simply won't readily do unless you have fancy shoes (which I will get to below). The television won't convey this correctly (oh, by the way, you can stop hiding in the corner, now... seriously, that boy that was checking you out is starting to have second thoughts, at this point.), so you might have to check out a marathon, sometime, particularly if you live in a big city or visit people in a big city.


Kenyan runners do it right. If you can't accept that about a country that has running in its culture nationwide, you might as well stop reading, and quite possibly might need to check if you've eaten right, today. They don't have the money to outdo Americans, not really: In fact, ¿how many of them even have decent shoes for most of their running lives (because I don't fucking know, really)? Yet there they are, winning nearly every competition. When they don't, they make 70+% of the lead pack, and they cross within a 3-second span of each other. They must be doing something similar, and it's all technique, then (if we get back from racism really fucking quickly, you'll notice a fair amount of physical variance in these runners on even just a visual level. They're not being grown in some amazing cloning vat, but they're doing similar actions, then.). When you get around to seeing them, I ask you this question in advance: ¿Do you hear them coming, or do you basically nearly miss them if you're not staring and looking for them as they float right on by? No, you're not getting acid flashbacks, that just happened. Sure, they're lean, but I bet your gym observation day resulted in you seeing some fairly lanky folks slamming that defenseless treadmill like it owed them money, too.


In basic, they're letting those graceful legs stretch out (and by getting used to that, you can end up making yours graceful, too), because they're doing distances running, not sprints. The foot starts contacting the ground softly, a bit of the heel first, putting the weight gently on that outer edge (let's say the right foot, so the right landmass of the bottom of your foot, then) as you roll that foot onto the flat surface like it's part of a tire, rather than a smashing robo-foot from a Mega Man game (don't tell me I just lost all of you with that... ¡I'll cry bitter old man tears, then!), continuing forward until you spring forward with the middle-to-front of your toes (it might vary a touch, it's true, especially considering speed, but I think that you're getting the idea), using that arch to provide the launch of that spring forward and those muscles to carry that foot briefly upwards in an elliptical arc until it becomes the front foot again, while the other foot is doing the exact same thing in the meantime. If you're doing it right, you're barely hearing it at all.


Think about it, though: You don't need to have even taken an intro to Physics (for non-majors) class in order to viscerally understand the benefits of this...


If you're doing this, you're not losing a lot of energy to gravity, because most surfaces won't have that elastic give-back, even though there's technically a counter-force for when you push down to push up, which is why that shockwave isn't the end of your mobility altogether. You then use that energy to keep the foot moving, rather than scraping the ground or losing the energy by pinpoint static friction. That adds up over a long distance, or even anything more than 3 feet when you really get neurotic about this matter. That's not just something that could apply to running, that could apply to walking, as well.


Ah, now I have some renewed attention, so thank you, guy/gal who might have managed to stick this entry out long enough to get to this point: Walking is something that most of us do every single day (no offense intended to people injured in serious accidents or differences of birth: Most of you actually tend to have some appreciation for what you do have, unlike the people that I am addressing. Just don't run me over/run into me with your electric wheelchairs, for those of you that have them: That is seriously not cool), yet most of us put very little attention to it. Just watch this when you do your people-watching (don't try to pretend like those of you who happily watch other people's thoughts on your computer screen don't occasionally just watch people out in the world... I do it too, in case that hasn't become obvious)... watch people walk. Not just stylistically, either. Make a BINGO card of it, if you absolutely have to. Some suggestions: Feet pointed outwards (instead of relatively straight), feet pointed inwards, tight-rope walking, wider-than-shoulder-width zig-zag stepping (might combine with something just listed), scraping steps, pounding steps, favoring one part of the foot considerably, favoring one leg considerably, other silly walks, etc.. Give a scowl anytime one of these individuals talks about being really fucking tired, and tell'em Karthik sent you, because these people are losing energy just by going somewhere. I don't mean using it, I mean energy is being lost that is really not actually resulting in any real productive movement whatsoever.


As I mentioned previously, the muscles above and below the knee are incredibly important for being not just muscles of locomotion, but as stabilizers so that the knee isn't ground away [from having the weight of the whole body on it] to the point where that articulation cartilage (which we don't yet have a perfect replacement for) is gone and the bones themselves are getting destroyed. This is ideally accomplished by a combination of both leg-muscle strengthening (through resistance systems or machines) and simple repetitive (but correct) motion to get them working together. Yes, other exercise forms are great, but there's a lot less gear just to enter into running. Go to a good running store, and they'll even analyze your form enough to get you an ideal running shoe to compensate for the shape of your foot (mine is particularly flat, apart from the intervention of orthopedic arch supports at the junior high age) and your particular locomotive style, which you'll shamelessly demonstrate in the store itself. Maybe then you get some sweat-wicking shirt(s) and some breathable shorts, and that's about it for gear, apart from anything additional to keep you warm if you decide to go out into nature with your new hobby.


For the love of everything, you start out small. That's okay, I promise: You might not even run more than a full minute at a time, at first, but it's the intention and the slow and steady build to more regularly running that small amount amidst all of the walking, along with that good amount of regular stretching that you end up doing (I recommend some easy yoga routine for those of you new to proper amounts of stretching) before and after, that leads to you then stepping back how frequent you do it, upping the amount per time, and then making it more frequent slowly, and...


...this allows the bones and muscles to become accustomed to the new demands. It allows them to get damaged, but then repair themselves better and more badass than before. It gives you time to get a better diet going to give the nutrients necessary for this new lifestyle choice. But with the increased ability to undergo these extra efforts, you'll find the simple shit (like getting through the day) to be not a big deal, by comparison. You're working towards getting better limb muscles and core tone, but also towards getting a stronger heart. A stronger heart allows you to have it beat less frequently: Each beat is more powerful, moves more blood, tires out the organ a lot less, which basically doesn't take any REAL vacations (until it maybe does take a break... and then you're properly fucked, frankly), and therefore you get less tired during the daytime. You're shooting for raising your heart rate quite significantly (check this chart in relation to your age range for a better idea of what you're shooting for, depending on your stats and individual circumstances) for 20 minutes before slowly lowering it back down, ultimately, at least 3 times a week, amidst all of this, but you have to go through all of those middle steps before you get there, no matter how simple and easy they may seem. This way, you don't get yourself injured, or in over your head. You'll eventually be Flash, but doing it slow and focusing on form allows that to mean something later, and not cause it to self-truncate. It's easy to get yourself injured by being an idiot, but that could be said about a lot of life, ¿wouldn't you agree?


I've been quite committed to improving my running form overall, even though I've had middle peaks of intention, along with backslides. However, my dedication is true and honest...


...I have a confession to make, for those of you who haven't been Following for very long. Including today, I've ran at least a mile, every single day, for 390 days, now. That's right, it's been over a year.


I read an article on an old man that had finally given up the technical definition of a running streak after three decades of having one, even though he still runs most days, now. I loved his reasoning process of not wanting to bother with "wondering, 'Am I going to run today?'" and having to wrestle with that. This way, it's just a given (and for me, that used to be a pretty big problem that would cause momentum crashes on the effort, for me), and I focus on running at least a little every day, and making sure it's just good, and doesn't injure me, etc.. The fact of the matter is, I'm not challenging you to do that, yet... I'm suggesting you give a try, a smart try, at that. I don't know how long my running streak will go, presently, as I have some private goals that need to be met outside of running before I give anything that comforting and dependable up, but I'll keep you all posted.


The endorphin surge is incredible when you get past the initial bits of the training. Like I've been saying before in the previous entry, it also leads to great potential for the endorphins that come from some great sex, as well (and if that's just not happening right now, at least you have these endorphins, too). There's a certain clean feeling that comes from endorphin surges that aren't triggered by outside, laboratory sources, and it's practically required if you believe in being a Loner or just simply self-sustaining (and I admit that I would be quite miserable more often without this support from within my own body). The social politics of this are obvious, even before taking into account how many national health problems (and thusly the economics that come from them) have a lower incidence if we all took just a bit more effort towards our heart and lower-muscular health.


That said, go ahead and bike if your knees or legs are already unable to handle any running or fast walking at this point in your lives, but do give this serious consideration, especially because of the minimal amount of gear necessary in this pasttime, and having it as another option, at least (there are entirely different muscle groups that do get extra work from biking, so it has its own spot in all of this, although many of the same help for health is entailed in this). I also highly endorse swimming for it being non-impact, but then still encourage the attention towards walking form in general. I admit to longing for more pools to use more organic means than chlorine to keep clean, but we're not quite at that point, just yet, so there's also that problem going.


I digress yet again, though. I think that I've made my case for exercise. See you at the gym/track/pool. I'll be the tall, scruffy Indian with a big grin on my face, quite happy to see you.

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