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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Accidental Dieting

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Today I’m reminded of one of my favorite movie lines, from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion:

Michele: Remember the prom? You got so thin by then.

Romy: Oh, I know. I was so lucky getting mono. That was like the best diet ever.

Last night I noticed an slight ache in my teeth and this morning I woke up with a full-on toothache.  I managed to eat some yogurt for breakfast and pasta for lunch but in addition to wanting to chew less, thankfully I’m not particularly hungry today.

I think back on all the times I lost noticeable amounts of weight and none of them were achieved by dieting per se.  I can drop about 15 or 20 pounds with a great deal of effort, but when I got to my lowest weight, that was thanks to gallstones and the subsequent removal of my gallbladder.  I relate very much to this adorable cartoon by The Awkward Yeti:

1897849_606274772781535_1170763727_n

The other two times I managed a dramatic weight loss had less to do with any major effort on my part and more to do with being a poor college student and an upsetting romantic loss.  A really good break up, not just one that bruises the ego but one that really feels like the loss of a limb or something, can really kill the appetite.  If you’re just sad, you might eat to cheer yourself up.  When you’re devastated, well that starts sapping your will to live… and thus eat since that is a crucial component of survival.

It’s taken a couple of decades to realize it but I’d much rather be fat and happy than thin and miserable.  And it seems the only way available to thinness for me involves much misery, so I think I’ll pass.  I believe stress is a much bigger health risk than a few extra pounds.  The science is starting to see the truth in that too.  If you feel the need to argue this point, don’t bother.  I’ve already done the research, read the studies and unless you fall into either of the extremes of thin or fat, you can be relatively healthy if you take care of yourself.  That’s the only objective I have these days.

This blog has really opened my eyes.  I encourage you to put your knee jerk reaction to the concept aside and listen to what she has to say.  Peace feels better than thinness ever could.  http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/

Painting for the Non-Painter

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Tried something new last night called Paint Nite.  It was easier and more fun than I expected.  I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

paint nite

The event took place in a reasonably priced Italian restaurant.  We had the patio to ourselves and it was a mild evening.  I had some wine and ravioli while I followed along with our painting instructor.

paint nite food

I was an art major in college with a modicum of drawing/painting talent but nothing spectacular.  That along with my ability to sew and cook seem to be things that not a lot of other people do very well.  It always floors me when I get so much praise for doing things that don’t seem particularly difficult.  I guess that’s just how I was raised.

My dad had the artistic talent.  My mother was the one who helped me learn to sew and cook.  I can’t say she taught me as much as she gave me the means to learn both and then, with the cooking in particular, it became a necessity that I do a good deal of that after my parents separated.

Well back to paint night.  If you have any desire to try and paint, this is a great introduction.  You are given the exact colors you need and are led step-by-step through creating your own version of the night’s painting.  The cool thing is that even though all of the paintings were a little different, they all looked pretty good.

paint nite me2

In the immortal words of Bob Ross, there are no mistakes… only happy accidents.  And don’t forget to wash your brush.

 

 

Everything Bad is Good Again

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So the recent cover of Time magazine declares that butter is actually good for you.  The food scientists had it all wrong.

fat-cover

They did this before with eggs too.

Time-magazine-cholesterol-covers

At this point, I don’t think any of them know what the hell they’re talking about.  I’m fully expecting them to start sounding like these guys at the beginning of this clip from the Woody Allen film SLEEPER.

We’ve become obsessed with health and thinness to the point that we will jump on any bandwagon that sounds scientific.  However, I don’t think anyone is really doing enough studies that go long enough to truly understand the impact of food.  A few months does not determine anything worthwhile.  And what if what we think about food has an impact too?

If I believe something is bad for me and I eat it anyway, does that impact what my body does with it?  This short study seems to imply as much.

Now this is by no means enough information to come to a sound conclusion, but it’s an interesting place to start.  Perhaps with the question, “Is there a mind-body connection in regards to health?”  Some people believe there is while others look at the body as more mechanistic than that and just thinking things has no effect.

The best thing we can all do is calm the hell down about food and get a little smarter about it.  We have to be our own scientists in some ways.  If you eat a food and it makes you feel bad then you might consider not eating that food.  If eating eggs and full fat dairy make you feel good, enjoy those things to their fullest.

Unless and until they get real about their experiments (rather than doing the bare minimum to get past the FDA), trust none of this bullshit.  Whether you live longer or not, you’ll be a little saner and a lot happier enjoying the foods you like in moderation.  Everything in moderation.

New food pyramid

Oh and by the way, this is the new food pyramid.  Vegans are gonna love this one.  Where’s the bread?

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Know What to Write About

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put-your-thinking-cap-on

As I attempt to write more blogs per week, what to write about is starting to loom large.  It’s easy to get excited about or worked up about a topic once a week.  But as I strive to write most days of the week by year’s end, I’m struggling to figure out what to write about.  What do people want to read?  I fear I may have to actually put in more work soon.  I’m the person who wrote almost all papers and writing assignments the night before (even through college).

Most of these blogs are off the cuff.  I just write about what I’m interested in at the time.  It might be an experience or a conversation that sparks the topic, but very little research goes into anything I write.  My blog is not about anything in particular, just my thoughts, ideas and perspective on the world around me.  Perhaps I need to pay more attention to what some of those actually are so I can capture more of them in words.

ch-thinking_caps

Keeping a journal/notebook of my thoughts and ideas throughout the week is something I’m seeing in my very near future.  I have to spend more time writing in said journal than in picking it out if it’s to have any impact.  I love picking out journals and pens.  I love a cool pen.

My current fave

My current fave

I do love to write.  I enjoy stringing words together to form thoughts, ideas and images.  I love the clacking of keys on the typewriter as I churn out more black symbols on a white screen.  It’s the whole reason I started this blog to begin with.  I was stalling out on writing screenplays but I didn’t want to stop writing altogether.  It’s been a great way to keep the creative juices bubbling until they are really ready to flow again.

There is a very real ebb and flow to life itself.  Some days, I’m on a roll.  The words flow.  I get shit done.  Other days, I can’t seem to make myself do any of the things I know I should.  It’s like trying to get a toddler to do something they don’t want to do.  Imagine being the parent and the toddler at the same time.  That’s how it feels.

There’s a natural rhythm that we humans have lost touch with.  We fight the urge to rest and make it wrong but perhaps we’re the ones who are wrong.  Not getting enough sleep, not getting enough to eat, these things have deleterious effects on our well-being and productivity.  Rather than fighting through, perhaps we might stop and explore why we are resisting something so much.

One thing that stops me from writing a particularly strong opinion is that I don’t want to have to fight for or justify that opinion.  I just want to have it.  I want to share it and drum up some other points of view.  I don’t have any strong attachment to my opinions in the way that most people do.  They over-identify with them especially the unexamined ones.

I hold the opinion quite strongly that the only way the human species is going to continue well into the future is if we stop doing things for short term gain and start working out how we intend to make a civilization that can withstand whatever comes its way.  That’s going to take cooperation.  That’s going to take compromise.  And it’s going to require letting go of the need to have all the money… actually it will require the end of the concept of money itself.

It’s going to take a complete examination of our structures and to tear down the ones that have done more harm than good.  Most people aren’t willing to do this on the individual level so I’m not holding out much hope.  But like my favorite Picasso “Guernica”, even in the worst situations, hope springs eternal.

PicassoGuernica

Guess I found something to write about after all.

 

 

When Tiki Becomes Obsession

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About a year ago, I went to a tiki bar in North Hollywood with my then fiance to celebrate the bar’s 55th anniversary.  The Tonga Hut is the oldest tiki bar in continuous operation in Los Angeles.  It’s tiny and it’s a dive, but it’s also fantastic.  I love all things tiki.

tonga hut

I love tiki drinks and tiki decor and the spirit of tiki.

At the anniversary celebration, the bar had some booths/tables out back selling merchandise and I found a gorgeous sepia-toned photo of a Polynesian girl.  It became the inspiration for creating a tiki-themed bathroom in our new apartment.

I have begun collecting and decorating in earnest.  I know some people think I might be a little nuts, but I just want to make this room into my fun sanctuary of tropical tiki goodness.

tiki lounge

That photo on the right is the aforementioned inspiration.  Yes, she is topless.  It’s become a running joke with my husband that he has to make it clear to anyone who uses that bathroom that I am the one who chose that photo.  I was an art major; boobs are all over fine art.  I just love what the image evokes.  And there’s nothing shameful in nudity.

This is going to be an ongoing project.  Just like any old bar, it will continue to collect new items all the time.  It will never be complete.  But it will also be fabulous.  Tiki 4 ever!

tiki lounge 2

 

More. More Science.

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I just finished watching COSMOS this week and I gotta say I want more!

Those aren't stars.  Those are freakin' galaxies!

Those aren’t stars. Those are freakin’ galaxies!

I watched the original COSMOS with Carl Sagan when I was in middle school and I loved that but this latest iteration was addicting. We looked forward to it every week just as much as Game of Thrones.  Perhaps we were just starved for something more meaningful and COSMOS was like the best steak I’ve ever had.

Sometimes the information went sailing over my head but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment whatsoever.  In fact, it is what probably fueled my appreciation.  That week about light was fantastic, and I want to watch it over and over again until I completely understand it.

Light_dispersion_conceptual_waves

Sadly, it may be all I get for a while. It appears that while this particular show did well in the ratings, science itself has taken quite a hit overall in the last generation.

It really comes down to the message that’s out there. These days, learning, curiosity and education are not hip or sexy or cool. Making money, being attractive and being famous are all anyone seems to care about. I know this is a generalization, but pop culture is a reflection of sorts of the zeitgeist.

Add to that an active push back against science from religious people or other people who display extreme willful ignorance for some reason or another.  It might be for political or monetary gain but it’s not for the general public’s best interest, that’s for sure.

Some days I wish I could borrow Professor Farnsworth’s What-If machine and see what the world might look like if scientists and thinkers and inventors were the superstars, and sports were just something we did once in a while to pass the time.  What kind of amazing advancements might have occurred?  Would we still be debating about climate change or would we be exploring the solar system and beyond?

What_if_Machine

The film Idiocracy is a great What-If scenario that shows what might happen when the stupid people win.

There are several outcomes to our present circumstances.  If the world starts to resemble that of Idiocracy and other dystopian fantasies involving book burning or drugged up compliance then, I agree with the professor.

farnsworth

Perhaps, in the meantime if you are in a position to influence a child, you might want to try a little of what Neil deGrasse Tyson is proposing and let the innate curiosity of a child be allowed some room to grow.  You never know who the next Newton or Einstein might be.

 

 

 

Imagination is a Helluva Drug

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I have been a fan of the director Jodorowsky for some time now.  I had only seen the one film back in the mid 90s, Santa Sangre, but it was so mind blowing that I was instantly hooked.

A Mondo Poster paying homage

A Mondo Poster paying homage

A few years back, there was a midnight showing of El Topo.  The trailer alone is madness.  The film is an existential journey that cannot be explained.  It must be taken.

I cannot necessarily recommend you see any film by this man, except perhaps the recent documentary JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.

The titular film could have been an epic masterpiece or an expensive mess, but we’ll never know.  The documentary explores the what if with Jodorowsky and the fascinating tale of his attempt to put together a team and realize his dream of making “the most important film in the history of humanity.”

Jodorowsky dreams big.  He lives ‘what the hell’ all the time.  Some of the pieces fall into place by mere chance and happenstance.  Others he pursues doggedly because he can envision it no other way.  But through it all, Jodo just keeps on keeping on.  He believes in what he’s doing.

Sadly, the financing did not come through and all that work came to naught.  I can’t say whether or not Jodorowsky’s Dune would have been a success or even a good film.  But the documentary makes clear that by bringing all of the various people (artists and musicians among them) together and inspiring them to work in a field they might not have chosen did have a noticeable effect on filmmaking from that point onward.

Jodorowsky said that he wanted to make a film that left the viewer feeling much like they would from doing LSD.  It’s been noted that LSD has a mind-expanding effect on those who’ve taken it.  Imagine a film seen by millions having that same effect.  He might have changed the course of human history indeed.  Perhaps he truly was ahead of his time and a new wave of creative minds will be inspired to take up where he left off.

It could be fantastic, yes.