Anyone who has the misfortune to spend much time around me knows that I have a pretty serious obsession with health.
Not just in an abstract fusion either, but I like to drill into what can practically be done to impact weight, longevity, quality of life, disease, all that crap. I’m not terribly big on so much of the “hey, heres some abstract concept on this obscure part of diet, but there’s nothing you can do about it” type research that seems popular. I like to focus on what we can do.
I just finished reading “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease” By Dr. Robert Lustig, who if you don’t know is famous for his “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” Lecture on Youtube. This is a great resource on the biochemistry and politic side of obesity and the impacts of Metabolic Disorder.
I Have also been thumbing through “Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare ” Which has a great discussion on how clinical trials are generally mishandled, and “Death by Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation” Which gives a lot of data on taking personal action in your use of prescription drugs.
Much of this is interesting by itself.
I started caring about this because I hit a point in my personal life where I was tired of being fat. As a typical obsessive-compulsive nerd, I was drawn in as I dug deeper. Americans (followed by the rest of the world) live longer lives now. But the quality of those years has declined. We have had was was once the last five years of our life lived with “significant” quality impairments increased to the last “twenty” years of our lives. See the rise in those fucking scooters for the mobility impact.
Alzheimer’s and cognitive issues are on the rise. Cancer is on the rise. Fuck, the lack of fitness in Americans has impacted the military recruitment, and is becoming a National Security issue. Fuck, can we start taking this seriously yet?
I have some deep opinions on the best way to do things, but that’s no longer even the point. How about we simply stop doing the worst fucking things possible?
Eat less than 130 pounds of sugar per year.
Safe levels of sugar were once calculated back when the average was 40 pounds per person per year. now we eat 130. If you want to know why this is an issue war Dr. Lustig’s video above. Or of you think that only calories are the issue then just imagine the calories (hint: at this amount, the calories are overwhelmed but the impact on insulin and your liver)
Actually, I can stop advice right there. Just sugar alone is probably the worst of the worst of the worst. Just fixing that in anyone’s diet (stop drinking sodas and fruit juice, quit foods with added sugar, etc) would make a big impact.
Then, get off your ass and do something. Anything. (but not jogging, that shit’s useless) Do 50 pushups each day. Take the whole day, I don’t fucking care. do it. Add 20 sit-ups. get two empty gallon milk containers, fill them with water, and duck-tape them closed. carry one in each hand and walk around the block.
If all that’s too easy, go buy some Kettlebells. Show up at my house and I will personally show you how to use them. Lift more heavy shit.
Personally, I chose to do a lot more. I still eat a paleo diet, and have barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight workouts that I mix. But not everyone needs to be as insane as me to make a difference. Just. Do. Something.
I have set myself a new goal this year of writing up an article on my Blog by each Friday. I haven’t gotten that down yet, but I’m doing much better than last year.
When I started writing, I felt that blogs were really useless, and pretty much a huge waste of time. I was right of course, but that doesn’t stop me from writing. For the most part I have been discouraged in the past from writing partially by the really crappy writing of others. Most people are really terrible writers, or at best just mostly pointless.
But that’s not really relevant. Despite the anti-motivation that a lot of folk offer, I have seen some really fine writers out there, and more importantly, I have seen in myself the impact of writing, even when it is largely about nothing. Being forced to sit down and collect thoughts about anything is a great exercise.
I have felt the benefits of this at work, where I need to write for business, and getting some warmup on the weekends or other random points really helps the mental focus when I need it.
Also I have purchased myself a new Kindle recently as a birthday present (from me to me). I have to admit that the “ereader” and “epaper” or whatever they call it is impressive, and I can read much faster on a Kindle than in normal books. Being able to carry a stack of books around doesn’t suck either. It has been another motivation to write as well. Good reading begets good writing.
I have several deeper writing projects that I simply haven’t had time to work on, but really need to take time to flesh out deeper once I get the chance. I’m starting to think that I should just hammer something out from one of my list of ideas, if for no other purpose than to get a stake in the ground to improve on for other projects.
Perhaps a collection of blog postings…
I have a bookshelf with several of my favorite authors. When I was more more organized, the top two shelves were dedicated to two writers exclusively. Hunter Thompson and Douglas Adams.
I have spent some time in collecting everything that they have written, at least within reason, as some books and editions are redundant or impossible to find. But for the most part, I have a complete collection. And now I fear it.
When you truly enjoy a great writer, you can just burrow through their pages, absorbing the words and prose, and burst out the other side of the book with a sweaty glow, soaking in the the feelings and emotions of the writing. Great works you can read over and over, but nothing replaces the thrill of picking up the next work. And I can now look at my shelf and not only see the next work, but the last work.
I have unread books from both Hunter and Douglas. And I will read them, but not yet. I have gone over the covers several times, feeling the spines, then sliding the books back into the gaps they leave in the shelf. Pulling one open and starting at the first page is carefully planned. These are influential works to me, even when they are just scribbled rantings, because there will be no more.
I met Douglas Adams when I had just graduated high school. He came to Seattle to the University Book Store for a book signing. I was thrilled to learn this, and was there right of the bat with my copies of hitchhikers guide to sign. Once I got to the front of the line, I had no idea what to say. I had been reading his books since Elementary school, and I didn’t know what to ask.
So I asked him one of the stock questions he always got, about getting the idea for the books lying in a field. I knew the answer, but hearing it from Douglas was worth it. He was my height, well over 6 feet, looking me in the eye. And he was sincere and happy to answer even the most basic question from one of his fans. I never forgot that moment.
I only read Hunter after becoming trapped in Las Vegas after Chuck’s wedding. We flew down on stand-by tickets into Las vegas, and by accident, the wedding was during March Madness. The wedding itself was fantastic, but Vegas was a zoo. By the last day of the long weekend we were ready to leave. But with stand by tickets, there was no space. So we waited another day. Nothing.
Yulia and I were trapped in Vegas with our daughter, and the estimate was that it would be at least 3 to 5 days before a clear flight would let us out.
At that point, I had The Fear.
To escape out of our desert gulag I worked a scheme with a car rental company, three airports, and getting put on the Terrorist Watch List that had us driving from Las Vegas to Seattle via San Francisco.
I knew of the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and after that experience, bought it to relate to what just happened to us. I was immediately struck by the writing, and never looked back. I read The Curse of Lono just before our last trip to Hawaii, and have the rest of Hunter’s books on the shelf.
Both Douglas’s humor and Hunter’s brutality influence my writing today. I love peeking into what they have written, but am not sure that I want to hit the end just yet.
Perhaps, once my writing us matured, it will be what fills that gap for me. The same way their own writing filled the gap from their literary heroes.
I’m not there yet. But each time I pull another book off that shelf, just a bit remains in me afterwards, and lives in on in my eyes and fingers. And is inflicted upon you.
Well, it’s that time of year again. It has been an interesting year for HST fans, with a few books and a film, the TV thing on Starz, and work being done on the film The Rum Diary.
We all raise a glass….
Today July 18th is Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday. He would have been 71. Now everybody knows that Hunter liked to have a good time so lets just do that today and celebrate the man – he would have wanted to hear ice clinking in glasses and the sound of people having FUN!
I haven’t done a posting about Hunter in some time, so here is a clip from the Owl Farm Blog:
Today’s HST wisdom comes from The Gonzo Way: After Doug Brinkley’s introduction, the chapters go as follows:
Learning – That’s What It’s All About.
It’s Wrong When It Stops Being Fun.
Politics Is The Art of Controlling Your Environment.
We Is The Most Important Word in Politics.
Truth Is Easier.
Buy The Ticket, Take the Ride.
Never Apologize, Never Explain.