Ghost Town

Elementary school. Fourth grade. I was 9-10 years old. One of the only really memorable activities from that year in school was the Ghost Town. I think we earned and saved up funny money for use at this event throughout the year.

On the day of the event, the gym was filled with all sorts of storefronts themed after old wild west towns. The entire fourth grade got to play “ghost town” for a day. Root beer floats at the saloon, other shops where you could do things or buy snacks or knickknacks (I don’t recall if I got to buy anything or not, but I remember wanting a Chinese yoyo). I’m sure there were other activities as well.

And there was a jail. For those who misbehaved or broke the rules. I spent the latter half the day there, hah. Was I such a trouble maker? How’d I get tossed in there?

I should mention, when younger siblings had their ghost town day in subsequent years at the same school, it seems to me like their jail was yet another facade in the gym area. Old west themed, so even being in jail was kinda funny.

During mine, however, the jail wasn’t made up like another themed element of the ghost town… it was a separate, fairly large room with no old west theming at all– it was pretty much a type of school detention. More like being banished from the ghost town.

Well, as a part of this event, girls were required to make and bring a lunch for two. These lunches were to be auctioned off to the boys, who would then sit and eat the lunch with the girl who made it. I don’t remember if they told the boys who the lunch belonged to or not prior to auctioning it… maybe they did. (In retrospect, this seems like kind of a terrible idea to me, but I guess it seemed innocent enough at the time to those who designed this event… they were just 9-10 year olds, after all, right? As long as everyone plays by the rules…)

You probably have an idea where this is going. It hadn’t really occurred to me until now, but that’s the first time I can recall any organization trying to train kids to pair up with the opposite sex. Is this some type of social engineering? Like dances that were held in middle and high school? Never really thought about it before. I digress.

Fourth grade. 10 years old. Girls still had cooties as far as I was concerned. So being the genius that I was, I told my mother nothing of this activity, so she made my “cold lunch” as usual. So when lunch rolled around, I bid on no lunch at the auction.

(Seriously– was there an exactly equal number of girls and boys in 4th grade? How did that even work? No doubt the teachers had figured the numbers out, and I left some girl with her lunch unpurchased and eating alone and maybe feeling bad that no one wanted to buy their lunch… see why I say this seems like a terrible idea? If for no other reason than because of jerks like me… but certainly some lunches drew much higher bids than others.)

Instead, after the auction as people went out to eat beside the school, I wandered back to the classroom and retrieved my usual lunch.

It wasn’t long before I was busted by other students wondering how I’d gotten out of buying a lunch, hah. So instead being able to use all that dough I saved by not bidding on a lunch, I spent the rest of the day in the clink. Somehow I doubt they threatened us with the penalty of jail for not buying a lunch beforehand… probably didn’t occur to them that it could be a problem until I pulled my little stunt.

No regrets. Mom wasn’t too happy that I’d “deceived” her in such a way, however, haha. 25 years later and this memory amuses me more than ever.

Mmm Kale Juice

3_August2013Kale

So I was telling Marianne that I wanted to try drinking pure kale juice, because what I’m really after is the nutrients in Kale. I could save money and calories (sugar, mostly) by not making a juice blend but just downing a shot of kale juice. So she dared me to do it. Said she’d give me $5 if I did, or that I wouldn’t owe her for the Cafe Rio taco she’d bought me.

So I documented it.


I juiced an entire bunch of organic kale, as bought from the store. Not sure what the weight was pre-juicing.


It yielded nearly 8oz of raw kale juice.


Mmm… doesn’t it look chlorophylicious?



(It amuses me to see how distracted I was by my own image on the screen of my phone, haha.)

Definitely potent stuff. But no, I didn’t vomit. Might have experienced some detox-like effects later in the day (sorta headachy / slightly dizzy), but otherwise… not too bad 🙂 I think sometimes putting acidic / sour fruits in with it just amps up the bitterness.

Google Reader: I’ve been dating an old lady.

I’m just posting this because I’ve seen a lot of the “what will I do without Google Reader” sentiment going around. And obviously I need an RSS reader to keep up with YOUR blog, so here we are. It seems like the most common / popular alternative to Google Reader is feedly (just my observation, I could be wrong).

While it’s a smartphone app, it looks like they also have browser extensions you can install– that’s all I’ve done so far. You give feedly permission to access your google reader stuff, and voila. All your subscriptions are there.

First impression? Reminds me of when Buster first meets Marta and says “I’ve been dating an old lady.” haha. It really is a ton easier on the eyes and easier to navigate than Google Reader was.

And it sounds like all you have to do is start using feedly before Google Reader shuts down (July 1) and all your reader info / subscriptions will transfer over seamlessly. Take a look:

http://blog.feedly.com/2013/03/14/google-reader/

Also, if you’re a bit more adventurous and want to try something else, or maybe just want to be extra certain you don’t lose any of your subscription info, you can export it from Google Reader:

http://support.google.com/reader/answer/3028851

St. George 2013

Spent the weekend here last weekend with the Aldrich crew and most of the Sloan crew. Such a good weekend. Sunshine, red mesas, temps in the 80s, day trip to Vegas to indulge Kato’s Dunkin Donuts obsession (Irish Creme donut was amazing), swimming, bumper boat shenanigans at Fiesta Fun, great food, and some quality time with my favorite people.

It could only be better if it lasted longer– that trip was good for the soul.

Love these captures from my sister and cousins in law, they capture the weekend pretty well 🙂

Enjoying some St. George sun with my entourage...and roughly half the population of Utah. #thisplaceiscrazy

Beautiful weekend in St. George with lots of playing outside. But still did a lot of this. #kidsaretechjunkies

(yes… I stole the last 2 photos since their instagram accounts are private 😛 Sorry Em and Kim!)

Why is there a “Flu Season”?

A couple months back, amidst news reports of record high incidence of the flu, I found myself wondering… why is there a “season” for the flu?

What I’ve learned since then:

• Your white blood cells need calcium to work efficiently. (White blood cells are cells of the immune system involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials.)
• You need Vitamin D to absorb calcium for use by the body.
• You need Vitamin F (essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6) to get calcium to the tissues.

In places like Utah, where it’s cold (and often overcast or at least smoggy enough to avoid being outside for the sake of air quality) and the days are shorter in the Winter, people get a lot less Vitamin D, because the body needs exposure to sunlight to produce Vitamin D. (I noticed that places like California don’t really seem to have that spike in flu occurrence during the winter months.)

So, winter time vitamin D deficiency leads to calcium deficiency which leads to increased susceptibility to infection.

Notes:

1. The form of calcium the body needs, through diet, is calcium lactate and/or calcium citrate. These are soluble forms of calcium. The type found in milk and other dairy products is the insoluble calcium phosphate.

Calcium citrate and calcium lactate are quickly converted by the body into calcium bicarbonate, which the heart needs when it’s been weakened. You need this soluble form of calcium to prevent viral diseases, especially those that include a fever. Fever is an indicator of a calcium deficiency. (Of course, there are other nutrients the body needs to recover from injury and disease, but calcium is a big one).

Calcium lactate is the calcium present mostly in vegetables– good sources are kale, bok-choy, collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, etc. Spinach has a lot of calcium, but also has a high amount of oxalates, which prevent absorption of most of that calcium.

2. The role Vitamin D plays in calcium absorption explains why they add synthetic Vitamin D to milk… perhaps it aids in the absorption of calcium phosphate as well. In any case, I’d suggest avoiding synthetic Vitamin D and get it naturally instead. Get sunshine daily if you can (in moderation, of course), or get it from whole food sources. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, beef/chicken liver, eggs, and cod liver oil are good sources. I doubt many people intake enough synthetic vitamin D for it to be toxic, but I’d rather not find out what the effect of prolonged synthetic vitamin D intake is myself.

Siren

I was just gliding along a rolling paved road who knows where. The golden light of the morning and the lush green grass on either side of the road told me it was summer time, if not late spring. I was lost in thought– lyrics that don’t make much sense upon recalling– as I traveled up a mild incline.

At first I seemed alone, but eventually saw a woman traveling the opposite direction. She had a beauty that seemed to be from another time, perhaps a century past. I complemented her as she passed, and she gave an odd smile and continued briskly on.

Curious, I turned around and followed her as she descended into a thick canopy of trees. I hadn’t recalled traveling through this forrest, and wondered if I’d been moving along with my eyes closed for part of my journey.

Upon entering this forest, the mysterious woman was nowhere to be seen, and darkness rapidly descended. I moved along more cautiously, and soon became aware of what seemed to be the silhouettes of three hooded figures huddled closely together at the side of the road.

Curiosity again drew me near, despite the foreboding I sensed about these figures. Peering from their dark cloaks were small, wrinkled otherworldly faces with beady black eyes. As I came closer, their mouths dropped open, making a hissing sucking sound. They did not appear to do anything other than stare with a piercing, unearthly gaze.

These figures were altogether unsettling.

*****

I awoke from the chilling visage of these figures to realize the sucking sound was my own breathing as my nose was congested, forcing me to try to breath through my mouth.

Sleep had fled, so I briefly rehearsed this dream to write it later, before seeking distraction to shake off the nightmare.

Dusting off the blog

You know… I don’t know that I care for my current layout / design. Not mine, of course, just a template I installed. But it does lend itself well to how neglected this blog has been, no? 😉 I should actually design my own… haven’t done that in years. (Just another reason why I have no business calling myself a designer, heh.)

Anyways, I’ve had the itch to write a bit lately, but mainly about things I’m learning (health / nutrition-related). I thought about doing a separate blog (I’ve done two different fitness blogs in the fast, but that was primarily a journal and secondarily a notebook for things I was learning and wanted to remember / reference), but I don’t know that I’m *that* committed. So, I’ll probably post the occasional tidbit now and then on this blog when something is particularly interesting to me.

And perhaps I’ll start posting other miscellaneous things here, since I’m increasingly less inclined to post things on more public forums like Facebook and Twitter. In any case… I’m surprised you’re reading this. 😉

Is this thing on?

Who cares if flowers are one of the most cliche photo subjects?

Missing me again.

Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict “It is.” Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say “It is,” you are refusing to say “I am.” By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person. When a man declares: “Who am I to know?” he is declaring: “Who am I to live?” –Ayn Rand (from Galt’s Speech, The New Intellectual)

Guilty. I know I think. I know I use my brain *sometimes*. But am I turning it on just long enough for basic necessities and then shutting it back off?

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement.” Patricia, Joe Versus the Volcano

I spent some time looking at what my blog was like 8 years ago to the month. I loved blogging back then. I wrote about the most trivial things– whatever was on my mind. Posted a random photo if there wasn’t one to go with the subject of the post. Posted pics of food gratuitously. And I suppose what helped keep it going was the small but devoted community of people– family and friends– who read and commented and conversed. Most of them blogged, too. You spoke your mind and there were people who actually gave a damn, no matter how trivial.

Tangent to the original subject, but I don’t think I’ve ever placed enough value on friendship, come to think of it. Friends who helped keep me awake, helped keep my brain on, and perhaps even my heart beating.

I look at today and why don’t I write the mundane amusing experiences and details of life anymore? What has changed? Has everything been documented? Is life that repetitive that there’s nothing left to write? Nah… as mundane as life can be, as repetitive as it can be, the beauty is in the details. The brief moments. The conversations. The laughter. The heartache. And everything in between.

Could be that my “falling asleep” coincides with becoming more and more withdrawn from life in general. Or maybe they’re the same thing.

For life cannot always be made of grand experiences and massive break-throughs. But then, in a way, those aren’t terribly interesting anyways, are they?

And so I task myself with turning my brain back on. With waking up. With seeing beauty in the details. With striving to live in that state of constant, total amazement. With putting off intellectual laziness of all kinds. Not 100% sure how this is done… but life will be better if I do. Taking time is going to mean blogging. For me, anyways. Takes more work than a quick post to instagram or a status update on Facebook. Let’s make this something I can enjoy reflecting on in 8 years.

Speaking of change… I need to actually spend some time and make my own wordpress theme. I’m not feeling this particular theme right now other than the built in picture frames.

Creating


It blows my mind that this image was created (almost) entirely on my phone– the only exception being that I made this particular crop on my laptop. I took the photo with the phone and processed it with an app on the phone. Said processing was done while the same phone sent and received text messages and streamed music wirelessly to a pair of speakers across the room. Technology is seriously insane. This is the first time I’ve imported a photo from my phone to my computer to take a closer look at it… and I’m just amazed. Never would have thought to crop in this closely if I hadn’t been monkeying around in iPhoto with the zoom tool.

Anyways, this is only a tangent to the topic I wanted to write about.

A few weeks back an iPad app started making some waves online. It’s called “Paper by 53” (it’d just be called Paper but there were some other apps released prior to it also with the name paper, I think). The idea behind paper was to let me people draw and sketch naturally. The interface is elegant and simple– it gets out of your way so you can simply create.

Well it was a quote from one of the creators of this app, Georg Petschnigg, that got me thinking and connecting some dots. I was reading a review of the app, and he was quoted thusly:

“People are at their best when they’re creating.”

Bam. The truth of this statement resonated instantly, and struck me as being terribly profound.

Some people think that “creatives” are artists and musicians, or at the least, “right-brained”. But everyone creates– whether or not it takes the form of “the arts”. I really believe it’s our nature as humans to create– to produce, if you will. To take what’s around us and make from those materials something greater than what the original parts were by themselves. Ideas, raw materials, organizing the talents of others– whatever it may be.

Initially I thought, “Yes, I’m at my best when I’m creating. That is when I feel the most alive, the most energized, the most satisfied.” But then I thought of the world we live in. The following scenario passed quickly through my mind: a company goes out of business. Everyone there “loses their jobs.” Are there just that many fewer jobs in the world now? That much less to do? No. We are creators. We are builders. We are organizers. We are growers and cultivators. We are producers.

Some will wallow in unproductively– they are obviously not at their best. Perhaps they have been deceived and believe happiness and satisfaction come from somewhere besides creating.

Not too many days later, someone posted a John Stossel report from a little over a year ago about “freeloaders”. Though this person only posted the clip having to do with those who pose as pan handlers to make an easy living, I found the rest of the program and this same thought about creating came back to me as I watched John make a real world comparison between those who are entitled and primarily consume, and those who strive to create and build:

I watched this and realized it was a perfect illustration. Now, certainly this is a piece produced by the mainstream media to illustrate a certain point of view– but it rings true to me in general. The group that is spoon fed is worse off for being so, and the group that expects no one else to support them actually really prospers and has a much better life.

I don’t really have anything profound to conclude this rambling with– just the observation that a major factor in the health of our nation depends just how many people buy into the lie of happiness by consuming, vs the truth happiness by creating. The pie is infinite, it can only get bigger. There is no finite amount of prosperity to go around– only people who would stand in our way of freely creating and producing for their own selfish purposes.

If you didn’t see or watch this video I posted on Facebook a couple days ago, take a minute and watch it. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched creativity and passion work at such a young age. This kid is a builder, a creator, a producer. He has an awesome life ahead of him.

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

Recital pt. 2

So amidst taking stills, I recorded a brief clip or 2 of the dancing, since stills don’t do dancing justice. Hope you’ll forgive the shakiness– I’m a complete novice at video and don’t have software to smooth that out just yet.

Can you just tell how much she’s enjoying dancing here? She’s totally into it and totally having fun.

Dance Recital


I love this girl. She was so adorable up there dancing. Though I think my favorite was the end of the whole program where they brought all the different groups out to bow. Addie’s group was the first out, so they had to stand there after their turn for several minutes while all the other groups took their turn entering the stage and bowing. Pretty soon, Addie got bored of just standing there and started doing her own little groove to the music while most all the other girls just stood there, haha.

Missing warmth

Here it is, November 11, and I’m editing photos from the trip to the beach in August. I’ve enjoyed the cold weather so far this year, and I’m looking forward to the holidays… but dang. Looking at these pictures makes me miss the beach and warm weather.


Hehe, this guy didn’t love the beach. Not enough familiar mayhem down there, I suppose. Not like getting into his cousins’ tent while they’re away, hehe.