January 2004 Archives

This Makes Me Crazy


OK. Everybody has their own religion about weight loss and dietary health. But it really drives me crazy that news agencies feel the need to add to the confusion by publishing conflicting reports like this one on CNN: Have Your Carbs and Lose Weight, Too? and this other one on CNN a few months ago: Vindication for the Atkins Diet?. If you wonder why people are overweight and uneducated about their health, it's because all these conflicting stories make it too complex to figure out what you should be eating and how.

On a side note, here's a strange comment in the first story:

Gary Foster, clinical director of the University of Pennsylvania's Weight and Eating Disorders Program, said he suspects participants who lost weight ate less than what was reported.

Usually, researchers suspect that the amount of food being consumed is under-reported, not over-reported, because most people have very limited understanding of serving size. This comment makes even less sense when you note that, as mentioned earlier in the article:

All meals were prepared for participants, who were instructed to eat as much as they wanted. They also were told to return any uneaten food, which the researchers said enabled them to calculate calorie intake.

What does he think these participants were doing, hiding food in their sleeves?

Drowning in Physics


Somebody asked me how school was going. I'm only a few weeks into the semester, so it's going as well as it will ever go, as I haven't had a chance to completely and utterly fuck up yet.

I'm taking a physics class this semester, as I have every semester since I restarted school. Only this time, I may be in over my head. For one thing, I'm not as far along in math as I ought to be, although I suspect that that is not going to be as big a deal as it might. So far I understand all the math I've needed.

One pleasant thing about this class is that we're required to keep a normal lab notebook, with prenumbered pages and written in pen. I was surprised last semester that we were supposed to use a spiralbound book and write in pencil, but I guess that's just a way of gentling you into the notebook thing. It felt weird, and I was compelled to do a more carefully edited job than I usually would with a lab notebook, on account of having erasability. Anyway, I feel more calm with the normal setup.

I'm also taking a math class -- second semester calculus (I ought to be in third semester calculus for this physics class) for the second time. I don't know why last semester was so hard, but I suspect it had to do with having math in the afternoon. That, and the teacher completely ignoring the textbook.

The rest of my classes are studio/craft classes: photography (black and white), ceramic sculpture, and woodworking.

The woodworking class is a bit slow-paced; the teacher talks very slowly and quietly, and he's a bit of a stoner in personality type if not in fact. I'm hoping we get to some real meat in the class soon.

Photography got off to a good start: we shot a roll of slide film and discussed composition, then had a tour of the darkrooms. I'm excited about having access to the darkroom all semester for just a $15 user fee. I'm trying to get my hands on a large-format camera so I can try out the developing on the cheap at school. We shall see.

Ceramic sculpture is also interesting. With the teacher I had for ceramics (Don Santos). We had one field trip to a gallery to see some ceramics, then I missed the day when we learned alternative wheel techniques (which is a bummer because I saw the beginning and it was very exciting), and then in our last class we worked quickly and excitedly to prepare pieces of stuff which we're going to use to make some wall pieces next week. I worked on press molds, because I think I'm too short to use the extruder effectively. Bummer, because I love the extruder and was looking forward to making things with it this semester.

So that's this semester in a nutshell. I also get to fill out financial aid forms, and wait anxiously to hear back from the schools I applied to so I can know how I will be spending my next three years. I'm glad I bought that extra-large bottle of Maalox.

Do all the candidates seem alike to you? Check this out: AOL/Time Warner (or whoever they are these days) put together this interactive tool to find your perfect presidential candidate. I was horrified to discover that I fit perfectly with Al Sharpton.

Answers to All Your Questions


About Islamic law, of course.

Larger-Format Photography


I've been interested in working with a view camera for a while now, and with the photography class I'm taking this semester giving me access to a decent darkroom, I've been shopping around for a camera. What I've found is that large-format cameras are hideously expensive.

On the other hand, people seem to want to hand me medium format cameras every few days. So now I have a 120mm camera, and Noel's uncle may either sell or lend me his 6x6 camera with lenses. This will allow me to do small contact prints or maybe some enlargements.

With our plans to build a shed out back this summer for use as a workshop, things get much more interesting. I'd actually be able to build a darkroom from scratch, if I were so inclined.

Well, There's a Surprise


On Yahoo News this afternoon, an admission from Colin Powell (naturally they make the black guy make the announcement) that Iraq may not have possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Powell acknowledged that the United States thought deposed leader Saddam Hussein had banned weapons but added, "We had questions that needed to be answered.

"What was it?" he asked. "One hundred tons, 500 tons or zero tons? Was it so many liters of anthrax, 10 times that amount or nothing?"

Maybe I'm in the wrong on this, ethically, but I think that if the proof was not quite so concrete, and they might have had nothing, we had no reason to invade and depose their leader on the pretext that he was preparing to use WMDs against the US.

Fashion Clues for the Clueless


I passed a girl on campus today who had combined two fashion things with terrible results: a super-tight t-shirt, and a padded bra.

OK, I dig that you A-cup ladies are a little unhappy about the lack of boobage, but if you're going to pad, wear a shirt that does not telescope that fact to the whole world. She looked like she was wearing a pair of maxi pads on her breasts.



I blame Gert for sending me an unending supply of virtual bubblewrap.

Oh, Harsh


A biting review of Along Came Polly on CNN.com gives us this damning comparison:

Even "Zoolander," which Hamburg co-wrote and Stiller directed, had a fun, goofy energy -- and a notable lack of nauseating humor -- that made it endearing in a way "Along Came Polly" never is.

How Can You Hate Hummers?

| | Comments (1)

Oh. The other kind. Check out this guy and his readers, who are giving Hummers the finger.

Who Knew Elephants Could Do That?


My friend Kate pointed out this picture of a a baby elephant swimming with its truck sticking straight out in front of it. How cute. I don't think I've ever seen an elephant do that with its trunk.

Where Do YOU Draw the Line?


Speaking of PETA and animal rights activists in general on Making Light, adamsj remarks:

Show me a cure for AIDS that requires grinding up live kittens and I'll personally turn the crank.

I can get behind that.

I Think That's Too Small For You


The dog managed to barely squeeze herself into the cat's bed this morning. Maybe I need to get a larger bed so they can share.


Dejunking is Cathartic


Over on Flylady.net, they're in the middle of a "Super Fling Boogie": get rid of as much as you can in two weeks. I find getting rid of stuff and decluttering space makes life much better (we got rid of a whole carload of stuff last month), and I love hearing about how other people have cleaned out their dclutter. As an inspiration, check out the Weirdest Items Decluttered. Here's an example of some of the stuff people save:

The little metal "key" we had to use everyday to adjust the bone spreader implanted in my mouth (for 6 months) when I was twelve! I'm now thirty five!!! Why did my Mom save it? Did she think my jaw would shrink back?

I Hate Re-makes


I've been frustrated by a desire to buy The Producers on DVD, and now I see why. Rather than allow those of us who love the original to enjoy it in that format, we're going to get a remake, first. Not that I dislike Matthew Brodderick and Nathan Lane -- I most likely will go see and enjoy the re-make -- but Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel were goddamned funny in the original, and I want it on DVD, dammit.

New Ways of Being


I'm slowly getting used to Atkins. For one thing, I'm warm all the time, which is nice. Although it's been a bit warmer lately, I feel warmer than usual at this temperature, if that makes any sense. I exude heat. I hope this is a good thing and not a sign that I've clogged my arteries with filth and raised my blood pressure beyond what is healthy.

My digestive system has still not adjusted to the change. It'd be nice to not have my tum gurgle every five minutes, as if I had desperate need for a toilet. And it'd be nice to not have desperate need for a toilet so often, too.

The only real drawback is that I feel kind of grossed out by the amount of eggs I'm eating. I mean, I like eggs, but not every day, sometimes twice a day. This kind of reminds me of when my mother and I visited Brazil for a month, and I lived in pizza and omlettes. But without the guarana.

Naan and Curry


We had lunch today at Naan and Curry, by 9th and Irving. Very good food, not terribly diet-friendly but tasty and spicy, for incredibly cheap. I had a shrimp biryani for $10, and brought the rice home for Noel to enjoy (which he did). They have free chai, too, unsweetened, so you can make it how you like it.

Linocut Madness


Spent the day doing arty crap with Christo and his friend Celeste. I introduced them to the wonder that is the linoleum print. I did a brief discussion of what is required for Christo, then we went down the Pearl and did some shopping for tools (and met Celeste), then we went to the Art Store and did more shopping. The Art Store had watercolour paper on sale, which made me very happy, although they were entirely out of the sizes I wanted in the hot press, which is my preferred texture.

When I got home, there was a Dick Blick catalog waiting for me with even more watercolour paper on sale. Yum.

Fun With Physiology


Sometimes, I wish I could be this funny:
Top Ten Histological and Anatomical Entities of the Year

People Like Low Carb Diets


Futher proof that I am just a sheep in my dietary decisions, Fortune Magazine ran this article on how Atkins is Taking Over the World.

Dogs in School?


I was telling Noel a weird story last night about how it would be if dogs went to school the way kids do, and he suggested I use that for my linoleum block book. Interesting idea, but I'm not very good at drawing dogs. Although I'm sure I would get good pretty fast with the amount of drawing that would require.

Now that I've read a book on Japanese wood block printing, I have a better idea of how complex the multi-colour blocks will be. With modern transfer techniques, I'm sure things will be much easier than the traditional method. I just need to work out the logistics.

What Next, the DTs?


First symptom of the New Diet: an excrutiating headache. I never get headaches, so this is particularly irritating. I don't even really know what to do about it. Well, take aspirin, obviously, but is this a problem? How the hell do I know?

Off to a Good Start


"And how did you spend your first evening on Atkins?"

"Making an apple pie."

It's just that I'd bought these apples, see, with the intention of making a pie. Well, now I have a large apple pie.

So I'm starting a diet at the beginning of the year. Not on purpose, but because I knew that starting a diet right before going away for Christmas to see the in-laws would be a bit touchy. A pleasant side-effect is that at this time of the year, the diet products I chose to buy are on sale. Since I'm going on Atkins, I needed to get some supplements. Saved a huge amount of money with the sales, but I think I'll buy them online in the future, as they seem to be cheaper.

So, why Atkins? Well, I come from a long line of women who have died too young from diabetes. Atkins may be able to help me control that. And the dietary suggestions seem to be fairly straightforward.

How does a vegetarian do Atkins? Eggs. Eggs are your friend, apparently. Not bad, since I like eggs a lot, and cheese, too. But the fact that I've been eating fish this year will help a lot. We're also going to give duck a try and see if it makes me as vilely ill as chicken does. I don't know; I think I might have had duck once or twice as a kid, but not in the last twenty or so years.

The biggest sacrifice is bread. I do like eggs and toast quite a bit, but there will be no toast for me for at least two weeks, if not more. Bummer.

One thing I have discovered is that eating the Atkins version of peanut butter cups makes you not want to eat peanut butter cups ever again. I guess that's positive. I wish diet product makers would realize that one of the appealing things about peanut butter cups is not that they have chocolate, but that they have soft, oily, salty peanut butter in the middle. Dammit. Anyway, hard chocolate things with a dry, somewhat peanutty filling are not my idea of fun. (Note: as I was walking out of the grocery store with my new Atkins booty, I noted a giant display for white-chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups. Heaven help me.)

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