Sunday, March 30, 2008

Adventures in Caffeine

For most of my life I have been immune to caffeine. The down side was that if I needed to drive all night or get up early, caffeine was useless to me. On the other hand, after a hard day's athletic contest when I was fairly dehydrated and could drink 240 ounces of diet soft drink to rehydrate and not lose a wink of sleep.

All that changed recently.

A couple years ago I lost about fifty to sixty pounds (I lost more, but regained some of it. I've been at my current weight for more than a year or so). In order to stay hydrated (because I don't like the taste of the local water) I drank about ten to eleven liters of diet creme soda a week for the last three years. The manufacturer switched over to a caffeinated version. It didn't bother me until I read Taubes and couldn't bring myself to eat any more sugar or white flour.

Among the other changes that made in my life I became sensitive to caffeine. I could feel it. I didn't like it. I went cold turkey. Luckily for me, the immunity also meant no withdrawal effects at all. I haven't touched creme soda since.

But, recently we did a road trip. We drove late, then because of some problems with hotel rooms, had to drive sixty miles more. A storm warning had us getting up early, an hour earlier than the "early" we had planned on before the extra late stop.

Much to my surprise, four ounces of diet pepsi, spread over twelve hours of driving, kept me alert and awake. But, the next morning I found myself wanting another ounce. I still had eighteen ounces left ...

Dang. I cut myself off immediately, but it was an amazing learning experience. Caffeine had gone from neutral and a non-issue to extremely unpleasant, to useful in measured amounts, to very, very attractive, in less than a week.

Oh, and I'm drinking diet root beer now, and water.

On the Shangri-la Diet I used to eat six slices of bread a day, two cups of yogurt with half a cup of sugar, etc., every day. I now eat only 240 calories or less a day of full grain bread, no sugar and no white flour. I actually have enjoyed the change, though it has been interesting. Has not made much of a difference in my weight. My SLD calories come from three tablespoons of extra light olive oil a day.

When I'm out I tend to get chicken salads. There is always a grilled chicken salad on the menu. Just take the dressing on the side.

My rotator cuffs are getting much, much better, which means I'll be able to restart some sort of serious exercise again, which seems to make a big difference for me. From 245 to 189 or so, it is just SLD. From 189 to 167 it is SLD and exercise. I'm still learning to understand my body and how it all works, just grateful it still does.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What I learned on vacation

Well, that semis now tend to drive the speed limit (the result of GPS installation and remote monitoring) but tour buses don't ...

That my wife's Tahoe is much more stable than I thought with 55 mph cross-winds (after five hundred miles of driving in them I was relieved it wasn't worse) ...

Finally, some neat information about my favorite yogurt:
Appropriately, the Poseidon yogurt is a bit watery, we only eat Artemis yogurt (which I'm almost buying by the case each week) -- eat it straight, or kids eat it with sugar, the closest thing to it is cheesecake.

Yes, FAGE Total Yogurt is great, and can be eaten in the fat free version.

It was worth the trip, if all we did was help clean the apartment and take care of a child who had a bout with the flu. I understand why Heaven is family first and foremost.

I'm glad to be back, though we ended up with forty bags of lawn "stuff" for the mulching center.

It was a good vacation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Trisecting an Angle

Achilles can catch a turtle.

He can also trisect an angle -- all it takes is infinite iterations.

As iterations -> infinity, then angle -> trisection.

A nice application of the theory of limits and a solution to one of Euclid's three unsolvable problems.

I figured out the essence of it in eighth grade. Having just read, again, that it isn't possible, I thought I'd say something.

Otherwise, I did enjoy Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry.

Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry

Thursday, March 13, 2008

All is well

I'll have a short blogging and posting hiatus but everything is fine, just very busy.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


This has been one of those weeks. A good friend died. I got notice that another friend's wife was sick, but expected to stay strong into next week and went down to see her in the hospital during a snow storm only to discover she had taken a bad turn for the worse and they were going to discontinue life support in the morning. A sister in our ward had her husband die.

I'm blogging on my perspective and thoughts about trials and adversity tomorrow at Mormon Matters.

But, it has been a week with a number of them. But every week has trials. Otherwise it wouldn't be the imperfect world we dwell in.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Show some empathy and appreciation ...

Amand Mauss made suggestions in his excellent essay entitled Alternate Voices, which was a response to Elder Oaks' General Conference address by that same title (by the way, according to Mauss, Elder Oaks send a favorable reply to Mauss about his essay).
6. Be humble, generous, and good natured in tolerating ideas that you find aversive in other Church members, no matter how "reactionary." As "alternate voices," we cannot complain when we are ignored or misunderstood if we respond with contempt toward those whose ideas we deplore. Besides, if we have any hope of educating them, we have to start where they are and treat them with love and tolerance. No one is won over by being put down, especially in public. Whether in our writing or in our exchanges during Sunday School classes, we must try to be gracious as well as candid (difficult though it be on occasion) and always remember to show forth afterward "an increase of love toward him whom thou has reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy" (D&C 121:43).

7. Show some empathy and appreciation for Church leaders, male and female, from the general level down to the local ward and branch. Anyone who has ever held a responsible leadership position knows how heavy the burdens of office can be, especially in callings like bishop, Relief Society president, and stake president (to say nothing of apostle), in which the decisions made can affect countless numbers of people for good or ill. We may privately deplore the poor judgment, the unrighteous dominion, the insensitivity, and even the outright ignorance of some leaders. Yet, after all, they are, like us, simple mortals doing their best according to their lights. Some of them sacrifice a great deal for no apparent benefit, and all are entitled to our support, and occasionally our praise, whenever these can reasonably be given. When they do something outrageously wrong, they need our sympathy even more. "There but for the grace of God . . . " etc.

8. Do not say or do anything to undermine the influence or legitimacy of Church leaders at any level. They have their callings and prerogatives, and we should not step forth to "steady the ark" by publicly offering our alternative leadership. Please don't misunderstand: I am not advocating silent submission in the face of official stupidity. There is much that we can do without playing the role of usurper. When we write for publication, let us by all means criticize policies, practices, or interpretations of doctrine; but let us not personalize our criticisms with ad hominem attacks. They are not only discourteous and condescending, but quite unnecessary. ...
I've known some people who worked many, many unpaid hours to do work no one else could or would do (we were desperately looking for replacements and there were none to be found).

I fear that when I meet a bishop, my first emotion is often pity. I pray for mine with my family every night.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Off the transplant list

I've a friend, his wife was hospitalized last week end. Today her condition was bad enough that they took her off the transplant list. They will take her off the ventilator as soon as her doctor arrives in the morning to handle that. The funeral will be early next week.

Words fail me. We've been in reversed positions, and words failed him. He knows exactly how I feel and I how I wish so much there was more I could do. But words are all we have.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rest in peace Gary, rest in peace

Gary Gygax, an old friend of mine, died today. He was 69. They'd held a reunion last summer and were going to repeat this summer. I was hoping to make this one, to see him one more time.

Ah age and time make fools of us all. for the story.

May he rest in peace, and find his way safely home.