Archive for May, 2012

Fewer Chins, More Grins: Getting My Face Back

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

before-and-afterWhat drove me to lose weight was not the fear of heart attacks or a desire to make less of an impression on the floor.

I wanted to get my face back. I had to get thinner to do it.

There’s an episode of Bewitched in which the witch mother-in-law plays around with her mortal son-in-law’s face while he is asleep, rearranging and re-sizing his features. When he wakes up and sees himself in a mirror, poor Darron Stevens is so freaked out that all he can do is start shouting “I want my own face back! I want my own face back!”

thinnerTime can do this to you, change your face, so gradually that you don’t notice it in the mirror. You notice it when you get photographed. One day I saw a recent photo of me (center of the image above) that looked like someone else.

As the middle image would suggest, I was not a happy camper that year. I had gained enough weight to change the shape of my face: I had manifested jowls, a double chin, and my cheekbones and jawline had vanished under padding.

I made two changes to my lifestyle: I began walking and cut back on desserts and sugared drinks. Let’s be honest, now. I said cut back, not eliminated. As I had discovered before, the only way I can stick to a change in diet is to not stick to it, and to give myself permission to cheat occasionally. Okay, instead of downing an average of six orange sodas (with sugar and caffeine) a day, I drank a can or two once in a while, not every day.

Oldest trick in the book: rev up metabolism with periodic mild exercise and increased protein consumption. I did it gradually, and in fact am still doing it. But it is working for me. I have lost over 70 pounds so far, enough to help my features re-emerge from the cloud bank of facial fat that had obscured them. Now I look like the right image: fewer chins, more gins.

—MRK

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New Category: Improve Your Life

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

me NOWSometimes I can’t help myself: I have to add ANOTHER category or section to the blog on top of all the things I am covering already.

Sometimes it’s because I discover a new interest, like nanotechnology or programmable matter. Sometimes it’s because I run unto things that have the potential to help a lot of people and it only makes senses to me to share the information.

The new category is called Improve Your Life and so far I am pulling together resources and links about:

1. Feeding your brain so you can support and control it better — this is the do-it-yourself shake from natural ingredients I have every day before exercising. Down 70 pounds so far and dropping.

2. Reducing your WEIGHT and blood pressure naturally without prescriptions — this is how my BP went from 165/145 down to 109/74 with NO medications.

3. Saving your Marriage — the Great Recession stresses relationships. Hold on to yours!

4. For Women: getting a man to love you — Men made Easy

5. For Men: getting a woman to love you — Winning the Woman You Want

…and much more is coming.

—MRK

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Three ibises walking in the front yard

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

ibisHere’s a new one: three ibises were walking through the front yard this morning. To the ancient Egyptians, the god of moon, magic and writing was Thoth, painted humanoid with the head of an ibis. But why an Ibis? it was an awkward choice visually, because it gave him a skinny-looking neck, so he is usually shown wearing a headdress.

cuneiformBut, again, why did they choose this particular bird to represent the god of Writing? Some believe that the earliest forms of writing, such as Sumerian cuneiform, arose near swamps and river valleys because the available weed stems and mud gave free writing materials. The Sumerians could break off a stem of the papyrus plant (also common in Egypt) and use its triangle-shaped cross section at the tip to poke various arrowhead-shaped holes in the mud, which was then dried in the sun or baked to fix it permanently in that shape.

And the Ibis has a long curved bill which it likes to poke in the mud to get small crustaceans and other creatures to eat. So the ancient Egyptians saw this bird apparently “writing” in the mud and used it as the icon of the god of writing.

I’m not making this up, folks. Some might even say the bird gave primitive humans the idea of poking holes in the mud. It could be possible. Anyway, they are just more of the wild birds that fly the friendly skies of Florida where I live and write.
—MRK

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The Engineer’s Garden

Friday, May 11th, 2012

engineer's gardenI’m not always tinkering with hyperspace or programming or writing. Sometimes I get my hands dirty.

Here’s an example. I recently built a garden for my mom. (I am not a professional gardener, nor do I play one on TV.)

.
cranesThough I am aware of the beauty that surrounds me (here on the West coast of Florida where hummingbirds flit and Sandhill cranes stroll through our front yard), I cannot claim to be an artist or even a decorator.

Yes, sometimes I may be a bit of an engineer, though my degree was in Physics. A couple of weeks ago my mom asked me to build her a garden, and I found myself approaching it like an exercise in engineering. She had bought four 2×12x8′ boards, but that wasn’t sturdy enough for me, so we got a helpful lady to saw a length of 4×4x4′ into four one foot pieces and picked up four angle brackets and a bag of nails.

My brother James helped me hammer the garden border, using the foot-long pieces and angle brackets to reinforce the corners. Then we planted marigolds just inside the boards (to control nematodes), some Penta flowers in the center (to attract flying insects for pollination) and finally the tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in between (close to the border so that we wouldn’t have to step into the garden to harvest).

tomatoWe fertilized with composted manure, covered the ground with small leaves we raked up for free from the front yard, and began to hope. Sure enough, a few days later we spotted butterflies and some kind of small green bee or wasp coming in to check out the blooming marigolds and pentas. They must have found the tomato blossoms, too, because we soon saw the appearance of future food, in the form of regular tomatoes, like this one here, and then some cherry tomatoes.

I call it The Engineer’s Garden. It is designed to be efficient and low maintenance. Marigolds keep down the nematodes, flowers draw the pollinators, and the leaves cover the ground to prevent weeds from growing. The flowers are nice to look at, and eventually we will have organically grown tomatoes. Because, believe me, this is NOT an exercise in Chemical Engineering. This will grow healthy food. And it is just the beginning.
—MRK

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