Category Archives: Amusing Myself

Properly Considering the Future: Your Secret Superpower

I find myself prone to “paralysis by analysis,” the strange disorder where you have too much choice, too much opportunity. This is mostly a problem when you have a few big projects in front of you, and you’re having difficulty making yourself get started because… how the hell do I? My psychologist says that I see the big picture to a fault, and that it would be far more advantageous to see the first step, then to see the next step, etc. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” I’ve never quite found this satisfying.

Mind the tusks.
Photo credit: Stuart Bassil, via flickr

How do you eat an elephant? Bites don’t even come into it. No, no, no, it will be an arduous process of slaughter, butchery, cooking, curing, and stewing before you even get started. Sure, bites will be involved, but it’s hard not to consider that the eating itself will span thousands of meals over the course of months, and that’s if you make a pig of yourself. This metaphor is starting to upset me, so I’ll get to my point.

... continue reading.

You Are Not Your Introversion

I’ll admit, the whole “introvert vs. extrovert” thing is something that I once found useful. Habitually shunning human contact in favor of books or video games tends to lead to all sorts of unpleasant labels like “loner,” “shy,” or “recluse.” People never used “misanthrope,” but they should have, because it’s a badass word.

I found it freeing when there was this zeitgeist online to redefine my behavior: I’m not a hermit, I’m an introvert! You’ve probably read it before, but here’s what the meme ended up being:

  • While extroverts gain energy from social interaction, introverts gain energy from alone time.
  • Introverts enjoy other people, but they lose energy when they interact.
  • You should feel grateful when an introvert spends her/his energy on you.
  • Challenging an introvert’s need for alone time is worse than the Chernobyl disaster.

Behold My Shiny New Label!

While the concept of introversion isn’t new, this idea of introvert-as-superhero is. It’s a reframing of something that was once negative, turning it into a badge of honor for those who choose to sacrifice their limited “energy” resources for the sake of their friends and loved ones. Suddenly, it was hip to be square.

... continue reading.

Lies Massage Therapists Tell: “It has to hurt for it to work!”

This one is rarely said quite so bluntly. It’s usually delivered implicitly: “Breathe through the pain.” “This is going to hurt, but we need to work this knot out” (Don’t get me started on “knots”). “If it hurts, it needs work!”

Fine. You know what? I’ll give you that last one, straw-man massage therapist. If a muscle, joint, or tendon is tender to the touch, it could likely use some work. You know what it probably doesn’t need? Your thumbs sunk deep into its inflamed fibers, stimulating pain receptors and causing local release of pro-inflammatory chemicals. You know what the person doesn’t need? More pain in their lives.

6904651234_074faf0f85_z
[Source: Pierre Willemin, CC BY-ND 2.0, via flickr]

“No pain, no gain!”

“No pain, no gain.” Ugh. How tired I am of that toxic little idiom. While it has certainly been used by the timid to overcome fear, and by the sick to conquer disease, it’s usually used as justification for us to abuse ourselves and others. Think of how you’ve used it on yourself: Was it while you were training, pushing through signals that your body desperately wanted a break? Was it during a work week, where you were ignoring sleep/nutrition/family so that you could manage your workload? During school, when you were so stressed that faking a seizure started to look awfully attractive?

... continue reading.

Where The Hell Am I?

Quick update: I just got back from a faraway land (Tennessee) and plan to start back on my graduate research project, so my posts might be erratic. If you’d like to hear the thoughts my brain has that are less than 1000 words, you might find me on Facebook or Twitter.

That said, if I ever post less than one blog entry per week, I’d like to you find me and stab me in the liver.

Your pal,
Ian

Break Your Fast With a Vengeance: Super Oatmeal

Earlier today a colleague of mine, the awe-inspiring Erica House (she’s got a fitness blog, if you’d like to see) made one of her rare errors. You see, she meant to post about her “magical egg white oatmeal,” but instead made a post about how to make an inedible bowl of glop. Mistakes happen, I understand.

While she fixes her post so that we can learn about this magical oatmeal we’ve all been hearing about, I figured I’d help out and post how to make my Super Oatmeal.

Bam.

You’ll need the following:

  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Raisins
  • Butter (lots)
  • Coconut milk (lots)
  • An egg
  • An apple (red delicious or granny smith if you’re feeling sassy)
  • Whey protein so you can get swole
  • Cinnamon
  • Cacao nibs or something less weird, like nuts

Those should probably be in some particular order. What am I, Julia Child?

Throw the water and a healthy pinch of salt into a pot. Drizzle a ton of coconut milk in (optional and awesome). Don’t turn the heat on yet. Fire comes later.

Next, thinly slice a cored apple:

... continue reading.