“Uh-oh”

Filed under: thoughts Topics: , , , ,

Etymologically, I’m infatuated with “uh-oh”. I choose to imagine its formation thusly:

Glory begins in an “uh”—the involuntary spasm associated with confusion or unfamiliarity, it’s a commonplace verbal crutch oft extinguished with any formal public speaking training. It’s negative space before a cohesive thought, like a dial-tone waiting for instructions. And, with regard to “uh-oh”, this monosyllabic overture intonates a forthcoming thought still too primitive for higher linguistics or verbiage. To the poor souls who utter it, their minds grope at the ineffable harbinger with horrifying deftness.

Notice singularity in purpose of the “uh” and the “oh”: there’s no space. A space affords a pause… and if there’s time for pause, there’s time for action. But, in this moment, action is meaningless, so the a hyphen is used only to service grammarians and readers. It’s certainly not useful nor pertinent for its utterer who, clearly, has more pressing matters to attend to.

“Oh” is the moment of clarity when dire incomprehension shifts into sharp focus. “Oh” isn’t acknowledgement of a mistake—that’s “oops!”—or understanding that everything’s going to be ok. Quite the opposite, in fact: the “oh” is the implicit acceptance that this, whatever it is that is now harrowing down upon your consciousness, is not good. This much you know. There is little, if nothing, to immediately do or solve, and your mind accepts the eventuality. What will happen will happen, and the most amount of action you can muster is to vocalize your fantastic impotence with a word so fatalistic that it does not employ a hard consonant.

Revel in the uh-ohs. They’re the only moments when you can resign yourself to the fate of your circumstances.

Fuck this S***

Lexically-speaking, there’s nothing sexy about t*ts and a**.

Regarding written profanity, I don’t understand when writers X-out a few offending characters when they could talk around the idea with rhetorical wit. Profane words, regardless of obfuscation, still mean the same thing; and yet, for some reason, our internal censors let it go. Worse, writers miss an opportunity to impress their readers.

Personally, I’m not irked by dirty words (however salacious) but I am rather annoyed with the lack of creativity in that their scribes couldn’t find a better way to say it whilst maintaining the conservative sentimentality they clearly want to preserve.

It’s incongruous.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with peppering language with profanity, but it’s often uninspired and cliché. I think to myself, “what the fuck is this shit?” (which should provide some insight into my internal monologue’s maturity level). But, that’s the point: idle thoughts are fleeting; print is forever. And, as a writer, I expect others to put a bit more care into what they print than what they’re thinking about in a given moment.

If you’re going to get dirty and gross, be dirty and gross. Use the words the dictionary affords you. And, for those with the talent, make some up. But, in general, don’t be senseless—censoring your language doesn’t soften its meaning, it just makes you look lazy and, I daresay, stupid.

As the editor-in-chief of The Onion once told me:

There’s nothing like a well-timed fuck.

Special thanks to Elizabeth King for inspiring this post. Her tolerance for my asinine banter is very much appreciated. Read her blog.

The Gruen Diet

Filed under: experiments,thoughts Topics: , , , ,

Sick of hearing about fad diets, I read a smattering of books and blogs about health and nutrition and rolled my own.

What I came up with is not strict nor restrictive, but rather a health guideline. I started adhering to these guidelines—because they’re certainly not rules or a plan—at the beginning of the summer and have since lost 4.5 lbs. A simple workout schedule and simple-to-adhere-to life choices accompany a simple diet.

Important to note is that these guidelines are sub-optimal: you’re not going to lose weight or gain strength or be physically healthier than you would following a strict regimen. But, it’s optimal in that it makes eating choices easy and I don’t really have to think about it. I can just do it and see the effects over time.

So, without further ado:

On Timing

  • Eat 3-4 times a day. Every day, spaced out from 2-5 hours at a clip. Always eat breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up, even if it’s small.
  • No eating 5 hours before bedtime. Don’t give yourself an energy spike before you try to go to sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water before you eat and after you eat. Unless you have a long drive ahead of you, drinks lots of water. You’ll feel fuller for longer.

On Consumption

  • No High-Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS]. None. It’s in almost every processed food, so read the ingredients.
  • No high incident of artificial crap. If you don’t know what half the ingredients are (and can’t readily pronounce them) don’t eat it. I can almost guarantee HFCS will be in there anyway.
  • Eat meat no more than twice a day. Red meat only once, if not less. Make sure it’s from animals that were fed on natural diets and get to roam around on a field and would have been, in anthropomorphic terms, happy. If you don’t know, don’t eat it.
  • Follow the same guidelines with animal products. Like milk and cheese and eggs. No more than twice a day. Look for 100% organic stuff from happy animals.
  • Go vegetarian for two meals a day. Eat as many vegetables as you want. Don’t hold back. If you’re a man, go easy on the soy. Stay organic whenever possible, even if it costs a touch more.
  • Whole-wheat whenever possible. This includes pastas.
  • Limit alcohol intake. I shoot for two drinks or fewer when I do.
  • Limit soft drinks. Make sure they’re made from Sugar Cane. Stay off anything labeled diet. The sugar calories won’t kill you, the artificial sweeteners might.
  • Limit caffeine. I don’t drink any, save for the occasional green tea or PowerGel.
  • Never deprive oneself of chocolate or candy. Unless it violates a previous guideline. (Read the ingredients! If you don’t know, don’t eat it!)

On Activity

  • Be active 3-4 times a week, for 30-45 minutes at a time. Actually sweat something.
  • Kick your ass once a week. Do some intervals or wind sprints. It doesn’t take much.
  • Don’t stare at sun-mimicking lights late at night. This includes the TV and your computer. Need to use your computer late at night? Use f.lux.

On Sleep

  • Get up at the same time every day. Weekends and weekdays. Nap later if you have to compensate for a late night out. Your body will go to sleep at night when it knows it has to get up at a precise time.
  • Shoot for holes in your REM sleep schedule. For me, that’s at 4.5 hours, 6 hours, 7.5 hours, and 9 hours. I aim for 7.5 hours every night.

That’s about it.

For me, these guidelines are really easy to follow and don’t require any calorie counting or spreadsheets or any planning whatsoever. I don’t worry that I’m eating too much or too little or what I’m eating—by setting a healthy bar, my body will tell me when I’m being disobedient and point me in the right direction.

Lastly, feel free to break the guidelines at Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and Funerals. If you’re good to yourself most of the time, your body will be able to handle junk every once in a while.

I should also note I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or anyone with any state- or federally-sanctioned right to offer this sort of guidance. Your milage may vary.