John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Fever Break?

jyb_musingsFor the first time I just had the urge to post something on Facebook –but resisted doing it. Because —and this is so weird for me to type — because it seemed “silly.” I can’t recall that ever happening to me. Ever!

I don’t know what this means …but I fear it means something. That something unusual is happening to me. Something pivotal. Like that first deep raspy cough you notice before pnuemonia sets it. Or like the feeling when a fever breaks and you know you are going to be okay.

I feel like this disinclination to post something absurd and pointless on Facebook may well be the first “deep cough” or “fever break,” so to speak, indicating the beginning of the end of my mid-life crisis.

I mean, of course it is true that the trajectory of a mid-life crisis can’t go up and up forever. At some.point it has to decline and resolve itself. After all, the “crisis” part of the term “mid-life crisis” suggests a downward spiral. So, you kmow, one more reason the upward trajectory thing can’t go on forever.

If this is true I am going to start acting more maturely in all kinds of ordinary situations. People won’t recognize me and others will wonder if I died or moved out of the country or was buried alive by someone who had to spend a lot of time around me.

Others may wonder if I am finally starting to grow up and act my own age. And if this “grown-up acting thing” really takes hold of me, still others may simply conclude that I have come down with pnuemonia. Or that my fever has finally broken.

I don’t know what I will do with myself.

Or maybe this means I am going to start really getting into Instagram?

Julie Rath: 3 Mistakes You Are Making Everyday — And How to Fix Them

People often ask me – usually at parties – if I walk around every day critiquing peoples’ outfits. While I can turn my critical eye on and off, and I certainly never go up to anyone and give them my opinion unsolicited, there are certain mistakes that I see consistently. If you’re someone who cares about how he looks (and I assume if you’re reading this article, you are), read on for three common errors and how to easily nip them in the bud.

Black-Ralph-Lauren-Double-M
1) Loafers with your suit – I get it. Traveling in lace-ups is no fun. Try a monkstrap instead, like the pair above. You can slip in and out of them, and they work with a suit.

Men's Style: How Pants Should Fit2) Wearing pants that are too big in the waist – If your belt loops are pulling up when you tighten your belt like in the picture above, it means the waist on your pants is too big, and you run the risk of having diaper butt. Go down a size and your pants and belt won’t work against each other.

Men's Style Advice: Boots
3) Mismatching themes – I often see guys in preppy polo shirts or khakis wearing things that are edgy in feel (like a biker jacket or boots) elsewhere in their outfit. It doesn’t work. If one piece in your outfit is preppy or conservative, the whole look should be such. Likewise, if one piece in your outfit has an edge to it, the rest of your outfit should too. For example, you wouldn’t wear a rough and tumble boot like the one above with a pair of traditional khakis. A pair of dark jeans or slim dark dress pants would suit them much better.

Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Fess up! I’d love to hear where things have gone awry for you. Leave me a comment below, and perhaps I can offer some additional solutions.

-Content provided by Rath & Co. Men’s Style Consulting. Read more: http://rathandco.com/2014/09/3-style-mistakes-youre-making-everyday-and-how-to-fix-them/#ixzz3KJh7Zx00

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: In praise of Goldilocks and the Golden Mean

jyb_musingsThis holiday season be Goldilocks-esque and seek that desireable middle point between two extremes.

Don’t eat too much nor eat too little.

Don’t talk too much nor talk too little

Don’t expect too much of yourself but don’t expect too little.

Don’t expect too much of others but don’t expect too little of them either.

Don’t sleep too much but don’t sleep too little.

Don’t buy too much but don’t buy too little.

Don’t feel too much but be sure to not feel too little.

Don’t think too much nor think too little.

Don’t act too old but don’t act too young.

Don’t love too mucb but be sure not to love too litle.

Don’t eat anything too hot and don’t eat anything too cold. Only eat things at the temperature that is “just right.”

Make sure your bed isn’t too soft or too hard –but “just right”

And don’t try to be too good but don’t be too bad either. Strive instesd to be “just right.”

Josh Bowen: Got Protein?

joshNutrition is polarizing. Nutrition is not black and white. Nutrition can not and never should be the same for everyone. These statements are the reason we have so many diet books, nutritional questions and a population of people that have analysis by paralysis on trying to eat “healthy.”

As I have written before, not all proteins are created equal. Some contain more essential amino acids than others. To keep from rehashing old material click on the link above to read about the differences in proteins.

The biggest question I get is “How much protein should I take in?” This is a great question and one that has been researched for the past 50 years. The results may be slightly different but the one fact that stays the same is “it depends on your activity and level of intensity.” Meaning in order to know how much you should take in, you need to align your intake with your activity and how vigorous that activity is.

In a normal untrained person, the recommended protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). This recommendation is for sedentary people and only is a bare minimum to keep from protein degradation or the burning of muscle as fuel. In this example a 150 lbs person would take in 54 grams of protein per day. Obviously not enough to build muscle tissue.

For individuals participating in high intensity training, protein needs to go up to 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass. In our 150 lbs example, this person would need to take in 95-135 grams of protein per day. A much more ideal percentage of protein.

Hold up there is more…

Beyond the basics of preventing deficiency and ensuring a baseline of protein synthesis, we may need even more protein in our diets for optimal functioning, including good immune function, metabolism, satiety, weight management and performance. In other words, we need a small amount of protein to survive, but we need a lot more to thrive.

We can only store so much protein at one time.So in order to optimally supply your body with much needed protein, you must eat it periodically throughout the day. Eating a 16 oz. steak and calling it a day, is not going to give you the overall effects that eating 5-6 servings of high protein foods will.

Can you eat too much protein? Possibly, but it would be hard. Protein can be converted to sugar and stored. However, it is an inefficient process and not one the body wants to undergo. Studies have shown that a high amount of protein intake (up to 1.2 grams per lb) has no health risks to the kidneys.

So which protein is best?

Research has shown that foods high in the essential amino acid, leucine, increase protein synthesis (breakdown of protein to be stored) higher than the other two essential amino acids. Foods high in leucine are spirulina, egg white, fish, poultry, and meat.

Take home points…

1. Shoot for at least half your body weight in grams of protein per day. If wanting to gain muscle increase to your body weight in grams.

2. If weight loss is a struggle, evaluate where and how much protein you are getting. Odds are it is not enough for your body weight and fitness goals.

3. Try to eat protein in every meal.

4. Choose whole foods over supplementation. However, choose supplementation over nothing at all.

5. Can’t stress this enough, if you want to get leaner you must consume more protein!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: The Modernized Ecclesiastes 3

jyb_musingsThere is a time to love

There is a time to hate

There is a time to be sad 

There is a time to be joyful

There is a time to judge

There is a time to seek forgiveness

There is a time to feel ecstatic and have hallucinations

There is a time to feel paranoid and have cotton mouth

And there is a time to titrate your medications

Lauren Mayer: What War on Christmas?

Bill O’Reilly et al. like to paint themselves as victims of a secular conspiracy to destroy the meaning of Christmas.  To hear them tell it, our founding fathers based the Constitution on a mashup of the bible (only selected portions, mind you, none of that keeping kosher stuff) and the Burl Ives ‘Frosty The Snowman’ TV special.  So any attempt to reflect the diversity of our country around this time of year is not only unAmerican, but it threatens the very existence of the holiday they are thus compelled to defend.

Maybe if they got out of their studio once in a while, they’ll get a sense of just how well Christmas is doing versus any other holiday.  Even here in the godlessly liberal/socialist Bay Area, every mall, business, or residential street looks like an elf’s wet dream, festooned with tinsel, red & green baubles, and enough mechanical reindeer & inflated lit-up snowmen to completely confuse my dog every time I walk her.  (Not to mention the fact that Christmas has totally taken over Thanksgiving, and is probably going after Halloween and Labor Day next . . . )

Meanwhile, Bob Geldof has trotted out yet another rendition of his classic/monstrosity (depending on your perspective), “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” this time to raise awareness of Ebola, but continuing in the same vein of overblown rock anthem as expressed by patronizing Westerners.  (Apparently, just in Nigera there are 3 times as many Christians as in England, so it seems like they don’t need Geldof’s song to enlighten them.)  So in that same spirit, here’s my own overblown anthem in an effort to raise awareness of the existence of other holidays.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Minnesota

jyb_musingsMinnesota is probably my favorite place anywhere to freeze my arse off (during the winter, anyway).

The people are pretty close to how they are depicted in Lake Wobegon –but Keillor did embellish a little bit. Not everyone is really above average. But not many seem below average either.

Minnesotans seem a lot like Kentuckians ….they are just as nice but they don’t try quite as hard as we do. They walk faster (because of the cold), talk faster (not sure why….maybe a “Viking thing”), and say “You betcha” a lot. When they talk they sound like a nasally and impatient Southerner — without any of the Southern accent, of course, but with all the friendly and kindly disposition. When you talk to them (if you are from Kentucky), you sound more Southern than you thought you sounded. And Minnesotans are fun to talk to and easy to make friends with. 

I guess what I am saying is that Minnesota is a much warmer place personally than it is a cold place physically. And that is saying a lot!

W. Carlton Weddington: Comeback, Denied & Flopped

carlton weddingtonTo comeback to prison after serving 8, 10, 15, 20 or more hard gut wrenching years in general population’s gladiator school or if lucky the maggot pool of protective control were snitches breath freely, child molesters go unnoticed and man boy love is normal.

To be denied transitional control or a judicial release because one is not deemed worthy by the prosecution or even worse the court. You didn’t think when you committed that violent crime; it would bite you in the ass. Or maybe you thought your institutional record of dirty urines, fights, and numerous contraband tickets was a non-issue.

To be “flopped” , the term used by an inmate up for parole who is serving a 20, 25 year, or life bid, and given another two (2) or five (5) years to do before they are asked to return before the parole board that has become its own institution. The harsh reality is they are probably never going home anytime soon.

Why do ex-offenders return to prison? Do they not really want the second chance? Is the idea of being free too much to handle? Is life easier when they are given everything they need and told what to do? Are the vices and pressures too much to overcome that they fall back into the poor negative habits and destructive actions that got them caught up in the first place? Aside from not having a steady job that enables you to make a living, a place to rest your head and avoid the chaos of the everyday world, positive role models and loved ones to support your transition back into society. What brings you back to this hell hole? This is a warehouse of criminal misfits broken, battered, and scared. It appears prison has become the only family they have, the only place they can find love, friendship, have fun or feel a part of something.

The prison subculture is described by Britannica as – standing opposed to the official hierarchy of the prisons, which demands the loyalty of the prisoner and expects him to conform to series of informal rules, enforcing his compliance by violence and social pressures,

The 8th Amendment states that “…excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”

The 14th Amendment states that “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Yet still these are the issues inmates and ex-offenders subject themselves to when they are denied, flopped, or return to prison after having the opportunity to be free.

Poor institutional records are unfortunately keeping many men from seeing the other side of the barbed wire fencing. It is a discouraging spectacle for all other aspiring inmates and a dream dashing revelation for the inmate who had his hopes set on going home only to return before the committee in two (2) to five (5) years from now or receive no response at all. As if it could get no more tragic, there are some who received their “golden ticket” but less than a year later return on parole violation or catch another felony case.

This year, 2014 already in my W-2 unit of 94 inmates; two (2) have returned, four (4) have been flopped by the parole board, two (2) denied transitional control and one (1) denied judicial release, It’ s August, is anybody going home…? What will my own fate be?

Erica and Matt Chua: The Experience that is Khao San Road

Khao San Road is the gateway to Southeast Asia, which means this is the first stop for many young and often inexperienced travelers planning a trip to the region.  It has almost a spring break type atmosphere and just about anything goes, before I go into detail about “anything” lets take a quick look at history. According to wikitravel  the word khao san itself means milled rice and is an attribution to the historical role of this street in the rice trade. The first business to open on Khao San Road was a small hotel aimed at serving civil servants from the provinces who came to Bangkok on business. The hotel was followed by Sor Thambhakdi, a shop selling monks’ accessories. Four similar businesses moved in after, and Khao San became known as a “religious road”.  Let me tell you that the only religious thing about Khao San Road anymore is how people drink religiously when they visit.  Nonetheless, Khao San Road is a must-see in Bangkok.  You might not choose to stay at one of the  cheap guesthouses in the middle of the action, but you may want to do one of the following:

Top Ten Things to do on Khao San Road

1. Drink, I’m not condoning binge drinking here, but this is definitely the place to grab a local Chang beer or a bucket.   A bucket is just that a sand-pale style bucket filled with liquor it’s typically whiskey (the local Sang Som) and Coke,  but you can pick your poison.

2. Stay awake, Khao San Road never sleeps so you can visit anytime day or night.  The morning is the quietest and at night everything comes alive.  Once the bars close by 2:00 am or so, the patrons will flood the street moving the party outside.

3. People Watch, this goes hand-in hand with staying awake as night offers the best people watching.  Herds of young backpackers roam the streets intermingled with street vendors, lady boys and tuk tuk drivers.  It’s hard not to stare at all the crazy characters hanging out.

4. Buy Art, there are some very talented artists that sell their paintings and photographs on the side of the street, it is definitely worth checking out.  Remember to bargain and you could take home a fantastic painting for under $20.

5. Shop, Khao San Road is the bohemian capital of Bangkok, so if you are looking for patchwork skirts, a buddha t-shirt or want to get a singing bowl you will find it on Khao San. Make sure you bargain because all the vendors are willing to “make good price for you.”

Read the rest of…
Erica and Matt Chua: The Experience that is Khao San Road

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: My ridiculously amazing experience!

jyb_musingsI just landed…you heard me right, “landed!!” Because I flew. I have been flying…high up in the air…at wicked fast speeds ….and flew over 1000 miles —that’s right, 1000 miles!! –and all in just under 2 hours!!

We landed in cold, icy and foggy conditions. Giant wheels came down underneath the airplane at just the right time and the pilots, who were responsible for about 120 lives, calmly and smoothly landed the giant flying contraption and we all lived. 

I know I have experienced this very same thing many times. But this time I was really conscious of it and paying attention. And aware of how truly amazing it really is!

And the entire mind-boggling trip cost less than two shirts and a belt I could have bought at the airport.

This flight was much better than any two shirts and a belt I have ever bought.

One man sitting 2 seats in front of me missed the whole thing because he hadn’t flown before and threw up in a complimentary bag the entire flight. He was paying close attention just like me and it must have just blown his mind –even more than it did mine. I hope he tries again.

I met the pilot as I got off the plane. He was about 15 years younger than me but real responsible looking with short well-groomed hair and not a bead of sweat on his forehead. If I had his job I would have looked more like the guy 2 seats in front of me. I wanted to say, “Sir, that was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.” But I didn’t because I forget to remember a lot of amazing things I experience.

This was certainly one of those experiences! I just said, “Thanks” to the pilot.

And the most amazing part of all is that all I had to do was think about what I was doing for a few minutes rather than taking it for granted.

I would tell you how I am going to get home from the airport, but I doubt you would believe that either.

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