John Y’s Musings from the Middle: I’m Mad

jyb_musingsI am mad at my wife right now –at 12:50am — and am going to write about it on Facebook.

I am mad at Rebecca because she got a little exasperated with me for asking her a question again —and said I had asked her that same question 20 times and the answer was the same for the 20th time — that she didn’t know.

Then I decided I wouldn’t be talked to like that and pretended to go to sleep until Rebecca settled down and apologized for hurting my feelings.

For one thing, I didn’t really ask her that question 20 times. I only asked her 3 or 4 times. Or 5 times, maybe, tops. But definitely not 20. So she is exagerating about that. And she didn’t tell me she didn’t know the answer 20 times either. Just 3 or 4 times. Or 5 times, maybe, tops.

And to make matters worse, after I pretended to go to sleep waiting for Rebecca to apologize, she never even apologized. Or said anything at all. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. And then I waited a little more. Finally I said, “Good night,” to let her know I was serious about going to sleep and that she better hurry up and apologize fast before it was too late.

But she never did. She just said “Good night” back and went to sleep herself!! And now is in a deep dern sleep and I don’t know what to do because I never did go to sleep like I was pretending I was about to.

It sure doesn’t look like Rebecca is going to apologize to me tonight. And she probably won’t remember this whole episode tomorrow morning — and the need to apologize to me unless I remind her. But when I do that it usually doesn’t work out well for me —and somehow before it is all over I am the one apologizing to her. And I don’t want that to happen again.

I am thinking about coughing or stirring in bed to wake Rebecca up to give her one last chance to apologize. But the last time I did that Rebecca didn’t apologize at all and told me to quit coughing and quit moving around and go to sleep. Which made things even worse for me. And I don’t want that to happen again either.

So this time I am not going to wake up Rebecca but just write about her a little bit on Facebook — like I am now and calmly lay out my entire side of the story all factual-like and rationally and remind her how I didn’t wake her up or bring it up in the morning like in the past. I am simply going to tag Rebecca on this post.

If things go as planned, Rebecca will wake up and read this post and realize how she overreacted and what a great guy I am for not waking her up or reminding her about it the next morning and feel really bad about the whole thing. Bad enough to apologize to me for getting a little huffy with me and then tell me she knows I really didn’t ask her that silly question 20 times but only 3 or 4 times. Or 5 times, maybe, tops.

Oh…And after I forgive her and tell her not to worry about it she will tell me how much she loves me and what an amazing person and husband I am.

At least that’s my plan. Fingers crossed!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Exciting Announcement

jyb_musingsI am not doing this to brag. But I just considered, in my mind, running a 5K race —someday. And meant it. Not for sure. But meant it in the sense of “I’m kinda serious this time. I could actually see it maybe happening. It’s only, like, 3.1 miles.” In that sense.

Admittedly, this isn’t a definitive proclamation. And, no, it is not a Facebook announcement about something significant I recently achieved. But it is about something. In the past when I would think about running a 5k race one of these days, I never seriously believed it would ever happen. But this time, just now tonight, when I thought about one day running a 5K race —sometime in the next few years—I could see it “possibly happening.” Not for sure. Not even “more likely than not.” Heck, maybe only a 5% chance of actually occurring. But that is something. And maybe even closer to a 7% or 8% chance of running a 5K. And that was enough to get me excited. Excited enough to think seriously about it and knowing that even though it is unlikely, it is still possible that it could happen. 

And that is what I am announcing tonight on Facebook.

Erica and Matt Chua: Da Lat | Where to Stay


The center of Da Lat is mostly accommodations, with a huge variety in quality.  There are places from $5 to $200 per night, so you should be able to find anything you want.  The backpacker area is near the market where the going rate is $10-12 a night, but there is a huge variation in quality.  Make sure you check out several different hotels as price doesn’t dictate the quality of rooms.

We headed downhill on Đường 3 Tháng 2 from the market with a Canadian couple.  After viewing rooms in 4 places we found that there was little variation in prices, until we found a great little place that charged $6 a night.  It was difficult to figure out the price due to their total lack of English.  Finally they called a friend who spoke English and had me speak to them.  The room was equivalent to the $10/night rooms in hotels surrounding it and had good Internet access.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dave Chappelle

10858552_10155003635135515_3501534500791715457_nAt Dave Chappelle show at the Palace with Rebecca.

Great show…sitting in a sea of white people —each of whom is thinking “If Dave looks at me he will probably realize I am not as ‘white’ as the other white people around me.”

Until we look at each other in the audience. And realize Dave probably won’t think that.


The lowlight, for me, of the Dave Chappelle performance last night.

It was during the warm-up.

The DJ was trying to get the audience going and pumped up to cheer on Dave taking the stage.

He shouted, “How many 90’s babies do we have out there?” There was a big cheer.

“How ’bout let’s here it for the 80’s babies out there tonight.” Another big roar.

“All you 70’s babies in the crowd tonight, stand-up and let me heaaaar youuuu.” More cheering though a diminished amount.

And as I waited eagerly to stand up and rock it out for 60’s babies in the house, the DJ stopped at the 70s.

Asshole DJ. What are we? The grandparents driving the rest of the audience home?

Oh well. The joke was on him. I was too tired to stand up again anyway.

Saul Kaplan: Sometimes Disruption Has To Hit You Right In The Mouth

photo-saul…..before you realize it can change the world.

As an innovation junkie and geek wannabe I’ve been paying attention to 3D printing and the exploding maker movement. When I say paying attention, I mean reading about it, watching hackers and hobbyists make stuff, and wondering if there is more to the technology than the brightly colored plastic tchotchkes cluttering my desk. 3D printing really hasn’t affected me yet. That is until I recently chipped a tooth and with the bothersome pea-sized chip in hand had no choice but to visit our family friend and dentist, Dr. Robert Serinsky. Sometimes disruption has to hit you right in the mouth before you pay attention.

Now, I was no stranger to restorative dentistry. About seven years ago I had chipped another tooth that required a crown and don’t remember the process fondly.  It required multiple, drawn out, not to mention expensive, visits to Dr. Serinsky. He first had to make a physical mold of my damaged tooth. The mold was then sent out to a local dental lab to cast a permanent crown while I was sent home with the inconvenience of a temporary crown made of a cured composite secured with temporary cement. Not pleasant! Weeks later, when my newly manufactured crown was back from the lab, I was summoned to the office for yet another lengthy dentist visit to secure it in place.

So you understand why I wasn’t a happy camper, facing the same fate again seven years later, while heading toward my dentist’s office with a similar sized chunk of tooth in hand. However, times have changed. This time instead of a physical mold that had to be shipped out to a lab for casting Dr. Serinsky inserted a digital camera in my mouth and the next thing I knew a digital image of my damaged tooth immediately appeared on a computer screen positioned right next to my dental chair.  Dr. Serinsky knows I’m an innovation junkie so he went out of his way to demonstrate his new high tech capability.  I watched my damaged tooth rotating in all of its 3D glory while he ran the design software to quickly and magically fit a digital crown on top of my chipped digital tooth. Voila! He even made a few manual tweaks to the digital crown using the computer aided design software, a little bit off the side here and a little smoothing there. I think the software had designed the perfect crown and he was just showing off in front of me!

It’s what happened next that blew me away and convinced me that 3D printing is a capability that will truly change the world, democratizing design and manufacuring. Dr. Serinsky pushed send on the computer keyboard and said come with me. He took me into another room in his dental office where he proudly pointed to a piece of equipment the size of a large microwave. The digital design of my new crown had been transmitted to a CNC (computer numerical control) milling machine. I have come to learn the difference between a 3D printer which deposits layers of material building up to form an object and a CNC milling machine which takes a block of material and carves out the desired object. I watched in awe as my crown was sculpted from a block of dental composite right before my eyes.

In about ten minutes, with my new crown in hand, it was back to the dental chair where it was expertly put in place permanently. Well, I hope permanently! I asked Dr. Serinsky if this new capability put the dental lab that he had routinely used to make crowns out of business. He told me he had just reviewed his budget and that his spending at the lab had actually increased. It turns out the lab is busier than ever focusing on non-routine higher value restorative work, it’s hard to get an appointment with Dr. Serinsky who is delivering better value to his patients, and I got a new crown in a single visit and a life lesson in disruptive innovation. Talk about a win-win-win! Disruption doesn’t have to have winners and losers if we get better faster at reinventing ourselves, and our business models.

I saw first hand the disruptive power of 3D printing. It enabled my dentist to be both a designer and a manufacturer. It has the potential to turn all of us into designers and manufacturers. It will change the world and create enormous economic value when we realize that design and manufacturing aren’t industry sectors, they are capabilities. Capabilities that when combined and recombined to create exciting new business models will unleash unlimited adjacent possibilities and enable us to co-create a better future.  Sometimes disruption has to hit you right in the mouth before you pay attention.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: A Bad Ass No More

jyb_musingsThere comes a moment in every man’s life when he has to admit that he is no longer a bad ass. Mine just came now.

I just got my very first flu shot ever at the age of 51. And I am already feeling a slight fever coming on.

And about 15 minutes after that moment of realizing you aren’t a bad ass anymore, you are forced to admit that you probably never were a bad ass in the first place. That moment just happened to me now, too. (Actually about 15 minutes after the first realization.)

While Googling to see if “bad ass” is one word or two before making a Facebook post about not being a bad ass anymore — or maybe ever.

Julie Rath: That’s What She Said, Vol. 1: Sara Davidson on Dressing for Attraction

I interviewed some of my most successful, smart, and gorgeous girlfriends to find out how important it really is to them for a guy to pay attention to his image and style, and I thought you might be interested in watching what they had to say. The first of these three interviews is with Sara Davidson, business strategist and marketing maven.

Click here or on the image below to watch our interview. You’ll hear what turns her on and off, and the one thing a guy did that completely changed the way she looked at him (and as a result she couldn’t keep her hands off of him).

Men's Style for Dating

After you’re done watching the interview, make sure you take my style quiz to see how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10.

-Content provided by Rath & Co. Men’s Style Consulting. Read more:

John Y. Brown, III: Merry Christmas!

10348435_10155019573515515_5526405421402326145_nMerry Christmas!

Younger days with my sisters and mom and dad. When everything was possible, days ran long and years seemed like an eternity. And Christmas was a monumental and defining event for how good a year it had been.

And Santa Claus was everything we wanted him to be –and was more real than family members we lived with. And chased around the yard between Santa’s visits.

P.S. This is a particularly poignant picture because tonight my sister Sandy told me this picture reminded her of how she remembered me during our childhood. Happy, engaged and very busy in my own unencumbered world.

I liked that a lot.

And hope the very same for every child. Especially mine…even though they aren’t really children any more. But hope they never forget how to be childlike and unencumbered.


A Santa Claus “Hail Mary”

Dear Santa,

I know that now is late in the Christmas game, so to speak, but wanted to reach out to you before midnight and just say “Hi” and wish you and Mrs Claus and the entire Claus family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

I know how hard you have worked and just want you to know how much I personally appreciate all you do. So, thanks and be safe tonight. It is really cold in some parts and foggy for the reindeer. Be careful!

Oh and by the way, I am sure you got my Christmas list earlier and I appreciate you taking the time to read it all. I know it was long.

I suspect at first blush after reading my long present list you probably thought to yourself, “Whaaaat?? This guy thinks he deserves all this?” LOL!! I wouldn’t blame you if you did. I probably would do the same thing if I were in your shoes. But let me try to explain.

I totally get the whole “naughty and nice” algorithm you use to decide who gets what kind and what quantity of gifts. I think it is a good system personally. At the same time I think we can both agree that there can sometimes be the occasional oversight with the current system and, perhaps, in those few cases when that happens, a closer look may be warranted.

Look, I will be the first to admit I did not get off to a great start this year. But I think it is important to look at how I trended upward at the end of the year and how promising that should be for next year. And if I felt, you know, disappointed with my presents tomorrow….how that might discourage me at a pivotal time when I am trending so positively with “nice” behavior.

I am not trying to make you feel responsible for my bad behavior next year if I get discouraged tomorrow after opening my presents. Not at all. I am just asking you to try to understand human behavior and to see how something bad — and totally unintended— like that could really happen. And how none of us would want that to occur.

Just think about it.Ok? That’s all I am saying.

And remember, the majority of reputable psychologists today would agree that a few isolated episodes of “bad behavior” doesn’t make someone a “bad person” or a “not nice person,” to use the Christmas parlance. We have leaned a lot from social sciences in the past hundred years since Christmas started and I think it is OK to take that into consideration.

Earlier this year when you probably gave me some pretty bad marks I want you to know that I wasn’t being “bad” because I wanted to be evil. I was just in a bad place personally and made some bad choices at that time. And that is all behind me now. Almost all of it. I swear.

Anyway, I have taken up enough of your time already. Heck, this is just a good luck and Merry Christmas note I wanted to dash off to you. Sorry for getting so longwinded. Just thinking out loud and wanted to share it with you because I have so much respect for you as a person.

I hope some of it made sense and you can see how Christmas presents need to be based not so much on a static “this year’s behavior” metric but also on a dynamic “next year’s projected behavior based in trend lines” (and detailed explanations like this one.)
I will also private message you some graphs I have put together to help illustrate my points.

OK, Santa!! Another great year coming up for all of us!! I can just feel it. Those graphs are on their way!!

Merry Christmas, Santa! And thank you in advance for always keeping such an open mind!! And being such an understanding and jolly old soul!!

Sincerely — make that “Love,”
Your good friend, John

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Tales from a Marriage

jyb_musingsSome of the reasons I love my wife (and some of the reasons I thinks she loves me):

Last night Rebecca picked me up at the airport so we could eat dinner at our favorite restaurant nearby –and she got to the airport 15 minutes early and waited. But when I came outside from the baggage claim doors I couldn’t find her car anywhere and it was because Rebecca was parked and waiting for me instead at the “Departing Flights” level just outside Delta.

I went upstairs to the ticket counter level and found Rebecca, the sole car parked on that level with music playing inside the car. We hugged and Rebecca drove us to dinner. As we were walking inside I reminded Rebecca to lock the car door and she reached inside her purse but couldn’t find her car keys. Rebecca told me to wait at the door while she went back to the car to look for the keys. For about 12 minutes. Which felt longer to both of us because it was cold outside. When I asked her where the keys were she sheepishly admitted that it turned out they had been inside her purse all along.

Once inside we were about to be seated but Rebecca saw a friend and went over and talked to her and her son and introduced me to the husband. And after about 10 minutes Rebecca finished talking and we sat down and she looked at me with her enthusiastic eyes like she always does and I tried not to say anything but, of course, I did. “You know, sweetie, when you see someone you know at a restaurant it is probably best not to talk for such a long time because their food will get cold.” I was trying to sound helpful but really was just hungry.

“Oh, they were already finished eating. Didn’t you notice that?” Rebecca explained.

“Well, yes. In this instance. But I am talking more about as a general rule of thumb.” I clarified.

“Oh. OK” Rebecca agreed. “Let’s order. I’m hungry.”

We had a nice dinner and then Rebecca had to drop me off back at the airport so I could pick up my car and drive home. But she forgot and missed the exit and after I pointed out she had missed the exit, she laughed and kept telling me the story she was in the middle of telling me and almost missed the next exit to turn around and go back to the airport for my car.

“Honey,” I blurted out, “I love this story but we really need to get this next exit right.”

“I wonder how I ever got my license?” Rebecca wryly chuckled.

I said that I wasn’t surprised she had gotten her license because it was pretty easy to get a driving license but that she was in luck to have someone like me as a passenger who could help her become a truly exceptional driver –and that in addition to “driving tips” I also offered free advice on things like the appropriate amount of time to talk to a friend you see at a restaurant among other things. “Try to think of me as a ‘life coach’ that you get for free.” I said and added “Aren’t you lucky? You get your very own free life coach with me.”

Rebecca rolled her eyes, “I tried being your life coach and have retired .”

“Because I reached perfection?” I joked.

“Uh. No. Because I reached exhaustion” Rebecca said with a strained laugh.

I smiled self-confidently and added, “Well, I will still be your life coach.”

Rebecca dropped me off at the airport baggage claim so I could get my car. I gave her a quick kiss and then got out of the car and walked toward the parking garage as Rebecca drove off. I stepped through several bushes hoping to find a path to the entrance to the parking garage. An airport employee shouted, “Hey! There is no way to get into the garage through those bushes. You have to come back across the street and go inside and downstairs and through the tunnel.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I Knew that.”

After all, I am a life coach.

And this story, in a nutshell, explains the glue of our marriage. My happy-go-lucky wife who drives me everywhere while I offer advice that makes me feel she needs me. And she knows she doesn’t but listens anyway because she also knows I need to feel like she needs me. And she probably knew, as she pulled away from the airport, that I couldn’t get to the parking garage by walking through those bushes but didn’t say anything. Because she thinks it’s cute— and endearing –that her “life coach,” who she just dropped off after listening to his nonstop driving advice, doesn’t even know how to get to his own car.

Josh Bowen: Hormone Sabotage

joshOne of the best books I have read on fitness and nutrition is entitled, “The 7 Principles of Fat Burning” by Eric Berg. This book documents how hormones truly affect our bodies and cause the resistance to lose body fat. It is a fascinating read that take the information that I will talk about today and expounds on it.

First things first, I am not an endocrinologist and I am not a registered dietitian. I like to think of myself as a problem solver, a MacGyver of sorts. Because in all reality that’s what we do as trainers, we solve problems with the knowledge base that we have, no matter how unconventional it is. With that said, there are a lot of theories out about how people lose and gain weight.

With the rise of obesity at an unparalleled high, people are trying to get healthy and lose body fat in record droves. From Atkins diets to the Zone diet, to the weird tropical fruit diet and my favorite the carrot stick and apple diet (holy cow!), people are trying to find the quickest way to lose weight. The fact is there is no easy way, if it were easy the obesity rates would not be where they are now. We would not be spending billions of dollars on medications that control weight related diseases.  This is not an easy process by any stretch of the imagination. However when I look at weight loss books and these fad diets, I rarely see anything about a person’s hormones. When in fact it is your hormones that decide where and how much fat you store. That’s a fact. Throw the calories in vs calories out, out the window, your hormones are in the driver’s seat. Let’s take a look at them:

Fat Burning Hormones

Fat burning hormones are that will help you burn body fat,

Growth Hormone-released from the pituitary gland (brain), it travels down through and works in the liver. It has anabolic (building muscle) and lypolytic (losing fat) properties. A key function is building up collagen and cartilage. Without it your muscles fall apart. Stimulated by protein and intense exercise (not light exercise)

Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1)– made by the liver and triggered by growth hormone. Function is to give the body fuel between meals and does it through releasing stored sugar and fat. Stimulated when the stomach is empty.

Glucagon-raises blood sugar by tapping into the fat reserves. Helps control blood sugar between meals and is stimulated by dietary protein and intense exercise

Adrenaline– main hormone that releases fat from fat cells. Triggered by exercise.

Thyroid Hormones (T3 and T4)– speed up the metabolism, increase the size and number of mitochondria (that is a good thing)

Testosterone– stimulated by exercise and countered by estrogen. This is a good thing, even for the ladies (in small doses).

Fat Storing Hormones

Fat storing hormones are hormones that when present will cause the body to distribute fat to certain areas.

Estrogen– released from the ovaries of a woman but can also be converted from testosterone. Can also be found in meats we eat because it is the most common injected hormone into animals. The very presence will nullify all effects of the thyroid hormones that maintain your metabolism.

Insulin– Most anabolic hormone in the body but also is at its highest following a high carbohydrate meal. Can push fat into the fat cells causing an increase in body fat.  The main culprit in Type 2 diabetes.

Cortisol– The nasty stress hormone. Your body does not understand types of stress, it only reacts and adapts to stress. Whether that be stress from work, home or mental, physical, when it is stressed it will release cortisol. This will affect your body composition.

OK. Now without getting so technical with you, let’s look how we can turn off the fat storing hormones and turn on the fat burning ones.

The 10 Fat-Burning Triggers

1. The Absence of Sugar
Sugar has the most impact on the metabolism because it causes the release of insulin and in the presence of insulin not only will fat be blocked from being used as a fuel but sugar will be converted to fat. To burn fat DON’T eat sugar. It doesn’t matter if its whole wheat or white bread these starches turn into sugar fairly rapidly. High fiber foods are acceptable because they slow the insulin response. Fruit: apples have a high sugar count but also high in fiber blunting the effects of insulin. Bananas, raisins, canned fruit; dried fruit have lower fiber and have a greater effect on insulin. When sugar is not consumed, glucagon is turned on. Sugar also decreases potassium in the body causing it to store more fat than sugar. Also excess sugar mixed with excess protein will impact insulin in a huge way.

2. Vegetables
Weight problems are often caused by a failing endocrine system (4 body types). Raw vegetables have qualities that aid in healing the body’s organs. High in fiber and low in sugar with healing properties. It is very common for people to have normal body fat but be 50-100 lbs over weight because of the fluid retention. This is why the BIA does not work properly on most people and why some can drop 20 lbs almost overnight. Potassium helps lower insulin and also needed to adequately hold protein in the body

3. Protein
A powerful fat burning trigger if not consumed in excess.

4. Essential Fatty Acids
Eating fat will help me burn fat? Yes it will! Eat foods high in Omega 3 such as salmon, tilapia, cashews and almonds. Your body needs these for proper brain function and hormone creation.

5. Skipping Meals, Reducing Calories or Letting Yourself get Hungry
When you skip meals or restrict calories your blood sugar decreases several hormones are released: cortisol which will turn the body’s tissues to sugar (muscle). Also creates cravings for nutrients it needs: sugar (sugary foods, high saturated fat foods). Here’s the rule EAT BEFORE YOU GET HUNGRY and NEVER SKIP A MEAL, ESPECIALLY BREAKFAST..

6. Gland Destroyers: Alcohol, Caffeine
Alcohol triggers insulin and also destroys the liver. 7 calories per gram for alcohol and most alcoholic beverages contain excess sugar or starches. Caffeine weakens the adrenal glands and liver and irritates the gallbladder. The liver has to detoxify the caffeine from the body causing it to weaken.

7. Water Retainers
A huge hidden source of being overweight is water weight!!!! Eating foods high in MSG will cause sodium retention and make one stay heavy. Artificial sweeteners (sugar alcohols, splenda, xyitol). Because they are sodium depleting this causes increased insulin and water weight. Counteract with potassium high foods (labels)

8. Exercise– DUH!!! High anaerobic exercise!!!!

9. Stress
Stress plays a huge part in the weight loss/gain game. When you become stressed your body releases cortisol and wants to use muscle tissue as fuel instead of body fat. This does the reverse of what resistance training would do, lowers your muscle tissue and increases your body fat percentage. Also some people tend to be emotional or nervous eaters, consuming more calories than is necessary.

10. Sleep
when you sleep your body releases growth hormone. At its peak serum concentration, about 4 am, your body can now build muscle tissue and lose body fat. This is the period of time where your body changes. A vital part of losing weight is getting enough adequate sleep. Research suggests that you need 6-8 quality hours of sleep to take the benefit of the growth hormone spike.

To sum all this wonderful information up, I would suggest that if you are trying to lose weight you should pay close attention to the 10 items listed above. These nutritional/behavioral habits may allow you to burn more body fat, build more muscle and allow you to achieve the body of your dreams.

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