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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
  —  Bertrand Russell
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On This Day In:
2018 Have You Stretched Today?
The Original
2017 Being Nice
2016 Zero To Some = Most
2015 Born More Obligated
2014 Rage And Fury
2013 Successful Children
2012 For God So Loved The World
2011 Go Cheeseheads!!
Structured Mentality
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X+Y” (2014)  —  movie review, released in the US as “A Brilliant Young Mind” (2015)
Today’s review is for the 2014 / 2015 movie “X+Y“, aka: “A Brilliant Young Mind“.  The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis (autistic math genius), Rafe Spall as Martin Humphreys (Nathan’s tutor), Sally Hawkins as Julie Ellis (Nathan’s mum), Eddie Marsan as Richard (UK tutor), Jo Yang as Zhang Mei (Nathan’s love interest), Martin McCann as Michael Ellis (Nathan’s dad), Jake Davies as Luke Shelton (mocked math genius), Alex Lawther as Isaac Cooper (mocking math genius), Alexa Davies as Rebecca Dunn (Piano girl / jealous crush).
There is something called the “International Mathematics Olympiad” (IMO) which brings together all of the maths geniuses from around the world to compete on their respective national teams.  It seems China is the historically dominant power at this event.
Nathan is an autistic maths wiz.  The only person he is close with is his dad who dies in a car accident.  The accident makes Nathan even more reclusive / eccentric than he was before.
Nathan’s mum (the fish lady / maid in “The Shape of Water“) is not able to relate with her son and finally gets a piece of relief by shipping him off to compete in the IMO.  Nathan’s tutor (Martin) is himself a “failed” maths prodigy and slowly builds a relationship with Nathan and his mum.  Eddie Marsan plays the UK team manager who’s only concern is for the team to beat the Chinese team. Zhang Mei is Nathan’s “love” interest.  He slowly pries Nathan from his turtle shell.  Martin McCann is Nathan’s dad and is the only one who sees him as special and not weird.  At least that is how Nathan feels.  The final three main characters (Luke, Isaac and Rebecca) are other “kids” on the IMO team who are meant to demonstrate some other levels of autism or to act as a kind of alternative love interest.
Is this movie any good?  Does it say anything about math?  Does it say anything about kids?  Does it say anything about autism?  Yes, a little, nothing new, and I don’t know.
I really enjoyed this movie. I got interested in it a while back when I saw Butterfield in “Ender’s War” and thought I’d look out for any of his other work.  (I’ve seen the previews for this film and the bits and bobs available on YouTube and have been waiting for this movie to become available on cable or on Vudu.)  Now I’ve seen him in two very good roles and it will be interesting to see if he develops into a good adult actor or if he fades.  As with “Ender”, Asa plays the straight role well and the emotional role almost as well.  I don’t really understand autism, so I can’t say how accurately he portrayed the ending transformation.  My gut feeling was it was too Hollywood and not realistic, but that just may be me.
The movie relates math to various aspects of the real world: pattern recognition, music, art, architecture, philosophy and love.  They were not main points of the film though, so if you blink, you may miss a couple of them.
I don’t think this movie says anything original about kids.  Certainly nothing you couldn’t get from a half-dozen other movies starting with “Lord of the Flies”.  Yes, kids are mean and pick on other kids who may be viewed as somehow “different”.
As mentioned above, Nathan is “transformed” at the end of the movie.  I doubt autism is cured on the road to Damascus, so I didn’t care for the resolution / summing up.  It just seemed too tidy for my taste.  Apparently, the movie is based on a real-life person and his reaction to viewing the film was: I am a maths wiz.  I am not a rain man.  For me, to the extent the movie related Nathan’s love for math, I felt it stood on firmer ground.
Final recommendation: very strong to highly. I do have an “unusual” fondness for movies with even the slightest math / science / computing theme, so you have to take this recommendation with the normal grain of salt you take my reviews…   (LOL)  I’m not usually a big fan of hazy / distorted filming to represent the perception of genius, but in this case, it worked pretty well.  I liked the acting, the story and loose correlation of math to music, color, flow and pattern recognition.  I will watch it again in the future.
One final note: I got to see this movie for free!  I joined my local library (re-joined) and they have a pretty interesting selection of movies you can stream just for being a member of the library.  It saved me having to purchase a movie I really wanted to see.  They do limit my viewing to eight per calendar month, but it still seems a great deal to me!  Who knew??
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On This Day In:
2018 And May Never Be
2017 Don’t Forget
2016 I Was A Percentage Man
2015 It Waits Patiently
2014 Unknown
2013 Explaining Love?
2012 Echoes of 1%
2011 Salaam, Egypt!!
Where Do You Learn?

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It’s easy to halve the potato where there’s love.
  —  Irish Proverb
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On This Day In:
2018 Feeling Both
2017 Just Start
2016 Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
2015 Restraint At The Inn
2014 To Not Discovering
2013 I Have Less To Say
2012 Not The Best Prediction I’ve Ever Read

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Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
  —  Saint Thomas Aquinas
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On This Day In:
2018 Seeking Finer Fruits
2017 Something That Is Absolute
2016 Animate And Encourage
Out Of Time
2015 In Time
2014 Robust Interconnectivity
2013 What Have We Here?
2012 Tributaries And Eddies
An Honest Politician
2011 Penultimate

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Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
  —  Quoting one of my Drill Sergeants and numerous other NCO’s I knew while in the Army
Today was supposed to be Day 6 of my juice diet / fast.  I fell off the wagon hard…
The plan this morning was to get a number of little chores done and then relax with the wife.  It didn’t end up that way (so far).  To start off with, I woke up feeling bad – nasal congestion and overall feeling “off”.  I was supposed to get a blood test in advance of a doctor’s appointment.  They were closed for the 4-day holiday weekend.  (The things you don’t think about when you’re retired and everyday is a holiday.)  Check, next.  Pick up brake light for car.  Check.  Wow!  Do I have a bad headache!!  Plug on.  Get cash at the bank.  Check.  Look for cooking book for wife.  Check.  Well, so-so.  I can’t find the book for her so I get myself a book from the $3 rack.  Does that count?  Yes.  Okay, check.  Wait.  I already gave myself a check for that…  On to the drug store to pick up some topical disinfectant.  Check.  Since the sporting kit store is right next door, why not?  Lots of interest, but nothing I want enough to spend money on today.  Check.  Man, my head is pounding…  I’m considering taking a Ricola drop for a shot of energy, but decide against because my stomach is also a bit upset.  I can’t tell if I’m going to heave or get the runs.
I got home and decided I was going to eat something bland-“ish” to settle my stomach and maybe help my head.  I settled on a square of cornbread.  It does help both my stomach and my head, but I’m still congested and feeling drained.  The wife says: “Just take a pill.”  I do and by the time I’ve finished walking the dog, the nasal congestion is clearing and my stomach is feeling better (more settled).  The wife asks me to go to the store and get some soup and ginger ale for her (she’s been under the weather for two days).
…Bad move!  Sending me to the store without adult supervision.  I buy her requests, but also get myself some “unhealthy” stuff for myself – as well as some okay stuff.  And…  We both have lunch.
And that’s why I didn’t make it through Day 6 of my seven day “diet / fast”.  Lesson learned?  The 6-P’s.
Moving forward, I’ll be taking tomorrow (New Year’s Day) off from the diet and I’ll be trying to start back up on either Wednesday or Thursday.  My initial plan for those two days was salad and more salad (and maybe some soup), so maybe I’ll just go ahead with that.  At this point I’m playing by ear.
And the results:  Starting weight on 26 December: 360lbs.  Ending weight on 31 December: 343lbs.  The scale is analog and was fluttering between 340lbs and 343lbs, so I’ll be conservative and call it 17lbs for the five days.  The question is was that any more than my other fasts?  Only slightly.  My last juicing fast (started in July) I lost 15lbs in the first five days and I was swimming for at least an hour three of those days.  I put it (the slight difference in weight) down to hard workouts on three(3) of the five days.  The workouts were 90minutes, 2 hours and 2 hours.  So, really, the longer duration of the workouts is marginally responsible for the extra pound or two of loss.  The big difference is how I felt.  The pool and veggie juice was invigorating me.  The weights and processed juices has seemed to be making me feel exhausted.  Well, it’s all purely subjective, but it’s something for  me to consider going into my next round – this week or next.  Small steps to better health…
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On This Day In:
2017 Best Wishes For 2018!
2016 Best Wishes For 2017!
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
Best Wishes For 2015!
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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Okay.  So, yesterday went well.  I was not “hungry” per se, but I was missing chewing and the act of eating.  Anyway, I got through it.
Last night was my first visit back to Planet Fitness in ages.  Well, in ten days; but it felt like ages.  Nothing was “hard” like when you’ve stopped exercising for six months and you’re just starting up again, but I had little to no energy stores.  I walked / jogged 1.27 miles in 26:15 minutes.  Yes, I know.  Most people walk faster than that.  The truth is sometimes I do, too.  Rarely, but sometimes.  Anyway, it felt like I was in molasses.  I was okay for my 2 minute warm-up walk, but as soon as I started to jog – forgetaboutit.  So, I had to alternate slogging and walking to get through it.
I moved on to the calisthenics portion of my workout.  I have a cycle of crunches, inclined pushups and air squats which I run through.  I started out at five cycles, then eight cycles and for the last couple of days (about a week) before my Christmas break, I was up to ten cycles – about 45 – 50 minutes.  Last night I struggled to get to eight.  It wasn’t “hard”.  I just felt exhausted.  After my cycles, I did a few minutes of rowing.  And that was it.  My “normal” workout usually runs about two hours and includes stretching and lots more weights (light weights, but high volume reps).  Last night was cut short and was still about 90 minutes because I was moving so slow.  Still, I went to the gym and plowed through it…
One interesting point:  My face is already starting to get the “oily / waxy”, moist feeling on my forehead, nose and cheeks.  This normally happens around day 6 or 7.  I don’t know why it seems to be happening sooner than “normal”.  At first, I used to worry about acne when this started, but in all of my fasts (long and short over a dozen in my life), it has never ended up causing a breakout of  acne.  Actually, I find it kind of makes my face look younger – smoother and better hydrated.  So, that’s a good thing.
And before I forget:  this morning’s weigh-in was 349lbs.  That’s down from Boxing Day weight of 360lbs.  Day Two’s weight was 353lbs.  Basically, that’s water retention loss from all the salt and sugar consumed on Christmas day.  My weight on Christmas morning was 355lbs.  So, really we’re talking about six pounds from then, and not  eleven pounds from the “start” of the diet / fast.  Please recall I am trying to not worry about day-to-day losses and gains as much as I am three and four day trends.  Of course, first I have to get past four days…  LOL
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On This Day In:
2017 Daily, Mr. President, Daily
2016 We Did This
2015 I’m Talking To You
Forced (Again)
2014 We Are Not A Fearful Nation!
2013 Risking Truth
2012 Working On Reality
2011 Massive Contradictory Changes

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After a hearty Christmas dinner, it’s back to thinking about health and weight.  Improve the former.  Decrease the latter.  So, it’s back on the “juice / blend” diet for a while.
I started my last diet / fast back at the end of July and went 42 days.  I was at my lifetime maximum weight of 380lbs when I started and got down to 311lbs.  I was surprised how quickly the  weight has come back.  This morning I weighed in at 360lbs.  My previous max was in running shorts, barefoot and t-shirt.  This mornings weigh-in was with jeans, running shoes and a sweatshirt.  The prior max was with me standing on the scale in a precise location so I could try to standardize my weigh-ins.  At this time of year, it is too cold to try to do the same, so I will be wearing various clothes / shoes.  This means I can’t sweat a one or two pound gain or celebrate a one or two pound loss.  After all, it could just be a change of shoes.  What I have to concentrate on is not daily weighing, but 3 and 4 day trends.
My recent readings on weight maintenance have said the body seeks to find the old weight when you come off of a diet (plus a few extra).  This is what causes the “rebound” effect almost all dieters have of regaining everything you lost plus a couple.  I have been hovering around the 350lbs level for about four weeks now.  My goal is to start working back down to that level (with a 7 day juice fast) and then see how it goes from there.  That’s the same plan I had for my last fast (keep a short term goal clearly in sight) and it worked pretty well.  Anytime I do anything to try to change my body, (sleep, diet or exercise) I try to make sure I’m “listening” to my body.  Hopefully, by starting the diet at 30lbs lighter (actually 20lbs as of this morning), I have re-set my body weight at or near the 350lbs level, so when I come off I’ll only rebound to somewhere near there minus a few.
So: exercise more regularly at the gym, fast for a kick-start, eat healthier choices when I come off the fast.  It remains true that it is practically impossible to lose weight from just exercise.  Eating poorly (calorie dense) will always more than counter any benefit from exercise.  To lose weight, I have to eat better, sleep more regularly (and longer – minimum of 7hrs), and exercise.  So, here I go again…  Wish me luck!
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On This Day In:
2017 Biased World View
2016 Control In The Age Of Entanglement
2015 Okay, Maybe Not Ceaseless
2014 Can Do
2013 Are You Helping?
2012 Inside All Truth Is A Vacuum
2011 So, Whom Are We Trying To Fool Then?

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