Sunday, September 25, 2016

Small victories

After almost 7 years of shying away from the gym, I finally gave in and signed up for a membership. My swimming pool ain't that great (opens too late in the morning), and I don't have the discipline to go in the evening. I ain't that regular with my gym, but well, something is better than nothing.

What I find starkly different this time around is - I saw remarkable progress in the first few weeks. I will credit it to the fact that I hadn't been doing any weights or cardio for 7 over years and this time my instructors asked me to increase the number of repetitions I do for each set without worrying about the weights too much. Earlier, I used to focus more on increasing the weights, than worry about increasing my repetitions. This has been the single most effective improvement for me.

Anyway, gyms are a source of inspiration. Everyone I look around are fighting their own battles. The ultra-fit guys and gals are either trying to go that extra mile in the same amount of time, or lift that extra kg. The beginners like me meanwhile are just trying to be better than yesterday. I love the feeling of being marginally better than yourself from yesterday. That's all you need to aim for. Nothing more.

And if you need motivation, this poster by the oatmeal is all you need.

Just do it Later

Sensational News

We have come to a point in time in history of human evolution where we almost consume all our news from social media (62% of U.S adults use Facebook as their primary source of information, and I am pretty sure the story is similar elsewhere).

Now, things that get shared and clicked on Facebook, generally don't tend to be of the garden variety. These are necessarily sensational, controversial or down right false. To add to it, Facebook fired it's human editors that curated news and used news bots to decide the "Trending topics" that we got to consume. This led to a false but sensational news to trend on Facebook for a long while sometime ago. While I am sure over a period of time, these bots will be intelligent enough to sniff out the false and bury, sensationalism shall remain.

When I was young, I subscribed to the fact that we were being manipulated by big giant corporations with their hidden agendas. Now as I am getting older, I have realized that we are just getting fed what we desire. If you click on "5 ways to lose 10 pounds by next Friday" that's what you are going to get more of. There may not be any hidden agendas. After all, everyone has a profit motive. In the big bad world of the internet, our clicks are the currency. What we click is what we get more of!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Briefest History of Time

I loved this webcomic by XKCD this week. Though it's written to counter climate change skepticism, it also serves as a super compressed explanation of human history and it's associated events on a beautifully drawn timeline explaining the average global temperatures back then.

I highly recommend taking some time off your busy schedule and reading it. I spent a few hours reading about events that he has mentioned and I didn't know about. I have always had problems relating things in history to each other (Like what was happening in India when Roman empire was at it's peak etc.). This timeline sort of manages to clear the relations.

Please note that I have cut off the period between 19500 CE to 500 CE here. See the complete timeline on XKCD

A timeline of Earth's temperature

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Banana Dilemma

I try to eat Bananas in my breakfast on weekdays. It's been a while since I switched to eating oats for breakfast. Now oats by themselves are quite tasteless to eat. So I decided to put in some cut fruits. I chose bananas because they are easy to peel and cut in the morning rush, taste good and are known to be instant sources of energy and happiness.

If you are still eating sugary cereals for breakfast, I would highly recommend switching to oats. Besides, the health benefits of oats, one of the major reasons why I love them for breakfast is - they keep me full till lunch. I don't feel like having a mid morning snack ever.

Anyway, this post ain't about the oats. It's about the bananas. Now, the "organized" being that I am, I try to grocery shop for the next week on a Sunday. That way, we don't need to worry about groceries during the weekdays. So every Sunday I buy a bunch of bananas (5-6) with the thought that they will last me till the Friday of the next week.

However this is the problem with bananas - When I buy, they are green. Monday, Tuesday, they ain't ripe enough. So I eat unripe bananas for breakfast. Wednesday they are perfectly ripe. Thursday and Friday I eat overripe bananas. So my perfect breakfast only happens on the mid of the week. Rest of the time, I am struggling with unripe or overripe bananas.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Gift giving

While I am very convinced by the idea of buying gifts for others, I firmly believe that most of the times I have no clue what to gift to other people. Just the other day, I attended two birthday parties. One for a 1 year old and the other for a 1 month old. Abiding by the social norms, we bought gifts for both of them. The 1 month old got a teether. The 1 year old got a dress.

Now, I am quite sure both of them have had enough teethers and dresses gifted to them already. I just added more to their stuff just to confirm to social norms. But the sad part was, we spent a few hours choosing the "perfect" gift, though completely knowing that those kids would already have something like that.

I am now totally convinced that in this age of social media, we should all have a "Wishlist" online of the things that we wish to buy openly shared with our social circle. Also, it should be perfectly acceptable to just give money as a form of gift so that the recipient can go and buy what they desire. This would lead to people accumulating less stuff, and clueless people like me not spending hours in the wrong aisle of a supermarket wondering what to gift!