Thursday, February 28, 2008


seth roberts came to my games class yesterday and spoke about self-experimentation and games. seth is a UC Berkeley psychology professor who experiments on himself to learn more about how the mind works, and has published his results to quite stirring successes (one being the shangri-la diet).

anyway, he spoke to us about omega-3. he found that taking three tablespoons of flaxseed oil (high in omega-3) in the morning had a huge effect on his ability to: balance, perform well at certain memory games, aim at targets, sleep.

he also told us to stop eating breakfast (he eats nothing before 10am) and see life-size faces in the morning.

anyway, with nothing better to do, and intrigued, i bought flaxseed oil today and took three tablespoons. that's a helluva lot (you could do less fish oil, i'm told, but i am starting from his observations + flaxseed may have other magical benefits). i'm going to see what this does to me. in reality, we are constantly doing crazy things to our body and very often experimenting, but not consciously. so i'm going to try and be conscious about this move. brain tests, here i come :)

oh and games: seth takes a lot of self-measurements. in some cases, he needs to take many measurements a day, and that gets very, very tedious. he came to the class to show us a game he had developed to make it slightly more fun to take measurements. he then asked us if we could help him improve the game.

as a final note, of course i looked up what others were saying about taking flaxseed oil (didn't want to miss any research that says what i'm doing is completely nuts). found this article that talks about potential danger of taking flaxseed oil for men. anyway, author recommends flax seed oil with lignans. that's what i got.

Friday, February 22, 2008


strange oddball characters have been emerging in my writing of late. here's something i quickly wrote up recently. warning: it's somewhat bloooody

untitled (and unfinished.. but it's what i have now)

imagine a survey question: why don't you floss everyday?
a) laziness
b) forgetfulness
c) don't care
d) other

99.9% of the non-flossing adults select one of the first three options. i select (d), other. my 'other' is 'blood' -- if i flossed everyday there wouldn't be blood, and for me, the joy of flossing is the taste-my-blood experience.

your jaw that has dropped in horror? push it back up. there is a rational reason for this behavior, and you will be convinced when i'm through.

you, the snob you are, drink wine. you wax on about the buttery flavors, the caramel, the big mouth, the hint of cardamom. if i told you there was a liquid finer than wine you would laugh and look at me as if i were a child drinking grape juice. silly boy, you'd say. one day, you'll come around.

well, i did come around, but not to wine. i learned that i make my own sweet nectar. it happened many years ago. i just had the most fabulous rare steak in my life -- pink, tender, juicy. that steak brought me near heaven. five days later i found it.

in the bathroom, i looked in the mirror and saw a bit of swelling around my upper front teeth. 'hmm, not good,' i thought, 'time to floss.' so i wrapped the waxy string around my fingers and went to work. i watched in the mirror as the blood started to trickle down my tooth -- it fell and hit my tongue and the most wonderful taste of aged beef, iron and caramel enveloped me. i was shocked. my tongue darted to my front teeth and voraciously scrubbed the blood off -- more heaven. what was this? i panicked. could i be safe in the wilderness if i tasted so good?

indeed, this tasty blood may sound wonderful -- the best liquid to drink on earth is coursing through my veins. but all i could imagine, at first, was the horror of knowing that i would be feasted upon by my fellow humans if only the knew. for the next two weeks i walked around with band-aids and a strong fear of being discovered.

but then i flossed again, after two weeks, and the blood was mediocre, even bad -- the worst two buck chuck ever! what had happened!?!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

the peanut farmer

last night we chatted about tantalizing voices. those voices that lure you in and, regardless of what they're saying, make you swoon. people from india with british accents do that for me, shashi tharoor being a good example. i love how he says "ramparts" -- i'm not listening to the concepts, just the flow. supposedly L has ample proof that her voice enters this category. i don't know..

musically, i think billy corgan has such a voice:

then, my mind wandering, i imagined the peanut farmer test. imagine you are severely allergic to peanuts and you flip on the radio and hear this melodious voice. the voice is talking about the farming of the peanut, your arch-nemesis, but it doesn't matter. that voice! you resolve to meet this peanut farmer, even though the farmer will likely be oozing peanut oil. sure death! but the peanut farmer's voice. the voice.

that would be the voice.

now i need some nuts.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bea's of Bloomsbury: eat tasty food in London

i am so proud to say i'm an investor in my friend bea's new cake shop in london: Bea's of Bloomsbury. doesn't it look tasty?

the shop just recently opened, and i am salivating for a cupcake, and hoping i get there soon! i know some of my readers may be in london soon, and if so, run, don't walk, and sample the wonderful food. bea is a culinary wizard and tireless worker who got the business going almost singlehandedly, entirely from scratch. here's a quote from the londonist review:

What makes Bea’s cupcakes so damn good (as well as the rest of Bea’s menu for that matter)? Well, in addition to applying their Michelin-Star pedigrees, Le Cordon Bleu training and prior experience at yum factories such as Asia de Cuba and Nobu, the folks behind Bea’s intend to use fresh produce and the finest ingredients in an attempt to “redefine the concept of takeout as quality, indulgence and style.” From what Londonist tasted, Bea and crew have more than a fighting chance at achieving such a lofty goal.
and here's another review from the randomness guide to london.
UPDATE 2/29/08: another great review at view london.

Friday, February 08, 2008

firebrand: the best commercials

i have a soft spot in my heart for excellent commercials. i found today, a site that aggregates wonderful commercials from around the world. i browsed around and found the following brilliant commercial. i love it:

i'm actually seriously thinking about getting a smart car in the future, if i need a car. this ad made me feel that choosing a smart car would be a safe decision.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

the juno soundtrack

the juno soundtrack is fantastic. i will post the whole thing at some point, but here's the first track. love it. i haven't felt this stoked about a soundtrack since pulp fiction. you have a favorite movie soundtrack? let me know.

cnn disgusts me

today we went and saw some of the super tuesday election results (go hillary!) at a group gathering on the berkeley campus. the organizers had put cnn up on the screen. after an hour i was about ready to throw up all over wolf blitzer.


well, are we mice or .. er ... people? mice want cheese. that's what cnn gave. they'd give you a nibble of new york, then a nibble of georgia (but not a peach!), then a nibble of another state. but no aggregation! none! eventually we pulled out a piece of paper, and started writing down the candidate names and the states, and the associated percentages, to get our own aggregate sense. very much like the graphic on the homepage (or for that matter the cnn page):

when did tv viewers become so illiterate that we aren't allowed to have the global picture?

all that wolf blitzer had, amusingly, was his reference to huckabee as a "burgundy" (the color of the red on the map). that got a good laugh -- i wish someone would call me a burgundy, that most refined pinot.

this song, from the juno soundtrack, seems quite appropriate for cnn: