Saturday August 30, 2003

Comings and Goings

Oy. So it’s come to this. I applied for jobs at Barnes & Noble and The Apple Store. I’m curious to see what happens with that. But it would be good to have some income to pay bills and take one of these professional training tech classes. Professional training holds a lot more sway than junior college courses, unfortunately. And even more unfortunately they cost a LOT more.

I’m also still waiting to hear from Google in Mountain View. I was contacted by a recruiter a little while ago, sent my resume and filled out a survey. Sure, I’d move back to California if I had the opportunity. Why not.


Matt Allen hipped me to Edgar Meyer, a classical bassist, a while ago. I saw some video on E. Meyer’s web site. He’s phenomenal. Mainly a classical player but he’s also got a bluegrass CD out. Or classical meets bluegrass. During one of the video clips I noticed that he has fret marks on his bass. Matt went to the Stanford Jazz Workshop this summer and Robert Hurst was there teaching. Robert Hurst, another great bassist, also has subtle fret marks on his bass. I’m wondering who else has them.

Hmmmmm, says I. ‘Cause I got a thing about fretless instruments. If instruments that have frets have fret marks and indicators on them then why don’t fretless instruments have fret marks? They need ’em more. Is it just tradition or is it something more?

Visual cues are an important part of design. In the design of every day things (as Don Norman wrote), so to speak, there are clues and cues that tell you how something is supposed to be used and facilitates its use. It can improve safety, increase efficiency and just generally make our lives easier. You never see a speedometer with 0 marked and nothing else. Or a skyscraper with an elevator that has a non-demarcated slider instead of buttons.

People have mastered fretless instruments without fret marks, of course, but it seems like an unnecessary layer of mystery to overcome.

Anyway, I invested in a metallic silver Sharpie and put some tiny fret dots on my bass. I don’t have the skill or courage to drill small holes in the bass and fill them with filler or abalone or whatever. It’s kind of funny but now I have to adjust to having fret dots there. Most of the time you’re not looking at the neck anyway but they do come in handy. That upper register, in particular, can be a no-man’s land.

Good stuff, though. All I need now is/are gigs.


I saw another commercial today with monks and the vow of silence. It was a commercial for oatmeal granola fruit bars of some sort.

On channel 13 here in Baltimore they report the news in present tense. Do they do that everywhere now or just here? I find it distracting more than anything else. I guess it’s supposed to be more action packed that way.

“Earlier today, a man drives a minivan full of crab quesadillas into a purple school bus.”

That kind of thing.

As long as I’m talking randomly here I have a few questions that I’ve been thinking about that it seems like other people should be thinking about but they aren’t talking about them even if they are thinking about them. For example:

  1. Where is Osama Bin Laden?
  2. Where is Sadam Hussein?
  3. Where are the weapons of mass destruction?
  4. Where are the rallying Iraqi public and burgeoning democracy?
  5. For that matter, where’s the end of the war?
  6. Where’s the money coming from to pay for all of this stuff?

At least the President’s administration has wised up a little and asked for help from the UN.

Refined Carbohydrates are Evil

A lot of people seem to have issues with the Atkins plan. (I’m not trying to follow it to the letter. Too regimented for me.) One thing I have thought about is carbohydrates as fuel for exercise. So on the days or nights before I plan to do something I’ll indulge just a little. Eat some good carbohydrates. Try to avoid the bad stuff, the fast sugar. Or an energy bar or Gu or something like that a few hours beforehand. But overall, we consume an excess amount of carbs anyway. None of us are in danger from eating too little sugar each day.

Some people refute the Atkins plan but don’t know anything about it. They just see it as a fad and subsequently dismiss it. But I think the low carb notion is the right idea. I’ve looked into a few things recently regarding progressive notions of diet. Anything that someone I know or know of has said works for them, I’ve looked into. My cousin lost a lot of weight, a friend’s brother, another friend of mine. They’ve all lost about an average of 30 lbs., I think.

They’re all in line with each other: Atkins, Sugar Busters, Carb Addicts, South Beach, Anti-Aging, Anti-Inflammation, Food Combination, Fit or Fat, etc. Some are just a little more extreme, regimented or emphasize certain aspects. For instance, the Atkins plan views the average diet as an addiction to carbohydrates that needs to be broken, which is why the first two weeks is “cold turkey”. They say that if you’re an alcoholic you don’t recover by toning it down a little.

But whatever the case, carbohydrates seem to be the key. Avoiding refined carbs is the most prominent. Then comes, avoid eating carbs with certain things — food combination in other words. Lay off starchy vegetables. Meat and carbs are bad in a single meal. They tend to spike your insulin levels, which is bad in the long term. Too much insulin = too much fat = sticky fat particles in your blood stream. And so on.

I guess it’s not just a matter of the number of calories in/out but the form the calories come in. In other words, the food pyramid is upside down. It’s the same nutritional ratio used to fatten up hogs and livestock.

What really bothers me and has begun to make me angry is seeing all of these commercials that tell us how good and/or good for us these food items are. Crackers, breakfast cereals, fruit juices, granola bars, cookies, chips, desserts, etc. They relentlessly promote fast and easy foods, all processed to hell and back.

But all of these “convenience” foods are full of refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats. In my non-professional opinion I think they’re no better than tobacco. Promoting junk food is just as awful as promoting tobacco products. And abuse of refined carbs and trans-fats are just as self-destructive as tobacco products. They’re both longitudinal killers. That’s my two cents anyway.

Then again it’s no surprise. Kraft, Nabisco(Oreo, Ritz, Snackwell), Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Post cereals, Maxwell House, Miller Brewing Co.(Miller, Red Dog, and Lowenbrau), for instance, are companies owned by either Philip Morris or RJ Reynolds.

I think it’ll be a while but the public is starting to come around. I read that the USDA is going to be releasing a new food pyramid in 2005.

I’m hoping that will be in time to save or prolong the lives of my family. We’re stubborn to begin with and food habits are stubbornly and culturally entrenched. I’m hoping that I actually lose weight and gain health enough so that they’ll take notice and rethink our usual cuisine.

Um … The End.

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