Archive for July, 2008

The Sunshine Vitamin

Allow me to quote from an article in Scientific American:

  • Vitamin D, long associated only with its role in bone formation, is actually active throughout the human body, powerfully influencing immune system responses and cell defenses.
  • It can be obtained from food or manufactured by human skin exposed to sunlight. Measures of vitamin D levels show, however, that many people have too little of it circulating in their blood to protect health.
  • Clear associations between low vitamin D levels and cancers, autoimmunity, infectious diseases and other conditions suggest that current daily intake recommendations for this critical nutrient need revision.

I think it’s important to know this information about vitamin D.  If you don’t have time to read the article linked above, just trust me that if you don’t spend 10 minutes a day outside in your bikini exposed to direct sunlight, you should consider supplementing your diet with vitamin D pills!  I’d also argue that if you live in a cloudy area or an area that experiences real winters, vitamin D supplements are for you!  Next time you’re at the drug store or grocery store, pick up a bottle and start taking one with dinner.

Other cancer prevention methods:  I suggest avoiding pesticides and herbicides in foods and your living quarters.  Avoid heating plastics that touch your food or drink.

More generally, eat healthy, exercise, and learn how to eliminate stress from your life.  Stress gave me an autoimmune disease (Celiac).  Don’t let it happen to you!

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WALL-EEEE! EEE-VAAAA!

Well, if Batman didn’t live up to its expectations, Wall-e most certainly did!  Perhaps because I don’t hang out with many 8 year olds, I wasn’t able to have Wall-e ruined with unreachable expectations like Batman was.  Now, let me set unreachable expectations for Wall-e for you!

Wall-e is a Disney/Pixar movie about the future of earth and humans.  The Earth is filled with trash and dust storms and no longer can sustain life (human or plant).  Humans live a space ship and get around on these kick-ass hovercraft loungers with built in computers.  This has made the humans really, really fat.  Wall-e is the twenty first century’s Johnny 5 and he has a romance with sleek-bot Eve that rivals Carrie and Big a la Sex and the City.  The whole movie and all of its characters are just adorable!  You’ll laugh and awww out loud!  Al Gore may have gotten the global warming message out there using power point slides in An Inconvenient Truth, but Wall-e makes a more general point that appeals to kids of all ages, ruin the earth and you’ll end up living on a space ship, drinking meals through a straw, and even though those hover-loungers are cool, who really wants a double chin? Best movie of the summer!  Watch the trailer, then take everyone you know to the theater to see it! WALL-E:  5 of 5 stars

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The Dark Knight

I’ll admit that I went into the movie going experience in a bad mood.  I ate out last night and my food was clearly not gluten free and today I suffered for it pretty terribly.  After sitting through maybe five previews for comic-like movies that I will never see, a preview for Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe caught my attention.  I will look forward to that coming out in October!  I’m a huge Leo fan, not in a teeny bopper kind of way, or at least I’d like to think so.  Then, the most horrible thing happened.  A Christian Bale movie previews and I find out…  it’s a Terminator movie!  Christian, NOOOOO!  I followed you from Newsies  through 3:10 to Yuma and now you’re going to be in a Terminator movie?  I don’t know if I can continue to see every movie you’ve ever made!

Let me interject with my list of top actors:  Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adrien Brody, and Viggo Mortensen.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to The Dark Knight.  I allowed myself to read a review in Time.  It lead me to believe this was going to be the best movie I had ever seen and probably the darkest I’d seen in a while as well.  This movie got so much hype that it actually sold out in several major cities (or so I heard).  I went in with high expectations.  That, combined with a bad mood, made me pretty disappointed in this movie.  Yes, Heath Ledger was amazing,  Christian Bale was nice to look at, and Alfred will cheer anyone up, but I just don’t think the movie lived up to its expectations.  About half way through the movie I thought to myself, “When is it supposed to get good and dark?”  Then they ended the movie with the wrong climax in order to set up for the third movie, or so I assume.  Remember when you left Lord of the Rings The Two Towers?  I felt tortured having to wait an entire year to find out the grand conclusion (it didn’t occur to me at the time that I could relieve the torture by picking up the book).  Well, I left this movie without that feeling.  I didn’t even care to find out why they left everything hanging (some story lines were left literally hanging).  Don’t get me wrong, this movie was good and entertaining and you should make a point of seeing it if you liked Batman Begins, it just wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, nor will I need to see it again and again and again.

I felt similarly about Sex and the City.  One or two major script errors ruined the movie for me.  Perhaps the only thing that could save this summer in movies is seeing Indiana Jones or Iron Man?  Netflix is torturing me right now too, there just aren’t any good movies coming out.  I just looked back through my movie rating history and it seems that I haven’t given 5 stars to a movie since… well, I’ll save that for another entry.

The Dark Knight:  4 of 5 stars.

P.S.  Maggie Gyllenhaal is NOT Katie Holmes.

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Excedrin Migraine

I’ve had random and non-random migraines since I was little.  My first migraine was the 4th of July at my parents house when I was little.  I remember being so excited that the cousins were going to come over and sleep in tents, it was just too much to handle.  I got a migraine and my head just pounded and pounded.  I remember crying, puking from the pain, and then sleeping and missing most of the fun.  Another time I got a migraine on vacation that lasted about three days.  It ended in my waking up in a sleeping bag next to my mom and dad’s bed and puking up cheesecake EVERYWHERE!  My aunts and uncles were staying in the same house we were and everyone remembers having to clean that up.  Good memories!  😉

Back in the day, migraine medicine for little kids was apparently tylenol with codeine.  I’m not so sure how opiates and acetaminophen were supposed to help with anything except to make me feel high and give me a stomach ache.  Later in life I was prescribed an actual migraine medicine that was supposed to help open the blood vessels.  This stuff was scary to take and really didn’t work all that well.

During grad school I discovered Excedrin Migraine.  This is an over the counter drug that’s just a combination of caffeine, tylenol, and asprin and it is the first drug that actually gets rid of my major headaches (migraines and non-migraines)!  This is kind of a big deal to take.  I suggest taking one pill and making sure that you’ve eaten something or will eat something during this process.  The caffeine is intense and will give you the shakes if you take it on an empty stomach (and this comes from a coffee drinker).  I’d wait about a half an hour to see if you even need the second pill, unless it’s super bad, then pop two right away.  With any migraine medicine, the key is to take it, make sure you’ve eaten a meal recently (quinoa is good for migraines!), drink lots of water, and lay down in a dark room in hopes of falling asleep.

Today I woke up with a headache, which could have been a result of several things, the newly formed habit of teeth grinding on a jaw that is currently not set properly, the being woken up at 2:00AM and then at 6:00AM with jerks swimming in the pool outside my window, or the fact that I have company in town when things are pretty hectic with the accepting the job offer and trying to graduate.  The headache got worse as I climbed 2,500 feet in elevation (in my car) and then immediately came back down after dropping my company off.  Advil wasn’t doing the trick and I decided to grab some lunch and coffee, walk to work, and take some migraine medicine.  This wasn’t a migraine (no pounding), but man was it painful!  No more than 20 minutes after taking my pill and eating some of my lunch while drinking my coffee, I felt positively blissful!  I worked for a good five hours, got a ton of research accomplished, and only felt a minor buzz from the whole thing.  Thank you Excedrin Migraine!

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Time Magazine and the media

I have decided that it’s best for the heart and general stress levels to read my news.  I was a CNN junkie for a while because I found it made my apartment feel less empty when I first went from 6 roommates to zero.  Who wants to watch what CNN deems “Breaking News” day after day after day while a ticker scrolls blurbs across the bottom of the screen?  I found I was missing out on important things going on in the world while CNN covered celebrity news and the same topics over and over again.  Now, I read the cover of the New York Times every morning while I wait for my latte to appear at the counter and once a week I get my copy of Time Magazine in the mail.  I will admit that this is a far step from the world news I desire.  I think the New York Times may be too business oriented to warrant my full enjoyment, and for now, Time will have to do.  Time does cover celebrity news as well, but it’s easier to pick and chose the news that is important to you when the news is in reading form.  The point is that I’ll probably often take material from my weekly reading material to blog about.

There was a great article this week on the environmental problems in Florida.  I haven’t fully read the article yet, but this quote, conveniently in large bold print on one of the pages, really caught my attention as a wonderful way to explain a thought I’ve felt for a while and had an inability to put into great words:

“Even people who don’t give a rat’s ass about the panther will care when saltwater comes out of their faucets.” — Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald

Lastly for today, I want to share with you an article that put my thoughts on Internet commenters into a wonderful summary that makes a point better than I ever could:  Post Apocalypse

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Crocs and Socks

This post is inspired by an interview with Tim Gunn of Project Runway.

Tim, what’s the worst fashion trend you’ve ever seen?

“Well, sandals with socks are certainly up there.  Generally speaking, it’s footwear trends.  I mean, the Croc– it looks like a plastic hoof.  How can you take that seriously?  I know it’s comfortable; I understand that.  But if you want to dress to feel as though you never got out of bed, don’t get out of bed. ”

Thank you, Tim Gunn, for pointing out my lack of fashion sense.  I’ve gotten similar comments from friends such as, “Only pregnant women and children should wear crocs” or the facebook group, “I don’t care how comfortable Crocs are, you look like a moron.”  My crocs are mary-jane style and they are gold, which I insist is not ruby-slipper shinny, just more of a skin color.  “Skin color?  Yeah right!” proclaimed my cousin when I was home for the 4th of July.  I’ve been wearing these same crocs for at least two years and I knew I had a problem when I wore a pair of cute sketchers to work the other day and every time I looked at my feet I thought, “Wow my feet are small!”  About five minutes into my walk up the hill to work (I walk to work every day) I had blisters in 3 places and my feet a week later still look like I was in a bike accident or something.

I’m moving to a town on Lake Superior in January.  What sort of fashionable footwear should I bring to the region?  I could switch to crocs without holes in them (winter crocs), invest in some sort of sandal with arch support, or I could give Tim Gunn a freak-out by combining two evils:  Crocs and socks!

My plastic hoofs:

Crocs

Crocs

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In the Valley of Elah

The other night I watched the movie “In the Valley of Elah”. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478134/ This is the movie that Tommy Lee Jones got an Academy Award nomination for. It was pretty moving! The name comes from the story of David and Goliath, who met in the Valley of Elah to have their little brawl. It’s actually about the Iraq war, or at least the soldiers and post traumatic stress disorder. It is based on a true story (see special features on DVD) of a soldier who returned from Iraq and was murdered shortly after.  I’ll let you watch the movie to find out who murdered him.

One of the best quotes from the whole movie experience came from an Iraq war veteran in the small documentary following the film (in the film this veteran plays the role of the deliverer of the news of the soldier’s death to the father). The quote is, “Humanity is a casualty of war.” All characters had their innocence and humanity unnecessarily taken away by war. (This even stretches to wives of soldiers in another side story of the movie.) We are left with a scene where Charlize Theron’s little boy, David, asks why they sent a little boy to fight Goliath the giant. This unanswered question leads you to wonder… Why have the old, rich men and women in congress sent the young to fight this war for us? And are the consequences of not only death and injury from war, but desensitizing an entire generation, really worth even the intended, idealistic, initial goals of our “elected” administration, much less the actual outcomes of the actual non-idealistic war?

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