Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Save the Poor Health Insurance Companies!


Awwww... There, there monstrous corporate entities -- it'll be all right in the end. Don't worry.

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posted by Brian at 11:07 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pro High Fructose Corn Syrup Propaganda, Anyone?


One of the side effects of traveling is that you may find common foods still made with sugar and not High Fructose Corn Syrup, an unnatural suspicious industrial concoction which is in a huge proportion of processed foods available at American stores (and fast food restaurants) and eaten by the public at large. Some time in the 80s, American food manufacturers switched from cane sugar to this substance without telling us. Remember the New Coke vs. Old Coke fiasco in the early 80s? Prior to that, American Coke was made with sugar. After they brought back Coke Classic, it was made with High Fructose Corn Syrup. But in many places in the world, you can taste how much better sugar tastes by drinking a Coke.

Now it seems, the Corn Refiners group is on the offensive. Not happy with all the negative press against HFCS (including documentaries), it is launching commercials like this (which I saw this weekend) on Food Network and elsewhere.

The ludicrous conclusion of this ad: "Well, you can't explain why HFCS is bad for you, therefore everyone can eat it in moderation." Apart from the many reasons why it is unhealthy, there's almost no way to eat it in moderation because it's in almost EVERYTHING. Over time, your body won't care if you ate it in moderation or in excess.

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posted by Brian at 3:08 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random Life Updates

A few things I haven't had time to write about:
  • Had a fun time with my team at the London Shopzilla UK office.
  • Recovered from a week long bought with bronchitis right after my return. Ugh.
  • Saw legendary salsa jazz fusion band Azymuth and Brazilian-inspired DJs perform at the echoplex.
  • Got Serato Scratch Live finally. DJing using my laptop now possible!
  • Been in JAVA training all week at work.
  • My old friend, PENN roommate, and successful business financier Raj Das was in town for a business trip. Last night we had dinner at Crustacean and drinks at the Hollywood Hills house of the creator of a new music site called BoomBacker (which might just reinvigorate the ailing music industry) and his wife, who runs an upscale wedding planning company, Eventful Designing.

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posted by Brian at 9:32 AM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Intermittent Part

One of the hazards of being an intermittent super-genius is the intermittent part. Creativity (along with happiness) seems to come in spurts and in my case, lately it seems like those spurts only appear when I'm mildly intoxicated and hanging out with a receptive, laughing group of people. Then, safety net in place, my mind takes bold leaps into the abyss of possibilities and returns with something amusing.

But most of the time, it wants to find comfort in things can't have right now, and that are possibly contradictory -- wanting a peaceful, sensible world of curious creative people working together, helping each other and others less fortunate, combined with a strange selfish desire to be famous, well-liked and wealthy. The former is only attainable in a small scale with lots of hard work, and the latter is something that's best when you're happy with yourself.

That's not always easy. Some of the things they tell you when you're not feeling happy about yourself (they being psychiatrists and friends) are don't compare yourself to others, set low expectations, follow your bliss, don't be too hard on yourself, focus on what you want or what actions you can take (vs. the things you can't control or trying to squelch the bad), smile, and don't forget to exercise.

I don't know about following your bliss -- my natural inclination would be just to nap, or walk around national parks all the time. I'd get nothing done at all, and would anyone pay me for that existence?

Difficult not to compare yourself to others. Friends and strangers have things you want -- houses, wives, children, cars, money, prestige, affection, free time. Sure, we can become desireless reeds like the Taoists suggest, but I'm not a vegetable, I seem to want more than water and sunshine. Besides, to get good at something, you must compare yourself to the best, not in terms of "My god, they're so much better than me. I suck." but more asking questions like "How do they do it and what do I need to practice?"

I've heard the Danish are the amongst the happiest people because they have low expectations. Victor Borgé was a creative genius, but other than him I'm not aware of successful Danes to admire. Claire Danes, maybe. She's cute.

Smiling is surprisingly difficult sometimes. I don't know if some stray botox entered my cheeks a while back or that somehow the feedback loop telling me "Ok, you're smiling" is stuck at "on" even I'm not smiling, but apparently I don't smile enough and am not realizing it.

Have to remember to enjoy what you have. That's certainly something I'm guilty of neglecting. Typically my brain is doing mental window shopping for the toys it lacks, yet when was the last time I used my scanner or watched that VHS tape of Robin Williams playing with dolphins?

Anyways, eventually the Super-genius part comes back, happiness returns (with groceries), coincidence and serendipity come over for dinner, and the five of you enjoy life as it was meant to be.

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posted by Brian at 3:43 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 30, 2007

Adventures in the Land of Excessive Free Time, Part I

I know, I know -- one should not complain about having too much free time. It's a very rare substance. Even more rare than parking in West Hollywood. Or even fast-food Eskimoan. But you should be happy to know that I'm starting to fill it up with worthwhile, self-improving (well, mostly) activities.

In this installment: the gym! "What? You need a gym?" Yes, I'm afraid so. The free food at work, slowing metabolism and being stuck in traffic for 2 hours a day have taken their toll. My recent photos are a lot different than the blog profile (late 1999) or even my summer 2006 Comic Con photos. Although, it seems there are two types of celebrities where weight doesn't seem to matter: Rock stars and DJs.

There are at least three gyms in ridiculously close walking distance (3 blocks or less), and another in doable, but less enticing (20 minutes) distance. There was one called Groove Fitness with a live DJ. (Someone told me Brian Henson frequented there). But it closed down.

I have a tendency to prefer the classy-looking ones with the free towels, the vast vaulted ceilings full of untouched virgin equipment, whirlpools, steam rooms and saunae. But these are a) PRICEY and b) too far west for me. (Granted, there's the new LA Fitness, but I don't know, something about it bugged me. Maybe because it was built in the ruins of the old, seedy Hollywood Galaxy movie theatre and I'm sensing the ghosts of late 90s movie-goers and employees who died there -- trapped by being stuck to the floor covered in spilled soda and crushed Joo-joo Bees. At least now they can do cardio for all Eternity...)

It's a sad fact but most gyms around here do not offer towel service! Wha?? Unlike some people, I do not like laundry...

I finally settled on Hollywood Gym, which is family-owned and has the basics (plus towels!) and a trainer. I like that it's not corporate. And it's quite literally a block away from me.

24 Hour Fitness (misleading advertising -- it's not open 24 hours IN A DAY! Hollywood Gym is though) wreaked of corporate-ness, from the massive paperwork and rows of desks full of sales people trainers to the endless product placement and expensive supplements on sale. Crunch sounded amusing -- apparently, they have a blurry glass wall in the showers so that folks coming in can see the naked silhoettes of presumably well-sculpted gym-goers. Free porn, anyone?

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posted by Brian at 8:17 PM 0 comments links to this post