Author: Chicken Little
So much to admire
These competitors are tougher than I’ll ever be. People who strive and make it to the stage despite the odds are who we all should admire.
Quotes from East of Eden by John Steinbeck
You can boast about anything if it’s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast. – page 4
It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them. Page 133
.. Some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are others that hate themselves and spread hatred around like butter on hot bread. Page 144
Well, a man’s mind can’t stay in time the way his body does. Page 145
No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us. Page 268
… People are only interested in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen… A great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting – only the deeply personal and familiar. Page 270
The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. Page 270
… With rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt – and there is the story of mankind. Page 270
.. If rejection could be amputated, the human would not be what he is. Maybe there would be fewer crazy people. Page 270
The human is the only guilty animal. Page 271
Couldn’t a world be built around accepted truth? Couldn’t some pains and insanities be ripped out if the causes were known? Page 271
… A woman who knows all about men usually knows one part very well and can’t conceive other parts, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. P. 322
At this time I had to return the book to the library. Then I borrowed it again, but this time from a different library, and it was part of John Steinbeck: Novels 1942 – 1952 from The Library of America.
An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable in our times. p. 589
“It’s one of the great fallacies, it seems to me,” said Lee, “that time gives much of anything but years and sadness to a man.” p.708
A child may ask, “What is the world’s story about?” And a grown man or woman may wonder, “What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we’re at it, what’s the story about?” p.747
Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well – or ill? p 747
We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest with ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world. p 749
Nearly everyone has his box of secret pain, shared with no one. p. 815
“I guess this personal hide-and-seek is not unusual. And some people are ‘it’ all their lives – hopelessly ‘it’.” p. 824
“Laughter comes later, like wisdom teeth, and laughter at yourself comes last of all in a mad race with death, and sometimes it isn’t in time.” p. 835
“All colors and blends of Americans have somewhat the same tendencies… And we’re so overbrave and over fearful – we’re kind and cruel as children. We’re overfriendly and at the same time afraid of strangers. We boast and are impressed. We’re oversentimental and realistic.We are mundane and materialistic – and do you know of any other nations that acts for ideals? We have no taste, no sense of proportion. We throw our energy about like waste. In the old lands they say of us that we go from barbarism to decadence without an intervening culture…” p. 913
A Walk in the Park
After watching that mushroom show on Netflix, I wanted to visit the park to see if I could find any.
Workout analysis, 10/9/22 – 10/15/22
Tape Roll Hack
When your nieces use up all of your 3 tape dispenser tapes and all you have is packing tape, and you want to wrap gifts up so your nieces don’t end up finding them when they scrounge around your house….
What I Listen to at the Gym
I’m a rock music person. I love classic rock, metal, what used to be called “alternative” in the 90s (am I dating myself?), indie rock, etc. Anything with a big, pounding beat that isn’t too fast or too slow, that isn’t tinny, muted, or delicate. I like the music that I can feel in my chest.
Sometime this year, I found The Hu. I’ve been listening to them at the gym and I’m hooked. Maybe it’s because of the 1% Mongolian in me, or maybe they’re just good and interesting and people just want to listen to something old(er) in a new way. Like, metal and throat singing? Those awesome stringed instrument I don’t know the name of plus electric guitar? I hope that this using-your-culture’s-traditional-instrument with modern music doesn’t stop, because the results sound so damn cool.
Workout Analysis, 10/2/22 – 10/8/22
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
So I finished this book. It’s like all human flaws were crammed into a few characters and you watched it play out like a slow train crash. The most logical-seeming person was also the worst. The most convoluted narrative was the most innocent character. The character that seemed to have something going for him, whose life looked like it was just beginning… Well, I’m not going to spoil it. The whole book is just tragic.
Workout analysis, 9/25/22 to 10/1/22
Stuff I looked up in August & September
Lots of things these past 2 months! When I was in high school, someone (probably one of my high school teachers) told me that to earn your PhD you have to contribute to some field’s research with a new idea. At that time I thought, wow, that sounds really hard. I couldn’t imagine any new ideas. Then I got older and learned more. One thing I keep realizing is that the more you look things up and learn, the more you realize what you, or we as humans, don’t know. The hunt for answers only brings up more questions. Can we ever really know everything?
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
Todd’s paralysis – Todd’s paralysis is a neurological condition experienced by individuals with epilepsy, in which a seizure is followed by a brief period of temporary paralysis. The paralysis may be partial or complete but usually occurs on just one side of the body. The paralysis can last from half an hour to 36 hours, with an average of 15 hours, at which point it resolves completely. Todd’s paralysis may also affect speech and vision. Scientists don’t know what causes Todd’s paralysis.
Li-Fraumeni Syndrome – Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is an inherited familial predisposition to a wide range of certain, often rare, cancers. This is due to a change (mutation) in a tumor suppressor gene known as TP53. The resulting p53 protein produced by the gene is damaged (or otherwise rendered malfunctioning) and is unable to help prevent malignant tumors from developing. Children and young adults are susceptible to developing several multiple cancers, most notably soft-tissue and bone sarcomas, breast cancer, brain tumors, adrenocortical carcinoma and acute leukemia.
Sclerosing mesenteritis – Sclerosing mesenteritis, also called mesenteric panniculitis, occurs when the tissue (mesentery) that holds the small intestines in place becomes inflamed and forms scar tissue. Sclerosing mesenteritis is rare, and it’s not clear what causes it.
PMS2-related Lynch syndrome – In humans, the importance of MMR is underscored by the discovery that a single mutation in any one of four genes within the MMR pathway (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2) results in Lynch syndrome (LS). LS is an autosomal dominant condition that predisposes individuals to a higher incidence of many malignancies including colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, and gastric cancers.
Mevalonate kinase deficiency – Mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD) is a rare genetic autoinflammatory disorder. Autoinflammatory syndromes are a group of disorders characterized by seemingly random or unprovoked episodes of inflammation generally due to an abnormality of the innate immune system. They are not the same as autoimmune disorders, in which the adaptive immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
Muckle Wells syndrome – Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS) is one of the cryopyrin associated periodic syndromes (CAPS) caused by mutations in the CIAS1/NLRP3 gene. These syndromes are characterized by fever, rash and joint pain.
Adult onset Still’s disease – Adult-onset Still’s disease (AOSD) is a rare inflammatory disorder that can affect the entire body (systemic disease). The cause of the disorder is unknown (idiopathic). Affected individuals may develop episodes of high, spiking fevers, a pink or salmon colored rash, joint pain, muscle pain, a sore throat and other symptoms associated with systemic inflammatory disease.
Getting enough protein: Cooking on the weekend
One of the things that’s difficult about watching one’s macronutrients is that it is harder to eat more than 100 grams of protein per day than one thinks. It’s easy to do this for 1 day, a week, but every day for weeks? That’s hard, even if you just focus on getting that protein first and maybe not looking at carbs and fat. If you’re also counting carbs, or limiting them, it gets even harder. This past weekend I attempted to cook protein rich meals (from scratch).
Workout analysis, 9/18/22 – 9/24/22
The most interesting thing I saw on the bike ride? A middle aged man riding a unicycle, juggling bright orange juggling pins.
Question of the week from Jared Diamond
I picked this book up 10 years ago but got too busy to read the whole thing. Here’s to another try.
The Emporer of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter
Depression is seductive: it offend and teases, frightens you and draws you in, tempting you with its promise of sweet oblivion, then overwhelming you with a nearly sexual power, squirming past your defenses, dissolving your will, invading the tired spirit so utterly that it becomes difficult to recall that you ever lived without it… Or to imagine that you might live that way again. With all the guile of Satan himself, depression persuades you that its invasion was all your own idea, that you wanted it all along. It fogs the part of the brain that reasons, that knows right and wrong. It captures you with its warm, guilty, hateful pressures, and, worst of all, it becomes familiar. All at once, you find yourself in thrall to the very thing that most terrifies you… To be depressed is to be half in love with disaster. P. 152-153
We live so much of our lives in chaos. Human history can be viewed as an endless search for greater order: everything from language to religion to law to science tries to impose a framework on classic existence. P. 229
We look at our bodies, our energies, and we think we own them: we do not recognize, with Emerson, that they are a part of the world to be husbanded with care, to be respected, not to be misused; we think they are ours to do with what we will. And so, thinking we have been liberated, we joyfully pave the paths to our destruction. P. 583
But guilt comes in more than one variety. And so does punishment. P. 648
Creatine in seniors
I have this giant bottle of Naked Creatine (I got it from Amazon) and I feel that it helps me retain and build muscle just a bit better, as long as I don’t forget to put it in my smoothies. Starting last week, I started to put ~5 grams of creatine into my mom’s protein smoothie, because there seems to be a generally positive effect of creatine use in adults. There’s some research into this topic.
Workout analysis, 9/12/22 – 9/17/22
Also, less volume and less sets but also less soreness and no exhaustion. Finding a balance.
*P. S.: This is minus the 2nd half of my workout which will be at the gym. I’ve gotten used to splitting my workouts in half (morning session, afternoon session) due to accompanying my mom to the gym, to make sure she goes and does something there. This program has a foundational phase that has 21 sets for the whole body done 2-3 times a week plus small trigger sessions in between that feel like mini-HIIT workouts. After a month I’ll move onto a phase with less reps, more sets, and heavier weights.
Over the summer my mom found that some animal dug holes/tunnels under our house. Eventually someone spied said animal and identified it as a hedgehog or woodchuck (big, brown, furry angry looking creature). Then my sister brought a trap over to the house and we ended up catching 3 small ones, 2 of which my brother-in-law took 30 miles away to be let go. The 3rd one died before he was able to come get it. Then all was quiet, until the morning of 9/9/22.
While my mom stood there in shock, I yelled that it was a SKUNK and that if it sprayed on her, she’d be bathing in tomato juice for a week. (Is that how you get rid of skunk smell?) When we told my sister, she just about died laughing… And sent her husband to just let it go. I hope it’s a smart example of its species and doesn’t get caught again. If not, there’s an increasing possibility that someone in my family will get a blast of one of nature’s special perfumes.
A Word About Boston Streets
Boston, especially in Cambridge right next to Hahhhvahhrd, is beautiful. It was nice feeling safe enough to walk around at night every night along with tons of other pedestrians. Using Harvard Yard as a short-cut to get to Harvard Square, literally walking around on campus, brought me back 20 years to my college days.
Driving in Boston and its vicinity, however, was a nightmare. I swear that Boston city streets look like one of those particle pathways:
GPS was on, but it usually said things like “Use the right hand lane to turn left at…” and by that time… a turn was mistakenly missed and the car got force-merged somewhere else.
This picture was an example of an EASY intersection. Elsewhere, there were roundabouts. I don’t know why Europeans are good at roundabouts but Americans seem never to be able to adapt. On the positive side, I got to see a lot of areas of Boston, by accident.
This picture is of the type of intersection of all roads that lead everywhere. Also, the image in the GPS was never clear enough – it showed a thick line until the last second, and if you happened to be in the wrong lane when the GPS zoomed in to show the actual turn, it’s too late.
A Small Afternoon Jaunt
A visit to a small town on an incredibly beautiful day.