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Thursday, December 28, 2006

They're Made Out of Meat

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

Read the rest.

I found out that this is a classic, that many educated people are familiar with. Since up until now, I had never read this, it makes me feel a bit deprived and like I am living in the dark.

Art in your Morning Coffee

Some incredible art that suggests to me that someone doesn't need that morning cup of coffee to put themself in work-mode.

Almost makes me regret switching and becoming a tea drinker.


Best of the Web 2006

Here is my list of my best website discoveries of 2006:

  1. donationcoder.com

Seriously...that's it!

Nothing else matters. Nothing else can compare, in my mind.

Anybody that has been reading my blog knows I love that site and it has become my online home.

But I am just one person, and my opinions on what is best would only reflect my opinions. If you want a great list of what is best try this one:

DonationCoder.com's Best of the Year 2006 list.

It contains the best
  • software

  • websites

  • essays

  • debates

  • flash games

  • humor

  • fun

  • gadgets

  • programming stuff

  • entrepreneur related articles

  • and more

all selected from their fantastic forum postings of the past year.

This isn't the usual single person who just comes along and gives their opinion of what they think is the best...you can find that on any other website.

What makes this list special is that this is a huge community of dedicated enthusiasts that has collectively scoured the internet for the best of everything. No single person could have come up with a list like this, and it sure would have taken them a lot longer than a year to put it together if they tried.

If you would like to become part of the team and possibly contribute to the Best of 2007 list, register on their forum and become part of the community. You won't regret it.

It is my best discovery of 2006.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

The perfect gift

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

The perfect gift to give is always the perfect gift for the person you are giving it to. It is a gift that matches the personality and/or the tastes of that person. If you see something that reminds you of someone you know, you are supposed to buy it for them...it commands you to. When you care about someone, you think of them while you are apart and it is easy to shop for them. Things just jump out at you and scream their name.

This is why they say it's not the gift, but the thought that counts.

When I am out shopping, I often see little things that remind me of people I care about.

One online friend in particular...I see things that reminds me of him quite often, but it would be quite expensive to ship to him the things I see, so I don't buy them. It wouldn't make any sense to buy them and not be able to send them to him, so that he could enjoy them.

I didn't have much money for Giftmas shopping this year. I only bought one gift this year...for him. I was browsing around online and saw something that screamed his name in so many ways...I had to buy it. I had no choice. (everyone else on my list received things that didn't cost me any money)

Unfortunately, ebay didn't feel the same about it and wouldn't allow me to buy it and have it shipped to him. I had to send him the link & the money and have him order it. It kind of took a little of the fun out of it. But he liked it and it made him happy.

If there is one thing I love, it's surprises. But every year I don't get very many. Almost every gift I get is something I already know about, expect, and in most cases it is one I have had to pick out myself. I don't understand why people can't shop for me. Does nothing remind them of me? Nothing at all?

I am not saying I don't appreciate the gifts I get, because I do...very much...it's just that I really love to be surprised too. It's not as much fun to tear into the wrapping paper on Giftmas Day, when you know what is in the box and in most cases even wrapped it yourself. It takes most of the fun out of it.

At least someone got it right this year and surprised the hell out of me in the most wonderful way.

A few days ago I received a package in the mail from my online friend that I mentioned earlier, addressed to my daughter.

Now I was expecting this package, and even asked him to address it to my daughter, since she loves surprises as much as I do, and he agreed to do this since it was something for her. But when the box arrived it was much heavier than I expected. There was obviously more in it than the 2 books that we had discussed.

Since it was supposed to be a Giftmas gift, we would both have to wait to see what he had sent.

It is a tradition in my home that we all open one gift each, on Giftmas Eve. My daughter decided it would be the package from my online friend that would be the one. The suspense was killing her. (And it was killing me too.)

So what was in the box?

4 books...the 2 sushi cookbooks, for my daughter, that I was expecting...and 2 more for me.

A book of Farside comics...and a marvelous vintage cat book from the 70's, full of all kinds of stuff about cats...history, legends, poetry, art, information.

It reminded me of one I had bought for myself when I was a teenager. One of many thing I lost during the years when I was being shuffled from place to place while I was a victim of the NJ foster care system.

He probably thought it was something I would like, but I don't think he knew exactly how much I would like it.

But that wasn't all that was in the box...

Along with the 2 sushi books for my daughter, he included a starter kit of supplies she would need for making sushi...sushi rice, soy sauce, wasabi, mats, chopsticks, ginger, etc.

Each item my daughter removed from the box made her happier & happier...the most excited I have seen her in awhile. She was downright giddy.

What made her so happy was how thoughtful the gift was. That someone online that she has never spoken to and doesn't even know her, except through me, gave her a gift that was perfect for her...and it was something she loves. Something her own real life friends wouldn't have bothered to do. They aren't that thoughtful. She now wants to trade her real life friends for my online ones.

I think of all the gifts I have received this year, that box was the best gift of all.

It was a box of thoughtfulness that gave more than just the objects that were in it. It made my daughter smile...it made her happy...and that in turn made me happy....very happy.

My friend has touched my heart through my daughter's smile.

For the first time in a long time, the tears I cry are tears of joy. And yes, they really are tears, I am not exaggerating for the sake of being dramatic or something. I am literally weeping.

The words I write here can not even come close to explaining how I feel or why.

This is a Giftmas I will never forget.

Thank you, my friend.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Diet

I decided to stop thinking about it and just do it...start the diet....today.

The way it works:

  • Fruits, vegetables, beans: They don't count ...eat as much as you want.

  • Grains: Whole grains are 1 point per serving. Anything else would be 2 points per serving.

  • Dairy products: 1 point for every gram of fat, 1 extra point for being an animal product.

  • Meat & Seafood: 1 point for every gram of fat, 1 extra point for being an animal product.

  • Candy: 1 point for every gram of fat, 1 extra point for being loaded with sugar and not having any real nutritional value.

  • Alcohol: off limits.

  • Anything else is 1 point per gram of fat and an extra point if it contains sugar, honey, or any other high calorie sweetener.

The idea is to stay under 20 points per day for 6 days in a row. Eat whatever you please the 7th day. Then repeat.

The best way to break this down would be 3 meals a day and 1 snack...each limited to about 5 points.

Now before you just jump up and say "I can do this!", I must warn you, it's not as easy as it sounds and the first week is the toughest.

You will be thinking of all the things you can't have...thinking there isn't anything you can have. You will get frustrated, feel deprived.

But soon you will change the attitude and fall into a different sort of thinking, and focusing on what you can eat instead. That's when the fun begins. You will start getting quite creative with your cooking.

Another warning: It is almost impossible to keep this diet and eat meat. This works best as a vegan diet, or at the very least, a vegetarian one.

If you are worried about getting enough protien, remember that there are other sources of protien in this world other than meat, and you can eat all the beans you want. Dairy products kill 2 nutrition birds with 1 stone, so take advantage of low fat & fat free in that category, in place of meat.

If you find yourself having a serious craving for something, and you don't want to blow it, and you can't limit yourself to just a tiny taste, just put it off till your treat day.

That's right...it's a TREAT day...not a cheat day. This is the key to success. Taking that 1 day off a week allows you to have all the things you are depriving yourself of and makes your chances of sticking to this diet greater. You can't undo 6 days of super healthy eating in 1 day! So don't worry about it on day 7 and just be happy treating yourself. This is the day without guilt! It would be a great day to go out to dinner to a restaurant with family or friends and not have to worry if there is anything on the menu you can actually eat. Your social life shouldn't have to suffer just because you are on a diet. Social drinking is allowed on treat day, as long as it's done in moderation, so go ahead and have a beer or glass of wine with dinner.

And yes...you have to take that day off each week. You can't skip that or make it less frequent. The idea isn't to become some super hero known as "Diet Woman" or "Diet Man". The idea is to be serious about being healthy, and serious about not setting yourself up for failure.

A note about eating out: If you want to eat out with friends and family on a day other than your treat day, consider Chinese food. You can always get stuff that is steamed rather than fried at most Chinese restaurants. Or pick some place that has a fantastic all you can eat salad bar packed full of healthy stuff, like Charlie Brown's (I don't know if you have this restaurant in your area, most locations are in NJ)

Now I haven't decided if I am going to post my daily menu, because then I would feel like I have to provide all my recipes along with it and that would be a lot of work putting it all together to post every day.