Thursday, October 28, 2004

Now With ... Tunnel Vision!

Everyone has it sometimes. I went into college determined to keep away from it. And my entire freshman year, I was successful at keeping away from it, leading to my sub-3.0 GPA my freshman year. That thing is focus. I went into college coasting, in effect, the way I feel I had through high school. I received a two-semester wake-up call in the form of heated arguments with my dad over the importance of GPA (I still assert that it is only minimally important).

Sophomore year I began to focus more on schoolwork and later a girlfriend, and those two things became my college experience until second semester of my senior year. Somewhere in there I had the realization that I had gotten tunnel vision, and ignored the things and people around me. This belief was affirmed when I returned to Miami last weekend for homecoming and the memories flooded in. Over the course of two years of my undergraduate career, I had lost perspective. I had lost the ability to recognize that the exam I was stressing over or that group project that I bitched into Michelle's ear for an hour about weren't really that important. But I will always laugh when I relate the story of my roommate taking "study showers." Whether I got an A or a B on that project wouldn't keep me from a job or graduate school. And it didn't.

This time around, I'm trying to make a more concerted effort to keep things in perspective; to not allow myself to get bent out of shape about that paper due next week or that group presentation the day after. After all, it's just a paper. It's just a presentation. These things are all only very small parts of the sum of the experiences that make an individual, so why waste time worrying? There are much more fun things to be doing with spare time, and I intend to find them.

Live each day as if it is your last...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Hold the Pickle

As my quest to watch non-Vin Diesel movies continues (although, guilty as charged, I watched "XXX" again last week), I rented last year's documentary sensation "Supersize Me." My expectations going into watching this movie were: the guy would probably gain weight and his cholesterol would go up, I would probably be grossed out and never want to eat McDonald's again, and the movie would not be entertaining. And my track record was: right, right and wrong.

I was right on the first count but I didn't think I would be so right. Morgan Spurlock gained 25 pounds in 30 days of eating McDonald's. 25 pounds. That was like 20% of his body weight. His cholesterol also went up. WAY up. It went from 160 to 260 in the course of a month. So I was right. But I didn't expected him to suffer from depression, fatigue, headaches, liver disease, and sexual side-effects (which his girlfriend graphically attests to, she has to be on top now). On day 21, he woke up at 2am with chest pains. His three doctors pleaded for him to stop. But he didn't. During that month, he consumed 30 pounds of sugar. But that's not all. Rent it yourself to see the rest.

I was right that I was grossed out and would never want to eat McDonald's again. In fact, it makes me glad that today I had a sub sandwich for lunch and a nice chicken dinner (not a frozen one) tonight. I jogged this morning and had water to drink tonight. But I still felt like crap after watching this movie. I recognize that his diet was extreme, nobody eats Mickey D's 3 times a day, but about everyone eats fast food more than they should, including myself. But do we realize it? My guess is not.

Finally, I was wrong that it wouldn't be entertaining. There were many moments when I was surprised to find myself laughing, because Morgan surprisingly managed to keep his humor throughtout the diet despite his failing health. But it was also eye opening.

Walking away from this film, I really wish that more people could see it. Obesity really is becoming an epidemic in this country, and it is estimated that 1 in 3 kids in the US will develop diabetes in their lifetime because of unhealthy living. My eyes were opened to this epidemic, and it appears that McDonald's was too, because six weeks after this movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, McDonald's pulled the SuperSize option from their menus nationwide.

"These boys have got the touch, it's clean as a whistle and it don't cost much.
Wham, bam, you don't wait long; shake, fries, patty you're gone."


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Purpose of Arguing

Hello Kids! I've been "musing" lately, and if I mention names in this, it is not mentioned as a criticism. It is meant solely to illustrate points. With that, let's go nuts.

I owe Mike Failor for coming up with this post. You see, about a week ago, I finished a book called "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis. It is a non-fiction book about how the writer spent a year in the front office of the Oakland A's baseball team, who chose to run their team "against the grain," by buying players that other teams under-valued and therefore underpriced. Lo and behold, the first year that the A's did this, they went to the playoffs, one of 8 teams out of 30 to make it every year. But the amazing thing was that they did it with the lowest payroll in baseball, contrasted by the Yankees who spend about a gazillion dollars a year on players. Anyhoo, that's the background.

So in a conversation on IM with Mikey Failor, local baseball aficionado, I mentioned this interesting book I had just read. He said he had heard of it, but not read it, and said that it was a bunch of "bullshit," (personally, I think it would have been cooler if he had said 'hogwash', cuz that's a cool word nobody uses, but I digress). Then last Saturday, I received a voicemail on my phone when the A's were eliminated from the possibility of making the playoffs this year from Mr. Failor who proceeded to tell me that "Moneyball sucks," and asked "How do you like that?"

Now, it got me to thinking that maybe Failor felt threatened by a new way of thinking about and running a baseball team. But maybe not. Maybe he just hates the book. But it made me remember that nobody wants to admit that they're wrong. And sure, that creates roadblocks sometimes. Another example is Justin's (now defunct) political blog. NOBODY on there would ever concede that they are supporting the wrong candidate, but we learned didn't we, sports fans?

Or at least I did. I feel like I hold a much better grasp of the two sides of the Presidential race, and if it had been easy to convince Justin to vote for the GOP, then I probably wouldn't have learned as much. He wouldn't have been arguing his case and providing supporting points. So, you see, our resistance to make educated decisions enhances our education. Interesting, isn't it?

Now, I could sit here all afternoon and provide additional points and examples, but I wouldn't convince you that I'm right, would I??