Joshua Thomas A blog about things I think about en-us Thu, 22 Aug 2019 04:29:17 +0000 Sett RSS Generator Moving to my own site I'm going to move my posting over to my own site and minimize my blogging on sett for now.

I be here:

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Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:48:49 +0000
How to salvage a low energy day I've been feeling extra lethargic today and really don't want to be, so I decided to Google around for examples of how other people salvage days like this. It turns out that there are a lot of posts written about how to salvage "bad" days, ones in which you have a good reason to feel awful, but there aren't many blurbs about how to salvage low energy day.

What's interesting is that I'm pretty sure if I followed any of the advice given for salvaging a bad day, I'd end up in a worse predicament. Most of the suggestions had the goal of improving happiness, rather than getting back into the game.

"Eat some icecream", "Complain to a friend", "Watch television".

I know that if I did any of these I'd end up just feeling worse. I try to avoid things like this as much as possible. It's all self-destructive stuff at best. I do indulge sometimes, but it's to savor an experience, not to just get my brain's happy-chemical levels up.

So here's some things to hit up to salvage a low-energy day:

  1. Read a book. On my low energy days I find myself in a brain fog, so I feel like I'm not getting much out of the book, but the next day the information comes flooding back, and I'm happy I spent the time using my mind.
  2. Write a blog post. It's easy as hell. Don't write a complainy, whiny post; that'll just bring you down more. Try to write something helpful or interesting. Maybe get something off your mind that you've been thinking about all week. It doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't even have to post it. It's just something to occupy yourself.
  3. Stay on a healthy diet. Seriously. I've been eyeing my roommate's sugary cereal all day today, but I am glad that I've yet to grab it. I'm sticking to my guns, and tomorrow I'll be proud of myself for muscling through this.
  4. Go on a walk; get outside for a few minutes. See nature and spend the day at your own pace. Let the fog in your mind dissipate a little and meditate on the moment.
  5. Be alone. Maybe this one is just better for me because I'm introverted, but when I have low energy, the last thing I want to be doing is shelling out my low stash to everyone. As much as I love being around others and making them feel good, I just can't do that on low energy. It's counter-productive.
  6. Take a 20 minute caffeine nap
  7. Stay hydrated. The one thing that's sure to bring a low-energy day even lower is dehydration. Don't neglect your metabolic needs!
  8. Watch television! Okay I know I said this one isn't so great, but it's a last resort if all else fails. If your mental energy is seriously THAT low, maybe some television is the best way to pre-occupy your mental cycles. Hey, it's better than sitting there feeling like crap and doing nothing all day. I try to save my television watching for just these occasions. Being in the know with recent pop-culture is unarguably at least slightly valuable.

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Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:23:57 +0000
Ketogenic Diet: Ketosis Achieved! I got a ketostick this morning to check whether I'd entered ketosis or not. It was awesome, because I got to pee on it.

The results are in! Ketosis has been achieved!

Not that I needed to pee on a stick to know that.

My mental energy levels are extremely stable compared to usual, and I feel a lot calmer and more zen even. My workout this morning felt different too. I was able to go way faster than usual on the stair-stepper, and I kept pushing myself until I couldn't feel anything anymore and I accidentally dropped a 45 lb weight on my hand, at which point I was forced to stop working out. Ouch, my hand!

One of the coolest things is that my social anxiety has completely been eliminated. My mind completely ignores social fears and focuses directly on the matter at hand.

Before trying the diet, I read that it makes energy levels seem to triple. I was skeptical before starting the diet, but looking back I wouldn't say I disagree.

It's very obvious that my body's chemistry is heavily altered, and also for the better. I'm loving the food I'm able to(okay... FORCED to) eat on this diet, and I'll definitely stick with it.

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Tue, 15 Jul 2014 23:08:45 +0000
Ketogenic Diet: Day 3 I've been trying a ketogenic diet lately. For those not in the know, it's very similar to the Atkins diet, ergo an extremely low carb diet, high in fat and proteins and with no sugars. It's prescribed for those with epilepsy to stop seizures by normalizing mental energy levels. It also can lower blood pressure, anxiety, and help build up loads of lean muscle.

So far, I'm loving it. From my research, I should be in an energy slump at this point in the diet while my body adjusts to ketosis, but I'm not feeling it at all. My emotions and energy levels feel more stable than usual, I'm able to focus easier, and my anxiety is way down.

Figuring out what to eat hasn't been that difficult either, considering the extremely limited food selection available. I've been able to stick to the diet on the last legs of my Florida vacation, and even on the plane flight back to Washington, with minimal effort.

I've also learned that I fucking love salmon. I always thought fish was gross, but after being forced to eat loads of it, I'm realizing that it's really not bad. Years ago I had fish and got stabbed in the top of my mouth by a sharp, unexpected bone. I think that that experience is the reason I've had such a strong distaste of fish. Well, no more! Thanks weird fad diet!

Tonight I'm going to get a Ketosis stick at Walgreens to check if I've entered ketosis yet. It certainly feels like I'm there, or at least that my body has dramatically changed for the better in how it weaves energy.

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Tue, 15 Jul 2014 00:35:06 +0000
Stay Focusd: Increase the value of your media consumption A while back I was trying to find a quick hack to keep from spending too much time on media and social media. I made a simple rule for myself: if I read an article, I had to comment on it. It ultimately kept me from reading too many articles because I knew that the moment I started reading I'd have to leave a well-thought-out comment. I also noticed that my expressive writing ability improved. Tangentially, I also made a lot of highly voted Hacker News comments and reaped mad amounts of karma.

I'm trying something new now: Stay Focusd. It's a Google Chrome plugin that actively records the amount of time you've spent on sites that you want to avoid, and when the time passes a threshold, it blocks those sites from you. It might be radical, but I've already noticed that I spend far less time on Facebook and other media sites, and when I am on them, I actively read and try to squeeze as much value out of the information as I can in the shortest amount of time.

By entrusting a program to create an artificial limit on the time I spend reading media, I effectively increase the value of my media consumption. It's simple market economics.

As a side-perk, it's hilarious to interact with. When you try to cheat by changing your settings, StayFocusd berates you for a full minute before finally letting you change your settings.

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Mon, 07 Jul 2014 22:19:51 +0000
Life Drawing as Meditation I've been meditating since 2008, but I've been drawing even longer. I've noticed that when I get into a seriously long life drawing study, something that lasts at least 30 minutes, I get into a state that is not unlike meditation. Before I took up meditation, I feel like I reaped a few meditative benefits from life drawing, and it could help to explain why meditation was so natural for me as a beginner.

If you're interested in a relaxing hobby that can help you perceive details and live in the moment, life drawing is a lot of fun. Consider it! You might never get great, but even getting the gist of it seems to be enough to get in a light meditative state. You'll also have something to show for the effort. I put my paintings on the walls, which is almost as cool as being able to draw on the walls of your own house.

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Sun, 06 Jul 2014 19:49:07 +0000
Florida trip packing notes The Spyridon LS Vibram shoes have outperformed expectations. I also packed flip-flops for this Florida trip, expecting the 5 fingered shoes to fail on the beach. Wrong. Even on the sandy St Augustine beach, the shoes were so cozy as to be completely impenetrable by sand. I even wore socks! The big rubber flip-flops have been nothing but dead weight (AND SPACE) in my pack. They're definitely going to be a house-only thing in the future.

I bought an ultrabook prior to this trip, but cancelled the order because I decided I was being too hasty with my money, particularly since the company I work for already lent me a Dell. I regret this decision. The Dell is about as clunky as laptops come, and the specs aren't anything to be proud of. It just barely fit into my bag, and is taking up a lot of valuable space. Before my next trip, I'll be buying an ultrabook.

Unrelatedly, I've been severely under-performing on my goals while on vacation with family. I haven't seen family in a long time, so I've been going all out. Every day is packed. It'll be interesting to see the result from my first week of lights sheets, because this is when I'm at my least-focused.

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Sun, 06 Jul 2014 04:55:11 +0000
Around the World Trip Catching up with the family has been great. Jacksonville hasn't changed a bit since I left, and picking up with lifelong friends was effortless. It felt like we'd never been away from each other.

The recent travelling I've been doing (Vancouver over the weekend, Florida today) has got me excited again about the around-the-world trip I've been planning with friends over the past few months.

In 2016 I and friends plan to work entirely remotely and travel the world while doing it, making more money out there than we would be at home. If you have any interest whatsoever in joining us for any amount of the trip, list your name and contact info in the Google Doc:

The majority of us are engineers, but any job where working remotely is an option works.

Depending on how it goes, I'd like to make this a permanent lifestyle, but tone it down a notch. Living ninety days in a new city four times a year, instead of moving more constantly.

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Wed, 02 Jul 2014 03:31:38 +0000
To Florida(and Beyond?) I'm in the airport terminal in Seattle with another few hours until my flight. I'm heading to North Florida to see family and try to learn to surf. The weather is supposed to be pretty brutal the first week I'm there, so I might have to learn to surf in the rain. Excitin]]>

I'm in the airport terminal in Seattle with another few hours until my flight. I'm heading to North Florida to see family and try to learn to surf. The weather is supposed to be pretty brutal the first week I'm there, so I might have to learn to surf in the rain. Exciting!

Now to the BEYOND: I just had a conversation with Catherine about karma, and came to an interesting conclusion.

There's a lot of truth to karma, but it's obviously not an absolute, and of course the mystical aspect of it probably doesn't hold much water.

Basically, one should try to be a good person. Haha big woop, right? Like you weren't already trying to do that... (Unless you're a sociopath)

But there's a bit more than that. The wording "be a good person" was chosen very deliberately. One shouldn't necessarily try to just do good things, but to actually be a good person.

I have a friend that isn't very strategic with his life. He kinda just ambles on, has a hard time accomplishing goals, and lacks focus or direction. I feel bad for him, because he's the most genuinely nice and giving person I know. I have never once seen him hesitate to give money to a charity case on the street, and he willingly and happily does it without even a second thought to where the money goes to.

I have a lot of other friends that give money like this every week at church. I'm of course talking about tithing. They do this either out of obligation, the hope to get something back in return from God, or rarely out of the kindness of their own heart.

I'd (perhaps controversially) state that both of these types of givers are in the same camp, particularly when they're young and haven't struck rich yet.

Do good things, like give to certain charities, but look at the big picture first. There are two big things to consider.

  1. Is this a worthwhile cause? Does this charity align with my beliefs? Do I believe they will put the money to good use? Could this money be better used elsewhere?
  2. Should I give now? If I have the intent of giving, wouldn't it be better if I first invested this money in myself so that I can give more in the future?

It comes down to not just doing good things, but being a good person, and being a good person requires mindfullness and strategy.

If you want to reap the benefits of karma, you have to have an impact.

In other, less serious news. My new catch-phrase while going through the TSA's full body scanner is to look at the nearest awkward TSA agent dead in the eyes and say "Alright, but I must warn you, I am incredibly sexy. ", and strike a beautiful pose with my arms flexed over my head as the scanner scours my drop-dead gorgeous bod.

I have yet to be interrogated further by the TSA after doing this, so I think I can safely assume that either it is completely legal to harass TSA agents like this, or that they were blinded into submission by my beautiful abs and man bits.


Photo is Mt Rainier from the SEA-TAC airport.

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Tue, 01 Jul 2014 03:05:29 +0000
Lift to Lights After a bout of hating my writing and being frustrated at slipping down to a completion rate of 1/2 of my daily goals, I'm going to try another method of organization. As much as I love gamifying my day with, it can make analyzing past data difficult, and I also ]]>

After a bout of hating my writing and being frustrated at slipping down to a completion rate of 1/2 of my daily goals, I'm going to try another method of organization. As much as I love gamifying my day with, it can make analyzing past data difficult, and I also don't like the idea of having all of my data on their glutonous data-grubbing servers.

So I'm giving Sebastian's "Lights" scheme a try. It's really simple, and my Lift goals translate over easily. The main difference is that I can specify that I only partially completed something that day, as apposed to giving a solid "yes/no" like Lift requires.

The benefit I anticipate getting from this is posting a weekly re-cap of my progress on this blog. It's a win-win really. If I fail horribly, you guys can laugh at me and I can turn my blog into a self-defacing humor blog. If I succeed, well uh... I succeed.

I want to write a Google Sheets function some time in the future that gives me random words of encouragement when I am on a streak. I'd also like it to tell me witty, relevant jokes, and give me back massages, but I'll work on that later.

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Mon, 30 Jun 2014 06:14:29 +0000