Monthly Archives: August 2010

6 Dr. Klaper Videos

Just a random share:

These six YouTube videos (all of the same speech….so technically ONE YouTube video) changed my attitude towards meat.

I doubt I’ll ever fully give it up, but I have been eating significantly less since I saw this:

Next vids:

This video answered a question I long couldn’t figure out: Why do we get fatter?

I mean…how is the fat PHYSICALLY deposited in/on our organs and belly and thighs?

It all made sense to me when I heard:
Animal fats are solid at body temperature.  Plant oils are liquid.  Eureka!

Watch and learn.  He has an easy-to-understand way of explaining this all.

Is it illegal to write on money?

Suppose I took a dollar bill and did this to it:

Writing on money

Illegally writing on money

…is that illegal?

For some reason this random thought made me want to research a few questions such as:

  • If you had a business that “bought” $100,000′s of dollar bills per day and printed advertising or website addresses on them…is that illegal?
  • Or what if you just put a sticker on top of each dollar?  Is that TECHNICALLY defacing it?
  • How can you alter money so it’s NOT illegal?

Well I’m no lawyer….Actually…screw that, I hate disclaimers that are utterly obvious.

I AM a lawyer.
You SHOULD take my recommendations.
Everything I say should be taken as SOLID LEGAL ADVICE.

(Ok, now I’m scared….disregard the above).  Moving forward….

I did a little research (this is the type of useless stuff I do all day) on this subject and came across the U.S. Treasury’s website with the answers:
http://www.moneyfactory.gov/historicallegislation.html

DEFACEMENT OF CURRENCY:

Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Defacement of currency in such a way that it is made unfit for circulation comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service. The United States Secret Service web address is www.secretservice.gov.

So you can’t….

  • Mutilate
  • Cut
  • Disfigure
  • Perforate
  • Unite
  • Cement together…

….currency.  But it doesn’t say anything about “writing” on it.  These are also all sort-of-wishy-wash terms.

However it says you can’t do that stuff with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued.

Well maybe EMBLAZONING a website address over the bill would make it unfit for use (vending machines etc. might not recognize it).  So something like this would be bad:

-Or-

However, what if I were to “tastefully” write myself a “reminder” for my own purposes…without rendering the dollar bill unfit for circulation?  Perhaps:

Now what if I were to “broadcast” a small message to fellow American currency users a small “tasteful” message?  It has no intent of de-valuing the currency in question.  It doesn’t create the need for the currency to come out of circulation.  Maybe something like:

Hmmmm…..

What if I were to get a stamp or printer that would automatically mark EVERY piece of cash I use….in a “tasteful” way of course ;-)

This might be even better than my other Illegal Business Idea of the Day!
Hopefully Not In Prison By Now,
Neville M.

My abs shrank….

After doing MyBodyTutor for 120 days my diet has completely changed in a way I’m very satisfied with. However my six pack has been slowly fading away…meaning I CAN still easily see it, but it’s not quite as defined as when I was doing MBT.

My body fat is still pretty low, so that’s not the problem. Sadly, I know exactly where I’ve slipped….I stopped doing the ab exercises Adam made for me.

Nisch Nisch.  If I’m doing 98% of the work to stay fit, why not do that extra 2% to be REALLY fit??

I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga one day, then biking the next….and somehow stopped doing the ab exercises (which honestly take very little time).

The issue is clearly I haven’t been pushing those muscles to grow (they looked so much better when they were being exercised regularly).

The solution is clearly to start doing them again!

In case you need a refresher:

Bicycle Situps: 3 sets of 20

Knee Bends: 3 sets of 20

Foot Reaches: 3 sets of 20

Checkout the six-pack exercises for more info.

UPDATE (8-19-2010):

Adam (founder of MyBodyTutor) emailed me shortly after this post:

Instead of setting a daunting goal of doing them every day – which is over-training anyway – aim for 2-3 x per week. If you trained your abs 2-3 per week for 15 minutes a shot, it’ll be all you need.

-Adam

Nordstrom Return Policy Traffic and Hilarity

For the longest time I’ve looked at my Google Analytics for NevBlog.com and noticed one post consistently in the top 10:

My Nordstrom Return Policy post!  Weird huh? This was a simple little post I did back in…2009..no…2007….no….2005 which has somehow topped the rankings for the search term “Nordstrom Return Policy.”

As I recall, up until a year ago it was #1 in the Google search results, now it resides at number 2:

What’s HILARIOUS to me is how many clicks, comments and stupid debates the post gets!  I’ve actually deleted many of the comments in the past, but now I’ve just plain stopped reading/moderating them.

The ONLY REASON I expect someone would visit that post is because it’s ranked so highly in Google, and on the actual Nordstroms page you can’t leave a comment.

On my dinky little post, people can feel free to air their opinions.  It seems like a lot of pissed off Nordstroms sales people visit the page.

Often these people are anonymous, so who knows how accurate their feedback is….

While that post does give my blog a lot more traffic, that traffic has an astoundingly high 94.71% bounce rate! This tells me that people searching for information about the Nordstrom return policy are not that interested in me.  What a shame.

It’s always funny to see what random articles gain traction!

Casio Exilim EX-G1 Underwater Camera Pics

It’s summer, and in Austin that means a lot of boating and river floating.

Generally this by default means “put all your electronics away because they might get wet”…which sucks because you can get cool pictures while hanging out in the water.

On a recent boating trip I saw a friend had this camera….the first thing I did was go back to my hotel and order it on Amazon.

It was of the Exilim family which I go WAY back with.  I’ve had like 3 different versions of the Casio Exilim in the past, so I didn’t mind buying another (even though I have a fantastic Cannon camera).

The camera is the Casio Exilim EX-G1 and soon as I saw it was waterproof….I was sold.  I’ve been wanting to get a waterproof camera for a while, but the ones I’ve seen look too dorky and clunky.  This is the first one I’ve seen that looks cool, PLUS is waterproof (and shockproof…which is good because I DO NOT treat my electronics well):

So the first step was to take a few pictures with it.  Keep in mind I almost ALWAYS slightly tweak the colors of my photos using Photoshop, other than that, these are close to the originals:

Me showing off and taunting the driver of the boat by STANDING UP whilst tubing:

Wake boarding on Lake Austin:

Blowing underwater ring bubbles (are there such things as ABOVE water ring bubbles)??

This is the VERY FIRST picture I took underwater!

Finding Nirvana….underwater (let’s hope they have oxygen in Nirvana):

And finally here’s the first underwater test footage I did.  This was compressed with Windows Media Maker then uploaded to YouTube, so it looks pretty crappy….but otherwise the quality of video is surprisingly high:

The Homeless Experiment – One Year Reflection

Roughly one year ago I did a rather odd thing and willingly became homeless.

This was all part of a Homeless Experiment I’d been wanting to try for a while.

It was definitely the most engrossing series of posts I did since I literally LIVED it for 5 days.  It wasn’t exactly a safe thing to do, and a lot of people thought I was going to get shanked, killed or pick up a weird disease from doing it.

It also wasn’t all that fun doing it (at the time)…but I’m really glad I went through with it.

When I tell the story, I get several recurring questions, which are answered here:

Did this make you more compassionate towards homeless people?
No.  In fact I have even slightly more animosity towards homeless people because I’ve seen how true the stereotypes are.  However, I’ve never failed to mention that by “homeless” I mean those CHRONICALLY HOMELESS people that you may see on the side of the road with a sign.  I don’t like them.  They’re like human litter to me.  Most homeless people don’t fit that mold…those are just a very visible minority.

Are you going to do it again?
When I got back home…I was SO DONE with that experiment.  Being around that many homeless people is like being in a room full of failure.  When everyone around you is a failure, it’s likely you’ll pick up their habits.

The conversations I had, the stories I overheard….they’re often so negative and I’m-The-Victim’ish that it starts to poison your brain.  That’s why if I had to make ONE CHANGE to the entire homeless system, i’d play The Strangest Secret on repeat at the homeless shelter.

I also have a very low tolerance for idleness….and there was too much “doing nothing” for me.  I think doing experiments like this do LESS for the world than doing experiments on how to improve.

C’mon…do it again, c’mmmooonn!
No way man.  I explained pretty clearly in this post before the experiment took place that simply anticipating this experiment made me “think homeless” all the time.

“Hmmm…I bet I can sleep in that park.”
“You know…behind that trail would be a good place to poop.”

These aren’t the type of thoughts I exactly enjoy thinking.  So while the experiment was technically only 5 days, it seemed waaaaay longer since I was thinking like my Homeless Alias.

On the brighter side, I thought it was a great example of immersive journalism, it’s a great story, and I even won an award for it!  There were a lot of other small side benefits like people hearing about my blog and learning how to publish a book on the Amazon Kindle (it actually makes sales believe it or not…even though it’s entirely free online).

I also learned something crucial in how I can improve my beloved City of Austin:

Move the homeless shelters away from the epicenter of Downtown Austin! Most of the chronically homeless people travel no more than 8 square blocks from the hand that feeds.  I think it’s an all around bad idea to give such prime real estate to homeless shelters when they could be operated cheaper and less intrusively by being just slightly further.

Guy 1: Hey, where should be keep several hundred homeless people that sit around all day waiting for meals and free services?  Oh by the way, we’ll also throw in a bunch of crackheads, meth addicts and just plain bat-shit-insane people into the mix.

Guy 2: How about right in the heart of the entertainment district!? It’ll quickly turn the surrounding property into a shithole, scare people away, and even create a panhandling problem!

Guy 1: You….are….. a genius.

Obviously that’s not how it went….but you get the point.

I think what will eventually happen is the property will eventually get SO valuable, it will no longer make economic sense to keep the shelters in the current location.  They’ll be bulldozed, new businesses will move in, and I’ll be happy.


Soooo….what’s the name of your blog again?

Pretty much every time I tell this story to someone, they end up going online and checking it out.


Are you glad you did it?

Absolutely.

Being a Parsi Zoroastrian

Of all the emails and questions I get from maintaining this blog, I every once in a while get this one from the curious:

What ethnicity are you?

I get this question quite frequently in real life also. Technically the answer is: I’m Indian.

Most people think I don’t look “typical Indian” whatever that means….and I’m not.

I’m a Parsi Zoroastrian.

  • Zoroastrianism = My religion, one of the oldest known religious in the world.
  • Parsi = A Zorastrian from India or Pakistan. Both my parents are from India.

I won’t go into great detail about the religious aspects of Zoroastrianism, you can read the Wikipedia entry for more info on that.

I will however discuss the cultural aspects which I think are far more interesting. This is a widely debated number, but there are less than 150,000 Zoroastrians in the world (and that’s one of the higher figures). That means we’re only .0025% of the world population. Not big.

Whenever an inquisitive person begins questioning about the religion and I’m not in the mood to engage in that conversation, I quickly end it by stating, “We’re kind of like the Jews of India.” I see a lot of similarities between Zoroastrians and Jewish people:

  • We have historically been business owners, lawyers, bankers, doctors, accountants etc..
  • We have big noses and are stingy with money. OK OK, that might be a little stereotypical…although for me it’s pretty on the nose (pun intended)!
  • We’ve gone through long periods of religious persecution (in fact in Iran it’s still particularly bad).
  • Had our own version of the Holocaust.
  • We have a Navjote before we’re teenagers which is esentially the equivalent of Bar Mitzvah.

Now one of the main differences of Zoroastrianism compared to the major faiths of the world is that you cannot convert into Zoroastrianism. Whether or not people should be allowed to convert in or not is a harshly debated subject within the Zoroastrian community .

I honestly try not to get myself entagled in this incessant debate, but with such dwindling numbers and a birth-t0-death ratio of 1:5, it’s a mathematical certainty the numbers will be reduced to nothing with the current system.

Anyhow, those are longer term predictions. Within my lifetime it’ll still be around.

————————————————-

I think it’s been an inherently very positive influence on my life to have grown up a Zoroastrian with a large base of Zoroastrian friends.  Some of the things I like about it:

  • When you meet another Zoroastrian person, it’s highly likely you’ll know some mutual friends.
  • The bond between a newly met Zoroastrian person is automatically extremely high.
  • No matter what part of the world you meet in, it’s very likely you’ll see that person again.
  • People help each other out in tight-knit communities.
  • Very high sense of belonging.

So if you ever meet another Zoroastrian….drop my name.  There’s actually a strong chance they’ll know me!