webcowgirl: (Flamenco)
J and I went to Sadler's Wells last night to see Eva Yerbabuena - it was a much more satisfying experience than last Sunday. Next week we're going twice, though I secretly want to go see one of the acts happening between now and next Thursday. Ah well. Time, never enough.

I've been thinking a bit about aggressiveness. I get called aggressive, almost always by men, and usually when they're unhappy with my behavior (bosses, my dad, Wechsler). I have come to believe that this calling a woman aggressive is actually a control tactic. I say this because you ONLY hear a man called aggressive because of physical behavior - though, to be honest, I think you'd just NOT say it to his face, you'd say it behind is back - but you don't call a man aggressive simply for stating his opinion. I believe aggressive, applied to a woman, is a way of saying "opinionated," as said by someone who doesn't enjoy having a woman express their opinion more strongly, or more convincingly, than the person who calls them aggressive. Because, really, they would NEVER say this to a man. It's a control tactic used to shut women up. And along those lines, have a look at this article on stereotyping women in business. Read the report at the bottom, it's where the meat is.

Uh, what else. J and I went to the BFI to see Late Autumn, which is one of the last movies we'll be seeing in the Ozu festival - it was nice but kind of light (a relief) with a very funny scene in which the men were talking about a colleague who had died 7 years ago ...
Man 1: His wife is so beautiful still!
Man 2: He used up all of his luck marrying her.
Man 3: You have to die early when you marry a woman that beautiful.
Old waitress: You need more sake?
Men: No thanks!
Man 1: Her husband will have a long life.
Man 2: Thank God for unexpected blessings, eh?

I was laughing out loud at how amazingly rude and mean they were. Later they were all saying they wished THEY were widowers - a horrible sentiment given that they were all married!

Anyway, we're having theatre geeks over for tacos tonight. It should be lots of fun, but I've got to clean STAT!
webcowgirl: (Default)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] dreamsewing came over last night to re-measure me for some clothes she's making for me, and, by golly, I done shrunk. Per her, my hips are down four inches from where they were when she measured me last, right at the start of my cold. Thank goodness the *ahem* rest of me seems to be holding steady. I could tell, anyhow, because my various black office pants are all fitting better, but still, it's wierd.

That said, I can't wait to get back to the gym and start exercising again. While I've built up an incredible band of muscles right below my rib cage (from the one thing I have been doing consistently, which is coughing my guts out), fact is the rest of my body has totally lost tone. If it's not bad enough not having endurance from my breathing not being good, I hate it that I've actually lost strength. At least the coughing has substantially died down and I'm able to walk to the tube and walk up two flights of stairs without getting winded. Still, I can haz lungs nao?

Um ... yesterday at work was really frustrating - I went to the remote location and found my 11 AM had cancelled (and given me a rude note for "presuming" to set up a meeting with her without calling first) and then my 1 PM was cancelled 30 minutes in due to no one having prepared. Pure crap, I tell you, not that I got home any earlier as plenty of people wanted to talk to me anyway and I had shit to do.
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Wow, six minutes a week is as good for building muscle as these ridiculous hours and hours most people associate with gym work? I may need to rethink my routine.

(I like articles like this because I feel like a lot of people don't like to exercise because they think it takes to much time. It's really encouraging to think that it could be easy and I want to encourage these thoughts to spread!)
webcowgirl: (Default)
I was fascinated by this article on how food has "evolved" to make it so much more difficult to control overeating. The person interviewed has just published a book called The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, and I would like to get a copy of it because it seems to delve into elements of human psychology that I personally find fascinating. How do food manufacturers make us want to eat more, even when we are full? What is the psychology (and perhaps even physiology) of hunger?

"This is not a diet book, but Dr. Kessler devotes a sizable section to “food rehab,” offering practical advice for using the science of overeating to our advantage, so that we begin to think differently about food and take back control of our eating habits.

"One of his main messages is that overeating is not due to an absence of willpower, but a biological challenge made more difficult by the overstimulating food environment that surrounds us. 'Conditioned hypereating' is a chronic problem that is made worse by dieting [emphasis mine] and needs to be managed rather than cured, he said. And while lapses are inevitable, Dr. Kessler outlines several strategies that address the behavioral, cognitive and nutritional factors that fuel overeating.Read more... )

The article also has the most wonderful description of a Snickers bar, which, of course, has made me want to go out and get one. Evil!

(Meanwhile, Mark Bittman posts the 10 ingredient shopping list that will keep you going all week. The only problem is, er, well, it includes shrim, asparagus and mushrooms, so I'm not touching it with a ten foot pole.)
webcowgirl: (TopBug)
It's a Saturday and I'm at work - been in for almost three hours now. I'm wearing the Darth Vader disco t-shirt my brother got me for Christmas. No idea how late I'll be here - I expect this is going to be the bad release of all time. On the other hand, I get double time on weekends, so there's a good element to long days. Cate brought in nice pastries from Paul so we're not quite starving yet. Speaking of which, I lost more weight since Wednesday and am now at 165, so I think the food poisoning is still working its way through my system. I've been careful about what I've been eating and my appetite has been mild. Still - at the Korean restaurant we went to last night (Assa), I ate and ate and ate. The rice cake noodles with ramen and chile sauce, I am sure it has crack in it.
webcowgirl: (Food!)
Well, financial meltdowns don't make the need for lunch go away, and today (since the build is delayed AGAIN), [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I went to Asadal, a lovely Korean restaurant right next to Holborn station (and when I say right next I mean in the doorway between the big exit to the station and the sandwich shop that's exactly on the corner - all it is is a doorway!).

This was rather splurgy as the entrees were £7 for the cheap lunch plate, but since what we ordered eventually came with three sides (sauteed beansprouts, kimchee, and potatos in some kind of savory sauce) and tea was only £1 a person (with free refills), I wound up thinking it wasn't actually a bad deal. I wound up getting the Beef Bulgogi set meal (£12, kick me please but I was weak), which had soup, salad, mystery meat side dish (deep fried and full of thick mushrooms) and eggy zucchini cakes as additional side dishes (not to mention rice) - and I couldn't finish it all. Sitting and eating in this lovely room with perfect lighting over the gorgeous wooden tables, it was all so gorgeous, and I think it was actually worth it. God only knows if the economy totally tanks I'll be sorry I didn't save it all ("and invest it"), but I guess I could have lost it then anyway just like I did in 2000 with the dot com crash!

Apologies for the lack of pictures, but I left my phone at my desk. It would have only made you hungry, anyway. Now, for the rest of the week, I'm thinking I will be able to make it back to the gym - I'm only coughing a little bit and my energy levels are improved, so I'm about ready to call myself well and get back on the horse. I do surely need the exercise and since the gym is paid for through October, and since I bring my lunch when I go there, it's really a money-saving venture to go!
webcowgirl: (Default)
In training today. Still worn out, listless. Suspect this won't really be much of a week for the gym. Still, weighed 167 this AM - lowest since February - suspect loss of appetite due to cold, and won't torture myself about not going to gym. Also beginning to fuss about non-production of my passport / visa. It is really getting down to the wire.
webcowgirl: (lantern)
Today, the New York Times says "It's Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit."

Seriously. If you can't manage a good pace (walking only!) on a treadmill, for as little as 8 minutes, you are at a much higher risk of death than someone who can, no matter what your respective BMIs are. So this is me saying, once again, there needs to be less focus on body weight and more on getting exercise.

Sadly, this report supports my going to the gym today, which I'd prefer not to do.

In other longevity news, there's a fun article about chameleon that only lives a year. “If you go into a forest during the dry season, the whole population of chameleons there will be represented by eggs.” Cool, huh?
webcowgirl: (Default)
So ... I'm reading the New York Times this morning, and I decide to look at an article called, "Should doctors lecture their patients about their weight?" This is of interest to me, firstly because it hits a point a friend of mine recently raised in their blog, and secondly because it hits upon a cultural thing I've been tracking for a while. And I saw this quote, which confirms my opinion: "Obese people are the new pariahs in our culture; it used to be smokers, but now it is the overweight."

Well, smokers are still kind of pariahs, but I don't think they get nearly as much crap on a daily basis, whereas fat people get to see it in nearly every bit of media that they are not okay, in addition to getting sneered at on buses and made fun of in school. This is despite the fact that their issue doesn't affect other people like smoking does; it's not like your risk of a heart attack rises from having dinner next to someone who is overweight.

The article continues: "The idea that their personal worth lies on their BMI is extremely damaging." Mm mm. Go Dr. Rob.

Anyway, this leads into my evening, which was spent watching Hairspray with [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgingirl and [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady (as well as, and of course, [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy). This was the most amazingly fat-positive show I've ever seen. By this I mean it wasn't about gaining weight; it actually addressed the issues of anti-fat prejudice straight on, and had the message, "You can do it! Be yourself!" This was great. I mean, it's one thing to be overweight and have health issues, but why should feeling like a failure be so much a part of the experience? Doesn't everyone feel so much more like a person who, say, is in a wheelchair and is upbeat is a person to look up to? And yet, if you remember highschool, "gimps" and "crips" got all sorts of hatred and attitude thrown their way.

The play also dealt with (in a not heavy way) the issues of race at this time in history. I really liked seeing racism handled head-on, showing both the good and the bad and, well, just the fair amount of subtlety in terms of how the race issue existed/exists in America. Unfortunately none of the black characters really had a whole lot of dimensionality to them, but, well, I guess that doesn't really reflect the author's experience.

Anyway, the songs were really fun (I like the 60s musical style), the costumes were great, and the big dance scenes were awesome. I can now see why [livejournal.com profile] booklectic has been again and again. Clearly she's not the only one, as a plaid-shirted teenager a few seats over was singing along to the final number. I bet all of the actors in all of the other musicals on in London right now are wishing they could get into this show - the energy was really high and the quality of the performers was tops. It was, as ever, sold out. Now I'll have to see the Hairspray movies, but I'm glad I went into it knowing nothing, so it could all be one fun suprise.

I should also say that on Tuesday night I made it out to see Nina Paley's animated movie Sita Sings the Blues, on recommendation from [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden. Although there were serious technical issues with the copy of the DVD we were watching (too horrifying to go into in great detail here, it's really just not what you want happening for the London premiere of a film), the art and storytelling were great and I highly recommend it, though since it doesn't have distribution I don't see how you could see it yet (though you can watch the trailer here). J and I are fans of the Ramayana (and the Mahabharatha) and have seen several different versions of it, including dance/shadowpuppet and marionette versions. In some ways it seems to come down to this question: why does Sita stay with Ram when he's such a poop? At any rate that was Nina's take on the story, and with the lovely singing and variety of animation styles, it was really a pleasure to watch. (Note to self: find music by Annette Hanshaw.)
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I took the money my dad Paypaled me and used it to buy this book: Following Proust: Norman Churches, Cathedrals, and Paris Painting. Of course, I couldn't use Paypal to pay someone on Amazon, so really the money is just sitting there, probably waiting for me to do something embarassing with it on Ebay. I wish I'd had this book for my weekend, but I think I will still enjoy it.

An article in the New York Times said that waistlines are a better measure of possible cardiac problems than BMI. I'm not so up for having my waistline measured at the office but I am going to check and see how I hold up against this.

There is also a long article about pollution on beaches that I want to read - ever since I ran across a beach full of tennis shoes while hiking on the "primitive" Pacific coast part of the Olympic National Park I've been interested in the topic. Fortuantely this was before the whole "foot found in shoe" things started.
webcowgirl: (SpaceBubble)
"I have wanted an engagement ring for as long as I can remember," says Gielgud, who has been engaged three times, once at 17. "My first impression is of storybook princes giving storybook princesses vast sparkly rings. So I knew from a very early age that it meant being loved, desired, respected and secure… It was very important to me to have a concrete symbol of being adored and wanted."

Wow. Do she and I live on different planets? (And if you are a woman and have a kid, are pregant, or are wanting to be a mom, can you do me, yourself, and your kids a favor and make sure you've planned for being able to take care of your kids by yourself if you need to, such as getting whatever qualifications you need for a decent job? I think spending the money to go to college is much more romantic than a piece of wearable decor, and a partner who will spend the time to help you be self-sufficient is much more exciting than someone who will show you they can take care of you - because it will happen sometimes that they can't, sometimes permanently.)

Meanwhile, the NY Times says, "Work your muscles and stave off breaking your bones later." Even if you can't see results, the important thing is that they be well used.

Finally, different ways of cooking and serving vegetables affect how much and what kind of nutrients you get from your food - but raw is not always better. I thought this was very interesting reading as it went contrary to received wisdom.
webcowgirl: (Status report)
Okay, so, the reading today has been really good. There's fun stuff going on this weekend at the Tate Modern (FluxOlympics? Sign me up!), though I'm more likely to hit the Dulwich Picture Gallery, at least on Saturday), they've finally found a health problem caused by cell phones (it's bad for pregnant women to use them, just below drinking and smoking - and the research looks really good) ... and then this headline, straight out of the Onion: "Court says money discriminates against blind people" - not POOR people of course, but the blind. Sadly I fear this link (which I have not yet followed) will not lead to a story advocating a move to a bartering society and establishment of an anarchist state. The irony for me is that justice is blind, so I'm guessing money can't buy justice, either, no matter what the financial composition of people on death row might lead you to believe.

A final note: stressed out monkeys like to eat junk food, while monkeys at the top of the social pile will only nibble at it occasionally.
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Great article in the New York Times today about the benefits of exercise. Check this out:

  • People with chronic health problems can improve their health and quality of life by learning
    how to exercise safely.

  • Regular moderate exercise increases your ability to battle the effects of disease.

  • A good workout [helps] people suffering from depression. Mastering a new skill increases their sense of worth, social contact improves mood, and the endorphins released during exercise improve well-being. "It does not matter how severe the depression — exercise works equally well for people with moderate or severe depression."

    Here's a motivating and useful quote: "She urged trainers who work with people with chronic ailments to start slowly with easily achievable goals, build gradually on each accomplishment and focus on functional gains. Over time, a sense of accomplishment, better sleep, less pain and enhanced satisfaction with life can become further reasons to pursue physical activity."

    Remember, exercise is not a mean thing the anti-fat people came up with to torture you because you are not pretty: it something you should do because it's good for you. Separate it from the competitions of yore (always losing, feeling uncoordinated, and being picked last made me think of PE as my special torture time) and think about it as something you do with your body for yourself. If you are suffering from depression, make yourself exercise regularly, and just start today. It does, REALLY, help.
  • webcowgirl: (London Biker)
    Work is rather quiet so far this week, a relief. Not much time to blog or much to say. I'm a bit obsessed with increasing the stats on my theater blog right now. And it's a relief not to have to deal with American taxes as we get an automatic extension.

    Gym again today, doing well for three times a week given I won't likely go tomorrow. Was feeling a bit lazy again today - only 2:36.9 for the split, and I should really be trying to shave my time down to 2:30. My strokes per minute remains fairly even at 28. No idea what my heart rate was today. Amusingly, I hit 170 pounds on the scale - we'll see if it's related or an anomaly.

    Big date at the doctor tomorrow to find out if there really is a heart problem or not ...
    webcowgirl: (London Biker)
    I think this is week three or four now for me with this "going to the gym" thing. Keeping the goal to a mere 20 minutes is helpful, even though I miss going out to lunch, but I guess this mean it's keeping my wallet in shape, too. I was feeling kind of tired and not up for it today, so my rowing time was slow: 2:37.5 the split, my usual 28 strokes per minute, my heart rate a rather slovenly 146 bpm. I also managed my ten minutes of biking time. This bit is much more fun with a book, but I forgot to bring one today. My goal eventually is to do three days of cardio and one day of Pilates, but it seems that'll have to wait for a while yet.

    I found out that the exercise won't reduce my blood pressure (even though it should be good for my heart), but the weight loss should. I'm not doing this for weight loss reasons, but I think I'm seeing some effects anyway; I seem to slowly be creeping back from 173 to 170 again, but in a healthy way and not like I was when I was sick. I'm also noticing an increase in muscle tone on my legs, which I'm excited about; you could really tell my quads weren't getting any kind of workout the last few months. With luck I'll soon be able to manage a real sprint for the tube and not be left breathless for five minutes afterwards.
    webcowgirl: (London Biker)
    I've really been working to get my money's worth out of my short term gym membership and, hopefully, get my heart rate improved in time for my appointments (one this week and one next) at the cardio clinic. Today was the usual ten minutes of rowing and ten minutes of biking. My heart rate was 160 after the rowing - possibly too high, but we'll see what the doctor thinks I should be aiming for when I go in. For those who care (rowers?) my split was 2:35.2, which is a continuing improvement (so I guess I care - I'm keeping track to see if I get faster over time) and my strokes per minute rate was 28.

    Why am I doing this? Because I'd like to see if I can control my heart rate though exercise, NOT diet, and not medicine, in part because my diet is actually really good. And, clearly, if it's just exercise that's making my heart so weak and flabby, then I want to make sure it's getting what it needs naturally BEFORE I try medicine.

    Anyway, I made it three times easily last week and maybe even four (I can't remember), but I did also make it to Pilates on Friday for the first time in three weeks and it kicked my butt so badly that I was still feeling it (on the outsides of my thighs) on SUNDAY. Still, that means it must have been good for me - and as long as I'm feeling it in my muscles and not in my back, I think I'm doing alright.
    webcowgirl: (Ballet)
    I've got even more reviews up on my theater blog. Nederlands Dans Theater was great, of course, but Sylvia was dull and Timecode Break not as good as it wanted to be. I am staying up late to do these reviews because seeing my blog stats go up is exciting, proving that I am a sad person.

    Would you break up with someone because of the books they read? Apparently many people have. Ayn Rand would be a dealbreaker for me. What book or author would turn you right off of someone?

    This week has been a soul-sucking one at work, but I've been exercising a lot, nearly every day. It would be amusing if this actually caused me to lose weight, as that's not at all my goal. This article on the brain's limited amount of willpower fit right in to the week, both in terms of its dullness and how the exercise might help. Apparently you have a finite supply of willpower/self-control, and if you use it up not buying something you want, you'll later waste it all by drinking. Alternately, if you are given a chocolate chip cookie instead of a radish, you'll last longer at a boring task, supposedly because of the boost to your brain's blood sugar. Finally, willpower is a muscle that can be built, and as you get more disciplined in one area, you'll find your ability to be disciplined in others increasing. This was a strong contrast to the article the NY Times had two weeks ago saying that tidying made them lose weight, thus being a slob is associated with being fat. The idea that the discipline of cleaning made them better at disciplining themselves in other areas makes FAR better sense than the theory that being messy and being fat were somehow related, but I bet disciplining yourself to write for an hour or two a day would have exactly the same effect (providing that altering your food intake was actually your goal).
    webcowgirl: (London Biker)
    Not only did I go to the gym for orientation, but I actually took advantage of the remaining time before the end of my break and got on the rowing machine. It was only ten minutes but it was a start and now there's no more, "I still haven't." I did it for the first time and then tomorrow I will go for the next time, and then I will go at least two and hopefully three days a week until the end of my membership.

    Ten minutes, averaging 2:44.8 speed (something about over 500 meters): I presume I was slow but I thought I was steady, and I could feel it, and it was good for my heart.

    Right, back to the bugs.
    webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
    So ... the show I wanted to see today was massively sold out (20 people turned away!), so I'm not sorry I didn't haul myself over to Bermondsey to watch it. But I've made reservations, so I will be seeing Annie Get Your Gun next Thursday. I do hope I continue getting better and that in fact I'm making some real progress on the health front, which my FURTHER reduced weight speaks against (I'm now at 166, which is a bit creepy as I think I'm eating well). But I've stacked my schedule as if I'm a healthy woman, to wit:
    Monday: Meeting
    Tuesday: Speed the Plow at the Old Vic
    Wednesday: mahjong in Greenwich (crap, could have played with [livejournal.com profile] interior_lulu while she was over for tacos tonight if I'd only remembered)
    Thursday: Annie Get Your Gun (review here)
    Friday: The Mikado at the Gielgud
    Saturday: Chita Rivera

    If I'm not healthy this is not going to be a good week, that's for sure.

    Based on having no responses to most of my posts this week, I'm assuming people are bored to listening to me whinge on about my cold. Believe me, I'm sick of having it. I should have some pictures up from the trip later this week and I'm going to post one of the recipes that I made yesterday as it was quite yummy but it's now 10 PM and for the new tired (yet light weight, soon to float away) me it's time to go to bed.
    webcowgirl: (Default)
    "I'll take two McArabias and an order of fries."

    (They even had matching red hijabs for the girls to wear!)

    Note also an article in the New York Times saying that we really need to cut down our meat consumption - world wide. I get the feeling there is much less factory farming in the UK than there is in the US on a per-capita basis, at least as near as I can tell based on the cost of meat here (much higher) and the flavor (way better). But it does make me want to keep with the "eat less meat" plans I started after New Year's. (Anyone want to come over to mine for a vegetarian Egyptian feast on Saturday? Provided J and I are healthy enough to manage, it could be fun ...)

    And for you SF or theater buffs (how rarely do these worlds collide), a great article about Patrick Stewart. His Macbeth is going to NYC, and what a treat it will be for them!

    My throat is kind of swelling up again and I'm thinking I should do less talking for the rest of the day. Hurray for lemon ginger tea. And note that today I'm wearing clothes that 1) I didn't sleep in 2) aren't muddy or streaked with suntan lotion 3) I haven't worn at least twice in the last week if not three or more times. Can I tell you how good that feels? I can also tell that I'm much healthier than I was when I left, as I was able to walk to lunch (£5 set menu with Josh at the Malabar Junction) and not get the least bit tired, but I would like the coughing to go away. My thoughts in general are that I had a GOOD trip but I did not have a good time as I was not really well enough to enjoy myself or keep up with the pace. So I do very much recommend On the Go for a great vacation, but for heaven's sake make sure you're ready for it!

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