Tuesday, November 21

100 Days of Productivity

I recently ran across a challenge online called "100 Days of Productivity".

The original idea is pretty simple and geared toward Instagram/Tumblr in that you do something (anything) productive every day, and post a picture representative of it online. Obviously, my personality type is too geared toward productivity in general for that to be anything new or helpful for me as is. Moreover, I not a fan of taking/posting photos, so that whole tracking process would derail me completely.

But as we near the end of the year, I can't help but be attracted to the potential of a slightly modified version. There's a lot to like about the idea of starting something in the next couple weeks that rolls over into the new year - it feels like a headstart on a New Years resolution, with the added awesomeness that it's only for a set period of time instead of the whole year. By the time you hit March, for example, you could be celebrating already having banged out something great and feel like you'd set a positive tone for the year. It also feels like it might provide some welcome focus through the usual mess of the holidays and the generally cold, dreary weeks that follow when everything slows down and drags. 

The question, then, becomes what target to set or what subject to pick to specifically work on. I want it to be different from what I'm already doing (like reading a chapter of something a day) and separate from long-term health habits I'm trying to establish (working out, drinking enough water). And, of course, if it's going to be worth doing and set next year up well, it needs to be a goal that matters.

I've been picking at a couple ideas, and I think I've almost got it narrowed down, but I'd be curious to hear what everyone else thinks. If you were going to do 100 Days of (Focused) Productivity, what would you choose? Anyone want to do it as a shared challenge with me?

Sunday, November 12

More Random (And Awful) Historical Facts

Apparently, for the better part of a century, the British Navy thought it would be a good plan to flog people for getting scurvy. Even after they knew it was an illness, and still later when they figured out it was a deficiency disease of some kind, the practice carried on. I have not yet figured out the logic behind taking someone who is already not functional and flogging them... it's clearly not going to improve their ability to work, no matter what you think the root cause is.

Lack of logic remained rampant, however. They later decided that a great solution to beriberi (another deficiency disease) would be giving people arsenic. Or strychnine... just for variety. (*Cringe.*)

Again, some days I wonder how the human race has lasted as long as we have. On the bright side, our bizarre insistence on self-delusion and penchant for making matters worse as often and drastically as possible makes for great reading!! : p

Tuesday, November 7

What's In A Carb?

This morning at work I had a customer order a breakfast sandwich and ask what she could get it on that was “low carb”. Unfortunately, the honest answer was “not much”, but I did explain that we could always put her eggs and cheese just on a plate or in a bowl if she didn't want the bread. I also started to offer to add a few of the free extras people tend to like when they take that option – tomatoes or spinach, for example. Then I corrected myself, since I couldn't remember off the top of my head if spinach qualified as low carb. (Turns out it does at about 1g of carbs per cup of fresh spinach, if anybody cares.)
Corn. Grows above ground. Not low carb.

The woman looked at me, smiled cheerily, and said “Oh, it is. Everything that grows above ground is low carb.”

Umm.... say what now? 

(Picture here an absolutely blank stare, as I ran that sentence through my head six times in an effort to figure out if I misheard it, or possibly misunderstood what she was trying to say, before I resigned myself to the fact that she was completely serious.)

I politely finished cashing her out and (barely) resisted the urge to go bang my head against the nearest wall.

Obviously, she was repeating a rule of thumb given to her by someone (probably a professional) she trusted to know these things. And I concede I can sort of see what they were getting at… potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables tend to be much higher in carbs than your (above-ground) leafy greens.

But for Force sake!! Wheat grows above ground, and flour is (or should be) just ground wheat. Apples, bananas, corn, pumpkins – last I checked, they all grew above ground and are definitely not low in carbs!!

If you're on a 'trendy' low carb diet, it might not matter that much. But that kind of grossly inaccurate, misleading rule of thumb could practically kill someone who's trying to go low carb to control diabetes, epilepsy, or other medical conditions particularly sensitive to that. 

This is the level of common knowledge about our food supply and dietary practices that permeates the country, and yet you have to pay out of pocket for any and all education on the subject. Almost no insurance will pay for more than one or two sessions with a Registered Dietician, and then only if you have diabetes, essentially. It's positively appalling. 

Anyway, I'll stop ranting now, but please consider this your friendly neighborhood PSA that GROWING ABOVE GROUND DOES NOT MAKE SOMETHING LOW CARB.  Thank you. 

Saturday, November 4

Appallingly True Random Fact

In the immediate post-Civil War era, heroin was introduced as a "wonder drug"... to treat diabetes.

Despite being a heavily refined variant of morphine, which they knew was addictive, professional chemists and physicians of the time were quite confident that heroin wouldn't be addictive at all.

Does anyone else read world history and occasionally wonder how we haven't killed ourselves off as a species yet?

Wednesday, November 1

It's Good Not To Be A Manager

Yesterday at work, there were two different repair guys in: one was working on the rethermalizer (essentially a giant box of hot water that we use to heat bags of soup) and the other was working on the walk-in freezer. The entire freezer/cooler area smelled like burning metal, which wasn't encouraging, but was apparently the least of our worries.

The guy working on the rethermalizer shut the whole thing down, informed my General Manager that the plug and outlet it was connected to were charred, and he really had no idea how we hadn't burned the entire cafe to the ground yet. Yikes!

So the GM goes to grab our back-up portable unit from storage. While he's gone, the cafe gets a call that someone was drilling just down the street and hit a gas line... which they thought was connected to our (giant) rack oven. So the manager on duty had to run out and tell the day bakers to shut the ovens off until further notice - because we're only a bakery cafe and don't need those or anything.

All I could think as I headed out to my truck (finally) was that it was a really, really good day not to be a manager. The manager who counted my drawer ended up working 13 hours yesterday... and I went home on time, and left all the drama behind. I don't miss being in her shoes at all.

Tomorrow we have piles of regional corporate company. My GM dared me to throw a brioche roll at the District Manager's head. It's an unreasonably tempting offer, but I think I'll probably be good. (Probably.)

Hope everyone else is having a less dramatic week than where I work!