Friday, February 27, 2009

Yoga Skeleton 2

I'm posting this a day early because I'm traveling tomorrow. Virabhadrasana A (Warrior I).

Prior Yoga Skeleton post.
Padmasana (lotus Pose).

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Diets Create the Forbidden Fruit

The reason that most diets fail is that they work on the elimination of a food group. That food group then takes on emotional value within your mind, and it becomes the forbidden fruit. The forbidden food will always taste better, because of the desire behind it. Diets set short term goals that once achieved, allows the dieter to binge on the formerly forbidden food. It's best to look forward in the long run: if I eat well I can avoid many of the weaknesses that I associate with old age. I have a 79 year old father who eats well, and rides his bike voraciously. Aside from the occasional joint pain, he is in very good health for his age.
There are many long term goals that one could have to encourage healthy eating at any age. When someone doesn't achieve their short term goal with a diet, it results in guilt. That guilt cycles until it results in binge eating or another eating disorder. Eating moderately means being able to enjoy your occasional steak, your occasional piece of chocolate cake, or you can eat a little bit of those things daily. Deprivation is not the way to long lasting health goals.
It's best to eat well in general, not in the specific. What I mean is that if you eat well generally, but occasionally indulge, you will be more satisfied in the long run.
Here's a metaphor for crash dieting: cramming before a test. Does anyone honestly do well on a test after cramming the night before. I can guarantee that they will not have as firm a grasp on the material as someone who studied constantly throughout the semester. When the material links to a class later, the crammer is going to have a hard time comprehending the new material since they didn't know the basics all that well in the first place. Crash dieting works in the same way, it takes what should be a long term health goal and crams it down into a short period of time, but does little for health later on.
Diets that work on elimination usually fail, because the dieter doesn't have the energy to continue, elimination diets leave the person lacking vitamins and nutrients, and so they never gain the energy boost that comes with healthy eating in the long run. Taking a vitamin pill may help, but without fiber and other nutrients it does little. You could combine a fiber pill with the multivitamin, but then you'd end up living on pills. Who really wants to live on pills and meal replacement shakes. The best option is to eat real foods, but to generally choose healthy foods.
It is also important to remember genes have a role in our size and shape. Not everyone can fit into a size 0. Your goals shouldn't be based on size or shape, but on feeling better by becoming more healthy. The longer you live a healthy lifestyle, the more it will be habituated, and the easier it will get.
Try to gain health through moderation and you will end up happier in the long run.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Yeah, this is my 13th post. 13 has always been a special number to me. I was born on the 13th. There were 13 American colonies when we fought for our independence. There are 13 heavens in the Mayan cosmology. I have 13 in Mayan numerals tattooed on my chest in the middle of a Mayan ouroboros representing Kukulkan.

I had a better Ashtanga practice this morning. I hadn't been able to do yoga for the past 2 days, because I was really sore from my practice on Wednesday. I made it the whole way through the finishing sequence today. My handstand vinyasas weren't very good and I was only able to hold tolasana for 5 breaths, but it was definitely better than Wednesday. Oh well, that's why it's called practice.

I've decided that I'm going to try and post a different drawing of a skeleton doing a yoga pose each Saturday. Hopefully I can keep it up. This week I'm posting a skeleton that I drew for an assignment in A&P doing padmasana (lotus pose).

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures

The first time I encountered Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake was in the novel Obsidian Butterfly. This was 7 or 8 years ago and I was working my way through a lot of gothic literature. It didn't stick out in my mind among the countless other books. Then came the comic.
The comic books are great. They have made me want to check out the other books and proselytize for them. There are some things that I don't like about them, but there's a lot that I do like. Enough to make me want to write a post on them.
This is Anita. She is a vampire hunter and a resurrector of the dead. In the alternate reality of Anita Blake vampires live among us out of the coffin. Vampires are recognized as citizens of the USA, but are still fighting for their rights. There is a lot of discrimination towards the undead. I know what you're thinking "doesn't this sound like the world of Sookie Stackhouse?..." Somewhat, but the novel Guilty Pleasures was written in 1993, a full 8 years before the first Sookie Stackhouse book.
Zombies exist in this reality, but not in the same way as most of popular culture. Zombies are the reanimated dead, brought back to life by a resurrector. They have a very limited shelf life, and will return back to the land of the dead within a couple of weeks. During their second life they can help to solve crimes by recalling their memories of the first life. A good reanimator can coax the memories out of the zombie, and Anita is a good reanimator. The zombie's memories themselves also have a short shelf life, because zombies decline cognitively quickly. Zombies are resurrected from a form of gris-gris, voodoo, magic, etcetera.
Anita is a vampire hunter as well as a resurrector. Since vampires have rights, they cannot be hunted willy-nilly. Anita is hired by the police to hunt rogue vampires who have been killing humans. Vampires are allowed to exist as long as they feed off of willing donors, and there are quite a few fetishists willing to let vampires suckle off of them.

Phillip is one such donor. He is a stripper at Guilty Pleasures, a male vampire strip club. He is addicted to the bite and willingly submits to a wide variety of vampires, hence the scars. He is the main romantic interest of Anita in Guilty Pleasures.

Jean-Claude is another romantic interest of Anita's. Jean-Claude, however, is a vampire. He is also the owner of guilty pleasures. It was he who advised the police to contact Anita to help them solve a series of vampire murders around which the plot of the book revolves. Jean-Claude is in the habit of calling Anita "ma petite", which seems kind of cheesy to me. It seems like a vampire cliche that an old vampire should speak with a Louisiana accent and be a French/Southern gentleman. I know that prior to Anne Rice this wasn't the case, but since she appeared on the scene it has been so overdone. Jean-Claude is an old vampire, but not nearly the oldest.

Nikolaos is the oldest vampire in the city although she inhabits the body of a preteen girl. Another problem that I have with the comic is that 'Nikolaos' is actually the Greek name that 'Nicholas' is based on. It comes from 'nike ho laos' victory of the people. It is a male name, but used on a female. I think this is because Ms. Hamilton didn't know this and simply was trying for an old sounding name.
Nonetheless, Nikolaos is a force to be reckoned with.

To me, a cool thing about Anita is that she is obsessed with penguins. There is this fearless vampire killer who can resurrect the dead, and she wears penguin shirts with a bed covered in stuffed penguins...stuffed animals that is. It is also pretty cool that she is easily the shortest character in the books, save Nikolaos, the preteen girl who is a thousand years old.

The last part of the alternate reality of Anita Blake's that I think is so cool is the ghouls. Instead of having ghouls that are tied to a master vampire, ghouls are demon beasts that have a resurrector for their master. Ghouls are created when a reanimator dies and is resurrected. Ghouls generally live in cemetaries and rip apart any living thing that they encounter. They cannot live in cemeteries that are consecrated. It is possible that a resurrector that is reanimated will have as many ghouls as zombies that he resurrected in his lifetime.
Overall I love the Anita Blake comics and cannot wait for the Laughing Corpse cycle to be released in graphic novel format.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

New Beginnings

Today was my first Ashtanga practice in a few months. I use the David Swenson book at home. Once in a while I'll go to class as a sort of tune up.
It wasn't my best practice ever; It was blocky and awkward, I was exhausted before the finishing sequence, but I did have a good savasana. I could almost feel myself aging backwards.
Oh well, that's why it's called practice. It'll get better as I do it more.

I'm hoping to be able to do the Anita Blake post tonight...

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHanti

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New posts in the pipes, hopefully just from the clean pipes

There are two new entries I'm planning, the first will be done in the imminent future.

This first posting will be a critique of the Marvel comics series Anita Blake : Vampire hunter. I will discuss the ways in which the book followed traditional mythos allowing for the newer motifs. It will be in depth and you will come to understand my enjoyment

The second I have been working on fine" Due to the subject matter this one may be prosponed, I think I may have to do my tribute to Forrest J. Ackerman on the anniversary of his death, but that is along way off.

Here's some clips of Vampirella to tide you over until the Ackerman blog is ready. I really want to do him some honor

I hope to see you soon on these.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Can I have an african american on that?...

A while ago my wife took a picture at a Wendy's restaurant. The picture was of their drive through menu. I hadn't an outlet to express my humor on this until now.

Look at that a little closer.
Let's see, thats:



mayo...tomato...Black Dude...?

wtf?... I am uncertain what the point of this marketing campaign was, or if it worked to their advantage.

Why is their a black man in the spot where there should obviously be a condiment?..

At least it's been worth a few chuckles for me.

Om SHAnti SHAnti SHAnti

Healthy moderation 1: exercise ideals

There is a precipice that we must try to balance on with weight lifting, and all other forms of exercise. What is this hilltop that we must straddle? It's finding the right amount for you. With weight lifting it is being able to have good form while challenging yourself. If you have good form, but feel that you could go on doing reps for hours, then the weight is probably not heavy enough. If you feel exhausted at the end of three sets, but can only make it through by sacrificing your form, then you are trying to lift too heavy a weight. The right amount of weight is the one that can be performed for three sets with good form and feel as though you couldn't lift it any more by the end of the third set.
Running has a similar balance. How far can you run and how fast without sacrificing your form? If you are able to keep good form, but feel that it is not challenging, you are probably not running far enough or fast enough. If you can run a long distance at a good clip, but your form is very sloppy, you are putting yourself at risk for injuries. The right way to run for best results is to run at a challenging pace and distance that you can perform with the correct form.
The balance of form and challenge is also seen with yoga. If you can attain an asana, but only after sacrificing your breathing rhythm you are trying to do too much. On the other hand if you can keep the rhythm of your breath, but don't feel any stretch, you are not challenging yourself enough. The right balance is the one which is challenging for you, but not so challenging that you can't breathe properly. It's never a good idea to hold your breath while exercising, it may lead to the embarrassment of passing out.
Healthy moderation in exercise is finding the balance of form and challenge. You know your body better than anyone and can fine tune this over time until it is easy because it becomes habitual. Making a concerted effort to balance these two elements will lead to a healthier body with less injuries in the long run.

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Heavy Metal Yogi by Nick Matthaes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.