Christopher Parker I don't need no stinking tagline. Fri, 05 Apr 2013 04:11:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Rebooting My Life /2011/11/rebooting-my-life/ /2011/11/rebooting-my-life/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 22:41:35 +0000 Christopher Parker /?p=216 On a good friend’s recommendation, my wife and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead last week. It chronicles an experiment of an Australian man named Joe Cross: he’s decided that, to shed weight from excess fat, he’s going to go on a juice fast for 60 days. (I recommend that you watch it as soon as you get the chance. It’s currently available to watch instantly on Netflix!)

Throughout the documentary, Joe walks us through what it’s like to give up all solid foods for two whole months, exclusively drinking the juice and pulp of vegetables and fruits. Along the way, we get to witness what he endures from the standpoints of psychology, physiology, finance, and logistics. We also get to meet new people along with him and experience the joys of seeing other people commit to changing and saving their lives. I’m not going to give away many more details, such as the ending, as it would spoil your viewing experience, however after watching FSND, I feel compelled to give it a try myself.

To start off, I’m going to try the juice primarily featured in FSND, dubbed the Mean Green juice:

  • 1 Bulk of kale (six leaves)
  • 4 Stalks of celery
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • ½ lemon
  • Ginger root (thumb sized)

(This recipe, and many others, can be found at the FSND site and at Reboot Your Life, the company formed around Joe’s success.)

The fact that I’m actually giving this some serious thought is somewhat unnerving to me. Like many, I am quite motivated by food… Not just any food, either—the more fatty, sugary, or greasy the food, the better. And while I don’t particularly dislike fruits or vegetables, I don’t exactly love them, either; I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to eat any.

Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that I have an addiction to refined sugar, specifically in the form of chocolate. Once I made this realization, it was easy to reach the conclusion that something had to be done to change my eating habits and other aspects of my lifestyle. Before this, I just didn’t think being overweight was that big of a deal, nor did I think there was much that I could do to change. However, now that I’m over 200 lbs (91 kg) overweight and I have a solution (a relatively easy one, in my opinion) staring at me in the face, all the excuses that I’ve made in the past no longer seem to make any sense to me.

So, now that I’ve decided to give this a try, I’ll be writing about my experiences here and in the Reboot Community groups at Reboot Your Life. I fully expect to be an absolute mess for the first week or so, going through withdrawal symptoms not unlike those of a hardcore drug addict going through cold turkey detox. Hopefully, with these outlets at my disposal, I’ll be able to tough it out long enough to detox my system and not abandon the process altogether. That being said, I apologize in advance if I post or say anything untoward or abnormally pessimistic. *nervous laughter*

Wish me luck!

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Uninteresting /2011/08/uninteresting/ /2011/08/uninteresting/#comments Sat, 20 Aug 2011 05:57:29 +0000 Christopher Parker /?p=206 Uninteresting

It has recently occurred to me that I’m not a very interesting person. I don’t do small talk, I’m awkward in social situations, and I rarely have anything to say that I believe anybody want would want to hear about. With nothing to write about, it makes me question my decision to have a blog.

Until I recall all the times I’ve felt like I have had something worthwhile to say, yet have just let those thoughts sizzle out. Circle the drain. Die. Instead of having a blog to write about things I think other people might find interesting, I’m going to start having a blog to write about things I find interesting. If anything I have to say piques anybody else’s interest for some quirky reason, then that’s nice, I guess. However, I’m also just as comfortable with an audience of one: Me.

If nothing else, I’ll be able to look back in time and see how I have changed throughout the course of my life. After all, without a vantage point in life—something to compare to—how does one gauge their own personal (lack of) progress?

From now on, my blog is going to be a record of my personal journey toward realizing my aspirations, whether the steps to get there are interesting or not. While I will attempt to keep unfiltered “stream of consciousness” stuff to a minimum, I make no promises. Because in the end, my blog is my Shrine to Me, and what I say on my blog goes… on my blog. (Bear with me; I’m still getting my blog legs.)

Stay marginally interested in what I have to say, my voyeur friends.

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Why I’m Not a “Phone Person” /2011/06/why-im-not-a-phone-person/ /2011/06/why-im-not-a-phone-person/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2011 18:55:33 +0000 Christopher Parker /?p=200 I’m not a “phone person”. I never have been, and I don’t think I ever will be for a number of reasons.

Collecting Thoughts

When I communicate via phone, it’s as though the person on the other end is speaking to an entirely different person than if I were “speaking” to them through the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere of an instant message or an email.

When I’m speaking to somebody on the phone, that person becomes the recipient of my stream of thoughts at that specific moment in time. If I’m not feeling particularly articulate, or if I’ve been caught off-guard specifically by something my caller has said or by the conversation in general, I’m left with no time to collect my thoughts and formulate an intelligent response unless I want to litter the conversation with frequent periods of silence or stammering “ums” and “uhs”. I’ll even find myself at times stuttering or stopping mid-sentence to rephrase what I’m trying to say; there’s no time to mentally rehearse how what I’m saying should be worded in a way that best conveys my intended sentiment.

Choice of Words

This relates to my next reason for shunning the phone as much as possible: If my immediate response to something another person has said could be easily misinterpreted or misconstrued, or if I otherwise “misspeak”, I cannot take back what I’ve said once I’ve said it. With a less time-sensitive method of communication, if I catch something that doesn’t make sense to me once I’ve had time to re-read it within the context of the entire conversation, I can simply delete that text and start over.

With spoken word, there are no rough drafts, there is no proof-reading, and, most importantly, there is no Ctrl-Z.

Ten-hut!

Then there’s the matter of attention or multi-tasking. When I’m speaking to someone on the phone, that conversation demands my full attention. Any sort of distraction or interruption could easily lead to portions of the conversation getting “tuned out”, missed, or misinterpreted. I could pretend like I heard everything that was said, and either potentially miss some sort of crucial detail or come across like I just don’t pay attention. I could also ask the person with whom I’m speaking to repeat what was said, which can be a hassle and is definitely an inconvenience to them, especially if it’s done repeatedly. Lastly, I could ask to reschedule the call, however that’s even more of an inconvenience and, as far as I understand, would usually be considered rude.

With email or IM, I can worry less about distractions and obstacles. I can listen to music. I can hold multiple conversations at the same time. I don’t have to worry about bad cellular reception or being in a noisy environment. It doesn’t matter if someone’s accent is a barrier to understanding. It even doesn’t matter if I’ve got laryngitis. I can communicate via email or IM under any of these conditions.

Betrayal of the Mind (or Ears)

Let’s not forget the accountability factor. With a phone conversation, things people say are subject to faulty and selective memory and can be misheard and, therefore, misunderstood. With text-based communications, everything that everybody has said is spelled out and recorded, and can be referenced at any point in the future should any questions arise about the content of the discussion.

Unless a phone conversation is recorded, which comes with its own set of issues, anything that anybody says can be twisted with the flow of time to match a person’s perceptions, preconceived notions, or ulterior motives. When a person communicates with text, there’s a reasonable expectation that the content of that communication will be retained for future reference. And with cryptography solutions like PGP/GPG and OTR, the identity of the message’s sender and the integrity of the message itself can be verified.

Unreasonable Demands

Lastly, there’s the topic of availability and freedom. With email and IM, I create my own schedule and decide my own availability. If someone sends me an email, it will still be there in a little while when I have the time and after I’ve decided to read it. If I feel like waiting to answer an email after I’ve prepared myself to do so, then that is my choice to make. A phone call, however, is an immediate demand on my time, regardless of my ability to get to the phone or my willingness to speak to someone at that time. While email and IM are still largely tools of convenience for me, the phone can often be a tool for others to rudely and indiscriminately intrude into my life.

If you call me on the phone and I don’t answer, it’s not necessarily because I don’t want to speak to you, it’s just that I value my time and my freedom more than you do, and I might be doing other things when you call.

Conclusion

With all the benefits of electronic communications over speaking on the phone, I’m left wondering why people still talk on the phone as much as they do. I have a feeling that I’m not the only person in the world who feels this way.

A friendly call is one thing, where you just want to hear the voice of a friend or a family member and want the reassurance that they’re there for you on the other end of that call. However, for professional matters, as far as I’m concerned, the phone is dead.

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Working in Boston /2010/04/working-in-boston/ /2010/04/working-in-boston/#comments Thu, 22 Apr 2010 15:27:13 +0000 Christopher Parker /?p=162 Oh, how I love working in Boston. I can’t decide what I like most about it. There are so many aspects of working in Boston that have made lasting impressions on me. Let’s see, there’s…

  • Urine-soaked floors in the MBTA‘s underground stations (gotta love those fumes first thing in the morning!)
  • Traffic jams on the Orange Line (huh?)
  • Crowded subway cars, where people inadvertently have no choice but to practically grope you in order to fit on the train
  • Crazy and/or drunk people who approach you for any number of reasons
  • Smokers who practice their disgusting habits in places where you have no choice but to walk through clouds of cigarette smoke, and if you even think about saying something to them they harp about “smokers’ rights”

Really, Boston is great! You should try it sometime!

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