Monday, August 18, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3051.  I’d describe Dave Matthews (Band) fans as hippie yuppie.  They can be as diehard as Dead/Phish Heads, but they’ve got (way) more money to spend;
3052.  Dave Matthews (Band) acoustic isn’t all that different from Dave Matthews (Band) electric (i.e., plugged in);
3053.  You might want to leave some drinks and/or snacks in your car when you go to an event at Jiffy Lube Live (in Bristow, Virginia). . . . It takes forever to get out of the parking lot;
3054.  I’m a fan of (Sunday) brunch on Capitol Hill (i.e., 8th Street, SE) . . . at least during the summer;
3055.  Rebecca (i.e., the bartender at Senart’s Oyster & Chophouse) and I, we go way back;
3056.  You shouldn’t leave your rice in the cooker for more than a couple of days;
3057.  Megan can’t buy me a drink if I only get one;
3058.  Passion always trumps excuses.  If you have passion, there is no need for excuses, because your enthusiasm will trump any negative reasoning you might come up with.  Enthusiasm makes excuses a nonissue;
3059.  Hamburgers without the buns aren’t very filling;
3060.  Hot dogs without the buns aren’t very filling either;
3061.  Don’t expect someone to take care of you when you don’t even know how to look after yourself;
3062.  (Sometimes) if someone hasn’t had many relationships, it doesn’t (necessarily) mean that that person doesn’t like them or doesn’t want one.  That person just doesn’t like the prospective men/women s/he could have one with, or they don’t like her/him (in return);
3063.  The costumes in “The Lion King” (i.e., the musical) are really creative and imaginative;
3064.  Ushers in the Kennedy Center’s Opera House (specifically in the upper tiers) don’t like it when you put your playbill on the guardrail;
3065.  It’s amazing how cold water tastes so much better than (luke)warm water;
3066.  Your workout shake blends better if you put the Vitargo (powder) at the bottom of the Blender Bottle under the whey protein and the wire whisk ball;
3067.  My lower ab(dominal) muscles are weak;
3068.  It’s easier to trim (fat from) chicken if the chicken is (partially) frozen;
3069.  (Fresh Wave) Fresh Pods (FreshWaveWorks.com) (actually) seem to work;
3070.  Satisfaction is the beginning of regression.  Never be satisfied, keep working hard;
3071.  A paradox is the truth standing on its head to attract attention;
3072.  Stress, including the mental stress of uncertainty, is an ingredient in attachment or love and that perhaps even manifestations of hatred (its polar opposite) somehow enhance love;
3073.  Uncertainty psychologically can lead to some of the greatest feelings of attachment and dependence;
3074.  I can say I’ve seen an Oscar winner in concert (i.e., Jared Leto, the lead singer of “30 Seconds to Mars”);
3075.  Jared Leto could’ve been a cheerleader in another life;

Monday, July 21, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3001.  Comfort and luxury are usually the chief requirements of life for your ego – its top priorities tend to be accumulations, achievements, and the approval of others;
3002.  By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist we create it.  The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired;
3003.  The Cajun chicken at Whole Foods (Market) is really tasty;
3004.  What do you call getting charged ($.50) extra for ordering a drink in a “tall” glass?  The answer is: Complete bullshit . . . yeah, I’m talking to you, Union Street (Public House);
3005.  The space conveys a story;
3006.  How you interact with the space can also convey a story;
3007.  Identify your purpose and your imagination can communicate your thoughts and ideas;
3008.  Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances;
3009.  Practice radical appreciation – joyfully engage with the things you take for granted such as your home, garden, meals, clothes, family, and friends.  Choose to pay attention by giving thanks and loving appreciation;
3010.  See paradise all around you – rethink your belief that you must travel, be worldly, and experience distant lands and people to have a fulfilling life.  Change your view to see the pleasure in what you have, where you’re located, and who you are.  Find joy and solace in the simple and cultivate your utopia in every cubic inch of space;
3011.  Devote a day to food – appreciate the mysterious intelligence that created food for your health and pleasure, and say a prayer with every connection to it;
3012.  Broccoli is (actually) a good source of protein;
3013.  When putting together your workout shake the night before, don’t leave your wire whisk ball at the bottom of your “Blender Bottle.”  It might get stuck;
3014.  Your bicep (only) makes up 30% of your upper arm while your triceps make up 70%;
3015.  How can you tell if a sweet potato has gone bad?  The answer is: If the flesh is brown and/or black;
3016.  Cooking fish stinks;
3017.  How to hard-boil eggs: Place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, put a lid on it and turn off the heat.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes. . . . Don’t boil them; that’s what turns the (egg) yolks green and makes them pungent. . . . Cool in a bowl of cold water until they’re no longer hot to the touch;
3018.  If your vacuum starts smoking and there isn’t any hair or other debris interfering with the (rotating) brush, try cleaning the filter;
3019.  I hate washing/doing the dishes;
3020.  Cooking broccoli stinks;
3021.  I’m not very good at peeling (hard-boiled) eggs;
3022.  (Chicken) wings aren’t very filling when you don’t eat the skin;
3023.  You shouldn’t eat simple (i.e., fast-burning) carbohydrates right before you go to bed;
3024.  You’ve got to love yoga pants;
3025.  Every time you do a kindness without any hope of credit or return, God cries a teardrop of happiness;
3026.  Know that your word is good enough to manifest anything you want.  The law of attraction will work for you;
3027.  It’s not a (half) bad looking crowd walking around in the mornings;
3028.  There are (definitely) benefits to living across the street from a yoga studio (especially one that’s next door to a Starbucks);
3029.  Know that every day you are entitled to your share of the miracles of that day.  In fact, if you trust the universe, miracles will be delivered each day;
3030.  So say to yourself, I dedicate today’s miracles to everyone else.  I want none of them, but I hope everyone else will benefit;
3031.  Picture all of the people around you enjoying the miracles that were meant for you and living healthier, wealthier and wiser lives because of those miracles;
3032.  Smile, knowing that the truth you have cultivated has now set everyone else free;
3033.  “Pumpkin” face and “raisin” face aren’t good looks;
3034.  A good way to work on your word articulation is to say, “Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice concentrate” (over and over again);
3035.  (William) Shakespeare really was a genius;
3036.  (William) Shakespeare was an actor (too);
3037.  There’s a lot more to acting than I (first) thought;
3038.  (Apparently) if you ever want to memorize something, just read it aloud 27 times in a row;
3039.  It blends (a little bit) better if you dry mix your workout shake before adding water;
3040.  You (really) don't use your calves much walking up stairs;
3041.  I kind of like trimming (fat from) chicken;
3042.  The reason trees make sap is to protect their roots from the (cold) winter;
3043.  What does it mean if you put your maple syrup in the freezer and it turns solid?  The answer is: It’s not (real) maple syrup;
3044.  It takes 40 gallons of tree sap to make one gallon of (maple) syrup;
3045.  (The province of) Quebec makes roughly 75% of the planet’s maple syrup;
3046.  (Apparently) maple syrup comes in grades.  “A” is lighter and less rich.  “B” is darker and more flavorful.  Unfortunately, to consumers, “B” (just) sounds inferior.  For this reason, it’s often less expensive despite tasting way more syrupy and intense;
3047.  When speaking (aloud), drive the thought through to the end;
3048.  If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go as a group;
3049.  Brent (Stansell from the Shakespeare Theatre Company) says I have a powerful, booming voice and (that) I could do voiceover and radio work;
3050.  My forearms are (pretty) weak;

Monday, June 30, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

2951.  Sushi (actually) has a natural sweetness to it . . . that is, if it’s not drowned out by soy sauce and/or wasabi;
2952.  I know one of the cofounders of (the now defunct) “Consumption Junction;”
2953.  The Cuban sandwich at La Carreta Café (LaCarreta.com) (in the Miami airport of all places) is pretty tasty;
2954.  Hunan Number One (HunanOne.com) (in Clarendon) has a pretty good crowd;
2955.  Wawa’s (Wawa.com) chicken noodle soup is pretty tasty;
2956.  I can say I’ve “christened” the men’s room in Carr’s Hill (i.e., the president’s house at the University of Virginia);
2957.  Katie Couric is (actually) pretty funny;
2958.  When Katie Couric smiles, she reminds me of Robbie (smiling);
2959.  Apparently, 150 people a year are killed from falling coconuts.  That’s 15 times the number of deaths attributed to sharks;
2960.  Sylvia’s Pizza is now Christian’s Pizza (www.ChristiansPizza.com) (in “The Corner” district) in Charlottesville, Virginia;
2961.  I can say I’ve had breakfast with Katie Couric (sort of);
2962.  Modern (college) dorms are way nicer than most of the (apartment) complexes I’ve lived in (specifically the “new” new dorms at the University of Virginia);
2963.  I can finally say I’ve had Crozet Pizza (CPBBB.com). . . . It’s pretty good;
2964.  Our beliefs as a people determine what we eventually see;
2965.  You come into this world with a dharma, a life purpose, choices to make – how do you know when you are doing what you are here to do?  You feel good.  How do you know which path to take?  Choose based on your excitement, how it makes you feel.  You feel good when you are doing what you are here to do.  It’s who you really are;
2966.  There are really only two emotions – fear and love.  When we are in fear, there is no room for love; when we’re in love, there is no room for fear;
2967.  The elevator to success is out of order.  You’ll have to use the stairs . . . one step at a time;
2968.  Shaving with a dull razor versus a sharp one is like night and day;
2969.  It’s kind of weird driving behind a car without any exhaust pipes (specifically the Tesla Model S);
2970.  Megan loves steak;
2971.  “Power” yoga (pretty much) means a lot of downward-facing dog;
2972.  Show respect before teasing;
2973.  A drop of experience is worth a bucket full of knowledge;
2974.  Stop focusing on what you don’t want and start focusing on what you do want. . . . Whatever you look for, you’ll find;
2975.  I cannot fail.  I can only learn and grow;
2976.  Be the light bulb not the moth;
2977.  Be the gatekeeper of your own mind;
2978.  It’s not about the idea of being better than another person.  It’s about being mature, confident and secure in yourself;
2979.  Parents are not for leaning upon, but rather exist to make leaning unnecessary;
2980.  If someone comes at you in a judgmental way and you judge them for it, you just doubled the amount of judgment in the space you’re both in;
2981.  An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind;
2982.  Who I used to be or what I used to do, does not shape who I am or what I do today;
2983.  We become what we think about, like it or not.  If we think in terms of judgment and criticism and competitiveness, we’re going to attract more of the same into our lives;
2984.  If we have constant thoughts of negativity, we will only find more negativity showing up in our lives.  In order to see things change, we have to change the way we think about things;
2985.  As the Abraham-Hicks teachings say, stop telling it like it is and start telling it like you want it to be.  Life isn’t happening to you, it is responding to you;
2986.  You can’t please everyone.  When you’re too focused on living up to other people’s standards, you aren’t spending enough time raising your own.  Some people may whisper, complain, and judge.  But for the most part, it’s all in your head.  People care less about your actions than you think.  Why?  They have their own problems!
2987.  You must first love yourself and be filled with love in order to be able to give it away.  Once you are filled with that love and it is all that you have inside of you, then that is all that you will have to give away;
2988.  What you keep inside you is what you will have to give away.  And once you truly understand and practice this idea, then it will become your own personal habit;
2989.  Bring to all of your endeavors what you would most like to receive;
2990.   Bring kindness to every encounter, regardless of whether you were the recipient of kindness; give away what you have inside and it would be returned to you.  It’s the Law of Attraction;
2991.  You must decide to be filled with joy, and this is what you will bring to every encounter – this is what you will give away.  And guess what?  This is what you will see returning to you as well.  But if you bring your own sadness to what you think of as a sad or unhappy occasion, you will simply be doubling the amount of negativity, and then blaming the person or the nature of the event for your own discontent;
2992.  When we hide whom we really are in order to fit in or belong, we are suffocating our souls.  Our true calling may pass us by while we’re trying to make other people happy;
2993.  We cannot experience peace if our inner dialogue is always at war with itself.  A mind at war with itself – which is another way of saying a mind that rejects its true calling, its own nature and body – is a mind that cannot experience eternal gentleness;
2994.  The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why;
2995.  No one can find his/her purpose by attempting to be just like everybody else or to attempt to live out someone else’s idea of what that purpose ought to be;
2996.  Do not always pull verbally;
2997.  Kristin is a golfer;
2998.  Pro(fessional) golfers are (pretty) tall;
2999.  In a fight, never confuse a noncombatant with a loser;
3000.  What do you do if you don’t have a toothbrush?  The answer is: Try eating an apple, celery, radishes, carrots, broccoli and/or cucumbers. . . . All of these foods are excellent at freshening your mouth.  Eat them at the end of a meal or after a snack;

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

2901.  If you have a craving for Ben’s Chili Bowl (BensChiliBowl.com), but you don’t have any/enough cash, go to Ben’s Next Door (BensNextDoor.com).  They take credit card and they serve food from Ben’s Chili Bowl on their late night menu;
2902.  Plastic water bottles make up a lot of the trash in the Potomac (River);
2903.  Failure weighs ounces . . . regret weighs tons;
2904.  Sometimes all we need to do is to figure out what’s really bothering us for us to let it go;
2905.  If you’re planning a trip, you might want to use Airbnb (Airbnb.com).  You can find some pretty nice, furnished apartments in good locations for less than what you’d pay for a nice hotel;
2906.  When something’s been on your mind and you haven’t told anyone, it’s kind of cathartic when you finally do;
2907.  One thing I hate about having flat feet is breaking in new shoes.  Without much of an arch, my feet sit lower and it takes time for shoes to form to my feet.  It also means the lip of my shoes bite into my ankles until they soften up;
2908.  If you’re looking for cheap lawn tickets for concerts at Jiffy Lube Live (in Bristow, Virginia), try Groupon the day tickets go on sale to the general public (i.e., not the presales);
2909.  If you ever need a hockey net strung, call Karl Alzner (of the Washington Capitals);
2910.  If you need a babysitter, call Braden Holtby (of the Washington Capitals);
2911.  James Buchanan (i.e., the 15th president of the United States right before Abraham Lincoln) was born on April 23rd;
2912.  Buchanan was single during his entire presidency and he’s the only president from Pennsylvania;
2913.  Washing berries makes them spoil faster; instead, store them by lining a plate or sheet pan with a damp paper towel or cloth to prevent them from molding and getting crushed;
2914.  Look for vibrantly colored zucchini that are nice and firm with no punctures;
2915.  When buying eggplant, make sure to look for a bright, vibrant color and a just-picked aroma.  To store, wrap the entire thing in a slightly moist paper towel;
2916.  Hummus makes a pretty good sandwich spread;
2917.  Everyone runs his/her own race;
2918.  If something in sports is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you’ve lived a pretty good life;
2919.  The French fries at the Drafting Table (DraftingTableDC.com) in D.C. are pretty tasty;
2920.  The orange crushes at SoBe Bar & Bistro in Clarendon are pretty tasty;
2921.  Apparently, biting someone’s neck isn’t (all) that memorable;
2922.  Kettle corn is the perfect mix of salty and sweet;
2923.  Kristin has never had a cavity . . . and she hates flossing;
2924.  La Tagliatella (LaTagliatella.us) in Clarendon has a pretty good Happy Hour.  It runs Monday through Friday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM.  They have select pizzas for $5.00, draft beers and bellinis for $3.00, sangria and house wine for $4.00 and the specialty cocktail of the day for $5.00;
2925.  Kristin likes pistachio pudding;
2926.  Kristin likes basbousa (i.e., a sweet cake made of cooked semolina soaked in simple syrup);
2927.  I can say I’ve had a bellini at the Italian embassy;
2928.  I can say I’ve had a (Belgian) waffle at the Belgian embassy;
2929.  Nice guys leave most women indifferent;
2930.  It’s easy to be good, it’s hard to be great;
2931.  You should drink sake just above body temperature (i.e., warmed, not boiled);
2932.  The best BLT (i.e., bacon, lettuce and tomato) I’ve ever had may be the Maxine BLT at Maxine’s Bistro & Bar (CatalinaHotel.com/maxines) in the Catalina Hotel (in Miami);
2933.  Cara Rosenthal (formerly of “The Amazing Race”) is a cool chick;
2934.  Cara (Rosenthal) hangs out at Hyde Beach (SLSHotels.com/Southbeach/Hyde_Beach) in the SLS Hotel (in Miami) almost every Friday night;
2935.  Everyone gets blown out . . . even Matthew McConaughey on the beach with his shirt off . . . and Usher in a club when one of his songs was playing;
2936.  Yes, “fingerblast” is a term;
2937.  Your boner knows better than you (do);
2938.  Apparently, Tinder (GoTinder.com) is pointless if you’re not handsome or you don’t look good with your shirt off;
2939.  If you don’t expand, the threshold closes;
2940.  Thresholds will move depending on how fast you push them;
2941.  A woman sitting with her drink up and looking around wants to be talked to;
2942.  Be cool, calm and collected;
2943.  I can say I’ve fingerblasted a “dancer;”
2944.  I know someone who’s friends with Daniel Sharman (of “Teen Wolf”);
2945.  The “dates avec chorizo” (i.e., bacon-wrapped dates with goat cream) at Pubbelly (Pubbelly.com) in Miami are awesome!
2946.  Apparently, Barbara Palvin’s sister’s boyfriend is a cockblock;
2947.  LIV (LIVNightClub.com) (i.e., one of the top club’s in the country) is in the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami;
2948.  If you get bottle service, don’t let the bottle girl make your drinks after the first one.  She’s been instructed to give you heavy pours so you’ll finish your bottle faster in the hopes you’ll order another one;
2949.  When you’re at a club, making a drink for a girl you brought back to your table, fill a glass with ice then fill it with mixer and add a splash of liquor on top;
2950.  “Urban Beach Week” is Memorial Day weekend in (South Beach) Miami;

Monday, May 12, 2014

Zagat's 8 Best Bars and Restaurants for Cocktails Around D.C.

1.  PX
2.  Wisdom
3.  The Gibson
4.  Black Jack
5.  Proof
6.  Bandolero
7.  Chez Billy
8.  Range

Monday, May 5, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

2851.  The better we feel about workplace relationships, the more effective we will be.  A study of over 350 employees in 60 business units at a financial services company found that the greatest predictor of a team’s achievement was how the members felt about one another;
2852.  Studies show that the more team members are encouraged to socialize and interact face-to-face, the more engaged they feel, the more energy they have, and the longer they can stay focused on a task;
2853.  To make a difference to work performance and job satisfaction, social contact need not always be deep to be effective.  Organizational psychologists have found that even brief encounters can form “high-quality connections,” which fuel openness, energy, and authenticity among coworkers, and in turn lead to a whole host of measurable, tangible gains in performance;
2854.  Any point of contact with another person can potentially be a high-quality connection.  One conversation, one e-mail exchange, one moment of connecting in a meeting can infuse both participants with a greater sense of vitality, giving them a bounce in their steps and a greater capacity to act;
2855.  A team of British researchers decided to follow a group of employees who worked for two different supervisors on alternate days – one they had good rapport with, and one they didn’t.  On the days the dreaded boss worked, their average blood pressure shot up;
2856.  A 15-year study found that employees who had a difficult relationship with their boss were 30 percent more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease;
2857.  Studies have found that the strength of the bond between manager and employee is the prime predictor of both daily productivity and the length of time people stay at their jobs;
2858.  Gallup, which has spent decades studying the practices of the world’s leading organizations, estimates that U.S. companies lose $360 billion each year due to lost productivity from employees who have poor relationships with their supervisor;
2859.  When Gallup asked ten million employees around the world if they could agree or disagree with the following statement: “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person,” those who agreed were found to be more productive, contributed to more profits, and were significantly more likely to stay with their company long-term;
2860.  Neuroscience has revealed that when we make eye contact with someone, it actually sends a signal to the brain that triggers empathy and rapport;
2861.  An important part of maintaining a social bond is being there, both physically and emotionally, when someone is in need;
2862.  How we support people during good times, more than bad times, affects the quality of a relationship;
2863.  Sharing upbeat news with someone is called “capitalization,” and it helps multiply the benefits of the positive event as well as strengthens the bond between the two people involved.  They key to gaining these benefits is how you respond to someone’s good news;
2864.  Shelly Gable, a leading psychologist at the University of California, has found that there are four different types of responses we can give to someone’s good news, and only one of them contributes positively to the relationship.  The winning response is both active and constructive; it offers enthusiastic support, as well as specific comments and follow-up questions (That’s wonderful!  I’m glad your boss noticed how hard you’ve been working.  When does your promotion go into effect?”);
2865.  Passive responses to good news (“That’s nice.”) can be just as harmful to the relationship as blatantly negative ones (“You got the promotion?  I’m surprised they didn’t give it to Sally, she seems more suited to the job.”);
2866.  The most destructive response to good news is ignoring the news entirely (“Have you seen my keys?”);
2867.  Gable’s studies have shown that active-constructive responding enhances relationship commitment and satisfaction, and fuels the degree to which people feel understood, validated, and cared for during a discussion;
2868.  Building strong social capital does not require that all colleagues become best friends or even that everyone like one another all the time.  What does matter is that there be mutual respect and authenticity.  Coercing employees into awkward icebreakers or forced bonding activities, like making everyone at a meeting share something about their private lives, only breeds disconnection and mistrust.  Better that these moments happen organically – which they will if the environment is right.  The best leaders give their employees the space and time to let moments of social connection develop on their own.  So the more physical spaces available to publicly commune, the better;
2869.  Even the classically boring meeting can be designed in a way to foster high-quality connections.  Meeting practices that encourage member contribution and active listening foster group commitment;
2870.  We can promote social connection at work just by using language that implies a common purpose and interdependence;
2871.  Forging a connection requires active listening – giving someone your full attention and also allowing them to have their say.  Many people listen as if waiting for an opportunity to make their own point.  Instead, focus on the speaker and their opinion, and then ask interested questions to learn more;
2872.  Studies have shown that gratitude sparks an upward spiral of relationship growth where each individual feels motivated to strengthen the bond;
2873.  Mirror neurons are specialized brain cells that can actually sense and then mimic the feelings, actions, and physical sensations of another person.  A person is pricked by a needle.  The neurons in the pain center of his or her brain will immediately light up, which should come as no surprise.  But what is a surprise is that when that same person sees someone else receive a needle prick, this same set of neurons lights up, just as though he himself had been pricked;
2874.  Mirror neurons are often right next to motor neurons in the brain, copied feelings often lead to copied actions;
2875.  Thanks to these same mirror neurons, our emotions are enormously contagious;
2876.  The amygdala can read and identify an emotion in another person’s face within 33 milliseconds, and then just as quickly prime us to feel the same;
2877.  Studies have shown that when three strangers meet in a room, the most emotionally expressive person transmits his or her mood to the others within just two minutes;
2878.  When we feel anxious or adopt an overtly negative mindset, these feelings will start to seep into every interaction we have, whether we like it or not;
2879.  Emotions are so shared, organizational psychologists have found that each workplace develops its own group emotion, or “group affective tone,” which over time creates shared “emotion norms” that are proliferated and reinforced by the behavior, both verbal and nonverbal, of the employees;
2880.  Positive emotions are also contagious;
2881.  Positive emotional contagion starts when people subconsciously mimic the body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions of those around them.  Once people mimic the physical behaviors tied to these emotions, it causes them to feel the emotion themselves;
2882.  Smiling tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy, so it starts producing the neurochemicals that actually do make you happy;
2883.  While authentic positivity will always trump its faux counterpart, there is significant evidence that changing your behavior first – even your facial expression and posture – can dictate emotional change;
2884.  The happier everyone is around you, the happier you will become;
2885.  The happier we are at work, the more positivity we transmit to our colleagues, teammates, and clients, which can eventually tip the emotion of an entire work team;
2886.  The more genuinely expressive someone is, the more their mindset and feelings spread;
2887.  The stronger your social connections, the more influence you wield;
2888.  Workers in rapport think more creatively and efficiently, and teams in rapport perform at higher levels – their thoughts are attuned and their brains are in effect working as one;
2889.  One study of Dartmouth College students by economist Bruce Sacerdote found that when students with low grade-point averages simply began rooming with higher-scoring students, their grade-point averages increased.  These students, according to the researchers, “appeared to infect each other with good and bad study habits – such that a roommate with a high grade-point average would drag upward the G.P.A. of his low-scoring roommate;”
2890.  One way to build rapport, and therefore extend this influence, is with eye contact;
2891.  Studies show that rapport strengthens between two people when they lock eyes, proving that the old business wisdom about always looking people in the eye is scientifically sound advice;
2892.  Orgasms are stronger when we look into our partner’s eyes;
2893.  Eye contact tells our mirror neurons to fire, and when they do, the result is better performance, whether we’re in the boardroom or in the bedroom;
2894.  Studies have found that when leaders are in a positive mood, their employees are more likely to be in a positive mood themselves, to exhibit prosocial helping behaviors toward one another, and to coordinate tasks more efficiently and with less effort;
2895.  CEOs who are rated high on scales of positive expression are more likely to have employees who report being happy, and who describe their workplace as a climate conducive to performance;
2896.  Studies of sports teams have found not only that one happy player was enough to infect the mood of the entire team, but also that the happier the team was, the better they played;
2897.  Researchers found that the plant sugars that are fermented to give tequila its kick raise levels of a hormone in your gut that tells the brain it’s time to stop eating.  The hormone also keeps food in the stomach for longer, which prolongs the feeling of fullness.  And on top of all this, sugars in tequila known as agavins aren’t processed by the body, meaning they can’t make us fat;
2898.  Cooking with beer is an excellent idea.  A beer marinade tenderizes meat and adds another layer of flavor, but a new study finds a beer marinade might also help combat nasty substances and help keep you healthy.  The findings, which appear in an issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” suggest that marinating meat in beer helps reduce the eventual formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (“PAHs”) on your dinner.  PAHs are “a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil and gasoline.”  They’re associated with cancers in laboratory animals and found in cigarette smoke.  PAHs can also form on meat when it’s cooked at very high temperatures, such as on a backyard grill.  Marinating meat in beer can help guard against the formation of PAHs.  Researchers tested three pork samples that they had marinated for four hours in different beers—a Pilsner, a non-alcoholic Pilsner, and a black beer—and subsequently cooked over a hot charcoal grill.  They found that black beer most successfully inhibited the development of PAHs, but that all three demonstrated a positive effect against the substance;
2899.  Lincoln was a (former) railroad attorney;
2900.  I hate it when people talk at the movies.  It’s selfish and inconsiderate.  They’re only thinking about themselves and they don’t care about anybody else who paid to see the movie. . . . Even if I can’t make out what they’re saying, the chatter is so distracting that I can’t follow the movie;

Monday, April 14, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

2801.  Limiting the choices we have to make can also help lower the barrier to positive change;
2802.  Researchers have discovered that too much choice similarly saps our reserves.  Their studies showed that with every additional choice people are asked to make, their physical stamina, ability to perform numerical calculations, persistence in the face of failure, and overall focus drop dramatically.  And these don’t have to be difficult decisions either.  Yet every one of these innocuous choices depletes our energy a little further, until we just don’t have enough to continue with the positive habit we’re trying to adopt;
2803.  Whether you’re trying to change your habits at work or at home, the key to reducing choice is setting and following a few simple rules.  Psychologists call these kinds of rules “second-order decisions,” because they are essentially decisions about when to make decisions, like deciding ahead of time when, where, and how;
2804.  In his book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains how setting rules in advance can free us from the constant barrage of willpower depleting choices that make a real difference in our lives;
2805.  Rules are especially helpful during the first few days of a behavior-changing venture, when it’s easier to stray off course.  Gradually, as the desired action becomes more habitual, we can become more flexible;
2806.  The key to permanent, positive change is to create habits that automatically pay dividends, without continued concerted effort or extensive reserves of willpower.  The key to creating these habits is ritual, repeated practice, until the key to daily practice is to put your desired actions as close to the path of least resistance as humanly possible.  Identify the activation energy – the time, the choices, the mental and physical effort they require – and then reduce it.  If you can cut the activation energy for those habits that lead to success, even by as little as 20 seconds at a time, it won’t be long before you start reaping their benefits;
2807.  Jeff Fisher (the head coach of the St. Louis Rams) (or at least someone who looks like him) washes his hands after using the restroom;
2808.  Don’t forget to put sun block on the back of your hands;
2809.  The women in Scottsdale are rather attractive;
2810.  The bartenders and waitresses at the Bottled Blonde (BottledBlondeAZ.com) in (Old Town) Scottsdale are incredible;
2811.  What’s the last thing you’d expect to see at a (Scottsdale) bar on a random Monday night?  The answer is: A woman whipping out her breasts and lighting matches stuck to her nipples;
2812.  The Cactus League attendance record is 14,840 set in a game between the (Colorado) Rockies and (Chicago) Cubs on March 11th 2014 at Cubs Park;
2813.  Autumn likes tequila (specifically Patrón);
2814.  Autumn likes her hair pulled . . . and her neck bitten;
2815.  Autumn’s a lip biter;
2816.  Autumn likes Jameson;
2817.  Autumn likes to go camping . . . but she hates spiders;
2818.  The Excalibur’s lobby smells like a mix between a strip club and cigarettes;
2819.  The “RM style cioppino” (i.e., calamarata pasta, mussels, clams, king crab and shrimp) at (Rick Moonen’s) RM Seafood (RMSeafood.com) in (Las) Vegas is rather tasty;
2820.  (Men’s) college basketball is more exciting when you place a few bets (down) at the sports book;
2821.  The MGM Grand Garden Arena doesn’t seem all that big, but it does seat 12,916 for the Pac-12 (men’s basketball) tournament;
2822.  The Pac-12 (men’s basketball) tournament has a pretty good atmosphere even for a so-so matchup like the (California) Golden Bears against the (Colorado) Buffaloes;
2823.  The “Australian Bee Gees” (actually) sound like the “Bee Gees;”
2824.  (Colorado) Buffaloes fans bring it.  They’re loud;
2825.  UCLA has the best-looking cheerleaders (that I’ve ever seen in person) hands down;
2826.  The chinois chicken salad (with candied cashews, crisp wontons and Chinese mustard vinaigrette) at the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (WolfgangPuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3910) in (Las) Vegas is rather tasty too;
2827.  (University of) New Mexico fans are (really) passionate about their Lobos.  They’ll come out in force driving hundreds of miles (just) to see them play;
2828.  Apparently, the key to getting into (Las) Vegas clubs is to (be a woman and) get on the guest list ahead of time;
2829.  When we encounter an unexpected challenge or threat, the only way to save ourselves is to hold on tight to the people around us and not let go;
2830.  70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world;
2831.  Like food and air, we seem to need social relationships to thrive.  That’s because when we have a community of people we can count on – spouse, family, friends, colleagues – we multiply our emotional, intellectual, and physical resources.  We bounce back from setbacks faster, accomplish more, and feel a greater sense of purpose;
2832.  Social interactions jolt us with positivity in the moment; then, each of these single connections strengthens a relationship over time, which raises our happiness baseline permanently;
2833.  In a study appropriately titled “Very Happy People,” researchers sought out the characteristics of the happiest 10 percent among us.  Turns out, there was one – and only one – characteristic that distinguished the happiest 10 percent from everybody else: the strength of their social relationships;
2834.  The social correlation between social support and happiness was 0.7.  Most psychology findings are considered significant when they hit 0.3;
2835.  Evolutionary psychologists explain that the innate need to affiliate and form social bonds has been literally wired into our biology.  When we make a positive social connection, the pleasure-inducing hormone oxytocin is released into our bloodstream, immediately reducing anxiety and improving concentration and focus.  Each social connection also bolsters our cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and immune systems, so that the more connections we make over time, the better we function;
2836.  We have such a biological need for social support, our bodies can literally malfunction without it.  For instance, lack of social contact can add 30 points to an adult’s blood pressure reading;
2837.  A national survey of 24,000 workers found that men and women with few social ties were two to three times more likely to suffer from major depression than people with strong social bonds;
2838.  One study found that people who received emotional support during the six months after a heart attack were three times more likely to survive.  Another found that participating in a breast cancer support group actually doubled women’s life expectancy post surgery;
2839.  Researchers have found that social support has as much effect on life expectancy as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and regular physical activity;
2840.  Studies show that each positive interaction employees have during the course of the work day actually helps return the cardiovascular system back to resting levels (a benefit often termed “work recovery”), and that over the long haul, employees with more of these interactions become protected from the negative effects of job strain.  Each connection also lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, which helps employees recover faster from work-related stress and makes them better prepared to handle it in the future;
2841.  Studies have found that people with strong relationships are less likely to perceive situations as stressful in the first place;
2842.  Investing in social connections means that you’ll find it easier to interpret adversity as a path to growth and opportunity; and when you do have to experience the stress, you’ll bounce back from it faster and better protected against its long-term negative effects;
2843.  In a longitudinal study of men over the age of 50, those with a high rate of stressful life experiences suffered from a far higher rate of mortality over the next seven years.  But the same study found that this higher rate of mortality held true for everyone except the men who said they had high levels of emotional support;
2844.  The emergency row on a plane has a ridiculous amount of legroom;
2845.  Even in an extraordinarily competitive environment, we are more equipped to handle challenges and obstacles when we pool the resources of those around us and capitalize on even the smallest moments we spend interacting with others;
2846.  Just as social support is a prescription for happiness and an antidote to stress, it is also a prime contributor of achievement in the workplace;
2847.  Researchers found that social bonds weren’t just predictive of overall happiness, but also of eventual career achievement, occupational success, and income;
2848.  Thomas Edison thrived in group settings, and when he invented the light bulb, he did so with the help of 30 assistants.  Edison was a social creature, not a lone wolf.  And when it comes to society’s most innovative thinkers, so often assumed to be eccentric, solitary geniuses, he was not the exception to the rule;
2849.  On study of 212 employees found that social connections at work predicted more individual learning behavior, which means that the more socially connected employees felt, the more they took the time to figure out ways to improve their own efficiency, or their own skill set;
2850.  When over a thousand highly successful professional men and women were interviewed as they approached retirement and asked what had motivated them the most, throughout their careers, overwhelmingly they placed work friendships above both financial gain and individual status;