Monday, September 15, 2014

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

3101.  (I think) I might’ve witnessed a first . . . (I think I saw) a bicep vein popping out;
3102.  An Alice Cooper concert is very theatrical.  It’ll probably be the only concert you’ll see someone get his/her head cut off with a guillotine;
3103.  Vince Neil looks old (and fat);
3104.  A (beach) towel makes a decent (makeshift) poncho;
3105.  Tommy Lee can play the drums upside down;
3106.  Cayenne pepper and ginger increase your metabolism and (your) core body temperature;
3107.  (It sounds bizarre, but) green peppers, mushrooms, pineapple and jalapeño peppers (actually) make a (pretty) good pizza combination. . . . Who knew?
3108.  Mini sweet (bell) peppers may be my favorite new (healthy) snack;
3109.  You can have any life you want.  You can persevere.  Anything you want, you are entitled to it.  There are no limits on you if you don’t put them on yourself;
3110.  A(dding a) little peanut butter will give your (quick, one-minute) oatmeal some flavor;
3111.  What does it mean if you’re wearing a white mask in Chinese opera?  The answer is: You’re (probably) the bad guy;
3112.  The guban (i.e., a small, high-pitched drum and wood clapper) used in Chinese opera is pretty annoying;
3113.  It costs about 2,000 euros to get a driver’s license in Germany;
3114.  Leptin is a key signaling molecule that controls the relationship between fat reserves, appetite and energy expenditure;
3115.  Decreased leptin signaling in the brain leads not just to hunger, but also to increased metabolic efficiency;
3116.  People who eat fish regularly tend to have lower levels of the hormone leptin in their body.  Since higher levels of leptin have often been associated with a decreased rate of metabolism, fish has become an essential food for anyone trying to lose fat;
3117.  Most people get fat from eating too many carbohydrates, eating carbohydrates alone and eating them late at night;
3118.  What people should do is eat carbohydrates in combination with complete proteins and good fats;
3119.  Eating carbohydrates alone will lead to an increase in blood glucose.  This increase in blood glucose causes an over release of insulin and then triggers a fat storage response by the body.  This triggers the body’s hunger mechanism as well as its sugar craving mechanism;
3120.  When carbohydrates are combined with proteins and fats, glucose in the blood stream is buffered by the metabolites of the consumed proteins and fats.  This will not lead to an over release of insulin and, thus, not fat storage, hunger or sugar cravings;
3121.  When you are sleep deprived, your body reacts in different ways on a hormonal level, which can impede weight loss;
3122.  During times of sleep deprivation, your body is on high alert thinking that there is a danger (or else you would be sleeping), so your metabolism slows down to conserve energy.  Second, your appetite is higher (due to elevated levels of cortisol) looking for food for more energy.  Third, your food choice becomes effected in that your body tends to crave high carbohydrate, high fat foods because they help produce serotonin, which helps calm you down from this aroused state;
3123.  To make size gains, you need at least one gram of protein per pound of your body weight to support optimal growth;
3124.  To get lean, you may increase your protein to as many as 1.5 grams per pound of body weight;
3125.  If you feel like you’re not recovering from training or you’re losing muscle, up the protein (intake) fast;

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.  Mini (sweet) bell peppers are pretty tasty;
3072.  If you want to avoid the lines getting into the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, there’s a little known (side) entrance to the left of the National Park Service (NPS) administration building;
3073.  A paradox is the truth standing on its head to attract attention;
3074.  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;
3075.  Uncertainty psychologically can lead to some of the greatest feelings of attachment and dependence;
3076.  I can say I’ve seen an Oscar winner in concert (i.e., Jared Leto, the lead singer of “30 Seconds to Mars”);
3077.  Jared Leto could’ve been a cheerleader in another life;
3078.  Linkin Park sounds “heavier” live;
3079.  Chester Bennington (the lead singer of “Linkin Park”) doesn’t look like he’s aged much;
3080.  According to Luisa, we think alike;
3081.  Unless you actually convey femininity as a woman or masculinity as a man, you’re not going to attract a suitable companion of the opposite sex;
3082.  To put it plainly, you are programmed to reproduce;
3083.  By virtue (or vice) of being smart, you eliminate most of the planet’s inhabitants as a dating prospect;
3084.  The purpose of relationship (and perhaps all of life) is to practice loving.  No partner is going to be 100 percent perfect anyway, so learn to appreciate people for what they have to offer, not what they don’t.  And love them for that.  That’s what real loving is;
3085.  Nobody’s asking you to lower your standards; you should spend time only with worthwhile company.  But do question the standards to see whether they’re serving you or you’re serving them;
3086.  Given a choice between happy-go-lucky and picky-but-lonely, happy sounds like more fun;
3087.  You will have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to;
3088.  According to both 2006 and 2009 studies published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and “theory of mind,” which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own.  They can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own;
3089.  It’s no surprise that readers are better people.  Having experienced someone else’s life through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what it’s like to leave their bodies and see the world through other frames of reference;
3090.  Another 2010 study by Mar reinforces this idea with results that prove the more stories children have read to them, the keener their “theory of mind.”  So while everyone thinks their kids are the best, the ones who read have the edge as they truly are the wiser, more adaptable and understanding children;
3091.  The bulk of vocabulary growth during a child’s lifetime occurs indirectly through language exposure rather than through direct teaching;
3092.  Readers are more intelligent, due to their increased vocabulary and memory skills, along with their ability to spot patterns.  They have higher cognitive functions than the average non-reader and can communicate more thoroughly and effectively;
3093.  It takes roughly 20 minutes to walk up and down the stairs in my building 16 times from the basement (garage) floor to the second floor gate;
3094.  Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna” has a rock (opera) vibe to it;
3095.  Cirque du Soleil – where ballet dancers and gymnasts (go to) work when their competitive days are over;
3096.  August 17th 2014 was my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary;
3097.  Absolut Citron with a splash of ginger ale and a lot of limes tastes pretty good.  It’s like alcoholic limeade;
3098.  When you focus on problems, you’ll have more problems.  When you focus on possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities;
3099.  Your beliefs don’t make you a better person your behavior does;
3100.  Body fat (really) isn’t a very good source of energy (at all).  It could’ve been stored there for years.  So it’s not a fresh energy source;

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;