Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Vitamins and Minerals as Sleeping Pills?

I've always had problems getting to sleep and/or staying asleep and I've tried: routines, reading before bed, cutting out caffiene, not exercising before bed, etc. Those all helped me fall asleep faster, but they didn't help me stay asleep -I'd still wake up in the middle of the night, and not be able to go back to sleep.

Well, I read an article a few months ago about the effect of minerals on sleep. Calcium, it said, helps you get to sleep. This is why the old folk wisdom says to drink warm milk. But, too much Calcium can make you have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom because the calcium settles in your bladder and makes you feel like you have to go. To fix this you need more Magnesium so that your body can absorb the Calcium.

Magnesium provides the brain with energy. Too much magnesium, and you wake up in the middle of the night and you can't get back to sleep. (My problem.) The answer, again, is to balance the Calcium/Magnesium ratio. Either cut down on the Magnesium, or increase the Calcium.

In researching "B vitamins" I found that Niacin is also a sleep inducer. It's supposed to be calming.

So, I put all this together, and I've been taking the following before bed for over a month now:
  • 250mg Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide)
  • 315mg Calcium Citrate (+200IU Vitamin D to help absorbtion)
  • 500mg Flush Free Niacin (as inositol hexanicotinate + 42mg Calcium Carbonate)
It's been working out very well. The number of nights that I've woken up and not been able to go back to sleep have decreased dramatically. I'm not as tired during the day anymore (I was living on coffee before, but have only had the occassional cup since taking the supplements). I'm impressed and intend to keep it up!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Looking for a book to read?

A friend of ours reminded me of a really cool book that I read a long time ago. It's called "The Long Walk" by Stephen King, writing as Richard Bachman. If you're a fan of odd fiction and haven't read it, you should pick it up.

The Terrorists Have Won: 1 more personal freedom eroded in the name of "security":

Article about a new x-ray machine that's being tested in airports that allows a security guard to see through your clothing to determine whether or not you have weapons on you: http://news.com.com/Airport+screeners+could+see+X-rated+X-rays/2100-7348_3-5718163.html?tag=nefd.top

More info about the scanner: http://www.freedomisslavery.info/index.php?p=1138

First of all, how many problems have we had with attempted airplane hijackings since 9/11? -I can't find ANY attempts on flights originating from the US on this site here, so we must debate the issue of these scanners with the understanding that the attacks we are trying to prevent are extremely rare. Is the use of these scanners justified? I think not.

The scanner is designed to give it's operator a clear picture of what's under a person's clothes including nipples and genitals, but it is not designed to penetrate the skin. So hiding weapons in body orifaces are still an option. Similarly, if a man of girth were to hide weapons in his, uh... skin folds, they would not be seen. And, why not just put the weapons in your carry-on? I've seen the images they get from those scanners, and they instill about as much confidence as the half-asleep security guard who is looking at the screen.

Rather than invading people's privacy by implementing controvercial and expensive equipment like this, why not think about how 9/11 occurred for a moment. Simply locking the cabin where the pilots are (from the inside) would have been sufficiant! -Let's not use a bazooka to kill a fly.

One more reason the invasion of privacy is unjustified: Let's assume our airport security is totally unpenatrable. -Those who are motivated to attack us with airplanes could simply hijack a plane originating from Mexico or Canada -or even further if they didn't mind less fuel to feed the fire after the crash.

I'm sure there's more, but I'll leave you with this comment from Slashdot:

"The city of boston started with 1000 camera's for the convention, promising it was only for the convention, then deciding to keep them.

The city of chicago followed next, installing 3000 camera's. They can look inside cars. They can tell if you're smoking a joint. They can tell if you're talking to a prostitute.

The city of naperville is installing fingerprint machines in order for people to use the library.

The United States Congress is pushing for a national ID card, with biometrics.

Lets face it, people will soon be tracked, it will be impossible to just slip into a city. The police will know who you are and where you are at all times.

They will soon take your DNA, without your agreement. Anyone hear about DNA dragnets being used in towns? And it is easy for them to get it. They pull you over in your car, they take you down to the station with a bogus charge. They take your picture and fingerprints. They then tell you, we'll we made a mistake, sorry, you're free to go. And as you leave, they vacum up the hair that fell out off your head. Now they have all the information, and there is nothing you can do about it.

So what if they can see you naked? Big deal. That should be the least of your worries, that Officer Friendly can see your wee-wee. What would worry me more is he can keep a tab on what your reading at the library.

Databases are here to stay, and in the future your whole life will exist in a database, somewhere.

It sucks, but that is the preperation for the revolution. If you're not willing to work 50 hours a week just to cover your rent, you will be labled a terrorist. Cuba is waiting for all who complain."


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bush's next judicial nominee?

Unprompted, this judge decided that these parents' religion wasn't "mainstream" enough, and forbid them to involve their child in their religious practices!


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Breaking News: Sit-ups won't flatten your tummy!

Well, Spring's here and everyone's a-buzz about diet and exercise. Now's the time that we pay the price for all those cookies and treats we shoved into our mouths while our sweaters hid the growing bulge. The bulge has been revealed, and now's the time to start talking about doing something about it...

I've been in an enormous number of discussions with co-workers and other acquaintences about starting a diet and exercise routine. It seems a twice yearly event: first comes New Year's and our resolutions after making pigs of ourselves over the holidays. Then, the stores start putting out the swimsuits and we remember why we were going to start the diet in January. There's no time now! Ahhh!!! The only way to save face is to recognize the problem and start talking to people about the fact that you're going to take action... Tomorrow.

I know it's easier to talk then to do it... My real aggravation is the fact that I've heard, at least three times now, people say "I've got to start doing sit-ups. I have to loose this tummy/gut".

If you want to bulk up your biceps, what do you do? You do arm curls! -What's different about your stomach? Nothing. If you do 100 sit-ups a day, you'll only succeed in "bulking up" your stomach, it definitely won't help you get rid of the fat there. It just doesn't work that way!

Fat lives all over your body, and it's actually nomadic. The fat cells release themselves from your thighs, travel through your bloodstream (in case you need them for energy), and then re-deposit themselves in, say, your stomach ('cause you're just sitting there). So, exercising one part of the body will not reduce the fat in that one area alone. In fact, strength-training exercises like sit-ups and arm curls don't do much to reduce your body fat (at least not in the short-term). Your best bet for loosing fat is aerobic exercise (running, jogging, speed-walking, riding a bike, rollerblading, etc -and you don't get the full benefit of the exercise until you at LEAST 15 to 20 minutes into it). See, aerobic exercise allows you to use up those fat cells that are floating around in your bloodstream and they won't continuously get re-deposited. After 15 or 20 minutes, your body starts relealizing that you might actually keep going, so it starts releasing more fat cells into the bloodstream so you have the energy to continue. You burn more fat as a result.

Now, if you can't do aerobic exercise -there's still hope. Strength-training exercises (again, sit-ups and the like) do help you burn some fat while you do them (but not nearly as much), and they help you burn more fat when you're at rest (just to keep that extra muscle alive). But, if you stop exercising, that muscle will be re-absorbed by your body, and guess what'll replace it?

Anyway, that's your primer on exercise...
Go forth and talk about running instead of about doing sit-ups.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

DSMs tend to decide their own upgrade paths...

Another post that starts with Grr...


I'm happily researching spring rates so that I can buy the shocks and coilover kit that I've been looking at for the last few weeks when I get an instant message from Ed...

(10:01:37) logic_: Got a minute to talk about your head?

And thus all my plans have changed.

See, my car's currently down for a long overdue timing belt change (91,100 miles). -I figured it was about that time since we have a driving vacation coming up in less than 2 months and I doubt Ed's car will be ready in time (we don't have his engine yet). So, we got it up in the air a few days ago, and started on it. We're currently waiting for a timing belt tensioner tool before we can proceed with the actual timing belt change, but in the mean time there are other things that can be started like my balance shaft elimination (to raise the oil pressure). The only problem we've run into so far is a massive oil leak on the driver's side, possibly from something in the vicinity of the front case (we're still tracking it down).

Now all the parts for the timing belt change were bought awhile ago, so barring any suprises we should be good there. I decided I have $1000 to fix my suspension (it's not only sloppy, but getting dangerous at this point). I also just sold an intercooler that I paid about $400 for, for $600. So I have $600 that I planned to use to replace my seat with a "race seat". (It's not as ricey as it sounds, see, I had to put spacers under my seat so I could see over the dash and because of the weird OEM seat bracket, it's a really hacky job. I'm not so sure it'd hold in an accident, so I'm wanting to replace it ASAP).

But, with Ed's IM the plans have changed. Seems he thinks the head gasket might be going (he never mentioned anything about this before today). He talked to Mitch (the guy who's building his engine) and he agrees, given Ed's description of the problem: white smoke coming from exhaust (I never noticed), coolant got low with no visible leaks (we just swapped the radiator, maybe there was air in it?), and it's been sputtering (every once in awhile -we attributed it to a vacuum leak a few days ago...). To even check it, we'd have to take the head off and apparently, when you do that you need to resurface it. Mitch says the exhaust dowels (?) are also probably in need of replacing. "And while he's got it" we may as well think about getting some other things done.

In the end, here's what I'm looking at:
Stage 1 Head Work:
* Bowl Work
* Check valves
* Bronze guides honed to size
* Multi Angle valve job
* Viton Stem Seals
* Resurface on Mill to MLS Gasket standard

* Engine Springs (both with Ti retainers) -for the bigger cams in my future
* Titanium Retainers
* Revised Lifters -because the ones I have now tick. Alot.

The list price for the above work is somewhere between

Now, we'll be getting together with Mitch and he may be able to come down on price somewhat. He also may tell me that some of the above is unnecessary, but he also might come up with more stuff to do (porting, polishing, etc).

So... My plans for suspension are on hold. I may have to just do the shocks, and do the springs later. I'm also thinking about skipping the seat for now.

Vacation's just around the corner and I'm not taking the Jeep to Canada....

Bleh, stay tuned for the next episode of "If my DSM worked I'd drive it off of a cliff." :-P