All posts by causalien

How to reach a conclusion

The problem was I can’t seem to sit through anything to the end anymore. There’s a feeling of restlessness and frustration that makes everything so unsatisfying. Others in similar place as me are encountering the same problem but in different ways. One of them described it as “Read 10 books in a year but barely got 2~3 sentence of new information worth remembering.”

With that in mind I begin travelling again, not looking for the journey to give me an answer, but using the escape to actively ponder this problem through forced meeting of others with different perspectives.

My hunch is that this frustration came about due to my expanded abilities to foresaw possible outcomes and predict the most probable ones. Results of all the efforts I put into understanding human natures of different culture and the valuation of things. As a result, it gets harder and harder to find something that I cannot foresee, robbing me of pleasant surprises. It reminded me of an incident where an ex of mine gave me a present and I was able to guess what they were before I opened them. The act of gifting itself was a surprise to me as I had misjudged her level of interest, however the fact that “If she were to give me a present now, it’d be socks” was in my mind foreshadowed a bit of the future that is in store for me.

I’ve written many drafts before, but never published them. They felt more like bragging, like a presentation of what I’ve done and upon a review, seemed so irrelevant because I don’t think it is anything special. Mostly because I understand that the average Joe ain’t interested in it. On top of that, I couldn’t talk about a lot of the interesting (and boring to most) things I did, but that restriction will soon be lifted and irrelevant. And the most important consideration is that, in this day and age where people get butt hurt so easily, the way and reason I use to arrive at a conclusion will be offensive to many. Social bullying for a different opinion is a real threat.

The result of all these fun projects are probably boring to read, but I do believe that how I arrived at them and the internal debates might be interesting to some and write about. After all, I believe it was exactly this cluelessness about this world and the headstrong way I go about trying to fit in that interested most of my original readers. With that in mind, I’ve decided to pick up the keyboard again.

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The Curse of the Traveler

When it is just me thinking about an explanation, I just laugh it off as my own failings. But then, you encounter someone who echoed your exact thoughts. Lightning struck as something murky before became known as the truth. I will soon be taking on a new journey after having secured the empire at home. Can’t help feeling like Stilgar at the end of the galactic conquest in Dune from a humble beginning at a sietch in a sea of sand.

An old vagabond in his 60s told me about it over a beer in Central America, goes something like this: The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that’s perfect (we all know there’s no Shangri-La), but just for a place that’s “just right for you.” But the curse is that the odds of finding “just right” get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.

 

Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can’t travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you’ve seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.

None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It’s just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that’s like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.

Health Update

The site’s doing well, even without any effort on my part. It seems that Google’s modification to its search ranking algorithm is bringing me more organic traffics. The blog traffic is no longer dominated by my Triphasic sleep experiments so it gave me some boost of confidence.

Lately, I’ve been adjusting to the new primary focus on health in my life. I took the chance to narrow down and understand some heart problems I’ve been having. What I found are surprising.

There have always been this weird heart palpitation especially during times of extreme physical exertion. This has been a major limiting factor in how much I can exercise and how hardcore I can get physically with any sports. The methodolgy I used to isolate the culprit is simple. I abstain from one major item I consume each month in order to narrow down exactly under which condition I will experience irregular heart beats while exhausted.

I have previously cleared caffeine from the potential lists until I read about new FDA ruling where cafes have to say that coffee causes cancer. There are so many conflicting research on coffee that it is hard to tell who to trust, but this FDA ruling jolted me to revisit the assumption. So I went in and searched for the drawbacks of coffee while disregarding all positive research as I know that big coffee money will pay people to flood the internet to drown out negative articles. Just like what the tobacco industry used to do and more recently the climate change debate.

The side effects that are already known: Need to piss constantly. Hard to fall into deep long sleep at night, dry mouth, migraine from withdrawal. Flushes water from body.

I searched from caffeine’s effect on non-human living creatures and found some interesting parallels with what I experience. Here’s how caffeine kills insects.

Caffeine’s potential lethality extends to more than just creepy-crawly insects: When given the option slugs purposefully avoid caffeine dipped roughage and snails exposed to 0.5% caffeine solutions die within days (8). To find out how it kills snails, scientists monitored their heart rate: hearts beat faster at low caffeine concentrations, but at concentrations of 0.1% and above, the caffeine triggered a deadly erratic and slowed pulse. Source: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/slug.html

And why is caffeine toxic for pets as they lack the genes to properly metabolize caffeine.

Pets that consume caffeine may have an increased heart rate and
become hyperactive.

Caffeine also raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias,
which can be dangerous.””Caffeine also raises blood pressure and causes cardiac arrhythmias, which can be dangerous.” Source: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/caffeine-toxicity-in-pets

So, what if I am a human who lack the genes to metabolize caffeine? Then I’d have the same problem as these insects and pets if the caffeine ever reaches the same % amount of concentration per body mass.

For me, the reason why it is so hard to pinpoint the problem down to caffeine is because of three particular quirk about the heart problems I experience.

1. is the fact that the symptom only appears 2 days after my body experience a complete abstinence from caffeine and the random heart palpitations last for two days.

2. It will only happen if I did physical activities involving cardio.

3. Like carbs, there are just too many food in the western world with caffeine in them. It was very hard to completely cut it out of my diet. Chocolate, most teas, Oreo cookies etc etc. Even trace amount resets the two day clock for my body to completely flush out the caffeine.

My guess about the random heart palpitation is that caffeine increased my heart rate and as it disappears, the heart has to readjust to the previously slower heart rate.

Changing heart rate. Why is this worrying? Because it does not feel like changing heart rate at all. Also after consulting with a heart doctor and wearing a heart monitoring device for two days the doctor showed me the ekg graph and said: “Your heart basically stops beating and jolts itself back at random intervals violently. That was why you feel a strong uncomfortable beat.”

I will miss that warm feeling of sitting in a café and typing away on my laptop on a warm sunny day, but it is a necessary sacrifice for my health.

On another topic. The new year planning see my grocery budget increase to $600 a month and dining + fast food to $500. I absolutely had no idea what to do with the extra money as $200 ~300 was the maximum I’d spend on grocery within my daily calorie envelop of 1600 kCal. I got my chicken, pork beef and veggies. It did not occur to me that I can just upgrade the quality of the food until recently.

So instead of those cheap chicken drumsticks, I now get the top of the line chicken breast. Instead of ground beef, it is now Ribeye steak or any quality steak I can find. Wild Atlantic Salmon as a good filler that doesn’t blow up the calories. Veggies are veggies, not much I can do about it. I am still limited about the restaurant spending part as I have yet to figure out the problem of eating out and still keeping to my low carb diet of < 1600 kCal.

Shouldn’t be worth mentioning except I noticed a difference in my hunger level as I increased the quality of the food I consume. I don’t feel as hungry when after eating higher quality ingredients. Even though, pound by pound, the equivalent low quality meat provide the same protein content and calories as the high quality meat.

My previous diets of Paleo and then Keto was hellish as I was low on energy and hungry all the time. This time around with higher quality food. There’s none of that hunger and none of that exhaustion. Go figure.

Anyway, take all of these with a grain of salt. It’s all anecdotal evidence of my own experiments. I am just happy I solved two of the most annoying health problems I’ve been happy.

Hard to contain

Inner peace was easier to achieve when nothing was going on with my life.

I find that the hardest thing to do nowadays are my attempts at controlling my mood swings from having to contain my excitement. My joie-de-vivre. So many things that I cannot tell people, things that will bring problems if I did. Not being able to brag about them, about things I am proud of, is somewhat damaging to my psyche. Like some form of masochistic punishment.

Meditations nowadays are always about bring myself back on earth, coaxing myself back to normal as opposed to trying to convince myself that life is great. I have outbursts of joy from time to time you see, as the control is not absolute.

I don’t know the consequences on what will happen if I stop controlling myself only stories of  mentors and ppl before me that have definitely happened. “Enjoy the relative peace for the moment while you can.” A moment in the future will come when you cannot hide anymore if you keep going the current trajectory.

So clamp down the lid of the pressure cooker and soldier on. Prepping for the inevitable day. Maybe that day will never come, but all I can do is prepare for it. Oh god, but the mental control I expand. It is almost unbearable.

Drink, Dive, Dance 5: Gemma

Gemma_ArtertonI was reminded of a summer fling today while reading about an actress. My fling looked like a younger version of Gemma Arterton without makeup. A mixture of German, Belgium and Dutch blood. Skin as pale as snow hair as blond as gold. German blond, not the viking’s platinum blond. So I will call her Gemma from now on. Before her, I wasn’t into tall women with strong square jaw and a curvy body because it is the exact opposite of Asian culture’s standard of beauty, but after Ylva and Gemma, that look have taken root in a special spot in my heart.

It’d always remind me of how naturally we went from fun adventurers who bumped into each other on the road to wild night of care free sex. Then they mess you up because that’s all they wanted and leave you in the dust for someone else on a whim. Northern European women are strange like that.

I couldn’t understand why I was so sexually attracted to this not-too-pretty women beside me and remembered thinking as we walked down the streets in Paris and London; “Why is everyone staring at us.” Later that night as we lay in bed, sweat glistening all over our bodies, I asked her: “Are you supposed to be hot in your country?” She didn’t say anything, but she took out her phone and started showing me all the guys she’s slept with and the current contenders who are trying to bed her: A Mexican and a Dutchy. She have also told everyone about everyone.

“What kind of cruel game is she playing with everyone’s heart?” I had thought and just brushed it aside as an European thing cause I couldn’t deal with this weird extreme open view on sex and relationship at that time. I mean, if I was the Mexican or the Dutch guy at that moment knowing what she was traveling with me, I’d feel like shit. But apparently they know.

Most fun summer of my life probably. Gemma was extremely open to new experiences and she is a very sweet, submissive girl. Never complaints about the conditions of the environment we are in. Whether it’d be a shitty hole in the wall, or on top of a cliff with nothing but bread and water for lunch. She loved all. Almost reminds me of high school romances.

Ironically, she left me for a rich old man as I was starting to convince myself that it actually might be ok to make a baby with her. Alles ist gut. I suppose. I do not believe anyone can hold a free spirit like her. Wish her the best of luck in life and best of things for her.

2018 Resolution

Haven’t done one of these for a while because I am usually somewhere traveling around this time of the year, but this year, I am still here dealing with a stupid passport problem that appeared from a 9/11 anti terrorist law passed and enforced in 2014. Setting a new year resolution also makes me lazy. Instead of tackling whatever it is I want to do right NOW, I’d often put it off till after new years and it eventually never get done. That said, I have a list of project that’s ongoing as of this date so I will just list them. These goals are not meant to be achievable as I have mostly completed all the goals I previously set.

Get stronger: Hulk Smash

Travel to all the countries

Flagpole in every country

Fix this blog:

Just went and read through my spam filter. Many readers pointed out many things wrong with my site. Ever since the ISP change, many things got broken and I haven’t touched the programming side of things for 2 years.

Reach 30

Achieve Master Diver status

Learn Guitar

Learn Leather working

Learn German

New Bucket list

Great wall of China
Porcelain Tower of Nanjin
Hua Shan
Taishan
Huangshan
Monk life at Shaolin Temple
Kumano Kodo
Heaven’s gate
Han Soong Dong cave

Great Pyramid of Gyza

Machu Pichu
Camino del Inca
Torres de Plaine
Chichen Itza
Petra
Strada della Prima Armata

Aurora Borealis
Great Barrier Reef
Antartica
Tibet
Everest
Mongolia

SS Thistlegorm

2017 year of becoming

Status

Growing into my place in society is a slow and long process. I planned it this way as I’ve heard so many story of people crashing after instant fame. It is scheduled to be a 3 year process and year one is basically simulating life starting from zero to minimum wage. Yes, I’ve been here a long time ago but because of pouring close to 75% of take home pay on improving my place in life and increasing experiences the amount of actual spending money/cash flow verges on below poverty.

For this year, I lived like every minimum wage slave and spent everything I got. It was already pretty good and comfortable and I realized how much my life sucked back then. I can also better understand how some people could live the life they lived while making less than me. Anyway, this lifestyle is done.

Next year, I transition to the lifestyle of a professional. I honestly cannot imagine how much more hedonistic my life will become. Before, I never understood why people say cash is king or cash flow is important, but now I understand that it determines your life style. Everything cost money, the only people who gets to experience “The life” without having to work are hot girls spending someone else’s dime. It’s funny how I thought being able to talk and beg my way into getting free shit is actually a good character trait. Little did I know that these are traits that are looked upon favorably for women, but for men, people lose respect for you.

Death of Valor

Took me a while to figure out. That last part. I believed in the American dream. Starting from scratch, never take anyone’s money and always repay kindness. I believed that being able to make it on my own will teach me important lessons in life. On top of that, I didn’t borrow anything. The most I was in debt was when I bought my first condo and took on that mortgage.

And it did teach me many lessons. I had to take a hard and pragmatic look at the true state of what I was born with and what I am good at as well as dispelling the media lies about society’s rainbow and unicorn view of human nature. I had always known about human nature and the outcome based on it, I just refused to believe it was true because it makes the world so dark and cold.

Here’s where that dark view on the world shines. One of the thing I am good at, is figuring out how a new system works. Once I was able to admit I was wrong look at human nature as a new system, I devised controlled tests that allow me to figure out the truth. Before I did this, I spent two years believing in the inherent goodness of people. That’s the reason for the soul searching/meditation/yoga period. What I learned during that time is that I suck at telling lie from truth and was deceived by quite a few shady fellow.

I “believed” in people’s good intentions and took things at their face value. That style never suited me anyway. I was always better at being skeptical and working from the belief that all people are selfish and what I think is evil and immoral are actually not when people look at the situation from the belief that they are the center of the universe. The closest approximation I can find in popular culture is Mark Baum from the movie “The Big Short”. I find that I have taken on some of his habit of asking to clarify and explain while agreeing with people who says I have no idea what I am talking about. It comes from the transition in mindset where my ego and reputation in that moment with someone I do not care about no longer matters and what matters is whether or not my theory can be disproven and I come out ahead on the outcome. Everyone else is just a guinea pig to bounce the idea off of.

Coffee

It’s a major decision. I’ve been on the fence for too long as being pumped full of caffeine gave me a false sense of ability to get things done. This year, I went through numerous cycles of complete abstinence and complete immersion with coffee and have finally figured out its effect on my body. I suspect, that as I age more and my body become more reliant on caffeine, the negative effects are more pronounced. Being able to objectively list out the effects can also be partly associated with meditations which allow me to be more sensitive to changes to my internal state.

What I believe happens, when I consume 1 cup of caffeine, that is not enough to provide my body with what it needs, is that it puts me in the withdrawal state. Which means runny nose and a general sense of vertigo with headache. It also comes with a decreased sense of upbeat outlook on life. I am also less enthusiastic about completing tasks. Electing instead to repeat mundane useless things.

I had thought that caffeine helps me get things done before as well as keeping me awake. But whatever benefit I gain from longer period of wakefulness is lost with the general sense of wanting to get complex matters done. My ego is more fragile, so I tend to avoid things that have negativity with it. Once I consume enough caffeine, of course the negative traits of withdrawal goes away, but then I get stupid and prefer doing stuff that are repetitive.

Evolution of thought

Three major change in the way I think as the ramp up in cash flow increases through out the year.

First is how my purchasing habits evolved. I’d buy all the different choices to do the same thing and make a decision on which one I like best. Then I’d buy enough of the one I picked to last for the rest of my life since most vendors nowadays disappear after a few years. I also don’t bother with returns anymore since that takes too much effort and time.

Two is the fact that I no longer need to make sacrifices… Usually I can have the cake and eat it too. Insane when you think this is how the majority of people live their lives too.

Three is that I don’t criticize people in position of powers anymore. Nor do I have such an inflated ego that I believe I am in any place close enough to criticize them or make comments and suggestions. Take Trump for example. He’s a very easy target and I understand what most people think of him, but I will leave the criticizing to people who’ve been presidents before because I understand now that I do not have all the facts that someone in that position of power is looking at nor do I understand what it took to get there.

Every field gets bigger and harder as you climb up and I’ve lately been involved with more and more intense projects that I understand what it took, no matter how stupid and one sided an argument is. Comments like “You don’t know what you are talking about” or “Are you stupid?” are common and usually an indication that I am onto something. In fact, all my greatest ideas have encountered statements like this. It is similar to what silicon valley venture capitalist believes. That if a lot of people hates an idea, then they are usually on to something. Funnily, I can’t find any psychological research on this topic. Maybe one of you university psychology students who read this blog can get something started on this.

Health

20170810_141616 From bulking to flailing about on everything to the surgical strikes designed for a pro to the final keto diet cut today. The whole journey took 5 years. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I had a general idea that I want to be fit and the general consensus is that Brad Pitt’s body in fight club is fit. It just so happens that he is the same height as me so I looked him up. 155lb at around 10% body fat. There was a lot of theory reading, a lot of trying things out and understanding what each modification does to my body. My dad actually said that I am the first member of our family history to achieve a 6-pack.

This is one of the intense projects I took on which contributed to the evolution I mentioned in the previous section. Initially, I was skeptical about everyone claiming they can achieve strength that are twice what I was capable of. From that, I thought one of two true is the reality: everyone else is bullshitting or I am just very out of shape and am deluding myself. What do you know, it was a hard pill to swallow, but I was deluding myself.

Five years later, at my peak and before the shoulder injury. I reached 2x the average male adult’s strength based on weight and repetitions. Now after the injury, I am maintaining a 1.5x ratio. If I remember the progress correctly, it was about 2 years of stumbling about with cardio and light weight. Then 3 years of pure strength training starting from 3 times a week at 1 hour each and ending with 6 times a week at 2 hours each. The dedication needed was incredible and meeting other like minded individual whom you nod your head to everyday is also incredible.

To get there, I had to learn all about nutrition, correct forms and research everything about a cycles of working out. Now I am learning the painful lessons of recovery. Specifically injury recovery. Like every idiot, I thought my body is invincible and never planned for recovery. I wanted to reach the top too fast, just like everything else I do. This is when I began to consult with professionals in sport therapy and discovered all these new information about our body and my own experience correlates with their theory. Shoulder injuries takes about 3 months to heal. My body is not genetically made for strength but for flexibility and the bone structure is not made for pushing weights up from my shoulder. Which explains why I can never do a hand stand. Which sort of sucks since I live in North America where body strength is highly valued.

So my left shoulder has one small hairline fracture at the clavicle and a couple of knots (about 10 different places) and one torn tendon. I couldn’t lift it up higher than shoulder height and touching the skin on my shoulder makes the whole thing hurt. These all started from the hairline fracture which made the rest of my shoulder adjust to tackle the weight. The good that came out of this is I finally balanced my left side strength with my right side, the bad is that I had to stop for 3 months and set back my improvement by about 8 months.

As you can see, I went into it thinking I just need to lift. Came out knowing that there is a lot more I need to do. Lifestyle change, plans, food time and money. The biggest lesson I learned though is that the details to reaching the top is a lot grittier and to think I know what it take is to be conceited. Most people don’t want to hear about the struggle and just want to hear and see the result usually. Which contributed somewhat to the lack of information.

Progress Earliest Record I think it was 2011 tmp_15667-abs-1082911424 Dec 2014 tmp_15667-abs201455839292 Feb 2017 tmp_15667-20170213_1927152515438 March 2018 tmp_15667-20170331_142704-88860620 May 2018 20170512_171013 At my prime in August 2018 20170828_121045 Back 20170828_121108 20170828_121154Untitled