J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Month: February 2017

Activity Audit – Where Does All The Time Go?

At some point everything drops …

December and January brought more freelance coding and database work than expected, but now I’m in a quiet stretch. It’s given me the opportunity to experiment with my ideal schedule. That is, working on writing and music as much as I want to, without a heavy load of client work. For the moment (and as long as I’m comfortable with how much I have in the bank) I can pretend I’m a full-time artiste.

It’s fun! I’ve been writing fiction in the mornings (with more optimism these days–I recently had another story accepted for publication at a pro rate, bringing me that much closer to SFWA active membership). In the afternoon I head to the studio and make beats, or work on Loöq Records, or do whatever needs to be done around the house. Pretty much my ideal weekday schedule.

But large swaths of unstructured time can be dangerous. I’ve had similar opportunities in the past, and squandered them, losing whole days to video games or trying to read the entire internet. Those of you who are self-employed may be able to relate.

A few years ago, in response to my own “Where does all the time go?” question, I ran an “activity audit,” a detailed analysis of all the activities in my life that require work/effort. After listing all the major activity areas (database/coding work, fiction writing, music production, household/parenting, etc.), I asked myself a series of questions about each activity.

Honing on in the what, why, and how for each activity gave me a great deal of clarity. It also improved my focus throughout the day (especially my ability to resist distractions), and helped me decide what to do each day, and in what order.

In the long run, the activity audit was more effective than any other productivity technique I tried, like locking myself out of certain internet sites, or depriving myself of coffee until I’d started writing. If I’m clear on my purpose and intended direction in life, and how the things I spend my time on fit into that picture, distractions are less of an issue. I still use quotas and have production targets, but I don’t rely on those for motivation.

Here are the questions I asked myself in regards to each activity:

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Bone Healing Nutritional Protocol

Mineral-rich nuts.

I broke the middle three metatarsals of my right foot on the evening of December 9th (that will be the last time I skateboard at night on a poorly paved road). The foot doctors initially thought I would need surgery (pins and/or plates), but after a week in a compression splint my remedy was revised to seven weeks in a cast.

That was tough (especially on my family, who had to pick up slack around the house), but now the cast is off and I’m walking around with a velcro boot/splint while the healing completes. X-rays show much improvement and my podiatrist seems pleased with the rate of healing. There’s still some pain and swelling, and I’m out of shape and will probably need some chiropractic adjustments down the road, but I’m thinking and hoping I’m over the worst of it.

I’ve been consuming more of the following foods and supplements in an attempt to accelerate my bone healing. I have no idea if it’s helping or not, but I figure it can’t hurt to supply an abundance of the necessary building blocks. The list, for what it’s worth:

Kefir: good source of calcium and phosphorus, and most brands provide the additional benefits of l. rhamnosus, the incredible GABA-enhancing friendly bacteria. Great for mood and resilience when I need it most. I’ve been eating more of other calcium-rich foods as well: cheese, yogurt, canned salmon and sardines (with bones), broccoli, and almonds.

Oats: high in silica, which enhances bone and connective tissue health. I’ve also been taking a horsetail supplement for additional organic silica. Some nuts (brazil, almonds, walnuts) also contain silica.

Fat soluble vitamins: I’ve increased both my vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 intake from supplements to increase calcium absorption and get that calcium into my bones. I’ve also reduced my vitamin A intake, as there is some evidence that excessive vitamin A intake can increase risk of fracture.

Citrus: I’ve been craving citrus and eating a lot of it. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production (a component of bone), so that’s probably a good thing.

Magnesium and zinc: I take supplemental magnesium as part of my asthma protocol, so I assume I’m getting enough. I’ve increased my zinc intake to support the healing process (from both food–mostly oysters–and supplements).

Bone broth: I’ve had some bone broth lately. More probably would have been better, but when it comes down to it I don’t like the taste of most of the store-bought stuff. On the other hand I love the broth we make at home from chicken bones and vegetable scraps. We usually add some white wine vinegar to help leech the minerals out of the bones into the broth (and to improve the taste).

Avoiding potential antinutrients: Ideally I would have quit drinking caffeine and alcohol, as both can reduce calcium absorption and/or slow down healing. But I kept drinking coffee and red wine in moderation (both for health benefits and also to not feel like I was depriving myself–life has been hard enough with reduced mobility). I’ve been just OK about avoiding sugar–I was strict during January but I’ve indulged in ice-cream a few times, and I eat dark chocolate pretty much every day. I’ve eaten fewer beans due to phytates reducing calcium absorption. I don’t drink any cola, so I’m not worried about excess phosphorus. I’ve also reduced my turmeric intake–it’s a great healthful spice, but in large doses it’s as powerful as over-the-counter NSAIDs and I don’t want to inhibit my inflammatory response.

I’ve still got some healing to do, so feel free to chime in with your nutritional suggestions below!

Gambling With Your Time

Hold ’em or fold ’em.

An analogy: each hour of your life is a casino chip. You can cash in (relax and enjoy life) or place bets (expend effort and willpower in an attempt to get more rewards).

What are the rewards? Whatever you value. Health, wealth, love, admiration, respect, fame. Or, if you’re Conan: crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women.

Odds aren’t the same in every casino. In some casinos, no matter how you place your bets, you’ll lose. Some casinos even cheat. But if you’re fortunate enough to live in a country with low rates of corruption and a thriving economy, the odds are probably decent. If you make good bets (expending effort in reasonably smart ways), you’ll get rewards.

But even good casinos favor some patrons over others. Certain combinations of gender, ethnicity, age, physical attractiveness, sexual orientation, etc. may convey better or worse odds.

So how do you bet? What’s the best betting strategy? How do you get the most chips?

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Reminder To Eat Your Broccoli (and Rapini, and Kohlrabi, and Romanesco, etc.)

Cruciferous fractals.

Just a quick post here, a reminder to eat your cruciferous vegetables. Dr. Rhonda Patrick presents convincing evidence (in the video below) that eating at least three servings a week significantly reduces risk of of death from cancer and heart disease.

I mentioned cruciferous vegetables in this cancer prevention post, but watching Ms. Patrick’s video convinced me to bump them higher in the list and add a bunch of these veggies to the perma-shopping-list in Evernote.

Apparently eating cruciferous vegetables raw or lightly cooked is important in order to obtain the phytochemical benefits; excessive heat destroys sulforaphane and other health-promoting chemicals. Broccoli sprouts are the champs in terms of sulforaphane, but there is strong evidence for the health benefits of consuming the more palatable members of this vegetable family as well. That’s good, because I’m not going to grow or eat broccoli sprouts. Nor am I going to put anything with leaves in a blender. IMO one should not drink leaves, even if they bestow immortality. But I’m more than willing to eat one of more veggies from the following list everyday:

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