Monday, August 29, 2011

Calories and alcohol

Whenever the urge comes to watch one’s diet, alcohol is often put on the sideline.  But what about all those “empty” calories?! They are calories alright, but it turns out men and women handle the intake differently.  According to the Tara Parker-Pope on Health article in the New York Times from March 8, 2010: “Studies suggest that drinking alcohol has different effects on eating habits among men and women. Men typically add alcohol to their daily caloric intake, whereas women are more likely to substitute alcohol for food.” (1)  So the lads get fatter and the birds get drunker. What are they having more off or substituting for?  Doughnuts, chocolate ice cream, beans on toast, cake, cream, to name a few. (2,3)

What I was curious about is: which drinks would be the lesser evil? The relationship between the amount of alcohol in a drink and its caloric content is linear, so it may come down to the serving volume and your habits. The shots of pure spirits are small and calorie dense, but if you prefer the strong taste and are happy to sip, your diet should survive and the happy buzz should ensue. However, when was the last time you’ve seen people out on town sipping tequila or vodka? The “sippers” seem to gravitate to the drinks with lower alcoholic content – wine, beer, cider – that come in larger serving sizes than those shots. Here is a dieting advantage worth exploiting. If you drink that cider or beer fast, you should feel physically fuller quicker. The serving volume should force the stomach to expand to accommodate the incoming volume and then the neurophysiology kicks in (having food inside should add to the effect). That’s the hypothesis. And beer drinking lads override it all over the world, so it seems. Those froufrou cocktails that birds fancy may “expand” the volume of the spirits within, but at the cost of the added goodies. Meal substitution it may well be – 800 calorie cocktail anyone? No volume advantage here. Give me a serve of loaded nachos instead. More texturally varied; less like baby food.

There is no way around it. Serious dieting and drinking sessions just don’t mix. Unless, you are prepared to cut here or here. Or – how about some sweat? Sixty-minute walk after those four pints of cider? Ten-minute run after four glasses of red? (4)  Ha, I can see it now: a Haile-Gebrselassie type slaloming and occasionally tripping over the shoelaces, but burning that alcohol from the night before. It’s just an image to ponder. Just saying.

Continued - "Calories and alcohol II"and "Calories and alcohol III"

Left to right: (2) and (3).
(1) New York Times: Tara Parker-Pope on Health. “Women who drink gain less weight.”; March 8, 2010. Accessed: August 29, 2011; (2) BBC News. “Many unaware of alcohol calories”.; April 17, 2009. Accessed: August 29, 2011; (3) The Health Age. Rajan “Most dieters ignorant of alcohol containing equivalent calories to pure fat”; May 23, 2011. Accessed: August 29, 2011; (4) Voato: Tech/Lifehacks/Productivity. Pete Wood “10 minute exercise to burn off beer and wine.”; April 11, 2010. Accessed: August 29, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Manga Mad Tokyo

Film Details from SnagFilms:
Manga Mad Tokyo (2008) 59 min
Exploring Japan's passion for anime, their biggest pop culture phenomenon, and largest export. From Tokyo, the comic capital of the world, comes an exploration of Japan’s passion for anime, their biggest pop culture phenomenon, and their largest export. A documentary about Japan’s biggest pop culture and deepest underground, filmed in the comic capital of the world, Tokyo. More people read comics in Japan than any other country. Comics account for 40% of all total books and magazines published in Japan. MANGA MAD gives insight into contemporary Japanese culture through the iconography of its biggest pop culture and explains why comics are not just for children, as depicted by the compulsive consumer obsessiveness of the otaku adult manga and anime scene. The tradition of graphic narrative is traced in Japanese art history through to the post WW2 boom of comics. There is extensive coverage of cyber-sex, ‘electronics town’, Akihabara. The virtual reality, manga-anime-mecca, for otaku, and most popular tourist attraction in Japan. In addition, Comiket Market, the biggest comic and cosplay event in the world is featured with an interview with its founder, Mr Yonezawa, who recently passed away. Candid interviews with artists, animators, publishers, historians, retailers and otaku fans punctuate vivid fantasy graphics and cartoon-clad, bustling, metropolis vistas, segued with an exotic, electro sound track. MANGA MAD opens the window behind the Japanese mask, to reveal what’s really going on in the collective imagination, and explains why manga is so ubiquitous, mesmerising, virtually uncensored, and is now contagiously popular world wide. - © Copyright 2008-2011 SnagFilms Inc. All Rights Reserved

Rubba dub dubby

Photo © MAK

Couple years ago, a friend of mine brought with her this blue towel-like thing for a trip. It was rough to touch and I didn’t get how this could be a ‘towel’.  Eventually, I asked, what’s up with that?  Turns out it was a Japanese wash cloth that exfoliates like it should be done.  So I got one and test-drove it.  It is the shit!  Wet your skin, turn the shower off, soap the wet cloth and go for it! Skin smooth as a baby’s bottom, I tell ya my dears!  Totally worth it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cooking with Dog

Now that you are done with being disgusted, have an actual look at the Cooking with Dog channel on YouTube.  Laughing yet? That’s right, “it’s not what you think…” Francis the Dog is the host of the show.  This silver gray poodle presides like a master of ceremonies over the preparation-cooking space and talks you through all the recipes that Chef de Francis, the lovely Japanese lady, prepares with such ease, dexterity and simplicity that you shouldn’t be surprised if you decide to give it a go. At the very least, you will salivate.  The flow is no doubt enhanced by Chopin’s ‘Minute Waltz’ playing in the background in every episode. Francis’ favorite music. Highly addictive!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Desktop going Japanese

Left to right: Yoritsuki icons from Hybrid:Works®, Meiji Taisho icons, Yuuyake icons.

Are you bored with your desktop? Are you wishing for something exotic? Something more than a new picture for your background? OK, so I sound like a ‘one-of-those’ commercials, but in case you do – there is a way. Clever creative people are always busy putting together fascinating things for our personal use.  Lo and behold: Japanese Themed Desktop Icons! My favorites at the moment are Yoritsuki icons from Hybrid:Works®, a set of hot springs themed icons that can be also appropriated for the iPhone and soon also for the iPad. Me happy! But maybe you prefer the utilitarian tools of days gone by? Then Meiji Taisho icons are for you. Yuuyake icons preserve some of the flavor of standard icons, but with amplified style. Sources and download connections are here at designsbuzz for all three plus more, and here at knowtebook for Yoritsuki. If you are itching for a full overhaul of your desktop, then get inspired by claustrawberry and kjherstin at deviantart. They even point you to the sources for the good stuff. As for me, I started slowly – new icons for some things. But, boy, am I tempted...

Left to right: ©2010-2011 ~claustrawberry and `kjherstin

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Make Bento (Japanese Boxed Lunch)

Hail to YouTube! Yet again. Fear not. ‘Cooking with Dog’ will make it worth your while. Classical music in the background. Touches of quirky kitchen creativity.
(douzo meshiagare)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fashion magazines vs. fashion blogs

There is a trend that has been going on for a while: the fashion blogs.  They sprang and still spring like mushrooms, and some are a great alternative to hardcopy fashion magazines that you can buy at a store or subscribe to.  My two particular favorites are The Sartorialist and Garance Doré. I found both few years ago and watched as they banded together into a quietly formidable force.  The Sartorialist is a brainchild of photographer Scott Schuman.  It is “a two-way dialogue about the world of fashion and its relationship to daily life”.  A splendid platform for Scott’s fashion photography, mainly full of photos of stylishly original fashonistas captured around the streets of New York, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam and any other place Scott happens to be, with Scott’s comments, this blog is truly other than the marketing push of the magazines - it is a treat for a stylist in you.  Garance Doré does not fall behind at all.  It is quite on par.  Garance, a frustrated illustrator inspired by Scott’s photography, also takes to the streets and peppers her blog with minimalist, but über stylish, illustrations of her own.  See both blogs for yourself.  You will see what I mean. 

Can fashion magazines compete?  The approach is different in the affordability of proposed style.  The cost of accessibility differs, too.  If you already surf the internet, blogs will cost you no more than your connection.  The magazines… well, that’s a different story.  Typically around $5 a pop, less with subscription, the magazines also take up space, and if you lack for display or storage space, you have another problem right there.  Sure, having stacks of issues going way back and diligently archived can be a badge of honor, or rather glamour, if you have the space and the inclination to collect.  Otherwise…  With the advent of electronic platforms like the iPad, you can buy the magazines and contain them within the device, but still at the same price per issue as in the store.  The subscription option does not seem to be available.  Half an advantage then. 

You can see which side of the fence I am edging towards.  More so if occasionally a singular fashion spread from the magazines is simply brought to my attention via the blog.  Nice and simple.  A good example is The Sartorialist’s July 6th blog on the Vogue Italia June 2011 issue that hit New York with its super sexy cover and a fashion spread titled “Belle Vere” that is finger licking good – Vogue Italia has had the style edge, and edge is what I mean, over the much touted, but tame Vogue U.S., but I digress.  To top it off, there is a link directly to the Vogue Italia website with all the visual goodies of the spread.  No need to get the hardcopy.  Let me be fair though on the blogger vs. big publisher offerings issue., Condé Nast’s response to the digital age, is worth the surf – it is like a little fashion guidebook – and what most magazines share through their websites is not too shabby at all.  But as I said before, the affordability of the proposed style is for a different pay pocket.  Not mine.  Yours?  Still, one can be inspired.  Isn’t that what the fashion magazines are for for most of us? 

So the questions are: Will the good old-fashioned hardcopy survive the time?  Will fashion magazines preserve their relevance as the first place to go to for the latest in style?  Or are we looking at cross-pollination or mutual support between the bloggers and the fashion editors?  Where will the advertising money stand in all this?  Who really gives us a glimpse of style?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adios my iPod

Photo © MAK
In a world where electronics seem to be rarely designed to serve beyond the time when a new model is released, my third generation iPod has impressed me.  Bought back in 2004, it functioned till now – 2011 – for solid 7 years.  It was its beating heart, a.k.a. the battery, which finely gave up.  This slick piece of design still holds its ground and has not found a worthy competition, except maybe within its own family – the next generations of iPods.  It has been a worthy classic.

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