September 2, 2009

My bodily fluids

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:16 pm

Given the vagaries of my currently odd diet, combined with my sister’s reliably capacity to mock me doing weird things, I am now paying more attention to my urine than is altogether expected. Borrowing a page from life lives of diabetics, many atkins-ers use small strips of cardboard with a detector tab on one end to measure the degree of ketosis their body is experiencing. The theory is that once you have induced ketosis, you can dial back to a higher level of carbs (than the expected 20 grams per day) until you are in a stable sort of state. The pee sticks are supposed to help you determine this balance.

In my case they are highly annoying. Aside from the fact that I have never paid so much attention to such things, I get very ambiguous results. Despite staying at 20 carbs for the entire period of this diet, my detector tabs claim I am varying widely in my ketone density. There appears to be a general trend toward low levels during mid-day, which could suggest carbs are sneaking into my lunches, but I really don’t see how that can be happening. An alternative is that about 20% of the tabs are defective, but then I would expect to see the atypical results evenly distributed. A third possibility is that my metabolic trends during the day lend themselves to metabolizing less food, therefore creating few ketones, even though my body is shifted into a proper ketosis.

I spend a lot of time peeing on sticks is the main point here.

In other news, I have decided to start a personal happiness project. This is significantly motivated by how much my happiness has already increased based on certain changes in my life over the past year or so. As those changes have resulted in a very pleasant increase, how about a positive feedback loop? From my research thus far, I have decided to start by applying the following tools:

  • Getting an extra 1/2 hour of sleep
  • Keeping a list of things I am thankful for on a daily basis
  • Regularly self-reviewing for cognitive biases which disproportionately reduce happiness (such as emotional prediction, etc.)

This is going to be a hard project to track for many reasons, several of which are:

  • Inherent problems in subjective measurement in a small population sample (me)
  • Difficulty of assessing the baseline happiness that would be expected under the circumstances
  • Sticking with such a program at all

As a side note, I wonder if collecting this much data on myself is an indicator of narcissism? If so, I hope to be saved by the following:


In family-related updates, Stella has transitioned to a no-training wheels bike. She was quite apprehensive at first, but was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for her. She is still adapting to the new mechanics, but she hasn’t fallen off her bike even one time yet. Yipee for her!

On the same day of this momentous event, the children has a play session in the underbrush at the park. They found enough stuff lying around to start constructing a fort/nest. This was great fun for a while, until they found some sort of rusted anti-vampire spike. Here is Dandelion in Hamlettian contemplation:


It was fun for a while, until I decided to dispose of it. Stella was brought to tears by this, but eventually understood that it was not a safe plaything and really should not have been left lying around. My approval ratings barely survived.

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