Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Perfect Thanksgiving Plan

After many years of hard work, trial and error, and many turkeys I have finally perfected the Thanksgiving plan of attack!

A great day indeed. Gather with friends and family, and feast!

Over the years, man has sought a singularly effective strategy for maximizing food intake and post meal laziness on this sacred day. The common misconception and ill-fated strategy is to skip all meals and starve ones' self up until the "meal of magic."

FOLLY! Don't get caught in this widely spread yet ineffective plan!

I know what you're thinking. "Common Arun! I'm making my stomach as empty as possible to receive the glorious feast! What kind of hair-brained strategy could you possibly have that makes more sense! AND, what happened to your so-called healthy living?!?"

Worry not dear friends! All shall be answered.

First of all, allow me to do some debunking. Now, the problem with the ever-so-popular starvation strategy, has to do with shrinkage. When you starve, your stomach temporarily shrinks, thus offering very limited space for Thanksgiving goodness.

So what's the alternative? Allow me to present the newly released "Arun's Guide to An Awesome Thanksgiving Feast."

It all starts on the Monday prior to Turkey Day. Monday - Wednesday requires stringently scheduled workouts. I plan on eating ridiculous amounts of food, and then piling on ridiculous amounts of dessert on top of that, thus equating to ridiculous amounts of awesomeness (don't argue with the Math).

Now these workouts are your ticket to earning Thanksgiving Dinner entry. Go for a run and imagine yourself chasing a perfectly basted turkey with stuffing spilling out! Go for a swim and picture yourself backstroking through thick country gravy surrounded my mountains of pillowy mashed potatoes.

God, I'm getting hungry just writing this!

Suffice to say, I worked out very hard in the days preceding Thanksgiving. But, I also brought the diet to compliment it. Monday - Wednesday, I ate NO meat, and had only giant salads for dinner.

Why is this important? Well, aside from being healthy, the diet also increased my craving for a great Thanksgiving dinner and brought new appreciation for its' amazingness.

So now that I had adequately prepared in the days prior, I woke up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, ready for the day! After all this preparation though, I wasn't about to sabotage my upcoming meal with inadequate same day preparation! So, the first thing I did, was go for a five mile run in the crisp morning air!

Exercise does wonder for building appetite. But, now with my run out of the way, it was time to focus on stomach capacity! I ate a good sized bowl of cereal for my dinner prep. This meal is important as it keeps your stomach open and flexible, and gives it a little warmup for the upcoming pounding.

As the meal got closer, and we were at the TG dinner location, I did some light snacking. This is OK, but there is a fine line! Too much snacking, and you've sabotaged yourself. Too little, and you risk stomach shrinkage.

Alternatively, a cup of tea about 45 minutes prior is also good because it provides temporary fullness, AND the warmth of the tea creates stomach expansion.

WARNING! Never down a cold beverage within 20 minutes of the meal on an empty stomach!!! This will result in stomach shrinkage and thus limit your dinner intake! That would be DISASTER!

Finally, it was dinner time, and I was ready to go to work!

So what did all this preparation get me? Two big plates of Thanksgiving dinner, two pieces of pie, and a big cupcake! After becoming gut-busting full, I proceeded to take a nice nap and let it all settle in. The rest of the day was spent puttering around and being otherwise unproductive and lazy...PERFECT!

Follow this unbeatable plan, and you're sure to have the ideal Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four Things I Did Last Week and So Should You

It's always great to stumble upon awesome things. As the author of the most important pending publication ever, "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness," I try to awesomely stumble as much as possible :)

In the process of doing all of this stumbling last week, I found four great things that everyone should do.

1. Buy a Nixon watch. I bought a moderately expensive Nixon watch about two and a half years ago, only because I got a special deal through my former company which allowed me to purchase the watch at wholesale price.

After having recently dealt with the Nixon watch company last week, I would gladly pay full price for a watch. Here's the story.

About 8 months ago, my really cool Nixon watch-strap broke. I wore the watch almost everyday for two years, so I suppose it breaking was understandable. Luckily, I have two watches (and NO, I don't wear them at the same time :) so I was still able to look super-duper cool with my other smooth watch (you were worried, I know). I took it to two different watch repair stores, and no one could fix it! The steel strap was beyond fixable.


So my watch sat in my car for months, until I finally decided to call Nixon and order a strap. I had a feeling that the watch strap was going to cost me as much as the discounted price I paid for the watch. I got on the phone with customer service and they told me that they don't just send straps out, but instead instructed me to just send the watch in, and they'd take care of it. Nice, Less work for me!

Turns out though, Nixon's headquarters is in San Diego! So, I moseyed on over there and dropped my watch questions asked. Fast forward a week, and I get a package in the mail from Nixon. Sweet! They must've fixed my watch.

Ding Dong, I'm wrong.

I open up the package, and bodda bing! Brand spankin new watch! No Charge! I officially love Nixon watch company! The most important thing for any company, is having exemplary customer service, and Nixon has just that.

2. Watch American Gangster. Totally Bad-Ass movie! I hate writing moving reviews because most of the time, they give away too much information, but Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are awesome actors, the story is based on true events, and the movie is captivating. Don't ask questions, just go see it!

As an aside, there's a brief scene in the movie with Denzel and two young men. All of a sudden I got a familiar feeling. Then it hit me...I knew one of the guys! Cedric Sanders (who's younger sister I knew well) went to my high school! Small world...

3. Read "The Four Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss. Again, I don't like writing detailed reviews of things (unless they of course have to do with ME, since as you can probably tell I am someone I like to talk about :) but I just started reading the book, and I haven't yet finished, but the author really brings up some amazing ideas. Obviously there's no cut and dry blue print to work very little and make lots of money, but there is a common mentality, and that is what he focuses on.

Read the first thirty pages and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

4. Find an efficient way to become a VIP. As a young guy who likes to go out with his friends on the weekends, I began researching ways to get VIP status in some places. One thing I did, was find a VIP card that works at a TON of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops in San Diego. Discounts, free stuff, front of lines, cheaper prices etc. Well worth the money!

The other thing I found was a group called San Diego Young Professionals, which hosts multiple events at different bars and clubs every week. Aside from shorter lines and discounted (or free) door prices, they have these magical "hosted bar" nights.

Why is a "hosted bar" magical? Well, "hosted" is the official term for FREE. Last weekend for example, Sin Night-Lounge had an hour long hosted bar for VIP's. Last time I was there, I strategically made friends with the head bartender, and any time they have a hosted bar, he text messages me. So all I have to do is tell him if I'm coming and who I'm bringing, and BAM! We're in!

As one who is a fan of not throwing around money buying a lot of expensive drinks at clubs, this is an AMAZING deal!

So what's the moral of today's post? Basically, always listen to me and you'll be okay :) Ok, Ok....narcissism aside, I would definitely recommend doing some of these things and letting me know what you think!

By the way, if you work for Nixon, the publisher of "Four Hour Workweek", or are the producer of "American Gangster" and would like to pay me for the free advertising I just did for you, I'll happily accept :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Worst Barbecue Ever!

Everybody loves to barbecue.

Round up some friends, Round up some meat, fire up the grill, and "Q" to your hearts content!

In California, people love barbecuing on the beach. Seriously, what better place is there to barbecue? You fire up the grill, run around the beach practicing your frisbee skills, jump in the water and pretend to surf (me), then come back to a sizzling piece of meat and a beer!

Well this is all fine and dandy, assuming you actually plan things right.

I was reminded of the worst barbecue ever, last week when I was at Aaron's house. We were barbecuing lunch. I was comfortably inside watching football when all of a sudden I see Aaron sprint inside, across the dining room to the kitchen, for a pot of water. At the same time I notice a good amount of smoke outside.

He books it back outside and all of a sudden I see a giant ploom of smoke! I go outside to inspect (I know, I'm a daredevil) and see the last reminants of flames, extinguishing on my chicken. Aaron notices my quizzical look.

Aaron: "Grease fire...I hope you like your chicken a little smokey"

The chicken managed to turn out ok...much better than by first beach barbecue debacle that was probably four years ago.

It was summertime in San Luis Obispo, and my buddy Dan calls me up and suggests that we should barbecue out at the beach! Great Idea! Usually I just attended barbecues that I was invited to, but this time we were going to do the inviting and grilling!

So Dan and I hurredly hit the grocery store to buy the necessary stuff. Instead of buying a huge bag of coals, we decided to get a couple of "fire logs" that are supposedly easy and quick to light. We are feeling quite smart for having thought of such an efficient BBQ plan that no one has ever thought of!

We drive all the way out to Pismo beach and invite Darren, Debra, Daisy and Randi. So we're all set to start barbecuing, when we realize are first little predicament.


Ok, so I was having an "off" day. luckily Debrah had a lighter in her car so we were saved! Close call. We light the fire log and were excited to eat! The fire burned hot and bright!...for two minutes before the log extinguished.

We couldn't understand it! Dan and I had thought this through perfectly! Why buy a big bag of slow burning coals when we can have a log that burns instantly? We pulled out the second log and read the info carefully this time.

Apparently, these were STARTER logs that were only meant to get the coals (which we of course didn't have) to start going faster. Dan, being particularly sharp this day, decides to round up a bunch of paper for the next fire log to burn.

Turns out, paper burns incredibly fast. We lit the next log, surrounded by paper. Realizing the fire wasn't going to last long, we frantically unwrapped the chicken and hot dogs to throw on the grill.

Problem number two...we forgot plates and utensils (I know I'm impressing you with my genius today). We opened the chicken but no one wanted to touch it (since we couldn't really wash our hands anywhere). So, we crammed as many hotdogs as we could on the mini grill as the fire was weakening.

Two minutes later, we were left with half blackened, half uncooked, hot dogs, raw chicken, fireless, forkless, and plateless not to mention hungry and embarassed. Drinks? Yep, we forgot those too. Don't ask me what we were thinking, because apparently, it wasn't a lot. The girls took advantage of this opportunity to lay into us.

Debra: "You guys are like the best prepared people I know!"
Daisy: "Hey lets have a barbecue, and not bring ANY stuff to barbecue with!"
Randi: "Good thing you guys are engineers and problem solvers!"

Dan, in his frustration of the digusting half charred, half raw hot dog that he just took a bite of, wound up and chucked it as far as he could. It didn't get far because it was caught in the air by a seagull! Soon, another one came and they were fighting for the food in the air!

Suddenly, we were being surrounded! Seagulls from near and far gazed at the buffet of hotdogs and chicken waiting for them! Some of them seemsd a little "poop happy" as well which meant, being under them was not an option. The solution? Our "food" soon became our weapon against the surrounding predators! We starting chucking the hot dogs just to get the little stinkers away from us!

Luckily, we escaped unscathed (You were worried, I know). We ended up eating clam chowder at a nearby beach restaraunt and toasted to "The worst barbecue ever!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Power of Self Confidence

Some people have it, and some people don't.

Those who have it can lose it, and those who have none can gain it all.

It's what separates the winners from the losers.

Confidence. (that was good...maybe I should start writing riddles?)

I have found, and it's no real secret, that possibly the most singular qualilty one can have to greatly increase the level of his/her success in anything, is a high degree of self confidence.

Having self confidence literally makes you better at everything you do. What is this self confidence I speak of? It is having no fear, and no vision of failure. A confident person has no fear of failure because he knows failing is simply an opportunity to learn, and thus further increase his level of confidence. Despite this lack of fear, a confident person only visualizes a successful outcome.

When Barry Bonds broke the home run record, he'd step to the plate envisioning nothing less than hitting a home run. I'd be willing to bet, the possibiliy of a strikeout rarely crept into his mind.

When Pavarotti was singing opera in his old age, do you think he was concerned as to whether he could hit the high E in front of a stadium full of people?

I happen to play a lot of sports, and sing some mean karaoke. (Ok, so I'm not exactly breaking home run records and hitting high E's, but I'd say I do alright :). When I'm playing tennis or racketball, the thought of losing never crosses my mind. Even if I'm playing bad and losing to someone I should normally beat, I know for certain that I will win, and in the end, having that mentality is usually enough to pull me through.

The above examples though, are examples of having confidence in a specific thing. I somehow doubt good ol' Pavarotti would have been confident in winning (or even finishing for that matter) a marathon.

That being said, I think it IS very possible for someone to be an all around confident person. A person who carries himself high, looks people in the eye, is always sincere, gives a firm handshake, and is generally unconcerned about what other people think about himself.

Watch the movie "Pumping Iron," and you will realize why Arnold Schwartzenegger is so successful at everything. I don't think a guy can be more self-confident (and sure, downright arrogant) than him. In the movie he states that he has "no fear of fainting in the gym" due to exhaustion. He doesn't care what people think about him. Self belief is the reason he's reached the pinnacle bodybuilding, acting, and politics.

Look at Tom Cruise as another example. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but he's the epitome of a really confident guy. I can't imagine him walking into any situation without a high degree of self assurance. He never gets flustered and he's your classic "alpha male." He could probably care less about what people thought of him jumping up and down on Oprah.

Confidence is applicable to practically everything you do in life.

On the other side of the coin, he who lacks confidence and self-esteem, is already ready to lose. He contemplates every scenario of failure, fears rejection by others, and interprets this rejection as a rejection of himself rather than a rejection of his approach.

He's the person that says, "I'll try my best."

We see these people all the time. When we walk passed them in the hall, they look down to avoid eye contact. They stand around with their hands in their pockets. The only outcome they can see with any risk, is the possibility of failure.

Most of us probably have friends where if they see a cute girl, they freeze up and are terrified of approaching her. "What do I say? What if she doesn't like me? What do I do?!" He might walk up and try and say something to her, quietly, voice quivering. She gets creeped out and leaves. Painful rejection.

It's NOT a rejection of him (since she doesn't even know him), it's a rejection of his approach. Learn from your mistakes and try again.

The confident guy will walk up to her without hesitation and say, "Hi!" or whatever. His mindset is, "let's have a great interaction since I'm a cool person and there's a possibility you are as well. You need to bring just as much, or more, to the table as I do."

She's not on a pedastal, and not a prize. She's just a cute girl who might be as fun as he is.

In one episode of this show "The Pickup Artist" I saw recently, a bunch of really unconfident guys are memorizing these canned conversation starter lines to use on girls. The problem is, when they actually went to use them, their delivery sucked! There was no substance, no confidence behind what they were saying!

It's not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.

So we've pretty much established that having a high degree of self confidence is directly proportional to life success. But how do we build some general self confidence?

Well it takes some building, but the only way to build confidence, is to succeed! Seems like a catch-22 since each one relies on the other, but it's really not.

The first thing you need to do is step out of your shell for something small.

This could be something like walking upright with your back straight and your head held high. Look around. Observe the people around you. Try to make eye contact with everyone you pass. When they look back at you, smile! You'll find that everyone smiles back! Now start saying "hi" to some of these people, along with the smile.

And speaking of smiles, use them a lot! Smile when you walk into a room. This is YOUR room and the people in the room are YOUR people...YOUR friends. People want to be YOUR friend. For every ten smiles, "hello's" etc. you get back, MAYBE one person might not, but that person's reaction then becomes inconsequential.

When you smile at someone, you can EXPECT a smile back, and if they don't, brush it off and move on.

If you start doing these things, you'll notice people will start doing them back to you, without you having to initiate anything!

It's little exercises like this that really build confidence from the ground up. After a month of smiling and engaging everyone, you'll have no fear of doing so on a regular basis. There will be no contemplation of "what if they don't say hi, or smile back?" because that possibility doesn't even exist anymore!

Athletes do the same thing. When they're struggling with confidence, they go back to the basics and play against lower competition to get a few wins under their belt. Slowly, confidence builds and they get a feeling that they're unbeatable! Then, they go back to the higher level of competition with this renewed confidence.

I'd like to think I'm a confident person, but it has certainly grown over the years (some might say to ridiculous levels of self-love that the world has yet to see! :)

The little social exercises I mentioned above are things I started practicing without really knowing the positive effect it was going to have on me. Saying hi to everyone, getting over the perceived akwardness of talking to a stranger in an elevator, approaching a beautiful woman that has probably been oggled at 20 times that day...these are things I previously would never have done without building up my own confidence!

When I see someone I want to talk to, I don't think "what am I going to say? What if it's akward? What if I mess up what I'm saying?" I just go and chime in. There's no reason that he or she shouldn't want to talk to me...afterall, it is ME and I'm interesting! :)

When you live with confidence, it seems like the whole world opens up for you. Things just start going right, people respect you and want to know you, and you feel great!

I think the key to keeping this confidence is to think positive and create a positive environment. When you make the people around you feel great, they do the same to you. It's one big cycle of greatness that will keep YOU at your most confident.

And it's at that point, where you feel invinsible and unshakable, that you realize the great power of self confidence.

UPDATE: If you found this post useful, definitely check out my new ebook package The Social Charmer. I write at length about improving self-confidence and the information I share has been invaluable to me! At the very least, join the FREE email list!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Havoc

Good ol' Halloween...oh how the years change what this holiday means to people.

When we were kids, it was all about dressing up as the coolest superhero, and running around the neighborhood getting candy from all sorts of people...well sort of.

I spent most of my trick or treating days up in Anchorage, Alaska where it's just tad nippier than everywhere else. It was always a bummer because my Mom would always make us where our winter coat OVER our costumes thus ruining the effect of dressing up!

Walking through the neighborhood was also tricky. By October 31, there was usually a thin coat of snow and ice on the ground which made hauling huge bags of candy up and down driveways slightly hazardous.

Only in Alaska...

And I never understood why people left baskets of candy outside of there door when they weren't home. Sure they had good intentions, but seriously, did they expect the first group of kids who find this gold mine, not to take it all??? I don't think I ever found one with a single piece of candy.

And speaking of Candy...a note for you who give out candy to kids:

Worst Candy: Piece of Gum, Couple of tootsie rolls, jolly ranchers, dum dums, bite size anything.
Best Candy: Any type of Candy Bar (yes "Fun Size" is acceptable), any chocolate more than two squares, anything that takes more than one bite to consume.

These days, the concept of Halloween is totally different. For a young adult, it means it's time to get crazy in the costume party frenzy that is Halloween! For most guys, it involves the pain of finding a costume, just so you can enjoy partying with all of the girls who have been planning their costume for months. For a lot of girls, it's an excuse to be a skanky ________(insert any noun here). Pick any type of conceivable costume, add the the word naughty before it, and boom, you have a female Halloween costume.

That is indeed what happened during the week long Hallows Eve festivities.

Last Friday, my buddy had a huge party. He and his roommates throw a huge Halloween party every year and go crazy decorating the place. This year was no different. I, at the last moment, had the brilliant idea of being 80's Michael Jackson for Halloween. This was brilliant for a few reasons:

1. I've been known to bust a few MJ moves (including the "Crotch-Grab of Wonder").
2. I've been known to do a mean MJ Karaoke (complete with falsetto "Hee hee's" and "Shamone's").
3. I actually sort of look like him if I where aviator sunglasses and a fedora.
4. I have longish hair and my skin is brown (just in case this wasn't apparent in the picture).
5. I was able to preserve some semblance of sex-appeal (good thing I have an abundance of this :) as opposed to some other costume ideas I had (nacho libre, sumo guy).

So come Friday night I was bustin moves all over the place! I even had a glittery microphone prop which I promptly lost on Friday. So I bought another one and promptly lost it again on Saturday. I then came to the realization that me carrying a prop around was obviously not working out.

Unfortunately, the Friday fun was broken up by the good ol' Boys in Blue as it was in full swing. Now usually, one would expect maybe one or two cops to come end the fun. Apparently there were no other disturbances in San Diego this night because in comes TWO SUBURBAN LOADS OF COPS. It seriously felt like some kind of a drug raid. All of a sudden flashlights all over the place are pointing in my face!

I finally make it outside and see a truck with huge search beams pointed at my friends house! A smidgen excessive for a Halloween party if you ask me.

Then comes Saturday, day two of the extravaganza. This time, I met up with some friends to hang out before shocking Mission Beach with the finest Michael Jackson it has ever seen.

Well Mission Beach was gonna be shocked alright, but not by me. I innocently arrive at Ibis' and Jane's house. I had once asked Ibis what her Halloween costume was going to be, but she refused to spill the beans, responding only with "Oh, you'll see *wink wink*!"

My poor virgin eyes got an eyeful (and I mean an eye-FULL).

I walk in and Ibis and Jane are dressed innocently enough: Leather trench coats wrapped securely and a fedora on top. Hmmm....undercover detectives or something?

Well they were definitely undercover, but they sure as hell weren't detectives.

Ibis and Jane: "Ok Arun, are you ready?"
Me: "Ready for what?"
Ibis and Jane: "One...Two...Three"
Me: ....(staring, jaw hanging, eyes meandering) "OH...MY...GOD!"

What followed was the most insane, eye popping, stare provoking, yet somehow awesome costumes ever. Sure I threw-up in my mouth a little bit, but it was worth it...I think. A picture of the two is below in their full frontal glory.

Yes...they were Flashers. Suffice to say, they won the costume contest down in Mission Beach, by more than a hair (and by the looks of it, I'd say a lot of hairs).

So then came Wednesday...good ol' Halloween night. I had a steady stream of trick or treaters come by my office all day, and as it was the first time I've had trick or treaters of my own, it was a lot of fun. I forgot how cool kids are!

I also forgot how cool I am! (hard to believe, I know).

Jeff and I went to an upscale bar in PB and wreaked havoc.

Theorem 58 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness": Jeff and Arun + FREE Rum + super outgoingness (yes I made a new word) + Fun Costumes + Music = Halloween Havoc!

Apparently when you wear a Michael Jackson costume out, and they start playing Michael Jackson music, and you start moonwalking your booty all over the place, you become immensely popular.

Everyday should be Halloween!...Either that, or I may need to permanently dress like MJ whenever I go out.

Jeff meanwhile was dressed as a doctor (specialty: OBGYN) and prescribing girls a healthy dose of "Jeff" as the remedy for everything!

The rest of the world needs to join in on this holiday. Free Candy, crazy costumes, fun stuff everywhere...why not? Maybe when I become the World Ambassador, I'll institute this as a new international holiday......of course AFTER I institute "International Arun Day" :)