Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Entertainer

My roommate Danny and I always joke about how we're "Entertainers." We go over to the neighbors' on occassion and simply steal the show! I know what you're thinking. "Ok here we go, another oration by Arun about how wonderful he is!" Well, I'll refrain from orating this time, but I'm seriously not lying...Between Danny and I, antics and entertainment are always high among those lucky enough for a visit!

Lately though, I've been doing a ton of entertaining! A month ago, I had three friends of mine who go to ASU stay with me. Being girls of ASU, they definitely know how to party, so I was pretty much obligated to be fun, adventurous, and charming (my specialty :)

Then, two weeks ago I had a good friend of mine from Texas in town staying with me. Jim is actually the friend I've known the longest. He was my best friend in first grade! He eventually moved to Texas in fifth grade. Since then I've seen him once (2001) so it's kind of crazy because a lot of our reminicing is from waaaaaaaaay back, but there's this huge gap of time that we don't really know a lot about each other.

Again, not wanting to let anyone down, I transformed into "Arun the Super Entertainer" for yet another weekend.

And just when you thought the dust was settling, I had one day off, then a new Mom!

Mom visits are different though. I get to do a lot of touristy stuff that I don't otherwise do, and discover lots of great restaurants! Despite being a vegetarian, my Mom loves trying different cuisines and doesn't mind treating herself (and ME :) to lots of great stuff.

By the way, for those of you in San Diego, I've discovered that essentially every restaurant in Hillcrest is amazing! I've eaten at Taste of That (my favorite Thai in SD), Saigon on Fifth (awesome vietnamese!), Bombay (Great Ambiance), and Khyber Pass and they are all amazing.

I think I need to figure out how to be a restaurant reviewer...imagine getting PAID to eat out!

Aside from eating a lot, I decided I need to adopt a Panda Bear (went to the zoo this weekend and those things rival "little Arun" in adorability), marveled at the weirdness of sea creatures at the aquarium, ate some more, and met a Yogi Guru.

Yes, while my Mom was doing some shopping, I stumbled upon an Indian Yogi a workshop on "The Art of Living." I was only in there for like fifteen or twenty minutes, but this guy was amazing! I left feeling enlightened and relaxed. I'm definitely going to follow up on this guy!

So now I've got a little more rest time before a weekend Austin trip coming soon! I promise some good stories!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kick Your Own Ass

For lack of a better title, I just put down exactly what I was thinking the other day. My third-person, self talk was something like this:

"Jesus Arun! You've fallen into a lull! You're doing NOTHING! You're being lazy, half-productive, and lagging behind on a lot of projects you are supposed to be doing! It's time for an ass whoopin!"

Yes, I needed to kick my own ass.

I had fallen into a state where, productivity-wise, I was coasting. I was doing what needs to be done, then somehow wasting away a lot of time thereafter. My procuctivity had slipped, and it went partially noticed. A few days ago, I had an epiphany and decided that it was time to kick my ass into gear!!!

No more excuses!

No more delaying!

Minimize the distractions!

And most importantly...DO WORK!

So the last few days I've really committed to spending more time doing productive activities. This includes work for both my day job, as well as my own projects. To really make this work, I'm holding myself publically accountable everyday on a public forum (an idea I'm copying from Tynan). This serves two purposes:

1. If I get lazy, its publically apparent to people that I've done nothing useful that day
2. Other people can also motivate me to be more productive.

Yesterday, I had one of my most productive days ever! If I continue at this rate, things will be getting done!

The great thing is, I feel GREAT doing all of this "work" and getting things done. Sure sometimes I don't feel like doing something before-hand, but the satisfaction of productivity is worth it. I now think "gee what else can I do so that I can beef up my public 'output' list?"

Now I do consider positive, fullfiling activities like blogging and reading, productive. They may not be "actual" work in the sense of the word, but they are enjoyable and great for the mind.

YOU should jump on the productivity band wagon! Stop half-assing your way around and do some more full-assing! It's time to kick your own ass, step up to the plate, and DO WORK!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foot Fashion Faux Pas

I was walking around the boardwalk last weekend, and I noticed some interesting trends...trends of total god-awfulness!

It seems that society is suffering from a pandemic of people wearing completely eye-wrenching terrible items on their feet! Now I'm no fashion expert, but I consider myself at least somewhat stylish. I know what's decent, and what's an insult to the eyes of decent society. Women always look at a guys shoes as a preliminary gauge of style and personality. Shallow? Maybe, but the truth is, most of the time, footwear IS quite telling.

Now be forewarned, I'm about to break some of you down. But, instead of being angry, be happy that you now know what items of your footwear to burn and NEVER consider wearing ever again!

1. Rubber Velcro Sandals: These things are terrible. It looks like your feet are strapped in for a freaking roller coaster ride. I don't care "how comfortable they are", they just look awkward. I thought we outgrew Velcro when we were five?!? It's not even as if they're easy to put on and take off. There's adjusting and might as well just be wearing shoes!

Get yourself some good ol' flip flops! They're easy, comfortable, and stylish...just make sure your feet are decent! There's way too many people running around town showing off their funky (and I mean FUNKY) feet. Yuck! I know some of you like going for the "rugged and disheveled" look, but for god-sakes, that doesn't mean you need to have cave-man feet!

2. Skater shoes and tall socks with shorts. Something about puffy skater shoes and tall socks just looks weird and clunky. I'm a little bias because I'm not a fan of skater shoes, but seriously, if you're going to wear them, lose the crew/tube socks. Actually, tube socks are bad altogether. Do we really need to wear socks that stretch up to protect our knees?

3. Clogs and Crocs. No one looks good wearing these things. They don't even look particularly comfortable. If your playing some kind of water sports, then I suppose crocs could be functional, but otherwise, they look terrible! And lets leave the clogs in the 80's where they belong with LA Gear.

4. Uggs with anything other than pants. Uggs with shorts or skirts? Seriously ridiculous. Sure they're warm and comfy, but you don't see me running around with a T-shirt and mittens!

On another fairly unrelated note, have you ever noticed the two schools of tucking that exist for men with copious amounts of belly? I never really thought about it until I saw a man from each school of tuck, standing next to each other the other day.

The first school we'll call the "school of restraint and containment." This is where the pants are pulled up to the belly button region and a lengthy belt has made the long journey around, then locked tightly thus containing the belly from excessive outward protrusion. I personally think this is the ideal option.

Then there's the "Free Roaming" school of thought where the belly owner refuses to buy larger pants. He tucks his shirt in with the pants secured at the hip, below the cavernous belly droop, thus allowing the belly to explode forward in downright threatening fashion!

If you are a foot fashion offender, please, for your sake and the sake of all that is decent to look at, clean up your act! Let's make this world a better place two feet at a time! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shape Up!

Long time no post!

As you all know, I'm a big fan of healthy living. I'm a regular exerciser, and eat pretty healthy. Ever since I went from chubby to studdly I've stayed pretty consistently between about 208-217 lbs. I'm 6'2" so that's about average for my build.

I looked up the definition of "Average" in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness." It was defined as, "Just as close to the BOTTOM as to the top." Well I don't DO average! Anyone who knows me, knows I do things to extraordinary amounts of chaos and craziness that the likes of "average" has never seen! At the beginning of this year, I decided it was time to transform from "Devilishly Handsome Arun" to "Supreme Sex-Symbol Arun" :)

Yes, it's shape-up season! I started the year out at about 217 lbs after copious holiday eating (and by "copious," I mean I made Santa Clause seem like he was on a diet). When I returned to San Diego, I was set to resume my healthy ways, but this time, it was time to drop some pounds and melt some adipose!

So, this year I've gone from a "healthy maintenance" lifestyle to "butt-kicking, fat melting" lifestyle. Last week I weighed myself, and I was a smidgen BELOW 200 lbs for the first time in about six years! The difference is now, I have more muscle! The great part is, I've managed to keep the muscle by extending this weight loss over three months. The slower you drop the pounds, the healthier and more permanent it is.

So what changes did I make to go from healthy to Super-duper healthy? Well for training I now exercise twice a day with Cardio at lunch and weight training in the evening. The cardio includes basketball three to four times a week (with some games lasting for two or three HOURS!!).

I've also made some diet changes. Instead of two bowls of cereal in the morning, I hold myself to one heaping bowl (tough since cereal is one of my favorite foods and one of the greatest inventions ever). Lunch consists of four pieces of different fruit consumed throughout the day as well as two garden burger patties (morningstar garden burgers are awesome. Boca Burgers are so so tasting, but pretty healthy as well).

Dinner always consists of a HUGE spinach salad when I get home with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. This is usually pretty filling but since I like to eat a lot I follow it up with either homemade chicken soup with a TON of veggies, tofu stir fry, or an egg white omelet. No dinner carbs.

Interestingly, I've noticed my diet has become about 85% vegetarian. Most days eat meat for part of ONE meal (and many times I eat tofu or egg whites instead for my protein).

And for dessert, either a fruit smoothy or a Healthy Choice fudge bar.

The beauty of this is, I'm NEVER hungry! Now, I DO exercise a lot on the weekends, but I don't watch my diet as carefully. I like eating out, and I like eating in general, so what's the fun in not indulging a bit? But, I do usually try and choose the "lesser of two evils" ie, this weekend I picked the "classic burger" over the "classic burger with bacon and cheese."

Also I've cut back on the alcohol and specifically beer intake. Beer is just a killer! It's so tempting when you're out at a bar to always have something in your hand. Most of the time, we end up shelling out six bucks for a beer...just to have something to hold! I go for the diet cokes these days, and if I'm drinking, Jack Daniels and Diet Coke is my new drink of choice. Now I still drink beer, just not as much.

I'm still in my "Operation Greek God" mode, and am hoping to shatter the 190 lb mark at some point! That seems about to be about a sexy weight for me :) Just remember, it's not too late! It's only April and you still have time to shed some fat before the summer! Jump on the wagon and lets get healthy!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Six Behaviors That Annoy Me's been too long since I've done a good ol' fashioned rant! I used to listen to the Adam Carolla Show every morning and he used to have this segment called "What CAN'T Adam Complain About" where callers would suggest really great things like "ice-cream," or "Sunny Days," or "Winning the lottery" and Adam would find someway to rant and complain about it.

At first this drove me nuts! "This guy seems in a constant state of complaint and misery!" Then in grew on me...and I realized the exquisite art form there is to the rant!

So in the spirit of celebrating the art form of ranting, I would like to share with you six behaviors which you should avoid at all costs! And if you do any of these, now is the time to adopt a rigid plan to rid yourself of them!

1. You know how sometimes you just stare at something, not really looking at it, but just daydreaming or thinking about something? Your eyes look a little dazed and funny, but you're just in thought.

Then a person asks you, "What's wrong?" when there is absolutely NOTHING wrong. They don't ask "Is something the matter?" That would be too easy. They assume there's something the matter and ask "What's wrong?" Ooooooh, this one drives me NUTS! Why is this soooo annoying? Because the minute you say "nothing," they think you're trying to hide something and start pressing you.

The harder they press, the more you insist...then they come at you with, "well if nothing's wrong, then why are you being SO defensive!" AHHHH!!! I'm cracking up as I'm writing this because winning this argument is futile!

Of COURSE I'm being defensive! There's really nothing wrong! The irony is, now there IS something wrong because YOU keep bothering me about it! Do you think you can fix it?!? Most of the time, it's someone who doesn't even know you that well!

2. Word Mispronunciations. These are mild annoyances, but I hear them everyday, and each time I do, I cringe on the inside. Worse still is that people who say them never want to make an effort to correct themselves! They have a "this is how I talk so deal with it" attitude. The most annoying mispronunciations that come to mind are:

-"alls you have to do"....There's no dad-gum 'S' in the word "all!" It's such a common word that this one KILLS me! My roommate Danny is a DAILY offender of this one.

-"SupposeBly" instead of "SupposeDly" Bah! My old buddy Jeff is the prime offender here. Everytime I hear it, I cringe on the inside. I think the bastard enjoys my annoyance at this.

-"NuCUlar" instead of "NuCLEar." If only our president and about 50% percent of the US population knew how to say this word correctly...

-"Irregardless" instead of "regardless." Irregardless is NOT a word! It doesn't exist! In fact, it's a double negative contained in one word so it violates both grammar AND spelling.

-"InterGAL instead of InteGRAL." This one I've only heard one person do, but it drove me nuts everyday for three months. I had a math teacher in college who was the vocab offender. The whole damn quarter we were learning complex integration, and everytime he said "Intergal" I'd repeat in my mind "IntegRAL" three times because I was afraid I'd start saying it like him! JEEZ! At least learn to pronounce the words of your trade! I mean, I wouldn't expect a Spanish teacher to offer me "Tortilleeyas!"

3. Weak Huggers. There is a definite skill involved in hugging. Some people are awesome at it, and some just suck.

A good hugger wraps around with both arms and gives a good squeeze. The good squeeze is essential. I've known a couple of girls who give these frail little hugs like you're hugging a damn bird! I feel like I'll break them if I squeeze. A good hug is very satisfying, but a bad one is like smelling a doughnut but not being able to eat it...a tease.

4. Road Raging. I didnt' know what real road rage was until I drove down to a job interview in Thousand Oaks with my friend Bobby. I swear to God this guy was livid the whole ride down there. Yelling at people, riding their ass, bobbing and weaving passed the slow pokes driving "only 80 mph."

Insane...and we still had to ride all the way back.

Then I met Danny. If you wrong him in any way while driving, I think he seriously wants to end your LIFE! Danny is the George Costanza who follows a driver whom he thinks flipped him off or refuses to budge over a street parking spot. He doesn't just honk. He just lays on that mother for ages without relenting! He drives his big Sequoia like a freaking Corvette.

As one who doesn't like to get angry, this behavior is definitely a bit anxiety provoking.

And it's not just if he's driving either...oh no. If he's in the passenger seat and anyone else on the road does something even remotely wrong, inevitably he yells "RAM HIM!!!" I hear this at least three times each time I give him a ride.

5. The Player/Coach. Another one that really drives me nuts. If I'm playing basketball, tennis, or any other sport for that matter, do not feel the need to coach me, especially if you're not better than me.

"Arun, look up while your dribbling!"
"Follow through better on your swing"
"Pivot this way"

Bah! It's one thing if the person is truly a much better player. I could even understand if it was said with some humility like "Hey Arun, I just noticed that you (whatever), but maybe it would help to (whatever). I'm not an expert, but just an observance." But unsolicited coaching in the heat of a game is really annoying.

When I play tennis, I'm usually better than the people I play with. I almost never offer advice on their strokes though unless they ask. Sometimes you just wanna go out and have fun! You don't need me to coach your form if we're just playing around!

6. Ok, this isn't really a behavior, but I have to mention this.


Growing up, I always preferred pink, because I thought it had something extra. As I got older and more experienced at drinking lemonade, I realized that I didn't really notice a difference in taste!

In college, I brought up this point some people, and my friend Becca INSISTED that there was a difference! So, we did a blind taste test. She was shocked to realize that she guessed wrong! As disappointing as it was to find out the truth, there is no difference between pink and regular lemonade.

Make sure to study these six points. They will appear on your exit exam from "Arun's School of Lifetime Awesomeness." :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Making Money is Expensive

So last year around this time, I was super excited because I was getting all this money back from the government! If you scroll down to the end of that post, you'll notice a little exchange between blog-reader Tim and I with him warning me about this years tax possibilities.

Damn him for being right!

This year, I was all excited about doing my taxes! (foolish I was). I sat down with a big smile on my face, fired up Turbo Tax, and started dialing in some serious numbers!

High Interest Bank Earnings: Yea!
Mutual Fund Dividends: Woohoo!
Blog income: My piggy bank is jingling!
Salary: Cha-Ching! etc etc etc.

I was flying through, getting even more excited as I saw all the money I made last year. Now for deductions!

Charitable Contributions: Yes...Cancer donation plus Salvation Army.
Renters Deduction: Do not qualify
Phone Deduction: Do not qualify
Student Deduction: No longer qualify

Hmm...not going so well anymore. I was still excited as I got to the end with and hit the calculate button! Last year a big green number popped up with my tax returns. This year, a big RED number popped up. Hmmm...they must have changed the color scheme this year, right?

I double check, and...WHAT!?!!? I OWE money!? I went back through my taxes three more times, and yes, it was true. My excitement was gone, and so was my money. I couldn't believe it! It seems like everyone I know is getting money back except for ME! Not only am I getting NOTHING back, but I'm actually PAYING to both the federal government, and state of California!

Making money is expensive. I made considerably more than last year, and man am I paying the price. I suppose maybe I should hope that I'm paying a lot MORE next year because that'll mean that I'm doing pretty well, right? Yes, I'm an optimist by nature :)

But that's not where the money drainage ends! Oh no. A couple of weeks ago, I take my car in for a "simple" $20 oil change and a slightly squeaky engine. Four Hundred dollars later I walk away with new oil and no squeak.


It's always difficult, because they call you up after you've dropped the car off, tell you all the crazy stuff they found wrong, and you have to decide on the spot what to do! I know nothing about cars, so I'm probably a prime target to get swindled.

In retrospect, I investigated the repairs, and I don't think I got taken too bad...although the cabin air filter replacement (basically the filter for the AC) was probably not necessary...oh well, lesson learned.

The four hundred dollars however was such a thorn in my side though, because I just the week before spent some $700 on San Diego Chargers season tickets! As I've mentioned before, I hate the Chargers, but I go to about two or three games a season (I'm a Chiefs fan) and sell off the rest at a profit. I suppose I'll get a lot of that money back, but it's still money out of my bank account NOW!

And then, just yesterday, I splurged for plain tickets to Austin Texas! My good buddy, and fellow troublemaker/model/adventurer Jeff lives there now, so I decided it's time to raid his new house.

And of all three of these expenses, the Austin trip is the cheapest! So, I think I'm going to forgo major car repairs from now on, and go globe trotting instead! Now I just need to decided on something fun to spend my $600 tax rebate check on :)