The Ice Bucket Challenge and Free Will vs. Coercion

Look, I know ALS is bad. People should donate to charities that study and fight it. But they should also give to other charities, and money is finite, at least in my bank accounts.

I donated $50 to WISPIRG last week because I support their cause. I don’t have $50 to donate to ALS research right now, and I am not dumping ice water on my head. So piss off.

I totally encourage people who do have infinite sums of money to donate A LOT to the fight against ALS, if that’s their bag, as well as other charities. Rich people with excessive money should spend it on good things.

Who knows, maybe if you throw more money at ALS, it will magically go away and everyone will be cured. But you know, you also need scientists and doctors to actually do the research and develop treatments and preventive measures. Just funneling money at something doesn’t usually automatically help it along. The money has to go to something, not just into the pockets of the people running the charities.

At this point the #icebucketchallenge meme has gotten so out of control, I don’t think people are donating anymore and some probably don’t even know what ALS is. They are just doing it to hop on the meme bandwagon.

Let me tell you something, this summer is not even hot enough to make dumping ice on my head worthwhile. Some people got electrocuted doing this challenge when a fire truck ladder hit some power lines. People could die from this thing.

And people in California should be ashamed about wasting all that water when they have the worst drought ever going on.

The point is, donate to whatever you want, or nothing at all if you can’t afford to. No one should force you to do something. Do it for yourself because you want to. If it is not done out of free will, it is not really charitable, it is coerced.

When I see someone do the #IBC, I think, “Wow, I did not know that person was so conformist and gullible…I thought they had FREEWILL.”

I think there is some kind of “white savior” complex driving people to do the ice bucket challenge. But dumping ice water on your head does not make you a hero. Asking others to donate does not make you a hero. Only YOU donating money makes you a hero, not coercing others to do it while you wash away your own guilt with a bucket of ice water.

I hope this meme comes to a speedy end.


Biathlon or Triathlon Wednesday

This morning I ran 3.2 miles (5 kilometers) with my neighbor Danielle. It was by no means easy, but it was a great workout. I felt great when it was over.

On top of that, I bike commuted to work today, which will be a total of about 15 miles after I bike home this evening.

On the face of it, that constitutes a small standard biathlon.

However, if you include tonight’s marathon of aerobic and energetic rock-n-roll music that me and my band GUPPY EFFECT will be playing at the Mason Lounge (406 S. Park St, Madison WI), then I will complete a medium-sized, non-standard triathlon today, where one of the events is face melting, sphincter exploding live rock-n-roll performing.

Trust me, rocking is a workout, at least for GUPPY EFFECT. A lot of bands just stand on stage and don’t move around. Even they are expending energy, though not as much as us. We (and primarily I) move around a lot. The Mason Lounge has a rather small stage and so it won’t be easy to move in the horizontal axis, but we will definitely move in the vertical axis, via small repeating episodes of levitation.

The show is from 8 to 10 PM tonight at the Mason, if you’d like to spectate and be there when I cross the metaphorical “finish line” of today’s alt-triathlon.


A Shift to More Nutrient Dense and Higher Protein Foods the Fortnight Prior to BWOWM

It is a little less than a fortnight until BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA, the Labor Day weekend social biking event I host every year (since 1999) in Shell Lake WI, and I am embarking on a pre-ride health challenge to consume a diet richer in nutrient dense and higher protein (healthy) foods to prepare me for the event.

The ride is just a social one of about 50 miles round trip between Shell Lake and Stone Lake WI, with many rest stops for refreshments and food, much of which will be nutrient poor and calorie high. It is not a race but I need to make sure my body has maximum good nutrition before the ride. I also want to reduce my weight by a few pounds, which the ride is sure to restore.

The idea for this challenge came because I got a new grill from my family as a house warming gift after I moved to Madison. My sister inspired me to use it often to cook lean meats and vegetables (it has a slick vegetable cooker tray). I fully plan to do so.

It is also nearing the end of summer proper and my activity levels begin to drop as it gets cold in Wisconsin. That means more storage of empty calories as fat, so I need to adapt my dietary lifestyle to compensate. This challenge will serve as a reset for my summer dietary habits, which tend to be less restrictive due to my frequent physical activity, transitioning to winter habits that are healthier.

At work, the cafeteria has a decent salad bar with a variety of nutrient dense and high protein foods. This is fortunate with respect to my fitness challenge. I am not a dieter, in the sense of restricting calories. Instead, I change the type of calories and the ratio between nutrition and calories. That is, I focus on foods with a high nutrient density relative to calorie content, which are healthier and stimulate less weight gain due to their minimal impact on insulin metabolism.

Beans and nuts and eggs have calories, but the ratio of nutrients to calories is higher than in say, ice cream, which has a lot of empty calories relative to nutrient content.

The salad I bought for lunch today  contained, in no particular order:

Chick peas - protein/dense
Red and green peppers - dense
Broccoli - dense
Mushrooms - protein/dense
HB egg - protein/dense
Walnuts - protein/dense
Spinach - dense
Grilled chicken - protein/dense
Newman's Own Light Italian Dressing (1 packet) - dense (80 calories, all from olive and vegetable oils)
Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (1 packet) - dense (150 calories, from olive and sugar)

The vinaigrette dressing is the only source of refined carbohydrate in this salad and I probably should have avoided it, but it adds a lot of flavor. The Newman's Own brand of light Italian dressing is the only one I know of that contains no sugar at all.

I also avoided dairy in this salad, though I had the option to add several kinds of cheese, including cottage.

I also avoided the mock crab meat, which, albeit high in protein, has a questionable manufacturing process.