Can’t Sit, Can’t Stand

So I’ve been having this excruciating lower back pain for about a week. 


I literally cannot sit or stand without shooting pain. 


When I sit, it hurts the lower back so much to get up. 


And when I stand, all I want to do is relieve the pressure and sit down. 


I feel like the warning from G-d in the Torah where He says (Deuteronomy 28:67):

In the morning you will say ‘”If only it were evening!” and in the evening “If only it were morning!”

The only real relief so far is lying down or going in the pool. 


Planning to see the doctor to check it out and hopefully with G-d’s mercy it will be better very soon.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Icing That Migraine

So a lot of people I know get excruciating migraines in the Washington, D.C. area. 


I don’t know the statistical incident rate here for migraines, but anecdotally it seems significantly higher.


Is it the weather patterns, pollution, toxic chemicals or something else in this geographic area?


While medicine seems to be critical in actually getting rid of the migraine, I do notice that sustained use of ice packs or freezing water on the head also seems to help. 


Cold generally constricts the blood vessels, so I am not sure why this provides migraine relief.


Note: I am not giving medical advise or guidance to anyone, but just sharing my experiences. 


I would be interested to see a medical study done on treating migraines with freezing cold–from my experience, I think it definitely helps.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Diamonds Under Pressure

So someone reminded me about stress and pressure in life. 


They said:

Pressure makes diamonds.


Diamonds are of the most beautiful and precious items in the world that we give to our loved ones as a symbol of our tremendous love for them. 


Diamonds are crystals made of pure carbon that formed under high temperature and extreme pressure. 


People too are often under extreme pressure in life from all sorts of demands and challenges whether it be work, family, threats, or illness.  


But just like from pressure comes diamonds, so too can pressure make us from rough and imperfect human beings into smooth, polished, and spectacular people. 


Rather than crack under pressure, we need to cope with it and let it strengthen us and shape us to be the gems we can be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Love Is Like Cows

Cows

So had three funny instances today of the tales of woe when it comes to love.


The first was when someone was telling me that they are trying to meet women through online dating. 


But he goes, “No one gives anyone a chance anymore.”


It’s like if there is one thing wrong, it’s over.


He said, one lady wrote in her profile that if you are a fan of XYZ sports team, do not even bother contacting her.


Another was like if you’re of ABC political affiliation, forget about it!


He said people just don’t seem to want relationships anymore. 


Then I was talking coincidentally to someone else, who I knew was going out with someone already. 


I politely asked how things were going. 


He said, “Fine, but she is pressuring me to marry her.”


I said, “So if you love her, what’s wrong with that?”


And he responded, “Well then my whole life will change. I won’t be able to go to parties or on vacations anymore.”


Basically, he’s just happy being with her but on casual terms.


Then I told him (considerably younger than myself) how years ago mothers would warn their daughters about men’s thinking of “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”


This guy was laughing like crazy when I said that. 


Finally, someone at the kiddush today told the joke about the Rabbi or Priest who lost his umbrella in the synagogue or church. 


His first thought was darn it, one of the congregants stole my umbrella. 


So he decided that for his sermon he would lecture the people about the Ten Commandments, one at a time from the beginning. 


But then when he got to the sin of adultery, he stops and says, “Oh forget it, I just remembered where I left my umbrella!”


Funny day for love and relationships–it’s something in the air, maybe cow patties.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Footsies At Comfort One

Feet

So lately my feet have been hurting me. 


My wife tells me, “Go to Comfort One for new shoes.”


I say, “But I don’t want to go get nerdy shoes there.”


Like in most arguments, my wife wins and in I march, reluctantly, to the store. 


First, they take this scan of my feet (something that looks like the picture above) to show me where my foot is getting pressure (and pain).


Okay, well I already know this, but when you see all the red on the picture, I guess it helps to scare you to getting an expensive new pair of orthopedic-like shoes. 


But first, they sell me on some arch supports that slides into the shoe…they seem to feel pretty good, and in fact, after walking around in them for a little while, I actually miss them when I finally take them off. 


Give me back those darn arch supports, will ya?


Next, we see these amazing Mephisto shoes (with “soft-air technology”)…made in Europe…the salesman says, their built like a tank. 


My wife says, “Oh, my aunt told me to get those too!” We now have a bona fide endorsement. 


I pick up the shoe on display and it look like it is pretty rugged with all the right support for walking around…maybe I got to get over that it looks to me like old people shoes (from Haband). 


Hey, what do you want Andy–to feel good on your feet or to look like your 18 again. 


Okay, I try them on…with the arch supports inserted…and what do you know, I am walking a heck of a lot better.


Well, what about the price…holy crap, I can get 3 pairs of cool shoes at REI for one of these nerdy pairs. 


Oh darn it, I have no choice…I am walking better, especially with the hip surgeries from last year still looming behind me. 


I get the shoes, I get the arches…I pay the money–too much money!


I feel nerdy or so nerdy, but maybe I’m going for the healing power, G-d willing, of a good pair of supportive shoes. 


My wife was right again, and I hate to admit it, but please don’t tell her I said so–it’s bad for her ego and mine. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Teamwork or Telework?

Teamwork or Telework?

Clive Thompson makes an interesting point in Wired (15 May 2013) on productivity versus creativity.

He says that people seem more creative when interacting with other people in a group, and more productive when left alone to get their work done.

Hence, he advocates for telework to improve individual productivity, but basically only after the team first gets together to figure out what creative things they should be doing.

While I agree that group interchange can be good for bouncing ideas around and sparking innovation, and that with some quiet time, people can plow through a lot of work on their own–this is only a very narrow perspective.

Really, very often, the exact opposite is true….think about it.

When alone, and with some quiet time to think, you may come up with some of your best and most creative ideas. That is because the pressure is off to strut your stuff with the others, the groupthink is gone, and you can concentrate and free associate. Inventors, writers, painters, and other creative types come up with some of the best innovations, when they are left alone to do their thing.

Similarly, when people are in a group, they can often be much more productive than when working alone. Whether in mass producing good as a team in a factory, as team mates in sports passing and scoring, as warfighters waging battle side by side, and even as the construction crew in the picture above putting up a brand new high-rise building–people, when working together, can do amazingly great and productive things.

So yes, while at times groups can spark creativity among each other and quiet time can be good for getting (some paper) work done, often the exact opposite is true–and the group can produce in quantity and quality and the individual can think, experiment, and truly innovate.

Group and individual work is not correlated one for one with creativity and productivity–it all depends on what you are trying to get done.

But either way, you need both telework and teamwork to think and produce. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Have You Been Voluntold?

Have You Been Voluntold?

Voluntold, it’s a funny word.

A combination of volunteer and told, to do something.

I couldn’t believe that this word is actually in the dictionary and means:

“When one has been volunteered for something by another person. Often against their wishes and desires.” (Reference: Unwords)

“The exact opposite of volunteering. Always used in reference to an unpleasant task to which you have been assigned by your boss.”(Reference: Urban Dictionary)

I’ve seen this used when the boss asks for volunteers for a task or special project. If no one volunteers, then the boss volunteers someone–telling them to do it. They have been voluntold!

One time, I remember a very tense meeting where a boss was presenting his vision for the organization, but at the same time putting down the status quo and everyone in it.

As one point, he asks for a volunteer to help with driving his vision forward (note: no one had bought into it), and no one volunteers.

The boss ask for a volunteer once, twice, and three times at the meeting as the tension rises.

Finally, a hand goes up and someone accepts the task.

He is the bosses new favorite and is told publicly at the meeting that he will be rewarded for “stepping up.”

The truth is he didn’t really step up, but rather succumbed to the pressure to do it.

Another victim of being voluntold.

In the end, he really didn’t perform much of what he volunteered for–not a surprise, since he never bought into it to begin with.

Sometimes, we do have to ask people to do things, but it shouldn’t be by force or undue pressure.

A leader builds his vision with his team–not for his team–and they move forward together to achieve their unified goals and objectives.

Telling someone to do something, and pretending that they are really volunteering fools no one and achieves nothing accept maybe calling out some pretend accomplishments to go with the pretend volunteers. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Andrew Huff)