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May, 2013:

Growing My Hair Out – Sort Of

I’m meant to have short hair. I’ve known that for a long time. Even when I had long hair, I kept it in a ponytail most of the time.  Short hair is versatile and sassy, and if you don’t like it, you can change it pretty fast by chopping more off or letting it grow for a few weeks.

Shannyn Sossamon

Shannyn Sossamon

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a different hairstyle for awhile now, and even when I try new things, it defaults back to my standard style after about a month or so.  My friend suggested that the reason this probably happens is because my hair is so short that there’s a limit number of things I can do with it. He challenged me to let my hair grow until the end of July. I’m usually in the salon every six weeks, so letting my hair grow for three months will be a commitment. He may be right and so I have accepted the challenge.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster

And this is going to be a challenge for me. I don’t like having hair in my face or having the sides so long that they can tickle the insides of my ears. And I hate the grow-out phase when I’ve grown my hair completely out in the past. It’s awkward when it’s too short to pull back and too long to do anything with. I suspect I’ll be rocking bobby pins or a headband by the end of this adventure.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

There have been a lot of pretty short hair styles I’ve considered over the years. The longest one I liked was Shannyn Sossamon’s hair in 40 Days and 40 Nights. Recently I’ve liked Jodie Foster’s hair in Elysium, and Charlize Theron was breathtaking at the Oscars this year with her short pixie. There was also a nameless bridge officer on Star Trek: Into Darkness with short platinum blonde hair that looked so good I’m contemplating changing the color of my hair as well as my coif.

Nameless Bridge Officer in Star Trek: Into Darkness

Nameless Bridge Officer in Star Trek: Into Darkness

I’m curious to see what style I end up selecting for my first haircut once this is over. There are so really cute styles out there, but a lot of them have bangs that can easily hang over your eyes. That’s impractical and it’s the type of thing that will make me crazy when I’m stressed out. If I go with a sassy style like this (and I might because it is that cute), I’ll have to have a headband that lives on my desk so I can whip my hair out of my face when I need to get work done without any distractions, including my hair.

UPDATE: My friend appears to have identified the nameless blonde bridge officer from Star Trek: Into Darkness as Jodi Johnston and found a clear picture of her.

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Bonding with my Fellow Geeks at Phoenix Comicon

It’s Phoenix Comicon this weekend! I feel like Geek Christmas is upon us. I love going to geek events because from the moment I walk in, I know I’m surrounded by people who “get it.” We don’t have to explain why we love what we love, we just get to enjoy it with our fellow geeks. This weekend, we’re taking over the Phoenix Convention Center. It’s going to be a fun time.

Ruth Carter at Phoenix Comicon, Photo by Devon Christopher Adams

Speaking at Phoenix Comicon 2012 – Photo by Phoenix Comicon and Devon Christopher Adams

I’m excited that the powers that be at Phoenix Comicon have asked me to be part of two panels this year:

  • The Legalities of Fan Fiction and Fan Art – Saturday, May 25th at 3pm
  • Comic Creator Rights – Sunday, May 26th at 10:30am

The variety and array of events at Phoenix Comicon this year is huge! I spent a good chunk of last weekend going through the schedule and building out my conquest. Here’s what’s on my docket besides my talks:

Friday, May 24th

  • Deep Space Nine: 20 Years Later – I’m a huge DS9 fan so I’m super excited for this.
  • From Bullying to Harmony: Understanding and Dealing with Bullying – great panel for this audience.
  • Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown III – this is definitely one of the best events at Phoenix Comicon.
  • Awesome Hour with Wil Wheaton – If I haven’t turned into a pumpkin yet.

Saturday, May 25th

  • Hit Phoenix Public Market for lunch before going to Phoenix Comicon.
  • Klingon Language for Beginners – I’ve always wanted to learn Klingon. I tried to learn with the tapes, but I only picked up a handful of words.
  • Trek Fandom in the Valley – I’ve been thinking I want to do more with the Trek community.

Sunday, May 26th

  • Wheaton and Scalzi, Together Again – I’ll go if I’m not conned out by this point. Given that I’m a massive introvert and don’t particularly like large crowds of people, I probably will be.

There are some sci-fi speed dating events. It might be interesting in doing this, but given that a lot of people go to cons to hook up and that’s not my bag, this might not be for me.

Of course there is also the vendor room at Phoenix Comicon too. I’m always on the market for a good geeky t-shirt. The challenge is finding ones that aren’t printed on super cheap itchy shirts. Having custom shirts made at Brand X has turned me into a bit of a t-shirt snob. I’d love to get a Star Trek or a Wheaton’s Law t-shirt.

I’ve lost at least 20 pounds since my bought my Starfleet uniform so now it’s too big for me to wear. Seeing the new Star Trek movie has inspired me to get a new one. I’d love to have Uhura’s dress from the movie for when I’m feeling sassy and a gray-and-black jumpsuit from Deep Space Nine for every day wear. I’m also on the lookout for a morphsuit too – probably in royal blue, though it would be fun to get one in black and pretend to be people’s shadows.

I’m really looking forward to getting my geek on and bonding with my fellow nerds this weekend. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Enough with the Digital Panty Throwing

Keep your digital panties on people!

I love Twitter. It’s my favorite social media platform. I love that it provides an easy way to start a conversation with someone you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to talk to other than sending an awkward email. One lesson that’s been drilled into my head by my social media expert friends is that social media is a communications tool. It’s not a digital billboard.

From Improv AZ's 2010 No Pants Light Rail Ride by Devon Christopher Adams

From Improv AZ’s 2010 No Pants Light Rail Ride by Devon Christopher Adams

One thing that annoys me on Twitter is what I call “digital panty throwing.” This is when a person (male or female) asks a celebrity for a retweet because they think the celebrity is hot, or it’s their birthday, or they want the celebrity to help them bring attention to a cause. There’s no real communication going on there. The person is using the celebrity to get attention and too many celebrities are indulging these people. Stop it!

I became aware of his problem during the 2012 Olympic Games. I love gymnastics so I followed the U.S. men’s team. I figured they could share insights and experiences from inside the games without the obnoxiousness teenage girliness that would be all over the women’s profiles, because well, they’re teenage girls. Unfortunately, the men flooded their feeds with retweets of girls telling them how cute they are. I understand they wanted to keep their fans happy and they appreciated the attention, but it added nothing to the online conversation and it was more insufferable than anything else.

I had the pleasure of talking with Gary Vaynerchuk this year. He said retweets like this are simply bragging and quite unattractive. I think the only time it’s ok to retweet what other people say about you is when you’re enhancing the conversation or sharing something that you suspect a significant portion of your followers will want to read. Otherwise, enjoy the attention by yourself. If someone wants to know what other people are saying to and about you, they’ll look it up themselves.

The novelty of Twitter has worn off. It’s just a tool to talk with people – not at them. If there’s a celebrity you want to talk to, engage them in a meaningful way. No one cares if you think they’re hot (we already know that) or you want them to wish your brother a happy birthday.

If you’re someone who has a strong following, please don’t encourage digital panty throwing by conceding to these requests for retweets. I know you’re awesome. Retweeting stupid requests from fans makes you look less awesome.

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The Smoothie Diet – Your Questions Answered

The 30-day smoothie diet is over, and I’ve mostly maintained the weight I lost so far. When I first went back on real food, my body seemed to scream “FOOD!” and wanted to eat everything in sight, even when I wasn’t hungry. I think that impulse is starting to settle down. I wanted to take this post to address the questions you’ve had for me about the diet.

Evo & Me at our Final Weigh-In

Evo & Me at our Final Weigh-In

Would you ever do the diet again?
Probably not. I’m glad I did the diet and I’d consider doing it again for 1-2 weeks or do 1-2 smoothies a day plus a regular meal if I needed to lose weight. Doing this diet for 30 days was hard towards the end. The novelty of the diet also made it easier to stick with it. As Dr. Terry Simpson said, people generally don’t like this diet, just the results.

What smoothies you recommend and what smoothies you don’t recommend?
I loved my breakfast smoothie (almond milk, nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, coffee, and sugar-free chocolate pudding) and smoothies that combined almond milk, nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, mango, and either raspberries or pineapple. Those were my favorites.

The only smoothie I didn’t care for was the peanut butter smoothie, but I’m not a big peanut butter fan.

What was your mindset going into the diet? Do you have any recommendations for others on how to stick to a diet like this for 30 days?
In my mind, not sticking to the diet was not an option. I was going to finish it without cheating no matter what. Having my friend Evo Terra doing a crazy diet at the same time helped. We could compare stories and commiserate about missing real food.

How did you deal with the ebb and flow of cravings?
I just accepted that cravings were part of the deal. I’ve done raw diets before so I’ve had experience craving things that weren’t on my diet. You just ride them out like a wave. Posting my cravings on my Google+ profile was somewhat validating.

How much pre-planning time did the diet take?
Not that much. I went to my neighborhood grocery stores and figured out who had the best deals on my primary ingredients and made sure the fridge and freezer were always well stocked. At the beginning of each day, I jotted down a few notes about the smoothies I wanted to do that day to make sure my expected calorie count was between 1000 and 1250 calories.

How much clean up did you have to do every day?
I just had to wash my blender(s), cup(s), measuring cup, cutting board, knife, spoon, and spatula.

When you were out with friends what it harder? Any will power strategies? 
I didn’t do meals out during the smoothie diet. If I had a reception or networking event, I just drank water or club soda. The only really hard part was when my parents stayed with me for a long weekend and had friends over for dinner. I sat with them at the table and watched them eat real food while I had my smoothie, but even then it was mostly a non-issue.

Did you have more trips to the “powder room” on this diet? How was your poo?
I didn’t need extra trips to the restroom after I lost the initial water weight and I could definitely tell that I was on a very low fat diet.

What was the total volume of smoothies you consumed?
I drank 2404 ounces of smoothies on the diet, or just under 19 gallons. It would have almost filled a big party tub.

Did you win?
Dr. Terry will declare who won after he looks as Evo and my labs. Evo lost 14 pounds and 3.3% body fat on the diet. I lost 8.5 pounds and 4.3% body fat.

Dr. Terry’s fancy scale will tell you what your basal metabolic rate – the minimum calories your body needs to maintain itself if you did nothing but wake up and breathe. At the beginning of the diet my BMR was 1331 calories. At the end my BMR was 1294. I asked Terry if all I had to do to maintain my weight loss was reduce my pre-diet caloric intake by 37 calories (which I can easily do by adjusting the cream and sugar in my coffee). He said, “Yes!” It’s that easy. I guess little changes do make a big difference in the big picture.