You found me (not that I've been hiding) and, yes, I realize this page was built in Blogger, but I'm really not using it as a blog. Occasionally, I'll post a note in the space below, but not too often.

However, I do blog regularly and invite you to check it out. If you're looking for me, I'm probably logged in to Facebook right now. I also tweet a lot.

Twitter is where I make most of my noise...

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Frightening Realization

I came to a startling realization this week. More on that later. First, the backstory.

Earlier this year, I committed to getting back into shape. I completed the entire P90X program and, while I didn't really follow a strict diet, I became a bit more mindful of what I was eating. I cut down on some portions and made a conscious effort to avoid unnecessary fats and sugars.

Slowly, a pound or two at a time, the weight came off and between February and the end of July, I had lost 18 pounds. Not bad.

Determined to trim a bit more body fat, I decided to cut out sweetened drinks for the entire month of August. Since I had already cut out regular soft drinks and rarely drink sweetened iced tea, that really meant eliminating artificially-sweetened diet drinks.You know, the zero-calorie stuff.

That sounds a bit unproductive, so I imagine you're asking yourself, "why?"  Well... I had read that diet drinks might not be any better than the sugar-laden stuff and cutting them out might actually help lose weight.  I'm not sure why, but one theory is that the combined sweet taste but lack of sugar confuses your body, makes it crave carbs and triggers fat storage. Another is that the chemical sweeteners are actually irritating, and your body responds by inflaming... essentially growing fat cells to protect the rest.

I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, so I don't know. I'm not sure they do, either. Regardless, I figured I'd give it a try. Couldn't hurt.

Fast forward to last week. I weighed in at 189, a 3 pound drop from July 27. Impressive, but the surprise came this week.. I was down another 4 pounds, my steepest one-week drop all year. Keep in mind, I hadn't changed anything else. In fact, if anything, I've been a bit lax on the workouts lately.

OK, so the weight loss part worked. Still not sure why, but it did. I also found that I have more energy during the day and generally feel great.

But that's still not the mindblowing part...

This week, I realized that since I've rid my system of diet drinks, I'm more mentally focused than I can recall being in a very long time. I'm thinking clearer than I have pretty much since high school. I'm solving problems faster... sometimes without giving them much thought at all.

In hindsight, that's actually utterly terrifying.

Needless to say, I think I'm permanently done with artificial sweeteners. My gray matter agrees. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

A shining example of how NOT to use social media in your business.

What began as a minor annoyance turns into a social media failure. Smart businesses can benefit from one company's unlearned lesson in how to properly engage people on Twitter.

Read the rest on Storify...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Should I Follow You?

Whenever someone follows me, or Twitter suggests that I follow them, I run through a quick series of questions to decide whether or not they're worthy of a spot in my stream:

Do I already know you? While Twitter provides an excellent channel to discover new people, there's something to be said about existing relationships.

Are you local? Along the lines of the first item, even though the internet makes the world smaller, it provides an incredible way to share what people are saying and doing right in your own backyard.

Are your tweets interesting or relevant? Your last 10 posts either sell you or they don't.

Do you interact with me?  The best way to get on my radar is to say something to me. Simple, huh?

Do the people I follow follow you? Well, do they?

Is your profile complete? Photo, bio, website. Without those, I question your commitment. Speaking of bios... if yours reads like a sales piece, I'm probably not going to read much further.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Meat Week!

Let me start off by saying, we've let you down, albeit unintentionally, even if you don't know it yet. You see, right around this time last year, fellow carnivore and craft beer enthusiast Kevin Myers sent me a link about Meat Week, an eight-day celebration of  BBQ that began in Tallahassee in 2005 and has since spread to various cities around the country. That is, various cities with one glaring omission... there was no Triangle chapter. Determined to rectify this travesty (heck, even Iowa City* has a chapter and I'm not 100% certain anyone actually lives there), we said we'd make an effort to coordinate Triangle Meat Week 2011.

It's Meat Week!
Unfortunately, time got away from us and by the time the official reminder emails came around, it was already too late. After all, we'd rather do it right than simply throw something together at the last minute. Alas, this year's edition of the great gastrointestinal love fest is upon us, and we don't have any local gatherings planned. 

That's the bad news. The good news is, Meat Week goes on, with or without us, and the national organizers say you don't necessarily need a scheduled event (see Flyin' Solo) to celebrate these High Holy Days of Hog. Our poor planning should in no way inhibit your ability to partake in the meaty goodness of which you are so deserving. So, be sure to round up a few friends and family and pay a visit your favorite BBQ shacks and smokehouses any night, or every night, between January 30 and February 6. Order a pile of the smoked animal of your choice and wash it down with a pint or two of a good local beer (let me be clear... I said local, not lo-cal).

Think about which of these places you'd like see on the Triangle Meat Week 2012 schedule and let us know. In the meantime, consider this a commitment to do whatever is necessary to make Triangle Meat Week 2012 a reality.

*My sincere apologies to the residents of Iowa City for casting your hometown in a negative light in order to make a point. I hope you'll both forgive me.

Hops & Hickory