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  11. <title>MikeDiDonato.com</title>
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  13. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com</link>
  14. <description>my corner of nowhere particular</description>
  15. <lastBuildDate>Mon, 16 Nov 2020 13:50:04 +0000</lastBuildDate>
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  22. <item>
  23. <title>The Social Dilemma</title>
  24. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/11/16/the-social-dilemma/</link>
  25. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/11/16/the-social-dilemma/#comments</comments>
  26. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  27. <pubDate>Mon, 16 Nov 2020 13:50:02 +0000</pubDate>
  28. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  29. <category><![CDATA[MOVIES]]></category>
  30. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11726</guid>
  31.  
  32. <description><![CDATA[This weekend we finished watching the Netflix original: Social Dilemma. Oof. It was powerful. I find its argument compelling and extremely cautionary, however I wonder]]></description>
  33. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  34. <p>This weekend we finished watching the Netflix original: Social Dilemma. Oof. It was powerful. I find its argument compelling and extremely cautionary, however I wonder if all people would derive value from it. I&#8217;m curious if those deepest within their own echo chamber, after watching it, would throw their fists in the air and shout unironically at those that oppose their views &#8220;see! wake up sheeple! Everyone ELSE needs to pay attention to this&#8221; Are any of us even remotely aware of the bubbles we live in?</p>
  35.  
  36.  
  37.  
  38. <p>I&#8217;d like to think I am. But I bet everyone thinks that.</p>
  39.  
  40.  
  41.  
  42. <p>In response to watching it, I deleted my Facebook account and downloaded a chrome extension that removes YouTube recommendations. I&#8217;m happy with these adjustments. But my biggest weakness is Reddit and Google news. These are my primary news sources. How do I clean this up? </p>
  43.  
  44.  
  45.  
  46. <p>Does anyone have any recommendations on how to get bland, boring, unbiased, news? Honestly, a newspaper would probably be smarter &#8211; but the convenience of digital media is that it&#8217;s free, quick, and easy. Three things that old fashion media is not. I frequent fivethirtyeight.com which I feel confident in, but that&#8217;s mostly politics and sports. Where do I find out basic life stuff and socially relevant content? Vaccine updates, social concerns, pop news? I think this is still relevant, but how can someone remove the manipulation from news sources? </p>
  47.  
  48.  
  49.  
  50. <p>I&#8217;m mostly stumped on this. Recommendations welcome.</p>
  51. ]]></content:encoded>
  52. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/11/16/the-social-dilemma/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  53. <slash:comments>6</slash:comments>
  54. </item>
  55. <item>
  56. <title>Sleep Update</title>
  57. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/10/07/sleep-update/</link>
  58. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/10/07/sleep-update/#comments</comments>
  59. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  60. <pubDate>Wed, 07 Oct 2020 17:09:37 +0000</pubDate>
  61. <category><![CDATA[A Day In The Life...]]></category>
  62. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  63. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11715</guid>
  64.  
  65. <description><![CDATA[On May 5th, I had my first sleep consultation with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) experts at Yale. Over the following 8 weeks]]></description>
  66. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  67. <p>On May 5th, I had my first sleep consultation with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) experts at Yale. Over the following 8 weeks or so, I met with them weekly to go over various strategies to improve my sleep. It&#8217;s now about 5 months later so let&#8217;s look at the data.</p>
  68.  
  69.  
  70.  
  71. <p>DISCLAIMER: I&#8217;m using fitbit data which is generally frowned upon by experts for being far too unscientific. To that I say Whatever. I think it still tells a story. </p>
  72.  
  73.  
  74.  
  75. <p><strong>Before CBTi</strong><br />Jan 1 &#8211; May 5: Average hours asleep = 6.1</p>
  76.  
  77.  
  78.  
  79. <p><strong>During CBTi</strong><br />May 5 &#8211; July 7: Average hours asleep = 6.4</p>
  80.  
  81.  
  82.  
  83. <p><strong>After CBTi</strong><br />July 7 &#8211; Oct 7: Average hours asleep = 6.7 (woo!)</p>
  84.  
  85.  
  86.  
  87. <p>Let&#8217;s take a look at the charts for the before and after:</p>
  88.  
  89.  
  90.  
  91. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img decoding="async" fetchpriority="high" width="588" height="349" src="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/BeforeCBTI-588x349.png" alt="" class="wp-image-11716" srcset="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/BeforeCBTI-588x349.png 588w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/BeforeCBTI-300x178.png 300w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/BeforeCBTI-470x280.png 470w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/BeforeCBTI.png 746w" sizes="(max-width: 588px) 100vw, 588px" /></figure>
  92.  
  93.  
  94.  
  95. <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img decoding="async" width="588" height="350" src="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/AfterCBTI-588x350.png" alt="" class="wp-image-11717" srcset="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/AfterCBTI-588x350.png 588w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/AfterCBTI-300x179.png 300w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/AfterCBTI-470x280.png 470w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/10/AfterCBTI.png 746w" sizes="(max-width: 588px) 100vw, 588px" /></figure>
  96.  
  97.  
  98.  
  99. <p>What have I noticed? Perhaps even more significant than the general increase in my average sleep is the fact that my nights with horrific sleep are virtually gone. Those are the nights where I wake up in the middle of the night and can&#8217;t get back to sleep. You can see them as the big white gaps in my first set of data. I used to be nervous when it was time to go to bed. I would anxiously wonder if it was going to be a terrible night again; but that&#8217;s all gone. These days I go to bed every night and fall asleep within 10 minutes or so. Most nights I do wake up, but I calmly go back to sleep without an issue and then I wake up with my alarm or just prior. I have found that I&#8217;ve been waking up before my alarm more often than I&#8217;d like, but I&#8217;m not really worried about that sort of thing. </p>
  100.  
  101.  
  102.  
  103. <p>I still have bad night&#8217;s sleep once in awhile, though now it&#8217;s usually due to an extrinsic event. My work phone rings or I have a looming deadline or presentation that is making me nervous. But these can be easily explained and dealt with.</p>
  104.  
  105.  
  106.  
  107. <p>I&#8217;m really happy I finally pulled the trigger and sought help with my sleeping. It&#8217;s made a huge difference.</p>
  108. ]]></content:encoded>
  109. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/10/07/sleep-update/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  110. <slash:comments>2</slash:comments>
  111. </item>
  112. <item>
  113. <title>Writing</title>
  114. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/09/17/writing/</link>
  115. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/09/17/writing/#respond</comments>
  116. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  117. <pubDate>Thu, 17 Sep 2020 18:05:53 +0000</pubDate>
  118. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  119. <category><![CDATA[Quickthoughts]]></category>
  120. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11708</guid>
  121.  
  122. <description><![CDATA[I didn&#8217;t start appreciating quality writing until well after the conclusion of my formal education. I met most of my required reading through school with]]></description>
  123. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  124. <p>I didn&#8217;t start appreciating quality writing until well after the conclusion of my formal education. I met most of my required reading through school with zero enthusiasm. Someone could put exquisitely creative language in front of me and I would respond with little more than recognition of its existence. Typically, if there was any interest at all, it was centered around the plot &#8211; and even my plot awareness was shallow. I remember thinking that the Great Gatsby was a fun book about a really happy guy who liked parties.</p>
  125.  
  126.  
  127.  
  128. <p>I&#8217;m not sure when this changed, but my current respect for language couldn&#8217;t be more opposite from what it once was. I am extremely envious of those skilled persons who can craft the perfect combination of words to perfectly describe anything: emotion, experience, action, inaction.</p>
  129.  
  130.  
  131.  
  132. <p>Recently, I was exposed to David Foster Wallace&#8217;s &#8220;This is Water&#8221; commencement speech. Shortly thereafter I came across <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/the-lost-years-and-last-days-of-david-foster-wallace-883224/" target="_blank">this Rolling Stones article telling of his life and last days.</a> It talks about the origin of some of his brilliant phrasing skills. The Rolling Stones article linked me to his <a href="https://harpers.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/HarpersMagazine-1996-01-0007859.pdf">Cruise Ship Piece</a> which communicates so cleanly David Foster Wallace&#8217;s absolutely refreshing perspective. And this article is just that: An article! I have to try my hand at Wallace&#8217;s books. I can only imagine the vibrancy captured in their pages.</p>
  133.  
  134.  
  135.  
  136. <p>I know there&#8217;s more amazing word craft out there. I need to find more time to read beautiful language. It inspires.</p>
  137.  
  138.  
  139.  
  140. <p></p>
  141. ]]></content:encoded>
  142. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/09/17/writing/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  143. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  144. </item>
  145. <item>
  146. <title>The Fast and the Laborious</title>
  147. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/08/11/the-fast-and-the-laborious/</link>
  148. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/08/11/the-fast-and-the-laborious/#comments</comments>
  149. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  150. <pubDate>Tue, 11 Aug 2020 13:49:22 +0000</pubDate>
  151. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  152. <category><![CDATA[Food]]></category>
  153. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11682</guid>
  154.  
  155. <description><![CDATA[Timeline of my second 70 hour fast attempt: Wednesday 8/5/20208:30pm: Dinner ended around 6:30, but my last food occured at 8:30pm: One serving of almonds]]></description>
  156. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  157. <p>Timeline of my second 70 hour fast attempt:</p>
  158.  
  159.  
  160.  
  161. <p><strong>Wednesday 8/5/2020<br /></strong>8:30pm: Dinner ended around 6:30, but my last food occured at 8:30pm: One serving of almonds as dessert. Let&#8217;s get this party started.</p>
  162.  
  163.  
  164.  
  165. <p><strong>Thursday 8/6/2020<br /></strong>7:00am: Breakfast? Nah. No need. Had some water. Feeling good.</p>
  166.  
  167.  
  168.  
  169. <p>11:21am: My first twang of hunger has come across not as a growling stomach or as an ache for food but instead as a quiet thought of &#8220;oooh, it&#8217;s almost lunch time.&#8221;</p>
  170.  
  171.  
  172.  
  173. <p>1:45pm: I smell some coffee. It smells delicious</p>
  174.  
  175.  
  176.  
  177. <p>2:41pm: My second twang of hunger. I&#8217;d enjoy a snack. This urge will pass.</p>
  178.  
  179.  
  180.  
  181. <p>4:30pm: I feel a little weak. Not, like, crazy weak just mildly fatigued. If you outta nowhere invited me to attend a Crossfit class I&#8217;d probably opt out.</p>
  182.  
  183.  
  184.  
  185. <p>6:30pm: My stomach growls for the first time but I&#8217;m still feeling pretty good.</p>
  186.  
  187.  
  188.  
  189. <p>9:00pm: bedtime.</p>
  190.  
  191.  
  192.  
  193. <p><strong>Friday 8/7/2020</strong><br />2:45am: I fell asleep without any issues, but here I am now awake. This poor quality sleep is very similar to last time and is expected. If I can make it through today I&#8217;m curious if tonight will be just as bad (or worse) or if I&#8217;ll get some quality back as a recovery night.</p>
  194.  
  195.  
  196.  
  197. <p>7:00am: I didn&#8217;t get back to sleep, but my morning is going better than last time. My meditation session was okay. I opted for some small body weight exercise instead of attempting weights. We&#8217;ll see how the morning goes.</p>
  198.  
  199.  
  200.  
  201. <p>8:27am: I did better at reducing caffeine before this fast. I started 3 days prior and reduced it as follows: Sunday: 2oz espresso (my normal dose), Monday: 1oz espresso, Tuesday: .5oz espresso, Wednesday .25oz espresso. The had an afternoon of irritation Monday but otherwise was okay. Next time I&#8217;ll add an extra day at 1.5oz. No caffeine headaches at all this time around.</p>
  202.  
  203.  
  204.  
  205. <p>10:00am: I&#8217;m feeling good! But I think mentally I might be operating a few sandwiches short of a picnic, if you know what I&#8217;m saying. I&#8217;m sure it&#8217;s not coincidence that the first analogy that popped to mind was a food one.</p>
  206.  
  207.  
  208.  
  209. <p>1:30pm: Feeling a little lightheaded when I stand up after sitting for awhile. Bizarrely, I&#8217;m not hungry. The idea of food appeals to me greatly, but I&#8217;m not hangry. This is surprising to me.</p>
  210.  
  211.  
  212.  
  213. <p>6:00pm: I just had a pang of hunger, but I wonder if it was habit driven again. It passed. Anytime I feel hungry I push some water. I&#8217;m drinking about 100oz of water a day. Occasionally I&#8217;ll add a pinch of salt to the water to help my electrolytes, though this is anecdotal and highly unscientific.</p>
  214.  
  215.  
  216.  
  217. <p><strong>Saturday 8/8/20<br /></strong>6:45am: Another bad night of sleep. After a fitful night, I ended up waking up at 5, but I fell back asleep for a few minutes before waking up again at 6:15. I am extremely confident that I will make it through the day. Other than the tiredness, I feel totally fine.</p>
  218.  
  219.  
  220.  
  221. <p>10:45am: We completed a hike. Me carrying Ava in a backpack. Other than maybe a general slowness of operation, I feel completely normal. This is great.</p>
  222.  
  223.  
  224.  
  225. <p>12:30pm: After thinking this over a bit, I think I&#8217;m going to stop my fast at 68 hours. Coming back into a state of sustenance is suppose to be slow elongated process. I want to start back in with hourly eating. Waiting too late will limit the number of small eating events before bed. </p>
  226.  
  227.  
  228.  
  229. <p>1:45pm: I&#8217;m definitely irritable. My patience is limited and I&#8217;m finding myself mildly lashing out at minor infractions. Nothing crazy, but it&#8217;s noticeable. 4:30pm is right around the corner. I look at my watch every 15 minutes.</p>
  230.  
  231.  
  232.  
  233. <p>4:30pm: I did it! I did it! Woooooooo! Time to celebrate with some delicious bone broth and a serving of almonds! We&#8217;re also are making pizza tonight. I&#8217;ll have a tiny piece of pizza at 5:30. Then an egg. Then some blueberries.</p>
  234.  
  235.  
  236.  
  237. <p>5:45pm: Okay. The pizza was a terrible idea &#8211; kind of. It was the most delicious pizza I&#8217;ve ever made (and not just because of the fast! I&#8217;ve been experimenting with my grilled pizza technique and I think I&#8217;ve greatly improved the quality). The size slice I had was smaller than a deck of cards but DANG. It feels like a bowling ball in my stomach. As I looked into this more it seems complex carbs are a bad idea after an extended fast. Next time it&#8217;s not just going to be the size of meal that I control after a fast but the type of food. I&#8217;ll keep it to veggies, proteins, and simple grains.</p>
  238.  
  239.  
  240.  
  241. <p>10:30pm: I opted to stay up later tonight to try and increase my sleep pressure to get a better quality sleep.</p>
  242.  
  243.  
  244.  
  245. <p><strong>Sunday 8/9/20<br /></strong>5:40am: Okay, that didn&#8217;t work. My sleep was horrendous. I was hot and uncomfortable. I wonder if this relates to the pizza.</p>
  246.  
  247.  
  248.  
  249. <p>General Sunday update: Felt good for most of the day. Had some stomach discomfort, but kept things simple and light for the most part. My dinner Sunday night was TOO big. I find it interesting that I had an easier time controlling the fast than I did controlling the reintroduction of food. I&#8217;m very confident that I could do this better.</p>
  250.  
  251.  
  252.  
  253. <p><strong>Monday 8/10/20<br /></strong>General Monday update: Another HORRIFIC sleep. This time I woke up sweating with panic. I don&#8217;t know if it related to my overly large dinner last night (comparatively) or some other external factor. But&#8230; no bueno. Again, I must reiterate: I need a stronger discipline in my eating ramp next time around.</p>
  254.  
  255.  
  256.  
  257. <p>Curiously: I had a much more significant weight loss than I expected. I am already quite lean and I expected maybe a 2-3 pound dip. At the start I was 132.5lbs and at my conclusion I was 127. That&#8217;s 5.5 pounds: Geeeeeze. Also curiously, this low point was the day AFTER my fast conclusion. I can&#8217;t explain this. Perhaps it was because even with some food introduction I was still in a calorically reduced state.</p>
  258.  
  259.  
  260.  
  261. <p><strong>Tuesday 8/11/20<br /></strong>FINALLY: a great night of sleep. As of Tuesday morning I came back up to 129.5lbs. Presumably some of my weight loss was nothing more than a lack of food going through the digestive system but it&#8217;s interesting nonetheless. I&#8217;m not trying to lose weight, in fact I&#8217;m trying to gain weight. I&#8217;m curious to see how quickly I can get back to my previous weight. In order to grow mass I need to push consumption. </p>
  262.  
  263.  
  264.  
  265. <p>So far, Tuesday has felt completely normal. That means I need to plan for two FULL days of recovery time for a three day fast. Interesting. Next month we try again!</p>
  266. ]]></content:encoded>
  267. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/08/11/the-fast-and-the-laborious/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  268. <slash:comments>2</slash:comments>
  269. </item>
  270. <item>
  271. <title>A FASTcinating Experiment</title>
  272. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/15/a-fastcinating-experiment/</link>
  273. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/15/a-fastcinating-experiment/#respond</comments>
  274. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  275. <pubDate>Wed, 15 Jul 2020 12:50:38 +0000</pubDate>
  276. <category><![CDATA[A Day In The Life...]]></category>
  277. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  278. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11564</guid>
  279.  
  280. <description><![CDATA[In a previous post I mentioned that I was interested in attempting a 72 hour water only autophagy fast. A few months back I completed]]></description>
  281. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  282. <p>In a previous post I mentioned that I was interested in attempting a 72 hour water only autophagy fast. A few months back I completed a 24 hour fast without any issue and wanted to push it to three days. Ultimately, my goal is a 72 hour fast once a month. The plan would be to start each fast on or around the first of each month. I decided to make July 1st my first attempt. My last meal was dinner on June 30th. Did I succeed with 72 hours? No. I stopped at 45 hours. Here&#8217;s how it all went down.</p>
  283.  
  284.  
  285.  
  286. <p><strong>Preparation</strong>: in advance to the fast my only specific goal was to reduce caffeine reduction so that I wouldn&#8217;t have to deal with headaches on top of the stomach woes. I cut my caffeine two days prior by half, and then half again. I think this worked pretty well though next time around I&#8217;ll extend the caffeine draw down by an extra two days.</p>
  287.  
  288.  
  289.  
  290. <p>I opted to take the three days off from work. I didn&#8217;t want to be driving in a weakened state and since this was my first attempt I thought it prudent to be as cautious as possible. In retrospect, this was probably a bad idea. I think in the future I&#8217;ll schedule it so that I always start my fast on a Thursday. That way I have the distraction of work to keep me from getting as hungry for the first and second day. At least, I think that&#8217;s how I will approach my next attempt. There was a constant behavioral draw to go get a snack. &#8220;Oh! I&#8217;m home and it&#8217;s afternoon, snack time!&#8221; that sort of thing. If I can avoid that through situational control that would be preferred.</p>
  291.  
  292.  
  293.  
  294. <p>My last meal on June 30th was simple and basic: seasoned chicken breast, couscous, roasted veggies and some plain yogurt with berries for dessert. I didn&#8217;t eat huge quantities, just simple and standard. </p>
  295.  
  296.  
  297.  
  298. <div class="wp-block-group has-pale-cyan-blue-background-color has-very-dark-gray-color has-text-color has-background"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  299. <p><strong>Day 1</strong>:  <br />Day 1 was straightforward and not particularly challenging. I was hungry at times but not in great discomfort. With my fasting commitment established I had no issue avoiding the urge to eat. Anytime I got hungry I drank some water and felt fine. I had a LITTLE caffeine headache, but it definitely wasn&#8217;t as bad as it would have been if I&#8217;d cut coffee completely at the same time as cutting food.</p>
  300.  
  301.  
  302.  
  303. <p><strong>Sleep</strong>: Sleep, however, was rough. My stomach felt like a deflated balloon. I wasn&#8217;t feeling hunger, just discomfort. The discomfort was mild, certainly less than a stomach ache. I would describe it as a sustained feeling of ugh. I woke up around 11:30 feeling very hot and couldn&#8217;t get back to sleep until 2:00ish.</p>
  304. </div></div>
  305.  
  306.  
  307.  
  308. <p> </p>
  309.  
  310.  
  311.  
  312. <div class="wp-block-group has-pale-cyan-blue-background-color has-background"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  313. <p><strong>Day 2</strong>: <br />Hard, but not impossible. Again, I was not hungry, though the discomfort remained and over the course of the day it was joined by weakness and sluggishness. I started the day as I always do: with meditation and exercise. You&#8217;re not suppose to stop exercising through a fast, but whoa nelly: My exercising was terrible. Actually, so too was the meditation. I was extremely distracted, felt overly hot, and couldn&#8217;t concentrate. </p>
  314.  
  315.  
  316.  
  317. <p>The second morning I felt weak and was worried about dizziness though it never really came about. We went on a small hike and I felt okay through that. By noontime I was thinking it wouldn&#8217;t be too tough to make it through the night into day 3.</p>
  318.  
  319.  
  320.  
  321. <p>But&#8230; then I got a sore throat. Suddenly drinking water tasted like drinking daggers. It was bizarre. It felt like strep and my mind immediately went to strep or covid.</p>
  322.  
  323.  
  324.  
  325. <p>A lot of things change when your body is in ketosis. One of these changes is that your immune system reduces in effectiveness during the fast. Your body consumes some of its white blood cells for energy, so you have fewer fighting in your corner in case you&#8217;re sick. Curiously, AFTER a longer fast, research tends to suggest that your immune system gets a reboot. But given that I knew I&#8217;d be entering into the lowest immune period of the fast, I got spooked with the sore throat and opted to stop.</p>
  326.  
  327.  
  328.  
  329. <p><strong>Stopping</strong>: You&#8217;re not suppose to come off a fast with a buffet. You take it slow with small meals spread out over time. At 5:00pm on Wednesday I started with a 1/2 Cup of bone broth. An hour later I had half a hardboiled egg. An hour after that, a 1/3 of a chicken breast and a 1/3 of a cup of couscous, and then after that the remaining half of the hardboiled egg and a few almonds. This was a perfect eating restart schedule and I&#8217;ll repeat it.</p>
  330.  
  331.  
  332.  
  333. <p><strong>Sleep</strong>: My sleep was again poor. But I&#8217;m not surprised, the sum of the fast breaking &#8220;meals&#8221; was only 450 calories, so my stomach still wasn&#8217;t back to normal. I woke up at 3:00, unable to get back to sleep.</p>
  334. </div></div>
  335.  
  336.  
  337.  
  338. <p><strong>Recovery day:</strong> The following day I continued spreading out meals. Breakfast took place over four hours and consisted of a cup of coffee, 6 almonds, two hardboiled eggs, 1 serving of plain oatmeal, and a 1/2 cup of cooked spinach. At 10, I had some BadaBeanBadaBooms (delicious nutricious) and an hour later a banana and two servings of peanuts. </p>
  339.  
  340.  
  341.  
  342. <p>When you spread that list of food out over the course of 4 hours it doesn&#8217;t sound like a lot, but the banana&amp;peanuts crushed my stomach. Next time I&#8217;ll split that last snack in two and extend it out over additional hours. For lunch I had more small portions and was back to full meal volume that night. NOTE: My nutritionist recommended keeping meals trim and frequent for TWO days, not one. Next time I&#8217;ll try to be more careful. I think I was a little reckless with my dinner on July 3rd. (it was bbq burgers and they were soooo delicious)</p>
  343.  
  344.  
  345.  
  346. <p><strong>Conclusion</strong>:</p>
  347.  
  348.  
  349.  
  350. <p>Interesting. Educational. Hard, but not impossible. The bizarre sore throat went away within 24 hours of restarting food. I wonder if it might have been some sort of heightened reaction to seasonal allergies due to lack of food? I don&#8217;t know. I&#8217;m curious to see if I get the same horrific sore throat next time. If so, I&#8217;ll likely cut the fast short again &#8211; I acknowledge being cautious as I start down this path is prudent.</p>
  351.  
  352.  
  353.  
  354. <p>Also, maybe it seems semantic, but moving forward I&#8217;ll refer to these attempts for what they are: 70 hour fasts. I ended my food at 7:00pm on June 30th with the intent of starting back up at 5:00pm on July 3rd. I plan to keep that same goal moving forward.</p>
  355. ]]></content:encoded>
  356. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/15/a-fastcinating-experiment/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  357. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  358. </item>
  359. <item>
  360. <title>Introduction to the Board/Piece Value</title>
  361. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/14/introduction-to-the-board-piece-value/</link>
  362. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/14/introduction-to-the-board-piece-value/#respond</comments>
  363. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  364. <pubDate>Tue, 14 Jul 2020 17:56:39 +0000</pubDate>
  365. <category><![CDATA[Chess]]></category>
  366. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11535</guid>
  367.  
  368. <description><![CDATA[This may seem massively elementary, but taking some time to better understand the chess board has merit. The chess board is a simple 8&#215;8 board]]></description>
  369. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  370. <p>This may seem massively elementary, but taking some time to better understand the chess board has merit.</p>
  371.  
  372.  
  373.  
  374. <p>The chess board is a simple 8&#215;8 board with two alternating color complexes: light and dark.</p>
  375.  
  376.  
  377.  
  378. <p>Columns are called Files, Rows are called Ranks</p>
  379.  
  380.  
  381.  
  382. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large"><img decoding="async" width="392" height="392" src="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/06/chessboard-392x392.png" alt="" class="wp-image-11536" srcset="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/06/chessboard-392x392.png 392w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/06/chessboard-300x300.png 300w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/06/chessboard-150x150.png 150w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/06/chessboard.png 568w" sizes="(max-width: 392px) 100vw, 392px" /><figcaption>How to rotationally orient the board? Remember: &#8220;lower right should be light&#8221;</figcaption></figure></div>
  383.  
  384.  
  385.  
  386. <p>The files are identified with letters a-h and the ranks are numbered 1-8. In notation, files and ranks are absolute though, curiously, ranks are occasionally referred to in a relative sense when talking about generic strategy.</p>
  387.  
  388.  
  389.  
  390. <p>Examples:<br />The &#8216;a&#8217; File is the leftmost column when you&#8217;re white and the rightmost column when you&#8217;re black<br />The 1st rank is the row that the white king starts on. The 8th rank is the row the black king starts on.<br />Occasionally when talking strategy, users will say something like &#8220;Get your rooks to the 7th rank!&#8221;. In this case, the rank is considered relative.</p>
  391.  
  392.  
  393.  
  394. <div class="wp-block-group has-pale-cyan-blue-background-color has-very-dark-gray-color has-text-color has-background"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  395. <p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Tangent: Chess Notation!</strong></p>
  396.  
  397.  
  398.  
  399. <p>Chess moves are recorded with a standard nomenclature using these identifiers:</p>
  400.  
  401.  
  402.  
  403. <p class="has-background has-luminous-vivid-amber-background-color">King = K<br />Queen = Q<br />Bishop = B<br />Knight = N *ooooh phonetic<br />Pawn = none</p>
  404.  
  405.  
  406.  
  407. <p>So, Nf6 means white has moved their knight to f6 <br />e4 means that white has moved their pawn to e4</p>
  408.  
  409.  
  410.  
  411. <p>If two pieces can move to the same location the notation prefaces the destination with the departure file like this: Nbd2 this would mean the knight on the b file is moving to d2.</p>
  412.  
  413.  
  414.  
  415. <p>Sometimes if the file of the pieces is the same they will use rank. And in rare cases where the board is whacko (extra promoted pieces everyhwere) they will use both.</p>
  416.  
  417.  
  418.  
  419. <p>Extra fun notation:</p>
  420.  
  421.  
  422.  
  423. <p>x means capture: Bxe4 (bishop is capturing the piece on e4)<br />0-0 means castling king-side<br />0-0-0 means castling queen-side<br />+ means check<br /># means checkmate<br />= pawn promotion, like this: e8=Q. This means the pawn moved to e8 and was promoted to Queen</p>
  424.  
  425.  
  426.  
  427. <p>In this manner a chess game can be written out like this:</p>
  428.  
  429.  
  430.  
  431. <ol><li>e4 e5</li><li>Nf3 Nc6</li><li>Bb5 a6<br />etc&#8230;</li></ol>
  432. </div></div>
  433.  
  434.  
  435.  
  436. <p>To derive the greatest understanding from board exploration, it helps to understand the value of the individual pieces. Let&#8217;s take a look:</p>
  437.  
  438.  
  439.  
  440. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large is-resized"><img decoding="async" loading="lazy" src="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Piece-Value.png" alt="" class="wp-image-11578" width="294" height="410" srcset="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Piece-Value.png 274w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Piece-Value-215x300.png 215w" sizes="(max-width: 294px) 100vw, 294px" /><figcaption>Note: the King is undefined because if you lose your king, you&#8217;ve lost the game. So it&#8217;s kinda infinite?</figcaption></figure></div>
  441.  
  442.  
  443.  
  444. <p>What does &#8220;value&#8221; mean? Value helps you understand typically how helpful a piece is on the board. Simply speaking if you had an option to exchange a rook for a bishop and a knight you could do some quick math: 3+3 &gt; 5. So yeah, that&#8217;s a good deal go for it. But&#8230; it doesn&#8217;t always work perfectly because piece position matters. Think about it, if you have a pawn about to promote to queen it&#8217;s definitely worth more than 1 point. We&#8217;ll save in depth positional analysis for the future, but now we can head back to the board itself to see how position affects value in a broad sense.</p>
  445.  
  446.  
  447.  
  448. <p>Sometimes people describe the board as a pyramid where the strongest squares are in the middle with power waning as you move to the edges. This is true for the most part. Think about it geometrically. A bishop in one of the center four squares can move to 13 other squares. A bishop on the edge can only move to 7 squares. The same is even more true for a knight. A knight in the center covers 8 squares. A knight in the corner? Only 2. The power of a piece has a lot to do with its position and the resulting influence it carries over the rest of the board. </p>
  449.  
  450.  
  451.  
  452. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large"><img decoding="async" loading="lazy" width="463" height="392" src="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Bishop-463x392.png" alt="" class="wp-image-11582" srcset="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Bishop-463x392.png 463w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Bishop-300x254.png 300w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Bishop.png 716w" sizes="(max-width: 463px) 100vw, 463px" /><figcaption>The general positional advantage of the center. This is also specific for square dominance for the Bishop (and the queen)</figcaption></figure></div>
  453.  
  454.  
  455.  
  456. <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large"><img decoding="async" loading="lazy" width="463" height="392" src="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Knight-463x392.png" alt="" class="wp-image-11583" srcset="https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Knight-463x392.png 463w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Knight-300x254.png 300w, https://www.mikedidonato.com/images/2020/07/Position-Knight.png 716w" sizes="(max-width: 463px) 100vw, 463px" /><figcaption>The positional value of a Knight. <br />NOTE: the b2, b7, f2 &amp; f7 squares I rate as &#8220;horrible&#8221; even though they have a slightly higher positional value compared to their outward neighbors because of specific disadvantages of the square as described in Jesus de la Villa&#8217;s <em>100 Endgames You Must Know</em></figcaption></figure></div>
  457.  
  458.  
  459.  
  460. <p>This is where we come up with the general rule of thumb: fight for the center. If you can navigate more of your pieces into the center they will be more effective and have more offensive/defensive capabilities. <br />Fun fact &#8211; another rule of thumb that relates to this: A knight on the rim is dim</p>
  461.  
  462.  
  463.  
  464. <p>Understanding the board and the value of the pieces helps us understand how to move our pieces. It is my understanding that this is how chess computers calculate the best move. They evaluate positions, rate them on a scale, and then calculate which moves improve the evaluation. Most simple chess engines rate a position down to the centipawn &#8211; that is, 1/100th of a pawn i.e. Position A is 36 centipawns better than Position B. CRAZY!</p>
  465.  
  466.  
  467.  
  468. <p>There are a few other unique facets of the bishop and knight beyond what we&#8217;ve already discussed. Let&#8217;s take a look</p>
  469.  
  470.  
  471.  
  472. <p><strong>Knight</strong></p>
  473.  
  474.  
  475.  
  476. <ol><li>Since Knight&#8217;s can jump, they tend to do better when the board is congested and locked up with pawns everywhere with no room for other pieces to move around. The Knight&#8217;s value increases when the board is cramped. There are specific pawn structures which we&#8217;ll look at later that are considered &#8220;closed&#8221; or &#8220;open&#8221;. Knights do best in closed cramped positions.</li></ol>
  477.  
  478.  
  479.  
  480. <p><strong>Bishop</strong></p>
  481.  
  482.  
  483.  
  484. <ol><li>Because each bishop is confined to a single color complex, they work better together. For this reason if one of your bishop&#8217;s has been captured you may be at risk for a weakness that covers one color complex. For example if you lose your light squared bishop early in the game your opponent can place their pieces on light squares and have virtual immunity from your remaining dark square bishop</li><li>Bishops can be easily stifled when other pieces (pawns in particular) get in their way. For this reason they operate in an opposite manner to knights: they do best in open uncramped positions</li><li>Put those two together? As the game approaches its end, having the bishop pair in an open position is SUPER POWERFUL. I&#8217;m not sure if it&#8217;s still true, but some computers used to rate bishops as 3.4 points each at the start of the game for this reason. In some end games, a bishop pair can be so brutally oppressive that they carry more useful value than the rooks</li></ol>
  485.  
  486.  
  487.  
  488. <p>We&#8217;ve spent a lot of time on the knight and bishop. What are the positional advantages of the other pieces? Here are a few more generalities:</p>
  489.  
  490.  
  491.  
  492. <p><strong>Rooks</strong></p>
  493.  
  494.  
  495.  
  496. <ol><li>Rooks are most valuable on open files, that is: files that don&#8217;t have any pawns on them. This means they tend to get more power and utility as the game progresses. </li><li>Rooks are more valuable when they are connected (protecting each other) than when they are lone rogues</li><li>Rooks tend to be powerhouses of destruction if they can both get to the 7th rank (relative)</li></ol>
  497.  
  498.  
  499.  
  500. <p><strong>Pawns</strong></p>
  501.  
  502.  
  503.  
  504. <ol><li>Pawns are more valuable on the center files than the fringe files. The pawn in front of your queen is more likely to play an active role in the game than the pawn in front of your rook. This is where another rule of thumb arises: When you have the choice of which pawn to use when capturing an enemy pawn, capture TOWARDS the center.</li><li>Pawns like to be near their friends. An isolated pawn (one that has no peers on the adjacent files) was long seen as a weakness, though I believe there&#8217;s some counter theory these days. Connected pawns, those that are protected by their peers, are much stronger. A string of connected pawns is called a pawn chain.</li><li>A backwards pawn (I hate that name) is the last pawn in a pawn chain, the anchor so to speak, and is often a target of attack. I&#8217;m not sure if there&#8217;s much to be said about value here, just a hint to protect your backwards pawns and target your opponent&#8217;s backwards pawns</li><li>A passed pawn is a pawn that can no longer be blocked or attacked by an opposing pawn (no opposing pawn in front of it, or in either adjacent file). A passed pawn is like an infection in your opponent&#8217;s wound. It will grow in power and impose graver and graver risk to your opponent as it gets closer to promotion on the 8th rank.</li><li>Stacked pawns are two pawns on the same file. This occurs when one pawn moves diagonally in front of, or behind, its peer to capture a piece. Stacked pawns are generally seen as a weakness, though as with any generalization: it depends.</li></ol>
  505.  
  506.  
  507.  
  508. <p><strong>Queen</strong></p>
  509.  
  510.  
  511.  
  512. <ol><li>Queens are powerful but fragile. They have the most influence in the center, but they are too delicate to get out early. Keep them back in the early part of the game and bring out their fury as you enter the middle game</li></ol>
  513.  
  514.  
  515.  
  516. <p><strong>King</strong></p>
  517.  
  518.  
  519.  
  520. <ol><li>Kings are best tucked away in a corner via castling early in the game. But by the end of the game (once some/all of the major/minor pieces have been captured), get them active and get them to the center. A game can easily be won or lost with an active king in the endgame.</li></ol>
  521.  
  522.  
  523.  
  524. <p>Where does all this lead us? The combination of the board, piece motion, and piece value provides a nice foundation for strategy. It provides a simple introduction on what&#8217;s a good piece vs a bad piece and how to tell the difference. Hopefully you&#8217;ve found it interesting. If you have any articles or books you&#8217;d recommend related to this topic, I welcome you to comment. Enjoy your games!</p>
  525.  
  526.  
  527.  
  528. <div class="wp-block-buttons is-layout-flex wp-block-buttons-is-layout-flex">
  529. <div class="wp-block-button"><a class="wp-block-button__link" href="https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/03/time-controls/" rel="https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/04/22/resources/">&lt;&#8211; Previous Chess Post: Chess, Time Controls</a></div>
  530. </div>
  531.  
  532.  
  533.  
  534. <p></p>
  535. ]]></content:encoded>
  536. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/14/introduction-to-the-board-piece-value/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  537. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  538. </item>
  539. <item>
  540. <title>Aladdin</title>
  541. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/13/alladin/</link>
  542. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/13/alladin/#respond</comments>
  543. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  544. <pubDate>Mon, 13 Jul 2020 20:01:59 +0000</pubDate>
  545. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  546. <category><![CDATA[family]]></category>
  547. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11572</guid>
  548.  
  549. <description><![CDATA[Johnny watched Aladdin for the first time this weekend. There were some scary parts that he didn&#8217;t understand &#8220;Why is that man so mean!?&#8221; &#8220;Why]]></description>
  550. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  551. <p>Johnny watched Aladdin for the first time this weekend. There were some scary parts that he didn&#8217;t understand &#8220;Why is that man so mean!?&#8221; &#8220;Why does everyone have swords?&#8221; but he laughed and laughed and laughed at the genie and couldn&#8217;t stop talking about the Cave of Wonders. I thought it might be fun to ask him about what he&#8217;d wish for if he had access to a genie:</p>
  552.  
  553.  
  554.  
  555. <p><strong>Me:</strong> Johnny, what would you wish for if you got three wishes? You can wish for anything at all!</p>
  556.  
  557.  
  558.  
  559. <p>His answer was immediate and confident.</p>
  560.  
  561.  
  562.  
  563. <p><strong>Johnny: </strong>A house just like this one, a train table, and a microwave</p>
  564. ]]></content:encoded>
  565. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/13/alladin/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  566. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  567. </item>
  568. <item>
  569. <title>A Visit with the Nutritionist</title>
  570. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/10/a-visit-with-the-nutritionist/</link>
  571. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/10/a-visit-with-the-nutritionist/#respond</comments>
  572. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  573. <pubDate>Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:33:51 +0000</pubDate>
  574. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  575. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11560</guid>
  576.  
  577. <description><![CDATA[I was pleased as punch to learn that my specific insurance package deems meetings with a nutritionist as &#8216;preventative&#8217; so they are fully covered. SIGN]]></description>
  578. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  579. <p>I was pleased as punch to learn that my specific insurance package deems meetings with a nutritionist as &#8216;preventative&#8217; so they are fully covered.</p>
  580.  
  581.  
  582.  
  583. <p>SIGN ME UP.</p>
  584.  
  585.  
  586.  
  587. <p>I had my first meeting a few weeks back. I went in with a list of the following topics in mind</p>
  588.  
  589.  
  590.  
  591. <ol><li>New healthy foods to try</li><li>How to enter and come off an autophagy fast</li><li>Fructose Alternatives</li><li>How much does skim milk matter vs higher fat content milks</li><li>Other good non-meat sources of protein</li></ol>
  592.  
  593.  
  594.  
  595. <p>The meeting was a resounding success. I was impressed with the knowledge of the nutritionist and the immediate set of recommendations provided. </p>
  596.  
  597.  
  598.  
  599. <p>It started as you&#8217;d expect: Lots of questions:</p>
  600.  
  601.  
  602.  
  603. <p>What are my current eating and exercise habits? Do I have any dietary restrictions? Recent blood work? Water consumption? Fitness goals? Fasting goals? What&#8217;s a typical day of eating look like? What&#8217;s my weight history look like? Have I had any medical issues recently?  &#8211; All standard stuff.</p>
  604.  
  605.  
  606.  
  607. <p>The big goals I wanted to discuss were the 72 hour water only fasts I wanted to try, nutrition for weight training, and reducing my animal protein intake. For these, the nutritionist seemed to be very well educated. Though when I first brought up the 72 hour fast she had a look of concern that matched those of my Mom. That &#8220;Ugh, what sort of crazy thing are you doing now&#8221; sort of look. I described that I wanted to start doing 72 hour fasts once a month &#8211; Suddenly relief from the nutritionist.</p>
  608.  
  609.  
  610.  
  611. <p>&#8220;Oh, good. Once a month. I thought you wanted to do this weekly. Yes, a once a month 72 hour water only fast is doable. Trying to do it weekly would be very hard to sustain from a caloric intake standpoint for the other four days of the week.&#8221;</p>
  612.  
  613.  
  614.  
  615. <p>The nutritionists recommended a method for entering and coming off the fast which I&#8217;ll talk about a bit in my upcoming fast post. She also gave me some great snack recommendations specifically to help me increase fiber, protein, and non-meat sources:</p>
  616.  
  617.  
  618.  
  619. <div class="wp-block-group has-pale-cyan-blue-background-color has-background"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  620. <p><strong>Bada Bean Bada Boom</strong> &#8211; Fava beans. High in fiber and protein. AND DELICIOUS. Their sweet saracha is amazing. </p>
  621.  
  622.  
  623.  
  624. <p><strong>Hippeas</strong> &#8211; Fun cheese puff-esque chickpea snacks perfect for some mid-afternoon crunch</p>
  625.  
  626.  
  627.  
  628. <p><strong>Edamame pasta</strong> &#8211; EXPENSIVE. But so good, and a great alternative to pasta.</p>
  629. </div></div>
  630.  
  631.  
  632.  
  633. <p>As a sugar substitute in baking, she recommended Truvia. We tried some in a banana bread and I enjoyed it. </p>
  634.  
  635.  
  636.  
  637. <p>I set up a follow up visit in August. I strongly encourage those of you with health insurance check to see if a nutritionist is covered for you! </p>
  638. ]]></content:encoded>
  639. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/10/a-visit-with-the-nutritionist/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  640. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  641. </item>
  642. <item>
  643. <title>The Year of Health</title>
  644. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/12/the-year-of-health/</link>
  645. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/12/the-year-of-health/#comments</comments>
  646. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  647. <pubDate>Fri, 12 Jun 2020 16:50:20 +0000</pubDate>
  648. <category><![CDATA[A Day In The Life...]]></category>
  649. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  650. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11538</guid>
  651.  
  652. <description><![CDATA[Fittingly, for New Years I decided to make 2020 a year of health initiatives and health goals. Of course with the pandemic, health has been]]></description>
  653. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  654. <p>Fittingly, for New Years I decided to make 2020 a year of health initiatives and health goals. Of course with the pandemic, health has been front and center in everyone&#8217;s mind, but either way it was a good goal.</p>
  655.  
  656.  
  657.  
  658. <p>As we approach halfway through the year, I have to say I&#8217;m pleased with my progress.</p>
  659.  
  660.  
  661.  
  662. <p><strong>Successes</strong></p>
  663.  
  664.  
  665.  
  666. <ol><li>I have maintained a weight training exercise habit</li><li>I haven&#8217;t missed a single day of flossing and morning teeth care is now part of the routine</li><li>I have given up discretionary sugar (no dessert or brown sugar on my oatmeal, but I&#8217;ll still eat a slice of banana bread)</li><li>I am following a prescribed sleep program</li><li>I have maintained a meditation practice</li></ol>
  667.  
  668.  
  669.  
  670. <p><strong>Not Yet Successes</strong></p>
  671.  
  672.  
  673.  
  674. <ol><li>I built a solid cardio routine at the company gym, but this dropped with Covid. I have to bring cardio back</li><li>I have tried a preliminary autophagy fast (24hrs), but I want to make higher level fasting (72 hrs) part of a monthly program</li><li>I&#8217;d like to get a more scientific grasp of my eating. Starting a food log and seeing a nutritionist are on the list</li><li>My exercise routine is self-developed. Perhaps enlisting the help of a physical therapist or personal trainer would be wise, especially as it relates to the annoyance that is my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome</li><li>Water consumption has been good, but I&#8217;d like to be more deliberate. Right now I drink 2-3 liters a day, more definition is needed</li></ol>
  675.  
  676.  
  677.  
  678. <p>Has anyone out there executed some unique healthy habits that they care to share? I&#8217;m eager to optimize!</p>
  679. ]]></content:encoded>
  680. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/12/the-year-of-health/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  681. <slash:comments>4</slash:comments>
  682. </item>
  683. <item>
  684. <title>Time Controls</title>
  685. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/03/time-controls/</link>
  686. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/03/time-controls/#respond</comments>
  687. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  688. <pubDate>Wed, 03 Jun 2020 14:07:23 +0000</pubDate>
  689. <category><![CDATA[Chess]]></category>
  690. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11284</guid>
  691.  
  692. <description><![CDATA[The stereotypical chess game is a crazy long drawn out affair where intense people sit across from each other and stare at a board for]]></description>
  693. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  694. <p>The stereotypical chess game is a crazy long drawn out affair where intense people sit across from each other and stare at a board for hours on end, occasionally reaching forward to move a pawn. Most people find this intimidating and&#8230; well&#8230; boring.</p>
  695.  
  696.  
  697.  
  698. <p>Enter the clock.</p>
  699.  
  700.  
  701.  
  702. <p>Time restrictions can make chess extremely exciting. The purpose of this post is to explain common types of chess games as they relate to time. </p>
  703.  
  704.  
  705.  
  706. <p class="has-background has-large-font-size has-luminous-vivid-amber-background-color">Fast Chess</p>
  707.  
  708.  
  709.  
  710. <p>Ignoring the long variant for now, fast chess games are often lumped under three terms:</p>
  711.  
  712.  
  713.  
  714. <div class="wp-block-group"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  715. <div class="wp-block-group"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  716. <div class="wp-block-group"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  717. <div class="wp-block-group has-pale-cyan-blue-background-color has-very-dark-gray-color has-text-color has-background"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  718. <div class="wp-block-group"><div class="wp-block-group__inner-container is-layout-flow wp-block-group-is-layout-flow">
  719. <p><strong>Rapid chess</strong><br />Games that last somewhere between 10 and 60min</p>
  720. </div></div>
  721.  
  722.  
  723.  
  724. <p><strong>Blitz chess</strong><br />Games that last between 5 and 10min</p>
  725.  
  726.  
  727.  
  728. <p><strong>Bullet chess</strong><br />Games shorter than 5 minutes</p>
  729. </div></div>
  730. </div></div>
  731. </div></div>
  732. </div></div>
  733.  
  734.  
  735.  
  736. <p>You may have seen a chess clock before. It has two clock faces and two buttons. The way it works is simple: when player 1 makes his move he hits the button. This action stops his time from ticking down and starts his opponent&#8217;s clock. When his opponent finishes her move and hits her button, player 1&#8217;s clock starts to tick down again. The two clocks never run simultaneously. </p>
  737.  
  738.  
  739.  
  740. <p>With time controls like this there are two ways to lose: by checkmate, or if your clock runs out of time. <br />So HURRY UP.</p>
  741.  
  742.  
  743.  
  744. <p>This structure is often referred to as Sudden Death (SD).</p>
  745.  
  746.  
  747.  
  748. <p>Consider a one minute bullet SD chess game:  each player has a total of one minute for all their collective moves. That means the longest the game could possibly last is two minutes. The result? ADRENALIN. Oh, and also horrific chess practices. </p>
  749.  
  750.  
  751.  
  752. <p>Skilled chess artisans seem to advise that learners not get too excited by Bullet or Blitz chess*. When the clocks are flirting with zero, sometimes you can win a game by playing any move faster than your opponent even if it&#8217;s a terrible terrible move. This reward system results in messy chaotic chess behaviors where speed can be prioritized over skill.</p>
  753.  
  754.  
  755.  
  756. <p>That said, it is REALLY fun. It&#8217;s exciting and thrilling and will get you pumped to play play play. So for all the nay-sayers, there is an emotional value to fast chess and it most certainly helps generate interest in the sport.</p>
  757.  
  758.  
  759.  
  760. <p>With the invention of the digital chess clock, people started refining time restrictions to prevent games from entering sloppy conclusions. Famous American Grand Master Bobby Fischer proposed one of the most commonly used methods: start the clock with a set time, then add additional time after each move.</p>
  761.  
  762.  
  763.  
  764. <p>This incremental style of chess is notated like this:     </p>
  765.  
  766.  
  767.  
  768. <p class="has-text-color has-background has-large-font-size has-very-dark-gray-color has-vivid-green-cyan-background-color">15 | 10</p>
  769.  
  770.  
  771.  
  772. <p>This means each player has 15 MINUTES on their clock at the beginning of the game but after each move, 10 SECONDS are added to their time. Thus even if your clock falls precipitously in the first part of a game, you can be sure you&#8217;ll always have a minimum of 10 seconds to make a decision. This is called <strong>Increment Timing</strong> or <strong>Fischer Timing</strong>.</p>
  773.  
  774.  
  775.  
  776. <p>One bizarre side effect of this design is that by moving quickly a player could ADD time to their clock. In a 15 minute game if a player makes the first 6 moves nearly instantly (executing, say, a prescribed well-documented opening) then they&#8217;d have 16 minutes left on their clock. This could yield them an advantage later in the game. Alternate timing methods avoid this pitfall:</p>
  777.  
  778.  
  779.  
  780. <p><strong>Bronstein delay:</strong> You still get extra time added to the clock after each move, but it will never add more time than you had at the start of your turn. So if you&#8217;ve got 25 seconds left, and you only take 1 second to make a move, the Bronstein clock will only add 1 second back onto your clock bringing it back to 25 seconds.</p>
  781.  
  782.  
  783.  
  784. <p><strong>Simple delay:</strong> You get extra time per move at the START of each turn. But instead of adding the time onto the clock, the clock doesn&#8217;t start ticking down until the extra time has gone by. So if you have a 10 second &#8216;add&#8217; then your game clock won&#8217;t start ticking down until 10 seconds have passed.</p>
  785.  
  786.  
  787.  
  788. <p class="has-text-color has-background has-large-font-size has-very-dark-gray-color has-luminous-vivid-amber-background-color">Classical Chess</p>
  789.  
  790.  
  791.  
  792. <p>Now let&#8217;s circle back to the long form chess referred to as Classical Chess. Games of this variety often combine different timing structures over the course of a game. Here is, for example, the FIDE regulations for the World Championship of Chess: </p>
  793.  
  794.  
  795.  
  796. <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p>The time control for each game is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. </p><cite><a href="https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/FWCM2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">FIDE Handbook: regulations for the FIDE World Championship Match 2020</a></cite></blockquote>
  797.  
  798.  
  799.  
  800. <p>That&#8217;s fairly&#8230; specific.</p>
  801.  
  802.  
  803.  
  804. <p>This type of time control is common for tournaments and has its roots as one of the first methods of controlling time in chess. By offering banks of time for each set of moves, games could be kept on pace. Early chess masters agreed that letting someone take hours upon hours for a single move wasn&#8217;t making the game any more fun for players or for spectators. On top of that, tournaments would drag on FOREVER. Even the World Championship of Chess time controls are lengthy compared to a normal mortal human tournament. Most of those operate within the 30 minute time frame so that a tournament can be completed in a single night.</p>
  805.  
  806.  
  807.  
  808. <p>Lastly, it&#8217;s worth noting how much time control has changed and that it will likely continue to change. With the use of computers to aid performance, Classical Chess between the chess super-grand masters seem to be headed towards a pattern of draws, draws, and more draws. The 2018 World Chess Championship had 12 consecutive draws between Magnus Carlson and Fabiano Caruna. Carlson famously opted for an early draw in game 12 to intentionally enter into the rapid tiebreaker portion of the contest where he won handily. It will be fascinating to witness how the chess world adapts as we head down this path.</p>
  809.  
  810.  
  811.  
  812. <p>*From what I&#8217;ve learned, most chess powerhouses recommend the 15|10 game format as the shortest game to play if you&#8217;re trying to improve your chess critical thinking.</p>
  813.  
  814.  
  815.  
  816. <p>References: <br /><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/chess/The-time-element-and-competition" target="_blank">https://www.britannica.com/topic/chess/The-time-element-and-competition</a><br /><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_clock">https://</a><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_clock" target="_blank">en.wikipedia.org</a><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_clock">/wiki/Chess_clock</a><br /><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/FWCM2020.pdf" target="_blank">FIDE Handbook: regulations for the FIDE World Championship Match 2020</a></p>
  817.  
  818.  
  819.  
  820. <p class="has-background has-luminous-vivid-amber-background-color"><em>Extra Fun Bonus:</em></p>
  821.  
  822.  
  823.  
  824. <p>In that 2018 World Champion Chess Tournament if the draws kept going past the Classical Chess and through Rapid chess, the competitors would then play blitz. If the blitz games were still a draw then they would play a very unique time variant:</p>
  825.  
  826.  
  827.  
  828. <p><strong>Armageddon</strong>.  In Armageddon white has 5 minutes on the clock but black only has 4 minutes. Both players may get an increment (like 3 seconds per move after the 61st as was the case in 2018). But if the game falls to a draw, black is declared the winner because they had less time at the start. <br />How clever!</p>
  829.  
  830.  
  831.  
  832. <div class="wp-block-buttons alignright is-layout-flex wp-block-buttons-is-layout-flex">
  833. <div class="wp-block-button"><a class="wp-block-button__link" href="https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/07/14/introduction-to-the-board-piece-value/" rel="https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/03/time-controls/">Next Chess Post: Introduction to the Board/Piece Value &#8211;></a></div>
  834. </div>
  835.  
  836.  
  837.  
  838. <div class="wp-block-buttons is-layout-flex wp-block-buttons-is-layout-flex">
  839. <div class="wp-block-button"><a class="wp-block-button__link has-background has-very-dark-gray-background-color" href="https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/04/22/resources/">&lt;&#8211; Previous Chess Post: Chess, Resources</a></div>
  840. </div>
  841.  
  842.  
  843.  
  844. <p></p>
  845. ]]></content:encoded>
  846. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/06/03/time-controls/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  847. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  848. </item>
  849. <item>
  850. <title>Sleep Consultation</title>
  851. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/05/27/sleep-consultation/</link>
  852. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/05/27/sleep-consultation/#respond</comments>
  853. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  854. <pubDate>Wed, 27 May 2020 16:47:29 +0000</pubDate>
  855. <category><![CDATA[A Day In The Life...]]></category>
  856. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  857. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11475</guid>
  858.  
  859. <description><![CDATA[Two weeks ago I had my initial sleep consult, with a follow up happening the following Monday. My hope was to be recommended for Cognitive]]></description>
  860. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  861. <p>Two weeks ago I had my initial sleep consult, with a follow up happening the following Monday. My hope was to be recommended for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) and I&#8217;m pleased to report that this turned out to be the prescribed path.</p>
  862.  
  863.  
  864.  
  865. <p>CBT-I is sleep training for adults. If you have enjoyed life as a new parent, you likely spent money on books explaining how to train your kid to sleep better by employing tricks like: maintain a strict sleeping schedule for the baby, don&#8217;t feed immediately before setting to bed, wake them up with lights and excitement to encourage them into the day, etc. There are so many books because the tricks tend to help. It&#8217;s pretty logical that the same would work for adults. Aside: I find it amusing that we are generally poor at enforcing good sleep practices for ourselves.</p>
  866.  
  867.  
  868.  
  869. <p>My first meeting with the sleep clinic went as expected. The doctor asked basic questions like:</p>
  870.  
  871.  
  872.  
  873. <ol><li>What time do you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning?</li><li>Do you drink caffeine, and if so when?</li><li>What does your insomnia look like?</li><li>Did the origins of your sleeping problems coincide with any sort of life event like a physical trauma or an illness?</li></ol>
  874.  
  875.  
  876.  
  877. <p>The general purpose of these questions was to get a basic understanding of my lifestyle and to see if there might be a medical reason I was having problems. After 15 minutes of questions, the doctor pointed me towards a Psychologist for CBT-I. Woo!</p>
  878.  
  879.  
  880.  
  881. <p>Scene II: The second doctor televisit</p>
  882.  
  883.  
  884.  
  885. <p>My second visit was a more lengthy one. I met with the doctor and went into a far more detailed series of questions that related to my day to day sleep schedule and how I dealt with sleep related issues. Questions like:</p>
  886.  
  887.  
  888.  
  889. <ol><li>When you wake up at night, what do you do?</li><li>Do you ever snack in the middle of the night?</li><li>What time do you eat dinner?</li><li>Do you ever nap to recover your sleep?</li><li>Have you ever fallen asleep or found yourself nodding off at the wheel?</li></ol>
  890.  
  891.  
  892.  
  893. <p>It was an exciting line of questions. They said I was doing a lot of things right, but the biggest area that I could improve on was my wake up time.</p>
  894.  
  895.  
  896.  
  897. <p>I used to set two alarms: one for 5 am and another for 6:20. If it was a good night sleep, I&#8217;d get up early and exercise etc. But, if I was awake suffering from insomnia from, say, 1am til 4am, I&#8217;d turn off that early alarm and skip the exercise that day. Same thing with weekends: no need to get up at 5, if I don&#8217;t have work.</p>
  898.  
  899.  
  900.  
  901. <p>&#8220;Stick to a standard wake up time,&#8221; they implored. They made the point like this: imagine sleep is a pendulum. One night might be bad, but then the next night swings into the good and then it goes bad and back and forth and back and forth. If you can&#8217;t make a bad night better, the best way to stabilize the pendulum might be (sadly) to kill the upswing. Suffer in the short term to improve in the long term.</p>
  902.  
  903.  
  904.  
  905. <p>So that&#8217;s what I&#8217;ve done. I have been a rock with getting up at 5:00am even if I&#8217;m up during the night. I&#8217;ve also removed all electronics from my middle of the night waking episodes. CBT-I has a 70-80% success rate and tends to work within a six week time frame. I&#8217;m just about two weeks into the practice, so hopefully we shall see results soon.</p>
  906.  
  907.  
  908.  
  909. <p>The doctor also advised I keep track of my sleep with an app: CBT-i coach. It&#8217;s free, so if you&#8217;re curious about your own sleep &#8211; give it a shot. </p>
  910.  
  911.  
  912.  
  913. <p>I&#8217;ve got another appointment next Monday. I think the goal of this next session will be to review the data I&#8217;ve collected and then prescribe a more detailed sleep program for me. Exciting!</p>
  914. ]]></content:encoded>
  915. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/05/27/sleep-consultation/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  916. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  917. </item>
  918. <item>
  919. <title>95% Confidence Interval</title>
  920. <link>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/05/15/95-confidence-interval/</link>
  921. <comments>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/05/15/95-confidence-interval/#comments</comments>
  922. <dc:creator><![CDATA[mike d.]]></dc:creator>
  923. <pubDate>Fri, 15 May 2020 12:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  924. <category><![CDATA[Blogpost]]></category>
  925. <category><![CDATA[Geekdom]]></category>
  926. <guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.mikedidonato.com/?p=11459</guid>
  927.  
  928. <description><![CDATA[Here&#8217;s a fun game! Grab a piece of paper and answer these 20 questions as a range with 95% confidence interval. The questions are crazy]]></description>
  929. <content:encoded><![CDATA[
  930. <p>Here&#8217;s a fun game! Grab a piece of paper and answer <a href="https://peterattiamd.com/confidence/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">these 20 questions</a> as a range with 95% confidence interval. </p>
  931.  
  932.  
  933.  
  934. <p>The questions are crazy out there and will require guessing on most. BUT, again, you&#8217;ve gotta guess so that you&#8217;re 95% confident that the answer is within your defined range. That means when you&#8217;re done you should have exactly 19 of 20 correct.</p>
  935.  
  936.  
  937.  
  938. <p>So if the question was something like:</p>
  939.  
  940.  
  941.  
  942. <p class="has-text-color has-background has-very-dark-gray-color has-luminous-vivid-amber-background-color">            How many states are there in the United States?</p>
  943.  
  944.  
  945.  
  946. <p><em>*Note: Pretend you don&#8217;t already know the answer.</em></p>
  947.  
  948.  
  949.  
  950. <p>You&#8217;d have to put a range as your answer. so let&#8217;s say you said&#8230;  </p>
  951.  
  952.  
  953.  
  954. <p>12, 60</p>
  955.  
  956.  
  957.  
  958. <p>This means you&#8217;re 95% confident there are no fewer than 12 states, and no more than 60. </p>
  959.  
  960.  
  961.  
  962. <p>When it comes time to score, and you see the answer 50&#8230; good job! you got that question right! Don&#8217;t worry: the answers will be much more ridiculously difficult.</p>
  963.  
  964.  
  965.  
  966. <p>Once you take the test, post your actual % correct confidence interval in the comments. </p>
  967. ]]></content:encoded>
  968. <wfw:commentRss>https://www.mikedidonato.com/2020/05/15/95-confidence-interval/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  969. <slash:comments>2</slash:comments>
  970. </item>
  971. </channel>
  972. </rss>
  973.  

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