Saturday, January 10, 2009


Here's a fun one. It's a brain game that will tell you the age of your brain based on how well you can perform a simple task.

It's in Japanese, so use these instructions:

1. Touch 'start'

2. Wait for 3, 2, 1.

3. Memorize the number's position on the screen, and then click the circle from the smallest number to the biggest number.

4. At the end of game, the computer will tell you the age of your brain.

It will drive you apeshit.

Age of my brain?


Beat that, loser!


(Thanks to GC for passing this one along!)

Monday, January 05, 2009


Some of my most enlightening moments come on weekday mornings around 7:58am.

I am always in the car. Sometimes I haven’t even managed a shower yet. I’m seldom more than a mile or two off from the house. It’s usually cold.

And then, suddenly, there it is again – that moment of revelation.

It’s not a light bulb going on so much as it is a dimmer switch briefly turning brighter before rotating back into the dark of my subconscious.

You may be wondering – what’s so special about this particular time? Why in the few minutes before 8am on weekday mornings would anyone so routinely encounter epiphany? This must be hyperbole, right?

Well, these just happen to be school days. And at 7:58 in the morning I am usually taking alleys, short cuts, and trivial risks on the road in an attempt to get Harrison to school on time.

It is also during this brief window that I am learning from an 8-year-old things about myself – things, perhaps, I knew once but forgot.

These are my conversations with Harrison.


“Do you know what a New Year’s Resolution is?”

“No,” he hummed in between bars of a song that has been playing in his head since October.

“Really? You’ve never heard anyone talk about a New Year’s Resolution?”

“Well, maybe. Not really.”

I decided to bait him a little bit. “Oh. Wow. Hmmm. Surprising.” He hummed a bit more, then took the bait.

“Why? What’s a resolution?”

“Oh – well. You know how New Years is the start of a whole new year, right?”


“Well, this is the time of year that a lot of people decide to look at their life and make changes. They imagine how their life could be better, and then make a promise to themselves to make it happen.”

“Like how?”

“Like a lot of people, for example, would like to be in better shape. So they promise they will exercise more or eat healthier.”

“Oh yeah – like Uncle B.”

“Right. So, if you had to make a resolution for yourself, now that we are looking at a whole new year – what would it be?”

“I think I should read better. Just focus more,” he said, as if without much thought. But I could tell he had already been thinking about it. We each know what we need to work on.

“Wow. That’s a great resolution," I said. "Did someone tell you to say that or did you just come up with that yourself?”

“I came up with it.”

“Well, I think that’s a great resolution because that’s something you have complete control over. If you focus more on your reading, you WILL be better at it. That’s how it works.” He grew quiet, thinking about it. I decided to change gears and build on the momentum of this discussion before he changed his mind and elected to master the Wii instead.

“That was such a great resolution,” I said, “Maybe you can come up with one for me.”

“I think you should eat better,” he said, almost without hesitation.

“What does THAT mean?” I offered with a smile, glancing back in my rear view mirror.

“It means eat healthier foods.”

“Like what?”

“Like no more pork!” he said insistently, expecting I might fight back. I’ve been ardently promoting the merits of pork for a long time in defense of my affinity for the versatile Western delicacy. He knows I love pork. But he also knows I have high cholesterol. It would make an awesome bowling score, I once explained – but it’s not such a great score for cholesterol.

“Yeah – that’s probably a good idea,” I said. And then the dimmer switch in my mind turned up brightly.

I pulled up the curb outside the schoolyard and wished Harrison a good day as he hurriedly unclicked the seat belt.

And there it was. The New Year’s Resolution defined in my own words. A promise we make to ourselves. A vision of the future worth working toward. And the resolution is simply our conscious decision to go for it.

But we all know what happens to New Years resolutions.

They’re too often abandoned, and too soon forgotten. It dawned on me that I couldn’t remember a single New Years resolution I have ever made. We sure do like to dream, I thought. It’s easy to imagine ourselves in that Hollywood version of the future. But unless we make necessary life changes, resolutions are Teflon-coated musings of the well intended.

They’ll never stick.

And yet, the power to change is entirely within us. We CAN become that person we want to become – if we commit to it. If we give our resolution the time and effort it deserves. Then, perhaps, we wouldn’t be so quick to forget them.

And so I considered what it would mean to let go of pork. Not because I was seriously considering it, but just to weigh the sacrifice against the potential reward. Actually, I thought, there are a lot of other foods I could eat. I could probably live without bacon if I needed to. And ham. And sausage. And chops. And loin. And…

And now the list was starting to look a little ridiculous. Quitting pork cold turkey would be a tall order. So I decided I would follow Harrison’s lead instead and declared my resolution was to read better.

Labels, that is. Food labels.

Yes, this year I decided I am going to pay closer attention to what I eat by reading better. I’m going to avoid foods high in saturated fats, total fat, and “bad” cholesterol.

And I’m going to see if I can get that cholesterol level down to a less-respectable bowling score…even if I have to strike some pork from my diet to do it.

It's a promise I'll make to myself - and I know that if I don't keep it, I may never be able to trust myself again. And if I can't trust myself, who CAN I trust? Well, besides the 8-year-old in the backseat.