Tag Archives: bathroom

Is There Such A Thing As A Good Selfie?

Short answer: no.

Okay, you dudes can go now.

Or not. Depends on what you want to hear.

The long answer? All right, then.

Since the Oxford Dictionary announced the selfie as word of the year for 2013, there’s been renewed interest in something that we had all but extinguished. Sadly, this comeback has not made them better. However, there are steps you can take to make your appalling selfie into one that doesn’t make old men retch and young girls run screaming into their rooms to cry softly into their pillows and stuffed bears.

Taken from the readwrite.com site, here are some basic steps for taking a selfie that doesn’t flat-out suck.

To start with, get rid of the fat arms.selfie-ad-2

If you’re a frequent selfie photographer, the right apps and accessories can make the task easier, while also banishing extended “fat arm” syndrome. Plenty of camera apps feature self-timers (like this and this), and accessory makers offer wireless shutters that let you shoot remotely away from your device

Now, admittedly, the makers of this photograph won a CLIO, an advertising award for it, but it is the exception that proves the rule. Having huge, extended, fat arms like that rarely works to showcase how desirable you are, only that you have deformed arms.

Make sure that you showcase your jawline in a good way, not let it disappear into a second chin that isn’t actually there.

When people hold their cameras up for a selfie, some unconsciously cast their heads back. But by doing that, the chin and jawline practically disappears—in some cases, it can even create or emphasize a double chin. 

The best thing you can do is to stretch your head forward toward the camera to create a more flattering angle. Not too much, because then your neck gets a bit strange looking, but enough to stretch out the skin under your jaw. Heck, this is a good idea for any photograph in which you’re going to show up.

Remember Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards? How she stuck her tongue out almost every chance she got? Remember? Good. Now forget her. That pose just doesn’t work. It didn’t work for Miley and she, for some reason, is a famous person who has had experience in posing in front of the camera.

So what hope is there for the rest of us? The short answer: There isn’t any. (Really, the only one who can pull this off is Kiss’ Gene Simmons, who has been doing it since before Billy Ray’s daughter was born.)

Finally, consider the background in your photo as well as the lighting in which you’ll be taking the selfie. If the light is behind you, then your lovely face is going to appear in all shadows, hiding you from the viewer. And, isn’t the point of a selfie to show off your face?

I know it’s not something most people consider, but background can make or break a photo. Even the best photo of you standing in your bathroom facing the mirror still is only a photo of you standing in your bathroom. Another bit that just isn’t going to work for you.

No one wants to see your bathroom. Even you don’t want to see your bathroom.

Try finding a better place. Maybe one with good lighting.

There are more suggestions at the article site, including a plea to banish “duckface.” You can head on over and take a look. Maybe, if you can’t help yourself and you do take a selfie, you could send one along and I’ll run the best one we get.

Sound good to you dudes?

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To Sleep, Perchance To Text

I loves me some technology, dudes. I really does.

I still remember the thrill of connecting my first modem and actually seeing real-time words appear on the screen from someone all the way in California. (I was easily impressed in those days.) My first text was a thrill-a-word as well.

As the years have rolled into the past, I’ve kept up with the technology relatively well for an old(ish) dude. I use text when I can, know what most of the hip programs and apps are (even though I still use outdated words like hip) and, in general, am just about as connected as it’s a good idea to be.

Apparently, though, there are people who believe I’m a bit of a piker when it comes to the idea of an always-on connection.

The premed student sleeps with mittens on each night. Mittens, to protect herself from her phone. To render her fingers unable to send those unconscious messages that are as embarrassing as they are senseless.

Yup: She’s a sleep texter.

“It’s a phenomenon occurring with the younger generation,” says Elizabeth Dowdell, a nursing professor at Villanova University who shared the anecdote about the mitten-wearing student. “And it’s reflective of the significance of our smartphones — of these very powerful machines. Why would we turn them off?”

I know, right? I really thought it was a joke article in Business Insider, but then I remembered that this was published in Business Insider, which isn’t known for the hilarity of its content. Really I’m a bit astonished by this.

Most nights, I don’t sleep all that well. I’ll wake up from different things. Not that I’m saying anyone I sleep with every single night snores really, really loudly and causes me to wake up. Nope. I’m most sincerely not saying that. Very forcefully not saying that, in fact. Still, I don’t sleep all that well.

But the idea of waking up in the middle of the night, grabbing my phone and sending a tweet while still asleep? That’s astonishing. I mean, wouldn’t the bright light from the phone wake them up? Recent scientific studies have shown that bright lights during sleep time will actually wake people up. That is, if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you’ll stay awake longer if you turn on the bathroom light, than you will if you simply grope your way to the toilet an then back.

These dudes and dudettes? Not really bothered by it as far as I can see. They’ll wake up, text or tweet, then go back to sleep, not remembering a thing about it in the morning. At least, not until they check their message history.

Dowdell initially learned about sleep texting when one of her students described her nighttime activities. After growing more intrigued, she surveyed 300 students, and learned that 25 to 35 percent had sent text messages while they were snoozing. And more than 50 percent admitted that their phone or other technology interfered with their sleep in some way.

That’s what’s worrisome, experts say. Sleep texting tends to occur during naps or about 90 minutes to two hours into the snoozing process, prior to entering a deep sleep. “Sleep is a very important restorative process,” says Josh Werber, a snoring specialist at EOS Sleep Centers in Long Island, N.Y. “And when we’re not fully engaged in it, and not getting the amount we need, we’re not having the same restorative effect on our brains. And that affects our cognitive ability the next day.”

For those worried they might be turning into a sleep texter, the best ideas to curb the behavior seem to be behavioral. Like the med student above, you could wear mittens to bed. Or you could simply move your phone somewhere it’s out of reach from your bed. Maybe a few weeks like that and you’ll have broken the habit.

As a parent, I’ve been pretty strict about making sure my young dudes don’t have their phones with them when they go to sleep. I’d not been worried about this, but, rather, them either talking or texting to someone until early in the morning or doing something else that prevents sleep. This just reinforces my thoughts that electronics like phones don’t belong in young kids’ bedrooms when they’re trying to sleep.

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Freaky Friday: Stay Awake And Get Fat

How’s that for a sweeps-month, scare-the-snot-out-of-you type of headline? Yeah, it’s something that’s almost guaranteed to get your eyeballs glued to the page, wanting to see more about this.

All I’d need to do is throw in the words free and sex and maybe iPhone and I’ve got a pageview magnet. Still, it’s not all about the pageviews. This here is a real thing.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, losing sleep over the fact that you’re overweight (or, really, for any reason at all) is a pretty sure way to actually make yourself gain more weight.

Losing sleep tends to make people eat more and gain weight, and now a new study suggests that one reason may be the impact that sleep deprivation has on the brain.

The research showed that depriving people of sleep for one night created pronounced changes in the way their brains responded to high-calorie junk foods. On days when the subjects had not had proper sleep, fattening foods like potato chips and sweets stimulated stronger responses in a part of the brain that helps govern the motivation to eat. But at the same time, the subjects experienced a sharp reduction in activity in the frontal cortex, a higher-level part of the brain where consequences are weighed and rational decisions are made.

In other words, your brain is hitting you with a double whammy. Your body is craving a hit of that sweet, salty, fat load of goodness we call junk food. And, just when your body most needs to have your brain in control and exercising a little restraint, the part of the brain that’s in charge of restraint goes out for a well-deserved vacation, leaving instant gratification in charge for a while.

Not a good combination.

Of course, it was possible that we, the sleep-deprived masses, simply craved more food because our bodies had to make up for the calories expended when we stayed awake instead of sleeping soundly. It was possible to believe it until this new study came out, that is.

“Their hunger was no different when they were sleep deprived and when they had a normal night of sleep,” (said Matthew P. Walker, an author of the study and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley). “That’s important because it suggests that the changes we’re seeing are caused by sleep deprivation itself, rather than simply being perhaps more metabolically impaired when you’re sleep deprived.”

Least you think this is all made up, let me assure you that the link between lack of sleep and weight gain is one that has been well established by a number of studies throughout the year. It’s real. Sleep less, weigh more. Not only that, but sleep deprivation can inflict a whole host of other potentially deleterious effects on your body. This new study, though, really focused in on what happened in the brain when the subjects skipped sleep and then started drooling over different food pictures.

The research showed that when the subjects were bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, they strongly preferred the food choices that were highest in calories, like desserts, chocolate and potato chips. The sleepier they felt, the more they wanted the calorie-rich foods. In fact, the foods they requested when they were sleep deprived added up to about 600 calories more than the foods that they wanted when they were well rested.

At the same time, brain scans showed that on the morning after the subjects’ sleepless night, the heavily caloric foods produced intense activity in an almond-shaped structure called the amygdala, which helps regulate basic emotions as well as our desires for things like food and experiences. That was accompanied by sharply reduced responses in cortical areas of the frontal lobe that regulate decision-making, providing top down control of the amygdala and other primitive brain structures.

All of which goes a long way toward explaining why dudes make such bad choices the day after an all-nighter. And when I say dudes, I mean, of course, mostly me. Who hasn’t woken bleary-eyed from a night of tossing and turning only to find themselves making a direct line from bathroom to cupboard, searching for that one last donut?

Bit takeaway health tip here, dudes. Make sure you get enough sleep, even if only to avoid eating more donuts. Save ’em for me.

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