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Archives: June 2008

posted: Monday June 30th - 8:09am

Google Gadgets: Notebook

Google Notebook: In theory - a useful system. In practice - an unholy mess.

Around every silver lining, of course, lurks a dark, wet, malodorous cloud, and this holds true for some of the gadgets and tips I've been writing about. Google Notebook is a great tool. Whatever is on your monitor can, with one click, be ensconced in the Notebook, within which reside as many folders and sub-folders as you care to label, or so I think. When you...
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posted: Friday June 27th - 7:27am

Keep it Together

Why do I feel so desolate, so lost?

This has been a flat-out lousy two weeks. And you wouldn't imagine that it would have been so. We've had family triumphs, I've done some writing that pleases me, I've kept away from the beer and hero sandwiches, haven't given in to the tobacco demons (I don't count the two cigars). Forced myself to walk to and from my office. Made some reasonable plans for the...
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posted: Thursday June 26th - 7:42am

The Will of Woods

Tiger Woods is a superb example of the power of will. Every time you think you've seen his best effort, he knocks you over again.

I was wrong. It's no big deal to win the U.S. Open on a knee that's still sore from the arthroscopic surgery you had eight weeks earlier. On the other hand, winning the U.S. Open on said post-surgical knee, which, post-victory, is revealed to be the least troublesome part of a trifecta including two stress fractures and a torn ligament is a pretty good weekend's work. This...
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posted: Wednesday June 25th - 7:59am

Eternal Spring

This form of tai chi does wonders to improve focus and concentration.

When I can muster enough self-discipline, I do something called Eternal Spring. It's a form of chi kung, or nei kung, devised by a brilliant tai chi master, C.K. Chu. Master Chu, who taught college physics for many years (he's now in his 70s) came to realize that many of us... mature... individuals don't have the strength or flexibility to begin the study of tai chi...
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posted: Tuesday June 24th - 8:43am

Sink that Putt!

We, who fight the good fight, consider it a victory when we stay on point.

There's concentration and there's concentration. We, who fight the good fight, daily, hourly, minute by minute, consider it a victory when we stay on point, forcing ourselves to work methodically. And we're right. We recognize that we have a problem, and that in all probability it's a lifelong problem. By way of perspective, and, as I hope should be obvious, not to be disparaging in any way...
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posted: Monday June 23rd - 7:31am

The Mystery of the Heavy Eyelids

I started drifting off whenever I picked up a book. My head bobbed up and down so frequently you'd think I belonged on the rear window ledge of someone's '77 Grand Prix.

Looking back, I see that I've concentrated (concentrated — that's a joke, get it?) on the attention deficit area and almost completely ignored the hyperactivity. They say you should write about what you know, and that's what happened. When my ADHD is really kicking up badly, the result is not hyperactivity. It's stupor. All of a sudden, I'm passing out in the middle of a page...
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posted: Friday June 20th - 7:52am

Boustrophedon

I'm trying to get out of this ADHD maze by focusing on doing one thing at a time... no matter how long it takes.

Sometimes, no matter how candid we attempt to be with ourselves, it's difficult to evaluate the motives behind our actions. I've always been plagued by a compulsion to get to the very beginnings of a subject, to approach things ab ovo, so to speak. If I'm interested in Gothic cathedrals, I feel as though I'm cheating, if only myself, by reading about Gothic cathedrals until I've...
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posted: Thursday June 19th - 11:34am

Tiger Woods... and Concentration Revisited

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never

I guess we'll have to do the companion piece to the Jack Nicklaus paean. Obviously, Eldrick Woods. belongs up there in the All-World, Forever concentration rankings. If you saw him limping around Torrey Pines this weekend, sometimes appearing to use his club as a cane to take the pressure off the knee he had surgery on two months ago, you probably saw the ESPN Father's Day commercial. The...
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posted: Thursday June 19th - 8:52am

Is Literacy Dead?

The worst thing to happen to ADHD readers is poorly-written prose.

I'd like to rant about the death of literacy, but this isn't the right venue. If ever I get my website up and running, along with a collateral blog, you'll be able to see some bile. Anyway, I was sitting at my desk the other day, slogging through a dreadful manuscript, thinking about egos and entitlement. People write these unreadable, poorly plotted, typo-ridden "books" and send...
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posted: Wednesday June 18th - 7:06am

Buridan's Ass

It is easy for ADHDans to get lost in the maze of indecision. Get into the habit of finishing one thing at a time.

Buridan's ass refers to the problem of a donkey that, midway between two piles of hay, starves to death from indecision. Apparently old Aristotle anticipated this, as he did almost everything else, although he presented the situation as that of a man who, exactly equidistant from water and food, dies, because he's exactly as hungry as he is thirsty. We ADHDans frequently find ourselves in similar dilemmas...
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posted: Tuesday June 17th - 7:58am

Smokin'

Little did I know that tobacco would prove to be the most addictive indulgence of my life.

You've probably gathered that I've made an extraordinary number of bad decisions in my life. Some major — a couple of criminally ill-considered business decisions lead the pack, with choosing civil engineering as a major running hard for the show money — and thousands of bad ones. It would be much easier to enumerate the good decisions, but apart from a marriage proposal and the realization,...
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posted: Monday June 16th - 7:57am

An Evil Spiral

Batting leadoff and playing second base for the ADHD Comorbids is ~Depression~.

Even if I'm correct in stating that bad memory isn't a direct function of having ADHD, but rather a function of one's memory never receiving the data in the first place due to inattention, the end result is the same. Bad retrieval. This can lead to all kinds of difficulties. The day-to-day issues - where'd I park the car, how'd I forget her birthday, why didn't...
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posted: Friday June 13th - 8:47am

The ADHD All-Star Lineup

The ADHDs, the bi-polars, the Aspergers, and the OCDs all lay claim to a cadre of famous folk.

If you're reading this, you probably have a pretty good idea of the burdens ADHD piles on your shoulders, which already bear the weight that is our birthright as humans. I don't think it's the worst possible handicap (and if you do, ask Steven Hawking) but at the very least it's a pain in the butt. So how hard would it be if you had two...
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posted: Thursday June 12th - 8:32am

Got Balls?

Baoding balls, a.k.a. "Chinese meditation balls," help strengthen your hands as well as your immune system while reducing stress.

If you've ever wandered through Chinatown and poked your head into any of the stores that sell melamine "porcelain," kung fu uniforms, lucky bamboo and similar schlock, you've probably noticed the little decorative boxes with two matching balls in them. They're usually known as "Chinese health balls" or "Chinese meditation balls," but the real name, in Mandarin (I assume) is Baoding balls, named for a city...
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posted: Wednesday June 11th - 8:52am

Music for the Attention Challenged

How long a piece of music can you listen to without drifting off? I've got a few suggestions for ADHD music lovers.

I used to visit all the very gay places Those come-what-may places Where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life— To get the feel of life From jazz and cocktails. - lyrics by William Thomas Strayhorn OK. I'm restless; I'm drinking a little, looking forward to a rainy weekend when I can catch up on all my work. Meanwhile, I have a question. Those of you who haven't...
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posted: Tuesday June 10th - 8:38am

Let's Talk Baseball

Even when I watch every minute of a game, I still can't tell you who pitched or what the final score was. It's enough to make a sports fan crazy!

Forget the symphony. Forget War and Peace. Let's talk baseball for a minute. I'm a hereditary Yankee fan. When I was born, my folks lived on 156th Street and the Grand Concourse. If Tiger Woods teed up in front of our old building, whipped out his driver and hit a nice draw, he could catch the downslope at 161st Street and if his Titleist missed the entrance...
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posted: Sunday June 8th - 9:12pm

Farming for Focus

Gardening is not amenable to helter-skelter thinking. You have to plan and focus. And I love it.

Q: What is the opposite of an ADHDan? A: A farmer. Ah, you say to yourself, poor Willie, he’s finally gone over the edge, the blitherer. Not so fast, Bunky. Granted, I’m not a really a farmer. It would be remarkable if I were, considering that the area of Manhattan in which I live probably hasn’t seen a farm since the Van Buren administration. But...
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posted: Friday June 6th - 8:39am

My Views on Booze

Is there a relationship between ADHD and drinking? Probably. Is it a good idea to drink at work? Probably not.

Alcohol is unpredictable. Paradoxical. Dangerous. Exciting. Destructive. Medicinal. You never know if it's going to give you a lift, or send you spiraling down. Or if it will give you a lift and then, when you're feeling more optimistic, throw you into the Slough of Despond (which is from Spenser, with an "S," like the detective). At what point will this sudden reversal take place? After...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 8:53am

Solitaire

People with ADD tend to overrate the importance of solitude as an essential condition for close concentration.

There's a story about Bill Clinton that fits in here nicely. From all accounts, he's a devoted, perhaps compulsive, solitaire player. There are stories of the President standing at a breakfront during a National Security briefing, with his back to the table, playing solitaire while the analysts laid out subtle and complex scenarios, the myriad possible responses and the likely fallout from each. Enormously complicated, demanding...
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posted: Wednesday June 4th - 8:37am

Lost... (and Found?)

I don't have a problem asking for directions; it's remembering directions that's the problem.

A guy gets lost in rural New Hampshire. He's driving around, making random turns, hoping to find someone who can give him directions. Finally he notices a farmer sitting on the top rail of a fence, watching his sheep, and the driver stops. "Pardon me, can you tell me where North Xenophobia Crossing is?" "Yep." Pause. "Would you mind telling me where North Xenophobia Crossing is?" "Nope. It's a skootch more...
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posted: Tuesday June 3rd - 7:11am

Wax On, Wax Off

By repeating a simple, rhythmic motion a student can access levels of concentration and perception not otherwise available to him.

There's a famous scene in the movie The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi begins teaching Daniel karate by having him wash and wax all of his cars. "Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off," is the mantra to this exercise, which can be viewed on several levels. The obvious purpose of this silliness is to teach Daniel dedication to the art of karate while building...
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posted: Monday June 2nd - 8:00am

Morning Coffee... Revisited

Customize your Firefox web browser for a more civilized Internet experience.

One of the best things about using Firefox instead of Internet Explorer as a web browser is the extent to which you can customize it. There are add-ons for almost anything you can imagine, from dictionaries in languages I've never even heard of, to computer functions I didn't even know existed. On a less abstruse level, there are nice functions like Morning Coffee. When you find a...
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