Will a Major University Please Stand Up?

The dryer had stopped. iTunes was blaring. My coffee had gone cold. The phone rang. I was oblivious to it all. I was in “my happy place.” Others call it “being in the zone.” Do you ever get that? I get it when I’m engrossed in a design project. One that offers a bit of a challenge, a bit of creativity, a bit of fun, and a lot of brain power. When I get in this zone, the whole world fades away and it takes a lot to pull me out. Once, when I was in this zone my son came up to me at 11 at night asking if I was going to be cooking dinner that night or if he should just heat up something. I’m telling you, nothing, not even hunger distracts me. But this morning, while I was happily working away. I was yanked out of my happy place by a Sensa infomercial.
Great. That’s all I need! Don’t you find it frustrating that all these companies are making money off our desperate need to look like what other people have told us to look like? Maybe I’m angry because I was pulled out of my zone, but I really think I’m angry with my own weight. I’ve had a weight problem for most of my life. I’ve been on every diet from Jenny Craig, to Lindora, to Ultrametabolism. I have probably spent thousands on attempts to lose weight. Heck, I even tried some inane Celery Soup Diet until I nearly put myself in the hospital. In the end, it all comes down to me paying a lot of money to be told what I already know. Eat less, exercise more.
That’s the solution, easy enough. But nothing works and again I start some silly fad believing the ridiculous claims all over again. So I get mad. Mad at myself for being so stupid, mad at myself for not losing weight, mad at myself for not having the willpower to lose weight, then when I’m tired of being mad at myself I turn in outward. I get mad at Jack LaLane for starting the whole damn health craze; mad at the infomercials; mad at my friends for not telling me how bad I look. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! So, I quit. I decide there’s nothing I can do and forget about it. Until, someone takes a picture of me; my mother-in-law asks how my diet’s coming; I catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror or reflection in a window; and the search for a solution begins all over again.
So there goes Sensa, blabbing on about having results from a “major university” to prove their claims. Have you every noticed that all of these programs say the results have been proven by a “major university” study?
Lipozene claims its  been “clinically proven in a recent major university double-blind study.” OptiGen says it developed its program based on a “clinical study conducted by a major university.” Isagenix claims its shakes were part of a “major university study.” Zenadrine says “one major university study…” NuLean says its weight loss cleanse was “tested at a major university.” Hell, even Sublimal Music claims “clinical data from a major university” has proven that their tapes help weight loss.”

Yet, no matter how I search on Google, I’ve never been able to actually read any university study, let alone a “major university” study using a specific product.

In fact, the only published study I could find online was not published by a “major university.” It was in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and, though fascinating, was conducted by nutritional centers in various countries. Which basically concluded that it didn’t matter how much a woman paid for a weight loss program, its effectiveness was the same.”

Shouldn’t these companies be held accountable for their claims? Uh, isn’t that the Food and Drug Administration’s job? Before you claim anything don’t you have to show where you got the info? Even if you put the information in 3-pt script font. At least there’d be something to actually name the “major university.” Over at Diet Fraud, who has its fingers on the pulse of the diet industry, they have yet to identify the major university studies.

I refuse, I absolutely refuse to plop another dime down on any product that makes such a claim without giving me the documentation to back it up. I’m pleading with my fellow weight-challenged friends to join me and just stop buying this stuff.

For an alternative, you can find a lot of free weight loss advice online. Calorie count is a completely free solution for developing a healthy lifestyle. Run by About.com it is a free solution with a lot of benefits: They have tons of articles about weight loss. Their program also includes an iphone app to record your calorie intake, exercise, and they have a support network program where you can enlist your friends’ help, either through Facebook or on their website.

Cleaning House Tip – Use an Elephant

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. The good news is that I’ve been very busy with work, the bad news is it doesn’t give me a lot of time to catch a wave on the world wide web. Yesterday, however, I decided to tackle the nightmare that is my bookmarking world. While surfing I often will bookmark a page with the honest intention of coming back to it. However, even after I’ve read the page, it ends up that I have lots of left over bookmarks. A couple of weeks ago, a cousin asked me if I’ve used Evernote? She “loves it,” she said. Well, truth is, I had installed Evernote a long time ago and it had just been sitting there.
It seemed to me that it did the same thing as Instapaper–saving a webpage to be read later on your iphone or computer. I do love Instapaper. It’s saved me from boredom many times. I’m not a big fan of the magazines that doctors’ offices, hair salons, and what have you, tend to keep in their lobbies. People Magazine, Us Magazine, year-old copies of Time Magazine or Newsweek, have me yawning before I hit the second page.

So, I pull up Instapaper and, tadah, articles on websites that I found interesting enough to save to Instapaper are right there waiting for me, right where I left off reading. Its cool.
My cousin, said she had been using Evernote to organize all of her PDFs and notes for our family tree research. I hadn’t even thought of using Evernote in that way.
So, I fired up Evernote to check it out again. After a few updates, like I said, I hadn’t used it in a long-long time, I tackled a folder of notes and pdfs, and managed to delete quite a bit of old stuff. In no time at all, I had a very organized hard drive. So, what the heck, I tackled my bookmarks. Deleting those that had become outdated and saving the ones I wanted to read later on Evernote. I created what Evernote calls notebooks, for each of my bookmark folders, adding notes and tags to each of the files I wanted to keep. I don’t know about you, but often times I go to a bookmarked site and think to my self, “Self, why did you bookmark this page?” Many times, it’s for some obscure reason, i.e. I liked the color palette or something silly like that, and by the time I come back to that page I’d forgotten. When you click on the “Clip to Evernote” link in your browser bar, a window will pop up where you can write notes, create tags (keywords), which notebook to assign it to, whether to save the URL or just a clip of the page, and other options.
Being a little protective about my bookmarks, I fired up the iPhone and opened up the free Evernote app, put in my password and was happy to see that it had synched everything to my iPhone. Totally cool.
After all the house-cleaning, I found that I had actually cleaned out around 6 gigabytes of files. Here are some of the pro’s and cons I have about Evernote:

Pluses and Minuses

Encryptability (is that a word?) –  I like that right-clicking on sensitive text will encrypt it. Don’t like that it even hides it from me. I’d like to be able to put in the password once and all encrypted text would be viewable on my computer
Web surfing – I love that It saves an entire web page when I click on the “Clip to Evernote” link on my Safari Browser bar. I don’t like that it is no longer compatible with Firefox. Come on! I use Firefox more than Safari. Especially when I am working on web development. The work around is to click the Icon on my Mac and save the url but it doesn’t look the same. It just saves the text and your notes. (Note: yes they did update the Firefox add-on, but its still not as good as the Safari version)
Price – I love that most of its free; But $45 just to be able to add other types of documents such as ppt files is a bit steep. I have a lot of different subscriptions and its beginning to really add up so I’m holding off on going premium until I really need the added options. It also turns out that I’ve used up more than 75 percent of what’s allowed in the Freebie version, so I either have to pay, delete some files, or stop saving pages.
Integration – I love that it integrates with Facebook and Twitter; I don’t like that it doesn’t integrate with Google plus, blogger
Importability – It allows you to import a file. I have a lot of notes in tons of folders. The problem is, I can’t import all these notes all at once. So converting all my notes is going to take a long time. I have to figure out how to do it all at once.
Searchability – It could be that I haven’t figure it out yet, so I might be wrong, but Evernote’s search bar only searches for words that you’ve tagged. It doesn’t seem to search through the content of the websites. I didn’t realize it until I tried to find something that I’d read recently but didn’t save the right keyword or tag. I ended up having to scroll item by item to find try to find it. 
All in all its a great app, that I plan to use a lot more.

There is Something Very Wrong With This

Seriously? What happened to respecting our Commander-in-Chief. OMG.

How to Save the News

How to Save the News – Magazine – The Atlantic



As the webhost, I get a lot of queries and while I try my best to help find your missing ancestors, I am only one person. Here’s a chance to increase your odds by posting your queries directly to all of the members of Heycuz, some who’ve been doing research for over 50 years. While I’ve named this section, Wanted, it is not limited to that. If you’ve been looking for anything on your ancestor, like a photograph or a burial spot, feel free to ask about that too.

The reward may be only finding another cousin to share research with. Then again, you just might find your Most Wanted ancestor. Thanks for contributing!