Saturday, 2 July 2016

Little Things I Recently Learned

The day we stop learning is the day we start ageing. If we see life as a journey in which we learn, grow, create, and evolve, then the act of finding things out becomes a truly joyful experience. After the more philosophical, Things I Got Rid Off To Become Happier, it's fun to get to the little, everyday kind of things we happen to come across. The following is a list of simple stuff I learned during this last year. 

Also check the Random Stuff You May Not Know series if you dig expanding your horizons.

1- Cheesecake Factory is not a cheesecake place that only serves desserts

Being both in Los Angeles, every few weeks my aunt passes by and we go have lunch somewhere. It's usually by 1:00 pm and I don't have my daily eggs for breakfast so I'm able to eat. One of those times she said we'll go to the Cheesecake Factory.

I was confused for a moment. She knows I don't eat sweets, at all, so what's up with that? Maybe I should have had my breakfast after all. Hm. I jogged earlier and I was extra hungry.

On the way to the Marina Del Ray location, I couldn't hold it so I had to ask her. She explained that they do serve lots of yummy food, along the cheesecakes and other desserts. We got there and I saw for myself. The food is tasty and their portions are quite filling. We went about three times and it is always busy.

The menu actually have the history of the place, which I was curious to check out on my first visit. So it is true that it began as a cheesecake place in Detroit, Michigan in the 1940s with Evelyn Overto. They then opened their Los Angeles Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA in 1978. Today, there are almost 200 The Cheesecake Factory around the globe.

2- The most efficient way to wear Apple EarPods

I was never an earphones kind of guy. Whether in the house or car, I love to blast music significantly loud. I only wear them when I Skype and in recent years when I was sharing homes in the U.S.

Being old school, I remember the Sony headphones and then the first round earphones which you had to insert straight into the ear canal. When a few years ago I switched to Apple, I also switched to the Apple EarPods ― even though I had/have a 2003 iPod with its own earbuds. So I just began using them as I used the older ones (photo on the left).

Little did I know, I've been doing it wrong for many years now. In fact, the sound was so bad, I was seriously wondering if my Tinnitus had truly screwed my hearing once and for all. Other times, I would blame it on whatever I'm watching. It was actually the same level of sound I would get if I wasn't using the EarPods.

Then, a few weeks back I decided to tilt the earpiece a little to have the speakers facing forward (photo on the right). And My Oh My! The sound was phenomenal. It was a true Eureka moment. Actually I had to lower the sound, something I have rarely done before.

I later researched the topic and found that there are actually several ways to wear the Apple EarPods. Some ensure better, louder sound while blocking almost all ambient (background) noise around you, like my new position here; others, such as the common hanging-from-the-ear way most people use, offer minimal bass while you can still hear your surrounding.

Two additional ways to wear your earphone is similar to my new way but with the speakers facing backward instead of forward ― less muddled sound, a little less bass, but almost no treble. It could also be inserted in the ear with the extended part of the earphones and wires facing up. This apparently seems to offer the best sound; the only problem though is that they constantly fall out of place.

Some people even prefer the
over-the-ears bulkier headphones to earbuds due to their sound quality and ability to filter out external noise.

Now you know you've got options.

3- Learning to ride a bike with no hands

Around the same time last year, I had the idea of writing a list of the things I know by now I will not get a chance to do during this lifetime. One of them was navigating an intergalactic spacecraft between the different galaxies. Another was riding a bike with no hands... here on Earth.

From seeing those who do it in the streets, I always assumed that they must be professional cyclists. Some of them keep both hands in their pockets and they make it look so easy. However, before I add that one I thought I would Google it first.

Like pretty much everything now, I found a WikiHow page explaining how to ride with no hands. Though there really is no secret; it's just telling you to use one hand first, then no hands but keep them close, then try downhill without pedaling. Then finally, with practice, you'll be able to do it.

So, I started doing that and a week later, I'm able to pedal and can even put my hands in my pockets. And
biking with no hands” was crossed off the list. Another reminder that we are the ones who set our own limits in Life.

4- Finding out that Nike was a goddess

This was interesting. Since there are 1200 works of art at the Getty Villa, I couldn't possibly photograph all pieces or read all signs. So during my first visit there, I was kind of skimming through. The sign for the above sculpture, though, really caught my attention, especially the “Supported by Nike” part in the title. To my eyes, these three words were so out of place that for a brief moment I couldn't believe how such renowned entity would sell some space for advertising money. And it's Nike the shoes! 

A few seconds later I realised that in Ancient Greek Nike was the goddess of victory — as well as the daughter of the giant Pallas and of the infernal River Styx.

Also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory, her equivalent for the Romans is Victoria.
So Nike are not supporting anything in such sense, but she is a Goddess depicted here carrying an incense burner. I've been wearing Nikes for over 30 years and not even once have I questioned what the word means. We truly live and learn. 

Check the latest photo-article The Phenomenal Getty Villa in Photos about my visit to that blinding place.

5- Using hand sanitiser to remove sticky hash from fingers

Not that I had been dealing with super-sticky hash those past 20 years, but now when I do, I know what to do. I was once chatting with a girl who works at one of the local dispensaries and I asked her how to get rid of that stickiness; because no amount of hot water or soap does it, which becomes annoying if you want to go back to living your life. So she said hand sanitiser. I tried it and it works like charm. So yep, that one is One Lucky Soul certified.

6- Orange Raspberries!

As I do every Friday, I finished my jog and passed by the Venice Farmers' Market. The strawberry guy had raspberries and blackberries raspberries!

I asked what they are, he said they are called golden raspberries and told me to taste one, which I did and it tasted good. Though a tad milder, but the taste is not much different from the other varieties/colours I have previously tried.

Apparently, orange (golden) raspberries, Rubus idaeus, are a mutation of red raspberries. They have a creamy taste and grow in the Summer, but available in Spring and early Fall as well. They are sodium-free, cholesterol-free, saturated fat-free, and provide vitamin C along dietary fiber.


7- Selling single cigarettes is illegal in the U.S

I know in Egypt that's a common practice, and I'm sure in other parts of the world as well. Not being a cigarette smoker myself puts me away from the loop. But I was having a conversation with a friend, who owns a smoke shop by Abbott Kinney, about all the rules and regulations of the industry when she mentioned that selling single cigarettes in so not allowed by law.
Under federal law, they must be sold as packaged by the manufacturer ― must be in a package containing at least 20 cigarettes.

8- Trees with flowers that look like bottle brushes are actually called Bottlebrushes
This peculiar-looking tree was found on my street, Westminster Ave., when I was sharing the Venice Beach bungalow and it caught my attention. I was trying to Google ‘brush’ so I can find a picture to post it for fun. But I didn’t know what it was called as there are many types of cleaning brushes. When I finally knew it’s called a bottle brush, I Googled it and BAM: Other than photos of actual bottle brushes cleaners, I found photos of our red tree: And it’s called Bottlebrush tree (Callistemon). Nature can truly be uncanny. ⠀


Unusual English Words I learned Later in Life

Random Stuff You May Not Know

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Two

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Three

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Four

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Five

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Six

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Seven

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Eight

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Nine  

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Ten

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Eleven
Nations' Did You Know

Bizarre Random Facts

Hacks You May Have Missed

Useful Home Tips

Some Useful How-To Videos 

Things I Got Rid Off To Become Happier

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