torsdag 1 januari 2015

onsdag 31 december 2014

The 3-2-1 principle for mixing perfect cocktails for New Year's Eve

During my time at the hedge fund Futuris I was often invited (by commission hungry brokers) to various wine and champagne tastings.

A couple of times we even ventured into the land of cocktail tasting (and mixing). Here are a few hints and tips on cocktails made easy, that I took away from those. My notes are quite rare, since most things got lost at those occasions...


Cocktails and other drinks made short and simple

Make your own syrup by bringing 1 liter of water and 1 liter of sugar to a boil. Let it simmer until the syrup is clear. Put it outside to cool before pouring it into a PET bottle. That should be enough for about a hundred drinks. Will keep well in the refrigerator for a year if you and your friends don't finish the whole batch tonight.

Make your own lemon juice or lime juice by pressing fresh lemons and limes (use within a day or two)

Use the 3-2-1 principle for mixing tasty and well-balanced drinks:

3 parts alcohol/liquor (vodka, gin, rum, whiskey etc)
2 parts sour (freshly squeezed lemon juice)
1 part sweet (your own syrup or a sweet liqueur)

Mix, shake in ice and pour it without the ice


The simplest good, strong and tasty 6cl cocktail is made from 6 cl liquor, 4cl lemon juice and 2 cl syrup. The rest is just variations and tweaks of that basic recipe.

A short drink is a cocktail with one more ingredient, such as ice (yes, it's an ingredient), soda or juice

A long drink is a short drink with even more stuff in it, such as mint, cinnamon, liqueur, berries etc


Try a whiskey sour even if you don't like whiskey: Take 3 parts bourbon (Jack Daniel's), 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part syrup. Shake with ice and pour without the ice. That's it. Add ice cubes and/or Angostura bitter if you want.

A side car: 3 parts cognac (VS), 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part triple sec or cointreau (or blue curacao for color, it's the same thing as triple sec and cointreau). Shake in ice.

Mojito: crush a whole lime sliced into wedges, crush 10 leaves of fresh mint, mix with 6cl of dark rum (not too dark and full) and 1.5cl syrup. Pour in a high glass filled with ice cubes and top off with anything bubbly, e.g. club soda or champagne.

or try my favorite, Blue Lynchburg Lemonade:

Blue Lynchburg Lemonade:

2 parts Jack Daniel's
2 parts Blue Curacao
1 part lemon juice
1 part syrup
4 drops of Angostura Bitter
1 wedge of lime
6 parts crushed ice

Mix and shake like hell and serve including all the ice.

You can make it on ordinary triple sec or Cointreau instead of Blue Curacao, and the Angostura is just to make it more adult. Some (a.k.a. girlie girls) like to add a few parts of lemon soda as well.


Tips on stocking your liquor cabinet

Use american whiskey=bourbon (not brandy or scotch) for mixing cocktails and drinks
Use simple (VS) cognac for drinks, not more expensive, aged variants like VSOP, Extra etc
Keep a bottle of Triple Sec/Cointreau at home - or Blue Curacao
A few drops of Angostura bitter makes almost any drink taste better, deeper, fuller, more grown up, a bit like adding broth to a casserole


Cowboy drinks are only for emergencies

Remember that 2-step "cowboy" drinks like Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Red Bull, Rum & Coke etc don't take into account basic gastronomical insights about which balance of flavors are palatable. Be better than that, more refined. Or do you serve hot dogs for New Year's dinner as well?

If the bartender has no idea what he's doing, go ahead and order a GT, but otherwise; just say NO.


Right after a pool dive that went just a little too deep
this summer on Ibiza


FYI: The next post will be from my own domain, mikaelsyding.com

3..., 2..., 1... GO!

måndag 29 december 2014

2 important vows for 2015 - and armpit bacteria in the face

Do you want to look younger, reduce injuries and pain, waste less time, be healthier, and stop the feeling your years are rushing by?


Here's how:

    Do you usually make new year's resolutions, or are you "above" such gimmickery? I recommend you rethink and consider these 2 ideas:


  • Make 2015 memorable
    • Make sure you experience things in the coming year that will make you remember what you did in 2015 forever
    • Make sure you instantly have an answer for the question "What did you do in 2015?"
      • What did you do in 2014? Hurry up; you only have a couple of days left to fill your quota for the year. 
      • Strong experiences and feeling create memory milestones and take up more brain space. That makes your life seem longer and fuller in retrospect, rather than having rushed by faster and faster. Check out more brain science at this podcast.
  • Stretch your psoas, doing the couch stretch regularly (at least 5 minutes a month, but 2 minutes a day is better)
    • If you only do one mobility exercise, just hit the psoas regularly
      • You'll walk more youthfully and with power, balance and confidence
      • You'll preempt slouching and even hernias and possibly reduce any Restless Legs syndrome you might have


and as an added bonus (too small and easy for a resolution; just try it anyway):

Let bacteria take over your face
Did you read my post about research on rubbing armpit bacteria in the face and not using anything other than water to wash your face? It's alright, you can do it after this.

I stopped washing my face on October 1, 2014. Since then I've only used water instead of various gels, scrubs and soap (!). I got the idea here and decided to try it. Actually, sometimes I even grab some armpit bacteria (as in the clinical trial) and rub them in my face, before rinsing with water.

Three months later I couldn't be happier with my decision. My skin looks and feel healthy and resilient. I don't get outbreaks from binge drinking and junk food. I feel safe in not having to always splash water on the after getting up and before going to bed (pre-October I washed and scrubbed thoroughly twice a day [three times daily on gym days]). And if I'm to believe the scientists my skin looks much better in a microscope than before (the face equivalent of having a body that looks good naked)

.

My strongest memories from 2014 might make you remember to forward the address to this post, or talk a friend (or enemy) into subscribing


Adopting a 7 year old stressed out and neglected German Shepherd-Doberman-Grand Danois dog (the trial started 9 days ago)


Snowboarding naked (a.k.a. cock in a sock gate) down Sweden's most visited black ski slope in Åre

I think it's the embodiment of sprezzatura,
but my friend and mentor Ludvig at SGM wishes I would stop posting pics like this



Making national TV news with a rhubarb umbrella at the year's largest political summit (the headline below with a picture of me says "Record number of visitors")



Yes, that's a bottle of Italian sparkling wine
in my hand around lunch time


I retired from managing money as a hedge fund manager



I also stopped eating land living meat after being a super consumer of beef


Stuff that didn't make the list of things I'll remember forever:

Selling my Lamborghini

Dressing as Pussy Riot

fredag 26 december 2014

10 questions on Batman. Have you made your choice yet; Costanza or Batman?

Who will you be in 2015?


Costanza - the eponymous procrastinator and fat slacking artist from the Seinfeldt show

or

Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman - multi faceted, focused and serious doer, who takes athleticism to a new level


George Costanza once barricaded himself in his employer's basement office to avoid being fired. When he was locked out, he broke himself into the office through the ventilation system (he risked being fired if he wasn't present to answer his phone). Costanza has given indulgence and shame an obese and neurotic personification.

George Costanza - or you?
George Costanza Offers Advice on Middle East Conflict

Costanza always acts in his own very short term interest, with no regard to the consequences. He is a lying, lazy, self-absorbed glutton; he is over-confident, a general disgrace to humanity and of course very, very funny.


Will Costanza be your guiding light for 2015?

Will you ask yourself what Costanza would do (as if he would ever stop for one second to give a matter a second thought - except maybe how to avoid actual productive work) when making decisions regarding, e.g:
  • What to eat, how much and when
  • Whether to go to the gym or postpone it (forever)
  • If you should add an extra rep and/or 5 pounds to all sets compared to last workout or just take it easy today; give yourself a break - at least you are at the gym
  • Whether to watch just one more episode of Modern Family or do something productive (Batman wouldn't even watch the one episode, let alone "just one more")
  • Study something useful or go to great lengths to trick yourself into food coupons or a student loan



Or will you in all situations ask yourself what Batman would do?
  • Would Batman have dessert? Bread?
  • Would Batman eat real vegetables or cheap vitamin pills?
  • Would Batman skip gym?
  • Would Batman Study until he understood for real, or just try to cram some facts short term?
  • Would Batman read "50 shades of grey" or "Gödel Escher Bach"?
  • Would Batman speculate on the stock exchange? Would he buy penny stocks?
  • Would Batman get a mortgage just because the interest is low right now?
  • Would Batman skip one more rep?
  • Would Batman go for the beautiful and sexy blonde bimbo or the accomplished woman
  • Would Batman skip mobility exercises?

What would Batman do?



I know which choice will get you ahead in life and which will hold you back and make you miserable and intolerable. The sooner you decide to Choose Batman, the earlier you can indulge without shame later in life (that is... if you still want to kick back by then)

And finally..., would Batman do this(Alright, he wouldn't, but no harm, no foul. Maybe he should try to live laterally and sometimes be more than just a dark voice and über-serious vigilante)


onsdag 24 december 2014

One investment thought to consider ahead of 2015

“I am a long term, fundamental value, investor.  So these rules don’t really apply to me.”
No you’re not. Yes, they do.


söndag 21 december 2014

Why you should keep an open mind about everything - and how to exploit intuition, auras and pros/cons lists

A is A, evidence is evidence and intuition is real and important

Intuition, that illusive sixth sense that women are said to possess, is really nothing more than your subconscious drawing conclusions from a million little things that your conscious self is incapable of handling. You could call it s a kind of informed prejudice or snap judgement.

The brain deals with a hundred megabits per second of input data from the environment (nerve cells in the skin, eardrum, nose, tongue, eyes handle a million times more information than the conscious self would ever have time to handle). Your conscious self can barely judge 7 different items of information simultaneously.

Certain combinations of the deluge of information stimuli appear right before, e.g., an attack or a storm or a mating possibility. That "spider sense" made sure our ancestors lived to be, well... our ancestors. Most modern people, however, have become so civilized that this combinatory sixth sense, intuition, has faded away. We don't pay attention to intuition, we don't heed its signals, and we even actively dismiss it.

Some people, who first have become very proficient in their field, later learn to trust their intuition instead of mechanically trying to make calculated decisions. Once they realize intuition usually works better than formal decision processes, they trust their intuition more and more. Successful business leaders, portfolio managers, writers and even scientists claim to use their "gut feeling" for important decisions (but before starting a nuclear war or going all-in on something else, make a Sanity Check first, and cross off items from a check list to refrain from really stupid decisions).


People with synesthesia can hear color, smell music and even see personalities and moods

Even very intuitive people still can't see "auras" though.

But some people can.

There is a rare condition called synesthesiawhere different senses have crossed wires and enable smelling colors, seeing sound and experiencing music as colors etc. Some of these people have crossed wires between sight and the combinatory sense of intuition and actually see "auras". They still need to work on understanding what they are seeing; the auras don't come with tags. However, they do see auras, that can be interpreted as the combination of signals that your subconscious detects.

Fun fact: Lexical Gustatory Synesthesia means words can stimulate taste, e.g., the word "basketball" may taste like waffles. Imagine reading a word that tastes like your favorite snack over and over again

Fan fact 2: Nikola Tesla and Richard Feynman were synesthetes


Auras for the future, but intuition for today

In the future, when we start merging our brains with implanted AI, I am sure we all can learn to experience auras, not to mention higher order sensations (see bullet 4.e. here) that today make as much sense as thinking about a fourth or fifth dimension.

Until then, you can train your simple intuition, try making snap judgements on the small things in life. Then pause and double check with yourself to see if you really agree. It's a bit similar to playing rorscach on your own. Or being the dice man. What do you want for dinner, what movie do you want to see, which client should you call first, should you ask for a raise today? Is that person angry/happy/sad/introverted/mean/kind/extroverted/...? How much does this apple weigh, how many marbles are there in that jar?

In middle school, I won several guessing competitions where I simply let my intuition completely loose and "not even tried" an intelligent guess. I simply glanced once at the mountain of small objects, said the first ridiculous number that popped up, such as 1462 or 175, and usually won. Since then I have tried honing this "power" and learning when to use it and when not to, when it can be trusted alone and when it needs help by the structured, conscious self.


Making decisions is about finding the one, single, important factor

I sometimes make lists of pros/cons ahead of important decisions.

I don't, however, weigh the variables or count them, I only use the listing process to clear my mind of all variables, until I see the only one that matters or realize which one it is.

It's almost always just one single variable that stands out and dwarfs all other (more about that here). It might not even be a tangible variable but something as vague as "because I feel like it". I have yet to regret a decision, and I think I owe it to being both structured and precise as well as letting intuition be the final arbiter.


1. Trust yourself
2. Keep an open mind. Some things that may seem supernatural are just ...natural