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Archive for July, 2008

Big big laughing by Tom@HK

We all need reminders not to overlook the bliss to be found in the simple things.  Too often we get caught up in the hype and false messages of society or the media.  We start comparison shopping – evaluating where we rank in contrast to those around us.  We start thinking we need more, or should be different from what we already are.  Surely we can’t be happy with what we have.  There must be more to life.  We must need to do something more to find our joy.  That old familiar phrase comes back to mind “I’m sure I’d only be happy if. . .”

I’d be happy if. . .

  • All my bills were all paid off.
  • I lost some weight.
  • Chocolate was a health food.
  • My house was not so cluttered.
  • I had more time for myself.
  • I got a better job.
  • I made more money.
  • I had a nicer house.
  • I could get that new Plasma TV.
  • Things weren’t so expensive.

While we’re at, why not got a step farther?  I’d be ecstatic if. . .

  • A leprechaun gave me a pot full of gold to achieve my dreams.
  • I could sprout wings and fly or turn invisible whenever the need arose.
  • Everyone loved me for the genius that I truly am.
  • All of our cars were oxygen-powered and didn’t require any fuel.
  • Congress consisted entirely of members of Mensa.
  • No one ever fought with each other again.
  • The clouds were made of chocolate pudding, and the grass tasted like licorice.

Okay, so you get the idea.  Stop putting off your happiness for a later date.  Sure, things could get better tomorrow – or they could get worse.  Enjoy what you have now.  Don’t take your life for granted.  If you have good health – enjoy it.  If your family loves you – return the favor.  If you have running water, electricity, convienient transportation and a variety of local stores to shop, remember those that do not, give thanks for the wonders you have.  You are surrounded by gifts and joys all around, but you have to pay attention to see them.

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IMG_9801 by dbking

If like me you’re just a little sick of seeing even one more bit of coverage on the upcoming election, here is a little humor break for you.  Take a look at these great tips to help you pick the next president:

  1. Close your eyes and recite, “eenie, meenie, minnie, moe.”
  2. Ask your mother who she likes; then pick the other candidate.
  3. Flip a coin.  Perhaps the best 2 out of 3?
  4. Pick the one who is mentioned the most.  He’s obviously the most popular, and therefore the best choice.
  5. Take your dog to meet both and vote for the one he doesn’t bite.
  6. Find out what kind of car they drive and how well they dress.  Clearly the person who looks the best is the most successful and consequently the most likely winner.
  7. Put the two of them on an island with 20 hard-core senators and 20 lobbyists.  Whoever survives is the winner.
  8. Consult the oracle that resides inside the Magic Eight Ball.

ATTENTION:  If these jokes offend or annoy, you are in serious need of a laughter time-out.  You are in danger of taking life (and especially the election) too seriously.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a fun day!

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Psychic Kids

Misty blue by *Susie*

I’ve recently been watching a new TV show called Psychic Kids on A&E.  I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, and children (teenagers mostly) are so interesting to observe since they have less life experience and therefore less preconceived notions than we adults.  Their reactions are more vivid and fresh, and even when scared or uncertain; they retain a natural curiosity about what is happening to them.

The series investigates a variety of children, usually 2-3 per episode, to discover their exceptional abilities and to aid both children and parents in finding ways to cope with the unique circumstances that arise.  While most of the kids see ghosts of the deceased, quite a few have empathic ability as well, which means they can tune in to the feelings of those around them – even if those people are already dead.

Many of the children feel insecure and confused.  Their encounters occur unexpectedly and often repeatedly.  They may have physical effects as well such as headaches, tingling, hot or cold flashes and other reactions.  Besides these unusual incidents, many have met with disbelief and discomfort when discussing these events with others.  Even within their own families it may be dismissed as overactive imaginations or a cry for attention.

Host Chip Coffey may be familiar to some viewers from his appearances on Paranormal State, another supernatural-based show on A&E.  Co-host Dr. Lisa Miller is a psychologist who counsels the families with the questions and concerns that arise from these unusual events.  “Is my child crazy?  How can I make my child feel safe from something I can’t even see?”  Together they give the families the tools to work through their difficulties as well as a chance to meet other families going through the same situations.

Viewing the show I am hit with one intense feeling; that no matter whether you believe in these abilities or not, helping a teen cope with the overwhelming emotions that are generated must be of prime importance.  The strain of keeping their experiences bottled up, of being afraid to speak of them for fear of ridicule is immensely powerful.  We all fear the unknown, but being unable to get the feedback and interaction with others, we feel alienated and alone.

The bizarre and unusual have a great attraction.  Ghosts draw us in because proof of ghosts is proof of existence after death.  Psychics and mediums fascinate us because they offer a glimpse into another world, a different dimension.  There is a comfort in the thought of a beloved grandmother, father, or guardian angel watching over us and giving us thoughts and messages to guide us in life.  Watching children seeing and hearing these apparitions is interesting because they are innocent and honest.  Their excitement is contagious and very believable.

To tune in and discover it for yourself, check it out Monday nights at 10pm on A&E.

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Asian Film Fun

State theatre by tvol

While on a quest to find something different than the same old thing, I stumbled across Asian Cinema.  With many of the same categories as American movies, including comedy, horror, romance, and of course warrior epics, these films have a distinctive flair totally unlike your average Hollywood flick.

Like many other fans, I am a total sucker for the Kung Fu punching, samurai sword-slashing, zombie-stomping, kick-butt action in many of these films. One of my prerequisites for Asian films is they must include at least one unusual, non-American item such as sword fighting, Yakuza gangs, folklore and supernatural elements, martial arts action and traditional oriental clothing.

My favorites are the horror films, which often combine bits of humor with their gruesome fare.  This laugh factor adds unpredictability to the film and leaves you amused and bewildered. Recently I saw the outrageously gory and fantastically frightening Machine Girl. Here a young high school girl finds herself bereft and alone after bullies kill her younger brother.  With an explosive starting sequence, this movie is a total bloodbath – especially after Ami is injured during her journey for revenge and has her left arm replaced with a machine gun.  The low-budget effects and over-the-top murder scenes add a touch of humor to the otherwise violent tone of the film.

Along with other great movies such as Death Trance, Azumi I and II, Sky High and Versus, many of these films forgo dialogue and character background to focus on stylish poses, cool clothes, and of course the odd rock music soundtrack to electrify the fight scenes.  But that’s what I enjoy about these movies so much.  Too often, movies take themselves much too seriously.  I want to be entertained when I see a movie.  I don’t overanalyze the details or nitpick flaws and errors. I just enjoy a good story, cool heroes and amazing action scenes.

Yes, I am a big Ryuhei Kitamura fan, as well as the super-cool Tak Sakaguchi.  It is often hard to find good recommendations for foreign films, as all of us have different tastes, and what one may love, another can thoroughly dislike.  You may want to check out some of the various Asian film review web sites, such as Kung Fu Cult Cinema, Love Asian Film, and Asian Movie Web to get started.  Be sure to stop by Blockbuster for cheap previewed foreign films, as well as Best Buy for brand-new movies you can’t find anywhere else.  Enjoy!

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Annoyed by Jsome1

Do you find people around you rude and obnoxious? Does the store cashier ignore you to chitchat on the phone or to their coworker? Do people honk their horn for no reason, tailgate and speed through exit ramps? Do you find others are short-tempered, pushy and impatient? If so, what can you do about it?

Not much, I’m afraid. You can’t change other people. It’s true – ask any woman who married a man she thought she could “perfect.” The best solution is to treat people the way you want to be treated. Yes, it’s Pollyanna. Yes, it doesn’t work when you’re overworked and stressed out. But hopefully you’ve been taking my previous advice and doing your best to life a happy, fun, stimulating and emotionally satisfying life.

But for some quick techniques, try these tips:

  • Take a deep breath. This tip is repeated over and over on my blog because it works. If someone writes a check for a tube of toothpaste, or yells at their kids and makes them cry, there’s not much you can do to change it. So you must ask yourself – what is more important, being righteously indignant and letting your blood pressure rise along with your temper, or simply taking 5-10 calming breaths while you remind yourself that this is only a 5 minute or 10 minute part of your 24 hours today.
  • Speak up. If a coworker is taking over the meeting, your waiter is sarcastic or offensive, or your colleague is taking credit for your work, let someone know. In the meeting try saying “We’re getting off-topic here, can we go back to point #2, I’d like to go into that some more.” For the waiter or the colleague, you can choose to talk to them personally or speak to a manager or supervisor about their behavior. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • Divert your attention. Sometimes the problem is a rude family member, an obnoxious neighbor, or even a loudly barking dog. If this is the case try to do something to take your mind off the annoyance. Go play with the kids to get away from the complainer, figure out your neighbor’s schedule and try to do your yard work when they are out, and turn up the TV or listen to your MP3 player if the dog is too noisy. It isn’t a perfect plan, but with practice it can ease your stress level and put a quick stop to the irritation you feel.
  • Look for the lesson. Yes, we’ve all heard this one, and we hate it don’t we? Why can’t we just be mad, and push them back? Well, maybe it has something to do with us. Perhaps we are worried and upset and are unconsciously giving others the “evil eye.” Maybe we’re self absorbed and they bumped into us because we weren’t paying attention. Make sure that you’re not the reason for the rudeness before you go judging the other person.
  • Exaggerate. When someone is insufferable and offensive use your imagination and go overboard. Use the old curse “May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.” Imagine throwing a pie in their face, or beating them with your golf club, pulling a machine gun on them or even tossing them into a rabid zombie pit. The idea is to go so far above what your feeling of revenge is that you see the silliness in it and laugh.

Feel free to share your own tips in the comment section. (I’m sure we could all use the help.)

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Patience by beau-foto

Life is full of situations that can make us lose patience; bad drivers, long lines, noisy neighbors, and relationships at work and home. We’re surrounded by people and places that are either too slow or too rushed. When you look into your impatience it’s ironic. Either people around you are poking along at a snail’s pace, getting in the way and taking too much time, or they’re rushing in a frenzy, bumping into you in their hurry and cutting you off in traffic to pass just one more car before they reach their turn.

Learning to be patient in the face of places and issues that irritate and frustrate you can bring more calm, tranquility and peace into your life. The ability to remain unaffected by the pandemonium around you could be one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Losing your patience leads to stress and confusion. You feel vulnerable and agitated. Your blood pressure increases as your heart rate goes up, and your breathing becomes quick and shallow as your body prepares for fight or flight. As you can see, it’s in your best interest to obtain and keep a high level of tolerance and harmony no matter what is happening around you.

Of course, all this is easier said than done. For me the best way to achieve a more placid and serene existence is to practice patience each day. Work on it a little bit each day, and if possible set aside one day a week to put your tips and techniques into use. Start by concentrating on increasing your acceptance and understanding of the flaws of those around you. Use the tips below to get started:

  • Acceptance. Being more empathetic to others is a great place to start. If someone cuts you off while driving, perhaps they have a sick child at home they are rushing to get medicine for. Perhaps the loud child in the store has a severe ear infection that is making him crankier than usual. Instead of assuming people are simply being rude to us, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they are dealing with a lot of stress themselves.
  • Remove judgments. Remind yourself that you are not Emperor of The World. No one appointed you to judge the best pace for walking through the store, the correct pace for learning something new, or the right sound levels for a friendly party. You are not the expert on traffic control, a parenting counselor, nor a time management professional. Leave that stuff to the specialists.
  • Question yourself. Ask yourself “Will getting angry about this long line be useful for me? Is there some way I can better spend my time?” Perhaps during a wait in the doctor’s office you can write a list for the grocery store, do a puzzle, or email a friend. Find opportunities to use your time more wisely and you will find the moments flying by much more pleasantly.
  • Identify your stressors. All of us are different and get upset for different reasons. Find out what issues and situations make it most difficult for you to stay focused and calm. Then come up with strategies to work with it. Can you grocery shop at an earlier hour when most people are still home? Can you eat out on a night like Monday or Tuesday so you aren’t surrounded by large crowds? Try a few options for your most irritating scenarios, and of course remind yourself to breathe deeply and stay in a positive state of mind.
  • Be happy. Happy people are simply less likely to get annoyed over the little things. Think about it. When you sleep in on the weekend, have lots of time to do things, and are well nourished, you are less inclined to react when a child is crying, or a waiter is rude, or your tasks take longer than expected. Take time for yourself and work on the goals for your happiness. Make sure that you are working on your own happiness goals and are scheduling fun and laughter into your day.
  • Give in to your anger. Unlike our initial thought, that giving in to our anger makes it bigger and meaner, in actuality giving in to anger often releases it. Many of us feel like we need to be happy and perfect all the time. But the truth is we all have moments when we are less than we wish to be. Accepting ourselves, flaws and all, is a path to contentment, peace and understanding. Patience is not the rejection of our anger or pain, but simply a redirection of that energy. Would you really rather focus on the five reasons you feel so mad, or find something better to occupy your mind?

There are as many ways to learn patience as there are to lose it. Check out these articles for additional reading:

Patience – how to develop it.

http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/patience.html

How to become more patient.

http://www.hodu.com/patient.shtml

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