Saturday, January 31, 2009

YouTube Craziness

I couldn't resist putting up this news clip from the UK - it's hilarious! Enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sex, Religion, Philosophy and Romance Novels

C'mon! I'm a romance writer. You knew it had to happen sooner or later!

Aside from populating the planet, why are people obsessed with sex? The birth control pill in the 1960s gave women the freedom to do as they wished sexually speaking without fear of unwanted pregnancies. I've been reading a book named "The Philosophy of Sex and Love". It addresses the logic of sex and love from various philosophical viewpoints.

Many issues swirl around the problem of objectification. Objectification of another human being is undesirable according to philosophers and I can't say that I disagree with them.

According to Wikipedia,
"Objectification also commonly refers to the regarding of a person as 'a thing'. For example, sexual objectification refers to the regarding of a person as merely a non-human object, or tool, for sex.

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum has argued that the objectification of something can be determined by the presence of the following factors:
Instrumentality - treating as a tool for one's own purposes;
Denial of autonomy - treating as if lacking in agency or self-determination;
Inertness - treating as if lacking in agency;
Ownership - treating as if owned by another;
Fungibility - treating as if interchangeable;
Violability - treating as if permissible to smash;
and the denial of subjectivity - treating as if there is no need to show concern for the 'object's' feelings and experiences.

Feminist scholars say that the objectification of women involves disregarding personal and intellectual abilities and capabilities, and women's reduction to instruments of sexual pleasure for men. Examples of phenomena seen by some feminists as objectifying women include depictions of women in advertising and media, images of women in pornography, as well as images in more mainstream media such as advertising and art, stripping and prostitution, men evaluating women sexually in public spaces, and cosmetic surgery, particularly breast enlargement.

Feminist authors Christina Hoff Sommers and Naomi Wolf write that women's sexual liberation has led many women to view men as sex objects. Research has suggested that the psychological effects of objectification on men are similar to those of women, leading to negative body image among men, as well as fears of inadequate sexual performance, leading to increased use of drugs like Viagra."

Catholic doctrine says that sex can only occur in marriage and where there is no encumbrance to conception. But why are they so hung up on encumbrances to conception? It was something I hadn't really thought out before. If the Catholic Church removes the 'no encumbrance' part, it opens the door to gay and lesbian marriage. What? Well, if there are encumbrances to conception and a heterosexual couple is having sex for fun rather than for procreative purposes, what is there to prevent the definition of marriage from changing? Nothing. A gay or lesbian love making session cannot result in a child. And the encumbrance to conception is the fact that only a heterosexual union can create a child. So if the Catholic Church says, okay, you can use birth control, then they are saying the sex without the intention of creating life is acceptable. Which would trickle down to the acceptance of gay/lesbian marriage without the chance of conception.

So the Catholic Church is unlikely to ever change its stance on birth control since that leads directly to gay/lesbian marriages, which they don't want. So millions of people around the world die of AIDS because the Catholic Church says contraception (including condoms) is a sin. But what is the greater sin? Millions of people dying or people enjoying sex? Sounds self-serving to me. Power, as they say, is an aphrodisiac especially for a 2000 year old Church accustomed to getting what it wants.

Isn't that objectification? Aren't the Catholic Church and other Churches reducing people down to sexual beings and then denying their sexuality? The Catholic Church objectifies people by their own doctrines - the presence of the factors of objectification are in full use by the Church: Instrumentality (treating as a tool for one's own purposes),Denial of autonomy (treating as if lacking in agency or self-determination), Inertness (treating as if lacking in agency), Ownership (treating as if owned by another) and the denial of subjectivity (treating as if there is no need to show concern for the 'object's' feelings and experiences).

I'm not trying to bash the Catholic Church or any other Church. I was brought up Catholic but I cannot agree with many of their doctrines. Many religions do everything they can to suppress basic human nature. We are animals. The urge to mate is natural. Why is something natural made to be disgusting in the eyes of religion? Because it is a social control. Yes, we need to have basic rules by which to live in order to avoid anarchy and chaos in our societies (we're fairly close to that anyway) but some things need to be left out of the public/religious domains and left up to the individuals.

I am NOT proscribing orgies or having sex with a different partner every night or breaking vows. If you make a vow, it is meant to be kept. If you can't keep your vow, then leave the relationship, free and clear and honest.

Kantian philosophy agrees that sex can only take place within a marriage. Kant believed that in order to avoid objectification of the other person that sex had to be marital. The logic behind his philosophy is that when a heterosexual couple marries that the woman owns the man and his sexual organs and that the man owns the woman and her sexual organs. It's sort of an equal power exchange philosophy, so that objectification is avoided. Tit for tat, no pun intended.

Some philosophers believe that human flesh is so repugnant that any/all sexual activity should be prohibited so that the human race can die out. Extreme much?

It seems like a lot of sexual philosophy has a problem with sex for sex sake. It seems like procreation in marriage is the only thing that prevents objectification from happening. But that seems like a very short-sighted philosophy. If you believe in God, I don't see why God would allow sex to be enjoyable but apparently so abhorrent. Just like I can't see how God would create gays and lesbians to only punish them. Sounds like a very capricious, vindictive God. And this makes no sense whatsoever.

I think that between consenting adults, where no one is being hurt including third parties, sex is a way to connect to another human being in the most primal, basic way. It brings pleasure, emotional, mental closeness and floods the body with endorphins. And it's fun to read about. LOL. It's also fun to write about!

Romance novels are fantasy. Romance novels guarantee a happy, committed, monogamous ending. They guarantee sexual tension and obstacles to love but in the end, the reader knows the hero and heroine will live happily ever after and have lots and lots of sex. And many children. So, are romance novels evil? Some would say yes. Others, including me, would say that it is fantasy and even if the sex and marriage are in reversed order, the love and marriage parts still happen. So, are romance novels trashy, even with religious mores thrown into the mix?

Absolutely not.

I think we have more problems with violence on TV than sex everywhere else.

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fractal Time

I haven't thought about fractals in a long time. Here is a picture of one. Real purdy, ain't it? Amazing that something so pretty could be a mathematical wonder. And I have to ponder this: What makes a fractal so appealing? According to Wikipedia, a fractal is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole, a property called self-similarity. A mathematical fractal is based on an equation that undergoes iteration, a form of feedback, based on recursion. Because they appear similar at all levels of magnification, fractals are often considered to be infinitely complex in informal terms." Huh?

A fractal, at its core, is a repetition of a pattern over and over again, in the exact same sequence. And one fractal gives birth to a smaller but identical fractal, theoretically to infinity. Do you see the left end of the fractal above? If you were to magnify that a million times, it would look just like the swirl from which it grew. Slowly drifting off into eternity on a teensy, tiny scale.

If I were to have a fanciful theory of fractals, it would be fractal time theory. No, I am not a mathematician or a physicist, so I have no intimate knowledge of fractals. But the concept is fascinating as a rich source of pseudo-science, real science and fantasy.

What if we are all one on never ending procreative series of fractals? What if everything that has happened, has happened many times before and will happen countless times again? And what would happen if an anomaly founds it's way into the equation, throwing the pattern off-kilter?

Sometimes, I like to think that everything has happened before (ie. deja vu) and sometimes I like to think that a glitch in the programming can lead to another set of beautiful diagrammatic, mathematical equations.

Either way, I am surprised time and time again, life and life again. I think each person has their own fractal, each community, country, world. And to really mix my science, math and science fiction, every once in a while a free radical comes along to bump against your fractal causing it to change in unimaginable ways.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Resonate to Your Own Frequency

I think most people have experienced THAT feeling. You know the one. The one where you're sure you've seen or done the exact same thing before. You're walking in an unknown place and suddenly the world does a little tilt and you're SURE that you've been there before. At that time. At that step. At that place. And it throws you. You stop and stare, desperate to remember the fading memory, like quicksilver disappearing into the ether. says that deja vu is: The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.

MSN Encarta says: Déjà vu once referred exclusively to the illusion of having been somewhere before or having done something before. Recently, however, it has come to encompass as well the reality of repetitiveness in events or actions. This sense of the word has been extended still further, until the turnaround from the original meaning is almost complete and déjà vu is sometimes also used to describe tedium.

According to Brown and Marsh’s work suggests that déjà vu is more than just a hallucination—a misfiring of neurons—as many psychologists have long believed. One explanation for their results is the “double perception” theory, which has been around since the late 19th century. According to the theory, people sometimes see things twice in quick succession: the first time superficially or peripherally; the second time with full awareness. You might glance at a building while talking on a cell phone, for instance, and not really register it, then give it a second look a little while later after you get off the phone. You might not remember the first glance, but your brain has registered it subliminally, so the second glance may seem oddly familiar.

Further according to this article, researchers have information that suggests that déjà vu may be the result of a small seizure in the part of the temporal lobe that governs our sense of familiarity, a temporal lobe defect.

But is that all there is to it? Just another myth shot down in scientific flames? This phenomenon is more common in twentysomethings and tends to dissipate in middle age. But why? Why couldn't it be that we are all connected to a universal constant with a constant cycle of rebirth? We are all connected - we are all made out of the stuff of stars. And if one molecule can resonate to the frequency of another molecule, can we not all be resonating at our own frequency? Reliving moments?

I believe in science and logic. But science and logic can only take you so far. Logic can take you in any direction you want. You supply yourself with supporting data and, voila, fact-based logic. Science can be, and has been in the past, manipulated to get the results the researchers desire - everyone has their own agenda. Funding, adulation, whatever.

But what if these so-called temporal lobe seizures are something straight out of science fiction - something like a space-time crack in your mind? Allowing one to recognize the signposts of a life already lived?

Yes, I like science fiction. And as far as I can see, science fiction can lead the way in hard science. Is it just that scientists love science fiction and so go out of their way to prove it? We've all seen the original Star Trek episodes with the communicator thing they use to speak to each other wirelessly, looking a lot like present-day cell phones.

The brain is such a complex piece of tissue. Controls everything. Thoughts, words and actions change brain chemistry. So if these things can change brain chemistry and the structure of the brain, who is to say that déjà vu is not another one of our senses. Something that we learn to ignore as we age, as we move further away from the children we once were. Children are beacons of light, they see things in totally new ways, before they are taught/forced into a mold dictated by society. Losing their unique vision, their unique voice, their unique senses.

I prefer to think that déjà vu is telling me that I am on the right course. That somehow I am doing what I am supposed to do, where I am supposed to be. Yeah, this is a lot of metaphysical stuff but pure logic has not served me well. I am a logical person but when dealing with feelings, you must look deeper. Your feelings are instantiations of your core beliefs about yourself, about the world.

One of my core beliefs is that I think there is something out there. I don't understand it. I'm not sure if I call it God or the Universe, but I think there is something happening. Does this mean I believe in fate and destiny? Sort of but who is to say there is only one fate or one destiny per person? Maybe you can have multiple realities and in each one of those realities there is a fate/destiny. Wow, I sound like a new ager. I like to think that reality splinters into a million pieces with every individual passing second. You control your fate, your destiny, with your decisions. You can change the entire course of your life in a single second. And if I believe that, it would seem that I believe in multiple realities. But the realities are of our own making.

So déjà vu may be traced to the temporal lobes but I don' t think that it is not "real". Maybe déjà vu is just an echo of another reality. Or maybe an echo of this reality.

Hard to say. I don't have the answers, only the questions.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Tango in Toronto

It's not as sexy as Sleepless in Seattle. Or maybe I should have more accurately named this post '"Last Dancer in Toronto". Yes, I admit it, I am one of those people who stands on the subway platform, plugged into my iPod, dancing. You know the ones - the ones everyone thinks are crazy.

But what is so crazy about enjoying yourself? People, in general, don't enjoy themselves enough. Not enough fun, too much work and responsibility. "Grow up" we say to those who act silly.

I am not a native Torontonian - I came originally from elsewhere where if you're waiting for a light at a street corner to change, you can actually make small talk with the person waiting with you. I tried this when I first moved to Toronto - the woman looked at me like I was an axe murderer and gave me a horrified look before scurrying away. Geez, calm down already. I am hardly a threatening person.

Part of the problem in Toronto, it seems, is that the only people who actually speak to you on the street are either panhandlers, insane, trying to pick you up, want to rob you or want to convert you to their religious sect. But when I say something innocuous about the weather and wait for a response, I don't expect a freaked out reaction.

So I people watch in the subways and streets instead. I can't talk to anyone because people think you're a threat of some sort. I'm not tall enough to be a threat. Honest. And I have my iPod. MP3 players are a great invention. I love mine. And the best thing about listening to my iPod on the subway platform, is the look of total bewilderment from other people when I start dancing. I don't do the crazy iPod dancing from the iPod commercials, but I do shimmy and shake in time to the music.

I dance to just about anything.  Like Nietzsche, I consider a day lost if I have not danced at least once. Lately, I've been listening to tango music on the subway. And I keep having the same scenario running through my head - dancing the stereotypical tango that we all sort of know - the one where you throw your head back, stride to one side with one arm flung out in the direction you are moving in. I do this in my home sometimes. And I'm trying to work up the nerve to tango on the subway platform. I can just imagine how people would outright gawk at me, point and whisper to their neighbor. Well, at least they'd be speaking to each other. After all, everyone seems to love a spectacle.

I keep thinking that this would be the funniest thing or at least it would be until the men in the white suits put me in a straight-jacket and ship me off to a padded room. 

So maybe I have danced my last tango in Toronto. On the subway plat form anyway.


Monday, January 12, 2009

10 Things To Do When You're Crazy in Canada

When people think of Canada, they generally think of three things: Mounties (they always get their man, wink, wink, nudge, nudge), snow and terminally polite people. I think Voltaire said that Canada was a "few yards of snow", actually it's a few gazillion yards of snow, give or take a gazillion here or there, in the winter anyway. And all that snow can drive one crazy. So to lighten the load of insanity while in Canada in the winter, you can try the following things:
  1. Go up to a Mountie, grab his stetson hat and try to run away with it (this could get you arrested but remember, you are crazy now)
  2. Go the the Governor General's official residence in Ottawa (and having a Governor General who represents a foreign Head of State, the British Queen, is crazy in and of itself). The residence is guarded by guys in red outfits (I'm pretty sure they're mounties) who are like the Queen's guards - they don't move a fraction, don't react to anything. Go up to one and try to tickle one. See if there's any reaction. (still you might be arrested, but your mantra is "I am crazy in Canada now").
  3. Refuse to speak anything other than French in the province of Alberta (of course, you might not survive the experience)
  4. Give your inner dork full rein to say "eh" after every sentence. Go to the Ottawa Valley to get the "authentic" Canadian accent used by Bob and Doug Mackenzie from the Great White North. Funny, this is the only place in Canada with a Canadian accent. Most of the rest of us speak normally.
  5. Elect a government only to have it overthrown in a bloodless, constitutionally-backed coup because the political system is whacked. 
  6. Be a true polar bear. When the snow is five feet deep and you happen to have an open body of water nearby, take a refreshing dip in the water. Ensure you have those electric paddle things to bring you back to life on hand.
  7. Drive on the 401 Highway (busiest highway in North America) through Toronto in a snowstorm. Watch the bug-eyed people leaning forward in their seats so far their teeth marks decorate the steering wheel. Canadians afraid of the snow - who knew??
  8. Throw yourself down a triple black diamond ski run in the Rocky Mountains, preferably with no experience in skiing. See how fast you can go before you hit a huge mogul and go flying off into the wild blue yonder. That or be a member of the Canadian National Super G ski team aka The Crazy Canucks.
  9. Even though the temperature is 40 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale (about the same as -40 degrees Celsius), go about your daily routine wearing jeans, a jean jacket, t-shirt and sneakers. Cold? There is no cold!! Bah, crazy Canucks spit in the face of cold! P-too! Sorry, I didn't hit you, did I??
  10. If you happen to be a mayor of a large Canadian city (cough, c...Toronto, cough. Did you hear anything?? Not me.) and your city gets under four feet of snow (119 cm), then call the Army to clear the streets of snow. Really, the sheer nerve of Mother Nature.
So now you have some idea of what you can do in Canada in varying situations. 

Fun, eh? Okay, okay, stop rolling your eyes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Orgasmic Music by Jake Shimabukuro

I have always been physically. emotionally and mentally affected by music. It is just something I have always taken for granted, thinking that this was something most people do - a perk, for want of a better word, for being human. But the more people I speak to, the less common I find this "perk" to be.

I was recently introduced to the music of Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele player, of all the music in the world. I seem to remember some guy in a yellow suit in the 1970s tiptoeing through the tulips playing the ukelele. And I sort of remember thinking that the ukulele was the worst sounding instrument on the face of the planet and, to make matters worse, his voice was screechy and high.


But Jake plays a piece by George Harrison named "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on a ukulele. It is almost a religious experience for me. So closely wired into my brain, it's like every one one of my nerves resonates to this man playing what I had previously thought to be a totally ridiculous instrument, a mini-guitar for children.

I listen to this piece and goosebumps fly across my skin. It's almost like having an orgasm. Almost. There isn't a better word to describe the effect this music has on me. I close my eyes and let the music drift through my body, enjoying every last drop of sensation, both aural and physical. The music is strong and passionate, tender and wild by turns. It makes me want to run through the rain naked as the day I was born. Unfortunately or fortunately, it's winter and there's snow outside so I manage to restrain myself. You can thank me later. But talk about inspiring! It is simply amazing. I don't know if Jake ever tours but if by some chance Jake is reading this, then PLEASE come to Toronto to give a concert. I will be first in the ticket line.

This man has talent. In spades. I watched a YouTube video of him playing this piece and watching his fingers move blindingly fast over the strings is something to behold. I never in my wildest imaginings would have thought a ukulele could possibly sound so wonderful. My instrument of choice is a piano but ukulele is definitely on my radar now. I even downloaded his album "Gently Weeps" from iTunes the other day, I was and am so enthralled. If someone told me that one day I would be downloading/buying ukulele music I would have laughed myself to death.

You have to listen to this guy to believe me. Go on, I'll wait while you watch and listen.

Now wasn't that amazing? So now you are thinking one of a number of things: that I am totally insane, because it's not Nickelback (who I like) and it's not classical (which I LOVE) or Wow, that was unique and wonderful.

I'm hoping you go with unique and wonderful, but everyone has their own musical tastes. I don't know how much of a following Jake has but I'd wager it is more of an underground movement. I had never heard of him or his music. Which is a real shame. We get music that has been pre-packaged, pre-marketed and pre-digested with a pretty face at which to look. Musical factories who manufacture the next pop icon. American idol stuff. Whatever.

This is authentic music to my thinking. It is individualistic and real, and more appealing for being so. Evocative and thoroughly entertaining. It is what music should be - appealing on many levels and wonderfully nuanced.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Confessions of a Technology Junkie

Since starting my profile on various social and writing networking websites, something has clubbed  me betwixt the eyes. The longer I am a part of these sites, the more I see in the tech microcosm, I understand how alone technology has made us.

Don't get me wrong, technology is a wonderful thing - I can't imagine my life without my computer, the internet, e-mail, voice mail, online shopping and all the things that can make one's life more productive and easier, less stressful. But in the midst of all this technology, we've cut ourselves off from the world and other people. We interact with the world through a monitor and keyboard, sometimes using Skype to actually see any person you want to speak to around the world. I am addicted to technology, not surprising for someone who worked in Information Technology for many years, but still not a good thing.

We are reaching out in record numbers to people we've never met before. eHarmony, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Red Room - all used in an attempt to connect with other like-minded people. We have love affairs with our computers. Over the holidays, I didn't have daily access to the Internet. And it just about drove me nuts - I wanted the contact with others that I have come to appreciate as a member of various social networking sites. My family thought this was kind of amusing, no doubt.

I just wanted to have a computer around me, sort of like a wiry, cold security blanket. OMG, I was out of touch! I just wanted to touch a computer, caress the damn thing. I just wanted to hang out in a computer store. And that's when I realized it - I am a technology junkie.

My fix is plugged into the wall and I plug into my laptop. I need to check my e-mails, my site traffic stats for the previous day, network with other people and write. Now I really do need to write and my handwriting is atrociously bad. But I need to limit my time on the social networking sites.

I am an avid Facebooker. I have "met" so many wonderful people that I look forward to "chatting" with them on a regular basis. It's also a support system - like today when I couldn't get a word out to save my life. Someone from Facebook helped me with my problem and off to the races I went. Perfect. Fulfills a need.

But when you're sitting there and checking for email every three minutes, there's a problem. And if you're sitting there all day, without moving your backside out of your chair for some much needed exercise, technology has created another species of couch potato, instead of camping out in front of your TV, you're camping out in front of your computer. 

Writing, in general, has cut down my day-to-day access to flesh and blood people that I can see, feel and speak to. Not that I feel up the people I see :). It's so easy to do - you don't even need to go out to get groceries, just shop over the Internet and have it delivered. You don't even have to speak to the delivery guy, just have him drop it off at the door or with the concierge.

And the kids growing up with all this technology are addicted to it too. When was the last time you saw kids playing in a playground? I honestly can't remember. It might have been three or four years ago. Not including organized sports, etc. What happened to swinging on the swing sets? What happened to tag? What happened to blind man's bluff or red rover? Or hide and seek? Kids are plugged into technology to the point that six year olds are coming down with carpel tunnel syndrome. SIX!

And the thing I really, REALLY don't understand? Parents give their kids a computer as a gift and then don't monitor their computer usage. There are all sorts of sick perverts crawling the Internet "chatting" with YOUR children. I don't have kids, but if I did, the computer would be set up in the dining room or living room where I could see exactly what they were doing. They're kids. They need to have someone looking after their best interests, not left to the pedophiles trolling the internet like fishing trawlers.

Aside from that, I make a point to exercise daily, to at least try to get out and see real people on a daily basis, I have writing groups that I attend and I learn more about writing. I won't use the words "to hone my craft" - I'm sorry but it sounds like a difficult knitting project or something really pretentious. If I ever refer to writing as "my craft" please shoot me. (No don't shoot me, but you can tell me how ludicrous I sound - all I would need would be a pashmina draped artfully around my neck to complete the image, wear really heavy makeup and act weird - ugh!) I write ergo I am a writer. Not a crafter.

Sorry, that got a little off-topic. Pet peeve of mine.

Regardless, I need to ensure that I turn off my laptop and do something else. Yes, I can always find interesting things on the Net and interesting things about my Macbook to play with (I love Garage Band and iWeb). But that doesn't involve other people. I need physical/verbal contact with other human beings who sit at a table with me, walk down the street with me, go to the movies/shopping with me. 

No one is an island, but damn, we're working hard on making that saying irrelevant. We need to take steps away from all the technology competing for attention in our lives and just BE. Be with your friends, your lovers, your families, your co-workers, the cashier at the store, whoever. And maybe then we won't be so separated from our humanity, which sometimes seems to hold us back so much. If only we could have computer-like efficiency. But we don't. We are human. 

Not cybernetic organisms jacked into ethernet cable.

Monday, January 5, 2009

100 Things I Want in a Man

I was speaking to a friend today and somehow we got onto the topic of what we would like in a man. She told me that about a year ago, a friend of hers had written a list of 100 things she would look for in a mate/man. And then out of nowhere, she meets a man and lo-and-behold, he matches almost everything on the list she had written a year previous. She hadn't looked at that list since writing it, but remembered it and decided to take a look at it.

So maybe the act of writing down what she wanted in another person helped her to subconsciously look for the person who would suit her best. Sort of like a subliminal suggestion. Sort of like the book "The Secret" but for relationships.

So I thought, why not? The only stipulation of the exercise was that you had to write things you wanted, not things that you didn't want. A positive list instead of a negative list which concentrates on the bad instead of the good. I think if you keep saying that you don't want certain things, then for some reason, you are so focused on not wanting these things that you actually get what you didn't want. Did that make any sense whatsoever??

So I wrote my list. Surprisingly enough it didn't take that long. At first I thought there's no way I can come up with 100 things I look for in a man. But after the first 15 items or so, the character traits that I look for just came spinning out of my fingers and into a Word document. Amazing. I had been so concentrated on what I didn't want instead of what I did want.

The other surprising thing? Not one item on my list had anything to do with how the man looked. I don't know if most women would put in tall, dark and handsome but it never really occurred to me to put in what to look for in terms of looks. Sometimes I think I am odd for a woman. Looks are so subjective for me. If I think a person is a nice and good person, then they are attractive to me. If I think a person is not a nice person, then they are unattractive to me. I refuse to watch Brad Pitt movies anymore because all I can think is that he cheated on his wife, therefore he has become repugnant to me. Maybe I take things too much to heart, I've been told that this attitude of mine is a little hard-core. And maybe they're right, but I feel as I do regardless.

So, what, you are asking, could I possibly be looking for in a man? Well, I'm not going to post the whole list but the words compassionate, loving, intelligent, honest, honorable, reasonable, playful, loyal, helpful, passionate, kind, flexible, hard-working, emotionally available and reliable were some of the traits I look for in a man. I think most men would agree that they would look for these things in a woman, as well. Men and women, I think, are not all that different. Yes, there are differences but down deep we all want the same thing. Love and acceptance.

So now, I am going to put my list away and not look at it for a year or so. And then I'll see what has happened after a year. Maybe nothing, but maybe something really wonderful.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Facebook Blues

Facebook and other social networking sites are great. You get to contact old friends and meet new friends. Even though I've never met many of my Facebook friends in person, I have had conversations with many of them and I genuinely like them. They're nice people.

And when someone is kind enough to accept my friendship request or extend their friendship to me, I feel it is polite to acknowledge them with a nice thank you note. I was doing that today, I had a lot of people to write to, but part way through my list, Facebook blocked my access to making wall posts.

I hate being rude. It doesn't sit well with me. It leaves a bad impression with people and a bad taste in my mouth. So being cut off is upsetting to me. To some people, it may seem silly to be upset by this. But it really annoys me. It's like being told to "shut up" while greeting someone in public by some busy body. 

So I've emailed Facebook to see if this is a permanent thing or if I can somehow get off their 
"sh**-list". I explained what I was doing and why. Maybe if I keep my thank-yous down to ten per day that will be enough.

So for those of you who haven't received a post from me yet, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I appreciate your friendship and would like to get to know each of you better in the future.

Okay, I feel a bit better now.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Wishes

If I could have or do anything, anything at all, in the whole wide world, what would I have? What would I do?
  1. Win a multimillion dollar lottery.
  2. Travel around the world.
  3. Pay off my mortgage.
  4. Have my novel, Pitch Dark, become a New York Times Bestseller.
  5. Write five more brilliant novels.
  6. Be totally healthy and completely happy.
  7. Have my family and friends be totally healthy and completely happy.
Well, I might have a shot at one of the above, but the rest…the rest are unlikely to happen. But that's sort of what new years are about. Dreaming of a perfect future, a perfect life. That which will make you happy. What would I do if…? What changes could I make if…? What do I want for my life?

Big questions. Uncertain answers. It seems that everyone and their dog wants to lose weight and get in shape. Sounds good, fitness clubs do a booming business in January but then many seem to stop going and start eating McDonald's and Wendy's again. 

I think the problem is that people are thinking that, "now my life will begin. Now I can make my life perfect." And when that takes too long, they give up on their dreams and goals and think, "well,  maybe someday". 

Someday is now.

You want to change? Really, really, REALLY want to change? Your best bet is to get whatever help you need to make the change you want. Within reason. I mean, somehow I don't think I'm going to grow two inches taller in this lifetime. And I will never weigh what I did when I was fifteen unless I went on a starvation diet. I'll never be a rocket scientist because I'm not interested in doing it.

Be realistic. If you want to lose weight, go visit your doctor to rule out any health problems that may contribute to a weight problem. One to two pounds per week is all you should lose or you will just gain it back and screw up your metabolism to add insult to injury.

If you want to have loads of self-esteem, feel good about who and what you are, do things that will make you feel better about yourself. Take a good, GENTLE look at yourself and don't judge yourself harshly. The world judges you enough already, so you need to be like your very best friend who always supports you and listens to you. Feelings and thoughts are not just things that pop into your head - your feelings and thoughts are a product of your core belief system. Examine your core beliefs and see if they help you or hurt you. 

Learn to set your personal boundaries so that other people don't take advantage of you or abuse you. Stand your ground, remain calm and repeatedly state what you need of the other person. Their problems are not your problems. Don't take on something that is not yours to deal with. This is something I've learned in the past year and it has made an immense difference in how I feel about the world, other people and myself. No, I won't do five people's jobs. No, I can't work ridiculous amounts of overtime. No, I have other plans. No, I don't need to explain myself to you. You are not required to justify your actions to anyone but you, unless you've done something illegal or unethical.

Get out of any destructive relationships, personal or professional, even if you are frightened, because you only hurt yourself and feel worse about yourself. Get counseling if you need it - there are organizations out there who will provide counseling services for a nominal fee, if not free of charge, if you cannot afford it.

Exercise. Not just to tone your body but to tone your mind. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel better mentally and emotionally. And it's always a boost to fit into those jeans you haven't fit into in years.

Take a look at all of you, instead of just parts of you. "Oh, my nose looks like a ski jump. My lips are too thin. My eyes are too big/small. My legs are too short. I have thunder thighs. Oh right, and I have hideous feet." Give yourself a break.  Work with what you have physically, mentally, intellectually and emotionally. You think more about your imperfections than anyone else, so try not to be too self-conscious. Easier said than done, I know.

So this year, I make no New Year's Resolutions. My changes will take longer than one year and are ongoing. Make a commitment to yourself and see what you can accomplish.