Friday, February 29, 2008

My Month Has Arrived

I can dig this one. I hope the rest go as well.

In the coming week, you should try to experience, or at least visualize, scenes like the following: an apple pierced by an arrow that's lying on a bridge near a half-crumpled Valentine card; wind rattling through an old tree in such a way that you hallucinate there being an angel perched in its branches; an accordion floating down a stream trailed by two quacking ducks; a stranger who's simultaneously crying and laughing in a cafe while writing frenetically on white paper napkins. And why is it important to commune with scenes like these? Because they will energize your soul in ways you can't rationally understand. They will remind you that deeply meaningful events can be utterly mysterious.

From Free Will Astrology.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Defining Love

I am taking the time to re-read one of my favorite books, All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. Hooks is a cultural theorist and feminist that questions how love shapes how we treat ourselves and others, as well as how people in society treat others and especially those we claim to 'love'. She intertwines her look at love with not only how we treat ourselves and those we form relationships with (whatever the context) with larger issues of sexism, racism, and homophobia. I find this book truly enlightening and inspirational. I feel as it is a grounding agent, an anchor to remind me of what truly should be sought after and worked for in life. Every so often I feel the need to read this book when I feel like various parts of life are trying to pull me from my intended goals. It reminds me of the power we have not only over ourselves, but in transforming our relationships with others.

In the first chapter "Clarity: Give Love Words," hooks describes the trouble that she has had, as well as many in society, in trying to exactly say what love is. She finds this especially troubling since if most people can not define love, how are they able to clearly know when they are experiencing it, or more so when they are receiving love. She believes that while love is commonly used as a noun, it should be used as a verb. She agrees most with M. Scott Peck's definition from his book, "The Road Less Traveled," in which he describes love as,

...the will to extend one's self
for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual
growth... Love is as love does. Love is an act of will - namely,
both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do
not have to love. We choose to love.

I like this definition of love because it basis love not on only what most people perceive it, as receiving it from others in our lives, but as something we can do to ourselves. As many has heard me say before, I do not believe that one can truly love someone till we love ourselves, flaws and all. This definition of love also lends to the idea that love is an action. Something we ourselves can initiate and attain, not something we must obtain from others. This is powerful because in contrast to believing as many people do, that love includes negative and/or abusive thoughts, actions, and/ or words from others, we can find love that is truly "loving". Someone that encourages who you are, nurtures your soul, and makes you want to be a better person.
I could go on and on about what this means to me and its possibilities for the world, but this is only chapter one. Besides, I would rather leave this posting with an excerpt from Chapter One itself.

So many of us long for love but lack the courage to take risks. Even though we are obsessed with the idea of love, the truth is that most of us live relatively decent, somewhat satisfying lives even if we often feel that love is lacking. In these relationships we share genuine affection and/ or care. For most of us, that feels like enough because it is usually a lot more than we received in our families of origin. Undoubtedly, many of us are more comfortable with the notion that love can mean anything to anybody precisely because when we define it with precision and clarity it brings us face to face with our lacks - with terrible alienation. The truth is, far too many people in our culture do not know what love is. And this not knowing feels like a terrible secret, a lack that we have to cover up.
Had I been given a clear definition of love earlier in my life it would not have taken me so long to become a more loving person. Had I shared with others a common understanding of what it means to love it would have been easier to create love. It is particularly distressing that so many recent books on love continue to insist that definitions of love are unnecessary and meaningless. Or worse, the authors suggest love should mean something different to men that it does to women - that the sexes should respect and adapt to our inability to communicate since we do not share the same language. This type of literature is popular because it does not demand a change in fixed ways of thinking about gender roles, culture or, love.
Rather than sharing strategies that would help us become more loving it actually encourages everyone to adapt to circumstances where love is lacking.

More to come...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Really Hope This Helps...ME.

Bedtime Snacks that Help You Sleep
Posted Thu, Feb 14, 2008, 12:37 pm PST

One of the best natural sedatives is tryptophan, an amino acid component of many plant and animal proteins.

Tryptophan is one of the ingredients necessary for the body to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter best known for creating feelings of calm, and for making you sleepy.

However, the trick is to combine foods that have some tryptophan with ample carbohydrate. That’s because in order for insomnia-busting tryptophan to work, it has to make its way to the brain.

Unfortunately, all amino acids compete for transport to the brain. When you add carbs, they cause the release of insulin, which takes the competing amino acids and incorporates them into muscle…but leaves tryptophan alone, so it can make its way to the brain, be converted to serotonin, and cause sleepiness.

Serotonin-producing bedtime snacks should be no more than 200 calories and should be eaten at least 30 minutes prior to bed.

Here are a few great ideas:

Bedtime Snacks for Adults

--6-8 oz container of non-fat, flavored yogurt topped with 2 tablespoons low-fat granola cereal
--Sliced apple with 1-2 teaspoons natural peanut butter
--3 cups low-fat popcorn – sprinkled with optional 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Bedtime Snacks for Teens
--One cup healthy cereal with skim milk
--Low-fat granola bar
--Scoop of vanilla or strawberry low-fat ice cream

Bedtime Snacks for Children

--1/2 cup low-fat vanilla pudding
--1/2 banana with 1-2 teaspoons peanut butter
--One cup skim milk with a bunch of grapes (or other fruit)

2007 Joy Bauer Nutrition . All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly


Life is beautiful. This world is filled with beautiful places, interesting people and unique experiences that one can experience. The problem is that many people don't view the world in this manner, nor do they take the time to slow down and see the endless possibilities in their life and themselves. We often find ourselves busy with work and things to keep us busy without enjoying the little things. We fall into routines and ways of thinking that can cause us to miss the small gesture a stranger performed for you or a wonderful new mom and pop eatery that opened down the street from your residence. Have you ever taken a drive and finally noticed something you've never noticed before even though you have been down that path countless times. Slowing down and just truly looking at something in a non judgmental way can greatly alter the impression that is imparted on you. Whether it is a building, a person, your morning breakfast, or most importantly yourself, you will find things you have never seen before. With this realization maybe you can see what a beautiful world we live.

I often meet many people while bar tending that can not or choose not to do this. They would rather stay within their safe confines of what they decide the world looks like. Many of these people are not happy and most likely not even to tell you why. They cover their feelings with busy routines going to work, chores, watching television, surfing the net, going to the gym, and/ drugs and alcohol. All the time not taking the time to slow down and see the world around them. At the same time they can't see the potential and beauty in themselves often basing their self persona on a slowly decaying view of sense and worth. This becomes apparent to others when people are considered "bitter" and/or take their feelings out on others. Yet these people still will not be able to tell you what is actually wrong. They have become so used to their way of thinking and their routines they can't see anything else, nor can they see the possibilities that surround them. Rather than try to change, which is scary and uncertain, they stay the same. Then before they realize, they are old and angry at the world. A world they made. One constructed by their own self perceived limitations and ideals. The world has moved on, but due to their inability to change, they didn't move on with it.

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
~Henri Bergson~

What is more enthralling to the human mind than this splendid, boundless, colored mutability! - Life in the making?
~David Grayson~

If you want to change your life, change your mind.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
~George Bernard Shaw~

Change is the watchword of progression. When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox~

I've never met a person, I don't care what his condition, in whom I could not see possibilities. I don't care how much a man may consider himself a failure, I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life anytime he is prepared and ready to do it. Whenever he develops the desire, he can take away from his life the thing that is defeating it. The capacity for reformation and change lies within.
~Preston Bradley~

Readjusting is a painful process, but most of us need it at one time or another.
~Arthur Christopher Benson~

We accept the verdict of the past until the need for change cries out loudly enough to force upon us a choice between the comforts of inertia and the irksomeness of action.
~Learned Hand~

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
~Mark Twain~

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008


So I've been listening to the new Sia album lately and it is amazing. Her upcoming show will definitely be a highlight in March. This is one of my favorite songs from the new album "Some People Have Real Problems."

Come with me to a place of fantasy
I'll take you on a sea-saw
Come with me to a place that's by the sea
I'll take you on a board walk
Take my hand I'll take you to the sand
You and me will build a castle
Ready set go I'll race you to the wall
I will win I am the fastest

I don't wanna grow old
Bring me all the toys you can find
You don't wanna grow up
You can be my partner in crime

I'll be sure to write you from the war
Put your guns away it's tea time
Water bombs and tea towel tired mums
Looking for a little me time
Close your eyes and count to thirty five
You may never ever find me
Close my eyes and then I realise
You are never far behind me

I don't wanna grow old
Bring me all the toys you can find
You don't wanna grow up
You can be my partner in crime
I don't wanna grow old
Bring me all the toys you can find
You don't wanna grow up
You can be my partner in crime

Let's have fun, let's play out under the sun
Will you take me by the hand
Let's see how far we can run, yeah
Let's play chase let's put make up on our face
You can catch me if you can
We can make a secret place

Meet me at the playground, come with me, fool around

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Year of the Rat

So recently my family friends and I celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year with some festivities. While my mom held the traditional Lunar New Year dinner at her house for friend sand family, I also joined Grand House's typical dim-sum brunch with the added bonus of the Lion Dance. Here is some info on the year of the rat and some picks of the festivities as well.

The "Rat" is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac.

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor invited the animals for a party. The first 12 to arrive was the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and lastly, the Pig. All the animals were named after the 12-year cycle that governs Chinese life thereafter.

Various versions of the Rat's story are particularly revealing about his character.

One version has it that, towards the end of the journey, the animals had to cross a celestial river, and the Rat asked the Ox to ferry him across. When they arrived on the other side, the Rat jumped down off the Ox's head and that's how gained first spot in the order of the Chinese zodiac.

Those born in the "Year of the Rat" are clever, ambitious, creative, hard-working, fastidious, charming and sociable, but can be a bit stingy when it comes to sharing their wealth or possessions.

Rats are compatible with Dragons, Monkeys and Oxen, but should avoid Horses at all costs.

In the "Year of the Rat", we can expect 12 months of plentiful opportunities and prospects not to mention being relatively free of turbulence, (which is great to know especially if you're planning on making some long-term investments, starting new projects, or keeping the home fires burning brightly).

It's also a rather fine time to socialize and grab a sumptuous meal or two with friends and family!

More info here...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Am Actually Surprised By This One...

I am not sure I have much to say, or for that matter need to say anything about this story. I was not aware of this incident and I thank my friend for bringing this to my attention! When she first posted this story, I thought it must be a smear tactic or fake news story ala "The Onion." A little research showed otherwise. I had at one time thought that if a republican did win he would be the least objectionable, I stand corrected.

McCain Criticized for Slur
He says he'll keep using term for ex-captors in Vietnam

C.W. Nevius, Marc Sandalow, John Wildermuth, Chronicle Political Writers
Friday, February 18, 2000

(02-18) 04:00 PST Greenville, S.C. -- Editor's Note: This article was published on Feb. 18, 2000. In January 2008, at least two national web sites posted links to it. As a result, it appeared in the list of SFGate's Most Read articles.

Arizona Sen. John McCain refused to apologize yesterday for his use of a racial slur to condemn the North Vietnamese prison guards who tortured and held him captive during the war.

"I hate the gooks," McCain said yesterday in response to a question from reporters aboard his campaign bus. "I will hate them as long as I live."

McCain, a former Navy pilot who spent five years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, was questioned about the language because of a story last month in the Nation magazine reporting his continued use of the slur.

Since then, reports of McCain's language have been circulating on Internet chat sites and e-mails among Asian Americans, many of whom find the the term offensive and inappropriate for an elected official.

McCain's appeal to voters has been as a wartime hero and a feisty politician who speaks his mind and damns the consequences. But his comments on the eve of the key South Carolina primary show the candidate's vaunted "straight talk" in another light.

"The use of a racist slur can't be acceptable for any national leader, regardless of his background," said Diane Chin, executive director of the San Francisco-based Chinese for Affirmative Action. "For someone running for president not to recognize the power of words is a problem."

While McCain's words may have little effect in conservative South Carolina, where few Asian Americans live, they could come back to haunt him in other states.

"Historically, straight talkers who say things off the top of their heads eventually hang themselves with those sorts of remarks," said Bruce Cain, a political scientist at the University of California at Berkeley.

"While it might not hurt him now, Democrats are not going to have any hesitation about using this stuff to string him up later."

Read the full story here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Another Problem We Share as Humans

Margaret Cho posted this today on her blog and I thought I would share it with you. Gay men are constantly aware of how we treat and idolize others with what we perceive is a perfect body. I agree with Cho that you need to confront yourself with the things you are not happy. It may not be pretty or easy, but I always feel better afterward, like its not such a big deal anymore. I can begin to see how trivial some things really are and then I can continue to becoming a well-rounded "healthy" person in every sense of the word. Ok, here it is...

Monday, February 04, 2008

How to Look Good Naked

I am completely into the new reality show "How to Look Good Naked" hosted by Carson Kressley. It is kind of like a traditional makeover show with shopping and finding the right clothes for your body type, hair/makeup, etc… except it is more goal oriented because at the end, Carson makes the women feel so confident that they are able to pose naked and have their glorious image blown up and splashed on the side of a building. I think it is wonderful, and of course there are lots of good crying opportunities because you see the process actually makes these women feel great about themselves and also how distorted our body images can become. Plus, Carson is so adorable and funny and cute – he plays the perfect fairy godmother.

We women are constantly at war with our bodies, it is hard to find amnesty for ourselves. I did it by dancing naked for a couple of years with "The Sensuous Woman." I think the best way to get over your body issues is to just flaunt your body at every opportunity. It is hard because the urge to criticize ourselves is overwhelmingly strong. I don't know why that is. I think that all bodies are beautiful in millions of different ways – but I get down on myself too! Since I became a dancer, I have felt much better about myself. I even did a naked photo shoot myself not too long ago, with my favorite photographer Austin Young. My friend Suhaila was there for moral support and she has done a lot of modeling. She gave me some good advice. "When you are being shot, try to think of a secret. Something beautiful. Something only you know. A secret. Hold onto that. Let them see the secret in your eyes. Feel it." Austin shot amazing photos of me that day. Afterward, Suhaila asked me, "What was your secret?"

I said, "I farted."

I guess it really wasn't a secret because they already knew about it!!