Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rhine River Adventure!

Rhine River Bus Tour and Cruise

Our journey started early. We arrived at our bus stop at 6:00AM and the bus left promptly at 6:30. We were on our way towards the Rhine River. Our travel bus brought us through landscape that suddenly began to burst with many cornfields, wheat fields and Riesling Grape vineyards. The countryside was lush and verdant. Interspersed through the open landscape were compact villages with red and gray roofed houses and always a church with a tall steeple.

The tour bus dropped us off in the village of St. Goar which sat right along the Rhine. From there we entered various little shops where we sampled delicious desert wines including a $495 bottle of Eiswein (Ice wine). We also tried a peach brandy that made you feel like you were lying in a peach orchard, eating peaches on a warm summer day.

Next, we trekked our way through the village square and encountered little shops selling notoriously unfashionable Cuckoo Clocks and other wooden toys—endearing as they were—but  screaming with bright, obnoxiously fun colors.  Window boxes hung from nearly each and every window sill and were overflowing with red and pink geraniums. We discovered quaint eateries and cozy little cafes offering apple Streusel and coffee with freshly churned cream. I noticed many of the locals were sitting outside, under umbrella covers and exchanging lively conversations.

After our village adventures, we embarked upon a Rhine River cruise ship which forged its way up the Rhine river. Many villages were situated along the Rhine and some had castles peering over the river from high up in the hills.

Our tour bus dropped us off at Reichenstein, a notable castle that was up for public tours—provided that you purchase apple cake and coffee upon your departure. We were given a walk-through tour of the castle. Afterwards we enjoyed the apple cake and coffee in the castle courtyard. From the vantage point of the highly positioned castle one could see the murky, olive green Rhine carving through the valley below. All along the sides of the river were patches of land comprised of Riesling vineyards. Many of these were on steeply slanted terrain that almost seemed to descend into the river. The German’s seemed to be adept at using every spare piece of land in a productive way.

We went into the town of Rudesheim to have a late lunch. Our lunch which was included in our tour package, consisted of jagerschnitzel with a richly delicious mushroom gravy and also French fries and salad.

I’ve noticed that restaurants in Europe typically do not serve water with the meal. In fact, you have to specifically order water and when you do, it costs money, usually between 2-3 Euros. In the U.S., I’ve taken it for granted that a glass of water is something you automatically get with your meal. Another thing that I’ve noticed about eating in German restaurants is that the portion size is not suitable for the average American glutton. For instance, a small coke is really just a small coke. I measured a scanty 6oz in my glass; it did come with a lemon slice floating on top, perhaps to compensate for its’ paucity in size.

After our meal in the little German restaurant, we ended our day by trying the famous Rudesheimer Kaffee. It is a specially made coffee made of brandy, sugar and whipped cream. They actually make it right at your table!


Monday, August 11, 2014



I recently made a decision to exercise vigorously (running or jogging) for at least 17 minutes each day.  I have never been much of a disciplined health fanatic but I figured it was about time that I start.  I’ve started to realize that health maintenance is a significant component in living well and having a happy life in general. Additionally, as I realize that there is likely no after-life and that this is the only life chance I will ever get, it behooves me to value my health even more.

My health journey these past few days has been an exercise in shrewd decision making with an emphasis on eating healthily and squeezing in nightly trips to the convenience store—err, gym.

Day 1

I arose bright and early the first day of my diet bound and determined to find health. You can imagine how surprised I was when I discovered that my feet had brought me into a local Cinnabon.  I suspected that the 2 inches of gooey frosting dredging the bun would surely be offset by the prodigious health benefits offered by the splattering of cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice that is known to help ward off Type 2 diabetes.

For lunch I marched straight for McDonalds’. I was sure to be conscientious about how much I consumed and refrained from supersizing every single of the 6 items that I purchased. I even avoided the allure of French fries drizzled in oil and salt (which I congratulated myself for later). While I was aware that sodium was a valuable electrolyte, too much of it could result in interstitial edema.

Later that day, I decided that little health decisions added up. I heard that looping around the parking lot 7 times in your car to find a parking space right next to the entrance was not only a waste of gas and time, but a waste of potential exercise. Thankfully, someone who had parked at the entrance of the store was pulling out just in time for me to park there; sure I did need the extra exercise but I figured there would be plenty more times over the course of my life where I would be able to walk or go to the gym.

Day 2

I have decided that attempting to lose weight and exercise vigorously is not what it’s cracked up to be. I may think about doing it again, maybe in the next 10 years when I have more time. Can someone hand me the remote control?

My video "SELF ESTEEM Thoughts"

Here is a video I made a while ago on SELF ESTEEM. I'm posting it here since I do not post to my other youtube channel anymore.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014


 (a little excerpt I wrote in 2007)

The world was clearly a wonderful place, completely covered in water.  The commotion of torrential rain pouring outside the boat rivaled the chaotic zoo that prevailed inside the boat.  Zagorba, Ham’s wife, was annoyed, once again.  God had designated her with the responsibility of housing for the future generations of civilization a special type of tapeworm.  Sure, she didn’t have the disgusting viral infection with lots of  pus and sores nor the wicked bacterial concoction that Japeth, her brother had to carry throughout the duration of the boat ride, but tapeworms were not really that pleasant either.  After all, how could civilization survive without the glorious tapeworm inside her loins, the gazillions of pesky flies or all the various infections being carefully housed by those on board, graciously spared of God’s wrath? God had planned to lovingly endow future generations with ticks (lyme disease), Anopheles mosquitos (excellent vectors for malaria),  tapeworms (starvation)—all of the treats of existence we simply couldn't live without. 

Life was clearly a beautiful experience.  

By Renee

Monday, August 4, 2014



Tired of being hit on by every single male who intersects your proximity? Are you one of those young women who constantly complain about being called “TOO HOT”? Do you detest having to interact with “losers who annoy you and waste your time”?  Do you take it for granted that you are in your 20’s and at the prime of your existence in terms of health and beauty? Do you hate it when people say “You look way younger than you are”? Do you always announce to your friends, “I still get carded when I buy alcohol”?

 Have no fear!  We've listened to your cries and wails and you finally have our attention. We want to help you out.  Because of your constant whining, we have developed a line of skincare products for young women such as yourself. Our line of skincare products is sure to decrease your chances of being hit on and “all the annoying attention you receive”. You got that right.

Instead of your traditional anti-aging cream that helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, we have created an exquisite formula that accelerates aging. Our unique blend is called “Pro-Aging Cream”.  All you have to do is buy our product and slather it all over your nice, youthful skin. In one week we GUARANTEE permanently aged skin—or your money back!!!

Our pro-aging cream is composed of a rapidly aging skin plaster. This facial plaster is made of the finest pro-aging ingredients that include a mixture of carcinogens from cigarette smoke and ashes, charred meat and UVA radiation concentrate to help irreversibly destroy collagen and elastin fibers. Next, we dump these Active Ingredients (as we like to call them) into the most unrefined lipid we could find. For this we use a petroleum based mineral oil emulsion that is sure to cause added congestion and pore distention—something sure to please you immensely. Once our cream is applied to your epidermis it instantly creates the appearance of crow’s feet and wrinkles all over the surface of your formerly youthful skin. Marionette lines appear with a vengeance while your nasolabial folds increase in depth. In addition to this, we guarantee nodular and cystic acne to help with the “please ignore me” look you have been going for.

As the youthful glow from your skin disappears with our products, you’ll notice that the boys do too. What does this mean for you? Thankfully this means you’ll be ignored by society a lot more. You won’t be carded when you purchase alcohol for your nightly binge. No more modeling scouts harassing you for your contact information or offering you modeling gigs (that are probably low paying anyways). The time you save from being contacted by irritating modeling and acting agents can finally be used to study for that much-coveted liberal arts degree that we all know results in a high-paying career. No more annoying distractions or time-wasting rendezvous with “boys who you don’t really like but simply enjoy leading on”—even those duffers will be long-gone.  Studying at college becomes a breeze because people will stop asking you out and even ask you to stop texting them! Your phone will be a silent cadaver. Voila! Your problem is solved and hopefully your whining will be too.

By Me :)




What if newspaper horoscopes read something more like this?

You're a generally unhappy person with a boring personality.  To try and compensate for such lack, you often resort to grandiose expressions about your noble, interesting, socially enviable pursuits that are often made up to assuage your ego.  

           You do as little as you can to participate in group interactions, preferring to sit on the sidelines, gawking in contempt of those who are actually the life of the party.  

         You try and produce a humorous phrase every now and again but have an enduring proclivity to repeat the same joke every time, unable to come up with anything original.

          You're likely to think of yourself as having a unique grasp of subjects both perfunctory and sophisticated, but in reality, you have difficulty just putting two and two together.

          You have few friends. Those willing to make your acquaintance endure you only out of pity, not for any particularly respectable quality; though for reasons of self esteem, you'd like to think otherwise.

          Your flexible, but only when it comes to sexual positions.

          Bragging for you is a hobby.  You enjoy every possible chance to blather on about every senseless quark of data that enters your cerebral hemispheres to whoever intersects your proximity. 

        You pride yourself as a dependent thinker, often requiring the higher reasoning faculties of others or simply copying the faddish ideas promoted on television or the internet.

        The good news is, you are adept when it comes to survival skills, knowing when to run or hide when danger prevents itself; knowing how to eat when hunger sensations emerge. 

By me :)

Friday, August 1, 2014


I hear people express their emotions every single day and I quietly listen to their diatribe about losing their parking space or not getting promoted at work. I have never resorted to “advice giving” or suggesting that they “see the positive side and count their blessings”.  I simply listen to other people and empathize with them while I try and not be the most effusive personality in the room.

Recently I've learned that those who freely express themselves and emotionally vent their feelings are likely to experience better health outcomes than those who repress and “hold in” their emotions.

In a book that I've been reading, “Harness your Dark Side” by Al Galves, he mentions a study where one of the groups in this study was asked to write about topics that didn't provoke their emotions—like what they want for their future, what they did last summer, world peace etc. The other group tested was asked to write about the most emotionally gripping experience of their lives.  A couple months later when both groups were compared, they discovered that the group that disclosed the most painful details had a better immune system and had fewer doctor visits than the group who wrote about more mundane, emotionally neutral topics.