Monday, October 27, 2014


I recently stumbled upon a quote, “The greatest hurdle to fortune is the desire for safety.” This quote was brought to my attention as I was reading through a magazine. A big business tycoon was offering some of his insights as to why he thought he was so (monetarily) successful. I began to contemplate this thought. As I thought about it more, this quote really seemed to ring true.

After all, one major reason so many of us keep from pushing forward with a project or idea is fear; the squelching, suffocating feelings of fear that can consume us and can ultimately inhibit our progress down the path of success.

What type of fear is this? It is the type of fear that tends to arrive when you find yourself stepping outside the boundaries of your comfort zone. When you realize…hey, wow…what if I take this step, if I make a move in this direction? You immediately become aware that this safe-sense that you have in your person—your ego—could be compromised, assaulted, hurt, diminished, never to be repaired again. You could even be looked upon as a failure. For some reason, we think of "failure" as final. 

This is a very fatalistic, do-and-die perspective. It is this notion that if something causes injury, it is permanent. If someone says something about you, you take it as a set-in-stone analysis or an irrevocable evaluation of who you are.

We all want to be safe in that we want the core of ourselves—our sense of self, our ego—to be protected from the scorn and derision of others. I guess the reason why we care to protect the central aspect of ourselves—our identity—is the same reason why we want to protect our physical body. We care about our (physical) survival.  Our ego must care about its survival too.

Why people choose to pick on others or find ways to inflict mental pain on others is one question. The bigger question that I ponder is: why do we even care when someone picks at us or insults us? Why does it feel bad when a group of people that we interact with physically every day tends to ignore us? Why are these things psychically/mentally painful at all? Perhaps these experiences feel bad because the other individual's appraisal of us—our worth—is less than what we happen to think about ourselves. This grates against our ego and we feel pain. The pain is obviously not a physical pain as when one abrades the skin, it is more of an emotional pain.

It seems to me that there are only a few options that one can take to keeping our ego afloat midst the efforts of other egos who are only trying to bring us down.

1. Just say “Fuck You”. My life is already insanely short. I’m not going to let you ruin what little time I have to enjoy my life.

2. Surround yourself with people who are worth your time and who you can gain knowledge from.

For the millionth time, I’m not writing about any particular personal experience I've had. I was just letting my mind wander after reading a quote from a magazine.

I see that some of you have shared this! Thank you Lorne, John and several others of you! I really appreciate this!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Motorized Shopping Scooters for LAZY people too?

Digging through my journal is one from 4-5 years ago. I've found a bunch of these weird writings of mine.

My boyfriend—an able-bodied 29 year old--decided to rent one of those motorized carts during our outing to Ikea the other day. You know…those ones that you associate with either the disabled or morbidly obese?
His reason?  “I’m tired and my feet hurt.”

So my bf saddled the motorized cart and next informed me loudly-- in all manner of seriousness-- that he “Wanted to be the leader”.

He drove the cart around the store and I walked behind him, occasionally stopping to look at something and ask if he would stop. I noticed that bf was having a fantastically entertaining time on his cart—as if we came to Ikea for that reason only. He was plowing through the store at speeds that aroused the attention of almost every shopper present.

The store was a densely populated mess. Every nook and cranny of the Ikea maze was packed with people, each one interested in honing their organizational skills or looking for that perfect set of tea cups. 

At one time, my bf’s immaturity level rose and he started making circles around me in one of the wider isles. His reason? “I’m testing this thing’s angular momentum”.  To everyone else, his engineering inquiries looked more like the giddy nature of a 5 year old.

A few moments later, my bf saw a shelf that he was really interested in buying, but it was tucked away, in a space that was inaccessible to his motorized scooter.  So what did he do? He parked the scooter in front of the isle, jettisoned himself off the cart and swiftly walked right over to his shelf of interest.  Shoppers started to stare as if someone had just committed a grave crime. “Anyone can use these carts” he said in defense “They can’t discriminate against those of us who aren't disabled.”

During the latter half of our shopping trip my bf was swearing at his pedometer that he had purchased earlier that day because he “was trying to lose weight”. Sitting on the motorized cart in the middle of Ikea, my bf says angrily, ‘Why is this thing saying that I've only burned 1.8 calories?”. “Perhaps the pedo-meter is defective or maybe your use of a motorized cart is impacting your caloric expenditure.”  I said, matter-of-factly.

I must have mispronounced the word “pedometer” because everyone within a 12 foot radius started laughing. My bf says very loudly, “Renee, that’s an entirely different device. You’re pronouncing it incorrectly.”  More people chimed in with laughter.

I was happy to leave the store.

Monday, September 29, 2014

FAVORTISM, NEPOTISM is GOOD? "Against Fairness", Book musings

“The Utilitarian approach—the greatest good for the greatest number—can be pushed to its logical conclusion. The hardcore version asserts that it is more ethical to deny your elderly father expensive healthcare if that same money could be used to save ten starving African strangers.”
Stephen T. Asma "Against Fairness" 2013

“For Confucian thinkers, integrity is not synonymous with fairness or equality. Rather familial love and devotion trump all other duties and obligations. There is a natural hierarchy of values with one’s kin on top and Confucian culture enshrines, rather than denies, that hierarchy.”
Stephen T. Asma, "Against Fairness" 2013

"When a patient's vmpc (ventralmedial prefrontal cortex) is normal (healthy) they almost always answer the ethical dilemmas in favor of their favorites, not in favor of the majority. But if the emotional vmpc is damaged, the subject becomes extremely utilitarian (hyper-rational) in their responses."
Stephen T. Asma, "Against Fairness" 2013

When someone has the ability to change my mind about an idea that I have maintained a fairly rigid acceptance of, I get very excited! I am enthralled, even provoked with mental stimulation and the endorphin rush that comes with a challenging, thought-provoking argument. I love to read books by current authors who happen to be leading thinkers in the modern world. These are individuals who propose ideas that often counter the generally agreed upon systems of thought or “boxes of thought” as I like to call them

I am currently reading the 2013 book “Against Fairness” written by Stephen T. Asma. Asma is a truly brilliant thinker who challenges the reader to reconsider the idea of fairness. He suggests that we often like to pride ourselves as fair beings—individuals who not only espouse the doctrine of fairness but also like to think that we comport our lives in a manner of consistent fairness. In this book he attacks the idea that fairness is the most moral strategy for human beings and he seems to think that there are good things—virtues—that come from partiality and nepotism.

While we often attack government policies that do not execute themselves fairly, we rarely do this with the nepotism and partiality that is woven throughout Hollywood. Many famous people are only famous (and have high-paying jobs in the entertainment industry) simply due to the favoritism and nepotism that is major theme in this industry.  Many people have acting or modeling jobs simply because they know the right people—they have family in the industry. By its very nature, this automatically disadvantages those actors/actresses seeking employment who do not possess ties to this industry. Despite these facts, very few people protest and refuse to watch these movies when we know that partiality, nepotism and unfairness were part of the strategy that brought certain actors and actresses to the top. For this industry (hollywood) we are willing to throw out our devotion to egalitarianism—even when lots of money is involved (and many others are being disadvantaged).

We endorse systems of government and policy that attempt to work towards fairness—but in our day to day lives—we do no such thing. We definitely have our favorites!

Asma takes the side of favoritism over egalitarianism and offers cogent, extensively thought-out arguments in its favor. He also delves into neurobiology.  From the moment we (and other mammals) are born we have a disposition to favoritism. This starts with the very important human activities like bonding and imprinting. We are humans that bond with our mothers.  The bonding hormone “oxytocin” is released during lactation and plays a role in the infant bonding to the mother and vice versa. Bonding is the first element of attachment to a certain person (rather than another). This bonding tendency which is a major part of our early development is then extended out to our larger family (father, siblings) and then further out to our relatives etc. It is from this early nucleus of attachment where we get nuclear families, clans, tribes etc. In other words, favoritism and tribal tendencies tend to be a part of a healthy neurobiology.

Studies show that bonding with our mothers after birth is very important to being able to form bonded, attached relationships later in life.

Asma suggests that some of the good things that come with favoritism include: allegiance, devotion, attachment and loyalty.

While I am just midway through the book, I highly, highly recommend it! If you want a thought gripping read, choose “Against Fairness” by Stephen T. Asma. This is a short book but time consuming to read as it is dense with difficult ideas and pithy sentences.

Other quotes from the book:

“Unfortunately, children who are neglected in orphanages for more than this time frame (birth and 18 months) seem to arrive in their new families with the chemical bonding windows closed. It appears that these children will always have more difficulty forming strong attachments. Children’s brains are changed by the early presence of their parents.” and vice versa. Families literally prepare the pumps of emotional chemistry and smooth the pathway to later social connection.”

“Many kids suffer from attachment disorder, failing to seek comfort in others, even their own families.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Our trip to Norway was eventful and full of delicious surprises. This was my first ever venture to a Scandinavian country and I must say has been an enlivening and truly different European experience. Scandinavia has a flair that rivals the traditions and feelings evoked by mainland Europe.

My husband is a trip planner from heaven. He has cultivated a unique skill-set for finding out-of-the-ordinary excursions and manages to fill every moment of the day with wine festivals, art museum visits, chamber music concerts, jaunts to historic districts, hiking expeditions or a trip to the local aquarium. Thanks to his extensive knowledge of art, history, culture and tradition, he can always think of several meaningful sites to include on any vacation we go on. He outlined a glorious vacation for us during our week-long honeymoon in Norway.

Our first 2 ½ days we stayed in the city of Bergen—the 2nd most populous city in Norway. Bergen lies in the southwestern part of Norway and sits right on the North Sea. With high wooded hills that surround the city and an inner harbor that abuts the central district, Bergen is an unusually picturesque city. Large, brightly colored houses dapple the surrounding hills and city. Along the waterfront are bustling fish markets and also a covered area with many kiosks offering freshly grilled seafood platters to tourists or locals who wander the grounds. Everything is expensive in Norway. Seafood is plentiful here but it isn't cheap. A plate of grilled shrimp will cost you around $35. Without much consolation, a Big Mac at the local McDonald’s will cost you $17.  

Bergen Norway, the famous "Bryggen District" near the Hanseatic Museum we also went to.

On our first day in Bergen we went to a nearby art museum which included a free guided tour featuring notable Norwegian artists. A sizeable collection of Edvard Munch’s paintings were present. Our museum tour guide was superb. Not only did the paintings seem to grip her emotionally but she had a knack for uncovering many of Munch’s hidden devices used in his paintings. Many of Munch’s paintings were entrenched with elements of symbolism. Anxiety, depression and also an obsession with the FEMME FATALE seemed to be themes in his own life that were interwoven into the brush strokes of his paintings. Unfortunately, "The Scream" is not located in Bergen but in Oslo. :( 
We did get to see one of my favorites though, "Evening of Karl Johann Street".

The first evening in Bergen we attended a chamber concert in an old, stately Lutheran church. The musicians raptured the audience with the sounds of Camille Saint Saens and Edvard Grieg.  The cellist—a rotund, flamboyant German—seemed to emote and throb in synchrony as he played his musical piece to perfection. I highly recommend ending a vacation day in Norway with a classical music concert like this; it is a feast to the ears!

Our hotel in Bergen was lovely. It was probably the most affordable hotel and conveniently located in the heart of the city. My favorite part was the free Norwegian buffet breakfast that lasted until noon. The breakfast buffet showcased a variety of hearty, freshly baked breads, yogurt, cold cuts, cheeses and smoked salmon. Large plates of sliced bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers seemed to be a Norwegian breakfast staple. I always loved getting the crepes and smothering them with homemade strawberry preserves (grown fresh from the agricultural village of Valdal) and butter.

Our 2nd day in Bergen was full of new and exciting treats including a visit to the Edvard Grieg museum. We also attended a piano music recital here. The young pianist played the music of Grieg. We learned that some of Grieg’s compositions were inspired by baroque music. Indeed, some of his work seemed to have a baroque style to it.

Our 3rd day we were ready for the Hurtigruten cruise. Our cruise came packed with added adventure options. We chose two excursions on our four night cruise. Our first excursion was a bus trip that took us up the zigzaged treacherous Trollstigen road all the way to the top of the mountain where we had spectacular views of the most famous fjord—the Geiranger.  This area of Norway was also famous for its troll sightings. To my dismay, I learned that only children are able to see trolls (or act like them).

Our bus tour drove us all over the mountains and the countryside that the surrounded the Geiranger Fjord. The landscape was some of the most dramatic I have ever seen. Tall, 1,500 meter mountains jutted out of rocky outcroppings and formed craggy, rugged mountain tops. Pastures of the brightest green sprinkled the land to the ecstasy of grass munching sheep, cows and goats. Rivers from melting glaciers weaved their way through the enigmatic terrain. Every once in a while a stone bridge made of neatly placed cobbles could be seen arching over a river or stream. I thought of these as little troll bridges. Other interesting sightings included many houses with grassy roof tops. There were also classic red barns in the sparse countryside. (I learned that only 3% of Norway’s land is available for agricultural use).

Geirangerfjord, along the Trollstigen road

Several of the planned stops along our bus trip were at restaurants and gift shops. This seemed almost clandestine—as if to urge us tourists to spend our money there. At one stop, we entered a lodge-style restaurant nestled in the core of the mountains. It was cold and wet outside and the Norwegian afternoon snack of warm baked waffles with cream and local strawberry preserves hit the spot! I must say I grew quite fond of the Norwegian snack of waffles and strawberries during our trip.

The following day the cruise ship plowed its way through the Arctic Ocean and upwards, through the Arctic Circle.  Large, granite rock cliffs jumped out of the land and formed much of Norway’s mountainous coastline. Small patches of farmland with green pastures and even some yellow grain fields could be seen scattered among the low-lying areas of coastline.

Some light reading while on the ship. 

When the light hit the ocean water a nearly translucent cerulean blue emanated forth. Even from our seat on the cruise ship, we could observe waves crashing against the rocky cliffs that formed Norway’s coastline.

Ornes, Norway

Breakfast on the cruise ship was a chance to indulge in some of life’s most glorious fare. Not only was the variety of food overwhelming, the setting was unmatched. During breakfast you could look out the window and witness the changing scenery of the Arctic and Norway’s radical coastline while sipping coffee or plunging your teeth into toast coated with Nutella. If that wasn’t enough, you could serve yourself heapings of fruit, vegetables, fish, crepes with strawberries and all the other typical breakfast food imaginable. The only problem with a cruise ship breakfast is that you are allowed to keep going back and serve yourself infinite amounts of food.

I had never been inside the Arctic Circle before, or even a cruise ship, but I felt this adventure yielded the intensity and surprise that could not be achieved in other locations.

 Visiting the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. While on this island we went to an ancient Viking longhouse where we partook in a traditional Viking feast with Vikings, dressed in typical Viking garb. This made the event very fun and seemingly realistic.

The Viking feast was rustic but very tasty. We were given plates of savory herbed lamb meat paired with a cloudberry preserve. Chalices full of Mead were offered, one after the other! Root vegetables and something that appeared to be barley-style gruel were added as tempting side dishes. After the filling meal there was group dancing, singing, laughter and happiness.


In front of the Viking LongHouse. A typical Viking stands in the background.

LOFOTEN ISLANDS, countryside

Inside the Longhouse

MEAD with a Viking feast :)  SKAL!!!!

A viking leads us in prayer to the Norse gods Thor and Odin before we eat our food. 

VIDEO of VIKING praying  to the gods :)

When our Viking field trip was over, we headed back to our bus. We were given an extra tour of the Lofoten Islands. We even got to see a wild moose chomping on arctic tundra.  By 10pm we were back at the cruise ship which was anchored at the Island’s harbor in the city of Svolvaer.

At 11:30pm that night our ship brought us into the famous Troll Fjord. It was cold outside, not crisp, it was cold.  The Troll Fjord was unduly narrow with high walls of rock that appeared to dive straight into the frigid Arctic Ocean. At this point the Captain of the ship advised everyone to purchase a “Troll Toddy”. This is a hot tea spiked with Rum—a concoction that trolls apparently drink. Since we were headed through the Troll Fjord, “It might be nice to have a troll toddy to go along with the ride” he gushed. Like tourists being suckered, we succumbed to the suggestion and bought troll toddies to drink while going through the Fjord.

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I always enjoyed dining on the cruise ship. While I was entertained by the changing arctic scenery I found it most pleasurable to sit by a loquacious geriatric couple from Canada and another couple from Australia.  Dining with well-traveled tourists and exchanging discussion while one-upping each other on countries visited is always a mature way to handle any civilized discourse over brunch.

We spent our final night in Tromso, gateway to the North Pole. We were finished with our cruise and would spend a day and night here. Tromso is one of Norway’s northern-most cities and resides at 70 degrees latitude.  This city features the famous “Arctic Cathedral”, the northern-most brewery in the world and also Polaria, the northern-most aquarium.

Polaria was awesome. We got to see bearded seals being trained and all sorts of starfish. We also learned a lot about the Svalbard archipelago.  The brewery turned out to be very fun. The bartender was a Tromso native—born and raised—and was quite amiable. He pulled up a chair and told us all about city of Tromso and about the famous Tromso polar bear hunter from the 1930’s who killed more than 700 polar bears and would frequent this very bar. He told us all about Norway and was excited that we chose Tromso as one of our honeymoon destinations. We asked him how much bartenders make in Norway. He told us that if he was to covert the amount he made in NOK to dollars per hour, it would be about $30 an hour (tips are not expected in Europe as they are in the states, so this is without tips).

POLARIA: aquarium in Tromso, Norway

Arctic Cathedral in Tromso

The northern-most bar on planet earth. 70 degrees latitude.

 Fun facts I learned about Norway:

  1. Norway is NOT part of the European Union.
  2. Norway is part of NATO
  3. After the discovery of petroleum in 1969 Norway has become one of the richest countries in the world.
  4. Before 1969, Norway was a very poor country with over 42% unemployment. It was during that time that many Norwegians moved to the US.
  5. Norway is a leading producer of oil.
  6. Just 3% of Norway’s land is used for agriculture
  7.   Prices in Norway are high—McDonald’s Big Mac is about $17 a small container of yogurt at the convenience store is $6.
  8. One of Norway’s exports is Frozen Pizza.
  9. The AVERAGE SALARY per month in Norway is $5000 EURO. (when NOK is converted to Euro)

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Mark Driscoll New cult leader of Evangelical Christianity??

I've been following pastor MARK DRISCOLL for a long time...LOOONG TIME. I knew who he was before he became big...famous...celebrity pastor.  I remember when I was a Christian living in Seattle, I attended a little church in the Ballard area--about 150 members--and Mark Driscoll was the pastor there. At the time (year 2000-2002ish), my friend Elizabeth was going to this little church regularly and she said, "Renee, you have to come to this church with me, the pastor is really different. I like him a lot." And, like a sheep who doesn't think, I started going to it with her. After church services there would usually be coffee and cookies in the church basement, something that kept me coming. Also, I remember Mark Driscoll's plans to a build a mega church...and even more. He would sometimes detail his grandiose visions for church planting during his sermons. Although the man clearly had some passion and intriguing oratory skill, I found myself wondering, "Is this guy crazy? Does he think  he can actually obtain hundreds of thousands....millions of dollars like that?" It was all very shocking to me back then. Little did I know he would be one of the most sought after pastors...speakers in all of modern Evangelical Christiandome.

Now, pastor Mark Driscoll is a mega pastor but it looks like he might be losing some of his momentum. A lot of his former church members and leaders are coming against him. From my perspective as an Atheist, his position of celebrity pastor has made him into an autocratic cult leader. Christians are even starting to see him as he really is. He is very anti-women, anti-feminism, anti-gay, anti-single mother, a plagiarist and maybe even a little narcissistic. You can read his PUSSIFIED NATION RANT below where he (not so) cleverly poses as the user of WILLIAM WALLACE II. He even admits to it now (yeah, it is old, but it is interesting to see how he thinks (thought?).

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.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Brain over-stimulation causes boredom etc?

I absolutely love this blog! Here is a blogger that I recently discovered--with lots of interesting ideas posted here. I inadvertently discovered this blog when I started to think about something the other day. I was thinking about stimulation and the brain and also about boredom. I typed in "Does over-stimulation of the brain result in boredom?" and I came across this blog post. Definitely a must-read.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


A piece of "satire" I wrote about "liberals" in 2008. My views have obviously changed to some extent.

Fundamentalist Christians are quick to bemoan the “moral demise” of society that has occurred through a culture that is increasingly “anti-Biblical” and “anti-God”. Christian’s ignorantly attribute this to the imminence of “The End Times” and to the rise of Satan and his invisible evil forces, instead of rationally attributing these societal changes to the natural progression of social evolution. They note that this “lack of morality” is overwhelmingly present in the minds’ of today’s youth. etc.  Pish Posh I will say again!  Just watch MTV and BET videos, just look at advertisements, just take a quick look at the news and compare it to past history and one will quickly see the incredibly remarkable evolutionary transition we have made!  Studies indicate that children are becoming increasingly more materialistic—desirous of possessions—than ever before.  

Oh, we can certainly pin point the rise in the Television and advertising industries for that—but never the less—both of these—children’s desire for “more possessions” and the television/marketing industry’s desire for “more sales”, clearly indicates that money is becoming more and more of an important component to life, to the human psyche, and to the world at large. Greed, individual selfishness, and an un-quenching desire for more (although against the teachings of Christianity) whether it is material, sexual, or both, is definitely a hallmark of improvement to the moral culture we currently experience today and an incontrovertible proof of how social evolution works.  This evolutionary progression has resulted in Children developing the keen and strategic mechanism of analyzing people for what they look like, how intelligent they are, how much money they have, and, in turn, how they can use them in order to compete with them and then dispose of them (if necessary) for their own advancement.  Nothing could ever be so efficient, convenient, and beneficial!  Basically, evolution is a game about whoever is the best—who has the most desirable attributes—wins.

 Look at television and movies for example—you will be pleased to note that the natural, specific process of evolution has pushed the best and the brightest to the front of our screens.  These are people who clearly have talent and natural physical symmetry—never mind the fact that there are thousands of cosmetic surgery clinics in Hollywood (more per square mile than in any other locale in the world)—it is only a conspiracy—a bizarre coincidence, if you may, that these facilities are in surprisingly close proximity to the residence of most beautiful celebrities.  Celebrities—the cream of today’s evolutionary elite—are perfect examples of the future direction of our world. 

            So, not only are celebrities physically superior to the rest of us…they are also more advanced—intellectually—than most of the world! It truly beguiles the senses that none of them are practicing scientists, engineers, software designers, or doctors!!  Consider the exceptionally brilliant, original talent of such pop stars/singers as Brittany Spears, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera and other celebrated gangsta rappers!  These scintillating minds possess the mental acuity to maintain the incredible fluency of the limbic system in their brain—all the while penetrating those of their audience!  They sing about the most enlightening of subjects—cars, bitches, themselves, cars, bitches—all while doing the literally insurmountable task of feeling up their own body, saline implants in all.  Clearly, these individuals possess a talent unlike any we have ever seen!
                             Now recognizing our humble position in life, the rest of us bow our head and minds to these extraordinary demigods, realizing the fate that our sub-par genes have donned us. One day we botched mortals will finally be expunged by the natural process of evolution so that a more ethically minded, responsible, naturally beautiful, and unusually intelligent race—progeny of famous celebrities like Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Jessica Simpson—crops up. Unlike smart liberals and all those who support the themes and whims of Hollywood, Christians are idiotic for valuing leading Christian groups and Christian evangelists who lead lives of moral prudery and espouse the bizarre concept of “family values” (Think “Focus on the Family”).  At least Hollywood—a reflection of modern secular society—values divorce, underestimates cheating, elicits dissatisfaction, worships young people and devaluates anyone beyond 40 years old, and, most importantly, encourages plastic surgery and other body and facial enhancement—beginning in the mid-twenties.

            Additionally, the process of natural evolution, unlike Christianity and its encouragement of a modest and ascetic life style, has given women a greater sense of power and advancement in the world.  Women are more desirous than ever to look a certain way as well as acquire a sophisticated career to compete with other women to get the man that they want.  Women must do everything now—career, looks, household labor and children—to win the approval of a man.  This is definitely an improvement from past centuries where men dominated the world and worked to win over women with chivalry.  

Another thing that our improving culture has inspired is the virtues of sloth and obesity. Christian kids are given way too many rules, often lead sheltered lives, and are forced to be home-schooled. At least children raised by secular, enlightened parents are learning to be at peace with themselves, enjoying the relaxing, sedative comfort of their living room sofa and are allowed to watch as much television as they want.  Many of these children are even given the evolutionary advantage of having a television set in their own room so that they can sit and stare at this flashing box of entertainment into the wee hours of the morning. One can only see how this form of liberal parenting helps a child throughout their school day.  After all, television for both adults and children is so very informative and intellectually enriching these days! Liberal parents, such as these, realize the significance and future consequences of “…not being too harsh with little Johnny or too sheltering…”.  God forbid, this might promote a different world-view…a form of tyrannical (Christian) indoctrination that leads children to be narrow minded— often too narrow minded to consider the fun of acting out video game depictions of brutality, viewing and creating pornography, or showing off their plastic surgery on You tube .  It is only Christian retards who think that certain things—like violent video games, violent television/movies and pornography, have influence on people. Children are NOT influenced by things in the media—by T.V. or video games or movies etc..—they are smart enough to make their own healthy, beneficial choices on their own!  After all, its not like there is a huge, successful advertising industry out there that spends billions of dollars advertising things to kids—such as unhealthy snacks or treats—and actually reaps the financial benefit of doing so—everyone knows how business works.  It is quite clear that advertising DOES NOT WORK!  Every day, children all over America are seen refusing “Junk foods” promoted by the advertising industry while reportedly binging on celery sticks, broccoli florets and fresh, clear water.  You see, evolution has given children more control over their lives by giving them the proper stimuli for healthy decision making.  Liberal parents were smart enough to have recognized this all along. 

            The school system has been dramatically affected by this kind of liberal parenting—‘kids parenting themselves’ so to speak.  It is not too much television or junk food, or inane cartoons without a quark of intellectual content that has pushed children off the edge and given them an apathetic mindset to everything—it is the teachers of these school systems and the school systems themselves that are carving out a wretched future for them.  Sure, children may be coming to school sleepy, lethargic and unable to concentrate on new academic material, but it is certainly not Television, video games, junk food, and especially not poor parenting (or lack thereof) that is causing this noticeable demise.  It is all their teachers’ fault. After all, teachers and academic advisers make obscene amounts of money and should have the adequate means to cater to the needs of all of these struggling school children.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Interacting with RICH, EDUCATED people (thoughts)...

A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity to attend a celebration ceremony and farewell provided by my husband’s colleagues. My husband was being presented with awards and accolades for his recent accomplishments in his field—before our big move to Europe.  It was a lazy afternoon with the sparkling sun dangling in the powder blue sky. Three or four lonely cirrus clouds dappled the firmament. The host’s house was lusciously perfect.  Perched high on a hill, it overlooked a natural lake of the most beautiful cerulean.

Everything was laid out and planned to perfection. The upper terrace of the patio featured an umbrella table, stainless steel grill and a stone fireplace (for those times one wants to be outside on a starry night huddled near a crackling fire). Adirondack chairs for seating flanked the sides of the patio.  A large glass pitcher of homemade sangria adorned the buffet table and gleamed fuchsia in the muted afternoon sun. There were multiple ice buckets filled with every beverage variety imaginable—all waiting patiently to be imbibed by those attending the party. Down in the grass were pristine white tables and underneath one balcony was another patio with tables full of delicious food.

In addition to the exquisite beauty of every detail of the estate and the lake that it overlooked, I found myself surrounded by a concentrated group of high-status, highly-ranking, highly educated individuals.  I felt conspicuous. I always dreaded being asked “and… what do you do for a living?” primarily because I am a full time student and work side jobs to pay my bills. All of the other women at the party were physicians who were specialists (even sub-specialists) in their fields. Their husbands were the firefighters or “househusbands”. Some of these women (and a few men) had completed 4-5 year residencies and some were juggling 2-3 difficult medical fellowships. I was inspired by such overwhelming ambition and such an earnest regard for decade (plus a few years) educational commitments.

Despite vacillating thoughts and feeling under-accomplished (compared to my surroundings) it was a fun to momentarily indulge the life-style of the unduly well-off, educated, young and successful. I did notice that despite the high education level of my surroundings, all of the people were welcoming and kind. There was not a smidgen of pretension in the group.

“It is nice to come home in the evenings, pour a glass of wine and wander down to the lake while the last moments of sunlight glisten upon the lake. Life is short, you have to enjoy every moment.” I agreed with them. This was truly a sentiment that I fully embraced. I only wished that I could have been as academically and financially accomplished as they were.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Attention Deficit thoughts,...blah blah

I’ve noticed that I am particularly happy when I spend a lengthy period of time on a subject—when I become engrossed by it. Doing this makes me feel as though my mind is fully utilized. An engaged mind is less distracted by the worries and fears that serve to perpetually assault it.

I become happier through sustained engagement. This keeps me mentally elevated, alert and content. I am able to work through the moments of my time without raising my cortisol levels, without causing oxidative damage to my tissues, without the passage via the flight or fight response.

As I reflect upon how many times I allow little actions to fritter away my time—clicking on this or that site, rechecking my email again and again, I realize that I could have used this time more wisely…more efficiently.

I could have divided this time up and assigned it to specific uses. Jumping from one activity to the next shows a poor attention span—an inability to focus. Ultimately, these actions add up and waste my days. I learn very little when I employ this sort of behavior and I deprive myself of the sustained happiness that I am ultimately seeking. The question becomes, “How can I actually learn to focus better and what should I focus on?”

To learn more about this subject of focus, I have recently purchased the 2013 book “Focus” by Daniel Goleman. I think that the idea of focus is going to be a big issue in the next 50 years and beyond. The more and more people I meet, the more I hear the string of words “Attention Deficit Disorder” and how "He/She suffers with attention deficit disorder." or "I suffer with attention deficit disorder."

More meandering thoughts...

 The subject that I know is guaranteed to capture the attention of almost any human being on earth is the subject of money, and, more specifically, making it quickly. Only slightly lower on the list of things we want is general success in life.

But why do we crave money and success so badly? Now this is the question.

One of the fundamental reasons why people desire money is that it brings more options to their lives. It allows them to have material objects and experiences as well as additional time that they would otherwise be unable to have. And, because certain possessions and experiences are beneficial to making a person feel happy and motivated, a person becomes more inclined to initiate creative pursuits such as hobbies, building a small business, starting their music or art career, deep sea diving or probing the depths of literature, philosophy and history.

Knowing that we have so many options—that not only can we survive, but we can thrive is a reward all in itself.

People pursue things like money by purchasing lottery tickets or attempting get-rich-quick schemes. We all have a much harder time going down the difficult path of working to support ourselves, learning a particular trade or skill, or,  using our spare time on tricks and business endeavors that could possibly yield more financial return in the future.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wedding at the Aquarium/Zoo Pictures

  Finally getting around to posting a few pics of our jubilant day.

                                                      In front of shark tank
                           Seating arrangements in front of small aquarium
                  The guys in front of the shark tank, where the wedding altar would be placed.
                                                     Our lovely wedding cake
                     You know the old saying, "It isn't an official wedding if a sloth isn't present"