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Top 10 Posts of All Time

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Since I started this blog, in September of 2009 I’ve written about subjects that could only be classified as “random.”   From Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday to the scapegoat phenomenon in families to my affection for those teen demigods of the 80’s (read: Knight Rider.)

What is much more interesting than my oft-impulsive verbal vomit, however, is which posts were most popular. There is no accounting for taste….this may have been random too or affected by the weather.

But here they are nonetheless (cue Paul Shaffer with the drumroll)……..the Top 10 Posts of All Time on http://www.maia1111.wordpress.com

#10 – 2012: The Beauty of Crisis

#9 – Avatar: I See You

#8 – Passages of Great (Wo)Men: Princess Diana

#7 – It’s Complicated – Spoiler Alert

#6 – The Legend of the Scapegoat

#5 – Passages of Great (Wo)Men: Miep Gies   (one of my favorites)

#4 – Crushes from the 80’s

#3 – Certainty

#2 – It’s ON!!!  (battle with my brother to oust caffeine…epic FAIL!)

And………………the #1 post of all time in the blog of random ramblings….

IS………..

Wait for it………………..

Wait………….

For…………..

It………………………

#1 – COCO CHANEL

Thanks for clicking on the links and reading….I hope you were mildly entertained for a few minutes out of your day.

Have a great 2012!

~maia1111

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2011 in Review for “You’ve Been Blogged!”

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

April Fool’s Skool

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My second favourite day of the year is coming up, the first being the one that involves gluttony and tryptophan.  The one and only April Fool’s Day is coming up tomorrow and in order to fully appreciate this holiday in all it’s glory, one needs to prepare.  Not everyone can pull this day off.  The handful of people who do pay attention to it might pat themselves on the back for pulling down someone’s pants, or slapping a ‘Kick Me’ sign on someone. But this is child’s play.

The sky is the limit with this day – you have a good 16 hours to get away with things you should never get away with. You can discover people’s weaknesses, find out how someone might respond in a crisis (albeit a fake one, but they don’t know that yet), or take someone to the depths of despair only to swoop in and dissipate their tears of woe with three simple words: “April Fool’s Day!” and for a brief moment, you are a hero for telling your boyfriend after a very long two-hour dinner, “….Ok, maybe I’m not pregnant. April Fool’s Day!” 

In my days of April Fool’s past, there have been long and dramatic pregnancy stories that I have shared with my mother, brother and college roommate.  Since I was the only one in on the joke, I got precious information from each one of these missions. As I acted out these scenarios with loved ones, I got to flirt with a reality without really having to commit to it. I could find out that my mother would be distraught and full of judgment if I ever got pregnant out of wedlock and that it’s not something that she would be able to fake.  Or when I was 6 years old and hid my parents underwear on April Fool’s Day, I learned that those people I call mom and dad, short on undergarments would choose to wash the same pair rather than even think to accuse their 6-year old of stealing all of those Fruit of the Looms.

To be fully educated in the Skool of April Fool’s, one must needs be covert, unflinching, committed to the character and unapologetic when your victim discovers they’ve been had or have had vital psychological weaknesses revealed.  Now this may all sound a bit sadistic, but ’tis not. It must be done in the right way without truly hurting any one.  The underlying goal is to make them believe a particular reality or situation that either would be drastically terrible or would make them over the moon happy with joy, then jolt them back to reality with a loud thump and the words, “April Fool’s Day!”

This is the day for raconteurs and court jesters, for comedians and actors. May you share all of your ideas here and execute them flawlessly so no one around you realizes they are in a play of your choosing.  At the end of the day, all the world’s a stage, but April Fool’s Day is an opportunity to have a play within the play; it’s the day that requires we wake ourselves and everyone else up. Jolt your loved ones out of their routine and deeply ingrained patterns of thinking tomorrow. Make them laugh and remind them why they’re alive.

Tsunami Diss: Bay Area Jolted By Threat of Water Ripple

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(AP) San Francisco has been straddling excitement and a fear of obliteration after news broke with a tsunami warning which originated from an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Like a scorned wife who has been cheated upon or an emotionally-bruised, war-torn veteran, emotions have been vacillating at Mach speed in an attempt to digest what is not going to happen to them.
 
“We’re all going to die!” was a sentiment shared by Berkeley native Oceana Rainstorm. While attempts were made to calm and soothe her with predictions of mere one to three foot wave threats at Ocean Beach over a 12-hour period, the effort to silence was fruitless. “My daughters called me this morning and shrieked, “Get off the train! Get off the train!” And only through the swift determination of this local hero to exit the train platform with panache, was she able to wipe the sweat from her brow and forge ahead towards the office where she faced yet more panic and confusion. 
 
Indeed, Bay Area natives have been longtime sufferers of drama starvation due to town efforts to quash any attempts at drama or fun  “This town has really been biding its time in the last few years, just waiting for a notable event to make headlines. How long have we been waiting for the Big One? Why is God ignoring us? I mean, Chile, Argentina, and now Japan are all getting the nod. When will it be our turn? Folks have been anxiously waiting, pen in hand, to buy real estate after half this city goes to dust.” Although moods are resoundingly sullen, there is no question that Bay Area natives are carrying tides of anticipation and glee in spite of their feigned worry.
 
Meanwhile, as office trolls hoped to see some aquatic theater outside their office windows, the sea god Ophion, stubbornly kept the show on hold. “Sorry folks, show’s postponed! Times are tough and we didn’t have the budget this year for two tsunamis in a one month period. Now take it home, there’s nothing to see here.” San Francisco natives are reported to be organizing a protest at 5pm today demanding Ophion step down and be replaced with his wife, sea-nymph Eurynome. Says Bay Aquarium employee, C. Lemming: “Behind every great man is a great woman, and we think Eurynome is more fit to deliver the competitive edge that San Francisco needs to completely obliterate tourism. We think Eurynome could trump her husband’s impotent water ripples by transforming us into a rapidly emerging market in the tsunami industry. We would like to say to Indonesia and Japan: “Don’t underestimate the power of the puddle under the Golden Gate Bridge.”
 
Whether the planned protests this afternoon will succeed in prompting Ophion’s transferral of power to his wife remains to be seen, yet one thing is certain: If San Franciscans have lost their mojo after today’s tsunami disappointment, hopes are still flying high for the imminent earthquake which shall restore cataclysmic pride to the region and once again bring feelings of climatological relevancy.

The Dis-Ease of Worry

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For those expecting to hear how to vaccinate one’s self against being the family scapegoat, no scapegoat talk today, it’s too stressful and raises my cortisol levels.

None of us seems immune to worry, yet some of us tend to be extraordinarily better at it than others.  Growing up and well into adulthood, my father always imparted such annoyingly practical antidotes to worry – arguments that no sane or reasonable man could contest.  He said things like, “Well, don’t worry about it because it won’t do any good!”  Well, I knew logically that my investment of worry wasn’t going to keep the next huge earthquake at bay or keep me from getting a rare form of stomach cancer for drinking too much wine, but his words of reason never seemed to dissipate my neuroses.  His other argument packed a little more punch though: “I learned a long time ago that 98% of the things I worry about never end up happening.  That’s from personal experience.”  Ok, that I could buy into.  It made me realize that maybe this fear-based tendency to reside only in the future was actually not even remotely a good investment of energy.  In fact, it was silly and absurd.

For some reason, we tend to glamorize worry.  We know who we are, and we often say things like “Well, I’m just a worrier.”  or “I’m a worrywart.”  Our inner publicist tends to promote us as some kind of martyr of love for worrying.  I think we actually make peace with this vile and destructive enemy by telling ourselves we only worry because we care, and to some extent being concerned for a loved one’s well-being is an indication of a pulse and a human condition.  But is there efficacy in our “the sky is falling” approach? When worry grows to viral proportions overtaking every single aspect of our lives it is a silent killer and tremendously destructive.  And I do mean destructive.  It destroys our health and it energetically affects the fields of those we are living around. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the most respected surgeons in the U.S. and the director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons surgeons of today has said, “Energy medicine is the next frontier.”  What he’s really saying is, the old paradigm is becoming the new paradigm again.  Energy medicine is not some amazing, new discovery in the history of the world.  It’s been around for thousands of years.  It has been at the crux of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.  TCM is based on the manipulation of energy meridians to keep Chi or the life force moving in areas of stagnation (read: the beginning of disease).  And it turns out that the Chinese physicians who intuitively mapped acupuncture meridians thousands of years ago were right.  From the book “Energy Medicine for Women” by Donna Eden:

“A body that had been mummified in a snowbound mountainous region along the border between Austria and Italy around 3000 B.C. had tattoos on exactly the point that are indicated in traditional acupuncture for treating the kind of lumbar spine arthritis revealed by an X-ray analysis of the body.  Nine of the fifteen markings were along a meridian that is used in treating back pain, including one on the precise acupuncture point that is considered the “master point” for back pain.  Forensic analysis also revealed that the body’s intestines had been rife with whipworm eggs, and indeed, some of the other markings were on points that are traditionally used for treating stomach upset. Similar tattoos have been found on mummified bodies in other regions, ranging from South America to Siberia.”

“So what.  So what does this have to do with worrying?” you may be wondering. I think we all know that stress depletes the immunes system and opens us up to illness, this has been proven on the most basic scientific medical level.  Does worry cause stress?  Case rested. What are the implications for spreading worry, panic or hysteria to those around us?  The truth is, in a married couple if one person has always tended towards optimism and the other is a debbie-downer or compulsive worrier, over the years, the optimist will tend more towards negative thinking. Now we might assume that the positive influence pulls the other person up with a confident, cheery, everything will work out mood.  Statistically speaking, the opposite is true unfortunately.  The optimistic person starts feeding into the other person’s worry until negative predictions or foretellings of future events becomes habits for them as well.

Some say, “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.” and we’ve all heard, “You’re going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.” But before we all begin beating ourselves up for worrying, or worrying about our worrying problem, because we honestly believe we “can’t help it”, let’s peel back another layer of illusion.  First, when we are in the habit of worrying about a result in the future that hasn’t happened, we’re actually creating pathways in our brain.  Every time we are creating the illusion of control by “worrying” about a future event we are making these pathways or grooves in the brain deeper, until the habit is no longer conscious, it’s automatic.  Modern science calls this neuroplasticity which says that we are actually have the power to re-create or re-program our brain at every moment and decision point.  So to banish worry when it has been a security blanket for so many years takes conscious behavior at the start.  It takes asking yourself “Is this really true?” and immediately replacing it with the opposite scenario “In this present moment, this is just as likely to be true and it feels much better.”

Lastly, for those who are only open to hard and fast, pure science and logic, consider the following. What causes this predilection in our loved ones who are monopolizing the airwaves around us with negative predictions, doubt and worry?  The first culprit that comes to mind would obviously be the brain which is the computer and driving force behind most human behavior – at least at the most basic level.  Let’s call it the mothership which controls our predisposition.  Unfortunately, when it comes to human behavior, most people see only the tip of the iceberg, quickly separating the wheat from the chaff.  Good behavior, bad behavior. Curious people ask questions though, and often there are explanations for everything.

In this case, serotonin deficiency is a significant perpetrator behind excessive worrying (one of many manifestations of mal-adaptive behavior, others being forgetfulness, sleep disturbance, loss of sexual interest, social withdrawal, low self-confidence.)  The tragedy bears itself out in the following two scenarios: 1) The strong, silent or proud types rigidly insist on trying to “think their way out of” their misery, or defeatedly announce, “That’s just the way I am.”  or worse yet, get caught in a cycle of feeling bad about the fact that we are feeling bad. 2) We go on synthetic antidepressants which are cheating the body’s natural tendency to heal itself with correcting and healing the balance naturally and also cause abhorrent side effects such as such dead states of feeling flat and numb (I call such “solutions” Humanity Thieves.) 

There is a better option.  Instead, we can assist our body in what it wants to do naturally, by taking 5-HTP which is metabolized from tryptophan, the precursor for serotonin.  L-Tryptophan was threatening the anti-depressants business  in the pharmaceutical industry because it was helping patients, banned and then brought back on the market.    Also, Vitamin D3 deficiency is rampant and shows up in autoposies of cancer patients across the board.  Especially if one haggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder, taking 5,000 – 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 a day will make a huge difference.  Vitamin D comes from the sun, remember?  Moods improve with the sun and light to which many with seasonal depression can attest. Are we in danger of taking too much Vitamin D?  Doubtful. 

“In 1999, in an even more interesting study, vitamin D scientist, Bruce Hollis, teamed up with Michael Gloth and Wasif Alam to find that 100,000 IU of vitamin D given as a one time oral dose improved depression scales better than light therapy in a small group of patients with seasonal affective disorder. Gloth FM 3rd, Alam W, Hollis B. Vitamin D vs broad spectrum phototherapy in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder. J Nutr Health Aging. 1999;3(1):5–7. All subjects in the vitamin D group improved in all measures and, more importantly, improvement in 25(OH)D levels levels was significantly associated with the degree of improvement.”

Combatting worry, if not for our loved ones environment and mood, for our own health and peace of mind is often just a matter of going a little easier on ourselves, creating new pathways in the brain, and giving the brain what it’s calling out for.  And dad was right, what I’m spending so much energy on probably isn’t going to come to pass and with life being as cruelly short as it already is, why don’t we reach for our own oxygen masks so we can relax, breathe easy and help others?  Then we can all enjoy life and escape the world of doom and gloom forecasting, a sordid affair for all.

You’ve Been Blogged – 2010 in review

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 64 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 140 posts. There were 250 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 20mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 12th with 158 views. The most popular post that day was Certainty.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.live.com, mail.yahoo.com, en.wordpress.com, and blogs.myspace.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for coco chanel, coffee house, iceberg, coffee addiction, and israel kamakawiwo’ole.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Certainty November 2009
1 comment

2

Coco Chanel November 2009
1 comment

3

It’s ON!!! November 2009
4 comments

4

Crushes from the 80’s December 2009
4 comments

5

It’s Complicated – Spoiler Alert December 2009

The Google

Ok, I’m just going to cut to the chase here.  I’m in love with Ben Affleck.  I just saw The Town – Ben’s 2nd directorial effort (effort makes it sound lame and lame it was not.)  I was floored.  The Town takes place in Charlestown (Boston) and is about repeated bank heists performed by criminal, mastermind, genius thugs.  Suspense is a’plenty, tremendous actors (Ben actually used some real criminals in the film) and the research was….shall we say thorough. (More about that later.) Before I saw the film I read that people were comparing  it to The Departed.  But really, The Departed was meh for me, if only for the obvious symbolism towards the end of the movie of the rat running across the railing.  Please, don’t insult. And yes, it had The Jack Nicholson and we can all respect Martin Scorcese, but I was blown away by The Town.  Ben acted in it, wrote a little bit of it and directed it – so for a man in his later 30’s to pull a Clint Eastwood is….well, hot. 

In the aftermath of seeing The Town, I am now obsessed with Ben Affleck and am online watching interviews of him promoting the film.  Unsurprisingly, my fave interview he gave was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Our friend Jon asks him how he did his research.  Ben pauses and says, “Well, The Google!”  Jennifer Garner’s husband, Matt Damon’s childhood friend and cohort and Jennifer Lopez’s “one that got away” actually Googled bank robberies in Boston (the highest per capita of bank robberies of any city in the nation), took down the names, found out where they were incarcerated, cold-called the prison like a salesman, asked the warden if he could talk to his inmates and got inside their minds …..asking them how they spent their money, what kind of apartment they lived in, what kind of car they drove, their heist operations etc.  Jon Stewart asks, “Do you think they were surprised at the questions you were asking?”  “I think they were.”  “I mean, weren’t they expecting you to ask, “So why are all of the security guards at banks old guys who are half-asleep slouched over in a corner?”  <<laughter>>

Seriously, see the movie, it has Oscar nods written all over it.  Suspenseful, well-written, stellar acting, edge of your seat.  And for a girl with an extremely sensitive temperament who never likes to see gore and violence and prefers to stick with the rom-com, artsy fartsy, independent movie, documentary genres, well this movie gets an A+.  I saw it in my neighbourhood at a theater where many other fartsies go – so I’m not sure what they were expecting.  But I just covered my eyes when I sensed violence and gore was about to come and just had the unfortunate residiual of hearing groans and under-the-breath-“shit’s” around me.  But I didn’t watch those parts.  Had I had a man beside me to protect me the eyes would have been in his armpit like white on rice. 

That said, I have newfound respect for Ben Affleck – as if we didn’t already respect him for Good Will Hunting, and appearing in a J-Lo video.  Ok, maybe not the latter, we’ll cut him some slack on that one.  You know, during the time when Ben was dating J-Lo, Madonna was reported to have said in the media, “I do feel sorry for them with the media firestorm, but in a way they have actually courted the media.”  To which Ben responded, “Uh, file that under pot and kettle.” 

I think that was when I fell in love and he just took it to a whole notha level with The Town.

Go see it.  DO IT.