Motivated by a lack of material.

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Why Is That Camera Still In My Face

In this age when a cell phone can take pictures of high enough quality that you want to have them printed and placed in the family album, why can’t we get a decent picture of a person getting on in years. Furthermore, if we cannot get a decent picture why are we still taking them?

I love photographs. They tell a story as they give you a vantage point to the subject. On a simpler side I like looking at pretty things and that is without any prerequisites. Most of us get in a lucky shot here and there, as a photographer as well as the subject being photographed. In my estimation a true photographer is an artist and it is demonstrated consistently in his work.

I did not watch the “Oscars” a few nights ago, but as a matter of curiosity or ritual I always view the red carpet photos. This year was as entertaining as usual. The gowns and jewel were amazing. There were the fashion misses, as well as the disasters. The shock value outfits were very low, maybe Hollywood is actually trying to demonstrate some class.

One phenomenon I did see a bit more of was the aging performer. This is wonderful to see, as we are all getting up there in years. The tribute given to those who have passed on was admirable. What was not good to see was the unflattering pictures of these aging once beautiful faces.

Ladies of whom we wanted to see more of now have more skin than we care to see, and all of it has additional lines and spots. The sexy leading men are now hunched over like the monsters, villains, or antitheses they battled against. The mysterious ones now are just odd looking and strange.

I do not blame this completely on the individuals being photographed though. As I stated earlier photographers are artists and they manipulate what you see and the way that you see it. When one of those legendary performers stepped out and  was surprised by the flashes, they could choose to omit rather than release a terrible look on a seasoned face.

Like the malicious misfits of the writing industry, the ones who used to be accused of “yellow-journalism”; photography has their own bastard child , they are the paparazzi. The paparazzi do not care what the picture looks like, just that they have it. Some of them have nerve enough to cross fields and write things as ugly as their invasive pictures show. We feed them and keep them working though. Our need for sensationalism is voracious. Let’s face it”garbage” sells, because everyone wants to feel like they are one-up-on someone else in any way, means, manner, or form.

Maybe this will give rise to a new industry as it did for the medical community; geriatric photos. I am proud to be 53 and look forward to what lies ahead. I do have a slight advantage on a number of people; because I do not love the camera and it does not love me. Therefore our encounters are limited.  For the people who cannot wait to take a picture a cautionary tip;, digital cameras are accurate, quick, and brutally frank.  Now smile and “Say Cheese!”


Not Who You Think They Are

Clients versus customers; after 4 years in business I realized I had virtually no clients and only a few reliable customers. Is it the economy, is it the nature of my business, or is it ME? Have you ever thought you had something and found out you didn’t, or considered someone in a certain status only to find out the position you put them in was not proper/applicable/deserved? BOOM! I imagine you have heard a person who you are close to say, “oh ___ is my friend, or my friend ____.”  Then there are the patients, caught somewhere in between the four.

There  some areas in the world of advertising and commercialization that should remain untouched. I feel like the medical profession is one of those areas. During our lifetimes we have seen the family doctor evolve. Doctor has transformed from “the kindly, miracle bearing cure-all” to “the stone faced take-a-number/game-of-chance operator”. Don’t be mad at him; we have done this to him, and by “we” I mean society.

What does it take to open up/start up a business? Well of course it depends on the nature of your business. Yet, when you look at a young doctor starting out, there are considerations that must be taken into account. This new fresh physician has student loans (in most cases) that remind you of the National Debt. Everyday these people take lives into their hands with a perpetual monkey-on-their-backs, and we wonder why their bedside-manner is lacking. Then there are the realities of insurance, insurance that they cannot afford and cannot practice without.

If you are fortunate enough to have insurance you may have an HMO plan. This may have been a choice or the only option your employer offered you, but in numerous cases HMO demonstrates and should stand for Health Maintenance Oppressor. Everyone is given the impression they are getting something; the patient has lower cost reliable medical treatment available, the doctors have built-in patients, but they neglected to tell you about the part that you sell your soul to the devil for these “benefits”. The patient is locked into the types and amount of treatment the PLAN feels is acceptable. The doctor is faced with quotas and time restrictions on the care given.

The other type plans may offer more freedom, but they cost you in time and research. Time that you should invest in finding out who this doctor is; where the degree(s) was/were obtained, if there are significant complaints or malpractice suits pending or settled, and still no guarantees or even a promise that the care you receive will be up-to-par.

What these two sited plans do have in common is the power of persuasion facilitated through advertising. Depending on how much spending power you have this power is virtually endless. There can be a picture painted that would convince the strongest skeptic “_____ is the way to go”.

Plastic surgeons were  once looked upon as the bastard child of the medical profession; they had this reputation because of the stigma attached to elected surgery, and they were among the first in the field of medicine to advertise. Pharmaceutical companies have us convinced that we are qualified to suggest a certain medication to our doctors! How, through the media. If I knew what was wrong with me and/or what medications I should be taking, there would be no need for the physician!!!

Now we have the doctor, pharmaceutical company, and/or plan that can afford to make themselves look good in the media, but fail to deliver what they promise or show on television/or ads, in reality. Who suffers?

We must all be more aware, educated, and informed when it comes to our health and well-being. This is merely a carry-over from how busy and complicated our lives are now. However, it all goes back to the grass roots concepts of this piece. You really don’t know who or what you are dealing with, until you discover who or what they think of you.

Do You Have “Rock Hard Abs”

I smiled when this title came to me. It could take off in so many different directions. However, I made the conscious decision that I  wanted to write on a positive note. In my defense I do NOT think I write on all or even most bad notes. I think my writing is very realistic and real. I do wander off into fairy-tale land at times; that is because it is a happy-pretty place and I would LOVE to dwell there, in spite of the facts. That being said, lets get started here.

This year in October I will be 54. I am getting close to that retirement pension I never dreamed or thought about when I accepted a position with the Postal Service in 1985. God willing, I will see that pension and enjoy the “fruits of my labor”. My grown sons will be 33 and 28 respectively. My granddaughter will be 5 and will have started school. My hope is my health both physical and mental will be as it is today, very good to excellent.  However, I also hope I have finally gotten to those “Rock Hard Abs”.

What does a 5o-something year old woman want with “Rock Hard Abs”? I will tell you. “Rock Hard Abs” sounds like an advertisement, I won’t tel you it has NOT been a part of some ad campaign or even the name of a fitness program. I will tell you that I have romanticized about them for all my adult life.  They, out of all the things that have eluded me, did not have to be included in that list. Yet, I have allowed them to be just that, a part of my eluded list. This accomplishment will paint a picture of a sought after success. Plus I plan on highlighting my very pretty “innie” belly button with a piercing, my buddies in tow for support and fun.

I went on a program prior to the holiday season in 2012 I lost about 20 pounds, I felt wonderful, and I managed NOT to gain a single pound of it back during holiday time. I was very proud of that fact.  I did eat like it was the holiday season, but I kept up my program of going to the gym. The beginning of the New Year rolled around, and while I do not make resolutions, I proclaimed “This year, 2013 was going to be a GREAT year”. Let me tell you so far it has NOT! As I tried to keep a “stiff upper lip” and “put on a brave face”, I have been drowning. I have wallowed in self pity, I have ate my feelings at times, and I have neglected the gym routine.

With virtually (in my mind) all my hard work out the window. I have had to start from scratch. The reality is; I gained 4 lbs and all of them were MOST obvious to me in the mid-section. Thus the “all my hard work out the window” comment. I do concede that I must restart, in a sense, for the fitness routine has to be a constant and it has to be maintained. I now know that deviating will bring about UNWANTED changes in me.

Where is this positive/up contribution I talked about in the beginning of this piece? Here it is, I came to the realization that the problem I have not only exists within me, but that I in fact created it. Therefore I do have a bit of an inside track to the solution. That makes me feel great. Knowing you are the master of your destiny, that you are in control of a situation that challenges you is freeing. Now I can begin to fix this and attain my goal. This of course is a metaphoric piece. Do you have “Rock Hard Abs” and if you don’t how are you gonna get them?

What A Way To Celebrate

In honor of Black History Month I submit this with mixed emotions.

My facebook page has two stories that disturb me greatly. One is of an old man accused of and then  fired from his job, as an upper level executive, for racial rants and slapping the child of a stranger on board a Delta flight. The other story is of a nurse suing a  hospital in Michigan for obliging the request of a racist new father, that no black nurse care for his newborn son in the neonatal unit.

The story about the man slapping the child disturbed me because it seems as though his excuse was going to be the alcohol. Now there is an out-and-out denial. The hospital story had me reeling in the barrage of comments(and I added my two-cents-worth) ranging from “How could this be happening in-this-day and age?” to “I don’t want no blacks handling my kid”.

Law versus ethic, personal responsibility versus politically correct.  Yet people from both sides of this subject of Black History Month would both share the common question, “Why is it necessary to celebrate such a thing?” Here is why.

Our old “friend” racial prejudice is alive and well in 2013. This saddens me because I had hoped to witness it’s death by now. Yet in my lifetime, I realize this may not come to pass any time soon. Our society is becoming insulated to the mere existence on one hand, on the other we are hyper-sensitive, and finally we are in a state of denial.

The idea that an adult (or anyone for that matter) would have the audacity to say such ugly things to/about a child and then proceed to put their hand on that same child is appalling.The nurse is scrutinized and accused of being an opportunist for initiating a lawsuit. The lawsuit viewed as a way to make-a-buck off of a frivolous complaint?  Yet the hospital is excused for this particular action because they could have been liable for NOT complying to the father’s demands.

We are victims still, but now we have earned the title of perpetrator and opportunist. How does a victims receive justice in a society such as ours? A society that selectively allows success based on racism and race, but cries foul when laws and policies are enacted to prevent and discourages these practices.

Two stories but the same moral,” Fools who do not know history are destined to repeat it.” Wrapped up in our everyday life it is easy to forget and overlook, damaged by the hurt of injustice past and present we want to forget. However stories like the ones mentioned in this piece are reminders, reminders that we can not let our guards down. Our old foe is lurking about and still can be bold enough to launch an attack. The only way to keep him at bay is to be aware of his existence and not foolish enough to believe he is no longer harmful. What better way of combating a negative than to  disarm it with a positive. Celebrate our victories, contributions and accomplishments. Know you are worthy, know that you count, and remember it ALWAYS.

Why Won’t You Comb Your Hair!!!!!

Okay I am not a basketball fan but I saw a photo of a certain NBA player posted on my “FACEBOOK” wall, and I had to address this. He looked a “hot mess”. What happened to the days when men tried to look neat, presentable, let alone good?

I have to say it; you all overall, are better looking than the men of old. You have more available to you; more money, more products, more nutrition, why is it unreasonable to expect MORE of YOU! When the “natural” or “afro” was popular in the 1970’s men who were fortunate enough to sport that hair made sure it was clean, neat, and trimmed.  What happened?

I am not letting the straight haired fellows get away with this either. That “grungy”stringy-haired, bearded look is as unflattering on you as it is on castaway lost on a deserted island without the ability to shave and comb their hair, but at least being stranded gives a legitimate excuse.

People in the “limelight” are a big part of this problem. Athletes coming off the field hair all over their heads and faces, musicians sweaty and unkempt; but hey this is generally what you see right after they have finished doing what they get paid to do, playing ball or performing. Operative term being “get paid”.

Grooming is important. Many young people wonder why it is hard to get a job, but there are some basics that will stand the test of time. First impressions last. You MUST always put your best foot forward. I understand and respect your need to be an individual and unique, but not at the risk of sacrificing a livelihood for it. No one wants to hire a person who looks like they have no concept of what being neat is about. This segues into being unorganized and unreliable, Definitely qualities NOT sought after by Fortune 500 companies or any other company for that matter.

You send a message about yourself without saying a word.  Albert Einstein  was notably a genius, but he will forever be remembered for his brilliance with an addendum, his WEIRD looking hair. Dr Cornell West( mixed opinions must be noted here) brilliant professor, but you would be lying if you said his hair and beard did not catch your eye. Point being this look doesn’t work on the older guys either. Double Standard Alert; loads of hair on the head of a woman is desirable and envied, loads of hair on the head of a man suggests uncontrollable and wild.

We say, You can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but more often than not when it comes to people we do just that. We let the exterior appearance guide us. You are never going to be exactly what everyone expects you to be, there is no accounting for taste.  However, let me point this out to you there is a vast difference in having long hair that may get out of place during the day, and hair that was never combed in place to begin with.  There is a clear difference in growing a beard and being to lazy to shave. You are fooling NO ONE!!  These afore mentioned things tell the world you face ; “I don’t care what you think” and “I am lazy”. Two statements that I can pretty-much guarantee will keep you unemployed and probably alone. I have yet to hear a woman say, “OH did you see that one with the unshaven face, hair all over his head, tee shirt, and ripped jeans.. that’s a man after my own heart.” No offer of employment will say, “Are you defiant, do you think only YOUR opinions count, is unpredictable a fair assessment of your being, then you are the employee we are looking for.”

Lenny Kravitz, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain; no one would pay attention to their mere appearance now knowing the talent that rests within them, but we all did have to get to know them first. On your individual journey to greatness, stop by a mirror and make a few adjustments before you go off and make history.

“Pity-Party” For One

Face it, at one point in time or another you have  been the guest of honor at one of these.  When you are told “it’s all in your mind”, no truer words could have been spoken in reference to the “pity-party”. For not only does it take up considerable time, it occupies a bit of space in your life as well.

In the process of being in this down state you not only throw yourself into that whirlpool, but you drag others close to you along for the ride. More of the same. This is a catch 22 , for when I could be most effective in writing this, I am battling to get out of this state and when I am in a good, positive mood I really do NOT want to revisit this time-period.

On a bright-sun-filled late winter/early spring day. I am going to take you there if you are not already, and I am gonna try to take you away from there if you are.

It was a whirlwind romance, you couldn’t have scripted it better then it ends without warning. You spend countless hours,days and weeks go by because YOU cannot figure out what went wrong.   Everything falls into place, you like the same foods, your tastes in music flows so well it is symphonic, you mutually agree to take it slow, but in reality you aren’t because this feels right OR you’ll be damned if anyone can resist you… then out of the blue she is in a relationship with someone else.

Face it folks there are people who” just get you”. Some are well meaning, some are not. When we gel and sync with another someone we call it Chemistry, when in fact what it might be is a simple chemical reaction. You may complete a lab, but that does not mean you will pass the course. Our society makes it seem as though there is a guidebook to finding a “soul-mate”. We want to believe it therefore it is so. However, such a guide is as make-believe as the fairy-tales it tries to direct you to.

My suggestion is to abandon that place you are in and go find a real party, a real place with real people. You would probably be surprised at how many others just left a place that is similar to the one you escaped from. Remember all of us attend these “pity-parties” occasionally, the difference is how long you chose to stay.

Was It Just Sex.. Really?

On an average day, with nothing in particular to do you look up and there he(or she) is. That someone from your past. Do you remember an incident like this?I am going to give you two scenarios. You thought the face/body looked familiar but it wasn’t until you saw the unique motion/characteristic; you fill in the blank here that you knew for certain. Your eyes meet, at this uncomfortable point in time you have mili-seconds to decide, do I pretend I don’t know/see this person, or do I acknowledge and approach. Well here you are not going to get that choice, because this person is approaching you in a amiable fashion and certainly you cannot be an ass. After being greeted with the open arms and hug you begin talking. You basically do not hear a word, you are smiling and nodding in agreement, for you are in another place.

You are waiting for your spouse/loved one and you hear your name you turn to the sound and there he/she is… Looking rather fantastic and gazing at you like the feeling is mutual. You observe every inch of them as the approach nears. Of course there is an embrace followed by a pregnant pause and seemingly it lasts forever, because you are in another place.

Who are these people are they passengers or just passers-by on our trip though life. Was it just sex.. really? Rufus did a song “Please Pardon Me” and it would be  my choice for the theme song of this piece, if it had a theme song. Look the song up if you don’t know it, but if you do know it and remember the lyric you will understand.

Human beings are sexual creatures;  we like to have sex, in many  instances we must have sex. If you tell a mental health professional you are not having a desire for sex and there is NO physical reason for this, he will promptly prescribe medication or at the very least take your problem/complaint/condition  quite a bit more seriously.

In our innocent youth an exciting, somewhat forbidden discovery. As we mature both chronologically and viscerally a choice to be enjoyed and controlled with our own individual discretion. Again  with time, progressing to the occasion treat or disregarded urge. Until finally we may reach the “psychotic” state, due to our physical or metal condition, of none at all.

Whether satisfying a human need or “making love”, it is a part of our lives and it’s role in our lives is changing. There are always the exceptions. The dedicated Christians who did in fact save themselves for marriage,  they have managed to and still remain true to their betrothed. The self-practicing/self proclaimed celibates, you can’t miss what you’ve never had. However for the remaining folks; stay healthy, happy, and active in it for as long as life permits.

I Do My Best Work Under Pressure

Little did I know I needed to demonstrate just that. A deadline was rapidly approaching and I had done little work. What I had done was terribly incomplete. My rest was interrupted, my thoughts cloudy and during this crucial time I was playing the game of denial.

After a nightmare I woke to a clear, cold, and beautiful morning. I felt positive and hopeful. I went to work and I was distracted to say the least. For years I warned others of doing the very thing I was doing, waiting until the last minute to take action.

Now the pressure is on and what am I doing? I stopped and took time to look around and reflect. At first it felt like a waste of time, but I realized I could not more forward until I was able to look back. I felt like my feet were stuck in some quick-drying cement. Now what would my next step be?

I needed to implement a course of action, but first I needed a plan. Considering the urgency did I really have time to sit down and figure out a systematic method of doing something. Of course not, my old procrastinating ways had seen to it that time was not a luxury I would be afforded. Yes, I was in fact lost.

In an almost remarkable sense, this is when I began working on my problem. In less than ten minutes I identified my dilemma, I developed steps to fix it. This was where I realized that the reason I procrastinate is not so much the work I have to do, but facing  up to the situation. I put things off because I just don’t like to look at them; these problems make me have to not only solve them but face the “whys”, and the “whys” generally stem from me as the originator. In this mindset problems are defined as failures, and I hate dealing with failure.

I collected my thoughts and began the attack. How many times before had I been at this stage? Motivation took on an entirely new meaning when defenses were summoned. Then I allowed myself to realize that problems are not failures, merely challenges whose ultimate outcome may or may not rest with you. Their existence by no means illustrates outcome. However, the way that you approach said problem(s) and the effort you expend is dependent on you.

On a final note realize that you have to actually factor in something that can be both finite and elusive, TIME. TIME of which you cannot control, only exist within it’s realm. Do be wary, for TIME will catch up to you.

Recreational Spitting

This title would stop ME in my tracks, but since I am the author I hope I can convince you to move forward with the reading. I apologize for the title and subject matter. However, please note it is a “pet-peeve” and this is a place I can address it.

While at the gym I encountered a woman who I connected with. She was petite, attractive and pleasant. She reminded me of a friend of mine who I have known since 3rd grade. I frequent a no frills type gym, because I need to be focused on working out and not outfits of other members. We began talking and low and behold she too was a former Southern Californian. We can detect one another miles away I think. In the midst of extremely hot and humid weather or clannish temperaments of the natives, we tend to forget what brought us south. Yet we are here and that must be noted.

Our brief conversation took us to the local theme park “Six Flags Over Georgia”. The grimace on her face was familiar, as she and I shared the same feelings. We agreed it was dirty feeling, the park personnel rude and unmotivated at best. Then it happened the patrons came up. In the south city and country “mice” will inevitably come together in pubic places. “Honey BooBoo” and family could easily be sitting in the booth across from you at “The Cheesecake Factory”(horrid thought).  An amusement park all bets are off. We agreed “Six Flags Over Georgia” was a place we truly could/would do without. This is where the idea for this piece was birthed.

Spitting is dirty, detestable, and down right nasty. To do it intentionally is just plain appalling.  Want to start a fight, do it to someone. Unlike it’s counterparts of the tobacco family it presents imagery that leaves much to be desired. Before the warnings on packages of cigarettes; Hollywood glamorized even encouraged a smoke especially for men, but for women as well. However, I challenge you to find a notable film where a classic line or scene was preceded with the main character turning away to spit. Today if there is any type of spitting in film it is connected to backwards, uneducated or a mistake(i.e. Titanic).

I have left certain shopping locations based  solely on getting out of my car seeing too much snuff/chewing tobacco on the lot. It is like seeing too much liter on the ground, it connotes(I’ll be kind) unkempt. What if this cross-section of the public were relegated to certain areas? What if they were fined or made to clean up the mess they made not properly disposing of the waste produced in connection with their habit. What do you suppose would happen? What about spitting etiquette. When and where is it proper? The method that should be used and oh yes how to handle dribble.

Anyplace this act takes place is associated with undesirable.  In the animal kingdom the snake is the first to come to mind when one thinks of expectorating. I will run with this creature, for he embodies several negative feelings. He is not necessarily beautiful in the face, he is threatening by myth and action. Most go out of their way to avoid him. In the sports world images of even our most beloved athletes are marred when caught “hocking one up”. UHHHH! Cartoons give spit the speed of lightening and power of a bullet. Remember the faces; cartoons, sports figures, animals, the fellow next to you in traffic, there is no classy way of doing this. With or without a  tobacco product; at best it is made semi-civilized and excusable with an apology.  My analysis and verdict on the subject, “JUST STOP”.

A Conservative Twist

Much like a spoiled child, whose behavior leaves much to be desired, is what one comes to expect from people who claim to be conservative. I have known a spoiled child or two in my life. I can honestly say I have lived with some. What they all have in common is wanting their way.

There is a sense of entitlement when it comes to them, but everyone else look out. They can see, point-out, judge, and ultimately disapprove of each shortcoming of other individuals. They are inconsiderate and massive complainers when the least of  difficulties comes their way. Yet, their solution to the ills of the world rest on the shoulders of someone other than them.

The unyielding judgment is plastered onto their faces like a tasteless tattoo. I watched them and have watched their faces as they are in the presence of this sitting President… they hate him so. It is sad. Get this people; if our infrastructure crumbles, if people loose their lives, if industry fails, they are okay with this as long as there is no positive light shed upon this administration and more directly on this President. I was not a fan of George W. Bush but hate him….. naaah, he was just another elected official we had to live through. Perhaps it is my tiny station in life that affords me the cavalier attitude, perhaps I am just not smart enough to understand, maybe it is gender or race based.

To watch the world change and be in a constant state of denial has to be a fretful way to live and that IS what “they” do. However, they must present to others this is not what is happening. Even if little things like facts and evidence prove, as well as demonstrate, otherwise. The metaphor of the rat backed into a corner comes to mind. Simplified the rat fights, he has no choice for he is filled with fear and it is a survival instinct. Think about that rat; snarling spitting attacking with all he has in him. Think of the person who got the rat into the corner, that rat has reeked havoc with its mere existence. The rat has invaded, contaminated, and destroyed. The rat cannot be left alone to scamper away for he will multiply and possibly/more-than-likely bring others just like him back. The obvious choice is, there is no choice, get rid of the rat once and for all. Now who is the rat though? Is  our conservative the survivalist fighting to live or is he the man trying to stop the on sloth/the impending invasion. The answer is easy he is the interchangeable piece.

I am the hippie who did grow up, I loved my time in the wild and return to it periodically. It is a good thing to have and be able to do. They on the other hand never had a childhood(or conveniently forgot it), an innocent-reckless-fun time and they are mad at the world because they missed it. They shall grow old, sour, and meaner alone; that scares the fuck out of them.  Therefore, they want to make life difficult on others for that is their existence; it is their duty and sadly it is their only joy. Truth is they would rather DIE then to see our nation be successful under President Obama. I say,” God grant them all their wish PLEASE!”

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