Thursday, January 26, 2006


As per Dots request for me to post this piece of mine:


When looking at a cocoon, you see a hard shell with a small opening at the top of it. A wild catterpillar is transforming into a beautiful butterfly inside that cocoon. The tranformation process is the most tedious and crucial process; it is also the most beautiful. Thousands of webs interwine in that delicate process. It takes time and effort.
Now I can get a small knife and open up the crack in the cocoon a bit to help the beautiful creature break through. But if I do, then I am depriving it from the strength that it gains by that struggle to try and break it open, and I therefore make it weak and take away the strength that it needs to survive in the wild. By helping it, it will always stay dependent on others, but if I leave it to work by itself, then it will be independent and a strong survivor. The time it takes in struggling is what advances it from a mere catterpillar to a beautiful butterfly.
Perhaps the only thing an outside factor can help in is by giving the catterpillar this realization of how this journey is an important part of its development. That, with words of support and encouragement to make it less painful.
I hope that I can fulfill that for my dear ones, for they're such beautiful butterflies, with the most colorful wings that just need a bit of restringing. They will eventually have stronger wings, and the ability to soar high with them. When worst comes to worst, there's no way but up from there, and their limit is as high as their wings will take them.
I look at their cocoon and it pains me to see them in such a struggle that it takes a large effort on my part not to get out my knife and help crack them open. But I then take a closer look, and can almost see the interwoven threads sewing them up. I take a step back, smile, and keep praying to God that this process doesn't cause them any pain.
In life, nothing comes easily, they need to exert effort. They also need to let things take their way. I have high faith in them, for they are the ones who taught me what patience and strength is all about.


A cocoon can be a peaceful haven, it's so cold and cozy in there with all the surrounding threads warming you that you feel like you never want to leave the soft silky lines that tickle you as they keep sowing. But one day, the threads will become so thick that if you don't do something to break the cocoon then the threads are what will break them for you. Better you break them than the threads, butterflies need every ounce of strength that they can get before daring to emerge in to the wild again.
Until then, take your time in your cocoon, don't leave it until you're ready and you'll be a strong survivor. The wild won't disappear, it's giving you the time needed and is waiting for you.

Breaking the Chains:

"A catterpillar that wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly."
Andre Gide

"A chinese philosopher once had a dream that he was a butterfly. From that day on, he was never quite certain that he was not a butterfly, dreaming that he was a man."

Monday, January 23, 2006


...on controlling your thoughts, try and take them as they come and don't give them the chance to pounce when you least expect it.

You'll very well regret on letting that happen. Headaches that result in an exhausted and drained body are things that you will avoid if you find the ability to concentrate.

The worst times do grant me the knowledge of reliability though; and in the end, one smile makes me smile back.

Breaking the Chains:

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down."

Mary Pickford

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."

Martha Washington

"Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life."

Joan Lunden

"Sometimes the measure of friendship isn't your ability to not harm but your capacity to forgive the things done to you and ask forgiveness for your own mistakes."

Randy K. Millholland

Friday, January 13, 2006

Better, Healthier and More Peaceful Brains

It seems as though the human brain can improve in a number of ways. I've found a few articles regarding the subject that are quite interesting.

For example, increasing your brain power doesn't mean having to study or force yourself to concentrate. There are many other tips and tricks to do it.


Does getting old have to mean worsening memory, slower reactions and fuzzy thinking?

AROUND the age of 40, honest folks may already admit to noticing changes in their mental abilities. This is the beginning of a gradual decline that in all too many of us will culminate in full-blown dementia. If it were possible somehow to reverse it, slow it or mask it, wouldn't you?
A few drugs that might do the job, known as "cognitive enhancement", are already on the market, and a few dozen others are on the way. Perhaps the best-known is modafinil. Licensed to treat narcolepsy, the condition that causes people to suddenly fall asleep, it has notable effects in healthy people too. Modafinil can keep a person awake and alert for 90 hours straight, with none of the jitteriness and bad concentration that amphetamines or even coffee seem to produce.
In fact, with the help of modafinil, sleep-deprived people can perform even better than their well-rested, unmedicated selves. The forfeited rest doesn't even need to be made good. Military research is finding that people can stay awake for 40 hours, sleep the normal 8 hours, and then pull a few more all-nighters with no ill effects. It's an open secret that many, perhaps most, prescriptions for modafinil are written not for people who suffer from narcolepsy, but for those who simply want to stay awake. Similarly, many people are using Ritalin not because they suffer from attention deficit or any other disorder, but because they want superior
concentration during exams or heavy-duty negotiations.
The pharmaceutical pipeline is clogged with promising compounds - drugs that act on the nicotinic receptors that smokers have long exploited, drugs that work on the cannabinoid system to block pot-smoking-type effects. Some drugs have also been specially designed to augment memory. Many of these look genuinely plausible: they seem to work, and without any major side effects.
So why aren't we all on cognitive enhancers already? "We need to be careful what we wish for," says Daniele Piomelli at the University of California at Irvine. He is studying the body's cannabinoid system with a view to making memories less emotionally charged in people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Tinkering with memory may have unwanted effects, he warns. "Ultimately we may end up remembering things we don't want to."


First, go to the top of the class by eating breakfast. The brain is best fuelled by a steady supply of glucose, and many studies have shown that skipping breakfast reduces people's performance at school and at work.

A smart choice for lunch is omelette and salad. Eggs are rich in choline, which your body uses to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Round off lunch with a yogurt dessert, and you should be alert and ready to face the stresses of the afternoon.

Don't forget to snaffle a snack mid-afternoon, to maintain your glucose levels. Just make sure you avoid junk food, and especially highly processed goodies such as cakes, pastries and biscuits, which contain trans-fatty acids. These not only pile on the pounds, but are implicated in a slew of serious mental disorders, from dyslexia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) to autism.

Finally, you could do worse than finish off your evening meal with strawberries and blueberries. Rats fed on these fruits have shown improved coordination, concentration and short-term memory. And even if they don't work such wonders in people, they still taste fantastic. So what have you got to lose?


A DECADE ago Frances Rauscher, a psychologist now at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and her colleagues made waves with the discovery that listening to Mozart improved people's mathematical and spatial reasoning. Even rats ran mazes faster and more accurately after hearing Mozart than after white noise or music by the minimalist composer Philip Glass. Last year, Rauscher reported that, for rats at least, a Mozart piano sonata seems to stimulate activity in three genes involved in nerve-cell signalling in the brain.


Actors use a related technique: they attach emotional meaning to what they say. We always remember highly emotional moments better than less emotionally loaded ones. Professional actors also seem to link words with movement, remembering action-accompanied lines significantly better than those delivered while static, even months after a show has closed.

Helga Noice, a psychologist from Elmhurst College in Illinois, and Tony Noice, an actor, who together discovered this effect, found that non-thesps can benefit by adopting a similar technique. Students who paired their words with previously learned actions could reproduce 38 per cent of them after just 5 minutes, whereas rote learners only managed 14 per cent.


Simply walking sedately for half an hour three times a week can improve abilities such as learning, concentration and abstract reasoning by 15 per cent. The effects are particularly noticeable in older people. Senior citizens who walk regularly perform better on memory tests than their sedentary peers. What's more, over several years their scores on a variety of cognitive tests show far less decline than those of non-walkers. Every extra mile a week has measurable benefits.
It's not only oldies who benefit, however. Angela Balding from the University of Exeter, UK, has found that schoolchildren who exercise three or four times a week get higher than average exam grades at age 10 or 11. The effect is strongest in boys, and while Balding admits that the link may not be causal, she suggests that aerobic exercise may boost mental powers by getting extra oxygen to your energy-guzzling brain.
There's another reason why your brain loves physical exercise: it promotes the growth of new brain cells. Until recently, received wisdom had it that we are born with a full complement of neurons and produce no new ones during our lifetime. Fred Gage from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, busted that myth in 2000 when he showed that even adults can grow new brain cells. He also found that exercise is one of the best ways to achieve this.

I think those drugs are, most probably, banned in the UAE.

Want to relieve stress and have a sounder and clearer mind?

Follow these simple steps:

- Sit upright in a comfortable chair, keeping your spine as straight as comfortable.
- Position your feet flat on the floor or ground.
- Allow your eyes to gaze comfortably downward.
- Soften your focus and do not "look" at anything.
- Keep your eyes open, but allow your eyelids to "droop" as far down as comfortable.
- Continue to gaze downward, focusing on nothing in particular.
- Gently notice that your breathing has become very regular and comfortable.
- Don't resist if your attention begins to drift. Just allow yourself to soften your focus and remain calm.
- If your eyes want to close, let them do so.
- Maintain your meditation for as long as you wish.
- End with two or three nice slow, deep breaths.

Repeat as many times as you wish for rapid stress reduction.

These sites are excellent, I quoted the above pieces from them:

New Scientist 11 Steps to a Better Brain (this is my favorite link, I highly reccomend that you read it)
Stress Reduction Elimination (second favorite)
Concentration Game
How to increase your brain power
Increase Your Brain Power

Breaking the Chains:

"Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think."

Ambrose Bierce

My Life's Like a Dream

You know when you have the strangest dreams, and they sometimes are one of the funniest dreams you have ever had? You might see your university building name label which used to have a letter on it change to have one of your friend's names' on it. You might dream that you saw someone you missed so much in one of the most awkward situations imaginable. You might also dream that you are watching yourself sleeping...

With dreams, you have those funny situations that sometimes happen for no reason. Maybe your body wanted to laugh, so your subconscious gave it that laugh. Sometimes, though, things haunt you in your dreams. You get nightmares that wake you up in the middle of the night in such a deep sweat that you'd rather spend the rest of the night awake than go back to sleep and risk having that nightmare again. Your nerves simply can't take it.

Of course, there are the peaceful dreams too, where you'd be running through pastoral fields without a care in the world. Or, perhaps, hovering over clouds. Touching the soft cotton candy, and feeling the sun's rays play with your skin.

Now the subconscious is a very powerful tool. This is demonstrated in the following chosen excerpts derived from the book blink by Malcolm Gladwell:

In September of 1983, an art dealer by the name of Gianfranco Becchina approached the J. Paul Getty Museum in California. He had in his possession, he said, a marble statue dating from the sixth century BC. It was what is known as a kouros - a sculpture of a nude male youth standing with his left leg forward and his arms at his sides. There are only about two hundred kouroi in existence, and most have been recovered badly damaged or in fragments from grave sites or archeological digs. But this one was almost perfectly preserved. It stood close to seven feet tall. It had a kind of light-colored glow that set it apart from other ancient works. It was an extraordinary find. Becchina's asking price was just under $10 million.The Getty moved cautiously. It took the kouros on loan and began a thorough investigation.
Where and when had the statue been found? No one knew precisely, but Becchina gave the Getty's legal department a sheaf of documents relating to its more recent history.
Fourteen months after their investigation of the kouros began, they agreed to buy the statue. In the fall of 1986, it went on display for the first time.
The kouros, however, had a problem. It didn't look right. The first to point this out was an Italian art historian named Federico Zeri, who served on the Getty's board of trustees. When Zeri was taken down to the museum's restoration studio to see the kouros in December of 1983, he found himself staring at the sculpture's fingernails. In a way he couldn't immediately articulate, they seemed wrong to him. Evelyn Harrison was next.
"Arthur Houghton, who was then the curator, took us down to see it," Harrison remembers. "He just swished a cloth off the top of it and said, 'Well, it isn't ours yet, but it will be in a couple of weeks.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to hear that.'" What did Harrison see? She didn't know. In that very first moment, when Houghton swished off the cloth, all Harrison had was a hunch, an instinctive sense that something was amiss.
A few months later, Houghton took Thomas Hoving [...] down to the Getty's conservation studio to see the statue as well. Hoving always makes a note of the first word that goes through his head when he sees something new, and he'll never forget what that word was when he first saw the kouros. "It was 'fresh' - 'fresh,'" Hoving recalls. And "fresh" was not the right reaction to have to a two-thousand-year-old statue.
the Getty's case began to fall apart. The letters the Getty's lawyers used to carefully trace the kouros back to the Swiss physician [...] turned out to be fake.
When [...] - all the others - looked at the kouros and felt an "intuitive repulsion," they were absolutely right. In the first two seconds of looking - in a single glance - they were able to understand more about the essence of the statue than the team at the Getty was able to understand after fourteen months.

Thus, the power of the subconscious mind. The power of the first two seconds, the first glance, the first impression that you get from a person - you just have that strange feeling about them and you can't trust them because of it.

Yes, the subconscious mind truly is a powerful tool. It gives our body what our conscious minds cannot; the ability to know with feelings. It also makes our bodies face our fears that are needed in order to struggle and be able to survive by haunting our dreams, or gives us the peace our body needs.

Our lives are ruled by the subconscious. They're like dreams... in their funny situations, tense and nightmarish ones and the good peaceful ones. We feed on them, they're what give us hope.
They also define who we are.

My life's like a dream; I can't help but wonder whose it is, and whether they're enjoying it.

Breaking the Chains:

"They say dreams are the windows of the soul--take a peek and you can see the inner workings, the nuts and bolts."

Henry Bromel

Thursday, January 12, 2006

School of Friendship

Don't you long for the days when everyone in your class was your friend? As a grownup at work, you simply have colleagues; or even a young adult in university, they're still colleagues and you don't know half of your classmates' names.

What struck me as funny about school was the fact that we actually believed that we'd stay "together forever." Making all these mini-campaigns and posters and writings poems and speeches and preparing for the big day and all that, putting in mind that you will still see these people that you shared an important part of your childhood with in the future.

Maybe it's what gave us kids hope. Or, maybe believing in such a thing so strongly was due to our naivety and inexperience of the outer world. I, myself, hated high school very much. The girls who studied with me were an absolute mess, and they would always find one reason or the other to pick a fight with me, and it would sometimes even get physical. Now all that I can tolerate, in every place there's the good and there's the bad. What I mostly hated, though, was the fact that our administration system would always justify other's acts and go against yours automatically. Actually, that's not fair to say that, cause they'd just justify the acts that would benefit them as an appearance and the such.
When I went to visit it recently with one of my good friends, we both felt our self-confidences taking a downward toll. Just the atmosphere about the place, the coldness and the lack of warmth in hospitality and treatment put us back as the girls who hated to wake up for school each day, only going because it's what they should do.

Perhaps I never did care for staying "together forever" despite my ex-classmates' vain efforts to have small reunions; I'd usually ignore the invitations, would only rarely go depending on the hostess. So graduating and leaving them was never such a big deal for me, it was more like a Godsend, I'd finally get rid of them and of that dreaded environment.

I never did care for high school, but I absolutely loved my elementary stage. Everyone would share their food, help friends in need, share crayons and stand up for each other. What I mostly loved was the strong sense of patriotism we held for our class and sections, for example, grade 3B was the best grade in the whole school, better than 3A and 3C and etc. and this was especially demonstrated during the activities the school held for its students, sports day being one of them. I do long for the days when everyone in my class was my friend; I long for the fifth grade so badly...

Breaking the Chains:

"The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy."

Alfred North Whitehead

Tagliatelle di Pollo di Smeraldo

Once upon a time, I used to be a member in this forum which I was very fond of. They once had a cooking contest where they'd give you the ingredients and tell you to make up whatever you wanted from them.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my submission:


6 or 7 boneless chicken thighs

5 shallots, peeled and chopped (green onions)

0.420 grams of broccoli (2 packets)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
250 g tagliatelle
5 tablespoons spreadable cheese (Kiri)
1 garlic clove


Prepare boiled pasta (tagliatelle), boil for 30 minutes and then drain

Heat the oil on a frying pan, fry the shallots for around 2 minutes

Add the chicken and continue to cook for around 5 minutes or until it's no longer pink

Prepare cheese mixed with pounded garlic while frying. Add broccoli, cheese with garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

When done, mix with pasta.

and Bonne Appetite!

Breaking the Chains:

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

Mark Twain

Thou, thee, midst, whilst and all that Shakespearean language

I've always been a fond fan of Shakespeare. His style in writing as well as his thoughts make a great combination that result in a great writer.
I remember reading the section of the Romantic Era in my literature book during highschool, and there was never a section I enjoyed more. I would read out loud with such passion, and always got chosen to loudly recite the readings.

This piece was one of my favorites. I absolutely loved his satiric style and the mimicry used. Here, he's making fun of how the poets of his age would describe women as having "eyes like the sun, lips so red, breasts so white, rosy red cheeks and etc."

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

And this, I thought, was one of his most romantic (as well as one his most famous):

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Finally, this is one of his most famous pieces as well. He speaks of death, the metaphorical death of youth and passion not the literal one of body (symbolized in "black night"). He talks about aging in the beginning (yellow leaves and etc.) then goes into the fact that his young friend fears the death of his youth. It might seem depressing, and it is; yet I see it as pure genius as well:
Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

These three poems are by far my favorite Shakespearean ones. What's amusing about them is that they all tackle simple topics (making fun of exaggerations; romanticism and aging) and are crafted in a beautiful and magnificient way.

Breaking the Chains:

"While thou livest keep a good tongue in thy head."

William Shakespeare

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."

William Shakespeare

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Eye of the Beholder

They say that beauty is in the eye of its beholder. I believed in that saying.

Once, during high school, I made something for the art class. My teacher told me that she didn't like it and that it wasn't art, I told her that art is in the eye of the beholder; she replied with, "No, beauty is." And that really made me think...

What is art, really, if not a form of expressing yourself in? In university I've learnt that one famous artist defined art as a form that should answer three questions: What is the artist trying to express? Does he or she succeed? Was it worth the effort?

I've also learnt that art cannot truly be defined because people's standards for judging what is or is not art are completely subjective. Now that, I classify as beauty because what is beauty completely depends on how a person perceives it.

So is art in the eye of its beholder? Is it a piece of art if the artist intends it to be so? We all have different eyes, different ways of analyzing and judging things...

Your friend's are others' enemies, and your enemies could be friends with your friends.

What may be beauty or art to me could be a useless piece of junk to you.

Inspiring People:

Dots: Sweet thing and always there for me! 7ejjin mabroor o thanbin ma'3foor, missing you. Trdeen bil salameh inshallah
MD: Ever ;) the great thinker and deep swimmer, thank you for sharing your priceless gifts of knowledge
Insomniac: Good listener and great at giving advice, thank you so much.
Someone: For your skill at drawing smiles on people's faces with your brush ;) that spills laughter

Breaking the Chains:

"Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in."

Amy Lowell

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Selfish Love vs. Sincere Love

Do you believe in such a thing? It's interesting how when you love someone, that love can be absolutely selfish; or, it can be sincere.

For example, let's say that your best friend is going to leave the country and study abroad. You get upset and don't want her to leave you. Now this is called selfish love, it's because you love yourself more than the person that you claim to love. If you sincerely loved her, you would have been happy for her and wanted her to be happy and gain as much as she can out of this experience. Some girls even get upset when their best friend gets married, thinking that she'd leave them and live her life with her husband. Or even if a friend wasn't there for you when you needed her/him, you get all upset instead of thinking of what they were doing.
Another example is a person's death. You get upset that they left this world and left you. Instead of you being joyous for their gaining a place in Heaven, you act on your selfishness and get upset, making them get tortured in their grave.

Now this is not to say that such actions cannot be justified, for we are all human beings here with emotions. We get jealous, upset, happy, excited, depressed and so on. I've been told that the only time such an action of getting upset and the such can truly be justified is when the person you love is hurting themselves by doing something wrong. Like doing illegal things for example, or perhaps engaging in sinful acts.

The true and sincere love is very hard to find, and very rare. It's the kind of love where a person, even in their worst moments, puts you before them. This can be argued of course, where asking for another's help if you needed it is crucial in such situations especially since the other party would feel much better if being in the know at the moment rather than after it (that is, if it was their feelings that would be considered).

Relationships between the opposite sexes in our society are mostly based on gaining a feeling of security and are thus selfish. They are not, in any way, sincere. Think about it, these things are usually started in order to gain a feeling of security in order to cope with the hard times that are went through. Those relationships almost never work, even if they did end in marriage, for they will be rocky ones.
True love between two members of the opposite sex is very rare, but it does exist. Fishing for a good partner that doesn't base feelings on one emotion (most probably, security) and puts their partner in front of them in everything, is absolutely honest with them and trusts them so much is what makes true love the most seekable feeling ever; it means respect, honesty, trust, security and comfort. That, among other things. Some people settle for a few of those components, and try and make things work out. Others have them all, and those are the luckiest.

That's the difference between selfish and sincere love as I understand it, others might have different perspectives.

Breaking the Chains:

"Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command."

Alan Watts

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dreams... Do they ever come true?

Man dreamt of flying; if he spoke of it before the industrial revolution or at the start of it, people laugh and scoff at his ridiculousness. Flying was absolutely unheard of, only birds flew! He never gave up on his dream though, he kept it and passed it on to generations to come.
The first man to ever try flying was an Arab, he invented this contraption that was made of wings that he could attach to his arms. He went up a high building and attempted to fly. His attempt, though, had a tragic result.
That didn't stop man from dreaming... By the early 1900's man finally came up with a device that could take him up into the air. The results of dreaming could be extremely satisfying. With pure determination and a strong will to make things happen, the wildest dreams come true. They just need a sound mind, powerful perseverance and the courage to take them on and to overcome the fear of failing. Nothing happens without a few (even tragic) failures at the beginning of them.

Will my dream ever come true?
I dream of a fresh start, a new hope and a stronger backbone to an excellent future. I might hold the abilities needed, yet I just need a consent. I pray so hard for it to happen, and I know of the negative aspects but I am very much prepared to battle them in order to get to what I'm looking for.
Because I am afraid of taking that dream, and afraid of acting on it, in my mind's eye I picture the dream as a fantasy that will never happen...

A handsome face that holds a strong jaw, has sparkling blue eyes that lie beneath a helmet that is crafted from the finest iron, and an air of respect spread to those who come near takes on a quest; the quest of taming a unicorn. He searches tediously for the damned unicorn until he finally gains the fruit of his efforts.
He gawks at the unicorn, in awe of the magnificient beauty that is in his presence. While taking one final look at the bewitching creature, he takes out his glitzing sword and then closes his eyes as he mounts it. Surprisingly, it didn't fight him nor try and shake him off. It simply obliged, and flew him back to his homeland, where he had something to show for the dangerous quest that he had taken.

Maybe such accomplishments only exist in fairytales, where love can conquer all, where peace lives every where, where one can be six and where hair can grow as long as a few kilometers and even more.. All depending on the length of the imagination a person wants to take it to.

Are dreams the harvest of a wild imagination? Can they only somewhat be put into action? And most importantly, can they and will they ever come true?

I suppose that the answers to these questions lie in taking actions that will underline them... to see whether they can exist as a reality or not. It's worth the high risk of dissapointment.
Now all that's needed is a bit of courage.

Breaking the Chains:

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'"

George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pen and Paper

I strive to reach a successful future in writing; writing poetry, short stories, novels... etc.

My success is an elusive baloon, waiting for me to grab it, floating from side to side with the wind, across oceans, big green meadows, trees and brooks, rustic pastoral scenes and rain-swept sidewalks. First high, barely visible, far out of reach, then low, almost within reach, blown here and there by the vagaries of a playful wind, a wind one moment heartless and sadistic, the next gently compassionate. The wind of fate, and in it rests our lives.

Dear brown penny, at the bottom of the well,
will I ever find heaven in this forsaken hell?
My soul's slowly drifting like dust in the wind
My heart's dead, that's why I tread on all that's sin
So I ask, brown penny, will I love again?
I truly fear you'll answer, so I'll drop my pen...

-drops pen-

-picks up pen again-

I still cling onto hope, like a child on a blouse
Only to expose cleavage that seizes to arouse
I took the leap of faith and broke both my legs

And just like Humpty Dumpty, faith breaks like an egg
So all of a cupid's arrows and all encouraging men,
can't put my broken heart back together again!

Click here for source

They're writings such as the above poem that give me the will and inspiration needed to keep on writing and aspiring for to sketch and create such a beautiful piece. Also, learning swift tricks and tips such as how important descriptions are in writing is one sure way of developing and progressing towards a better future, no matter how hazy it seems at the present, for it's just a few steps at a time. The smallest things do make the largest differences.

Pen and paper, as simple as you may be
You still give others the chance to see
The feelings, expressions and ideas
Experienced and lived, shared with glee

Take my hand and take me far away; not too far to escape from reality, yet far enough to experience an overwhelming feeling of euphoria. Just give me that rush as I hear your soft scratches brushing over the paper, ever so gently. Perhaps this quick rush of feelings - like those experienced when having a crush on someone - is just what I needed to add a bit of spice to my day.

Breaking the Chains:

"Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword."

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Favorite Past-time: Video Games

Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father bought a brand new Super Nintendo (the old one, Super Nes) for her and for her brother to play on. The first game that they both had ever played was Aladdin. Of course, since the girl was older and this is how siblings rule over each other, she got a say in who plays first and who does what. Her brother would sit next to her, wide eyed, watching the colorful screen perk up in front of him as his sister defeated guard after guard in her quest to get to the horrible Prime Minister, Jafaar, who was keeping Princess Jasmine with him.

They had only known the Atari before the Super Nes, the one that their uncle owned and played ping pong on. Whenever they'd go to their grandmother's house, fights with their cousins over who got to play next erupted. Magically, though, whenever a game would start, they would all turn quiet and stare at the screen, bewildered by what was going on, encouraging the lucky family member who got hold of the joystick to defeat the unruly pixelated monsters appearing on the screen. Encouraging the family member to win, and to do them proud.

Yes, this is how those children were. They would fight over who got to win the game and show off his or her video gaming skills, but after that would be resolved there is peace for a few minutes while someone is taking their turn. When the game is over, the same cycle repeats itself all over again.

Then, with the passing of time, technology developed and more advanced games were made with more players being able to handle more joysticks and have joint games. By that time, the girl and her family grew up a bit. She would defeat her elder male cousins and their times in games, and to prove herself further, engaged in real rough combat with them on the streets whenever they played. She would be the only female member of the family to be seen between a sea of white kandoura's and black slippers. Her uncle would sometimes see her there and tell her to enter the house and play with plastic figures with her other female cousins. She'd nod her head in respect, and as soon as she'd spy him leave the house, she'd run back out and finish up with her cousins. Once, she even tolerated the severe burns of a rash on her hands caused by her catching a fast ball kicked by her cousin who was the best football player around them as she was playing goalie. She held back her tears, raised her head up high, curved her red sweaty cheeks and smiled. They all cheered for her. It was one happy moment for her.

Her envious female cousins would tease her about spending a lot of time with her male cousins. The reason, she explained, was because she thought that this girly stuff was boring. She liked life with a bit of spice and action, not one spent making imaginary dreams of what Prince Barbie would marry and what clothes would go with her pink makeup. Once, one of her female cousins was playing a video game and she gave the girl the joystick so she would see what she would do. At first, she laughed at her because the girl was just making the character of the video game walk around in circles. Later, though, she became awestruck as she saw how far the girl had made the character progress, it was something way beyond her expectations. She began to see the young girl in a new light, and held respect for her.

Then, when the girl would go out into the yard and onto the grass to play football with the boys, her female cousins would cheer on her and encourage her to stop balls and throw them (she was usually chosen as a goalie for her apt skill in that area). Later on, though, the girls found the guts and came out from the stands and onto the field where the games were played. They started participating, and for a short period of time even made their own girls' squad.

Those girls grew up, and so did the boys. They all went their different ways, hardly ever meeting at all as young adults, for they're each busy with their own lives.
The girl though, the main character of this tale, grew up to appreciate the small pleasures that such games give. She learnt that even the simplest things in life matter. They would remind her of the old and dusty days, and still give her the same feeling of excitement and joy for finishing yet another level and defeating yet another boss that she used to experience when playing Aladdin for the first time.

Such pleasures never grow old...

Breaking the Chains:

"Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music"

Marcus Brigstocke

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wars of the Digital Age

We have google on one side, weighing in 800 pounds with a height of 6 feet.
Microsoft and Yahoo are on the other side of the ring, weighing in at 700 pounds each with a height of 7 feet for Microsoft and 5"9' for Yahoo.

This is how it really is behind these digital giants, if they were boxers.. You'd see them at each other's throats!

Just five years ago, Microsoft Corp. was considered the Big Bad Wolf of the media business.

Armed with a stockpile of cash and the Windows operating system that dominates office computing, Bill Gates' company was expected to huff and puff its way into America's living rooms as well, with video game consoles, home networking systems and TV set-top boxes.

But today, there's a different wolf at the door. Although Microsoft is still flush with $40 billion in cash, it is Google Inc. that the media industry fears most. So intense is Google-fueled paranoia, in fact, that industry watchers believe the Internet search giant could drive profound changes in the media, entertainment and technology landscape in 2006.

Taken from this article, which will tell you why in details...

To sum it up, though:
Google is making new and cheap PCs that will be sure to rock the world of Microsoft blind and have Bill Gates and crew look for other ways to regain its top position in the digital market. They're already doing ridiculous things, albeit smart ones.. Microsoft trying to buy yahoo for 80 billion (more than three quarters of its original cost) and Yahoo declined saying that the price wasn't enough. Google is offering loads of free stuff, gmail for one! 2 gegabytes of free space, 2 GB, for free! Msn hotmail only offers as much as 250 MB, and that's only if you were a U.S. resident.

I wonder who will win in the long run.
Anyway, it's doing us consumers real good.. The more competition, the cheaper products will be in order to let consumers want to buy their brand.

Breaking the Chains:

"One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one."

Agatha Christie

True Happiness...

...truly is a state of mind!

You already know how to make yourself happy and successful.
You knew it best when you were younger.
You have simply forgotten!

It is just so obvious and right in front of us that it amuses me how many people overlook it so easily! Maybe it's because of how hard you look for it.. For truly, the harder you work to find it the harder it will be to actually obtain it. Just sit back and relax and focus on whatever you're doing, it'll hit you sooner or later.

Happiness is not the past and not the future.
Happiness is the present moment!
It is about now!

When you are fully engaged in what you are doing your mind doesn't wander and you are happy. You are intent only on what is happening at that moment.

Being in a total state of happiness means focusing on what is happening right now! It means appreciating the gifts that you are given every day. While many think that life is complicated, in truth, things are only as complicated as you want them to be. Think simply, and they shall be simple. Think of things in a complicated manner, and they shall be complicated.

Imagine the following situation: You're upset at not getting the promotion you were seeking at work, and you spend your days in the office daydreaming during meetings and the such of what could've been if you had gotten that promotion.
Or here's another situation: You tell yourself that you really will be happy if such and such happened.

It's important to point out that happiness is not a state of being.
It's not about being somewhere, some place, or with someone.
Happiness is simply a state of mind and NOT being.

You are as happy as you want to be, as long as you focus on the good things offered to you now, not thinking about what could've been and what could be.. That is when you shall acheive an state of mind that is happy.

Being happy means focusing on what is, right now.
It also means focusing on what is right, now.

This makes sense, because whenever we're in a bad situation we usually focus on what's wrong and that gets us down and discouraged.

Even in the most difficult situations,
When you focus on what is right in the present moment,
It makes you happier,
And gives you the needed confidence and energy to deal with what is wrong.

Even in the most difficult situations, such as experiencing the pain encountered with the death of a close loved one, this is put into practice. Pain in the present, like everything else, is constantly changing. It will come and go. When you stay fully in the present and have felt the pain, and feel drained by it, you can begin to look for what is right, and build on it.

Being happy means tuning out distractions.
And paying attention to what is important, now.
You create your own happiness by what you give your attention to.

It is important to experience painful experiences and learn from them rather than try and distract yourself with something else. Put yourself in the now whenever you experience something bad, because if you ignore it then it tends to grow and you will get hurt very badly when you eventually have to face it. Taking gradual doses is better, and is also good to learn as you go along.

Focus on what is happening at the moment.
Appreciate what is right about the situation and build on it.
Pay attention to what is important now.

It is hard to let go of the past
If you have not learned from the past
As soon as you learn and let go
You improve the present

Many of the people who have the same difficulties were worried about the mistakes they had made, or about the mistakes they were afraid to make. Some are angry about something that had happened to them in work in the past.
The people who were doing well concentrated on their work at that moment. They made mistakes like everybody else, but they were able to learn from them, let go, and move on. And they did not talk as much about what was wrong.

It seems as though most of those who are experiencing difficulties, rather than look at their past and learn from it, choose to ignore it. Many people avoid looking at the past, because they do not want to be troubled by it. They say things like, "My past experiences brought me to where I am today." They don't ask themselves where they would be today if they had looked at their past experiences, and learned from the things that didn't go well. As a result, they learn nothing.
So, they keep making the same mistakes. In those areas, their present is just like their past. When you do not use your feelings about the past to learn from your experiences, you lose the joy of the present. Once you have truly learned from the past, it is easier to enjoy the present. While it is true that one must not live in the past - for then you are not living in the present - it is important to use the past in order to learn from your mistakes. Or, if you've done well in the past, look at why and build on your successes.

Anytime you are unhappy in the present
Or are feeling unsuccessful,
It is time to learn from the past
Or plan for the future

Only two things can rob you of the joy of the present: your negative thoughts about the past, or your negative thoughts about the future.
The time to learn is anytime to make the present better than the past. When you feel upset, or have any other negative feelings about the past that are interfering with the present, that is when you need to take the time to look at the past and learn from it.

It is a good time to learn when feeling something negative because you can use your feelings to teach you. The best way of learning this is to ask yourself three questions:

What happened in the past?
What did I learn from it?
What can I do differently now?

You think about a mistake you made, and see how you could do it differently now. Don't be too hard on yourself. Remember that you did the best you knew how to at the time. When you know better now, you can do better now.
So, when you behave in the same way you get the same results. But, when you behave differently, you get different results. The good news is the more you learn from the past, the fewer regrets you have, and the more time you have to spend in the present.

Look at what happened in the past.
Learn something valuable from it.
Use what you learn to improve the present.

You cannot change the past,
but you can learn from it.
When the same situation arises,
you can do things differently
and enjoy a more successful present.

The last element to true happiness is the future. For while it is not wise to be in the future, because that is how you lose yourself in worry and anxiety, it is important to plan for the future.
The only way to make the future better than the present, other than to get lucky, is to plan for it. Even if you do happen to get "lucky," your luck can run out. That can lead to deeper problems and a whole new set of issues to deal with, so you can't depend on getting lucky.
Planning for the future reduces fear and uncertainty, because you are actively taking steps towards future success. You know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Planning for the future relates to being in the present, because once you have prepared for the future, you can enjoy the present with less anxiety. Planning takes much of the guesswork out of what you need to do each day. You have a road map. It lets you focus on what you need to do in the present to help bring about the future you want.
So, by planning for the future you can be more fully in the present.

No one can predict or control the future.
However, the more you plan for what you want to see happen,
The less anxious you are in the present,
And the more the future is known to you.

A lack of planning, both at work and in our lives, is the most common reason we fall short of our dreams and goals. You plan for the future anytime you want to make it better than the present.
The best way to do that is by thinking about these three things:

What would a wonderful future be like?
What are my plans to make it happen?
What am I doing today to make it happen?

The more you can paint a realistic vision of what you would like your future to look like, and believe it is possible to acheive, the easier it is for you to create your plan. And once you have a plan, you need to continually revise it as you gather more information and experience, so that the plan becomes more realistic.
The important thing is to do something every day, even if you think it is a small thing, to help make that wonderful future happen.

Picture what a wonderful future would be like.
Create a realistic plan to help it happen.
Put your plan into action in the present.

When you don't plan or set goals, or anticipate future problems, you lose your way. You're more likely to spend time on things that don't really matter, and leave less time for the things that really need your attention. That's why you sometimes feel overwhelmed. You don't take the time to plan first and work on your plan.

You may want to think of the three parts of happiness as a tripod supporting a valuable camera, perfectly balanced by its three supporting legs: Living in the present; Learning from the past; and Planning for the future.
Remove one leg and the tripod topples over. But supported by all three, it works. And so will your life. However, if you are not in the present, you will not be aware of what is going on. If you have not learned from the past, you are not ready to plan for the future. And if you have no plan for the future, you are adrift.
When you balance your work and life on a tripod of happiness: the past and the present and the future - you get a much clearer picture. And you can deal better with whatever comes along.

Living in the present, learning from the past and planning for the future is not all there is. It is only when you live with Purpose and respond to what's important about the present, past and future, that it all has meaning.
Living with purpose means not just knowing what to do, but why. Working and living with purpose is not some grand scheme or life plan. It is a practical approach for every day life. It means rising each day and seeing what meaning it will hold for you and others as a result of your actions.

How you respond depends upon your purpose,
When you want to be happy and more successful
it is time to be in the present moment.
When you want the present to be better than the past
It is time to learn from the past.
When you want the future to be better than the present
it is time to plan for the future.
When you live and work with purpose,
And respond to what is important now,
You are more able to lead, manage, support, befriend and love.

Some people choose to receive this knowledge about happiness when they are young. Others when they are in the middle age. Some, when they are very old. And some people never do.

Success is becoming who you are capable of being,
And progressing towards worthwhile goals.
Each of us defines for ourselves what it means to be successful.

It's just too simple...

True Happiness

Be In The Present
When you want to be happy and successful
Focus on what is right now,
Use your purpose to respond
To what is important now.

Learn From The Past
When you want to make the present better than the past
Look at what happened in the past.
Learn something valuable from it.
Do things differently in the present.

Plan For The Future
When you want to make the future better than the present
See what a wonderful future would look like.
Make plans to help it happen.
Put your plan into action in the present.

Remember, the skeptimists will ignore this valuable piece of information and will remain unhappy. Those who believe and have faith in the simplest things are those who will strive, learn, be successful and most importantly, be happy.

Ideas taken from Spencer Johnson's book, The Present

Breaking the Chains:

"The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you'll never find it."

C.P. Snow

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."

Eddie Cantor

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Goodbye 05, Welcome 06!

To many, New Year's is just a normal day just like any other. To them the only difference that it makes is a new calendar and the use of 2006 instead of 2005 in writing dates.

I used to think of New Year's in the exact same way, and maybe I still kind of do. This time, however, I'm beginning to change my perception of it a bit; for while it may be true that New Year's day does not by any means mark the time when we should look back and ponder on how our lives were spent and how to work for a better future because that is something that we should do every once in a while, New Year's day still serves as a reminder of what could have been.. and of what could be..

So, I have thought of the following:
The highlights of 2005 were.. getting to know certain people better, learning how not to take things for granted, being more daring, exploring more areas and gaining more courage, being inspired by many, learning how to choose and know who truly deserves my time, always ask for the best and never settle and let the least satisfy me, not to let others influence my decisions.. that and other things that I don't really remember right now.

What I want to accomplish asap (thank you '06 for reminding me to ponder)... To look at the world through happy eyes not sad ones, never fear hurting others on the expense of my own misery because what I thought might hurt them could just do the opposite in the long run, take my emotions out, be more cautious, be more alert, look out for signs, stop daydreaming too much, work on acheiving specific goals, write more poetry (look towards publishing), perhaps write a story, attend a workshop, go to a gym, get the courage to ask for things (studies - maybe buffalo), don't refuse a good deal out of fear, act to conquer fears and overcome them, live for the future rather than in the present, stop living in the past and just learn from it and move in, stop making up excuses, stop procrastinating, seek confidence from within, try and be there more for those I care about, be more religious and closer to God...
I can't recall any more

Check this link for priceless New Year tips

Happy New Year!

Breaking the Chains:

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."

Oprah Winfrey