Monday, October 31, 2011

OWS Leaving NYC in Risk of a Terrorist Attack

My previous post demonstrates my distaste for protests, but for this particular one, I’m overwhelmed with images, through my own as well as through the eyes of the media and amateur filmmakers on their iPhones. Yesterday afternoon, I posed a question on Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook. I asked, “How can the protesters of Occupy Wall Street be taken seriously when there are too many people there to ruin it for the ones who are serious about it - the ones who actually have a reason for being there?” I then gave them a link to my previous article. Their Facebook wall is so active, that once you post something up there, you’re literally swallowed up by the next angry person. Isn’t that just it though? They seem to be all angry, on either sides - they are fighting amongst themselves, and most of all, they are fighting with the ones who are genuinely asking them questions about it.

Here’s the only response I got, from a lady named Sandi Brockway. She tells me to “educate myself”. I’m sure you’ll get the gist. She posted several messages for me.

Sandi Brockway: debra, thanks to ronald reagan there are are lots of mentally ill people out in the streets. clearly, that is what your friend enjoys filming. i have been posting the following because there is a much larger issue than exploiting the mentally ill and homeless as you are. You need to educate yourself more than hyou know. the homeless and mentally ill have been a huge huge challenge for this movement. in one city 80% of the participants are homeless. I suggest: I think it time we all become more clear regarding the core priority issues regarding our protests. Why? because a lot of right wing and other conspiracy extremists are beginning to coop our message, such as David Icke, Ron Paul, Alex Jones, etc. Some lead right to neo nazi propaganda regarding the Federal Reserve and Jewish Bankers, some of Hitler's favorite theories. Many of these people are actually trying to convince protesters they are on the wrong path or targeting the wrong solutions. It is clear from reading our draft of grievances and demands, that we have our own pragmatic solutions to our political quandaries and doubts. these other interests are seeking to divide us, misguide us, and dilute our best efforts here, as represented in this draft. 24 minutes ago · Like

Sandi Brockway: I should point out that these right wing conspiracy theories are of the similar kind which people like Buchanan has promoted. 23 minutes ago · Like

Sandi Brockway: they appeal to white supremicist. for instance, Icke, after seducing the New Age Libertarian sorts here, is not the poster child of an australian white supremicsts group. i can also turn you to youtube video, where top neo nazi sorts are owning him, but they just do not think he is as effective as other neo nazi sorts. nonetheless, he sadly bridged gap between pro gun, nazi and new age sorts here with his conspiracy crap. 20 minutes ago · Like

Sandi Brockway: deb, teh fact that these protesters are willing to wade thru this to make their point is actually a testament to their bravery and courage. just because you find a few mentally ill exhibitionists and a small peripheral band of neo nazis who were brought there by right wing conspiracy crap and Ron Paul, means really little compared to large picture. READ THE DECLARATION DRAFT and get clear. 18 minutes ago · Like

And yes, I will admit that my article was a bit intense, but the title itself even said, “The Ugly Side of OWS” - not all sides. I’m trying to understand how anyone can be taken seriously when it’s a three ring circus out there. Like the messages I received from Sandi - everyone is angry and very bitter - and rightfully so. But the thing that gets me is - they’re even fighting amongst one another. For instance, just to give an example - I refuse to go to any (LGBT) gay pride parades simply due to the fact that the ones who are out there topless, making sexual gestures and those who act like complete animals are making us all look bad as we beg for equal rights. Is it all of them? No. But, how can “we” be taken seriously - the ones who are genuinely seeking out equal rights, when right behind us, there are a bunch of barbaric animals having sex in the streets? If you build a forum for a free for all - it’s not going to be heard as well as a group of people in a designated area. With all the technology that we do have, my suggestion would be - bring in the serious ones - the ones who are legit with real issues and send them to a place where they can protest. Film it. Get Michael Moore if you can. Do whatever it takes to make them see you as human beings, not chaotic drug addicts looking for an opportunity to party. Hold a protest in a confined area: in your home, in a hall, in a place where it can be filmed and people can actually be interviewed one by one. I know it takes away from the entire concept of “occupying” Wall Street, but now these concerned citizens are sharing the streets with racists, drug addicts, the mentally ill, homeless people, drunks, topless women (yes, for some that’s a ‘perk’ if you will), and people who really don’t care at all. You have the means to get your message out there. Use them.

And for Sandi, I agree with everything the declaration stands for. That wasn’t what my article was about. It’s not that I disagree with the protest, I disagree with the nature of which it’s being presented.

I nodded my head, agreeing with every single reason why you are brave enough to be out there. I just wish you had better solutions to create a more peaceful environment.

A list of reasons through the declaration:
  • They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
  • They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
  • They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
  • They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
  • They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
  • They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
  • They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
  • They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
  • They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
  • They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
  • They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
  • They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
  • They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
  • They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
  • They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
  • They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
  • They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
  • They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
  • They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
  • They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
  • They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
  • They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.
A message for Sandi: The fact of the matter is, NYC is a mess. It’s unsanitary, it’s dangerous, it's violent and there is much more crime being committed. Not only that, but you are taking away our law enforcement - our protection against NYC being attacked by terrorists. You are making New York City unsafe for the rest of us. It’s not only inconsiderate, but it’s selfish, it’s dangerous, and I’ll even go as far to say that it’s stupid to leave New York with less police to patrol our area in case we do get a terrorist attack. You don’t care though. We all care about the issues above, but keep in mind what you’re really doing. Keep in mind how crucial it is to have as many law enforcement officers on the street, instead of fighting off rebellious protesters and getting injured on top of that. There are more important issues, but you fail to see it because you’re all like sheep. Just roam with the herd and don’t look back. Meanwhile, and God forbid, the city that you love so much will be in ruins because the police had no control over the mass destruction terrorism took over, because they too saw an opportunity to wreak havoc. Educate yourself more on that please.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Your Time: The Ugly Side of OWS

This has to be the most confusing protest of all time. I have never once seen a protest that had numerous and varied reasons, some irrational. I would have total respect for these Occupy Wall Street protesters if they were calm; if they protested and had a logical explanation (or at least one strong reason) of ‘why’ they’re out there, and if they conducted themselves like human beings. The sad truth is that most of them are acting like complete animals. It’s barbaric, unsanitary and dangerous. Corporate greed is one reason. Yes, protest! Bailing out banks who didn’t deserve it while many citizens are out there struggling to pay off their debts - yes, protest! But when does it become irrational? One girl who was interviewed said, “I would like all my student loans to be paid off.” ...Really? Many people cannot give you an actual reason without skirting around trying to hide their stupidity with big words they learned the night before by their “leader” of the pack. It’s getting uglier and uglier. People are defecating in tupperware and washing themselves in spaghetti bowls, and some are urinating right outside on the streets. There are drugs, crime and a prime opportunity to hurt our law enforcement who are trying to keep people safe. There is racism, anti-semitism and hatred amongst one another. It has become a chaotic scene. Watch this video below as this young man foams at the mouth with the most hateful anti-semitism while ‘trying’ to make his point. Once you become hateful, hurtful and rude, your point is invalid.

If you cannot view this video, please click here.

Then you have these hippy-types that come out protesting just for the opportunity just to go topless. There is no rhyme or reason other than being rebellious. To tell you the truth, much of the scene reminds me of when you walk inside an Italian deli, there are tons of sausages dangling down from the ceiling. Not an appealing look, but something that’ll get your attention nonetheless. My problem with these types of people is that they’re making the ‘logical protesters’ look like a bunch of idiots. One bad seed ruins it for the rest of them and I know there are some decent people out there doing their best to have a calm and peaceful protest. Then you have this scene. The video below shows you how classless this protest is.

If you cannot view this video, please click here.

I’m so glad many of my fellow amateur filmmakers are out there interviewing them. Brave as they are, they have been getting some hilarious reasons, if not, incomprehensible to say the least. As you watch this next video, you’ll see the many contradictory reasons of why they’re there. One person claims how he loves Obama and how he’s doing a terrific job, yet he’s out there because of Obama. Wha? You’ll also see how the homeless people are mocking the protesters, and rightfully so, saying when the first wind hits, they’ll be out of here. I wonder how they’ll do with this upcoming storm. God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he?
If you cannot view this video, please click here.

I also want to point out that by no means am I even close to being "rich" or "well to do" -- I'm struggling just as much as these protesters are. In fact, when the protest was peaceful in the beginning, I was thinking about going down there to show my support and to film some of the people who were passionate about the issue(s). When protests get ugly, bringing in the riff raff --- my protest will then be at home watching the chaos go down - watching these people not be taken seriously. When you act like animals, nothing gets done. You're seen as a side show circus. Occupy your time and go home.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit:

Friday, October 28, 2011

The 'Right' Christian

From time to time, I’ll get an email from someone wanting to challenge me on religious views due to my homosexual lifestyle. They’ll ask the same thing every other Christian has asked me: “How can you be a lesbian and a Christian at the same time?” Once, I had sent someone a link to an article I had written so it would better explain that, but the person who emailed me pointed out how impersonal it was. Other mail comes from hateful Christians telling me that I'm going to hell and that I live a sinful life. I also have emails such as older women who have been married for over somewhat years, has kids, grandkids and their life has been made “comfortable”, ask me, “I always knew I was gay and can’t keep it in any longer. What should I do?” For me, I can’t answer that. The entire concept of possibly having your family, which you’ve created, you loved for all these years can come toppling down like an unstable building in an earthquake. I can’t say, “Come out and be YOU!” It’s not my place. This morning, I received an email from a twenty-one year old Christian lesbian telling me “thank you”. She explained it was especially hard since her parents are first generation immigrants who had conservative and traditional Christian values. She even mentioned the fact that contemporary times have progressed in terms of human rights and tolerance - which is a whole other thing many conservative Christians will point out as an opposing view. Part of her email says, "Your writing is just as equally elegant, as your ability to pierce through life's veils and in place, speak words of love, truth, and wisdom, penetrating through the human soul. I've been devouring every entry relative to my own personal experiences and each time, it has been both insightful and healing. I am writing you this in my wholehearted appreciation, for just as your words have encouraged me, so too do I want to send you a little note of full-fledged support. I'm looking forward to ordering your book within the next week." So I thank this reader for taking the time to send me a positive email. Although I appreciate opposing ones, this one was refreshing to know that in some small way, I've helped someone.

On Facebook, I am ‘friends’ with many Christian people - some to which preach an entire blog’s worth onto their status message. One Christian happens to be a good friend, who dabbles in every area and feels that homosexuality is not a sin, as another friend of mine writes his heart out of how much of a grave sin it is to be gay or lesbian. He also writes how women should submit to their husbands and never divorce them unless it’s in terms of infidelity. So if she’s being constantly beaten up every single night, she should stay with him, right? Great logic. The Bible confuses many people, or vice/versa; that people often get confused by the Bible. Does it make a difference? What makes one belief truth and the other not? If the Bible was so “black and white”, then why are people fighting over it? Can it be from the ton of translations, interpretations, various understandings of it? Can it be that many Christians feel that the Bible is written by a man and not inspired by God Himself? It’s great to see all my Christian friends writing about their faith, giving encouragement for a difficult day or sharing some inspiring words, however, I do see many of them trying to be provocative, stirring the pot if you will with judgmental remarks and condemnation on many people who read them. What’s more important: your relationship with God, or going by the teachings or beliefs of another person? What makes that person’s belief “right” and what makes another person’s belief “wrong”? Why can’t we respect one another’s lives, as the Bible is ‘clearly’ not clear itself? Why fight over it? Nobody wins. It's a never-ending holy war among Christians.

In this Scripture found in Romans 14:1-4, it says this:

"Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should."

As Christians, we’re not to tell others what’s “right or wrong”. It says so clearly in their own Bible. It’s telling us not to look down on those who don’t go by your beliefs.

Then Jesus says this:

The Most Important Commandment--
“One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the discussion. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: Here, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.’" ~Matthew 22:34-40

So which Christian is "right" and which Christian is "wrong"?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


That titles says it all, right? I’ve always struggled with anxiety, and most people say they’re “stressed out”, either from work, from school, from family problems or relationship issues. Then you have me: stressed at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason, or for irrational reasons. And then once something stress-worthy comes walking across my path, the panic button is no longer in sight. I’m overwhelmed, and sometimes, it actually hits that numb feeling, almost as if my body is trying to protect me from an overload of anxiety. Nobody in my life, except for my wife sees my full-fledged anxiety attacks. Nobody else, even family members can really see ‘the real Deb’ - the Deb that paces back and forth all hours of the night, shaking out her arms out to relieve that pins & needles feeling. The Deb that pours a glass of wine to take the edge off. The Deb that actually hops in her car, drives mach 90 only to get a prime seat at the bar.

Things had to change...

I had a good friend who is diligent in her healthy lifestyle ask me, "Do you think the alcohol and food choices may be contributing to your anxiety problems?" Of course I immediately snapped back, "NO." I made a slew of excuses of why I needed a drink, and why my food choices were frightening to my doctor. Then back in June, we moved into a new location, picking up our belongings and setting up house elsewhere. I had more excuses now! Renovations had to be done. Contractors never showed up. New appliances had to be bought. Things had to be done in order to feel comfortable. I found myself stopping by the bar more than usual. I found myself eating ‘on the go’ type of food because our kitchen was still in disarray. I found myself buying a bigger size pants. It. had. to. stop. I should still remind myself that it HAS to stop. And I’m not being hard on myself, I’m being hard on myself if I don’t do anything about it now. So yesterday, my wife and I joined a gym. We wanted to do it together, as a team and create a healthier lifestyle. I don’t want to be a size 2, cause that’ll never happen - I just want to be able to be healthy by the time I’m seventy. I don’t want diabetes, heart disease and of course, an alcohol problem. I want better solutions, better places to run to if and when I get too stressed out. I want my life back. I love cooking, entertaining, the occasional glass of wine or martini - and that’s okay in moderation. But when I’m stressed out, the moderation factor goes right down the drain.

For the past couple of months, I have been doing 30-60 minutes on the cycle. It’s not enough, at least for me. With my age mixing into everything, it makes it that much harder. I nervously walked into a newly built gym for the first time in a long time. I hear, “Hey! It’s Deb! She’s back!” -----(She’s back??) It was an old personal trainer who had helped me years ago at another gym. I said, “I’m back alright.” She smiled at me, happy to see I had made a decision to change my habits. As she showed me around, there was a pamphlet of the benefits of working out. I was amused and knew all of these things were actually true. It had everything - helped with insomnia, increased sex drive, confidence, stronger core, helps reduce anxiety and depression, it’s a mood enhancer due to the endorphins it releases and of course, easier to purchase new clothes without feeling like a schmuck for overindulging from time to time.

Today’s my first day back so please wish me luck. I even hired a personal trainer to help me, which I'm very nervous about... I’m primarily focused on feeling better, physically and emotionally. Any tips that have helped you along the way of getting healthier would be appreciated. At this point, I have tried everything from fad diets, new workouts, exercising at home (which really didn’t do much) to quitting my favorite foods & beverages which only led to one thing: going back to it in full force. I even had a very interesting diet tip from a doctor who wrote on my Facebook account, “Robb Wolf's book is cheaper and works every time. 3 egg omelets and 1/2 pound bacon is a typical breakfast for me. I drink LOTS of wine. Wt is holding steady at 145 lbs, down 30 lbs in a year. You don't have to work out but I do. (Just sayin'.)” I’m not quite sure I’m going to do this, but his theory is interesting and has proven to work for him. He is against carbs, against sugars because they’re the number one killers as he states. I think it borderlines the Atkin’s Diet, but more so, I am concerned about my ticker first and foremost. I love hearing different ways that people keep their weight down, but more so, how they stay healthy overall.

Little diet & exercise humor...
Two overweight women were walking home from work, and they began talking about their schedule of activities for the evening. "I've got an idea" said one. "Let's flip a coin. If it lands on heads, we'll go get a cheeseburger. If it lands on tails, we'll go to get a pizza. And if it lands on its side, we'll go to the gym to work out.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Forgetful Forgiveness

All my life I have been known to forgive, and quite easily. That’s not to be mistaken for letting people walk all over me, but putting myself in their shoes knowing how horrible I felt for either making someone feel bad or offending somebody by my words or actions. I never understood it if someone held a grudge against me, or for anyone. I’d always tell them to forgive and forget. I used to be able to do that so freely. I used to be able to let things go and completely forget about the offense. I’d like to think I still forgive freely, however there’s quite a difference in my way of thinking, my way of healing, my way of letting that person know that it’s not okay to do ‘that’ to me, or say ‘this’ to me. It’s not that I demand respect or think I’m all high and mighty, I just want to feel respected as a person, as a friend, as in any relationship I may have with someone. Whenever I was in the wrong, I’d quickly apologize, begging for forgiveness, and usually, it was given to me. If someone else was in the wrong, I sort of knew they were apologetic, even if they never said the two words I needed: “I’m sorry.” Instead, I would either buy them their favorite wine, send them a card or do something to extend an olive branch letting them know that I still cared for them very much. They didn't need to make that awkward apology to me. It was just 'known'. But if you hurt me, and I haven't quiet yet healed from the numerous ones before, and you keep opening up those old wounds - I'm going to walk away from that dangerous blade permanently. You can only break a heart so many times until it's just impossible to repair any longer. Words can hurt more than a physical slap in the face. I don't have anymore cheeks to turn for someone who has slapped me again and again.

A good friend and I were talking about this very topic. We were talking about how people aren’t accountable for their actions any longer for sake of saving face. But when is the line drawn between “forgive and forget” and just ending up to be their walking mat? If someone offends me and later on, decides to come to me to profess their deepest regrets of hurting me, yes apologizing - I’m always going to forgive them. If that person is genuinely sorry for their abusive behavior, and also seeks help in improving their behavior - “we’re good”. But when that person keeps offending you over and over and over and over again, even if they say “I’m sorry” each time, but their actions speak differently, I’m going to need more proof that the person is sincere. I do believe in forgiving someone without the possibility of reconciliation. It’s like saying, “Water under the bridge, but I don’t wish to have you in my life anymore.” And that’s okay. Some think that without the reconciliation that it goes against the entire concept of “forgive and forget” - and that’s very understandable, however if someone keeps stepping on your foot, then says sorry, and right afterwards, steps on it even harder, ten more times, without efforts to make a change in their steps - I’m wishing them well and then walking away from them.

I don’t believe in mere words anymore as I used to. An apology itself would suffice. I need more. I need their actions to prove that they're genuinely sorry for what they did. I remember months ago, I said something bluntly honest to someone who was a friend of mine. I told them that if they kept on pursuing married people, that they would probably end up alone all their life being the ‘other woman’. She took such offense to this and it made me think, “Wow, I should shut my mouth and mind my business.” So I sent her a bouquet of yellow spring flowers with an apology note. I was truly sorry. Although she forgave me, she had every right to cut me out of her life. Understandable. I respect anyone who decides to not reconcile, but when does it come to the point of forgiving, yet keeping a grudge? Can you do both? So in my own current situation, I can’t forgive someone who hasn’t apologized - not by mere words - but by actions, sincerity, and by changing their behavior. And if they cannot change their behavior or acknowledge that their behavior is abusive and hurtful, then there is absolutely no reconciliation on my part. I’m not holding a grudge or being unforgiving, I’m having self-respect for myself that I will not allow anyone to verbally abuse me. I have no room for toxic people in my life, even if they are a family member.

"I have learned that sometimes sorry is not enough. Sometimes you actually have to change." ~Claire London

For more of Deb's articles, please visit:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Naked Jester: Life of an Aspiring Comedian

Jared, the aspiring and well loved comedian starts fussing with his hair before he walks out on stage. He checks to see if his buttons on his shirt are all alined. He tucks it in, flattens it out near his chest and fixes his slightly wrinkled pants since he’s been sitting in a car for five hours just to do a show for mere exposure. There’s usually no pay, there’s no reward other than perhaps a free drink and huge ego boost generated from the howls of laughter being heard amongst the audience. “What if there’s no laughter? What if people stare at me, hoping that I would stage left?” he says to himself as he stares at the very sad aspiring comedian in the mirror. His heart begins to pound. It’s a new city, new people, new stage, new attitudes. His insecurity starts overwhelming him as he feels his throat closing up a bit. He shakes his arms out to relieve the tension - it’s his technique to ‘shake it out’ - get rid of the static he says. Beads of sweat start to form above his upper lip and his hands start to sweat, enough to smudge the topics on his left hand, his cliff notes if you will.

“5 minutes bro,”
the announcer says to him behind the stage. He’s never been to a “real” stage before, other than doing open mic nights at some dinky bar with only strands of cabaret tinsel as a curtain, the ones usually seen in campy lip syncing drag queen shows. This felt real. “This could be it! Someone may finally notice me for once and give me my own show, or at least hire me as a cohost.” he mumbles to himself as his nerves begin to buckle up within. “All the late nights of trying to desperately make people laugh. All the nights where no one even made a sound. All the nights where I just wanted to cry on stage and say, ‘Help me! I hate this! This is not who I am!’” he thought to himself, making his entire gait weak, fragile, insecure, small, hunched over...real.

As Jared hears the final “Thank you very much, you’ve been a great audience” coming from the other comedian out on stage, he knows the announcer is ready to call him up. His breathing becomes shallow as he starts to get tunnel vision. He waits patiently near the side as the announcer starts talking to the crowd, setting Jared up with a major intro, possibly giving the audience too much of a high expectation. This makes him even more nervous. It would have been much easier to walk out if the announcer introduced him as “Not a very good comedian, but give it up for Jared anyway!” This was too much. “The very funny” part didn’t sit well with him for some reason. He didn’t want to live up to that high standard. Then he heard it, “Please give a warm welcome for the very funny...Jared!!!”

As he walks out toward the stage where the microphone is, the first thought in his mind is, “I hope I don’t have trouble taking the mic off the stand.” He hears everyone clapping, smiling...expecting a great delivery. And in an instant, Jared becomes numb. All the feelings of anxiety, insecurities and self-loathing have swept itself off the stage. Now, it was “Jared the Jester” - not Jared, the former accountant just wanting to get out of the corporate world. Not the same Jared who cries every night over the many rejections he receives from women of interest. This was “Confident, funny, charming Jared who made everyone laugh” - this was a total different person. Not the same guy who cried for hours the night before thinking his life was completely worthless because nobody paid him to make people laugh, but the Jared that is unstoppable - the Jared that can make you literally pee your pants! The crowd starts laughing at every single word out of his mouth. Tears of laughter are streaming from even the toughest cliques standing around trying not to let out a chuckle. He has succeeded. Mission accomplished. He left that insecure wimp backstage. The hell with him - he won’t get Jared anywhere. The confident, strong and hilarious Jared will take him to new levels of his career. And the voice inside Jared now screams, “They love me, they really really love me! I am that funny.”

As Jared leaves the comedy club, he’s filled with a tremendous amount of relief. He’s satisfied with his performance. He walks into his small studio apartment, grabs a beer out of the fridge and sits his on his sofa, exhausted from the night’s turbulence of emotions. He then realizes no one’s calling him. No one waits for him when he gets home. None of his family is in the city because they prefer the suburbs. The suburbs don’t have any comedy clubs. There’s no work. This is his life. This is his career. He feels the weight of loneliness, even after he made almost a hundred people laugh all at the same time. Those people had friends, family and significant others to go home with or at least, be able to call. The depression starts to worsen with each minute, each thought, each sip, each slug of his beer. “When will this vicious cycle end? When will it be my turn to make it big? I’m funnier than Daniel Tosh and he has his own show and made it in this biz. What’s wrong with me?”

This is a true story about a friend of mine who recently explained how their life was after the show is over and wanted me to share this with you. Names have been changed of course. The main goal was to bring out the human element - that many comedians have a very different side to them. They can 'turn on' the funny, but some have a very dark side, as many of us do. Kudos to every single comedian out there that have enriched our lives by making us laugh. It's one of the hardest jobs in the world. It's also the best medicine you can possibly give.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Control: Holding on Too Tightly

There are many things I have learned over past decade or so that makes me wonder about other people’s motives, and even my own. In relationships, we all would love to trust the person we’re with and have that be the best friendship we’ve ever had. We want to trust our friends, the ones who we confide in, the ones we think who are keeping our innermost secrets. Reality is harsh sometimes. We sometimes find out the hard way that people aren’t perfect. It hurts. It feels like betrayal - but is it? Or is it more or less just being human? I guess it depends on the level of “betrayal”. My trust begins with myself - the ability to forgive, and hopefully forget if possible. There are so many outside people interjecting into relationships - giving them unnecessary advice, whether or not it’s genuine. The problem with that is, if that one outside person is negative and unforgiving, the person in the relationship taking the advice will then most likely not forgive his or her partner. Why do you think so many marriages end up in divorce these days? Back in the day, divorce wasn’t heard of - why? Because forgiveness played a huge role. “Stay by your man” - remember? But that seems to be more looked upon as chauvinistic, or perhaps degrading to women. But what if it isn’t the woman who needs to give the forgiveness, and the woman ends up betraying her husband? What about in gay and lesbian relationships? It works both ways. Stand by your partner, if it’s not an abusive situation of course. That’s entirely different. I’m speaking of two people distancing from one another, as well as infidelity, if it can be resolved and genuinely apologized for and forgiven.

You may disagree with a lot that I have to say about this, and that's okay. And of course, they see my outlook on everything as “too open”, but that’s what works for my relationship. We rely on a foundation of friendship. My best friend is my wife. If we distance from one another, we get back on track and resolve the issue(s). My gripe isn’t about my own relationship, (for now), but for my friends who come to me spilling their marital or relationship problems. The one thing that I know every friend will say about me is, I go by what has happened to me in the past, and what I did that worked best for the situation. I never say, 'do this' or 'do that' - because I can’t give that advice. I can only relay what I have done in the past that has worked out. I had a couple whom I’m friends with come to me individually because they decided to break the relationship off for whatever reason. Each person gave a different reason and that’s fine - none of my business. But when you call me for advice, I will listen to you and just tell you what I have done in the past ---that’s it.

I truly believe if you do not trust your partner and constantly believe he or she is out cheating on you, then your relationship is doomed to fail. The worst part is, when you are too controlling, anything you are squeezing onto too tightly will slip from your grip faster than lightening. If your partner is going to cheat on you, there is nothing you can do about it. Let go of the control. Let things happen. Prepare to be able to forgive, or leave the situation if you cannot tolerate it. Trust more, control less. Will you get hurt from time to time? We. all. do. But we can’t live in a state of paranoia with one person we are truly in love with. We have to be able to give them wings when they want to fly and give them a nice soft landing when they want to come “home”. The worst thing in the world is a partner dreading to go home because he or she is too scared of their own counterpart. How sad is it when “home” becomes a dreadful place to return? 

Look at the person you love, whether he or she is your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend -- and expect nothing more than what they can give to you. Expect them to be human. High expectations = more disappointments which leads to mistrust, bitterness, resentment and loneliness in the future. I know a woman who was so devastated over her divorce, that she threw away every friend, every relative who wanted to be there for her and even moved across country just to start over. She lives with one cat and speaks to no one. If she does contact me, it’s a very short and shallow conversation, but sometimes, there’s a glimmer of hope that she’s starting to open up, and then it’s back to crawling into her shell once again. She feels a sense of safety there. And the really sad part about this is, she refuses to talk to her daughter because she also communicates with the father.

So, my point of that story is, if you let yourself become controlling, bitter, resentful, unforgiving, unapologetic and isolate yourself because you refuse to trust anyone else, you’ll most likely be alone due to fear. And if you go to people (friends & family) for advice on your relationship, take it with a grain of salt. Take in what they have gone through and think about how you can possibly apply that to your own situation, or not. Don’t deem the person as a shady character who is only out for personal gain - thank them for listening to you and most of all, for sharing themselves with you. An outside person can only give you advice or past experience type of stories. Ease up on your loved one, ease up on those who want to be there for you and most of all, ease up on yourself. Being controlling has many negative side effects. Be free from it...and let others be free from it as well.

You must first have a good relationship
with yourself before you can have a
good relationship with others. You have
to feel worthwhile and acceptable in
your own eyes. The more independent
you are, the better you'll be able to connect
and relate with others
. ~ Gary Emery

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anxiety and Depression: Are They Related?

Published October 18, 2011

Most people think that anxiety and depression are the same. Truth is that they are not. Those experiencing anxiety go through sudden panic. They are threatened of something they cannot explain. They are constantly anxious for no reason at all or for reasons they think are about to happen. Those suffering from depression, on the other hand, feel irate, miserable, and hopeless, which make for their low energy level. They have specific reasons for being so.

What is true, though, is the link between anxiety and depression. It is seen in the number of people coping with depression and at the same time with anxiety disorders. This is validated anew by a recent study that says 85 percent of those that suffer from major depression were also found out to have generalized anxiety disorder.

Science also has its own explanation of the connection between the two. They originate from a common cause: serotonin imbalance. It happens when the neurotransmitters become insufficient in total. With the serotonin carrying chemicals that manage the emotional and physical responses of the body, mood problems are sure to arise.

Another aspect that shows the correlation of anxiety and depression are the symptoms that are common to both of them.

1. Sex drive loss – If a person is too depressed or so anxious about so many things, will he have time to think of sex? Your answer is as good as mine.

2. Appetite loss – Again, if an individual has anxiety and depressive disorders, will he have time to eat? Yes, he will as long as his family members make sure of this. But will he have the appetite? When someone has so many thoughts running in his mind, his taste buds may not find any food enjoyable to eat.

3. Headaches – A mind operating for instance 20 hours a day with only 4 hours of sleep will surely feel throbbing pains.

4. Guilt – Those who have anxiety and are depressed may play some scenes over and over again in their minds. These are episodes in their lives that they regret or feel guilty either because they did something wrong or failed to prevent it from happening.

5. Too much worry – They worry too much about their situation, their future and, more importantly, how people perceive them now. They are anxious if the society will still accept them. They no longer think of positive thoughts—only the ones that causes them to worry.

People suffering from these conditions can always turn to prescribed drugs, such as antidepressants and tranquilizers, to feel better. But the cure may be just temporary because only the symptoms of the depression and anxiety are addressed—not the source. Unless the source is treated, the condition will continue to linger. Sufferers may consider taking prescribed drugs as their last resort for treatment.

What really needs to be done is to identify what causes the disorders, understand them and find alternative ways to fight them over.

Recently, alternative and more natural methods have proven to be effective. Some attested their safety considering the lack of side effects, which prescription drugs are full of. Here are some of them.

Do some exercises.

Exercises can do people a lot of good other than keeping them fit and healthy. It improves the psychological well-being and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Pamper yourself.

Instead of entertaining negative thoughts or worrying too much, why not treat yourself to a day of pampering. Go to a spa. Have a facial. Get a massage. You can also have a bubble bath in your own bath tub.

Eat healthy.

Do not overeat—do not even think about starvation. Eat just the right amount and the right food. Go for vegetables and fruits. They naturally release toxins from the body, keep you alert and healthy, and replenish dead cells.

Learn meditation.

Wash away thoughts that involve things that haunt you. Let them all fly out of the mind. Invite good thoughts instead.

Seek social support.

The best part of this natural way of treating anxiety and depression is seeking the support of family, friends and even the whole community. These make sufferers feel welcome and highly regarded.

Express yourself freely.

Speak up. Communication and openness will set you free.

Through these and other alternative treatment methods, adverse side effects from prescribed drugs are avoided. For one, people taking antidepressants for quite a time may find themselves dependent of the drugs. Other issues include tolerance or withdrawal. This could be one of the reasons why some sufferers do not seek professional help. They fear that these professionals never really have the necessary training when it comes to mood disorders or emotional problems. Sad to say but this is a reality. Some doctors just prescribed drugs after hearing someone's condition. They do not think of other alternatives that may also aid their patients like talking to a psychiatrist.

Options should be laid out for patients to consider. Medicines are not the answer all the time. Whether the patients are dealing with depression or anxiety symptoms, it’s important to provide them information. They need to understand the process, so they can immerse themselves fully. Patients should be a direct participant to the treatment that is considered to work for them. Success is more likely to occur when this is the case.

Ryan Rivera is a former anxiety patient. He turned to alternative modes of treatment and finally got rid of anxiety. Learn about his struggles and success story at

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Gone Fishing

Just a note to let you all know I’ll be away this week (from my blog) so my wife and I can enjoy our anniversary week. We got married on October 11th, and will be celebrating all week long. We’re taking a staycation, roaming around, doing everything and nothing at all. Of course I will be uploading photos here and there on my Twitter account. Enjoy your week! I’ll be back Wednesday, October 19th.

Time to relax, unwind and enjoy this beautiful fall weather.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Your Passion

All my life I have admired those who had an affinity for the arts; people who are free about expressing themselves in unique and colorful ways. I have also been very envious of the successful ones, far and few between, however very possible. “Starving artist” comes to mind and the story of Van Gogh rings through my heart as well as every single person who has wished to be a writer, a painter, a dancer, a singer, a musician - anything beyond the 9-5er tugs on my first instincts, or perhaps my mom’s voice in my head saying, “You can’t make money doing that.” Do we have to settle for less in order to pursue our passions later? Will it be too late once we acquire the means in order to fulfill our true dreams? You can’t say that to many people in this economy and it’s very difficult if someone who has a fair paying job to just quit and start ‘finding themselves’ or start pursuing their passions without a nest egg or two or three. Even with those “successful” artists or even celebrities (actors & actresses) all have little to enormous lulls in between jobs because it’s usually not an ongoing job. Most are contracted. They’re waiting for their next gig.

What happens when we get older - when society deems us as “grown ups” and we take the 9-5er instead of persistently heading toward our real dreams? Do we keep our passions as a hobby, or do we just put them on a shelf hoping that one day, we’ll be able to bring it back onto the table again? And when life gets in the way, (a baby, life’s circumstances, illness, etc.), when do adults get to play? Vacations and a nice night out to our favorite restaurants are always nice, but sometimes it gets lost somewhere - somewhere on that very same shelf. So, our passions, our old dreams, our playtime, travel, and everything that spells out “freedom” gets stuck on this ‘waiting shelf’ if you will, until further notice. I’ve also noticed that sometimes, it takes a significant happening in our lives in order for those passion trinkets to come falling back onto the table, for instance a divorce, a realization that life is becoming shorter through illness, retirement, and so on. No one has time anymore for anything that really excites them. And more so I have seen way too many people getting “too tired” to do anything. Not enough vacation time, not enough time for themselves if they have kids, not enough time because they don’t feel well, and the list goes on.

In my own personal opinion, the best thing that can happen to someone is a mid-life crisis. Why? Because they have finally untangled their wings. It’s like they’ve woken up and realized there’s so much more than ‘this’. They have gone out and grabbed what they wanted - be it a new car, a new hair style, and perhaps, a new love life. Everything is exciting and new! Why can’t it be that way now? Why can’t we see that we don’t need to have a mid-life crisis and find everything exciting now? Most people have criticized those going through a mid-life crisis, and in my opinion, out of envy due to their own stifled life perhaps. Why not make old things new and new things a chance to learn about something different? Even if you’re married and feel like the relationship is in a slump - try rekindling it - try making it new again. And if all else fails, if the relationship is just a means so that you won’t be alone when you’re old and gray, then make changes. It’s what makes YOU happy - and not to be confused with selfishness - but a healthy balance between what you love to do, and what we all have to do in life. Too much of anything isn’t good, but we can try to at least tip the seesaw to a level where we can see both sides.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011


There are certain things that irk me. I’d like to think of myself as considerate, especially when it comes to people I really don’t know and those I may offend due to my own behavior. There are social cues and certain types of boundaries when it comes to dealing with anybody in life. It all depends. Recently, I have had my fill of awkward and annoying moments where I just wanted to yell, “STOP!” But, most of the time, my inside voice never really makes it outside. It just stifles within and then....gets plopped onto this blog. Bear with me as I make five points about my pet peeves. I’d be curious if other people think the same way when these things happen around them or to them.

I know the economy isn’t the greatest right now and the job market is suffering, but when should we draw the line at the desperation of making money, even if it means annoying your friends? For instance, I have seen friends begging other people (and yes, myself) to hold ‘Tupperware-like’ parties at their homes. I’ve been to these types of things, and immediately, even before people have tapped the box wine, the friend announces, or better yet, screams, “Everyone get your checkbook out!” How awkward is that? Shouldn’t we be a bit more subtle when begging for money? Shouldn’t it be, well if you like this, then buy it. If the product is good, people will get their checkbook out regardless. Why announce it? These parties aren’t just rude and obnoxious, but they’re usually epic fails. This also goes out to all of those Avon ladies pimping themselves on every social media site and especially for these new and improved Weight Loss programs so you can buy a ton of cardboard-like food products for a mere $400.00 a month. No thank you.

The Van Gogh Syndrome
The sad news is out that Steve Jobs has passed away due to his long battle with cancer. It is very sad. He was an absolute genius who was innovated and most of all, creative in marketing apps with other people/companies in order to not only make money and make his product interesting, but to benefit the income of others who shared their inventive ideas. He was brilliant. However, I haven’t heard the name “Steve Jobs” unless a new product came out and he was introducing it. Even then, his name was short-lived, but iPhone, iMac, iPod, Mac, anything “Apple” was screaming much louder than the creator itself. With that being said, no one said ‘boo’ about him until he died. Why do humans automatically love someone more once they're pushing up daisies? Why do they talk more about them, their achievements and how much respect they have for that person until it’s too late? I bet Steve Jobs never even heard half of the good commentary about him when he was alive. Let’s take it a step further. The one thing I cannot tolerate to watch are fake people being nice to someone they don’t care for, only because that person became very sick somehow. No more bad mouthing ‘so and so’, it’s all about ‘what can I do for you’ and 'how are you feeling' type of gestures --complete amnesia to any vile behavior they have shown in the past. Why now and not when they were once healthy? Does the human element come out more once the reality sets in that we’re all mortal beings? Shouldn’t it be constant? Perhaps guilt-ridden feelings are making some people want to befriend those who are clinging onto life?

Shut It!
Have you ever been in a doctor’s office or a public setting where someone starts talking on their cell phone, but not only having a conversation, but talking over you? Not only are they trying to talk over you, but they don’t even take into consideration to go into another room or take it outside. Why are they talking loudly anyway? Is the other person hard of hearing? If you have a bad connection, no amount of yelling is going to save that call. Last night while I was having dinner at a nearby restaurant, some woman got on her cell phone in the middle of the dining room while her coworkers and friends were sitting with her trying to have a conversation of their own. The woman talking loudly on her cell phone “shushed” her friends, indicating that the call was important. One girl had the guts to put her glass of wine down and said, “If it’s that important then go outside and talk!” The woman shuffled outside angrily. How does the woman on the phone have the right to be angry? She interrupted this dinner party because she was too selfish to take her phone call outside. While the woman was outside chitchatting, all of her friends were like, “Oh my God I’m so glad you said something! She always does that!” The customers around that table were also pleased with the ‘squeaky wheel’.

Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much (PDA)
Have you ever scrolled down your Facebook feed and had a couple of lovebirds display their undying love for one another so much, that whenever they did this, it made you wonder how really good the relationship really was? Or perhaps, someone on their page is a possible threat to their novella-like affair? “I love you with all my heart and can’t think of anyone I’d rather be with.” --Once in a while it’s very endearing to see your friends love one another and publicly display their affection in a romantic/poetic way, but when does it come to the point of questioning their true feelings or levels of jealousy issues? You’ll see a few people “like” the post, but mostly, you’ll see people avoiding it like the plague. “Something’s up,” most people think. It’s the same concept of “Peggy” in accounting receiving flowers from her husband who works only two floors down in the marketing department. Everyone muffles around the water cooler, “Hrmm, they mustuv’ had a fight.” They say everything in moderation is a good thing. Once you overdo it, too much of a good thing starts to rot...or maybe it already has. Back in the primitive days - the days of the cavemen - to hold your ‘mate’ tightly, (arms around him or her or fornicating in public) was a way to show that this was YOUR mate. Back then, certain behaviors were acceptable; barbaric if you will. But aren’t some people doing the same thing now? Even in public, sucking face and practically having sex out in bars or social settings? Get a room! And/or, write a private email professing your love for that person - either way, it’s awkward for others to witness the mushiness. At least that’s my opinion.

Say Vhat??
Have you ever found yourself saying “what” a million and one times only because the person speaking to you didn’t know a lick of English? Hey, I give anyone credit for trying to speak the hardest language in the world, but think about this: if you tried speaking another language, say Spanish, and you didn’t know it all that well, wouldn’t you brush up more on your EspaƱol if people kept saying, “Que? Que? Que? Que?” Well, my problem began once I started going to this Vietnamese nail salon. I’ve spoken about this place before. They do manicures, pedicures, waxing, massaging and yes, they also include other services you wouldn’t want to venture over to. But, they’re good at their job - the mani/pedi portion of it of course. I have developed quite a ‘buddy system’ with a couple of them, but sadly, I find myself ‘yessing’ them to death only because I don’t want to offend them by saying, “What? What? What?” One man does my nails, talks about his native country while the other woman sits next to me and chats about hair, nails, beauty tips, etc. The conversation yesterday was a bit choppy. “You wata’ ha on vree day?” I stared at her and tried to interpret it. I’m getting better at it but it’s sooo much effort. Translation: “You water hair every day?” --Meaning, “Do you wash your hair every day?” She then began speaking about how much healthier hair is when you don’t wash it every single day. It was a rough go at it, but I can see in her eyes that she was thrilled I knew what she was saying. The man then spoke about his girlfriend who had just broken his heart. “She bra me he now no go so ova.” Translation: “She brought me over to the states and now she broke up with me so it’s over.” Let me tell you, it’s not fun to really try to pay attention while getting pampered. If they know there is a language barrier, can’t they be content with just putting on the big screen TV for entertainment and talking to one another instead? I try not to “what” them too much, however it does come out often, where they look up at the ceiling trying to grab another word to replace the chopped up one they’ve offered. Am I being insensitive? I really really try. But my point is, I hate trying to have a conversation with them only because I feel like I’m always offending all of their efforts in trying to learn our language.

Thanks for letting me vent. It was very therapeutic. Just send me a bill in the mail and we’ll call it a day.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Is October 21rst the End of the World?

Last night, Mad and I were watching The Stand by Stephen King. We thought it was just one movie until we realized at 10pm, that the movie would end at around 2am. It was a mini series unfortunately, but very interesting. It even reminded me of that movie 28 Days Later somewhat, with that panicky ‘end of days’ type of feel. It’s a post-apocalyptic horror flick that leaves you wondering what you would do in a situation like that. In this case, a flu virus spread quickly, yet only a few were immune to it. (You know how these story lines go.) Anyway, this morning Mad and I were discussing it and what we would do if that should ever happen while we’re still alive. Mad quickly said, “Well I would grab everything just to have my family survive.” I said, “So would everyone else." It’s not like a half off sale at Macy’s where you have a spat with the woman trying to buy the same dress. This person will literally kill you for it.” (Not the dress, however more like for a few cans of food perhaps.) For me, just give me a sawed off shotgun, a semi automatic with a massive amount of bullets and I will live out in the mountains hunting deer and protect my family from whoever tries to hunt us down. But realistically, I would never want to live in a post-apocalyptic world. I’d rather not survive a nuclear war instead of waiting for a virus that would eventually come floating my way.

Here’s what really gets me. The churches and their years and years of chanting to people that the end is near is almost enough to turn to atheism. Most of this apocalypse stuff generates from the mouths of religious folks who like to put the fear of God into people. Every time I have attended church services, it would always come up. Even when we were first at war with Iraq, they said, “See? It’s already happening. The end is near, be prepared!!!” Yes, be prepared, but let’s not panic people into throwing their life savings into the tithing basket so they feel closer to heaven - let’s be realistic. Be prepared to step out of church and possibly have a heart attack. Be prepared for tomorrow’s commute to work. Be prepared when you hop onto your flight for vacation. Be prepared to just “be”. Remember that quack Harold Camping who said that it would be the end of the world - a zombie apocalypse on May 21rst? They even gave the exact time, I believe it was at 6pm. The minute before “doomsday”, I stepped outside onto my deck and waited...and waited...and waited. I went to look on Twitter and found that Iceland was having mini earthquakes and a volcano that had erupted, so people took that and said, “Look! It’s happening in Iceland first!”

So now, they have a ‘logical’ answer for why we’re still here after May 21rst. On May 21st, Judgment Day "began" the rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) occurred at the end of the 23-year great tribulation. On October 21st, the world will be destroyed by fire (7000 years from the flood; 13,023 years from creation). So basically, it means that May 21rst was the spark of something yet to come, not doomsday per se. I wonder what will happen come October 22nd when we’re all asking, “So what’s the next ‘logical’ answer for why we’re still here?” I’m trying my best not to seem judgmental when I say I don’t want to attend church with a bunch of crazy, freaked out religious people telling me it’s the end of the world all the time. What a downer. I’d rather pray in private and have my own relationship with God and leave the crazy religious freaks out of it. If it’s your time - it’s your time. There’s no stopping what fate has in store for you. Anything, anywhere can happen at any given moment, so why scare people including yourself over this “zombie apocalypse”? Maybe if we sprinkle a little Lithium in the communion wine, it’ll help society feel safer.

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Growth Spurts

Yesterday, someone shared a quote with me that resonated with me so much. She said, "Just remember, trying to hurt me by bringing up my...