18 Jul “Knowing what’s going on; your enemies’ plans; everyone else’s strategies–these three things have absolutely #zeroAF value to you”, I tell HR as I move the #digitalpawnAF, “what if I tell you what does matter then, huh?” HR looks directly at me as she takes her move, “what’s that?” I reply as I respond with my pawn, “The next move. The right one gives you checkmate, huh?” #skillAF (3.7k)
HR moves the piece; that’s not it, I think to my wife as I review her choices of colors for the drapes in the kitchen.
I respond and move my rook to the corner; try green #bada55, I think back to my wife as I look at the colors through the videotelepathy device message.
The castle slides to the edge of the board, HR looks at me, “I’ve got you in checkmate.”
I laugh; move the queen to the middle of the board; no, try the light blue, I think to my wife as I see the disaster color scheme that #bada55 would cause with the red refrigerator in our kitchen.
I look back from the window and at HR, “checkmate.”
She puts the pieces back in the box; yes, that’s it, I think back to my wife.
HR and I shake hands; tell each other good game; I get up from my chair and take a step towards the living room.
Turning back to HR, I say, “do you know why you lost?”
“Cause I didn’t anticipate your move?”, HR replies as she turns her head to me.
“No”, I reply as I turn my head away and to the living room, “you lost cause I’m the master. Play again, tomorrow?”
I can’t hear her response over the music in the living room; ah…, I think as I sit down in my recliner, this is life, Yo!
10 signs of problem gambling
Do you or does someone you know like to bet on games of chance? Here are ten signs and indicators to help you detect when gambling is becoming a problem. They will help you take stock of the situation.
Ten signs of a gambling problem:
People who have gambling problems generally try to hide it from the people around them. They start lying to their spouses, families, coworkers, and friends.
Some gamblers say they are just trying to win back the money they have lost. They will claim that once they win big, they will stop. Or that they lost because they changed strategies or were not lucky. But when they chase their losses, they end up piling up even more losses, and often debts.
What do pathological gamblers do when gambling puts them into a financial hole? They borrow—from their family, friends, coworkers, or even strangers, without always admitting the real reason they need the money. They may also have other people pay their gambling debts. They may max out their credit cards or take out a second mortgage.
Always betting more
Like someone who has drugs or alcohol problems, problem gamblers have to up their “dose” of gambling to enjoy it. In other words, they have to bet more and more money to get the kind of rush they want. Unfortunately, the more they bet, the more they lose.
Being obsessed with gambling
When this happens, gamblers cannot stop thinking about the last time they gambled and the next time they will. Any reason is reason enough to go gambling, and they will try any strategy to get the money they need.
Being unable to stop gambling
Many gamblers know they should not gamble so much, and want to quit. They try repeatedly, but cannot fight the urge to play.
Gambling out of need
When trying to cut down on their gambling or stop altogether, some gamblers experience “psychological withdrawal symptoms.” Like someone who has a drug or alcohol problem, they become irritable, impatient, agitated, or tense if they do not get their “dose” of gambling.
Gambling to forget
These gamblers play to distract themselves, forget their problems, and reduce their stress.
Perhaps, you hate the part of you that you have not yet accepted; you are a chicken? Or, maybe you do not yet know what side of your personality is hidden in obscurity without getting a free 10-minute consultation from someone who will give you the brutal truth (which prob. isn’t so bad, really?)
In 2009ish, I was anemic. I set an appointment with a nutrionist; she reviewed my weekly log of food choices; the one thing tht made me nervous was the thing that I did best.
Eating BBQ ribs for breakfast one day (leftovers, right? LOL)
Turns out I needed like more hemo-iron in my diet; she suggested mixing it with a non-hemo iron (like spinahc) plus a vitamin C (the combination increases absorption of Fe). The brutal truth of the situation was actually pretty sweet–eat ribs for every meal (something like that! LOL).
What I was delaying in learning; turned out to be not so bad.
So I ask you,
I turn up the lights in the packed auditorium on FNYUTHE,
What if the truth is GOOD?
The crowd gets up and claps; standing ovation; after my publisher released my newest book, the people started coming to the talks; sold-out, legit, in every auditorium since the newest book went to #1 on the Earth’s Bestseller list, bitches, Yo.
Mindfulness: It Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be
After going deep into the research on wellbeing, I have been impressed by the number of studies showing benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Today, this has bubbled up out of the research journals and into the mainstream media. From the cover of Time magazineto Anderson Cooper on 60 minutes to the boardrooms of large corporations (like Google,) mindfulness has hit the big time.
But not everyone is a fan. Barbara Ehrenreich, for example, just wrote a scathing review of the adoption of mindfulness by American corporate culture. Businesses like it because it appears to be supported by science (“no ‘hippie bullshit,’” she says.) But the science on mindfulness, Ehrenreich points out, while ubiquitous, is less than conclusive.
Ehrenreich is a self-proclaimed “negateer,” so I have to take everything she says with a grain of salt. But I have to admit she has a point. Mindfulness has become the media darling as a cure-all. And it’s probably not as good as the media would have us believe.
Authors Dr. Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm also look at mindfulness with a critical eye. Their book is called The Buddha Pill, because in our modern culture, everyone is looking for some “hack” or shortcut to wellbeing, and meditation seems to be the latest “pill” that everyone prescribes.
What makes their book interesting is that Farias and Wikholm, like me, are believers in the power of meditation. In fact, they teach yoga and meditation to prisoners in an attempt to help them find a more peaceful and benign way of life.
Five reasons ‘MacGyver’ will be the reboot that saves television (and one reason it won’t)
According to the Hollywood Reporter, CBS is rebooting “MacGyver.” Though typically we’d be skeptical of yet another take on an existing Hollywood property, it’s entirely possible that “MacGyver” will be just the thing to break out of the rehash slump. Here’s why:
1. James Wan, the brilliant Hollywood horror director who successfully helmed the most recent entry in the “Fast and the Furious” series, is attached to executive produce the project and direct the potential pilot, should the series development progress that far. Wan’s distinct visual style would inevitably be a stark departure from the CBS house style, an absolutely necessity for the network to lure a young audience.
2. For all the reboots on previously successful television products that Hollywood has attempted over the last decade or so, CBS has one of the few unmitigated successes in “Hawaii Five-0.” The show’s sixth-season premiere last month drew more than 8 million viewers and also boasts one of the most effortlessly diverse casts on television, particularly significant on a network that sometimes faces criticism for being too white. If a reboot on a previous TV property is going to be successful, CBS is as good a place as any for it to be.
3. All you need is to find an undiscovered talent with the charisma of a young Richard Dean Anderson. We humbly submit Josh Holloway, since apparently no one is going to cast him in a “Rockford Files” reboot any time soon.
4. If anyone is going to be capable of forcing America back into the ’80s model of television consumption, it’s going to be MacGyver. He’ll have all those pesky DVRs and streaming options dismantled in no time.
5. Science is super cool right now. With “The Martian” earning $55 million at the box office, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson with a whopping 4.3 million Twitter followers and original recipe “CSI” going off the air, CBS has a readymade hit in science-friendly “MacGyver.” Pitched just the right way, “MacGyver” could reinvent the action-adventure genre like “CSI” reinvented the procedural.
Although all of this may very well be true, it’s much more likely that “MacGyver” will not be the show that saves television, for one very simple reason.
1. Reboots are not the future of television.
“I feel a change”, my wife, Annette, says as she looks out into the distance at the Andes moving closer to her; the wall of water behind them knocking off the snow-capped peaks and rushing through the pass towards us; it will be here soon, she thinks.
“Let it be”, I tell Annette, “this is what happens. You are changing, ok?”
“Ok?”, Annette says as she closes her eyes; the water covers her body as the wave washes over us; where is HR?
She’s ok, I think to Annette; I see you, Honduras (HR) thinks to us, I’m still watching you from the top of the mountain.
When the water recedes, Honduras thinks to Annette and I, I’ll meet up with you.
Tossing and turning, our fragile bodies hit trees and rocks; we wash up, eventually, on a small sandy beach; still holding hands, Honduras asks us; yes, I think back to Honduras; see you soon, I continue thinking to Honduras.
WHY ALCOHOL IS GOOD FOR YOU
It’s one of those medical anomalies that nobody can really explain: Longitudinal studies have consistently shown that people who don’t consume any alcohol at all tend to die before people who do. At first glance, this makes little sense. Why would ingesting a psychoactive toxin that increases our risk of cancer, dementia and liver disease lengthen our life span?
Well, the anomaly has just gotten more anomalous: A new study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, followed 1,824 participants between the ages of 55 and 65. Once again, the researchers found that abstaining from alcohol increases the risk of dying, even when you exclude former alcoholics who have now quit. (The thinking is that ex-drinkers might distort the data, since they’ve already pickled their organs.) While 69 percent of the abstainers died during the 20-year time span of the study, only 41 percent of moderate drinkers passed away. (Moderate drinkers were also 23 percent less likely to die than light drinkers.) But here’s the really weird data point: Heavy drinkers also live longer than abstainers. (Only 61 percent of heavy drinkers died during the study.) In other words, consuming disturbingly large amounts of alcohol seems to be better than drinking none at all.
We live in a reductionist age, in which every longitudinal effect is explained away at the most fundamental possible level. And so this study will no doubt lead researchers to probe the benefits of red wine, with its antioxidants and resveratrol. It will also lead people to explore the cardiovascular benefits of alcohol, since many of the perks of drinking (such as increased levels of HDL cholesterol) seem to extend to people who drink beer and hard liquor.
These are all important hypotheses, the sort of speculations that assuage this drinker’s heart. (I’m no Don Draper, but I certainly enjoy my evening IPA.)
“How do you feel now?”, I ask Annette as she scans her body over.
“Different”, she replies as she looks up at the sun rising over the ocean, “but good.”
“No”, I tell her as I hand her the flat stone in my hands, “don’t tell me. Start writing. Ok?”
She takes a small smooth pebble and slowly cuts off the top of her pointer finger; using the blood, she starts laying down the lines and circles; slowly, I tell her, or it will smear.
I never worry about action, but only about inaction.
The tent was shaking – “Time to get up – it’s time.”
It was October 16th. I had turned thirty the previous day; this was day one. In the run up to my birthday, the joke had been – “Thirty – you’re basically dead”. As I woke up, I realized – that nope, somehow I was still alive – and it was time.
We were on the Santa Cruz trail hiking around the base of the Alpamayo in Peru. The hike was schedule for four days – but three of us, in the group of eight, had decided to attempt it in three days. The total distance was 40 kilometers reaching a high elevation on day three of 4,750 meters (15,500’) or 1,000’ feet higher than the top of Mount Whitney; the highest point in the contiguous United States.
A light breakfast was prepared by our group’s cook; coffee and a couple pieces of bread.
We ate hastily and began the trek. The first section continued up the mountain from base camp – where we stopped the previous night – to Punto Union, and then down the other side of the mountain.
The air was cool, the sun had not appeared but there was enough light to make out our steps – but not enough to see much further.
About thirty minutes into the hike, it began to get brighter and we could for the first time take in the mountains surrounding us. Snow-capped, it appeared that they had gotten a dusting of now the previous night. In the distance, I low rumbling noise was heard. It sounded as if it was coming from the direction we were travelling.
“What was that”, one of the hikers asked.
“Avalanche”, the guide responded.
I took a deep breath – and continued on the trail; what a way to begin this new decade of life – was it an omen. Good or bad, I was not sure – but change; definitely. However, is there really good or bad – or simply experiences that change us; we decide if, no not if, but how we grow; how we change. Do we let life beat us down or mold and expand us. All experiences, all situations, change us – do we learn. Or simply remain stuck.
We arrived at Punto Union as a light snow began to fall.
Pictures were taken and the guide asked us to continue on while he made a phone call.
“I’ll catch up.”
One other person and I began the descent to lower elevation as the snow began to fall harder.
Within just a few minutes, visibility was reduced to less than one hundred feet, and the trail we were following became blurred with the sparse vegetation at this altitude. We guessed at steps – continuing to lower elevation. It had been thirty minutes, perhaps, at this point since we split up from the guide and other hiker, and we had not heard a sound from them since – no approaching footsteps, no calls out to us.
We stopped as the snow continued to fall harder.
“Breathe” and “Stay Calm”, I repeated to myself – as the seconds ticked away. We were stopped on the mountain, and the snow was falling harder – without the guide – how could we progress? Continue taking steps and lose the trail?
Not five minutes later, out of the haze, bounded our guide.
“We need to hurry up – we’re late. We have to move quicker.”
The other hiker joined our party shortly thereafter. Together, all four of us continued on the trail – but at this time, with an increased pace.
As we continued down the mountain, the snow let up and visibility was returned to us. The views were breathtaking; the mountains surrounding us on all sounds seemed to cradle us; this was an area, I knew that not many humans would ever see. It felt like sacred ground; I felt privileged to be on this trail – and fortunate that I had decided to take the trip.
Before joining the party, I had been nervous about the length of the trail. I had never done a hike of this length before. I had completed twenty miles with a backpack outside of Los Angeles a few years earlier, but that was at low altitudes. This was over 12,000’ higher; how the altitude would affect me, I was not sure; would I be able to complete the hike.
The first day, I began to struggle only an hour into the hike. I was not sure how to keep my energy levels up and myself hydrated. I had decided not to eat any food or drink any water – with the intent of keeping my stomach from feeling upset; an issue, I had dealt with for years. However, about an hour into the hike – I was out of breath, exhausted and the trail only continued up.
“Here have a bite of this trail mix”, one of the hikers said; offering me a handful of chocolate, nuts and raisins. I took them and ate a piece of chocolate. Within a few seconds, I could feel a little bit of energy returning.
“Are you drinking water?”
“No – I don’t want to get a stomachache.”
“That’s no good. You have to drink water. Just take a small sip of it at a time. Basically, when you think about water – drink; when you think about food – eat.”
I took his suggestion and we all continued on the trail. I felt a bit embarrassed by stopping the group, but grateful that they did and provided this knowledge. I knew that it would benefit me not just that day, but in all of my tomorrows as well: I started to dream again once of my childhood fantasies – to be a mountain climber. With this knowledge, and the experience I was gaining by continuing on the trail, I was learning how to hike; how to one day be a mountain climber – if I decided to pursue that path, in life. Slowly, I was gaining wisdom.
As we progressed, I learned more: don’t eat raisins, don’t swallow much water – tiny sips, and only a small nibble of chocolate, leave time between water and food. As we walked, I was learning and growing stronger. Within a short time after stopping the group – I began the leading the group.
“Slow down, you’re going too fast”, the guide called out to me.
I did – realizing that my determination to succeed was not healthy to the group, overall. While, I felt energized – I needed to be aware of the other members. We were in this together. Just as one person had taken care of me, so to I needed to be aware of the group and take actions not for my benefit but for the benefit of all. I took a place near the front – allowing the guide or another hiker to set the group pace, as I found my own.
Towards the back of the group and I felt that I was constantly catching up and using too much energy, at the front of the group I moved too fast from determination – my natural place in the hike, I found was near the front – but letting another guide. That coupled with the snacks and water, and I continued the rest of that day’s hike without issue; actually feeling better at the end than when I began.
The second day would take us up the mountainside to base camp around 4700 meters; this would be my birthday. We celebrated that evening by going to the lake near our site and sharing a small piece of glacier ice that was floating in the water.
The next day, three of us, plus the guide – would complete the hike a day early.
The last day was difficult and many times we wanted to stop, but our guide kept us going – and moving quickly.
“How much farther”, asked one of the hikers.
“Oh – just around the next bend – its maybe one more kilometer”, replied the guide.
An hour later – “How much farther”, was repeated by the same hiker.
And again, “Oh – from here, we are close – its only a couple more kilometers and we are there.”
We started the hike around 5 A.M., at 3 P.M. – we completed it; all four of us.
The last couple hours had grown very difficult – one of the hikers had run out of water, and we were sharing what little we had left. The sun had come out, and the temperatures had warmed up to the mid-70s; leaving us sweating from the jackets and pants we were wearing at the start of the hike. But we continued, always being told:
“Just a little more; we’re almost there – we need to keep moving faster. We’re running late.”
During the van ride back to the town of Huarez, where we had stored our belongings – I asked one of the hikers, the one whom taught me about eating and drinking water:
“Have you seen that movie K2 – its about two people; one athletic, one a little nerdy that conquer that climb”, I said as I started smiling. I could see the idea starting to form in his head as well.
Small victories and new wisdom lead to bigger dreams; and increased vision.
After completing the hike, and learning so much – what was next? What was possible? Would K2 or Everest one day be the challenge?
Amazing is how it feels to me to take a step into the unknown towards a dream!!