Monday, 31 October 2011

So it's not begging?

Carpool last Friday was quite a sight! Ghouls, ghosts, fairies, princesses, rockstars and all manner of scary creatures lined the corridors. It didn't appear like there were any teachers present too, although Frankenstein was bizarrely as tall as one of the teachers in the school...

I was so convinced that I was in the wrong place, (surely, this had to be Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry) until I realized it's the Friday before Halloween!

Happy Halloween, to those who celebrate!

You see, I don't really celebrate Halloween because I don't really understand it.

I understand it's all fun and games for the kids - dressing up, seeing how much candy you can get, and just generally being out in the neighbourhood on a supposedly scary night.

But I think differently. I also think it is begging. For candy, and I'm not even a huge candy fan!. (I also see the New Orleans Mardi Gras frenzy as begging. For beads. But that's a different story!)

You'll have to forgive me as this is probably a cultural and religious thing, as I never celebrated Halloween until we lived in America. (We celebrated All Saints day - 1st November - in church as a day of solemn reflection for all saints - known and unknown. But the act of celebrating ghosts, ghouls, witches, wizards and scary creatures - no.)

In my first year in the US, I was swept along with excitement and went trick-or-treating with my kids. Knock on the door, smile politely, trick or treat, candy in the bag, off to the next home - right? But when I got back home and assessed my paltry stash (the neighbours were not very generous(!) and I gave up after a few homes as it was a cold, wet and windy evening!), I decided it wasn't worth it. Not now, not ever again. (Oh, and I nursed a cold for the rest of that week as well, because in a bid to show off my fancy costume, I did not cover up appropriately.)

So since then, I have enjoyed opting to be the one to stay at home (warm and cosy) with the candy waiting for the neighbourhood kids to drop by, while the rest of the family goes trick-or-treating.

Thankfully, I'm the only one in my household that thinks trick-or-treating is begging, as everyone else thinks it's a wonderful way to socialize with neighbours and get free candy as well!

Do you think it's begging? I'd be curious to know what you think!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Give me your eyes - Brandon Heath

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness month

Before the month comes to an end, I thought I should do a short post on Breast Cancer, as October is Breast Cancer awareness month.

Whilst we tend to focus on women when we talk about Breast Cancer (each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and of this number more than 40,000 will die), we also need to keep in mind that though rare, men are also susceptible to this illness. (Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer and of this number 450 will die)

Age, weight,  diet, family personal history are all contributing risk factors. However, with regular breast examinations and evaluations, these scary statistics can be prevented. Evaluation of breast masses is similar in both men and women, including mammography and the earlier one gets into the habit of checking, the better.

So, although October might be coming to an end, the fight to end Breast Cancer continues...daily, weekly, monthly and yearly through research, fundraisers, awareness programs, one-to-one grass-root sessions.

Visit to get more information and find out how you can help.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Aging Years in Days

Justin Timberlake has a new movie (In Time) coming out soon, in which people are able to stall time and the effects of aging. The clip I saw had 3 women (all looking the same age) being introduced as mother, daughter and grandchild.

Now that's obviously fiction, because we all know (despite what the beauty and health industry tell us about all the amazing creams, potions and procedures that can stall aging), that we're all going to age one day (some better than others!).

However, what if it all happens suddenly? Within days...? The clip I have below is a true story. Can you imagine this happening to you? (I got it from the Huffington post)

It kinda puts things into perspective doesn't it? The wrinkles, the facial warts, the crows feet, the patchy skin - these become inconsequential when you watch this young woman's story....

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Giving Thanks!

It's not the 4th Thursday in November
Neither is it the 2nd Monday in October
It's not the end of a successful Harvest season
And neither is it a church-designated 'Thanksgiving' day

There's really nothing special about this day
Except the fact that I want to give thanks! 
To God, my Father
For His love, protection and understanding

For watching over me and mine
For promises kept
For dreams that have been attained
And the ability to dream of many more yet to come!

So in case I don't say it often enough
I just wanted to say 'THANK YOU' Father, 
(I figured I'd better get my Thanks in
before the flood of gratitude at Thanksgiving!) 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Gift choices as the holidays approach

You'll probably need to squint to read the words - Give Back
A few years ago, I probably would have scoffed at this idea, but 2 things could possibly be responsible for my new way of thinking.
a) I am coming of age and now thinking like a 'responsible' adult
b)Too many years away from home and living abroad is seriously affecting the way I think.

Either way, I love it.

I'm talking about Christmas presents that give back, gifts that make a difference. (I know - that designer bag or the latest tech toy will make a difference(!) to your life, but stay with me on this one, please!)

As the holidays approach, the frenzy increases and people start shopping for gifts for loved ones.
Sometimes we get it right (a cool iPad that gets an instant Facebook update of 'coolest parents eva!!!' from a happy teenager) or we get it absolutely wrong (a sweater or cardigan that gets an over-effusive 'Thank You!!!' but never gets worn and ends up being donated to a charity shop, hoping some other child ends up loving it!)

The first time I received a gift that made a difference, it took me a while to understand the concept. I opened the envelope expectantly, saw the card and thought to myself - 'Now, how on earth is this a gift for me????'  But now I fully get it.

It was the gift of a goat for a poor farmer, somewhere in Kenya. By contributing towards buying the goat for the farmer, the farmer and his family will be able to farm, have milk and stay healthy and nourished - all from the simple amount my friend contributed.

Such gifts are priceless. In a world where a few have so much, and the rest are living in borderline poverty, it is nice if we can help one another - any which way.

I am even trying to pass that on to my kids, but that's taking a little bit more hard-selling than I can muster for now. But I will persevere, because I don't think it's a bad idea. It will help people and you end up with that feeling of 'Did I just do something amazingly awesome?!' Oh, Yes!!! (Do I see you reaching for your halo now?!)

So c'mon. Let's get creative with gift choices over this holiday season. Find a reputable charity and see where you can help.

Image courtesy

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Oooh, the possibilities

Brand new day
Vast potential
Boundless opportunities
Unlimited possibilities

Today is your day
What are you going to do today? 
How do you plan to spend the next 24 hours?
Go out and make it your best one yet!

Make today count.
(this is as much for me, as it is for anyone reading this out there!)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Seriously, isn't life too short?

I don't know about you, but there are lots of individuals with repressed anger on the planet.

You find them everywhere, in varying stages of self-expression.
Those who decide to open fire on innocent people just because of some inner anger with 'society'
Those who choose to start a fight with people in public, just because...
Those who tailgate and run you off the road, just because you cut in front of them, you were not going fast enough, you ....the reasons are endless

And then you have this other group - the ones I feel need the most help - those who choose the internet as their boxing ring. They pick up articles or blogposts and start putting up nasty rude comments, insulting the writer, fellow commenters and the general public. If I must have an argument with someone, surely I need to see who I am fighting with.

In recent weeks, I have come across blogs, news articles or Youtube videos where these people have turned up. Regardless of the topic in question, they somehow manage to turn it into a fight with their comments. At times, I wonder if they really expect to be taken seriously, or if they just think it's one big joke to wind other internet users up?! (For all I know, they might be responsible well-standing members of society who get a kick from this kind of secret behaviour!)

If I wasn't so annoyed with this distasteful act, I would actually see the humour in it!

A fellow blogger recently had one of such people on his blog. And it was quite a vicious attack. (Yes, the post in question might come across as quite upfront and direct, but it's his blog and he has the right to write in whatever voice he chooses - no? Or are comments meant to be controversial and accusatory?). Thankfully, the blogger rose above the bait and did not continue to engage the commenter in any form of banter.

Why are people so highly strung? Any ideas?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

No Motivation

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now, now, where are those pesky trainers, cos I need to be body-perfect for the holiday season!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Repost - Boredom...

What do you do when you are bored?
Look for something to eat in the cupboard?
Entertain yourself by reading the written word?
Or find a quiet corner and study the Word?

Some people say they'd rather do some cleaning
Get a headstart on the backlog of housekeeping
Personally, I quite like the idea of doing some shopping
I've heard Retail Therapy is divinely, extremely fulfilling!

But when I think of boredom and what I did at will
How I spent like one on a mission to kill.
The most distressing part is receiving the bill
Do help me - this addiction could be making me ill!

So next time that I have got some spare time
I'll think of something that doesn't cost me a dime
I'll sit here and think up some more words to rhyme
You've got to agree - saving money is always sublime!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Playground Bullies in the adult world - Part 1

Yet another teenager has just committed suicide. My sincere condolences go out to his family, as one cannot even begin to imagine the grief they must be going through.

Surely, this has to stop. There have been quite a spate of teen suicide incidents, where the victims felt they simply could not cope with the taunts, the badgering, the snide comments, the teasing.

Why do people choose to ridicule and torture others to the extent that the victims feel the only solution is to take their own lives? What gives another person the right to feel so superior to you, superior enough to  make your life a misery? A lot of teenagers are getting bullied, but did you know that adults are also victims of bullying/abuse? In so many subtle ways - not just the obvious Cyber-Bullying.

In relationships (marriages/friendships etc)
  • the manipulative spouse who knows exactly what to say/do/withhold to kill your self-confidence
  • the spiteful 'friend' who gets ahead by making disparaging remarks about you - with a smile?
  • the family member who knows your weaknesses and chooses to wield that as a weapon when necessary
  • the one who professes to love you, yet constantly, consistently belittles you
In the workplace
  • colleagues who judge you - not based on your competence or performance but based on their perceived understanding of your origins/background/ethnicity/gender/style/demeanour/accent
  • peers who exclude you because you are not 'in-their-group'
  • bosses who badger you, to cover up their own inadequacies
  • co-workers who withhold work-beneficial information to make you perform poorly

In the playground/social groups
  • the queen bee who feels everyone must bow to her
  • the 'followers' who feel that in order to belong, they must be nasty to others not in their group

One of the funniest books I've ever read was titled Playground Mafia.

It is a funny (but startlingly true) depiction of a newly divorced single mother trying to fit into a posh London private school with her 4 year old son, and how the 'established' PTA parents made the transition not-so-easy.

As a Globetrotting Executive, I thoroughly identified with the plot, having been the 'new-person' quite a few times. You know, new family to an area, trying to fit  in without being too obvious, unsure what the acceptable 'local etiquette' is. One false step, and your reputation is ruined for life - in that location, at least!

Bullies will be bullies. Such behaviour possibly stems from their own life experiences.

How can we help to stamp this out for good? How can one avoid being a victim? How can we stop this rising trend? be continued

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Education and learning...Oscar Wilde

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

Microsoft, Skype and Mac

Microsoft officially acquired Skype last week for $8.5 billion. Read Techcrunch article here

The article says 'over time, the service will also be integrated across an array of Microsoft products'.

What does that mean???

I'm just a bog-standard user, who recently defected from PC to Mac. I no longer own a Windows PC or anything Microsoft.  It was a tough decision but one I do not regret. Yet. Until today. Today, I am filled with trepidation at what the Microsoft / Skype marriage will mean to me, in terms of communicating with my extended family/friends network worldwide. Globetrotting makes sense when the technology works!

Why? Because something tells me that Skype will no longer work the same way on my Mac.

Before the sale, Skype was 'independent' and therefore committed to keeping all customers happy - platform regardless. Now that Microsoft will be writing the cheques, who's to say what R&D will focus on?

R&D Meeting at Microsoft
'Morning Microsoft team. May we all rise and recite the Microsoft pledge before we start the day? These are the top R & D issues for today. Skype on Windows, Skype on Mac. Which should we focus on first?'

Errmm - d'uh! I think we all know what the answer will be.

Am I getting my knickers in a twist over nothing? (Possibly, what's new!?). But can you blame me? Last week was pretty harrowing, what with all the recent problems on the Blackberry/RIM server and the lack of communication with the rest of the my world! Let's just say, I'm pretty raw and chafed right now.

I do hope they've got it all nicely worked out. They did retain Tony Bates, Skype CEO to head up this new business division. But as a temporary safeguard, I encourage all non-Microsoft users to go ahead and download any recent available updates for Skype. Who knows - this could be the last decent update one sees for a very long time!

On a final note, do you think Microsoft read my blog article and are doing this to spite me for my shameful act of defection? (After all there are 1.97 billion Internet users worldwide who could potentially read my blog!)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Keeping the faith...

Do you think keeping up with your faith is tougher today than in the past? 
Do you think the men of old had it easier?
Are there more distractions today that deter us from following the straight but narrow path?
What could these distractions be?


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Mr and Mrs Z (+ Mr K)?

I know. I know. This is probably out of character for this blog. But I really have to talk (rant?) about this, even though it is completely off topic.

What is it with Kanye West and Beyonce? I'll speak through pictures.

a) Taylor Swift gets an award. Kanye steps on the stage and creates a major nuisance of himself by announcing that Beyonce should have got the award.

b) Beyonce announces she's pregnant. Kanye leaps up and hugs JayZ (Beyonce's husband) like he (Kanye) is the proud papa.

c) Beyonce goes baby shopping with JayZ, her husband. Guess who tags along.....

I'm just saying....I am worried. Are you worried?
So glad I got that off my chest!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Oh, Jeremy Kyle!!!

Jeremy Kyle is a British television presenter, best known for his British daytime television chat show,The Jeremy Kyle Show. His American spin-off of the show premiered September 2011.
I do not like thee, Mr Kyle
The reason why, I know full well
You are condescending and oh-so-rude
And such a big bully to your guests!

You badger them and make them cry
Acting all sanctimonious and angel like
Aggressive, accusing, extremely judgemental
Like everything about you is squeaky clean

They come on your show expecting some support
They leave your show, worse than when they arrived
Tormenting them appears to give you joy
And the poor souls are too scared to answer you back

I thought I left you back in the UK
Relieved that I would never have to listen to your evil comments
Alas, I switched on my TV yesterday
Only to see you on the local Fox channel!

I do hope your ratings go down really fast
Because I do not like thee, Mr Kyle
We've got Maury and he does a pretty good job
Of keeping the Lie Detector / DNA companies afloat!

So, take your uppity accent and uptight behaviour
And go badger the British viewers like you always do
Cos this I know, and I know full well
I do not like thee, Mr Kyle!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Life skills - according to Simon Cowell

I recently watched an Oprah Masterclass episode, where Oprah had Simon Cowell as her guest.

If you're not a Simon Cowell fan, then I implore you to wait for my next exciting post.

If you are a fan or you just want to know how to be successful (according to Simon), then do read on....

Here's a brief resume for Simon
  • English TV Producer / Personality / Entrepreneur 
  • Known in the UK and US for his  TV shows - X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, American Idol. 
  • Probably more well-known for his blunt (but oftentimes true) criticism of contestants on his shows. 
  • Owns his own television production and music publishing house, Syco. 
  • He is worth roughly about $254 million, putting him at No. 11 on the UK Music millionaires and No. 398 on the British / Irish millionaires list. Click here for the full story from Bloomberg

These are the tips I picked up from him, during that interview, on being successful.

  1. Talk 10% of the time, listen 90% of the time
  2. Learn from those who know more than you
  3. Have fun doing whatever you are doing
  4. Don't be afraid to have an opinion
  5. Trust your instincts
  6. Learn as you go along

That's it? Really? Sounds easy enough. I'm off to start implementing them. ASAP. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


One of Steve Jobs latter projects was truly the 'apple' of his eye but sadly, he did not live to see it come to fruition. The announcement was made sometime in June this year and it was scheduled to be completed and move-in ready, in 2015. 

I'm talking about the iSpaceship - the proposed Apple new Headquarters campus to be built somewhere in Cupertino, CA. A curved-all-the-way-around building, this architectural masterpiece has a ring-like circular shape and is planned to be large enough to house 12,000(!) people. 

In his own words, “It’s a pretty amazing building…it’s a little like a spaceship landed.”. "The best office building in the world."

Here are some of the stats

  • 4 stories high
  • 12,000 employees
  • Underground parking and ground parking
  • A self-sufficient 'green' energy centre (only relying on the grid as a backup)
  • Fitness centre
  • Cafe to seat 3,000 at any one time
  • An auditorium
  • R & D facilities, amongst other things.

A big leap from the proverbial garage, if you ask me. After all, isn't that where all the big technology startup ideas originate? 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Columbus and quotes

Christopher Columbus - the Italian explorer -  arrived America in 1492 on the 12th October.  The USA usually celebrates this event with an official holiday on the 2nd Monday in October. (Check Wikipedia for more information)

I found a quote of his rather interesting and I thought I'd use it for today's post.

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions
one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. 

Simply put, keep your eyes on the goal !! 

This quote above makes sense. I reviewed some of his other quotes though and remain puzzled as to why they are notable.  A number of them sounded like he was just making simple observations, but the listeners in 1492 must have felt that those were profound statements and elevated the simple sentences to GQ status - Great-Quote status!.  

Now just in case, you are a long-time Christopher Columbus scholar and before you get unduly worked up over my apparent ignorance, do keep in mind that I am, but, a simple blogger who struggles most times to piece a 3 paragraph blogpost each day. (This explains my occasional reliance of famous quotes from famous people to fulfill my blogging commitment!). 

So in terms of wise words from wise/great/famous men - Seriously, What Do I Really Know?? 

I've listed a couple of quotes below hoping that if you do decipher a deeper meaning, you can explain to me?! (My personal comments are in the brackets)

After having dispatched a meal, I went ashore, and found no habitation save a single house, and that without an occupant; we had no doubt that the people had fled in terror at our approach, as the house was completely furnished. Christopher Columbus 
(He ate then went ashore and the homeowners ran away cos they were scared of the stranger they saw approaching???)

Tomorrow morning before we depart, I intend to land and see what can be found in the neighborhood. Christopher Columbus 
(Obviously, if you've come this far, surely you will want to see what is in the neighborhood???)

Am I missing something??
Quotes are courtesy

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Today is 09/10/11 (unless you're in a country like the USA that uses the MM/DD/YY date format!) 

L-R  Christopher Eccleston,  David Tennant,  Matt Smith

Dr Who lovers will understand the reasoning behind my image - I hope! 
Have a great Sunday! 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Man proposes - God disposes

I had great plans for today
A to-do list as long as my arm
Tasks overlapping each other
And not enough hours in the day

Did I do anything on my list?
It starts with 'c' and ends with 's' and rhymes with 'far stubbles'!

Did the earth stop spinning?
And those oh-so-important tasks?
They can wait one more day.

Today was truly a test of my favourite mantra
'This too shall pass'
And this I know for sure
'Man proposes, God disposes!'

Here's wishing you a much better Saturday than my Friday was!

Friday, 7 October 2011

She's not...

(This was supposed to have been posted yesterday, but I had to postpone it, due to the passing of one of the world's greatest technology visionaries.)

I try not to write about politics on this blog, because I really don't know enough about it.
Well....not enough to say anything of substance.
But I just couldn't resist sharing this piece of news.
Just in case you were interested........Sarah Palin is NOT running for President.

What's that noise I hear???? Cheering or Weeping?

Click here for full story

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs - R.I.P.

'How to live before you die' speech - Steve Jobs
@ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

    noun /ˈviZHəˌnerē/ 
    visionaries, plural
    1. A person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like
      adjective /ˈviZHəˌnerē/ 
      1. (esp. of a person) Thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom
        • - a visionary leader

    As a recent Apple convert (here's an earlier post about my defection), I was greatly saddened by the news of the passing of the former Apple CEO Steve Jobs last night, after an 8 year struggle with pancreatic cancer. 

    lot of inspirational words have been used to describe him and his attitude to his work - passion, energy, innovation, visionary, amazing, inspirational, imaginative, creative genius, belief-in-self, entrepreneur, talented, revolutionary.  

    In Steve Jobs, I saw a tech visionary and an astute entrepreneur, with a knack for just knowing what the next big tech thing would be.  He specialized in creating consumer technology gadgets that were both sexy to look at and extremely easy to use. Simply put, tech toys with beauty and brains. iMac, iPod, iPhone, Mac Book Air, iPad. They might not be cheap to own, but definitely guilty pleasures and well worth the money spent! 

    He was also a captivating public speaker and presenter who could engage and excite an audience into his visualizing his dreams and wanting to be a part of it. 

    A great man. 

    R.I.P. Steve Jobs. And thank you. You will be missed. 

    Wednesday, 5 October 2011

    Mum's not cross...

    Looks like I got my pants in a twist for nowt!
    Apparently, Martha is quite happy with her daughter's comments and sees them as funny. And to think I got all worked up yesterday over this (!)

    I do wonder how much of this is 'made-for-tv' or just a clever marketing strategy by the publisher?!
    (I'm almost tempted to buy the book now.... almost .... but not quite!)

    I really need to get a life .... getting this involved in other people's business!
    Mschew! (That's me sucking my teeth in disgust to express my frustration - try it!)
    Click here to listen to the mschew sound.

    Tuesday, 4 October 2011

    Apology to Martha Stewart

    So I heard on the radio today that Martha Stewart's daughter, Alexis, wrote a 'tell-all' book recently and revealed quite a few personal, intimate facts about her famous mother.

    "Mother always peed with the door open. I remember saying, 'You know, now I have friends over! You can't do that anymore! It's gotta stop! My friends' parents don't do it! Give me a break here! I don't feel like being embarrassed! It's exhausting! I'm a kid! Stop!'" Alexis, 46, says in the book, according to ABC News.

    "There was never anything to eat at my house. Other people had food. I had no food . . . There were ingredients but no prepared food of any kind."

    "My mother has a sign on all of her doors to take your shoes off," Alexis writes. "For God's sake! My mother's dogs p--s and s--t on her rugs and she's telling people to take their shoes off?"

    Apart from the fact that it felt like T.M.I. (who really cares if Martha leaves the door open or not?!),  and also very spiteful (like a petulant child who is in competition with her mother!), I have the sneaky feeling that the book probably did not have much of a leg to stand on, if it was based solely on the author.  That was probably the justification for the sharing of these intimate tit-bits of family life with Famous Kitchen Goddess Mama - to sell the book. (Another NY Times best-seller on its way, I'm sure!)

    I'm not really a huge Martha Stewart fan - her perfection wears me out - but I do have issues with those who use access to celebrities as a stepping stone to their own celebrity status. And sadly, in today's world, this is happening all the time! 

    I also have issues with 'celebrity' off-spring who turn around and criticize their 'celebrity' parents, clearly forgetting that it was the parent's hard work and determination (yes, it is hard work being a celebrity!) that got them to where they are today!  (Ashley Judd, Bristol Palin do pay attention!)

    Dear Martha, if you ever read this, do accept my apologies for Alexis's disrespectful comments about you in her book! (Although I hear you are not really angry about it...Really...?)

    Maybe I am a bit too old-school, a bit too rigid, a bit too set in my ways. But I just think some 'parental respect' boundaries have been crossed. 

    Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands to keep listening to these silly stories!

    Monday, 3 October 2011

    More on blessings from Charles Dickens...

    Reflect upon your present blessings, 
    Of which every man has plenty; 

    Not on your past misfortunes, 
    Of which all men have some.

    Charles Dickens

    Sunday, 2 October 2011

    Counting blessings...

    Every positive thing in your life represents a single unique blessing. 
    Every negative thing in your life has the opportunity to become a double blessing. 
    For when you turn a negative into a positive, you gain twice. 
    You are no longer burdened with the negative situation, and in addition to that you are strengthened by a new positive force.
    Ralph Marston


    Saturday, 1 October 2011

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