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Monday, May 31, 2010

Egos amount into...

People who struggle in life are individuals that allow their egos to take over their existence. In a reading that I recently came across, this quote sticks out to me and explains a great deal of why people who create big egos for themselves, struggle with the basic fundamental of life: living. In a short novel by Stuart Wilde, he mentions, "Strugglers usually have big egos because they allow their egos/personalities to talk them into a greater opinion of themselves than they can sustain".

Someone who does not know his/her place in the world finds it difficult to live. By creating an ego that is superior to others, it makes him/her feel more welcome in society. Their ego has to be exaggerated because they don't believe or see the worth in what they are. They exaggerate their life in a manner that they can remain hopeful for some of their ego to rub off.

An ego is described as an inflated feeling of pride in one's superiority to others. The reason I bring up this issue is because throughout life, I realize that no matter where you want to go or do, you have to deal with people and for most, their egos. In my opinion, this three letter word is perfectly named. E-G-O. An ego is an easy go away from one's personality.

Growing up from a young age, I have encountered numerous people in my life and have gotten a grasp for what happiness is and I see the people who possess it. Throughout my life, my father preached to me the importance of growing up to be just like him and play college baseball. Why? Because it was something he enjoyed to do. As a father of three and a divorcee of my mother, his only claim to fame in life is his college baseball career for a Division 1 university. How impressive is that? Well, it doesn't sound like much and it really isn't much. He is exaggerating his one significant life instance to make himself feel worthy. My ex-best friend has also gone through a bit of an ego issue as well. After receiving acceptance letters from every college he applied to, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, UPenn, etc., he engulfed my bombarded eyes with endless amounts of "Congratulations on your acceptance into..." papers. He walks around as a billboard showing off proudly where he is going. He walks around thinking he can do whatever he can, whatever he wants because of who he is, an incoming student at an Ivy League school. I am happy for him, but at the same time, when someone asks you to continuously compliment them on their achievement and embrace it with a new light each time you hear it mentioned...there's just no tolerance left in the tank for that sort of thing.

Someone who had it all figured out was my recent sister. She understood that in order to enjoy life and squeeze the most out of it, that the most important thing to do was to discover your inner self. By discovering your inner self and then taking up activities to find out who you are and what your place is on the world, a life struggler is eliminated. My sister was comfortable with her role in the world and her own being. She had a liver disease and was always marked as a 'liability' and 'disabled' child from birth, she never allowed that to affect the way she felt about life. She was always happy because she was able to block out anything pertaining to egos and completely forget about them. She found her inner self and what made her feel good. She didn't care about impressing others or holding onto something that enhances her life, even till her recent passing away. What is remembered of her is her ability to keep a smile at all times and spread her happiness around the world.

So I guess you come to ask why I would write about egos. Well, I just wanted to touch on the fact that by getting caught up in your ego and how others perceive you, you are just wasting away precious life moments away. Egos may impress others, but at the end of the day, if that's all you have to fall back on, then you aren't doing too hot. Concern yourself with doing things you enjoy, surrounding yourself with people you love and laugh with, and allowing yourself to do what you need to do in every circumstance. All I guess I really wanted to say is that egos amount into NOTHING. They are NO GOOD. If anything, it makes others see you as an individual struggling with life and your self-worth. Enjoy every day like it's your last and forget about egos and what you have done in life, whether it is go on a bike ride, go on a swim, or go play college baseball. Just enjoy the moment and find happiness. The people who can do this, will succeed in life, just as my sister did. -CJ B

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Picture Gallery!

For those of you who enjoy aesthetics, I've just added a picture gallery to that contains some of my favorites of the pictures I have taken while traveling. It's a little slow adding the pictures so there will be more over time. The link can be found right under the survey. Enjoy!


Friday, May 28, 2010

On Terrible Driving

Yesterday statistics were released indictating which states had the best and worst drivers. According to this study, my good old home state of New Jersey is ranked number 2, right behind New York, for worst drivers. This is far from surprising.

In my short driving tenure, I have seen some of the stupidest things while driving. A few weeks ago a woman tailgated me on the Parkway while putting her make up on and talking on a cell phone. She hit the rumble strips, dropped her make-up, and finally realized how idiotic she was being. She backed away a bit after that.

I have also seen two instances of people running red lights while a cop was right there. The first time, I was approaching a yellow light, and it was far away so I slowed down. Nevertheless, the man in the lane next to me sped up and went through the light that had been red for several seconds. A cop was sitting at the intersection and immediately pulled the man over.

The car involved in the second incident was luckier on several grounds. First, (s)he pulled into the intersection even though the light had been red for a long time, so (s)he was incredibly lucky that (s)he did not get into an accident. Second, there was once again a cop sitting at the inersection, and for whatever reason the cop let the person go. My guess is that the cop did this so the driver would feel like a complete jerk, and (s)he was probably kicking him/herself for the rest of the day over it. (Sorry for the gender neutral sentences - I didn't see the driver and do not want to be accused of throwing one gender under the bus! No pun intended)

Now with all these poor drivers (especially in NJ, go figure), there is bound to be road rage. This is my time for a public service announcement. Control your driving. In a defensive driver course I painstakingly sat through for 6 or 7 or 349 hours or so (time ceased to exist after 2 hours), the instructor told us to let terrible drivers have their accidents somewhere else. You can respond to tailgating or unneccessary behavior with anger and retalliation, but it could cause some serious problems. Keep your cool, and let that person will be speeding away from you. You will most likely never see them again. The same applies for other situations. In the shotr run someone may anger you, but you have to let that person get away a cause havok somewhere else.

Also, do not text and drive. (I'll stop my warnings soon do not worry - but Oprah wants us to spread this message. No I do not watch it I've just heard). There's no need and it's incredibly dangerous. Check out this website for an interactive texting and driving game!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Birds

The other day I let my friend borrow my tent, and when I got it back it was soaking wet from the morning dew (not their fault, nature's). Following standard protocol, I immediately set up the tent to let it dry out and air out. I put the tent in a sunny patch in my backyard, and I put the rain cover out on my pool deck. I tied the ends of the rain cover to four chairs to spread it out to allow it to dry the quickest.

When I returned several hours later, there was bird poop on the tarp, which lead me to believe that the birds did it on purpose, because there were quite a few "splotches." Not only did I have to wash the tarp off and re-dry it, but I began to ponder how skilled birds are in, well, "aiming."

At track practice one day in seventh grade, and eighth grade girl was running around the field when a bird got her on the head. Understandably, she screamed and ran inside for the next 45 minutes washing her hair over and over and over again. As bad as it had been, I was really impressed by the birds skills. Definitely army sniper material.

I forgot about this event until a month and a half ago. I was running, and I looked down at my shirt. I had been hit. Awesome. I did not even notice; the bird had been stealth. Now that I was the victim, it did not seem so cool, but I thought about this incredible accuracy again. The birds have to recognize the difference in their velocities and the velocity of the target. Both the girl and I had been running when it happened, a difficult task indeed. I think the birds know quite a bit about two dimensional and relative motion.

Either way, this is what is on my mind right now, as random as it seems. I have been told that it is good luck for this to happen. To me, it just means a long time in the shower.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Author!

I also just want to mention that there will now be two blog authors for Our posts will either end in "-MM" or "-CJB" to distinguish us. This brings a great new perspective to Shabangity!


On Cooking

So today I went to heat up some leftover baked beans from our "bar-b-que" dinner the other night, and I learned that after about 33 seconds of cooking in the microwave baked beans explode. It was really cool, but I had to stop before my meal was obliterated (Besides, the beans were more than hot at this point, anyway). After burning the roof of my mouth, I realized that I should probably share my thoughts on cooking mishaps (which of course I did not realize I had such thoughts until right then).

Naturally, today's mishap comes after a long succession of mishaps. When I was about 7 or 8, I received a "Cooking with Chemistry" kit that was supposed to teach me science through cooking. I failed miserably. Being self-righteous and having the attitude that I "didn't need no stinkin' directions," I neglected to read that you must take the homemade gelatin out of the mold before sticking it into the microwave. After about 45 seconds the mold imploded, smoked and bubbled for a brief moment, and then collapsed into a sticky and cruddy mess on the glass plate in the microwave. Half out of it from the noxious fumes, I ran to my mom to get her to clean it up. I should have known better; I scraped every last bit of that mess out while she watched.

More recently, I decided that it would be a novel idea to butter my toast before putting it into the toaster, as we keep our butter in the refrigerator. Doing so cools the butter to the most perfect, irritatingly un-spreadable temperature. My idea would solve that and make a nice type of "butter bread." My sister, who is four years younger than me, warned me against doing so since she said the toaster would catch on fire. Naturally, since I had read Ayn Rand and taken Calculus, I was right, so I went ahead with my idea.

The butter melted, dripped onto the heating element, and immediately caught fire.

Luckily my sister saw this happen and unplugged the toaster before further damage occurred, as I was in the other room reading, being oh-so-confident in my plan that I did not even need to be there. The toaster was trashed, and we had to buy a new one.

Now, where is the learning in all this? The deeper meaning? I think, toasters and microwaves aside, that cooking mishaps, when they do not hurt anyone, can be great ways to experiment and learn. They reveal that hey, we are not perfect - we make laughable mistakes. My mom still makes fun of me for the incident, and I wrote about it in a college essay (I got into that college).

So, experiment! Have fun (safely of course - don't want lawsuits)! Here's a video of some REALLY cool microwave tricks! DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT try them please! Just watch ;)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Sleeping

For the past few nights, I have been awakened at exactly 11:32 by my little white cat. During the daytime she is pleasant and, well, just downright adorable. Nevertheless, at this specific time each night for the past week or so, some sort of chronological demon overtakes her, belting out a low and mournful noise from the cat's small body. I would call it a meow, but it's not. Definitely not. Whatever this noise is, it is incredibly loud and prevents me from falling asleep. This usually ends when I wake up and chase her down the hallway shouting "shut-up," and I pray that I fall into a deep sleep before she begins again.

My inability to fall asleep lead me to think about sleep in general and how little we seem to value this precious aspect of our lives. I am incredibly anal about getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and it irritates me if I cannot do so. I am an avid runner, and my coach has long stressed getting in bed by 10PM two nights before a race. I do not know why sleeping two nights before a race affects you more than the sleep the night before (granted you do not go to bed at 2 in the morning and get up at, say, 6 in the morning the day of the race), but I know mentally you are guaranteeing good sleep somewhere in the process (instead of freaking out the night before from nerves/overstudying if its a test). Time after time my coach's wisdom have proven to be accurate; my best races have been when I went to bed before 10PM two nights before a race, and this holds true even if I went to bed around 11:30 the next night (that's late for me).

I read not too long ago that the average amount of sleep per night that an American gets is about 5 hours. What gets me is not the lack of sleep but the fact that most of us never experience life fully awake. Just imagine the potential people are missing out on! If we drift through in a sleep-deprived state there is no way that we are experiencing and appreciating life to the fullest. This is not to mention the health risks involved (a recent study linked having an average of 6 hours of sleep or less per night shortened life spans) or other dangers such as falling asleep at the wheel of a car (Never want to encounter that person on the road).

Of course, this lack of sleep is not always in our control. When I was in Hawaii a number of years ago, a man explained to us that he held down two jobs, one during the day and one during the night, and he averaged 4-5 hours of sleep per night, which he claimed was fine for him. He got off from work one day each week. As a victim of his circumstance, which includes the fact that islands like Hawaii have increased prices for everyday items that need to be imported, increasing the cost of living, this man was losing precious sleep.

So, I ask that readers look more into this topic and see how they could live happier and fuller lives with more sleep. This website I found provides great information on sleep in general and diagnosing if you have a sleeping problem.

As my coach has told me several times now, nothing good happens after midnight, as people get bored (and boring) and tired exponentially after this benchmark. Remember this next time you pop Avatar into the DVD player at 1 in the morning.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Welcome to Shabangity!

Hey all (However long it takes people to find this blog)! I have established this blog to be a place to discuss issues, philosophies, and new findings, whether it is music, ideas, or technology. I have many, many interests, and I hope that you can find your niche at this site. I am not going to clutter this blog with play-by-play snapshots of my life, but I will use my experiences to build upon ideas. I want to give a new spin to ideas by bringing in connections that may not have been originally thought of. I desire to provide meditations that will help you all as viewers better understand your worlds. Stay tuned for more to come!