Tag Archives: Life

Valentine’s Day Trivia

* 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.

* 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion next to Christmas.

* About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.

* There are 119 single men (i.e., never married, widowed or divorced) who are in their 20s for every 100 single women of the same ages.

* There are 34 single men (i.e., never married, widowed or divorced) age 65 or older for every 100 single women of the same ages.

* Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, an "Improvement in Telegraphy", on Valentine’s Day, 1876.

* 2.2 million marriages take place in the United States annually. That breaks down to more than 6,000 a day.

* California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the vast number sold on Valentine’s Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America. Approximately 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day time period.

* While 75% of chocolate purchases are made by women all year long, during the days and minutes before Valentine’s Day, 75% of the chocolate purchases are made by men. Over $1billion of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day.

* Cupid, another symbol of Valentines Day, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards holding a bow and arrows because he is believed to use magical arrows to inspire feelings of love.

* February 14th was formerly thought to be the first day of bird’s mating for the season. This sparked the custom of sending valentines to each other.

* In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

From Ruth White’s blog

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How much humiliation are you prepared to take?

I’m not a fan of TV in general. These last ten years we didn’t have cable, nor did we have an antenna, so the only use of the TV we had was to watch movies. When we switched telephone provider, however, they were offering a package that included cable so we decided to give it a try.

I’ve gotten out of the habit of sitting in front of the tube to watch a program, although I’ve tried a sample and I must say I’m pretty appalled that in TV humiliation is the new black. From American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, who put themselves on the line only to be told, in compassionless words, that they stink, to Oprah and Oprah-like reveal-all, to improvement shows such as W Network’s Save us from our House and Trial by Jury, there is a slurry of shows that has humiliation as its central theme.

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Root canal and music

About ten years ago, every time I’d go to the dentist, I’d end up fainting or close to it. The fear and stress built over the years and it came to a point where I just couldn’t stand it: even the thought of going made me break into sweat. The problem was, I needed a lot of dental work, and still do, probably due to the fact that I could not drink milk when I was a baby.

Then I discovered a book that pretty much changed my dental life: The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit.

The Mozart Effect was one of the first widely read books about Music Therapy, a form of “treatment” with great claims: using music can cure cancers or help kids to learn better, among other things. While I can’t attest to any of those claims, the American Music Therapy Association was founded in 1998, schools have grown across the States and Europe (where it originally started) to form music therapists, and music therapy is used in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, even with psychiatric patients.

What changed my life are the very short few paragraphs in The Mozart Effect about using music to counteract pain, especially pain from a surgical operation or dental work.

Part of the stress in a procedure is the noise. Think of nails screeching on a blackboard. The sound of the drill (the big knubbly one, that makes your entire body shake, or the high-pitched one, that brings a scent of burnt enamel with it) in your head. The surgeon’s words, the suction sounds, the… (shudder). You get my drift.

The principle of music therapy as applied to surgical and dental procedures is to counteract this noise by filling your head with music instead of harmful noises. The theory is that your head is a resonance box and that the bones of your head also conduct noise, especially the bones in your ears. Music competes with other noises and acts as a form of white noise.

There are a couple of requirements in listening to music for that purpose: the music should be without words or with unrecognizable words, and preferably classical or special music therapy music (think spa music). The first is because words hold emotional connotations and what you want to do in part is remove that emotional field. A specific song might evoke sadness, wistfulness, or specific memories which would interfere with the white noise effect or intensify your stress. The second is because you need music that has a lot of vibrato, such as cords, that will resonate in the bones of your head. I found Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Gregorian Chant, or meditation music ideal for that.

Does it work? You bet. Everyone who’s used it that I know now swears by it. My dentist is always happy when I plug myself in. The latest specialist I went to for a root canal (upper front tooth) was quite amenable to me listening to my own music. It’s become more and more acceptable, and last year I used my music during a surgical procedure with the surgeon’s encouragement.

There were several immediate benefits for me when I began to use music at the dentist. First, I can start listening to my music as soon as I leave the house, and find a zone of calm that helps with the overall stress. Second, I feel less during the procedure, in part because I can focus on something else but also because I do hear less of the noise. And third, the pain after everything thaws out is minimal. Gone are the days where I needed drugs for several days to counteract the pain. Because I’m much more relaxed, I can absorb whatever pain a lot more easily. Overall, that means a much shorter recovery and healing time.

And you know what? It sure beats the Muzak-type drivel I would have to listen to in the dentist’s chair. So in this case, it’s no pain, and all gain. I’ll take that any day, even if it’s all in my head (well, duh).

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Happy New Year!

For all those people who are reading this blog, I’d like to thank you first for dropping by occasionally or often, as would be the case. I wish every one of you a wonderful 2008, full of joy, discoveries, and adventures. If life doesn’t feel like it’s taking you on a ride, you’re not living. You’re existing.

It’s been a spotty 2007 for me, blogging-wise. I’ve had an incredibly hard time trying to figure out why gigabytes were leaching out of my server, most of it coming from my blog. I eventually figured out it was a combination of the theme I was using, the number of categories I had, and the size of the pictures in my posts. I can now understand why a lot of people use a blog service such as wordpress.com to blog. Although I have more flexibility with having my blog on my own server, it can be a pain to update the software and it can use up a lot of resources.

Nevertheless, I plan to continue on with this blog. I’ll be picking up the Techno-guide and talk about how you can improve your experience with your computer or your internet use. I’ll continue to find weird and/or wonderful things that, if I inserted them in my books, no one would believe. And I’ll also continue to talk about whatever takes my fancy.

So, hop on for the year, and we’ll see where it leads us.

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Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women

While surfing for something completely unrelated to this post, I found this nifty webzine (it probably exists also on paper):Popgadget.

The zine, which is more blog-like than zine-like, touts itself as a technology magazine for women:

Technology magazines ignore women and women’s magazines ignore technology. Popgadget is a lifestyle magazine that embraces technology as a regular and essential part of women’s lives. We cover topics traditionally seen in women’s magazines, such as health and fitness, beauty and fashion, home, family, and entertainment, but with a unique focus on the products and people that bring exciting innovations to those aspects of our lives. But if you’re looking for a bikini-clad model straddling a Power Mac G5, you won’t see it here.

Yay! Gotta love it, even though some of those technological finds can be silly, like the purse with a flexible solar panel that can, it avers, recharge your cell phone. I really needed one of those, especially at $383US.

But there are also great posts such as how technology is “sold” differently to men and women, or this Holiday Gift Guide for Technophobes. I want one of those microwavable teddy bears.

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