Friday, May 16, 2014

Have You Ever? The Games People Play because They Can

by M. J. Joachim


Have you ever turned on your computer, performed an Internet search and wondered who’s tracking or staring back at you?

Have you ever held your cell phone a little further from your ear or put it on speaker, because it might cause health problems?

Have you ever watched your smart t.v. and wondered if it monitors your viewing habits?

Have you ever taken prescription drugs to treat symptoms, without worrying about the side effects?

Have you ever donated to cancer research, believing your donation could be the final amount that would actually find the cure?

Have you ever eaten fast food and believed there were any health benefits in it at all?

Have you ever scratched that bug bite on your arm, looked up similar pictures on the web, and decided you were bitten by a rare bug that could wreak havoc on your health, for months and possibly even years to come?

Have you ever visited medical web sites to query your “symptoms” and told your doctor what you think might be wrong with you, so he could follow your lead, instead of researching his own theories?

Have you ever become enraged or extremely concerned by a web posting being spread around, only to find out it was a hoax?

Have you ever been afraid to keep moving forward, because you’re inundated with so much information that stops you dead to rights in your tracks?

Have you ever eaten a fast food meal without thinking about the extra, useless pounds of fat, you were adding to your waistline?

Have you ever felt like something must be done about everything, because there’s so much wrong with everything else?

Have you ever asked about taking medicine, because you heard it had some possible miracle solutions you might need?

Have you ever muted a medicine commercial, because once you actually listened to all the possible adverse side-effects, you knew you’d be better off drinking a bottle of poison instead?

Have you ever multi-tasked on two or more Internet connected devices simultaneously, because it was easier to get everything done that way?

Have you ever searched the web for basic information that you probably already know, if you’d just take the time to think about it for a second?

Have you ever saved files, scanned for viruses and problems, updated software, downloaded apps, liked, commented or shared a post or status, and wished there was an easier way to stay informed and be in-tuned with society?

If you have answered yes to more than a few of these questions, you are socially & technologically up to date. I think I’ll go to a local park and sit on a swing for a while right now.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Effectively Human today. 

Now turn off the screen, box, pad or whatever it is and find out what the weather is really like outside, without pressing the app button that will readily tell you, before you even take time to look out the window.

M. J. 

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Marlon Felippe, Impact of water in a water surface, GNU Free Documentation License

It’s about us, and some of us might just be missing the boat on a few things, while others are swimming in some pretty deep waters. There are times to swim with sharks. There are also times to wade in the shallow end or float on top of the water.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

M. J. Unplugged…about Feelings, Current Events, Politics, Global Warming etc. etc. etc.

by M. J. Joachim

Emotions and feelings make it difficult to communicate sometimes. We all have them, buried deep within the confines of politically correct aspirations. Few people make a concerted effort to offend others. Yet, we do, and there’s not a whole lot we can do to avoid it. 

I’m not a huge fan of sugar-coating things. I pretty much tell it like it is, and when it comes to being politically correct, well, even if I work really hard at it, I doubt I could pull it off very well. Yup, not a big game player either, and not one to stroke a bunch of over-inflated egos, even if it might help pave the path to where I’m going. 

Brass tacks, telling it like it is - this is much more my style. Still, there is no room for the bull in the china shop, and broken china turns into quite a big mess in a hurry. 

I’m not sure where the rest of this post is going, so I’ll just keep typing until I feel it has nowhere else to go. 

The sad thing is when emotions get the better of us, and feelings control our world, often influencing our decisions to the point of losing boundaries, or neglecting our responsibility to be educated when we make them. Looking at the bigger picture, taking as much into account as possible, considering the repercussions of our choices not only for ourselves, but for those who might be affected in the ripple effect that always happens. 

We are not an island, and no one carries the world on their shoulders alone. That’s why drama turns me off so bad. It’s not about taking sides and having compassion, as much as it is about being reasonable and realizing that we’re all in this together. We all have so much to offer, and we all need each other and depend on each other to keep moving forward in this life. 

No one person carries the torch or lights the olympic flame. It takes a group effort, and that group effort is symbolic of the human race as a whole. It takes all of us to keep moving forward in a positive direction, so for anyone to assume or try to take control is a wasted battle for those taking sides and playing to win or lose on one of them.

The battle lines have been drawn for so many things. Look at Ukraine and Russia. Look at oppressed women and girls who get kidnapped for going to school. Look at WWII and the holocaust, or POW camps throughout history. Look at parents dominating, as opposed to raising their children. Look at rapists, terrorists and those guilty of treason (whether they’ve been caught for it or not). Look at kids disrespecting authority to the point of bringing harm on themselves, without even realizing that’s what they’re doing. Look at global warming - or is it just the cycle of the earth doing what the cycle of the earth does? Who really believes they can control the ebbs and flows of ocean tides or temperatures in summer and winter? Who really believes they can prevent droughts by making it rain, or create an ideal climate where blizzards don’t happen and extreme heat in summer is a faux pas?

I listen to all the arguments in favor and against things and shake my head sometimes, because all I hear is a battle for control based on fear. Fear of what, I wonder? That the world will end, or the Internet will crash? That a massive pandemic of some viral illness will wipe out half the people on the planet, all because they didn’t sign up for Obamacare or some other ascribed to socialized medical plan? 

I don’t get scared very easily anymore? Some of the things that scared me most in recent years are that my kids might have been abducted, because too many pedophiles had rights, and were being released on our streets. The government also scares me, because some of those officials sure know how to campaign, but when it comes to being honest and above reproach, too many of them have proven to be downright nightmares, especially when they’re secrets start getting exposed, and you know we never hear the full story on those. I’m also scared of privacy invasion. When a computer is all you need for spies to enter your home and track your every move, it’s a little unnerving. When a cell phone can be tracked and the government can spy on all your communication, to make sure you’re not a threat to society, it’s just flat out wrong. 

I’m not saying we should give up proper security measures, but shouldn’t we make educated decisions on how and when to implement them? Shouldn’t we allow average, law-abiding citizens to live their lives in peace, without monitoring their ever action, tracking every time they go to the doctor, capturing their every thought - innocent or not? Shouldn’t we make a list of pros, cons and everything else, before writing a blank check to minimize our freedom and/or guilt? It’s not exactly pressing the easy button, I know, but it sure sounds a whole lot smarter than throwing out the baby with the bath water, if you ask me.

Thanks for bearing with me as I share a whole lot of things that have been randomly filtering through my mind. They’re public knowledge now, and you never know, I might be deemed a threat by some for voicing them. Then again, I might have a whole bunch of people nodding their heads and saying, “You go girl!” too. Ah life, and then we get analyzed and judged by the masses.

M. J. 

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: U. S. Air Force, Lightening over Las Cruces, New Mexico, Public Domain

Monday, May 12, 2014

Letters to Self: Anger Management

Letters to Self is a Self-help series written by M. J. Joachim, designed to encourage and promote healing and self-awareness for those who read it.



Dear Self, 


Wow, do you ever get angry sometimes. And rightly so on many occasions. Please remember, it’s what you do with that anger, how you channel and release it that matters most. There are healthy ways to deal with anger, and not so healthy ways to deal with anger. The choice is yours, and only you can train yourself to manage your anger well.

Expressing yourself takes a certain finesse at times. It’s not always advisable to spew your emotions on the world. Releasing your emotions is important, but not if you do it in an unhealthy way that only makes you kick yourself. You know when you’ve crossed those lines. You know when you lose control and unleash way more than anyone deserves of your wrath.

Take heed. All is not lost. You can right the wrongs from unwarranted angry attacks on your fellow people, whoever they may be. You can also work to improve this difficult part of your personality, getting better as each day passes by. 

I believe in you, and you’ll be so much happier if people actually listen to the points you make when you are upset, rather than tune you out as a noisy, out-of-control maniac, who doesn’t deserve the time of day.

Love, 

Self

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit:  Flanker, Angry Wasp, Public Domain

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Delicious Recipes: Spicy Fried Chicken Wings

by M. J. Joachim


Gluten free, fairly easy, very tasty, great as an appetizer or main dish


Ingredient List
Marinade2 - 3 dozen chicken wings
1 bottle of your favorite spicy wing sauce

Coating
2 - 3 Cups gluten free baking mix
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon Ancho Chile powder
1 Tablespoon regular chile powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Large fry pan with enough very hot oil to coat wings.

Clean and prepare chicken wings for marinading. Pour wing sauce in large bowl, place wings in sauce, cover and marinade for 2 - 3 hours.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large plastic, zipper bag. When wings are finished marinading, place all of them in bag, making sure to swipe off extra sauce as necessary. Zip bag and toss wings until they are all completely coated.

Heat oil and brown wings. Place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove to serving dish, so they don’t sit in excess oil in pan.

I’ve found using gluten free baking mix and flour for frying is a much better alternative to using plain old flour, something I never would have discovered, had I not become gluten intolerant. There’s something about the different grains used that make the coating turn out crispier. I’m hooked, and whether you’re gluten intolerant or not, I strongly recommend using gluten free flour and baking mix for all your coated frying needs.

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on Effectively Human today. I hope you enjoy this recipe and look forward to sharing many more delicious recipes with you in the future.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Delicious Recipes: Mom’s Adobo Chicken (from the Philippines)

by M. J. Joachim

Gluten free if needed, easy and quick to make, meat dish

This recipe was one of my favorites growing up. You could smell it half-way around the block, whenever Mom made adobo chicken. Served with rice, fresh veggies and salad, dinner was always a hit when Mom made her delicious adobo chicken.



Ingredient List
1 Frying chicken cut into pieces (I used a package of precut thighs)
1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 cup garlic vinegar (I infused rice vinegar with garlic for a few hours, since I couldn’t find garlic vinegar)
Flour to coat chicken

Cooking Steps
Wash and cut chicken
Flour each piece of chicken
Mix ingredients in baking dish
Put chicken in dish and turn it over
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, turning once, for approximately 45 minutes

Check to see if it is necessary to add a little water (or chicken broth) to pan during baking, to keep it from getting too dark while the chicken cooks thoroughly.

I used gluten free flour to coat my chicken. It worked just fine.

So glad you stopped in to visit and dine with me today. Sure hope to see you again real soon.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 5, 2014

Letters to Self: Sleep Deprivation Doesn’t Make You Super Human

Letters to Self is a Self-help series written by M. J. Joachim, designed to encourage and promote healing and self-awareness for those who read it.

Dear Self, 

Sleep escapes you as your mind and heart continue to race with new ideas, ways to make it better, things to accomplish, dreams to pursue…and then life. Oh yea, you still have to live your life in the midst of all this. You still have to function and perform your daily routine, which includes taking care yourself and others.

Take a deep breath. It will all be okay. You can only do what you can do, and the rest will fall into place. The world will not quit spinning, just so you can catch up and get your bearings. It will not slow down, allowing you to be super human. There are enough egos in this world, that super humans would really mess things up in a big way, so take a chill pill, and quit riding yourself for not being able to do it all.

If you must, write a list (or several) to keep track of all these things you believe might make a difference. Or, go take a walk, feel the gentle breeze, listen to nature calling your name, and see what remains so vitally important when you’re done. Chances are the other stuff was just cluttering up your mind, heart and soul, and you didn’t need to worry about it anyway. Life has a way of side-tracking us that way, inevitably making it impossible to get anything done at all, let alone doing anything well.

Dreams matter, but so does sanity, and both will fall by the wayside if you don’t get enough sleep.

Love,

Self

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit:  Mikael Haagstrom, CCO-1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Delicious Recipes: Vegetable Fried Rice Noodles

by M. J. Joachim

Gluten free, easy and quick to make, perfect as a meal or for a side dish

Ingredient List
1 package vermicelli rice noodles
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
3 - 4 green onions finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 can bamboo shoots (drained)
Several cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
Juice of a fresh lime
Soy Sauce to taste
Oil for frying

Cooking Steps
Soak rice noodles in hot water for 1 minute. Cut in half and continue soaking until ready to stir fry.

Coat bottom of large fry pan or wok with oil (a couple tablespoons). Heat oil on med high - high. Toss all veggies in pan and fry until lightly cooked. Add rice noodles and content to stir fry. Sprinkle with soy sauce and fresh lime juice.

Soy sauce as a rule is not gluten free. However, I used gluten free soy sauce and this dish turned out wonderful.

Here’s to sitting around the table and enjoying a tasty meal and some good conversation together. Thanks for visiting and commenting on Effectively Human today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved