Quality of Life

Some people like to say, "Eat well, do good, get exercise, and die anyway," as some sort of excuse for partying, being unhealthy and/or being inconsiderate. This logic has no place in a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Regardless of when you die, you want the life you live today, and tomorrow to be the best life you can possibly have. There is no excuse for not doing the best for yourself and the best you can for those you love. Even if I were going to die in six months, I still would continue my diet exactly as I do (if not do even better) because I want the highest quality for my life. The quantity is quite irrelevant.

~Raederle Phoenix Jacot

"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?" ~ M. C. Escher

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What separates you from the rich?

My mother bought all of my clothing at second-hand stores up until I was around thirteen years old. I never thought anything of it as a kid, and I think it is a good policy. Healthy children spend time crawling around on the floors, climbing trees and playing in the mud, so why would you spend $20 on a brand-name pair of jeans for a child when you could buy a second-hand pair that was just as nice for $5 at thrift store?

Unfortunately, not all of my mother's spending habits were so brilliant. While cutting-out coupons, attending sales, and comparing prices will all make small differences in the amount you spend, it won't do much of anything to improve your over all quality of life, and it certainly won't make you rich.

Until I married, I had no idea that the difference between "rich folks" and "poor folks" was not necessarily income. By following my husband's example, I now see that I can live a much richer life without making more money.

As it turns out, the main separator between the "upper middle class" and "lower middle class" is spending habits and lifestyle habits.

Being rich is about having a higher quality of life, not about having more money. It's about being healthier and happier than you ever dreamed possible.

8 Steps To Being Rich:

  • 1. Recognize that what you buy affects your entire life, your community, the environment, the government, the country, and the planet.

Your dollars are your biggest mouth in the world. They scream louder than your personal actions and words ever will to the guys in the "big chairs." Corporate CEOs, investors, the political big "somebodies" and so forth; they don't listen to what you say, they don't watch what you do, but they pay a lot of attention to what you buy. If you're just as willing to spend your money on products that are harmful to your body and the environment, and it is cheaper for them to make harmful products, then they will make harmful products because it makes them rich, and it makes their stock-holders happy.

  • 2. Buy Organic

Various cheap laundry detergents will wear out your clothing, meaning you have to spend more on new clothes because you spent less on laundry detergent. Many cleaning fluids will ruin the surfaces you use them on over time, not to mention slowly poisoning your home with harsh chemicals. Organic, green and genuinely natural for the win. (Remember that "natural" on the label is meaningless.)

  • Organic Soap

It's incredibly common to see people buy soap for $1.50 a bar, and then $3.00 lotion for the dry hands that result from the cheap soap. And worse yet, you still end up with dry hands despite reapplying the lotion ten times a day.

When I moved in with my husband I was confused by his soap. "My hands won't get clean!" I exclaimed. But then I would dry them and they didn't feel oily after all. It wasn't that my hands were dirty, it was that they were moisturized. I visited my parents for a time and my hands were so awfully cracked and dry. I used the lotions they had, but it didn't help at all. I realized my skin had been dry and cracked and somewhat hurting my entire life until I moved in with my husband.

I returned home to my husband and after washing my hands with one of his organic soaps five or six times, my hands were back to feeling smooth and richly moisturized.

The lesson: If you buy high quality organic oil-based soap that costs $5 a bar instead of $1 a bar, you will never need to buy lotion again. The soap actually leaves your skin more moisturized and healthier each use, instead of dry. Besides that, when you buy organic products you support smaller companies who need the money a lot more and stimulate the economy as a result. It's a more effective way of stimulating the economy than donating your money to some-such thing that says it's pro-jobs or pro-green or whatever.

  • Organic Shampoo

The same is true for hair products. You'll buy a cheap shampoo and conditioner all-in-one that leaves your hair dried out and crumbling, and then buy hair-lotions, hair-sprays, hair-moose, etc, etc, trying to get your hair to look healthy, on top of dying the hair another color, or even your own color, just to get it to shine more.

Instead of buying all those cheap products that are full of chemicals and produced by large corporations who generally pollute the environment and outsource half their labor to China... You could just buy one or two really quality products. I am currently using this henna-shampoo that I found in the organic section. It lightly colors my hair a slightly redder tint because of the henna in it, and it doesn't strip my hair or leave it dry at all. Aside from that, all I use in my hair is a few drops of jojoba oil or coconut oil. (I use coconut oil when making my raw-treats and I wipe the excess off onto my hands and rub it into my hair. With olive oil I rub any excess into my skin. It's much more effective and natural than any lotion.)

  • 4. Ignore "On Sale" Products

Have you ever bought something because you happened to see it on sale?

A good portion of the time the sale is not really real. You could get it for the same price as the "sale price" online, or somewhere else and they're just making it out as though they are selling it for less.

The other portion of the time the product is on sale because it is not a good product and nobody will pay its full price. If they would pay full price, then they wouldn't need to put it on sale. When people buy these products on sale, a good portion of the time they end up with something that doesn't work, or works poorly.

  • 5. Research What You Buy

You can find what you really want for a price you can afford with a little bit of research online (or in person -- ask your friends and associates their experiences with the products they've recently bought.)

Read customer reviews
Read product-comparison articles
Read product-review blog entries
Watch product-review and product-comparison videos

Example of something we didn't buy because of research:

My husband and I were considering buying a juicer. It looked (from the specs) like it had everything we needed, and it was on sale. After skimming the reviews on the sales page I decided to get some opinions from other sites. I visited six different sites and skimmed around seventy product reviews. While three of the sites had only positive feedback, this is likely because the site weeded out any bad reviews. The other three sites I visited contained massive amounts of bad feedback saying that the juicer simply stopped working for most people within the first two months, and after being replaced it would simply quit again within two months. Some people even reported the juicer quitting after the first cup of juice it made. Just think what a headache we avoided because I skimmed a bunch of reviews!

Example of something we did buy after research:

My husband was upset that his set of knives had gone dull. He said to me that they were not very good knives to begin with, so perhaps he would just replace them for a better set. He wanted my opinion, so he asked me for it. My response was that they seemed like perfectly good knives, and I hadn't noticed they were dull at all.

He suggested that we buy a knife-sharpener in that case, because there was no need to get a better knife set if I liked the one we had. I was dubious that the knives needed to be sharper, but continued to seek a solution with him. He also proposed that we buy, perhaps, just one really, really good knife instead of getting a new set or a sharpener.

We looked around at some really, really good knives, but they ran around $30 or more for a single knife. We looked at some sets, but they were all of poor-quality or of high price. So then he researched knife sharpeners. There was a cheap option, of course, but eventually he decided to get fairly expensive manual knife sharpener.

Neither of us could be more pleased. All of our knives are sharper, and now I do see why having very sharp knives is better. It turns out I grew up with dull knives my entire life. And the best part? No matter how many knives we do or do not ever attain, we'll always be able to sharpen them.

  • 6. Don't Impulse-Shop

"Shopping will make me feel better..."

Being depressed is not a good reason to go shopping and blow a paycheck. Instead, consider making yourself a banana-nut smoothie with soaked raw almonds, raw cacoa nibs, ground flax, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, a drop of coconut juice and five fresh organic bananas. All the omega and b-vitamins will give you a much more effective lift to your mood without breaking your wallet.

"The advertisement said..."

Who cares what the advertisement said. Advertisements are chocked-full of lies. There are blatant scams on advertisements all the time.

I once was unfortunate enough to purchase a product that supposedly would take the hair of your legs by "rubbing" with this particular fabric pad. The advertisement claimed it had been done for centuries in other countries, that it was easy, that it worked for anybody, that it was healthier than shaving, etc. The product doesn't work. Not at all. No matter how soft the hair, and no matter how long you rub, you're just an idiot rubbing your skin with a scam-product. If I had done some research first, I would have soon discovered other people complaining about the scam. There was no refund, but there was a bunch of plastic to throw in the trash.

"But this looks really cool, and what if they don't have it online!"

So it looks cool. But do you need it? Will you really use it? Could you jump up and down fifty times right now because you're so excited about buying it? If you can't jump into the air fifty times and squeal like a little girl about it, then you probably don't need it. That may sound absurd, but it's a test I use on myself regularly. If I can't make myself jump up and down and squeal, then it must not be exciting enough to spend money on.

  • 7. Read Labels

Things come with labels for a reason. Don't just look at the part of the package they want you to look at; look at all sides, especially the ingredients. This applies to food, clothing, toys: everything.

Is it made out of cotton or wool or what? Don't waste money on something that you're allergic to, or that will pill on the first-wash-through in the laundry, or that is made in China. Instead of buying six items of clothing, two of which are going to wear out quickly, one of which you'll never really like anyway, and all of which are made in China, instead, buy one or two items that are high-quality that you will love for years and years.

Often the product that isn't half as flashy and costs a two dollars more is more durable.

The result from shopping this way: Less clutter in your home. Less trash and waste. More income going back to the community and small businesses. Higher quality products that you really love. Spending less money in the long run by not needing to replace items as often.

  • 8. Buy Fresh Organic Produce

Many people buy conventional produce at the store, and frozen dinners, and other cheap boxed products. These foods contain toxins, chemicals and little nutrition. As a result, the people spend less money on food, but then spend three to ten times as much on medical bills, prescriptions, surgeries, etc.

The most effective way to combat this both from a health standpoint and an economic point is to grow as much of your own food as possible. Anyone can grow their own sprouts without sunlight, soil, or much space at all. A package of sprouts at the store will run you about $3, give or take. A sprouter will cost you $40. Your general sprouter will hold twice as much as one of those $3 packets at a time in sprouts. It takes somewhere from three days to a couple of weeks to grow them, and next to nothing for the seeds themselves. You can even sprout the seeds from fruit you've bought, the seeds that would have usually gone into the trash. If you grow one full sprouter-full of sprouts each week, the gadget will pay for itself in less than two months and you'll be able to continue growing them for life.

However, many people just can not conceive of giving up their television programs, sports activities, social occasions or whatever it is they are doing to spend time growing things. And so, I must simply propose that you make better choices at the grocery store.

Being ill is the biggest expense in life. You can not work, you can not play, you can not do anything at all if you're too ill to do it. And even being moderately ill is still serious, because then you work and play but you do both with little efficiency and wander through life feeling empty and wondering if there is more to life but not feeling like you can do anything about it... Meanwhile chugging several cans of soda and never making the connection between how terrible you feel and what poor fuel you're giving your body to make it's millions of cells out of each hour.

Another tip, as an aside: Don't count calories.

Raederle's sage wisdom for the holiday: Pay the extra dollars or cents for organic and local products when you can. You'll be doing a great thing for the economy, the country, the region, yourself, the environment, your health and your conscience all at once. It's a win-win-win-win-win all around. And in the end, it saves you money too.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Recession Reconsidered

The "bad economy" is a myth. First people buy things they can't afford. Then they hoard their money. Then they spend the little they do spend to huge corporations who send the money overseas and line the pockets of rich folks. Little money makes it back into the community because not enough people shop at local businesses. More money hoarding. It perpetuates itself.

John Leathers says: "Raederle, I couldn't agree with you more. Once I worked at a bank selling mortgages. The bank would often approve home loans for people what would take 45% of people's pre-tax income. People would often want something much bigger, though, and ask for a loan with a payment that would take 65%, 75% or 85% of their pre-tax income It's difficult for some people to know what "enough" is, apparently. I was amazed about how eager some people are to go into debt."

Nathan Jett says; "Debt will mean nothing when the dollar is worthless..." and suggests watching The Obama Deception.

John Leathers: "That would be a real mess."

Nathan Jett: "That will be a real mess."

John Leathers: "It will be good for tourism. We'll have lots of foreigners coming to the USA on vacation to take advantage of the weak dollar."

Nathan Jett: "I think when that day comes there will be more people leaving USA than coming to USA."

John Leathers: "Northern California's already like that. We lost people during the recession. Many immigrants, especially, left the state and moved back with their families down south.
"Everyone's got their own philosophy about dealing with any future crisis that occurs. My plan is just to see what arrives when it arrives and deal with it then.
"If the sky's falling I'd rather not know about it. I grew up during the worries about the USA-Soviet nuclear apocalypse. I'd rather just live my life and enjoy today than spend the whole time worrying about something I can't control that could happen tomorrow."

Raederle: I agree that sometimes it's better not to know the sky is falling. Keeping our heads up, keeping positive and sticking together are better than being depressed. Although, it's also ignorance of the public that has people in the messes they are in today.

Nathan Jett: "Oh don't get me wrong, I am in now way worried. I just like to be informed."

Raederle: I also like to be informed, but each American can not learn everything there is to learn about all the issues causing the economic struggle, the unemployment, the obesity, the rising cancer and diabetes rates, and every other issue we're facing.

I try to simplify what I do about it. Instead of trying to research each and every thing in the world and figure out if I trust it or not, ...I just keep following the same principles:

Be compassionate
Buy organic or local whenever possible
Waste as little as possible, recycle as much as possible
Teach others when they are willing to learn
Learn from others when they are willing to teach
Be as healthy as possible and inspire others to do the same
Bring art, love and life into the world
Boycott anything I learn is particularly hazardous
Don't buy things made in China
Hand-made whatever I can
Grow as much food as I can

Brian Honeycutt says: "I always thought the idea of a recession was sort of funny given that the resources available are basically the same, so it is just a redistribution of energy and money to me."

Sarah Leven writes: You can't really blame people for buying from massive corporations anymore. Our society has gotten to be so poor that every dollar counts.

Some food purchases are difficult to make outside of a supermarket. As far as I know, there is no locally owned supermarket near my house. Up in Buffalo there is one but driving 30 minutes to buy groceries is kind of a stretch. Not to mention, they sell specialty items and not a lot of traditional meal ingredients. And it would cost me probably twice as much to shop there and I honestly can't afford it. I do try to frequent farmers' markets or other such things but in Western New York, that's a seasonal option.

The real problem is that the middle class is shrinking -- most people are going down into poverty levels. A two income household where one person loses their job can be difficult to make up the difference in income. I do agree that a lot of these families have a lot of extras that they don't really need. I've been watching the show "Downsized" on WE and it amazed me how wastefully that family lived.

Yet for some families, they already don't have a ton of extras and a family of five trying to live on 25,000 a year is tough. So you've got three kids and school is coming up. They need at least a couple of new outfits (since stuff gets ruined and children grow) and school supplies for the school year. Lets say you have about 600 dollars scraped together to accomplish that. That's 200 a kid. You need to buy them clothing, probably a new pair of shoes, paper, pens, pencils, folders, a backpack, etc. Personally the first place I would stop is a thrift store of some type to see if there were some good deals there. However, thrift stores cost about the same as Wal-Mart so I can understand the families that prefer to just go get it new. And thrift stores are usually a npo so shopping there isn't really helping the economy much anyway. I'm honestly not even sure where I could take my kids to buy locally made clothing.

Eventually as capitalism sets in more and more in these cheap labor countries, they will demand higher and higher wages. Eventually the jobs will come back here. However, it probably won't happen in my lifetime, and definitely not any time soon. The main reason you can't find stores to sell locally made goods is because the support isn't there. But it's difficult at the point we're at as a society to put support into local businesses.

I whole-heartedly agree with you on people not putting their money to work where it should. But as a struggling American who cannot find decent work and who wastes very little, I can understand it. We do have a broken economy because of how insane the debt got. People were buying too much house or too much car and it artificially inflated everything. Greed set in at both the corporation level and at the personal level. The problem is that now things are so broken, it will take a long time to fix them.

As a small business owner, I compete with Wal-Mart. Sadly, the materials alone for the jewelry I create are more than the necklaces at Wal-Mart. Mine are unique and are of a higher quality but people still will balk at the 20 dollar price tag. The materials for that necklace are about five dollars and takes me about six hours to stitch together. I wind up making less than 3 dollars an hour for the pieces I sell. Other jewelry crafters hate me because of my low pricing but I still have the average customer shying away when they hear the price. But they think nothing of buying a video game for 20 dollars that they play twice and then never again. But the mentality is, I could just buy a different necklace for a lot cheaper. And since Wal-Mart pretty much sells it all, I stand no real chance. There is a small movement going against big corporations now and if people could snap out of the desire to just get as much stuff as cheaply as possible, our country might stand a real chance.

~ Sarah Leven

Second hand is better than Wal-Mart. It's a choice anyone would make if they understood the state of the environment and our impact upon it, and the state of the economy and our impact upon that.

On principle, I'd buy the hand-made jewelry. If someone is too strapped for cash to buy handmade jewelry, then they have no business buying jewelry. It's a luxury. It's not needed for anything, and the only real excuse for needing some is if you're working a career as a model. And as a model, you don't want to be wearing department store jewelry anyway.

Cheap plastic junk.

Cheap plastic junk.

There is no place anywhere for department store jewelry. It's worthless junk, and much of it is never worn, never used, never appreciated, never enjoyed, and just clogs landfills so that fat cruel rich corporate folks can milk the sheeple of America dry.

If everyone stopped buying jewelry, make-up, body lotions, hair products and so forth and instead paid a little extra for organic whole foods, then they'd save a lot of money and be a lot healthier and look much more beautiful without the cheap jewelry, make-up and toxic lotion and sprays. Want your hair to have body? Braid it up, get it wet, dry it, and take the braids out. Want your skin to shine? Eat soaked seeds and raw vegetables. Want to decorate yourself? Buy jewelry from a local merchant, not from a department store.

...How to get these important messages to masses? (Those above, and those below.)

Be compassionate

Buy organic or local whenever possible

Waste as little as possible, recycle as much as possible

Teach others when they are willing to learn

Learn from others when they are willing to teach

Be as healthy as possible and inspire others to do the same

Bring art, love and life into the world

Boycott anything you learn is particularly hazardous

Don't buy things made in China

Hand-made whatever you can

Grow as much food as you can

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Perhaps you've read that commonly passed around collection of quotes from young children describing love. They are really astounding;

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." -Nikka, age 6

Imagine if there were more young girls like Nikka in this world? The one in particular that always stayed with me, was this one:

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." - Bobby, age 7

That was always my take on Christmas. It's the love in the air, the shared laughter, joy and smiles with family and loved ones. I remember telling my first love (when I was fourteen) that Christmas was special to me because it was the only day of the year that my mother kept smiling. After having said that out loud, I continued to think of Christmas being special for that reason.

When I was ten years old I saved up every dollar I came by all year long, and kept them all in a washed out yogurt tub. When the time came around I had saved up a little over one hundred dollars. Nearly twenty dollars worth of it was in change, and roughly forty dollars worth were in single dollar bills. I bought one barbie doll for myself and spent the rest on gifts for others. I tried to find the most unique and interesting things that I could. I wanted others to smile and laugh and be delighted when they opened my presents.

I wrapped the gifts myself from my mother's vast collection of wrapping papers, ribbons and bows. I considered what colors of bows and ribbons would look best together. It was special and important to me. It meant a lot that I had the power to bring others smiles and joy.

That was my understanding of Christmas at ten. Now I understand that I have more than just the power to bring my friends and family joy.


Everyone talks about how it's "the right thing to do" to donate to charities. Maybe it is. Have you done the research yourself on individual charities to discover which one is the most worthy of your dollar? Probably not.

Instead of spending your time researching charities, instead, research the products you're planning on buying for yourself and friends. If you spend $12 on a notebook made by a company that employs handicapped people, uses bamboo instead of trees to make their paper, and crafts a quality product, you've just done a good deed -- and you know it. You also still get to have the added joy of giving this notebook to a friend or loved one to write in, and you can do so with pride because you've already done one good deed by buying it, and now a second by giving it.

When you buy a $7 notebook that uses bleached paper made from trees, employs people in China at minimum wage under conditions you'd balk at working in, that was shipped all around the world using hundreds of gallons of gasoline... Yeah, you saved $5. But how much did the world suffer for you to have that extra $5? And how does donating that $5 to charity somehow make it all better? If you have not done the research, it's possible that the charity you gave your $5 to is mostly for the purpose of lining the pockets of the owner and doesn't do what it claims to do.

Wrapping Paper

For years now, as a method of saving money and reducing personal waste, I have reused the wrapping paper of every gift I have received. I have only actually bought five rolls of wrapping paper in my life, and while none of my current wrapping paper exists on a roll, I still have more than five rolls worth of paper today in many different varieties.

Many of my bits of wrapping paper have been used six or seven times.

I save ribbons and bows too, of course. Also, I save any decorative papers that come with other products I buy, as well as the brown stuffing paper they send with boxes in the mail. I keep all of it, and reuse it.

If someone is going to throw away their wrapping paper, I rescue it and use it again.

This used to just be a matter of saving money and being practical, but now that I've learned more about economics and the environment, it's now just one small part of doing the right thing all the time, not just some of the time.

This picture is from this entry about alternative wrapping.

In one short blog entry I read recently, the author talks about using banana paper, which is made from the discards stalks of a banana tree. I've seen paper made from ground stone, hemp, cotton, bamboo... It doesn't need to be made from trees, so why support the destruction of forests?

• Use environmentally friendly wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp. Look for paper using recycled content.

Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper - this kind of material is difficult to recycle.

Reuse gift wrap - large wrapped presents usually have large enough uncreased sections to be reused for wrapping small gifts. If you open all of your gifts carefully, almost any gift has reusable paper.

Use tape sparingly, or not at all - if you're going to use ribbon to finish off your wrapping, you may not need to use tape. By not using tape, more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed, and it's easier for the recipient to save the wrapping for reuse.

• Choose alternatives to commercial gift wrap - there are many options which are cost-free, attractive solutions. Gift bags can be made using fabric scraps, or wrapping can be made using comic strips from the paper, old calendars, maps, posters and more.

Here is a nifty page with many different alternative gift-wrapping options.

Christmas Tree

If you want to decorate a live tree, why not go back to the original tradition?

"The tradition used to exist whereby we would string berries and popcorn and other types of food and place them as offerings on the trees outside to feed the fauna during the food scarcity of winter. Now, however, we cut down baby and adolescent trees, bring them into our homes and dress them up with all manner of metal, plastic, glass, etc... How many countless trees are killed every year in celebration of Christmas?" ~ Nikki Scott

Plant a live evergreen in your back yard or front yard, and decorate that instead.

Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice.

Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.

Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, saving both transportation costs and added air pollution.

When buying a live tree, consider these environment supporting options:

Live potted trees - if you buy a small tree in a large pot, you may be able to reuse the tree for 2- 3 years without having to plant or re-pot the tree.

Re-pot the tree - if the tree is root-bound, you can replant it in a larger pot for several years' use.

Replant the tree - if you have the space, of course, replanting the tree outdoors is an option. Be sure to anticipate the full-grown size of the tree, and avoid planting near foundations or underground services.

Chip and mulch the tree - many communities now have a free chipping service for trees. If you can keep the chipped material, it makes excellent mulch for your shrub beds.

Christmas Lights

It's the season of giving. It's not the season of competing with your neighbors for who can use up the most electricity in lights.

Consider using one string of lights, and not ten strings. Perhaps just one elegant lining around the windows, or "icicle lights" around the top of your porch.

Who are you gifting your money to when you decide to light up the bushes, the balcony, the windows, the banisters and the snow-covered lawn? The electrical company. I seriously doubt that's where you want to spend your Christmas spirit.

Also, remember to use LED lights for your one modest string of decoration. LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. LED holiday lights use .04 watts per bulb, 10 times less than mini bulbs and 100 times less than traditional holiday bulbs. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost you about $18.00 while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.

Christmas Gifts

Instead of giving to charities, give to the manufacturers of products you believe in.

If you're anti-consumerism, make your own gifts and cards. The amount of cards sold in the US during the holiday season would fill a football field 10 stories high, and requires the harvesting of nearly 300,000 trees.

If you're a feminist, look for companies that emphasize employing women. I've seen products advertising this before right on the label of a product.

If you want to help fight cancer... Well, then you should ignore labels that advertise donating to cancer-research. The cure for cancer is already known to a growing body of people, but the corporations making so much money off of killing us and then medicating us don't want you to know. Here are some folks who know about the cure.

A gift doesn't need to be a physical item. Give an experience to someone:

Tickets to a show or concert can offer lasting value with minimal impact on resources. Sports events, local attractions, rock-climbing centers, ice-rink memberships, and museum memberships are other examples. Experiences can be other than 'entertainment' - for example, a membership to a car-sharing club in your city, or a garden plot in a local community garden.

Give a service: Massage, music lessons, childcare, car wash, dogwalk, lawncare, tutoring, food preparation, gardening, a book of coupons for household chores...

Give someone something of sentimental value: Appeal doesn't always mean 'new and shiny'. Antiques and collectibles have time-earned intrinsic value as well as the added appeal of history and sentimental value.

Personal gifts are appreciated and remembered because they tell a story. And because they're "re-used", there's no impact on the environment.

Give someone something special you've found: An unusual shell, crystal, wood burl, arrowhead, bone, shark tooth, etc. Or flowers you've grown - if you live somewhere where there are flowers at this time of year.

Give someone something used: Might sound offensive to some, but to anyone with a heart, it's not offensive at all.

Dan Taylor writes: I was having a garage sale last Fall. I remember one family in particular who seemed to be having so much fun. When we remarked on this they said they were Christmas shopping. I was impressed by their being so organized (this was in August) but was also intrigued that they would be going to garage sales to do their Christmas shopping. So in the ensuing conversation they told us that their family had some years ago made a rule that all gifts must be under $20.00 and either hand-made or used. This has provided so much enjoyment for them that we're going to suggest this same idea to our family for next year. -Dan Taylor, Alberta Canada

Make something: My all time favorite gifts were hand-made, if not by the giver, then by someone the giver knew. A hand-knitted scarf, a hand-sewn rice bag (much appreciated in the winter for keeping warm!), a hand-crocheted hat, a carefully crafted card, a baked clay figurine, a hand-made leather pouch -- these were all gifts given to me by different people in different years, but I remember each of them clearly, and still have them. With a little research you can discover how to make your own soap, candles, accessories, and countless things that will enrich your life and the lives of others without being a drain on the planet.

Buying organic products, recycled products, and especially products made by individuals or small companies is a top priority. It's much more important than donating to charities. It's much more important than saving fifty cents.

The best gift you can give anyone, of course, is the gift of health. Instead of going crazy for cheap candies, or unhealthy home-made desserts made from white flour, white sugar and canned fruit, spring for something that won't make you or your family sick.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Art of Happiness

This may be one of the best entries I ever wrote. I wrote it back when I was reading one of the most life-changing books I've ever read. I spent some time searching my computer to find it today so that I could share it with you. Without further ado...

This blog entry has been UPDATED & MOVED! Click here to read it.

More entries of mine that can help you overcome depression, melancholy, and discontent and discover the happy you:

Responsibility: Cause & Effect

Mind-set Changes: Blog: Loving Life

Physical Setbacks: Poisons: Things That Will Make You Miserable

Healing Your Body: Becoming Healthy

Understanding Your Reactions: Oxytocin: The Natural Chemical Reaction Creating Love

Impact of Thought: The Power of your Imagination

Common Trends: Changing Your Negative Habits

Your Image: Drinking: It Affects More Than Your Health

Worldview: The Cage You're In

Friday, November 05, 2010


If you're not following me, here's what you're missing (8 Days of Tweets manually rendered):

October 28th 2010

I knew what it meant to be constipated at the age of six years old. TMI? Undoubtedly, but I want to help others w(cont) http://tiny.cc/q6xf5

"Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional." – Max Lucade

Is the Earth overpopulated with humans? Who said it is & who says it isn't? What is this information based on? http://tiny.cc/84zoy

"What in your brain separates the pleasurable adrenaline high of a horror film..." What? There is nothing pleasurable about that sensation!

I think I've developed my dislike of horror movies due to my uncanny level of creativity & imagination. For me, watching IS experiencing.

I just read the article that a friend posted; http://tiny.cc/aolsm about the human response to horror movi (cont) http://amplify.com/u/e7hf

Response; I've been slowing sneaking greens into my smoothies & it seems to be working. Fruit flavor can hide a lot! :D

There was a period of time when I was 16 where my jaw frequently locked up. One day, I couldn't open my mouth at (cont) http://tiny.cc/1v39i

Breakfast: Yellow mango, banana nutmilk smoothie (with added spinach for nutrition), raw cashew nut "bread," & bell pepper.

Brunch: raw granola (buckwheat oats, raisins, banana & home-made raw cashew milk) See what I'm eating here: http://tiny.cc/xxxcc

This morning I had delicious cashew nutbread & yesterday I had seed chips with avocados. Are you excited by your diet? http://tiny.cc/2qrij

It's a serious dream of mine, as a freelance artist, to become a board game illustrator. http://tiny.cc/zk1a3

"Beyond that, I was always tired, nearly always depressed, and I knew there had to be an answer out there somewhere." http://tiny.cc/lbru5

My husband points out that the artwork that I chose for my daily raw log doesn't exactly mesh with the them (cont) http://amplify.com/u/e40l

Response: http://amplify.com/u/e2yj Well, you make a good point yet again! At the moment I admit I feel that I want to feed my kids 95% raw

If you've heard the term "digital painting" but are clueless as to what it means, read this: http://tiny.cc/byuur

Why is it that everyone is always so happy and uplifting at raw food potlucks? http://tiny.cc/pbhm2

Response to a tweet: Oh! This dancing like a palm tree thing seems like it could be fun! It should be added into yoga classes everywhere.

Someone tells me they are avoiding agave nectar: Glad to hear! Agave nectar was probably hyped up initially because someone saw potential profit; not health benefit.

October 29th 2010

Response: If you love vegetables, it makes it much easier to go onto a raw diet. But hey, I managed it & I don't even like most raw vegetables!

Tips & tricks for making delicious healthy smoothies, photos of my daily meals, recipes & yum. http://tiny.cc/p8tt6

It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. – Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Most eco-friendly products aren't as green as they claim to be: About 4.5 percent of the 5296 products surveyed we... http://bit.ly/aYGPD3

Response: I have noticed in the past that writing down goals helps a lot; I should start doing it again. Thanks for reminding me! :D

I'm thinking about creating a raw Halloween treat to celebrate. Any suggestions? Considering "Hint of Pumpkin Cupcakes" or something.

Response: For an even more epic foodie afternoon, try a raw food potluck. Look for a group that meets nearby on meetup.com - It's amazing.

I've noticed that people warm up to becoming raw the more raw food dishes they learn to prepare. Raw food is rich in flavor!

Response: I've noticed that short workouts throughout the day do me good. That's why I came up with this plan: http://tiny.cc/pc3ba

I've learned that pain during a workout usually means I'm not breathing deeply enough; yoga is great for breathing training.

I used to get really severe stomach aches each & every morning when I was sixteen. It was rough since the doctor couldn't help.

Purge unneeded things. Junk can be stressful. Unload closets. Give them away, donate, re-gift – anything, just so you get rid of them.

This Halloween, don't feed children candy that will harm their immune system & make them hyper. Sweet & healthy: http://tiny.cc/iri0glj8f4

Plants, according to my research, have more usable protein than meat & fish. I've started building more muscle since I went raw.

Response: You know you can make chocolate fudge brownies without baking anything at all & have it come out delicious? It's much healthier.

October 30th 2010

"You have no choice but to be yourself – You can do it reluctantly, or proudly."

Response: I actually log everything I eat; thought it might interest you: http://raw-food-log.blogspot.com

Response: So I'm hoping this banana icecream doesn't have sugar added. I've learned that fruit is sweet enough on its own.

Perhaps I ought to be eating more fresh parsley. I love herbs! Been eating a lot thyme & oregano lately.

Response: For the headache; try making a smoothie of Peppermint, Betony (an herb), carrots (with green tops) & kale. Tastes bad, but helps.

Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before. – James Buckham

Bananas can help you quit smoking with their Vit A1, C, B6 & B12, along w/potassium, helps those trying to quit from nicotine withdrawal.

Response: How about making your self some raw chocolate treats? Like these: http://tiny.cc/blk0l (There is a #video demo by me.)

Health Reform: I think it's meaningless either way. The general medical of the western world doesn't help. (cont) http://amplify.com/u/e89p

Some people like to say, "Eat well, do good, get exercise, and die anyway," as some sort of excuse for part (cont) http://amplify.com/u/e88w

October 31st 2010

Total: $31.00 at the farmer's market: (all organic) 3 peaches, 2 apples, 1 large bunch of the original conc (cont) http://amplify.com/u/ebk7

Everyday we're killing ourselves, our friends, our families & our planet. http://tiny.cc/n4jse

Great speech: Listening & Learning right now from Vandana Shiva http://bit.ly/bFL6FW RT

Response: Apple cider vinegar -may- be great for fighting candida, but I suffered for years; quitting refined sugar is the cure.

Don't feed them candy for Halloween! Feed them this! Photos included: http://reallyrawraederle.blogspot.com/2010/10/recipe-pumpkin-pie.html

What did you eat today? I ate raw pumpkin pie, buckwheat granola, a slice of an o(cont) http://raw-food-log.blogspot.com

Act the way you wish you would act. We are addicted to our habitual reactions. Yoga is the cessation of habitual reactions.

"The power of fasting is not in losing weight during the fast, but in gaining control of your appetite."

I'm always careful about not over-training my body, but since I've gone raw I have so much more stamina & recovery ability.

90 minutes of activity a day sounds reasonable; doable even. I imagine stressful activities don't count. The hindered breathing would negate positive effects.

Recipes for Teeth Cleaning: Economical, Eco-friendly healthful & easy: http://dld.bz/vudh

Why not blend dates and soaked raw nuts and dip apple slices in that instead of caramel? It'd be much healthier that way.

So I've been a 100% #rawfoodie for 8 weeks now. http://reallyrawraederle.blogspot.com/2010/10/blog-8-weeks-100-raw.html

Wow! I just finished making (and eating a large portion of) a raw pumpkin pie! I'm so amazed! I didn't b (cont) http://amplify.com/u/ea71

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

I'm going to be trying #nanowrimo this year. I "won" with 51k words in 2008 & "failed" in 2009 with 29k words. Going to work on book 2.

I'm thinking of growing lettuce, spinach, kale & assorted herbs. Seems more worth while at this point.

Response: That's what I was thinking! Who could say no to raw pumpkin cupcakes? I'll need to go to the store & get a pumpkin & a young coconut.

Making a smoothie right now: yellow mango, banana, peach, spinach, raw nutmilk & water that dates have soaked in.

Made my raw smoothie with two heaping spoonfuls of the raw pumpkin pie I made last night; came out wonderful. http://tiny.cc/1v5ey

"I'd rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I'm not." Me? I'm anti-corporatism, I am for progress, I am ecofriendly, and I am a raw vegan.

For a Happy Halloween don't make yourself sick on candy. Instead, make raw treats. http://reallyrawraederle.blogspot.com/p/raw-recipes.html

November 1st 2010

Working on my nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) novel already. Second novel in my fantasy series; here I come. I'm delving into my main character's past & loving it.

3172 words thus far nanowrimo – I'm feeling really pleased with myself an entirely entrenched in the flow of my novel. I feel brilliant!

4771 words already for National Novel Writing Month. Nanowrimo. I've been writing since 2:00am straight. I'm having a total blast!

Raw picnic potluck today on Mt. Diablo. Planning on making "pumpkin cupcakes" of sorts. Glad I got my nanowrimo writing for the day done.

November 2nd 2010

Question: "How do you write?"
Answer; "One word at a time."

Currently re-reading "On Writing" by Steven King. It's gotta be the best book about #writing on the planet. Informative, blunt & funny.

I had a picnic potluck with my husband & a friend yesterday on Mt. Diablo. Avocado wraps, pumpkin pie & much more – all organic, and all raw food!

Nanowrimo! Going to get my first draft for book 2 done by the end of November! What do you think of the series title "Daughter of Crystals"?

The creation of a digital painting; The Enchanted Mermaid http://tiny.cc/olt3wl8v5c Slide-show of the work's creation!

November 3rd 2010

1731 words today thus far, 9303 words total for nanowrimo. Writing my second book in the Daughter of Crystals series. A fantasy series by Raederle Phoenix.

The original concord grapes, with seeds, have so much more flavor. Seedless just isn't natural. *nomming on grapes for lunch*

Why didn't prop19 pass? Don't you realize how many people die over selling territory? If it were legal we could study it; tell doctors. >.<>> Not just vegan: It's also raw & healthy & delicious. You're welcome.

Breakfast Smoothie: blueberry, banana, peach, kale, broccoli, peeled cucumber & coconut water. Forget juice fasting: Enter juice feasting!

"What you think is a problem is actually a solution waiting to be seen."

More important than whole-grain is whether or not the croutons have sugar in them. Sugar: http://tiny.cc/0bqx89f6qs

"To for-give means to give something, with all your heart... give [up your] entitlement to being right." p.68 Steps of Essence

Discover 'who' you are and you'll know 'what' you need to be doing. "Know Thyself" has always been the key. ~Hanns-Oskar Porr

November 5th 2010

For your birthday you should have a raw cake! Delicious & no stomachache or sugar crash later! http://tiny.cc/wyvn5

Writing advice: If you can take the dialog out without adding three sentences of narrative, then both are extraneous to the story.

"Starving a story of detail can sometimes be a problem, but Annortextia is far less common than Obestiality." Chose your details! National Novel Writing Month.

Nanowrimo. Does your story have the right main character? The lead to choose is the character that changes the most throughout your tale.

1875 words written today for Nanowrimo. Thank goodness! I never thought I'd finish this morning. 11,247 words total for the 2nd book! W00t!

Restraining anger: Commercial for cookie bake-sales to raise money for cancer research. What bull. Cookies cause cancer folks!

Have you seen the “Glad” commercial advertising bake-sales & cookies to raise money for cancer research? Sugary white-flour cookies coated in high-fructose-corn-syrup is the sort of thing that causes cancer!

Question response: I don't have a publish date yet, but when I do, it'll be here: http://tiny.cc/jzt3n (My writing blog & info on my book.)

What you believe the world is manifests everything in your life. When you change your opinions and perspect (cont) http://amplify.com/u/ela9

Your body reacts to your emotional visualizations the same way it does to actual events. It brings new meaning to "thinking positively."

You are not what you think you are. Instead: What you think; you are. "We become what we think about," – Earl Nightingale

Imagine yourself truly happy for thirty solid seconds every morning & night. You are vibrantly healthy, alive & successful. See it!

Full responsibility for your life will cultivate success because it forces you to research the effects you experience back to the causes.

People accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of. Next time you want to blame someone, look inside yourself first.

"All of us are self-made, but only the successful will admit it." – Earl Nightingale

"Instead of achieving to be happy, happily achieve." - David Wolfe

“How to change the world,” A blog article on happiness & health: http://pitifulbarbie.typepad.com/blog/2010/11/changing-the-world.html

977 words thus far today for Nanowrimo and it's only 8:48am here in Walnut Creek, CA. How is your progress on your novel coming along?

1938 words today for Nanowrimo – I'm so excited! 13185 words towards my 2nd book in my fantasy series – Success is today & ahead!

Nourish your optimistic ideas; for they are the #divine seed of your limitless potential. Being your best self is not a goal, but an action.

Tryptophan, an animo acid necessary for being happy is damaged when cooking foods. Best sources: raw hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, algae, bananas, raw cocoa (unsweetened, uncooked chocolate), etc.

"A change of diet will not help those who will not change their thoughts. When thoughts are pure, we no longer desire impure food." – James Allen

Build a fortress of positive thoughts around you. Make the walls of light so thick that not even the most subtle negativity can reach you.

Use your garden-mind to creatively rethink yourself. Build an image of your highest, happiest & healthiest self. Now strive for it!

"If we put glass walls on all the mega-processing facilities, we'd have a different food system in this country."

I suspect it's all stuff I already know, but I'm going to watch the food inc documentary just so I know what's in it.

Okay, so I am learning some things I didn't know watching Food Inc. I never knew slaughter houses could be THAT disgusting.

I think this point: Farmer decisions have been outsources to #corporate people in cities who don't have to live with the consequences.

If you just look at the employees of Whole Foods & how they are treated: compare that to the treatment of workers at mass-slaughter house.

Nobody wants to pay an arm & a leg, but is "cheap" good? Would you want to buy the cheapest car? No! You want something reliable & stable.

"Cheap" food is actually very expensive. Add up the cost to the environment (massive death of bees, for example), health costs, society costs...

Every time you shirk that extra 50cents for organic produce you're spending $5 to $10 towards mid-life surgeries (or sooner.)

Every time you buy a fast food burger instead of a free-range grass-fed burger you're endorsing crimes against workers, the earth & animals.

Every can of soda you drink negatively effects the creation of millions of cells within your body. Every can is lies & misery.

Capitalism isn't going to go away overnight. What you spend is your vote. Vote for local small companies. For the ecological integrity.

Capitalism will still be here when the sun rises tomorrow. Use your dollars to vote for farmer's markets, sustainability, and for family.

So you cast your vote at the election & made your voice heard. But are you voting for what you believe in when you purchase groceries?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

To Be Happy

"Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The Sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world." - Ramana Maharshi

Photo by Raederle Phoenix

What you believe the world is manifests everything in your life. It's an old cliche, but it's true: Your attitude determines the outcome.When you change your opinions and perspective of the world, the world changes. Your mission isn't to fix the world, but to fix yourself. Then, and only then, will the world be set right.

The world does not change. We change.

We are all personally responsible for the state of the entire world because the world only mirrors our inner selves. War, disease, famine, pollution, and corruption are all reflections of the inner crisis gripping us individually, and therefor collectively. Each of us has our own reality, and that reality is a fragment of our collective consciousness which is projected outward upon our environment.

In order to create a happy world, each one of us on an individual level must become happy. Your life needs to center around making you happy. And what drives us as humans to become happy? What, deep down, creates a genuine lasting contentment?


When you gain a raise at work, or a new book, you feel happier right? But does it last?

When you help someone in need the happiness lasts and lasts. You feel warm when you look back on good deeds you've done for someone. Even if they didn't fully appreciate what you did, even if they never knew how much you helped them, you can still feel that warm glow of knowing you did the right thing.


And what makes us unhappy? You were upset when your favorite show got canceled, or when your pet died, but after time, everything was okay again, wasn't it? What is it that creates a life-long depression? What is it that makes you unhappy continually?

It's not the canceled TV program, and it's not your struggle at your minimum wage job, or the jerk in traffic who cuts you off.

What makes us unhappy every single day is the continual pain we experience. The headache, the stomachache, the muscle cramp, the sinus pressure, or whatever pain you experience. The unhappiness comes from feeling too tired to do what you want to do. Unhappiness comes from being too disorganized and scatter-brained to remember your child's recital or your best friend's birthday-party. Unhappiness comes from not being able to remember things you know you ought to be able to remember, or from being sick so often that you're not doing well in school.

Changing the world is thus: Become happy, become healthy. Do thus, and the world will be more significantly changed than any amount of charity money you could ever donate.


Taking full responsibility for your life will cultivate success because it forces you to research the effects you experience back to the causes. Understanding the cause and effect of everything impact within your life is the key to transforming your life for the better.

The more you understand about the effects of your day to day lifestyle and how you behave and interact with your environment, the more clear it will become that you really are the cause of everything that happens to you.

There are, of course, exceptionally bad situations where no one can work out why something horrific happened, but the horrific crimes committed against some of us are not what's important. What's important is what we learn from these experiences; how we react, how we grow, how we push past them.

To cultivate this feeling of inner-worth and responsibility, write this in your journal, blog, or on some other place visible to you on a regular basis: "I am completely responsible for my own wonderful life, vibrant health and continual happiness."

Our "Dark Sides"

I think we're here to discover that our darker sides are less real, less important, and less useful than our good sides. To grow and learn that happiness comes from helping others.

The truth within ourselves is that we love being loved, and we are loved when we love others and do for others as we would do for ourselves.

After I read "The Art of Happiness" I realized that most of the time I'm not happy because I'm not feeling like I'm accomplishing enough. And I only feel like I'm accomplishing enough when I'm helping others.

Hence why I spend so much time harping on people about nutrition. Yeah, it annoys a lot of people, but those who really listen make big changes in their lives and are so thankful that it makes it all worth while.

~Raederle Phoenix

Here are some further posts I've written that will help you gain the resources you need to overcome depression, melancholy and discontentment and discover happiness:

Interdependence: The Art of Happiness: Best Book I Ever Read

Mind-set Changes: Blog: Loving Life

Physical Setbacks: Poisons: Things That Will Make You Miserable

Healing Your Body: Becoming Healthy

Understanding Your Reactions: Oxytocin: The Natural Chemical Reaction Creating Love

Impact of Thought: The Power of your Imagination

Common Trends: Changing Your Negative Habits

Your Image: Drinking: It Affects More Than Your Health

Worldview: The Cage You're In

Friday, October 29, 2010


A comment someone left on this video (minus the swearing), went as thus:

Your math is wrong. World population is 6,908,688,000, Texas is 7,494,271,488,000 sq ft. Divide it and it's 1084.76 sq ft/person, that's enough for a small house.

My reply:

If each person learned about 'forest gardening' -- a technique of growing produce -- that would be enough land for each person to live off of. I've learned enough about agriculture and gardening to know that with today's technology (and without it if you live in the right climate) a family can live off of a piece of land the size of a standard mattress. Also, most people would not be living alone, so families would have enough space to own a full-size house.

A family of four would have 4339 square feet of land. If the house has two or three stories, that is indeed plenty of space.

Someone asked me, "What about sewage?"

My response: Ideally, there would be a deep hole dug (about the size of a well, but not deep enough to hit water), for each property, and drain contents would enter into the hole. Soil would be added to the hole regularly and the earth would naturally recycle the waste. But that's just the environmentally ideal solution for sewage.

Technically, there is no reason why underground sewage tunnels couldn't still be built and lead to some place to be "treated" or whatever.

I'm interested in learning more about this topic, so if you have an opinions or facts you want to throw out there, please comment.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Board Game Illustration

It's a dream of mine to illustrate book covers of fantasy novels and also to illustrate board games (and creative card games as well.) I love digital painting, and have even decided to create a blog dedicated to talking about my art projects and thoughts on art overall. Perhaps I'll even create tutorials in the future on digital painting.

I went to a board game gathering recently and met a couple board game designers and played their game. I told them I was an artist and was interested in working for them if they needed someone. One of them gave me their card, and I wrote her today:

Awesome Girl,

Hi! I just checked out the website. I'm also a web-designer so I had to check and make sure your site was good. I know a lot of people struggle with online presence because of a poor template, but I was glad to see that your site is perfectly functional, well organized, and designed in such a way that is appropriate, even if it isn't exactly exciting.

I notice your card says you're the "Marketing Director." I'm wondering what methods you're using besides attending board-game meetups and having a card, website and facebook. If you don't have a blog and a twitter, you should consider it. It's a great way to bring attention to yourself and what you're doing and keep people checking back.

(I run five active blogs at a time, as well as a twitter and constantly updating my facebook to keep people traveling to my site. Although I'm mostly trying to spread word about my cause more than what I have to offer in services/products at the moment. When my book is published though, it'll be good that I already have such a well-established online presence.)

My online portfolio is here: http://phoenix-muse.darkfolio.com/

I really hope you're interested in hiring me for something or other because I'm very passionate about board games and really want to get involved in creating them. I've done artwork for logos, websites, an array of graphics for fliers, banners, buttons, shirts, etc, as well as designing countless signs, postcards, business cards, and pamphlets.

I've done custom artwork for tattoos and even for a writer who wanted a drawing of their main character. But I've never done board game illustration for anyone but myself.

I actually have three very extensively designed board games that I created entirely myself, but being a freelance artist doesn't make me the kind of start-up money to even create prototypes of any of games I created. My only prototype was so cheaply created that I couldn't even get into testing it because I'm so aesthetically inclined that playing with a cheap mock-up made the game experience difficult to enjoy.

Even if you don't require an artist, I also can write professionally (as well as creatively), edit, run a twitter and/or blog for your business, create any of the things I named above (for example: new spiffy business cards featuring your next game), or even offer my ideas for new game designs.

Perhaps I'll see you at another meetup soon and we can talk in person more about what your business needs are, what your budget is, what the goals are, and so forth, after you've seen my portfolio and had some time to think about it.

Best wishes, hugs, and a Happy Halloween!

Well, let's hope it develops into something awesome.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Drinking Affects Your Image

I started drinking here and there at the age of fourteen and quit at the age of eighteen. I quit because I realized that how I behaved when I drank was embarrassing, inappropriate, and harmful.

We've all seen someone saying something stupid while they're drunk. That's a no-brainer.

Interestingly, new evidence shows that drinking is bad for your image even if you're not drunk.

According to a working paper from the University of Michigan's Scott Rick and the University of Pennsylvania's Maurice Schweitzer, just holding a glass of alcohol makes you look stupid. Regardless of gender or the type of drink, if people see you drinking, they think less of your intelligence.

"It hurts you," Rick says, a Ph.D. in Behavioral Decision Research.

The study conducted five experiments.

One experiment had people judge photographs of others holding an alcoholic drink, a non-alcoholic one or nothing.

Another experiment tested how persuasive a speech would be if the audience knew the speaker was drinking alcohol or something nonalcoholic.

In both cases, alcohol dimmed the perceived intelligence of the people holding the drinks.

One of the experiments put together job seeking and alcohol. Let's say a potential employer takes you, the potential employee, to dinner. The study shows that when you order a glass of wine or a beer, the employer views you as less desirable; even if the employer orders a drink as well.

Worse still, the study found that when that even if the drink you're holding was ordered for you "the bias still exists," Rick says.

"There are so many associations with alcohol," he adds. And very few of them are positive, as Rick's study reminds us.

I notice that this is true for myself. When I look at other people drinking I think to myself, "What a waste of money," and "What a waste of time," and "Doesn't that person care about their health?" Of course, I also have those thoughts when I see people drinking soda.

~ Raederle Phoenix

Adapted some information from an article written by Paul Kix

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Movie Avatar

I just returned home from seeing Avatar in the theater with my husband. This was Lytenian's first ever movie date. Crazy, I know.

We watched several trailers before choosing a movie last night. I was hesitant about Avatar because the trailer made the movie come off as cliché. Now, the bare bones are cliché; don't get me wrong. But the movie itself was superb.

Firstly, the characters have character. That was not demonstrated in the trailer very well.

Secondly, the animation is phenomenal.

And thirdly, despite doing a play off the ol' pocahontas story-line, there were a number of subplots that were unique in their own right, and a realm that certainly defined itself as an individual with a powerful voice.

I enjoyed it very much and feel that it was very much worth seeing in the theater. The 3D effects were not overdone or hard to watch, as I've experienced with some 3D movies in the past. I never once even noticed the music, so it must have never been out of place or overbearing or missing, since I would have noticed if any of those had been the case.

And of course, lastly, the movie just god-damned beautiful! I need to look up the concept art!

The next day:

Hard to find a site with much by the way of actual concept art. I mostly find a lot of silly fan art and a scattering of shots from the movie. Anyone have a link?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eye Strain

You hear about “eye-strain” and situations where people get headaches so bad that they need absolutely all light cut off from their eyes... But hearing about it just is not the same as experiencing it. Even now, my head is beginning to hurt and I may have to cut this shorter than intended.

I've been away from my computer since Thursday, when my eyes simply quit.

Factors that contributed to my extreme inability to use my eyes;

    • Areo Garden light in very close proximity to my computer screen.

    • Not venturing outside very often; no exposure to full sunlight.

    • An old florescent light-bulb in the kitchen.

    • Reading more often and for longer periods of time than I have in years.

    • Not eating nearly as many carrots as I was for the previous two years.

    • Glasses prescription getting further and further from 'correct' as my eyes worsen.

    • Using my glasses to watch anime on my laptop (with the screen only a few feet away) with my husband while he was sick for many hours a day.

I can't say that any one of those is the cause, because I've been having more and more symptoms for a while. For example;

    • Not being able to play video games for very long without developing a headache.

    • Having to take a break to rest my head after reading a chapter or two of a book.

    • Increased sensitivity to sunlight.

    • An attack of pain which turned into hysterics involving crying and laughing at the same time after using my computer for the majority of the day a couple weeks ago.

    • Increased sensitivity to sounds, especially video-game sound effects and alarms.

    • Increased sensitivity to being in close proximity to a microwave.

Each of these has been growing over time, and I can mark it's progression and worsening right in line with the first list of causes.

The glasses have been far-off the mark for a while now – maybe for an entire year. I've experienced more headaches in the past year than I have previously in my life.

I've been having my trouble with my eyes since I moved here to be with my husband, and that's also when the prolonged exposure to the florescent lights began.

I started experiencing all sorts of sensitivities while my husband was sick, which was while we were watching three or four hours of Full Metal Alchemist of my laptop each night. I didn't think the headaches were really separate from the other issues; such as fatigue and runny nose.

And I'd go on, but my head is beginning to pound, so I will now proceed to input what I wrote while blindfolded. I was desperate to write just for the release I get while writing, so the day before yesterday my husband set up a plain text document for me to try to type in. Unedited, it would be fairly ugly.

Unedited clip, “took me to lots of different pla es today... whiel I was wearing a blindfold..,.”

The blindfolded entry I typed;

This will need a god awful amount of editing later. My [eye] nerves have gone haywire... or I've pulled a muscle in my eye, or something. Jeez, it's so weird not to see anything appearing on the screen in front of me...

It's so tempting to just peek and see [what I'm typing]... but I know that would give my head a lot, a lot, a lot of pain.

My husband took me around everywhere today. He took me to the store. He took me a lot of different places while I was wearing a blindfold. He took me first to CVS and we got me an actual eye-cover. I'm wearing that eye-cover now, technically.

This is
totally not the same without bring able to see what you're writing.


My husband informs me I'm typing in all capitals again... great.

I am sad.

I want to be able to see.

Perhaps I should practice typing more often while wearing a blindfold.


This makes me continually think, “What if I were blind?” Like, it's a non-stop wonderment.

Anyway, the moral of this story is;

Keep raw carrots in your diet.

Don't use glasses for close-up things whenever you can avoid it.

Don't over-use your computer.

Get outside every now and then.

Take care of your body!