Lucky Charms and Superstitions at the Casino

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Just came back from a casino with the parentals and sis. Now, I’m not a gambler. The most I would do are the penny slot machines. So, that’s where I headed to spend my $10 and keep myself preoccupied until my parents are done with their slots as well.

I go about my business next to this lady who obviously has been there in the casino for a long time trying her luck. I did notice she had her superstition of trying to stay on Lady Luck’s good side. After every time she played a bet she has to swipe the glass screen as if she was trying to unlock her iPhone screen. And I mean every time. She hits the bet button then she would swipe the screen. At first she was a little shy about it, but I made sure to not glance her way so she wouldn’t see I was observing her swiping.

Walking around the floor trying to look for my parents I notice a lot of quirks of trying to be lucky. Some don’t cross arms, legs, or even fingers. Can’t cross any part of you because you are blocking the good luck from you. Some bring an article that they deem lucky. Maybe a handkerchief or object of some kind. Then, there are those who take aura from others they believe bring them luck. Maybe have their first-born with them on their lap, or they have to touch the hand of lucky Aunt Jill. The opposite can happen as well. Bad luck strikes when your cousin pats you on the shoulder because you were winning, and your streak quickly ends. Then, you have the shifters who shift from machine to machine until they find the lucky one. They also wait to jump into a machine that’s been unlucky to someone, hoping they will be the one to break the unlucky streak.

My sister and I ended up chilling at the bar and wondered how random and lucky slots really are. Are they really random, or are they rigged? How lucky do you really get? Or do they just let you win just enough to make you feel good? Is it really luck or chance? Because it can’t be a game of skill. No matter what it be, it does get addicting hoping to win a rich reward. You’ll never know your luck unless you try.

By the way, I came out even. Got me my $10 back.

40 Kindness Secrets

Uplift your day. Here’s some loving to add sweetness to life.

Kindness Blog

PostSecret is an ongoing community mail art project with a hugely popular website, created by Frank Warren, where people from all over the world mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. 

Sometimes uplifting, frequently poignant, the postcards cover every imaginable theme; love, loss, gratitude, friendship, life, death, relationships and Kindness…

kindness,

kindness,

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindnesspostsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

postsecret kindness

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postsecret compassion

postsecret compassion

postsecret compassion

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“My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”

I’m glad I got to read this, and I hope others who are going through hardships do, too. It’s a very realistic advice. It’s neither harsh nor sugar-coated, but a very truthful and realistic point of view of what it feels like to go through a hardship, but also what it’ll feel as you survive and weather the storm.

Kindness Blog

the grief cycleAlright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not.

I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes.

My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it…

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Never Let Go Of The Good Days

Never let it go index card

I don’t have cable. I’m quite content with just the antenna on my TV getting regular channels. I admit I miss watching the cable channels, like Food Network, but I just don’t have the time to watch as much TV as I really would like. So, I’m content with just watching the news before work and before bed, and whatever shows are on to keep me occupied for a couple of hours a day. Notably, the news is dominated by the day’s crimes, disasters, catastrophes: murder, corruption, natural disasters, diseases, etc. I understand why my sister chooses to not watch the news as much as I do.

Which is why it warms my heart when I hear those rare good stories on the news, or commercials featuring acts of kindness, or posts on a social network such as the one featured. It reminds me that there is still good in the world, and it is right for me to keep faith in both humanity and life. It serves as a reminder that you just have to look for those good things, like a hot cup of tea or a small fire, and hang on to them. Coz we always notice the bad things, the things that put a dent on our normal routine. It helps to remember the good times, to “hold on to the warmth and never let it go.” Life happens.

(Photo taken from Tumblr. Origin unknown.)

Weary Travelers and the Virtue of “It Is What It Is”

Post-vacation means there’s a lot of things that need to get done pronto waiting for you when you get back. This whole polar vortex delaying and cancelling nearly the entire North America’s traveling plans reminds me of my own travels over the holiday break.

Over the holidays, my parents and I decided to head to Las Vegas for New Year’s. We were to take the train from the Bay Area down to Oxnard to meet my uncle there, then drive to Las Vegas the following day. However, this (what was supposed to be a) simple 8-hour train ride was beset with so many delays and problems, that it took us 13-hours instead, and we arrive at Oxnard past 11pm instead of the original arrival time of 7pm.

Here’s a quick recap of everything that could’ve gone wrong and went wrong:

1. Train arrives more than an hour late. Instead of 8:45am, it arrives past 10am.
2. The food bar runs out of some food and supplies.
3. The train runs slower than expected for a good couple of hours, only to find out that…
4. One of the two engines pulling our train is busted. We stop at one of the stations for a bit to see if the engineers on board can fix it.
5. Nope, they can’t. However, we need that second train in order to get up and over the mountains to go to Southern California. So…
6. They call in for help from the Union Pacific. We have to try to meet them in the middle of nowhere somewhere on our way down south. Hopefully, by the time we get to the meeting place they are there already as well.
7. Of course, they are not. Now, we’re just sitting in the middle of nowhere. It is night time and you can’t see anything outside. We feel like sitting ducks, waiting for a bandits on horses to take over our train like in the old western movies.
8. The second engine (which is apparently the electrical one) gives out. No electricity, so it means we’re all sitting in the dark.
9. Some time around after 8pm the Union Pacific arrives. The entire train is shut off so that it can be connected. This process apparently takes a while to make sure the connections are properly set.
10. After this entire ordeal, we arrive at Oxnard instead of 7pm but a little after 11pm. The trip took 13 hours.

Throughout all this I’ve witnessed how different people of different backgrounds handle public transportation and the stress of delays and out-of-our-hands problems.

1. Elderly woman sitting across the aisle complains multiple times to the train crew member that she is freezing. Worker tells her multiple times he does not control the overall cabin temperature. She has a jacket on. She then moves on to complain multiple times about the delays and that she now demands a refund. Finally, the crew member gets frustrated at her and tells her straight that he has no control of the situation and there is no way she’s getting a refund at this precise moment and she has the freedom to call the 1-800 number. This whole time her husband is chuckling at his wife, and has read two books throughout the entire ride.
2. Two guys we meet at the lounge make jokes as we’re sitting in the dark. One of them, though, starts getting irritated as the night goes on because he’s a couple of hours delayed on smoking a cigarette. If he knew we’d be stuck in the middle of nowhere for this long he would’ve gotten off the last station we were in for a quick puff. The other guy chuckles at first as we make jokes, but gets more and more silent as the other guy starts becoming more and more irritated and starts to voice his frustrations.
3. Mom sitting next to me is actually pretty decent. She takes this train often to visit her daughter in San Francisco from her Oxnard home. Apparently, there was one time they were stuck in the middle of nowhere for five hours because a car was trying to beat the train but hit it instead. We make light of the situation, and come to an understanding that with the situation we are in it is what it is. No point in fussing since we cannot do anything about it. We did admit that it is frustrating and we wish it didn’t happen. But, what can we do? We’re sure the conductor is trying his best and not just playing Angry Birds. We traded stories of our holidays, and also any other traveling nightmares we’ve been through.

The whole ordeal was crazy. Definitely not a good way to start your vacation off. But, when (bleep) hits the ceiling is when people’s true personalities come out. It’s when things don’t go as planned when things get interesting; seeing how people interact with the situation and with one another. There are those whose hot heads explode. A lot of yelling emanate from them, negativity, anger and rudeness. Then, there are the complainers who will just talk and talk about what they think is the obvious problem and the obvious solution, and their frustrations at why nobody is doing what they think should be done. Then, there are those who try to be the solution by getting involved directly. They ask questions, give suggestions, try to be hands-on and see what they can do to make the situation better (or worse).

I admit I’ve been at least once of each of those on several occasion. However, with this circumstance I was the quiet type who leaned back and waited for things to unfold. What was the point of blowing up? It wouldn’t have made the situation any better. We were stuck in a metal cylinder in the middle of nowhere until help arrived. It is what it is. It wouldn’t have done any good to complain and voice frustration. Sure, it would have made me feel better. Plus, there’s the whole freedom of speech thing. But, it would have only created more negativity and fueled more anger, which would not help with the situation. I know nothing about trains, so it’s not like I have advice or solutions to offer. So, in this circumstance all I did was patiently wait. I got to know strangers and share stories, like as if we were in the same platoon that’s going through a lull during a big battle. There was no escaping the situation. Unfortunately, there’s no way out of the train, literally (the train door was a few feet off the ground). So, I learned the virtue of “it is what it is” and accepted the situation until it resolved itself. Ended up reading a book and a half, met a few good people, had a few laughs, and took a couple of naps. It’s amazing how as a kid I refused to nap, and now it’s a blessing whenever you’re lucky to get it.

23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23

My comment: Looking back at my yearbook and my high school classmates’ Facebooks and other social network, quite a bit of them have gotten married either right after high school or college. There seems to be a checklist in life of what “success” and “happiness” are suppose to be. I’m glad to say I am not one of them – the married young and raising kids in your early 20s. I’m sure they’re happy with their decisions, and I’m nobody to judge. But, it’s just not for me. Not at this point in my life anyway. I’m glad to still be exploring, traveling, and getting to know the world.

For all you young ones out there that need a bit of nudging, or some sort of direction in life, this blog post is for you. Why jump right in to a 9-5 job in a cubicle? Why jump into changing diapers or driving to soccer practices? We don’t need to know what the hell we’re doing. What we do know is to learn about and develop ourselves. This is the time in our lives. While our counterparts are doing their husbandly/wifely/fatherly/motherly duties, why don’t you go and kiss a stranger?

Wander Onwards

Marriage

As 2013 wraps up, I’ve been noticing more and more people getting engaged and/or married under the age of 23.

I get it.

It’s cold outside… you want to cuddle and talk about your feelings… life after graduation is a tough transition… so why not just cut to the chase and get married, right?  It’s hip. It’s cool. You get to wear clothing that wouldn’t normally be socially acceptable at the dive bar you frequent with the $5 beers.  Eff it. YOLO. YOMO! You only marry once…

Oh wait.

The divorce rate for young couples is more than twice the national average. Divorce is no longer a staple in a midlife crisis, but rather, something that SEVENTEEN Magazine should probably be printing on. Headlines could read,

“How to budget for your prom AND your wedding in the same year!”

“What’s HOT: Kids raising Kids.”

“Why your Mom doesn’t really…

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An Open Letter To The Lost.

My comment: Suicide is not just for the depressed. It’s for anyone who feels hopeless. It’s for those who truly genuinely feel that everything and everyone is just going against them. It’s when you truly feel that there is no way out, and there is no future to look forward to. This blog post successfully shows the emotion of suicide: what it feels when you contemplate that option, and the emotions that run through the ones you leave behind.

Please help raise awareness about suicide. For those who do not understand, do not hastily judge that it’s a mental condition, or a breakdown of some sort. Far from it. It is what could be the end of a long struggle, a losing battle, and suicide might be the only option they think they have when all others have failed.

You've Been Hooked!

This is for everyone out there who is currently hearing the whispers of desperation, the call of the void reaching out to them, even in the places we hide.

My name is Robert and I have something to say. I live in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, a place of great natural beauty surrounded by the trappings of humanity. (Yes, parts of Niagara are ridiculously tacky, but on the plus side, Rob Ford isn’t our mayor and we’re not bankrupt like Detroit.) Every day we welcome strangers to our home; everyone is greeted with a smile and the hand of friendship. We never turn anyone away and regardless of how these strangers feel when they leave, one thing is certain: No one is unaffected by the unimaginable power of the Falls themselves.

The rushing waters are a symbol of purity and power and as they fall to the earth below they…

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The Art of Giftwrapping and Dating

My Note: I had every intention to write this blog before the holidays, when the red cups start making their way to our every day coffee, the jingle bells start…jingling, and the crazies start fighting over the last cart or last parking lot. Needless to say, I didn’t get to start writing until a few days after Christmas. And now, it’s New Years Day. It’s still relevant, though.

The holiday season brings all kinds of emotions within us – of happy times we celebrate with loved ones, of feelings we feel when we see the lights or smell the scent of peppermint hot chocolate, or of memories we once shared with someone we wish were still in our lives. One of the things I look forward to is wrapping presents. A lot of people despise wrapping gifts. It’s definitely not for everyone. Decisions have to be made at every turn. What kind of gift wrapper do you buy? The design definitely matters. It’s the first thing that the receiver sees. Do you go for the expensive glittery kind, or just the regular cheap paper? Then, do you wrap a ribbon around it and go an extra mile with a bow? All of these to wow the person you’re giving the gift to, to make them feel special and deserving of whatever amazing is contained inside. I actually take time and effort into gift wrapping.

When you’re in the dating scene, how you present yourself is the same as being covered in gift wrap. So much judgement is placed based on how people perceive you. Dating, I’m learning, is mainly how people perceive you depending on their requirements and experiences in life. We all try to present ourselves to be as attractive as possible. Physically alone is a big deal. Let’s be honest, we all judge a book by its cover at first. Is his haircut too funky? Why are his eyes not equidistant to his nose? He looks too much like my cousin.

I just recently watched “The Ugly Truth” on one of those late nights you just can’t sleep for no apparent reason and the only options you have on TV are random movies or infomercials on skin tightening or some cookware. For those who haven’t seen the film it’s your typical cliche movie about bad boy guy who teaches good girl how to date, they go through some crap, there’s a love triangle, and everything smooths out in the last ten minutes of the movie for both to fall in love. There is one bit that really caught my attention as I’m trying to resist the urge to look for ice cream. Katherine Heigl pisses off Gerard Butler, who goes on a short rant and says the following:

That’s crap. They say they want romance, they say they want true love, but all they want is a check list. Is he perfect? Is he handsome? Is he a doctor? For you men who fit the criteria, don’t kid yourselves. Cuz they’re not sleeping with you, they’re sleeping with a carefully calculated set of venal choices. Money over substance, looks over soul, polished over principles. No gesture, no matter how real or romantic will ever compensate for a really impressive list of credentials.

That rant basically hit the core. It’s true. Dating is a carefully calculated set of choices, and the choices we make are based on the credentials of the other person. The other person boils down to nothing but a checklist. Only after they pass with flying colors (or no colors depending on circumstances and desperation) do we learn to look past their flaws as they look past ours. I, for one, now admit to this. I am guilty of doing this. Even with first glance of a person I can see my brain zooming through my checklist to make sure they fit a general criteria I have made up in my head. But, I will say this to defend myself: my criteria, my judgements, my checklist, I can honestly say, are not superficial. Rather, they are made based on my past experiences in being in a failed relationship. The ugly truth is, I am who I am because this is who I became. This is not who I was four years ago. Never would I have imagined I would be this, now.

Funny thing about wrapping gifts: so much time is placed on wrapping the gifts, but it only takes mere seconds to ravage through the gift wrap to get to the gift itself. Then, just because it’s been wrapped ever so delicately with ravishing decorative paper does not necessarily guarantee you get what you want. Such, is the ironic similarity with dating. You never know what you’ll get.