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A Day In The Life Of Superman

June 21, 2017
I was recently asked by chillmoney.ie what character from the big screen I’d most like to live a day in the life of.

Superman is the greatest super hero because he can fly, is bulletproof, and virtually indestructible unless you happen to have some kryptonite available. Despite all his powers, I was a bigger fan of super heroes like Batman and Wolverine because I felt Superman was too much of a boy scout.

Something that has been on my mind for a while is what I would do if I had Superman’s powers for a day.

As someone that is interested in Astrology and space exploration, the first thing I would do if I had Superman’s powers is fly into space. I would love to go to the moon and explore the site of the lunar landing. I would also love to see some of the other planets and check out the view of earth from space.

After taking a trip to space, I would come back to earth and visit some of the places I have never been to. I would go to places like Mount Everest and the Pyramids in Egypt.

Even though I think Superman is too much of a boy scout, I will use his powers for some good as well. Unlike Superman, I wouldn’t try to destroy all the nuclear weapons in the world since I know it didn’t work out well for him when he tried it in the movies.

Instead, I would destroy all the extremist groups in the world and help rebuild countries that have been damaged by war.

One thing I wouldn’t do is help law enforcement officers with catching regular criminals or firefighters trying to rescue cats from trees. They already get paid to do that so there’s no point in me wasting my time catching petty criminals.

Another thing I don’t get when it comes to super heroes, specifically Superman, is the fact that he does all the good deeds for free. While that is a noble thing to do, there is no way I’m putting in all that work for free.

If I ask the governments of the world to pay me for maintaining peace around the world and they refuse, I will just walk up to bank, break in to the vault, and take what I feel I am owed. I’m obviously not going to hurt anyone, but it would be fun to see how the government reacts. Will they attempt to arrest me or will they accept the fact that there isn’t much they can do about it unless they have some kryptonite?

Since Superman can accomplish all the things I plan to do with his powers in a few hours, I will probably spend the rest of the day picking up women that want to spend some quality time with the Man of Steel instead of sitting around pining for Lois Lane.

Lifestyle

How Does Fear Work?

May 24, 2017

Fear and pain don’t have a great lot in life – they exist solely to be hated, for the betterment of everyone. The way both fear and pain function is by enforcing a highly negative feeling on you to keep you safe from something even far worse – it’s basically the body’s own biological form of tough love, a father who yells and screams at you for leaving your phone at home and acting like a careless child because he simply wants you to be safe.

The way the body basically functions – and this includes fear – is through motivation. Just like how we train animals and each other to perform certain functions through certain forms of motivation, thus does the body guide us in surviving and living. At least, it mostly does. We didn’t exactly live very long a few thousand years ago, so the idea is that we evolved to be careful just long enough to procreate and ensure our offspring’s survival, and that of the tribe’s offspring in general.

Our body does this by rewarding us for exercise, sex, food, etc. and it punishes us for getting hurt and putting our life in danger. When you’re near the summit of a mountain and you shoot a glance down a steep cliff, you’re not being a wimp for feeling an overwhelming urge to relieve yourself – it’s a natural human reaction to avoid steep cliffs. We’re not 100% sure how this works – genetics and epigenetics and evolutionary psychology all play a role here – but the general point is that fear, and consequently, pain, are extremely important and our best friends.

But then, you might ask, why do we work so hard to overcome them if they’re our best friends? And why is fear a natural part of the human psyche when we also subsequently chase thrills and love the rush of adrenaline? Why do dumb and risky things always end up being the most fun anyone could have in life? These are all extremely pertinent questions, so let’s take a good look at them.

How Fear Works

On a purely mechanical basis, fear starts on the outside – well, usually. It begins with a stimulus that kickstarts the chain reaction in your brain causing the actual fear itself to manifest – that stimulus could be a spider, a frightening sound, someone surprising you from behind, or the building anticipation of danger. Fear is unconsciously triggered – that means it just happens, and it’s rather hard to teach yourself not to fear.

It all begins within the brain – five distinct portions of the brain activate in diverse ways to create the natural fight or flight response that fear causes. The basic steps in which fear is generated are as follows:

  • A sensory organ in the body picks up a stimulus which triggers your sense of fear (like an unknown touch surprising you in the dark).
  • The brain interprets the stimuli and determines whether you’re dealing with a possible threat, and stores threatening experiences for future purposes.
  • Finally, your brain pumps the adrenaline into you sending you into a fight or flight response.

Not all fear is interpreted in quite the same fashion, though. For example, if you’re in an abandoned building and you hear a sound off in the distance, you might take a slow and careful approach to better assess the threat, if there even is one. Maybe it was just the wind knocking something over.

On the other hand, if you see someone running at you with a knife, you don’t assess any further. You turn around and bolt out of there as fast as possible – even if it turns out that that wasn’t a knife, and they were just running up to greet someone else.

We’re careful creatures all things considered, so our natural response isn’t to confirm beyond a doubt whether something is dangerous – it’s to assume that it is if it even just seems to be, and to subsequently get the hell out of dodge before doing anything else.

Getting the hell out of dodge involves the body’s natural fight or flight response. This is basically a reaction from the sympathetic nervous system as per the brain to activate a bunch of functions in your body to release certain chemicals into the bloodstream, particularly norepinephrine and epinephrine, otherwise known as noradrenaline and adrenaline.

Dubbed stress hormones, adrenaline and other chemicals like cortisol basically tell your body that it must work overtime to save your life – investing a little bit more into your body now so you can live through the danger tomorrow. Several things happen – quite often, if the danger is high enough, you relieve yourself by emptying your bladder and rectum to lighten the load and make it easier for you to get away. Your muscles tense and your heart rate pumps up to quickly increase the amount of circulation in your body and make you stronger, faster, more responsive.

Because of these reactions, some people actively seek out fear. They enjoy horror movies and horror games, much like spice lovers seek out hotter foods and thrill chasers seek out extreme activities. To most, fear is meant to be a deterrent – to some, the rush of getting scared and the feeling after the moment of fear itself arrives is worth pursuing.

All in all, it’s extremely fascinating. But, it’s not exactly a foolproof system.

Why We Overcome Fear

Our brains are incredibly complex, filled with over a hundred billion neurons, and designed to be flexible and plastic enough to learn languages, master mathematical concepts, figure out complex cultural phenomenon, pick up on humor and memorize countless bits of information while still retaining basic instincts and common human social cues.

However, as Zachary Ament from Westwind Recovery Residences said, “despite how complex we are at birth, our needs and priorities as individuals have changed massively over the different eras of human civilization. And that aside, fear is meant to be a failsafe – just because we’re scared of doing something doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. It just means that there’s a good chance we’ll get hurt doing it, and we should take that into consideration before making a choice.

Look at it this way. A warning isn’t meant to make you stop doing something, it’s meant to help you understand the dangers of doing it. Fear is like pain, but it’s not quite always the same. Pain is a surefire deterrent except in cases of nerve damage and psychosomatic pain, whereas fear can be irrational, born or trained into you by an unfortunate event that doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect real risk. If you were bitten by one aggressive untrained dog as a child, then you might develop a fear of dogs, even though most dogs are docile and bred specifically to interact and help human beings.

You’ll never totally overcome fear, and that’s fine – you’re meant to be able to react to threats and dangers, and any dog lover can attest to the fact that if a stranger’s grown Pitbull dashes towards you, there always the chance it won’t be a friendly encounter. However, you can temper your reactions, and build better reflexes. Instead of fearing the edge of a cliff, you can learn to balance, climb and overcome your natural fear of heights. By interacting with spiders, you can learn to escort them outside without having to resort to killing them in your home.

There are plenty of advantages to tempering your fears if only to make you a more rational person. While fear is meant to make you consider the odds, it’s usually very instinctive – we tend to even become aggressive when confronted by what we fear, our mind reduced to a singular thought: eliminate or get away from the threat.

Fear Gone Wrong

A major aspect of fear is that it’s meant to protect us – but like an overprotective father, fear can sometimes just go a little bit too far and cause us to worry and fret over threats and problems that don’t even exist, to begin with. This is the case with anxiety, a large spectrum of mental disorders related to fear and worry. Usually, when we worry, it’s another function meant to help us avoid death and pain. We worry for our children because we’re meant to keep them safe. We worry about a plane crashing because we’ve heard a lot about that and know that it’s a danger we’re entirely powerless to stop, no matter how miniscule the chances.

But in cases of anxiety, the brain worries more than normal. Far more than normal. Whereas it’s normal to worry about a plane crashing when you’re in one and you run into some turbulence, an arachnophobia, for example, has you worried about spiders a random and brings you back to terrifying thoughts of spiders in the least opportune of times.

Another common example is a fear of heights. It’s normal to fear extreme heights, as I mentioned earlier, but there’s a large gap between that and basically fearing to stand on a step ladder. When a fear goes from practical threat assessment and common sense to crippling levels of terror over a non-existent threat, you know you’ve got trouble.

An anxiety disorder can only be diagnosed by a psychiatric professional, but anxiety is best described as a fear-based nervous emotion that interferes with your everyday life, at times causing panic attacks where your body goes into a severe fight or flight reaction without any actual stimuli to cause it.

Anxiety can be treated, but the length and type of treatment differ from individual to individual based on their circumstances and the factors that determine the anxiety. In other words, if it’s something like post-traumatic stress, then trauma therapy and certain techniques like brainspotting can help a patient relive repressed memories and find the psychological closure needed to end the anxiety. In some cases, like hereditary social anxiety, therapy and medication can help a person regain control over their emotions and stop feeling unnecessary fear – but the exact effectiveness is never guaranteed.

Anxiety is quite common, affecting over 40 million Americans. That’s 18 percent of the US population, nearly one fifth of the country. Those struggling with anxiety are at risk of developing other related mental disorders, and they’re at risk of maladaptive behavior – things like substance abuse, or reckless behavior.  

Fear and Obsession

Another form of anxiety is an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. Unlike what pop culture might have you believe, seeing a tile out of place isn’t exactly an OCD-trigger – at least not for most people. OCD is a disorder wherein you’re trapped in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. An obsession is an intrusive thought, just like anxiety – one that triggers an extreme feeling of discomfort, paranoia or even terror. Compulsions are behaviors used to soothe that feeling and combat or decrease the obsession – they’re a sort of reactive self-medication, a form of therapy many patients suffering from obsessive thoughts use to get away from them.

An OCD diagnosis is met when a person’s obsessions and compulsions become so extreme that they go from a harmless quirk to an obtrusive and difficult lifelong obstacle, taking precedence over work, friendships, and life in general.

OCD’s relation to fear and anxiety is the nature of the obsession, which is a triggering thought coming out of nowhere producing feelings of terror. Instead of running away from the threat, OCD patients deal with their obsession through their chosen compulsion, be it counting the number of times they brush their teeth, the number of times they close a door or some other ritual.

Fear is useful. Just like pain, wishing for all your fear to go away isn’t really in your best interest. Fear isn’t just fearing something – it’s basically reacting optimally to a danger you can’t totally identify. However, when fear becomes just a little too much – when you find yourself struggling in the face of anxiety – that’s when it’s important to know exactly how to overcome and fight back.

Lifestyle

Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home This Summer

May 22, 2017

As summer approaches, one of the things we start to think about is our home décor and any changes we want to make. After a long grey winter, it’s a great idea to refresh your home, making it somewhere you can relax, entertain, and get excited about again. Here are some great ideas on easy ways you can refresh your home ready for summertime.

Paint

Painting your walls is an easy way to brighten the room. Newly painted walls look clean and fresh but take minimum effort. Try to stick to light colours for maximum effect.

Let Some Air In

The easiest way to refresh your home for summer is to let summer in. Open your blinds and curtains as much as possible to make the most of the extra natural light. This not only makes your room brighter but it will also improve your mood and help wake you up in the morning. Then, open your windows as often as you can, or at least some part of every day. Opening your windows will instantly make your home smell and feel fresher. If you’ve got high up windows you struggle to open, installing actuators or openers from Teal Products could be a great help.

Accessories

Changing your home’s accessories or adding some extras can be an easy way to make your décor look totally different. Some cool ideas include cushions, throws, blankets, wall hangings, artwork, shelving, ornaments and photo frames. If you are on a budget check out some things you could create yourself.

Declutter

Decluttering your home can make it look better, decrease your stress levels, and make it safer. Work in one room at a time and have a big clear out. Throw away, sell, or donate anything you don’t need or want. You could even try the Marie Kondo method of getting rid of everything that doesn’t bring you joy. Then, make sure anything you’ve got left has a home and is kept neatly.

Spring Clean

Once you’ve decluttered and everything is tidy, get cleaning. Again, work room to room starting at the top and working down to the floors. Clean everything, especially those hard to reach or difficult jobs you rarely do. This will make your home look and smell better, improve the atmosphere, and make you feel great.

Don’t Forget the Garden

With summer approaching, you’re bound to be using your garden more so don’t forget about it. Again, start with a declutter and a clean. Then, make any repairs that need doing before planting, adding decorations, and buying any new furniture or accessories you need.

Even on a small budget, there are great ways to make some small changes to your home. Summer is the ideal time as you don’t have to worry about the weather and you may have some extra free time. A great way to start is to walk around your home making a list of everything you would like to get done this year. Then, set yourself a budget and prioritise before getting started.

 

Lifestyle

Take a Fantastic Road Trip for Less

February 26, 2017

Organizing a great road trip these days is a lot simpler than one might imagine. First of all, it is way easier to plan than things used to be. Secondly, navigating is a cinch, thanks to new technology. Finally, best of all, you can save a ton on car rentals thanks to brand new offerings from reliable companies you can trust.

Making plans for your road trip is a lot easier than things used to be because you have the power of the Internet at your fingertips. Rather than having to read travel guides, ask a network of acquaintances if they know anything about a locale, and look up information in an encyclopedia or other information source, just head online and search for information about your destinations. You will find that a ton of search results come back to you with ease.

Navigating is so much easier than in the past, too. No longer do you need to flip through pages of maps while parked on the roadside. Those maps were not always up to date anyway, which often led to confusion and frustration with your road trip on pause. Instead, simply input your next destination into your GPS and you are off. Even better, while planning, you can use virtual maps to optimize your entire road trip for the best sight seeing possible.

Just getting started is so much easier in the age of the Internet. You can rent a fantastic vehicle from Dollar Rent A Car thanks to its partnership with Groupon Coupons. Dollar and Groupon are offering 10% off coupons, 20% off codes, 15% off both weekly and weekend rentals, and much more. All this with the simple click of a button – and the offers are updated regularly. Check out the great deals Dollar is offering, and you will be behind the wheel in no time at all.

If you have been intimidated by taking a road trip in the past, now is the perfect time to set off into the sunset. Enjoy a road trip like none other with just the simplest bit of planning and the easiest, most affordable rental you could imagine.

Lifestyle

Engaging Team Building Event Idea In Canada Ottawa

February 22, 2017

Corporate events and team building functions are a great way to give your employees or colleagues a break from their normal work routine, and instill some trust in your group. If your company is located in Ottawa or the surrounding areas, Bad Axe Throwing is a great alternative to traditional team building functions and corporate events.

Bad Axe Throwing was founded in 2014, and has since expanded to over 10 locations in Canada and the United States. The company offers people an opportunity to learn how to properly throw an axe in a safe, monitored environment, and has become one of the fastest growing activities in Canada.

Since team building functions are designed to help a group work better together, learning how to throw an axe is a very unique and fun way to help the group build teamwork.

The axe throwing coaches will show your group how to throw an axe while giving tips and explaining how the tournament scoring system works. After that, group members will take turns throwing axes.

Even if you have never picked up an axe before, the team will show you the proper technique to use and you will be throwing like a veteran lumberjack in no time!

Guests are encouraged to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. This helps to keep the cost low and appeal to your accounting team.

Since Bad Axe Throwing specializes in corporate events, team building exercises and private parties, they can handle large groups as well as small ones.

The goal is to learn how to throw an axe and have fun with friends and colleagues, but the company also does their part in helping the local community. Bad Axe Throwing has hosted fundraisers in collaboration with The Ottawa Food Bank and The Ottawa Snowsuit Fund to help the less fortunate.

If you are planning a corporate or team building event in Ottawa, you can book directly on their website. You can also book by calling 1-888-435-0001.

Featured, Lifestyle

Getting creative with home DIY projects

February 21, 2017

Do you like to try your hand at a bit of DIY? It’s amazing how many things we end up paying for other people to do for us when we could handle them perfectly well by ourselves. Fixing up your own home is fun and it’s really satisfying to be able to sit back and think “I made that!” Although you should always prepare carefully and seek advice where possible, many home DIY projects are easier than they look, so what are you waiting for?

Revamp your old wooden furniture

Do you have wooden furniture in your home that just looks tired? Unless it’s well looked after, wood loses its spirit after a while, and sadly this often leads to it being thrown out when simply giving it a new finish could bring it back to life. Simply sand off the old finish and you’ll be ready to go. You could paint it in a bright colour that compliments your décor, or add a touch of metallic paint for a more glamorous look. Wood stains are easy to use and can give old wood a rich, vivid colour that makes it look like new again. You can also use coloured waxes to get just the shade you want whilst creating a smooth, shining surface that will protect the wood against future damage.

Install window shutters

Why stick with bulky curtains that cut out lots of light even when they’re open, when you could fit stylish new DIY shutters in their place? There are styles available to suit most shapes of window and although they don’t require a lot of work to fix up, they can dramatically change the look of your home. Shutters are easy to paint so you can change the colour of them quickly and cheaply whenever you want to redecorate. They add to the security of your home and they can be particularly helpful if you have toddlers or pets who like to chew on or pull the curtains.

Make a rag rug

If you find it difficult to heft big pieces of wood around or climb about on ladders, there are still ways that you can get involved in DIY. Making a rag rug is easy to do and you can even get your children involved in it. You will need a piece of hessian cloth to use as backing and you may find it easier to work with pliers, though many people just use their hands. Simply cut small strips of cloth from old clothes, curtains or similar items and weave them into the cloth, then repeat the process so that the colourful pieces of cloth build up and the hessian is no longer visible. You can make these rugs in many shape, colour or pattern you want, to suit your home.

Revive your old sofa

Are you tired of your saggy old sofa but not sure you can afford a new one? The pieces of foam used to stuff sofas can be purchased very cheaply online, and it’s easy to add more, or replace the old stuffing entirely, so that your sofa feels firm again. You might also consider re-covering it so that it looks bright and fresh. Any sturdy fabric will do for this but it’s advisable to find one that’s easy to clean. Put zips in the covers you make so that you can easily take them on and off to put them in the washing machine.

Build a bird box

If you’re enjoying working on your own home, why not make somebody else a home and keep t in your garden? With songbird populations in decline, bird boxes are a big help. They’re simple to put together but there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, give the box a sloping roof so the rain slides off it. Second, make sure it’s weatherproof. Third, make sure that hole for going in and out of it is no more than an inch in diameter – big enough for the birds but small enough to keep out predators. Finally, position it somewhere that’s not too exposed but where it’ difficult for cats to wait in ambush.

Projects like this are a great way for you to polish up your DIY skills and do something creative at the same time. They’re fun to do and everybody in the family can get involved. Getting to grips with DIY will really make you feel that your home belongs to you, when you know that a lot of the great things about it are a product of your own hard work.

Lifestyle

3 Ways to Decorate Your Dining Area and Make it Look More Fabulous

February 20, 2017

The dining area at home is very important. It is where you and your family share good moments together. You enjoy good stories and hearty laughs as a family. This is why you need to make sure that it looks amazing. You need to make everyone feel comfortable when they are dining. Here are the best ways for you to decorate the dining area.

  1. Go for a minimalistic approach. This works all the time. The dining area should be a place where everyone will just sit down and eat. It doesn’t make sense if you throw in a lot of items inside. You have to keep the decorations simple but lovely. Besides, you will appreciate more your time together as a family if there is nothing there that obstructs you. It is also easier to appreciate the food that you have prepared.
  2. Use drawers and cabinets. It helps if you have drawers and cabinets installed. They will keep everything organised. You avoid having a messy home when these cabinets are used. You want to eat without thinking about plates scattered around the area. You can keep them inside the drawer when not in use.
  3. Buy a vintage dining table. Using a vintage industrial dining table is definitely the best way to spruce up the ordinary look of your dining area. You can even throw in some industrial chairs to match the table. You might think that it looks old and it does not make sense. The truth is that it still looks amazing. Such items are classic and timeless. It is like taking your entire family back to the past. The good thing about this is that they will be more in the mood to just sit down and eat. They will stop using their phones. If you are in a setting that takes you to the past, you will surely follow the practices and traditions of people who have lived in that period.

After decorating your dining area, you will be more excited about gathering your family and eating together. Rest assured if you choose high quality furniture, you can expect it to last for a long time. You can check it out online if you think there are not so many options available in local stores. You may also go for a more unusual approach, where you mix and match different types of tables and chairs in the dining area without uniformity. The randomness will surely make this whole idea more exciting.

Finally, the part of your house where you used to just sit down, eat and leave has become a more special place for everyone.

Lifestyle

How Best to Choose a Freestanding Bath

February 10, 2017

It’s easy to appreciate a freestanding bath – they are often the focal point of the room, and are inherently attractive and beautiful in their own right. If you have a freestanding bath in your bathroom, you can instantly transform the look of the room and benefit from all the conveniences a freestanding bath brings. But it’s not that easy to choose a freestanding bath – after all, you can’t go with looks alone. Some practical factors need to be considered as well. Here’s how best to choose a freestanding bath.

Styles

First of all, there are many different freestanding bath styles from which to choose.  The most easily recognisable is the claw-foot style, which is raised from the flooring of the bathroom with ‘feet.’ Some claw-foot styles are more modern, with geometrically-shaped feet rather than claw feet.

Another style is the pedestal style, where the bath sits on a platform or base. The corner or wall-backed freestanding bath style, on the other hand, is just as its name implies: it can be placed in a corner of the bathroom or against the wall, and it can be a good choice for smaller bathrooms. Some freestanding bath styles are also just made to stand directly on the bathroom floor, and these types of freestanding baths are noticeably chic and modern.

Materials

You also have some choices when it comes to materials. Acrylic is one popular choice in material as it is strong and light-weight. It can also be made resistant to fading and scratching, and it’s also easy to maintain. If an acrylic bath is lightly scratched, all it needs is some buffing to repair the scratch. Solid surface is another common material for freestanding baths and known for being strong and sturdy. It can also resist scratches and stains, and can be repaired through professional polishing and sanding. Another material for freestanding baths is cast iron. Although this material is long-lasting, it can be quite heavy and may require additional floor support.

Other important considerations

When choosing a freestanding bath, you have to make sure that you can bathe comfortably in it – in other words, that you and other members of your family will fit. To determine this, look at the measurement of the bath’s bottom, especially the width and length of the bath floor. You also have to make sure that the freestanding bath will be able to fit through your home’s hallways and doors. Installing it in the proper manner is also a major consideration, so have it installed by professionals. The drains should also be chosen carefully, as you have the option to have it either hidden or exposed. The same goes for the taps – you have three main options: a freestanding tap, a deck-mounted tap, and a wall-mounted tap. Make sure to choose the best one for your needs and according to the recommendations of a professional plumber.