Monday, February 10, 2014

Velma beats Daphne – why geek is sexy

Some time ago, I wrote about Geek being the new sexy because I truly believe this is the case. Geeky has become fashionable to the point where the pretty girls are trying to catch up to science whiz kids and guys are starting to realize that you can be attractive, even if you work at a Buy More.

As for the title in this post, in short, Velma is sexier than Daphne. Sure you can focus on the brains, which is the easy call, and you’d be right. A woman with brains to match beauty is most certainly attractive... please check out Natalie Portman, Emma Watson and Danica McKellar for three examples of women who are not only beautiful, but brilliant and who consistently pursue to broaden their intellectual horizons. A good sense of humor also helps, case in point, I think Tina Fey is a marvelous woman. The key is to be yourself, to indulge in what makes you, well you. To be proud of what you have and to make it work because odds are, you’re gorgeous. And in Velma's case, she has it going on, is smart and knows how to rock orange clothes like no other.

As for guys, there’s always been a place for cute geeks to get the girl. John Cusack comes to mind, as does Zachary Levy, and lest we forget Michael J. Fox who also proves that you don’t have to be tall to be attractive. Also note, I chose three guys who aren’t all buff and huge yet are still ridiculously appealing to women.

That’s because real people are attractive. You don’t have to be a mega hunk or super babe to have someone be attracted to you. Some girls like the geeky guy and many men like the shy girls with turtleneck sweaters. There’s a newfound appeal to geeky women because they are more in tune with what they like, because they like to break down barriers, because they can engage in wonderful conversation and because they are attractive beyond their bodies. THEY, as in the whole package, are attractive (looks, personality, likes, quirks and brains).

Being geeky means admitting you like cartoons, you read comics, you know all the lines to Big Trouble in Little China, have seen entire series during the course of a week and can babble on and on about countless topics. It means that you look at the person rather than the clique they belong to. It means you see beauty in skinny bodies or fuller bodies... because our bodies may be what most people see, the thing is that they don’t define us, and regardless, there’s someone who will find you attractive.

I know geeks who have ended up with prom queens and super dorky girls who end up with the hunk. That’s because substance trumps exterior. I think the most important thing to remember though is that to love someone else and let someone else love you, you have to first love yourself. So focus on your quirks, focus on your skinny legs; focus on your fuller cheeks; focus on your freckles and ginger hair, focus on your braces and all those other traits you can’t stand about yourself and realize that someone doesn’t just find you attractive despite of those traits, but that in fact, they actually love those traits about you, because they make you the person who caught their eye.

As for Velma.... seriously, freckles, glasses, knee high socks and mary jane’s? if that ain't sexy, I don't know what is.

So here’s to wearing turtle necks to let imagination do its wonders and to always being yourself, because that’s the best sexiest version of you that you can be.

Peace, love and maki rolls.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Doctors should learn how to tell stories better

Throughout the week, I’ve had quite a few doctor visits and throughout I realized an interesting thing, everyone in every profession should really learn how to tell a story. In my case, I was given a story that worried me, made me and my wife panic although luckily turned out for the better.

Like this, I’ve heard several cases where people insist that doctors have forgotten how to talk to people. There’s such a thing as having tact and there’s such a thing as being humane. From what I’ve seen, it seems doctors in general lack in both even if they have an abundance of knowledge and experience.

Honestly, during the last few days I lost count of how many people told me they had outlived their prognosis. I also lost count of how many people told me how much it annoyed them that their doctors just spat out information. In one case one doctor even told a patient while chuckling: “Well you shouldn’t last the year, but you know how these things go.”

Taking into account my experience and what people have told me, I think it pertinent that doctors be given a storytelling class to learn how to give news. I’m sure it’s a draining job and that after many years you become numb to it, granted. The thing is that patients aren’t numb... ever; actually, they’re often hyper sensitive.

Some time ago I was actually able to talk to some doctors about this and they gave me the flipside. They told me of patients who exaggerate claims, who whine about everything and who need to be spoken to firmly to get them to respond. Still, most of them admitted that a lot of colleagues often just spit out information with no consideration for the patient or their family. They like to give the facts straight. “Sugar coating is for pills,” one of them said. Some also admitted that doctors were often pessimistic in their prognoses for numerous reasons, and one was so that patients didn’t get their hopes up.

That last statement shocked me because last I checked, hope can extend your life by years. My dad beat his prognosis by 5 and a half years and I’ve recently met a long line of patients who have outlived even the best-case scenarios because of hope, because they’re stubborn and because they want to live, not to mention they want to prove a doctor wrong.

So I ask myself, what would happen if a doctor knew how to give news in a nicer way? What would happen if prognoses were given to instill hope rather than kill it... would people live longer?  Would they be happier? Would their stories have better endings?

I’d like to think so. 

Stories of Life and Death

The past week has been quite a change of pace for me since I’ve been under the weather and have had to go to numerous doctor appointments and have studies performed. One of these studies included a CT Scan that luckily showed everything is A-Ok. Still, throughout my visit to the center, I couldn’t help but be amazed by how many storytellers I was surrounded by.

When you are at a high profile imaging center, you may see people who are dealing with countless situations. In my case, I came into contact with 3 cancer patients, 1 heart patient, a man who has survived 6 strokes and a young man who produces kidney stones as if it were a hobby (I’m quoting him on that bit). Each of these people is a storyteller.

What resulted interesting is how the tone of their stories reflected the tone of their body language. A woman who was given 3 months to live, has beat those odds by 8 and a half years and you really have to see this sweet lady to believe her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cancer patient who is so agreeable and nonchalant with her condition. She was like an older version of Ed Rooney’s assistant, Grace, from Ferris Bueller’s day off. Even with cancer metastasized throughout her body and countless chemotherapy sessions and surgical interventions, she was as happy go lucky as could be. Her story was not a sad one; it was a funny one because she kept proving doctors wrong and everyone is going, how the hell is she alive.

Right in front of this wonderful woman was another nice lady, though much darker in disposition. She was trying to laugh it off, still, it was apparent how bitter she was because of the cards dealt and the pain she was enduring. She was angry, cynical and skeptical. Without saying it, she was screaming, look at me, I’m going to die, take a picture it’ll easily last longer than me. Her story was also of cancer though an aggressive type and more localized. Still, she was kind, shared her story and in all honesty, no one deserves to go through cancer.

In addition, I saw a man who postponed heart surgery for over a year. Like many others I heard from, he was given 3 months to live, and he is currently beating the count by 6 years and change. He was a funny old man, skeptical sure, though he was funny and sad at the same time. His tone communicated that he was alive, though he didn’t know for how long, though he didn’t think much. Still, he was going to make the most of it because what other choice does he have.

These three lovely people shared their stories because I was there and was willing to listen and oftentimes, people just need someone to listen to their stories. You don’t need to comment, you don’t even need to share your story, you just need to listen and they’re happy. I can totally relate because although my stories aren’t related to my health, I do love it when I can share them with someone.

So here’s to our stories and to telling them with zeal, detail and style.

Peace, love and maki rolls,


Friday, February 7, 2014

Audible inspiration: Blind Melon

I was truly shattered when Shannon Hoon died, actually much more than when Kurt Cobain died. That has everything to do with my personal views on the way each died and the level to which I connected with each band. Sure, I loved Nirvana like the next grunge kid. The thing is that with Blind Melon I was exposed to some of the most beautiful writing this side of sunshine.

Shannon Hoon was a truly gifted guy who seemed like a ton of fun and reminded me of Elbow’s Guy Garvey in the sense that he wrote earnest lyrics about every day things you could relate to, except in a fashion all his own.

Seemingly ripped from the 60’s or 70’s, Blind Melon gave us two wonderful albums before Shannon passed and to this day I consistently listen to both for musicianship, beauty, fun and lyrics that still strike a chord with me.

You always got the impression Shannon wrote his lyrics in one go, maybe on a series of napkins before he forgot about what he was going to say. He seemed like such a fun guy and hey, I won’t judge anyone who thinks heaven is a party in a field with everyone dressed as a bee.

Even to this day, certain tracks can make me smile against my will. Though the deep thoughtful transcendental moments are also there. Sometimes psychedelic, their music was truly a wonderful medium to travel to places far and hidden while always keeping a Cheshire smile nearby.

Another deep influence in my writing, I was disappointed that Shannon died because after their album Soup, I couldn’t wait for what else they could come up with since as an encore, Soup is the better album and a true 90’s classic if not as popular as their debut.

Still, rain or shine, Mr. Hoon makes his presence felt in my writing and my characters. And yeah, I do like to watch puddles gather rain.

Peace, love and maki rolls.