The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Coping with Anger and Frustration: Ten Articles That Help

Constructive approaches to destructive
emotions
There are times when we all have setbacks that leave us emotionally battered and seething. There are other times when people or circumstances are just so deeply disappointing we want to scream. So, the question arises, what does one do with this white hot mess when it rises up inside? How do we cope. Here are some articles I hope will help you ... and me. Let's explore them together.

Realsimple.com provides sixteen ways of coping with different types of anger and frustration: http://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/best-manage-your-anger

Lifehack has some good methods of dealing with the frustration arising out of anger. I'm doing one of them this very moment: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/six-great-ways-to-vent-your-frustrations.html

The American Psychological Association has some very good advice on dealing with anger AND explode the poisonous myth that "letting it all hang out" is healthy or in any way good: http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx

I found this advice from the APA particularly valuable in my circumstances:
Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it'll help you get a more balanced perspective. Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don't get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, "I would like" something is healthier than saying, "I demand" or "I must have" something. When you're unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. Some angry people use this anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't mean the hurt goes away.
Helpguide.org also has some wonderful tips, particularly on bullying: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/anger-management.htm
True power doesn’t come from bullying others. People may be afraid of you, but they won’t respect you if you can’t control yourself or handle opposing viewpoints. Others will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a respectful way.
The Mayo Clinic provides ten excellent tips for dealing with anger too: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/anger-management/art-20045434

Kidshealth.org has advice that is short and sweet: http://kidshealth.org/teen/expert/emotions/bully_stress.html

WebMD has me talking to myself (in a good way): http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/overcoming-frustration-and-anger-topic-overview

Mind Tools has some great techniques to implement at work for anger, frustration, worry, the whole range: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_41.htm

Love Our Children USA has anger management tips for parents on those really frustrating days: http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/parent_controlanger.php

Penn Behavioral Health has a very valuable PDF file for coping with anger and frustration in the workplace: http://www.pennbehavioralhealth.org/documents/handling_anger_and_frustration_at_work.pdf

There you have it. Ten articles on helping us cope with those really awful days where everything seems to be going wrong. Take a deep breath, sit back, relax, and read through these. Those constructive steps will start you down the right path. Take care of yourself and those you love. Peace.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Imaginative Sign for an Amazing Hobby Shop

This truly imaginative sign has always caught my attention on my way home from work. Yesterday, I stopped, took these pictures as the sun was lowering, and went into the shop. While it was the sign that first spoke to me and drew me in, the shop is truly amazing. Downstairs is a hobby shop like the one I haunted in the 1970s, full of models to build, paints to bring them to life with, accessories to make the experience complete, and the apparently mandatory case full of models assembled and painted by some adult pro who manages to make them look like real life miniatures (I have since met a couple of these magicians and helped them complete a couple books on their art). That case also had those remote control tanks that were a source of endless fascination but were also always way out of reach.



Both the lower and upper floors are maze-like and stuffed to the gills with toys, hobby items, fan collectibles you'd expect to see in Stewart's comic book shop in Big Bang Theory and more. It is an experience walking through the aisles. I'm sure it would be sensory overload for a young kid looking for a toy. Overhead on that lower level were all sort of well built radio control airplanes ... as one would expect if one has any experience with such shops. Off to one side, stumbled upon by accident was a LARGE car racing track. I'm sure they have some interesting events there.

The upper floor was a different world entirely. This was the world dedicated to miniature railroads ... and the purpose of the sign outside. From N gauge to garden railroads, they have it all, with several displays of trains that run. This was the rest of what I would find in that hobby shop of yore. The trains themselves were the stars. The most beautiful were lining the wall and center displays. All the track, switches, rolling stock, structures, and every bit of equipment needed to create a detailed miniature world for your fantasy railroad is there for the asking. There is one other aspect of the hobby that hasn't changed too much. This is a hobby one must be serious about. It is an investment. The prices are not exactly cheap for this niche market. The individuals I saw in that upper floor sanctuary for railroad hobbyists was filled with a clientele comprised entirely of well dressed men. That was a little different from the clientele of the shop of my childhood as I remember it. Then again, I never saw the place when office hours were over.

If you find a shop with such an intricate sign that calls to you, take the time to stop. Behind that amazing sign was a real treasure.

The sign in situ with a more ordinary model
Signs with imaginative shapes always attract my attention these days, as they are increasingly rare. If you feel the same, for another example, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/compelled-by-old-signage.html

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reigning In Worry: A Half Dozen Approaches

Life is full of obstacles. We worry about them from time to time. We all need to find ways to reign in that worry periodically or it can become an obsessive downward spiral leading us to dark places and potentially disastrous reactions. There are a number of ways to pull back from such a spiral.

Here are a few that work for me ... and I'm a veteran of the worry wars.


  1. Exercise: Yep, put your body in motion. When you are busy with exercise, it is really hard to focus on worrying. 
  2. Find an enjoyable diversion that requires focus: my most recent diversion is a small and very responsive radio control helicopter. You can't fly it well while focused on problems. It really requires your attention. A video game will accomplish the same goal. So will a really good book or movie. Find what works for you and stick with it.
  3. Seek calming routines (breathing exercises along with an attempt to empty your mind of thought). Trying to empty your mind will make it hard to worry because you'll be so focused on not thinking that ... you can't think about that problem. 
  4. Enjoy some powerful art or music that is really uplifting. 
  5. Find a friend or family member to talk your worry out with. Other people have a really talent for bringing your problem (which can often grow way out of proportion with silence) back down to a manageable size. 
  6. Plan and execute actions that will POSITIVELY address that worry. Nothing reactionary or angry as that leads to other worries. 
  7. Now for the bonus idea: Reading the Psalms works for me as well (yeah, that's pretty case specific and may not be for you and that's fine ... I'm just throwing it out there ... no worries). Those psalmists were really honest about the problems they faced and the responses they desired (which were often over the top and a reminder to us to tame that worry before we ask for extreme responses). 

Persistence Essential

Anything really worth doing requires persistence. Persistence is that firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Life requires persistence. Any worthwhile activity requires persistence. Any human endeavor that is to make a difference in our lives or the lives of others requires ample persistence. Today, it is necessary to have that obstinacy in spades, given all the people who feel it is their right to try to knock us down at every turn with vile, acidic, often mindless yet none-the-less painful offhand negative critique of what we are trying to accomplish. I find this particularly galling when coming from those without the education or intestinal fortitude to try whatever we are trying for themselves. 

To be persistent one must have a plan of action. One must be ready to face all sorts of setbacks and rebukes. One must be ready to learn from mistakes and soldier on, not taking them as an estimation of one's own worth but as a learning opportunity that will make everyone who successfully gets to their feet after a knock down both stronger and smarter in the effort. 

Through persistence we grow, we move, we take life in new and exciting directions. It is well worth every effort. Want examples to prove this point. How about: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/25/successful-people-obstacles_n_3964459.html You'll find a lot of very successful folks who had awful setbacks before their success. It's eyeopening and encouraging. I had a serious setback yesterday. It sent me reeling for a time. But, writing this, now I'm back on track and ready to move forward again. I have a plan of attack and I will follow through. I will tell you I had to sit back and quiet myself after the event. There are times when it is far better to say nothing than to speak up when in pain. That often complicates situations in ways none of us need. 

Never give up;
never surrender!


One important thing to know is that you never decide to abandon something that you decided to undertake when you were happy and full of confidence when you are in a low moment. That is a huge mistake and often quite wrong.

Lastly, for this post, make sure you have family and friends  who can give you helpful advice and support. When possible, seek out professional advice from others in your field of endeavor as well. None of us do what is needed alone. We are not islands. Further, there is absolutely no need to recreate the wheel when perfectly serviceable wheels are available. Build on what is there when possible. It makes the job of persistence easier. 

Best of luck to you. Carry on.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Surviving Extreme Cold Weather

It is going to be miserable today ... and it will be miserable again soon. More extreme weather is in our future ... but that's another story. If you can't stay in during Arctic blasts, keeping the heat on, the food well stocked, and the faucets gently dripping to avoid frozen pipes, here's what you need to do to venture out into your very own version of the tundra.

Cover as much exposed skin as possible. Ralphie and Randy's Mom in A Christmas Story wasn't far off. Wear layers of loose fitting clothes, with a layer at the base that wicks perspiration away from the body. Replace gloves with mittens as they are warmer. Hand and foot warmers are a very good idea. Goggles will keep your eyeballs happy and eyelashes unfrozen. Lip balm helps. Metal facial jewelry is a no-no and caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.

Keep the car well stocked in case of emergency during these frigid weather events as well. Stay safe.

For more, see: https://www.cprcertified.com/blog/stuck-outside-in-winter-first-aid-tips-for-cold-weather-survival and http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2889564

Good luck. Stay warm.

Also, find your local organization that provides shelter on an emergency basis for the homeless and enter it into your cell phone. Call if you see someone in distress. You may save a life.

Monday, February 16, 2015

1966 Batmobile - CRIME FIGHTER



My reintroduction to the 1966 Batmobile courtesy of my brother and sister-in-law (thanks guys) led me to this video about a recreated Batmobile on the road today. Nate Truman says it all about the vehicles from TV or movies that really capture our imaginations and how they stick with us. It's good to know this version of the Caped Crusader's ride is out there. Which car caught your imagination as a kid? What did that lead to?

For the post that led me to the video, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2015/02/1966-batmobile-deep-impact-of-pop.html

To see the first sanctioned Batmobile (a very different looking creation based on an Oldsmobile), see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SGnrXoWeoM

1966 Batmobile: Deep Impact of Pop Culture

Yeah, I grew up watching the 1966-1968 Batman TV series. Most of the references Adam West and Burt Ward and all the rest made went over my little kid head, I admit it. But the Batmobile, now that stuck with me. It was based on the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car and it was a thing of beauty.

My brother knows me well. He knows my love of the pop culture of my childhood. He and his wife got me a Batmobile and the first year disc of the Batman show, from 1966 to 1967. There it was again, a thing of beauty. It was fun to watch and as much a character as the Enterprise on the original Star Trek series (1966 to 1969 ... those were good years for TV). What was more fun was to see all the mechanical gadgets and gizmos built into the car. At one point, when the Batmobile puts out the Riddler's fire bomb, he gasps in amazement, "That car's alive!" I wonder how he would have felt about modern cars that can parallel park themselves, guide you across country, and so much else.

It was also wonderful to catch up with all the jokes that I didn't catch as a kid and to see so many wonderful actors and actresses make their appearances as classic villains and heroes. But, I learned something that startled me, looking at the classic lines of that 1960s Batmobile built on a 1950s Lincoln. I do believe my love for the form of the 1961-63 Ford Thunderbird convertible comes from the Caped Crusader's ride. Amazing how pop culture can get into your head in unexpected ways.

Of course, this version of the Batmobile you can actually own,
thanks to Hotwheels.

Tune in again, same Bat Channel, same Bat Time for more.

To see that T-bird in all her glory, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/01/ford-thunderbird-1963.html

For more on the Batmobile itself, let me suggest: http://www.1966batmobile.com/

To see a Batmobile out there on the road today, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2015/02/1966-batmobile-crime-fighter.html

For a post on the changing world of comics, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2010/01/comic-books-reflect-changing-times-and.html

Saturday, February 14, 2015

For Future Archaeologists: That Weird Plastic Thing


To future archaeologists digging through the leftovers of the twenty-first century. You are going to run across these items, either intact or in irritating little bits and pieces. Not versed in the ways of our time and with little left in the way of physical documentation AND with our computer technology and files corrupted beyond repair, you find yourself at a loss when looking at this small object from your distant past.

Back in the late twentieth century, archaeologists had tentative identifications for such weird little doodads. If they were from prehistoric sites (you know, the first prehistory, before the histories written by victorious conquering empires) strange objects no one could accurately identify or guess at were listed as "ceremonial objects." Artifacts or pieces of artifacts from historic sites that were not easily identified or found in old Sears catalogs were labeled as "farm implements." All of them were relegated to boxes and stored away with appropriate site numbers in the hopes that some future archaeologists would not be suburbanites or city dwellers and might actually figure out what these things really were.

Now, future archaeologists, here's a little heads up. This plastic, black, several inch long thing is not a ceremonial object. We were not worshiping some form of dead bug. And no, you could neither plant or harvest crops with this, no matter what implement you attached it to.

No, this humble device performed a different function. ... I expect this will be the point at which the file will be corrupted in the future. When you find these in great numbers in those mountainous trash middens we called "landfills" and which you now call those hellholes full of chemical stews never seen in the natural world ... or OW THAT BURNS for short or scattered around the remains of certain buildings, you will now know that these small things were essential to suit dry cleaning. The small hooked portions could fit behind a button, attaching to the thread. The almond-shaped (hope you still have almonds ... if not, well, you don't know what you're missing do you) eye at the right end passes through the eye through which the button passes. This holds a dry cleaned suit together and gives it a sharp impression when it is returned to the owners. Now, as for what a "suit" or "dry cleaner" are, please refer to ... [Here the rest of the file was lost]

Happy Valentine's Day: A Blog For The Ladies



A blog for the ladies for Valentine's Day from Glove and Boots ... because we at J.S. Brooks Present care. We really do. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

BEWARE: Telephone Scam Aimed At Windows Computer Users

There is a phone scam going around that all Windows computer users need to know about (don't be smug, those of you who use less extensively owned systems, they'll come for you too in time). Scammers call and say your computer is suffering from an "infection" that they can track. This is nonsense and these are cold calls, so you have done nothing to bring this upon yourself. However, give them access to your system and they'll solve the nonexistent "infection" for a fee. They will also be downloading spyware into your computer and gaining access to your system. If they catch you in a weak moment, you will become a victim of criminals intent on perpetrating computer fraud on you in your system. Do not fall for this. Do not become their next victim. I use computers every day, but I'm no expert. Please, if you don't believe me, don't be like the anti-vaccination folks and fall victim in ignorance to the ploys of those who DO NOT have your best interest at stake.

Read the following articles and learn: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/anatomy-scam-windows-tech-support-con-examined/http://www.geekwire.com/2013/windows-2/; and http://www.howtogeek.com/180514/the-%E2%80%9Ctech-support%E2%80%9D-scammers-called-htg-so-we-had-fun-with-them/

This has been going on for quite a while, as you'll see from the various articles and their dates. I have just encountered them because my new line of work has Monday being one of my days off. Never fall victim to these thieves.