September 2017

September 23, 2017

Chinese Traditions Involving Autumn and Other Seasons

September 23, 2017
Chinese Traditions Involving Autumn and Other Seasons
The other day i was reading this excellent article titled A Chinese perspective on autumn over at EarthSky. I know little about Chinese cultures, ancient or modern, but they (as the article states) differ from the cultures of the western world, as they do not throw out old ideas to be replaced with new ones. They build onto old ideas and intelligently create deeper roots. That's not to say that there aren't subcultures in the western world that do this but, by and far, mainstream western culture does its best to wipe out old knowledge and unfortunately replaces it with the inferior knowledge of a fleeting nature. "Knowledge" that's based in entertainment media these days.

As for Chinese traditions, here's a short summary of part of the article linked above. Many of their traditions and observances are worth thinking about. Research your family history and find the equivalent meanings amongst the culture of your ancestry.

It is said that five seasons are observed by some in Chinese tradition. Spring being the rise, sprouting of life, summer being the igniting of the blooming of nature, late summer being the completeness of the blooms of the season, autumn being when nature begins to dry/wither and settle in, and winter is when nature is at rest. These five phases/five elements come with the understanding that the cycle always repeats and that it is a new beauty that is meant to be looked forward to.

In terms of emotion, summer is expectedly associated with joy.

Autumn is associated with courage and sadness as nature begins to wither and the days become shorter. These seasons tend to give some a sense of sadness. Perhaps it explains Seasonal Affective Disorder, with some, but that is another subject. Sadness is just seen as a natural reaction to the changing season.

autumn fall tree with leaves changing color

Here's how Chinese traditions observe the season and give it meaning. In Chinese tradition west is seen as the direction of autumn. Face west and think about your dreams, what you look to achieve, the visions of such things, and the path you look to be on in your life.

White is seen as the color of the autumn season. So you can light white candles, to light up the season, and/or place white flowers anywhere you choose in your room or around your home. Allow yourself, if need be, to express the emotions over what/who you've lost over the previous seasons. Allowing yourself to cry and release these emotions. According to tradition it is weeping that is the sound of the autumn season. And within it, after the tears have fallen, is where you permit yourself the courage to face the times, events, and what's ahead of you.

The realizations you reach, in understanding the seasons, is also a path that leads you towards understanding the cycle of life itself. Towards finding peace and handling life better. You can use these traditions to combine or find the equivalent of that of your ancestry or find the equivalent within your current beliefs. Be they Christian or otherwise. Nature is our connection, not the worship of nature itself, per se, but the recognition of its patterns and how it supports us whether we realize it or not. How it is a part of finding our own peace away from the worldly, the fleeting, material creations of humankind.


September 16, 2017

Braun KF7150BK Coffee Maker

September 16, 2017
Braun KF7150BK Coffee Maker
We've all been there with the low-priced coffee makers. Used to the flavor of the coffee they brew without realizing that our coffee could be better (and stronger with better brewing). While the low-priced brand models are great you are likely missing out on richer and more flavorful coffee with a higher-end coffee maker. The Braun coffee maker is one such coffee maker.

Features:

From the start this Braun coffee maker (Braun KF7150BK) doesn't look too much different from others in its price range.   For one its cone filter gives, in my opinion, a much more flavorful and richer coffee.

The operation of the coffee maker is as simple as any other coffee maker. The display on the coffee maker, being backlit, is easier to read than the regular LCD displays on other coffee makers. The buttons are also easy to read.

You can choose how many cups you want to brew. Up to four cups of coffee at a time. Like most coffee makers you can also set a timer for it to start automatically brewing at a certain time of day. It also features an auto shutoff setting.

With the hot plate you can keep your coffee warm by choosing either high, medium, or low. Which is better than ordinary coffee makers that only have one temperature that keeps the coffee very hot and can change it's flavor. For my tastes i set the hot plate to medium.

On top of temperature settings, you can also set the strength of the coffee to either regular or bold.


Cons

Now for some of the minor cons for this coffee maker. The water reservoir is located in a less-than-convenient location for some. If you have low cupboards then you'll have to move the coffee maker to access the water reservoir. Though many coffee makers are designed the same way with the reservoir under the lid. Some also have problem with the size of the reservoir opening.

Pricing

On pricing, you can get free shipping for this coffee maker if you buy it through Amazon here and perhaps even more savings down the road.

Similar Coffee Makers

There are plenty of similar coffee makers available. Most of which are just as highly rated as the Braun coffee makers. While i won't be going over their features, pros, and cons you can see these brands and models by clicking here

My opinion is that the Braun BrewSense coffee maker is definitely worth the purchase if you're in the market for a reliable, higher-end coffee maker. I feel the customer opinions and ratings alone speak well of it, its quality, and brewing quality. With free shipping it makes it all the more worth purchasing.

September 14, 2017

On Realness: Selena Gomez

September 14, 2017
On Realness: Selena Gomez
I don't often write about "celebrities" (maybe i should more often, i'm not really a commentator) and i apologize for this post being a little all over the place. After reading about Selena Gomez and her kidney transplant, it does go to show that they are people just like us. I'm sure a lot of people are seeing her, in a positive way, in a different light right now. That she is not someone to idolize over superficial traits. That she is someone to be respected for the good they do or be shown compassion for the things that they go through. Just like anyone else. Now, i will say that many entertainment figures are self-centered and look down upon us "commoners", but plenty of them are worthy of respect and they are the ones that should stand out. That being the ones that do not see themselves as being above you.

Selena Gomez is clearly one of these people. The humble ones that don't see themselves as being above anyone or of a different societal 'class'.

I've been a "fan" of her music and tv and movie roles for years now. Going all the way back to Wizards of Waverly Place. One of my favorite film roles that she's in is in The Fundamentals of Caring. Now i won't say i'm some massive fan, don't really have the time for that, but i have a lot of respect for her and standing strong with the things she's going through. All the while she stays open with her fans and communicates openly with them. Doing it despite the things that she's going through and the difficulties of getting her voice out there unfiltered. And it's even worse with social media.

I won't say that her Instagram post about her kidney transplant was brave because that would be cheapening it and just throwing out an insincere term. What she did, by directly putting what she's going through out there, makes her real. That she doesn't see herself as above her fans and others. In interviews she has been upfront about a lot of things. With this age of social media we seem to have this illusion that the amount of followers actually equates to having more/a lot of friends in real life too. It doesn't. Even Selena Gomez, despite her popular, has only a small group of friends (as she's said in interviews) that she's close with.

Social media, while great, is better when we limit our efforts of connections on it and only seek what's beneficial to us. Not in terms of connections but more about limiting the information we take in and not overwhelming ourselves with the bombardment. Her use of social media is social media done right though. She doesn't use it as a platform to post short blurbs and a photo. She actually writes and shares what's on her mind a lot of the time. Reaching out to people is how we should be using social media instead of talking @ people. Even if it's just one person that you feel you have many things in common with.

I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: https://www.lupusresearch.org -by grace through faith
A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on


September 3, 2017

Witness Trees of Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia

September 03, 2017
Witness Trees of Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia
Witness Trees are trees that are old enough to have been alive and growing during the times when notable events in U.S. history have occurred. Those witness trees that had been around when the events of the Civil War occurred, and still living today, are over 150 years old. It is said that there are hundreds of Witness Trees at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Many of which are oak trees that can live for hundreds of years. Many of which, such as white oaks, can live beyond 500 years. To just imagine the events that occurred around that tree during the battles at Manassas or even just ordinary events before and after the war. Soldiers that sat in its shade or for defense during battle. Or the witnessing people that walked through the battlefield site, post-war, in the latter 1860s. Back when many artifacts from the war still existed. These trees would've even witnessed the early days of the park's founding in May of 1940. They've been around an incredible history.

As of 2017 there are at least ten witness trees that have been found and identified along the trails. All of which are marked by brown signs along the trails. The trees are found at these locations in the park:

One tree near Thornberry House, along Sudley Loop Trail
Three trees along the Unfinished Railroad Trail
Three trees along the Stuart's Hill Loop Trail
One tree along the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail
One tree along the Henry Hill Loop Trail
One tree along the Stone Bridge Loop Trail

Witness tree along Chinn Ridge loop trail

In addition to the Witness Trees there are plenty of other notable sites along the trails and throughout the park. Visit the National Park Service site for the park and their Facebook page for updates about the park and upcoming events.