Relax Before its Too Late

I’ve written two series now on how to relax and I’ve gained so many valuable mental images. This post is from way back in 2008. I think a lot of it is highly relevant, still.

I heard a story this week of a substitute teacher who couldn’t control her mouth. What a shame. Apparently the “F” bomb was dropped and some students when to the office to report it. Now, I am not saying kids are always angels, but they should be spared sub teachers yelling profanity at them. Teaching is a profession, not a social program. If someone is not willing to put in the creative effort to manage kids, then they shouldn’t be doing it. We should all, whether teaching or not, be inspiring to the kids in our sphere. I fully expect this teacher to experience bad results as the effects of her actions. It’s too bad in a way because subs have it pretty hard. At the same time, this teacher was a grownup and she could have chosen to calm down and not yell the expletive.

Being calm and relaxing at will is not a optional skill for life. If you can’t be calm, you will one day face the consequences for it. Whether it is through losing your job or worse yet, physical and even terminal disease. It is proven that our temperament affects our bodies and so it follows that we must always strive to have a positive temperament. The alternative? Unemployment … divorce … sickness … death. Are all these worth purging your temper?

If you treat your nerves and temperament with the same attention you would give your own child that you love, you will find you are much better equipped to enhance the world around you. If the minor tips in the series are not enough or if you just want more, I’d encourage you to seek out more knowledge. If you are a human, it will do you much good.


Take the Time to Encourage Someone

We all have dreams, some big some small, all important to us. People around you, be they your boss or co-worker, friend, or family member, have dreams and we all need encouragement. I just saw a hilarious movie called “Couples Retreat” in which a masseuse goes up to everyone squeezing there derriere and saying: “encouragement.” It is very funny and it “works” because people actually might even let someone grab their butt if it actually gave them some. All the fitness equipment in the world can’t build the encouragement muscle like the words of someone else.

There are times in our lives when we need encouragement toward our dreams. Be sensitive to the hopes and dreams of those around you and be ready and willing to encourage them to get there. The way you do it will depend on you and your “style.” In the past, I have tried to encourage people in my life through gift cards, a pat on the back, or even just a thumbs up from across the room. Encouragement comes in many forms. The most important ingredient is caring.

What’s in it for you? You might ask. Well, maybe nothing. Probably though you will feel good about helping someone to get what they want. We spend so much time in today’s society looking out for ourselves, it can only be good for us to think of someone else, for no reason, for a change.

How and Why to Jump in a Freezing Pool

penguin diveJumping in a freezing pool gives your body a shock and your brain a complete shuffle. I highly recommend it, especially when you’re overwhelmed or overheated. I took my son to play tennis once when it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the court. It was his first lesson so we were running all around and after an hour at it, I must admit … this dad was ready to go get a cold drink and have some lunch (rest). Believe it or not, as indefatigable as he is, he was ready to stop as well. We had a great time though and I really enjoy spending time with my son.

Upon returning home, we spent some time doing yard-work. I mowed and he did a little weed whacking along the back fence. When we were done, both our shirts were soaked and we were sort of in that ethereal place of being overheated and probably over-exercised.

That’s probably why I lost all sense and ran voraciously toward our backyard pool

I had enough presence of mind to remove my wallet with all my credit cards and notes about appointments for the next month. I also pulled my then LG VU tv phone (which I really loved) out and set it on the counter. I tried to be fast about removing these things because I wanted to show my son he needs to be crazy sometimes. After all, it isn’t Summer yet and our pool probably is around 60 degrees or less. I just galloped straight in fully clothed to my son’s delightful amazement. Man, it was a full body shock but when I got out and peeled the wet clothes off but the peace was indescribable. It was as if a brand new fill of antifreeze was bringing my motor down to normal. I felt mentally refreshed as well.

The day that followed was full of letting old, dead ideas that weren’t working go. I made “do-lists” based on healthy projects and cut bait from those thoughts and ideas that were been stealing my energy, all from a jump into a freezing pool. My son is not yet brave enough to jump in a freezing pool the way I did. He is a bit more timid than I was at his age. I know, however, he has seen me do crazy, healthy things like jump in a freezing pool to change my state of mind. I like that fact. I know he may “fall back” on them when he gets overwhelmed or overheated.

There is wisdom in doing crazy things once in a while. Have you done anything crazy that changed your mindset lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

George Lucas: Star Wars Creator

George Lucas struggled for years to make people believe in his vision. He is an amazing filmmaker and an example to all of us who have visions that are outside the norm.

Lucas started his career with an odd futuristic movie that not many people “got” only to follow that with “American Graffitti,” a 50’s nostalgia flick that also got mixed reviews. You would think at this point, since he is in a career that relies upon public approval, that Lucas would have adopted the most popular genre and tried to gain fans through addressing that. But he didn’t.

Instead he spent years working on a high budget space movie unlike anything the public had seen or approved of throughout history. It was Star Wars, released in 1977. I was 8 years old when I saw Star Wars the first time, and my mind was blown, along with the minds of every other kid about my age. I saw Star Wars 17 times as a kid. The movie was part of my psyche. I remember playing the soundtrack record and reciting lines from the movie as I did.

Since then, Lucas has been able to do whatever he chooses with film. His story is truly an amazing thing. Oh, and one other tidbit that brings his story home to me is the fact that he was born close to me in Modesto, California . . . not on Mount Zion or other place like that.

There are countless kids (including adult kids) that Star Wars has amazed. Thanks for believing in your vision George.

Below are 30 pieces of little-known trivia about Star Wars that fans of George Lucas might enjoy: (source)


1. The first trailer for the film hit cinemas six months before it was to open – with tag lines such as “the story of a boy, a girl and a universe” and “a billion years in the making” – as executives hoped to drum up some interest in a film they had little faith in.

2. Made on a budget of $11m (5.5m) it made $215m (108m) in the US during its original release, and $337m (170m) overseas. The final film in the franchise – Revenge of the Sith – cost about $113m (57m) to make.

3. It was originally called The Star Wars, but “the” was dropped fairly early on in the creative process.

4. The full title Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope first appeared when the film was re-released in 1981.

5. Director George Lucas originally had a contract with Fox for $150,000 (75,941) for writing and directing Star Wars. But he cannily insisted on total control and 40% of merchandising – something the studio agreed to because they had no idea of what a phenomenon Star Wars would become.

6. The famous – and often imitated – opening crawl for Star Wars was co-written by Brian De Palma, the director of Scarface. It begins “It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.”

7. Sir Alec Guinness made a ton of money from the film having recognised its potential success and negotiating a deal for two per cent of box office takings. He also refused to do any promotional work for the film.

8. Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2, are the only actors credited with being in all six Star Wars films.

9. Harrison Ford was far from George Lucas’ first choice to play Han Solo as the director had wanted completely new faces for Star Wars. Ford had already starred in Lucas’ American Graffiti.

10. The original release date was set for Christmas 1976 but major delays in filming saw it pushed back. The Fox studio had threatened to close down production when filming over-ran by more than two weeks.

11. Ralph McQuarrie created the paintings which were used to illustrate how the Star Wars universe could look. He started out as a technical illustrator for Boeing.

12. The Wookiee Chewbacca was inspired by George Lucas’ beloved dog Indiana – an Alaskan malamute.

13. Lucas once said that the shape of the Millennium Falcon was based on a hamburger.

14. George Lucas based the character of Han Solo on his friend Francis Ford Coppola.

15. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are said to be based on the 1958 Akira Kourosawa film Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress). Other characters in Star Wars were also drawn from the film including Han Solo and Ben Kenobi.


16. Cinemas in the US were press-ganged into buying the film after few took up the option, with the threat that they wouldn’t get The Other Side of Midnight – a widely-anticipated adaptation of a Sidney Sheldon novel. The Other Side of Midnight, starring Susan Sarandon, was a box office flop.

17. Publicity supervisor Charles Lippincott was aware of the power of the sci-fi fan, going along to conventions to talk about Star Wars and what audiences could expect. He was largely credited with bringing in huge opening day audiences.

18. The merchandise for the film was not in place to accommodate the demand for the first Christmas rush after the film’s release. Lucas and merchandise company Kenner Toys hit upon a novel idea with the introduction of early bird certificate boxes. These were basically empty boxes that promised the receiver they would get the figures once they had been made. They sold for $16 at the time and the actual figures arrived two months later. Limited edition packs were re-released in 2005.

19. More than 250 million small action figures were shipped in the eight years after the first film, going to countries across the world. In the first year alone 42m were sold.


20. Composer John Williams won an Oscar for his score for Star Wars. The music was later named by the American Film Institute as the greatest film score of all time.

21. A New Hope was the only one of the six films in the franchise to be nominated in the Academy Awards best picture category. It lost out to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.


22. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, was involved in a car accident following primary shooting. His face was damaged making reshoots impossible. Hamill later said he only broke his nose and reports that his face was reconstructed were wide of the mark.

23. Anthony Daniels was injured during his first outing as C-3PO when a leg piece fell off his gold-coloured costume and shattered – stabbing him in the foot.

24. On the first day of filming in the deserts of Tunisia, the country experienced its first major rainstorm in 50 years and a rest day had to be called.

25. When filming moved to Elstree it was hoped the earlier problems encountered in the desert would be finished. But a new problem arose in the shape of the strict British working conditions adhered to on set. Lucas says that filming had to close at 5.30pm on the dot, unless he was in the middle of a shot – when he could ask workers to stay for an extra 15 minutes.

Darth Vader costume
Darth Vader was played by British actor Dave Prowse

26. One of the most famous bloopers from the film is when stormtroopers burst into a room and one of them hits his head on the door frame. Fans of Star Wars and the blooper have spotted hundreds of “mistakes” throughout the Star Wars franchise but many can only be spotted by the most eagle-eyed viewer.

27. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, worked as a hospital orderly in London before being cast as the Wookiee. He was said to have got into character by copying the mannerisms of animals he visited at the zoo.

28. David Prowse, the 6ft 7ins actor who plays Darth Vader, had problems filming lightsaber scenes as he kept breaking the poles that were used as stand-ins for the weapons. In the sequels, fight co-ordinator Bob Anderson stepped into the costume to film the lightsaber scenes.

29. George Lucas wanted his sets to look worn and scuffed but the studio cleaning service continually cleaned and tidied up after a day’s filming – much to the director’s dismay.

30. Lucas’ stress levels reached such a height that he thought he was having a heart attack. He was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion and told to rest – something the punishing schedule would not allow. One can only imagine his life insurance quotes now.


Soap, Gum and Doing What You Love – The Story of Wrigley’s Gum

Keep doing those hobbies, topics, and pet projects that excite you, even if they bring in little or no money. If you’re a writer, write on that stuff you’re most passionate about, despite the popularity “ranking” of the subject matter. Even something as droll as chewing gum has produced rewards in due time.

I read about Wrigley, the famous gum mogul, tonight on a website. He started selling soap as his main source of income, but kept a secret hobby of making it in the chewing gum market began in his basement. He never thought chewing gum would bring in enough money to be a big business, so he poured himself into the soap as his career. After a time however, the soap didn’t sell as he had hoped. Before long, he would be in chewing gum orbit.

To better market the soap as a novelty, the family started adhering a small package of his tasty gum to each soapbox they sold. After a short time people were buying the soap just to get the gum. You know the rest of the story. Spearmint chewing gum and gum in general is synonymous with his name.

I think the energy in our jobs and in our writing, should not always be spent on what we think will sell, but rather on our pet projects we truly feel invigorated about. We may find, as Wrigley did, that other people like them as well and they may even end up paying us money to continue doing them! Thanks for the life lesson Mr. Wrigley and thank you for Wrigleys chewing gum.

Wrigley’s full history

Accentuate the Positive

Have you noticed in your life there are some people who are always happy? Nothing gets them down and they are just great to be around? That’s how I hope to be . . . I am sure I don’t always acheive it though.

There is a lot of negative energy in this world. I have learned through hard experience not to give it my energy or attention. The next time someone says something or you read something that tends to get your gander up, just breathe and say “That’s negative energy, I have no time for it.”

When you figure we all get “80 years with luck or even less” (Pink Floyd quote) it is a bad idea to accept energy into our lives that breaks down. We need stuff that builds up in everything we let in. If negative people claim you ignore them and their thoughts, just tell them a quote someone shared with me once: “Worse things have happened at sea.” Accentuate the positive, you won’t regret it.

13 Ways I Stay Positive:

  1. Positive self talk.
  2. Compliment people around me.
  3. Practice “Possibility” thinking.
  4. Take time to order my work and living areas
  5. Consciously smiling more
  6. Movement (exercise, for example)
  7. Having real expectations
  8. Practied thankfulness (attitude of grattitude)
  9. Saying “Whatever it is I have it is enough for today.”
  10. Swim (in the warmer months) Exercise etc.
  11. Roll on the carpet and play with my kids and dog physically.
  12. Play guitar
  13. Write

Over time, accentuating the positive will become a habit. People will pick up on it and you’ll have your own diligent effort to thank.