Day 355: Body Language

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Body language is a very interesting part of human interaction, and in my opinion it is the most important. Human Communication can be split into verbal and nonverbal interactions, and body language can often tell much more than verbal communication. During a conversation there are cues that allow the participants to understand how to properly proceed, often times these cues are nonverbal, and it is up to the people in the conversation to decipher the meanings of the body language. Many people believe that conversations are mostly verbal, but it is important to look at body language as it often tells more of a story than spoken words. The reason I like to look closely at body language is because the body can not easily lie, it is easy for someone to forgo telling the truth, but in order to fake body language a person must train their body to do the opposite of how they actually feel. It is not easy to understand body language, and body language alone can not tell the full story of an individual’s motives, but when you are able to connect verbal and nonverbal cues you can get a wider picture of the actual reason for each interaction. Humans are quite interesting, we are possibly the only creatures that are able to purposely hide the motives of our communications, while still giving ourselves away with actions. The best way to effectively interact with others is to understand that we don’t speak with words alone, body language is an important aspect of communication that needs to be taken into consideration whenever responding to or starting any conversation.

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Day 354: Perceived Disappointment  

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A pier is a disappointed bridge.

 
― Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

I really enjoy this quote, it is a bit nonsensical but it gets an interesting point across if it is taken a certain way. A pier looks like an unfinished bridge, and something that is unfinished is usually a disappointment. The thing about a pier is that it was made to serve a purpose, it may not go as far as a bridge but that is because it isn’t meant to get you across the pond, it is meant to give a path to a boat. This quote can be seen in two different ways, on the one hand the pier can be a task or a goal, if you set out to complete a bridge and it ends up as a pier, then you will definitely be disappointed no mater what. On the other hand the pier can be seen as a person, we may have our aspirations to be a bridge, but if we end up as a pier we would be so disappointed that we would fail to realize that there is a greater purpose to a pier than to a bridge. A bridge has the ability to get a person or a vehicle to the other side, then its job is complete, but a pier can open up the entire world. A ship at a pier in a large enough body of water can connect to another pier that is miles away, far beyond the reaches of even the longest bridge, so even the disappointment of a pier can be much more than theof a success of a bridge. Life is full of successes and disappointments, but as long as you keep a level head and stick to the plan, even the biggest of disappointments can prove to be doorways to greater success. 

Day 353: What I Love about Christmas

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I love the Christmas season, and that surprisingly hasn’t changed since my post elementary school adulthood has kicked in. As a child I believed that the best thing about Christmas was a combination of gifts and time off from school, but as an adult I have seen that there is much more to this holiday season. There are millions of reasons to enjoy the holidays but I will keep this post to my top 5 favorite things about Christmas and the holiday season in general. 

Christmas Carols – I love those tunes, some of them can be a bit sketchy and all of them are quite dated, but I love having them blasting from my computer or radio. I especially enjoy modern versions of old classics that are done in a sensible fashion. 
Christmas Cartoons – I know that I am an adult, but I will never stop watching my favorite Christmas cartoons. I particularly enjoy The Little Drummer Boy and Frosty the Snowman, since they remind me of my childhood and of all things Christmas. I know that some may categorize television Christmas specials with the cartoons, but I can’t stand cheesy and often disconnected holiday episodes of tv shows. 
Holiday Light Displays – I love a great lighting display, one of my favorite things about this season is just driving around on a cool winter evening and checking out some of the lighting displays of my neighbors and of the city. 
Christmas food – I love holiday foods but I especially love Christmas themed cakes, cookies, snacks, and meals. The holidays are a time when many people put on extra weight, and with all of these amazing treats available, I’m sure there will be several new members to each gym once the new year rolls around. 
Family Time – As we grow older and move away from our families and homes, the holidays become much more important for catching up with family and old friends. Family is extremely important, I love that at least once in a year, I have a chance to reconnect in person with loved ones that I no longer see on a daily basis. 

As I said before, there are millions of reasons to enjoy the holidays, and even if these reasons don’t appeal to you, I’m sure everyone can find something to brighten these winter nights. If it is possible, try volunteering during the holidays, it is an extremely rewarding to give to those who are in need of some help and to brighten the holidays for all. 

Day 352: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Impressions

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What do you get when you package everything you loved about the original Star Wars trilogy with a new mysterious adventure? You get Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first of the new trilogy and Disney’s first production of the movie. The Force Awakens is the perfect early Christmas gift to any Star Wars fan as it stays true to what we love about the original films, while adding just enough intrigue to keep us wanting more. I don’t want to spoil the movie so I will keep this post to impressions, which is fine since this movie made quite an impression. The film begins on an action packed note that continues throughout, and any possible lulls in the film are there for story telling purposes. As a big time Star Wars fan, I welcomed the slow downs as I watched very closely for the deeper story, but the action was never too far around the next corner. The Force Awakens is a perfect example of how other franchises should model their sequels, it takes all of the spectacular elements of the prior movies and builds on them without losing touch with its roots. The Force Awakens has the ability to stand on its own as a great film without relying on the past of the franchise. The Star Wars movies are well know for throwing in surprises, and while this newest film had its share of surprises, I left the theatre with just as many questions as I had answered in the film. I definitely recommend this movie to any Star Wars fans who still haven’t seen it, and to all movie goers. It has been hours since I saw this film and I already can’t wait to see it again, hopefully the writers will be able to continue the strong storytelling in the impending sequels. 

Day 351: NFL Week Fifteen Picks

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Last week was not as perfect as I expected, I once again got seven out of sixteen games wrong. There are two more weeks of regular season football to go after this, so I still have more than enough chances for perfection. This week starts with a Thursday night matchup of the Rams and the Buccaneers, I expect the Bucs to put up a good fight, but the Rams will win. In the second game of the week we will be enjoying a late season Saturday night game featuring the Jets and the Cowboys, and with a playoff spot on the line the Jets will easily win this matchup. The first Sunday game features the undefeated Panthers and the streak killing Giants, I expect the Giants to win a close game and keep the playoff hope alive. As for the other Sunday morning games, the Vikings will beat the Bears, the Jaguars will beat the Falcons, and the Texans will beat the Colts with strong defensive play. The Patriots will blow out the Titans, the Bills will beat the Redskins, and the Chiefs will defeat a much weaker Ravens team. The Seahawks will beat the Browns, the Raiders will upset the Packers, and the Steelers will win against the Broncos. The Dolphins will win a close game against the hapless Chargers, and the Bengals will bounce back from a tough loss and defeat the 49ers. This week’s night games are not looking very interesting at all, but every team is still playing for pride, in the Sunday night game the Cardinals will win in a close game against the scrappy Eagles, and on Monday the Lions will put up a big score in a win against the Saints. This week I made mostly safe picks, so I honestly expect this to be the perfect one, but anything is possible on a football Sunday.  

Day 350: Hot December

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This is probably the hottest December I can ever remember. Usually around this time of year we are wondering about whether we will have snow for Christmas, but this year’s Christmas will be a balmy 70 degrees. I guess the fact that we have Florida weather in NYC this Christmas saves money for those who travel to avoid the cold temperatures, but it does make it hard to get into the Holiday spirit when you can walk around in a summer t-shirt. This winter has been hectic to say the least, but at least we haven’t had to deal with shoveling of snow. Over the past few years the weather has been interesting, some people want to blame the change in climate on human actions, others want to blame it on natural occurrence, the only thing I can truly say about it is that we must be prepared to face the weather changes no matter what. If the change is indeed due to human actions, then I am not too certain that we can actually fix the problem at this point. I understand that most major industrialized countries are trying to use cleaner energy sources and reduce emissions, but until the cost of installing and maintaining these cleaner energy systems is reduced, it would be hard for many in this economy to adopt these new measures. If clean energy companies were more willing to use less expensive components, I think they would be able to expand to some newly industrializing third world countries. The question of whether humans are causing this problem is hotly debated, and unfortunately I don’t think we will ever definitively be able to state the cause, due to our incomplete picture of the life of our climate, but as for now we must try to get used to the “new seasons.” I am sure that normal winter weather will return before the end of January, so I will make sure that I enjoy wearing shorts in December while I wait for the inevitable return of the blistering cold. 

Day 349: Do or Do Not

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Do or do not. There is no try.

 – Yoda

This week is unofficially being known as Star Wars Week. The seventh film in the storied Star Wars franchise will be released on Thursday night, and fans have already been lining up to watch it for weeks. I plan to watch the movie this week, so I will save specific movie talk for my review later on. I want to focus today on this quote from Episode V made by Yoda. “Do or do not, there is no try,” Yoda made this phrase when Luke was asked to do something that seemed impossible, and he responded with “I’ll try.” I know this is just a movie but I have said before how much I dislike the term “at least you tried,” saying that you will try is almost acknowledging that you feel like you can’t succeed. “Do or do not,” is the best way to approach any of life’s challenges, if there is a gap to cross, do it or don’t, because trying just isn’t putting enough effort into it. When you try, you give room for failure so you make provisions for a way back to safety, not to say that planning isn’t important, but planning is part of doing. To try is a half hearted and unplanned attempt, to do is a process that is set up for completion. Nothing comes easy in life no matter how it seems, it is important to fully pursue the things that will make you happy and lead to the success you expect to receive. If you plan to get anywhere do it or don’t do it, there really can not be room for a try. 

Day 348: The Importance of a Memory

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This past weekend I attended my fourth wedding of the year. Weddings are joyous events for family and guests, and everyone wants to be able to capture the joy of the moment, but camera phones and iPads are not the way to capture the enjoyment of weddings. One thing that was prevalent in all of the weddings I attended was the excessive use of mobile phones for photo and video taking. I know it is convenient to be able to snap a photo with your phone to save a memory, but I felt as though these devices get in the way of guests actually enjoying the wedding. Plenty of time and planning is put into making sure a wedding is perfect and enjoyable, especially for the guests, and one of the many provisions made to ensure that enjoyment is the use of professional photographers. Personal devices take away from the moment and they can even have an effect on the photographers doing their jobs. Perhaps it is just a sign of the times, but people don’t seem to understand the importance of a memory anymore. I know I have been a culprit of this “snap a photo” behavior, but once I realized how much I was missing, I decided to personally take advantage of all that is in front of me. Whenever I attend an event or visit a location, I understand that I may only get one chance to appreciate this sight, so I like to gather as much of the view as I can. Photos are nice, and it is always great to have a lasting documentation of an occasion, but for moments that only come around once in a lifetime, it is important to make sure you take the time to absorb the experience. Enjoying life is about more than just taking pictures of locations and events, whenever you find yourself in a unique experience, it is important to actually be present to fully enjoy the moment. 

Day 347: Heisman Trophy Winner

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The Heisman Memorial Trophy ceremony took place last night in New York City. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player of the season, based on the votes of qualified sports writers and former trophy winners. While there are thousands of players eligible for the trophy, finalists are chosen based on the number of votes they receive. The three finalists for this year’s trophy were Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, all three of these players were outstanding all season. Early in the season it was almost certain than Leonard Fournette of LSU would be the runaway Heisman winner, but after his poor performance in a game at Alabama, Derrick Henry became the consensus favorite. Henry won the Heisman in a landslide, but I don’t think the voters got it right. While Henry’s play was tremendous, the Heisman is generally awarded to the best player who has the biggest impact on the best team, and that player in my eyes was Deshaun Watson. Watson lead the nation’s best team to an undefeated season, and he did everything you could ask a quarterback to do. Watson’s leadership was impeccable and his numbers were terrific, but he only managed to gain 148 first place votes to Henry’s 378. McCaffrey also played extremely well this season, but he suffered from the fact that most voters rarely get a chance to see the games played on the west coast live. Derrick Henry had a fantastic season and he definitely put up numbers deserving of the Heisman Trophy, I just think the voters should be required to pay closer attention to the players at the top of their list in order to make the best informed votes. Henry was great for most of the season, but Watson was perfect for the entire year. Now that the season has finally come to an end and the awards have been given out, Deshaun Watson will have a chance in the playoffs to prove that he should have had more Heisman votes, while Derrick Henry will be tasked with proving that he deserved the honor of raising this prestigious trophy. 

Day 346: Love

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Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

 ― Lao Tzu

Professing your love for someone is definitely a courageous action, it takes all of your resolve to be able to lay your heart on the line in hopes that the feelings you have will be reciprocated. It is no easier to profess your love in a wedding setting, as now you have the pressure of the festivities to worry about as well. I have been to three weddings already this year, and this year of weddings will finally come to its conclusion today as I will attend my fourth of the year as a guest. Throughout all of the weddings I have attended, as different as they have been, the one commonality is the love the bride and groom have shared. The new families I have watched forming fully exemplify the words of this quote, they are both strengthened by their love, and given the courage to profess it in front of friends and family. Every one of the couples were different, and some seemed more nervous than others, but all of them were able to show how much they care for their new spouse. I know love can be shown in situations other than in marriage, but being a part of seeing something new form is an incredible experience. I wish all the love and favor to these wonderful marriages, may they be fruitful and everlasting.