Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Treating Depression at Home

Treatment of depression often involves multiple and different strategies. For some patients, a few simple home remedies are all that's needed. But even those who need counseling and/or medications will benefit from these do-it-yourself techniques:

Exercise. The fatigue and poor motivation brought on by depression can make it very hard to get up and get moving, so resuming or increasing your former exercise program—or beginning a new one—may be difficult at first. However, the rewards should come quickly. The increased blood flow, breathing rate, and muscle use associated with exercise will improve energy levels during the day and result in more restful sleep overnight.

Even more importantly, exercise causes the release of chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Endorphins elevate the mood and increase energy levels. They are the source of the "runner's high"—a state of euphoria that endurance athletes experience after a sustained period of exertion. Think of endorphins as your own natural antidepressants.

And, of course, exercise has additional benefits beyond treating depression. High on the list is reducing the risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. Burning calories while exercising can also help you combat the tendency towards weight gain that's associated with both depression itself and with several prescription antidepressant medications.

One trick for overcoming inertia and beginning an exercise regimen is to simply make a schedule of exercise time, and commit to doing a specific activity during that time. Start with 20 to 30 minutes, 3 times per week, and then try to build towards 45 to 60 minutes every day. If it helps you, try thinking of exercise as a prescription from your doctor to treat depression. It also helps if you can find one or more types of physical activity that you enjoy, or at least don't dislike too much.

Laughter. The simple act of laughing also releases endorphins, thus treating depression. Of course, being depressed can make it very hard to laugh, so this may not be practical advice in the early stages of treating severe depression. But as soon as you're able to, going out of your way to find funny things and experience some good, hearty laughter is seriously helpful!
Light. It is well known that the
shorter days of winter are associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in many people, and worsen symptoms in those with chronic depression.

Increasing your exposure to natural sunlight will help elevate your mood right away, and regular light therapy can be very beneficial for treating depression. If you've made the commitment to exercise as part of a depression management program, try to schedule at least some of your activity outdoors in the daytime.

The winter months can be a challenge, but creative scheduling and some really warm clothes will help a lot. If getting outdoors isn't practical, the next best thing is to spend as much time as possible in front of a big window that lets in a lot of light.

Another option is artificial sunlight. There are several companies that market lamps specifically for treating depression, SAD, and low mood. These special lights can be ordered directly on the Internet, and are available in just about every price range. I suggest placing the light next to your bed and plugging it into a timer. Have it turn on about 10 minutes before you plan to wake up, and lie in bed under the light for about half an hour or so every day. Artificial sunlight is a great idea even if you already get time outdoors and/or window exposure during the day.

For many people, depression is caused or worsened by a variety of stressful or sad thoughts and situations. Resisting or denying a diagnosis of depression can become yet another source of stress, and actually worsen your symptoms. Failing to accomplish desired or necessary tasks, a common problem in depressed people, often makes things worse, too.

Try to take stock of your current abilities and limitations—what you can do now, not what you used to be able to do—and then set out some specific, modest goals. Just getting a few things accomplished can help to reduce stress, and that will help improve the depression.

Also, consider whether worrying about things beyond your control is productive or helpful to you. Perhaps the best way to summarize the importance of attitude is with the serenity prayer:

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The Pre-Booty Call Agreement

This pre-booty call Agreement (hereinafter referred to as "The Agreement")
is entered into on this ___day of ______________, 20 __, by ____________________, (hereinafter referred to as the "Participant") between ____________________, (hereinafter referred to as the "Holder of 'The Agreement'") and ____________________ (Participant).

This Agreement shall cover the following rules and principles for the Participant:

1. If it is very good we may repeat it in the morning, but don't hold the Holder of The Agreement to any promises.

2. No meeting in public except for dinner or drinks before the events of the evening.

3. No calls before 9 pm. We don't have anything to talk about.

4. None of that "lovemaking" stuff, only mind-blowing sex allowed.

5. No emotional discussions!! i.e. where are we heading with this? Do you love me? If the Holder of The Agreement begins said discussion, shut her up with a kiss and remind her that this is a Booty Call.

6. No plans made in advance. That is why you are called "the backup." Unless you are from out-of-town, then an advance arrangement as acceptable.

7. All gifts accepted- dinner is always good.

8. No baby talk- however, dirty talk is encouraged.

9. No asking for comparisons with former lovers; it's really none of your damn business.

10. No calling each other friends with privileges. We are not friends, just sex buddies.

11. Calling out the wrong name during sex is OK. Don't be offended, you mean no less to me than you did before.

12. No extra clothing!! I don't want your ass leaving anything behind when you leave.

13. Falling asleep after sex is ok if the Holder of the Agreement is satisfied with your performance to date.

14. Don't be offended if I don't ask if you enjoyed it. I don't care!!

15. You cannot borrow my car for any reason.

16. If anyone of the opposite sex asks who you are, the standard response will be "A friendly acquaintence."

17. Doggie style preferred. Just hit it hard and right or get the Hell out!

*Extra tip for successful booty calls: The holder of the Agreement may only alter the aforementioned rules. If the other party attempts to change or alter any terms of the Agreement, it will automatically become null and void.The Participant will then be removed from the "Possible Future Relationship List" and given minimal Booty Call privileges, and cut off from any communications unless first initiated by the holder of this agreement.

If further violations of the Agreement occur the Participant will be deleted from phone memory, email list, and blocked from all communications until the Participant's silly ass understands the rules.

Participant: Holder of the "Agreement": Signature: ____________________ Date: ____________________

Signature: ____________________ Date: ____________________

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tips for Making Good New Year's Resolutions

Here are eight tips for making and keeping your New Year’s resolutions:
  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. The most successful transformations happen one step at a time. You can’t wish your way from New York to San Francisco. You can, however, buy a map, prepare a budget,Google the directions, and get in the car and go.
  2. Account for your bias. Most people have an unrealistic understanding of who they are (the bottom half of the performers in any organization uniformly think that they are above average). Before you commit to making a change, verify that you are able to make it.
  3. Measure the thing you want to change. How many cups of coffee do you drink and when? If you are going to save, what spending will you cut out? How many calories do you consume daily? The more you can quantify your current behavior, the easier it is to change it.
  4. Change one thing at a time. If you have multiple resolutions, get a calendar and schedule them out over time. Every change you make has a ripple effect. The ripples are what cause the change to fail. Give the ripples time to settle out.
  5. Quitting is easier that altering. In order to build momentum, start with changes that are all or nothing (quitting smoking, quitting drinking, starting to exercise). Once you have mastered a dramatic change, the subtler forms (reducing spending, losing weight, driving slower, moderating your intake) are easier. Practice on the dramatic ones and move up to the subtle.
  6. Make changes that feel good. Far too often, resolutions contain changes that feel awful. Getting enough rest, eating better food, taking time to say ‘I love you’, writing thank you notes are all changes that feel good in the execution. Try some of those.
  7. Be kind to yourself. Allow for the slipping and sliding that comes with any change. Seventeen days in a row is the magic number. Try to do whatever it is seventeen days in a row in January. That’s a good start.
  8. Write it down. The best way to remember last year’s resolutions is to have them in a journal.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

THAT CHRISTMAS LIST- Buying an LCD HDTV on a budget

Buying an LCD HDTV on a budget

The digital television transition is right around the corner. So, digital, high-definition televisions will top many gift lists this year. But before you buy, make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.

This year, HDTV prices will reach unprecedented lows. A 42-inch set will come in well under $1,000. You may even see 32-inchers for less than $400!

You’ll find plasma and DLP sets. But, LCD has become the most popular type of HDTV. Here are some tips for finding the perfect budget LCD HDTV.

Important features

Resolution differentiates HDTV from standard TV. HDTV resolution is 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080i and 1080p). The letter i stands for interlaced; p stands for progressive.
Full high definition is 1080p. But don’t worry too much about resolution. You probably won’t notice a difference, especially on smaller sets.

Pay particular attention to response time. This is the time it takes a pixel to turn on and off. Response time is measured in milliseconds. Aim for 8ms or faster. Otherwise, you may notice smearing in action scenes.

Brightness and contrast ratio are also important. Brightness is measured in candelas per square meter (cd/m2). Higher numbers are better. The picture will look better in bright light.
Contrast ratio is the difference between the whitest white and blackest back. Shadow detail improves as the contrast ratio increases. Don’t accept less than a 1,000:1 contrast ratio.
Make sure the set has connections for your current home theatre components. Buy one with more than one HDMI input, if possible.

What’s in a name?

You’ll see plenty off-brand sets this year. In fact, off-brands will dominate early sales. Don’t let the names deter you.

Budget brands may not be as physically attractive as the big boys. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality is any less.

There are very few manufacturers of LCD panels. Off-brands often share the same panel as costlier models. Different manufacturers make the software and other components, though.
Some extras may not be available on budget brands. Don’t expect card readers, swivel bases or ambient lighting. You’ll be fine without these features, though.

If you must have a brand name, wait. Prices on brand-name sets should start falling three weeks before Christmas.

Read online reviews carefully before buying any set.

Watch out for extras
Competition is forcing stores to lower HDTV prices. You can bet they’ll try to make up for it elsewhere. So, watch out for heavy-handed sales tactics
Retailers make a killing on extended warranties. The truth is, you don’t need one.
Manufacturing defects should become apparent within the standard warranty period. Most brands are reliable, according to Consumer Reports. Included in that group are Sanyo, Sony, Sylvania, Panasonic, JVC, Sharp, Toshiba, Visio, Samsung and Philips Magnavox.

Repair costs after the warranty expires will probably be cheaper than an extended warranty. Anecdotally, I have heard little about TV problems.

You should also watch out for cable prices. The salesperson may try to sell you expensive, brand-name cables. These may run hundreds of dollars.
Tests have shown that most premium cables are not worth premium prices. Budget about $20 for component video cables. An HDMI cable should cost less than $40. Shop around. If nothing else, you can get good prices online.

Remember to budget for installation if you want to wall-mount your set. You’ll spend $100 or more for the bracket. Professional installation starts around $100. Again, shop around. Some professional installers are very expensive. A good handyman can do this job.
It matters where you shop

Don’t limit your shopping to electronics stores. You’ll find great HDTV deals at department stores like Sears and Wal-Mart.

And check warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. They often have lower profit margins than retailers. Retailers’ profit margins are about 25 percent. At warehouse stores, this drops to 10 percent.

Online retailers will also offer bargains on HDTVs. Don’t forget shipping costs, though. And no matter where you purchase, always check return policies.