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Friday, January 25, 2008

How to Stay Awake at Work or School

Have you ever been so tired you almost fell asleep at work? Did you ever wish you could just crawl under your desk and take a nap like George Costanza?

Whether you were partying too hard the night before, up late feeding a newborn baby, or some other energy draining activity, you've got an emergency that needs to be addressed pronto!

Here are some steps you can take to make it through the day. They range from total retreat to commando "cowboy-up" tactics. Use the ones that will work for you and bookmark this for the next time this happens. ('Cause you know it will! Doh!)

1. Go Home "Sick." This is total retreat. Head into your boss's office and tell him or her that you are not feeling well and need to leave. Save this for only the most extreme situations. If you came into work there was probably something that needed to get done. If you just can't make it to 5 o'clock, then this can be a sweet relief. When you get home, get into bed and ditch the guilt. Go to sleep and start over again tomorrow. And then make a plan to have a better day tomorrow.

2. Staying Awake in Lecture Hall. This is can be a really tough one. The best way to handle this is with multiple tactics:
  • If allowed, bring coffee, discreet snacks, and gum.
  • Even if you are not a note taker, start writing down everything the teacher is saying to keep your mind alert.
  • Move as much as you can. Tap your foot or bounce your leg. Switch position in your chair frequently. Stretch. Move your head. Tap your fingers.
  • Pain. This is kind of an emergency procedure. If you can't stay awake consider pinching yourself. I know it's a little strange, but pain can keep you awake.
  • Stimulating Thoughts: think of something that makes you happy or makes you feel good. I'll leave it at that.
  • Online activity: this wasn't around when I was in college, but I would imagine if you're in the back of the class you could surf the web, email your friends, and read Dumb Little Man.
  • Entertain Yourself: see if you can summon your extrasensory powers by willing someone to look at you. Or try across the room flirting. Why not?
Don't do these things unless you want to fall out of your chair snoring and drooling:
  • Rest your head in your hand.
  • Rest close your eyes.
  • Lay your head down.
3. The Work Nap. If you are lucky enough to have a workplace that has an area for naps and if your workload can wait, then go ahead and take advantage of that benefit. Shoot for a 20-30 minute nap to take the edge off your exhaustion. A shorter nap will prevent you from waking up groggy. Bring some kind of an alarm with you such as your cell phone, or ask a colleague to wake you.

4. The Work at Home Nap. If you work at home, being sleepy on the job is not as much of a problem, or is it? The real problem is keeping it from becoming a habit. And actually the habit is only a problem if it interferes with your productivity, clients, or your family. If you successfully incorporate napping into your schedule, then go for it. But if it becomes something that cuts into your work, try to only do this if you are so tired you can't get any work done.

5. The Work at Home Nap with Kids. This is similar to situation number 2, because your "boss" is your kids. If the kids are young enough, try to get them to nap with you or nap when they nap. Of course don't leave young children unattended. If you're afraid you can't stay awake, call a friend, family member, or babysitter to come over and help you out. Lastly, you can always try #5, The Meditation Nap if you need to stay awake, but also need to get some rejuvenation.

6. The Meditation Nap. This is not a sleeping nap, but it will give you the similar feeling of renewal that you get after a short nap. In a nutshell a meditation nap is conscious quiet rest time. Here's how you do it.
  • Allot approximately 10-20 minutes.
  • Start by doing a couple stretches, whatever feels good.
  • Next take 10 deep breaths with eyes closed and sitting upright.
  • Take the rest of the time to empty your mind of everything. A good way to do this is to mentally repeat one word or phrase such as "empty the mind" or "peace" or "om" or whatever works for you. As thoughts come into your mind, notice them like clouds going by in the sky, but don't grab hold. Just keep coming back to your word.
At the end of your allotted time open your eyes, take another couple deep breaths and stretches. Optional: Lightly place your hands over your eyes during part of the time. This helps eye strain tremendously. You can also try giving yourself a face and head massage. Here is some additional info on meditation naps.

7. Physical Movement. When people are sleep deprived, exercise can increase alertness. This is good if you absolutely can not leave work early and you need to meet deadlines. Instead of giving into the head nodding and eyelid drooping, get up and get out for 10 minutes. Do some type of brisk physical movement like walking, jogging, jumping jacks, push ups, etc. If there is a stairwell, jog up and down the stairs 5 or 6 times.

8. Get Help from Colleagues. If you have some buddies at work, confide in them that you need their help with staying awake. See if there are any things you can work on together. Talking with co-workers will help keep your mind engaged and alert.

9. Pace Yourself. If you are just mildly tired, a good strategy is to simply take it real slow. Don't be too ambitious. Just take one thing at a time. And conserve your energy by avoiding conflict. Then at 5pm, zip on out to get home so you can rest!

10. Take Multiple Breaks. If your work doesn't give you unlimited breaks, take a bathroom break once an hour to get up and walk. And when you take your breaks, close your eyes for 5 minutes. Try splashing some cold water on your face before heading back to your work.

11. Stimulate the Mind. Find something to laugh about periodically during the day even if it is as simple as your ridiculous predicament. Find something that is interesting, fun, stimulating, or otherwise pleasurable to think about. Focus your mind on these thoughts as much as you can during the day to keep your mind awake.

12. Eat Frequent Snacks. Healthy is best. Protein is good for energy that won't make you sleepy. Avoid sugar because it will give you a little boost, but then when the sugar crash comes it will be harder to take given your sleepiness. Try not to eat too much or too little. If you're really hurting and can't do healthy, perhaps a steady stream of chocolate might do the trick. :)

13. Caffeine. The key here is not to take in too much too quickly. You'll have best results if you spread it out slowly over the day. This will keep your mind alert enough to stay awake, but it won't jolt you too much which could end up making you more tired later.

14. Commando. If your butt is on the line today, you need to get serious about staying awake which means you need to combine several of these tactics along with awakening your inner drill sergeant. Start with some fuel. Get some healthy food to eat during the day. Line up some caffeinated drinks that you can sip throughout the day. Each hour or half hour do 5 minutes of moving, stretching and deep breathing. Stay around people to keep your mind alert. If you have a buddy who can help keep you awake seek them out! And give yourself a a prize at the finish line to look forward to by planning a treat for making it through the day, even if it's simply slumping into bed when you get home.

Good luck! Being tired at work really stinks. The best thing you can do after it's all over is find a way to keep it from happening again.

Ever fall asleep at work or school? What happened? Give us a shout with your story! We'd love to hear from you!

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Fighting with your spouse can make you live longer: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fighting with your spouse can actually be good for your health with people who bottle it all up found to die earlier, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and its Psychology Department released preliminary findings after 17 years of following 192 couples.

The couples fell into four categories: where both partners expressed anger when they felt unfairly attacked, where neither partner expressed their anger, and one category each for where the wife suppressed her feelings and where the husband did so.

"I would say that if you don't express your feelings to your partner and tell them what the problem is when you're unfairly attacked, then you're in trouble," said Ernest Harburg, lead author of the study, in an interview.

The study found that those who kept their anger in were twice as likely to die earlier than those who don't.

There were 13 deaths in the group of 26 pairs where both partners suppressed their emotions, as opposed to only 41 deaths in the remaining 166 pairs.

"When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict," Harburg said.

"Usually nobody is trained to do this. If they have good parents, they can imitate, that's fine, but usually the couple is ignorant about the process of resolving conflict."

Harburg said resentment was the real threat -- and suppressing anger led to resentment.

He said it is the resentment that interacts with any medical vulnerabilities a person might have, increasing their chances of succumbing to that medical problem.

"It's healthy to recognize that you're being attacked unfairly and it's even more healthy to speak up and to talk about it and try to resolve the problem if you want to live longer," said Harburg.

(Reporting by Stefanie Kranjec; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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Worlds first weed ATM opening 24/7 in Los Angeles on Monday

Well for all you stoners out there it’s finally here! Your dream come true! The world’s first weed ATM! Well actually, AVM’s: Anytime-Vending-Machines.

This AVM is available 24/7, is fully secured in it’s own room, has two dispensaries, and full-time security for your protection. You must have a doctor’s consultation and prescription to use the machine. Once you do, go to the AVM, get you prescription approved, fingerprints taken, and get your prepaid credit card ready to use the machine. Then once you’ve done that, you can go to the AVM at anytime and get your vacuum-sealed weed! You are allowed up to 1 ounce a week.

The machine will be up and running this coming Monday. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be the first person to use the world’s first automated weed dispenser? What a thing to tell your grandkids!

Future plans include machine-vended pharmaceuticals like Vicodin, Viagra, and Propecia

Melrose Quality Pain Relief,
4906 Melrose Ave, Mid-Wilshire. (map)

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Healing Power of Guitar Hero

While the Nintendo Wii continues to garner headlines for its many alternative uses, an occupational therapist at the Select Specialty Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana is investigating the potential of Guitar Hero in physical rehabilitation.
Certified occupational therapy assistant Kelly Colwell first noted the healing potential of Guitar Hero while working with a patient who had injured his elbow and lost range of motion in his arm.

Doctors had told the patient that he would never regain full flexibility and rotation of his arm--motions that are heavily utilized when playing with Guitar Hero's plastic guitar.

"We'd been doing a lot with range of motion, but he was still lacking in pronation and supination in his forearm," Colwell informed Shacknews. Pronation and supination refer to the twisting and flexing motions of limbs. "Guitar Hero really helped out a lot with that, especially the supination because he had to hold that pose."

Apart from a patient's increased willingness to participate in therapy, other possible benefits of Guitar Hero noted by Colwell include improved abdominal, lower back, and wrist strength, sitting balance, fine motor skills, and general endurance.

"I hadn't [used video games in therapy] before, but I'll do it again," Colwell remarked.

"The gaming industry is just now becoming aware of the benefits their products can be provide in health care, but has yet to tap into its full potential," said chiropractor and licensed acupuncturist Steve Alter, who runs his own practice in Fort Wayne.

"Stroke victims in particular would really benefit from [a specialized video game]," Alter observed, explaining that software designed to stimulate both halves of the brain could aid in stroke recovery.

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How Wii Can Help You Stay Younger

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Ain't It the Truth?

All sizes
Gotta love Banksy

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My kind of town

No words

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10 of the most Amazing Sand Sculptures from around the World


As a kid you probably enjoyed making sandcastles on the beach but did you ever think sandcastles could be so big, so elaborate or intricate? Some take it seriously, very seriously. Amateurs, artists and businesses from around the globe compete to win the prestige, prizes and press attention from their sandcastles AKA sand sculptures, the more accurate term for this peculiar endeavour. Even the corporates at companies such as eBay take a good sandcastle seriously, eBay commissioned a monster 75 tonne sand sculpture for their 10th anniversary. These sand sculptures are typically made using river sand, which is a finer material when compared with beach sand and therefore more suited to being sculpted. Unlike your puny childhood attempt at sand castle glory, some of these oversized sandcastles withstand weeks of erosion before disappearing. Here are some of the finest examples of sand sculptures from around the world!

Lifesize Skoda, Sydney

Lifesize Skoda

Lifesize Skoda: Who would have thought it? For many long years the humble Skoda bore the brunt of a near-constant stream of contempt and abuse from the western car-owning world. Derided and written off as a poor man’s car (and a poor car for most), Skoda was bought over by Volkswagen in 1991 and like a Czech Phoenix has been transformed into a reliable and respectable brand with sales figures to match. Part of their renewal has been a successful viral marketing campaign, like when Skoda introduced their vehicles to Australia in a manner in which Aussies can relate - a life-sized car on Sydney’s Palm Beach scultped using 60 tonnes of sand. Since then Skoda have gone on to create a replica Fabia cake!

Neptune’s Sandcastle, Virginia Beach

Neptune's Sandcastle

Neptune’s Sandcastle: Neptune’s Sandcastle is the largest sandcastle in the world, which was sculpted for the 2006 Virginia Beach Neptune Festival. This 37ft, 4 storey tall sandcastle easily trumped the previous 32.5ft world record. Neptune’s Castle kept six, skillful, sand sculpters from Team Sandtastic busy moving and shaping over 3,000,000lbs of fine sand until it was completed. Check out the video for a timelapse of how they do it.

Rapunzel’s Castle, Fraser Valley

Rapunzel's Castle

Rapunzel’s Castle: As the old story of Rapunzel goes, the fair lady was trapped in the tower by an evil witch until her Prince came along. This stunning castle was sculpted for the annual sand sculpting competition at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort in the Fraser Valley of BC Canada.

Boracay Island, Philippines

Boracay Island

Boracay Island: Boracay Island in the Philippines is a tropical paradise famed for crystal blue waters, thriving marine life and palm-fringed whiter-than-white sand beaches. Tourists from Australia and Europe are drawn to Boracay Island for all these reasons and while they are there they might see an intricate shoreline creation such as this one! Castles like this have stiff competition on Boracay. This place seems to be the center of the sand sculpting world!

The Sandcastle Group, Myrtle Beach

The Sandcastle Group

The Sandcastle Group: The Sandcastle Group are holders of the World’s Longest Sand Sculpture, which stood at 16.39 miles long on Myrtle Beach, Florida. Reyelt and his team mobilised 8,000 volunteers to help construct it, all of whom are Guinness world record holders. The same poeple who were responsible for this monstrous sand castle recieved Guinness World Records in the past for the 25,000 tonne ‘Blue Beard’s Castle’ in 1985 and the five-storey high Lost City of Atlantis in 1986.

Sandsation, Berlin


Sandsation: Martin Tulinius created this small piece of paradise on earth back in August 2007 for the fifth annual Sandsation event in Berlin, Germany. And around 100,000 germans filed through to enjoy some of the best sand sculptures in the world.

Castle to the Sun, Casco

Castle to the Sun

Castle to the Sun: It took 40 dump truck loads to get the 1,000,000lbs of sand needed for the Castle to the Sun sculpture. Project leader Ed Jarrett spent his summer building this colossal 31.5ft tall sandcastle at Camp Sunshine with help from the kids staying at the camp and community volunteers. The sandcastle was to raise funds to benefit the camp for children with life threatening illnesses. You can see a time elapsed series of photos documenting the building process.

Zadanyuk & Varano, Fraser Valley

Zadanyuk & Varano

Zadanyuk & Varano: Winners of the World Championships of Sand Sculpture 2007 at Harrison Hot Springs, BC were sculpting masters Pavel Zadanyuk of Moscow and Richard Varano from Florida. The duo created Beauty and the Beast which won the Gold Medal with 1,951 votes of over 10,000 cast.

Sandology, Byron Beach


Sandology: You could have walked past this beautiful yet modest sandcastle creation and missed its significance. This sandcastle was created by Steve Machell of Sandology in 2005 on Byron Bay beach specifically for a marriage proposal. I wonder if Sarah said yes?

Here’s the Church, Fraser Valley

Here's the Church

Here’s the Church: Here’s the Church, a sculpture that garnered 1855 votes to win the Silver Medal also at the World Championships of Sand Sculpture 2007 Harrison Hot Springs. Sculptors Michael Velling of Federal Way, Washington and John Gowdy of Venice, Italy had to settle for second best.

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