Holiday Week Kick-Off: Coffee and Wine

Happy Monday, all! Sunny day here, though the blast of cold air that greeted me this morning said that we had bypassed Fall and gone straight to Winter. Kind of a bummer, but we did at least get in a fun trip over the weekend, heading to Culpeper, VA for seafood, wine, photography, and a nice cup of coffee at The Raven’s Nest Coffee House (highly recommended). Sad to learn that the great German restaurant had closed down, but we always have a great time when we visit, and this was no exception. You could sense the holidays in the air.

Looking at a shorter-than-usual week with Thanksgiving (and a trip to see my parents) coming up, but I still plan to meet my usual goals. Just have to push a little harder. Hope everyone has a fun and safe week.

Culp06

The Resolution Trap: 5 Reasons New Years Resolutions are Overblown

Noisemaker

The New Year brings with it a lot of psychological connotations. Tabula Rasa. A clean slate. The chance to start over. It’s tempting to make grand pronouncements that “this year is different” and embark upon life-changing endeavors and hey, honestly, I think that’s cool. Life change is important to keep a person from fading away; if you’re not changing, you’re dying, as far as I’m concerned. Anytime a person decides to undertake something new it’s worthy of applause, whether it’s a huge weight loss plan, finally kicking that smoking habit, or writing every day (something that I myself am going to attempt – hey, you didn’t think I was immune to the whole New Years effect, did you?).

Gassy

The truth is that 88% of all New Years Resolutions fail. That’s just the reality of the situation staring us in the face. Now, I write this post not to discourage people from making changes. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’d love to see everyone continue to examine their lives throughout the year – I just believe that New Years Resolutions contribute to burnout and keep people stagnant. It’s important to keep a grip on the changes that life are throwing at you as they come, not just on an arbitrary calendar date.

That said, let’s look at some of the reasons that New Years Resolutions might not be all that they’re cracked up to be.

calendar_clipart

5. January 1st is just another date. Seriously. We currently use the Gregorian Calendar, instituted by a papal bull from Pope Gregory XIII on February 24 1582. Previous to that, the most widely used calendar was the Julian calendar, which began with the month of Ianarius. This month lasted 29 days previous to 45 BC. There was also a 27-day month called Mercedonius during leap years. Even after the changes to the calendar following 45 BC, January 1, 2013 equates out to December 19, 2012, and that’s not even getting into the Hebrew, Islamic, or Persian Calendar. Psychologically sure it means something, but in universal terms the date means very little. Every day may as well be New Years, which means every day is just as good as the other for starting anew.

brain-clip-art-3

4. We don’t change simply because we resolve to. Psychology has proven this over and over again: a conscious desire to change is great, but it’s not enough. The idea that we can simply say “I’m never doing this again” and have it stay that way is part of the cultural zeitgeist that unconscious drives and desires simply don’t matter – and there’s no evidence that that is the case. I’m not saying that you can’t ever change. I’m living proof that that is simply not the case. What I’m saying is that trying to change something major without addressing the deeper underlying issues is like trying to replace your house’s roof when the walls are crumbling. It’s bound to collapse without the proper support structure to keep that change in place. You have to also focus on new ways of thinking and relating to the world, not just “not doing” something. Continue reading

Coffin Hop Day 4: The Haunted Places of the World (Fiction) #coffinhop

Happy Saturday, you Coffin Hoppers! Having fun with the Hop so far? I know I am. I’ve already discovered some great authors on this hop, and hope to find more as the days progress. As always, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post for more information on the Coffin Hop, but for now, let’s take a look at the…

This is a two-day event. On the first day, we’re looking at some of my favorite fictional haunted (or mystical) places. Tomorrow, we’ll look at five real, legendary places. I know the title is Haunted Places, but I don’t necessarily mean “haunted”, I just mean those places that get under your skin and stay there.

One of my favorite fictional subjects, as evidenced in Abby the Hero, is the forgotten places of the world – the places where reality and myth merge. You’ve probably encountered one or two of these places in your own life; places that touch a nerve within you, without you even understanding why. I grew up near a lake that covered a submerged cemetery, and let me tell you, that place has never left my imagination. That’s the kind of place I’m talking about.

Now on with the list…

5. Haddonfield, Ill (Halloween). This one was an obvious choice; Haddonfield, in my mind, equals horror. Haddonfield is located in Livingston County, Illinois 3.5 miles northeast of the county seat of Pontiac. This north-central Illinois community is known for its Haddonfield Harvest Festival and high school football team, the Haddonfield Huskers. Haddonfield is also a town haunted by the events that took place on the Halloween nights of 1963, 1978, and 1988, at last banning the celebration of Halloween after another massacre in 1989.

Haddonfield had its ghosts, though; by the time Michael returned to town in 1978, the old Myers place had a reputation as a haunted house, and rightfully so, for Michael took up residence there almost as soon as he returned.

Haddonfield was named for real-life Haddonfield, New Jersey, co-writer and co-producer Debra Hill’s hometown. The second film also establishes that the murders of Laurie’s friends took place in the northwest section of Haddonfield on a street called Orange Grove. The real-life addresses for the houses used for the Doyle and Wallace residences are on Orange Grove Avenue in West Hollywood, California (credit to the Horror Wiki for these facts). Continue reading