Sunday, December 30, 2012

HFR (High Frame Rate) Movies

I recently went to see the movie "The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey" in IMAX 3D. I also saw it in the new HFR (High Frame Rate) format which it was filmed in.

HFR (High Frame Rate) for this movie records and in select theaters, plays, at 48 FPS (Frames Per Second), double the normal 24 FPS.

So I went to the second viewing in HFR with a critical eye to this difference. It had been about two weeks since my first viewing and even though I was aware of what the difference should be, I didn't really notice much of a difference.

In the more instense scenes of fighting and motion, I was occassionally more aware of the movement and possibly a decrease in the blurring action of the lower 24 FPS version, but I didn't find anything else negative about it. It definitely didn't seem less real like some critics claim.

Perhaps another viewing of the lower 24 FPS version now might give me more insight into the differences. If it does, I'll update this review. Otherwise, I won't be going out of my way again just to see the HFR version only because the difference was negligible for me. I still applaude Peter Jackson's efforts.

Of course, if this catches on, you'll need a new system at home to view this new format but that's not surprising. You'll need a new one for the Dolby Atmos sound also. The theater I saw this movie in was not set up for the new sound system. Neither is my home. In fact, my system only supports Dolby Pro so I am a few versions behind when it comes to sound and haven't moved up to 3D either. It's hard to justify replacing something that still works.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Never Say Good-bye

Today is my sister's birthday, October 24th. She passed away on November 6th, 2004. So I am in a reminiscent mood. I miss our talks very much. We were always close but didn't talk much until my mom passed on. Then I took up my mom's and sister's weekly talks. It was an excuse to stay in contact and help keep what little sanity I felt I still had. It turned out to be a sort of therapy session for both of us and we grew even closer that ever.

Now that she's passed on, I still have discussions with her but I do so miss her hugs. She was never one for hugging but sometime in the past I learned of the importance of hugging. I started doing this everytime I saw her though she resisted greatly. Realizing that the more she struggled, the longer the hugs lasted, she finally gave in and eventually grew to enjoy them and began passing them on to others. I've always felt it was an important break-through in our therapy for both of us.

I guess I mentioned the hugs because I read something today that said "Hugging for 20 seconds releases Oxytocin, which can make someone trust you more." Of course, I did it because the past information I had read said it helped people though I can't recall the benefits. I believe we are all connected and like batteries, physical contact improves the exchange of that energy. I think they are so important to everyone and we don't do it enough!

I also lost my partner the same year my sister passed on. A friend pointed out to me that I often talk of my partner Jerry as if he were still alive. At first, I apologized but upon reflection realized I don't think of death as an ending but a transition. I still have access to them, just not in a physical way (and I do so miss that as mentioned above about hugs!). I carry on conversations and often share what I perceive with others (which I often forget alarms many and puts me in the "crazy" category! So be it.).

This year, I lost one of my closest friends, Teri Taylor, who was only 38 at the time. It was a stroke and I have been more diligent in taking my blood pressure medicine as a way to learn from her death. I carried out the stuff I had stored in my basement for her yesterday with no intention of going through it or keeping anything. Her family had already gone through the stuff and seemed uninterested in making anymore effort to get the rest.

On the way out to get my empty garbage can, I noticed much had been taken but a few things were left. A wicker basket caught my eye since I often use them for gift baskets and looked inside. There were lots of rainbow beads and a ceramic pumpkin so I took it back inside.

The best trip my friend Teri said she ever took was when I treated her to a trip to New Orleans for Southern Decadence (Gay Mardi Gras). And there were the rainbow beads. The ceramic pumpkin represented Halloween which we both loved to celebrate and were planning on doing so together this year. All in a neat wicker basket like a gift for me.

If you don't see this as syncronicity, I understand. Some messages are too personal. Some people aren't ready to see such connections and prefer to live in the world of science only and call it coincidence. For me though, it has been a good day. Sad though I am, I am also reassured and we can all use a bit of that from time to time.

Thanks for stopping by Teri. You're welcome anytime. Love you and miss your hugs!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Holier than thou

One of the things I've come to accept is how important it is to be present in the real world. In this modern day of the internet and the many gadgets that allow us to disconnect, I make an effort to minimize this.

The reason is that I struggled for a long time with a desire to leave an impact on the world. Something that would last and that I would be remembered by. My guides told me not to worry so much about this and instead realize the importance of being aware and present for my world tribe. To listen, to learn, to share, and to guide.

Having grown up in the south, namely Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, I was exposed to a lot of various Christian faiths. The fact that there were so many with such different views is one of the first things that gave me the courage to find my own calling, the Church of ONE. Me. Yup, from preacher to parishiner, I do it all.

When I began encountering so many that tried hard to frighten me or shame me into thinking I was so lost and they were so found, I saw through to this self-rightous belief and for a while, turned my back on all spirituality.

I imersered myself in college and lived a life of science and facts. Even as logical as I was though, the right side of my brain kept pointing things out that the equations just didn't seem to be able to account for.

So once I graduated, I began spending a lot of time with nature. We lived at the end of the road surrounded by farms and pine trees. I began to remember how much I loved that connection to the world and the beautiful trees and parks are what caused me to take a lower paying job in Birmingham and I have always felt I am right where I should be.

Recently, I met a lady I call my teacher. She is wise and loving and supporting. I didn't realize I could love a person so quickly but she means very much to me. She's given me the courage to be myself and has even helped me to be present for those even she has little patience for.

So when someone comes up to me with a desire to talk about Spirituality, I work very hard to remain open as the dialogue changes from an exchange of ideas to them looking down upon me as someone they perceive to be so lost and ignorant. I find it very draining just to let them preach but from my perscpective, they are so brainwashed into believing they have all the answers, it isn't worth my time or energy to attempt to drawn the conversation back to an exchange of ideas.

I resist closing these people out because we are all one tribe and sometimes a person just needs someone to talk to. I left the conversation feeling better for the exchange we did have though it did take some time to sort through their condescention and return to my own center but I was happy I stuck with it. It wss good practice. Learning when to listen and when to speak. Learning and teaching. And just being present.

And as for the guy that is getting his friends to pray for me, as I said, the more the merrier. Though he may find the prayers he sends my way enrich me in ways he didn't intend. But I do appreciate the boost!


Friday, July 27, 2012

On the down low

There are many that are part of the LGBT community but keep it secret for a variety of reasons.

In this time of tolerance, companies and their employees publicly state that they support "Diversity" which includes sexual preference but find other execuses to refuse to hire, refuse to promote, and to fire people. It is difficult to prove otherwise.

The same holds true for parental rights. Whether you are trying to keep your children, share parental custody, or adopt, the courts are even more open about considering your sexual prefence as a strike against you.

Religion is often at the root of these moral issues. I personally have found my spirituality to be very important to me. I know it takes a strong person to find their own path when everyone wants to show you their way but I am happy I chose to walk that path instead of giving up entirely.

I have had to struggle recently with the loss of a dear friend, their secrets, and the way I have been treated because I don't keep my sexuality a secret. My emotions run the full spectrum from annoyance to anger to pity and depression. I am exhausted.

But I am also surprised and thankful for where the support sometimes comes. So I keep on going and remain hopeful for the future. I try to be an example of a kind and loving person in the hopes that others will realize that I am no better or worse than most and should have the same rights as everyone in this country.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All Praise the Mighty d'Allah!

It seems many today have truly sold their soul to the Mighty dollar.

We see jobs disappearing and turn a blind eye as if the work all of a sudden is no longer needed. In reality, these jobs are being quietly oursourced to other countries and even the people losing their jobs still support the policies that allow this.

When I worked for one of the Fortune 500 companies as it became more obsessed with the value of its stock and less concerned with the needs of its employees, I saw the writing on the wall.

My group trialed outsourcing and before you knew it, the company had sold a large portion of its employees to an outsourcing firm as if we were just a commodity. The next step was for that company to then shift the jobs overseas. A one-two punch that I suspect is at the root of the mystery of much of our job losses. The work is still there. The workers that contribute to our economy are not.

Just that one Fortune 500 company went from around 105,000 employees to around 35,000. Do the math to see what just the Fortune 500 companies may have outsourced.

Yet it seems so many still support large corporations being able to have a voice through their money. The individual has lost much of its power and yet so many still support the political views that are taking the individual freedoms away and listening (and often profiting) from the corporations.

I will not address the folks profitiing from this worship of money because they don't care and it is unlikely any words will change that. It's like gold fever. More, MORE, MORE!!!

I understand that people should try to contribute to a society. If they can't, I don't believe that should be treated like dirt. Finding that balance isn't easy. Many will try to take advantage of the system and this gives the other side an example of why we should not provide any help. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

If we are to err, let's err on the side of helping people instead of making profits. Just because you are fortunate does not mean everyone has had the same opportunities. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to understand things from their point of view. And if you do worship money over people, do you really think that's right?

Monday, June 11, 2012


Some folks might think I am saying this for it's amusement factor only. I am here to tell you that underneath the Winni the Pooh exterior lies a sleeping GRIZZLY. I kid you not!

Though I go by TiggerTheTiger due to my love for the whole cast of Winni the Pooh (especially after reading "The Tao of Pooh") and my Chinese zodiac being the Tiger, the TIGER also sleeps.

Anything can wake either one.

If I wake in the morning and am already hollering at the blind cat, I'm in a BAD mood. When your boss asks you if you have had a cup of coffee and you say "No" and he then refuses to talk to you, you might not be a morning person. So, we have established I wake slowly and have a BAD temper. Oddly, both the cat and boss still like me.

I do my best to change my negative attitude because I don't think it's a nice way to be. I do believe it is in my genes having watched my other family members but I still don't think that's a reason not to at least try to be a better person. Spock from Star Trek always comes to mind. His life long struggle with his human emotions and his Vulcan ideals of no emotions.

I fail sometimes but I strive for a balance of showing the good and hiding the bad. I am not going to debate whether it is right or wrong. It is just the way I want to be. It seems to raise up the energy of those around me and I think that is a good thing.

If someone really wants to know what's wrong (and I know myself), I will discuss it in a private conversation. It usually helps me release the negative energy I have suppressed over the issue without too much damage to anyone or thing.

But if you know what my buttons are and you really like your hands, DON'T POKE THE BEAR! You may not get your hand back. I have been known to cut with my tongue so you might find the scars to not even be seen if I so desire. It's not all fun and games 24 hours a day. You have been warned.

Namaste :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Primitive emotions and more enlightened responses

When my lawn mower was stolen recently, I felt anger, fear, and a desire for revenge. The lawn mower was hidden under a black trash bag, under my back porch, and right up against my house.

The thought of someone coming onto my property put both anger and fear in me. Living right next to the largest railroad switching station in Alabama, I have the added railroad security constantly driving around and monitoring the area. Our local police force is also good at their job so I felt quite safe and secure where I live.

The fact that my neighbors had lost their home of 17 years and had moved out made me realize some low-life had noticed the house was vacant and there would be less people to see their evil deed.

The thought that they might have done this while I was home raised my level of anger and fear even more and I began to think of revenge. I wanted these people hurt in a bad way. Three times as much as they hurt me!

Instead, I released the problem to Spirit. I decided I didn't know who had done it or why. I did trust my higher power to know more about the situation and handle it from a better place of judgement than I could. It didn't make all the primitive emotions disappear but I felt a LOT better.

The next step was to remind myself that someone cared. Living alone, that fell to me. Who better to know anyway? So I took myself out to dinner, bought myself some flowers, and a few gifts (yes, one was a lawn mower).

The planting of the flowers was theraputic also and got me outside instead of moping about the stolen lawn mower. I got them on sale so that was even better. When you see me post pics of white amarillo's and pink dahlia's, perhaps you'll remember how I tried to make stolen lawn mowers into flowers.

The other gifts will remind me also that I am still very fortunate in many ways. They will remind me I can be more mature in my responses to those primitive emotions. That every bad thing that happens is an opportunity to practice what I preach for it is a learning process for most of us.

Instead of wasting energy shouting at the world, asking it to bring it on, I feel much better doing the things I did. I feel they are more mature and enlightened and are examples of the change I would like to see in the world. I find it returns more blessings and positive energy to me and I like my world to work that way.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Like begets Like

I find many people would rather claim to know something than swallow their pride, admit ignorance, and learn something in the process. If I have a doubt and say I do not know, the other person's answer may give me knowledge or verify what I thought. There's nothing wrong with admitting you don't know something. Acting like you do just causes you to remain ignorant. The smart ones have nothing to prove and everything to learn.

When I come across the prideful sort, I find them to be quite a drain. Communication is broken and you have to figure out what they need because they won't admit to any lack of knowledge. They have built a wall around themselves and see ignorance as weakness though their pride is the true downfall for people stop helping them. When this communication stops, both sides suffer.

From street slang to internet slang, even the people in the conversation often don't understand what the other person is saying due to mumbling, vague acronyms, or gross misspelling and grammer to name a few problems. When asked, some will tell you they don't know (even though they won't ask for a clarification) and the rest will act like they understand even if they don't. A lot of this comes from a lack of education and that includes many educators that don't care.

From my own experience, this gets even worse as we move past just being prideful to boastful. A series of successes can quickly lead a person to feeling quite powerful in their ways and begin to invite trouble from corners unknown through boastfulness.

I haven't figured out how to get through to people that feel they know everything. Each time I try, I find the simplest of conversations to turn into a therapy session. I don't mind helping anyone even in this way but I find it very exhausting.

It is also misleading since the subtle cues a person may have learned that help them understand a person are thwarted by all the lies and deception. There aren't many resources to learn some of the things I'm inferring and negative input just detracts from what you think you've learned.

So instead of using anger to hurt others or challenge them to a war you think you can not lose, I'd suggest you find healthier ways to release the anger and focus on the good in your life. It may be a long time before you see the fruits of either way but I know I can look back and see the better path for me was kindness.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Marriage = EQUALITY!!!

I recently had a discussion with a member of an AIDS support group that made me realize I needed to have my say too.

Members of groups often forget that they are representing a group. Making statements in that group instead of on a personal page implies you are speaking for the group. So when this person said that didn't care about getting the right to be married and only wanted the other rights that came with it, the hairs on my back stood on end.

I lost my Partner, the house I bought him, and all his possessions because I had no legal rights. I only got to see him while he was in ICU because of a technicality. But my partner, Jerry Michael Brown, was the one that said we should call each other "Partners".

He didn't like the term "Lovers" because he said it implied that was all our relationship was based on and he said it wasn't. He didn't want to say we were "Married" because we weren't and it would be a lie.

If you had know this man, you'd find it hard to believe he had thought something through so much but it showed to me how much he really did love me. It wasn't an easy union but I can say I love him and miss him often now that he has passed on. Marriage is something we will not get to share in this lifetime.

So I want the opportunity in the future to be able to say I am "Married" in whatever religious or non-religious context that is. It will state: "I am the SAME as you!". No second-class citizen drinking from the gay water fountain and the law will have to back me.

It is TIME to evolve past such hatred. Whomever you consider to be your hero or religious icon, follow their teachings of love, compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness. It's time to start making an effort ALL THE TIME to RAISE THIS WORLD UP!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Children Writing About the Ocean

I figured it was time for a break from "Rants, Raves" and try a bit of "Etc.". In this case, a bit of humor from my cousin Vickie:

The next time you take an oceanography course, you will be totally prepared.

1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.
(Kelly, age 6)

2) Oysters' balls are called pearls.
(Jerry, age 6)

3) If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island. If you don't have ocean all round you, you are incontinent.
(Mike, age 7)

4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She's not my friend any more.
(Kylie, age 6)

5) A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head.
(Billy, age 8)

6) My uncle goes out in his boat with 2 other men and a woman and pots and comes back with crabs.
(Millie, age 6)

7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes when the wind didn't blow the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would have been better off eating beans.
(William, age 7)

8) Mermaids live in the ocean. I like mermaids. They are beautiful and I like their shiny tails, but how on earth do mermaids get pregnant? Like, really?
(Helen, age 6)

9) I'm not going to write about the ocean. My baby brother is always crying, my Dad keeps yelling at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write.
(Amy, age 6)

10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves in to chargers.
(Christopher, age 7)

11) When you go swimming in the ocean, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small.
(Kevin, age 6)

12) Divers have to be safe when they go under the water. Divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other.
(Becky, age 8)

13) On vacation my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water fired right up her big fat ass.
(Julie, age 7)

14) The ocean is made up of water and fish. Why the fish don't drown I don't know.
(Bobby, age 6)

15) My dad was a sailor on the ocean. He knows all about the ocean. What he doesn't know is why he quit being a sailor and married my mom.
(James, age 7)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


NOTE: The original post was lost so this is a new, revised version. Although the loss of the post upset me, I realized that perhaps the emotions that prompted the initial post were too raw and the powers-that-be were helping me to step back and write it again at another time in a better space.

I was prompted to write this after reading a spiritual/religious blog that claimed Southern people to be kind and hospitable and Northern people to not be.

I too, often find myself lumping everyone in a group into a certain category with a certain set of traits associated with them. It is also why I don't like labels and prefer more specific questions when someone is curious about me.

Even then, each word has a definition associated with it which is unique to each person. That's why speech is still a crude form of communication. Most people assume when speaking to someone that the definition of each word used is the same for both the speaker and the listener and this just isn't so.

My parents were both from New York where I was conceived. I was born and raised (mostly) in New Orleans, Louisiana. My mom told me that when I was born the doctor said "He might have Yankee blood but he has a Rebel yell!".

So I have a unique view on this issue, and like many other issues, my parents allowed me to form my own opinions. That included changing them as I saw fit. I still find myself forming what I later consider to be incorrect beliefs. There's nothing wrong with changing your mind though I wish I were not so quick to form such opinions.

As part of the LGBT community living in the South, I have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse. It seems that sometimes what some consider to be friendly socializing is a thin vale for being nosey. The next step after gathering such information is the private trial and sentence such folks render upon me.

I haven't lived in the North but I suspect the same thing goes on up there too, just by another name. In both cases though, I still try to give people a chance before forming my own opinions of them. Granted, some are quite sneaky about what they think and what they present to the world so it's not that easy to figure out.

I've learned that lesson the hard way many times over. I may be a bit more cautious and I constantly have to fight my natural cynicism but I still try to take people as they present themselves until the evidence proves otherwise.

My parents also had their good and bad points. The things they said in private were not always the things they said in public. I noticed it often and called them on it occasionally. I suppose it is why I am so argumentative (people consider me confrontational). I find you have to badger folks to get enough snippets of truth and falsehood to weave your own tapestry of reality.

My parents taught me manners and expected me to treat everyone the same no matter what things they might say about a particular group in private. From "thank you" to "you're welcome" to holding open a door for anyone, my parents taught AND practiced kindness. It wasn't something they learned when they reach the South, they brought it with them from the North.

Since I was born in the South, I consider myself Southern but I was raised by parents from the North so I take offense to the pridefullness and ignorance of someone lumping everyone together and saying Northerners are not friendly. It's a two-way street and when a slippery smile appears, it doesn't fool everyone no matter where you are from.

That is just one stereotype. There are many others and you may be guilty of using them. Some are so ingrained, it is a hard and long battle to change what one is taught. Don't let a stereotype keep you from being nice to everyone. It's not always easy but wouldn't you rather lift the world up than bring it down?

Bit by bit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Right Thing

I once worked with a person that took any opportunity to let people know what their religious beliefs were. I eventually caught this person in MANY things that didn't seem to support the beliefs they kept trying to preach to everyone.

I know of others that seem to go through the motions of what is required of their religion and then turn around, harm others, and take the stance, "This is who I am, if you don't like it, suck it.".

In this country, making a buck seems to be an acceptable loop-hole for not following one's religion. If you have to harm another to get ahead in business, that makes it okay to ignore such things as truth and kindness.

I have struggled with these issues myself and have not always done what I believe in my heart to be right. That doesn't make it okay and it does not mean I have forgotten what I have done and moved on.

I constantly evaluate how I behave and re-assess my decisions. I don't do it because I believe according to my religious beliefs, all is seen and accounted for. I do it because I try my best to live my life by those beliefs and value truth and kindness. I like the world I feel such works will create, bit by bit.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blurring the lines of privacy

I often see folks on facebook talk about "their" facebook page. I have to admit, I often think of mine the same way. But in reality, Facebook owns it all. We don't pay for the service. Have you ever noticed that the ads that pop up often are related to topics you discuss in chat and messages? You may think they are private but they are not.

The same holds true for all those fun apps we use. They don't need all our private information to plow a field or shoot a bird. It is used for marketing and is often the way dishonest creators get access to and share such information. That's why I use only a few trusted apps.

Almost any site has so many levels of backup that its hard to say how many copies of a bit of information are made and for how long and where they may be kept. With the new Homeland Security laws, I would not be surprised if many sites provide copies or free access to government agencies.

It's not just kids that need to be aware of what they post and where on the internet. Even when the account is "supposedly" private, the management of that data allows those managers to view and share the information any way they want.

I regularly archived data for five years as part of my job for financial reasons. With media as cheap as it is now, that could be a lifetime. Don't think just because you instructed a site to delete your account that it is gone from every backup. All you really did is just remove YOUR access to the data.

Think before post and remember that anyone can be watching. Just because some friend of a friend you don't like is not directly linked to your information does not mean they can't get to it through some other account.

Parents, that goes for your children also. Parent first, friend second. Many kids have alias accounts to keep their parents from seeing what they are really doing. If they log off or hide the screen when you come around, they have something to hide and you have the right to know. You are in charge! Be aware!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Think before you CLICK!

Sometime last year, I began getting spam. Before then, it rarely happened. I suspect it occurred when I joined a new site that either hid its intention to share my email with other companies or just lied about its policy. It's not as wasteful as junk snail-mail but it is still annoying.

The amusing thing about this spam is that they constantly use different domains but a unique format to the message. This makes it easy to identify as spam from the same source, so I don't read it and I can quickly add it to my Junk Mail list.

I use "Windows Live Mail" on a Windows 7 system. It's not perfect but it does have a feature to help greatly reduce spam. If you use this program, you may want to try this...

In the "Junk Mail" folder, select an item to block by clicking on it once. Then right-click to pull up a menu and select "Junk Mail" and in the sub-menu, select "Add sender's domain to blocked sender list". Note: Use the option with the word "DOMAIN".

This blocks ALL email from this domain. The way I see it, I don't want ANYTHING from that domain so if it blocks someone I know, they need to move to a better ISP that doesn't support the creators of Spam.

It's not perfect since they keep creating new domains that aren't blocked but it's the easiest way I know to fight back until the government figures out a way to prosecute companies that share email addresses illegally.

Somehow, I doubt that will happen. Just like junk mail in snail-mail addressed to resident. I see it as abuse but I don't have the deep pockets to buy a politician to write a SOPA or PIPA for me.

Until then, I'll fight them one domain at a time. And I'll keep the APPS I run on sites like facebook to a minimum. Think before you click!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Charity - See a hand, give a hand.

When someone is in need, the best thing to do is get involved. Give of your time if you feel you can't give anything else. Sometimes, an encouraging word can make all the difference. Simply smile.

We often come across people that we don't feel need help. Unless we take some time to understand their situation, we could be wrong and fail to help someone in need. Don't let such negative thoughts be your excuse to refuse someone help.

In many situations, there will be those that take advantage of charity. Just because they harm others by taking from them does not mean we should also. Have faith that your contribution will make a difference.

Take some money and put it in a special place in your wallet. When someone asks for help, consider the money already theirs and give it to them. Don't worry about how it will be used. Even a mis-step furthers a person along their path.

I say this because my tendency is to over-think everything to the point that I talk myself out of helping people. A friend helped me realize it was better to err on the side of charity and save the internal dialoge for later.

Start with Love, End with Love, and the rest will work itself out.