Be afraid…. be VERY afraid!

October 31, 2009 at 6:36 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s that time of the year again. As soon as darkness falls, the streets shall be filled greasly goons and ghoulish figures, slithering and sliding about in search of their next victim. No, no, the world has not been taken over by zombies nor have the undead run amok in the neighborhood; this is actually an annual festival that has been celebrated for the past many centuries – Halloween.

250px-Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31 Although Halloween is regarded as a Christian festival, traces of it can be located here in our part of the world as well and ironically enough, it is mostly popular amongst adults. Private costume parties where people can enter dressed in the wackiest or scariest attire they can think of are scattered throughout the city. Although this particular festival is not as popular and widespread as our main or major Muslim festivals such as Eid or Basant, however it is rapidly gaining momentum.

Halloween is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain which means “summer’s end”.The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

Just the other day i was reading a magazine in which one of the articles covered the ’10 most haunted places of the world’. This heading caught my eye, therefore i decided to read further. The place that made the No. 1 spot was none other than The Amityville House, Long Island, New York.

On November 13, 1974, 24 year old Ronald Defeo, using a high powered rifle, shot his parents and his four siblings as they slept. Defeo said he committed the murders because he heard voices and presumed that God was talking to him.However much of the legend about the house comes from George and Kathy Lutz who moved into the house with their four children a year later. They left 28 days later however, claiming that the house was haunted. The Lutzes said they experienced a great deal of paranormal activity: doors were ripped off of hinges, windows flew open, a swarm of flies materialized out of nowhere, and a crucifix hung on a wall revolved until it was hanging upside down. Mrs. Lutz says she levitated several times.Both the Lutz family and their priest stated that each time the priest tried to help the family, he ended up with bleeding blisters on his hands. They also said their phone calls were often interrupted by strange sounds.

Other incidents which the family members claimed to have experienced included the sounds of a German march band tuning up and their 5 year old daughter Missy befriending a demonic pig like creature with red eyes named “Jodie”. Although many skeptics have disregarded the Lutz family’s recounts calling it a publicity stunt and have concluded the entire story to be a hoax, yet the house still holds the wonder of anyone who either reads or hears about it.

So the next time you hear something go bump in the night, there are two possibilities; either the noise is a figment of your imagination or there really is some sinister presence somewhere very, very near you.

Sweet dreams everybody. =)

until next time, ciao. =)

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“Weight, weight go away; come again…………NEVER!” =P

October 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm (Uncategorized)

We’re all familiar with the issue of weight gain; its one of those topics that can never be exhausted – you can talk over and over about it and yet still gain a new perspective each time you do talk about it. Weight gain is like chewing gum (or as we say in Pakistan, “bubble”) stuck to the back of your shoe or that annoying frandshipper on Facebook; neither lets go easily until and unless you make active efforts to remove it permanently.

Although there is pretty much a unanimous agreement on restricting weight gain, there are, however, two schools of thought regarding the method to weight loss. Just the other day, i was sitting with two of my friends in our university cafeteria. One of my friends was complaining about how difficult it was to maintain weight and how, no matter how much dieting she did, she’d always gain the extra weight back. My other friend was trying to convince her that dieting was not the answer, that one should eat everything and then try to burn the calories by exercising. Contrary to normal behavior (where i tune out and instead daydream about ‘Jim’ from ‘The Office’), i decided to participate in the conversation by saying that both were, in a way, instrumental to losing weight because it ensured that one got all the proteins and nutrients required while at the same time eliminating all the fatty acids. Both of them fell silent and glared at me; one of them retorted, “You’re one to talk! You don’t even need to lose weight! in fact, just the opposite!”. And with that, my banishment from the topic of discussion was made final. Sigh. Alright, so i am thin. That doesn’t mean that i don’t care about weight gain! The amount of time i spend in front of the mirror, turning from side to side to make sure whether the shirt i’ve worn is appropriate or not is proof of that. Yet i am powerless; my will power crumbles when the aroma of pasta oozing cheese sauce reaches me or when a perfectly shaped chocolate bar is placed before me. I’ve never been on a diet in my life, therefore when faced with the prospect of having to give up the foods that i love in exchange for a meal that is fit for a mountain goat, i break out in a cold sweat.

I haven’t had much luck with exercise either. It is during that time when, along with my enthusiasm, my clumsiness goes to its highest level; i am no longer just a danger to myself but am now also a danger to the people around me. Once in my excitement to try my hand at badminton, i accidentally hit my partner in the face with the shuttlecock. Towards the latter part of the game, the top part of my racket flew ahead of me, just stopping short of my opponents feet. Needless to say, i haven’t picked up a racket since.

More often than not, i just don’t seem to possess the stamina. Two flights of stairs are enough to make me pant like a dog. I remember once i had enrolled for a trial ¬†exercise program at one of the gyms in Singapore. I was put in the responsibility of a personal trainer on my very first day. I should’ve seen it coming; he was Chinese and that race is known to work their butts off to excel in every phase of life, physically and mentally. That guy made me do push ups, sit ups, stomach crunches and leg muscle exercises all within the span of two hours. By the time i came home, i had only enough strength to drag myself to my cousin’s room and collapse on her bed, unable to even lift a finger. I knew my cousin would throw a fit considering i had managed to transfer my body sweat to her bed covers but i was just too tired to care.

So yeah, i guess i shouldn’t talk on the subject. I can barely hold my own when it comes to a piece of chocolate cake, neither am i motivated enough to enroll myself in a gym and dance to Paula Abdul exercise videos. But common sense (which is beginning to get scarce nowadays what with numerous talk shows blasting the same rhetoric over and over) suggests that a diet combined with a satisfactory exercise routine is the key towards lasting weight loss. A proper diet consisting of all the vital ingredients needed to stay healthy while keeping the harmful food items to a minimum together with a proper exercise regimen designed to increase stamina as well as reduce flabbiness is an effort guaranteed to make one lose weight, maintain it over a period of time and also feel good about oneself without having to suffer cravings from time to time.

However different methods suit different people. Some are comfortable in starving themselves to the limit, while others are more at ease when hitting the treadmill 10 times a day. Me? i was thinking of curbing my urge to have a chocolate bar every now and then and also giving a headstart to my walk routine….. soon. *munches on a bag of chips*

until next time, ciao.  =)

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