Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hunting Treasures on the Internet Highway


Finding love in the cyber universe and other little things 

Last night, I watched the 1998 hit “You’ve Got Mail” starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks on the telly. Directed by Nora Ephron, it’s a bittersweet romantic comedy about two harried souls, who aren't aware of the fact that they already know each other on the earthly plane of the real world, but find each other in an online chat room under anonymous screen names and slowly develop a robust relationship. 

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I won’t spoil it any more of what happens next. It’s ironic though that this sugary story of computer love that transcends into real life still resonates with relevance, even in 2019. After all, all they do is predominantly chat throughout the movie. And despite being bitter enemies in the physical world, they proceed to virtually fall in love. You might think, how? With what and with whom are they falling in love? Thoughts? Passions? Humor? Fantasies? Hope? Or the person itself? 

Like old-fashioned love letters, you’ll have to admit; an incredible thing happens when two people simply correspond in writing. The brain feels liberated, unhindered by the bodies automatic social responses that occur when people communicate face to face. There’s nothing to worry about - how you look, how your voice sounds, whether you are black or white, what gods you follow; there are no judgments and if all goes well, no inhibitions later. There is just the mind working to be understood in a pure realm of trust and communication and opening up to a receptive soul. And soon it becomes much more than just an anonymous chat. 

In the real world, when we meet someone very attractive, we are pulled to them instantly. When the physical attraction is strong, it simply overpowers and takes priority over everything else. Then, it soon fades into oblivion. Lust over reason so to speak, confused for love rather than listening, understanding and accepting. But in the virtual space, you may not fully understand the other person chatting with you but you do have to listen. And vice versa. And by actually listening, you open up to a lot of understanding and that is the wonderful beauty of this exercise.

Of course, in these days of online perverts, sly scammers and dangerous stalkers, you’ll have to be very careful who you are interacting with. And many would tell you that people lie in the online worlds. I have had to endure the concerns of those who believe I'm out of my mind or simply that they are more cautious than me. "They could be lying about who they are!" I've been told. As if to say people you meet in person never lie about who they are? Oh, here's another one, "Anyone who has to put a personal profile on the Internet must be a real loser" or “simply wants to just get laid tonight”

Would you call someone who can type at least 100 words a minute, has the intelligence and literal eloquence to communicate his or her innermost thoughts and feelings, and has the self-confidence, focus, and motivation to actually do it - a loser? And why go through this elaborate ritual for sex when sex is now so readily available, free and cheap. 

Well, meeting someone in the flesh can be far more deceptive and dangerous these days than getting to know someone from afar. We humans are slaves to our senses first and to our hearts second. Remove all of the armour and the sensual desires and we are left with consciousness and communication in their purest forms. 

Thus, I highly recommend the Internet for your next romantic interlude. Of course it helps to know what you are looking for ahead of time. The most important thing when looking for your soul mate is to know exactly who you are. If possible, I suggest you sit down and make a list of everything you know to be true about yourself - down to the last detail, positive and negative and everything in between. Be completely honest. Then write down every detail about the person of your dreams, but that doesn’t mean you ponder up the Dead Pool or the Wonder Woman. 

There have been periods in my life where I have thought hard about the perfect woman I wanted in my life - if at all that was possible. I had a mental image of her down to the last detail - her face, her work, her body, her personality - everything. Obviously, the conventional methods of meeting a woman held no water with me. Did I really believe that the woman of my dreams could be living in the same city I was in or somewhere far off, 1000s of miles away? 

And my online profile too had to stand out. I want the woman to think that here is a man astute enough to know that his profile is just casual enough to make him not appear needy, and just alluring enough to attract a smart woman who knows the difference, or that he is just being honest. Either way I couldn't lose, could I? I’ll be truthful, all completely legitimate notions there trying to attract the best mate possible. 

If you cross this stage, understand that the person of your dreams may still not be ready for you in your present state, especially if you have plenty of emotional baggage. So you have to be insightful and objective enough to realize that you’ll have to shed the excess kilos, be willing to wait and also find someone who is willing to take their chances with you patiently. Patience is scarce you see. 

Typically, we choose only the people we are ready to be with. Every person in our life that we chose before finding the final “Chosen One” - was there because of either unavoidable circumstances or life wanted to teach you a particular lesson at that time. Our needs and wants change. Sometimes, we want to be drowned in affection so we would choose a needy, insecure soul who would smother us with affection. Then, we may want to go to the opposite extreme, pretending we could be with someone who loved you but let you be like a free bird. 

At any given time, we all have an image in our mind of the features that we consider attractive or desirable in the person we seek. As we grow older and possibly wiser, these requirements turn to virtues and traits we pursue and it goes much more than just looks. It’s as if, we have found a new realization dawning on us. 

On the Internet, deception is possible but unnecessary and obsolete because only we know who we are and what we need. Don't be a crafty jerk. Unlike the anonymity of the "You've Got Mail" era, we now have authentic power, the power to search the cyber cosmos incognito to find what we seek so what’s the point in faking an artificial persona? After all, we are looking for love and companionship, so why fake it. 

In the end, finding someone who loves and appreciates you is no easy task on the internet but remember, you’ll be astounded at how the cyberverse can sometimes throw an irresistible surprise at you, who would blow you off your feet and turn your life upside down. And what can happen next could be an incredible exchange of deep thoughts and crazy ideas; of all your hopes and dismal fears; of incisive messages and risqué gifs; of long emails and anticipated notifications, and of course, of carnal lusts and bodily desires. In essence, an emotional outpouring of the souls between two strangers on opposite ends of the city or far corner of the planet, depending where you find your match. A friend, a lover, a mate, a spouse...only time can tell. 

So, my fellow wanderers, start your engines and drive into the vast internet highway and take your chances. And you just might find the treasure to treasure for the rest of your life. Just dont forget to wear your seatbelt though. 


Friday, December 28, 2018

Relish the Past, Welcome the Future


Remember, the past is always tense, the future perfect 

This week, I was a reluctant invitee to a glitzy Christmas party - a glorified gathering less of friends and more of snobbish acquaintances - dressed in fancy clothes, indulging in fine spirits and ‘artisanal world cuisine’ whatever that actually means. Having arrived directly from my office, I was not only late but also clearly out of place - standing out from the crowd with my disheveled hair, a wrinkled cotton shirt, and crumpled khakis. 

Seeing me obviously lost, my gracious host welcomed me, consciously ignoring my faux paus and tried her best to make me feel at home. So, with a blue cocktail in hand, I mingled a bit -meeting immaculately dressed strangers, making small talk and chit chat until I found a vantage spot to sit with a boisterous Australian middle-aged couple for friendly banter. 

Let me admit, the party was not bad. after all. The décor was flamboyant yet amazing, the floating grilled starters were delicious and the fizzy drinks concocted with consistency although a little too fruity for my taste. If there was something lacking, it was the sugary retro music from the 60s and 70s with a smattering of hits from the 80s and 90s. I wouldn’t normally complain under normal circumstances but the music was a mismatch for the splendorous aura the party was trying to create. 

Listening to some of the music, reminded me of my childhood (Lionel Ritchie, Inxs, Steve Winwood, Pet Shop Boys, a little George Michael and Phil Collins for good measure too) but the rest of it was the sort of soul music my parents sometimes listened to and for a while at least the nostalgia was comforting. But, then, gradually as one aging track faded slowly into the next, it began to dawn on me that I actually wished I was somewhere else entirely. The nostalgia, you see, had run its course and I found myself, as that realization took hold, feeling suddenly wanting and hungry - to listen to current radio hits, anxious for the here, for the now, for the present. Foster the People, Cold Play and even Martin Garrix came to mind but no more Simon & Garfunkel, please. 

Think about it, funny how this struggle often occurs within each of us. Sometimes, longing for what was, faced with what is (and occasionally overcome by dreams of what's next) and sometimes, just longing for the present, for the moment. It's not so unusual really but just illustrates for some of us the motivations behind how we choose to live our lives. 

Looking back isn't such a bad thing and as my Christmas party experience points out - often offers comfort, nostalgia, and a way to stay connected with who we are and where we came from. The danger, however, is in never learning how to move beyond the then, the then of the past. How many of you have known (or know) people like that? The ones who can't ever get over whatever it is they're so connected to, running from, or longing for? Be it work, relationships, family... Sometimes, I think I am one of them. Maybe you are also one of those people, or maybe you just pity and feel sorry for them. 

And, why is it that some of us are able to appreciate our yesterdays, no matter how bad and still move forward. How are some of us able to cull the good from the bad, and thrive in the here and the now? How do we move beyond the then? In truth, who can really say. If I were to attempt an answer of any kind it would be simply that some of us want nothing more than to live. And by live, I mean so much more than life. 

And then, there are those of us for whom life offers so much that we scarcely know where to start – so much excitement, so much exploration, so much energy, so much passion, and so many opportunities. Thus, how can we possibly afford to waste too much time reveling in (or complaining about) the past when there is so much now and so much to look forward in the future.

I guess there are no right or wrong answers but I think our experiences and memories (both good and bad) and our circumstances drive our primary motivations. Very few of us are smart enough to make conscious choices or analytically study the path we choose to explore. Food for thought right? When I look back now, it's amusing how a piece of party music that evening lead me to these complex life-centric questions and surprisingly - ridiculously simple (and probable) answers. 

Lastly, as this is most likely the last blog post of 2018, let me add that this Blog for me (as its curator) - is a labor of opinions, ideas, and passion for web wanderers like you. A little ezine curating the best I can find on the web juxtaposed with my thoughts that I have attempted to keep alive over the years. It’s my creative outlet, my solace, and my escape when nothing else can be and, if I can't do it right, it isn't worth doing at all but I reassure you, I won’t kill it as many of you think I would. And believe me, I do read all your comments (even though I don’t publish them) so don’t stop sending your comments and emails. 

And with that, I won't say anything more other than I trust you'll enjoy the New Year ahead  with postivity as much as you nostalgically savor and relish the year that just went past by and all the ones before it. As the existentialist Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said, our life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Aloha and wishing you a happy 2019 with lotsa fun, joy and success!

x

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Mad Pursuit of Happiness and Contentment


Finding Happiness needn't be that hard, after all 

It is rather ironic, that I would choose the above title for this blog post. In fact, I've had this title lingering idly on my laptop with vague views of how to title this post for a number of weeks now. Russia had such a happy effect on me but paradoxically, of late, that much needed happiness - for me - has seemed to be or become somewhat elusive again. Just like failing to post any new blogs the last few weeks after the new found rush I rediscovered in October.

The Dalai Lama wants us to believe that happiness is more than a state of mind and that it is a way of life, and so on. Of course, he mostly linked it with religion and spiritualism. For me, I have no such notions about gods or religions or getting karmic illuminations leading to divine joys. There might be a heaven and there might be a god too but like my greasy kebabs, I want my happiness, right here on earth, not in heaven after I die. 

Happiness, it seems such a simple thing but how often many of us struggle trying to desperately find it in our lives – both personally and professionally. And, often we fail to realize how tied we are to the conditioned views of happiness being so entangled and reliant on upon the close relationships we make with others around us – our loved ones, our parents, our friends, our colleagues…this list can be perennially extending based on how we perceive how important these connections matter to our happiness. 

While on the surface this may seem accurate, I have come to realize that it’s a mad pursuit when in fact, it's definitely not how you achieve a persistent state of sustained happiness. But, rather happiness and fulfillment in my opinion (based on my own costly experiences), is a combination of multiple wisdoms or realizations (and I shall borrow from the Dalai Lama again) of worldly satisfaction, wealth (and we're not just talking about the money alone), spirituality and eventual enlightenment to look beyond your flaws. And when I say spirituality I am referring to realize and analyze oneself, not necessarily getting religious. 

While all these critical elements are essential factors in the quest for happiness - it is how those factors are deployed and the state of mind of the individual wielding them that will determine whether or not a contented and satisfying life can be enjoyed. You can become a happiness magnet only when you employ these correctly. After all, ultimately, we are each responsible for our own contentment and the personal mindset how we level upon the world is the cornerstone of whether we fail or succeed in this pursuit. 

Some of you may wonder what does any of this have to do with an erratic blog like this one? Actually, a great deal. Maintaining and writing this blog brings me, much personal happiness. It is one of the many escape mechanisms I employ (besides my work, my music, and my photography) to find fulfillment when other options fail. And, while this blog may not be anyone's baby but mine, it does make me happy. And thus, that happiness eventually, I like to think - carries over to those around me and those living in the far-flung corners of the world reading this blog. 

And as you may have noticed, it would seem that I've managed to momentarily zig-zag my way back to a point as I so often do, where I can now safely say a few words about why I am still telling you all this. 

Well, much in my life today is in a state of continuous flux and I have no idea really where I might be a year from now or even a few months from now and if all my hallowed musings here on finding happiness and contentment will have amounted to anything at all. Nonetheless, there are some things I remain quite certain and hopeful of - and that is I will find my happiness wherever I may be or whatever I am doing at that time. You should too. And you should be hopeful. 

Hope is not a bitch, we simply give up sooner and just don’t try hard enough. May each of you find your happiness and whatever joys you seek. And as I read it somewhere, enjoy the pursuit to your happiness, as it just might be your greatest source of your happiness after all.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Russia Effect


From Russia with love and positivity! lots of it! 

Let's me put it this way: I love Russia. Every time I am in Russia, it makes me feel better. Maybe it has a cleansing effect on me. The soul refreshed and my body revived, so to speak. Maybe it’s the company of great souls I have been fortunate to meet or the chance to finally enjoy the company of some special folks I hold dearly, some very dearly. Usually, its just Saint Petersburg, my fav russian city and Russia's cultural capital that I like but this trip, Moscow has been so nice and the happy shiny folks there even more nicer. In fact, I met some of my friends from the virtual space who I've known for years (online) for the first time (offline). It was surreal but very pleasant. 

It seems that whenever I am in Russia, I grow a renewed appreciation of essential virtues – courtesy, chivalry, friendship, family values... my friends find it baffling! It actually felt really good that I had always had some of these already but something I don't self-realize very often. Even my semi-close and close friends over the Internet I have learned to appreciate greatly. This newfound wisdom I’ve suddenly realized in my midlife... what's wrong with me? It's just been thirty-something years... or it's already been? It’s the Russia effect. 

Somehow this blog post was kinda difficult to write. It is always easier to think about what you will write instead of writing it. I guess the threat of a keyboard in front of you makes thinking un-easier. When you are free to think with just your brain and inspiration, it's just so fluid. I guess feeling angsty and thoughtful makes for easier writing and absurdly, smoother train of thought for me. Though I was quite pissed at a couple of people this week, the general feeling of contentment and happiness still reigned upon me. And since I am feeling good, I must conjure up ideas that are not of the normal personal sob story sort to kick start the writer inside me. And the result is this blog now. 

I just hope this new found positivity continues for a while as I do not want to take two steps backward, now that I have made this good vibe running. And It's rare that I have caught myself in these pages in a positive happy mood, so let's celebrate. This is a great day to be happy. You must be too. Happy weekend! And have a Banana!! 


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Of X Men, Y Women and Everything in Between!


Love is all about flaws and acceptance, warts and all.

Most guys my age are a confused lot. The quest for true love and companionship, or even real sex, is still in the air, it just tastes very different today. Their dilemma is that they don’t know which way to go. Should they look for girls their age, in the Generation X or Y category, or should they look for those younger, in the confused Generation Z? And what about older men still looking for love? And finally comes the unequivocally frightening question of whether or not the direction that you take makes any difference at all? 

I know a guy friend who is 35 and a total commitment phobic but that doesn’t deter him from hitting on as many girls and women he can, even though he’s seeing someone else. He is very similar to a lot of the guys. Unfortunately, they all want to have fun and do whatever they want, no strings attached. So every now and then they have to give it a shot at the women they know and another shot again (if they fail). Some succeed eventually but many fail, only to be shot down again. Women are not idiots. Its hard to believe that every Gen-X or Y guy is like this, but they pop up all over the place giving all men a bad name and woman a bad taste in the mouth, no pun intended. 

I also have a female friend who is 37 years old currently dating a boyfriend who is 25. That’s over 12 years. She highly recommends dating younger men because her boyfriend is a great guy. She feels she is fed up with changing a boyfriend every year and now believes that Generation Y men are more equipped for Gen-X women. She feels that the men in generation X are caught in a commitment phobic phase that could last the rest of their lives. Yet, she also admits if she herself is caught in a commitment phobic phase and if she subconsciously wants it to last the rest of her life. 

The worry we all have, is simply that we don’t want to get bogged down in a relationship that isn’t right. But, what the hell is right, anyway? I think that the real plaque on our relationships is that we don’t want to end up like some of our parents, married and unhappy. We search for that altruistic person that will measure up to our perfect standards, but does that person ever exist? Is there a happy medium in relationships where the two people love each other and can actually grow as people together in a committed relationship without becoming zombies that just go through the motions of everyday married life? I guess the real question then is can a relationship exist where two people are committed to each other but still retain some sense of independence and growth in their daily lives? 

I have another female friend who is 25 and her boyfriend is 35. They seem to have a good relationship, but she tends to get a little clingy with him and she wants to do everything together and he gets weird about it. The funny thing is that all of her previous boyfriends did the same thing to her and she hated it. I hate those couples, no matter what age they are. You know who I mean, they can’t go anywhere, do anything, or make any decisions without their mate’s approval or input. 

I like to call it the “honeymoon”, which usually happens at the beginning of a relationship. These two people spend every waking moment with each other because they’ve finally met someone that they think is amazing. The truth is that they’ve probably just met someone that they find incredibly attractive and hormones make them think that this person is flawless. Maybe that person is amazing, but deep down, we fail to know that the flawless person is just a person. And surprise, of course they have flaws, we all do. We need to wake up from the honeymoon because every honeymoon does come to an end and then you’re left with yourself, for better or for worse. 

Yet, so many couples continue to live in the honeymoon phase even after it’s over, but they can’t understand why that person isn’t what they used to be? They are what they’ve always been; you just had hormonal blinders on that made them look perfect. Think about it, can any person always be perfect? NO. Think about how many times you get frustrated with yourself, of course other people are going to bug you sometimes, that’s why you shouldn’t spend every waking moment with just one person. Get it? 

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that it’s wonderful to have a loving mate who will be there for you in times of need or just when you feel like talking, but the bottom line is that you have to deal with yourself, by yourself, at some point. Let’s face facts, there isn’t going to be one person in your life at every moment of every conceivable day except YOU! So we’d better learn to deal with ourselves now, right? 

Now I know you’re probably saying that this is all a bunch of pop psychology crap that you’ve heard before. You can’t love someone else until you learn to love yourself. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But, there is a ring of truth in those words, isn’t there? I’m really not as cynical as I sound. I just think that there’s more to life than one person who completes you. Or maybe I think it’s less than that, because you have to complete you. 

And of course this hasn’t answered any of your questions about X versus Y or XY versus Z or any permutation you want to try, and that’s the point. I am, as I’m sure many of you are, just looking for someone cool, funny, and secure with themselves. And, of course, if the right hormones were there, it would be helpful. They must come in all shapes and sizes, and X’s and Y’s. Why not? 

So, stop all the worrying about the generational gaps and start the living and loving, enjoy the crisp fall weather and get on an autumn date. You never know, what will happen. 


Saturday, October 6, 2018

David Bowie - Changesbowie


Probably the Best Compilation of this Musical Icon

I’m not sure if I share the following sentiment with the rest of my generation, but for some reason, I think I do. My first memories of David Bowie, the English Singer, Songwriter and Actor were when I saw him sing silly Christmas carols and even more sillier duets with the likes of Mick Jagger on MTV. For a long time, I always used to think he existed as a pretentious mainstream pop poseur for the older generation. 

Not until years later at the age of about 17, when I first heard "Changesbowie," a compilation of Bowie’s most notable work that was released in 1990, did I realize that Bowie had several incarnations prior to his 80’s self, some of which were downright brilliant and I felt like a fool not realizing this sooner.


Bowie was a legitimate fusion forerunner and probably the most enigmatic, unpredictable performer of his generation. And "Changesowie" is testimony because it includes pieces of punk, folk, jazz, straight blues, and most frequently, pure rock n roll. Listening to the album now, one can hear the origins of musicians as wide-ranging as the Talking Heads, Nirvana, Pavement, Beck, and even industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails. 

The music is mostly guitar chargedguitar-charged but in a variety of ways. On some tracks, like "Suffragette City," and "Ziggy Stardust," Bowie plays in fantastically pure punk and rock forms, respectively. On other tracks, like "Space Oddity," the Microsoft-adopted "Heroes (one of my favs)," and "Ashes to Ashes," he uses distorted guitar sounds with keyboards to create a new rock standard. Such sounds have become the mainstays of artists like Beck and Trent Reznor. 

In the days since my discovery of "Changesbowie," I have valued it as a musical foundation and pioneering piece of music. In fact, if you pay close attention, almost all pop music in the 90’s can be traced to or related through Bowie. 

Appropriately, the song "Changes" also provided authority-challenging youth one of their most poignant quotes: 

"And these children that you spit on 
As they try to change their worlds 
Are immune to your consultations. 
They’re quite aware what they’re going through.". 

If you never heard this album and in the mood for some Bowie magic, hear it now on Spotify


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Clumsy Flirting Games


Flirting is a woman’s trade, play it safe!

The crossed legs, the flip of the hair, the shy smile followed by a gentle head turn and sometimes a playful wink, the hand casually placed on the arm to emphasize a point, a subtly wicked smile. All of these things have something in common. They are things that a discerning guy can pick up from an interested woman that might mean a sensitive guy, that is you - can have a shot at her – provided - you play your cards right. But many a time, it is not. She is not interested; you are the clumsy fool, her gestures simply natural and innocuous. And therein lies the risk and a potential humiliation.


Most of you would have indulged or at least seen these subtle seduction gestures used by women who know how to lead a guy on. And, I have also seen them all presented unknowingly by beautiful women towards stupid and naive men, which in turn produced an unwanted advance by the now confused, poor guy (not to mention leaving the lady wanting to know whatever gave the guy the idea that she was interested in the first place?!). Of course, some clumsy guys do tend to jump the gun on occasion with overzealous egos and thoughtless assumptions. 

All of this, however, is part of the cat and mouse game we play as man and woman. The game we all know and love but yet, we make so many mistakes. Take for example - the simple act of a woman crossing her legs. Women do it all the time, for comfort and probably never give it a second thought and some do it on purpose. 

I do find it to be an intriguing event though. As a whole, I view women as a symbol of grace and elegance. There is nothing on this earth more beautiful than a woman. Still, I cannot deny that there is always a bit of sexual attraction at the sight of a beautiful women crossing her legs, however, it is usually secondary to the event. As you are probably more aware, most men are driven by the sexuality of the women but this is not true of all men. There are a few of us that truly appreciate the beauty of a woman. Do you believe that :) 

All said and done, the whole act of placing one shapely stem across the other still can have a whole different world of meaning to different guys. From the discerning to the sensitive, or from the brash to the overzealous guy, it can have different interpretations. If you had to ask them about their opinions on women crossing their legs, most would consider it sexy, a few would call it flirtatious and probably a very few, would consider it elegant or of no consequence. 

If someone would ask me this question, my answers would probably depend on who's legs they are. Legs are a fine feature on women and the features get better as you go up :) but it will certainly depend on the woman and how much she interests me. If in pants or skirt or dress, if the latter, most certainly. Even more so if a mid-thigh skirt is worn (go figure, the shorter the better) and leg slit seems to highlight or enhance nice legs. I like it. I would be a hypocrite if I lied. 

Nonetheless, assuming, she is interested, these subtle gestures are my favorite part of the game (besides, of course, closing the deal). These first contacts with your next possible partner need to be carefully thought out though, and if you're the girl - you hope "Mr. Right" is able to read your body language correctly and if you are a guy, vice versa. There is nothing sexist about this as long as this consensual, even if it’s a deed unspoken. But for men, its a challenge, what are we guys looking to read? And what makes us look or draws us in? 

There are no written rules here so play it very safe. If in doubt about your object of affection, wait until she makes it abundantly clear that she is interested. There are no rooms for even one false move. 

Let me end this little piece on how males process these gestures with my favorite? I've always liked the open-ended lure, the sly gaze, preferably if she has her hair untied, a gaze where she looks at me yet doesn't maintain solid eye contact, sometimes with a delicate semi-smile. As someone said, a woman's eyes flirt the most. And if she talks very little, remember, she has also probably learned to say things with her eyes that others waste time putting into words. Enjoy! 

If you have liked this, you might probably like this Flirt Guide


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