Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Evening With Dr.Spock

I recently had the delight of attending an invitation only VIP lecture given by a (apparently) celebrated hypnotherapist or hypnotist to be precise. For obvious reasons, I will not disclose his name so there is no heartburn for my host. This guy (lets call him Dr. Spock cos he did look like Leonard Nimoy) claimed he was a certified hypnotherapist by training and a experienced psychic by choice - who combined both to aid his (rather very rich) clients get a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Let me say at the outset that I’ve often wondered whether many hypnotists doing stage shows are always honest. Although they often claim their subjects have been chosen totally at random, I’ve had my doubts and I know I’m not the only one. Several of my friends and I have in the past volunteered to be subjects for some of these shows and none of us has ever been hypnotized.

Well, as I learnt that evening, I could easily have been wrong. Hypnotizing someone doesn’t have to take long. Some people it seems that also make better candidates than others. Dr. Spock said that a person can be willing to undergo the process on one level, but not on another. (It’s obviously quite complex, but from what I understand, those who're cynical or possibly resisting the process can take a bit longer to hypnotize than those who aren't, for instance).

He pointed out that there are a lot of fallacies about hypnosis. One of the main ones is the commonly-held belief (probably propagated to some extent by the media) that one is "put under" by the hypnotist and is basically rendered a slave like robot, obeying any command the hypnotist in control issues. He said it was highly unlikely a hypnotized individual would do anything totally against what they believe, such as, for example, murdering someone.

What happens, Dr. Spock explained, is that hypnotized individuals move into an altered state of consciousness. They will often remain very alert during the process and can still be asked to perform a number of complicated tasks. But because they aren't feeling as inhibited as is usually the case, they may do things they'd normally consider embarrassing. He also said there are over 50 altered states or levels of consciousness one can move into – some lighter and others progressively deeper.

Dr. Spock also touched on the subject of subliminal advertising and subversive forms of control which can be used to manipulate people. He said most countries had banned such advertising because it is known to be an extremely effective, but dishonest method of selling products. He referred to the oft-mentioned scenario of a moviegoer suddenly feeling the need to buy a particular soft drink after viewing a subliminal advert. The person would then go out and buy this soft drink without realizing that his/her decision to purchase it had been prompted by the advert.

In a similar vein, Dr. Spock also warned us to avoid falling asleep in front of TVs. He said our brains still "tune in" to the audio when "asleep" and disturbing material can apparently adversely affect us for many years. He maintains it is often stored in the subconscious mind and may be responsible for certain phobias we might have but are not able to explain in lucid terms. For this reason, he said that if parents want to raise well-balanced children, they should make a resolute effort to ensure that a peaceful ambiance prevails around their bed time, particularly as they’re falling asleep, because they’re extremely open to influence and suggestion during this period.

One of the first demonstrations Dr. Spock performed involved showing us how we often underestimate our own strength. He hypnotized a rather tall chap who volunteered to be his "guinea pig". Dr. Spock didn't do anything dramatic or utter anything that was out of the ordinary, such as the usual sort of banter about "when I count to three you will be flying in the sky" etc etc.

I’m actually not quite sure what he did, because it was so quick. Once the young guy had been hypnotized, two of his assistants placed his head and feet on two chairs. The rest of his body hung unsupported above the ground. Dr. Spock then sat on the subject's waist and almost bounced on it, exerting a fair amount of force!! From what I can recall, he'd been told he wouldn’t bend and he didn’t. However, when he was "brought back", so to speak, he collapsed under the hypnotist's weight when the process was repeated!

The rest of the evening mainly took the form of a question and answer session. As it turned out, most of the questions that followed involved him making more use of his mystic clairvoyant faculties. Perhaps Dr. Spock is a bit unusual in a way – he believes in such things as past lives, astral travel and so on and his methods might thus seem a bit eccentric to some. However, despite a few bizarre answers he gave that evening, no one argued with what he’d said and generally seemed quite satisfied (as most Indians are usually in the presence of a foreigner, especially a white guy!)

Sometimes he appeared to pick up on traumatic childhood experiences and would mention in brief what he thought had happened and what effect these had had on the individuals concerned. Remember Past Life Regression.One woman burst into tears as what he'd said obviously struck a chord with her. He then said he could "see" the pain (presumably in her aura) and that she would begin healing. He said emotional pain was often stored in various parts of the body and might ultimately lead to disease if it wasn’t properly dealt with!!

Another claim he made which I found quite interesting related to the diagnosis of medical conditions. One example he mentioned involved determining if someone had cavities in their teeth. He said that after hypnotizing an individual, he would suggest to them that they had toothache. If all the teeth were fine, the person in question would apparently claim to experience toothache in all their teeth; if they actually did have cavities, they would only experience pain in the problematic ones. In such cases, the hypnotized person is able to show him which ones are aching. He will later suggest they see a dentist. He says in the past this information has always been found to be correct. He maintains that our bodies are extremely intelligent and that we should listen to them more often, because they frequently hold the solution to many of our problems.

Dr. Spock also touched on a subject on which many academics and sceptics might take him to task. He spoke about people's souls and said these were often many hundreds of thousands of years old. He alluded to a "soul agreement" – that we chose to be born, basically, and had certain issues we needed to deal with during particular "lives". Apparently, nothing that happens to us during our human existence is a mistake!

Towards the end of the evening, Dr. Spock performed another demonstration, this time on the whole audience. He asked that we place our hands with fingers interlocked, above our heads. We then had to imagine looking up at them through our heads while he uttered various commands. Actually some people would then be hypnotized and not be able to lower their hands when instructed to. He also told some people their eyelids would feel very heavy and that they would not be able to open them for a while, even if they tried to. Although I did everything he said, this didn’t happen to me. Besides, only a few people in the audience seemed to go into hypnosis.

But something else which he did say would happen, I definitely did experience. He said that he was altering the energy in the room and that some of us might feel tingling in our feet. I did, in fact, experience this – the sensation was exactly as he described it, almost like a feeling of pins and needles in my feet. We were also taken through what I would describe as a guided meditation. He suggested we would sleep very well when we got home that evening. As it turned out, I slept right through the night and felt great the next day.

I found the subject matter discussed that evening fascinating and I’d definitely like to book a private consultation with Dr. Spock soon, hopefully when I have some large cash to spare! I must confess, though, that I have since wondered - is my desire to see him my own or is it possible that the thought was secretly implanted in my mind?

An interesting point to brood over, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Five Easy Pieces - No Potatoes, Tomatoes Instead

Revisiting the Classic Restaurant Scene from Jack Nicholson's Five Easy Pieces

From my secret files of ‘Awesome Scenes-to-Memorize’, I present to you the famous "Chicken Salad" scene from the director of 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' - Bob Rafelson’s 1970’s classic – “Five Easy Pieces”.

Starring a charismatic Jack Nicholson and aptly supported by Karen Black, this critically acclaimed movie was one of the most influential films of those days and was deservedly nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Actor, Best Actress besides Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

I waited for years for this movie to make it to a Bluray DVD and here’s a memorable scene that you’ll certainly enjoy!

Nicholson: I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee and wheat toast.

Waitress: No substitutes.

Nicholson: What do you mean, you don't have any tomatoes?

Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a #2, a plain omelet, it comes with cottage fries and rolls.

Nicholson: Yeah, I know what it comes with but it's not what I want!

Waitress: Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind. •

Nicholson: Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee and a side order of wheat toast.

Waitress: I'm sorry we don't have any side orders of wheat toast, I can get you an English muffin or a coffee roll.

Nicholson: What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast, you make sandwiches don't you?

Waitress: Would you like to see the manager?

Karen Black: Hey Mac!

Nicholson: Shut up! You've got bread and a toaster of some kind.

Waitress: I don't make the rules.

Nicholson: Okay, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet plain and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce and a cup of coffee.

Waitress: #2, chicken salad sandwich. Hold the butter, lettuce and the mayo and a cup of coffee. Anything else?

Nicholson: Yea, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad and you haven't broken any of the rules.

Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?

Nicholson: I want you to hold it between your knees

Waitress: You see that sign sir. Yes. You all have to leave. I'm not taking anymore of your smartness and sarcasm.

Nicholson: You see this sign!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Top 10 Cult Movies From the 80s

Listed below are ten of the most awesome cult movies from the 1980's - some popular and some not so popular but nevertheless, cult cinema gems that must be seen to be believed. Remember though, not for all tastes!

1. The Basket Case (Frank Henenlotter/1982) - In its uncut version, this infamous midnight horror revenge comedy about a confused and vindictive young man carrying (his still alive) and deformed Siamese twin in a basket is good for little more than havoc on your sensibility or lack thereof but no one can deny its weird sense of dark humor, odd romance, comedic horror and cult following. Directed by Frank Henenlotter who also made Basket Case II in 1990 and Basket Case III in 1992.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

2. C.H.U.D (Douglas Cheek/1984)
- Well, you know what happens when nuclear waste seeps into a sewer system – hideous Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers rise from the manholes to stalk the streets of something tasty. CHUD (also released as ‘Panik in Manhattan’ in a few countries) is your typical grade B- Horror movie but it’s got a great sense of campy humor and now considered a Cult Classic. Lookout for Daniel Stern, John Heard, John Goodman and Jon Polito. Followed in 1989 by C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

3. Class of Nuke 'Em High (Richard W. Haines, Michael Herz/1986) - The Citizen Kane of the nuclear-marijuana-hybrid-monster genre set in a seedy no holds barred high school. Smart and clever, with over-the-top acting, wacky special effects and a nice rock soundtrack. Oh yeah, this was also made by Troma Entertainment – the same people behind Toxic Avenger and other B-movie cult hits. Released also as Atomic High School followed by two sequels - Class of Nuke 'Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown in 1991 and Class of Nuke 'Em High 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid in 1994.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

4. Howard The Duck (William Huyck/1986) – This Golden Raspberry Award winner (including for Worst Picture) was the first theatrically released film starring a Marvel Comics character. As impossible to watch, this box office debacle starring Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Lea Thompson and David Paymer was greeted with all sorts of lame duck puns by the critics, earning just $10 million against a multi-million dollar budget. Kids might enjoy the cute (if unconvincing) duck puppet but adults will find it ridiculously inept, insulting and tasteless. Of course, 20 years from now, it may be heralded back as a neglected masterpiece. Duck and cover. Produced by George Lucas (Yes!) and scored by John Barry.

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

5. Life Force (Tobe Hooper/1985) - Unbelievably murky sci-fi based on Colin Wilson’s 1976 novel ‘The Space Vampires’ from the director of Poltergeist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A beautiful woman discovered on a ghostly spaceship is brought to Earth for observation where she escapes and runs around naked. Meanwhile, above the London skies, an alien presence sends down a strange ray of light (special effects by Academy Award winner John Dykstra) turning the masses into blood sucking vampires. The to-the-heavens ending is a camp classic. With Peter Firth, Steve Railsback, Patrick Stewart and a (fully nude) Matilda May.

Free Video Download Link - Megaupload

6. Liquid Sky (Slava Tsukerman/1983) – With a 94% (and growing) rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a surprise winner at several film festivals, Liquid Sky is East Village deviant punk drug culture as seen through the eyes of an alien craft (or the film’s Russian director). Heroin and style wars reign supreme in this inscrutable Russian Production. Although the plot and dialogue are hip (and needlessly vicious) to a fault, there are some moments that hit home – such as gender-bending Anna Carlisle’s witchy speech about androgyny, marriage and Connecticut barbeques. Truly out of this world!

Free Video Download Link - Stagevu

7. The Repo Man (Alex Cox/1984) – Considered as one of the 'Top 50 Cult Movies of all time' by Entertainment Weekly and one of the best movies of 1984 by, Repo Man is a strange, genre-defying crazy little movie that launched the career of director Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy) and popularized Emilio Estevez. Estevez plays Otto, a L.A. punk who by chance falls into the auto-repossession business (hence, the title name), learning his trade from a seedy, nihilistic repo pro (Harry Dean Stanton). While becoming involved with the rough-and-tumble mindset of his wacked-out co-workers, Otto also gets embroiled in a search for a ’64 Chevy containing the deadly corpses of alien space creatures. Set amid L.A’s sleazy, displaced, fast-food culture, Repo Man has quirky humor, many bizarre characters to spare and a superb punk rock soundtrack featuring Black Flag, Iggy Pop and the Circle Jerks. Also the road to fame for Miguel Sandoval (Get Shorty, Blow).

Free Video Download Link - Megaupload

8. Salvation! Have You Said Your Prayers Today? (Beth Beth Billingsly/1987) – Fortuitously released at the time of the Evangelist Jimmy – Tammy Faye sex scandal, this indie starring Viggo Mortensen about evangelism, sex and money probably wouldn’t have otherwise stood a chance. Exene (lead vocalist of the LA rock band X ) stars as a trailer park-ish housewife obsessed with a TV preacher (Steve McHattie). Her sister (Dominique Davalos) gets a crush on him, tracks him down and seduces him. Of course, there’s hell to pay and a noisy, blasphemous mess ensues. Incidentally, Exene and Mortensen fell in love during the sets and later married in 1987. Great music by New Order, whose super hit "Touched by the Hand of God" was released as part of this movie’s soundtrack

9. The Toxic Avenger (Lloyd Kaufman/1985) - Despite Troma Studios’ Grade Z production values, the Toxic Avenger triumphs through tasteless, cartoonish humor and violence with an endearing monster hero who wears a pink, charred tutu and falls in love with a blind girl at first sight. You’ll have as much fun watching it as the filmmakers appear to have had making it. Though a failure in its original release in 1985, the movie became hugely popular during its re-release in early 1986 and was later followed by The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, a Play and also a limited run children's TV cartoon. Watch out for Marisa Tomei in a small role. Apparently, Toxic Avenger is being remade for a 2014 release, produced by the hit trio of Akiva Goldsman, Richard Saperstein and Charlie Corwin, the folks behind hits like A Beautiful Mind, Hancock, Se7en, etc.

Free Video Download Link - Megaupload

10. The Vamp (Richard Wenk/1986) - Everyone’s once favorite ebony Amazon – Singer/Actress Grace Jones is the sole attraction in this bloody under-rated vampire flick. With 50s style lighting all around, startling lipstick, hair colors and body paints besides a serious toothy smile from Grace Jones, this is a bizarre horror comedy and perhaps the original inspiration to Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino's From Dusk Till Dawn. Amazin’ Grace more than holds her own but only serious Jones fans will bite for this one. Billy Drago and Michelle Pfeiffer's sister Dedee co-star.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Of Beards, Moustaches & the Macho Man

Everything you wanted to know about Beards but were afraid to ask.

Off late, I have been reading quirky wacky stuff off the web. An eBook I recently read was all about beards and how much they mean to manhood (and I always thought my fellow brethren only worried about their wiener).

Apparently, the credit for this distinction goes to some psychologist named Robert J. Pellegrini, who it seems published a report some years ago about his (hairy) experiments aimed at finding out how beardedness affects the male personality and in his own words how “the male beard communicates a heroic image of the independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer – ready, willing and able to do manly things.”

Let’s face it. Thousands of years ago beards were all the fashion, if there was such a thing as fashion then. Anyway, there was not much men could do about it. If nature wanted them to grow a beard, they grew it, that's all there was to it. Obviously, technology had not yet advanced to the level, that men could make a tool to remove it, like you can today.

Nevertheless, beards were not only associated with masculinity and manliness, but also wisdom and being a triumphant fighter. There are very good reasons for this. The presence of a thick moustache or a beard or together is associated with high levels of testosterone. This male hormone also contributes to aggression, and so a man who was more aggressive, would probably be a better hunter, a better soldier, as well as being more virile, good reasons for a woman to find such a man more attractive.

However, one thing that does puzzle me at the moment; why were beards out of fashion during the Victorian era? Was it because men who grew beards were thought to be uncivilized, or was it the women who decided it was unfashionable to be seen in the company of a man who had a beard? Somehow, that last part does not sound right, that's if we understand correctly how the brain processes facial information. Facial recognition is considered so important by people that there is a special part of the brain allocated only to face recognition. If women have associated beards with virile men for hundreds of thousands of years, and have used them as one of their important selection criteria why should they suddenly have rejected the beard?

It seems Pellegrini used several full-bearded young men in their early twenties who were photographed in different stages, from full beard to clean-shaven. The photos were shown to male and female psychology students who were then asked to rate the pictures for their “first impression personality traits” of the subjects.

Pellegrini found that the hairier the face, the more the subject was perceived as being masculine, mature, handsome, dominant, self-confident, courageous, liberal and non-conforming. Other adjectives the students applied to the pictures of bearded subjects were “intelligent, strong, healthy and likeable”. So Pellegrini thus concluded that hairy faced men are tops. In fact, he commented that “inside every clean-shaven man there is a beard screaming to be let out”.

After talking to many of my friends and kindred who all have beards of various degrees (and if you take a look around you will notice there are a lot of them!), I have discovered they all seem to share Pellegrini’s hairy hypothesis. Most, when asked why they grew a beard, eventually come out with the notion that facial hair is manly. There are other reasons, too, of course, but the macho motive seems paramount.

Around the world, it seems, many men do flaunt their fuzz in numerous ways. In the USA and Europe, there are numerous beard and moustache clubs, the oldest being the OAFH or the ‘Organisation for the Advancement of Facial Hair’ based somewhere in California whose motto is to “aid those who have been discriminated against due to their growing of the godlike matter”. Germany has many of these – so many that there is even an association for them all. For example, the “Bart und Schnorres club” or the Beard and Moustache Club of the Black Forest village of Hofen-Enz is the hamlet’s main claim to fame and its members organize numerous championship events for beard-growers. Rip van Winkle would be delighted!

In the United Kingdom, the famous “Handlebar Club” is based at the Windsor Castle pub in London, and has members sporting impressive “handlebar” moustaches from all around the world (please note, beards are not allowed here!) but thger are many across the UK. In Italy, moustaches are in too – the “Festival dei Baffi” (Festival of Moustaches or the Grand festival of Whiskers) is held annually in the town of Montemesola, in the south of Italy.

Beards are growing in popularity on the Internet too. Just browse Facebook or Google and you will find scores of websites, groups and fan pages on the art of beards and moustaches. Besides, there are many on-growing beard challenges present online – a page featuring progressive photographs documenting the success of numerous contenders who conform to the rule that “your beard must be at least six months old or three inches below the chin”. The beard challenges come with a warning though: don’t expect frequent updates because progress is measured in years!

So, if you are of those types who are convinced that you do need some facial fluff; here are some tips, gleaned from those who have taken the bold step, on how to grow and maintain a bountiful beard:

Take A Break: You don’t need snide comments about your stubble from your boss and colleagues, and you need to be relaxed to promote healthy hair growth! And perhaps, your new beard will project a more mature image of you. Think about it -you might just get that long due promotion, the cops dont stop you on the road, the neighbors fear you and the women, yes, the women mau find you hairy hottt!

Throw Away Your Razor: If the family protests, tell them it is your face and you are just experimenting. Convince them that you will be a better person with a beard. By the time it is fully-fledged, they will no doubt agree or will have become so used to the new you, that they won’t object any more.

Sculpt a Style: You may be impatient to start sculpting your beard so having a mental image of how you would ultimately like it to look helps. Even if you plan to end up with a little goatee, don’t try to mould it immediately. Great sculptors need something concrete to work on so for the first few weeks just let it grow ad lib. Avoid the temptation to reach for the beard trimmer, razor or scissors!

Forget the Itch: While the hair is growing, you may be annoyed by itchy skin. This is temporary while your skin adjusts to its new covering. Don’t be put off. Make sure you keep your new beard clean by shampooing each day with a mild shampoo, and even conditioner; and rinse very thoroughly to avoid flaking and itching. Don’t blowdry your beard – patting with a towel will do.

Seek Professional Help: After about a month, you will be ready for shaping up. It is best now to consult a barber or hairstylist – ask around among your bearded mates for advice on finding an experienced professional. Now you can go shopping for a beard trimmer and get some pointers on how to use it.

Use The Right Tools: Use a wide-toothed comb for grooming your beard. Never trim your beard while it is wet, because wet hair looks longer, and you may trim off too much.

See, it’s simple – so why not get growing your very own super cool beard?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Chill Out Hits - A Websnacker Session

Great Chill Out Hits for the Weekday Grind
It’s almost a month now but I still can’t fight it. Well, in case you are wondering, I am referring to my very own writer’s block - 4 blogs, 10 movie reviews besides 3 client brochures and 2 print ad campaigns at work – all unfinished. End effect: project delays, angry clients plus no snack blogs for the last 30 days!

Well, at least I can still blog about music and what better music than some ultra cool Lounge, Downtempo and Ambient hits for the weekday grind including chillout superstars like Delerium, Halou, Crystal Method and much more. So, dim your lights, settle down and let this seductive compilation get you into that mind-altering chill out groove.

The Best Chill Out Hits – Free Mp3 - Greatest Hits
[Chill out/Downtempo/Lounge/Electronic/Ambient]

15 tracks in playlist, average track length: 4:58
Playlist length: 1 hour 14 minutes 44 seconds

1. Aeroplane feat. Kathy Diamond - Whispers (Original Mix) (6:53)
2. Air - All I Need (3:49)
3. Baz - Promises (3:18)
4. Blue Foundation - Eyes On Fire (3:46)
5. Crystal Method Feat Meiko - Falling Hard (5:24)
6. Dario G feat. Vanessa Quinones - Voices (Beach Sdtk) (5:19)
7. Delirium Feat Zoe Johnston - You & I (6:06)
8. FC Kahuna - Hayling (Layer Cake Sdtk) (6:50)
9. Ferry Corsten feat Shelley Harland - Holding On (3:45)
10. Halou - I'll Carry You (5:57)
11. Hiratzka & Kazell Feat. Shirli Mcallen - Venice Dawn (6:09)
12. Madita - Ceylon (3:44)
13. Motorcycle feat Jes Brieden - As The Rush Comes (6:10)
14. Sepiamusic - Static (4:41)
15. Tina Dico - All I See (2:53)

Free Mp3 Download - 86.57 MB Single Zipped Folder – Megaupload Link

This is a limited release, non-commercial, fan mixtape for promotional use. If you like these artists, please buy their original music at,,, other online stores or your nearest music retailer.
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