Love and Relationships: How To Talk To Parents About Interracial Relationships

Love is a wonderful thing and it can make the world a beautiful place to live in. This is the reason many are looking for love and if you have not found yours yet, then maybe it is time to look outside the box so to speak. Dating someone from a different race is not only exciting, but it opens up a new world for you to discover. Although interracial dating is common today and are widely accepted in the society, one has a long way to in terms of family acceptance especially if one’s parent’s do not approve of such relationships.

Overcoming Interracial Relationship Problems

Dating someone of a different color is a sensitive topic for some society especially those who strictly follow their culture and tradition. It can also be a big dilemma for one raised under these concepts and questions like “What their parents will think about the relationship?” and “What would others might think about them?” Many who date outside of their own race often have fears that their family will react negatively and would reject the relationship.

There are plenty of reasons for this fear such as incompatibility concerning one’s culture, ignorance and even misconceptions. That said if you are worried about how this would affect your relationship with your family, it is best to initiate it first to allay any fears that your parents might have about your relationship. It might be hard at the start, but doing it at the onset would save you some stress and help you enjoy your relationship.

Choosing the Best Way to Talk with your Parents

If you are not living at home, then you can opt to tell your parents about it during holidays or special events. If you think that they would react in a negative way, it is best to do so before your relatives arrive or after the party when the guest have departed. If you do not feel confident enough, you can drop in the news through lunch or over a phone conversation. It might be like a coward’s way to do so but it can save you from a lot of pressure and stress.

Be Calm and Prepared

Before you talk with your parents, it is best to be calm and come ready. Being calm will help you think about what you have to say when your parents question you about it. Show your parents that you are matured enough to handle any kind of relationship and are prepared for it. Some family members might react negatively and would start shouting or becoming emotional, by being calm, you will not add to the stressful situation.

If you have supportive family members, it is best to talk to them first so you can explain the situation and ask for their support should the time come when you have to talk to your parents. It is scary, but having someone to support you can boost your morale and confidence.

Do not Judge a Book by its Cover

At the end of the day, you might be surprise when they approve and accept your relationship. Although quite rare, many parents find it necessary to adjust to the situation at hand especially if you live in a different country or place. As dating someone from another race is not often discuss during family dinner or the topic never came up, you will never know what to expect.

Guitar Practicing Strategy That Improves Your Musical Creativity & Makes Guitar Practice Fun

To achieve greatness as a guitar player, you need to work on integrating musical skills together fluently. This means:

*Combining different skills, techniques or concepts together.

*Actively practicing the skill of being creative.

Question: “But Tom Hess, how can you practice “being creative” in your guitar playing? I’ve always heard you’re either born creative or you’re not.”

Answer: Anyone can become musically creative through practice and hard work. Creativity comes from mastering skills and integrating them together. Integration practice is what you need to become a more creative guitarist.

The guitar practice circuit below helps you integrate musical skills together:

Perform these steps continuously (don’t stop between them):

Step 1: Choose any phrase, arpeggio, scale run, riff or lick to work on.

Step 2: Play through this idea several times to acclimate it to your ears.

Step 3: Create four variations of the original idea. For instance:

*Alter the note rhythms.

*Use legato technique to emphasize notes in the place of picked notes

*Use bends and vibrato on some of the notes.

Step 4: Make four new guitar licks using the original rhythm of the idea. Alter all of the actual pitches while keeping the rhythm exactly the same.

Step 5: Utilize rubato technique. Immediately speed up or slow down, playing outside of the tempo.

Step 6: Alter the first few notes of the original idea and leave the rest of it the same. Make several variations of this.

Step 7: Alter the middle notes of the original idea, leaving the first and last parts the same. Make several variations of this.

Step 8: Alter the last three or four notes of the idea, leaving the first and last parts the same. Make several variations of this.

Go through steps 2-8 again with new variations from the original idea for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, start again with a new lick.

Advice For Completing This Guitar Practice Circuit:

*Choose a guitar practice item that you can play correctly with ease. This way you do not become distracted by trying to play notes correctly.

*Focus on not stopping between steps. Move from each step to the next as fast as you can. This improves your fluency and musical creativity at a faster rate. Track how much time it takes you to move from one step to the next. This is one method for measuring your improvement with fluency and integration.

*Put together a list of creativity and fluency elements that give you the most difficulty. For instance: you might observe that it is hard for you to change rhythms and keep pitches the same or add legato technique to your ideas. This helps you understand what to work on to improve your integration and fluency.

FAQ:

Question: “Tom Hess, what if I am unable to think of variations to use with arpeggio patterns?”

Answer: Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Use rests (silence) at random points in the middle of an arpeggio rather than using the exact same rhythm for every note.

2. Use a different number of strings to play each arpeggio. An arpeggio is a chord made of 3-5 strings with notes that repeat at different octaves. Changing the pitch range of an arpeggio makes it sound more creative.

Question: “Tom Hess, how can I use circuit training with the rest of my guitar practice?”

Answer: Train guitar playing fluency exactly how you would train any other skill by adding it to your schedule. Effective guitar practice scheduling gives you time you need to improve skills that are weak so you can reach your goals faster.

Use this guitar practicing circuit like a test for improving your fluency and integration skills. Work with this circuit a couple of times per week to test yourself. Then use the rest of the time improving these skills so you can become more creative.

How to Recover Data When Your Hard Drive Goes Belly Up

For almost as long as people have been putting digital data on magnetic media, their precious information has been getting lost. In the good old days, perhaps 20 years ago, any company or institution that lost its data was on its own. Anyone with the expertise to help was probably already either on staff or employed by the equipment vendor.

Things started to change with the growth and development of the Information Technology industry, on both the hardware and software sides. As systems multiplied and became more complex, so did the various misfortunes that could beset an organization’s data.

Enter the data recovery specialist. About 15 years ago, the first outside consultants began to get frantic calls from clients to come in and rescue their information. At that time, much of the expertise was based on proprietary software tools, written to perform on hardware from specific vendors. It took some years before companies began to specialize in data recovery. Because many data loss situations call for a ‘physical’, hardware solution, the larger companies made the major investments necessary to offer ‘clean rooms’ – laboratories where malfunctioning or damaged disk drives can be disassembled or reconfigured to yield whatever data remains.

Today, the industry is crisis-driven. Depending on how well sprinkler systems or disk drive designers have done their jobs, we work or rest idle.

All the tools and techniques that any data recovery company has amassed over time have developed or acquired on an ‘as-needed’ basis. The range of possible challenges is so broad, and the IT industry releases new products so frequently, that it would be impossible to anticipate problems before they actually occur.

Perhaps a testament to the efficiency and reliability of the latest hardware and software today, the data recovery industry is not a large one. Worldwide, there are probably 20 companies with the staff and the facilities to tackle those data-loss situations that simply cannot be resolved in-house with commercially available software or with assistance from vendors.

We have seen some companies in the data recovery field to move away from the ‘physical’ side of the business, specializing in software-only solutions rather than grappling hands-on with the disk drives and magnetic media to recover data. On the other hand, companies cannot specialize completely in the hardware side, because there will always be a need to adapt or write software to help harvest the data.

What about the future of the industry? Ironically, in a world that is becoming increasingly globalized, we think the successful data recovery business will have an important local dimension. Even though we can, and do reach around the world electronically to recover data, we believe customers will still place a premium on dealing with someone in their own region.

With almost 200 million disk drives shipping this year, and the risks they face out in the real world, we can confidently predict that the future holds unlimited challenge for the data recovery industry.

The Three WORST Pieces of Advice Given to Presenters (and How Best to Ignore Them)

Ever hear the one about picturing your audience naked to overcome your fear of presenting to them? How about the one about practicing in front of a mirror? Anyone who has ever tried either of those well-meaning tropes knows how futile they are. Deluding ourselves that we can calm fears by laughing at our audience, or that we can convince them of anything by faking authenticity, is worse than a waste of time. It prevents us from using our greatest power as presenters: our true selves. Try ignoring the “worst advice” and substituting powerful communication instead.

Worst Advice:

Memorize Your Presentation

Now this one sounds reasonable enough on the surface. After all, much of our fear about presenting is wrapped up in our fear of looking foolish in front of others. Some of that comes from our fear of drawing a blank when all eyes are on us. If we memorize our presentation, that won’t happen, right? Perhaps, but what will certainly happen is that we’ll be taken out of “the moment” as we put all of our energy and attention on recalling the least significant portion of our presentation: the literal words. Suddenly, we’re not focused on the immediate reaction we’re getting from the audience or on making sure we’re connecting with them. We’re focusing instead on making sure the words keep coming. That sets the bar too low: surviving the presentation until the end isn’t your goal. CONNECTING to your audience is.

Instead: Know Your Presentation

Focus on the essence of what you’re presenting: namely your key messages. This is what’s most important for your audience to understand. If the worst happens and all of your materials and notes disappeared, how would you summarize what you came to say? Put those bigger ideas up front and build your presentation around them. Your audience won’t likely remember all of the supporting details, but they should remember your key points. Worry less about repeating the exact words you intended and more about making sure you’re connecting. If you see heads nodding, react. If you see puzzled looks, don’t just plow through. Stop and make sure you’re not rushing ahead of your audience just to fill space. Slow yourself down and make sure you really see your audience and gauge their reactions. Remember, no one knows what you were supposed to say, so don’t let a pause or different phrasing than you’d planned throw you.

Use a Lot of Bullets

For some reason, lots of presenters think they can take a long, dry presentation and suddenly make it come alive if they can just add enough bullets to the screen. Ever sit through one of those presentations where the bullets don’t in any way indicate an abbreviated point? Heck, they may not even indicate a point! Here’s the thing: TEXT ON A SLIDE IS NOT A VISUAL AID. There is nothing about text that makes it more understandable, or illustrative, than the spoken word, by itself.

Instead: Put the Visual Back in Visual Aid

Are there actual visuals that would help illustrate your points? Can you bring in relevant charts, graphs, photos, illustrations to help your audience “see” your points? If you must use bullets, greatly reduce them and the words you use. Your audience didn’t come to read and they didn’t come to listen to YOU read to them. (Hint: if you use punctuation in your bulleted information, you’re using too many words.)

More is Better

Ever sit through a presentation that’s a product of many hands? More detail, more slides, with the presenter intoning something like… “..and here you can see again… ” or “this is just yet another example of… ” Yes, you want to prove your key points. Data does help you do that. However, information overload may quickly confuse your audience and actually mask your key points.

The Green Man, Venus and Their Place in Modern Life

Tannhäuser and Venus – Still Showstoppers

The recently finished Tannhäuser revival at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, broke all daftness records, but is the production we shall remember. Was it the 40 hospital beds on stage for the exhausted returning pilgrims, or the 20 suits of armour that were raised and lowered randomly, throughout the 3 hours – sometimes replaced with a set of devils? Silly theatre can be so powerful!

During the overture, Tannhäuser, (played by a stunt man) is lowered the 50 feet or so from the top of the stage, waving arms and legs. He takes several minutes to descend into a sea of female flesh, albeit with artificial breasts. I assume, there cannot be a female chorus, so well endowed, with not a wobble in sight. I wondered what the women would do with Tannhäuser’s full suit of armour once he was beneath the sea of limbs. I wasn’t disappointed. During the crescendo of brass, bits of armour were thrown up from the depths and then appeared the real, exhausted Tannhäuser, ready for his domestic with Venus.

Why is Venus important to us in 2017, or why was she important in 12th century Christian Germany, or 19th century Paris? Why is she a key figure in Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser? I believe it is because she is a good vehicle for the artist to express creativity and challenge popular ideas. That is the role of the artist.

Pagans helped us to Chrstianity

We can understand why Wagner uses Venus as a dramatic vehicle, but why does St. Chad’s Church in Harpswell have William Harrington, (rector, died 1350), resting on a superb Green Man? The Cathedral in Würzburg has a Green Man overlooking God. Nicosia churches have multiple Green Men. The 13th century minstrels were fascinated by Venus.

Is there a connection? Is there an explanation?

Waldemar Januszczak has an offering I’d like to test. In his fascinating BBC4 program on the Dark Ages, he pointed out that early portrayals of Christ gave him a feminine, or at least very boyish face. Only later, with the Mary cult well established in Christianity, do Jesus depictions move toward the heroic Jupiter-face. Waldemar explains thus. Early Christianity had an image problem – how to appeal to the 50% of the population, who were women. To get around this, artists often went for an androgynous Jesus. The later, post Mary-Cult version of Jesus with Jupiter’s face, was designed to bring the pagans on board, without detaching them from their old religion.

Once one starts looking, Waldemar’s argument stands up in many scenarios.

St. George’s female side is beautifully portrayed in any number of early 15th century sculptures by Bernd Notke. The Katherine Church in Lübeck has plaster copies. One of them cannot be a mistake. George is more feminine than the princess waiting to be saved from the dragon. Is the female George another example of the boyish Jesus?

It didn’t happen in a day.

During early Christianity, there were still pockets of pagan sympathy, and belief in gods such as Venus was a staging post between pagan and full Christian. Venus helped keep new Christians in their old comfort zone. Minstrels and poets used her to express sides of their characters, that were no longer acceptable as medieval Christian dinner talk. Was an androgynous St. George a useful comforter for both genders? Why did Venus reappear so many years after her demise as a Roman goddess?

The theory is, that the middle ages were not as Christian as our history lessons have us believe. For example, the Slav King Jaczo, reigned over the area we now call Berlin Brandenburg. He crossed to Christianity in 1154. That was when, with his horse sinking exhausted into the Havel, he did a few try-out prayers to various deities. Things improved after summoning Christ and his horse was helped to the bank of the river. He decided to become a follower, but did he give up his three-headed pagan god Triglav, immediately? Probably not. We all need islands of safety within our vision, before we can take the leap.

Wagner and Venus

Time to apply Waldemar’s theory to Wagner’s Tannäuser. Wagner merged two medieval sagas for his opera. That apart, he remained (nearly) faithful to the original yarns.

Venus lived in the Venusberg, somewhere in what is now Thuringia. Tannhäuser told Venus that he wanted to leave her, because he missed the sky and birdsong. The Venusberg was subterranean, in a mountain, rather than on it, and hidden from mortals. Hold that thought. The protruding bone, which supports female pubic hair is called the mons veneris in anatomy – Latin for Mount of Venus. In the saga, men who entered the Venusberg, accepted perdition.

Let’s assume Venus and Tannhäuser were in a vast cavern, waited on by as much voluptuous flesh as a man could want to gaze upon and sample. You can have too much of a good thing – apparently. Tannhäuser, after an hour of operatic wailing, shouting and accusations, leaves Venus, and returns to the Wartburg. This medieval castle is on a mountain in Thuringia, and is where the rest of the operatic action takes place. The hall can still be visited. In the Wartburg, he rediscovers his love for Elizabeth, the symbol of Christian female purity. She is waiting to be taken and dominated by an honourable knight. Tannhäuser, a knight and minstrel, had been her dream man, before he went sampling without portfolio in the Venusberg.

Tannhäuser gets embroiled in a singing contest on the theme of true love. Elizabeth’s hand is the prize for the winner. Tannhäuser’s friend Wolfram, dutifully sings of pure love – no lust. Tannhäuser blows a gasket and tells them that a bit of lusting after flesh hurt no one. Elizabeth is enthusiastic about the idea. Tannhäuser gets carried away and admits to a sojourn in the Venusberg. He is turned out the castle and told to join pilgrims underway to Rome to see if such a sin can ever be forgiven.

Elizabeth’s Libido, in his Dreams

Nowadays the same soprano sings Venus and Elizabeth, in the same costume and make-up. We have to ask – was the Venusberg a figment of Tannhäuser’s erotic fantasy? Did he fantasise about Elizabeth’s female libido? Is Elizabeth ready to show the lustful part of her femininity? Was this a match made in the Venusberg, rather than in heaven? We never find out. Tannhäuser leaves the distraught Elizabeth to wonder what might have been. She agrees that her husband must be presentable and accepts he must go to Rome. She prays for the Pope’s forgiveness.

Stunning Redemption

Tannhäuser returns from Rome and relates Pope Urban IV’s words. He is as likely to be forgiven such a heinous sin, as Urban’s staff is, to sprout leaves. Elizabeth sinks exhausted to the floor. Wolfram covers her with a shroud. Tannhäuser wants to return to the Venusberg, Elizabeth rises from under the shroud. Now she is Venus and tries to seduce him. Wolfram holds Tannhäuser back, and prevents him approaching Venus. Tannhäuser dies, as pilgrims enter to declare the staff has sprouted leaves – Tannhäuser is forgiven and can join Elizabeth in heaven.

Accepting Sex Drive

In 19th century Europe, many men believed, if women possessed sex drive, they were whores. No one asked the question, was Tannhäuser without guilt, when Venus and he engaged in so-called, sins of the flesh. Did the staff sprout, because there was no sin to be forgiven? In the medieval version of the saga, Tannhäuser does return to the Venusberg, and the staff still sprouts. Were those poets and minstrels trying to tell us, lustful sex is not a sin? Is this why we still love those ancient stories?

We know what Wagner thought. He celebrated female sex-drive on stage, most notably in Tristan and Isolde, although he did let the love potion take the blame for Isolde’s wanton behaviour. No one is fooled, nowadays. We know Tristan and Isolde have the hots for each other, long before the love potion is administered.

Why did Wagner go for the soft ending in his version of Tannhäuser? These operas divided society. The Paris premier of Tannhäuser, (1861) was a disaster and wrecked by the audience’s protests, because the dance was in the wrong place and disturbed dining habits. Perhaps, with such an audience, the medieval ending was unthinkable. The lovers had to go to heaven, not the Venusberg!

Jean Shinoda Bolen, in her Jungian analysis of the role of Goddeses in our lives, defines Venus as the woman with serious sex-drive. I left my copy of Bolen’s ‘Goddesses in Everywoman,’ in a prominent place in my house. No visitor has managed to pass the book without stopping and having a peek. We all need a bit of pagan!

Venus goes other Places

The Tannhäuser story has inspired many works of art, literature and the occasional film (Blade Runner). Aubrey Beardsley added to the genre in the 1890s, with his thin volume, The Story Of Venus And Tannhäuser. It wasn’t printed in full until the 1960s, because no one had the courage. Beardsley died before completion. He describes Tannhäuser’s entry into the Venusberg and the high jinks thereafter. It is pure smut and great fun. Another reason we need Venus – to remind us that life is to be enjoyed and you never know what you might like until you have tried it.

I couldn’t resist Venus and Tannhäuser either. The lovers, in my novel Goddesses, role play Beardsley’s ideas. The complete novel should be a published this year, providing my courage doesn’t desert me.

Goddesses set us Free

Gods and Goddesses, are there to let us let our hair down. They allow us to act out a bit of our character, which otherwise, wouldn’t find an outlet. They appeal to the non-Christian part of us today, as they did for the early Christians 1000 years ago. Waldemar is right. They let us off the hook, but in so doing, keep us on the hook. Let off steam sometimes, is the message. A little bit of what you like, does you good.

Bolen defines women as character types, by using goddesses. If that sounds trite, read her book.

What about the Green Man?

We all love a mystery and the Green Man remains one. We have no idea of his symbolic meaning in pre-Christian society. Why was he so popular with gothic-church builders? Most mysterious, is his enduring popularity as a garden ornament. What position in our character does he personify? We don’t know, but we all like to be a bit mysterious. That is a character trait, too.

Clive La Pensee has used Beardsley’s take on the Venus/Tannhaeuser story, as a major part of his third novel, called Goddesses. He lets his two main protagonists role-play Beardsley’s action, with hilarious and ultimately, disastrous consequences. His heroine Connie, uses a variety of goddesses to achieve sexual liberation, in a way, which would have pleased Venus and Elizabeth.
His second novel – out soon, celebrates women risking disaster, to organise a hostile world to meet their needs. ‘Someone Tell Me What Is Going On!’
Clive has just released his first humorous/sad/wistful collection of poems, dealing with love in old age, Brexit, Fake News and the wisdom of youth. You can ask for your money back, if he doesn’t get a chuckle or a tear out of you.