Talking and Chewing Gum Improves Ear Health

Overheard from Wikipedia:

Excessive cerumen may impede the passage of sound in the ear canal, causing conductive hearing loss. It is also estimated to be the cause of 60 – 80% of hearing aid repairs. As mentioned above, movement of the jaw helps the ears’ natural cleaning process, so chewing gum and talking can both help. If this is insufficient, the most common method of cerumen removal by general practitioners is syringing (used by 95% of GPs). A curette method is more likely to be used by otologists and ENTs when the ear canal is partially occluded and the material is not adhering to the skin of the ear canal.

I never thought that, hello, talking and chewing gum would actually be beneficial to our health. Or at least our ears’ health.

The more we know, the more we know there are lots more things we didn’t know, and potentially will never know.

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Raelians Are Fun!

Ever heard of the Raelian religion?

For those of you who don’t know, the Raelians are an organization — some would say “alien sex cult” — that believes in scientific creationism — that “aliens” came to this planet and manipulated primitive DNA in order to create humans. In 1973, French journalist Claude Vorilhon (who now goes by “Rael”) was contacted by a small alien being who told him that their race, the Elohim (“those who came from the sky”, as described in Genesis), had been the ones who had created human life on Earth, and that mankind had mistaken them for gods and built religions around them. Because of the moon landing, they felt we were mature enough to hear the truth, and dictated the Raelian message.

Boring stuff, eh? By the way, I’m not preaching them! I just want to let you know that Raelians really know how to have fun! Check these out:

,

Now there you know a bit why some people like to call Raelian an “alien sex cult.” A seriously wonderful world, ain’t it? 😉

Source: all over the Big Huge Net, although you might wanna check this out. (maybe here too) 😉

UPDATE: A BIG thanks to Bernie of PlancksConstant.org for linking to this post. I’ve been a big fan of Bernie’s site for quite some time. 🙂

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This Has Got To Be It!

I’ve been wondering for the past 2-3 years whether my experience, which was diagnosed by my psychiatric doctor, Dr. Kabul Budianto, as affective schizophrenia, were simply that (psychotic state, delusions, etc.) or there’s more to it… spiritually?

I’ve also been increasingly thinking that these guys “don’t know nothing” about my condition. Be them doctors, Ph.D.’s, or whatever! Much less my friends, my loved ones, and even my religious teachers.

One of the comments about the book The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence, states:

“I recommend this as an intro into the understanding of what Grof and Grof have dubbed “spiritual emergence,” an increasingly common pattern of psychobiological activity often misdiagnosed as psychotic. — Craig Chalquist, M.S., creator of the Thineownself self-exploration site.

Many other comments express similar agreement, as also seemingly the contents of this book.

Moreover, an independent Psychedelics survey (psychedelics are drugs used to induce, among others, hallucinations) reports enlightening results (at least for me):

EFFECTS OF AWAKENED KUNDALINI

I.Physiological level

A. Motor
1. Spontaneous performance of asanas (postures) even if the aspirant knows no Hatha yoga. (@,#)
2. Spontaneous twisting and/or revolving of the body and limbs, dance-like gestures. (#)
3. Spontaneous movement of hands in formal Indian dance patterns. (#)
*4. Trembling of the body (#)

B. Non-Motor
*1. Sensations of heat or cold. (@),(#) 2. Constriction of breathing. (#)
3. Automatic breathing of various kinds. Temporary stoppage of breath. (@)
*4. Spontaneous laughter, tears of joy (@); automatic/involuntary laughing or crying. (#)
*5. Creeping sensations in the spine (#)
*6. Tingling sensations through the body. (#) Itching or crawling sensations under the skin. (@)
*7. Alterations in sexual desire (usually decreased)

II. Sensory (Special Senses)

*1. Sensory hallucinations: audio, visual, taste and smell.(@)
*2. Audio hallucinations: humming, rushing water, tinkling, bell sounds, etc. (#)
*3. Closed-eye perceptions: dots, lights, flames, geometrical shapes, pure white light. These may be perceived as visions of saints or deities. (#)
4. Utterances of deformed sounds. (@) Spontaneous chanting, singing or vocal noises. (#)
5. Feelings that the body has become extremely huge or small (anima) (#)

III. Emotional

*1. Extreme feelings of ecstasy and divine bliss. (@)
*2. Extreme feelings of fear. (@)
*3. Enhanced sense of empathy
*4. Loss or dissociation of emotions

IV. Cognitive/Spiritual

*1. Recall past lives. (@)
*2. Enhanced intuition and psychic powers (siddhis). (@)
*3. Feelings of unseen guidance and protection. (@)
*4. Emptying of the mind. (#)
*5. There is an experience of being a witness in the body.(#)
*6. Questions may arise in the mind and be spontaneously answered (revelation or enhanced insight). (#)
*7. The hidden meaning behind the (Indian) scriptures are revealed. (@)
*8. Mystical experience

Table 1: List of Effects of Awakened Kundalini. Note; (*) lines of the list are attributes identified in the psychedelic drug survey. Lines marked (@) are from [2] and lines marked (#) are from [3].

Most, if not all, of the effects described above are true in my personal experience. Which makes me wonder, have I had awakened my “kundalini”? (or whatever, more generally called self-realization)

Note that when I experienced it, I did not use any psychedelic drugs whatsoever. It came naturally, and immediately. And I hadn’t even felt any depression, as most people accused me of, including Dr. Kabul, my psychiatrist.

The effects were so great though, as I immediately were instituted into a mental facility after a week or so in that state. I recovered very quickly, less than a week. About a year later though, I experienced (I guess) the same thing, and I was instituted again.

The question remains, what will I make out of it?

Update: Overheard from kundalini-support.com: (emphasis mine)

I required anti-psychotic medication to allow my brain and nervous system to rest and heal. Sadly, these medications probably cause physical damage to dopamine receptors. Martinus in his books also mentions the dangers of certain kundalini awakenings.

This is exactly also what I thought! That’s why I was so reluctant to use medication! But I loved my mother, and I didn’t really want to go back into that state where my mother sat beside me, crying, having that look that really destroyed my heart, and I only said (I was tied up on the mental insitution’s bed): “Mom, it’s alright. I’m fine. Why are you crying? I love you so much.” I also told her that Jesus will protect her, protect me, and all of us; although I am a muslim and I was aware of that fact at that time. (My mother is a Christian.)

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“I Didn’t Ask for Your Help, Did I?”

Last night I watched Crash, Eel‘s favorite movie. It’s a movie about life, how we collide into other people’s lives, and how people deal with it.

Conclusion: It’s an excellent movie. Lots of magic moments in this movie (seriously! The touching, “oh-pretty-please-no” kind of scenes are there.) About 95% of the movie deals with racism, but it’s somewhat an understandable base for discussing prejudice. It happens everywhere in the real world.

My most favorite line is “I didn’t ask for your help, did I?” when a white policeman honestly tried to defend a black guy. I had lots of people saying that (indirectly) to me. It’s very true, an unfortunate truth. 🙁


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Re: Democracy, Poverty & Radical Politics

A response to Democracy, Poverty & Radical Politics at Mr. Juwono Sudarsono’s web site:

Aside from extremely religious-istic followers, one thing I find quite disturbing of Indonesian people (not just poor ones) is “regionalism” or “ethnicism” (“kita orang Jawa, kita harus bla…bla…bla”). So much that they force their beliefs upon others. Communities are becoming more and more heterogeous each day, and forcing your beliefs, opinions, and behaviors upon others is, I think, critically interferes with basic human rights. In my observation, our people have somewhat the highest level of prejudice in the whole world.

BTW, I was surprised (and delighted) that our Defense Minister has a blog (although it doesn’t seem to have new posts very often.) But it’s definitely a good thing, considering the current highly unreliable, erroneous state of POLRI’s Information Systems. (so, Mr. Sudarsono, this is within your authority, isn’t it?) 😉


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Flickr is Killing Me!

Lately I’ve tried to add a photo illustration to every new post on this blog, Web 2.0 with Ruby on Rails, Jejak Petualang Ubuntu, and Adam & Hawa in Love. At first I thought it was cool to do (in Adam & Hawa in Love), but later I found it highly addictive. I just find something is “missing” if I don’t put a good, stylish, artistic photo in my blog post.

Now it’s killing me! I wasted much, much more time searching for photos on Flickr than actually writing a blog article! This is weird… And to add to that, our Internet connection to Flickr is so slow (much slower than to Google that’s for sure).

I won’t stop attaching photo illustrations to my articles. Maybe I’ll just go back to the old-fashioned way: post the “plain” article first, then after I have time to search for pictures, I’ll update the plain posts with the photo illustration. I guess that may work for now…


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Quicken 2007, A Review: At Last!

In order to import my Microsoft Money 2007 data into Quicken 2007, I had to install Quicken 2005 first, import the Money 2007 data using the Data Converter, then start Quicken 2005 to finish the importing process, uninstall Quicken 2005, install Quicken 2007, then upgrade, and… finally done! It was a tedious process. But it works. Not everybody wants to jump through that many hoops though. At the end, though, I stayed with Money (due to Quicken’s stability issues).

My first impression of Quicken (both 2005 and 2007) before even starting it up is… wow! So many desktop icons (add to that the length of the icon titles)! Looks very spyware-ish to me:

When first starting up, Quicken gives you an express setup:

I never got to that because all I’m interested in is to convert my Money data to Quicken, or Quicken can wait forever.

At this point I tried to install Quicken 2005. Failed. I have to uninstall the failed Quicken 2005, then uninstall Quicken 2007, then reinstalled Quicken 2005. Done. Trying to import Money data into Quicken 2005… Successful. This is the Quicken 2005 Home page using the freshly converted data:

I had enabled multicurrency support in that. I find it weird that Quicken doesn’t enable multicurrency right from the start. After I enabled multicurrency support, I was frustrated to see them as dollars, not rupiahs, and seemingly there is no way to change this. It looks like Quicken doesn’t support Indonesian Rupiahs out-of-the-box. While I can add Indonesian Rupiahs manually using the Currency List, this is completely useless since Quicken can’t change the currency of existing accounts. Very frustrating, yet I bet none of these guys at Intuit actually care.

Then I uninstalled Quicken 2005 and replaced it with the shiny Quicken 2007 Home & Business. The upgrade process went without problems and I was presented with the brand new Home page:

At this point I have to correct many things that Quicken messed up during the conversion process. I have strong expectations on Quicken though, due to many good reviews. I hope I won’t regret my switch from Money 2007 to Quicken 2007. (later, it turns out that I do regret this switch…)

By the way I also tried to install Quicken 2007 under Linux using CrossOver Office… but failed. 🙁

Quicken 2007 is starting to give me a few problems though. It crashed while trying to update itself (no Internet connection, but why crashing?) Then at startup it says I have to uninstall then reinstall it because something is “wrong”. Oh great, as if I hadn’t uninstalled-reinstalled Quicken just that many times today (and different versions, too!)

Quicken seems to be designed with American users only in mind (in addition to the multicurrency issue). Things like taxes, etc. are exclusively for U.S. citizens. When I try to set up planning, I got this ridiculous underestimation:

Come on, I can’t even earn 100 million rupiahs per YEAR? (Now I know why Bill Gates won’t use Quicken.) At this point, besides getting frustrated, I also chuckled, in Turkey you’d do millions and billions-valued transactions daily (due to its Lira currency), I really wonder how Quicken would handle this? 😉

After I completed the Planning steps, Quicken crashed. I tried to restart it, but everytime I want to go to the “Financial Overview” page it always crashes:

This makes Quicken 2007 even more useless than Money 2007! Money has flaws in their Budgeting feature, which is very critical but not being able to access “Financial Overview” in Quicken 2007 is even more frustrating!!!

Final Conclusion: Uninstalled Quicken 2007, went back to Money 2007 Home & Business with its buggy Budgeting.


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Microsoft Money 2007 Home & Business Review: “Definitely Gonna Try Quicken 2007 ASAP”

After much desperation and frustration (for some undisclosed reason), finally I got hold of Microsoft Money 2007, Home & Business Edition. This is because the financial software I was currently using was Microsoft Money 2004 Deluxe, I guess an upgrade after 3 years will be great. Or so it seems…

Installation was… very quick, despite my Windows XP Professional SP2 system was running under VMware. There was no message whatsoever while installing, weird. True, none of the “Copying files to…” or “Preparing installation script…” messages. It seems that Microsoft actually expects Money 2007 installation to be superfast, and this is completely true. I just hope Microsoft won’t hide the installation messages on the next version of Visual Studio or SQL Server setup, or we’ll get very frustrated, hahaha… 😉

The first impression is nice. Definitely much better interface than Money 2004, and it’s not slow as I had imagined. The conversion process for the Money 2004 data file was fast, only about 1 minute. The homepage doesn’t change much. Especially the charts, which seems to get no improvement whatsoever. Shame on you, Microsoft.

Home Page

This is the home page. Shows some stuff. Note that this homepage is highly customizable. Rumor is that Quicken 2007 has even much better home page.

Spending by Category Report

One of the most useful reports. It shows how much you spend on each category (for lack of better description, heheh…) 😉

Cashflow

This view is interesting. It shows your past financial history as well as forecasting your future financial state. I find it’s more eye candy than useful. But it’s actually very useful to predict your spending, although I’ve never been able to get it right.

My Cash Account

A typical view for any account register. This is for a checking account. But all other account types look roughly the same. The transactions and the displayed columns differ, of course.

Monthly Report

This is actually a relatively long report, showing you many things you may want to know about your financial during that month. Quite nice, and I’ll have 3 million rupiahs after 12 months?!?! Come on, am I really that poor?! 🙁

Net Worth Over Time

This shows your overall “richness”. Hey, I’m much richer now than any previous time during this year. That means I’m in good shape. 😉

Income and Spending Over Time

This is one way to control your budget, besides the buggy Budget feature (more on this later). It shows you how much you spend and how much you earn. You should automatically know that you want more earnings than spendings. Doesn’t seem to always be the case for me, does it? Hehehe… For people like Ollie, though, I’m sure her blue (spending) bars are waaaay higher than her yellow (income) bars… Bwahahahaha!!! 😛

WARNING: Buggy Budget!!!

As I start playing with the features, the Budget feature is what interests me the most. It has a new model, so-called Savings & Spendings. This is because the budgeting feature in Money 2004 was buggy, there are transactions that shouldn’t show up on the budget that incorrectly shows, and duplicate transactions, very frustrating. I was expecting Money 2007’s budgeting feature to be better, or at least not so buggy. Was I ever been more wrong:

This rendered the Budget feature of Money 2007 almost completely (?) useless. I’ll definitely try Quicken 2007 if I can import my data into that (supposedly better) program.

Other Features

I haven’t had time to play yet with the “Business” side of Money 2007 Home & Business, I’m not sure if I’m gonna need it. I don’t even know what “accounts-receivable” means.

Conclusion

Money 2007 seems to be very good. If at least it works the way Money 2004 works, then it’s good, since I’ve been using that one for a long time. The buggy Budget feature though, may really disappoint you, as it clearly disappointed me. If you’re new to financial software, I suggest you go to Quicken 2007 (they definitely owe me a dollar for referring you to their product), even though I haven’t tried it myself (but I will be, definitely). Use Money 2007 only if you need to upgrade from previous Money versions, as Quicken 2007 hasn’t yet (and their employee says, will never) have a convenient upgrade path from Microsoft Money (yes, that’s official, try reading their FAQ). While on the contrary, Money offers “Import Quicken…” directly in its menu. Some companies are funny.

UPDATE: You want to know what I use now? GnuCash, an open source accounting software, running on Ubuntu, an open source operating system. I’ve described Ubuntu before, I hope I can write about GnuCash someday.


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New Financial Software… Required?

Recently I’ve had a conversation with my good friend Aulia Halimatussadiah. One of what we talked was about our financial management. She said her financial was horrible (she earned enough but spent lots more, hehehe). So I suggested her to use the software I’m currently using, Microsoft Money (I’m currently using Money 2004).

It turns out that Money 2007 is already out. I wanted to try it too, but until now can’t get hold of the best version (which is Money 2007 Home & Business edition). Along the way I found that people say Quicken 2007 Home & Business is a better deal.

What I worry so much is not whether Quicken 2007 is actually better than Money 2007 (from the reviews, I’m very eager to try Quicken 2007 because for me Money 2004 was already good enough, I just can’t wait!). But whether Quicken 2007 imports Money 2004 data. Considering that Money is the primary competitor to Quicken, I’d expect that this would be the case.

In several days I should be able to report how I’m doing with Quicken 2007. I’ll also test Money 2007 though, especially if Quicken doesn’t import Money data.

Update: From Quicken Forums, it seems that Quicken 2007 doesn’t support importing Money data directly (although there is an inconvenient workaround available). And many of its customers are cursing. I would call them (Quicken) insane since Quicken 2006 supports importing using an external data converter program that can be downloaded free of charge. I’ll see what I can do, I expect myself to be just continue using Money (but upgrade to 2007) to avoid problems. It’s just a software afterall.

Personal note: If you read my previous post about Building a Dream House, I promised you a review of Chief Architect 10. Don’t worry, I really still had that in mind. But at current rate, I’ll be so lucky if I can get it in a week. So I’m just gonna be patient and you’ve got to be patient as well. If you have a fast Internet connection though, you might as well try it yourself. 😛


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