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Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Mini Retro Review: Santa With Muscles (1994) #crappychristmasmovies

Santa With Muscles

This film has a bad reputation for being one of the worst Christmas- themed films in history, but the biggest offence this film commits is the fact that as a comedy, it was straight up unfunny and bordering on blandness and is too corny. Sure most bad films are corny but also some of them can be corny & enjoyable. Santa With Muscles is indeed corny, but enjoyable? Far from it. Starring a teenaged and pre-famed Mila Kunis (before she was on That 70's Show and a Hollywood movie star) & famous pro-wrestler, Hulk Hogan, his character has little to no charisma as a grouchy guy who gets amnesia and thinks he is Santa Claus and comes to the aid of an orphanage, and the script fails to capitalise on his in-ring persona and bring it to life in this so-called festive comedy. As a kids movie, it just doesn't work on their level; as a family film there isn't much here that is enjoyable for all and the comedy is weak. Santa With Muscles could have been a cheesy, self-aware Crimbo comedy, in the so-bad-it's good rich vein of Jingle All The Way, and still remain as fun and entertaining - but no, it settles for the mundane it isn't long that the dreary story evolves into something that is less enjoyable, you'll probably end up turning it off after say, 30 mins. It operates as a live-action cartoon of sorts and so, perhaps if you view it from this angle, especially, then you might find some enjoyment. Otherwise, this is so joyless. Coming from the same producer who ended up doing The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

Is It Worth Watching?



Monday, 25 November 2019

'I Can't Control What Happens & The People Involved, But I Can Change How I Respond To It & Them'

By Waiching

I have had a difficult week at work during this/last week, and this post pretty much sums up my thoughts, but also in writing this, this has given me plenty of food for thought as I contemplate on and re-evaluate my actions, decisions and my own self, as I continue in my personal efforts on self-improvement.

Quite often in life, we are faced with situations and predicaments that are beyond or out of our control and we can't do anything about it. Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Not him, not her, not them - not anyone. Why? Because you can't change the other person and undoing what s/he did or said. If change is to take place, this will occur by him/herself. By tying or being dependent on our self-worth or happiness to another person, place or thing, we end up breaking down -, and even perhaps losing a part of ourselves too.

Everything and anything can go wrong, and we can't anticipate when this happens and I don't have any control over it. I can take action before it gets worse, but when the problem occurs and is worse, I cannot undo it. What I do have control over, however, is the outcome of it: my reactions to the things that do go wrong. The issue with this is, however, by choosing the wrong reactions, these can make others unhappy and make things worse. For me, by getting worked up, tempers flare and in allowing my frustrations to boil over, it makes me feel 10x worse. & plus, this is equally damaging for my own state of mind. 

You just can not allow other people and situations to initiate change, nor dictate and determine your own happiness or self-worth - my happiness comes from within me and these changes and decisions that I make through my actions and behaviours, takes time, patience and effort. 

In a moment of madness and as a gut reaction, depending on the severity of the situation from one's perspective, it can be difficult to be compassionate and show empathy towards someone who did you wrong and assuming they are the root cause of the perceived problem.

But by figuring out and deciphering what their and my flaws are and placing yourself in their shoes, looking inwards and trying to see it from their perspective, might explain why s/he might be the way they are. Besides, we are all human, we all make mistakes, we have our flaws and imperfections. It's just that for some of us, we don't deal too well when they let loose their behaviours onto us, especially those that border on the extreme and toxic.

When we react when our buttons get pushed, we do this to satisfy and serve our own emotional needs, and less so other peoples, and not in a logical, rational manner. Psychologist John M. Grohol Psy.D further adds when s/he touches one of the emotional needs of our own, our own response will be one that will not make a whole lot of sense to others or the other person. In other words, even though it does not mean a lot to them, we may feel differently about it. 

Reaction vs Response

We are responsible for our emotional reactions: when you react or you are in a 'reactive' state, whom you react to we are asserting blame, & in doing so you have taken your power and given it to them and they thrive on it. With responding this can be seen as a form of emotional intelligence; it involves thinking things through and taking the time to analyse before you reach your conclusion, choosing how to act based on values such as reason, compassion, patience and understanding>> response = responsibility. I had experienced a negative incident at work recently and my emotional reaction was one of reaction and not response. I wasn't thinking straight in what I was saying and neither did I consider the implications of it, either. I didn't understand the pros and cons of the situation, nor did I see the perspective of the other side (i.e. the person/s that I upset). I was too consumed with anger and confusion. By opting for the emotional reaction, I just never gave any considerable thought into what I was doing and with that, ultimately, I made the wrong choice.  

In theory, response sounds easy, - yet in reality and practice, for some, it sounds difficult to initiate ...and it is; they have emotional triggers, and we too have ours, - but I've come to realise that I and you must, or be it try to respond without and to resist emotion; do not let emotion get the better of, or be it brings out the worst in you. Emotion is a personal and intuitive thing to have and behold, but especially during times when things go wrong, it needs to be kept under control. As it can be a struggle for me to take out all emotion and feeling, at most I need to control my emotions, rather than for the emotions to control me: if this is not managed properly, this becomes negative AND emotional, and we end up saying or doing the things we, later on, regret in life. Just pause, take a deep breath, count to ten and take as much time as you want to respond. Sure, you can't just blow off or shrug off every situation that goes wrong; sometimes you need to address it, head-on. In theory, perhaps.

I sometimes make the terrible mistake of reacting, as opposed to responding in certain situations and in the face of fear, - and ultimately, I reap what I sow; I paid the heavy price for that. Newton's third law states that every action has an equal or opposite reaction, & he is right: by reacting out of anger or frustration or by retaliating, the consequences or impact will be as, or even worse. By responding, however, one reduces the emotional solution to a logical/methodical solution and thus leading to better or neutral outcomes for all.

Depending on the severity of the situation, perhaps if we paid less attention to and do not dwell too much on the things s/he says or does that gets under our skin by ignoring it completely and/or blocking it from our memory, and instead, thinking strong, positive things about ourselves to make us feel good on the inside, by being assertive, we'd be far happier. Of course, if someone is being mistreated in a physical, psychological, mental sense, this isn't healthy at all: it's in-condonable, inexcusable and even worse, it excuses bad and abusive behaviour.

By all means, if s/he is unwilling to change and work on eradicating their negative behaviours, then that's their own issue - not mines. By practising on mindfulness, benevolence and being mindful of my emotional reactions and taking responsibility for them, is the way forward. As mentioned, I can't change the other person, I can't undo the mistake I made... but by learning from it, not embrace their negative behaviours, yet removing ourselves from the situation, to calm down and not act out of emotion but to respond based on logic and in an appropriate and firm manner. 

Whenever you are driven by emotion, be it fear, anger, sadness, as opposed to clear thinking, particularly in difficult and serious situations, you run the risk of saying or doing things that will come back to haunt you and of which you'll end up regretting. 

In working around him/her to come to a compromise and a better understanding of him/her, and still not excuse what they did/said, is a sign of progress. That, and it is the most thoughtful and compassionate acknowledgement, and one that will satisfy and please all parties involved. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Should I Attend The Workplace Christmas Party? Reasons For & Against

By Waiching

Christmas is not far off, as I type this, and at work comes the (dreaded) workplace Christmas party. Back in the days, I used to shun things like this thinking this wouldn't be for me, especially as I am an introvert and that I don't consider myself to be a very sociable person in general. I love music but I never went out clubbing, and I think I went to a high school dance in my teens, but I don't remember much about it. 

Anyhow, staff Christmas parties are a way for the company to say thanks and in acknowledging the employees' efforts over the past year.

Yet last year in December, I attended my first ever staff Xmas party for Costco, and like I mentioned, I have never attended things like this before. Before I said yes, I didn't anticipate that it would turn out to be a lot of fun, but it was; alas, I really had a whale of a time. It also encouraged me to open up and become more confident in a social setting. We laughed, we had a lot of fun, we danced, there was a lot of booze. The music they played was mostly Hip Hop and R&B, there was food served and it was held in a tiny venue that was just around the corner from the Costco warehouse. I also came fifth or something in the raffle, which came out of the blue (and I was a little chuffed). And I am also looking forward to my invite to attending the one held next month as well, but also in building on from the positives of last year's invite to this year's and become more open and communicative in my efforts.

The annual workplace party, particularly at Costco, is an annual tradition; rarely are traditional -and dare I mention cringey Christmas classics played out, but in its place are, like I mentioned, contemporary hip hop, R&B, with some pop thrown in, making pacts and chatting and mingling with your colleagues, of whom some aren't afraid to make a spectacle of themselves and enjoying themselves in the process. They shelve their serious work personas and with that, I get to see more lax versions of these people and being and coming across as informal just makes the whole occasion a far more enjoyable experience.

But alas, there are some who will choose to shun these types of functions for whatever reason, and these I will highlight and go into a bit.

Reasons For Skipping The Workplace Party:

  • For these individuals, they may have underlying issues and perhaps valid reasons for avoiding the party - be it religious, that they don't celebrate Christmas as it is a Christian tradition (although it has become far less religious over the last 20 or so years), or that they don't want anything else to do with the company but work

  • Introverts - I am an introvert but I am still going out of my way to go to this thing, but for many others with deep social anxiety issues, sharing the spotlight with their fellow colleagues and coworkers can be a daunting and overwhelming feeling 

  • They do not get on well with some their colleagues - the idea of spending some time with people they don't see eye- to- eye with at work but at a less formal setting, still fills him/her with dread, rather than joy. They respect them on a professional level more so than on a personal level, - and with workplace parties being an informal setting, they aren't so keen on getting along with that colleague (s). For me, I just put aside whatever work-related issues I might have with him/her and get along and to have a good time with them at the party

  • They need to rest and after a hard day's work, they are too tired If your shift ends very late in the evening, then you may feel weary afterwards to be attending the party. & if you have a shift the next day, getting public transport to get home is tricky unless the company or whoever Ubers a taxi 

  • When the firm charges people to cough up for the expenses - preferably, they should take it out of our wages 

  • The choice of venue is one that won't please everyone 

Reasons For Going To The Workplace Party:

  • To go and have fun and to have a jolly good time without the burden of stress, workplace drama and pressures of work - because that is what it is all about, right?

  • It's an opportunity for you to put yourself out there and open yourself up by engaging and connecting with others, as well as show off your dance moves - but that doesn't mean spilling and disclosing your personal life, nor gossip about other coworkers 

  • You get to mingle, hang out with and get to know the people you work with - especially your current and former workmates of your department and other colleagues you never get the chance to talk to in your organisation and to find out a little more about them, as well as for him/her to learn and know more about you as a person, but in a more casual setting that is also fun and enjoyable 

  • To try out the food they are serving

  • By attending, it feels almost like you are giving something back in exchange to the company and to your colleagues who are in attendance

  • There is plenty of booze - for those who drink alcohol that is 

Monday, 18 November 2019

Your Work Colleagues Are Not Your Friends - Part 2

By Waiching

I've been at Costco for over a year and out of all the places I have worked, I feel far more settled especially in my role, than I have ever been. But over time, the experiences that I have encountered, both professionally and personally in this competitive retail environment, have been both positive, as well as negative; part of this can be attributed to my working relationships with my work peers. There are cliques where I work, but I am not part of any of them and choose to keep things to myself..., and quite frankly, I am happy with that: I choose not to get wrapped up in other people's business, I just do the job, get paid and go home.

Although whilst the job is challenging, it is far from boring & when I am in the right frame of mind and highly motivated, I work hard or be it to the best of my ability to deliver quality results and I am also a keen learner of whom wants to improve and get better, each step of the way.

If you work with someone or some people and get on well with them, more so than with others at work, it's understandable why you might feel more comfortable with and become attached towards him/her. I mean, you spend considerable time together, you talk to each other, have a bit of a laugh -, yet some people make the mistake of confusing colleagues for friends, & this could be to do with him/her holding them to high regard. You might be at a workplace where you see more of your coworkers than you do of your own family on a weekly basis. It is professional and noble to be friendly, civil and cordial with everyone, but that doesn't equate to becoming friends, nor does that everyone at work is your friend. It is something that took me a while to understand and realise - and now that I do, by not taking it personally and to just focus on my duties and on work, that I become more content with myself. I strike up conversations or talk to him/her because I am cordial, friendly, that I do it out of respect.

Being friendly and being friends with coworkers are two completely different things. It's also complicated; that and it is not the same as having friends outside of work or making friends through social circles. 

The danger is when you make it as a personal thing and people expect too much from others or a certain person as a friend in their eyes; that, or me and them become really chummy and get on so well that in my eyes I think they are a friend... when clearly they are not that you feel let down when things don't go the way you expected. By investing so much of your energy and efforts in him/her, you become wracked with guilt (when it isn't your fault) when it happens and you are allowing your personal emotions to become conflicted & afflicted, - and with that, you end up feeling upset and getting hurt in the process. Therefore, it is vital that you need to be clear and conscious about your actions and feelings, you need to be aware of and familiarising yourself with people's personality traits at work by identifying & observing them yourself and how you deal and interact with him/her... but also knowing when to back away and keep a distance when it becomes too much, or s/he is toxic. 

Not only will you not find yourself caught up in the middle of sour and difficult workplace situations, scenarios via arguments, fallouts, breakdowns in communication, but you'll avoid the unnecessary hassles, stresses and strained tensions that occur.

If s/he has disappointed you in some way or another, just let your guard down, give yourself some time to cool off, get over it, forgive them and move on. There is no point dwelling on it any further. Rather use this as an opportunity to analyse and help you know how they think, act and operate and through that, find a way to work around and with him/her, as opposed to working against them.

The main goal for pretty much everyone is to get paid and to progress further on in their careers (I mainly see pound signs flashing in my eyes as I work), with building and forging positive working relationships with their coworkers coming in second place. When I was young, I was very shy, timid and was mostly an introvert who kept things to myself... fast forward today as a 30-something, whilst I am mostly quiet, I try to find ways to come out of my shell and be more open when possible and necessary during conversations and work-related situations.

Yet I keep my personal life separate and try not to diverge too much information and I do not hang out with or socialise with my colleagues outside of work & in social gatherings that aren't company-related. By separating your emotions and feelings from work and focusing and concentrating solely on doing the job that is expected of you, you are in a) a better frame of mind and b) you'll end up feeling much happier, satisfied and content.  

Because at the end of the day, the only person you need to look out for and to take care of, is yourself- for all this talk about 'teamwork' that is banded around and being in the same boat as your fellow coworkers, this is, as the expression goes,'' all smoke and mirrors''; really, everyone else at work is looking out for themselves as their #1 priority, so by putting yourself and your interests first, is not selfish. Even the humble ones. You and/or the people you work with or work for may see themselves (or you may see them) as competitors, or even rivals and because of the competitive and challenging nature that work poses, it just isn't entirely feasible to become friends with them, or for them to be friends with you. 

It's workplace politics. It's personal, in the sense of, you are literally working to keep your place at the company, and professional by means of remaining professional and to not resort to dirty underhanded tactics. 

Let's face it: unless you are part of a really clicky clique (i.e. sharing the same culture) that gets on like extremely well, no one at your workplace will sacrifice their paycheque for a friendship - it's the harsh truth, but it is the truth, sadly. You are contracted to your company - not your work colleagues.

I talk to and converse with around 2, 3, 4 colleagues most out of everyone else at work, - and still, I don't consider and see them as friends. The people I work with are not friends of mine and we don't have a close-knit bond or deeper and underlying personal connection, but they, or be it some of them are interesting characters, nevertheless. What happens at work stays at work, but also keep your opinions, which everyone is entitled to, to yourself. Whatever they say or think about me in their heads, after work or outside of work, I don't really care about.

Stay away from cliques and people who may get you into trouble before you know it. Remain professional - not personal -, respectful and civil, work to your best, stay within your boundaries and be wary of the types of individuals you surround yourself with & the types of information and things you say to, as well as disclose and share with them. & don't ever be afraid to shut them out, if and when necessary when you feel they are a strain on your work life.  

Face it: I don't get paid to make friends at work - I get paid for the work I do.

And if anyone at college, university, school tells you you make friends at work, they are liars. They just don't understand workplace politics as fully as they ought to do. Hate to break this to you, but you shouldn't (ever) take their word for granted. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Mini Retro Review: Mayor Cupcake (2011) #badmovies

Mayor Cupcake
Comedy Drama

Seeing the production values of this film and sitting through its tawdry story about a cupcake maker who is elected as mayor of her town and has to rely on her wits and charms to clean it up, it is obvious as to why this was destined for direct-to-DVD and TV movie status. There is nothing here that grabs me as the screenplay is both tepid and messy most of it will go over any person's head, especially those who are not into lower-tier fare as this. Performances are, for the most part, okay, such as Lea Thompson, but it's a pity that they had to settle for a story that became progressively dull as it went on. For a plot wherein the mother tries to be mayor, there is very little tension, interest and conflict to contend with - although given its non-theatrical status, the plotline exists - yet it doesn't make any dramatic inroads, whatsoever. It's just boring with an idea that deserves a far entertaining screenplay. The conception of the idea is poorly executed, making Mayor Cupcake not worth your time unless you are into bland dramas. Could only make it as far as 20 mins of this.

Is It Worth Watching?



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