Strange things happen in other peoples homes. With Airbnb it's all part of the service | Brigid Delaney2017-01-19 05:25:36
Marvelling at the messiness of other peoples lives, negotiating awkward silences staying in an Airbnb is weird because people are weird
So there I was, looking forward to a Saturday morning lie-in at my Airbnb when the host knocked on the door just before 9am.
Err, I forgot to tell you, theres an open for inspection. Youll have to get up, clean your room and pretend youre my cousin.
I peered out the window. Typical Sydney. There were hundreds of people in activewear snaked around the block to see this inner-city terrace. A woman with a clipboard stood at the front of the queue and unfolded one of those For Lease signs, and the people surged in. My host disappeared down the street for a coffee, people walked up the stairs iPhone cameras at 50 paces, and half asleep I answered questions about whether there was a second bathroom (Im not sure), is this house always this hot (yes, it has been hot the last two nights), and is the neighbourhood safe? (Its alright).
Once again, Airbnb had brought a little bit of unexpected weirdness in my life.
No matter how glossy and cool the Airbnb advertising is, with all the shiny shots of people staying in Airstreams in Texan backyards or converted air-conditioned food trucks in New Orleans, staying in an Airbnb is weird because people are weird, and their lives are complicated, their routines idiosyncratic and their bookshelves are windows into their souls, and their conversations curious, and the awkward silences are things to be negotiated. You cannot be on automatic pilot at an Airbnb because strange things happen in other peoples homes, on their patch, across their kitchen tables.
The night before I had to pretend be to my Airbnb hosts cousin, as part of Sydney festival Id seen a play in a multi-storey car park. It was boiling hot 44C and we had to carry around these little chairs to various spots in the car park where the actors were clustered. We were also given headsets, which were worn at various times. All the time we were wondering: what would happen next? Where would the story go? What would we be made to do?
People seek out these experiences. They pay for it the confusion of not knowing whats next, the experience of disorientation. With Airbnb its all part of the service.
The weirdest Airbnb I stayed at recently was a Zen Buddhist temple.
Did you read the rules on the website about your time here? asked my host, who was not a Buddhist monk, but helped run the temple. No, I had not.
One of the rules in addition to daily meditation starting with gonging at 5.30am, and two hours work around the temple was that we were to fast from around 6pm until lunchtime the next day. If I had read the rules, I would have brought snacks.
After working in the temple, meditating and napping, at night we sat around with the monk and our host drinking good whiskey and massive cans of beer.
In addition to running the Airbnb at the temple, my host also had a mail order business in making and distributing anti-chafing cream for the male chastity belt community. That night I learned the male chastity belt community is mainly straight, and their wives buy the belts for their husbands because of some past misdemeanour on a business trip, and the mesh belts hurt like hell sometimes because of chafing. Hence the need for the cream.
In the mornings I sat in a hot laundry room, surrounded by large piles of clean pillowcases and tea towels, folding them with the monks mother, who was almost 100 and spent much of her day watching American sport and Korean soap operas on television.
Folding laundry was my temple service. I was weak from fasting, hungover from the whiskey, tired from the predawn gonging, still confused by the idea that there was a male chastity belt community for whom secondary products could be marketed yet, yet … this was life! This was how people lived! This was temple life! This was the weirdest place Id stayed in.
Only a few days before I had been in Seoul, where the most personal thing about my hotel was the card programmed to open the door to you room.
You go to hotels for the absence of idiosyncrasy, for the impersonal service, for the invisible hand of the turndown service and restocking of the mini bar.
But you go into Airbnb in part to marvel at the messiness of the lives of others.
The frosty divide between the haves and have nots
The heat! The heat! After several nights of 30C or more (at 2am!!), much of the population of eastern parts of Australia were walking around like zombies on Wednesday.
There were the nasty hot winds, the scorching beaches with no shade, the sunburn, the creams for the sunburn, the concrete apartment blocks with no aircon or design that allowed for cross-breeze, and even if they did no cross-breeze!
In the office with one glance you could tell those who had air-conditioning and those who did not. Those of us that lived by the fan had the haunted look of new parents of a colicky baby. We experienced what it was like to feel as if our organs were cooking from within. The air-conditioned people look rested and relaxed. Its the new class system.
Whatever your reasons for getting a bunk bed, it’s always important to follow practical guidelines to ensure safety-especially if your kids are the ones sleeping in the bunk bed. It goes without saying that it’s possible to injure yourself with almost any kind of furniture if you’re reckless, but it’s also important to note that today’s bunk beds are the safest they have ever been, due to enhanced government regulation. Bunks for kids are held to even stricter standards, which should be a relief for many parents with rambunctious children.
Bunk beds and loft beds are built with an elevated design to maximize space, which means that there are structural vulnerabilities and safety considerations you should watch out for. Design for certain functions or advantages can mean trade-offs in other areas, but as long as you are mindful of this, having a bunk bed can be almost as safe as having a regular bed. The general rule of thumb is that taller, stacked furniture means better space optimization, but is much worse for stability (especially if you live in earthquake-prone areas). What’s important is that you carefully assess your needs and minimize your risks, so you can enjoy your bed for as long as your family needs it.
Following these simple tips can go a long way in ensuring your family’s safety and satisfaction:
· Shop only from a dealer or furniture store that sells quality products and offer some type of quality guarantee or warranty
· Follow the written instructions carefully when putting together your new bed
· Choose beds with guard rails that are higher than the mattresses, to prevent anybody from falling out of bed
· Only allow only kids six years and above to take the upper bunk
· If economically feasible, choose a bed bunk with stairs over a bed bunk with ladder to minimize tripping and increase surefootedness.
· Do not try to squeeze in the wrong size mattress into your bunk bed
· If you choose a bed bunk with a ladder, make sure the spaces are too small for a child’s head or torso to fit through
· Don’t allow more than one person to sleep on the top bunk, no matter how small or light they are
· Don’t allow roughhousing on or under the bed
There are other, less obvious considerations to think about when it comes to owning a bunk bed. While the biggest safety concerns are with young kids, adults need to be mindful as well, since anyone can sustain an injury if they are not careful. For example, one of the things people tend to overlook is the fact that some screws can become loose over time. Even if you follow all instructions carefully during assembly, it pays to check them again from time to time, at least to prevent nasty surprises. No one is perfect, and no accident is planned. Sleepless nights of countless tossing and turning can loosen even the tightest screws, so don’t neglect to check them occasionally.
Among bunk beds, the ones with the best stability are usually the twin over full bunk beds and the full over full bunk beds. It’s just simple physics: the wider something is at the bottom, the harder it will be to shake it or tip it-which is an important consideration if you live in earthquake-prone regions or if you share your home with active people. Of course, you shouldn’t get a twin over full or full over full bunk bed if space is limited and your kids are too small, but you can at least limit the chances for injury or tipping over by making sure that the calmer sleeper stays in the bottom bunk or by getting a twin over twin bunk bed with a staircase.
In the end, there’s no substitute for communication, consideration, and knowledge. Just educate your kids about the proper precautions and consequences, so safety and injury should never be a problem.
Helen, (not her real name) a tall, attractive seventy-year-old woman, who was a V.P. in her company, had a history of being in relationships with passive aggressive men, which left her disappointed and unsure of herself. This is my fifth long-term relationship, she lamented and I am recognizing after a year of dating, he is passive aggressive the same as my previous relationships. I reassured Helen, she isn’t the only woman who attracted passive aggressive men. Thus, her work began.
It is my custom to take a medical history as well as a psychological history–Helen reported she took medication for a Mitral Valve Prolapse and Depression.
The Mitral Valve is located between the upper left chamber and lower left chamber of the heart. The mitral valve is made of two flaps of tissue that opens and closes in a rhythmic way to allow blood to flow in one direction–from the atrium (upper chamber) to the ventricle (lower chamber). The left ventricle is responsible for much of the heart’s pumping and propels oxygen-rich blood into the arteries. The arteries then carry the blood throughout the body. When the mitral valve doesn’t open and close properly, the flaps may “billow” backward slightly into the upper chamber during the heart’s contraction. This is called mitral valve prolapse (MVP). As a result of MVP, a clicking sound can often be heard when listening to the heart sounds with a stethoscope. In MVP, sometimes small amounts of blood may leak backward into the upper chamber of the heart because the valve does not close properly. This causes a “heart murmur,” although the heart itself is working correctly. The heart has an adequate blood supply, even with the MVP. Prolapsing mitral valves do not usually get worse over time.
I wasn’t surprised at either condition–given her relationship with her family and subsequent relationships with men. Each time Helen left a relationship she lost a piece of herself and became more disillusioned and self-deprecating about her ability to create a healthy relationship.
Traditional Western Medicine (TWM) recommends treatment for Mitral Valve Prolapse to include:
Diet: Nutritionally complete, well balanced. Avoid caffeine and chocolate. Caffeine tends to stimulate the autonomic nervous system and worsen symptoms. Avoid sugar. A surge in blood sugar stimulates the autonomic nervous system and makes symptoms worse. A mid-afternoon high-protein snack is highly recommended. It is recommended to maintain ones weight within the range for height and body structure–fad and crash diets need to be avoided.
Fluids: Adequate fluid intake is important. Many symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, light-headedness, etc. are due to low blood pressure and low blood volume that can be helped through drinking adequate amounts of water. A minimum of 64 ounces of water or non-caffeinated beverages per day are recommended.
Exercise: Regular exercise is necessary to improve fitness and reduce MVP symptoms. Exercise should be aerobic, such as walking, running, bicycling, swimming, etc., and should be discussed in advance with a physician.
Medication: Medication may be required to improve symptoms of MVP.
Except for medication the treatment for Mitral Valve Prolapse is indicated for anyone to maintain a healthy body. However, it is curious that TWM states that medicine may be required to ‘improve’ symptoms of MVP. One wonders why one would settle for ‘improvement’ when healing is possible? Unfortunately, the majority of people do not know healing is possible, because the medical and pharmaceutical treatment does not heal anything. However, since TWM and pharmaceutical treatment is the accepted health model everyone trusts this paradigm without checking other options.
Using Holistic Healing (HH) we know all physical dysfunctions is the unconscious mind’s way to convey a message to the conscious mind. What does the unconscious mind want you to know about a particular body part?
The Heart and Heart Chakra is the center from which feelings of love emanate. It is also associated with other virtuous emotions, such as joy, happiness, honesty, respect, compassion, understanding, and generosity, and with loving oneself in a sincere, non-egotistic way. Conversely, the heart often holds sadness, anger and despair from the many disappointments, betrayal, neglect, etc. we encounter in life. Thus, blocking the love, joy, happiness, honesty, respect, compassion, understanding, generosity, and self-love that inherently intended to flow from ones heart.
Helen accepted the concept of holistic healing and was eager to go to work. However, she was happily surprised when I told her, the Mitral Valve Prolapse could be healed so that she could stop taking the medicine for the MVP and depression.
While there were other issues Helen focused on, for the purpose of this article, I will focus only on her process of healing her heart.
Helen readily reached a deep level of relaxation and I instructed her unconscious mind to focus on her heart. As she focused on her heart, I asked her to describe what the Mitral Valve Prolapse looked like.
H: “I see a dark space.”
N: “How big is the dark space–is it the size of a pea, walnut or something else?”
H: “It is the size of a walnut.” “I am feeling a lot of heaviness and pain.” She rubbed her upper left chest area.
N: “Describe the pain–is it sharp, dull, stabbing, or something else?”
H: “It is like a deep heavy dull pain.”
Tears started to trickle from under Helen’s closed eyes.
N: “Take a deep breath–and blow it out.” “I am going to count from one to three and when I say three you will be in a time and place when your heart absorbed your hurt, sadness, despair, anger or disappointment to help you cope.”
Helen recounted several incidents when she felt neglected and disappointed, because her mother was frequently away from home due to her inability to manage adult life. Her father, although present seemed preoccupied and did not discuss her mother’s absence. Helen was on her own to process the unanswered questions. With no prior experience or tools to sort out the experience she pushed her feelings out of the conscious mind. Given that feelings have energy that energy needs to be either dissipated or put somewhere. Helen put her feelings in her heart as they were heart related. Thus, her heart was overburdened. when any body part is overburdened, it will eventually breakdown.
As the sessions continued, Helen processed all the incidents of neglect, disappointment, fear, anger, sadness, shame and guilt. Her understanding, compassion and love for herself came to her conscious mind as the processing evolved.
After several sessions Helen reported the dark space with the deep heavy dull pain was gone–it showed itself pink with a warm glow. She reported her entire body felt lighter, and freer than she could ever remember.
I advised her to engage the advise of a Naturopath to gradually reduce the amount of medications she took for MVP and depression until she was medication free.
In three months, Helen was medication free, she had tools to manage life’s journey and with understanding, love, joy, happiness, respect, compassion, self-love, generosity and love in her heart, she went on her way to create the relationship she knows she deserves.
Islands armed forces test combat readiness, amid deteriorating relations between Beijing and Taipei
A two-day military drill that began on Tuesday simulated an attack by the Peoples Liberation Army across the 112-mile (180km) Taiwan strait that separates the mainland from the island nation of 23 million, amid deteriorating relations between Beijing and Taipei.
The islands armed forces gathered in Taichung, central Taiwan, for annual drills that saw troops test their combat readiness with tanks, attack helicopters and artillery. Skydivers, known as Team Mighty Dragon, also demonstrated their precision landing skills.
The operation mimicked a scenario where Chinese war vessels had crossed over the middle line of the Taiwan strait.
The military has active measures to deal with the situation in the Taiwan strait and the South China Sea, so the public can rest assured, defence spokesman Chen Chung-chi said. We will enhance training 365 days a year.
The drills come one week after China set off alarm bells in Taiwan by sailing its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the strait, accompanied by a fleet of warships.
The Liaoning did not sail in Taiwanese waters, but entered an area covered by the islands air defence zone. It was a show of strength that prompted Taiwans air force to scramble its fighter jets to surveil and control the passage of the fleet.
The Taiwanese government, led by the president, Tsai Ing-wen, has sought to reassure the public over growing Chinese military threats following an unprecedented call with Trump, the incoming US president, in December.
The call smashed decades of protocol that have prevented direct engagement between the two presidents since the US switched its diplomatic recognition of China from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
China considers Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, as a breakaway province that will eventually be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. It views any attempts to recognise Taiwan identity as an attack on its sovereignty.
In recent weeks Trump has angered the Chinese government by intimating that its One China policy could become a bargaining chip in future trade talks.
On Monday, one government-run Chinese newspaper warned that if provocation over Taiwan continued, China would be forced to take off the gloves.
In addition to the drills, the air force has confirmed an upgrade of Taiwans 143 F-16 fighter aircraft.
The defence minister, Feng Shih-kuan, also recently called for increased vigilance over China, urging the islands youth to join the military.
Ross Darrell Feingold, from Taipei-based political risk consultancy DC International Advisory, played down the significance of the routine exercise.
Obviously Taiwan faces an ongoing military threat from China, whether its from Chinese exercises intended to pressure Taiwan, or the long-term potential of a full and military invasion, he said. The perception of many observers is that military exercises in Taiwan are sometimes meant as much for public relations.
However, experts warn that China, Taiwan and the US could be dragged into a messy military conflict if Trump continues to press Beijing over Taiwan once in power, forcing the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, to react rather than look weak at home.
Xi will see this as a very humiliating situation that Trump is putting him in, a humiliating position in the eyes of his own people, warned Susan Shirk, the former US deputy assistant secretary of state. And that is going to force him to push back very strongly in order to protect his position inside China.
Shirk, who is now chair of the 21st Century China Centre at the University of California San Diego, added: The risks are huge. The risks are right up to direct military confrontation.
On Tuesday Xi sent an indirect message to Trump, using a meeting with the outgoing US vice-president, Joe Biden, to call for a long-term, stable and cooperative relationship between China and the US.
Human growth hormone [HGH] does more than just cause the loss of fat. The
typical weight loss programs today result not only in the loss of fat but
also in many cases the loss of body mass. With HGH therapy there is not only
the loss of fat but also the replacement of fat with muscle which is why in
some cases people actually gain weight to their greater advantage of the more
sculpted body and better health. Human growth hormone actually recontours
your body which results in a younger and better functioning you.
Once we get into our mid thirties there is this evolution that accelerates
from a nicely chiseled body towards more of a blob like shape. Our lean body
mass ( LBM ) including all of our organs begin to shrivel while fat mass also
known as adipose mass increases. In fact, between the ages of 30 and 75
organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver, and pancreas atrophy by up to 30.
It is now a well known medical fact that this increase in fat significantly
increases the risk for heart attack, hypertension, and diabetes and even
contributes towards cancer.
The first long-term studies with HGH were done by doctor Rudman in 1989 in
saint Thomas hospital in London on 24 adults with growth hormone deficiency.
Half the group was given a placebo while the other group was put on human
growth hormone. After six months those on growth hormone had lost an average
of 12.5 pounds of fat and gained an average of 12.1 pounds of lean body mass
which was mostly muscle. The study would not be so significant if was only
related to the fact that the study was on those with diseased or removed
pituitary glands since this would only be limited to a few thousand people in
the United States.
The fact that is significant here is that this is
indicative of a lack of human growth hormone which almost everyone
experiences as they age. Rudman’s study showed that young adults with
pituitary disease are the same as elderly men and women. Rudman did a six
month treatment on men between the ages of 60 and 81 giving them human growth
hormone. These men gained an average of 8.8 in fat mass. Also, their skin
density thickened 7.1 and 17. In a follow-up study, it was found after twelve
months of treatment with growth hormone there was additional increase with
lean body mass increasing by 6, skin thickness by up to 4 growth of a liver
and 23 acceleration in the rate of fat loss that was beyond the effects of
diet alone. In fact the latest studies from Sweden now show that growth
hormone is the most effective treatment to get rid of the middle age spread
and all the disease conditions that arise with it.
In the past 35 years we’ve gone from having ¼ of U.S. citizens being fat to 1/
3 in 1980 to now a majority of 2/3’s in 2004. Fat men have pulsatile release
of growth hormone that is three times lower compared with normal weight men
and make 25 or more gain it back. In a six month treatment of growth hormone
deficient adults at Sahlgrenska hospital there was an overall 20 compared
with 13 central deep layer body fat and 6.1 total body fat. The placebo group
gained fat during the same period. Also, there was improved glucose intake,
lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower blood pressure.
Central belly fat appears to be the major culprit in producing insulin
resistance. This kind of resistance also known as diabetes type 2 is now in
academic proportions in the U.S. and is directly related to obesity. Because
HGH is so effective at sucking out this underlying gut fat insulin
sensitivity is improved and allows the body to get rid of the blood sugar
more effectively. If you are now obese HGH is a proven product for getting
rid of your fat in the areas where it is so threatening to your health. In
fact, it has been shown that using HGH will not only cause one to lose
significant weight but also to gain muscle and even look and feel decades
In older studies it appeared that growth hormone countered the effects of
insulin on the metabolism of glucose which made people more insulin resistant.
There was increased insulin resistance in patients after six weeks of
treatment with growth hormone. However six months studies show that insulin
sensitivity returns to where it was before treatment. Also, large studies
with growth hormone show there is no increased incidence of diabetes. This is
because of the profound changes in body composition after six months which
induces greater insulin sensitivity due to the removal of abdominal fat. When
you use growth hormone it tends to direct the action of insulin towards
putting sugar into the cardiac, muscle, and nerve cells, rather than into the
Why in the world one go for things like stomach stapling and all the other
crazy gimmicks which often have terrible side effects when HGH will do a far
better job? A Belgium Physician, Thierry Hertoghe, made careful body
measurements before and after two months of treatment with growth hormone and
recorded 23 to 30% shrinkage in the love handles of older people. Not only is
there shrinkage of the abdomen but that the underside of the thigh gets
thinner, while the upper side gets thicker with more muscle. The belly
buttons of most of his patients moved up by more than 1 inch after two months
of growth hormone treatment. The skin that hangs from the upper arm of a
woman is a signal of the loss of growth hormone. When a woman receives enough
growth hormone this hanging skin from the upper arm tightens back to a normal
more attractive appearance.
Growth hormone increases the free fatty acids which makes fat stores
available for energy production. There is a process in cells called lipolysis.
Fat cells have growth hormone receptors and when growth hormone binds to
these receptors it triggers a series of enzymatic reactions in the cell to
break down fat. Also, human growth hormone increases the overall energy
expenditure so that you burn calories faster. Growth hormone is also believed
to counter the effect of the hormone, insulin. Insulin acts kind of like the
gate opener to allow into the cells glucose, amino acids, and fats. Growth
hormone blunts the sensitivity of this gateway by opposing the action of
insulin which means far less fat is absorbed into the cell and the cell is
Growth Hormone also conserves nitrogen needed for the building of muscle. It
also increases protein synthesis without increasing the breakdown of proteins
in the cell. It is a well established fact that growth hormone deficient
adults that quit taking growth hormone have a significant decline in muscle
mass and strength. Human growth hormone contributes significantly towards the
building of muscle and this has been proven in the study of many different
groups including athletes, healthy young men, GH- deficient adults, and the