Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chaka's World Four Year Anniversary

This week is the 4 year anniversary of Chaka's World. It has been rewarding to see the progress I have made in blogging over the last 4 years. When I started, I was a young and naive blogger with nothing of much substance to share. I have developed over the years where I am now older and cynical, and have even less to impart to readers. To commemorate my meteoric rise and my immeasurable contributions to blogging, I'd like to re-share my ultimate inspirational story from 2008.

Over the years I have heard a variety of motivational stories that are very common in business education, self improvement books, church, job training, and e-mails. I have enjoyed most of them and seeing how I am prone to help others, I think the best service I could do is to consolidate them into one all encompassing ultimate story of Inspiration. If this can't get you moving forward in life than nothing can enlighten or motivate you.

One evening as I was walking down the beach I came across some footsteps in the sand. I followed them for some time then I noticed one set suddenly disappeared. As I looked around to see why, I noticed a boy throwing starfish back into the ocean. I felt bad for his futile attempt to save them. As I approached him to tell him what I thought I heard someone screaming for help. I saw a young man thrashing in the water. I was about to run to help him, but I noticed there was already an old man in a toga pulling his limp body out of the water.

By this time the sun was setting and it was getting dark, so I walked towards a distant lighthouse. I could see an exchange of flickering lights taking place. As I neared the lighthouse I noticed a massive destroyer ship turning 20 degrees and barely missing the lighthouse. I was curious to find out what happened so I approached the lighthouse door and range the bell. I waited several minutes while watching the hound dog on the front porch moan, but nobody answered so I let myself in.

Once inside, I saw a man but he did not notice me because he was so engrossed in his animal experiments. He was heating up frogs in pots of warm water, there were crabs in baskets, flees in glass jars, and out the window I saw a baby elephant that was tied to to a tent peg with a thin rope. I decided to take a closer look at the elephant but by the time I got outside there were three blind men examining its various parts. I decided not to bother them. I needed to get home so I jogged to the nearby train station.

When I got there I noticed police and an ambulance. The train was not running because a worker's body had just been found in the refrigeration car. I decided to take the subway instead. During my commute I kept being distracted by several noisy kids who's father was oblivious to the problems they were causing. When I finally got to my apartment I was shocked to see it was engulfed in flames. My landlord was on top of the roof but he wouldn't take hold of the helicopter ladder. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but he died. I just wish he could have heard me yelling "get up and win the race".

Now it's time to test your knowledge of  how many of these motivational stories you recognize by using the chart below. This is the same kind of highly sophisticated model used on Internet articles that help you determine what kind of shape you are in, if you are a good kisser, or what your financial IQ is.

1-3    It's time to start reading something besides Steven King
4-6    Subscribe to more unwanted e-mail group lists
7-10  You must be very positive
11-14 Is that you Zig Zigler?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things That Bug Me

Sometimes I find that certain little things bug me. Not that you care, but I thought I'd list some of the smaller things in life that frequently irritate me.

-When people talk about themselves in the third person. Chaka hates it when people do this!

-When people use the word "anywho". It also bothers me when they say they "drive truck" or that a book was "a good read". This is crazy Tarzan talk if you ask me. The only thing that is worse than this is when people say "believe you me" Yoda talk is actually worse than Tarzan talk.

-I hate it when you try to bypass an automated phone recording by pushing 0, but it only starts the recording back from the very beginning again to punish you for that renegade move.

-The ads on websites that start playing loud audio clips while you are trying to read or watch something online. They are usually hidden and hard to find what it producing the obnoxious noise.

-When girls snap and chew gum loudly and roll it around in their mouth for you to see what color it is.

-When someone puts you on speaker phone without permission and you can hardly hear what they are saying and don't know who else is listening.

-People referring to themselves as being a twenty, thirty or forty something... Is the "something" supposed to make it more mysterious or are they only willing to update their profile or tell you how old they are every 10 years? I don't get it.

-When people staple papers straight across the top instead of on a nice slant in the corner that is more conducive to the future natural folding of the pages.

-When guys pull up to an intersection in their car with windows down and they crank their music up super loud to show how great their speakers are, especially when it's rap music with filthy lyrics.

-When a fast food place screws up your order at the drive through and you drive away before checking for accuracy.

-It also bugs me when people whine and complain about stuff like I have been doing since you started reading this post. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Gender of Restaurants

I was recently speaking with a friend and she commented how Carl's Jr. is obviously a guy's restaurant because they promote big messy burgers and frequently have scantily clad women promoting their food. That got thinking about what gender certain restaurants appeal to. I am not saying people who go to these restaurants are masculine or feminine, but some food chains cater or appeal to a certain gender more than others. Here are some restaurants that came to mind.

Carls Junior
Burger King
Outback Steakhouse
Hooters (going out on a limb with this one)
Tony Romas
Texas Roadhouse

These places are usually packed with guys. Many of restaurants that cater to guys also feature flat screen TV's which are constantly showing sports programs.

Panda Express
Mimi's Cafe 
The Olive Garden

Mimi's Cafe not only sounds feminine, but it's architecture looks like a cute little house you might see at Disneyland. That's probably not the best draw for a guy's night out, even if the food is good.

I know there are many guys who might prefer a light salad or chicken and there are women who prefer burgers or steak so don't think I'm trying to stereotype all men and women. If you feel that your gender has been threatened from my list, then I apologize. I am not trying to insinuate anything about the patrons of these restaurants or my readers.

I would be interested in knowing if you can think of any other restaurants that jump out to you as catering to more of a male or female clientele.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Panhandling and Begging

Yesterday I saw a dirty looking guy on a busy street. He was carrying a styrofoam doggy bag that someone had just given him from a nearby restaurant. He walked down the street a ways, discarded the container on the grass without examining the contents, then pulled out multiple cardboard signs from his back pack, unfolded one and set up shop on the corner soliciting people for financial aid.

I don't usually give to people begging for money because my Spidey senses tell me they usually want the money for booze or drugs. A man once approached me with tears in his eyes asking for $5 since he had starving kids at home and he needed to buy them food. I offered to go to the store with him and get some groceries but he got pissed off at me for calling his bluff and walked away.

On another occasion a guy approached me and said he had not eaten for days and he was homeless. I had not eaten that day and was on my way to lunch. There was a Burger King across the street. I told him I only had $4 on me at the time, which was true, but I was willing to split it with him and we could each get two items off of their dollar menu. He then said with how infrequently he ate, he needed a big meal. He said he wanted to to the Golden Coral since it was an all you can eat buffet. He declined my offer. The phrase "beggars can't be choosers" came to mind.

After having many experiences like these or seeing the same guy in a mall parking lot over the period of a month telling people his car just ran out of gas and he needed $10, I have become more cynical. Cheeseboy recently shared an experience about when people ask him for money because they ran out of gas or because their car broke down, he gives them Monopoly money. When they say "this isn't real" he tells them "neither is your story."

I know I am not supposed to judge the beggar. The scriptures tell us we should "impart of our substance one to another" and that "inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I just wish it was easier to identify those who are truly in need. I have more empathy for the people clinging to a shopping carts full of garbage or people who literally live on the streets, since they most likely suffer from mental illness and are not there to scam people for money.

There are many panhandlers and con artists who have cried wolf for so long to the public that it has become hard to tell when someone has a legitimate need anymore. I'm sure there are many people who really do need help, so it is sad that so many people muddy the waters and make it hard to tell who is really in need.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Products I'd Endorse

I'm a small fish in a big pond, so I currently don't have people knocking down the doors of Chaka's World trying to get me to endorse their products. Whenever I'm listening to the radio and hear a celebrity or news anchor sneakily transitions from actual news and launch into a commercial for a mattress, flowers, carpet cleaning, or any other product, it kind of bugs me and actually backfires since I think "You are only promoting that product because they are paying you."

Below, I have listed some products I have enjoyed over the years that I would gladly endorse without getting paid.

Toblerone- If you've read my blog, you know I love Toblerones. They are so unique and delicious. They remind me of Christmas and Europe.

Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds- These bad boys are as good as almonds can get. Their intoxicating smell is as almost as good as the taste.

Cream of Wheat- I've trusted this meal since I was a kid. My mom used to tell me stories about the cook on the box when I was little. I could eat 10 pieces of toast as long as I could dip them in my cream of wheat seasoned in brown sugar.

Movies 8- The dollar theater is one of the few industries that hasn't kept up with inflation. Back in the mid 80's it cost $1 to see a movie. Today it still only cost between $1.50-$2.00 depending on the time of the showing  and the day. You can't complain about that.

There you have some of the products that I would endorse without being compensated. Before you think I am a pillar of integrity with all my free advertising, I have to admit I would probably be a sellout and promote lead based carcinogenic children's toys if someone paid me enough. Maybe not, but at least I'd stoop to Adsense.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Age Gracefully

I just had my 43rd birthday and can't really complain since I feel pretty good for my age, but I'm still kind of bothered by a couple things. When I look in the mirror, my mind is in denial and doesn't want to accept the reality that things have changed. When I see recent photographs of myself, I am forced to realize that my hair line is receding and I am getting older and heavier.

I recently noticed what appear to be age spots on my skin.What's up with that? I'm slowly getting more gray hair, less hair, and the most alarming redistribution. I started to make old guy noises several years ago. I noticed that I sometimes make grunting noises while doing simple tasks like picking things up off the floor. I am not excited about getting old. I try to take good care of myself. I play basketball regularly with college students half my age. They refer to me as "the old guy". I also try to stay young by being immature and childish whenever I can get away with it.

Some people seem to age gracefully or even defy the aging process. A few names that come to mind are Ellen Barkin, Helen Mirren, Sophia Loren, and Racquel Welch (see photo to the right). I think she is over 70 years old now. I don't know if it's healthy living, lots of money, genetics, or just a good plastic surgeon, but some people don't seem to age as quickly as others.

Why did I label this post "how to age gracefully"? Probably just to get people to read it. I'm sorry I have no idea how to stop time, but I did find some quotes about aging on the Internet that I liked.

A man is not old as long as he is seeking something.  ~Jean Rostand

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.  ~Mark Twain

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.  ~Samuel Ullman

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve.  Middle age is when you're forced to.  ~Bill Vaughn

You can't turn back the clock.  But you can wind it up again.  ~Bonnie Prudden

Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving.  ~Author Unknown

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Inspirational Quote

A friend recently shared this variation of footsteps in the sand with me and I liked it so much, I just had to pass it on. Please don't take offense.