Food on Friday ~ Sweet Potato

sweet potatoes are ideal for lazy days

I have a confession in that I’ve never really come to terms with the sweet potato.  It’s not something we ever had in England when I was in my formative years.  Also, I have no idea if what I’m looking at is a sweet potato, or a yam.  What’s the difference anyway?  I do know that a yam is not a sweet potato, the two root vegetables are completely different.

At least I can help with the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, courtesy of Holly at Spend with Pennies who has a post called sweet potato vs yam: what is the difference?

Holly also has some cool sweet potato recipes, including this very easy sweet potato casserole.  Seems it’s delicious and nutritious.  I’m guessing that Holly is very American as she has added pecan nuts to the dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Next, from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin we have this old fashioned sweet potato pie.  Actually, this looks delicious.  Erin says this is much better than a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving ~ personally I can think of no good reason to eat pumpkin at all.

Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has a very cool recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes with pumpkin and sage.  I really want to try this ~ so perhaps there is a good reason to eat pumpkin after all.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pumpkin and Sage

Heidi at Foodie Crush also has a recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes, this time with maple syrup, white cheddar, and brown sugar bacon.  I think it would be very cool to serve both of these twice baked sweet potatoes at a party.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup, White Cheddar, and Bacon

This utterly brilliant vegan / vegetarian recipe collection is from Cookie + kate; what to cook this November.  The sweet potato recipe is sweet potato & black bean tacos with avocado-pepita dip.  These do look good.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos with Avocado- Pepita Dip



jack collier

I Don’t Know Everything

if you aim to be perfect you will disappoint everyone

For me to say ‘I don’t know’ is a big thing, it takes guts on my part, but I know it’s an immensely positive thing and a clear sign that I am taking the world very seriously and myself not so much.  Sometimes knowing when I don’t know all the answers, and being honest about it, is the best thing I can do to honour those I care for.  I aim t be perfect, and because of that people end up being disappointed.  Yet, when I admit my blind spots, people flock to support me.

I know that some act as if they know what to do when, in reality, they are hopelessly out of their depth.  They try to project confidence in what they are doing or saying, when what they really need is a lot of help.

As it goes that’s not me.  Most of the time I have most of the answers.  If I was in Orange County and there was a big earthquake I would know exactly what to do, despite my never having been in an earthquake before.  If I were on a cruise and the ship caught on fire I would know what to do, or if I was in a plane crash I would know what to do to survive and thrive.  The thing is there are not so many options and not so many courses of action.

It gets more complicated when it comes to interpersonal relationships.  Yes, I know what to do, but usually I am reluctant to do it because I’m a nice guy.  When events challenge me it is tempting to fight back and hold firm to my ethics and morals, what I say I believe in.  But, I am reluctant to walk away and tell a wayward person to fuck off and never speak to me again.

Life is unpredictable and uncertain.  And I know that I can never be right all the time.  Sometimes the best thing I can do is chill, step back, and admit this is one time I don’t have all the answers.  Sometimes there is no benefit in my being stubborn, judgemental, and closed-minded.  Successful men are flexible, adaptable, and open to the ideas of others.  Really successful men know when to ask for help.

Some say that only the weak will admit they were wrong.  And that the only mistake Canute made was to try to hold back the sea on a rising tide.  All I know is that when I try to be perfect I disappoint everyone.


jack collier

pictures have bugger-all to do with the text

except they’re women trying to be perfect


I Should Laugh More

a day without a laugh is a day wasted ~ Charlie Chaplin

I was talking with a friend, having a pretty nice time, when I suddenly realised that we hadn’t laughed at all during our conversation.  Then I looked back at myself and came to the even bigger realisation that I don’t laugh much any more.  OK, I have my fair share of problems, and a serious mental health issue called Borderline Personality Disorder, but that’s not a good reason to be miserable all the time.

Lots of studies on the effects of laughter have revealed all kinds of health benefits, from lower blood pressure, reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, the release of happiness-creating endorphins, and increased levels of the antibodies that fight nasty bacteria, respiratory infections, and the onset of cancers.  Laughing also burns calories.  There are no health benefits whatsoever in not laughing.

Laughter is infectious, as is being happy.  People are naturally drawn to those who are happier and more positive than others.

Laughter connects you with people.  It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter.  Laughter is a force for better interpersonal relationships.  ~  John Cleese

For me to laugh more, I need to;

  • First of all smile more, and a natural smile not a strange grimace.
  • Smile when listening to other people speak.
  • Learn to be relaxed and positive with other people.
  • Act positively, even if that’s not how I feel inside.
  • Look for funny and entertaining breaks from my normal daily routine.
  • Watch comedy on TV, read classic comedic books such as Three Men in a Boat.
  • Work out what it is that drains my happiness and makes me feel miserable.
  • Avoid miserable, negative, unhappy, and toxic people.

However, as a mature Englishman I can tell you that we don’t go around laughing at every small thing, and certainly we never laugh at other people ~ that’s nasty.  I can laugh with someone, but I can’t laugh at them.  Also, the things that other cultures find funny, we don’t.  And visa versa, few understand English humour, especially our love of irony.

On the other hand, being positive, happy,  and seeing the funny side of my own misfortunes is something that I can do.  Especially as I know that good humour and laughter is good for you, and it makes you more popular too.

Some say that it’s great to laugh at the misfortunes of a fool.  And that denigrating someone else is the height of fun.  All I know is that being cruel is never funny.


jack collier

Frost Moon

also called Beaver Moon, the November full moon shone yesterday

The November 12th / 13th full moon is a dream moon, and has the power to bring your intimate relationships into sharper focus.  Opposing forces such as work versus home, or what you want versus what you really need, or the state of your romantic affairs, will be shown in any dream you can remember.  If your dreams give any insight, then understanding and communicating your feelings with clarity and sensitivity will become possible through strong intuition ~ if you have courage and fortitude.

This is a time of incredible emotional opportunities, but also a time when struggles in relationships might lead into wrong and misunderstood conversations, and thus the ending of things with a once-loved one.  A lot of tenderness, hard work, and patience will be needed to overcome conflicts, differences of opinion, and pointless arguments.  If handled correctly and logically, with self-discipline and diplomacy, the turmoil will just blow over and you will receive the rewards you deserve for your hard work and efforts.

If you believe at all in the effects of the full moon on your affairs, and if you can interpret your own dreams, then you may also believe in other mystical and spiritual practices such as astrology, numerology, and the tarot.  Well, in astrology the key signs for this full moon are that it’s in Scorpio and the opposing sign is Taurus.  In numerology this full moon falls just after 11:11.  And as for the tarot, you would need to have a personal reading.

For me, this is a time to make some important choices as far as intimate relationships are concerned, but before I can resolve anything, I first of all need to deal with some conflicts, negative emotions, and ghosts from the past.  These echoes of the past are not just mine, but are also carried by some others I am close to.  But the past can only hurt you if you let it.  To make things work I know that I will have to do whatever it takes, without reservation, and without allowing my chaotic, dark, uncontrollable, negative emotions to get in the way.

Some say that spirituality, mysticism, and religion are all just bunkum.  And that unless you can see and touch something it doesn’t exist.  All I know is that there are powers greater than me in this cosmos.


jack collier

don’t let this full moon trap you in the prison of your own negative emotions.


Controlling Emotions

the emotion that breaks your heart is often the one that heals it

Most of us would like to control our emotions in order to avoid very negative feelings and make life more pleasant, but in my experience this is not actually possible.  In fact, when we try to control our emotions they become more powerful, but if we don’t try to control them and just experience them instead they become powerless.  The paradox is that when we attempt to control a negative emotion by attempting to change it or escape it, the negative emotion controls us instead.

Last evening I had an example of this when something happened that had me feeling angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset ~ basically I felt bad.  I didn’t want to have those negative feelings, and I tried to avoid them by transferring them to someone else instead.  And that doesn’t work because all that did was have two people feeling feeling angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset.  Then I thought about avoiding those feelings by buying some booze and drinking ~ and for me that is an extremely bad idea.  The most extreme way of avoiding negative emotions is to attempt suicide.

I didn’t want to do any of those things, but the desire to escape negative emotions is strong in me.  For a short while my negative emotions were controlling me.

The alternative is to observe and experience negative emotions without getting lost in them.

I may not be able to control my emotions, but if I try hard I can control how I react to them.  I can’t change how I feel, but I can change what I do.  Last evening I was half successful because I didn’t actually buy any booze and get drunk, and after a short while I stopped blaming someone else for what was basically my own mistake.  I have learned that if I feel bad, angry, inadequate, worthless, and upset, it’s usually because of something I’ve done.  And anyway, my feelings are my feelings, and I shouldn’t be afraid of them.

For me, the secrets of coping with really negative feelings are;

  • Do not immediately react when I suddenly have strong, uncontrollable, chaotic, dark, negative feelings.
  • Recognise the emotions and try to work out why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.  And usually it’s much more complicated than it first appears.
  • Try to stay calm, even if inside I’m feeling uncontrollably angry.  Just realise that in a while the anger will most likely pass, and if I do something stupid now I might regret it for a long time.
  • Try to find a polite, logical, unemotional action in response to feelings which are utterly the opposite to anything polite or logical.

Some say that we shouldn’t get angry we should get even.  And that we should never apologise because it’s a sign of weakness.  All I know is that if I just react to the way I feel I usually get myself into deep shit.


jack collier

this is a good rule

when it comes to negative emotions



let us be grateful to the people who make our souls blossom

One of the most powerful emotional exercises I have ever been shown was to be grateful to those who have nurtured me, been kind to me, and had a positive impact on my life.  Practicing it was one of the few times in recent years that I felt floods of tears running down my face.

Being thankful and grateful is good for your spiritual, emotional, and mental health.  Those who exhibit higher levels of gratitude have better quality sleep, more positive moods, and less symptoms of possible cancers.  People who have a more thankful disposition are more optimistic, kinder, and make friends easier.

Unfortunately, in recent months I found it easier to see faults than find cause for thanks.  I lost sight of the bigger picture and focused on inconvenient and irrelevant details.  Focusing how miserable parts of my life were, I lost the ability to be thankful for what I have.  I had unrealistic expectations of what I thought I was entitled to, and so I was judgemental and complaining rather than kind, thankful, and friendly.

I had to change.  I couldn’t spend all my life feeling down at heel, trapped behind walls of my own making.  And then I remembered that if I wished to stand out and be successful I needed to be simply grateful and demonstrate sincere thanks.

What I needed was a complete shift in outlook, I needed to live with a positive mindset, be a glass half-full kind of man, always looking to be thankful for what I had, rather than complaining about what I didn’t have.  I needed to find things to give thanks for.  I needed to put gratitude and thanks ahead of criticism.  Graceful and empathic men  find it effortless to be a gentleman, to show gratitude to others, and never needlessly criticise other people and their actions.

If I thought about it, there is a hell of a lot I should be grateful for in my life.  So, in the past days I have begun to consciously show my thanks and gratitude, not just in words, but in deeds too.  Not only that, but I have started to feel grateful, even when there is nobody around to see.  You can judge the true character of  a man by what they do when nobody is around.

Some say that being grateful is a sign of weakness.  And there is no need to say ‘thank you’ if we simply get what we have a right to.  All I know is that there are people in my life I should be grateful for.


jack collier

I can be grateful for every new dawn I see.

Tunes on Tuesday ~ Maneater

a ruined man fell from her hands like a ripe fruit

I used to know a woman like that.  I’m glad I don’t any more.

Please listen responsibly.


jack collier

I don’t love you, I’m just bored

Monochrome Monday

a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step







jack collier

Not So Well

When I have a bad time, I have a really bad time


Not doing so well today, I think I have a serious personal problem


Jack Collier


both porn and the church distort man’s perspective on women

I like pornography, most especially on the boundaries of where art becomes porn.

All healthy men like porn.   A man who says otherwise is most probably a liar or sick.  From personal experience I know that women like pornography too.  But there are limits.  Just as in real life there are some things that an honourable man will not do, in pornography  there are some places I will not go.  Some people like pornography that would get them arrested in real life.

However, the whole thing about porn is that it lets people explore stuff outside of their everyday lives.  I have a friend who likes dog porn  I’m more than certain she would not have sex with a dog but she gets off on watching other women being mounted.  Or maybe she is more than friends with her Labrador.  The whole thing gets very blurred.  Dog porn and animal porn also have their own communities and websites.

I also know that my very best friend watched porn with her partner when their relationship was jaded.  I have no idea what kind of porn that was.  It sort of doesn’t matter because then she went far beyond porn and fucked a lot of younger men, and he is very dead.

For porn comes in many flavours and colours.  Some is hard, and touches the extremes of human behaviour.  The porn I watch is very soft, and is called glamour porn.  Mostly you would get far more erotic in a strip joint in Carson City.

Just because you are reading this I know you have used internet porn.  Which is cool.  If you continually wank off  over porn that is not so cool.

When I was so sick with pneumonia I wanted to die I had internet porn playing on my TV all the time.  I was too ill to react.

But, do I use porn now?

No.  I don’t believe that watching porn is healthy.  And I also believe it objectifies women.

I’d watch porn with you.  But not on my own.

Some say that all women are sluts.  And that a married woman is a whore trying to find a way to escape.  All I know is that a good guy has some limits.


jack collier

Danica Collins used to do soft porn

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