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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everyone talks about the weather or the front page headlines from the news. The more knowledge you possess and varied your interests, the more different subjects you will be interested in talking about.

Watch the world around you, and look for things that interest you. A broad vision of life will expand the subjects you will enjoy talking about.
Look for new friends in different walks of life or different backgrounds. Their perspectives, philosophies, and ideas may be interesting topics of conversation.
Listen to the people you talk with, and if they have unique interests, learn more about them. If you are frequently with someone who loves sports, take time to learn some of the basics of their favorites. The same would go for fishing, needlepoint, opera, or any host of potential subjects.
Search for new perspectives in your own interests, and keep current on the leading edge of discoveries in those areas. When Pluto was declared a non-planet some months ago, you can be sure it was a hot topic in the astronomical community, but people on the streets were talking about it too.
Study the reaction of people you normally talk with when you try to bring up new topics. If you see drooping eyelids and hear yawns, you are not stimulating them, you are sedating them, but if eyebrows rise, and you see response, you are on the right track.
Remember, with exception to offensive language or culturally taboo subjects, there are limitless possibilities. Movies, music, fashion, business, sports, politics, celebrities, school, and current events, even... the weather, offer unlimited conversational subjects, if you take a little time to be interested in them.
Develop hobbies and look for clubs or organizations that support them. This will be a unique ground to learn and share ideas and thoughts as your knowledge grows.

Watch at least a little local and world news whenever you can.
Read the headlines in various sections of the local paper.
Listen occasionally to talk radio, these are the experts on talking about a host of subjects.

When the group is talking about one subject, don't try to force a change in topic.
Spend time listening to others, for you will soon find few people willing to listen to you.
For older people, please do not go into minute details about your ailments. The only people interested in your medical history are you, your doctor and a lawyer, if you are suing for malpractice.
Repetitive talk is often seen in people obsessed not merely with their business interests, but with a particular mission; such as vegetarianism, deaddiction, faith healing etc. Introspect and find out if you are obsessed. This would make you far more acceptable, likable and respectable and enable you to further the true essence of your mission as well!

Are you or your children sick and tired of eating boiled green beans? With this simple recipe, you can easily make those 'bland' green beans into a delicious yet healthy dish.

2-3 cloves of garlic
~30ml vegetable oil (preferably corn or canola)
Coarse ground black pepper or medium ground pepper (optional)
1 pound fresh green beans

Prepare the beans by snapping off the tips.
Snap the beans into into pieces around 3-5 cm long (1-1/2").
Wash the beans under running water.
Boil a pot of water at the highest heat on your stovetop.
Put all the beans into it when the water is thoroughly boiling (you can clearly see the bubbles coming out from it). The water should then stop boiling (do not turn the heat down) because the beans are cooler and take up some of the heat.
Wait about 5-30 seconds after the water starts bubbling again, then empty the contents into a colander. The time it takes affects how soft the beans are, the longer the time they are boiled, the softer they are; the shorter the time, the crunchier they are.
Peel and wash the garlic, and chop it up into fine pieces no bigger than 5cm across and no smaller than 2 cm across (1/4" and 1/8" respectively).
Heat a saucepan/frypan with the vegetable oil in it. Wait until the oil is heated up (you can see it 'swirl/shimmer' somewhat if there is light shining on it).
Throw the garlic into it once the vegetable oil is heated up. Watch out, as it will sizzle and may spray oil if there is too much water on the garlic.
10. Put the beans into the saucepan/frypan once the garlic starts to turn light golden-brown (this happens in about 5-10 seconds). Stir fry them with a spatula or pair of chopsticks stirring and turning them over constantly.
Start sprinkling salt slowly at about one minute in, according to your preference. Be sure to stir it constantly, so that it is evenly spread, and taste it while adding salt every once in a while to find out how much salt you like. Be sure to keep stirring and mixing the beans constantly afterwards too.
Taste the beans at about 3 minutes in and see how crunchy they are to your preference. Keep frying it until it is thoroughly fried, but stop before it burns.
Enjoy! Best served hot. Serves 4-6.

You can also sprinkle in coarse ground black pepper at about 2 minutes in, or after you've finished, again tasting it to your preference. Ground chili pepper is also good, preferably with long beans, but you have to make sure that you cook it thoroughly (with ground chili pepper, add it after adding the salt).
It is recommended to try it first without pepper first, then try adding pepper; some people have different tastes, and garlic only goes well with some things.
You can also use long beans; you just cut off the tips and cut them to the appropriate size.
This recipe also works with regular sized pieces of broccoli, except that it is not recommended to add black pepper to the broccoli with this recipe.
This recipe may seem long (sorry), but in total, it takes around 20-30 minutes, 10-20 of which is spent preparing the beans. With long beans, it takes considerably shorter time to prepare (5 minutes for the beans for a 15 minute total), but the texture is much different.

Watch out when cooking the garlic, the oil can jump out.
Watch out when heating up the vegetable oil, especially if you are putting your face over it to see if it is thoroughly heated. If there is a bit of water on the sauce pan when the oil is thoroughly heated, it will jump about and may burn!


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