Are We Living in the Wall-E World? AI, Robots, Social Media, and a Sedentary Lifestyle by Rachelle Ayala #mgtab @mimisgang1

Who remembers Wall-E? That adorable and curious little robot who couldn’t resist collecting interesting trinkets he found among the heaps of trash. With his big expressive eyes and his cockroach buddy, Wall-E swoons over the love scenes in Hello Dolly and yearns for someone to love. One day, Wall-E meets Eve, an advanced robot sent from the spaceship Axiom to search for signs of life on Earth, which has turned into a garbage planet.

Today, in 2023, when I look around, I realize we’re on the brink of a Wall-E world. While I hope we don’t ruin our environment, we’re definitely looking and acting like the citizens aboard the Spaceship Axiom. For one thing, we’re glued to social media, instant messaging, and video chatting. I see high school and college students standing around looking at their cell phones instead of talking to the people next to them. Everyone walks around in their own little “screen bubble” instead of making eye contact with the folks nearby. This behavior was puzzling to Wall-E in the scene where two guys were video chatting about playing golf and just happened to be floating in their hoverchairs right next to each other without seeing each other face-to-face.

Not only are people glued to social media, but they are not aware of their surroundings, preferring the “virtual” world rather than the physical one. In one scene, Wall-E knocks the screen from a female passenger and she’s surprised to see that they have a pool. We’re headed into that space with virtual reality games where people play in a metaverse, build virtual assets, build virtual towns, and make virtual friends.

However, the biggest gamechanger in 2023 is the explosion in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. We already have robot waiters who deliver food to the table and kiosks where you can order food and get it from a locker. Whatever tiny bit of human interaction is going the way of the dinosaur as robots will quickly take care of our physical AND social needs. People would rather chat with ChatGPT who is always affirming and encouraging. What’s more, with AI generating avatars for video conferencing and social interactions, we could soon be engaging with completely fabricated faces and voices. As we saw in Wall-E, the captain of the Axiom found himself at the mercy of an AI system that dictated his actions.

Finally, we have to be mindful of our sedentary lifestyle and dependence on processed food. We’ve been controlled by the Big Food Industry just like the people on the Axiom. The result is metabolic dysfunction and a whole host of preventable diseases and chronic conditions. Today, 88% of people in the United States have insulin resistance and we are paying for the consequences of our unhealthy lifestyle with skyrocketing medical bills. One can easily see how far we have become a Wall-E world by contrasting “man on the street” or “people on the beach” photographs taken in the 1950s with that of the general population surrounding us.

There’s no need to panic, but being aware of these issues and making small changes can have a big impact. Each of us can do our part to create a healthier, more connected world.

Start by reaching out to a friend for an in-person catch-up, or make it a point to take a walk in the park without your phone. These little moments of genuine connection and fresh air can make a huge difference.

Taking control of our health is also essential. We can do this by focusing on reducing insulin resistance through healthier food choices and regular physical activity. Remember, every small step counts towards a better, healthier life. [Read Dr. Benjamin Bikman’s book, Why We Get Sick].

And don’t forget about the simple joys of reading a paper book. Not only is it a great way to unwind, but it also helps you avoid the blue light from screens that can disrupt your sleep.

Be sure to watch the romance between Wall-E and EVE when they dance outside the spaceship Axiom and inspire the folks inside to yearn and hope for a better (and more physical) future. Wall-E (2008)

While you’re decompressing from the Wall-E world, be sure to check out my free ebooks and audiobooks. https://rachelleayala.net/free-books/

Wall-E (2008), an animated film from Pixar.

If I Were a Carpenter… #DreamJob #DailyPrompt

What’s your dream job?

Other than becoming a world-famous author (still working on that one 😁), or a National Geographic photographer (camera equipment is EXPENSIVE!), I used to fantasize about carpentry- I know, strange, right?

Photo by Caroline Cagnin on Pexels.com

I’ve always been a fan of captivating architecture, whether it’s a twenty-story post-modern building, the arching silhouette of a grand cathedral, the steel girders of an awe-inspiring bridge, or the humblest cottage.

Photo by Ertabbt on Pexels.com

There’s something about the flow and symmetry of these works of art that pleases the eye and gives birth to the imagination. I think it takes a romantic at heart to create these marvelous structures. Someone who dreams their building will live on for future generations to appreciate, fall in love with, and create lasting memories buoyed by the beauty and grace surrounding them.

That’s the power of architecture.

Photo by Adrienne Andersen on Pexels.com

Carpentry, on the other hand, is personal. A carpenter puts his love of wood into every piece he designs. Hours of labor go into sizing, shaping, sanding, and sweating over his work before the final result is revealed.

My grandfather wasn’t a master carpenter but enjoyed working with wood. He made Mom a bedstand that she uses to this day. It has waves and swirls decorating the dropdown edging and a handy bookshelf built into the bottom like a secret hideaway. I can feel the joy and tenderness that went into its creation and it’s like he’s right here with us, though he’s been gone almost forty years now.

Hand-hewn furniture is timeless. It tells a story. It has a history.

This song encapsulates my fascination and love of carpentry and by extension, architecture. It’s a love story all of its own. A legacy to pass on to future generations to dream and even start their own long-lasting impact on our culture.

I have a Pinterest board I created for architecture if you’re interested- https://www.pinterest.ca/jacqbiggar/amazing-architecture/

And here is one of my favorite buildings here in Victoria.

What is your dream job?

Too Busy To Take a Vacation? Think Again by Taylor Lee

Can you buy a ticket to a better mood? Hop a flight to a healthier heart? The travel industry would say yes—and increasingly, so does science. And so do I. My guy and I just returned from four weeks in Grand Junction, Colorado. If you haven’t been there, add it to your must-visit list. Breathtaking mountain cliffs, red rock canyons, the hub of  Colorado’s wine country, beautiful golf courses nestled in canyons (check out my photo below)… and peaches!  I promise you once you eat a Palisade peach, you’ll never be satisfied with grocery store peaches again.

Vacation

Back to the benefits of vacations. For decades, researchers have been probing the benefits of vacations. Almost across the board, they’ve found evidence that vacations can positively impact everything from blood pressure to energy levels. But you do need to take those days off, a challenge for many Americans. “We’re one of the only advanced economies that does not guarantee paid leave,” says Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, and director of the Better Life Lab at the think tank New America. One in four Americans has no access to paid vacation, and those who do often don’t use it, she says. See her reasons below confirming why and how vacations positively affect our health.

Seven health benefits of taking a vacation

Studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and mental health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals. If you still need a little convincing, here is a list of some of the additional benefits of taking time away from work.

  1. Improved physical health Stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. For both men and women, the New York Times reported, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.
  2. Improved mental health Neuroscientists have found that chronic exposure to stress can alter your brain structure and bring on anxiety and depression. When you take a vacation, feelings of calm arise and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.
  3. Greater well-being According to a Gallup study, people who “always make time for regular trips” had a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index, in comparison to a 51.4 Well-Being score for less frequent travelers. One study found that three days after vacation, subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood had improved compared to before vacation. These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation.
  4. Increased mental motivation Many who return from vacation are more focused and productive. Studies have found that chronic stress can make it difficult to achieve certain tasks and cause memory problems. Taking time off can be like getting a tune-up for the brain, improving your mental health and cognition.
  5. Improved family relationships Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong. A study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
  6. Decreased burnout Employees who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts. Another way to manage burnout is through the Oxygen Mask Rule: “Secure your masks before assisting others.” In other words, address your mental, physical and spiritual needs before committing to responsibilities benefitting others outside of your immediate family.
  7. Boosted happiness Research shows planning a vacation can boost your happiness. Some people experience an elevated mood up to eight weeks before the trip. The bottom line is, take a vacation if you can. When you take time away from the stresses of work and daily life, it can improve our physical and mental health, motivation, relationships, job performance and perspective. A vacation can help you feel refreshed and more prepared to handle whatever comes when you return.

As you plan your next vacation, be sure and add these great books to your “must take-along”.

EXPOSED

Exposed

FREE September 26-27

  • A renegade police officer infiltrates a dangerous cartel intending to take down its leader.•Little does she know that the handsome Drug Lord is a special operative hotshot heading up a mission two years in the making.

    •Learning who the outrageous woman is, the undercover commander does the only thing he can to protect the mission, and her. He claims her for his own.

And add to your must-read list our Author’s Billboard sensation:
Unforgettable Loyalty: Craving and Devotion

Unforgettable Loyalty

Is there anything more important in a relationship than loyalty from the one you love…

My book in the set is:

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Knockin On Heaven's Door

She’s a go-it-alone detective. He’s a psychiatrist and FBI profiler. A serial killer brings them together. In more ways than one.

Deacon Walsh has more degrees than any one man should. A former Special Ops physician, psychiatrist, and now FBI profiler, the stunning black agent has spent a year tracking the serial killer of four Colorado girls. When the trail goes cold, a brutal murder of an Albuquerque girl with all the marks of his victims convinces Deacon his killer is responsible.

Unfortunately, in addition to being brilliant, Deacon is also charming. And to Tyra’s dismay, as accomplished a lover as he is an agent.

Do Aphrodisiacs Work?

Being the confirmed sensualist that I am, I’m a true believer in the power of food to affect our moods and desires.  That said, I loved this terrific article by Diana Herrington (@DancinginLife) on the power of aphrodisiacs to affect our love life.

Do aphrodisiacs really work? Can you change your mood with food chemistry? Here are famous foods and activities known for love, the science behind them, and tasty recipes to share with your sweetie.

Aphrodisiacs

  1. Honey
  • Honey is a great source of boron, the mineral that helps the body metabolize estrogen, the female sex hormone.
  • Studies show that boron may also increase testosterone, the hormone responsible for promoting sex drive in both men and women.
  • Medieval hopefuls drank mead, a fermented honey drink, to promote sexual desire.
  • Ancient Persian couples drank mead every day for a month (known as the “honey month”–a.k.a. “honeymoon”) after they married to prepare for a successful family life.

Tip: Start the morning with Honey Syrup on pancakes or waffles.

Chocolate

  1. Chocolate

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~Charles M. Schulz

  • Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which mimics the brain chemistry of a person in love. It also promotes serotonin production. Together they give you a hormone rush that feels like the rush of love or love making.
  • There are other foods that may contain more of these ingredients (like cheese) but who cares? Chocolate tastes so good!
  • The problem with chocolate is that you risk a sugar crash, putting a damper on your “happily ever after.”

Tip: Create Homemade Walnut Dark Chocolate, a healthy choice since it has no refined sugar unhealthy oils, or preservatives!

Almonds

  1. Almonds
  • Through history, almonds were regarded as fertility symbols.
  • The aroma of almond supposedly arouses passion in females–or so thought the poets and scribes.
  • Almonds provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and even fiber.

Tip: Share some Almond Milk that you made yourself with love.

Beets

  1. Beets
  • One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac.
  • Beets contain high levels of nitrates which increase blood flow by expanding blood vessels walls. Increased blood flow to the genital areas is one of the mechanisms Viagra and other pharmaceuticals create their effects.
  • Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
  • Beets have a host of other health benefits.

Garlic

  1. Garlic
  • Garlic is full of allicin, another ingredient that will also increase blood flow.
  • In eastern traditions monks and priests are not allowed to eat garlic (or onions) because they are particularly stimulating.
  • Garlic has a host of other health benefits, many of which boost your immune system.
  • The obvious trouble with this food is that unless your partner is also a garlic eater, they might not like your smell!

Exercise

  1. Exercise
  • Exercise doesn’t sound romantic unless it’s a “moonlit walk on the beach.”  But it turns out, exercise is so good for the body, that it triggers romantic moods, as well.
  • During vigorous activity, endorphins–the ”feel good” chemicals–are released. They can feel like a rush of love.
  • Exercise increases blood flow to the whole body and thus like beets and garlic, can increase moods and desire.
  • Exercise and building muscle mass also usually increases testosterone levels.

Tip: Go for a walk together. What better way to deepen your love then while connecting with nature.

Licorice

  1. Licorice
  • In ancient China, people used licorice to enhance love and lust.
  • The smell appears to be particularly stimulating.
  • Alan R. Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Tip: Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, conducted a study that looked at how different smells stimulated sexual arousal. He found that the smell of black licorice increased the blood flow to the genital area by 13 percent.

Ginseng

  1. Ginseng
  • Asian ginseng is an adaptogen, or a substance that helps keep proper hormone balance in your body.
  • Ginseng, helps moderate the harmful effects of stress, enhances your energy and stamina and may improve your sexual function.
  • Caution: Because ginseng has an estrogen-like effect, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take it. Although ginseng is not a kitchen food in the west, it is so well known and universally used that I have included it.

Basil

  1. Sweet Basil
  • Sweet basil herb is known across cultures to naturally increase sex drive and fertility by fostering a feeling of total relaxation in the body and muscles while increasing circulation.
  • In Italy, it is a symbol of love.
  • The scent of basil was said to drive men wild–so much so that women would dust their breasts with dried and powdered basil.

Is it all in your head? Well…yes. Each of these foods and activities can affect your chemistry but the effects are often subtle. If we are cued for love though, even a boost of energy from carbs could be perceived as an emotion or an attractive force. The body then enhances that effect since it can manufacture any number of its own mood enhancing brain and body hormones.

“Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. But flowers work almost as well.” ~Lazarus Long

This is why western science officially states that there are no effective aphrodisiacs. Scientists are looking for something as powerful and immediate as steroids or Viagra. But why would we want to use those strong drugs when we could simply have fun eating real food that will enhance our health? An attractive happy body and mind comes from a healthy body and mind.

****

I can’t say it better.  Let’s eat real food for love of our self and our loved one. And to feed all of our senses, check out this terrific Box Set from my Author’s Billboard gang.

Sweet and Sassy Heroes

 

My book in this Sweet and Sassy Heroes collection is:

Exposed Taylor Lee

EXPOSED

Prequel: The Criminal Affairs Collection

By

Taylor Lee 

 EXPOSED: The Prequel Novella in USA Today best-selling author Taylor Lee’s Sizzling Hot Detective Series, The Criminal Affairs Collection.

  • A renegade police officer infiltrates a dangerous cartel intending to take down its leader. 
  • Little does she know that the handsome Drug Lord is a special operative hotshot heading up a mission two years in the making. 
  • Learning who the outrageous woman is, the undercover commander does the only thing he can to protect the mission, and her. He claims her for his own.  

WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages.  HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart.  Definitely bring a fan!