The Avatar Movie and Anatta of Buddhism


For Melanie Enderoud

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Avatar Movie

Avatar is a science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron and release in 2009 in 3D and regular versions. The story is about how in distant future, humans have severely depleted Earth’s natural resources. A expedition group consisting of scientists and soldiers go to Pandora, a densely forested habitable moon orbiting the gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. Pandora, whose atmosphere is poisonous to humans, is inhabited by the Na’vi, 10-foot tall, blue-skinned, sapient humanoids who live in harmony with nature and worship a mother goddess called Eywa.

In order to interact with the natives and to understand their land, the scientists develop a few hybrid Na’vi bodies. These bodies are made by “accelerated growth” and once fully developed, each of the body is “remotely occupied” and operated by the compatible human. during this time, the human’s actual body is inert, and all perceptions…

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As a child I remember my mother’s love for all things Christmas. She would decorate the dining room fireplace and the living room would have the tree. One year in particular we had a silver aluminum tree with a color wheel. The tree was so shiny and the motorized wheel would change from green to red to blue. That was my favorite tree.

Mom was an only child and she was doted upon. Even as far back as 1914 when she was born, Christmas was special to her. I remember that mom’s favorite Christmas was when she received a gift from an uncle in Chicago. The package contained a gold watch, a doll, and some comics from a local paper. She said that she was giddy with pleasure for a very long time.

Mom was raised in Topeka, KS. Her dad was one of the first licensed embalmers in Kansas. She would go out in the horse and buggy sometimes late at night so her dad could embalm someone in their home. Mom would hold the lantern so he could see. She had some pretty scary stories from those adventures. Her dad became bored with his career and started a restaurant in Topeka. He made a famous chili and offered it not only in the restaurant, but would send it by post all over the United States. One day he was working on the roof and a nail hit him in an eye. He was blinded, but it didn’t nail his sense of humor. He changed his business card to say, “Ira puts the I in the chili”. Needless to say he got a lot of stares from that. His chili was still famous even with the “I”. The chili did not contain a tomato product. Only spices and suet. That way it could travel without spoiling. Also he used a finely ground beef, not chili grind.

The story goes that mom had a great family life in Topeka and was well-off financially. But her dad decided he wanted to live on a farm. They moved from Topeka to Columbus, KS. They had a farm alright; of rocks! Mom and her mother worked that farm for all it was worth, growing vegetables, milking cows, butchering rabbits, and then hauling the goods on the horse and buggy to the close mining communities. Mom would sell her homemade butter, bunches of flowers she had gathered and even tatted doilies. She says she learned the value of a penny and the patience of Job. Her mother was not a happy camper with the farm. I heard that her husband went to town frequently and belonged to school boards and schmoozed.

After a few years on the farm they moved into town and started a restaurant. The chili with the “I” in it was back and mom and grandma were up at 4 in the morning making cinnamon rolls and pies. Mom said that was when she knew she was not going to ever be poor again and she started her own restaurant which was a fast food business. I will save that story for another day.

Trip to the pulmonologist for CPAP review.


Today I went to Dr. Saad for my CPAP check up. It has been a year since my first appointment with him to the set up of my machine. I finally got the information I needed regarding my 2 tests and why I would need CPAP.

CPAP is the acronym for “continuous positive air pressure”. If you are snoring or aren’t getting enough air to your body parts while you sleep, CPAP is a way to get that air. If you are having trouble with your memory, staying asleep, feel tired all day after you think you have slept you might want to be tested. Your care specialist has to refer you to a sleep specialist and then you will get either a home sleep test or an in-house sleep test. Your insurance company will determine what you will get. I wish I had gone straight to the in-house study because I ended up having to pay for 2 studies. After the tests, the specialist gets the results and then if you need CPAP you are asked to choose a medical supply store. They will contact your insurance company and determine what you end up paying for the machine.

Around the 3rd of May I was fitted for my mask, I chose the pillow mask. It is less gross looking and fit better than the full mask I had on during the in-house test. The respiratory therapist showed me how to use the mask and the machine. Mine is a RES-MED brand. About the size of a jewelry box. Since you are supposed to take this thing wherever you go over night it comes with a travel case. Please refer to the instructions that comes with your machine or go to if you need visuals.

The first few days I had no trouble using the machine. It felt like a friend sleeping with me. My setting is 5 and that is mild. Some people have settings so much higher. The nasal pillow is gentle to wear. The pillow fits in your nares, the 2 hole in your nose. There is also humidity you can adjust so you don’t get a dry feeling in your nose. The machine is designed to gently open your throat around your epiglottis (the thingy in the back of your throat) and move air to your head and body.

I have had trouble liking the mask after a couple of weeks. I started getting agitated with it and was taking it off for a few minutes then putting it back on. That is okay. Just tell yourself that this is a necessary treatment and then work with it until you make peace with it. After a month I am okay and I use it every night. I only sleep 3-4 hours so when my doctor looked at the compliance data he was worried. I had 75% compliance rating since May 7th. I told him I hadn’t been on it for 30 days yet. He was good with it. There is a SD card in the back of the machine. And, yes, the insurance requires it to prove you are using the machine as prescribed or they will take it away from you and not pay their share. It also allows the doctor to see if it is benefiting me.

Dr. Saad told me that the initial test showed that I quit breathing more than 10 times during the short time I actually slept. Okay, that was significant enough information for me to believe that this is a legitimate treatment. So, tonight I will thank the little machine and be more accepting of it.