Thursday, July 27, 2006

Science at last!!

` I know that a lot of people really respond to the posts about my life, but I really need to start reading more sciency things and subsequently posting tidbits of them. Hence, the subject matter of my bonus post, which is but a mere chunk of what I'd originally planned.
` Also, I hear that Dr. Nociceptor has been working intermittently on another post for the past week or so, and it should be finished soon....

` As for this post: I was off walking the other morning - there were clouds for me to take advantage of (although the opressive sun later burned them away). I managed to take care of a little business I had proposed... I had to walk about thirty blocks or set foot in this cheerily forbidding neighborhood.

` Then, I came to the house with the Giant Non-Rocking Rocking Chair and wooden flowers all over - it's a lot uglier than I'd remembered:

` At the time, apparently, someone's office was being vacated! I was almost tempted to grab what at first looked like a computer printer with all the bells and whistles, but apparently it was only a Xerox, and besides, I don't think I could have walked 30 blocks with it....
` Then, I headed around to the backyard where Lou used to have a trailer and took a Crappy Digital Photo of the absurd monstrosity of a rear fa├žade....

` Think about it: What kind of twisted freak is responsible for this!? (A talented one, perhaps?) At either end of a red car to my right, I noticed these cats that seemed to be stationed there just for the purpose of giving people 'The Evil Eye'.

` Fearing the supreme power of Angry Cat Voodoo, I fled home (fleeing = taking one rather than two hours) and got to my email, where I checked out the latest News@Nature. I found two interesting things....

` First interesting thing: It is no wonder that someone can drink more when they're smoking... at least if they're a rat. Nicotine is known to cut the blood-alcohol level of a rat in half. How this works is not clear, though alcohol that is injected into a rat's bloodstream is not affected by nicotine - it has to be injected into the stomach for this to work!
` Perhaps nicotine slows down digestion?
` In any case, this may explain why humans can curb their drunkenness by smoking. Thank you, Dr. Chen: If I ever go out drinking, I will be sure to take up smoking as well!
` Yay! Lung cancer!!

` Second interesting thing: It's no wonder that I have memory problems! People suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress have a tendency to not be able to concentrate due to emotional distraction and, as a result, tend to have severe memory problems. ...Even later on in life, after they've recovered!
` Rachel Yehuda's team at Mt. Sinai school of medicine studied Holocaust survivors with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as they aged, whether they had recovered or not. The ability of the survivors to remember associations between words were not terribly good and deteriorated greatly between the ages 67 and 72. People who had not suffered PTSD got all or nearly all of the word associations correctly at both ages.
` Why is this? Well, the hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for forming memories - if it gets damaged severely enough, you won't be able to remember anything new for more than a few hours or minutes at a time. I would imagine that this really sucks.
` People who have had PTSD tend to have an unusually small hippocampus, and perhaps this is from the vast legions of glucocorticoids which are known to attack it due to the severe stress they have suffered from. Or, conversely, the small hippocampus may cause someone to be especially prone to a stress disorder after being traumatized. Then again, there could be another explanation; the Holocaust survivors had been starved....
` Yehuda says that the first possibility makes the most sense: For instance, the skill of being able to repeat back a list of words, which is linked to the prefrontal cortex, was actually more developed in patients who had recovered from PTSD, suggesting that their brains were trying to compensate for problems brewing in the hippocampus.
` Studies of traumatized soldiers and unfortunate young people are pending... gee, I wonder why people don't study me? I have tons of problems - one of them is very rare. I wonder how to get hooked up with all these crazy people?

` Really, I've been dealing with stress-related memory problems all my life - stress has prevented so many things from staying in my short-term memory, and so it hasn't wound up in my long-term memory. (That's probably a good thing, though.) Plus, I'm extremely sensitive to loss of focus from stress - the slightest distraction from outside or inside of my head can cause myself to lose focus and spill chicken juice all over!
` Yes... *gasp!* chicken juice!
` In fact, being constantly stressed out in my childhood from; not being able to predict my Dad's psychotic, drunken outbursts; always being screamed at because I was obviously crazy to believe that the slightest, most casual piece of information was true (and usually it was!) or for being in pain because I had just broken a bone or something; being constantly ashamed of my existence and totally horrified to think that I might do something terrible I really never, never would do in a million years, really I wouldn't Dad!; has taken quite a bit out of me.
` I'm still developmentally 'behind' other adults, plus, my own natural levels of creativity are frustratingly low. You see, creativity often requires that you focus on some subject long enough to come up with some new neural connection - say, three seconds. (Yes, three seconds.) Unable to do this most of my life (seriously!) I've been generally unable to come up with original ideas and subjects for art.
` Also, the intense stress made me really quite unmotivated to do much of anything most of the time except get away from my dad by going outside, and later on, lay on the couch and contemplate suicide. As a result, even though I knew I was very creative, I generally didn't feel like doing anything creative for months at a time and so did not put in any practice.
` (In fact, when my dad would brag about me in front of other people for hours on end, making up all kinds of crap that wasn't true, he'd say stuff like; 'She draws every day!' and I would say; 'No I don't, I just draw for art class' and he'd say, 'Shtop bein' so negative!'.)

` Because of this lack of originality, I've compensated by getting good at cobbling together things that already exist. Cases in point:
` For most of my life, I have been able to draw (or, on occasion, sculpt) things that I am looking at with superb 'realness', though I could never say the same for anything imaginary because my ability to perceive mental pictures did not develop until I was a teenager. For the longest time, I had great difficulty in fleshing out or focusing on them.
` I should also note that most of my musical compositions have stemmed from not being able to rid myself of earworms, rather than being focused on something new.
` As for my writing, you might notice that when I'm under a lot of stress, my originality levels go way down. Creating material that does not center around something which does not directly come from the real world is very tricky - quadruply so when stress is involved. (Which is why I have usually run into a dead end during my attempts to write about events that never happened or things that don't exist - like Astro-Nazis - in my sci-fi novel.)
` I first noticed this phenomenon as a teenager and called it 'collaging'. I actually still don't consider the reassamblage of images, music or literature/information to be all that creative unless I've at least added elements that most certainly are original!
` As of late, however, I've been going through spells of non-stress, punctuated with bursts of all-originality, as anyone who's cared enough to read this far may have noticed: The night before last, I actually stayed up because I just had to write three new pages of comic strips!
` I'd post them when I'm done inking them, but I don't have the means to.

` So, after rambling on and on, can I think of anything else to write about? Indeed I can, because I've done things after reading the News@Nature:

` Last night, Lou and I didn't even have time to fold our laundry because the laundromat was closing [Oh yeah, and a guy there was not at all happy about being arrested!], and besides we needed to get to Denny's, where we discovered that my Chevy Burgundy Rectangle's alternator is about to asplode. (He can replace it, though....) Lou hung out at Denny's for a while, although most of my time there had been spent talking to Book Listener on the phone, as she had just been through a rough time.
` Soon after Lou drove off in my dying car everyone else left (to my astonishment) except for Xenophon and PseudoDyke. We waited for Nympho, who had said she would return, back when Lou and I were inspecting the Rectangle. While we were sitting there, getting sleepy, PseudoDyke told me that she thinks Lou - my boyfriend! - is creepy and that she didn't like him hanging out with us. (Never mind that everyone else really liked him!)
` I would have punched her in the glasses if she hadn't been my only ride home, but I'll get to that some other time.

` Mua ha ha....

` During the night, I recall my sleep being interrupted by Loud Emergency Vehicles, a call from Nympho (probably wondering where I was), and a knock at the door. Whatever goes on in the world when I'm asleep is a mystery to me.
` I'm just that indifferent.

` Despite my tiredness, I still got up this morning, called Book Listener, was glad to hear she hasn't been eaten by monsters, and made myself some organic lemonade with raw sugar and a sandwich that contains such disparate foodstuffs as salsa and alfalfa sprouts.
` Livin' on the edge, that's me.

` And now, to take care of my car.... I do hope that you thoroughly enjoy my bonus post: I've managed to weirden it up even more than it had been initially!


Galtron said...

Good luck with the car! I think you're doing pretty well with creativity! Ya just gotta concentrate on the chicken juice problems is all.

That is also a scary house.

Cherrie said...

Lots to think about in this post: (1) the red house is just not my style, and neither is the giant rocking chair; (2) I love wine, but can't stand smoke--destroys the palate so I can't enjoy the wine; (3) parents can really mess up their kids. Hope you get unmessed, or at least messed up in a way you choose to be.

S E E Quine said...

` Ha ha! That's a good way to look at it!
` I can never hope to be unmessed up, but messing myself up in the way that I choose is something I can do.

cassie d said...

mabye that giant rocking chair is a tribute to Lily Tomlin, when she was on Sesame Street!

As for the smoking, no WONDER i've been getting drunk really fast! Colorado past a state smoking ban so you can't smoke in bars anymore! i thought i was just losing my tolerance level!!!

S E E Quine said...

` !!!Interesting! Well, perhaps you can smoke before you go drinking.

` ...About Lily Tomlin, I was actually thinking that very thing. Really! It's the truttthhh!

Aaron said...

That's pretty interesting, what they found about alcohol, nicotine, and rats.

I'm not sure I understand the big, non-rocking, rocking chair. It must be art.

S E E Quine said...

` According to Lou Ryan, it was sitting outside of a furniture store with a big 'FREE' sign, and the owner (before his untimely demise) decided to pick it up.
` He is also the one responsible for all the crazy decorations in back - apparently, it cheered him up.

crabcake said...

A giant rocking chair? I'm still hangin back at the giant rocking chair. For some reason, I dunno, I'm fascinated.

S E E Quine said...

` Yes, they do tend to give one pause. Plus, it's a non-rocking rocking chair at that.

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