January 9th, 2003

don't fear death

What's up for the weekend?

Protest January 10th:
On Friday, January 10th at 12:00 noon there will be a protest at Loyola and Girod against mandatory registration and detention of persons from targeted "suspicious" countries. This event is in solidarity with a protest being held on the same day across the country.
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SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 8pm - Shim Sham Club
FLICKER is back... Jan. 11. All new films for an all new year! Give Jim Beam a rest and cozy up to the screen with a shot of Bailey's.

Food Not Bombs New Orleans

FNB New Orleans started roughly 5 years ago and had been serving free, cooked meals to those in need for almost the entire time. This year we have opted to take a new approach, and get away from charity so much and more into empowering communities. That is why we are now doing produce giveaways in a neighborhood, so people from that neighborhood have a time and place to meet and communicate with each other, as well as get some free produce so they don't have to spend so much money on food. Our ultimate goal is to try and get people from the community to start doing it themselves and move on to a new community. We do the giveaway:

When: Sunday Mornings from 11am-2pm

Where: Corner of Jeff Davis and Canal St., on the median ground:

To help out come by during the giveaway and pick up some food and tell whoever is there you'd like to help. Right now we especially need people to come and pick up the produce and bring it to the giveaway location, and people to do flyering for it. Get in touch with us to help out or for more information email Paul or call him at 314-9593.

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don't fear death

cupid the chemist

Situations and people with strong opinions about how things are done
may get in the way of your trajectory today, MAIA. Issues of love
and romance are apt to be the most affected by this tension-causing
energy. The key is to remember that everyone is not your enemy. Try
not to get paranoid about this. Do your best to take a relaxed
approach, and have confidence that things will work out fine.

heh....all my love is caused by tension energy! no, wait, that is lust, huh? love is energy though....just chemical energy. i read somewhere not long ago about the chemistry of love. it said that when two people are attracted to each other these adrenaline like neurochemicals are released with dopamine and norepinephrine, chemical cousins of amphetamines. we all know dopamine gives us a high and norepinephrine stimulates the release of adrenaline. this explains why we get sweaty palms and a pounding heart when we are near someone to whom we are attracted. at the same time, the serotonin levels in the brain drop, causing us to often focus on one desire...such as the person stimulating these chemicals.
PEA or phenylethylamine (the love chemical) is a chemical that speeds up the flow of information between nerve cells. Professor Robert Friar, of Ferris State University in Michigan, explains:
"Falling in love involves Phenylethylamine or PEA, which causes a person to be less likely to be aware of the faults of the other person. PEA gives us that euphoric high. That feel good. Everything is wonderful. This person can do no wrong. We`ve often times seen people who fall in love with somebody and ask `are you blind?` Well, yes they really are blind. And almost no one can tell them at that stage of the game because Phenylethylamine is pouring out in large quantities."

who wouldn't get a rush with these three chemicals running around? i think this also explains why many people need to be in love. they are addicted to that rush of chemicals.
this chemical high can last from a few months to around four years, pretty typical relationship lengths or about the time the passion starts to wind down. after this high wears off and attraction turns to attachment, a different set of chemicals kicks in. oxytocin is a hormone found in high levels during orgasm, said to promote bonding and is released when we cuddle with others. the chemicals flowing during this time are similar to painkillers like morphine. so we are kind of doped into long-term commitment and monogamy. or we seek a new lover to get the high all over again. makes sense to me....

scientists say that events happening in the brain when we are in love are similar to the same events that occur with mental illness. surprise...
25% of murders in america are committed by jealous lovers....a rush of chemicals? withdrawals?
look at the manic actions of famous lovers...and the desperation of the poets. chemicals...

but what about people who don't fall in love? do they have a much higher tolerance to these chemicals? or people who don't stay in long term relationships? do they not have enough endorphins to keep it going?

so, i went off on a search for "resistance to love" and "chemicals"... didn't find much. but then i began to think about serotonin.... i mentioned yesterday that i have never been prone to depression, a state closely tied to serotonin levels. so i thought i would do some research on that relation. serotonin levels drop when we are "in love". maybe some people have such high levels that the drop only brings them to a normal rate.
i did find this:
PISA, Italy, July 29 (UPI)

Italian psychiatrists have come up with research indicating serotonin level similarities among people who are in love and sufferers of obsessive compulsive disorder. Psychiatrist Donatella Marazziti of the University of Pisa, the project organizer, says in the latest edition of New Scientist that persons with the compulsive disorder and in-love volunteers appeared to have about 40 percent less serotonin than normal. Her findings were published in Psychological Medicine, but more widely reported in New Scientist. She said in the newest edition of New Scientist: "It's often said that when you are in love, you are a little bit crazy. That may be true." Marazziti notes that persons with a mental condition characterized by obsessive, intrusive thoughts often feel compelled to repeat mundane activities, such as washing hands or checking that doors are locked. She said she was struck by the one-track thinking of such sufferers and thought it would be productive to see if biochemical similarities existed among people in love. She and her colleagues said they advertised at the Pisa medical school asking for students who had fallen in love, and who thought about their loved ones for at least four hours every day. But they wanted subjects who had yet to have sexual relations with the person they loved. Using a test group of 17 women and three men, the team measured serotonin levels in the love-struck students' bloodstream and found them about 40 percent below normal. That's about the same as for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to Marazziti, the serotonin effect, like the first flush of passion, does not last long. The students were re-tested one year later and in each case serotonin levels were found to be back to normal. Copyright 1999 by United Press International All rights reserved.

maybe people with high serotonin are not as affected? so on to searching for high serotonin levels....
Serotonin was discovered in 1948 by the biochemist Maurice Rapport and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic. Serotonin caused blood vessels to constrict. Hence the name was derived from a combination of the Latin words for blood, serum, and stretching, tonus. Later studies found that serotonin could have the opposite effect in blood vessels, indicating that serotonin has a complex modulating role. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan, which is abundant in meat and fowl, but is not manufactured in the human body. Tryptophan is obtained by the digestion of proteins and is transported by the blood to the brain where it is converted to serotonin.

i read that exposure to natural light increases serotonin.
carbs increase serotonin.
caffeine boosts serotonin levels.
people with high serotonin tend to be happy, compulsive and perfectionists.
high serotonin levels are found in leaders and people with a positive sense of self. "When a person enjoys high positive self-esteem, successful problem solving, and authentic accomplishments, the brain manufactures its own serotonin."
"High serotonin levels are inherited and are also achieved environmentally through a series of successes ("cultivating the power"), thus insuring continued success."
Women with high levels of serotonin report feeling more confident, powerful, secure and sexual.
a brain biopsy is the most accurate test for serotonin....no thanks!
High serotonin is connected with a number of severe mental states such as the one classified as "paranoid schizophrenia." hmmmm....
i also learned we really don't know much about serotonin....
was just a thought....

i found no connection between high levels of serotonin and falling in love. but i did find a couple of interesting links:
Oxytocin - the cuddle hormone
Love & Sex: The Vole Story

we are taught from a young age that love is something for which we should strive. it is the ideal. the fairytales of cinderella, sleeping beauty, and rapunzel; the legends of romeo and juliet, rama and sita and apollo and daphne; the history of abelard and heloise, laura and petrach, napoleon and jospehine are told time and time again. perhaps, in the future, they will be told in chemistry classes....
don't fear death

birds of a feather

i had a couple of geese hanging out by the boat today. usually there is just one. he glides around the marina like he owns the world, flaunting his grace and beauty. i don't know what kind of geese they are - or maybe they are ducks, but they have long necks. i am going to search around and see if i can find out what they are. i love to watch them. i wonder, though, if they intimidate my coots, who are usually waiting for their breakfast of cheerios and haven't been around the last couple of mornings. if i haven't tossed cheerios to them by 8ish, they swim around my windows quacking at me. it drives thien (my kitty) up the wall, literally. i love the birds out here....the gulls, the ducks and the pelicans. i just don't like the sound the pelicans make if you wake them at night! it is a horrible screeching. and i often wake them up when they are taking a rest on a piling right next to the boat, so i don't only get the screeching, but a huge take-off of a wing span close to seven feet! one day a pelican will scare me right into the water... we have white pelicans out here too, but you don't see them as much as the brown ones.

Pelican Facts:
A Brown Pelican's pouch can hold up to three gallons of water.

A Brown Pelican's chest is full of airsacks. When a Brown Pelican dives to catch a fish, it inflates these airsacks to cushion its impact with the water.

Like most other birds, a Brown Pelican's bones are hollow.

In captivity, a Brown Pelican can live to be more than twenty-five years old. In the wild, only ten percent of all Brown Pelicans live to be ten years old.

i worked from home today. the one thing that sucks on the boat is the internet connection....or lack of it. i am stuck with dial up. blah. obviously by my postings here today i am not getting a lot of work done. well, not really....truth is i post between pages loading...and that takes a lot of time!
ok, so i spent part of the time writing proposals and part of the time brushing up my dusty resume....

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