how to have animalistic sex.

Sperm shooting. A common sport enjoyed by many a deep sea squid.

But not really. I can, however, imagine that an entry title like that would get me more hits in a Google search. I recently read about the secret spawning of eels in the National Georgraphic and I think, that since then, I have become obsessed with finding out more about the sex lives of other animals.

1. The more attractive the fish, the worse the sex.
A study recently came out suggesting that less attractive tropical guppies have better sperm. Guppies undergo non consensual (or as I prefer to call it, "sneak mating") and courtship mating and the bitchin' sheilas is the tank frequently undergo sexual relations with many different males. The study noted that less ornate and less colourful fish (which were frequent sneak maters though in all honesty, this term sounds like a euphemism for tank RAPIST) compensated for their less than average looks by producing sperm which swam quicker and had a greater rate of fertilisation. In such a way, the "ugly" fish became fierce sexual competitors by compensating for their lacklustre fins and asymmetrical slithery bodies by producing sperm more likely of producing healthy offspring. A form of natural selection, if you will. I find it odd to imagine how the researchers went about choosing the "attractive" fish from the "ugly" ones. I imagine four men in white coats and beards standing over a tank and arguing about the sex appeal of a certain guppie. To use a criterium that stipulated that "colourful" subjects were more "attractive" would be considered racist in a human study. Do the results of this study crossover into human relations also? Do repeat sex offenders also have more fertile sperm?

Which guppie is most attractive? Don't look at colour you flippin' racist.

2. Cricket stumps gorilla.
I was taught in Human Biology 101 that the gorilla had the biggest relative testicle size within the primates. Recently, it's been found that the bush cricket has won the animal title with its ball sack equating to a whopping 14% of its body weight. A glorious feat, indeed. Bigger testicle size, doesn't necessarily mean more sperm, but like the gorilla, it does correlate with monogamous relations. It takes balls to sleep with many women, repeatedly.

3. How deep does the deep sea squid go?
67 cm, apparently. Some fishing boat recently captured a deep sea squid with an erect doodle that was almost as long as its entire body. Why the poor thing was erect, I really don't know. This one specimen taught researchers a bit about cephalospod mating. It is suggested that perhaps cephalospods living in deeper regions in the world's seas need longer penises and might shoot out 'sperm packets' which fertilse females. Maybe this is how the giant squid mates. Shallow cephalopods actually have a short penis and a special 'arm' which transfers these packages into the female. But there aren't many deep sea squids so I guess you gotta take whatever comes atchya and a giant penis is always a plus. I wonder what speeds these 'sperm packets' reach. Alas, I have tried to find an answer but have come across none.

4. Another example of how humans screw up the world.
I read recently about how toxins in the water, most notably, tributyltin, an anti-fouling paint used on the bottoms of ships/boats, can lead to the pathological condition known as imposex in which organisms develop organs of the opposite sex. In one study, the researchers proposed that TBT acts as a neurotoxin which triggers the abnormal secretion of Penis Morphogenic Factor and the development of a penis in female sea molluscs causes quite a lot of problems. No penis envy here! The growth of a penis like organ in female dog whelks (sea snails) can block the fallopian tuube and cause sterirlity. Even after the TBT ban, imposex is still prevalent because low concentrations are highly active.

5. Rough sex is best.
Oh I love the name of this eight legged master! The male spider, Harpactea sadistica, knows what it means to dominate. Normally, female spiders have a heavy loaded reputation for eating their males during sex. The red back dominatrix is not only about 5000% heavier than her boy toy, but about 65% of the time, she will slowly eat the insides of her play thing during the deed. It makes sense, longer sex means more effective fertilisation, plus its good nutrition if you want to lay a big batch of eggs. To overcome this man eating webwife, male spiders often deposit their sperm in small packages on her web. The Harpactea sadistica male spider is no pussy. He'll trap his slave, subdue her, pierce her abdomen and directly fertilise her ovaries. It's a pretty smart way of making sure that fertilisation happens. Avoids the whole 'sticky mucus, anti-sperm antibodies etc.' problem some of us humans have.

6. The Lorena Bobbit of the animal kingdom.
The female bumble bee. The ultimate babe. The drone bee deposits its endophallus mid flight and then dies a slow and painful death. Having lost its penis and abdominal organs, there is no hope for the male bumble bee. Too bad he won't live long enough to star in his own porn movie, ala John Bobbitt's Frankenpenis.


from today onwards.

Koko says no to becoming a 20-year-old
cat woman with only felines for friends
- 24 November 2010

I am not the nicest or most approachable of people. I tend to do things without consideration for others and even write about things that may be considered "inappropriate" on this blog. I make no excuses for myself. I like writing honestly about my life and I'm pretty open about who I am. Honestly, though, I am a big heap of chaotic rubbish at the moment. I will however make some changes now. I don't want to go into Med as a cat lady, with felines on my wall and kittens for friends (what a wonderful metaphor ._.)

- I will be more optimistic.
- I will make a more active effort to be nicer and more engaged with others.
- I will try not to make people deliberately uncomfortable (it's a bad habit, I agree).
- I will smile more.
- I will not ignore people simply because I am "not in the mood" to disturb my walk across campus.
- I will try not be so musically/intellectually arrogant (it's difficult to change after so many years).
- I will be more naked from now on. :)


state of emergency.

I have been going crazy over Bjork's Homogenic. In fact, just Bjork crazy. Growing up, I only owned Vespertine and I used to listen to it over and over when I was 14. It used to transport me to a wonderland covered in fluffy snow, like marshmallows, ice figurines that depicted women alongside animal companions and left a cold, frosty feeling in my mouth as though a snowflake had just landed on my extended tongue. This was the album of my chilldhood - it transported me back to my own home, Polska. Now I know that Bjork used the natural sounds of ice cracking in 'Frosti' and treaded snow in 'Aurora'. And I think that that it is delicious! Nature is full of music and I just adore itt when artists take advantage of this earthly instrumentation. I only downloaded the whole version of Homogenic just this week and it leaves me feeling almost nostalgic. This is supposedly an album that is dedicated to Bjork's home, Iceland. She utilises Icelandic folk tunes and the Old Icelandic choir mode of singing - half singing, half speaking (like Sprechstimme, though perhaps not so funny). It leaves me feeling the same way that 'Ma Vlast' does. Longing. For something. For something that's no longer here.

For humour's sake, here is Schoenberg



These are pretty tame images that I have collected from Sandy Kim's website, my new favourite photographer. To all voyeurs, please check out http://www.sandykim.com/xxx.html. Art should make one uncomfortable. I like honest art.

More sexy facts because I love them so!
- In Medieval times, breast milk was considered to be diverted menstrual fluid. Milk does not not equal blood, otherwise I am grateful for choosing soy milk over skim milk in my coffee. This is what you get for being a vampire obsessed culture.
- Men, your penis is actually one third longer than you think. What you see is just the "root" and the rest is covered by the skin. Tell your lady about your 10 inch erection today!
- Thanks to MRI scanners, scientists now know that your male friend takes on the "shape of a boomerang" during intercourse. How do we know this? Stick two people in an MRI and watch them have sex. You can see why, initially, only extremely flexible (dancers) were used in such studies. It's tight in the MRI tube (no pun intended, though the MRI machine is, in retrospect, quite a funny looking machine).
- Israel Meizner of The Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine witnessed a 7 month old fetus "grasping his penis in a fashion resembling masturbation movements". You're in the womb for 9 months. You've got to pass time some how, I guess.
- The earliest orgasm on record (a Kinsey observation) was seen in a three year old girl. I wonder if the 7 month old fetus had a "happy ending".
- Evolutionists reckon that a man evolved a penis with a ridged flans so that he could scoop up competitors' semen before thrusting in and leaving his own sperm. The last portion of the ejaculate also contains a natural spermicide. What an intelligent creature the penis is! (let's face it, the penis and the man are not one)
- Masturbation is bad. Jk, lol but the that's what peeps thought in the 1850s when they manufactured the Penile Prickling Ring. This ingenious devise was engineering to be placed around the sleeping penis. If, God forbid, the creature expanded during sleep, the ring would expose metal spikes and prevent the wet dream/erection from continuing on. Using negative reinforcement, it was believed that you would be able to contain your arousal. I wonder if these poor men, like Albert and the white rabbit, had any long term complications with arousal and getting it up. Or like Little Albert, shriek and shiver at the sight of their engorged cock. Roy Levin (a sex physiologist) reckons that masturbation evolved because if you jerk off, more fresh sperm is made, keeping you more fertile and thus more evolutionarily advantageous. Too much wanking though can actually deplete your sperm counts but Lewin encourages that you (for medical purposes, clearly) autofellatio every 5 days. I had a friend in school that never busted a nut, but then again, he was getting it on with so many women I could never count on my fingers.
- In 16th and 17th Century France, impotence was legal grounds for divorce. A team of "experts" and examiners (sometimes 15 physicians, surgeons and legal functionaries) would visit the husband up to 2-4 times in some cases, and the man would have to prove that he could get and maintain an erection. If he failed on all accounts, the man would be fined and forbidden to remarry. He would also have to return the dowry received from his wife's family. This is a horrible story. I mean, I'm sure a lot of men out there would not want to touch themselves in front of a group of strangers and the pressure of this entire ordeal could be too much for your little, flaccid twinkle. Isn't it easier to get an erection in a whore house than in the company of 15, what I assume were, geriatric and Sigmund Freud looking (in my head, at least with big Harry Potter glasses and bushy, white beards) males? So many issues! What if the husband is gay, clearly 15 watchful males would be a turn on unlike the loving gaze of his missus. What if he has prostate cancer? This is too much! this may be the beginning of masturbatory webcams!
- The harem obstetrician to Kamil Pasha (an Ottoman Empire statesman), Skevos Zervos, was always really intrigued by Pasha's enthusiastic relations with all 64 of his wives and the feminising effects of testicle removal on eunuchs. What was his response to all of this? Why, clearly it was a good idea to graft testicular tissue from rabbits/dogs onto geriatric gonads. This was 1909 and there is an even more morbid story from Quentin Chief Scientist, Stanley (I've forgotten his first name), which I heard about in an Ethan Bloom lecture at the SymbioticA symposium. Stanley grafted dead prisoners' gonads onto prisoners. According to Stanley, asthmatics reported improvement, as did diabetics (3/4), and epileptics (3/5). His test subjects apparently saw better and their acne cleared up. Odd how nowadays we don't accept such "inhumane" and "brutal" human experimentation. Science can only progress if you prove that something isn't due to A and B. But that's for another blog post, I guess. Makes you wonder if we really should be looking so deeply into the beauty of the human body (coming from the Medical student :s ). The Chinese did experiments on genitals as well. Instead of grafting tissue, though, they dried it and made it into pills or potions. The Chinese journal Materia Medica (1597) recommends the penises of dogs, wild cats and otters for impotence treatment.
Even recently Earthtrust found a restaurant in Taichung, Taiwan, which sold penis soup to male diners (at $320 a serving!) though I'm not too sure if it's since then been shut down. I assume it has. Interestingly, one penis makes soup for 8. Time to start poaching tigerzzzzz.


i am beethoven (no).

"time is always new; cannot possibly be anything but new. Heard as a succession of acoustic events, music will soon become boring; heard as the manifestation of time eventuating, it can never bore." - Zuckerkandl, from his book Sound and Symbol

Is this not the most perfect quote? I think it quite accurately depicts how I feel about music. When I was doing TEE, I used to always watch the hands of the clock tick lazily across the face, calculating how much practise I still needed to get done for the week. I didn't appreciate that time was slowly seeping through my fingers and that instead of fighting it, I should simply appreciate and be with 'the moment'. I once heard on ABC radio a professional French Hornist talk about her relationship with her instrument. She mentioned how sometimes you pick up an instrument and it just feels like your skin. You know it is 'the one'. I never had that feeling with trumpet but I did, and continue, to have that for my first love: my piano, Violetta. A sexy minx dressed in black.

I've decided to learn as many of Bach's Preludes and Fugues as possible starting with Prelude and Fugue No. 2 in C minor, BVW 847. Bach clears my head. I don't think about anything other than the music. I feel more in the moment than I have ever felt with Violetta but it wasn't long before I encountered my first obstacle: to metronome or not to metronome? If I used the ticking device, I would be stripping the music of its unique quality, turning it into a succession of musical notes and rendering it pathetic. After all, the metronome wasn't even around when Bach composed this piece. What's good enough for Bach, is good enough for me.

Beethoven was the first composer to include metronome markings in his pieces and he was criticised by his colleagues who considered him senile and eccentric. His marked metronome markings are, in general, quicker than how the music should be played. Rhythm is a touchy subject! Apparently Galileo used to hum to himself as he observed the descent of objects. This enabled him to more accurately estimate the time in which things fell, as opposed to using other (unreliable) indicators. Clearly, we have a natural sense of rhythm which may be destroyed by the use of my pathetic, electronic metronome. Metronome, I am above you. (On a side note, some people tend to be rhythm deaf, like Che Guevara who apparently couldn't tell a mambo from a tango. Didn't stop him from causing political upheaval, though).

Evolutionists argue that rhythm is necessary for survival (see 'ear worms') and even in modern society you can see its importance in work songs. I know that I much rather listen to music with an awesome beat when I'm working out; it makes me get into a rhythm and makes strenuous exercise much more enjoyable and, simultaneously, easier. Some broken legged patients also find that certain rhythmic songs can help them regain their original 'body image' map, encoding the intricate wirings of the brain. Rhythm is represented through the entire brain - in the cerebellum, brain stem and the frontal lobe. I use mnemonic devises with a memorable rhythm when I'm trying to remember something in my study. There are bizarre cases of people with frontal lobe damage, that only respond to commands if they're said in a singsong sort of way and I guess poetry owes part of its success to people's fondness for repetition. When the clock ticks, ever tick is the same mechanical sound, but instead of "tick tick" we hear "tick tock." We seem to impose a rhythm even when there are identical sounds. How odd. The evolutionists alwayz have a wanky explanation for such thingz.

In the end, I gave in. I'm no Galileo or Johannes Sebastian Bach. Just a silly 20 year old which philosophises too much about the importance of music. When you're learning a new piece, especially something by Bach, you need a solid beat, an acoustic event. If time is going to pass in its lethargic pace, completely disregarding my insipid and pointless need to relive and stay in the past, I'd rather be spending it with you, Violetta.

I'll finish by quoting Agnes de Mille (who choreography Copland's Rodeo - I seriously want to see this in concert one day), "the truest expression of people is its dance and music." Perhaps Paderewski's spider could differentiate between Chopin's etudes played in thirds from those played in sixths but music seems to be something uniquely human. I like spending time with others by dancing in my underwear and listening to Ravel.

Ps, Glenn Gould is a mega babe. Bach is supposed to be played on the harpsichord so it makes sense to play in staccato. On youtube, many were complaining that Gould played too slowly. I say fuck 'em and their stupid rhythmic expectations. Music should be an expression of yourself anyway.


essays in love.

On my flight back from Dubai I was seated next to a man whose name I don't know how to spell. Despite, at the time, being completely enamoured by A, I felt nervous talking to him. I guess I understand why, now.

I spontaneously decided to visit a friend from my past after my art class. It was late in the night and he had already been drinking. There were wine marks on his lips as he leaned in and told me that there are infinite possibilities surrounding us and that life continually repeats itself in alternative realities. A very Nietschian sentiment. He said it to appease me, to let me know that my decisions weren't heavily loaded with implications and weight.

As I sat in that aeroplane, thoughts full of A, I felt anxious. The man talking to me was attractive, well travelled, well read with a whole life behind him. I had committed myself to A, but the comfort that I felt around this man made me question that the reality that I had chosen was going to make me most happy. We got to talking about the partners we knew would be waiting for us at the airport. "Do you think it'll be the same as it was before?" he asked. "Better, the distance has made us closer." I replied. He frowned, "Every time I leave, I change. The person that returns is so different from the one that had become the object of love for every one of my girlfriends. I wonder if it'll be the same for you." I always remember what he said and I think that I agree. I changed, but not for the better. I view my last relationship in two phases - pre-Baltimore and post. To change, you don't need to wander out into the world, but you need to experience something novel.

I started reading Essays in Love and of course I thought of every one of my past relationships, in particular A which didn't bother me at all. And so I wanted to write this entry though perhaps I shouldn't. I had an amazing weekend which is odd because I generally want to block out my birthdays. They always seem to remind me of disappointment, but turning 20 was the most fun! Some of my reflections on love/attraction/courtship are as follows.

1. There is a theory that we fall in love with those that we feel have something that we lack. Through this union, we start to feel perfect as well. Pre-Baltimore, A made me feel this way. He always seemed to have this creative mind that I felt I lacked, or rather, had lost for a while. In America, I'd walk around with a big smile on my face and I was so surprised by the attention I received. I can pinpoint almost the precise moment when I fell out of love. It was the day he no longer appeared perfect to me, the same day that I felt ugly and worthless.

2. It's odd how easily you can flirt with those that you don't find attractive. Give me a homosexual or old man, any day. I become the most inept flirt around a beautiful woman.

3. Why do we always idealise/feel more powerfully for those we don't have? I still have never felt as strongly as I did for my first love, who introduced me to Paul Desmond. It was a completely different love with A. I never suffered with A and once in the relationship, we never argued. We laughed at everything so there was never a feeling that I was losing him. I think it's important to have that balance. Some would probably say that I'm overdramatising thingz, but when you don't long or yearn to be touched, there doesn't seem to be that feeling of reward. In Baltimore, I went out of my mind but we could never recreate that crazy passion when we were together.

4. As Proust would say, classically beautiful women are for men without imagination.

5. The Manu of New Guinea don't have a word for "love". I think love is universal, but can you feel what we know to be "love" if you don't know what to expect? II guess no expectations leads to less disappointments! In our world of rom coms and great love stories, there is a certain expectation of what "true love" should feel like. At first, my reasons for staying with A weren't admirable but after feeling disappointed at my previous attempsts at love, I wanted to feel the security that I knew he would give me. In the same way that the charm of the Taj Mahal has been lost to photography, has love lost its mysticism and wonder?

6. I like that there are certain things that I do now that are purely A's influence. Like how I bend the bottom corners of pages whenever I read a beautifully phrased paragraph or sentiment. Or the way I've adopted A's method for brushing teeth. Of course, the relationship (like all my others, but I don't like talking about them), changed me. There's this intimacy when you're in love where you feel compelled to be honest with one another. To point out facets of character that others aren't bothered with. Like the way I wriggle in bed, my pessimism, my uneasiness in certain social situations. It's good. It helps you mature and recognise how to change. Or, learn to love your quirks.

7. As French writer Stendhal noted, humans are "social creatures", we are nothing if we're not surrounded by others. Alain de Botton describes humans as amoeba; organisms with an elastic membrane that can change shape. Different people bring out different sides of ourselves. Around A, post-Baltimore, I was always so composed and introverted. I always wondered why it was that I felt more alive around others. It's not that I wasn't myself - it was just a facet of myself that I didn't like. I think both of us started to unleash our own insecurities near the end. I thought I was inadequate and never voiced my opinion feeling as though he would crush every one of my arguments. You can't expect one person to give you everything that you want. But you need an intermediary that doesn't make you feel deformed or misrepresented. I feel happier now than I did with him. When did I stop loving him?

8. I think it's impossible to feel love (how the hell can you even define love!) all the time. People enter your life, you develop attractions for others, and you question if the person you're with is the one you're happiest with. They say the first six months constitute the 'honeymoon' period of the relationship and that once you step over that milestone, most start to question if it's time to persevere or take off.

9. I spent eight months of my life with A. He'd visited me when I came back from hospital, he held me when I thought Kita was dying. He had been a part of my life so when it ended, I felt like a part of me had died. It didn't matter if I loved him or not, I just wanted things to stay the way they were. I was devastated because I knew a part of me would never return. Like cats, I think humans have multiple lives. We can conquer death. Although, I know, that i will never feel the same again, a new life form will replace that which I have lost. It's not sad, it's just change and it's thrilling.

10. Living in the present is a scary thing, at first. One evening, I told him, "I'm scared that I won't know when to end it," and he told me to live in the moment. When you have no expectations, you feel lighter. I remember being in Asia with my friends in high school and feeling an overwhelming sense of freedom but the anticipation of its end would lead to an XTREME sadness. When you want to live in the present, you rarely do. I wanted to feel happy simply being with A, but thoughts of international placements, travel plans and what had happened three years ago kept bothering me. And so I felt heavy.

11. It's as if the ingredients of love's collapse are contained within the beginning. At first, I loved his intelligent conversation. Later, I came to view it as arrogant and insincere. I loved the way he kissed and cuddled and how he gave me space but it seemed so mundane towards the end. When you sense that the love is dying, you try to bring it back my doing the same things that kindled it. I tried eating out at restaurants again, wearing the same outfits that I did on the first few dates, reminding him of the first moments we shared together. I could feel it escaping me, but I knew that if the love died, a part of me would as well, so I struggled on and tried to hold onto it. It's like what Joni wrote about in her final telegram to George Nash, "if you hold sand too tightly in your hands, it will run through your fingers." I felt myself falling.

12. I read in a magazine last week that our memories aren't kept in time, but in place. The article used this to argue for the importance of architectural design and innovative space to human interactions and well being. When you're no longer with someone, you still feel their presense. everywhere In the space on the left side of your bed, in the empty chairs outside the restaurant that where you shared calamari. When I stopped seeing us sitting outside The Flying Taco, at first I felt guilty. Now, I smile.

13. It's always the one that no longer loves that makes the tender speeches in the end. I don't need to explain myself anymore. I'm glad I read this book, at least. In the same way that a century becomes remembed by a few important events, so will our love. Maybe I shouldn't have written this blog entry but I don't feel like I've divulged anything. It's just about love and who isn't facinated by it. I wish I had loved him, and though I know I did once upon a time, I couldn't sustain it. Something changed after Baltimore and the clock keeps ticking now.


the music bug.

'Unravelling Bolero' by Anne Adams. Ironically painted at the onset of frontotemporal demential which also plagued Ravel when he composed 'Bolero'

Someone once told me that my very existence proves that Murphy's Law exists. In the space of about a week, four horrible things happened and I crashed. I still don't know if the way I handled things was the best way of doing so, but I find my life hysterically amusing. Things from my past keep re-surfacing, like the bowler hat for Sabina, each time with a different but significant meaning. I can't help but laugh - I'm 20 in two days, why must things always take the most complicated route! :)

For a while, I felt numb. I was so removed from everything; I said hurtful things and placed myself in compromising positions and watched the action take place without even the sliver of emotion coursing through my veins. And then I heard Philip Glass's 'Opening' and the world beneath my feet, trembled. For about six weeks, I'd felt nothing. And now I felt everything. (Koko is a wankerrrrr)

Music can make you feel alive in ways that words cannot. Before L-dopa was brought in to manage Parkinson's, music therapy managed to temporarily inhibit the jerky stutter in motion that characterises the disease. People with Tourette's often find that playing an instrument harnesses and focuses their compulsion to touch and feel. In fact renown pianists Nick van Bloss and Tobias Picker both suffer from Tourette's. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that music can bring out the best in you. It stopped me from becoming a callous bitch. It can help those not only suffering from motor disorders, but also from emotional turmoil. When I felt like nothing mattered, no words could make me feel whole again. I heard 'Opening' and all this changed. I feel like it's woken me up from this dreamlike three years. Yes, I know I'm exaggerating.

The association of music with emotion and memory has been long established. I associate certain time periods and people with certain pieces of music. Everytime I hear Sonic Youth, I think of one of my dearest friends and I still can't listen to Metric's 'Help Me' because of the memories iand emotions t brings up but sometimes my connections between people and emotion and music become very convoluted. Sometimes, when I visit one of my friends I actually hear Kronos Quartet and feel as I did when I was 18 and whenever I see one of my closest friends' girlfriends, I hear 'Debaser' by the Pixies. I can't help it. I used to think that it was weird that I occassionally hear songs vividly in my mind when I simply am near someone. Perhaps this is a form of synaesthesia? Am I cross activating my auditory and visual cortices?

I think synaesthesia is more common than we recognise. I always associate the number three with yellow and seven with pale pink and feminine qualities. Nine is masculine and rude and mean. I read in a book that this is a "higher" order of synaesthesia which basically means that instead of mixing up the senses, ideas become cross-activated. Nabokov also saw different colours for each letter of the alphabet. In fact, when he was younger his mother gave him a box of coloured letters which distressed the poor kid who saw the letters coloured incorrectly. Luckily, I'm not this extreme. I've side tracked again, but synaesthesia is really facinating. Researchers reckon that in childhood, many of our senses are cross linked but that with time, "pruning" of unimportant/less used connections wires the brain in a different way. Begs you to ask the question, why are some people more susceptible to synaesthesia? Is there perhaps some sort of gene that makes some people less susceptible to pruning?

It makes me sad to think that some people can't react to music. Those with Asperger's can sometimes appreciate music, but not feel its full weight. Apparently Darwin lost his appreciation for music the more deeply he explored his theories on evolution. I read recently about
frontotemporal dementia which really facinates me. Apparently this dementia can result in the disinibition of certain areas of the cortex asssociated with control and can unravel talents and a greater appreciation for the arts. One of my favourite composers, Ravel composed 'Bolero' at the onset of this dementia and artist Anne Adams, who had originally been a biology/math teacher, became enthralled by music and took up art. There's hope for everyone, even those with Asperger's! I find comfort in knowing that we all have some sort of musical prowess that we're not aware of. I don't want to wait around for dementia to hit, though. Man alive, music is wonderful.

Extra tid-bits:
- Williams Syndrome is a syndrome associated with heart and blood defects and mental retardation. Apparently those with this chromosomal aberration have a strong love and desire to play music for themselves and others (unlike savants which are highly robotic in their preoccupation with music).
- damage to the anterior temporal lobe of the dominant hemisphere (stroke etc) can lead to disinhibition of the parietal and temporal sections of the non dominant hemisphere. This can potentially lead to greater powers of perception.


it's bugging me.

I keep saying that I'm done with the past. That I'm 'over' it all, but today I heard something so unsettling. I doubt one person can ruin the life of another. Other factors have got to be involved.

Three years on and I still wonder.


ear worms.

drinking red wine, listening to Ella and pondering. I wonder when it was that people started to get songs stuck in their heads - ear worms, if you will. I guess now with iPods, CDs and television, we're constantly being exposed to tunes and the potential that a horrible tune sung by a whiney and anorexic American with a good beat, will get stuck in our minds - play on and on preventing us from being productive. Evolutionists hypothesise that our brains have evolved in such a way that we are prone to remembering repetitions in rhythms and in melodies. In hunter-gatherer societies such a trait could have been advantageous - if you remember the sounds of the birds and wind in a location known for good vegetation or scrumptious meat (lol) you could continually return to the same place and increase the survival of yourself and your offspring by bringing back enough to feed the fam etc. This evolutionary adaption has perhaps become a burden in an environment inflitrated by doof doof rhythms and banal melodies!

It's similar to the obesity problem. Once upon a time, having a sugar tooth meant that you would be more likely to consume high energy foods (because they are indeed tasty and delicious!) which were difficult to find. The Aztecs must have gone CRAAZZZzzzZZZZZyyyy when they found the cocoa bean! Now, a sugar tooth where delicious cupcakes and carrot cakes are just around the corner leads to unhealthy weight gain. (I read an interesting article today about how thigh circumference is correlated to premature death - the smaller the thigh, the more likely you are to die early or suffer from heart disease. Thank you Body Pump and thyroid disorder for rendering my thighs MASSIVE. Clearly, I am never dying). Our hunter-gatherer brains start to think that simply because you hear the latest Rhiana song 219346234750 times in shopping centres, clothing stores that this is something that should be stored in our minds. Oh, faulty brain! Why, why do you torment me so! Mark Twain wrote about this ear worm phenomena in one of his short stories - but were humans before this time also afflicted by the burrowing worm? Perhaps, but I doubt it was in the same way.

I read about epileptic/temporal lobe tumour patients that often hear music right before seizing. In a world that didn't hear music, did this exist? Did you hear bird calls or rhythms? How can one hear music if you're not exposed to it? Or is it perhaps your own invention? But if you don't know what music is, how can you construct a song in your mind? Are we just inately predisposed to melodies? I haven't felt so strongly for music in a long time. I wish I could hear music in my dreams and compose based on these melodies upon waking like my friend can. I used to think that I was somewhat less musical than my perfect pitch friends. I don't think so anymore. Music is much more than that.

Oh Ella, I've missed you so. As much as I miss NYC and more so than past memories.

"Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky, stormy weather. Since my man and I ain't together. keeps rainin' all the time."

Dear God, I love how I feel right now.



I'm reminiscing. Bee Hives is a good album. I drank too much. Yay to drunken times with the fam.


bonk me #1.

Argh! I love this book so so much! Mary Roach is a hilarious woman. When I grow up I want to be just like her (with Shaun Micallef or Don Draper as my husband - oh listen to the girl that never considers marriage). Some interesting points that I need to research further/find facinating:

- There are 11,250 sex related sudden deaths in the US annually, on par with Hep C, brain cancer and food poisoning
- sudden death during sex is more common with a prostitute
- Kinsey used a tootbrush (bristle end) for masturbatory purposes
- sex has the power to stop stutters temporarily, and enables you to lose peripheral vision. It can also relieve
leg stiffness and muscle spasms in cerebral palsy sufferers for an average of eight hours using a rectal probe electroejaculator.
- 70% of women fail to orgasm through intercourse without clitoral stimulation
- 1 in 5000 women are born without a vagina so some doctors fashion va-jay-jays out of intestines or rectums (why would a man NOT want to sleep with you if you have a rectina?)
- the clitoris is in the va-jay-jay of a domestic sow (how unfair!)
- if the distance between your clitoris and urethra is less than the width of your thumb you are more likely to come
- shorter women and women with smaller breasts have been shown to orgasm more easily
- neoclitoris = transgendered clitoris made up from a stitched-in-place nub of penile glans tissue
- G spot comes from Ernst Grafenberg who first wrote about this "erotic zone"
- Denmark's National Committee for Pig Production recommends sexually stimulating the pig during artificial insemination since there is a 6% higher success rate in such pigs. There is a Five-Point Stimulation Plan which details how this should be done. Some inseminators even jump onto the back of the pigs to stimulate the real life experience of copulation. There is even a vibrator known as the The Reflexor that can bring about orgasm in the sow though few farmers use it (only 1%). The Government has issued an explanatory dvd showing exactly how the sows should be stimulated. The movie itself sounds majorly amusing - the man in the dvd gets the sow off whilst the cameraman focuses on a ring on the farmer's left hand. I mean, sure, he's married so there's nothing suss. CLEARLY.
- 26-28% college age rural males have had "some animal experience to the point of orgasm" according to Kinsey, ps, I love Kinsey
- one study came out that said that women who use condoms are more depressed than those who don't. They suggested that the ejaculate may have some happy effect on women. The pill, however, does quench sexual urges forcing women into a "permanent menopause". How bizarre-o. Perhaps if you're on the pill, you don't feel so mightily disappointed because your libido is quietened? Thus why the 'no condom' women are happy people? Too many weird factors come into play. I rule this study RIDICULOUS.
- masturbation can be a way of medicating menstrual pains and backache. Perhaps you're simply taking your mind off the pain/disturbance? I find masturbation helps when you feel like crapola. POINT: everyone should masturbate more for health reasons.
- Apparently marijuana and Ritalin can increase your chances of reaching orgasm. Few studies have been done on this, however. I can imagine it would be difficult to get funding for an "illegal" substance.
- Women who cheat have sex more with their boy toy in the middle of their cycle.
- A study
in Chicago discovered that the smell of cologne, cherry and barbeque meat actually decreased vaginal blood flow. Cucumber and candy smeels increased blood flow by 13%.

to be continued brudderzzzzz...


the end of an era.

It was the stuff you read about in science fiction novels. 63-year-old William Sheridan from New York, whilst waiting for a compatible heart donor, drew pictures as a way of killing time. His 2D stick figures bore no semblance to the world around him and mirrored those that you might find in a kindergarten. A heart transplant later, this all changed. Sheridan’s childlike drawings transformed into creative and artistic depictions of landscape and wildlife; of billowing brooks and wild imagination. You see, the transplanted organ had belonged to 24-year-old Keith Neville, a stock broker with a passion for art and once it was relocated into Sheridan’s body, the New Yorker had indeed, a change of heart.

Sheridan isn’t alone in this phenomenon. Over 70 personality change cases have been recorded following heart transplants, unlike any other organ. James Clark in the United Kingdom, never one for romance, all of a sudden started to write passionate poetry for his wife after receiving a transplant from an amateur poet. You have to ask the question, does a life threatening operation simply put things into perspective, making one more open to trying new things and experiencing life to the fullest or does the heart have some sort of mysterious connection to emotion and our personality?

Aristotle and the ancient Greeks 2500 years ago saw the heart as the seat of the spirit and the rational soul. When you feel bad after a sudden loss in your life there’s this tightness in your chest and it feels as though your heart is beating irregularly. It’s little wonder that so many years ago, it was seen as the centre of love and emotion. By the late 19th Century with advancements in medicine and technology, the important relationship of the brain to intelligence and emotion became established. Despite the growing evidence that the heart is merely a responder to stimulation by the brain, there is a growing movement among scientists that is trying to reverse this understanding. Some scientists are now convinced that the heart is so much more than just a biological pump; it may have memory and emotional intelligence.

You make me so lonely baby,
I get so lonely,
I get so lonely I could die.

Losing someone that you love is difficult. It’s hard to sleep, concentrate and find happiness in the things that you once loved doing. You can lose a ridiculous amount of weight and feel hopeless and nauseous all the time. The blood flow to your brain, changes. The anterior cingulate cortex associated with physical pain and distress in depression, becomes active and your immune response is weakened. Although it seems infantile and silly, evidence now suggests that you can die from a broken heart.

Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Jim Callaghan, who died 11 days after his wife of 67 years, is one person who is believed to have died from a broken heart. A study conducted in 1996, examined 1.5 million cases between the ages of 34 and 84. It was discovered that the risk of dying from something that resembles a heart attack 6 months after the loss of a loved one, increased from the norm by 20 to 35%.

Broken heart syndrome, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, is a recognised medical condition that is caused by extreme stress often after the loss of a loved one and is more commonly found in older people. Fear and grief leads to a greater secretion of noradrenalin and adrenalin, hormones associated with the fight-and-flight response. These hormones lower the pumping ability of the heart and can cause chest pain and symptoms that closely mirror a heart attack. It differs from a heart attack, though. The heart undergoes a transformation; it takes up an atypical shape that compromises its pumping function. Its base squeezes normally but the middle and tip do not. This is not an ordinary heart attack. It doesn’t kill the heart muscle, just renders it helpless and can affect perfectly healthy people that don’t have any blood clots. Sufferers often recover within two to three weeks. It is a reaction to emotion.

Dr Ilan Wittsen of Johns Hopkins University has examined this remarkable condition. Blood samples from patients believed to be suffering from Broken Heart Syndrome contain high levels of adrenalin and noradrenalin which are more elevated than in normal heart attack patients. The heart responds to emotion like no other organ, but does it have a brain of its own?

Is your heart filled with pain?

Shall I come back again?

Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

In 1967, Dr Christian Barnard performed the first heart to heart transplant. Although the patient survived only 18 days, it was clear that the heart was a secularised organ, capable of beating on its own without the help of the brain. A person can remain heartless for about 15 minutes and even after a transplant, the connections linking the heart to the brain can remain severed. It continues to beat autonomously because of the Intrinsic Cardiac Ganglia.

The Intrinsic Cardiac Ganglia, affectionately known as the “little brain in the heart” is integral to the heart’s maintenance and performance. It is a collection of cells dispersed throughout the heart that strongly resemble neurons, the cells of the brain. In addition to this, it has brain-like supporting cells, proteins and messengers. There are about 40,000 neurons that sense and control your heart rate and communicate with the brain. If the heart contains neurons, why can’t it behave like a brain and remember and associate?

Dr Garry Schwartz, professor of psychology at the University of Arizona considers the heart to be a “bio, psycho, socio, spiritual organ” and is convinced that it has independent intelligence and paranormal abilities. He argues that there is circular communication between the heart and the brain and that memory can be transferred to the heart. In the case of James Clark, Schwartz believes that the donor’s heart had cells associated with poetry prowess. Clark’s change in personality from a masculine English brute into a sensitive, and ‘in touch’ gentleman also convinced Schwartz, that the heart affects emotion and love. It’s probably important to note that all this is coming from someone who believes that psychic Allison DuBois, the inspiration of television’s Medium, can indeed contact the dead with 77% accuracy and that none of this research has been published in a peer reviewed journal.

Schwartz calls this theory cellular memory and believes that memory exists in every cell of the body but most strongly with the heart. Cellular memory has been the topic of many books and films. In the 1924 book inspired, silent film, Les Mains d’Orlac (translated, “The Hands or Orlac”), concert pianist Paul Orlac loses his hands in a tragic railway accident only to have them replaced by the hands of a murderer. Orlac becomes consumed with murderous thoughts and develops a thirst to kill, like something off an episode of Passions. It would be terrifying to think that now in the golden age of science and medicine we may transform transplant patients into living Frankensteins.

A Californian research organisation known as the Institute of HeartMath (IHM) has developed an entire discipline on heart training and meditation. Crazy haired Research Director, Dr Rollin McCarty is convinced that our high stress, anxiety saturated, socially awkward society may be the result of negative emotions being transferred from one person to the next by a magnetic field that radiates from the heart and through the skin.

In one study, McCarty got subjects to look at a series of photographs, both pleasant and unpleasant ranging from disfigured persons to large, fulsome boobs and recorded response times of the heart and brain. He found that the heart responded correctly to the image, at a rate greater than predicted by chance, before the brain did and before the repulsive picture, for example, was even viewed. McCarty suggests that it’s not the brain that perceives negative stimuli and then signals the heart to beat faster but that the heart intuitively reacts, then the brain and then the rest of the body.

Starting today I’m teaching my heart

Not to ache anymore

Just because we’re apart.

Reversing common scientific notions especially to a more primitive, 2500 year old idea is a difficult task. UWA’s own Nobel Prize winner, Barry Marshall had to face decades of dissent and publication rejections until he deliberately infected himself with a bacterium and had a severe inflammatory reaction. He proved that stomach ulcers could be treated with an antibiotic and were the cause of bacteria, not stress, lifestyle or diet but it was a long and arduous process of acceptance.

Science, as it stands, is reductionist and not holistic. It concentrates on each organ as a single entity, not the overall picture in order to get to the heart of the matter. One thing is for sure, you feel something in your chest when you lose something or someone that was important. Perhaps that’s the heart thinking and feeling for itself, but according to current scientific though, it’s the brain that’s holding the reigns.

Although his ideas may be a little farfetched, Dr Rollin McCarty has developed an effective way of coping with heartbreak. Pick something that hurts you, but don’t think about it, just feel it. Visualise the transfer of energy from your breath into your heart and activate feelings of positivity. It sounds wanky, but meditation really doesn’t get the credit that it deserves.

Find it in your heart to do the things that you love and make you happy. Give yourself time, talk and reflect. In order to transcend pain, you must first experience it; pain is your body’s way of motivating recovery. A broken heart can be repaired and strengthened, just think of William Sheridan and the artistic flare he never knew he possessed. I cross my heart.


Not entirely sure why so many people liked this article more than all my others. It really is the end of an era. Who knew one silly office could mean so much to you. A sad, but healthy day.


peggy olson and such thingz.

"Well, one day you're there and then all of sudden there's less of you and you wonder where that part went - if it's living somewhere outside of you. And you keep thinking maybe you'll get it back and then you realise it's just gone"

So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that's stolen from us--that's snatched right out of our hands--even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness"

I had a lovely Friday, again :) I am so happy.


detachment rock city.

I feel so detached from everything lately. It's a good feeling. It is nice not to feel like you owe anyone, or yourself for that matter. That you need to look out for anything. Like a friend told me last night, "it's not about love or emotion, it's just something that happens". These are just events that make sense at the time.


my night last night/morning.

OH MY GAWD! So so so so crazy. Were we "bad"? Stop me from smiling, please. :)

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