Monday, January 29, 2007

Brain Chemicals

I've often wondered, how much history has been affected by the problems of chemical imbalances. And not complex ones; we all know that there have been psychos and rulers like Caligula or Nero or whoever that had something seriously wrong with them. What about the simple everyday problems that occur in all of us? When your blood sugar goes down, you get cranky, or angry. It happens. Believe me, my car (older car), knows all about that.

So what ruler woke up, forgot breakfast, and then got angry at something and ordered troops to take over some country. Was it Napoleon's need for world domination that caused him to attack Moscow in the middle of winter? Or was it that he made a decision while his blood sugar was down and later regretted it, even though he couldn't reverse it?

But maybe that is a little too far off. How about the murders that happen everyday that could be thwarted if people would simple eat regularly?

My point is that each day, we go about daily chores, we deal with the chemicals that are constantly fluxing, Seratonin, Neopenephrine (sp), Dopamine, blood sugar levels, etc... all that are affected by what we eat, what we take as far as medicine, how many diet cokes we drink... etc... And I'll be the first to admit that there are days when I feel like punching a hole through a wall, and I don't have a good reason to. It's simply a matter of keeping all those brain chemicals in line. Through medication, food, laughter, emotions... and while we're doing all this, we have to put up with everyday life, dealing with people, circumstances, life in general.

And it's best to know what affects what, and of course that would take far too long to explain, but here's the main three that deal with depression and how to balance them:

Seratonin: the main chemical that affects mood. Prozac is the main medical balancer, but sunshine works too (which is why people get gloomy on gloomy days.) And exercise. And sugary foods, which is why people with depression eat a lot. Although I tend to eat lots of protein, but that's another story...

Neopenephrine (sp): notice the incorrect spelling of it, but it's close enough. And it's easily balanced by ephedrine, or in common tongue, Sudafed. that's why Meth is such a stimulant, but boosting it too much can be dangerous. Just a little for those that need it can really boost mood. Meaning Actifed or Sudafed, which is a decongestant. For those with allergies, it really does help. Other medications also help.

And Dopamine, which is a chemical that is boosted by brain activity. It's the juice that helps the brain to move. High dopamine levels are found in ADD people, although often, it's more roller coaster levels that cause ADD people to have depression. Low dopamine levels are found in people with Alzheimers. To keep dopamine levels high, brain activity is key. More importantly, research, looking for things, like word searches, or working at a bookstore where people are always looking for books. Reading, writing... anything to keep the brain going. And a side effect of this is very interesting dreams at night. Good stuff.

Hopefully, this'll help somebody. Keeping everything in balance, that's the main thing. Course, that's for life in general. An excess of most things will cause bad things to happen. For instance, those dreams can turn into nightmares, which deplete Seratonin levels. Makes you wake up cranky and in a bad mood. Do everything in moderation, and that'll help. Course, we don't do that here in this life. Roller coasters are much more fun. But you have to take the highs with the lows.

Anyway, i'm off to Target here in a little bit to get the ingredients for Josta Reborn, which can be found on the website on my profile under the Josta picture. It's supposed to taste just like it. That'll do for boosting chemical levels. Guanara, Caffeine, Taurine... all do something.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Hanson was on Deal or No Deal today. While this is nothing groundbreaking (Taylor was wearing a T-shirt promoting their new Album, The Walk which comes out between Feb. and May depending on where you live.), there is the fundamental question of, why the heck do I like this band?

First of all, I would think that since I respect whatever music people listen to, for the most part, I expect the same for me. One of my friends likes Rap and Hip/Hop music. I don't care for the music myself. I find it offensive and gross, but I respect her right to listen to it, if she wants. I respect my fellow worker's rights to listen to whatever they want, even overhead on the store speakers, even if I believe that the talent level of musicians have declined dramatically in the past few years.

In the past, Hanson has been the butt of much negative press, from comedy sketches to musical parodies to condemnation from most sectors of society. Mainly because of their long hair (which they don't have anymore) and their high voices (which they don't have either.) Further, since they were a pop band (now an "indie" group), with a fan base of mostly women, any guy who listened to them was at least gay.

The time has come to debunk the myths behind the most talented band to come on the scene in quite some time. They write their own songs, play their own instruments, are passionate about their music, and have stood as a model for all independent groups that have withstood the manipulations of big-time music companies. (Look up their relationship with Mercury Records... ) The quality of their work has always been of the highest standards. Their musicality has never been anything less than perfect, and their morals have been nothing less than clean, reflecting the Christian beliefs they were taught as children.

Futher, I have never known a person's sexual orientation to be determined by the musical interests of an individual. But there was a time that liking Hanson put you at a social risk. I had to hide the fact, putting up with my friends making fun of them, because it was the only thing I could do at the time. Now, with Hanson having faded into musical obscurity in these days of sexual promiscuity and musical banality, it isn't so bad. Most people are like, Hanson who? They became a trivia question for the 1990's (and did, in the Entertainment Weekly issue a couple of years ago.) A one hit wonder, if you will. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. They are talented and passionate musicians that will be singing and creating critic-lauded hits for years to come.

And since I'm on the subject, most people will look at my Profile and laugh audibly at my taste in music. I mean, Jesse McCartney??? Well, his first album was good (at least half of it was.), although his second one was banal, falling into whatever people like these days. This is the same trap Aaron Carter fell into when making his last few CD's. They should have focused on their singing and making good quality music instead of the mindless dribble that music executives thought would sell to teeny-boppers. Soon Jesse and Aaron will fall into obscurity (or at least appear on VH1's reality TV shows), and Hanson will continue to create amazing music. It is a shame, though, that Dream Street members forfeited the music potential that they had just because their moms were too conservative to expose their sons to the music lifestyle (which is commendable, but it forced the kids to try to make it as solo artists, of which only McCartney, with his acting links already established, could do.) Greg Raposo has fallen into obscurity, and Chris Trousdale has as well. A shame, actually, as that was a good album.

And let's face it, music such as this, and the Monkees, pop music, has been popular for ages, but it always has this habit of going away as quickly as it appears. Probably because positive themed music has always been replaced by negativity in this Prozac Nation. The rebellious teenager has never liked positivity, and focuses more on angst and the gothic, the morose. I guess it's part of growing up. I think that there is much room for positive music in today's society, and am glad that Hanson is there to provide their fans with music that does not make them take a Prozac right afterward. Their concerts are upbeat (though the fans are loud, but you get used to it (well, actually, you just go deaf)), their songs contain no mature subject matter or cursing, and their personalities are witty, intelligent, and friendly. They strive only for perfection in their music, and have since moved on from their the days of MMMBop to each getting married, having kids, and pursuing their dreams of creating quality music for years to come. If this is worthy of prosecution, either of them or of the people that enjoy their music, then the world certainly is doomed.

Anyway, I'm Male, 29 (at the moment), and I like Hanson. You either deal with it, ignore it, accept it, whatever, but if you're too immature to do anything but make fun of them, then you're not worthy of me paying any attention to. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to their new album, as well as the other musical groups I enjoy listening to.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This and That... or what you don't see them putting on your sub at Quiznos

A few random thoughts that I have to get out of my head before they fly away:

I went to Quiznos Subs here in Conyers, just opened up. It was good, better than other sub places... however... I would rather go to Subway, watch them make the sandwich, tell them what I want on it, and pay less, than worry about getting something that tastes just a little better. And on a related note, they closed Jerry's Subs in Milledgeville, and I was sad. Those were darn good subs.

Everyone knows I don't curse. Never have. And the music I listen to has little cursing in it. I can count on one hand the albums I own that have one F word in them. So is using the F word ever appropriate? Well, no, but since we don't live in a G rated world, when does it work, and when is it a bad idea?

Take two albums I recently listened to. James Blunt's Back to Bedlam, for starters. The song "You're Beautiful" is a wonderful expression of love unfulfilled and unavailable. The perfect echo of Goethe's Sorrow's of Young Werther. And the height of the song, on the radio, anyway, is the line "She could see on my face / that I was flying high." Wonderfully done, with undertones of true love, bliss, etc... Now, I get the album (in an easily disposable manner ) and listen to it. The line has changed to "that I was f--ing high." Totally different story. He was stoned, abjected, totally away from the Romantic ideal of the Radio version. It not only ruined the song, it ruined the album. I couldn't listen to it anymore. I pitched it.

Now. take KT Tunstall's latest. The first song on it uses the F word, but she incorporates it into this edgy, folk driven song. It surprises you the first time you hear it, but it's appropriate within the context of the song. It adds a rebellious tone to an album that, without it, would be just another Norah Jones imitation. I'll link to it at the end of this blog.

The flags have been lowered to half mast to mourn the passing of President Ford. It's always a striking homage to anyone. Except for when the US Postal service has lowered it so that it gets snagged in the trees. Or when you look at the Checker's American flag and see that it looks like it's been through a war. Businesses should take care of their flag much as they would the inside of the store. How would they like it if the Health inspector took off points because their flag was damaged. They should. Someone needs to contact Checkers here and tell them that they need to replace it. All it takes is a little observation and care about the place in which you work. If my workplace did that, I'd raise heck about it.

Football's almost over... and now there's nothing on TV at all. If only there were a Star Trek channel, or if only I had enough money to buy all the DVD's. Football withdrawls, made worse by Reality TV. Oh well, at least there's the Internet. :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I bought some books recently, and Bel, who rung me up, seemed shocked at what I got. I picked books by CS Lewis (The Four Loves), a book with the basic writings of Jung, and the Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman. Why was she shocked? Because why would I be buying books that are not within my specialty, in other words, kids books, fantasy...that sort of thing?

Well, because I've found I need some balance. Kid's books, while wonderful, have very little intellectual growth in them. With a few exceptions, of course. Christopher Paolini, the Pendragon series, Diane Duane, Colin Thompson...etc... But what I'm reading now, Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is a good story, but there's no depth to it. It reminds me somwhat of the Edge series by Stewart. Plot, funny characters, but little in the way of deep, sympathizable characters.

I guess I just miss the academic life that I so enjoyed at Georgia College some 10 years ago. So I want to use the bookstore to help balance my bookshelves between light, entertaining reading and real, meaningful studies. Thoreau and other philosophers used their libraries to further their education, so why can't I?

Of course, this is just a stop gap measure. I so miss Milledgeville, the poetry readings, the fellow students that had the same mindset that I did, the amazing professors that actually had something to teach you. Eventually I'll want to get back to that, getting a Masters in English, or something, but for now, I'll go for reading books, and perhaps I'll look at the colleges around the Atlanta area and see what events they have planned. I'd like to go participate in some of those.

Of course, there's also a need to balance Intellectualism with socially interacting with other people, be it through friendship, love, acquaintances...etc... and there's always the need for companionship, something I've not quite figured out how to do here, although in Milledgeville it was much easier. Anyway... I spent a melancholic day or two trying to figure out what I want to do, and I've come to the decision that I've got to continue with the relationships I already have formed, and then nurture new ones found here on Myspace, at work at Borders, or elsewhere.

It'll be a challenge, but hopefully, it'll be worth it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Forced Chaos

Have you ever walked into your room (office, etc...) and found that someone has arraigned your slop into neat little piles? I've done this before, and found that whoever I've neatened their piles, immediately get mad at me and always say "Now I won't be able to find anything!!" The whole idea behind this is that organization, however well devised, is useless if the person is used to disarray.

Take for instance my bookshelves. No alphabetization, no order at all, but I know where all my books are. In the kid's section at Borders, I wouldn't have to have organization to know where all the books are. The underlying motive for this Chaos is simple. It's the same reason I never put TO and FROM tags on my Christmas presents. It's control. Pure and simple. If you are the only one that knows where anything is, only you can control everything there. And this is also why if you clean up someone's desk, they will proceed to jam a stapler down your throat.


Now, take that idea of no organization and apply that to the real world. Are there situations in which chaos is better than neatness?

Definitely!!! Go down the cereal isle at the grocery store. Are all the cereals alphabetized and neatly arrainged? Nope. There might be some semblance of order, but normally, the cereal are simply there.... Now, they're always in the same place each time, so clearly there is some plan. It's what I call "Forced Chaos". The plan is, that the semblance of order is actually a plan to force the customer to go looking for what they want, so that they might find something new, something different that would give the store more profit.

When dealing with books, things that scream for order, it is sometimes better to just put them on the bookshelf and mix them up, so that what the customer is looking for would be found, along with two or three other books that the customer picks up just because he/she can't just go to the book they want, select it, and leave. You don't go organizing the clearance rack. In this instance, "craptacular" is the best policy. Mix everything together, so that you have to go lookin'. The bargain book section is the same way, and it works. Then put in charge of that section someone that knows exactly where everything is (like on the messed up desk, the filthy room), and you don't need organization. Forced Chaos. Make it so where the customer has to go looking.

Try going to a garage sale or Flea market and find one that is organized. You can't. It would defeat the purpose of actually having one. But make sure that you know where everything is. That control pleases the people that want exactly what they want, even impressing them (good customer service), but it leaves the browsers to find whatever they're lookin' for, and then some.

Monday, January 8, 2007

New Shoes, Football on the Other Side of Boise.

Before I talk about football...

I bought some new shoes today... big whoop, you say... but they were Nike Shoes. That is significant in that they are the first new shoes that were not Avia since I first started wearing them in the 9th grade. 1991, 16 years ago. There are some people I work with that were just out of diapers at that time. It speaks for the Avia shoe company that I would stay with them for that long. And I'll probably buy their shoes again, but this time over to Kohl's, I didn't find anything Avia that fit just right, but these Nike Air ones do. It all depends on when I go and what I get. I just thought it was significant. If you make good quality merchandise and sell them like Avia does, you're bound to wind up with loyal customers. That is the first rule of retail. Make the customer return. And I have, for 16 years.


Oklahoma lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl in probably the most exciting game since last year's game twixt USC and Texas. My mom was complaining yesterday about the boring football games she watched this weekend (the NFL playoffs which I missed, so I can't validate how boring they were. I expect they were probably better than that, but anyway...) I admit myself that the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl were on as background noise in my room, that they didn't excite me that much.

And it got me thinking... what is it about Football these days that makes a game boring... I know I talked about that in an earlier Blog, but the point is still valid and unresolved. Is Football now getting so drawn out for today's ADD society that a full game is too boring for us? Or are we turning into fair weather fans, where the only people that liked the LSU Norte Dame game were those that lived in Louisiana and Indiana? I don't think so, cause I've watched some great football games where the teams are not ones I normally cheer for.

Why should the NFL network replay football games and shrink them into hour long games, or 30 minutes? Are just the highlights enough for us now to get the same feeling that we actually watched the game? Studies show that as we watch a game, with the suspense that builds, so does our adrenaline level. Our body temperatures rise as the stakes rise in the game. We appreciate high scoring offensive games that are thrilling instead of low scoring, defensive ones. Sports newscasters have to constantly flash graphics and interviews and off the wall comments in order to keep us entertained. The game can no longer do it.

All this points to a shortening of the human attention span to the point where even a football game cannot excite us. Movies have not enough explosions and violence...etc. Such is the fate of the ADD generation. If this is the case, then baseball is doomed, but that's another tale... time to watch the OSU / FLA game. :)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

To Be Discontinued....

On every TV show that I've ever watched, there are always the thrilling and anticipated season finales. And at the end, there is always this suspenseful cliffhanger, with the words "To Be Continued..." written on the end. You get to the good part, and then it cuts off.

Well, the same thing goes for everything else that's good in this world. If it's something I like, chances are it will be "discontinued" very shortly. The exceptions being Plinko on TPIR, and Transformers, which will go on forever. Here are some of the things I loved, but are now gone:

Josta. Pepsi does this constantly. Come out with a great idea, and then pull it because, in their mind, it didn't work. Josta was amazing, ahead of its time, and about the most addicting drink ever made. I loved the fruity taste, the high caffine content, and the guanara extract which kept me going at my grocery store job for hours. There was nothing that kept me going while studying for a test. Why oh Why did they pull it!!!????!!! I want my Josta! And while we're at it, how about Crystal Pepsi? Wonderful stuff, but as usual, it was gone in about 3 months.

Bar None. Hershey's crowning achievement. A chocolate lovers dream! I remember the last time I had one, at the Omniplex in Oklahoma City (look it up, wonderful museum, needs your support), got it out of the vending machine in the lunch room near the plant exhibit. For those of you that like to take apart your candy bars (Twix takes me like, 15 minutes to eat just one bar.), this one was amazing! There have been sugar free and low carb attempts at this one since, but nothing tastes better than the original.

The TripleDecker Pizza from Pizza Hut.. it's a limited time only pizza that they might bring back... Clogs my artries just thinking about it.

And it's just not food. Howabout Press your Luck, a game show on TV. Amazing show, way ahead of it's time, and it was on forever as reruns on the USA network. Probably the most visually stimulating game show to come out of the 80's, early 90's. The host died John Denver style in a plane crash (self made). A game show that any ADD kid craved. Oh well, have to make do with TPIR.

Or The Wizard. Only lasted one season. A midget toymaker turned detective/James Bond person. Sure, he never got the girl, but oh, those toys!!! Find it on

In the book world, there was a series started after The Sixth Sense with a very talented writer, David Benjamin, who wrote the books as well as M. Night made the movie. Trevor (HJO) was as real in the books as he was on screen. Unfortunately, there were only three books ever made. The series was better than other drivel that's out there. They should have made more.

There are other things, I'm sure. But I'll leave it at that. What things did you love, but were destined "to be discontinued..."?

Friday, January 5, 2007

Book Review: _Spin_ by Robert Charles Wilson

I always look for Wilson's works whenever I go to any bookstore. He likes to take the real world and give a set of interesting circumstances and see how mankind reacts. He never lets the science, however strange it might be, get in the way of the characters involved. In Spin, the world has been surrounded by a time bubble, blocking out the stars and only letting sunlight through. Time outside of Earth is going much faster than inside of it. This brings the nova of the sun closer by years, not centuries. This is the story of a family of scientists and their next door neighbor, Tyler Dupree, and their relationships against the destruction of the world. A very well written work by one of Canada's top Science-Fiction writers. The perfect start to an interesting series, if Wilson wants to develop it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

sick again.... always on Christmas.

I'm sick again. Sinus infection. And always on Christmas, too. I seem to get sick on Christmas, End of school, Spring Break... etc... I'm sure there's some underlying psychological reason, or maybe my body just shuts down when I relax from whatever I was doing. I've watched more Labor Day Telethons from my living room couch, sick as anything.

And my mom gets headaches on the same holidays... Christmas, Thanksgiving, all birthdays, Mother's day... any time when the grandparents would have been over. It's like a lingering stress echo, or something.


I'm so glad Christmas is over (for the Retail season, anyway.) I'm so tired, and once I get over being sick, I can write actual Blog entries. I'm looking forward to getting some good books by various philosophers and thinkers. I want to use my bookstore position to continue my education on topics that I enjoy.


It's the new year, 2007, and everyone has resolutions. The only thing I want to do is to keep better touch with my friends and those I care about. Of course, they can always see what I'm thinking on here, but I'll try to talk more on IM and even call once in a while. I already know I'm not going to exercise or lose weight, so why bother doing that. Epicuranism is so much more fun than trying to worry about everything.


Back to bed for me, until my mom and brother return from Applebee's with supper. (yum!)