Friday, August 29, 2008

La Fleur douce de Rue

Agoraphobia is something that I have, something that I live with and something that most people in my life refuse to acknowledge exists. By talking about it more and more and sharing what it actually is, my hope is that people will understand and accept it.

The life of an agoraphobic is hard enough, but when those you love and care about persecute you for things that are out of your control and/or mock you for your affliction, it can do irreparable damage.

A) Agoraphobia Definition
B) Agoraphobia Symptoms
C) Causes of Agoraphobia

A) Agoraphobia Definition

The term agoraphobia is translated from Greek as “fear of the marketplace.” Agoraphobia today describes severe and pervasive anxiety about being in situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing and/or from which help may not be available should a panic attack occur.

This anxiety leads to the following behavior:

1) avoidance of these types of situations, i.e., being alone outside of the home, traveling in a car, bus, or airplane, being in a crowded area, or being on a bridge;
2) endurance of such situations under great stress, i.e., a panic attack may occur; or
3) requiring another person's company when in said situations.

Agoraphobia typically accompanies a panic disorder although on rare occasions, it may also occur when criteria of a panic disorder are not fully met (Morrison, 1995). In panic disorder, panic attacks recur and the person develops an intense apprehension of having another attack. This fear—called anticipatory anxiety or fear of fear—can be present most of the time and seriously interfere with the person's life even when a panic attack is not in progress. In addition, the person may develop irrational fears called phobias, such as agoraphobia, about situations where a panic attack has occurred. If agoraphobia occurs with panic disorder, the onset is usually during the 20s, and women are affected more often than men.

Agoraphobia affects about a third of all people with panic disorder. Typically, people with agoraphobia restrict themselves to a "zone of safety" that may include only the home or the immediate neighborhood. Any movement beyond the edges of this zone creates mounting anxiety. As noted earlier, sometimes a person with agoraphobia is unable to leave home alone, but can travel if accompanied by a particular family member or friend. Even when they restrict themselves to "safe" situations, most people with agoraphobia continue to have panic attacks at least a few times a month.

People with agoraphobia can be seriously disabled by their condition. Some are unable to work, and they may need to rely heavily on other family members, who must do the shopping and run all the household errands, as well as accompany the affected person on rare excursions outside the "safety zone." People with this disorder may become house-bound for years, with resulting impairment of social and interpersonal relationships. Thus the person with agoraphobia typically leads a life of extreme dependency as well as great discomfort.

B) Agoraphobia Symptoms:

Fear of being alone
Fear of losing control in a public place
Fear of being in places where escape might be difficult
Becoming house bound for prolonged periods
Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
Feelings of helplessness
Dependence upon others
Feeling that the body is unreal
Feeling that the environment is unreal
Anxiety or panic attack (acute severe anxiety)
Unusual temper or agitation with trembling or twitching

Additional symptoms that may occur:

Lightheadedness, near fainting
Excessive sweating
Skin flushing
Breathing difficulty
Chest pain
Heartbeat sensations
Nausea and vomiting
Numbness and tingling
Abdominal distress that occurs when upset
Confused or disordered thoughts
Intense fear of going crazy
Intense fear of dying

There may be a history of phobias, or the health care provider may receive a description of typical behaviors from family, friends, or the affected person. The pulse (heart rate) is often rapid, sweating is present, and the patient may have high blood pressure. A person may be described as having Agoraphobia if other mental disorders or medical conditions do not provide better explanation for the person's symptoms.

C) Causes of Agoraphobia

The etiology of most anxiety disorders, although not fully understood, has come into sharper focus in the last decade. In broad terms, the likelihood of developing anxiety involves a combination of life experiences, psychological traits, and/or genetic factors. The anxiety disorders are so heterogeneous that the relative roles of these factors are likely to differ. It is not clear why females have higher rates than males of most anxiety disorders, although some theories have suggested a role for the gonadal steroids. Other research on women's responses to stress also suggests that women experience a wider range of life events (e.g., those happening to friends) as stressful as compared with men who react to a more limited range of stressful events, specifically those affecting themselves or close family members.

Here is a description of some of the most important research by the National Institute of Mental Health on panic disorder and its causes.

Genetics. Panic disorder runs in families. One study has shown that if one twin in a genetically identical pair has panic disorder, it is likely that the other twin will also. Fraternal, or non-identical twin pairs do not show this high degree of "concordance" with respect to panic disorder. Thus, it appears that some genetic factor, in combination with environment, may be responsible for vulnerability to this condition.

Brain and Biochemical Abnormalities. One line of evidence suggests that panic disorder may be associated with increased activity in the hippocampus and locus coeruleus, portions of the brain that monitor external and internal stimuli and control the brain's responses to them. Also, it has been shown that panic disorder patients have increased activity in a portion of the nervous system called the adrenergic system, which regulates such physiological functions as heart rate and body temperature. However, it is not clear whether these increases reflect the anxiety symptoms or whether they cause them.

Another group of studies suggests that people with panic disorder may have abnormalities in their benzodiazepine receptors, brain components that react with anxiety-reducing substances within the brain.

In conducting their research, scientists can use several different techniques to provoke panic attacks in people who have panic disorder. The best known method is intravenous administration of sodium lactate, the same chemical that normally builds up in the muscles during heavy exercise. Other substances that can trigger panic attacks in susceptible people include caffeine (generally 5 or more cups of coffee are required). Hyperventilation and breathing air with a higher-than-usual level of carbon dioxide can also trigger panic attacks in people with panic disorder.

Because these provocations generally do not trigger panic attacks in people who do not have panic disorder, scientists have inferred that individuals who have panic disorder are biologically different in some way from people who do not. However, it is also true that when the people prone to panic attacks are told in advance about the sensations these provocations will cause, they are much less likely to panic. This suggests that there is a strong psychological component, as well as a biological one, to panic disorder. (Further reading...)
Bland Street Bloom

(Provided by Psychology Today) (photo by OlliK)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Le Drogue Parfait

I got my head but my head is unraveling
Cant keep control can't keep track of where it's traveling
I got my heart but my heart's no good
You're the only one that's understood

I come along but I don't know where you're taking me
I shouldn't go but you're wrenching dragging shaking me
Turn off the sun pull the stars from the sky
The more I give to you the more I die

…and I want you
You are the perfect drug

You make me hard when i'm all soft inside
I see the truth when I'm all stupid-eyed
The arrow goes straight through my heart
Without you everything just falls apart

My blood just wants to say hello to you
My fear is warm to get inside of you
My soul is so afraid to realize
How every little bit is left of me

Take me with you
Without you everything just falls apart
It's not as much fun to pick up the pieces


The Last Grains of Sand [Re-Post]

- In a CNN/Opinion Research Poll from last month 70% of respondents said gas prices would be "extremely/very" important in their choice for President. The same poll stated that 73% of respondents backed offshore drilling, and 69% were in favor of drilling in currently protected federal lands.

-Other polls have shown that the majority of Americans believe that more drilling for oil in the US would alleviate the problem of dependency on foreign oil and rising gas prices.

-The US Department of Energy estimates that the amount of recoverable oil available from offshore drilling in the continental US would last only 7 months at the current rate of consumption.

-A D.O.E. report from last year indicates that it would take 2 decades for domestic drilling to have a noticeable impact on domestic production and the impact on overall fuel costs would be insignificant. Recently John McCain himself has admitted that offshore resources would "take years to develop". He is now running on a platform that promotes the idea of vastly increased domestic drilling, which will have little to no effect on overall fuel costs or the long term energy crisis. In addition, his overall stance on viable sources of energy is heavily reliant on our current model of oil production and use, the dire consequences of which have been predicted by such disparate sources as NASA, Al Gore, the United Nations, and the Pope (along with a continually rising number of other organizations and individuals).

-The US only accounts for 5% of the world's population but uses 25% of it's oil. The US is second only to China as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. 1 barrel of oil burned adds approximately 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide to the air.

Source: New Yorker Aug 8-11 2008.
Illustrations: A. Turner, Fall 2000.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Moucher la Boîte

Snuff Box (sometimes referred to as Berry & Fulcher's Snuff Box) is a BBC Three sketch show starring and written by Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher. It first aired on Monday 27 February 2006.

Both actors use their real names for their main characters. Berry plays a hangman ("High Executioner to the King of England"), and Fulcher his assistant. The majority of the programme is set in a "gentlemen's club for hangmen", although the show is also interspersed with sequences of sketches, often featuring different characters.

Each episode begins with Berry and Fulcher walking down a white corridor. After walking for some time, they choose a door which often leads into a surreal situation.

Recurring sketches and themes during the programme include:

Matt playing Rich in a sporting match for Rich's royalty cheque.
Matt and Rich hanging a man, whilst making light hearted conversation.
Music composers meeting a famous rock legend (including David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix), with Rich unaware of their identity.
Matt chatting up an attractive woman, and upon finding out she has a boyfriend, casually yet directly stating "Fuck you" and dropping what he's helping her with (such as a tray of drinks), kicking a dog, or breaking whatever the woman was holding.
Rich traveling back in time to 1888 and meeting Matt's great-great-uncle Sir Charles Berry, who Berry has stated is intended to be Jack the Ripper, who showers him with prostitutes. Sir Charles Berry seems to provide an odd, seemingly evil solution for what ever Rich's problem be that episode.
Matt entering a boutique for silver cowboy boots and ending up being beaten by a series of attendants.
Mentions of eating rabbits
Matt being heard asking loudly for "whiskey!", a habit apparently of his series-father too.
Rich often says how he is "a great kisser"
Rich on occasion stating "I need a piss"
A particular event in the past taking place in Holborn (which Rich pronounces 'Hole-burn')
Each episode ends with a different rendition of the show's theme. Among the different renditions, the theme is covered in the style of The Mamas & The Papas and Phil Collins.

(((03))) (special thanks to Jason Burris)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maniacal Musick (Rien Mauvais Jamais M'Arrive)


Monday, August 25, 2008

The Nebulous Gift (an excerpt from a forthcoming short shory by Matt Amyx)

Barry walked the distance from his apartment to the apartment mailboxes in hopes that getting out would clear his head of the bad dream he’d just had. Being a Sunday, he knew there would be no mail, but he couldn’t think of another destination that wouldn’t just be a fruitless walk bearing him nothing but stupid exercise.

The weather that day was nice. Overcast skies and a cool breeze were exactly the kind of things that he’d loved about the spring. The way the grey clouds contrasted with the newly green leaves that made the newness of the season appeal to his more poetic side. Maybe a little bit longer walk would be nice and exactly what he needed, but out of sheer habit he walked up to his mailbox, inserted the key and turned.

Not expecting the box to be occupied, he was surprised to find a package inside. Posted to “Berry Fishman”, Barry rolled his eyes at the millionth time his name was incorrectly spelled this way and looked for the address of the sender. There was none. Whoever had sent it would have to wait to be revealed until he returned to his apartment and opened it up.

The walk back seemed to take an eternity as he wondered about the contents of the package. He cursed his inability to break with habit and not wait until he returned home to tear into the unexpected parcel. What could it be? He’d not ordered anything on the internet and he certainly had no reason to think that someone had just sent him a gift. His imagination ran wild and he began to bite his fingernails in nervous anxiety of the thought of all the random items that might be contained within. [...]

(((03))) (photo by .eyebex)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Huit.vingt Deux.Huit

"The story's being written in a language that is foreign to the writer but not to the reader..."

~ Matthew Kim Amyx III

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Le Malaise d'Est

Recently, I've started work on a series of short stories revolving around a character named Barry Fishman titled "The Unease of Being Barry Fishman".

I've not written fiction in almost 10 years save for some very VERY short stories for personal amusement and depending on how well Barry turns out, I may pursue publication.

The characters life centers around a solemn and lonely existence that gives precedence to all sorts of antics by way of his day dreaming.

Barry's been influenced by my constant ingestion of H.P. Lovecraft, Arrested Development, Clive Barker, The Flavours Cornetto, French Cinema, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and Dr. Who. So far it's been pretty interesting and a TON of fun.

I will put some samples up in the future, but for now Barry is still in his growth stages and since there is something of an auto-biographical nature to the character, the process is somewhat therapeutic. Wish me luck!

"hoc volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas"
- Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (Juvenal)
The Unease of Being
(((03))) (painting by Viktor Safonkin)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Est Vous Etes, Ou Vous Est Ain't (mon Bébé)


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sick, Sick, Sicks

I've grown another "I Hate..." list to my nervous system and thought I'd share:

The overuse of the word "amazing" (see if your little brain can't try a new word to describe something you're impressed with).
People who decide not to answer their fucking phone but don't bother to mute it for the rest of us.
People who feel they have to stand as close to the person in front of them as they can while their in line.
Wendy Williams.
People who talk loud at work because they think anyone else wants to hear what they did the night before.
People who call an athlete a hero instead of an entertainer.
Matthew McConaughey (for fuck sake, disappear already).
People who say "Wal-Marts".
People who think that divorce is an easy out and don't think "til death do us part" means sticking around for more than a few months.
People who think that what they're doing is driving.
People who repeat what you've just said adding a question mark to it instead of using their brain and forming a sentence in the form of a question.
People who jump other people's shit for things they do themselves.
The fact that "shuffle" on any given music player never quite "shuffles" a goddamn thing.
CSI: Crime Scene Idiocy.
When someone says one thing to you and when you bring that subject up around others they flip on you and say something different (you know who you are).

(((03))) (photo by Nina.milani)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Maniacal Musick (Ce Ain de Ville› t assez Grand Pour les deux D'Etats-Unis)


Spock de monsieur


Friday, August 15, 2008

Clemaine et McClegnie


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Le sagittaire

Talk about hitting the nail on the head...

Music and art hold great appeal for you, right now, so try to squeeze some extra entertainment into your free time, today. Check out a new exhibit at the art museum, visit your local record store and stock up on new CDs, or just surf the net looking for the next hot band to become obsessed by. New artistic expressions will feed your intellect and up your energy level. It's amazing how a new voice or a new image can make you see things in a whole new way.


Maniacal Musick (L'éclair Frappant Encore)


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Scott de monsieur


Monday, August 11, 2008

Pourquoi la Mort est-il Injuste?

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough 10.05.57 - 08.09.08
I was a fan of the Mac! That a person of his humor, talent and insight can be taken away at such a young age saddens me to the core and my heart goes out to his wife Rhonda, daughter Je'Niece and granddaughter Jasmine.

Bernie was the kind of man who stood fast by his beliefs and way of life never once looking down on anyone else for theirs. His shows made me laugh out loud at times, and other times made me sad (just watch episode 21, "Sweet Home Chicago"), but most of all it always made me think and that is something you don't often get with comedy and that only Bernie could have done it so well.

The world has lost one of it's better human beings and for that is a little bit sadder place to live.
Why is Death Unfair?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Le Côté plus Léger de Léon

The Lighter Side of Léon

Friday, August 08, 2008

"Lock, stock, the fuckin' lot"...

...said Barry the Baptist played by the late Lenny McLean, better known as "The Guv'nor". Lenny was a famed East End of London bare-knuckle fighter, bouncer, former criminal, author, television presenter, and actor; McLean was often referred to as "the hardest man in Britain” and was but one of the brilliant cast of the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels came out in Britain in 1998 and I saw it for the first time around 2001 and have been a die hard fan of writer/director Guy Ritchie ever since (although it wasn't hard to kill my enthusiasm for him after viewing even the first 5 minutes of Swept Away).

Lock, Stock began it's life as a twenty-minute short film called The Hard Case which was viewed by Trudie Styler, (wife of Sting) who invested money into Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (her husband would play a role in this feature film as well).

The story of Lock, Stock is a heist film involving a self-confident young card sharp (yes, it's SHARP. Look it up) who loses £500,000 to a powerful crime lord in a rigged game of three card brag. In order to pay off his debts, he and his friends decide to rob a small-time gang who happen to be operating out of the flat next door.

The film introduced actors Vinnie Jones, a former Welsh international football player, and Jason Statham, to worldwide audiences and has in it more twists and turns, tongue-in-cheek humor and what I like to call "brain-scenes" than most directors could put in their movies during their entire careers.

What's a brain scene you ask? It's a scene that moves too fast for your typical dumb-ass to follow, but that those of use with full sets of frontal lobes follow and get completely. Brain scenes are a perfect way to weed the morons out of your life, just show them one and if they don't get it, they suck. Period.

The film was produced by Matthew Vaughn (of whom I am also a MASSIVE fan) who went on to direct Layer Cake which actually nearly surpasses any and every movie EVER in sheer brilliance. It's that good! But that's another review...

Interestingly, the body count of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is only 17. In chronological order:

1. Smithy Robinson - bludgeoned to death with "a 15-inch black rubber cock" by Harry
2. Gordon's unnamed associate - beaten to death with a golf club
3. Gordon - killed with a Chef's knife sharpening steel by Dog
4. Mickey - shot by Gloria
5. Paul - killed in the shootout at Eddie and Bacon's place
6. John - killed in the shootout at Eddie and Bacon's place
7-10. Rory Breaker's 4 henchmen - killed in the shootout at Eddie and Bacon's place
11. Plank - shot several times, until finally killed by Rory Breaker
12. Rory Breaker - shot by Plank
13. Dean - shot in the chest by Harry
14. Harry Londsdale - shot several times by Gary
15. Gary - killed with a hatchet to the back by Barry
16. Barry - shot in the stomach by Gary
17. Dog - crushed repeatedly by a car-door, kicked and beaten by Big Chris

...and that should give you a little idea of what's in store, but it's really not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg. My opinion of this movie? It's one of the best ever made and is surpassed only by Ritchie's follow up, Snatch. But that's another review also...

If you've not seen Lock, Stock.., you're a loser. It's that simple. At least in the realm of cinema. Find it, buy it (because if you rent it you'll just end up buying it anyway so why not skip a step)? Follow it up with Snatch (take that any way you like...) and learn what it's like to be a Ritchie fan. There you go...'nuff said. Except to show you the trailer and to thank Gypsy James for egging me on to do this!

C'est arrivé près de chez vous


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Maniacal Musick Monday (Névtelen utazó)


La serrure, Stocker & Deux Barils Fumant


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Le Chaos Rampant

"Slowly but inexorably crawling upon my consciousness and rising above every other impression, came a dizzying fear of the unknown; a fear all the greater because I could not analyse it, and seeming to concern a stealthily approaching menace; not death, but some nameless, unheard-of thing inexpressibly more ghastly and abhorrent."
The Crawling Chaos
- Howard Phillips Lovecraft (April 1921)