Friday, January 10, 2014

Starting Something New

I'm starting a food blog. Check it out!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Rush of Blood to the Limbic System

As I'm sure many of you know, Romance is quite a popular genre - and why shouldn't it be? Romance itself is such a wonderful high, and who doesn't get a thrill out of reading about the sexual tension and lust between two deeply involved characters?

"Romance fiction sales remained relatively steady in 2010, though dipping slightly to $1.358 billion from $1.36 billion in 2009. And romance fiction continued its dominance of the consumer market at 13.4 percent (in terms of revenue of market categories), beating out mystery, science fiction/fantasy, and religion/inspirational titles." - Romance Writers of America

But what is love, really? Why do we get such a high from "falling in love"?

There is actually a physiological reason behind it all, and it's more than just "(s)he's crazy lol".

For those who took any basic psychology courses in college, or maybe even high school, you probably know that the frontal cortex of our brain is in charge of reasoning and decision making. From this, most of you can probably infer that the cortex is not highly involved in our decisions when it comes to romance.

Why do we get so crazy when we "fall in love"? Why are so many of us drawn to that feeling of new love? Why do we chase it, yearn for it, lust for it?

I strongly encourage all romance novelists and romance novel fans to check out this article, "Limbic Love", on the American Scientist website. It briefly discusses why we get those crazy, emotionally-charged feelings when we start falling in love, and the answer is fairly simple: the limbic system.

Those crazy feelings of love, jealousy, and euphoria? The limbic system. Those crazy acts of slapping that person who dared giving "the look" to your significant other? That's the brain redirecting the flow of blood from the cortex (remember: logic, decision-making, etc.) to the limbic system (emotions).

The limbic system is responsible for that Velcro collision called "falling in love." If our limbic patterning is off when it comes to love, we can suffer endless trouble, write psychiatrists Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon in A General Theory of Love. Dreams of falling in love and living happily ever after spin out of "the airy regions of the cortex, which drafts its scripts using imagination, logic and will."

But what happens after that? What happens when the initial "falling in love" ends, and the real relationship begins? And I don't mean the "real relationship" to mean the day you two lovebirds officially mark the day you went steady; I'm talking about the hard work of maintaining a steady, long-term relationship...a topic many romance novelists fail to cover.

Loving is limbically different from being in love. Loving is "synchronous attunement and modulation. As such, adult love depends critically upon knowing the other." Loving is what happens after the limbic thrill is gone, and it's more substantial than that thrill: "In a dazzling vote of form over substance, our culture fawns over the fleetingness of being 'in love' while discounting the importance of 'loving.'"

It's not exactly exciting to write entire novels about a couple finding their first apartment, paying the bills, and fighting over which brand of toilet paper to buy. But it's not to say it isn't important to discuss. Love and marriage isn't all about passionate lovemaking and blasting "your song" through the window at night - it's about coming together and creating a symbiotic relationship together. Your lover should also be your partner and your best friend; without such a bond, the "love" between a couple will eventually fade.

With that, I leave you all with a quote from one of my favorite novels, Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières:

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love", which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

Friday, September 14, 2012

Scenes from "The Night Life" - Richard's Father's Almost-Death

And I saw it – I saw my father open his mouth to speak. His careful words began as nothing more than a small, almost inaudible groan resulting from the failed attempt at actual speech. For a brief moment, I actually believed he was dying, because his muffled groan was actually quite terrifying despite its struggling weakness. Why didn’t I act sooner? I could have saved him before it was too late. And when his head started to fall to the right, I briefly panicked, thinking that he had finally met the grim reaper.

“You see what you’ve done?!” I shouted.

“Richard, he’s not dead,” Patrick pointed out.

“Of course he is!”

“He’s still breathing.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trampled by Turtles.

I went to the Trampled by Turtles show the other night in Steamboat Springs and got some pretty sweet photos out of the deal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What Smoke Does to the Sky

Sorry guys, I'm pretty inept at getting good pictures, especially of sunsets. I fail at sunsets, apparently.

But yeah, these pictures are the result of the Squirrel Creek Fire, burning about 35 miles southwest of here.

Red Sunset.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Colorado is Ablaze!

Above is a map (made by Theoretican on Reddit and posted to /r/Colorado) of the newly-developed Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs. I'm not in Colorado Springs right now, but I grew up there, and I've seen pictures, and it looks like it's pretty visible from pretty much everywhere in the city. It looks like mandatory evacuations were put into place for Manitou Springs, which is about a half hour drive from where I grew up.

Most everybody I know lives in either the north or the east of the city, though, so I have no worries there. Though I do hope that this fire doesn't spread too much. Though it has been pretty hot, and coupled with the fact that we had a pretty mild and dry winter, things aren't boding well for these fires in general.

Meanwhile, closer to where I live, the second largest fire in Colorado history is burning near Fort Collins. I was actually in Fort Collins last Friday, and it's pretty hazy down there (and also much warmer - I think it got to about 100 yesterday). This one has affected us more, though again, we're not in any danger. Below is a photo of the fire I took on June 4th - obviously, it's gotten a bit worse since then.

For those interested, here are a few relevant articles to check out: