Tag Archives: emotions

Amateur Night

Amateur Night has come round again, dudes.

Be careful out there on the streets because there are far too many people, who incorrectly think they have a handle on their emotions, their ability and their driving skills, who really, really don’t.

Alcohol isn’t to blame for all of that misperception of ability, but it certainly doesn’t help.

And, to make matters even more non-salubrious, New Year’s Evil is full of people out drinking — a lot — who don’t often drink all that much. And, being the kind of people we mostly are, even when we’re stumbling drunk, we’ll never admit it. Which means these amateurs will head out and keep on drinking. Because they’re obviously not even afflected — notevena liddlebt.

If you see where I’m going here.

Of course, not all that sure that the professional drinkers out tonight are any sort of person to emulate, either. People who drink a lot and do it often, might understand they’re impaired, but statistics show that they still get behind the wheel or drunk dial their exes at 3:27 am for sparkling, slobbering conversation with an answering service.

So that’s not all that good.

Listen. I know we’re all headed out, looking for a good time. But understand it’s okay if your good time doesn’t end with you face down in a suburban roadside swale, blowing bubbles with your nose in the stagnant rainwater.

It’s okay to go out, not drink all that much (if at all) and then wake up on Jan. 1 without a blinding hangover. Really, it is.

In fact, it might make you feel slightly more optimistic about the coming new year if you can do a bit more than moan pitifully and weakly wave toward the curtains in the vain hope that you’ll spontaneously develop telekinetic powers and will close the drapes tighter.

Remember, there’s a lot of unsafe amateur drinkers (and even more unsafe professional drinkers) out there tonight: Avoid them. Come home safely and start out the new year the right way: Alive and happy.

#NewYear #HappyNewYear

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Freaky Friday: Stay Awake And Get Fat

How’s that for a sweeps-month, scare-the-snot-out-of-you type of headline? Yeah, it’s something that’s almost guaranteed to get your eyeballs glued to the page, wanting to see more about this.

All I’d need to do is throw in the words free and sex and maybe iPhone and I’ve got a pageview magnet. Still, it’s not all about the pageviews. This here is a real thing.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, losing sleep over the fact that you’re overweight (or, really, for any reason at all) is a pretty sure way to actually make yourself gain more weight.

Losing sleep tends to make people eat more and gain weight, and now a new study suggests that one reason may be the impact that sleep deprivation has on the brain.

The research showed that depriving people of sleep for one night created pronounced changes in the way their brains responded to high-calorie junk foods. On days when the subjects had not had proper sleep, fattening foods like potato chips and sweets stimulated stronger responses in a part of the brain that helps govern the motivation to eat. But at the same time, the subjects experienced a sharp reduction in activity in the frontal cortex, a higher-level part of the brain where consequences are weighed and rational decisions are made.

In other words, your brain is hitting you with a double whammy. Your body is craving a hit of that sweet, salty, fat load of goodness we call junk food. And, just when your body most needs to have your brain in control and exercising a little restraint, the part of the brain that’s in charge of restraint goes out for a well-deserved vacation, leaving instant gratification in charge for a while.

Not a good combination.

Of course, it was possible that we, the sleep-deprived masses, simply craved more food because our bodies had to make up for the calories expended when we stayed awake instead of sleeping soundly. It was possible to believe it until this new study came out, that is.

“Their hunger was no different when they were sleep deprived and when they had a normal night of sleep,” (said Matthew P. Walker, an author of the study and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley). “That’s important because it suggests that the changes we’re seeing are caused by sleep deprivation itself, rather than simply being perhaps more metabolically impaired when you’re sleep deprived.”

Least you think this is all made up, let me assure you that the link between lack of sleep and weight gain is one that has been well established by a number of studies throughout the year. It’s real. Sleep less, weigh more. Not only that, but sleep deprivation can inflict a whole host of other potentially deleterious effects on your body. This new study, though, really focused in on what happened in the brain when the subjects skipped sleep and then started drooling over different food pictures.

The research showed that when the subjects were bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, they strongly preferred the food choices that were highest in calories, like desserts, chocolate and potato chips. The sleepier they felt, the more they wanted the calorie-rich foods. In fact, the foods they requested when they were sleep deprived added up to about 600 calories more than the foods that they wanted when they were well rested.

At the same time, brain scans showed that on the morning after the subjects’ sleepless night, the heavily caloric foods produced intense activity in an almond-shaped structure called the amygdala, which helps regulate basic emotions as well as our desires for things like food and experiences. That was accompanied by sharply reduced responses in cortical areas of the frontal lobe that regulate decision-making, providing top down control of the amygdala and other primitive brain structures.

All of which goes a long way toward explaining why dudes make such bad choices the day after an all-nighter. And when I say dudes, I mean, of course, mostly me. Who hasn’t woken bleary-eyed from a night of tossing and turning only to find themselves making a direct line from bathroom to cupboard, searching for that one last donut?

Bit takeaway health tip here, dudes. Make sure you get enough sleep, even if only to avoid eating more donuts. Save ’em for me.

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Before We Begin. . .

So while we’re getting ready to get serious, I thought I’d check back in with Barry before we start the seriousness in a serious manner for serious people. Or something like that.

Barry? Over to you, Barry.

. . .

Barry?

. . .

What’s going on? Does anyone know what’s going on with Barry? Barry?

–ody well fix this thing before I come over there and stomp on your.  . . er. . . um. . . well.

Yes.

I can see we’re all better now. Thanks for handing back the mic, Richard. I appreciate it. I wanted to drop by and let you know about a horrific new threat we’ve been experiencing over at my house. It’s a little thing I like to call Manopause.

And, no, it’s not me going through this.

My 13-year-old son has begun suffering from a horrific disease that can, after extensive research and untold hours of imaginative leaps and counterintuitive logical progressions, be called accelerated menopause, rule 63 variant.

Yes, that’s right. He’s a teenage boy, suffering from a syndrome most notably known for affecting women in their 50s and signaling, among other things, the end of their childbearing years.

Now, I understand that you dudes might be a bit hesitant to accept this diagnosis for the reasons outlined above. I understand that. However, let me run through a couple of the symptoms and you tell me what you’re reading about. Fair enough?

My son is burning hot and sweaty and then, one second later he’s cold as ice and demanding a sweater. He might walk into a room whistling and feeling like he’s on top of the world, but within the five steps it takes to cross the room, he’ll sink into the most red-tinted rage imaginable. He’ll be playing nicely with his younger sisters until he snaps and begins berating them and searching for dolls so he can snap their heads off.

I do not mean any of these in a metaphorical fashion. Dude is suffering.

And it hurts me to watch it. I feel for the pain he’s going through, not having a handle on his emotions, feeling like his body is having a party and he’s going to have to pick up the bill. It’s inconceivable that he’s going through this.

Although, now that I think of it, I do not think that word means what I think it means. And I–

What?

No, really?

Huh. Well.

Ah, so it seems, if my wife the pediatrician is to be believed, that what the little dude is going through is perfectly normal for boys his age. Apparently it’s not Manopause, which would be a totally new syndrome that would need somebody to get out ahead of it and be the face of Manopause prevention and be on talk shows and sign lucrative endorsement deals and be invited to red-carpet movie premiers. It’s apparently puberty, which everybody knows about and goes through. And certainly doesn’t need someone going around warning people about it. Which is no fun at all.

Well, poo.

Even worse, if this is puberty and my oldest little dude is, indeed, going through it, that means this isn’t a one-time deal and I’ve got to face one more little dude and two little dudettes going through it.

Oh. Oh, my.

I need a vacation. 

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