Gripes & Graplings

Monday, May 29, 2006

If You Watch TV You'll Lose Your Marbles!

I read something interesting t'other day. Interesting because it seems, for once, I'm doing something right. It's not often I discover that, but luck was with me on this particular occasion.

I was flicking through a magazine (Good Housekeeping, I believe) when I came across an article that caught my eye. Basically, it said that those who watch a lot of TV are more likely to suffer from Altzheimer's in old age than those who engage in intellectual activities. Three hours or more of TV a day was particularly bad.

The brain, of course, is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it needs to be exercised if it's to be kept in tip-top condition. For every hour we spend veging in front of the TV in a semi-conscious state, (a state where we're not actually learning anything, just being fed information - there's a difference), we're increasing our chances of Altzheimer's.

I'd imagine that those who work in mind-numbing jobs like call-centres where they do nothing but follow a script all day, or production lines in factories, must be practically guaranteed to be heading for Altzheimer's.

Anyway, I thought I'd have a mooch round the old Internet and see if I could find any additional information on this, and came up with some stuff that a Dr Friedland and his team of researchers at a couple of US universities have said. Evidently, of those studied, people with Altzheimer's were less likely to have had intellectual hobbies and were unlikely to have had such a wide range of interests as their healthy peers. They also all watched a lot of TV.

While watching TV is a passive activity, both physically and mentally, intellectual activities include reading, solving crosswords, doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, and woodworking.

Physical activity also plays its role. Those who are less active are three times more likely to develop Altzheimer's than those who partake in activities such as gardening, sports, or playing a musical instrument.

The good news is that, as far as intellectual activities go, its never too late to get started.

Luckily, although I can't take much physical exercise anymore, I watch very little TV and have a crossword book in the loo to pass the time with when "finishing off" takes a little longer than usual. I read, I knit, I do jigsaws. I wonder whether surfing the Net falls into the intellectual category or not?

This is serious research so next time you sit there being served by Murdoch's miserable brain mushing tripe, give some thought to how your carers are going to feel when you can no longer remember where the toilet is let alone solve a crossword while you're in there!

Related Link: Findings presented on Alzheimer's disease, brain gymnastics, and lead


Altzheimers's Disease

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chicklit and Other Bookish Stuff

Why is it such a bad thing to like chicklit? Everywhere I go, I see women reading them (you can almost always tell by the cover, can't you?) and yet whenever I tell anybody I like them, I'm almost always met with a look of disapproval.

What is all this snobbery? Why should only certain types of books be acceptable for reading when millions of chicklit and other types of romantic fiction stories are sold and enjoyed by people from all walks of life? Who's to say that chicklit books are just trashy, mind-numbing garbage that should never be allowed to see the light of day? All I can say is that those people who insist on sticking two fingers up at anything other than just the one kind of book they believe to be intellectually acceptable are missing out on a lot of entertainment. The same goes for music and films. I'm afraid I can't be doing with all that snobbery. I like lots of different types of books, lots of different types of music and, although I'm not big into films, will watch them from a variety of genres.

Surely reading from just one genre is like only ever eating one type of cake? I don’t know about you but I'd get sick to death of walnut slice, even though it's my favourite, if I had to eat that every time I fancied some cake. Fruit cake and sponge cake are nice, too. Lemon cake's good, as is carrot cake and cheese cake. I might eat more walnut slice than any other kind but I'll be damned if I'm going to eat ONLY walnut slice.

Chicklit makes me smile. It's light entertainment where women (many of which I can relate to) are put into situations that could possibly be solved in a reasonably easy way but for the sake of entertainment, the author has them tripping up and making tits of themselves along the way. The same goes for the men who appear in the stories. And let's face it, whether it's a romance, a murder mystery or a horror story, there's nothing entertaining about a story where everything goes smoothly, is there?

Comedy's good for us. There's enough to be miserable about in this world as it is so if escaping into chicklit helps bring a smile to my face, what's the problem? I really don't get it. If I want to be frightened, I'll read a horror. If I want suspense, I'll read a mystery. If I want to cry, I'll read a soppy romance. And if I want to laugh, I'll read a comedy.

I don't read sci-fi or fantasy. I've tried but I can't stand it. But do I tell those who enjoy it that they're making some kind of literary mistake? Of course not. It's up to them what they want to read.

So next time you give me that "down the nose" look just because I happen to be reading chicklit (or -- dare I say it -- Mills & Boon!!!), please remember that it's my choice and, unlike you, I'm capable of enjoying different things on different levels for different reasons.

Whatever happened to live and let live?

Rant over.

Related Link: ChickLit Books



Thursday, May 18, 2006

Don't Look Down!

According to some scientist or another -- or maybe even several, I'm not sure -- people suffering from depression are more likely to look down whilst walking.

Well quite honestly, is it surprising they're depressed? I'd be bloody depressed, too, if I kept bumping into things because I wasn't looking where I was going, wouldn't you?

Actually I have suffered from depression. Still do if I don't take my 'loony juice', as Richard calls it. It's real name's Fluoxetine, otherwise known as Prozac. I don't think it had anything to do with bumping into things, though. Probably more the fact that I was learning to live with -- still am learning to live with -- my medical situation, being stuck in this poxy little house after being used to having plenty of room, having my freedom removed (evidently I can't move away from this borough as no other health authority is likely to take me because of the cost of my medical needs) and not being particular happy about being in England. A few other things were mixed in for good measure but I don't need to go into them all. One very big one was, and still is, that I'm no longer sure who the hell I am.

I left England when I was 19 and came back as a 36 year old woman. People change a lot during that time, right? Only I came back and found myself confused - almost as though that part of my life hadn't happened because I couldn't relate to the things a 36 year old normally would be able to. I didn't know how the tax system worked, how to claim financial help for my son, or even how to pay my bills (yes, something as simple as that is done differently in Norway). And then there were the friends I'd had when I left. Some were still around and again, I felt confused. They didn't know me, the person I'd grown into. They knew the Sharon that left 18 years earlier and I felt as though I was still expected to be that person. They hadn't changed much -- I suppose because they had the same influences the whole time -- but I had. Did I really fit in? I didn't know. I kept trying but all the while I kept losing more of myself.

My depression, I suppose, was a culmination of all of those things. It isn't something I talk about much - in fact, I don't think I've really spoken about it to anybody. Not even my closest friends really know how I feel. Why? Stop asking such difficult questions!

What's the point in writing this? I DON'T BLOODY WELL KNOW! It all started off with bumping into stuff so blame the scientists! It's gotta be somebody else's fault. Right?

Related Link:



Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blogger's Broken.... AGAIN!!

Bloody place! I take the time to update my sidebar with some fancy banner type adverts to take the place of those boring Google ads and what happens? The bloody thing's broken! You can post but you can't update your template! Grrrrrr (make sure you hear that sound properly - it's a cross between a Pit Bull and a White Tiger).

Am I allowed to swear?

I bet it's because I didn't forward that email with the photos of the soldiers cuddling kittens and what-have-ya the other day. Damn! I knew it'd come back to haunt me.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Read This or Something Bad Will Happen!

I mean it. If you don't continue to read this post right to the end without missing a single word, something really awful will happen to you. Within 5 days of skipping this post you'll start scratching your backside and no amount of worm powders will cure it. Your life will be spent squeezing your buttocks together in some vain hope that the itch might just be relieved. But it won't.

So I dare you to try it. Go on... skip to the end and see what happens. You're not superstitious are you? You don't care whether you'll have a lifetime of good luck if you guide at least 5 visitors to this post, and a guaranteed lottery win of at least £50,000 if you bump that up to at least 10 visitors, do you? No, of course not. Because you don’t believe any of that baloney, do you?

For the umpteenth time this year I've received one of those "Send this mail to 10 people within an hour and blah blah blah but break the chain and your grandmother will wet the bed tonight whilst wearing her best wynciette nightie" type emails, and they're all from the same person.

I keep telling her that although some of them contain sweet messages like "25 reasons why men should be eradicated from the planet", I'd rather not receive them. Why? Because I'm bloody superstitious, that's why. And if you admit it, so are you. Because if you weren't, you'd have skipped all this and gone straight to the bottom, just to prove to yourself that you don't give a monkey's armpit about potential embarrassing itches or £50,000. Wouldn't you? Eh?

I don't like to see myself as a superstitious person - in fact if people ask, I always say I'm not, but if the truth be known, whenever I get to the end of a humorous email only to discover that my toe-nails are going to rot if I don't forward it to at least 10 people, a nasty shiver goes up my spine. I mean, what if it really does happen? How can you be sure it isn't possible? Strange things are happening all the time after all, and if anybody can bring themselves to have an affair with John Prescott, then surely there must be people out there who are able to send curses via email?

Please... if you're ever considering sending me one of those emails, stop a moment and consider just what kind of dreadful situation you're putting me in. I don't know 10 people I can send the damned thing to so you're dooming me to a life of pus-filled spots, constipation, unpaid bills and loneliness. Do you really hate me that much?


Chain Mail

Friday, May 05, 2006

Lady Muck Comes of Age

The world now has more female millionaires under the age of 45 than there are male millionaires of the same age, and it's predicted that within twenty years women will control 60 percent of the world's finances. Take a look at this article for more on the subject.

How does that make you feel, guys? I spent 10 years living with a man who found it very difficult to accept that women were even part of management let alone actually running their own businesses, because strong women threatened his leadership position, both in the workplace and in the home. It's hardly surprising I left him, is it?

I particularly liked the last part of the article - the bit relating to the red sports car. How true that is! I admit I have my eye on an Audi TT but that's hardly a Maserati, is it?

And for the record, even though I'm too late to be one of the under-45s, I have every intention of becoming a female millionaire. I just have to figure out how first.

Related Link: Identified Wealth of Individuals in The United Kingdom (pdf)


Female Millionaires