There’s another story on the BBC website about the benefits of the ‘cuddle hormone’ — oxytocin. I referred to James’ view that human attraction was based on a whole mix of chemicals in the reading I did before Easter — and there was a quite a lot of feedback on whether the various things I’d referred to were hormones or not.
The story had links to an old web page from 2006 which caught my attention because it promoted something that was guaranteed to prevent fear of public speaking — which would be very handy for our reading evening on 30th June. It was titled ‘Sex “cuts public speaking stress”‘. It goes on to say ‘Forget learning lines or polishing jokes – having sex may be the best way to prepare for giving a speech. New Scientist magazine reports that Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of Paisley, found having sex can help keep stress at bay.Â However, only penetrative intercourse did the trick – other forms of sex had no impact on stress levels at all.’ It’s all to do with something called the vagal nerve, as well as oxytocin apparently. (Maybe James can do some reading up on it?)
It doesn’t say how far in advance of the speech you have to engage in this therapy to make it most effective, though.
Just as the weather has started to turn after the greyest, most miserable winter, I’ve been struck down by a horribly persistent virus that I thought a week ago was a cold but now I’m wondering if it might be some sort of flu. I’ve managed to drag myself into City University three times in eight days – two Wednesdays and a Saturday for my reading — but was certainly unfit for work duty between Friday and yesterday (Wednesday).
What’s most depressing is that the virus seems to be tapping my energy to write stuff. I did the piece of Kim’s hometown when I was coming down with it but have only done another 500 words since then. It’s been well over 10 days since I was able to get out for a run — and the weather for it is fantastic now compared with a week or two ago. I’m hoping I can get out and run tomorrow — I don’t always use the time to think about writing but sometimes it gives me a good opportunity to think these through. It also generates the various endorphins and dopamines (or whatever) that make me feel invigorated to get stuck in to things. (Incidentally I had James do a bit of internal monologue about hormones or other body produced chemicals involved in physical attraction. When I read this out on Saturday at City it caused a bit of debate. I didn’t have chance to say that I deliberately wrote it to show his confusion — not sure if that actually worked — but I originally started off from the premise that he’d be fantasising about touching Emma in a way that would set Â off her oxytocin level — the human-bonding hormone or whatever it is.)
To try and impress the joys of spring, here’s a photo of the grass verge outside our house. I planted it a few years ago with crocuses and have added snowdrops in the green over the last couple of years. It looks wonderful when the sun is out on days like these. Soon the snowdrops will go over but hopefully they’ll come back stronger next year. (I’ve ordered another 100 to add to them.) This is quite an unselfish flower display as we can’t see it from the house — the main benefit is to people walking by — some of whom repay the compliment by letting their dogs crap on the grass.
This morning I had a tutorial with my Open University MSc. dissertation supervisor — Dr Lucia Rapanotti — who I discovered, is a real Italian. It was the first time I’d used Skype and, quite bizarrely, when I put the webcam on it inherited the settings that had been last used by my children — which included the image manipulation software that doctors the image in supposed funny ways. I couldn’t find a way to turn it off so throughout my tutorial, my supervisor saw my image with huge cartoon horse ears attached to my head! Talk about making a good first impression.
The MSc. work is hopefully part of a plan that will allow me to develop a specialism in an area of IT (IT Governance and Enterprise Architecture) which could lead to some opportunities to write and do consultancy. If I’m successful then this would fit reasonably well with doing creative writing as well — write the technical stuff to pay the bills and try and hammer out as much creative stuff as I can until the point where I might be able to ditch the more boring stuff. Still, I’ve not proved I can make any money from either yet so I need to do a lot of work to get to a point where I might. That’s why it’s pretty frustrating to be laid up ill — so much to read and write and the clock’s ticking.