Addiction: Gaming

Thursday, September 8, 2011
Well whaddya know? Gaming has been shown to be actually addictive in the same sense that say heroin, or crack is addictive. Yes that is right! An addicted drug user and an addicted gamer both share the same neurobiological behaviour as shown in a study that looked at brain scans of addicted drug users and gamers. (1) Another study found that certain images or "cues" from certain games were able to invoke cravings in addicted gamers (2).


References
1. Ko, C.-H., Liu, G.-C., Hsiao, S., Yen, J.-Y., Yang, M.-J., Lin, W.-C., Yen, C.-F., et al. (2009). Brain activities associated with gaming urge of online gaming addiction. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43,(7), pp. 739-747. Source
2. Ko, C.-H., Liu, G.-C., Yen, J.-Y., Chen, C.-Y., Yen, C.-F., & Chen, C.-S. (2011). Brain correlates of craving for online gaming under cue exposure in subjects with Internet gaming addiction and in remitted subjects. Addiction Biology. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22026537 Source

Further Reading
http://www.techaddiction.ca/gaming-addiction-statistics.html (has extracts from research on this page)

http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.html (introduces you to the concept of the Skinner Box, a psychological mechanism used by certain gaming companies - think of it like nicotine for cigarettes)

http://www.cracked.com/article_18709_6-devious-ways-farmville-gets-people-hooked.html (farmville addiction lol)

The commodification sheep(les)

Monday, July 4, 2011
Commodification is a fundamental aspect of capitalism, where relationships are transformed into commerical relationships of exchange or of profit and loss. Here we have a good example of this - the commodification of sheep eating grass.

There's a profit to be had in a nation of sheeples. Prior to capitalism, I imagine there were sheeples just for the sake of being sheeples. Easier to control, direct and influence according to whatever scam society had going at the time.

But with the advent of capitalism, we have chaching! $$ potential in every orifice possible. Here buy this cheap useless product which helps you squat in the bush easier to poop. Here ask your doctor for this medicine that you don't really need. Here's the hospital,  have your baby in it and utilise all the technology you possibly can cos babies will drop like flies worldwide if you don't. Here's a survey, we would like to hear your input to improve maternity services for women cos we are going to do what we want anyway but it is democratic to get your feedback and make you feel like you, the little peeps helped to form the laws. Oh, and don't forget to pay your (family member/friend/neighbour/) babysitter for being a present adult while you pop out to gather food and get a little bit of hottie on the side (better pay him for his poolside services too!).

BaaaaaaaaH.

The freedom of Maternality

After seven years in a relationship with an abusive man boy, it was something of a relevation when I looked down at 2 month old Shae and realised something about her. It was not that she was my very own, but more that she was a gift that came with absolutely no strings attached. She was free, and so was I. It may seem like such a little thing but in terms of what women get in our society, it is oh such a big thing. It is beyond priceless.  It is the maternal line of old, before the Church came along and laid claim to women and to the children borne of women.

With Kalea and Tyger, I parented them as a solo mother in a relationship with someone who wasn't much of a partner let alone a parent. When we separated, I came to realise it was only through my own efforts that Kalea and Tyger got to see their father. He continued to be a non-parent. And now regardless of the reality of him as a non-parent, and because our patriarchal society regards fatherhood as a status rather than an activity, he gets to tug on those strings connecting him to two of the children I birthed and raised, whenever he wants. Given the patterns of his behaviour in the past regarding contact it would seem he only bothers to contact me about them is when he has a sudden attack of guilts, regret, depression, loneliness, or even boredom. Strings I can't snip cos it is his right as a father to be able to see his children. The same children he abused and terrified. Just lovely.

So as I gazed at all the light in Shae's eyes, there it was. Pure, unadulterated freedom, hers and mine. Screw patriarchy and its ideological propaganda!


Ten babies!

Friday, July 1, 2011
Today Kalea and I were squishing and smiling with Shae. I wanted Shae all to myself and Kalea wanted to take her off me for a cuddle. I told her to go away, Shae was mine and that when Kalea grew up she could have her own.

Kalea was grumbling about that when I said "Ohhh I so totally want another one!" while cooing over Shae..... and guess what Kalea said?

... "Well, I want TEN of those!"

Cracked me up. That is EXACTLY what I said to my gran when she asked if I thought one was enough! I remember the exact moment and position right outside my grandparent's house, on the driveway next to a gum tree.

Smoking causes cancer

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Enuff said.

Licking the cake bowl

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Something I miss the most about being a kid - licking the cake bowl. Now that I am a mama, guess who gets the cake bowl? The kids of course. Between Kalea and Tyger, they make pretty quick work cleaning it out. I probably don't even NEED to wash it up. I wonder if my own mother wanted to lick the bowl too. If she did, she never seemed to show any sign of it. Or maybe being a kid, I was just too focused on getting to the batter to notice anything else!

Sigh.

Introducing the Sheeple!

Monday, June 20, 2011
Bwhahahahhahahahahahah! So like I got the idea for Sheeple Mondays (sheeples hate Mondays cos of work or school) from the Hoydens About Town blog. They have otterdays and cheezburger thursdays which sounds too American for my liking. Nothing says Australia/NZ more than Footrot Flats which is what the above photo reminded me of!

This is what I imagine Jesus on his bike would be singing as he sways from side to side...
Indeedy!

... No shit!
 No... those are NOT actual sheep. First glance says they are though LOL



Australia's birth politics: A Marxist approach

Friday, June 17, 2011
In classic Marxism, the bourgeoisie (fuck i hate spelling that word) are the ruling class. They own the means of production such as the factories, and their income is gained off the backs of the proles. The proletariat are the working class who sell their labour efforts to the bourgeoisie for a wage.

Blah blah blah. To minimise the glazed eye effect while reading up on classic sociological theories for uni, I started applying them to my interests. Marx's class struggle made me think of Australia's current birth politics, and so I read on with this in mind...

Introducing the Birth Bourgeoisie!

So who owns the hospitals and the spiffy (but overrated and useless) machines that go ping!? In the public sector, we have the State Governments. In the private sector, we have large corporations like the evil Ramsay Healthcare Group. If you follow the money far enough, you'll find a small, select group of white, wealthy, old wrinkly dicks patriarchs in ownership. For the purposes at hand though, lets call the board of directors and all those policy makers, the modern birth bourgeoisie.

*Drumroll* Enter stage left, the Birth Proletariat!

(Yes, I know its obvious I'm bored and gotta entertain myself). The proletariat are easily identified as anyone who works within the hospitals, or within the birth industry. Let's focus on the obstetrician proles and midwife proles.

How the bourgeoisie exploit the proles;

I know, I know... if you're a savvy birthing woman, your eyes will probably be rolling back in their sockets at the prospect of obstetricians being exploited... but bear with me!

According to Marx, the ruling class will always develop ideologies to justify and legitimise their exploitation of the working class. An example of this in practice the passing of legislations and policies to control how the worker proles handle the birthing process.

The ideologies surrounding caesarean surgery for instance, help increase the rate of caesareans. This is extremely profitable for the bourgeoisie as more of their technology and facilities get put to use, and more women can get processed along the conveyor belt of surgery.

It is a fucking meat factory, with obstetricians as the butchers, and women the meat! ~~~ QUICKENING

For those of you with the disease of viewing obstetricians as KNobs, well, obstetricians are as much a product of society as you are! If it helps, I also have a hard time sympathising at the plight of obstetricians within this class struggle and for the life of me, I can't really grasp exactly how the poor things are exploited. I'm just too invested in the downtrodden at the very bottom rung of the ladder - women and babies.

False consciousness (or as Bourdeaux's misrecognition)

Marx called the workers’ acceptance of ideologies that ran counter to their interests, false consciousness. There are midwives and obstetricians working within the system, who are unhappy with the fallacies of institutional birth, yet are unlikely to strike out on their own as independent birth providers because of the belief that hospitals are the safest places to birth in.

Revolutionary acts or criminal behaviour? 

Law is seen as a tool of the ruling class, used to criminalise activities of workers which are harmful to bourgeoisie interests, while ignoring their own socially harmful behaviour.

Today in Australia, great efforts are being made to criminalise homebirth midwives, using sneaky underhanded legislation. In the meantime, all those bourgeoisie policy makers with shares in hospitals, medical technology etc are guilty of harming women and babies via policies which eventuate in birth complications needing further medical technology... but hey, there's money to be made so women and babies be damned!

Crime is viewed as the revolutionary acts of the downtrodden. For change to be possible, Marx says there must be revolution. If you ask me, we need a helluva lot more crims. Homebirth midwives, homebirthers, freebirthers are all in the minority. They are the ones engaging in revolutionary acts. The rest of the downtrodden continue to birth in hospitals, work in hospitals and follow bourgeoise self-interests thanks to ideology and false consciousness.

Oh well. Women are always going to go to hospital to birth - even if they don't need the emergency services or specialised care provided by hospitals. The cogs of the birthing machine will continue to turn within the meat factory. There simply aren't enough of us engaging in revolutionary acts to stop it.

Viva la sheeple!

Legal Aid, Breastfeeding & Discrimination

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Legal Aid QLD has a policy that children not be present during appointments or conferences. I found out about this when I showed up at the local office with a breastfeeding baby asleep in the sling. My two older children were not with me at the time.

The woman there kept retiaritating children were not to be present and was obviously referring to Shae, so I rang up to speak to my appointed lawyer. It didn't go well!

I was told this was a Legal Aid policy not a personal decision of hers. She went on to say the policy was established because it is inappropriate for older children to hear things that might relate to them, (I agree wholeheartedly hence my older two in care) and in the case of younger children and babies, that they often distract the client from the appointment and advice given. Uh, whaaa...t?

It kinda sounded a bit insulting, implying I was incapable of multitasking (a mothering necessity), with the whiff of the sexist concept that women lose their ability to comprehend things once they get pregnant and have a baby! And of course, I resented that all babies are seen as distracting, noisy, wailing things. There must be something wrong with society if most babies are really like that. Makes me wonder about unmet needs and whatnot!

Anyway regardless, this was discrimination towards me as a breastfeeding mother. Even if the policy did not intend to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers, any rules or conditions of a service that prevent us from using the service given our obligations or needs, is considered indirect discrimination by law.

I pursued this via the complaints department of Legal Aid QLD, and was assigned another lawyer who assured me the policy was about safety of children in family law cases more than anything. However, I made sure Legal Aid QLD reviewed this policy to ensure it did not leave room for staff members in the future to interpret this as meaning ALL children, including breastfeeding babies.

And here we are, at the LA conference;


So much for breastfed babies with their needs met, distracting their mamas from being able to focus on business at hand! If you ask me I think the others were more interested in Shae than I was - "Awww soooo cute!" "How old is she?" "Wow, this is the first we've seen her face!" (She was hidden deep in the sling asleep and non-existent most of the time!) and my favourite - "She is so quiet and happy!"

But I don't even WORK here!??

Sunday, June 12, 2011
I was writing down the kids requests for what they wanted on their sandwiches while I was boobying Shae, when Kalea came back to say she wanted to "order a small ice water" for her doll. She also asked if there was anywhere in the shop for her doll to sleep. I said there's no sleeping in shops typically. A pause... (she was thinking hard!)... then she came out with a "Is this a hotel?"

I cracked up. I wasn't about to fall for THAT one as Kalea can be very devious. I could see her telling me I agreed this was a hotel the next time I asked her to do something! So I said in between choking on laughter... "No, this isn't a hotel. We all cook and clean up after ourselves here. This is a home!" Another pause... then she said "I'm leaving then!" which just made me laugh harder. "Leaving to where?" I asked and her reply was "A hotel!!!!"

She went outside. I didn't realise Tyger was listening but he must have been. 30 secs later he came up, looked at the paper and me still sitting there feeding the baby (and not making him his food)... and he ripped off the top page, looked at me, and proceeded to tell me off angrily "YOU"RE FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!"

I was laughing so hard I was crying lol and then Kalea came back inside as I was saying "Ok thats cool with me. You can take over my job then and do cooking and cleaning and all that". Tyger didn't even have to pause. He said immediately "Fine! You're not fired!! Then he turned around to Kalea, pointed at her and yelled YOU! YOU'RE FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kalea shrieked and ran outside and then ran back in a second later and yelled back "But I don't EVEN work here!!??"

Dreads... 3 years on!

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Here are my dreads in the beginning....



and now, nearly 3 years later....

Broken bridges of me

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Assertiveness is not a problem for the wyld womyn. 

However it appears to be a problem for many women, and perphas this could be attributed to the damaged bridges to what Clarissa Estes calles the Rio Abajo Rio, the river beneath the river of the world. 

Our connections to our deepest selves are not all intact, thanks to generations of browbeating women into the lady moulds of patriarchal society. Thankfully bridges can be re-built and rivers can be swum.

To repair bridges, one must look first at the damage to determine how it happened. 


For my broken bridge to assertiveness, I remember my mother's acquiescence to authority in the form of nervousness, doubt,  and avoidance of eye contact during interpreting for me with an Emergency room doctor. I was being assertive, stating what I wanted and did not want. The doctor ignored me and I had to forcibly remove his hand from my pregnant belly. He flounced off in a manner becoming of a white-skinned, aggressive young god. When I got sick of waiting for him to return for round two, I decided to leave. My mother was only too glad to get out of there. I walked, but she sneaked, looking around nervously, fearful of being caught.

It does not matter how we logically view a situation, our parents' fear is powerful and can condition us. Take for instance, the blood test I witnessed my father get. I had blood tests many times before, and I wasn't scared, and it didn't hurt enough for me to be concerned. However, when my normally stoic father grimaced and winced as he got his blood drawn, I felt fear and concern. My turn came and I tensed up and experienced the worst blood test ever. 

My broken bridge comes from fear of authority, and their response, a fear which my wyld womyn does not share, but nonetheless I am impacted by it.

To swim rivers, one needs to simply be able to swim. Dive right in, come up gasping at the heart-squeezing chill, and just forge ahead until you are there at your goal, the welcoming banks of the other side. 


I have done this many times. It is quicker and preferable to the slow process of re-building bridges and painfully repairing old damage first – especially if you need the power of assertiveness from wyld womyn quickly. It consists of following the logical steps of being assertive, and forging ahead with assertive behaviour even though you are gripped by the chill of its emotional impact on your lady mould. 

Also famously known in womens circles as the 'fake it til you make it' strategy. Wise words indeed! 

This blog post was published in
Whole Woman Magazine
, June 2011.

The sacred sisterhood

Saturday, February 5, 2011
Women in our society, and many other societies throughout the world have something in common, and that is the odds are balanced against us. 

In our lives, no matter who we are, or where we are, or what our situations are, there is no denying that we struggle with inequality and injustice to some degree, for being women. It is for this reason alone, that each one of us should value the sisterhood.

We are the sisterhood. All of us. Our sisters are the ones who will be there in the world of tomorrow, where our children have grown and left, and where our lovers and our men have departed. It is our sisters who are there for us to hear words we cannot say elsewhere. It is our sisters that keep our secrets, and carry with them our much needed, but harmless rants and rages at the world. It is our sisters that share in the weight of the world, for they too have experienced it. It is our sisters that remind us of the reality. And it is from them that we get feedback about ourselves, our behaviours, our problems, our thoughts, our hopes, fears, dreams and plans. With our sisters, we are able to grow into womanhood as whole women.


Like blood kin, we do not always get along with our sisters, and that is okay too, given we continue to respect and believe in the sacredness of the sisterhood. As I am discovering, it does not require a close woman-friendship to share something intimate and special with another woman. All it takes is a shared respect for other women's unique needs and struggles in a world that is dominantly anti-woman.


So my words to you are; Do something woman-centred with another woman or a group of women. Bring up the idea in your circle of sister-women. It can be something as simple as exchanging massages of choice or going for a skinny dip somewhere private and isolated. Even a sleepover can be fun once the kids are asleep or otherwise occupied – share in a drool-fest with popcorn, or participate in self-care of each other. If money is to be had (and spent), a weekend away is a fantastic idea. 


Rejoice in the sisterhood and celebrate it, strengthening its roots within you and other women so that it is there when you need it, and most importantly so that it is there even when you don't need it. The world needs well nurtured, happy, strong women, not women that are constantly in need thanks to patriarchy.


This blog post was published in
Whole Woman Magazine, March 2011
 
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