Why I do what I do

For as long as I can remember, creating “Art” of any kind has been been more about the process than the end product. Even as a child, I didn’t draw to replicate what I was seeing, but to respond to things emotionally. I was acutely aware of how what I saw affected me, and how what I was feeling affected the way I saw.  For example, a donut will look very different depending on whether I’m hungry or not. When not distracted by hunger, I’m more inclined to notice all the different colours, shapes, textures, smells, and imagine how they might taste. I’m more aware of details, such as how the light reflects off the individual specs of sugar; the contoured edges of the glossy frosting; the spongy, rounded surface of the golden pastry…

When I’m starving, I see a singular thing: a donut.

Whenever I produce a physical, tangible, visual response to my own internal chatter, things become clearer. My muddled thoughts start sorting themselves into orderly queues instead of simultaneously clamouring for attention.

To put it another way: imagine hundreds of oddly shaped, different coloured Lego bricks scattered on the floor around you, making it difficult to step in any direction without hurting your feet. Each brick simply one part of the unsightly, stress-inducing, insurmountable MESS.

It is easy to become so focused on “The Mess” and planning how to be rid of it or how to get around it that you fail to see The Bigger Picture. But what if you were to stop, crouch down for a closer look, give each and every brick your full attention, sort through them, start piecing them together to build a single, solid something? You might see how each seemingly insignificant piece, while not much use on its own, transforms into something entirely different when connected to the others. Each little piece plays a vital role in constructing The Whole. By the end of the process, you’ll still have the same number of oddly shaped, different coloured bricks as you had before, but now there is cohesion and clarity, and more space in which to manoeuvre (For the techies: like defragmenting the hard drive on your computer)

That’s how I see the arts process; picking through the chaos in my head, examining and fitting together seemingly random thoughts and feelings until I find a common thread. Because everything is related. Nothing is random. no thought meaningless. Everything matters. The answers are, more often than not, hidden in plain sight.

And then there’s The Flow! Have you ever tried catching a feather or leaf that’s fluttering on the breeze? The more you wave your arms or move your hand, the further away it gets. When I get into that creative zone, aka “the flow”, my mind becomes very still. I’m no longer chasing or running or flailing about desperately trying to make sense of things. I’m quietly opening myself up, letting those fluttering objects drift down and settle upon me.

Externalising my thoughts, feelings and imaginings in this way also makes them accessible to others. This exposure to scrutiny and criticism terrifies me, and I do feel extremely vulnerable. So why do it?? because I feel more connected to “The World” when I am open and honest about my reactions to it.

It’s something I find very difficult to write about without feeling a tad wanky. But there you have it.

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The G-Spot And ‘Vaginal Orgasm’ Are Myths, According To New Clinical Review

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The struggle to find the G-spot and achieve the mythical “vaginal orgasm” is real. Books have been written on it; sex therapists have explained how to stimulate it; even Cosmopolitan magazine has tried to instruct dutiful readers how to find it.

But a review published this week in the journal Clinical Anatomy may just halt all of these fruitless quests with the conclusion that neither the elusive G-spot nor the vaginal orgasm exist.
“Like most things that are about sex, people get very hot and bothered on either end of this, but I really can’t say from my clinical practice that I’m at all convinced that there is a G-spot,” Dr. Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life (who was not involved in the new review), told The Huffington Post. “I think that a lot of women are very frustrated trying to attain something that may not be attainable.”

Scientists have yet to prove the existence of a G-spot.

In their Clinical Anatomy article, Italian researchers Vincenzo Puppo and Giulia Puppo stress the importance of using the correct terminology when discussing female sexual organs and women’s capacity for orgasm. They write that the so-called G-spot, a term that refers to a pleasurable spot located inside the vagina in the pelvic urethra, doesn’t exist — rather, every woman has the capacity to orgasm if her clitoris is stimulated. As such, the term “vaginal orgasm” is incorrect and “female orgasm” should be used instead, they argue.

The original research on G-spots, led by Addiego, who coined the term after German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg in 1981, was based on a woman who “identified an erotically sensitive spot, palpable through the anterior wall of her vagina.” When the area was touched, it became larger and the woman reported increased sensitivity, pleasure and a desire to urinate — all of which led Addiego to conclude “the orgasms she experienced in response to the Gräfenberg stimulation felt much the same.”

However, the new review points out that the woman also reported that, at the time of testing, she had been diagnosed with a grade one cystocele, a condition in which “the supportive tissue between a woman’s bladder and vaginal wall weakens and stretches, allowing the bladder to bulge into the vagina.” The resulting side effects of cystocele, the authors argue, make the woman a poor candidate for the basis of a sexual theory with flimsy subsequent medical proof.

Neglecting the clitoris and emphasizing the G-spot may be why so many women don’t orgasm.

Despite previous studies, the researchers say the vagina has no anatomical relationship with the clitoris. They write: “The correct and simple anatomical term to describe the cluster of erectile tissues (i.e. clitoris, vestibular bulbs and pars intermedia, labia minora, and corpus spongiosum of the female urethra) responsible for female orgasm, is ‘female penis.'”

The female clitoris (left) and the male penis (right)
The female clitoris (left) and the male penis (right)

While the concept of a “female penis” may sound strange, the clitoris and penis have quite a few similarities when it comes to sexual pleasure, starting with their shape (see the illustration above), and that increased blood flow causes their spongy tissues to engorge as orgasm approaches. The problem is, much of the unerect clitoris isn’t visible — it may be up to 9 centimeters long, according to a seminal paper on the clitoris published by Australian urologist Helen O’Connell in 1998.

The majority of women don’t experience orgasms during intercourse, so having a clear understanding of what’s going on down there — and how to refer to it all — is important for women seeking sexual pleasure, said Saltz, especially when it comes to wiping out the shame that comes with feeling “broken” because of an inability to orgasm.
The clitoris “is not just sticking out in plain view with a clear directions manual, so that means that a woman has to be familiar with herself, having looked and understood and experienced,” Saltz said. “Then she has to transmit that to her partner in a way that’s comfortable for both of them, and it isn’t always easy.”
But mapping out female sexual pleasure is an issue that extends beyond climax.

The new research adds to the already-fervent debate on female sexual pleasure, which spans beyond the medical sphere and into the realms of social activism and art.

Doctors offer G-spot-enhancing procedures, a practice Jeffrey Spike, a bioethicist at Florida State University’s College of Medicine, equated with “medical fraud” in a 2007 interview, adding that “the G-spot belongs in the same category as angels and unicorns.” (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also called out these procedures for the lack of data on efficacy and safety.)

Aside from clinical opponents of the “vaginal orgasm,” artist Sophia Wallace attempts to dispel misinformation about female sexual organs through her “Cliteracy” project, which uses street art and her “100 Laws Of Cliteracy” to inform women and men that female sexual pleasure is not only possible, but an important step toward gender parity in society.

Women need to prioritize finding out what works for them.

Since the male penis itself cannot stimulate the clitoris during intercourse, the researchers recommend masturbation, cunnilingus, partner masturbation or using a finger during vaginal/anal intercourse to make sure the clitoris isn’t forgotten. But Saltz also noted that much of the recent data on female arousal centers around how a woman feels psychologically, rather than physically — feeling “loved,” “attractive” or “safe.”

As for the women who do claim to achieve orgasm from “G-spot” stimulation? More power to you, Saltz said (well, in a nutshell). But she also said that being so singularly goal-oriented toward orgasm may not be the most direct route to pleasure.

“The way that we talk about it in society, many women feel that [orgasm] is what they’re supposed to do and that that would be the supreme success of the encounter,” Saltz said. “But most women do report that it’s the closeness; it’s the shared intimacy; and, of course, the physical arousal is pleasurable by itself.”

That said, Saltz added that she was surprised that these findings debunking the “vaginal orgasm” are considered news at this point.
“The G-spot is an issue and there are definitely people who feel strongly that it’s real,” Saltz said. “But I think that women who are fairly sexually educated know that their clitoris is where it’s at, so to speak.”


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Leech Lived Up Backpacker’s Nose For A Month

October 13, 2014 | by Janet Fang

photo credit: Mr. Curly’s brethren / Mick Talbot

After returning from a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, 24-year-old Edinburg resident Daniela Liverani started having persistent nosebleeds. This carried on for weeks, but she assumed they were due to burst blood vessels caused by a motorbike crash two weeks before arriving home. Even as she felt the parasite wriggling up and down her nostril, she thought it was a blood clot. After all, “your initial reaction isn’t to start thinking, oh God, there’s obviously a leech in my face,” she tells BBC Radio Scotland.

She made the realization last week while showering. With the heat and steam, her nasal passages opened wide, and the parasite started poking out, nearly reaching her bottom lip. “So I could kind of see it out of the corner of my eye but still didn’t think it was a worm because it just looked like a blood clot,” she tells BBC. “I jumped out the shower and I unsteamed the mirror and I had a proper good look, and I could see little ridges on him.”

Hospital staff removed the leech with tweezers and nose forceps, and they appeared equal parts horrified and intrigued. “It was agony,” she tells Daily Mail, “whenever the doctor grabbed him, I could feel the leech tugging at the inside of my nose.”

It was nearly eight centimeters (around three inches) long, or “about as long as my forefinger and as fat as my thumb,” she tells Daily Record. She and her friend nicknamed the leech Mr. Curly, since it was probably curled up and nestled cozily in her nostrils.

“Daniela could have picked up this leech from water in Vietnam, if she had been swimming,”says Mark Siddal of the American Museum of Natural History. “Or it could have gone in through her mouth, as she was drinking water.”

Liverani took Mr. Curly home that night, but not for keeping. “He’s in an Edinburgh City Council bin,” she says. “He’s probably long gone by now. I boiled him first.”

Image: Mick Talbot via Flickr CC BY 2.0


Three-Inch Leech Lived Up Backpacker’s Nose For A Month | IFLScience.

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Man paid $100 for $1m James Bond submarine car


The Lotus in a scene from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. Picture: RM Auctions

IT is one of the most famous cars in the history of the movies and when it goes under the hammer this September it could fetch over a million dollars.

But the James Bond submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me nearly sank without a trace.

The customised Lotus Esprit was forgotten about in a storage container in Long Island, New York. It only came to light after a local contractor bought unseen the contents of the container in 1989, paying less than $100, according to a report on CNBC.

When the contractor opened up the container with his brother he found the white sports car without wheels and with a dented roof.

“They really didn’t know what it was at first,” said Doug Redenius, co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation, which authenticated the car.

Not knowing the value of his find he loaded the car on a truck. It was only after other truckers told him over the CB radio what it was and he had rented the film and seen the car in action that he realised the value of the find.

Mr Renedius told CNBC that eight different versions of the car were driven by Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me. This one will be sold by RM Auctions in London on September 9.

james-bond-gadgets The submarine car was lost in storage for many years.

Previous James Bond cars have fetched millions at auction. A 1964 Aston Martin used in Goldfinger sold in 2010 for $4.6 million.

Mr Renedius described the current owner as “a blue collar guy” who makes “a very modest living”.

“I told him, I said ‘Come September 9th, be prepared for your life and your wife and your children – your life is going to change dramatically,” he said.


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Russian politician tries to ban swearing from internet

THE Russian Government is planning to ban foul language from the internet under child protection laws.

State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina plans to amend a law called “On the Protection of Children”, reports Russian news website Pravda.ru.

Under the plan, posts on social networks, forums and websites that contain swear words would be blocked if not removed within 24 hours.

Moscow Regional Bar Association chairman Associate Professor Sergei Smirnov told Pravda.ru the proposal was “relevant and timely”.

“Obscene language offends both children and adults,” he said.

“A ban on its use is not an infringement of human rights. This is a direction towards a civilised lifestyle. If we do not use foul language in real life, then why do we use it on the internet?”



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Angelina Jolie has healthy breasts removed

Actress Angelina Jolie has revealed that she has undergone a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her risk of cancer. Her mother died from cancer aged 56.

Angelina Jolie has revealed that she recently underwent a preventative double mastectomy.

The actress, whose mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007, was tested to see whether she carried the ‘faulty’ gene that increases a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

angelinajolieDouble mastectomy: Angelina Jolie. Photo: Getty Images

“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Ms Jolie wrote in a op-ed piece published in The New York Times.

“Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could.”

Ms Jolie’s treatment began in February and finished on April 27, with the procedures remaining secret until the Oscar-winning actress chose to go public by penning a first-person piece on her decision for the Times.

“I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience,” Ms Jolie, who is 37, wrote.

“Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.”

In her article, Ms Jolie detailed the various stages of the medical procedures involved with a mastectomy, including the major surgery, which she said “does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film”.

“But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life,” she wrote.

Tests not covered by Medicare

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in Australia, with one in eight being diagnosed by the age of 85.

However, hereditary breast cancer is rarer than many people think, with only 5 to 10 per cent of cases occurring in women whose families have a gene fault.

A clinician at the hereditary cancer clinic at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Lesley Andrews, said in Australia the test for the mutations was not covered by Medicare.

“Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 is individually funded by each hospital,” she said. “The criteria for women to be offered testing usually includes that there is at least a 10 per cent chance that a mutation will be identified.”

This usually meant a woman would have two or more relatives diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, with one aged younger than 40 when she developed the disease.

If a woman was not covered under the hospital policy she could pay for the test herself, which usually cost about $2500.

The head of the breast cancer risk management clinic at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Kelly-Anne Phillips, said about one in five Australian women found to have the breast cancer gene mutations went ahead with a preventative mastectomy.

“Having a risk-reducing mastectomy is the most effective way of reducing risk,” she said. “It can take her from an 80 per cent risk of breast cancer to a… lower risk than an average woman.”

Chief executive of Cancer Australia Helen Zorbas said outcomes from reconstructive breast surgery could be “extraordinary”, with no obvious outward signs when a woman was in clothing or swimwear.

She said most women who chose to have preventative surgery chose to have a reconstruction.

“However, women I have met who have chosen not to have reconstruction are equally happy with their decision in terms of their mastectomy because they have reduced their anxiety and concern about their risk of breast cancer,” she said.

Despite the mastectomies and subsequent breast reconstruction being a difficult process, Ms Jolie said she was pleased she had gone through with it.

“The decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer…

“For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”

Click here to read Angelina Jolie’s piece in full

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Judge fines himself over phone in court

A MICHIGAN judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $US25 ($24) for the infraction.

Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy stating that electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia and MLive.com reported.

On Friday afternoon, during a prosecutor’s closing argument as part of a jury trial, Judge Voet’s new smartphone began to emit sounds requesting phone voice commands.

“I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom’,” he said.

Judge Voet has used a Blackberry mobile phone for years, and said he wasn’t as familiar with the operation of the new touchscreen, Windows-based phone.

“That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.”

Over the years, the judge has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends.

During a break in the trial, he held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine.

“Judges are humans,” he said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”


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Chimpanzee addicted to porn

GINA the chimp has a problem. She’s addicted to adult human porn.

Gina is addicted to porn

The first question you may have is how a chimp came to watch TV. That one is simple. A television set was installed in her enclosure at Seville Zoo.

But maybe the zoo regrets the decision now.

Primatologist Pablo Herreros told El Mundo: “‘To enliven Gina’s nights, officials decided to install a Freeview television, protected behind glass, and gave her a remote control so she could change the channels herself.

“In the early trials, her keepers visited Gina to check that everything was in order and she did not break the new toy.

“The surprise came when they found that within a few days, Gina was not only using the remote control perfectly well, but that she also chose the porn channel for entertainment, as many of us would have done.”

Maybe Gina needs to get out more.


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PETA want to ban naked chickens in supermarkets

ANIMAL welfare extremists want to ban the display of naked chickens in supermarkets.

Sexy naked chicken corpse

They also protest against pictures of raw chickens in ads.

The American founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, president Ingrid Newkirk, criticised a newspaper for running a picture of a raw chicken. Other supporters expressed disgust at the sight of plucked chickens in supermarkets.

A PETA spokesman said the organisation wants everyone to go vegan.

“We don’t want to see any chickens on display, but instead want them to live natural, happy lives with their families.

“Sexily displaying the corpse of a chicken who has been bred to grow so big, so quickly, that many collapse under their own weight, is just additionally offensive.”


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