Goodbye, Junior Year

Well, guys. This is it. In the final days of my junior year of high school. It has been a long and trying year I suppose that will hopefully make my senior year seem that much more magical. I have never been very good with profound and elequant words or goodbye speeches that make you rethink your whole life path and make you want to go out and take on the world. I suppose, since this isn’t really a goodbye speech, I should be okay than. All things aside this has been not a great year, but an informative one. I have been told truths I didn’t really want to know, found out who really stands by me, learned about friends and myself. This blog began as a simple Ap Lang assignment, but I don’t want it to end there. I plan to continue it through the summer, and hopefully through my life even further. So dear readers, if there are any, this is not a goodbye to you, just a goodbye to this year. And a well welcomed one at that. But a goodbye to one thing, is simply a hello to a whole new world of things. A goodbye to junior year is a hello to being a senior and queen of the school. I have really enjoyed seeing my blog grow and shape into what it is now. It’s really awesome thing of people around the world wanting to read what I have to say. So I suppose in a way, this is a goodbye. A goodbye to a structured school assignment, to something of my own creation, mind, and will.

I’m Not A Psychopath, I’m a High Functioning Sociopath

Have you ever met someone who always has that odd mysterious vibe about them? They always seem like their hiding something, bad with social rules, can easily get you to do things for them? You may just know a Psychopath or a Sociopath than. A good example of such is my favourite sociopath, Sherlock Holmes, played by the ever dashing Bennedict Cumberbatch.

A psychopath or sociopath is a fascinating person but not one that you want to mess with or get on the wrong side of, they may seem lovable but very dangerous also (again much like our Mr. Holmes). Psychopathy is defined by the Hare Psychopath Checklist which measures different traits that follow typical psychopathic behaviors and goes as follows;

-glib and superficial charm,
-grandiosity
-need for stimulation
-pathological lying
-cunning and manipulating,
-lack of remorse
-callousness
-poor behavioral controls
-impulsiveness
-irresponsibility
-denial
-parasitic lifestyle
-sexual promiscuity
-early behavior problems
-lack of realistic long-term goals
-failure to accept responsibility for own actions
-many short-term marital relationships
-juvenile delinquency
-revocation of conditional release
-criminal versatility

This is the basic outline for psychopathic behavior. There are many real life examples of people with these tendencies. This test is usually administered by a trained professional that gives the patient a score if 0-2 on each item and typically a score around 30 and above receive the title of psychopath or sociopath. Not all of those diagnosed have to meet all of these categories and often times they don’t, it’s just a general representation and guideline.

These people are often very manipulative and cunning. They come across and sweet and charming and mysterious and before you know it you’re out some money, time, or a huge favour. They are very good at charming people into doing anything.

One of the most well known characteristics of them is their lack of feeling and remorse. Although they will often lie and say that they do feel things, it is often very shallow and short lived. Most of the time they are fascinated at people when they show emotions such as fear and love, as they have never felt that either at all or to that extreme. One of the most famous psychopaths is the serial killer and rapist, Ted Bundy. His interviews are very creepy and fascinating at the same time, they are very interesting to watch how his mind works. It was once said that a biographer working on a book on Bundy went to interview him in prison and the series that he told were so gruesome and sick that after each interview he would leave and throw up because he was so disturbed by the things he heard. Here is an interview by Ted Bundy, but don’t worry it is not nearly as disturbing as those talks were, most viewers will be fine.

Right Way To Go Gluten Free

As I mentioned in my last post, there is a growing number of people going gluten free in the world, for whatever reason, if it be health, diet, or you just felt like it. There is always a right and a wrong way to do a diet. If you do the gluten free diet correctly and smartly you will feel a lot better and less weighed down and most likely loose weight also, but you have to be smart with it.

Cutting out breads and wheat products can be VERY hard. No muffins, pizza, bagels, cereal, tacos, waffles, pancakes, and any other desert that is made with flour. Before I freak you out too much, there are always alternatives which I will mention later on. You have to find a way to cut out all of these foods from your daily diet and replace them with healthier alternatives. If you remove your morning muffin and replace it with something worse for you, than you’re not helping anything. There are many different recipe options for those who are gluten free that can also be healthy and filling. There are easy and still good ideas for every meal of things that you can still have when gluten free:

Breakfast:

Yogurt

Eggs

Gluten Free Pancakes

Smoothies

Omelettes

Hash Browns

Potatoes

Find specific recipes here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/gluten-free-breakfast

 

For lunch and dinner you can find so many different delicious ideas. Meats of all kind are allowed so that will give you a lot of protein and energy which will make the transition easier on your body so you don’t have to be focused on food and eating all the time. There are many gluten free substitutes. Gluten free flours and mixes can be found in almost every local grocery store and usually they are very easy to make and create new meals with. Occasionally you have to be a bit creative with the meals that you make, but it makes things more interesting that way.

As long as you don’t replace the gluten and wheat products with items that are worse for you, and are smart with how much you eat (a new diet is not an excuse to totally gorge on everything)  than you will be totally set on your new diet.

 

 

Gluten Free Craze

 

I recently discovered that about half of my close family is now going gluten free. This came as a shock to me because I have always known them to be big bread lovers and pro-carbs, so I decided to follow and do a little research on why people would want to give up amazing foods like breads and such. My sister is gluten free because my parents are under the false belief that she is allergic to it, but that is a whole other topic. A herbalist chiropractor told her to go gluten free so that is somewhat understandable if you were told by someone that you should go gluten free. There are many different reasons for giving up gluten, so let’s begin first though by at least knowing what it even is.

Gluten is a protein found in breads, pastas, cereals and many other popular foods that give it it’s elasticity to it’s dough and helps the product rise and makes it taste chewy. It basically makes bread fluffy and delicious. So how can something so good be so bad for you? There are many different theories on what gluten can do to different people and why.  One of the most obvious reasons for going gluten free is if one is effected by Celiac Disease. This is where the body mistakes the gluten for a poison and can cause many health issues as a result of the molecular mix up.

Most of the people who are going gluten free however, are doing it for mainly health and diet reasons. It is becoming one of the growing diet and health fads through the world. The number of gluten free products being found in grocery stores in skyrocketing and the diet is becoming more and more popular and even restaurants have adopted a menu for gluten free individuals when many still don’t have a menu for say lactose intolerant or vegetarian diners.

An article on Oprah’s website discussed the growing amount of complaints of people against gluten:

And a growing body of science is linking a range of problems—including chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraines—to a condition called nonceliac gluten sensitivity”

Many people have recorded having many health side effects as a result of eating gluten. There have been studies that research the gluten sensitivity although scientists often agree that there is no way to have definitive proof of a mere sensitivity. There are many reports of people simply feeling better after cutting gluten out of their diet. This seems like a logical argument as you will feel more refreshed and alive after having a fruit smoothie rather than a a big bagel or a muffin. If you do the gluten free diet the right way than you may lose weight, but it is important to understand that not all gluten free foods are better for you than regular foods and like with any other diet you should be careful as to how you approach it. I will follow up with another post about the right way to do gluten free and some tips and tricks for cooking. Happy Cooking!

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Into The Madness Industry

I usually don’t have time to finish books this fast, but having two six hour car rides really gives you a lot of well needed reading time. I finished this book yesterday somewhere in Illinois just when I was beginning to feel the onset effects of reading in a bumpy car for three and a half hours. This book was absolutely and positively AMAZING. Like I am mindblown. It will defiantly go down as one of my favourite books, ever. I give it six stars out of five. If you have any interest at all about the world of psychopaths or mental illness or even just like reading about interesting and creepy things, than this is the book for you. I found it to be very accurate and informational while also giving a slight humour element into it and a really interesting sense of mystery that makes you want to keep reading.

This book was written by the genius Jon Ronson as I described earlier in my before the book post. He is an amazing author, who in my opinion has a very similar style of writing to Sarah Vowell, but his writings are about the history and current investigations of psychological and social issues rather than American History. He uses a very personal tone that makes you feel as if you’re living this story along with him and learning more about the issues at hand.

I won’t tell all about the book, I don’t want to give too much away, there will be very very minour spoiler alerts, but nothing you need to concern yourself with too much. The book begins when Ronson receives a call from a neurologist, who wants Ronson to use his journalistic experience and ties to help her solve a mystery. Around the world, many intellectuals had received a mysterious book called ” Being or Nothingness”, that contains 42 pages, 21 of them with writing and 21 of them without. The writing is all jumbled and nonsense and on the front cover it reads:

This book is so interesting and really odd, the strangeness of it all makes it that much more enticing. (If you want to read the actual book that those people received in the mail you can find a link here). Anyways, Ronson goes on an investigation to find who wrote this book and what it’s all about. I won’t go any further into these descriptions because I don’t want to give too much away, I’ll just say it is a reoccurring theme in the book. From his experience with this book, Ronson gets the idea to research Psychopaths and their impact on society, more specifically if they do indeed run society.

Through this book he meets many interesting people. He talks to Scientologists, Tony ( a patient at Broadmoor, a mental institute who came in contact with Scientologists to help him), Robert D. Hare ( the creator of the Psychopath Checklist and whose book Without Conscious I am currently reading), Toto Constant ( a prominent figure arrested for his distant involvement with killings of children, whom Ronson had previously met), Al Dunlap ( a cooperate Tycoon who used to own the Sunbeam toaster company), and many other people that are related to the diagnosis and meeting of Psychopaths and their impact on society.

Ronson also goes through many psychological experiments and psychologists that have made profound bounds in the research and discovery of psychopaths. One of the experiments stuck with my mind, for whatever reason. At Oakridge Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Canada, psychologist Elliot Barker, decided to do a very interesting and controversial experiment. At Oakridge he decided to gather up some of the psychopaths in the population, by handing out questionnaires and choosing the ones that answered with psychopathic tendencies (although these were highly unreliable and many people who were not psychopaths were wrongly selected to be apart of this experiment). Than once these people were chosen, they were locked in a room that was entirely green, even the floors. They were forced to stay in there for extended periods of time being fed through straws in the walls, and given LSD, hoping that they would be able to feel an emotional catchment to each other. After getting false reports from the psychopaths that this method was working, Barker than thought that it would be a good idea to let all 26 psychopathic patients run amuck in the whole area of the psychiatric hospital while on an LSD trip. Needless to say when he came to work the next day, the locks had been changed.

This is overall a very interesting book that really dives deep into the pschopathic psyche and what they really are and capable of doing. This combined with Ronson’s great style of writing leads to a great read and probably one of my favourites ever.

Quick Easy Vegetable Meal

Ever in a mood when you want something quick to make but you want to keep the calories and fat down? I am often really crunched for time at night so it can be really hard to find time to make a good quality healthy meal that’s also healthy and vegetarian. Not really cost or health efficient to run down to McDonalds every night for dinner. So through experimenting, I actually found a relatively quick meal that’s perfect for bbq’s and weekend get togethers or just a regular week night.

This meal is kind of a mix of yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and the option of avocado. As odd as it may sound it is very good and satisfying. What I do is cut up a whole yellow squash and zucchini into small slivers than cut those into fourths or halves depending on how you like them. Than I put those in a big bowl and mix in some cut up broccoli and cauliflower and mushrooms (these are typically bought at the store in slices but make them however you like them the most).

Next is the fun part. What I did was put them on the grill with the rest of my families meals. I put the in big wok pan that we got from the store. You can also add seasonings too them before you put them on the grill. I added a little garlic, peppers, and some French dressing. You can skillet them on the grill until it seems pretty well cooked, not black but they look like they’re warm and cooked.

You can take them off and serve them right up. I usually add a little more French dressing to the meal but that decision is totally up to you. If you want to add a little more to the meal feel free to mix in some spaghetti noodles and Alfredo sauce and you have a fancy pasta meal with minimal effort that is also very healthy.

I would totally recommend this recipe to anyone and you can for sure make many different variations on them and it’s not required to cook them on the stove or in the oven that was just the way I chose as it’s finally grilling weather out. Happy cooking all!

Before the Book: The Psychopath Test

File:The Psychopath Test (Jon Ronson book) cover.jpg

I am kind of an odd breed of people, as you may have noticed already. I am fascinated by the psychological disorders and the offness is people. In my future I recently started looking into going into the Behavior Analysis field of work, because I find the minds of people like that fascinating. So the book, The Psychopath Test, sparked my interest right away, and I am very excited to start reading it. This book is by Jon Ronson, he is a very established author who was born in Cardiff, Wales (unfortunate for him, right?) and studied at Westminster University. Although many of you may not be familiar with his name, but you may recognize the name of his most popular book, The Men Who Stare At Goats, which came out in theaters a while ago. This book is less popular, but still sounds fantastic nonetheless. It was published in 2011, so it’s not too old, just a little bit newer than The Men Who Stare At Goats. The synopsis of the book reads:

Ronson visits purported psychopaths, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists who have studied them, particularly Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare, the eponymous author of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, a 20‑part test administered to detect psychopathy. Ronson explores the idea that many corporate and governmental leaders are psychopaths whose actions to others can only be explained by taking that fact into account, and he privately uses the Hare test to determine if he can discern any truth to it.

This sounds absolutely fascinating in my opinion. The field of criminology is a really interesting subject and this is what the book loosely goes through, by taking a look at psychopathic criminals to discern if they actually are afflicted with psychopathy and their motives and just the little interesting things about them. There are many criminals that have done horrible things to many innocent people that feel no remorse or pain or wrongdoing, such as Ted Bundy, who killed, raped, and assaulted over 36 women. (It is reported that he told somebody once that he killed over 120 girls that he was never caught for and the bodies never found.) A reporter writing a story or a book on Bundy, would go to his jail cell and visit and talk with him to get first hand evidence and tales. The reporter added in to his story that after every visit, he would leave and go to his car where he would get ill every time because of the awful things that were told to him in that room, and yet to Bundy it was nothing. Fascinating and yet terrifying, right?

One of the scariest things about this, is that they may seem normal on the outside. They may look fine, attractive and appear to be charming and genuinely nice people. That makes them very hard to spot and discern and when speaking to them, you can be easily lied, tricked and made a fool of. Going back to Ted Bundy, below is a picture of him, you would never expect he would be the one to have done all of those horrible things that he did.

The definition of a psychopath is very interesting too. On Wikipedia they state the trifold of different concepts that appear in those effected.

The triarchic model, formulated by Christopher J. Patrick et al., suggests that different conceptions of psychopathy emphasize three observable characteristics to varying degrees. Analyses have been made with respect to the applicability of measurement tools such as the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL, PCL-R) andPsychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) to this model.[1][7]

  • Boldness. Low fear including stress-tolerance, toleration of unfamiliarity and danger, and high self-confidence and social assertiveness. The PCL-R measures this relatively poorly and mainly through Facet 1 of Factor 1. Similar to PPI Fearless dominance. May correspond to differences in the amygdala and other neurological systems associated with fear.[1][7]
  • Disinhibition. Poor impulse control including problems with planning and foresight, lacking affect and urge control, demand for immediate gratification, and poor behavioral restraints. Similar to PCL-R Factor 2 and PPI Impulsive antisociality. May correspond to impairments in frontal lobe systems that are involved in such control.[1][7]
  • Meanness. Lacking empathy and close attachments with others, disdain of close attachments, use of cruelty to gain empowerment, exploitative tendencies, defiance of authority, and destructive excitement seeking. The PCL-R in general is related to this but in particular some elements in Factor 1. Similar to PPI Coldheartedness but also includes elements of subscales in Impulsive antisociality. Meanness may possibly be caused by either high boldness or high disinhibition combined with an adverse environment. Thus, a child with high boldness may respond poorly to punishment but may respond better to rewards and secure attachments which may not be available under adverse conditions. A child with high disinhibition may have increased problems under adverse conditions with meanness developing in response.

There are also some personality definitions that are often apparent in these people:

Psychopathy represents a cluster of different dimensions of personality found throughout the general population to varying degrees. There are different views as to which dimensions are more central in regard to psychopathy.[12]

Besides dimensions described elsewhere in this article, some studies have linked psychopathy to alternative dimensions,[12][13][14] such as antagonism (high),conscientiousness (low) and anxiousness (low, or sometimes high).[12] Psychopathy has also been linked to high psychoticism—a theorized dimension referring to tough, aggressive or hostile tendencies.[13] Aspects of this that appear associated with psychopathy are lack of socialization and responsibility, impulsivity, sensation-seeking in some cases, and aggression.[13]

Otto Kernberg, from a particular psychoanalytic perspective, believes psychopathy should be considered as part of a spectrum of pathological narcissism, that would range from narcissistic personality on the low end, malignant narcissism in the middle, and psychopathy at the high end.[14] However, narcissism is generally seen as only one possible aspect of psychopathy as generally defined.”

Even the plain disease is interesting too, let alone the people that have it and what they end up doing. Yes, this is an awful disease and I am not trying to romanticize it or make it seem like some cool thing that one should strive for, but coming from my perspective it is a very interesting field and interest. Hopefully this book turns out to be as interesting and fun as it appears to be.